1. What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of living in Maine?
Loaded question: I am actually rather outspoken about my hatred of living in Maine. I'll try to get the good stuff out of the way, first, since I could rant all day about the bad. Let's see...it's relatively safe here, with a low crime rate and what crime happens tends to be laughably hilarious (I hear about maybe two murders a year on the news). I live close to the town the Silent Hill games were patterned on, which leads to interesting conversations. Same with my close proximity to Stephen King. When I lived outside of Maine, people seemed to find me being from Maine interesting, and I like to confuse people with regional dialect. Um...it's very pretty here, and I love snow, and we get plenty of that. As for my least favorite aspects: I live in a very conservative, closed-minded area (I am told it's not like that all over the state, and, in fact, Portland, ME is supposed to be a GLBT haven). 90% of anyplace you can live is way out in the middle of no where. There's pretty much no economy here (we've been in a recession since the '70s and in '05, we were the only state with a lower economy than post-Katrina Louisiana), so finding a job is next to impossible, especially with the hurdles of the aforementioned conservative area. The only thing that's happened to me bordering on trans-bashing has happened in my own hometown (I've hung out in Boston and Baltimore and felt safer. One of the first major gay-bashing cases, which occurred before the Matthew Shepherd case, happened in Bangor, which is near where I live). It's a cultural wasteland and if you mention anything other than hunting, trucks, or NASCAR, people tend to go "bwuh?". We're always the last to get most anything. Where I live is so remote, I have no cellphone reception for about a mile away from my mouse (I can get some reception if I stand on my deck and dance around). We're another $94 million in the hole as of last year, so they just got rid of all mental health services for kids, the elderly, and pretty much everyone who isn't a medicated psychotic. The aforementioned proximity to Stephen King, who I don't like (personally or professionally). The aforementioned Silent Hill thing, because that's just scary a lot of the time. Long story short, it's not a good place to live if you're "different".
2. Do you ever plan to go post-operative, as it were, or do you have concerns about the current state of FTM surgery that keep you from wanting to take that step?
I plan to go on hormones and get top surgery, but I am not to happy with the results I've seen and heard of regarding bottom surgery, so I don't plan to get anything down below until they vastly improve the techniques. (Without getting into too much TMI, the options right now are pretty much "looks good but has no sensation" and "feels good but doesn't look terribly accurate".) If they do make an improvement in the methods, I'll reconsider, but FTM surgery isn't explored nearly as much as MTF has been.
3. Are there specific significances to your names, and if so, what are they?
"Jason" just sounds reasonably close to my legal female name. It was the first thing that sprung to my mind when I needed a boy name (other than "Jesse", but I hate being called Jesse). "Nicholas" ties into my love of Russian history, especially the revolutionary era, and I think it's a spiffy name, honestly. "Vincent" is hard to explain, but it was a name given to me by my former roommates and, long story short, it came from a video game character. "McLaughlin" really is my legal last name (hence I have most people address things to "J. McLaughlin"). And for those of your wondering, "A Guy Named Goo" comes from the Goo Goo Dolls album "A Boy Named Goo". Until I was about 17, my online handle was "A Girl Named Goo". When I decided to start transitioning online, I was going to use "A Boy Named Goo", but the name was taken on LJ and "A Guy Named Goo" wasn't, so I ran with it.
4. Do you prefer the original concept-album version of Chess, or the stage version, and why?
Original concept version, but largely due to bias: it was the first and, for a long time, only version I'd heard, and is the only version I own right now. I've heard the other versions and seen videos of performances, but I can't seem to wrap my head around the American and the Russian having names, and Murray Head and Elaine Page are the definitive American and Florence to me (Elaine Page's version of "Nobody's Side" is one of my favorite songs, period). Yes, I even like the darker ending of the concept version. I know this is blasphemy, because Adam Pascal played the American/Freddie in a stage version and I'm a huge RENT fan, but honestly, I didn't care for him a lot in that version, and I hated their Florence.
5. As a House fan, you're obviously into Hugh Laurie to at least a certain degree: would you like to see him star as the title character in a movie of his novel The Gun Seller, and if not who would you like to see as the lead?
I actually haven't read The Gun Seller. I'd like to, because I've heard it's very good. I think if there were a film version and Hugh Laurie wanted to play the lead, he'd do a tremendous job, as he's an incredibly talented actor and consider he wrote the source material, would probably know how to capture it better than anyone else would, but as I've said, I haven't read the book, so I don't know if he'd clash horribly with how the main character is described and be terribly miscast. All in all, I'd say it's his call: if he was to play the title character in the movie and thinks he's the best man for it, then he's probably right. If he doesn't think so, but is working closely with the people who are making the movie, I'd imagine anyone he picked would be very accurate to what he wrote, knowing how committed to his work he is. I'd have to get back to you on who I would like to play the title character if not him after I read the book.
Okay, just one more note before I skip off: my dad, who already served 15 months in Iraq a few years ago, is being deployed again in September for another 15 months to Afghanistan. I just found out last night.