Saturday, November 16, 2019

Holga

I received a host of nice gifts for my birthday. One of the coolest is a film camera. Yes, a camera that uses film! It's called the "Holga."

No longer being made, the Holga was designed in China for poor Chinese consumers. It is entirely plastic, even the lens. The Holga was cheaply produced with parts that break easily and don't work properly. Ironically, that's its appeal.

Because the camera is unpredictable, it is used by artists to create photographs that are ethereal, surreal or simply unexpected. Light enters through cracks in the plastic, making halos, distortions and strange visual effects. The viewfinder doesn't show you what the camera will photograph so everything is a surprise.

I shot a roll of 120 format film this weekend in black-and-white. The film produces square pictures. I don't know how they came out because I need to send the roll away for developing and printing. Do you remember those days? It'll be a week before I see the results.

This camera fits my style of doing things the hard way -- which is more work but creates more satisfaction. Big thanks to my friend Ashley for knowing me so well!

My Life


I went to a professional hockey game last night and had a blast! The New Jersey Devils, who play in Newark, won an exciting game. The team plays at "the Rock," an arena I'd never visited before. (It's real name is the Prudential Center.) The Rock is new and has the largest scoreboard in the world. The entire place pulsates with bright colors, amusing video and loud sound which is as entertaining as the hockey. Plus my good friend Emily joined me.

Enjoying hockey and drinking Tim Horton's coffee are preparing me for moving north. Canada was just ranked #1 in the world for quality of life. (The ranking was done by an American newspaper, US News & World Report.) The U.S. came in #17.

I'm lusting after two things, one affordable, the other not. I plan to buy a new pair of shoes from Canadian designer John Fluevog when I visit Patti next week in NYC. (They have a store there.) Here's what I may buy:


While not cheap, these are a bargain compared to my other object of lust:


McLaren, my favorite car manufacturer, just released this new roadster, called the "Elva." It has 800 hp, no windshield, no roof, no windows. Made of carbon fiber and extremely light. Best of all, it looks like the iconic Batmobile from the 1960's TV show. (I was 8 years old and influential then.)

Only 399 Elvas will be sold. You need $1.7 Million to get one. Even harder is getting on the list: they've all been taken.

*sigh* In my dreams...




Tuesday, November 12, 2019

To Paint, Or Not To Paint...

... that is the question.

I want to discuss something with you which is very important. It concerns our society of which you are a member. How we view and treat each other affects everyone.

The question I pose is this: is it okay for me, when out in public dressed as a man, to sport colored nail-polish on my fingers?

During my entire life I've striven to live authentically. For me that means to identify as female. In childhood my parents told me this is not possible. My early years were a struggle of me saying I'm a girl, my parents saying I'm not, in a battle repeated endlessly. I'd wrap a bath towel around my waist and pretend it was a skirt; my parents reacted by smacking me. They believed they could beat deviance out of me. That treatment didn't work.

They also appealed to me by claiming to be acting in my best interests. They explained that no one would accept me as female and my acting as such (through dress, posture and behavior) would trigger opprobrium. They said I'd be ridiculed, criticized and attacked.

I've chosen to test that prediction. Repeatedly, throughout my life.

I've spent all of my life pushing boundaries. I transgressed gender restrictions in my teens, twenties, adulthood and as recently as this year when, armed and encouraged by my friend Suzanne, I appeared in public presenting as female. (We got mani-pedis, walked in a park and dined in a nice restaurant.)

I note feedback to my social experiments with the precision of a researcher. In high school I wore clothes that were sold in men's departments but flamboyantly colored; during the Seventies men could get away with wild colors. Even so, I was still attacked for wearing such (male) clothes. One teacher called me over in a school hall and threatened to send me home if I didn't cover up a floral crop-top with a sweater. Sports team-mates routinely disparaged my sexual orientation -- and I'm not gay. "Not that there's anything wrong with that," as "Seinfeld" later said.

My recent experience with Suzanne unlocked something new in me -- a sense of pride in who I am. Walking around that weekend with painted fingernails, I felt my true identity was finally on display. Even in male clothing, when I have painted fingernails, I reveal who I am in a manifest way. That feeling is intoxicating.

Nonetheless the teachings of my parents and prior experiences still caution me against flouting gender restrictions. I know, as certain as the sun will rise, that breaking the rules will cause social turmoil. How much, I wonder? That is what I'm now questioning. Can I wear colored nail-polish on my fingernails when out in public dressed as a man? If I do, what will be the reaction. The cost?

I've started conducting field research on the subject. Appearing this way has yielded early findings. First, most people of both genders pay little attention to old folks and, when they do, few notice their fingers. So often this question is moot.

When someone does see my painted nails, I get these reactions:

- Men (of all ages) give me dirty looks. Some make nasty remarks, again slurring my sexuality (of which they know nothing; it's just the "go-to" male insult). Honestly, however, their reactions mean nothing to me: male masculinity is fragile and the personal insecurity of strangers is not my concern.

- Women over 40 tend to get perplexed; incomprehension is evident on their faces. None say a peep to me, although I wish they would so I could explain myself.

- Women under 40 are the most interesting: their reactions vary. Some smile, some turn away, some applaud me verbally and a cherished few engage me in conversation to learn more. I love having the opportunity to talk about this but I never approach women in public without their invitation.

What is your reaction to this? How acceptable or unacceptable do you find this choice?

I guess what I'm really asking is -- am I "free" to do this? Am I able to wear nail-polish on my fingers without getting disapproval from people whose opinions matter? Your thoughts?

Saturday, November 9, 2019

My Motto Is...

… that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

For six decades, I've dreamed, yearned and wished I could be a little girl. Alas, that was not possible back then. But... live long enough and unexpected possibilities open up.

I spotted this dress on a thrift-store rack and it triggered those feelings. I figured, why not? It's never too late. So here I am, complete with my doll. Her name is Meredith.

Do you ever wish you could return to a younger age?








Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Roaring Twenties


We rarely grasp the significance of time in our lives until it's passed. We look back and think, "Wow, that was an important/great/terrible period."

I've recently analyzed, in detail, the periods of my life. I did this in anticipation for what remains. I want that time to be as marvelous as possible. I hope to live until 90 years old which means the next 15 years could be my last chunk of wonderfulness. I want to extract as much joy as I can from that period.

In the new decade that's about to start, I have everything I need -- health, wealth and as much wisdom as I'm likely to ever possess. That means if I'm smart, I'll make the most of the time. I don't want to squander it through sleep-walking or bad choices. Of course external factors like social cohesion/unrest, economic prosperity/stagnation and personal relationships will play roles in what happens but life is determined more by how we handle situations instead of what's presented to us.

In short, I hope "the Twenties" (2020+) will be my best years ever. I predict they will "roar" for me and also for you

How do you feel about the next decade?



Monday, November 4, 2019

Come Fly With Me

Before 1970, flight attendants were called stewardesses (and were exclusively female). Their job was glamorous; the young women got to travel around the world for free.

Airlines realized how prominent stewardesses were as representatives of their companies and devoted effort to identify them through fashion. Many, like TWA, hired famous designers to create uniforms. The TWA Hotel has an exhibit of some of these historical outfits; they're attractive. Here are some pics...















Sunday, November 3, 2019

TWA Hotel


I'm having a wonderful birthday!

A bright idea occurred to me to spend this special occasion at the TWA Hotel inside JFK airport. The hotel is designed as a throw-back to the Fifties with hip retro styling, entertaining museum exhibits and a restored airplane turned into a cocktail lounge. My martini there came with complimentary flight wings appointing me "Junior Pilot."

TWA was the largest airline in its day, owned by eccentric Howard Hughes. Back then, flying was glamorous: people dressed up for it, didn't have to endure any security and smoked on planes. Boy, have things changed!

Time travel was a smart choice for the occasion since I reflect on the past when birthdays roll in. Here are some photos of the hotel. I recommend it highly the next time you visit New York. It's conveniently located and not expensive. Adding to the hotel's atmosphere are famous tunes from the 1950s and 1960s.

There is a beautiful exhibit of historical stewardess uniforms which I'll show you in my next post.