Friday, May 23, 2014

"Hope is a good thing"


Another bank holiday weekend? I don't mind if I do! :-) Oh, and it's half term too, so an extra day with the nippers, will be time well spent. How are things with you and yours? All good I trust!


I would normally say, I'm not one for politics and if this isn't your thing, do skip on to the next bit. There's something about shoes and looking fancy. ;-)

[ If you decide to ignore Lynn's rant, go to page 65. If you decide to hear what she's got to say, go to page 9. If you prefer to attack the Ork in a denim skirt using your +3 mascara wand of fabulosity, to give a much needed make-under, go to to page 104 ]

And they say the books you read as a kid, don't influence you. ;-)

Still reading? Okay, no, don't worry, I shan't be getting on to my soap box. Although I will be imagining that I'm sat talking to you over a nice tea (or coffee, if you prefer).... It was, the Euro-elections this week and for readers outside the UK, this is where the British public vote on who we'd like to represent us in the European parliament. If you want a bit more of an accurate description of what actually goes on, do tap Google for a better, and quite probably, longer answer :-)

I won't be talking about who I voted for - not that it's a secret - but I will be saying this. I'm disappointed in those who voted for a certain 'independence party'. Said party wants nothing to do with Europe and seems to be the go to faction for whipping up a media storm about us losing our jobs to European people and that Europe interferes with how the UK Government runs things. They also, and I shall try to type this without getting cross, seem to have the monopoly on homophobes and racists. Oh, and there have been reports about reducing the laws put in place to protect mums-to-be. What they'd make of trans people like us? Well, I imagine nothing pleasant. If I wrote down a list of the things I'd never want a political party to do, I think pretty much all of this independence party's views and ideas would be on the list.

What has annoyed me - other than the bigoted mutterings from certain members - is that some people in the UK are voting for these people! I want my country back, or this is a protest vote, or well the other parties are as bad as each other. Sure, the other parties are far from perfect, but given the choice between a party that actively discriminates against a wide spectrum of our modern society, I'd go for the others any day of the week. Hell, I might even vote tactically to make sure that said party won't get in around here.

Okay, that's my rant done. Over to fancier subjects ;-)

Chameleons and Eras

This week, one of the longest attending folk - nay, perhaps even one of the original organisers - from Chameleons, Jane, has become seriously ill. She had a stroke recently, and as is often the case, one leads to another and another.... That seems to be the case here, as it was the case for my Granny.

Jenny kindly collected a briefcase from Jane, which contained lots of items related to the group. Important items, like the fund details and Nottingham Self Help contacts. But other things too. Items such as very old newsletters from Chameleons. Yes, we did used to run a newsletter called The Changing Times. I think I may have submitted a piece once or twice. Sandi, Val and myself had a good chuckle going through some of these items and keeping some, getting rid of others.

There was also a few newspaper cuttings and some newsletters from other trans organisations. Some were from back in the 80s and early 90s! Yeah, pre-Internet stuff kidz. :-) There were some pamphlets from TV/TS, who I think were the first trans organisation I heard about. That was in the late 80s on a late night programme called Hodson Confidential, on ITV. This programme picqued my interested because it featured Philip Hodson, who was the Agony Uncle on BBC's Going Live (a Saturday morning kids' show). Other than the occasional tabloid article on Soldier In Sexy Steamy Silky - or words to that effect, from Jane's cuttings - Hodson Confidential was probably my first exposure to seeing that there were other people like me. People who liked dressing up, but who weren't into it for the sex, and I think that really helped give me the feeling that if regular adults could live this double life, then just maybe, so could I. Hope, as the movie quote goes, is a good thing.

If any of you started cross-dressing, or whatever label you care to give it, before the Internet boom; where did you get your information from about it? For those of you who had the Internet to consult, did you find that helped, or not?

Chuck outs, awkward shoes and new earrings

The Every Lovely Mrs J and I had a bit of a second spring clean last weekend. Never let it be said humans are not affected by their animal past ;-) I decided to thin my wardrobe out, as there were some items I was not going to get into, that I'd not worn for a while and Mrs J needed some dress space (following birthday treats from yours truly). Rather than send the items straight off to charity, I packed them up and took them to Chameleons, to let the group have first dibs. I did put a skirt aside for Tanya, a dress for Alison and some shoes for Kimberley (who's recently started to come to the group and - by her own admission - doesn't have much at the moment). The rest of the items were studied and any purchases made, had the money go into the group's coffers. I had to change out of new sandals, as they were sadly too small, although - as per - I'd pack some other shoes just in case.

I had my eye on some new sandals for this summer. I'd seen some nice espadrilles in Tesco (not too pricey) and in my size. However, I'd left it too late and they'd pretty much all gone from our local branch. I had wanted these because they were closed toe (in a nice way IMO), which would mean less prep time when it came to Thursday nights. Anyhoo, I found some in BHS - of all places - and purchased a pair. They were an eight, so I was chancing my luck, despite having felt they were okay in the store. Seriously, if you're a store owner and you don't let men take shoes into the changing room, you are losing out on your trans customers! ;-) Come Thursday night and about half an hour in and I realised they were too small and they'd have to go back, which I did today and I had no issue returning them.

As The Ever Lovely Mrs J has been so cool about me getting my ears done, I was looking forward to trying some different earrings, rather than the studs I wear. Having got changed, I took my studs out and slipped in the new ones. To say I was happy with them, would be an understatement.  It might sound silly to some, but having pierced ears and pretty jewellery made me feel beautiful and accepted. Unlike my trusty clip-on earrings, these would move when I did, providing a little reminder I had them in and how lucky I am, to have someone like Mrs J. To top that night off, somehow, I felt that I'd got my eye make-up just right too.

Happy, happy, happy.

Take care,

Friday, May 16, 2014

Irish, farmer's, oil and syrups


This time's Blogger Challenge is hair, which is, a complicated subject for trans people. Actually, no, nix that. Maybe it's just my complicated relationship with hair. Maybe you're fine with it. I shouldn't speak on other people's behalf. :-)

Where was I? No, before the public apology...Oh, yes. Hair. Yeah. I used to have long hair when I was in my 20s. Full on, long straight hair that ran to the small of my back. I was - from an external view, at least - a rocker. But it wasn't just about that. Having my hair long, it just felt right, somehow. I won't say it made me feel girlie, that wouldn't be accurate. But the idea of short back & sides at that time? No way, baby.

It was the 90s and I was young, so it wasn't a problem. It was the grunge era and while I liked crusty rock, dreads? Not really me. I thought they looked good on some people, the idea of a bird's nest thatch on my own noggin, didn't rest well. If you could find pictures of my mates and I from *ahem* back in the day. There would be a few hoary metallers and then there's the chap with the well kept hair. Self denial is an ugly thing, right? :-)

Right now, I've got very short hair. I guess it's strange in that I went from long, to short-ish and then pretty much straight to almost skin head. It's weird, in that all those years ago, I would have hated to have the haircut I have now, but time and people change.

Going back to what I said about having long hair not making me feel - well, for want of a better word - femme? girlie? [answers on a postcard, etc], when I bought my first wig (a bob, if you're interested), that did. I guess no matter how I styled my own hair, and yeah, I did try different looks here and there, I could never get by the block of that's me, but with my hair done funny and that's even with the right clothes and a bit of lippy.

No, a good wig with worth every penny. No, it won't magically transform you..... except, in a little way, it does. :-) The right hair, will suit your face and will help push away your typical appearance, letting you look a little more like how you feel, rather than as you are every day. At Chams, my wig is the last thing I put on before going downstairs and it finishes my look. It is also, somewhat darkly, the first thing I take off, which marks the end of the evening and the time to return to bloke mode. I've seen other trans people do that little drop off the shoulders, when they take the wig off. Like I said, it's complicated. ;-)

I'm very much in the square face category, so I try to aim for styles that'll help hide my Judge Dredd-esq jaw, if at all possible. As to wigs, I've mostly stuck in the darker brown shades and these are deeper than my own natural hair colour. I had a bob to start with, then a long almost black number, which looked awful on me, but great on someone I sold it on to. After that, I had a shoulder length 'flicky out' one with highlights, then on to a red/gingery number and now I'm back to shoulder length deep brown again. Good wigs aren't cheap, but unlike a regular hair do, it's easier to road test the look. :-)

The Blogger challenge didn't say anything about body hair, so I'll skip over that. Probably best that I do, because I really don't like having much of it. Unlike the long hair, which felt right, having a hairy chest etc, that doesn't sit right. Would I get rid of my beard if I could? From a laziness point of view, if there was a single shot, inexpensive option, maybe, but there are times when I like having a furry face. Okay, not werewolf level, but a face full of stubble. Again, it's complicated.

Oh, talking of hair. Congratulations to Conchita for winning the EuroVision. So cool to see her do that and even better to read my friends (who don't know about me) commenting and accepting her via social media.

Take care,

Friday, May 09, 2014

The case of the ironic applause


After last week's post about music, I've been wandering YouTube's dusty halls of albums of yesteryear. It's a strange journey. One that takes you through disbelief (geez, did I actually buy this?), guilty pleasures to happy days and old favourites. A lot of the earlier stuff seemed to be rather shouty, but maybe that was the era. :-) There certainly didn't seem to be much of a pattern, but then, I think that's like the best things in life. Here's to eclectic.

Is this how middle age starts? You start looking back, rather than being in the now - whatever that is... ?Would it be wrong to say hashtag down-with-the-kidz?! :-) Frankly, if "the now" is X Factor and other sing-for-your-supper-TV-dinner, you can stick it. I think I'd rather stumble blindly through links and suggestions from friends.

Mind you, it's Eurovision tomorrow night, so it's irony quotas to the max, sit back and cackle with delight. I've not caught any of the semi finals, so I'm hoping it'll be a hoot. Is this a double standard, that I'm slamming the X Factor, but I'm enjoying Eurovision? For me, the latter is meant to be silly and I enjoy the circus for what it is. Odd, but then I find the pop star talent shows rather tedious.


As it was the second Thursday of the month, it was time to go to Chameleons. I had an early pass out from the Ever Lovely Mrs J due to the road works, which are causing trouble around the south end of Nottingham. I was, however, a little later than usual and coupled with my inability to decide on what to wear, it was go 9PM before I got downstairs... and then the Chams Massive applauded me. Cheeky buggers! :-) Mind you, you can't rush perfection and I'm sticking to that excuse. ;-) Sam had popped it to say hi, so it was great to catch up with her, as well as Alison, Val, Diane (who I'd spoken to on the forum) and a new visitor, Kimberly.

Mirror needs a clean
As the piccy shows, I decided on skinny jeans. It's been a while and I fancied a break from a skirt and I did leggings last time. I've not managed to really get anywhere with shifting a bit of weight, so I was glad of the home-made hip pads to balance me out a little. I did try a little fashion tweak, in rolling the seems up. For some reason, turn ups are having 'a moment'. Still, when it Rome. ;-)

This time, I tried an experiment with some bronzer. That seems to have helped match my foundation towards my chest, sorry, d├ęcolletage, which I think will tide me over nicely until a) I'm not milk-white from the winter and b) when I've time to try a slightly lighted foundation. Oh, the Ever Lovely Mrs J has been using Clinque's CC cream (CC = colour corrector?) with excellent results. Light, but with good coverage. I think getting a sample for a road test is in order! :-)

Oh, I also have a new car - well, new to me. It's smaller than the rather tanky Ford I had before and I'm hopeful that this little runabout will save me money on petrol. It's already saved me a hundred quid on road tax and the insurance is cheaper. Yeah, there are a few little gadgets I miss, but the Toyota is easier to drive and I do love small cars. I'm looking forward to the time when cars can drive themselves and I can just get in and say "take me to work", while I look out of the window and drift off....


Talking of gadgets, I have finally given in and bought a tablet. After months - nay, years - of talking myself out of one, I've bought one. It was an inexpensive one from Tesco and truth by told, I bought that because I'd read up on how to hack it (root it) and amend the pre-installed software. Yeah, I know *ahem* normal people may not like to do that, but I do. This probably explains why I work in IT and why I'm not 100% normal. ;-) The reason for tweaking the system is that you can remove the unused apps and the settings a vendor puts in, or - if you're being hard - forces on to you. Once that's done, you can put in an advert blocking system and you're free to use the system as you want. BTW, if you have an Kindle Fire, may I suggest Very cool, very easy to use and it sets you free of the Amazon walled garden.

I guess it's a bit like owning a PC really. I mean, you buy the system and I think you should be free to put what you want on it. If you prefer Linux, MacOS or Windows, I think you should have the choice. Clearly, a few manufactures think differently, but I think there's a gradual shift in the market - certainly in the Android world - to make systems without extra bloat. Some analysis from an IT firm found that most tablet users go into a few key apps many times and surprise, surprise, they're not the *ahem* "value adds" from manufacturers (HTC Sense) and telcos (Vodafone Sport? Meh), but most folk seem to want regular upgrades to the OS instead. Ah well, here's to the modding community working their magic instead.

Take care,

Friday, May 02, 2014

Organised noise


Another long weekend? Don't mind if I do. :-)

This week it's the birthday of the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. I have, of course, been shopping in the terawatt range. Mind you, it is probably the closest I get to guilt free retail therapy. I mean, what's not to like? Well, other than footing the bill. :-) You get to peruse the shops, find things your loved one will (will hopefully) enjoy and then get to wrap it all up for the big day. Mrs J's birthday hint list included some summer clothes, so I was in my element this time around. :-)

I missed the Blogger Challenge last time, so I'm making the effort not to today. The topic was around music, either a playlist, or a band you love. Music has been a constant in my life and there are tracks - indeed artists - that are linked to parts of my history. I've travelled from pop, to rap, to metal, to indie, to alternative metal, to industrial and then through a wild mess of the whole lot before falling back into the pop fold.

That's not to say I'm not picky :-) I like heavy music, but late Metallica leaves me cold - and don't get me started on hair metal. :-) Mind you, considering the number of Girls Aloud albums I own, I am not going to pimp myself as some sort of expert or roll model. I know what I like and that's as far as it goes.

I am confused over how a person can pick just one musical genre. I remember being at school and someone picking up that I'd bought a dance album - The Shamen, if you're interested - but mostly I was listening to metal at that point.... and Army of Lovers, but they didn't know that. Never let it be said that I don't have a liking for kitsch pop that's camper than a Brit panto. :-) Listening to one thing, it felt a bit limiting, but maybe that was the image people wanted to project, rather than the reality.

Much as I enjoy music, I have no musical ability and those rare forays into the karaoke will act as suitable prosecution. :-) But then, I think music can be far too serious; sometimes it's just fun. It doesn't have to be deep, or cool, or clever. I think it's enough if it makes you want to dance or sing along..... unless there's a dance that goes with it (notable exceptions The Timewarp and at parties, kids going Gangnam Style - which cracks me up).

I still like crossover tracks. Those pieces were an artist takes a new direction, or who fuses things together to make something new. I wonder what direction music will go and it keeps surprising me. That's not to say it's all great stuff, but there's enough variety out there to keep us stocked in 'choons' for a while.

Take care,