Travelin’ By Tunes

Where in the World Was Cassidy Frazee on Sunday evening.  Well, I was in Baltimore.  Why?

Skating, of course.

Actually I wasn’t skating, but a metric shit ton of other women were, as we were all there for a clinic hosted by World Champion Laci Knight of the Angel City Derby Girls, which was the first woman’s flat track derby team and generally considered one of the best leagues in the world.  Since I’d love to become a pivot, I signed up for this clinic back in January and was waiting for the chance to be on the rink with another person from whom I could learn.

Of course I was there to observe only as I’m not certified, but those be the breaks.

So I cut out of The Burg about 4:30 PM (or 16:40 if you are from outside the U.S. and/or happen to be a witch attending a special school in Massachusetts) and drove on down to Baltimore, which put me there right before 6:00/18:00.  This gave me time to grab a bite before getting to the clinic:

Dining on the best the city of Baltimore has to offer.

 

The clinic was fun.  Even though I couldn’t skate I was allowed to stand in the middle of the rink and watch all the craziness going on about me.  I shot video for my time, though I’m not allowed to post any of it here.  We did, however, get a team shot at the end of the night.

 

Yes, that’s Laci’s doing the handstand while still in skates.  I’m over on the right not in skates and wearing my HARD shirt.

One of the things I had with me while traveling is my portable speaker, which I linked to my phone so I could play music from my various YouTube playlists.  The radio in my car doesn’t work, and even if it did, it doesn’t have all the snazzy Bluetooth features that so many vehicles have today.  Therefore I made do the best I can, and this is how I do so.

It’s no secret that I’ve been in a massive funk for a while–at least three months with January being The Month From Hell.  There was a time when music used to alleviate these feelings, but it hasn’t happened in a while. But Sunday afternoon and through to the night–yeah, there were a few magical moments that caught my attention and set my mood to “Yeah, this is Cool.”  And I’d like to share those moments with you, ’cause they’re sharable.

The first song that caught my mood as I was crossing into Maryland while the sun was setting was this: Sukiyaki, which was released in 1963.  Performed by Sakamoto Kyu, the actual title is Ue o Muite Arukō, which translates as “I Look Up As I Walk”.  When it was released in the U.S. it was given the name Sukiyaki because they rightly knew no one who wasn’t Japanese–or at least understood Japanese–would be able to pronounce the title.  This was also the first single from Japan to chart on Billboard, making Sakamoto Kyu the first Asian on the U.S. charts.  This is always been one of my favorite songs and I can remember hearing this as a young kid way back in the day, as they say, and when I need something catchy and soothing, I go here.

 

A point of trivia:  Sakamoto Kyu was aboard Japan Airlines Flight 123 when it suffered cabin decompression, lost its vertical stabilizer (aka, the tail), and crashed on August 12, 1985. 520 people were killed and this remains, to today, the worst single aircraft accident.

The next one came as I was making my way out of Baltimore, specifically as I was heading north along I-695, the Baltimore Beltway, heading into the massive interchange with I-95.  And what played as I rolled down this stretch of highway was Elvis’ Burning Love.  Now, full disclosure: I am not an Elvis person.  I don’t consider him the King of Rock and Roll, and I don’t have a lot of use for the majority of his catalog.  There are, however, a few of his songs that get me going, and this is one of them.  And with the darkness around we on a somewhat empty section of highway, this was the perfect tune to set the tone for my journey home.

 

I stopped off in York to pick up a few food items before continuing home.  Being in York generally means I’m about a half-hour from pulling into the apartment complex, so when I finished up the play list I had going I popped in the next song: the just over eleven minute Elton John epic, Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.  The album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was the first actual pop/rock album I bought with my own money and it got good and worn out on my turntable, with this opening track getting the most play.

Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding is best known for the grandiose opening, which was not recorded by Elton but rather by album’s engineer, David Hentschel, who spend a considerable amount of time on an APR 2500 synthesizer overdubbing track after track to achieve the orchestral effect.  It wasn’t supposed to actually be part of the song, but after Elton heard the playback he told Hentschel to add it to the track.

Mentioning the ARP 2500 allows me to bring up the photo of Phil Dodds, then VP of Engineering at ARP, installing the 2500 used in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I believe this very instrument now resided in a private school for witches…

 

I timed this nearly perfectly: the tune was coming to an end just as I parked my car right around 12:10 AM on Monday morning.  Do I know how to do this, or what?

 

Music hasn’t actually touched me in a while, so it was great that my mindset was such that I felt so good going south to the City of Chicken and Waffles (true, this is where it’s really supposed to have started), enjoyed a skating clinic, and then had a nice time driving back in the darkness.

Let’s hope I have that same feeling today as I head to Jersey to visit with my doctor…

Advertisements

The Road We’re Ending

Once again I come to you on the road, where I’m finishing up the reason for being out here this weekend. I know there’s been a lot of mystery about what I’m doing, but it’s been necessary. And you’re going to see why, because I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing this weekend. Once I do, you’ll see the reason for the secrecy.

So here you go, the big reveal:

I’ve been away at a weekend conference with Planned Parenthood learning how to be a better activist. Because we’re not exactly the most well-liked organization in the world, it’s been necessary for some time to keep quiet about what I was doing and to keep the location of our conference secret. In fact, I can’t reveal our location until I’m home tomorrow, because there’s always the possibility someone will read this post and figure out where we’re at.

I have about another 6 hours of conference to go and then people I came here with and I will head to the airport and fly back to Harrisburg, where will arrive home about midnight tonight. Yeah, it ain’t easy being an activist, doing all this flying around.

Tomorrow I’ll probably do one more post on what I’ve done this weekend and then I’ll get back to my normal routine. And I have to say, doing a blog post for my phone has not been that difficult. Now that I know how to do this, I might just try it some more.

Travel to Parts Unknown

It’s almost 2 in the morning where I’m at now. I’m sitting the lobby of my hotel, both shoulders stinging from, well, who knows? Probably a combination of travel and roller derby.

Whatever the reason, it’s keeping me from sleeping. Which is why I’m writing this now.

It was a long day yesterday. I spent most of it flying, stopping at two different airports along the way. I was traveling with a group of people and at my destination we met up with quite a few more.

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? There’s a reason for that: we have to maintain a bit of secrecy for what I’m presently doing. Some of you know the groups I work with, so you can probably figure out which organization I’m working with at the moment.

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you completely in the dark before the weekend’s out.

There was something particularly special about what I’m doing. And you can see it in this photo:

That’s me on the first leg of my journey, from Harrisburg International Airport to Atlanta. I’ve flown many times in the past, but this is the first time I’ve flown as Cassidy. Even though I set off the machine at the airport because I had an “abnormality” in my groin which required a pat down–one of the problems of traveling while trans– the experience has been a good one. And when I realized that it was my first real trip as my real self, it brought a tear to my eye. More than a couple of tears, actually.

 in time I’ll tell you more about what I’m doing: I’ll probably even have pictures. One thing I can tell you for sure: when I got to the Atlanta airport I expected to see zombies and I didn’t. What a disappointment. TVs been lying to me all these years about what I’d find in Atlanta.

I’ll give you more from the road when I get an opportunity. Who knows? I may even have another post later today.

While I’m Away…

Some of you may have noticed that it didn’t post anything originally yesterday. There’s a reason for that colon this last week I’ve been busy as hell in the weekend is about to get busier.

In about 90 minutes I’m going to head out on the road and be gone for a weekend. What am I doing? Fighting the good fight, as always. Actually, I’m going to be attending a workshop seminar for a certain group that some of you know I’ve done work with in the past. And since I won’t be taking my computer, my access to the internet will be limited.  I will try to post a couple of things, but mostly they’ll be reblogs. Although… believe it or not, I’m actually creating this post on my phone using voice recognition, so who knows whether or not I’ll be able to give you updates from the field.

And come Monday I should be able to start posting excerpts again. You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t been able to do a lot of writing, either. I hope to get back into that next week.

So have fun, kids. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Eastward Into the Sunset

No, I don’t have a novel excerpt.  I don’t have an excerpt of any kind today.  It’s nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the first toll plaza in Western Ohio as you head eastward.  It’s called Tiffin River, though I don’t know if there is a river nearby. I do know I snapped the fingernail completely off as I was sitting down, but I think it was already broken.

Happy arriving–

 

Though a moment later the bitch face is strong.

I’ve been up since about five-thirty and pretty much been on the go since getting up.  But my business in Indiana is finished and I don’t have to return until June.  So what I have ahead of me is at least another nine hours of driving, which should put me back in Harrisburg sometime around midnight.  This isn’t the first time I’ve run this route, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The next five or six days is going to see me writing like mad. I have three TV recaps I need to do and I likely won’t get them done until this time next week.  Thanks, AMC, for screwing up the schedule of the show I’m recapping and dumping a whole month’s worth of programming in two weeks.  You don’t make a girl’s job easy.  And I’ve spent too much time in the current chapter I need to really get going on it, as I’m getting really close to one hundred and fifty thousand words.  It just seems like it’s taking me forever to get there.

This is what happens when life gets in the way.

So, I can’t dillydally long here at Tiffin River, because once I get back to The Burg it’s off to bed because at 5 AM tomorrow I need to get up and start getting ready for work.  Then I’ll drive off and get my nail repaired, and then I’ll go home and unpack.  It just never seems to end, doesn’t it?

If there’s one thing that could be said about the morning drive to this part of Ohio that is good, it’s that I figured out how the series ends.  I pretty much have the exact ending worked out in my head and even walk through some of the dialogue. Needless to say, there were quite a few tears shed as I figured it out.  But, it’s a good ending. I just need to write it.  One of these days.

Yeah, my kids are probably getting lonely.  I haven’t been paying much attention to them of late and they need to get their stories told.  I even worked out another scene over breakfast this morning that involves Annie and Kerry–and Emma.  Needless to say, Emma is feeling a bit uncomfortable, and there’s good reason for that.  When will you see that?  Sometime in this novel: that’s a guarantee.  Now spend all your time trying to figure out what it is that’s happening…

No matter what you may think it is, it isn’t.

Got Those Going Westward Highway Blues

Saturday is usually the day I’ve got video for you, usually being the operative word.this time, however, I’m at Glacier Hills Travel Plaza, which is the first place along my westward trip back to Indiana that I’ve been able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.  I knew I would get a good one here as I’ve use this location many times before for blogging, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now, at ten-twenty in the morning.

As you can see I’m hard at work.

And even though I had eaten a while ago back in the darkness of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, there’s a Panera here, and wherever there’s a Panera, I have to get my favorite breakfast food–

Just call me Souffle Girl.

I never had the chance to do video last night.  I had to write a TV recap, I had to eat, I had to pack.  By the time I have a free moment to do video, it was nearly 10 PM, and I probably would’ve been up to close to midnight getting everything set up.  So, instead, I’m giving you a little vignette of my travels on the road and hoping that you are enjoying the view I’m presenting.

The travel here has been cloudy for the most part, and are times when it appears that I’m entering the set of Stephen King’s The Mist.  In fact, there was even a short stretch, right before I hit the Allegheny Mountain, where I was getting a bit of snow.  I don’t think I’ll hit snow now because it’s far too warm, but it looks as if I’m going to be in a lot of the gray clouds the whole way home.  Which is fine by me, for I know how to navigate in cloudy weather.

Maybe I’ll do a video tomorrow for my old library back in Valparaiso, Indiana, and you’ll have the opportunity to see all the books I left behind.  One of these days I’ll have them back with me: for now, however, they have to stay in Indiana.  Besides, it’s not like I have time to read anymore these days: I’m just way too busy.

I’m actually considering doing a post this week on science fiction movies and TV shows, one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It would be a Baker’s Dozen style list, the original of which I first developed her back around 2002 and have updated from time to time.  I keep saying I’m going to do this, but something always seems to get in the way of me doing it. Maybe this would be a good one to prepare for Tuesday morning, when I hope to be back on the road heading eastward to Pennsylvania.  That way you’ll have something to read while I’m spending another 11 to 12 hours driving back to Harrisburg.

I’m taking my time driving westward so I’m not all burned out by the time I get home. I’d like to be able to do some writing tonight, but I can do that if I’m falling asleep at 9 o’clock.  So I’m stopping like every eighty or ninety miles to relax, grab something to eat, and maybe even get some coffee so I don’t get too spacey behind the wheel.  I’ve been in that position before and it’s not enjoyable; the second time I tried driving back to Indiana I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked.  Believe me, that lesson has stayed with me a long time.

In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down the computer and getting back on the road.  I’m charging up my phone and I’ll be listening to my YouTube playlist, Music From San Junipero, across the state of Ohio.  It will take me about three and a half hours to traverse the state and that playlist runs three hours and forty-two minutes, so I’ll be looking for new playlist about ten miles inside the Eastern Indiana border.  Fortunately I bought a lot of data last night, so I’m not anticipating running out anytime soon.  I’ve been listening to music for the last couple of hours going through Pennsylvania and it’s made driving a far more enjoyable experience.  I’ve also thought about Annie and Kerry making the same trip, although they would probably fly if they had the opportunity.  Or jaunt.  Anything but drive.  ‘Cause like it or not, driving is reserved for us mere Normals.

Ah, if only we could do magic…

West Gate, East Gate

One of the nice things about writing a novel like the ones I’m doing is having the ability to go in and do a lot of research on things that you never knew existed.  I mean, I knew there was a city named Kiev and that when I was growing up the most famous things about it was that it was part of the Soviet Union and a famous chicken dish came from there–which leads to a lot of bad chicken jokes, but that’s another story.

When I decided to have Annie and Alex meed up in Kiev I knew nothing about the city save for it’s now in the Ukraine and one other thing I’ve known about since being in high school.  And it was this last part that set up were I wanted the girls to meet.  Fortunately for me a lot of things in the city worked out to my favor:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie exited the metro station and headed directly across the street into the park. For such a lovely day she was surprised there weren’t more people out, but then it was a Tuesday with lots of people working, and though it was sunny the temperatures were around 18 C with winds staying steady around 25 kph. And the few people who were out were dressed like her: jeans—or in her case, leggings—and a light jacket over a top. Unlike most of the people here Annie decided to wear her sandals because it was summer and she loved the feel of sunlight upon her feet.

She found Alex waiting on the other side of the park, sitting on a raised curb facing Yaroslaviv Val Street. She was dressed pretty much as expected: flight jacket over a blue tee shirt and faded jeans tucked into her black lace-up flight boots. Annie began waving as soon as the girl caught sight of her. “Hello.”

Hello, Annie.” Alexandria Chorney rushed up and gave her friend and covenmate a big hug. “Did you have any trouble getting here?”

“Not at all. It was just as you said: Sofia International to Kiev International, then take the local jaunt to the Central Station, get on the Red Line subway, transfer to the Green Line, take that to Zoloti Vorota Station.” Annie held her arms out to the side. “And here I am.”

 

We know–or we’re at least guessing, you’ll find out tomorrow–that Annie’s mom jaunted her to the international airport outside Sofia, and from there Annie went on her own to Kiev.  Then, as she says, she took the local jaunt into the main train station and from there took the subway to their location.  Lucky for Annie there are only three subway lines in the city, so there wasn’t much of a chance Annie would get lost underground.  Not to mention that the Red Line to Green Line transfer station isn’t that far from where Annie entered the subway.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And once Annie’s off the subway and no longer hanging with the Morlocks, she’s right here in this part meeting her friend:

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo.  Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo. Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Humm…  There’s a blurry sport in the middle of this photo right where the girls should be.  Maybe they are

Now that they are together the real bonding can take place:

 

“Yes, you are. By the way: welcome to Kiev.” She looked about as she shrugged. “You did say this was your first time here.”

“It is.” Annie looked up into the blue sky. “We picked a great day for a visit. Did you have trouble getting here?”

Alex shook her head. “No, the weather was perfect. Clear skies all the way.” She glanced down at Annie’s legs. “I love those leggings.”

“Thank you.” She looked down at the leggings which were electric blue shot through with lines of pink and coordinated with her pink top and blue jacket. “I picked them up in Sofia a few weeks ago. I’m going to bring them to school.”

“Those will be nice there. I’m gonna try and find a pair when we go shopping.” Alex cocked her head to one side. “Your Ukrainian has gotten really good.”

“Thank you: I’ve been practicing.” Annie leaned in towards her friend, placing her hand on her arm. “Your Bulgarian is excellent as well.”

“I’ve been practicing as well.” Alex scratched her head. “So how do you want to talk? If you don’t mind I’d like to speak in Bulgarian. I can practice and if I mess up you can tell me.”

Annie nodded. “We can do that: I don’t have a problem.”

“Great.” Alex seemed relieved that their communication issues were out of the way. “The place we’re going to eat is just up the street. I hope you didn’t have a big breakfast.”

“Not at all. I’ve only nibbled since I woke.”

“Good.”

Annie examined the large structure to her left that was the focal point of this particular park. “So that is the famous Golden Gate.” She kept her smile hidden as she didn’t want to explain to Alex that just two weeks earlier she more or less stood before another Golden Gate…

 

The incredible news here is that Annie is wearing blue and pink leggings, something we’ve never seen her wear.  And she’s totally matching with her pink top and blue jacket.  Top it off with her sandals and she looks like a normal teen girl–and given that Annie is probably carrying that purse, probably a well-to-do teen.  Which, incidentally, she is.

But wait–another Golden Gate?  As she thinks it’s funny that only a couple of weeks before she was sort of at one with Kerry, and now she’s at another with Alex.  Only this Golden Gate–

Really is a gate.

Really is a gate.

And you’ll learn more about it tomorrow–along with how I knew about it as a teenager.