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Archive for April 2009

Mood: Fine, thanks
Music: Opeth-April Ethereal

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I like metal a lot. It’s not my favorite sub-genre, but it occupies prolly 10% of my collection. I like a lot of the metal sub-genres (black, death, doom, grindcore, thrash, gothic, viking, etc.) but I have to draw the line at National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM, aka Nazi or white supremacist). Which kind of seems ridiculous when you think about it. Most black metal is very extreme, anti-God, and pro-pagan/Satan and I can stomach that somehow. Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics and it seems like a lot of those bands are more about the spectacle and being provocative than actively plotting the downfall of Christianity. Oddly enough, I do believe in God and consider myself to be a sort of Christian, but I am extremely open to many forms of spirituality and the occult. So, I appreciate the different viewpoints and dark perspective you often find in metal…it’s the same reason I listen to Current 93, Death in June, and Coil.

So anyway, I like metal and have always been fascinated by its album cover art. In the beginning, black metal albums were overly simple or just silly…

File:Venomblackmetal.jpg Under the Sign of the Black Mark cover (Click to see larger picture)

But for a while now, I’ve seen some album art that has just blown me away…which brings us to the point of this here post. I’ve selected a bunch of album covers that I think are compelling, for whatever reason. A lot, but not all, of these are black metal bands and I grabbed most of the covers from the excellent Attila the Hun blog. I tried to do all of these at one time yesterday, but I chose so many that putting them all in the same post seems ridiculous at this point. So, I’m going to break them up into a number of posts. As I said, these aren’t all black metal bands or bands that I even like. But I have included some bands I really like these days…Opeth, Deathspell Omega, Lurker of Chalice, Twilight, Xasthur, Leviathan, Wolves in the Throne Room, Darkthrone, Borknagar, Ulver, Striborg, The Meads of Asphodel, etc. On to the album covers…

soulside.jpg image by Zenial

Mood: Hopeful-er
Music: Black Sabbath-Hand of Doom

Wow, Ozzy…Hand of Doom…nice one.  Ok, before I get to the news, I need to tell you today’s music story.  This is, by far, my favorite Black Sabbath album….

SabotageFrontal.jpg Sabotage image by oskarotenks

Why yes, it is the 1970's.

I love this album for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it’s epic and heavy and dark and a lot more coherent than the rest of their albums.  Mainly though…would you look at what they’re wearing??? Wow wow wee wow.  Each outfit is more bizarre than the last, but I like Geezer Butler’s red tights and leather jacket and Ozzy’s man dress and platform boots ensembles the best.

If only I knew what Geezer was thinking when he chose that…

This’ll show me mates on the rugby team!

Oo’s the sissy now?

Ozzy Osbourne, you owe me £10!

I don’t know, just give me the outfit that will make me jumblies look the biggest.

I think I first heard this album when I was 17 and I’ve been a fan since then.  It amuses me that Ozzy has had this new popularity from reality television.  One of my favorite Ozzy quotes went something like…

When I got my first bit of Black Sabbath money, I bought a new pair of platform boots and a huge bottle of cologne ’cause I hated the way I smelled.

Ozzy has priorities and I can respect that.

So, the news…I went to the credit union and guess what?  I have a new credit and debit card with my name on it and new checks are on order.  Gooooo me!  The loan officer that helped me was nice and really helpful.  The only bad thing was that I had to show him my old ID (I’ll get the new one Monday), but whatevs.  It’s done and I never have to go back there again if I don’t want to.  So, I’ve got a lot of my name change stuff done.  On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll get my new driver’s license, change my Social Security card, change my property records, auto registration, and mortgage…I think that’s it.  I also found out that my car payment should be reduced by half (long story) any second now and I might even get some money back.  So, maybe this whole transition thing might actually work out after all.

Mood: Hanging in there
Music: Einstürzende Neubauten-Implosion

I’m sorry ok?  I was just trying to relate a story about and omg there’s A PONY!!!


I'm going to ride you and ride you and ride you and ride you and ride you and ride you and ride you...

See?  Don’t you feel better?  I know I do.  Seriously you guys, it isn’t my intention to comment on the transgender community at large or wax philosophic about the gender binary and our place in it.  Honestly, I’m just not that interested and there are people that are way better at it than I.  I’d much rather stick to sharing my own stories and pictures of ponies.  Speaking of, here’s a miniature donkey, or donk…

The humans call me Mr. Tibbles, but my true name is Karlogth the Merciless, Lord and Ruler of the Seven Pits of Krell.

So…are we good?  In other my-life news, I’m going to walk into my credit union in a couple of hours, hand them my name change decree, and demand that they change over all my accounts.  I can’t wait.

Mood: Better
Music: Kraftwerk-Tans Europe Express

Wowser, that was a long post (and this isn’t much better).  I am very familiar with how brevity is the soul of wit and all, thanks Shakespeare.  But, apparently, I’m more of a “long form”-er.  Sorry.  I’ll try to edit some stories for length, but honestly, it’s not a priority.  If you don’t like it, don’t read my blog (please read my blog).  But if you ask me, you’re totally getting your money’s worth.

So, I know I came off like a major, judgmental bitch when I was talking about the meeting.  Sorry.  Let me explain.  Honestly, I was trying to recount how that meeting confirmed my expectations and use that as an illustration of things I don’t like about some people in the trans community.  Let me just say that I understand how we are all walking our own path and that there is no one right way to go through this experience.  Also, everyone has had a different experience than me.  Some trans people have survived incredible abuse and harassment and suffered unbelievable loss and daily humiliation.  All of these incredibly negative experiences can damage a person to the point of committing suicide or profoundly affect how they relate to others.   It may not seem like it, but I greatly appreciate that these meetings even exist and I think they can be tremendous resource for some people.  These women volunteered their time to help others in need and that is commendable.  Having said that…

In my mind, this meeting reinforced the stereotype that we’re all crazy and poorly socialized.  I hate to say it, but it seems like it’s true.  First of all, I hate this assumed intimacy that we’re supposed to have.  Unless, we’re pretty good friends, I don’t want to hear about your horrible surgery complications and I don’t want to tell you about mine.  Other people don’t do that.  I never hear about anything health-related when I go to professional engineering society meetings and it rarely comes up with my coworkers.  Speaking of, other than what I’ve already posted, I’m not going to share anything about being transsexual with my coworkers unless they ask.  Maybe I’m weird though.  So yeah, I understand that swapping medical information has more value among trans people, but let’s hold off a little bit.

Also, sharing so much of your personal story kind of stinks of crazy.  Let’s look at the model of the coworker again.  There are people I like at work and we have shared some personal details, but it is a very slow process.  We didn’t start with the heavy stuff but built up to it after some trust had been established.  With regard to the meeting, I’m not writing your biography so I don’t need to know that you’ve been in therapy since 11.  Instead of sharing so many personal details, maybe you could tell me what you like about therapy or, in general, how you think it has helped.  You know, share something that might benefit the rest of the group.

Regarding socialization…I’m certainly not an expert, but I don’t think it I’m out of line in saying that men and women behave differently.  If you’ll permit the sweeping generalization, I think men use their interactions to “measure” or compete with each other.  It seems to happen a lot.  Men brag about their sexual prowess, knowledge of fine wine, sports trivia, or whatever as a way to compete with and compare themselves to other men.  Also, it seems like men love to tell you what you should be doing and how you should be doing it.  Ok, I love good advice as much as the next person, but I’m not always in the mood.  So, if If you spend a lot of time telling me how you’re involved in soooo many organizations (more than is humanly possible) or what kind of makeup I should buy, then it kind of seems like you’re showing me the size of your penis.  And if you’re a transsexual woman, then that makes you seem poorly socialized.   Like I said, I know it’s not easy to undo years of damage, but try, for me. 🙂

Finally (and I’m almost done), if you work for, find love in, and primarily hang out with the trans community, how well are you doing with your assimilation into society?  How is that Real Life Experience going? The answer is not well.  Like I said, we all walk our own path and have our own ideas about what “woman” or “man” is, but hanging out in the trans or even LG “ghetto” for the rest of your life is a great way to stay marginalized.  To me, being transsexual, or even a transsexual woman, seem more like intermediate steps than an identity or goal…I’d much rather be seen as a woman someday and feel free to hang out with whoever I choose.

Ok, enough of my half-baked opinions!  Does anyone have any comments or questions?  Flaming death threats?

Mood: Still.very.tired
Music: Nick Drake-Fruit Tree

Ugh, maybe I’m still more nervous and worked up than I was letting on.  I got like no sleep Sunday night and slept poorly this weekend so I was just a wreck yesterday.  I went to be bed early and took an antihistamine, but I still feel worn out and anxious.  I’m not sure whether I should attribute this to pre-full-time jitters or just poor health.  I brought my running stuff today and I’ll try to get to bed early again…hopefully that fix me.

So, that story about the trans discussion group meeting thing…um, before we get started, lets have a palette-cleansing photo…

f300cda45d76dfd0a3023793b6165b5be59.jpg picture by konferenzdertiere
Hipster chic or unfortunate coincidence?

Adorable, right?  That’s the picture I was looking for the other day.  I have a copy of it on my ‘puter, but couldn’t remember how to find it again on the intarwebs.  I originally saw it on ffffound, but it can be rilly hard to ffffind (lol) anything on there again.  Ready for another?

Here’s an album cover from a woman named Delia Derbyshire.

 /></a></p> <p>Gorgeous and apparently long out of print Delia Derbyshire library record.</p> <p>Spotted on <a href=
Shhh! I’m calculating a complimentary phase angle for a phat beat oscillator.

Delia Derbyshire had a degree in Mathematics, worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, had an awesome name, and is considered to be an early pioneer in electronic music.  So, there’s that, but it doesn’t hurt that her album cover is lovely and modern (that’s her btw).

Ok, so are you ready?  This is going to be  a long one….

The friend I was going to the meeting with (for the sake of privacy, let’s call her Kaylee) picked me up at work and we drove down to the meeting.  I changed clothes and did my makeup in the car and Kaylee opted for the no-fuss, shorts and t-shirt look.  Even though traffic wasn’t bad, we made it to the meeting about ten minutes late (’cause that’s how we roll) and parked in the back of the GLBT center.  This particular center has a youth-outreach program so I think there are always a lot of yout’s hanging about.  Well, they were all hanging about in the back of the building in the parking lot where we parked.  Most of them were…well, you know how kids are these days…slack-jawed, gawking, hanging about, cracking wise, and being shiftless and generally without direction…probably stinky.  We got out of the car and walked past them to the front of the building.  I was a little bit nervous, but felt pretty good about things due to my incredibly low expectations and the fact that Kaylee was going too.  The center is upstairs, so we walked up a flight of stairs then stopped in the middle of the next.

Me:  What are you waiting for?

K:     Um…nothing.  Maybe you should go first.

Me:  Nuh, unh.  This was your stupid idea, you go first.

K:     Cha, as if.  This was totally your idea.

Me:  Do as I say!

K:     Fine!

So, we make our way to the desk and ask the two guys where the…you know…[whispering] trans meeting was.  They pointed to a rectangular-shaped assortment of furniture behind the main desk.  Everyone at the meeting (all three of them) was sitting at one corner of the furniture group.  Kaylee and I wanted to, you know, bond with them, so we sat at the extreme opposite side of the furniture arrangement.  There were two older trans women there and what looked like a very young girl.  One of the older women introduced herself (let’s call her Amber, because she kind of had a stripper name) and bid us welcome.  I introduced myself and Kaylee, trying to set the tone for the evening, introduced herself in her deepest voice.  I was surprised but kept my feelings to myself.  In turn, the other woman (Jennapher Sillymadeuplastname) introduced herself and then introduced Michael (the very young girl, who was actually a neophyte trans guy and kinda looked like he was so nervous he was going to die).

Amber asked if we had any issues that we’d like to bring up.  I looked over at Kaylee for help because I don’t speak support group and had no idea what she was talking about.  Did she mean…was I fed up with The Man and those Fat Cats in Washington (yes)?  …did I need an American Sign Language interpreter (no)?  …was my skin really, really dry (not since winter)?  Since Kaylee returned my askance with only a stony stare, I answered Amber with a smiling shrug.   To move the meeting along, both women gave us a short transition-level synopsis (see, I told you…both were post op I think, both had been on HRT and out at work for a while and honestly who cares?).  One of  them asked me where I was at and I told them that I was about to go full-time at work.  Kaylee opted out of sharing.  Before the meeting, I had decided that, no matter how lame it was, I would try to make nice and be sociable.  I won’t say I’m always confident and in control of new group situations, but hours and hours of awkward social and professional interaction since graduation have taken the edge off.   So I wasn’t having any sort of problems at the meeting.

Apparently, that was our last chance to say anything.  From then on, we listened as Amber and Jennapher told us all about every single unbelievably personal factoid they could recall.  I don’t have the strength or courage to try to form all of these shocking tidbits into a narrative, so I’ll just make a list…

-Amber had been in therapy since 11, still goes, and thinks that trans people should have a lot more therapy…like years.

-Her breasts were size F (they weren’t) because she forgot about the effects of HRT before having a breast augmentation.

-She’d had genital surgery to save her life from something, but did not have a vaginal CANAL!!! NO VAGINAL CANAL!!! AAAGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!! I know, I’m still throwing up.

-Apparently both of them belong to about 30 trans and LGB organizations and I’m a horrible person and loser for not doing the same.

-She’d been at the Angie Zapata trial all week (and this was the day the guilty verdict was handed out) showing her support.

-She transitioned right after her wife died.

-She showed me a picture of her (when she had a beard) and her dead wife (no, she was still alive in the picture).

-She used to be a truck driver and was now doing something with the GLBT center…not exactly assimilated into general society.

-Jennapher was ex-Army and somehow got the VA to pay for her prescriptions and counseling and “almost an orchiectomy!

-She had also been homeless recently and was trying to start her own church group.

-She was wearing a short skirt (above the knee) and, unfortunately, I saw her underwear a lot.

-Both of them were nicely dressed, but a little bit too nicely, if you know what I mean.

-Amber told me all about the various TG events around the country and told me often how I should be going to them like she did.  At one point, I aksed her why I should be going (not trying to be mean, just asking) and she said it was just really great to hang out with other TG people (which includes a lot of cross-dressers), get dressed up, and blah blah blah.  A quick aside…it may seem like splitting hairs, but for those of you that don’t know, cross-dressers (CD) are very different from transsexuals.  CDs are generally straight men that like to wear women’s clothes as some sort of sexual release.  Some of them eventually figure out that they are transsexual (it can be hard to figure this out) and opt to have surgery.  But most of them are very happy being men and can never disassociate sex from wearing women’s clothes.  So, if you’re keeping score at home, I don’t feel that way and I don’t see any reason to associate with cross-dressers.  I may attend one of these events at some point in my life, but I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out.

-At one point I told her I had thought about going to the Trans March before Gay Pride in San Francisco and she kind of put it down as a waste of time.

-She told me all about what makeup to buy and recommended it because it was something that drag queens wear.  Ok, I don’t have a problem with drag queens in general, but their makeup can be…rather thickly applied.  I am familiar with makeup and even wear it on occasion.  But, I’m trying to go for that “less is more” kind of look, you know?

-Ugh, what else…they encouraged me to remember to have regular prostate exams and told me about their colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies (and I threw up in my mouth).

-Amber told me about how she had spent like so much money on laser hair removal and kind of gave me the pity eyes when I told her I was doing electrolysis.

-Finally, they encouraged me to remember that all of this transition business is fraught with peril at every turn and things could go horribly wrong and a lot of women end up killing themselves even after transition is over…but have fun with it!

At many times during the lecture, I looked over at Kaylee either because I was throwing up or about to LOL all over the place (thus sharing my true feelings).  A lot of the time, Kaylee was out of the room doing something else (talking to Michael).  When she was there, she always gave me the same “omg did she really just say that” smile.  So it was great having her there and made the whole thing much easier.  At one point, she texted me with, “Please shoot me.  This is so lame.”  It was horrible, but I was determined to stay until the end of the meeting.

Oh, and at some point in the meeting, this trans person that Kaylee had been supporting showed up.  I think I’ve explained it, but people like to pair us with each other.  “Oh, you’re trans, do you know my friend blah blah?” I understand it, but that’s not really a great basis starting a friendship.  Kaylee and I go to the same place for electrolysis (but have different operators) and recently, both of them have set us up with newbie trans people.  My operator asked my permission first and then sent an introductory email…which was thoughtful.  Kaylee’s operator just kind of made her talk to him on the phone one day…I know, wtf right?  Since then, it seems like he’s been wringing every ounce of support he can from her.  And that’s hard.  It’s important to have a support system and people to lean on when things get bad, but it’s easy to abuse it too.  We all have our own problems and varying levels of crazy and it seems like it’s easy to overextend yourself.  So yeah, he (and I say he…he identified as a trans woman but wasn’t trying to show that) was there and was talking to Kaylee a lot during the meeting.

So, the end of the meeting came and I was so ready to go.  I got a business card and contact information from both of the women and gave them the slip when they asked for mine.  I grabbed Kaylee (before she could invite whatshisface out with us) and we walked downstairs to the exit.  Outside the door, we couldn’t hold it in any longer and just started laughing and making jokes.  We drove back to my place and I made dinner for us both while we dissected the evening.  It ended up being a really fun night and I had a lot of fun playing Xbox with Kaylee, but O.M.G. that meeting was a bad way to start.  Unless someone would like to go back and needs a buddy, there is no way I’ll return.

an introduction

Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.


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April 2009