the rambly Weld

a glimpse of zero

⚠ Content warnings: pain and medical stuff

we decided to write some poetry while we were in pain in the shower this morning:

“On a scale from one to ten,

how much pain are you in?”

what is ten?

“One is next to nothing,

and ten is the worst you have experienced.”

how can there be anything but one?

in what universe does anything even fairly reach one fifth of the most pain we have felt?

what is a scale from one to ten when you are constantly in pain?

when your baseline of a good day is when you went to the kitchen and it felt like you did 20 squats to get there?

what is zero? what does a lack of pain feel like?

we have forgotten that feeling.

we catch glimpses of zero.

our brain spares us.

dissociates from all bodily sensation.

we lose time, we lose focus, but, for a moment,

at least we lose some feeling of pain.

it’s a ghost now.

a pain like hearing muffled music

a glimpse of zero

Tags: , , posted on 12 April 2019

End of October 2018, Update Time!

⚠ Content warnings: College, money situation (positive)

It’s October! This update’s extra hella late, oops.

First off, sorry for the lateness! We’ve had other writing we were prioritizing, with a lot of papers due for the semester. We’ve been a bit stressed out with school stuff, and have gone through exams and midterms. Not as badly as we’ve been stressed prior, but enough to have us push social media and blog updates to the sidelines a bit.

We’ve started livestreaming a little on Mixer which has been good! We’ll be looking into reviving our Twitch channel sometime, as well.

Unfortunately, really, we haven’t gotten a lot done otherwise. Transposable has been on hold due to chosa’s life stuff (but it might be back very soon!!), and we haven’t really had the focus to get a lot of stuff (like, blog posts for example) done.

Money-wise we’re doing pretty okay though! One of our medications went down in price when we switched pharmacies again (that pharmacy switch happens depending on whether we’re with our parents or living in Atlanta), so college move-in has led to good stuff on that front, meaning our Patreon goals have been updated! We’re making enough to pay for monthly costs and a bit extra right now. We really appreciate that!!!

Tags: , , posted on 27 October 2018

Our Price for Being Trans

⚠ Content warnings: Medical situations, money, hormone replacement therapy, transmisia, mention of sexual assault

Hey, you know what’s real fucked up? How much it’s costed us for our medical transition.

$4209.60. Four thousand, two hundred and nine dollars, and sixty cents.

That’s a rough estimate of our medical costs since starting transitioning in 2016. Our expense tracking isn’t exact on what doctors appointments were about, some $35 doctors visits that weren’t about HRT might have slipped in, others that were about it might have slipped out, we might’ve bought some stuff at rite-aid and checked it out at the same counter as our meds. But, it’s a decent estimate. This is solely us on HRT, no surgeries, no hair removal, nothing but hormones.

So how does medical transition get to cost so much? Well, let’s break down some of the biggest costs. We hunted for an endocrinologist who would allow us to get on HRT, after having been in therapy for a while. The first one we tried charged $200 up front, wouldn’t take insurance, sexually assaulted, and misgendered us, at age 16-17 (it’s hard to remember), when we were a trans girl. We don’t remember the name of that clinic or we would name-and-shame into the fucking ground, and this was one of the small gaps in our expense tracking. But we do remember that price.

Needless to say, we didn’t go back to the last place. Months later we found the Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine. Pretty far away, so travel costs were an issue. Also Had to have another therapy appointment just to talk about getting a letter saying we were very definitely experiencing gender dysphoria, just in case we were a confused cis person! How horrible that would be (sarcasm). Their appointments each costed around $100. They required a multitude of blood tests, and insurance would cover them, so it’d be $20-$40. Well, insurance used to cover them. Our parents, who we get insurance through currently (thankfully we have that much support), had their work end up switching providers. Now, UnitedHealthcare receieved funding from the Affordable Care Act. And a portion of that meant UnitedHealthcare couldn’t exclude trans people’s care. However, fun story: UHC still had it in their plan that trans coverage wouldn’t be included.

So essentially, new insurance copied the UHC plan word-for-word, wasn’t being funded by the ACA, and thus didn’t have to comply to the rules UHC did. There’s a lawsuit someone can fight there, if someone wasn’t dealing with having very little money due to this change. Fun, right?

So new insurance, new rules, despite “nothing will change” assurances. Norethindrone, an artificial progestin we were put on, was not covered. Because it was priorly covered, we were told we could file it and “grandfather” it in, but then filing it got literally no response. New $90 a month cost.

Bonus round, the Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine put that our blood test were for transgender health directly on blood test forms. Insurance loved that, real money-saver! So then that was another $570-ish. And guess what, there’s still another blood test bill that’s been looming over us since August of last year. Literally almost a year old. Waiting for insurance to decline so they can charge us more!

This wasn’t all the costs, again, just a rough overview of the more expensive stuff. These won’t all add up if you do the math, we know. We didn’t provide all the information for that to even remotely be possible But hopefully it gives you a good idea as to why it costs so fuckin’ much, even without any surgery.

So yeah, being trans is fucking expensive, for us as well as others. If you’d like to help us out with that, our Patreon, Paypal, and Ko-fi are available. If you know us, feel free to reach out before paying on Paypal. They take a fee automatically for business accounts depending on how you pay and it gets fucky, but we have a personal account as well (however, not doxxing ourselves and getting paid as Fidgetcetera is useful).

Tags: , posted on 03 August 2018

Great! The August 2018 Update is Here!

⚠ Content warnings: College, parents, Patreon and money situation

It’s August! Let’s get into what we’ve done last month and what we will be doing this month!

So, first off: No zines or jobs for Acey currently, but our work should show up in INDUSTRY STANDARD eventually! It’s just not out yet. The portrait zine, on the other hand, didn’t work out yet. Also, LGBTQ+ wrath month is over (we suggested gluttony, but everyone was a bit more on top of wrath last month), and that was fun.

Other fun things include our new Twine Projects page that exists on our site!! Right now, there’s only one thing on there, a inspired pronoun-selector template for anyone to use with credit!! We are really really looking forward to making and releasing more Twine stuff. We’ll probably be putting everything we make for free on that page, but also making an page where people can pay what they wish for them.

We’ll be working to put out a Transposable episode or two this month, since we haven’t done one since the end of June. Hopefully we can get two in. At least one will go into accessibility and listening to disability activists! We might not manage to get out more than one, however.

The reason we’d not get anything else done, though, is because we’ll be back in college in a few weeks! So we’ll be readjusting to everything, moving into an apartment, figuring out our food budgeting and all that. Lots of work, weee.

Speaking of food budgeting, this does bring us to another important point, regarding money. Just to be open and honest, we got financial aid and student loans to pay for tuition and a portion of housing, and the rest of the money was taken care of, as our parents took out a credit card and then payed it with that, and are now going to be paying that off over time. So, we’re in a better spot than we could be, and we want to be super clear that yes, we have support from our parents and it’s a very real thing.

With that said, we haven’t worked out with our parents anything regarding paying for food and basic necessities at the apartment we’ll be living at at school, and don’t really know what the situation will be there. We don’t have a job, because it is still hard to find work as a queer college cripple that’s permanently exhausted. We’ll keep trying to make weird shit online here so y’all have some reason to give us money to exist.

So basically, we’re gonna say again, if you wanna give us money on Patreon to make sure we have money, food, meds, and possibly just, the ability to have extra spending money for small things or medical issues or whatever, please feel free. It’s okay if you don’t, but anything you can is appreciated. We also have Paypal and Ko-fi for this. Also, if you know us, don’t hesitate to ask us for our personal Paypal instead, so less fees get taken out of what you send. It’s nice not to doxx ourselves to the entire internet when receiving money, though.

Also, if you do give anyone on Patreon money via debit or credit card, you may want to check out your card declines - Patreon probably emailed you about this already, but they kinda fucked up and had a bunch of cards decline recently. Our own patrons seem to have it all resolved now, which is good.

Tags: , , posted on 03 August 2018

The Binding of Isaac is Weird.

⚠ Content warnings: Discussion of and spoilers from the Binding of Isaac, which is a video game that requires warning for... Body horror, general grossness, feces, religion, abusive parents, abandonment, levels being body internals, birth, death, ableism, fatmisia, suicide, drugs, and like... Fuck, there's probably more. Mentions of Gamergate, a neo-nazi, and chronic pain + disability.

No, really, it’s fucking weird. Like, the content warnings are indicative that this’ll be a whole thing, but then there’s the game’s history, as this flash game that blew up and became a big ol’ streaming thing and then got an expansion and then a remake in a new engine and then got two more expansions and there was an ARG somewhere in the mix?

The game’s core is pretty simple. You’re Isaac (until you unlock more characters), who’s gone into a trapdoor in his bedroom to hide from his mother, who has stripped him of his belongings and clothing to serve God, and then asked for a sacrifice to prove her commitment. The game starts you naked, in a basement, and informs you of the controls as they’re scrawled on the floor of the first room. You cry tears at enemies, which are fired out (but only horizontally and vertically, no diagonals), you can collect bombs, keys, and money, and find items. The items are randomly generated, the enemies are randomly generated, and the room layouts are randomly chosen.

It’s just. There are a lot of items. Used to be 196 in the base Binding of Isaac, and as of the Afterbirth+ expansion, there are 547? That question mark isn’t our unsureness, we trust the wiki’s take on this. It’s just. There are 547 items you can possibly pick up? That’s kind of a lot. Almost all items have unique effects, with only a few recycling much at all. Some are even new takes on old items. For example, there’s Teleport which teleports you to a random room on the floor. And then Teleport 2.0 drops you into the next room that has not been explored already, with a set order of types of rooms that it will take you to. Each of these recharges after you clear rooms of enemies.

That’s just two active ones. There’s a lot of those. And then there’s passive ones that stack! Like, Brimstone fires a thick laser beam (apparently it’s made of blood). And Spoon Bender will make your tears home in on enemies. So if you have both, your Brimstone laser will curve to chase enemies. And there’s a shitton of combinations like that.

Oh, and then there’s the “final” bosses, and the unlockability of everything. You beat one boss on your early runs, and then 2 more levels get added after that. And then more, and more, and branches to go to different places… We described this as “the final boss, the final final boss, the final final branch 1/3 final boss, the final final branch 2/3 final final boss, the final final branch 2/3 final final final boss, the final final branch 3/3 final final boss…” to some loved ones recently. You can unlock characters, which if you beat these bosses as specifically, you get specific items unlocked to collect on more runs, and the list of combinations of scenarios expands and expands.

An example of this - Just today, we played again. We beat the Hush. We did this as one of the unlockable characters, Judas, via mostly: An item that makes our tears into one giant tear that we can mind control and just float around, an item that makes our tears split when they hit enemies (so in this case, just extra tears constantly spawned if the ball was over someone), and one that made flies come out of us when we dealt damage. The Hush as a boss tends to sit really still, so we literally just sat the ball of tears on top of it. It was kind of ridiculous, and for our troubles, we unlocked an item called Betrayal, with no knowledge of what it does. It’s just one more item in the pile, and it was specific to beating this boss as Judas.

It’s a lot. We started playing it during the time when it streamed, and kinda obsessed over the flash game to some degree, with 144 hours of playtime on it. We had memorized nearly every single item in the original set of 196, plus other stuff that affects the game mechanics. We’d sit in streams, watch someone play, and go “Hey, do you mind if I tell you what’s up with items if you don’t know ‘em?” and then excitedly share our knowledge.

The flash game used to have things where certain items would override others, actually, so like, that brimstone/spoon bender combo we mentioned would never work in the original - You’d just get a normal laser when you picked up brimstone. And we knew those so much! We recently booted up Rebirth, which we actually have 142 hours of playtime on. We’ve unlocked a bunch there, and honestly the game’s like new for us, we pick up items and we know the mechanics of some, and have to guess by the game’s weird logic at the hinting phrases that the game gives you, which really aren’t helpful most of the time.

Another thing about this is that these “final” bosses each also have special endings, cutscenes that tell some conclusion to the mother attempting to sacrifice her child. There’s a special way to beat Mom by using the bible item when in the fight with her, and the cutscene shows a bible falling off Isaac’s shelf to knock her out, which is a bit representative of the original religious story the game gets its name from. Other cutscenes show Isaac finding himself dead, his mother finding him dead, him hanging himself, locking himself in a chest… Every character just looks like Isaac dressing up, too, which has led to a lot of fan theories about whether or not that’s the case, with Isaac placing himself as different biblical figures. There’s a lot to thematically take in about the game, to be honest, especially with Edmund McMillen (one of the two main designers who worked on the games) saying himself this all had some personal experience of his childhood poured into it.

Rebirth and the following expansions honestly feel like they muddy this for us. The game’s theme exists but there’s so much to take in about the game that trying to just parse the story and theme between 100+ failed runs is hard. The size of the game now and the amount of different ways you can end the game just kind of. Make it hard to parse. And we don’t know if it was ever supposed to be easy? Video games are weird. This whole fuckin’ game is weird.

The big final difference that’s personal to us, between the original game vs Rebirth, is just that were fuckin’ tired now, both of the games and in general. Isaac’s one of those games that’s very representative in our memory of a certain time period. It’s a game that came out in 2011, and Rebirth came out in 2014, so we definitely played from like, ages 13 to 16, and probably a bit more. That’s more than enough time to get burnt out on a video game, and those who know us to some degree may also know that this was a time when a very shitty person was in our life, and he’s the one who introduced us to the game. It’s also when we joined twitter, and ended up being part of the Gamergate hate mob.

Aside from all the memories this game holds of a fuckin’ neo-nazi and gaming nerds on twitter, it’s just… We don’t have the energy to put hundreds and hundreds of hours into a video game anymore, and it’s lonely to play one where the only multiplayer is offline. It’s tiring to get our basic chores done around the house thanks to our leg pain, and it’s draining to try to play a video game for multiple hours in a day, and it makes us kinda feel like shit for not getting something better done, sometimes, despite all that we try to do to remind ourselves that rest, relaxation, and play are important, especially with disability.

So it’s… complicated. That one game we remember too well, and we’ll play every once in a while for maybe an hour or two. It is and has been fun! Thanks to everyone whose work went into The Binding of Isaac, for making some teenage-years influential shit? We hope that’s not too scary to think about. It probably is, all things considered.

Tags: , , posted on 14 July 2018