Thursday, August 17, 2017

Believing in Yourself

Why is it so hard for me to believe the good things others say about me? I've always had low self esteem issues and I've learned to live with it. And it's gotten better over the years but still I have the hardest time accepting praise, it's like I know I work hard on something and give it my all and when people acknowledge it and tell me how great it is, I have a hardest time believing it. I guess part of me doesn't want to come off being vain or arrogant, but part of me truly doesn't believe it.

An example of this is being called a "Nice Guy" I use to hate being called that but a few years ago I decided to own it. I am a nice guy, I can't change who I am and I shouldn't be ashamed of it. You know the saying "nice guys finish last", well it's a true statement but I wouldn't want to be any other way.

I like being a nice guy, I like that people know that they can rely on me. Yes I may not achieve huge success or wealth because I'm unwilling to be cut throats.. and yes I have been taken advantage of from time to time but that just goes along with being a good person.

Another more recent example is being told I look "good" or I look "fit". Now I've been working out for over two and a half years and I can see some changes in my body but I still have a difficult time believing them. I only see my flaws and when I do catch myself at a certain angle in a certain light I can see improvements but I usually just see the bad. 

Why is it easier to believe the mean & negative things about yourself rather then the good. Is this just me or do other people find this to be true?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A1c (Blood Sugar) Struggles

I struggle with eating, up to a few years ago my food choices were pretty bad and my weight and A1c numbers proved it. In October of 2014 my A1c levels were at 6.4 which is considered pre-diabetic. And in all actuality if I was .1 more at 6.5 I would be diagnosed with diabetes. This diagnosis scared me as I didn't want to have diabetes because once you are diagnosis with it you will forever be, even if you bring your numbers down.

The doctor gave me three months to bring my numbers down and three months later after modifying my diet and running everyday I managed to bring my A1c from 6.4 to 6.0.. then I found NerdStrong and I continued to try and eat healthy (with lots of ups and downs) but six months later my A1c went from 6.0 to 5.7.. I was super happy.. with in one year I went from being .1 away from having diabetes to now being .1 away from being "normal". Six months later I had my A1c tested and it went from 5.7 to 5.7, yep.. no movement at all. I was disappointed in that number, I mean I was happy that the number didn't go up but still after dropping so much over the year it was disappointing.

Now it's one year later and I got my A1c numbers again and again like before it was 5.7 and is currently 5.7. My doctor was happy with those numbers but I wasn't. I've worked hard at working out 5 to 6 days a week and though my eating hasn't been the best it's better then what it was but I still can't seem to get that number any lower. Bright side I guess is that my number didn't go up.. so I'm happy about that but I hope for my next doctor visit that number can drop just .1 to 5.6

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+

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PieStrong

What is PieStrong.. well it's a party with pies and scotch. It all started while a group of us were running around the parking lot at NerdStrong Gym. Kili and Aaron were talking about pies and scotch, as you do while you run around parking lots. Well that little seed bloomed into this big idea that Aaron has to through a Pie and Scotch party.

Our friend Kimi offered up her place to throw the party and I helped in the planning of the event.

The day came and we had a very big turn out, over 50 people showed up with 35 different pies and many different types of alcohol (including scotch). It was a bit chaotic at the beginning because we were not prepared for the amount of food that people were bringing, I started to stress out, but once things started the settle down and the alcohol started to flow I began to relax, maybe a bit to much. We did these things called a "dirty girl scout" where you got on your knees and someone would pour peppermint schnapps and another alcohol (I can't remember which one.. vodka maybe or whiskey). Needless to say you swished them around in your mouth, swallowed and then shouted I'm a dirty girl scout. I think I did this three or four times. Luckily for me I'm in capable of get embarrassed when I'm drunk but I did show fellow Nerdstrongers a often hidden side of me.

I'm glad I only lived a few blocks from Kimi's so I was able to sober up a little bit and make my way home at the end of the night. Overall it was a very successful party and we are planning a PieStrong 2: Revenge of Cake next.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Star Trek Turns 50

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. On this day 50 years ago the world got it's first glimpse into Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future. Gene teamed up with Deslu Production to create a first pilot for NBC.. they were not impressed but still liked the concept so they asked for a second pilot (which is extremely rare). But they recast the main leads and the show was born. It initially did really well in the ratings but towards the end of season 1 their rating started to decline. During season two the show was threaten with cancellation, but a letter writing campaign like no one had ever seen was started and saved Star Trek for a third season but with low ratings nothing could save this series. This crew and actors continued their adventures in the short-lived cartoon called Star Trek: The Animated Series and then moved on to do six feature films.

Years later Star Trek came back to TV with Star Trek: The Next Generation, which wound up being a HUGE hit and revitalized the franchise. This cast also did feature four films. As TNG started it's fifth of seven seasons they launched another series called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and like with TNG when Deep Space Nine hit it's fifth season of seven they released another series titled Star Trek: Voyager which ran for seven seasons. We thought Trek was taking a break from TV but a few years later Enterprise was premiered. They removed Star Trek from the title but low ratings prompted them to add Star Trek back into to the title during it's third season but that didn't help this series and it only lasted four seasons. And with the fourth TNG cast Star Trek movie Nemesis not doing well at the box office it was time for Star Trek to take a break (for me personally it could have gone on for every as I loved every episode/movie of Trek).

In 2009, the film franchise underwent a "reboot" set in an alternate timeline, or "Kelvin Timeline," entitled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show. They have made two additional movies Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). The thirteenth film feature and sequel, Star Trek Beyond (2016), was released to coincide with the franchise's 50th anniversary, future movies are in the works. A new Star Trek TV series, entitled Star Trek: Discovery, is set to premiere on the digital platform CBS All Access in the fall of 2017.

I remember watching Star Trek (now referred to as TOS - The Original Series) when I was a kid and enjoying it, but I didn't consider myself a true Trekkie until I started watching Star Trek The Next Generation, I joined season one about half way through the season and something just clicked with me... I feel in love with this series. When I heard they were making another series I was already on board and though DS9 took some time for me to love it did happen and I have to say that Star Trek Deep Space Nine is the best written Trek with some amazing season long over arching storylines. Then Voyager came along and they had a female captain so I was all in and it didn't disappoint. From the first episode I was hooked and Voyager would go on to be just under TNG as my favorite Trek. I was a bit skeptical when Enterprise came along as I wasn't a fan of going back to the past but I enjoyed this series. The first few seasons were okay but the third was pretty great with an overarching season long Xindi story and then Manny Coto came aboard for season four and we got some of the best episodes of now named Star Trek Enterprise. Unfortunately it was to late for the series and it ended after season four.

We then had a long period with no new Trek and then came word that they were rebooting the franchise. Lots of people were upset by this news but for me it was more Trek and when I saw Star Trek in 2009 I enjoyed it. I think they did a great job at keeping my original universe intact and this new one can make it's own path.

I will always be a Star Trek fan, I collect movie cards, action figures, collector plates, props and so much more. I even have a Star Trek themed tattoo on my body.. so yeah you can say I'm a uber fan. So with all that said.. I want to wish a happy 50th anniversary to one of my all time favorite franchise.. here's to 50 more amazing years.

Monday, September 5, 2016

NerdStrong Sportsball

Today was another NerdStrong Gym "Sportsball" outing. This is our third Sportsball in the past few years. It's always fun getting together with these folks outside the gym. We played some Vollyball and Ultimate Frisbee... we had a good turn out.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The NeverEnding Story On The Big Screen

Tonight I went to the theater to watch The NeverEnding Story on the big screen (for the first time, as far as I can remember). I do remember watching it when I was younger on TV and thinking that it was just okay. I'm a huge fantasy person but I don't think I appreciated the story or even understood it back then when I saw it and I remember watching bits and pieces here and there over the years. It wasn't until my twenties when I watched it from beginning to end and really enjoyed it, like really enjoy it so much so that it's become one of my all time favorite fantasy movies. So when I heard they were doing a two night showing on the big screen I knew I had to go. It was playing at a local AMC in Burbank and I immediately purchased tickets. My friend Shannon joined me and when we got there I ran into more friends Dina and Miles.

If you have never seen this movie find it online / buy it and watch it.. but here's a brief synopsis: The NeverEnding Story tells the story of Bastian who, on his way to school one day, ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The NeverEnding Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him in order to survive.

This movie has not been seen on the big screen in over 30 years.. and as an extra bonus there was a featurette before the movie called “Reimagine The NeverEnding Story”, it was a pretty cool behind the scenes making of piece.

There is nothing like watching a much loved movie on the big screen surrounded by uber fans who feel the same way about the movie... it was magical.

And to make the night even better the actress who played the Childlike Empress, Tami Stronach, liked the tweet I posted about watching The NeverEnding Story on the big screen.. that was pretty fantastic.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

20 Years In The Industry

It hit me today that I've been in the Entertainment Industry for 20 years this year. Started as most do as a Production Assistant (PA) and moved quickly to Production Coordinator and then on to various other positions Clearance Coordinator, Backstage Manager, Talent Personal Assistant before landing a job with Glen Avenue Films as a Production Assistant (again) but like with most places I moved up quickly and my friend Darla who ran post gave me the opportunity to move into post, I was taught the avid and became a Junior Assistant Editor, then Assistant Editor and then Junior Editor. I didn't really like being an Editor so Darla had another opportunity for me and brought me into a new company and made me a Post Production Supervisor and as they say the rest is history.. I've been post supering for the last 13 years now and this is probably where I will stay.

I've had my good jobs and pretty horrible jobs, I've been stressed out of my mind so much so that I had to take a mental break for a few years to recoup, during this time I worked about four months out of two years. It was just want I needed as I came back refreshed and ready to go. I started back as a Post Production Coordinator (thanks Andrew G) for a year and it was just the right about of responsibility so when Darla once again asked if I'd come work on a show as Post Super I was ready to take it on and in fact I'm currently working on two shows here.

There are times that I'd love to quit the industry but honestly this is all I know. The money is great and if I were to leave and start something else I'd have to take a huge hit financially and at this moment I'm in major debt so I'll have to continue to work like this until my debt is paid off.. once that happens will see where I go next.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BeachStrong

Today some NerdStrongers went on an adventure to one of my favorite SoCal beach, El Matador State Beach. We got there at a good time and found a perfect spot for our large party. We had a lot of fun walking on the beach, eating snacks, playing in the water and just enjoying each other's company. Most just sunbathed but some of us actually got in the water. We went and explored a few of the beach coves which requires you to walk through cave like structures.. it's always a blast.