Saturday, January 16, 2021

By the time you read this, the unbelievable may have happened.

If it weren't for the historical plaque and the bench, one might not realize that this well maintained hillside was the site of an event that defined a generation - Woodstock.  Over 500,000 people gathered on farm land owned by Max Yasgur to enjoy music in conditions marginally better than WW1 soldiers "enjoyed" in their trenches. Although the crowd is long gone, this is still a site that Baby Boomers should visit at least once - especially when music is being performed in the "Shed" at the bottom of this hill.

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Each generation has an event that helps define the times in which it lived.  For my parents' generation, Pearl Harbor day would set the path that people of this generation would follow for the rest of their lives.  For my generation, the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, and Woodstock would define a path for our lives. For our children's generation, 9/11 would be the day that they would lose the collective innocence which presumed that we would be safe in our homeland.  However, 2020 (with a spillover into 2021) will likely set the path for a generation or two to come.

Why do I think the events of the past year are so important?  To answer this question, one must understand how Trump has polarized American society.  He has divided and conquered people, using his supporters as Hitler used his - as a mob which could be used to terrorize those that do not pay him tribute and allegiance. He has hijacked a major political party and made its former elite afraid of losing its remaining power to people favored by its "king". So when given the choice of doing the right thing and deposing this "king" via impeachment and conviction, they failed to do so at the beginning of 2020. Our president wasn't chastened by the rebuke from one chamber of our country's legislature.  Instead he was emboldened.  If he didn't make one mistake, he would have likely won reelection in November.

Of course, his mistake was not taking the coming pandemic seriously.  He focused on being elected, and not doing his job when real work was called from a country's leader.  He was not unique in this regard.  But I care more about what happens in America than in Brazil.  When he should have isolated America from the world, he only decided to act against a single country, China.  When he could have encouraged people to isolate themselves and follow CDC guidelines when they had to go out, he mocked the idea of wearing face masks in public to help stop the spread of the virus. So, when Election Day came around, enough people were disenchanted with this man that they voted the president out of office.

Normally, presidents voted out of office go on to lead a productive retirement.  This is not the case for our soon to be former president.  He allegedly committed enough crimes before he took office and while in office that he stood a good chance of going to prison for the rest of his life. So he allegedly orchestrated several plots to overturn the results of the election, none of which were successful.  But the last event is the one where he may have crossed the one line where even his political supporters may have said he went too far.

On January 6th, the electoral college's ballots were supposed to be opened, tallied in a joint session of congress, and the results of the presidential election announced.  However, like his German idol from the first half of the 20th century, he allegedly decided on staging a "Beer Hall Putsch" to take control of the government using emergency powers.  Luckily, the legislative branch of government was able to complete its task and announce that Biden would be sworn in as president 14 days later.

Within a couple of days, the news reports were making it clear that our president committed an act of sedition by encouraging the "protestors" who took over the capitol building, and this motivated Democratic party to demand that the president be removed from office. (Of course, 6 riot related deaths that day gave the president's critics the extra fuel they needed to act.) By the time the weekend ended, it was clear that the Vice President would be forced to invoke authority given to him under the 25th amendment to remove the president from power, or that the Democrats in the House would impeach the president for a second time.  This wasn't the end of it - the Senate did not want to remove the president by the time the weekend ended. It would only be willing to make sure that this man's trial in the Senate would almost be meaningless, as it would take place after he left office.

So with all that historical context in place, now I get to the meat of things....

There have been only 3 impeachment trials, and none of them has resulted in the removal of a president from office. In less than one day, it seems as if the traditional elite of the GOP has decided to take back their party, and may be giving people in the House and Senate the ability to vote their consciences in regard to the president.  No longer does the Senate trial look like it will be meaningless. Instead, it looks more likely that it will be held before the president was scheduled to leave office.  Although the trial may not accomplish much (he may only lose 2 remaining days of his term), it will show that we have it in us to force people in power to do the right thing - albeit, in this case, a day late and a dollar short.

Why is this important?

For the Transgender community, America has de-fanged a person who has been causing us long term harm. For America as a whole, we have shown that our system was barely strong enough to avoid falling to a wannabe dictator.  We have learned that our democratic institutions depend on the good will of our people, and that we need to take an active interest in them to see that they are always there for us.  In short, we have learned we can no longer take many things for granted.  

And what do I think would have been unbelievable?

I never thought it would be possible to have a president so bad, and that we'd have a serious chance of seeing people of good will depose him using tools given to them in the constitution.

So keep your fingers crossed.  The next few days will be a wild ride.

Friday, January 15, 2021

I finally was able to get up before the day was half over.



For the past couple of weeks (or more), I've been getting up very late in the morning (or, very early in the afternoon).  Once my circadian rhythm got screwed up, it would take a bit of good luck to reset my rhythm.  I had that luck today.

I started out by mentioning luck, as I was up last night watching news coverage of the counting of the electoral votes.  America was very lucky, as the mob was unable to prevent the votes from being counted. We had the additional luck to have people smart enough to cart the unread ballots out of the chamber before the mob got control of the building.  Could you imagine the nonsense Trump would have pulled if the ballots got into the wrong hands and that ad-hoc procedures had to be used?  Even now, I don't trust him to not cause even more trouble on his way out, as he knows his brand is at risk and he can't afford to be labeled as a loser in anything.

Towards the end of the evening, I encountered one fact that will likely destroy Trump after he has left office.  A member of the US Capitol's Police Force died as a result of yesterday's riot.  Since the rioters were encouraged by Trump, it's only a matter of time before law enforcement personnel rebel against him.  Even if he pardons himself successfully (and that will be tested in court), I doubt that he will have their implicit support if he were to attempt a run for the presidency in 2024. 

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With the above being said, I finally made it out in Marian mode today.  I had the time to deal with having too much blood in my caffeine stream, and started the day with a cup of coffee.  After that, I rested a little, and was out the door by noon.

One of the things I wanted to buy is a pair of wide leg trousers.  I decided to drive up to Lane Bryant in Poughkeepsie to try on a pair in the store.  And they seemed to fit well where I needed them to fit.  However, I couldn't buy the pair in the store because I needed a shorter inseam than an average female.  So I went home to buy the trousers online.

On the way home, I found that one of my favorite local restaurants would only accept orders online - they want no one entering the place to place an order during the pandemic.  Instead of making a phone call while in the car, I decided to go across the street and enjoy Mexican food instead of the Japanese food I originally wanted to order.  (I'll place an order for the Japanese place's Seafood Soup some other day.  Right now, I was a little annoyed that they wouldn't take an order, then ask a person to sit in the car.)

Once home, I placed the order for the trousers.  However, I realized that I may have made a mistake on sizing, ordering a size 28 instead of a size 26.  So I may end up buying a similar pair from another online outlet and hope that it fits as well as the pair I tried on in the store, and then return the pair I bought for a refund.

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Although my sleep schedule is still screwed up, I have a hope of a proper reset in the near future.  My need for sleep overruled the caffeine in my system that kept me awake for my Thursday night zoom meetup. I was able to get two quick hours of sleep before waking up, and finishing this entry while at full consciousness.





Thursday, January 14, 2021

Politics can be toxic, and today I expected to see a lot of toxicity.


As I write this, the electoral college's ballots have started to be read in a joint session of congress, and evidence of Trump's disastrous effects on American politics is evident in what should be another boring session of congress.  All 50 states have confirmed their ballots, and some GOP congressmen and senators are challenging the ballots of the battleground states to show their loyalty to our (thankfully) outgoing president.

In another forum, one of my Facebook friends and I have an occasional discussion regarding Trump.  She has drunk all of the Kool-Aid in her glass, and still desires more.  I find it amazing how she tries to defend Trump (and the GOP) against anything that makes them look bad and the Democratic party look good.  But then, people who have been successfully scammed try to defend the scam, lest they feel like fools in front of others. This is human nature at its worst.

We are seeing the beginning of what could be the breakup of America along political lines, or the beginning of a healing process for this country.  If the latter, many of the people who served to enable Trump and his attacks on our democratic institutions will also need to call out the extremists in their party, and finally hold the populists in check.  And I see that the some of the GOP leadership is being forced to do just this.  Will they be successful?  Only time will tell.

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With the above being said, I can say that I have faith in this country and most of its people. On an individual level, most people are kind and decent people.  However, the human instinct to identify with a family, a tribe, and a nation can cause good people to do evil things.  That is why we need a representative government who will respond to the peoples' needs, but will take the time to think things out.  Today, we're seeing the reasons why America needs a government with built in "circuit breakers", because we will occasionally need a political reset when a major system failure is imminent.

Today's political debates are a perfect example of the need for a reset.  Four years ago, Trump won a hotly contested election.  Many people in New York City and in the global banking community knew him to be a self-centered crook. But people outside these community saw him as a successful businessman, due to his former TV show.  They were bamboozled by the glitzy image he liked to show the public. With untruths running free across the internet, and people choosing to see "news" which only supports their own biases, there was no way a competent political insider could win the 2016 presidential election.  Four years later, after Trump applied a wrecking ball to our government and its political norms, it was time for a change.  And yet, we have two political tribes that are as polarized as ever.  So, we have the need for a reset.

I expect that the next four years will be that political reset.  Biden will likely be the president whose most important priority will be to cool off the passions of the public, so that the 2024 election will be more of a traditional choice of candidates.  Yet, this will not go as far as we need it to go - we need a government that can get needed things done.  America won't be able to heal unless we fix the underlying problems of government. And that means that political gridlock must not be tolerated.  

In 2017-2019, we saw what could happen when radicals from one political party controlled the levers of government. Once the House changed hands in the 2018 election, there was a check and balance on the party in control of government. In the 2020 election, we saw the public throw out a corrupt president.  Yet, they also voted to check the excesses of the party in charge of the House.  We're seeing something good - America as a whole wants moderation in government, and we may just be edging in that direction.

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When I started this entry, I didn't know what was about to happen.  No one, save for security people, should have needed to be prepared for the mob which stormed the capitol building.  These people are criminals, and should be treated as such.  But then, we have a criminal for a president.  And it's time that he be impeached and convicted for removal from office, or that the 25th amendment be used to remove him from office.  Yet, this doesn't address the underlying illness we have in this country - 75% of the GOP loyalists believe Trump's lies.  It will take at least a full generation to deal with this social sickness.

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Why am I writing about politics today?  Well, we are affected by the machinations of those people who we elect to represent us.  The Trump administration has not been friendly to Transgender people, and has acted to take away our rights and privileges.  How many of us remember that it was Trump who acted to expel Transgender people from the military?  How many of us remember his Education department's attacks on Transgender rights?  What about his administration's attack on the census collecting data on the LGBTIQ community?  We must remember the recent past, lest we allow an ignorant populist to get power again, harming us in his/her pursuit of power.






Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Shopping can be an addiction.


There's a part of me that keeps looking for things to add to my wardrobe. But every time I start looking at the usual sites, I find it harder and harder to find something worthwhile to add to my wardrobe.  It's not just because I will need to find room for new garments.  But it is also because I have nothing much to do, and am looking for something to occupy my mind.  I'll bet it was this feeling that tempted my late wife too much, causing her to give in and buy clothes she did not need.

Luckily, I seem to have gotten my fill of actually buying clothes.  It helps that the stores I would go to no longer have a brick and mortar presence.  Otherwise, I'd still be buying new dresses for my closet.  Even so, I will need to replace my wardrobe piece by piece as I lose weight. If I'm lucky, and maintain some sort of discipline, I may get back to wearing a size 18W dress again.

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On other matters....

As has become a habit with me lately, I didn't get much sleep last night.  So I figured I'd check to see if a problem I was having renewing one of my prescriptions could be resolved online.  Unfortunately, what I feared happening happened - my health insurance was not properly renewed.  So I had to spend the better part of an hour, first thing in the morning, to get the problem resolved with the insurance company.  Of course, this problem can not be resolved by snapping one's fingers, or by a single keystroke.  Instead, I'll have to wait another 24-48 hours for the paperwork to make it through the pipeline. So I'll now have to wait for a call before I can make next month's payment. 

While killing time (I had a co-op board meeting to attend in the evening, I scanned some emails from my inboxes. There were several indoor meetups being held by the Fun Time Friends group - and I will be passing on them until after I've been vaccinated for Covid. But there were two outdoor meetups that I am considering attending: (1) at the Poughkeepsie Bridge Across the Hudson, and (2) at Muscoot Farm.  Both involve a little bit of walking, but I can always skip out on that if I want if I'm getting a little tired.  If I had my criticisms about my ex's favorite dinner group and the virus, I have more regarding this group. But I don't have to attend any indoor activities, and these outdoor activities will be in "my" neck of the woods.

Of course, I've been trying to keep up to date with the women I've been chatting with on the dating sites.  There are two that I might get along with, but have special needs adult offspring. I'm not sure if I could deal with those issues, given my personality traits.  However, there are two that things seem to be clicking.  One lives in Manhattan, and the other in New Jersey. It doesn't make that much sense for me to do anything other than talk, with the infection rate spiking around here.  This morning, I read an alarming statistic regarding infection rates on Long Island, and it implies things are worse than we are being led to believe.  No, it's not something one can worry about in itself.  It's because our government has decided that it can't get away with another lock down, and is trying to muddle through until vaccinations start bringing the infection rate down.  (Contact tracing may be of help, but the statistics imply that we may be beyond the point where tracing may be an effective tool to stop the spread.) However, there is also some good news.  From my conversations with one of these women, the NYC subway is virtually empty during many rush ours as of late, and it might make sense to do a museum run before things get worse.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sometimes, I simply don't want to bother being Marian


I look terrible in the above picture, don't I?  the way I'm dressed makes it obvious that I am a male trying to dress androgynously.  But that's OK for me, as this was the first time I wore female clothes in public with no one giving me emotional support.  Today, I wasn't even in the mood to go this far in my presentation, as the only place I was heading was to the supermarket.

Not living 24x7 as Marian, I have the option of going out as Mario.  Given that it was already 7:00 pm when I took my daily shower, there was no way I was going to be able to go out as Marian and still make it to the supermarket on time.  So I got dressed as Mario and ran over to the Stop & Shop nearby to pick up fixings for dinner.  

If I were living 24x7 as Marian, there are so many things that would be different.  For example, I'd have lost 100 pounds off my frame, and then have gotten some facial surgery to make my face more androgynous.  I might have also spent money on a tracheal shave, as well as electrolysis to remove the remainder of my facial hair.  If possible, I'd have gotten some hair transplants to make it possible to spend time en-femme without needing to wear a wig,  Until I can do this, I have to make a decision every time I go out my door - do I want to be Mario or Marian?  And today, Mario won out....

Monday, January 11, 2021

Another day without much to say.



Today, I ended up doing absolutely nothing other than watching TV.  The weather was supposed to be terrible, and I had no reason to go outside.

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One of the problems of living alone during the pandemic is loneliness.  Unlike some people I know, I am not good at finding meetup groups that interest me.  Additionally, not many groups are meeting in person until after the pandemic ends.  So, I am temporarily unable to connect with new people until the end of the pandemic.

As much as I've reached out to be with new people, I know that few people are willing to open up their bubbles until they have been vaccinated.  So most of the people I've been in contact with are those women who I contact for dating.  One thing I've found is that many of the available nice women are those with special needs offspring.  Dating a person with children in his/her 30's/40's/50's is hard enough.  But when one is in his/her 60's, it can be a big problem. Who wants to take on the headaches of an adult child who can't take care of him/herself?

Since I have to be practical, I have to ask myself - can I deal with these headaches?  Could a woman accept someone like me in exchange for companionship?  Who knows? 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sometimes, a gal has to spurge on herself.


This is a tale of two coffee makers.  It is a short tale, but it addresses a real need in my apartment - the lack of a quick way to have a single cup of coffee in my apartment.

Recently, I've taken to cleaning up my apartment, and one of the first areas of attack has been my kitchen.  Shortly after my late wife moved in, a storage cabinet of hers was placed in an empty corner of my kitchen.  It's ugly, but functional, and has been in the same place for almost 35 years.  In the process of cleaning up the room, I decided to place it against the other wall in the "empty" corner.  This made the kitchen more inviting, as one no longer feels cramped upon entry to the room.

In the process of moving the cabinet, I ended up relocating some appliances.  My vacuum sealer exchanged places with my toaster oven, and I temporarily moved a mini crock pot onto the top of the cabinet.  Now that I've used the crock pot to cook a meal, I can now store it in a more accessible place for future use.  In its place, I plan to place a coffee maker.  But what coffee maker should I put there?


I have an old coffee maker I never use. It requires me to use a filter and freshly ground coffee. Most importantly, I have to brew several cups at a time to use it.  So it has rarely seen any use.

A couple of years ago, my ex girlfriend gave me a French Press coffee maker.  This device doesn't require me to buy fancy filters to use when brewing coffee.  Instead, its design makes it inconvenient to use, as it requires a full clean up after each use.  This is not worth the effort when one wants a quick cup of coffee.

This left me with two choices to make, both involving K-Cup brewing.  The first choice was to decide whether I would buy an off-brand coffee maker which uses K-Cups, or whether I would buy one made by Keurig.  Given that the Hamilton Beach product was simple and easy to use, I almost sprang for that device on New Year's Eve.  But I decided to defer the decision until I was in contact with Vicki.  She was willing to give me her Keurig Mini, and I needed to know why she didn't use it before accepting her offer.  Vicki then told me about her two most important complaints: (1) The Mini's water reservoir was virtually useless, only having enough water for an 8 oz. brew, and (2) The Mini did not have controls for whether one desires a mild, medium, or strong brew.  At this point, I knew enough to make my decision.  I chose NOT to use Vicki's Mini brewer, and chose to buy the Keurig Classic with a 36 oz. reservoir. 

If you shop around, you'll find that the Keurig Classic is twice the price ($60) as the Hamilton Beach coffee maker ($30) at the local Walmart.  The key difference between the two is the size of the reservoir, with the Keurig holding 6 more ounces.  This is not a major difference.  But I am familiar with the Keurig from my 10 months at the census bureau, and I don't want to learn the nuances of a new machine. 

Now to find someone to have breakfast with, so that we can have coffee together.


An early dinner with a friend

  Last night, I mentioned to Pat that I wish I could have been born a cisgender female who looked like this when younger.  If I were younger...