mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
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Okay, so some of you may have read about this in my blogging about transition but now that I'm more open here goes:

I've been back and forth on my name through the years. When I was younger and trying to put up this masculine image, I didn't like the name Jamie at all. It was a girl's name, and Van Halen didn't help matters much, either. I tried getting my family and friends to call me Jay, Jay C, and Jim. Jim actually caught on in high school and my Gram called me Jim for a long time, pretty much right up until I came out as transgender, even to my protest in my late twenties and early thirties. When I decided to transition, I chose to keep the name Jamie. I made my peace with my first name, it was familiar to my family and friends, and it was blessedly androgynous so it worked well for me even as a woman.

My middle name had to go. I've hated it since I was young. I hated it so much so that I forgot what my middle initial stood for until I got my university diploma and there in print was my middle name: Alan. Gah. It was jarring to see it in print just when I forgot that the A on all those legal documents actually stood for something. As part of my transition I changed my name. While I decided to keep the first name my parents gave me at birth, I changed my middle name to Amanda. I wanted something that began with A because at the time we were still considering Kathy taking my last name upon marriage, so it would mean that I wouldn't have to bother with changing documents.

I have nothing wrong with my last name, but we decided we liked the idea of me taking Kathy's last name in marriage and giving Ian her last name, as well.

I had the opportunity to change my name, and I took it. I considered completely changing my name. I've long loved my Gram's middle name (Ursula), so that was a strong contender for a new first name. It was also the first name in my nom de plume while I was less open about my transition. My second choice was Ursula May. I also considered Ursula Jane, Sheila Jane, and Sheila Emily. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't go with Sheila. I don't feel much like a Sheila. Ursula would have been awesome, I admit, but I'm happy with Jamie Amanda. It suits me nicely. It's me, and now the A stands for something that makes me happy.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I have taken the Myers-Briggs test several times, and I've come up with two or three different results (and yes, I was completely honest on them). To me I don't really put much belief in them. For one, it's another way to label people. I have a hate/love relationship with labels in that I still use labels instinctively, but whenever I stop to think about what labels mean and how broad and generalizing labels are, it bothers me. The second reason I don't much believe in personality tests is that I have a feeling they are a lot like horoscopes in that they give broad interpretation of results that could apply with just a little massaging to just about any person. I'm not convinced that any person couldn't find some grains of self-truth in any one of the Myers-Briggs results. The third reason I don't much believe in personality tests is that personalities are fluid. I think my UMass Lowell English Literature professor had it right when he said that each of us is a different person from day to day or moment to moment. We might have some persistent characteristics, but personality is fluid enough that even in the same situation on any different day we might respond differently. I think this is why given any different instance of taking this exam and being honest about my feelings and thoughts on the different subjective situations posed in the questions, I could receive a different result.

Frequently when I have taken one of these tests or had conversations about one of these personality tests, I have been posed with the belief that these personality tests are a great way to discover truth in oneself and to better interact with others because one understands others better. I disagree. While I don't doubt it is a catalyst for greater self-discovery, anything that presents you with some food for thought about yourself and gets you thinking about who you are and what you do is going to lead to self-discovery. To be honest I think the same is possible in fortune cookies and horoscopes because, even if they are broad catch-basins so they apply to anyone who reads them, they get one thinking about who they are and the choices they are making if they are receptive to the information. Getting to know others better? Well, that comes with actually interfacing with people, having conversations, listening, and spending time with people. I can't help but get the feeling that personality tests end up being a work-around or a crutch for people who, rather than figure out why someone is reacting a certain way, can just default to saying, "Oh so-and-so is just acting that way because this test gives me four letters that say they will respond this way." It just seems too convenient.

All this is not to say that I feel I'm an expert in getting to know people or interacting with people. I will be the first to admit that I get it wrong often. I just don't see how a horoscope on steroids will help me get to know people based on gross generalizations.Call it stereotyping, call it profiling, it just seems far too... well, impersonal. It's clinical pseudo-science given a touchy-feely spin.
mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Eyes)
[Error: unknown template qotd]The plan was to go to the bonfire and watch the fireworks, but the very windy, chilly weather changed our minds on that as soon as we stepped outside. We opted to stay home and watch the ball drop on CNN (see previous post) and celebrate the New Year with las doce uvas de la suerte. And grilled cheese sandwiches because we got hungry at 2am. It's not healthy but it is very yummy. And now I get to sleep in late and enjoy a four-days weekend without any big travel plans or gatherings. That's probably the best way I can imagine to ring in the New Year. It sets a tone for the year, especially since I'm determined to actually take some time off now that I have actual paid time off (well, I have for a year-and-a-half now, but...).

Happy New Year to all! (Thank god it's over.)

mandysee_mandydo: (Dr. Girlfriend Holiday)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I think this year so far takes the cake for worst holiday travel. We live on campus, which isn't so bad but presents some interesting challenges. Last Friday everything shut down. The only thing open this week was the HUB and library, and both of those were on limited "work hours" schedules. While we have 24/7 access to our laundry facilities, the machines are card-operated, meaning [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf has to put cash on her college ID card for us to do laundry. Centre Lodge is where we usually put cash on the card. That's the building that's like the common area for the on-campus apartments. It's closed. The HUB was only open while I was at work, meaning I couldn't get there to add cash to PW's card and she didn't do it. Today is Christmas Eve and they're closed all day. That meant we had to go to the laundromat with just what we need for travel. I called the laundromat to find out when they close and the woman on duty said 3pm. That killed my plan to go after work, I thought, so I called PW in a panic asking her to gather what we needed and meet me for lunch so we could get the laundry done. We arrive to find out the commercial area closes at 3pm but the card-op area where the public does their laundry is open until 10pm as usual. Great. So by the time we get laundry started, get bus tickets, and I get to the bank with my paycheck I find they've been closed for half an hour. Lovely. At least we got our tickets and we can still gather with family, but now we are traveling with no money whatsoever. We ate all of our food so we wouldn't leave perishables around for four days to go bad only to find the usual free community dinner we were planning to attend for dinner tonight had been canceled because the chef unexpectedly died. That sucks because he was a great guy who did a lot for the community, and it also meant we had two boxes of Rice-A-Roni to eat for dinner and that's it.

So that's the holiday so far. Hopefully nothing goes horribly wrong tomorrow and we get to Nashua safe and sound. Not that I really celebrate Christmas, mind you, but I think this year gets a big, fat bah-humbug!
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Today is Haiku Day.
Snow dances and rests on ground.
Thanks a lot, solstice.

~~<@>~~

Snow is beautiful.
That is what some people say.
Come up here, say that.

~~<@>~~

Rain, rain, go away.
Come again some other day
When you're less frozen.

~~<@>~~

Snow is glistening.
Walk in winter wonderland.
Should have shopped sooner.

mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd] Really this is a tie between three concerts, two of them the same band.

#1 - Metallica headlining with Danzig and Suicidal Tendencies opening - Cheshire Fairgrounds, North Swanzey, NH (1994)
This was an amazing show. [info]quantumswordsmn  won the tickets from WAAF for lounge-singing Bohemian Rhapsody. It was kind of amazing. I only wish I had been present to witness the lounge-singing for myself! We arrived at the show and I was just really excited to see Suicidal Tendencies, who were my band of obsessive choice at the time. I bought a ST baseball cap and an ST baseball jersey at the show before it started just to show my enthusiasm! Danzig was okay, but I was really disappointed. They played everything just the same as the record and there was almost no crowd interaction. The promoters for ST spotted me all ST-geared out and asked me if I wanted to go backstage for their part of the show. I laughed it off as a prank. They were serious. Then I was going to refuse to go because they wouldn't let [livejournal.com profile] quantumswordsmn  come with me, but then he talked sense into me and said I would be stupid not to go, so I did. I got to meet the guys after the show, but I got to spend time hanging out with Robert Trujillo (who later went on to play bass for Ozzy and now ironically Metallica) while he did his pre-show prep. He was really awesome, very personable and very talkative with the few of us ST fans that got backstage. After their part of the show I got autographs on my jersy from a most of the guys. I still have the jersey complete with the Metallica backstage pass sticker. Metallica was great, too. It was the tour they used for the Live Shit boxed set, I'm pretty sure. Jay Newstead passed out about halfway through the show. While the band was waiting to see if he would be okay to play more, they told jokes. It was just after Kurt Kobain died, so they told Kurt Kobain jokes. They decided to continue without Newstead and cranked the low end on the guitars to compensate. Then Newstead came out to sing only because that was all the doctors said he should be doing. Then he decided to go against doctors' orders and picked up the bass and finished the show.


#2 Yes headlining with Kansas opening - Masterworks tour - Fleet Pavilion, Boston (2000)
This was an amazing show. Not only did we get to see Yes, but also Kansas! Kansas was amazing. Yes was even better. Even still about 40 years after they formed, they still play/sing as good as ever and they still put on excellent, energetic shows with great sets. For this tour they played only their old stuff and I believe only stuff picked by fans. At this particular show the newest song they played was "The Gates of Delirium," (the only song on the first side of the original LP and inspired by Tolstoy's War and Peace) from Relayer, released in 1974. My only regret was not buying a CD from the tour. They did something really cool that I had never seen done before: they listed a bunch of songs from various shows (including the show we saw in Boston) on their website and let fans custom-build their own double-disc live Masterworks CD. What a cool live album concept! The whole tour was nothing but fan-driven.

(This is a great live version from another show on the Masterworks tour, but I recommend listening to the original album version of the song. It includes some rather inventive percussion, including the use of old car parts, and Patrick Moraz playing prototype synths that hadn't even been released yet.)


#3 Yes - The Ladder tour - Orpheum Theater, Boston (1999)
This was my first time going to a show in The Orpheum in Boston and I was blown away by how gorgeous it is, even if in need of repair. They started with an extremely extended version of "Yours Is No Disgrace," which is one of my most favorite Yes songs. They played all of the songs from The Ladder, and during "Homeworld (The Ladder)" they projected an accompanying music video made from clips of the PC game Homeworld for which they had licensed the song. It was that concert that had prompted us to want the game and I'm so glad we got it, because it is probably one of my all-time favorite real-time strategy games.




mandysee_mandydo: (V)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Well, this is a day late, but here goes:

I had read/watched/heard many of the news stories about long lines at the polls, but knowing I live in a small town in rural New Hampshire, I was confident it really wasn't going to be an issue. I was actually pretty much spot on. There was a definite line to register people, and our town had a record 1,400 new registered voters this year, which is pretty damned amazing! Thankfully we had a really organized Town Clerk and Town Hall staff that made sure there were about 40 people helping out at the polls. There was absolutely no wait for me as a registered voter to check in, get my ballot, vote and leave. I was in and out like that. I think I spent more time just casually chatting with other voters than actually getting through the voting process!

In New Hampshire we still have a lot of towns that hand count paper ballots, but even those towns in New Hampshire that use electronic reader machines to process bubble-form ballots still use a paper ballot and there is a definite recourse for verification and accountability. I am extremely grateful for that. I am also very fortunate to live in a state that permits same-day registration so that 1,400 people that may never have participated in an election could still participate. That makes me proud of my state! That and we finally abandoned straight-ticket voting, so now people can't just check a box to vote by default for all Democrats or all Republicans!

My personal experience was mostly vanilla. The most interesting aspect was walking up and announcing my name at check-in to get my ballot. There was an audience of observers (which I have since figured out may have been the Democrats' lawyers) sitting behind the table and the check-in workers (one of whom is a co-worker of mine). I announced my first and last name, not realizing they were also expecting my middle name. The check-in person loudly started to announce my middle name and paused in disbelief as if there were an error, then sort of sheepishly confirmed it.

"A... Amanda?"

"Yes, that's me."

"Okay... ummm... you're all set."
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I will gladly eat either on occasion, but I prefer pie. My two favorites I share with my parents. My Mom and I both enjoy a heated apple pie a la mode with just a spot of mustard. My Dad and I both enjoy a nice, cold banana cream pie. Mmmmmmm.

Great, now I want pie.
mandysee_mandydo: (Transgender)
[Error: unknown template qotd] Yes. Because that's who I am.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Practical: $3 on a jar of peanut butter.
Frivolous: $2 on a pair of fuzzy stripey socks because I loves them! :D
My Choice: $15 on a string of bowling and shoe rentals for the two of us, [livejournal.com profile] ciliandis and [livejournal.com profile] risingfire because the four of us bowling = win.

Alright LJ, how about actually posting the whole freaking thing this time, please!!!
mandysee_mandydo: (Romana)
[Error: unknown template qotd]UPON JULIA'S CLOTHES
by Robert Herrick

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free;
O how that glittering taketh me!

-- and --

TO HIS CONSCIENCE.
by Robert Herrick

Can I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private protonotary ?
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity ?
I'll cast a mist and cloud upon
My delicate transgression
So utter dark as that no eye
Shall see the hugg'd impiety ;
Gifts blind the wise, and bribes do please
And wind all other witnesses ;
And wilt not thou with gold be ti'd
To lay thy pen and ink aside ?
That in the mirk and tongueless night
Wanton I may, and thou not write ?
It will not be. And therefore, now,
For times to come I'll make this vow,
From aberrations to live free ;
So I'll not fear the Judge or thee.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd] My favorite photograph is one of [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf and me atop Rattlesnake. We made the short hike with [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf's mom and she snapped the photo from behind as we sat looking out into the vast expanse of the valley and lakes below. The photo beautifully frames the natural features with us to the right huddled together as the wind blew and danced within our long hair. Even though you can't see our faces, you can sense the overwhelming serenity and love emanating from the photograph. This is why I keep the photo in a frame that simply reads "love." I honestly feel as though the photo and the word are synonymous. It is by far my favorite photo of the two of us together.
mandysee_mandydo: (dr girlfriend xmas)
[Error: unknown template qotd] and I don't celebrate Christmas, we are having dinner with my family on Christmas Day. It's a wonderful opportunity for for us to spend time with all of my nuclear family. This year my mom is cooking a ham, but since my cousins Sarah and Patrick will be joining us, maybe also my cousin Melissa and definitely her friend Trish, we may not have enough food. This year I will also be cooking a turkey and bread stuffing so hopefully we'll have plenty of food to go around.

I am extremely proud of my parents for inviting Trish back. Trish is my cousin Melissa's friend. She's a lesbian and her family completely rejects and ostracizes her for it. She shared Thanksgiving dinner with us and she said it completely made her holiday. She's very excited to be joining us again for Christmas and I am really looking forward to spending time with her. And that, my friends, is what I feel Christmas should be about: helping others who need someone to care about them and spending time together to share in the joys of life.

New Years should also be a wonderful time. Candace, Sam and Liam will be joining us all the way from North Carolina. We haven't seen them since Liam was only a couple of months old. He's now two! Also Ang and Al may be joining us. No matter who shows up, there will likely be lots of board gaming happening, most likely including Carcassone.
mandysee_mandydo: (Default)
I'm definitely not an outdoors-type in the winter. You'd think for someone who loves living in the North Country in NH I'd love being out in the snow. Alas, I do not. My favorite winter activity is curling up in a comfy, oversized sweater while sipping a nice hot cup of cocoa. Maybe a book is involved, maybe a movie, maybe music, maybe just silence.

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Jamie Amana Capach

September 2016

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