Aiden Howarth: Poet, Dedicated Father, FRIEND, and Game Changer

This interview with my good friend Aiden Howarth first appeared on Technorati in 2012 (wow! 2012! I’ve know him a LONG time… and we’re still SO young but Mia is no longer 7 years old) but since there were changes made to that site, it is no longer available. I thought I would share it here, especially since I know Aiden is working on his second project. His first was a collection of his poetry and I fell in love with it immediately. While you wait for his second, catch up with him and his poetry here:
First, let me thank you for doing this. I really do love your work.  It is totally true that “Without You” is on my night table and I enjoy reading the poems whenever I am unwinding from my day. My sister has also taken to a few I posted or re-posted from you on Facebook. I think a few of them remind her of her daughter. 
I always wonder about the thought process when it comes to poetry and I thought others might enjoy this exchange :)
Q: You dedicated your book of poetry, Without You, to your beautiful daughter Mia Liljana Jeane Howarth.  Obviously she is a great inspiration to you.  Is she old enough to understand what all that this means?  Does she share in your artistic skills? 
Aiden Howarth: Mia is an incredibly bright child. She always has been. She’s now 7 years old and doing great in school, escpecially in her reading and writing, which is great. She is forever writing stories of princesses and castles and she enjoys being praised for it which of corse, I do every single day. She is my incredible little angle and not a day goes by where I don’t look at her and wonder what I did so right to be given a chance at bringing up such a wonderful little girl. As regards her understanding, I don’t believe she has fully grasped the fact that a book has been dedicated to her. Yes, she has seen her pictures and her name in print and yes, she thinks it’s great but hopefully when she is old enough to understand the full meaning of all the work that’s written inside, she will thinks it’s even more amazing. Of Corse, I didn’t write a book just to make my daughter happy, I did it for myself and for sharing what I write with the world. The opportunity to share with her my work in such a way arose and I jumped at the chance.
Q: Many of the poems are about loss, separation, and love.  Do you think these go hand in hand? Is it inevitable? 
AH: Like the old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, I do believe that loss, separation and love are inevitable. I believe that to truly understand what love is, first you must feel the pain of having someone walk away from a relationship. The hurt of walking away yourself when you realise that the person you once loved is not who you first thought to be. Love, to me, is an awe inspiring feeling. In that, in some way large or small, we all at some point will feel it. Only some of us want to keep it going forever.
Losing someone, especially a child, is a moment in life where you know what love feels like. What love is. What love was created for. Losing a child like I did so many years ago I believe put me on the path I am on now. The path which forces me to praise everything Mia does, Is thankful for her every waking breath, scared that I may not be doing a good job. All feelings that so far, have given me some of the best moments in my life with her.
Q:  ”A New Page of Old Emptiness” to me, seems to be about not realizing what you have right in front of you.  What was your motivation for this piece? What thoughts were you harnessing and what reaction were you hoping to bring out in the reader? 
AH: You’re exactly right. It’s about how it feels to have someone you love so deeply, finally give upon the relationship you thought would last forever, and it is actually all your own fault. The title itself ‘A New Page Of Old Emptiness’ means just that… another day gone by with still the same old pain. The same old guilt. The same blame. It’s also a reference back to an earlier poem I wrote where once again, pages of life seem to be going unwritten, un read, torn out and discarded. As you’ve propably gathered, most, if not all of my poetry is written about love and loss. Hence the title of the book ’Without You’. Somewhat referring to being without that special person in your life but on the most part, it’s speaking to one’s self. Without You meaning myself. The feelings I tried to portray within this piece where the feelings of despair.
Q: “The Fairytale You Had Wished For” feels like it is warning us of forcing ourselves to be in idealistic relationships.  Sometimes we try so hard to create what we need with someone because we really believe they are “the one” when in reality it may not be meant to be.  What period of your life was that about or where you relaying someone else’s story? 
AH: This stemmed, again, from a relationship. In fact, all relationships. Women and I guess men too believe and want THEIR relationship to be the best one anyone could ever have. The have dreams, goals, aspirations. Everything is so idealistic. Just like a fairytale. When in reality, a fairytale could not be further from the truth of what it is we live. Fairytales are given to us as children as fantasy. They portray a happy ending every single time. It’s when you learn that a happy ending comes few and far between in love, that you realise a small part of yourself has died. This poem was written as almost a letter to the other person. Stressing my angst at our failings and pointing out that none of us did anything wrong, it’s that we believed too much that we were the fairytale we saw as children. Finding out that we could not live the way we hoped (be it problem free and with a happy ending) I end that poem with the stark reality of what believing in the fairytale of life will do to us all…
Taken by the hand and misled into the arms of hurt.
The fairytale that you had wished for?
Q:  ”Be Still My Heart” could be about love that is not returned or one person feeling something the other doesn’t quite feel.  Is it about a specific time in your life? Do you think most of us have to go through relationships or feelings like this before we find the “right” one?  
AH: This poem is about falling in love. The passion. The want to feel that ache of needing someone so badly that it hurts. But, as is my usual style, there’s a problem. It’s a poem about falling in love with some you cannot have or be with. Falling in love with someone who loves you too but life has put you both on very separate paths. I wrote this one quite recently, be it a year ago I think. It’s not in my fav poem section but its nice that you would chose it to ask questions about as since, I’ve gone back and re-read it and I’m put straight back in the room I was when I felt those things. It’s funny how life treats us so unfairly in love but how it seems to work out better in the end. I think. Ha ha. I still remember that person and I always will.
Q:  ”A Life, When All Life Has Gone” may be about a breakup.  It has a feel of being about an ending, something that was coming for a while but maybe one or both parties pushed off, perhaps for a bit too long.  What can you tell us about this piece? 
AH: This poem is in fact about my drug addictions back when I was young. It’s about being so far gone that death no longer seems a threat, but a need. I openly admit that drugs caused allot of the problems I had, but I also admit that without them, I possibly wouldn’t have had a book out now. I look upon what drugs did to me menatlly, emotionally and physically with not only small amounts of regret, but with a fondness. Drugs gave me what I needed at a point in life where I had absolutely nothing. I was indeed just an empty, lifeless being with no stability in my life, no home, no friends, no nothing. Drugs gave me a release. They gave me something to look forward to. But, as with everyone who touches them, they promised so much and when they had me, they took everything back. You will find more poetry in the book about drugs. Not worded as such but if you read between the lines you’ll see it. There came appoint in my life where I knew there was no escape from addiction but death itself. There was a point in life where death itself took me but gave me back to the world, possibly because I had alot more to give. That I am thankful for these days. I’m wiser, I’m older, I have great plans and dreams that I look forward to making a reality. 
Q:  Where can people purchase your work? 
AH: People can grab a copy of either the paperback or an eBook for their ipads, iphones, ipods etc at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1964776 the eBook costs less than £2 and the paperback is £8.50
These, as you’re possibly aware, won’t be on sale for much longer. I don’t say this to try ramp up sales. Sales were / are never a priority. People can read my work for free at aidenhowarth.com if they wanted. I say this because as work on book number 2 is coming along nicely, I want to remove book 1 so that it remains special to the people who own a copy.
If people wanna get a hold of me, id happily invite them to join me on my many twitter exploits by just saying hello to @A1D3NH0
They can facebook me too if they wanna see more of my personal life, pictures etc by adding /AidenHowarth to the end of facebook.com
Or they can just leave me a note in the guestbook on my website 
Thank you for taking time out to show interest in what I write and I here by promise you a free copy of book 2 when it out. And believe me, that’s gonna be a game changer…… 
TG: If you don’t believe Aiden, then believe ME when I tell you that I believe Aiden and I know his next work will indeed change the game! Also, look out for a new interview with him as soon as he’s ready! 

Check out what The Grand Resort and Spa has been up to

SOUTH FLORIDA’S VERY OWN THE GRAND RESORT AND SPA IS A NEW PROUD SPONSOR OF VH1’S “RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE” SEASON NINE PREMIERE!

I’m so proud of and happy for my friends at the Grand Resort and Spa! Can’t wait to head back May 19th to the 22nd! You can even join me, learn more here: http://www.teeco71.com/?s=grand+resort&submit

Look at what they’ve been up to:

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Saturday, March 25, 2017: RuPaul’s Drag Race kicked off their season nine premiere on VH1 on Friday, March 24th at 8:00 pm EST.  During its first episode, Emmy Awarder Winner, RuPaul awarded contestant, Nina Bo’nina Brown, a trip to Fort Lauderdale Beach’s, The Grand Resort and Spa. The prize included a one week stay, for two, in the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom Grand Penthouse that boasts an 800 square foot private, ocean view terrace with a Jacuzzi and outdoor shower. Also included in this prize package will be airfare for two, and a complimentary massage and facial. The total prize value of $6,000.  Casey Koslowski, Proprietor of The Grand, states that he looks forward to seeing Nina and his guest, at his award winning spa-resort and sunning themselves on Fort Lauderdale Beach very soon!

The Grand Resort and Spa is Fort Lauderdale’s premiere gay-owned and operated men’s spa-resort that first opened in 1999. With 33 well-appointed rooms and suites, it is located just steps from the beach and convenient to all of Fort Lauderdale’s attractions and nightlife. As Fort Lauderdale’s first gay resort with its own full-service day spa and hair studio, they offer guests an experience that is unique and wonderfully indulgent. From a relaxing Swedish massage to a haircut before your night on the town, the talented staff can accommodate all your needs – guaranteed to “Exceed Expectations.” A sample of the property’s awards and accolades include “Certificate of Excellence, Hall of Fame” – TripAdvisor; “Editor’s Choice” – Man About World; “#1 in Fort Lauderdale” – Pink Choice Award; “Best Small Hotel or Resort in the World” – Out Traveler Award Winner; “Top 10 Resorts” – The Travel Channel; “One of the top 10 gay-owned spas in the United States” – Out Traveler Magazine; “USA TODAY 10 BEST” – USA TODAY.

At The Grand Resort and Spa, guests will experience first class service from their elite staff members providing a vast knowledge of the South Florida region, which includes the world famous “gayborhood,” Wilton Manors.  Some of the fantastic amenities for guests include free Wi-Fi, continental & hot breakfast catered daily (available while supplies last) and no hidden “resort fees.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race previously announced this season’s celebrity guest judges which included in the first episode, Lady Gaga.  The 13 previously announced Queens include: Aja, Alexis Michelle, Charlie Hides, Eureka, Farrah Moan, Jaymes Mansfield, Kimora Blac, Nina Bo’nina Brown, Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Shea Couleé, Trinity Taylor, and Valentina. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season nine is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers.  Tim Palazzola serves as Executive Producer for Logo.

For reservations and information on The Grand Resort and Spa, visit their website www.grandresort.net or call 1-800-818-1211 ֪– 24 hours, 7 days a week. For up-to-date “The Grand Resort and Spa” news and exclusives, join the “The Grand Resort and Spa” Facebook page or follow #GrandResortSpa on Twitter at @GrandResortSpa. Follow along on our Instagram page by searching for GrandResortSpa.  For marketing and public relations, please contact Edward Otto Zielke at edward@grandresort.net.

Everyone should be Addicted to the inspiration of Mark Munroe

I’ve known Mark Munroe for almost seven years. He was among my first interviews back in  2012 and has truly become a good friend to me over the years. It’s funny that in all this time, we had our first face-to-face meeting this past January. It may sound cliche but there really was no awkward moment. The second I was in his presence, it was like we were experiencing one visit in a series of adventures. It seems insufficient to say that Mark has been inspirational to me personally and also without knowing it, he has been a source of support as well as grounding as I navigate my own journey.
One funny story he also doesn’t know is that when we met this year, it was actually my very first time drinking scotch. I think I held my own pretty well and I didn’t want to seem rude since it was a national Canadian holiday and he was so gracious to extend an invitation to me while I was visiting Toronto. Surprisingly, I actually liked it! I guess that’s why they call him The Male Addict…. he really does know what’s good! It was also a true honor to work alongside him for the premiere of the CTV television show Cardinal. I feel like the whole thing just solidified everything, for me at least and I absolutely cannot wait to hang out with him even more! I think I may be addicted to The Male Addict…
When I first met Mark, he was a singer-songwriter and I knew he had a very bright future from the online interactions we shared and from the interview we did. Since that time, Mark has shifted his focus to his role as The Male Addict and his magazine, Addicted. He is an expert on highlighting what’s hot, what’s up and coming, and what we should be addicted to. He has flattered me by referring to us as kindred spirits but I do actually feel like we are on similar paths with very similar thought processes on the industry we love, our roles in it, and the things we should avoid at all costs.
On an even larger scale, Mark Munroe is an extraordinary example of someone who has overcome so much and not only survived, but thrived. He has been very open about his struggles with body issues, addiction, and how he has dealt with it all. His thought process on following our dreams, no matter what they are is something I am behind 100%. I believe if we follow his example, we can attain all we aspire to and more!
I am beyond proud to share this follow-up interview that has been a long time coming and beyond excited about what may come next:
Q: The last time I interviewed you it was for your music but, my, how things have changed since 2012! Tell me a bit about The Male Addict and WeRAddicted.com. How did that all come about?
Mark Munroe: Well as you know, I worked in entertainment (recording artist, model, actor) for years with moderate success, but like many my life had been destroyed by drugs, depression and body issues. I decided to take some time away and get myself sorted. During that phase I started a journal of all the things that made me happy. From a sunset to a great meal, I focused on what I loved. That journal turned into a blog out of convenience and then my best friend and writer Nadia came to me and asked if I wanted to turn it into a magazine, I said yes. Now 5 years later Addicted is an international lifestyle outlet, and my social brand @TheMaleAddict was born from that and have both helped to change and really shape my new reality.
Q: Do you miss music? Think you’ll ever head back into the studio?
MM: I do, a lot to be honest, but, I have actually already been in the studio since my last release “Drive” in 2013, gawd I didn’t think it had been almost 4 years. I have actually written another record and some of the music is done as well, but, now is not the time for music, but, I will come back to it at some point publicly, until then I’ll do my thing behind the scenes.
Q: Being an influencer can be tricky. Without giving away your secrets, how do you do it in such an authentic and genuine way?
MM: Here is my rule: Only endorse what you really love. I have learned over the years that people see through the “BS” and really, you have to be true to yourself, so much so in this industry as people will try and pull you in every direction.
Q: I know you come across all of the best products out there so what are some of your favorites right now in these categories:
Wine?
MM: my go-to right now is Carnivor, it’s bold and strong, which I love.
Men’s fragrance?
MM: I’ve been wearing Armani Code, but I jump around on the fragrances, I also love the Sexual Collection for Michel Germain, check it out!

Men’s skincare?
MM: My steady over the years has been Triumph and Disaster, but I am loving Alumier MD right now

Men’s fashion including shoes?
MM: My fav suit maker is actually a fellow Canadian, Christopher Bates, love his work, when it comes to shoes, oh lord where to I begin. I have several pairs of Noble Soles, Sully Wong’s, (also Canadian, are you seeing a trend? lol) and I have a love affair with new balance.

Men’s underwear?
MM: Bjorn Borg, they make the most insane undies, I love them.

Men’s athletic wear including shoes for running and the gym?
MM: My collection is split, clothing, New Balance and Columbia, shoes, new balance, again lol

With summer coming up, men’s swimwear?
MM: haha I just bought a Charlie bathing suit, it leaves nothing to the imagination, so we’ll see if I wear it out in public!

Any other categories you care to speak on?
MM: My magazine is called Addicted for a reason, there are just so many things I love!
Q: You’ve always been very open about your own struggles and addictions. Why is it so important to you that you stay part of the conversation?
MM: In the past few years that I have talked very publicly about it. I guess my hope is, that by sharing my story, I can maybe help someone along the way, to remind them that it is never too late to start over. I was an addict, I was depressed, bankrupt, the works, and now, I am healthy, happy, and doing what I love. I want to share to help others see that anything is possible.
Q: What advice can you offer to people stuggling with their mental state and/or with addiction?
MM: Find a happy place, happy moments. What brought me back to life wasn’t changing everything in a day, that is way too much pressure. I learned to change, that I had to be in it for the long game. That change would take time. Start small, and build from there.
Q: What advice would you offer to loved ones of individuals who are struggling?
MM: You can’t help, you can’t save them. The addict has to want to help themselves. As someone who was the addict, I always want to apologize to anyone that has to go through that with someone they love. I know I put my mother through hell, and even though she forgave me, that was almost the hardest part of it all, forgiving myself for what I put her through.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
MM: I couldn’t live without the love of the people around me, I couldn’t imagine my life without that. I wish everyone would live without Snapchat, I just, I can’t, maybe I’m just too old school.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? From whom?
MM: My dad: You decide to be a good man, you decide to be successful, you decide to be happy. What choice will you make Mark? (he asked me that after I started my life back again after time off while dealing with my addiction.)
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve every given? Are you good at following your own?
MM: Follow your heart, and yes, I have spent my whole life following my heart, and I don’t mean in love, I mean following your dreams, setting crazy goals that seem so out of reach.
I was a Canadian boy born in a small town with a minister father. I dreamed of modeling and did it, I dreamed of being a recording artist, of owning an international magazine, if I pass on anything to the world, I hope it’s that: always follow your heart and don’t let anyone tell you-you can’t.
Q: What’s up next for Mark Munroe?
MM: There is so much I still want to do. Right now in life my focus has shifted, I am focusing on using the platforms (Addicted and @TheMaleAddict) we have created for a movement of change. I have been blessed in my life, and I want to share that in any way I can to assist others, tell their story, and help their journey if I can.
Q: You and I met via social media when it was fairly new. Do you still think it is a good place to make real connections?
MM: To be honest, real connections are hard now a days, and while yes I do think real connections can be made, I do think social also has the ability to make people less social, if that makes any sense.
Q: If you were to head back into the studio to record an album about your life, what title would you give it?
MM: The album that I mentioned earlier was called “The Awakening” cause that’s what happened to me and changed my life. I’d call it Addicted, but I’ve used that a few times now!
Q: Can you tell us about some of the things you have cooking up at WeRAddicted.com?
MM: We are really excited to be working with some amazing brands this year, but not only that, we have so many fun peope we are working with as well, not to mention travel, and as I write this, our team is heading to SXSW. We are working to keep entertaining, informing and as always finding people that inspire.

and I have to admit, I’m more excited than I have ever been in my life!
I hope you are all inspired to find out more about Mark by following him everywhere and keeping up with him via his magazine. I want to thank him for taking time to do the interview with me!

TwitterTakeover at The Grand Resort and Spa

I have been very lucky to be able to enjoy wonderful trips, restaurants, spas, and entertainment and now I get to pass along some savings to YOU so you can join me in one of my latest adventures. And more importantly, you can share in a relaxing, fun experience. Sorry, ladies, this one is only for the guys.

Do you want to vacation with guys who know what’s hot and happening? Join me (teeco71 – Tommy Geraci) and Matt Martin at the Grand Resort and Spa for a relaxing and intimate gay vacation in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida! Enjoy poolside happy hours, spa treatments, tranquility and have the opportunity to vacation with me and Matt.

I wrote about my last trip there and you can read all about it here

This time, I’d really like to see some familiar faces there this time around. Let’s have some champagne toasts by the pool and enjoy the amazing spa services all day!  It’s located so close to the airport, it’s a quick Uber ride away and there are plenty of amazing restaurants  right there to satisfy any appetite.

The best news is that it’s also a lotto weekend! ALL ROOMS ARE $179 and with a confirmed reservation you enter to be upgraded!!!

GRAND PRIZE: An upgraded stay in The Grand Penthouse! (Their spectacular 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite with its own kitchen, terrace, outdoor shower, and jacuzzi).

THE OTHER PRIZE IS THAT ALL PREMIUM ROOMS ARE JUST $179.00! You can pick ANY room (including our Patio Suites, 1 Bedroom and 2 Bedroom Penthouses that is available) EXCLUDING our Courtyard Guest Rooms and The Grand Penthouse for $179.00/night + tax: May 15th–May 23rd, 2017.

All reservations to be entered for the upgrade for the upgraded stay in The Grand Penthouse must be made by Friday, May 12th. First come first serve on room selections. The winner of the upgraded stay to The Grand Penthouse will be contacted by Saturday, May 13th. The minimum stay requirement is a 3-night stay.

Other opportunities to win include other prize giveaways:

A FREE future 3-night stay
Vouchers for our famous poolside beer & wine service
A FREE Spa service
Other surprises will also be waiting for our guests to make them ALL winners–play our GRAND LOTTO” and book your stay today!

Make your reservation by visiting their  website or call us at 1.800.818.1211. *Certain restrictions apply. New reservations only.

For further information, please contact Edward Otto Zielke from The Grand Resort and Spa.

FeiyuTech SPG PLUS Handheld Gimbal Rig Review survived a NYC wind storm

If you are looking for a last minute gift for an iPhone filmmaker in you life or you are an iPhone filmmaker who received a gift card and need an idea of what to spend it on, I think I have the perfect idea for you! The SPG PLUS Handheld Gimbal Rig is amazing for expert video content creator and those who want to get started. For me, one of the hassles I have with handheld video recording is the editing afterwards to make sure its stabilized. Especially if you are filming for an extended period of time or filming in a crowded area where you may be bumped into (like on a red carpet).

I recently received the Gimbal Rig from the good people at FeiyuTech and set out to get some pictures and video of what I thought would be a pretty nice day at the beach in NYC. When I left, the sky was fairly clear but by the time I got there, as is typical for winter months in NYC, a storm began to brew. The temperatures dropped considerably within a half hour and the sky started darkening as clouds rolled in. Thankfully, the temperatures didn’t drop low enough to cause snow but the winds really kicked up, especially at the beach. I took shelter because, like all of us, I am always concerned with the safety of my iPhone and decided to try out the gimbal to see how the winds would affect it. Unfortunately, it started pouring before I got a video but I did get to snap a few pictures

Taken with the steadiness from the SPG plus 3-Axis Gimbal Rig for iPhone

to test it out.

For those of you in the know and those of you who just love cool tech features the FeiyuTech comes equipped with the following perks:

- a balancing mechanism that ensures stabilized and steady video

- Two simple buttons that control all features. A Bluetooth button to control the iPhone’s shutter and a function button to control on/off modes.

- A joystick to control the iPhones motion, INCLUDING pan, roll, and tilt.

- Automatic horizontal and vertical screen adjustments

- Five and one quarter inch screw jacks to attach lights, microphones, and other accessories (so, they really have thought of everything)

- The ICR 22650 battery provides 8 hours of shooting time (which may actually be more than your iPhone battery will last during shooting without a charge).

- And my very favorite thing, FeiyuTech On and FY settings app, which allows you to initialize calibration, update firmware, and personalize various parameters through your phone. (Don’t worry, as a not-so-exprienced video tech, it didn’t have to make sense to me in order for it to work).

Here are your specs:

Tilting angle: 320 degrees

Rolling Angle: 100 degrees

Panning angle: a full 360 degrees

Timing increments: 2 degrees/second to 75 degrees/second

Panning increments: 3 degrees/second to 150 degrees/second

Usage time: 8 hours (again, I think that is longer than the actual iPhone battery will last if you are using it for pictures or video)

Adaption: iPhone 5/5s/5c or later

Weight: 51g not including battery and iPhone, but don’t worry, you’ll still need to do arms at the gym. This isn’t heavy enough to replace that.

To test the video capabilities, I decided to take the Gimbal Rig along with me to my parents’ house in Pennsylvania for the Christmas holiday weekend. Here it is in action (I took the video of me taking the video with my Snapchat Spectacles) Just Click on the description to view:

Now, here is the video footage from my iPhone. Again, just click on the description to view:

As you can see, the video stays steady and the range of motion is perfect to get all the action. I was lucky there was a car passing while I was filming, normally there isn’t much action on the mountain. If you regularly film for projects or clients, I recommend checking into this product. Even if you are new to video or have been scared of it, this device is so easy to use, I’m sure you will learn with ease and end up with amazing footage just like a pro! It’s priced at $299.95 and is available now at the apple store online!