Due warning, before we get started, this blog wont be short! So if you only have a couple of moments, come back later!
So, catching up on rest of week…
Wednesday was fairly quiet, the rest of the week hasnt been, so lets leave that day at that.
Thursday was moving day, as Kate headed for the Berkshires, and I headed across a few state lines to New York. The ride up to Boston went smoothly (barring traffic, hardly a surprise, but we had tons of time), and because Kate had a room booked, I got to experience the lounge at a station for the first time. The Red Cap was of the opinion that I could stay there after Kate was gone (her train was 50 minutes before mine), but the lady in the lounge thought otherwise lol. Fair by me, I was her guest, so once she leaves, I should go, but he wasnt impressed lol.
The journey to Stamford was interesting, not so much because I remembered anything from 30 years ago, though I got one memory as we pulled into New London. That first time, 30 years ago, me, and my partner of the time were visiting her elderly aunt on the trip, across the River Thames (pronounced differently to the London one) at Groton. 2 months or so later, she died, and as my partner said at the time, she’d probably only been hanging on to see her UK family one last time, and then…I’m not saying how many ‘doggy bags’ they found in her house after death, but there were, err, a few!
Oh fine, Stamford station was entertaining, mainly because all Eric and I had seem pics of each other, were a few on Facebook. And you have to remember, mine were designed to show me at my best, not my everyday look, but anyway, we got together in the end, and… The rest of Thursday, and Friday, I’ve visited the family, and they are all a delight to know. I sort of knew that, online, but even better for real! I got to see some of the area on various trips, which was nice too.
Oh right, Saturday! Fine, fine, we’ve got there now! No, no pics at this point, sorry. The snag with new, sparkly dresses, is that some of the sparkly stuff isnt going to stay on the dress, perfectly, you get my drift? 😉 But yes, the dress was gorgeous, though in hindsight, given that I need to wear a bra, I should have brought a bandeau bra with me, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! Would have made picture set up so much easier lol.
Oh, btw, I’m maid of honor, and I have to make a toast. Yes, I found out the latter at a couple of hours notice, but like all good actresses, I improvised. Might not have been the standard toast, but hey…I got through! The service first, was very nice, just so proud to be there, let alone in the position of honor that I was. The setting for the wedding was delightful, at Cortlandt Manor, but unless you’re in the area, just a note of reference. The food was good, though far too much for a modest British appetite, but besides that…
The additional magic moment of the meal afterwards, one of the servers recognized me, from one of the documentary things I’ve done in the past. I’m assuming its the LA one, from April 2015, from description, but dont quote me on that. Now others want to see it! I have no idea if there is still a link to it, but I’ve asked the lady who done it if there is, but awaiting a reply. Suspect finding it might be a challenge, even if she can, as she was doing these regularly, but we will see…? Yes, its amazing where ‘fame’ can catch up with you, lol!
Oh, the service, well, what with holding my bouquet, the ring for the groom, and the bride’s bouquet at one point, quite an experience, but I got through, and loved every moment of it. I also got to meet a number of lovely people that I will probably never meet again, which will be a shame, but is part of life, I guess? Was a wonderful time, so very glad I could be there, and part of it.
Discretion says I’m not describing events after the reception, OK? Nothing bad, but entertaining, just maybe…?
This morning has been quiet, as all recover after the big day, including me! I actually went for brunch at a nearby diner/grill to the hotel, and if I needed reminding how crazy US portions could be, they did it! The omelette was large enough on its own, but by the time you add in toast, and potatoes, well…thankfully, plenty of coffee! How much more food I need today, not a lot! So currently, I’m in the hotel, watching Kansas City play in the NFL, so…chilling! Tonights ESPN baseball, well, its the Dodgers, so…I guess I can survive for a while, while the Gelhaus family recover after yesterday!
I will get back there at some point, in fact need to, as one of the wedding presents was a mask (if not more) of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and yes, as if I’d love to see that, you bet I do. Hey, I’d love to wear a full suit (if anyone has one laying around lol?), though at my age, underwater swimming scenes wearing it might be beyond my skills, but I’d try, if I had to! 😀
Tomorrow sees the start of the return to reality, and the return to the UK. Thankfully, with my new shifts, no work until Friday, by which time a very quiet, very shy team leader of mine will have had her birthday. Yes, it might have been mentioned most of September. Yes, Madi, I love you, I really do xxx I’ve accepted the old age thing, btw. I’d originally planned to get to JFK by public transit, but Stacie wasnt happy with the thought of that at present, and in truth, I wasnt entirely looking forward to it either. So yes, going there by shuttle now…angel…and then the wheelchair thing again! 😀
Even if there are any pictures of me as the creature from the Black Lagoon, you’ll probably have to wait until Tuesday, or Wednesday, and back in the UK before seeing them. I will post wedding pics, of me at least, once I have some, OK?
And so endeth the longest blog, with its traditional moment, the video. No, I’ll save a certain Dave Edmonds song, in case I need it, and go for a song I didnt hear yesterday at the reception, but which sums up the day so perfectly. Yes, I’m old enough to remember this, I know…
As to the next US trip, I have no idea when, where, or for how long. Need to hear what the Doctors say, how many days work per week my body can still cope with, and take things from there. I have enough saved that I might be able to do two next year regardless, but if I’m limited to 4 day weeks, that will be the end of that. Though if its one trip per year, I will probably make it longer than a week (flight is major element of cost), but we will see… In theory I have an invite to a stage reading of a Clara Bow show next month in NYC, but unless anyone wishes to donate £1000 (flight and accom) to me, and even then, there is holiday available at work, not going to make it. Shame, as I could use the publicity time for myself, as well as the show! Ah well…
So from the US for the last time, probably…bye for now!
Given how many times I have visited since the turn of the century, its hard now to believe that the first time I visited the US was only 30 years ago. Yes, it took me half of my current lifespan (more or less) before I actually flew across the Atlantic to make my first visit. That first flight, flying with TWA (who no longer exist) was into Boston, a city I have visited several times since, under my own steam. But like I will be doing this year, flying Thomas Cook Airlines, I didnt fly out of the same airport, or city, as I arrived at. For the last few days, we took the hire car back to Boston, then took a train to New York City. Funnily enough, this year will involve a shorter trip on the same railway line (to Stamford), and no, I havent travelled down it, in all that time! Yes, I suspect its changed.
I guess NYC is one of those cities that you either love, or hate. Its loud, in your face, and very, very busy. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the sights, and I loved seeing 42nd Street on Broadway, but the place as a whole wasnt my scene. The strangest memory is that we got the tickets for the musical, in a ticket booth which was either just outside, or just inside (it is 30 years ago!) the World Trade Center, which 14 years later, attracted news headlines for all the wrong reasons.
It was only after the event, after my stay in Chicago, that I realized that I’d taken to the noise, and bustle in a much easier way than I had in NYC about 20 years earlier. Had I changed in myself, or was it the start of the whole transition thing that lightened me up, who knows? Either way, Chicago is on the list of places I hope to get back to, sometime soon. Will be next year, if I get back to a 5 day week, and 2 holidays next year, but lets see how the health issues play out first. If not, Seattle is calling to me even louder, so if it comes to 1 slightly longer holiday, that will probably win out.
But yes, its my strong love for LA, which lets face it, is very loud, very bustling, especially Hollywood, that makes me wonder how I’d feel about NYC nowadays? I know I’ve changed since then. The whole becoming a woman matter has made me feel so much better about myself, made me more self confident, and probably livelier, that makes me think that I might now see NYC in a different light? Yes, the expensive nature of the city will make it hard for me to visit, but maybe at some point…?
No, it wont be this year. I will pass through the city on the way to JFK airport (which is where I flew out of, 30 years ago), but it will only be passing through, nothing more. And thats assuming I dont get driven to the airport, which I’m not expecting, but then again, I had to convince someone she wasnt driving to Cape Cod to pick me up, and I might still need to try and convince her again lol!
So yes, maybe at some point, I will go back to NYC, and see how I feel about it now. Hey, if I love Hollywood, I might love NYC now? But yes, even at 2 holidays a year, it will be a few years yet, as beyond the 2 mentioned for next year, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Minneapolis St Paul (probably in that order of preference) are all cities I want to go back to.
San Francisco for so many reasons, KC to see if I can find any more Harlow landmarks, and to see more of the city. MSP, no idea why, but I feel I want to go back, all the same. And thats all assuming I cant find where Clara Elaine Johnson was born in Oklahoma, and visit there! Texas, where she moved to LA from, I’ll see how they feel about transgender women by then, even if I do find out where in the state she lived. Mind, I might have had the op by then, so…lol?
But yes, in 30 years, the only place in NYC I’ve visited, is a couple of transits through JFK. Maybe someday, I should go back?
The video? Big clue in the blog title, how original!
Yes, I’ve rather cribbed the lyrics of the very obvious video to fit in with tonights blog. I did think about something like the ‘Darkness over the US’, but some might have thought that was about politics lol! Mind, dear Donald is such an idiot that be probably thinks tomorrows eclipse is more fake news from us moderates, and lefties lol!
A wonderful woman I know (though only in an online sense) told me today that tomorrow will be the first total solar eclipse to pass over the entire US since Independence in 1776! So yes, been a while! I remember the one here in the UK in 1999, though the only way I saw the total eclipse was on TV, as it passed through the South West corner of the UK, and even though I was in Somerset, that wasnt enough for the total version, though it did get pretty close, all the same.
The lady I know is driving up to Wyoming to get to the total eclipse zone, from her home in Colorado, I hope she has a safe trip, and a wonderful time. Apparently the solar eclipse is seen as a portal for change, and liberation, but lets stay away from US politics lol! It seems some of this will be seen in the UK, just before sunset, though better in the north of Scotland, than here in Yorkshire, because it stays light longer up there at this time of year, but I should get something, which will be nice. To quote her, re the eclipse
Once darkness passes over the sun and is cast aside like an old cloak, allowing brightness to shine forth again, who will you be?
No, I dont expect to come out of the eclipse, looking like Clara (Elaine) Johnson, or Jean Harlow, or the robot from Metropolis, but never say never, lol. In truth, at the moment, it might be handy if I come out the other side as a woman more comfortable with the fact that she’s going to need a wheelchair to get her through all the airports when I fly to, and from the US in 3 weeks time, for starters! I know, not my fault that my body is starting to fall apart, but all the same…I must admit, it will be an interesting experience, all the same, but still wish I didnt need to do it!
Seemingly the next total eclipse in the UK isnt until 2090, so definitely wont be around for that! There is a pretty good (over 90%) eclipse in 2026, which I might just manage, though whether I’ll be spending more time in a wheelchair by then, who knows? Or maybe I’ll change tomorrow, into a young Elaine Johnson, and get myself a role dancing in theaters? Yes, I know which I think is more likely lol!
Right, video time. Yes, the very obvious one. I decided, perhaps rashly to try and find a live version of this, and found this one from this year. Yes, not surprisingly, Bonnie’s voice isnt what it used to be. But if you want to give it a try?
Oh fine, for those who prefer the original…? Or simply love the Jim Steinman orchestration as much as I do?
Firstly, to all my US readers, reading this on the right day, happy 4th of July. For non Americans, and those not reading this on the day of publishing, hope you’re having a good day, anyway.
I cannot vaguely imagine what life was like 241 years ago, on this day, in the small part of the US that was escaping the yoke of UK rule, so I’m not even going to try! The one thing I am sure of, is that it was probably a lot calmer, and quieter than today will be, in most places there. Of course, the US has grown quite considerably in size since then, even if the continent was there all that time ago, most of it, the colonists had never seen, and for most, never would. Indeed, back then, Alaska would actually have been part of Russia, now there’s an irony!
Back then, it would have taken months to traverse the country, by wagon, and horse, even if people had ever considered doing it, which I doubt. Now, in a matter of hours, you can cross the country by jet plane, though fine, if I had unlimited time, I still think doing it by train would be a whole lot more fun. Ironically, the train fare, with a cabin, would probably cost as much, if not more than the plane fare!
No, so far, I’ve never been in the US on the 4th of July, but maybe one day, after retirement, I will. A lot of it is down to the holiday season at work places, but also, for me, high summer in a lot of the US, would be ‘pretty warm’ for me. Maybe thats the time to go to Alaska lol?
But yes, have fun, if you’re celebrating.
I know, despite the title, I’ve avoided the obvious political comments until now. Now technically, this related to the Cold War, at its height in the 1980’s. But given a US leader’s ‘supposed’ ties to Russia, fine, I was feeling mischievous! Many said that Frankie Goes To Hollywood couldnt perform live, but this puts that theory to bed. Alright, its not quite the same as the recorded version, but its decent, all the same.
Until about 6 weeks ago, this blog tended to dip into double figure daily views on days when I posted a new blog, and be lucky to reach more than a handful on days when I didnt. Fair enough, because of my posting pattern when working, by Friday, or Saturday, there’s not a lot fresh to see, so I could understand that. And may I add, most of the views, understandably were from the UK, with a number from the US, and a few others. And then…
The last 6 weeks or so, if I havent managed 25 views in a day, I’ve had a bad day. Most days its at least 30, and sometimes even more! The weird thing is, 90% plus of those, are from the US. I mean, I’ve had days when I’ve had over 40 views, on a non posting day, and everyone of them is in the US? So who is it, no idea. Given that I know the view count, and location stats seem reliable, I dont know where my new fan club has come from. I will say that if I believed the figures, most of them are individual people, coming in reading one article, in a 24 hour period, and nothing else. Thing is, I know that count isnt right, as I’ve had days in the past when I’ve had, for example, 3 viewers, but have had 5 countries listed in the location section. So yes, doesnt tie up.
But who has suddenly taken an interest in my blogs? Now, if this is some US film conglomerate, or theater company checking me out, before offering me a role, then great! Equally, if its some US newspaper, or LGBT group, looking at my blogs, before offering me a journalistic type role, equally great. I would jokingly say that it might be some scientist waiting to check all my robot/brainwashing fantasy stuff, and make me an offer to do something interesting to my mind, or those aliens reading it from Area 51, but suspect thats only in my dreams lol! Hopefully, one day, I might find out!
But yes, if you’re one of those new readers I’ve attracted, who reads all the old stuff, on a regular basis, let me know. Either here, by comment, or by email at email@example.com if you dont want everyone to know who you are, and why!
Oh, but if you are planning on making me a job/guinea pig offer to work in the US, for a while at least, let me know what is being considered for me, pretty please xxx
Right, video time. In the sense that the singer had hardly any hits, this song is probably more famed for Michael Jackson doing backing vocals on here than anything else.
Or in a non derogatory sense, its back on the chain gang. Which gives away the video at least. No, its not that bad really, but its still going to be a culture shock after all this time. The longest period of time that I can actually remember having off previously, and then gone back to the same job, would be an extended fortnight, back in 1987, which was my first ever trip to the US. Extended only in the sense that we flew out on the Saturday, so it would have been 2 weeks, plus 1 working day. This time around, its going to be 2 days short of 3 weeks! Wow!
The main difference though is going to be the situation when I get back to work. Back in 1987, working in a betting shop, there were no emails to return to, let alone the several hundred that will be waiting for me when I get back tomorrow. Mainly because back then, there were no such thing as work emails, of course! Now, 30 years on, we live by our work emails lol! Oh, and back then, the only ‘computer’ I had to help me with my work might have been a very primitive settling machine, though I’m not convinced we had them that far back, but as I cant remember the exact date we did, lets roll with that, certainly nothing more, if we even had that.
Oh, and back then, you needed to get an actual visa to go to the US, unlike today. I know, you still have to get approval to go there, but you do it all online, not sending off passports in the post, and hoping you got it back, care of the Post Office!
So yes, despite the fact that I will be doing exactly the same job tomorrow, as I was doing before I went on holiday, its going to take a bit of time to get back in the groove. Even more so, given that we started using a new call system on my last day at work, before my holiday. But yes, get there I must!
So yes, it will be interesting to get ‘back on the chain gang’ tomorrow, though there are certainly a few faces I’m looking forward to seeing again, I must say. But yes, I will be out of practice, and I just hope it all sticks in my head. Mind, if they needed to ‘download’ all that information into my mind again, it might be fun! Fine, you might hear at the weekend, if I have nothing better to write on Sunday, at least.
Fine, I’ve given enough clues to the video, so lets just get it posted up!
One issue I have found over the years when trying to arrange, or pay for things in the US, is that so many companies, and websites are just not designed for dealing with someone who isnt in North America. I’ve tried to buy things through websites over there, but unless your credit card details have a zip code, that you cant use them. Some, like AT&T have given me work arounds, that using 00000 as a zip code will work on their sites, and some others.
Other times I’ve tried that, no joy! The funniest thing was once when I was ordering a food delivery over there, tried to do it on their website, no joy. Rang up, they settled it, some way or another, no idea how. Another time I rang up, only to be told that I couldnt purchase what I wanted, because I didnt have a US address, no way, no how!
Recently I found out that its not only credit cards that cause issues with US firms. On my 2 previous trips to LA, I’ve used a company called Prime Time Shuttle to get me to, and from where I have been staying in Hollywood, ordering it online, no issues whatsoever. Anyway, somewhere in the last 18 months they’ve changed their site to something that I assume is more tablet/cell phone friendly, as a lot of sites seem to have done of late. Generally I tend to find these sites less laptop/PC friendly, which is what I use of course, but I survive all the same.
No, the snag is now, that before they will take a booking from you, they have to send you an authentication code to your cell phone. Even ignoring the fact that I dont have one over here, I certainly dont have a US one, as indeed anyone travelling from Europe, to LA would be in the same position. So yes, you’ve guessed it, I cant do a booking with them. I actually checked, to see if I had a UK cell phone, if I could get the code that way, but no, it could only be sent to a North American phone anyway! Fine, I have a way around it, by using a friend, while on Facebook messenger, get the code sent to her, she pass it on to me, and then… But seriously, should it come down to doing something like that, just to make a booking for a shuttle?
There is also an alternate company I can use, without the same issue, though of course I have no idea how reliable they are? I’d rather use Prime Time, who I know are reliable, but equally why should I support a company that doesnt seem to realize that people from outside the US would like to book with them? Or that there are still people in the world who feel no desire to own a cell phone! 😛
Of course, if anyone wants to solve the issue for me, by picking me up from LAX, late afternoon on 17th May, and get me to my apartment in Hollywood, then let me know! It would cost me about $25-30 by shuttle, so happy to pay that amount to anyone doing the same job for me, and saving me the whole US company insularity issue! Return trip would be early afternoon of the 27th if anyone wants to offer that too, same arrangement!
Shout here, on Facebook or Twitter (if seeing this there) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if a willing chauffeur. Sorry, I’m not yet a movie star, but maybe one day lol…?
Video, a take your pick moment, from one of my favorite LA groups. First one is a live performance from Hollywood Forever cemetery in 2013. Seriously, if you havent been there, and get the chance to, its a must, especially if you like seeing the last resting place of movie stars, including Valentino!
This version is a symphonic version of the same song, which I love, but naturally, no live performances this way!
I know, strictly I’ve been booking in to flights, and hotel rooms for about 6 years as a woman, but all the same, tomorrow will still be a little different. Yes, it will be the first time ever I’ve booked in, handing over a female passport! Well, assuming the hotel even bothers to check my ID, which seems to be a bit hit and miss over here, unlike the US, where it is always done.
Regardless of whether they do, or dont, it still wont be as special as May, when I board a flight, and pass through Immigration, and Security for the first time with a passport showing me as a woman. Funnily enough, that wont make Los Angeles Immigration the first place I’ve entered the US with a passport of both genders, as I’ve never flown directly to Los Angeles before. Both times, its been through Atlanta, and a change of plane.
That honor will actually go to Boston, exactly 30 years after my previous time doing that there, as a man, in September. I’ve actually been through Boston since then, under my interim name, but didnt clear Immigration there, as I had already done it in Ireland. Indeed, its quite possible that the same will happen again in September, funnily enough. In fact, due to the nature of transiting airports, with your first entry point to the US being the only place you do Immigration (unless you go through Dublin, or Shannon), the only places that I could do the ‘hat trick’ are Philadelphia, and Chicago!
But yes, tomorrow evening, when I book in at that hotel, and if requested, hand over my ID, it will be the first time that said ID has actually said female! Not that I think they look, but…its going to feel good! Oh, if someone wants to offer to wine and dine me there, its somewhere near Thatcham!
Of course, job interview wise, I’ve done 3 with a female passport, so its not unique, but its still going to be special. Not as special as Manchester Airport, in May, but its the first step. And then, entering the US on a female passport, for the first time, oh wow!
Right, video. I gather there have been a few versions of this since this one, but hey, this is the one that this teenage ‘girl’ grew up knowing, so…
Yes, in truth, it really is. Amazingly, at a time when I’m working, its the longest break I’ve had at Christmas in a long time, a whole week! Yes, what could best be called William Hill syndrome sometimes meant that I got Christmas Day off, and that was it! This time around, I finished yesterday, and dont go back until next Thursday. I then do 2 days, then off again from Saturday, until the Wednesday, when normal service resumes. Yes, the last is only because Tuesday is my day off for the week, but besides all that…
In truth, the monthly travel pass ends tomorrow, when I plan to go no further than the local shops (maybe?), and I wont bother again until Thursday, so I wont go too far now in the interim. Even if I cant pay for the holiday until the New Year break (should be able to work it after pay on 30th), I hope I can get the details sorted out before then. Yes, I know the flight, have an idea where it will be, if a hotel, but still contemplating a glance at Airbnb, and seeing if anything will tempt me, but I doubt it. Hotels dont need a mad dash for supplies after arrival, and prices arent that dramatically different, so…
Yes, my present to myself lol! Well, assuming there is still an America by then!
I groaned this morning when I saw the news, that Trump, even before becoming President, is seemingly trying to build up his nuclear missile arsenal, and being aggressive about it. Yes, fine, Russia is already reacting to that, and I thought they were supposed to be friends! Worse, he’s doing it all on Twitter, ah well…!
As to the inauguration thing, nothing but grief there too. No one wants to perform for him, and one group that seemingly will have to, The Rockettes, are already saying they dont want to. Most other entertainers are seemingly trying to arrange a concert to compete with his inauguration, to ruin his viewing figures, that should be fun!
I also saw someone (I assume less than seriously) suggest that California (or another, suggesting all 3 West Coast states) become independent from the rest of the US, now wouldnt that be fun? Would be wise to do it before Trump builds up his nuke collection, just in case…ah well…Please let me know which I need a visa for, USA, or California! Or Cali-Washing-gon? 😉
So yes, at Christmas, peace and goodwill to all on Earth, not! Fine, hopefully I’ll be feeling a little less cynical about it all tomorrow night!
Having already used Greg Lake (for the wrong reason), this seemed the obvious call.
Yes, I know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but I’ve discovered something that happened 2 years ago date-wise tomorrow, so I’ll get in a day early. And anyway, tomorrow, may, or may not be anywhere close to that date of the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621. History suggests it was November, but exactly when in that month, I’d suspect earlier, given it was post harvest. But anyway, last Thursday in November is now the agreed day, so…
For us now, to try and imagine what that first one was like, almost impossible. If you believe historical articles on the internet (hmm?), then there were no ovens, and in all likelihood, no cakes, due to a lack of ovens, and a low supply of sugar. Probably right, but guaranteed? But one thing is for sure, its where the whole Thanksgiving celebration started, even if I very much doubt it was called that, back then.
It was only in 1863, and Lincoln, that the date got settled on, as the last Thursday in November. Until then, states celebrated it, if, and when they wanted to. After that, the date seems to have stuck, so…
Nowadays the day has become more commercialised, though to be fair to the NFL, games have been taking place on the day since the 1930’s, though its fair to say that people didnt settle down in front of huge TV’s to watch them back then! More likely, listened to them on their radios, if that.
Talking of modernity, the whole holiday has now been seemingly equaled by, with the shopping spree that is Black Friday, the day after. In truth, nowadays, that has turned into Black Fortnight, or does it just feel that way?
At least now, thanks to one wonderful man, and his family in Albany, I know what Thanksgiving Day is like as a celebration. Yes, 2 years ago, I got to celebrate that event, first held in 1621, for the first time. Hopefully not the last, though I have no idea when it will happen again, just at present. Maybe when I stop working, who knows? Or maybe while working in the US, either acting, or more general work, but I dont think I’ll hold my breath for that to happen! Oh, there might be one other good reason too, but I suspect he might prefer me not to mention that on here? Lets just say it was something I regretted missing 2 years ago, but it had to be done, just once!
So, all US readers here, have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow.
The video. How the Pilgrims, back in 1620 might have viewed the new world?