Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“There are two things which have no limits: femininity and the means of taking advantage of it.”

Beyond Halloween being LGBTTQI's Pride Night II, it is the traditional night of liberation, taking that persona out of the closet and giving it a spin. Feminine Butches,      
take no nonesense femmes, feminine men, and playful androgyny.

Masks, roles, identities, and the perception we’re comfortable with. Halloween is the annual night we get a ‘Truth or Dare’ pass to step into another skin: that ‘grass is greener’ fantasy; the desire to shuck the role we play; the night repressions' are set free and what occurs behind the closed doors comes out to play.

Jung says that we are all the male, the female, the angel and the devil. Femininity has as many definitions as it has observers. Which is the greater mask; the helix of the male and female, one stuck within limiting options of strength and the other playing the role where that strength has a purpose, amd is desired?

 So instead of another horror flick try watching Victor/Victoria this Halloween (or Halloween week).
It has everything: a straight couple that accept coming out as gay; crossdressing; discovering liberating trans and learning to be a partner to same plus vamping femmes and gay teddy bears. The films displays the innate femininity within the aspects, social and unspoken, of being male, not to mention the variance behind stereotype, and times when a cigar isn’t just a cigar.

As one reader wrote, it is oft harder for a woman to be ‘more feminine’ as she mentally perceives it
than for her to cross dress as the androgynous male. And easier for a guy to cross dress than allow themselves the daily feminine. As long as there have been social lines of taboo, the desire to try the other side has existed. So enjoy a love story or triangle of Victor, the man in love with him and the femme determined to keep ‘her man’ deep in his social role. Beyond a vocal ascension which has to be heard to be believed, enjoy the delights of ‘if I feel this, how does that change me?’, ‘and how does that change how others see me?’ to ‘and why should I care?’

As the other part of the quote in the title says, "Let desire guide you.." (booze sometimes helps too) 
Have a trans-formative Halloween!

PS – Prize to the first two people to guess the origin of the quote (without googling it), ends on Nov. 5th.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Truth in ugly: hating The Hunger Games

I read the Hunger Games the first month it came out. I hated it. I hate the film. And the more that people loved it, the more scared I became of those people.

For those unaware, it is about a fight to the death among 24 teens (yes, you did see this a decade ago in Battle Royale). Regardless that it is 100 years in the future, reality TV still is more important than reality. As part of the ‘New America’ with a real war, and years of economic depression and unemployment, Teen Fiction still has 16-18 year old females who find fashion more important than violence and don’t know how babies are made. So heroine Katniss eats animals she hunts or traps but in a fight to the death we learn a lot more about playing to the camera and how to have a ‘fab’ outfit than say, how to shove an arrow head through the ocular socket into the brain of a guy attacking you.

I think of General Aidid portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down, “In Somalia, killing IS politics.” Somalia has been at war for two decades. I wonder how child soldiers would give ratings to their fellow ‘contestants.’ Would it be on fashion? On good TV sound bites?

“I don’t deserve to go home.” That’s what one sniper of 4/39 said to his best friend. Watching through the scope, they get to know the person, the patterns, the similarities, the collection of small tics and habits that make the individual. And then they pull the trigger and take it away forever. It is ugly and brutish.

 At the end of the film they wonder what will happen now, “We should home and forget.” Katniss says.

“I don’t want to forget.” Her fellow contestant says, trying to lean forward to nuzzle her in affection. Killing was a romantic bonding experience with sponsors, TV ratings, and kids who spend a week in the muck and still look like a J Crew ad: The Hunger Games.

How is it I can suggest that killing someone, or someone struggling against a disease like cancer should show the cost; not just smiles and music and be labeled a ‘hopeless idealist?’

Dave Hingsburger, learning disability advocate, wrote about his neighbor, Tessa, painting a picture of this woman his would see out in the city having tea and conclude that cancer doesn’t have to have ugly parts but can be cheerful and consistent. Even though he saw her but once a month, he truly believed, perhaps had to believe that the other 29 days were the same as the day he saw her go out for tea. That radiation, repeated chemo, nausea, insomnia, weight loss, hair loss, bowel dysfunction, fatigue, fugue did not have to be bad or ugly as long as they are met with a smile. She died. His highest praise was that in going out ‘you never would have known.’

I can’t live up to that. Who can? It is an idea which makes all the people with chronic, life threatening and life ending diseases and Tessa herself a failure for all the minutes and hours and days where others would know. The times on the floor, top riding up, belly exposed, helpless or crying; the times dependant on someone feeding you a drink and cleaning up your drool.

Chronic, progressive and life ending diseases change the body, because they must change the body from what worked to what doesn’t. Buddhists would say that is part of what being alive is about: that change.

Recently my life has been ugly. So I didn’t write, because the failure to be what I worked to be, shamed me. There is ugliness is my disease presentation, in my body, in how local society averts the eyes, in the sentences I say and days where I end up causing instead of help, whether myself or another.  It is a failure to be what I so much desire to be. And, so there is ugliness in my closest relationship: two people, years of fiscal tension beyond breaking, continual pain and a sense of being lost by both. I could focus on how much is my fault, or not, or I could accept it, and look past it. Do I focus on the ugly or try and find solutions and remind myself that even when it is bad, it doesn’t always HAVE to be ugly. But that that if it wasn’t ugly at times, it simply wouldn’t be true.   I will, even at best of times, only be the shadow of the divine I aspire towards.

Yet, I am closer to being the kind of person I want to be this year than last, and this month than last. But it doesn’t make it so ‘you never would have known.’ And the same strong will/stubbornness that keeps me going, will also suck me into exerting will over something which has no need to be won, but which a few deep breaths and a soft answer could make life better for everyone. If I am not learning what I need to stop screwing up, then I am not looking at myself honestly.

Maybe the reason Linda and I are in Limbo is that there is no support, so arms lifting up arms too tired, someone to remember the dozens of small things which if ever forgotten bloom into large pain (how can any one person remember them all?). But socially, and with doctors they show you and tell you, that first you get diagnosed and then you are treated or not, either die or stabilize, you are chronic or terminal, your needs are consistent or predictable. Except that none of that is true, not for everyone. When I tried to get to bed a few days ago and fell to the floor, I couldn’t get up and fell asleep there. It compacted a lung, deadened an arm and pulled my neck. It was messy. It simply was.

There are, due to the last decade of war, over a half million individuals in US, UK and Canada who carry the mental and physical trauma of war.  It wasn’t a romance. You aren’t a contestant.

How will a population in love with the idea of a girl who wins a game of killing 23 other people by singing and having a really good fashion consultant make good decisions on things which involve complicated and ugly. And because the stats saying knowing or being one of those with complicated lives is a matter of time, being ready to make those decisions matter.

Someone said, ‘the fight goes to the person who wants it bad enough.’ I don’t think that is always true, but it is true in some ways. I offended someone by explaining that my anti-rape tactic would be to kill them. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to say it in society. But it seemed obvious: when you train to gouge out eyeballs, and stick things in eardrums, and stab in the throat and the groin, if you want to win, it will get ugly.

I don’t want to celebrate ugliness, or focus on it solely. Because doing that makes a life that devoid of joy or laughter. The good parts of a life, even one where the disease, or individuals have removed many choices, is in celebrating the choices available. The film 128 hours is about a guy who merely tried to survive himself, and his own bad choices which led to loss, and a new beginning. He could have stopped a ‘loss.’ Loss is that ache which never truly goes away, and in the dark times, can seem overwhelming. Joyful moments of living are those times, minutes and days when that ache isn’t pulling at you.

I miss working ten, twelve, sixteen hours a day. I miss the satisfaction of working hard. In having all nighters. The feeling of coming off a 15 hour shift would make me hum, all the way to a quick shower and sound sleep.

This week, I haven’t been able to be awake, even sitting or lying still for longer than 10 hours, sometimes only three.

My work is to find ways to celebrate each day I survive: to be joyful in bringing joy to others, seen and unseen. Now I simply need to find solutions and pathways within the very limited energy and resources I have.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Isn't life too short to suffer fools gladly?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

David Goodis, and MTV's Teen Wolf

I’ve been reading David Goodis, the peculiar noir writer who is the protagonist in the Coen Brothers’ film ‘Barton Fink.’ He became an MGM writer after his first novel became a movie. However he was an eccentric as well cheap beyond belief: he would steal thrown out clothes, then sneak into friends closets to cut out the name brands, which he then sewed into his new ragged clothes. He would then wear these, stains and all, unwashed and unironed. He used to dye clothes blue until his entire wardrobe was blue, along with his skin. He chose to move back in with his parents where he wrote post war pulp detective fiction. His books, Nightfall, Shoot the Piano Player, Street of the Lost, etc are about losers in the worst part of town who like Godot, spend energy to escape to nowhere. Due to his own fetish, usually one character would end up being humiliated in mild S&M with an overweigh woman. He liked going to dives, drinking in the worst neighborhoods just because. His protagonists are lonely men desperate to connect with a woman, one they openly acknowledge is beyond them, before the inevitable violence descends.

From Nightfall, a detective interviewing,
“We’re going to step on the gas,” Fraser said, “We’re going to use a good sharp knife and cut away everything that doesn’t matter. Now, Miss Gardner, what do you do for a living. Fast. I want it fast.”
As for me, I’ve not only lost days to sleep, I’ve woke up panicked convinced I had forgotten a semester of high school. Weird, usually it is the ‘I’ve enrolled in too many courses at uni and forgotten to drop some.’ Or ‘What happened to my dissertation?’

For guilty pleasures, of the supernatural series, I took a chance on a bargain copy of Teen Wolf. Yes, that remake of the Michael J. Fox movie into a series. I bought it because it was MTV, which made Awkward, a showing of TV which was so painful, it brings flashbacks (‘ave a butchers’). Unlike Vampire Diaries or the other new werewolf series, this one is done both tongue in cheek, but also like the first years of the series Supernatural, each episode is a horror movie of the week (go for the random killing in the DVD rental place by the guy who has argued with Girlfriend outside that no, no, no, he is NOT going to watch the damn ‘Notebook’ again – “Uh, can anyone tell me where The Notebook is? Huh, wonder why the lights are off?”) here (US residents: try to ignore the fake teeth). “There, that was a growl right?, “Technically…..kinda like a cat being choked to death.”

Guy gets bite, guy’s friend is Stiles, who makes the whole thing work somehow through humor, and Stiles’ obsession with if he is attractive to gay guys (though his ‘trying to blend in while reading ‘your first menstruation’ booklet in guys locker room is good too!).

Both guys are bench seaters in Lacrosse but now our teen wolf plays better so is off the bench (if he doesn’t change and kill people) – this leads to an unusual ‘non-transforming training’ with our hero hands duct taped behind back with his friend whipping lacrosse balls into his head and groin. MTV even mocks the whole ‘Male candy without shirt’ aspect with a music theme show of all the ‘chesty shots’ during the series. In classic Romeo and Juliet, guy falls for girl whose family are werewolf hunters. There is a plot, a mystery of murders, and yes, it is all resolved in 12 episodes.

Oh, MTV released Awkward season 2, for those who like more of the horrors of high school, particularly when hot guy who used her in first seasons decides he ‘loves her’ and hangs around ALL the time: “Yes, you have Pecs, I GET IT!” she yells at his chest in the halls.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Demonic Stationery, Kickin Boots and the art of breathing

I’m channeling Jimmny Cricket with the positive (not so much with whistling): so what is good in your life?

My good things:

1) Linda bought me the lastest copy of Gothic Beauty.

It shows some amazing corsets from Russia (with $600-3000 prices to match – Lily got a deal with her leather corset, which looks just as awesome).
Also a company, The Dark Angel in the UK was reviewed.  They sell Regency clothes, including men’s (men's clothes are harder to find than women's and regency style harder than generic gothic).
The company sells a nice Venetian Carnival Men’s Cloak worth saving for by The Dark Angel (I would want the hooded one, with black lining). Thanks Linda.
I did feel both foolish and disappointed when a looked up a retailer which advertised ‘Specialize in Demonic Stationery…’ Woe the daily dyslexic burden of disappointment: that was ‘Demonic Statuary.’

I really wanted to know how one ‘specializes’ in Demonic Stationery. Didn’t you?

2) We been watching last few days some episodes of Season six of Bones.
We had quit because ‘Sexy FBI guy’ and ‘Sexy Bone Doctor’ weren’t doing any sexy banter on or off cases.  To start the season the 'Team' went away and when they came back, Daisy had sent her engagement ring through her intestinal track and back to ‘Sweets’ and Booth was with ‘Annoying Blonde’ not Bones. When I read a few weeks ago that season seven focused on the pregnant Bones and her Baby with Booth, I told Linda that we had simply not hung on long enough.

We had watched 12 episodes, which is about half the season, which is why we quit, having to this dull, dead relationship with Booth and Annoying Blonde. Relationship combined with the horrific slime, mold, feces and other ways they try to make sure you never eat while watching the show made us quit. We started and not only were the dead bodies not quite so horrid, but Blond is gone (and Booth tosses a diamond engagement ring worth a years’ income into a fountain, so PAYDAY for those fountain cleaners). So, lost viewing found again for us.

3) Linda got some awesome boots in Seattle.
We went to Seattle partially to get some clothes for Linda’s job. And found in Nordstrom's The Rack (the discount of the high end stuff they finished showing in the showrooms, they send here) had some boots that were so awesome, I chipped in half just so I could vicariously enjoy them (as with full leather boots with leather double sole stitching, paying $40 or $50 more to get boots that last a decade over ones that last two years is often worth it). (Playing Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are made for Walkin’’ right now). As you can see, they even have the leather grips on the top to hook your finger in to pull them on.

We also found Linda some hard core fetish 7” to 8” high heels for a bargain price.
She said no. I pointed out that she is always saying she wants something to wear in the office, and these were definitely ‘dress to impress’, or ‘dress to be noticed.’ But as she has no desire to break her leg falling out of them, she passed.

4) During our trip to Seattle, while we got lost trying to Find American Eagle, we found some Amazing Blown Glass.
There was an exhibit of this artist for $26 per person entry or you could just get lost like we did and find displays for free.

Not great things:

My health. The last 24 days I been sicker than I have ever been. At one point, I was in so much pain that it was impossible to say still for more than a second or at best two. I simply writhed. No amount of pain medications could even take the edge off enough to let me lie still, or sit still. I took four times the maximum of the highest ‘breakthrough’ pain medication – the kind the doctor said, ‘You should be able to take this for a while, a week or so before your liver gives out’, but four times that amount and I couldn’t pass out, couldn’t sleep, just moaned, screamed, whimpered, and writhed for 12 hours before I slept 50 minutes. Next week, pulled all the muscles from under and by my ribs on my whole left side and under the front ribs so I couldn’t turn to look, couldn’t lift a utensil, couldn’t lean (four days of that before it just felt like I was punched in the solar plexus every time I got a hiccup or swallowed).
This meant that though I have a deep desired to write and contact people, I couldn’t. I did the whole, ‘focus on getting through this minute’ until you get to the next minute and then started over again. So life is like the crater of a blast zone, I am trying to accept the ‘obliteration’ and move on from there to some new normal.

Relationship wise, I have lost touch with a lot of people because I am too weak to send postcards. For over 10 days, I was unable (ribs and that) to even type. I want to ‘be a friend’ so I can have friends, but right now, I am not being a good friend – because life is getting in the way. Sorry if you have felt cut off. ‘Thinking’ about someone doesn’t cut it, I know that, and I am working each day to reach out.

With Linda: I love her. I want to be an asset in her life, someone who makes her life better. I’m not sure I’ve been doing that. I am committed to doing, taking action, every day, to make the relationship continue to grow. I hope that my last day alive our relationship will have kept growing stronger. (Is that future past pluperfect tense?) I want to brainstorm how to be romantic while feeble.

I feel like I am in high school, or uni, where I am mostly in my head, kinda brainy, but also cut off from people and those few I see don’t get my humor, or sentence structure, or Hubble Telescope view of things, which isn’t helped as my speech is all slurry.

Linda says that she can see how tired I get just sitting, how much of a struggle it is.

Some times breathing is the greatest victory. So is the art of sitting still.

I’ve had a hard couple years. I still had some great experiences and enjoyments: I got to see women box in the Olympics, live. I did my 10K last month. I went to Hawaii, Japan, sawing lava, Comi-con, Sakura-con.

I want there to be a lot more ahead. I still hope, deep down that like Gillian-Barre, this is something I bounce back from, or enough to dream of part time work, or at least blogging regularly.  Unlikely, but hope is hope, right?

I’d like to have more, but if this is all that I get, then that’s okay; besides, I don’t see a whole ‘Death’s complaint and case review’ sign.

Hope things are good in your life. Please let me know.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The lost thanksgiving, and addition of welts

I had hoped to have thanksgiving. I even went shopping for the turkey, and cleaned out the fridge for it when we got home. I didn’t have thanksgiving. I wasn’t part of one. That was painful and hurt. Now it just is what is.

We ran out of the covers, the covers for the Fentenyl patches. So Linda used tape. Within a day, that produced sores. That didn’t work out so well. The patches are on the wishlist, and if you want to help, getting me that would be doing me a solid (because oozing and friction and chemical burns across your back is unpleasant, and makes life unpleasant.)

Worse things have happened in human history. Worse has happened in my history, or even in my week. In sleeping I woke to ask for help, waiting for help, I fell asleep again, and then again. And that’s how I missed eating for two days.

I could say that I hope you had a better Thanksgiving, if you are Canadian, than mine. But since I did not participate, that would be…., yes, exactly. So I hope that for all, in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn came well this weekend – including the American’s who Celebrate Columbus discovering Syphilis and then taking it back to Europe - Huzzah!

As a passing thought to all mathematicians: set, no set, set of no set, no set of all set, etc – in the end, all belief requires a centre which accepts paradox, and mathematics, along with logic, is a life belief.

For all the love of word problems math lovers or teachers might have, I always noticed that they soon forget that whether a dollar or an apple, RL is rarely abstract sans emotion, and math is at best a mismatch of ideas created by humans, often far after they are already part of every day life. Unless of course you think that a Babylonian child of five, bullied and having had an orange taken from him, by a six year old is unaware that the one orange he had is now added to someone else leaving him with nothing. Or did his mind simply zip across that in trying to explain to his parents, thus adding 1 to his lectures.

(for those going 'wha?', the orange is about how 'mathematically' the Babylonians didn't have a way to express zero, a critical useful invention for written math, but something I was well aware of at the age of two (treats all gone, hence 0 treats, or thick gruel oatmeal in large bowel, which manages to stay the same amount despite eating is the (infinity sign) bowl of oatmeal - a.k.a., Elijah's oil) Oh, the first one refers to the set math paradox and how Russell spent over 300 pages to prove that 1+1=2 and still didn't solve the paradox.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Alive in part, undead in others

I’m still alive, in parts. I had not eaten but crackers for some days. I went to Seattle, snuck into a Furry/Anthro Con, wheeled through steel mazes of ADA access, and the backroom of a restaurant. We ate at a genuine Korean Barbecue, the only Caucasians in the full house. Lay on the floor eight hours with a heart too weak and erratic to move, then when in bed, unable to sleep due to pain for hours more.

While it is Oct, it is still sunny and in the 80’s and high 70’s. Summer never ends. Linda’s job, and all of government is currently in partial strike, as there is no agreement, leaving us up horrid street. We had a coupon for the ferry to Seattle, paid months ago, along with a hostel, which turned out to be a Best Western (why it lists some rooms as hostel is beyond me, but made the $140 room into a $70 odd one – fridge, microwave and all). We live on soup and home made cookies. It could be worse. The Pain patches, and covers run out in a few days, along with the florastor. Since I hardly can eat due to the nausea, there seems to be a natural balance which works out well.

It is a hard and rather unpleasant life, but it is the only one on offer right now, so I enjoy all the good bits as I can. I met the organizer of Steam Con Seattle, as well as the creator/artist of Nordgard published by Sofawolf. Tess Garman went up and worked on the Ididerod (1,000 mile sled race in Alaska) to get sled experience for the book. The co-(something, maybe owner?) of Sofa wolf and I had an academic discussion on the various groupings, or three groups that read Anthro/Furry Con and he was proud of the representation of female authors for Sofa wolf. I noted that Anthro/Furry tends toward either gay experiences (from gays/lesbians) or slash/yaoi type stories. Yet, it seemed mostly males attending. Sadly, there were no t-shirt or clothing sold (unlike my ‘ghoul kittens’ sleep shirt) except leash and collars.

When life gets all in all, it becomes very challenging to blog. I hope now that the heat is abating, I will be able to blog with consistency. After all, with planning, practice and the ability to compartmentalize pain due to a decade of torture, I was able to go over six miles – even if I was blind and had heat stroke at the end. Been lots of minutes of hours or days hitting ‘The Jackpot’ (what we call when the heart rate/diastolic and systolic blood pressure all in the 100+ while at rest – like lying on the floor but heart rate 130 with 189/156 is a ‘Jackpot’ – mostly because some vein is about to blow, so either my nose will start bleeding, my ear, or I will have a stroke, or maybe all three (‘Trifecta Jackpot’)), which you would need to experience to understand.

I can however describe for you what suffocating feels like: As the seconds pass, the feeling of needing oxygen grows exponentially until your whole body is screaming it into your mind, and if you could thrash, you would be. Your lungs feel like balloons that have been blown past the bursting point and are, at any moment about to pop, and there is this whole ‘red’ feeling to it. Each second seems unbearable, and each second, that feeling increases and the desire to do anything, to puncture your own throat, to beat on your diaphragm, to claw your fingers with the intensity to rip off the fingernails, if you could but move, would be a relief, hardly pain at all compared to the pain and intensity of that need for air. Then, it slows, like snow sliding off the roof when it melts, and compresses into a ball of darkness, hard and cold which sinks into your chest. The need to breathe is gone, and there is just darkness, and a feeling of being pulled down. Then images start bursting in your mind, flares that your brain sends up as the oxygen left in the blood gets used up, until the images fade into a deep dark blue, into which is a free fall without pain or concern. You can hear, through the surges in your ear, your heart slowing down, and thought is not coherent, just twitches. It is, at the end, like floating on air.

I can also tell you what a heart attack feels like, but another day.

I have long tired of being told what I cannot do, and all that I can do is die. Dying is something we do every breath, it takes no great practice. I have been doing stupid things, and hanging in the balance for some hours, all to see a woodpecker, or raise some funds for cancer, or slide the wheelchair sideways, slipping down the steep slopes of Seattle with a protracted squeak of tire protest. It is interesting, at least to me.

As T. Roosevelt said, “to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, he who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat"