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Showing posts from February, 2022

Salty Dog

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 RIP Gary Brooker

Numbers say it all

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Just being honest

Do I want to distance myself from people who make videos in public wearing short skirts and then flash their underwear to the camera.  The answer is yes. Just being honest.

Perpective

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It’s now time for natural immunity to take over. We have done all we can by wearing masks and social distancing and are now entering into overkill phase where prolonged measures are more harmful than the virus itself. Numbers around the world are rapidly declining and hospitalizations are down such that the respective medical systems of each country are better able to handle patients who need help. The effects on the psyche that this pandemic has had are far reaching and possibly will take a long time to eradicate with the isolation and the ensuing depressive effects that this has had on the public not to be underestimated. I have been all along in favor of public measures to curb the spread, but now fear that removing them is going to last longer than it should. We cannot eliminate all risk from our lives and the combined effect of suffering falls, car accidents, cancers and other diseases far outweigh the chances of succumbing to COVID. Let’s keep some perspective.

One day at a time

My 85 year old mother has often told me that she never saw any signs but of course I hid. I hid so well that I did so from myself. Being trans has been the challenge of my lifetime and back then I was completely determined it wasn't going to win over me. At some point in midlife reality hits home of course and you run out of road. Once you know there's no escape you spend the remaining years of your life fitting it into your existence. I f you are young enough you can have a fresh start but the rest of us need to reconcile the past with the present and we do so one day at a time.

Negotiation

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Here is an interview with a crossdresser (self-identified) and his wife and the negotiation that invariably happens if you want to stay together. 

Flip flops

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The Republican party's appetite for authoritarianism has gotten them into a pickle. As the world rightly sides with Ukraine in their struggle against a despotic Putin, they are doing flips trying to reconcile their odious messiah Trump's lavish praise with what is clearly an illegal act steeped in appetite for territorial gain. Even the Russian people know this as they risk arrest through the simple act of protest. It makes the GOP adulation look increasingly hypocritical as the US has traditionally stood for defending the autonomy of independent nations. When your party is a cult with no policy other than culture war grievance, you are left with positions which force you into contortions in order to reconcile with your history. No better example of this is in media is the sniveling and permanently whiny Tucker Carlson.

Off the ledge

Yesterday I was very glad to have walked another trans person off the ledge and dissuaded them from accepting the Blanchard pseudoscience before understanding it properly. I happened upon their video which mentioned AGP in the title and simply suggested they read Julia Serano's "The Case Against Autogynephilia" which seemed to do the trick. She ended up reading it and decided it was a much stronger argument which of course it is. Apparently Blanchard has been trying to clean up his soiled reputation these days by softening up his language. It won't work of course especially when his invented "condition" is what he continues to sell as the supposed driving force behind transitions. Better luck next time I say :)

Down and Out

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Inflection point

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Hopefully

Perhaps we are here to attempt to be the best versions of ourselves. So we work through impediments to our internal peace and tranquility such that we can arrive at a place when we can appreciate all. Often blocked with preoccupations which take us off target, we hopefully one day come to a place where we can make some sense of our existence (at least within our limitations). And in so doing, we are finally able to recognize what we can impact and what is beyond control and is unchangeable.

Lead me home

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Lead Me Home is nominated for a 2022 Oscar and it's about homelessness. It's not a pretty sight and it documents a growing epidemic which had been building to a fever pitch in America. The stories break your heart and make you appreciate every little thing you have like a warm bed and a roof over your head which for so many in this world is a luxury. As wealth continues to concentrate in the hands of fewer and fewer people there will eventually be a reckoning. On Netflix.

Styling it

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Sometimes it's how you comb it..:)

Social construct

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If one looks for evidence for a genetic component to gender, the case of Canadian born David Reimer is probably the best one. Sexually reassigned after a botched circumcision at sexologist John Money's urging to his parents, it showed how the false assumption of gender as pure social construct can go terribly wrong.  Brenda (at the time) learned of her past in her teens and finally realized why she never felt like a girl. As a result a change to life as David was a welcome relief which only later ended in suicide (in his mid thirties) when he couldn't find a way to live a normal life of a married man within his physical limitations. It certainly wasn't the best way for us to learn how sex and gender are not always aligned, but it helped the cause of trans people everywhere who face a different scenario to David's. Had gender been purely a social construct, she might still perhaps have been with us today as Brenda.

An assault

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The assault on science has been building for decades now. Firstly, right wing movements are more likely infiltrated by religious cults and with the general tendency of intellectuals to be associated with left leaning movements, that helped to increase mistrust. Academics also tend to be city dwelling and hence were viewed increasingly by less educated rural populations as untrustworthy. Add to that the right-wing media machine and suddenly climate change is a hoax, the earth is flat, and we didn’t really land on the moon. These kinds of ideas were at first considered fringe but as the network of acolytes grew among those most susceptible, we began to see growth; growth which was fed through feeling disenfranchised by their political leaders. As these people's economic situation worsened, so did their trust in traditional institutions which included the scientific community. Social media created a massive network of like-minded thinkers and no idea is too far fetched. The QAnon co

The Lost Daughter

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The Lost Daughter is about human frailty, dysfunction, dishonesty and the life choices we make. There is no pure protagonist here but instead a flawed woman dealing with demons of her past. Through encountering someone who reminds her of herself at a younger age, she relives emotions and experiences culpability she perhaps thought dormant. Its Oscar nomination I am still unsure about, but certainly neophyte director Maggie Gyllenhaal makes a fine debut in a film that is as fascinating as it is unsettling in its less than formulaic plot as well as its brooding pacing. Maybe we can't go home again but we can perhaps reconcile with ourselves. 

Banana republic

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You were right

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Globally we are in more trouble than ever in one particular area: the proliferation and belief in misinformation. Many people aren't educated enough to be able to make distinctions between issues let alone grasp any one of them. However the internet echo chamber and media outlets with agendas have emboldened them to think that they can. Today as Russia enters a sovereign Ukraine on the premise that it is defending itself against Ukranian aggression, we see George Orwell's predictions about the power of propaganda come vividly to life. FOX News defends the Russian invasion as the American right increasingly cozies up to demagoguery reminiscent of 20th century dictatorships. Some,  in a country that used to be staunchly anti communist, now isn't sure it doesn't prefer an emperor. At any rate, communism no longer exists the way it used to and Russia is just a different type of oligarchy to the US with a vindictive leader at its helm. Meanwhile one US gubernatorial candida

More harassment

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 Love the liberal redneck :)

The levee break

There is a balance point where your individual rights collide with what is good for the most people. That juncture isn’t always obvious, and some will use individual freedoms always as their priority position. But if that were always true, then we wouldn’t of course need police, traffic lights or speed limits as people would simply do as they please. We have however thankfully decided that some limitations are in the greater interest of the population. The pandemic showed us this dynamic and its delicate domino effect was clear and immediate. When hospitals are overrun to beyond capacity you need to do something to stop the carnage, and this is where government steps in to limit the damage. I had this discussion recently with a colleague who tended to view things primarily through the lens of personal freedoms whereas I spoke to the difficult decisions that need to be made to protect the most people. Yes, we try to think of ourselves as embracing democratic principles and personal

What you wear

I like a good brand name thrift store find as much as the next person, but I can't say I've ever been much into fashion. When I was in my less self accepting years, I was very concerned about a very passable presentation and endeavored to straddle that line between blending in and being feminine. More often than not that meant wearing a skirt or a dress to make up for lost time plus embrace something which was not at all associated with being male. Things have morphed over the years and I have entrenched myself in the territory of what most women wear. Of course they themselves are all different and run the gamut between very fashion conscious to not caring one whit, but that's what makes it wonderful. You get to define yourself. I am most often in a pair of jeans but that will likely change in the spring and summer as the mood strikes.  When you define yourself from the inside out, clothes take on less importance (at least that's what happened for me) and although m

Tribal

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Dilemma

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The house my father bought in 1973 for $40,000 Canadian is probably worth about $800,000 today. Located in a very desirable neighborhood of Montreal called NDG, I can scarcely imagine the average young couple in their late 20's or early 30's ever dreaming of making such a purchase today. Even with both of them working their combined salaries would not be enough and risk having their mortgage payments considerably exceed half their income. Back then my father's yearly salary was about half of the value of his purchase whereas today a home price often exceeds 4 or 5 times a yearly salary. It is not a simple problem to solve and it will continue to mean that property is inherited and stays in the hands of established families or is conversely only  bought by very high income earners.

A decided shift

If you notice my trans content going down, it's not your imagination. As one comes to terms with everything, that subject matter becomes less important and urgent. I have done my extensive homework over the years and came to understand that there are decidedly some dead ends at least for the moment. This is of course perfectly fine. This blog is now more focused than ever on the concepts of social justice and understanding and making sense of the human condition. It will continue to exist as a mixture of philosophy, politics and general observations on the nature of our existence through the lens of a person who just happens to be trans. There is simply too much that interests me to do otherwise.

Au revoir auto

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This coming May my auto lease is up which will mean the end of car ownership for this girl. As a soon to be happily semi-retired person who lives close to the city, I will have access to an extensive public transport system only about to be bolstered by the completion of Montreal's REM (light rapid electric rail network) not to mention a car sharing service which will allow me access to a vehicle very close to home. Hence I will be doing my part for the planet plus lowering my expenses substantially with costs related to tires, maintenance, registration, gas plus monthly payments all disappearing. I will be starting to live like many city dwelling Europeans do and I can't wait for the life change.               Car sharing Communauto                                     REM

Fear and panic

The American right is panicking. Losing a grip on the culture war in a rapidly changing world, we are now seeing book burnings by conservative school boards. If this reminds you of pre war Germany it should as this is human nature at its worst. Virginia governor Glenn Yungkin ran a campaign that attacked critical race theory which wasn't even being taught in schools. He also started a phone in line that encouraged people to call in and report objectionable material being taught. Whether Youngkin believed that this was happening didn't matter, the point is that it got him votes. That call in line he set up was of course flooded with prank calls akin to "how dare you educate my children about things that actually happened in history". Not to be outdone, Florida has a new "Don't Say Gay" law which prohibits teachers from discussing LGBT issues with students. I f you think this is painfully backward, draconian and stupid it's because it is.

Out of Sight

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Out of Sight is a Steven Soderbergh film which is both stylish and entertaining although no extra marks for being ultra realistic. Starring George Clooney as a serial bank robber and Jennifer Lopez as a correctional officer, it keeps us wondering what's going to happen next and doesn't telegraph any moves in advance. Like later Soderbergh films it has an ambiance unique to the director and I recommend you spend the time exploring it if you like lighter fare with some twists and turns.

Conspiracy

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The last few years have opened the door to seeing who among us were secret right wing sympathizers. Some television personalities, journalists and pundits suddenly came our swinging harder with COVID becoming the hot button issue pitting the mindset of personal freedom against applying strategies generally thought to be good for society. Republicans in the US being so anti- government to begin with, bristled at the idea of being cajoled into taking vaccines. The stage was now even more set for a showdown between extolling personal choice and responsibility versus public policies which could help the most amount of people.  Canada of course wasn't immune as our own slightly less radical right found courage by being inspired by events down south with the trucker protest being the latest incarnation. Add to that odious Jordan Peterson's meddling and you have our own version of Loonieville. I saw part of a video lately by Russell Brand who has suddenly reinvented himself as consp

Coming out

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Peripherals

Peripherals are things that don't touch upon the essence of a person. They are physical traits that have little to do with value. The color of hair, of skin, height, physical beauty, weight and even gender are not that relevant in the grand scheme of establishing value. I am more perturbed than ever by how the world assigns value which is more often than not based on these peripherals. Once I removed the bulk of my own suffering, I was then better able to see outside of myself and look at the entire person in front of me. It is not always easy as many people have so much defensive reflex due to their own pain that they will not permit you to see who they are.

Quand il fait du soleil

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Redefining

Redefining ourselves takes time. This is especially true if you need to examine tenets you thought were immovable objects. Having removed obstacles from our thought process that are not based on logical premises but simply societal invention, we are then free to become the person we were first intended to be. I spoke to my son yesterday about his mother's behaviour and how it is coloured by her history as all of ours are. They had had an argument and as he explained what happened, I recognized the pattern she often uses to escalate things. While not adding fuel to the fire, I made him realize that people are often victim to their hurts and insecurities and we must forgive their communication failures. Sometimes there are other issues concealed behind what at first appears to be frivolous. Learning to recognize what truly perturbs us and effectively communicating it is often not easy but it holds the key if we are to redefine and better ourselves.

Trans girls vs crossdressers

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Some positivity and unifying words for crossdressers and trans girls :)

The virtue that is patience

I am diligently working on my patience. After all, if you were already impatient to begin with, age and experience allows you to cut to the chase and requires you temper judgement on people for things which are now obvious to you. Hence, the things you used to have patience for worsen whereas the ones for which you didn't seem to improve. It's a fascinating dynamic and these changes in myself are most visually striking when I am in scenarios I previously reacted quite differently to. Introspection becomes more mandatory as one ages so that one reconciles lived history with future intention but then if we are too mired in it we can become stalled and too self critical; the optimum balance being the right amount of self-analysis without any excessive self flagelation.

Nice to hear

I was struggling a bit trudging through the significant freshly fallen snow we had received the night before. The woman approaching me from the opposite direction spoke to me as passed each other. "Quite the workout this morning isn't it? something we girls don't need" She was older than me, very friendly and she made me chuckle as had said it with a big smile, the bright sun that morning making up for the cold temperatures. The thing is that I hadn't dressed particularly feminine as the cold weather did not exactly encourage it and so it was nice to hear.

Starless

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Let's leave it at that

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I am not interested in trans issues per se but rather in people’s ability to be who they are. I don’t necessarily like every aspect about this community just as I could say that about any human being or group that is fallible, and I would like to see a day where being trans is just a matter-of-fact occurrence which should disappear into the background of what completely defines a person. That definition is usually the sum of many moving parts because otherwise it becomes boring to focus on just one aspect of ourselves. People should be evaluated on everything else before their being trans even enters the picture which is unfortunately still not where we are as a society and, once we rid ourselves of the personal stigma, we should just blend our gender identity into the entire portrait which makes us who we are and leave it at that.

Nothing to see

After knowing that I am trans for many years, my son finally met Joanna today. Nothing to see here :)

In darkness let me dwell

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 John Dowland Renaissance composer par excellence...

Not a good month

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Help

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We all need a little help sometimes whether that be just counselling or perhaps also supplemented through medication. Life is difficult and there are traumas we need to heal. There is no shame in admitting that we require assistance and the stigma it used to carry has thankfully been mostly lifted from our society. We used to not be able to discuss these things and people would drink themselves into stupors or commit suicide rather than admit to psychological issues. Looking back there is no doubt I would have benefitted from being able to seek counsel earlier in my life, but I waited in silence until my 40’s and dealt with my dysphoria on my own until my life became unraveled. The stiff upper lip approach of two Spanish civil war era born parents perhaps wasn’t conducive to it. As a result, I learned to handle things on my own and have never taken any medication; a reality I don’t wear as a badge of honor. Instead, I realize I might have suffered less and am so glad that our socie

Cutting through the noise

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We can now readily dismiss what’s good for society with a simple buzzword like “Woke”. The American right which loves culture war outrage as substitute for doing right by their struggling electorate, gleefully attacks coastal elites with this term. Disingenuous FOX opinion hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity will joyfully rub their hands as they paint a portrait of an assault on American values by an increasingly youthful leftist mob that wants to destroy the nation. Their panic stricken and mostly geriatric (and it must be said not supremely educated) audience sits horrified and glued to their screens wondering what to do about the communist Joe Biden who by comparison makes our Justin Trudeau (and most European leaders) look like Hugo Chavez. It's all very depressing to witness and I am afraid that little will cut through the noise at this point. I would only ask myself what Rupert Murdoch intends to do once his hand at unbalancing a US democratic infrastructu

Cynicism

My biggest enemy today is cynicism and I am working on combating it. I am unsure about how to fend off a lifetime of being disappointed with how the world works and how to concentrate more on the positives. I know what to do intellectually, only that the emotional impetus and connection must be there as well. I don't want to able to x-ray through things so quickly and find the negative but instead want to see more the good in humanity. There is plenty there only that it can become suffocated by those who want to take advantage of its fragility and its inherent kindness. I have admonished myself in the past for being so gullible in not having seen things more clearly earlier in life until one realizes that such transparency would only produce a world full of cynics and induce paralysis.

Frost's Hyperventilate

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 The supremely talented Pete Jones who also just happens to be blind...

Auto pilot

The young woman at Yves Rocher counter told me that I smelled good. It was my coconut hand cream that was doing it and when I showed her she said she liked it on me but not on her as she recognized it was from their store. She was very pleasant and friendly and asked if I had my customer card. Since I didn't she used my telephone number. "Joanna?" She said and I simply nodded I put the nail polish I had just bought in my purse and she cheerily sent me off with a nice greeting. It's all about auto pilot these days.

Principled

Political expediency at the expense of principles is common in our world. It happens at the governmental level and certainly also at the level of private enterprise where people advance through connections rather than doing the right thing. The only surprise for me in my life has been its prevalence, whereas I used to see it more as exception. The problem is that principles don't often reward and maneuvering does at least monetarily. Principled behaviour will only get you to keep your self respect should that matter to you and perhaps the gratitude of those who recognize it. T he thing which strikes me as bizarre is that people who bend themselves into pretzels and turn on a dime can't seem to see the transparency to the rest of us. Either that or they just don't care. A long time ago I decided that I needed to do things as honorably as I could and this method has never failed me. At the very least it allowed me to sleep at night as well as look myself in the mirror.

Netherworld

As a transsexual who hasn't medically transitioned it's been difficult to precisely describe myself. Saying you are trans is easy enough but believing it earnestly is something else. I don't feel like a man or a woman because I am not precisely either. Here I defer to Kate Bornstein and her book Gender Outlaw where she said much the same despite her transition. Saying I am bi-gender or gender fluid is also not right for me as, regardless of how I am dressed, I always feel the same. It's not about how I present but rather more about the internals. People who are comfortable with expressing gender variance can identify as men or women and mean it whereas I cannot. It took me a long time to accept that I was not in that category, but existing in this netherworld has gotten increasingly comfortable and I have come to be at peace with it.

Suffering

Suffering is unavoidable. Intelligence has little impact on avoiding suffering and arguably increases it through excessive agonizing. Others will fall into traps not realizing the danger and then suffer the consequences of their actions because they did not see it coming. In either case suffering has not been avoided. The human condition is universal and we find ways to sabotage ourselves in a variety of ways. If we don't do it ourselves then someone else will be happy to do it for us. The bully recognizes the vacuum in power of his prey and capitalizes on it expecting little pushback. Their need for control also stems from a personal inadequacy which drives them to inflict harm. Both torturer and victim end up suffering although in different ways. Even if we train the mind to manage the impact, the unavoidable will continue to happen when we least expect. Other times our own suffering will make us do things to others that we deeply regret later.

More fool me

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A new landscape

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After almost 15 years together, a close friend and former colleague and his partner are splitting up. They were both previously married and had experienced ups and downs as well through this particular relationship; some of its inner workings I was privy to due to the friendship. He in his early 60’s and she in her early 50’s they both have grown children from previous marriages and navigated the additional complexities that a second relationship can bring. When he told me on the phone recently, I wasn’t all that surprised as it met with my reduced expectations regarding longevity of unions which are only additionally burdened with the pace at which we live and with sometimes conflicting life goals. Based on my immediate circle of friends and family, most unions to me appear to be a mix of staying together because of common lived experience, economic trepidation, and fear of being alone. I admit my own experience colors that pessimistic outlook, but little is happening around me to c

What happens after

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It will take some time to revert to normal post pandemic. While some will most assuredly jettison their masks as soon as they are no longer mandatory, others will make their use part of their future practice when embedded in large crowds. We have seen every kind of reaction over the last two years from Karens being filmed having belligerent tantrums in grocery stores for being forced to cover their faces, to people washing their produce with bacterial soap and who continue to mask while driving alone in their cars. No doubt that misinformation and narcissism which are the banes of our era will continue to play a large hand in how people behave going forward.

Sartorial freedom?

In this Montreal Gazette article from 2015, Jillian Page ponders on a topic I've been thinking about for some time and have written about before. Her points are very valid and I agree with much of what she says. I also agree that the term crossdresser is mostly a derogatory one. Transgender? 'Cross-dressers' not always trans people ( Jillian Page   •   Montreal Gazette May 28, 2015) "What if men who self-identify as males in Canada and other Western nations had the same latitude women have when it comes to clothes presentation? What if a man wearing a dress, pantyhose and heels could stand at the urinal in a public washroom without fear of derision or, worse, being assaulted by bigots? Would they still feel the need to seek refuge under the transgender umbrella? Would they still refer to themselves as transgender people? How many so-called “cross-dressers” use the transgender label as an excuse so they can wear the clothes they want in public? And, how many biologi

Reaction

Probably the worst type of video on YouTube is the reaction video. As the name suggests, these are ordinary people who react to other people's content sometimes with the entire original video playing in the corner of the screen. I have tried to comprehend what it is about human nature that sometimes draws massive views to these videos but I am befuddled.

Summerland

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By the time we discover it might have been a good idea to be a maverick and a free thinker, we may have invested an inordinate amount of time conforming. Like in the Wizard of Oz we have finally looked behind the curtain and seen that it's just a small man pulling levers. By then decisions have been made and some cannot be undone. You've been discouraged from standing out and you feel you mustn't because it's the way of the world to follow tradition and be sensible and do as you're told. Life is not often kind and our sense of justice is challenged and unsatisfied. Summerland is about love lost and forbidden in an era where we couldn't be ourselves. Those of us who don't quite fit in easily disturb the patterns but we are entitled nevertheless to happiness and i t's what Summerland's Alice always wanted. Recommended.

Bataclan

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This is, in my opinion, the best quality footage of my all time favorite band in their prime...  

Better Days Ahead

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From "The Road to You" album....

3 guesses

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The following Pew Research Center poll was conducted in summer of 2021 in the US and I will give you 3 guesses (although you won't need them) as to which of the two major parties thought it was mostly a bad idea to accept trans people. If you want to cheat go straight to the bottom...

Another find

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I strike thrift store paydirt yet again with a leather purse for $8 :)

The "logic" of TERFS

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Nothing different

I haven't done anything differently lately but all of a sudden my daily traffic is way up as in almost double. I attribute this to a blip on the radar and it will change nothing regarding what I write about. Other than sporadically checking my daily numbers, I never pay attention to which posts garner greater interest for fear it will influence my subject matter; a practice which will continue unchanged. Being trans and how to navigate life with it will continue to be a theme here and yet it occupies less of my attention than ever as I increasingly fit that personal reality into my daily existence.

Clamping down

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After somewhat getting a handle on your gender dysphoria the next little foe is gender euphoria which I am working on clamping down. Since I am always striving for balance, I can see that in my current state this little monster can threaten to derail you. After living for many years with fully and then partly suppressing your identity, it can bolt out of the starting gate with reckless abandon. Yes, it can be a good feeling but I can also tell when it's too much and you become charged with a nervous energy that I don't want. Therefore I am now working on tempering my emotions around this current physical and emotional freedom I am experiencing. The closest analogy I can find is that of driving alone on an empty highway and stepping on the gas too much without realizing. Suddenly you are clocking well over the speed limit and feel a little bit less in control. I'm on it though :)

Manners

Children who stare at people typically do not fall far from the tree and I noticed this recently as I sat and drank my coffee. A child no older than 10 was unable to take his eyes off a woman who upon noticing it made an annoyed expression which made no impact on him. I then made a point to notice the mother was a fan of the same practice as she stared down passerbys with the same lack of decorum. Be sure that my mother would have admonished it when I was that age but she didn't need to as I made sure to avoid eye contact with strangers. Such was my paralysis brought on by shyness and had someone stared at me I would have simply turned beet red. In general, public civility and manners have taken a hit and I'm not certain they will make a return as a desired and extolled practice; clearly one of the victims of our self absorbed culture. On the other hand, I would rather see blunt and rude honesty to saccharine and false pretense.

Privy

I had lunch on Friday with two female colleagues I am a big fan of. During our conversation one complained that her husband was parasitic and the other one is getting divorced after some years of unhappy wedlock. The former is in her early thirties while the latter is early forties. I don't envy either and it reminded me again of how challenging marriages can be. We aren't prepared when we enter into them and are still changing ourselves.  With some good fortune we will be like plants that intertwine and grow harmoniously together but in other instances it can feel like a trap that ties us to children and economics. No perfect solution exists because being alone has its disadvantages as well but least you only have yourself to blame for your misfortunes and don't expose others to them. On the hand no one is there to share the victories with. Connecting on a deeper level l believe is somewhat of a rarity and is something the minority of marriages are privy to. Interestingly

City and the stars

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A couple's take

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Munich: the edge of war

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It's 1938 and Hitler is on the rise with Chamberlain as British Prime Minister. There are people on both sides trying to stop what will eventually be war. As a result there will be a planned plot against Hitler by conscientious Germans who have access to secret government information. All the while a well-intentioned Chamberlain wants at all costs to prevent another great war. Two college friends  together (one English and one German) who went to Oxford 6 years prior are suddenly thrust into the thick of trying to stop things from escalating. Watch it and it will only make you think of recent events.

An end to angst

I've told Jack Molay many times how his site was life changing for me. In my view the most important resource blog on the internet delving into gender issues, it opened my eyes as I struggled with self acceptance and needing to understand the origins of what I was experiencing. I found it just when I most needed it which happened when Jack commented on one of my early posts. From then on its been a slow but steady climb in the right direction for me as I continued my soul searching and research. I attribute the current reduction of commentary on his site not to the quality in content going down but rather to our coming to a place of understanding and acceptance as a society. The angst has substantially subsided over the years as a result.

Switch

Anyone trying to sell us an idyllic portrait of their lives isn't being completely truthful. The reality is that we can experience periods of relative peace and joy but then invariably be interrupted by sadness and strife. It is the way of the human condition and our inability to control the cards we are dealt. If we have lived long enough, we have likely seen both sides (not everyone to the same degree) and we know our status may again change only aided by our learning to recognize what we can impact and what is ultimately beyond our control. I have learned that the best outlook is one which celebrates those joyful periods while realizing they can be fleeting and to not take for granted that they will last beyond where they seem meant to. I only need to look to people around me to see how things can flip as if by a switch.

What to do

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I don't envy Merrick Garland. As more Trump criminality continues to surface he needs to make a judgment call regarding whether to prosecute for crimes that make Watergate pale by comparison. Complicating matters is the reality that this psychopath ex-president has near messianic status among his deluded base. Do you risk starting a fire in such a divided country and then watch a criminal potentially skate away? One thing is certain: if you do nothing you risk setting a precedent that any subsequent president can flaunt their power and get away with it.

Vestiges

Having women talk about men to me is validating but also informative and they will sometimes share the same kinds of clichés that men make about them. Louise this morning over coffee told me “Joanna you know how men are with their not handling more than one thing at once” and I laughed but then made a remark that we shouldn’t over generalize. She agreed and laughed as well. Years ago, I used to experience some level of guilt when this would happen. It was like I was deceiving someone but then I realized I wasn’t and there was no obligation to divulge my history to anyone. I was dealing with people at the level of where I am now, and that aspect is not relevant to the interaction or the friendship. This is one of the last areas I am dealing with, but I am not the least perturbed and things will happen organically much like my coming out process was with family, friends and colleagues. When the time was right, it just happened on its own.

Pariah

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I 'm tired of weakness Tired of my feet of clay I'm tired of days to come I'm tired of yesterday And all the worn out things that I ever said Now it's much too late The words stay in my head So the day will begin again Take comfort from me It's up to you now You're still here and you'll dig in again That's comfort to you It's up to you now So pariah you'll begin again Take comfort from me And I will take comfort from you I'm tired of Facebook Tired of my failing health I'm tired of everyone And that includes myself Well being alone now It doesn't bother me But not knowing if you are That's been hell you see So the day will begin again Take comfort from me It's up to you now You're still here And you'll dig in again That's comfort to you It's up to you now So pariah you'll begin again Take comfort from me It will take time Don't you worry Don't worry about a thing 'Cause nothing really dies Nothi

Toilets

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 It takes at least 15 flushes to get rid of government documents. You cant make this stuff up...

Stochastic

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Fields which rely heavily on stochastic methods are bound to yield imprecise results. Psychology and sociology for example attempt to introduce some rigorous methods but are tainted by our lack of knowledge of the brain and all its inner workings. We find what works through repeated trial and error rather than via measured empirical and perfectly reproducible results. This is sometimes frustrating because those who want to help cannot do so perfectly and those who want to dispel and attack have plenty of latitude to question without much repercussion. As someone educated in physics and engineering I might have expected my foray into a field like this one to be easier and yet was stymied by its elasticity. In the end I had to realize that, with a dearth of precise information, it was often best to also be guided by instinct and personal experience. Hence, aside from reading everything I could get my hands on, my views are a collation of research as well as reading the thoughts and expe

The fence

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Many males can and do have transfeminine feelings but not all of them suffer from gender dysphoria. It's an important distinction which allows some men the indulgence to trespass occasionally into the female domain and then put things away without major consequence. This is an almost ideal scenario because, once happy with themselves (and their partners reciprocate), they can lead relatively balanced lives. Once dysphoria enters the picture however things become more complex and there is an internal struggle to comprehend how to react to the disconnect. The feelings cannot be put away (perhaps denied for a time) but are permanent. Only adding to the problem is the reality that dysphoria is graded and should ideally be responded to in accordance to its severity which requires extensive introspection to resolve. R ecognizing which side of that fence one is on is also not immediately obvious to everyone. Frequent cross gender expression has been erroneously identified as a gateway to

"Gazpacho"

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A fighting chance

This pandemic represents a major milestone in our lifetimes and a societal turning point which has already had significant impact on the path we were already on. This is a flux point with the world trying to figure out what it wants and needs to be. The climate crisis, the handing of the reins to millennials and the nature of work are happening simultaneously as we emerge from our shelters after over 2 years of trying to curtail the ravages of COVID. The world already feels and is different and our lives will never be the same again. It might be our chance to remake the landscape to one more equitable and just. The scales have tipped far too much in the direction of those who wield power and wealth and they have only lined their coffers more rather than use that capital to improve the world. My daughter verbalized that over dinner last night and her generation's sense of optimism must be restored so they feel they have a stake and a fighting chance at bettering our existence.

A call to manage

Having gender dysphoria is not necessarily always an obligation to act but it is a call to at least manage. The reality is that we can overshoot when we don't need to. Once we accept ourselves we can be tempted to fully transition (and perhaps that is indeed what is required for you). The trick is knowing just what you need which is unfortunately a trial and error exercise which can also see us undershoot. The reason it took me so long to find a formula wasn't by accident. I still have many moments when I wish I had been spared my reality but they pass and I move on to the next day and the next with a sober sense of what I'm facing.

19th century COVID shot center

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Not a bad location in historic Pointe St Charles...

Lifelong

Finding your way as a trans person is a lifelong journey and I can comprehend very well now that a transition is always in progress. I don't have a goal in mind however, and I float along until something moves me yet again to change some facet of how I live. Patience is your friend here because I have read too many stories of rushed surgeries and familial complications which might have benefited from better planning and some deep breaths. I think that if being trans becomes overly obsessive it can blind us to other matters which then begin an adverse chain reaction akin to a game of dominoes. Some younger trans people (less than half my age) upon hearing about me through my family are astounded when they learn I haven't yet medically transitioned and wonder why I waited so long. They didn't grow up in my time and don't relate to what would have been a far more daunting proposition then not to mention our lack of understanding of the topic. Everything is relative and co

Leaving space

Parents and children are unique individuals as are siblings and as I look back at my life I realize it all the more. We have different interests and aspirations and yet we are placed together by biological circumstance. As my daughter and I cohabitate for several months now I see how much different she is from me and yet can recognize either genetic or perhaps learned traits that leave me wondering to what percentage of each I can attribute their origin. Recognizing our uniqueness is also a sign that we can let each other be and reduce expectation for their likes are not ours and vice versa. Our relationships are intertwined and complex and yet they can be made simpler by leaving space to breathe and celebrate our distinctiveness.

Speaking of now

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Thinking of others

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As truckers blockade places like Ottawa and Windsor complaining about COVID mandates, one wonders what might have happened if more people believed in science and got vaccinated as well as better respected rules regarding distancing. Today I spoke to a woman a little younger than myself who got hit by the virus as if by a freight train and is still suffering side effects; this after being double vaccinated. It's all well and good to talk about personal freedom when you haven't been impacted and self indulgence is your thing, but the reality is that we would have been out of this mess much sooner if we didn't depend on the lack of intelligence of others. That's the wonderful thing about pandemics: we need to rely on everyone to get ourselves out of them which requires us to think of others first.

In plain sight

Choice is a good way to encapsulate what I think being trans is; you have no choice in the matter and simply are that way.  It is only when one introduces choice that you then enter the arena of gender variance and no better example than drag queens (who are so popular these days) to exemplify this scenario as are some self described hetero crossdressers. Some trans people think they aren't trans because they are sure they showed no early signs of gender variance but that could be attributable to denial. Even as I showed proclivity very early on, it took decades to flesh it out and recast an identity which had been summarily dismissed and denied. That lack of choice and caving in is sometimes attributed to obsessive dysfunction rather than hailed as earnest attempt at expressing identity. I believe that if one searches hard enough, the traces were always there only hidden in plain sight. 

Shortcomings

I am diligently working on my temptation to want to slap people. After a lifetime of reflecting on humanity and its many flaws, I am more focusing on repairing my own shortcomings (numerous as they are) and letting what can't be fixed pass under the radar of my inspection. When you are able to finally understand what makes societies tick, you realize so much of the dysfunction mirrors our own situations only at a macro level. Fear, envy and injustices run rampant but then so do kindness, love and fidelity. We make our contributions at our own level and let others do the same hoping that it spreads. We all have a role to play.