Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm a Photo Nerd Again!

That's got to sound a little weird, I admit, but I know of no other way to express the way I feel right now.

Last December, my little Olympus camera died, and with everything that came after, I never got around to getting it fixed or replaced.  You can argue my skill as a photographer, but I love to take pictures, and it's another form of expression that helps keep me grounded.

2011 was a rough year, and my opportunities for photography have been few, but that's in the past.  My Dad was generous enough to send me WalMart gift card for Xmas, and I used it and some of my own money to buy a new camera.  I got a Fujifim FinePix T190.  Real photographers will no doubt scoff at my toy.  I, on the other hand am very happy.  Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just a Thought

"Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that the mere fact of our existence should keep us all in a state of contented dazzlement." - Lewis Thomas

I don't know about the rest of you, but statements like that give me a little endorphin rush.  Would anyone else like to share in my wondrous tizzy?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Two years ago I went out dressed for Halloween in an actual costume.  I was hoping to get back out again this year, but work intervened.  I was planning to resurrect the witch idea, with a new corset top, pointy shoes and some spiderweb tights I picked out, but it wasn't to be.  I got another idea for a costume I could have worn to work, but they don't do that around here, so I came to work in the costume I wear every other day.  It's especially grating because my family are hosting a themed party at home.  All the kids are dressing up, and the adults too, I think.  Dinner is potluck, but my sister was making up deviled eggs when I left this afternoon.  I do hope they save me some.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not Digging the New Blogger Interface

Yet I must soldier on here, unless I want to start all over someplace else.  I'm sure this looks awesome for people who write their blogs on 4G phones and netbooks.  It's massively streamlined, and I suppose it might grow upon me, though hopefully not like fungus or anything.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Pink Bag

When I posted the other day, I couldn't find the bag in question on the Target site.  That's because I was looking in the clearance section, and this bag isn't supposed to be on clearance.

My New Purse

And I got it for 50% off!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Of Bags and Gender

This post has been brewing for a while.  The seeds were planted last month, but the material didn't reach a meaningful conclusion until yesterday.  I'll try to make some sense here.

Back in the late 90s I began to carry a shoulder bag back and forth to work.  This came about because I gradually felt the need to carry more and more items to work at my various positions.  I began carrying a bagged lunch.  Then I added a notebook, a cellphone, a handful of small tools and various odds and ends.  There have been a number of these bags.  I've had tote bags, a couple of satchels, and a succession of laptop bags that have rarely carried laptops.

During the same period my working wardrobe began to evolve.  I've mentioned before how limited my male wardrobe has become.  At positions where uniforms weren't provided, I've worn my own clothes, usually a combination of male button-down shirts with female slacks.  Most of those slacks have no pockets to speak of, so I'd gotten into the habit of carrying my wallet, phone, coins and anything else in the aforementioned bag.  I've often jokingly referred to this bag as my "man purse".  Sometimes this generates some ribbing, but it's all in fun, and I just smile my way through.

During the time I was out of work, my Green Dot card lapsed from non-use, and I've yet to sort out a new banking option since I started the new job.  One week I cashed my paycheck, and the very next day someone went through my bag at work and stole the cash.  No one understood why my wallet wasn't in my pants.  No one questioned my gender, but I got a lot of funny looks.  A couple of people asked me point-blank why I didn't carry my wallet in my pants.  I just told them it was an old habit.  That same day I received my new uniforms, including two pairs of khaki pants.  Since that time, I've gone back to carrying my wallet in my pocket.  No one has robbed me since, but what's the cost to my sense of self?

I've spent the last weeks plotting my return to the world en femme.  You'll remember that I was planning to do so back in August, but the time got away from me.  I had planned to go out for the Skeptics' event last weekend, but a series of mishaps caused me to miss my bus, and I wasn't able to secure another ride, so I didn't go out.  There's a reception Friday night for a show opening at the FSU Museum that I'm planning to attend. The show is called "Cute and Creepy".  Sounds like it's right up my alley, doesn't it?

The various elements of my femme wardrobe are scattered hither and yon, with most of my clothes and shoes at the store in Havana, and my purses and other bags at the storage site here in Tallahassee, which we can't get into at the moment.  Yesterday I browsed the clearance racks at Target looking for a purse.  I found a cute bag at the right price, but I wavered on actually buying it, because it's PINK.  For some reason I've never been comfortable with that color.  I think it goes back to childhood, when the color was associated with sissies.  That was a long time ago, and I know the color has acquired lots of positive connotations in the meantime.  Pink is associated with the breast cancer awareness/cure campaign.  I've just never been comfortable wearing it.  Am I strong enough to bear a pink bag?  We'll see.  I'm going back to Target this afternoon to buy the purse.

Before I go, I thought I'd share links for the art show and other related topics.

Cute and Creepy
The curator's site
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Current Events

Has it been a month again?  I'm starting to think I should change the title of this blog again, if only to reflect its episodic nature.  "Jaye-Walking: Only Published As Often As the Author Can Collect Her Thoughts."  Hmm.  That doesn't roll off the tongue quite as trippingly as it could.  Anyway, more about me.  ;)

Note that in the above paragraph I referred to myself in the feminine.  I may live my day-to-day as a man, but I'm definitely in a more feminine frame of mind.  Speaking of feminine frames, I've lost weight.  I'm told that eight hours a day on your feet will do that for you, but I've been walking a lot lately, too.  I'm learning my way around the Tallahassee transit system, and it's getting me where I need to go, but the nearest boarding points are a nice three-mile hike from the house.  All the exercise is good for me right?  I'm also sleeping and eating better, too.  I haven't abandoned the junk food (y'all know me better than that), but I haven't been gorging myself, either.  In case anyone's counting, I weighed in this afternoon at 200.

I'm still taking my meds, but I haven't been to see any doctors yet.  When I first went to the hospital, I was staying in Havana, so my case worker lined me up with a clinic in nearby Quincy.  I don't have my own transport, and my sister's been down to one car for most of the last six weeks, so it's been hard to get anywhere that's not on the bus line.  I will call her tomorrow and see if I can reschedule for something here in town.  I would have done it sooner, but my cellphone has been weird lately.  It has the annoying habit of switching itself into airplane mode unbidden.  I didn't even know what that was until yesterday, or how to turn it off, and almost a week with no cellphone was more annoying than the same period with no antidepressants.

While I'm talking about cellphones, it's time to get a new one.  Somewhere I have a New Yorker cartoon that shows a woman in a store asking for a phone "that doesn't do anything".  That was me for a long time.  A phone was just a communications device, for voice talking and nothing else.  Slowly, I twigged to all of the other things phones can do these days, and I learned the concept of phone envy.  I was using a nice 3G phone that had been confiscated from one of my nieces.  That niece was given phone privileges again and I received a downgrade.  I'm not a phone snob, by any stretch, but when this line comes up for renewal next month, I'm getting a new phone if I have to pay for it.

I really need to do some shopping.  I trolled through the mall again a couple of days ago, and saw some of the prettiest clothes I've seen in ages.  If I'd been dolled up to shop, I might've gotten to try some things on, but I barely got the time of day from the salespeople I interacted with.

Let's end this thing on a positive note, shall we?  Friday afternoon I was browsing in the local Big Lots, trying to not buy anything (my latest pastime).  The in-store Muzak system started to play Feist's "1234".  It's such a happy, jaunty song, and I started to dance around the store.  It was just a little soft-shoe at first, but by the second verse I was actually dancing through the aisles.  I couldn't help myself.  I was goofy and giddy and I didn't care.  One can only imagine what the guy watching the security feed was thinking.  C'mon, you know you want to join me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Grand Day Out

Today I had a nice time out by myself.  After the upheavals of the last few months, I've needed some alone time, and a shopping trip was the perfect excursion.

My shift at work ended at 1300, and I had previously asked my sister if she would take me to a bookstore.  There's a Borders just down the road from the hotel.  In case you haven't heard, Borders are going out of business, and everything in their stores must go.  Books and other merchandise are 50-70% off, and I decided to take advantage.  I wandered around there for about an hour, and ended up with six paperbacks (various titles from the Warhammer 40K series The Horus Heresy, two trade paperbacks (William Gibson and Charles de Lint), a three-pack of pink and black fuzzy socks and a woven black and white checked tote bag (which I bought so I wouldn't have to lug around plastic shopping bags.  My total there came to $62 and change, for merchandise which would've originally retailed for over $100.  I didn't think I was doing too bad, but I wasn't finished.

I knew my sister wasn't going to be coming back for another hour or so, so I texted her to let her know I was going to walk down the road to Governor's Square Mall.  I've only been to that mall once before, so I spent a few minutes perusing the directory posted just inside the entrance.  I walked around the upper level until I found a salon called Brow Art.  I used to get my brows waxed when I got my manicures or pedicures, but I haven't had regular salon service since just after I left my last position.

At Brow Art, they remove hair by threading.  That was somewhat like being waxed, but different.  For one thing, it hurt a little more.  The effect was nice, but I think they left my brows a little heavier than I prefer.  I can always go back and ask them to thin me out some more.

After the salon, I walked around and window-shopped a bit.  I saw lots of pretty clothes, but I was trying to save my money for other things.  I did try on a couple of pairs of heels at Payless, including a pair of those shoes that are so popular lately, with the 5.5-inch heels and a platform under the toe.  My GM runs around all day in those, and I often wonder how she does it.  I don't really want a pair of those right now (Yes I do!), but I wanted to reassure myself that I could walk in shoes like that if I wanted to.

My next port of call was GameStop.  I discovered last week that my Xbox 360 isn't dead (it only overheated), so I bought a previously-owned copy of Halo: Reach, a game which my brother hooked me on while I've been hanging out in Havana.  Using the gift card I won at the company Christmas party last year, I only had to spend $12.  Very cool.

Cruising through the center court of the mall brought me to the MAC Cosmetics kiosk.  I could have blown the rest of my paycheck there, but I held myself to just a couple of items.  When I still had a femme profile pic on Facebook, one of my new friends commented that I needed better beard cover.  I fielded several recommendations, and one I got the most often was a newer MAC product called Studio Tech Foundation.  My beard had come in a bit since I shaved this morning, but Whitney (my artist) found a patch where it was still smooth, and worked the foundation in, combined with Prep+Prime/Skin, a primer.  I've found that eye shadow stays on better if I apply primer first, so it stands to reason that the same might apply with foundation.   Under the combination of products, my beard shadow disappeared.   I've found another favorite product, I think.  It's more expensive than the drug store brands, but not as pricey as the Lancome stuff I bought a couple of years ago.  I can't wait to try it out.

I window-shopped a bit more, but my sister texted to say she was on her way, and she met me outside the entrance a few minutes later.  It was a good trip, "A Grand Day Out" (if I may steal from Wallace and Gromit).  I felt the most like myself that I have in a very long time.  I went out dressed in men's clothing, but I went wherever I wanted, enjoyed my experiences, and spent a nice couple of hours wandering around in the air conditioning.  I've got to do this more often.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Facebook: Actually Good for Something After All

I have gone on, at length in this blog about my love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Some of the changes they've made in the last year are mind-boggling (at least to me).  Don't get me started on they way they integrated chat with messaging.

In all the hubbub of the past week, I forgot an event I should make note of.  Last Monday I was scheduled to work the audit shift.  Due to the proverbial series of unfortunate events, all of my sister's vehicles were deadlined.  The last public bus running that way left around the time I discovered the cars were all out.  I didn't have the money for a taxi, and one of my managers said she could come to get me, but I'd have had to spring for gas.  As a last-ditch maneuver, I posted my situation on Facebook, and asked if anyone in my Tallahassee circle of friends could convey me to work.

The first comments to my Status update were people from parts elsewhere, wishing me luck, or telling me that if only they still lived in Tally, they'd be happy to take me.  After an hour of that, I began to despair of finding a ride.  Then I got a comment from one of my local friends, someone I befriended through the Tallahassee A's, but had yet to actually meet.  She asked me where I lived, where I had to go, and when I had to be there.  Over the next hour, we sorted all of that out, and she drove over a little after 10pm to pick me up.

I was pretty sure that I had posted at some point that I was skosh cash, but it ended up being somewhat of a surprise.  I have promised to buy her drinks at the next Skeptics' outing, or any other time she chooses, so we're sort of squared away.

So I got to meet someone who's pretty cool, and got a ride to work in the bargain.  I'd like to think that that might be the future of social networking: not merely for connecting people, but for helping them get the things they need.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Back Into It All

I've gone almost a month without updating this blog.  I didn't mean to, but I have been busy.  I started that hotel job I wrote about, and that has consumed a lot of my time.  I spent most of the first two weeks training, learning about the new company and updating my computer training, but now I'm back to work full-time.  I like this company, and they seem to like me.  They certainly don't seem to mind asking me to work.  I've been asked to come in early, stay late, and fill in on otherwise off days, so long as I don't go into overtime.  They even asked me to come in and cover a couple of audit shifts, though they're not asking me to work those on a regular basis, because I don't want to work then.  No one I've worked for the last few years has been that accommodating of my wishes.  I'd definitely like to stay on here.

With work came my first paycheck in six months.  It didn't last very long, but it got me a few necessities, and also financed my first night out in a long time.  The Tallahassee A's crossover sometimes with a local skeptics group, and they have a monthly outing called Skeptics in the Pub, which is currently held at a local watering hole called The Fermentation Lounge.  Actually, calling the Ferm a hole of any kind is demeaning.  I've never had a bar that I thought of as mine, but the Fermentation Lounge is in the running to become mine in Tallahassee.  Keeping in mind that I recently began taking antidepressants, I resolved to keep my drinking to a mininum, and I was successful.  This isn't a bar where one can order Budweiser or similar more common beers.  They run more to local brews and home creations, and their selection varies almost from night to night.  They carry beer, wine and other beverages like cider and meads.  I started out drinking a brew I forgot the name of, but that tasted strongly of tangerines.  Afterwards I switched to cider, and I finished my night drinking non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Saturday night was supposed to be my first outing en femme, but I ran out of time getting ready, so I went out in my usual male guise.  It was a good time, though.  I got to see several people from the A's that I haven't seen for a couple of months, and I met some new people as well.  We had a good time talking about all sorts of things, and I went home happy.  I definitely need to do stuff like that more often.  I need to come out en femme the next time, if only to visually offset the overwhelming male majority on outings like these.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good News!

It took a couple of days, but I was able to get by the hospital last week looking for help.  Under the auspices of the Florida Mental Health Act, I was able to get myself a 72-hour stay in a very friendly facility.  I went in as a suicidal, depressed person, but came out much feeling much healthier.  I mentioned during my intake interview that I have gender identity issues, and those came to the fore during my visit to the psychiatrist and my follow-up meetings with various counselors.  I told them that I'm not sure where I fit on the transgender spectrum, and they all said that I deserve to find that out, and explore my options.  My visit to the psychiatrist also yielded a couple of prescriptions for antidepressants.  I've only been taking them for a week, but I'm sleeping better, and I've lost a lot of the anxiety that plagued my day to day life.  I have my first appointment with one of the counselors outside in August.

On an even more positive note, I finally got a job.  I went to an interview on Wednesday at the local franchise of a hotel chain I've worked for before.  I originally applied for a job there in March, but the position had been filled.  They have a slot opening up next week, and they had retained my resume from the last time.  The interview was the best of all the ones I've had, and I left feeling very good about my chances.  Apparently I transposed the numbers from my phone, because they've been trying to call me since then, and the call wasn't going through.  I got an email this morning, and they'd like me to start training next Tuesday.

Another positive development is that I've got a more permanent place to live, starting in a couple of weeks.  My sister will be able to move into her new house after the beginning of August.  The property includes a small guesthouse similar to where I moved into in December last year.  That building was originally earmarked for another person, but he is no longer a part of their considerations, so it was offered to me.  I'll be able to get into the house for meals and bathing, but I'll have my own place to sleep, watch TV and surf the net.  Going back to work, I'll be able to fix my 360, and Xbox Live will follow soon after.

It's taken me a while, but life is slowly coming back together for me.  I look to the future with a sense of hope.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taking a Little Vacation

The last few weeks have been rough.  When I last wrote, I was preparing to move out of my sister's house.  Or at least, I was preparing for my sister to move out of her house.  We spent a lot of days in June breaking down the house, packing things into boxes and readying other items for sale.  We started having a yard sale on the weekends, to raise money until my sister got the money she was waiting for.  We sold a lot that first week: an LCD television, two bed sets, a DVD player and most of the major kitchen appliances.  Yeah, they sold the refrigerator and the microwave on the first day of the sale, some three weeks before the scheduled move.

Two days after my last posts, the City of Tallahassee shut off the electricity.  My sister had just acquired thousands of dollars from various relatives, but she didn't use it to pay the light bill.  Those last six days and nights at the old house were hellish.  We'd work from sunrise to sunset doing whatever needed to be done, then it we'd sit in the house and read by candlelight.  I was already depressed, but losing electricity meant losing access to the internet, too, and my circle of friends shrunk from dozens to a mere handful.  Connected to the world by the web, I have many friends, scattered across six of the seven continents.  Without the web, I can count my friends on the fingers of one hand.

If you'll recall, I was waiting for an opportunity to move in with the gentleman I met through the Tallahassee Atheists group.  It was a tidy little setup.  He was offering me room and board in exchange for keeping up the yard around his house.  Do you remember that I thought the offer was too good to be true?  A couple of days into that last week, I called my friend to let him know that the move was taking longer than I'd thought.  I had been told that we'd be getting a moving truck on Monday of that week.  As it happened, we didn't get it until midday on Thursday.  I called to make sure we were still on, and told him I wouldn't be ready to move until Friday evening, or possibly Saturday morning.  All of my things were packed up, but I wasn't going to bail out on my sister until the move was done.  My friend had told me previously that he might be going out of town for the Fourth of July weekend, and when we talked, he told me that he'd wait for my call Saturday morning.

As it happens, we didn't finish the move until last Saturday afternoon, after my friend told me that he'd be going out of town.  I spent the weekend with my brother at the store in Havana.  It's a little cramped, but I've been able to get back online, and I've kept myself busy helping out with the store's operations.  On Tuesday (July 5th), I sent my friend a message on Facebook asking when would be a good time to call.  I never received a response.  On Wednesday I called, and the phone went to voicemail without ringing, which told me his phone was turned off.  I called again Thursday and the phone rang, but went to voicemail again.  I left another message indicating I was ready to move; I just needed to know when it was okay to come out to his house.  I never got a callback.

Yesterday my friend sent me a message on Facebook, saying that he never heard from me, so the room is no longer available.  He said he looked forward to seeing me at a future atheist function, and signed off.  I was so mad I could have walked out into traffic.  Obviously I didn't, but I thought about it.  This brings me to my next thought, and the point of this post.

I've been depressed for a long time, but I've never sought any kind of help for it.  This has been a mistake.  I should have reached out for professional help last year when my thoughts turned to suicide, but I thought I could keep myself away from the brink on my own.  I spent a couple of hours the other night talking with my sister and my brother.  My brother has suffered from depression in one form or another since he was seventeen.  It runs in my family: my grandfather suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and was an alcoholic; both of my uncles had problems with drugs and/or alcohol and one of them killed himself when I was eleven.  My mom had problems of that sort later in life, but they were overshadowed by her other health difficulties.  I can hardly imagine how she held it together all those years watching her children lurch from catastrophe to the next.  During the course of our discussion, I mentioned my misgivings about moving in with my friend.  He's a little paranoid, and has a house full of guns.  That's not the sort of environment I need to move into in my current circumstances.  My friend lives twelve miles outside of Tallahassee proper, and with no vehicle of my own, I'd have no way to get around on my own. so I'd be stuck out there, often all alone, with a house full of firearms and my black moods.

My sister is out of town this weekend.  I've been helping my brother keep shop, but I'm biding my time till she returns.  Monday or Tuesday next week, I'm going to do something about my depression and thoughts of suicide.  I've got neither a job, nor insurance, nor money of my own, so I'm going to the emergency room at the hospital.  My brother has done this in the past.  I'll tell them what's been going on and we'll see what happens.  They might admit me for a few days, so I can talk to a doctor, and undergo tests, and maybe get some medication.  Because I'm essentially indigent, I'll see if I qualify for Medicaid, which is paid out of the deductions from my wages from every job I've held since the age of fifteen.  I may as well get some use out of it.  I might be offline for a few days after this, but I'll be sure to report my condition after I get back.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marriage Equality in New York

Just in case you haven't heard, the New York state legislature voted last night to legalize gay marriage in that state.  I'm glad someone has good news.

Incidentally, this is my 300th post on this blog.  Here's to many more.

Some Developments

I thought I should provide an update, what with things moving so erratically of late.

It would appear that I did not get the job.  I thought it was my best interview yet, but a week has passed, and I've received no phone calls.  I really wanted to work there, too.  It would have made the rest of this easy, going forward.

After weeks of being poor like me, my sister has come into some money.  She's buying a car this weekend, because her truck crapped out.  If I had gotten this position, she and her husband were going to help me get one as well.  They still might get another vehicle, but I won't have any claim on it, unless they allow me to use it.

I think I've found a place to live, at least in the short-term.  One of my friends in Tallahassee Atheists has a spare room, and he's willing to let me live there in exchange for working on his yard.  He's offering room and board, and all I have to do is mow his lawn and keep up the yard.  Sounds like a steal, right?  His property is about three acres.  I'll certainly be earning my keep if I move out there.

I made some changes over on Facebook.  I changed my profile picture to one of me in my current guise, id est, I'm male.  I backtracked all the trans information out of my publicly-accessible profile and hid all of my femme photos.  It's both honest (who I am on the outside) and dishonest (lying to myself and everyone else).  I'm just in a rough space at the moment.  I'm not sure what I am anymore.  I keep saying I'm going to trek down the road to the local Leon County Health Department office to see if I can get any help, but I've yet to do so.  If I move in with my friend, I won't be able to do that anymore, as he lives eight miles outside of Tally proper.

Anyway, enough about the depressing stuff.  I didn't notice when I changed the format, but the wallpaper image used with this template is a painting of the view out the window of some large jet.  I like that.  It implies movement, a feeling of going somewhere (and not in a handbasket).

In the midst of everything that's happened the last few weeks, my old friends at Bioware released a bunch of information about Mass Effect 3, set to debut next March.  It's silly, but if nothing else, seeing this game trilogy to its conclusion gives me something to live for.  One of the trailers is below.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

20/20 Hindsight

I lost my job in February, and I didn't understand why.  I now think that I know, and the knowledge is eating me up inside.

A brief timeline of events:

August 2009 - Written up at work for wearing earrings and nail polish.

April 2010 - Started at BLANK.  Quickly scanned through the employee handbook, found no prohibition against males wearing earrings, and the only reference to nail polish says it must be neat and in neutral colors.

May 2010 - One evening I came into work wearing a pair of small studs.  The front office manager said they were okay.  A couple of weeks later, the Leon County Commission votes to add sexual preference, gender identity and expression to the classes protected by the County's civil rights ordinance.  The ordinance specifically prohibits discrimination in employment and all forms of accommodation (housing, hotels, restaurants, etc).

December 2010 - I was written up for a couple of errors I made.  Around the same time I got my acrylic nails and French manicure.  I had to endure a little good-natured ribbing, but no one complained about my appearance (at least that I know of).

February 2011 - I was fired, allegedly in response to some other error I had made.  I didn't understand what they told me.  I told them that if I had made a mistake, I should be allowed to try to fix it.,  As a consolation, the manager tells me that I've done good work there, and offers to provide me with a reference if I need one.

I talked to my father on Sunday.  I called to wish him a Happy Father's Day.  It was the first time we really talked in almost a year.  He told me that he accepts my crossdressing, but wonders if that somehow influenced the way I was fired.  I told him that was impossible.  I haven't been out anywhere en femme since I came to Tallahassee.  "What about your nails?" he asked.  I didn't think that had been an issue, but it could have been.  The company I used to work with is very sensitive to guest commentary.  What if someone noticed my manicure and said something about it?  If someone chose to make an issue of my appearance, that could have trumped all other considerations, and the anti-discrimination policy be damned.

Sadly, all this feels correct.  I don't know what this means.  I don't think there's any legal recourse.  Florida is an at-will employment state.  Employment can be ended by either the employee or employer at any time with no explanation.  Once again, it's nice to know where one stands.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Messing With the Format

You may have noticed that the blog looks a little different.  I started out wanting to adjust the page width, because I got tired of embedding Youtube videos that display chopped off in the middle.  I was using the default template before, and it doesn't allow you to change the sizes of anything.  I settled on the first template I found that allowed me to rearrange things, but I'm still not satisfied.  I'd appreciate any guidance my readers can offer.

I must contact Google again about the advertising.  When I started writing tonight, the usual General Dynamics ad was showing, but when I changed the format, an ad for Christian vacation Bible school appeared.  That just will not do.  I will not allow this blog to be used to shill for any religion.

Developing Stories

Apart from the aside about embracing advertising, my last post was full of doom and gloom.  I haven't solved all of my problems yet, but there has been some progress.

Friday my sister and her husband signed an intent to purchase agreement for a new house (new to them, anyway).  It's a big place on a couple of acres, with a pool and some of the trimmings, but it won't be ready for them to move into until August, probably.  They won't have to leave their current place until the first of July, almost two weeks from now.  The new place doesn't really have room for me, so I'm still hunting.  I'm going to the atheist meeting tomorrow, to see the only other people I know in Tallahassee.  Hopefully someone will have a lead for me.  Sara, I've tried to contact the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.  I called every few minutes for hours one day, and only ever got the admin assistant's voice mail.  As Malcolm Reynolds once put it, "I ain't waiting for help from on high.  That's a long wait for a train don't come."  I'll get through this one way or another.

On a positive note, I had another interview Friday afternoon.  I feel the best about this interview of any of them.  If I get it, I'll be going back on the night shift and working Sunday to Thursday.  I'll have weekends free for stuff again.  I really hope to hear from these people again next week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jaye-Walking, Now with Ads

I have done yet another of those things I said I wouldn't do.  I added AdSense to this blog.  I resisted for so long because I didn't want to risk this blog being associated with inappropriate advertising.  I didn't want to see sex toys or Thai ladyboy dating ads.  After assurances that this would not happen, I broke down and added the feature.  It's only been a couple of days, but I'm not happy.

Yesterday, I opened this blog in another tab and found an ad for General Dynamics, touting their information systems for military medical applications.  I don't know what that has to do with this blog, but I support the US military, and anything that helps them is okay in my book.  Today I logged in and found one of those"...and I'm a Mormon" spots.  WTF?  I am an atheist, a humanist.  I've got no use for any religion, and I have blogged about that at length.  Methinks I'm going to have to talk to Google.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where I Stand

No more hemming and hawing.  No dissembling allowed here.

Once again I find myself in a hole that I do not know how to dig my way out of.  In short: I need help.  I am unsure how to get the help I need, and am even less certain of whom to ask or how to ask them.

As I have previously stated, I have been out of work since February.  I have filled out numerous applications, e-mailed resumes and made phone calls.  After four months, I still have nothing to show for my efforts.

I was kicked out of the guest house I had been renting in March.  Since that time I've been sleeping on a mattress at my sister's house.  It's not been a perfect solution, but I've had a roof over my head, food to eat and net access.  This situation is, alas, coming to an end.

My sister and her husband have been renting a double-wide trailer since December.  It's cramped and nothing works like it should.  After months of disputes with their landlord, they have elected to move out, but they have yet to secure another permanent place to live.  They've been hashing out alternatives including hotel rooms and campgrounds.  None of these is exactly cheap, but it's better than nothing.  The problem for me, in this situation, is that prices for these places go up incrementally in relation to how many people are staying in them.  My sister has eight children and a manny, plus two dogs and five inside/outside cats.  That doesn't leave a lot of leeway for me.  In another seven days or so, I won't have a place to live.

This is quickly becoming the story of my life: I live for a time in a place until circumstances make it impossible to live there anymore, and I end up having to move away and start all over again someplace new.  That's what happened in 2007, when I moved back to Virginia from Charlotte, North Carolina.  January 2010 found me reluctantly moving to from Portsmouth, Virginia to Tallahassee, Florida.  I've considered moving again, either back to Virginia or to Charlotte.  I have pleasant memories and a few friends left in each location.  This should be easy, right?

Sometime before I came to Florida, my father had told me I could live with him and his new wife.  That was before he permanently moved in with her in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  Since they've been married, my father has grown somewhat distant.  I haven't talked to him since last spring, and any contact we've had has been initiated by me.  Sometime between then and now, Dad dropped off of my Facebook friend list.  I tried to call him yesterday just to talk.  I wasn't going to ask for money or anything stupid like that; I just wanted advice from my father.  No one answered the phone, and no one has returned my call.  Dad hasn't been the same since Mom died, but I'd hate to think that he doesn't want to associate with me anymore.

Because I've been out of work so long, I've got no money.  I also have no transportation.  I've been told that if I can secure a place in either location, or indeed anywhere, that I will be able to get a ride to wherever I'm going.  That is cool, but it's not much of a plan.  I am tired of being rudderless.  I just don't know what to do.  Does anyone have an idea?  A word of friendly advice?  Please let me know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Kind of Hell

As I've written much about of late, I've been out of work since 2 February.  The interview I wrote about weekend before last came to nothing, despite my good feelings.  I've continued to pound the pavement, sometimes literally.  I've filled out applications all over, in every sort of business, even in places outside of my comfort zone.  Yesterday morning I banged out a resume to a donut shop looking for someone to work overnight.

I hate being idle.  I hate being broke.  That last is especially hellish because I'm not the only broken thing in this house.  On the Sunday the family went to Wakulla Springs, my Xbox 360 died.  It was a hardware failure; nothing as dramatic as the Red Ring of Death, just a simple power supply failure, what's commonly referred to as the Brick.  A new Brick is going to cost me $50, if I buy it from a reputable dealer, like GameStop or the like.  I got a $25 gift card from the raffle at the employee Christmas party last year, but I still need the rest, and any money I've picked up the last few weeks has gone for gasoline or other necessities.

I know, I know.  It's only a toy, right?  A very grown-up toy, but a toy nonetheless.  Alas, it was an outlet for a lot of my negative emotions.  I was alternating between replaying missions of Halo 3: ODST and my 28th campaign of Mass Effect 2.  I haven't killed a hostile alien in six weeks and some.  I've had steady internet access for all of that time, but my PC isn't smart enough to play any kind of combat games either online or downloaded.  Hell, some flash games cause it to freeze just because it's got an inferior graphics card.

I don't expect anyone reading this to solve my problems.  I just needed to vent, to let y'all know what makes me crazy.

On a more positive note, I may attend the next meeting of the Tallahassee Atheists en femme.  It'll be nice to get out feeling more like myself.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Out and About

Today I attended my first meeting of the Tallahassee Atheists.  That was a nice little hike, 3.7 miles.  It only took about an hour.  The meeting was held (for the last time) in a little storefront called The Divine Union.  Next month we're moving our functions to the All Saints Cafe.  The irony of a humanist group meeting in places with religious names is not lost on anyone.  There were about eight people there.  This was my first time, but I was recognized immediately.  I connected with the group through Facebook, where I am only known in my femme persona, but I attended the meeting in drab because of the heat and the distance of the walk.  Once I explained my situation, no one thought I was weird, which was a relief.

We didn't talk about much, just plans for founding a local secular community center, and some local political stuff.  Did you know that Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has the lowest approval rating of any governor in all the fifty states?  Yeah, it's down to 29%.  I haven't had a lot of time to absorb the local political atmosphere, and I learned quite a bit.  After that, we discussed the move to All Saints, plans for next month's movie night (Monty Python's Life of Brian) and plans for a barbeque, which ended up getting folded in with movie night, for an all-day affair.  There were refreshments, donuts and a Japanese snack called Daifuku mochi.  This is a rice cake stuffed with flavored red bean paste.  The one I sampled was flavored with peanut butter.  I've had all manner of peanut butter snacks, but this had the strangest texture I've ever experienced.  I won't try to gross anyone out by trying to describe that texture, but it triggered a moment of cognitive dissonance.  At least, I think that's the proper word.

Afterward, one of the members was generous enough to spot me lunch, and another gave me a ride home, and said he was willing to do so in future.  All around this was a really nice bunch of people.  It was nice to spend time with my own kind, so to speak.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I can't remember if I've written anything about either the book or the Swedish film, but one movie I'm looking forward to this winter is the American adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  I'm not that familiar with the actress cast in the titular role (Rooney Mara), but I like Daniel Craig, and the director, David Fincher, is an old favorite of mine.

I have no idea how long this trailer will be active.  No doubt, Sony will notice this is online and squash it like a bug, but here's the link until that time.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Red Band Trailer

Notice this is a red band trailer.  That means it's only shown before R-rated films and it contains material that may not be safe for work.  One of the high points of this trailer, at least for me, is the Karen O/Trent Reznor rendering of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song".

Edit: As of late 31 May, the red-band trailer has been pulled for copyright infringement, but Sony have finally posted an official "All Audiences" trailer and you can watch it at the link below:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

It's almost the same trailer, but most of the more provocative imagery has been removed.  One thing I noticed that is different is the red-band trailer ends with the words "She's coming".  The new one only says "Coming".  I guess they didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some News

Another month goes by without a post from me.  I wish I could say I've been busy, but the truth is I didn't want to post anything here until I had something meaningful to say.  I hope today's missive fills the bill.

I went to another job interview yesterday.  Yes, I went to a job interview on Saturday.  I thought it a little odd, but the unemployed don't complain about interview times.  I was happy just to have been called in for one.  I feel good about this one.  It's another hotel position, this time at a hotel in Quincy, which is about half an hour west of here.  They told me I can expect a call next week, Monday or Tuesday.

On the social side of things, I've made some new friends via Facebook.  One of them has put me in an awkward spot, though.  A couple of weeks ago, Keith Olbermann activated a fan page on FB for his forthcoming show on Current TV.  Shortly after that, I got a Friend Request from another fan.  I've built friendships out of less substantial connections than shared love of a celebrity, so I accepted the request.  My new friend is a gentleman in New York.  We've chatted online a couple of times, and the chats are a little disturbing (to me, anyway).  He's only seen the handful of photos I have online.  He knows I'm transgendered, but I think he's under the impression that I'm full-time.  I wish I was, but I'm not at a place in my life where that is yet feasible.  In our chats he's been hinting at wanting something romantic.  He said something the other night about "spooning while we watch the fireworks" on July 4th.  He seems like a nice guy, but I'm not looking for a relationship, not even a long-distance one.  I don't want to lead him on, either.  I'm not a gold-digger.  His attention is flattering, but how can I let him down easy?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Reblogging: An Atheist on Easter

An Atheist on Easter

Today was Easter.  As mentioned before, I'm an atheist, so I always find religious holidays a little awkward to experience.  I read the piece noted above early in the morning, and posted a comment on the blog asking permission to post it here.  I didn't intend any sort of plagiarism; I just found the piece to be a well-worded expression of my (similar) thoughts on the subject.  Not only did the author not respond to my request, he didn't allow the comment to be posted.  A politely-worded "No" would have sufficed.

I've posted the link.  It's good stuff, and it bears reading if anyone wants a peek inside my head.

This morning the family went to church for Easter service.  After they returned, the lot of us went with some friends to Wakulla Springs State Park for one of my nephews' birthday party.  In a repeat of last year's trip to the beach, I did not swim, though I did wade in the spring for a bit, and collected tiny shells on the white sand shore.  There's a Mediterranean Revival-style lodge and museum adjacent to the water, and I got to look at the preserved remains of "Old Joe", an 11.2-foot alligator that lived in the area until it was shot in 1966.  Joe was said to be one hundred years old.  I've seen gators in zoos, but none were as large as this thing.  I sure wouldn't want to meet one that size out in the wild.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More About the McDonalds Incident

Little by little, the story of the incident at a Baltimore-area McDonalds is creeping into the mainstream news outlets.  I spent about an hour last night digging through news sites before I found a blurb of an AP item, buried in the ABC site.

This morning, I found a story on Fox, but their story emphasized that the victim was "a man".  I checked back, and they've amended the story to say "transgendered", but read the comments.  The attitude of every commenter whose words I could stomach tells the tale.

Now there's speculation that the authorities may add hate-crime charges. I hope so, and I hope they prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

I'm hoping one of the friendlier news outlets pick this up, what with the viral spread of the video, but I don't know that I have the clout to forward something myself.

Something Light

This blog has been all doom and gloom of late.  I need to post something to improve the atmo.  "Change the scheme, alter the mood, electrify the boys and girls," to quote Michael Sheen's character Castor from Tron: Legacy.

I can't remember if I've ever talked about Cowboy Bebop here.  It's an anime series that first ran in 1998.  It's about a group of bounty hunters ("cowboys") in 2071, who travel the solar system in the spaceship Bebop.  It's equal parts drama and comedy, with bits of tragedy laid in here and there.  The animation is a hybrid of the traditional hand-drawn stuff with some CGI.  The visuals are incredible, but one of the aspects that hooked me was the music, mostly written by the very-talented Yoko Kanno.  All of the songs were performed by a sort of house band called The Seatbelts.  Most of the compositions are jazz, but the Seatbelts played rock and other styles with equal skill and artistry.  They recorded a great raft of material for the series' 26 episodes (Sessions) and one movie, but they only performed live a handful of times.  One of those performances was included on a limited edition DVD, Souvenir of Tokyo.  This is one of the lighter numbers.  It's called "Bad Dog, No Biscuits" and it originally appeared in Session Two, "Stray Dog Strut".

The kooky lady in the red coat is Ms. Kanno herself.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

From Bilerico Project: Transwoman Attacked at Baltimore McDonalds

Transgender Woman Severely Beaten at Baltimore McDonalds While Employees Watch

Jumping back onto topic for a moment, I'd like to direct everyone's attention to this news item.  You may have seen it already.  If not, please take a look.  The video is disturbing.  It was shot by a worker at the McDonalds.  Neither he nor any of his coworkers attempted to stop the fight.  Then he uploaded the video to WorldStarHipHop Video Tube, which appears to be an urban (read black) version of YouTube., in an effort to get his fifteen minutes.

The victim hasn't been identified, and there seems to be some debate amongst the rabble as to whether she's trans or not, but the perpetrators have been arrested.  They may be facing hate crime charges.  Every time I hear about legislators refusing to grant public accomodations protection to LGBT people, I think of incidents like these.  I wish stuff like this would stop happening.

Monday, April 18, 2011

And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder

I've mentioned my income tax refund a couple of times in recent posts.  It's ironic.  Last year I made the least amount of money that I have in ten years or more, yet my refund was going to be the largest I've seen in that same time.  I wasn't planning too many extravagances.  I was going to give some of it to my sister, to help with her bills.  I was going to buy a new camera, and maybe an MP3 player.  On the practical side of things, I was thinking about a haircut, and maybe a manicure.  The rest I was going to sock away, to support myself during my ongoing unemployment.

This afternoon I got a letter from the Treasury announcing that my entire refund has been "offset".  I have a student loan in default, and the Department of Education has laid claim to any "Federal payments" owed to me.  They have actually declared their intent to "intercept" any such payments.  Jeez, they make it sound like my tax refund is a bomber trying to lay waste to my lack of wealth.  That's actually not a bad simile.  It's such a shame I don't need their protection.  The letter says I can contest the claim, but I can imagine how that will go.  Now that Ed know where I live again, I can expect a letter any day now asking when I plan to pay off the rest.

This is what I get for making plans.

Note: A lot of my recent posts have had titles from different things.  I might have another "Write for you" contest if anyone can tell me where they all come from.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Under The Pink

In case anyone's been under a rock for the last week or so, the news has been full of pink lately.  A while back J. Crew posted this on their website.  Conservative voices in the media went batshit insane.  Jon Stewart christened it "Toemageddon", and his response was high-larious.

Over the weekend I read an article on Smithsonian, When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?.  It's most informative.  Be sure to check out the attached slideshow (it's listed as "More Photos").  I found it to be very eye-opening.

As for me, there's no pink in my immediate area.  If I get a tax refund, I'll see about remedying that.  I haven't had a pedicure since December, and maybe bright pink toes would cheer me up.  I could certainly use some of that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Wrong Shoes

My epitaph will probably read:

"She was wearing the wrong shoes."

It's the story of my life.  Wore sneakers to soccer practice because I didn't know I was supposed to buy cleats.  I've worn spike heels to the mall because they matched my outfit.  I once had to pull a twelve-hour shift at a hotel in really girly-looking heels because my regular work shoes fell apart while I was getting dressed, and I didn't have any male shoes that could substitute.

There's a branch of the local public library about two miles from where I'm living.  It's a decent walk when the weather's nice.  I was going to go this morning, but I got busy puttering around the house, and by the afternoon, it had gotten too warm.  I wouldn't have pushed for it, but I ran out of anything to read, and I get antsy when I don't have a book near to hand.

After dinner, my sister and her husband announced they were going to WalMart, and I asked if they'd drop me off at the library on the way.  They did, and said I could text them when I was ready to go home.  It only occurred to me when they left that I was wearing flip-flops.  I'd meant to change before we took off, but it slipped my mind. 

I have owned sandals that are meant to be walked in.  These are not that kind.  They're Airwalk, a brand I bought at Payless.  They've got simple hard rubber soles (patterned like Converse sneakers) with denim-like cloth thongs.  I could have waited for them to finish at the store.  It might've meant sitting outside the library for twenty minutes after closing, but I felt like walking.  Curse my feelings. 

I was halfway home when I decided I'd had enough, so I sent a text asking if I should wait where I was or press on for home.  They advised me it would be another twenty minutes or so, so I kept on walking.  They caught up to me just as I turned onto our street.

I think I walked these poor shoes into their grave.  It's time to buy new shoes.  Maybe I'll get some after my tax refund comes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All For Naught

All that fussing about my manicure, and I don't think I got the job.  I did catch one of my interviewers goggling at my hands a couple of times, but that's not why I didn't get it.  I'm good at what I do, and my skills are solid enough that most of my former employers have been willing to accommodate my eccentricities in exchange for my work.  It's just that my experience at the last place wrecked my confidence.  I've worked for micro-managers before: owners or managers who like to have their fingers in every aspect of the business, and don't trust their underlings to handle any decisions.  I didn't think they were like that when I was hired, but that's what they turned out to be in the end.

The second half of the interview consisted of the interviewers asking me about hypothetical situations.  I knew what was appropriate for all of the circumstances they asked me about, but I couched my answers in terms of "abiding by the preferences of my managers".  I'd say, "I would do X, but of course it would depend on the company's policy" or "I would work within the brand standards".

We talked about potential pay, but I just don't think I got the job.

After the interview, I looked online and I found an at-home method for removing my acrylic nails, but I don't think that would've made any difference.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stuck In the Middle

There's no intentional musical reference today, though I forgive anyone for thinking of Stealer's Wheel, and apologize to anyone who gets this song stuck in their head.

I have been out of work since Groundhog Day.  I have been banging out resumes for each and every position I've seen on the web or off.  Two weeks ago I walked six miles back and forth to hand in applications at the nearest hotels to my current residence.  I've even applied in other cities, some two or more hours away, trying to find anything.  Today I got an email from the GM who posted an ad for a full-time front desk agent.  We have an interview tomorrow morning.

After jumping up and down for a moment, I scampered about assembling a suitable outfit for the event: blue shirt, black slacks, belt, tie and black shoes.  My hair's gotten a little long, but not outside the acceptable range for a gentleman in this age.  It's just that my nails have gotten a little scary-looking.

I got my last fill-in in February.  I was hoping to go back to work any day, but that didn't happen.  I wonder now if that last bit of money might have been better spent getting the acrylic removed.  My nails still look good, but the tips reach almost a quarter-inch from the ends of my fingers.  If I had a Dremel (it what they use in the salon), I could grind them down a bit and then file the ends, but I don't have one.

Then again, the gentleman conducting my interview tomorrow is Indian, so he may not have an issue.

I'll let you all know how it goes.

Writing for My Sanity

Almost a month ago, I moved back in with my sister and her family.  I am ever grateful.  They've kept a roof over my head, food in my belly and my computer connected to the web.  I can't ask for more than that.  I really wish, though, that I was back in my own place.  I miss the privacy.  I'd also forgotten how stressful living with three other adults, eight children and assorted pets could be.

In the last couple of days, another conflict has erupted between my sister, her husband and his ex-wife, over their children.  I feel as though I'm head-down in a bunker, with artillery screaming over my head from every direction, and it's escalating by the day.  I started out this post by detailing the whole nasty situation in detail, omitting only the names, but then I decided that would be over-sharing.  I wrote a great portion of it out, just to clear my head, then I deleted the post and started over.  Writing can be cathartic, I see.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Changes Afoot

What's New With Blogger
I haven't been keeping up with this thing like I should.  It's not as though anything is happening with me right now.  I was going to do a post about how there's nothing around where I live, but I decided to wait and see, and now some things have begun to happen.

I logged in a few minutes ago, and I see these links at the top of my Dashboard.  There's a smarmy message about the news being for anyone who didn't get to go to SXSW.  I haven't been much of anywhere in weeks, much less to some overblown music festival in the middle of the desert.  I'm sure it was a blast, and I've seen some nifty video, but I didn't need Blogger to remind me how low I've sunk.

So they're getting ready to change the editing format... AGAIN.  Frankly, I've just gotten the hang of using the current model, and now they want to kick the training wheels off again.  Bastards.  They're getting to be just like Facebook, where the settings for everything change almost weekly.

Once again I've come to let you all know what's going on with me, and I've gone off on yet another tangent.  So sorry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Apparently, that how Dorothy Parker answered the telephone.  Supposedly it originated when someone interrupted her train of thought, but she ended up using it as a greeting, to answer the phone or the door.  I might have to try it.

In any case, it's been a long month.  I've been banging out resumes to anyone with an open position, and so far all I've received was one response, a politely-worded "Thanks, but the position has been filled."  I'm beginning to wonder if it's time to change professions.  I've not worked in any business but hotels since 1998.  I've got no degrees, so it's mostly been one long series of working the same job over and over, with little to no hope of advancement.  I'd go back to school, but no one will finance my education until I pay off my debts, including a student loan which dates back to 1991.

My sister (ex-in-law, whatever) suggested I shift my job search south, as her husband is doing.  She suggested Panama City and Orlando (the vacation capital of America).  Both have some nice positions open, but most of the ads I saw are only taking walk-in applicants.  I don't have access to a vehicle now (Vicki sold her van), so I can't exactly drive to either place to apply.  Since I came to Florida, I've had the feeling that Tallahassee was only a way station, that I'm meant to travel further south.  Orlando, or even Miami would put me much closer to a lot of trans-friendly business and support structures, too.

If I don't find another job soon, I'll have to vacate the guest house and move back in with my sister.  She ditched the big house in December and moved her brood into a double-wide by the airport.  She's getting ready to oust a housemate next month, so I might be able to move into my own room again.

The day I lost my job, I did a little shopping.  A trip to the mall yielded a new purse from Burlington Coat Factory, and at Game Stop I found a used copy of Halo 3: ODST.  I originally wrote a little about this game back in 2009, but I sidestepped it in my anticipation of Mass Effect 2.  I haven't had much else to do in the last few weeks, and the game has eaten up lots of hours.
Deprived of a vehicle, I've been doing a lot of walking.  The shopping center with a Publix grocery store and my favorite nail salon is 2.8 miles from my current residence.  A Walmart SuperCenter is 3.3 miles away, in the other direction.  Daytime temps have reached the seventies, so the walking's been good.  Twice people driving by have honked their horns and waved at me, but they were traveling too fast for me to see who they were.  I suppose they might have been some people I used to work with at the hotel, but I didn't see them.  Today a dude drove by shouting something derogatory.  I didn't hear the words, but I'd know that tone anywhere.  Again, he whizzed by at 50 mph, and I have no idea what he said or why.  I just went about my business.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh, Well...

Remember that "good position with a decent company"?  I was summoned into work this afternoon for a "counseling session" wherein I was terminated.  Yeah.

Back in December I made a couple of minor mistakes.  I was called in for a counseling session, written up and told that the company really wanted to retain my services, so I should focus on improving my work and improving my interaction with guests and coworkers.  I've worked hard, and I thought I was doing well.  I haven't heard a word of negativity from anyone in the nearly six weeks since my write-up.

I was fired, but the company won't fight if I apply for unemployment.  Ironically, the GM, who handled my termination, said that he'd be happy to provide me with a reference.  No one who's ever fired me has given me a reference.  It's a little thing, but I'll take it.

I'm in the process of updating my resume, and I've got Craigslist open in another tab.  I've already seen a couple of positions that might be for me.

One Year Later

It was exactly a year ago, almost to the minute, when I stepped off the plane and began my life in Tallahassee, Florida.  If you'll recall, I didn't exactly enjoy the moving process, and Florida did not seem to be the promised land it was made out to be.  None of my plans to sit back and let the world take care of things have ever come to any meaningful fruition, so after a few weeks of wallowing in self pity, I settled down into the business of starting over again.

It's been a slow process.  I didn't try to go back to work right away, but once the hunt began in earnest, I found a good position with a decent company.  Around the same time the Leon County Commission added sexual preference and gender identity to the classes protected under the local civil rights ordinance.  I have yet to take any sort of action on that item, but it's a new year.

A few weeks ago, I received an invite to join a TG support group on Facebook, and it looks like they actually have meetings here in Tallahassee.  There's a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, and I'm going to try to attend.  The Wednesday after is my birthday.  I don't yet have plans, but I requested the night off so I could have my schedule clear in case something comes up.  Worst case, I'll treat myself to a movie or something, but I'd really like to not be alone.

Coincidentally, It's Groundhog Day.  A couple of hours ago, it's said, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow and did not see his shadow, supposedly predicting an early end to winter.  Most of the US is covered in snow, some of the worst ever seen, but not here in Florida.  Down in the south of the state it's 81° F, but daytime temps here top out in the 60s.  It's still chilly at night, but that'll end soon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Was Wrong

I wrote last night's piece in anger.  I was wrong.  Comcast haven't taken control of anything at NBC yet, let alone given anyone there instructions about how to run their networks.  Apparently KO's been looking to get out of MSNBC for some time, and they didn't know he was going to leave until he said it on air.

Politics USA: Olbermann Wanted Out

I like the line, "Stop organizing life around the people who don't get the joke."

The World Turned Upside Down

So I haven't been able to get online from home since late Thursday night, and to add insult to injury, the cable was out most of the night and following day.  So I didn't know that Keith Olbermann is out at MSNBC until I came into work last night.  MSNBC came in clear for about ten seconds during Countdown, then the screen reverted to black.

I don't really watch much television anymore, and I suppose that frees up five hours to do something else, or discover another program.  I read that they're going to shuffle their evening lineup around to fill the gap, starting with moving Lawrence O'Donnell's program into Keith's slot.  Can they still call it The Last Word if it appears closer to the middle of the evening?  I'll still tune in to watch Rachel Maddow, but she's the only one who's not on during my normal sleeping hours.  Don't get me wrong.  I like MSNBC's other personalities, but I don't see myself rolling out of bed early to watch Chris Matthews or Cenk Uygur.  No offense, guys!

Mom was the one who turned me on to the show.  We used to laugh together over the phone during his Worst Person segments.  Watching the show the last few years has helped me retain a little sanity by continuing something I started with her.  Now that's gone.  Thanks, Comcast!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm on Totally Jacked Up Aircraft Photos

I love to take pictures of airplanes.  This dovetailed nicely with volunteering at the Carolinas Aviation Museum when I was in Charlotte, because it was often possible to work and shoot photos at the same time.  The museum, in its original location was perfectly sited between two of the runways, and I got lots of nifty shots.  I also got a lot of duds.  Handheld point-and-shoot digital cameras aren't really made for shooting fast-moving objects.  In the older models there's a sizable gap between when you press the button and when the camera actually takes the picture.  Taking the kind of pictures I like to take was a learning experience, but I got pretty good at it.  That said, I still take lousy pictures from time to time.

I don't remember exactly when or how I discovered Totally Jacked Up Aircraft Photos.  Suffice to say that it provides a little spot of humor in the midst of all the serious blogs I read.  At first, I had no intention of submitting anything to the blog.  After all, I aspire to taking good pictures.  Why would I want to share my failures?

Errare est humanum.

Never Surrender

Friday, January 14, 2011

Filled In

In my "Moved" post from December, I wrote that I was going to get my nails done, and was thinking of going acrylic. For whatever reason, I never followed up on that little tidbit.

I got my pedicure in the usual way, but I talked to the nail tech, a nice lady named Kim, and told her how I was feeling. I thought acrylic nails were those plastic-looking things, but what she did was brush on this acrylic powder, and shape the nails that way. Once they were buffed into the proper shape, she gave me the American manicure I wanted. That was three weeks ago.

I am pleased to report that the acrylic held up great.  The polish was starting to look a little ragged the last few days, but it looked okay for work.  My nails had gotten long in the interim, and if they had been natural, I'd have worried about breaking them.

Today I went in for another pedicure and got my first fill-in.  This is where the tech brushes on additional acrylic to fill in the gap between the previously applied stuff and the nail bed, and then buffs it all down to shape.  For years I've been coming into salons and seeing the price list for "Full Set" and "Fill-Ins", without comprehension.  Now I understand.  I can be so dense sometimes.

After the last trip to the salon, I took photos of my nails to show off here, but a few days after my camera died inexplicably, so you'll just have to imagine how they look.

I'm a Bad Girl

Two Spaces After a Period: Why You Should Never, Ever Do It
It's the way I was taught to type, oh so many years ago. Writing on a computer is typing, is it not? I was trained to end a sentence, after the punctuation mark, with two spaces. Apparently this is improper, and has been for some time. How does one miss out on a point of style like that?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Did It

I said I wanted to change the title of the blog, and I did so.  Jenny gave me the idea.  I wanted to keep something of the old (my name) but I dropped the "Trans" and also the redundant "Blog".  I don't know about other countries, but here in the States, "jaywalking" is anytime one crosses the street anywhere but at a designated crosswalk, and in a lot of localities, that's a crime, albeit a minor one.  So it's got a subversive edge, something that's been lacking in me lately.

Edit: Since I posted this, I've discovered there is already a blog at  It seems I'm not half so clever as I thought.  Maybe they'll let me slide, seeing as I haven't tried to gank their URL or anything, but the writer of the other blog seems to be a law student, and they might be litigious.  Time will tell.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Changing The Title

"Jaye's Trans Blog" is what I chose to call this a little over two years ago when I kicked it off. It wasn't meant to be anything special, just a place for me to share and occasionally vent. Now it seems kind of ho-hum. Bland.

I'm thinking about changing the name of the blog. I'd like to use something clever (though not necessarily cute) that incorporates "trans". I liked the sound of "intransigent", but the dictionary tells me that means "unwilling to change". That's not me. "Stuck in transit?" "Lost in translation?"

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Changing Tastes

This isn't really a movie blog, for all that I talk about them off and on. If nothing else, they give me inspiration when my well seems to run dry.

I own a lot of movies on DVD, and for a while I bought them almost compulsively, but I haven't watched a lot of them in a long time. I used to say I didn't have the time, but the truth is that lately I have trouble sitting in front of a screen unless whatever I'm doing/watching is interactive, like a video or computer game. The much-mentioned Mass Effect 2 consumed many such hours last year. I haven't been able to get online at home for the past five days, so I've been trying to fill my downtime with other activities. I read some, Matthew Chapman's Trials of the Monkey, and made myself sit down and watch two movies.

The first of these was Joe Carnahan's The A-Team. I know, I should have known better. I've ranted before about needing brain bleach to scrub the horror that is Smokin' Aces out of my head, but I have a soft spot in my memory for the original material.

The original A-Team hit television when I was ten, and for all my internal turmoil, on the outside, I was very much a boy of that era. I liked action figures, and still played war games in the yard with the neighborhood kids, and liked to see stuff blow up. The characters were veterans of Vietnam, a conflict which still has a large place in American mythology, and I looked up to anyone who had been "over there". I also liked Robin Hood, and the idea of these modern outlaws helping ordinary people in need was appealing.

The film is a sort-of reboot. The story has been brought forward so that the characters are vets of the current Iraq war. The movie opens with Liam Neeson as Hannibal assembling his "A-Team" as civilians (or at least de-mobbed troops), then catapults them into the war to kick off the story with the "crime they didn't commit". Bradley Cooper (Alias), Sharlto Copley (District 9) and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (he's apparently an MMA fighter) round out the 'Team. Jessica Biel plays the leader of the DOD team chasing them, and doubles as Cooper's love interest. There isn't much story. Being a Carnahan film, there are lots of gun battles, and explosions, and some neat aerial action. Copley gives the standout performance as the crazy pilot, Murdock.

For all that, it was only okay. Is that damning with faint praise? Once upon a time I would have loved the movie, for all of the reasons enumerated above.

Yesterday I sat down and watched Whip It, with Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden. I loved it!

I wrote about the movie and posted the trailer back in 2009, before the movie was released. I've been interested in roller derby since it was resurrected a few years ago. It's one of those things I have to worship from afar, as they're never going to let a girl like me into something like that.

Ellen Page is Bliss Cavendar, a 17 year-old girl from sleepy little Bodeen, Texas. Her mom pushes her to enter beauty pageants, but she wants to get out and do her own thing. On a shopping excursion in Austin, she hears that the roller derby league are having try-outs. She lies about her age, and ends up finding her niche skating for the "Hurl Scouts". All of the skaters and teams have punny names: Eva Destruction, Smashley Simpson, etc. Bliss becomes "Babe Ruthless".

I laughed, a lot. I cried a little. All in all, I enjoyed everything about this movie. The acting is great from all the players. This was Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, and if she's this good starting out, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

I talked to my sister-in-law about this, because I couldn't figure why the two movies hit me the way they did. She says I'm becoming a girl. Small steps, right?