Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.
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It’s not my birthday…

Well the rain falls down without my help I’m afraid
And my lawn gets wet though I’ve withheld my consent
When this grey world crumbles like a cake
I’ll be hanging from the hope
That I’ll never see that recipe again

It’s not my birthday, it’s not today…

– They Might Be Giants, “It’s Not My Birthday”-

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

-Louis L’Amour-

No, dear readers, it is NOT my birthday today. That cherished occasion lies nine months in the future. Today is auspicious, however, for at least two reasons:

A) Today was the last day of my IT career. I’ve left behind Very Large Corporation, Inc, and Information Technology alike in order to take up my bindle stick, pluck up my courage, and hop aboard a train bound for Creative Enterprise.

and

B) Today is my “rebirthday.” Exactly 2 years ago today, I received the precious blessing of the state court and changed my legal identity to match my actual one. I may be only two years old, but I’m advanced for my age.

It’s been a busy day, is the point.

I’ve been struggling for years to return to creative work, the victim of an odd (and, at times, cruel-seeming) paradox; despite having zero formal IT training or education, possessing what can only be described as mid-level technopathy led to the assumption that I was and would forever be a “techie,” despite both my frequent side projects in the creative arts and my own hearty protestations to the contrary. Eventually, the time I’d spent in IT (which was, naturally, time away from design and other creative fields, at least according to my resume) reinforced this idea; “Claire must be meant for IT because Claire’s in IT and Claire’s in IT because Claire’s meant to be there.”

Not pretty.

But, the wheel of life spins under our feet regardless of our forward motion, and eventually I was able to – through a series of contacts, design projects and a stubbornness so profound that mules roll their eyes at me –  procure my new position in Marketing and Social Media. My excitement is so profound that I’m pretty sure I’ve been levitating most of the day, which sounds fun until you stop at the grocery and can’t activate the little pressure-plate door opener thing.

But I digress.

As I was packing up my few remaining possessions and saying my goodbyes, I realized how deeply IT has affected me, both as a person and an employee. Yes, there have been challenges to my patience at times – ID-10T errors and PEBKAC abound – but for the most part, even the most grievous frustrations were ameliorated by that magic moment, that singular instant, when I solved someone’s problem. Money has never been a particularly strong motivator for me; my inability to manage it, coupled with the sort of disregard for material gain most people associate with terminal illness or religious mania makes it a poor carrot with which to lead me down the primrose path. However, put me in a place where I am genuinely and consistently helpful to someone, exorcising not just the demons from their Excel macros but the shadows from their workday, and I am a happy camper (provided, of course, that there is gratitude for services rendered…ingrates turn the knob of my Smitemaster 3000 to “11” ).

This has not been an ideal job – what job is, in the final analysis? – but it HAS been a useful one. It’s taught me many things about myself, and the kind of work, environment and interactions I require to feel as though I’m making a positive impact every day. It’s introduced me to some great friends, taught me that trust needs to be earned (not just given away like novelty tokens at a particularly cruddy fundraising carnival), and, perhaps most importantly of all, helped me to understand all the things I’m NOT as well as those I am.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

It’s been a day of lasts – last login, last cup of tea, last casual sweep of Ice Station Zebra, last hugs and tears and laughs.There will be letters to write, e-mails to exchange, lunches to coordinate; there will be attrition as bodies both peripheral and central in my personal galaxy move closer or break orbit and disappear into space beyond.

But it’s also a day for beginnings. Here I stand, two years as Claire behind me, with (let us hope) many more ahead. The sun has not yet reached its apex; the future stretches before me, a road traveling through sunny heights and icy, shadowed lows. Having reached a fork, I’ve chosen what I hope is the right one, and focus my gaze on the horizon.

No, it’s not my birthday, my friends. But somehow, I still feel as though I’ve been given a gift.


In Which Our Heroine Becomes a Real, Live, Writer-Type Person

So here’s the thing:

While I have spent the greater part of my life transferring the cacophony that fills my noggin’ into squiggles on both paper and computer screen, I’ve been plagued by doubts (both professional and personal) about the likelihood of such tomfoolery providing me with a career.

Until now.

Recent events – a rise in confidence stemming from feedback on my writing; a return to school that has me remembering that I did not set out to be a pusher of papers and counter of computers for minor ducats and little thanks; and the slow but measurable progress of a life lived as myself rather than who others want me to be – have led me to apply for a job as a writer for a site called Examiner.com.

Basically, it’s a per-click deal – I get $0.01 for every click on an article I’ve written – and while I’m not planning on retiring to a sprawling villa in Barcelona with my earnings, I am planning to build my portfolio and use this to develop myself professionally and hone my craft.

My official title is “Dayton Gay Issues Examiner” for the Dayton, Ohio (duh) area. My first article will be (let us hope) posted later this week. I’ll let you know when it goes live, but in the meantime, please, stop by and visit my ridiculously dorky bio and picture.

Apparently, there’s already a Transgender Issues Examiner, but I’m hoping the overlap won’t be too much for the market to bear.

*cough*

Now, if I can just figure out a way to clone myself, I can finish my novel this year too. Or at least finish revising it for the 85th time.

What is Awesome to you?

Hola, faithful readers!

One of the multiple hats I wear on the dark entity known as Twitter is that of the Awesommolier. What, you may ask, is the Awesommolier?

“None of your bee’s wax!” I will say. Then I will remember that I want you to read it, and shrug while smiling sheepishly.

The Awesommolier is an outgrowth of an idea I had for Follow Friday on Twitter. For those of you with actual lives, Follow Friday is a Twitter tradition wherein one recommends other Twitter users one thinks others would benefit from following. In order to instruct The Faithful Horde on who I thought they should I follow, I created the Awesommolier, a role in which I endorse things and people found to be Awesome in my sight.

About a week ago, a friend of mine said to me, “If these things and people are so awesome, you should tell people more about them, instead of just saying “Yo, Horde, this website/vegetable/Eastern European Glamor Model is awesome!”

So, taking their suggestion to heart, I have created The Awesommolier, a weekly blog dedicated to finding and sharing things I find awesome (while also supporting charity; by clicking on the Socialvibe link, you can help sick kids heal through, and learn more about, the arts).

I’m currently accepting suggestions, so if you’ve got anything you think other folks would love to learn more about, I’ll be publishing this week’s issue on Friday, October 23rd. Write-ups and pics are welcome; in future editions, I plan to partake of all things awesome in order to give a real first-person report for the curious and timid.

If it is awesome, and others should be sharing in it, we aim to let you all know! Send me your nouns, your verbs, even your gerunds to the e-mail at left, via this blog, or on Twitter (@LaBarceloneta).

The Rules

Henceforth:

1) All restaurants will give you free bread. Good bread, not the cheap peasant loaf they keep on hand for disliked relatives and poor tippers. Violators will be jabbed at with the jagged crust until they learn their lesson or require medical assistance.

2) No restaurant will require me to say anything like “Triple Moo-tini Milksplosion” in order to obtain a beverage or foodstuff. Violators will be required to have an equally ridiculous nickname branded on their foreheads.

3)  All dogs will be issued a memo that they may regard me from a respectful distance (let’s say 300 yards) but must not in any way lick, nuzzle, touch, smell or shed on me. Violators will be shaven in the style of a Standard Poodle, regardless of breed, and re-named “FiFi.” Ditto for their owners.**

4) Phonetic spellings are immediately illegal and must be corrected at the shop owner’s expense. Shops with names involving both “Kwik” and “E-Z” will be burned down and the earth salted.

5) All customer service staff will be friendly and eager to assist. All managers will  be solicitous and defer to the customer in matters of dispute. All stores will be laid out in such a way that a reasonable woman in her early 30’s armed with semi-concrete notions of what she wants can find it. Violators will be abandoned in the labyrinthine innards of a decrepit Meijer and forced to attempt escape while fleeing baggers infected with whatever everyone had in 28 Days Later.

6) All cute shoes will come in sizes larger than “zygote.” Clothing for larger girls will NOT be emblazoned with four enormous flowers, nor millions of tiny ones. All bras will fit properly the first time.

7) Slanket and its bastard offspring are immediately and indefinitely illegal. Anything combining a Slanket with a Popeil product is extremely illegal.

8 ) Grammar, syntax and punctuation will be cherished and used properly. Using LOLspeak, IM-ese or L33Tspeak will be punishable by tattooing of The Elements of Style on the inside of the offender’s eyelids.

9) Michael Bay is now illegal. Anyone found to be aiding and abetting Michael Bay is hereby sentenced to star in a remake of their all-time favorite film, directed by Michael Bay, written by Michael Bay, and co-starring Michael Bay.

With a special guest appearance by Michael Bay.

10) All Americans will appreciate the inherent value of other cultures. All other cultures will appreciate that we are so loud and big and boisterous because we have enormous hearts. Everyone, everywhere, will take better care of this blue rock we share. Violators will be locked in a room with both Paulie Shore and Yahoo Serious. Repeat offenders will be handcuffed to them.

Thank you for your cooperation. We now resume our regularly scheduled reality.

[**ATTENTION DOG PEOPLE: I know, I know, I am a soulless creature from beyond Hell because I don’t want dogs touching me. I’m at peace with this. Also, of COURSE I didn’t mean YOUR dog.]

CDL Blogoversary, Day Seven: TV is Life

We’re celebrating Claire De Lunacy’s First Blogoversary, and I’ve invited some very gracious and awesome friends to contribute to this mess, sharing their words with you, my beloved readers. Through June 10th, there will be a new post from a different guest each day, culminating with a new, full-length short story by yours truly. I hope you enjoy my guests’ work as much as I do, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens during the NEXT year.

[Today’s Guest Blogger is Megan Gesing, a pal I met on The Twitter. Megan is a 27 year-old Instructional Designer, Actress, Filmmaker and Artist.  She’s from Cleveland, OH but lives in Las Vegas, NV for the time being.  Contrary to popular belief, she doesn’t live in a casino and hates gambling. She really loves the sun and doesn’t eat meat.

Megan writes a blog called Love, Megan.  Check it out! http://www.lovemegan.net]

I watch a lot of TV.  I always have.  I’ve been acting since I was a kid, so I attribute this to research.  With all of this TV watching, I began developing this theory… See, my life can be pretty bizarre- Sometimes unbelievably so.  Stuff happens to me that you only see on TV… so, I’ve come to the conclusion that my life is a TV show- or more accurately a series of TV shows based on the same character.

When I was a kid, I was the cute little girl on a family comedy.  The kind of girl who’s mom dressed her up in pretty clothes and dress shoes, but who insisted on going outside and attempting to climb a tree anyway.  This always ended badly… but not horribly, so the audience (whoever and wherever they are) could laugh and shake their heads at her.  “Aw, that poor girl.” There were ups and downs, laughs and tears… Just like any good family comedy.

Through Junior High and High School, my show was more like “Boy Meets World” or something like that.  I had a great group of friends and we were pretty wholesome.  There was always just enough excitement and embarrassment to make the audience cringe and fall in love.  C’mon- you know the kind of show.  There were some great characters that got their own spin-offs and you always knew it was going to end at some point.  It may be sad, but high school can’t last forever, right?

Well, then I went to college.  My show got a complete overhaul: new location, new cast, new attitude.  It wasn’t really “wholesome” anymore.  It was dramatic and intense.  I got into trouble, I got my heart broken, I learned a lot about myself. I’m pretty sure it made for great TV week after week.  We always had summer break and a new season started every fall.  Each spring, something shocking would happen that would leave us all hanging waiting for the “season” to start in the fall.  Each year we’d welcome new characters and say good-bye to others.  People were scandalous, crazy, supportive and loving.  I mean, it was college.  Then I graduated and I’m pretty sure my show got cancelled.

But, audiences must like me because I landed a part on a wholesome kids show, playing their sarcastic-but-loving daycare teacher.  I couldn’t take this for too long, so I moved to Las Vegas.

That’s the show I’m on now.  It’s been “on the air” for three years now.  It’s exactly what you’d expect from a 20-something dramedy.  Insane roommates, ridiculously unhealthy relationships, challenging jobs, new friends…  It was a great show for a long time- but it’s pretty boring now.  I need a change.

I’ve been doing my best to change to the storylines myself, but sometimes I get the sinking feeling that I have no control.  I get the feeling that nothing’s going to change right now.  Maybe the writers are on strike, or the production company gets a great deal to shoot in Las Vegas.  Something completely out of my control is keeping me stuck here.

We’re going on summer break.  The show’s going to be in repeats for a few months and for the first time in a lifetime, there’s no big cliffhanger ending… There’s no big mystery to solve or surprise to wait for next fall.  Just a 28th birthday. Woo!

Think about it, we’re all stars of our own TV shows.  People make guest appearances on each other’s shows and shows spin off from each other.  We’re all the star of our own show… or at least we should be.  When the storyline falters and you start to feel like a secondary cast member on someone else’s show, there’s a problem.

Actors have shown us that it’s possible to demand quality from your writers: more face time, a more interesting plotline for your character- whatever you need. Just look what it did for the cast of Grey’s Anatomy- OK, maybe not the best example…

But as the star of my show, I’m demanding better storylines.  This fall, it’s going to be the start of the BEST SEASON ever.  Something big is going to happen.  Things are going to change.  I just really hope I don’t get a brain tumor or hit by a bus…

Stay tuned.

[It’s me again. Speaking as the star of literally dozens of mental television shows, I can confirm that we are each living in a program of our own making. Be sure to tune into Megan’s site for more fun and a possible season-ending cliffhanger involving ninjas, ferrets and a surprise special guest!*

*NOTE: I am, in fact, making this up.

Coming up tomorrow: The CDL Blogoversary celebration comes to a close with a COMPLETE short story from the Circe universe, courtesy of yours truly. Walk, don’t run, to your nearest chair and perch on the edge with anticipation, won’t you?]

CDL Blogoversary, Day Six: Reduction Redux

We’re celebrating Claire De Lunacy’s First Blogoversary, and I’ve invited some very gracious and awesome friends to contribute to this mess, sharing their words with you, my beloved readers. Through June 10th, there will be a new post from a different guest each day, culminating with a new, full-length short story by yours truly. I hope you enjoy my guests’ work as much as I do, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens during the NEXT year.

[Today’s Guest Blogger is Heather Holmes. I met her through a mutual friend and then got to know her better on The InterWebz via Twitter and Facebook. Heather’s undergoing breast reduction surgery TODAY, and has opted to share her story with us here. Drop by her web site, Bohemian Bumblings, and say hi!]

We always want what we can’t have.  We all are always saying, “I wish I had this,” or “I want that” (insert your own wishes and wants).  I think women in particular are guiltier of this, perhaps because of the standards to which we often feel we’re held by society.

Let’s take a common example – breasts.  Breast augmentation accounts for nearly 20% of all procedures done today in plastic surgery.  That is a whole lot of fake boobs, especially when you consider just how many procedures fall into the plastic surgery category.  A week ago, I was sitting in a scientific session where researchers were discussing a promising new material for breast implants that is potentially safer and more durable than what’s being used today.  Huh.  “That’s funny,” I thought, “considering that in a week I’m going in for breast reduction.  My SECOND breast reduction. SO many women are paying thousands of dollars [or using myfreeimplants.com – yes, it is a real site] for something I’m willfully getting rid of.”  It would seem that I have the unique ability to regenerate boobs.  Don’t you wish you were me?

No, you don’t, actually.  You can sit there and wish all you want, but take it from someone who is on the not-so-much greener side of the grass, large breasts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  Maybe I’m a bit more negative because I have had them for so long.  I’m not gonna lie –  I’ve used them to my advantage on more than one occasion.  But, when you’re 11 years old with a D-cup and most of your friends have barely hit the training bra stage, you can be sure it’s going to be a rough ride.

I remember sitting at lunch in 7th grade and all the boys giggling and being stupid.  Come to find out they were acting that way because one of them happened to notice I was sitting sort of hunched over (a common way to sit when you have ginormous boobs) with my boobs resting on the table top.  Not something I was doing intentionally I assure you! At that point in my life. I was really doing all I could to try to hide how huge they were.  Plus, in schools (or any big building) the air conditioning makes you freeze, and freezing boobs = erect nipples.  Try to hide D cups with high beams as a 12 year old – Ha!  Another time, in 8th grade, one of the boys told me that I had an uncanny knack for wearing tight shirts.  He was complimenting me; I was trying to figure out WTF “uncanny knack” meant.  Funny, I use that term all the time now.  Once I learned what it meant back then, though,  it just added to my trying to minimize them.

Bad posture is another problem.  Clothes that don’t fit properly, either because they’re too tight, or too loose and sloppy.  High beams.  Nicknames (my favorite being “Mount EverBreast”).  Custom-made bras because they don’t make ones to fit you at the store.  Yeah, all fun that you want to have, right?  I have yet to mention that up until I was about 25 I was moderately thin.  And short.  Little woman, ginormous boobs.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Skipping ahead to 2007.  I decided to undergo breast reduction surgery.  I was very open about this with my friends and family and received an amazing amount of support, mostly because they all knew what I’d suffered with for so long.  Sure there were a few naysayers.  “You’ve got a gift most women would kill for.”  Well, as it turns out I’m not most women, and I’m nearly willing to kill to be done with them.  I’m not an organ donor but I did tell a few people that if I could donate my breast tissue to them I would (I guess that’s something that hasn’t been scientifically studied yet).

About a month after the surgery, I was sporting great new perky boobs and feeling pretty good.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that another downside to these monsters is that they sag.  I look fine when I have a GOOD bra on but if I don’t my nipples are having a party with my navel.  Imagine how fun that is!  The weight is ridiculous.  I have no idea what this translates to, but with the procedure in 2007 about 450cc’s was removed from each breast [Editor’s Note: That translates to 15.2 ounces, or nearly two cups].  I think that’s quite a bit.  So yeah, back to the perky boobs…they were awesome.

“Were” being the operative term, naturally.  Shortly after the surgery, I went for my annual gynecological exam and decided to start on a different birth control.  I use the term “birth control” loosely, because for me it has always been hormone adjustment.  That is, keeping me sane, keeping my family from killing me, and keeping me from having 20 day periods.  Any ideas yet on where this is going?

People are all prone to different things.  Acne, weight gain, allergies, breast regeneration.  Oh wait, that last one is just me.  Or just me and about ONE in every 200,000 women that undergo reduction.  It isn’t a natural thing really, it is something that we do to ourselves, but it happens to so few of us that it is hardly acknowledged.  It seems that one of the things I am prone to is receptive hormones.  That probably explains the 20 day periods and the psycho moods (okay, more psycho than normal).  Oh, and it also explains why within 2 years my C’s went back to DDD/F’s.  What can I say?  Hormones love me.  It isn’t a mutual love though, that’s for sure.

Interesting though, isn’t it?  All of it – the way the human body works, the way the mind works.  We want and wish and hope and dream.  Often times, we can’t appreciate what we have, other times we are seriously hindered by what we have.  Someone once said to me that I was going to sit around and wish my life away.  Rather prophetic if you think about what that means.

I am fortunate that I am able to deal with my problem – and I know what caused it so I shouldn’t have to deal with it again.  IF, and that’s a BIG IF, it happens again while I’m not putting any hormones into my body (other than what is pumped into my food) I’m finding some budding scientist to do testing on my genes and find out what is causing my spontaneous re-growth and I’m bottling that shit and selling it.  I could give so many women what they think always wanted and I could make serious bank.  Seriously though, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Back to where I started though –thinking about women, and some men, who actually get implants so they have breasts.  I can certainly understand the desire.  Breasts can be great confidence builders, they can give an appearance of absolute feminism, they are simply identifiers of that which is woman.  You’ve seen a very small part of my story to know that they can also be a really horrible thing to live with.  I haven’t even touched on the back pain that I have or how hard it is for me to find nice clothes or how hard it is to sleep at night or how I’m constantly fighting a rash that develops underneath them.  The pain is the real reason I am having it done again, it isn’t because I love surgery or anything.  It is because I’m miserable.  Yuck.

So to all the girls and boys out there that love boobs – keep on loving them.  If you want them I hope you get them.  Just remember that sometimes you really do get what you hope for, and sometimes it turns out to be a nightmare.  By the time you read this, I’ll have undergone the procedure and should be near recovery.  Know that you’re reading the words of a woman written with DDD’s but at the end of the last sentence she’ll be a C again.

Cheers.

[It’s me again. What can I say? I’m speechless. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly re-evaluating my personal wish list. Be sure to stop by Heather’s site and wish her a speedy recovery, or hit her up on The Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/LaVieBoheme73 (she’s got her updates protected, so a little paitence may be in order).

Coming up tomorrow: Television, and why it is is both inescapable and necessary. See you then!]