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.