Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another (conservative) Gay Marriage Supporter

Carrie Underwood comes out in favor of Gay Marriage

Carrie Underwood is married to a man (Mike Fisher).  In fact, she has been happily married to him for over 2 years, now.  She is a multi-Country Female Singer of the year and Grammy winner.  That is pretty impressive.  She also happens to be in a very small group called, American Idol winners.  She was the 2005 Season 4 champion, beating out thousands of others.  Her husband is an NHL (Hockey) player for the Nashville Predators.  That is pretty manly.  They both attend a Christian (non-denominational) Church.  No one has ever questioned their faith or devotion.

This country music star has sung about many things.  Some of the most notable songs have dealt with her faith and God.  "Jesus, Take the Wheel," for example, is a song about asking Jesus to take over when you can not do things for yourself.  It was her first #1 Country song (and hit #4 on the Christian charts).  It won Country song of the year (and was nominated for overall Song of the year) at the 2007 Grammys.

You'd think that Carrie Underwood could easily crawl under the pew and stay quiet about gay marriage.  Being a country music star means that we expect a majority of her fans to be from the South and more conservative.  But, that didn't stop Carrie from talking out, today.

"As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love and want to marry," Underwood told the British newspaper, the Independent.  "I can't imagine how that must feel.  I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."

Them, there words may just get that little Filly in more trouble than a possum caught in my John Deere headlights!

But, I'm glad that she has said what she thinks.  I actually hope that everyone has the right to voice their opinion, for or against.  May we all have the courage to stand up to what others think and say that we want to do what is the RIGHT thing.

The quote that I like the most from Carrie on this subject is what she said last.  She said, "Above all, God wanted us to love others.  It's not about setting rules or 'everyone has to be like me.'  No.  We're all different.  That's what makes us special.  We have to love each other and get on with each other.  It's not up to me to judge anybody."  Well said, Carrie.  And, Thank you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big Bang News!

It seems that everyone loves a nerd.  Bill Gates is one of the most famous nerds.  He revolutionized the computer with his "out there" software.  And in doing so, he has made millions.  Scratch that:  He has made billions.  What is not good about that?

Steve Jobs is another famous nerd.  He took gadgets and made them more gadgety.  He brought innovation to an already innovative industry.

iPod? check!
iPhone? check!
iPad? check!
Mac? check!

Ahh, to be a nerd!

Another nerd?  How about Sheldon Cooper?  He is the physicist (character) from the Big Bang Theory who works at CalTech (California Institute of Technology).  Now if that is a resume for nerd, I don't know what is!  Of course, the character is played by Jim Parsons.  Jim, a 39 year old from Houston, Texas, seems to fit the part perfectly.

There is only one thing wrong, Jim Parsons is gay.  In a May 2012 New York Times article, Mr. Parsons shares that he is not only gay, but has been in a healthy 10 year relationship.  So, maybe that is the thing that is wrong, maybe it is the thing that is right.

Another role model is born.  Nerds unite.  Actually, it is probably a much bigger role model for the fact that the people watching this witty comedy series are less nerdy and more mainstream.  Maybe all gays aren't evil, satan worshipping, family ruining, cross dressing, blah, blah, blah ... You get the picture.  Sorry haters, but being gay may be a little nerdier, but it is also a little more normal.

P.S. I didn't mean to leave out another king nerd:  Mr. Spock!  Zachory Quinto, who played in the latest version of Star Trek came out in October 2011.  Not only does this Vulcan show emotion, he shows it for the same sex.  Quinto was originally famous for his role on Heros, the popular T.V. show watched by many nerds.

No offense was meant to any nerds in this post.  In fact, I long to join your ranks.  Once you let in sub-intelligent species, like myself, I will join your ranks!

I am also NOT inferring that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs are gay.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Movie Review: Win-Win (B+)

Movie Review: Win-Win.
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, and introducing Alex Shaffer.  
Story:  A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he's double-crossed comes into his life.

Review:  Its a good story of deciding what is right and getting second chances.  The goal is to make life a win-win for everyone.  But, as you can imagine, things don't go as planned.  And, when things get hairy, previous partial truths and lies come forward and people don't know who to trust.

It is a slow moving movie, but keeps going enough to not lose your interest.  It is definitely an independent movie.  It has charm and the acting is well done.  Giamatti and Ryan are professionals and it shows.  The newcomers do well, too.

It has plenty of fun in it, but is mostly a drama.  I won't tell you how it ends and won't ruin the ending for you.  But, you will not be disappointed.  It is rated (R) for the language.  No violence and No nudity.

Movie Grade:  4 of 5 Stars / B+

Movie Review: Vampire Boys (F)

Movie Review:  Vampire Boys
Starring: Jason Lockhart, Christian Ferrer, Dylan Vox.

Story:  Jasin and his vampire brood's time is running out.  In order for them to survive, Jasin needs to find a mortal to turn into a vampire to spend eternity with.  Los Angeles provides plenty of young candidates.  The brood has their eyes set on Tara, a young generous blond college student.  Tara is open to the idea of becoming a vampire, but someone else enters the picture to disrupt the brood's plans.  Caleb, a fresh face college student new to Los Angeles, keeps dreaing of a mysterious stranger.  At school, Caleb meets the stranger, Jasin, and they have an instant connection.  The problem is that time is short, and Jasin needs to convince Caleb that eternity as a vampire can be a very sweet life.

Review: If you were to compare this to recent vampire shows like True Blood and Vampire Diaries, you would be mortified.  Even if you were to compare it to the teen romance / drama Twilight, you would be mortified.  It is that bad.  The story is too simple and just ridiculous.  The plot never takes off and it ends, horribly.  The acting is atrocious.  I'm not sure what else can be said about it.  It does have some man candy for view, but it is definitely not worth it (and don't be fooled by the movie cover ... the guys aren't really that ripped).  P.S. It had unexpected nudity, although brief.

Grade: 0 of 5 stars / F

To the person who recommended this to me:  You owe me a couple of hours of my life back and will be punished for such a recommendation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Does it really get better? Yes!

It has been a little while since I've posted.  I've been to Wicked in Portland, visited with family and friends.  Mourned loss of a good friend and mourned with friends at a loss of their family members.  I took in a friend who came out to himself and his family (and was then estranged for a short time by them).  We've got him moving on to Utah, now.  I've consoled a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer and have spent the past 4 months taking care of an immediate family member who is going through chemotherapy treatment.

So, with all of that and other things happening around the world ... Can life really be okay?  Is it good?  And, does it get better?  Well, I have to say a resounding YES to all of that.

And, for those of us who have grown up in or around the LDS Church ... I am going to say out loud, YES, things get better if you are gay, too.

I echo the voice of each of these people in this video.  They are courageous.  They may not be the first gay BYU students (believe me ... I know "I" wasn't the first either), but they are surely going to be remembered for standing up and standing firm for the right.

Congratulations to them and to every gay LDS person.  It DOES GET BETTER.  I'm proud to say this.  And, I am proud to stand with my fellow gay brothers and sisters.  Go Cougs!  Listen up and put your arms out for these guys.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

GLEE! Welcome back ...

I was on a call with my work team, today.  Someone asked if we saw this week's episode of Glee with songs from Michael Jackson.  I hadn't.  In fact, I hadn't seen any episodes this season.  Okay, I admit that I am awful about watching weekly shows.  I travel for work and ... even if I didn't, I am awful about remembering what night and what time the shows are.  So, needless to say, I've been missing shows.

And, you know .... GLEE has gotten a bit crazy and silly, lately.  Well.  I guess it started and has gotten more silly and corny, lately.  But, I figured I would go out and watch that one episode ... you know, just to celebrate songs of Michael Jackson.  And, well ... I got caught up in a few of the other episodes.  

Corny?  Uh, Yeah!  Sappy?  Uh, Yeah!  A bit politically?  Uh, Yeah?  But, it seems each week there is something that really tends to get to you.  Whether it is Santana telling her Abuela that she is Gay and having Abuela kick her out or the gang giving up their presents and spending their Christmas with homeless people.  You realize that you don't care if they put in a few too many sappy get together / go apart / get together / go apart, blah blah blah's or another Sue Silvester tirade monologue.  The show actually has some good to it.

So, instead of putting this on my other blog, I am adding it here.  And, I am proud to say that I watched 5 episodes of Glee over the past week.  And, who can resist Rory Flanigan's Northern Irish accent?  And, guests?  Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Gwenteth Paltrow, Molly Shannon, Neil Patrick Harris,  Cheyenne Jackson, Ricky Martin, Carol Burnett, Brittany Spears ...  Come on ... This is the real deal.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Newbie Neighbor ...

So, I've know a guy for a few years, now.  His dad had a stake calling in our stake. He left and returned from his mission recently and has been moving from place to place.  I've caught up with him recently and realized that he was struggling.  Now, I am not a mind reader, but I guess the gaydar started kicking in.  I had a strong feeling about what he was dealing with.

So, we did decide to meet up and talk.  He told me what he was struggling with.  It was something that he has been struggling with for a long time.  Yep, he has always been attracted to guys.  This is why he has been moving around.  His family doesn't know how to handle it.  He isn't sure what he wants or how to choose, so he has made some choices recently that have taken him away from the Church.

So, he needed a place to stay.  But, he also needs a little guidance.  He is old enough to make his own decisions, but is still young enough to have a lot of questions.  So, I offered him a place to stay.  I figured it was a good way to help out someone who is struggling.  Plus, it is a good chance to help him out.  I don't know how; I don't know where or when.  But, it is easier to help out someone when they are close to you.

Now, the question is ... How much do I try to help out or do I let him struggle through making his own decisions?

I have a new

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"From the time I really accepted myself ...."

"When Queen Latifah enters a room, heads turn.  Even when she is dog-tired.  In sweats.  Hair tucked under a trucker's cap."This is how the article in Parade magazine starts.  Then, it said something that caught my eye.  "'I accept that I'm me,' says Latifah."

It says, "Latifah, 41, unwittingly shares what she believes is the secret for her success.  'I a me.  I don't have a choice!  From the time I really accepted myself, everything got brighter.  People were attracted to me for me.'"

Now, I don't know what she is talking about.  I know that there is speculation that she is gay.  She has also struggled with her weight.  It has got to be difficult to be a woman, a black woman in a tough business, entertainment world.  No matter what her understanding is, she hit the nail on the head.

I remember when I first came to grips with my struggles.  I was in high school.  I really wasn't too different from others.  I liked guy things.  I played sports.  I was musically gifted.  I was a smart kid.  Camping and hiking and blowing up things was fun.  Most everyone seemed to like me.  I wasn't so different.  But, I knew I was different.  It was a huge thing (internally) in my life.  But, something changed when I reached my junior year.  Something hit.  I began to come to terms that I liked myself.  I don't know why it hit then, but it did.  It wasn't that I hated myself, but it was an understanding that I liked myself.  I was a good guy.  I still didn't understand why or how or ... anything else.  But, I decided that I couldn't hate myself.

I went to a year of college and another epiphany hit me.  I was loved by God.  Now, that doesn't seem so odd.  I grew up Mormon ... I knew that God loves all of his children.  But, we all need to have that moment when we know that "I" am loved by God.  Not just learning that God loves everyone; God loves ME.  I had that moment and it helped me plan for my mission.  I served a mission and 2 years later came back home.  My family had moved and my scholarship was not held for me while on my mission.  So, I went back home to ... Provo.  And, I started up at BYU.

It was during my time at BYU that the next piece of the puzzle unfolded.  I realized that, like Queen Latifah, that I needed to accept myself.  I realized that I could admit (I'd known since late grade school) that I was attracted to guys.  I shared this with the first people, some church leaders.  Luckily, my experience was incredible.  They cried with me and prayed with me.  They shared the thought that it was probably something that was genetic.  And, I could admit that God loved ME and I was gay.

Isn't life fun?  I've had several moments when I've learned a lot about myself.  I am not sure what tomorrow holds for me.  But, I do know that for today, I am okay.  I've never been happier.  I've never been more close to my Savior.  And, "from the time I really accepted myself, everything got brighter."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mourning ...

Mosiah 18:9 ... Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort ...

It is funny how hard this post is to write.  I had just decided that I'd write a few posts on this blog ... and this was the first one I could think of.  And, it is taking me much longer than expected.

I lost a friend this past week.  Out of nowhere, he was taken from us.  It was a very senseless and somewhat tragic way to die.  It was purely the fault of another person.  But, none of that seems to matter.  What matters is that he is gone.

There are a few main reasons why this has been so hard for me.  1. He is still 'somewhat' young.  He was 40 years old.  But, he was full of life.  He loved to travel and has seen a few fun and unique places in the world.  He lived in at least 7 or 8 different states.  But, it is the places that he didn't get to see that make it hard.  He loved sports.  During the funeral, we heard many more stories than I knew of ski and boarding trips, wake boarding on his boat, football games and pick-up basketball games.  He spent most of those with close friends and family.  I've been to a couple of long distance BYU football games with him.  We were at the first game played in the new Dallas Cowboy's stadium with us all fighting to get on the (biggest) jumbo screen.  I was with him when we played #1 Florida State in Tallahassee.  We shaved what we had on our chests and painted B - Y - U on them, walking proudly into the stadium of 40,000+ FSU fans.  But, it is that he won't join us on any other adventures.

Another thing that bothers me is 2. he is my age.  We are the same age.  This is something that could easily have happened to me.  Not that I am worried too much about it, but it has made life seem very precious and frail.  He had just spent Christmas with almost all of his family (brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, Mama).  He left them to return 2 weeks later for a missionary farewell.  He didn't return.  It was a real blessing for his family to spend the week of Christmas with him.  They had some really choice outings.  They got some pictures and videos.  At the time to go, they hugged and joked about seeing him too soon in 2 weeks.  We saw him in 1 week.

I had a lot in common with him.  3. We were both single.  Yeah, yeah .. contrary to what people say, that isn't the thing in common that we had.  Like I said, we both loved to play and attend sports.  We were still both BYU fans.  We both loved to travel and loved spending time with family and friends.  We both had similar interests.  We both had similar personalities.  We both dealt with being gay in an LDS church.  4. He was also my best friends' brother.  So, I have the opportunity to know and love all of his family.  My best friend and his brother and sisters (9 immediate and 3 step) had just found out that he was gay.  He didn't act on it much and, until recently, had pretty much decided to live a lonely, celibate life in the gospel.

I had my suspicions about him for the last few years.  Call it intuition.  Call it gaydar.  Whatever it was, it was a slight guess on my part.  But, I didn't talk to him about it.  I spent the last 2 weeks wondering if I should have.  Wondering why I didn't.  I know how lonely it can be to be gay and LDS.  I've been there and I wish we could have been there, together.  Because of all we had in common, we could have helped each other not only decide on what path was needed to be taken, but to take that path.  It was a friend thing.  Something that we all need and don't get enough of.  Now, his family is left with more questions than answers.  I wonder if I can help fill in some of that void for them.  I want to console them with the fact that he was a good guy and living a good life.  Maybe it wasn't the life they wanted him to live?  I want to help them understand the pain and loneliness that comes with being gay.  Maybe it will help them understand and love another.

My friend was one of the best Uncles, ever.  He took in several of his nephews and nieces and helped them find jobs and consoled and counseled with them.  He was with them all the time on visits and fun and games and achievements.  He was always smiling.  He helped several of them pay for missions.  He helped several of them pay for college.  Others, he just helped.  Wouldn't it be good for them to know what he was dealing with?  Maybe one of them or someone they know will have the same issues.

I am not going to reread my post.  It may have some grammatical errors or ... just be incoherent at times.  I guess this post is for me.  It was very therapeutic writing it.  I know that I have a lot to do.  I still miss my friend, a lot.  I am still helping his family grieve the pain.  But, I know that there can be many good things from his life.  And, I know that they will see him again.  I miss you still everyday.  I hope you are comfortable ... but not too comfortable that you aren't helping us out.  Good bye until we meet again.  I love you.