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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Apropos of little...(while sipping on an Ipswich Oatmeal Stout and lamenting a Sunday without football!)

I was watching a documentary recently about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent life, possible visits by alien life already, and the like. Over the years I've seen and read countless items about this (as I'm sure many people have- networks such as Discovery, TLC, and A&E have thrived upon them!) My own opinion? Given the vastness of the universe, the odds against there not being any other intelligent life forms anywhere are, well, astronomical (pun only slightly intended!) But what always strikes me about so many of these accounts is the insistence that any aliens must be so much more highly evolved and so much more advanced than us barely-housebroken Earthlings! Why not give our species, our planet, a little more credit? If there are other civilizations spread throughout the universe, it must figure that surely one is more advanced than many/any others- why not ours? Who is to say that ours is not the most advanced race, species, civilization, planet, etc...? Perhaps the reason we have yet to discover any alien signals and the like is that all other intelligent life forms are still living in their equivalent of caves and discovering the joys and wonders of fire and a stick with a sharp point on the end of it! Again, someone must be the most advanced- why not us?!

Speaking of Why Not Us...The recent front-office actions of the Red Sox are more than a bit reminiscent of the pre-Bob Kraft Patriots, the bad old days of Victor Kiam, and the truly strange old days of the Sullivans! Players' coming and goings, rumors of players' goings and comings, Theo gone, co-GM's, Theo returns...hopefully we won't be waiting another (now) 85 years for another WS title...

Roadside memorials...I've never quite understood the mindset behind these. I understand the outpourings of grief associated with the loss of victims to accidents, crimes, etc... and the need to remember those victims. But it seems to me we already have very specific places to do so, places open to mourners and others, places with monuments and spaces to leave items commemorating those who have lost their lives tragically (or otherwise)...they are called "cemeteries." I've never quite understood how a wooden cross on a barren stretch of highway or a collection of candles on a stretch of city sidewalk makes for a more respectful, longer-lasting remembrance of a life lost than placing same near a headstone, a tree planted in remembrance, or similar monument. (And I've never quite understood why teddie bears have become a universal symbol of remembrance in some circles...but different strokes I guess.)

Accuracy in books...I'm currently reading a book about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team; truly a remarkable sports story. Several of the players on that team hailed from the Greater Boston/Eastern Mass. area where I grew up, and still live, so I'm somewhat familiar with the story, the player bios, etc...So I'm reading, and the author screws up- serially- the hometown of one of these players! Mr. Author: how difficult should it be for you- or your editors- to do just a wee bit of fact-checking and vetting before putting book to press? Particularly when one of these players wrote your foreword? Particularly when you're getting paid for your- ahem- efforts?! Sheesh...

Biases...many of us have 'em, I know I do. But I was recently struck by just how strong mine can be at times...I recently also re-read a couple of books on that most-maligned of decades, the 70's. Each came out earlier in this decade, each purported to examine 70's culture and history and how the 70's, moreso than the 60's, truly shaped where we are as a society today. Fair enuf. One was written from a center/left view, one from a center/right, neither especially radical. I could barely contain my disdain for the views, opinions, and conclusions drawn by the former, while I was firmly in the Amen Corner of the latter. Strange. And sad. Two intelligent, informed writers, each writing on the same topic for the same reasons, and again, neither a fire-breathing radical, yet the responses they generated in me...I like to believe that, while I have my views and opinions, I'm relatively open-minded to thoughtful views and opinions that differ from mine, that I can have my views and beliefs challenged respectfully, intelligently- guess I have more work to do on that score.

I've never been much of a "drug" person- not that I'm opposed to adults ingesting whatever they wish (just so long as I'm not forced via my taxes to pay for anyone's care as a result of that ingesting. And the bipartisan- and it IS bipartisan- "War" on Drugs IS an utter waste of law enforcement resources and time) rather, my substance of choice has always been alcohol. Nevertheless, I always thought I was a pretty savvy gal when it came to drug culture references and the like. But one flew completely over my head until, really, maybe five years ago. Aerosmith's Dream On. For years I always thought it was just Steven Tyler waxing oh-so-deeply about the vicissitudes of growing up, growing older:
Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone...
(with that deep, wistful "sigh" after line- pun!- 2.)
It finally dawned on me a few years ago that those "lines" on his face in the mirror getting "clearer" with that "sigh" snort!- were cocaine! Doh!

Yes, I can be quite a naive girl at times!

"Half my life's in books' written pages/Live and learn from fools and from sages..."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ugh...this happens to me seemingly every year this time of year- the dreaded winter weight gain! It never fails, and it's always this time of year- I do a good job not putting on weight between Thanksgiving and New Years and am always so pleased with myself that I haven't, then I inevitably put on weight between New Years and my birthday (which was last Sunday, BTW- thanks to all who wished me a happy!) It is sooooooooo @#$%ing frustrating, and it seems to happen every year! Yeah, I can try to put the blame on the winter weather putting a crimp on my running and other outdoor activities, I can put it on trying to be a good sport and not decline desserts, drinks, etc... I'm not alone, I read the following in another T-woman's blog:
Gaining weight...Packed on ten extra pounds over the holidays. Had a rough time getting it back off. Started ballooning before my trip out west & kept piling on as the silly season evolved. By early January? Was thirteen pounds heavy. Amazing - how one's bodyweight affects attitude. As a guy? It's a mild irritation. As a woman? Floods every pipeline that affects self image. Don't even recall when & how my attitude changed in this regard. It's very much a condition of society - I assure you women don't make this crap up. Anyway...almost back down to fighting weight - even seeing signs of a my body atrophies from no longer having testosterone rolling through my veins. Had a lot of new-lows in my new life. This one? I'll welcome with open arms.
But bottomline, it is up to me, I simply have to learn to maintain better self-discipline (not a bad trait to increase in all aspects of my life!)...Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to run (or to the gym) I go!

PS- I just ck'd...the average low temperature for Boston bottomed out yesterday, today it- inexorably!- begins to rise...yay!

"Hit me with your best shot/Fire away..."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"The Fire Inside" (The last few verses particularly hit home today...)
There's a hard moon risin' on the streets tonight
There's a reckless feeling in your heart as you head out tonight
Through the concrete canyons to the midtown light
Where the latest neon promises are burning bright.

Past the open windows on the darker streets
Where unseen angry voices flash and children cry
Past the phony posers with their worn out lines
The tired new money dressed to the nines
The lowlife dealers with their bad designs
And the dilletantes with their open minds.

You're out on the town, safe in the crowd
Ready to go for the ride
Searching the eyes, looking for clues
There's no way you can hide
The fire inside.

Well you've been to the clubs and the discotheques
Where they deal one another from the bottom of a deck of promises
Where the cautious loners and emotional wrecks
Do an acting stretch as a way to hide the obvious
And the lights go down and they dance real close
And for one brief moment they pretend they're safe and warm.

Then the beat gets louder and the mood is gone
The darkness scatters as the lights flash on
They hold one another just a little too long
And they move apart and then move on.

On to the street, on to the next
Safe in the knowledge that they tried
Faking the smile, hiding the pain
Never satisfied
The fire inside.

Now the hour is late and he thinks you're asleep
You listen to him dress and you listen to him leave like you knew he would
You hear his car pull away in the street
Then you move to the door and you lock it when he's gone for good.

Then you walk to the window and stare at the moon
Riding high and lonesome through a starlit sky
And it comes to you how it all slips away
Youth and beauty are gone one day
No matter what you dream or feel or say
It ends in dust and disarray.

Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass
Waves rolling in with the tide
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode
But we cannot be denied
The fire inside.

Happy birthday to...ME!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I was saddened to discover of the recent death of a member of the local (Boston) trans "scene." While I wouldn't say we were close enuf to qualify as "friends," friendly acquaintances would certainly apply; if we happened to run into one another somewhere, we'd say hello, chat over a drink or two, that sorta thing...she'd had a number of closer friends and was a longer, and more active, member of the Boston-area "community"- not so much an "activist," but simply active, social...from what I've been able to gather, many who knew her nevertheless weren't aware of her relatively recent illness nor, upon news of her death, did- apparently- many know of her "other" identity in order to pay respects (I did not.) So often so many talk about our "community" and all; yet even in such a- relatively- active and open place for TG life such as the Boston area, it is surprising sometimes how little we really know of one another, how, while we may "know of" scores of people, how few we really know. We build, and often keep, walls between us, even long after they are needed or necessary (I have one super-longtime TG friend who still maintains a discreet distance; I respect her privacy, and am not looking to intrude upon her "other" life, but still...she knows a lot more about me than I do her, even after all these years.) I realize I maintain a relatively low profile- not so much by desire as by circumstance, by schedule, by lack of time and opportunity to interact more with others, be they other TG's, friends, "admirers" (we've gotta come up w/ a better term, BTW!) allies, dilemma not being closeted but more, woefully time-constrained...this keeps me from being more active, more involved, more "out there" than I'd prefer, and likewise keeps me from forming more, and closer, friendships, ties, relationships, perhaps some of this sounds a bit self-righteous coming from me. And there are others who are closeted, for whatever reasons (some of them perfectly reasonable and admirable) who likewise are, at best, on the fringes of even a pretty robust and active T world such as exists in the Boston/EMass area. And there are also those who are quite active, be it socially or otherwise, a smaller number than perhaps should be, those who set the pace and set an example worth emulating as individual circumstances allow.

I'm rambling a bit here; I guess my point, if I have one, is simply that, no matter where we fit, or how active we are, in "the scene," if we are to consider ourselves some sort of "community," ultimately it shouldn't be about whether one is a CD or post-op, straight, "tranz-lez," attracted to men, or anything else, one's politics, religion, should be about relationships, about simply having and taking an interest in the welfare and happiness of others within our sphere, making or taking that little effort...easier said than done, to be sure.

"In these days of changing ways/So-called liberated days/A story comes to mind of a friend of mine..."

Sunday, January 15, 2006 no "Three-Peat" this season! My Pats lost to Denver last night...truth be told, I didn't expect the Pats to win the Super Bowl this year (I had predicted Indy to win it, but alas as well...), but I was impressed with their play the last six weeks or so of the season..but last to Denver, they played well enuf to win, they were effective capitalizing upon the Patriots' mistakes, miscues, etc...actually, I thought the Pats did a good job overall shutting down Denver's impressive running game (Denver also did a good job shutting down ours) the idea being to make Jake Plummer have to beat us. He was effective enuf last night to do so. And Denver did a good job versus the Pats' passing game...frustrating, as this was nevertheless a game the Patriots could have won- Denver was not dominating- but credit the Broncos, they got it done, they got the win, and now they get the Steelers for the AFC Championship game!

I've alluded in the past here that I'm seldom a good sleeper. I can never sleep in late, no matter what time I go to bed or fall asleep. And fortunately I seldom need more than 6 hours of good sleep to feel refreshed and function well. The problem is that, for the longest time, I've seldom had that 6 hours of good, solid sleep. It typically takes me close to 2 hours to actually fall asleep from the time I go to bed (and no comments or suggestions for "activity" after getting in bed, but before sleeping, you!), and worse, all too often, I'll awaken several times thru the night, seldom getting into a good, deep, REM sleep. What I've been taking of late- and I'd recommend it, it does seem to work!- is a melatonin supplement. It's all natural, non-prescriptive, inexpensive (and it beats knocking back a stiff drink or four!) it lets me sleep thru the night and/or if I awaken, fall back asleep easily and awaken feeling refreshed, not groggy; it works! For anyone who has problems sleeping, I'd recommend it- give it a shot! (But if I could find some other suitable bedtime activity...)

"Ring ring ring goes the telephone/The lights are on but there's no one home/Tick tick tock it's a quarter to two/And I'm done, I'm hanging up on you..."

Friday, January 13, 2006

**Addendum- Probably not the best idea to have blogged while nursing a toothache. My apologies for the whiny bitching session below!**

From my New Year's "non-resolutions"...still hafta worker harder on being more patient with folks. This isn't anything new, I've seldom been the most patient of much as patient, I need to just let ignorant, or at least, ill-informed people and opinions go...I usually, tho' not always, do a decent enuf job of "letting go" in the more important, "real" aspects of my life (can't afford not to- I have bills to pay!)...but in my Internet travellings, I sometimes frequent message boards, columns, blogs, etc...on a variety of topics (yes, Kellie needs to get a life!) and too often find myself irate with, and attempting to debate with, the bottom-feeders extant amongst them. Be it sports, politics, transgenderism, what have you, these are often folks impervious to logic and reason, let alone good manners, in regard to these topics, and it would do me (and my blood pressure- jes' kidding, mine is fantastic!) good to simply avoid interacting with that ilk...

Similarly, I need to renew my commitment to being less demanding of others; again, more often than is good, I often feel as if my efforts, in a variety of things, with a variety of folks, tend to go under-appreciated...I don't mind making, and I will continue to make, those efforts when they are deserved, when it seems as if they are contributing to my progress and the progress of whatever endeavor the effort is being made in/toward, but I should probably begin to extend myself a bit less toward those who will not appreciate, if not reciprocate in some manner, my efforts, hence being less demanding simply by not doing quite as much...

Pats-Broncos tomorrow night! The wiseguys have Denver -3 to -3.5 (pretty even, given the Denver home field advantage)...I'm not sure if I'd touch that or not, but I feel confident about the Pats' chances...this is not the same Patriots' team that faced Denver back in October, the Pats are much healthier, the O-line and secondary in particular are more more cohesive than they were back then...and it is difficult to go against a Brady-led and Belichick-coached team in an important game...Denver is good, talented, well-coached as well...but I certainly won't be surprised if the Pats win (she types with fingers crossed...Go Pats!)

"I'm not the kind of girl/Who gives up just like that/Oh no..."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Congrats to Texas on winning the BCS Championship in the Rose Bowl last night, over Southern Cal! So often sporting events- heck, many events- are hyped out of proportion and then fail to live up to expectations (recent Patriots' Super Bowl wins NOT being amongst those!) but this game truly lived up to the hype, not being decided until Texas QB Vince Young ran it in with 19 seconds remaining to ultimately give Texas a 41-38 victory, and it's first football national championship since, I believe, 1969. I was rooting for USC, I had hoped they would win a third straight title- Pete Carroll, for all of his lack of success while coaching the Patriots, has built a juggernaut at SC and seems to be a truly decent man, as deserving of success as anyone, but last night it was not to be...the wiseguys had SC favored from 6.5 to 7.5; I liked them up to 7, but in hindsight it was a good thing I didn't play (I've struggled much of this season on my "for entertainment purposes only" college picks- done MUCH better on my NFL picks, would've made a nice little chunk o' change had I actually played...) Congrats also to Penn State (my fav bigtime college football team!) for winning a 3 OT thriller over Florida State in the Orange Bowl, good to see Joe Paterno come back strong this season...speaking of whom, I've just started "The Lion In Autumn," a new bio on JoePa and Penn State football...

On a more somber note, thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the miners lost in the mine explosion in West Virginia this week...I've never been a fan of Big Labor, having experienced the excesses of the contemporary labor movement in my taxes, in the inflated cost of many items, in the thuggish behavior of some union members when "protesting," and, when I was a kid, in my paycheck (about $4.00/week taken out of a part-time, high school kid's paycheck, and all I ever got was a glossy quarterly magazine extolling the "virtues" of the union's leadership. Ugh.) Hey, everyone has the right and the freedom to belong to, and to lawfully organize, whatever groups they wish. This same right should also extend to business, they should also have the right to lawfully recognize, or not, hire, or not, whomever they wish. Having said this however, one has to support the aims of groups such as, yes, the United Mine Workers, when they advocate for increased worker safety and protections (apparently the workers at the Sago mine in W.V. were not represeneted by the UMW.) As with most things, balance, in this case between accountability to shareholders and accountability to workers, needs to be found, but with all reasonable measures taken to ensure the safety of those who choose to be employed by, and contribute to the profits of, any business endeavor. It remains to be seen what the cause of the explosion was.

"The eyes of Texas are upon you..."