Blogging: Is it Still Relevant?

Adam (This Boy Elroy) and DanNation meeting for the first time, February 2006.

It seems that blogging is dying.  I’ve been writing and posting since 2005 and know that blogging has changed my life in so many ways.  It’s opened me up to an entire world of gay men whom I would never have met otherwise.  Some of my nearest and dearest friends are guys I met through this blog.  I’ve learned to say and share whatever I want – a feat that is huge on my mental development side of things.  Yet, I miss my blogworld friends in the online world.  We are all real world friends now, so no need for a blog to keep in touch.  Shit, we have Facebook.  We can talk on the phone.  We are living our lives.

Things have changed in so many ways.  That’s what life is all about.  I remember when blog comments were the Twitter or Facebook status update of the moment.  Now, I communicate with Adam and others in totally different ways.  Like, we go out.  We have a beer or get dinner once in awhile.  We are real friends, so no need for the random post on “50 Things About DanNation.” Maybe us gays are always just ahead of our time on societal trends? It seems that we were doing what everyone is NOW raving about regarding Facebook five years ago through our gay blogs.  Back then, I would actually click through to a blogger’s profile and comment as much as I could. Now, it’s all about my Google Reader and the hundreds of blogs I read everyday, both for pleasure and for work.

This post isn’t the gay blog death knoll “I’m done with my blog” message or anything like that.  I just felt like commenting on how I feel about blogging at this moment in time. Many of my blogroll buddies have slowed posting (or quit altogether), and our world is a completely changed and crazy metamorphized place.  I am trying to determime my own personal role in the gay blogging world.  My life has moved so much since 2005 that I don’t know what to make of it.  It’s all good.

So, see you here tomorrow…if you are still reading!  Do you think that blogging is still relevant?

60 Miles…9 Weeks To Go…

alc3_logo_landscape …until the 2009 AIDS/Lifecyle 545-mile from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  Rich and I broke away from our regular organized group rides and did our own thing yesterday.  It was exactly the right thing to do after having not trained for two weeks.  We started in Sausilito, headed through Mill Valley over the hill (a big one) to San Anselmo and Fairfax.  From there, we rode around Nicasio Resevoir to Point Reyes, and back to Sausalito via Sir Frances Drake Boulevard.  Here’s a look at our ride – yes, I know, I look like Homer Simpson.  The weight will come off.  It’s hard to look skinny in spandex, after all.

And, if you’d like to support my ride (and haven’t already done so), you can make a pledge here.  I’d really appreciate it, as will the people living with AIDS whom your support will help.  If you can’t spare a dime right now (and many of us can’t), just think good things for me as I torture my body riding 70-90 miles per week.

Here are some shots from yesterday’s ride during a break at Nicasio Resevoir.

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My chicken legs on the ride.

I know – I NEED a tan!

Woodstock is Turning 40

emile-hirsch-taking-woodstock_l Once my claim to fame, “Turning 40″ also applies to the Woodstock Music Festival which celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer (I believe that an anniversary concert/event is planned as well).

Ang Lee’s new film, Taking Woodstock, follows the origins of the concert through the main character of Eliot Tiber (played by Demitri Martin), who attempts to increase business at his parents’ run-down hotel in the Catskills by helping to lure “some hippie thing” to town.  The character, who happens to be gay, doesn’t realize that he is behind a generation-changing event.  I am looking forward to this film.  It also stars Eugene Levy as the farmer who opens his fields to the concert and Leiv Schreiber, who plays a tranny.  Emile Hirsch (pictured during filming) also plays a hippie Vietnam vet and continues to confirm my crushes on young hippie boys.

Check out the trailer below – it aired for the first time last night.  This film, along with Star Trek, are my two “must-sees” of the summer.

By the way, even though I was 3 when Woodstock happened, I did not attend (surprisingly).

A (Gay) Experiment

On my drive to work from the doctor’s office this morning (looks like the tonsils are coming out – more on that later), my friend Chris called me.

CHRIS: “Did you check out the video that’s all over Facebook and blogs about the two gay guys in a straight bar in New Jersey?”

ME: “I saw it but it got lost in the new Facebook layout..” (Sorry – couldn’t resist)

Chris shared his thoughts with me about how he felt uncomfortable about the gay couple depicted by actors in the video. I share his feelings, but only because I would have felt really bad for them if they had been actually real! I kept thinking they were going to get gaybashed any second.  I don’t know how to explain why I feel that way except that I would never take my boyfriend to a sports bar in New Jersey to have a romantic date.  It’s just strange to me. And I’m not a huge fan of PDA -  although I have been guilty of administering too much in the past with the right amount of alcohol and in the right context. If I had been a patron in that bar, and regardless of the couple’s sexuality, watching them all over each other would have prompted me to throw keys at them and say “Get a room!” I’ve been known to utter that line to everyone from hetero couples I know well to the gayest queens at Badlands – it’s just me.

Now, that aside, the video is a fascinating experiment on tolerance in a working person’s bar (or any context where we, as gays, always assume homophobia).  Many of the patrons, while uncomfortable, are more uncomfortable with the planted “heckler.”

That is encouraging.  What are your thoughts on this experiment?

Childhood Friends and Gay Marriage in Vermont

VERMONTX390(1) Some good news for our gay marriage movement.  Yesterday , the Vermont State Senate passed the state’s gay marriage bill 26-4 in its chambers.  The bill now goes to the Vermont House for debate and hopeful passage.  Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, opposes the bill but has not said whether he will veto it. The tide seems to be turning for gay marriage in New England (my homeland), with Maine and New Hampshire considering similar bills.  Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2003 or so.

Last week, the lesbian older sister of one of my childhood friends testified in front of the Vermont Senate.  Kristin Kany’s family has a rich political history in Maine and her brother Dan is one of my oldest friends.  He shared Kristen’s testimony with some of us yesterday and I thought I’d share her words here.  I couldn’t recommend a better speaker for the gay rights movement.  This is exactly the type of representative we need everywhere to help this movement.

Kristin, can we clone you?

Good evening everyone, honorable committee members,
My name is Kristin Kany.

I live in Burlington with my 4 year old son. We moved there in July from Hinesburg where I had lived for 8 years.
I love the state of Vermont and the United States of America.
I am a proud citizen and a true patriot.
I work hard.
I pay my taxes.
I give much more to charities than my income can support.
I have volunteered for hundreds of charities and non-profits over the years—everything from being on the Planning Board of the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge, being a member of the Hinesburg Recreation Commission, volunteer coaching of lots of community sports including teams at two local high schools, I’ve worked at soup kitchens, events for the elderly, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, M.S., Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer events. I even volunteered at the International Paralympic Games for the Disabled in Atlanta.
I am a good citizen.
I vote.
I help my neighbors.
I do everything I possibly can for my parents and brothers.
I teach Religious Education at my church.
I walk my talk and talk my walk.

I also have the distinctive honor of representing my country as an athlete.
In 1994, I was one of 30 women chosen from the entire United States to represent and compete for our country in Scotland at the World Cup for Rugby.

Not many Vermonters or even American citizens can claim that medal of Patriotism.

However, despite all that I do for my community, state and country, I am still only given the rights of a Second Class Citizen.
I have to say, I am probably one of the most moral people I know.
I live with the utmost integrity.
I know I annoy some people, but
I do unto others as I would have them do unto me.
Ask anyone who knows me.
I truly embrace our Founding Fathers’ declarations to the world that we are a country that believes emphatically in the inherent worth of each individual.
Equality is our cornerstone.
Freedom is our foundation.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are essential components for the concept of freedom upon which our democracy in based.

I don’t know how many of you are parents, but I know that what I want most for my 4 year old is for him to be truly happy.
(And he is. He is THE best pursuer of happiness I have ever known. He embraces each day with such joyful passion – full of curiosity, love, compassion, awe, singing constantly—a true indicator of happiness. Everyone who meets him comments on his infectious joy and zest for life. )
I am such a proud parent.
Similarly, I also know that what my own parents have wanted most for me is to be truly happy.
That even outweighs a big salary!
Yet when someone is designated a Second Class citizen, by its own government, that happiness quotient can be severely compromised.

Ask any person of color.
Ask any  Native American, or Irish, or Jew, or elderly woman, or divorcee.
Ask them–
Deemed less than does not make whole.

Vermont’s current marriage law goes against the principles pledged by our Founding Fathers.
You have the legislative power and the contemporary obligation to make me and many other just as noble Vermont citizens, you have the ability to make us legally whole.
We are NOT Less Than.
Move us up from the back of the bus.

Please give us,  we who are your brothers, sisters, your mothers, fathers, your grandparents, cousins, co-workers, your sons, daughters, we who are your friends, the people you know and love, please give us rights equal to your own.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness on this significant need.

3/18/09
Public Hearing
State House

On top of a mountain…

…drinking wine with my best friends.  It was Jamie’s wedding.  I’ve known him since he was 14 and I was 22 and fresh out of college.  It was amazing seeing him get married in such a special place.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and I was able to take a day to do nothing but hang at the spa: workout, deep tissue massage, steam room, sauna, hot tub and pool.  It was luxuriating!

Jackson Hole is part of the Tetons – the youngest region of the Rocky Mountains.  Although I didn’t ski, spring conditions prevailed and people seemed to enjoy the mountain immensely.  After a turbulent flight back yesterday, I got a quality evening with Rich.  Oh, how I love him.

Here are some of the moments of the past weekend.

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Symbols, Good News, and What the Fuck?

Our bailout money going to AIG executive bonuses who ran the company into the ground in the first place.  Economists debating whether the recession will end at the end of this year (or next).  Hate crimes in the LGBT community up 300%+ in the past year due to the attention given to gay marriage.  Unemployment hitting 10% in California (and the contraversial budget an extra $8 billion in the hole due to lesser revenues than expected).

None of this is good news.  It all makes me depressed.

Then, a piece of news comes out of nowhere that knocks your socks off: the U.S. will finally sign a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.  Previously, the U.S. had been the one Western holdout in supporting the non-binding declaration.

While symbolic in nature, it’s a big symbol.  As we have heard, gays in many countries are persecuted on a regular basis, and in the case of Iran, are executed.  It’s definitely good news, and we all can use it just about now.

On another newswatch note, what the fuck is the Pope thinking?  As the New York Times says so well, the Pope has every right to express his opinion based on his beliefs.  However, spewing lies that fly in the face of scientific evidence is unacceptable.  I wonder when religious cults will get a check on reality and realize that statements like “You can’t resolve [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem…” are symbols that can reverse years of legitimate work on the continent of Africa and in other areas where AIDS is decimating populations.

And back to the good symbol of the day.  Thanks, President Obama, for doing the right thing.  I’m not so sure about your economic blueprint at the moment, but signing the U.N. declaration is a big step (and symbol) in the right direction.