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So 2009 has been quite a ride of a year. It started out a lot better than it is finishing, that's for sure, but now I'm happy to try to dust some of this off and get going again in 2010.

You know, it's hard not to write out the year without hitting zero twice. i don't know how many times at work I've tried typing 20010. That's just not going to work.

One of the best memories of the year was on the cruise that seems so long ago. I met some great people on the cruise to Mexico. Really, the cruise could have gone just about anywhere, that didn't really matter. We did so little about seeing things off the ship.

Personally, I think if I go on a cruise that isn't all gay it would just be weird. The all-gay cruise is just such a unique little bubble of non-reality. It's great.

I just remember being on this large ship, on the 12th floor above the Pacific Ocean as another cruise ship was going the other way and I wondered if there was someone on the top deck of that ship, up late at 2 in the morning, watching our ship going by. There's seemed rather quiet, moving through the sea, while ours was alive with lights of all colors and DJ Rotten Robbie spinning the then new Po-po-poker Face single into the dark night.

It was a rather surreal moment. Sometimes you wish life could always be like that...minus the sea-sickness!

I know most people would say the worst moment was when they were fired, but that just doesn't seem like it to me. I guess I was able to keep my spirits going for a little bit as I had hope that I would find something new.

I'm not sure what was the worst moment. It might have been the moment when I realized that the new job was not only a start at the bottom, but not the opportunity that I was hoping it would be, and I felt a bit stuck. That or it might have been the moment where a little white lie was caught (trying to fudge that I was fired, not just laid off) and the prospect of a better paying job was yanked away from me. It was that moment when I realized that getting back to a job that used my experience and would give me some return to a better salary was going to be a lot harder than I had thought.

So the cusp of 2010 leaves me in a quandary. Do I start looking for a job again, or do I try to tough it out for a while in a job I don't like? Can I make the current employer better? Will I have the ability to make a difference here, or is the corporate culture too hard to move, especially from the bottom of the totem pole?

And if we are looking towards something new, what is it? I don't know if I can easily go back to financial services, and I bitched enough about it before, is that really what I want to return to? The money can be good, and it's nice to keep valuable licenses active, but ... Let's face it, I don't know what I'm really good at, and I don't really know what to look for. I think some more thought is needed here.

Since I haven't written in a while, I just wanted to say Chris and I had a great time in San Diego a few weeks back, and my love affair with California continues. The people of San Diego were friendly, the place beautiful even despite the cool and rainy weather. loved the zoo and Balboa Park and the Hole. I want to go back, and hopefully catch a ball game. Great meeting up with Dave, Mike, Brian, Justin, JP, Henry, Hadrian and many other great people. It was also fun seeing Shannon and Luke there on their first weekend as new residents. Maybe Chris and I will join you some day.

Speaking of baseball, the ball game at Dodger Stadium with Paul and Bobaloo back in April was the only baseball game I saw all year. I had hoped to see another game last summer, but having no cash flow kind of killed it. Here's hoping I'll get an opportunity this summer to catch a game or to and keep up my quest to see all of the stadiums before I'm 50. I've got about 15 to go, so I need to get on it!

Lastly, by sister has been here the last couple of days and it's been nice to have here here. It felt a little nicer to share Christmas this year with a little family of Chris, Laura and of course Joey.

Well, here's hoping that 2010 (or 20010) brings some good things to all of us and new doors will open. After this last half a year, I could use a lottery win in some form or another.
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So I'm reading the posts made by several people on the new "Bear Magazine" kerfluffle (the whole "what is a bear?" thing with them siding that the fatter guys are ruining it for the musclebears) and thought I'd throw something out there.

First thing, Bear Magazine today says I'm a fat chub, and not a bear, despite my hairiness. Funny, 15 years ago the old magazine would say I was maybe just a little larger than the target for being one of their models. I'm probably just right for what used to be "American Grizzly."

I know that I resist the term "chub" when I self-identify. Just not a label I like for myself, despite being in a weight class that totally fits it. Just not my thing. As for being attracted to bears or chubs or whatever, a lot of times it depends on the person. I could say that I like cubs and like bears (my definition of them anyway) and I'm not as big on chasers or chubs, but it just depends. I can't say that I rule out someone just because of a label and I can't really blanket one group with a yes or no. It's better to be a case-by-case guy.

Here's the big thing, the kind of guys that the new Bear Magazine is trying to feature - most of them totally get my crank working. I like muscle and it's better with some hair too. Remember "Carl Hardwick" from Colt Studios? OMG! Love it. Know I can never get it, but still love it.

Frankly, my love of the "musclebear" type puts me in a bad position because these guys aren't very friendly to me. We have a group of them in Dallas that at best might say hello and ignore me, at worst, will sneer at me. Most of them date within their small gene pool, and I can only look. I don't get invited to their pool parties because I don't look like them and I don't do the drugs that many of them do.

Surprisingly, I go to the gym, somewhat regularly, but that doesn't get me anywhere.

(Side story - I loved the moment at TBRU last spring where one of the nicer ones was chatting with me in the lobby and totally did a head turn when MSNMark came in. He said, "Who is that?" I said, "Oh that's Mark." I could see that he wanted to go put the moves on Mark but I said to him, "You needn't bother because he's not into you." "Oh, what's he like?" "Oh, he likes guys like me." This threw him for a loop. I could see he was shocked. I even introduced him to Mark...and nothing, no chemistry there, but Mark had a twinkle in his eyes for me. I loved that moment so much!)

Let's face it, Bear Films and Cyberbears and other sites survive because they found a niche and they serve it, just like the original Bear Magazine did. The new Bear is just going over territory already covered by many others like 100% Beef, Raging Stallion, Colt, Hot House, Titan and many others. The buff, some chest-haired guy is accessible in many different places. I'm wondering how well the new Bear will do in the marketplace.

One thing that Bear shouldn't do is piss off the people who know the brand and possibly came out to it like I did. Bear Magazine for a lot of us was that "Ahh Ha" moment when we learned we could be gay and ourselves because there were others out there like us.

Lets face it, Bear Magazine, I am your target audience now, the guy who likes the musclebears for spank material but really isn't in their dating pool. Those who already look like your models can probably get your models in real life. those of us out on the edges of what you define as handsome, those of us on the outside looking in are the ones most likely to be your subscribers, looking for access. It's not good to alienate your audience.

Luckily access to BigMuscelbears is still free - thanks Bill and Andy!

(Oh, and I'm looking forward to bear night here in San Diego where I'm taking a small vacation. Lets see what bear group shows up!)
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chrisandmichael2.jpg, originally uploaded by Bobaloo Rox.

Courtesy of [ profile] bobaloo here's a picture of Chris and I back from 2004, I think. Ahh, we were so young then, and I still had my hair...wait.

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It's so hard to come back to the humdrum land of work when you've been gone on a good long vacation. I'm definitely feeling the pull of the blues here, wishing I could be back in New York.

I love sending picture posts, but they only tell part of the story. I have many, many more pictures and if I can get motivated, I'll send them up to Flickr, but at the moment they are in the same limbo as befell my pictures from Boston two years ago, and from the cruise I took last year. I'm not sure why it's hard to come back to those, but procrastination is my middle name...I think.

Walking around New York is like feeling you are on a movie set. There's so many things that you've seen, but there they are right in front of you. 30 Rock, The Flatiron Building, The Empire State Building, Times Square, even the Unisphere way out in Flushing Meadows Park. All have that familiarity, and many seem much, much bigger in real life.

From where I left off the other day, Laura and I had breakfast with Ryan ([ profile] bobo_dreams) and followed him into the Toys R Us in Times Square for some hilarity. Then we went in and sat for a while in the studio for the Frank DeCaro show on Sirius Out Q. Frank was nice enough to give us a tour of the now Sirius-XM studios and gave us some restaurant recommendations for the rest of our stay. We instantly went out to the first one he mentioned, having lunch in Madison Square Park at the Shake Shack. Man those cheese fries were good!

Leaving the Shake Shack we went downtown so Laura could see Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty. I saw it the other night when I rode the Staten Island Ferry. While looking around Wall Street near the charging bull statue we spotted Chris Noth who was working on a Law and Order episode. We then went to the Brooklyn Bridge. After a twenty minute walk, we were in Brooklyn. We didn't get to stay long as we needed to go to Union Square to meet Kurt ([ profile] bigboychb) who was working at Virgin. We finished the evening at the observation deck at Top of the Rock.

By this time I had blisters on my feet, and almost didn't go out, but it was bear bar night so i felt I had to deal with it and head out to Christopher Street. It certainly wasn't what I expected, with a lot of kids hanging out. by the time I got to the Dugout it was already midnight and the crowd was already heading out the door. There I didn't meet many of the locals, buts saw Bob from Michigan (not on LJ), and met Ed and John ([ profile] cubbies76 and [ profile] johnboi76) from Chicago. It was good to meet them and have someone to talk to there. After a bit we decided to leave the bar and go on up to Ty's which seemed to be hopping. Of course Ty's is a tiny place, so even a small crowd would make it seem crowded. There I ran into [ profile] theoctothorpe (who has a dreamy accent) and [ profile] joebehrsandiego. before Ed and John had to head back to Long Island we stopped by for some late night New York style pizza with some surly waitstaff.

Saturday found Laura and I first setting out for breakfast at Billy's Bakery in Chelsea, then off to see [ profile] naylandblake's installation "Guys We Want to Fuck" at a very small warehouse gallery. Then it was off to Central Park for walking, walking and more walking. I was definitely having to tell Laura to slow it down as my feet were in bad shape after having to walk so much in the city (really, I've built up a lot of stamina in the last couple of years, but it's more stamina as far as time, not wear and tear. I'm used to gym conditions, not the real street). Sure, there's plenty of public transportation but you still end up walking a lot, and there's many, many sets of stairs in the subway. The whole trip was a workout. We walked a circuitous path from Columbus Circle to the Guggenheim Museum. Sadly the museum was filled with tourists and was under renovation. Lincoln Center was also under renovations, also a disappointment. Still, we ducked into a McDonald's (another place with bad service, how do New Yorkers put up with it?) and saw Michael Emmeron, aka Ben on Lost, getting cash from an ATM. I told him I liked his work which he thanked me in that strange voice he has.

Exhausted, Laura and I went back to the hotel (the Muse near Times Square, highly recommended) and cleaned up before meeting the Jersey Boys, Tom ([ profile] evilcreamsicle), John ([ profile] txredneck) and Ed ([ profile] njbearcub1) for dinner at a sort of cajun place on Restaurant Row. Sadly, Laura and I did not know about Restaurant Row until this, the last night. We had a great meal and spent a long time at the restaurant just talking and hanging out before sending the Jersey Boys back through the tunnel. It was a good night and I was glad they were able to join us, if just for a few hours.

Sadly, we never saw the Cash Cab.

We looked a little more at Times Square on Sunday morning when there weren't so many people running around before heading back to Penn Station and to the train back to Baltimore. It was nice that the Square was calmer than it had been for the last few days with tons of tourists standing around gawking. Sure, it's quite a sight, but when you realize that it's all just advertisements and encouragements to buy, buy, buy, you figure out there's a lot better sights to see in New York than this.

Frankly, I was impressed. There's a lot packed in the city, and even more that we didn't get to. It will definitely be worth a second look, to go back and see some of the smaller things, and like our walk through Chelsea, see more of the real New York, not just the big postcard items. With the two new stadiums coming on line, there will certainly be an excuse to come back again. Hell, I never even found the Apple Cube!

Hopefully by then my feet will have fully healed from all the walking.
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Chris and I were at the gym last night and there were a couple of cute cubbish types working their way through the circuit of machines. Still being a little "on" from last weekend's TBRU, I had to remind myself mentally not to stare.

It's something that always happens coming out of a bear run. after being in the bear bubble for a few days you tend to forget that these guys are statistically not likely to play on your team.

The bubble is enticing. Wonderful men, old and new to meet, fun times socializing, kicking youself for not saying hello to the hottie that just walked by, etc. There's food and fun. If I ever decide it's worth it to stay at the hotel, and not drive home, maybe I'll actually drink a little. From what I've been told, that might "loosen me up" so I'll forget to be so worried about my own hang-ups.

Still, it was a good run. The events this year weren't so hot, and I wish i hadn't felt sick and could have stayed in the pool on Friday night. Otherwise, there were good rubbin's from Mikey ([ profile] profundis), getting to meet Mark from Madison for the first time, hanging with wingman Jim ([ profile] jrjarrett), and seeing Tony ([ profile] tonydabear), Paul ([ profile] citizenpep), and Tony ([ profile] cubziz) again, among many others.

I tried to keep groups small, and not try to get lost in the big 20 person feasts and such, but some crowds can't be avoided, in the pool area, the hospitality suite, and so forth. I just have to occasionally take a time out and go out for a milkshake every once in a while. It's healthy, sort of.

This weekend did remind me that I need to do better socializing with the locals here, because there's some really good fellas here.

There is something about just being in the lobby and watching all of the guys walk by. I wish it was happening again soon. Not this weekend, but maybe the next - one would need to have time to recover.

Now if the hot guys would just stay in their homes for a few days more.

I took a few pics, mostly at the LJ meetup. Nothing like the party pics others took, but if you want to see, they are HERE
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It's funny, for the last couple of days it's already seemed like TBRU around here. I go out to eat lunch or dinner and there are several hot guys around.

Maybe I'm just horny.

Of course the biggest difference is that you can't just go up to someone in the middle of Chipotle and say, "hey, are you a cocksucker?" I'm sure there's a more suave way to do this, but I'm far from suave.

Of course at the host hotel you know all the cute guys are, so the question never has to be asked, but still the success rate is just a bit higher on actually getting the cute guys to notice you back.

I will try to avoid the mid-run blues where I don't feel that I've kept up with the Joneses and haven't gotten my fill of attention and friendship. I will try my darnedest to be open and pleasant despite being in a big crowd and intimidated by all the hotness in the room.

I'm trying to decide if I want to play run dress-up, or just not worry about such things. Maybe the overalls will make an appearance.

I need to remind myself that people can be friendly, and by not retreating into a corner I would probably have a better time. I need to get over my self esteem issues and not get in the mood that I'm not smart enough, cute enough, and not worth knowing. I need to keep my head and let the event be what it will be.

OK, that being said, I'm glad that work let me have tomorrow off, despite of training, so I can put my plan into action. Let's go meet some bears!
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It's been a busy few days as we got to year end. Chris met more members of my family this weekend as my parents were in town for the funeral of my great-uncle on my mother's side. Chris didn't go to the funeral, it would have been awkward since he hasn't met that part of the family, but he did get to meet my aunt Suzanne who was up for the funeral. We met for lunch before the funeral.

The funeral itself was boring. Two funerals in a short span is a bit rough. However, it's more of an expectation when it's a 95 year old man that it is for someone who was three years older than yourself. My great-uncle's son (my cousin of some sort) is a lawyer and both father and son were members of Sigma Chi, so the reception has the feeling of being at a Republican convention...including women with high hair.

Chris also got to meet my great-aunt on my father's side, Ojeda. She is always a hoot, a chain-smoking, margarita-drinking hoot. We had a nice dinner with her and my folks on Sunday.

One of the good things at the end of this past year was hearing that my dad has a clean bill of health after his prostate cancer surgery. He's not healing as fast as he'd like, but the prognosis is good.

Chris and I both had to work on New Years Eve, but we did go out last night, first checking in at [ profile] soonercubntx's apartment for a movie, then off to the biggest bear party in town, the shindig at Mark and Ami's ([ profile] amisadeh). It's the fourth year we've gone to the party, and I think this year's was great. I'm sure it was the largest turnout they've had There were people visiting from all over. Near midnight the house was packed, and it's one of the best looking and friendliest crowds you'll see.

Now normally a crowd like that gets me running for a far corner, but this year I felt good, confident and occasionally even sexy. It was nice, and it made it easy for me to strike up some conversations here and there with bears known and unknown.

One of the best moments for me was running into someone who had just recently come back to Dallas after living elsewhere for the last couple of years. He was very complementary to me saying that he noticed the weight-loss I've had over the last couple of years. It's good to know that it's paying off.

I would like to shop for some new clothes. I haven't dropped so much that I can't wear what I have, but I do find some of my biggest shirts are just that, big, and I need a size smaller in belts as I'm on the last hole. I'm hesitant because I want to make sure I keep this shape and don't backtrack. I've been very good about working out regularly and I need to keep that up in 2008.

Of course the other reason I'm not buying new clothes right now is I'm very cheap. I've seen some 50% clearance sales this week, but I'm waiting for the 75% off sales. Why any one shirt costs over $30 I'll never know.

Not so much happening today. I cooked up some cinnamon rolls from a can and we started the year in trivia off right playing at BW3 in the middle of all of the bowl watching football fans. Then it's enjoying another Worlds Strongest Man marathon. Otherwise, its back to the grind tomorrow.
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Shannon and Kendall

Shannon Grady and Kendall in Tulsa, OK

Other poorly lit iPhone photos from Bears on the Run are located HERE. (Chris has better photos HERE)

After dropping Joey off at the kennel pet hotel, Chris and I drove up to Tulsa on Saturday. We got off to a late start and thought we might miss some of the show, but Bobaloo called me saying they'd be on gay time. Well, after a boring time driving through dozens of small Oklahoma towns, and a few speed traps, we checked into the hotel, and made our way to the industrial area where the Tulsa Eagle was at.

Oh, and I got princess parking. Why? Because it was a bit too early for people to show up at the Eagle. The bar isn't too big, though there's a sizable patio, and there's a decent stage area. It seems that Chris and I go to the small shows, as there weren't many people in attendance in Dallas, and fewer in Tulsa, for a while at least.

Let's just say Tulsa is weird not only is it a city where most every way in or out is a toll road, but there's just something off about it. I've been to Oklahoma many times, and yes, it's a strange world - this from someone who lives in Texas, but Tulsa, we'll that's another story. From the reactions and talking to a few locals, I'm guessing they just don't get a lot of visitors. Of course a couple of the guys were smitten with Kendall - not unusual by any means, but this was in a creepy, stalker way.

I think that one reason the crowd wasn't too big was that there's not an LJ community there. Not one of the performers, nor those of us who traveled to be there, knew anyone from Tulsa. It's like an LJ black hole.

The show itself was awesome. Although the locals seemed to react in some mysterious ways, the boys put out a fine show. Since seeing them in Dallas, they seemed much more sure of themselves. Transitions between artists went better and they were just more seasoned. There were more collaborations and fine tuning to make sure the set lists worked with the crowd. Adding Josh the violinist helped round out the music.

You could tell that they were better in relating to the audience, too. Despite the small crowd, they were there specifically for the event, and stayed with them. some folks who came in at the tail end of the show, ready for their Saturday night out, weren't quite so respectful of the performers, though

I know that on future tours I'd like to see a closing set featuring all of the artists. I understand on this first tour they didn't have a chance to collaborate while on the road, but perhaps next time.

I couldn't be more happy that the tour has been a success and will likely spawn more opportunities of these guys.

It was cool to be able to be groupies, heading out to a late dinner after the show (I still can't recommend Denny's, for food, or waitressing, but we had a good time), and then seeing them again, and talking about their road experiences the next morning (we stayed at the same cheap motel). We exchanged a little bit of contact information with those we didn't know so well, but hope to keep up with, and sent them on their way to Wichita.

Chris and I turned west and went to Stillwater where I showed him where my fraternity's national headquarters was, and went to Eskimo Joe's for lunch. I've gone there many times with frat brothers when we would visit, so it's always a special, fun place. I've bought several of their famous T-shirts, too. Chris wasn't so impressed, but I think it's just a place that has fond memories for me.

We drove up on US 75, but took I-35 back through Oklahoma City. The swing around the city is still bad where I-35 and I-40 meet. Here I thought they fixed that. I thought about going to the memorial where the Murrah Federal Building once stood, as I was there back in 1995 when it was bombed, but I've never returned to see the memorial. Unfortunately it was already getting late and I didn't have good directions, so we kept on going so we could pick up Joey at the pet hotel.

It was great getting to see another show, and to meet Mark from Homopod Radio - which I guess i need to listen to. It was also great to see the BotR guys (Elijah, Shannon, Kendall, Bobaloo, Matthew and Josh) again and see how well they had done, and spend time with them after the show. It made for a very special weekend, even if it was in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I'm impressed with what they did, and how they pulled it together, and makes me want to find the courage to put myself out there and do something bold, too.
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Nakia sings

I really should be more timely, though I did upload a few photos of the recent Dallas stop of the Bears on the Run Tour. Perhaps this will get me going on getting the alaska photos uploaded (hell, where are those Boston photos from a year ago?)

Dallas was the first stop on the Bears on the Run Tour. It was a small, but enthusiastic group, many of us knowing each other from LJ. Thursday night as the guys went out on the town to promote the show, I got to meet the other artists on the tour, so the show felt like an intimate group of friends. By the time Matthew Temple hit the stage as the last act, I got the feeling that we were all at some bonfire telling stories and listening to people sing their tales.

Truly, I knew some of these guys, but never heard their music, certainly not live. It was a great show with laughs, a lot of hugs, some working out of details on this shakedown cruise, and a group of artists that looked very happy about getting on the road and just entertaining.

Let me tell you a little about each artist we saw.

Bobaloo: Really, most of us here know him. He's the wild and crazy guy and made a good MC introducing the acts. He came out in a few costumes, including an ensemble that mimicked the 80's rocker Billy Squire. Lets say his guitar playing needs some work, but still "the Stroke" is a song that deserves some ribbing.

Elijah Black: Rocking guitarist with soulful roots. Just good, crunchy music.

Shannon Grady: The voice of BTalk provides catchy guitar hooks with intimate story telling. His voice is soft and quiet, but clear and it draws you in.

Kendall: He's a ball of energy. The lyrics are fun and the costume...well, maybe he shouldn't be so shy and should show off a little. :-) He was the best in getting out in the audience and partying. Still, a serious song does show there's something deeper behind the performer.

Nakia: Funny, I've know Nakia for a few years now, but never really head him perform. What a suprise and a treat. Delicious white boy soul that I'm going to have to make a trip down to Austin to see as he performs with his full band. Definitely check him out.

Matthew Temple: Blues Rock and a story teller. You can see he's had experience and experiences. It was like he was the camp leader and we were the campers - especially as an orange light kept him half in light, half in shadow. A moving, emotional finish.

Afterwards i loaded up on some CDs, talked to both the artists and also the concert goers. It was more than a performance since we all had connections. I had such a great time.

That evening the performers packed up and we went to the Roundup for the unofficial aftershow party. We had a good time talking about the show, dallas, life etc. We also had some of the guys do an impromptu sing-a-long with Marge, the cross dressing guitarist who's out on Dallas' gaybourhood sidewalk just about every weekend.

I urge all of you to go see Bears on the Run if you're near the tour dates. (Especially you Houstonians - the show is tonight!) I so wanted to go to Austin last night, and if we had a dog sitter...well. still, there's a chance we might road trip it out to another show before it's all over. It was just that much fun!

I hope the rest of the tour goes great, with big, enthusiastic crowds!
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Hey there everyone, wow, it's been a bit. Well, sadly this isn't a real update but more of a shameless promotion.

The Bears on the Run tour is kicking off here in Dallas tomorrow night at 7pm at the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Resource Center (just off the Cedar Springs Strip) and I want to urge my Dallas area readers to come out for the launch of the inagural tour.

Of nothing else, there's a whole lot of cute boys singing, and it's early enough you can hit the bars afterwards. It's also good to support the independent music artists in our community!

Shannon Grady ([ profile] plaghs) from the BTalk podcast is organizing the event with Kendall, Elijah Black, Matthew Temple, Austin's own Nakia and MC'd by Bobaloo.

For the other Texans out there, the tour also makes stops in Austin on Saturday and Houston on Sunday. The tour also plays several other cities in the southeast and midwest.

Get more information on the tour HERE.
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It's been a busy couple of days back. I've gotten a little behind around here, but i would like to thank everyone who took time out to journal, or comment or text message or call, etc with wishes for a happy birthday.

By now you may know Chris and I tripped down I-35 to spend a long weekend in san Antonio. It was good to see old friends and acquaintances and meet a new person or two.

It took forever to get down there. I forgot how far it was between Austin and San Antonio. We first ate lunch in Waco at a McDonalds that suddenly was full of 50 or so day-camping kids. Loud as all get out. Later we ran into the infamous Austin traffic before stopping at Cabella's in Buda to check out some waterproof sandals and the guys who shop there. We always seem to find something we like there.

Finally we got to our hotel near the airport, and napped a bit until we got the word where dinner was. The place was a huge 4 story tall Chacho's. Chacho's is hard to explain - it's fast food mexican, and just about every dish involves cheese. This one, being a Super Chacho's also had pizza. The food is closer to authentic than Taco Bell, and not as nasty as Taco Cabana. The place had different dining levels, a patio and the largest "series of tubes" playgrounds for kids that I have ever seen. the kids could climb all the way to the 4th floor if they wanted. I'm sure it takes days for parent's to get their kids out of there.

I didn't really make much of a mention of my birthday, just saying that Chris and I were coming down. The friday night thing seems to be a regular happening for the San Antonio crew. Meeting us there were Alex ([ profile] darke), Peter ([ profile] texaspenguin). Will ([ profile] pressedkhakis), Scott ([ profile] xkot) and Ryan ([ profile] inanityscout), who I got to meet for the first time. Will said that Nate ([ profile] bigbearok) was off driving himself to Pennsic in Pensylvania that weekend. most of them knew it was my birthday, but I didn't want to make a fuss. Heck, we were invading their event, not creating one for myself.

After shoving down huge plates of Nachos, and maybe a margarita or two, we moved down the road to Starbuck at the Quarry which has some hunky bearistas. We talked for a little while there on a very nice evening with live music coming from one of the nearby restaurants. It's a very nice upscale area in what used to be an actual working quarry - one where my dad worked for a time.

On Saturday Jack ([ profile] adminbear) picked us up and we went off to Schlitterbahn, the country's best waterpark, which is just north of San Antonio in New Braunfels. I should have known better to go on a saturday, but we got in and got to go on some of the attractions. One of the bus attendants said their were over 40,000 people there and they almost had to turn people away as their parking lots were full (actually, she said they did tell people about the crowds and many chose to go home).

We rode some of the rafting and tubing rides and rode around each of the three lazy rivers in the place. We got on some of the body flumes and such, but after waiting for an hour and a half for one ride, and another hour for another, we tried to find things that didn't have lines. Jack hurt his ankle in one line so we had to take it easy. Still, there was lots of waling both in the parks and going in between the three different areas. It was fun, but I'd love to go when the kids, and their rude parents who were busy with the beers, aren't around.

Since Jack paid for gas, parking and lunch, we treated him to dinner at the Canyon Cafe, back in the Quarry, and all had some great steaks. We were so tired that any chance to go out for fun at ACE Weekend - some leather event going on that weekend, was certainly out.

On sunday we woke up late and checked out of the hotel, and then went to this dive that Peter was talking us about. unfortunately it was closed, so we drug Peter along to our next destination, the San Antonio Riverwalk. All three of us had our cameras in tow, and you can see my pictures HERE, Chris' much better ones HERE, and Peter's HERE.

they are both better photographers than I, and they have bigger cameras. they are also better at getting the hot guy snipage than I am. Still, I wish i had a waterproof camera because there were lost of hot guys at Schlitterbahn. There was also one of the largest displays of tattoos there. does everyone have a tattoo but me?

We had lunch with peter at one of the oldest tex-mex restaurants on the Riverwalk. We also stopped by the Alamo, because you just have to. It's small and dinky and nowhere near as impressive as history would lead you to believe.

After giving Peter a goodbye smack we got back on the road and headed back north, stopping by the Under Armour outlet in San Marcos where I picked up one of those tight, clingy shirts they make (in my size, even). I can't wait to try it out this weekend.

Otherwise we got back home late, and Chris had to wait until monday morning to spring Joey from the Kennel. All is well, just, as I said, busy, and as normal, any trip out of town is going to be busy, not restful when it's up to me. There's a little bit of tiredness to both of us this week. Still, the trip was a very good way to start up my 40's.
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Why do they keep this place so dark?

At least Skye still sparkles.

Maybe it's a special hell. Campisi's is a place my parents would have gone to in the 1950's. It's an Italian joint who's food, and apparently it's waiters, haven't changed since then.

They have a big problem serving big groups, and they won't split the check. That's extremely annoying in this day and age. I so rarely caryy cash.

The waiter we had tonight was old, bitter and didn't speak very well. We we tried to get some help on making the check work out amongst out six credit cars (and one paying cash, he was rude, and unhelpful. He said "If you give me seven cards, I'll run them for the same amount." Well, that was a no-go, so we did end up working something out, and most of us rounded up to include a basic tip with our payment amount we wanted him to charge to each card.

When he came back, we signed, and he started taking the bills as soon as we signed them, notiing that most of us did not write a separate tip amount. He didn't know we rounded up, and thought we were slighting him.

On the way out he told Scott ([ profile] sparkygearhead) "God will punish you for this!!"

I wish I could have rounded down now. Some went to talk to the manager about him, but given the resturant, the waiter is probably a family relation. I'll need to check what was charged with my bank tomorrow.
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A few weeks ago I railed a bit about a newspaper feature piece about bears that seemed to be trying to find celebrities in the bear community in order to define what a bear is. It was my contention that the two people chosen by the author, writer Andrew Sullivan and former football athlete Esara Tualo may have bearish qualities, but they don't identify as bears, at least not consistently.

It was my opinion that the bear community is mostly made up of regular joes, not celebrities, and certainly to the outside world, most wouldn't know the names below. There's something about the community that seems to eschew the idea that there would be celebrities. Most times when we try to define "bear" to someone outside, we have to point out a bear-ish, but straight man to define the type, and even then, it's hard to say what is a bear.

But what makes a bear celebrity? There are many talented people in out community, from photographers like Chris Glass[ profile] chrisglass to writers like Dave White [ profile] djmrswhite. We have actors like Neil Badders [ profile] mrdreamjeans and musicians like Kendall[ profile] kendallrants. Just a few among many.

We have people in new media like podcasting and website design and others who are comedians and broadcasters. And yes, there are porn stars. Perhaps there should be more porn stars on the list below, but how many are really "names"? Even bear porn seems to be more democratic, with many unpayed guys and less based on a group of well known players.

I don't want to explain it too much, you either know the name, or you don't.

The list below is definitely short a few people, and I left a spot to nominate another person or two. Sadly, LJ made me split the list into two, but it was in an attempt to put in as many as possible. I did include Andrew Sullivan, but not Esara, and I included Armistead Mauipn who many might not think of as a bear, but in his new book seems to acknowledge bear culture. It's your decision of who's a bear and who isn't.

[Poll #1022829]

Please pardon me for any misspellings of names, OK? this is also not to pit people against each other, just to see what people think, and who's known around these parts. Lord knows the list is a little heavy on LJ'ers, for one thing!
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Seven, eh?

1. I'm the third grandchild of my paternal grandparents, first of my maternal ones. Out of the six of us, two to my uncle, two with my parents, and two to my aunt, I'm the only boy. I think there were some expectations of lineage that have pretty much gone into the ashcan.

2. My great-grandparents on my father's father's side only met their oldest granddaughter before being killed in their bedroom by a robber. This was 1966. There's a small church in Milton, Florida that's named after them. I've been told that the robber just recently got out of jail and has a grudge against the family. I'm the only Edwards of the clan still left in Dallas, so I've been warned, but since this guy is in his seventies, and got out of jail after a 40 year prison sentence, I'm hoping the chances of a meetup are low.

3. I played saxophone in high school after not being trained well to play trumpet by my middle school band teacher. He also changed me over because I had braces. Damned Braces. It's a wonder I kept going playing saxophone, because as an instrument, it sucks. Still, Band got me out of PE, and made me the guy I am today. Thankfully I got to college and our band was small, so I switched over to Tuba and had a blast. I wish I had played tuba much earlier. Now I can barely remember the fingerings, I'm so out of practice.

4. I can take you, if asked to any of the houses my family has lived in except one. They are all in Texas, but not necessary close to each other. The one I don't know the address of is the one in Denton, TX where my dad had a job with Acme Brick (used by coyotes) and my mom finished getting her Home Economics degree at North Texas State.

5. I had a speech impediment when I was young, and when I started to go to school I went to speech classes everyday for a couple of years. That's where one of my earliest friends was made. I'm not sure what the impediment was, but it's been gone for a long time, and the therapy sessions are one reason I don't have as pronounced of a Texas accent.

6. My first paying job was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins. The owner was a control freak and wanted your scoops to weigh the same 5 ounces. He had his costs down to the penny. Needless to say, I sucked. It would be five years before I got another job. just because I didn't need one until i had to start paying for college myself. I worked for St. Lukes Hospital in Houston's Medical Center microfilming old ovarian cancer records.

7. I think I've been a Bear for a lot longer than I've been out. I first heard of the bear thing by picking up Bear Magazine around 1993. At that time I was already overweight, hairy and bearded. I'd already lusted after my friend Mike, who we called Ogre, who was also hairy and bearded. Thank god for hot outdoor band practices in college where his shirt would come off. sadly he's married and has children, but still kinda hot. One of my frat brothers, Gene, was a coverbear for American Bear magazine, but I never picked up that issue. A little weirdness, perhaps?
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Here's a poorly written story about Bears. It's a story from June 19th on called "Where the Bears Don't Fear To Tread." Probably the worst headline in years.

At first I thought about making some cheap shot about the paper that ran the story, but the more that I think about it, it’s not the paper’s fault. Any newspaper in North America could run the story, just as it was written, and as the writer, Robert Fulford, suggests, many heterosexuals don’t know what “Bear” means, how would an editor not know that the story was a pile of crap? Therefore, I must say that the fault of the reporting falls squarely on the reporter.

First, let’s look at how he starts his story. He focuses in on one person, and suddenly that one person becomes the image of the bear community. I’d have not one problem with this, if who he chose was an average bear on the street. It’s certainly not hard to find someone in Toronto who could be a fine model for the story.

Instead, he chooses Andrew Sullivan. Truthfully, I like Andrew and read his blog. I tend to agree with much of what he says, though not all. He has, through the years shined a small spotlight on the bear community, including the well known 2003 essay that the article’s author uses for his story. Unfortunately that essay is from the perspective of an outsider looking into the world of bears. While Andrew may be getting more comfortable with being bear-ish as he ages, I don’t think he’s actually decided to be Bear-Identified.

As I was telling Chris last night, there’s a trend of older gay men who think they’ll just slide into the bear community as their youth fades away. The problem is, they don’t understand bears at all. They just have trouble with the ageism of their own clique that has now turned them out. Most of the true bears and cubs that I’ve known seem to understand that they were never going to fit into the twink world and bears seemed to be the more accepting, Average Joe kind of place. More often than not, it isn’t a choice to “go bear.” One is or isn’t.

Another person the author decides to spotlight is Esera Tuaolo, the out former football player. While the bears might love to look at him, again, here’s a guy who doesn’t identify with the bears.

Part of the trouble is that the bear community (and I’m sorry, I never know whether to capitalize that or not) doesn’t have any celebrities. Sure, those of us in the communities can choose people that every bear should know, say, Jack Radcliffe, but he’s not identifiable to the outside world, and even worse, a mainstream newspaper doesn’t want to interview someone who’s known because he’s a porn star. Most of the famous people we look to, say James Gandolfini or Kevin Smith shares some bearish qualities but aren’t bears and really can’t contribute to the story.

Let’s face it; while there are many different definitions of a “bear” within our community, the main thing differentiating us from being a group of average joe type men is the fact that we love cock. Of course, you can’t exactly say that in a news story. I could go on about the fact that just using the word “gay” in a story already brings up problems, because we are defined by the sex we choose to pursue. It often makes for some difficult decisions for both writer and publisher when you have to identify a group this way, so often they look for the trivial or the scandalous ways to show differences between gays and straights rather than by their relationships. This is generally done by showing off the drag queens and leathermen, the visible side of cock-chugging, I suppose.

So what do you do with a community who doesn’t always go to those extremes? Sure, the bear community has it’s shares of the queens and the leather daddies, but the job is to highlight the guy who looks like all of those straight guys out there. As most mainstream stories of bears go, they always end up with the conclusion that bears “are just like any regular guy, but with a difference. Here’s the big irony - Hee hee - they like guys like them!”

There’s one reason, and one reason only that the writer of this piece chose to mention Andrew Sullivan and Esera Tuaolo. The author got his hands on the Spring Issue of A Bear’s Life Magazine. Suddenly he thinks he’s gotten the bible on all things bear.

I like A Bear’s Life, but there’s certainly problems with the magazine’s contents and choices. It’s fluffy and silly and it’s doing just what any other magazine is trying to do, get the most readers it can, and lure advertisers. In this, Steve and Mike have done something remarkable – sell a magazine to the community that doesn’t have porn. Seeing where the porn magazines have failed and folded (except for the more widely focused 100% Beef), it’s surprising that a Bear’s Life is working at all.

A Bear’s Life is a spin on what would have been called a women’s magazine. There’s dating columns and decorating tips and travelogues, but on the whole it isn’t a issues driven work, nor does it want to be. Heck, the magazine, except for some medical tips, seems to overlook sex altogether. While I think it’s a good way to show the growth of the bear movement, and to give some insight, it’s certainly not representative of the group as a whole.

This is the biggest problem of this article. The whole article is based on the two biggest names he saw in the magazine, likely picked up off the shelf at a Border’s Bookstore, and he went to get a quote or two from them. Well, Esra is only quoted from the article, so that’s one then. Then he goes on to speak to Steve, the editor of A Bear’s life, looking for the eternally hard to pin down question, “What is a Bear?” Start your Bears Mailing list jokes now.

The real problem of the article isn’t the definition of a bear, or, in the long run who he chooses to focus on, but the lazy journalism. The reference to the Bear Books and the “history” could have been culled from wikipedia. He does acknowledge the website we got the information from ( and the site’s owner, but it doesn’t seem like he ever contacted Mr. Wright. Unless a lot was left on the features desk floor, he only interviewed two people for the story, and didn’t question much of what he saw in the one magazine he picked up.

Even if you only have one reference point, couldn’t you have done more legwork? The magazine has more than 15 writers in it. Could you not get other perspectives from them? Just because they are not names (sorry Larry Flick), doesn’t mean they can’t give a quote or represent our community. Too often journalists stick to reporting celebrity and not news, and this story is just the same.

Far too often journalist write stories about press conferences, about scheduled media events and – the worst kind of journalism, period - just reprint press releases as news. While this seems to appeal to my lazy side, it’s one of the things that made me shy away from news reporting. No one’s actually asking questions or trying to search beyond the surface. This story is a great example of this.

Why couldn’t the author go out to a Bear Night. Or find if the Toronto Bears had a Bear coffee? Why not make the story local instead of trying to find national figures in a group that seems to eschew them.

How can you write about a group made of everyday men and expect to find celebrity? The whole point of being average is being out of the spotlight, but still, here’s the mirror, looking for a name to represent us. He gets closer by interviewing Steve, but that was more for the author to understand what he was reading in the magazine, not to find one of those average joes.

I’d like to see this author really spend some time on this story. It would be good if he found not only the drag queens and leathermen but also the artists, the teachers, the customer service agents, the decorators, the construction workers, the diversity of the bear community. I’d like to see the history represented as something more than just finding a few references to the word “bear” used in a gay subtext from books and articles from long, long ago. What about the bear clubs, and the bars and the websites that did their job of helping like people find each other and then find a sense of community? This isn’t spoken of in this article; it’s the search for North America’s biggest name that happens to be gay and has a beard (sometimes).

If Andrew Sullivan wants to join us, then that’s fine. It is, and hopefully will be a big tent in the future. If bearish guys want to say that they aren’t a bear, or call themselves post-bear, I’m cool with that too, but what I don’t need is some guy stating that the bear community was made credible because Sullivan wrote about it. That’s the same as saying that the bear community is now credible because the Canadian National Post did a puff piece on it.

As always, the bear community is both simple and terribly difficult to define, and maybe I’m asking far too much from someone who was working on a pride Month puff piece for a features page. I’m also defensive about the image of bears, and want to see better depictions, but what really makes me hate the job Fulford does here is that I can see how little work he put into it when it’s not difficult to get bears to talk about bears. Unfortunately it’s just another sign of lazy, sloppy reporting.

In the long run, the story isn’t as important as say, reporting the Iraq war, but we’ve seen the media do a pretty lousy job on that, too. For now, let’s just say if you can’t take the time to get the real story, don’t write it. It’s not like we need the publicity. We’re just Average Joes here.
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It’s amazing that TBRU has come and gone so quickly this year. I find it even stranger that I didn’t get the major depression that had normally gone with the end of such events. Sure, there were lots of new people to meet, and many of them I would have liked to have spent more time getting to know (and for some that can be taken both ways), but it is what it is, a time where people come in, and people leave.

I didn’t buy the run pass this year. Money’s been tight and I couldn’t justify the expense. I never eat the food, I don’t drink much alcohol, and I’m not staying at the hotel. I’ve never gone to the contest, and don’t really care to. Just the ability to go to the hospitality suite and the pool are the things I’d miss, and even the hospitality suite can be yours if you know the right person.

It was much more relaxed than in past years. I didn’t feel the need to keep up with people and worried about where the crowd of friends was. I enjoyed going out to eat in impromptu groups – often picking up a person or two that we didn’t know much about. While normally I’d be worried about such a thing, strangers storming the Bastille and all, I found it worked successfully and added to the group well.

The best time was had when slowly be began to come up with where to go Sunday night. Like a bear Katamari we picked up a few people and decided on going to Johnny Carinos. As we were getting ready, Andreas stepped over and we asked him to come along. Andreas is a good guy from Italy who we saw on Bearciti and knew he was going to be in town. It was great getting his opinion on “Italian” food served here. He looked at the menu and certainly didn’t see Italian food, especially with such items and a Jalapeño skilitini. The dinner became a real gabfest with the seven of us discussing differences between Europe and the US, including nuclear power and culture. It was strangely serious for a bear run.

This is my fifth TBRU, if I’m counting correctly. They all seem to run together, but I’m thinking we had two years in the old hotel, and three in the current cockchugger’s central. This year I really noticed the shift – one that’s probably already happened, but I didn’t notice that the whole “Bear Drag” is over. While there were a small few people in leather, and a few wearing prison jumpsuits to go with the “cellblock” theme, most people were wearing t-shirts and jeans or shorts. Where five years ago there was still a large amount of flannel, it’s pretty much been replaces by Threadless T’s for those who can fit into a 2X, otherwise, there were plenty of big-boy tees at the vendor market.

Of course there were still plenty of shirts that referred to bears, cubs, pitchers, catchers, past runs, sports teams, etc. The “ironic” T still seems to be the big thing. I personally sported a Zeus T one day, and a Wire and Twine T (thanks for making bigger sizes, [ profile] chrisglass) on another.

The talk of the event was the Bear 411 exodus with some people on board, others curious and others very angry about it, scared, I suppose that their bear gravy train might be ruined if the “smart” guys ran off to Bearciti. David ([ profile] beefquest) from Bearciti had his work cut out for him, not only getting people’s opinions about the site, but also having to tell people he had nothing to do with the current kerfluffle. That’s not to say that some of the more vocal critics of Bear 411 were not in attendance, including Brian ([ profile] kingfuraday) and [ profile] bobaloo. Still, I never saw anyone tell someone they had to leave 411 or attack someone for liking the site. On the other hand, the 411 defenders seemed to be rather angry and surly about it.

Otherwise, the contest apparently ran too long, and again, only a couple of guys in the thing were even attractive, in my book. Now that the sponsor – American Bear – is defunct, can we also make this tired contest defunct? There was also an underwear auction held after the contest late on Saturday night. When people just wanted to get their drink on and meet people in the hospitality suite, here does this auction, and poor Bobaloo has to play auctioneer after he had already performed. Thirty guys means that the event wasn’t over until after last call. The organizers should really rethink this, while it’s for a good cause, thirty items is too much. People run out of money as well as patience.

I remember going around Friday night feeling like crap and seemingly noticed by no-one. I’m not sure what does that to me, where sometime during a run I get this feeling of dread that comes in and kills the good feeling of expectation one has. I don’t know if it’s not getting the attention of those you want to flit with, or sadly getting attention from those you don’t, but I always start to feel very much a part of the “out” crowd. Luckily it lifted on Saturday and the remainder of the run was fine. The crowd, well I sort of got involved with, but more often then not I’m quite while Chris gets the attention at these things. I often find myself as the third wheel – and occasionally the partner that someone else wishes Chris didn’t have. Always fun. Despite seeing a person or two comment about me after the event, I always felt like I make either a poor or neutral impression and I have to fight to actually get past that and actually talk to people.

The hotel moved all of the couches into the hospitality suite, which, for a lobby whore such as me, it’s completely, horribly wrong. The couches have been one of the bigger gathering places around, but this year there was a lack of seating in the busy times. It’s also always good to see a pile of bears fighting for couch space. Perhaps they decided not to have such seating in order not to completely frighten (or entice) the other people staying in the hotel, newly inducted army members who were to be shipped out to Iraq.

We had a wonderful houseguest in Jayson ([ profile] standardtom) and certainly met some great guys along the way. Still, when Sunday got there, the hotel looked deserted. It seems that people came early and left just as early. Hopefully I can keep up with some of them on Bearciti until they come back next year. I’d mention more names, but then I’d end up leaving off dozens of others, old friends and new, so it’s best to leave it as is. Till next year.
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*Last night I spent a nice evening at a New Year's Eve party filled with lots of bears, some I knew, some I didn't. Really, it's the same place Chris and I have been for the last three years on New Year's Eve. Maybe it's four now, I can't remember. It's a nice, easy-going party and I felt just fine being there. Hooray!

The theme for the party was Blue (last year it was red) and I had the blue margaritas. It seemed that a lot of people were very ready to see 2006 off.

*I see that bearciti is finally up and running after advertising it for a year or more. The site is decent, but it will take a lot of work to get the traffic that 411 has. That's really the reason people go there. Bearciti seems well put together, but I still like the bearlix interface better, especially with the changes the owner made recently...but again, rarely is anyone online there.

*I mentioned to Vance in a reply about Super Monkey Ball, the Wii game that doesn't always work, that I enjoy Wii Sports and hope they will come out with a Wii Sports II soon. Wii sports has the right sense of "anyone can play" keeping the simplicity that went with things like Atari Tennis.

Chris and I were trying to come up with possible games for Wii Sports II. Wii sports already has tennis, bowling, boxing, golf and baseball. Here's some of the suggestions we had for the sequel:

Hockey, Curling (I like the thought of having to sweep in front of the stone), Volleyball, Basketball (perhaps just horse), Water polo, Ping pong, Bass fishing, Soccer, Skeet shooting and Motocross.

Perhaps they should have a Wii Olympics too, but I'm not sure that you'd want to have a hammer or javelin throw with the Wii Remote. Still, there were Decathlon games for the Atari 2600 and even Steeplechase. Swimming and Diving could be interesting, though. Skiing and Snowboarding might work as well.

Some of the ones we thought wouldn't work included Figure skating (though having to have a two-player figure skating couple sounded hilarious), Tetherball, Powerlifting and Jogging. I don't think that Trampoline or Gymnastics would be very good.

I wonder what I'm missing, sport wise? Perhaps I should send in a request to Nintendo now. It's interesting how this system and Chris' interest is renewing my interest in video games. of course everything on TV is in re-reuns, so that may be having an effect as well.

Now if I could just get the old Superman game for the 2600 again. It was incredibly cheesy, but fun!
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I was off from work today. I'm burning off my "use it or lose it" vacation days, scheduling the last two available days of the year. The entire month of December was booked before I ever stated with the company.

Today I did a little shopping and I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, enjoying the warm weather. Over the next two hours we're expecting a line of thunderstorms to come through and drop temperatures some 45 degrees from the 70's into the 30's. We're expecting sleet with the thunderstorms and possibly snow tomorrow as the temperature plummets into the 20's. It makes me long for no-freeze Houston weather.

Chris the other day said that he already had my Christmas gift, so now I'm worried about getting him something. I have no idea. I thought about getting the XBox 360 game Viva! Pinata!, but now I think it's looking a little childish. Of course we're both playing Lego Star Wars II.

We still haven't found a Wii. I looked around today with no luck. I think you have to get up early.

I did find some slippers at Khol's. Really, shoes and socks are the only things I can buy there. I wish they carried larger sizes. Still, I wish i could find some of those bear paws slippers. I know it's silly, but they're cute

I wish that more people would use BearLix or another chat service. Bear 411 is crap, but everyone's on it. Can we just all move to a new site and not tell the creepy people about it?

We've seen two movies at the theater this fall, Borat and Casino Royale, both were good in very different ways. Really, there's very few other movies this holiday season that are piquing my interest. Lord knows we don't need any more animated animals. We also could do without the bratty kids in Unaccompanied Minors.

I did have an interesting reaction seeing the first few minutes of the trailer for We Are Marshall when the team is on the plane, looking happy and the coach mentions Marshall...I remember gasping knowing what was coming. The rest of the trailer didn't excite me though. It was just knowing what the scene was leading to. I might go see the Matt Damon movie The Good Shepard.

I've interviewed a couple of times for a new position at work. I'm not really hopeful about it since it's not an area I'm familiar with, and I haven't been with the company for a year yet, but I'm at least trying to do something to make my situation better. I'm also getting back into the interviewing game.

Mall walking is boring and the people at the mall kiosks are getting more annoying. I don't want to try your skin cream, and I really don't want it if I was just asked by your other kiosk at the other end of the mall. Then you say I'm grouchy? Yea Christmas spirit.

Lastly, politics. Didn't it seem like President Bush was open to change a few weeks ago, when he found that the Democrats had won? Well, that's changed, and it seems like he's back to his ways of just being a selfish whiny fool, claiming that we'll stay in Iraq following the same stupid strategy we've been following the last four years. The guy is in a self-made vacuum and he's never coming out, is he?

What will be interesting is if the rumors of replacing Dick Cheney come true, and they really work on creating a candidate for President for 2008. I'm not sure anyone running would want to take the job if Bush continues to be such a doof. It wouldn't help to start campaigning in a pit.

Oh well. I should do a longer post about this year's television shows, but that will have to wait.
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Take this picture of me a couple of days ago...

Add our hunky barber, Oscar...

Click Here For The Results )
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I thought about doing something silly like saying that I'd be giving up my iMac and getting some Dell or Gateway computer, and then saying April Fools, but everyone would know it's a lie and it wouldn't be much of an April Fool's joke if there wasn't someway you might believe it.

Of course, today is the 30th anniversary of apple Computers, a little company that's a really big company in some ways, run by a guy who's been called visionary, demanding, crazy, stubborn, and many other names. Still, apple wouldn't be Apple without him. Heck, look at Apple in the mid 90's, they almost ended up on the scrap heap of computing, much like Commodore and Atari. Still, there's a loyal group of fans who've stuck with them, and now are in possession of some of the best hardware and software around.

Our family didn't start with Apples, in fact my Dad came home with a Commodore PET back in 1978 after fooling around with some very basic Heathkit calculators and circuit-boards. I then moved up to the Atari computers, and finally in college, despite being able to use my Atari 800XL with it's 300 baud modem on the university VAX, and having a good knowledge of BASIC, I bought my first Mac.

The Macintosh LCII had a separate monitor, and was shaped like a pizza box, but it was still an entry level computer. I used that to help me with my desktop publishing and the yearbook assignments. It was also compatible with the fraternity's computer (and they even had a LISA, the Mac's predecessor, in the attic). I think it used System 7. This was sometime around 1991 and I had a 1400 baud modem then.

From there I bought a grey iMac, and iBook, and finally the hemisphere-shaped iMac G4 that I'm typing this on. All have been good, reliable machines, and great for what I do, type, read the internet, listen to music. I bought one of the first iPods that came out, and am now on my second. I even have a Newton, but never found a good use for it. It's not that any of these machines dies, but just ended up needing an upgrade. I think I've only had a Mac crash and require a hard drive cleaning once.

Yes, I'm a Mac evangelist, and I want everyone to at least look at the Mac as a computer for them, but I know that not everyone would do well by having one. People who do heavy processes, computer programmers, gamers, these people need a PC, but anyone who just needs a good, well designed, easy to use machine, and is willing to pay a premium for design and ease.

I use a PC at work, but I don't want to come home to one. I love my Mac, and my iPod, and hope they'll be around for several years to come.

Now, back to the questions. JOhn ([ profile] jkusters) asks:

What kinds of features in a guy catch your attention? What combination of physical, mental, and social aspects do you find interest-worthy?

I'll tell you, I have a really hard time answering this question, because I always have a hard time pinning down what I like in a few phrases because every day brings new possibilities and the chance to discover something you didn't consider before.

We can start with a few physical attributes. Facially I can't tell you what the secret combo is, but I like little noses, squinty eyes, and a great beard or goatee. Facial hair can really make a difference, and I prefer it. I like guys to have mustaches with the beards and goatees. It's just one of those things. Hair color doesn't mean too much, but for an extra look, red heads will get my attention.

Body types can be anywhere from athletic, to muscular to husky. There is a level of chubbiness that gets to be too much, but it hasn't always been a killer. I'll admit that porn-wise, I like the musclebears, but they are a fantasy, and they don't normally look my way. I do find the really skinny aren't very attractive to me at all.

Mental/Social - have somewhat of a brain. that's why I like a lot of people on LJ, because they can write a decent sentence. I like someone with a quick and probably quirky wit, and someone who has a little pop culture knowledge. It helps to have something to connect with in conversation. please be able to have a conversation. This is what annoys me with Bear 411 - people can't write. Then again, I always have a tough time with messaging services because I can't talk in short spurts like that. I also can't spell.

Also, I'd rather have people in my life who are good in small social groups, since big parties tend to put me into a funk. I just don't function well in a crowd. I guess I need a little more personal interaction.

If you want me to describe someone perfect (besides Chris of course) I don't think I could. I'm very case-by-case, and hopefully I'm not one to pre judge when there's an interesting person in there, but the packaging just didn't click the first time. it's hard not to be hypocritical about that though.

Thanks for the question. More answers to come.


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February 2013



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