Saturday, July 12, 2008

The alphabet meme: T

Pastry Cutter T is for time you woke up today: About 9:15, which is actually a little earlier than usual (It's great being retired). That's because I went to bed a little earlier than usual last night--before 2:00.

Plat du jour

Friday, July 11, 2008

The alphabet meme: S

Alphabet Block s is for status: Well that's certainly an open-ended one. At the moment my Facebook status is: "Caprice Bellefleur is regretting something she ate or drank last night." But that's a little obsolete. I've been feeling better the last half-hour or so, and actually ate something for the first time today.

So I guess it's time to change my status. Now it's: "Caprice Bellefleur is catching up on the internets."

Support trans rights AND Obama

We have now passed our second goal of 75 donors to the Obama campaign through the trans page on ActBlue, and we're really uping the ante: Now we're aiming for 150.

I posted our original solicitation here. Even if you can only donate $5 or $10, please give. The number of supporters donating through this page is important to show the Obama campaign, and all politicians, that the transgender community is involved in politics and can't be ignored.

Click on:


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The alphabet meme: R

R is for regrets: I think there are two kinds of regrets. One is regrets in hindsight--what you'd do differently if you knew how things would turn out. I'm sure most people have lots of them. I do. I think they're usually the less interesting ones, though.

More interesting are regrets about decisions you made that were wrong, and that you knew at the time were wrong, at least somewhat. I have two of them. I regret staying at my first computer programming job too long. I should have left after a couple of years, because we weren't keeping up with advances in the industry. I sort of knew this, but it was a nice place to work (a university facility)--the people were all nice, the work wasn't too demanding, we had flexible hours and no dress code (something of a rarity in the early 80's). The programmers were left alone to do our work. The pay wasn't too bad, at least after the first couple years. I was satisfied, though I knew I could do better.

Then, after I was there for about 4.5 years, there was a reorganization, and a change of management. Things were very different. We, the programmers, were no longer given carte blanche. The new management did not like our independence, though a certain amount was tolerated because they knew they couldn't do without us--they hated the flexible hours, because they couldn't keep an eye on everyone all the time. We were misled about management's intentions, even outright lied to--I was told I would be getting a raise as of a certain date, when it hadn't been approved. And my boss knew it wouldn't be approved at least a month before its supposed start date, but he didn't tell me.

I wanted to get out, but there was a big problem--I didn't have the skills that were then in demand. I managed to find something after nearly a year of looking. (I learned a lot about headhunters in the process--especially ones who would send you out on interviews for jobs you really weren't qualified for--a real waste of time.) It was working for a marketing consultant, who had a contract with a big mail order company. The guy knew nothing about programming, but wanted to make all the decisions. He didn't really lie to me about what my job would entail, but he certainly lied to the headhunter, saying it was new position, when in fact he had fired my predecessor--and then refused to give him his last paycheck. He hired two of us at the same time. I couldn't figure it out, because there really wasn't enough work for two people. He soon fired the other one, and I realized he never had any intention of keeping both of us. (He then boasted about making sure that he did this after only 29 days, because that way he wouldn't have to pay the headhunter his commission!)

He was abusive to the two other employees (one especially), though at first he let me alone. Then, a couple weeks after he fired the other guy, I made a mistake, and he let me have it. So I walked out. Literally. My old place had said I could come back, and as bad as it was, it was better than the new one. But I learned a valuable lesson: Never work for an entrepreneur--they think they know everything about their business better than anyone, even experts in the field, and they view every dime of expenses as taking food off their plates.

It took me two more years to find another new job. For the rest of my career I was well behind the curve technology-wise--though right at the end this turned out to be an advantage. By the late 90's they had stopped teaching the old technologies in computer schools, but there were still some places that used it--and we old dinosaurs found we were a bit in demand, especially during the run up to Y2K.

Oh, yes, this was about regrets. My second regret was semi-wasting my first dozen years in New York, because I was too shy and scared to take advantage of many of its attractions--rock clubs, etc. I sat at home for a lot of my mid-20's to mid-30's.

Plat du jour

Of what?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The alphabet meme: Q

Q - paper is for what you do in quiet times: Quiet times. What's that?

Life is different when you're retired. In some respects most of my life is quiet. Someone asked me recently if I make it a point to get out of the apartment every day. No, I don't. There are plenty of days when my longest excursion is to take the garbage out to the compactor chute down the hall. Sometimes this happens two or even three days in a row. It doesn't bother me a bit. I have a comfortable apartment, my wife and I each have an office (and we each have a bathroom), so we get enough "space."

I spend a lot of time at the computer. I'm a semi-retired moderator on the myHusbandBetty message boards, and I at least skim everything that's posted there. I read my e-mail, and some news websites, some blogs. I play pinball on the computer a little--the one that came with XP. I watch surprisingly little television, and read relatively few books. It's a nice, quiet life.

My record is super-smashed

As during the French Open, my glob received record numbers of visitors during Wimbledon, mostly people wanting to know about Mary Carillo. The first week ranged from the upper 30's to mid 50's hits per day, reaching a high of 67, nearly equaling the record 70. The second week returned to a pretty constant low 50's rate until Thursday's women's semis, when it hit 68. Then, on the 4th, when it was the men's turn, I smashed the record with 86.

I was pretty sure that it would be even higher on Saturday, when the women's final was played. I didn't check it until mid-afternoon, when I figured it might even be in triple figures. But I was shocked when I saw the count was 223! It kept going up, though at a slower rate, throughout the rest of the day, and at midnight the final total was 278--more than three times the record set the previous day. Amazing!

I had no idea what would happen on Sunday. I suspected it would be lower, because a lot of the people interested in Carillo had already done their searches. And it turned out I was right. It was only (ha-ha) 148.

This week it has gone back down, though it's still above normal--people are continuing to search for "Mary Carillo lesbian" and "Mary Carillo gay," hitting my old post.

I wonder what's going to happen during the U.S. Open.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The alphabet meme: P

P is for people you were with today: I'm a day late on this one, but I think I have a good excuse. If I had done it yesterday before I went out, then the only person would be my wife. But I didn't get home until after midnight, and I was too tired to do it then anyway.

So now I have some time to really do it. Except it's really for yesterday, not today:
  • My wife, as I said.

  • Alma Gomez, another volunteer lawyer at the West Village TransLegal Clinic Name Change Project.

  • 5 clients at the Name Change Project.

  • My friend Cleopatra Queen of Denile and her roommate, at a performance by the Maestrocities.

  • Jenny Lee Mitchell (Deirdre of the Maestrocities), and her friends from Europe that I went out with last Thursday.

  • Andy Sapora (Chauncy of the Maestrocities).

Semi-random thoughts

● Since George Bush the (much) Lesser entered office, the largest United States export to Iran has been cigarettes--at least $158 million dollars worth. I guess someone thought the best way to oppose the Iranian regime was to kill them off with lung cancer.

UPDATE: I understand (from a MoveOn e-mail) that McCain has been making a similar joke. Well, I think I was first, so maybe he got it from me. Probably not. Anyhow, there's a big difference between a private person like me putting it in her blog, and a candidate for the president of the United States saying it. It's another example of how questionable McCain's judgment is.

● I must admit I was wrong about what happens when the Williams sisters play each other. They have managed to put aside their sisterly love and play well against each other--though Venus was a little better than Serena at it. (It also turns out they played a very competitive match in a minor tournament in March also, that I didn't know about.)

● Again this year a couple of pigeons have built a nest on the windowsill under the air conditioner of our TV room. Grrr. As much as I dislike looking at all the the pigeon-poop dripping down the wall underneath (quite visbile from the livingroom), I really don't want to destroy the nest now that they've set it up. I assume there are eggs underneath the bird sitting there.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My week in review

Sunday: We watched another episode of Inspector Lewis.

Thursday: Cleopatra Queen of Denile and I went down to the Here Theater in SoHo to see Arias with a Twist. That's Joey Arias, the drag performer and Basil Twist the puppeteer, who have joined forces to create a bizarre, wonderful, song-filled show. It's been extended until August 31.

Joining us was Jenny Lee Mitchell (Deirdre of the Maestrocities). She has known Joey Arias since she was a teenager, when they worked together at Fiorucci's. We got to talk to Arias briefly after the show. Then Cleopatra, Jenny and I, along with a couple of Jenny's friends who were also at the show, went out to dinner at a nice Spring St. Italian restaurant.

Saturday: My wife and I saw "Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne)."(UK website) It was simply one of the best thrillers I've ever seen. It ranks up there with "The Third Man." It's the classic innocent man being framed, on the run from the police and a sinister gang of bad guys--including a woman so evil that she makes Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones look like a cuddly pussy cat.

Afterwards we had an adequate dinner at Serafina.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The alphabet meme: O

O is for overnight hospital stays: Zero. I guess that's not quite true--I'm sure I was in the hospital a few days when I was born. Back then they didn't rush people out of the hospital as fast as possible, the way they do today. And I was quite small--a couple ounces lighter and they'd have put me in an incubator.

But I've been very lucky health-wise. Another zero: number of stitches I've had in my body.