Heart Break and Self Doubt

I have been struggling a long time with who I am and where I want to go in life. At 59 years of age, most people have those questions settled. The vision of who I think I am and how the world responds to me is as different as the shores of an ocean. The gap feels that wide sometimes. I have not always been a good friend to some people and my loyalty to many has been trashed more times than I could count. The truth is also that I have learned a lot about myself in the last fifteen years and have tried to alter that to be as true and honest and good as possible. But, it does not always work. 

I get point of my reflections came when I had some diagnosis for PTSD and severe anxiety. Game Changer. Like, serious game changer to understand my behavior and why I am the way I am. That came around 2018/19 or something like that. So, not that long ago. Fortunately, we were moving into a world where people were having more empathy and compassion for people with issues like those. Sadly, not everyone is on board. And because everyone seems to be suffering from anxiety and is self medicating the rest of us get swept under the rug as being weak or broken and not worthy.  So freaking frustrating when people you love and care for have no sense of what it means to be in that bubble. 

Just curiously I did a search on this site to see what entries I made about this before like this mental health search and anxiety and PTSD with a lot of overlap. (Note: I saw references to my other blogs which are all contained in this version now). 

The Reason for this Post

Anyway, the impetus of this post is about a friend who said some very unfriendly things about me and I am still reeling after a month or more. I Invited someone to stay with me in my home who I loved dearly but was worrying that our friendship was being tested. I took off work for the days he and two of his friends were visiting and spent a lot of time with them to see if it was real or my imagination. To me, the weekend was absolutely fantastic on every level. There was some subtle drama here and there, but it did not seem to have anything to do with me. 

On our last evening out, he suddenly turned on me and said a lot of really mean things. Critical feedback is one thing, but this was really ugly and mean. Exactly a minute before his attack on me, I was thinking: “Wow, I loved our time together this weekend! Our friendship is solid,” I said to myself. Then – blamo. 

We went back to the house. I said nothing. I went up to my bedroom and closed the door and gently let that content pass through me. He came up and started to apologize, but then he dug his heels in deeper. I told him I was not ready to say anything about what he said. I mentioned that nothing he said was kind, helpful, or caring that I needed time to process the information. So, the next morning, calmly we talked. I asked him to let me say what I needed to say. He did and was unapologetic and that was that. 

I called him a week or two later and he dug in. It was the moment when I felt a little crack in my heart. 

When is “I love you, Scott” a weapon and not an honest expression? 

The bigger picture is more messy and would involve me sharing things I can’t. But people around this friend were also letting him down and maybe I got the blowback from it. Maybe I was simply not a good friend. If that is the case then all I can say is thank you for the memories and goodbye. This person was there in a handful of my happiest moments in life. We shared a handful of amazing memories, mostly tied to our mutual Burning Man experiences. 

Karma is Real

Some who read this, if at all, might know of several circumstances in my life that I was not a good friend. At least one of them was really high profile. Karma –  

“Hinduism identifies karma as the relationship between a person’s mental or physical action and the consequences following that action. It also signifies the consequences of all the actions of a person in their current and previous lives and the chain of cause and effect in morality.”

A person can change their Karma through acts of kindness and empathy. I have been trying a lot harder over the years. I have a lot of regrets and letting them go is really hard. I still think about them in the context that: though I cannot change the past I can do better moving forward. If there is a chance to heal the past then it has to flow into my path and through in order to keep moving ahead, because going backward is not going to work for anyone. A bunch of AA people are turning in their graves with that one. 

Melissa, Me, Brian, and Ron

To Melissa**, Grant*, Keith, Eloy, Adolfo and more I ask your forgiveness – because when I knew you I was not ready for what that relationship meant. Did I miss anyone? 

*Grant sent me a friend request this week on Facebook and we had a short conversation. It was nice. 

**I see Melissa around every here and there and she looks super annoyed I am in the same space she is in. Her and I went through a super dark breakup. Our friendship was pretty special in it’s day, but there was some super dark moments I had to separate myself from. Then some assholes stirred up some drama and pulled me into that caused it all to explode. It played out huge at a Leadership gathering in SF before I moved there in front of everyone. Super crazy. I have since learned more details and – wow. I do not expect the relationship to be repaired but the blast radius was huge and there is still radiation. 

Just taking a moment

There is a lot coming this week with life changes. I am starting a new job, Waffle is finally moving here 100%, and he is also starting his new job. We now need a 2nd car. No one jumped in to help finance the publication of my book. Mental health stuff is taking a new form, having gone through so much to get to a better place. So much.

The original plan was that Waffle was going to move here on August 1st and life would continue from there. It took a lot longer for me to find a job, which was unexpected. It is my own fault because I could have been more proactive and realistic about what I was going to do. I told myself that cooking was going to be my last choice, but I just needed to earn a living and I can cook with one arm behind my back. So, I am going into Hot Kitchen Banquets at one of the bog hotels in the area starting in two days. 

Waffle moving here will be amazing. We have been apart for the better of three months. While in transition, I put a lot of work and effort into this house. I want to make this a home and a place we can host guests and friends. Waffle is not in the same mindset as me, but I like having people over. 

I wasted so much money in my efforts for this house. I would estimate I burned through at least $3k on stupid shit. Worse was the plants I bought for my garden area (backyard) because everything died except 3 plants. And now I want to dig in and do more. But, in a more thoughtful way. So we will see when I can afford that. One of the things I want is a lot of green in the backyard. 

My book fundraising venture seems to have gone off in flames. It’s not a lot of money, but it is more than what I have right now. There are higher priorities with my own money so this venture will have to wait until next year. My only mission right now is to pay credit cards and save some money. 

And my mental shit has been a lot better. This has been a hell of a journey and I think I might write it all down one of these days. 

Brain dump complete. 

Burning Man

This week I decided it was time to declare I was not going to go to Burning Man. Fifteen years into this, I am starting to feel a lot of things about my involvement with the organization and see where it is a really unhealthy relationship. If I were to focus just on being a BRC Ranger, ignoring all the b.s., I would likely be fine. But, that is not how I roll. I hate injustice and hypocrisy so I cannot understand why so many of my fellow humans continue to support an organization that really forget that we (participants) are funding their jobs. They tell us what we need to know and feel and we gladly go along with it. 

And that – ladies and gentlepersons – is why it is time to take a big fat pause and evaluate the organization and decide if this is worth my time and energy.

I bitched about some of these things already, so no reason to rehash that. Go to www.queerburners.org and check out the blog there! I have to step away, because it has been an up hill battle for more years than it should be. Personal safety, discrimination, and commodification of BIPOC participants is just a lo of heavy shit. 

AND, I cannot really afford to go on a lot of levels. The new house, the dog, no job right now, blah blah blah… all reasons not to go and prevent a divorce. So… I leave it at that to let my own needs and wants figure out a better future for myself with the choice of healthier living. Healthier mind, wants, and people. And there ya go. It’s a toxic relationships as it is today. 

Buying a House

We have been working this year on a lot of things to set our future together. Getting married was just a step that was good for a variety of reasons. It has made us stronger together. It has created a new way of looking at what were doing and cementing in the thing that we are in this whole thing together. 

The process has been surprisingly easy, with the folks who re working our financing. My realtor has also been good to work with and I appreciate him a lot. Things feel scary as we have been investing in the idea of moving. It is right around the corner for dear friends. It is in a community I have missed so much. 

The levels of stress this week have also been super insane. Ugh. My brain hurts.

Updating some of the Galleries

To note >>> over there at the edge of this thing, I might have commented about the galleries being faulty and stop working. It took the NextGen people a long time to fix it, but that goodness until it is broke again. Wah wah. 

Anyhoo, since I just added pics from our New York trip from a while back I left out the story about this Korean pop-up we went to. It was getting a lot of buzz and Waffles was dead set to have it. It was a fixed menu served in courses and solid proof that people are just too desperate for something cool and this was far from it. It was pretentious to the hilt. Like, way overhyped and way not great. Here are my pics of each dish. Because I did that. 

This was an appetizer that started off the whole thing. It was just a sign of what was to come… ha ha aha ha

Burning Man 2022 – Waking Dreams

I thought I might do a better job at recalling all the details, but as I reflected back writing this I know I missed a lot. Without a lot of unnecessary jabber, there were good days and bad days. The bad ones were intensely hard and did my head in, in spite of some of the great things that happened. 

Would I go back to Burning Man again? I am less confident than ever right now. I have 2 ideas about the future. Either bring CMonster (aka Kimchee) with me in a camping situation with a camper or RV? Or, stick to regionals and more basic, local community events. 

So, the future is unclear. 

Day 1: Leaving the Bay Area – Friday, August 27th

It seemed like nothing was going to go right. I left Oakland before 11am and drove out. Traffic was okay and I stopped for food, some last minute supplies and then out to Burning Man. It was a real struggle, but nothing to keep me from moving ahead. 

  • Going to Walmart was an abject failure. In the past the company really stocked up on stuff Burners needed but they really dropped the ball.
    • Reno: out of almost everything I needed.
    • Fernley: Had a bike I could buy but not much more outside of food. The folks in Fernley, NV are so nice. 

Day 2: Arriving on Playa in Black Rock City – Saturday, August 28th

Got through the gates in 2 hours (a miracle) and got to my camp by 2am. The gate team was really rocking it out. I was camping with Scooter (Coffee Cup) and Kickstand (Propeller) + his bf Theo whom I barely got to know through the week. I was in a tent, Scooter slept in his Honda and Kickstand + Theo slept in their very comfy, a/c filled RV. 

Day 3: Sunday

I was genuinely anticipating this day like crazy, because I was working to get certified as a Black Rock City Ranger – and I was successful. I was elated, thrilled, and felt very blessed. I honestly did not think I would make it, but they welcomed me in. It was a 10+ hour shift working with 3 mentors walking through the city and just being there to help people

What is a Black Rock City Ranger? They are a representative of the city that essentially works like a host at a party to keep people happy. Not cops. Not authorities. But, given the wrong circumstances there is problem solving techniques that have authority. I hope to never employ those, because I really enjoyed answering questions from people and helping them help themselves. 

  • Certified as a Black Rock City Ranger after a 10+ hour shift with 3 mentors! 
  • Went out after and had a great evening with my L.A. Boys

Day 4: Monday

Hard, hot day, which was going to be the theme for the rest of the week. 

Got to catch up with a lot of people this day, which I really needed. Still, missed a lot of people I wanted to see. 

Caught up with Raul and Dago after they arrived and visited them over at Comfort & Joy for a while

  • Santa & Zebra at the HOTD which filled me with joy
  • Matt, the rest of Land of Monkey – meeting up and hanging out for a while 
  • The guys from Dickstracted Camp – Estaban & Leo
  • Over to  Beardhaus to see Fireball and saw Migelitoo (a one time serious crush) 
  • Jill and Ron at Orphan Endorphin
  • Megan at Spanky’s (never saw Jonathan at any time I went by)

Day 5: Tuesday

Planned a day with Raul and Dago which did not go as planned. There were a few things that went really verkakte and I might have 2 full blown anxiety attacks over it. It was rough… like rough. It was my first night feeling overwhelmingly defeated and to the point in my head that was truly dark. It was going to happen again later in the week, but I did not handle it well and made some really bad decisions with where and how I spent my time. This might have been a huge breaking point for me. 

Day 6: Wednesday – my favorite night

Me standing over a piece I was excited to visit with Nico on Wednesday

My schedule for Wednesday was super booked. I went over to my old camp (Land of Monkey) to hang out, and as I started out I realized the boots I was wearing were cutting into my foot. So I turned around to change shoes. Ignoring how sore my feet were to begin with, I changed and went on. 

By later afternoon my feet were screaming at me for several reasons. The cut, the soreness of my bottom of my feet, and my knee kept going out. I walked back from Monkey in spite of it. 

Ra and Dago and Dimitri

However I had plans with the boys that evening. My bike had broken down. My feet were all I had. But I was bemoaning how sore I was and the lovely Ra (Raul and Dago) along with Rico managed to get a gold cart that 9 of us could ride on and tour the playa together enhanced to the max and have a great evening. This was the best night I have known in so long. I was so happy, filled with love, filled with pure joy. I sore feet.

Because I was working the next day (starting at 6pm), I bowed out on the kids at 2am and went to bed and got a good night sleep. 

Day 7: Thursday

My first duty night as a Black Rock City Ranger with a 6+ hour shift. I was sooooo worried I was going to end up with some kind of jerk, homophobe, agro-jerk that I had to prepare myself for anything. I did get partnered with a person named Ranger Group Hug. If a Care Bear and a Rastafarian had a baby you might recognize “Group Hug”. She was super amazing. 

On the other hand, my feet hurt so bad I was dissolving on the inside. I was not 100% there, but I pushed through it because I really wanted “Group Hug” to see me as someone fun and a good partner. She was infectious. When I got off my shift,  had to walk back to camp at a super slow pace. I ate something and went right to bed. 

Day 8: Friday – when it spiraled out

I was taking a day off between Thursday and Friday because I wanted to. I considered working another day, but I was at Burning Man to have more fun than work. Maybe that was where I was going wrong, because I woke up with the weight of the world on my shoulders. The pain from the previous 3 days was breaking me inside. 

Bonus! I was given a meal on the commissary from Burning Man for my Thursday work-shift. So, Scooter and I went down and I had real food – with meat in it! I ate chicken, I’m not that into meat but I did it. And it was tasty. With lots of veggies and iced tea!!! Yeah!!!!! 

On the way over, Scooter managed to get my bike “functioning”, but it was a problem most of the way. I had to step 5x to catch my breath. I was unable to control my breathing. It was crushing. SO, I told him at lunch I was thinking about leaving. It was the last straw and I was dying inside. 

My suite at Circus Circus

To tell you I was in a dark place in my head, would be an understatement. 

If I drove directly home I would have arrived about 1am, and I was already flamed out. So, I stopped at the Circus Circus after using Hotels.Com to find a place… ended up in a 1 bedroom suite that cost a pretty penny. Fuck. Ate at a buger place and slept like a baby in a large king sized bed alone. 

Day 9: Saturday -Circus Circus Hotel and driving home

The night before, I washed some of my clothes in the sink at the hotel because I could not find anything in the car after I parked. I got up, bailed on Reno, and went home to my honey-bunny. 


I have to learn about what brings me joy and what brings me down – in more ways than one. It would seem as plain as the nose on my face, but the mind, heart and id all seem to speak different languages. 

My own personal health issues took over at some point, be they mental or physical. I was not taking care of myself very good and I made it impossible for anyone around me to see how much I was struggling. Anyone who is reading this, any friend of mine who might dismiss this as drama, please unfriend me now and move on. I was in a deep, dark, bad place.

Friends of mine from Orphan Endorphin were dealing with a loss of a campmate, and that impact kept playing over and over in my head. I would never want to leave people I cared about in a wake of pain. Mostly, and seriously CMonster who matters to me a lot. 

I was right there. I could understand why he chose to leave. They… because there were others too. I heard about 2 people that week that planned their end and I was seriously trying to figure out if it was my turn. 

But that did not happen. I chose to leave BM because of the choices I made that were wrong for me. To find myself a better place to ponder my future… I left. 

2014 Back from the Burn

10659432_1472233903001438_2054450576133015670_nMy Burn this year was kind of a breaking point for me where I think I had a chance to do better but I kinda fell apart. I went sick… sicker than I thought… with bronchitis brought on by mold in the house I was living in. When I got back it manifested into severe bronchitis and asthma. So you can imagine, even as I write this, that I am still in recover.

2014 Burning Man Experience

10538414_10203869561392025_7813978811161735816_nI did it again this year. I ran my theme camp Sun Guardians again and it went off well. I write a Sun Guardians Trip Report that was pretty technical and avoided any feelings. That was the thing… I felt really run over by a couple people, disappointed by a couple people, but mostly everyone was pretty damn awesome.

The camp happened and it was awesome. So that got me all wound up and I started working on all the plans for Sun Guardians 2015. Yes, and the plan has jumped the shark a little because the plan looks pretty freaking amazing. It’s huger!

As for Queer Burners I wrote Queer Burner Trip Report too. I kept it short and to the point because it is as if no one is really interested in criticism. It does not matter if it is critical or not. Douche baggery is permeating the mainstream burner events and it really sucks. The problem is the bitter old burners being invaded are being jerks while the wanna-be’s are also being jerks. Neither win and a majority of people are trapped in the middle.

My Own Take

1383415_10152714461856197_4876025989973729117_nI got to spend Burning Man with my partner for the fist time ever. That cynical, it’s always a joke, sarcastic Chinese/Combodian I share a bed with every night seemed to grow with the experience. Although my time was largely taken away with events and camp issues, he found his own being there with friends he will hopefully carry with him for the future.

As usual I did a lot of projects and commitments but the icing on the cake came in a couple forms: We had a date night Saturday on top of the Crisco Disco art car where I brought us crackers, hummus, and cheese – plus a box of his wine 10649910_1472234139668081_1443901505286901655_nwhich we never got into which was fine. We had an amazing night. Next, when we left Burning Man we had a nice hotel moment – sexy sexy.

It was a weird week. I felt very depressed a lot through this week and lonely… of all things. Most of the week I found myself completely left behind because things needed to get done and it sucked. I had some good support and one of my leads completely fell down on me and failed to do his job. Thank goodness others stepped up.

The loneliness in the middle of a crowd of 66,000 people just completely sucked. The high points made it all worth while. I had some fears that never came to light and was hit in the face by things I did not see coming. I lost two friends this year … that sucked.

My camp… did it surpass 2013? In many ways it did but in other ways it fell apart. So… all the work I did since coming back will hopefully name 2015 strong. There is more in the Pictures Page.


2014: Caravansary

yeah, it was like that

yeah, it was like that

Meh… could be cool but I think a lot of people will basically not get it. Seems kind of on the same level as Evolution. It was a decent theme idea but not a lot of effort into making it really scream. There were a few Flinstone cars running around… a few Fred’s (Yabba Dabba Do) kind).

Time will tell. This is going to be my last year at Burning Man. As much as I love this world, there is sometimes a time to just move on.

(I found this pic on the internet… this guy in the image was aparently M.Obama’s hair stylist… good for him.)

Burning Man Out

I have seen it in other people and I see people bounce back from it with a variety of results. I think I am feeling really done in by this thing and I am struggling to get a grip on it. I struggled to be part of the Burning Man community as a leader/do’er/or anything meaningful because I really immersed myself.

When I joined the Burning Man community in 2008 I come in through the Las Vegas Burner community and became integrated and began participating from day #1. Captain Bill put me in charge of some drunk idiot and I made sure he stayed out of trouble for the night.

His wife (Captain Bill’s) Amber gave me my playa name; Toaster. I think it happened a short while after my arrival as part of their decompression (or something like that) which was a launching platform into a new life for me.

I found spirit and rejuvenation for the first couple years, but as politics and hypocrisy began rooting deep into what I thought were good things all I could see was a cancer growing out of control.

One of the owners of burning man once told me I was a “burr under her saddle” and she padded it to imply there was a good and bad side to that. I called out shitty behavior that I saw happening and in the end it just buried me.

I left Vegas partially because of the drama and craziness of people who were supposed to be leaders in this community.

It’s so much about the drugs and sex and it is not the hippie love fest people think it is. There is homophobia, sexual assault, and practically condoned alcohol and drug abuse rampant out there; at the BRC or in the community. I am not innocent about these things, but I think I have gone as far as I can.

I have huge projects that need to be given to someone who cares, but the level of ambivalence and narcissism with leaders and community members is deafening. They say it is like herding cats. I say it is playing dodge-ball with 50,000 Hellen Kellers.

So, I am seriously considering bowing out entirely and with that clsing this chapter of my life. Not sure it is for me anymore.

What next?

It’s occurred to me that my life at Burning Man may well be finished. This year the organization did such a horrible job taking care of their own I might finally have been benched.

I worked hard, loved hard, tried hard to be an advocate but since I joined this world the quality of people I have met has increased, but the quality of people I have met has shifted.

So many signs have come up that seem to be telling me to conclude this chapter. It’s hard to believe. I went through  my mid-life crisis and came out the other side very tattered.

What will happen next? I don’t know. I am still moving forward with my art project and my theme camp and see if any of it comes to reality. Burning Man was like a narcotic and I am in line for more. Dammit.