Taking the website in a new direction, sort of

When I set out to create this website I had a very loose idea of what I wanted to do with it. Initially it was partly a blog where I could process the things I discovered in life. Often times writing about my personal habits, milestones etc. It was also partly an avenue for me to hone my writing skills as I navigated the muddy waters of college and sailed into the corporate world of creative writing as a profession. It also served partly as a site for me to share my memories and thoughts on topics that I enjoyed ranging from comic books to video games, toys, horror movies as more. At no point in that did I ever lock it down into a single format, theme or topic. In fact the reason I settled on my tagline being Where Chaos Resides is simply for the fact I never wanted to tie myself down.

Much like my own life this place is ever changing. I have moved countless times in my lifetime. I have had more jobs than I can even remember. I have had very few things I can consider to be stable in my world. Even my hobbies and interests are flexible as I found myself going from model trains, to programming computers and designing video games to painting, reading and collecting comic books, then toys and video games to collecting and obsessing over old movies and TV shows. The truth is I float through life ever seeking something new to  hold my attention for a time before I move on to the next experience.

There is an old saying that I use as kind of a springboard. It refers to the jack of all trades yet master of none. In a way that describes me. But I want to take it a step further. You see while I do admittedly bounce from one fleeting interest to the next I do have a few key elements that provide a common thread throughout it all.

That is where I want to take this website moving forward. To put it simply my goal is to write about whatever I feel like writing about. I don’t do this for you, the reader. I don’t do this for the audience. I do this for one person. Me. I do it for me. If I  have readers then great! Welcome aboard. If not that’s fine you probably weren’t ready for my brand of crazy anyways.

Despite constantly migrating from one format to the next while exploring several different topics over the years one thing has remained the same. I have held to a standard of editorial ethics that mandates I refrain from using profane or vulgar language in my writing. This has been a rule I have taken some liberties with as-needed on a case-by-case basis. Still, I have largely held to it.

So here is the sum of the changes I will be making to the site going forward. The first change was removing the admin account and transferring articles written under that banner to my new name. This has allowed me to further promote my transformation into the woman I am becoming.

The second change I am making is throwing caution to the wind, so to speak. What I mean by that is I am going to break the mold and write articles, posts, and other types of content that better reflects my range of moods. Some days I will write cohesive articles sticking to a strict editorial guidelines that will develop as I sharpen my skills. But I will also write incoherent gibberish legible only to me and my warped mind. This may manifest in many forms.

Third, and this is fucking serious! I am dropping the self-imposed language filter and proceeded forward with the same usage of fucks, shits and damns I use in my regular language, including my podcasts and YouTube videos where I have never held to the same filter. I realize this is only a slight departure from the norm but it is something that I am expecting will provide me with the flexibility to be more real.

Fourth, I am dropping the pretext. This is *MY* fucking website. I make the damn rules. In other words I will write about whatever the hell I damn well please. I have held to this to some extent while holding back in some ways. Not anymore. The new rule is simple. If I have a thought and I wish to express it or flesh it out, this is where I will be doing that moving forward.

This does not mean I won’t occasionally write a meaningful essay on Nintendo or some review of a new horror movie I just witnessed. What it does mean is I will broaden my range of writing styles while I tighten my focus to shave off the things I care little for. Instead I will just write whatever the fuck comes to my mind and not give a shit what people think. Period. Stay cool.

Giving poetry an honest try: Finding my emotional voice

At no point in time have I more regret for not completing college than I do now as I embark on the journey to discover my poetic voice.

The reason I say that is because while I was in college I studied creative writing, news writing, technical writing and basic English classes, among others. But I never got to take that poetry class I coveted from the moment I selected Journalism as my major.

I don’t need to spend any time recounting the events that led to my leaving college before I was ready. Rather I will step aside that and focus on my newfound appreciation for poetry as I begin to find my emotional voice.

Not long ago I asked an online group for advice on how to write poetry. I received a range of answers ranging from the very helpful to the obvious. Still the one piece of advice every poet had that stood out was writing from the heart.

Until recently my heart was filled with hate, anxiety and anger. These are not emotions that serve the kind of poetic voice I was hoping to develop. I wasn’t entirely hopeless, but I was still living a lie as I remained in denial of my true self.

Like so many other aspects of my life that have begun to chance since I started transitioning so too as my outlook on life. I’ve started to feel a broader range of emotions than ever before. Sometimes I sit alone in my house on my couch and cry. I don’t even feel bad and it’s not even a sad crying, just tears.

I have also noticed my moods beginning to shift. This has been something I was warned would happened but nonetheless I failed to realize the true extent to which it would affect me.

I am not say for a second only women have the range of emotions to write good poetry. Far from it. See I was already a hot mess so to speak because my emotions ruled me. But the strongest feelings I had came from my deep rooted self loathing as I refused to accept reality. It took me a while to get past that even once the transition began.

Right now my interest in writing poetry stems from a new found emotion I have never dealt with before. I wrote about it here.

As my range of emotions expands so too does my interest in expressing those emotions. Of course as my heart flutters for the one who ignores me I will concentrate on the feelings that spawn from that agony. But I am absolutely certain there will be other experiences that can ignite the flames of my creativity.

I can say that these newfound feelings are absolutely pumping the creative juices through my brain. As much as the pain that pumps into my heart through my veins that is.

I am fairly certain there will come a time not too far from now where the subject of my attempts at poetry expand beyond the here and now. In fact I am already planning on taking a notepad to some of my favorite peaceful places to see what imagery comes to mind.

Right now my poetry skills are most decidedly best described as amateurish. For the time being I am a student of the craft fumbling around in the dark with no teacher to guide my way. I suspect I might someday bring myself to either purchase a book of poems to get some examples at the very least. There may come a time when I enroll in an actual academic course to fully explore the medium.

Now truth be told it’s not like I am completely blind in this matter with no prior experience. Before I settled into news writing as a career I had lived a life as a musical entertainer. I previously wrote several songs, three full-length CD’s worth in fact. Each song written can be considered a poem of sorts in its own way. That being said even I realize that I was not any good at songwriting.

I can’t pretend that I am going to start writing poetry and suddenly become the world’s greatest poet. Not by a long shot. What I can do, however, is accept the changes in my heart that have opened me to new experiences. This will undoubtedly translate into providing me with new ways to express myself. Hopefully in a manner which is less aggressive than that which I am most well-known. In the meantime, stay cool.

The changing heart beats with the tides of time

I remember my first crush. Her name was Rachel Penn. I was in the first grade. She had strawberry blonde hair and the cutest freckles. Unfortunately I don’t remember much else beyond that as my other memories of her have been lost to time.

You often hear people say it’s better to have loved and lost then never have loved at all. That’s up there was other platitudes like heart knows what the heart wants or even follow your heart. None of those are incredibly helpful. Especially when you’re dealing with a situation involving a person who is undergoing a metamorphosis.

Before I started transitioning I did extensive research and I talked to other people online who went through what I was about to go through. I wanted to know what other people who took this journey experienced. Even though everyone told something different and they all basically said your results will vary , I still find myself being caught off guard by the changes I’m feeling.

I knew once I started hormones I was going to feel things I’ve never felt before. I can honestly say I’ve cried more tears in the four months that I’ve been on estrogen then I have in the 37 years of my life prior to that milestone. I feel things I’ve never felt before some good and some not as good.

I’ve always questioned my gender identity knowing that I never felt comfortable with the stereotypes. But I never really stopped to question my sexuality. When I was 11 years old tell myself I was a girl but I also said I was a lesbian because I was attracted to girls, or so I thought.

I do remember the first time thinking a boy was cute. It was that same first grade class his name was Marvin Wisehopple. At the time he was probably one of my best friends. His parents were friends with my parents. His mom babysat me and my sisters from time to time while my mom babysat him and his sisters also from time to time. I remember the day he came into class wearing glasses and remember being smitten. I quickly buried those feelings. It wouldn’t be until I was a teenager watching boy meets World before I would reconsider my feelings on male to male relationships.

Although I never had any Hang-Ups about lesbians or even bisexual females I still had an aversion to the idea being gay or the very least attracted to boys, perhaps bisexual.

A lot of things have changed since I started taking hormones. Some of them are physical breast development and softening of my skin which I am very appreciative of I’m grateful for.

Something happened the other day that changed everything I’ve ever thought or felt. I found myself considering not only the possibility maybe falling for a guy. But I actually found myself attracted to a specific person, a male friend I would have never considered a potential romantic partner. Well, I now find myself going Beyond curiosity. I find myself going Beyond even considering the possibility. I found myself smack dab in the middle of a crush, an infatuation in other words I began feeling romantic attraction to this person, this man.

If I’m being completely honest it’s not like I haven’t explored certain feelings through shall we say sexual fantasies. There’s a difference between arousal and a romantic attraction. The two are not interchangeable but they’re also not entirely disconnected.

I find myself yet again at a crossroad on a path I cannot follow. A path I cannot Traverse lightly. Because I find myself caught in the middle of wanting to consider the possibility of a romantic relationship with him. But, whatever happens I absolutely do not wish to jeopardize the friendship. Because I’d rather have him in my life as a friend then not at all. I’ve been here before developing very strong feelings for someone who doesn’t return them my way.

Whatever happens I want to tell him how I feel. How much she means to me as a friend. And let him know that I would never do anything to damage the friendship we have. But let him know if he ever decides to risk it seeking something better, closer even more real; I feel like I want to give him the chance to make that decision himself. Tell him how I feel. Let him make up his own mind on how to move forward if at all.

My plans now that the next generation of video game consoles has arrived

There are two new souped  up game consoles just now hitting the market. The oddly-named Xbox Series and the tried-and-true Playstation 5.

I am always one who gets excited whenever a a new console generations starts, but not for the same reasons as most people.

You see I am a thrifty shopper. I am on a tight budget. This has led me to develop a pattern where I don’t buy the latest and  greatest game console while it is still hot and fresh. You see I use a new console launch as an excuse to dig back into the catalog of previous generation consoles as those last-gen games will soon be filling the bargain bins.

It’s not that I don’t love buying a current gen console believe me, I do. But I often resort to a pattern where I give a new console a year, sometimes two, before I jump in. This way there is time for games to come to the system as well as budget titles to start hitting store shelves. During the interim is when I dive head first into the recently discounted last-gen games for the console I already own, while also padding out my retro collection.

Currently I am on what I would call a Playstation kick. I have always owned Nintendo consoles, Sega and Sony. So for me I like a wide variety of games. The thing that gets me most excited is exploring those back logs looking for hidden gems and games the general public may have already forgotten.

I do often try to buy a console while it is still currently being sold in stores and receiving new games, but mostly come in mid-to-late gen more often than not. It is rare that I will have to resort to buying a console after the fact, although it does happen. It is even more rare for me to buy one at launch. In fact I have only done that three total times in my entire life. The first time was a Nintendo DS. I had to play that Super Mario 64 DS remake. I also picked up Tetris DS and Mario Kart DS as soon as they were available. I couldn’t wait for that.

The second time I bought a console at launch was, surprisingly the Nintendo Wii. I had a gut feeling about that one so I stood in line to get it launch day. I was the only one standing in that line but I was still glad I did.

The most recent time I have bought a console at launch was also the first time I ever stood in line to pre-order a console. It was for the massively popular Nintendo Switch.

I do want to get a PS5 at some point in the future. There is a chance this time around, thanks to ya know Microsoft buying a certain game studio recently, I may pick up an Xbox console at some point too. But for now I am going to enjoy the massive influx of last gen games about to hit the used market as gamers flock to stores to trade in their old, outdated games to make room for those brand new, shiny next gen games.

For me a new console launch is as thrilling as it is for early adopters, just for an entirely different reason.

Riding the high of my first female right of passage

There are a lot of different experiences I witnessed my sisters and their girlfriends share I was left out of having. Things like slumber parties, dress up, group dancing and pierced ears.

I grew up in the 90s at a time when it was becoming increasingly more acceptable for males to have pierced ears but there were a number of societal rules on how they must be worn. I am not one to conform to societal rules all that much. In fact I consider myself pretty much a rebel by nature. That’s not to say the desire to pierce my ears wasn’t always there. I just never really cared for doing it the way other people expected me to. I was also somewhat turned off by the prospect of pain. I am kind of a sissy if  you want to use an archaic word. This shouldn’t be a shock. I am trans after all.

The experience itself began like any other. I started the day going to town to pay my car payment then I drove over to the dollar store to grab a few necessities. From there I spent some time walking around Target doing some shopping for makeup, clothes and other things to help me fight off my gender dysphoria.

Once I completed my rounds of the feminine side of the store I made my way over to the toy aisle as I often do. This time I failed to find anything I needed in my life so I left the store and went straightway to Claire’s to get my ears pierced.

Now I had previously been warned against going there but due to budgetary reasons I ignored those warnings.

I walked into Claire’s promptly as the clerk opened the door. I went straight to the desk and made my request. I asked to see their starter kits.

After weighing all the options I decided to spend a little bit more to get the black diamond a friend suggested. Then I sat down in the chair waiting for the clerk to punch a hole in my earlobe.

The euphoria I felt immediately upon completion is a feeling I have very little experience with. Before she handed me the bag with my starter kit inside a smile had crept up on my mask-covered face. From there I have basically worn that same smile to this moment right here and probably beyond.

I have only had a handful of moments where a burst of emotions of pure positive energy overwhelmed me. The most notable was the day I was hired for my first job at a broadcast TV station. I think I jumped into the air so high I nearly hit my head on the ceiling. This was a feeling I can’t describe other than pure joy.

It wasn’t just the notion I could finally buy cuter earrings to match my outfits, and mood, more closely than the handful of clip-ons I currently possessed. It was also a shared experience nearly every woman I have ever met has had. It was a moment of true bliss. There was also the benefit of having a permanent solution that would reduce the discomfort those said clip ons caused. I was getting to the point where the pain was becoming unbearable. Yet here I am already five days removed from the hole punch and I still feel practically nothing. They are just there. A reminder that my gender dysphoria is slowly melting away. Being replaced by a feeling of belonging.

I was so excited to show off my new earrings I immediately snapped a photo. It was at that moment I discovered the smile that was plastered on my face wasn’t going away. I drove home giddy as a school girl the entire ride. I don’t want to sound cliche and say oh it was the greatest experience of my life. But it was certainly a moment I will never forget. On top of that I think I might now be capable of putting my previous fear behind me of needles and get me that tattoo I have always wanted, but dreaded getting. Only time will tell if that comes to pass. In the meantime I am going to enjoy trying different types of earrings going forward.

What is it about LaserDisc that keeps dragging me back in?

If you have known me for any length of time you know I love movies. I also love to collect movies. I have them on DVD, Blu Ray, HD-DVD, Beta Max, VHS LaserDisc and so, so many more.

Now I love collecting films on all different formats, hell I even have at least 1 movie on 8mm film. I am not even that particular to be honest, I will buy a movie I never heard of if it looks cool.

So what is it specifically I love so much about LaserDisc?

With tapes, be it VHS or Beta Max there is an overpowering twinge of nostalgia driving me to open my wallet whenever I encounter a seller of tapes. But I don’t have that with LaserDisc. Now truth  be told nostalgia is a huge factor in my obsessive DVD collecting and one of the reasons I in fact shun the obviously superior Blu Ray in favor of buying the vast majority of my film collection on DVD. I started collecting DVD when I was just 19 years old.

But I  have no nostalgia for LaserDisc.

When I look at CED I find the format’s very existence fascinating. So much so I anxiously, rather impatiently I might add, waited for Technology Connections to wrap up his multi part series on the history of CED. It looks like a vinyl record but is actually a movie. It’s weird. I love weird.

Against LaserDisc is just an over-sized DVD. Sure it’s technically analog but it looks like a DVD. It uses the same artwork as a DVD. The outward packaging is similar to a record which does add to the collectible nature of the format. But there has to be more to it than that right? I mean I often hear proponents of LaserDisc brag about the artwork like that alone should justify spending dozens of dollars per film.

No there has to be more.

What about the elusive Super VHS? I have absolutely no nostalgia for that yet I continue to scour the internet listings for any hint of a true Super VHS release or player. I guess in a way you could chalk that up to my working in the broadcast TV industry. The first station I worked at had VHS shaped tapes that were not normal VHS. Now they probably weren’t S-VHS either (and NO the S in S-Video does not stand for S-VHS!) but it still contributed to my fascination with obscure tape formats. I mean TV stations used all kinds of funky dory tape decks. I love that. Even the station where I work now I believe has some Super VHS tapes in the back if I am not mistaken.

But again, Laserdisc is not a broadcast format. It is not recordable nor erasable. So my interest cannot be derived from my career field there.

If we continue down the list we eventually run into HD-DVD. Full disclosure I picked HD-DVD over Blu Ray initially and dug my heals in to the bitter end. Oh well mistakes were made. I have gotten over it you should too.

Hd-DVD is merely an extension of my beloved DVD. It makes sense to me. It was also the format chosen to succeed DVD buy the folks who make DVD. That is until Sony went the old Beta route and messed everything up, as they often do.

We can almost pin it down if we talk about Video CD. Of course we all know the mainstream story of VCD. But there is a lot of misinformation in the truth. I won’t try to set the record straight here, not enough time for that. What I will say is VCD has it’s root in the video game business and the early days of CD-ROM FMV games. The CD-i and 3DO game consoles both had add-ons that allowed them to play Video CD discs, among other forgotten formats I won’t delve into here. This is key. You see VCD is technically digital. It’s official name is Compact Disc Digital Video. It gets confusing from here but there is a one more lesser known format that connects LaserDisc to VCD. It is, not surprisingly but totally confusingly named CD Video. No not digital video. It is a LaserDisc the size of an actual CD, same as a VCD, but it is analog video and will play in your LaserDisc player.

This tidbit is what keeps me so fascinated by LaserDisc. It’s the journey from an over-sized and over-priced alternative to VHS that wasn’t even recordable progressed into a tiny obscure format most people don’t even know about before being turned inside out becoming what we know today as both DVD and Blu Ray in many respects.

The actual truth is what keeps me coming back to LaserDisc is the story behind it. The more I learn about the odd format out the more I want to build up a sizable collecting of the damn things. It just goes back to the more you know about something.

How transitioning has begun to alter my tastes in so many ways

I have spent my entire life holding onto the good parts of my childhood. My best memories like game night at the family dinner table. Or going to the video store to rent a movie for the weekend. I have been quite stubborn in many ways afraid, or even unwilling in some cases, to try new things. 

I watch the same TV shows over, and over. Mostly Boy Meets World, That 70’s Show, Friends and a handful of others. I have a staple crop of about 30 or so movies I re-watch on a consistently regular basis. Gremlins, Lethal Weapons 1 and 2, Star Wars, A Nightmare on Elm Street, American Pie 3, The Faculty are among my annual repeat viewings. I even replay Super Mario World on SNES at least once a month. I am very consistent. 

Naturally many things began to change once I started publicly transitioning. I suspected as much too. I find myself enjoying shoe shopping whereas before I dreaded the activity. As a “boy” shopping for shoes was an annual ordeal. I needed new shoes to replace the pair I wore out. As a girl I took my time and I savored the experiencing hand picking the perfect pair of boots. I only wore then to work 1 week and I already have the desire to hit the shoe sales and grab a few more. At first it was mimicking female behavior I witnessed from other girls I knew. But then walking out of the store with those boots I understood why women love shopping for shoes. It clicked. My desire to return wasn’t driven by learned behavior nor was it a need to experience that thrill of buying my first pair of women’s shoes. No, it was pragmatic. I love my boots but I am sad to say they don’t go with every outfit I intend to wear. Nor are they entirely fit for every activity I might find myself pursuing.

I started experimenting in makeup at first as a way to stave off my dysphoria. The more feminine I can appear the better I feel about myself inside. It was just a few weeks into hormone therapy I discovered the changes to my skin. My pores are noticeably shrinking. It was at that point I found myself taking a trip to the store in need to buy skin care products I would have never contemplated when I was living as a man. Yes, I was living a lie but I hid for so long certain mannerisms became the norm for me. Sitting at home applying those facial products as directed I felt something. 

You often hear men say women are high maintenance. This might be true but I have quickly discovered I find it strangely more fulfilling in some ways sitting down focusing on my appearance and healthy more so than sitting at home eating junk food watching Ghostbusters for the tenth time this year. Even my tastes in music, movies and video games are changing. 

I have read online accounts of transwomen who shared similar stories. Even reading women say their tastes and desires changed I wasn’t fully prepared for how much I would also be stricken by this.  

Today I walked out of the store with a basket full of items I would have never bought before I began transitioning. One item was a DVD copy of Mamma Mia. Now I have always been very unapologetically a fan of Abba so I suspected that day would come eventually. But I didn’t hide it and I wasn’t ashamed. I am going to explore the world with new eyes, new emotions and new feeling as my skin changes too. For now I will savor every new discovery I make as the world is more wondrous and magical than it has been longer than I can remember.