Allison M.

Thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up from a full-time male who's a part-time female

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Why Allison doesn’t like to binge-watch

I need to preface this post by stating that I’ve never been a sci-fi geek.  What I mean is that I’ve never seen or appreciated a television show, film, book, etc. solely based on the fact that it’s in the realm of science fiction or fantasy.  That’s not to say I disdain anything sci-fi.  Far from it, in fact.  If a show or film that’s well produced happens to be sci-fi is okay with me.

I only bring up that clarification on science fiction as what I want to write about in this post has to do indirectly with a sci-fi show that Male Mode Me has taken an interest to in the past year or so.  The name of the show is not germane either, although I’ll link to its web page here.  What is germane, though, is the fact that the cable network airing the show is running its current season event-style, 10 episodes over 3 nights instead of the traditional one episode per week.  In the modern day vernacular, this is what’s known as “binge-watching,” that is sitting down on your posterior and watching several hours of television (especially episodes from the same series) in succession.

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Incorrect narratives

I’ll start this post with a little bit of levity:  If you’re from Canada, you’re probably familiar with a CBC Television show called This Hour Has 22 Minutes.  For the uninitiated, 22 Minutes is best described analogous to Saturday Night Live and its Weekend Update segment, in that it spoofs Canadian current events and TV news through its delivery of jokes, sketches, satirical commentaries, and man-on-the-street segments, regularly doing so in devastatingly funny and pointed fashion.

When I spent a week vacationing in Canada many years ago, I came across a 22 Minutes episode that included a recurring segment called “Canada in the Morning.”  As you can guess by its title, it was a parody of the breezy TV news/chat shows one turns on (for the sake of white noise?) while getting ready to go to work.  “Canada in the Morning” featured the fictitious duo of “Finnigan O’Toole” and “Lisa Thomas,” played respectively by Gavin Crawford and Cathy Jones, who in interview segments had a tendency to stray very far from the chief topic at hand.

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Stepping out in PVC

It’s already the middle of May (already?!), and the other day, I finally — finally! — did something I hadn’t done all year:  I dressed up and snapped some pictures to share with all of y’all.

Piano shirt, jacket, and PVC leggings

After a busy Friday of work in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon, I headed home late afternoon with one more personal commitment, a meet-up with fellow CD/TG people that evening.  Rather than just slap on a wig and jeans, I decided to take a bit of a stylish route, starting with a nice cream colored jacket I bought several years ago at Forever 21.  It does have a nice combination of spring feeling and stylish attitude.

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Random stuff: SNL’s “Handmaid’s” parody

Perhaps you’ve heard by now about a little series on Hulu called The Handmaid’s Tale.  The show, whose first season is being released episode-by-episode as of this writing and which has been renewed for a second season, is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel set in a dystopian future where religious autocrats have taken over what used to be the United States; have stripped away human rights in general and women’s rights in particular; and have subjugated fertile women into a life in which they’re nothing more than, uh, baby-making machines for the privileged (and barren) upper class.

So far, The Handmaid’s Tale has been critically well received, and has certainly gained notice from those like… uh, [sheepishly raises hand] me who do not have a Hulu subscription (note to self: buy it on DVD if and when it comes out) for what have been described as powerful and engrossing acting, writing, and visuals.  Of course, one other reason for that notice is how it seems to be an ominous warning.  Even though Season 1 went into production well before You Know Who was elected You Know What, the show seems to serve as an advisory for what may lie ahead for society while You Know Who’s cronies desire to take away rights and make America in their own misguided image.  It’s part of the reason one critic has labeled the show the most important of this spring.

With The Handmaid’s Tale having such a dark tone and provocative subject matter, one would think it would not be ripe for parody by a satirical outlet such as, say, Saturday Night Live.  Well… one would be wrong.

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Good, bad, and uneasy about my eyes

I underwent my annual eye examination on Saturday, and the outcome gave me some good, bad, and uneasy feelings.  Let’s summarize:

Good:  The eye doctor said that my eyes were in good health, which is good (Yay!) considering the family history I will mention below.

Bad:  A scan of my eyes revealed a possible question mark regarding the health of my right eye.  It’s something “outside of normal,” according to the doctor, though not too much outside of normal.

Good:  The eye doctor thinks said question mark could be a minor abnormality and that I shouldn’t worry about it just yet.  I guess we’ll check it out again in a year.

Uneasy:  Reading (and re-reading) said scan results has made me anxious about this precious of the 5 senses.  Sure, it may indeed be nothing to worry about, but it’s the pits to know that my eyes are not perfect, and that just as the rest of one’s body ages over time, so do one’s eyes. My grandmother had glaucoma and cataracts in her later years; my mom will need to undergo cataract surgery within the next year, and she’s no spring chicken either.   And on top of that, the eye doctor intimated to me that everyone will have cataracts in their lifetime.  It’s a bummer to think about.

Good:  I’ll be getting new eyeglass lenses in the coming days, the better to help alleviate eye strain caused by being on the computer all the time.

Bad:  I still need glasses, and likely always will.  Well, that’s a given since I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old and my eyes see everything as a blur when I don’t have them on.  You probably couldn’t tell that from my various photos that I need glasses, do you?  Well, 9 times out of 10, I temporarily put my glasses to the side when I’m taking a picture as Allison, and shedding them helps assure, in my mind at least, that my male and female sides have a distinct look (“Clark Kent vs. Supergirl” is how I like to term the comparison).

Good:  I get to keep my eyeglass frames, which I’ve had for over a decade, are still in very good shape (one replaceable ear rest notwithstanding), and look flattering on me whether I’m presenting as male or female.  Seriously, I love how they don’t take up very much of my face (i.e. they’re not dark frames that hide my facial features).

Uneasy:  The total cost of the new lenses and the exam that preceded them set me back about $850.  You’re asking why so much and why must I pay out of pocket?  Well, to answer the first question, I have separate eyeglass pairs for working on the computer and for regular “distance” vision, and I switch back and forth between them whenever I step to or away from my computer.  The latter reason is that my eye doctor and the place where I get my glasses (okay, it’s LensCrafters) are not currently on my vision plan.  However, there’s still a chance I can recoup some of that cost when I submit my claim to the insurance provider.  That’s not a guarantee I’ll get 100% of that cost back, but I gotta hope.

Good:  Putting the special anti-glare and anti-strain coating on the lenses won’t take forever.  Well, okay, it’ll take about a week, but that’s not forever.  And it’s not like I’ll be blind as a bat waiting for them (I’ve still got my old lenses on my glasses, and putting the new lenses in when they arrive will take just an hour).

Uneasy:  All this talk about glasses makes me wish I would have considered contact lenses earlier in my lifetime.  I never had since I have the fear of discomfort if I were to wear them, not to mention losing them inside my eyelids or out of my eyes if they were to pop out.  My sister wears contacts, and many years ago when we shared a duplex and I got a coupon for a trial offer of contacts in the mail, I immediately gave the coupon to Sis, lest said “great deal” go to waste.

Good:  I have peace of mind for another year knowing that my eyes are healthy.  Now, if there were a way to waive a magic wand on my eyes and give them 20/20 vision, that would be even better.

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Allison’s second Crazylegs Classic experience

crazylegs-classic-logo-color_150w164h72r_v_1_0_0If you recall a year ago, I challenged myself to run in the Crazylegs Classic, which is an 8-kilometer run put on by the University of Wisconsin—Madison whose proceeds go to fund the school’s athletic program.  I had never run in an organized race that long, and I wasn’t sure of how well I would do.  Well, I set to preparing for the race, squeezing in 5-mile runs almost every weekend in the lead-up to the race.  And when all was said and done, I finished the 4.98 miles in just over 57 minutes, well above the treadmill runs I put myself on and astonishing myself in the process.

This year, I got myself off the couch and, despite a little bit of procrastination (I can’t shake all of my bad habits), signed myself to run the 36th edition of Crazylegs, which occurred last Saturday (April 29).  Compared to the lead-up to last year’s run, I wasn’t as nervous.  Well, I sort of take that back.  The only thing I was nervous about was how cold and/or wet I’d feel during and after the run.  Yeah, Madison has had a bit of a cold spell the past few days, along with a few dreary days of rain, including the night before when I had to run in between raindrops to pick up my runner’s packet (shirt, bib, sweat pack).

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Allison empties a bookmark: #MoreThanMean

This morning, I was reminded yet again of the ongoing, very serious issue of misogyny directed at women through online and social media platforms.  One of my tweeps (and I won’t single her out here) had derogatory comments sent her way by some guy hiding behind an icon supporting He Who Must Not Be Named Because He’s Our Thin-Skinned Leader.  All my Twitter friend did was post a couple of witty criticisms directed at men who like… well, let’s just say men who like to post pictures of themselves snagging that big trophy trout on a fishing excursion.  The troll in question replied to her tweet with critiques (to use a less saltier term) directed at her Twitter icon, her physique (she only has a picture of herself from the shoulders up), and suggestions of… uh, inbreeding within her family.

Needless to say, I was disgusted with the flame directed her way, and I encouraged her not to take it anymore.  Personally, I took it a step further and reported this guy’s actions to the powers-that-be at Twitter.  I’m not sure if they’ve deleted his account yet (and he deserves it if they do), but at least my reporting him on my friend’s behalf also meant he was blocked from seeing my account. (Yay!  Take that, Mr. Troll!)

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Extended thoughts about a LGBT center somewhere

My previous post, which you can read here, had me talking about a place of higher learning not too far from my old neck of the (literal) woods establishing a LGBT resource and support center.  After I added it to this blog, I couldn’t help but think about it further…

First off, I can’t say enough how great it is for the University of Wisconsin—Marinette to establish a LGBT center.  I’m happy, of course, that it’s happening in the area where I spent the later years of my adolescence.  More than that, though, I’m happy for those in Marinette and vicinity who identify as part of the LGBT spectrum or are LGBT allies, for they finally — finally! — have somewhere where they can find resources; obtain information on healthcare, transitioning, support, etc.; or just find a safe, welcoming place where they will not be judged for who they identify as or who they may be attracted to.

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Allison clears bookmarks about an LGBT center somewhere

Please don’t let the title of this post make you think I’ve become blasé about the opening of a center dedicated to those who identify as part of the LGBT community.  That’s not the case, for any office or center, large or small, that’s dedicated to providing support, resources, or just a conversation place to our community is a vitally important thing to have, wherever it may be.  Now more than ever, it seems that these centers and the resources they can provide are important, even as our community has made great strides towards rights and acceptance.

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