Thursday, May 22, 2008


On day 1 Baby wasn't most tame bird I've ever seen, but I think after knocking her out of the air and pulling out some of her tail feathers on day 2, I became the scariest thing in her world. We've been working on it though, and it has been paying off.

A couple of weeks ago she decided it was safe to eat out of my hand and to accept treats directly from my fingers to her mouth. This is something I do a little bit of every day to strengthen our bond, and it seems to be working. Unfortunately if food isn't involved, I usually don't have a hope of getting my finger within touching distance. It seems she likes to maintain a personal space of about five centimeters, any closer and she gets mad - unless she is curious about what I am doing.

She always needs to be included, especially when I am working. She would love to stand directly on my keyboard, but I seldom let her. All I need to do is put my hand within that five centimeters and she will retreat. At first she'd retreat up to the curtain rod, but now if she can't stand on the keyboard she will land on my head or stand between the keyboard and the edge of the desk and try to reach my necklace. She likes the shiny things. Sometimes she will land on my shoulder and play with my earrings.

As the days go by she has certainly become more and more brave about getting near me, but she still just refuses to let me get near her. A couple days ago I snuck through her defenses when she wasn't looking.

Her cage was on the table beside me as I was working. The door was wide open and she was inside playing with a toy. She was very occupied with it and didn't notice as I reached in behind her and scratched the back of her head. She immediately hung her head and turned it sideways so that she got scratched in the perfect place. I was elated that she was letting me touch her and she seemed to be absolutely loving the scratch... until she realized what was going on.

Baby looking cautiously at an approaching finger

She caught a glimpse of my finger and got very angry. In an instant she turned around, slicked back her crest, outstretched her neck and bit me several times until I pulled my finger out of the cage.

A few minutes later she was playing again and all seemed forgotten so I started to put my finger in the cage again. She hadn't forgotten though and as soon as the finger breached the threshold she stopped what she was doing and assumed a cautious pose. I said "Scratch?" and for a few seconds it seemed like she was considering what I was offering against the possible threat. Apparently she decided that the scratch was worth the risk and she stretched out her neck towards me again, but this time she also hung her head and turned it sideways so I could scratch the good spot again.

We did this a few times over the afternoon and it was great. Unfortunately she had a long nap that afternoon and when she woke up she seemed to have forgotten all about trusting the scratching-finger. I can still manage to scratch her from time to time, but I always have to sneak it in when she is really busy playing with something. I don't mind though, it's only been a few days, we have a lot of time left to become best friends.

Baby enjoying a good scratch

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Way to Go California!

A couple years ago I went to the CNN website and told it to send me an email alert whenever a story about same-sex marriages or transsexuals is published. Normally they make me frustrated, angry and upset. Every once in a while they have some good news, and today was one of those times. Here is the article:

California ban on same-sex marriage struck down

"limiting the designation of marriage to a 'union between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canadian Ire

Last year a mechanic guy said I had one more year of life in my tires. He wasn't kidding. As of a couple days ago they were very bald. This is the story of getting new tires.

I went to Goodyear and said I needed new tires. The guy asked me the standard questions, year, model, make of car. He asked if it was a 4 door or hatchback, he asked if I had air conditioning. When the questions were done he said my car has two sizes of tires, and he asked if I knew what size I had on my car. Well, I certainly didn't know, so he walked outside and took a look. He said to me, "195/60/15". I didn't really pay attention to the number, and we went back to the computer and he gave me a quote on new tires.

I went to a few more places and everytime it was the same conversation. They would look up my car in the computer and ask which of two sizes of tires I had. I would just produce the quote from Goodyear and they'd read it off. They'd all say "195/60/15" in an informative way, as if I might want to know. I really had no reason to think I'd ever want to know, so I would just smile and nod without giving the tire size much thought.

Next I went to Canadian Tire. There were at least 10 people in line ahead of me, and they didn't have many staff on to help us. I was ready to leave several times, but they had a poster on the wall for buy a tire, get the second half price - and that seemed like a good deal to me.

When I finally got to the counter I was greeted by Leo, who seemed like an older version of Jm J. Bullock. I told Leo I needed some tires, and instead of guiding me through that set of questions he just asked what tires I wanted. I told him I didn't know anything about tires and that I needed his help. He listed off names of tires and their qualities and ratings. He was quite keen to sell me the tires rated for speeds of up to 220kph with the warranty and the extended coverage, the chrome air valves, etc etc. He was especially happy to tell me that for only 8 bucks per tire, instead of filling them with crumby old air, I could have them filled with nitrogen! He was getting quite excited but I had to interrupt to say that I just wanted average tires for an average car, and that if it saved me money I wanted to get the buy-one get-one-half-off tires. I basically told him to go cheap. Well, that totally took the nitrogen out of his sails. He sighed and moved to the computer and asked what size my tires were.

Well, I had left the quotes in my car, but I had heard the size a number of times already, so I said "hmm... I think they are 195/60/15." I should have paid more attention to those other guys who kept telling me.

He said "You think?" and started shaking his head for wasting his time. I started to explain that I was pretty sure that was correct, and if we could just look up my car I am sure we'd see that 195/60/15 was one of the ones listed and we could move on from there. He shook his head again and handed me a pen and a turned-over business card to write on. "No honey, we need to know exactly what tire. Go find out and come back."

On one hand I like being called 'honey', on the other hand it sounds quite condescending. It is safe to say I didn't like being called 'honey' by a geriatric version of the neighbour on 'Too Close for Comfort'. I looked behind me at the ten people in line and realized I really didn't want to leave my spot at the front. I said "I am 95% certain he said 195/60/15, can't we just look up my car and..."

He interrupted with "No, we need to be 100% certain..." and he was already looking past me to make eye contact with the person behind me. I got angry, picked up the pen and the business card and turned around. As I was leaving he was saying "...otherwise I'll end up selling you the wrong tires." If he said anything else, I didn't hear it. I was already out the door.

I went to my car and got the Goodyear quote that said 195/60/15 and I headed back in. Leo was still helping the woman who was behind me in line. Luckily he was just finishing up with her, so as she stepped out of line, I slid into her place. I could feel angry glares on my back, but I didn't mind because it beat having to wait another half hour in line.

Leo started to ask if I found out the tire size, but I interrupted with "195/60/15." I am sure Leo could tell I was irritated, yet he pressed the subject a bit further by explaining that it was possible that I might have mistakenly remembered the tire size with a set of dimensions that exactly matched a different size of tire available for my car, making us think we had the right number when actually we didn't. I said "There are only two sizes of tire though, what are the odds of picking the wrong number?"

He said "Stranger things have happened". I was dying to say "You're a stranger thing", but I didn't.

In no less than fifteen minutes we had picked out some tires and he quoted me a price that was over $100 less than the lowest quote I had so far. I asked him to print me out a copy of the quote and he said that wouldn't be a problem. He took another business card, flipped it over and wrote the price on the back and handed it to me. I said "No, can you print out that whole quote?"

He said "Sure. This is it."

I said "No, I want the entire quote, specifically listing the tires I want and the price you quoted me including labour and installation so when I bring the car in we don't have to spend forever picking out tires again"

"This is the price right here though. I mean I can print this out if you like, but won't this do?"

"I just want to come back in, hand them the quote and my keys and say 'I want this' and then go."

Leo reluctantly gave up on the business card idea and started the print procedure. From what I could tell, printing seemed really difficult. He was typing and typing and typing. He walked to the printer twice and came back empty-handed. He wiped some sweat off his brow and started typing some more. I finally said "Is there a problem?"

I guess I said it at the perfect moment because someone walking behind Leo heard me and stopped. "Is there a problem?" he echoed. Leo explained he was trying to print a quote and the guy said "Press 'Print Screen'." The next few moments I hesitate to include because they were excrutiating to witness and are no doubt worse to read, but it went a little something like this:

Leo said "I thought it was F11."
The guy said "No, print screen."
Leo said "I was told it was F11."
The guy said "No just press print screen."
Leo said "I am sure they said F11."
The guy said "No, not for a quote. Just press print screen."

I could tell Leo considered mentioning the F11 thing one more time, but reconsidered and pressed 'print screen'. To Leo's surprise it printed, and to my surprise I finally had my quote in my hands and was leaving.

The next morning I went in at 8:00 and nobody was manning the service center. All sorts of employees were there, but none were helping the people at the desk. After fifteen minutes my mom came in. She was there to pick me up and got impatient waiting for me. I asked her to stand in line for me and I went to find somebody. I found a manager of some type and asked him where his service guys were.

The manager eventually came to the service desk and brought along the shuttle driver to help out. When it was my turn I showed the quote to the shuttle driver and he kept asking questions about what kind of tires I wanted, and I said it was all on the quote. The shuttle driver read the quote and spent about 1 minute on the computer. Then he said he was done and took my keys and the quote. It seemed getting that quote yesterday paid off today.

Two hours later I got a call from Canadian Tire. I was expecting to hear my car was done, and I was excited to see the new tires, but I was disappointed. The guy on the phone was just calling to find out what kind of tires I wanted. I said that I gave a quote that said it all with my keys, but he said he didn't have it. I can only guess the shuttle driver didn't write down anything that quote said, or give it to the mechanic.

The guy on the phone asked me the standard questions, year, model, make of car. He asked if it was a 4 door or hatchback, he asked if I had air conditioning. When the questions were done he said my car has two sizes of tires, and he asked if I knew what size I had on my car. Without hesitation I said "195/60/15" and I must say the guy on the phone sounded quite impressed with me. He typed for a bit and said they had some buy-one-get-one-half-off tires in that size. I said "Really? I'll take those."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who’s doing the bullying?

A while back I wrote a blog article called "Shame on You". It was in response to the opinion commonly shared by religious people that transgender people are abnormal deviant sinners. I quoted one religious guy in particular, a guy named Robert Gagnon who is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Strangely, a few times per month someone does a Google search for this guy and ends up on my blog. This week it happened twice, and it made me curious. I was surprised that my little site would rank anywhere near the top search results for this guy, so I did a search of my own.

I never did find my page in the search. I gave up after reading ten pages of the results, but I did find a quote that looked interesting so I checked it out. I ended up jumping from site to site skimming article after article. After quite a few site hops I ended up at this poorly named site: where I saw something that made me sad.

It is about some Day of Silence in some school where students in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people can choose to stay silent for 24 hours to show that support. The author of the article wrote this:

Consider that during DOS, many kids who hold time-honored traditional values relative to sexual morality (i.e., that human sexuality is a gift from God to be shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage) are frequently and ironically tagged as "hateful," "bigoted," and "homophobic." (Who’s doing the bullying?)

"Who’s doing the bullying?"
- Matt Barber, Anglicans United & Latimer Press

Yeah he really said that. He really asked who was doing the bullying. I have to say from firsthand experience that the level of negativity from the religious side of the fence compared to the transsexual side is like comparing an erupting volcano to a pimple. It's true. On one side we have an unstoppable torrent of deadly material flowing over us with affects that last a lifetime, and on the other side we have a slightly irritating little red bump that goes away in a couple days.

There are some religious people out there who don't seem to get that when someone grows up different like I did, we spend so much thought about what others think. We are so very scared. We don't want to be different. Life would be so much easier if we were 'normal'. I can't tell you how many times I prayed to be normal as a kid. While all this is going on we have to listen to people of faith standing on every corner telling us that we have no morals and no values, that we are sinners, and that we deserve to go to hell.

In our hearts and minds we know we have done nothing wrong. If there is a god* then we know that we are just as god made us. We eventually begin to realize that this is who we are and there is nothing wrong with it, but we have nothing to base this on but our own feelings and experiences, so convincing others is difficult.

Not only that, but people who believe it is their faith to condemn us will not accept our feelings as the truth. These people somehow believe they are able to trump the reality of our words with the fiction of their faith. Say I am talking to a man who subscribes to a faith-based opinion that I, as a transsexual, have no morals and deserve to go to hell. I can tell him it has nothing to do with morals, that I was born transgendered. I can tell him I spent years as a child wishing I wasn't transgendered. I can tell him I fought it for thirty years until I couldn't take it anymore. I can tell him that finally confronting my feelings of being transgendered was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I only did so when I was at the absolute end of my rope. This person will turn around and tell me that none of what I said is true and that I've actually just chosen an immoral lifestyle of sin and I am lying to cover that up.

Unfortunately the believers of this fiction are united. Most of them have been banded together for all their lives into their various Christian and Catholic religions and offshoots. I know that for every person who speaks out against transsexuals based on religious reasons that there are many many more who share that same belief. Suddenly I don't have just one guy telling me that I'm an immoral waste of skin, I have millions of them. Even when they don't say that I am awful they are quick to say things like they are people "who hold time-honored traditional values relative to sexual morality (i.e., that human sexuality is a gift from God to be shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage)" Yeah that isn't condescending. Way to steal words like 'moral' and 'values' and make them only belong to the religious.

For a transsexual growing up in this world it is hard. We feel that we can't trust anyone with our secret. We go through life alone. We don't go through life deaf though, we silently digest the words we hear about us, and trust me, we hear everything said. We hear it over and over again all throughout our lives, and it hurts. It weighs down on us, and it depletes our sense of worth and our self-esteem. It kills us inside because there is nothing we can do about it. We are scared of ridicule if we open our mouths in defense. In our private existance we are but one person listening to the cruel comments believed by millions of people. It is like David and Goliath, only there are a million Goliaths. We'd never survive a fight, so we don't fight. We just take the cruelty over and over all our lives.

Consider millions of religious people who year after year have no reservations about airing their negative opinions of transsexuals and compare that to one lone scared transsexual who silently takes it. This is the reality of what happens. We are helpless against religion, and religion won't let up. Since there is strength in numbers, this is clearly a case of the strong repeatedly oppressing the weak and defenseless. Wait... isn't that the definition of bullying?
It certainly is.

Now I guess we can answer Matt Barber's question as to who is does the bullying. Organized religion is doing the fucking bullying, Matt. To suggest that it is possible for gays, lesbians and transsexuals to bully a religion simply means that you don't know the definition of the word. Bullying is long term, repeated, habitual, cruelty from the strong towards the weak, and that is what religion does to people like me all our lives. Organized religion is the biggest bully there is and ever has been.

"Organized religion is the biggest bully there is and ever has been."
- Sarah JM, Sarahs Adventures

* There isn't

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Star Trek Countdown

I know that a while back I put a Star Trek Movie Countdown timer on my site. Since then the movie has been pushed back four months making that countdown incorrect.

I wouldn't normally care, but I noticed people have arrived at my site by searching for Star Trek Countdown. For some weird reason Sarah's Adventures is listed on the first page of results in Google when you search for "Star Trek Countdown", and the people that get here will have the wrong timer, so here is the new version:

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Blog Teaser: The Big Move

The blog article "The Big Move" will be posted on June 1st.
Until then, here is a preview: on the lookout for danger...

...The Devil and Bill Cosby in Saskatoon...

...The animals of course, can see the future....

...Once we are out of the way, then they can take over.

"...There is something in here... something evil... I can feel it..."

"...How much do you want for one day's rent? Ten bucks?"

Baby Trauma and Update

On Sunday I got a cockatiel. On Monday I almost killed him.

It is true that I saved his life on Monday too, but I don't think that made either of us feel any better. Joey was over and we were in my bedroom watching a show about ghosts. I actually think both of us were sleeping for the most part. Behind us on the dresser Baby was in his cage.

Baby's cage has a big front door that is secured by a metal rod. You drop it down through a couple of eyelets and the door can't open. I had been leaving the door unlocked though because I liked to open the door to see him better. I wasn't too worried about it because the door is stiff, and I didn't think Baby could open it. It turns out I was wrong.

It scared the shit out of me when I heard the sound of Baby flying around my bedroom. Not only was he was squawking but his wings make a surprising amount of noise. He didn't fly far. He landed on the curtain rod and hung out up there for a while. In the meantime I closed the bedroom door so he couldn't escape further into the apartment.

Baby stayed up there for like three hours. Joanne had gone home and it was just Baby and I in the apartment. Over all these hours, between the closed door, my body heat, and my computer, my room was getting quite warm. I decided that I really needed to open that door and get some circulation going. I didn't think it would hurt if Baby flew around the apartment either, but before I left the door open, I turned on all the lights in the apartment so he could see where he might be flying.

About half an hour later Baby took flight. He made three or four tentative flights at the door, each time turning around and retreating to the curtain rod. Finally he got the courage to go exploring.

I followed him out. He flew down the hallway and landed on a bookshelf. I sat down on the couch and read my cockatiel book. Baby didn't explore any further though, he was just content to hang out on the bookshelf. After forty-five minutes I decided it was bedtime and I tried to pick him up.

I had been trying to get him used to my hand earlier that day by putting my hand in his cage for a while. He was scared of it, and never let it get closer than 10 centimetres, so needless to say I had never tried to pick Baby up before. When my hands closed in on him to pick him up, he panicked. He took off and started shrieking and flew around me in circles. He landed on a different bookshelf, then he landed on the top of the blinds, then back to the second bookshelf again. I was getting worried because I had no idea how to catch this bird. I was afraid to try a fast grab, because I was scared of hurting him. The same goes for when he was flapping his fragile little wings all over. It was apparent that he wasn't going to sit still for me to carefully pick him up.

I tried the slow-as-can-be technique. My hands inched closer and closer in slo-mo, but with each second you could see Baby getting more and more worried. Suddenly he took flight and started flying towards a lamp in the corner.

I have one of those older halogen floor lamps. You know the ones that are considered a fire hazard? The ones that have an 8000 watt bulb in it that burns at just under the temperature of the sun? This is the lamp I call The Moth Killer because in the summer when a moth gets inside the apartment I freak out. I hate trying to kill them, so I just turn on the lamp. The moth is invariably attracted to the brightness and when it flies over top, it is so hot the moth drops dead instantly. This is the lamp Baby was flying towards.

I could tell by his posture that he was going to perch on this lamp. In the split second I made this realization I imagined him getting horribly burned feet at best, and actually catching fire at worst. I've seen a moth erupt into flame before, I didn't think Baby's fine feathers had much chance. I didn't know what else to do, so I grabbed at him in mid-flight.

I ended up pulling several of his tail feathers right out, and Baby fell to the ground. It looked awful because he was still flapping when he crashed, and I just imagined broken bones. I felt so ill over what just happened I felt like I could throw up right then, but I still had to get Baby to safety.

I managed to pick him up and he bit me SO HARD I had blood dripping off my finger from where both the top and bottom part of his beak had me. I couldn't take it, so I put him on the ground temporarily, pulled my finger from his mouth and repositioned my hands. He ended up biting me in a different place and drawing blood there too, all the while despite clamping down on my fingers he was shrieking incredibly loud.

I got him back into his cage and I was relieved to see him climbing around without seeming to have any injuries, but he was not the same. He wasn't playing, it seemed like he was sulking. If I even got near his cage he'd hiss at me and extend his head as far as he could towards me while holding his beak open, ready to strike.

I felt so terrible that almost let my new little friend get burned up that saving him from it was no consolation at all. As I write this five days later and he seems to be getting better, but he still wants to bite me if I get too close. It is a good thing I've got 20 more years to get him used to me again, but I sure hope it takes less time than that. All I know is that when I moved at the end of the month I'm 'giving' that lamp to my roommate.

Baby Update:

After a nice supper of peas (you may notice them all over his face) I let Baby fly around my room today. I don't even try to put him back in his cage, he takes care of that all on his own. I think he had a great day with me tonight, and he even got adventurous and stood right on my keyboard as I was writing blogs. So if there are any typos... blame him.