eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
A couple of years ago when [livejournal.com profile] jamesbeary passed away I went to his funeral, and helped [livejournal.com profile] urso find the church, the graveyard, etc. I had known James from here on LJ, had met him in real life and spoken to him on occasion, but when it came down to it I felt (and even said in this journal) that I din't know him that well, and wish that I had done more.

I felt odd at the funeral as Urso, Chris and I seemed to be representing the LJ/Bear community at his funeral, and here were people from his family, from the Deaf community and all that I had never met. I knew there were many more people in the LJ/Bear community who knew him better, and I wished they were there.

Come last night and I get word that [livejournal.com profile] daveomatic had passed. Davo was one of the fist people I had met in the flesh from LJ, as he still lived in Houston at the time. He got up and moved to Canada, where he got married. I remember writing about how remarkable I thought it was that he had gotten married. To a man! Crazyness (but in a good way)! I think that was 2005, if I remember. I wish I could find that post right now.

I wish I could say I knew him better. At least in my view he was always a bit mysterious and guarded. Friendly, but only to a point. There was something, I'm not sure whether to call it a sadness or darkness behind the smile that i couldn't put my finger on, and Davo wasn't offering up.

Davo had an old journal, one that perhaps told stories that would have led me to understand more, but he closed that one. Then he closed off the one I had the pleasure of reading, and dropped off the grid. A few months ago I saw that he had made contact with Alex [livejournal.com profile] darke, and it seemed that he was already in poor health, so i guess it wasn't that much of a surprise to hear that he was gone (unlike James which was a big surprise).

I wish he had stayed in touch, told us what was going on, perhaps had asked for more assistance.

Again I'm sitting here wishing that i knew him better, and could eulogize him better than I cam able. For some reason I feel compelled to write about him, but yet have so little to say.

So here's to you Davo, may you be at peace.
eggwards: (Hmm?)
Chris' parents are coming into town tomorrow. I love his parents, but right now we have only one shower working in the house, and it's in the guest bedroom. *sigh*

Also this weekend a co-worker is having a birthday party at his house, and I kind of wanted to go. Sean is one of the confirmed gays in the office and I find him cool, and maybe a little sexy (he looks a little like a shaven [livejournal.com profile] biggaloot). That being said, I had to tell Sean that it's doubtful we'd be able to come to his birthday party this weekend because the "not-in-laws" were in town. Now I'm sure he knew what I meant by the little joke, but I wasn't to sure that was the best name for my partner's parents.

Again, I really like Chris' parents, so I'm not trying to dis them, but where marriage isn't legal, in-laws isn't exactly the right term. What do you guys call your partner's parents?
eggwards: (Yardman)
Wow, is it June already?

The other day I stripped off all my clothes after coming home from work. The hose was hot as the air conditioner hadn't kicked in. I threw the clothes I wore and some more into the washer and pushed the "on" button.

Several minutes later I noticed that my iPhone wasn't with the watch, wallet and keys on my desk. After a minute or so, I realized where it was. I had to pull it out of the washer, just before the last spin cycle. The phone was completely unresponsive.

For a few days I used my old motorola phone using the iPhone's SIM card. It was good that it worked, but I was really jonesing for my internet browser. I hadn't realized how reliant I had gotten on the ability to instantly look things up or read news and blogs during down time. I live the iPhone for that reason.

After googling some tips for what to do with a waterlogged cell phone, I left the iPhone in a jar with some rice in order to dry it out. I wasn't looking forward to having to buy another iPhone, specially since they are out of stock while everyone waits for the next model.

Luckily for me, two days later the phone powers up and works, just as it had. For a few more days there were some watermarks on the screen, under the glass, but those too seem to be gone. I'm hoping the phone will last at least another year to officially finish out the contract period, then I'll think about replacement. I don't need G3 speed that much.
____________________________________________

Next week will be my last week in new hire training. It's been months now, but with the licensing, all the new products and services and just the way the new company does business, I'm not even sure that four months is enough training. This company is really very different from anything else I've done, and they expect a lot out of their call center reps.

I remember on our first training-wheels queue rotation we learned much more than we did in class, with several new scenarios and small details that weren't brought up. I fully expect the same as we move up to full fledged licensed calls. There's two big issues I have with moving forward:

First: I've never been a salesperson. Well, I've sold shoes and clothing, but not in the financial realm. I've always done service after the sale. Here we have goals to try to retain assets, bring in new business, and expand business with current customers.

Now mind you this is a soft sales pitch, no heavy pressure or anything, but if you want to earn more and get good scores on your reviews, you have to do some selling. I'm not sure how well I'll adapt to this. If it's just bringing up a customer need, and they go for it, then fine, but I'm not much for full on sales.

Second: I've never been on a full out call center queue. I've already had trouble with being able to close a call and to take the next one right away without having to have processing time. I've never been rushed like this, having always had time to process after the call. Here that can hurt your stats. I really don't like that, nor do I like leaving people on hold just to finish up notes, process paperwork, and finish what needs to be done. I wish they would give us more flexibility.

Luckily one of the normal call center stats, talk time, is not used here. Where in most call centers a phone call that goes over seven minutes will hurt your stats, that's not the case here. If a call takes 90 minutes, then it takes 90 minutes, no problem. I had one that took that lone the other day and there was no selling or withdrawal to it. It was all talking about the market and what funds she should be invested in. It's nice being a consultant, not a salesperson.

Still, I know getting into the grove of the call center is going to be difficult. I've never had to take the volume of calls that I will here, and I hate the phones! Still, when I get into it, and I get all this information sorted in my head, I think I could find it rather rewarding. It's just change and I need to get on board.

I've already found some other gays at work. My boss, not gay at all, but cute, asked me what the bear flag meant. I think I mentioned something about a fat, hairy fraternity. He looked like he had heard enough and turned away...not disapprovingly, but in his "I have to be gruff" way. It's kind of funny.

Today I heard about more layoffs at my old employer, Fidelity. It made me glad not to be in their employ anymore, and finally encouraged me to roll my retirement funds out to my new employer. Sometimes moves are made for the best, no matter what the difficulties might be.
eggwards: (Default)
Here's a poorly written story about Bears. It's a story from June 19th on Canada.com 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 (www.bearhistory.com) 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.
eggwards: (Default)
Saturday was the runoff for Dallas City Mayor. The race had made news nationally as one candidates, former city councilman Ed Oakley is openly gay. I'm sure that each campaign will say that it didn't factor in the race, but when you had African American preachers telling their congregations not to vote for the Democratic-aligned Oakley because he's gay, and you have other right-wing groups making calls to citizens stating that Mr. Oakley will push the homosexual agenda (and therefore you need to vote for Tom Leppert and family values) you know it is an issue.

Chris and I did our duty this afternoon. There was a short line, even though turnout was considered high. Less than 20% of citizens voted, so you have to think that there was a lot of money spent with very little payoff when 80% of people didn't even respond to it.

Tom Leppert won 58% of the vote, so it was a pretty solid victory. The map, as usual in Dallas showed a very big divide between the more affluent north side of the city and the poorer south. Mr. Leppert ran as a business man trying to bring in new ideas after a long time mayor has decided to step down. You could say that he was pretty Republican. Mr. Oakley touted his long time service on city council.

Had Mr. Oakley won, he would have been the first openly gay mayor of a top 20 city in the US. There's gay mayors in Paris and Berlin, but the US has lagged behind in electing gays to higher offices.

One of the bigger things that bothered me about Mr. Leppert was the wonderful phrase "I'm going to run government like a business." Years ago I'd be all for that, but these days i know better. Those who think government can be run that way tend to find that they can't run government at all. It's a completely different animal. You just can't fire your city council, or an elected department head, or often, a civil servant when things go wrong. You also can't make a change without going through layer after layer of bureaucracy. You can't make shareholders happy by cutting costs. It's a naive position.

Sure, I voted for Mr. Oakley because he's one of us - I didn't even know he was gay when the regular election had come up. at that time he was one of 10 candidates running. Once it got down to two, the choice for me was pretty clear. Dallas isn't a city in trouble, and doesn't need many changes except for trying to develop it's south side, but an insider would do that better, one that had the ear of the south side rather than a newcomer that's going to represent the businesses of the north side. I don't think in the long run it really mattered what Mr. Oakley's orientation was, but it was a nice little additional connection.

I'm pretty sure that Dallas as a whole isn't ready to have a gay mayor. It's a surprisingly closer thing than I would have thought, but still, Dallas is still safely led by a heterosexual. A recent story in Time touting the "lavender" nature of Dallas - such as having a lesbian sheriff and a large gay population- seemed to draw more concern here than favor at how open Dallas could be.

Dallas might be more liberal than it was...but not that liberal. It's still a part of Texas. It's still Bush country (thought not as much as Utah), but the cities are diversifying, and both Dallas and Houston have had women and African American mayors. Perhaps the gay mayor will be right around the corner.
eggwards: (Default)
I'm a little upset that I didn't get tickets to go see The Police in concert. Tickets went on sale this past Saturday and while I was at work, actually working, I forgot to log on and slog through the site to order tickets. There's also that thing about a concert in late June that kind of makes me forgetful about it on a day in March.

By the time I remember that they had gone on sale, it was Sunday morning and the first show was sold out. In a 20,000 seat arena. And they added a second show. And it had SOLD OUT as well! I was actually kind of stunned. I didn't think that the police were thought of so fondly, and I didn't think they'd get such a response since a). those who want to see Sting with a lute would be disappointed, and b). most people under 30 have never heard of the group since they broke up in 1986.

I then decided to take a look on the secondary market, and there were all of the tickets. Ticket speculation is just as big of a market as PS3 resales were - for about a week. Something tells me that if you can get tickets to shows easily, you could make a good living on the resales of those tickets.

I didn't need good seats, I just wanted to be there, but when the furthest seat in the arena was now going for twice the original $50 selling price, I decided that this was a concert event I was just going to have to miss. It's sad in a way, but then again I have seen The Police before. It was my first concert, and the first one that my parents let me got into Houston for. that was the 1984 Synchronicity tour and it was at the Summit - now Lakewood Church. Sting wore the big red, yellow and blue outfit from the Synchronicity II video. Ahh, those were the days.

I really have better things to spend my money on, but it would have been fun to see the same group...several years older. perhaps they will come again. Heck, the Stones still tour.

Personally, I'm looking forward to more new acts, like seeing the Scissor Sisters next week!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Otherwise, my friend Jerry ([livejournal.com profile] goofycubb) sent me some questions to answer...

1. Do you miss Houston? Me? :) LOL

I'm finding hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I was last in Houston. My parents worry about me!
I don't miss the city so much, but there are a few places - namely Beck's Prime and James Coney Island. I also miss the ripcord and wish I could move all of those places up here. I also miss driving on Memorial Drive. As for you, I really wish you were here to watch the Amazing Race with! Or just to hang with. Those were good times. When are you coming to visit us? :-)

2. Will you ever go clean shaven again?

Well, most people who know me these days have never seen me clean shaven. I think the last time was 1994, and i have no plans to do it again.

3. What is the strangest thing that someone has said while you are in bed making whoopee?

Generally I'm the one who comes up with the bad puns and such! I guess it was the mutually crazy conversation about Bears releasing genetically enhanced pheromones on a dance floor, triggered by thumping dance music. It was at TBRU, and the sound created for this - "Paaaft!" -became a catchphrase for the weekend.

Let's just say that mixing the two of us in bed was not only fun, but also a lesson in non-sequitur thinking.

4. What is under your bed?

Occasionally Joey, but otherwise it's the surge protector outlet strip that powers the CPAP.

5. Did your mom ever catch you masturbating?

Thankfully no, thanks to a lock on the door, but occasionally she did try to open the lock with a coat-hanger. This would normally be when she was mad at me for something. I'm not so sure what she would have done if she caught me with a Muscle and Fitness magazine in one hand...

Meh.

Jan. 23rd, 2007 11:38 pm
eggwards: (Default)
Meh.

I say Meh. tonight to the fact that "Dreamgirls" didn't get nominated for Best Picture Oscar. I guess I'm one of the only gays who hasn't seen this movie and doesn't plan to. Good for Jennifer Hudson, but personally I'd love to see Amber Breslin win for "Little Miss Sunshine".

I say Meh. tonight to President Bush's State of the Union speech where he just rehashed a whole domestic agenda that he's proposed before. Lot of big statements with very little answers to them. So you want to provide more healthcare to people by cutting their taxes...yeah. Once he got on to the whole Iraq/War on Terror part I tuned away to "The Stepford Wives."

I say Meh. to last night's "Heroes" for being dull. Too much of the I've got powers and they're ruining my life bit. Thank goodness for the actor playing Hiro or this episode would have been unbearable.

I say Meh. to the fact that I can no longer find Beef Romanov flavor Hamburger Helper in the store anymore. Some of the new flavors aren't as good, and I don't like that they changed the Beef Taco flavor's pasta. why the change? It's not healthier or anything.

I say Meh. to Sirius Satellite Radio for deciding that they want to have a "Jamie Foxx" channel which will move OutQ to another station on the dial as they want the "Foxxhole" to be next to the other comedy channels (including "Blue Collar Radio"). More channels I have no reason to listen to.

I say Meh. to the "controversy" of Grey's Anatomy star Issac Washington calling TR Knight a "faggot" or maybe he didn't, who the heck knows. Just friggin' apologize properly, go into rehab for a while and try to keep your job. Still, i guess I wouldn't be taken aback so much by being called a faggot, really.

Speaking of that, Meh. to the Donnie Davies/God Hates Fags thing. Poor guy just couldn't get a date, I suppose, so now he's Ex-Gay - or something. I have to agree with Matty that it's a farce since the band and the ministry websites were recently created and he said the band has existed for some time. I call shenanigans. Or stupidity. whatever.

Meh. to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (all your songs sound the same) and to Rage Against the Machine (all your rants sound the same).

Meh to the controversy of Dakota Fanning being in a movie shown at Sundance where her character is raped. Not something I'd see for sure, and everyone will stay away if she screams like she did in "War of the Worlds." Still, if her parents were cool with it, and she was, then by all means. She'll probably need therapy for many things later on, why not one more.

Lastly, I say Meh. to the guy who made me get up and go to work an hour and a half early to give a speech about his group and their business plans which didn't include us. I certainly know what his group is going to do, but I don't know what my group does to support his agenda. it also doesn't help when you create acronyms that aren't industry standard and you don't explain them. I wish I could have slept through your meeting.

Now let's hear it for getting some sleep.

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