Archive for August, 2010

Progress report: Weigh to go, a way to go

August 29, 2010

A little less of me to love. At the Iron Bird Cafe after my doctor's visit.

God, I’m such a loser …

Wait up — let me finish before you get all “Why are you getting down on yourself?”

Just wanted to get your attention — and succeeded …

So, last Tuesday I went back to the doctor handling my hormone therapy for my three-month injection and a general checkup.

And for the first time in a long time, I can truly say I’m making progress — and I’m not talking about my transition, either, though that’s coming along nicely, too. For the first time in a decade, I’m losing weight in bunches.

And people are noticing.

I still have quite a way to go, but dayyyy-ummm! For the moment, I’m feeling great. I’m as happy as I’ve been … probably in my whole life.

Well, aside from the nagging unemployment thing, which has done a number on me. But that’s another post.


Rite of passage: My first bridal shower

August 23, 2010

Hanging out at Revue before my first bridal shower. Fab photo by Amy the Redhead.

Some things you just don’t think about when you’re transitioning genders and approaching 50, to boot.

Like, say, weddings.

Or going to bridal showers.

Well, for one, most of my friends from my past life in Connecticut fall into one of the three categories: married a long time ago, divorced or never married. At our age, matrimony is often in the rearview.

In my current California life, my circle of friends skews a lot younger — usually 20s and 30s. Meaning that I’m going through the cycle again.

First, it was Billy and Corie, two extremely cool people who have taken me into their lives over the past year, who were hitched in April; that was my first wedding in years (and my first as my better half). And come the end of next month, it’ll be my second in five months. Megan and Dax, two of the most wonderful people in the universe, will be saying their vows the last Saturday of September, with the reception taking place at Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo.

And about six weeks ago, Megan asked me for my mailing address. A few days later, there was a small card in the mail in the shape of a cartoon lion.

The invite to my first bridal shower.

Which I attended last Sunday.

I guess I’ve truly arrived as a woman.


MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Piranha 3D’ bites, and I mean that in the best way possible

August 21, 2010

Jerry O'Connell in "Piranha 3D": Let's just say the fish bit off a little more than they could chew.

I can’t believe I actually went to this movie.

But these are the things that people do for friends, and as it turns out, it was my friend Nate’s birthday, so a bunch of us of went out for a bite and “Piranha 3D” on opening night.

Sometimes you know going in that a film is gonna be so incredibly, unashamedly bad that it’s gonna be great on a certain level. This is one of those times. You could tell by the “quality” of the trailers on TV that this would be oozing, dripping cheese like a late-’70s fondue gone wild, and on that level, it’s a hell of a fun experience. Provided, of course, you can put up with dozens of horribly mutilated bodies.


ALBUM REVIEW: Brian Wilson — ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’ (Disney Pearl Series)

August 19, 2010

It’s an intriguing musical moment I’d been waiting for most of the summer — one of the foremost composers and producers of American pop music the past half-century having a go at another of the premier American composers of the 20th century.

Since he shed the thousand-ton gorilla called “Smile” and finished his four-decades-interrupted opus six years ago, Brian Wilson has been liberated to embark on flights of personal passion.

The first was “That Lucky Old Sun,” released two summers ago at this time. Inspired by the song first recorded by Frankie Laine in 1949, Wilson and his “Smile”/“Orange Crate Art” collaborator, Van Dyke Parks, created a lush song cycle contrasting the sun-splashed Southern California life with Wilson’s well-chronicled personal struggles.

Now Wilson tackles George Gershwin. The Gershwin estate contacted him last year to complete two songs the composer hadn’t finished before his untimely death in 1937. The end result, the full album, “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin,” is difficult to wrap your head around at first — the sheer culture clash of the urbane, white-tie-and-tails, Art Deco Manhattan of the ’30s and Hawaiian-shirted SoCal fun-in-sun. Some of these versions you may never get used to. But at least some of them will grow on you once you discard your preconceptions the way you’d shed a suit, article after article of clothing, once you get to the beach.


These are places that are gone (Bobby Thomson, 1923-2010)

August 17, 2010

Oh, to be able to do one memorable thing in your life — something so wonderful and momentous and once-in-a-lifetime that people, even ones who weren’t born when it happened, will talk about you after you’re gone.

Something people by the masses will remember in shorthand.

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.

The Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff.

Bobby Thomson.

Ralph Branca.

The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

Well, he’s gone now. Thomson, the Glasgow-born, Staten Island-raised Flying Scot, the New York Giants’ third baseman whose improbable bottom-of-the-ninth, one-out, three-run line-drive homer off Branca lives on as perhaps the most dramatic moment in American sports history, died yesterday at 86 at his home in Savannah, Ga.


Holy Hot Wheels! Mattel thinks I’m obscene!

August 15, 2010

So here’s one for the books: No less an authority than Mattel, the toy conglomerate behind Barbie and Hot Wheels, has declared “Franorama” a no-no.

The name, that is.

My handle is apparently an obscenity in some quarters of the world, or at least in the glass and concrete of the headquarters in El Segundo.

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Frannis?

Read on. It’s so silly and stupid that I had to share it with you.


Love those fortune cookies, Part 5

August 10, 2010

Well, as I progress in my quest to shed an entire miserable adulthood’s worth of weight, my visits to the Chinese buffet have been fewer and farther between (even with the prospect of cheap maki, rolls and, above all, salmon sashimi). That means my accompanying fortune had better be on the mark.

So I went a couple nights ago for the first time in three weeks, ate healthy — totally avoided the ice cream (!!!), a biggie — and my paper reward?

“Many new friends will be attracted to your friendly and charming ways.”

That’s happened so much in the last year or so, I can’t even begin to tell you. And to that effect, last night I received a great comment on my “Who am I?” page from a fellow Fresno garage fiend I hadn’t seen in a while (and was he surprised!). And this morning I got a wonderful email back from an old college friend who I told about my life changes.

Of course, my friends and family don’t see the sea of storms, especially the ones swirling around in my head lately, but a dead-on fortune nonetheless …

News flash: Broncos tell Tebow ‘It’s Monk Time!’

August 9, 2010

So the blogs are full of photos this morning of the NFL’s highest-profile rookie, Tim Tebow, after his Denver Bronco teammates made him listen to “Black Monk Time” by The Monks shaved a huge, honking tonsure into his skull as part of rookie hazing:

But let’s face it — save for the real, genuine, medieval-issue article, only five guys ever truly rocked the monk look … And I mean rocked it:

Would love to hear Tebow yell “OK, It’s beat time! It’s hop time! It’s Monk Time!” in the huddle once, though … Might even make me like the Broncos for about five minutes …

MOVIE REVIEW: Much more than ‘All Right’

August 8, 2010

Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska and Mark Ruffalo: We're a happy family. Then again, maybe not.

Fast-forward to five, six years from now — provided, of course, the radical right doesn’t take over the country and we all manage to get past the end of the Mayan calendar. Gay marriage will be a long-settled issue in America, and we’ll have seen enough films and TV shows with gay relationships that we’ll all yawn or just glance without a second thought.

And given that scenario, we’ll still look back and talk about how excellent a movie “The Kids Are All Right” was.

Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko’s twist on the nuclear family dynamics is a perfect harmonic convergence of disharmony: two Oscar-nominated actresses at artistic peaks and two promising teenage actors brilliantly playing out a scenario in which a major monkey wrench is thrown into a lengthy relationship, causing upheaval to everyone involved. It’s not just acting at its best, but writing at its most brilliant and directing at its most nuanced.


Prop 8, Target and the politics of shopping

August 5, 2010

The decision by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco yesterday afternoon in favor of the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger — the ruling that decisively overturned Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage — is indeed a happy occasion. Not unexpected — after all, the defense in this case was as weak as a Pop Warner secondary trying to cover the Saints’ receivers — but still, potentially a landmark moment in American civil rights.

Unless, of course, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — or, worse yet, the Roberts Supreme Court — decides to reverse it.

But there’s a lot of work to be done. Walker stayed his own ruling until at least Friday to decide whether to suspend his ruling while it’s being appealed. Further up the line, the “protectors” of marriage will most probably come up with a better set of lawyers to argue their case against the bipartisan tag team of David Boies and Ted Olson. The case stands the chance of winding through the legal system for a year or two more.

And yesterday’s decision dovetails nicely with a story that has taken a week in some quarters — surprisingly — to gain traction: a story about the right of same-sex couples to marry, the right of a corporation to use our money to oppose it, and our right to stop supporting such corporations.

If you haven’t heard much about the Target boycott yet, read on.