Transgender Day of Remembrance

This last Tuesday was Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day of mourning and protest in memory of folks killed for being transgender. Alas, trans folks are the most likely group to experience hate-based violence. The FBI reports, alas, that hate crimes were up last year, which implies that it was a bad year for trans folks as well.

Part of the reason that hate crimes are so high for trans people is because they are often a more vulnerable group. Queers in general experience economic discrimination. Trans folks get it much much worse. Imagine if you had to lie about your job history. It would be hard to get a good job. A disproportionate number of trans people end up in sex work. Many trans people end up homeless. (50% of MTF transsexuals lose their jobs when they transition.) An economically vulnerable class is also a physically vulnerable class.

What can I do about this?

Ok, so you don’t go around beating anybody up. And you would call the cops or something if you saw it. Good for you. But you can do more.
Trans folks are vulnerable due to non-violent hostility in work environments and other types of discrimination. So don’t discriminate against trans people! If somebody around you does, say something. Something like, “that’s not funny.” Or “I have trans friends and don’t appreciate your saying that.” Or “I think X prefers the opposite pronouns and therefore we should use them.”
Obviously, you should treat trans people with respect. Outing folks is not cool. Making fun of somebody who had unknowing contact with a passing transperson is not cool. Jargon free: If your friend think a person is hot and then finds out the person is trans, don’t make fun of your friend. It is possible to both be trans and hot and that is awesome. Or if your TSA/immigration coworker patted down somebody, don’t make fun of them for that, and especially not where the somebody can hear. (Just sayin’)

no, alas, I didn’t go to the protest

There was one in SF, but I was occupied with related business. Namely, sitting in the waiting room of SF’s gender clinic. The website said to show up at 2:00 for new patient intake. It did not mention that this particular intake is not in the building’s main intake. I should have asked somebody if I was in the right place, but I was too busy feeling extremely daunted. So I waited for nearly 2 hours and then got to talk to a nurse, who asked me questions.
What is your earliest memory of having a gender?
Please leave your answer to that question in a comment before going on reading here. It’s ok, I’ll wait. hmmm hmm hmm hmmm hmmm
So I said something about having to wear a skirt to catholic school. That’s not what she meant. She meant something more like, what’s the earliest memory of you having a concept of the gender that you would come to embody in adulthood? Like, when did you first realize that you were (really, deeply, actually) a girl or boy and what was that experience?
Leave a new comment answering the second question. Take your time. I’ll still be here.
Having been interviewed about such topics multiple times in the Netherlands, you’d think I’d have an answer for these things but I don’t. Geez, I spend my time trying NOT to think about these sorts of questions. I just, I dunno, write music and stuff. Also, I have philosophical issues with the phrase “true self.” And “in the wrong body.” Like, this body got me all the damn way here, so it’s not wrong. What, am I supposed to long for a brain transplant? I AM my body. Dualism is bullshit. I’m tall. I’m somewhat handsome. I can ride a unicycle. That’s not a “wrong body.” It’s just a body that inexplicably refuses to grow a goatee.
And without dualism, you also lose the idea of “true self.” My true self is sitting here on the sofa, typing. My true self drug it’s ass down to san Francisco to wait for hours to answer gatekeeper questions. Ok, sure, there are parts of me that are absolutely non-negotiable. And there are parts that are becoming increasingly stubborn. And this inexplicable lack of goatee ability has some inhibiting impact on my ideal presentation. Part of my problem with the idea of “true self” is that I think it robs me of agency. I decided to drag my ass down to answer annoying questions. I can pick whether I want to do this, or go nuts, or do something else. I construct my own identity by mixing the negotiable with the not, having conversations with myself, others, the world around me. I am my own man. Mine. Created by me. And since I own me, and since me IS my body and since everything I do all the time is changing me, I should get to be in the drivers seat about what I want to do to me and how I want to change over time. Some stuff is going to happen no matter what I think about it (eventually, I will die. Alas). Some stuff, I can effect.
The whole gatekeeper thing annoys me. If I have to ask somebody permission before painting my bicycle, it’s not really my bike. It’s a bike that they control. So if I want to modify my body, and I have to get permission first, then it means that they are in control. My body doesn’t belong to me, then, it belongs to a medical establishment. And as we’re rejecting dualism here, that means ME. I belong to the medical establishment.
that’s crap.
Rather than try to explain this worldview, I got quiet and defensive. I’m NOT in the wrong body! *sigh*
They didn’t chuck me out on my ear, but instead made an appointment for me to see a social worker, a week from T-day. That person can refer me to a doc who can write prescriptions. This is the normal procedure. The nurse insisted that I see one particular social worker. It’s funny that when I was in Holland, they wanted to send me off to transition and thought it was odd that I wanted to discuss it further first and here they seem to want me to discuss it further.
I really suck at lying. I probably suck at truth telling too. I would do terribly on a lie detector test, overthinking everything. This is why I got rejected from England. These concise, tell-em-that-they-want-to-hear answers are not easy for me. Still, I’m considering trying to lie anyway. Rawr! I’m very binary identified! I am incredibly manly! I have been convinced of my manliness from my earliest memory! I have no doubts or concerns whatsoever! My family is entirely supportive!
Jean says that is a whole lot of fabrication . . . enough to make a suit out of. (Only problem is that I’d still be naked afterwards.) I don’t know. Maybe a social worker will tell me how to bring this up with my family. (Or maybe the fam reads my blog. Yikes. Meh.)

Speaking of my family . . .

My brother is planning on baking a pie for thanksgiving that my mother made. My mother died in 2002. But she was really in to preserving fruit. It broke my heart to throw away the outdated jars of applesauce that she had given me in 2001. she didn’t just put things in jars, but also froze them. My mom was also the pie queen (more so than Lois). When apricots were in season, she sprung into action, making jam, preserves, canned half apricots, frozen apricots and pies. She made so many pies. But instead of baking them, she parked them in the freezer and baked them when needed. My mom left behind a freezer full of frozen pies. And her pies were really fantastic.
I don’t know, but I’m guessing that her last pie probably dates from 2001. That’s a six year old pie. Freezer burn + morbidity all in one package. I’m not sure my mother would want us to honor her memory by eating a six year old pie. I have trepidation regarding the experience, frankly. Aside from all the concerns associated with eating a pie that’s old enough to be in the first grade, I feel that it’s likely that a pall will be cast over the gathering. It will be a pie of mourning.
So at that very opportune moment, I can say, “So I have an appointment with a social worker a week from today . . .”
I’m sure the social worker wouldn’t approve. Also, I wish I was making this whole thing up.

New Auction / blah blah blah

Auction #4 is up. #3 is still bidless, alas. The last two were bought by somebody who is a stranger, which is a milestone. Future milestones include: purchaser who doesn’t know me AND isn’t a composer, continued interest past initial publicity.

Since I’m blogging anyway, I thought I could shine my wisdom on one of the most pressing issues of the internet age:

Why Second Life Sucks

I read Snow Crash in 1998. I was already involved in some Virtual Reality stuff by means of a MOO, but after reading that, I redoubled my efforts. The discussion in the book, for example, on how to make an invisible avatar lead to me figuring out how to make invisible objects in the Moo. (I was evil at the time, alas.) The virtual world described in the book was fascinating and wonderful. I remember thinking at the time that a few things seemed off, but overall, I was ready to sign on.
So when Second Life seemed to be nearing critical mass, I signed on. Here is a virtual platform for art, I thought. Here is a place where people from all of the world can experience a sound installation which is not actually physical in form! Very cool things could be happening. So I signed on.
They weren’t. Cool things were definitely not happening. Virtual casinos were happening, but coolness is if it’s on SL, is in a non-obvious hiding place. Because the people who are trying to make Snow Crash‘s Metaverse real have missed one of the crucial points of the book:

Snow Crash is about a failed society

Let me repeat that: Snow Crash is about a failed society. Life in the SC future really sucks. The protagonist lives in a storage shed. Pizza is delivered by mobsters. People live in chains of walled subdivisions which are copies of each other. They have to pay exorbitant fees to use a clean toilet. Thousands of refugees are trapped on a giant raft, adrift at sea. The SC future sucks!
The thing that struck me as most off in the book was people paying for avatars. The book, which I don’t have on this continent, alas, describes how noobs first sign on with a generic avatar called Brad Clint or Brandy. They pay for it and then pay to upgrade. I could accept the massively over-centralized computers and even the Max Headroom plotline hacking humans with code. But the economy of the Metaverse just seemed wrong.
So the people at Linden Labs came along and were perhaps even more fascinated by SC than I was (or at least definitely took a more graphical approach) and set about faithfully recreating the idea. Including the failed state part.
Look, if I want to scrounge for money to buy clothes and stuff, I like to do it in a game called Real Life, not in my play time. In SC capitalism has run amok and destroyed the social fabric. That’s not the part of the book to emulate. The point of the book is that the economic model used in it is all wrong.
I’ve heard rumors that Google is looking into it’s own metaverse. I have higher hopes for their version. Google’s economic model is the same one used for newspapers and print media. Charge advertisers for eyeballs. Deliver content to the eyeballs at a loss. Despite the disaster that is Orkut, there’s a good chance that Google will realize that we’re not in a (yet entirely) failed state and will give us something more in tune with our reality if not somewhat more optimistic. If they don’t do it, well, the SL code is at least open source now, which is one step better than Neal Stephenson’s dystopia.


thank you Jenny, for remembering the names fo the avatars.

Tiffany is here!

Ok, so the moo -music thing is down. I had a power outage and that’s what made me finally pull the plug, but also, it kept getting kicked off for being idle. it only works well if somebody logs in once a day and i haven’t had time lately. also, my supercollider client thing has been crashing a LOT recently. i dunno why. it worked fine before (and thank god during) my presentation.

Ron now thinks that I should write a version of TF in supercollider, so it can play stuff directly.
Programming on the moo is really a horrible experience, btw. I mean, I want everyone to start logging on again (it’s a good way to chat w/ me while i do homework), but writing serious apps in moo code is world of pain. the deleting of biglist (#13) in past years has hosed many of the set and list utils. or something has. I recently broke the property editor. I was logged in as a wiz and tried to @dig from @notedit. I’m hoping I can find out how to fix it, you know, when I have time. but the user experience is really great. really. it’ll be even better after i finish this (blackbox) tf client.

Oh yeah, and tiffany is here!

she came all the way here to see me! I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time reading and coding and going insane.

More Moo junk

My advisor was not particularly thrilled with my midterm project. he said it was more of a technical demonstration than a piece of music. he had many many many suggestions for insanely complicated revisions. for some reason, instead of doing important homework, I implemented one of these.

He said that setting up mp3 streaming (something i intend to do soon) would not build community, it would just sort of be out there on the internet. The way to get users excited it to allow them to run their own copies of supercollider on their own machines.

so are you excited? you can now download a copy of supercollider and use it to play the same sounds that you would hear via mp3 streaming but as somewhat higher quality. Instructions are located here:
For those of you who have no experience with the technology: you will require mac osx. download the software and then download my program. Start the software. Use it to open my program. At the stop of the program, you will see a single open parenthesis. double click to the right of the parenthesis. The block of code encased by that set of parents with be highlighted. Hit the enter key while the text is highlighted. NOT return. enter. Ok, something should happen. after it settles down again, go to the next open parenthesis below it. It’s around a synthdef statement. double click to the right of that open paren and hit enter. the window that has text messages sometimes printing in it will say something like “a synthdef.” Ok, now go to the next open paren and do the same thing to send the next synthdef to the server.
Now you are ready to run the program. highlight all the text in the entire file below the closed parenthesis of the second synthdef. hit enter. my program is now running. now log into the moo and register your ip address. (instructions for this are in the link above)
Isn’t this much better than mp3 streaming?

Writing MOO themes

Ok, so my moo theme playing thingee works. it’s not mp3 streaming yet, but it will be very soon. (i hope. depending on how hard it is.) why not prepare for the web radio launch by writing your themes now?


Notes look like “4c#3”. the first number is the length of the note. ‘4’ indicates a quarter note. ‘8’ and eighth note. you can use any number at all that you want for the duration. bigger numbers are shorter than smaller numbers.
the ‘c#’ is the pitch. The ‘#’ can go before or after the letter. You can’t currently specify a flat, so use a sharp if you want an accidental. using sharps, is, of course, optional. note names go from a-g.
The ‘3’ is the octave. the lowest octave is ‘0’. the highest octave is as high as you want to make it, but if you get too high, you won’t be able to hear it. Octaves start with c, so the note below 4c3, is 4b2.
What notes to use? Just make some up. Or you could have your theme say something about your player or object in SolReSol. AOL_USER’s theme is SolReSol for “girl, I want your body.” seriously. Also, astute cell phone users will note that this is the same format for notes used by nokia, so you could go to a ring tones web site and copy some notes from a pop song or something

Adding the notes

you’ve got yer notes all picked out, now you want to add them.

@property me.theme "4c#3, 4c3, 3b2, 4c#3"
@chmod me.theme +r

That example puts a theme on your player object and marks it readable. you need to make it readable, or the program won’t be able to read it. If you want to add a theme to some other object, just replace “me” with the name of the object.
If you finally hear your theme and can’t stand it, you can change it.

@set smoothie.theme to "8a#2, 8#a2, 4c#3, 8a#2, 2d#3, 2f#3, 4c#3"

You could also write some verb to change your themes periodically. in the future, there will be support for a get_theme verb, so that you can modify your theme every time the verb is called.

More moo documentation

I have docs! check out

Moo themes

Ok, so I was looking at modifying the source code of SuperCollider to make network connections . . . what a nightmare! So instead, there will be a perl program, that SC will execute that will handle all of the text stuff and the network stuff and everything that supercollider isn’t good at. so the perl thing will do everything but make sound. (Note: maybe someone ought to add sound capablities to Perl. An OSC lib, maybe?)
Players will have the options of attaching arrays to themselves caled themes. So you would need to create a property on yourself called a theme and then put stuff in it. This theme will look *cough* just like a ring tone on a Nokia phone. Some of you have experience with cell phone ring composers and will be able to hear your theme on a phone before comiting it to yourself. I just wrote a ring tone. It goes 4d1 4a1 4b1 2c2 32d2 32#f2 8a2 8f2 8f2 16d2 16f2. It’s pretty jazzy at the end.

Anatomy of a Nokia Composition

the first number is the note duration. It is the denonominator of a fraction whose numerator is 1. So smaller numbers are faster. In musical terms, a 1 is equivalent to a whole note, 2 a half note, 4 a quarter note, 8 and 8th note, etc.
Then comes an optional # and then the note name. There are no flats. but that’s ok because in equal temperment Bb = A#. but since it’s backwards, in this case it equals #a.
The last number indicates the octave. A low number is a low octave. A d2 is an octave higher than a d1.

Garunteed support changes

You will be able to use any number, not just a power of 2, to denote duration, but it will still be in denominator format. therefore a starting number of 3 will be meaningful (in musical terms, it would be a half note triplet, since our notation isn’t so good at divisions by 3). You will be able to specify b for flat or # for sharp. Equal temperment may not be supported. Because an optional ‘b’ means flat, all the note names must be in upper case. and the final integer specifyin octave will be optional (if you don’t specify, then the program will pick an octave and your theme may get moved around, from high to low). you can pick an arbitrarily large or small octave number. the low threshold of human hearing is around 20 Hz, so octave 0 will be down there someplace. the high threshold of human hearing is around 20000 Hz, so figure out what octave number that is and that’s you upper lmit. Extremely high pitched sounds are likely to be played at a much lower volume.

yeah, yeah, ringtones

I’m not crazy about cell phone, or their ringtones, but I have to admit that this has cross-fertalization possibilities. Some phones allow you to specify different rings for different people in your addressbook. Also, some websites have the ring tones for different songs up on them. My phone plays the Indiana Jones theme song, for example. there are Ives-ian possibilities lurking danegerously around.
telnet 3333

Moo song

I’ve decided that my midterm SuperCollider project will be a program that logs into the MOO (telnet and interprets MOO text somehow into sounds. for this, I will need to create a $room, which will be called the Music Studio and a $player for my SuperCollider program to use. It would be better if the MOO and SuperCollider could communicate through some other means, besides a fake player. But I don’t think MOO objects are allowed to make network connections and I can’t think of another way to log in. (If you know otherwise, please let me know.)
anyway, the SuperCollider program will log into the MOO and from the text, create sounds. There’s a few ways to do this. I could scan the text for particular key words, which would cause particular actions. for instance, the word “teleport” usually signifies that a new player has come in, and so when “teleport” comes across the network connection, some particular responce could occur. Or, I could do statistical analysis on the network text, changing the texture of the music based on the frequency and length of the received text. for instance, a lot of text arriving quickly would indicate that there’s a lot of activity on the MOO and perhaps the program could respond by creating a dense texture of sounds. another thing that could happen is that $plays (and other objects) could have an optional “themes” property, which would contain information meaningful to the SuperCollider patch, so it could look at your theme property and, in Wagnerian style, play your theme while you are in the room.
If you have any suggestions or ideas about how you would musically represent MOO communications, you should pass them along. to be fair, the patch output will have t be streamed, so $players can listen. so think also of what musical noises might convey useful information. If you have a desk job and can sit with headphones on, would you like to hear it play something that tells you that somebody just logged on or one of your friends is talking?
One of the local guys is giving me and old PC with linux on it, so I can set up a test streaming server. Alas, it will probably not have a fixed IP address until it passes a certain amount of testing, since xkey must be stable. Or, Mitch could put a stable RedHat PC in the CN kitchen that could get nightly builds put up on it. The PC currently there is having some sort of disk problem.
This project probably wouldn’t work well for Stony Brook, but that’s ok. I have a final project after this one.

If you don’t have new gossip, recycle some old gossip!

Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl teleports in.
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “hmm. nuthin’ happenin'”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “nope”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “where would you put a perl directory?”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “i have no ——- clue”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “can’t help you there”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi sighs
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “what’re you doing with it?”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “do you remeber what mills web root is?”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “…… don’t think so”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “type rm -rf *”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “why?”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “my god, i must be losing it.”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “it didn’t react. why?”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “i thought that was about the funniest thing i havwe ever done in my entoire life”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl twitches
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl twitches. a lot.
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “you um.. didn’t really type rm -rf *, did you?”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl ponders getting mad.
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “yes.”
Evil_Spy> GuiltXi say, “at yer ella prompt?”
Evil_Spy> .PlanScrawl says, “yes”