Tuesday, January 27, 2009


For those of you who think that a little teabagging might be hazardous to your health, turns out you might be right. Well, at least it is if you're talking about blowfish testicles. The AP is reporting that seven people were sickened with blowfish poison when an unlicensed chef prepared the dish. It just goes to show, be very choosy about the balls you put in your mouth. Personally, I prefer balls that aren't likely to cause paralysis.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is a bit of a milestone here at echeblog -- my 1000th entry. I thought about commemorating it right after the Inauguration or with a beef haiku... but neither of those felt right. After all, above anything else, this blog is about ME. It's my story, it's a reflection of me, not of beeves, of politics or celebrities or even of music. I wanted to use this moment to do something special. I thought about it for a few days and the idea really crystalized this afternoon. I had been trying to figure out how to pull it off, and then circumstance intervened. I received this comment a few minutes ago that was just perfect:
"Your blog is absolutely pointless. Have you realized that you live a trite and meaningless life, or has the fact continued to evade your conscious mind? What a waste of natural resources your (as well as you family's I presume) existence represents. Do the world a favor and bring an abrupt cessation to your existence."

So, you might think to yourself, "That's horrible!" or "What a dick!" or "Hey, he's right!" At earlier parts in my life, maybe I would have felt hurt, angry, annoyed or maybe defensive... deep down, I might have even agreed. What struck me was that I didn't feel any of these things. Rather, I found myself to be incredibly amused... Amused because for the first time in my life, I have the deep knowingness that this comment is the most absurd thing someone could say about me or anything I do. Someone could tell me that I have fifteen heads, purple scales and legs made of cotton candy and it would STILL make more sense than that.

I'll be honest here, I've spent plenty of time questioning my own value, whether it's because I haven't found the success I want, or look the way I'd like to, or manifested the stuff and relationships I've always wanted... and through the whole process, I kept wondering why it seemed like other people got to determine what I was worth and how valuable my ideas, work, music and LIFE were. How 'come all these other people get to set the hoops through which I must jump?

Finally, in the past few days, it finally hit me: Your opinions don't mean zip. I mean that in the most loving way. I'm the one who gets to choose, I'm the one who decides how I feel. Maybe I didn't see it before, but I do now and that's a wonderful thing. I couldn't think of a better use of an important milestone. Even more importantly, it's just the beginning -- I'm only just letting it sink in just how many amazing things about myself are there, how much I've grown and achieved and what mind blowing things are yet to come. I really am doing remarkably well. And so are you.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

That's, 'Mr. President,' to you.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Believe It!

The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl! It's just amazing what can happen when you give yourself a chance and start to believe... What an amazing reminder that the pieces can all fall into place when you let them.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

So Sweaty!

The latest episode of Legend of the Seeker was a very sweaty one, as the Seeker spends almost the entire episode shirtless, sweaty and glistening. That's my kind of television. It should get even sweatier this week as BSG returns on Friday. Helo usually winds up real sweaty one way or another.

And on a related BSG note, especially for those of you who watched the recent Webisodes -- could Gaeta have proven to be any more of a douchebag? I think not.

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Masterbeat New Year, New Releases!

Masterbeat New Releases - 1/12/09

It's 2009 and while many have been busy with the holidays, I was rather pleased that Masterbeat has a number of great new tracks. Here's hoping their second year in existence is even better than the first!
  • Mariah Carey - I Stay In Love (Jody den Broeder Club Mix)
    I've never been the biggest Mariah Carey fan, but she's had some good tracks, especially recently. I Stay In Love is a light ballad that translates well onto the dance floor. Not as catchy as Touch My Body, but still worth a listen. Jody den Broeder's Club Mix keeps things relatively light, which feels right for this song, in my opinion. den Broeder also has a House Mix, which is piano-based and has more energy than the Club Mix. Ralphi Rosario's Big Vocal Mix feels a little heavy for this track. I like his Melodic Radio Mix, I'd have preferred a full length version.
  • Solange - Sandcastle Disco (Lost Daze Extended Club Mix)
    Yes, she's Beyoncé's little sister and I'm a little (okay a LOT) tired of Beyoncé at the moment, but I dig Sandcastle Disco. I enjoyed her last single - I Decided, as well as the videos for both tracks. They've both got a good dose of whimsy to them, which makes Solange more fun on the ears than her sister right now. There are some decent tracks in this release, none of them quite capture the vibe of the original track. The Freemasons have a remix and normally I love their stuff. This one is pretty standard for them -- very Freemasons, but they're not able to pull off the marriage of this track with their style. It sounds okay, but it came off sounding somewhat formulaic. DJ Escape and Tony Collucio offer a more dramatic Circuit-style feel, which gives the track more of feeling of angst. Lost Daze is my favorite, with an almost electro-vibe that's got a little more juice to it but still ends up being fun.
  • The Pussycat Dolls - I Hate This Part (Moto Blanco Club Mix)
    I have a confession: I like this track. I know, while I didn't officially swear to secretly hate every PCD track, I UNOFFICIALLY swore and I just broke that vow. It just goes to show you that a good remixer can work wonders. In particular, Moto Blanco goes with their standard groovy vibe and makes this track FUN. Pussycat Dolls with disco-y goodness! While the Freemasons weren't able to marry their style with Mariah, Moto Blanco succeeds here. Dave Audé and Digital Dog have tracks that just plod along... Karmatronic goes with a more trancey feeling, which works for a while but ends up sounding a little whiney. Moto Blanco all the way.
  • Matt Zarley - Here I Am (Ayhan Sahin Crystal Ball Mix) and (Love to Infinity UK Club Mix)
    I have a some friends who take an instant disliking to male vocals, but Matt Zarley comes up with a feel good track that I'm very glad to have found. He's got a great voice and on top of it all, he's hot, gay and I'd TOTALLY sleep with him. While Matt's had other releases and has been hitting the gay scene recently, this was my first exposure to any of his stuff and I'm hooked. My favorite is the Ayhan Sahin Crystal Ball Mix that's a little more stripped down, featuring piano and acoustic guitar that I love. Love to Infinity, Solar City and Rafael M each have good mixes. Love to Infinity is a more mainstream sound with high energy and lots of piano. Solar City also comes up with another strong effort.
  • Wemixer - Revival Changes (Starplayerz Vocal House Mix)
    Taking a break from the more pop-oriented tracks, I was really struck by the vocals, that reminded me somewhat of Annie Lennox. The track is very lush and and the synths flow well, supporting the vocals really well. Not a long track, but something I really enjoyed.
  • Stefano Prada - Forever Young (Extended Vocal Mix)
    Okay, I know there are still some children of the 80s out there. Alphaville's Forever Young was one of my favorites. Stefano Prada's no Alphaville, his vocals aren't great and being Swiss, his slight accent ends up leaving the lyrics feeling a tad off... but he gets so many points for reviving this track that I like it anyway. The electric guitar also reminds me of Peter Presta's revival of Boston's More Than A Feeling. Prada doesn't pull it off quite that well, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Until next time, remember -- someone should be dancin' up in here.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I Wish I Knew...

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free...

Over at Rick's blog, he's talking about the many reasons he's not able to be himself in his day to day life. I won't elaborate because it's not my story to tell, but it's something I can definitely to which I can relate. I commented on his last entry with a question: What would it be like to be free? I've been asking myself that question a lot these days... but compared to the many moments I automatically conclude that it's just not possible, I don't ask that question nearly enough.

I wish I could break all the chains holding me...

Once upon a time I perhaps I believed that it was just about my sexuality -- I've known since a very early age and it was hard for me to deal with such a profound feeling of difference, that on a fundamental level I wasn't who I was told I was supposed to be. Of course I think it always went deeper than that. It was hard for me to walk into Kindergarten as one of the youngest students there and feel like, "Wait, I already get this and the people around me don't... something's not right here." Not sure how I came to the conclusion that if I could just try hard enough, be perfect enough, smart enough, maybe I could overcome the "different" part and earn the love I've always wanted.

I wish I could say all the things that I should say,
say 'em loud, say 'em clear for the whole world to hear.

But as the years roll on, it's become painfully clear that I'm not perfect. No matter how hard I've tried, it's never been enough. Somewhere along the line I went from, "How come I get this when the people around me don't?" to "Why don't things work for me? What am I missing?" Can't be that I haven't jumped through the right hoops... because I have. Can't be that I'm not willing to work hard... because I am.

I wish I could share all the love that's in my heart...

There've been so many people in my life whom I respect and love for so many reasons. Whether it's men or women, romantic or not... Maybe it's life as a Scorpio, but sometimes it's hard to explain what exactly what that means. At one point or another, I think I described myself as "loving fiercely." There are people I've encountered that I love with a depth I cannot possibly explain. But it's more than just being "in love" and romantic squooshiness. I've always wanted to be able to find that beautiful place, that love and joy and express it to the world. At my best, that's what I aspire to in my music.

Remove all the bars that keep us apart...

And yet, aside from family, it seems that the people I've loved the most have been the ones with whom I've been least able to express myself. Wherever my passion has been the strongest, so too has been my fear. The greater the love, the stronger the chains. For the past few years, it seems, my only solution is just not to love. In that, all that's left is disappointment, criticism, judgment and doubt. For too long it seems like arms' length is the closest I can come.

I wish you could know what it means to be me...

But that's not what's in my heart; it's never been who I really am. My voice has always been meant to be a voice of joy, of love, of celebration. Often times I seem to see things others don't -- I suppose I've wondered if maybe that's what has scared off some of those with whom I've longed to be close. Again, maybe it's just the Scorpio stereotype. Usually, what I've seen isn't something to be feared or despised. Rather, usually I see people trying to be strong even when they're scared, when they're doing the best they can. Sometimes it's where someone lets me catch them being themselves when they think other people aren't watching. Once in a while, it's someone sharing things they've not shared with someone else. Often, it's that the vulnerability, awkwardness and imperfection we try to hide is what makes us most beautiful.

then you'd see and agree that every man should be free.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fresh Veal

Alex introduced me to a new show available on Hulu - Legend of the Seeker. One of the executive producers of the show is Sam Raimi, who was executive producer of Xena, Hercules, directed the Spiderman movies, Army of Darkness, and has also written quite a lot. I've always enjoyed his work and this is another in a long line of fluffy, entertaining fantasy TV filmed in New Zealand.

Of course, the only thing I knew about it before I watched was Alex's admonishment to check out the tasty new veal in this show. He was right -- they had him shirtless and sweaty while chopping wood while within the first 5 minutes of the first episode. That's my kind of show.

The lead is played by Craig Horner, an Australian actor who, while not as tasty as my previous (also Australian) fantasy TV favorite -- Daniel Goddard who played Dar in the Beastmaster, is still a nice veal that gives me a good excuse to follow this show.

Speaking of Daniel Goddard and Beastmaster, I was quite sorry to see that show go. Daniel Goddard shirtless throughout every episode was a special treat. I was glad to find that Goddard has gone on to The Young and the Restless -- it's great that he's found steady work and I'm sure that they have him shirtless frequently as well, but it's not something I'd bring myself to watch. Goddard is definitely within that physical type that really works for me, has a smile that can melt your heart... and it's nice having a hot guy that's near my age. (Goddard is a couple of years older than I am...)

Still, the one nice thing about not watching the Beastmaster anymore is that there's no annoying sidekick, Tao, who I basically describe as Beastmaster's Lt. Gaeta. Let's hope that Legend of the Seeker doesn't fall into the trap of having the annoying, intelligent but ultimately useless sidekick.

Back to LotS, I'm hoping they find many reasons for Horner to lose his shirt and get all sweaty.

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Job Security

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cooped Up

I've been nursing a bit of a cold since just before New Years. Have been taking it easy, so as to try to recover as soon as I can, but I've been feeling a bit cooped up. So, I decided some beef with bed head was exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Roots Before Branches

"So many things to do and say, but I can't seem to find my way... but I wanna know how..."

I don't know how many of you have been following my blog for any length of time. Among the beef haikus, music reviews and snarky observations, I suppose if anything sets it apart from any other blog out there it's because it's been my story. Mainly, it's been a story of searching and trying to find a place in this world. I don't know that I've let too much of that story make it out... part of it is just a natural guardedness, whether that's from growing up gay in a straight world, life as a Scorpio, and I'm sure there are other factors thrown in there as well. Part of it, however, has been my own self-judgment... a self-defeating perfectionism that tells me that my story isn't worth telling until I've found all the things I've been looking for. Well, let me tell you how well THAT'S going.

"I know I'm meant for something else, but first I gotta find myself...but I don't know how..."

I suppose it hasn't been until recently that I started noticing just how pervasive it was... that tiny habit of telling myself that I've got to have it all figured out before it's all worth telling. That little lie that nobody cares unless you have all the answers. The only thing is that that little lie becomes a real big lie when you tell it over and over again. What I never really saw is that it just gets reflected back at me all those times I've felt like I don't get noticed or appreciated or valued. It's always been easier to blame everyone else and blame myself for not being good enough, rather than set it all down and be willing to see myself in a different way.

"Oh, why do I reach for the stars when I don't have wings to carry me that far?"

I've asked myself that question a million times. One of the best things about the past several years is that I've taken the time to really devote to myself and to really understand who I am. Sometimes that's come at the expense of the love I've longed for, for the meaningful work I've saught, the more meaningful friendships I've needed.

"I gotta have roots before branches, to know who I am before I know who I wanna be..."

I've kept looking for the one big thing that's been holding me back. I keep searching for the hidden trauma that keeps me tied down... I've been great at going back and facing all those big things. I'm a Scorpio, I excel at facing demons. The bigger the crusade, the harder I'll fight. The darkness doesn't scare me, I've stared it down many times. I don't fear losing what I have because I've lost those things and survived. Yet, at some point, you run out of demons. I keep searching and there just aren't any left.

"And faith to take chances, to live like I see... A place in this world for me."

I've spent so much time searching for my place in this world, constantly finding reasons why I could never possibly fit. So many times I've been willing to judge myself on the basis on what others think or how they respond. But now it's time to take a chance... to say that it's finally time to leave all the excuses behind and to let my place be here, to let my time be now, regardless of anything else. This is where I belong.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello 2009!

I know there are plenty of people out there who are making a list of promises for the New Year. This is certainly the time to do it -- if you're going to try to do things differently this is the logical place to start, right? While I have my own list of things I'd like to see happen this year, now that I stop and think about it, those particular really take a back seat to something a little bigger.

Around this time last year I decided that I needed to spend much less time paying attention to the things that drive me crazy. If you look around, there are people who will line up to tell you just what is wrong with you or this planet we're on. Hey, that's what sells newspapers, gets TV viewers and blog readers, right? So, I made a concerted effort to eliminate much of the negativity that passed my way. Did I eliminate all of it? No, but on the whole I think I did a pretty good job.

At the same time, I've spent a lot of time stuck on what I've chosen to see as the disappointments in my life. Notice that I said "chosen to see" because at the end of the day, I'm the one who gets to interpret my life and everything that happens in it. I've spent time pretty down on myself because I haven't managed to turn my education, talent and experience into the type of work that makes me glad to wake up in the morning. That's not to say that a reasonable observer would be wrong in interpreting things that way... but as I was sitting here I realized that in parsing out things that way, I miss the rest of the story -- that since I graduated high school many moons ago, I've found so many different things to be involved in, different work environments and fields, made good friends and colleagues, as well as having experiences that have really helped me understand who I am and what I want. By constantly seeing that I haven't gotten where I want to go, I've been missing so much of what makes the journey worthwhile. There are plenty of areas in my life where I've made that same choice, whether it's relationships or friends or any of a million other things out there.

Last week I went to the movies and when I got out, I went to look for my car and for the life of me, couldn't find it. I knew the general area, but walked up and down the lanes of the parking lot searching without luck. After a while, I finally found it -- but it was much closer than I had expected it to be -- I had forgotten that I parked it as close as I had. As I made my way out of the lot, it really struck me as the answer to a question I've been asking quite a bit these days. What I've been looking for is much closer than I've expected it to be.

So, while 2008 was about trying to pay less attention to the external things I've used as a distraction from the things that are really important to me, I feel like this is the one thing that's been the biggest pattern that causes me to stumble. It's time to see the worth in myself that I've not been willing to acknowledge throughout most of my life. It's time to enjoy the great many things about my life that I just haven't bothered to enjoy because I haven't gotten where I've wanted to end up. It's such a small thing, but something that is so pervasive that I haven't realized just how far the pattern extended.

So, for 2009, regardless of what happens -- I intend to find the best in myself and in the world around me. That really IS the change I've been waiting for.

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