Queer as Folk, 14 Years Later

Mar 4, 2014 | Filed in Gay | 2 Comments

I still remember when Queer as Folk premiered on Showtime in the year 2000. I was sitting in my living room watching it on my 15″ GE tube TV, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Men were having sex and relationships—with other men! Women were raising babies together.

qaf

Before Queer as Folk, the most shocking thing I’d seen on TV was Ellen DeGeneres saying “I’m gay” into a microphone at an airport. Oooh, scandalous! But that’s really the way it was, and just saying those words out loud was enough to start a war. Nobody had ever made a U.S. TV show like this before.

Queer as Folk pushed boundaries for five seasons and became a poignant time capsule of the real-life struggles we endured daily. Some of the specific portrayals caused discord within the community, as LGBT members argued that it wasn’t a realistic representation of everyone.

It’s true; we didn’t all spend our nights at bars, surrounded by drag queens, taking drugs, and having anonymous sex. But it was necessary at the time to rip the mask off and reveal themes that were unapologetically honest.

14 years later, Queer as Folk has been added to Netflix’s streaming service, exposing a whole new generation to the series. It’s quite amusing to read some of the commentary by viewers in their early 20s, who’d never heard of the show until now. Many of them love it, and can’t believe this was on TV, knowing it’s provocative even by today’s standards.

Daniel and I have been re-living the series through Netflix and I’m actually very impressed at how strong the show still is. I think I have more respect for it now.

Some of the clothing is hilarious to see. Emmett’s shirt with the plastic window over the chest comes to mind as one of the most iconic examples of “Y2K” era fashion in the show. There was also a man wearing a shiny black shirt. God, I remember those shiny shirts—I loved them! But bad fashion aside, most episodes could easily take place now and still seem current.

If you watched the show in the early 2000s, I recommend checking it out again. And if you’ve never seen it before, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite Queer as Folk memory.

P90X3 Is Here and It’s Worth a Look

Feb 26, 2014 | Filed in Blogs | 0 Comments

A year ago, I started the P90X program and had satisfactory results. I can’t say that I looked like one of the dramatic “Before and After” models you see in the videos, but I did feel and look healthier, and that was most important to me.

As trainer Tony Horton points out, the cost of the program is usually cheaper than a gym membership, and you’ll be more likely to stick with the program when you can do it in your own home. Even if gyms are open 24/7, I still think there’s a mindset that it’s a hassle for some people, and that’s why they fall off the wagon 1-2 months into their one year membership, making it a total waste. I was able to stick to the program for the full 90 days, and even after then, I continued to use some of the moves in my regular exercises.

Now P90X3 is here, 10 years later after the original, and I really think this one is worth checking out. I did my first one yesterday, Agility X, and it completely kicked my ass within the first 10 minutes. I can tell this is going to be a great program and will really challenge me, a year after finishing P90X.

The biggest difference is the exercises are 30 minutes instead of 60, and there isn’t an additional 15 minute Ab Ripper X to do afterwards. (Thank God! I got so tired of that damn video after the first week.) The yoga video is 30 minutes too, which is great because I always dreaded the 90 minute yoga nights from the original. Those were so damn tedious—effective, but still tedious.

There’s also a lot more variety. From what I’ve seen so far, your whole body gets worked out in the videos, rather than isolating certain groups each night. The name of the game is faster, more intense exercises, so you have to work harder, but you can call it quits after just a half hour. I think most people would prefer that, and it’s certainly more flexible for busy schedules.

We’ll see how it goes, but I think this is the right direction for P90X. People are impatient and they want a routine that’s effective but takes minimal time. P90X3 helps accomplish both, so we’ll see how I feel about it three months from now.

Is anyone else using P90X3? What are your thoughts so far?

In Defense of Flaming Queers

Feb 24, 2014 | Filed in Gay | 1 Comment

emmett from queer as folkA massive shift is taking place within gay culture and it’s putting part of our community back in the closet. The target is “flaming” gay men, and not only are they outcast by straight people (as they’ve always been) but now they’re being shunned by other gay men.

It’s easy to notice. When we were at dinner with a group of (gay) friends this weekend, I overheard this: “Ugh, I don’t like those girly gays, running around with feathers and boas.”

The comment annoyed me because I have plenty of girly gay friends and I think they’re fine the way they are. So I turned to the guy and said, “If they like feathers and boas, they should wear them. People should do what makes them happy.”

His attitude is the same one that’s taken over the gay community. Rugged, “manly men” have become the dominant theme for a culture that’s trying desperately to shed the former stereotypes of what being gay is. No longer do gay people want to be seen as limp-wristed, feminine boys. They want to be ultra-masculine men, often to the point of working to be more butch than their heterosexual counterparts.

If you’re a masculine guy—good for you. If you like other masculine guys—good for you too. There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want, nor is there anything wrong with being who you are—BUT, in doing this, men who are feminine should still get to be who they are too. They shouldn’t be outcast within the gay community, nor should they be asked to change who they are to fit in.

Some guys are just naturally more feminine. It’s the way they were born, and it’s disappointing to see this new generation of the gay community that rejects this concept. If anything, I’d hoped by now we’d be much more inclusive and stop worrying about what’s masculine or feminine. Just let people be who they are and leave it at that.

I’m not saying it should change your preference in partners. This isn’t about partners. It’s about the general outlook that “flamers” are flawed in the way they act, and they should either change who they are to fit in or else be ignored completely. And that’s what’s happening too—they’re being ignored and pushed back into the closet, because now gay people don’t even seem to want them around.

We need all colors to make up our rainbow flag. It’s important to remember what makes us diverse in the first place.

How to Get the Best View of the Golden Gate Bridge

Feb 7, 2014 | Filed in Blogs | 0 Comments

When you go to San Francisco, there’s one view everyone wants of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s the iconic view featured in movies, TV shows, and photos for the last 75+ years. But how do you get there?

This view can’t be found in San Francisco! It’s across the bay in Sausalito, California. Read on for a step-by-step guide to capturing a postcard-worthy view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The best view of the Golden Gate Bridge overlooking San Francisco, CA

Getting there:

The location is called Battery Spencer. Enter this into your map app:

Battery Spencer
Conzelman Rd
Sausalito, CA 94965

GPS coordinates: Latitude : 37.827887, Longitude : -122.481905

Directions from San Francisco:

- Follow US-101
This will take you over the bridge. The city skyline and Alcatraz will be on your right (not shown in pic).

- Take the ALEXANDER AVE. exit

- Keep LEFT at the fork and follow signs for 101-S/San Francisco.
This is around the time you’re going to think you’re lost. Don’t worry, you’re not.

- Turn LEFT onto ALEXANDER AVE.
Again, you’re fine. I know it’s confusing to take signs going toward San Francisco when you just came from there.

- Take the first RIGHT onto CONZELMAN RD.

- You’ve made it to Battery Spencer!

You’ll follow a winding road and then arrive at the parking lot of Battery Spencer. It’s free to park; just be sure to bundle up when you get out of your car because the winds are cold up there and there are no trees to shield you.

The trip is very easy and takes about 10 minutes once you leave the city. It really shouldn’t be complicated, but unfortunately there are no signs that say, “Go here for amazing view of the bridge!” We asked around and most of the locals didn’t even know how to get the view. They just sent us to different beaches and parks within San Francisco.

I decided to create this step-by-step guide so that other people wouldn’t have to deal with the same frustration.

We’re Married (Again)

Jan 31, 2014 | Filed in Daniel | 6 Comments

Well it’s official! Daniel and I are now legally married. Although we had a wedding ceremony in April 2011, we made a trip to San Francisco earlier this month to make it legal.

Here are a few photos from the court house:

Kiss

Married

The next morning, we got up early to watch the sunrise over the city. It was an amazing view!

Sunrise

Here’s a photo of Daniel taking a photo. I love the voyeuristic feel of it; very Hitchcockian, don’t you think?

Hitchcock

And lastly, a video I took:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZZu-OYxD54

2013: A Year of Transformation

Dec 30, 2013 | Filed in Abundance | 0 Comments

Another year is passing into the rear-view mirror. So much has changed in the last 365 days and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little sentimental. In fact, I almost feel moved to tears.

Failed adoptions

2013 got off to a rough start. We’d just had our second failed adoption and it was taking a toll on us. Everyone tells you it’s part of the process. You get your hopes up, you think you’ve been matched, and then the bottom falls out. But nobody can prepare you for the devastation. It’s similar to the mourning you go through after a death, and as silly as that may sound, a lot of expectant parents feel it. A dream has died. You build up these future moments in your head, imagine the life with this child, and then it all slips away.

Poor health

I was also in the worst shape of my life as we started the P90X program. I weighed more than I ever had before at almost 160 lbs. That’s “normal” and “healthy” as far as normal and healthy go. But it’s still 20 pounds more than I used to weigh and I could feel it when I tried to stuff myself into my jeans, unable to fasten the button. I could see it in photos when my cheeks looked like a chipmunk’s. Worse yet, I just didn’t have the energy I knew I should have. My joints hurt, I was tired by 2PM. I knew I needed a change.

P90X was a great start. I can’t say I came out looking like the guys in the infomercials. Results like those are possible, but uncommon. But I was more muscular, more flexible, and had a lot more stamina. It was a very good start, and I could really start to feel it by springtime.

Even worse stomach problems

Despite the improvements I was making in my overall health, there was still a huge battle going on. My digestive health was at its worst. I was sick almost every day, and I couldn’t figure out why. I went to doctors and specialists. They gave me lots of drugs, which helped a little, but didn’t fix the problem.

I didn’t find out what the real problem was until just this month—December! It turns out I have a gluten sensitivity. It’s not the same as Celiac disease; I’m not allergic to gluten. But apparently people can still have a sensitivity, meaning their stomach gets upset when they eat food with wheat, rye, and other grains.

The food I was eating with P90X was packed full of gluten because wheat is supposed to help you feel full. Well that was the problem! Because I was eating even more gluten-based foods than normal, I was feeling the pain and sickness amplified.

Thankfully I am enjoying the best stomach health I’ve had in over 20 years. I still have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is incurable. But thanks to eliminating the foods that trigger it, as well as removing gluten, I finally feel like I have an almost “normal” stomach. It’s something I’ve never experienced in my adult life, and it’s so gratifying.

Changing my outward image

Every year for Halloween, I want to be some type of warrior or super hero, and every year, I don’t do it because I don’t feel muscular enough, or I’ve put on a few pounds, or whatever the excuse is. For 2013, I insisted that I would get myself into shape and finally be comfortable in my own skin… And I did it!

I bought a Spartan warrior costume and I wore it out on Halloween. I was really shy about it at the time, but I’m glad I did it. That was just the beginning of me being healthier and happier with my outward appearance.

I’ve improved my health even more since then, and I feel better than ever.

Looking ahead

I know that 2014 will bring a lot of love and happiness into my life. In January, Daniel and I are getting legally married. Although we had our ceremony in 2011, I do think that having legal recognition is a very important step to finally solidifying a basic right that I believe all humans are entitled to; the freedom to marry the person they love, regardless of gender.

And of course I really hope 2014 is the year we finally adopt our son. I am sad and disappointed that it didn’t happen in 2012 or 2013, but I suppose it’s all part of a larger plan. Something bigger than us must have felt the time wasn’t right yet, so I hope the new year is finally the time.

I hope you all have a happy and safe time celebrating the new year, and look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in 2014!

Gluten-Free Update

Dec 20, 2013 | Filed in Life | 3 Comments

It’s been nearly two weeks since I gave up gluten in my diet and the results have been amazing! I can’t say for certain whether or not it was directly related to my Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or if it was just a secondary food sensitivity. And quite frankly, I don’t care to analyze it.

I’ve spent years analyzing my health, feeling broken and hopeless as I went from doctor to doctor without any long-term cures. None of the specialists even considered removing gluten from my diet. Some of them even praised me for consuming a diet that was rich in wheat. “Good, keep doing that, it’s healthy for you,” they’d say. What has happened to our doctors?!

All I know is that since I stopped eating food that was high in gluten, I don’t run to the toilet anymore. I don’t eat Pepto tablets like candy. I have more energy and feel great. That’s all I really need to know, isn’t it?

Giving up gluten hasn’t been nearly as difficult or expensive as I thought it would be. There are many great options at the grocery store and some of them are reasonably priced. They even taste better, which was a pleasant surprise. Instead of using wheat, most use rice, corn, and/or potato to give a similar texture and flavor. They are very yummy and the ingredient list is usually just 3-5 items, rather than 12 ingredients I can’t even pronounce!

I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with wheat. I used to think it was all bogus scare tactics, but now, I’m starting to believe it’s real. Wheat today is not the healthy wheat that our ancestors consumed. It’s heavily altered and many times the nutrients are stripped away and replaced with artificial preservatives. Some people call it “Frankenwheat.” No wonder my body was rejecting it!

I encourage anyone with unexplained stomach problems, tiredness or fatigue, to seriously consider giving this a trial run. Just because you don’t have Celiac disease does not mean gluten isn’t affecting your health.

That’s the news for now! I hope everyone has a great holiday and I’ll have more stories to share soon!

Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” Parody on Chatroulette

Dec 12, 2013 | Filed in Humor | 0 Comments

Of all the hundreds of video parodies of the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video, this is my favorite! See what happens when a man named Steve Kardynal surprises random people on Chatroulette.


Source: YouTube

Gluten-Free Food for IBS

Dec 10, 2013 | Filed in Life | 0 Comments

Over the years I’ve discussed my struggles with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s a digestive problem that apparently affects at least 15% of the population, maybe even more. Food and stress are the biggest triggers for the symptoms, although sometimes you just get explosive diarrhea for no good reason at all.

I’ve worked with doctors to reduce my symptoms. That’s all you really can do since IBS is incurable. I maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and try to avoid these foods, which are usually triggers: Onions, garlic, spicy foods, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy… Basically, all the tasty stuff!

That used to be enough for me. If I did all of those things, I had a generally happy stomach with only occasional flare-ups. But something has changed in my 30s. Even the “healthy” food isn’t tolerable for my stomach anymore. I met with a specialist and we did a series of tests, just to confirm there wasn’t anything else going on. He also prescribed me with an antibiotic to clear up a very specific strain of my stomach’s bacteria. We did more tests after that and everything was “fine” as far as fine goes.

But recently I read that people with IBS can mimic the symptoms of Celiac disease (people who can’t eat wheat). True Celiac disease requires a strict gluten-free diet, as gluten can permanently damage the lining of the stomach if you have it! I do not have Celiac disease, so I am not at risk.

However, I was surprised to read that removing gluten from your diet can also help with IBS! Hmmm, this was interesting. I eat whole wheat cereal for breakfast and whole wheat crackers and hummus for lunch. So for 2/3 of my daily meals, I have a diet that’s high in whole wheat! I also have whole wheat or some form of wheat with dinner on most nights too.

This is generally supposed to be good for you, as it’s heart healthy, low fat, low cholesterol, and all that good stuff. But if wheat upsets your stomach, it’s obviously very, very bad!

So for two full days now, I’ve tried to eat gluten-free, and so far, my stomach has been much happier! I’m really hoping this will start a new chapter for my health.

Since I’m not allergic to wheat, I will probably still indulge from time to time. Who can resist a cookie or piece of pie, right? But I think if I generally avoid gluten, and certainly don’t make it the main ingredient in my daily diet, I will be in much better health.

Here’s hoping! Anyway, I wanted to share this information for anyone else out there who may also be living with IBS and wondering how to reduce your symptoms. Even if you’re not allergic to wheat, it may be upsetting your stomach. If you’ve tried everything else, you might want to try avoiding wheat and seeing what happens.

Married, For Real-Reals

Dec 9, 2013 | Filed in Daniel | 4 Comments

Happy holidays, all! I have so much to tell you…

The first bit of news is that Daniel and I are getting married (again) next month!

We had our wedding ceremony in Tennessee in April, 2011. It was the happiest day of my life. Unfortunately because of Tennessee’s discriminating policies, we were not able to register to make it “official.”

When you’re gay, you kind of trick yourself into believing that’s fine. It has to be, right? It’s just a piece of paper, labels don’t mean anything, blah, blah, blah… It’s the only way to convince yourself to sleep at night.

Well we were so happy when Illinois passed marriage equality because that’s where I grew up, and subsequently where I endured years of bullying while I was a kid. It would be such sweet revenge to go back to my hometown and get married right there. What a way to raise two big middle fingers to society, right?

That was the plan. When the law went into effect in June, 2014, we planned to get our marriage license in Illinois. Since Tennessee doesn’t have state income tax, it really and truly would be a legal marriage because we only file federally. Thanks to the overturn of DOMA, we would be able to file as married. How exciting and affirming to finally be equal! I cringe when I checkmark the “Single” box on my taxes.

As 2014 got closer, I really thought about what that day would look like. I imagined us walking in and filling out that paperwork. The discomfort. The stares and the whispers. Would I cause a scene? Would I tell everyone to go fuck themselves? I imagined what this special occasion would really be. It just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like love, and that’s all marriage should be.

I decided San Francisco was the place we should be married. We both love the city by the bay. It’s a place of magic and beauty where anything seems possible. Yes, that is where love is. That is where we should get our marriage license.

For Daniel’s birthday, I surprised him with a wedding proposal written on our flight schedule. Since we already have engagement and wedding rings, I used a ring pop. He loves playing Candy Crush, so it seemed oddly appropriate.

The date is set for next month! We’ll get married in San Francisco, and then have a nice leisurely second honeymoon to celebrate our status as married… again… and this time, it’s as real as it gets. We’re so excited! The new year can’t get here soon enough.

That’s the big announcement. I have some other stories I want to share from the last few months, so that will be my incentive to write again soon!

About Nathan

I'm a happily married gay man, self employed as a website designer, writing about my life and the world as I see it.
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