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Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith
SF Bay Area, California, United States
Just your average transgender woman from the suburbs.

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Gwen’s Little Spot

The mental scribblings and daily doings of one transgender woman, writer, and activist, with content somehow deemed good enough to win a 2004 “Queery“ award.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Posted: 9:30:00 AM
It’s a big party... with fish!

I’m kind of excited: it looks like next Tuesday I’m taking a little field trip down to Palo Alto to participate in some research. They’re doing a study at PARC about collaborative building in Second Life, and I’m one of the participants.

PARC, formerly Xerox PARC, is kinda a Big Deal. They were largely behind such things as the mouse, the modern GUI, WYSIWYG editing, the laser printer, ethernet. You know, stuff a lot of people take for granted every day. So ya, honored to help them!

Right now, though, I’d be happy to get some rest. The temps have crept up the last couple days, and while I’ve been trying to turn in an extra hour earlier, I’m ve not exactly been benefitting from that extra hour.

Oh, and before I forget, a belated birthday to StarStraf. Sorry for my tardiness!


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Posted: 10:52:00 AM
Oh no. Capricorn.

Just a quick coming up for air. Sorry I’m not being very substantive lately. Been a lot going on and my time has been limited. I am regularly twittering, though. The time crunch should change soon, I hope.

I got to meet Jenn Dolari and her girlfriend Emily visited on their grand semi-National tour from Texas to Washington. Was great to finally meet them both in the flesh. They’re both great folks, and they also both compliment each other quite well.

I have some fresh intel about a job I want, and am working up my cover letter and yet another revision of the résumé. My inworld boss, too, has set a goal of getting me out of my day job and into a full time Second Life content creation position with her company. As she’s done it before, I know she has the potential to do it again.

Did I mention I hate cover letters? I have to talk myself up, for one. That is hard for me. I’ll talk other thigns up, but myself? Ugh. Also, I have the trouble of trying to determine how much is too much to say. I’ve done a lot, I’ll admit, and it can be hard to condense it to a couple paragraphs.

Anyway, back to typing reports. More as I can.


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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Posted: 7:52:00 AM
Even in the quietest moments

Some days I feel just fine. Other days, I want to just find a hole to crawl into.

Today is the latter kind of day.


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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Posted: 1:41:00 PM
Now, if only I could add in all the links to go with this entry...

This morning, buoyed by a spin of The Seduction of Claude Debussy, I decided to peek on the web and find out what The Art of Noise was up to nowadays. In the course of doing so (and reading their rather tumultuous history), I came across one of the possible references in their name: The Art of Noises (L’arte dei Rumori), penned by Luigi Russolo in 1913.

The ideas themselves were not new, but combined with the Seduction album, followed by a chunk of the Funkunfusion compilation by Ninja Tunes, I began to ponder the concepts of The Art of Noises, and consider how this manifesto’s ideas have become a part of modern culture.

At the same time, I considered, in some other fold of my brain, the initial subject that led me to this: the history of Art of Noise the group, and how the musical ideas of Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley, and other AoN alumni have crept up both in music I like, and music in general.

I find I love these sorts of intellectual pursuits, and looking at how things mesh and fit together. Ever since I discovered James Burke’s Connections series in my high school days, I’ve found I like thinking around corners and spotting both the unexpected ways things tie together, as well as how the times shape their cultures.

It’s actually one of the things I’ve enjoyed about living in this digital revolution of the last couple handfuls of years. It is fascinating to see how our culture is shifting into something new and different in an era of cell phones and iPods, Web sites and virtual worlds. As I remarked on Twitter the other day, we live in the first era where you can say “You typoed the URL” and make perfect sense to many, if not most, listeners (assuming the English language, of course). But I digress.

When I find something good to chew over, time stops. To use a geek-level reference (that itself being a geek-level reference), I begin to feel like I’m shifting out of phase, akin to the Traveler in a first season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. Anyone else find themselves feeling this?

It made some of the work today go better than anticipated, as it involved tasks more physical than mental.

It also reminds me of one of the oddest inadvertent compliments I was ever given, that I can burn ants with the sort of focus I achieve. I’m good with that.

The thing is, what can I do to turn this sort of interest into employment? Certainly I don’t get it here. I’d love to have something that allows me to use my artistic skills, my social skills, and this interest into some sort of job that can pay my bills.

While I’m here, let me shift gears and give a few updates.

• I’m having a great deal of fun with the iPhone. Granted, 90% of my time with it is in non-telephony pursuits. I rather enjoy being in the car pool home, checking traffic, tweeting on Twitter, texting with my sister, or grabbing e-mail. Glad all those minutes roll over.

• I’m looking forward to the visit of a couple friends of mine, including one who I’ve known—but never physically met—since 1993. Should be fun.

• I finally have taken to the Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog. I’ve not been the big JW fan that many of my friends are—I watched some Buffy The Vampire Slayer, never could really sink my teeth into Angel, and have not seen a single episode of Firefly. Still, what a fun story. If only network television would do something like this. Then again, it almost seems too clever for the networks. Case in point: Arrested Development.

• In theory, we should have our third typist back next week, after a two-month medical and bereavement leave. I’ve been sticking with this job with the intent of leaving when she got back. So now is yet another time to look over the finances and see if a jump is in order. Last night I was given some good advice—and some very useful intel—about a job I would prefer. Now to implement it.

• I’m also still hot on the trail of inworld content creation, though my boss there has been a bit tried up in a book project. I’m hoping this gets back into forward motion soon. The book is an important project for her and me, as well as the rest of her staff: it could help secure a number of future contracts.

...and now, back to typing for a living. These welding reports won’t type themselves.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Posted: 10:54:00 AM
But what about pointed sticks?

Briefly coming up for air.

The department at the day job is still running at half a staff. We should have three production typists (who also do timesheets and other duties) and a filing clerk (who also does phone coverage and the Friday mail). Instead, we’re two production typists handling all of the above. No wonder I feel exhausted all the time.

Meanwhile, I’m also working on a major build in Second Life, at a pay rate higher than the other job. I really need to get more hours doing this work. Of course, to really do that I need to not have the other job. I'm holding onto the main workplace because, well... I’m not sure. It’s a steady paycheck, really, and I worry about jumping off into the void. It’s not something I’m all that comfy with. Nevertheless, you can see where I'm going.

Anyway, I didn’t come here to kvetch about the job. I came here to talk about my birthday. It was a week ago. We did not really do the big birthday celebration this time out — we learned our lesson last year, Bon and I, and know no one would have shown up.

I did get some rather nice gifts out of the deal, though. A number of inworld friends got together and surprised me with a nice collectable doll I’ve been eyeing for a couple years, and Bon took me to the Apple store for an iPhone 3G. That was an adventure.

You see, the iPhone seems to be popular. After an initial false start on my birthday proper, Bon and I headed to the local Apple Store last Saturday at 7:00 a.m., an hour before the store was slated to open for iPhone sales. When we arrived, there were already 30 or so people ahead of us. The line eventually stretched to roughly 60 people, with two varieties sold out before we even opened.

Five hours later, I had a 16GB iPhone 3G in my hand. Yes, five hours for a phone.

It’s a nice device, though. While I still grumble about being tethered to a phone, I do enjoy the wide range of features it provides. I especially like the GPS and other features of the Map. It makes a great iPod. The web browser is nice. I particularly like the ability to add onto the phone with third-party applications.

Oh, and the phone is pretty clear, too.

Anyway, I’d best get back to these timesheets. In theory, we get another typist next week, and I should get a chance to breathe again. I’ll also make some decisions then about my future.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Posted: 2:26:00 PM
“Tell me a story of stem and stone”

I know that many don’t like reading what others dream, nevertheless, I’ve found myself ruminating long about one I had the other night. It did not necessarily fit the patterns for my dreams. I have described before the peculiar nature of such, and will pass on repeating such yet again.

This one involved me working a somewhat menial job in a older style (but modern equipped) brownstone style building. During the time I was there, many of my co-workers began to develop quirks and behaviours much unlike them, as well as suffer through fugues. I also began to have such, typically finding myself in a much earlier time period (judging from the horse-drawn streetcars and rutted roads, probably close to the turn of the previous century). Eventually, as I began to try to figure out what was going on, I found a hidden space in the building, a hidey hole with a number of items in it. I assembled the others in the office so we could go through whatever I could pull out together.

As I pulled out individual goods, they triggered personality changes in those who saw them. A complete personality shift to a different identity and time. One was an artist who was in love with a former tenant of the building, and who died in his studio, well-known but broken. Another had taken his life after killing a relative of theirs (I don’t recall the relationship). Each collapsed onto the floor — either passed out or perished — at the conclusion of their live’s sad stories. One co-worker, a larger woman of Afro-Carribean descent became agitated when I began to reach for hers, acting like a very spoiled and angry child. She was screaming at me, and poking me hard in the sides. She eventually poked me hard enough to wake me. I never made it to my own part of the story, as it were: though I did fall back to sleep and into that space, the story I had been living there had concluded.

What strikes me about this dream was that it had a beginning, middle, and end (which was cut off). It was clearly paced and plotted, which is highly unusual for me: My dreams are usually very freeform, recurring environments I inhabit and explore, not “stories.” Also striking (literally!) was the woman who poked me. This did hurt as if I was poked hard to the ribs, and that pain persisted until I did fully wake up, some hours later. Odd to have “dream pain,” no?

Anyone have any insight or thoughts? Am I just crazy as a sh!thouse rat?

Anyway, I just wanted to put that down. I’ve much more I want to jot here lately, but a combination of the half-sized staff at this job right now (this being one of the things I want to write about) coupled with a rather bad case of what seems like carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist (another thing I should really bring up) has kept me from doing so. So more soon, as I want to talk about the increase in my Second Life content creation work (for real places and real money!) and many other things. Perhaps even a story of cabbages and kings.


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Friday, July 04, 2008

Posted: 9:21:00 AM
Welcome to eternity

I’m a bad person.

You see, when I heard that Jesse Helms has passed away, the first thing I did was watch a copy of the old “Jesse Goes To Heaven” Frameline short and have a good laugh.


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