Solutions to problems

From Wikipedia:

Cognitive Therapy (CT) is a type of psychotherapy developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. Becoming disillusioned with long-term psychodynamic approaches based on gaining insight into unconscious emotions and drives, Beck came to the conclusion that the way in which his clients perceived and interpreted and attributed meaning – a process known scientifically as cognition – in their daily lives was a key to therapy.[1] Albert Ellis was working on similar ideas from a different perspective, in developing his Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Beck initially focused on depression and developed a list of “errors” in thinking that he proposed could cause or maintain depression, including arbitrary inference, selective abstraction, over-generalization, and magnification (of negatives) and minimization (of positives). Cognitive therapy seeks to identify and change “distorted” or “unrealistic” ways of thinking, and therefore to influence emotion and behavior.

So, this is my current psychological treatment.  Always a fan of psychotherapy, I first started one-on-one counseling in 1998.  At the time, I was at the apex of my dot.com career — working 15-hour days sandwiched between 2 hour commutes each way.  I was in the closet but kicking the closet door a bit.  I was burned out and tired of a charade that I was living.  With thoughts of suicide and self-diagnosed depression, I entered my first round of therapy.  I went on an anti-depressant known as Effexor and it did wonders for me.  Between that first round of therapy and the drugs, I changed as a human being.

With several months of one-on-one behind me, my therapist at the time encouraged me to enter group therapy.  I remember sitting in a circle and listening to others in the group parade their problems:  stress at work from an overweight woman in the next cube who relentlessly tapped her overlong fingernails on her desk, driving the victim in my group to a slow tirade; another man who could not face intimacy with a woman; a woman who was in a deadbeat relationship but continuously flirted with a good-looking guy in our group — who was there for something that now escapes my memory.  After almost a year of both approaches, I announced I was leaving the group to travel in Europe for a number of months.  I remember feelings of betrayal being expressed by my peers as they faced the future of their own therapy.  The woman in the deadbeat relationship called me out on something that she couldn’t quite put her finger on in my last group session — that she felt I was hiding something.  That I wasn’t being truly honest about something in my life that was still deep inside.  She was right, except that I didn’t want to say that I was gay (not yet, anyways).

The next year, I came out.  And I thought all my deep-down problems with self-esteem, identity, intimacy, honesty, and lack of courage would go away.  I went off the drugs.  I revered my new gay life and thought that I had solved all my problems.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I went through two more therapists in the next five years hoping to find solutions to problems.  Answers that I knew were there somewhere.

It is always someone in a relationship who knows you really well and calls you out on shit.  My ex did it relentlessly — yet, his delivery was often impaired with his own issues and did not meet acceptance by me.  My current partner is similar to me, and sees issues with me that reflect those in himself.  Yet, his support and delivery of concerns has been much more constructive to my moving forward.

The choice of my current therapist was more a result of the list on my medical insurance site than a referral or search for a cognitive therapist.  It was only last week when a friend commented on one of my earlier blog posts that I was in cognitive therapy.  I dug deep with questions last week in my session and realize that I am now at a point that I am putting constructive solutions to work to change ever-present behavior.  Maybe my anger and other problems aren’t going anywhere soon but a better solution is to learn to modify my response to emotions rather than spew them forth.  I’ve learned that my gay identity doesn’t necessarily solve problems; in fact, it may create new ones.  To move forward I need to manage my response to common and okay emotions.  Anti-depressants (in my opinion) just hide those emotions without practical management.  Maybe this is the way to go.

We will see.  I’m learning in my 40s that the past is what it is and shouldn’t drive behavior today.  That’s a realization that has taken me 41 years and 10 years of therapy and self-examination to reach.  And, it ain’t so bad.  Let’s see how this new approach to my self works.  I’ll keep you posted.

Mary’s house is for sale…

The Mary Tyler Moore house in Minneapolis is for sale. I believe that I read the asking price was just over $3 million. And, apparently, a drunk intruder broke into the empty home earlier this month (on a dare) and passed out. And, no, it wasn’t me. The house is huge with 8 bedrooms, 5 fireplaces, and a bunch of bathrooms.

Above: the guest suite which houses the infamous window in Mary’s studio apartment on the show.

This infamous house is located in the Kenwood District of Minneapolis and I actually drove there to visit the house in 1993 (I was in Minnesota for business and a friend’s wedding). It served as the exterior of Mary and Rhoda’s apartment for the first four seasons of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” until the producers showed up in 1974 to shoot updated exteriors and the owners at the time posted an “Impeach Nixon” banner to end its use and discourage any photography of the house. To solve this problem, the show later moved Mary to a one-bedroom apartment where she lived until the series ended in 1977.

I know, Chad. I am such a fucking dork.

Donnan’s Crazy Birthday Weekend

My husband turned 37 yesterday. She is doing well, considering she is one more year closer to 40. We had a terrific weekend, full of fun, friends, and food. We started our weekend at a beach bonfire on Friday night where we were confronted by beach patrol for having alcohol and glass on the beach. He threatened to arrest us but not before we made a hasty exit. I’m sorry to our hosts, J.R. and Kalvin, who had to cancel the celebration for their mother’s visit early.  We made some great new friends from Texas: Nathan, Robert, and Matt courtesy of our close friends Tom and Gabe who live here in San Francisco.

Atari was here from Boston for the weekend, and Donnan, Chad Fox, and Atari checked out the new Star Wars commemorative mailboxes. Soon thereafter, Chad created some disturbing costume restyling that warranted this photo.

Chad acquainted himself with our new Texan friend Matt at Sunday’s Eagle Beer Bust.

Last night, we celebrated Donnan’s actual birthday as he finished his shift at Badlands.

So, today I rest. House guests and visitors gone. A day off from the grueling office. Laundry fluffed and dry. And back to the blog.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I love you!

The Jimmy and Dan Variety Cast #14: Alan is our Gay Messiah

Join Jimmi and Dan as they welcome Alan Ilagan as they discuss Alan’s wet tightie-whitie photos, Penthouse Forum, glass eye sockets, and play “Two Degrees of Mary and Rhoda” for the first time. We also entertain voice mails from BrettCajun, Atari Age, Chad Fox, and Derek. The Bitch from the Ditch returns and a surprise guest host chimes in.

Please check out our MySpace page AND call our listener line -

(206) 337-1587

Download it here….

All Jimmi & Dan Variety Casts and DanNation Casts are here

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The Cute Boy in the Mesh Gym Shorts

First, sorry about the lack of our podcast with guest Alan Ilagan — we have had to postpone taping twice due to conflicting schedules and today, our cat shooting cat shit all over the guest bathroom and making a visit to the vet.

At any rate, in the midst of my busy week, I did make it to the gym yesterday. It was quite empty except for me and a hottie boy (hetero, I believe) working out during the 3 p.m. Friday hour. I rarely lose composure when cute boys are present (including my boyfriend), but this boy really got my gander going. You see, I could see the defined outline of his big and uncircumcised cock through his mesh shorts as he strutted around the weight room.

I kept staring. And staring. And staring. And he caught me several times eyeing his fairly large member (why does this sound like porn?).

As I went to the drinking fountain I stumbled as he bent over in front of me. And I stared again. He looked up as he must have felt my glare. So, I felt a need to explain myself and had an instant idea to provide the explanation for my staring.

He was wearing Colby College shorts. You see, Colby is in my home town. Of course! I could explain to him why I kept staring at his groin.

“I couldn’t help but notice — did you go to Colby?” I asked.

“Yep!” he mutters as he adjusts his mid section with his wet right hand. You see, his cock had shifted to the right.

“Well, I grew up in Waterville,” I mention.

“Oh….cool,” he responded as he turned around and walked away.

And, I had never felt more awkward in my life as I stood there trying to determine if we’d be going into the locker room at the same time. I just had to see his weenie without all that blue mesh over it.

After my final rep of ab exercises, I noticed he was gone. It was time for me to run (not walk) to the locker room.

And there he was, pulling his baggy jeans OVER the damn mesh shorts. Damn! I was foiled again in my attempt to see good ass at the gym.

So, I guess I’ll have to go back to the gym next Friday at 3 p.m. See you there, Mr. Colby College!

I never saw this one coming…

Just when I thought I knew everything…

Joan Jett And Carmen Electra May Have Their Own “Cherry Bomb”
Friday March 23, 2007 @ 05:30 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff

Joan Jett has sung about not caring about having a bad reputation and, after marrying Dennis Rodman and Dave Navarro, apparently neither does Carmen Electra.

So perhaps it’s not implausible that the two women might actually have hooked up. Electra, 34, has previously admitted to having a secret crush on Jett since she was eight when she first saw her in a music video wearing a bikini. Jett, 46, cast Electra as a bisexual temptress in her 2006 video for “A.C.D.C.,” another addition to a stellar acting resume that includes unforgettable roles in Scary Movie, Scary Movie 4, Good Burger and Starsky & Hutch. Jett and Electra have also been spotted together occasionally over the past year, and the topless model separated from Navarro last summer, so tongues are starting to wag.

According to The Daily Dish column on the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com website, Electra has been telling friends that she’s “planning to drop a bombshell at one of the year’s most anticipated gay gatherings.” She’s scheduled to perform with her burlesque troupe, the Bombshell Babes, at the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, California later this month, and may reveal more than her cleavage at the four-day lesbian festival.

“Carmen and Joan are planning on enjoying all the fun the weekend has to offer, and they’ll be making a very clear statement to the world by attending together,” an unnamed event insider told the Star magazine.

Another unnamed source said, “They’ve been dating since before Thanksgiving. They don’t cohabitate, but they do spend a lot of time together.”

Jett was a member of the all-female Runaways in the ’70s and became a star when “I Love Rock N’ Roll” became a smash hit in 1982. The rocker has had a number of other hits over the years, and has become somewhat of a gay icon. Electra has been responsible for a lot of teenage boys becoming better acquainted with their right hands.

http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2007/03/2302.cfm

The Crying Game

Did anyone catch this crying girl on “American Idol” last night? She apparently adores Sanjaya (who should get voted off this evening). Perhaps she is crying because of the death of a late-night icon — Larry Bud Melman who passed away on Monday. You may remember him from the old “Late Night with David Letterman” on NBC. I remember watching Larry, whose real name was Calvert DeForest, on Letterman during my college days in the ’80s. He was sort of David’s version of my co-host Jimmi on our Variety Cast. R.I.P., Larry Bud Melman.

You must watch this…

I work for an environmental conservation non-profit and had the privilege of viewing the first episode of the new Discovery Channel series Planet Earth today.  It airs over 11 weeks at 8 p.m. beginning this Sunday, 3/25.  Filmed over five years in high-definition, it is breathtaking with never-before-seen footage of animals in their natural habitats from “Pole to Pole.”  It is a snapshot of what we have in nature today, before climate change, habitat reduction, and overpopulation drive many of our animal and plant species to extinction.  We are setting our DVR to capture every episode — I sat in a theater with many of my colleagues and we were blown away by what we saw.  One scene was a slow motion capture of a Great White Shark’s hunt for a seal.  Another scene covered the migration of elephants, zebras, and their predators to a lush waterworld in Central Africa (where, incidentally, I might get to visit in my job since we do conservation work in Africa).

This is a must-see….it is also available on DVD at The Discovery Channel site.

Therapy

As a follow up to my earlier posts, therapy is going well.  With off-and-on therapy for the past ten years, I feel that I am finally approaching counseling with a want for results.  It takes awhile to get to the stage where you accept therapy for what it is — and you really begin to fight your anger and self-doubts.

My counselor gave me a homework assignment after last week’s session.  I thought I would share my final submission here.  I would encourage each of you to inventory these qualities — it’s wonderful to have something down on paper with which I can work.

Three Goals for Counseling

1.  Improve my communication and openness to maximize my chances of success in all my relationships

2.  Improve my self-esteem

3.  Learn more about my source(s) of anger and better manage it (them)

Ten Things I Like About Myself

1.  I am smart

2.  I have strong integrity

3.  I am loyal

4.  I am independent

5.  I am funny and possess a great sense of humor

6.  I am wise

7.  I am quite open-minded but judgmental at the same time

8.  I am a great friend/partner

9.  I believe in self-improvement

10.  I am organized

Ten Things that Make Me Angry

1.  People with a feeling of entitlement

2.  Being taken advantage of

3.  Being a caretaker

4.  My inability to open up emotionally

5.  Discrimination (e.g. sexuality, race, etc.)

6.  Not being included

7.  My brother

8.  Mean people

9.  Right-wing conservatives (e.g. George Bush)

10.  The state of the world (e.g. climate change, politics, social classes)

11.  My insecurity with all of the above

It’s a start.  Self-examination always scares me.  It feels like walking the plank.  But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.   My homework for next week is to actually figure out how I measure my goals.  Sounds a bit like work.