Posted on February 26th 2010, 4:54 am
That's right folks, I am now 29 for the first time. I will continue to turn 29 every year for the rest of my life. I plan to stay young. All I need to do is every year, just get Superman to fly backwards around the earth fast enough to reverse time. Never mind that I'd have to re-live that year for eternity. It's a good plan. I just need to find Superman and convince him its a good idea. I should be able to talk him into it based upon my interactions with my roommate. They're both boy scouts. Wish me luck. Hehe.
It was a good birthday. My parents, my younger sister, and my brother in law traveled up to visit over this past weekend. We went out to eat at Manny's Mexican Seafood place. I got to wear a big, pink sombrero and enjoyed a free fried ice cream. Afterwards, enjoyed a relaxing night in front of the fire and then hung out in the hot tub at their hotel. Let me say, that's a new level of uncomfortably awkward...swim suit in front of family members, including the sister that's not quite comfortable with my transition. It went pretty well though. I decided to wear the one piece to avoid totally freaking out my sister.
On Saturday, we had gone to the Leinenkugels Brewery. My sister had wanted a tour and to do some tasting. While there, we were looking through their gift shop, and I came across a selection of pancake mixes. I decided to invite my family over for breakfast on Sunday, despite breakfast being offered at the hotel. It was great! I finally got to serve my family at my dining room table. We made both blueberry and apple spice pancakes. They were delicious, especially the apple spice. I think more than any gift, having my family up to visit and being able to make breakfast and enjoy it with them was the best thing I could have gotten.
After breakfast, my family headed for home. I took a nice nap on the couch, and then afterwards went down the street to another birthday celebration for a good friend of mine, Laurentia. She's professor at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. My friend Lyle made an incredible french onion soup for all of us. It was drenched in gooey cheese and was so full of flavor. The stuff is like Lembas bread, one small bowl was enough to fill a grown man's stomach. I really enjoyed my weekend. It was a lot of fun spending time with friends.
My week has been nice too. I took Monday and Tuesday off of work in order to work on personal projects. My friend Addison came up from Madison in order to get things moving on Genderverse.org. If you head over to visit it at some point, you'll see that we've made a lot of progress. We're not quite ready to launch the site yet, but we're almost there. I'd say by the start of next week we'll be ready. I'm excited to finally see us get to the point of being able to use the site. Now the intimidating part of creating content approaches. It'll be a challenge, but it'll be good. I recently realized that it's been 8 years now since my initial research, and I really need to get back into the swing of things there. Research time will be a great experience.
This week has been saturated with Super Heroes like a sumo wrestler's daiper after a big match. I've been reading the giant pile of comics I have sitting on my floor trying to catch up. On top of that, I received the first season of Justice League Unlimited from Netflix. It's been fun so far. I have to say, reading a year's worth of Wonder Woman comics is really enjoyable. You get the whole story in a nice block. I've now caught up with those as well as the new Batgirl series. I just began reading the Blackest Night series from issue 1. Justice League Unlimited is a lot of fun too. I really can't get enough.
Speaking of super heroes. For my birthday, Chris got me a coffee table book called "DC Comics Covergirls". Let me tell ya...*growl*...thems some sexy ladies in there. Chris certainly knows my taste. I've enjoyed paging through it so far...for the articles of course. Yes I know...they're not real. Stop destroying my dreams!
Continuing with the super hero theme, remember me talking about picking up metal working as a hobby a few months back? Well, I'm finally making some headway there. I finally bought a set of hammers. I still need a few things before I can truly get started, but those were important. I need to get a small anvil like object yet as well as some practice materials. It's looking to be fun though.
Also on the hobby front, I finally went to fencing last week. It's the first time I went to fencing in like...8 months I think. I had said before that I wasn't sure that I'd go to fencing again, but I'm glad I did. The guys in the group assessed my skill level and told me that I know my stuff. They had me put on my gear and play. I haven't gotten to free fight in a long time. I don't think I've actually gotten to at all come to think of it...not in the style I fight now. I had plenty of bouts with the olympic style sabre fencing I learned on, but that was probably 8 years ago. So it's been a long time.
This experience was really uplifting and an incredible amount of fun. I no longer feel discouraged. In fact, they told me that if I wanted to, I could teach the basics to my roommates. I was told I knew my stuff well enough to teach others! How cool is that?!! I'm definitely going back. I've since purchased breast protection and neck protection. I'm just waiting for the shipment to arrive. Yay physical activity!
Completely switching gears...I'm finally starting to feel sick of being single again. It's taken a year and a half almost. I think I'm ready to start looking again. I think that's a good sign. Chris and I are likely heading to the twin cities this weekend, and who knows what may happen. Most likely I'll see many a cute lady, but will be too shy to say anything. I guess I'll have to get out of my comfort zone and stop being so shy. Wish me luck.
A quick last note before I sign off, I recently walked into a tattoo shop to see how much they cost. I'm considering getting a tattoo of the Wonder Woman symbol with rainbow banners on my right wrist. I've thought about a tattoo before, but I think I'm more serious about it now. I'm not sure just yet when I'll get it done, but I think I want to.
Lastly...everyone's favorite...the question of the blog: Do you have or have you thought about getting a tattoo? What is it of?
Posted on February 12th 2010, 6:11 am
I bought a Nerf gun. I'm such a nerd, but I still think Nerf guns are way fun. I'd never own a real gun, but for some reason, firing off little foam darts out of a plastic toy shaped like a storm trooper blaster is just a joy. I think everyone loves Nerf toys. Seriously...I think it's a universal thing. Anyway, I'm sure I've been really annoying to my roommates as I run around the house shooting them in the butt with it. I have grandiose plans of having a nerf gun war this summer. How cool would that be?!!
Things have been pretty decent lately. It took me a few weeks, but I finally got better from my cold / infections. It's nice to be able to breathe clearly all the time. No major worries about my car or money. In fact, I've even had a lazy weekend recently. Those are uncommon at best.
The most exciting thing that happened since my last post was my mother's 60th Birthday. I drove home, and thankfully, this time it wasn't a nightmarish drive through a blizzard. That was nice. Anyway, my Mother didn't know I was heading down until a day or two beforehand. So it was a nice surprise. We all chipped in to make it a really nice birthday for her and my dad (He has a birthday a week afterwards). We got her a Kitchenaid mixer. She's been wanting one for a while, and my sister got a great deal on one. So we all chipped in. I also gave my mom my old laptop. We were all surprised at how excited she was to get it! She was thrilled. She never spends time on the computer, and now she can whenever she wants to. I was happy to pass that on to her.
My Dad has been coveting a new monitor for his computer for quite a while. Since we couldn't quote afford the one he wanted so much, we gave him about 100 bucks towards the monitor of his choice. He's since bought a 28 inch flat panel and loves it. We also passed on some used surround sound speakers. So he's all set for watching Hulu now. He loves it. It was a good visit home.
The following weekend was my lazy weekend. Saturday night, Chris came home at like...11:00 and asked me to go to the bar with him and his friend, Dave. So on a whim, I got all dolled up and went out. We met a very cool guy named Andre. Andre is a New York City Fashion designer and architect. He had recently returned from Sweden after designing and building a room in the famed Ice Hotel. He was in Eau Claire visiting some friends and had also attended a party in his honor earlier in the day that Chris had also attended. Andre seemed to really appreciate our conversation because we apparently had interesting things to say. At the end of the night, Andre gave both Chris and myself his card and gave us hugs. Several people noted that they didn't get hugs, but we did. Apparently Andre thought we were cool. I've since friended him on Facebook, and Chris has been conversing with him regularly. It was a good time. Otherwise, no hottie girls hitting on me or anything...what else is new.
This weekend should be interesting. I'm going to Ruby Camp to learn how to develop websites using a technology called Ruby on Rails. Ruby is a programming language, and Rails is a platform in which developing is made faster. I'm anxious to dig in. I've spent time with it in the past, but never enough to actually build anything exciting.
Thursday is my first 29th birthday. hehe. Seriously, I'm not a person that worries about turning 30. Of course I say that now being that it's a year away, but I really think my 30s will be great. My parents are coming to visit to celebrate. Otherwise, I'm not really going to do much. Birthdays have never been a huge thing for me. I mainly look forward to the time off.
I'm planning on taking the 22nd and 23rd off just so I can enjoy a couple days. My friend Addison has offered to come up on the 22nd so we can get Genderverse online. I think it'll be nice to have a personal work day to get that project live. Then we can actually use it as a platform. Then the 23rd will be a sleep in day.
Speaking of projects, I've had lots of ideas floating around for my super hero story. I really need to get some of these projects and ideas moving instead of just floating around in the ether. Maybe once Genderverse is up, I can put some energy into writing. That'd be nice.
My life schedule is picking up though. So we'll see. My plan is to start going to fencing every Wednesday now. I'm also about to start being an LGBT youth mentor again. We have our open house on the evening of my birthday. It should be good. I'll be bringing some video games to draw in the kids. I'm looking forward to being a mentor again.
I sat down tonight with Quay, who is organizing the youth group at the community center, and we had a great talk. She shared some stories about being in the old youth group when I was mentoring before. She told me that a lot of people were sad when I left for Milwaukee back in '06. The group didn't last long after I left I guess. I feel a little bad about that, but at the same time, I needed the experiences I had in Milwaukee. They really helped me grow and understand what I want better. Still, it's heartwarming to hear that I mattered and made a difference in those kids lives.
I mentioned in my last post that I have had something on my mind lately, and that's still the case. I've actually written out all of my thoughts already, but I haven't posted it. I think it needs a few revisits and rewrites before I get it out to the world, but it'll definitely get posted soon. It's very personal and introspective, and I'm sure it'll help me to get it out.
On a parting note, I've given thought to doing some video blogging again sometime soon. I've had a lot of fun, creative ideas on how to approach it. I don't want to do it exactly like I was doing the experimental podcasts from a year ago, but I do want to have some fun with it. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.
That's it for me this time. Here's the question of the blog this time: Do you still play with Nerf toys? If not Nerf toys, are there any goofy, childish things that still put a smile on your face?
Posted on January 12th 2010, 4:32 am
I can easily say that so far, this new year / decade has not started well. Hopefully it's not like the whole "woke up on the wrong side of the bed" scenario. It started with me getting sick with a head cold right on New Years Day. How wonderful...
I hate being sick. It doesn't happen often, but for some reason I've been sick twice in the past 6 months. This one was worse than the last. It didn't seem that way at first, but after five days of blowing my nose raw it was pretty obvious. Then suddenly I stopped getting better, and the awesomeness coming out of my nose turned neon yellow. So on Saturday, I went to Urgent Care to get my sinus infection diagnosed.
While I was there, the doctor informed me that my left ear had wax buildup. That's the same ear that had blockage problems last year. So, on Sunday, I decided to try the ear wax removal drops I have and see what happens. I figured I could take care of it. Instead, the drops got stuck in my ear. I couldn't get them out. I tried just about everything from a q-tip to jumping up and down to a blow drier to sleeping on my ear to let it drain out. Nothing worked. So all night and all day I had a blocked left ear that was kind of annoying.
So that meant today I got to go back to the doctor. How fun! This time they flushed my ear and got the offending wax out. Finally the water drained! My god what a relief. I was then informed that I had an ear infection to go along with my sinus infection. That's wonderful. I don't know if I've ever had an ear infection before.
What I found odd...my doc told me that most people complain of a big ear ache along with an ear infection like mine. I didn't really notice. It was a little uncomfortable and the whole being deaf in one ear was annoying. Otherwise, I guess I never noticed. Makes me wonder how high my pain tolerance is. I know I don't get headaches often and I only keep tylenol in my cabinet because someone might need it at some point. I must be weird...
So yeah, things are getting better. I should be finally breathing easy again by the end of this week. I'm sick of blowing my nose, and I'm sure my roommates and coworkers are sick of hearing it. I'm excited though...today was the first time in a while that I've felt truly hungry. So I made myself a big dinner, and it was fantastic!
Let's see...let's go backward. New Years Eve was fun. Chris and I went to our friend's Sarah and Kit's house. It was a great time. We played Pit and enjoyed everyone's company. There was good food and a lot of laughs.
Christmas isn't what it once was for my family. We didn't do the gifts thing this year. No one could really afford it. So it was really just food and family. Don't get me wrong, that's great. It's just doesn't feel like it did when I was a kid. Plus, we do everything on Christmas Eve now since my siblings have families. I'm really the only one staying over at my parents' house now. I miss that feeling of wonder and excitement of childhood Christmases. All things change I guess.
I did end up spending money on myself though. I bought an electric blanket. My parents had one on my bed when I was at home, and I just loved it. I haven't regretted buying it at all so far. In fact, I'm sitting under it right now.
My family went to see Avatar, which...awesome! If you haven't, go see it, and go see it in digital 3D. I have already gone to see it twice. I may see it a third time before it leaves theaters. Such a cool film.
I can't forget to mention this. Right after Christmas, a great friend of both mine and Chris came to visit all the way from San Francisco, California. Her name is Lisa. She went to college with both Chris and I, and she's the coolest hippie I know. We spent the Monday night after Christmas hanging out, catching up, sharing good food, and loving every minute of it. She is a friend I hope I stay in contact with for the rest of my life. We have such a great connection.
Lisa, Chris, and I are such kindred spirits. There are so few people that I can talk so deeply with about things that are so personal and sacred. I trust them with anything. Lisa, Chris, and I talked about something that I've felt for a long time. It's this feeling...no...longing to go home. By home, I mean back to where our souls come from. This world is so mundane, so harsh, so hurtful...yet we're here...trapped in these fleshy shells with such limited perceptions of time and space. I know a big part of me yearns to be released from my entrapment, but I know I still have things I have yet to do here. I may not know what those things are, but...I just know. Both Chris and Lisa share that feeling, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone in feeling what I feel. I think that is a wonderful thing to share. I am so grateful to know both of them.
Let's see...since I haven't written since Thanksgiving really, none of my readers know of the crap I had to deal with in December. The big one was that my car's fuel pump finally died. All of my plans for a new laptop went out the window. I had to put my moneys toward a shiny new pump to make my car run again. $700 dollars later and I got just that. My car has been running beautifully ever since.
Out of that fiasco and disappointment, I did some thinking and really decided that I really did need a new laptop. I finally decided to sell my iMac. I figured it was the only way to get the laptop that I really needed. So I went about doing that and success! I was able to sell it. I realized also that I had some software licenses on it that were also worth money that I could sell separately. I ended up coming out quite well in the deal. I got myself a shiny new fiery red Sony Vaio laptop with some nice fixins on the inside. It's been serving me well for a couple weeks new, and I am quite happy with it. That was really my Christmas gift to myself.
So, that means...I can actually do some of the things I've been holding off on. Unfortunately due to my getting sick for so long, I've had no energy to do any of it over the duration of my time with this laptop. So, as this week progresses, I'm guessing more will get done. I'm feeling my energy come back with each day. I've been doing theming research for drupal. So genderverse should be set within a week. Mark my words!
I have another major post I plan on writing in the next couple days too. I have had something on my mind that I feel I really need to share. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime...I'm sore from my terrible night's sleep last night. I'm still recovering from my infections, and I'm tired. So...yes I know it's only 10:30pm, but I'm going to bed. Sweet dreams all!
Question of the blog: Do you ever feel like I feel about this world and experience?
Posted on January 2nd 2010, 4:05 am
Let's take a quick look back at the previous year's resolutions first:
Going down the list...here's what happened:
Number 1 was a success. I am in an infinitely better situation at the beginning of 2010 than I was at 2009. I've been on a debt consolidation program for a year, paid off about 7 grand in debt, and haven't accrued a penny more in debt since then.
Number 2...that was a big old fail. My book has an outline, but that's about it right now. I did discuss it with my good friend and college professor when I moved back in. So maybe a minute amount of progress was made.
3...translife was mostly abandoned in favor of genderverse, which is poised to launch any day. jessicajaniuk.com has a wonderful design, and transcending productions is designed and live too despite the fact that I'm not really interested in running the business anymore. I'll call 3 mostly a success.
4...I got a few speaking gigs. Only one of them was paying. So I guess we'll call this progress, but the goal was not achieved.
5. Complete success. I not only have a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, I have many doors open if for some strange reason I decided to leave. I do not foresee that in the near future, but it's nice to know the options are there.
6. Fail...or is it? Really I think this is more of a change of heart. I decided that the documentary at least in the form it was in was not a good idea. Maybe I'll revisit this concept at some point, but for now, I've decided to move on from this idea.
7. As mentioned in number 3, I'm not really interested in running a business anymore. It's not a good economy to be trying to start something when you've got nothing going for you financially. Plus, business isn't for me. I have no intention of maintaining an LLC anymore after this tax year. So...this one is outdated.
8. I'm now on the board of the community center in town. I attend meetings for the ruby group. I go to code camps. I've gotten out to parties with friends. I've made special trips to hang out with friends out of town. I've invited out of town friends to visit. I'd say I've succeeded in this one.
9. FAIL. I have learned that without the right book, I'm not interested in reading. I read to escape, and I just haven't found a book with a story that has drawn me in yet.
10. I am happy. I'd say there's no comparison to a year ago. I had a terrible 2008, and 2009 was so much better. My living situation, my financial situation, my personal life...all wonderful. The only thing is that I don't date much. Other than that, things are wonderful right now.
It's interesting to see how things have changed since last year. I'm liking the ability to look back and compare how my wants and dreams have changed since then. I'm going to make this a yearly habit to write about my resolutions. So with that, here goes:
2010 New Years Resolutions
That should do it for my resolutions. I guess we'll have to wait a year to see how these pan out.
Happy New Year to all of my readers! Here's to a great 2010!
Posted on November 27th 2009, 4:30 am
Normally I post about every two weeks. I held off on posting this time because I wanted to mark time. Today was Thanksgiving. A year ago today I was given a rude awakening by someone I loved. I also had my heart torn from me to which I'm still healing from. It was important to me to specifically remember this day...this night.
A year ago, Jenn, my ex girlfriend, abruptly broke up with me after what I thought was a beautiful relationship. She was honest and forthright when she broke it off, and for that I'm thankful. It didn't change the hurt, but it was the decent way to do it. I've been thinking a lot about that night for the past year. It truly changed me. Suddenly I saw flaws in myself that I found myself shocked that I never saw before. For that reason, I felt ashamed of myself. Yes, I know we all have flaws. It's just...finding out that you have an ego problem and talk down to people when you hate it when other people do that...it's like a bad dream. I only hope that I've at least somewhat gotten past that ego. I don't want it, and I never want to be that person.
I'm glad Jenn broke up with me for that reason alone. Now...that aside, I had something happen to me recently that made me think. Chris and I have been watching How I Met Your Mother lately. We watched the episode "Slap Bet", and in it, Neil Patrick Harris' character talks about what he calls an "O moment". By that he means that when you're dating someone, and they do something that makes you go "Ohhhhh...." and think "yeah, this isn't going to work." For Jenn, realizing my ego existed was her O moment. She told me so and even referenced the episode of HIMYM during the breakup. I hadn't seen the episode at the time. I found it interesting that I saw the episode about a year after she decided to break if off.
I have a problem with this concept of "O moments". Sure we have issues with the people we date, but there should never really be just one thing that does it in, unless it's something serious, like murder, rape, etc. She couldn't a. get passed my ego at the time, b. ever mention it to me and c. work with me on my own quest to change. Instead she wanted to just dump me. To me that says that she wasn't worth my time. If she couldn't accept me at my worst, then she didn't deserve me at my best.
One year later, I can definitely say I'm over her. I'm happy that she broke up with me now. I think it was good for me to learn my faults. I also think in the long run, I probably wouldn't have been happy with her. So it's all for the best. I really don't know when I will date again. While I may be over Jenn, I still have a lot to work on as far as my own issues go. I'm sure that will be a life long journey. I'm in no rush, and being in a smaller city, I don't have as many opportunities to date. Who knows, but I'm sure I'll write about it when it happens.
Day of Rememberance
Yup, lot of remembering in this post. Last week Friday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I spent the day lecturing at Menomonie High School and UW Stout, both in Menomonie, WI.
At 10:00 am, I was in the auditorium at the High School, and wow...I have never had attendance like that before. There were 250 some students. Hands down, that was the smoothest presentation I have given in a long time. The group was really engaged and asked a lot of questions. I thought I was going to be intimidated by such a large group, but it wasn't an issue. I actually got asked so many questions that I forgot to talk about the film "Transamerica", which was requested by one of the teachers. I felt a bit bad about that. Considering the school has recently had some incidents with bad treatment of LGBT identified students, it sure seems like they are headed in the right direction. I had about 20 students come up to talk to me right after wards to say thanks and such. One of them gave me a pride bracelet that they had made for me. I was not expecting that. Thank you to the girl that gave me that. It fits nicely.
UW Stout was also a good time, though the turn out was low. I can't say that I'm surprised considering it was a Friday afternoon. A lot of college students are quick to head for home on Fridays. Still, for the people that were there, it went very well. I know some of the things I said really impacted some of the people there. They came up and told me so afterwards. I was even asked for my autograph! That's never happened before.
That night I also was hosting drop in night at the LGBT Community Center. We had good conversation. It was a long day, and I was exhausted by the end of it. I want to say though, it was an honor to be able to represent the Transgender community on such an important day. Every year we lose so many to hate and fear. I only hope that my efforts, and the efforts of all the other trans advocates out there, we can fight that fear and hatred through education and awareness.
I had a bit of a scare with my car during the past few weeks. About two weeks ago, I was leaving work, and suddenly my car wouldn't start. I almost drained the battery trying to get it to turn over. It was odd...and out of the blue. I had to call Chris to come pick me up. My car sat in the parking lot for the weekend until I could have it towed.
The mechanic wasn't sure what it was at first because, surprise, he could start it just fine. They thought maybe the fuel pump was going. Upon looking, the fuel filter needed to be changed badly. So, I got that done, and now it seems to be running fine. I had one more incident when it wouldn't start, but since then, no problems. That's good because I don't have the 650 bucks it would cost to fix.
I know I may have said at one point that I likely wouldn't go back to fencing, but it looks like I may. Chris, Josh, and I watched a film called "Reclaiming the Blade", which talks about the history of swords and their use in fighting. Specifically it talks about groups today re-learning the historical ways of fighting with them using old manuscripts. It was fascinating.
Josh didn't know that there was a fencing group in the Chippewa Valley. He had no idea that I had learned fencing of sorts in college and had attended a similar group in Milwaukee. He was so excited because he's always wanted to learn how to fence. So, we, as a group, decided that we're going to start going to the fencing group together starting in January. It'll be great to have people to train with and learn with at the same level. I'm sure there will be many a photo taken, which I will post here.
Gendeverse is coming along. It looks like I'm going to go with Drupal, mainly due to its flexibility. I don't know what the site will grow into and Wordpress may be too limiting. I have a logo design done, and I'm working on a site design. I like the color scheme, and I think it's going to be quite classy. My goal is to launch by the new year.
As mentioned in the last post, I talked about a friend that would make a great asset to Genderverse. If you are following Genderverse on twitter, I put him in charge of that account, and he's been doing some amazing things. He is none other than Adam Chernow, and he is teh awesome. Thanks Adam for being teh awesome. There couldn't be a better person to manage the twitter feed for us.
I wish I could use that title to say something like "Yeah, Hollywood called me to talk about movie rights to my life", but I'm not that amazing. I wish I was, but I'm not. Anyway, what I can say is that I have a friend that has followed my blog for years. She happens to work out in Hollywood as a producer and editor. She has offered to help me get my career started out there if ever I want it.
How cool is that?!! I can easily say that it has been my dream to work out there doing films / TV etc. I remember my mother saying so many times that I put too much of myself out there with this blog, but it has never been a negative thing for me. It's only opened doors. This is one of those that I never would have expected, and it's totally amazing.
That said, I'm not in any hurry to run out to California. While it's a dream, I'm not ready for it yet. I'm actually in quite a good and comfortable place right now. I like my job. I like my living situation. I like how things are shaping up with my speaking career and advocacy work. I have plenty of time. I'm going to ensure that my skills are in shape, and maybe in five years, I'll move out there. It's nice to know I have a plan, and who knows...plans change. We'll see what the universe has in store for me.
Before I say good night, I want to just say a few things I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for my family, my friends, my fans, good food, bad jokes, people who laugh at bad jokes, my job, my fellow advocates in the trans community, the interwebs, icanhascheezburger.com, my car still running, having a warm bed to sleep in, life, and love. There are so many more things I could say, but I'll leave it at that. Thanks for reading everyone.
Question of the Blog
What have you experienced in your life that you needed a long time to reflect upon before moving forward?