Friday, October 31, 2014

I AM a big deal.

Sometimes people ask me "Josh, what's it like being a Mormon celebrity? Like, seriously, is it hard to be such a big deal?"

Gotta admit, it can be hard to be someone who exudes relevance all the time.

I'm wearing a tux. I am relevant. 

Like, for instance, it's really time-consuming to write in this blog. Once a quarter.

It's also hard to know what to be for Halloween. Do I go as some other relevant celebrity? Or do I just go as myself, and risk getting lost in the sea of other people who have decided to be Josh Weed for Halloween?

Decisions.

The most challenging part, though, is when people play coy. Like the other day at a coffee shop...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This Man Discovered Five Ways to Know an Article is Total Link-Bait Crap (Before Clicking Through).

In this article I will share with you an awesome secret that will change your life and will make internet gurus hate you!*

Hi!

If you're anything like me, you spend a good deal of your life these days clicking on links you encounter on Facebook and other social media platforms and then wondering things like "why am I looking at this list of cereal from the 80's" or "I never knew there could be this many pets in vases" or "Did I *actually* think this list of '20 Characteristics all Confident People Share' would include tips beyond what my next door neighbor could have thought of when he was in 8th grade?

As I read through an article today about 50 ways to lose weight that included such educational gems as "eat more veggies" and "lift weights"(seriously, these were actual tips) I realized the truth.

I am wasting my life.

You are probably wasting yours too. And seriously, guys, we have to stop it.

I have devised this handy list to help us differentiate between stuff we should be spending our time on and articles that are constructed solely to get clicks.

These five tips are iron-clad, Jean-Claude Van Damme-intense, surefire, tried-and-true ways to make sure you don't end up wasting any more of your life reading stuff you could have thought up yourself if you did a five minute brainstorming session or had a camera in a zoo.

Ready?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Totally not weird or gay

I'd like to introduce you to my new friend:



This is Ben Shafer. 

He and I met a few of months ago when we were both performing Rob Gardner's "Lamb of God" (which is incredible, btw) in Tacoma. We hit it off immediately, and he was like "Josh I want to be your best friend ever" except he didn't actually say those words. Well, actually, he pretty much did say those exact words, but it wasn't upon meeting. It was waaaay later. Like that night after friending me on Facebook.

Question #1 for Ben was: are you a homosexual?

Though he wept like a bleating lamb while singing his solo for the performance, dresses like a True Live Seattle Hipster, and occasionally plays basketball dressed like this:



his answer was simple. "I love vaginas and breasts waaaaaay too much to be gay. But I really love gay people."

Pretty definitive.  

I find myself a little bit baffled by our friendship. I've had some really, really good friendships develop for me in the last couple of years. Guys who will probably be my friends to some degree or another for the rest of our lives. But Ben and I seem connected in a way I've never experienced before.

1. We both like ice cream. Seriously.
2. Neither one of us is color blind.
3. We both eat cereal in the morning.
4. We both like music.
5. We are both homo… sapiens.

I mean, need I go on? The connection should be pretty apparent…



No, but in all seriousness, it's been interesting to find a friend like Ben. So many of the things about myself that I have often felt weird about, or excluded from maleness because of, he exhibits. Shamelessly. It's just part of who he is, and he owns it. For example, he enjoys having deep conversations about relationships, philosophical concepts and religion for like, hours. Like, he prefers that to doing stuff. I've always been that way, and have always felt a little weird about it--like there were very few other guys out there like that. But being friends with him makes me feel way less weird, which is a nice feeling. Also, he also isn't afraid to share his feelings. Guys, I'm gay, and I'm terrified to share my feelings 80% of the time. It's interesting to have a friend who is so openly affectionate to those around him. It's good for me. Then there's all the other stuff, like that we are both musicians and our musical tastes are almost identical and we both write poetry and we both served in the same mission at the same time (though only met once for like five seconds) and our kids are similar ages and our senses of humor are complementary and we both have really cool wives (like really, his wife, Whitney, is amazing. She's also the Fruit Ninja's cousin. It's NBD).

I think what it comes down to is that sometimes you meet people that you just feel tailor-made to relate to. Sometimes you realize after you've met a person that there is a connection there. A connection that transcends time. A connection that…

Well, I think this expresses it best:




Yeah. Totally not weird or gay.*

I promise.

All kidding aside, I am curious to hear others' thoughts about friendship. Do you have a best friend (or multiple best friends) and if so, what are the things that keep you connected? Do you spend lots of time with your best friends, or is it a meet-up-every-year-like-no-time-has-passed situation? Are you closest friends with people that are really similar to you, or do you tend to be friends with people who are your opposite, thus keeping things interesting? When you get together with your best friends do you *do* stuff, or do you end up just hanging out? I'd genuinely love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

*Clarification: I actually am gay. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This Post is Not About Fathers

Oh! Hi there!

Um, this is awkward isn't it? It's been a while. How are you doing? Good? How's your [sore body part of choice] feeling? Better now that you've gotten some rest? And your job? Going well? Sure hope so. Did your son/daughter finish learning how to do that thing he/she was trying to learn how to do since last I posted? I certainly hope so. Weather's nice, isn't it?

All right. Enough small talk.

Did you miss me?

I sure missed you.

Sorry I've been gone so long. I don't have a good excuse. But it all started when...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Who's the freak show? + FFAQ poll UPDATED WITH PHOTO

When I was in college, I played in an orchestra concert, and afterwards a friend of mine in the viola section came up to me and said "My girlfriend was in the audience. She noticed you playing." I was all flattered for a second, and then he broke the news. "She was like 'who's the freak show?'"

It took me a moment to realize what he was saying. 

It was me. I was the freak show. 

I hadn't realized it, but when I play, I look freaking weird. 

Just try this mental image on for size. This is what that girl must have seen. Imagine an overweight guy with a white-man fro in a disheveled tuxedo. He is playing the violin madly and he has a crazy-looking lazy eye that wanders wherever it wants. And then, to top it all off he plays with his mouth open.

Seriously. I do. It's weird. I can't explain it.

And yes, that's what she saw. 

I wish with all my heart I had a picture.

Instead, I have footage of me playing a few weeks ago. The angle doesn't show my open mouth as blatantly, so you don't see my "freak show" face in all it's glory, but there are a few moments where you get the picture. Also, I weigh a lot less now. And you can't see my crazy eye. But it's still kinda fun. Plus, this is the fourth movement from the symphony I talked about in this post, so now you have a visual. Killing multiple birds with one stone. It's what I'm all about.

Enjoy:


(Decent open-mouth points: 2:14, 3:44 (kinda), 4:38--these are all okay. The best open mouth sequence starts at 5:09ish, plus there's a glasses adjustment that makes me miss a note. LOVE IT.)

I should probably look up how to link those. 

TOO LAZY.

Item #2 on the agenda: 

See how on top of things I am? Logo at the beginning of the sequence. BAM.

Okay, so it's Saturday, which is admittedly a weird time to do a Friday's Frequently Asked Question poll, but I'm a rebel who plays the violin with his mouth wide open, so what did you expect?

You know the drill. Ask questions (about anything). Do dittoes on questions you like. Question with the most dittoes wins. Voting's open for 24 hours (which means halfway through Sunday. Weird.) I've loved the last few winning questions. Thanks for your creativity and ingenuity. Don't be afraid. Ask! That's the run down on how this whole thing works.

Any questions? 

(See what I did there?)

Bye.

UPDATE:

I feel the need to provide a picture of me earlier in life so you can see the mental picture necessary for the "freak show" comment.

I found a winner:

Well, hello there.

That's me on the left. Dressed in a plaid shirt (which I wore every single day no matter what even at the beach, apparently). Check the white-man fro. Check the face. Now, imagine that face playing a violin, mouth agape, weird eye blowing in the breeze in a frumpy tuxedo.

That should give a better picture.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Dear Anna (Letter #1)

I have no idea when you'll read this.

There are some things you need to know about me.

Right now I want to tell you about our latest attempt to talk to you about my sexual orientation. I want to record this so that you never feel like we were keeping secrets from you or hiding anything from you. I know you, sweet girl, and your personality is so curious, so filled with inquisitive energy, and your trust in us so implicit, that if we wait too long to tell you about the fact that I'm gay--or if you feel like we didn't try--you will feel very betrayed. You will feel like we hid an important truth about you from you, and you would be right. Because for as much as my sexual orientation is about me and my life, my sexual orientation, and the decisions I have made around it, is also about you. Your life literally hinged on the choices and decisions I made around my sexual orientation. Ergo, it is not my truth alone; it is also your truth and your reality. It is as much your story as it is my story, as much your legacy as my own.

That's how families work.

We've always known the importance of this. That's one of the many reasons I decided to come out in the first place. So that, when the time was right, we could talk about my sexual orientation openly, in a context that didn't feel shaming or shrouded in secrecy.

Right now, though, we find ourselves in a space where you aren't developmentally ready to know this very important detail about me and our family.

We've been laying the groundwork.

Friday, March 7, 2014

FFAQ attack!

It's already that time again.

Time for more questiones (pronounced "queschiones"). But before we get to that I wanted to share these pictures from a birthday party Tessa went to. Our friend Katie hosted a Ninja party for her daughter, Macie, and Tessa was invited.

We didn't really have a Ninja costume. So we improvised. We dressed her in black, and then we put a headband on her head. A pirate headband.

Given this post, I bet you can guess what happened when it was time to take pictures:


She is now officially a pirate.
(Our friend Jennifer who took the photo said she realized too late that she wasn't supposed to tell Tessa to smile for the camera… and I'm glad, because this is awesome.)

Pirates love cake. Arggggh!

All right, and now it's time to get FFAQing. 

You know the drill now, yes? 

Rundown: ask questions in the comments (about anything) for today's Friday's Frequently Asked Question. Ditto questions you like. The question with the most dittoes is the one I answer next Friday. And so and so forth, into perpetuity. You have 24 hours to vote, after which comment moderation will be activated and any questions or dittoes will not be published. Questions asked earlier fair better because they have more time, but we've had winners asked pretty late in the game. Don't be afraid to throw a question out there--few dittoes doesn't mean it wasn't a good question. I've had questions not get attention one week, only to win another week. Be brave and curious.

Ready, set, GO!

Oh wait, I always forget to make this official. 

There. Much better.

All right. NOW.

Friday, February 28, 2014

My response to Well Behaved Mormon Woman

Dear Cora,

I'm not sure if your name is actually Cora. I'm just imagining it's Cora, and I want to call you by your imagined first name because I know that you're not just some pixelated words on a computer screen. You are a real person with real feelings. I'm a blogger myself, and I know how hard it is to have people talk about something you have put out into the world with good intentions and in good faith in a negative or controversy-filled way. I want you to know that I am writing you this open letter from a place of respect and understanding.

The reason I don't know your first name is because I haven't read your blog post yet. Honestly, I've been avoiding it. I saw a lot of the ruckus online, and read a couple of indirect responses to your post by friends of mine (like this one and this one). I also saw the response your daughter wrote because it was posted in some online forum that I'm magically a part of on Facebook even though I never signed up for it (thankyouverymuch Facebook). I know the post's general premise, but I haven't read the actual post. I've been scared to. I'm scared it will hurt me and make me feel sad and frustrated. I'm scared of the feelings it will evoke in me, and I'm scared of the helplessness I might experience knowing that whatever it is you said is probably emblematic of how many people think about me and people like me.

As it turns out,

Friday, February 21, 2014

FFAQ poll + I think I'm back?

Hi!!!

So, today is FFAQ (which stands for "Friday's Frequently Asked Question."



The fact that I'm doing FFAQ today says a couple of things.

First, I am happy to report that I am truly feeling more comfortable in my skin. As you could probably imagine, based on the threat to my family I shared in this post, I was seriously contemplating whether or not blogging in a public forum is worth it--if it can come to a threat to my family, is this a risk I'm willing to take? Before posting that horrific exchange, I didn't know what to think. I was confused, in some denial, and frustrated. Once I hit "publish" though and got that man's words out there for all the world to see, I immediately felt more powerful and in control. And then the comments started flooding in and when so many of you came (as has happened in the past) to support me and my family, I was buoyed up. It helped me see that even though there are very real risks and consequences to putting one's voice out there, there is also great value in doing so. There is so much that is beautiful in this community and so much support here, for myself and for others. I find myself saying thank you a lot on this blog, and I really mean it. It was very, very helpful to see so much support and so much appalled horror at what happened to me and my family because of this blog. Thanks for helping me remember why I'm doing this.

Second, alongside all of that, the last month saw an interesting thing happen with my coming out post. It somehow went viral again (on a smaller scale) and was read by thousands upon thousands of new people. I have no idea how this happened--like seriously, it felt totally and completely random and I couldn't identify a source other than Facebook (thank you Facebook!)--but this means that there are a lot of new people here that might have questions.

And that's what FFAQ is for, friends old and new!

So here's how this thing goes down.

If you have a question--about anything at all, could be gay-related or just about my life or perhaps about quantum physics--leave it in the comments. If you see a question that you like, reply to that question with a comment that says "ditto." The question with the most dittoes at the end of the day is the one I answer the next Friday, and so on and so forth, into perpetuity. Please only one ditto per question (you can ditto more than once). Please don't cheat. It's not a sophisticated or complex process, but it has worked well.

Tips: questions asked earlier in the day have a better chance at winning (for obvious reasons). Also, questions that win tend to be focused, pretty concise, and genuine.

Are you ready for this?

All righty then.

GO!




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tessa's smile

I'd like to show you a recent picture of Tessa, our three-year-old.

I know, let's make this into a guessing game!

What is wrong with Tessa's face?