Category Archives: Humor

Modeling with Pain

By now you probably know that I am completely obsessed with America’s Next Top Model, starring one Miss Tyra Banks. Love it. Seriously. And, if somehow you’ve missed this sensation that has swept across the nation, please do the world a favor and click on the link in my first sentence to visit the website. Or, watch just one episode. They constantly replay them on MTV. You’ll be a better person for it. And I promise that you won’t be let down.

I think people sometimes don’t get my sarcasm. You really should know that I enjoy ANTM mostly for its comedic value. In general, that’s why I love most of reality TV so much. The funniest stuff is the stuff that you just can’t make up. Like when a reality “star” says something that is beyond outrageous and impossible to take out of context.

For instance, not too long ago, Kimberly from The Real World: Hollywood used the words “blackville” and “ghetto” in the same sentence to describe another cast member she didn’t like. It was all very typical, spoiled, white, Texan girl behavior. I saw the clip on one of those reality recap shows on E. I haven’t actually watched “The Real World” for about the last 10 seasons. I remember watching it when the title wasn’t ironic. At least in this season the cast members are honest about their intentions–they’re all trying to “make it” in various parts of the show biz industry. Maybe it’s gone back to gettin’ real. I may just add it to my DVR list for next season. 😉

I love it when I read in a reality show cast member’s bio that they’ve “moved to LA and are trying to make it in the industry.” Really? What part of getting drunk and allowing cameras tape you while you pee in a corner qualifies you to be an actor? But, then again, “actors” are even taking the “reality” show plunge these days. So, who am I to try and define what it means to be an actor?

Oh, fiddlesticks. I got off topic again. Crap. I hate when that happens. I was supposed to be talking about Tyra Banks and ANTM. This is what happens when I drink too much coffee and just let my fingers do the talking while I am actually people watching. Some days I get a little unfocused. At least, I’m not at home trying to do this while the TV is on–that’s always a disaster. Ok, soTyra.

Part-way through this past season, Tyra had the “models” do a little exercise with her. She taught the girls how to come up with poses when they couldn’t think of what to do. Evidently, this happens a lot in the modeling world. She starts out by walking the catwalk with them, showing off her fancy moves. Then she fakes a sprained ankle and segues into what she calls “Modeling with Pain.” Oh, Tyra! Now, there’s a real actress. She had all those models fooled, and we all know how difficult that is. I would love to post the clip of this, but, I think you should look it up for yourself. You’ve got to see the wealth of ANTM clips that are on YouTube. Search: “modeling with pain” or just “ANTM.” You’ll be amazed by what appears.

I was watching the show with Jeff, and we both just knew that we had to do this. It was too rich to pass up. We started calling out different types of pain for the other to pose. It was a pose-off. Jeff took it a step further and decided that we should have a few of our friends over and make a “game night” out of it. I’m proud to present the condensed version of the video we created from that night. This is what happens when you combine 5 gay men, a modeling “game”, a video camera, and several cosmos. We had so much fun doing this. I admit that I got a little bit bossy with my “modeling directions.” I blame it on the drinks…

Starbucks closing 600 stores…

I guess I should stop apologizing for admitting to thinking certain things. That’s kind of the point of my blog, right? I’m neurotic. Who isn’t, though? I think sometimes that people try too hard to appear like they aren’t neurotic. I say, embrace your neuroses!

OK. So, now that I have the formalities out of the way, I’d like to go on the record and state that I actually downloaded the PDF file of the list of 600 Starbucks stores that are closing. Not only did I download it, but I also went through the list to see which ones would affect me. I was relieved to see that only 2 were in San Francisco and both were downtown. Only 1 have I ever visited. I had my moment of mourning, observed a moment of silence, and am now trying to move forward in these difficult and trying times. I would like to thank you in advance for your condolences.

I couldn’t help but feel sad as I looked through the list and noticed that the good people of Hickville, NY, would be losing their beloved Broadway Mall Starbucks. They will now have to get their Starbucks’ coffee from the store that probably sits in the parking lot of the Broadway Mall. Or, possibly the one that is on the way to the Broadway Mall. These are trying times indeed.

It’s not that I love Starbucks. I actually prefer to get my coffee from H Cafe, which sits approximately 20 yards from my front doorstep. It’s a privately owned and operated coffee house/café with a lot of character(s), depending on how you look at it. But I travel for a living, and Starbucks at least provides me with a consistent cup of coffee while I’m on the road.

My home flight attendant base is at the Oakland International Airport. Up until about a year ago, there wasn’t even a Seattle’s Best or a Peet’s Coffee. Now out of nowhere, there are 4 Starbucks! 2 are open and 2 are soon to be open. This might not be a lot for say, LAX or Chicago O’Hare, but Oakland only has approximately 30 gates. Not that I’m complaining, it’s nice not to have to walk more than 50 yards to get to the closest Starbucks. And business seems to be pretty good for my OAK Starbucks, too. The other day the closest one to me had a line of about 30 people.

It’s nice to see that when God closes one Starbucks’ doors, He opens another.

p.s.- I kept the list…so if you are curious to see if one of your Starbucks is closing, just ask… 😉

Pedestrian Rage

This week is my 3 year anniversary of going car-less. And I have to tell you, I don’t miss it–not even a little bit. Especially when you consider the price of gas/repairs/tolls/parking/insurance/etc. etc… Well, it’s amazing how splendidly I’ve adapted to walking and to public transit. There is one minor problem, however. I’ve developed a serious case of pedestrian rage. I’m not proud of it. But, seeing that I don’t have a car to use to get rid of all the rage, I take it out on my fellow walkers.

I guess I view the sidewalk as a mini-road. And, I’ve got places to go, you know? The sidewalk would be a much better, nay, safer place to be if people just followed my simple rules. I love a good list–who doesn’t, really–so here it is: Tyler’s six simple sidewalk statutes:

1) You should always walk to the right side of the sidewalk. Avoid weaving back and forth (i.e.–a drunken stupor), as this makes it difficult for people to pass you.

2) If you’re in a group, don’t hog the whole sidewalk. But rather, walk in 2’s, or better yet, single file. This will allow for easy passing. You may look like a troupe of boy scouts, but, safety first. I’d hate to have to walk out in the street to get around you, because, hey, those drivers are crazy.

3) Be sure to keep a steady normal pace. You’re never gonna burn those calories with a gingerly stroll. (side note: My friend Jaclyn would love to tell you that I walk too slowly. When I walk with her, she’s possessed. I mean seriously, the girl can speed walk. And sometimes I want to stop and smell the roses.)

4) When you stop and smell the roses, be certain no one is directly behind you when you stop. This could cause that person to have to swerve out into the street, and hey, those drivers are crazy.

5) Don’t follow too closely. If I wanted to give you a piggy-back ride, I would have asked you.

6) If you are going to talk on your cell phone and walk, be aware of who is around you. They may not want to hear your fight with your boyfriend. (This applies to riding the bus as well. Maybe I should write Tyler’s rules for riding the rails…)

Crap. OK. So, I just proof read my rules. I think that it may be time to finally go on Prozac. But, hey, at least I’m not behind behind the wheel anymore. I’ve seen some of my friends behind the wheel, and let me tell you, they are crazy.

Sharing is Caring, Right?

The other day I was having brunch with my friend Jaclyn. We had started to peruse the menu when she suggests, “Perhaps you’d like to share something, we could both get different entrées and then split them.”

“Hmmmm…I’m not a good ‘sharer,’ ” I say. I was just being honest.

“Oh.”

“Sorry. It’s just that I order what I like to eat.”

I then have to continue into the full length version of why I don’t like to share plates at restaurants. This always makes me feel bad. But, over the last few years I’ve had to learn to just be honest about what I want. Jaclyn, as expected, was completely understanding, while others have not been. I guess that some people just find it weird that you wouldn’t want to split your food with them. But, I don’t.

There is a history to this. I’ve been burned…many times…and not by delicious sizzling fajita meat. Rather, burned by people who order twice as much as I do and then want to just split the bill. Or, burned by people who want to split dessert and then proceed to eat basically the whole thing. OK, so I know that I’m really stepping on people’s toes here. But, I’ll admit it. I have food issues. Especially when it comes to money and food. It’s expensive.

All of this has me thinking…am I just being selfish? Am I just a selfish person in general? Are the people who want to share just mooching? Why does this bother me so much? If I just keep on asking questions will I have to answer all of them eventually? Why am I asking so many questions in the first place? Don’t you just hate it when people ask too many questions? Are you getting tired of reading all my questions?

Wow. What just happened there? Damn. I did it again. Sorry. I really am trying to stop asking questions but I just can’t stop. Why is that? Argh.

Sometimes I have to seriously question my sanity. I mean really. I just never know where this blog is going. Food. Moochers. There, I’m back on track. Alrighty then. I don’t think it’s selfish of me to want to pay for only my portion of food, nor do I think that I should be guilted into eating “family style.” I have no problems with sharing my food when I’m done eating. That’s not it all. But, don’t make me eat part of your fish dish that I didn’t want to begin with just so that you can have part of my chicken dish that I was really hungry for.

Wow. I finally got that out. It’s amazing the journey I have to take you on sometimes just to get to my point. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I’m sure it was tempting to click off my page and curse my name. I feel better now and slightly hungry. Anyone want to go out for lunch? My treat.

The Dangers of Cafés

There is a growing phenomenon that I find slightly disturbing. People who literally use their neighborhood café–think Starbucks or, my personal favorite, H Café–as their personal office space.

(dramatic pause to gather myself)

Alright. Fine. Whatever. So I refer to H Café as “my office.” So what? It is. I’ve totally taken ownership over my neighborhood café. It’s just nice to know that Hasam (the real owner) knows my name and my order, without me having to speak. He knows if I have my laptop with me that he should put my order on a plate. He also knows if I have that sleepy/”don’t fuck with me” look in my eye that I won’t be staying very long and I will not be talking. Hasam’s very understanding and he’s OK with me just grunting and pointing at pastries. This is for the safety of me as well as the safety of those around me, really.

So I am contributing to this café phenomenon. I can accept that. But, there’s a huge difference between me and the others who use “my office.” I just sit quietly in the corner and blog or read or get high on coffee or all three. The others, and it’s never the regulars, come in and completely pull me out of my happy place. Damn them. I know from the moment they come in the front door carrying those snappy shoulder bags, frantically talking on their geeky bluetooth, all while focusing on the blur of thumbs holding their ever-so-cool blackberry, I know that they’re gonna be trouble. They’re gonna force me to do something that I don’t wanna do and that’s eavesdrop on their conversations, just to see what is so important.

OK, fine. I can’t hide it. I’m jealous. Secretly I want to have something to do that is so important that I have to ignore all those around me. I can’t help myself. I think I have a disorder or something. Let’s call it NLS: Nosy Little Shit disorder. Jeff tells me I’m like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched. “Gladys get away from that window,” he’ll bellow.

“But, I’ve got to see what they’re fighting about.”

“You even can’t hear them, how do you know that they’re fighting?”

“Well, if they’re going to keep their windows shut like that I’m just going to have to assume certain things. And, I think they’re fighting. Look at the way he’s closed off from his boyfriend. They never really talk anymore.”

“You need help.”

Keep in mind that I live in the city and if people leave their blinds open I can see all their business. Or, perhaps even watch their TV. But, most of all, I like to create stories about their lives. I have an extremely attractive neighbor who I’ve created an entire story around. Keep in mind, everything that I know about him I’ve overheard while at “my office” or simply made up. Realize that I’ve had to take certain liberties, fill in the gaps of knowledge.

He’s a straight married man named Matt who doesn’t get along with his demanding and selfish wife. She constantly nags and berates him. His only joys in life are getting his morning coffee at my office and then taking his two loving dogs for an abnormally long walk. He also enjoys skateboarding to work. It allows him to feel the freedom that he doesn’t feel at home. But, he’s stuck in this unhappy marriage because the wife’s father bought the house for them. He feels trapped.

It’s kind of fun. And, annoying. Every time Jeff and I see him on the street, I add another detail to his story. Oh yeah, and since he’s so cute, I call him my boyfriend. Don’t worry, Jeff knows all about this delusion relationship. He’s supportive. Jeff has nothing to worry about, since I refuse to actually ever talk to Matt. I prefer to just imagine things about him.

The other day my friend Jaclyn and I were walking down the street and Matt was talking to someone in front of his place. All I heard his friend say to him was “see you later, Dan.” I was crushed. Everything that I’ve actually known about Matt wasn’t true. His whole made-up world came crashing down in an instant. His name is Dan. Hmmmm… This changes everything. I think that “Dan” probably had a rough childhood. I bet he ran away from home at age 13, ending up in San Francisco after hitchhiking across the country… Or, maybe I’ll just continue to call him “Matt.” After all, I’ve really enjoyed not liking that wife of his anyway.

275 Smiles

Lately, I have been attempting to “green-up” my life by reading my newspapers online instead of buying them. I realized that I usually only skim through most of the paper anyway, so why buy it? And, I like to read different things from different papers. For instance, I like to read the Money section from USA Today. But, I like to get the world and national news from The New York Times. I get my local news from The San Francisco Chronicle. It just seemed ridiculous to buy three newspapers and read only part of each one, especially when I can get the exact same articles online. Plus, the newspaper sites update the news throughout the day and often have video to go along with the articles. So, there you have it.

Anyway, so I was reading the Times last week and came across an interesting article about Tyra Banks entitled Banksable. I’ve included the link to the video portion because I can’t get a copy of the video that is with it any other way. And, that’s the whole purpose of this post. Tyra says she has extensively studied and rehearsed the smile. And, better yet, her list of “perfected” smiles has evolved into a complete set of just 275. 275 smiles! OK, you all know by now that Tyra Banks has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment. I should send her a “thank you” JibJab (remember, I’m keeping it green.) Which reminds me, check out Jib-Jab. It’s much better than sending regular ecards. You can even put you and your friends faces in videos. Love it. Here’s the Christmas Video I sent out to some of my friends last Christmas:

Anyway, I’ve totally gone off-topic. Crap. Where was I? Oh yes, Tyra’s 275 smiles! 🙂 When you watch the video from The New York Times Magazine article, you’ll be happy to see that she has narrowed it down to just a few important smiles for us. And, I say “why?” Why not give us all 275 smiles, Tyra. Or, are you waiting to put them all in a book? This all got me thinking, “I, too, have several key smiles.” This is what led me to do another fabulous photo shoot for you. I doubt any of these are a part of Tyra’s 275. And, it brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Tyler’s 5 Key Smiles ®:

1) The “Mary Murphy” Smile (from So You Think You Can Dance)
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2) The “3rd grade” Smile (This is what my school picture from 3rd grade looked like)
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3) The “Oh You…” Smile (Oh you…stop it, you always say the funniest things. Also known as the “Renee Zellweger” Smile)
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4) The “I Need a Bathroom” Smile (This look really says it all)
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5) The “Old Geezer” Smile (This one really hurts to do–use with caution)

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The white guy.

I’m a white guy. More specifically, I’m of Scotch Irish descent, with just a scoop of German and Dutch. But, basically I’m a white guy. I know that even using the term ‘white guy’ will conjure up images of bad dancing and poor social skills–perhaps pocket protectors and thick eyeglasses. The term ‘vanilla’ may come to mind, too. Several dictionaries have described ‘vanilla’ as meaning regular, ordinary, with no special features. But, no matter what stereotype you throw at me, one fact remains: I am a white guy. My skin is so white, in fact, that I have occasionally been labeled ‘albino,’ or even called ‘powder’ (from the movie Powder; about an albino, of course). I’m not sure why people have found it necessary to point out my whiteness to me, as if I’ve never owned a mirror. But, today I am here to clear the air. I’m white, and I know it.

I burn really fast, too. It’s a problem, always having to avoid the sun. But, I’ve been this way all my life. As a child, I had white blond hair to go with my abnormally pale hue. My best friend growing up was a dark-haired Italian kid named Danny. He was as dark as I was light. More than one person made note of our ebony and ivory-like pairing. Many summer days we would spend an afternoon at the pool, only to come out darker (Danny) and redder (Moi), sort of like a strawberry and chocolate concoction.

In high school, I decided to take the universal advice I had received (and still do) from so many people: you just need more sun. Right, as if spending hours and hours in the sun without sunscreen would make me look like Danny–never mind the risk of skin cancer. But, nonetheless, I decided that’s exactly what I needed. So one very hot and very sunny day, Danny and I, with no sunscreen, went to a water park. This is when I discovered a very hard and necessary truth…

Sun + Tyler = >:-(

I had second-degree burns all over my back, shoulders, and chest. Despite having to sleep sitting up for a week, and blistering several times, when all was said and done, I was just as white as before. And, that was almost the last time I would try to tan.

I did have several other minor run-ins with a tanning bed and self-tanning lotion. But, for the most part, I realized I was going to have to be happy with the way I was. This didn’t mean, however, that people would leave me alone about my skin color. Just recently, I was sitting on the jump-seat with a co-worker who happened to be Mexican and very tan. He looked at me and then at himself and started laughing. Then he said, “Dude, you are so white.” Followed by, “Seriously, you need to get some sun.” Then, “Are you an albino?” He used just about every line I had ever heard in my life in the space of about two minutes.

Now, I’ve learned that the best way for me to deal this was just to ignore it and redirect the conversation. But, it wasn’t working. For two days he picked apart every part of my whiteness. And when he was done with my skin color, he decided to start dissecting why white people have no personality, no flavor… It was all way too much. This type of joking would have torn me apart in high school. I would have ended up in a corner rocking myself back and forth.* Luckily, it was just a two day trip. It would all end soon enough.

Later, I was talking to my friend Donna, who I was also working with, and decided to pull up my pant leg to show her just how white I was. And here is how Donna made my day: “Oh my God, boy, you have some serious calves. Can I touch them? I’ve wanted calves like that my whole life!” Of course, I immediately forgot how white my calves were and focused on their nice muscular shape. Then, I just simply hiked my pant leg up further to give her a better view. I replied, “…you like?”

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*On a side note, there was one topic that did distract him for a short while–gay sex–I’m not sure why, since he is a straight man, but that seemed to captivate his attention. Actually, I have found that many ‘straight’ guys are rather interested in various matters of gay life.
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Oh yeah, and here’s a little treat (or proof) for of all you who think white guys can’t dance…