Category Archives: Pictures

A Sentimental Day

My, My how times have changed over the last decade. I’ve been feeling extremely sentimental lately. It’s been 10 years since my mother passed, 10 years since I graduated from college, 10 years since I left the midwest, 10 years since my life took the dramatic turn that has led me to where I am today.

Frankly, in retrospect, I find it amazing that I am where I am. A secular gay man working in the airline industry and living in San Francisco. I still suffer from culture shock on occasion. Ten years ago I was just leaving the midwest after 6 years of Bible College. I was just starting an exciting job with an up-and-coming mega-church in Arizona. The job didn’t last long, and the next thing I knew I was working for my first airline. Then I started coming to terms with a life outside the Church. I realize that is a horrible summary of an extremely turbulent 1998. But, I don’t think I’m ready to broadcast all of that on my blog…nothing personal. Really, it’s me, not you.

The point of this post is not to elaborate on my journey from point A to point B. I’m just amazed at my starting point. I think that I’m mostly amazed that people change. More specifically, I changed. I mean, shit, I voted for Bob Dole in 1996. Ouch! Wow, that hurt to type those words. I. Voted. For. Bob. Dole. The only thing I have say in my defense is that I did not vote George W. Bush in 2000 or 2004. I remember sitting in my dormitory lobby gathered around the TV and feeling the immense dread of another 4 years with Bill Clinton. And now, I think that Bill Clinton was a great president! And that’s actually my point…I started thinking for myself.

I totally get why so many of my Bible College friends have a hard time understanding me these days. I’m not the same Tyler that they knew in college. There are parts of me that haven’t changed. I still love music, even some gospel music. I’m still just a little odd, a little geeky.

To be fair, it also freaks Jeff out a little bit to envision the Tyler from 1998. When I’m feeling a little bit ornery, I’ll whip into a rousing rendition of How Great Thou Art or Shout to the Lord. My friend Jaclyn likes to hear one my special prayers. You know the type that involves lots of thee’s and thou’s, blessing’s and tribulation’s. Oh yeah, I can preach, too. I reserve that for when I’m feeling just downright mean. And every time I pull from my personal experience in Bible College, I also have a moment of gratitude. I’m happy to be where I am now.

For old time’s sake, here’s a picture of me from my Bible-thumpin’ days. This was taken at my senior piano recital. I had no idea that my whole world was about to change…

Good Vibes

Today was totally a lesson in sending out good vibes. I worked with my all-time favorite captain. Her name is Jan, and she is absolutely wonderful. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s one of those obsessively optimistic and upbeat people that just seem to find the best in every person. When you talk to her you just can’t help but smile. It’s infectious. Yes, at first, she can be overwhelming. But, after awhile you see that it’s coming from a totally honest place. She really does want to brighten your day.

On the other end of the spectrum, I was also working with a flight attendant who had the complete opposite energy/vibe–totally icy and a mute, really. It made for a very interesting day. And it made me think, who am I or how am I? Do I make people wanna smile? Or, do I make people wanna avoid me? Do I brighten people’s day? Or, do I drag them down?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. Maybe I’m bipolar, but, I can easily go both ways. Some days I’m way up and some days I’m way down. I wish I had the persistent upbeat-ness of Captain Jan. I’m afraid, though, that I don’t. It doesn’t always come natural for me to be friendly and smile. I guess that’s why I created my mantra which I haven’t talked about for awhile, but still recite almost daily. Be kind, be generous, be honest…be kind, be generous, be honest. I don’t want to walk around with a scowl on my face so I also tell myself to “soften” my expression as I’m heading down the street.

It’s amazing to me that when you place a smile or at least a pleasant expression onto your face, it works itself inward. Some days I’m all bent out of shape over life and have to really force that damn smile onto my face. But, if I persist…eventually I feel better inside. I know that I’m sounding all warm and fuzzy today, but it’s true. Those who smile a lot and laugh a lot feel better on the inside. And I’m all for feeling better on the inside. It’s a slippery slope that leads downward toward being a total grump. You have to fight it–unless, of course you have a chronically happy disposition like Captain Jan.

So, that’s just a thought for today. Sometimes being happy takes work. You’ve gotta laugh and you’ve gotta smile. Don’t make me come over there and beat that smile outta ya. I will… and I ain’t frontin’.

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)

2) The “3rd grade” Smile (This is what my school picture from 3rd grade looked like)

3) The “Oh You…” Smile (Oh you…stop it, you always say the funniest things. Also known as the “Renee Zellweger” Smile)

4) The “I Need a Bathroom” Smile (This look really says it all)

5) The “Old Geezer” Smile (This one really hurts to do–use with caution)


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…)


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…