Friday, October 05, 2018

Needed code optimization

My introduction to SQL was circa 1995 when a large data warehousing project had managed to build a month-end data analysis routine that they discovered was going to take more than 31 days to run. They read somewhere that embedded SQL was faster & I was asked to rewrite it in C with embedded SQL. I worked with an SQL "specialist" & I did the C part, except he occasionally modified the C when I wasn't available.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not losing uniqueness but gaining an ally

I am the only M2F transgender stand-up comedian I know of in New Zealand and on Tuesday coming I will have been that for 3 years. It looks like that's coming to an end.

From the archives: Rats in toilets

This is another one from 1992 in alt.folklore.urban. Someone had asked about the possibility of the urban legend about rats swimming around the S bend and biting people where it hurts. My reply:

Saturday, September 22, 2018

From the archives. Snuff movies

I just stumbled across this reply I made in 1992 on UseNet to the question "What's a snuff film?":
  1. Snuff is powered tobacco often with added aromatic substances. A snuff film is
    a government announcement which shows how using snuff slowly addles the
    brain & causes the habitue to fall into a degenerate state.

    A prime example of the gendre is "Snuff, devil's powder from hell" (193?) which tells the
    story of a couple of typical teenagers who fall in with a bad crowd. At first it is fun, then
    the cravings, immorality, and Jazz sap their wills & ...
  2. Snuff is a transitive verb. It is something you do to candles to make them stop burning.

    Snuff films are training films from the candle industry demonstrating safe ways of
    extinguishing candles. Distributing these films prevent the candle makers from
    encountering multi-million product liability suits: "They made no attempt to warn me
    not to eat the cake before blowing out the candles"
  3. Snuff is a dog my neighbour used to own. He has some "good" home movies of
    his kids playing flying disk games with Snuff.
Obviously I was having fun that day.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Souvenirs de blagues du passé

Looking back at old stuff can be interesting, and sometimes scary. My comedy career really started in mid 2015, but there were precursors. In 2008 I decided I would like to try doing stand-up just once, I did it, I got laughs & I walked away happy ticking stand-up off my bucket list.

5 years later I thought I'd like to try something different so I went back, did it, got laughs and was happy. To get stage time when I wanted to I needed to enter the national raw comedy contest, much to my surprise I got through to the semi-finals but no more. I happily walked away for 2 years.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

After the show: 50 Years Before The Frock

Publicity Shot Cornwall Park 10 days before opening.
It shows the staging I used for the show recreated outdoors.

I did my laundry this morning and as I hung the three red tops & three pairs of black trousers I wore on stage (one pair each night) I decided it was time to record my feelings and discoveries about the initial run of my one woman show 50 Years Before The Frock. Initially I called it "50 Years Before The Dress" but Frock worked better for me.

The show is about the 53 years between my first questioning of my gender identity and the first time I publicly performed comedy as myself, Julia.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Memories of the AIDS plague

Written on World AIDS day 2017

I was most involved with the NZ male gay scene during the late 1970s and 1980s. I wasn't gay and didn't have much sex, but it was a safe place for me to be so I chose to be there.

In those days when men came out after years or decades of repressing their sexuality many (most) of them understandably went wild and spent 2 or 3 years having as much sex as possible before they calmed down and formed stable relationships. Back then even casual sex was normally unprotected and it was common for these men to go for a holiday to San Francisco for 2 weeks of casual sex with random men in the bath houses.

"So many men, so little time" was their mantra.

Then AIDS happened.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good and Bad Influences In Comedy

You'd have to have been living in  a white house to be unaware of the recent fuss over sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.  Recently American comedian Louis CK has been shown to be a despicable person, and people are lining up to say that they always knew his work was unacceptable.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Longer Just Kidding

My comedy material has evolved over time. Although much of my early comedy was firmly based in science and reality, I was after jokes that made people laugh. When I first transitioned my material was a mix of psychologically or emotionally true jokes and cheap attempts at comedy. Last night there was one joke in my set that wasn't closely based on a real experience of mine. Today I decided to retire that joke.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Transformation day 89

I've been having a rough time of it today. I feel totally sapped of energy and motivation.

There's any number of possible causes, some of the recent discussions in social media have increased the stress I mentioned in my last update and further depressed me.

Alternately It could well be my medication. Today is day ten of a two week course of doxycycline. I developed boils in several different parts of my body & the doctor gave me them in an attempt to knock out whatever it was.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Remembering Jokes When On Stage

I'm a member of a secret Facebook group where comedians run draft jokes past each other and sometimes ask for other tips. Recently a person asked how we remember the running order for our intended set.

It's a truism that the art of comedy is concealing the art, so I hope I'm not giving away too many secrets here.

For me confidence is the key.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Planned obsolescence in Smartphones. NOT!

Recently there was some online commentary on how every version of iOS makes older iPhones run more slowly. The conspiracy theorists like to see this as a deliberate action by Apple to force people to upgrade. I doubt this for two reasons, first the Apple fans are already super keen to upgrade to the latest and greatest iDevice and I can't see how Apple would benefit from the likely damage to its reputation from pulling a trick like that.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Transformation day 52

It's been a very long time since I posted an update. There's a number of reasons for this, I've been a bit down because of stress about some unrelated things, I do regret deciding to document certain changes to youknowwhat, and progress has slowed.

Four days back I had a check-in with my counsellor at the hospital, booked before I started HRT. During the session I felt like a bit of a fake because everything was going well. He did raise his eyebrows when I said I now felt a lot less pressure to strive for a more feminine look since starting HRT, then used the term "Performance Art" about how I was dressing before. I needed to explain how when how I dressed was the only way to signal my mental state it was much more important than it is now that there were real changes happening in my body. In retrospect a very poor choice of words when talking to someone not in the entertainment world. We agreed that I don't need to book any more sessions with him unless something comes up that is concerning me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Three years, mostly smokefree

Back at day 1000 I was expecting to be on quit-line posting about my 3rd anniversary of quitting today. Unfortunately there's a couple of reasons why that won't be happening.

I've been struggling the last few months. Some know some details and some don't. Let's just say Julia's world is not all choirs of angels serenading the unicorns that trot across the rainbow bridge. There has been a period where I was having the odd cigarette as a crutch and there were days where there were several. I never got back into full-on smoking but it was a close run thing. I've smoked on two of the last 13 days and it's been 7 days since my last cigarette. I feel like I'm free of them now, but I felt that a few times earlier too.

I really don't feel much like celebrating three years. No I don't intend adjusting or resetting my quit date. 6 September 2014 is still the date I went from being an incorrigible 30 a day smoker to someone who is mostly smoke free. I have recently gone from someone who was 99% smoke free to 95% and am still working on my quit; but it's the same quit. In any case no other date really makes any sense to me.

The second reason is that even before the above struggles Quit-line had become toxic for me. I was turned off by some of the behaviour I witnessed there; behaviour I saw as intolerant and bullying. Sure there were many supportive people and voices of reason, but there was a large enough minority of the others to put me off.

For better or worse I haven't been going there much of late and very few of my cohort are still regulars. When I was starting out I saw names that were unknown to me as they were never there and only popped in to post what seemed incredibly large numbers of days. I vowed to myself that I wouldn't be one of them, if I ceased being a regular contributor and stopped recognising the regulars I'd quietly retire from posting to the site.

When I go there now I also feel professionally angry at the new software. No matter how many times I say "Remember me" it never does, I can't page through the blogs, I can't look at the blogs of the people I supported and they still haven't loaded in the old blogs.

I've spent 40 years developing computer software and I can't remember seeing an upgrade as incompetent as Quit-line's mess. It looks like it was thrown together in a hurry by a high school student for a mid-week homework assignment. Actually that's not fair, most of the student programmers I've known would have done a far better job.