Part 2 of the year, and the passing of the pre code baton

And so to the second half of the year.

In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.

One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.

September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.

At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.

Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!

Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!

Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…

Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.

OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!

Two authors came travelling

So, as promised, the review of the year starts here. It will finish tomorrow, and then at the start of the new year, I’ll take a look at what 2019 might hold, some of it very likely, some of it unlikely, but might be fun if it does.

2018 actually saw something happen, that I’d never done in my 44 years of working life, I was told not to go to work! Yes, a combination of the fragility of my back, and some very cold, and icy weather saw me put on ‘winter weather leave’ for a few days. It made sense in so many ways in truth, but was still a bit of a novelty to me. But agreed, if I’d slipped over, landed on my back, and especially my spine, well you wouldnt want to think about the potential outcome, lets face it. Pretty sure its likely to happen early in 2019 too, especially given the deterioration in my wrist too, but we will have to wait and see on that. In truth, after about a week of that, I was getting a bit of ‘jail fever’ but it was a very wise move, so kudos to my employers for letting me do it.

While on about work, I started working on an LGBT committee at work, which was definitely a fun thing to do. It actually led to a meet with a fellow EMCSA author, the legend known as Betsy, who I got to meet on my travels to Newcastle. And yes, she’s as interesting in real life as she is in her stories! Yes, was, more on that over next couple of posts.

Something else that happened early in the year was also work related. One of my colleagues got notice of volunteers needed for the Blackpool Film Festival in March, and the rest, as they say, is history! I wont claim it as strictly the revival of my acting career (its more a natural performance thing, no scripts), but it was a moment that led to the return of my time performing in public.

This year, it was a flying visit, arrived in Blackpool on the Friday afternoon, left again on the Saturday morning, due to fate, and a memorable date. Yes, the night of my flapper revival was my 60th Birthday! The works celebration was done a week earlier (would have been anyway), but the ‘house’ version was delayed until the Saturday night, which was why we needed to get back as we did.

Yes, a decade or so ago, that would have been it, retirement, which in truth, the body probably needs already. Now, officially it will be March 2024, though I have my doubts my body will hold out that long, but we will see? If it does, I might plan to retire (or take holiday) from work a couple of weeks early, because as things stand, the Iditarod race will start from Anchorage on 2nd March (restart at Willow on 3rd), and that would be an amazing thing to do, and a sort of dream come true. Nome as well? Well, maybe, but all that is a long way off. More on my preferred retirement option in part 2 tomorrow night.

May saw my return to Seattle for the first time in a few years. A few firsts there. Another state bagged, as I flew in via Las Vegas, so getting Nevada as my 24th state. Hopefully get 25 ‘somewhere’ next September, maybe? Ask Kate on that one, lol. She knows the one I’d love it to be, but its not renowned as the most friendly LGBT state in the US, so maybe not? There are a couple of New England options for that title too, so we will see.

The other big first on that trip, was my first Mariners game. It was memorable for more reasons than one, good, and bad. Good, they won. Bad, disability related issues. To be fair to the club, I complained, got a free ticket in the disabled area later in the week, and a few souvenirs as well, they handled it all very well.

Lastly, in the first half of the year, was a return to Blackpool, for World Pier Day. Again I have to thank a colleague for covering my Saturday shift to enable me to do this. Went back even further in time, as an Edwardian Lady, though I never got tightly corseted, cant have everything, lol. Amusingly, it was also Blackpool Pride day, and though I heard a lot of that, didnt get to see it at all. 2 trips already planned for Blackpool in New Year, but more on that on Tuesday, one of which you may not want to miss!

OK, video time. I have been guilty of not doing many Christmas songs this year in the videos, so lets put that partially straight, if a bit late in my day. Its not the best known one, but its one I love, probably because it is a little different. Oh, and it also fits in with Eric’s claim that I’m a spaceman/alien, anyway! 😛


And on the 25th day, of the 12th month

Just a brief piece to wish all those who read my waffling’s throughout the year, and those who just pop in occasionally, a Merry Christmas, which if I do this right, should appear in the first minute of Christmas Day in Hollywood, which seems rather apt timing for Clara, at least. Yes, 8 in the morning for UK readers, which is still a reasonable time, lets face it.

The rest of the year will be the traditional annual review, and a look forward to next year, though in truth, beyond 2 trips to Blackpool, I have no plans in concrete as yet for 2019.

So what can I offer, given no videos? Well, a pair of pictures, of both myself, and Clara, in the most seasonal shots I have.

And as Shakin’ Stevens said, many years ago, Merry Christmas Everyone!

Attacked from behind!

Today saw me travelling down south for Christmas, a journey that on the whole passed calmly enough. until an escalator going down to the Thameslink station at St Pancras.

I heard a woman shouting loudly up above me, and next thing, a very large suitcase crashed into me from behind. I have no idea if she was trying to warn me, or whatever, but… Fortunately I had my boots on, and to be honest, they took all the hit, not my legs, thank goodness. If I’d had shoes on, and that had hit me in the back of my legs, I hate to think.

Anyway, a short while later, a member of staff at the station came up to me, asked if I was OK, and confirmed that, barring a bit of surprise, I was fine. No, the woman involved in the incident wasnt with him, but someone else was, so clearly they’d seen the incident, and tipped him off.

Fine, and finally, to cut a short story short, there is no video tonight, as you can gather, I’m away for a few days, and dont have headphones, so cant check that videos are playing OK, as per normal. So tonight, you can either have a little peace, or you can go on You Tube, and make your own choice, lol.

But yes, I could do with some protective armour, or robot outfit, for good purposes now!


Texting Tantrums

I’ll be honest, in an ideal world, my collision with trying to operate technology would probably stop at my laptop, and the computer I need to use at work, and that would be it. Being controlled by technology, whole different matter, lol. Lets face it, if that sensory deprivation tank decided to brainwash me, or something like that, I’d absolutely love it! As for being turned into a robot, well… 😉

But fine, this is something far more mundane, the mobile, or for American readers, the cell phone.

No, I dont have anything smart, in any sense of the word, it would be wasted on me. I had to be dragged screaming, into the world of cell phones in the first place, only submitting when it really was a case that I really needed one because of all the damage to my back, in case of emergencies. Fine, its useful for teleconferences relating to work too, but beyond that, no thanks!

Well, until now… Today I was due to have Physiotherapy done on my wrist, and the guy doing it insists on using texts to keep in touch with me. So yes, I got one this afternoon giving me the appointment time, which was different to the one mentioned before. So I tried to reply by text, querying the time, with moderate success. Mainly in the sense that I had to ‘shout’ as I had no idea how to change it from Capital letters, which was presumably the default setting? Fine, he’s sorted it out for me, but will now be no capital letters, ever. Mind, as he’s the only person I ever plan to text, lol, I shall live!

Oh fine, I guess its like short emails, or tweets, but typing them, on a phone keyboard, I hate it! Lets just say I had to clear, and retype numerous times! So no, please dont even think of getting me started with a phone that does the internet thing, or takes photos, or anything like that, please!

So no, beyond the obvious of a TV, and a computer, no, dont try to get me excited about technology that I have to control, ever. Technology controlling me however, the sooner the better!

Right, video time. I havent done much Christmas stuff this year, so lets break that streak for now. Dont remember ever using this one before, in truth.

That first lesbian crush?

Strictly, I’m not sure who was my first teenage lesbian crush, as there were 3 thoroughly innocent young ladies who probably attracted my eye, and had me wondering if it had to be a boyfriend for me. One that I’m sure none other than a few elderly Brits might have heard of, was Stacy Dorning, at that time of Black Beauty fame. The other 2 were even more impossible for me back then, as they were American, and therefore so far away. One was Mary Elizabeth McDonough, of Waltons fame, which is the one looking back, that I cant quite work out. Maybe she was just cute, or something, to my teenage eyes? The last of the trio, and the one that is pertinent to tonight, was Cindy Williams, of Happy Days, and of course, Laverne and Shirley fame! The first 2 make sense, much my age, but Cindy is actually about 10 years older than me, but besides that…

Of course, her co star in Laverne and Shirley was Penny Marshall, who has just passed away at the age of 75. Not only did she have a decent career as an actress of course, she went on to an even more acclaimed career as a film director! A League Of Her Own, and Big, to just mention a couple.

I guess its fair to say I would have happily swapped places with Penny in the TV series, but was never to be. In fact, the one who left before the end of the run was Cindy, but besides all that…

So, RIP Penny, and thanks for the marvellous work you did. But please, if you read this in heaven, dont look down on me, or Cindy, and laugh at the thought of me, and her… Pretty sure you wouldnt!

OK, video time. The opening credits, and theme song to Laverne and Shirley, nothing very original there!

The lullaby of Broadway (shopping centre)

Its fair to say that nearly a century on, its nigh impossible for us to comprehend the life of a Broadway Baby, as per the song, though I’m sure there are young ladies who live that sort of lifestyle, even now. I guess its fair to say that the professional escorts that we have nowadays probably do a very similar service to what the ‘Babies’ provided, other than that generally today, they will do the serving of their ‘buyer’ for the night, and only that night, whereas back then, its fair to assume that most of the young ladies (strictly all) would have been faithful to their ‘daddy’, and probably benefited from that fact.

Its also a well known fact that any number of pretty young chorus dancers, ended up retiring from the business, to marry a wealthy older man, and have their children. Some of those marriages even lasted a period of time. Now I’m not going to say Clara Johnson was an angel, and never did anything like that, because I’d be shocked if she didnt! Who knows, maybe she did exactly the same when she retired from the dancing industry in the late 30’s. Just because it didnt ‘sound’ like she did, I’m not saying she didnt!

Anyway, this morning, I might have given the impression of being a Broadway Baby type, as I headed through Bradford to come home after the dinner last night, I stayed over in town, rather than stressing my body more than I have to. And fine, with my faux fur coat, my tousled ‘just out of bed’ look (I forgot to take a comb, so sue me!), and an overnight bag, maybe I gave that sort of impression, at just after 9 in the morning.

Look I got from the bus driver, as I purchased my ticket, and tried to look cute, he seemed to think I had done just that. So fine, I’m a minx, I played along with it, OK? And yes, OK, it was fun! No, I slept alone last night, even if I was in a nice hotel double bed! And yes, I was in bed soon after 11, not up until the early morning too!

Thats not to say it wouldnt be fun to find myself in said ‘Broadway Baby’, or ’30’s chorus girl’ type scenario’s if I was younger, mind? I certainly wouldnt mind a ‘sugar daddy, mummy, or partner’ right now, shall we say? 😉 So, if anyone wants to offer…?

OK, video time. 2 for the price of one, of sorts, both from Gold Diggers of 1935. Yes, apt, as I was suspected of being a Gold Digger this morning, lol. Firstly, the song, as performed in the movie

Secondly, just under 3 minutes of the tap dance sequence that followed the song. The whole piece lasted over 13 minutes, but this is the best combination I can find. Yes, Clara Johnson is tapping for her life in this

Only make believe?

Lets cover a couple of amusing robot moments in one blog tonight.

Firstly, a faux pas from Russia, or which at least turned into one when people discovered the truth! At a technology forum in Yaroslavl, the Russians tried to claim they had created a hi tech robot that could match dancers, and so many other things. Snag is, as was quickly spotted, there were no sensors, or anything on the robot body that would allow it to match the steps of the dancers, and also there were a few times when it got a little ‘over enthusiastic’ in this matching mode. As was later discovered, and widely discussed, the reason this robot was so good, was the fact there was a human inside a robot suit doing the performance!

Its actually a costume made by a company called Show Robots, who do actually make very excellent robot costumes (I’ve seen them before in ‘action’) if you can afford the price. And clearly Russia considered $3800 reasonable to try and get one up on the rest of the world. Of course, now its backfired…? Oops! Let me say that if they’re trying to hastily get rid of the costume, claim they never had it, and all that, I can send them my address, I’d love it.

Well, it might be handy for me, and not just in the fantasy sense (even though it works for that) as well. Back in the late 1990’s, I played a robot for a friend. I’d like to think I made a good job of it, though the costume was nothing very special, definitely far from as elite as this. Anyway, talking to one of the ‘content creators’ over at Fembot Central, she was suggesting that maybe I should do it again. My comment was that at my age, it could only be done in a full robot suit, as I’m 60 now! She just said to go ahead and do that, and fine, if I had the finances to get a suit, and film something, maybe I would? Yes, this suit would certainly solve the issue, even if its not quite fembot sexy enough, lol?

But yes, believe me, if someone got me a decent/good full body robot suit, and gave me the chance to perform, I’d definitely go for it! Think the chances of that happening are roughly zero, but we will see? Anyone up for it, lol? Would be amazing to wear something like that costume, regardless.

OK, video time. Child was one of those 70’s boy bands that never really made it. This, a couple of minor hits, and that really was it. But yes, its easier to find this version of the song than a 50’s one for live performance

Lets Make A Movie?

(Firstly, let me offer thanks to my friend, Michelle, on Twitter, because without her, I wouldnt have even known this had happened, so appreciative.)

It seems that British pensioners might retire, but it also seems that not all said pensioners wish to stay on the right side of the law, as my friend showed me this morning

I do realise that my US friends may not be able to use this link (just as we cant see some US article links), if so, there’s a big clue to the storyline, and I’m sure you’ll find it through a search engine somewhere!

Well, I must admit I admire their cheek, if not their motives, as I’ve never used any drugs in my life. Never smoked anything, in fact, but anyway… Fine what amused me the most, was Michelle’s twitter comment relating to this

Meanwhile, somewhere in London, someone is already pitching this as a script idea… I spy a Brit flick in the offing..

And given that in the past we have made films like Buster (see later in blog), she may well be right! And of course, being a cruise, said film would require lots of ‘senior’ actors, and actresses, and I could certainly do with a cruise somewhere warm at present. Lets face it, I wouldnt care if it was a big part, a small part, or whatever, I’d get an acting break, and get to go somewhere hot into the bargain.

Of course, lets face facts, if it did get made, I’m not going to be at the top of anyone’s casting list, anyway. But yes, lets face it, if I needed an incentive to sign up to one of these online agencies, then that would rank as a pretty big incentive! I should get it done anyway, I have done everything but pay the fee for one, but for me, spending £25 on a whim, that probably wont produce anything, hard to push the button, lol!

Alright, I know, knowing my luck, it would be filmed in a floating ‘boat’ in a water tank, in some chilly studio, but I can dream!

Right, video time. Yes, I mentioned the movie its coming from already. Though a live performance, not the original video.


Artificial body, artificial mind?

OK, let me say that in terms of what I’m considering, this is purely in the realms of fantasy at this time. Maybe it will be possible in decades to come, but for now…

When you mention artificial intelligence (AI) to people, it seems to be a love, or hate issue. Some people see it as a massive benefit for all the good it will be able to do, both in a practical, and assistance sense. Others see it as something sinister, controlling, and big brother like. Oh fine, a robot wannabee submissive like me might (alright, would) enjoy being controlled by technology, but lets consider other matters.

The other artificial thing that people are busily trying to create, currently with limited success, is artificial bodies. For disabled people like myself, where it gets interesting would be some combination of both items. Just imagine if people could literally be given a new artificial body, rather than their disabled human one, wouldnt it be tempting to do a swap? I know, for me, a nice chrome robot body would be heaven, but lets assume that in the future, its possible for people to transfer to a human looking, but artificial body, how many disabled people would be tempted? I guess not all, but some would, I’m sure.

As to the AI side of things, I suspect how far that went would make people decide how far to go. If its a literal download of your own mind, into an artificial body, its going to be preferable to one that is purely AI, even if the ‘personality’ is based on yourself? But lets say its a combination thing, it is you, but you need an element of AI, for the artificial body to function, hmm?

I know, me, I’d love the full robot life, but I’m probably in a class of one on that, lol!

But just think, OK, its only a replica of yourself, but no pain issues, full mobility, and all that brings, well? Yes, I know, if only I could, even more so as my body continues to fail of its own accord.

So yes, AI has good points, it has bad points, but overall, what do you think?

Right, video time. Have you ever wondered what a sound check is like, at a pop concert. Well, this is your chance. It does mean you dont get the full song, but you get to see behind the scenes stuff. Besides which, its Seattle, its black and white, so…