my journal
September 2016

Date: 2013-05-16 21:23
Security: Public
Mood:disappointed disappointed
Tags:names, steam, usernames, valve
Subject: Oh, Valve.

So, you may remember that two years ago, Valve transferred my games from an old Steam account to my current one, in what disappointingly appeared to be a one-off.

Just to make sure, however, four days ago I asked Steam Support for an update on what would happen nowadays for people that were in my position.

These are my three contributions to the Support ticket. )

The main question I asked in this ticket was this (emphasis added):
If someone else were in the same situation as I was two years ago, having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record, would Valve be willing to change the account name upon the submission of such evidence? (For the purposes of this question, 'change the account name' may also include creation of a new account and all licences registered on the old account transferred to the new one, as that was how my own ticket was resolved.)
Now, I realise that this is a pretty narrow field. This was intentional in order to increase the chances that they might be receptive. I do realise that there are trans* people out there who don't meet these criteria. Policy changes always have to start somewhere, though, and I understand the issues involved. I figured that if any policy change at all had been made, this narrow definition would fit inside it.

Today, they responded. (In fact, it was Walter who responded; the same person who replied in the other ticket to assist me with transferring the games.)

So, what was their answer?
4 Message by Support Tech Walter on Thu, 16th May 2013 8:26 pm

Hello Sophie,

We have not changed any policies regarding account names. As mentioned in your original ticket, this is for security reasons.

While we understand this is a frustration for you, we have this in place by design. There are no plans to change this at this time, however I have passed your comments on to the appropriate people.
Disappointing, to say the least. There is still no reasoning given for not being able to change account names, besides the very vague "this is for security reasons". (To be fair, I didn't actually ask for an explanation in this ticket, but still.)

I'm really disappointed by Valve right now. :(

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Date: 2013-04-21 19:55
Security: Public
Tags:ask me anything, request for comments
Subject: IAmA Sophie, AMA

It's been a while since I've written anything here (excluding the mashups and status update) and I'm kind of wanting to get back into writing stuff. Only thing is, I don't know what to write.

So, consider this an AMA (Ask Me Anything)! I saw [personal profile] kaberett doing this and thought it was a great idea. Basically, feel free to ask me anything in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. If you want to know more about me, or if you have requests for things I should write, or even if you just want to say hello, here's the place to do it! Anon commenting is enabled on Dreamwidth (though IPs are logged), so if you need to go anonymous, feel free to do so. (If you're watching me on LJ, you'll need to click the link just below this post where it says this has been crossposted if you want to go anonymous - otherwise feel free to ask on either LJ or DW.)

Looking forward to answering your comments. <3

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Date: 2013-03-29 23:17
Security: Public
Tags:link, mashups, my music
Subject: Nelly Furtado vs. Rihanna - Disturbia Night

So I decided I quite liked doing the last mashup, and I decided to make a new one. This one is called Disturbia Night (direct download link) and mashes up these two songs:

  • Night Is Young, by Nelly Furtado,
  • Disturbia, by Rihanna
Trigger warning: "Disturbia" is about mental anguish - I liken it to suffering from depression - and its lyrics reflect that, even though it's a pop song (and this mashup is even more poppy). In addition, the juxtaposition of the two songs makes it sound like the person suffering from depression is being told that they can just stop suffering by merely wanting to do so. Of course, this doesn't actually work.

Let me know what you think!

(Don't worry, btw - I'm not intending for this to become a journal of mashups. I've found that I do like making them, but this is still my journal first and foremost, not a collection of links.)

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Date: 2013-03-15 21:15
Security: Public
Mood:happy happy
Tags:amateur radio
Subject: CQ CQ CQ, this is MM6PRG calling CQ.

I have my amateur radio callsign now! It's MM6PRG. To break that down:

  • M: This is a UK callsign. The letter G is also used in some UK callsigns that were issued a long time ago.
  • M: This indicates that I'm in Scotland. This part changes depending on where I'm transmitting from in the UK. If I'm in England, I don't use anything at all for this bit, so I'd just be M6PRG.
  • 6: Combined with the first "M", this indicates that the callsign is a Foundation-licence callsign. Apart from M6, a Foundation licence is also indicated by M3 for older Foundation licences. (To my knowledge there are no Foundation callsigns beginning with "G", as the Foundation certification wasn't around then.)
  • PRG: These three letters identify the particular callsign within the given prefix (M6, M3, etc). You can either choose these letters yourself, or get the next available one alphabetically. I chose mine as a reference to the fact that I'm a programmer.
I'm looking forward to working the bands. :D

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Date: 2013-03-14 00:39
Security: Public
Mood:happy happy
Tags:link, mashups, my music
Subject: Girl Look At That Gangnam Style

So I made a mashup!

I started working on this a couple of days ago, and I just released it today. It's called "Girl Look At That Gangnam Style" and mashes up these two songs:

  • Gangnam Style, by PSY
  • Sexy And I Know It, by LMFAO (the song that inspired this xkcd comic)
I think that the finished result (direct download link) sounds pretty good, myself. What do you guys think?

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Date: 2013-03-11 16:48
Security: Public
Tags:amateur radio, scotland, stella
Subject: Hello!

Well now, it's been a while since I wrote a Dreamwidth post. Sorry about that! I'm very much still alive and kicking. Being in Scotland isn't the reason I haven't been updating; I've had Internet access just fine. I'm not entirely sure why I haven't been updating, really. I do have some news, though.

The first piece of big news: I'm engaged now!

I've been seeing [personal profile] cxcvi (Stella) for a long time, and helping her a lot through some really tough times. While I don't want to talk too much about that - privacy and triggers being the main reasons why - I can say that we're looking to move into a place of our own, and things are progressing on that front. Slowly, but they're progressing.

In any case, Stella proposed to me on December 21st, 2012, and I said yes. :) No wedding plans have been made yet, though, and it might be a while before we do them - getting somewhere to live together has been problematic so far, through no fault of our own. :/

I've basically resigned myself to being up here in Scotland, though. It's been about half a year since I've had to move up here and while there's plenty of reasons not to be up here, there are also some good reasons to stay. Rent is a lot cheaper, for one thing, which bodes well for finding somewhere together. I really would prefer to be down in England, but unfortunately that's starting to appear like it might not be an option. :(

As such, I've been settling down here a bit. I'm starting to get involved in amateur radio, and have been going to the meetings of my local amateur radio group, GM0AYR. I passed my Foundation exam recently and will be getting my M6 callsign soon, which I'm pretty excited about! (Well, it'll be MM6 for me since I'm going to be operating in Scotland, but that second M changes depending on your current region. M6 indicates England.)

I think that's most of what I want to say for now. Hopefully I won't take quite so long to make my next post here. :)

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Date: 2012-10-10 17:45
Security: Public
Tags:names, youtube
Subject: YouTube and full names

...fantastic. YouTube are pushing for people to use their full name on YouTube, which shows up in place of their username. I just got a prompt suggesting I do that.

I've posted about this matter in the past, though this is slightly different, because at the moment (and hopefully this'll be the case always), YouTube aren't forcing people to use their real name. You can decide whether to use your full name on YouTube, or to continue using your username. (Though it should be said that YouTube ask you to justify continuing to use your username if you want to go that way, which really rubs me the wrong way.)

It is nice that they offer a choice, somewhat. But when I said that they're pushing it, I mean that the UI is such that you're fairly likely to go through with it if you don't read carefully. And as I say, the fact that you have to justify your reasons for continuing to use your username is just... eugh. It gives you a choice of 6 buttons IIRC, and one of them is a button saying "I'm not sure, I'll decide later", but that sounds like they still expect a justification later.

There's also a slight annoyance because it makes it harder to tell who's who for me, but that's basically protesting change because it's change, and I'm sure I can get used to it. I'm much more concerned about what I've written above.

What are your thoughts?

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Date: 2012-09-16 03:41
Security: Public
Mood:unsure unsure
Subject: Moving: an update

Well, it's probably about time I update you all on the housing situation and what's been going on!

Two weeks ago, on September 2nd, I saw the house I lived in for the last time. We (that is, my Mum and I) drove up to Scotland to stay with my grandfather in Uddingston, close to Glasgow - the house we were to move into wasn't ready yet. My Mum left the next day to go back to East Grinstead to sort out the final bits with furniture moving and so on.

I stayed with my grandfather until my Mum and Dad arrived on the 6th (IIRC), and then the next day we travelled up to the Isle of Skye to visit my grandmother, aunt, and a few other relatives. I've been staying here since then.

Tomorrow - or more accurately today (the 16th), we're going back down to Uddingston again as it's closest to where the house actually is. The next day, we'll be visiting the house and I'll get to see it in person for the first time. The day after *that* is the 18th, when we finally move in.

Hopefully, I'll be staying there for about 3 months or so, maybe less. I've been able, via [personal profile] kaberett, to find some people (who are friends of theirs) who I would very much like to live with, and that might be able to happen in January. Of course, in the meantime I'd need to make trips down there to see various places, etc. Not sure of any details yet.

So... I think that's about everything right now.

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Date: 2012-09-01 23:14
Security: Public
Mood:numb numb
Subject: House moving

Tonight will be the last time I ever sleep in this house again.

Tomorrow, I move up to Scotland with my parents. (To be more precise, I move up to live with my grandparents while they finish off the rest of the stuff that needs to happen, and then they move up to also live with them until the new house they bought becomes available, which should be in about 2 weeks or so.)

Right now, my mind doesn't really believe this is happening. I'm lying in my room like always right now, typing on my laptop like it was a typical night. And yet...


...and yet this bed will not be slept on any more. Ever.

Not by me, at least.

Somebody else will be using my room. It won't be my room any more.

It's not the same as when I moved to Reading for a year. I knew I had this house as a backup then. This house that I've lived in for over half my life. It's always been there.

I do have housing plans in the making, but those most likely won't come to fruition until January.

In the meantime, I think I need to say goodbye to this house.

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Date: 2012-08-23 15:54
Security: Public
Tags:portal 2, steam
Subject: Portal 2 for $5!

To aid you in finding a co-op partner, all current owners of Portal 2 will receive a Steam coupon for 75% off a copy of Portal 2, which can be given away to other Steam users. Check your Inventory for details!
-- Valve at the Portal 2 store page on Steam.

I own Portal 2, so I have a voucher for 75% off. If anybody here doesn't have it and would like it, let me know. (Total price $5.00 / £3.75) The voucher is only good until August 30th, though.

Guys, this is a seriously good deal. Portal 2 is an excellent game.

I've given the coupon to [personal profile] shanaqui! Hope you enjoy it. :)

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Date: 2012-08-21 14:19
Security: Public
Subject: (no subject)

A strange and somewhat unsettling thing happened today at the train station. One of the station attendants clocked me as transgender and mentioned it.

It's a pretty rude thing to do, but as it turns out, the attendant is also trans, though she's not out yet and as such was presenting male. She was wondering if I was going to a trans panel which is apparently taking place at the destination I was going to. I'm not, though now I'm intrigued.

Since she's not out, I'm obviously not going to give any details, though we did exchange names and she gave me her usernames. I'll be getting in touch - and I don't mind it nearly as much as I would have done had she not immediately said she was trans herself. (Which was actually a pretty brave thing to do considering we were outside at a public place. I hope she's safe.)

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Date: 2012-07-22 20:49
Security: Public
Mood:undecided undecided
Subject: Moving

I've meant to post to Dreamwidth about this for some time now, but I've kept forgetting, even though it's really quite important. However, recent events have made it more important to post.

For some time now, my parents have been letting me know about their plans to move up to Scotland. I've known this for months, and although my parents are very happy to have me come up with them, I don't really think I want to. To that end, I've been trying to find a place to go, a friend to move in with. I know of people who would be willing to live with me, though my crappy organisational skills are making it difficult to get things together.

Anyway, on June 22nd, my parents put the house on the market, and for a few weeks we'd been having viewings of the house from people, which have meant I've had to be out of the house, along with Mum, while they happen. (My parents feel that the fewer people in the house, the better any impressions will be because the estate agent can show them round.)

Well, no longer. My parents accepted an offer on the house last week on June July 14th, which means the purchasing process has begun. As long as everything goes to plan for everybody involved in the transactions, we'll be moving out of this house on August 31st, which is about 5-6 weeks from now.

My parents haven't found a house where they want to live yet and they won't be able to find and purchase one in that timeframe, so they'll be finding somewhere to rent in the meanwhile - which will include space for me in case I decide to/have to go with them.

I have a few reasons for not wanting to move with them, though. Some are practical, such as the fact that the GIC is in London, and would no longer be as easy to reach. There are others, however.

Pretty much my entire extended family live up in Scotland; it's only my nuclear family that live here in England. (And even my brother now lives up in Scotland.) That's obviously the reason that my parents want to move up to Scotland in particular, but as for me... I've been in England since I was 4. I grew up here. I've lived pretty much my whole life here.

Of course, I expect my parents must have felt much the same way when they had to move down to England at approximately the age of 32 - which isn't too far off from my own age. I hadn't realised the closeness of our ages until I came to writing about when my parents moved down and did the calculations for myself, at which point I rewrote this paragraph. Certainly helps me appreciate how they must have felt at the time, that's for sure.

Anyway, because of living down here for the past 26 years, I've had little contact with my extended family up in Scotland. We've seen each other a fair bit on special occasions and so forth, but not regularly by any means. As such, I'm used to that, and to be honest, I think I prefer it this way now. I'm actually kind of scared of the idea of having more family close to me; I've had enough difficulties with my nuclear family. That isn't to say that my extended family aren't wonderful people, because they are - but I'm not sure it's something I could cope with easily.

I've found it difficult to talk to my parents about the stuff in that last paragraph, because, well, what's my extended family is their nuclear family, and I'm not sure how they'd take that.

I'd say more, but I've already put this entry off long enough. I'd intended to post it on the 14th, but no such luck. This needs to be posted, though.

Hugs and advice would be appreciated!

[edit: Fixing an incorrect month.]

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Date: 2012-06-13 16:20
Security: Public
Subject: Oh dear.

I just got bitten by a particularly nasty bug in an two-years-old WIDCOMM Bluetooth driver installer.

It offered to upgrade the older version that I already had. I let it do so, and it started uninstalling the previous version. All well and good. Except that I noticed it was deleting its own files, which was causing the install to not be able to proceed, or so I thought.

I had put the installer files in a directory called "bluetooth" in the root of the C: drive, and it was trying to delete everything in that directory. It couldn't delete all the files, of course, because some were in use by that very installer.

It seemed very ill-behaved for it to be deleting stuff just because a directory was called 'bluetooth', but in the interests of getting the thing installed, I ended the process, put it into a new directory, 'bluetooth-install', and started again. The same thing happened.

By now this was odd. Maybe it was deleting everything that had the word "bluetooth" in it? That was *extremely* ill-behaved. But what the hell. I stopped it again, put it in a new directory called 'sheep' (first thing I could think of), then started once more.

This time it didn't delete itself, but the process was still taking an inordinately long time. So I used the Resource Monitor in Windows 7 to check what it was doing with the hard drive. It turned out that for some reason it was scanning through the whole hard disk, presumably to find old versions of the Bluetooth software.

I was not comfortable with this at all, and a nasty thought was lurking in the back of my mind. I stopped the process again, and fired up Cygwin - a Linux-like environment I often use in Windows - to see what I could investigate.

Or, at least, I tried to. Turned out Windows was unable to find the program, and would I like to browse to find it?

Crap. Crap crap crap.

A brief look later confirmed my fears. It had been deleting every file it had come across. File paths which I had only moments ago seen it accessing in Resource Monitor were now gone.

Okay, so maybe they weren't deleted, just... hidden? Somehow? Even though I had the option set to display hidden files? I rebooted into my real Linux environment and checked.

Nope, definitely gone. :(

I had about 8GB of space free before this happened. Now I have 39GB free, and a ton of stuff I use a lot is now gone. Worse, I don't yet know exactly what's missing. I'll try to find that out when I can.

Small mercies, though: The drive is a 500GB drive and that 31GB of missing data only represents about 7% of what was on the drive. But still, 7% is a lot of stuff to suddenly go missing. :(

It turns out that I'm not the only one who's had this problem. It's a bug with the version of the installer I was trying to use - which I was using for a specific reason, namely that it was the version supplied for my laptop. (Earlier I had installed a previous version of the software for various reasons, not quite realising that I actually had a newer version in place. To be fair, it *did* warn me that I had a newer version, but I couldn't remember installing it on this installation of Windows. But even this wasn't the actual problem - everything would still have been just fine had it not been for the bug in that updater.)

So, yeah. A bit distraught now. I'm going to go cool off a bit and then try to find out exactly what's missing. It could take a while.

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Date: 2012-05-31 09:38
Security: Public
Tags:laptop saga
Subject: Response to complaint

I received a response to my email:

Hello Sophie,

Sadly we cannot provide any form of compensation for your laptop, the laptop was out of warranty when it was first sent back when you paid the sub order you are requesting a refund for, as the repair has not been successful and is warranted for 3 months from the date of correction, which we will happily do.

While we do apologise for the inconvenience, and understand it is frustrating, we simply cannot refund any monies.


Paul Harrison

I'm honestly not sure what they're trying to say here. I wonder if the email was even read fully.

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Date: 2012-05-30 23:44
Security: Public
Tags:laptop saga
Subject: Complaints

I just sent the following email to PC Specialist's complaints department:

Cut for being a rather long email. )

Some of you may be wondering why I haven't asked for a new replacement laptop. The reason I haven't done so is because I basically already *have* been getting new laptops. In fact, it's precisely because they're new laptops that's the reason for new faults cropping up that weren't there before.

To put it simply, the "laptop chassis" is basically the entire laptop, minus several components such as the CPU and the hard drive. When PC Specialist was replacing the laptop chassis, it was basically the same as taking a new laptop and just putting my old CPU and hard drive in there. (It's a bit more involved than that, but that's the main gist of it.) So, instead, I'm asking for monetary compensation, as well as a refund of the repairs I had done at the start of this saga - because it was for the same issue as a previous return which I had done before the warranty ran out, and which turned out not to actually fix the problem.

I've had this proof-read by a number of people, and I'm happy with it now, so I've sent it. We'll see what happens!

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Date: 2012-05-24 11:38
Security: Public
Mood:disappointed disappointed
Tags:laptop saga
Subject: More laptop things

Well, I have the laptop back... again.

They keyboard issue turned out to be not directly to do with the keyboard, because when they put a new keyboard in it still exhibited the same problem, so they did the same as before - transferred everything to a new chassis. They also fitted a Bluetooth/wifi card so I can now use Bluetooth.

Unfortunately... I'm finding that the new chassis has *other* problems now too - both of which are actually worse than the problems I sent it in for before.

  1. The battery isn't charging, at all. The laptop will happily use power from the battery, and it'll operate off the mains power instead when I plug it in, but it won't charge the battery at all when it's plugged in.

  2. The laptop isn't keeping time when switched off. Every time the laptop is switched on, it'll be set to the same time as it was when it was last switched off. That makes it sound like a CMOS battery problem, but I'm not sure what the first problem would be due to.
I emailed PC Specialist (the company I got the laptop from) about these problems and they say it's going to have to come back again. That makes this the third time I have to send it back to the manufacturer in less than a month. The first time wasn't their fault (the memory slots probably just got worn down from use), but the second time and (upcoming) third time definitely are their fault - their testing procedures didn't pick these problems up, when they really should have done.

I'm thinking of asking for some sort of compensation for this, but I'm no good at this sort of thing, and I'm also not sure what I should ask for. What do you think? Is it something I should be asking for compensation for?

[edit: Just realised it doesn't really make sense to say the slots got worn down from use; it's not that I've been putting RAM in and out or anything. Hmm.]

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Date: 2012-05-16 11:31
Security: Public
Tags:laptop saga
Subject: Laptop update!

I've got good news, bad news, and good news.

The first good news is that my laptop arrived back yesterday, and in fact I'm typing this entry with it. Yay!

The bad news is that it came back with a number of faults. Boo!

The second good news is that I've contacted the manufacturer again and they immediately agreed that it needs to go back with urgent priority and be fixed at no cost to me. Yay!

A bit of backstory: one of the things I needed done on the laptop was the fitting of a new motherboard, because one of the RAM slots wasn't holding its chip tightly enough and this was causing random BSODs and freezes. Because of the way laptops work, it's actually just far easier to get a new chassis (laptop case) from the actual laptop maker with a motherboard already fitted. (The alternative is basically disassembling the entire laptop then reassembling it after putting a new motherboard in place. Obviously, that's not an easy task.)

I'm fine with having a new chassis. In fact, it's quite nice because my old one was getting a bit worn anyway, so I have no problem with this.

Unfortunately, however, they made a couple of mistakes when putting all my old stuff into the new chassis. Firstly, they forgot to include the internal Bluetooth device I had ordered in the original laptop. Secondly, four keys on the keyboard aren't working: Page Up, Page Down, End, and the backslash/pipe key. I use all of these keys a lot, so it's fairly bad to not have them. (I do have workarounds for the time being so I can "press" them by using other keystrokes instead, but obviously that shouldn't be necessary.)

It's possible that there may also be an issue with the Ethernet interface but I haven't tested this properly yet. I suspect it's not a problem, though.

Anyway, I rang today and they said they'd take it back (collecting it tomorrow) and put it on an urgent priority to get fixed, at no cost to me. I was impressed at the professionalism that they handled the call. I do like my manufacturer :) (for those wondering, it's PC Specialist).

(I'll admit I wasn't quite so impressed yesterday when I called the first time, had to wait 20-25 minutes on hold, and then getting (I believe) blown off by a tech who deliberately hung up on me in order to burn through his quota. I can say, however, that that was an exception - most of my dealings with PC Specialist have been awesome. I could also just be misreading what happened in the call, but it seemed fairly blatant to me.)

Anyway, yeah. Laptop will be collected again tomorrow and hopefully be back in a few days after that with the problems fixed and no new problems arising!

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Date: 2012-05-01 11:06
Security: Public
Tags:laptop saga
Subject: (no subject)

Just a quick note - I'm going to be without my laptop starting from Star Wars day (May the 4th...), as I need to return it for various reasons. I will try to get my other computer working during this time but I can't guarantee anything!

I don't know how long it's going to be, but last time I had to return it, it was gone just over a month - so it may take a while, unfortunately.

If you don't see me much after Friday, that's why!

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Date: 2012-04-04 23:43
Security: Public
Mood:intrigued intrigued
Tags:dr james barrett, gender identity, gender identity clinic, gender identity: hormones
Subject: Hello, world!

I'm so sorry for seemingly dropping off the face of the Earth. (Or at least Dreamwidth; I've been pretty active elsewhere, but still.)

Lots of things have happened since the last time I posted. Let's go through them!

  1. Firstly, I got copied on this letter from Dr James Barrett to my GP (a transcription of which is below for those who need it), asking my GP to prescribe me estradiol valerate (a form of oestrogen), along with an anti-androgen in the form of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue called Decapeptyl (yes, that is the correct link; Decapeptyl is a brand name for Triptorelin). Finally, it asks for a two-week prescription of cyproterone acetate to prevent the so-called "flare effect" associated with using GnRH agonists; namely, at the start of treatment, testosterone levels will actually go *up* before they go down. The cyproterone acts as a testosterone blocker, but is pretty harsh on the body, which is why it's only ever prescribed for a short period of time.

    A transcription of the letter )

    This is all what I was expecting to get the first time round when I went to my GP to collect the prescriptions, but didn't get at the time. (There was a small change; I was expecting Zoladex (goserelin acetate) as the GnRH analogue because I knew that's what some trans friends of mine were on. Instead, I'm on Decapeptyl, which I hadn't heard about before now.)

  2. With an actual letter having been sent, this time I managed to get the prescriptions easily. Getting the actual medications, though, proved to be a bit more difficult, because I was just about to have a five-day break with [personal profile] cxcvi in Cardiff, which involved driving there and then back, taking three hours each way. I didn't want to risk not being able to do that, and besides, there really wasn't any time. Because of that, I decided to take the prescriptions with me, get the medications in Cardiff, and then drive home and see what I could do with them.

  3. I didn't have any problems in getting the medications, but one thing that I discovered was that rather than the Progynova (estradiol valerate) I was expecting, I got Estelle Solo (estradiol hemihydrate) instead. It turned out that my GP had put just "estradiol" on the prescription, rather than specifically saying "estradiol valerate" as they had done the last time. From everything I can see, however, they should be interchangeable. I think I'll ask the GIC about it just in case though.

  4. I knew that the Decapeptyl was going to have to be injected, and when I had asked the GP to write the prescriptions, my GP (or rather, the GP I was seeing - my own GP wasn't working that day) said that it would probably be a good idea to have the first injection done at the local hospital, and have them show me how it was done so that subsequent injections could be done by myself. That seemed logical to me.

    So, on my way back from Cardiff, I stopped by at the hospital and tried to find out what I could. To cut a (very) long story short, I was told that the GP had got it wrong for two reasons. Firstly, the hospital didn't do this sort of thing; it'd need to be done by the nurse at my surgery. Secondly, Decapeptyl is an intramuscular injection, meaning an injection directly into a muscle. In this case, it's normally done in the patient's bottom, and as such it wasn't something I would be able to do myself at all; I'd always have to have it administered by someone else. So I called my GP back and have made an appointment to have that done.
And that's about everything regarding my transition so far! My appointment to be injected is on the 13th of April - just over a week from now. From that point is what I'll consider to be my true beginning of hormones, since the estradiol on its own won't be doing a lot without an anti-androgen!

(In fact, to put a frame of reference on it - today I noticed that my nipples are getting sore. This is a normal part of the process, but it normally happens in 2-3 days after starting, assuming an anti-androgen is in place. For me, though, it's been 2-3 months instead. Things should drastically speed up once I'm on the anti-androgen though!)

I've been slacking with taking pictures a bit since I wasn't actually going anywhere fast, but once I start the new meds I'll definitely start again. (And no, nobody's missed anything; I haven't posted any to my journal yet.)

Again, apologies for falling off Dreamwidth! I hope this update was enough to assure you that things are happening. :D

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Date: 2012-02-19 07:10
Security: Public
Subject: Info on an upcoming spam campaign

I think I just managed to gain a rare insight into an upcoming spam campaign.

I was browsing the Pastebin Archive, as I'm wont to do. There's a ton of interesting things you can find that have been pasted in the last 10 or so minutes!

Anyway, just now I found what seems to be a template for a spam campaign, pasted about 15 minutes before I started writing this post. Notice how a lot of words in the message have alternates defined - the idea is that they're randomly chosen at the time a spam is sent so that anti-spam programs can't latch onto a particular phrase.

I then decided to see if this particular spam campaign had been sent yet, so I went to Google. I obviously wouldn't have been able to Google a whole sentence because of the random words, but because I knew exactly which words were random, I was able to skip them and use wildcards. To be exact, I searched for "know a * of people * to do * but * have some * in what * do".

The only result which came up when I searched that today was this pastebin, which appears to be the original copy of the message, also pasted today. I'm thinking that someone from the company in question (which I'm guessing is called "Studio 54", given the pastebin title, but who I'm going to call "the client" from now on) was talking to a person from the company they were hiring to do the spamming, and pastebinned that message which had been crafted by the client. (Notice how this message has remarkably few grammatical errors, so it's not just a sample output from choosing random words.)

The spamming company then took the message, ran it through a program to look for common words and replace them with a list of alternatives in order to pre-prepare it for spamming, and then pastebinned the result back to the client to seek their approval.

Notice how the message with the alternative words would have a lot of grammatical errors in it due to the randomly chosen words - such as "I actually am sure which you, such as most people, like hearing to songs". (The original sentence was "I am sure that you, like most people, like listening to music".) And while I knew this would be the case, I've never actually seen the back-and-forth that goes between a client and a spammer before. So it's kinda fascinating. :D

So yeah. Upcoming spam campaign. Now that I know about it, I'll be interested to see if anything like this arrives in my spam folder at some point.

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