Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Next?!

With the economic news having been so grim as of late, many people have been forced to cut back on the amount of lavish spending they have become so accustomed to. Those having to do so, have been "forced" to spend more time with their family and find things that they can all do together. Among things such as going to the movies, a play or other things in the community, going to the zoo has always ranked among the top family outings.

With the current state of the economy, zoos may be the next thing added to the Endangered Species list. New York Governor David Paterson has proposed a budget that will undoubtedly cut the state funding for zoos across New York. According to an article from, "New York's 76 zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens will lose $9.1 million in state funds next year". ( article, Budget Cuts...)

When I was reading this article, I had hoped that there would be some good news on the horizon, but I was sadly mistaken. The new $819 billion stimulus package that is currently making the rounds in Congress doesn't allow for any wiggle room for many of the staples of the American family. "Section 1109 of the stimulus bill ... forbids the use of federal taxpayer money to plug the budget gaps. Taxpayer watchdog groups lobbied to keep zoos, aquariums, swimming pools, golf courses and casinos out of the stimulus,arguing that there are higher priorities for Americans' money during a recession". ( article, Budget cuts...)

Luckily not all of the money for the zoo and aquarium budgets come from the state; there are still private backers that could come out and help the zoos and aquariums, but I can't see it happening. There is plenty of what people call "old money" in New York and other cities that will see their local zoos and aquariums affected by this. I think that the people with the type of money that could possibly make a difference have grown accustomed to having not been relied on by these organizations. With any luck, we won't see the fall of our local zoos, much like we've been forced to watch the fall of the banks and our financial future as we know it. This is something that we could actually work to prevent.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything

As everyone knows, this year I vowed that I was going to start to exercise and diet because I need to get in shape. This year, as we all know, my Dad is getting married in June and I'm his best man. I told myself that I'm not going to look like I do now when it comes time for the pictures. Most people would have given up by now and completely fallen off the wagon; I, however, have only fallen off part way. While I've only had fast food (I don't count Subway as fast food) only one time since the first of the year, I haven't really had the exercise routine down that I should have. Out of the 4 weeks in January, I've worked out 2 of them. I need to get back on the wagon. After watching last night's Biggest Loser, Daniel (Orange Team) was voted out by his fellow teammates. On his exit interview he said that he had tried to lose weight before because others wanted him to and felt that it was important for him to do so. He's ready to finally do it for himself and it shows! From the starting weight on the show to what we saw him look like last night, he has it in his heart to do it and stick to it! That's what I feel like this year. I still have just over four months to actually make it happen.

I'm only going to be 21 this year and have a long life ahead of me. I want to able to live it to the fullest and experience all that life has to offer. Although it may be hard given the current level of discrimination in this country, I want to be able to have a family and watch kids grow up and have a family of their own. There are too many things in this world to see and I'm not ready to give up on that.

In other news, I'm working my way towards getting a Mac. I've priced one online and it's going to run me about $2400, which, all things considered, isn't that bad of a price. I've had many, many people tell me that getting another PC isn't worth it and they've fallen in love with their Macs. Of course, I'll be getting a laptop because I like to be able to stay connected wherever I decide to go. When I get my taxes back this year, I've decided that I'm going to be getting an HDTV for my room and I'll probably get a Bu-ray player to go with it. I also have to get my window fixed in my car, a tire checked out and a new brakes on the thing too! I hope after I get all that fixed that I'll be good to go for a while!

Any person who knows me knows that I talk a lot about going on vacations and that, because of work, money or some other excuse, I rarely end up going. This year, I'm going to try and change that as well. Even if I only get one vacation a year, it will be a vast improvement over what I'm taking now. I don't think that I need a two-week vacation or anything either, four or five days would be nice. Seattle is always a city that has intrigued me and just the other day I was checking out a little vacation there and it was running just under $1k! That's for round-trip airfare and a hotel downtown… it would be AMAZING!!! I also want to move just about everywhere that I've ever been in my life, so I'm sure that when I take a trip to Seattle, I'll want to move there too. To be honest, I've already looked at apartments in and around the city and they're really not unreasonably priced! There was one complex, as a matter of fact, that was just about 30 minutes away from the city, was going for $775/month and if I read it right, all utilities were paid, but I could be mistaken. I've looked in to quite a few places over the past few years that I've toyed around with going to, but in reality it's mostly just a dream that won't go away. I certainly can't see myself living here for the rest of my life, but I'm not quite sure where I'll end up. Then again, with the rest of my life ahead of me I could end up in several different cities yet. Only time will tell.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've really been paying attention to the different types of photographs that I've seen, both in person and on the Internet and they've given me good ideas for new shots. I'm trying to expand my horizons and go beyond the comfort zone of animals, although I fully enjoy that. When the weather starts to warm up, I'm hoping to be able to get out and go different places around town that I either haven't been before or to places that I haven't been to in a while and see what they have to offer. I think I'm going to start looking for new ideas to do black and whites in. B&W is very "in" right now and depending on the shot, I think it looks quite elegant.

For now, I'm going to continue the rest of my shift here at work and see where the world takes me after that, aside from the fitness center after I get off. I hope that you all have a fantastic night and an even better tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Good Omen?

With Barack Obama's first full day in office having come to a close, so has another day at the stock market. With the Dow closing at 270+ points up, here's hoping that's a good omen and things will go the way Obama and the rest of the country is hoping they will! 

Madame Secretary

The United States is even more ready than we were yesterday to make the necessary moves the country so desperately. We not only now have Barack Obama heading the country, we also have Hillary Clinton leading the foreign front as our Secretary of State.

Best of luck, Madame Secretary!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Beginning

Tomorrow we start anew here in the United States. At 12 noon on January 20, 2009, we will inaugurate the 44th President of the United States. After eight long years, we are finally able to set aside some of the worst times in the history of this country. We will still, however, have many things that have yet to be fixed and more things to crop of that will need fixing. The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to have gone by the wayside under Bush II, much as they seemed to under Bush I. 

As the country and the world prepare to bare witness to the largest showing of people coming together in years, we must not forget the challenges we have overcome to get to this point in time. With numbers expected to reach over 1 million people attending the inauguration tomorrow in Washington, the rest of the world is going to be watching as we, the United States of America, take the next step in securing the future of not only our own, but the future of the citizens of the world. I don't know if anyone would agree with me on this or not, but we are still the strongest nation in the world. The United States is involved in many, many agreements that happen around the world. Just the other day in fact, Condoleezza Rice, in one of her last duties as Secretary of State, assisted in signing the cease-fire agreement in Gaza. We are a major backer of legislation around the world, so it makes sense that the rest of the world is watching. This is the first of many new hurdles that will be knocked down in the coming years. 

There are generations before us who were never able to see what we are about to, and there are generations who never imagined that they would live to see the day when an African-American man would be elected President of the United States. I don't know about anyone else, but hearing that and knowing what happened on November 4th speaks volumes to the growth that this country has made.

While we have grown as a nation, we have also fallen back. We still have a lot of discrimination to try and get past in this country, but considering what we've already overcome, I have faith that we'll be able to get through the rest with little resistance.

Tomorrow, for at least one day, we are no longer Democrats and Republicans, red states of blue, we are citizens of the United States joining together to bare witness to what is possibly the biggest day in our nations history. Tomorrow, Barack Obama officially becomes the 44th President of the United States. Tomorrow we will once again become a force to be reckoned with. Tomorrow...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quite Possibly Fell In Love

"Love" - Matt White

"Best Days" - Matt White

Matt White... Visit him on YouTube!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Next Step

Today I make the first step towards my new found independence, I'm starting to put money aside for an apartment. The past few days have been spent trying to figure out what I'm going to put in my apartment, and I have to say that it's been really exciting! While I've figured out most of the things and I'm quite sure that I'll be able to make everything work, coming up with the money for everything is going to be the next part in the process. I'm going to be taking money out of each of my paychecks and put it aside and then take an additional sum out and put it towards buying things that I'm going to need to make this a reality. Hopefully soon I'll be getting my tax information and be able to file relatively quickly and get my return back so that I'll be able to use that money as well. This is something that, if I really want to show myself that I can do what I set out to get accomplished, I can't back down from. I'm starting to take control of my life and am finding out that it comes with a great feeling, one that I don't know anyone feels until they actually do it. 

I would like to thank everyone who is standing by me during this transition, your support means the world to me! As the time gets closer for me to move, I'm sure there is going to be added stress but the end result will be worth any of the difficulties. I'm ready to embark on a new path in life and can't wait to become the person I know I can be as a result of this new experience in life.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Journey They Call Life

I'm kind of one of those people who want to change, but would like to find the most direct route and just get things done and not have to worry about it. As we all know, the universe has a different plan for us. We simply run on a schedule that no one can control, regardless of how hard he or she may try.

I firmly believe that we were all on this earth (regardless of the individual thoughts on how we got here) for a reason. I believe that we are here to make changes in our own lives and a difference in the lives of others. Each of us can make a difference in someones life whether we know it or not. 

Being gay is taking me on a journey that has just only begun, however, I'm not taking this journey on my own. Obviously I have friends that are going along for the ride with me, but I'm also picking up new passengers along the way. We're all a little different for a reason; maybe I'm "different" to show people that, while we are different, we're all the same. Just because I'm gay and you're straight doesn't mean that we don't want the same things or have the same feelings. 

All of the new people that I encounter along the way, I'm going to be teaching them about my life and they about theirs. We are never too young, old, stupid or smart to learn new things. With every story there is a lesson and with a lesson, a story. The lesson that we can learn from a story that was just told may end up saving a life down the road or helping to point someone in a new direction. We're constantly shedding light on new situations that our friends go through, we should extend that courtesy to our acquaintances and those we may have just met.

At times I may not be the best friend in the world or the easiest person to get along with, but as I'm sitting here reflecting tonight, I've learned something from each and every one of those situations. I'm learning how to change to try and be a better person, but I'm not doing it for anyone else. To change, you have to be willing to do it for yourself. If you constantly try and change for other people you're never going to find that you're any better off than you were yesterday. The only person in your life telling you what to do, what you're doing wrong and how you can change should be you. We spend too much time trying to please everyone else and it doesn't get us anywhere. 

In what is going to be a year of change, I hope that you all find what makes you happy. If finding what makes you happy means that you'll have to change one thing or a million, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. And please, whatever you do, keep telling stories, you never know whose life you could change.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Will you TAKE THE VOW?

Peace is something that I would assume we all would like to see one day. A very popular blogger, Davey Wavey, posted a blog this morning saying that he took the vow "of non-violence in my thoughts, my speech, and in my actions". In taking the vow, you do just that; you promise to use peace as a way to make a difference. Deepak Chopra's goal is to have 100 million people take the vow. All he is asking is for you to take the vow along with the thousands that already have, ask 2 people to do the same and hope that those two people will pass it on. 

I took the vow, will you? For more information, please visit

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is it time for a healthier you???

In just under five years, my body has gone through quite a transition. From my sophomore year student ID photo to my junior year photo, there is a noticeable difference. After my mom left, I was forever a changed person; my weight peaked, as I eat when I'm stressed. I've been struggling with my weight ever since and it isn't something that I enjoy. As I may have posted before, my Dad is getting married in June and I'm going to be his best man; I refuse to look the way I do now in those pictures. I think this was the push that I needed to get going and make myself healthier. 

A friend from work and I were working out for a while and then the holidays came. Well, now they're gone and there isn't any excuse. Tonight we went and worked out, and while I didn't go as far as I know I can, I still surprised myself. We haven't been working out for about two or three weeks now and I still did 7+ miles between the treadmill and the bike. When we were done, I realized why people work out, besides from getting healthier - you feel great afterwards! I always feel amazing when I work out and I feel like I could go for days! Well, for me, it's time to step it up. I have just over 5 months before I have to get in to that tuxedo and, while I'm not going to be anywhere close to where I want to be, I'm going to be far enough away from where I'm at not to make a difference to myself. 

I think there are always ways that one can make him or herself a healthier person. Even if you're physically fit, there is always your mental health that could be worked on. 

2009 is going to be a year of MAJOR change for a lot of people and I hope that you'll join us as we go along this journey. The support of our friends and family mean the world. 

From everyone trying to make a difference in their lives, thank you...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Say Cheese!

I just finished transferring the pictures that I wanted from my laptop to CD before I experience another dramatic event involvng the loss of what I work so hard at. This will be the second time that my current laptop has crashed; neither time have been my fault. This time, I, like so many others, have fallen victim to the IE virus that was put out and infected many, many computers. Unfortunatly for me, the virus was too advanced to do much of anything about it.

Now that I have the pictures saved on something other than my computer, I feel much better. While I don't get the opportunity to go out and shoot pictures often anymore, I cherish the (good) few that I do. As I stated in another blog, this is a year of new beginnings for me. I'm going to try and focus more on my photography and see where it takes me. People aren't given skills for no reason, there is obviously some meaning behind why they have the skills they do. I believe that we each have our own skills, it just takes some time for each of us to find them. Luckily, I found mine early. This may be a year (after Dad's wedding, of course) where I start to take a little more time off from my full-time job to get out and explore the world in a different way. After all, there is so much to see just in the United States; I've got to tackle that before I can move on to bigger and better things abroad. World... Here I come!