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Hey, been a while. I'm not doing a year-end review this time; better to look forward than backward. If you want to see what I've been up to, you can go read my mental blog at http://scramblednoodle.com as it's far more updated.

In any case, here's the recording from my jazz band's concert at FC 2015. I was on a stage-fright/anti-anxiety pill (and a bit of margarita) and it's the first performance in which I wasn't completely terrified, and thus, I'm actually happy with my performance, since I didn't seize up. Surprise! :D

https://soundcloud.com/reveille-1/sets/reveille-and-the-swingin-tails-live-at-fc2015

We'll be playing again at BLFC in May. Come see us!

-Reveille

2013 Recap in pictures and words

As is tradition, here's my recap of 2013.

Where to begin? It was up, it was down. As with all things negative, the Bads seem to outweigh the Good, but it's just not true. They're just louder and more painful. My boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me. That was Bad, but not without Good. I'd been dealing with years of abandonment issues that only came to a head at Burning Man. When things came to an end, I realized I had been freed. That was Good, but not without Bad. Once again, I was alone, and even without the abandonment, the instant loneliness was crushing. To cope, I started a Tumblr blog focused on my bi-polar issues ( http://scramblednoodle.tumblr.com ) and my medication was increased. I went through a lot more therapy, and had some serious breakdowns, but I'm through it. 2014 started with the crushing weight of the year collapsing on me, but thanks to a friend, I was able to cry it out.

Despite all this, a lot of has happened. Bean is ever a delight. My jazz band, Reveille and the Swingin' Tails (formerly SuperPack), performed at FC 2013, and will perform again at FC 2014, as well as BLFC 2014. I've opened up about emotions and sexuality, and I've gotten in touch with my transvestite tendencies, and my gender dysphoria in general. FC 2013 was pretty mediocre, aside from the band, and my stage fright once again made me forget part of the kung fu sequence on stage. Not only that, but I was a bit resentful of the outcome, thanks to my obsession with winning. Couple that with some snarky comments from some folks, and it just put me in a really bad mindset. BLFC 2013 and MFF 2013 were both amazing times, so it made up for it. Burning Man 2013 was up and down. I saw lots of neat stuff, I did lots of neat things, but it was coupled with a rough start, a rough middle, and a rough end, culminating in my breakup. I got into R/C cars (for the wrong reasons) but it was still fun. I also got into Amateur Radio, but thanks to -things- I got out just as fast, and good riddance. I got back into the swing of photography, did a lot of experimentation, especially around photos at Frolic. And I've been trying to be more present overall, to live in the moment and not dwelling on the past and future.

And then, the motorcycle. Love and hate. I love riding. I LOVE IT. Over the years I've come to hate driving, but the bike. OH MY GOD the bike. Until it broke. And then broke again. And then broke again. But between the breaking it's been one of the things helping to keep my sanity. I've put over 1000 miles on it, and my love for my little 250 is no less.

Finally, I married two couples. The first was two very good friends of mine, dreamous and spelunker_sal. The ceremony was beautiful. I'd link the video of it, but it's still private, due to family concerns. I met a lot of really great people there, too. The second was my good friends whiteyfawks and Sylffor, done over dinner and beers. I hope there'll be a real ceremony at some point.

Yeah. So up and down, Good and Bad. Which, I suppose, is normal for Life, the Universe, and Everything.

2014 started on a down, but the theme of this year is Possibilities. The sky's the limit. I'm dating again (no relationship yet, just dates with people), I'm meeting people, I'm less concerned about pleasing others, and more concerned with being open, mentally, physically, and sexually. As always, I make no resolutions; those are just excuses to procrastinate. It's on me to make things happen, but to let them happen as they happen, rather than trying to force them to happen.

Without further blabbing, the photos. Have a great 2014, Happy New Year, and gung hei fat choi from this noodle dragoness.

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WhiteyandRev-BM2013DSC_6275Dragonboat Races 2013052DSC_8420




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EX250

I'm trying an experiment, mostly for my benefit, but maybe for the benefit of anyone else dealing with mental issues. I've started a Tumblr blog for relating my experiences with being bipolar; the feelings, the thought distortions, the experiences, the ups and downs, and my perceptions of how it affects me and the people around me.

I don't really go into too much detail that often, because I don't want people to worry, I don't want people to get upset over it, and I don't want to bring people down. But it's time that I accepted that my friends want me to be well, as much as I want to be well.

Please note, this isn't a very nice blog. It's not particularly happy. You might need to stop reading. It's not supposed to be.

But it's stuff I think I need to say.

http://scramblednoodle.tumblr.com/

GUESS WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING

In the aftermath of the breakup, I've been up and down. Things were going great, and then I got smacked with a pretty bad depression that was a bunch of things all at once: realizing I was 'alone' once more, many of my friends vanishing to Rainfurrest, the gradual shift in daylight hours, and a few other, small, inconsequential things. As a result, I crashed pretty hard and vanished for a while. But, hey, that's the cycle, I suppose. My shrink says the best I can do is mitigate it. And I mitigate it, so that's what I do.

In any case, as a result of the end of a 3-year relationship, I decided to do something I've been meaning to do my whole adult life: learning to ride a motorcycle.

I went to the DMV and got my permit. I took advantage of a sale at one of the local gear shops and bought a nice jacket and some armored jeans and knee pads. I went to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and passed with a perfect written score and a near-perfect applied skills score (-1 point. ONE FRICKIN' POINT!). And then I bought a motorcycle. A ratty, 'well-loved', 2000 Kawasaki Ninja EX250, a little 250cc sportbike that seemed like a great point to start. So since I can't work on vehicle in my parking space (my condo doesn't have a garage, just a carport), of course I rolled it into my living room.

250-1

Well, turns out it had some problems. Luckily, WhiteFox offered to help me out, not only in retrieving the bike, but in getting it working again. First off, it was hemorrhaging oil. A little work showed some irresponsible former owner had stripped the drain plug, gouged the bolt hole, and used the wrong washer. So we put in a slightly larger standard-sized bolt, got the OEM washer, and sanded down the bolt hole. While I was at it, I did my first ever oil change in any vehicle. Wow! Not only that, but this was more hands-on vehicle work than I've ever done in my whole fucking life.

While we had all the farings off, we did a once over, and Whitey decided to check the cylinder compression. Uh oh. No compression in the second cylinder. So we pulled it apart (yikes), and found that the valves were all gummed up, probably because the idle was set too high. So we cleaned that off, and then the head sat in my kitchen while I waited for a head gasket to come in.

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While I had the bike apart, and since I had downtime, I decided that I didn't like the rattle-can red that the original bike was, and hell, let's make this bike mine. So I sanded everything down while the bike was sitting, gutted, in my living room, including the ratty exhaust, and then I primed all the plastics.

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Unfortunately, I couldn't get enough airbrush paint, so I ended up only getting two solid coats on the parts. And then, deciding I wanted to be DIFFERENT, I decided to do a paint job based on "Talon", the raptor-god from Primal Rage.

250-2

So the head gasket comes in, and I had that Friday off, so we put everything back together. Then we took it apart because we lost a screwdriver in the transmission, and then broke the end of a magnetic tool off in the transmission trying to recover the screwdriver. :P YAY MECHANICAL WORK! Eventually, everything got back together, and Whitey re-timed it and adjusted all the gaps. Really fascinating stuff; I had no idea that's how an engine worked! We never touched the carbs, though, which I think is fortunate. But by this time, I was REALLY damned antsy to get out on the road. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the headlight, and after tearing off all the farings again, Whitey came to the conclusion that it was probably the relay needing to be cycled by the engine turning over. Which I was NOT going to do in my apartment. So I pouted, went to Frolic @ Bootie, had a mediocre time at a shitty Drunken Bro-Club, and wanted to be back home working on the bike. Sunday morning rolled around, I put it back together, took it out, and voila, the headlight worked after it started. So at ~3pm on Sunday, I rode my own motorcycle for the first time.

250-5

I rode for an hour and half, on everything except the interstate. It was amazing. The only reason I stopped was because the bike was overheating. Turns out that I didn't know you had to burp the coolant lines. So I did that, made a mess in the parking lot with splashed coolant, then did a second ride. All was well.

Yesterday was the maiden commute of the motorcycle. And it went well, if a bit harrowing! And for some reason, when I got on the bike in the afternoon, I forgot how to ride it at first. That was an annoying spin around the parking lot with annoyed bank workers stuck to my ass as I tried to remember how to operate a clutch. :P

I'll need to redo the paint job at some point, too. The clear coat from a can just isn't cutting it, and I didn't get enough coats of the red to be comfortable with it. The paint chips off pretty easily, so I'll probably see about a second go at it at some point. We'll see!

In any case...that's how I've been!

-Reveille

PS - Yes, I know, be safe, don't kill yourself. I'm already a paranoid driver, and that should translate well into the bike. :P

What the hell happened to Reveille?

What the hell happened? I'm still here. I'm just quiet.

Recent things:

Depression passing:

My last post was about depression. Well, I worked myself up to confronting certain issues, and through the magic of communication, a lot of things were resolved in a more than satisfactory manner. Of course, with the diminishing of depression comes the rush of mania. It's just how it is. After a long conversation with my psychologist, I have to accept that this is a cycle I cannot escape from, only mitigate. Knowing that has made it easier to recognize the signs, and take action before things get too bad. It doesn't make it go away. It just makes it easier to cope.

Such is life.

Officiating a Wedding:

My good friends dreamous and spelunker_sal decided to finally consummate a marriage they'd proposed 4 years ago. They asked me to officiate. It was both one of the greatest honors of my life, and one of the most terrifying. Not because I'm afraid of speaking (I love speaking in front of crowds; yes, I have an ego. It's buried, but it's there), but because of my own personal doubts in the permanence of things. I'll just leave it at that. I will say, they are a beautiful couple, and it's my hope and wish that the two enjoy a long, happy, and eternal relationship with each other.

The ceremony itself was written over the course of two weeks. Proofread, revised, proofed again, revised again. It was quite the journey. Once it was done, I scribed it into my personal diary in calligraphy, so that I could make the words part of me, and part of my life. I thought about sharing it here, but instead I'll say that if you want to see it, contact me, and I'll send it to you.

Brother visiting:

Yeah, so those local and close to me knew that my brother was visiting. We were supposed to smoke out, hang around, and watch movies and listen to music, and just catch up on years of being entirely too busy. He was supposed to be out here for a little over a week and a half. I was really REALLY looking forward to it. He showed up, and all was well. Well, except that he smokes like a chimney, both tobacco and otherwise. Non-stop. He says it's because he was bored. And then, while trying to chill and watch movies, he's on the phone, SMSing the whole time. Turns out he'd met a 24-year-old (he's 35) at Starbucks right before he left, and he exhibited his typical "HOLD ON SO TIGHT YOU STRANGLE HER", and was SMSing and calling her nonstop. In the middle of a movie, he'd say "I'll be right back" and he'd vanish for 45-60 minutes, on the phone. I finally turned off the movies and played video games or went to bed. It was ridiculous. I sent an email to my folks, venting, and instead of playing it cool, they freaked and called him.

To make a long story short, he ended up going home about 6 days early. He rushed home so he could fuck a girl 11 years his junior. I have nothing against relationships with younger people, but this is the fourth he's had. I'm sure this one will be "The One", just like the other 3. I asked him why he dates gals so young. His response was that any available woman his age is damaged goods or they're divorces and used goods. For some reason, I took this extremely personally; something to do with my gender dysphoria, which I'll discuss in a moment. We ended up having a screaming match because "I DON'T KNOW HIM!" Though he seems to think he knows me (and my folks). His ego just knows no bounds.

Anyway, this whole situation has me in a massive funk that I just can't shake. I really want to stop caring about him, because caring about a person who's destroying themselves hurts. But I can't. We're brothers. I can say he's not welcome here, but it would be a lie. *sigh* So I deal, and life continues.

Burning Man:

I'm going to Burning Man this year. I'm not looking forward to it. Once I'm out there, I'm sure it'll be fine, but the folks that I'm going with are going extremely overboard with the planning. As is my way, the more they spread out, the more I compress. I'm bringing far less than I originally intended, and will probably trim it down even more. At this point, my intent is to spend a good deal of the time by myself, in the desert, writing (I'm been working on my calligraphy, and it's really cathartic to just WRITE stuff). I also anticipate a fair number of pictures. I'm bringing the D700 and the 24-70mm f/2.8, because fuck it. Might bring my 50mm f/1.4 (or the 85mm f/1.4), provided I can work out a way to swap lenses without excessive dust. The camera is weather sealed, but not weather-proof.

Ham Radio:

I'm done with it. The Yaesu mobile rig is spoken for, but if anyone out there wants a Kenwood TH-F6A for a reasonably mark down, please let me know.

Gender Dysphoria:

This is gonna be hard for me to write about. And it's a pretty new one. Well, actually, it's not so new. Due to some close friends opening up to me about it, I've come to the realization that I am, and have been having gender identity issues for most of my life. I'm not going to run out and get hormones and have my dick chopped off, don't worry; I'm (mostly) happy with my myself. There are just some aspects I'm coming to accept, and it's nice admitting things. I've always had transgender dreams, as early in my life as I can remember. I've always played female characters online, and more and more, in video games. I've always had strong leanings towards cross-dressing, but I'd always been hung up about self image. There was a recent interview clip with Dustin Hoffman about his role in Tootsie, and it helped me realize that while I might not make for a pretty woman, I would at least be an interesting woman, and that's got to count for something, right?

Introversion:

I accept that I'm an introvert. I can be extremely outgoing sometimes, but I have to recharge. I have to retreat. I'm coming to accept that this is a fact, along with my depressions. I just have to recognize the signs and take appropriate measures. I'm in one of these periods now. It's not really helping, due to being hung up about my brother, but I'm still feeling it. No Twitter, no MUCKs, no IMs. Though it's not like I read Twitter anyway. It sort of becomes pointless when you realize no one reads your tweets, anyway, due to being spammed by a thousand irrelevancies.

Everything Else:

I'm dieting again. Low fat, low carbs, low calorie. I've relaxed the veg requirement, since a lot of faux meat is carbolicious. I've also stopped taking my shot glass of supplements, so I need to get my vitamins from somewhere else. I'm doing pretty good so far.

I'm in debt up to my eyeballs, and it's starting to stress me out. Too many Kickstarters, too much crap, too much on Burning Man prep. I shouldn't be going, but I am. I need to decompress. I've toned back my spending, but it's slow going. I've ditched a bunch of "would be neat to have" and tried to focus on "needs" like food and fuel. It's hard, but I'm getting there. Unfortunately this means I won't be buying the Miata back from Kiteless. Something else I'm letting go of.

My renamed Jazz Band (Reveille and the Swingin' Tails) continues, though our prospects for performing at Further Confusion are up in the air right now. Responses from the Events Staff lead me to believe that IF they can fit us in, and despite having a reasonable attendance last year, we'll likely be on a smaller, side stage with no AV. Whatever. We'll deal. We're second string to egotists with bigger Twitter followings. We'll just have to swallow that bitter pill and keep playing out hearts out.

Work is going fine. It's been pretty stressful, but it's nothing like the cesspool that the previous job was.

Bean is doing fine, as well. Happy and bouncy and Bostonny as ever.

The End:

That's all, folks.

Much love to all of you. Thanks for reading.

On being left behind

As I sit here falling deeper into a depression I thought I'd defeated, my thoughts are tinted with ripples and refractions that are the result of my current...we'll call it a mental imbalance. When I read this later, I'll probably wonder what I was thinking, and how it came to this. That's fine. What matters is that this is happening now, and this is what I'm feeling now. Why don't I keep this to myself, you might wonder. I do have a private, hand-written journal, full of meandering thoughts and deep feelings that no one will ever see. But right now, I want to climb a mountain, I want to scream, and I want to see where it echoes and how far it carries. I want to cry out in bitter rage until my throat goes hoarse and I spit blood, before I tumble off that mountain and fall to the bottom, nothing but a wreck of a man who has no choice but to recover enough to climb that mountain again, when the need inevitably arises.

I live my life in a particular way. My way is the solitary way of calculation, planning, reflection, and preparation. This often leads to disappointment when things don't quite go the way I'd expected them to go, a fact which bothers me, in that I often wish I was the type of person who could be spontaneous, who can pick a direction and go, and not trouble themselves with the negative possibilities along the way. That person is not me. So instead, I take my time, I research, I lurk, and when the time is right, I make my move, and try accomplish my goal. It's all in the timing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it fails.

Let's take a hypothetical situation, in which a friend of mine decides to embark on a quest to attain a skill that was something I had been tangentially interested in for many, many years, but hadn't had the opportunity to delve deeper into. Let's assume that this friend suggests that maybe we could acquire this skill together, and thus, strengthen the friendship. This is a good thing.

The skill in question was not difficult to acquire, and before much time had passed, we'd both succeeded. Thus, hypothetically, begins the actual execution and enjoyment of said skill. My way is the solitary way of calculation, plan--yes, yes, you got all that (presumably). I take my time, I plan my steps, and as I'm just beginning, my friend has already dove in headfirst. I withdraw, because I'm intimidated. My timing is off. And my friend continues. He is an extremely social individual, and he tells me he wants to take part in all facets of this new activity, and that he might, perhaps, aim for a leadership goal. My brain immediately extends into the realm of belief that his true goal here is to exploit a heretofore unexplored realm in which he can become the center of attention. This already happens in many social situations, in which he gathers a flock of sycophants, and relates stories and parables and various and sundry that has his listeners on the edge of their seats. This is the kind of person he is. I envy it, and I hate myself for that envy; hate begets hate.

I invest in more apparatus to enhance my experience in this activity, partly thinking that this will kickstart my involvement. I attempt to join in with some of these people with whom my friend has been interacting. The first experience is positive, but short. This bolsters me. I can do more. I can do THIS. So I attempt it again, in another venue. I am summarily dismissed and passed over, not once, but twice. I am crushed. And my friend carries on, while I retreat, further and further and further, until the dark clouds of my broken brain cover everything I see, and my world becomes a stormy landscape of hopelessness.

Thus, was I left behind. My conclusion, ultimately, is that I should have not have tried to keep up in the first place. I know my limitations, and they are many. My attempts to push beyond them inevitably end in failure and disappointment. It is an unrealistic expectation to hope other people will slow down to match me. The way of the world, after all, is to sink or to swim.

And here I am, left in a sorry state of reflection, in which everything is dark and gloomy, and I can't see a way out of the storm. My only option is to wait until the clouds part, and I can see the sun again. I don't know when that will happen. In the meantime, everything I know and do is negatively affected. My logic understands this, but since when have emotions bowed to logic? It takes a greater will than mine to make that happen. So I bite my tongue, not knowing which is actually crooked: the world, or myself. How can you see in the darkness if you're not sure if what you're holding is a flashlight or a hand grenade?

-Reveille

EDIT: Yes, writing this made me feel a bit better. And no, it's not so hypothetical. I'll talk to him about it, but...my way is the way of blah blah blah blah. I need to make sure there is actually a problem, and that it's not just me.

SuperPack video

For those few of you who:

1. Still read LJ
2. Give a shit about (amateur) Jazz
3. Can sit through a long-ass video

I'll post this here. SuperPack plays at FC2013. Video courtesy of tsuyoto

SuperPack jazz Ensemble at FC 2013!

The jazz band I'm a part of will be playing Friday night at Further Confusion 2013. We'll be playing a 1 hour set at 3pm on Friday the 18th, on Main Stage. Come by to hear some jazzy tunes, and have a good time!



We'll be playing a lot of old school tunes, with a few silly arrangements mixed in (you'll know them!). If you'll be at FC, it'd be super cool if you could come give us a listen.