Sunday, 26 August 2012

Looking For Furniture And Other Boring Tidbits

The apartment has been filled up pretty well this week. Right now we're looking at acquiring book shelves, a good desk and furniture for the bedroom beyond a bed. If anyone reads this, has some spare furniture lying around and knows of a good way to get it to the apartment here in Almere, don't mind contacting me about it :) After spending heaps of money on carpet, appliances and heavens know what else, we'd love to keep expenses low. This means more second hand items and the like.

With current items taken care of, I'd like to briefly summarize the moving itself. It all started on Tuesday the 21st when after my work I went to the apartment where we spent the night on a bare concrete floor with no internet and no appliances. Just a toilet and water. The next morning we got temporary (data capped) mobile internet via the provider XS4All, had the carpet man drop by to put in the carpet and took delivery of a washing machine and freezer/fridge combination.

On Thursday the 23rd the moving itself took place, with my mom taking care of matters at my old residence (her home) and my girlfriend and I handling things at her place. Loading things at my place went smoothly, at my girlfriend's place there were some issues, but in the end it all worked out. We ended that day in our apartment, surrounded by piles of boxes and furniture. After setting up the bed and putting the TV and couch into an agreeable position we left things until the next day, heading to city hall to register our new place of residence and handling changing our voting passes for the upcoming election to our new county.

This weekend we mostly spent setting up the apartment, unpacking boxes and setting up the new office from which I'm typing this blog post now. The apartment is in many ways very spacious and I haven't had this much space for an office, especially one for two people, at any time before. Only downer was having to buy new bolts and screws to put my desk together again. Also there's the issue of my girlfriend not having anything resembling a decent desk. I have an Ikea Jerker desk myself (160x80 cm version), and it'd be nice to have a matching desk.

At my job things are going well too. At this point I'm feeling the system analyst inside of me kicking in and I'm currently in the process of writing PHP-based scripts to automate a number of tasks which bottleneck the development process. My hope is that this will make things go even smoother and easier for everyone involved. I think that it'd be the role best suited for me, with a high amount of independence and a sense of responsibility and approval from my colleagues and higher-ups. Not just being a mindless drone doing repetitive work :)

Still a lot of work to do and expenses to be made, including the buying or leasing of my first car. It's tiresome but in many ways kinda fun. I'm still annoyed at the internet part, though. Supposedly 100/100 Mbit fiber will become available in a few weeks, or so XS4All said, but for all I know I'll be stuck on glacial 4 Mb/512 kb ADSL for the next year.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Moving Soon And Leaving The Internet

In my last blog post I asked for help with moving me and my girlfriend to our new place in Almere. The number of responses to it wasn't high enough to make it possible, thus we decided to enlist a moving company. Turns out that they'll do it for about the same price as we could have done with volunteers and rented vans. And this way we're insured as well. Moving day will be the 23rd, with the carpet being put in on the 22nd.

One outstanding issue is that of internet. At this point I have been unable to arrange internet. Fiber isn't available in this particular apartment because it hasn't been put in yet despite being in the coverage area, meaning that we'll have to harass an ISP to look into having it pulled. As for ADSL, apparently we're just enough out of range to make higher speeds possible. This means that we'll be on an 8/1 Mbit connection at best. Hopefully they can pull fiber soon so that we can get that 100/100 connection. Slight difference and for about the same bloody price.

It's interesting in how far internet has become a part of our lives. I have taken to working on my laptop in the train while I travel to my work these days since they have WiFi in the Dutch intercity trains. This blog post I'm typing and posting from my place in the train for example. The thought of being in our new apartment without any form of internet connection beyond that on our phones is frightening. We'd not be able to communicate with most of our friends and acquaintances, I'd not be able to work and chat with Trevor while we finish up the current game project. And so on. I'll have to call this one ISP, XS4All, tomorrow when I'm not working to hopefully get things arranged for next week. It's going to be a squeeze.

At my job I'm adjusting quite well, I think. We just started on the migration of the Typo3 CMS we use for the websites from version 4.4 (old) to current (4.7.4). It's quite an undertaking, especially with all of the extensions installed for each site. There's also the usual issues with the development server's copy of the site being horribly broken, making it hard to ascertain whether or not something broke due to an extension or other update, or that it was broken before already. It's heaps of fun, albeit stressful. So far my colleagues are really pretty cool, though I have to hold myself back a bit from taking direct charge. I'm just the newbie at this point after all :P

It's fun to see all of my experience I have built up since the 1990s with regards to web development coming to use here, though. I have also provided support to others at the VARA with another CMS they use: Wordpress. Being a support person like this, as a kind of second line support person, really isn't bad at all. People come to you when they have issues which aren't easy to solve and they are grateful when you figure it out for them. Plus you get to meet more people this way inside the organization.

This all not to say that I am not looking forward to getting the moving over with. Traveling four hours a day by train like this is just too crazy. Of a 24 hour day you lose 8 hours due to sleep, leaving 16 hours of which you spend 8 hours on your work, leaving 8 hours of which I am spending 4 traveling. Take off time to eat, drink and such and I'll maybe have 2 hours left to do my relaxation and other stuff in. That's not much, and I can't wait for me to get back two and a half hours of those four hours of traveling after moving.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly now. There's still enough to arrange after moving as well, including a new beauty salon since the one in Deventer is really too far away at that point. Any tips on a good beauty salon in or near Almere where they do electrolysis therapy ('electrisch ontharen') are more than welcome :)


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Please Help Me Move To My New Place~

The 15th of this month my girlfriend and I will be receiving the key to our new apartment, with the new carpet being put in on the 22nd. The goal is to move in on the same day, if possible at all. Sadly both my brothers aren't available until next month, so I'm going to have to find others who can assist me with moving. Possibly I'll have to pay for a moving company to take care of it and just accept the extra costs. My girlfriend faces a similar issue, leaving us in the odd situation where we have a new place to move into, but no easy way to actually move our belongings into it. Any help, physical or financial with this would be beyond awesome. Getting past this last hurdle to a happier future has to be worth it, right? :)

In other news, yesterday my girlfriend and I went to the photoshoot for the Grazia magazine, to have pictures of me taken for the 5-year anniversary edition of this magazine. In a few ways it was interesting, in that nobody there really knew about my story, just that they had received instructions to take pictures of me and the other four women in a particular manner. They were very intrigued to hear my story, however. The photos themselves which got taken of me that day were interesting too, in that this photographer and the stylist managed to bring out a whole other side of me, at least it appeared that way to me.

The day before, on Thursday, I picked up my new passport at the county hall. The lady behind the counter actually recognized me from an earlier article in a newspaper and offered to give me back the old passport as a token of remembrance after rendering it invalid. I thought this was rather nice of her. Now I can finally end the quest to get my proper identity recognized and use this acknowledgement to further the legal case against my insurance company who still refuse to fully cover the electrolysis therapy for the excess hair growth on my face due to the weird hormone balance I used to have. Their argument is that there's no reason to cover this therapy in the case of intersex, but do not substantiate this in any fashion. I'll soon have a hearing about this matter and will have a chance to speak my mind there.

Similarly I will have a hearing in the legal case against the VUMC hospital as well within a few months. This is going to become an even bigger case, involving the brutal violation of my basic human rights, particularly the right to decide about own body, and having unneeded surgeries forced upon me. I still really hope that this matter will cause a landslide in Dutch and European politics and from there change the world. It is beyond ridiculous that today in 2012 people like me are essentially outcasts, regarded by politicians and medical professionals as a kind of lab animals they can freely experiment on. No, scratch that, even lab animals have more rights than we do. It's so very disheartening to have to still fight for the right to even exist.

Being able to move to Almere this month will really change matters for me. At the moment the traveling to and from my work from my mother's place at two hours traveling time each way is really taking its toll on me, not to mention making it so much harder to do all the media items regarding my story and legal cases as everything takes place in the Amsterdam area. Without any offers from help I'll just have to bite the bullet and pay up for a moving company to take care of this. Same for my girlfriend, who has her own story to tell some other day.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Everything Going Right And Still...

From the looks of it I'll be moving into my new apartment in Almere this month the 22nd. Or our apartment I should say, as I'll be moving in with my girlfriend. I'll be living much closer to my job at the VARA in Hilversum that way. So far the job there after two days of working there has proven to be pretty relaxing and yet challenging. I'm still being worked in and getting up to date on things, but I notice that I do not mind going there and find myself appreciating finding that job. On Thursday my girlfriend and I also went to Amsterdam for the television recordings for Discovery Channel/TLC's new show 'TLC About...' which will be broadcast in October/November. It went well, and through it I noticed yet again how natural it's all becoming, both for me and for my girlfriend who got sucked into my whole media thing and seems to be taking it well so far :)

I'll still need to find people who can help me move on that day, and who can help my girlfriend move as well. Volunteers are more than welcome. Hopefully it'll all work out well and the moving will be smoothly and painless. I'm looking forward to living in Almere again, now as a much improved person. From there I hope to finally start truly working on my future, together with my girlfriend. It's still somewhat surreal to be thinking in those terms. Having a well-paying job, a beautiful girlfriend who loves me dearly, and a large apartment all to ourselves. It still feels a bit like I do not deserve it.

One thing I do find quite interesting about my workplace is that my colleagues and other people who work there at the VARA or at the NTR or VPRO in the same building do not seem to recognize me from my media appearances. In many ways that's quite pleasant, as for the first time in my life I get to experience what it's like to have a normal life, and to not have my body's physical features play any role in my interactions with others. I will not be telling anyone about it either unless they find out by themselves. Only my boss knows it, because I felt during the job interviews already that I had to be frank on this issue. I still feel I made the right decision there.

With a new place also come many great expenses. First of all the new carpet, then a new washing machine, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, and so on. We also do not have any kind of furniture to put our clothes into, or any bookshelves. They aren't requirements of course, and it's all a matter of just getting what we need first, slowly working down the list of items to get as need demands and money allows. At least I did end up with some of the basic furniture items like desks, chairs and a couch, the latter thanks to my awesome mother :)

My general feeling in all of this is one of a strong sense of relief, but also trepidation and apprehension. I'd rather prefer not to involve my emotions in all of this just yet. It all just feels too surreal and too good to be true. Part of me is certain that it's only a matter of time before everything pops like a soap bubble, all of the shiny colours and happy reflections reduced to a few wet spots, quickly drying in the sun's rays. Another part hopes fervently that the first part is wrong. The future truly is a scary place...