Category: Jean Paul Zapata

"Pool Boys" by Brandon Baker; 31 Gay Londoners; Learn Spanish Jean Paul Zapata; Second Chance by Ryan Field

“Pool Boys” by Brandon Baker

I’m going to be kind right now and keep my review of an article short and simple. I could go into detail in my quest to disabuse young gay man-about-town, Brandon Baker, of a few misconceptions he has about gay men and gay resorts, but it’s usually easier to get right to the point. I’m talking about a harsh article/review/commentary Brendan Baker wrote for Philly Magazine about a gay resort in New Hope, PA where I live.

Here’s one of the nastier quotes from the piece:

At a glance, the Pool’s dynamics this sunny afternoon can be outlined in Doppler waves. Behold, Wave No. 1: a Speedo-clad brigade of 50-plusers (the older crowd here is, shall we say, European in this sense: There’s no body shame, even when there should be) in the outer circles of the 150 sprawling chaise lounges, minding their own business as they flip over like pancakes to tan their leathery rumps (one of which pokes through a jock strap).

Aside from the fact that this over-written article seems to be promoting body shame at a time when many people, gay or straight, are trying to break away from that tired Madison Ave. concept of the perfect air-brushed body we’ve all been trained to believe is the only way to look, the rest of this article takes on the same snarky tone. But seriously? Who promotes body shame? What kind of person does this?

Just one more quote, and only because it’s such a broad generalization about gay men:

RECALL, IF YOU WILL, Jersey Shore’s cringe-worthy, beach-tee-ubiquitous “GTL” (translation: “Gym, Tan, Laundry”) motto for Shore-goers. It has always applied to gay men. While everyone else spends winter hibernating with Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix, we spend it working the gym circuit with our trainers, getting creative with kale recipes and force-feeding our bodies protein so as to be pool-ready when we hit the doorstep on Memorial Day.

Well. There you are. I guess I must be missing something as a gay man, because I have never once spent more than a moment wondering about beaches, pools, and baking in the sun to get skin cancer. I know some do, but not all of us. And it’s generalizations like this that promote the worst images of the LGBTI community, images that feed bad TV shows and films. In fact, I don’t do pools…ever. I don’t have the time or the patience.

This article is the worst kind of review out there because it focuses on all the most exaggerated aspects of a business or product…or even a group. In this case, Brendan Baker take quotes from people who no one in the town of New Hope takes very seriously and makes it appear as if this is actually what The Raven Resort is like all the time. It’s really just a quiet LGBTI resort with an excellent restaurant where attorneys and real estate brokers meet for lunch on weekdays, both straight and gay. I’ve been there for memorial services, weddings, and many other events totally unrelated to what I can only label as “swimming pool culture.” Last night Tony and I had dinner with the original owner of The Raven. The Raven was called Le Camp in the early days, long before my time.

You can read more. And I highly suggest you take into consideration this commentary by Brandon Baker is only a sensationalized account focused on the worst stereotypes that mentions nothing about the more important aspects of the LGBTI community in New Hope. The thing that bothers me the most about it is that while many of us are fighting for equality and trying to deal with people like Theresa Santai-Gaffney who wants to appeal gay marriage in PA, a skinny gay man with a sense of entitlement is slamming a strong part of the gay community with vituperative commentaries. If it hadn’t been for those doughy middle aged men Brandon Baker wouldn’t be able to get married now. But then again, a sense of entitlement never went well with respect.

It’s really more of an opinion piece so I can’t say it’s bad journalism. But I do think there must have been a sale on cute, pithy adjectives that day and you might not want to read it on a full stomach.

Side note: this was my best impression of practicing self-control.

 31 Gay Londoners

Now here’s an article with some heart. 31 gay Londoners have complied a list of what freedom, equality, and having protection means to them. These people make me proud.

For Pride In London, LGBTI people and their allies were asked to interpret the theme #FreedomTo in their own incredible, individual way.

From celebs like Tom Daley to equality campaigners like Paris Lees, from leaders of gay campaigning groups like Ruth Hunt to everyday people, they did not disappoint.

You can check some of them out here.

There are LGBTI people of all ages celebrating this. I didn’t see any standing next to a pool.

Learn Spanish: Jean Paul Zapata

One of my favorite young gay male journalists, Jean Paul Zapata, put together a quick piece about learning Spanish, and how the language is not the same all over.

That’s the beauty of the language. Spain’s Spanish is different to Spanish spoken in Central and South America Every country has a different accent, a different slang, a different flavor. ]

This guide is going to be based on Latin American Spanish, but the terms are quite basic and are so understandable in most, if not all countries.

You can read more here, where there’s a list of ways to pronounce words in case you’re heading to any pride events in a Spanish speaking country. The comment section adds a few more. I find it interesting. I speak book Italian fluently, but very little Spanish.

Jean Paul Zapata is a travel editor and reporter for Gaystarnews.com and I’ve posted about him several times before.

Second Chance
 
 
by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 
 
 


FREE Gay Excerpt; Gay Batman/Superman Trailer; Gay Tough Mudder; Michael Sam on OWN

FREE Gay Excerpt

I’ll be releasing my next book in the Chase of a Lifetime series, Chase of a Holy Ghost, very soon and I just got the cover from the artist and wanted to share a preview. Below, at the bottom of this post, is an excerpt from the book.

I’ll post more as soon as the book is launched. This one is an indie project for me and I don’t like to rush it. After I get edits and copy edits I usually wind up re-reading it about 200 times on my iPad just to be sure. I’m shooting for a Memorial Day Weekend release, though. (Hint to indie authors: I find that doing a final read-through on my iPad or e-reading device helps a great deal because that’s how readers will see the finished book.)

Gay Batman/Superman Trailer

Here’s a link to a gay parody trailer of the new Man of Steel 2 movie with Ben Affleck. The real film hasn’t even finished shooting yet.

The three minute short in English depicts a Batman who is struggling with his sexuality – though a cute Superman seems ever so comfortable with his.

‘Every hero has a secret,’ a voiceover says in the video, ‘But when it becomes too difficult to keep and the word starts to spread they have to accept what they truly are.’

More here.

And here are a few links to how people have reacted to Ben Affleck playing a superhero.

Gay Tough Mudder

My favorite gay travel journalist, Jean Paul Zapata, wrote about his experiences with Tough Mudder. This is from one of my previous posts…so you can see what Tough Mudder is about.  I’ve been following this because I love the idea of actually doing Tough Mudder. I would kill to do it.

I have posted about LGBT travel writer, Jean Paul Zapata, before because I always enjoy his pieces. And now he’s embarking on one of the toughest challenges of his career: Tough Mudder. In short, Tough Mudders are people who sign up for physical challenges that make boot camp look like kindergarten. It’s a lifestyle for many.
Tough Mudder is a hugely popular physical endurance regimen that is gaining in popularity even more this year in the US and UK, and Zapata recently commented on his own experiences doing it.

The West London Tough Mudder event I participated in had 10 to 12 miles of muddy uphill running trails broken up with obstacles designed by the British Special Forces, and had around 20,000 people participate over the weekend.

The obstacles ranged from carrying logs uphill to running through a mud field where open-ended electrical wires waited to sizzle you into their embrace.

You can read more here, and see a photo.

Michael Sam on OWN

I’ve been wondering when TV Network OWN would finally start producing something more current that doesn’t have that old time 1980’s and 90’s feel with Dr. Phil content and all that self-help stuff that was so popular back in the day (I don’t think most people really care “Where They Are Now”). Now OWN is finally going to do an interesting documentary on Michael Sam and his journey as a gay man working toward the NFL.

‘Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,’ Sam said in a statement Wednesday (14 May).

‘I am determined.’ He added: ‘If seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.

I’ll be looking for this one. I think Sam underestimates how many gay men of all ages he might be helping. I get letters from them all the time, and I honestly don’t always know what to say. You can’t just tell someone in the closet to come out and life will be perfect, especially if it means giving up everything they’ve ever known. That’s dangerous. And documentaries like this one with Michael Sam can at least show other men struggling with who they are that life as an openly gay person is a lot better than hiding once you finally make the decision to do it.

You can read more here.  

Excerpt from Chase of a Holy Ghost

They asked Jim a few more questions about the medical marijuana dispensaries and his limited relationship with Hal Robertson and he tried to answer them with direct eye contact and an even tone.  Jim invited them both into the house because he knew they weren’t trying to implicate him with Hal’s disappearance by that time and he wanted to help them out as much as he could.  The fact that a man had gone missing bothered Jim the most.  Detective Sorrento seemed eager to have a cup of coffee.  But Landers shot his partner a look and said, “We don’t have time.  We have a lot of places to go after this. And we’re working on more important cases.”

This comment bothered Jim even more. “More important than a missing man?”

Landers shrugged. “I’m afraid we have priorities. The fact is some cases like this one are never solved.”

This should have made Jim feel better, but he frowned and said, “I see.”

“I’d kind of like coffee,” Sorrento said.

“Well you’ll just have to wait until lunchtime,” Landers said, sending his partner a dirty look.

When Jim saw the crestfallen expression with which Sorrento replied to Landers, he wanted to take him into the house and give him coffee anyway.  Although he was over six feet tall and made of muscle, he had an almost childlike quality Jim found hard to resist.  It wasn’t anything sexual and Jim would never have made sexual advances toward a straight man even if he hadn’t been married.  Some straight men had an effect on Jim and he’d never understood why. He wanted to protect them. It was usually the biggest and strongest and most clueless that made him feel that way.

Right after that Detective Landers said, “Thanks for your time.  I doubt we’ll be contacting you in the future.  I’m not sure it’s a strong case in any respect,” he turned toward the dark SUV he’d parked near the front steps.

“If I can help, just let me know,” Jim said.  “I don’t mind you contacting me again.” Len would have smacked him in the back of the head for saying that. But Jim was starting to feel terrible about the fact that no one seemed to care Hal was missing, not even the police. “If you know anyone interested in buying a few medical marijuana dispensaries, please let me know.  Hal Robertson was my only hope.”

Detective Landers laughed and said, “Sorry I can’t help you out there.”

Jim turned to join him and tripped over a rock, lost his balance completely, and went face forward into one of the round boxwoods that lined the driveway.

Without saying a word, Detective Sorrento lurched toward Jim and grabbed him just as he was about to land on the boxwood.  He reached under Jim’s arms, lifted him up high, and turned him around.

It happened so fast Jim didn’t even realize it until Sorrento lowered him and said, “Damn.  Are you okay, buddy?”

Jim felt his face grow warm.  “I’m fine.  Thanks.”

Detective Landers honked the horn.  He’d missed the fall and didn’t know why Sorrento hadn’t followed him to the car.

“I better get moving,” Sorrento said.  “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Jim nodded.  “I’m fine.”  He wanted to punch himself for being so clumsy.

As Sorrento turned to leave, he patted Jim on the shoulder and said, “Sorry about what I said earlier about the homosexuals.  I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Jim watched him lope back to the SUV.  “No offense taken.”

When Detective Sorrento was in the SUV, Jim stood in the driveway and waved as they turned around to head back to the main road.  It struck him there was something familiar about Detective Sorrento he couldn’t figure out.  Although he knew he’d never actually met him, he felt as if he’d seen him somewhere before.

He glanced at his watch and realized it was getting late.  Even though he didn’t have to deal with selling the marijuana dispensaries at that point, he still had a heavy workload.  He had one online retailer who needed more web exposure.  He had another brand new designer who wanted to come up with a public relations campaign that would give back to the community and help brand her business.  So he went into the house and up to his top floor office near the bell tower and forgot all about Hal Robertson and the two detectives until later that day.

Around two in the afternoon, almost exactly around the time Jim usually started wrapping things up so he could go back to West Hollywood and pick Culum up from school, the phone rang and Jim answered without thinking.  He normally would have let it go to voicemail at that hour.  He knew if it was Len or anyone important they would have called his cell phone next.

A mild voice said, “May I please speak with Jim Darling?”

“This is he,” said Jim.  “I’m in a hurry, though.  If you give me your name and number I’ll call you back tomorrow.”  Jim glanced at his watch.  He didn’t want to be late for Culum.

“It will only take a minute,” the guy said.  “I want to talk to you about setting up a meeting to make an offer on a business you own.  The medical marijuana dispensaries.  My name is Vince Robertson.  My uncle was going to buy the dispensaries, but now I’m interested in them.”

 
 
 
 
Palm Beach Stud by Ryan Field
 
 

His Only Choice by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 
 
The Preacher’s Husband by Ryan Field
 
 
 

FREE Gay Excerpt; Gay Batman/Superman Trailer; Gay Tough Mudder; Michael Sam on OWN

FREE Gay Excerpt

I’ll be releasing my next book in the Chase of a Lifetime series, Chase of a Holy Ghost, very soon and I just got the cover from the artist and wanted to share a preview. Below, at the bottom of this post, is an excerpt from the book.

I’ll post more as soon as the book is launched. This one is an indie project for me and I don’t like to rush it. After I get edits and copy edits I usually wind up re-reading it about 200 times on my iPad just to be sure. I’m shooting for a Memorial Day Weekend release, though. (Hint to indie authors: I find that doing a final read-through on my iPad or e-reading device helps a great deal because that’s how readers will see the finished book.)

Gay Batman/Superman Trailer

Here’s a link to a gay parody trailer of the new Man of Steel 2 movie with Ben Affleck. The real film hasn’t even finished shooting yet.

The three minute short in English depicts a Batman who is struggling with his sexuality – though a cute Superman seems ever so comfortable with his.

‘Every hero has a secret,’ a voiceover says in the video, ‘But when it becomes too difficult to keep and the word starts to spread they have to accept what they truly are.’

More here.

And here are a few links to how people have reacted to Ben Affleck playing a superhero.

Gay Tough Mudder

My favorite gay travel journalist, Jean Paul Zapata, wrote about his experiences with Tough Mudder. This is from one of my previous posts…so you can see what Tough Mudder is about.  I’ve been following this because I love the idea of actually doing Tough Mudder. I would kill to do it.

I have posted about LGBT travel writer, Jean Paul Zapata, before because I always enjoy his pieces. And now he’s embarking on one of the toughest challenges of his career: Tough Mudder. In short, Tough Mudders are people who sign up for physical challenges that make boot camp look like kindergarten. It’s a lifestyle for many.
Tough Mudder is a hugely popular physical endurance regimen that is gaining in popularity even more this year in the US and UK, and Zapata recently commented on his own experiences doing it.

The West London Tough Mudder event I participated in had 10 to 12 miles of muddy uphill running trails broken up with obstacles designed by the British Special Forces, and had around 20,000 people participate over the weekend.

The obstacles ranged from carrying logs uphill to running through a mud field where open-ended electrical wires waited to sizzle you into their embrace.

You can read more here, and see a photo.

Michael Sam on OWN

I’ve been wondering when TV Network OWN would finally start producing something more current that doesn’t have that old time 1980’s and 90’s feel with Dr. Phil content and all that self-help stuff that was so popular back in the day (I don’t think most people really care “Where They Are Now”). Now OWN is finally going to do an interesting documentary on Michael Sam and his journey as a gay man working toward the NFL.

‘Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,’ Sam said in a statement Wednesday (14 May).

‘I am determined.’ He added: ‘If seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.

I’ll be looking for this one. I think Sam underestimates how many gay men of all ages he might be helping. I get letters from them all the time, and I honestly don’t always know what to say. You can’t just tell someone in the closet to come out and life will be perfect, especially if it means giving up everything they’ve ever known. That’s dangerous. And documentaries like this one with Michael Sam can at least show other men struggling with who they are that life as an openly gay person is a lot better than hiding once you finally make the decision to do it.

You can read more here.  

Excerpt from Chase of a Holy Ghost

They asked Jim a few more questions about the medical marijuana dispensaries and his limited relationship with Hal Robertson and he tried to answer them with direct eye contact and an even tone.  Jim invited them both into the house because he knew they weren’t trying to implicate him with Hal’s disappearance by that time and he wanted to help them out as much as he could.  The fact that a man had gone missing bothered Jim the most.  Detective Sorrento seemed eager to have a cup of coffee.  But Landers shot his partner a look and said, “We don’t have time.  We have a lot of places to go after this. And we’re working on more important cases.”

This comment bothered Jim even more. “More important than a missing man?”

Landers shrugged. “I’m afraid we have priorities. The fact is some cases like this one are never solved.”

This should have made Jim feel better, but he frowned and said, “I see.”

“I’d kind of like coffee,” Sorrento said.

“Well you’ll just have to wait until lunchtime,” Landers said, sending his partner a dirty look.

When Jim saw the crestfallen expression with which Sorrento replied to Landers, he wanted to take him into the house and give him coffee anyway.  Although he was over six feet tall and made of muscle, he had an almost childlike quality Jim found hard to resist.  It wasn’t anything sexual and Jim would never have made sexual advances toward a straight man even if he hadn’t been married.  Some straight men had an effect on Jim and he’d never understood why. He wanted to protect them. It was usually the biggest and strongest and most clueless that made him feel that way.

Right after that Detective Landers said, “Thanks for your time.  I doubt we’ll be contacting you in the future.  I’m not sure it’s a strong case in any respect,” he turned toward the dark SUV he’d parked near the front steps.

“If I can help, just let me know,” Jim said.  “I don’t mind you contacting me again.” Len would have smacked him in the back of the head for saying that. But Jim was starting to feel terrible about the fact that no one seemed to care Hal was missing, not even the police. “If you know anyone interested in buying a few medical marijuana dispensaries, please let me know.  Hal Robertson was my only hope.”

Detective Landers laughed and said, “Sorry I can’t help you out there.”

Jim turned to join him and tripped over a rock, lost his balance completely, and went face forward into one of the round boxwoods that lined the driveway.

Without saying a word, Detective Sorrento lurched toward Jim and grabbed him just as he was about to land on the boxwood.  He reached under Jim’s arms, lifted him up high, and turned him around.

It happened so fast Jim didn’t even realize it until Sorrento lowered him and said, “Damn.  Are you okay, buddy?”

Jim felt his face grow warm.  “I’m fine.  Thanks.”

Detective Landers honked the horn.  He’d missed the fall and didn’t know why Sorrento hadn’t followed him to the car.

“I better get moving,” Sorrento said.  “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Jim nodded.  “I’m fine.”  He wanted to punch himself for being so clumsy.

As Sorrento turned to leave, he patted Jim on the shoulder and said, “Sorry about what I said earlier about the homosexuals.  I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Jim watched him lope back to the SUV.  “No offense taken.”

When Detective Sorrento was in the SUV, Jim stood in the driveway and waved as they turned around to head back to the main road.  It struck him there was something familiar about Detective Sorrento he couldn’t figure out.  Although he knew he’d never actually met him, he felt as if he’d seen him somewhere before.

He glanced at his watch and realized it was getting late.  Even though he didn’t have to deal with selling the marijuana dispensaries at that point, he still had a heavy workload.  He had one online retailer who needed more web exposure.  He had another brand new designer who wanted to come up with a public relations campaign that would give back to the community and help brand her business.  So he went into the house and up to his top floor office near the bell tower and forgot all about Hal Robertson and the two detectives until later that day.

Around two in the afternoon, almost exactly around the time Jim usually started wrapping things up so he could go back to West Hollywood and pick Culum up from school, the phone rang and Jim answered without thinking.  He normally would have let it go to voicemail at that hour.  He knew if it was Len or anyone important they would have called his cell phone next.

A mild voice said, “May I please speak with Jim Darling?”

“This is he,” said Jim.  “I’m in a hurry, though.  If you give me your name and number I’ll call you back tomorrow.”  Jim glanced at his watch.  He didn’t want to be late for Culum.

“It will only take a minute,” the guy said.  “I want to talk to you about setting up a meeting to make an offer on a business you own.  The medical marijuana dispensaries.  My name is Vince Robertson.  My uncle was going to buy the dispensaries, but now I’m interested in them.”

 
 
 
 
Palm Beach Stud by Ryan Field
 
 

His Only Choice by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 
 
The Preacher’s Husband by Ryan Field
 
 
 

Broadway Men Strip; Advice for Writers; Twitter in Danger; Mini Cooper & Jean Paul Zapata On Ice

Broadway Men Strip

In an effort to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, eleven male dancers from popular B’way shows will strip at New York’s BRM nightclub on May 11.

The intimate event serves as a bit of a tease for “Broadway Bares: Rock Hard!,” which takes place on June 22 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

For more information on “Broadway Bares: Solo Strips,” head here. In the meantime, enjoy photos of the participating dancers in the slideshow below.

Link to article, here. I checked the link with the article and you won’t be disappointed with the sneak preview.

Advice For Writers

In what I think is the most comprehensive spot on post I’ve seen in a long time with advice for writers, the article to which I’m linking next lists thirteen facts writers should know…if they want to be in this game for the proverbial long haul. I’ve been working as a writer for over twenty years and there isn’t one thing I can’t agree with. I could probably add more, but this list, as it stands, is about as good as it gets in a general sense.

Here are a couple I found most important:

5. Trust no one. Okay, that’s extreme but essentially, no writer should count on anyone else professionally. Your agent, your editor, your publisher: they are not your friends. They are not your business manager. They are people who you work with as a self-employed part of the publishing machine. They might love you, but when the numbers don’t add up—later, gator.

This is the number one reason why I have never formed any social relationships with publishers, editors, or agents. Writing is my business and I keep it business and never mix it with my social life. I see new writers all the time talking about how close they are to their small presses, especially in m/m romance. Sometimes it sounds almost cult like. Trust me on this, you’re playing a dangerous game. Think like a businessperson, not a friend, with publishers. Their bottom line is to make money any way they can, and they are doing that by promoting a stable of authors, not just one author.

8. People lie. Writers are professional liars. I’ve listened to keynotes from writers and known they weren’t telling the truth. I’ve seen ‘deals’ posted in Publishers Marketplace and known the agent was grossly exaggerating the sale. No one blogs about “my career has gone down the crapper”. Nope. People talk about good things. So don’t let it discourage you when everyone seems to be doing better than you. Often they’re hanging on by their fingernails.

I have nothing to add to this other than, BRAVO. Trust nothing you see on facebook, especially. They are all full of crap 🙂 And never let those literary award promotional things get to you. In the past twenty years I’ve seen a lot of people win literary awards and very few have ever sold many books…or gone on to write that many books either. In my upcoming 110,000 word novel, The Small Town Romance Writer, I get into awards in-depth in ways I think might piss a few people off. But I think readers will enjoy it. (More about this novel tomorrow, with excerpts.)

2.  The minute you think you have it made, your career is over.

I think #2 is the most important. Not only is there a great deal of competition out there, it’s getting stronger because of authors who are gaming the system and working more than a few illegal angles. And if you’re not gaming the system this only means you have to work harder…fucking ten times harder 🙂  

You can read the rest here.

Twitter in Danger

I found this article interesting because I’ve been on Twitter since it began and I’ve always found it the most difficult of all social media to deal with. I think most of the people on there who know how to work the Twitter system have paid for followers in large quantity, which makes a good deal of Twitter more about vanity than success. I get at least four e-mails a day from public relation firms asking me for money to get Twitter followers. And out of all social media platforms Twitter brings me the lowest number of hits at any given time. For me, Twitter is for the ultra-successful celebs and the most well-known in the world, and I often wonder whether or not they are actually making the tweets themselves.

As we discussed earlier this year, Twitter’s biggest challenge when it comes to attracting and holding onto new users essentially boils down to content curation. New users can’t find the information they want, or filter out the information they don’t want. But as Twitter works to rectify these issues, Facebook, which has about five times as many users and an audience coveted by the media and other content providers, might have already stolen the march on it.

I also find it hard to interact on Twitter in a comfortable way. If you don’t understand the way Twitter works, you could misinterpret something. But what I dislike most of all is something I’ve done myself in the past: just sharing inane links from major media sources no one really freaking cares about. Late last night I was on Twitter and spotted over two dozen tweets like this and I just kept rolling my eyes. It’s so transparent that you’re on Twitter just to be on Twitter and tweet something it makes you look like you’re willing to do anything to get attention and remain relevant. Bottom line: no one cares what Oprah Winfrey is doing if you’re tweeting it. They only care about it if Oprah’s tweeting it.

Twitter works for Anderson Cooper. It works for the Pope. It works for sexy Scott Baio when he’s off on another one of his entertaining political rants. But it doesn’t work for the average person or the midlist author unless you’ve found a small group with whom you can share tweets all day long. Oh, I’ve seen THOSE mean girl gossip sessions plenty of times. My first thought is UGH! And then ,how freaking boring is that?

In any event, I do think Twitter will be around for a long time, but never as popular as Facebook with the mainstream because it’s lacking visuals and it’s harder for people who aren’t tech savvy to use. 

Here’s the rest of the piece.  

Mini Cooper and Jean Paul Zapata On Ice

My favorite GSN writer, Jean Paul Zapata, recently took a crash course in how to drive a Mini Cooper on ice. I’m also a huge fan of Minis. I’ve used them in novels, and when we went car shopping last January we seriously thought about buying one. We didn’t. We thought it would be too small for travel with two dogs and we bought something bigger. But I haven’t ruled getting one out in the future.

For over four hours, drivers get the chance to test the Mini Cooper Countryman All4 on a frozen lake racetrack just a few minutes’ drive from the ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland.

After checking in with a valid driver’s license and getting a few pointers from experienced instructors, drivers first do a series of exercises to test the acceleration and braking powers of the four-wheel drive.

You can read more here, and also find out more about Jean Paul Zapata. I wish he’d put more out there about himself, especially photos.

Burned Lesbian Trailer; Bill Maher Gay Mafia; Tough Mudders Jean Paul Zapata

Burned Lesbian House

A man allegedly attempted to burn down a trailer in Florida because lesbians were living there, and the lesbian couple had eight kids.

The trailer had no fire detectors, and a neighbor from across the street awakened the people inside.

The police report notes the suspect left his home and ‘casually began observing the fire. In fact one of his neighbors had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose’ to put the fire out. Firefighters were called and the home, according to the police, had ‘considerable damage.’

Surveillance tape from another neighbor show Valenzuela-Villanueva setting the fire.

Good for surveillance cameras. I used to be anti-surveillance camera because I thought they were an invasion of privacy. But they seem to be catching a lot of criminals in the act, which changed my opinion completely. I now have them everywhere and I highly recommend the small investment.

You can read more here.

Bill Maher Gay Mafia

I’ve posted several times about the Brendan Eich issue where he was appointed CEO of Mozilla, it was disclosed he donated to an anti-gay cause that would help stop gay marriage, and he ultimately resigned after a huge firestorm erupted. I also stated I didn’t agree with the way all this went down and I often find myself in situations where I’m not comfortable with what some gay activists say and do and I’d rather not be represented by them. However, for Bill Maher to weigh in on this topic and refer to gay activists as the “gay mafia” is about as insulting as it gets.

After asking the panel for their opinions on the resignation, Maher says: ‘I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked.’

 His comments were in response to Sheffield’s observation that Eich made the donation ‘when president Obama was still against gay marriage. So, I don’t think it’s very fair.’

First, in any context, I don’t see how Eich’s donation has anything to do with President Obama’s stand on gay marriage. President Obama, like all politicians before him, took no stand and basically said that he would leave it up to the states. It wasn’t until popular opinion started to change that the President finally started to support gay marriage in public. He, like all politicians, remained dead silent until he knew what public opinion would be. And for those who don’t remember, it was good old Democrat Bill Clinton that gave us DOMA in the first place.

Second, if Eich had donated his money to a group that was against any other minority separate from the LGBT community I doubt Bill Maher would be making these offhanded comments right now. And if Maher had made statements like that and he had referenced another other group, like say the African American community, the heavens would have exploded and Maher would have been released from his contract faster than Paula Deen closed Bubba’s restaurant. And, rightly so.

Bill Maher needs to get his head out of his ass.

You can read more here.

Tough Mudders Jean Paul Zapata

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_Sailor_crawls_through_the_mud_on_his_way_through_the_third_obstacle_of_the_Tough_Mudder_competition.jpg

I have posted about LGBT travel writer, Jean Paul Zapata, before because I always enjoy his pieces. And now he’s embarking on one of the toughest challenges of his career: Tough Mudder. In short, Tough Mudders are people who sign up for physical challenges that make boot camp look like kindergarten. It’s a lifestyle for many.

I’m not fearful of the pools of ice, scaling slippery walls, or charging into arenas with low-voltage cables that work like cattle prods pushing people on to the next obstacle. ]

I’m not worried about the mystery obstacle, or the dubiously named Balls to the Wall, Hangin’ Tough or Just The Tip courses.

I am scared of running behind a group of guys wearing the infamous Borat man-kini.

You can read more here. I’ll be following this just to see what Zapata looks like shirtless and covered in mud.

Burned Lesbian Trailer; Bill Maher Gay Mafia; Tough Mudders Jean Paul Zapata

Burned Lesbian House

A man allegedly attempted to burn down a trailer in Florida because lesbians were living there, and the lesbian couple had eight kids.

The trailer had no fire detectors, and a neighbor from across the street awakened the people inside.

The police report notes the suspect left his home and ‘casually began observing the fire. In fact one of his neighbors had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose’ to put the fire out. Firefighters were called and the home, according to the police, had ‘considerable damage.’

Surveillance tape from another neighbor show Valenzuela-Villanueva setting the fire.

Good for surveillance cameras. I used to be anti-surveillance camera because I thought they were an invasion of privacy. But they seem to be catching a lot of criminals in the act, which changed my opinion completely. I now have them everywhere and I highly recommend the small investment.

You can read more here.

Bill Maher Gay Mafia

I’ve posted several times about the Brendan Eich issue where he was appointed CEO of Mozilla, it was disclosed he donated to an anti-gay cause that would help stop gay marriage, and he ultimately resigned after a huge firestorm erupted. I also stated I didn’t agree with the way all this went down and I often find myself in situations where I’m not comfortable with what some gay activists say and do and I’d rather not be represented by them. However, for Bill Maher to weigh in on this topic and refer to gay activists as the “gay mafia” is about as insulting as it gets.

After asking the panel for their opinions on the resignation, Maher says: ‘I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked.’

 His comments were in response to Sheffield’s observation that Eich made the donation ‘when president Obama was still against gay marriage. So, I don’t think it’s very fair.’

First, in any context, I don’t see how Eich’s donation has anything to do with President Obama’s stand on gay marriage. President Obama, like all politicians before him, took no stand and basically said that he would leave it up to the states. It wasn’t until popular opinion started to change that the President finally started to support gay marriage in public. He, like all politicians, remained dead silent until he knew what public opinion would be. And for those who don’t remember, it was good old Democrat Bill Clinton that gave us DOMA in the first place.

Second, if Eich had donated his money to a group that was against any other minority separate from the LGBT community I doubt Bill Maher would be making these offhanded comments right now. And if Maher had made statements like that and he had referenced another other group, like say the African American community, the heavens would have exploded and Maher would have been released from his contract faster than Paula Deen closed Bubba’s restaurant. And, rightly so.

Bill Maher needs to get his head out of his ass.

You can read more here.

Tough Mudders Jean Paul Zapata

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_Sailor_crawls_through_the_mud_on_his_way_through_the_third_obstacle_of_the_Tough_Mudder_competition.jpg

I have posted about LGBT travel writer, Jean Paul Zapata, before because I always enjoy his pieces. And now he’s embarking on one of the toughest challenges of his career: Tough Mudder. In short, Tough Mudders are people who sign up for physical challenges that make boot camp look like kindergarten. It’s a lifestyle for many.

I’m not fearful of the pools of ice, scaling slippery walls, or charging into arenas with low-voltage cables that work like cattle prods pushing people on to the next obstacle. ]

I’m not worried about the mystery obstacle, or the dubiously named Balls to the Wall, Hangin’ Tough or Just The Tip courses.

I am scared of running behind a group of guys wearing the infamous Borat man-kini.

You can read more here. I’ll be following this just to see what Zapata looks like shirtless and covered in mud.

Penis Museum; Banned Russia; Tom Daley’s Ratings;

Penis Museum

Evidently, there’s a penis museum in Iceland that displays all things penis, from whale penis to over 90 other varieties, including human penis. In more scientific terms, it’s called The Icelandic Phallological Museum.

Even the polar bear chained to one of Reykjavik’s most popular shops seemed to snicker at me as I struggled to take a selfie with him/her.

And what an adorable selfie it is, too! This guy, Jean Paul Zapata, could be a character in any number of my books.  He’s the travel editor for Gay Star News. I couldn’t find much about him with a simple search, but you can see another photo of him here. I couldn’t find a facebook page. 

You can read more here.

Banned Russia

According to this article, Russia, or any other country that practices discrimination of any kind, could be banned from hosting future Olympic games.

Critics have accused the IOC of turning a blind eye to anti-gay legislation in Russia. And while Russian officials told the IOC before the Olympics began that they would not discriminate against gay people around a hundred people have been arrested since Sochi began.

You can read more here.

I knew there would be arrests and discrimination. And even if there weren’t how many LGBTI people walked around in absolute fear?

Tom Daley’s Ratings

Tom Daley’s ITV show, Splash, might be ending soon thanks to poor ratings.

The ITV show pulled in disappointing numbers for the final, with only 4.4 million tuning in compared to last year’s 6.5 million. The Sun reports ITV bosses are now considering scrapping the diving competition.

You can read more here.

It’s hard to get people to watch TV shows about swimming, let alone one with a gay host. I’ve been going back and forth with a good friend all week about how much we both love HBO’s Looking and how we’re hoping it gets a few more seasons. It’s a great show that really depicts many gay men, and it represents a large segment of the gay community well. But some of the reviews by gay men from other segments of the gay community have left me speechless.

I think a lot of this is generational, too. Younger people are watching less TV every day. And if they are watching it’s on their computer/tablet and I have no idea how ratings work in that sense.

I didn’t see Splash, but if I’d been producing it the swimmers would have been wearing thongs. You’d see ratings hit the roof then.