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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?

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?

Let's take a quick look back at the previous year's resolutions first:

  1. To be in a stable and secure financial situation by year end 2009
  2. Write my book
  3. Get TransLife.net, JessicaJaniuk.com, and TranscendingProductions.com all designed and updated
  4. Get at least 6 paying speaking gigs
  5. Find a new, fulfilling, and prosperous career path
  6. Get my treatment written for my documentary
  7. Apply for several women in business grants for camera equipment and software
  8. Be a more active person in both my professional and personal life
  9. Read more
  10. Be Happy

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

  1. Blog more than twice a month on my personal blog.  My posts have gotten way too long and I need to break them up.
  2. Save more.  I don't put much money into savings, and when I do, I need to make sure I don't touch it.  That is a big goal for this year
  3. Pay off all non-federal and non-debt consolidation debt.  That includes furniture and my non-government loan.  Less monthly bills = a happy Jess
  4. Take a vacation somewhere that's not a staycation.  I haven't gone anywhere on a trip for years.  I need to get away.
  5. Get into better shape.  I sit all day at work and sit when I get home.  I need to take up a sport or something that'll get me into shape regularly.
  6. Go on more dates - let's face it...I'm not very active in the love arena.  I never have been.  It's time I do something about that.
  7. Dedicate time weekly to doing research / writing for genderverse.org. I want to give back to my community more.  I've been lazy, and it's time I get back to the real reason I'm on this planet.
  8. Learn how to do something with my hair. I suck at doing hair.  I can dry my  hair, brush it, put it up, and that's it.  I want to learn more than that.
  9. Continue working on  my faults. I know this one isn't exactly measurable, but it's definitely a good thing for me.  I've come a long way in the last year, and I want to continue with that personal growth.
  10. Explore my own spirituality. I haven't touched my spiritual side in a long time.  I feel a longing to be connected again, and I really should spend time with it.  This is another not as measurable one, but I think it's also an important one.

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!

Marking Time

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.

Car problems

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.

Swords

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.

New Website

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.

Hollywood

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.

Giving Thanks

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?

I start this post with some bad news.  Today I hit a squirrel while driving to work.  I know some people think they're rodents and don't matter, but I still was sad about it.  I tried to dodge, but as Yoda would say...there is no try.  I heard the "thump" and knew.  I saw the damage in my rear view mirror.  I had squashed a life.  Poor little fuzzy...I'm sorry.

Now that the sad part is out of the way, I have had a busy few weeks.  I'll start as far back as I can.  A Geeky Lady shindig was three weeks ago.  It was a great time.  I got to see @tapps, @jennaddenda, and @ashedryden; three of my geekiest lady friends.  We spent the evening behind the glow of laptop screens.  It was really great to catch up with them.  I need to visit more often.

While I was home, I also got to meet Fezzik, my little sister's new boxer puppy.  He's a ball of energy and a lot of fun.  I had fun playing with him while catching up with my sister.  Things seem to be going well for her and her husband.  I envy them in a lot of ways.  Anyway, I asked Fezzik if there were many rocks ahead.  He just kind of looked at me funny.  I certainly hope my sister trains him to respond to that line.  Haha.

I also got to see Elden again.  He's getting bigger!  No surprise.  He's a baby.  They grow fast.  I got some cute photos of him and my niece, Kalina.  In fact, that Sunday, we had an unplanned family gathering for dinner.  It's rare we all get together for a meal, and I'm glad I was there for that.

That following Tuesday was my forum at UW Eau Claire.  It went exceedingly well.  The room was moved because we needed a more open venue.  We had a full house, standing room only!  I was blown away.  Even though I've been speaking for years on gender issues, I still never feel prepared enough.  That feeling is only increased because I do it so infrequently these days.  Still, about half way into this presentation, I felt my rust shaking off.  Suddenly that groove came back, and I felt confident and comfortable.

I am excited about that.  I just know that my next few presentations are going to be even more stellar.  I've got two events coming up on November 20th, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I'm going to be very prepared for them and I'm sure they are going to be amazing experiences.  I'm really looking forward to it.  If you're going to be in the area of UW Stout, stop on by at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I've been very motivated lately and have had some great ideas for Genderverse.  Despite my comfort returning in my speeches, I want to stay on top of the latest information.  So I've decided to pledge a day a week next year to research and writing time.  I'm going to read an article, book, or something related to gender a week, and I will comment on it through Genderverse.  I think that's a great idea to learn and to help others learn through it.

My idea for Genderverse is to turn it into almost an online magazine with regular columns and articles.  I want it to be the place to go to for gender related news and commentary.  I've already got one person that's interested in writing.  I've got another person I want to ask.  He tweets a lot of articles and cares a lot about the trans community.  I think he'd be a great person to write and give a straight ally / male perspective.   Now I just need a design for the site.  If you have any thoughts, share them in the comments.

So that's my excitement of late.  I also have to share a bit of sad news.  I visited gpac.org the other day.  GenderPAC was an organization I worked with when I was in college.  It was run by Riki Wilchins, who has been an inspiration and teacher to me through these years.  GenderPAC was great in that they worked towards ending gender discrimination, had a big focus on youth, and were really the first of their kind when it came to their approach to gender.  Upon visiting the site, I discovered they no longer exist.  There's a letter explaining their history and why they decided to close their doors.  They ended on a proud note.  I hope I can use their inspiration as a launching point for Genderverse.  Thank you, Riki, and the folks of GenderPAC, for all that you have done and that you continue to do even though the organization is no longer.

Two weeks ago was Twin Cities Code Camp.  What is a Code Camp you ask?  Well, it's a free conference about programming for programmers by programmers.  This was my first one, and I had a good time.  I finally got to start playing with Ruby on Rails, which is really cool.  I also got to meet some awesome people and came home with a free license to Office 2007 (which still hasn't arrived yet).

One of the issues that came up at the camp was the lack of women in the field.  I was one of maybe 15 women there.  In fact, in one of the breakout sessions, one of the women was openly hit on by a guy...during the presentation.  There are many reasons that women aren't attracted to the field, and the ever present misogyny is one of them.  I think a lot of it also has to do with the geek taboo.  I think in a lot of ways there's a bit of a cycle that keeps women out.  The social expectation for developers is that you are a nerdy, socially awkward guy.  Because of that expectation,  a lot of people, including women, avoid the field.  There's also a bit of the "good ol' boys" attitude there.  Misogyny has been present in video games for a long time for the same reasons.  I also think a lot of people are pushed out of the field because of the way that programming is taught.  I almost didn't even have a CS minor because of that very reason, and yet, here I am a developer now.  I'm mostly self taught and from what I'm told, I'm pretty good at it.  Yet, I dropped out of the computer engineering program in my first year.  Something's wrong there.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts about the scenario.  I think I will dedicate an entry on genderverse to that topic.  To sum up, I had fun at the code camp and had a lot of energizing conversations about computer science.  Yes, again, I know I am a nerd.  Stop sending me emails telling me that.  I know already.  Thanks.

Halloween was fun.  Chris and I handed out candy to the kids.  We didn't get as many as we thought we would, but it was still a good time.  That evening, we dressed up and went to Scooters, the gay bar in town, and had a good time.  Chris put the most effort into his costume.  He sewed together two suits, did up some crazy face makeup, and went as two-face.  He got a lot of compliments.  I went with an old standard.  I was "Generic Sith Lord #2", which is the same outfit I wore at my brother in-law's 30th birthday party a year or two ago.  We had fun.

Money has been tight tight tight lately.  I had a difficult October, and I blame the fact that my student loans came due.  I may have to put them off another six months until I get some of my other debt paid off.  It shocks me that even though I'm making better money than I was in Milwaukee, and my costs of living are lower, I'm still only scraping by.  I guess I can't complain though.  I have a job and I have food.  I guess it's a good thing I'm not dating.  I couldn't afford it if I was.  I do certainly hope that there will be a time soon that I don't feel poor.

Question of the blog:  What are your suggestions for Genderverse?  What was the best costume you saw this Halloween?