K.L. Tremaine’s Independent Flight

Full Disclosure: I want to be up front here that the author of this book is essentially family.

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages… Er wait. This isn’t Star Trek but if you’re a fan of Star Trek, you’re probably going to love this book. It’s a space adventure in the best sense of the genre. You have action, a sassy captain and a great story.

The center of the book is Veronica Gray, a young captain in training, who is being given her first real command. She has a wonderful crew who is surrounding her who add a lot to the story line and the adventures. You also, without giving away spoilers, have an awesome “bad guy” in the form of the drug runner that has an unfortunate run in with our leading lady.

This particular book is a quick read, but it is a good read. I highly recommend it. And really, can’t wait to see more of what happens to Ms. Gray.

So uh. Go buy it already!

OH! One awesome bonus note with a itsy bitsy spoiler alert on it: Veronica is team #GirlsLikeUs.


Imogen Binnie’s Nevada

Warning: This is going to read like a bunch of dis-jointed thoughts. I posted this stream-of-consciousness without doing any editing on it. It’s written just post-reading of the book while so, so many emotions are swimming in my brain

Do you ever have one of those moments where you finish a book and you are not entirely sure of the emotions that you’re feeling? Because that is how I feel right now. I just finished reading “Nevada” by Imogen Binnie.

One one hand, I feel this complete and total deep connection with her central character Maria. She…is going through a lot of similar stuff to me. Reading everything I seriously just couldn’t help but be like “yeah, sister, me too!” Or well, at least I had in the past. It’s complicated. Because like, I’m totally not her at all but at the same time I feel like I am if that makes sense. Like I didn’t do any of the crazy high school shit…unless you count accidentally running over my brother’s foot as ‘crazy high school shit’…but I have/had a lot of the same issues and realities in relationships as she does. And hell, I never just jumped in a car and headed west (I should have lol!) Closest I have gotten to that was that moment I decided I was moving to the Twin Cities. (Though a part of me still thinks I should have tried for LA.) I do have one, odd, but interesting question, and maybe I’m reading WAY too much into the character, but I really, really wonder if she is an Aspie. It…just fits way too perfectly.

On the other hand I have this sense of well…I don’t entirely know what it is over the relationship that Maria develops seemingly at random with a Wal-Mart clerk. I guess maybe jealousy is the correct term. I wish I had someone stumble into my lap, so to speak, at 20. I think it would have been very interesting. I know where I stood at 20, and where I stand at 32. And it could have been much more, shall we say, interesting. Closest I have had to that were my friends I made on LiveJournal and MySpace in the later part of the last decade. (You know. The one between the 90′s and the 10′s. Le sigh. I can’t believe the 90′s were that long ago.) I’m still friends with a few of them, and I consider at least one of them family.

Ok and on a third hand, or well, I guess I’m branching out to feet here, I feel a profound sense of longing and disappointment. Without giving away any spoilers here, I… Just the way the book ended. I was expecting something more and then all of a sudden it was like “oh…this is the about the author page now. But…But…Moooooooooooooooooooooooooore please!!!”

Honestly, I love this book. It’s just…awesome. You should take the time to sit down and read it. And interestingly, I don’t know what it is lately, maybe it’s the fact I’m finding books I enjoy lately, but this was ANOTHER book I finished in a mere matter of hours, not days/weeks like some books I have read. Ok. Time for dinner.


True Trans Soul Rebel

Full disclosure: I have never been very good at writing music reviews. In fact, the one time I tried writing one for a website, it got sent back to me by the editor laughing. However, I am good at pretending I know what I’m doing, so here it goes. My thoughts on Against Me!’s new album, “True Trans Soul Rebel.”

So much good music has come out in the last year. 2013 was the year that brought us the awesomeness of Daft Punk’s single “Get Lucky”, Katy Perry’s PRISIM with the AMAZING “Roar”, and of course, Beyonce’s super secret self-titled album that is, in my mind, the best thing that came out of 2013 musically.

2014 has been quiet so far in the “OMG I MUST HAVE” music department. That is…until now. For this week, Against Me!’s “True Trans Soul Rebel” was released. We have had acoustic versions of a few singles since the band released a 2 song EP last summer. To say this is one of the most anticipated releases from the band, though is a great understatement.

The album is a very personal look into transition, and the emotions that come with it. Laura Jane Grace has done a brilliant job putting just the right kid of emotion into the album. I gave the album a listen to today. I’m still trying to process all of the feelings that have come out of it. There were some tracks on the back-half of the album, specifically “Dead Friend” and “Two Coffins”, which definitely got to me. I was a bit teary eyed listening to them. Most of the album speaks too closely to me in some regards.

Overall, I would VERY highly recommend the album. Like. Go buy it now. Or click to listen to it on Spotify.


TDOR 2013

It’s been a while since I blogged about the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Probably TOO long since I have. Pretty much everything that I said back then still holds true today.

“These 160+ souls should never have had their lives cut short. They were people with the potential to go on and do great things. Who knows what they could have been or become. The only thing that’s known is that they did not choose to be who they were, or to die at the hands of hate. I encourage everyone to please stop the hate in this world.”

That is from the 2009 blog. I’m not going to re-hash what I said there, save to say that we are still being rattled with fear and hate and people are still dying because of it. Since 2009, though, a lot of good has happened. There is visible transgender presence in the media landscape1, there are projects like #girlslikeus and trans* people have not stayed silent when it mattered most.

But sadly, there is still a need for a day like TDOR. Sadly, people are still being killed, or driven to suicide, because of hatred and ignorance. The list of those who were died for being themselves can be accessed here. While it is a far cry from the 160 people who died when I first blogged on the subject2, the fact remains there are still too many names on that list.

I’m going to close this post with a quote from Anne Frank. Because, if people took the time to realize this, maybe so many of our trans* sisters and brothers won’t have to die at the hands of hate.

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” — Anne Frank


  1. The biggest presence of a trans person in media right now is Laverne Cox who plays Sophia on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” But she is not alone. Since blogging in 2009 there have been musicians like Laura Jane Grace & Mina Caputo, journalist-turned-author Janet Mock, and child-star-turned-activist Chaz Bono who have all made important contributions to trans people’s visibility.
  2. We are once again getting conflicting numbers being reported on the number of people who died this year. The list I linked to above only had roughly 70 names on it when I looked. This morning, I came across a link on BuzzFeed which puts the number at 238, which would make it MORE than the number reported when I blogged in 2009. However, as you can see in that post, there were conflicting reports then as well.

Wake Me Up When November Ends

“here comes the rain again falling from the stars drenched in my pain again becoming who we are as my memory rests but never forgets what I lost wake me up when September ends”

Green Day “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

A very powerful song by Green Day. It deals with the death of Billie Joe Armstrong’s father. November is the month that I would like to be able to skip over and not have to deal with the pain of November 2012.

This time last year, I was staring straight into the eyes of what would turn out to be the worst month that I have ever had to deal with. For starters, I lost one of the best friends, anchors, reporters and producers that you could ask for. Secondly, I was dealing with a roommate who had just come off of surgery and unknown to me at the time, would officially die for a few seconds on the operating table the 3rd time that he was rushed to the ER because his incisions had re-opened. Throw on top of that a Presidential election, Sweeps, and the death of an aunt that I wasn’t especially close to on my mom’s side of the family, and you can see why I was very emotionally distraught by Thanksgiving.

“And it seems to me you lived your life Like a candle in the wind”

Sir Elton John “Candle in the Wind”

Probably the biggest reason that I would love to just skip over November this year is the fact that it has [been one year since we lost Jeannie.]({{< ref “/blog/2012-11-08_Only-the-good-die-young” >}}) Quite honestly, this is probably the hardest part of this for me to write. I can’t believe that not only is she really gone, but that it has been a year already since I got the devastating news. Thankfully, I will say, she had enough sense to actually pass while I was distracted with directing WCCO 4 News at 10 that night. It’s been an especially tough year for me because of this, because there were so many things that happened to me this year where she would have been the first television friend I would have messaged on Facebook. But… I know that she is looking down on and helping all of her friends with their newscasts every day.

And I’m not joking when I say it… I really miss you Jeannie. And, if I haven’t said it enough this year, thank you for all of the help that you have given me.

“Everybody hurts Take comfort in your friends Everybody hurts Don’t throw your hand, oh no

Don’t throw your hand If you feel like you’re alone No, no, no, you are not alone”

REM “Everybody Hurts”

The second part of why November officially sucks for me is nearly losing a friend / roommate to what for any other person would have been a routine procedure. You really don’t need all the gory details. But when you get a call from your neighbor that your roommate was rushed to the ER, they took him for emergency surgery, and oh yeah…she has no idea where in the hospital he is…it’s wicked stressful. On and add to all of that the part where no one prepared me to find him hooked up to a ventilator when I finally got to see him the next morning. Or you know, the part where he technically died. Twice.

The good news, is that he is doing much better today.

“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ Into the future”

The Steve Miller Band “Fly Like an Eagle”

I still can’t believe that it’s been a year already since all of this happened. It seems like just yesterday Rory and I were talking about his plan to take over the world, and I was prodding Jeannie that she needed to come up to the Cities and take a picture with the Mary Richards statue on Nicollet Mall. I guess time really does keep slipping into the future.


Running into the face of danger

I want to start my thoughts tonight by saying that my heart goes out to the victims of this horrific tragedy in Boston this afternoon. At time of writing there are 3 dead and 117 injured according to multiple media sources.

Al Tompkins posted today one of the things that I was thinking watching the video coming out of Boston. In all of the video that I have watched of the horrific events that transpired this afternoon in Boston, you can clearly see two groups of people running in the opposite directions of the crowds: the first responders and the journalists.

Both of those groups managed to put aside personal safety, as they had no idea how many more bombs could be in the area, as they ran into that area. The first responders, heroically, tending to the injured and the journalists, witnessing the horrific things that we do, to keep the people at home informed of what was happening, to tell the stories of the people down there, and to get out the emergency information needed to keep people safe.

I don’t want to downplay the actions of the first responders, and I don’t want to overshadow the magnitude of what happened today. But… The journalists working on the ground will be forever scarred by the events that happened today. Well…not just those on the ground, but their producers, tape editors, control room crews, etc. who have all seen the un-edited, raw video that is coming in from the scene. Those kinds of pictures, many of which you never see on your television screens at home, leave a lasting impression on you. Believe me when I say this, as I have first-hand experience having been in a newsroom on 9/11/01 and watching an un-edited CNN NewsSource feed from New York City. And those who have covered the event on the ground or in the control room today will be working late into the night, running mostly on adrenaline. It won’t fully hit them until later tonight, or tomorrow, or next week what exactly happened today. I imagine that among the journalists (and first responders) that there will be a lot of “OMG” moments to come.


Welcome to the Real World

Dear Marquette Tribune Kids,

I graduated from Marquette 9 years ago. In those 9 years, I’ve gone from working a stable, full-time job, with benefits in TV News, to working a part-time job, albeit in a major television market, with unstable hours and no benefits. Why does this matter? Because everyone has had to make cutbacks. That’s the way the world is working these days. Blame it on whatever you’d like, it’s reality.

I spoke with a number of people over the last few days who had knowledge of the “#LongLiveTheTrib” Twitter campaign, as well as the online petition. Especially, after having to put a call out onto the hashtag to figure out what they were actually protesting.

The current students I heard from are saying things like: “it’s not fair”, “we spend $30k in tuition so we deserve to have a full MU Trib”, and that the Trib “helps us get jobs.” Guess what? You don’t “deserve” anything. Rule number one of life: Don’t act like you’re entitled to anything. Hate to burst your bubble, you’re not. Besides, I have it on good authority that the overall costs of printing the additional pages is only a small portion of the money budgeted to you. That the majority of it goes to pay student reporters. Hmm… Maybe that is a spot to start looking at reductions? The TV and Radio kids have always historically done the grunt work for the experience of putting on a live, local newscast, and moving up the chain to one of the more lucrative staff positions, which I hear are actually paid these days (they were not back in my day.)

And while I know you’ve published and re-tweeted a number of alumni who are supportive of the Tribune, I have chatted those who stand on the other side of the argument. The side of the argument that you have conveniently left out of your online articles, might I add.

I am not alone in thinking that you are coming off sounding like a bunch of stuck-up, spoiled brats. I have had a few fellow alumni, not just other BREC majors, who have said “thank you” to me for calling you out on this. While it’s a small percentage of the overall alumni population who have even responded to what is going on, you have to remember, you never know who is out there watching, reading and formulating opinions of your actions as journalists.

Many of you keep repeating that writing for the Marquette Tribune leads to jobs in the industry, but I want you to stop and think for a minute: “What if an alumni of power disagreed with me, how would the affect me?” Remember, the internet is forever. Now, I’m not implying anything about myself personally. But you never know who I might know. Or who might stumble on my blog.

Ok. Back one moment to the hashtag. I am no expert at online messaging, I don’t even try to play one on TV. But if I click on a hashtag on Twitter, and can’t tell you what people are upset about, then we have a big problem.


A. Chernow


Only the good die young

I’m literally crying as I sit here and write this post. The television world lost a great one. You’ve never heard her name, but she had talent and unfortunately, it will never be seen on the stage it should have been showcased on.

RIP Jeannie Hayes.

Jeannie and I were co-workers at WREX in Rockford. But before that we were friends at Marquette University. We spent many nights in Johnston Hall working on MUTV News. Working on class work. And doing stuff.

One of the best things that we all did together was not at WREX, but at MUTV. It was my finals week my Senior year, fall semester. We had a bit of unplanned breaking news happen. Even though it was finals week, we all banded together and got the news on the air, even though we’d wrapped for the semester. I remember watching her anchor that newscast and I had the feeling I’d see her at the network level someday.

Sadly…the world had other plans.

We all love you Jeannie and we are going to miss you.



You don’t see this very often in the midwest…

SEUS63 KMKX 101020

420 AM CST WED FEB 10 2010





Yes.. Earthquake in IL. The last time I remember this happening was June 28, 2004.

The USGS information page has more information on the quake, which they say was officially a 3.8 quake.

I did not feel this quake, though, this was also one of the few days where I did not wake up at like 4am from back issues. I’ve seen tweets from people (didn’t have that in 2004!) saying that they’ve felt it in wide ranging places from Rockford, IL, to suburban Chicago, to Milwaukee, WI!


Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009

So… Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. You might be asking “why am I blogging about this?” Well it’s simple… I’m blogging in support of friends. Friends who I worry about every day. Friends who I care for. Friends who I fear could end up being a victim of a senseless hate crime just for being themselves.

“just another dead fag to you that’s all just another light missing on a long taxi ride”

– Tori Amos, “Taxi Ride”

Too many trans-persons are becoming victims of senseless hate crimes. In the past year, more than 160 lives were stripped from this earth. These are women and men who have families, friends, partners. And they all died just because they were being their true selves. For that matter, there is one name on this years list, who was killed not because he was transgendered himself, but because he dared to love and accept a transgendered woman. It’s sad really that this hate exists. The hate that would allow someone to take a fellow human’s life just because of who they are or who they love. It’s not right.

Edit @ 11am 11/20: Quick Note — This morning I’ve now seen 3 different numbers on the number of trans-persons killed. There is the 160 that I saw last night on Questioning Transphobia and reported here. This morning, however, Jenn Dolari is reporting 132 on her Twitter feed, and Pink News & The Bilerico Project are reporting 117. I’m not sure what the actual number is at this point, however, any more than 0 is too many.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

– Master Yoda

He may have been just a movie character, but his wisdom is spot on in this struggle. The fear of differences is what cost these 160+ people their lives. Because the fear, brought hate, and the hate turned to anger and rage, and that then lead to the suffering. Not of the attacker…but of the victim, their families, friends, and the world at large.

We shouldn’t ever be hating or fearing the differences that people have. It’s the differences that we each bring to the table which make each one of us as a whole, the whole human race, better. We should take the time to learn. To talk. To listen. For then and only the will you see that each person is not that much different than you or I.

“I am beautiful no matter what they say Words can’t bring me down I am beautiful in every single way Yes, words can’t bring me down So don’t you bring me down today”

-Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”

These 160+ souls should never have had their lives cut short. They were people with the potential to go on and do great things. Who knows what they could have been or become. The only thing that’s known is that they did not choose to be who they were, or to die at the hands of hate. I encourage everyone to please stop the hate in this world.

The names of the deceased for 2009 can be accessed here.

You can find more information on the Transgender Day of Remembrance here.

And I also encourage everyone to read this article that has a lot of sobering statistics about transgender related crimes, or at least to watch the attached video.

If you would like to know why I chose the lyrics I did, [click here]