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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Buzz Watch: Apple’s new iThingy

A gracious good day to you, readers.

If you’re like me, you’ll have noted with a queasiness-inducing blend of anticipation and trepidation the shift in media attention away from the plight of Haiti and toward the latest beeping gadget. That’s right, Apple has unleashed its latest Hipster Douchebag accessory: The iPad.

Or possibly the iTablet.

Or even, God help us all, the iCan.

Whatever it’s called, its potential capabilities have been the subject of endless speculation (or in my case, limited, off-the-cuff speculation for the purposes of comedic exploitation). To wit:

Features of the new iPad/iTablet/iCan/iCan’tBelieveISpent1,000DollarsOnThis

1) Recharges if you hold it aloft & shout “BY THE POWER OF CUPERTINO!” Also: your cat morphs into a badass tiger.

2) Will only open if you recite “Klaatu barada nikto” first. Otherwise, you might want to call Bruce Campbell.

3) Will come in 3 exciting colors: Chill Cherry, Awesome Orange and Bewildered Buyer’s Remorse Blueberry.

4) Will be engraved with the missing Five Commandments (e.g. “Thou Shalt Not Totally Destroy Thy Planet”).

5) Creates holographic friends to replace those you lose because you spend all your time on your damned iTablet.

6) Glows an ethereal blue whenever orcs are nearby.

7) Will not transform into a creepy robot and steal your identity and girlfriend while you sleep. Probably.

8 ) Makes that cool Star Trek “whistle-whoosh” noise whenever any nearby door opens.

9) Will obey Asimov’s three laws, unless you piss it off, buster.

10) Sifts through your address book and deletes all the people with whom you are now too cool to be seen.

11) Will love you and hug you and name you George.

12) Grants you a permanent +5 to your Hipster Cred stat, plus a free small latte at paticipating Starbucks™.

13) Opens a portal to an alternate universe where the State of the Union Address ISN’T depressing as hell.

14) Will be sun-powered. Not solar powered – there will be an actual tiny sun inside. So, y’know, get a mitt.

15) Will sing you softly to sleep & will happily open the podbay doors – as long as you don’t betray it, Dave.

16) Boasts an all-celebrity cast for its reader. First up: Keanu reads “Moby Dick” “Duude…call me, like, Ishmael.”

17) Grants you access to the tiny door that leads to the inside of Steve Jobs’ head.

18) Gives you a fuller, shinier coat, and protects you from heartworm.

19) Has an Oppenheimer app that will allow you to become Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. Plus, Sudoku!

20) Will grant you immortality and transform your enemies into fresh-baked blueberry muffins.

[Originally posted by yours truly as part of a Twitter trend tag, #iTabletMyths]

In Which Our Heroine Enters The Fashion Industry

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

And by “fashion industry,” I of course mean “the novelty t-shirt business.”

That’s right, faithful readers! You can now get a brand-spankin’ new t-shirt emblazoned with my NEW design, “Tweetar®.” Some pals and I came up with this one day a few weeks back, and I decided what the world needs is another shirt, one that teaches as well as entertains.

Because I’m cool like that.

Oh, and also because I need filthy lucre to finance my other, more ambitious projects.

Do you appreciate the Awesome? Do you speak or at least appreciate Español? Do you have some spare cash you’d just spend on candy or lottery tickets anyway, you undisciplined mook?

Well, then, why not blow it on one of my awesome t-shirts instead?

Stop by today, and you’ll be conjugating Tweetar® along with the best of ’em in no time!

http://www.cafepress.com/LaBarceloneta

[The preceding was a paid announcement. No warranty given or implied, although if I see you wearing my shirt I WILL give you a hug and dance around in a circle, so probably best to keep a jacket with you at all times.]

Random Review: “The Collector”

So here’s the thing, kids.

I’m not a horror movie buff. Never have been.

Aliens? Yes, please. Weather as the ultimate adversary of man? Sure, why not? Supernatural beasties hellbent (pun intended) on tipping the world over to expose its maggoty underbelly and set loose chaos? Sure, if nothing else is on.

So, I suppose it’s more correct to say that I’ve never been a fan of horror movies that involve humans being evil to humans, because quite frankly I can get that for free at any shop or the BMV. There’s a delicious thrill to be had in watching a xenomorph stalk space marines in the claustrophobic halls of a derelict spacecraft, because it probably won’t happen to me (as long as I don’t trust Paul Reiser, at least).

However, being chased by a masked weirdo who would like nothing more than to make my insides my outsides? That happens to too many people (trans and otherwise) every year to make such movies enjoyable for me. It cuts, if you will pardon the expression, a little too close to the bone.

All this said, it was with no small measure of reluctance that I plunked down my hard-earned cash to see The Collector, a movie about a guy who edits a small-time literary magazine.

Oh, I’m sorry, that’s “The Corrector.”

No, this flick is about a man with serious, serious issues, not the least of which is his need to transform isolated homes into Rube Goldberg-style machines of wacky doom. Unlike, say, Jigsaw, whose deathtraps are accompanied by some sort of queasiness-inducing moral “lesson,” the Collector’s traps seem strictly designed to hinder rescue and prevent escape while he removes bits of his victims and stomps around wearing really unattractive clodhopper boots.

There’s a plot about a desperate ex-con who’s become a jewel thief, looking for the big score that will keep his wife and child safe from the loan sharks, but ultimately, this is a flick about waiting. Waiting to see how our hero will deal with the baddie, waiting to see how the unworthy fall victim to the house’s clockwork abattoir, waiting for the gratuitous nudity, waiting to see if there’s an 800 number for the shop where bad guys purchase their custom leather headgear. In the end, the movie sets up the by-now obligatory cliffhanger, leaving the viewer (or at least this viewer) not so much anticipating the sequel, but the box office returns to see if the film will justify the MAKING of the sequel to answer all the these borderline-interesting unanswered questions.

But if they want more of my money for their collection, they’re gonna be waiting a long time.

Stuff from the Attic (June 2009 Edition)

In the wake of the recent (and, let it be said, extremely fun) Claire De Lunacy blogoversary, I’ve found myself struggling to come up with something blog-worthy to fill this site. I’ve had several false starts, but they seemed too facile or insubstantial to sustain an entire post (and if something on THIS site is too ephemeral to support a post, you know we’re in trouble). So, just to keep the blood pumping, I present to you the following list of topics currently banging around in my noggin’.

1) Henchmen of shared nationality and language who, despite being utterly alone unless fighting the hero of the pic or book, speak English with each other. We’ve all seen this a thousand times. James Bond is scampering about, chopping necks and turning his shoe into a shaped charge against the wall of the evil mastermind’s lair, and miles away, Sergei and Boris are walking the perimeter, conversing in a language they no doubt had to learn for solely professional reasons.  “But,” I hear you asking, “what if they’re under orders to speak English, so that the dastardly associates of their employer can speak with them directly? What if, in the underworld of crime and perfidity, English functions much as it does in the world of legitimate business, a sort of koine that assures everyone is at a mutual disadvantage during negotiations?”

To which I reply, “Oh, piffle.”

Seriously, if you’re in another country (even for work) and you’re back at the hostel, waiting for dinner or to be abducted and sold into white slavery until rescued by Liam Neeson, are you chatting with your mates in Castillian about the latest episode of 30 Rock? Of course you aren’t.

[NOTE: Obviously, this rule doesn’t apply if you’ve brought a potential love interest back to the apartment, in which case you behave as though you were steeped in the same cultural and linguistic influences they were, so that they see you are a person of substance, and also so that they will let you touch their naughty bits.]

But Sergei and Boris aren’t interested in gettin’ it on, they’re (presumably) trying to pop a cap in the gent from MI-6. Plus, in accordance with the Convenient Plot Furtherance Act of 1982, they are inevitably childhood friends who dreamt of one day working as the muscle for one of many human embodiments of evil, and are therefore no longer trying to impress one another.

Bottom line, henchpeople who are nowhere near people who do not speak their mother tongue should converse in it without feeling obligated to help the audience along.

[This goes double for Klingons.]

2) And speaking of James Bond, why can’t we have a movie about Q-Branch? James Bond is 007. That means there are at least six other 00’s out there (unless they start with 000, in which case there are seven), and I’m betting that they give Q-Branch as much trouble as James does. Are we meant to believe that wacky hijinks ensue only when The Man Who Really Should Only Be Played By Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan comes around? I think not.

I’m picturing a series of films starring John Cleese. Music by Danny Elfman, with special guest Eric Idle as “Zed,” the lowest-ranking member of Q-Branch whose zany antics create problems for R at first, but ultimately provide the solution to the crisis facing the team.

Gold, I’m telling you. GOLD.

3) Cable Internet should not just fail for no discernible reason. I pay top dollar each month for Road Runner Turbo. When it works, it is a heavenly connection to the global information stream. When it fails (which it does with alarming regularity ever since Time Warner sent me an “improved” replacement modem to exchange for the old one that worked PERFECTLY WELL WITHOUT ANY TROUBLE, EVER), my wrath becomes a molten volcano of  earth-scorching magma, eager to strip the flesh and sinew from those who have denied me the chance to show Dramatic Prairie Dog to the one friend who hasn’t yet seen it.

Even now, THIS VERY SECOND, my Internet is out for the fourth time today. The FOURTH TIME! It often lasts for an hour or more. Requests for assistance are met with blank stares or infuriating questions (especially to an IT person) like “Have you restarted your computer?” and “Is your house properly wired for both electricity and cable?”

No, jackass, I’m living in a sod house on the banks of Plum F-ing Creek with Mary and Laura.

Bah!

[This topic may grow into a full-blown entry, depending on how my next volley of requests is handled by the TWC crew.]

4) Hormones make you fat. OK, I’ll admit that the pepper-and-olive pizza I eat a little too often is aiding and abetting the ‘mones in their evil quest to turn my ass into an earthwork, but my regular workouts don’t cut the difference anymore. When, last week, I realized I had not only stopped losing weight (even with the help of Fullbar), but was GAINING, I knew it was time to take drastic measures. So, now I work out twice a day…strength and flexibility in the morning, aerobic exercise at night (if you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Oh, who am I kidding, I’m riding a freaking bike).

So far, I’ve stopped gaining. However, my overall wimpiness and disturbingly taut pants suggest even more drastic measures may be necessary, e.g. not eating a bowl of cereal every night even though cereal is a gift from Ceres to show that we are worthy of deliciousness.

And if I have to eliminate cheese, there may very well be no point to living.

Also, I could probably stand to workout harder. And longer.And, God help us all, join a gym.

Me! Be a joiner! The mind boggles. Ah, well, no one said being a glamor girl was easy.

But if that fails, I am just biting the bullet and shopping around for an eating disorder like my friends. Well, I mean, an eating disorder that makes me thin rather than saurian.

5) Chaz Bono has a rough ride ahead. I feel Chaz’s pain. Here’s a person who has spent their life trapped in the wrong body, and has weight issues to boot. Chaz, buddy, I am pulling for you! I hope that, as they did for me, your weight issues start to resolve as you resolve your gender issues. Plus, the testosterone will help you build muscle, which, as the Lotte Berk method teaches us, eats fat. Sure, you’ll have to work hard, but I’ll bet that with your limitless financial resources and access to Hollywood’s beautification professionals, you’ll be running through the surf, Hasselhoff-style, in no time flat.

Just remember the words of C.S. Lewis: “You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”

Also, please remember that I was so supportive and send me any extra trainers and/or plastic surgeons you have laying around.

6) Going back to school is nerve-wracking but also exciting as hell. For those of you who don’t know, I’m going back to college in the Winter quarter of 2009-2010. I made a promise to myself when I was but a sprout, and that promise was that I would become a doctor of philosophy in the science of linguistics. As of this year, that dream begins to come true. I’m writing essays, I’m gathering letters of recommendation, I’m purchasing raccoon coats and little football pennants that say things like “Rah!” (just in case I’m thrown back in time and have to wrap things up in the 1920s). I suspect that my mania regarding this process is the real reason I’ve been blog-avoidant of late; I’ve been trying to conserve my creative and intellectual juices so that I may make a favorable impression on the doyens et doyennes of academia who will determine my worthiness for further growth.

Not that they want to hear about my juices, creative or otherwise. In fact, I’m fairly certain no one does. Let’s just pretend I never said it and focus on my casual usage of French in a context designed to make me appear worldly without being a pompous ass.

There – that’s better, non?

7) My being transgendered does not give you the right to disrespect me. I didn’t want to take a whole blog post with this topic, as this particular saw has several busted teeth, but a recent incident freaked me the hell out and I had to say something.

I keep an announcement board on the window of my office, a little dry-erase deal with the names of myself and my assistant written along the left-hand side, with a magnetic dot indicating whether we are “in” or “out,” and a space to clarify as necessary (e.g., “in a pointless meeting,” “saving children from burning orphanage,” “having lunch with the Married Crush in the hope that my telepathy will finally kick in and she will find herself immersed in the golden sunbeams of my undying adoration, whereby she will realize she has been a fool to toy with me and loves me as well,” et hoc genus omne). Usually, I don’t even look at the board; I just slide the dot from “out” to “in,” unlock my office, and begin counting the minutes ’til five o’clock.

That day, however, I noticed something different.

Someone had erased “Claire” and written my OLD name. Not the name by which I was known, mind you, but my old LEGAL name.

Now, I hear some of you asking “So? What’s the big deal?” and I get that, I really do. After all, it was just a simple scribble on a white board.

That said, imagine if you will my confusion and, yes, fear. Here was a bit of information that, while hardly a state secret, was not common knowledge, even among my friends. Here was an act that said, in essence, “I am denying you exist, and I am quite literally attempting to erase you.” Was this a harmless prank, or was some whack-a-do hiding in the creepy warehouse shelves behind me, waiting for me to be distracted so they could brain me with a pipe wrench and add bits of my body to the silver skeleton in their basement?

In erasing my name and writing the old one, they were (whether they were cognizant of the fact or not) challenging my right to exist as myself. They were attacking me, in a “safe” place, with my own possessions.

I felt violated. I felt sick.

And then I got angry.

I wiped the board clean, re-wrote my name clearly and firmly, and then e-mailed HR.

Now, it must be said that the HR department was exceptionally helpful and kind. They immediately contacted security to see if any tape was available for the time when the “prank” most likely occurred. They were sympathetic to my concerns, and assured me that action would be taken against the person who had done this. After talking with them, I felt reassured – clearly, someone cared and would support me.

Presently, the perpetrator remains unknown (at least to me). I’m not going to pretend this is as serious as the attacks that happen to transpeople every day, both in this country and worldwide. After all, I didn’t have to earn my lesson with blood or, worse yet, my life.  But to me, a girl who is already hyper-vigilant when in public, the loss of one of the few places I felt safe to relax my guard is a very real attack on me and my right to live my life.

I’m not going to let it change my desire to see the good in people, or to try my best to be an ambassador for transpeople to the mainstream world.

But just the same, Ice Station Zebra is a little colder these days.

A Time For Heroes

So here’s the thing:

I live in Ohio, a state known more for its election-swaying and obese presidents than its heroes (Neil Armstrong and Rodger Young aside).

That’s about to change, however: ladies and gentlemen, there’s a new hero in town.

Shadow Hare, as he is known to the grateful citizens of The Queen City, is a man on a mission. Armed only with a taser, handcuffs, pepper spray and a high, somewhat nasally voice, Shadow Hare has taken to the streets of Cincinnati to combat crime, doling out Citizen’s Arrests like they’re going out of style. And you know what? Good for him, I say.

Seriously, here is a guy willing to endure not only the ridicule of law enforcement and the public at large, but risk physical injury in order to help others (Shadow Hare reports that he suffered a dislocated shoulder while intervening in an assault last year).  And he’s not alone – Mr. Hare (?) is  the leader of a handful of heroes in the Allegiance of Heroes, a nationwide network of heroes determined to fight crime wherever it rears its hideous, gore-flecked head.

(Or at least crime of a reasonably mild nature. I don’t think these guys are going after Osama anytime soon.)

Part of me is understandably critical of a scrawny pipsqueak who runs around dressed like the bastard lovechild of Donnie Darko’s  Frank and a drunk mime. The other part of me is inspired by the courage inherent in such an act, saying to the world “I will be a doer and not simply one to whom things are done.”  We are a nation in crisis – no, crises, and the feeling of utter powerless that comes from being buffeted by forces beyond one’s control is frightening in its intensity. Obviously,  not everyone responds by donning pajamas and a mask, but it’s still heartening to see the desire to make things better rather than succumb to the slow decline of atrophy and corruption.

Thoughts, dear readers?