Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another thing I did last month

Went to Maui with a friend and got my PADI (scuba) certification. Diving was a lifelong dream of mine, and it is as awesome as I imagined it would be. One of the dives was at a place called Lanai; it was gorgeous. Had a great time.

Side note: rented a Harley and took the Road to Hana...

On Saturday did two cold-water dives. Not as fun as warm-water diving, but still awesome.

Here's a thing I did

If you don't stretch yourself a little, do things that make you scared, then your comfort zone shrinks and you become lazy, complacent, boring, old. At least, that's what I believe.
So I went onstage at a local comedy club on Tuesday for 4 minutes of open mic. I was pretty nervous (talked too much, no rhythm, etc) but I didn't totally suck, and people laughed, so that was good. Planning to do it again, maybe someday I'll be good at it :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Topic I've blogged about before

Not sure if you've followed the recent story about 18 yr old South African athlete Caster Semenya. To most people, she looks a little mannish for a girl.
This fact has led to gender-testing. The rumor is that the (as yet unreleased) test results show she has some form of intersexuality, and that Semanya is on suicide watch as a result.

I have no idea what the truth of Semenya's case is, I just wish her well. What I want to say is:

Our society is structured around the sexual binary. In virtually every life activity -- clothing, grooming, activities, sports, marriage (including gay marriage), employment, online communities, every form you fill out, which bathroom you use, on and on -- someone wants to know which side of the binary you fall on.

And it makes sense from a medical standpoint to have treatment methodologies based on typical human conditions. But intersexuality is much more common that one would think. And in most of the cases where we want to know whether you're M or F, it shouldn't matter.

And on a related/overlapping note, there are transgender people. In case you live in a cave, transgender is the state of one's "gender identity" (self-identification as woman, man, or neither) not matching one's "assigned sex" (identification by others as male or female based on physical/genetic sex).

I'm tired of people whose lives are convenient (because *their* physical and emotional/psychological genders happen to align) being stupid about transgender people. I know some transgender folks, and I am in awe of their resilience and courage in the face of ignorance and intolerance from idiots.

I suppose it comes out of discomfort on the part of the typically-gendered person, but that's no excuse. If that's you, read up on this stuff here, or here, or here, or here, or here, or on your own. Learn something. Then get over it, and have some manners. If you're already a nice person, feel free to ignore the above diatribe.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

lucky weekend

I saw Chris Isaak last Friday night. It was a great concert. He threw his guitar pick into the crowd and it landed on my foot.

Then I went to see Brandi Carlile on Sunday night, and when she threw *her* pick into the crowd, my friend caught it and gave it to me.

So now I have guitar picks from two of my favorite artists. (That and $4 gets you a cup of coffee.)
In case you don't believe me, I took a picture...

One other thing: the Brandi Carlile concert was a benefit for her charitable organization, and they had a deal where a few fans performed onstage at open mic before the concert. My friend who got the tickets put my name on the list as a surprise for me last month. Given how awesome Brandi's voice is, it was a little intimidating to take my one year of guitar lessons and 6-note vocal range up there to sing/play for 250 Brandi Carlile fans. The other acts had real talent, but it went fine, the fans were nice, and it ended up being a lot of fun. I got a hug from Brandi and handshakes from her band, so maybe now I'm famous. I didn't say it was an interesting story.
Anyway, Brandi and her band are a class act, and I like the humble and no-nonsense way she runs her charitable giving.
And in case you wanna see what I looked like through a cell phone, and with crappy sound, here you go:
The song (half of which is in the clip) is actually a poem written by my talented cousin; I threw some chords around it two days before the concert.
I was glad the audience was kind; setting their expectations low (plus a shot of Hornitos before going onstage) made it all work out :-)
Oh, forgot to say: at the end of the concert all of us who had performed beforehand got invited onstage to sing an encore (Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues) with the band. We sounded better than this kid, but we weren't nearly as cute... :-)