2014: Year in Review

Person of the Year- Taylor Swift. Thank god for T Swift. She killed it this year after months of forgettable banality from the rest of the entertainment industry. Her album 1989 was a monster hit and cemented her status at the top of the music industry. I’ll admit I used to hate her because she seemed too much of a goody goody princess. However after her last album I was won over. I think what I like best about her is that she’s taken a different path to stardom. She’s classy, nice, and genuinely talented. So many other pop stars have chosen skankhood as their path to stardom but Swift has stayed true to herself and taken her own path. I’m not knocking the slutty stars but it’s simply nice to have different alternative. Thank you Taylor Swift for saving what would have been an epically beige year otherwise.

Best New Show- Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver. I love this show. John Oliver’s weekly Sunday night show is a must see. You can see the heavy influence of his Daily Show background but he brings a fresh and unique perspective to the format. While he covers weekly headlines, it’s his in depth stories that I enjoy the most because they are not the same stories being covered by every other show. He’s discussed the sugar industry, net neutrality, state legislatures, the world cup and civil forfeiture.

Song of the Year- Do It Again Robyn & Royksopp. I LOVE this song. It’s been on constant repeat while I’m at work. It’s so good. So so good. I should admit I’m sort of biased to anything new from Robyn. 

I Give In- Chandelier by Sia. I named this category I Give In because I gave into liking this song. The song is actually horrible but because it was played so often on the radio I couldn’t help but start to like it. “Ok I give in. I like it… please stop playing it now!” Science has proven that if you listen to anything long enough you will start to like it and Chandelier made the most of that truth. 

Scene Stealer- Bill Hader in Skeleton Twins. Kristen Wigg is known for creating funny situations with a sad undertone and The Skeleton Twins was no different. While the movie was more of a direct drama Bill Hader brought charm and laughs to the 2 hour downer. He stole the show and gave life to the role of Milo.

I Need To Start Watching- Key and Peele. I don’t regularly watch this show but I keep seeing clips online that are hilarious. It’s refreshing to have a comedy skit show features someone else beside a nerdy white guy. I was sold after seeing this clip:

MVP- Lady Gaga. 2014 wasn’t a good year for Gaga’s career. Her album went head to head with Katy Perry and she lost is an early knockout. Although I really liked all three singles from Art Pop I was in the minority. Perry’s Roar and Dark Horse went on to become big hits and Gaga was forgotten about. Although she deserves the MVP award just for her album, that’s not why I’m giving it to her. Throughout the entire year Lady Gaga has continued to go out in public in ever more ridiculous outfits even though none of us have been paying attention. I adore her for it because it shows that’s genuinely who she is and not just an act created by a PR manager. In fact I would point to Katy Perry as the perfect example of someone who started out in crazy outfits and has now shown she was doing it just to get attention because her current wardrobe has been safe and expected. I applaud you Lady Gaga for having the courage to continue to be yourself despite the attention or lack there of. Look for her concert tour with Tony Bennett in 2015.

Double Duty- Lisa Kudrow on Web Therapy and The Comeback. Kudrow is the only person I can think of who has a show on HBO and Showtime at the same time. That’s quit an accomplishment. Although I haven’t gotten into The Comeback, I binged watched Web Therapy a couple weeks ago and really liked it.

I Want You As A BFF- Emma Stone. Stone appeared on Jimmy Falon and took part a lip sync battle to end all lip sync battles. SHE NAILED IT! Seriously, she wins at life.

Totally Forgettable- The Movies Industry. 2014 was an epically bad year for movies. It’s like all the movie studios got together and decided they would all dump their forgettable movies in the same year. There was barely a major summer blockbuster (Guardians of the Galaxy). The real proof is the current Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. Reese Witherspoon in a movie you don’t care about, Jennifer Aniston in a movie you didn’t see… Apart from a few exceptions, there weren’t many quality memorable films this year. Maybe the movie industry should see what Taylor Swift is doing in 2015 seeing as how she saved the music industry who was in the exact same situation before Shake It Off came out.

WTF- Birdman. Seriously WTF? Thank god my BFF Emma Stone was in this bizarro acid trip.

Heart Warmer- Chef. This came out early in the year but was one of my favorite films of 2014. Written, directed, and stared in by John Favreau, this is a movie about a disgraced chef who buys a food truck. A perfect movie to watch with your parents that you’ll actually enjoy.

I Totally Forgot That Happened This Year- The Olympics, The World Cup, and the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. This was a three way tie because I would have sworn that all three events occurred last year. I remember the Malaysian flight the best. As for the Olympics and The World Cup I couldn’t tell you anything about them. Totally forgotten.

8 Party Ideas for 2015

Rather than focus of the party themes I’m sick of I decided to bring you a few new theme parties I’d like to attend in 2015.

1. Swim-In Movie Night– Pick your favorite flick and project it onto a large screen outside while everyone watches comfortably from the pool.

2. High School Prom– Many of us were unable to go to prom with a date we were actually attracted to. It’s time to recreate that magical night of awkward slow dancing with a high school prom for adults. Balloons and streamers are all you need. Have a photographer on hand to take cheesy posed pictures against a lattice backdrop.

3. My So Called  90’s Party– Someone needs to begin this overdue tradition. Make way for grunge gods and Jenko juggalos to party with hip hop girls with their huge gold hoop earrings

4. Pooch Party– So many gays have dogs but there never seems to be any dog friendly gatherings. This is perfect for a spring day in the park with you favorite four legged friend.

5. Cub Drag Party– “Cub Drag” is the term I like to use for the very popular trend of suspenders and bowties. It’s replaced the argyle sweater vest as the outfit of choice especially at Christmas parties. Throw a theme party and everyone show off their best cub drag look. (Also works well around Easter)

6. Shot Roulette– This is more of party game but still a fun idea. Fill up shot glasses with many different types of alcohol and place them in a circle. Spin a bottle in the middle to find out which one is yours. 

7. Beer Pong Championship– Set up teams and brackets for the Beer Pong Championship. Extra points for team uniforms and names. Keep playing until only one team is left. Be sure to have a trophy ready. 

8. Switch It Up Parties– This refers to mixing up the time of day you would normally have many common parties. For example:
Late Night Brunch
Night time pool party
Afternoon Dance Party
Morning cocktail hour
Simply switching up the time of day can create a whole new level of fun.

Coming Out

I’m a big believer that sometimes my biggest barrier in life is myself. It’s true for many of us. There are no doubt real life obstacles that exist but how we choose to handle them makes an enormous difference in the outcome. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to see through the insecurities and fear that cloud our reality. I remember seeing an article posted to Facebook talking about how not only has gay rights in the office gotten better but that anti-gay policies can be detrimental to an organization’s public image. The comments that followed turned into a discussion about people who are still closeted late in life and how they use fear of job loss as a reason to stay closeted. One person made the comment “They do it to themselves.” Although it sounds harsh, there is some truth to the sentiment. Often we can mistake our own fear as reality. There is a point in life where the only real barrier is ourselves.
As someone who values honestly and conviction I need to acknowledge my own short comings. Lately I’ve felt like a hypocrite because I’ve been avoiding making a long overdue post. So even though it makes me a little uncomfortable I need to address the elephant in the room. 
I’m diabetic.
I was diagnosed with diabetes back in the Spring of 2013. Those paying extra attention will notice that coincided with my weight loss. I couldn’t ignore the weight loss in my writing but I was purposely vague about it because I wasn’t comfortable talking about the truth behind it. I used “health reasons” as a work around because I never wanted to deny or lie about it. Since then I’ve gotten healthier and now having lived with it for a while I decided it was time to be honest. In total I lost about 30-40lbs. The first 10lbs were purely a side effect of the diabetes and one of the symptoms that lead me to see a doctor. The rest of the weight was due to my drastic diet change as a result of the diagnosis. Before I lost weight I was at my heaviest at around 280lbs and had reached a point where for the first time genuinely like what I saw in the mirror. However it wasn’t long before I was forced to choose between health and body image. Knowing that looks don’t matter if you’re dead I chose health and a slimmer build.
To give you a glimpse into my feelings at the time I’m including this passage that I wrote back on February 25, 2013 about a month before I went to the doctor to get checked out. I wrote this knowing that eventually I would need to talk about it and having an honest account of how I felt in the moment would be important.

Monday, February 25, 2013 3:35 PM
I don’t exercise and I have a bad diet. My diet isn’t just filled with bad food it also lacks good food. For all these reasons my mother’s greatest fear for many years has been that I’ll become diabetic. She asks me about it so often that I know the symptoms and warning signs by heart. Excessive urinating, excessive thirst, and weight loss. As hard as I’ve tried to ignore her neurosis I admit a little has snuck into my brain. The one thing that always made me feel secure was that I was definitely not loosing weight. That all changed a couple of weeks ago. Two separate friends commented on my thinner looking appearance. I decided to get on the scale and as it turns out I have lost about 5lbs. Two possible explanations: First the rational explanation that I’ve been eating a less because I’ve been trying to spend less money on food. I call it the I’m poor diet. The second is the neurotic explanation where I think I’m definitely diabetic. Unfortunately the neurotic has take over my brain and I’m now deeply terrified. Every time I pee I’m mentally making note of the last time I used the bathroom and the time difference. As much as it might ‘all be in my head’ there is still a very real possibility that I’m diabetic. It’s all I think about and it made that last week very stressful. Over the weekend it took every ounce of energy I had to kick my depression. Friday and Saturday were bad. I’m trying now to adopt a new attitude. Regardless of any test results, I’ve decided to use it as a wake up call and get my health in order.

I don’t like broadcasting the fact that I’m diabetic but I know deep down it’s the right thing to do. I felt ashamed because I knew my diabetes was my fault. Further more I was afraid everyone would judge me knowing that I could have prevented it had I just been healthier all along. So I kept it as a closely guarded secret. Truth be told before today only Russ and a very very small handful of people have known.
I bring all of this up to make a larger point. I originally kept this private because I didn’t want to deal with everyone’s judgmental attitude. I’ve always been infamous for my picky eating and I knew people would no doubt point to that as a reason for my current situation. I knew people’s comments would basically boil down to “I told you so.”  I knew people would react badly. I knew it! Or did I? My expectation that everyone would react badly was actually a reflection of my own state of mind. Deep down I was disappointed in myself and it was I that was judging me the harshest. I projected my own fears and insecurities on everyone else. I had made up the whole perceived struggle in my head. The reality of the situation is that all the available facts would lead most people to assume that all my friends would be nothing but supportive. Diabetes is unfortunately extremely common in the bear community and many people deal with it openly and honestly. In fact I suspect many of you reading this are laughing that I made such a big deal about such a common illness. I agree it’s a little ridiculous that I tried to hide something that no one else is actually concerned about.  So I decided it was time to take some of my own advice and be the person I expect myself to be. It’s time to be honest and get rid of all the bullshit nonsense I invented in my head.

To anyone feeling scared, ashamed, or embarrassed about anything I implore you to be honest and talk about it. Coming out of whatever closet you are in is always an improvement. I guarantee you will feel better afterward.

*A note about my family: My family still doesn’t know and never I plan to tell them. While this sounds like symptom of fear and self loathing it’s actually for practical purposes. The short story is that my mother worries a lot and even leans toward neurotic. More so then just the average mom. Her biggest fear has always been diabetes and I just don’t have the heart to break her heart. I know if I told her she would be beside herself with fear and concern. It’s an easy secret to keep and in a strange way I feel like I am giving her the gift of blissful ignorance. Having her know and worry wouldn’t change anything so why give her the added stress? Also my parent tend to react badly to bad news and they would very likely say some along the lines of “I told you so.” If and when that happened I would find it hard to control the urge to leap across the table and chock them. As for my sister, I would like to tell her except that she has a very bad history with keeping secrets. 

12 Things Only Picky Eaters Will Understand

The struggle is real.

1. A work pot luck dinner is hell on earth

2. Everyone loves to interrogate you to find out “What do you eat?”

3. Shrimp look like unborn aliens.

4. You have exactly one go-to dish at every restaurant you frequent. You only try something new when they take it off the menu.

5. The phrase “I’m not really that hungry” is your best friend when you’re eating at someone’s home for the first time.

6. At a pizza party you make sure to get food as quickly as possible before the plain cheese pizza is gone. It’s always the first to go.

7. Pre-eating is key to avoiding starvation. If you’re invited to a dinner party at 7, you make sure to leave early enough so you can get some chicken nuggets on the way.

8. Even if they cook something you like you never know what secret ingredients you’ll find inside.

9. You’re favorite restaurants are the ones where you can order something directly off the menu without any changes.

10. Mozzarella sticks are a major food group.

11. So is Macaroni and Cheese

12. And God bless the person who invented chicken fingers

MacBook: A Long Distance Love Affair

This post started with the idea of mentioning some of the things on my bucket list. The first thing that came to mind was owning an Apple laptop. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted but will probably never buy myself. Although they are very common amongst the gays I simply can’t afford the 4 figure price tag. Then all at once I realized as I was typing that I could afford it I just didn’t want to. Let me explain.

I’ve always thought of a MacBook as being out of my price range and the hard truth is that’s very true. Even though $1000 is expensive, I’ve spent that much and more over the years on traveling. Basically what I’m saying is that if I HAD to come up with the money I could. Because I have a very tight budget it means I have to prioritize my spending and a trip will always get first dibs. For example is you offered me an all expenses paid gay Mediterranean cruise for $1000 I would say yes without a second thought. (that’s also a bucket list item) Although I recognize the value of a MacBook I find it hard to justify spending so much money when I can get a Toshiba laptop for only $300. I can already hear all the tech people starting to battle over why one is better than the other. What you should realize is that I only need a computer for the internet. I never play games and rarely watch streaming movies so the very basic of the basic is perfectly good for me. It’s the way most bears feel about expensive clothes. They may respect the craftsmanship of a $500 shirt but most are just as happy with a $10 Old Navy tee. So for me to ever buy a MacBook it would mean my income would have to increase to a level where I’d have an extra thousand dollars at my disposal. Maybe it’ll be a good 40th birthday present to myself in 2021.

This whole thought process got me thinking about what we really mean when we say “I can’t afford it” or “It’s too expensive.” Usually what we’re really saying is “I don’t like it enough to pay that much money.” I remember talking to a friend about vacation plans he was canceling due to low cash flow. Shortly after I found out he was driving a brand new Audi. I was bewildered as to why he would chose a car over a trip. I had to remind myself that some people have different priorities when it comes to spending. For me a car is just a basic mode of transportation and I give it little thought or importance however for a lot of people their ride is an important extension of their identity. We all spend the money it just depends what we spend it on. 

What will you pay more for?



Old Navy $10
Givenchy (at Mr. Porter) $550

Pei Wei
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

Toshiba $300
MacBook Pro starting at $1999

Seaworld San Antonio $55 a day

Atlantis Mediterranean Cruise $2449 per person


The Ultimate 90s Playlist

64 Songs that will bring you back to 90’s

1. En Vouge – You’re Never Gonna Get It
2. Salt N Pepa – Shoop
3. Brandy & Monica – The Boy Is Mine
4. Boyz II Men – Motown Philly
5. Blackstreet – No Diggity
6. Next – Too Close
7. Jade – Don’t Walk Away
8. Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It
9. Bell Biv Devoe – Poison
10. Silk – Freak Me
11. Marky Mark and the Funk Bunch – Good Vibrations
12. Destiney’s Child – Say My Name
13. 702 – Where My Girls At
14. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody
15. Tony Toni Tone – Feels Good
16. Arrested Development – Tennessee
17. PM Dawn – Set A Drift On Memory Bliss
18. Corona – Rhythm of the Night
19. Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer
20. La Bouche – Be My Lover
21. Xscape – Understanding
22. SWV – Weak
23. Crystal Waters – 100% Pure Love
24. Shai – If I Ever Fall In Love
25. The Fugees – Killing Me Softly
26. Real Love – Mary J Blige
27. Alanis Morissette – You Outta Know
28. Sinead O Connor – Nothing Compares To You
29. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
30. Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
31. Weezer – The Sweater Song
32. Beastie Boys – Sabatoge
33. Blink 182 – What’s My Age Again
34. Blur – Song 2
35. Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
36. REM – Losing My Religion
37. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge
38. Garbage – Stupid Girl
39. Blind Melon – No Rain
40. Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
41. Nirvana – In Bloom
42. Nirvana – Where Did You Did You Sleep Last Night
43. Pearl Jam – Daughter
44. Pearl Jam – Jeremy
45. Filter – Hey Man Nice Shot
46. Ace of Base – All That She Wants
47. Seven Mary Three – Cumbersome
48. Lisa Loeb – Stay
49. U2 – All I Want Is You
50. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
51. Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right But It’s Ok (Thunderpuss Mix)
52. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
53. Mariah Carey – Fantasy
54. Lady of Rage – Afro Puffs
55. Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes
56. Madonna – Vogue
57. Madonna – Take A Bow
58. Madonna – I’ll Remember
59. KLF & Tammy Wynette – Justified & Ancient 
60. Ben Folds Five – Brick
61. Green Day – Basket Case
62. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
63. Tori Amos – Silent All These Years
64. George Michael – Freedom 90