Movie Review: Rogue One

Rogue One is the worst of all the Star Wars movies. Absolutely awful. This latest incarnation takes a deep dive into the Star Wars timeline between episodes 3 and 4. Unfortunately the plot of the movie is terribly derivative which is only made worse by the cast of forgettable actors and actresses. It’s clear that now with Disney in control of the franchise they are going to churn out cookie cutter versions of an old story just for quick money. I wish Hollywood would stop relying on sequels and start creating more original content. Skip this movie at all costs. I give it a solid D-. 

I guess I should mention that I haven’t actually seen Rogue One. However I’ve seen other space movies so my opinion is important and matters. 

Last week I posted a link for The Great Instagram Experiment on Facebook and it got a lot of attention resulting in more comments than usual. The post touched on a sensitive topic so naturally many people had their opinions. I was happy to see people engaging with the article but the comments were a bit baffling. The majority of people sharing their opinions were not Instagram users themselves. That didn’t stop them from trying to explain to me what I might have missed or why I might be wrong. While I’m happy to hear from other IG users about their experience I don’t really know what to do with the opinions of people who don’t use the app. It’s like reading a movie review written by a guy who hasn’t watched the movie. So rather than write long paragraphs about how our society is filling up with people who feel their opinions, no matter how uneducated, are important I decided to write a movie review for a film I haven’t seen. 

In conclusion I leave you with some final thoughts: 

  • Just because you use Facebook doesn’t make you an expert on social media. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pariscope are all different with different purposes. 
  • Not all media is for everyone. As our culture diversifies there are more and more movies, tv shows, and books that a created for a specific group of people and that might not include you and I. Rogue One is a deep dive for Star Wars fans who have seen all the episodes and understand the timeline. Rogue One isn’t for me and thats alright. In the same way a straight guy might not get the comedy of Girls Will Be Girls or a white person might not understand all of the nuances of Atlanta and Insecure. 
  • I have the right to my own opinion but just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean it matters. 

The Great Instagram Experiment 

Over the past year I’ve being conducting an informal experiment on Instagram. Starting on January 1, 2016 I challenged myself to post a picture to Instagram every single day of the year. Even though it was challenging at times I kept up with it and never missed a day. The idea started when I saw the compilation of my 9 most liked images of 2015. Of the 9 pictures I was only in 7 of them and there was only 1 picture of me alone. Most of the pictures were of me and my boyfriend Russ which resulted in him also being in 7 of the pictures. My first instinct tugged at my low self-esteem and I instantly assumed that everyone’s favorite part of my account was my boyfriend and therefore I must be irrelevant. Before letting the negative shame spiral go too far I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take action to change things. Whenever there is a problem I want to fix I always start by looking at what I can change or possibly do better. I considered the fact that I might not be putting in a solid effort with the app. Maybe there was a link between popularity and frequency. If I used the app more maybe I would get more attention. I had only been a casual user in the past so inconsistency might be to blame. If there was a secret algorithm that boosted visibility based on how often pictures where posted I was going to find it. I decided to give my thesis a try to see if I could win Instagram without being the hottest in the room. After a year of posts I learned a lot and got answers to all of my questions.  

At the beginning of the year when I started this experiment I investigated techniques for gaining followers and likes. For example I read a blog advising that posting pictures at the same time every day helps increase stats. It was also recommended to post pictures earlier in the day because most users look at Instagram early rather than later. Even though weekends tend to provide the most picture taking opportunities it’s not when people are actually looking at the app the most. In fact Instagram reports that week days, Tuesday morning specifically, is when the most people are using the app. It was useful information to learn. Other ways to connect with people such as using a lot of hashtags and following an excessive number of accounts to try and get them to follow you back felt a little less genuine and manufactured so I skipped those. After a couple weeks of consistent posting I did start to noticed a gradual increase in likes and followers. It was small but still an improvement.  

The more I used Instagram the more I noticed the 10% threshold. Regardless of how many followers a person had, it was difficult to get more than 10% of those followers to like a single post. When someone had hundreds of likes on a picture I would check their follower count and do the math. The ratio was almost always very similar. After looking at accounts of all different types I realized that the average post got 5% to 6% of a person’s followers to double tap. A special post, the type that will later be included in the best of the year, only got about 8% to 10% of a person’s followers to double tap. That means that about 90% of people ignore most posts. Either that or 90% of users rarely look at IG and therefore just miss a post all together. It was the great equalizer and I got some comfort to know that no matter what the follower count is we all are getting the same level of interaction.

In March I started to see the cracks in my experiment start to show. While out at a bar during TBRU I posted a picture of 4 of my friends. When the picture started to rack up tons of likes I was shocked because it broke all the rules that I had read about. There were no hashtags and it was posted late on Saturday night which in theory was the least ideal time for a post. The common denominator I was trying to ignore and overcome was staring me in the face. They were all hot. My 4 wonderful friends were and are all very good looking and incidentally I was not in the picture. At the time I shrugged it off as a freak occurrence and continued to tell myself that I would win in the end. I was certain this experiment would pay off. There must be a way to get attention on IG without being the hottest guy in the room. 

Now that the year has come to an end I looked my top 9 most liked images of the year. After 154 selfies I was hopeful that my efforts would pay off and I would end up being a bigger focus of my own account. Unfortunately when I saw the results it just confirmed what I had learned but tried to ignore over the past year. Of the 9 most liked pictures this year I was only in 5 of them with on 1 being a picture of me alone. All my diligent posting efforts resulted in me being included in even less pictures than the year before. Clearly success equals cuteness and there is no big secret to winning the IG game because it all boils down to looks. By the way that TBRU picture from March was included as one of the top 9. What I learned was that Instagram is not the level playing field I wanted it to be. Instead the app is just another reflection of our culture. A cute person (or even a dog) will rack up followers and likes much quicker than an average Joe like myself. While I consider myself to be handsome my looks don’t make me stand out from the crowd and therefore I guess I was fighting a losing battle from the start.

I must admit I’m really looking forward to January when I don’t need to post a picture every day. However after this year long process I still have a great fondness for Instagram. Even though it’s not perfect I like it better than Facebook because it’s all visual. It is and will continue to be my escape from the self-important political rants and ‘pick a number to get something special in your inbox’ bullshit of Facebook. Instagram is a shallow app ruled by hot people and I’m totally ok with that. In the end I’d much rather look at a picture of a wanna-be power lifter than read about his opinions on Aleppo.  

Instagram Stats for 2016: 

  • Number of pictures posted: 428
  • Number of followers gained: approx 600
  • Number of selfies (pictures of me alone or with Phoebe the dog): 154

2016 Year In Review

Reviewing the best of 2016


Best of the YearHamilton

What can I say about Hamilton that hasn’t already been said. The hit Broadway musical is not only as good as you’ve heard, it’s better. I’ve listened to the cast recording none stop all year long and I truly believe it’s one of the greatest works of our generation. It’s educational, entertaining, and enlightening.

  • Favorite Upbeat Song- Schuyler Sisters
  • Favorite Emotional Song- Burn
  • Favorite Historical Song- Election of 1800
  • Favorite Rap Battle- Cabinet Battle #1
  • I Cry Every Time- It’s Quiet Uptown



Song of the YearAdele’s Send My Love to Your New Lover. This song came out early in the year and has managed to stick around. It was hard to turn on the radio in 2016 and not hear it on several stations. It stuck around as other songs came and went which made me happy since it was my instant favorite on 25.


Best VideoBeyonce’s Formation. The imagery in this video is epic. Beyonce went from throwing up middle fingers to laying on the roof of a sinking New Orleans police car. This was not the polite “I want everyone to like me” Beyonce. This was bad ass take charge Beyonce and I loved it.


Hidden Power HouseSia. With her signature face hiding wig Sia has had a great year. When she performed songs from her 2016 album on Saturday Night Live I was skeptical. However after listening to the songs a few more time I have come to love them. Alive was my personal favorite but Cheap Thrills and The Greatest were also stand out hits.


Sophomore SuccessThe Weeknd. When an artist gets huge success from an album it can be very hard to maintain the same level of popularity on the follow up. The Weeknd not only avoided that curse but did it in remarkably short time releasing Star Boy just over a year after his 2015 breakout hit Beauty Behind the Madness.


Spotify Streaming KingDrake. Drake won a landslide victory (for the second year in a row) when he came in as the number 1 most streamed artist on Spotify in 2016 with 4.7 billion streams. He beat his own wining record of 1.8 billion streams last year. No other man or woman came close.


Best Dirty Song in DisguiseAriana Grande’s Side to Side. Like The Weeknd, Grande’s Dangerous Woman album was a follow up to her massively successful 2014 hit My Everything. With her bunny ears on she sung her way in our hearts with her hit Side to Side. The song was so subtle that most people didn’t realize it was about getting fucked really good. Those bunny ears also became a popular Halloween costume for gay boys around the world.


Honorable MentionLady Gaga’s pink Joanne hat. At first I wasn’t impressed with Lady Gaga’s Joanne album. However I instantly fell in love with the pink hat she wore on the cover of the album. When I realized the hat cost $800 I decided to give up my dream of owning it and actually listen to the music. Over time I must say Joanne has seriously grown on me and become a favorite. The song Million Reasons is clearly the standout that tugs at every heart string.



Performance of the YearSarah Paulson as Marcia Clark in The People vs OJ Simpson. There was no other single performance on TV that was better in 2016. Her performance could easily stand up against any Best Actress nominee at the Oscars. The whole mini series was amazing in fact. If you missed it believe me it’s worth the full 10 hours. Every actor deserves applause for their performance.


Best Reality Show Ever CreatedRuPaul’s Drag Race & All Stars 2. In 2016 we were spoiled with two seasons of Drag Race. RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 early in the year and then Drag Race All Stars 2 over the summer. All Stars 2 was my gay fantasy come true. Alaska hitting the Runway as Lil Poundcake, Alyssa Edwards dancing as Annie Oakley, and Katya owning the runway in a aqua marine Esther Williams fantasy. Tatianna returned and Adore left. Every episode was better then the last. Earlier in the year we watched Season 8 which introduced us to the funny and talented Thorgy Thor and the outrageously talented Kim Chi. Bob The Drag Queen won the crown but I suspect we’ll see many season 8 faces on All Stars 3.

  • The Ultimate All Star– Alaska. From the beginning the All Star crown was Alaska’s to lose. Since her time on season 5 she has crushed the competition and become the best none winner the series has ever had.
  • Miss Congeniality– Alyssa Edwards. Alaska may have won the crown but Alyssa Edwards won our hearts as the funniest part of All Stars 2. She brought joy and laughs to every episode. BEAST!
  • The Musician– Thorgy Thor. Thorgy won my heart early in season 8 as the funny queen who was constantly out shined by her friend Bob. When I got to see video of her amazing violin skills it only made me love her more.
  • The Artist– Kim Chi. No other drag queen has shown us such astounding runway looks. She is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else providing runway looks that were both exciting and emotionally moving. When she dressed up as her mother it was incredibly moving and beautiful.


Best Season FinaleGame of Thrones. The first 5 seasons Game of Thrones moved slowly and steadily along from episode to episode. The glacially slow pace is what the show became know for. Now that they’ve caught up to the books the pace is much quicker much to everyone’s delight. The season finale was one jaw dropping surprise after another.


Favorite History Lesson The Crown. My most recent obsession has been this historical Netflix drama that follows the life and career of Elizabeth 2. (the current queen of England) Season 1 dealt with the early years of her reign and provided incredible insight into many of the background details that I am too young to know. As one of the most expensive shows in Netflix history they have already started shooting season 2 and the whole series is planned for 6 seasons total.


Best BBC ImportGreat British Baking Show. Whether you call it the Great British Baking Show of The Great British Bake Off it’s still the one of my absolute favorite shows. The calm and friendly atmosphere is like a warn escape from this years’ ugly reality. The first season is on Netflix and there are newer season shown in PBS in the summer months. If you can’t wait for new seasons, ABC is currently airing The Great American Baking Show which is an American version of the same show hosted by Nia Vardalos. I must admit it’s a very respectable substitute.



Best Late Night Segment OnlineJames Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. It’s simply delightful. Look up Lady Gaga, Adele, & Michelle Obama.


Best MemeMe vs Me featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy


Best YouTube ShowUnhhhh with Trixie Mattel and Katya. I always liked Trixie Mattel but honestly I never knew why people made such a fuss over her. This web series made me realize how funny and amazing she is. She and Katya make a perfect comedic pair and shout out to those editors for all the hilarious visuals. Trixie forever!


Funniest PodcastMy Dad Wrote a Porno. Hands down this podcast is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard and it’s caused me to laugh out loud at work multiple times. If you are not familiar with Belinda Blinked you need to download and listen to it now.

Missed Movements– Pokémon Go, Stranger Things, David Bowie, and Prince. There were many things this year that I simply wasn’t interested in or apart of. I didn’t play Pokémon Go, my only interest in Stranger Things was the return of Winona Ryder, and Bowie and Prince never made an impact on me. While they deserve a mention unfortunately I am not the person to do so.




Unfortunately tragedies and injustices have filled our news feeds for much of 2016. The year brought a crushing election defeat, a pipeline standoff, and a devastating mass shooting in  Orlando. As our hearts go out to all the victims in need we look for any possible way to help. Actually let me re-phrase that, we look for the easiest way to help. The way that requires the absolute least amount of effort. Forget volunteering, is there a way we can help by clicking a button on our phones? That way we can shit on the toilet and still check-in at the North Dakota standoff sight and feel like we’re being justice warriors. It’s important that we can show everyone how kind we are on social media but that doesn’t mean we have to go out and actually do anything. Minimum effort and (perceived) maximum reward. Welcome to era of the slacktivist. 

Social media is the one and only tool of the slacktivist and the photo filter for a cause on Facebook is the perfect example of slactivism at its best. Just by clicking a button your profile photo will tell all your friends that you are a good person. We had rainbows for Orlando and French flags for Paris. While the idea has good intentions at its heart it’s by far the laziest form of support we can give. A visual show of support is nice but I doubt the real victims see your photo much less get comfort from it. Maybe I’m wrong but if I had a loved one killed in Orlando a rainbow filter would not make me feel better. Personally my favorite part of the filter for a cause phenomenon is when everyone starts to switch their photos back to normal. I mean I’m totally united with Orlando but this picture from last night is too cute to go to waste. I’ve been guilty of being a slacktivist just like everyone else. I had so much anxiety over this election yet it still wasn’t enough to get me to go out and get involved in the process. I could have volunteered at a voting site or donated to Hillary’s campaign. Nope, I just talked about it to like minded friends and posted a picture of Hillary on Instagram. I’m sure she appreciates my valuable contribution. I mean that Instagram picture got 37 likes. You’re welcome Hillary. Yes you’d also be correct to assume that most slacktivists are also self righteous. If you try and tell a them that their profile photo doesn’t matter they’ll get very defensive because to them profile photos really do change lives.

This topic inspired me to take action. I wasn’t sure where to start so I set up a reoccurring  monthly donation to charity. I know it would be best if I volunteered but I’m starting out small. Going into the new year I hope that complacency doesn’t take over because we need to stay active. I challenge everyone to take action in anyway they now how as long as it goes beyond social media. We are so busy complaining that 2016 was awful that we are failing to realize that 2017 might actually be much worse and an angry rant on Facebook isn’t going change that. Donations of time or money are what matters.  Let’s all do our part to help fight against the urge to be slacktivists. 



You’re Tacky But I Don’t Hate You

Tacky (adjective): Showing poor taste or quality. 

There is a lot of noise made about what is and isn’t offensive. I’m sure if you search the internet there are lengthy articles about the current state of political correctness and our society’s penchant toward the offensive. Personally I’m a huge fan of political correctness and I think it’s gets an undeserved bad rap. I tend to think a lack of language is partly to blame for the problem. There are not enough words to describe the complexities of the situation. Gray areas exist such as when a person isn’t truly offended themselves however they see something wrong with a statement. In that case offensive really isn’t appropriate because no one was actually offended but it still isn’t totally cool either. I thought about it and I purpose we bring back the word tacky. Tacky behavior or language usually comes from a place of bad judgment and ignorance rather than genuine hate and malice. Here’s an example of when to use the word tacky:

Recently I was listening to the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend and she was interviewing comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. Right of the bat Greg started talking about a gay friend. He used adjectives like fruity and light in the loafers. At one point he took a second to think of a better word to describe the man and he landed on the word faggy. Yes faggy. Their whole conversation continued to be a minefield because they were talking about gay men (without any gay men present) and making so many incorrect stereotypical assumptions my mind was spinning. It reminded me of that one straight friend who’s been told about Grindr hookups so now he thinks he has complete insight into the entire gay world. I wasn’t offended and in fact the only emotion I felt was a twinge of disappointment. This is a situation that I would call tacky. Greg  Fitzsimmons said some incredibly tacky things. Do I think Greg is homophobic? No. I think he was trying to be funny and used astoundingly poor taste in order to make a point. No real harm done because he just being tacky. As we’ve seen society can sometimes overuse the word offensive and that’s why we need the word tacky. I challenge you to use tacky more often when you encounter these types of situations. When someone posts an inappropriate comment on a Facebook picture of your family: tacky. When you hear someone blame all the world’s problems on millennials: tacky. When a friend posts outlandish bullshit just to get attention: tacky. Like so many overused buzzwords before it (diva, genius, literally) the word offensive has a purpose and place but it isn’t always the best word for every situation. It’s time for tacky to make a comeback.