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In response to an article by an angry waitress re: gluten [Apr. 26th, 2014|05:56 pm]
While I'm sympathetic to the frustration of the waitress, I wish articles like this would try to solve the problem by stressing the difference between an "allergy" and an "intolerance" or "ethical/religious/health preference" rather than blaming people. I am alarmed by the larger cultural backlash against perceived "hypocrisy" when someone strives for ethical and/or healthy behaviour and is only 90% successful. In doing this we create a society that says "it's better to ignore health and ethics entirely than to pursue them imperfectly."

I've even been called out at a conference in front of a room full of people for behaviour roughly relating to the below - which I see as not only internally consistent, but also compassionate.

----

I request vegan food and am lactose-intolerant, but I will have a taste of someone else's cheesecake, and two days ago I ate some steak. Many people ask "why?"

(1) I'm a utilitarian, not a vegan. I never claim to be vegan, I just ask for vegan food. Ethics are, for me, not about the symbolic value of a behaviour but pertain to the consequences of my actions. When I request or order food, someone goes out and buys it on my behalf. My choice fuels an economy - and it's my choice as to whether that economy runs on animal abuse or not. So that steak that I ate? It was from someone else's plate - they were about to be throw it out. And if I order a salad and, after three bites, notice that someone put bacon in it? I could send my half-eaten meal back, but they can't exactly serve it to someone else can they? (...unless it was in this one restaurant I worked at... and later, like most of the staff, quit - but that's another story). When I buy groceries, sometimes I screw up and buy salad dressing where the 35th ingredient is "egg solids." In all cases, the harm is already done, and I can choose whether the animal product winds up in me or in a landfill (in most restaurants) or in the compost (in most Vancouver households).

When asked for my dietary preferences at conferences and on sets, I have tried actually denoting what a utilitarian diet consists of, but there is usually not enough space on a form to do this. And even when I write it down, people on the other end either don't get it at all or draw the strange conclusion that they are obliged to go out of their way to find expensive specialty products (when I'm happy with lentils, shredded greens, and brown rice - which is about the cheapest meal you *can* make). So I just say "vegan" and I do my best to pass on the *numerous* other things that are proscribed. I've heard that people who keep modest kosher might wisely do the same - although, for some reason, their elaborate exegesis from one mitzvah is considered to be "more legitimate" than a meticulous and quantifiable ethical system.

Still, I see that even when I don't request vegan food, but just order the vegan option on the menu *without ever stating a dietary preference*, people are quick to sharply question what they perceive as a violation of a vegan diet. This is especially disturbing, as it implies that you *shouldn't* eat vegan food at all, unless you are 100% vegan. Which is to say that most people are obliged to eat animal products at every meal. That's a real WTF moment - it seems that people have coded eating a vegan meal as an statement about their identity rather than an option available to all.

(2) Lactose intolerance is not an allergy. I can eat lactose just as most people can eat legume-derived oligosaccharides. A tiny amount - like a small bite of the cheesecake that someone else doesn't want - causes no noticeable effect. A small amount isn't unpleasant for me... but it is a unpleasant for someone sitting beside me - and I feel it's a little unkind to inflict on someone. A large amount will cause my intestines to do interesting and personally unpleasant things.

---

And as far as the gluten thing goes. Because of intensive genetic modification (through direct resequencing or just heavy breeding), many of the cereals that we eat today are chemically weird and seem implicated in new and interesting health problems. So I don't blame people for cutting down on them *before* they develop the health problems that turn a preference into an allergy rather than afterwards

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Dream: Fairies and Ogres; Dream: a post-Caprican Exodus [Apr. 21st, 2014|10:03 am]
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I am grateful for the Cat. On Thursday, she arranged for her old chum to walk me through basic makeup. A week prior, she came with me for professional acting headshots in three genders. On Friday, following her advice, I took the day off and actually slept well. I will have to do more of this.


The following are steeped in dream-allegory. Usually to sci-fi and, to a rarer extend other forms of spec fic, as I consume it. On TV first, then on film, then in larp it seems (this is new!), then in text.

I am told that other people on the spectrum also relate to their world in pop nerd culture allegory.



On a side note, these are following up on an earlier week where I dreamed I was acting in contemporary American re-makes of two shows: Ghost in the Shell and... something else. Curiously, GITS and BSG are both being rebooted South of the border.





Ogres and Fairies

A woman and her partner are in a field in a large garden on a fine and misty morning. Their relationship is strained. Both are pale. Her hair is black and shoulder-length; zer hair is a dark tawny, boyish and ragged.

As if someone had torn open a bag high above, small gifts - hats, rings, and other jewellery - rain out of the sky. The partner becomes larger, more ogreish as ze sweeps them up in zer hands. The woman becomes smaller, blocked out of the showering by her partners thorny, lumpy mass.

Someone tosses a pair of homemade lace butterfly wings, the size of an actual butterfly. Perfect. Beautiful. And a carryable size. But the ogre sweeps them up in zer hands. But now, somehow, there are actual butterfly wings. The woman, now tiny, dashes out to collect them. She catches them.

I strap them onto my back and fly off.

I hide in a dugout cabin as The Owners come past. Youths all, gabbing. Terrible and dangerous. And also huge in relation to my current size. I am about to leave when a young owner, looking eight if she were a human, and her mother come in. If I am caught, it would be unpleasant. If I am caught fleeing, it would be worse.

I dart up to alight on a rafter. Their conversation sounds normal, but I can't parse a single word. Like they are exchanging the idea of speech.

Eventually they leave. So do I.



A long corridor in a hospital. Extended care. Degenerative neural diseases. I mean a *long* corridor. It is the way between Their world and ours.

I flit above everyone, on the exposed pipes and ducts all painted hospital-white.

Two patients are there, Distressed and semi-coherent,  on suicide watch. One reports surviving abuse. She is referred to a psychiatrist.


There is a police department that misses me, a Captain. The two officers do not know that I am in the room with them, listening from behind some books on a desk. They speak of the people they've interviewed. It is a procedural show that I am in then? Alright then. I'll look into this, all tiny and absent.

I flit back to the hospital. To one of the patients in interview, she shudders in an armchair. Why so distressed now? I overhear their conversation - ah - it is the psychiatrist that is abusing her. Mystery solved! Now how to go about-

-the patient is up off her chair and over to the psychiatrist. She stabs him in the neck with a screw driver six, seven, eight, nine times. And she leaves.

Well, shit. Suddenly showing up and talking to her wouldn't exactly work. She'll Disbelieve me or crush me.

I am gone.


Out, in a sunny misty street. I run into an old friend.

The pixie woman flies up at her old friend. To attract her attention. The friend sees, the refugee pixie and acknowledges her, and her changed state. This, or something like it, has happened before. The ogre-partner - there is news of zer. The specifics are... what? Strange. Depressing. Alien. Full of closure. 

I can't hear the details as I am viewing from down on the ground. Now I am wearing all green to match my tawny hair. I have no wings. I am like a grasshopper. I am her male counterpart. I leap up to participate in the conversation, feeling somewhat left out.



This is a clear reference to Changeling: the Lost, which I played on Saturday.

I have been that tawny-and-green lad before. Ze is a guide for those who journey through other states of consciousness.

I have also been a winged Fairie in dreams. But full sized, with great billowing black wings, riding the currents of night. Also female then.





An Exodus after Caprica

They never found a planet. Not one unoccupied, or one willing to receive them. The intervening decades have not been kind but they have been formative. And our generation has grown up in dark, steel-and-glass spaces between stars. It is always night for us. Harsh sunlight without an atmosphere? That is not "day." It is like one hot light in a dark theatre.

There were spaces of other survivors from other colonies - despotic and with a certain reliance on cannibalism. We learned from them. But we were compassionate.

We are here. In a garden. At night, more or less. A nice place to stroll under lattice windows that keep out the vacuum. A small sun in the distance perhaps. But always night.

I explain our history things to the latest round of nuggets, as we call any student now. It was a term favoured by a woman like my grandmother-of-position if not of-genes. Her name was Starbuck. I carry that name too.

We are here.


Look at other dreams of BSG for contrast



Why these dreams are unusual:

from John Varley's Steel Beach.

Context: Hildy Johnson is one of the few humans on Luna who grew up on Earth. Ze is a newspaper reporter. Ze lives as a newspaperman, reporting in a society where people don't really read any more, but ze's employed in large part because because the Central Computer ("CC") has figured out that if humans don't spend a few hours a week engaged in some kind of "work" - even if it's standing around staring at an automated construction site while leaning on a shovel - we start to go a bit poorly in the head.

Even someone as well-adjusted as Hildy has attempted suicide four times. The last three were at home in private. The CC intervened, then wiped zer memory of the event. Most recently however, ze deliberately got into a barfight with a very large engineered thug. Ze remembers lying on an operating table... and then waking up on a desert island? Weird.

That was a year ago. It's an easily-inhabited island, curiously so. It's been a simple enough survival effort. But today a ship stopped off and a man in a uniform came ashore, claiming to be a figurative embodiment of the Central Computer, who had created a short hallucination with a year of memories attached. i.e. a dream

Before, if things collapsed, at least there was air to breathe.

Nowhere in the solar system did humans now live where the air was free. To "forget" how to implant memories in the human brain the CC would no doubt have to forget many other things. He would have to limit his abilities and, as he pointed out, unless he decreased his intelligence deliberately to a point that might endanger the very humans he was designed to protect, he would re-chisel this particular wheel in due time. And it was also true that the CC of Mars or Triton would certainly discover the techniques on their own, though the rumor was none of the other planetary computers was so far evolved as the Lunar CC. As nations which often found themselves in competition, the Eight Worlds did not encourage a lot of intercourse between their central cybernets. So all the reasons he stated sounded reasonable. It was railroad time, so somebody would build a choo-choo. But what didn't ring true was what the CC had left out. He liked the new capability. He was as pleased as a child with a new toy monorail.

"I have one further proof," the Admiral said. "It involves something I mentioned earlier. Acts that were out of character. This is the biggest one, and it involves you not noticing something that, if these memories had been generated by you, you surely would have noticed. You would have spotted it by now yourself, except I've kept your mind occupied. You haven't had time to really think back to the operating table, and the time immediately before that."

"It's not exactly fresh in my mind."

"Of course not. It feels as if it all happened a year ago."

"So what is it? What didn't I notice?"

"That you are female."

"Well, of course I'm—"

Words fail me again. How many degrees of surprise can there be?

Imagine the worst possible one, then square it, and you'll have some notion of how surprised I was. Not when I looked reflexively down at my body, which was, as the CC had said and I had known all along, female. No, the real shock came when I thought back to that day in the Blind Pig. Because that was the first moment in one year that I had realized I had been male when I got in the fight. I had been male when I went on the operating table.

And I had been female when I appeared on the beach of Scarpa Island.

 

And I simply had never noticed it.
 

 

Something continues to shake loose in my unconscious. Something regendered, properly gendered. This is very healthy.
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2014|12:45 am]
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 Holy smokes this whole "running a start-up" thing costs a lot of money. I can't think of another way to do it though. I just hope there's not some cheaper alternative that will seem glaringly obvious in hindsight.
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Facebook conversations about White Pirivilege [Apr. 9th, 2014|11:49 pm]
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  • Amy E. G. Fox Oana Capota - it depends on what time period we're talking about. Generally, people will more heavily anglicize their name, the more racism is directed at their culture. The category of "white" used to mean English, Germans, Welsh and Scots and I think the French, who were Catholic. Northern European were considered white later (see Deadwood for examples of what I'm talking about). Later, Irish, Italians, Spaniards, Poles were granted fringe White status in the US and Canada. Jews are often still in a gray area.

    During this period, non-white Europeans would often not jut re-spell their name but swap it out entirely for something English or German. After that, they would keep their name but radically change the spelling. Then slightly change it. Then keep it the same as much as possible within the latin alphabet as recognized by the government bureaucracy's character set.

    You can see some of this at work with Chinese surnames as some newer immgrants use a standardized pinyin system, which refers to non-English phonemes, rather than anglicized aproximations Eg: Chin -> Qin, Wong -> Wang.

     

  • Amy E. G. Fox Haide Anne Rose - the list is not condemning whiteness, it's focusing on forms of predjudice that still have lasting effects, which advnatge white poeple over others.

    I am descended from Scots. And I have huge amounts of White privilege. This despite the fact that the romans thought of us as "wild" and took some of us as slaves. And despite the fact that the English colonized us and our language started to evaporate. I have white privilege because, in the age of sail, my fellow Scots hooked up with other Britons to go beat the crap out of everyone else and take their stuff. And while the worst of it ha passed, nothing has yet overturned the day-to-day advantages that I receive.

    Roman stereotypes about blue-skinned cattle-thieves have faded away, and we no longer give our best food to English landlords, but, due to British Colonialism, whether my ancestors themselves dished out the beatings or not, I still have a disproportionate amount of wealth, access to education, resistance to prosecution and so on. Thus, I have privileges that Raven does not enjoy - This is White Privilege. It doesn't make me a bad person, any more than I begrudge Raven for not being on the cisgender end of things. But we both acknowledge that we enjoy privileges that the other lacks, and for no just reason.
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Feedback from "how do I come across" acting exercise: [Apr. 8th, 2014|11:53 pm]
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GERMANARIO

A strength
Also, a vulnerability
Constantly amused - use humour as a defence
On a different emotional and intellectual level, maybe two levels up intellectually
Hard to integrate intellect and emotions
Pain is always there, just below the surface
Disappointed in people - because people are capable of so much more
Have stared into the abyss, multiple times and it has stared back into me (given the source, this is really saying something)
Extremely moral
Admirable person
Hide it well - it's part of your strength



BOOMER

Medics who are also soldiers
Scientists who are also soldiers
Good technical knowledge
Someone who's not afraid to go rogue
Someone who is inherently a good character. Not a hard-core villain.
Not afraid of the confines of society
Good grasp of ettiquette, but willing to ignore it
When shit gets real, you're a good person to have around
Can be cute - makes me smile
Have big and thought-out emotions under good control, can't help but show small ones
Can be really passionate. Can you play a character whose passion goes sideways and has a big falling out.
Could rub people the wrong way. It's sad, but you have bigger fish to fry.

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On Passwords [Apr. 2nd, 2014|10:44 am]
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 XKCD is actually wrong here. If password format is easy to memorize in such a easy as to make it easy to predict, it means that people can program for it. The words-only password system is actually vulnerable to what's called a "dictionary hack" as you can teach a computer to guess random words, and then apply that as a brute-force cracking technique proportionately to the use of the above method.
 
[NAME REDACTED] - your modification is on the right track here, but adding CamelCase only adds one more bit of entropy, unless it is done irregularly, in which case it becomes one bit per word or, if you shuffle your caps into the words, one bit per letter. The number at the end adds about 3.5 bits per number.
 
This being said, brute-force password cracking is rare. It's more likely for someone to phish for it, find your written-down copy, or perhaps look over your shoulder and recognize common words as you type them
 
I would recommend using oblique references to things that (1) only you, the user, care about - and (2) which are hard for other people to look up. A way that only you misspelled a word when you were a child. An imaginary language that you made up. Part of a friend's old rotary phone number that you don't have written down. You can even write down clues for yourself to help remember.
 
Example:
 
skleP9301arushaN
 
I know what this refers to. And it's easy for me to remember. No-one else does. I could even post the clues on my facebook and no-one would guess it.
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(no subject) [Mar. 31st, 2014|10:57 pm]
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 It's a shame that creationism and cosmology usually don't get along. For me, the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis makes me reconsider the existence of a designer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_censorship_hypothesis

 

It even has an out - "Okay, fine, curious sapient creatures, you can look inside a black hole, but you can never come out again... unless you count being re-emitted as informationless Hawking radiation."

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In response to a thread about science horning in on religion [Mar. 31st, 2014|10:43 pm]
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In response to a thread about science horning in on religion

 

 As someone who finds a sense of religious awe in *the discoveries made possible in the course of scientific research* (rather than in the scientific method itself - see my recent posts), and who has a relationship with gods of learning and discovery, I'm a bit perplexed as to what the problem is here.

 
In part, I don't think we have a good working definition of "religion." I don't think that "a relationship with the intangibile" is a good definition as (1) cosmology tends to indicate that dark matter exists, which is tangible, and (2) religious experiences are often both empirically measureable (PET scans, heart rates, double-blind testing) and repeatably induceable (chanting, psychotropics, meditation, magnetic induction).
 
The best I can come up with for "religion" is an "institution that propigates a meaning-based social structure through collective ritual;" spirituality being "individual practices that propigate a meaning-based personal life-structure." Science is "the use of empiricism to develop and test models of external reality which typically do not refer to meaning" - as some forms meaning can not be empirically tested at this time.
 
The reason we see science and religion as opposed is that the word "religion" tends to be associated with universal models that defy (or contradict) empirical testing, and, unlike individualist spirituality, religious human collectives have a tendency to fight back when questioned - hard, often using considerable political power.
 
In actuality, the definition of religion I'm using also applies to team sports, politics and LAN parties.
 
Science and atheism are not synonymous. But they tend to go together as they are compatible - as you can't empirically prove that God(s) exist(s). Likewise with agnosticism. Unitarianism, some forms of Buddhism and Humanism are also compatable. As, for that matter, are ritual-based structures of meaning-creation (religions) that rely on empiricism such as team sports, math class, taxation, and the legal system.
 
Religions that rely heavily on metaphor, such as Daoism, the United Church, Progressive Judaism and Islam, poetry clubs, and meditation classes, also get along well with the scientific method, as metaphor doesn't.
 
By contrast, when science is presented with, some *literal and untempered* traditional beliefs (usually propigated by religious structures), it can usually test them and demonstrate that they do not conform to empirical models. It doesn't say that one shouldn't believe in a given teaching (as moral imperatives cannot be empirically measured), only that there are logical contradictions in believing in some teachings while also relying on science and its products in day-to-day life. By extension, it also invalidates theologies that are internally logically consistent, but which have claims that are demonstrably false. 
 
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Stage names - a letter [Mar. 19th, 2014|01:12 am]
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 Hi S-,

I think I may have made a mistake in matching a stage name to a work-finding strategy.

Having recently done casting using Breakdown Express as well as email submissions, I've learned that actors appear with name and headshot only. Most actors who apply don't bother to read what they're submitting for - and the same sadly goes for some agents. As a consequence, for most parts, the CD/user is faced with a wall of 75% totally unsuitable actors ad 15% actors who look like every other actor. If someone sees my name and headshot, they assume I'm a fairly unremarkable-looking young white dude, like about a third of the actors out there, only shorter and not as good looking.

I've found that "Robbin" is *great* for low-budget "we just need a warm body" male and creature roles - I've got some auditions, a lead and two principles, this way. But for gender-neutral roles, the only way I hear back is if I include a message indicating that I'm female, and even that is shaky, in part I believe, again drawing on my past experience on the casting end, because I think people scan email submissions without reading them.

I also signed up for extra work, under the name of Amy. I quickly had to start turning down gigs because I was just getting too many (minimum-wage) offers. The reason I believe is that, for a woman, I look "interesting." And InspirationAll specializes in diversity. But I'm still

Thus, I would suggest is going back to "Amy" as a stage name for all female and gender-neutral roles.

I've asked around, and it seems that most of trans-spectrum butch looking transgender actors maintain two profiles, one in either gender. If you feel comfortable submitting me for male roles under the name of "Robbin," I might get some bites. If you feel this would be unwise, then don't. I may continue to do it myself if that's okay with you.

Your thoughts?


Two quick pieces of news - should I have run these past you before accepting?

1. I got an SAE extra gig as a welder on Wayward Pines S1E9. As indicated in the breakdown, I was completely covered-up with cowhides, gauntlets, face shield and respirator.

2. I just booked a little improv gig with some more work likely to follow in the summer. It's super low-budget ($60) so I hope it's okay that I didn't check in first - I didn't realize we were getting paid at all. But they'll send the cheque to [Agency].

   Amy/Robbin
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Notes on Preparation and the Pedagogy of Acting [Mar. 12th, 2014|01:03 am]
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(part of a longer email conversation)

 

 Hi T-,

 
I'm on board with the showing up on time, as punctuality is an essential film skill, and I can stay (although I don't feel disrespected if others need to leave), but I don't think that staying in the room for all scenes works for me as a student as well as does stepping out to prep. And I question whether having everyone in the room is actually as necessary or wise as we may have been taught from much of the common culture of Vancouver Scene-Study.
 
I appreciate that some people may have a greater capacity to learn through observation - at least more than myself. But, but by the time that the third or fourth scene comes around, unless I can go put what I've learned into practice, my brain just 'tops out:' I stop learning, and I'm not really paying attention - which is, frankly, a disrespectful thing for me to do to a performer. I've been going to acting classes for about a year and a half and this hasn't changed for me, so I don't think it's something I can easily change in myself.
 
I find that I really gain a lot by taking time to prep - as it actually lets me employ what I'm learning at the Share. And doing this well takes more than a  minute or two.
 
Tonight, I was honestly thrilled that I could take time to prep (although I should not have left *during* someone's scene, and I will not do so again - thank you for pointing that out to me), and I think it showed in my work.
 
Normally my first take is my worst. Tonight, after I prepared, it was actually solid work. That is the first time that has *ever* happened for me. I want to get into a practice wherein I can regularly deliver work of that quality.
 
Further, I understand that stepping out to fully prep a scene when one is on deck is a part of the default practices of some of the more established acting academies. Staying to watch every scene may be a part of Vancouver's local scene-study culture, (perhaps a product of the scarcity of space?) but I don't think it's advisable from a basic teaching/learning standpoint as it's not effective for experiential learners. Prep time and space also, in my experience, more accurately simulates the audition or green-room environment than does moving from watching to performing. It also prevents the class from having to wait while I prep.
 
What's more, from observing this class, and pretty much every other scene study class that I've ever been in, I see other people's attention waiver too. As a performer, I would feel more respected by an attentive audience than a restless and distracted one. I'm flattered if people can learn from my scene, but if they learn like I do, their attention is often long-frayed by the time I'm up, and they're not learning from, let alone appreciating my work.
 
For these reasons of teaching, learning and, in my subjective experience, respect, I would very much value the option for on deck or-next-on-deck actors (and a partner for monologues, if desired)  to use scene prep to its full advantage by taking the time to practice what they've learned. That, to me, would be  a better and bolder learning model, and more supportive space for all involved.
 
   A-
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Alternatives to arguing that cis people playing trans characters is like blackface [Mar. 1st, 2014|11:53 pm]
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 From an FB thread:

  • It does help to have some strong talking points. Here are some alternate arguments that I've field-tested:

    - "When spending thousands or millions of dollars to make a movie about the dignity of a marginalized group, you'd think the decent thing to do would be to solicit, or at least accept, applications from members of that group"

    - "Networks will hire for a trans role and deliberately recast trans actors."

    - "Roles are written for the majority as a default. Roles that could be played by anyone (i.e. "woman in park" "doctor #3") are still assumed to be the majority. And when a minority role comes up, people in the minority are told that they 'don't have enough experience.' (Although experience doesn't make you better - practice does). And then they get the minority role too. This is another example of an experience trap that uses someone else's predjudice as an excuse for more of the same."

    - "The government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to an industry that refuses to live up to even basic human resources equity - and refuses to hire 95% of the population for key publicity positions. this discrimination crosses many axes - trans is just one of them."

    - "Cis actors have a track record of doing sloppy research, confirming a caricature, and then shooting their mouth off in transphobic ways until they thankfully get tired of the transgender content and forget about us entirely . This is just one more example."

    - "I'd be happy for hollywood to hire cis people for trans roles, if they did the reverse - heck, i'd prefer it. But they don't hire trans folks at all. So hiring trans people for trans roles is a first step."

    - "Wouldn't it be nice to see a world on TV that actually looks like the world around us?"

  •  
     Another problem with the blackface analogy (beyond the large contextual gulf between mocking parody and something contemporarily prevalent and more subtle) is that it tends to lead people to conclude "and therefore drag is also bad" - and I'd rather not oppose drag as it is one of the few performing arts fields where trans people can get a leg up.

    If an analogy is necessary, I find it's best to let the person one is trying to convince find a reason why *they* (or failing that, someone they know) would be recast in a hollywood lead role. If you rattle off one of the above arguments, and, if it doesn't seem to be connecting, mention how this is part of a larger TV/film HR trend that also applies to looks/age/ability/race/accent/weight/height/class/women/LGB. With this floating past them, *most people* will be able to draw from their own experience to find a reason to suddenly agree with you - as very few people have privilege on all these axes, and are therefore potentially subject to discrimination themselves.

    I find that this invocation of self-interest will abruptly sway people who, minutes before, were indifferent to - if not actively speaking against - employment equity for trans actors. It leads them to the (logical, contextually more accurate, and less anti-drag) conclusion that they are not allies in the fight against shitty casting, but are victims of it themselves. Personal rage is way more of a motivator than analogous sympathy.
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Sleep journal [Feb. 27th, 2014|11:59 pm]
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Fifteen hour days are not good for me. That is all the new information. An hour before bed to unwind is a sacred thing.

"Sacred" meaning "whole"

The Cat and I talk about *why* we stay up. It is chasing that productive peace after the busy day, that quiet garden where the mind sprouts.

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(no subject) [Feb. 27th, 2014|11:58 pm]
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 This level of fatigue on a night like tonight
It is like tipping back into a rich dark sinkhole
And falling, free and scared into sleep
Immersed in dreams in the river that runs under the world
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Sleep log week 6 and 7 [Feb. 23rd, 2014|11:19 pm]
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I'm not sure what's doing it - habit perhaps? But I am definitely sleeping better. It may be a lowered level of work stress. And, of course, a fine and lovely relationship ;) 

This said, I'm getting to bed a lot later. I *haven't* been hitting the gym as much, although I've been biking hither and yon and, of course, doing stage fighting. But when I sleep, I tend to stay that way.
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(no subject) [Feb. 19th, 2014|03:58 pm]
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 Someone broke into my car and made a giant mess. This was not a Moriartian feat as it's sitting on the driveway uninsured with the doors unlocked for when the battery goes dead.. They popped out panels (looking for drugs?) and spilled out the contents of the glove compartment.
 
I guess they found nothing they thought fencable. But they left an DC/AC/USB electrical converter and an Itrip in plain sight. They also exposed a cheque that I had forgotten to cash five months ago.
 
They can burgle me any day.
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Miscellaneous dreams [Feb. 17th, 2014|09:35 am]
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Hercules in a test of strength TV show against  mere mortals. Muppets. When the scaffolding disappears, Xavier helps us find Magneto. Psychic devouring ensues.

I am her lower-ranking second agent. In the maze of worlds, we find a "massage parlour" with a key. Turn it once and you used to work there. Turn it twice and you get a promotion. Turn it three times and you run it, and work your old job - and don't sleep much. Turn it four times, and now I'm the peculiar lady running this place in front of envious workers.

I'm trying to navigate back to the roomshare in a decrepit mansion. The world is sunlit at 3:30 am. Mildly buzzed salarymen, done their gambling, drift home with me.


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Sleep log - week 5 [Feb. 10th, 2014|11:38 pm]
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Having an hour of dark before bed is probably more effective when I relax during it. It's also probably easier when I have the setup to read in dimmer light. 
 
This said, when I give myself time to sleep I've been sleeping a lot better on the whole. Even a short nap is more refreshing. The most disruptive elements now are staying up late and the combination of worry and resent. Thus, the next step should be an interrogation of why I postpone rest and some kind of relaxation/forgiveness/present-focus. The latter also has implications for my ability to concentrate, especially on acting.
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Sleep log week 4 [Feb. 2nd, 2014|09:43 am]
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Showering before bed is good, but it can add an extra task when I should just close my eyes. Turning off the heat at night makes it a lot easier to sleep. Now I need to focus on getting to bed, ready to sleep *in time.*
 
This month's task: spend an hour before bed without bright lights, including screens.
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Sleep Journal - Week 3 [Jan. 29th, 2014|01:07 am]
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Dreams of an unsuccessful wrestle with the captain's mother, followed by duel with the Captain (a Crybaby-style Johnny Depp dressed like Hook) that ends with one fell slash and the smell of ruptured intestines. Victory, and an agonizing death.

 

Dollhouse +5 years

Dreams of a mob fleeing from South America in an APC, tracked from sattellites in league with Perrin's New America. I am Echo.

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Sleep Journal - Week 3 [Jan. 29th, 2014|01:04 am]
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Sleep journal - week 3
 
Sleep varies wildly. First waking up alot. Now sleeping like a brick* and waking up earlyTurning off the heat at night makes it easier to sleep - in part because the furnace is LOUD.
 

*One of those new "smart bricks" that needs to sleep at night.His mother agrees. *Were* that the case, I would be in the rig

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Purpose Exercise [Jan. 21st, 2014|09:10 pm]

Who are you:

What do you do: outwit, make fiction into fact, make justice into fiction

Who you do it for: all those brilliant people in the world who just need a spark

What do they want or need: hope, joy

How do they change: they come alive

 

Confer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVsXO9brK7M

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Sleep Journal Week 2 [Jan. 21st, 2014|09:07 pm]
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Sleep journal week 2.
 
Bed showers are good and provide an opportunity for skin care. The deciding factor in relaxation is tied to low-stimulus screen time. That's still the next task.
 
More dreams this week, some with obvious depth of meaning. Can sleep next to a second person more easily than under a second person.
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Emily Watkins [Jan. 19th, 2014|10:27 am]
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I went to larp last night. I NPC'd, which means that I played a supporting character in other people's stories. Her name was Emily Watkins, and her goal was to Save the World through Science!

It's an understandable goal for her. She had a lot of faith in science. She probably used to be some gifted type who wound up doing research for DARPA before realizing that (1) she needed to transition and (2) building drones was actually not as good a contribution to humanity as she'd been led to believe. In any case, she stole access to the ground ingredients for a kind of spatial-informaional singularity, more as a "fuck you" to her superiors. She saw what happened to people who leaked info and she was indifferent to whether she lived to be one of them.

This system didn't expose the military industrial complex, but it also didn't irradiate her (much). Instead, it knocked her stepped out of time into a higher reality. In this extra-ordinary non-space, she'd technomagically edited her own memories to give herself a self-consistent physical/mental life history on the Clavius Colonies, on Luna's Southern hemisphere, where she grew up in a peaceful posthuman multifaith/multiculture microecologically-aided water mining, where she ultimately took on the ("summer") job of operating the fusion reactor. I'm sure this sounded like a good idea at the time, but when her fantasy world ended in a nightmare invasion of hostile weaponized von neuman systems - the descendants of what she used to build - she got bounced back to Earth with no idea how to operate without the usual comforts of airtight rock shelters, postscarcity cultural-economics, somatic freedom, mindcasting or socialist-libertarian-Sharia. And there was that matter of re-learning English instead of proto-Marainic Interlingua.


She's pretty cracking smart, so a few months after her rough return, she entered the imaginary charity ball, elegant in a plum and silver gown, loudly lamenting "this attire is impractical." (Which it is compared to a multipocketed low-G coverall suit with the usual assortment of sensors, tailored microbes and emergency vacuum survival gear) Then she roughly threw her backpack into the corner and asked for instructions on socializing.

Conversation starters included:

"It rains a lot right now."

"The... Canucks are playing hockey."


The entire event took place at an imaginary charity ball where, to elude the Faerie Lords, everyone's identity was magically concealed. No-one could recognize anyone else. This could be a problem as she was there to track down and apprehend a spy. But for Emily, who has both aspergers and prosopagnosia to go with it, not being able to recognize people was nothing unusual. When she figured out that everyone else was having trouble, she gave a chuckle at how "So... neurotypicals are operating on my level. Dope."



Quotes:

"If the cord is giving you so much trouble, why not just quantum-tunnel it?"

"It's still not haram here? I've never consumed ethyl alcohol at these concentrations before.  I mean, you said that I've done it twice, but all that I remember is waking up with a headache. Ooh! More champagne? And it's free? Please!"

(forty minutes later, with her head on a table) "Why do people consume this!? Why don't you just gland your drugs!?"


"The don't like to be called 'robots.' It's rude, due to the implications of slavery. Thank you for the offer of employment nonetheless, but I'm not an abiotic person. Tomasz is building one though."

"Sure. Sure. Wõ shì hen xão xìexìe. Ní. Oh right. English. And then I say. I am also well. I thank... you."




Anyhow. This character is an exercise in being completely unfiltered. In terms of speech (see above examples), in reacting to people (hitting a 1654 pirate in the back of the head after a relatively-mild in-character  rape joke) and in terms of gender. I din't not have that creeping feeling of operating in a pre-tranisitional state at all. AT ALL. Which is very rare, especially of late. I also felt pretty. And that was pretty darn nice. I also felt more confident and calm afterwards.


I'm not sure what this means, but I'll have to find it again.


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It's deliberately cryptic [Jan. 19th, 2014|02:29 am]
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After we pitched the pilgrimage, I saw you. I felt you, this morning: electric. Mercurial. A god at my back.

I still wonder what you want. The cat seems to have some ideas.

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Customer care letter [Jan. 18th, 2014|12:26 pm]
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There are so many soicla media sites, so many blogs, and I don't like to see my writing going unindexed

even when it's a complaint letter to FIDO, the phone company.

________

 I'd like to file a complaint.

 
I've been receiving robocalls from Fido about an unspecified "urgent matter." I've already paid my bill via EBT, and the only reason I was late in paying is that, despite several requests to receive an electronic bill, they still don't arrive - which makes it hard for me to know what I'm supposed to pay until I get an "overdue" text message.
 
Although I haven't had any success in getting my bill over email, I've found the staff helpful up until today. The first person I spoke to asked me for my identifying information and my PIN, and I gave it, then gave to her agaIn later. She transferred me to billing, who asked for my PIN. I thought this was odd and, because I'm skittish about handing out PINs, mentioned that I'd already given it twice. She seemed to find my pointing this out to be objectionable and took a cold attitude. I gave my pin. During our conversation, she then repeatedly called me "sir" (I have a deep voice) despite my correcting her about my gender several times - and, I presume, her having my name ("Amy") on file.
 
I didn't like the robocalls in the first place. I really don't like them when I've already paid. And I don't like taking attitude or being referred to as male during a phone call that I shouldn't have had to make in the first place. I would like to please not receive any more automated calls (and, if possible, by bill over email or epost.ca). I would also like for someone to please have a word with the staff in the call centre about referring to customers by the correct gender. They often call me sir, but until today, have been quick to correct their mistake.
 
I have a contract at present, but my future purchasing decisions regarding Fido vs. Google Voice or another carrier as well as recommendations to friends will very much depend on whether the robocalls and misgendering continues or stops. I hope it stops and we can enjoy an ongoing business relationship.
 
   Thank you for your attention and consideration,
 
   Amy Fox
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Slider Dream [Jan. 15th, 2014|11:36 pm]
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Prohibition is still going strong, and I'm setting up a party in a large rez dorm. A fire breaks out and Prof. Arturo is adjusting the remote. A girl breaks away from her mother and jumps through the vortex. "Corazon" her mother calls after her. The professor goes.

I guess it's my turn next. Jump. And land in the mean streets of another world.

The alarm interrupts our adventures.
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Dreams of helpful pedestrians and a school for oneironauts [Jan. 13th, 2014|08:47 pm]
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Up for a stroll 05:30 in the old industrial patch near Hastings where I used to live. Just near the big warehouses that double as music studios. I walk towards the sun rising over Grandview.

Lucid? Almost lucid?

A crowd of people run South, up the bicycle path. It's like a cross-section of Vancouver is out jogging this morning.

I turn North. Wow. There's a lot of people here.

I pull one woman aside. 

"What are you doing?" I ask.

She turns - close-cropped graying hair and a retroreflective blue-striped tracksuit - a smirk.

"Helping you dream" she says.

And she runs off.

 

Hermes has been trying to get my acknowledgement, my attention, my respect for some time.
__________________
 

Imagine  a jagged mountain shaped like a kolrabi, top and bottom.

It floats, slowly rotating two or more kilometers above the rural valley.

Like a Laputa. But this is no refuge for idle intellectuals. The minds here are honed and their edge tested.

Well, maybe not that honed. I am in slow orbit of its mass, π/12 off the equitorial. Its Higgs Bosons, tilted and skewed off of spacetime by psychic whim, keep it heavy and high off the earth and me, attuned to it with the help of my suit, in freefloat around it. I lost my grip some time ago, likely having blown a test to scale in properly. I can only hope not to make an ass of myself on the way in.

The main equitorial dock rotates into view. And oblong rectangle and much more 

Okay. Adjust my descent. I twist my mass a few degrees, but I'm not skilled, not powerful enough to make it. I'm going scrape hard, then slip out of orbit. It's a long way down to the Earth - or more likely, and worse, it's a public rescue. Not a fall, but a fail.

Rotate the mass of the pod and slip the aft into the Earth's well 10% and invert the spacetimeplane on the reverse. θ -> π/12? I think. My teacher thinks. She thinks in my head. I think in her head.


We think.

And the sixty or so students within do that. Their/our applied subjectivity gently nudges our mass-existence onto the slope of the Earth's gravity well on one side and away from the other. The structure, tugged by the Earth, tilts. Mass shifts. I float/coast/freefall...

...through the dock. And inside. Uninjured.

It's like Giger took up interior decoration. It's like termites ran Ikea. It's alive, sort of. Not like us. Obediant yet terrifyingly dominant. Smooth. Peanut coloured, pea, and muted saffron. Rounded, arched, rippled. Translucent lights added with orthodox electrics powered by repurposed digestive acids. Beautiful.

I float across and into the main classroom, rotating on my back and looking "ahead" through my shaggy brown hair and over my nose-ring. I coast down, and gently pitch until I land on the foot-high radial ripples that are our chairs, our benches. I catch my breath.

My instructor, our psychic queen in her heavy diving suit, smiles.

Well done. She thinks, and turns to the class.

What? Oh. Was that the test? Is she pleased. I slipped off. I fucked up the climb. Was that a set-up? Or just an obvious consequence of my behaviour that she foresaw and... used?

My mark is solid. I am in the top tier. There is another like me. I catch a glimpse of her. Like the rest of our class our uniforms are beetle-like; leathery, chitenously armoured and symbiotic. Tendons for strength-amplification and gas-cycling lumps that keep us alive and tethered to the psychic mass. We are perfection in utero.

"You are going to be going into the deep unconscious" she speak not with her cortex but with her larynx, as she does when she means business.

Oh. This is the final exam. Right.

"You will be walking around the world. In the dark. For about three weeks. You will be facing the deep subconscious fears projected from one of your classmates."

I've heard of this. This is what separates the children from the women.

"This is a 3 out of 13 on difficulty. Pack food. Team up."

And a tent. Something to bound your space and shield your subjectivity from that monstrously infinite holy blackness.

Also - the scale actually goes from 1 to 13 and then over from 1 to 3 again in the "lethal to all" super-range.

We're babies at this.

And yeah. I'm scared.

I catch her eye quickly. Not the teacher-queen; the other one like me. Except she is pale and black-haired, with black-framed rectangle glasses. Fifteen years old. Picture Homura. But I know her in waking life. This is Brook, just under different circumstances. Eyes brush past. We know. We are among the best of grades but we are not social alphas. We learn because we love it. And we do not want to stand in the alphas' way. We let the social acknowledgment of peership fall slack and turn away.

But her and I on a team? Unstoppable. Or at least optimal. Not really fair to everyone else though. We should take along someone who is struggling. Not someone who fails because she makes trouble. Just someone who is a bit behind. I mean, how else would this be fair? Or a proper challenge?

And, another question seemingly unrelated - whose fears will be actualized in that dark place?

Ah. Of course. To keep it fair.

No.

Our Queen doesn't believe in fair. To keep it a challenge.

It will be one of us. Her or me.

Is it "Challenge Accepted?"

 


Damn the alarm clock. That was just getting good.

 

 

Consider. The offer of dream-help.

Consider: Watching "Hearts of Darkness." About the making of Apocalypse Now.

Watching Coppola talk about growing by facing your fears by becoming them, then moving past. Watching how messed up US/Vietnam-war films are, and how incredibly colonialist just-short-of-hate-speech the source text is. My fear of being a bad person. Of being thought a bad person. Facing that. A recent incident that prompted two earlier posts is the penultimate exam. Facing that. Coming out better, one hopes. Still facing th
at. To be thought is to become? No, too weak. I'll need to do something more direct. This is going to take awhile.


Consider:

What lacked in my life that I struggle to make up for?

Body/identity integrity. Ostracized. Bored.

This by contrast: Gender integration. Included by those who matter. Engaged, eager and challenged.


Consider:

Night-terror-like spatial distortions in closing my eyes under the effects of Wellbutrin



Consider:

Eleanor Lamb. Emma Frost. Homura Akemi and Sakaya Miki. Psychonauts

I really missed having a media-archetype-saturated science-fiction dream


Consider:

Dreams of acrobatics in lunar G

Dreams of trying to find gender euphoria in adolescence that were interrupted by waking, much like this one, because I was on the wrong track. Am I know in this residual pining? If so, how? Detect and fix. The solution is in fear. In becoming it.

 

 

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Sleep blog [Jan. 12th, 2014|02:42 pm]
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 Sleep blog, week 1

Following up on my new-years resolutions. A pre-bed shower makes for a nice ritual, and it's a good time for skin care and relaxation, but it only gets me so far. If I've already showered during the day, it also consumes a lot of power and water.

Signs point to "deconstructing why I stay up late" and "avoiding screens for an hour before bed" as being strategies with a high likelihood of success.
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Anti-oppression art dialogue [Jan. 12th, 2014|02:31 pm]
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A few years ago, I came across a dialogue process along these lines, but I haven't been able to find it again. I'd like to credit the creators. If anyone knows who they might be, let me know.

__________________

Here is a method of creating dialogue with artists around oppression in art.

It give politically passionate audiences a place to find solutions to problematic content. It gives politically passionate artists a way to communicate with these audiences with less fear of being judged. It gives a place for art that is actually not problematic to show its strength. It gives space to teach. And it also makes it hard for bombastic ignorant jackasses to dismiss much-needed criticim of their work.


As someone wishing to engage an artist in dialogue, work through the following stages until you feel the issue has been adequately addressed, or you hit #4 and throw fruit at them. As an artist, listen and respond.

1. I noticed _______________ in your work. What led to this decision?

2. I see, are you aware of ______________ as a social issue? Do you this might relate?

3. I think this aspect of the work is problematic for the following reasons _________________. What are your thoughts?

4. Seriously dude, Fuck You. [Throw fruit of choice]

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A ranty Q & A on making a socially responsible TV show [Jan. 12th, 2014|10:49 am]
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I know we're not supposed to say this in film or in social justice circles, but here it goes anyway.

--- Ahem ---

--- Usually there are really good reasons for the decisions we made.---


There. I said it. And it's true. We write politics in our show with an eye to detail that rivals how Tom Clancy writes airplanes. Every fucking line. And when something problematic comes up in editing, we go over it and fix it, even if it means cutting 'A' material.

I know this is a messed up industry but we really do put a lot of time, energy and knowledge into being better. It's not perfect. It means that everything takes longer and we operate on a tinier budget, but I think we get some good results. So please give us the benefit of the doubt.


But, in case you're curious, here are the questions we frequently receive, and here are my responses. Some questions are well-meant, well-thought-out and kind. Some are... not.



Q: Why is there so much bad stuff about being trans? Shouldn't this be more uplifting?
AND
Q: Why is it so upbeat, don't you know that being trans is hard?

A: These are really, really good questions. To be responsible to both the good and bad aspects, the hope and the realism, we have to be somewhere in the middle.I wish that all of the questions we get could be this heartfelt.



Q: Why not cast a normal (i.e "cis") person in a trans role role?

A: This is a show about a marginalized group. It sends a pretty wretched message if we make a show about the a marginalized group in which we don't hire members of that group and instead put members of the majority in makeup.


Q: Why are you trying to cast people of colour?

A: Because this show is set in Vancouver which is a racially diverse city. And because the status quo methods of hiring actors are deeply, deeply racist. We need a change.

 

Q: Why are you open to all body types and accents?

A: Because this show is set in Vancouver.  And because the status quo methods of hiring actors are deeply, deeply sizist and xenophobic. We need a change.



Q: Why does [this character] look like this?

A: We didn't have a lot of people to draw from, and we wanted to actually cast trans people. So if someone could pull off the role, they got it. For cis people, we went for those who could handle the Trans content well and who were available and willing to work on a independent shoot. (See below regarding The Union)


Q: You lead is very pretty. Why is she the central trans person?

A: See above. She was cast in a different role, but we had to re-cast the lead with less than a week to go before shooting and our options were to break the law by bringing in an American without papers (which didn't work last time and cause the shoot to be postponed), cast a cis person of colour in a trans role, cast a white trans person in a role for a person of colour, or cast her. We cast her. As a consequence, we're re-writing the series to reflect the change in power dynamics surrounding passability.



Q: Why are you erasing the experiences of non-hetero trans people?

A: Who said that anyone on this show was straight? There are heterogendered relationships involving trans people - subject to their own social pressures and risks of violence. There are gay relationships. There are non-binary genders that fall outisde of gay and straight, and the romantic life of one such person drives the plot of the first episode. And some characters' sexuality will change over time. It's all in there. 


Q: But why did you cast that person from that particular demographic?

A: The characters are broken down by age. Other than that, some are trans-only and some need to look cis whether they are or not. The lead must be a trans woman of colour. Two non-central roles needed to look  to look "like typical actors," but this refers to our deconstruction of looks-privilege in the show, not ethnicity or age. Other than the above, we're pretty open. If someone got a part, it usually means that they rocked the audition.


Q: But, for [this other role] do you think it's a stereotype if [this actor] plays it?

A: Might be. Not sure what to do about it other than make sure all the characters are fully fleshed out human(-ish) beings. It's a romantic comedy layered over an action-fantasy with the corresponding dangerous, unpleasant and/or magical character types. Can you think of what underrepresented ethnicity or body type should play a violent criminal? A witch? A controlling boyfriend? A helpful magical creature? A creep? A catty bastard? A corrupt cop? Or will it be slender photogenic white people all around?



Q: You didn't send me a breakdown. Why?

A1: Only people on the Hollywood 'A' list get sent breakdowns. We posted it on the company webpage, the series Facebook page, about 40 other groups, and internet forums. We paid people just to circulate it around the world. And of course we put the breakdown on the usual places where one posts acting breakdowns. Look there.

OR

A2: Because you said you couldn't work here.


Q: Are you serious about casting trans people and actors of colour? Or are you just out to say that so that we can't sue you. I bet it's the latter. All you media types are the same.

A: Yes, we're serious - see our shows to date. No, we're doing it because it's smart and its just. Yes they're jerks. You have good reasons to be angry - this industry is horrible. Please send in an application because you actually seem to grasp what this show is about. And if you have any tips on how to do outreach to marginalized actors, we'd love to implement them. And if you tell us to fuck off and don't submit an application, then I guess there's not much more to do is there?


Q: Why are you asking for money? Shouldn't this be free and open source? Plenty of people make software for free. You're a bunch of greedy capitalists.

A: We need to feed and pay our crew, rent space, hire a lawyer just to put it on TV, pay an accountant to make this a legal film corporation, pay the city for permits, rent gear and buy things like tape and stationary. As for the analogy - people who write software for free fall into two categories: those who don't need the money, and those who really should be getting paid for their work. This whole "do intellectual work for free" thing only works for people who have enough economic privilege to work for free. Otherwise it impoverishes artists. It's apparently still illegal to print our own money, so we're trying to get people to send us some in exchange or a good or service. If it's any consolation, we're sure not making a profit.


Q: What the fuck is wrong with you? You're awful human beings. I can't believe how much you've sold out.

A: Please don't talk to our underpaid staff like that.


Q: How dare you criticize my tone? Don't you know that's a form of derailing social criticism?

A: Comrade, you're being such a giant jerk that we can't engage in dialogue with you. Actually, we're not even sure what you're angry about. No - that's not true. We're not sure what the thing that angers you has to do with us. We're actually sitting around, trying to figure out what exactly we did that led to this, but we can't make heads or tails of it.

 


Q: I can't believe that [this person] didn't wind up cast in [that role]. Why did that happen?

A1: Because ze had a contradictory commitment.

OR

A2: Ze got sick.

OR

A3: Because the role is for a trans person of colour and ze is not a trans or a person of colour or both.

OR

A4: Because the conservative government and the union don't believe that low-budget films should be able to hire foreigners or non-landed immigrants. High-budget films can hire anyone they want.

OR

A5: Because zer application got lost. I'm sorry. We've made changes to prevent this from happening again.

OR

A6: Because ze wouldn't answer our attempts at communication.

OR

A7: Because ze applied after we shot the show.

OR

A8: Because ze kept spamming the office and wouldn't stop when we asked so we instructed our email program to filter out anything from zer address.

OR

A9: Although zer breasts did look nice covered in racing stickers, we really need more to go on before we could cast.

OR

A10: Because ze's in the union and won't suspend zer membership or leave. Three of the ten reoccuring cast including myself have left, declined or suspended union membership so this was not an obstacle for them. (See below on why this is not a union show.)

OR

A11: Well, the breakdown says "trans-spectrum people only" and ze fits the definition of the word "trans" and they definitely fit the definition of the word "trans spectrum," and ze really is an excellent actor, and so if ze applied, ze probably would have landed the part. But ze didn't apply.

OR

A12: Because ze didn't prepare. Ze had six months to get ready and didn't. Ze didn't read about acting. Ze didn't practice acting. Ze didn't watch movies and take notes. Ze didn't even come to free lessons. 

OR

A13: Because ze sent in a fine audition tape, except ze read it as a downer-drama when the show is a comedy. When we asked zer to spend five minutes to read it as a comedy, ze insisted that we pay zer to do that, and insisted that we contract with zer particular provincial actor association whether or not we hired zer. And we would be willing to do that paperwork if we cast her, but we won't spend a week of labour and a chunk of money so that we can see one person for five minutes.

OR

A14: Because ze harassed other actors in a transphobic manner. At least we're pretty sure that ze did. One crew member said ze'd look into it and resolve it later changed his mind without telling anyone, and asked us if we'd hire the problem person anyway. We hired someone else.

OR

A15: Because ze can't act. At all. When ze sends in a tape, ze really needs to watch it first. Or get a friend to watch it. All ze has to do is pretend they're an imaginary person and say the lines. Most kids can do this. I don't know why so many adults can't. 

OR

A16: Because ze showed up for a major part without having even read the lines.

OR

A17: Because ze repeatedly engaged in some of the most egregiously unprofessional behaviour that I have ever heard of on a set. And I have heard of a lot. We let zer go quietly because we didn't want to ruin zer career. Someday ze might pull zer act together later and start treating other people and zer job with respect, and we don't want this one extended incident to prevent that.

 

 

Q: Why isn't this show union?

A: Actually, it has a lot of union crew. It's just not with the performers' or writers' unions.

There is exactly one out trans person in the provincial acting union. She put her membership on hold so she could work with us because despite having 20 years of experience, she has had no work since she came out. The union diversity body won't return my calls. The union's attempts to keep out Americans would also forbid us from working with anyone without Canadian Landed Immigrant Status, which would exclude a lot of the people I train with - people I'd like to hire. Further, as I found out recently, even when it approves scripts, the union seems fine with having cis people go out for trans roles. I don't feel that the union gives a damn about working with trans people or immigrants. Even were this not the case, while they have low-budget contracts for shorts, and some case-by-case exceptions for film, we were led to believe that getting a contract for a low-budget TV show would be impossible. So we're not on contract with them.

 

___

On a side note.
 

I had the opportunity to go out and produce an action movie, one that is now on the road to make *a lot* of money. And while I helped them revise the script to reduce imperialist and sexist overtones, I I turned it down because I didn't think it was sufficiently socially just. But had I taken them up on it, I'd have more cash than I know what to do with and I would never have to defend my political decisions even if we used the original script.

But is making a socially responsble show different? Isn't being responsible key to the support we receive?

We do have community support. Our crew has worked for wages that are barely enough to live on, and sometimes not even for that. There would be no show without this. And I am deeply grateful to them.

During Kicktstarter, some people gave us money, but most people looked at our resquest and didn't contribute the bargain price of eight dollars for their own DRM free copy of a full TV season. Some were broke - but they worked to give us us amazing social media reach. For them, I am grateful.

But many people's support seems to entail clicking "like" on an article and, I suppose, thinking good thoughts. It doesn't translate into anything tangible, anything we can use. It doesn't make a show. It's fandom, and fans can carry shows - but only when the fans can help the show get made. Usually this is because fans tune in to watch on ad-supported TV, but we are not on TV, so it doesn't translate over to new media.

The action movie, by contrast, gets support of millions of dollars, cheap gear, locations, and top-notch everything.

 I don't regret this decision. But I'd like to put this work in perspective. As it explains why so many people elect to take the easier route.
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Track meet dream [Jan. 9th, 2014|06:43 am]
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Thee events, each held three times. I compete in the "exhibition," a sort of modified downhill obstacle course and win. There is a large cash prize to be had for the best time.

I stay behind to help people wrangle enough bins to clean up the mess, offering my own supply of bins

An instructor wants me to help a student overcome her computer addiction.

And then I am read the small print -  you have to run in all three.

___

In helping others, I have lost the time to help myself

I've spent a lot of time doing that in the last few days: helping a drunk neighbour find her car, acting as a counselor. I helped someone scout for trans actors, but in not sticking up for myself, probably lost the chance to audition. And money is tighter than I'd like

And in not helping myself, I have restricted my ability to help others in the future. And also set myself up in a "I lose / you win" kind of situation.
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Sleep Blog - Week One [Jan. 6th, 2014|12:12 am]
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Started taking a shower before bed. Feel a little grimy during the day, but I think I prefer it. Not sweating as much at night, likely due to wellbutrin.

Staying up late, even by half an hour is correlated with disruptive sleep, as is any amount of alcohol after 9:30pm. Cardio may or may not be a factor. Going to bed relaxed is a plus. It's hard to finish showing and then go to bed without finding a reason to look at a screen.
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Revised resolutions [Jan. 6th, 2014|12:01 am]
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Revised resolutions after a week of trial.

52 weeks in a year - 1st week is trial, last week +1-2 days is setting down old resolutions and drafting new ones resolutions

 

1. Improve my sleeping habits.

A. I will make a weekly entry about sleep and post it on social media

B. Each month, I will select and use a different technique from the below list and use it *4* nights per week. I may implement two during the same month, or abandon one after two weeks to try another. Once I have tried all of them, I will review their utility and implement two. After one month of that, I will implement a third. A fourth may then follow

- Put a SAD light on a timer (January 5-31, or February)
- Reschedule the activities that keep me up late
- Dark hour. No blue light.
- Sleep journal
- Pre-bed shower or bath or other evening ritual
- Electronic device to track nocturnal movements
- Keep a firm wakeup time
- If I wake up after "first sleep" I will stay up for about 90 minutes

 

2. Relaxation
Once a day, four days out of the week, I will do one or more of the following for a total of 30 minutes
- Meditate
- Pray
- Go to the pool or sauna and float or sit
- Cuddle
- Something sexual
- Make non-professional art
- Do something gender-confirming
- Journal
- Daydream
- Play boardgames
- Watch a TV show
- Cook

Once every month, plus twice in one season, I will do something relaxing and new over the span of at least 6 hours. It could include one of the following. 12-hour activities can count as two.
- Bake
- Cook something new
- Go on a pilgrimage
- Travel somewhere and sleep a lot
 

3. Adopt a skin regimen
- I will do three of (exfoliate clean, tone and moisturize) 3x per week until Imbolc
- Starting at Imbolc, I will do all four
- At equinox, I will do this four times a week
- At Beltane, five times per week
- At Solstice, I will review and use the practice as needed


4. Write for one solid hour, 3x per week


5. Do voice practice for ten minutes, 3x per week
 

6. Get a permanent body modification
Equinox: investigate options and pick a top two
Solstice: investigate methods and providers and pick a top two
Equinox: arrange it
Solstice: make it happen


7. Clean my house for 15 minutes, 2x per week


8. Cultivate a human relationship, 4x per week
This could be writing a note of thanks, making a phone call, or having someone over for dinner. Whatever it is, it needs to cement a sense of community and/or foster interpersonal intimacy.

 

I will revisit these resolutions at Equinox and solstice, making adjustments as needed. If I feel I've sufficiently integrated a practice, or that it's not useful to continue pursuing, I will swap it out for another.

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In response to a Facebook discussion on casting for diversity [Jan. 3rd, 2014|12:38 am]
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 How to get more auditions from a range of people?
 
I know film better. Here's how it works there - I imagine theatre is largely the same?
 
In film, if a casting breakdown does not specifically say "all ethnicities" and ethnicity is not otherwise specified, it means that casting wants to see white people first and everyone else second. Or it's a whites-only gigs.
 
Agents submit POC as "wild cards" to these shake up assumptions. I'm told wild cards are 5-20% of agency submissions - and this percentage includes white people who are wild cards in some other way. People who are not of a normative body-weight and white and cis and nominally able-bodied are kind of screwed in this system. Agents know not to rock the race-boat.
 
What results is that less-castable actors cannot get paid work. A white actor is more likely to get paid to train while they act, but a POC actor is more likely to have to pay to take classes. And then "experience" is a factor in getting hired. So even if they pay to train just as hard as a white actor who is getting paid to train, when someone POC has to go up against an equally skilled white person, the white person will, on average, have more credits and thus be perceived as 'more experienced' and therefore better.
 
Some people run out of willpower to study for a job they will never get due to their skin colour (or size, or gender or age, or ability). Other people just run out of money.
 
___
 
Thus, as someone doing casting, there are a few things one can do to see a broader range of people:
 
1 - Question who needs to look like what. People have asked me to distribute breakdowns where everyone in a family has to be white - because they've already cast one white person. I ask, why is it so important that this family can't be mixed-race? Why no step-parents? Why no adopted children? Hell, why not get people to stretch their minds a bit - if ancient rome can be recreated in a 20'x20' area where Romans are played by savage Nords and Gauls who would normally be Slaves-of-War and everyone speaks in English poetry, why can't non-adopted non-half siblings be different colours?
 
2 - Spell it out in your breakdowns that you are looking for a variety of people. Don't just say 'open ethnicity' or 'we encourage everyone to apply' as many CD's are writing this just to avoid lawsuits (e.g. FOX in 2012?) and then go on to cast a sunscreen party. You can reserve some roles for POC. You can say "we want this show to have the diversity of Vancouver and will cast accordingly. Mixed race actors especially welcome."
 
3 - Make sure your CD understands this and knows how to make it happen. Interview them to see how they will do outreach. When all else fails, say "See this chart of racial diversity? I need my production to look like that. How will you make this happen?"
 
4 - Send the breakdowns out far and wide. Not just the major services, but community organizations that will reach the people who you want to cast. There are a lot of ex-actors out there who quit for the above reasons, who are motivated and eager to land a role and will play it well.
 
6 - For highly specific roles - well - don't be so specific. Does a character really have to be 28-30? Could she be 20-40? Wider net. More fish.
 
7 - If you really must cast specifically (must be 5'2"-5'4", have one eye and speak Etruscan), be ready to either fly people in or spend a little extra time with a newbie actor. Fortunately (at least in film) said newbie actors are often non-union and will be happy to attend some mandatory classes.
 
______

 

Further:

What else to do:

As a manager - look in a human resources textbook for the chapter on equity hiring. It's 30 pages that will change your job.

As a creative - when someone asks for your input, push for diversity in casting on all demographic fronts. DIscuss breakdowns. Circle stereotypes and assumptions in red pen and explain them to the writer.

As a member of the community - Buy tickets and help promote only those companies that would actually hire from the range of people found in Vancouver. And... more long-term... any organization that receives over a quarter million a year in government money has to have an equity hiring program. I want to push for this in all industries and see that casting is held up to the same standards as every other kind of HR. I should really talk to my MP.
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2014 Resolutions - DRAFT [Jan. 2nd, 2014|06:14 pm]
[Tags|]

This year, I will make my resolutions a lot more public, so it's easier to feel held to task.
 

1. Improve my sleeping habits.

A. I will make a weekly entry about sleep and post it on social media

B. Each month, I will select and use a different technique from the below list and use it 5 nights per week. I may implement two during the same month, or abandon one after two weeks to try another. Once I have tried all of them, I will review their utility and implement two. After one month of that, I will implement a third. A fourth may then follow

- Put a SAD light on a timer (January 5-31, or February)
- Reschedule the activities that keep me up late
- Dark hour. No blue light.
- Sleep journal
- Pre-bed shower or bath or other evening ritual
- Electronic device to track nocturnal movements
- Keep a firm wakeup time
- If I wake up after "first sleep" I will stay up for about 90 minutes

 

2. Relaxation
Once a day, five days out of the week, I will do one or more of the following for a total of 20 minutes
- Meditate
- Pray
- Go to the pool or sauna and float or sit
- Cuddle
- Something sexual
- Make non-professional art
- Do something gender-confirming
- Journal
- Daydream
- Play boardgames
- Watch a TV show
- Cook


Once every month, I will do something relaxing and new over the span of at least 12 hours. It could include one of the following
- Bake
- Cook something new
- Go on a pilgrimage
- Travel somewhere and sleep a lot
 

3. Adopt a skin regimen
- I will clean and moisturize 3x per week until Equinox
- From equinox until Solstice, I will also Tone or exfoliate
- From Solstice to Equinox, I will also tone *and* exfoliate
- After equinox, I will review and use that new practice


4. Write for one solid hour, 3x per week


5. Do voice practice for ten minutes, 3x per week
 

6. Get a permanent body modification
Equinox: investigate options and pick a top two
Solstice: investigate methods and providers and pick a top two
Equinox: arrange it
Solstice: make it happen


7. Clean my house for 10 minutes, 3x per week


8. Cultivate a human relationship, 3x per week
This could be writing a note of thanks, making a phone call, or having someone over for dinner.

 

I will revisit these resolutions at Equinox and solstice, pruning as needed.

 

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2013 Resolutions In review [Jan. 2nd, 2014|06:04 pm]
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This last year's resolutions were not very successful:

 

Sleep: F
Didn't even get started.



Social Fluency: F
Exercised it but did not track it


Work Out: B
Made it into a regular thing. Well done!


Badass Physical Skills: C+
Can ride a bike in heavy traffic and hurt myself rather badly doing parkour


Religion: F
Did not track it. Did not do it.


Take time off

Winter: F
Spring: A
Summer: D
Autumn: A+ Went to Europe. Total success

 

Spend time in character as suave and Ms. Nerd
Fail

 

Bike Places: A+

Completely integrated into my lifestyle. I miss it when I can't do it.


Eat Green Things: A+

At times, I may have actually been eating too many greens: too much fiber to digest properly and short on carbs. 

 

That's quite a range between success and failure though. Why?
The successful projects had extrinsic motivators: health, cost, fun. Many were broken down into small chunks and were not socially awkward.
The unsuccessful projects were more inconvenient and ran against social endorsement.

I also may have had too many resolutions.
 

So: break things into small chunks and get people to encourage me. Noted.
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The dialogue around casting trans actors [Jan. 2nd, 2014|11:29 am]
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For the curious and queer: from a recent email to someone who had asked for input on casting trans people

_____

Cool. What's the timeline from here?

Twelve is actually pretty small. We got about a hundred trans people auditioning for The Switch. I think there are a lot more people to reach. With the general call for The Switch, we found that about 50% of people couldn't really act, and only about 15% were sufficiently directable. But of the six people we cast, only one had a demo reel. So I'd suggest increasing the volume of actors.

You could get a *lot* more applicants if you could write a post as [TITLE OF MOVIE] that can be shared. It could go out over social media very fast that way as people will re-share it. The deadline is January 5th, so I'd recommend writing it today. Make sure *not* to include a demo-reel requirement (of everyone who applied to The Switch, only one had a demo reel). Be clear and simple in wording - apparantly most people don't know a "CV" is.

I'm not sure where you're sitting on this, but I wanted to be clear on the following. I would like to see this project succeed. The reason I am checking in so much is that I really do hope you find a rockin' trans person for the role. A pro-trans rom-com would be a great addition to the media roster - good for you, good for everybody.

Dan said that you might go with a cis actor but I would very strongly recommend casting a trans person, not just for political reasons, but for practical business ones. 

But to touch on politics before moving on to business: my concern is what the dialogue will be if you cannot find a trans actor that you like and decide to cast a cis person. If this happens, people will ask "why not cast a trans person?" I've seen other directors field this question by saying "we looked but couldn't find anyone" - when they didn't actually conduct much of a search (or in one case, shortlisted a local trans actor, then cut her for a US cis actor). The message that the public takes away is "there are no good trans actors out there." This is not only incorrect (we found 5 capable trans actors in Vancouver alone), but it makes it even harder for trans actors to find work.

Onto business reasons: when we looked for community support for The Switch, one of the first questions we got from almost everyone tied to Queer things was a very cautious "so... are you casting trans people?" When we said "Absolutely yes!" the person asking the question immediately relaxed, and usually offered to help us promote the film. Since then, people have given us free accounting services, free space, free access to RED cams, discounted labour in every department, and a lot of social media exposure. We have had to politely decline many offers from eager volunteers.

By contrast, Queer Film Festivals have, in the past, got pushback from communities when they showed films about trans people that don't have trans people in them - as well as when they showed films about trans people that only have trans people as walk-ons. And since there are more queer movies to pick from, and the transgender media dialogue is picking up, this resistance is only getting more intense. Three years ago, I saw successful efforts to keep film festivals free of Queer movies that Trans people found objectionable. And now, arts film festivals are starting to feel the pressure, as are cable networks.

Things are changing fast. "Transamerica" (trans lead and principle played by cis people, one trans walk-on) was something of a darling when it came out eight years ago - I remember watching it in a room full of trans people, who adored it in 2005 and about one in five trans people had purchased a copy. But now it's viewed as 'problematic' and would not get programmed or receive much VOD traffic. Even two-year old movies are suddenly left out in the cold. No-one I know has bought a DVD of Romeos, and most of what I heard upon leaving the theatre was "It was a good film I guess, but why did they slap fake boobs on a cis guy?"

Conversely, I've seen some work get a lot of promotion within Queer festivals, just for having trans people in them. This got shorts over the cut, and moved B-features into A slots. When The Switch was *just a webseries*, GLAAD called me up to check in and the Huffpost did a story on us.

If you can give me that post, you can probably find a solid trans actor and get lots of positive media exposure. I can even draft it for you, but it does need to be a post coming from [TITLE OF MOVIE] .

Can you do this? 

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Sex work law continued [Dec. 20th, 2013|10:46 pm]
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In response to Joy Smith:

http://www.straight.com/news/553441/joy-smith-canada-must-target-buyers-sex?comment_mode=1#add-new-comment

 

 Under the old laws, sex workers (and their bookkeepers, security and even roommates who were "living off the avails") could be arrested and placed on a life-long sex offender registry, prevented from travelling and have their children seized. And yet the only people I saw actually trying to end this injustice were pro-sex-work groups. People allied with the views espoused in the article, who were "concerned about women and girls," made some noise about the Nordic model, but it was the sex workers who organized and got this law overturned - all at great personal cost and risk. I say we listen to the people who actually fix things.

 
What of exploitation? A lot of people are horribly exploited and even forced into agriculture, and no one seems to be in favour of banning that. Same for food service, garment manufacture, caregiving, and a lot of other fields that pay a lot less than sex work. These other fields *also* see sexual assault and rape. The solution is not criminalization of the worker, nor of the client - how do you expect labour standards to be upheld when business has to operate in secret? The solution is labour standards, respect and worker organizing. These are much easier things to make happen when people can do their jobs openly and transparently.
 
As for the Nordic model - I'd like to see stats that actually back this up. Human trafficking stats are dubious: often, travellers and foreign workers suspected of prostitution (read: people of colour, trans people), are stopped, searched and interrogated. Once it is "determined" that they are sex-workers (the evidence can be as little as "had frilly underwear in suitcase") border guards then conclude that they are not "on vacation" but are being trafficked against their will. Border security detains and deports them - all "in the interest of protecting them" of course. I've seen it happen to American actors. I've heard of it happening to East-Asian women on vacation to Australia. It supports the hypothesis that a lot of anti-trafficking leglislation, when practiced, winds up being no more than a thin justification for xenophobia. So I don't buy the stats coming out of it. So please, give me some meticulous research, and until then, let the sex workers decide what's best for themselves.
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Sex work laws struck down in Canada [Dec. 20th, 2013|10:24 am]
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 Unanimous. They were terribly-designed laws that made sex-work dangerous and now parliament has a year to draft better ones. I don't feel optimistic about Harper, but hopefully new laws will not:
 
- make it illegal to have a sex worker as a roommate
("living off the avails")
 
- criminalize doing sex work indoors. In Canada. Where it's cold outside. And also unsanitary and dangerous
("bawdy house")
 
- checking in to make sure the client isn't potentially violent
("communicating for the purposes of")
 
- prevent people from learning other trades because they can't tell anyone about their employment history, so they can't have a resume, so they can't get a job
 
- take away peoples kids
(you can be a rampantly verbally abusive bigot and have kids no problem, but if you do sex work...)
 
- put escorts on the lifelong sex-offender registry
(Homicide can be removed from your record. Sex work can't.)
 
- enable police to rape sex workers
 
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-strikes-down-canada-s-prostitution-laws-1.2471572
 
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In reponse to Jared Leto playing a trans woman, as interviewed in the Huffington Post [Dec. 19th, 2013|06:25 pm]
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(Huffpo won't verify my Facebook, so I'm jus tposting it here for now)

 

Mr. Leto, I hope you read this. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

 

I'm the producer on the world's first transgender TV show (welovetheswitch.com). We have trans actors playing trans characters. People ask us 'why?'

 

The numbers are clear: roles in film and TV are disproportionately written and cast for the majority. White. Male. Cisgendered. Straight. Able-bodied. Domestic accent. Thin. Good-looking.

 

Minor roles go to the majority unless otherwise specified. Before 2007-ish, networks told casting directors that "lab techs are male because female lab techs would be screwing the boss." Unless a character is listed as "open ethnicity" it means that the character is white. If it doesn't say that they're fat, the character must be slender. No-one uses a wheelchair, a cane or crutches, no-one is visibly mixed-race, no one has scars, and no-one has a non-middle-American accent unless it's a plot point.

 

When an actual minority role comes up, actors in that minority are told that they "don't have enough experience." The role goes to the majority. Often in makeup. Usually poorly. Minority actors are shut out.

 

I would *love* to see trans actors playing cis people and vice-versa, but what we get instead is almost no work for trans actors at all, even in "uplifting" films about us. Same for actors who are disabled, mixed-race, fat, or have a "different" accent. Or who are more than one of these.

 

It's wrong. And it needs to change.

 

Please feel free to mention this in future interviews.

 

Amy Fox

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Wellbutrin - Day 16 [Dec. 6th, 2013|05:14 am]
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Woke up in the middle of the night. Whenever I closed my eyes, I would lose all sense of scale. A hand as big as a mountain floats in a bed unimaginably vast, like my senses encompass the whole of space. That and a sinking feeling in my throat. While reminiscent of unpleasant experiences I've had on morphine, it was disturbingly similar to night terrors I had as a child. 

Prayer and visualization provided little comfort in this underworld-like space. Opening my eyes provided some relief at first, but this waned and I was left in a vast cavern. I turned the lights on and, even looking around my room, it seemed as large as a dyson sphere.

Focusing on action seemed to help. I got up and took a shower. This helped. Journaling now. This feeling is still there in the background.

 

It seems that my sleep apnea is very much reduced. However, vivid and emotionally intense dreams wake me up due to their intensity.

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(no subject) [Dec. 3rd, 2013|12:19 am]
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A bunch of goals. In no particular order. With externally-imposed deadlines noted

1. Finance The Switch (March 31st 2014)

2. Finance The Vegan Roadshow (April 30th 2014)

3. Finance Monsterhearts (January 2015)

4. Actualize Project Basilisk (August 2014)

5. Run for city council (September 20th-November 20th ish 2014)

6. File for court with Greg Hughes (December 15th, 2013)

7. Find stable LTR (October 15th, 2014)

8. Prep Elchis Network (...???)

9. Exchange "Studio" for "Roommate," "Shed" for "Studio" (January 1st)

10. Develop Art Plan (...???)

11. Get up at 7-8:30 with a full night's rest. (...???)

12. Investigate investing (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

13. Employ skin-care regimen  (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

14. Take  multi-vitamin  (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

15. Meditate (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)


 

Top Goals

1. Finance The Switch (March 31st)

2. Move studio to shed, find roommate

3. Meditate

4. Finance The Vegan Roadshow

5. Recoup money for robbery of phone


 

Obstacles to #1

A. Trans people are marginalized, broke and small in number.

B. Executives don't get trans people or geek content.

C. We want to be The First Series With A Trans Lead and the CW and BBC and who knows what else are coming up on us.

D. We're a little green.


 

Knowledge and Skills Needed

1. See financing plan.

Specifically:
- bridge and gap financing
- tax credits
- merch strategy,
- solicitation



Whose help I will need.

Co-workers
- JF
- HG

Community

Family

Government agencies

Finance people.

- SP

 

The plan is to do something every day to get this to happen. Failure is not an option.

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The Power of Self-Discipline - 3 [Dec. 2nd, 2013|11:49 pm]
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Pick something in the past that still hurts

- Staying in the closet
 

Internal factors that brought this about

- I did not do research
- I censored my own thoughts
- I did not consider my wants and vision to be worthwhile or practicable

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The Power of Self Discipline - Part 2 [Dec. 2nd, 2013|11:16 pm]
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1. Three people, living or dead, I admire. And one quality each
- Robin Hood. Admittedly, he is (largely) fictional, but I admire him greatly. He was virtuously cunning.
- My uncle. He is wise. Like my grandfather was, and like how I hope to be.
- Hard to pin down the last one. Storytellers who spin something amazing out of resistance. Nalo Hobkinson. Tracy Chapman (often). John Varley (sometimes). Bruce Sterling (sometimes).

I really don't have many concrete role models. Robin Hood was the one who came to mind the strongest. This shows an odd disconnect from the real.

2. The virtue I strive to practice or emulate
- Resistance. The unwavering ability to stick to principles.

3. When do I feel the most confident; like the best person I could be
- When I just gave a speech to an audience.

4. What situations make me feel the greatest self-esteem or personal worth
- Applause. The admiration of the group.

5. What would a junxi version of me do differently from today 
- She would spend more time on concrete punditry.

6. What quality would I like to be known for, and how could I make this happen?
- Speaking truth to power. Delivering an honest, resonating and actionable critique of the status quo.

7. Where do I need to demonstrate more truthfulness and integrity?
- My own work habits.

 

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The Power of Self-Discipline - 1 [Dec. 2nd, 2013|12:30 am]
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Questions from Brian Tracy's
The Power of Self Discipline
An amazing and inspiring book with little to no analysis of privilege.


1a. Ideal work life
Tonnes of integrated creative work (writing and production design) and a little corporate strategy

1b. Discipline to get there:
Setting and hitting deadlines
Learn to market creative work on both the free market and the grant system


2a. Ideal family life:
Stable Long-Term relationship. Involvement in the lives of youth. Shared living (see #3)

2b. Discipline to get there:
Find an LTR.


3a. Ideal community life:
Basically university residence for adults, and without the academic/class barrier to community participation. If UBC was to become an open community tomorrow, and I could move into rez with other people who actually know how to live in community, I would pack up and go.

3b. Discipline to get there:
(...I'm drawing a blank here. Thoughts?)


4a. Ideal health
Greater gymnastic ability
Greater skin health
Extraordinary longevity

4b. Discipline to get there:
Heavy training (may not be practical)
Skin care regimen as outlined by Brooke
Find a multivitamin that doesn't hurt my stomach and keep abreast of anti-agathic research

- Note: I'm in pretty amazing health right now. I bike most places, getting my cardio, and I do conditioning. I just need to maintain it. I could do conditioning once a week and do physical skills twice a week. Oh wait, I have plans to do just that - albeit this time without tearing the tissue that holds my ribs in place.


5a. Financial situation
Enough money to employ people full time and not care whether we make a profit at our socially beneficial endeavor

5b. Disclipline
Learn to how to watch and put money into the investment market.
Learn how to market of creative work

- Note: My frugality is noted by my friends. All I can really cut back on is relocate my studio to the shed and do acting co-op instead of lessons. And I have options to do both of those
- Note: In the past, my market sense has been bang-on, like eerily so (this stock will rise to this level, then peak around here and settle around here; this commodity is grossly undervalued), but I haven't moved on it and thus lost out


6. Why not there already?
Lack of clear goals and a strategy to get there

7. What one skill would be the most useful?
Practical, low-key project management


8. Which one discipline would have the biggest impact
Sticking to a to-do list.

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Wellbutrin - Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor - Day 10 [Nov. 30th, 2013|11:02 am]
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From an email:

"My mouth tastes like a mix of pop rocks, iron and salt but my sleep apnea has cleared up, which is cool."

"I’ve been having vivid dreams - dreams in which I was thinking “is this a dream?” and settling on “well, no.” Just to be on the safe side, I’m reading text several times to see if it changes. So all signs point to “awake. I'm told this is normal and should pass.”

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(no subject) [Nov. 24th, 2013|12:35 am]
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 Sequence of events at a film shoot
 
Cargo van gets stuck in the mud.
 
Much rocking and pushing fails to move it.
 
Fortunately, the 14-passenger van has a trailer hitch
 
14-passenger van gets stuck in the mud
 
Call a tow truck? Eventually, after a great amount of (risky) effort by 18 person crew proves repeatedly unsuccessful. Fortunately, we only called a tow-truck, not at ambulance.
 
Tow truck arrives, winches passenger van from mud. 
 
Tow truck goes to winch cargo van from the mud.
 
Tow truck gets stuck in the mud.
 
Fortunately, you can winch yourself out of mud! Why is he attaching the winch to a tree on the driver side of the truck. Surely, pulling to the *side* is less effective than-
 
[loud snapping sound]
 
I have never seen a steel cable *snap* before. Fortunately no-one was standing in its path.
 
Crew attempts to dislodge tow-truck. Unsuccessful.
 
Passenger van pulls broken tow-truck from the mud. Cargo van still stuck.
 
Suffice it to say, it was a late night.
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Wellbutrin - Day 3 [Nov. 22nd, 2013|11:53 pm]
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It's been around six and a half years since I went on blockers and hormones.

And fuck, do I ever miss rectifying biochemical imbalances via well-tested pharmaceuticals with pleiopsychotropic (i.e. not-really-understood and numerous mental) effects .

Of late, I'd been having short, intense spells of falling down a mental hole. And no amount of mindfulness could take the edge off. Of course, I had trouble with the mindfulness - but was the determining variable situational or neurochemical? Well, no matter how awesome my life was, I still felt kinda crap. So if it's situational, it's complicated.

So, after talking to and getting support from three friends of mine with related problems, I did the smart thing and phoned the mental health line. They gathered that I wasn't about to off myself, so they put me on a list. Days later, I got a call back from a staffer. She mentioned a program that my friends have been through. This required a referral.

I saw the doctor on Wednesday. He recommended a combination of drugs and therapy.

I had a very bad experience with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) as a youth. They muffled my emotions and my feelings of body and sex which made it hard to figure out I was trans - and the stress from being closeted was the lead direct and indirect cause for the mental ill health for which I was prescribed said SSRIs. They also made it impossible to orgasm and landed me in the hospital with severe stomach pains.

Not realizing that they were a problem, I was on them from shortly after puberty until I was 22. Fuck SSRI's. Right.

Here's the thing. My mum has anxiety issues. And my father had a fatal case of depression. And my grandfather died of complications after a decade-long decline into Parkinson's - that was a shitty way to go. When you have one parent with a moderate neurochemical imbalance, and one parent and one grandparent who died from them, maybe it's a bit fool to think that you can game your way out of the depression.

I'd had some experiences with other medication that left me feeling rather good for a week as a side-effect. I mentioned this to my doctor.

"That's dopamine."

Now, a dopamine deficiency is what causes Parkinson's.

So when he suggested that I instead take a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, one that wouldn't cause sexual side-effects and which might, in the long term, avert a slow decline into what's basically a whole-body paralysis (eventually you can't swallow or talk) I said yes.

Side effects are most intense for the first two weeks. And apparently, the stronger the side-effects, the greater the indication that it's doing something that your body needs.

Well, the inside of my nose is as dry as waking up from anesthesia, my dreams are even more wild and vivid than usual and most of the time, my mouth feels... weird and I feel like I just drank two cups of coffee. And it seems to be getting more intense. I am looking forward to this wearing off, but the ride is interesting.

This is in theory a good sign. But it scares me a bit. A friend of mine (her initials are not "RL," so let's use that handle) started on Adderall. I remember saying that she seemed weird, but she swore by it.

Adderall is a drug for attention deficit. And it also contains an amphetamine-analogue.


This marked the beginning of a two-year decline. As with many Adderall users, RL got a lot done - but like the college student who drops some pills the night before an exam, then stays up all night organizing her record collection, she lost all sense of task priority. This made employment impossible. Paranoia. Hostility. Almost total social withdrawal. I miss her. I'm also very angry at her. It's hard to bridge these with mental illness and addiction.

I have explained to her that I think the drug is fucking her up. But when she misses a few doses, she gets so addled and depressed that she goes back on. She believes that this is her natural state without the drug. I remember her from before, and I believe that this is her state in withdrawal from it.

                 I want to have a word with whomever is prescribing her the shit.

So I have a lot of reasons to be skittish.


What can I tell? I'm getting a lot of work done. I think I'm prioritizing well. Not great, but maybe better than I was a week ago. It may also be that I'm more aware of not prioritizing. Of course, I have a new productivity program, so that may be a factor. And I feel better. Now, the latter may be situational rather than neurochemical. Wellbutrin generally doesn't work this fast, so it may be optimism over my mental health, getting home after a long trip followed by illness, or it may feel like I have some space at work. And my clitoris got at least semi-repaired. On the other hand, things in my small business are something like "possible hope in the face of possible total catastrophe," my financial situation is the worst it's been since my early twenties, and I rarely see people outside of work.

But one thing is clear - the irrational one-hour period around sunset of horrible mood and feelings of futility? Diminished on some days; gone on others. Let's hope it stays like that.

It's only thee days so far. That's a small sample set.

If you see me in person, feel free to analyze my behaviour and speak to me.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to prioritize myself into bed. I have an early call to set tomorrow.

        Where I will be playing a dude.

             In a lead role.

                And that is another story.

 

 


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(no subject) [Nov. 22nd, 2013|06:28 am]
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Dreams: 

Staying up all night into the next morning. My reflection looks weirdly tired. Going to my Mum's place in the hill. In a cab. Can reach 120km/h by pushing on the wheel/road/assist device in just the right way. Can actually go 53,000km in a day. Why not go across Russia?


1970s Aboriginal Cultural appropriation military awards to Miss Piggy as guest on The Tonight Show, ca 1978

Robotic puppy/toy. Put it on your head and wear a hoodie to make it look like your head and it looks like a demon. Put it under your shirt and it kicks like a baby



On a side note, I'm taking a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. I'm told that vivid dreams are one of the side effects.

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Laundry day [Nov. 21st, 2013|03:31 pm]
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The shared house I live in is fortunate enough to have shared laundry. Trying to reduce our use of perfumes, a while ago, I went out and bought two bottles of laundry detergent. Scent free. Enough to last for 64 washes.

It was to replace the last bottle of laundry detergent, that my roomie and I went though. The side said "40 washes" but we went through it waaay faster than that. He's since moved out, so I figured I was good for over a year.

I just went downstairs to do laundry. The first bottle was almost out. It wasn't thick - it had about 1 hl of water in it - to rinse out the detergent. I have a guest right now. I guess that was him thinking ahead.

So I went over to crack open the second one. It was light. Turning it open without a crack, there was only a splatter of water in it.

 

This is one of those real-life events that resembles a "character" moment in fiction.



I've "borrowed" someone else's detergent. Once. It was a weird sitch where I'd had an accident and was barely mobile. Then I went out and bought my own. I think I put a little money under the one I borrowed from too.

Then again, my downstairs neighbours, mother and son, are pretty broke. It's understandable.

 

But I'm not leaving it downstairs anymore.

 

 

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