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chrisandmichael2.jpg, originally uploaded by Bobaloo Rox.

Courtesy of [livejournal.com 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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☆ Well, again I'm having to say something about how long it's been since I've written in my journal. For weeks I had a half written post about TBRU that never got off the ground. Partly it was due to stress at work and trying to get through tax season, and now that's over, thankfully. It may not have been as hard as we thought, but it's definitely been a stressful time at work. Otherwise I just haven't been so inspired to write and have been lazy, watching TV in my spare time.

Lets face it, TBRU can be boiled down to a few things. There was great people there, I did my best to stay out of crowds and kept the drama to a minimum. That's not to say that going to Six Flags during Spring Break was not frustrating with the long lines and rude people, but luckily the guys I went with were good company. Also, the Battlestar Galactica finale went great and it was fun to have fellow geeks come over to watch. It made viewing it much more of an event. The finale itself was good, not great, but I think there was a lot of expectations. I saw people I knew and was glad to see them, and met a couple of new people, mostly introduced by people I knew since I'm too shy to go meet them myself.

☆ I'll just a paragraph or five about politics here. I think Obama and his administration are doing fine. Sure, I don't agree with everything he does, but I do appreciate that he seems to be able to plan for the long term and doesn't get caught up in the day-to-day news cycle. Politicians are often too reactionary (see AIG bonuses) and try to respond too often to what the polling shows rather than getting out there and making real plans. I find it refreshing.

The tax day tea parties were ridiculous. What began as a libertarian thing suddenly became some way for disenfranchised Republicans to find a voice, but the problem with that voice is that it seems to find outrage but no substance or solutions. For many people there they seemed to be outraged, but didn't quite know what they were outraged about. Of course you have Fox News out there, actually adding their name to the event. If my parents ever try to tell me that Fox News is balanced again, all I have to do is point to this moment where the right-wing network didn't report the news, but tried to be an event organizer. While I don't find much in the way of objective journalism from any of the cable news outlets, I can't see either CNN or MSNBC trying to actually create a movement for their benefit. For anyone on fox who wants to remain a journalist, it's time to leave.

Funny that these tea bag protests about spending come after several years of Republicans raising deficits while Bush was in office. All this sturm and drang only seems to come around now that they are out of power. I'll take your message as seriously as I do the Code Pink housewives.

Oh, and our governor here in Texas, Rick Perry, is worried about a primary fight against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson next year, so naturally he decides to go to these tea party events to campaign. He's a complete idiot, but he knows the Republican Party here is a bunch of rabid fools (Just check out the Texas Republican Party Platform) so he knows he has to play to these guys. Kay is much more the moderate, and she would do better in a general election, but it will be harder for her to win the primary.

So Governor Good Hair, as we call him, goes out to start talking about Texas shouldn't be ruled by Washington, that states are sovereign and we need to look at secession from the US. Great! Just what we need here is an idiot telling us that we should leave the US. If we left the US, the US would also leave us. Do you think Texas would keep the US companies that headquarter here? Do you think that the US military would just leave all there equipment to us? Do you realize that there isn't a large enough bank based in the state to do commerce with? We are so tied into the US, that...why am I even arguing this, our governor is an idiot.

☆ Lastly, tomorrow we head out to LA for our cruise. I'm excited about going out to see a Dodger game tomorrow night and Saturday getting on the ship for a Mexican Riviera cruise. It's the Lazy Bear cruise, so there should be lots of good people on the ship. chris was on this same cruise a couple of years ago - as were a couple of other LJer's. I'll admit that I am not excited about any of the ports of call, but it will be nice to relax and get away from it all.

I'm packing, trying to get everything I need into one suitcase. You'd think going away for a week wouldn't require so much, especially going to somewhere warm, but I'm struggling to keep the bag under 50 pounds. Luckily this cruise I don't have to bring formal wear.

I have been on one other all-gay cruise, and that was the one to Alaska in 2007. I liked that one because people were dressed a little more warmly, but I see this cruise as a little more body competitive - beaches and pools and such. I'm sure there will be several people in skimpy swimsuits both on and off the ship. I'm already in my mindset that I will be the largest guy on the ship and won't want to be out at the pool area. Hopefully this feeling will change and I'll be able to let go and have a good time, but I'll tell you, it's easy to feel that you are very unattractive going into something like this.

Still I can't just stay in our little cabin all vacation long. This will be odd for me because I'm always looking for things to do on vacation but this one seems to be more about doing nothing. I hope I don't go crazy with boredom as I can't think of any of these ports that I want to explore, or anything. I'll be missing my internet access, too. I'm guessing I'm going to be on deck reading a book quite often. We will see how it goes.

Now if I can just cram all these T-Shirts in the bag!

☆ Oh, and it's possible that California's Supreme Court will rule on marriage next week. I guess we'll see if our marriage is still valid (in selected states) or not. We'll be without internet, but I'm sure we will hear the news on the ship. not that I'm expecting it, but if they rule for marriage equality that is going to be one big party boat.
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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 ([livejournal.com profile] profundis), getting to meet Mark from Madison for the first time, hanging with wingman Jim ([livejournal.com profile] jrjarrett), and seeing Tony ([livejournal.com profile] tonydabear), Paul ([livejournal.com profile] citizenpep), and Tony ([livejournal.com 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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One of the aspects of being a gay male means that you are looking for acceptance, socialization and even love from a group that's pretty much like you. Heterosexuals at least get to expand their group to a more diverse set of people, despite eHarmony's 28 dimensions of compatibility.

The rational part of my head says it's stupid to be looking for validation at a bear run, but deep down inside, here's a group of hot, sexy men all in one place, and all I really want to do is feel like I belong with them. I want to know that I'm good enough, handsome enough, entertaining enough to be one of them.

But yet I always feel like pulling away from the crowd. I like my personal space, and the hotel lobby just isn't a great place for it. I feel that no one is interested in my conversation, so I shut down, but yet, here I am wanting to be (lord help me I'm thinking of a Disney tune now) a part of the cool kids, the sexy kids.

I wish my head could give this fear up and just let me get on with it. Damn me and my tendency to overanalyze everything.
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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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Hot mess fierce tranny John ([livejournal.com profile] furrytxcub) asks:

You can go back in time for the sole purpose of erasing one artist/band from the whole of musical history. You only get one. Who would it be?

While there are many artists that would be great to have eliminated from the planet, I really can think of only one that I truly would want to have eliminated from history completely.

Paula Abdul.

To me, Paula Abdul marks the moment when music really went to crap in the 1980's. New Wave was officially dead when she decided to stop being a Laker Girl and start singing. Sure, there were already signs that pre-formulated pop was once again rearing it's ugly head, but when she came onto the scene, about the same time as Tiffany and Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, you knew it was over.

The moment Paula Abdul came on the scene, the really strong woman seemed to disappear in the pop world. For the years preceding we had women like Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox and even Madonna, who still had control of the music and image. Paula Abdul had more in common with the 60's girl groups, controlled by producers and publicists than having an act on her own.

Paula Abdul unleashed things the Mary Jane Girls, Samantha Fox, Expose, Rick Astley, Wilson Phillips and New Kids on the Block. I don't include Debbie Gibson because she at least wrote her own music. Unlike Milli Vanilli - sort of the culmination of the whole problem, I suppose. While grunge pushed out this crap for a while, it came back in the late 90's again. I guess it always re-occurs, but I think Abdul really sums up the end of one of the better music periods of my life.

This is not to say that there was not good music in the late 80's and early 90's, but you had to dig further sometimes. At the same time some of the best stuff from REM, the B-52's, the Cure and Depeche Mode was out, all groups that carried over from New Wave.

Of course now she's on American Idol, influencing yet another wave of schlock music (though I do like some of Kelly Clarkson's stuff). I'm sure if she didn't exist, there's plenty of other packaged pop girls who would take her place between Randy and Simon, but since it is her, and I already tag her with the destroyer of New Wave, then it's just adding insult to injury.


BTW: Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give you Up" was number 1, 20 years ago today.
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Should you be inclined to ask me a question, you can still do so HERE, where comments are screened.
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Otherwise, since other attendees of TBRU have been mentioning it, apparently there is a meet and greet scheduled for 11am on Saturday March 22 (Easter Eve?) in the host hotel lobby bar. I'm not sure if that means that [livejournal.com profile] wooferstl wants us all to get drunk early or what.

I'm hoping that we can turn it into a big lunch gathering and surprise some unlucky restaurant with a group of 20-30 bears waiting for the lunch special. I love to see waiters when they get a big group of us!
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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, [livejournal.com 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 ([livejournal.com 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 ([livejournal.com profile] kingfuraday) and [livejournal.com 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 ([livejournal.com 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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Good weekend, beautiful weather, and running around trying to get things done before this week's TBRU festivities. Chris and I got our pre-run haircuts. We didn't spend as much time as we should have cleaning the house for our incoming guests. Especially bad as Joey has totally eviscerated a rope chew toy and there are strings all over the house.

I spent much of the day yesterday watching Chris play softball. I felt kind of awkward as I'm not on a team. I felt even more awkward as I don't know anyone on Chris' team, and most of the people we played with last year were playing a field over. I spend most of the doubleheader with my nose buried in a Series 7 book, studying the driest material ever. Did not make for a lot of fun. Perhaps I made the wrong decision about softball, but I didn't hear anyone clamoring for my poor playing skills.

As I had a lot of trouble with tickets for The Police, I'm kind of wary to buy tickets to the Cindy Lauper/Erasure/Margaret Cho tour - the one I'm calling Gays take over the Smirnoff Pavilion. What a great venue for a super gay tour. It's not so much the tickets price or the acts, but that the tour supports the Human Rights Coalition (HRC). I'd be much more interested if it benefited an organization that I felt did more for the community than make little stickers, have big, fancy fundraisers, and build itself new headquarters. I'd much rather support GLADD, NGLTF or Lambda Legal.

OK, in my way of trying to be the person who ends memes by doing them last...go ahead, ask me questions. I'll try to answer them soon, and it will get me up and writing. I've been kind of silent of late.

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