Friday, January 22, 2010

Counting Down

Here it is, Friday, the 22nd of January, and so many things are coming to a head in the next few days. I'm getting a new phone/number over the weekend. Tuesday is my last day at work. It's also the release date for Mass Effect 2 in North America (Europe's got to wait three more days - Pfffft!). Next weekend we'll be loading our moving truck and easing on down to Florida.

I've moaned off and on about the ongoing troubles with my truck. I learned yesterday that all the little problems might be symptomatic of something that's too expensive to fix. We're going to replace one inexpensive component this weekend. If that has the desired effect, then I'll work on fixing all the little things that are wrong. If things don't work out, I'm going to ditch the truck and catch a plane to Tallahassee. I'd really love to have my own vehicle in my new place, but the odds don't favor that outcome.

In the midst of all the other stuff, I somehow forgot to blog about quitting my job. Pardon me, I resigned. That in itself has been a unique experience. In all my work history, I've never resigned before. I've quit, been laid off, and even fired a couple of times, but I've never formally resigned. No one's ever tried to make me stay someplace, either. Last Friday, the VP of Operations came by and tried to convince me to stay. I told her that I appreciated the effort, but this company lost my allegiance back when they told me I couldn't continue to work here if I transitioned. She didn't have an answer for that, and that was pretty much the end of the conversation.

I wish they had let me transition on the job. I'd be living en-femme pretty much full-time, and I'd have some basis for working that way when I get to Florida. As it is, I've got to pretty much start from scratch. I've been looking for a support structure in Florida, and I don't like what I see. There are plenty of groups and doctors and whatnot in the coastal cities, but next to nothing in the Panhandle, where I'll be. If anyone knows of something I haven't found, I'd be much obliged for the information.

Tuesday sees the release of Mass Effect 2. I've been jazzed ever since I posted the first trailer in June, after E3, but all the promotional material that Bioware have cranked out in the last month has just ramped up my personal tension. It's just a video game, I've heard people say, but those people haven't spent the last two years working through all the ins and outs of the first game, playing through all the possible permutations of how things could turn out. It turns out that all the decisions you make in the first game have consequences in the sequel, from how you treated your biggest fanboy to whether or not you participated in the genocide of an entire species. A blog I read a couple of months ago suggests that anyone who is enthusiastic about video games cannot be a woman. I have only rude things to say to that.

On the one hand, I hope the truck is fixable. If it's not, I get to fly for the first time in five years. What a trade!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Nice Night for a Walk... Not!

After all my years on the night shift, I have become a creature of the night. I can run around and do things during the day, if need be, and I often do, but somehow I have reached a point where I am most comfortable in the dark. As such, when I am not working, I tend to try to keep the same hours I would when I'm working.

Saturday morning was the end of another nine-day stretch for me at work. I only got a short nap Saturday before I went out to a friend's house to watch District 9. Good movie. Came home and crashed.

I spent most of Sunday indoors, as it was raining. I alternated sleeping, playing Mass Effect (8 days till ME2!)on the Xbox, and watching DVDs. I went out for pizza around 1900, and vegged out in front of the computer for a while. Around 0030, Nate said something about walking up to 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes. I mentioned that I was thinking of making a run there myself, because I ran out of Coke Zero, and after a few minutes, I said I'd go. I could drive, but it's only half a mile, and walking saves gas and gives me a little exercise in the bargain.

I've been walking around this neighborhood for almost a year, day and night, and never had a negative experience of any kind. Much of that I attribute to my size. I'm a little over six feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds. No matter how I dress, I'm big, and no one willing messes with a big person. In theory, at least.

As I was putting on my shoes, Nate came in and asked if I had any pocket-sized weapons. I haven't openly carried any weapon for years, and the only weapons I own anymore are of the bladed variety, and long enough that I could get busted just for carrying them (I forgot I have my grandfather's nightstick, d'oh!). Besides, no one's ever bothered me in a hundred excursions or more, I said, and I'll only be gone half an hour or so.

There are two 7-Elevens within a mile of the apartment. I went to the nearest one, just a straight shot up Elm Avenue from home. They had Nate's smokes, but no Coke Zero, so I came back down Elm to London Boulevard and headed east, toward the second store, one long block down the street.

Just after I turned onto London, a man called out from across the street, "Man, do you have a cigarette?" I didn't understand what he said, and kept walking away. He ran across the street toward me, and I turned around. "Do you have a cigarette?" I told him "No" and kept walking. He asked me again, and I told him to "Fuck off." Not my brightest idea, but I wasn't feeling him.

Next thing, two more "gentlemen" approach from the opposite direction. They start chatting with gentleman #1. Obviously, they're not strangers. Number 1 tells the other two that I dissed him, and #2 starts looking at me funny. There wasn't any traffic on London Boulevard, so I crossed the street. The other side was better lit. Safer in the light, I thought. Heh.

Numbers 2 and 3 followed me. I don't remember what they said, but I tried to get them to back down, all the while looking out for #1. Number 2 slapped me, or something. He hit the right side of my head. It wasn't a hard blow, and it triggered my adrenaline response. In the back of my mind, I remember what I was taught of hand-to-hand combat. One fighter I could handle. Two, maybe, but only if I fight to win (no pulled punches, no soft blows). Any more than that, and you're supposed to run, but they were within ten feet, plenty of room to run me down, and I still didn't know where #1 was.

No worry. Number 1 came running across the street swinging ... a bicycle tire? I couldn't write shit like this. He swung the tire at me, and I side-stepped and yanked it out of his hand, pulling him off his feet in the process. I dropped into a fighting stance and gave the tire a couple of tentative swings, to put some space between them and me. Then they backed off and I drew... my cellphone. At that point, they ran back across London and down one of the side streets. I resumed my walk.

I got about half-a-block from the "attack site" and called Nate. I didn't call the police. What was I going to report? Three strange men half-heartedly attacked me and then ran away? I wasn't injured, beyond a cut lip (cut on my teeth). They certainly didn't steal anything, aside from a little peace of mind. Anyway, Nate came out and picked me up, and we drove out to WaWa. He got his cigs. I found that Coke product 12-packs were on sale, and grabbed a pint of ice cream to consume once the adrenaline wore off. Adrenaline's great when one is in action, but it's a hell of a thing to come down off of.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Get It! I Get It!

I don't eat Chinese a lot, but I always make a point to eat a fortune cookie after the meal. Three or four years ago, I cracked open a cookie and out popped the following message:

"You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily."

I was just coming around to the idea of being trans, and words like these were momentous. I pinned the fortune to a bulletin board in my apartment.

This afternoon, we had Chinese takeout for the first time in a couple of months. I opened my fortune cookie, and what was printed on the fortune cookie, but the exact same message. If I believed in a higher power, I'd wonder if they were trying to get me back on track. If that were the case, I'd tell them, "I'm working on it. Now leave me alone."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I love internet memes, to a point. This afternoon, a friend of mine posted the following on Facebook:

"India Foxtrot Yankee Oscar Uniform Charlie Alpha November Uniform November Delta Sierra Tango Alpha November Delta Tango Hotel India Sierra, Charlie Oscar Papa Yankee India Tango Alpha November Delta Papa Alpha Sierra Tango Echo India Tango Tango Oscar Yankee Oscar Uniform Romeo Lima India Victor Echo Juliet Oscar Uniform Romeo November Alpha Lima."

For those not fluent in NATO-standard alphabet code, it says

"If you can understand this, copy and paste it to your LiveJournal."

I had a LiveJournal once, and I still have an account (just so I can comment on other people's blogs), but I wasn't going to post all that (which I typed out by hand, just now), just for the sake of carrying on the internet's latest equivalent to a chain letter. But I decided to play along, so I posted a comment about not using LiveJournal anymore, and instead doing all my writing on Blogger. Which prompted a query regarding the link, only worded as

"Juliet Alpha Yankee Echo: Lima India November Kilo?"

Just out of curiosity, I did a Google search a few minutes (or is that Mikes?) ago for "India Foxtrot Yankee Oscar...", and it seems that this popped up on Twitter eleven days ago. I do not use Twitter. I will not use Twitter. I don't even read other people's Twitter feeds. I don't need to know about ANYTHING that badly. I don't think I've ever been that concerned with what John Scalzi calls "the blatherations of others". That might be a misquote (I think it refers to comments on his blog), but I feel it's appropriate. Now I'm sorry that I've perpetuated this thing.


I went for a walk today. It was cold, but it's been like that all week. I've gone a little stir-crazy the last couple of days. I got my paycheck today, so I had a little money in my pocket, and decided to run out to the store and pick up a couple of things.

I bundled up: hoodie and a big coat, over jeans and a tee. Once I got outside, I flipped up the hoodie hood, and pulled on a pair of gloves. The gloves are kind of cool. The fingers are trimmed off at the first knuckle, and there's a mitten section that's stuck the back of the hand. If it gets too cold, the mitten sections can be flipped forward over the fingertips and snugged into place. I don't think my outfit was too feminine, but what do I know?

I walked the couple of blocks out of the neighborhood, toward Olde Town. I started to walk along the river, but I thought better of that when I got a taste of the wind. Yikes! Turned down Court Street and hurried over to High, where there's a Dollar General. I went in to get a bag of mints and some razors, but ended up with a couple of paperback books. While I was looking over the book rack, a gentleman edged past me and said, "Excuse me, ma'am." I still had my hood up, and from the back, I can only imagine what I looked like. I mumbled out something that was meant to sound like "Certainly" and he went past.

A few minutes later, I got in line behind the guy to check out. He looked back for a second, saw me, and this weird look passed over his face. Then he turned around, and nothing more was said.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Atheists Challenge New Irish Blasphemy Law

In Ireland, the legislature there have just enacted a law which makes it illegal to say anything which someone of a religious nature might find offensive, and to make anyone guilty of such to pay a fine of up to 25,000 euros (about $35,000 US). I'd say, "Holy crap!", but that might get me fined.

In response to this, the organization Atheist Ireland have posted a list of 25 quotations which could potentially be construed as blasphemous under the new law. These quotes come from such diverse sources as the Christian Bible, Muhammad's Hadiths and assorted personages from George Carlin and Tom Lehrer to Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and various Irish governmental figures.

Some of these I'd read before, but there were a few I didn't know about.