Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Coming Out Story

Today is National Coming Out day, I have shared my coming out story on this blog before but it seemed appropriate to share it again on this special day.

Growing up I knew I liked boys more then girls but being a kid, boys often like boys and hate girls, so this felt "normal".

My first memory of actually liking a boy was when I was in the fourth grade. I can remember falling for this Spanish boy who use to call me his "little Bambino". I really didn't think anything of it as I was still of the age on not liking girls. I was raised in a world where a man married a woman. I had known only one gay man from my childhood who worked at a local liquor store. But I really didn't know or understand what "being gay" really meant. I remember one day a friend of mine told me that this man liked other men and looking back I think I always knew that and it might be the reason why I spent so much time there with him.

In the sixth grade I found myself playing on the gymnastic bars with the girls more then playing football with the boys. Also in sixth grade I had my first crush on a teacher... Mr. Anderson (he was my first male teacher). By the time I entered Junior High School I knew I was different, but I didn't allow myself to feel those feelings or at least express them. I remember looking a bit to long at the other guys in the changing room during P.E.

I was raised in the 70's and 80's and what I saw of "being gay" was very negative stereotypes, promiscuous, feminine, flamboyant and dying from AIDS. So I pushed my feelings deep down and got on with my life, hoping to forget about them... but of course I would never truly forget. I pretended to like girls and went on a few dates in high school but those girls always put me in the "friendzone" and I was fine with that. I remember people often asking me about a "girlfriend" and when I was going to get one, but my standard reply to that was "I'm focusing on schooling right now, but if someone came along..." I used that excuse all through high school and collage.

I fought with depression as most kids do during their teenage years, but mine had this extra layer of loneliness and confusion. I never considered suicide, or hurting myself. From the outside you would think I was just an extremely shy and socially awkward kid (and I was). I had very few friends and even among them I always felt like I was an outsider.

From age 16 on, all I've ever wanted was to be married and with kids. My goal then was to be married by 20 and have my first child by 25 and second by 27 and possibly a third by 30. I remember every year I would tell myself.. this is the year that I will find a girlfriend, I will fall in love and she will be the one. And every year I was disappointed with myself for not finding "the one". But the next year I would make the same goal.. to find the perfect woman for me and again I would fail. This was hard on me, I didn't know what was wrong with me, why I wasn't able to find that "perfect one". I would fall into some really deep depressions of loneliness. Of course I would put on a brave face for the public and my family but inside I was devastated and lost. I remember crying at night, praying to whatever god there was that I would find some one to love, to care for and to be with for the rest of my life.

My early 20's were tough, I was embarrassed by the fact that I had never had a girlfriend or been with a woman. I would lie or not bring up the topic when I was asked. I convinced myself that I was bi-sexual, I watched "straight" porn in my later teens and early 20's and enjoyed both sexes. But deep down I didn't know if I was pretending to like girls, because liking women is what I was suppose to be doing, that was "normal". It was a very confusing time.

By my mid 20's I was tired of hiding who I really was, honestly I was tired a long time ago but I finally was brave enough to admit it to myself. At 25 I graduated collage and was working in Hollywood in the Entertainment Industry. The entertainment industry tends to draw a large gay community so I was working with and being friends with several gay people, this was the first time I was interacting with other gay people since the gentleman at the liquor store when I was very young. I was starting to get very comfortable with the idea of being gay. But everyday was a struggle, do I finally come out and accept who I am but in turn live a life that will expose me to hatred and prejudices or stay in the closet and be what society sees as "normal"?

My life changed forever at age 27. I spent two years working in Hollywood I was on the verge of finally coming out but what really pushed me over the edge... well there are two things. First I saw the movie In and Out with Kevin Kline and it really hit home for me. If you've never seen it, it's about a man in his 40's so deep in the closet and he's about to get married until another man comes into his life and helps him understand who he really is. That was going to be, I knew that if I didn't come out that I would probably marry a woman and have kids, then later in life realize how unhappy I was and either divorce or cheat on my wife with a man. I didn't want that to happen.

The second factor was that I met someone online. Back in the day the internet was just starting up and I use to frequent yahoo chat rooms. They had a Star Trek one that I would visit often. I started up a conversation with this guy named Mat. We hit off, we would chat for hours and soon our online chats moved to phone chats. A few months into our friendship he came out to me and told me he was gay. By this time I already knew this and felt a very strong connection with him. I in turn told him that I was bi and really liked him. He asked if he could come down and visit me, he lived in Canada. I was overjoyed, this was the one, the person I have been waiting for all my entire life. There was just one problem.. I was still deep in the closet. Mat was coming down in a few weeks and was going to be staying with me for a few weeks. This was the time I had to come out, this finally pushed me to the point of no return.

I remember the fear that was building up. All I kept asking myself is what would my friends and family say. Would they accept me or reject me. What would my life be like if I lived the life of a gay man. So many questions but one thing was for certain, the door to my closet was starting to open.

One night talking to Mat I blurted out that I was gay. It was the first time I had ever said it out loud and to someone. Of course he was thrilled which actually gave me a boost of confidence. That was it, one person down.. the ball was rolling. The next day I was talking to my best girl friend at the time Renee, we were making plans to see a movie later that night. I remember telling her that I had some big news but I wanted to tell her in person. I remember getting off the phone and the panic setting in.. this was it.. there was no turning back now. I picked her up and the car ride to the theater was quiet, we chit chatted but I was slowly building up the nerve to tell her. We parked and were walking to the theater when she asked, "So what's this big news" we stopped and for an agonizing few seconds I looked up at her and took a deep breath and said "I'm gay".

It's only two little words but man what an impact they have. She stared at me for a moment and then a huge smile came across her face and she embraced me. I can't describe what I was feeling.. it was a combination of relief, panic, nausea, joy, love and acceptance all rolled into one. She said she was so happy for me. I told her about Mat and how I was in love and showed her a picture of him.

It hard to describe how I felt after coming out, it was a huge weight lifted off my chest. For the first time in my life I felt like I was me. So at the age of 27 on the verge of 28 I was finally out and ready to start living my life... btw the Mat thing didn't work out but I will always be very thankful for his part in my coming out story.

The next big hurdle was telling my family. That didn't happen until I was 31. I was out now for three years and been in several relationships. But of course now that I was out and living the gay lifestyle my family never asked me how my love life was going or if I meet any nice girls like they did for so many years. I couldn't take that next step and just tell them. I didn't want to come out close to a holiday because if things went bad I didn't want that holiday to be associated with it. Finally one day I was going to have lunch with my mom and like with Renee, I told her over the phone that I had some big news to tell her.

Again like with Renee, we didn't talk much in the car when I picked her up. We got to the restaurant, ordered food and sat down when my mom asked "So what is this big news?" By this time I had been out for years and have had several boyfriends so it wasn't as hard saying the words but in a way it was harder as this was my family. I chose my mom to come out to first as I figured she'd be the one that would be okay with it the most. So I said those "oh so hard to say two words" .. "I'm Gay". She asked if I was sure and that it's not a phase, she then went on saying it must be her fault as she babied me to much. I assured her that it wasn't a phase and that nurturing had nothing to do with it... I was born this way.

She asked if she could tell other family members like her sisters (my aunts) and mom (grand mother) and I told her she could but not to tell dad, that I wanted to tell dad personally. My brother already kind of knew so I didn't see the need to tell him personally. I remember getting a call from my brother not to long after I told my mom and he said.. "so you're gay... cool". And that was about it from him.. he treats me no differently. I told my mom I was going to tell dad the next weekend and my mom said something like.. "oh I don't know how he is going to take it". This actually scared me from telling him for another nine months.

Finally while visiting him one Sunday we were in the kitchen washing and drying dishes and I was agonizing over telling him for months now and it just came out. "Dad I'm Gay". I held my breath and waited for a sharp reply but nothing happened. He looked at me and said "Okay". I said "Okay?" He said "You're still my son and I love you no matter what." I was shocked and surprised. I had built up this fear of what would happen when I told him and he actually took it better then anyone else that I had told.

So at age 32 I was out of the closet to everyone and having fun. I have had some bad experience and prejudices but living in Southern California and in the Los Angeles area is probably one of the best places to live and be a gay man. It hasn't always been easy but I can honestly say, at age 46 I have never been as happy as I am now. The past 18 years have had there ups and down but I'm living the life that I was meant to live and loving every minute of it. 
 
So if your struggling with coming out... take it from me. It's the best decision you'll ever make.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - My Thoughts

I was super excited to see this movie as I love fantasy and have enjoyed Tim Burton films in the past. I went with friends Lauren and Caryn to the Sherman Oaks Arclight. One of the many things I love about the Arclight besides assigned seating are the props they usually have for big movies. They had several for this film and they were pretty fantastic, especially the lead shoes.

Anyways if you've never heard of this movie here's some background info. When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers - and their terrifying enemies. Ultimately, Jake discovers that only his own special peculiarity can save his new friends. Based on the novel "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children," written by Ransom Riggs.

I have not read the book so I only knew of the movie from what I saw in the trailers. My overall thoughts on this movie is that it was extremely fun and entertaining. It's moves at a fairly slow pace but that wasn't a bad thing. The interesting story unfolds in front of you and though this movie is 2 plus hours long it never dragged for me. The last third of this movie is where the action happens and it's pretty great. The special effects are pretty good, some of the CGI was a bit wonky but I'm very forgiving with that kind of stuff. The acting was good and though they didn't delve to deeply into the backstories of these characters we got enough to enjoy the story. Speaking of story I really enjoyed it, time travel type stuff can always get a little crazy but I think they did a pretty good job explaining everything. The overall look of the film was definitely Burton, I thought some of the music felt out of place but overall I loved the soundtrack. And I just want to note that Samuel L. Jackson (who's the bad guy) looked like he was having a blast in this role.

I'd give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children a solid B+

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dating Woes

I haven't really dated since I broke up with Harry back in January of 2011.. wow that's over five years ago. It's not from a lack of trying, I don't go out to bars so I rely heavily on online dating sites. I've joined several sites over the years but I'm just not getting that many responses and the few that I do they just aren't a good fit for me. I don't think I'm being too picky but after my long term relationship with Harry I do know what I want in a life partner and I'm not willing to compromise (on the big things at least). I've only gone out on one date in five years and it was okay but didn't lead to another one. I'm definitely not aggressive with it comes to dating. I did Tinder for a while and at the beginning I got about 20 matches right off the bat but come to find out that gay men don't like to start conversations and those that did we'd talk for a few days and then nothing.

I haven't had any friends try and set me up with their friends, which I find odd since my friends tell me what a great catch I would be, but maybe they are just being nice. But I do think I'm a pretty good guy, definitely sweet, loyal, hopeless romantic, loving, caring and likable. I'm short (only 5'3"), that might be an issue with some guys. I have a stocky built (and a bit overweight) but I'm working hard on fixing that. I think the lack of dating has more to do with my average looks as attraction is what first gets a person interested in you, especially on Tinder since it's all about looks and not personality.

I'm really at a lost of what to do next, I'm not good at flirting or picking up guys in bars or such, online isn't working for me and friends aren't setting me up. The only other places I can meet someone is at work (not many gays here) or at my gym and there are only a handful of gay men there and I don't think any of them are interested in me (in that way).

So I'm putting this out there for anyone who reads this.. if you yourself are interested in a date, drop me a line. Or if you want to set me up with a friend of yours I'm open to the idea. Here is what I am usually attracted to... I like masculine men, height, weight aren't a factor. I'm not really attracted to black, indian or asian men (but I am attracted to black and asian women.. go figure). They need to be geeky, maybe not a much as me but some geekiness is nice. Non smoker, no drugs (including pot).. and just be a nice guy...

Bottomline is that I'm just looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with (40+ years) is that to much to ask for.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 1

Start Day One of San Diego Comic Con with a nice workout. Just because we were at con didn't mean we couldn't get our NerdStrong on. Fellow Nerdstronger Shannon and I went to the gym in our hotel and came up with a challenging workout. While one person did 12 Squats, 12 Push Ups, 12 Sit Ups, the other rowed (roughly 300 to 350 meters) We did 10 rounds of this. By the end we did 120 Squats, 120 Sit Ups, 120 Push Ups each and rowed a combined 5400 meters. We did this in about 40 minutes.

Today's cosplay is my tried and true Hobbit cosplay. I was going as Frodo today. I've done this now for five or so years so I have the process down pretty good. Start with pants and shirt, then ears (this can take two minutes or a half hour depending on how frustrated I get). Luckily I have the actual "Hobbit" ears from Weta and they are a little easier to put on. I then add make up to them to try and make them look as close to my skin color as possible. I place the wig on and try and hid any ear seams or make up issues. The next thing I do is put on my wig, sometimes I get it on perfectly right away.. other times it can take me a good half hour. The final element are my feet, these feet were made for a single use but I've used them for the past five years and for two to three cons a year. They've held up great. I can usually get one on fairly quickly and then it takes some effect to get the second one on. And that was no difference this time around. I don't know what it is but one slipped right on and the other was a hassle.

I was ready to head to the con at 9am, the doors open at 9:30am. Meet up with several friends throughout the day; Chris, Hayley, Liz, Aaron, Steve but spent the majority for the day with Lauren.

About midday my friend Shannon asked if I would be able to watch Tony (her husbands) table as he had a signing and she was stuck somewhere and was suppose to watch it. So Lauren, Liz and I headed over to his table and got the low down on what everything cost. Luckily we were there for about a half hour before Shannon showed up and took over.

Most of my time was spend wandering the halls, stopping here and there to take pictures, and to also take pictures of fellow cosplayers. I didn't get to take as many as I would like but I got a few good one. 

Over the years I have gotten fewer and fewer picture requests for my Hobbit cosplay. But it's still awesome when you get that one person who's so over the moon that you are dressed as one of their favorite Hobbits from Middle-earth and honest I love being a Hobbit so I still get so much joy dressing up and will continue to do so even if no one wants a picture of me. 

As the hall closed I headed back to my hotel room to de-hobbit myself and prep my cosplay for tomorrow. Went out to dinner with Lauren, my brother and a few other friends. I'm not much of a party person, there were a few parties in the evening but just went back to my hotel room, watched a bit of TV and crashed. It was a good first day at San Diego Comic Con.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 0 (Preview Night)

Today is the first day of San Diego Comic Con, well it's actually preview night and only runs from 6pm to 9pm but for me it's the first day.

I got up early and did my final NerdStrong workout for the week. When I got home and cleaned up and started to organize all my stuff and packing up. I wanted to leave around 11 and get to San Diego around 2pm. I decided that I would snapchat my adventure to SDCC. I loaded up my car and got on the road. Wazes said I'd be there by 1:45pm but I knew that wasn't going to happen. Traffic was a hit and miss and end the end I wound up getting to my hotel around 3pm.

My brother and I were staying at the same hotel that we stayed at last year, The Manchester Grand Hyatt. We didn't get as nice a room as we did last year and we also only go one King bed (though I requested 2 Queens). But it was only a few blocks from the convention center and it was being paid for by my brother's company so I really complain. It took about four trips back and fourth to bring in all my cosplay and luggage.

Once I was all settled I headed into the Gas Lamp District to find some friends and eat a much needed lunch. We wound up meeting up at Burger Lounge and grabbed some tasty burgers and fries. Afterwards I headed back to my hotel with my buddy Chris and we just hung out for a bit. He then left and headed back to his hotel while I went to the convention center to get in line to get on the convention floor when it opened at 6pm. I got there about a half hour early so they allowed you go to in the convention center and roam around the upper levels but he convention dealer room was closed. I did find out that since I was a professional they allowed me to stand in front of the dealer room doors and wait until everybody else who had to go upstairs and round the top floors to get in.

When the doors opened at 6pm I made my way in, I wasn't looking for any exclusives (well I was but knew I wouldn't be able to get in) so I was in no rush. I roamed around the floor taking pictures of the booths and some of the cool items that were brought. I was surprised to find a few people in cosplay. I don't think I'd cosplay today because you really only have 3 hours of floor time but there were several who did, so of course I took pictures. I met up with a few friends and continued to roam the halls until 9pm when they closed down. I headed back to the hotel, grabbed some dinner downstairs before calling it a night. Tomorrow I'm going to be Hobbiting it up!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Twi-Lek Name

Since I'm cosplaying as an original Star War character I wanted to come up with a name for him so I put it out there on my social media. I found a website for Twi-lek lore and names (gotta love the internet). I went through and selected a few for my first name and few my clan name (last name).

First name I selected what I felt were traits of a Jedi,
Last (Clan) name I went with traits I felt that I posses.

First name:
Bril = Wind
Karawn = Strength
Tal = Champion
Zelada = Traveler


Clan name (Last name):
Komad = Chivalrous
Nilim = Heroic
Rackus = Happy
Valla = Legal/of Law

I got lots of replies.. Matt Brown suggested Tal Rackus. "The Champion of Happy.", Adam West agreed with Matt Brown on Tal Rackus. Jennifer Luchsinger liked Karawd and Komad, For you are strong and chivalrous! Christopher Setts seconded Karwan Komad. Liz Lund liked Tal Valla she said it had a nice flow. has a nice flow to it. Erik Nelson voted for either Tal Rackus or Karawn Rackus! Lindsey Ballard said that she liked Karawn Rackus and Nicola Farris agreed with her.  Joe Neuburger added his vote for Karawn Rackus as well did Angela Vescera Kane. Jami Losurdo liked Tal Valla or Tal Rackus! While Gabe Gebhart got a little fancy and combined three names for Tal'bril Valla : Champion Wind of Law. Tom Antonellis didn't care what my first name was but said it's gotta be clan Komad. Hayley Jacqueline chimed in with Tal Komad! Richard Peete liked Tal Valla or Karawn Valla Jennaration Wrecks Carroll liked Tal Rackus while Angela Asaoka liked Karawn Rackus. And my buddy Alexander Rubinow was last to chime in with Tal Valla or Zelada Valla, which he said had a nice ring to it. 

After many days of deliberation I won't going with Jedi Master Tal Komad, which I just noticed as Hayley's choice. Tal Komad translates into the Champion of Chivalry, which kind of sounds like what a Jedi Knight would be. Thanks to everyone you gave me suggestions, there were alot of good choices. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Car Woes

Between working on my cosplay with Shannon I went and visited my family on Sunday. While driving back from lunch with my dad I heard a strange sound coming from my engine so I pulled over and check it out. I saw this piece of rubber sticking out of the engine so I pulled it out and figured I much have picked it up while driving. I started up the car again and heard the same sound. I turned off the car and went to investigate even more into the engine. I noticed another piece of rubber but this time I saw where it was coming from. My serpentine belt was started to come apart. I knew this wasn't good as this is the main belt for your car. Since it was Sunday I knew no mechanics were going to be open. I wanted to take it to a dealer as I have an extended warranty though I wasn't sure if this would be covered under it. So I took a chance and drove back to my dad's place (only a few miles away).

I had two options. I could try and drive home (90+ miles) hoping the belt wouldn't break or I crash at my brothers, call into work and tell them I'm not going to be in and take my car in the morning. I knew I didn't want to chance it and drive home but I wouldn't stay at my brother as my friend Shannon was coming over and we were to finish my Jedi Twi-lek cosplay. So instead I borrowed my sister-in-laws car and drove home. Finished the cosplay, got a few hours sleep and then drove back the next morning. Once there I slowly drove my car the four miles to the dealer.

Once at the dealer they said it would be four to five hours before they could even look at it so I called into work and explained my situation (which of course they were fine with) and I sat and waited. I tweeted that I was hanging out in Riverside waiting for my car and if anyone was around and wanted to hang out. A friend of my brother, well we've hung out enough now that I call him a friend as well, Jason was in the area and asked if I wanted to go to lunch. He came by the dealership and picked me up and we headed to the mall to grab a bit to eat and hang out. It was nice as this was the first time that we actually got some one on one time and I got to learn more about him. We hung out for a few hours before he dropped me back off at the dealership. I sat at the dealership for another hour or so before the guy informed me that my car was ready. As I thought it wasn't covered under my extended warranty. The guy thinks that I must have driven over something and it nicked the belt and started to unravel it. I paid the $300 and headed to work. I got in around 3pm and worked until my usual 7.

It was a hassle to have to drive home and then drive back only hours later but I am happy that this happened today and not while I was on my way to SDCC later this week... always look on the bright side.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Star Wars Rebeles S3 Trailer & Finishing Up My Cosplay

Today Disney released the season three trailer for Star Wars Rebels. I've been really enjoying Rebels especially the last season. But I have to say from the looks of this new trailer they have ramp'd up the action and also introducing some new (old) characters. I can't wait for season three to start.


Shannon and I spent the weekend working on my Jedi Twi-lek cosplay. We finished up my tunic and got to work on my shoulder armor and belts. Shannon also painted on the tattoos running down my Lekku.. they look pretty fantastic. We spent the majority of the weekend working on it but Sunday evening we finished it. It was a lot of hard work but I'm very happy with the final results... Thanks Shannon for all your help, couldn't have done it without you. I'm not going to post picture of the final product until it's revealed at SDCC but I can say it looks pretty fantastic.


Friday, July 15, 2016

NerdStrong 2nd Anniversary

Tonight NerdStrong celebrated it's 2nd anniversary. If you've been living under a rock and have never read my blog or know me at all, Nerdstrong is a gym that I have been attending since February of 2015. It's been a huge part of my life the past year and a half. Not only have I found a love for working out at 7am every morning but I have found some amazing friends and have built a pretty great community around the gym.

For the first anniversary I got a group of NerdStrongers to write down their thoughts and feelings about the gym and then I made this nice scrapbook with those thoughts and other geeky things and presented it to coach Andrew and coach Marla, which in turn made Andrew very emotional and I even got a rare hug. This time around with work being crazy I really didn't have time to pull anything together. Though Andrew did request a few days earlier that I don't make him emotional this time around.

It was a fun night, it's always cool to see people that  you usually see in gym clothes all dressed up. It's also nice to see people that you don't see that often or you pass by them as they as their class ends and yours begins. I considered Ubering over but instead drove myself so that meant no drinking. I had a few snacks but didn't really eat that much. I did hog the "photobooth" area. I was dragging people left and right to come take photos with me. I don't know why but I love capturing moments in time.

Coach David presented coach Andrew with a gym present (some sort of new apparatus) and then Andrew gave his speech, full of emotion and love as his speech usually are. He talked his coaching staff and all the NerdStrongers for making this gym amazing.

Overall it was a fun night and I'm so proud and happy to be part of this amazing experience and community. Can't wait until NerdStrong's 3rd Anniversary!!

Rogue One Poster & Footage, Rebels S3 Clip

Star Wars Celebration is happening in London this weekend so we've been getting a steady stream of new Star Wars news... mostly about Rouge One but some Star Wars Rebels S3 news as well. First here is the new Rouge One Poster. It's so different then any other Star Wars poster and I love it.


They also released a BTS featurette for Rogue One, it's similar to the one they released for Force Awakens last year. So many amazing things happen in such a short amount of time. I mean I was already excited for new Star Wars movie but the more I see of this the more excited I get. I can't wait until December.


This came out a few days ago and somehow I missed it, it's a clip from the upcoming season of Star Wars Rebels Season Three. I enjoyed season one but LOVED season two with the addition of one of my all time favorite characters Ahsoka Tano, we don't know her fate at the end of season two but I'm really looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.