Awkward

**Disclaimer – an adult rant today about gay shit, you’ve been warned.**

I’ve been navigating the “apps” again recently. I haven’t settled on any hard and fast rules that guide me as of yet, other than honesty. Having had my vaccination shots, I’m relieved on so many levels. However, I still need to worry for those around me as the science isn’t clear yet on the level of protection. Going thru a year of very limited human contact takes its toll. And things are moving so quickly now, it may be moot by the time I figure it all out.

Anyway, I was on one such app when a rando decided to send me a long winded message telling me how non-masculine he felt I was. He was particularly detailed, which would have been comical if it weren’t so sad. He clearly lives local and has seen me around1 as he listed a varied “suggestion list” of things I could do to butch it up. I’m not willing to dwell on the idea he may have actually thought he was being helpful as it would make me very sad.

The joke is on him though as I wasn’t bothered by it. To be fair, there was a time in my life when I would have been secretly devastated. However, that was a long time ago and that particular insecurity has left the building, so to speak. Lawd knows I’ve beaten that horse here often enough.

Our little letter in the alphabet mafia has had a continuing obsession with the idea of masculinity. Ask 10 of my fellow homos the meaning of the word and you’ll most like get 10 different answers. Western culture has become so dependent on the broken idea of hyper-masculinity I doubt we’ll ever sort it out.

I keep getting off topic, sorry I am a bit rusty at this.

The guy listed out my demeanor in public as a ‘dead give away‘. Well, no shit Sherlock!  I do not mold myself in the view of how others see me. I didn’t struggle with the shackles of one broken stereotype to take up another. In a word, I can be awkward at times. While I still have a few small triggers to put on my “big boy” voice, I strive not to put on a facade. My hubby calls it my work voice. Anyway, some random task or action can invoke my rather absent-minded approach to things. There isn’t a lot of forethought put into it, I just act. If that destroys your image of me, oh well. We have a saying for that where I’m from…bless your heart. I’ve learned my demeanor also has the affect of putting people at ease around me. People rarely feel threatened or triggered by me and without realizing it often relax into a more authentic version of themselves.2  It was quite a revelation when that little kernel of knowledge dawned on me all those years ago.

Of course, now that I’m an elder and on the council I do have to maintain an image. lolol I politely told him his ‘advice’ was not needed. I didn’t feel the need to thank him though. *giggle* Was I too subtle?

 

  1. His profile was of course devoid of any photos…I know, right!? lol []
  2. There are few who have the opposite reaction and think I’m an easy mark. They often find out quickly I’m also not stupid. []

50

Well, the terrible day has arrived. I’m 50! (Yes, I’m totes joking)

As I’m fond of saying, I’ve reached ancient in gay-years. I’m an elder now. It is time for to don my robe, take up my staff, and take a seat on the #alphabetmafia council. (If you are on TikTok, you know where that phrase came from. I love it!) I mean those free toasters aren’t always enough to swell our ranks, am I right? Apparently, I’m supposed to have lost interest in a whole host of activities I’m still participating in.1 day. I’m hoping the Biden/Harris inauguration goes off without too much drama.

I joke but I know a lot of gay men struggle with aging. Our community isn’t always the kindest to older gays. I’ve never minded my age or aging. And considering for a few reasons, I never thought I’d even reach 50, I’m perfectly fine with it. Sure, there are times I might feel the sting of being less attractive or less appealing as years past, but those things are superficial. I try to take it in stride. My life was a tragic rollercoaster ride before I made it to 25, so 50 has been an easy target.

I can actually remember one time when I was still new to blogging wondering what I would be doing if I made it to 50. In my mind it was a far off place full of disbelief and what-ifs. lolol  Well, here I am. I like to think I’m a better man than I was back then. I certainly struggled along the way. I am a little proud that I am still blogging, albeit nowhere near as often. I took to blogging like it was made for me back then. This blog has been a priceless tool in my journey of self-discovery. I credit so much of my emotional growth to this medium.

As I hit the half centennial mark, I do realize the scope of my age and the breadth of changes in me, my life, and the world around me. I mean, I am old enough to remember Pong after all. There was not internet when I was a kid. There was no cell/smart phones, WIFI, Bluetooth, or social media. Hell, even 911 didn’t exist until I was in high school. Cars didn’t have seatbelts, gasoline was less than a dollar per gallon, TV’s had less than 10 channels with no remote control. Cassette tapes were the size of a small tablet and restaurants still had “smoking or non” in one room. The world has jumped far ahead in technology. Sadly, I’ve witnessed many of the very tools meant to unite us only serve to divide us further.

I’m not feeble just yet but I can’t push myself like I used to when I was a wee lad. That would probably be my only regret at this point. I’m still pretty fit, covid-19 times considered, but the body isn’t as resilient. I’m eagerly headed back to the gym (outdoors) this coming weekend. I had several minor injuries in 2019 that plagued me throughout the whole year. It made me realize I’m not as spry and flexible as I used to be. That said, I look forward to more years in the gym.

I have never been huge on birthdays so not much is planned. I have to work for one. With the covid-19 restrictions still very much in effect, I’ll probably end up doing what I usually do. Sit my wide ass on the couch, cuddle with Daisy2, and play video games. I know I know, I’m not supposed to like video games at my age. Pissh! Tosh! I do what makes brings me joy, naysayers notwithstanding.

I look forward to my years ahead, however many that might be. And as always, hope springs eternal…

 

  1. Maybe now that I am on the council of elders, I’ll be able to get my memos more regularly.) )

    To be honest, I don’t feel 50. Well, parts of me feel 50 but overall, I don’t feel it. My face might look it, but I don’t feel it. And 50 appears to be the new 40 in many of my circles so I guess I don’t have to go into seclusion just yet. Of course, today is also inauguration ((corrected – thanks Kevin! []

  2. and Toby []

Mood

Look! Another post NOT about politics! Yay!

It’s been just over a month now and surprisingly the gyms are still open. There was only a minor bump in covid-19 cases here in SF from the Labor day weekend.1  I think many people here learned their lesson from Memorial day, which saw a huge spike.

Anyway, it is good to be back in the gym. Due to restrictions, we are still at a 1-hour limit. You book online and then show up to workout. Once the hour is done, they kick everyone out for the next group. I’m at the point where the hour limit has become a little restraining. This tells me I’m steadily moving back to a solid routine. My regular workouts are around an hour and 15-20 minutes. I’ve been easing back into my workouts to avoid injury. I will need to tweak my sets now to get the same burn. Prior to the pandemic, I had just gotten to a point where both the shoulder and arm were all healed up. I’m have no interest in repeating my past mistakes. The first couple weeks back were the worst with soreness, but now it is the ‘normal sore‘.

My general mood has improved drastically. This is sort of the reason for my rant today. It might seem trivial but I just feel better most days. I am not as depressed over the state of our country. The negative shit I read on social media doesn’t seem to hit me as hard. For lack of a better description, I just feel better and I like it! hehehe People often denigrate gym goers as narcissistic and shallow, and while that may be true for some, it is most definitely not true for all. I find my general optimism has returned as well. It has been a most welcome change. The daily onslaught of worsening news was wearing me down. And while I certainly haven’t dismissed the very real problems in our society, I feel better able to face the day now. Now, if I can just shed this thick gut I’ve developed.

Shawn and I have been hitting the gym pretty much every weekend. I work 4-10’s so I get a 3-day weekend.2  I squeeze in an extra gym day on my Friday, since I don’t have to get up early the next day, which makes for a solid 4 day gym schedule. I will often try to squeeze in at least one day for cardio during the week, but it’s a bit erratic so far. ‘Cause we all know how much I looooove cardio!

I certainly recommend getting in exercise if you can. It doesn’t have to be a gym. You can go for walks, runs, bike rides, etc. Whatever gets you moving and your heart rate up. It might be tough at first, but you will find it definitely helps your moods.

 

  1. Meanwhile, over half of the country is spiking again. []
  2. Oh, I forgot to mention he has gone back to work, albeit temporarily for a contract job. []

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. []

Back At It?

I mentioned it before but after Cooper passed away the desire to blog just sort of left me. I mean I’d been drifting away for awhile before that but Cooper’s death just hit me so hard and I didn’t really feel it anymore.

But, I find myself really missing it. I miss rambling on here. And a shocker for any of long time readers left, a few of my old demons have surfaced lately and I’m trying my best to deal with them constructively. Rambling away here has always helped me do that.

I looked at my site stats the other day and was a bit surprised how many of my old posts still get non-bot views. Who da thunk it? My google rank has plummeted but that is to be expected.

In new news, I’ve been grappling with my age lately. Not in a bad way just noticing things, specifically on how I’m viewed/treated by others. I have plenty of thoughts to share on it. So hopefully, I’m back at it here. Time will tell I guess.

Hope springs eternal…

Snap

There are days where I see what humans are doing to this planet and I think to myself, “ya know, maybe Thanos had the right idea?” Then I realize we’d still be stuck with half the stupid people and I just shake my head.

If you told me 20 years ago we’d still be disparaging people over the color of their skin or calling vaccines sorcery I wouldn’t have believed you. Sadly, that is where we are today in 2019.

Our selfishness will be our undoing.

Ghosts of the Past

I haven’t talked about my “issues” here in a long time. Truth is, I haven’t felt bothered by them so there wasn’t a need.

Today, I’ve been overwhelmed with memories of my past. I can’t say anything triggered it. Maybe it’s just ‘my time of the month.’ I’m not depressed by the memories, even though most of them aren’t great. I just can’t seem to shake the progression. One memory will trigger another and down a rabbit hole of deep thought I go…

Anyhoo, it’s been mostly about my step-mother, her family, and my angst at them for never intervening when they saw my step-mother abuse me. I know they recognized it because I would sometimes overhear the adults (her siblings) asking my step-mother, “why are so mean to that boy?” My cousins would just ask me directly. Or they would discuss it amongst themselves in front of me. For many years growing up I worshipped and hated them at the same time. When my family from her side visited, I got a reprieve from the mental torment. It meant things would be more bearable, even if it was just a long weekend. Of course, when they left, I suffered even more for my apparent ‘slights’ while they had been visiting. It was in those moments I hated them most.

When I left home none of them made much effort to stay in touch. To be fair, neither did I. They represented a connection to “her” that was to be avoided. It wasn’t like I was overly stable anyway and there was no cell phones, texting, or even internet. But I didn’t understand that then. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve slowly opened a window to them on Facebook. Being an adult now, my view of them has been complicated. At first, I was resentful more of them didn’t reach out to me. But, I realized that wasn’t fair either. Their lives diverged from mine and I was a distant memory. They had as much reason to reach out to me as I did to them. And it wasn’t like I made a lot of effort either. I kept them at arms length. A small handful made an effort to at least reconnect and “know” me a bit. I’m grateful for that. Our lives are so distant and different so that is pretty much where it ends. We keep a cursory connection at best.

And as expected, many of them tend to be Trump supporters. This isn’t much of a surprise. I only mention it because I routinely chime in when I see them sharing absolute made up stories that reinforce their biases. Reconciling my childhood view of them with my adult exposure has been easier than expected. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. lol

Anyway, I don’t have any wisdom to share. I’m just putting thoughts to pad to help me drag the triggers and emotions out into my conscience id so I can examine them properly. I’ll post more if I figure anything of value out.

What Do You Say?

I was having a discussion with a coworker the other day and we got to talking politics. We were specifically discussing some of the underlying dynamics that often lead people to believe into crazy conspiracy theories. Mostly, we talked about how people often reason based on emotion not logic.

I used an example of my little brother. Not because my brother is a crazy extremist, just the opposite. The story perfectly illustrates how even well-meaning people end up on the wrong side of things at times. So the real question is how, in an age of sensationalized media, truly fake news, and bias, do we encourage every day folks to move beyond their base feelings and examine a solution with logic? How do we get people to realize what they “know” is often based on very limited exposure to the world at large?1

Let me get to my example. My little brother grew up not really “seeing” racism. To him, it is something he knows exists but in more pronounced examples. For lack of a better description, he sees it as a very black and white issue. I tried to explain white privilege to him and found it a frustrating struggle. As a white man he has never had to experience the frustrations a person of color endures daily. Because he grew up poor and busted his tail working hard to get to a point where he feels stable, he doesn’t understand how a black person doing the same thing faces many more obstacles. I explained many of the very real world examples to him and while he sort of ‘got it’, because he lives in a rural environment where these ideas are usually avoided, it doesn’t become ‘truth’ to him.

It is hard for people who spend everyday just worried about trying to put food on their table to rise above the squabble and focus on bigger issues like politics. And when they live in an environment where biases are constantly reinforced, it’s easy to see why so many fall prey to the machinations of political hacks who want them to stay poor and ignorant. People who are poorly educated as a whole are easily manipulated by their emotions. Quite simply, their emotions are used against them.

And this is one variable of many leading society towards a calamity. So how do we overcome that? What do you say to someone to get them to truly open their mind and listen? If we could figure that out I think the world would be a better place.

  1. How many “experts” do you encounter on Facebook or Twitter these days  LOL []

GHHD #1 2018

Well, GHHD #11 is upon us once again. It is Pride weekend.  The gym has begun filling up daily with out-of-town’rs. *giggle*  I’m sure by Friday it will be overflowing. (pun intended)

However, you celebrate it, I hope you have a fun and safe one. For myself, I volunteered to work overtime again this year onsite at the event. I’ll be working with AMR ambulance services who are the medical component for the Pride permit.2  I’ve worked with them for many years at different events and they are always a pleasure to work with. Ironically, after the Pulse shootings, the Pride committee put in metal detectors and this has cut way down on all the illegal booze being brought in by kids.

As always, there are those among us who complain about all that is wrong with Pride. We know gurl, you hate it. Next! This year, it’s over the idea of adding a few extra colors to the rainbow flag. For a community that is supposed to be all about accepting others, we sure do have some rigid ideas when it comes to symbolism. If you don’t like it, use the one you like. Stop bemoaning attempts to make other marginalized communities feel included under our umbrella. I personally am not defined by the rainbow flag or any other symbol. I enjoy the symbols and support them but there isn’t any reason a symbol can’t change or evolve over time to better represent it’s purpose.

I still support Pride as an event. While we have gained a measure of equality since the legalization of gay-marriage, anti-LGBT crimes have sky-rocketed since the current POTUS took office. There is clearly still a need to show our solidarity, especially for our Trans brethren. Frankly, I feel we have an obligation to help pull those behind us still facing daily discrimination in their lives to the front of the line.

So while I am working my booty off to help keep everyone same, I am with you in mind and spirit. Let your freak (or not) flag fly! Whether you wanna look like a Warner-bros cartoon character or an average Joe, get out and celebrate. Maybe you can volunteer at a shelter, food back, or AIDS org as a way of celebrating. It doesn’t have to be prancing down the street or standing on the sidelines. Do you and support those doing them.

 

  1. Gay High Holy Day []
  2. Large permitted events require a medical plan to help off-set the need for emergency services. This assures a modicum of care and prevents overwhelming the normal emergency system. []