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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#TBT: Root canals

Before I get to the main purpose of this post, a side thought:  Whoever said that change is the only consistent thing in the world certainly knew a little something about the business world.  Case in point:  The team I’m on at my place of employment, which will soon undergo a reorganization and shifting of duties.  While I understand management’s need to “serve our customers” in an effective manner, no longer having a chance to perform a cool task you really enjoy doing can be the pits.  Oh, well.  The good thing is that I do still have gainful employment, and there’s always the possibility that another cool task may be coming my way (I love having a bit of variety in my daily work routine).

Another thing about this move that’s the pits is that some of the people I enjoy working with won’t be on the same team as I.  One of those people serves as inspiration for this post.  This afternoon, he went to the wonderful world of endodontics and undergo a root canal procedure.  Yeah, what fun, huh?

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#TBT: “Powww!”

I’ve been away from WordPress for the past couple of days and I’m wanting to get back into the writing swing of things.  Trouble is, I had been wracking my brain about something to write about.  Then I came across an A.V. Club article about a certain Chicago television institution — Bozo the Clown.  Oh, sure, Bozo may have had a presence in other towns (he was not so much a character as he was a franchise, and I’ll circle back to that term later), but to many in Chicagoland, he was as much a part of the city as the Cubs, the Field Museum, and whatever they call the Sears Tower these days.  I imagine many natives of the city still believe this 16 years after Bozo’s show was cancelled by WGN (another Chicago institution in some circles).

But this post isn’t about Bozo or Chicago.  Rather, this is about a little something A.V. Club included in its article from way down deep into the Wikipedia wormhole (their term):  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was something called TV Powww, and it was literally a video game played over broadcast television.  So what, you say?  The premise was this:  A contestant watching TV Powww would be on the phone with the station (either as a random caller or as a name drawn from a barrel of entrants) and play some sort of a “target shoot” variant of video game they saw onscreen.

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#TBT: How I first heard of the word “crossdresser”

“Skip!  Skip!  Can you maybe make it next week?  I hate to miss Brian’s birthday; and Friday, the transvestites are back on Donahue.”
– the title character, speaking to one of his alien brethren in a 1986 episode of ALF

I want to start this post with the definition of “crossdressing,” as found here:  “the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.”

Why do I use that word?  Well, I first started dressing in women’s clothing back when I was 11 years old going on 12.  Even back then, I knew that putting on women’s undergarments or anything else feminine was considered taboo and against societal (and more immediately, familial) norms.  But while I knew the definition at the time, I didn’t know of the word.  To me, it was nothing more than “putting on clothing that belonged to my mom or my sister or, before that, what was found in that spare bedroom where we lived.”

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Empathy and Montréal 1989

A  warning before I go any further:  This is a hard post for me to write, not just because I struggled with how to write it out but because of references (albeit as indirect as possible) to details of a brief yet dark and ugly moment in history, a moment where the legacy of those who were lost or affected should be recognized and remembered.  It’s because of the references to that moment that you may find this post hard to digest.  So, if you want to hit your browser’s “back” button and read some other post, I perfectly understand.  But if you wish to read on, proceed with caution after the jump.

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A #NotOkay addendum

If she belonged to me, I’d give her everything
I’d never cheat or lie

I treat her with respect, not just a sex object
I ain’t that kind of guy
lyrics from Rod Stewart’s “Crazy About Her”

When I shared stories last weekend about three of the women in my life who faced verbal or sexual assault, a memory from my own past sprung up into my mind.  It’s not any form of assault I directly suffered, if that’s what you are wondering.  Rather, it’s a moment that got me to thinking about just how a sexually-driven alpha-male attitude toward women of all types could be spread.  And I had thought about including it in that previous post, but I still had trepidation about doing so, and besides, that post was long enough. (Warning:  Though I will try to use some sanitized terms, some of the subject matter may be sensitive to some readers, so click on the jump with caution.)

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Allison remembers her first eclipse

This is another of those times when I was planning to write about one subject, but my attention is directed to a totally different subject.  So, instead of writing about dressing up or whatever I was going to write about (I’ve forgotten already), here I am responding to this one-word Daily Post prompt:  Eclipse.

When I saw the prompt today, my mind didn’t think of any existentialist definition of the word “eclipse” but rather automatically thought of the astronomical term, precisely a solar eclipse, which, for all you kids out there who haven’t taken any science classes yet, is when the moon crosses between the sun and the earth, causing part or all of the sunlight to disappear from view.  The most epic version of a solar eclipse is when the moon is close enough to Earth to completely cover all traces of sunlight — the total eclipse.

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Allison in Madison: The Elvis fight scene

Time for another edition of “Allison in Madison,” and this entry will be one part City of Madison highlight, one part dive into the deep recessions of my memory bank.  I’ll start with a little teaser question for you:  How would you think the site pictured below would connect to one the greatest, most popular, and legendary entertainers of all time?  (No spoilers from the Madison audience, please!)

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I’ll get into the hows and whys later, but I’ll start by telling you upfront who the entertainer in question is:  Elvis Presley.  When Elvis hit the big time in the mid-1950s, it was with an energetic, provocative stage presence and a combination of upbeat country, rhythm and blues into a new form of popular music — rock and roll — that [A] drove the kids and teens of the time into a wild frenzy (much more of a frenzy than what the prefab pop stars of today would generate), and [B] drove the older generations into having fits when they realized that his music and performance styles were not the same as the tried-and-true entertainment they enjoyed for decades.  Simply put, Elvis helped usher in a changing of the guard in popular music as well as culture:  Older, more conservative styles and morals were on their way out; in its place was a new “youth culture” with its own beliefs, opinions, and political and cultural stances; combine that with the growing popularity of television and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement and it really made the grownups’ heads spin.  They needn’t have worried, though, for Elvis always seemed, to me at least, to be one who, despite breaking away from his elders stylistically, still had true respect for them. (“That’s all right now mama” indeed.)

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When it’s okay to be a “coward”

There’s a big story that occurred at the Rio Olympics within the past 24 hours that inspired me to write this post.  I’ll get to the Olympic story later, but I want to bring up a topic I think I’ve mentioned in passing here before about my school days.  I got teased.  A lot.  From elementary right up through my junior year of high school.  Sometimes, that teasing would result in a physical altercation, most often started by the person teasing or bullying me, or by someone who didn’t really give a rat’s behind about me but was just itching to push me out of the hallway, down to the ground, or into a locker.

More often than not, anyone who wasn’t me or the person teasing me would just look the other way or do nothing, not even giving me the benefit of the doubt.  Even a school principal would not look kindly on me.  For just one example, I was in 6th grade, I got into a shoving match with a notorious teaser in our class, who later responded during the lunch line in the cafeteria by grabbing a pepper shaker from the kitchen and throwing pepper into my eyes.  What was more stinging than the pepper was the stern talking-to the principal gave me in his office after the incident, all because I may have provoked him into the shoving incident earlier (or may not have, I don’t remember anymore).  Mom made it worse that evening back at home with her own stern comments of disappointment.

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That street… that spot…

I’ll start this post by stating what may be pretty obvious to you by now:  Twenty sixteen has been one crappy year for everyone, and it’s only July.  I mean, it feels like a non-stop stream of distressing or just plain bad news is hitting us:  Politics (*yuk!*), controversies (*ugh*), those admired by everyone leaving this world (*sob*).  Oh, and not to mention a few tragedies, including those that have occurred of late here in the United States.  I won’t rehash any of the three truly terrible incidents from last week as we all know by now, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, what happened.  I will say, though, that the acts were truly horrific, that they have aroused passions and raised issues that are hard to ignore, and that they never should have happened the way they did.  (Seriously, must everyone always panic?)

What I will do in this post is ponder not so much the nature of an event but the spot on which an event occurs.  I’ll start by asking you to do this:  Mentally pick, if you will, any geographic spot you frequently walk/drive/bike/run past on any given day.  The odds are that your mind doesn’t wander too much toward what might have happened in the past on that location.  A billion different things could happen there, really:  Doors opening and closing, friends meeting friends, people helping strangers, kids playing, someone waiting for a bus.

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My first time on a plane

I’ve mentioned on here a couple of times before that I don’t like flying on plans very much.  It’s not like I’ll freak out and hyperventilate the second I board, but more of a feeling where I’m just uncomfortable being cooped up in the cabin at 30,000 feet or whatever the altitude may be.

But that’s not to say I’ve never flown on a plane, and with that I’ll answer this writing prompt about my first airplane experience.  It happened a few months after I graduated from high school, and the destination being… well, let’s say it was a city out West where I needed to go to for a few months to… well, even writing under a feminine alias doesn’t make me comfortable to admit the reason, so let’s dispense for why I was out West for the 4 most difficult months of my life (I will admit that).

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