Friday, August 31, 2012

Blasts From The Past

One of my favorite bloggers and real-life friends is Fuzzy Galore.  Isn't that the cutest name?!  Well, Fuzzy just invited us to do something I applaud -- highlight five of our best old posts so new readers can find them.

This solves a problem I've complained about before.  The structure of blogs -- i.e., their chronological scroll -- hides our past work in the deep recesses of computer-memory.  New readers rarely unearth those gems which sit neglected in obscurity, like unworn diamonds.

Fuzzy suggests we compile a list of five old posts that mean something to us and offer them to the world for a new look.  Great idea.  Fuzzy, you're as bright as you are beautiful.  :-)

Here are my five, with a little explanation:

1. Before I came here, I started my blogging life on the outdated forum of Live Journal.  One or two of you discovered me way back then, but only a few of you know about those humble beginnings.  I migrated here because pictures on LJ looked awful due to the site's technical limitations.

My earliest posts possess the uncertainty and nervous apprehension of most inaugural work.  That anxiety was particularly heightened by the fact that I was, for the first time, revealing my transgendered nature in public.  To the WORLD.  With unknown consequences on my life, my career, my happiness.

I worried about what was ahead of me if I pursued this path -- but I knew from five decades of experience what was going to happen if I didn't summon my courage and push forward -- i.e., more of the same.  More regret about a life not lived, more hidden longing for female experience, and more sadness about not being seen for who I am.  That bleak prospect urged me to venture bravely into the dark unknown.

I expressed these thoughts, for the first time in public, here.

2. My first outfit-post.  Ever.  Of course I look bad, but that shouldn't obscure the significance of my posting these pictures publicly for anyone to see.  With this post, I pushed open a door to a Brave New World.  And never looked back.  Here

3. The Prom Project.  Most of you have seen this before, so I won't elaborate on it beyond saying the post was HUGE in my growth as a blogger and a person.  Making the post taught me I can pursue my dreams.  Showing the post taught me there are compassionate people out there willing to accept and befriend me.

4. I blew another door open, with increasing confidence, when I posed naked on the Internet.  NAKED.  On the INTERNET.  Here

5. In recent times, I've achieved a profound level of happiness mixing whimsy, joy and friendship to form a potent potion to cure my previous ailment.  Here is one example of many I've created doing this.  Here

Did you learn anything new about me?

If you want to participate in this project, go to Fuzzy's blog and she'll link to your blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Miss Ally's Class

New feature, new orange scarf and new orange lipstick.  Lots of joy and a little wisdom.
 
 








Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Funny Pix

I like funny pictures.  It's always nice to laugh.

The first picture illustrates how motorcyclists think.  We seek every opportunity to push the physical envelope of space and time.




This next picture is an actual advertisement from the 1950's.  It shows how far we've come.




The next photo is a visual pun.  Here's a picture of a cat and mouse...




And the last picture is Pandy's favorite...



Monday, August 27, 2012

Your Mom and Your Clothes




When we're little, our moms dress us.  Any way they want.  They have unfettered freedom to choose our clothes, regardless of how hideous or cute the items are.

As we grow up, however, we reach a point where we rebel.  No!  I don't wanna wear this!

That moment occurs at different ages for us.  Some kids meekly defer to their moms, some robustly defy them.  For many, it's when we start to care more about fitting in with our friends that we reject our mothers' choice of unpopular clothes.  We want to wear the styles and brands our friends are wearing so we can gain their approval or, at least, not be ostracized.

For girls, I imagine this is especially important since clothes themselves are so vital.  On one hand, I think it'd be great to have an adult female who can advise and guide you into fashion; on the other, the fact that she's a generation older means her taste is probably old-fashioned and she's not clued into what the kids are wearing today.

How was it with you?  When did you start wanting to wear different clothes than those your mother picked out for you?  Was that an easy or hard conflict?  Was your mother's taste outmoded or acceptable to you?  Finally, did you ever reconcile this conflict with your mom as you matured?

My mom chose clothes no cool kid would be caught dead in.  They were what old people wore and, even worse, they were cheap.  My mom shopped at bargain-basement discount stores and her purchases embarrassed me in front of my friends.  I struggled with her over this for years.  At the same time, I recognized that my mother loved me and was doing her best with no fashion-sense and little money.  That realization made our conflict harder 'cause I didn't want to upset her by arguing.  I just didn't want to wear her awful clothes.

This may seem funny to you now, but imagine being dressed up like a little immigrant in a suit and a hat.  I hated those clothes.

Don't believe me?  Here's a picture of my brother and me.  He's the little guy on the bottom left; I'm the slightly-bigger little guy on the bottom right.  We're surrounded by my two aunts and uncle.



Oh, and I did I mention my parents made me play the accordion?  The most uncool instrument in the entire world?  :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blossoming

A year ago, I rode my motorcycle to a summer festival in Long Beach.  It was a pleasant affair on a beach-boardwalk lined with vendors hawking clothes, jewelry and tchotchkes.  I was wearing tough, male motorcycle clothes -- black jeans, black boots, black leather jacket.  Beneath that menacing surface, however, lie a heart as mushy as any 12-year old girl's.

During my stroll, I spotted a stuffed panda.  An adorable creature whose eyes met mine.  The second we saw each other, we bonded.  I knew that guy was coming home with me.  And he did.  His name is Pandy.

Pandy and I live together.  He's quiet and easy to get along with.  He eats bamboo and watches The Animal Planet. 

Recently, when I was wearing my colorful butterfly wings, Pandy confided that he's always felt more colorful on the inside than he looks on the outside.  He said his black-and-white exterior doesn't match his techno-color heart.  I'm no stranger to that concept and quickly realized Pandy wanted to wear my wings.  It was important to grant his wish so I did.

Here he is, in all his glory.  Doesn't Pandy look grand?



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Show Some Love

It takes a lot of energy to blog regularly and, often, there's very little feedback.  Of course there are comments, but they're usually limited to opinions on our outfits, etc.  They rarely extend into emotional affirmations.

At times, I sometimes feel my efforts here exist in a vacuum.  Yes, people follow me, but do they care?  Do they appreciate the hours I spend conceiving and executing new ideas? 

Until recently, I couldn't tell.  There was a void of real feedback to gauge my impact on the world.

I probably shouldn't be so emotional but that's who I am.  I've been accused of being "too sensitive" my whole life.  For a boy, being sensitive is classified as a felony crime, punishable by ostracism, so I learned to bottle up my neediness and keep it hidden.

A little while ago, when questioning my choice to put precious energy into this blog, I received an unexpected e-mail from a regular reader, Joni.  She told me how much she likes my posts and how she'd miss them if I stopped.  Joni's message hit me like a tsunami.  It was a wave of warm love that washed over me and generated much good feeling.  I appreciated her short, simple message and her encouragement will fuel my enthusiasm for blogging for a long time.

This positive experience led me to start including something new in my comments on other people's blogs.  In addition to commenting on their posts, I add how much the blogger means to me and how grateful I am for their presence in my life.  It's natural to say this because I feel it in my heart.  Those of you whose blogs I follow are VERY important to me emotionally.

Based on my joyous reaction to Joni's message, I want to encourage the rest of you to follow her lead.  When you comment on your favorite blogs, consider adding a line about how much you like the blogger.  Tell her that.  Don't assume she knows 'cause, even if she does, maybe she's going through a rough patch or can just use an emotional pick-me-up.  Life is hard and we can all use some support.

Spread the love, buddies.  Make a blogger happy today.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Popularity




Many people strive to be popular.  Many people are crushed by their lack of popularity.  It is a central issue in all of our lives.

Our society values popularity.  It girders the entertainment industry, influences politics and controls access to fame and riches.  Yet, despite its ubiquity and importance, popularity is rarely discussed.  It is seldom even acknowledged.  It is an 800-lb. gorilla nobody wants to talk about.

Human behavior fascinates me.  Your attitudes and beliefs interest me.  So...  I have two questions for you.  They are open-ended; you can say as much or as little as you want.

1. Were you popular in your youth? 

2. As an adult, how do you feel about popularity?  Do you crave it, hate it, or ignore it?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hot Hot Hot!




I like to cook and enjoy spicy food.  My tolerance for heat is pretty high.  I cook with jalapeno peppers all the time and eat them raw.

I was intrigued when a friend offered me some habenero peppers she'd grown in her garden.  I'd never eaten or cooked with them before, only tasted them as an ingredient in hot sauce.  I wondered how hot they'd be fresh.

HOLY CRAP!!

I chopped one up and tossed it in my pesto sauce on pasta.  One medium-sized pepper made the dish as hot as humanly-possible to consume.  And I can take a punch.

For a long time, habeneros were considered the hottest pepper on Earth.  Now I know why.  They're virtually lethal.

Have you ever eaten one of these devilish peppers?

Things I Saw Today

























Sunday, August 19, 2012

NYC Helicopter Ride




I've never ridden in a helicopter and always wondered what it's like.  I hear it's not like flying in an airplane.  That intrigues me.  Going up in a helicopter is No. 48 on my bucket list.

I asked and learned my wife Robin has also never ridden a helicopter, so today -- our eleventh anniversary -- I'm surprising Robin with a helicopter sightseeing tour of New York City.  I booked the flight at Liberty Helicopter which is reported to give the best flying tour of the city.

I'll let you know later how it goes.  I plan to take pictures and, afterward, I'm treating Robin to Cajun food at the only New Orleans restaurant in NYC, The Delta Grill.  I like the place.  Nawlins food, beer and Mardi Gras decoration.

Have you ever gone up in a helicopter?


Around The World

Through the amazing Internet, we can make friends around the world.  Last year, I met this really nice South African blogger named Wendy.  We chat often and I like her.  I've even met Wendy's sister, Lynn, who's equally sweet.

When I offered a terrific china mug for my giveaway, Wendy mentioned that she'd enjoy one, so I popped one in the mail to her.  It just arrived and she thanks me for it here.  I'm thrilled it managed to travel halfway around the world in one piece.

Give Wendy's blog a look; you'll like it.  And her!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Miss Ally's Class

May I have your attention, please?  My name is Miss Ally and I will be your teacher today.

Megan!  Put down those scissors.  You can play with them after class.  Lynne!  Stop talking with Sheila.  The two of you are so chatty.  Remember, we're here to learn, not have fun.

Today's subject is fashion.  Developing a personal style is difficult, but if you study your lessons carefully, fashion will improve your lives.

Class, observe what I'm wearing.  I began with a prim, conservative dress and, to make it fresh and interesting, added a trendy scarf in orange.  Repeat after me, "Orange is the new black."  Very good.

Pay attention also to my new matching starfish ring.  Jewelry and accessories are a fun way to perk up an outfit.

I extend the orange theme by wearing my new nailpolish from Sara.  Sara has been excused from class so she can walk down the wedding aisle with Kyle.  They plan to live happily ever after.  Wish them luck, class.

Oh, that's the bell.  Class dismissed!










Thursday, August 16, 2012

Johnny Cash Was Funny

I don't care what kind of music you prefer, you'll enjoy Johnny Cash when you listen to his music.  He crosses boundaries with his songs -- and even extends into comedy.

In my opinion, Cash's best album is the live recording of his 1968 trip to Folsom Prison ("At Folsom Prison").  On it are two songs that always make me laugh.  Here are their lyrics -- I defy you to read them without chuckling.

JOE BEAN

They're hanging Joe Bean this morning, for killing a man in Arkansas.  Funny thing about it, Joe Bean has never been to Arkansas.  On top of that, Joe Bean never heard of the man.  In fact, today is Joe Bean's twentieth birthday.

See through the prison bars, Joe Bean, see where the gallows stand.  Just twenty short years from the day you were born, you will die by the hangman's hand.

Yes, they're hanging Joe Bean this morning, for a shooting that he never did.  He killed 20 men, by the time he was 10.  He was an unruly kid.

Yes, they're hanging Joe Bean for the one shooting that Joe Bean never did.

Well, Joe -- your mother is at the Capitol, asking the Governor for a stay.  And it's hard on her, 'cause she knows where you were, on that particular day.  You were working, Joe Bean, hard working, robbing the Santa Fe.

Well, the telegraph wires are humming.  Here, the governor's words come through.  He said, "I can't set you free, it's not up to me, but this much, Joe Bean, I'll do.  I'll join your mother in extending birthday greetings to you.  Happy Birthday, Joe Bean."


On a second tune, Johnny plays with metaphors:

FLUSHED FROM THE BATHROOM OF YOUR HEART

From the back door of your life, you swept me out dear
In the bread line of your dreams, I lost my place
At the table of your love, I got the brush off
At the Indianapolis of your heart, I lost the race

I've been washed down the sink of your conscience
In the theater of your love, I lost my part
And now you say, "You've got me out of your conscience"
I've been flushed from the bathroom of your heart

In the garbage disposal of your dreams, I've been ground up dear
On the river of your plans, I'm up the creek
Up the elevator of your future, I've been shafted
On the calendar of your events, I'm last week

I've been washed down the sink of your conscience
In the theater of your love, I lost my part
And now you say, "You've got me out of your conscience"
I've been flushed from the bathroom of your heart

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WLAP

I have a guest post today over at Beth's blog -- here.  It raises for discussion a fun and controversial subject.  Join the debate!

Oh, and here's a picture 'cause we should never post without a picture.  :)


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nixon Watch

I like watches.  They're functional and attractive.  I was disheartened to hear young people are choosing not to wear them; when I asked how they keep track of time, my informant rolled her eyes and said people check their cellphones now.  Duh...  Old people...

A year ago, I discovered a young company called "Nixon" which makes cool, funky watches popular with surfers and skateboarders.  They're often sold in Billabong stores.  While I liked the style of their watches, their high prices gave me pause.  I figured I'd wait until a special occasion before getting one.

That occasion arrived today.  I won a big jury trial.  To reward myself, I stopped on the way home from court and picked up a Nixon watch.  In bright yellow.

My boy-clothes are mostly dark and dull.  There isn't much fashion going on in menswear.  A pop of yellow will be just right to perk up my male clothes.

By the way, I have a guest post going up on Beth's blog tomorrow.  I raise the puzzling subject of Wearing Leggings As Pants (WLAP).  This subject is confusing to me because although everyone says don't do it, I see dozens of women every day breaking the rule.  If WLAP is a common practice among women, is it still wrong?  Toss your opinion into the ring.

And here's the watch...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Badass




My last outfit-post featured a dress done up girly.  That was the only approach that occurred to me.  In the comments, however, Lynne and others suggested taking a different direction -- using the dress to create a badass outfit.  With leather jacket, boots, etc.

The idea intrigued me, so I asked my parole officer Elaine what she thought.  Elaine encouraged me to explore this attitude.  She reminded me that, during my stretch in The Big House, I was quite butch.

Here's a life-lesson -- when making a withdrawal from a bank, use their authorized withdrawal form and not a handwritten note...













P.S., I don't smoke cigarettes and used them solely as a prop.  I do, however, drink beer and wear leather jackets!