Views on pop culture through my eyes

Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

Gun Control Now

American AR-15This week we are taking a break from pop culture to talk about a serious issue: gun control. So much has happened in this world, I think it is time to speak up.

I don’t have much, if any, experience with guns. I have never owned one, or wanted to own one. Same for my husband. Growing up, I remember there was an old shotgun above the door in my parent’s den. I have no idea if the thing ever worked or not or is it just a decoration.

As an adult, I almost had a collision with another car. When I got out to inspect my car, the driver of the other car waved a gun at me. Needless to say, I ran back into my car and took off. I reported the incident to the cops, and nothing became of it.

Guns have taken the lives of 3 people I know in my circle. One was a friend from work who committed suicide. The other 2 were drive-by shootings of children.

What good comes from a gun? I can’t think of one thing. All I know is that they bring death and destruction. Sure, law enforcement and military can bring down bad people with them. But these days we are seeing too many good people die at the hands of guns.

Where can I go and feel safe from gun violence? I can’t go to the movies, a concert, nightclub, church, work, or just walking my neighborhood without possibly getting shot. Too many people have way too many guns. I heard there are 101 guns for every 100 people in the U.S. That is a sad and scary statistic.

This year I participated in the March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018. This is the series of events started after the school shooting in Parkland, FL. I am impressed with the young people that have started this revolution. It is time to have sensible gun control in this country.

Honestly, I would be fine with banning all guns. Again, what good are they? I don’t want to see another mass shooting in my lifetime. There has been too much bloodshed in this country. Mass shootings, drive-bys, murders, racial profiling, senseless deaths by racist cops, suicides, accidental shootings and more. Gun violence has destroyed the lives of promising individuals who are missed every day by their loved ones.

At the very least, ban assault rifles. These are weapons of war, and a normal, sane individual knows that. Only someone who wants to cause harm would own one.

And the best that politicians can offer is “thoughts and prayers.” I am done with that. And the putting the flag at half-staff too. We need action on guns and mental health also. I don’t want myself or any of my friends and family to be another statistic.

Let’s continue to raise our voices. It is time for gun control now.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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A Different Place in Life

Have you ever thought that you are in a different place in life than those around you? I have, and here’s why.

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I went to a couple of pool parties this past summer… clothing optional. While I enjoy that for what it is, part of me feels like I am over this. There’s got to be more to life than this.

I am getting older… I accept it and embrace it as best I can. I have had a few things make me start thinking about mortality lately… my Mom dying, friends dying young, various illnesses with friends and family.

What do I want my legacy to be? My guess for a lot of straight people would be that they considered their kids their legacy. But what about me — the coupled gay guy who doesn’t have any kids? What will be my legacy? And have I made enough difference in the world?

I am trying to be a role model for others in my community… I am in a loving long-term relationship with a man, and at this point in my life I don’t care what other people think of me. I am Dan. I may dress a little funny, act a little funny… but at the end of the day, I’m me. I love Dan… and for a long time I didn’t. So yes, marching to the beat of your own drum is a good thing in my opinion.

I have had an idea about staring a non-profit… but haven’t really pushed for it yet. Same for an idea I had about strengthening other same-sex relationships. I need to follow my instincts and make it happen. Plus I thought about having some sort of contest to win a kilt for your prom or wedding on this blog too. Not sure how I would fund it yet. I want to encourage creativity, individuality, community service and more.

So, yes, I have been thinking… if not exactly making it happen yet. I hope I always have a youthful outlook on life, even if my age says I am a senior now. Please sound off in the comments on how you are coping with aging. Thanks for reading.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Celebrating Pride 2018

Happy Pride season everyone! It’s that time to break out your rainbow gear and sunscreen as you head down to your local pride parade/festival. At this point in my life, I have experienced 33 years of pride celebrations. Most of them in Los Angeles, but a few times in San Francisco, once in Palm Springs and once in Boston too. I love the energy and diversity that I see on display!

Last year, Los Angeles opted to have a Pride Protest instead of the usual parade. It was happy to see all the people that wanted to protest. But it was back to normal (or should I say new normal) with this year’s celebration.

I realized something this year — and it is has been building to this for a few years. I am in love with the idea of Pride, but not the reality of Pride. Is it because I am getting older? Or is it because Pride has changed? It is probably a bit of both.

The Pride Festival in Los Angeles costs $25 for a single day or $40 for 2 days. That just gets you in the door to the festival grounds in West Hollywood Park. Add in any food and drinks you want, and you are looking at a decent amount of money spent for the day. They used to get performers I knew and loved — now not so much. LA’s biggest headliner was Tove Lo — I know I like 2 of her songs, not enough to interest me in going to see her.

There used to be community organizations and small businesses at Pride. Now they have all been pushed out in favor of corporations like Chase, Target and Busch. It’s more about making a buck off of the gay community now versus a safe place for us to celebrate being members of a marginalized community.

Last year’s protest put the spotlight back on issues instead of partying. We had gotten used to ever-increasing acceptability/visibility in our society. Then Trump got elected. He was supposedly the most gay-friendly Republican ever. I didn’t believe it for a minute.

For the 2nd year in a row, my husband and I decided not to go to the Pride festival. It doesn’t hold much appeal for us anymore. A lot of money for a short period of time, and not many things that interest us there either.

We did make it to the Pride Parade though. I enjoyed it as I always do. And it was the biggest crowd that I have seen in quite a long time. And I was happy to see that there was still a good segment of activism in attendance — from transgendered issues — to stopping gun violence — to organizations catering to blacks and Muslims. Plus a good amount of churches, community organizations and barely-dressed guys dancing in Speedos. Yeah, there were corporations like Disney, Delta and Metro. But big corporations being supportive of gay rights are the new normal.

So will I go to the Pride festival next year? Not sure. I live my life openly and honestly — so in reality I am celebrating Pride every day. I get to share my life with my husband and I have supportive friends and family. I hope you are as blessed as I am. Thanks for reading.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

What if Your Sexuality Didn’t Matter

With all the amazing advances in the LGBT movement the past couple of years, I was wondering what the future will look like. Do you think we will ever live in a world where your sexuality didn’t matter? It’s an interesting question to ponder.LGBT-Shirt

So when you are growing up and you went to the prom, you could show up with a guy or a girl as your date and no one would bat an eye or call you out for being different. And maybe your could win as favorite couple as guy-guy or girl-girl, and then have your pics in the school newspaper and be celebrated as a cool couple, not just the cool gay couple or the cute straight couple.

A world where your sexuality was no longer assumed to be straight. For myself, and other guys my age, we can attest to this one. I was at the gym a few years back, and one woman commented on my haircut — I had a mohawk at the time. She said something along the lines of “Bet the girls love you with that haircut.” I just agreed with her… when I felt like “How dare you assume that I am straight?” In this world I am describing the woman would instead say, “Bet your partners love you with that haircut.”

You hear more and more young LGBT people say they were never in the closet. That is fantastic. I hope that we come to live in a world where people can just be — be the amazing people they were destined to be without any preconceived notions about who they should or should not be dating/sleeping/living with.

To live in a world where you didn’t have to change pronouns for who you were dating — be it with your family, friends, coworkers, etc. I am lucky such that when I got married my husband, my friends from work threw me a big wedding shower. And at the ceremony I had family members and friends there.

I look forward to a world where your sexuality doesn’t matter. In this political climate, let’s keep fighting for that to happen.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

Guys I Want to See in a Kilt 4

As an avid kilt wearer, one of my favorite past-times is making up lists of cute guys that I would love to see in a kilt. These men could be wearing them in character in the movies or TV, or maybe strutting down the red carpet or posting an Instagram pic for their fans. All I know is that they would definitely rock them. Read on for whom I would like to see in a kilt:

Brandon Larracuente (13 Reasons Why) He wasn’t even the lead in this show, but he definitely made an impression on me! His manly good looks would work well for a modern utility kilt — while hanging out with friends at Coachella. I could totally see it!

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Noctural Animals, Kick-Ass) There’s something raw and animalistic about this man. He would look great on the red carpet in a dress kilt at a movie premiere.

Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Wind River) He first came to my attention on “The Walking Dead.” But he has proved to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors. He would look great in a casual kilt or a dress kilt — I can’t choose!

Russell Tovey (Loving, Quantico) With his big ears and British accent, I find this guy pretty adorable. He plays a spy on Quantico, so maybe he could go undercover in a kilt for some operation.

Luke Evans (Beauty & the Beast) He’s the 2nd out gay celebrity on here (after Russell Tovey). He looks like the guy who would star in a period drama. So let’s have him wear a fancy dress kilt for a fancy party in one scene.

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley (singers from Florida Georgia Line) These rule breakers are currently country’s top duo. They came out with the smash “Cruise” with Nelly in 2012, and have been riding high ever since. They love country, pop and hip-hop. Why not break some rules with fashion too?

Adan Canto (Designated Survivor, X-Men: Days of Future Past) He plays one of the President’s closest advisors on the ABC series. Not afraid to show his body, I could see him wearing a Sport Kilt to compete in a Spartan Race.

Charlie Weber (How to Get Away with Murder) He plays a shady lawyer on the hit ABC drama. He’s a man’s man… with a nice trimmed beard. He would look great wearing a kilt to the Emmy awards.

Shawn Mendes (singer “Mercy,” “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”) The sensitive, and sexy, singer-songwriter has won me over after seeing him on “MTV Unplugged.” He could totally rock a kilt on his globe hopping world tours.

So what do you think of my list? Who did I forget? As always, comments are kindly welcomed. And please check out the past editions of this topic here on my blog. Thanks for reading.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

Are You a Kilt Guy?

As a kilt wearer for the last 12 years, I have come to realize that my life has been better since I wear kilts. I get to be me, and I don’t have to dress to impress anyone else or follow some trend. For those that are thinking about taking the leap — and getting a kilt — here are some reasons to give it a try.IMG_4347

  1. You’ll find hidden confidence.
    I thought that kilts looked cool. I had no idea, that I would take to them like I have. I know I rock it, and I prefer to wear them over my regular clothes.
  2. You will set yourself apart.
    For a long time in life, I wanted to fit in. I would pray to fit in, that I was one of the in-crowd. Now, I realize I was born to stand out and I honestly don’t care what people think of me.
  3. You will find people approaching you.
    For a shy guy like me, this is a new thing. People are intrigued by a kilt. They want to know you and ask you about your wardrobe.
  4. You will be seen as fashion forward.
    Even if people don’t remember my name, they know I love kilts. And when I don’t wear one, I am asked “Where’s the kilt?”.
  5. You find you’ll smile more.
    There is a sense of fun about a kilt. I says to other people I don’t take myself too seriously and I know how to have fun.
  6. You will assert your individuality and masculinity.
    Why be boring? A kilt says that you march to the beat of your own drum, and don’t care what other people think about you. Contrary to what some people may think, a kilt is one of the most masculine things you can wear.
  7. And lest we forget, easy access.
    Your partners will like this one! No fumbling with some cumbersome pants and underwear.

I urge all guys to give a kilt a try. You will love the comfort, and there are plenty of traditional and modern styles to choose from.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Testimony of Gratitude 2017

It has been sort of weird year for me and a lot of people. With all the chaos going on in Washington, horrible mass shootings, racial tensions, terrorists, catastrophic weather events like hurricanes and earthquakes — there is a lot to be sad and helpless about. Every day, I walk about 1.2 miles to work one way. On my walk I pass by about 10-20 vehicles or mobile homes in which people are living. They are homeless. I wish I knew how to help them.100_4322

Last year, my Mom died at the age of 88. We were close, so it was a major loss. I still have other family members alive, but the election has strained some of the relationships. Then, there have been financial challenges in my own life too…. With the cost of transportation and housing. It just never seems like you can get ahead.

Despite all of this, I have a lot to be thankful for this year. And I choose to have an attitude of gratitude every day and every minute of my life. Here is why:

  • I am 53 years young! I can still move, dance, walk, run, etc.
  • I am healthy! Some minor aches, but nothing major.
  • I am employed. Twelve years at the same company.
  • I am loved. Twenty-nine years together in a committed relationship.
  • I am cherished. By friends and family who call, write, text and just hang out with me.
  • I live in a beautiful city. Close to the ocean, the mountains, desert… not to mention lots of fun activities to do like hikes, movies, museums, concerts, etc.
  • God loves me. Even when I don’t, I know that his love for me never wavers.
  • My Mom is now one of my guardian angels watching out for me.
  • I have a beautiful little bird named AJ that brightens my days with his song and his presence.
  • I see the beauty all around me: flowers growing, birds chirping, blue sky, people of all races and colors.

I choose to have an Attitude of Gratitude in my life. I am constantly saying thanks for my many blessings. If you are blessed, pass it on. I am grateful for all that I have. And I encourage everyone to adopt a positive attitude to life. Let’s all help to lift each other up. We owe it to one another and the planet.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Pride Protest 2017

This June in West Hollywood, there will be no LGBT Pride Parade. Instead there will be a march entitled — #Resist March. This will coincide with the National Equality March in Washington, DC. It will also be the one year anniversary of the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.resist-la-pride-750x563

I am happy to hear that LA Pride organizers (Christopher Street West) are doing this event at this time. I love Pride… I have been going to the festivals and the parades for over 30 years now. The last year at the Pride Festival was not so cool for us. It was expensive, and there was not much happening other than food, drinks and entertainment. In past years, there was plenty of community organizations and small business vendors. At today’s pride, those things are gone and replaced with more ways to get drunk and party.

The parade too has changed. There used to be more smaller groups too, and not so many corporations. But I always enjoy the men in Speedos and the leather guys in ass-less chaps. But it’s OK to be missing this — this time. There are more important things going on in the world.

Here are the reasons that I am marching this year:

  1. To send a message to Donald Trump. Still hard to believe that this evil, small-minded man is the President. LGBT people don’t seem to fit in his vision of “Making America Great Again.”
  2. To remember those friends that we have lost to AIDS and those elders that came before us in the fight for gay rights.
  3. To protect marriage equality. My partner and I finally got married on August 27, 2016. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. I want to make sure that the government cannot take that away.
  4. To protect and encourage healthcare for all. Everyone regardless of income, race, or religion should have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Republicans don’t seem to think this way… their idea is to just not get sick!
  5. To protect freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. We all have the right to worship as we want (Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.). But I don’t want religion in my politics!
  6. For our youth. I want to live in a world where people can love and marry who they want, dress how they want, and worship (or not) how they want to. I want a world of diversity.
  7. For the women in the world. It is about time that women make the same as a man for doing the same job. I believe in equal pay for women and in funding for reproductive health.
  8. For the planet. I believe in science and global warming. It is very scary that our leaders do not, and want to get rid of anything good that Obama did regarding cutting emissions.
  9. For the world. To let people in other countries know that we will not sit idly by why a fool ruins our country and world. We are fed up and we are going to keep our resistance up.
  10. Because Black Lives Matter. This doesn’t get said enough. I worry that my African-American husband will go out to the store, and not return. Just because he encountered a trigger-happy racist on his trip.

For all these reasons and more, I will be marching on Sunday, June 11, 2017. And yes, the KiltMan will be rocking the kilt while he protests. I encourage you to get involved, stand up and let your voices be heard. We will NOT be silent and we are not going away.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Happy 6th Anniversary Kilt Man!

IMG_0944Thanks for being a part of this journey for me. I have been writing this blog for 6 years now. In that time, I have written 253 blog posts. They have been seen all around the world, from the United Kingdom to France — all the way to Ecuador. In total, over 50 different countries have visited my blog. That is definitely something to celebrate.

The past year has been an interesting one for me. I have experienced incredible highs — like getting married to my partner. And experienced some lows too having lost my Mom this past year. Then add on all the craziness in the world with all the violence, poverty, and the era of a reality TV president. Life can be overwhelming sometimes. I hope my writing shows that I love life, and want to inspire people to live their lives openly and honestly.

So here are a few of the highlights from the last year. Hard to believe it is almost a year since the massacre in Orlando. The world seems crazier than ever at this point. LGBT rights are still under fire from people who would love to get rid of all of us, and take back marriage equality. So I am glad to see there is a #Resist March happening in early June across the country.

Real men still wear Speedos. I am happy to see a new company called Sluggers out of Australia making some waves in America. I had to ask the question “Are You a Speedo Guy?”. It is time that guys have some option other than boring board shorts.

I got to go to some fun concerts in the past year. I hope I was able to share that joy with my readers. Everything from the triumphant returns of the Dixie Chicks and Gwen Stefani to Boyz II Men and Keith Urban. Plus I even wondered what shows from the past I would have gone to also.

Family played a big part in the past year too. My Dad celebrated his 90th birthday and had a big party in his honor. We also paid tribute to my Mom who passed away after a long illness last fall. I think both of my parents for all their love and support through the years.

I asked the question “Can we be objective” when it comes to arts and entertainment? So much of what we like or don’t like is influenced by our past experiences. I have often said I liked something only because I liked a person’s previous movie, album, etc.

Those are just a few of the highlights for the past year. Thanks for reading. I look forward to many more years of the “Kilt Man” blog.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Can We Be Objective?

Can we really be objective when it comes to art? When we watch a film, listen to an album, stream a TV show, or go to an art gallery — we bring with us our pasts, our prejudices, likes and dislikes into the equation. And they will inform and affect how we react to the current item being experienced.objective

I came up with this topic, after I heard a discussion about Madonna’s appearance on the Grammys in 2015. The people on the podcast were asking “Did you like Madonna’s performance, because it is Madonna” or was it a good performance on it’s own? If you are a fan of her, you have a history with her… your favorite Madonna performances on music video or in her concerts. Would you have liked the performance by another artist?

Since I am a big entertainment fan, I ask myself questions like this all the time. It is hard when you go to a concert, to not compare the performance to the record, and to any previous times you have seen them perform. When you see a movie, you may compare the movie to a better one, or the actors to their previous movies. There have been plenty of times I thought the movie worked because of the actors. That if it was a bunch of nobodies in the film, it wouldn’t be as interesting as having actors you were more familiar with and invested in.

For live shows, they really can’t be compared to their records, especially with dance pop stuff. I would prefer to see the spectacle, with all the set changes, lights, dancers and costumes versus having every note sung perfectly and the singer just standing there. So for me, I can forgive some lip-synching if the performance is there. Adele you want to hear her hit every note, Madonna, well, she’s a great performer not a great singer.

And then think about all the entertainment award shows? It is sort of silly to pit one person against another… especially since art is so subjective, everyone has their own opinion about what makes something great or not. Maybe it would be fair, if you could have 5 different actors doing the exact same role, and then judging one against the other. But that is not going to happen. Same for having 5 different performers singing the same song — not going to happen.

What about Hollywood’s love of remakes or reboots? Is Ben Affleck a better Batman than Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Is a sequel as good as the previous movie? I am sure you have your opinions, like we all do.

So to answer the Madonna question posed… yes, I enjoyed it because it was Madonna. But if it was Miley Cyrus doing the same performance, I think I would have liked it too. But if it was Selena Gomez, maybe not so much.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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