Monday, 28 December 2009

The Selfish Gene?

A favourite theory within evolution is that the sole purpose of DNA, of genes, is to propagate, and that the organisms they form exist for the sole purpose of accomplishing this goal. This explains why an organism will favour its own survival above that of others, unless it can protect its offspring, and also the incredible urge all organisms possess to procreate, even at the cost of their own lives, such as with salmon. It also may be the downfall of more intelligent species.

No species before has been able to manipulate its own evolution and genetic makeup the way humans now can. We already have shown with various animals including dogs (tame wolves), cats and cattle that we understand how to make certain characteristics in the phenotype more pronounced, even if it goes right in against the normal process of natural selection. So are for example virtually all kinds of dogs riddled with defects, such as the limited (~5 year) lifespan of Danish Dogs and their ability to crush their own internal organs if they ever end up on their back, or the serious hip issues with German Shepherd dogs, among other issues:

Evolution originally relied on natural selection and a bit of luck to see which traits would lead to the best chances at survival. Now that we humans have changed the game by largely isolating ourselves from our original environment, we are at risk from many factors in this new environment we created, ranging from various chemical compounds, (growth) hormones, lack of exposure to certain types of bacteria and illnesses leading to various auto-immune diseases and sometimes cancer, the excess of available and largely unhealthy food, and so on and on. This should be a very familiar story to most of us.

The real question at this point is: how are we affecting our evolution as a species and where will it lead us? The number of random mutations in modern society is relatively high due to exposure to carcinogenic substances, whether it's from household chemicals, unhealthy habits like smoking or tanning, or other factors. This introduces a lot of potential deviations within the genetic makeup of the population as a whole, and thanks to society's tendency to preserve individuals even when afflicted by life-threatening diseases, the genetic material has become muddled with a lot of 'weak' genes which otherwise would have been selected against.

Normally the selection process would follow a more or less strict course, not allowing for deviations straying too far from the general direction. Nullifying this effect can have unintended and potentially disastrous consequences. Weak genes in a population will eventually propagate to a large percentage if given the chance to keep existing. This will mean more individuals afflicted by genetic diseases, more deformities at birth, more spontaneous abortions and above all a significantly reduced average lifespan.

Another result of these weak genes and environmental factors is reduced fertility, causing many to resort to artificial methods to induce pregnancy, whether it is through taking extra hormones or by having the conception take place outside the body through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The dangerous thing about these methods is that the effects of them haven't been studied properly or at all. We know for example that children conceived through IVF have a significantly higher number of genetic defects within their DNA and the possibility of an IVF child being born with genetic diseases is thus higher. All taken together the quality of the genes within the population is thus further reduced.

The question thus being raised is whether this process will continue, leading to an ever-weakening gene pool within the human population, or that there exist certain factors which act to curb or limit the process. One thing is for certain, though. Humans will want to keep propagating, no matter how, thanks to their selfish genes. Even if it destroys humanity as a whole.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Finishing Up The Year

Yesterday I went unexpectedly with Pieter and a bunch of his friends to one of the largest cinemas in this country to see the new Avatar movie in luxurious IMAX 3D format. Beforehand I had been reading up on this movie, watching trailers and reading reviews. I thought it'd be a cheesy, uninspired experience with only the 3D effect as its saving grace. Boy, how wrong I was.

First of all, the atmosphere in general is awesome, everything feels right. The alien world is alien, the humans are human. The planet the story plays out on really does feel like a complete world, with its flora, fauna and native inhabitants who live in complete harmony with it. Granted, the story as a whole is the usual 'hero saves the day and gets the girl' cliche and is accompanied by many more cliches, yet it doesn't feel cliche. It just works and feels right together. The dialogue doesn't feel out of place either, even though some accused it of being groan-worthy.

The 3D effect is accomplished using two projectors and a polarization-preserving screen, whereby the viewers have to wear passive polarization glasses, essentially sun glasses with one glass turned 90 degrees so that one side lets through the horizontal and the other the vertical polarized light. When viewing the screen without the glasses one would see two images (left and right eye) displayed simultaneously.

The 3D effect was satisfactory, if imperfect. One has to keep one's head perfectly level for the best effect, tilting to one side lets through part of the other image, ruining the effect. Polarization artifacts were visible on edges and shiny surfaces (water, non-CGI faces mostly). The framerate didn't suffice during action scenes and when the camera was panning or moving quickly, making detail vanish in a blur. Nearby objects in the 3D effect also suffered from a lack of resolution, looking blurry and insubstantial.

In short, it's a fun movie and the 3D effect is worth experiencing. I would prefer to see the flaws fixed, though, and change the passive polarization technique to active shutter glasses, which should give a more perfect 3D experience. The 3D Blu-ray spec just got finalized, however, so maybe Pieter and I will be watching such movies on our own HDTV soon :) It's a good thing we got a Playstation 3, though, as all existing Blu-ray stand-alone players won't be able to support 3D movies and will have to be replaced. Don't you just love progress? It does once more rub in the point that the PS3 is the best Blu-ray player you can get, though.

Next week will be an extremely busy week for me, as I have managed to cram it full with appointments. On Monday I will talk to an urologist at the Flevo hospital regarding the list of issues I mentioned in my previous post. What I'm most interested in is what is going on with my prostate, if I even have one. Before I started with the hormone therapy I could ejaculate and the ejaculate would be this thick, gel-like substance which now apparently is some kind of mystery fluid since I never had a working prostate to begin with, or perhaps it's due to a hyper-stimulated female prostate thanks to the elevated levels of testosterone. Surprisingly Google doesn't seem willing to give the answers to whether the latter is possible. It'll be interesting to see what the urologist has to say about it.

On Tuesday I have an appointment in Lelystad at the Zelfstandigenloket, regarding my Bbz welfare extension. It should be just a formality. Wednesday is still open, though I may do some window shopping in Amsterdam with Pieter then, or perhaps I'll have an interview instead (more on that later). On Thursday I have a GP appointment and during the afternoon my weekly torture hour. It's going to be fun. At least I'll be wrapping up a lot of stuff this week this way.

Regarding the Bbz extension, someone from the IMK will be dropping by again most likely to check up on the progress the company has made. In this regard we should be fine. Our first game, called 'Even Cats Dream', or ECD for short, has reached the late Alpha stage. We have begun to work on the game's levels, creating the resources for them and putting the actual levels together. Trevor has been working really hard the past month on getting things to this stage. Now I get to join in on the fun as well with playing with 3D models and textures and everything. Designing levels really is fun, even within the current limits imposed by the game's framework. Within weeks we should be able to let volunteers start beta testing and creating levels for the game using the built-in level designer which has seen a rapid evolution the past weeks.

I'm fairly sure the IMK guy will agree that things are progressing nicely, though I would very much like to show a demo of the Lilium hardware simulator. With how busy I'll be the coming time I'm not sure whether I'll make it in time, but maybe with this holidays thing the appointment won't be until early January. We'll see.


Friday, 18 December 2009

Wheel Of Fortune

Mark down another one for the unpredictability of life. One week ago I was having a very rough time, with nightmares, some of which triggered my PTSD, and much anxiety leading up to yesterday. One week ago I attempted a second silly suicide attempt which didn't get me anything more than some burst veins on my eyelids. Very smart and flattering indeed. I really needed a break. And yesterday I got a few of them.

Things started with a phonecall from a team of radiologists I had contacted before with the request to take a look at the MRI images I have in my possession. They had looked at them within the team, yet they couldn't and didn't want to derive any conclusion based on these images as they found them to be unclear and would prefer to see another set of MRI images using a different sequencing method. I'm contemplating paying up for another MRI scan which may or may not result in any new findings. May be worth a shot, though.

Next up was my dentist appointment. It was a twice-annual check-up and the dentist was pretty happy with how things looked, especially in comparison to the previous times. Getting to and from the dentist office was somewhat treacherous, though, due to the 5-10 cm of snow we had during the night. I nearly went down a few times with my bicycle :)

After lunch Pieter and I prepared to leave for Groningen for the UMCG hospital appointment. While Pieter was clearing snow off the car I was waiting inside the car when I suddenly got a phonecall. This one was from my new psychotherapist, who wished to make an appointment. January 7th is when my first appointment will take place. This will involve the EMDR treatment among other things. I'll see how this goes.

The drive to the UMCG was somewhat perilous, with lots of snow and ice on the roads, slow-moving traffic (40 km/h with a speed limit of 120), a few accidents with trucks and vans alongside the road and a trip which took 2 hours instead of the usual 1.5. Eventually we arrived at the UMCG where we met up with Engel Vrouwe.

We didn't have to wait long for the appointment to start. It started off quite difficult for me, as I felt so much disappointment and frustration while talking to professor Weijmar Schultz. After a few minutes we left for the radiology department for a meeting with the radiologist, Boogerts. He maintained his previous conclusion of the MRI images, truly seemed to believe that he interpreted them correctly, didn't seem phased when I told him about what I had heard from this team of radiologists, and I truly think he has tried his best. I just can't agree with his assessment that the black line on the MRI images (which he admits is air due to being black on both T1 and T2 sequences) is just air inside the rectum. Having the same volume of air in the same place during two MRI scans made one year apart is just odd, not to mention that I haven't seen a similar thing on any of the MRI scans from others. Except somewhat on those from females, where such a black line sometimes runs next to the vagina. On those from males small, much shorter black lines are sometimes visible, but nothing like on my MRIs. The radiologist will try to find some examples on male MRI images to back up his theory.

Next was the meeting with the geneticist, a woman. She seemed nice enough, admitted right away after being presented with a few more details about me that AIS definitely doesn't belong to the possibilities. She didn't want to do a chromosome check on a second tissue because she deems the possibility of me being a mosaic at this point unlikely, but when I said I would like to try anyway, it turned out she had the swab kit already with her. This test involves cells from the insides of my cheeks, as it's another one of the three primary stem cell lines during the development of an embryo. If this test also shows that there is nothing but XY chromosomes in these cells, then she can't think of another genetic test she could perform and I'd at least genetically be an unknown until some more advanced test can be devised.

A very interesting point which I stumbled across a few days ago is related to the prostate in male to female transsexuals. As it turns out the prostate in these people does shrink due to a reduction in testosterone levels (a technique also used in treating prostate cancer, by the way), yet the prostate itself keeps functioning, and thus even after gender reassignment surgery the transsexual person keeps ejaculating. Weijmar Schultz confirmed this, adding that the total volume of the ejaculate produced remains virtually the same. The interesting part about this is that before I started with the hormone therapy, the few times I did manage to ejaculate, the ejaculate had a thick, almost gel-like consistency and it would come out in one go, not in bursts. Now, after the hormone therapy started I do not ejaculate at all in any form. While I at times do produce some kind of fluid when in an excited state, it doesn't happen during orgasm, there is no feeling of ejaculating anything, and it's only a small amount of a clear, slightly sticky and completely odourless fluid. This points towards me either not having a male prostate (there's also a female prostate, used to be called Skeen's gland until quite recently), or something else being the matter.

The suggestion from Weijmar Schultz was to have this issue and the matter of the missing foreskin of my penis as well as the thin and fragile skin presented to a urologist. I intend to write down a list of issues and make an appointment at the local hospital with a urologist shortly. After this we parted ways, with Pieter and I returning home by car and Engel Vrouwe by train. I must say that I hadn't actually expected all of this to happen. I had expected a situation like at the VUMC, i.e. like talking to a brick wall, but this wall was soft, squishy and not very abrasive.

Making our way back across the snow-covered roads (5.15 PM to 7.15 PM), stopping to get some gas for the car once with Pieter enjoying a chance to talk in Frisian dialect with the person behind the counter of the gasstation and buying some chocolate to accompany us on the rest of the trip, me getting a phonecall from my mother who wanted to know how it went, we finally made it back home. Naturally Pieter only managed to eat half his pizza because he had been gorging on chocolate bars until mere minutes before we arrived home, but that was okay :P

After dinner I checked my email and saw that I received a response to my earlier email to a big Dutch national newspaper. They want to do an interview with me for an article. I hope to hear when the interview is today.

All taken together today was a pretty good day. I also learned that Pieter likes to slip-and-slide on snow/ice-covered roads, deriving an almost sadistic pleasure from it. I bet he scared a few drivers of surrounding cars :D


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Media Bits And Pieces

Hi people, sorry for not blogging for nearly a month. Life has been very... interesting lately and I haven't exactly been in the mood to blog and such. Suffice it to say that there are some developments taking place even as we speak which should lead to very interesting results.

And then there is my impending visit to the UMCG hospital on the 17th of December. The past few days I have been doing a lot of research, figuring out the medical and scientific details behind everything the UMCG has said and anything relevant to my case. I have even gone so far as to read a study/reference book for MRI and CT students and those in the field. It was an extremely revealing read, and has allowed me to see the same things the radiologist pointed out to me when I was in that German clinic today nearly exactly two years ago.

Should I get angry about having been lied to? Should I even bother with the UMCG and all those other hospitals any more? I got my hormones prescribed thanks to the UMCG, but it seems that this is the only thing I will be getting from them. Assuming the interpretation of myself and two independent clinics is correct, I have a closed-off vagina for which I can probably get surgery. To accomplish this I need access to a hospital or a large clinic. Still not sure how I'm going to pull this off, although I am sure that the UMCG will never admit their mistakes and never help me with my issue one tiny bit again.

In other news, I got an offer from the national TV channel BNN ( a while ago to have me feature in one of their shows, 'Je zal het maar hebben', a documentary/talkshow-like show on people who have to live with disabilities and other mental or physical matters. I got told after a month of waiting that I could get in, but only for the 2011 season. The reason? Last season they had a transsexual person in the show and they deem trans- and intersexuality to be 'too similar'. I felt hugely offended by this, of course. I did put down my name for the 2011 season, but I truly doubt I'll ever want to have anything to do with BNN any more. Ignorant people. I wish I wouldn't get so frustrated and angry about it.

Instead of relying on existing, traditional media, I'm planning to begin making movies I'll be putting online on my YouTube channel. At this point I'm still gathering ideas for episodes, but I do have all the necessary equipment, including a video camera (thanks, Pieter ;) ), clip-on mic and such. All I could ask for would be some more advanced studio lighting equipment and someone else to operate the camera, but I guess you can't have everything :)

So, have any ideas on what I could put into these YouTube episodes? Any other thoughts/ideas/feedback? Please let me know in the comments or send me an email via the contact form on the main site. Thanks in advance!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Dream: Kidnapped

I was kidnapped. I found myself inside a hall which reminded of one used for PE. My kidnappers were two males, one a Hispanic-looking guy who I recalled having lured me into this with his charms. The other was a more non-descript Caucasian male. As I was sitting there, the Hispanic guy, who was standing with the other guy on the tribunes a few meters above me, continued talking to me about the dangers of a 'pussy cat walking alone' and such things.

I withdrew somewhat into myself after a short while, focusing on a way to escape. Maybe if I could take out one of those guys, perhaps then I would have a chance, show the others (I felt there were more) that things wouldn't go the way they expected. Maybe it would scare them off. So when both guys approached me I got up and attacked the Hispanic guy. I seem to recall my hands being bound, so I was using kicks only. At this point I seemed to drift out of my body, seeing myself fight against the two guys from a growing distance.

A young woman was talking about how I was missing and how I should be found quickly. An older woman agreed with her. I then saw an older man painting over some text on a low white wooden fence in front of a low building which I felt had to be the one I was in. The man was sighing about how things always ended up like this. I then found myself sucked into the door opening of the building.

I was sitting on a chair behind a small table which I thought felt similar to the old schooldesk my mom used to own. In front of me on the table were lying a fork and a knife, the first on the left, the other on the right. I appeared to be sitting in a hallway, with a door to my left, just behind me, and one to my left in front of me, plus another one in front of me to my right. I couldn't see things very clearly, it was as though I was seeing things through a kind of fog, a sort of tunnel vision.

The Hispanic guy came walking into my field of vision from my left. Without knowing why, I grabbed the knife with my right hand, closed my left hand over it and waited for him to come close enough. Yet when I could have stabbed him, I just couldn't find the motivation or energy or anything to actually go through with it. He kept walking around the table and I kept following him, every time unable to move the knife even an inch closer to him. Then finally he was standing to my right and, using his sweater between his hand, he took the knife away from me.

I found myself giggling in a very much crazy manner. Then when the knife was taken away, I kind of collapsed, sliding down on my chair and withdrawing into myself.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Putting On The Pressure

Got an email back from today telling me the following:

"Your message = Would it be possible to have a mosaic test performed at your clinic? It involves the suspicion of XX/XY mosaicism or similar.

Dear Mrs. Posch,

Yes, it is possible to perform mosaic testing at our laboratory.

Dependent on the patients phenotype and clinical findings we can offer different techniques to check mosaicism (e.g. molecular genetic (PCR), molecularcytogenetic (FISH), cytogenetic).

Please send fresh EDTA- and Heparinblood samples. Give relevant reports and accurate description of the clinical findings.

Costs: e.g. XX/XY mosaicism (PCR) 130EUR

With best regards

Birgit Becker"

Thanks to Jan for providing me with the initial links which put me on the trail of this laboratory. I'll discuss matters with my GP on Monday, by which time the issue with the UMCG may have progress or derailed some more as well.

Today my therapist Engel Vrouwe agreed to calling the UMCG first, but also told me that he would like see my visit the UMCG once more, during with appointment he would like to be present as well. I sent an email to the UMCG and will hear back from them when they have a date for an appointment. This appointment will be with professor Weijmar Schultz, the radiologist and geneticist. I do not expect anything from it, but at the very least it should clear matters for a legal approach.

In other news, things are most definitely so-so for me. The current events are very tough on my both mentally as well as physically. The past few days my body temperature has hovered between 37.6C (mild fever) to 36.1C (normal is .5). I felt absolutely horrible either time. Today the problem was more emotional, though. Mentally I feel absolutely drained, finding it hard to see anything as worth living for, especially with the huge amount of medical and legal junk I'll have to work my way through the coming months if not years. Makes the easy way out look very attractive at times.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Finding One's Way

Stumbled over something unexpected today, namely the fact that having a mosaic test performed outside a hospital appears to be virtually impossible here in the Netherlands. I have contacted the ZKN ( which regulates private clinics in this country to ask them on this issue, but the expectation is that I'll have to go to another country to have this test performed. This is a minor setback. Worse is the difficulty in finding out where to go then. I'm still waiting on an American friend to get back to me on this. He would ask some people he knows who may know what the best place is for me to have this test performed.

Meanwhile I still find it horrible that the hospitals in this country refuse to perform this test for me, even if they officially have to do it. I do however not feel like pursuing a legal route to force them or to exact revenge at this point in time. It's not in my benefit right now and there are more productive things to focus.

So at any rate I would love any help people may be able to give me with regard to finding a place where I can have this mosaic test performed, hopefully somewhere in Europe, though I wouldn't say no to an all-expenses-paid trip to the US :)


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

End Of An Era

Today marks the end of an era. Five years of attempts to get basic tests performed at various hospitals here in the Netherlands. Five years of trying to get people to listen to me. No more.

In the letter I got on Friday from the UMCG they suggested that I might go there again to discuss matters. This week the question was whether or not I would go to another appointment there. Considering how the UMCG has not executed both items they had promised (mosaic test and MRI discussion), not offering further research or testing and thus not answering my request for help, I can see no reason to go back there.

Yesterday night it further became clear to me how much these recent events with the UMCG have affected me. While discussing the above question with Pieter we somewhat got into an argument on whether or not to go to the UMCG again, near the end of which I pretty much ran downstairs to my room and just stood there for a while, feeling absolutely miserable. After some time I decided to lie down on my bed and stayed there until Pieter came downstairs to check on me and inform me that the tea was ready. What happened next still frightens me.

As usual Pieter managed to bring a smile to my face, yet then I felt the tears making their way out again. Thinking that I was just going to cry a bit to let out the tension I didn't resist. At first that was all I did, but then I began to feel such a rage inside me that I began to kick and punch around me, at one point coming very close to attacking Pieter. I then cowered against the wall right next to my bed, followed by punching and clawing at the wall as though I was trying to find a way inside it.

I have never experienced anything like this before. Only afterwards did I notice that I had injured my right shoulder pretty painfully, not to mention my sore hands and arms. Pieter also got hit a few times, including a kick to his shin. He chose to let me calm down on my own, though, instead of holding me down. I have commented before on how I felt like there was some kind of darkness inside. This last experience was more akin to a demon. I was aware of my actions, but I don't think I could have stopped myself except with extreme effort. I really hope I don't ever have to experience it again.

Considering the intense emotions dealing with Dutch hospitals seems to unleash in me I have decided together with my GP whom I spoke to today, that it would not be a wise decision to have further contact with the UMCG. I have sent an email informing the UMCG of this decision.

The next step will be to find a private clinic here in the Netherlands or elsewhere which can perform the mosaic test for me, and hopefully do something with the MRI images as well. A friend in the US is asking some people he knows, one of them works in a national health laboratory and has contacts in the Netherlands, of what they deem to be the proper strategy here, and what the best place for the required tests would be.

I have no idea how much it is going to cost me, nor exactly where I'll get the money from, but I do know that this way the required tests can be performed in a few months time, finally giving me the answers I seek. I'm so angry that those retarded hospitals have cost me five years of my life I'll never get back, with nothing to show for it except this stupid PTSD. I want nothing more right now than to move on with productive things instead of seeking the confrontation with people who hate me anyway.


Saturday, 7 November 2009

It Isn't Paranoia If They're Really After You

What I realized last night is that:

The UMCG hasn't performed a proper mosaic test. They merely replicated the chromosome test the Prisma hospital in Enschede carried out in late 2007, about two years ago. They also checked the presence of the Y chromosome in blood and nothing else. The 'test' done at the UMCG thus learns us nothing new. The UMCG presented the results of this single test as definitive, yet they only tested one tissue. This is very weird.

Together with the broken promise from the UMCG to discuss the MRI interpretation mystery with the German clinics which got pushed back and now completely discarded, it appears that the UMCG is little different from the Erasmus MC and VUMC. They'll get their last chance next week, but otherwise I can yet again assume that I got tricked again into believing some medical experts actually wanted to help me.

Why in the world does this keep happening to me? And why does the media only seem to care this little bit? I'd feel this is an issue a number of talk shows and such on national TV would love to pounce on and get it on the air.

I don't have a friggin' idea what to do next if the UMCG turns out to be equally unreliable as previous hospitals. Why does everyone who can help me feel the need to lie and cheat me out of precious time? :(

I'm so tired...


Friday, 6 November 2009

Testing Weirdness

Today I received the genetic test results from the UMCG hospital by snail mail. The conclusion was 46, XY, with the SRY gene on the Y chromosome. A normal male genotype, basically. They also concluded that the MRI images showed the front side of the rectum and not a vagina.

Strange is that the UMCG first said they would discuss with the German clinics on the wildly differing MRI interpretations, later shifted this to after the genetic tests and now says I'll have to do it myself; contact the German clinics and ask them. Also strange is that the mosaic test was supposed to be carried out in stages; if the first test on blood didn't show anything unusual it would be expanded to other tissues. Nothing was said about this in the letter I received today.

In short this all means that matters haven't progressed at all. There hasn't been any discussion on the MRI images and thus there is no common conclusion between all the teams of radiologists who have looked at them so far. Questionable is also the genetic testing because it has only been performed on blood so far.

Naturally this is a serious disappointment for me, and I'm absolutely not sure yet how things will progress from here. The frustrating part is that if I trust the UMCG's conclusion there is absolutely no genetical reason for the fact that I have a female phenotype, that there are no explanations or answers still, and that it may take many more years before there finally comes some clarity in this mystifying case. If ever.

In other news, the new nVidia GTX275 videocard I got is driving me slightly nuts because it's really noisy at load while running Folding at Home, irking me even when I'm just working in front of the computer, let alone while trying to sleep. A new cooler would solve this issue, but it's a sixty Euro or so I do not have exactly lying around at the moment.

Then again, I need a huge source of distraction to keep myself from doing something horrible to my body the coming weeks, so working like possessed on my work seems like a reasonable proposition. Especially with the money I'll earn from it, which would allow me to buy new videocard coolers.


Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Possibility Of Hope

Last Wednesday at the beauty/hairdresser salon where I undergo my electrolysis treatments I showed the Grazia magazine my article was published in and to my surprise the one customer (an older woman) who was there for a haircut already had heard about me. I guess the power of word of mouth shouldn't be underestimated :) This woman was really nice to me about it. It was a nice experience.

Forgive me for not writing much more. I lack the energy for pretty much anything lately. I sincerely hope that I will receive the results of the genetic tests next week and that they're useful. I hope it'll allow me to recover soon, as in my current state I'm absolutely worthless. Yesterday I managed to completely embarrass myself in front of a neighbour when she came to pick up a package which was delivered at our place.

Swimming today was kind of fun, though, got to talk a lot with nice people.

My next post will be either after I receive news from the UMCG, or never again. Until then.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Fear, Uncertainty And Doubt

Got a bit of a 'blah' moment a few hours ago. Someone on IRC said that she still thinks that I'm AIS, basically that my body is like this because of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. For some reason it got stuck inside my head that this might be the case, so to ease my ponders I went to look at the Wikipedia page on it.

Suffice it to say that my condition doesn't match up at all, with neither gradation or phenotype. The fact that I have a female body (including secondary characteristics) together with externally only seemingly normal male genitals is not possible within the AIS pattern as far as I can determine, as it is more of a sliding scale from male to female characteristics. Only thing which seems to match up is the genotype determined so far, being XY, 46.

What I have determined years ago already and basically reconfirmed today is that XX/XY hermaphroditism is still the best match, as it explains the contradictory nature of my body, with both strongly male and female characteristics instead of one strong and the other weak as is much more common with intersexuality conditions. It's a shame no testing was done before I began the hormone therapy on my fertility level (male side), hormone levels and such. Thank you VUMC, I guess. Ah well.

I found myself thinking back to the conversation I had with some Jehova nutcases a few days ago. The discussion itself was very familiar to me as I have talked to such people before in real life and have had and read countless discussions on such topics on the internet. The thing which always me annoys me about fundamentalist types is that they like to twist the truth and selectively filter it to best present their opinion. This time they tried to talk nonsense about evolution, for example, which is pretty much my area of expertise, so they didn't get far on that.

In hindsight I should have gone back to the basics and pointed out that their question they started with of whether a creator couldn't have made this planet and universe is invalid as they fail to define and specify what this 'creator' is or might be. That's always the point which annoys the heck out of me with blind faith-types, how conveniently they can skip over the fundamentals of logic. I hate irrational thought as it is chaotic, and chaos is always destructive.

Logic is an essential part of my way of thinking, which is why I haven't given up figuring out my body yet. My rational side is extremely strong and dominating, so that my emotional side is rarely able to surface except in time of fatigue and extreme stress. I know there is a solution to the logic puzzle that is my body and I will find it, despite the completely chaotic and irrational manner in which people including specialists treat me all the time. Humans are chaotic, irrational beings, prone to flights of fancy whenever their emotions flare up. Short-sighted, they rarely understand or concern themselves with the emotional state of those they should be worried about either through friendship, family or professionally.

I find it to be extremely annoying how I can send a response to an email from Weijmar Schultz in which I will ask a few questions, only to not receive a response for a week. Then when I send a short email as reminder I get a response within two hours. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't make me feel appreciated.

Anyway, having him tell me that he'll soon be able to give me 'most of the answers' I'm looking for is somewhat... unnerving to me. What will I hear? How will it affect my life? Is this the end of my search? Will I finally get an explanation and not another dismissal that anything is out of the ordinary? Can I trust these results? Emotionally I dread whatever I will hear as it'll either make me feel exalted or plummet me into a black mood I may never recover from. Logically I'm just tired of having to wait for irrationally slow and moronic people to catch up with me and deliver the final pieces of the puzzle to settle this. I'll know more in about two weeks or so, as the final test on my genotype will have been carried out.

In other news, a few days ago I resumed 'folding' again, which means that I resumed participation on the Stanford Folding at Home project (F@H for short). See for more information. I last participated back in 2005 and my, things have changed. I have nearly caught up with the number of points I earned for the processed Work Units (WUs) before, doubling the total. I rejoined my old team, HardOCP, number 33 and some people actually recognized me from back then :)

Folding when I quit was still done only on CPUs, but in the mean time GPUs have joined the fray, so I put my nVidia 8800 GTS 320 to work as well and it is churning out WUs like it's nobody's business. Smooth. Only issue is that it's doing it at 85C core temperature and the fan is getting on my nerves. So to cure that I ordered a GTX260 GPU to replace it after which I will relocate the 8800 GTS to a secondary system which will also be used for folding (CPU and GPU client).

F@H is a scientific project aimed at discovering exactly how proteins fold themselves from a long string of molecules into a complex 3D shape with a specific function. Misfolding of proteins is directly responsible for a number of diseases including Parkinson, Huntington, and many more. Solving this complex puzzle will make life much more pleasant for many. In the process it brings people together in a community where people donate resources to a project both to help it out and to compete among each other to get ahead of the list of contributed work. It's a kind of sport, I guess :)

At any rate I hope that I'll get to hear some answers from the UMCG which I can actually do something with. I hope it'll take me a week at most to recover from it. I also hope that it'll take away this intense feeling of loneliness and fatigue which gets worse each day. I truly pray this is the last batch of test results I'll have to wait for, as I'm really not sure whether I can do this one more time. I probably will, though. I'm such a poor loser that I will probably continue the rest of my life if necessary. I just pray that isn't necessary. Please let this year be the end of all this FUD and let next year truly be a new beginning for me.


Thursday, 22 October 2009

More Updates

Just got the Grazia magazine in the mailbox. It is indeed number 42. What I find sloppy is that the 'Real Life' section on the cover mentions a quote from a certain Monique while this article doesn't appear in the magazine. I find it sloppy that they apparently forgot to change this. The article also got reduced to two pages from three, but it's further fine. I just wish they had fixed the cover. It's embarrassing for them and not so nice for me.

Yesterday I talked by email with a psychology student from Groningen who studies at the university there. She said to be shocked and amazed by the treatment I have received the past years, especially the ignorance I encountered among specialists. She will show the article to her friends and teachers. Today I'll email her a scanned in copy.

As for how I'm doing, not very well. Yesterday I was okay thanks to a sleeping pill which safely guided me through the night, but last night was terrible, with disturbing dreams and constantly waking up, at one point feeling downright terrified. Today I find that I can not concentrate at all on anything, even after a 2-hour nap. Breakfast and lunch made me both feel sick again.

The UMCG apparently doesn't it deem it important enough to reply to my emails once more, so I have no idea when I'll have that next appointment. Perhaps I should just stop caring. They'll only tell me that I'm crazy anyway like everyone before has.

Why can't I just bloody admit already that there is no life to live for me. I'm so stupid.


Monday, 19 October 2009

Long, Long Days

Okay, this past weekend was absolutely crushingly fun and tiring. It kicked off nicely with the movie-and-talking night with the visit from the two friends I mentioned in my previous blog post. We watched a movie I got on the advice of a British friend: A Tale of Two Sisters ( It's a 2003 South-Korean movie, and we all thought it was very interesting. It's psychological horror, and it's one of those movies which don't easily give up the secrets behind what in the world is happening and why. I think I got it, though, as did Pieter who was watching as well.

Both friends arrived here at around 8 PM and stayed until near 1 AM. I thought it was pretty fun. The guy reminded me somewhat of Trevor, which is never a bad impression :) We three spent a few hours just talking about a variety of subjects, including how they found out about me. Apparently they both saw my last appearance on Omroep Flevoland completely by accident while zapping about and kept watching. Being new to Almere and not having many friends there they apparently decided to contact me. Just shows how useful the media can be to me, I guess.

Getting to sleep that night took a while as a branch from a tree outside was scratching against the window and keeping me from sleeping so I had to migrate to the music room. I had to sleep on a quite thin mattress, so with only a few hours to go until I had to get up I somewhat drifted in and out of sleep. Count one for sleep deprivation.

On Saturday Pieter and I went to that retro gaming gathering, the video can be found at as well as a collection of photos. See how many times you can see me on them and get a free kiss :p

It was pretty fun. To summarize in short: geeks and nerds galore, and slightly weird people are often the most fun to talk with. At the end of the day I had a sore throat from all the talking I did with dozens of people. I played on a variety of old systems, including Duck Hunt on the NES (first time, nearly perfect score, Zapper gun trigger digs into your finger, ergonomics and the 80s don't mix well), various games on the Commodore 64, and Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast. I held an Atari Lynx 'handheld' which was big enough to crush small pets with and played a bit of Pong as well.

I helped a girl who was visiting the gathering with her brother to play some Salamander (shoot-'em'-up) on the MSX and we talked a bit afterwards during which I learned that she's a psychology student and when we noticed the film crew who had just arrived I mentioned having been on TV before and I ended up giving her my website's address when she expressed an interest in my story. By the end of the day I was completely crushed. Fun, but very tiring.

That night I took a sleeping pill, which helped a lot in getting a decent amount of sleeping. The offending tree branch was located and sacked.

Sunday was amusement park day and turned out to be somewhat dull, mostly due to the amusement park itself. We went with the usual group of people. As Pieter put it, it's a fun park to dump your children in for the day, but it's not aimed at adults. After a ride in the rollercoaster (kinda fun), and another ride which involved all of us getting somewhat wet, we went to the swimming pool (Tikibad).

I'm still sore with a few bumps on my right shoulder and hip where I got a bit too intimate with some of the slides. It was kind of fun, especially the two rides where you sit on an inner tube and slide down through pitch darkness. Less fun were the parts where I began to hyperventilate for a bit and the part where I collapsed into myself and didn't get out of it until this morning when I soaked Pieter's shirt with tears again.

Perhaps Sunday's trip was a bit too much, I feel so very tired and am having trouble staying happy, and that trip sure didn't help by putting me in line for a lot of confrontations with my own body and with the happiness of others. At any rate I'm glad I can do absolutely nothing but work this week.

I just got an email from a woman via my site's contact form. She claimed that she had just read the article on me in the Grazia. I haven't heard anything about the article getting published already in the Grazia from the journalist, however, so I just sent her an email on it. It would be awesome if it is published already, though :)

Update: the article got published, trying to figure out which number of the Grazia it is in (probably the one currently for sale), but I'll get 3 copies sent to me. I'll scan and translate the article as soon as I get it.


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Nice Things, Not So Nice Things

Some simple things make me just happy, such as the present I gave Pieter for his birthday last week. It was the first time I have ever picked, bought and given someone a present completely on my own, and it seems to have been a good choice. The present in question was a new wireless mouse, to replace Pieter's cranky old one which was part of a Logitech MX3000 desktop set (mouse and keyboard). I picked a Logitech LX6, which turned out to work with the old wireless receiver, making it a very painless upgrade. Pieter is also still happy with it, which I'm glad for. With his old mouse the buttons wouldn't work that well anymore (he's a big, strong guy, you do the math), leading to many expletives getting launched. Since I have this weird thing where I feel instantly guilty or bad whenever someone curses or is unhappy, not having to deal with this anymore makes me a happy kitten too :)

What I'm still on the fence about is the visit from a girl with her boyfriend tomorrow night. She's the one who contacted me by email after seeing my video a while ago and also the one who invited me to that Halloween party. They'll be dropping by after supper to watch a movie together, drink some tea and chat. It's the first time I'll see them both face to face and I have no idea what the experience will be like. There's only one way to find out, I guess.

What makes me absolutely not happy is something like what happened yesterday night. Pieter's dad stayed the night here due to his work, and while the three of us were sitting downstairs Pieter's dad asked to see the news on TV because he was interested if anything had happened yet in the DSB bank case here. When the TV turned on it was still on the last channel we previously watched, only this time it wasn't 'The Nanny' which came on, but some rancid scene from a porn movie or so. I only saw like two seconds of it before Pieter zapped away, but by that time it was already too late.

Many sexuality-related topics are a strong trigger for my PTSD, and porn is one of the worst. I tried to act normal while attempting to fight back the sick feeling and horrible thoughts and images inside of me until Pieter asked whether I was tired and wanted to go to bed. Nodding, I got up and walked upstairs to my room, where I undressed and got into my bed, knowing very well that I wouldn't be sleeping any time soon yet. This was about 11 PM. I hoped that Pieter hadn't forgotten about my sleeping pill and that I wouldn't have to go for the other tactic, which is waiting until I'm completely exhausted and will fall asleep even if I were dangling above a fifty meter abyss.

Minutes creeped by and after silently crying for a while I heard Pieter and his dad come upstairs, discuss the new music room, then listen to some music upstairs in the computer room to finally prepare for bed. Then Pieter went upstairs to his bedroom, the lights all turned off and I knew that he hadn't remembered. Since Pieter's dad doesn't know about my issues I didn't want to get Pieter into trouble by sneaking upstairs to his room to ask for a sleeping pill. I thus proceeded to read in my book until it was 2 AM at which point I barely knew what I was reading anymore and fell into a restless sleep after turning off the light.

I woke up again at around 5 AM and attempted to sleep more, but couldn't manage more than a few short naps. I could feel that the triggering of my PTSD of the previous night hadn't been processed yet. Pieter told me after his dad had left that it would have been fine if I had come up to his room for a sleeping pill, that there would have been nothing odd about it. Perhaps I'm just too concerned at times. I then proceeded by drenching Pieter's shirt with more tears.

Nice is the work on our games. Although it's a lot of work still, and Trevor is stressing out over the level editor for Even Cats Dream (with a HDD crash last week to brighten up his day), with me having to finish the new Nyanko, ECD sites and the webshop in addition to various game resources, I'm nevertheless getting more into the spirit of things. It does provide a nice kind of distraction and it's the only time when I'm not confronted with how much of a freak I am.

Tuesday Pieter did get a response from the Justice department on the policy change, basically stating 'We're working on it', meaning that it'll be introduced for consideration at some point in the future. Also no reference to whether it would also help cases like mine. Great work, guys, really helpful.

I sent the UMCG an email yesterday asking whether they could clarify the 'additional test' bit and perhaps already tell me what I can expect to hear with my upcoming appointment. I haven't received a response yet.

Yesterday I also had my first Blend method treatment. As a whole it's more pleasant than the purely galvanic method, even if it takes longer per hair, it should be more effective in destroying left-over cells, meaning fewer treatments per hair.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Blandness Of It All

Last Sunday when Pieter and I drove back home Pieter asked me how or what I was feeling. I answered "Nothing", which was the truth. Everything these days seems to be overcome with a sense of blandness, with the chaos of the pain and frustration still churning below the surface, but I seem to lack the energy to express it. On one hand it's nice, on the other it also means that I seem to fall into some kind of lethargic state which can last for hours. Anyway, it's time for a summary of what has happened in the nearly two weeks since my last blog post.

I visited my GP yesterday morning and got both types of hormones I'm taking prescribed, Cyproterone and Progynova. Not having to order it online any more and having my health insurance pay for it means that I save about 700 Euro a year. On the flip side, I emailed my insurance company with a question regarding full compensation for the electrolysis hair-removal treatments and from their answer I gathered that I'll only get paid back up till 250 Euro, as full coverage is only available for transsexuals. This means paying about 1,250 Euro a year, or around 2,000 Euro left to pay out of my own pocket until the treatment is finished.

On which note, tomorrow I'm starting with the Blend method at the beauty salon instead of the galvanic electrolysis method. Basically the galvanic method uses direct current (DC), thermolysis alternating current (AC, or RF). Blend combines both, resulting in a more effective treatment (70-90% effective on treated hairs). The formation of heated lye is more destructive to the hair than regular lye, increasing the possibility of completely killing the hair matrix (root) cells. I can't wait to see how it'll work for me. I'm still quite happy with how the treatment is working for me so far.

I felt quite disappointed when I wrote my previous blog post on October 1st about the last communications with the UMCG. I have been telling people how it'll take until December before anything will be known at this rate. Well, I wrote another email to Professor Weijmar Schultz yesterday to ask for confirmation on receiving my previous email. Today I got his response. Essentially the genetics department is performing an additional (no details) test because of that previous email and this should take about another 3 weeks. An appointment will be made soon during which they expect to answer all my questions.

The sensation I felt at reading the 'three weeks' part can be described as 'choking'. It almost made me wish it would still take until December. It's such an incredibly big thing... It truly terrifies me to have to hear what they have to say. Did they find anything? Nothing? Will they just say that they can't find anything genetics-wise which is 'unusual'? Will they say that I do have something odd, like XX/XY pattern? I so hope that they have found at least something which would justify to myself chasing those answers, as I know that 'nothing unusual' is not the answer which will help me explain things. Such an answer would only help me further down into despair, make me further question my own sanity. I'm truly afraid of a negative result.

I tried to register myself yesterday for a house/apartment here in Almere, yet I simply couldn't make myself fill in the first page. I know I have to use my official identity, but for some reason I just can't do it anymore. I don't want to be something I'm not, I don't want to have to muddle through that procedure with the feeling that I'm taking care of it for someone else. I may not entirely feel like 'Ms Posch', but it's a heck of a lot closer to the truth than 'Mr Posch'.

Which reminds me, the government instance last contacted/forwarded to (Justice Department) on the policy change regarding official gender changes still hasn't responded. It's nice to be left in the dark like this. I haven't received that declaration/letter from the UMCG yet either explaining my situation. Not that I would want to renew my driver's license while this retarded dual-identity situations still exists, though.

Health-wise I'm somewhat bordering on the edge. I feel extremely nauseous at least a few times a day, to the point that I fear that I'll throw up in the next second. My appetite is shot, with me skipping meals or just eating very little. Yesterday I had one bowl of muesli for breakfast and no lunch, while I used to have a full-sized breakfast and lunch. I guess it beats responding to stress by gorging on food.

In more positive news, I watched 'Alice' for the second time yesterday. It's a 1988 Czech movie loosely inspired by the Alice in Wonderland story, turning it into a totally surrealistic, sometimes almost horror-ish experience. I first saw it when I was a young child, many years ago, and back then it completely freaked me out. Not that I got nightmares from it, but I did think it was a quite scary experience. The second time I appreciated the movie more, understanding its premise and such much better. It's definitely a movie I would recommend watching, if only because it's so original :)

On Saturday the 17th I'll be going together with Pieter (and his MAME setup) to a retro gaming day in Maarssen, near Utrecht: It is called 'From Pong To Playstation', and costs 2 Euro to visit. A lot of old and more recent systems can be seen and quite a few played on.

On Sunday we'll be going with a large group to the Duinrell amusement park in Wassenaar. Initially we were only going for the swimming pool section, Tikibad, but since we have to buy a combined ticket for both the park and the pool we're going to visit the park as well, before we head for the pool. I hope it'll be a fun day.

Finally, I put the BNR radio recording of last month online. I created a kind of slideshow to go along with it using an Avisynth script (my first one). The video can be found in my YouTube channel and on the Media page on my site.


Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Surreality Of Existence

Ah, how subtle changes can occur. One moment I find myself whining about how I'm so terribly lonely and am a complete social misfit, and the next moment I'm planning my costume for a Halloween party on the 31st this month where around thirty people will be attending. This all because one girl here in Almere sent me an email yesterday after seeing my last video on the Omroep Flevoland site. We sent a few emails to and from, then today we chatted on MSN for what must have been hours. Unlike what happens in most cases when someone contacts me this way, it actually clicked between us. We found no lack of subjects to discuss and I'm left with a positive feeling about things. Somewhere in between she mentioned a Halloween party she organizes each year and asked whether I might be interested. I said yes.

I'll be attending the party as a vampire. Yes I know, how terribly exciting and such. The truth, however, is that it's just a great fit for me, as vampire women are supposed to be attractive, very feminine women (check). They're also exceedingly pale (check) and mysterious (check). All I need are the teeth and some other bits and pieces and I'll be a great vampire :) Things to get include shoes, make up (I'm not yet pale enough :P ) and perhaps something to put up my hair. Good thing I have still got a month to take care of things.

I finally got some more clarity on the medical side as well. In an email Weijmar Schultz of the UMCG told me that 1) there is no Oestrogen gel here in the Netherlands (must have been a communication error before...), 2) they won't contact Germany yet until they have some more answers from the genetics test. Since I refuse to use patches, even if other types may have fewer side-effects, also due to the horrible residue they leave on one's skin and the pain it is to put them on properly (had one fall off before), this is not an option. I also see no point in the subdermal option where a capsule is injected underneath the skin for half a year, as this leaves a scar (two scars a year? No thanks) and the last month it's unreliable.

Yes, the oral option (pills) I'm using now means that I'm putting more strain on my liver and the chance on thrombosis is a tad higher (mostly in risk groups), but it's the most practical option which gives me the best quality of life. I would like to try the gel option still, but I would have to order it from elsewhere than the Netherlands, meaning that my insurance wouldn't pay for it. So pills it is.

I'm somewhat disappointed that they aren't going to discuss with Germany yet. To me the most important question is whether or not I have a vagina. What my genetic makeup is is of far less importance to me. It won't affect the rest of my life after all. All I know is that sexually I'm a mess, and that unless I get some answers there soon, my frustration and anger will only get worse. It is the primary reason why I feel like a freak after all. Or why I am a freak.

The two politicians of the PvdA Pieter wrote an email to didn't bother to give a proper response and instead we got redirected to the general point for government information, Postbus 51. They promised to either answer the question on whether the new law will help me too or else give an estimate on how long it'll take in 3 days time. Let's hope I hear something tomorrow.

Yesterday night I had another bad moment involving strong thoughts about suicide. With the strain I can feel each day and which expresses itself in a headache, fatigue and a lack of energy/motivation, I can notice that I'm really at the end of what I can take. Something like that Halloween party is a nice distraction, something for me to focus on instead and allowing me to push away the negative feelings for a short while.

Yet the sad truth is that I'm balancing so precariously on the edge that I can't help but question the wisdom of the UMCG in delaying certain things which could be done in the short to medium term, instead focusing on the long term. Either interpret the MRI images correctly or admit that nobody has a real clue about what can be seen on it and start cutting me open or so.

I just want that one answer...


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The True Face Of The World

This world is a hideous, ugly, diseased place. And yet I can't help but catch glimpses of how beautiful it could have been. If I think about everything I have been through in brief and yet so very long life, I recoil in horror. Having experienced selfishness, lust, betrayal, egoism, cruelty and virtually anything that is ugly and horrible, having been mentally nearly destroyed by people who wanted me to believe something untrue at any cost, inflicting lasting scars willingly and knowingly. Exposed to a world which doesn't care about anything but itself. Which can only look away from its mirror long enough to cast a quick, uncaring glance at its surroundings.

There is nothing to strife for in this world but selfish gain. Yes, humans are selfish by nature, yet there's a difference between practicing it in a destructive or constructive manner. The former won't do anyone any good in the long term. It's only the latter kind which has kept this world together for as long as it has. The middle ages is a perfect example of this.

After all my whining and obsessing about my body and my traumas I have come to realize that nobody truly cares about it. Even with the specialists who are supposed to help me there's only this uncaring, unfeeling attitude. I have attempted to find a therapist the past few weeks would could help me with my traumas, only to find that no one accepts new patients and nobody gives a damn about the seriousness of my case. I'm being excluded in favor of someone who didn't get enough hugs when he was young and is now having issues due to it.

Three hospitals have caused me more emotional damage than I thought I could survive. Nearly five years of searching for the truth, only to find that no one but myself cares about it. Even now I'm feeling neglected, just a mere number at the latest hospital. Yet despite what I may say or think, or do or decide, nobody will give a damn. I just have to shut up and wait until someone tells me what to do. Just wait in line. Wait until your appointment. Wait until you decide it's enough. I may be the most rare medical case they have ever seen at the UMCG, yet nobody is going to get excited about it, let alone help me.

It's not going well with me. Everywhere I look I see the world's hideousness, in the families I see walking on the streets, on TV, in advertisements, in the things people do, in retarded things like social networking sites and 'social' activities. It's all self-gratification, not being able to think ahead more than perhaps two weeks and not giving a damn about others, not even one's 'friends', whom one will betray in a heartbeat if it leads to one's personal gain. It's all so ugly.

People only caring about the food they eat, the movies they watch, with whom and how often they have sex, whether or not they'll hire a stripper for the next bachelors party, whether to spend this years bonus on a new car or second house. It's only them, them and what they can accomplish right now to make themselves feel happy. Few couples really give a damn about the other, hence the nearly 100% divorce rate within a few years after marriage and the dozens of girl- and boyfriends one works through.

What is beautiful is science and technology and the people behind it, especially those truly striving to better the world for not only themselves. People who truly care about what happens to some remote village in the Amazons instead of whining about how expensive the wood from there has become. People who feel horrible about women and young girls suffering mental and physical abuse in backwards cultures, often with them ending up being exploited, and truly wanting to do something about it. Not people who travel to Thailand and pay for an hour with some underage girl who is being treated like dirt by her 'owner.

It's not people who sell or freely offer their body, or make use of such 'services'. It's not people who can not control the base urges of sex, violence, food and self-gratification. It's not people who see only what is right in front of them and have never considered the bigger picture. They're the hideous, cancerous growths which cover most of this world.

Finding people who are truly beautiful inside is hard, and I'm grateful that I have found at least a few, people who have displayed a level of selflessness not often encountered, even if they're not perfect. It's a reminder that a person like me who through circumstances has missed so many opportunities and suffered so much abuse at the hands of ugly people still has some straws to reach out for, even if they never lead to a shore and even if one could never build a raft out of them.

This world truly is disgusting.


Sunday, 27 September 2009

Strange Pains

Something pleasantly unexpected happened last Friday. I had just returned from a visit at the GP's office (still haven't received the name of the oestrogen gel from UMCG's Weijmar Schultz, ones I got aren't obtainable) and was settling down for what appeared to be a quiet working day when I got a phone call from the IMK, the people who had advised me and the Zelfstandigenloket on the Bbz procedure. They told me that someone from the Business News Radio (connected to the 'Financieele Dagblad' financial newspaper) had contacted them about the possibility of interviewing an entrepreneur who had been enabled by the Bbz to start or resume his or her business. I agreed to this interview which would take place the same day.

The interview went well, my part took about eight minutes. Someone from the IMK dropped by as well and was interviewed after me. The total part which will be broadcast will be about four minutes. I forgot to ask when it'll be broadcast and for what show exactly, but I will get an MP3 recording of the segment which I'll put online and transcribe to English if there are enough requests. For my troubles I got a bouquet of flowers from the IMK. For them it was an opportunity to get more attention for themselves, for the Bbz option (welfare and loan options) and for me it was an opportunity to get some attention for my company and a bit for myself. Win-win, I guess :)

Saturday was shopping day. Pieter and I got a light for above the piano to get some proper illumination there. We also stopped by a DIY store where I looked at some halogen flood lights (construction lights) as these would be useful for photography purposes. I couldn't find a proper replacement light for the one that came with it, though (need white halogen, not the standard yellow), so I decided to wait a bit with any purchase and try to find that light tube somewhere else first.

After lunch we went into the city, looked at video cameras for Pieter and tried to find the bloody light. I did get a new mouse as the old one (cheap Sweex one) simply wasn't working that well any more, with the scroll wheel scrolling backwards at times and the resolution not up to snuff any more. It's a noticable improvement, even if it meant giving money to Microsoft :P

Finding the light tube was a nightmare, though. Even at the biggest shops specializing in lighting they weren't aware of it and didn't seem to carry it. Specifically I was looking for a Philips Halotone, the blue-tinted version at 300 Watt. An example can be found on this page: I think I found it online at a Dutch webshop, but it lacks the necessary product details to make me feel certain it is the product I'm looking for other than the product image: It's all very confusing.

I did get the flood light in the end, but other than messing with the white balance on my cameras there's no other way to get 'white' light. As I intend to use the flood light for photography purposes, I feel it's important to get this fixed. I'm not totally happy about the stand I got with the flood light as well, as it's clearly more meant for construction sites rather than as photography gear. It's very hard to put away and the legs take up too much space. I'd like to find an alternative for it. Ah well.

Yesterday night I had a less enjoyable experience. Feeling down and with a few things in a movie and such reminding me of unpleasant things (PTSD, not being a boy or girl), I couldn't stop the flood of emotions which were welling up inside of me. Once again Pieter became the victim. It started with regular crying (out loud), then the deeper pain had to come out, followed by a lot of anger and frustrations (ripping Pieter's shirt to pieces) and finally me being unable to stop crying, bursting out in tears again when Pieter gave me a teddy bear plushie he keeps on his room. Seeing something cute or someone making me laugh is guaranteed to make me cry at such a time.

I simply couldn't stop crying, yet I was so tired and my throat raw from the crying and coughing. Fortunately I could get a sleeping pill again, and so I took it. After dozing for a bit in Pieter's bed I went to my own bed and soon felt the effects of the sleeping pill kick in. After reading one chapter in my current book (Darksword Trilogy), I gave the teddy bear which I had taken with me one last hug and went to sleep.

Waking up just before 7 AM, I felt relatively okay. Swimming went fine too, as I felt relatively detached from my emotions. This time was actually enjoyable and I didn't feel that tired at the end. After swimming Pieter and I went into the city again to go buy a video camera. He had been doing his own research and had come to the conclusion that the Canon Legria FS200 was the best option for him as well. He got the FS200 with a 4 GB SD card and a camera bag plus a tripod. I know that he bought the camera for himself, but that if it wasn't for me he would have bought it later, after he had received his new organ. I think he's a truly awesome guy for doing this and for allowing me to use the camera.

Jan had also offered to get me that video camera, but I guess we'll have to arrange something else now. In some sense I'm relieved, though, as it made me feel so self-conscious about the code of the site I have written. Not that it is bad or anything, mind you. I just don't like feeling as though I'm leeching off others :) Anyway, expect my horrific videos on YouTube soon, as soon as I can find the right program for video editing. Any tips?

Near the end of our lunch at home I began to feel weird. I was eating a popsicle (ice pop, for all non-Americans) when my tummy felt... strange. I managed to finish the ice pop and liked the taste, but it began to feel increasingly more wrong to ingest anything. Then the pains started.

I'm not sure how to describe the pain. It was abdominal, not firmly located in one place. One time it was spreading throughout my abdomen and lower part of the upper torso, then it were sharp stabbing pains. At some points it was bearable, just a bit sore-ish, then it suddenly intensified to the point where I didn't know what to do except grit my teeth and ride it out. The pain was so bad that I couldn't keep myself from crying, something I almost never do when in pain. In comparison the only thing which comes close in my experience is a severe migraine. It's a pain you can't ignore, can't escape from. Pieter was considering taking me to the ER.

After lying in my bed for what seemed like a very long time the pain must have subsided enough that I fell asleep from exhaustion and slept for 3 hours straight. I'm feeling much better now, although I really don't have an appetite, even skipping dinner which as far as I can remember is something I haven't done since the last time I was truly sick. Around when I was 8 years old or so. My temperature is normal and I feel relatively okay, I just don't have an appetite though I can drink tea without issues.

I haven't experienced a pain like this before. Considering the symptoms I'm thinking of food poisoning, though I'm not sure what might have caused it since I haven't eaten anything unusual or anything from a packaging or such I haven't eaten from before. I'll see how it goes tomorrow. Let's hope I can get back to work then.

Time to end this blog post which has gotten very long by now :)


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I'm Not Really Here

Today I finally received the first 2.5 months worth of Bbz welfare money. I'm now officially debt-free everywhere except for some interest-free loans with certain family members. I immediately got a haircut today to celebrate. Pictures will follow as soon as I figure out and somehow obtain the necessary parts for the new lighting setup. I'm thinking of a 300 Watt halogen spread light emitter with a white light bulb for the key light. For the fill light I will probably use a reflector at first. All of these can be obtained for around 50 Euro at any DIY store without the need to go to a special photography store.

The issue with a point-and-shoot camera like I have (Canon PowerShot A550) is that it's really not well-suited for indoors conditions. It needs a lot of light to produce nice images, an ISO setting above 150 or so will introduce a lot of noise and the flash is better left unused except in emergencies. I made a diffuser for its flash which seems to help, but since the flash on this camera is so limited (1.5 - 2 meter reach) it's virtually useless. This is why DSLR cameras have those really big flash modules with a lot more output.

By the end of next week I may have the budget for this and put my little photostudio at home together. I wish I had the money for two more stands to use for a backdrop as well. A more neutral background is always nice, also if I wished to replace it with a digital background or such. Anyway, that's just dreaming :)

My dream of getting a video camera is still far away. I have to take things easy financially, so unless I can procure financial resources via some other way (donations aren't going to do it as nobody is donating), it may take a few months. Pieter has been thinking of getting a video camera to film himself playing on his new organ, however, so if he hurries up and buys it soon I can stea... er, borrow it from him :D

The past few days and today I have spent mostly on finishing up the website for Jan's chess club. It's nearly finished now, basically it just has to successfully accept, parse and display the test data before it's done. I can't wait to finish it this week and get back to working on Nyanko's new website and the ECD game. I still have to find volunteers to work on the levels for ECD and/or beta test it, which may be either an easy or a really hard task.

In other news, I have attempted to find a psychotherapist here in Almere who is familiar with EMDR, but they all can't accept any more patients at this moment. I have a feeling the same will be true for therapists in Amsterdam and such as there is a general shortage of psychologists, therapists and such in this country. Groningen is however still too far, not to mention that I can't get EMDR therapy there.

What I have come to realize, or what I'm making myself believe, whichever is true, is that I'm really not a part of society. I have no place in society, I'm not acknowledged there, I do not have an identity. Posing myself as being part of society would be in a sense committing fraud, whether it's getting my own apartment, going to a shop, walking on the streets, going swimming. It doesn't matter, as long as I'm posing as part of society I'm a fraud, and that's something I don't wish to be.

The medical tests and such can only confirm what I already know; that I'm a freak, something which isn't part of society, a person who can never truly exist within society. Realizing this has finally allowed me to let go of the last chains of hope. I won't find a relationship or love. I won't lead a life like everybody else. The only thing that is real about me are my intellectual powers, everything else doesn't matter. To cling to false hopes will only make me unhappy.

Due to this I have finally found a semblance of peace. I can easily push any emotions away and put myself above social situations which I would otherwise have found uncomfortable or which might have triggered my PTSDs. It's still there in the background, but I can truly say that I hardly care anymore. It's all behind me now. I have found my place. It just isn't where everyone expected it to be, including myself. I only exist in my mind, not in this body.

It's not the conclusion I had wished for, or deemed most desirable, yet one can only regret denying reality, not surviving.


Friday, 18 September 2009

New Media

A response to my latest video on YouTube got my attention:

"Great ta [sic] see you once again. I was so looking forward to another of your video's [sic].

I am just wondering if you have thought of making your own? Rather then [sic] the well more professionally made ones, sometimes the simple at home with just you talking in my opinion can provide more people to understand and learn to educate themselves about people who have intersexed conditions."

This made me think, why the hell not? YouTube and such services have been shown to have an effect far beyond the 'old' media in many cases. It's a free-for-everyone, free-to-broadcast, no strings attached service. All you need is a video camera and you're in business. The loads of junk videos should be taken as granted :)

The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that this is the right way to go. Now all I need is a video camera of some kind to give it a whirl. Now, that might be a small issue... Let's see: I have a Canon PowerShot A550 which can record decent quality video with no external mic option for about 1 GB (motion JPEG)/1 minute. It's a bit clumsy to use for video, but it would work as long as the video doesn't have to be longer than a minute or so. Which is a tad short.

Another option I have is to use the best of the webcams currently I have in my possession, a Logitech Sphere. It's a 1.2 MP webcam with reasonable optics. Unfortunately it isn't in 100% working order, there are some glitches in the video, whether it's a hardware or driver error I don't know, but it causes coloured lines to appear in the video at random times. The Logitech drivers are also extremely picky, unreliable and at times downright hostile. It might work, but it'd hardly be perfect, plus I'd have to sync up audio with it. I am writing a (web)cam library at the moment which could do this, but it's still a not so desirable option.

Which leaves another option: obtaining an actual video camera. Something like the Canon Legria FS200: This particular camera only records in 4:3 format while many others do 16:9. It does 1024 x 768 video resolution, which is fine. Most importantly it has an external microphone option, allowing me to get actual proper audio with it. This would come very close to the recording quality of my TV shows so far.

Only issue? Buying the FS200 new would cost one over 250 Euro. I do not currently have this kind of money. I would like a stand-alone video camera, though, as it would not confine me to always recording at my desk. I could move around, show other things, use different locations.

Perhaps I could get a similar camera for cheap or free used. Perhaps people may be willing to donate me the money for a video camera (donation drive time?). Let me know what your thoughts on this are. Suggestions for better/cheaper video cameras are welcome too.

At any rate I hope more people think this is a good idea. I would love to inform people about the issues people like me face, how certain things work. I would also love to learn video editing (from raw video), and I know at least a few people are curious as to how I sound when talking in English ;)


Thursday, 17 September 2009

What Is Yet To Come

Pieter has improved over the past few days from a fever to a severe cold to an ear-infection today. It's a kind of improvement, I guess. At the very least I'm not going crazy from hearing him blow his nose every five minutes anymore. I doubt he regrets that part either. Now I just have to live with his grumbling and whimpering as he deals with this last part of him being sick :P

Yesterday I went through another joyful time at the beauty salon I currently frequent: Jafemy ( I have now had one or more treatments almost every week for over a month. In terms of effects I can notice a reduction in the hair growth, especially in the more coarser hairs. So far I'm quite satisfied with the results, which have made it possible for me to only shave once every other day instead of every day like before.

The exact treatment I'm undergoing is called 'Thermo' electrolysis, whereby a very slim needle (for me K2, the smallest size) is inserted into the hair follicle alongside the hair and a very short electrical pulse is applied, which solidifies the proteins of the hair follicle, effectively killing it. The hair is then pulled out. If a hair returns it'll be smaller and thus easier to permanently kill.

In terms of sensations, one can feel the needle sliding into the hair follicle, which sometimes is somewhat painful. When the electrical pulse is applied it feels like a small electrical shock, mildly painful. Sometimes the hair follicle contains a lot of fluids, such as when it's early in the growing phase and will essentially explode, which can be heard as a loud popping or sizzling noise. This rarely hurts. The hair pulling is rarely truly painful either, most of the time one barely feels it.

By the end of this year the expectation is that I'll be able to see even more impressive results than I do already. Most of the hairs being pulled out now were in the growing phase, meaning that they're most likely permanently gone. For someone like me with relatively thin, blonde fuzz instead of thick, black hairs, this is the ideal method. I can't wait to see the results the coming year. It'll be so liberating to be freed from this stigma of having to shave.

Yesterday and today I have been in contact with my contact person at the Zelfstandigenloket Flevoland on the Bbz welfare request. Yesterday I received the acknowledgement that it got accepted and that the relevant documentation was on its way. I received it later that day. Today I confirmed a few more points with my contact person.

Essentially I'm receiving just over 640 Euro a month for six months, with the possibility of an extension for another six months. I'll receive the first money by next week or the week after that. As the Bbz starts from the date when requested, I'll be getting the money for 3.5 month, starting from June 19th. This leaves me with 2.5 month to figure out whether I'll need that extension.

In order to rent an apartment, I'll need to find a place which has a rent of less than about 650 Euro/month to qualify for financial compensation and is okay with a special case like me. After that I can request extra money from the Bbz. This all makes it quite hard to find a place and I question the possibility of this working out this year.

Something which plays an essential role in my life and determines most of my actions and decisions is my understanding of the bigger picture. In Artificial Intelligence research it is a realization that if one were to develop a self-aware AI, it would have to find or be given a purpose. A super-intelligent, self-aware AI would otherwise soon realize that there's no point to existence, that anything we do, anything at all doesn't matter as the universe will eventually wipe everything anyway.

To get to the point where someone realizes this truth about the universe, and I mean truly understand it, not just acknowledging it, a certain kind of intelligence is required. Having the resulting three types of people, those who can understand but haven't yet, those who do understand, and those who never will understand, thus leads to a serious amount of friction. To those who understand, it's almost maddening that others have such a two-dimensional understanding of the world. To those who will never understand, those who do appear to be just weird, not comprehensible, just 'weird'.

I had an intense vision of this 'big picture' quite a few years ago, generating an intense feeling of senselessness, pointlessness, fatalism and all such nice terms. It took me a day to recover from it, but I did come up with a new way to look at life now that my innocence had been destroyed.

Materialism is irrelevant. When the universe destroys or resets itself, everything will be wiped. What is relevant is increasing knowledge, sharpening our understanding of logic, of the universe, of everything. In the end humans are just seeds. When a farmer puts new seeds into the soil, half of them never even make it to the surface, but get eaten by birds and such or simply rot away. Of the half which do reach the surface, not all of them mature into grown plants.

Humans are seeds, even when we are talking about mature, adult humans, they're still seeds, as we aren't talking about physical, but intellectual growth. Intellectual understanding of the Big Picture. During history there have been some individuals who did grown beyond being seeds, but got choked by the weeds of an unsupportive environment. Those who remain seeds will always hinder those who wish to grow into a mature plant.

The past few years I have somewhat forgotten this truth, pushed it away to the background in what seemed an attempt to deal with the urgent matter of finding a diagnostic for my body. This has failed. I have encountered many who have attempted to destroy me mentally. I do not wish or see the need to go back to yet another psychologist or therapist as I do not trust, do not think they can truly help or understand me.

I have to move away from Materialism again, away from this body, away from people who only want to hurt me, away from those who have no desire to help me. This body I have is only temporary, my memories and who I am as a person are not if I, possibly together with others, can find a method to transfer them to a new host body.

I will take care of this body I have now as well as I can, yet I deem it unlikely at this point that it'll ever make me 'happy'.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Some Bits

Things have been a bit weird around here the past few days. Pieter has come down with a pretty nasty cold, and has stayed home from work. I try to keep him company, of course, even if it means upsetting my own schedule. Apparently I'm also virtually immune for whatever bug he's got, as I haven't experienced anything more serious than a somewhat sore throat which is nothing compared to what Pieter is going through. I guess someone has to be the superior one :)

Last night I woke up around 3 AM feeling rather weird. For some reason I had this strong thought that everything was completely futile since all I'm getting are conflicting opinions and such on tests and everything. I must admit that I go through periods of this during the day as well. My dreams have been fairly calm when I remember them. One of them seemed to involve construction work, which is generally a good sign. I didn't remember enough of it to write it down, however.

I finally got the DVD of the TV broadcast on Omroep Flevoland's Vrije Vogels. I have subtitled it and put it on YouTube: I'll also put it on my site's Media page.

Tomorrow I'll have to suffer through another hair-removal session. Unfortunately I had to borrow money again as the Bbz stuff is taking ages still. It's up to 3 months now. Tomorrow I'll call my contact person at the Zelfstandigenloket Flevoland and ask for a status update and possibly that advance amount of money he talked about before. It'll be nice to not have any financial troubles for a while.

I finished another page of the third chapter of my Zelda: Ocarina of Time novel today. With some luck I'll finish the chapter this week. Of course I have a lot more work to do, including stuff on the new Nyanko website, Jan's site, the Lilium simulation demo and a few more tidbits.

As for the Grazia magazine publication, it seems like nothing will change there. The journalist told me that this was the expected publication date for her as well, at least in about two months time. She did however agree that by December the article is likely to be outdated and that this is a shame for both me, her and the Grazia. Ah well.