Thursday, 29 July 2010


Yesterday I had the photography student drop by again. It was pretty fun again, and I hope useful for her as well. She gave me a film camera to take some snaps myself for her project. It's interesting to basically get told 'go take pictures of something'. I'll figure something out even if it may take me a few weeks :) In September she'll formally propose her project to her school, though we're both pretty sure it'll be accepted. Last year another student got a project involving barn interiors accepted, to name just one example.

On a less related note, the camera I got to take those snaps with is a compact film camera, the likes of which I haven't seen since the 90s. It's somewhat disconcerting to go from having a camera capable of taking thousands of shots on even a lowly 1 GB SD card to being limited to 36 shots on a film roll, without the ability to review taken shots and delete failed ones. In a sense it's like taking pictures with a 64 MB CF card and a camera without a display. Somewhat like the digicams at the beginning of this century.

Anyway, I won't be condemning anyone for choosing film over digital cameras :) It does reinforce the need to get the shot right in one go. Wasting a shot isn't free like with a digicam.

During our 3+ hour conversation one topic we covered was that of human and artificial intelligence, as well as that of replacing entire limbs, organs and even the brain itself with artificial components performing the same or superior functions. I thought it was interesting that she was so interested in this topic, most people I come across mostly display a distinct lack of interest or even fright when this topic is brought up. That's one thing we also agreed on, that advanced prosthetics is going to cause a division within society, especially once healthy biological parts are being replaced for artificial ones. Division seems to be the one central theme when it comes to human society.

One observation I have been pondering on for a while now, and moreso since yesterday is that of neuroplasticity as it relates to my case. In essence neuroplasticity is the ability of a neural network to learn, to adapt to changing input and recall memories. In the debate on nature versus nurture this comes up a lot as well, and can be resolved easily: we all start with a set of basic parameters due to genetics and through input via our senses and our changing internal interpretation of these from the moment our brains begin to function, we develop what is referred to as a 'personality', which is thus the expression of the neural network's configuration as a whole.

My inputs, if you will, have been wildly different from those around me. I haven't experienced socializing, I have been excluded from friendship, relations, sexuality and even puberty. The only positive input I have received when you think about it is that on an intellectual level. An individual always seeks those things which are rewarded by its own brain or by others. In my case being 'smart' and 'knowing things' made me feel appreciated in way I couldn't accomplish in other ways. This would have strongly reinforced my intellectual side, and caused my emotional side to be pretty much discarded as useless junk as the latter never got any positive reinforcement.

In a way one could say that I see the world in a completely different way than virtually everyone around me. Where they see a happy family, I see strife, biological processes, decay, aging and death. Where they see a pretty flower I see an organism, a part of an ecosystem and the reproductive organs of a plant. In a fantasy series called the Dragonlance Saga there's a wizard who due to a curse has been given eyes through which he can only see death and decay before the inevitable march of time. It's somewhat like that for me. I can't live in this one moment, I can't be happy with what I have. I only see that what is coming next, and after that, and after that, until it's all gone. It's one incredibly effective way to never feel happiness.

My experiences during the past 5.5 years have merely reinforced what I already knew, that I'm different, that there's no place for me among 'normals' and that emotions are irrelevant luggage, not to mention that having a body is a tiresome part of existence, a mere shell for a fragile and fallible brain. Naturally, there's almost no one who would agree with me on any of this, and why should they? They haven't experienced the same inputs I have, the same strife and barrage of negativity. I have been tuned to only expect these inputs.

Can this change? Of course it can. That's the essence of neuroplasticity. If the UMCG hospital manages to finally resolve the stand-off within my medical case it means I can finally leave the state of not having an identity, participate fully in friendship, relationships and possibly sexuality. Of course, there's also every chance that they'll manage to screw things up again, further reinforcing all the bad preconceptions I have about others and causing me to further withdraw from society.

In the end it's all just a game of positive and negative reinforcements.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cheap Entertainment

A few days ago I decided to try reading the first book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series as Pieter seems to like it and he assured me that the first couple of books are safe to read for me. Earlier today I finished the book and it wasn't too bad. Basically try imagining a cheap, seedy 1940s detective story combined with the cheapest, lowest-budget, reject B horror slash vampire/lycanthrope movie. That is what this series is about in a nutshell. It's got all the stereotypical vampires, werewolves and kin plus standard nonsense about daylight, garlic and crosses, and combines it with a main character who really does enjoy listening to her own thoughts a bit too much.

Pieter has recommended that I read up till book 5 (Bloody Bones) as after that it gets seedy really quickly. He's reading the series again himself at the moment, yet he'll quit at some point before reaching part 17 (Skin Trade) as it gets too sex-obsessed at some points even for him. I guess that it is fairly obvious that I'll never be able to finish this series :)

At any rate, this series starts off as cheap entertainment, a popcorn book series, if you want, to then devolve into a cheap sex story. Its existence is questionable if you ask me, but the first few books can be read on their own without issues and you won't be left wondering about how it goes on.

Penny-Arcade summarized the series back in 2008 already in a comic strip:

In other news, I started playing Hotel Dusk: Room 215 on my DSi today and it's been pretty interesting so far. It's a detective game, and I must say that the DSi is a perfect match for such a game. Maybe playing it on the PC would work too, but being able to curl up on the couch with what is basically an interactive novel has got something to it. File this one under 'proper entertainment'.

Today I have had some frightening moments, by the way. This morning I started off being unusually clumsy, bumping into things, injuring my fingers by misjudging distances and such. Yesterday and today I also seem to have issues recalling words properly, using homophones instead, or typing a completely different word than I intended. Then around noon when I was taking a brief nap, I seem to have had at least one black-out, as for some reason I had misplaced an item in a drawer instead of keeping it in its usual location. As I'm well-known for being very regular and precise about keeping things in one location I deem right, this is very unusual and worrying. I may have had another black-out, as my right hand suddenly had some scratches on it I don't remember getting, on top of them hurting quite a lot.

I think I now know what it must feel like to go senile and it is very frightening indeed. Part of me is running around panicking in circles at this, while another is telling me that it's just the stress I'm suffering from taking on a new form. I really hope it's the latter and that it'll be resolved soon, and that it isn't anything permanent. Otherwise I may as well end it right away.

Anyway, to end matters on a more positive note, I recently released chapter 5 of my Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time story, and re-released chapter 4 with a few minor modifications. I hope to release new chapters on a more regular basis from now on.


Friday, 23 July 2010


I just finished watching a few more episodes of Valkyria Chronicles, and like with other stories where one or more people are singled out as being different due to their powers and/or different physical features, it really triggered something inside me. In Valkyria Chronicles a single girl finds out that she's a Valkyrie, a being with almost god-like powers. Instantly everyone talks about her as being a 'monster' and are afraid of her.

How do people truly see me? That's something I often wonder about. People are really good at saying one thing while they mean something else, even if they aren't consciously aware of it. It's become too much of a common thing to lie to ourselves, to the point where we do it without noticing it. The same thing happens when we encounter something which is different from what we are comfortable with. Comfortable being another one of those relative words.

I'm not comfortable with people with limited intelligence, with a preference for body modifications or desires of the flesh, or those unhappy with the body they are born with even if it's perfectly healthy and functional. For others they will classify their comfort zones differently.

Do most people shy away from those with higher intelligence? Are gifted people seen as a kind of circus freaks, approaching something like that seen in the story about X-Men? Do people think those born with a 'weird' body are disgusting? Do they pretend that it's alright, that they're fine with it, yet their actions are still dictated by a sense of disgust, of not wanting to get too close lest they get infected as well? To be honest I don't know.

I notice that people do keep their distance from me once they learn about how I'm different from others. Not all of them, but many do. It's like I do not belong in their world.

Naturally, my own feelings play a role too. I think that deep down I see myself as a kind of monster as well. I can not envision a place for me in the world I see around me. Every time I try I can only see myself being holed up somewhere, working on projects. I hope there is a way I can stop seeing myself as a monster.

Sometimes I think I just want to be normal, boring, and at peace with myself.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Endlessly Chasing That Dream

As an addition to the previous post on recent movies I have seen, I'd like to add one more: G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra. I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with good ol' Joe, being the sickeningly stereotypical pure-blooded American hero fighting against the pure Evil of the Cobra organization. Any similarities between this story and the two Cold War sides are of course purely coincidental.

Anyway, recently there was another 'get three DVDs for cheap' action at some store and Pieter grabbed this movie in a moment of pure insanity. Last Sunday we popped the DVD into the player and settled in for an hour and some of poor acting and over the top action. Instead we got what has to be one of the better, more balanced and actually funny action movies Hollywood has churned out during the past twenty years. While the premise of the movie is somewhat outlandish as usual (some super weapon of mass-destruction based on nano-bots getting stolen), the rest of the technology seems fairly realistic, the dialogue and acting are decent to good and the action scenes don't seem designed to send every epileptic patient within a kilometer radius directly into shock. All in all a very pleasant surprise and very much a recommendation.

Moving on, yesterday I had an appointment with that house painter regarding their new website. The appointment went well, I went back home to create the contract and generate the site skeleton so that I could finish the design the next design after I got the art sent to me. Instead I got a phonecall from informing that someone they know had offered to make the site for free. This was pretty disappointing, especially considering that it seemed pretty much a done deal already. As Pieter commented, it would be like him calling that house painter and informing him that an uncle of him was willing to paint his house for free instead of having him come over for a multi-thousand Euro fee.

Anyway, I have no idea what the resulting site will now look like, how they'll do maintenance and how many security holes will be built into the code. To be honest I have very little confidence in professional webdevelopers already, let alone in amateurs. Not saying they're wrong to choose this option, just that I would consider more factors than just the initial price. At any rate I guess I shouldn't care, but emotionally it fit well enough into the 'disappointment' trigger that I'm still feeling kind of sick thinking back at it.

Talking about triggers, I got Jiawan from the UMCG hospital recommending me one psychotherapist for EMDR therapy. I still haven't received a response from that therapist, though, even after waiting for a few days. When it comes down to it, however, I find that I have a very strong reluctance against actually seeing a therapist. This while EMDR therapy sounds like a good idea. I seem to combine psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists into one big pile, apparently, and since especially the former have done extensive emotional damage over the past years I can find absolutely no trust for such people.

Add to this that it's really hard to find a therapist who actually takes on new patients, is in a location which is somewhat accessible via public transport, and with whom I could actually form a bond, it means that I could spend this and next year searching for a therapist. It's kind of like with starting a relationship; I have been hurt too often in the past to dedicate myself to such a thing, even though it would probably be a good idea. For this reason that I can't make myself work on finding an EMDR therapist. The stress it gives me is just too much, even if it sounds terribly ironic. I guess my life is just one big, bloody cesspit of irony.

I'm sure everyone knows that dream in which one keeps chasing that one thing or person one most cares about. In this case it's not a dream, and the subject of my devotion is having a proper life.

In the end I guess that the only bright spot in my life at this point is that my work is going well. The new game concept for TileWars is basic enough that progress is quick and I have high hopes that we'll be producing something playable in a month's time or so.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010


I have been meaning to write about the movies I have been watching the past few months, and my opinion of them. Without further ado, here is the list.

First off, the first Highlander movie. To be honest I can not possibly imagine what people liked about this movie. Its plot is transparent and an insult to the viewer's intelligence, its basic premise is ridiculous and results in more plot holes than there are holes in a gangster's body after a drive-by shooting. The whole concept of being immortal is being ridiculed, any hint as to its mechanisms or precise working left unexplained, instead using it as an excuse for silly plot twists which results in a movie which would struggle to reach the status of a B movie. In the end there's a reason why it became a cult movie, not because it's a particularly good movie, but because enough people got fooled by its premise.

Next I'd like to skip to a more recent movie, namely the new - and only - A-Team movie. There's been a lot of talk about it, whether it really paid homage to the original series, whether the new actors could equal the series', whether the movie wasn't too violent considering the rather non-violent nature of the series, and so on. In the end I am firmly convinced that the movie succeeded beautifully in bringing the A-Team to the 21st century, and keeping the spirit of the series alive. Right from the start I felt that it got all the tiny details right and aside from people actually getting hit by bullets, it could have been written back in the 80s as part of the series. Nothing but praise here.

Another recent movie which recently appeared in the cinemas around here is Clash of the Titans. It was exactly what I expected from it: very spiffy CGI, great CGI action scenes, and the brutal abuse of Greek mythology to prop up a storyline which kept limping along like a dog with all of its legs broken. In the end I barely remember the story except as a short three-line summary. It really is that uninteresting. I though that the US Army crew cut and dress of the main character (Perseus) was totally ridiculous as well. Still, a fun popcorn movie on a slow Sunday afternoon.

Closing in on rock-bottom again, we have Transformers 2. Whereas the first instance was pretty watchable, with pretty CGI and lots of interesting transforming robot action, the sequel manages to screw even that up. Worse, it manages to make the humans, who in the first movie were merely annoying, downright painful. They shouldn't just have cut all scenes with the main character, his retarded parents and slutty girlfriend, it is a requirement for surviving the bloody movie. The few cool scenes with the proper Transformers can't save the movie as more comic relief Transformers are introduced, pointless battles are fought and it is revealed that the script writer threw an ending together 30 minutes before the scenes got shot. All together, an aimlessly meandering trainwreck of a movie which can't even be saved by cool CGI like the first movie.

In another blast from the past, we have the Mortal Kombat movies, from the 1990s. Bad and aspiring yet painfully talentless actors generally end up in B movies, and these three movies have plenty of them. Sprinkled in are some proper actors, mostly in the first two movies which are the only two to actually involve the story of the game. These are cheap popcorn movies, but amusing to watch, especially if you know a bit about the Mortal Kombat games. The third movie was meant as the prequel to a TV series, and from all looks they cut the budget for acting lessons to about a tenth of that of the first two movies.

The villain you see in the first scenes of the movie is so ridiculous, with an ill-fitting skull mask, which is more comical than frightening due to the large front teeth of the upper jaw, combined with a slight speech impediment of the actor, which makes him as frightening as a pock-faced, bespectacled nerd in highschool. From that point onwards it's only downhill. We get the main guy who looks like he's drugged up on speed every time he's on stage, his girlfriend who defines 'blonde' and 'aspiring actress' and apparently a severe shortage of cloth for the manufacturing of women's clothes, as with every two scenes all females visible are wearing less and less. In my opinion this third movie and the resulting series are just a desperate attempt to appeal to immature, desperate (young) boys who have no concept of taste, especially not in women.

I'm still debating whether or not I should watch the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time movie. From all appearances it's another popcorn movie with more flashy stuff than substance, but it might be amusing.

On a side note, this week that interview for the Dutch Yes magazine got released in number 29. The site for the magazine is where you can find an abbreviated version of the article. I haven't received a copy of the magazine myself yet, only a scan of the article from the journalist who apparently went on vacation without informing me. I'm still quite disappointed by how things went this time, especially with the Yes editor getting my site's address wrong two times, once in the print magazine, once on the site. I'll put a translated version of the article online soon.

Time to get back to finishing that fifth chapter of my Zelda OoT story. I'd like to have it done before Pieter arrives home from Italy tomorrow.


Monday, 19 July 2010


The past few days I have been having trouble understanding myself, trying to judge what impact last Thursday's hospital appointment has had on me. So far I'm not sure which direction I'm moving towards, if any. For example, Pieter left this morning for Italy. I'll be alone at home until late Wednesday. Right after he left I almost immediately started crying and throughout the day I have felt very disconnected from everything. Yet I did write four pages of the fifth Zelda story and worked on the new TileWars game. Until I crashed and felt extremely tired, even had my body temperature rise 1 degree spontaneously for a few hours while feeling very weak.

One thing I have been worried about recently is that of the upcoming urological tests; I can't image what kind of tests they could try to figure out a diagnosis, and I'm pretty much convinced that they'll come up with some nonsense diagnosis as well, like everyone before. Trust is something that is to be earned, and hope is something you have when there's some expectation of trust. Based on my experiences so far there's no reason for trust and thus no reason for any hope. And that's tough.

It doesn't help either that I'll be waiting an unknown time for the psychiatrist to get back to me on a local EMDR therapist, and an equally unknown time for anything on the urological testing. Basically all I have at this point are promises, and that just doesn't sit well for me. On top of that the PTSD flashbacks which got pretty bad before that appointment last week don't seem to get any less now. I'm really sick and tired of getting distracted by another flashback of something I have experienced, something someone said, something I have read and so on. The only way I can deal with it is by focusing completely on a task, like I did while working on that Zelda chapter today. Of course, at some point I just seem to run out of energy and the flashbacks strike back in revenge. I really can't go on like this.

At least tomorrow should be somewhat more manageable, with me spending a lot of time surrounded by other people. First I'll spend the morning at the beauty salon for my weekly torture session(s), then during the afternoon I'll be at a client discussing the details for a new website for her husband's company. Yes, it's that house painter's company. I met the owner's wife last Saturday again and made an appointment for tomorrow.

I'm sure there is more to say, but I'm honestly too tired to continue.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Things Which Aren't Quite Right

This morning I sent an email to Weijmar Schultz regarding his statement on testosterone production he made during yesterday's discussion (seems like a much longer time ago, by the way...). A few hours later I got an email back in which he admitted to having accidentally misled me and apologized for having mixed up some things. He will also send me some forms I'll need to sign so that they can request information from my lawyer and such.

As far as my recovery from yesterday's experiences goes, yesterday I had to deal with an intense feeling of disappointment, of hating having to go through all these things others - normal people - don't have to go through, of feeling disgusted with a lot of things and considering the option of suicide as a quick fix. Getting to sleep took a while as well, requiring Pieter to comfort me a bit. Then during the night I had a terrible dream which managed to fully trigger my PTSD, waking me up at around 4.30 AM in a mood I can hardly begin to describe, except that I first felt extremely lonely, then after crawling into Pieter's bed for a bit I began to feel like getting away from all the commotion, with the dogs in the bedroom and everything. After reading a bit in my current book while back in my own bed, I managed to nap a few times and felt considerably better at around 8 AM.

I won't say that I'm alright or anything like it. So far I can only say that my emotional side seems to have withdrawn more or less while it contemplates the recent changes. The emptiness it leaves behind is quite refreshing, I must say. To not have to deal with PTSD flashbacks today in an all too significant fashion like during the past days is most pleasant and an all too brief reminder of what life is like without suffering from severe PTSD.

Yesterday I ordered some new shoes and skinny jeans at an online store, which I received today. Sadly the shoes wheren't exactly what I had imagined and were also a bit too small, so I will be returning them, but the jeans fit fine as usual. They fit like a second skin, which is exactly how I like my jeans :D

Today I managed to do a bit of work; defining some details of the new game I'll be working on with the imaginative working title of TileWars. The idea is that we'll have this game ready to go within two months time. It's a lot more basic in terms of work required than ECD, so it's feasible that we'll make this self-imposed deadline.

Tomorrow Pieter and I will be doing a lot of shopping, for groceries, a birthday gift, shoes, clothes and who knows what else we'll encounter. Considering the average patience of males when it comes to shopping I predict we'll be done within two hours :P


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Miracles Are Bloody Random

I'll be brief: my appointment today at the UMCG hospital wasn't quite the disaster I was expecting, and there'll be no fatalistic predictions from my side this time.

I must admit that I felt quite awful this morning, alright during the trip to Groningen, and downright sick while at the UMCG up till the point where some more details got explained by Weijmar Schultz and his colleague Jiawan. In short it comes down to that they are willing to go along with the first point, that of performing the minor surgery of removing the testes so that I can get that official gender change.

As condition they did state that I'll first have to be able to accept whatever facts turn up on the second point, that of what this hole I can feel down below where a woman has a vagina is. To this purpose an appointment will be scheduled with the urologist who will do what is necessary to try to answer this question and give a proper diagnosis.

In summary, I'll have an appointment with the urologist at the UMCG to investigate this 'hole' which can be felt underneath the skin plus some other issues, there'll be no requirement of talks with any psychiatrist or anything, I'll have the official gender change, and the psychiatrist, Jiawan, will try to find a psychotherapist who knows EMDR nearby my place via his contacts. All in all pretty much what I had wished would have happened last year already.

As a minor point I found somewhat confusing was that Weijmar Schultz claimed that the male body produces 25% of the testosterone in the testes, 50% in the adrenal glands and 25% in other parts. A quick check on Wikipedia ( shows that in fact over 95% of testosterone is produced by the testes and the remainder by the adrenal glands. This is also what I remember from biology classes, so that's why I felt somewhat confounded. I'm not sure why Weijmar Schultz made this glitch, nor do I think it really matters.

I'd like to thank those who sent me messages today and earlier this week to wish me luck at the hospital, including the art student who sent me a text message earlier today :) It really feels nice to know that there are people out there who care.

As for the upcoming days, tomorrow I hope to spent some time working out details on a new, smaller game Trevor and I will be working on as we put ECD on hold. The idea is to release multiple smaller games over the coming months and give ECD some more time to mature, so that it can become the game we want it to be, instead of having to rush it to the finish just to earn some cash. If you have any ideas for relatively simple (2.5/3D) games you'd like to see and actually would spent a few Euro on, let me know. We're always looking for good ideas :)

Next week I'll be home alone again for a few days as Pieter has to go to Italy again for his work. He so loves it that he can enjoy the heat there while it's somewhat less warm here. Oh, and the meeting room there in Italy is his personal favourite. He just loves the sweltering atmosphere :D

*sticks tongue out at Pieter* :P

So yeah... basically I'll try to pick up the pace on my work again the coming time and try to leave this medical stuff behind me for a while again.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Left Behind

With the upcoming appointment at the UMCG hospital on Thursday, my life seems to have gained a definite touch of finality. This is the point which will determine whether I'll live or die. Literally.

I have been thinking for a long time about whether I could live without being able to accept anything about my body in the absence of any facts, and if so, how exactly I would do this. The answer I keep finding myself at over and over again is that there is no way I can do that. Trying to pretend everything is okay would break me, as it nearly did before. Distancing myself from anything related to emotions, feelings, friendship, relations and the bestial impulses inherent in humanity would break me, as it nearly did before.

Meanwhile the PTSD flashbacks I have been suffering for a number of years now keep worsening, not least because the direct causes of the PTSD haven't been removed yet. I'm still caught in the web of lies, deceit and ignorance the medical world in this backwards country has spun around me, and coming Thursday my last chance at escaping from it will most likely be taken away.

Maybe if I hadn't been afflicted with this PTSD I might be able to hang on, but I honestly do not know how long I can deal with these constant flashbacks and the pure agony they bring with them. There's nothing I'd wish more than to be rid of these images, these feelings which keep haunting me every waking moment and disturb my sleep.

Meanwhile I see everything and everyone around me move ahead with their lives, yet I don't seem to be able to partake in any of it. I really don't feel like I belong anywhere, that I'm needed by anyone. Well, that isn't entirely true... but the people who actually do care about me can be counted on the fingers of just one hand.

I abhor the idea of suicide. I merely just want to close my eyes and drift off into an eternal sleep, not have to deal with painful and crippling methods aimed at afflicting one's body sufficiently to make it cease functioning. I want to find peace and quiet, not more pain and anguish.

So where do I go if Thursday turns out as disastrously as I expect it to? I honestly don't know... but at least most people who read this won't have to care.


Friday, 9 July 2010

Striking A Balance

First some disappointing tidbits: I haven't heard anything back about the article publication in the Yes magazine, the freelance journalist seems to have vanished without trace. There's a good chance it won't be published, if this ever was the intention to begin with. Secondly, I haven't heard back regarding that new website job yet after a week. It's less disappointing, but it would have been very nice. Hopefully I'll hear something about it later next week.

In more joyful news, I have today published a short story ( ) titled Owaru no Sekai, or in English The World Which Has Ended. It is inspired by scenes from an anime series called Clannad, which I have watched last year when it aired on Japanese TV.

On which note, I just started watching one of last year's series, namely Valkyria Chronicles. It starts off pretty much like the similarly titled game and seems interesting enough so far. It's a nice replacement for a series I finished earlier this week called Minami-ke (original plus sequels including Okaeri and the final OVA, Betsubara). Maybe I'll one day work through the 200+ anime episodes and movies I still have left to watch on my HDD alone. I remember a time when I was up to date and had time left to check out new series :P

Work-wise I have somewhat grind to a halt again. My cold still isn't fully gone, my left ear is nearly constantly plugged, the wait for a response from the UMCG hospital has increased the rate of PTSD flashbacks and paralyzation events and I have in general had trouble finding my balance again.

Today I got an email from the UMCG informing me that they'd be willing to entertain a visit from me next week Thursday. I guess it'll be the day when they finally inform me that they can't do anything I need and are willing to do everything I don't need, much like the VUMC did last year. If I was religious I'd be praying fervently that I'll have the strength to survive this day and those following it.

What I have accomplished the past few days is to finish a few small tasks which kept distracting me, including writing that short story, and putting the LDSS draft specification document together. LDSS being Layout and Design Style Sheets, the document for which can be found at It is intended as a successor or replacement for CSS, with a simplified box model, proper layout system and more styling options missing in even the upcoming CSS 3 standard. My hope is that it'll be accepted as a web-wide standard and implemented in browsers. I do need feedback from professional and experienced web designers for it, however, plus some support from people at the companies and organizations which decide which standards to include in their browsers.

This coming weekend I'll attempt to get the Wild Fox project back on track again. It'll use the Firefox 4.x code branch and once I get it to compile with the GStreamer libraries it should be smooth sailing. Or so goes the theory at least :)

I got the VHDL '87 through 2002 standards from Pieter earlier today and I hope to start work on the VHDL compiler for the Lilium project next week. I really hope it won't be as tough as I think it's going to be.

Also on the planning is to get levels designed and more elements modelled for the ECD game. Trevor has been working the best he can, despite some personal problems which have unfortunately slowed down the project. It's going to be a huge relief once we get the first level done. I think we're reaching the point where a project is just taking too long, and the fun is quickly evaporating. It's never a fun point, and I hope that some quick progress will rectify it.


Saturday, 3 July 2010

So I Walk Into This Shop...

Well, almost like that. I was walking around in the shopping district here in Almere-Buiten this morning with Pieter prior to doing grocery shopping when a woman who was putting some merchandise in racks outside a clothing store said something to the effect of "interesting to meet here as well for a change.", apparently recognizing one or both of us. We couldn't remember who she was, though, and continued walking.

After checking out some other stores, we walked back past the clothing store and I just had to satisfy my curiousity, unlike Pieter. So I walked into the store and saw the woman there, she recognized me again and we started chatting, during the course of which I learned that she is the wife of the house painter who lives in my street and who we say 'hi' to once in a while. She thought I was the new wife or so of Pieter, on which point I had to correct her :)

I also told her that I have my own company, doing software development, video game development and web development, the latter leading her to ask whether I could maybe work on the site for her husband's business. Score. I gave her my contact details and I hope to hear soon whether she's got some work for me. It's also a great way to meet more people around here :) All that from walking into that store because I just had to satisfy my curiousity, even if Pieter got disgruntled at me taking so long chatting and such. Men will be men, I guess :P

All in all it's an interesting and fun diversion from the events in my life lately. It'll be nice to work on a quick project which will involve contact with other human beings and a financial incentive in weeks time rather than months or longer as with my other projects. I do hope Trevor and I can show some results with the ECD game soon, once we get some details sorted out surrounding creating the actual levels for the game. He's been having a rough time last month with some personal stuff happening and surgery a few days ago from which he is still recovering.

As for me, I have been pretty sick from a bad cold which had me knocked out for most of this week. Yesterday was the first day I finally got some work done again. Thursday I suffered another paralyzation attack while walking up some stairs, resulting in me nearly sliding and/or falling down them. Fortunately Pieter arrived home in time like the proverbial knight in shining armour to save my bacon. I must say that it's not fun to lie on a flight of stairs for what must have been 30-45 minutes or so.

Yesterday my emotional side came up with an alternative version of the paralyzation attack, the repetitive motion attack, in which I found myself standing, unable to exert any conscious control over my limbs, yet caught in a hypnotic kind of motion involving my arms swinging back and forth, back and forth... though it was good exercise, it's still not my idea of fun. What triggered this was the sudden and more pronounced realization that the UMCG hospital really isn't going to do anything for me because otherwise they'd have done so already a year ago when I first came there.

What irks me most is that few people seem to be able to understand even a little that without the answers I'm seeking, even just a few of them, it's downright impossible to participate in life, at least from a social perspective. What it comes down to is that of not knowing what I am. I do present myself as a female to the outside world, in the knowledge that I am not, even if it's pretty close. I can not tell myself or others what I am if not female. An intersexual woman doesn't quite cut it either. In the end I just don't know what I am, what this body is and what I should think about it. I have had over 20 years to think about this issue, so it's unlikely that any comforting one-liners will help me here.

Moving on to a less dark topic, yesterday I managed to fix the last showstopper bug in Lilium M1. I did however find out that the M1 prototype lacks a crucial feature I missed when I put the original list of requirements together. Next up therefore is to add this relatively minor feature to M1 and retest it. After that I can move on to M1.5, with the fun work on the VHDL compiler which may either be a piece of cake, or a new form of torture invented in the lower levels of Hell.

Regarding the Wild Fox project, I'm still stuck on building the actual code, as pkg-config seems to be hopelessly broken on Windows, leaving me with possibly no other option than to add the GStreamer libraries directly to the Mozilla source tree. I'm also toying with the idea of foregoing the 3.6.x branch and focusing on 4.x instead, as this one is about to hit Beta phase. It would allow me to avoid any backporting of features to an old branch, as this is usually a relatively painful process.

In other news, I don't mind a bit of warm weather, but 30+C weather is ridiculous.