Thursday, 26 November 2009

The End of the World As We Know It

I heard that song on the radio yesterday and felt it was so appropriate as to be ludicrous.

Things are hard here and more than that, my life has changed over the last three months, in ways good, bad, and just breathtaking.

I don't think I can keep this space alive any longer. It has been a lifeline and a joy, and it has brought me into contact with people I will always cherish. But it is also a monument to a certain phase of my life which is coming to an end. What is next, I am only beginning to discern.

Thank you for reading. I will leave the blog up in the hopes that anyone might find it useful, entertaining, or inspiring. I may take down MacCool Uncensored, not certain, but I doubt I will hand out the password much any more. (For those of you who have asked recently & been ignored, my apologies: it's not personal, not in any way.)

And maybe I will return to this space in the future, or start another one. Until then, farewell readers; I give thanks for each and every one of you.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Meme That Proves I'm Still Kicking

I was tagged by the super-cool ANPFisher, who is blogging every day this month. Whereas I have not blogged at all for a month. It makes a nice symmetry anyway, right?

But here it is, to prove I'm still alive... and to shake things up, I'm going to post seven good things about the last month. It's been a hell of a month so believe me this counts as "random and weird" things about me.


1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. FG got a table delivered that had belonged to her grandparents and resided in her family's basement for a looooong time. I've been knocking myself out cleaning it. Picture me, a bucket of hot water & Murphy's Oil Soap, flannel rags, and a small screwdriver to ease dirt out of the carvings, and you have it. I love it. It's a beautiful table.

2. Working on the table, plus doing some other minor fixing jobs, has made me think seriously about developing a furniture-refinishing hobby, especially if I can turn it in green/natural/historical-materials directions. I might take a relevant class or two from a nearby school. And I'm also thinking about refinishing a dresser that was originally my mom's and has been mine since I was a child. It's been mine for longer than it was hers but it still feels like hers; I'm thinking a rehab might fix that.

3. Cuban sandwiches. Um, goodbye vegetarianism...

4. Belle & Sebastian. Worth a listen. My preferred table-cleaning music.

5. Running. I ran a little over a mile *nonstop* for I think the first time in my life. Very happy about that & how it feels.

6. My lovely students. Who knew teaching was so energizing? Even if I am running around like a crazy person half the time.

7. All those friends & loved ones who keep on keeping me from falling.

No tagging, except you, Jess!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Stolen Meme

because I feel like blogging but I got nothing to say. Stolen from the ever-fabulous GREG.

1. What is the color of your toothbrush? Blue
2. Name one person who made you smile today. A student. I love my students.
3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Desperately stuffing crap into a bag from my weekly two-night stay in Job City, hoping I wasn't going to miss the train.
4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Teaching
5. What is your favorite candy bar? Bounty Bar
6. Have you ever been to a strip club? No. To be honest the idea kind of horrifies me. I'm not sure why. I don't think it's prudery or judgment, lots of other similar things seem fine. In the context of a show it seems ok, even. I don't know, some unexamined issues there?
7. What is the last thing you said aloud? "Where do I return these?" (in regard to two movies borrowed from library)
8. What is your favorite ice cream? How to choose? At the moment peanut butter oreo.
9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Old bottled water on my desk. Blech.
10. Do you like your wallet? Yes! FG bought it for me quite a while back. Simple and black, just what I like.
11. What was the last thing you ate? Twix bar.
12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? Three undershirts and three pairs of socks, and a pair of black trousers that I have to return. The last time I tried clothes on in that store the dressing room attendant offered me the choice of the men's or women's tags (you had to split into one or the other set of dressing rooms after the attendant-station). Awkward. I took men's and then my companion referred to me as 'she' and she told me to switch rooms. Later she did tell me the trousers I was trying on looked nice, but anyway, I'm not in a hurry to try stuff on there again. So I bought it and I'm returning it.
13. The last sporting event you watched? Very sad, I can't even remember. And that used to be a major activity for me. I even missed the Pats' snow game this week.
14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? None. I don't like the stuff.
15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?: FG
16. Ever go camping? No. (Weeps quietly.)
17. Do you take vitamins daily? No, but a few times a week.
18. Do you go to church every Sunday? No.
19. Do you have a tan? Erm, no. Did have a farmer's tan for a while this summer though.
20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? I like Chinese food but I do not think it makes a good topping for pizza, no.
21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? Sometimes.
22. What did your last text message say? Nosy, aren't you? I'm not saying but it was sweet.
23. What are you doing tomorrow? Attending a seminar, volunteering, having tea with a colleague, grading...
24. Favorite color? Blue but it's not a big thing.
25. Look to your left; what do you see? A chair with my bag on it.
26. What color is your watch? Am sans watch.
27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”? Australia.
28. Would you strip for money? No. Maybe for free though.
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Always in. I'm afraid of not being understood through the drive through, or messing it up somehow. I've done that before.
30. What is your favorite number? 22
31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone? Friend
32. Any plans today? It's almost over. Gonna head 'home', eat some pasta, do some reading, watch part of a movie.
33. In how many states have you lived? Counting the states of grace and panic? No? Ok then, four. Plus one foreign country.
34. Biggest annoyance right now? Hm, not really all that annoyed with anything. (!?!?)
35. Last song listened to? Fiery Furnaces, "Borneo"
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? I prefer not to.
37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? Um, no. DIY.
38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? At home, my doc boots. At work, I'm really happy with my new Bostonians.
39. Are you jealous of anyone? Not especially, at the moment. Jealousy flares up ever so often these days but it's not a lingering thing.
40. Is anyone jealous of you? No idea.
41. Do you love anyone? Yes, deeply.
42. Do any of your friends have children? Yes
43. What do you usually do during the day? Each day, as I said, is its own epoch. I really can't answer this question.
44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Next question, please.
45. Do you use the word hello daily? I do.
46. What color is your car? Silver.
47. What size wedding ring do you wear? I forget. Maybe 5? Something rather small, I have bony fingers. My fingers have grown since then, though.
48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Not specifically.
49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Nope.
50. How did you get your worst scar? A dog bit me.

Jess, for old time's sakes, you're tagged, even though there's no tagging with this one. K?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Music of the Moment

Well it's been a hot minute, hasn't it? That would be because I am a) busy with my new job and b) busy being a hot mess. Every day is its own epoch at the moment, entirely separate from the one before and the one following. As my therapist said, this is what trauma looks like, when you're first starting to deal with it. (If you're a serious reader-of-mine and want more on this, check out the sidebar on the uncensored blog; though fair warning, I haven't updated there in a while either.)

One thing that's consistently getting me through right now is music. In fact when I don't have any appetite for any music at all, that's a sign that things are really seriously bad. And so, with LL Cool Joe in mind, I thought I'd share with you my top songs at the moment. Too lazy to link but check 'em out at Pandora or lastfm or blip or whatever. They're worth it. They're helping to keep my head above water.

Antony & the Johnsons
*"Cripple & the Starfish". I think this is a song about BDSM. That's how I interpret it anyway. It's hauntingly lovely, like most of their stuff, and carries a message of survival for me too.]
*"Atrocities" Featured in the excellent movie "Otto or Up with Dead People" and just absurdly beautiful.

Arcade Fire
*"(Antichrist Television Blues)" A manic ballad from the point of view of a manipulative, abusive, haunted parent.


Bryan Adams
*"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" Don't ask. Just know that this is twisted around in every way possible in my head. It came on the radio twice on a recent late night drive and it was serious catharsis. Not parting with $1.29 to buy it on iTunes though.

The Cliks
*"Dirty King" Don't just play this on your computer. Find some speakers that can let you appreciate the bass line. It's good.

Delta 5
*"Mind Your Own Business" Female punk rockers from England back in the day. The lyrics are not a covert message to you, dear readers, never fear.

Echo & the Bunnymen
*"Bring on the Dancing Horses" Hoping to catch them live this fall...

The Fiery Furnaces
*I love pretty much their whole album "Bitter Tea". This is the essence of my life right now, the very marrow of how I feel. Particular highlights: "In My Little Thatched Hut", "Black-Hearted Boy", "Bitter Tea", and "The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry".
*"The End is Near" off their most recent album. Don't dismiss it without giving the nasty, bitter lyrics a good listen. Love it like crazy.

The Go-Betweens
*"Love Goes On!" and "Quiet Heart" especially, from 16 Lovers Lane.

Joy Division
*As ever. Especially "Atmosphere" and, of course, "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

k.d. lang
*"Hallelujah". Always.

The Kills
*Still getting a lot of mileage out of "Midnight Boom". "Goodnight Bad Morning" is one of my main go-to songs when I need to be rocked out of the worst places.

*"Paper Planes". They wuz robbed. One of the few songs that always makes me smile.

The Ramones
*"I Wanna Be Sedated". 'Nuff said.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
*Still enjoying "It's Blitz!" especially "Zero" and "Softshock".

10,000 Maniacs
*"What's the Matter Here". My dad gave me "In My Tribe" (on cassette) when I was about 8. I listened to this, the first track, over and over again. Still in love with Natalie Merchant and her amazing voice.

Monday, 28 September 2009

First Tattoo

I wanted to get my first tattoo for my thirtieth birthday but I couldn't decide on a design in time. Shortly after my birthday, though, I realized what I want: a bee on my left arm, specifically using the bee design that is the logo for the city of Manchester, England.

The bee works on multiple levels for me:
1. I have a fondness for bees as creatures. I love watched honey bees flying in and out of their hives and I love watching a bee working its way through a flower. And given the range of comparisons I make between femmes, especially FG, and flowers, well, it just works.
2. It's the symbol of Manchester and so a powerful evocation of the place where I transformed my life, a place I have come to love very dearly. (The symbol there is related to Manchester's history as a mill town: the bee as industrious worker.)
3. I have a whole repertoire of puns building off b-for-butch that I use often as short-hand. In Stone Butch Blues, the old slang "b-girl" as code for butch was invoked at one point. Bee for butch then, it's a private linguistic joke.
4. I love honey, the taste of it, the imagery of honeycombs, the whole thing.
5. My mother is somewhat allergic to bees and has a serious fear of them, so the image is also a protective totem.
6. I just like how it looks.

My goal is to have as large a tatto as fits, aesthetically, into the space of my upper left arm. That's the plan. Now I will start asking around and looking for a good artist. (Tips, especially in the Boston-Providence area, gratefully received.)

Here are some versions of the Manchester bee. I'm leaning toward not having too many colors and followng the gold-on-black design, which appears on bollards and lampposts in the city itself (though I imagine I'd used black or another dark color for the gold, and my skin as background). But I include the mosaic image because it's lovely. FG thinks I should add a stinger to my design. Maybe so.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Safe Spaces

I started my new job at the beginning of the month. It's going well. It's in a different city from where we live and I'm spending two nights a week there which is working out nicely. It has the unexpected benefit of allowing me to build my own space in my room here and have it as a sort of contemplative, all-me retreat. And I have my own office, too. I never realized how much I would like that, but I love it.

And... there is a new post at MacCool Uncensored, this one less content-free than the last.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

If Only to Reassure LLCoolJoe...

... I thought I'd update you all on how things are going in the non-passworded portions of my life.

I think I'm taking up running. I've gone for a run four times now, over the last two weeks or so. I quit my kung fu place, partly because of scheduling but mostly because I wasn't comfortable with their safety precautions.

So I needed some other form of exercise and tried running. Which makes me laugh--I tried fighting, now I'm working on running, I figure I have a better chance that way! But it's been nice, actually. Just a little bit at a time, but I've been able to run farther / longer (before switching to a walking break) each time.

Running was kind of a nightmare for me as a young person. We would do "conditioning" every fall in gym class, which meant running six laps around the track, a total of 1.5 miles. I was terrible at it and felt like such a disgusting fool. The gym teachers were not very sympathetic and would make fun of people for walking for a while or for how hard we were breathing. Also I turned a deep red that one of my (sort of) friends at the time labeled purple. I still turn red when I work hard, it's just how I roll. I'm fine with that now.

Anyway after that I never imagined taking up running but here I am, giving it a go and enjoying the feeling so far. It's nice to reclaim something that was so mixed up with bodily shame before.

And finally: new post up on MacCool Uncensored. Per yesterday's post, e-mail me if you want the password.