Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


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Allison watches Eurovision 2018

After a Friday full of trying to keep up with my supervisor’s demands in the morning, volunteering in the afternoon, and getting together with a support group in the evening… and then spending all Saturday morning composing a blog entry, I spent Saturday afternoon camping in front of the TV set.  And “camp” also meant “campy.”

 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018 logo

Logo source here

Saturday (May 12) was Grand Final day of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.  If you recall my write-up about the 2016 contest, Eurovision is part of a consortium of European television broadcasters that produces and distributes TV content throughout Europe.  The Eurovision Song Contest is by far their biggest event, and this year it was held in Lisbon, capital and largest city of Portugal, whose entry in last year’s contest took home the title. Continue reading

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Allison does the whole #TryPod thing

Time to start something I don’t believe I’ve ever tried on here:  Make a series of recommendations.  If you have to spend your 40-hour work week in a cubicle, as I do, you want something that helps ease the tediousness a bit.  Sure, you could listen to the radio, but they always play the same old songs.  And you could listen to a streaming music service such as Pandora or Spotify, but you don’t want to use too much of your cell phone’s data plan.  And you want something to nourish your brain, or at least let it drift away from the troubles of current events.  Luckily, there are podcasts to help fill your need for aural satisfaction.

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A random personal thought (3/26/2018 edition)

Forgive me for borrowing a Yiddish term, but… Oy vey!  This has been one bummer of a month of March for me professionally.  I’ve made passing mention of it on here recently, and I’m still not mentally ready to tell you all about it.  Suffice it to say, it’s a mistake that I’m owning up to at least in my mind.  Being responsible for a professional error leaves me wondering about a lot of things, among them how much have my shortcomings (yes, I have more than one) influenced my supervisor and others?  How much can I improve?  And, yes, how much should I brush up my resumé?  At least I have received support and words of confidence from my friends and a couple of colleagues.  Their words are reminding me that I am worth much more to someone than my errors have branded me as.

What’s helping my psyche as well is the fact that there are those at my place of employment who don’t know, or don’t care, about my screw-ups.  One… er, actually, two of those people came calling today.  Both of them were very familiar with my male mode side’s commitment as a do-gooding volunteer (hey, something I’m good at!), and they made me an offer:  There is a big event later this spring that our company has been devoted to for many years, and our company is in need of someone to help coordinate and corral our contingent of volunteers.  (No, I won’t tell you who our company is or what event we’ll be sending volunteers to; my male mode side needs personal privacy, you know.)

Now, my usual volunteering efforts in the past have been limited to doing one simple task on one day at one event and then be done with it.  Not with this particular duty, however.  For one, it’ll take the span of a few weeks this spring to care for, meaning I won’t be sitting on my duff for a whole afternoon.  Plus, instead of doing just one thing, I’ll be gathering information on who from our company wants to volunteer and sent it to the event’s coordinators.

The above description may be all just a thumbnail’s sketch to some of you, but for me this will be a big deal… not just because of the responsibilities but because someone came to me to ask for volunteer help, not my asking them.  After weeks of being unsure of my own lot at my place of employment, and being nervous or downright scared about my professional future, there’s real impact in hearing these words from someone at work, even if it involves work I don’t normally do:

We need you.

I’m actually and sincerely looking forward to the coming weeks as a volunteer.  Please wish me luck in my efforts to keep impressing others in a positive way.


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Allison empties her bookmarks (Dove edition)

Time to do something I haven’t done in a while:  Clear out a few items that have long sit idle as bookmarks in my browser.  Both are related to an advertising campaign that’s made an impact in both the ad world and popular culture over the past decade-plus:  Dove beauty products’ Campaign for Real Beauty.  Perhaps you’ve seen some of the campaign’s advertising in the past, all aimed at countering the prevailing image of women and young girls concocted by the beauty and fashion industries — i.e. images of waif-thin models of a certain age and/or ethnicity, all sporting all-too-perfect hair, makeup, and skin tone — and instead celebrate various types of female appearances and encourage and inspire women to be confident in and comfortable with themselves.

As I recall it, the first I time I heard of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was a 75-second online ad produced in Canada and first released in October 2006.  Titled “Evolution,” the ad featured a pretty yet ordinary girl going through a time-lapse transformation into a beautiful model — with some obvious embellishments.

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Good luck

chicago-river-retouch

A green-dyed Chicago River (with everything else black and white apparently for good photographic effect) (Image source here)

Today is March 17, better known far and wide as Saint Patrick’s Day.  Traditionally, this date is the supposed death anniversary of Saint Patrick, who is widely considered both the patron saint of Ireland and the man who brought Christianity to the lush green isle several millennia ago.  This is as opposed to Saint Eligius, who is considered the patron saint of longshoremen and bowling aficionados. (Uh, wait a minute, that may not be right…)  The good citizens of Ireland treat this day with general solemnity and recognition of Irish pride; indeed, this is an official public holiday in Ireland.

Those who are part of the worldwide Irish diaspora have been credited with popularizing Saint Patrick’s Day on a global basis.  Thanks to the specter of commercialization this day has gained a life of its own here in America, especially since the mid 20th century.  Anything with a green and/or Irish theme seemingly pops up everywhere at this time of year:  Greeting card aisles are stocked with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” cards.  Parades are held.  Traditional Irish music is played.  Bodies of water are dyed green.  Sports teams who don’t have green in their color scheme add it to their uniforms.  Party shops are loaded with green- or shamrock-themed party wares.  Speaking of parties, semi-responsible adults use this day as an excuse to drink beer and act uncouth (ugh).  And people of all ages put on real green clothing, fake Irish accents, and even faker Irish names (i.e. adding a “Mc” to the beginning of their surnames).

And it’s all done to foster, for better and (much) worse, Irish stereotypes, usually to a humorous or joyous intent if not always having a humorous or joyous effect.  True story:  When I lived in the Green Bay area, a morning radio team (classic rock station, of course) had an annual tradition of “staging” (note the quote marks) a “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” down the main boulevard of one of the cities in the area, complete with “marching bagpipe bands” (again, note the quote marks) with names that stereotype the various non-Irish European cultures that populate much of Wisconsin.  Definitely stereotypical, in more ways than the listener would expect on that day.  But at least their pointed non-stereotype jokes throughout the routine hit the mark.

Admittedly, as a naive kid of single-digit ages, I got roped into the Saint Patrick’s Day rigmarole.  For example, I would ask everyone I encountered, fellow kid or otherwise, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing green today?  You won’t get good luck now.”  Sometimes I would get away with asking that despite not wearing a hint of green on my own person, not even a green button.

But as I grew older and more wiser, I started seeing Saint Patrick’s Day for what it is:  Just another day that just happens to be marked in a special way on the calendar.  (No offense, of course, to the fair people of Ireland who treat this day with utmost respect.)  There are only a couple of minor items in my closet (both male and female sides) that have some sort of green, but I don’t drag them out and put them on just for the sake of this day.  I don’t put on a fake Irish accent or add a “Mc” to my name.  I don’t even buy a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  And I most definitely do not drink copious amounts of green beer and party until the morning light (I’m a teetotaler, of course).

But if there is one Irish stereotype I admit to imbibing on today, it’s the thought of luck.  When reading up on Saint Patrick’s Day, I saw only one reference to luck, that being the tossing of a shamrock over the shoulder after taking a drink, for good luck.  I had always dismissed shamrocks and superstitions involving them as being equivalent to imagery of leprechauns — nothing more than representations of negative Irish stereotypes and symbols of a feeling of fortune not everyone can obtain.

But a couple of years ago on Saint Patrick’s Day, my Firefox browser displayed this:

Firefox shamrock 3-17-2016

And when I saw that image appear in my browser, it hit me like a ton of lead.  What was once (and still is?) regarded as Saint Patrick’s way of metaphorically describing the Christian Holy Trinity has become the quick go-to symbol of good luck, in lieu of the very rare four-leaf clover.  But more than the imagery, it’s the words that accompany it, or at least what accompanied this particular shamrock:  Good health.  Good luck.  Happiness.  On the 17th of March and every day.  At the end of a week when, at least professionally, I haven’t had a lot of good luck (and I feel downright scared about my work status), actually gaining good luck and happiness can feel very elusive elusive.  But it’s something I can hope for, if not make it possible.  And if I can’t entirely make it possible, at least being wished a lifetime of good luck and happiness, and wishing the same on others, can bring nothing but warmth to a heart that needs it.

So, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s hoping that, as Firefox so aptly communicated, you have three wishes coming your way — wishes of good health, good luck, and warm happiness, not just today but every single day.  Enjoy your day.


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Allison gets Olympic fever (Pyeongchang edition)

2018 Olympic Winter Games logoA question for you:  Have you watched any of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games at this point?  Yeah, you knew I was going to ask you about the Olympics, what with the title of this post, the logo to your right, and the “BOOM! Boom! Buh-BOOM! Boom!” coming out of your TV set.  Since Pyeongchang, South Korea is now in the second half of its Olympic fortnight, I thought I’d highlight some interesting notes about I’ve watched and read about the Olympics.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of these Games that I’ve noticed and taken a routing interest in is the performances of LGBT athletes in Pyeongchang.  This article from The Advocate gives a nice summation of the performances by out athletes up to this point, but I’ll do a quick summary of what are perhaps the two most noteworthy feats, both of which happen to be in figure skating.  First, there was out skier Eric Radford of Canada, who with skating partner Meagan Duhamel were part of the gold medal winners in the team competition and later won bronze in the pairs competition.  It’s a bummer that both Eric and Meagan are retiring from competitive skating, but they are certainly going out on a high note.

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Random thoughts (2/17/2018 edition)

I’m spending this Saturday giving Male Mode Me a deserved rest — and, by obvious extension, yours truly — after he had a somewhat draining week professionally.  How draining, you ask?  Well, it wasn’t so much physically draining as it was mentally.  Let me explain by following up to my previous post recounting my satisfying yet not entirely enjoyable day of volunteering at a youth business event on Wednesday, which you can read about here if you haven’t done so already.  During and after my “mentoring” of my assigned team in their business simulation (note the quote marks as they ran circles around me in terms of knowing how to manage a business), several thoughts ran through my mind:  For one, unlike how I was at their age (or even now in my adulthood), these students are clearly bright and talented, and it’s for certain that their skills have been and continue to be molded and nurtured by their teachers and other educators who clearly want their students to succeed.

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Random thoughts (2/11/2018 edition)

A couple of quick thoughts on this Sunday afternoon.  First, I had mentioned in my last post about a bill in the Wisconsin State Assembly that would prevent local municipalities in the state (cities, counties, townships, etc.) from enacting and enforcing anti-discriminatory employment regulations and protections.  A State Assembly committee had a hearing on the measure Wednesday afternoon.  And from what I recall hearing Friday night at the trans/CD support group I regularly attend, there is a little bit of good news on the matter.  Apparently, there were quite a bit of comments made in the hearing against the bill.  And it may have made an influence on the conservative powers-that-be in the committee, who hinted they had no plans to send the bill to a full vote by the Assembly.  That’s good, for it’s a piece of legislation that can potentially do a lot of harm to several groups of workers, including those who are trans or gender non-conforming.  Needless to say, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is against the Assembly bill (as well as a similar measure in the State Senate), comparing it to the controversial HB2 measure in North Carolina, which was one of the most anti-LGBT ordinances in the United States.

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Allison empties a bookmark (2/4/2018 edition)

Time for something I haven’t done on here in a while:  Clear out a bookmark that’s long been sitting idle in my browser.  It’s about a business here in Madison that I’ve highlighted a couple of times on here before:  Mallatt’s, which has long been known for its prescription services, home health care and convenience items, and more famously a wide selection of costumes and theatrical makeup.  In the autumn of 2016, Mallatt’s made the decision to discontinue its prescription services, due to changing times and increased corporate competition.  Then a year ago, they closed their remaining brick-and-mortar locations.  Since then, Mallatt’s has concentrated on their online sales and services, both in home care services and costume sales.

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Random stuff (1/27/2018 edition)

After another long, tiring, downer of a week, I thought I’d use this Saturday post to catch up on some works of note from the accomplished actress Jessica Chastain.  And it’s not just about her acting skills, which I’ll dive into in a moment.  To use a common contemporary term, Ms. Chastain is one woke person, and not just because she wears black on the Golden Globes red carpet in solidarity for the Time’s Up movement.  Nope, Jessica Chastain talks the talk and walks the walk.  She has been a prominent voice regarding the issues of gender equality, safety, and misogyny that are plaguing Hollywood.  A particular concern of hers has been matters of pay equality:  When she’s negotiating to be the leading lady in a film, Jessica abides by a personal rule of seeking compensation for her talents that’s equal to that of the male lead (the “favored nation” clause).  Even if the producers balk or she must walk away from a plum role, Jessica takes satisfaction in drawing that line of fairness, no matter how many zeroes that paycheck may or may not include.  In other words, it’s not about the money; it’s about sticking to her principles of equal pay for equal work.

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