Glee

Leave a comment

So when I grew up, LGBT issues were part of the counter culture, the minority. And that was ok – I was raised by hippies and homos / yeah, we *were* the alternative. that’s what made us cooler than the rest of you. and able to claim ‘under-dog’ status.
But were we?
I’m middle management in the public service, as are many of my friends. I identify as queer or pan, as do many people in my inner circle. Even those who don’t, still acknowledge that sexuality isn’t as black and white/ gay and straight as ‘society’ once assumed. The younger generation don’t seem as constrained. Either because of fashion/celebrity, or because of unconstrained ‘true’ feelings, more young men seem comfortable with blurry lines/metrosexuality, more young women used to making out with both males and females. Were my generation groundbreakers, or has the cult of notoriety made it ok? Either way, social interactions that I observe have changed, but until recently, pop culture, as represented in tv, has not known to deal.
Which brings me to Glee.
I was always going to have a positive mindset about Glee – a high-school drama/musical was *always* going to win me over. I’m tragic that way. I don’t necessarily require depth – I am easily distracted by shine and glitter. This is the glue of Glee.
But then they did something different. A show on Fox, one of the clearly most conservative stations (well at least for network) stations on US tv, showcasing gay teen couples. Not gay characters who were suicidal or psychotic, or (in comparison to other characters) caricatures. ‘teen’ boys and girls who kissed both sexes (as so many I knew did), questioned their sexuality and had sex with people of their own gender without catastrophic outcomes. For someone who grew up on the outside, accepting that my ‘people’ would always be ‘counter’, this was life changing. I went from interested to obsessed.
I still think the show has serious short comings. The writing and characterisations are sloppy, they often fall into cliche and stereotypes, and the portrayal of women, in particular isn’t just lacking – its offensive. But I still found a home. As a confident yet kinda-closeted pan-sexual/bisexual middle aged tragic, I finally found characters *I* could identify with. It only took 40 years…
Which brings us to the close of season 3. My Klaine will no longer be together weekly, nor will brittanna. Will the shortcomings, the plot and character holes overwhelm me? Will the network finally win the battle with the producers and see a focus only on Top 40 hits and straight couples, as I suspect? Or will the show continue to jump between KPerry and Andrew Lloyd Webber, top 40 and Broadway? gay and straight? Christian, Jew, athiest? Cisgender and trans? Will it ‘mainstream’ or will it continue to challenge?
All I know is there is now a generation of fan-girls and -boys who are debating whether ‘publicly stated straight boy’ Darren Criss really is or is not dating his male ‘out’ co-star, rather than whether gay boys are going to hell. This is a debate I can participate in. A debate I find amusing. A debate that doesn’t break my heart.

Canada, eh?

Leave a comment

Oh Canada!

So as usual, I’ve fallen behind in blogging the traveling adventures. Oh well, no reason not to go over highlights, so let’s start with my short stay in that great northern, friendly country called Canada.
I spent a bit of time in these here parts on previous trips, and as such feel v little need for pure site seeing while in town. I’m here for a wedding. My lovely sweet ads friends Mo and Viveka after several years together are taking the plunge of legal recognition, in one of the few countries that recognizes their right to MARRIAGE as a lesbian couple. God it was refreshing to hear that word used during the ceremony. After the big hallabalu in Aus about language – union, no marriage, legal equality but no legally recognized ceremony…really I don’t understand.  I feel no desire for such a formal celebration myself, but why can’t anyone who wants to, go and get themselves married?  Will the mortal and moral world as we know it really come to an end if we let every loving, consenting couple have a nice big ceremony in front of loved ones celebrating their public commitment to each other? To call themselves married? To say wife, or husband, or whatever terminology rocks their particular boat? How in heavens name does it threaten the very fabric of society and the meaning of marriage, as i’ve heard said in the media? Why do people feel the need to limit others choices, if it doesnt really impinge upon their lives? 
Anyway, let me end that rant now, consign it to the growing list of WTF topics that I fail to understand the other side of.

I made the journey from Seattle to Vancouver with the lovely glenda and jennifer (a couple for whom legal recognition as a married couple remains a dream), and we managed to make a journey of less than 100 miles last a whole day, what with outlet malls and IHoP stops. The Lane Bryant outlet shop in particular was a highlight, and boy did I wish Joelle could’ve been there as they had way cool boots (something she was hunting) at ridiculous prices.  None in my size of course…but a lovely pair of black corduroy pants are now in my possession, meeting my required criteria of reaching all the way to my feet (not a common occurrence in pants, I assure you). 
The following day I was free to wander at my pleasure as was now in the staying by myself portion on the trip.  Much as I love traveling with my friends, there’s nothing like a bit of solo time for my fav activity – randomly walking streets with great music filling my ears. And so I did – slowly exploring downtown Vancouver with no aim or destination in mind, as the rain poured. That night was the pre-wedding dinner up grouse mountain, which glenda and jennifer very helpfully provided me a lift to. The usual views from the gondola up the mountain were missing vin the clouds (somewhat like my last visit here a year ago), but being in a cold, wet, packed gondola with 20 medal winning sweet ads has definite advantages that overcome the lack of view – the singing gave me goosebumps, and in glendas honor we got to sing her arrangment of queens ‘somebody to love’. Fabulous…
At the lodge/chalet/thingie at the top it was a few hours of wedding guests mingling, the highlights being more singing (god those Stockholm girls are great) and meeting Mo’s sister, who was somehow even more intense than Mo herself, and Vivekas parents, both as friendly and open as viveka herself.  Family genes were very obvious in both instances.  As Mo and Viveka are based in sweden and their chorus was there following the convention in seattle, the none-swedish guests were greatly outnumbered but we never felt awkward or left out – woman after woman wandered over to introduce themselves and chat amiably about our respective trips and love of the bridal couple. We were treated to a few Swedish songs and on the trip down got the swedish version of 99 bottles of beer – which had something to do with elephants on a spider web..           
The next day I enjoyed some more wandering and my beloved Tim hortons hot choc and Tim bits (nomnom) before preparing for the evening  wedding.
The ceremony and reception were held in the boat club in Stanley park, a lovely spot with a view back to the city skyline over water. It was a beautiful ceremony, as you would expect, with some tears, several lovely songs, and heartfelt speeches. There was a scary amount of love flowing around that room. We were entertained firstly by a great Dixie-land jazz trio, the a selection of Mos CDs, which got everyone up and dancing. I held out, but once the early MJ and Stevie Wonder came on, I had to give in.
And so ends my exceedingly short but enjoyable Vancouver visit – I flew out at 9am the next morning, after only 3 hours of disjointed unsatisfying sleep, wishing I could spend more time getting to know the amazing women I met at the wedding, but anxious go get to my lovely new York and catching up with Druckers, Vin and Mischa…

And at this point it’s time for a break. Am at the Met, in my fav American wing (Tiffany stained glass windows, frank Lloyd wright room and sculptures – heaven) and the met shop closes in half an hour – I’ve some shopping to do!

Convention

Leave a comment

Hello again friends, it’s me, still in Seattle -til Sunday anyhoo…

We had to give up the car today. While it was sad to lose the ability to just go as we please, the beast (never named) was not a favourite – no bloody leg room and a steering wheel too far away for comfort -how were both these things possible at once?

We then got the hotel shuttle down to the pike street markets – kinda a combo farmers/artesian/tourist market…we grabbed a late breakky then picked up a few things for us and friends. We then made our way to SAM – the Seattle Art Museum, stopping at a chinese tea house on the way.  The ladies there made us many different types of tea and explained the chinese tea ceremony, a delightful experience.  It was amazing how different the teas were, and how even one tea changed with each additional brewing. Both Joe and i ended up buying little tea ceremony sets and I look forward to playing with it at home.  We wandered thru the SAM store and then Joe and I went out separate ways – I headed to convention, Joe to Pioneer Square, to explore underground old Seattle.

Competition at convention this year is being held in the Key Arena, a part of the Seattle Centre, also home to the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum, Childrens Museum and Theatre and the Science Centre – quite the little cultural enclave. By the time I got there the comp was going into break, so I decided to go up the needle and check out the view. Did I tell you the lift goes up the outside? Quite a view thru the glass for someone who’s scared of heights, like me…anyways, grabbed a yogurt parfait for lunch them wandered around the outside viewing platform a few times, checking out the great expanse of hills, water and views that is Seattle.  The music project is damn weird looking – apparently it’s founder was a big guitar nut and requested that it look like Jimi Hendricks smashed guitar from above.  I didn’t quite see it, but it was big, colorful and interesting so it was entertaining at least.

Back at the convention, only a couple more choruses then the Aussie contingent came on – Endevour Harmony, including 10 (or is it 11?) dual Brindabella members. Now for those of you not yet exposed to this side of my life, Endevour, and Brindbella (of which I have been a member for 11 years) are Sweet Adeline’s choruses, and this is our annual international convention -as in competition.  Sweet Adeline’s sing women’s barbershop music, and do a lot of dancing, big hair and make up.  Think grown-up Glee 🙂 Endevour was representing our region, and there was a bunch of us there to cheer them on (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!).  They did a great performance, I particularly liked the ballad, and they were rightly pleased with themselves when they came off.  A few choruses later, and it was Stockholm City Voices, a friend chorus thru our lovely friends (and coaches) Mo and Vivika.  Mo is an exceedingly dynamic director, and SCV put on a fabulous performance, all the more impressive with only 35(?) on stage -most choruses at this level tend to the larger size.  And in the end SCV made the top 10 and is singing at finals on Saturday – woot!!! Endevour came 15th, which I understand is the highest an Aussie chorus has come, so a damn good job all round.

Whew, I was so tired after all that I couldn’t even finish his blog, so here it is Friday morn.  While the sweet ad’s would be thoroughly enjoying a mass sing this morning, Joe and I opted for a sleep in, and plan this morning on a windy, wet ferry ride. Then some shopping 🙂

Hope y’all are well

    

The long day drive

Leave a comment

Location: Silver Cloud Hotel, Seattle, Washington

ahhh here at last. Another day of fabulous views as we drove through Oregon, fir trees ahoy, stunning rocky outcrops, misty coves, rough looking towns alternating with quaint, wood shingle clad houses, gi-normous pick-ups, cheap gas, crappy coffee…another little slice of the US. After a big drive over a ridiculously tall and long bridge, we reached Washington state.  So Forrest-y, so green, so many gorgeous lakes, eddies, rivers wrapped by foggy woods.  I’ll admit it, the Twilight soundtrack came out, and was a suitable mood enhancer.  Even better, much later after listening to the radio since leaving Aberdeen, on comes Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ just one mile after the Seattle city marker…ahh travel gods, you can be kind…     

Other highlights-a short break at an outlet centre – ahh states with no sales tax…beeping and cheering on four purple clad teenagers on a corner in Aberdeen holding a ‘it’s ok to be different’ sign (people wore purple today to show support for LGBT youth http://www.glaad.org/spiritday)…lunch at an all American diner with Clearwater playing over the PA and baseball on the tv….the musings about the tsunami warning signs, miles inland, behind rows of giant trees….and finally room service of high quality after a very long tiring day.

I love travel

     

Oregon

Leave a comment

Today began with our usual hunt for food free of high-fructose corn syrup – something both Joe and I have bad reactions to but find prevalent in all food and drink in the US. Breaky at the hotel included such items high in hfcs as jams and spreads, juice, tea (they only had flavored), yogurt and oats (flavored).  We both stuck to toast (unfortunately sweetened as usual, so probably low levels of hfcs) and milk. Thank goodness milk is so readily available here – no one raises an eyebrow if you order it breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it’s one of the few unsweetened, and therefore free of hfcs, drinks you can get.

On this note I’m going to make a slight side comment.  The evil empire otherwise known as starbucks has added another weapon in it’s arsenal to draw me in despite my better judgement – as well as offering free wifi at all it’s stores, it has removed all products with additives or hfcs.  It is one of the few chain places safe to eat and drink – damn those evil marketing geniuses that saw a segment of the market ripe for exploiting.  My last US trip included daily starbucks due to Tan’s requirement for at least 5 shots of espresso coffee a day (it being one of the few reliable places to serve non-filtered non-americana-style-bilge-water-masquerading-as-coffee) and I had hoped to break the habit. To date I’ve only visited one store, but I see more in my future as real coffee options are short and far between and I get sick of water as my only option elsewhere….

Returning to my tales… so today we drove about 350 miles up the coast from Eureka, CA to Newport, OR, experiencing a stunning coastline along the way.  It started with the mighty redwoods in CA.  Big beasties they are, dwarfing us and the more regular forrest trees.  And then Forrest – as far as the eye could see – hills and valleys of it, wrapped around little lakes and big bays.  We then moved to the actual coastline- gigantic rock formations thrusting out of the raging sea just off shore, wrapped in smoggy mist, with tall forrest trees all the way down to the dunes…there was much stopping to admire the view and take piccies.  Way atmospheric.

We stopped at a little beach called Sporthaven for lunch (mmm captains seafood platter yum – clam strips GOOD) and fudge from Sebastians. We then drove thru the oregon dunes, miles and miles of enormous sand dunes, surrounded by a million places to hire ATVs…We’ve now checked in to the Greenstone Inn – another ‘green’ place, this time right on the beach. After a quick but hearty dinner at Nanas Irish Pub (Guinness, beef and mushroom Guinness pie followed by chocolate bread pudding) we’re both ready for an early night before we do it all again tomorrow as we make our way to Seattle…

Yesterday I was too buggered to blog o there’s a little catching up to do, but it’ll have to wait – sleep is calling…

And btw I’ve worked out I can’t upload photos as I go – word press appears to require flash to do such things and I’m operating on an iPad and iPhone…damn evil apple products (shhh I don’t mean it my lovelies…)…I shall add these later.

‘night!

The first 24 hours

1 Comment

Location: Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco 

Apparently this place has won all sorts of green awards – can’t quite see why, but maybe that’s the point? Anyhoo, china town gate is literally 20m away and we’re just two blocks from union square so we really are in the heart of it – great pick Joelle! Did I mention the exceedingly comfy robes? Free DVD rentals? And of course free wifi. Heaven…

To the complete surprise of no one in particular, much shopping has already been achieved – first priority, body and face products. Origins, Dr Kiehls, Evada, Bed&Body Works, Bare Essentials, Sephora and a necessary Walgreens trip for my chilli-enabling tablets. Many shopping bags later and a hefty hit on my credit card and I am stocked up with nice smelling, skin enhancing goodness -yay for me. Combine the fact that things are way cheap over here (eg foundation $70 at home, $28 here) and the almost parity of the dollar, I consider the entire day a bargain 🙂

We’ve also explored the range of eating experiences.  We started with a tasteless but essential (for the true USA trip) junk food lunch at Carls Jr. Saturday night was a magnificent Chinese meal at the recommended R&G Cafe – with a serve of Peking duck with buns (think steamed pork bun) and wild mushroom chow mien. The chow mien in particular was absolutely scrummy.  Today we started with brunch at the French place across the road – Cafe de la Presse.  A true find in a very handy location, the food was quite delicious and we’ve already decided we’ll return at least once. I had poached eggs with a red wine and mushroom sauce – unusual sounding but a wonderful rich, rounded flavour – accompanied by lovely crunchy squares of potato. Joelle had eggs benedict, with perfectly poached eggs and lashings of salmon and hollandaise, accompanied by both the potato squares and fruit. This afternoon we continued our Fairmont tour, catching the cable car up Nobb Hill for a high tea.  The venue was lush – all marble columns, sweeping staircases and crisp white linen.  Starting with a glass of Louis Bouillot Burgundy, we soon settled in with an appropriate feeling of luxury.  A three tiered display included mini sandwiches such as five spice tenderloin and lady apple slaw on black olive baguette;, scones with lemon curd, pear and quince compote, jams and cream; and a variety of little sweets. Overall the experience was very pleasant with good service, attractive surrounds and tasty morsels, but the scones left a bit to be desired – dense not fluffy, powdery not creamy. And the amount of cream was too low, requiring a request for additional supplies.. 

Well that was a good 24 hours.  Next up dinner. And tomorrow our drive up the coast begins – after a little shopping of course!

 

     

On my way – maybe

Leave a comment

Location: qantas club canberra.

As usual, last minute crises ahoy. Started by almost getting in car to airport in slippers. Have wrong cord in hand-luggage so can’t charge ipad during stop-overs. And now plane delayed by an hour due to syd weather making my connection thru an issue – scheduled to arrive in syd AFTER boarding time for US flight. For once qantas club staff no real help – they just ‘assume’ my US flight will also be delayed. Domino affect in place- the 3 hour layover in LA before flight to San Fran now also looking questionable…

Sigh…

Location: midway between LA and San Fran, several thousand feet up…

Well there’s been a lot running between planes. Luckily the A380 is a bloody big plane so it was still boarding when I finally made it to Syd. Then on arrival in LAX, lines ahoy -long wait to get thru customs, a long line to get out of the baggage hall, an even longer line at the next terminal to get back thru security…so much for my leisurely layover. I did however prioritise a shower -I may have only had 15 mins but that freshen up made the world of difference and again demonstrated the worth of qantas club – fluffy towels, complementary bottle of water to rehydrate…

 And so now on my way to my first real stop – San Fran, where I will meet the lovely Joelle for shopping and site seeing up the west coast. Ahh this is what holidays are really about…
   

Older Entries