Q-word

I ditched one of my regular news reads today.

Based on what appears to be a completely internal narrative, the Gay Voices section of the HuffPo1 decided to change their name to Queer Voices. The explanation is that gay is too limiting and Queer is somehow more inclusive. Really? Are you effin’ kidding me? One of the most vile hateful words out there and it’s more inclusive? Hell naw! Even the normal definition is divisive.

I just can’t bring myself to support a news org that willingly uses a derogatory slur to describe us. Actually, I can but I won’t. I am the last person to be the word police but this isn’t about being politically correct at all. The rambling article they put out to announce the decision was full of self-serving justifications. If anything the tone was we refuse to every be considered normal or part of the whole so we are changing our name to prove it. The entire piece felt insulting and condescending wrapped in a smile of ‘we’re just trying to stay current.‘ Well, they can stay current w/o me and go straight to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to hell.

I normally don’t put much stock in hearing people talking about how ‘offended’ they are at [action of choice]. Being offended usually just means you don’t like something. As with a lot of things these days, people conflate ideas/actions/behaviors that are considered offensive to society at large with general every day actions they don’t like. Regardless, I was offended and deeply. I grew up listening to that awful word being hurled around as an insult and slur. While I was fortunate enough to escape childhood with only a little physical gay-bashing, I did not escape the jeers, taunts, and never-ending cruel names. ‘Queer’ was front and center and I will never willingly refer to someone that way. It has not lost its bite or derogatory meaning.

The argument that we are somehow reclaiming the word is absolute bullshit. It is not slang, it is a slur!2 Even here in SF said term is not accepted. Oh there is a contingent that feels the need to refer to themselves that way for sure. And that is their right. You can call yourself whatever you wish but don’t presume to speak for the whole. It’s flat out disgusts me we could consider naming a section of an online publication with global recognition with such a shameful slur. And I’m not alone. The reaction was swift and almost unanimous. The decision is not being met well at all. At last count the article was up to 200 comments and almost all were against it. At one point comments appeared to disappear; however, the site is notorious for outages and glitches with the FB commenting tool.

I am not queer, I am a man who happens to be gay. My orientation adds to my uniqueness but it does not define me. The idea that being queer somehow exclusively makes me special or different is foolish. Call it the LGBTI voices, rainbow voices, etc but don’t call it queer and pretend it’s OK now.

So far there have been no updates, no apologies, no "we had the best intentions" acknowledgments, nothing. I’ve taken them out of my news reader and told FB to not ‘show me stories from HuffPo’ at all. There are plenty of welcoming places online that don’t decide, based on the ideas of a few, renaming themselves an offensive slur is "looking to the future." I won’t be going back to that site as long as they demean us.

end of line




  1. Huffington Post []
  2. I’m struck here by the irony we can’t say tranny anymore which is just simple slang but we can use a slur to refer to ourselves. SMDH []

Top

This is a bit of gay adult themed rant today. You’ve been warned.

I’ve noticed a particularly annoying trend lately in various social media outlets. Basically, someone will show a compliment to a hot or attractive picture by commenting "top" as a one word comment. I must admit, I’m SMDH1 over this one. When I see this I’m immediately hit with a sense of sadness at the failed progression of our community. It is a self-reinforcing stereotype. And lest you think I’m overreacting to a simple comment, I’m not. I’m pointing out one part of a large pattern of self-destructive behaviors. Pick any medium for gay men to connect and you will find 1) people pretending to be something they aren’t or used to be, and 2) people afraid to admit their true desires out of fear of being marginalized as inferior or effeminate.

While the fight for equality is moving right along, we are moving backwards in our attempts to destroy old stereotypes. We seem intent on creating new even more restrictive ones instead I find it incredibly sad and pathetic we are still doing this to each other. The idea that to be considered attractive, muscular, successful, etc one must be a top reeks of insecurity and low self-esteem. How you look, dress, act, or behave has zero determination on your sexual role in bed. The fake bravado and never-ending attempts to appear masculine are just tired. For myself, I’ve just started assuming most of the loudest blowhards online are bottoms afraid to admit it. And I say that as a declarative statement, not a slight. The beard craze has sadly started taking on this role now as well.

We will never overcome the idea that being a bottom or the receptive partner during sex is somehow inferior unless we stop marginalizing each other. My first thought is to block the person because, as the saying goes, "I just can’t…" but that seems counter productive. Of course trying to mention it online just leads to flame wars and who has the time or energy for that? I’m definitely tarting to see why many older gay men withdraw from the community over time. They finally reach a point where they overcome the trauma and fallout from a lifetime of discrimination and they are left with a community at war with itself. I refuse to be like that but I admit I’m at a loss for solutions.

It is no easy task facing our own insecurities, but I’m living proof it can happen. Oh, I still have them but they do not drive my behavior anymore. I got where I am now because I spent over a decade of my life focused on healing myself and growing past my fears. I consider myself very lucky to have accomplished it with so little outside help. I now find myself struggling to find a way to help others and those around me. Don’t fall for the idea that being [insert stereotype of choice here] somehow makes you better or worse. It doesn’t. And you only end up hurting or alienating yourself in the long run. Be true to yourself. Be authentic in all that you do.

For many years, I listed axioms on my About page I try to live by. I took them down as they are such a part of me now I no longer need reminders. I think I will bring them back. One of them, and the most difficult for me to learn, I kept posted on my mirror ever day for over a year. It reads, "no one can make you feel inferior without your permission." I’m not sure who originally made the quote but it’s been used and reused quite often. As I struggled to identify and overcome individual insecurities, this axiom became more and more clear and a part of my daily thinking. It is the foundation for overcoming a need to meet or be a stereotype or unrealistic expectations.

I hope that if you are reading this and struggle with how you feel perceived by the "community", you can benefit from it. And if you’ve been fortunate to overcome it, please share your struggles and success with others when given the chance.

Hope springs eternal…




  1. Shaking my damn head []

Settings

I’m gonna geek out a bit today. If you’re an Android user like me and have upgraded to Marshmallow, you really should take some time to tweak your app permissions. With the 6.0 release, you now have the ability to turn on/off individual permissions by app. This has been one of my biggest frustrations with Android. Many apps are great and do wonderful things, but frankly they often do not need all the permissions they ask for at installation. Like, at all! And the down side of some apps having too many permissions is they eat away at your battery life. I’m definitely in the heavy user category and while I get good battery life on my Moto X, eliminating apps that waste the battery make it that much better. Of course, the developer might feel different but as an end user, I should have some say in that. Thanks to Google+, now I do.

In the past, it was all or nothing. If you really wanted an app, your only choice was to install it with all the permissions intact. If you were on a rooted device, you had options, but most people never root their phones for a variety of good reasons. Your left with deploying a task manager which basically acts on your behalf routinely killing annoyingly persistent apps in the background. An effective, albeit cumbersome fix. If you’re a power user like me and often need to really wring every ounce of juice out of single charge, being able to throttle juice hungry apps is a welcome change.

And if you’re already lost, any app you install needs permissions to access parts of the OS or hardware on your device. When you download the app, you get a list of the permissions it wants prior to installation. This is necessary in an open OS like Android. Obviously, a selfie app like Snapchat would need access to your camera to function properly. You would grant it permission at installation to access your camera. However, it also has access to my phone dialer, which it absolutely does not need. The unfortunate problem is many developers abuse this function or get over-zealous. You also have apps from 3rd party sites that use this to gain access to your device to perform nefarious things, like take pictures, send text messages, or make phone calls, etc w/o your permission.

With Marshmallow, you can now tweak the permissions once you’ve installed an app. For example, the Facebook app is notorious for being a battery hog. It constantly does pings, location checks, etc. Now you can change some of the settings to prevent it from being a hog. FB Messenger is another particularly annoying system abuser. It is by far my most hated app. I personally will never give FB my contacts or let it run my phone/texts so I disabled these. I also disabled access to location so it isn’t constantly pinging my location. All of this uses my cell connection eating up battery life. I’ve noticed a 15% jump just from tweaking this two very annoying apps.

To be clear, the apps are still requesting the data or access; however, the OS sends it null (generic or empty)) data to keep the app running properly. This negates any drain on the hardware and is a brilliant work around to a growing problem w/app developers. It effectively puts them on notice to keep it simple or face being checked by Google+.

You don’t need to be an expert but you do need a basic understanding of what you’re doing. Like I said, if you kill an app’s access to a function it needs, it won’t work or perform properly. The good news here is if you break it, you can fix it by re-enabling the permission in the app! Not every app will need tweaked. If your goal is better battery life, check out your usage stats to see which apps are the most egregious. Go into your apps manager in the settings, scroll to the offensive app, tap it, then tap permissions and disable the ones you don’t want it abusing. Done!

View

It is amazing the difference one small act of kindness can make in your day. A point of view of a particular supervisor really made my day today.

I took off the early hours of work for a chiro appt. I found out this morning I wasn’t gonna make it because I got word the doc was out of the office unexpectedly. Change in plans, now I’m gearing up to head in to work for one of the 2 hours I had scheduled to miss. Then I get a call from the doc’s office, he came back earlier than planned and if I arrive soon, he can seem me. Great, but now I’m behind schedule. Said schedule which I allotted 2 hours away from work to avoid getting behind on.

I skip heading back home and straight to work. I arrive to work with a few minutes to spare; however, I’ve not had food or drink yet. Forgetting what a lack of caffeine will do to me, I woof down one of my prepped meals and I’m 2 minutes late to my station. One supervisor walking by commented rather snidely about me missing line-up.1 No concern for my well-being or how I’m feeling, just the snide comment. I brushed it off w/o saying anything as I was late after all.

Another supervisor who witnessed this comes over and immediately asks not only how am I feeling but is there anything she can do to make my morning a little easier. I was so touched by her point of view and approach that my frustration and anger evaporated. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do but the compassion was an act in itself, and in an instant I was back to normal again. I thanked her profusely and let her know how much such small kind words meant to me.

It’s the little things we do that have a big impact on those around us. I normally consider myself immune to such things as I am pretty self-contained. I rarely need justification or validation for my good/bad behaviors. But while I accepted that I was late thru my own fault, it did not help my mood to have someone comment on it rather snidely. The act of kindness made me forget my woes and put me back in a proper frame of reference.

There is no real point other than the obvious one. I just felt like sharing.




  1. If I called in the first 2 hours, yes I’m aware I missed it. []

Bash

I can understand the Repugs eating their own but I’m struggling with the Dems doing it now as well. More and more lately, I’m seeing vitriolic and viscous attacks online between the Hillary and Bernie supporters. Even more surprising is seeing a lot of it from within the LGBT umbrella.

I don’t get it. Since when is it ok to disrespect people because they like a different candidate than you? Having a difference of opinion or even a healthy discussion on the pros/cons of [candidate] is great. However, resorting to baseless accusations, name calling, and personal attacks is counter productive at best. Last time I checked this was still a free country where every citizen had the right to freely vote or support the candidate of their choice. And for the few I’ve seen making comments like, "well if [candidate] wins, I won’t vote", you don’t deserve a vote. Voting is a privilege for adults not petulant children. And how is it helping the situation by alienating people who might be convinced to support your candidate of choice? I know I sure as hell don’t feel sympathetic when someone tries to shame me into changing my opinion. If anything, it solidifies my thoughts. I blame the lack of face to face interactions that social media creates. People are emboldened to behave poorly w/o fear of retribution.

I rarely unfriend or unfollow folks but I’m reaching a point where I just don’t care anymore. And it’s never folks I know personally because they honestly wouldn’t remain in my life as a friend with such behaviors. Anyway, I unfollowed several folks today and even unfriended two who were just awful. The comments ranged from insults, personal attacks, and even threats. I just don’t have time for that. Rather than starting a flame war, it is easier to just unfollow or unfriend said folks.

Politics is always a sensitive subject because most folks often project their own views onto others. When they abruptly discover said view isn’t shared, discord arises. That’s perfectly fine and acceptable. However, when your behavior is in question, you take away any chance of success at winning your case in the minds of others. And if you really really really want your candidate to win, get off your ass and join their campaign. Get out and shake hands, talk to people, share your thoughts on how great said candidate is. Don’t whine and bash others on social media who don’t agree with you. Frankly, said behavior does way more harm than good.

45

Guess who’s year older today? Me!  lol  Forty five years old and still going strong.

Funny, in a lot of ways I don’t feel 45. I’ve always felt young for my age so that really isn’t a surprise. I thought I would have grown into it by now though. haha  In other ways, I definitely feel 45. After my last rant about my back, I’m clearly not as spry as a I used to be. My body, against my best wishes, is starting to show its age. The grey that used to be just in my hair has taken over my beard and is encroaching on my chest. Is it normal for grey hairs to travel down the torso as one ages? I always thought it started at the bottom and worked its way up? My wrinkles are a little deeper and a little larger in number. Anyway, I don’t mind my age. I certainly don’t resent it. I know a lot of gay men start missing their youth to the point of distraction around this time. Not me. Sure, I wish my body was still younger but aging is part of the human condition. I like my wrinkles and grey hair. And unlike some, I don’t feel inferior or less relevant as an aging gay man.

But let’s face it, much of our original culture revolved around being young and attractive.1  Actually, it’s even simpler than that. It revolves around sexual attraction. In that regard, when you delve past the differences, straight men really aren’t that far removed. I realize I’m generalizing here. I’m not attempting to marginalize all of us into one category. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, a lot of guys around my age and older grew up fighting for an identity as well as being accepted. Of course, also being men into other men, sex and sexuality was a big part of our emerging culture. Sadly, many of us developed coping-mechanisms to compensate for our struggles. Many of those coping-mechanisms became wide spread and part of our culture over time. But being part of our culture doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for us. On a tangent, it isn’t surprising really. We had to overcome stereotypes that portrayed us as weak and inferior on top of fighting to find acceptance in society. Our ‘culture’ grew out of abandonment, rejection, and an underlying need to belong. And mixed in with all of that was fear, anger, loneliness, and desire. The sexual freedom became a trap many of us couldn’t escape.

For myself, I was very insecure as a young man. I found my validation thru sex. And without realizing it, it became a very compulsive habit. It was a fix for a need I could never satisfy. It became a viscious circle and I consider myself very fortunate to not only have discovered this in myself but also be able to overcome it. A success due in no small part to my blogging. And most surprisingly of all, I found strength in myself.2  That strength allowed me to let go of detrimental coping-mechanisms and move on. I can tick off a list of areas in my life where I found the most growth. Realizing my self-worth should come from within instead of how I was perceived by others was one of them. Frankly, I see gay men all the time who have yet to realize this. You can’t overcome what you don’t see as a problem. They often just grow bitter with age over what they perceive to have lost and resent it. Or more astutely, they resent those who still have it.

So here I sit a 45 years old. My life isn’t perfect and neither am I. But I like my life and who I am. I have regrets but they are overshadowed by my accomplishments. I still look forward to my future. In the best of ironies, when I was younger I never thought I’d live to be very old. Now I find myself looking forward to old age.




  1. I say original culture because it is definitely changing now []
  2. To this day, I still get a little surprised to have found it in myself []

Spasms

The down side to my recent vacation was a major back spasm midway through it. The day before NYE to be exact. I’m not sure what caused it but boy was it a doozy. We were right in the middle of a nice lunch with Shawn’s sister and her new bf. I started to bend over to untangle Cooper and before I got even halfway it hit me. I stood back up hoping it was just quick and gone but no. The muscles were completely fucked and painful. We had to cut it short and I could barely get in the damn car, much less drive. I spent the rest of the day laying on an air mattress back at the condo avoiding movement. I hoped and prayed with rest, ice, and staying off of it would make it go away quickly. In a word, no.

So yours truly spent NYE laying on a mattress watching The Last Holiday on my tablet. Glorious huh? haha Honestly, I wasn’t upset about missing the holiday. I’m usually stuck at work and being anywhere but at work during that nightmare is a blessing. Seriously, even the spasm was better than working NYE.

Thankfully, one of Shawn’s friends kindly gave us a few vicodin to help with the pain. While not the best choice, muscle relaxers would have been better, it helped take the bite out of the worst pain. It wasn’t the best choice but sure as hell helped and I was grateful to his friend.  I managed to get to a local Chiro doc the next day for an adjustment. It helped but the muscles were inflamed and I just had to wait it out and stay off my feet as much as possible. By the time we drove back to LA, I was able to get up and move around. I let Shawn drive and honestly, it was nice to be a passenger for a change. hehehe

By day three, I could move better but was still in pain. I could drive at a least. I made it home in one piece. I was so angry at myself. Granted, I couldn’t really have done anything to prevent it but logic didn’t really matter. I hate not being able to function. It just aggregated the hell out of me. By the time vacation was over, I was able to get up and down w/o much pain.

Sleeping at night was a mess as I don’t sleep on my back and that was the best position to avoid more pain. Luckily, I had a few vicodin left. And cold meds work great too! Unfortunately for poor Shawn I snore when I sleep on my back. He had to put up with me snoring for about a week. He’d randomly wake me up sometimes when it got back. Poor thing.

It was an additional week before I felt almost normal again. I kept babying it to avoid a relapse. The last time I went thru this a few years ago I had a 2nd spasm right when I was starting to get better. I definitely didn’t want that again. This one seemed to take longer than last time though. Not sure if it was just worse or I’m just getting older. hehehe Either way, not fun.

Fortune

I’m back from PHX and it’s been a busy couple weeks. I spent the last two weeks prepping for my move into my new assignment at work.

Anyway, we had a nice vacation and more importantly, Cooper had an awesome time. He also behaved way better than I expected. It was his first really big road trip since I rescued him. He adapted pretty well. On the drive from SF to LA he fought to stay awake because he just knew every time the car slowed or breaked, “we were there.” hehehe About 3 hours in he finally gave up and crashed in the back seat.

He got to meet Duplo while in LA. I was a bit fearful they wouldn’t get a long but it worked out quite well. After a little bit of angst, they were fine together. Not besties at all but they tolerated each other quite well. Considering Cooper was invading Duplo’s private space, I was really surprised they did so well. Even when we left them alone, they got along ok. Or, at least there were no tell-tale signs of drama while we were out. Cooper was only moderately anxious. We brought his bed and blankie to help him feel ‘at home’ and it really seemed to helps. Having his familiar things seemed to put him more at ease over time.

On the trip from LA to PHX, he quickly passed out. He figured he was in for another long day and didn’t fight it much at all. He would only get up with the daddy’s stopped for gas/bathroom breaks. Once in PHX, he got a little anxious the first time we left him in the condo alone. We took him for a quick ride around town while we were out and then the next time we left, he did much better. Again, he was only anxious the first night then seems to settle in ok.

The only rough spot was when we met up with Shawn’s parents. They had a cat that was so not amused at a strange dog invading his space. Cooper gets along with cats after a while but he initially will ‘rush’ them and cats that don’t no better freak out over that. Of course, once he gets next to the cat, he just sniffs and looks on bewildered. The new cat didn’t know that obviously and in one round managed to knick his nose a tiny bit. It was a very minor injury and did nothing to deter Cooper‘s interest in the roaming kitty. We had to keep him on a leash with a firm hand till the evening was over. Luckily, the lunch spot was very dog friendly and we didn’t have to leave him locked in a room.

On the way back to LA and then SF, he quickly went right to sleep each time. He was an old hat it by then and knew it was a long ride. hehehe¬† His Daddy and Pappa had a good time but won’t be doing the drive again anytime soon though. Even split up over days, it was rough.

Chef

I’ve been trying harder to stay on top of my eating habits as of late. It doesn’t help when you have nifty food delivery services that offer hot, healthy delivery in 20 mins or less.1 While mostly healthy, the cost of said services add up quickly. And considering I really want to try and buy a home this next year, it’s time to cut back on overly frivolous expenses.

My work building has a full kitchen and I’ve started taking advantage of it to do a lot of my meals. I get an hour for lunch so usually spend my Monday/Friday doing meal prep for the week. I’ll either drop off groceries or order in using Instacart and then I’m set. I try to eat healthy and tend to enjoy the natural flavor of most foods so most of my food is fresh. I also don’t try to make elaborate meals. I keep it simple.

The kitchen area is an open space and has lots of room. It comes with 3 fridges, a full oven/stove, 4 microwaves, 2 sinks, and various counter top appliances folks have donated over the years. I’d be so lucky if I had a kitchen even half the size at home. Being open, coworkers often come by and see me hard at work. I routinely get comments on how good my food looks or surprised looks that I know how to cook. The truth is cooking isn’t overly hard if you understand a few basics. I’m sure there are a line of chefs that would disagree with me but I’ve always found it rather easy to learn.

I avoid canned food for almost everything. There are a few exceptions of course, but I get physically ill at the smell of canned vegetables. blech. I grew up on a farm and canned veggies was a foreign concept. I never mastered the ability to eat them out of a can. 

The convenience of the kitchen only works when you remember to bring food to cook. I’ve been going thru several schedule changes since returning from vacation and trying to find my groove again. This week has been mostly quick sandwiches from the mart down the block. But, I got my order set for next week so I can get back to it. What’s on the menu you ask? Well, there is a shrimp spinach salad. Shrimp, spinach, avocado, tomato, provolone, snow peas. Then I’m thinking of pasta w/turkey meatballs and some asparagus or Brussel sprouts….




  1. SpoonRocket, Sprig, etc []