Monday, 25 January 2010

Dad (again)

He phoned last night. Totally out of the blue!

Well, maybe it wasn't completely unexpected, I'd been tinkering with the e-mail hosting that we use and was in the middle of moving it all over and had sent out a rather terse and technical message about what was to change. I'd phoned my Mum and told her to tell him to look but just expected no response at all.

But he just phoned ... asked if he could speak to "" and then said it was "Dad", which of course I knew. Weird, I didn't think my voice had changed that much ... probably it hasn't and he just didn't know how to handle phoning when he is aware of the fact I have a partner.

It was really quite surreal. Just a conversation about setting up e-mail and why Google is good (using Google Apps which means 50 free accounts using your own domain) and when this would all change over. Really it was as if we'd never had a break in communication. I can't say that I'm really elated or disappointed or anything ... I'm obviously happy that we talked but really it was just like nothing had happened in the intervening months.

Don't think I can really grasp the feelings I have about this properly.

I did, rather flippantly, comment to Rachel that I should break more e-mail things in future so we get to talk some more!

Friday, 22 January 2010

New hair do

Got new fab hair cut curtesy of Jen's hair dresser Claire.

Update: Changed picture for the one that Jen took on her iPhone as it's a better shot! Also Clairs's Salon is
The Salon
87 Pendas Way
LS15 8HN
Very happy with my new do and it's survived well overnight, real test will be when I wash my hair and try and repeat the same look! Suspect I'll be having to go back to Claire very soon!

DRM again

Haven't content providers, suppliers, and anyone in the media industry got the message yet? Are they still wasting time, money, effort and valuable good will on futile efforts to control, subjugate, and extort money from, their customers?

Apparently not.

There is a proposal from the BBC concerning the scrambling of EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) data on the HD channel such that only receivers that supported a given DRM technology would be permitted and able to access it. This, the proposal claims, would then lead to devices having to support a given DRM mechanism which could then be used to protect content from rights-holders who want to stipulate such restrictions. The Register has a good article about this (which is where I got the link).

Seriously, this technology doesn't work. It is a waste of time (everyones) and money. For example, at home I can play or copy CDs or DVDs without restriction at all. There are tools available to record streams from iPlayer and other VOD (Video On Demand) services. I did a quick Google and it seems BluRay has been hacked already as well.

No matter what methods are used, there will always be a way round them. What is also apparent is that DRM, far from protecting consumers, will often result in them not being able to make legitimate use of content, e.g. CDs that won't play in PCs because of copy-protection schemes.

Given my objections to this proposal I've done something about it and responded using the online form, here are the answers I gave to the questions posed, I would urge anyone with an opinion on this to respond as well.

Question 1: Do you agree that copy management would broaden the range of HD content available on DTT and help secure its long term viability as a platform?No, absolutely not. Investment in new and original ontent would be a better use of the money involved in implementing DRM. The BBC in particular has had a reputation for this type of programming before, and providing more of this is likely to support the viability of DTT HD as a platform far better than wasting money on futile attempts at restricting illegal copying.
Question 2: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed multiplex licence amendment represents the most appropriate means for securing an effective content management system on HD DTT? No, the most effective content management system is not to implement any restrictions at all. Taking the no-DRM approach is a 0 cost option, maintains consumers rights to make fair and legal use of content and encourages the development of innovative and affordable receiver equipment.
Question 3: Do you agree with the proposed change to Condition 6 in the Multiplex B Licence? No
Question 4: Do you agree that Multiplexes C and D should be granted a similar amendment to their Licences as Multiplex B?.No
Question 5: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed approach for implementing content management would safeguard citizens and consumers legitimate use of HD content, and if not, what additional guarantees would be appropriate? No, absolutely not. The legitimate use of content would be seriously hampered. This has been true of all past DRM implementations, e.g. copy protection on music CDs led to them being unplayable on many home computers.

Any of the approaches that were used before, e.g. in the example above where a special player were provided, would lead to increased complexity and restrictions.
Question 6: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed choice of content management technologies will have only a negligible impact on the cost of HD DTT receivers and their interoperability with other HD consumer equipment? . Actual cost to manufacturers would likely not be affected significantly though the prices a consumer pays could well be - essentially devices with this support would be more expensive than those that do not.

Interoperability will be dramatically affected, even if the devices concerned support DRM the extra complexity could well lead to problems. There is also the increased potential for legitimately recorded content to become unusable due to software changes or bugs, thus providing more inconvenience and cost to consumers.
Question 7: Do stakeholders agree that the BBC’s proposed Huffman Code licensing arrangements would have a negligible effect on the market for HD DTT receivers? I am not a stakeholder in this per se, however I would suspect that this proposal would allow device manufacturers force consumers to purchase new products to support the implementation of these proposals. Their incentives to update older hardware are not apparent and I would expect would be dismissed on the grounds of cost or viability.
Question 8: Do the BBC’s proposed content management states and their permitted use for different categories of HD content meet the requirements of other HD broadcasters on DTT? . I am not able to comment on this.
Question 9: Are there any issues that you consider Ofcom should take into account in assessing the BBC’s proposal, that have not been addressed by this consultation? There isn't a single commercial encryption system in existence that has not been cracked or circumvented in some way. No matter what technique is used by the BBC, those who have the technical know-how will, eventually, render any implementation of DRM ineffective.

Forcing the implementation of a DRM technology is likely to increase the level of illegal copying rather than reduce it. This appears to be the case with existing formats such as DVD, CD, and BluRay.

Forcing a DRM implementation would also add to or cause compatibility issues with devices that would interfere with consumers legitimate use of content. Devices that consumers currently own or may purchase in the near future may become obsolete very quickly if this proposal goes ahead.

Quite simply, this proposal will not, in any way whatsoever, bring benefits to the consumer, quite the reverse; it will restrict competition in the marketplace, restrict or eliminate fair-use of content and ultimately cost a significant amount to license fee payers.

Monday, 18 January 2010


I am, and will always be, my son's Dad (or father, or Daddy, or parent, or whatever term you want to use). This is not something that anyone can change, nor would I want to. It is rather confusing of course, for him, me, and I guess anyone that overhears him calling me that (maybe when he is older he may want to refer to me by some other name, that is entirely his choice).

Nothing that has happened to me or that has changed in my life has affected how I feel about my son, I still care just as much as I ever did and want the best for him. I may not be the most conventional parent in the world and I may never have been perfect but that doesn't change the fact of what I feel and how much I really, really do care.

As I have progressed through my transition though, my relationship with my son has been gradually eroded. I started with the totally naive view that I would be able to still take him to/from school, then that I could see him at least every weekend, which then became every other. Now it's one day every month. Alot of these changes are down to simple practicalities, or that's what I tell myself anyway; really it's beginning to feel that I'm losing more than just distance and infrequent visits would account for.

Will I just become a chore? Am I seen as that now? Will I ever get to see my son swim, appear in a school play, or watch him involved in any of the many activities that he does? Am I destined to just be an outcast from his life? Just the person who is only able to show how much they care by paying the bills or buying toys or a meal or activity day out and about? Am I not allowed the time in which to actually know my own child? I really don't know what is going to happen, but sadly I'm beginning to suspect what the outcome will be and I don't know what I can do to change that, I really thought it would be different to the other stories I heard, but it's not.

There is another point to this post and that is to talk about my Dad. I have now started to raise the subject of talking to him when I speak to my Mum. I haven't spoken to him in probably 6months now and I thought that it was maybe because there hadn't been a real reason to or that I'd just been hogging the conversation with my Mum about everything that had been happening to me (I probably - well definitely - do this anyway).

So I asked if I could have a chat to him, and didn't really get given any objections so I assumed it was simply a matter of time. Then I asked again and was told that his response to my previous request was eseentially to dismiss it. It's not that we've just not got round to speaking it's that he really is actively avoiding talking to me at all. Not just about my transition but about anything. My own Dad won't talk to me, at all, period.

How the f*** (apologies for the 'bad word' but frankly I felt like it) do you think that makes me feel. What the hell have I done that is so evil? I'm still me for goodness sake! I know this is alot to deal with, in fact I maybe don't know how hard it is for them but, no matter what, I'm still my Dad's child, everything I was before I am now, I am just more honest about the things in my head related to my gender. I'm not doing this for kicks or to hurt anyone at all, for f***s sake there's counsellers, psychiatrists and everything that are meant to be on hand for this condition, you'd kinda think your parents could at least appreciated that.

The thing I said to my Mum was this: what if something happens? I know it's melodramatic but you can never tell in life and I think the most horrible thing would be not being able to tell someone you love them or not be able to hear that from them before it's too late. A minor falling out is one thing but actively avoiding talking to your own flesh and blood seems particularly hurtful.

So, along with many other relationships that I've lost or that have been irrevocable damaged, it seems those with my son and my own Dad continue to fade and I'd just like to record forever that I love them both dearly and I'm so sorry that I have hurt them and wish with all my heart that there is a way to repair both relationships.

Son, I am so proud of you, more than I can ever say or show. You are amazing.

Dad, I'm so sorry to have upset you, I never meant to disappoint you so much.


Are complicated.

That isn't obviously earth shattering news and I guess most people go through a fair few in their lives. Personally I don't think I have had that many and, so far there has only been one long-term relationship that I have been involved in so I'm not the worlds expert in this area and the pithy conclusion above is actually quite a step for me.

As it might have been apparent from Twitter and the recent blog posts, Rachel and I are back together. I'm not going to go into the full reasons why, suffice to say that, well, it's complicated! That does sound somewhat negative but again, to me, anything beyond the most simple union is a new thing for me.

From my own personal perspective the last month has involved a lot of learning on my part, I really haven't been able to just rely on my rather simplistic model of life to get me through. I'm not always right for example, and sometimes things are more involved than you expect.

I admit that this is all a big vague and cryptic but I think that the best thing I can learn from all of this is to just try and enjoy every moment you can, not stress out too much about myself or the other person I'm involved with and, most importantly, to TALK. I know this shouldn't be a problem for me but I guess it is. You live and learn :)

Monday, 11 January 2010

It's not as easy as it looks!

On Sunday, Rachel and I went out to do some photography, the idea being for me to actually get some practice and to be 'in charge' of a shoot. We had the idea of doing a kind of "Death" character, I know that sounds a little macabre but I was thinking of the version from the Sandman comics which is a rather attractive and sassy gothic girl.

Anyway, Rachel looked fantastic in the black velvet coat, and suitable make-up but when it came to me actually being any good at taking pictures and having even the slightest clue as to what I should be doing it got a little more difficult. At that point I had something of am epiphany and realised with amazing clarity that taking fantastic pictures of someone really is alot harder than it looks! Rachel really, really does know what she is doing and has an amazing amount of experience and knowledge which means that she can just do it! I was going to say "without apparent effort" but that would be misleading as she is always moving around, getting the right angle and multiple shots.

I can't say I was really that happy with the pictures I got on the day and they looked a bit mediocre (at best) on the camera's screen. Thankfully, due to Rachel's help, advice, patience, support and the fact that she is an amazing model (when she doesn't pose too much lol), I actually did manage to get some good pictures of her. In fact Rachel was happy enough with the images to upload them to the Tigg-stock collection on Deviant Art. I have to say I'm actually quite honoured that she did that, there are so many other fantastic photo's that she and others in the team have created.

When I've got round to sorting my website out (hopefully later this week) and uploaded everything I'll add a link to the complete set of pictures that we both took on Sunday. For now I'll finish this post with a photo that Rachel took of me. The biggest problem I have with any pictures Rachel takes of me is that they are very clear and very detailed and frankly I can see how bad I look, so much so that I got quite upset last night while looking through them. I feel a little better today but I think that's because I'm following this mantra: "Give me the strength to change the things I can and the grace to accept those that I can't".

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Ringing the changes

Just to be clear before anyone jumps to any conclusions, no, I'm not engaged, married or betrothed in any way shape or form, nor is this ring any indication of any of these things! Yes, I know that the finger on which I'm wearing it is meant to have that significance but, frankly I still my actual wedding ring but on my right hand and that still holds tremendous sentimental value and immense amount of meaning to me.

This new ring wasn't blessed in the same way but still has alot of meaning to me. I bought it for myself so that meaning is really mine alone, but nevertheless it's special. The significance of the stones (diamond and blue topaz) is the same as with the jewellery I've bought before and this time they are in the one item I've been looking for quite a while: a ring. There is just something special about rings, earrings and necklaces are something that you often change or at the very least remove at night. Since the day I wore my first ring, I've always thought they were something more constant; I only ever removed my wedding ring for DIY work, or for a short period after the separation.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Let it snow, let it snow ... you know the rest

Despite the fact that travel is rather difficult at the moment, I'm actually quite enjoying the snow. Everything looks magical, bright and sparkling. When it's not actually snowing the sky is such a vivid blue and the air is clear and crisp. I love it!

I managed to get out with my camera a take a few quick pictures on walk from the office to get a sandwich for lunch. I think this is one of the lovely things about working an living in York, it is such a beautiful and picturesque place - admittedly it's a bit of a nightmare to drive round/through but walking is fine and you can see so much!

I'm hoping that the snow stays until the weekend and then I can get out and *really* concentrate on taking some pictures around the place.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

It snowed a little!

Slight understatement there, I think we have had about 2 inches of snow at least so far and it's still coming down! Had to turn back home as roads bad and queues long, safer to work from home!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Manchester night out part 2

Waiting for bus to back. Fab night out :-)

Manchester night out part 1

Pic from end of fab night out!

Friday, 1 January 2010

More snow!

It's really coming down here in York and took this just before I had to drive through it! As I type there is more coming down as well, could make for interesting driving on M62 tomorrow!