Etc: female icons

De Geuzen

A collaborative group since 1997. 1996, actually in Mastericht.  They started by having a space doing workshops, etc. The street was named for Geuzen, which is a derrogative term in Dutch.  Apparently, itś abad name for women.

They have an alphabetical dictionary of slang terms for women. And they put the words on t-shirts. Secondhand. Each t-shirt is unique. They were exhibited and then sold.

The group went on to collect further lists. So now theyŕe doing female icons. These are iconic images of famous women. So they started putting images of icons on plates.  Like Cher.

Then they started an impersonation thing where people hold pictures of famous women in front of their faces and a photo is taken. They have a flickr group. Tag your photo melikeher.

All the icons have tags. Thereś a tag cloud. Beauty¨is atag, for example.

This group is really, really into lists.


I’m at the ETC


That’s the Eclectic Tech Carnival a fun mishmash of technology, feminism and social activism. I’m playing a show tomorrow night. And yesterday, I taught a workshop on Audacity and podcasting (some text from that will be available shortly).
The con is for “women and gender minorities.” Which means I’m the only guy in the room. Back in the old days, I was often the only woman in the room, which, at a tech event, really bothered me. Actually, when I go into a public meeting on tech or music, I always do a headcount of men vs. women and wonder what can be done if the ratios are not good. This is entirely different, of course and ok as long as I don’t think about it too hard.
I’m not the only transmasculine person here. I might not even be the only transsexual here. But I’m definitely the only male-identified person. “Women and gender minorities” gets shortened a lot to “women.” I wonder how I will feel about this in the future? On the one hand, I probably won’t ever be in this community again and that’s a loss. On the other hand, right now I’m not overly confident in regards to gender and so when I see things get shortened to “women” I feel anxiety. Everyone is really accepting and accommodating. Alas, I think it is my fate in life to always be asking for exceptions. I ask for fewer now, at least. Nobody asks for me to wear a dress or leave the appropriate loo. So on the one hand, it’s fine. But on the other hand, I can’t think about it too hard.
This avoidance comes out in weird ways. People keep asking if Xena, my dog is a male or female and I find myself getting irrationally defensive around the question. She’s a dog! She doesn’t have a gender identity as far as I know! Who are you to say if she’s a vrowje or a manje based on her genitalia!?! Ok, I know this is crazy, but better to be irrational about my dog than other things.
Until last night, I was staying with Vivian in Delft, which meant a lot of time in transit. I got back to Vivan’s flat last night at 2:30 am and had to feed the dog and give myself a shot of T.
Ok, so I don’t feel like my feminism is incompatible with being trans. The name of the sponsoring org for this thing is Gender Changers. It’s all ok. I still feel weird coming home from being surrounded by all these great women and then shooting up T. But if I were to put off the shot, it would make me feel sluggish and unhappy, and anyway. It’s ok to be trans or it isn’t. The timing of the shot shouldn’t have any bearing on that. And this is part of what I mean about not being confident.
So I was sitting on the floor of Vivian’s guest room, naked, right before sleep, trying to flick stubborn bubbles from the needle. I’m still not good at this. It’s messy. The way the British ampoules work is that first I draw all the T (in castor oil) up into the needle and then turn it around and try to get the bubbles out without spilling too much. Then, of course, I stab myself. Lately, I’ve been pushing the needle in slowly, which is a bad idea, but doesn’t cause physical harm, so whatever. Push needle, tense muscle, relax, push slightly further, tense again . . . ok, it does cause physical harm, but so does people biting their nails.
I pulled out the needle and there was blood. Not a little spot of blood, but a coin-sized pool of blood coming from my leg. Aieeee! Blood! Aiiieeee! 3:00 AM stark naked at my friend’s house and a pool of blood! I saw the antiseptic wipe I had used early and pressed it down to stop the bleeding. Oh my god! Oh my god! oh my god! I started to shake uncontrollably.
I saw this thing where you’re supposed to try pulling back on the plunger to see if you draw up blood. If you did, you hit a vein or something and need to re-try injecting. That didn’t happen. So where did the blood come from? Ok, weight lifters take more in a day than I just took, so it doesn’t matter if it went straight in my blood. Well, 0.8mL of castor oil in my veins in probably not good, but it’s not like I could do anything about it. If I can’t do anything about t and it won’t kill me, then there’s nothing to do but shake a lot and try to sleep.
(Castor oil is secreted by beavers, according to the dictionary on my mac. Um.)


This is my first time back in the Netherlands since moving away. It’s even nicer than I remember. I love the bikes. I love the urban planning. I love the train system. I love Dutch people. Delft is south of Den Haag, so taking the train into Amsterdam, I could see the train station and the church tower next to where I lived. I felt such an unexpected wave of attachment for the Grote Kerk tower. That’s my home. That’s where I have friends. That’s where I walked my dog. That’s where I biked. I love Holland. I love California. I love France. I left my heart in San Francisco. I left my stomach in Paris. I left my mind in Amsterdam. So now I’m heartless and mindless.
Good Dutch food: the beer. The coffee. The little sweet things you eat with coffee. Vla. Pancakes. Appeltart.
I have to find a way to move back here.

Show Wednesday (Tomorrow)!

I will be playing tomorrow night at 21:00 at the Plantage Dok in Amsterdam. The show starts at 21:00. Admission is free and the beer is cheap! I’m be playing “electronic noise that you can almost dance to.”
The address is Plantage Doklaan 8 tot 12. See the venue’s website for more information.
I’ve been trying new methods to make fun music. I’ll be using a MiniModular synthesizer, but re-sampled to 8 bit and silly 8-bit nintendo-inspired drum sounds. Hopefully, It will be exciting and fun. I don’t know if you will be able to dance to it, but I hope you try.

Live Blogging ETC – Cuisine Interne

Brussels Organization and feminism and creative commons. They have a patchwork approach weaving many themes together.
They do women and FOSS days every 6 weeks
Also a wiki about linux and audio, tinkering with trash hardware, wiki about publishing with foss tools (all in French), parties. Also working on a mapping project with Open Street Map and also hand-drawn maps by people as sort of subjective impressions. Open Source video, and a million art projects and parties. Artistically engaging public spaces.
Wrote some audio software for doing interviews. In python. Runs from command line. looks for a text file which holds questions. Starts with a test of the audio. The questions for the program are decided on by consensus of everyone involved in the project.
we are writing down questions now . . .. We all have post it notes. I can’t think of a question. Um . . . art and technology . . . um . . . .. Wow somebody else asks, “How do you connect art and activism?”
Ok, so we’re writing questions on postit notes and then putting them on butcher paper that’s been attached to the walls. We’re going to pick 16 of them.
The questions from previous versions are for working artists. (paraphrased) “How do you make a living?” “Who owns your work when you are finished?” “What is your price structure?” “How did you determine your prices?”
Now all of us are going to pick our three favorite questions.
(To be continued)

Organ Concert Review

The Organ
The Grote Kerk in The Hague is having an organ festival right now, which explains why I keep hearing organ music while walking the dog. Last night, I saw a very small flyer for it posted to the church door and decided to check it out. I really like organ concerts and I can name one organ composer off the top of my head (Henry Brant), but I’ve never written for the organ and don’t know too much about the instrument. As a former resident of the Bay Area, though, I was pretty lucky as there are two Mighty Wurlitzer organs installed in local movie theatres. One is in the Grand Lake in Oakland and the other is in the Castro. Also, Wesleyan University, where I was in 2003-5, has a pretty nifty organ which was brand new when I was a student, so I got to hear a lot of organ music, including a new piece by Christian Wolff. This whole paragraph is a long way of saying: I don’t know much about the organ (factoid: invented by ancient Romans), but I dig it.

The performer last night was Leo Van Doeselaar of Amsterdam / Leiden. There was a pre-concert talk of which I understood nothing and then he went up to the organ loft to play. Church organs are often located in the back of churches, which is the case in Den Haag’s Grote Kerk or sometimes on the side. Almost never does a listener actually face the organ (Wesleyan is an exception to this). However, the chairs were arranged, so the audience sat facing the back of the church and hence the organ. Also, it’s often the case that the organist can’t be seen. They had set up a screen and a projector so that there was a camera pointing at the organist and the image was projected where we could see it. Kind of strange, but also interesting.
This particular organ has two panels of stops on either side of three manuals (keyboards). the stops control which pipes are getting air in them and they’re a bunch of knobs which can be pulled out or in (hence the expression, “pulling out all the stops.”). The organist had an assistant who was a page turner, but also did a lot of stop manipulation. The music would switch manuals without a break and while one manual was being played, the busy assistant would re-set the stops for the return to the original manual. Interesting to watch.
The first two pieces were from the 17th century. Which, alas, is not my favorite century. Also, note in the first paragraph that most of my organ listening has been with theatre organs, which often play a more popular repertoire. So the music just seemed kind of . . . sedate. The organ was not punching through and not filling the space. I could see the performer and I could tell he was playing is heart out, but it just wasn’t translating for me. So I wondered if it was the music or the organ. “Well, they can’t all be Bach’s Toccata in d.” (You know the piece. It’s a very dramatic and cliche organ piece. Nicole associates it with horror movies.)
Even as my mind wandered, certain sonic effects were occasionally interesting and I wondered if I might want to exploit them by writing an organ piece. (Well, why not?) Then, the organist started on the third piece, Gioco by Peter-Jan Wagemans (wikipedia). I do not need to write an organ piece, as Wagemans used all the cool bits that I had noticed and several I hadn’t. The piece was astoundingly amazing. The composer is an organist himself, so he is able to write as somebody who really, really knows the instrument. And as he’s a local guy, it’s very well-suited to the sort of organ they tend to have in Holland. It played off the reverb in the cathedral very well, using short notes played quickly to create textures. There was a section where a certain flourish was repeated a few times and each time there was a note repeated afterwards like an echo. The stops for that note were really mushy sounding, not cutting through at all, so it was hard to tell when it started and stopped. It was more of a presence. And I swear, it sounded like a real echo. One that boldly defied physics: believable and slightly disorienting!
There was no clapping between pieces, but the audience was all abuzz after that one. Organists, take note: you can make people very happy if you depart from the 17th century. There are composers alive today and some of their work is amazing.
Then, alas, we returned to the dusty past. But, much to my delight, the last piece actually was Bach’s Toccata in d. Man, I love that piece. It’s great. So unapologetically dramatic! And it’s got these huge parts that should just, imo, shake the fillings out of your teeth. There’s a piece for an organ, something that fills a space! A gigantic installed behemoth, an ancient roman excess! Crashing and pounding like the ocean! Huge! but. It just wasn’t. Ok sure, it was dramatic. And it had a couple of moments that were kind of big. but. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by Mighty Wurlitzers to expect something too big, too much. Maybe what I expect is gauche and ostentatious and not what Bach had in mind at all. Maybe I’m crass. But crass is great fun but this was restrained and smallish.
I think the organ is just too small. It’s also kind of recessed, which can’t help.
I also think that I just must be crass, because the audience gave the organist a standing ovation and then rushed to the CD table. I do think he was a really good performer (especially the new piece was fantastic), so maybe they’re used to the organ and I’m not? I’m probably going to skip the rest of the series, however it also includes carillon recitals (no wonder the bells have been so interesting lately), so I will definitely listen for those.

Holland Montage

The first bit is of a rural area near to Den Haag. The next is a windmill on a river. I could go look up where, but I’m lazy. The next windmills are around Rotterdam sort of near the area where all the tourists go, as there is a very high concertration of windmills. I got lost and arrived at a lower concentration of windmills, alas. Still nice though. Some of the noise you hear is the windmill actually working to move water around the canals! Then is an outdoor shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s in the south, near the Belgian border. There are Catholics in the South part of the country. Then, Xena runs around near the shrine while Nicole sneezes. All that long grass isn’t so good for her allergies. Finally, I stayed in a campground next to a bunch of sheep. The kept baa-ing at each other. But when I went out to video them, they were scared of Xena and made no sound. I succedded only in alarming the entire flock. The farmer yelled something at me. I asked for a translation, but he declined to provide one.
I made this montage by dragging the short films to iMovie and then exporting them as Quicktime.
Next up: sights and sounds of Flanders.

My phone takes videos

I used to think it was funny. Who would want to make movies with their phone? That’s before I realized I was carrying an audio recorder in my pocket all the time! Aha! So when Nicole and I were standing in the Grote Kerk in Breda, which has a fantastically long reverb, I asked her to clap.
Most of my other short films are of windmills. I don’t know if anybody would watch them if I posted them one at a time, so I might try a windmill montage. Will the excitement never cease??!!


I read somebody complaining once that the term “FAQ” is a complete misnomer. It has nothing to do with any questions that any person is asking and instead has to do with information the corporation (or in this case, me) has chosen to provide. Except that’s not entirely true in this case. I once shared a hostel room (in 2001, in Prague) with a teacher at the Berkeley Psychic Institute. I asked her if she could give me the five minute version. Therefore, I’m not merely divulging whatever information I feel like sharing, I’m reading your mind to discover what you want to know and answering that!

  1. When are you going to Copenhagen (by bike)?
    Well, I don’t know. I don’t know when I’ll have a new wheel for the doggy ride and I have a gig coming up in Lintz that I have to get to and I need to figure out how to mount an N88 on my handlebars (ok the last bit might not be the most important consideration).
  2. Weren’t you going to bike to Friesland?
    On the way to Copenhagen.
  3. What’s the deal with this gig in Austria?
    At the /etc conference. I should get on the ball with that and write some some music and find out when and where I’m supposed to play, maybe get some train tickets, find a place to crash, that sort of thing.
  4. This N800 you keep talking about, have you beat it into submission yet?
    As far as I can tell, the best way to development on it with a mac is to use a virtual machine emulation, specifically, QEUMU, which is free. Or install linux on an intel mac, which ain’t going to happen. (maybe when I find very detailed docs and/or ubuntu comes out with a release specifically aimed at minimac users.) I’m getting some mysterious error about pixels. When I figure out what I’m doing, I’ll post a howto.
    There’s some cross-platform net application tool called Mono which looks promising. It has the write-once, run-everywhere thing that java had. I already know java, but it’s ‘everywhere’ doesn’t include my tablet (thanks for making that decision, nokia, really swell). Anyway, some sort of flickr uploader that works like a mail reader will soon be cobbled together form pre-existing components or, if some other more enterprising programmer has already written it, will be linked.
  5. Your mind reading really missed the mark with that last question . . .
    that’s not a question!
  6. Sorry. How’s your chin doing? All healed up?
    It’s been like 2 weeks since my chin had a sudden meeting with some asphalt. The stitches are out and Nicole no longer turns away in horror when she gets a glimpse of my chin. It has a scar, which is kind of nifty and the giant bump under it has mostly gone away. It’s still a bit numb around some of the stitches. I can barely open my mouth wide enough to eat a banana (often, there is scraping). I can hear sounds in one ear of my jaw clicking when I chew, which also kind of hurts, depending. I think it might be possible that there’s a crack in the bone in my jaw, but it’s not like they can put a cast on it, so it doesn’t really matter.
    On the plus side, my jaw looks more square and I have a hot new scar, so I can’t complain too much. I don’t believe in suffering for fashion, but when it’s an accidental side effect, I can find solace in my vanity. (The seven deadly sins are so much fun!)
  7. Um, that sucks
    Eh, c’est la vie. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m losing weight, though, so it’s sub-optimal, but whatever.
  8. Ok, since you’re a mind reader, what would I want to ask about if I knew to ask about it?
    That scary campground which I stayed at on my last day of the last trip had super ticks that resisted the dog’s anti-tick treatment. It wasn’t the kind of tick associated with lyme disease though (didn’t look like mine from last year), so she should be ok. Hopefully. Somebody told me a story about a dog getting some virus from a tick and not being able to walk with it’s back legs anymore. The stairs to my apartment would be pretty rough for a dog wheelchair. Anyway, dogs get ticks all the time, so yeah. I worry too much.
  9. You thought I wanted to know about your dog having a tick?
    My blog is a real source for excitement. No, I just felt like sharing. I went on a canoe trip last weekend. It was fun. It was near Rotterdam. There are some really green and lovely areas there. If you travel in Holland, don’t forget to check out Rotterdam. Make a side jaunt to Kinder Dijke, to see a huge concentration of windmills. Then, consider heading towards Lekker Kerk, where you can rent canoes and kyaks by the hour (you will need to find out information about this on the internets, since it’s just near lekker kerk and not in it). The canals there are insanely pretty.
    Then I went to a wedding reception in Eindhoven. I brought Xena with me. She’s been to three weddings now, which is a lot for a dog. I had a very confusing conversation with a Russian family. I think they wanted to buy Xena’s puppies? They were sneaking her food when I wasn’t looking. Alas, she will have no puppies.

I detect no further questions from you at this time, but, of course, you haven’t read this yet. Further questions can go in the comments. I detect that you find this so fascinating that, um, something about laundry needing doing? Desire for a Pop Tart? It’s all fuzzy.

6 June 2007 23:20

Oh my gods, I’m in Antwerp!

I learned a few things yesterday. Not like, about myself. When people start talking about their recreational activities and learning things about themselves, it’s because their recreational activity sucks. Also be aware of words like “tough” and “challenging” and phrases like “pushing myself” and anything involving “limits.” These key words signal people who like to punish themselves. They do things like run 26 kilometers for no good reason and learn something about wanting to barf while running. I learned nothing about myself, but did acquire information that may be useful to travellers:

If you walk up to a stranger and, without any polite words or words in their language, ask where to find a bank AND you’re covered in blood, the person will be happy to help. In fact, strangers will offer to do a lot of things, like drive you to a doctor.

Also, I learned that Bromptom’s messenger-ish bag’s support frame is pretty tough and will protect a laptop from death. Also, bike gloves are great for preventing road rash. Oh, and I learned it’s important to look where you’re going. If you’re gazing off to the side at deer and some fool road engineer decided it might be a good idea to put a huge wooden post in the middle of the road, you might hit the post. Your bike will stop, but you will not. I took my first trip over my handlebars and landed on my hands and chin. My hands are fine, but my chin was not. I’ve got three stitches in it now, but all of my teeth are still in place. I got stitched up and was back on the road in about an hour.

So, yeah, I was looking at deer and ran into a pole. I remember seeing the pole in front of me and thinking I was going to hit it. Then I remember flying through the air and I remember hitting the ground and thinking “oh good, I’m ok.” And then I noticed that Nicole had fallen too and I wondered why. And I saw people stopping in alarm, so I thought I should get up off the ground and try talking to them in broken Dutch. Somebody alerted me that I was dripping blood everywhere. I asked if the dog was ok. She was fine. Her trailer hadn’t even tipped over. She wasn’t even freaked out very much.

A passerby and the postman had a discussion and decided that I needed stitches, since the bandaid that Nicole handed me wasn’t really helping. The passerby drove me to the doctor and had a talk with the receptionist, explaining what had happened. The first thing they did was tell me I would have to pay cash and ask if I had the money. While I was leaking blood everywhere. That conversation would not have occurred in France. There, they stitch first and ask about money later. But in Holland, I can drip blood on the floor while folks discuss my ability to pay.

The stranger who gave me a ride to the doctor waited for me the whole time and then gave me a ride back to where I crashed and Nicole and Xena were waiting. Nicole had righted my handlebars and checked my laptop for visible dings and removed smashed things from my bags – including an orange and plastic wine glasses designed for camping. Alas, my wine glasses are dead. But my laptop seems ok. And then we biked slowly for a while longer and stopped to camp for the night.

I don’t want to say that it was anybody’s fault but my own that I ran directly into a pole. But. Why the hell would you put a pole in the middle of the road anyway? It’s dangerous! A car that hit it would maybe not hit bikes on the other side, but certainly hurt the occupants of the car. Those poles would not be legal in California. Markers have to break away in a crash or cause a vehicle to glance off of it. The start of barriers, where a car could smash into the end and cause injury, are padded. they have big reflective garbage cans full of sand at the start of every barrier on the highway. Ok, to be fair, if I had run into a barrel of sand, I still probably would have fallen and my chin would still have hit the ground, but I think those poles should go.

Anyway, after biking a while longer, we stopped in Essen, Belgium. For those of you following along on your Landlijke Fietsrouten maps at home, Essen, Belgium is not the same town as Essen, Germany. There are several important differences. 1. One of them is in Flanders and the other is in Germany. 2. One is a famous city and the other is a tiny village. Anyway, we went to Essen, where, ironically, I couldn’t eat so much because smacking your chin in to the pavement is much like getting a big punch in the jaw. I couldn’t open my mouth very far and it hurt to chew. I drank a liter of the soymilk in my bag. It was light! Curses! Why would anybody want low calorie soy milk?

A guy at the campground said he knew another guy who could fix the wheel of Xena’s trailer. Nicole ran her bike into it and it was all askew in a comical sort of way. If you ever want people to stare at you in the border region of Belgium, bike along with a huge bloody bandage on your chin and a dog trailer with a warped wheel. Anyway, the bike fixing guy seemed a bit, well, off. So instead of having him spend the whole next day fixing the wheel, Nicole and I walked to dinner.

It’s hard to eat when you can’t really chew or open your mouth. Also, vegetarians are sort of at the mercy of the chef. You usually only have one option. “It is squishy?” I spent 2 hours mushing up my pasta with my fork and slowly putting it in my barely open mouth. I went to the bar to pay and a drunk guy looked right at me, surprised, and made a comment to the great amusement of all gathered there. The bar tender declined to translate. An old drunk guy started talking to me in English. He wanted my address. He wanted me to know that he had connections in California, with a very sexy lady. “Not a man, a sexy lady.” Oooo-kay. I got my change from the bartender and was leaving. The drunk old man said, “you’re a very attractive person. A man or a woman, I don’t know.” Apparently, he’s bi-curious. I’ve got nothing against bi-curious folks, but I do try to avoid them in bars because often they’ll want to kiss you and then run away. My heart gets broken too easily. I did not tell him he would break my heart and his boyfriend’s too (not to mention the sexy California T-girl), but instead said “me neither.” He called back “You’re neither?” but I was already out the door.

And today, after getting a bike shop to de-warp Xena’s wheel, I biked to Antwerp. We went back across the border to get back on the Fietsroute and followed it for 50+ kilometers. This evening was the first time I felt brave enough to try the laptop. It works! (so far) Those of you following along at home will not that we’re late in arriving in Antwerp. Oh my goodness, we got lost around Breda. We spent half the day sightseeing and the second half of the day lost. Somebody put duct tape over many of the signs for the LF-13b. Is the route closed for some reason? Is this a joke? Why would you put duct tape over the signs? I cursed the LF-13a/b for being confusing and poorly marked and it extracted revenge in the form of blood.

We went in wrong directions for hours. My landlord called my school and left a message saying that my rental contract had expired. My school called me, while I was pondering which way to go. So I called my landlord, who explained that he’s been reading my blog. (Hi Yuric!) So I’m not being evicted. Hooray.

I’m too tired to continue for now. Perhaps I’ll find wifi tomorrow.