Category Archives: Pictures

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)
photo-54

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)
photo-56

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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Me on a delay.

I just love delays. I’m at the airport with my friend Donna and we’re just kickin’ back waiting for our flight. I thought I’d just share our happy delay faces! Donna has the best one liners, including my favorite: I’ve got a scoop of class, a scoop of sass, and a double scoop of ass! (cue the ass smacking) And then there’s: I have one of these so that I can get one of those! (point to crotch, then point to whatever it is that you want, i.e.-a man, a car, a hamburger…)

G-ma-speak

I have written about my grandmother before. (see Social Life of My Grandma) I am fascinated by her. She’s 86. She’s sassy. She’s got a boyfriend. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s my G-ma.

One of my favorite things about G-ma is that she has her own language–or at least her own pronunciation of the English language. It’s not a “southern” thing, she lives in Iowa. It’s not an “uneducated” thing, she worked for decades in the county courthouse as a court clerk. I guess it’s just a G-ma thing. She’s old school in a trendy sort of way. She’s the real deal.

G-ma says things like, “I’m going to go to Wal-Marts and buy a digikal camera after I do the worsh.” Or, “I’ve always wanted to sit in a zacuzzi in Ha-why-ah.” Better yet, “Maybe I should take an umba-rella with me when I visit my friends in Worshington.”

Another thing I love about her is that she still has it. She told me yesterday that her doctor thinks her “real age” is 70. It made her day to find out that she had the body of a 70 year old. That means to her that she has several years of dancing left. It also makes her younger than her boyfriend who is 78.

I went home to Iowa to visit my family recently and spent a night out on the town with G-ma and her boyfriend Phil. We actually only went out for dinner at a local steak house. Phil rolled up in his mint condition 1986 Buick to pick us up. He was sporting a white shirt with the collar up and unbuttoned just a bit too far, a black leather vest, and a gold chain. His hair was slicked back and he was ready to go. I think I also detected a dousing of Old Spice. Of course, I loved him. I also loved the fact that he insisted I sit in front with G-ma and him. The car had a bench seat and held the three of us just fine with G-ma in the middle.

They took it easy (just for me) by only doing dinner. I had spent the day traveling from California and was really tired. Normally, they went out dancing at one of the various “jam sessions” held by other retirees. I couldn’t help the smile that had been on my face all night long. It was so amazing to see G-ma so active and with a gentleman such as Phil. And, they were very smoochy. At one point, later in the weekend, I came into the room to find my grandmother sitting on Phil’s lap. I think I probably giggled like a little schoolgirl. It was so cute. I want to be like that at 86.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a picture of my cute little G-ma and her stud-muffin boyfriend Phil…

Free Hugs!

I was just walking through the Castro and came across “The Sisters.” Their full title is The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I’m sure if you check out their website you could find a much better explanation of who they are. But, here is my quick attempt at explaining them. They are a local group of gay men (there are other orders elsewhere, too) who dress up like flamboyant nuns and perform charitable acts of kindness.

Anyway, I was walking through the Castro and came across “The Sisters.” They were standing on a corner giving away free hugs. At first, I tried to avoid it. I tried, I really tried. But, the situation was hopeless. I got sucked into a hug-fest. Well, let me just say that nothing brightens your day like being hugged by a group of men dressed up like nuns, in full make-up, and wearing ear brassieres. If I haven’t painted a good enough picture, click on “The Sisters” in the first paragraph to visit their web page. You really should see their names and pictures in order to get what I’m talking about.

Actually, I think one of the nuns copped a feel. I could be wrong, but I swear her hands went below my waist. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering they also host an event every Easter involving nearly naked men. Oh, “The Sisters” do like their men.

My point is, it totally made my day. I couldn’t stop smiling for at least a whole block. It’s just impossible to stay in a bad mood when someone gives you a hug. So, I’m gonna give you a hug the best way I can. Just put yourself in this picture with me and consider yourself hugged…

Moving On.

Last month I went home to Iowa to visit my family. It was a great trip, especially since I hadn’t been home in 3 1/2 years. I spent most of the time simply catching up with everyone. Oh yeah, and scanning photos. My sister and I decided to start scanning old pictures so that we could have them in a digital format. We didn’t realize just how time consuming it would be. The nice side of this is that I now have a ton of pictures from my childhood on my computer. Pictures that I would have never had otherwise. I’ve decided to share one of my favorites with you. I believe you’ve heard me talk about my stint in sports. Now I have the photos to prove it. This picture is from 4th grade (1983).

Notice the nice glasses and the determined look on my face. I’m ready to go to the ball field, sit in the outfield, and pick dandelions. Anyway, we had a great time looking at the pictures, having a nice stroll down memory lane.

For some reason I’ve had a very serious case of writer’s block this past month. In fact, the first and second paragraphs of this post were typed about one month apart. I apologize for the gap in my posting. I’ve decided to push through and just post something without worrying if it’s just the way I want it.

Since I love to over-analyze things, you’ll be pleased to know that I have figured out my writer’s block. My trip home to Iowa was extremely cathartic for me. I hadn’t been home for so long because of my need to distance myself from my family. I needed them to see me as who I am now, not who I used to be. I needed some space and I took it–about 3 1/2 years worth. I think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, taking space. However, going home was truly wonderful. My family and I have both changed immensely. At this point, I think we all agreed that it is simply time to move forward and allow each other to be who we are.

Moving on…so much of the reason I began to blog in the first place was purely psychological. I wanted to express in writing a lot of what I was feeling regarding my past, with a sprinkle of current “Tyler” events. After going home, I don’t feel the need to work through so much of the past anymore. I just want to move forward. So, I was stumped. No material.

Where do I go from here? Good question. I’m just going to write as it comes. I think occasionally you will see me write about my college days or childhood; but, for the most part I think this will become more current.

So, here’s to blogging again.

Oh yeah, and before I go, I wanted to share one more picture from my childhood.

I’d like to introduce you to the Wild Rose Cloggers of Marion County, Iowa, 1982. I’m the tow head in the front row. Nice bolo tie, huh?

"Butcha are, Blanche….ya are in that wheelchair!"

I’m quite an easy target when it comes to my lack of knowledge concerning gay history. I’ve really had to work hard to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. To be more specific, I’m especially lacking in the Bette Davis era of gay pop culture icons. (If you didn’t already know, the title of this post is from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring Bette Davis)

Early on in Jeff and I’s relationship we were at our friends’ apartment enjoying a game night. It was a fun game night, really. We each were given a picture of a gay celebrity or icon to place on our forehead. Then we were to walk around the room and give each other clues as to whom was taped to each other’s forehead. It wasn’t long until I was the only one in the room still wearing his iconic crown of shame.

“She’s a brunette.”

“She played Rachel’s mom on ‘Friends.'”

“She starred in ‘That Girl.'”

“She’s on those St. Jude’s commercials.”

And it continued…

Finally, after much prodding they just “came out” and told me. Clearly expecting the light bulb to final light up, they exclaim, “It’s Marlo Thomas!!!!” I have no clue who Marlo Thomas is. And, I can only vaguely remember the pretty brunette that played Rachel’s mom. I say, “Seriously. I don’t know who Marlo Thomas is.” The next sound heard in the room was that of about 6 chins hitting the floor, followed by silence and disbelief. I think that Jeff was over in the corner crying with embarrassment.

Clearly, something was wrong with me. And, that’s when it happened. The first time, anyway. My gay card was taken away. To a room full of gay men and my straight friends Shahla and Rich, who both have “gay cards” in their own way, it was like finding a gold mine. Several years later they still joke about it.

Several weeks following the horrifying event, Jeff and I went back over for dinner. Immediately after we finished dinner, our friends Kirk and Jaime held a gay intervention for me. They made me sit and look at a stack full of pictures of gay icons. Actually, it was another game. Name the icon. And, I guessed about 75% of them correctly. Not surprisingly, I had trouble with the older ones. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Charles Pierce, etc. etc. The important thing is that, technically speaking, I passed. So, I received my card back. For the time being, anyway.

Honestly, I never knew what I was missing. Growing up in rural Iowa and then going to Bible college–I just wasn’t really ever exposed to these fabulous people. And, what’s worse is that I didn’t know anything about Harvey Milk or the Stonewall Riots. Fortunately, I have educated myself on these and other important moments/people in gay history. But, up until about ten years ago I had a gay IQ of about 2.

I knew 2 things in high school:

1) Guys gave me a funny feeling in my stomach.

2) I loved the Pleasantville High School Drill Team.

Those heavenly girls on the drill team squad rocked my world with their flashy sequined outfits and glitter-filled make-up. Of course, in 1988, boys weren’t allowed to be part of such squads. So, I sat on the sidelines in a bedazzled trance. I may not have had all the greats to look up to and imitate as a child. But, at least I had my drill team girls to give me the inspiration that was needed to create world-class flag and pom routines in the basement and front yard of my childhood home. And, if that didn’t earn me my “gay card,” then no amount of Bette Davis one-liners ever will!

***UPDATE***
Almost immediately after this post went up, I received an interesting comment that can be read below. Evidently, you can’t just say you have a gay card. You need to pay the “Fairy Gay Mother” a hefty price and she’ll be happy to send you one. Fun website. Not so fun prices. Clearly it is expensive to be gay.

Here’s me and “That Girl.”

Here she is now, my claim to shame, Miss Marlo Thomas!
Marlo Thomas

The Wide-Eye Squint

Several years ago my friend Jaclyn and I were on TV. It was super exciting. We were roommates at the time, making a routine trip to the store. The camera crew was waiting for us outside with the news reporter pointing a mic in our faces demanding we answer his questions. Once we found our mark and the lighting “sweet spot,” we each began to share our New Year’s resolutions. Being blinded by the fame and glory that surely awaited me once it aired, I don’t fully remember what I said. I think it was something totally cute and adorable, yet important enough to make people question their own resolutions. Jaclyn told the world that she didn’t really make New Year’s resolutions.

I happen to think that I am totally photogenic. The camera loves me. It’s a problem really. Perhaps, a curse. Anytime someone points a camera in my face, I pose. “It’s like a gift from God, or something.” (Thank you, Drop Dead Gorgeous) It just always feels like I should turn my head slightly and pucker just a little. Or perhaps, give the wide-eye squint that I learned from Tyra Banks (ANTM). And, you know, sometimes I should give the camera my right side, it really is my better side. Ok, I am totally obsessed with modeling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually think that I could or should be a model. I find it totally amusing. I’m just fascinated by the whole modeling world.

Perhaps, it’s the fact that none of it is real or attainable. I mean, seriously, normal people don’t look like models. And who decided that a morbidly thin girl with impossibly high cheek bones and sunken eyes was the epitome of sexy? Maybe, being part of the misfit clique in high school made me the way I am. It would be interesting to see if any of my misfit friends enjoy making fun of the modeling world the same way I do. There is just an arrogance about it that is totally hilarious to me. So, I make fun of it.

Some of my favorite movies and TV shows are based on this subject. Take, for instance, Zoolander. “Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” It’s one of those movies that I could just keep quoting forever. And then, there is America’s Next Top Model or ANTM, as it’s fans refer to it. It’s funny to me to listen to the judges critique the contestants. It really embraces everything that I find funny about the modeling world. But, my latest obsession is Make Me A SuperModel. There is just something ultra-satisfying about watching pretty people fight over who is the prettiest.

However, the real gem for me this winter has been Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants. This reality TV show/mother-daughter beauty pageant/cat-fight contest has provided me with such laugh out loud moments of glee. I owe it big time for all of the material it’s given me. It puts me in my happy place. But, now I have completely digressed.

Oh crap. This post was going to be about New Year’s Resolutions. I was going to segue from my TV moment into my resolutions for this year. Fuck that. Oh yeah, I wasn’t gonna say fuck so much this year. Oh well, maybe next year.

How do you like my wide-eye squint?

Now, just a tilt…

Ok, now that’s too much…

…looks like my face is about to implode. I totally just cracked myself up with this
“photo shoot.” I seriously need to be on medication.