Category Archives: New York

Come on, and look at me!

One thing I’ve often heard said by disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs, is that a large number of people either tend to look away, or look over them, trying to pretend they’re not really there. In honesty, I’ve got to the point where I nearly always try to acknowledge them, even if only briefly in passing, simply to prove that I do know they’re there, and are happy to be seen with them.

The other group of people that I always try to acknowledge in a friendly way, are Muslim women wearing either the Niqab, or occasionally the Burqa, simply to show that I want to be friendly, and supportive of them, unlike sadly too many people nowadays. One thing I enjoy about Bradford is that nearly everybody I see, if not approving of such wear, at least doesnt react in a bad way. Mind, that might be because I only really see it being worn in the city center, though hopefully not the case.

But until now at least, the one thing I’ve never discovered is what life is like on the other side of the issue. Yes, I’d be fascinated to know what life is like inside of the Niqab, or Burka, and show my support for Muslim women who wear it that way, but I suspect its too complex a religious matter for it to ever happen. But yes, it would be both fascinating, and probably informative to spend a day wearing the Niqab, and seeing how people react to those wearing it. Probably only brave enough to do it somewhere like Bradford, or similar community, if going out, but as a whole, just seeing what life dressed like that would be a fascinating experience, and probably one that if more people tried it, we might have a lot less religious issues in the world too.

Yes, I am saying that if someone offers me the chance to wear Niqab, or Burka, either privately, or outside, then I would love to do it. And if it can be done in a way that brings up positive publicity for Muslim women, then so much the better!

Equally, fortunately, up to now, I’ve never known what its like to spend time in a wheelchair. I must have done as a child, when my knees were wrecked at the age of 9 or 10, but you dont expect me to remember that, do you? But at least on that point, in 5-6 weeks time, I’m going to get to see how people react to me in a wheelchair. Will they look me in the face, and be supportive, or will they try to pretend I’m not really there, hmm?

Yes, I have to be practical about my flights in a few weeks time. Currently I can walk to a pretty reasonable degree, and I can sit down without too many pain issues, though how much of that is currently clouded by painkillers, I have no idea! However, the one thing I cant do at present for more than a few minutes, is stand still. And yes, while the check in queue, and the security check queue will require some standing in line, you usually move along at regular intervals, which may, or may not be sufficient for my back not to lock up completely. However, when it comes to the queue at Boston, to go through Immigration principally, and Customs to a lesser degree, is that you tend to stand in 1 place, in a queue, for far longer than that. Now it is possible that in 5 weeks time, my back may be less of an issue, but until I’m on proper medication, I wouldnt like to bank on that. Even if on proper medication, I dont want to be confident on that, and not sure we will reach that point in 5 weeks, anyway.

So yes, today I’ve bitten the bullet (you have to give a minimum of 2 weeks warning, but being realistic, I’m not going to improve dramatically in 3 weeks), and requested assistance from the airline for my travels through the airports. Yes, I know I need it, but that doesnt stop the guilt factor, when I can walk reasonably well, but thats just my nature, I guess?

But yes, it will be fascinating to see how ‘fit people’ react to this ‘poor old lady’ in a wheelchair, I must say. So yes, if on 9th September, at Manchester Airport (or Boston later that day), you see a middle aged lady in a wheelchair, be nice to her, it might just be me! Yes, same plan booked for JFK flying back on evening of 18th, just saying…I wonder?

Right, video time. No, I have no plans to be wearing this while sat in my wheelchair, though it might be fun if I was! But yes, feel free to look at me, all the same!

Oh, say can you see?

Though no, the US National Anthem isnt the video tonight, but it gets involved!

Firstly, it would be remiss of me not to mention that today is the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, though as I’ve covered it here in the past, I will pass on doing so again. So lets focus on something else, very much in the news, relating to the US at present. No, I dont mean the election, either!

Apart from major events, and international matches, we never play the national anthem before sporting events, here in the UK. Therefore, in 1987, at a college football match (yes, American football type), when they asked us all to stand for the National anthem, my partner and I casually looked at each other, but did so. At the time, I knew the words, though not well, but we survived. At worst, we sang fairly quietly, just in case, but opened our mouths in all the right places. We then did it again, at an NHL match in Hartford, but we were more prepared this time. By this century, I’d caught on that this happened before every sporting event, and therefore when it happened at an Ice Hockey game in Seattle (WHL), I was ready for it! By then, I knew every word off by heart, and if anyone could tell me from a dutiful American, I’m disappointed!

Since then, I’ve sung it more than a few times, to say the least. In truth, I prefer it to our National Anthem, but enough said on that.

But in the last few weeks, standing to attention for the US Anthem, has come to the attention of many, because of people not doing so, at NFL matches. Fine, I can see some that think African Americans arent always treated fairly by the authorities, and I’d agree, they’re right. Well, as much as a Brit can tell, anyway. But fine, my view that whatever, disrespecting your national anthem, and flag, is wrong. I can see their case in a way, but…I’m not overwhelmingly a fan of policing over there, lets just leave it at that.

Fine, I’m just glad we dont have this sort of situation over here to be honest, though there have been a few incidents over the years, though more relating to disrespecting opponents anthems, than our own. But yes, maybe its a generation thing, but I think thats wrong too! Mind, tonight, I had the misfortune to hear someone murdering ‘God Bless America’ in Miami, at the baseball, which was hard to respect lol! The singer, not the song!

Right, video time. I’m assuming from the mention of Madison, and A Trains, that this song is about life in New York? Regardless, enjoy, on the anniversary of 9/11

A star in New York, or a star in LA?

When I was in LA last October, and still looking at more interesting job options, I made initial contact with an agency called Transgender Talent, to see if there was any possible openings for a more mature woman like me, or if they were principally only interested in younger Trans people, of talent. As irony would have it, despite applying a few days after I arrived there, I didnt get a reply until after I got back, about 4 weeks later, asking if I was still there, as she’d love to meet me. Of course, I couldnt, but she took my details, said she’d keep my photos on their records, and see what happened. Primarily I was thinking mainly of photo shoot type things, though I did mention that in the past, I’d dabbled with a little acting, but thought no more about that.

About a month ago, I got a notice from her, that there was an industry workshop today, in LA, where people interested in working with diversity actors, and actresses would be networking, and holding workshops. Given the chances of me making LA today, at present, were pretty much zero, about a week ago, I sent off some more recent pictures of me to her, in case she wanted some fresh stuff, in the hope of getting someone interested in me, for modelling purposes, at least.

What I wasnt seriously expecting to get back, a few days later, was an email asking me if I had a Green Card, or current visa, to work as an actress in the US! It seems that an acting gig was available in the North East corner of the US, seeking someone who was a UK transgender actress, and if I had the paperwork, did I want to do it? I gather they had selected someone for the role, but she was struggling to get her paperwork in time, so…? Sadly, no, I havent. Currently, I dont even have an ESTA in my new name, let alone anything more! Strictly, I’m in the time limit on my old one, but because of the name change, and the new passport, that doesnt count! And fine, practically, if she couldnt get the paperwork in time, I’m not going to, either! I couldnt strictly afford it at present, anyway, but thats a mere sideline to the time involved to get it!

No, I dont know all the details of the role, I did ask for them to be sent to me, but I guess she thought there was no point, seeing I lacked the work credentials. I suspect it wasnt a major part, in major theaters, or she wouldnt be asking me, with my limited recent experience, but who knows? But yes, I only wish I could, would have been the experience of a lifetime!

Lastly, no, I never heard a thing back about the advert shoot. I’m suspecting the fact that strictly I was too old, and I’m not in North America would have counted against me, for sure. Might have been nice to have heard it was that, but such is life with job applications nowadays lol!

OK, the video. Now I’m not saying this acting turn would have made me a star anywhere, but who knows? And besides, to my surprise, I havent used this song before on here! But me, a star in New York, or LA, now wouldnt that be something?

So come to the Cabaret!

Yes, fine, no prizes whatsoever for working out what the video is tonight!

Of course, when it comes to wild behavior, and the like, Germany, in those crazy years before Hitler took control, was a pretty wild place, especially Berlin. No qualms about homosexuality back then lol. And of course, across the Atlantic, especially in, and around Hollywood in that era, the Flapper ruled the roost. That was pretty wild too. And of course, all ended only by the Great Crash, though I suspect that at some point, a new craze would have kicked in, anyway.

Mind, in the middle, and indeed in the city where Wall Street crashed, was New York. To be fair, things were pretty wild with Harlem, and jazz, but seemingly things were even wilder than that! Well, according to this article they were, at least

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/in-the-early-20th-century-america-was-awash-in-incredible-queer-nightlife

I wonder what they made of that in North Carolina lol! The interesting thing seems to be the fact, that the demise of this, came at the same time as prohibition was repealed. Coincidence, I doubt it?

With all this 20’s, and 30’s stuff I’m seeing of late, maybe I should go out tomorrow night, dressed as a Flapper? Probably not! Yes, I’m not sure my legs are really up to a dress like that, about knee length anyway, but apart from anything else, its not really warm enough over here to show that much leg in public, especially at my age!

Yes, I’m out tomorrow night for a meal, my belated birthday meal, now that the rent issue has been sorted out, we can afford it. Yes, I will wear a dress, and heels, but may well be something longer than flapper length! In fact, I’m sure it will be.

Yes, as I say, the video is the obvious one, and its the movie version.

We’re on a road to somewhere?

Earlier today, not for the first time, I saw a story about a road between London, and New York. Yes, I know, there is a very large lump of ocean between the 2 places (with Ireland in between), but thats not actually the way its going to go. This road goes East from London, not West! A Russian idea, this time around, costing a ridiculous sum of money, and besides which, the passport control points between Russia, and the US, yes, worth seeing!

And that cost is despite the fact that the first long section, between London, and, I would guess, Central Russia, probably already exists, with the exception of the bit linking the UK with Europe, but I guess that could be done through the Channel Tunnel? Equally, the section between New York, and Fairbanks, Alaska, is pretty well intact too.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, the huge snag is the bit in the middle of those two points! I know that in theory, there is some sort of road system heading into Siberia, but its pretty awful quality, during Summer, because it virtually turns to liquid mud, and in Winter, because of the extreme cold. And this road would need developing anyway, because yes, its heading up to that bit of Russia, just across from Alaska, and road building up there varies between negligible, and none.

As for the other side, the simple answer to roads between Nome, on the Alaskan coast, to Fairbanks, is that there arent any! And as for population in between those two points, to service traffic, provide lodging and the like, again, pretty much zero. I guess people could be moved in, and provided with a very good salary to solve these working issues, but its hardly a prospect, unless you’re very well rewarded, for life in the middle of nowhere, lets face it.
But yes, if they ever build a road between Fairbanks, and Nome, I’d love to travel it, all the same.

But even so, we still havent come to what would actually be the trickiest bit. Yes, that 55-60 miles or so, of the Bering Sea, that stretches between Russia, and Alaska. Regardless of whether you go for a bridge, or a tunnel, you still have a long stretch of very rough sea to deal with, much of which freezes over for the long winter!

Above all this, why would you drive that incredible distance by car, when you can fly it in 7 hours, for less than the petrol would cost for the trip!

So fine, my opinion, they released this news 4 days early by mistake!

The video, well, it pretty well sums up what most of the mid section of this journey would be

A Drop Of The White Stuff

Yes, I know a few people who were hit by the snow storm over the weekend, on the East Coast of the US. Thankfully, as far as I know at least, all are fine. As an added treat, Storm Jonas is now heading for the UK, but thankfully (I think?) by the time it gets here, having crossed the Atlantic and all, it wont be snow that hits us, it will be rain. Mind, given how flooded some areas have been in Yorkshire, I’m not sure that a possible 4 inch dump of rain is necessarily a good thing?

I have seen several feet of snow on the ground before. Thankfully, I was on a nice warm train, crossing the Rockies in the winter of 2003. And by the time I got off the train briefly, in North Dakota, it wasnt snowing, but was exceedingly cold! Minus 25F, dont ask me what that is in centigrade, but its cold. But of course, much of the snow had been swept off the platform, so all was fine.

Thats not to say I havent been out in a snow storm, because I have. November 2014, in Albany, I experienced a snow storm where 11 inches of the stuff was dumped on the city. Do you know what, the buses kept running, though admittedly, that was down a main road, I’m not sure if it was the same on lesser routes, but…they were used to it, nothing ground to a halt, unlike when we have more than an inch over here, probably less!

I’ve seen pictures of New York, I’ve also seen pictures of more rural areas, and the way the snow built up, is quite amazing. Yes, I know, public transit was stopped in places, roads were closed in a few too, but I do think that was wise on the whole.

Who, me, I prefer California weather, I think. Last night I was watching the golf, from Palm Springs, much more my kind of weather lol!

Given that one dear friend on Long Island, said he would do nasty things to anyone singing ‘Let It Snow’, I thought I’d better choose something else for the video tonight, so you can have this Doris Day track instead.

Northern New York state of mind

Yes, tomorrow I head off to Northern New York, for a week of relaxation, pleasure, and my first ever Thanksgiving.

Thankfully, where I’m heading is Albany, not Buffalo, about 300 miles west, where that incredible dump of snow has been. Where I’m going is fine, a bit chilly, but no snow. Or so I was told last night by the wonderful gentleman who invited me across. So all will be fine.

Funnily enough, I’ve been to Albany twice before, but seen hardly anything of the city. First time, in 1988, I stayed overnight at a motel, just outside the centre of town, and I dont even remember us venturing in, though knowing me, and Sheila, we probably did. The second time, a couple of years ago, I stayed much closer to the centre of town, somewhere close to the college relating to nanotechnology, and the like. But did I see any of the city, not really!

This week, I will put that right, even if a day or two (part of) will be spent on a very interesting side trip to New Hampshire. More of that, after the event probably, though if you’re good…I might let you know on Sunday, just before it happens!

To be honest, the only entertainment tomorrow will probably be the change of planes in Philadelphia. If all goes fine, then nearly 2 hours is fine, though not by as much as you probably think, by the time you go through Immigration, Customs, and Security! And then the shuttle bus to the terminal where the Albany plane leaves from. I had about 5 minutes less (admittedly the plane from Manchester was late) when I flew to Richmond, and that ended up being a very tight thing.

Other than that, it will probably only get ‘fun’ if I pull out that Harlow biography I’m not meant to read, and start reading it! I shouldnt, I know, but it might be entertaining to see just how awful it is. If a publisher reads this, and want to give me the funds to write an accurate Harlow biog, let me know!

OK, I’ll end this string of UK based blogs with a Harlow moment. Not too far north of Albany, is a place called Saratoga. To me, it has 2 significant points. Firstly, there is a racetrack there, and sometimes at work, we cover the racing from there. Secondly, and the film buffs will have already worked this one out, Jean Harlow’s last (uncompleted) film, was called Saratoga.

Popular demand at the time meant that MGM finished the film, using doubles, and the like, to cover for the fact that Jean was sadly no longer around. Here is a little scrap of that film

I’ll Take Manhattan

No, not that well known one in New York, the far better one in Kansas! Yes, as mentioned earlier in the week, this is about College Football, more importantly the Kansas State Wildcats.

Yes, today heralds the end of the College Season, though a good number of teams will still have one game to go, a bowl game somewhere. Hopefully the Wildcats will win tonight, win the Big 12 Conference, and head for the Fiesta Bowl, but as that doesnt start until 1 in the morning my time, you’ll have to look that up for yourself.

Up to 2 weeks ago, they had dreams of the national title, then it all went wrong against Baylor, and now we have to win tonight against Texas just to win the conference title! Hopefully Collin Klein can also play his way back into Heisman contention as well.

But having done my cheerleader stuff for the Wildcats (and personally, I suspect I’d look silly in one of those skirts, but…), I’ll come to the other side of matters, that will be happening all over the US this week, or indeed last week for some, those players for whom the end of their senior year, is the end of their career. Yes, the stars will go on to the NFL, and various other leagues, but for many, thats it, and that must be a strange feeling. For some of course, they have higher futures anyway, for example the Ivy League people will earn fortunes in other high powered positions.

I have no idea what thats like, I was never that good at sport, so it never really arose for me. I did play cricket for the school, but thats a whole different level of intensity, lets face it.

I get to go to Kansas next year, though I suspect I wont be taking Manhattan somehow, but you never know? I might get to see one Kansas College, assuming Wichita State is actually within the environs of Wichita that is! I might see more, but that depends on events I wont know about until the New Year, so watch this space then.

Ah, the video. Yes, as you might have guessed, the song is about that place in New York, not the one in Kansas, but you cant have everything. Besides which, given the time Louise Brooks (from Kansas) spent in New York, and the fact that the video is from 1929 gives it all a bit of the perfect circle feeling. No, I dont know the artists, but I’m sure Google could find it if you really want to know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPIgQdOoEV0

This could be a Greasy moment

Hah, for once I’ve fooled you with the title, or at least I hope I have? Well unless you think laterally about one of the lead characters, and then…ah well, it was fun while it lasted lol.

Yes, you guessed it, this is about Hurricane Sandy.

As someone who has walked the boardwalk at Atlantic City in her time (well, technically I was a he back then, but anyway…), its quite something to hear about much of it having been washed away, indeed the whole of Atlantic City seems pretty badly hit. Its one of those landmarks for me, the culmination of the cross America by train trip, even if it did take a few years to do the last bit from Philly, but hey, who’s counting? 😉

I have also been to New York City, even longer ago, nearly 25 years ago, when I suspect I knew something wasnt right with me, but had no idea what it was. Do now though, but again, anyway…The weird one for me there though will always be the World Trade Centre, going up there to the observation desk, and then 13 years later… Still incredible for me to think about the bustling subway being shut totally, and sad to hear about the flooding at Ground Zero too.

As for my dear friend in Albany, thankfully Sandy was relatively gentle there, so glad to hear it. Still would like to hear from someone further up in Vermont, but hopefully she is fine, maybe just without power.

No, I’ve never been near a hurricane, and I wouldnt mind keeping it that way, sounds terrifying. Of course, this is someone going to Kansas next year, and might just meet up with a tornado, though hopefully not.

Just to say my sympathies and best wishes go out to all who have suffered because of Sandy, and to those who have lost loved ones, even more so.

Right, two related videos tonight, one the obvious song, but with a video focussing on the hurricane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLRFkmUkq2Q

The other, well lets say its slightly more light hearted, and leave it at that

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=3u8RKrt5T8Y