Sunday, December 30, 2007

apathy and boredom in mequon

The boredom has really only struck today. And it's only apathy in the sense that I reached the point of boredom where I don't really want to do anything. Well, more like nothing sounds interesting even though I am open to the idea of doing something. Instead I've been reading, playing mahjong on the internet and taking care of the poodles. I also did go for a walk which was nice. And it wore out Zeus which is also good. It's not fun to deal with an energetic poodle in show cut.
I'm reading a Tom Robbins novel today, or attempting to. It's called Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates and is fairly good. After reading a few Tom Robbins novels I've come to the conclusion that readers either love the books or hate them, and that he probably writes while under the influence of some sort of mind altering substance. In either case, I can really only handle reading him for 20-30 minutes at time, then I need to take a break. Which is actually what I'm doing right now. I've been meaning to blog for the past few days, but just haven't done it so I figure now is as good a time as any.

Anyways. On Wednesday my friend Sumner came up to visit for a few days. We played a lot of guitar, watched a few movies, went to the guitar center and played their guitars, generally had a good time. She actually ended up staying an extra night because we had a ridiculous amount of snow, so that was fun too. We recorded a song as well, but unfortunately my computer is being an angry teenager and corrupted one section of the vocals. *sigh*

Yesterday a friend of mine who graduated from Luther last year was in town for a wedding. Well, the wedding was today, but she got her yesterday and we got to hang out. We drove downtown to Brady Street, which was an adventure in and of itself. We went to my favorite coffee shop/tea house in the world (Rochambo's), ate dinner at the Apollo Cafe, and went on a quest for boots for Katie. She wanted leopard print boots, which we didn't find, but we found her some kickass boots at Mr. Shoe instead. We also went to the Exclusive Company, which is a new and used music and movie store. They have an excellent collection of records, but I don't have a record player. It's still fun to browse. Later on in the evening we went to the midnight showing of the Princess Bride. We went with some of my good friends from high school who I haven't seen in a year or so because of extenuating circumstances. Mainly that Luther has Jterm and many other schools don't.

Today I downloaded the soundtrack to the movie Juno from iTunes. It is quite excellent, so much so that I am going to turn this blog post into a mammoth by including the track list. So, great joy was had while I brushed the dogs, drank my tea, and listened to this soundtrack.

01. "All I Want Is You" Barry Louis Polisar
02. "Rollercoaster" Juno Film Version - Kimya Dawson
03. "A Well Respected Man" The Kinks
04. "Dearest" Buddy Holly
05. "Up The Spout" Mateo Messina
06. "Tire Swing" Kimya Dawson
07. "Piazza, New York Catcher" Belle & Sebastian
08. "Loose Lips" Kimya Dawson
09. "Superstar" Sonic Youth
10. "Sleep" Instrumental - Kimya Dawson
11. "Expectations" Belle & Sebastian
12. "All The Young Dudes" Mott The Hoople
13. "So Nice So Smart" Kimya Dawson
14. "Sea of Love" Cat Power
15. "Tree Hugger" Kimya Dawson and Antsy Pants
16. "I'm Sticking With You" Velvet Underground
17. "Anyone Else but You" The Moldy Peaches
18. "Vampire" Antsy Pants
19. "Anyone Else But You" Ellen Page and Michael Cera

I've been thinking more about tranny gender stuff. I am not nearly as stressed about it as I was when I last posted about such things. I've been realizing that I don't need to get so bent out of shape all the time. Sometimes it's good to be struggling with all of the issues that go into the situation, and sometimes it's even better to just try and live. I mean, at the end of the day I want to be happy with who I am. And most of the time I am happy with who I am as a person, so I shouldn't get so uptight about what body I'm in. Don't get me wrong, as soon as I get the money together the breasts will be gone. I just don't need to get worked up about all of it in the meantime.

I have also been realizing that since I've started down this path of genderqueer tranny-ism I have changed. This is thrown into sharp relief when I come home from college, visit my relatives, even when I hang out with friends who aren't quite up to date on my adventures in the world of gender identity. It's a rather strong metaphor, but it's almost as if I have two personas, Amy and Dylan. I'm not becoming schizophrenic, but it does feel different interacting with people who know me as Dylan or know that I'm changing my name to Dylan and people who only know me as Amy and don't necessarily even know I like primarily like dykes. I'm a lot less angry and frustrated with the world, which is a relief. I've become more calm, more sure of myself as a person. I've also become less cocky, which I think is good. Either way. I'm getting to a good place with myself.

Right now I'm trying to decide what to do with the rest of my evening. I'm thinking a little reading, letting the dogs out one more time, maybe some more tea and a movie. I also would like to point out that I've been writing the post (albeit while taking a bathroom break, playing a few internet games and chatting with folk online) for the past hour and a half. Ridiculous.

Well. I think that's everything for this blog post. I'll leave you with a Tom Robbins quote from Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.

"The Devil doesn't make us do anything. The Devil, for example, doesn't make us mean. Rather, when we're mean, we make the Devil. Literally. Our actions create him. Conversely, when we behave with compassion, generosity and grace, we create God in the world"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve service

We just got back from the Christmas Eve service at church. For some reason, attending church at home has the ability to bring out these strange Mary Daly-esque ideas and urges in my head. Church other places, I'm fine. Church at Christ Church in Mequon, Mary Daly sneaks out of whatever deep crevice in my brain I've hid her and starts whispering in my ears. Stuff like "all religion is patriarchal and evil," "remember that sermon on homosexuality pastor gives? all these people think you're gonna burn in hell because you are unnatural and sinful," "jesus was poor and even if he was god he wouldn't have come just to give all you wealthy people more money. blessed are the poor means people who aren't going home to open piles of presents." and "look at how those hymns tie masculinity to dominance and control." And I try to tell her to shut up and go away and just let myself enjoy being with my family. I think about Christmas's past. And I try to ignore my sister asking me why I'm not singing, why I'm not going up for communion.. etc. But sometimes she just slips through anyways.

Tonight some of it might be the fact that I had to wear a particular pair of flared black pants that my mother strongly encouraged me to purchase under duress. So I had been a little irritable to start with. The whole experience caused me to break into tears in Macy's to give you an idea of the situation. It was later that day that I ended up coming out to my parents (again). Still. I have the pants. And it's not physically the pants themselves, its just the memory of the buying situation and the fact that my mother insists on telling me how nice I look in them. I keep wanting to tell her "Mom, no matter how often you tell me I look nice as a girl, or how happy I seemed as a child, I don't want to 'just be a lesbian' so please stop it." But I think that would be the wrong response.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was when we lived in Ohio and the Sunday School kids all put on a Christmas pagent. I got to be Herod and I think it was my favorite church play role ever. I got to wear a green toga, a nifty belt, a crown of fake leaves, and sandals. My one line was "There shall be a census." I was pretty proud of my 12 yr old gender bending self.

Either way. We're off to the annual church Christmas party that occurs between services. Hurray.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

learn from the mistakes of others

It is a horribly stupid idea to read the book "love is a mix tape" by rob sheffield when you've recently broken up with someone you had a long term relationship with. It's an even worse idea to read it while it's raining. I am willing to bet it will make you feel like shit. Also a bad read if your significant other has died recently I would think. It's about how Rob, the author, met Renee, his wife. They get married after a year, then five years after that she dies instantly one morning of a pulmonary embolism. Rob's life goes to shit for a few years. And that's what the whole book is about. To add an extra twist of the knife it's interspersed with track lists from different mix tapes he and Renee had made. It's just fucking depressing. If you are an idiot and happen to read the book, there really isn't anything to be done but maybe sneak a few shots of vodka out of your parents' stash and try and read something cheerful and optimistic. Or dry and boring.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Scarring Party

So The Scarring Party. I have recently discovered them, thanks to Mugsie. They've basically created a new genre of "end time music." They're dark, a little macabre, and the lead singer uses a home made copper microphone that makes him sound like an old victrola record. And there's a banjo, an accordian, and a tuba. What's not to love?

Happy Solstice

Happy Solstice everyone. The days are only getting longer from here. More sunlight, hurray!

Juno and other stuff

Today I saw the movie Juno with my friend Mugsie. We originally were trying to go see the annual showing of "It's a Wonderful Life" at The Times but unfortunately the people that gave them the rights to play I Am Legend said they couldn't play any other movies while I Am Legend was running. So sad days. We ended up going to Mayfair Mall, where I bought new earrings and got a third hole put in my ear lobes. We wandered around before deciding to see Juno at the AMC theater in the mall.

I haven't enjoyed seeing a movie in theaters that much in a long time. For one thing, within the first 5 minutes of the film I developed a slight crush on the character of Juno, played by Ellen Page. I think it was the rainbow belt and the liter of sunny d. The film basically follows her teen pregnancy in the town of Dancing Elk, Minnesota after she seduces her best friend Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera. She ends up deciding not to abort the baby, and is planning on giving it to this supposedly perfect couple who live in St. Cloud. The movie is full of wonderful one-liners, phones shaped liked hamburgers, and is set in Minnesota so go Midwest. While it has dark moments and does cover the touchy subject of teen pregnancy and teens having sex, it also does a good job of not being too heavy handed about the subject. It also has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a while, featuring Belle and Sebastian and the Mouldy Peaches.

I also went to the library today to pick up some books. I have been extraordinarily bored in Mequon. I picked up two Tom Robbins novels, Book Lust, Love is a Mix Tape and the Unbearable Lightness of Being. So hurray for the library. I also paid my sister's 25 cent library fine. I am such a wonderful sibling.

When I was driving through Thiensville to the library I noticed that there is a new store open, a record shop. I am planning on stopping by tomorrow after going to the high school where I hope to help out with stage crew again. Last Saturday going in was fun. I saw Randy, and also just enjoyed being backstage again. The crew they have right now is slightly pathetic honestly. Not that we were all mature and intelligent individuals at all times when I was in high school stage crew. The difference seems to be that we were passionate and wanted to do the best job we could possibly do, while the crew that they have now is just kinda there to mess around.

I actually realized that it's entirely possible that I figured out what I love to do in high school and that going to college and getting a degree in sociology and women and gender studies might not have been the best course of action. I mean, I do enjoy sociology and women and gender studies. I have loved being at Luther, and I have become a much more intelligent person by going to college. But I also realized that I was happy doing stage crew, and I excelled at it. So it's a good thing I'm seriously considering going to Full Sail after doing LVC.

Anyways. If you have the money to spare on a movie in the theaters, I really do suggest going to see Juno. At least go rent it when it comes out on DVD. And check out the soundtrack, for it is a collection aural delight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

a list of recent discoveries

1. I just discovered Google Reader today and it is a lovely thing. Basically, you subscribe to all of the blogs you read by entering in their urls, and it will tell you when it's updated and you can either read it in reader, or go to the page. I realize that I'm a little slow on the technological update, but I am still very excited about it.

2. Sumner has convinced me, I do believe that the Taylor 810ce is quite possibly one of the most wonderful guitars. When we went to the cities we got to stop in a Guitar Center and played on the acoustics. It was good times. I also am fiercely coveting an acoustic bass guitar. I still need to look around and compare before I know which one exactly. All of this guitar talk is actually quite useless because I am not going to be able to afford another guitar in a long time. But it's fun to dream

3. I am really not looking forward to writing my senior paper. I know, it's nothing like writing a thesis or a dissertation, and as long as I start working on it in January (or even over break) I will be fine. Still doesn't mean that I actually want to research and write the damn thing.

4. I lost my library card to the Mequon-Thiensville library and there is no record of my ever having a card. Which is rather astonishing considering the amount of time I spent at that library when I was younger. It's ok, my sister was with me so I could use her card.

5. Facebook a tetris application. I am going to have to delete it when I go back to school if I am ever going to complete homework next semester.

6. Finally, I need to make myself go interact with people more often and remember that my friends actually do like me and aren't going to suddenly start disliking me if I ask them if they want to hang out. I feel happier when I interact socially, which isn't a novel concept but one that is good to remember. So, if anyone in the Milwaukee area wants to hang out, get coffee, go to the art museum, whatever, let me know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

more stuff i've been thinking about

Ok, so this is gonna be another one of those tranny posts. I seem to be making a lot of them lately, but I've been thinking about it a lot so I suppose the tranny posts will happen. I am currently reading "Sex Changes: Transgender Politics" by Patrick Califia, and it's giving me a lot to think about. The chapter about violence, legal battles, all of that depressing stuff made me tear up.

Honestly, I am getting a little overwhelmed. I feel like I'm stuck. Not stuck in the wrong body, just stuck. I got to a point where I was able to say yes, I want to have top surgery and now I need to wait to save up the money, get the letter, schedule the surgery, all of that. It will be several years, at the least.

I feel like I am thinking about it all the time and it's starting to feel detrimental to my ability to function. Sometimes I just want to put it all away for a few years, and then when I have more resources, dust off the whole tranny thing and worry about all of this then. I don't think I can continually rehash money, family issues, surgery, therapy, legal issues, all of it and be ok. I'm exhausted by continually questioning myself.

End result, I don't think I'm gonna finish the Califia book right now. Instead I'm going to re-read the Golden Compass. Or maybe watch crappy TV and knit.

Friday, December 14, 2007

drive through banking

I have to say that the best part of my day was when I went to deposit my paychecks at the bank in the drive through. I drive up, put my deposit slip and checks into the little canister, they whoosh away and the bank teller does her bank teller thing. On a sidenote, when I was little I thought the whooshing canister system was the coolest thing ever. It seemed like something out of a fantasy/sci-fi book and I wanted one in our house so my brother and I could zoom messages to each other.
Anyways, so the bank teller gets me stuff out, gets the cash back for me and says "is there anything else I can do for you today?"
"No, that's all, thank you"
"Is Amy in the car with you, sir?"
"No, that's me.."
At this point the bank teller, stands up and kinda peers over the edge of the counter inside the bank, looks at me really hard, and you can see the lightbulbs going off in her head.
"Oh! Well, I'm sorry, you know these intercoms and all... well.. have a nice day!"
I pull away, laughing extremely hard. I'm pretty sure the people in the lane next to me thought I was a little psychotic.

I also had a really good conversation with my sister today. She just got her temporary license and she likes to drive whenever she can. My parents are going out to dinner this evening with some friends, so Natalie and I went to subway for dinner, then got coffee at Starbucks before driving over to drop her off at her friend's house. Anyways, we talked and had a real conversation. About Rob, about driving, about alcohol and drugs actually, about the boy she dated for three weeks this summer (woah high school drama), and about our parents. It was really enjoyable because usually all I can get out of her are monosyllabic answers or rants about "why do you have to be so weird."
I'll leave you with some direct quotes from our conversation. =)
Natalie: Your shifter is so difficult to use sometimes.
Me: It's easier if you hold it from the bottom instead of manhandling it from the top.
N: I like manhandling things
Me: You would.
N: I am like, all over your car.
And then we don't get out coherent words for a few minutes cause we are laughing too much.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

one year back from tanzania

A year ago today I returned from my semester study abroad in Tanzania. Honestly, I'm not sure what to say about it. I was re-reading the blog I wrote when I was there, just remembering and thinking. I learned a lot from my experience, but how could I not? I learned about the World Bank, the IMF, East African history. I learned some swahili, I learned that I don't live as simply as I think I do, I learned how to wash my clothes well by hand. I learned what it feels like to be a visible minority, but this was complicated by white supremacy. I also learned how to empty out the nicotine from a cigarette and remove the filter to use the paper for other purposes, =) I learned that I don't need computers nearly as much as I think I do. I learned a lot of other things, but I need to cut off this train of thought somewhere and here's a good place.

I have learned a few things since I've gotten back though too, from my own experiences and talking with the other people on my program. I decided to make a list because sometimes lists are just satisfying.

1. You can only tell "one time in Tanzania" stories so many times. And then you have to stop or you become that person who always talks about study abroad and is kinda annoying and snooty about it.
2. While it is different to go from being in Tanzania to being in the United States, not much has changed while you were gone. They had huge interstates, grocery stores, malls and hot water when you left, don't be so surprised when you get back.
3. Cultural relativism is harder to detect in your own culture. Also, cultural relativism is one of the those words you whip out when you are trying to impress your family.
4. No matter how many times you remind them, some people will never remember that you went to Tanzania, they will always remember that you went to Africa.
5. Don't idealize your study abroad experience. It's not healthy for you, for people you talk to, or for your ideas about the global community.

Anyways. Here's to hoping I keep learning more about what it means to be a wealthy white American in our crazy world.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

oh the weather

I really miss the sun. I mean, the sun still rises every day and all that, but I miss having more sunlight in the day. This weekend I've really just felt like sleeping all the time, and I've been feeling grouchy. It's probably also a combination of the end of the semester, going home, feeling stressed, all that stuff.
Speaking of going home, I'm a little nervous about it. I love my family, don't get me wrong. I believe that part of my anxiety about it is that I feel my parents think I'm just going through a tranny phase. I feel like I have to keep bringing it up with them, and I don't really know how. I don't know how to talk to them about it. I understand they need time to adjust and all, but that doesn't make it any easier. I still feel kind of invisible to them. Not to mention, I want to tell them that I've picked out a name. I want to tell my brother and my sister, but I can't imagine that they would take it well. Rob might be ok with it, but Natalie? I have no idea how she'd react.
And hell, sometimes I wonder if I'm just going through a tranny phase. And if so, how do I explain that? "Sorry everyone, I was just kidding" doesn't really seem to cut it. I am so scared of losing.. something.. if I transition. I'm not even sure what it is I'm scared of losing. I'm worried that I'll have to date straight women for one thing. And I don't want to do that. Maybe I just took the easy way out of having low self esteem by blaming it on gender. Or maybe I just read so much in the HQ section, and in classes and just adopted it because it seemed cool, or because it would make people like me, or think I was interesting?
Either way. There are things that I am looking forward to over break. Playing guitar with Sumner, hanging out with friends from high school, seeing the stage crew guys again, going to the cities, New Year's Eve. I just have to make myself actually get my school work done first! =)

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Golden Compass

If you haven't read the book The Golden Compass, feel free to attend the movie. You will probably find it enjoyable, though perhaps slightly confusing. If you have read the book, you might want to reconsider.
The movie is visually very beautiful, and the effects are very well done. But unfortunately the movie falls short in the plot and following the book department. I do understand that when they make books into movies they have time restrictions and all of that jazz. But to end the movie at a point that is about 1/8 of the way from the end of the book? I feel bereft, and slightly cheated.
Yes, the movie does hit all of the major plot points. Yes, it is technically well done. But I feel like by adding even half an hour to finish the plot, or by using that half an hour to explore some of the more intricate aspects of the plot in the book, the film would have been better.
I guess the lesson is that I should never expect as much out of a movie as I do out of a book.
His Dark Materials, the trilogy that The Golden Compass starts was one of the most influential books in my teenage years. I remember doing pursuit book club discussions on it, and being extremely excited when the next two books, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, came out. The books challenged my rather basic undeveloped beliefs about god, free choice, and the ideas of good and evil. The books are wonderful. And the protagonist is a brave, intelligent girl which is really rare even today in fiction.
Either way. This isn't an extremely coherent or thought out post. I just wanted to get out a little of my irritation at the movie. But really, it's ok, because it's just a movie.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

caf entertainment

I had a hilarious meal with three of my cluster mates, Athena, Seth and Jasmine. Special highlights included discussion about vaginal mucus, removable sphincters, Xena subtext, anal expulsive personalities and an in depth discussion on how Wooblies reproduce.
In case you are wondering, Wooblies reproduce by one Woobly putting done a coating of mucus, then another Woobly putting done another coating. Then a plant grows out of the mucus and blossoms into a baby Woobly.
After that we were walking back to Farwell and decided it might be a good idea to roll chunks of ice and snow down the hill. And it was. There really is nothing quite as entertaining as an after dinner snow rolling competition.
Ok, yes, we were being ridiculous and probably a little immature, but that's ok. I laughed so hard I shot water out my nose.

Monday, December 3, 2007

the queer zoo

Today was the annual GLBT discussion in Harv Klevar's American Diversity class. Some of you may be familiar with these lovely sessions. Harv puts us up at the front of the class, we talk about our coming out stories, the class stares at us or avoids looking at us, it strongly resembles a zoo exhibit. Usually they make me feel like I'm whoring out my queerness for money. Which I guess is kinda what happens, we talk and Harv gives pride money..

Anyways. So today I was actually pleasantly surprised by the discussion. For one thing, at pride when we were asking for volunteers we decided that we didn't want to take forever telling our coming out stories. We wanted the class to be structured more as an organic discussion than as us queers telling the heteros how life is. We also made sure to clarify that our experiences are ours and ours alone. We don't and can't speak for anyone else's choices or experiences. We also were upfront about the fact that we wanted to field questions from the class.

The results were good, at least in the hour I went to. We got asked questions about Luther, how we interact with conservatives or people who think homosexuality is morally wrong, when we knew we were queer. One question that was really insightful was how important is the gay community at Luther to our lives, and whether or not we feel isolated from the rest of the student body. Honestly, I don't. I feel integrated into the Luther community. I don't feel like I have to hide anything about myself to feel accepted anywhere on campus.

I got asked some questions about trans stuff too. Like, after I have surgery will I date straight girls or gay girls. Also just nuts and bolts questions about surgery and the whole SRS process. And questions about binding.

In the end, I think it was fairly successful. I hope that the class was able to actually see us as people instead of tokens, and realize that our queerness doesn't encompass our entire identity, it is only a part of our identities. I also realized that in past years, I think what has made me uncomfortable has been how Klevar interacts with us, as if we are representative of all queers, and as if we are somehow inherently different people with inherently different culture than heteros. But it was a good experience this time. And pride got $100 for it so hurray.