2017 Year in Review
I perform a yearly post mortem to review the highs and lows of the past twelve months. I call this my “yearly review.” Here are my past years in review: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
I started the year by flying out to Memphis to visit Biff’s family. The city itself was rather boring, but I loved meeting his parents.
Afterwards, I took Biff to New York for a little adventure…mostly food and museums. The highlight was a meal at Atera: a spiritual experience spread over 20-courses.
After several touch-up sessions, I finally finished my pe’a. To celebrate, I flew to Kaua’i for a photoshoot.
When I came back, it was Valentine’s week. Biff got me flowers, Alpha took me for a hike on Bainbridge island, BP got me a sensory-deprivation session, and I took them to LA for a weekend of dancing. When we weren’t dancing, I got to meet up with my brother, and visit a neon museum. This was the month I started studying about neon light bending and plasma art.
I had a work trip to Tokyo and brought BP along for our wedding anniversary. While I worked, BP explored Tokyo’s amusement parks. When I was off, I took him to the famous Jiro Sushi, Narisawa, and Shibuya’s massive gay underground. Later, we took the bullet train to Kyoto where I had booked a private onsen at a traditional Ryokkan hotel. BP was in pampered heaven. Ryokkan are famous for their excellence in service, with staff opening doors for us on their knees and preparing tea in our room.
While I was in Japan, I caught tank lying about meeting up with some men (again). He moved out before I could return home, leaving me with a tremendous amount of his debt and unpaid bills. Well fuck you too.
I returned home to my loving, supportive pups, who had removed any photos or signs of tank’s presence. I got myself a therapist and started my newsletter because I missed having a journal but didn’t want the negative attention a huge audience wrought.
This was also the month that angus earned recognition after a year of slave training and bulking to 300lbs. We planned his first visit to Seattle for April.
This was my 30th birthday and I wanted to do something big. Planning for the past year, I had arranged for my pups and I to travel to Thailand for Asia’s biggest gay event: GCircuit Songkran! See the album of photos here.
It was awesome. Spent the first week in Bangkok partying with friends from Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. Went to night markets, explored outer Bangkok, and the world’s largest water gun fight.
The second week we flew to Phuket, where I had booked us a private villa. I wish we had spent more time there…we had such a busy schedule island hopping and visiting beach after rainforest-covered-beach. Towards the end of our trip, my pups surprised me with an incredible dinner on the beach.
We came home and there was angus. His brother pups welcomed him and we had a wonderful, romantic weekend showing him Seattle.
Another work trip. This time 5 weeks in San Francisco to kick-off a major redesign. Corporate housing was nice, my place had a hot tub and gas grill, but I get a little anxious when I’m alone. Pups kept me company through chat and care packages. Biff surprised me by taking my mark of ownership, tattoo’ing “Property of Master Dylan” on his upper back to match his brother pups.
I also got to connect with some old friends while back in SF. That was awesome. Did my favourite SF-things like flagging in the park and Kabuki onsen.
Turns out work was trying to seduce me to move back to San Francisco. I was offered a significant promotion, but ultimately declined. I couldn’t make my pups move their lives again.
Still…thought I’d show them SF to share the news. Flew everyone down for a big party weekend.
My newsletter has grown so much that it costs about ~$250/mo to operate. I switch to a self-hosted solution, which you’re reading now.
Remember how tank left back in March? We had made an agreement to respect each other in the breakup. No gossip, no talking about the other, just space to let us heal. Well, guess what? Turns out he had been spreading lies about me in an effort to sabotage my friendships and reputation. Then he tried reaching out to me, acting friendly like nothing had happened. Well fuck you, again.
I broke my silence and wrote about our failed relationship, asking y’all for advice on how to proceed.
The response was tremendously against me giving him a second chance. I had some reflecting to do.
So, I sat on that, and flew out to see Angus for NYC pride. This was one of the most incredible party weekends of my life. It started with Angus gogo’ing at FurBall, then hopping from Tea Dance to a Bear Cruise, BRUT (incredible A+++), and the pier party. I got to see friends, show off my pup, and indulge in my favourite parts of New York. I also got to swap roles with Angus (capital “A”) as pup krypto. We explored his nurturing, loving, dominant side with a tour of his favourites in NYC. I was so happy I cried.
After that weekend, I took a recovery weekend in Montreal, which was very boring so there’s nothing to write about.
Disappointed with Montreal, I returned to stay with angus and my friends John and Jacob. I got to meet angus’ family and see his home, then 4th of July in Provincetown.
Alpha joined us a little later for Ptown Bear Week. He had been going through a stressful month and this was a welcome distraction.
I had an opportunity to collaborate with John on a rhinestone cup…its quite glorious.
When I returned home, I took biff to the Olympics National Park with a detour to a lavender farm.
More hiking with Alpha and Biff before the summer ended, had the best workout of my life, friend therapy, bear pool party, Vancouver Pride, a nude beach, gauged up to a 0g PA, and saw the full eclipse.
Tank ignored my olive branch, so I decided to collect rent he owed me.
Towards the end of the month, I went to visit my friends Blake + Cuy + Wayne in Hawaii. I’m worried I made a poor impression with Cuy, but had a lot of fun with Blake for the time we had.
I got my nipples pierced (again). Physical pain is helpful for dealing with emotional pain.
Tank responded to my court summons with the money he owed me, and asked to try therapy and reconnecting. I accepted.
I had a work trip in San Francisco, so I offered to do Folsom with tank on high protocol to try rebuilding some trust. It was difficult. I cannot be around him for extended periods without getting angry or upset about his past betrayals.
While progress with tank was going slow, my pups and I were otherwise doing very well. Angus moved across the country to join us and we went on a big gay cruise to Mexico to celebrate.
I also had my first ever professional photoshoot with Tim Palen.
Tank was house sitting while we were away, waiting for my new art surfboard to arrive. When I came back, the apartment was clean, our plants doing well, and dinner made for us. Incredibly thoughtful…tank is trying very hard.
Progress is going a little better with tank. But its going to take some time. I put him on a strict bulk to try and restore part of our dynamic that we both loved, and thats going well.
Then my longtime friend Pete passed away. I busied myself with preparations for family, but losing a friend is difficult.
I had three thanksgivings. Our friends John and Jacob, my father’s side of the family, and tanks’giving.
When John and Jacob visited, I made a Mexican inspired menu. The next day we joined John in a surprise proposal to Jacob. I was so touched to be part of it.
Dad’s thanksgiving was passable.
I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. Wow.
Christmas with my pups was a little short, mostly spent time showing my mom, step-dad, and brother around town.
This has been a mixed year. My relationship with tank exploded in 2016 and dragged through 2017. I did my best to stay busy and my pups have been very patient. Then, against everyone’s advice, I’ve accepted tank’s offer to reconnect. Therapy has been slow, but we are making progress, and I am happier. I can feel that.
I had some incredible highs in 2017 and I feel things are trending better.
How’d I do on my resolutions?
- Find a good therapist to help my anxiety issues. Got one! Doing great, he’s awesome.
- Get out more. Make new friends in this new city. I mostly connected with old friends, but could’ve done better in the city if I didn’t travel so much for work.
- Travel 3 times out of the country. Japan, Thailand, and Mexico!
- Work on things with my therapist and tank.
- Continue to grow my relationship with my pups.
- Become a better photographer.
Let’s talk about that last one.
I feel like my technical ability in photography has stabilized into a consistent, unique style that is my own. Clear subject isolation, vibrant colours, narrow depth of field. That’s my jam.
Unfortunately, my photos are just well executed sexy portraits. I want to push myself more. Its time for a serial photography project.
Some of my favourite photographers don’t just take technically perfect photos…they capture a story. In this masterful shot, Ryan Schude crams a novel into a single photo. Eye contact, a wry grin, an affectionate touch, two friends talking, an atmosphere of a dimly lit bar. Its brilliant.
I am a decade away from this level of execution. Nevertheless, over the next 52 weeks I will attempt a weekly shoot that tells a story. I’ll be analyzing some of my favourite works, techniques, and more, to try and reproduce these intricate story-telling techniques employed by the photographers I admire most in the world.
52 Weeks. 52 Stories.
I can’t wait to share them with you 🙂
Happy new years!