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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Drunk Blogging

Whee, I've reached my magic limit of three units of alcohol, but I have not groped any women. I have achieved this by mostly avoiding them. I am pissed though, sicne I hadn't had dinner and a packet of crisps didn't do much to sober me up.

Things I love: riding a giant dutch bike through the British midlands in the middle fo the night. I rode home along the old industrial canal. IT's bleak. Nex tto the train lines. Smokestacks along side. Victorian bricks. They've tried to make it sort of recreational by carving out a narrow path, but it's still got a bleak quality. There's no lights along it. When I went out to the CBSO center for the concert, I had only my little headlight to show me the way. Drunk, on the way back, I had the 3/4s moon.

Apparently, a student fell into the canal within recent memory. On his bike. I found this news to be something of a relief. The path is narrow and a bit treacherous in parts and the wind blows and I worry about falling into the canal. But more, I worry about the shame of falling into the canal. It's much better to know I wouldn't be the first.

A nice thing about Brits is that when you're drunk, you're drunk. They don't seem to imagine that your sober behavior and your drunk behavior are overly correlated. As in, you can be stupid and they'll say, "oh, he's a stupid drunk" vs America, where they seem to say, "oh he's a stupid person."

The concert: I went to see the Birmingham University New Music Ensemble play at CBSO, which is in central Brum. The ensemble seems to have been misnamed. It shoudl ahve been called the Birmingham Bombastic Post War Ensemble. One one of the compoers played is still alive and he's in his mid 70's. The rest are dead. And many of the players were from the conservatory and not from the university.

I was feeling very charitable about the whole thing. University students aren't conservatory students. They also have to take language classes, maths, general ed, etc. So you can't expect them to play overly complicated bombastic pieces on the same level as professionals or conservatory students. . . but some fo the groupings were more than 50% conservatory. So, um. Everything ended very strongly. Everything started weakly. They played a Varese piece twice. At the start of the first half and the start of the second half. I was afriad to shout "encore" or they might play it a third time. I look forward to a concert of nothing but that piece over and over again.

It's a nice piece. They were a lot more confident the second time and it wa much improved. The siren could have been louder. But, where the first time was overly nervous, the second time was a little too relaxed or sloppy or something. Some of the players weren't trying as hard the second time. I want people to have fun when they play, I mean it is called "playing", but being serious is also good.

Anyway, it was very student-y, but a good ude of my time. A big otivator for going was to figure out what I could write for the kids and expect them to be able to play without fucking up too much. If they can convisincingly muddle through Varese, then I can throw a lot at them and expect them to get it right. So this was encouraging in that respect.

Another motivator is the post-concert socializing. I like Brum more when I get out more. But my poor liver. Tomorrow is compass forum (our weird name for colloquium), which involves a pint afterwards. Thursday is SBLUG, the Linux group, which involves a pint.

Then comes easter weekend, which is a 4 day weekend and a real holiday here. Which makes me a little sad, because easter was my mom's favorite holiday.

Monday, there's a big anti-war protest and some nuke thing, which I'll be going to. N o nukes! I love demonstrations. Tuesday, I finally got a doctor's appointment, so hopefully, I can get more T without having to miss a shot, although my plan to do the next shot early isn;t going to happen. I'll just be on low T levels for this cycle. It's fucking weird getting a major hormone this way. Like, wouldn;'t it be great if I had some sort of self-regulating system that produced it in high enough levels? Balls. I wish I had balls. I never thought I would wish such a thing.

And speaking of my odd desire to be sporting testicles, a women's glossy mag is interviewing me about being trans. I don't think the magazine is in the US. Of course, I'm doing this for the chance to educate people. Not everybody who transitions knows at age 5. It's ok to not be sure. It's ok to not be 100% binary. Yeah. No, I'm doing it for the photo shoot. they're going to dress me in designer clothes and take my picture in London. No. actually, I'm doing it for the money. I'm getting paid for this. I don't think this will be like a daytime talk show or something. Vanity: a "fab photo shoot" and coins.

I hate coming out to people. It's very stressful. This way, I won't have to. Those old ladies in the dog park are bound to read women's glossies.

Speaking of coming out. Being around hot women and passing . . .. New experience. Of course, I have a lovely gf who is far away and I miss. But, it's an issue that might one day might come out. Hi, I think you're hot and would like to kiss you. Now I would like to inform you, before we have sex, that I don't have a penis and I used to be a lesbian. That's what coming out is now. Hi! No penis!

I mean, fuck.

Oh, and the other reason I'm doing this magazine thing is really mature of me. I got in a dumbass flame war with some transdude on the internet about the article in last sunday's nyt. I thought it was ok. I have low expetations for the times. They used the right pronouns throughout. They didn't feel like they had to disclose everybody's former name. They referenced Judith Halberstam. That's not terrible. I've seen worse. It's something I can forward to my dad without upsetting or confusing him too much. But the main guy in the article was kind of a drama king. I mean, he was 18 or 19. College kids are full of drama. That's life. But a bunch o internet trans dudes, were talking about how non-binary guys need to stfu. So, yeah, I'm going to be in a glossy magazine because I'm annoyed at a stranger on the internet.

Meh. You know what I hate about articles about ftms? The part where they talk about how it might be dangerous. There's no fucking evidence to suggest that it is dangerous. Yeah, the long term consequences are kind of unknown, we've only been doing this for about the same amount of time that het cis women have been taking the pill. Could you imagine that everytime you read an article on the pill they talked about how it carried unknown health risks? You'd think this statement had nothing to do with the pill's risks. You'd think it would have to do with wanting to discourage people from taking it. This is the same thing, but on a more unconscious level. It's so transgressive, it OBVOIUSLY must be dangerous. It couldn;t possibly be harmless and easy to change your sex. It MUST be risky and intense and hard.

I also hate the idea that I'm supposed to like suffer a lot before anybody wants to help me out. Like, if you possibly can get through life without transition, then you should. Yeah, and if you can sort of see where you're going, you dfon't need glasses. Glasses are only for the REALLY blind. Not you. You don't deserve them. We only do LASIK for people who've had 32 hours of therapy and have tried every other option. We don't give meds to depressed people, because we don't want to medicalize, um, mental illness. No, medical intervention is only the LAST RESORT on every other aspect of life, so it makes sense that thre's an idea that trans folks shouldn't have access. Oh, no, wait.

Let's see, what other stupid ranting do I have left in me? Last night I dreamt tht I awoke this mornig to find a dark, full, curly beard on my face. Everybody around me was amazed that it had come in so suddenly. It looked fake, though. The 5 or 6 hairs I'm sprouting on my chin now, irl, are all kind of reddish. yay.

I've been having a series of dream about a recumbant, tandem trike that can be reconfigured into an inflatible canoe with a sail and pedal power. I'm goin to get it built in real life somehow. I don't know how. It will be carbon fiber for weight. At the back, there's a platform for holding the inflatible parts, other cargo and the dog. Maybe a sort of a ball joint, so it can turn tighter? I will find a way to make it happen!

Lately, I kind of suck at saving money. Everything here is really fucking expensive. I do the math and am horrified by the prices. but as the dollar goes into freefall, the prices are actually higher here every day. I feel like I should spend my money quickly while it still has any value at all. Quick buy Tv dinner while you still can!


Smurfett said...

Have you read the piece that just came out in the New York Times Sunday magazine section? It's titled "When Girls will be Boys". I only read the first page because it's 7 pages long. It's in my inbox to be read this weekend.

Graham said...

Congratulations on your interview/photoshoot. It will be a good opportunity to educate.

Les said...

Smurfy: Yeah, that's the article I was talking about.

graham: thanks. I hope so. I don't want to be a freakshow exhibit, but I've got an ok vibe from the reporter.

cola said...

Ok. So I looked up that magazine that's interviewing you.

Apparently I'd mixed it up with an American magazine of the same name aimed at 40+ year old women. The one interviewing you is just a glossy.

Polly Moller said...

What exactly is a "big otivator"? Does it make sound? I want one.

Les said...

It's a typo for a "big motivator," which is something you use to propel electric cars. It's pretty quiet in comparison to engine-driven cars, but you could use it to run an air compressor for a pipe organ, so it could be applied to making sounds in that way.

Also, the glossy magazine is very very very pink and explicitly heterosexual. I'm alarmed.

Smurfett said...

oops, bad me for replying before I read your whole post.

What I found interesting was the attitudes in the women's colleges. And I wondered if people who attended Mills would have similar experiences or have more accepting students around. Mills *seems* more liberal than the other east coast women's colleges. Though of course, I don't really have personal experience to back that claim up.

Les said...

Everything I've read and everyone that I've spoken with seems to indicate that Mills is at least as liberal as the most liberal of the east coast colleges. Heck, Mills was to the left of Wesleyan, which has a reputation for being progressive as hell.

There's an issue when a college says it's women-only and accepts ftms but not mtfs. That's saying, oh yeah, these guys think they've transitioned but are still women and these other trans people think they're women, but they're still men. The Michigan Women's Music Festival has this problem. If you don't welcome mtfs, you're not trans-friendly. Period.

Many schools have the policy that they'll take anybody that's legally female. Mills has this policy which makes sense for them. If they accept anybody who is legally male, their exemption to the schools-must-be-coed law will evaporate and they'll be required to go fully co-ed. If they barred ftms on the basis of being trans, they would violate their own non-discrimination policy. So I think their policy is ok because I can't imagine a better one.

This policy, though is not perfect. things are changing quickly, but very few 18 - 22 year old mtfs have the resources to transition. Which means that for traditionally aged women, the policy, in practice, looks a lot like the problematic position of disrespecting trans identities.

However, I'm not going to attack Mills for this because it's the only position they can have. Also, a little more than half of Mills students are resumers, which means that there could very well be mtfs in the Mills student population. Frankly, I would be surprised if there weren't any.

Also, a few years ago, somebody getting SRS at age 20 was pretty much unheard of, but now it's not. As barriers to transitioning fall away, it becomes more accessible to young people, which is good. Also, hopefully, laws will start to change to get rid of surgical requirements to get your sex marker changed on your documents. CA is pretty good for ftms, at least, but some states have really difficult barriers.

There is some sort of huge shift going on in the US right now, which is happening very quietly, but which is happening. It's easier and easier to be trans, but at the same time, the enforcement of binary identification has stepped up. I don't know if it's related or not.

And . . . I don't even know if I want to change my legal sex or not. I guess it doesn't actually matter. It's better if eople don't assume my ID is fake. I kind of still feel a lot like a dyke sometimes, whatever that means. I'm not sure what that means. But some stupid government document doesn't have anything to do with that.

Anyway, it blows my mind when schools only have young students. Isn't it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age? Wesleyan, by policy, only takes kids for undergrads. It's a weird dynamic in the classroom. Really, really different than Mills, what with cisboys and no grownups.