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Gwen’s Little Spot

The mental scribblings and daily doings of one transgender woman, writer, and activist, with content somehow deemed good enough to win a 2004 “Queery“ award.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Posted: 11:22:00 PM
Scaaary stuff, kids!

The last trick or treaters of the night have now been gone for about an hour or so, and the neighborhood is again quiet. We actually had a decent turnout: not the best we’ve seen, but better than many years. I was especially pleased by the number of young kids out with their parents: gives me hope that the holiday has a future, and that the evangelical movement hasn’t yet destroyed all that made Hallowe’en fun when I was a kid.

Anyway, here’s what the front of our place looked like.

Hallowe'en Entrance

The shot is a bit deceptive, as it only shows the larger portions of webbing: there was a lot stretched thin over the top, at just about 6” high. Overall, it had the feel of the web of a very large funnel-web spider. The black light (which looks blue in this shot) also helped add to the overall creepiness. Now imagine that door opening to a skull-faced Bon with long, black, witchy hair?

We also had music playing out there, to help further set the mood: Les Baxter’s Music of the Devil G-d Cult (aka the soundtrack to The Dunwich Horror) and Wendy Carlos’ Tales of Heaven and Hell.

Another thing about the trick or treaters this year. Most (not all, but most) were polite little buggers, giving their “trick or treat,” and saying “thank you” at the conclusion of the deal. Always nice.

The best one of the night recited a poem to Bon when she opened the door: it was a variation on the ol “smell my feet” (I’ll have to ask Bon about it tomorrow to get the right wording), but it was an original. Very cool indeed.

Hallowe'en Jack o' Lanterns

I already posted the pumpkins in daylight, but here’s a small shot of them all lit up. Bon’s had a low-powered electrical flashing light, and I stuck with the traditional candle. With mine lit up, you can see that the whole Jack o’ Lantern glowed, with a thinly-carved skin, and even thinner perimeter around the “face.” Very pleased with what was a fairly simple design.

Not much more to add: we’ll have a few extra Hershey’s miniatures around for a day or two (what is s “fun” about “Fun Size,” anyway?), tempting my waistline. Other than that, well, it’s onto November.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Posted: 4:39:00 PM
Out of our gourds

We sliced the flesh of pumpkins today. Here’s the results

Bon's Jack o' Lantern

This is Bon’s Jack o’ Lantern. She opted for a more traditional look, with triangle eyes and such, but also gave it a bit of a wry look. Her idea was a pumpkin face that could be “reacting” to my pumpkin. I think it’s cute.

Gwen's Jack o' Lantern

Mine was actually based on a Bosko wall mask I saw some time ago. I opted to do some rough cutting with a carving tool on the edges of the design as well, to give a more “rough hewn” look to it. Oh, and it is unintentional, but I think this pumpkin looks a bit like a luchadore mask.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Posted: 9:03:00 PM
“I have to continue, the way my ancestors did, to eliminate evil of all kinds.”

The Thrillville event was a blast last night, even if we did get quite lost on the way and arrived a couple minutes after things kicked off.

Pollo Del Mar was excellent — but you have to love a band that has “Baby Elephant Walk”, “Music To Watch Girls By”, “Linus and Lucy”, and “The ‘Mission Impossible’ Theme” in their repertoire. After what seemed like a rather extended bit of chit chat from one of the hosts and a guest, plus some giveaways, it was onto the show.

Well, okay, before the film was also the usual trailers and promos, advertising Night of the Living Dead, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Plan Nine From Outer Space, and the fine snacks available at the refreshment stand.

The film was Santo vs. The Vampire Women, a fine mix of 1950s–1960s vampire film conventions mixed with luchadores enmascarados. It was pretty bad — and therefore in a twist of logic only understandable by the fan of B-grade cinema — pretty good. At least we all seemed to enjoy it.

Also, this was all shown on real projectors: no videotapes of DVDs were harmed in the showing of the film or trailers.

Perhaps the best part of the evening was having good company ([info]misti_de_novo and her spouse), which extended after the film into a hour or two palaver at a Napa-area Denny’s. It was quite enjoyable.

On the down side, this meant that Bon and I have been dragging all day, after getting in last night a few moments before 2:00 a.m.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Posted: 11:53:00 AM
Breaking News?

This just in...

Scooter Indicted!

Stayed tuned to CTW for more details!

(Ya, so I had a bit of quick fun in Photoshop. Pass along if you want, but don’t hotlink.)

Cheers,
Gwen

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Posted: 8:45:00 AM
Friday link time again!

::blink:: Hey, it’s Friday! When did that happen?

No matter, as I’ve always got a few Friday links at my disposal — and there’s always an asshat or two. Consider, for example, this rapist and robber who’s unclear of the concept, or at least of that bit about not getting caught: he forced his victim to write him a check, and had her make it out to his real name.

There’s also this wise fellow, who narrowly missed his chance for a Darwin award while trying to clear a round from his pistol. Turns out that it’s probably not the best idea of have the handgun you’re working on — with a screwdriver, no less — pointed at your stomach.

Now then, fun stuff!

I find few things as freakin’ awesome as this. (QuickTime required)
“Sunday on the Pot with George”, and other, uh, masterpieces?
I never had a book like this when I was a kid! (NSFW)
Defies description, when ya get right down to it. (Flash required)
These really make the current Cliff House look like crap.
Almost too close to reality.
This guy seriously outclasses my carving abilities.
That’s some heavy-duty retouching!
Be sure you wear some Jell-O in your hair.
Yoda is such a bad ass! (Windows Media required)
Very inexpensive Macintoshes.
I didn’t need to think of Dr. Doom Masturbating.
A very cool video, using the ol’ Apple ][. (QuickTime required)
Too much time on one’s hands? Definitely.
2001: A Space Odyssey - explained! (Flash required)
Some of these just sound damn painful.

That’s it for this week’s links. More next time. I’ll skip on the voting link this time, as it just seems to be more misses than hits. Enjoy your weekend!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Posted: 8:14:00 AM
I know Jack, or “where’s Pip Pumphandle when you need him?”

So I mentioned Jack Klugman in my weblog lately, and I realized that I could make a fine example of him. An example of what, I dunno, but I decided to do a bit of mental gymnastics, and in so doing show just how trivia-addled my mind can be when I really let it go.

So I had previously said that Jack Klugman was in four Twilight Zone episodes. This is true. One of those episodes was “In Praise of Pip”, a personal fave. It also features Billy Mumy, who was in three Twilight Zone episodes of his own. I believe they are #1 and #2 in number of appearances, but I could be wrong.

Bill Mumy, as well those Twilight Zone episodes, and playing Will Robinson on Lost In Space so many years ago, has remained in the field. In fact, he got to wear an engineer’s yellow outfit in a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode.

Of course, many people guested on that programme, but the most intriguing one I ever saw was the “Trials and Tribble-ations” episode, which was filmed within the context (and within the film of) the original series’ “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode.

Of course, we all recall that George Takai played Hikaru Sulu in the original series of Star Trek, and I applaud him finally going public with what was a very open secret in Hollywood. I should note that I read that he finally came out in [info]mcbrennan’s LiveJournal, where I had a good laugh with her previous entry, likening the incredible hulk with being a “Never-Nude”, as seen on Arrested Development.

Bon and I are almost done with watching all of season one of Arrested Development, and I note that — perhaps like the Star Trek franchise — the show has more than its share of very interesting and cool guest stars, including a fascination with people from Happy Days. Henry Winkler was in there for quite some time as attorney Barry Zuckerkorn, and Scott Baio now playing attorney Bob Loblaw. Of course, I should add that Ron “Richie Cunningham” Howard is their narrator.

Ron Howard, of course, was not only in Happy Days, but also the film American Graffiti, a film that’s popularity led to the green lighting of the Happy Days pilot. Also because of American Graffiti’s popularity, director George Lucas was also to film his next film, Star Wars.

Now Star Wars led to a number of sci-fi imitators in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including TV sows like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the original Battlestar Galactica, and the camp-classic movie, Flash Gordon.

The soundtrack for Flash Gordon was by the group Queen — which just concluded a Freddie-less, two stop tour of America. Queen only ever did one other full soundtrack project, that for the film Highlander. It’s a fave of mine (just don’t bring up the sequels). As well as the title character’s actor, Christopher Lambert, I really enjoyed Sean Connery, as the character known as Ramirez.

Sean Connery, as most folks know, really started his career in earnest by playing James Bond, a role which has recently been passed down to a gun-hating blonde fellow. The last time they had a person with light-coloured hair in the role, well, we got the “campy Bond” movies, like For Your Eyes Only. I should add that said film was the only time there was a Transsexual as a “Bond Girl,” with Carolyn Cossey — aka “Tula” — being seen briefly in the film.

Shortly after her appearance, the scandal started, forcing Carolyn to write a sizable book or two explaining herself. This was not the first time that a transsexual has had to face the press, with the most notable example likely being Christine Jorgensen. As well as her own autobiography, she one sat down with an interviewer, making a record called “Christine Jorgensen Reveals” in 1958. The interviewer was a young man named Nipsey Russel.

Nipsey — who recently passed away — later found some level of fame as the “Poet Laureate of Television” from his work on game shows such as Match Game. When he was on that show, he was usually seated in the top row, first seat, right next to Brett Sommers.

Brett Sommers, by the way, initially did not want to do Match Game, but decided to do it after her husband agreed to appear — and as I’ve mentioned before, her husband is none other than Jack Klugman.

So there you have it.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Posted: 11:50:00 PM
Karma doesn’t mean laying down and wearing a T-shirt that says “Welcome.”

So ya, this is gonna be one of those places I’ve been and people I’ve met boring entries.

I started off today for the Brini Maxwell talk and book signing, in most interesting traffic. While the wave in passing was a nice gesture from the ‘55 Chevy I spotted on Sommersville Road, I was less enthusiastic about the wafting of marijuana smoke coming from a car turning onto Golf Course Rd. Particularly as it was the driver who was toking up at the time. I’ve got no problem with folks doing a little weed, mind you — but maybe it’s best to wait ‘til you get home first?

Anyway, I made it to BART, just about on time for my train. I was half-way up the esplanade when I realized that there was just one fly in the ointment: my copy of the book was sitting at home, left just where I put it so I wouldn’t forget it.

There wasn’t enough time to go back, not without missing the event, so I soldiered on. I did my BART and MUNI — the latter of which included a nice chat with a Kinko’s employee friend from one of the San Francisco locations — and made it to Church Street.

I had about 20 minutes before the event, so I made a brief pit stop in Out of the Closet, a thrift store run by an AIDS charity. No luck on any intriguing retro attire this close to Hallowe’en, but I did score a nice copy of The High-Flying Trumpet of Al Hirt from their vinyl bin.

Anyway, I wandered to the event, picking up another copy of the book before sitting down. After a brief period of time, in which every other seat in the place was taken up, Brini made her entrance. Those who know the show already have a good idea of how fantabulosa the attire is, and this time was a purple miniskirt, go-go boots, and vest combo (over an off-white turtleneck) that was nothing short of amazing.

Brini Signs!

She spoke for about 10-15 minutes, on her career, on living a gracious life, and on the nature of Karma. After that was about an equal amount of time spent on questions, from the basic (when do the new episodes begin?) to the more involved (what got you started on this career path?).

Finally, it was book signing and, naturally, photos. My new book is now inscribed to Bon and I — and I got a couple decent photos, including the one above. I also had another person in attendance take the below show, which I’ll admit is not very flattering of either of us. But hey, it’s Brini Maxwell, and she can turn the world on with her style.

Brini and I

Only one thing darkened the whole thing, and that was reading in the Bay Area Reporter that Sugar Plum Fairy had died. He was one of the other people name-checked in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” and also one of Harvey Milk’s partner.

Nothing else happend on the way home, and now I’ve typed this, so I’ll be going to bed.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Posted: 11:01:00 AM
Fun Stuff!

Tomorrow and Friday evenings, I’ve got plans. I find myself wondering, though, if anyone of my five readers will also be partaking in similar plans. Well, I already know that [info]misti_de_novo will be at Thrillville, but I’m talkin’ about the rest of you.

To illustrate, here’s the events, yet again.

Thursday, October 27th, 7:30 p.m.:
Brini Maxwell Talk and Book Signing
Books Inc. in the Castro
2275 Market Street, San Francisco
Meet the exquisite host of the The Brini Maxwell Show when she debuts her fabulous new style manual, Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living.

Friday, October 28th, 8:00 p.m.:
Thrillville’s Halloween Fiesta!
COPIA: The American Center For Wine, Food & the Arts
500 1st Street, Napa
Celebrate Halloween, South of the Border Style, with B-Movie beatnik lounge lizard Will The Thrill and his lovely assistant Monica, Tiki Goddess! SEE the gothic lucha libre film classic Santo vs. The Vampire Women! (1962) THRILL to the astounding live sounds of special musical guests the psychedelic surf band Pollo Del Mar. SWING with special guest horror hosts Doktor Goulfinger, Mister Lobo of the syndicated show Cinema Insomnia, and Napa’s very own John “Creature Features” Stanley! WIN valuable prizes!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Posted: 3:37:00 PM
That’s the last time I’m going to cook bacon in the nude.

As I hinted at in the last entry, I didn’t exactly get much sleep in last night. It was just one of those nights where there was no comfortable position in the bed, and when I actually did sleep hard enough for some shiny happy REM sleep, well, I’m not gonna get too far into the dream images.

They weren’t all as bad as one might think, though one did involve a long conversation with an acquaintance who I’d not been in contact with for a month of Sundays, and who I reconnected with yesterday.

One thing that didn’t keep me awake last night was that our neighbors in this town home next-door, who decided that 11:00 p.m. was a dandy time to do some hammering in their back bedroom — which shares a wall with Bon and I’s bedroom. After about a half hour of it, I finally gave ‘em a call. I was, actually, quite tactful in the phone message I left, which went something like this:

“Hi, _____, this is Gwen from next door. I keep hearing a banging coming from your home. Is everything okay? Let me know — but if you call, call tomorrow: I’m going to be going to bed soon.”

The hammering stopped promptly after that message.

Oh, the book that Idgie D. Cat is supposed to be in will finally be making its way to local bookstores. At the least, it’s in the computer at Bon’s work as hitting the receiving room this Thursday.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Posted: 7:14:00 PM
Captain Bring-Down strikes again!

All day I’ve been working on biographies of the various individuals killed in anti-transgender violent attacks this year. 25 names, for those counting, not including a recent case in Iowa (it is currently inconclusive as to the cause of death) and Brooklyn (two individuals who may or may not have been transgender, and with a lot of conflicting information surrounding the case).

I’ve been dreading writing these biographies. It is soul-crushing stuff to write, to sit down and go through each case that I’ve collected over the last year, pore over all the details, and try to write a simple synopsis of these murders.

I intend to finish these up tonight. I’m actually mostly done, being all the way up to May of this year. Still, this requires frequent breaks, more than any other writing project I do. When I get on a tear, I can write a couple thousand words an hour. This, well, I’m lucky to get through 200 or so in that same hour.

This is one of those times, in a given year, when I really hate that I do the Remembering Our Dead project. This is the stuff that tries this transwoman’s soul.

Edit, 3:31 a.m.: Ya, this also does wonders for one’s ability to actually sleep, too. Blech.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Posted: 10:13:00 PM
Be a man. Be a Klug-Man.

It was Saturday, and dutiful readers might recall that this means it was time for the usual provision run. In addition to the standard market trips — as well as filling Little Car’s tank and such — we made a quick pit stop at Bon’s workplace. You see, I just had to pick up a copy of Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living. It’s not bad, full of handy household wisdom with a mid-century modern feel. No Pad: The Guide to Ultra Living, but still a good read thus far.

I’m sure few readers are surprised by me being a Brini fan, given my expressed love for mid-century modern/populuxe/googie design. I suspect many might think I also enjoy Brini Maxwell for the trans “angle” to it all. To me, that’s just valued added, but no requirement. I mean, one doesn’t have to enjoy Jack Klugman to eat quinces.

Nevertheless, it’s giving me some grand decorating ideas, as well as a few entertaining thoughts. Nothing as grand as the astro weenie ball — but very close.

I mentioned Bon’s work above, which reminds me of a tale from Friday: I received a call from Bon (and [info]misti_de_novo), trying to help a customer find a song in their music department. All it took was the words “Good morning America, how are you?” for me to peg “City of New Orleans.”

What can I say, I’ve got a current iTunes playlist that includes more songs from the 1950s and 1960s than from, oh, the 1990s and 2000s. I think I’ll fashion a meme on the latter fact, in a soon-to-be written ‘blog entry. I should note — a big surprise, I’m sure — that I do not have any tunes from The Odd Couple Sings.

Other than the above, there hasn’t been a lot to report. Transgender Day of Remembrance preparations, including assisting the first wave of reporters get their stories done. Downloading/listening to interesting music (a particular site tracing the roots of lounge music has been particularly fascinating), and otherwise trying to keep up on everything on a rapidly filling plate.

Hey look, I made it through an entry where I referenced Jack Klugman, and managed to not mention Brett Sommers nor Jack’s four Twilight Zone appearances. Go me!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Posted: 10:47:00 AM
Friday Link-Time!

Happy International Day of the Nacho! Mmm... Nachos.

It’s Friday links time, and what better way to start them off than with the now-traditional wearin’ of the asshat! Consider, for example, this caring parent who got high school marching band to not perform “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” on the ground that the playing of the song violated the separation of church and state. The kicker? Her kids don’t attend said school: they’re home-schooled!

Sticking with the topic of religion and schools, how about one of the leading proponents of Intelligent Design, while testifying about the need to include Intelligent Design in the schools. The column captures more about the Intelligent Design movement than I ever could.

Finally, and continuing the theme, it’s the wonders of WAVM, who wanted to increase their transmitter signal. No such luck for this 35-year-old school radio station: it now has to surrender its place on the dial to a Christian broadcaster, as the FCC — who, yes, already get plenty of use out of their rather sizable buttock beret — decided that was a better use of the public airways. Because, you know, there aren’t enough religious stations on the dial already.

Now then, the fun stuff!

Don’t get caught dead in these Hallowe’en costumes!
Sir Alfred meets Brini.
Pr0n, in the abstract.
I’m so buying some Menthos! (Windows Media required)
Useless, but rather cool use of Google technology.
I see a bad toon rising.
No, Superman, don’t do it!
I’ve heard of going through the looking glass, but really! (Windows Media required)
One can find pr0n about, well, anything.
From The Felonship of the Ring to The Return of the Kink.
Is Tweety a bird... or a camel?
Sadly, I grew up with most of these.
I see... naked people! (NSFW)
I don’t know if I want it, or if I’m afraid of it.
I’ll take those 10,000 dollars, but hold the bullets.
I’ve got a fever for more cowbell. (QuickTime required)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. That’s all I can really say. (NSFW)
Let’s go (couch) surfing now...
Family Circus gets really dysfunctional.
Give this a read before you name that baby!
Use your laptop like the 1337 H4XoRZ!
The missing word on this page? Needy.
If the Smurfs aren’t safe, then the terrorists have already won! (Flash Required)
Toss your camera in the air, like you just don’t care!

And, finally, lets end like we began, in the traditional fashion with the might be working, might not Freedom Forum voting thing! Have a good weekend!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Posted: 8:38:00 PM

A heavy Flo day.

Our roomie has begun a new job, for a dot-com in San Francisco. Yes, there still are some out there, and yes — while they do not have a foosball table, they do possess most of the other trappings. It’s like the 1990s all over again, but with Darius Rucker doing Burger King commercials.

There was only one moment of panic: the current raise in gas prices seems to have driven folks onto BART — which meant that parking was nowhere to be found in the ol’ lots. Compounding this, it was only day #2 of work, hardly the time one wants to be calling in late.

So I made the sacrifice, while the car was put into a parking lot for a BART-close chain store, I came out, retrieved the car, and found parking at BART just an hour or two later when the reserved lots free up.

Luckily, plans have been made that allow for an earlier BART arrival, thereby securing future parking needs.

I had my own transit fun yesterday, on the way to TransBay. The MUNI bus driver I had on the 3-Stockton was, well, surly. He had a unique skill for honking the horn at random vehicles, at knocking over his riders, and at being largely insulting. I’d say it was offensive, but it did a remarkable job of buoying my spirits. There was just an air of schadenfreude about it all. Either that, or it just seemed comically incongruous. You know, like Darius Rucker doing Burger King commercials.

Ya, I’m picking on that "Hootie" guy. I have, however, been asked to cut Vic Tayback some slack, Jack, so I’ll let Mel off the hook for now. I’ll not make the same promises for Polly Holliday — especially after that spin-off.

Anyway, the TransBay gathering last night was a bit on the smallish side. Small, but the conversations had were quite good. I’ll say that even knowing that I was tending to dominate them, as usual. Get me started, and I can be a regular Chatty Cathy — which beats being an irregular Betsy Wetsy every time. The discussions were rich, though, with a good palaver over the nature of womanhood — which fits into something I wrote for a photographer, which I also shared in this weblog, and which will be expanded on for my next Transmissions column.

That’s it for now. Not much going on, aside from all the Transgender Day of Remembrance prep that, well, is what’s truly dominating my time right now.

More soon, or my name isn’t Fairweather Johnson.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Posted: 5:50:00 PM
Always with the questions

Out of curiosity, do any of my five readers use Skype?

Cheers,
Gwen

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Posted: 9:02:00 PM
Shuckin’ the jive

Meanwhile, here’s the entry I was going to write before I got sidetracked. Just a few random updates.

In addition to his photography, my dad has a new job. He’s working at Disneyland, specifically on the Disneyland Railroad. As he has been a life-long train nut — I can tell stories of being awoken before the a$$-crack of dawn to go chase the Freedom Train and such — I’m sure he’ll be hating his work.

Yes, for those keeping score, this is the second member of my family to be a serf to the mouse: my sister Megan also works at Disney’s California Adventure.

I may actually have to get down to that area fairly soon, as my endocrinologist actually likes to see me once in a while, and I rather like having the proper hormones coursing through my veins. Tentatively, I’ve got a October 25th date in his office — but I don’t have the funds to get down there right now.

Meanwhile, aside from the Thrillville event on the 28th, I’ve stumbled another local event that I simply must attend: on the 27th of October, Brini Maxwell will be signing copies of Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living. For others who might be intrigued by such, it’s at 7:30 p.m. at Books Inc., 2275 Market Street, San Francisco.

Of course, there is also that event that comes up on the 31st. We picked up our pumpkins today, and I’m working on a Bosko-inspired (but unique to me) design. I will likely post photos.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Posted: 8:20:00 PM
Shiver me timbers!

So here’s a crazy question for my five readers, with the hope that one of you have a touch of a medical or related background.

A few minutes ago, just sitting at the computer futzing around, and suddenly I started to shiver. Like, heavy-duty shivers. I did indeed feel cold, even though I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and such.

This lasted for a couple minutes, until I got myself to the bedroom and put on a fleece top and such. I still feel “shivery,” but I’m not shivering.

I have had this happen before, maybe twice, but not recently.

Needless to say, this is more than a little disconcerting.

So... anyone have any thoughts? What on earth could be goin’ on?

Cheers,
Gwen

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Posted: 9:55:00 AM
Friday Links on my mind!

Ya ready for a double helping of Friday links? I hope so, ‘cuz here it is!

We begin with some prime grade asshat, like this would-be bank robber, who tried a novel approach: tell ‘em there’s a bomb in your mouth! The photo alone is priceless.

Speaking of bad bandits, how about this fellow, who tried to take train robbery into the 21st century — using much, much older technology. I suspect that this ‘un, and the bank bombing bandit above, didn’t quite think their plan all the way through.

Following up on the concept of not thinking, here’s this fine educator, who mistook a student’s insulin pump for a cell phone, and took matters into his own hands. I hope his butt beanie fits him well.

Now then. Fun link time, and it’s a list. About a week and a half’s worth!

In honor of Nipsey Russel
Please don’t let these come back into style.
Seriously freaky (QuickTime required)
No Mickey, don’t do it!
Jesus Christ Super... cop? (QuickTime required)
White Stripes video goodness! (QuickTime required)
Dear G-d, why?
Save the tree octopus!
A prank of a prank of a prankster.
Get together with friends, have a fight to the death!
A water balloon wouldn’t be the same on the ISS.
You never know when you’ll need to speak of dead parrots.
Better check your phone number today!
The feel-good film of the year? (QuickTime required)
Open padlocks with beer cans!
Got a secret? Why not tell the world!
Nice photography, and some slightly creepy subject matter.
Quite shocking, very shameful — well worth viewing.
DIY MIRT.
I so want a Cthulhu cthozy!
Kirk, Spock, and semi-erotic art: it must be the Internet.
The best books you’ll never read.
Reminds me of last week.
Employees love their neon orange cheese.
I so have to make some trilobite cookies!
Why does Microsoft have to be so annoying?

::whew:: Still more!

Say hello to my little friend!
The boobie prize! (Flash required, NSFW)
This stuff is still in my head - since the 80s. (MP3 player required)
He really knows how to (balance) rock!
Friend of Bush? Get a job.
I never had those ViewMaster reels as a kid!
Some very cool photos.
“After we kill him, so then we pray for the soul?”
Short science fiction: it’s elementary!
I don’t know why, but I find ‘em cool.

And now, after all that, it’s the ol’ Freedom Forum thing — which apparently has been wonky. Click it for me, IF YOU DARE!

Oh yes, and have a good weekend.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Posted: 11:07:00 PM

Without Snippets

Bonkat!• Hey look, it’s a rather handsome Bon from the wedding in Iowa. I thought ze looked quite dapper.

• Word of the day: chalupacabra.

• I’m feeling almost human again. Perhaps not 100% Columbian, full-bodied, freshly ground, vacuum-packed human, but close enough. At least I finally got some decent sleep, and have got things in order.

Being away on Fridays and Saturdays blows my weekly schedule which, you can guess, is not easy for the sort of person I am; virgo ascendant. Throws me off something fierce, and I feel like I end up spending more time putting things in order than if they’d been done on their usual schedule.

It begs the question, though: with as little as I pack for a trip, why it is I seem to have several metric tons of laundry when I come home?

• Bon is, of course, back at work — and pleased to note that the receiving department did not totally implode in her absence. That quantum singularity just north of Buttonwillow was from the last time a vacation was taken.

• Our roomie, who was laid off from a somewhat horrid job a few months back, has finally gotten an excellent offer on what sounds like a good position. She starts next week. This will be good all around.

To celebrate, she went on a bit of a DVD buying spree (those who have been here will recall the racks of movies that she already has). In this recent flurry, both season one and two of Arrested Development made it into the house.

I’ll say it again. Too damned clever, that show. How it manages to exist on network television, I’ll never know. Then again, I like comedy that requires I pay attention, even having to remember little details from one episode to another. Gives me hope in a Hollywood that is as dead as Abe Vigoda. Oops, did I just make another Vigoda reference? Bernice will never forgive me.

• I’m comin’ after you next, Vic Tayback. Don’t try and hide behind the lunch counter, either.

• The local Wally-World had a DVD purporting to be Gumby cartoons, even though only half of the ten shorts on the tape were actually including the fine work of Art Clokey. Oh, and the claim of “digitally remastered,” while likely technically honest, does not inform the buyer that the images will still be faded, have many film scratches, and the sound will be rather rough.

Nevertheless, I bought that for a dollar, and I’m fine with that. It includes Gumbasia, which alone made it worth eight bits. Also notable for those who might be interested in such things: the few episodes that were on this disc were original edits, with the original music and such.

• Speaking of DVD acquisitions, while in Iowa, my now-wedded friend transferred a couple VHS tapes of mine to DVD (strictly for personal, archival use, mind you). Most notable to me amongst these was Citizen Lobbyist and Beautiful Daughters, both of which I have now finally watched in full. Nice to have them in a more permanent format, particularly given they show me, and I might want to hold onto such things.

• Oh yes, happy National Coming Out Day. I thought about posting about one of my deep, dark secrets — what few of those I have left — like, say, the old Smurf collection of mine. Alas, most of the really juicy stuff I’ve already written about.

I’ll never admit to kissing Mel Sharples’ grits, though. Eh, who am I kidding? I’ve been to Phoenix, but I’ve never been to me.

• I’m percolating some more involved material for either some future blog entries and/or my column. I seem to be hitting one of my introspective moments, which is not a bad thing. Better than writing snippet entries, at the least!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Posted: 1:55:00 AM
Iowa: now the story can be told!

Prologue

“Why won’t this printer work? I need to print these items out for the trip, but they won’t print?”

It wasn’t until 11:30 p.m. that I was finally able to call it a night: the materials printed out after a few workarounds, and a reinstall of the printer driver on Bon’s computer. I fell asleep listening to Jay Leno do his monologue.

My dreams were... typical. I dreamed I was hanging out with a high school friend of mine, riffing on Shakespeare. We were sort of randomly creating wordplay dealing with sleep and night. I distinctly recall a line about the moon’s “brightening,” which seemed much wittier while asleep.

The flight was just after noon — not early. Still, one has to be there two hours in advance, then add two hours of commute (ride to BART station, then two different BART trains, then AirBART to the Oakland Airport), and give yourself a couple hours to get going in the morning, and suddenly it’s a 6:00 a.m. wake-up.

Maybe, I hoped, I’ll be able to catch a couple of winks in Iowa.


5th October, 2005
Antioch, CA to Davenport, IA, by way of Dallas, TX, amongst others
“Put on your happy face!”


I woke just around 5:30 a.m., and drug myself out of bed. There were still a couple things waiting to be tossed into my bag — I just had to use them first. Nevertheless, we made it out of the house and on the way to BART right around 8:00 a.m. sharp.

While waiting, a happy trio sat across from Bon and I. An older African American gentleman, his son who was probably a foot or two taller than his dad, and a younger son. They were on their way to Georgia via Dallas, and were saying to everyone at random: “Are you going to Texas? Put on your happy face!” Well, it was really just the older son who was doing this, but I digress.

The flight into DFW was fine, with great views of Yosemite, Mono Lake, and Northern Arizona outside the window of our Super 80. For some reason, though, I didn’t bother to take any pix of same. There would be plenty of time for photos, after all.

In Dallas, with a two-hour layover, we opted to grab dinner: some Popeye’s chicken, which for some reason always tastes better on the road than it does at the location a few miles west of here. We also strongly debated taking the offer that American Airlines are giving: get bumped from our next flight in exchange for a travel voucher that almost equaled the cost of the tickets, go for free to O’Hare, go for free on the first morning flight to Moline from Chicago, and get put up (including food) for the night. To be honest, I still think I should have taken this.

You see, the flight into Moline/Quad Cities International Airport (a misnomer if ever I heard one) was “interesting,” perhaps in a Chinese curse form. The lightning playing in the clouds below us did little to calm my nerves, rattled by moderate chop. The 25 m.p.h. winds near ground level also didn’t help — and unlike the larger jet we took across country, this leg was in a Embraer RJ145 that, well, didn’t see much larger than a bus.

We made it, else I wouldn’t be typing this, and made our way — thanks to the future wedded couple — to their apartment near downtown Davenport. We finally made it to bed sometime after 10:30 p.m., using a combination of air mattress and futon that would be home for the next couple of days. Tucker, their 16-year-old cat, filled in for Idgie in the sleep on Gwen department. Even with the assistance of the feline, we did not get much sleep.

Tucker


6th October, 2005
Davenport, IA to Davenport IA, by way of Iowa City and Riverside, IA
This day needs more cowbell


I didn’t sleep at all. I just could not find a comfortable spot. This is, of course, what I go through any time I travel: it’s just not home. We also had a fairly early day (particularly when one considers that we’re two hours earlier than what we consider normal our here in Pacific Time) that would take us to Iowa City: I was speaking at the University of Iowa on the issue of anti-transgender violence and murder.

We made it into Iowa City a bit early, too, allowing some time to grab a quick sit-down breakfast at The Cottage, and do some shopping at Vortex (a new age-y store), Record Collector (where I got some nice Martin Denny wax on the last trip to Iowa City), and Prarie Lights Bookstore.

The talk itself — one of the two main reasons for being in Iowa, and the reason for being there so far in advance of the big festivities on Saturday — went well. The audience was not what I normally face, being primarily a non-trans, non-queer group of students: exactly the sort of folks I would prefer to get this sort of message. No disrespect meant to those who have seen me present elsewhere, but I like being able to reach those who might not otherwise give a thought to this sort of violence. It helps make change.

We then grabbed lunch at the Hamburg No. 2, though — like the previous trip — did not score the Ronald Reagan table. No worries, as I doubt Reagan remembered being there.

We then made a brief side trip down to Riverside, Iowa. I was there on the previous trip, but as Bon was with us, well, she had to explore the joy that was the future birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. We also had to do our touristy best at the local landmark supporting this somewhat dubious achievement.

U.S.S. Riverside

The trip back from Iowa City led us towards a rather nasty accident that all but shut down I-80: a semi lost its entire rear axle. This would not be so bad if said axle assembly did not get found by other vehicles on the road.

This put us a little behind schedule for our next stop: dinner with friends at — you guessed it — Famous Dave’s. It seems to be my standard stop while in the Midwest, akin to another friend’s usual repast at Steak and Shake. Forgive us, we’re from the coast.

This also allowed us to meet a couple of the other folks in the wedding party, including Kara and Chelsea, both of which would be standing for the bride.

At Famous Dave's

7th October, 2005
Davenport, IA to, um, Davenport IA, including Moline, IL, Rock Island, IL, and, of course, Bettendorf, IA
Why don’t you get a key then?


Around 2:00 a.m., local time, Bon and I woke up. It seems there is a bar across the street, and this was not the best example of proper closing time behaviour. A man and a woman apparently got into an altercation, which included him getting pepper sprayed. At least this is our assumption, as the police carted her off, screaming at the top of her lungs, while emergency personnel rinsed this fellow’s eyes out. We tried to get back to sleep after this, but were largely unsuccessful.

We had a relatively free day today, with an afternoon wedding rehearsal, so we had a chance to check out a few local sites. Bon, for one, wanted to get down to the edge of the Mississippi River, which we did at Ben Butterworth Park. For me, I simply had to stop at one of the country’s biggest suppliers of Nash/Rambler/AMC parts, Blaser’s Auto. No spare bits made it into my luggage, in spite of some very appealing goods he had on display. Instead, myself and Steven Blaser passed an hour discussing his wares and such.

Blaser's Auto

We also made a stop by the local Barnes & Noble, to fulfill Bon’s bookstore urges.

Now it was time to get down to business, as we gathered at the site of the wedding and began the process of rehearsing. This made for a few tense moments, given the usual pre-wedding stress coupled with any number of additional things piled right on top. A skipping CD of the processional music didn’t help matters much, either. Nevertheless, we soldiered on, and made it through the rehearsal as best we could, then had a modest weenie roast that evening.

Bon and I actually got the chance to cut out on this a bit early, which gave me a chance to fine-tune my own “Affirmation of the Relationship” I intended to give during the ceremony. We also stopped on the way at the local Hy-Vee to get some Famous Dave’s barbecue sauce, some Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and a couple blocks of Wisconsin-made cheese to take home: what can I say, we can’t get ‘em at home. Speaking of things not available back home, there was also a pit stop at Whitey’s in there as well, for icy shakes to take the edge off a cold night. Or something like that.


8th October, 2005
Davenport, IA to Moline IL, and etc.
May I have a hall pass, Miss Steckler?


Wedding day, and the cold weather finally broke, leaving a beautiful and relatively warm day.

One bride was already on site by the time we crept out of the futon/air mattress combo and began to put ourselves together. The other bride was with us, and beginning to really stress over all she had yet to complete. As is almost standard with wedding days, everyone as in a panic, tempers were short, and there simply was not enough time (so it seemed) for everything that needed to get done to be done. At the home, Bon and I helped get our bride together, steaming out her attire (and pinning a couple places together as necessary) and trying to calm frayed nerves.

When she left to get her hair set for the big day, Bon and I had an hour or so to be on our own before we met up with another of the attendants, Kathy, and made our way to the site. This allowed some quick looking around the area, including a four-block trek down to the Mississippi.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

We also grabbed a quick bite at a downtown deli named, oddly enough, Downtown Deli. Oh, and looked through another nearby used bookstore for the briefest of moments before heading back to the house, where we met up with the other attendant, hopped into our wedding gear, and again assisted our bride before making the trip to the ceremony.

After all the stress, it was nothing but beautiful. The weather cooperated fully, everything went well — and while the ceremony brought forth both laughter and tears, they were for all the right reasons.

Kissing!

I cannot adequately put into words how wonderful it is to see these two together, especially as a long-time friend of one of the brides, and trying to buoy her spirits through some very difficult times over the years. Seeing them in love helps keep me from becoming a total cynic.

After the ceremony, and after a reception complete with cake and other goodness, it was back to the house, where the brides went through their gifts and we sat and talked for a few more hours. We couldn’t go too late, as we had an early morning ahead of us. Perhaps too early.


9th October, 2005
Davenport, IA to Antioch, CA, via Dallas, TX and stuff
This tastes like my cat!


No rest for the weary. The bar again had some fun at their closing time, requiring another visit from a firetruck. Bon and I did not make our way out of the bed this time to see what was going on, as we were having enough trouble sleeping. I do not believe I slept at all, in fact, as I kept stressing about our schedule: we had a 6:49 a.m. flight out of Quad Cities.

We gave up on the bed at 4:30 a.m., got ourselves and our luggage together, and made our way to the airport. By the time we got through security and such, our plane was just starting its boarding process.

It was clear for much of the trip to DFW, and I bore in mind that I’d spoken a week ago with a friend of mine who works as an air traffic controller in the Dallas area — a friend who would likely be helping get out plane back to land safely.

DFW meant another trip to Popeye’s, and a breakfast of fast food biscuits and gravy. Don’t knock it, we can’t get anything like it here. Time was tight again, and soon we were boarding another Super-80 for the trip home — but not before I asked another passenger if he’d put on his happy face: the same trio that we came across in Oakland on the 5th was making their way home.

The flight home wasn’t bad, though my lack of sleep and general jitteriness made me stressful for much of the trip, particularly any time we’d hit a pocket of chop. We did get to make passes over Bryce Canyon and Mono Lake (again), which — this time — I pulled the camera out for.

Arial Photos

Eventually, Bon and I started to pick out familiar sights. Highway 99 and I-5. the 580. Pleasanton. Mt. Diablo. Even the children’s memorial grove near Lake Chabot. Before long, we were back on the ground, hitting AirBART, then BART, then a ride home from our roomie. The trip was over.


Epilogue

“Why am I not writing my column? I need to get that done so I can get to sleep? Why am I writing this and not that?”

It’s 1:30 a.m., and I’m writing a ‘blog entry while so-called “real work” awaits. I’ve gotten through a couple hundred words of my column, and have a fairly good idea of where it’s going, but yet I’m focusing here instead.

I guess I just don’t feel like I’m really back until it’s done, until I bleed all these thoughts across the keyboard.

I’m honoured and very touched to have been included in what was a very special day for two friends of mine, and I’m glad to have been able to help make the day just a little better for them. I hope this is only the first of many very special days in their future.

I know Bon feels the same way, even if she is wisely in bed right now — which is where I’ll be. After a few hundred words.

Kissing!

Cheers,
Gwen

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Posted: 7:20:00 PM
Jiggety-jig

We’re home from Iowa, things went well — and the big write-up is coming soon.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Posted: 11:01:00 PM
...and yes...

In the early hours of October 4th, 2002 — three years ago — Gwen Araujo was murdered. There’s not much more to say that I haven’t already said.

No that isn’t true, I’m just not sure what it is I want to say. Instead, I can only say that she remains in my thoughts — and after all this time, I still can see her, in that coffin, just like later that October three years ago. I suspect that will never go away.

Nor do I really think I want it to.


Now off to bed with me: it’s a long day of travel tomorrow.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Posted: 10:33:00 PM
Ain’t I A Woman?

The below is excerpted from an interview I have been writing up for a photographer.

I want to explain what it is to be a woman, but I find it a deceptively difficult question. I can’t so easily quantify it into a set of raw components, I cannot just say, “my surgeon just removed the puppy dog tail, and I have to take sugar and spice on a daily basis.”

You see, I did not grow up like many other women. I have a history that some would regard as incongruent with the gender I inhabit today. As such, I have an adjective — transgender — that sits in front of the word woman. It’s a modifier for the modified, I suppose, but it does not diminish the value nor the importance of the word “woman” in my life. Perhaps it even makes it stronger, given that I’ve had to work a lot harder at it than many other women out there in the world.

It’s not something I dreamed up one slow weekend over tea, of course. This is something I knew of myself since I was three years old. It’s something I spent a lot of energy in my teen years trying to deny.

You see, when I try to think of those elements that everyone labels as feminine or what-not, I find that there are also plenty of women who bend, even outright break, these notions.

I know it’s not biology alone. the number of folks I’ve known with chromosomes that don’t fit what my high school textbooks said seems to toss that right out the window. Never minding, of course, that these sex chromosomes are what most will try to tell me defines my gender.

It’s also not one’s body, at least not in a specific sense. I’ve known too many woman with penises and men with vaginas to settle for that definition. Likewise, this assumes that if, say, a man loses his genitals in an accident of some nature, he does not become a woman simply because he lacks his meat and two veg.

It’s certainly not based on the ability to procreate. I mean, people aren’t considered non-gendered before puberty, nor is gender removed at menopause. Infertility has never determined gender for a non-transgender person, so why would it define me?

Hormones? These are too slippery, as it’s common for human beings to have both testosterone (the hormone usually attributed to men) and estrogen (strong enough for a man, but made for a woman). Some just have more of one than the other — and all of those can be manipulated.

I sure hope it isn’t merely one’s social role, because even though we’re years removed from the era of Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson, these remain so much a part of the cultural landscape. I’m neither of them, nor would I want to be.

So what is it, spirit? That’s hard to define, but it’s about as close as I can get. It seems an innate sense of self, an essence. It’s something that, like the Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

I can only tell you I am a woman, because that it how I see myself — it is what I see, and it is just what I am. You can deny it, but it remains my truth.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Posted: 12:08:00 AM

The Corn Is Snippets

Bon is all packed. I am mostly packed. I still have things to get done before I can get gone. Yet I’m doing a ‘blog update. Go figure.

• So this afternoon, I had a gentleman caller, and we did it in the office for about a half-hour (with me sitting, then standing), then we went into the bedroom, where I hopped onto the bed and we did it some more. Finally, before we called it a day, we did it in the hall, right at the top of the stairs. Then he gave me his card, said goodbye, took his equipment to the car, and left.

He was a photojournalist, shooting some portraits of me for The Advocate piece on anti-transgender violence. Geeze... what were you thinking?

He was cute, though.

• Wait, Nipsey Russel was still alive? Sadly, not anymore. Time to start that “Match Game curse” rumour. I’m lookin’ at you, Charles Nelson Reilly.

Eh, who am I kidding? Charles is fab. The Paul Lynde of Match Game, for all the same reasons.

• Speaking of television celebrities of the 1970s, Abe Vigoda is still alive. There may be something fishy about that.

• I tried to provide plenty of links in the above, knowing that many ’blog readers were probably not even born during the 1970s.

Arrested Development is likely to die, another victim of “Police Squad syndrome.” It’s simply to clever for its own good. Great show, though.

• My voter information pamphlet and sample ballot for the upcoming special election here in California came yesterday. This will be the easiest election I’ve ever voted in; everything says “no.”

Shana Tova.

Cheers,
Gwen

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Posted: 12:19:00 PM
If it’s Thursday, this must be Riverside

This is a busy week.

Bon and I fly out for Iowa in Wednesday, which gives me what amounts to a two-day week.

I’ve got to get stuff together for my column this week, so that I don’t have to deal with it when I come back on Sunday.

I’ve also got a lot of projects I’m working on, not the least of them being materials for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is a bigger project that it sounds, if you can imagine that.

I’ve got to update my presentation, which I will be delivering at the University of Iowa. This isn’t too bad, as a lot of it will be based on what is already written: I just need to revise the materials on the Gwen Araujo case and tweak a couple minor things here and there. What I really hope to do is bring in a couple elements from the workshop (as I’m not doing it this time out), and revise the ending a touch for this particular audience (this is being presented within a class).

I’m got to do a little touch up on the speech I wrote yesterday, for presenting at the wedding. That’ll be easy, mostly just candy-flossing and touch-up.

I’ve got to get all packed: I’ve got about half my bag ready to go, with a few other things that can’t go in until I’m finished using them (or updating them) here.

Oh yes, I also have that Advocate photographer coming over this afternoon, which will also cut into my time a bit. For a good cause, I suppose.

Anyway, Bon and I fly out on Wednesday, make a brief stopover in Dallas, then get into Moline/Quad Cities airport that evening. We’ll be there ‘til very early on Sunday, arriving back in our area (after another brief stopover at DFW) a bit before noon.

Cheers,
Gwen

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