Saturday, April 18, 2015

He's Still At It!

I try to be careful and put pictures I've used in a folder cleverly labelled "used."  Many times, I'm rushed and I think "I'll remember what I used and move it later." 

This never happens.

So I'm not sure I used the first One Big Happy.  It's from 2010.  The second is from last week.

Click or zoom to enjoy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Keystone Conference, 2015 (cont'd)

More from Sharon:

I also spent time on the Helping Hand committee.  My good friend Jenny Jensen chairs that committee.  Each morning at 10 a.m. we had teatime in the Dog and Pony Lounge, where new attendees could stop by for moral support or to learn more about the conference.  We helped quite a few people, including a 16 year old M to F and her mother.

If you have not been to a conference, and want to go, I can strongly recommend the Keystone
Nicole Maines Knocks One Out of the Park
Conference.  Here are my top 10 reasons to attend next year’s conference:
1.      Well run conference with a variety of educational seminars to help with your inner and outer image.
2.      Warm and friendly hotel staff at the Sheraton Harrisburg
3.      Outings to restaurants and casino.
4.      Inspirational speakers
5.      Makeovers and feminine image consultants
6.      Professional photography
7.      Conveniently located within two to three hours’ drive of several east coast cities
8.      Reasonably priced
9.      Gala dinner and dancing with live music
10.  Make new friends and reconnect with old friends.  You are not alone!

One of the highlights was Saturday night’s keynote speaker.  Nicole Maines. She is 17 years old and is a senior in high school.  She made history in January 2014 by winning a landmark transgender rights case in Maine.  This is the first time that a state court has ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.  Nicole has spoken on Trans issues.  At the young age of thirteen she was a keynote speaker at the 2011 GLAD banquet held in Boston, MA. In 2012 Nicole and her family received the Roger Baldwin Award, the Maine ACLU’s highest award for civil right advocacy. In November of 2014 Nicole was named one of Glamour Magazine's 50 Inspiring Women of the Year when she was chosen to represent the state of Maine in the series "Hometown Heroes: 50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference".  Nicole told us her story.  She is an engaging speaker, and her energy filled the room and inspired us all.

I had a good time reconnecting with some of my friends from past years, and as always I appreciated the opportunity to spend three days en femme. I am already looking forward to next year.

Thank you, Sharon.  I hope the stars align and I can join you next year!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Keystone Conference, 2015

I didn't make it, but my friend Sharon did and she agreed to write up a bit about her visit.  Part one is today; part two tomorrow.

The 2015 Keystone Conference:  My Home Away From Home
By Sharon Rose

This was my seventh year attending the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, which is organized by TranscentralPA, the Transgender Education Association of Central Pennsylvania.  The conference has grown in size each year.  As always, they had interesting and inspirational speakers, a wide range of seminars, and fun outings.

I have written in the past in great detail about my conference experiences, so I am not going to do that again here.  I did attend some new (to me) seminars.  One of them was on personal defense.  I learned some safety tips, and after returning from the conference decided to purchase some pepper spray.

Another was titled “Transgender in Cuba, Reflections of a Changing World”.  It was a workshop by Mariette Pathy Allen about her recent trips to Cuba to document the Trans Community there.  Here is the writeup on that from the conference booklet:

This workshop presents photographs from my new book, "TransCuba". I will narrate experiences and stories based on my four trips to Cuba, and interviews with some of the women in the book. This is an amazing time in the evolution of the treatment of gender variant people all over Cuba. You'll be surprised and moved and come to a new understanding of the lives of these remarkable, resilient women, and one man).

Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over 35 years. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing throughout the globe. Her first book "Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them" was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community. Her second book "The Gender Frontier" is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in mainland USA. It won the 2004 Lambda Literary Award in the Transgender/Genderqueer category. She received the Pioneer Award at Fantasia Fair in 2014.

Daylight books published Mariette’s new book, “TransCuba”, in April, 2014. This book is bilingual, containing several essays, interviews, and 70 color photographs. There has been a lot of online publicity for “TransCuba”. Photographs from the book are in a solo exhibition in Havana, which will travel around Cuba.

When I was in college I took my first steps to explore my Trans identity.  I would go to the university library to read books that depicted Trans people in a positive light.  Mariette’s book “Transformations” was one of the few I could find that fit that description.  I would read it in the library, too afraid to check it out.  I introduced myself after the seminar and thanked Mariette for all of her work.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Hi, friends.

I'm still deep in the heart of taxes and probably will be until late Wednesday.  I don't truly object to paying taxes but the have to make it extremely complex to ensure we don't know how bad we're being raked over the coals compared with the fat cats (aka, the guys who donate millions to the candidates).

I expect to be back Thursday with a series that will probably last a couple of weeks, followed by how my new voice is working out.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Still in the Duplex

Yes, I still have a number of The Duplex cartoons to share.  Click or zoom to enlarge and enjoy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sounds Like Meg?

I was going to open with "For me, voice is the holy grail of dressing" but it doesn't really deserve a place above, say, a more girlish figure or finding killer shoes that are really comfortable.  I thought of changing that to "my great white whale" but although it's something I'm very interested in, it's not an overriding obsession.

So let's skip the superlatives.

I have tried other voice programs, and I've looked on the interwebs, but that was before I moved out of my house and it was difficult to find private time to practice.  I tried practicing during my commute but it was always iffy.

I did get the first lesson in the EVA app from Kathe Perez ~ I didn't work at it hard enough because I had to be at home to practice.  I wanted to see what the second session was like but there was a long delay and then it didn't want to work properly on my phone.

I remember trying something that was repeated on many sites on the web.  People swore by the technique but all it did for me was give me days of sore throat.

One guy had a really scary technique wherein he pushed his voice up an octave or more, which also lifts the Adam's apple.  Then he pressed hard below the muscle to keep it raised.  I don't know how delicate that bit of anatomy is, but it seems like a good way to damage something related to something you might enjoy doing, like breathing or swallowing.

As far as current techniques/programs go, this is the last I'm going to try.

I'll try to be diligent and practice and I'll report back on my progress (or lack thereof).

And if I can get it down, I will add femme voice to my femme-ish presentation at work.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do Re Mi Fa Sol La T

It's been an expensive month.  Last minute tax investments and my potential federal and state deficit will total about $9000.

My car decided it needed a couple of grand in repairs for a defective part that was replaced for free in earlier years (I'm not happy, Toyota!).

Our trip to New York wasn't much but it's just One More Thing.

So to celebrate all of the things I HAD to buy, I got something for me: yesterday, I purchased Kathe Perez' voice program.  I won't have a chance to try it until probably next Wednesday (see taxes, above) but I kept putting it off and I really had no good reason to.

Here's to the start of something new and wonderful (I have high hopes).

Chico to woman singer: you sing high.
Singer: yes, I have a falsetto voice.
Chico, laughs: That's funny.  My last pupil, she had a falsetto teeth.