Monday, February 23, 2015

Looking Good Neil

This was pretty bold to do in front of an audience of how many tens of millions?  I do think he looks good for 41.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Be Thankful

Try this --

At the end of every day think of one thing from your day that you are thankful for.  One thing that went well that day.  Write it down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Do You Like Yourself?

This video is worth watching.....I found it fascinating.  This talk really hit home with me.  One of the things on my happiness list was self-esteem.  Self-esteem is necessary to be happy.  I never really though about how this poor self image problem is epidemic in the US.

Poor self-image can come down to four damaging self-conscious emotions:
  1. Shame - desire to hide something you think it wrong
  2. Guilt - desire to repair bad action for which you feel responsible
  3. Envy - the desire to destroy what someone else has that you can't have
  4. Jealousy  - the desire to compete with others to have what they have
One common thread of these emotions is comparing yourself to others -- another taboo on the happiness list.

I think shame is probably the most common problem emotion among gay men born before 1985.  It was probably the early 2000's when society started to be more accepting of gay people.  Prior to that it was far less accepted, so it's likely most gay men now older than 35 have experienced some feeling of shame.  Another blogger brought up the word "shame" to me a few years ago and how it connected to homosexuality.  At the time I really didn't connect all the dots.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nixing Negativity

This is an interesting presentation.  It describes a problem with which I am very much afflicted.  I guess I'm not the only one or she wouldn't be giving this presentation.

Once I become cognizant of this kind of problem, I can more effectively deal with it.  Something bad happens --  and before I begin to beat myself up I can realize what's happening and stop.

It's comforting to me to realize that I'm not the only one with a particular issue like this.  It's dysfunctional thinking that I need to stop.   

Sunday, February 15, 2015


One of the items on my happiness list was:

"Don't chase "stuff."  Stop the hedonic treadmill.  Embrace simplicity.  Be content with what you have.  Declutter.

I was at a giant mall near my house last weekend.  It's a high-end, glitzy mall with all the top stores.

I felt nauseated.

Who would ever want all this stuff?  People certainly don't need it.  Super expensive unnecessary stuff.  There is so much luxury "stuff" that I can't imagine why anyone needs it.  Yet people buy it or it wouldn't be there.

Lately I feel like I don't want to buy anything.  I think very hard about whether I really need something before I buy it.  I'm also thinking, if I buy this, then what do I discard?

If I have the need to "buy something," then I just buy something inexpensive and leave it at that.  I think everyone in the US has at least a little bit of shopping compulsion.

My project for the spring is to go through my house and discard.  Maybe have a big yard sale or post on CL.  I've joked before about getting my life condensed down to four boxes.  That may not be possible, but I want to be closer to that.  I keep asking myself:  "What do I really need?"  I'll be moving sooner or later, and this will make the moving process much easier.  On a legal pad I'm sketching out room by room all my possessions and what I really need to keep.

In the last year I've bought two things that I really value: 1) A set of flannel sheets that cost $120, and 2) a duvet cover for my down comforter for $72.  I love the way these two things feel, and of course I use them everyday of the winter. 

I just can't think of anything else I want right now.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

It Happens to Other People Too

I'm channel surfing through HBO and landed on one of their sitcoms, Girls.

A young woman, a bit geeky, is sitting in a high end conference room finishing an interview.  Exactly the kind of room I'm usually sitting in for an interview.  She is told the they don't think she would be a good fit for their company.  After another minute the conversation ends.  The woman just sits there.  "You're not leaving?" she's asked by the interviewer, a cold professional woman.

"I would like to know what's wrong with me," she states defiantly, "Really, I want to know what's wrong with me and I'm prepared for any answer."

Wow, it was great for me to see this short segment.  This is what I wish I could say when I don't get a job.  "What's wrong with me?"

The reality is there is nothing wrong with me -- I know that.  I've been on the other side of the table hundreds of times.  After all the resume screening, I rarely have someone arrive at an interview who isn't qualified for the job.  At the end of the day, one person must be chosen from three or four interview candidates.  When there's not an obvious standout candidate, it can come down to something very minor or just chemistry that makes the final decision.

Last fall I posted a job online and received over 300 resumes.  I interviewed five people, and hired one.  It's not Powerball, but those are seriously bad odds.  So if you made it to be one of the five people interviewed, you should celebrate that.  More importantly, if you are one of the four who didn't get the job, you shouldn't feel bad about that.  I don't like being one of the four.  Watching this episode it was perhaps relieving (maybe that's the right word) to see it happen to someone else.

One of the four who didn't get the job?  His beard was too long.  It just bothered me.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Happiness has been a popular fad for the last few years.  While 50% of happiness is attributed to what's called our "genetic set point," the other 50% is due to our intentional actions and circumstances.  Lots of psychology professors are studying what makes people happy.  Here are a few common themes I've found from reading many of these articles:

1.  Make good friends.  Have a social life.  Join a group.  Connect with others who support you.  Foster close relationships.  Have sex.

2.  Express your thankfulness.  Attitude of gratitude.

3.  Give.  Be charitable.  Practice acts of kindness.  Help others.

4.  Don't chase "stuff."  Stop the hedonic treadmill.  Embrace simplicity.  Be content with what you have.  Declutter.

5.  Don't live your life based on the expectations of others.  Be your own guide.

6.  Self-esteem and happiness are inextricably linked.  Practice compassion.  Accept your authentic self.  Avoid social comparison.

7.  Let the past go.  Live in the present.  Be free of negativity.

8.  Have goals.  Believe you can succeed. Find meaningful work.

9.  Make fitness a priority.  Take care of yourself.  Know when to prioritize yourself.  Get enough sleep.  Take care of your spirit.

10.  Smile.  Laugh.  Take life as a challenge.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Toxic Parents

There's a book with this title.  I've thumbed through it in a bookstore years ago, but I've never read it.

What got me thinking about this is a post by Cameron.  His divorce is impending.  He has many concerns.  A major one is telling his parents.  I felt the same way.  In the end I didn't tell them, and they found out from someone else.  I would have told them eventually, but I dreaded even thinking about it.

I'm wondering why it's so easy for some people to tell their parents anything, and for others they would rather jump into a fire.  Please don't say the latter group are cowards.  It's far more complicated than that.  I still don't understand. Maybe this is not the fault of the parents, and it's happening for some other reason.  I don't mean to jump to the conclusion that toxic parents are the cause.  I don't know what Cameron's situation is.

Could it be an intense fear of disappointing your parents?  Fear of a horrible reaction?  Fear of irreparable harm to the relationship? Maybe it's a fear that's all in our own head and unfounded in fact?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sex Isn't Fair

This is something Steve said.

I think what he meant was it isn't fair that getting sex is so much easier for some people than others.

The reality is that some people are just better looking.  They won the genetics lottery.  Couple this with putting some effort into their appearance....and result is they have more people willing to get naked with them.  How many studies have shown that good looking people have it easier in life?

I was reading some magazine article where girls were asked why they decided to have sex with a guy right away.  The most common answer was, "he was the hottest guy I'd ever seen."  I KNOW the same hold true for guys.

One people watching game I play is to mentally thumbs up or down everyone who walks by.  Would I have sex with them or not?  Usually thumbs up is 25% or less.  Obviously it depends where you do this.  Sitting in a college campus quad the number will be much higher.  We think a lot about those lucky 25%, but what about the 75%?  Undoubtedly many great people in that group and they shouldn't be dismissed.

I know many good looking people who I would not trade places with.  Just watch an episode of "Real World" if you want some examples.

Anyway, my point to Steve was "is anything in life fair?"  Some people are smarter.  Others are more charismatic.  Some of us are just average in most ways.  Why dwell on this?  Make the best of your situation and live your life.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Have an STD

Back on January 24th I met Steve for dinner and then went back to his place.

"I still have a bit of a cold so I won't kiss you," he said.

Well, one thing led to another.....and he did kiss me.

I started feeling sick on Tuesday the 27th.  First a sore throat.  Then nasal congestion and coughing developed over the weekend.  This week I've had the worst cold ever and had to go to the doctor.  After downing most of a bottle of cough syrup with codeine as well as multiple OTC medicines, I'm finally starting to feel better.  What a horrible week.

I told Steve my doctor did a culture and this strain of cold virus was developed in North Korea's biological warfare program.  Now the CIA wants to know who I'm dating.  He didn't think that was funny.