Friday, December 18, 2009


As I cross the state line I find myself on a street I've never driven before. It's pitch back and due to the late hour the traffic is light. I make my way in the direction I feel will take me home, looking for the interstate. To my right stretching for what seems like miles is a vast and eerie field of railway cars dotted with brilliantly lit cranes that in busier times are loading trucks. It's a modern marvel - an island dedicated to moving goods. As I continue forward increasingly fearful I'm headed in the wrong direction, the surroundings become more residential. Passing through intersections with street names I see in the paper associated with murders and robberies I move to lock my doors. The mechanical "click" adds some measure of security as the journey continues. The streetlights are few and far between; however, lights from gas stations and fried chicken joints increase my visibility. The neighborhoods off the main street are dark and neglected. You can almost feel the poverty and hopelessness in the air. The streets are not beautiful and nothing about the surroundings feels homey.

My anxiety subsides as the interstate becomes visible in the distance. I head east, towards my suburb. From the interstate I can see a nice hotel standing proudly. I'm glad it's still open, but saddened by the knowledge the surrounding area is severely blighted. Less than 15 minutes later my exit appears and I head up one of the cities main corridors. It's a part of town that has miraculously survived "white flight" and continues to thrive. A few minutes later I leave the city limits and enter my suburb. It's safe and quiet and I'm oddly relieved at the sight of a cop with flashing lights writing a speeding ticket. Meandering through the wide streets decorated for Christmas, past the boutique stores and library my street appears. I pull into my house which seems a world apart from the desolate place I saw 30 minutes earlier.

My city is poor. So many people are broken and hopeless and have no inkling of a greater world of opportunity existing. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty and lack the educational and financial resources to escape. To make matters worse, the opportunities for unskilled labor with decent pay are slim. Entire communities continue to struggle if not collapse. It's tragic.

I was born lucky. I must never take it for granted.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Well, it's been a crazy past few weeks. I've got a few stories to share, but for now I'll give an update of the happenings here.

I headed to Colorado at the end of October to visit my aunt. It was absolutely beautiful. I found a lovely duplex in Aspen for $4 million. I'm still debating. It might be a bit out of my price range. My mom came with me and we had a fun time traveling around seeing the sights. I hope to get back that way in the near future.

November saw me fail at NaNoWriMo, but it was expected. I don't have a story that needs to be written yet, but maybe one day. I've got some ideas rattling around.

November also included a visit from my old roommate. I chauffeured him around the city and we had fun reuniting with old friends.

I've officially hired a personal trainer but our schedule has been complicated with the holidays and my travel. However, I'm meeting with her for three months initially. One of my primary goals for 2010 is getting fit. Ideally I'll have a shirtless profile pic on Facebook by May. Just kidding.

Last night I co-hosted the biggest party in my entertaining career. It was a success! We had a great crowd and mingled 3 groups of friends. The food and beer selection was superb and a good time was had by all (at least that's what I've been told). It was a big effort as neither my cohost or myself had any Christmas decorations. Therefore we had to start from scratch! Our tree looks great though. The LED lights are bright!

This week I'm off to NYC for vacation! It's my first time and I plan on being as touristy as humanly possible. Heck yes! I've "budgeted" a decent amount of money for shopping. I guess I'll complete my winter wardrobe update while I'm there. New coat anyone?

Finally, I was able to successfully obtain tickets to Lady Gaga! I'll be headed down to New Orleans at the end of December. It's okay to be jealous.

I know this post is relatively shallow, but I'll post some of my better anecdotes and observations later. For now I'm off to get some work done (on a weekend, blasphemy!). I hope all has been well with you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'm headed out West for the weekend. When I return I've got a trip for work. By the time I get back it will the end of October. Like last year I'm taking November off from blogging to participate in NANOWRIMO. This year I hope to actually finish!

Catch you in December.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Whenever we have dinner as a family, my mother has a horrible habit of apologizing for something in the meal she perceives as inadequate. "Sorry the green beans got cold so quickly", "Sorry the chicken is salty", "Sorry the rolls got a little burnt". It's a source of constant frustration for me (and my grandparents when they come to visit). She has NOTHING to apologize for. What she cooks is almost always tasty. Still, she can't help but criticize herself and it's so irritating.

Alarmingly, I found myself doing the exact same thing when I cooked dinner for my best friend not too long ago. I was overly apologetic over how quickly the noodles cooked and how the green beans did not turn out how I anticipated (I was trying to make Chinese restaurant style green beans). He told me not to apologize and said it was good, but I still didn't believe him.

In many things I'm hypercritical of myself. I beat myself up over things that happened a long, long time ago. Nearly all are petty and I'm quite certain that nobody even remembers half the things that "haunt" me. I don't know if it's guilt or shame or what.

I was going to try to connect this to some universal theme, but I'm at a loss. I guess I can say "old habits die hard" or something. I just don't know.

I will say it made me think about how many of our habits we inherit from our family. For example, growing up we were allowed to have 3 cereals open at a time. 1 of 3 was always Rice Krispies or some other cereal my mother enjoyed. The other two were generally something that my brother or I liked. Usually I would have one box of cereal open at a time. I would consume it, then move onto another box. When I moved into my first apartment I was taken aback by the fact that my roommate had 2, 3, or even 4 boxes of cereal open at one time. It was obscene! It was against the rules of my childhood! I ended up tossing several boxes he left in the cabinet for long periods of time (apparently he lost interest in them). When I questioned him about his bizarre practice of having more than one box of cereal open at a time he explained that he likes variety and doesn't want to eat the same cereal for breakfast everyday. While this is a valid response, I still dislike the practice of having more than one box open. The tradition of my youth persists.

I have no decent conclusion for this post. Enjoy nevertheless.


I finally did it! I ran it in 29:53. My goal was 30:00. It's not a record setting time, but was great for my first race ever! I'm hopping on the fitness bandwagon. It's time to start going to the gym!

Friday, October 9, 2009

China Scam

So, I don't know how I stumbled across this site, but this post made my day.

If you have a few minutes check it out. I know it's long but it's entertaining. While the subject does not seem to be something that would "make my day" it totally did. The reason is that I was scammed in Beijing a few years ago! Luckily I only lost 50 bucks. It was at an overpriced tea shop where I was talking to two "teachers". I've been so ashamed of this story I've only told one person! However, after seeing this I feel so much better. They lost a heck of a lot more. I'm definitely glad I lied and told the ladies scamming me I didn't have a credit card or it looks like things would have been much worse. Also, I was in the exact same part of town. I'm almost certain I know what bookstore they referenced too. I was approached by a ton of "art students" both in Shanghai and Beijing, but turned them all down. It was the "teachers" from "Mongolia" that ended up getting me. Haha.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boyfriend Weather

I'll start off with a few random tidbits.

I have had a friend suggestion on my Facebook homepage for several months and just found out that the guy passed away. It was quite the shocker. Facebook still wants me to add him as a friend. I've actually spent a lot of time thinking about how my digital presence will be managed once I die. Hopefully I won't have to worry about that for awhile.

Being a grown-up now has brought about a lot of changes. One struck me as I was driving past Toys R Us on Saturday. I remembered how awesome that store was when I was a kid. It was my favorite. I would beg to go there with my parents. Now my favorite store is Costco. I get super excited about buying giant bags of Cape Cod Chips and 36 count packages of toilet paper. What has happened to me?

A pet peeve that has come with being an adult is dry cleaning. It's such an inconvenience. Plus, it never fails that I'm wearing a pair of pants I want to get cleaned whenever I go to pick up what I had dropped off earlier.

The weather has changed here and it's beyond amazing. I'm running a 5K next week and can't wait. I'm also finally beginning Phase 2 of my plan to get in shape.

The weather can overall mood makes me want to date. It's just seems romantic all of a sudden. We could go explore the farmer's market, check out the Rachmaninoff concerto, or see David Sedaris speak when he comes to town. I have a rather large list of places and things I would like to do as part of a couple and I hope to one day start using them. In the meantime, I still do all these things, but just with friends.

Until next time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Busy Bee

I've finally got LOTS of things I want to write about, but sadly I'm unusually busy lately. So, I'll leave you with a quote I came across today. One of the kids at tutoring had to journal about it.

"Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the road which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled, and if the feature road looms ominous or unpromising, and the road back uninviting-inviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that one as well."

-- Maya Angelou

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I am almost entirely recovered! I was actually feeling better last Sunday, but had a persistent cough this week. It seems to be fading, which means I start running again this Monday! I've been out of an exercise routine for almost a month, so I hope I can still make 3 miles. We will see. The race I was supposed to run last week did not happen. However, I've signed up for a 5K next month. I'm hoping to finish in a respectable time. I don't want to embarrass myself.

Family (my grandparents) are in town. They came over to see my place today. Nothing motivates you to clean like guests!

Now it's Saturday afternoon and I am totally at a loss for what to do. I've been rather stressed on the weekends, but now I've caught up on all of my chores and errands. I think it's time to make a new "to do" list!

Well, I just wanted to say hello and let you know I'm still alive.

Something substantial will be coming soon (I hope).

Friday, September 18, 2009


I've been traveling for the past 3 weeks. The day I returned I was not feeling well. Things went from bad to worse and now I'm in self-imposed quarantine. I had all the symptoms of the flu, but my recovery seems to be too quick for it to be the flu. I don't know what I have, but I do know I'm ready to be back to 100%.

My sick days have given me a chance to declutter the DVR. I have a tendency to let shows stockpile. Many I just end up deleting without watching.

This post is without any real direction. My head is fuzzy.

I currently have no food. A friend had to bring me a loaf of bread. I'm out of peanut butter for Pete's sake!

The rest of the weekend will be spent resting, cleaning, and restocking my bare cabinets.

Don't forget to watch NPH hosting the Emmy's. He's awesome!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


First off, I've made what I hope is the last change to my username. I've evolved from "otrolado" to "freelancer" to "thinkrqp". The goal was to allow you to contact me by e-mail. While this blog is not really that anonymous, I'm not really comfortable giving out my primary e-mail address.


Money. It's often said it's the root of all evil. This is an inaccurate quote from 1 Timothy (it's really the love of money), but we all get the gist.

There have been two primary "battles" in my life. The biggest (and the one with the greatest psychological impact) was related to my attraction to guys. That's been the primary theme of the blog and how most you of stumbled across it.

The theme for today is something almost equally taboo.

I have been very fortunate to have a mother (and father) who are very candid about money. For better or for worse, I know the complete financial situation of my parents. No subject is off limits, from what my parent's make, to their 401K balance, mortgage, medical bills, etc. Shockingly, a very large number of my friends (people in their 20's) don't even know what their parents make. For that matter, they are terribly uninformed when it comes to what they should do with money or how much it takes to survive.

Now, I will say that I have a vast understanding of what I should do when it comes to money. The problem is that until this summer I have not really been doing it. I've been a prodigal son.

I do balance my checkbook and contribute an adequate amount to my 401K, but that is the extent of my good behavior.

I like things. Shiny things. I like eating out. I really, really like to travel. I'm not satisfied with a trip to Branson. I want Budapest. It would be easy for me to take a cop out answer and say that my trips abroad were the cause of my over spending. But that's disingenuous. The truth of the matter is that I continuously buy things I don't need with money I don't have. My debt is a direct result of living beyond my means. I have consistently (on a nearly daily basis) made poor decisions about how to spend money. Buyer's remorse is nearly non-existent in my life (with the notable exception of a Rosetta Stone software package I bought at a mall in Seattle). Since getting my first credit card my freshman year of college, I have spent $28,000. I am quite certain I have spent equal that amount on my debit card.

For the past 6 years I've had serious cash flow issues. This leads me to use my cards more than I should. That has finally changed. I will have no more credit card debt in 4 more weeks (well, there might be $300 that lags behind) and will finally, FINALLY, get a paycheck and NOT have to transfer it to American Express or Visa.

My new financial goals include building an 8-month savings, knocking out the rest of my student loans and putting a couple hundred dollars into my stock account (that currently has a value of $250).

I told myself I would be debt free in last December, then March, then June, etc. Finally, I decided enough was enough. Slowly but surely I've come out from under this trap. It's not been easy. I've fought a lot of temptation when it comes to cute jackets from Banana Republic and new clothes for work. I've had to set limits and stick with them. If I can I change my behavior permanently I will be in great shape. I just have to take it a day at a time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I assure you my next post will be something substantial about things weighing on my mind. But hey, it's summertime. It's nearly impossible to be morose. It's ice cream season for Pete's sake!

In that spirit I will share a few of the random thoughts/things happening in my life:

Yesterday my brother asked if I was going to adopt in the future. He wants nieces and nephews. Haha. I said yes (because I am).

The weather in Memphis has been unreal this weekend. The rest of the week is looking good too. It's August and usually unbearable. This year has been different! It's as if nature is conspiring to convince me to stay here another year. "Hey, it's not that bad, in fact, it's really kind of beautiful...stay awhile longer".

I tapped into my inner nerd and installed Dos Box on my Mac. Now I can play one of my all-time favorite computer games again!

I'm continuing to aggressively pay off my credit card bills. More on that in my next post!

Running is going well, despite shin splits! I will persevere and run my first race next month. This four-miler is mine! Haha.

I'm not feeling as fit as I would have hoped, despite my running and attempts to change my diet. I really need to cut back on my ice cream and cookie consumption. I don't think you all can really grasp the amount of "treats" I eat. Let's just say that this week I had a Frosty and Oreo Shake from Baskin Robbins in the same day.

The lesson that you should not be too quick to judge people was learned again this week by me. I feel a bit sheepish, but hey, that's what you get sometimes.

My family may or may not have watched a cheesy Disney movie starring a tween superstar last night. We also may or not have all enjoyed it a bit too much.

Life is good. Really. I find the fact that I'm so cheery prevents me from posting my long, "teen-angst" filled posts. Hahaha.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


5 consecutive bad hair days = extra self-conscious

Finally having a good hair day = feeling good, but a little shallow for obsessing so much

Running 3 miles, 3 days a week = awesome

Having my credit cards paid off in six more weeks = ridiculously awesome

Overthinking things = the new norm in my life

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I'm tired, physically and mentally.

I hereby declare myself on vacation from this blog for awhile.

Monday, August 3, 2009

5 Year Plan

It's that time of year again. I've got to write my short and long term goals for my career. This always gets me thinking about the future and what I want from my personal and professional life. Funny, I like how we separate "personal" from "professional" but in many ways they overlap. I'm not sure they can easily be untangled from one another.

What are my goals? I've always got a list lying around: exercise, cook more, eat healthier, build my savings account, write more, read more, travel, it goes on and on. Now I have to think more about the big picture. I try to think about what things I will look back on and regret in my old age. So, I power up my imagination and picture myself in my 70's, sitting in bed, composing a list of shoulda, woulda, coulda's.

Here's what the future me could possibly regret:

Not taking a chance in relationships
Not spending quality time with family and friends
Not seeing the world
Not achieving my educational goals
Not having a hot body while I was younger (okay, maybe that's a bit of stretch)

Using this exercise I shape my current goals. I want to be better at what I do. I want to get promoted. I want keep getting in shape. I want to love. I want to go to a kick ass school somewhere exciting.

Let's see how it goes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I guess "On Faith" had a technical glitch:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my home state had legislation in the works aimed at banning gay adoption. Thankfully the budget crisis has practically killed it. The guy that sponsored it was a well-off Republican who goes to a conservative Christian church in Memphis. His argument was the usual "traditional families are the best environment". Well, now he's in some trouble.

He took sexually explicit photos with his legislative intern. While I don't think this story will make national headlines, it's definitely hitting the airwaves here. He is just one more in a series of righteous lawmakers (who more often then not rail against homosexuality) caught in a sex scandal.

One has to wonder, WTF?

It's very hard for me to understand this. There is a part of me that can understand when closeted gay guys rail against homosexuality. It's a "house divided" scenario. I think these guys think their "sins" may be absolved if they take a public stand. Of course, this usually ends in disaster.

The case of Mr. Stanley is quite different. He is not a closeted gay man. He is a "family values" man who appeared to be motivated by his religious faith (I know from personal experience that the views of his church are extremely anti-gay). How is he off having trysts with interns?

I don't know if I can feel bad for the guy, especially since this was entirely his fault. I doubt very much he was seduced by a 22 year old. Still, he has a family and may lose everything. His other job was already lost when the company he worked for was involved in a Ponzi scheme. Mr. Stanley's downfall is just another blow to the GOP that's in desperate need of a turnaround.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lovely Days

As I've mentioned before, I have a tendency to think somber moods are the most important moods, and since I've been rather lighthearted lately I've not been able to delve into the deep subjects I would like to (at least that's what I tell myself). I'm working on a few drafts, but they require patience and scholarship and work.

In the meantime, I feel like chatting about a few things that have been bringing me joy lately.

Today at work I had a very interesting training session that involved traveling around the city seeing a lot of things I haven't seen before. Now, I've been DREADING this ever since I found out it was scheduled for July because I live in the South. It is hot here in July. I mean HOT (and humid). Being outside is absolutely miserable for me. However, we have had some completely freak weather and the high was 76 today. It was beyond glorious. Of course, it was overcast and stormy, but that only adds to the beauty in my opinion. Today also reminded me what an interesting job I have. I will definitely miss it when I (eventually) leave.

Non-weather things bringing me joy include the following:

Cookie Cake
"Wonderful" from Wicked
Predictably Irrational
Flight of the Conchords (I swear I almost died of laughter from the episode where the Prime Minister visits)

I'll leave you with a quote from "Wonderful": "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities, so we act as though they don't exist". So true. Please forgive the overt gayness of quoting a musical.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Since I can't seem to gather together my thoughts for a post, I thought I would share this:

It's my iTunes Top 25.

Note: Poker Face was number 27

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Gay Thing

It's only been recently that I've truly accepted that a wife and kids are not a requirement for me to be happy and fulfilled. It's a realization that I should have made earlier, but I didn't. I've had years of wanting it so badly and giving up that desire was no small task. It's been a long road.

In the weeks immediately following my acceptance of being gay I was flooded with relief. I had been edging towards insanity as the dissonance within me grew. It almost instantly dissipated. I was free from the terrible burden that had for too long impaired my emotional and intellectual growth.

God and I were closer than ever. I had seen signs of his approval of me coming out, but was still waiting for an "all clear" to date. In the meantime I was deep in thought and reading all I could from Orthodox to liberal Christian literature about being gay and Christian. I was learning so much. This reading made me realize how uninformed I was about my beliefs. It had started sometime before when I read Stephen Prothero's book, but the desire to fill my gaps in knowledge was accelerated as I began devouring theology.

As chronicled over this blog, I moved towards, and currently reside, in the land of agnosticism. I really did not expect to end up here, but I'm coping. I never expected I would be unable to overcome my attraction to guys either, but hey, we win some and we lose some.

As always, I'm working day by day to be grateful for all the things I currently have, instead of incessantly pining for more. I'm mulling over my future while working to be a force for good in the universe. There are few things worse than being paralyzed by indecision and living a life of inaction and ineffectiveness.

Now that I'm off the roller coaster of emotion tied to coming out and losing my faith, life is a bit different. There are no more "coming out" conversations to have. The only people who should know but don't are my Dad's parents. They will not know. At least not anytime soon. Coworkers will find out in due time (many suspect) but there is no need to have the awkward "I have something to tell you..." conversation. It's not a big deal (another thing I never really imagined I would say).

As for faith, I sometimes miss church community. I've actually still been going occasionally. Also, I remain engaged in study of the bible and religion. It's something I'm passionate about. Maybe I will find a home with a local Unitarian congregation.

As I strive to be honest, I will not say that I don't still think about dating a girl. I've still not had an attraction, but the thought still lingers. However, I'm not going to. I've just finally mended my relationships with the girls I hurt in college and there is no reason to create more pain. Plus, there are cute guys I hope to ask out!

The most difficult thing about being gay for me is the perception people will have once they find out. It's even more upsetting now that I'm firmly agnostic. I can't help but think people (especially my conservative Christian friends) will make an immediate judgement that my sin has destroyed my faith. Of course, that's nonsense. I was on fire spiritually after coming out. I felt closer to God and felt I truly understood grace as a direct result of admitting I was attracted to guys. It was only due to my obsessive desire to learn more that the questioning of my faith began. I read and read and read (and am still reading) which led me to discover that all the immutable truths I held so dear were not so true. As I've documented, the discovery was painful and stressful and severely affected my overall mental health.

I'm finally emerging from all of this. Taking things a day at a time. Learning not to be so serious.

As I've matured, so has this blog. Moving forward I'm going to make a conscious effort to improve. I want to write stuff a bit more meaningful. I'll still share my narrative, but hopefully in a way that is useful.

I know a lot of people that read this are conservative Christians: some celibate gay guys, some struggling with their SSA, and others who are in committed relationships. I hope you keep reading even though we don't share as much common ground as before. Thanks for being with me thusfar.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Away We Go

I saw Away We Go tonight. If you have not seen it, you should.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


The past two nights I've had disturbing dreams. In the first I was angry because I had to be somewhere at a specific time and was late. However, nobody else I was with seemed to care. I shouted and shouted but nobody was reacting. I was so angry. I think I woke up angry. It was very odd.

The same thing happened last night. However, this dream was much more violent. I had been shot in the arm by a family member who was not at all concerned because he deemed it God's will. He was so firm in his religious conviction that it did not bother him that he physically harmed me. In this dream I was much angrier than in the prior night's. I wonder if my blood pressure increased while I was asleep. It was alarming to say the least. I generally don't have quite so vivid dreams (at least I don't remember them).

I've nearly finished the His Dark Materials series. The first two books were my favorites. I'm finding myself having trouble making it through the third. Still, I would recommend them.

Enjoy your holiday weekend (for those of you in the States).

Thursday, July 2, 2009


My soul is lifted, my burden light.


Woot woot!

Monday, June 29, 2009


The title of this post reminds me of an excellent Kate Nash song.

As I've pretty thoroughly documented, my views about the universe have drastically altered. This is no an understatement. It's as if my life is a house. I undertook a renovation, building on the foundation and expanding a few things, only to make the horrifying (and costly) discovery that the foundation was bad. The whole house had to come down and a new one built in its place. I'm still under construction and will be for quite some time.

I'm desperately behind on reading (as is always the case), but hope to catch up soon. I'm keeping one whole day wide open this 3 day weekend. It's going to be quite lovely.

Since it's the middle of the year it's time to set my goals for the remainder of 2009.

Personal Goals:
Read More
Cook More
Bake More

Fitness Goals:
Run a 4-miler (or 5K)
Continue exercising 3 times a week
Eat less meat

Financial Goals:
Save 10% of my income
Eliminate the remainder of my debt (CC and Student Loans)

Travel Goals:
Grand Junction
New York City

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I'm tired. My stomach hurts. I'm glad I can make this blog a place for thought provoking analysis of happenings in the universe. Ha.

I am in introvert cleverly disguised as an extrovert (according to a very eerie personality test I took). While I love interacting with people, I very much need personal time. I've got to recharge the batteries to be the bubbly, happy person I am in most of my interactions with humanity. Those two adjectives were used this week to describe me, hence their appearance in this blog.

After coming home from 2 weeks out I always find there is a huge amount of errands and other administrative tasks needing to be attended to. On top of that, work was extraordinarily busy with the wrapping up of a project, exam for a professional certification, and an abundant amount of activities for a charity event. Additionally, I've had a ton of family and friend happenings for which my attendance has been requested/mandated. While I'm quite fortunate to have a full social calendar, I'm tired. Last night I stayed out until 2 a.m. at a disco. Ha! Words cannot adequately describe how out of character this is for me. What's even crazier is how much fun I had! It's the first time I've gone to a bar and not thought everyone there was a sad, broken human being. This was a festive atmosphere where the aim was to have fun and interact (and dance), not get drunk and forget what happened. It was new, refreshing, and something I am definitely game for again.

Summer has struck with a vengeance. I loathe it. It's the worst it's been in a long time (at least that's how it seems) and I check the weather map daily to plot where I should be living. New England, San Francisco, and the Pacific Northwest are the top contenders. I recently uploaded photos to Flickr and thought I had shared the link here. However, it appears I have not. So, for your viewing pleasure check these out:

The link above contains photos from my recent trip. They are all horribly out of order, so please forgive me. Of course, you don't know their out of order, so I should have kept quiet.

In other news, running has been going well. If all goes right (and I stay focused) I'm going to run a 5K and then begin preparation for a half-marathon. Woot woot!

Dearest blog reader, I hope your life is well.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I was having a conversation with a close friend today. We'd just heard about the Dustin Lance Black incident and were curious about the photos. I'm terribly ashamed to say that I went to Perez Hilton's site. Gross, right?

Anyhow, the pictures are not out there. I imagine they've all been taken down and the ones I saw in blogs had been censored. After one attempt to find them I stopped. It was wrong. It was terrible of me to have any interest in them in the first place. Invading someone's privacy to satiate my morbid curiosity is despicable. It's morally wrong. I reached this conclusion with a quick Golden Rule check. If photos of me having sex with my boyfriend had been leaked online, would I want someone looking at them? Hell no.

So, as I continued talking to my friend (via messenger) I noticed he was distracted. I asked if he was still looking for the photos and he said yes. I exploded. I whipped out the soapbox, stood on my moral high ground, and told him off. I was honestly shocked that he was still looking for them. Also, I am certain he will persist in searching for them despite my whole Golden Rule explanation (I quoted Jesus and Rabbi Hillel for Pete's sake!). The fact is, he does not think it's that big a deal. He will rationalize it away as something not that bad because he's not hurting anyone, everyone has already seen them, he's curious, etc.

Now, lest you think I'm blasting my friend I must get to my point. Being the obnoxious, introspective person I am, I examined my own heart. What excuses do I make to rationalize things away? The answer is plenty.

I am in debt. Debt I should not be in. I understand it is bad. I live beyond my means. Everytime I talk about my debt I'm quick to say "it's not that much" or "it's school debt" or "I'm in better financial shape than most of my friends", "my job is secure", "I only graduated a year ago", on and on.

Bullshit. All of it. These are excuses I use to make myself feel better. If I was to honestly confront this debt I would see it was bad and needs to be eliminated. But, being human, my brain rationalizes it away to minimize cognitive dissonance. It keeps me from going insane (which I do appreciate). However, sometimes this natural "failsafe" needs to be overridden so that I can do the right thing.

I do the same kind of rationalization with numerous other things (like exercising, volunteering, eating meat). I take the easy way out more often than not.

What must we do to override the "failsafe" in order to truly do the moral (or in some cases just better) thing?

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I've very been thinking about starting over. Beginning preparations to leave the south. I've called this place home for over a decade, and it's time to go elsewhere. Somewhere where the weather suits my soul.

Whenever I think about moving, fear creeps in. What will I do about money? Well, I intend to be enrolled in graduate school or working for another company in the field I'm currently in. Money is not my biggest concern. Ideally I'll have a few months worth of expenses saved up (I'm not one to make overly rash decisions). The next question is where? I'm thinking New England, Scotland, or out West. I think my big trip for next year will be Scotland. That's where I'm leaning towards journeying right now. I then question why? Am I just wanting to run away? Is this some attempt to find peace and happiness in my surroundings? Well, not really. I've nothing horrible to run from here. I'm in a rather pleasant place (despite how difficult it is to be gay here) and it's extraordinarily comfortable. My biggest concern is failing. I know that's really quite silly. What would I be failing at? Chasing my dreams? Living somewhere new? Having an adventure? None of those things you can really fail at.

I'm pretty content right now. However, I feel a sense that my time here is drawing to an end. The setting of my narrative isn't supposed to be here forever. At least, that's what it feels like.

We will see.


Due to an unexpected change in schedule I am home this weekend! It will allow me to run some errands and catch up with family and friends. I'm quite excited.

This week has been taxing. I've struggled greatly to be patient and for the most part it's worked out okay. I find one of the most helpful things is having someone to vent to. Thankfully I have plenty of flesh and blood friends who listen to my laments. You are spared.

I just wanted to say hello and share some quotes I found in some FB status updates. Haha.

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two". - Nisargadatta Maharaj

"Age doesn't bring wisdom. Sometimes it just comes alone".

The second quote is from my Grandpa's status update. Yes, he is on Facebook. And he's awesome. He just uploaded all his photos from his 50th wedding anniversary trip with my Grandma.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Literal Videos

Well, I'm off for a couple of weeks. Work is taking me away until the 19th, so please enjoy the following until I return:

Literal Music Videos

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Never Gonna Give You Up

Daydream Believer

Great Articles

Office Culture

Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


A coworker of mine who just passed away had had two near death experiences. I was thinking about that recently as I reflected on him and the interaction we had when I used to work with him. He told me that they reminded him to focus on things that "really matter". Oddly enough, I came across this NYT blog today.

This struck me:
"I don’t know why we take our worst moods so much more seriously than our best ones, crediting depression with more clarity than euphoria."
I am extremely guilty of this. When I'm especially giddy or happy I tend to think of myself as being flippant. I need to return to a morose state of being immediately. Being in the latter mood allows me to more realistically understand my life. Ha!

Diverging slightly from the above train of thought, I often feel I can't allow myself to be happy in light of the serious suffering going on in the world. I tell myself that once I pay my penance by giving to the poor and tutoring refugee children I can feel better about having so much.

I want to give freely. I want to love freely. I don't want to do good because I feel guilty. I want to give because I want to give. Still, I don't think I can really say obligation is ever completely factored out. I definitely feel a sense of obligation. Maybe it's a moral one. When I considered myself Christian I would have said it was a Christian obligation to act charitably, but now that I don't consider myself a Christian I am still compelled to charity. In fact, I'm compelled to live for a lot of things (kindness, truthfulness, justice). I hope to follow-up on some of these thoughts later. For now, it's time to get to bed.

On a random note, I finally decided to put up some photos. Many of you have already seen them, but for those who haven't, enjoy them while they last. Note: I think they are backwards and you should start from the last page (The "new" mosque should be first).

Monday, June 1, 2009


So sad:

I'll add some additional commentary later.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I have officially moved out. It was a chore. I never want to do it again. I've told my roommate she can have all of my belongings when I move out. I ain't lugging this crap anywhere else.

That said, the new place is lovely! Photos and or video to come. I know I always promise photos yet never deliver. But I will put some albums up. Eventually...

I have lots of things to talk about! Sadly, I'm bogged down with an insane schedule here. Work is busy (hooray, seriously), social calendar is full, and I head out in the near future for a work trip. I foresee some idle time near the end of the month.

On a somber note, my mentor at work died on Saturday. We worked together for 6 months when I first came onboard. I'd not seen him much lately (I work in a different location now), but we did see each other a couple of months ago at a professional function. I will go to the funeral and it will be my first. It still has not really registered that he will not be coming back.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Marketing

Would anyone really buy this? I wish this was a joke, but it's not.

Note: I'm primarily referring to the bobblehead and action figure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The times they are a changin'...

I'm in the process of moving. I should have much more packed than I currently do. In fact, I have NOTHING packed. I'm quite excited about the new place and have grand plans to make it awesome. My new roommate is great too!

The trip was absolutely incredible. In fact, it was the best trip I have ever taken. It's a bold statement, but true. I'll try to put up a link to some photos in the near future. I should be back to filling your Google Readers with fantabulous life stories in the near future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The month of May is a frenzy of activity. I'm prepping for vacation while simultaneously making arrangements to move. I began by cleaning out my room only to make the horrible realization that I'm a pack rat. It's bad. I've got so much junk around here it's ridiculous.

This week my brother's fiance is in town with her family. I'm going to have dinner with them tomorrow. It should be a good chance to brush up on my Spanish.

This month is bringing a lot of change. Good friends are leaving, old friendships are changing, and new friendships are developing. I guess that's just how things go.

In a few days I leave for vacation. I plan on using this time to do a little introspection, gain a better perspective of my life, and fill a few chinks in my soul. I've got some good books for the flight and am going to be sure to bring a journal.

The thing I love most about traveling (especially when abroad) is the feeling I have of living in the moment. There is nothing I love more than realizing there really is nowhere else in the world I would rather be at a given moment in time. It's a feeling I easily get when climbing the Great Wall or visiting the Equator. It's a bit more elusive when driving to work or doing laundry. Still, there must be a way to appreciate the "now" without doling out a lot of cash.

Lots of things have been on my mind lately so I'm certain to have a flurry of activity when I return. Maybe some photos too!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


As my blog title suggests, prayer has always been an important part of my life. I recall a sermon from some time ago where the pastor mentioned people making major life decisions (like having kids) without praying about it. I was genuinely shocked. Call it naive, but I thought all Christians prayed about big life decisions all the time. I know I prayed countless times everyday. While I've never been a fan of praying out loud I've always been an advocate of silent prayer: being honest with God about what's on your heart.

Now that my "worldview" has changed slightly, the praying I used to do seems meaningless. Saying the blessing over meals was the first to go. From abandoning "saying grace" I moved towards praying less at night. Soon I was skipping some evenings altogether.

Nevertheless, I've been unable to give it up completely. I still pray despite the fact I don't think God's going to intervene in this world and answer my prayers at the expense of others'. To quote the rather blunt bumper sticker: "26,000 people will die of starvation today. Why should God answer YOUR prayer?"

Still, I miss it. I was struck by how much the other day when I found out my mother is having some medical problems. It is nothing life threatening, but it is serious and will require treatment. In the past I would have taken this to God, praying for healing. Not so much now.

I've never (except when very young) thought prayer was all about getting what I want. In fact, many of my prayers were thankful ones. I have a pretty great life. It's extraordinarily comfortable and I'm fortunate enough to be blessed with good health, great family, and a surplus of creature comforts.

It's these prayers of thanks that I think still reveal the power and importance of prayer. To quote Karen Armstrong "prayer helps us chip away our egotism". Heaping endless praise on the Creator of the universe or petitioning God to intervene in our lives when others are suffering more than we can possibly imagine is counterproductive and I daresay silly. However, offering thanks or voicing honest concern for your fellow man in prayer is valuable. For a few moments we honestly focus on somebody besides ourselves. By being completely candid and vulnerable about the good and bad in our lives and by focusing our prayers on others, we can maybe get a better perspective on things, moving past the egotism that so often defines our daily lives.

Just a thought.


So, Amazon generally does a good job recommending products for me to purchase. In fact, sometimes I'm concerned with my privacy and log-out while shopping until I'm ready to purchase. However, this e-mail was very bad. I have no idea what I could have searched for that prompted this:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Body Image

I'm currently listening to all of my Aqualung albums in a row. They've been neglected.

Until halfway through college I was thin. Really, really, thin. You could see my ribs when I took my shirt off and nothing fit me well. I drowned in everything I wore. It was embarrassing. I'm in the reverse situation now. My metabolism has slowed and the fact that I don't walk everywhere anymore has created a weight gain situation. While I am not overweight by any stretch of the imagination, I am definitely soft. Due to a morbid fear of getting fat I am trying to combat the pounds by altering my altering my diet and exercising. Unfortunately my commitment to both of these is not so great. Thankfully a lot of my coworkers and friends are now working out and I will be joining them. I must be committed. I've started by limiting my fried foods to once a week (M-F). Two weeks ago was the pilot phase and I am going to keep on going. I miss french fries and Zaxby's, but it has to be done. I hate people who complain about their situations without doing anything about it, yet I've become one. It's going to end. I don't want to put on a lot of muscle or have huge pecs. I just want to have a toned/tight body and improve my cardio (strokes and heart attacks run in the family).

Now I'm going to go into a rant/soapbox/typical blogger monologue. Feel free to stop reading.

Living in the south I see a lot of overweight people. In my office alone I think there are probably 10 or fewer guys who are their proper weight. That's probably 50% normal weight, 50% overweight or obese. FYI, I'm using the the terms overweight and obese in their medical sense. It's scary.

A few weeks ago a friend told me had a free/discounted gym membership through his employer. I scoffed and thought it was just a ridiculous perk, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it was a great idea. I read an article a couple of years ago about Scotts Miracle-Gro's hyper aggressive plan to control healthcare costs (I really, really recommend you read it). Anyhow, healthcare costs are out of control in this country and one major way to improve this is via improved preventative maintenance. However, it's challenging when you have two powerful currents in modern culture that aren't pushing this message. One states you should get super "fit" and being skinny is the only way to be attractive. The other is telling you to be happy with who you are and that you should accept your body whatever shape it is. Maybe it's time for a different line of thinking that emphasizes health over appearance. Fresh fruit and vegetables should not be stigmatized and should be affordable for everyone. Some of the most obese people I know are also some of the poorest. They just can't afford to eat healthy and it's obscene. I don't know how to fix the situation on a macro level, but I know I can play a small part by taking care of my body.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been reading a lot lately. Not as much I could be, but nevertheless I'm moving along at a decent clip. As I've mentioned before, I've got a rather large glut of books to work through before I purchase anymore. I'm trying to be good and not buy anymore before I finish what I've got (I read 4 then buy 1). Here's the list:

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (finished)
Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
Salt: A World History - Mark Kurlansky
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Fear and Trembling - Sören Kierkegaard
Dark Night of the Soul - St. John of the Cross
The Courage to Be - Paul Tillich
A Mercy - Toni Morrison
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
4:50 From Paddington - Agatha Christie
The Last Word - N.T. Wright
The Language of God - Francis S. Collins
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (I've started this twice before)
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Garbage Land - Elizabeth Royte
Orthodoxy - Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
Nineteen Eighty-four - George Orwell
The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy
The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis

I'm going to be busy for awhile.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Life is good. You never know what it's going to throw at you, but that's the beauty, right? I find being able to take a step back and laugh at all the absurdity helps a lot.

I'm in the midst of reorganizing a few things in my life. I've implemented a new system to provide better transparency with my finances, started auto-saving again, am slowly getting ready for my move, and am going to yoga! My shallow goals are also close to being achieved.

I've got much more to say, but I'm distracted. Something substantial will be here soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm quite exhausted. I had a rather busy week/weekend full of work, adventuring, socializing, and travel. Now I am home with a dirty apartment, broken washing machine, unbalanced checkbook, and more requesting attention. This week will be madness, but I think it's going to be grand.

I had the wonderful pleasure to spend most of the weekend in Seattle. It was quite delightful. I missed the good weather but still thought it was beautiful. David was also awesome enough to show me around and I had a great time.

Earlier in the week I was catching up with a friend via her blog. I had forgotten she had it and it was a pleasant surprise to find she was still writing. She makes it known that she is a fan of whimsy, and I can't help but feel swept up in a sense of magic/excitement when talking with her. Whimsy is something I think I used to have a lot more of. Unfortunately it's lacking now and I need to reclaim it.

Today at the grocery store I was getting some apples when I pulled the wrong one from the stack and 5 or 6 started cascading down. Luckily I managed to catch or divert them all before they hit the ground. The one that escaped my reach ended up falling into my bag! What great luck.

I bought a giant chocolate Easter bunny today. I anticipate it being quite tasty.

I recently discovered I like Swedish pancakes.

I'm moving in 6 weeks and am utterly unprepared.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Best Laid Schemes

You would think I would have learned my lesson. Making plans and thinking I have any control over my life is silly. I've got to learn to live for each day and take opportunities as they arise, instead of thinking I can chart out every detail of the next five years. I can't. Case in point:

I need to get a haircut. I would go next week but I'm going to be traveling (hooray). I made an appointment at 5 today and decided to leave work at 4:30. This is earlier than usual but I had planned on coming in early. Of course, this did not happen. I had a meeting at another location which messed up my morning schedule. However, it was not a big deal and I was still set to leave at 4:30. After a rather productive day I was ready to go when I got stopped by a coworker discussing our upcoming project. I proceeded to talk to him as I continued shutting down and ended up getting out of the office at 4:35. That was fine. I had a couple of extra minutes plus I could be 2-3 minutes late and I was leaving before 5 o'clock traffic. However, the interstate was jammed. It was the most backed up I had ever seen it on a Thursday afternoon (not that I take the interstate very often). It turns out there was an accident! By the time I got off my exit it was already 5. However, I thought I could still make it and sped towards my destination. The key word being sped. Alas, a GINORMOUS speed trap was waiting and I got flagged. I was not going ridiculously over and the officer was nice enough to drop it a 5 over ticket, but it completely destroyed any chance of making my appointment. As I was almost there I got the call that she would have to cancel.

I really was not that upset. Yes it will cost me some money, but it's far from the end of the world. Honestly, it was humorous. As much energy as I put into fretting about things I have no way of controlling, I realize I can't even control small, silly things like getting to the haircut place on time. Oh well.

May I learn to take things a bit more slowly.

Monday, March 30, 2009

On Love and Relationships

I've been thinking about dating a lot lately. While it's been on my mind for awhile, it's come more to the forefront lately. I generally just run a lot of hypothetical scenarios in my mind about what dating would be like. In someways I think it's good I've not been in any serious relationships. I know I'm a lot more mature than I used to be and the relationships I have been in weren't based on a whole lot of honesty.

I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago. He'd been wanting a girlfriend for quite some time and now that he is in college he finally got one. It was not everything he had hoped it would be and he missed being single. I'm sure this was a gradual realization, but nevertheless, one he had. A couple of days ago they broke up. That anecdote is somewhat irrelevant, but does support the old cliche "be careful what you wish for".

In another conversation with a different friend, we talked about a guy who I am interested in getting to know better. I am very, very quick to write guys off. However, this one had potential and I was/am making an effort to get to know him better. The thing is, he's leaving in a few months for up to a year. I seriously doubt we could get to know each other well enough before he leaves, but it could still be worth a shot. My friend said something to the effect of well, "maybe you'll get some making out out of it". While I should not have been shocked considering the source (this friend and I seem to inhabit different realities) I was still taken aback. Would anyone really date for the sole purpose of making out a few times?

These two conversations in conjunction with several others made me start to ponder what I think about love and relationships. On my worst days I think love is an illusion and that people who say they are in love are caught in a never ending delusion. On my best days I think it really is possible to love someone til' death do you part.

I've been criticized for not dating enough. "You're not picking out china, just getting coffee", I've heard on several occasions when I vocalize my hesitancy to date. The thing is that I have plenty of people to have coffee with and have never really subscribed to the idea of dating to find someone. It's been my experience that friendships that turn into something more are the best. This does require me to have more gay friends, but I just don't like gay guys all that much. The majority of the ones I know I don't have a lot in common with.

The idea of being with your best friend appeals to me. A lot of my friends say "I'm marrying my best friend" but it makes me wonder what happened to the old best friends? I know I've been hurt by people close to me that have cut me out of their lives when they met "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right". I refuse to do that to my friends.

The love I'm looking for has to exist. It's not caught up in false romantic notions that can't last (though I do like a little romance, hypothetically), nor is it all about the physical relationship (though physical attraction is a component). I suppose what I'm looking for is someone to merge narratives with. Someone to "do life" with. We will love deeply and hopefully bring out the best in each other. I want to be challenged to be fully alive and I want someone I can challenge to become a better person.

Maybe I'm hoping for too much, maybe not.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of me telling my parents I'm gay. So much has changed since this time last year. Maybe that will be the theme of an upcoming post. Of course, you can simply see my changes by reading the archives of this blog. However, due to my prodigious posting an executive summary may be more helpful for new readers.

To mark the occasion of coming out I'm going to share the letter I composed to assist me in telling my parents:

Dear Dad, Mom, y Hermano:

I am writing this letter to express what is on my heart, and what I feel compelled to share with you. Some of this may be a repeat of things we have discussed, some may not. My goal is to help you understand my feelings.

I am not attracted to women. In fact, I am attracted to men. I am hesitant to use the term "gay", because I am not fond of the Judy Garland, Rainbow, and Gay Pride connotation this brings up. However, I will go ahead and use it in this letter.

I understand this may come as a shock. I do not know if you already knew, suspected, or thought maybe I was just confused. The truth is without a doubt that I am homosexual. Since you know how much I love plans and organization, I am going to break this letter into several parts. Please understand that this letter was not composed in a fit of passion, or that I don't know what I am talking about.

Did We Do Something Wrong?
No, absolutely not. This has been one of my biggest fears in coming out to you, the fear that you would hold yourselves responsible. There is absolutely NOTHING that you have done or have not done that has made me this way. You have been the best parents/family I could have ever imagined. I will love you no matter what, and I would never trade you for anyone else in the world.

Why Now?
I almost came out two years ago, but I did not feel it was the right time. However, a recent series of events has convinced me that now is the time. You have certainly noticed the growing chasm between us. The closeness we used to share has withered. When I am with you I am constantly stressed and frazzled and distant. Maybe you have not noticed this, but I doubt my acting is that good. If you have not noticed this, I have found my calling as an actor. Here I come Hollywood!

Have You Tried Not Being Gay?
This is what I have been doing for the past 8+ years of my life. I have broken up with several girls because I was not attracted to them physically. Still, the dream of loving a girl and having the perfect life has been so alluring that I have been unbelievably close to settling down with a girl. We were going to have a combined income of $80,000 (right out of college!); a beautiful bungalow in midtown; beautiful, intelligent children; petty arguments over taking out the trash or what to have for dinner; and church home-group hosted at our house. All of this I wanted and have been trying to pursue. However, this is all a sham. It would be a house of cards that could not last. In my heart of hearts I know that my homosexuality could not coexist with a happy marriage to a woman. Still, the desire to have this is incredibly strong. However, I know that I cannot give into my selfishness and steal someone's heart for my own desires. I also know that settling down and getting married will not make me straight. As a last resort, I even thought about finding a nice lesbian to set up a home with (I am only half joking). Besides just willing myself to be straight, I have prayed and cried out to God. I have prayed non-stop for over 8 years. I have felt that homosexuality is some "disease" that I have to get rid of. It is a battle raging in my soul and I must not be a good enough Christian. I felt that if I just worshiped a little harder, prayed more for healing, read the bible more, bought more Christian literature, joined the right church, I would break free of these feelings and God would restore me. I have been through depression, anger, tears, and a time when I was tired of living. I never became suicidal, but I was desperately close to the edge. This has challenged my faith like nothing ever has. In fact, I stopped going to church for awhile and almost abandoned my belief in God. There was also a brief time when I attempted to live apart from Him. These two instances were failures and I was mercifully called back. This leads to a nice segue into the next section:

How Does This Work With Your Christianity?
For so long I have felt that Christianity and homosexuality were mutually exclusive. This has been the main source of pain in my life. I have felt that this sin is greater than all others and there was something fundamentally wrong. Therefore, I must repress all of these feelings in order to be worthy of God's love. Until very recently, I did not understand that God's love was truly unconditional. I felt there were conditions, and that I was fortunate enough to meet them all. I did not need the grace and mercy of God. I was caring, compassionate, giving, smart, blessed, and "humble". How wrong I have been! Coming to the realization that I am not "holier than thou" has been dramatic. Pride is above all else the biggest sin I struggle with. My arrogance and pride have left me hard-hearted and numb. I will now strive for true humility. Of course, it will obviously be a daily struggle, but Christianity is not easy. I want to bear good fruit and feel I can do so, even as a homosexual. I want to obey the greatest of all commandments "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, also love your neighbor as yourself' (paraphrased). Unfortunately, I have been paralyzed in my current state and unable to do either. I have been so busy obsessed with my sexuality that it has become an enormous idol in my life. This has left no room for honoring God. Additionally, my own self-hatred has destroyed the love I should be able to share with others. Now I can strive to be authentic with the Lord, understanding His Grace and beginning to love myself, leading to an ability to love others.

Are You Seeing Someone?
No, I am not seeing anyone. I am not going to be ready to see someone for awhile. Consuming myself with the hunt for a perfect mate will only work to derail God's plan for my life. It will become another idol blocking me from His love. Also, there is a chance that I won't find anyone. I am not going to compromise my morals. I still believe in remaining abstinent until marriage and I will not enter into a relationship with someone who is not Christ focused. Still, do not fear that I will be living a life of isolation and misery. That is actually the life I have been leading until now. Now I plan to progress into a life filled with honesty and Christian love. Also, do not give up the hope of Grandchildren. I really want to have a daughter even cuter than Julia, and a son named Ephraim. Of course, no matter how hard it is for the flesh to acknowledge, let the Lord's and not my will be done in this life. That said, I do not know what that plan for me includes.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Great Question! I understand this will take some time to process. Understand that what has taken me 8+ years to process, I do not expect you to come to terms with immediately. Understand that I love you no matter what your reaction and that you have a standing invitation back into my life. This time, my real life. Understand that I am not expecting an endorsement of homosexual behavior, or a rainbow bumper sticker placed on the Corolla. I am open to your prayers and conversations, whatever they may be. I am just as interested as you are to discuss this on a theological level. I am not looking for judgement, in either direction, but I do value candid, honest conversation. I respect you all and your viewpoints.

Remember, I am not your gay son Joseph. I am your son Joseph, who happens to be gay. This is a small part of the whole person I am...well, the whole person I hope to become as I continue to forgive myself. I still love Stargate and cookies, shopping and movies, Alias and our Sunday afternoon lunches.

I know that God loves me and that I will still be able to further his Kingdom. My priority is to live a Christ-centered Life. I live and I breathe for an audience of One. I love you all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The wrong Tigers won tonight. I'm crying a little on the inside. Despite how much I rail against sports and the time people waste getting involved, I can't help but be sad. I wanted to go all the way. My poor dreams. My poor bracket. Maybe next year.


I finally finished BSG. It was brilliant. I love the score.

Today I was annoyed at work. I was learning something new and had a hard time focusing. Learning curves are not my favorite. It's all good though. I hate complaining about work, especially since I really like my job. Also, I feel a bit whiny complaining about my job when so many other people are unemployed.

A reporter from the NY Times called me. Unfortunately my story is obscenely boring and I will not be in the paper.

I'm going to Washington (the state). I'm quite excited as I've never been there. I even get a day to explore Seattle!

This is once again a silly post. Soon I may start posting pictures of my pets.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, I'm back from my brief vacation. I will be in town for two more weeks before taking a rather exciting trip for work. While away I got a call from a coworker and it appears we are going to be safe from job cuts. It's still sad that others may lose their jobs. Time will tell.

I've pretty much concluded that my Grandparents are some of the coolest people on the planet. The dynamics of our relationship have changed which is good. I appreciate them more now. They're not just the people that give me treats when I visit and send birthday money. We had some very candid conversations about many taboo topics: money and religion primarily. They have some interesting things to say.

I have firmly decided that Houston is not in the running for a future home. It's too hot and too sprawling. Plus, everything appears faded by the sun. It's as if it burns the very essence out of things. All that is left is a faded shell. I don't want that to happen to me.

I've been mulling some things over and should start posting things more substantial than the self-absorbed posts of late. Of course, this is my blog and I'm allowed to be as self-centered as I want.


Oh yeah, I am now a fan of Lisa Hannigan (thanks Stephen Colbert) and IKEA. Just FYI.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I had a really great weekend and felt like sharing.

Friday night I played Risk with my roommate and a few friends. I was defeated, but my empire lasted for awhile. Saturday I lounged around the house and did some cleaning. Saturday night I went to a St. Patrick's Day party that turned out to be pretty fun (I was wary at first). Today I got up and went to church. I planned on skipping but really wanted to go. It turned out to be one of the best sermons I've ever heard. This afternoon I hung out with my parents and went to a baby shower for a friend. Tonight I ran and cooked dinner. I'm beat, but content.

In other news, I've decided it's time to finally get control of all of my digital media. I need to organize all my photos and get my Flicker albums up. I'm attempting to eventually ween myself off Facebook.

Besides Houston, some other very exciting travel plans have come up through work. I will be sure to mention them once they're confirmed. Also, this week should be the last I have to get through before I find out if I will be losing my job. If I do, I've got no clue what I will do, but I'm certain I can manage. Health insurance is my only worry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've been having unusually vivid dreams lately. Last night I dreamed I found a wallet of a women who had been abducted and/or murdered. It had her credit cards, license, ID, etc., all bundled together with a rubber band. The most disturbing thing about the dream was that in it I was thinking about how I would blog about it! I was actually composing the blog entry in my head, in the dream. It was crazy. Maybe I need to take a break from this.

In other "news", the gym shorts that I have been wearing for the past 8 years as pajamas are being retired. They have loosened to the point they are too big to wear. I bought some new ones at Target but they are not the same.

I am trudging through a book that is mediocre, but I really just want to stop reading it. However, I've committed and am determined to finish it.

We had a 30+ degree drop in temperature compared to yesterday. It was 78 and now we are under a winter storm watch. It is utterly insane.

Next week I am headed to Texas to visit my grandparents! I'm very excited. They live outside Houston. Hooray for vacation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Faith

A question I've been pondering as I take the time to search my heart is "why?" Why do I act the way I do, say the things I say, believe the things I believe? What are my motivations?

As I grapple with questions of "faith" (such an obtuse word, isn't it?) I wonder what's the point. Why am I so obsessed with finding answers and what does it mean for me?

Last December I went to Downtown Disney with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin (three years old), and my Aunt's mother. Downtown Disney is a rather amazing tribute to materialism. It's a family friendly (with the exception of a few bars/clubs) destination where you can eat, shop, and be entertained. They even have a theatre featuring Cirque Du Soleil. Full disclosure: I love malls and shopping. I don't think this fact has been hidden on this blog. Downtown Disney was great!

Anyhow, the parking lots were PACKED. We drove and drove searching for an empty spot. My Aunt's mother said a prayer for us to find a spot and lo' and behold we found one. She told my cousin (her granddaughter) to observe how Jesus was listening.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. REALLY? Jesus is helping find a f*ing parking space so we can spend money on things we don't need, made by people who are probably living in squalor? This is God's will? Faith is about finding a parking space in a crowded mall? I was so horribly distraught and this experience has been haunting me ever since.

Faith has got to be about love, nothing else. Our ultimate concern must be love. Unfiltered, unconditional love. I think that's what Christianity was/is about. That's a Christianity I love and the reason I can't seem to tear myself away from it.

However, I think we have so corrupted this love. Loving people for no reason/reward is hogwash! We all know that. We must add in heaven and hell. We have to serve God and love people so that we will go to heaven (works based), or grace alone must provide our personal salvation. Of course, we know heaven is waiting for us. When we get there it will be so fantastic to peer over the guard rails and see all those heathens and sinners roasting below, that will show them!

What happened to unconditional love? What happened to goodness for goodness sake? How has morality become so corrupted and religion transformed into personal piety instead of saving a dying world?

Let me perfectly clear. I love religion. I honestly do. Also, I must be very clear in stating the faith that I had (and still have) is all about love. While I did for many years also believe that God would take away my sexual attraction to guys, that was not what my faith was primarily about. Spreading God's love and transforming the world was/is my passion. Unfortunately, through my studies of Christianity I reached the conclusion that I was not really a Christian. A Christian must be someone who believes in a literal resurrection, atonement, and a deity who is actively working in the world. This has caused my loss of "faith".

I no longer believe in a God who is intervening in my daily activities. This loss has been traumatic. For now I believe in agape love, which takes faith. It's not the same as saying life is meaningless. I don't think it is, I just think you have to find meaning. Everything is not vanity, as it may feel and seem at times. Our only options are not suicide or getting high to overcome our existential dilemma. I think you can lead a faithful life. I think you can commit to change. I think you can commit to love.

No, it's not easy, no it's not convenient. Yes, it feels stupid sometimes. You feel like a sucker. You think: "Why the hell am I trying to love these ungrateful idiots? What's the point? I should just go shopping, maybe get some ice cream. I'm sure these people will work things out for themselves."

When I talk about Jesus and God I realize that everyone comes with their own preconceived notions and beliefs. When I mention God and Jesus we probably are talking about entirely different concepts. There is the temptation to say that I have fallen away from Christ and am just recreating him to make him more palatable. "He comes with a sword! He is coming again to restore order. He wants you to repent and come to Him." My question is, what then? You keep him close and pray for parking spots? You wait for the the end days with your RSVP for Heaven? Surely faith requires more than this. Surely it means doing something. Surely Jesus is a call to action, not a source of guilt and in the same token a way to assuage it.

My father told me and my brother that "we lived in a haze". It was when I was in high school and I was incensed! "Live in a haze? I know a lot! I am in the Top 10 of my class! I've read a ton of the classics, I know Calculus, I am so wordly". Only now do I understand his words and realize how much of a haze I live in. How carefully I've crafted this world of illusion around me.

At times I have been driven to the brink. I obsess about the meaning of life and the reality that I won't (and may never) understand. I become overly melancholy until I snap out of it and realize how absolutely selfish and idiotic I am. PEOPLE ARE DYING. PEOPLE ARE STARVING. RIGHT NOW! Here I am, so self-absorbed in my cozy apartment with my HD satellite, iMac, car, corporate job, organic fruit, iPod, cell phone, 40'' tv, and $200 peacoat, WHINING! How do I look myself in the mirror?

And yet, here I am blogging. Talking instead of doing. When I do put love in action it's at a slower pace than I want it to be. I feel like I should be saving the world and should see the fruits of my labor immediately. Unfortunately that's not the way it works. It takes patience and small steps.

I pray for the courage to defy tradition and the backwards ambition of the world. Let me get over my own ego enough to be radical. To change. To continue to be moved to action. Amen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


A couple of announcements:
  • I've been editing my links a bit. If you have been added and would like me to remove you please leave me a comment letting me know. I will not take it personally.
  • The Fiction Family cd is pretty great. It's really been growing on me and I suggest you Google them.
  • Being away for two weeks means you have a lot of trivial little things to catch up on that end up taking a lot of time

As you know, I am a recovering "stuffaholic". I still struggle with the insane idea that things will bring me happiness and am constantly working to cut back on my consumption. I'm doing better, but there is always room to improve.

I've discovered that a part of my problem is a concern that I won't have enough. The other night I went to the movies and decided to get popcorn. Before heading to the concession stand I told myself that I would buy a small Cherry Coke and small popcorn. That's all. It would be a sufficient and responsible quantity. I'm pretty sure I have never finished an entire large bucket of popcorn and knew this night would not be an exception. The large popcorn is simply too much. However, as I approached the line I was overcome by irrational thoughts:

"It's only .75 cents more!"
"Look at how much popcorn there is!"
"Steven may want some." (As if Steven could really eat half the bucket).

I caved. I bought the big popcorn. Why? I think the reason was I thought it was a good deal and I wanted to make sure I had enough. Of course, it is not a good deal when it's unnecessary, when it's extra, when you can't consume it. I ended up bringing the leftover popcorn home and it spilled all over my back seat. Additionally, I think I cracked a tooth on a kernel when I ate some later on at the apartment. In conclusion, this gluttony and irrational concern of not having enough caused me to vacuum out my car and go to the dentist.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Buried Hatchets

I apologize if this appears to be a repeat in your Google reader. It kind of is. I had to make some edits.

This afternoon I got to spend time with a girl I care about a lot. She is someone I hurt as I came to terms with my sexuality last year. I feared it would be awkward and painful. It was not. It was actually quite pleasant and there was a sense of peace about our relationship. What a pleasant surprise when something you think is going to be terrible turns out the opposite.

We had a freak snow storm here. I ended up being trapped at my friend's house after unsuccessfully trying to drive home last night.

As the temperature warms up I have decided that running is going to be my exercise of choice. Wish me luck.

Saturday night I played my first drinking game. I had a negative attitude about it at first, but it ended up being really fun. As I don't really like alcohol, Sprite and Coke were my two primary drinks. Therefore, I do declare that drinking games can be fun even when completely sober. It was a shock to me.


So, the snow storm ended up trapping my friend here. She stayed at my apartment where we watched The Last Mimzy and talked. It was a great conversation. Lots of serious things but lots of laughter too. It was just fantastic all around.

Also, last night I saw the The Watchmen. It was good, but I have not read the graphic novel so had nothing to compare it to.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


I've got two things I really want to talk about, but I am taking my time. Therefore, don't expect anything especially deep from this site anytime soon. Of course, by "deep" I mean teen-angsty.

Life here continues. I'm still working on getting my debts paid off, but I feel bad because I am one of those Americans cutting back on spending when what the economy really needs is spending. Therefore, I am also making an effort to spend on frivolous things and entertainment.

I went to another UU church a couple of weeks ago. It was okay, but I don't think I will be back. Why I suppose I'm pretty liberal, I'm not that liberal. Hahaha.

The change in weather has allowed my to run a couple of times. Additionally, I played Wii Fit at my parent's house. It said I was 33. I was very much hurt considering I am 22. Boo that.

I'll be away for a couple of weeks on business raking in the Hhonors points (and working). I may get to go hiking though I don't really want to do it alone. I have not been hiking in about 10 years (except for "hiking" I've done abroad) but I asuume I still love it. Chances are I will end up driving around taking pictures and exploring some of the small towns instead.

I don't know why I am being cryptic about where I am going. This blog is not really that anonymous anymore.

Anyhow, the world keeps spinning. I keep growing (however painful it is). Goals keep getting set and met. And the quest to love continues.

I hope life is good for you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Every now and then I get a crazy idea. After a conversation with a friend earlier this week I briefly considered becoming a vegetarian. Then I remembered that lunch meat and Chick-Fil-A compose approximately 60% of my diet. Oh well. Maybe I will strive for vegetarian Tuesdays or something.

A few weeks ago I thought I should train for a half-marathon. After getting up fairly early (for a Saturday) and nearly killing myself on a pathetically short run, I realized the insanity of this idea. I've also been trying to cut out carbs. Unfortunately my love of waffle fries and Sunkist thwarts me.

What's a boy to do?

Well, I actually am not going hide behind excuses. I am going to start exercising more and eating healthier. I am not going to buy into the either-or fallacy. Either I become a vegetarian or I am unhealthy. Either I run a marathon or sit on my butt getting fat. A move towards moderation is in order.

In other news, I was supposed to post a video of the image stabilization feature in the new iMovie 09. Sadly, my video clip was too wobbly! It could not be stabilized. I will say the new iMovie is VASTLY improved. It's a lot more intuitive.

Have an amazing weekend.

Oh, and go see Coraline in 3D. It's fantastic.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I was going to take the time to make an announcement about another hiatus. Then I realized that I have an audience of approximately 5, so that would just be silly. Also, I am not really going on another hiatus. I'm simply reducing the volume of my posting.

This weekend I am going to join a gym. After having my old pastor's wife complement my appearance and then add "you look live you've been feeding yourself well" in addition to not being to wear a tie due to the fact my neck has outgrown my dress shirts, I have got to start working out. The situation will become increasingly dire if I continue to ignore it.

Life here has been increasingly busy. This month I will be on the road quite a bit so I'm attempting to get my stuff in order before my departure.

That said, there are e-mails to respond to, letters to write, packages to send, errands to run, people to meet, clothes to buy, and many loose ends to wrap up before I leave.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


During a brief chat with a friend, I realized that I may be giving the wrong impression about how I got to where I am, and what exactly I believe. In this conversation my friend stated that he didn't know why by beliefs seemed to falter, to paraphrase, he could only see that I had become fed up with how other Christians acted. This, I know, is not an adequate reason for me to have a change in faith.

So here goes:

Reconciling Christianity and homosexuality became a major issue for me last spring. I could not stop reading about it. I read all sorts of books both Side A and Side B. I found the former quite wacky and the latter unsatisfying as well. I knew I must make a choice and that ultimately I could not find the answer in a book. For clarification, I do not think being attracted to guys is a sin and I do not think that sex within the context of committed, long-term relationships is immoral. Anyhow, what reading these books taught me is how little I knew about Christianity, church history, or the bible itself. It also opened up a whole new world of historical/critical analysis when it comes to the bible.

From this I started exploring my faith. Websites, books, DVD's, and the bible itself served as guides. I began really, really investigating. I had so many questions and doubts that had to be addressed. Never did I think I would move from my moderate faith to being somewhat godless.

Until last year I was ignorant. Absolutely ignorant. I didn't even know what words like eschatology, apologetics, Arminianism, or Calvinism meant. While my faith before had been about serving God I suppose I had always shied away from getting caught up in all the "religious" aspects of it. I was content with silently disagreeing or questioning without really pushing. For instance, I always had a problem with how the three major religions diverged after the OT. I was also a bit wary of some of the things in the New Testament like atonement. Also, I had a hard time feeling sadness for the crucifixion of Jesus if it was all God's divine plan anyway. However, I would suppress these doubts and work on other aspects of my faith, like loving more.

Unfortunately, I think after reading Religious Literacy, I could not stop trying to be religiously literate. I read and read (and am still reading). Figures like the early martyrs, Origen, Augustine, Calvin, Wesley, Luther, Paul, Josephus, and Tillich were all introduced to me. Before, I had a very light understanding of who these men and women were. In fact, I am still researching and reading the writings of many of them.

While I will admit the deterioration of my former faith was quicker than I had anticipated, the roads became closed off to me and there was no going back.

All this said, I by no means think that "I'm enlightened and loving, and people who adhere to doctrines are not" as it appears I may have presented myself.

What I am is seeking. I am a finite human trying to wrestle with big questions (like the meaning of life). Most of my friends are Christian, my family is Christian, the majority of my coworkers are Christian. I don't look down on them and judge them. Most people don't ever have any external force push them into critically evaluating their beliefs. Also, I don't think that they are all in bondage to religion and serving God solely to avoid eternal torment. That would be naive and arrogant.

That said, I must be vocal about things that are dead wrong. Calvinism and rapture "theology" are my two primary pet peeves. I suppose you can believe in Calvin's god, but to quote a friend, he is a monster. Any God that creates a being, against its will, and then banishes it to eternal hell is not loving. You can't give the cop-out answer of "we just don't understand" or the bullshit response of Eve eating a piece of fruit. These are intellectually and morally bankrupt. As far as the rapture, I don't know what's going to happen in the "end times", or after I die. I do know that Left Behind is NOT the way it will go down and there will not be some antichrist leading the nations.

Now, I absolutely hate it when people define themselves by what they don't like, don't believe, don't do, etc. I refuse to be one of those people. This means that my search will continue. While I may not find some new label, I do hope to find a faith I can share. Something that gives my life meaning, solves my existential crisis, and causes me to grow into a better, more mature, and more loving human being.

So, I am essentially starting from scratch. Moving from my inadequate theism, through this dark night of the soul, towards a destination currently unknown. I'm a ship that has left the harbor towards some distant port that may or may not exist. But it's all in the journey anyway, right?