Moving Melodies: Firework

The song that is stuck in my head today is by Katy Perry.  I’m kind of indifferent toward Katy Perry, really.  I don’t lurve her, but I don’t hate her either.  Her voice is pretty mediocre and I suspect artificially improved.  The few performances I’ve heard where she was apparently singing live (Teen Choice Awards, Saturday Night Live, Victoria Secret Fashion Show) her voice seemed weak and shaky.

Her recordings on the radio, on the other hand, don’t really seem that way which leads to my “artificially improved” theory.

But it’s not just about the quality of the voice.  If it were just about the quality of the voice, A LOT of famous singers, wouldn’t be.  Taylor Swift, anyone?  It’s about their overall presentation and mass appeal.

For me, it’s also about the lyrics to the song, and today, the song that is moving me is Firework.  Lyrics are below the video. (Also, note the very sweet, guy on guy kiss at 2:19) 😉




By. Katy Perry


Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you?

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through-ough-ough

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

I Survived to Tell the Tale, Will They?

On the first night of my EMT class my teacher, Mr. Williams, spent an inordinate amount of time talking about how hard the class is (he was right) and how most of the students weren’t going to make it to the end (he was right) and about all the possible ways that we might get kicked out of the class (lot’s of people did.)  He was quick to tell us that we weren’t going to be able to get through the class on our own (I did) and if we were smart we would form study groups early and rely on each other (wasn’t for me.)

Mr. Williams talked for a good forty-five minutes about how most of us were doomed to failure in this arena and when he was finally finished, I thought, Oh thank God.  That was ridiculously unnecessary.  Finally we can get on to the business of class. And then the “co-instructor”, Mr. Harvey, got up and said a lot of the same things… with a st-st-st-studder.  This guy went on for a good twenty minutes saying all the same things that Mr. Williams had just said, just sl-sl-sl-slower.  Obviously, Mr. Williams repeated a lot of the things since it took him twice as long as Mr. Harvey to say it.

When Mr. Harvey was finished, I breathed another sigh of relief and looked at my watch.  More than an hour of the first class had passed and we hadn’t really even started yet.  Finally we could get to it.

Um, the TA got up next and, you know,  um, said a lot of the same things, you know, that um, you know had already been said.  Um, he included a lot of, you know, “um”s and “you know”s, you know.  But, you know, um, things were looking up, ’cause, um, you know, he only spent five or ten minutes, you know, talking about it.

This is getting ridiculous! I thought to myself as I consciously instructed myself not to take any of it to heart and not to let them succeed in discouraging me.  I was determined to finish the class and not allow the naysayers to shake my resolve.  One by one, each of the instructors, and helpers and former students and possibly a janitor, anyone who wasn’t part of MY class, got up in the front of the room and told us about how we weren’t going to be able to finish this class and how it was going to be an impossible struggle for each of us.  Finally, everyone had spoken but one.  It had been nearly two hours and I was desperately ready for us to move on and do something productive.  Mr. Williams turned to the one young lady who hadn’t spoken yet and asked her, “Do you want to say anything?”

“No,” she said, “that’s OK.  You guys have all pretty much covered it.”

“Ah, c’mon,” he chided.  “Everyone else has talked.  You might as well too.”

So she did. She got up in front of the class and told us all how this class was going to be the hardest thing we’ve ever done (not so sure about that) and how many of the students wouldn’t make it to the end (she was right) and that we would just have to work really hard to get through (have you read my blog lately?)

That first night, the class, which was supposed to be over at 9:20 lasted until after 10:30.  I left determined to do my best.  Determined not to let him rattle me.  And determined to do everything in my power to prove them wrong.  I also left that night determined that I wouldn’t spend a minute longer dealing with that man than I had to.


On my last night of class, after finishing my final exam and earning a 90% on the 167 question test, I told Mr. Williams that I wanted to come back and “just sit in” on the next class, my motivation being to keep refreshing the information.

Mr. Williams said, “JUST sit in?”

I said, “Well, I guess I could help out, if you want.”

“Good,” he replied enthusiastically.

I walked out of the room that night surprised how much the situation had changed.  I still think his tactics are less than productive and I would rather see him be encouraging and supportive but he’s going to do what he’s going to do.


Mr. Williams seemed to be pleased that I planned to come back and I assume he wants to put me to work with the new bunch of students.  I had assumed that he would contact me prior to the start of the class to talk to me about his needs or expectations and any arrangements that might need to be made, but it’s pretty cut and dried, I guess; show up, work with the new students.  I never heard from him the whole six weeks.


Two weeks ago, I looked at the on-line course catalog to find out when he was teaching so I could be sure and show up to the first class.  It said that this semester Mr. Williams was teaching a Tuesday/Thursday class.  I thought about the first night of my class and wondered if it would be similar.  Mr. Williams mellowed a lot over the course of my class, and I wondered if we’d be dealing with a kinder, gentler Mr. Williams, of it would be the return of Captain Blood.

I didn’t really want to have to make a speech in front of the class about how horrible this is going to be for them, but I remembered the last girl to have to speak in my class and imagined he wouldn’t let me off the hook.  I began to formulate my speech in advance:

“Boy, they made it sound really bad didn’t they?  It’s not really; or anyway it doesn’t have to be.

“If you came here tonight thinking this class was going to be easy, you were wrong.  If you came here tonight thinking you were going to get by just listening to the lectures, but not reading the book, you were wrong.  If you came here tonight thinking, this class was going to be a lot of work, you were wrong.  If you came here tonight think this class was going to be a lot of work, take however much work you thought this class was going to be and double it, or triple it.  It’s going to be at least that much work.

“If you’re not committed to this class, to learning the material you might as well not waste your time.  BUT, if you’re committed to learning this stuff, to doing well in this class and if you’re willing to make the sacrifices for the next four or five months of this class to make sure you do, then you can forget everything they just said.  Just work hard, do your best, and this can actually be fun.”

I imagined giving my speech and wondered how Mr. Williams would feel about it, but I wasn’t going to participate in the fright fest that they tried to create my first night.

I decided to leave work early on the first night, so I cold get to the class ahead of the new students and check in with Mr. Williams and be there for the whole class.  So I left work, yesterday at 4:00.  I went home to change clothes and feed Mischa.  If my class was any indication, I could expect the class to run very late and I didn’t want to make him wait ’til I got home to eat.

I showed up to campus about 4:50 and after running by the restroom and stopping at the concession stand to get a drink, headed into the building that housed our classroom…

And found a sign on the door stating the Tuesday/Thursday class to be cancelled.

I called Mr. Williams.  Turns out they cancelled the class due to funding and he’s teaching the Monday/Wednesday class again…  Which means, I missed the first night of class altogether.

Manly Moment

I don’t fit in well with men.  I never have.  I’m certain that comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial.

I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names.

I’m certain it comes, in no small part, from being a closeted gay kid/teen/young adult who was in complete denial and carried wounds from a lifetime of torment from my peers making fun of me and calling me names and fearing that I’d incur the rath of more homophobic straight men if I so much as gave a hint of having paid any attention to, or noticing them.

It is my custom, therefore,  to keep my head down and try not to be noticed, in general, but especially not while I’m noticing those around me.

I’ll make no qualms against the idea that this experience has contributed to this feeling, but I’ve always found it annoying when I see guys apparently running into an acquaintance, in the gym.  There I am, walking on the treadmill, or using some weights or piece of equipment and I see a guy strutting through the gym, in no hurry to get anywhere and suddenly he see’s a guy, frequently of similar complexion and features, sitting on a bench with some dumbbells in his hands and they both stop to chat.  If I can hear their conversation it’s usually some random pleasantries that may be legitimate, but could just as easily be BSing each other and those around them.

I usually roll my eyes – because far be it from me to mind my own business and not form an opinion about things I know nothing about – and think to myself, “What bullshit.  I bet they don’t even know each other particularly well.  They just had to make a display for everybody else about how popular and manly they are.  I mean seriously!  You’re at the gym!  Just do what you came here to do and get out.  Other people want to use the equipment too!”

It’s so annoying, to me, to be at the gym when it’s crowded.  It seems like there’s always people in the way, from the moment I walk into the locker room to find a locker that’s not in a congested area, to the line to use the treadmills, to the crowded weight room where someone always seems to be using the item I need, to the moment I go back into the locker room where it seems like, no matter how long they had been in the gym before I got there, the men using all the lockers anywhere near the one I selected seem to be in the locker room and in the showers at the same time that I need to be there, affording me absolutely no privacy and in very confined spaces.  “Just do what you came here to do, and get out!

Today as I was leaving the gym, having already had my crowded workout, empty (for a change) shower and crowded locker room experience for the day, I strolled out of the locker room and through the gym toward the exit, surreptitiously examining the view on my way through, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  A nice looking young-ish African-American man in black track pants and a plain white t-shirt with unimaginably clear, smooth skin and a neatly trimmed goatee was sitting on the seat of some machine or other.  “He looks familiar,” I thought as I continued to walk through, “but I don’t think I know him from work.” And then just as he saw me and smiled it dawned on me that he was one of my classmates from my EMT class.

I stopped, shook hands with him, and chatted for a few minutes before heading back to the office.  And as I walked away, I thought, “Ha!  Now I’m popular and ‘manly’ too.” And then I rolled my eyes at myself and, having done what I came there to do, I got out!

Hat Trick

I really should not be writing this.  I should be leaving my office, where I’m sitting at 7:29 on a Friday night.  But see, I’ve posted something every day this week.  That’s something I haven’t pulled off in ages.  I don’t want to drop the ball now.

I can already tell you that today is the last day in the streak.  Tomorrow is laundry day and unless Michelle leaves me alone at her apartment and I get inspired I don’t expect to get around to blogging.  That’s OK.  I kinda give myself a break on the weekends.

You might be wondering why I’m still sitting in my office at 7:30 on a Friday night.  Well, you see, technically speaking, as of 5:00 this evening I am on vacation.  Well strictly speaking I’m on stay-home-and-spring-clean-my-house-cation, but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun as “vacation” does.  Since I am going to be off work for the next week, there were some things I had to resolve before I go and now I have, more or less.  Enough to be safe while I’m out anyway.

Yes for the next nine glorious days, I do not have to set foot on the premises of this God forsaken place where I work and I’m thrilled! Hopefully, I’ll truly be free of this place, but you know, we can never be sure of that…

I haven’t had an opportune time to drop this tidbit of information but, as of yesterday, my [insert unpleasant expletive here] of a boss is gone for 3-6 months.  He was asked to take a temporary assignment helping to establish a handful of facilities which my illustrious employer is opening (has opened?  I don’t even know) on Hawaii.  They have a Facility Services Director there, but apparently he is struggling in some way and needs help to get things up and running, and for reasons that are simply unfathomable to me, they asked my boss to go.  This does not mean a promotion, a raise or even any kind of differential for me, but it does mean more responsibilities.

We have an “acting manager” but he happens to be a horrible little troll that we all greatly dislike and would rather have nothing to do with and I am the not-always-so-proud holder of a company paid (and e-mail enabled) Blackberry, and well, while you might think grown-folks would know better than to contact me, I just can’t be sure of that.  And of course, I realize that it’s up to me whether I reply to the messages, and I probably won’t, but man wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go the whole week without anyone from work demanding my time or attention?

Oh, and of course, you all know that Blackberries don’t have off buttons…  right?

A Thousand Words

I have never been a fan of paintings.  I’m not sure why.  My Paternal Grandmother was a painter and most of my family, including my mother (who has been divorced from my father for 33 years) has at least one of my Grandmother’s paintings in their home.  I do not.  I never cared and I never felt like sentimentality was a reason to possess or hang something that I don’t like.

I love photographs.  I desperately want to purchase a good 35mm digital camera and take a photography class.  I really enjoy a well thought out, unique photograph of a beautiful, or even just personally meaningful, vista.  I have photographs all around my house, mostly images of San Francisco.  I have no photographs of people… at all.  I’ve never had an interest in hanging pictures of people in my house.

I have a few pictures of my nieces and nephew pinned to a bulletin board in my office, but that’s it.  I’m not sure why there’s a difference, but there is.

When I take photographs, I almost never take pictures of people.  Some of my favorite photography subjects have been the beach, famous (and not so famous) San Francisco architecture, Sculpture, the fountains in Lake Bellagio (I still need to get that roll of film developed) and of course, Mischa.

I don’t take pictures of people.  Not strangers, not family, nobody.  And I sure don’t display them.  I’ve never understood why people do.

I’m sure this mentality lead to my feelings expressed in my recent blog posts, but what led to these feelings?  I remembered something at the end of my session with Deb; something I didn’t actually forget, just hadn’t thought about in a very long time.

When I was a kid, my father and step-monster used to take my Brother and Sister and me to get a portrait taken every year.  Every. Year.  Sometimes more than once.  Back in the day there was a portrait studio in Cincinnati, maybe still is, called Olan Mills.  Olan Mills offered free sessions to shoot your portraits and they made their money on the prints (at least that’s how I remember it.)

These experiences were always painful, drawn out and horrible.  They always resulted in tears.  I hated having my picture taken (some things never change) and I never wanted to do it.  If, however, I was going to have to have my picture taken, I wanted to at least be able to be comfortable doing it.  I wanted to wear clothes that I liked and I felt like I looked good in.  My father and step-monster had different opinions.

“Don’t you want the picture to look nice?” the step-monster would ask.  She always has a demeaning and over-bearing tone, even if/when she doesn’t mean to.  She would stand over and lean toward me and look at me with eyes that were probably uncomprehending, but looked angry to my seven-year-old self.

“I think I do look nice,” I would answer, meekly.  I meant what I said, but already knew I was going to lose this so-called battle.

“But don’t you want to look dressed up?” she would say, thinking this would clarify things.

“No!” I answered angrily.  I didn’t want to look “dressed up”.  I wasn’t comfortable “dressed up”.  And I didn’t have any “dressed up” clothes at my father’s house.

My father’s house was always dirty, and drafty and messy.  My mother says I always came home from my father’s house with a cold and with some sort of wound; a splinter or a cut or bruise.  The clothes I wore would be stained and ruined with motor oil or grease from a wood shop tool that wasn’t properly shielded.  So she stopped sending clothes with me, telling him instead to buy me clothes to have at his house.  So I had garage sale finds and TJ Maxx Bargain Bin finds that the Step-Monster bought for me, without my presence or input.  And she didn’t buy “dressed up” clothes because what would I need them for?

Their idea of “dressed up” was for me to wear hand me downs from my older brother, or worse, from one of the Step-Monster’s children who were eons older than I was.  A button-down collared, Oxford cloth shirt with the shoulder seams hanging low and a large gap in the collar, and a tie, with a double windsor from my father’s collection; that was their idea of dressed up.  And that was her idea of what our portrait should be.

I wanted to wear my corduroys and a modern t-shirt that I believed was stylish and trendy and would make me look better that I did on my own.  It wasn’t “dressed up” but that didn’t mean I didn’t look good.

Some parents have a bad habit of attempting to reason with a child, using logic that makes sense to them, but perhaps not to a seven year old, and when that attempt fails then resort to yelling and issuing commands.  And that is where we always found ourselves.

“Kevin, we don’t have time for this, go change your clothes,” my father would intone, loudly.

There was no point in arguing further and I would turn away, slowly, sullenly and drag my toes as I slunk off to put on the shirt and tie and pants that had been selected for me to wear.

And I would sob.

I didn’t want to have my picture taken.  I was ugly and I didn’t want to have to see it, or have other people see it for eternity.  I didn’t need a reminder of this life I was living and I didn’t want to take the fucking picture.

I didn’t want to take the picture, and I didn’t want to be forced to do something I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t want to have the power and the choice stripped away from me, compelled to violate my own free will.

And let’s face it.  I was seven.  I believed that if I made it a miserable enough experience, they would give in and not make us do it.  At the very least they would decide it wasn’t worth the trouble and never do it again…  Right?  Right?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

But don’t get me wrong.  My tears were real.  My anguish and desperation were real.  I would sob from the moment I shuffled off to dress as my master had commanded, until the moment we got into the studio and…  Well, I have to hand it to photographers who take those kinds of pictures.  Despite my genuine suffering and despair, they always managed to get me to smile and laugh and dare I say it, look happy.  The pictures would actually turn out as well as can be expected for a self-perceived to be ugly, genuinely UNphotogenic seven-year-old boy.

And my father and step-monster?

They never bought a single portrait.  Ever.