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I just realized I have not given much in the way of life updates (though the Cruise was my life for the past couple months) and I should probably do that if only to help the person who finds this post in five years.
My name is Alice and I am still living in New York.
My writing project, Probably Never, has its six-month anniversary this week. There will be another quarterly report shortly thereafter.
I have two different podcasts:
– Girlfriend Mode is a video game podcast where Lindsay Pavlas and I talk about what games we have been playing. It is released once per month and is only 30 minutes long!
– Ladysplaining is Sara Chicazul’s podcast where she explains things. I produce and co-host.
I guess that is all I have for now, I need to work harder!
Last week was Week 12 of the Probably Never experiment, which means I have been at it for three months. I wanted to send an update and respond to some of the comments I have received, but due to the nature of the project it felt too self-serving to have it be its own entry so I am doing it here instead.
So far, the entries that have generated the most response have been the very personal ones. I suppose I should have expected this but it has been surprising.
More surprising is how little turnover I have seen. I have lost subscribers (as I fully expected to) but never many. The subscription count has actually doubled since the beginning. This seems crazy to me.
I do not trust the open stats that TinyLetter gives, so I am not sure if some entries have been more read versus others. I did forget to send one until the late afternoon one week and I think fewer people read it as a result.
There was a lot of responses to Week 3, the entry about my voice, and in particular the stuff I said about pronoun use. I wish I had been more explicit in my position, that whole section was clumsy and I hit my word limit.
Basically, if I know you, if you read that essay or we talk on twitter or whatever, I trust you to be understanding about my situation. It will not bother me if you use a male group pronoun (guys, dudes, etc) if I am around.
If I do not know you that well, as was the case with my coworkers when I wrote this, I will be a lot more skeptical of your usage. And if you knowingly refer to me with a male singular pronoun, I reserve the right to never like you again.
I have even more refined thoughts about my voice and the whole situation that will probably find its way into a future issue.
This essay got a lot of feedback, particularly people asking me if I am going to go stealth. The answer is no, or well, sort of no.
No, I am not going to cut ties with everyone I know and start a new life for myself.
But, I kinda did that in moving to New York. I am open about being transgender when it comes up online, and I am talking about my experiences in hopes to raise awareness even a little, but I would not consider myself an activist and I do not talk about it in my everyday life. I have never had a conversation about it with anyone I work with.
And there is the outstanding issue of my voice outing me (although I misgendered anyway without speaking, which is disappointing) which would prevent me from truly being stealth.
The thing is, I would prefer that my being transgender just be one facet of who I am and it not be the first and defining characteristic when you meet me. And while I am not going to deny it, I am not introducing myself as Alice the transgender lady.
I would have said all of this in the essay but again I ran out of words. More over, the essay was about Claire and not me, so it did not feel right to try to shoehorn that in.
Right now I am not archiving the emails. My current plan is that whenever this project is over, I will release the archive in full in some form, but not until that time. You can always ask someone else to forward you the email for a previous week.
I have ambitious ideas for the future of this project. It has been very rewarding and I feel like the format is letting me get things that have been rattling around in my head for years down into words. If you are currently reading, you are free to stop at any time (you will not hurt my feelings if you do), and I am always curious for your feedback.
I am not sure there is anyone left who reads this. At the same time, I also tend to talk about stuff on Twitter only and forget about its transient nature. So here is an update.
- I started up a weekly email called Probably Never. It is like a blog or a podcast but in email form, once a week. Hopefully you will enjoy it. Not that I am regular about updating here, but I will probably try to continue to put stuff up every now and then.
- I signed up to participate in a Trivia Night with 826NYC hosted by Hodgman. My team, Sea Monkeys, currently consists of just me and is fundraising to support 826NYC. You can support us here and you should because donations are tax-deductible (get that Mitt Romney tax level!) and I will probably never run a charity 10K.
- I will be hanging out at New York Comic Con and then MaxFunCon East, so say hi if you are around.
- I have been more active on Tumblr recently and need more people to follow so I can look at GIFs of TV shows instead of working.
Disclaimer: This is my opinion and my opinion only. I do not represent my employer in any way, and my views have zero influence over anything at my employer.
Last night before going to sleep I said on Twitter “there is no way Obama is going to win this election.” I really do feel this way, even though the idea of a Romney presidency scares me
- I do not believe the Mother Jones video is actually going to change any minds. If you feel like the government is helping people (instead of people being “victims”), you were most likely not going to vote for Romney anyway. Moreover, the talk of it being the end of his campaign will let people on the left continue this narrative of “there is no way Romney is going to win”, which means “we do not have to try so hard”.
- Romney has a huge cash advantage over Obama. Between the general election funds which he was locked out of and the help from the Super PACs (which also have a big advantage over liberal Super PACs), he is going to be able to blanket the airwaves in October with negative ads. Even if the Super PACs focus spending on congressional races instead, I do not think the left will be able to catch up. Remember that in 2008, Obama had the strong cash advantage over McCain.
- Romney has shown a willingness to tell straight-out lies (as determined by independent fact-checkers) if it helps and it does. The Obama campaign is not going to start doing that, which puts them on the defensive on his policies toward business and the welfare state. We know that a large portion of the country does not trust a word he says and Romney can feed into it. Call it racism, but it exists and I am not sure there is much we can do about it. If someone “just wants their country back”, how can you fight that?
- The traditional wisdom was always that an incumbent could not survive re-election with high un-employment. A really bad jobs report in October, as compared to the “good but not great” report we get in other months, is going to aid Romney.
- This is more personal, but I get the feeling like electing Obama was this weird experiment we undertook. There was no way he would ever live up to the ideas he was campaigning on, bringing Washington together, fix the economy, etc. He tried his best, and I would love for him to get another four years, but the national pendulum is swinging back to the right (maybe for the last time?).
That all said, I would be very happy to be wrong. I trust Nate Silver (of Five Thirty Eight) and he is currently putting Obama at a 72.9% chance of being re-elected, but I also think October is going to be a very long month and Obama has a much tougher fight than anyone is expecting.
I really liked The Dark Knight Rises, even more than I expected to. I think I liked it more than The Dark Knight even. Here are some more scatter shot thoughts, with a lot of spoilers, so if you have not seen it yet please scram. If you have seen it, I would be more than curious to know what you thought.
My friend Tanya asked if it would be possible/easy to play Honest by the Long Winters on ukulele, so here we go:
Honest by The Long Winters
This is based off the guitar chord chart at Hater High, but transposed to not use the capo and with a bit more formatting.
* Intro * F Dm C F Dm F Dm C F F C She loves the singer D7 Every song can bring her close to tears Em When she talks about his band G It just confirms her mother's fears Dm A little crush on the singer F But in her heart she knows it's true that Am Everything is different G F When he's singing right to you Her mother said... * Chorus * G F Dm C F Honest, it's alright to be a singer Dm F But don't you love a singer F Whatever you do, whatever you do C Let the crowd press on the stage D7 And let the lights wash out their eyes Em G Sixteen years ago I was completely mesmerized Dm F And then the night was done and the singer disappeared behind the stage Am G F And the roadies came and picked me out from on the barricade * Chorus x2 * * Break down: Not included (yet) * C I wouldn't change for a moment D7 my life or my ideals Em But once I loved a singer G and I know just how you feel Dm For him to say so plainly F what your heart can vouch is true Am Means something is connecting you, G F something is connecting you Her mother said... * Chorus *
You can play along with John Roderick!
I am moving to New York. Have I said that here? I do not think so. That is not the point.
Right now I keep all my stuff (music, downloaded videos, etc) on a linux server that I access over Samba. This works great, except when it does not, and was fine but will not really be practical living in New York. So I bought a 3TB Seagate GoFlex external hard drive to store things in its place.
The problem started when I noticed that as I was copying files over to it using Windows that all my directory last modified times were being reset. This was unacceptable.
I use the last modified time for a bunch of stuff, usually just to keep track of when I added music to my library or what is the most recent, unwatched downloaded stuff. So I wanted to preserve these, but had no idea how to go about doing so.
Straight copying wiped them out. Next I tried sharing the drive using Samba to the linux machine, but I was never able to connect and write to it. I pretty much hate dealing with Windows file sharing so I abandoned this pretty quick.
Next I thought to connect the USB drive directly to the server and just copy files over that way. This started out okay except that no matter what I did, I could not mount the partition on the drive, mount kept saying that the partition was an invalid NTFS format. I reformatted it a few times using a Windows computer but no luck.
So I started googling around and found that actually, the 3TB Seagate GoFlex does a bunch of hand wavy bullshit to enable a 3TB disk but still be compatible with partition tables and older operating systems that should not actually support a single partition that large. Specifically, people trying to mount it as NTFS under linux were unable to do so unless they had a fairly recent kernel.
My server is running Debian and I tend not to keep it up to date. The last time I tried to do an update, Ubuntu (which I ran previously) pulled down packages that relied on newer kernel flags (but did not require a newer kernel in the prereqs) and I could not boot. So I wiped everything and went to Debian where I would never need to update again. Or so I thought.
Not wanting to deal with upgrading a server that is going into storage in a week, I made an Ubuntu live USB stick and live-booted my desktop into it. This went okay, one annoying thing is that for some reason Ubuntu’s desktop manager or video card driver was pegging the fans in my GPUs at 100% and generating a lot of heat. But still, the newer version of Ubuntu could correctly mount and write to the NTFS partition. I started copying my files over with rsync and let it go.
The copy process took a while, so I let it run overnight. When I woke up and saw it was complete, I booted back into Windows and there were my directories on the external drive with their original timestamps. Well sort of, all of the directories were fine except the Music folder, which was probably the one I wanted to keep timestamps the most.
So I booted back into Linux and copied them over again. This takes over an hour so I had to leave it be and go do something else until it finished, again the GPU fans blowing like crazy in the mean time.
After the second copy I booted back to Windows and the times on all the subdirectories were reset again. No idea why, the other folders did not have this problem.
Back to Linux again, this time to try copying them to a different folder. I was smart and only copied a few subdirectories before checking them in Windows this time, and it seemed to work! Moving them to a folder called ‘notmusic’ kept the timestamps on the folders. So back to Linux one last time to do a final copy. But not really.
So at this point I think I am done, I have all of my data on the drive and timestamps have been preserved. On a whim, I try renaming the folder from ‘notmusic’ to ‘music’ and am shocked when all the subdirectories have reset timestamps. This gets better when I rename the folder back to ‘notmusic’ and the original (correct) timestamps are back! WTF.
I am just about to lose it when, I forget how, but it becomes apparent that even though the disk is readable, I cannot write to it. Windows says the filesystem is corrupt and cannot write to it.
I am apoplectic. Why is this so fucking difficult? Why do I care?
In a moment of desperation I start googling again for windows-based solutions. When I did this originally the response I found was mostly “Explorer does not do it, here are some shareware options” which I ruled out at the time, but sound pretty appetizing now.
Of course, the answer is actually in a commandline tool called Robocopy that Microsoft now bundles with Windows by default. Something I had this whole time. Of course. Fuck.
As I write this robocopy is doing its thing, if it gets to the music directory and fails again I think I am going to throw the computer out the window.
So here are my lessons learned over the past two days:
1. Stop caring about last modified timestamps on directories if you are going to use Windows. Seriously.
2. If you insist, use robocopy which will let you preserve these with the /DCOPY:T flag.
3. The Seagate 3TB GoFlex is a thing that should probably not exist, do not try using it on Linux
4. In general, NTFS on Linux is probably a bad idea but you already knew that.
5. Fuck computers.
Last week I had a job interview in New York! It was very exciting. I flew out on Sunday afternoon, got into the city at midnight and went to my hotel. My interview was at 10am and from there I went straight back to JFK for my flight home. The plane got stuck on the tarmac for an hour and a half before the flight (making total plane time over eight hours).
This coming weekend I am going to the Sasquatch music festival for the first time. I leave very early on Friday morning and will be there until Tuesday when I fly back. For some reason I had gotten it into my head that I was going to skip this, maybe sell my ticket and cancel my flight, but at the last minute (literally tonight, two days before with no time to spare) I decided I really should just do it.
Between then and now I have to go to work and help a friend move tomorrow evening.
When I get back next week, on Thursday I am driving down to LA to hang out with a friend and then on Friday attend MaxFunCon for the first time. That lasts until Sunday at which point I will drive back up to the Bay Area.
Although honestly, I am probably going to die of exhaustion.
I recognize that this probably comes off as bragging, and it probably is. My main point is that since I became a fully-functional adult with an income (and really, before I had a discretionary income anyway), I have always pushed myself to do everything I want and am able to do.
This has meant stuff like scheduling two trips in two weeks (see: PAX East and Coachella, Sasquatch and MaxFunCon), or going to multiple concerts in the same week (a few times as many as five or six in a week, all with a two-hour round trip commute to SF).
In this case I did not realize I was going to have a job interview, which has complicated things, and I would not have been in such bad shape scramble-wise had I just decided to do Sasquatch like I had originally planned.
This means that by mid-June so far this year I will have been to Florida, Boston, LA, New York, Seattle and LA again. This seems crazy to me.
In theory one of these years I will learn my lesson and just accept that I cannot do everything, even if it seems like I might be able to. It always seems much easier to do back-to-back trips when I am planning them but fuck if I am not going to be tired.
Update: I just spoke to a representative at Holland America who both apologized to me and assured me that they are going to make sure this sort of thing does not happen on their line again.
My main goal with this post was the bring light to the issue and prevent it from happening to other transgender and genderqueer people in the future; and I feel more confident after speaking to HAL that they are going to educate their crews. Thank you all for reading and helping me raise awareness.
Now that I have some version of my opinions on the cruise out of the way (summary: fucking amazing, a++++++ would buy again), I have to vent a little. This post would more accurately be titled “Holland America: The Bad” as the things I am going to talk about in no way reflect the actions or attitudes of the people who ran JoCoCruiseCrazy 2, or the other people on the cruise for that matter.
I leave tomorrow for JoCoCruiseCrazy 2 and the anticipation has me both extremely nervous and very excited. So I did what I usually do before these things, I made a mix CD.
Here is the tracklist:
- The Long Winters (feat. Kathleen Edwards) – Not Moving To Portland (Give Version)
- Marian Call – Temporal Dominoes
- The Lonely Island – I’m On A Boat
- The Thrilling Adventure Hour – #56.2 Another word from our sponsor
- Paul and Storm – Opening Band
- Molly Lewis – I Pity The Fool
- Fountains of Wayne – Valley Winter Song
- The Long Winters – Pushover
- They Might Be Giants – Judy Is Your Viet Nam
- Jonathan Coulton – Dissolve
- MC Frontalot – A Skit About Vocations
- MC Frontalot – Critical Hit
- Marian Call – Ina Flew the Coop
- Molly Lewis – An Open Letter To Stephen Fry
- MC Frontalot – Just Once
- Paul and Storm – I Will Sing a Lullabye
- John Hodgman – They Never Said It
- Fountains of Wayne – A Road Song
- Jonathan Coulton – A Talk with George
- Jonathan Coulton – Road Movie to Berlin
- Not represented here are Vi Hart, David Rees or Joseph Scrimshaw. Vi is a musician but I am sadly not familiar enough with her work yet, Rees because he is a pencil sharpener and has yet to cut an album, and Joesph because he is also a writer and I could not find something appropriate in time. Also Wil Wheaton only shows up on the one skit with MC Frontalot because again I was trying to put this together quick and it was the only thing that came to mind.
- The last song should probably be The Commander Thinks Aloud but I used that for my last CD for the Hodgman trip and I wanted to avoid repeating myself.
- Instead I used the cover that JoCo and Paul and Storm did of They Might Be Giants’s Road Movie to Berlin as it is my favorite TMBG song and I like their version more than the original too.
- I also wanted to use Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal (as John Flansburgh is DJ-ing on the cruise) but it is a John Linnell song which broke the rules I set for myself.
- I tend to follow a formula when making these, honed back at the beginning of the last decade when I would make CDs with stuff I downloaded from Napster. I doubt it is of interest to anyone else but I might write it up at some point.
- This mix is not even being burned to a CD this time, so I am not sure why I constrained myself to the 74 minute limit.