Monday, 22 March 2010

Change Comes From Within

Today was my appointment with a lawyer regarding the change in my first name. The lawyer was a young woman, who seemed quite friendly and understanding of my situation. As she said repeatedly, she couldn't see me as anything but 'Maya' either, and could definitely imagine why having the official identity I have now would give issues, both practical and emotional. During the appointment Pieter, who accompanied me, suggested that a photo of me should be included with the request sent to the judge. The lawyer thought this was a good idea and thus she'll have a look at my site to pick out a suitable photo. She also requested I would get a letter from my psychotherapist to further reinforce my case.

Even better is that she'll also look into getting my official gender changed, which may be a possibility since with the upcoming law change this will turn into a definite possibility and a judge may be lenient enough to grant such a change in the knowledge that it will soon become possible anyway. I also learned that the total costs of this name change will be around 127 Euro, instead of 308 since the court costs will be partially paid for me as well. The only negative thing about this all is that it's unlikely everything will be settled before the end of this year. Even if things go smoothly it can easily take half a year. I guess I can wait a little longer...

In other news, I have installed Windows 7 Enterprise on my workstation PC last Saturday, and after a long and epic struggle with its many idiosyncracies, I think I got it more or less working as intended. Highlights are the default user interface which was designed by retarded monkeys on crack, the control panel which has been ripped into pieces and shattered throughout the operating system, making it a chore to hunt down where to change a particular setting, and the non-Aero, non-GPU accelerated basic theme performing noticably worse than the GPU-accelerated Aero interface when the GPU is used by an application like Folding@Home's GPU client.

Another change is the realization I had thanks to a remark from Pieter that my work on the new content management system (CMS) for the Nyanko website isn't immediately required now that we have decided to not have our own webshop. Instead I'll be focusing on setting up a temporary website, with the new site based on the CMS won't be needed until a month or two from now. This gives me time to work on putting 3D models and other resources for the ECD game together. I hope to start churning out results within two weeks time. I got the new 3D Studio Max 2010, by the way, and am liking it a lot so far. It's a definite improvement over version 9.

As a final small tidbit, last Sunday I went from taking 50 mg (one tablet) of Cyproterone, which is the testosterone blocker I use with my hormone therapy, every other day to taking 25 mg (half a tablet) a day. This should make its result more balanced and most importantly reduce the strain on my liver which has to process it all. Not that it's much of a strain compared to the 100 mg (two tablets) male to female transsexuals have to take daily to get their testosterone down to a feminine level, though. On a sidenote, having long nails is a godsend when splitting up small tablets :)

I still wouldn't mind having my testicles or whatever they really are removed so that this all won't be necessary any more.


Sunday, 21 March 2010

Failure And Success

What's there to be said at this point, really? After the article in this country's largest newspaper there has been virtually no response and no interest in my story from the media. One news show, 'Netwerk', initially contacted me but decided against using my story as they had done an item on that South-African athlete last year and deemed that they had 'already treated the subject sufficiently'. Considering the big changes which occurred here politically and socially after that news item, it has illustrated to me rather succinctly that the media and journalists in general only care about their careers and bottom lines. So what if something terrible happens somewhere and it is being ignored? If it doesn't make headlines it isn't worth covering. There is so much one doesn't see in the news because covering the latest celebrity gossip and reality shows is more asked for by the public.

Now, don't get me wrong, I won't be canceling any outstanding interviews or so. I have got an interview for the magazine 'Yes' the 30th and I intend to go through with it. I'll still take anything I can get, I just have to keep in mind that it won't change anything for me or those like me. The public and thus the media and politicians just don't care enough about it.

In related news, my time at the UMCG hospital appears to be officially over. Last I wrote about it, I described how the UMCG had offered to take a further look at my case if I promised to pretend I was a transsexual or somesuch. I answered that I was at least willing to discuss what they had in mind in terms of further tests, examinations and the psychiatric talks they had in mind. After that I didn't hear anything for a month until I sent another email to Weijmar Schultz to remind him. He replied with the message that the psychiatrist Jiawan who is part of the gender team there was supposed to have called me for an appointment.

Friday I got a letter in the mail from the UMCG informing me that I was expected for an appointment with this Jiawan at the psychiatric department of the UMCG in a month time. This brought back so many bad memories, frustrations, anger and traumas. Why did I have to talk to a shrink if I came to them with a purely medical question? What part of 'I'm intersexual and would like to know how my body is put together' don't they understand? I have talked to psychologists and psychiatrists and doctors and god knows who else for over five years now and never once have they listened to me or attempted to understand me. I'm drawing the line now and I'm drawing it right here.

After turning the letter into confetti, I called the psychiatric department of the UMCG and explained to the friendly lady who answered why I would want to cancel my appointment using some of the same arguments as listed above. She asked me whether Jiawan could call me if he had any questions, to which I said yes. If he does call me next week I won't get angry, or anything, but I will explain why I refuse to be their toy any longer, that I refuse to be treated as anything but an intersexual person and that I do have rights. I do not feel I can trust the UMCG any more than the VUMC, Erasmus MC and AMC hospitals. There is no way I can continue a relationship with them if I don't feel that I'm respected and listened to.

Of course this leaves me with absolutely nothing I can do medically in this country at least, and I lack the financial resources to try foreign countries. There is also no legal recourse for me, as it's both very expensive and to the law none of the hospitals involved probably did anything 'wrong', as Pieter pointed out to me.

In all of these failures and retreats there's only one tiny glimpse of light, namely my appointment with a lawyer tomorrow on my name change. It may not be much, but it still feels like a victory that I can make the bloated, uncaring system move even this tiny bit.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Alternate Realities, Alternate Personalities

The past few days I have once again noticed how I keep shifting between two extreme types of personality. First, like I noticed on Sunday and yesterday, there is the outrageously easy-going, easy-talking, extremely sociable and possibly very likeable personality. Usually I'm far more reserved than that, though it may be that my real personality is closer to this one and that I'm just insecure most of the time.

Second, there is the 'we're all going to die, the universe is going to implode, why should I bother with living' personality. Now, everyone may have some of those moods when things may seem a little bleak or pointless, but this goes much further than that. It's like I can see and feel everything I have done so far and will ever do, combined with all interactions with others and the intense futility and pointlessness of it all. It's really hard to put it into words when I'm not in such a mood. I can only remember fragments of the full terror I feel during such moments. Or the person who isn't really me feels at such times, maybe.

I will admit that there is the element of stress which reinforces such extremes which generally already exist in each person. In my case I have experienced a severe increase in stress with the uncertainty surrounding a possibly upcoming appearance on national TV ('Netwerk', for those who play for the home team) which could be crucial to my immediate future, as well as with the incredible mess which my relation with the UMCG hospital is.

In the case of the former I will hear this week whether they want to do a news item with me or not, in the case of the latter it's a matter of pure anger and frustration. At this point they have indicated that they want to have me talk to a psychologist and that if I'm a good little transsexual that they'll help me. Maybe. I finally got an email response out of them on Monday after I sent another message to Weijmar Schultz. Supposedly the psychologist of the team there was to have contacted me on the 19th of February, but clearly neglected to do this. And nobody looked after it or gave a damn.

When this psychologist contacts me I'll make it clear what my position is, however. I have been talking with doctors and psychologists for five and a half years now and no one has ever really listened to me. Put me in a room with another psychologist and I'll be the only one who will leave still alive. I came to the VUMC, Erasmus MC, AMC and UMCG hospitals to ask for help, to learn how my body is put together so that I can determine for myself how I'll want to deal with it, what my choices are and what I'll pick. Nobody has ever understood me at any point. Same with the UMCG. I know their radiologist is either dumber than he is claimed to be, or downright evil, as even I can tell that his analysis of the MRI images is wrong.

I won't even say how much trust I put into their genetic testing results, or their willingless to actually help or listen to me. They have kept me busy for nearly another year now, and I have nothing to show for it, except that apparently the hospitals here in this very unpleasant country feel the need to keep lying and trying to deceive me. The VUMC did it, the AMC did it, the Erasmus MC and now the UMCG. With each hospital there are big, blatant issues one can point at as being fundamentally wrong. Nowhere did they listen to me or take me seriously. Maybe it's they who need to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Now I suffer from PTSD. Frequent flashbacks, sudden episodes where I basically withdraw into myself, the feeling that there is nowhere for me to turn, and irrational anger when confronted with anything psychological or medical. Talking about it doesn't help, seeking escape in my work and rational pursuits does to some extent. I regularly wonder whether there is a future for me and how in heaven's name things ended up like this. Was I so wrong in my asking for answers? Should I have pretended I was a guy instead, like how virtually every intersexual person who is like me tries to cover everything up, often even for their own family.

A tiny glimmer of hope is something like which happened yesterday when I was at the local health center for something unrelated. One of the assistants there recognized me from the article in Vrouw, asked me to confirm it and then we ended up talking for at least ten minutes. It was really pleasant to have things out in the open like that, to talk with someone I don't know about something most people do not even know about.

Since the publication of the Vrouw article I have had the impression that more people do recognize me. I call it the 'I know you'-smile, versus the 'You're a complete stranger'-smile. People at the supermarket, swimming pool and such will look at me, and smile in a way which is far more open than they would with a stranger. It's something I find quite interesting and definitely worthy of encouragement.

In other news, today I accomplished something for the first time, namely reassembling a laptop and having it still work afterwards. It's the laptop I had promised to a friend to fix a while ago. Today the new replacement fans finally came in from the USA so I set to work putting the thing back together. The assembly was absolutely no trouble, the real shocker came when I turned the system on: the lower part of the screen was a mess of vertical lines. After an intense troubleshooting session and disassembly of the display part I figured that if there was anything wrong with it, it'd have to be in the LCD panel itself.

Then while I was running the system I held the LCD panel in my hands and all of a sudden the problem fixed itself. Perfect picture. After some careful prodding the picture stayed fine, so I reassembled the laptop, at each stage testing for changes. Only after I had the bezel back on and the system was idling in Windows did the screen suddenly revert back to the vertical lines. Exasperated, I resorted to the troubleshooter's best friend, namely whacking the offending part, in this case the back of the display. After the first tap the screen popped back to its normal, fully working state.

It was only after Pieter had returned home and I was discussing this issue with him that he told me that this friend had been having this LCD issue for a while already with the laptop. Great, could have told me sooner instead of sending me into near-shock at the realization that I probably messed up the LCD panel. Maybe I should demand a list of existing issues before I set to work on a system, like they do at computer stores. Or something.

I finished watching a Mass Effect video walkthrough today. I like watching the gameplay of other games as it gives me a good idea of what I do and don't like in the games we are making or will soon be making. Mass Effect for example has a pretty involved story, a fair bit of freedom in its storyline, yet is pretty much devoid of any real emotional interaction. Another game I just started watching the walkthrough of, Fable 2, has the most awful character animation and timing of spoken dialogue. While the person playing the game didn't seem like the most patient one, it nevertheless how easy it is to ruin a decent game by not keeping in mind the 'impatient' gamers.

For our current game, Even Cats Dream, there's still a pile of work to be done. I hope to finish the new site this week and begin testing it. There's still heaps of work to be done in creating the 3D objects, sounds, maps and other resources and frankly I feel we're still in way over our heads in this. I fear we won't get it done in another half a year at the current rate. We need some real help, and with that I don't mean those volunteers who offered their services, did some half-hearted work and then vanished without a trace again. This game may make or break the company, and this company is the future of both me and my dear friend Trevor. If it were to fail we would have a really big problem.

Failure simply is not an option, and even the prospect of a possible failure is almost more than I can bear already.


Friday, 12 March 2010

What's Yours Probably Isn't On The Internet

Last year I had some issues with logging into my Flickr account. I had let Firefox log me in automatically on all of my systems for a long time, but then for some reason the browser on my desktop system forgot the cookie. It was then that I found out that none of the passwords I normally use worked and I couldn't be sure whether I had just forgotten the password I had set or that it was something else. Then when I tried to reset the password via my laptop on which I was still logged in I had to fill in my password first. When I clicked 'cancel' on this procedure it had already logged me out.

First I tried to use the recovery wizard, which asked me for some details my profile would contain. I filled this one in to the best of my abilities (birth date and such data) to which it responded that it couldn't match the data. That's when I tried to email Yahoo (owner of Flickr) support. All they did was ask me for the answer to the security question ('What is your favourite past-time?'), a question to which I had filled in the answer many years ago and which I obviously didn't remember. All I could tell them was that it should be related to science and/or technology. That wasn't enough and that's as far as I got then.

Last week I got an email from Flickr, sent to one of my primary email accounts, so obviously that one was still registered with it. Since it was a friend request I thought I'd give the support system another whirl since I'd feel bad about not answering the request and now I knew which email address was registered with the Flickr account.

Yet to no avail, as you can see in the resulting conversation:

Hello Maya,

Thanks for writing to Yahoo! UK Customer Care.

I understand you are experiencing issues while trying to log in to your flickr Yahoo! account. I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you. I will do our best to rectify this issue.

In order to assist you further, we need to verify the answer to your security question associated with your Yahoo! account.

The security question listed on this account is:

What is your favorite past-time?

Please send us the answer you entered when you set up your account or when you last updated it. We will then be able to verify and update your information.

If you are having difficulty remembering your answer, please be sure to provide a list of all possible answers so we can manually verify them with the answer listed on the account.

We look forward to your reply.


Customer Care - Yahoo! UK& Ireland

This is futile, I can't for the life of me remember what security question/answer I used when I signed up. I went through this the last time already as well.

Why isn't it enough that I am the owner of the primary email account connected to the Flickr account and am still receiving messages from Flickr on it? Why can't you just send a password reset to this email address? I really don't want to receive emails from a Flickr account I can't reach any longer if you can't do this.


I appreciate your cooperation and patience, and hope that you will accept my apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced so far.

In order for us to proceed we need for you to provide us with the answer to the Security Question.

The security question listed on this account is:

What is your favorite past-time?

The question and answer is an important security tool for Yahoo! accounts.

In keeping with this security feature, the online forgot password system will only accept the answer exactly as you had entered it when you first registered or last updated your account information. Capitalisation, however, is not a factor. Some common causes of answers being rejected online are missing words, missing punctuation, abbreviations, misspellings, etc..

While you may have tried answers that didn't work online, we kindly ask that you take the time to provide us with a short list of possible answers. Once received, we will manually verify your answers against those listed on the account.

Please reply to this email with this information as it was entered when you originally established your account or when you updated your information.

We look forward to assisting you with this account.



As I said, I really can't think of what the answer may be. It was most likely something related to technology and/or science. It was over 3 years ago or so when I created the account and far longer than that when I created the Yahoo account with its associated password.

Since you people insist on only using security questions unlike every other site where I have had to recover/reset a password, could you please do something about the Flickr account if I won't be able to ever access it again? I'd very much like to keep a presence on Flickr, but I don't want some ghost account there, and I'd like to see it deleted so that I can recreate it, or else have this email account disassociated so that I at the very least won't get continuous emails from a ghost account.

Thank you for your help,


Hello Maya,

Thanks for writing to Yahoo! UK Customer Care.

I have read your email and I understand the problem you are experiencing.
Unfortunately we must adhere to the procedures we have in place for the security of our user's accounts. When you signed our terms of service you agreed that it is your own responsibility to keep a record of the information needed for your Identification. Unfortunately we cannot allow negotiation when it comes to the account verification process. Without the proper verification information, we may be unable to provide further assistance.

Please let me know if I can help you further.


So in short I'll never be able to regain my Flickr account or any of the Yahoo services I used before until I somehow manage to guess either the password or the security answer. Also, it is my fault for not remembering and/or writing down either. Why they can't just send a new password to my email address I absolutely can't imagine, as it's a common method with countless other sites and companies.

Now, I didn't have anything truly important on my Flickr account, just some photos I got published elsewhere as well, and I haven't used my Yahoo email account or related for at least four years or so, it is the principle behind this whole matter which frightens me.

Basically at any point in time a company can say that the account you have with them isn't yours and unless you happen to know the right way back in, you're basically screwed unless you were to start a civil court case or so. It doesn't matter if you have photos on your account you forgot to backup anywhere else, a few thousand Euro, virtual game points worth hundreds, or something else which is precious enough that you'd really like to get it back. It may not even be yourself who wants it back, but one of your loved ones after you pass on from this world.

When you get a hosting account you sign a contract, as do you when you get a new phone with a service plan. This gives you guarantees as to what your rights are and most countries have strict laws regarding what 'proper service' means in this context. With online services it generally doesn't go beyond a Terms of Service which you accept when you make a new account. The legal standing of TOSs is dubious at best, much like with their cousin, the EULA, or End-User License Agreement.

I got a personal site on which I have my gallery and basically everything but this blog. If the hosting company suddenly decided to shut down my account without me having done anything as outrageous as posting illegal, pornographic or similar rancid stuff on it, I would be fully in my right to ask them to restore service and drag them to court if they don't. This luxury wouldn't exist if Google decided that my Blogger account violated their TOS. I'd be a long way up the infamous creek without anything resembling a paddle.

Fortunately I have a backup of everything I have ever posted on my blog and could restore it all within a day. I guess the lesson to take home from this all is to treat services whereby one doesn't sign a legally binding contract to treat as something disposable, and to never rely on it in any form or shape without at least having a backup plan or two ready.

Don't forget that if something is free, you're probably only costing them money by using the service and they'll be more than happy to see you go. Just don't cause a ruckus which could cause them even more money. Like me posting this on my blog. Sorry about that, Yahoo.


Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Last night I didn't sleep very well, waking up repeatedly until 5.30 AM when I began to feel less and less sleepy while trying to catch a few more Zzz's. Gradually the headache/pressure I have been feeling pretty much every waking moment for months now got worse, until I began to feel immobilized again. With some effort I attempted to get out of bed at which point I discovered I couldn't walk any more, so I crawled to the door of my room to get to Pieter's bedroom for help. I just managed to open the door until it was slightly ajar when my strength failed me and I spent at least a few minutes lying there on the floor until Pieter came downstairs.

At first he didn't think that it was any different from my usual emotional crashes, but I noticed when he asked me what had happened that while I wanted to answer, I couldn't. All I could was utter sounds. Even when I was feeling better after crying in pain and frustration for a while, I still could feel this... pressure or pain inside my head which made everything I tried to say sound garbled. I could making mewing and other simple noises, but it took me minutes, after Pieter had managed to get me back into my bed, before I could with a lot of effort speak a little again, by forcing out each syllable separately.

It wasn't until Pieter told me that he'd take the day off from his work to find a solution for whatever ailed me that some part of me, probably the part which detests burdening others with my issues, managed to break through the blockade.

I updated my therapist on what had happened right away, and he was pretty shocked. He suggested a few possible causes, including psychosomatic and physical causes. A temporary paralysis due to hysteria seems like the most probable cause to me, though, as emotional stress appears to have a significant effect on me, with this pressure and pain I feel inside being virtually directly linked to the amount of stress I experience at a given moment.

As promised, Pieter checked today how I could get my first name changed, made a phone call and after I got called back during lunch time I now have an appointment on the 22nd this month with a lawyer for an intake appointment. I'll have to take a letter with me describing exactly why I want to have my first name changed, and the entire process will cost me 308 Euro, which is considerably less because the government will pay most of the lawyer costs, with just 100 Euro being for my account. I think I'll be able to cough this up, I'm more concerned with how long the entire process is going to take. I'm thinking months.


Monday, 8 March 2010

The Other Me Who Isn't Me

Last night I was feeling pretty exhausted. By the time we left the swimming pool yesterday morning I wasn't feeling particularly happy or energetic. Maybe it was the first Lord of the Rings movie we had been watching the previous day, of which even this extended version can't safe it from being an embarrassingly bad movie, even if one were to ignore the LotR connection. It's not even 'good bad' like for example the Conan or Red Sonja movies, but just 'bad bad'.

Anyway, on our way back to home from the pool we had to drop off one of Pieter's friends at his girlfriend's place. I didn't know this in advance so the drive back home was really awkward and I did my best to ignore and suppress any thoughts related to relationships. It just hurts so bloody much.

After dinner began to feel quite down and just tired. Not physically, just emotionally drained. Before I went to bed I cried a bit while Pieter comforted me, yet I was feeling so totally raw and painful inside that I couldn't let it really out. Thankfully I could take a sleeping pill this night so I didn't have to worry about not being able to sleep or suffer night terrors.

What happened the next morning was just plain weird and even scary, though. I woke up feeling okay, chatted with Pieter as he prepared to go to his work, had breakfast and everything just my normal morning routine. I'm not sure when things changed, but it was very gradual. After a while I noticed that I was acting very impulsive, very irrational and most of all very angry. At first I thought I was just a bit tired, then I decided to do a bit of administrative work, yet when attempted to do some taxes and it turned out that the Windows application the tax office wants me to use for it was broken, probably because they were idiotic enough to configure their webserver to send it to me in ASCII instead of binary format, I became so frustrated that I hardly recognized myself any more.

It was like I had become another person, someone who only wanted to take out its anger on things, if I as the rational mind hadn't been somewhat in control still, I'm pretty sure I would have regretted the damage done afterwards. Now only some forms and an air freshener's plastic enclosure had to suffer. At this point I forced myself to go to bed and sleep it off.

When I woke up it was the same old story; I could more or less remember what had happened, but it didn't feel like I, as the person I am right now, had done any of it. All I could feel was this headache which comes and goes, but is particularly bad when I'm being stressed on something emotional. It does somewhat remind me of the symptoms surrounding a multiple personalities disorder, although there each personality has more or less completely separate memories. Stress is a possible cause of MPD.

At any rate, I still managed to make today somewhat productive when I figured out how to do synchronization between two independent SQL databases in a brainstorm session with Trevor. The morning was pretty much a waste, with the little I did while 'changing', and with the 3-hour 'nap' afterwards.

What is also positive is that I got an email comment from someone who had changed her first name and inspired me to do the same. She also knew more about the details behind the law change which should make it possible to change my official gender. This week Pieter will check for me what it'll take and what the options are regarding the name change. It would be pretty awesome already to not have to bear my official name like some kind of mark identifying me as a freak. After that it's just a matter before I can do the same with the official gender on my birth certificate and no longer have to suffer this continuous embarrassment.

Today I sent an email to my therapist, Engel Vrouwe, informing him of how badly things were going for me, with the UMCG having broken off contact to all appearances and my increasing number of dark/suicidal moods. He tried to cheer me up, also by not denying that this society has no place for people like me. It feels good that he really understands the pain I feel, where most others would tell me that things really aren't that bad.

What this world needs is more honesty and less false hope and deception.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

Media Assault

Thursday night I didn't feel too great. A few things had triggered my traumas a bit and I was feeling apprehensive about Friday. It's never fun to have something important happen the next day and without you knowing what it is going to bring. I felt down enough to take a sleeping pill, ensuring that I'd at least get a good night's sleep, which I did.

I woke up feeling alright Friday morning. It was an okay day, with dozens of responses from people who had read my article and wished to encourage me or express their respect. I also got a message from someone from the TV show 'Familieberichten' (NCRV), who wished to talk to me. I had a long telephone conversation with her and she'll call me again on Tuesday. It'll be an interesting balancing act the coming weeks if more TV shows and such wish to use my story, as they all want to have it exclusively. Another opportunity to show off my management skills, I guess. I also got two copies of the Vrouw magazine in the mail this day.

Saturday I had a phone call with my mother who told me that the Vrouw magazine becomes available on Friday to subscribers of the Telegraaf newspaper, and on Saturday for everyone else, which was interesting information. It also means that the comments I get are distributed more evenly across a few days, which is nice, I guess. I got a few more comments on this day via my site, Facebook and Hyves accounts and on the Vrouw website itself:,1

During grocery shopping on Saturday I didn't really expect people to recognize me and/or walk up to me, and they didn't. Well, at least the last part, it's hard to know for sure that someone didn't recognize me if they don't tell me :P It's hard to recognize a random person you know when you're busy with something else, of course. Most people have probably walked past someone they know well without a hint of recognition. It'll be more interesting to see how things go at the pool today, as there I'll be in the same place for a few hours with a group of people. Plenty of time there to recognize someone :)

One comment I got from a girl was kind of weird, by the way, as she said that my interpretation of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time story somehow dishonoured the musical composition of the game's soundtrack. I emailed her back to ask her what in the world that meant, because I know otherwise it'll keep bugging me. On which note, I realize I haven't been updating that story with new chapters for a while now. I have been burned out on it a bit after I got a string of nasty comments at involving it.

I also mentioned that I was working on a short educational video on intersexuality, and that I would ask for some help with the production at this My thread there got absolutely flamed into the ground, with lots of people complaining that I should stop posting on my IS condition (I only made one earlier thread on it) and that I should stop whining about my condition. There was so much hate in that topic that I just locked it and have abandoned this forum for now. I can't stand absolute jerks.

Saturday morning was a bit tough for me, by the way. I woke up feeling absolutely miserable, a sharp contrast with the mild elation I felt during Friday after the interest I got from that TV show. I was hit with the realization that so far no one has talked about actually solving my primary issue: that of finding answers to my questions. I don't mind talking about my story and issues, but informing others about what it means to be intersexual is definitely a secondary issue for me. Not having any leads on getting answers yet made me feel really terrible, as though nothing matters any more.

I'm tired of having to ignore my body because I don't understand any of it. I'm tired of having to ignore things others do, say, write and act about because I do not understand my body. I'm tired of being embarrassed all the time when I have to identify myself using my ID card and have to explain what is going on.

Why can't I just know what the hell is going on? Why do all the doctors in this country and maybe in the entire world have to be total jerks? Why do I feel like they are lying to me, ignoring me and leading me to the brink of self-destruction?

At times like that Saturday morning things are really tough for me. It's as though I am a different person. I feel no hope, can only see my empty life and meaningless death and completely agree on suicide being the proper course of action. Is it merely a result of this intense frustration I feel at all times? I'm pretty sure of it. Does this mean that my life has been or is in the process of being ruined by those doctors, psychologists and such? You bet.

It feels so terrible to be absolutely dependent on people who couldn't care less about you.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Confusion Reigns

Yesterday's voting for the local elections went pretty much as before, I gave my voting card and ID card, the man behind the table compared them, said 'This isn't right... it says 'sir'.', I responded by saying that it is a long story, and I was allowed to vote. I also added that next Friday they'd be able to read all about it in 'De Telegraaf'. I didn't get any further responses, but I guess that most people just aren't that comfortable talking about it.

Talking about which, I just got the newsletter in my email inbox from Vrouw, the part of the De Telegraaf newspaper I'll appear in. The cover shows a small picture of me, with next to it the text 'Am I a man or woman?' with above it 'Even the doctors don't know'. Tomorrow it'll be available everywhere in the Netherlands and I'll finally be able to see what the results of it will be.

Related, I began work on an educational short video yesterday, aimed at educating people on the basics of intersexuality and the issues those affected encounter. I hope to enlist the help of some people at in making it a nice, polished video :)

Yesterday was quite a tough day for me. I didn't feel very happy during the day, even cried a bit while preparing dinner. It felt as though I was ready to give up on everything 'normal'. The feeling that since I'm not 'normal', I don't belong in this world, and I should stop trying to pretend I'm a part of it. During the night I collapsed emotionally before I could manage to fall asleep and spent nearly an hour crying and such. Today I feel more balanced, as though this alternate personality which made itself known yesterday is sleeping again. Such episodes remain scary nonetheless.

A short while ago I exchanged a few messages another person who claimed to be intersexual. This person said to want to undergo surgery to become 'fully female', yet didn't want to inform her family about what was going on. I think the former comes forth out of the latter. All I hear from other intersexuals is that they are ashamed of what they are, and wish to hide it from others. I think this is something really terrible and wrong.

We intersexuals shouldn't be ashamed of what we are, we should be able to face it, come out for it and nobody should consider it 'weird' or even attack us because we're 'different'. I have heard so many stories from others about the way homosexual people were treated in the 50s, with their existence basically denied and suppressed, they themselves forced to pretend they were good little heterosexuals.

Today we got intersexuals forced to become male or female, whether they want it or not, whether they are capable of realizing what is going on yet or not. Newborn children have their life ruined before it has even started because their parents insist this ambiguity is removed and replaced with the single gender they most desire.

There is no understanding, no awareness, no sympathy. Society as a whole doesn't acknowledge that we even exist. For the 'normals' this is okay, as they can just pretend there's nothing wrong, and if they get an intersexual child, they can just 'modify' it and go on pretending nothing is wrong. For us intersexuals it means we are forced into an impossible situation, where nothing feels right, where we feel forlorn in a world which seems completely alien to us.

To change this, intersexuals should be given rights and acknowledged in law and medically, just like homosexuals were given these rights before, and many other groups before them. We intersexuals should have the right to know everything there is to know about our own bodies, we should be able to take on the identity and gender we feel most comfortable with, even if it means choosing between male and female. I have no trouble distinguishing between 'male intersexuals' and 'female intersexuals', as I would count myself among the latter group considering my body and the role I'm most comfortable with. I can however never pretend to be 'just a female'. I am what and who I am, even if I do not know yet all the facts, I do know what I am not, and I will fight against having anything forced upon me.

Finally, just a last wish that tomorrow's publication will actually get something done and that it may lead to a lot more media attention.


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Bad Programmers

For the new Content Management System (CMS) for the Nyanko website I have been mucking about with MySQL (sadly) a lot, and came across one of the biggest oversights or bugs in MySQL one can imagine. The issue occurs when one tries to execute a 'SHOW TABLE STATUS' query on a table. This query returns a number of fields, one of them being 'Update_time', which contains the timestamp when the table was last updated. Unfortunately, the MySQL 5.4 documentation lists the following for this field:

"For some storage engines, this value is NULL. For example, InnoDB stores multiple tables in its tablespace and the data file timestamp does not apply. For MyISAM, the data file timestamp is used; however, on Windows the timestamp is not updated by updates so the value is inaccurate."

This basically means that it's a useless 'feature' which can in no situation be relied upon. Instead what I had to do was implement this functionality myself, by adding a table to the database which contains for each other table the timestamp when it was last updated. It also means ensuring each INSERT and UPDATE query updates this 'last updated' table.

If you're going to add a feature, at least make sure it works as advertised or just remove it. The same is true for two other software packages I used the past few days. Or tried to use at least.

As I described in my previous post, I needed some forum/wiki software for a private way for the current Even Cats Dream game team members to discuss and share information. As the database backend I had picked PostgreSQL. First I thought I would try installing eGroupWare (EGW), which failed on some mysterious PostgreSQL-related bugs which turned out to be quite common according to a Google search. Then for Small Machines Forum (SMF) pretty much the same story, with PostgreSQL support in the RC2 of SMF 2 being broken beyond repair.

It's something I encounter regularly with C/C++ libraries as well. Popular GUI libraries like Qt and WxWidgets have such a convoluted and developer-unfriendly way of integrating with applications that at times it can be beyond frustrating. Even worse is when the developer(s) of a GUI library assumes that it's okay if the application developer completely adapts the application to fit whatever twisted model the GUI library uses. For example, WxWidgets uses a heavy C++ classes-based model, and requires that any WxWidgets application becomes a sub-application of the WxWidgets runtime, using virtually only derived WxWidgets classes.

Maybe I'm the exception, but I really dislike using classes and other Object Oriented forms of programming unless I can see a really good reason to use them. It's a style of programming which just doesn't jive with me. I also like modular programming with the use of header files to define an API and the source file which implements it. It's clear, easy to understand and follow and has virtually no overhead. The use of classes always requires overhead during run time and can lead to very interesting (read: frustrating) errors.

*listens to Winamp playing The Offspring - Staring at the Sun*

If one reads a site like The Daily WTF ( ), one comes across countless examples of bad programming, poorly thought out and/or implemented ideas and attitudes among both programmers and managers alike which will have you running screaming for the hills. The scary part? At least most of them are confirmed real. Some of such code runs mission-critical business operations, others are in medical devices, yet others run communication networks. Think back to the recent mess around the software used in voting machines which among other things lead to them getting banned here in the Netherlands. While our voting machines were still relatively secure, those in the US were found to be completely unreliable and very easy to manipulate by independent researchers. All due to poor design and poor programming.

I must admit to considering it to be a joyful challenge to design a piece of software which is simple, elegant and reliable. Take for example this CMS I am writing. At this point it's only tens of kBs in size, can do the same things a bloated CMS like Joomla or Drupal can do and then some and is extremely easy to write modules for or otherwise modify.

What I find to be hardest question is that of whether I should release this NCMS to the public in some form or not, and if I do under which license. I have never liked the idea of someone forking a software project resulting in completely independent development when the original project was doing fine. In the case of the XFree86 project which suffered from chronical mismanagement and at least one case of 'better-than-thou' attitude on its developer's side, it was understandable, logical and very commendable that it got forked into the project. Even if I hate X more than is possibly healthy, as it's yet another example of poor engineering and poor programming which has been festering in UNIX and now other OSs as well for decades.

One of my dreams is to use NetBSD as a scaffold to implement a better GUI than X which could totally erase the latter from the face of the earth, much like I hope NCMS will wipe the floor with other CMSs. Simply because I love good code and well-written applications which work as advertised :)


Monday, 1 March 2010

Soreness Galore

Today has been a very trying day for me, although mostly on a purely physical level. I must have pushed myself at the swimming pool last Sunday more than I had imagined, as all day today I have been extremely sore. Mostly my upper arms, shoulders, sides and my legs and back a bit as well feel like they got mangled. I have rarely felt this sore.

I got some really nice news today, even if it was expected. The journalist of 'De Telegraaf' who had interviewed me today sent me an email telling me that the magazine in which I'm appearing is ready and will appear on Friday as scheduled. I was asked to send my address to someone else who'd then ensure I'll get a copy or two of it sent to me. It makes me feel somewhat less nervous now that I at least know for sure it'll get published. Now the wait is on to see what kind of effect it will have.

The past weekend and today I have been busy trying to install forum software to allow the rapidly expanding Nyanko development team to communicate. One of my requirements was that it would use a PostgreSQL server as database backend. First up was eGroupWare (eGW), which turned out to be some bugs in its PostgreSQL implementation, causing me to strand during the configuration stage of the installation, as it refused to save the configuration to the database.

Next up was Small Machines Forum (SMF), for which I used the 2.0 RC2 release (Release Candidate 2). This one turned out to have even more serious issues with a PostgreSQL backend, some of which had been introduced in RC2 after it worked perfectly in RC1 if I am to believe the bug reports and forum posts at the SMF site. This left me with two failed installs and as an act of desperation I turned towards phpBB, which I found out to my surprise supports a wide range of SQL database servers, including MSSQL and Sqlite.

PhpBB installation was downright painless. The PostgreSQL GUI-based management tool was very easy to use as well and in total installing phpBB took me about 5 minutes. Configuring it and setting up the forum categories and everything took me a few hours, also because it is meant as a private forum, with no user registration by users themselves, and phpBB needs to have an add-on installed to allow the administrator to add new users. The #phpbb channel on was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction, however. ACP Add User was the right module and was also quite easy to install.

Tomorrow I'll add the other members of the development team, and I hope it'll be a huge improvement over the email communication used so far. It should all be far less disjointed and distant this way. This week we'll see how it works out.

Also tomorrow I'll get a haircut and undergo a hair-removal torture session. I can really see how the latter treatment is having effect at this point. With another six months large parts of my face should be virtually hair-free, which will be a huge relief.

Anyway, it's time to go to bed again. I hope I'll get a good night's sleep.