Privilege

I had an incident this weekend that really nailed the idea of “privilege” in my mind. I’m at the local bagel shop in the ‘hood. I’m standing just inside the entrance to maintain social distance to the person inside.1 A woman comes behind and parks herself less than a foot from me. I promptly turn and glare at her. Seeing that didn’t work, I moved forward. Luckily the person in front of me had moved to the side as he had finished placing his order.

At this point I’m kind of over it. I’m reading the news on my phone. I glance up ever so often to see if my food is ready and to ensure I do not need to move again to maintain my distance. The previously mentioned woman is now glaring at me and I can tell she is mumbling under her breath. I’m thinking to myself, “get over it lady, maintain your distance and no one will glare at you.” Her order came up first, even though she ordered after me, as she only ordered something quick. As she’s leaving, I look up to see her glaring at me again and mumbling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until she was out the door that I put her words to meaning. She had said to me, “black lives matter too MF’er!

Of course, I’m immediately upset. I mean the nerve! How dare she make it about race. I don’t give two-shits what color you are, maintain yo’ distance! Then it dawns on me. She mistook my glare and stepping away from her to mean I was avoiding her because of her skin color. I was floored! How could I have done this? But, as I go over the scenario in my mind, I honestly wouldn’t have done anything different. I’d glare at your dumb-ass for not maintaining distance regardless.

At this point, my anger dissipates and I feel only compassion and sadness. How terrible the world she walks in must be that this was her first assumption? I frequently say, “I walk in an extraordinarily different world than people of color.” This was a prime example of that. My heart sank knowing how much anger, hurt, and resentment she must be felling. And while I can take some comfort in knowing my own actions were honorable, it still left me profoundly sad.

I benefit and often take many things for granted simply because I am white. It really struck me how privileged I am. People often mistake being called “privileged” for being wealthy or having life easy. That is not the meaning here. Lawd knows, my life before the age of 25 was an utter shit-show. I wen thru more drama and tragedy in those years than most people go thru in a life time. In spite of all that, I can see and understand I still benefit daily from being white.

My only regret is not being able to clarify why I was glaring at her.2 If I could, I’d give her a hug as well. It was too late and I wasn’t about to try and chase her down after the fact. I can only take solace in the knowledge my actions were not racially motivated.

I strive to be better and to help others be better. I encourage you to do the same. A lot of people are hurting right now. Should you encounter a similar scenario as a white person, I implore you to see the bigger picture and recognize, it isn’t necessarily you the person is acting out against.

Hope springs eternal….

  1. It is a small space. []
  2. The humor in that is not lost on me. []

Spread

Unless you live under a rock in the LGBTI community, you know that STI’s are often of concern, especially for gay men. Health departments track these little buggers every year.1 Every so often there is a bigger outbreak than usual. When this happens it almost always seems to start in the two coastal regions, especially in the denser or larger cities. As it spreads, it tends to move inward hitting bigger cities first, and then filtering down to rural areas. There are always statistically larger and persistent spikes in poorer and/or overly religious states as it filters inward. It continues to filter inwards until a loosely coast to coast coverage exists.

This is a general reference and not at statistical analysis. I’ve always paid attention to these sort of “trends”, as I think it gives critical insight into developing tools to combat disease transmission. I mention it today because I feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is following an eerily similar pattern, especially in the afore mentioned poor and/or overly religious states. One can see a real correlation between the spread and those who, thru bias and/or willful ignorance, downplay the dangers of the virus.

I’ve been wondering if health departments have been using the same models to predict the spread of COVID-19. It would certainly make sense if they did. I haven’t seen any specific mentions in media or print, but that could easily be because of the distasteful association people often make with STI’s.2 There are important distinctions between STI’s and COVID-19, but the transmission vectors are very similar just on a much larger scale.

I guess I don’t really have a point to my ramble today. I am just pondering random ideas relating to the pandemic. I’ve been trying to focus more on the science side to avoid being continually furious at ‘the stupid’. I won’t even go into the “re-openings” happening in states with ever increasing numbers of new cases. I’ve realized it is pointless and just leaves me depressed. What I will see say on the subject is we are already seeing spikes in many of the states that relaxed the rules too early or didn’t really restrict public exposure.

California is moving into phase 2 of the 4 phase plan originally outlined by the Governor. The numbers have jumped in SF in the last week, but that has more to do with broader testing and specific groups within the community. We were fortunate to go just under 4 days with no new reported deaths in San Francisco. Testing is now readily available to all citizens in SF as well. I personally feel it should be forced onto people returning to the work-force vs voluntary.

That is it I guess for the moment. I’m sort of rambling here, just airing out some thoughts.

  1. Ironically, health departments in larger cities have improved their modeling tools to specifically track and combat the spread of STI’s. []
  2. It is because of this association that many areas of the country sometimes see continually higher than average numbers of STI cases. []

True Colors

It has been disheartening to see people’s true colors during this pandemic. With the death of another friend recently, it has hit me much harder than expected seeing people I know, in varying degrees, routinely violating shelter in place (SIP) orders.

And don’t get it twisted, I’m not referring to the idiots protesting and opening churches, etc. Our media may focus on them for the sensationalism, but they are a tiny part of the whole. No, I’m mostly referring to people I feel a stronger connection to personally. I think the overall impact from seeing it in person and on social media has dented my belief in humanity. And you would think in my line of work I’d already be pretty jaded, but you would be wrong. I pride myself on knowing even the bulk of my work does not represent the majority of people. I work hard not to let it overwhelm my optimism.

And I don’t necessarily think of these people as bad. Most people aren’t “good” or “bad”. I’m fond of saying, “good people are capable of bad things and bad people are capable of good things.” But that doesn’t mean I necessarily want you in my life or affecting my personal bubble. And therein lies my bitch today. Having lost folks I know to the pandemic and almost lost others, on top of my work, this is a tangible and real threat to me. The outright indifference to the harm or even death they could cause is painful to witness. I’m certainly not perfect and this isn’t about painting myself as some holier-than-thou.

I’m keen on referring to our indifference as a society leading to our demise. I see people, who I think know better, being indifferent to the damage and harm they could cause. If I’m being open, it has cut me to my core in a way I didn’t expect. My own efforts to teach and spread awareness routinely fall on deaf ears and I’ve given up on that now. This ordeal has brought back some very old feelings of helplessness that plagued me for so long as a young man. I can’t tell you at this moment if that feeling or my own sense of right & wrong is the trigger. Either way, I can feel the bitter anger breaking mental connections I feel for various people.

Maybe I’m being petty right now, but I have already started purging these people from my own sphere of consciousness. Social media is easy, as you just make a few mouse clicks and their gone. In real life will be a different story. And it isn’t like I plan to be rude or attack these folks. I may not be perfect but I am better than that. They just won’t be someone I engage with anymore.

Even as I type this, I realize this is a first world problem. I am very fortunate and accept that with gratitude. Even with Shawn getting laid off, we are still in a good place. I’m also not referring to anyone forced to choose between staying home or putting food on their table by going to work. So many people out there are losing everything right now. These folks have nothing but my support and sympathy, but that makes the indifference I see in others that much worse in my eyes.

If you are reading this, I hope you are taking this threat seriously. I hope if you have little to fear, you still realize the impact you could have on others by inadvertently spreading it. And I hope you have the intestinal fortitude to realize you can be inconvenienced for a month or two for the safety of everyone around you. Your freedom shouldn’t come at the cost of someone else’s.

Mask 4 Mask

First, I hope you are all safe and sound. If you are reading this I assume you are at least in a position to be ok. Keep up with the social distancing and if you are going to cover your face, please pay attention.

I’ve been a vocal proponent of people NOT wearing masks from the beginning of the outbreak. The primary reason is they offer little protection to the wearer and most people contaminate or negate any protections given by wearing a mask. More importantly, masks are in such short supply the people who need them most cannot get them. If all the healers are sick and you get sick, who will treat you? I work in public safety and I cannot stress this enough! And, unless you are already required to wear an N95 mask, you most likely will not benefit from wearing one.

Experts and the CDC were against recommending masks for many of the reasons I’m about to go into below. However, because of updated info they have now changed that recommendation. There is one reason for this change. A large percentage of people can have little to no symptoms. These folks can be mass spreaders of the virus without even realizing it.1

  • If you are going to wear a mask or face covering, you are doing so to protect others from you. You are not protecting yourself. It might make you feel better but you shouldn’t let your guard down. Droplets contaminated with the virus can pass right thru a face mask with relative ease. Plus, the longer you wear it, the more moisture builds up, which can inadvertently trap particles right in front of your mouth.
  • The goal is to prevent less particles from spewing into the air potentially infecting others. Combined with social distancing of 6 feet, a mask can be more effective than not wearing one, as long as you remember bullet point one above. The recommendation of 6 feet is based on the relative distance breath particles are expelled when a person coughs. People wearing masks often feel a sense of safety and are less likely to engage in proper social distancing. Please do not fall for this.
  • Do not rush out and try to buy masks if you don’t already have one. You can use a bandanna, scarf, or other dense piece of fabric. You can google “bandanna face mask” for several super quick and easy tips for converting a bandanna to a face mask. These are no more or less effective than the regular masks you see. Most people incorrectly assume clinical staff wear masks for self-protection. No. They wear them to prevent exposing the sick or injured to more potential illnesses.
  • Once on, do not adjust, touch, or otherwise move the mask unless you have just sanitized your hands. That means you don’t pull it down to talk. I see so many people doing this I just want to put head to desk over it.
  • If using fabric or a mask that can be washed, wash it often. The longer you go without changing or sanitizing it the higher the risk to yourself. As mentioned, moisture and particles build up on the mask the longer you wear it.

Please, for the love of crackers, do not rush out and wear N95 masks unless you are trained to properly wear one.2 Every single person I’ve personally seen wearing an N95 in public has contaminated it at least once while observing them. N95 masks (or those rated higher) are the only masks that offer YOU any sense of protection. But just like regular masks, they are only as good as the safeguards you observe.

  • RULE #1 N95 masks should only be touched by clean sanitized hands at all times. There are NO exceptions to this rule! Make sure your face is clean as well.
  • No beard or goatee. A small mustache can be worn but it is not recommended. The mask needs to make a seal on your face and cannot do so with hair on your face. Oh yeah, now I have your attention! lolol
  • If you have never worn an N95 mask please google the instructions on how to properly wear before attempting to do so. Once the mask is on, do not touch it for any reason unless you have thoroughly sanitized your hands. The moment you touch the mask to adjust it, move it, pull it up so you can speak, you have negated any protection it offers you. You might as well take it off. Please also review how to properly sanitize the mask if you plan to reuse it.

You should never wear a mask more than one day unless you have sanitized it. Reusable masks are an extremely high risk vector for exposure. Wash yo damn hands! And if you cover your face I hope my recommendations help. Yes, I know folks want to wear them so they don’t touch their face. Trust me, I know! I constantly touch my face. I’m with you. However, having a false sense of safety doesn’t actually protect you or others.

I leave you with well wishes and safety for you and yours.

  1. The parallels from the latter to HIV transmission is not lost on me here. []
  2. Or if you wear a mask for other health reasons on a regular basis []

Schock-ed!

Oh look, the hypocrite finally came out. Color no one surprised, henny! Seriously, we all knew! How could you NOT know?! He is only coming out now because he is being continually hounded and exposed for the continual liar and hypocrite he is.1 I admit my seething hatred for people like this is hard to control. I have tons of terribly vile and yet appropriate names for him beyond the truthful ones, but I won’t allow myself to go on a personal tirade because I strive to be better than that. Nor will I link directly to his BS non-apology apology statement.

Beside piggy-backing on the self-loathing LCR crowd with his whole straight white male charade, he had to add insult to injury and be one of the most conservative voting members in the house, even beyond LGBTI rights. He bragged every chance he got about how conservative he was.

  • He repeatedly voted against all gay rights.
  • He voted against amendments to include sexual orientation and gender identity as hate crimes.
  • He supported the marriage act.2
  • He aligned himself with the AFA, who hates all of us and wants us criminals or dead.
  • He voted against the repeal of DADT.3

So, no. Your BS letter does not make up for all the horrible things you did. It does not excuse you from being a crook and a liar while you were in office. And it certainly doesn’t make you “one of us” now that you were hounded into finally admitting the truth.

Simply put, until you show some real contrition and make an effort to undue the damage you’ve done, go fuck yourself!

  1. I know, terrible way to end a sentence. []
  2. I don’t think he ever got a chance to vote for it as it didn’t come up again during his tenure from what I remember. []
  3. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell []

McA**hole

I usually avoid direct topical stories but these one hits close to home on so many levels. I’m so angry I could break something.

Kansas cop resigns after fake claim that McDonald’s employee wrote ‘pig’ on his cup

This particular story hit home on my feelings. With all the bad press law enforcement officers get these days, this was totally unnecessary. This entitled jerk brought shame to law enforcement everywhere. I firmly wish he had been fired vs being allowed to resign.1 This was a deplorable act that damages the trust we place in those who are supposed to serve and protect us.

It doesn’t help the law enforcement are already heavily marginalized by our sensationalist style media these days. These incidents are rare but because of the way we consume news for outrage, you’d think it was everywhere. Fun facts: There are just under 700,000 law enforcement personnel in the US.2 Of those, the abuse of power complaints are less than 10%.3 Should it be 10%? Of course not, but when we are talking about perception vs reality, it sets a very relevant point. This also does not mention the 60,211 assaults on law enforcement.4 No one ever mentions that part. And yes, people sign up for law enforcement knowing there are inherent dangers. That doesn’t make said dangers any less relevant.

The idea a Chief or high ranking officer would doubt the word of his officer used to be unheard of. I can well understand the Chief’s embarrassment and shock over discovering he needed to fact-check is own officer. (It doesn’t help that all the negative coverage of LE has discouraged many from even considering a job as an officer. I can’t help but wonder how low the bar gets sometimes to get cadets in the door.) This whole incident was just…unnecessary.

The one thing law enforcement in this country needs is citizen involvement. When the powers that be know they are being watched and potentially held accountable, they are less likely to abuse said power. I’m not talking about outrage on social media either. I’m talking about your community. Get involved. Indifference and outrage on social media does absolutely nothing but increase the problem exponentially.

And I’m not some rabid fanboy. Growing up in E. Texas as a little gay boy I discovered more than once what the police thought of the LGBT community back then. I was openly called a queer and fag to my face by police on multiple occasions; including once in a gay bar by the officer paid to staff as extra security. But things change. I now work for a law enforcement agency and have many friends who are cops and they are good people. They don’t go out hoping to shoot someone. They do the job and go home to their families, just like you and I. For every bad cop you hear about there are at least a 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because good news doesn’t generate outrage or ad-clicks. My point here is be outraged by individuals, not whole organizations. If I marginalized everyone based on the news I’d think all pit bulls are killers, all priests molest kids, and all gay spread HIV on purpose. Let us not become the oppressors we fight so hard to overcome.

I’m just so angry over this story today.

  1. He could potentially get a job elsewhere as a cop since he wasn’t fired. []
  2. As of 2018, Statista reports []
  3. USA Today Tarnished Brass article 2019 []
  4. FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 2017 LEOKA report []

Body

flex

Consider this my “Body” issue where I blather on about different aspects of my struggle to stay fit along with random observations. Pretty trivial stuff ahead. You were warned.

I’m just a month away from my 49th year. (One year closer to ancient. hehehe) You can judge for yourself but I think I’m doing pretty good. But, like any guy, especially in the gay world, I always struggle with my size. It doesn’t get me depressed but I’d be lying if I said I don’t worry over it at times. There are days where I just don’t “feel pretty.” But considering my age I’m proud of where I am.

I injured myself a couple times this past year primarily because I was pushing myself too hard in the gym. I’m not a young man anymore and designing workouts that push the limits of my joints just isn’t smart. I’ve restructured my workout regimen to give my joints, tendons, and ligaments a break this next year. My health is important to me as much as ‘looking ‘purdy.‘ I want to continue being able to work out as I age. Realizing it is time to adapt is the first step.

I have noticed more and more guys my age tend not to work out. Not a blanket assumption but an honest observation. From an attraction stand point it makes it a bit hard to be attracted to guys ‘my age‘ when they tend to be outside my spectrum of attraction.1 Luckily, I have a wide range of age and types I’m into. On the flip side, I have apparently landed squarely in the “Daddy” category. I ain’t mad but it tends to be a limiting view.

A guy felt the need to ‘try’ shame me on FB recently because I dared say I didn’t support someone’s choice in an article discussing his transition from a twink to a bear. He deliberately gained a significant amount of weight (fat weight, not muscle). The clear implication was he did it from an insecurity. I didn’t shame the person in the article but commented on how he first commented he was still very healthy while needing to go on blood pressure meds and needing to be monitored by his doctor. That’s not healthy. Anyway, said guy felt the need to come for me because I didn’t glorify it. I don’t feel like we should trade one restrictive stereotypical look for another one and glorify it. If that makes me the bad guy, well I guess I’m the bad guy.

In other news, I’m still on the low carb restriction. I try avoid processed carbs, like pasta and breads. I stick to rice/tators, which I love so not terrible. My only real regret is the pasta. I’ve had a life long love of pasta. I splurge every so often but that is a better choice than a daily meal of processed carbs. I find I do seem to be less tired during the days and keeping my weight at a level I like doesn’t seem to require the mountains worth of cardio I was doing before. Basically, my insulin sensitivity has returned to a better range.

My words of wisdom in regards to your body are simple. Accept yourself, flaws and all. But, if you don’t like your shape, do something about it. Don’t look for excuses not to make an effort. You can accept yourself and strive to be better at the same time. In a world filled with convenience over health, it isn’t always easy. But who said life was easy?

  1. Having a younger very attractive muscle cub for a husband helps. []

Clones

No, not Star Wars. lol I’m curious why so many gay men have an issue with couples that look similar to each other or are “clones.” This is not a new phenomenon but I stumbled across several examples in the last few weeks. Some of the commentary was downright vicious and got my curiosity going.

On some level I guess people assume both are extreme narcissists, so of course they are into clones of themselves. And for some that may be true. Unfortunately, a lot of the couples I see targeted rarely seem to fit the mold. They often have one or two similar features that set it off. I actually rarely see couples where the guys are similar enough to the point of looking like brothers or cousins.

One couple on FB broke up and the side commentary was pretty nasty. The only thing they really seemed to have in common was lots of very dark body hair and beards. This gave them a very similar look but only at a very superficial glance.

On IG, there was a story floating around about a couple that was fighting because one was cheating with another guy. The cheater and the other guy were both naturally smooth looking and had blond hair in a similar style.1 And the queens were just downright vicious with some of the clone comments. I guess in this example it could have been an extension of anger over the cheating.

I like a lot of the physical traits I have in others. While I’ve never dated anyone who would be considered my clone, so what if I did? And science tends to think that people who gravitate toward others with similar physical traits is quite normal. I found no less then 3 different peer reviewed studies on the subject doing a few quick Google searches.2

Do gay guys feel threatened or deprived because they feel a sort of unfairness is involved? Is it jealousy? Why does it seem to invoke such a visceral reaction? Why the hell do you care!? If two people are happy, and they happen to be look-a-likes, then leave them alone or support their happiness. Don’t be a caddy bitch.

  1. Forgetting for a moment, no one wants to see or hear your dirty laundry aired out on social media. []
  2. Notice I said “peer-reviewed”, not someone’s blog rants like mine! heehee []

Follow?

I get so tickled at some of the games people play on social media. If you use Instagram (IG) at all, I’m sure you’ve seen the “follow for follow” or “unfollow = unfollow” comments in profiles.

Bitch, if I unfollow you I don’t really care if you unfollow me. I ain’t following you anymore so why would I care? lol This happens because ‘follows’ have become a bit of a game where scam profiles (or even legit ones) follow a bunch of other accounts in the hopes of quickly gaining followers. Once you follow them, they often unfollow you. Since IG doesn’t display this you technically don’t know they have unfollowed you. Having a lot of followers on IG is like being rich in monopoly money. Why I certainly enjoy when I get new followers, much like my blog, it is not my purpose. I go out of my way to track and block fake accounts.

It all panders to our insecurities and need for approval. Bitch, I tackled those demons years ago. As Bianca would say, “Not today, Satan! Not today!” lol1

I only like to follow folks that interest me in someway. To be frank, I follow a lot of muscle guys for motivation to get my ass in the gym. I typically follow guys that are bigger than me but not huge. I honestly don’t find huge guys attractive or motivational. At some point, you just look gross IMO.2 Of course, like most homos, I follow accounts of guys I’m attracted to as well. So you can see my IG is pretty shallow most days. lolol And I’m ok with that because it serves a purpose without really impacting me in a way I find detrimental. I don’t obsess over guys I consider more attractive. Nor do I put myself down because I haven’t reached a fitness goal that nears perfection. I already know I’ll never reach that level and don’t plan to.3 I use the profiles/pics for motivation to remind me to get my lazy ass to the gym. And yes, the occasional stimulation doesn’t hurt none either. heehee

If you follow me there, you know most of my posts are selfies from the gym, trips, and dogs. That about sums it up. You might get inspired, bored, or neither. That is ok cause I on there for me. I appreciate comments and likes but I don’t go out of my way to capture the ‘perfect selfie’. Most of time, it is very spur of the moment pics.

Besides, does anyone really need hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of followers? Who could possibly keep up with that? Not me. I’m get tired just scrolling thru all the bulldog profiles!

  1. Speaking of, going to see her on 11.15.19, can’t wait! []
  2. And don’t go getting triggered. I ain’t “yuck-ing your yum”, I just don’t like it for myself. []
  3. It is way too much damn work for one. []