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+

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.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The "New" Tick Pilot

The Tick is a fictional superhero created by cartoonist Ben Edlund in 1986 as a newsletter mascot for the New England Comics chain of Boston area comic book stores. The character is a spoof of American comic book superheroes. After its creation, the character spun off into an independent comic book series in 1988, and gained mainstream popularity.

There was a live action FOX TV series in the early 2000's but it only lasted for 9 episodes. I watched it back then and it was fun but it never found it's audience.

Amazon Prime released a brand new Pilot for The Tick today. It's a test pilot, Amazon Prime released like ten new pilots and which ever ones get the most downloads/views Amazon will produce a full season.

So today I got together with a few friends of mine and we watch the pilot. Thanks for joining me Liz, Caryn, Shannon and Jeremy. I have to say I really enjoyed it, even more then the original FOX series. This new Tick is funny, a bit darker and less campy. I thought I would miss Patrick Warburton as The Tick but Peter Serafinowicz is doing a pretty good job so far. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how well this pilot does and hope it gets picked up for a full season.

** Edit Note** because I'm blogging months late I can tell you that The Tick was indeed picked up for a full season and I can't wait to see more in August.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Animated Adventures of Firefly

I came across this artist named Stephen Byrne. He did this awesome animated show opening for Buffy the Vampire Slayers called The Animated Adventures of Buffy and The Animated Adventures of Doctor Who a few years back and they were amazing. I've been following his youtube channel and he's been teasing us with pictures and animatic of his new adventure.. The Adventures of Firefly.. well today is the day.. he's finally released the final product and it's so Shiny!!! I wish all three of these adventures were real animated TV series.. I know I'd watch them all.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Adventures in WOW

So after years and years of temptation starting with Felicia Day from The Guild I finally broke down and started playing World of Warcraft aka WOW. I knew I wanted to play a Mage or magic user as that's usually my go to, secondly I'd had gone with a Tank. But I choose Mage and as I scrolled through the various creatures I could play I came across the Pandaren and really liked the look of them so I become Xianda a Pandaren Ice Mage. I choose male as I usually play male characters but man the female Pandarens are so cute and I almost switched sides.

Luckily I played LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) for a few years so I kind of understood how an MMO worked so there wasn't so much of a learning curve. After playing my character I played for another 6 hours and I could have gone more but I managed to use some self control. I have to say I had alot of fun, but to be honest I knew it was going to fun and as I mentioned before after playing LOTRO I've learned to manage my time playing MMO's. Six hours is my limit of play time, after six hours I at least have to stop for an hour before starting again... LOL

It's fun now but I'm really looking forward to when I get out of the "starter" world and get to play with friends.

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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hook's Lost Boys 25 Years Later

EW did this fun photo shoot reuniting the Lost Boy's from the movie Hook for it's 25th Anniversary. I'm a huge Robin Williams fan so I remember going to see this in the theater several times and buying it on VHS when it was released. This was my favorite of the pictures.. a side by side 25 years ago to today. Some of the kids changed so much and so still look exactly the same.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Suicide Squad - My Thoughts

Today I saw Suicide Squad, I didn't know alot about this DC property other then these were bad guys doing good (in a way), I had heard that The Joker was part of it and then I saw a bit more for it when some of the characters showed up on the CW's Arrow. So I pretty much went into this blind. I saw several of the trailers and they were amazing, the music choices were prefect. I knew there was production issues and some reshoots but that doesn't usually bother me. Reviews started to come out and they weren't so kind, but again that really doesn't bother me as I usually don't agree with critics. So I went in with an open mind and I have to say I had a lot of fun. It was fun, had some cool special effects and overall very entertaining. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was probably my favorite character, but Will Smith's Deadshot was a close second. I enjoyed the story and the acting was pretty good. For me if a movie entertains me for two hours then it's done it's job and this movie did that. I will purchase it when it comes out on blu-ray and enjoy it on repeat viewings. I'd give Suicide Squad a solid B.