The Continuing Saga of My Close Personal Friendship with Aisha Tyler

If you’ve been around these parts very long, (and with a couple notable exceptions, I’m certain you haven’t) you already know about my long-standing personal friendship with the beautiful, hilarious and talented actress, comedian, writer, podcaster, and Co-host of the daytime talk show The Talk on CBS, Aisha Tyler.  If you’re new here, you can read the story here and here (though if you bother to look at those, I apologize that many of the pictures and links are broken, which makes them less exciting to read, especially the first one) and even here (though that last one is less about Aisha and more about an odd and confusing experience I had which happened to be on the same night as my last visit to one of Aisha’s shows.

That unavoidable, once a year event, which we often wish we could ignore is coming around again…  really soon.  And to celebrate Michelle and I went to dinner at a restaurant I had never been to before called The Dead Fish.  (Rumor is that’s a famous line in the family that started the restaurant.  The kids would ask mom, “What’s for dinner” and mom would say, “Dead fish.”)  I had heard lots of good things about the place and had high expectations, which, sadly were not lived up to.  It’s a nice enough place and the food was fine, but I expected better and more.  I had “Crispy Pork Shank” which was not crispy at all and, in fact, was rather the consistence of pot roast, something I do not care for, and had a lot of fat on it.  Plus, I ordered a Bombay martini, having recently discovered that Bombay Sapphire gin is actually quite smooth and pleasant – something that came as quite a surprise to me as I wasn’t much of a gin drinker.  I wasn’t as specific as perhaps I should have been while ordering, but I was disappointed with what I was served.  It did not come in a martini glass but rather some sort of goblet, almost like an old time champagne glass (non-flute).  The goblet held very little liquid and they left me with an ice filled shaker with the rest of my martini in it.  By the time I was ready to refill my glass, the ice was half melted and my martini was severely watered down.  On top of that, there was noticeably too much vermouth which, for my tastes should really just be there to take the edge off the gin slightly, not be a notable flavor, particularly in a martini with such quality gin!

Dinner was followed by the late show at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco.  My good friend Aisha Tyler was headlining.  As far as I know she hasn’t toured since starting her stint as one of the cacophony of voices of The Talk which is in the same vein as The View.  I told Michelle, “It’s better than The View, but it’s still a bunch of ladies sitting around a table talking over each other for an hour.”  (I was disappointed when I found out my good friend was joining that show, but I am happy for her and her well-deserved success – and paycheck.)  I was sure that after such a long break she would have a full set of new material, and for the most part she did.

After the show we waited in line to talk to Aisha, get a picture taken with her and an autographed copy of seasons 2 and 3 of her very funny, animated, FX sitcom Archer.

(This is the part where you find out just how close Aisha Tyler and I really are…)

Given the way I‘ve been feeling this weekend, I was feeling ever so slightly insecure and as we were waiting in line, I mentioned to Michelle that I was going to be disappointed if Aisha didn’t recognize me after so long.

We walked up to her and she greeted us as graciously as ever!  She and I shook hands and ended up talking over each other.  She said, “It’s nice to meet you.” as I said, “It’s been a long time.  It’s nice to see you again.”  A moment of unmistakable confusion darkened her eyes before she brightened up again and, with evident enthusiasm, said, “Hey!  I didn’t recognize you for a minute.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and if it were anybody else, I might agree with you.  I just don’t want to agree with you.  And, only because of what she said next, do I choose to believe with certainty that she was sincere.  She looked me over from head to toe and then looked back in my eyes and said, “Every time I see you, you’re skinnier than the last time!  That’s why it takes me a second to recognize you!  You look fantastic!”  (Incidentally, her inscription on the cover of season 2 of Archer was “So foxy!”  Those of you who are Archer fans will understand: on season 3 she wrote, “Sploosh!”)

See, I can’t help thinking that she really does recognize and remember me, because, “Hey you used to be way fatter!”, while complementary in its own strange way, isn’t really the way to fake remembering someone who may not have been fatter before.  Given what I’ve observed first hand about her kindness and grace, I can’t believe she would choose that tactic.

Besides…

I used to be way fatter…

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(Really wishing I’d worn a better shirt.  That shirt is WAY too big and is now in the “to donate” pile.)

Boring Report for Sunday

Today has been less productive than I had hoped, but it was a pretty good day, all the same. I had planned to go out and run some errands, do some housework and review the writing samples I have for this week. Instead, I never left the house and I watched entirely too much television. Can’t complain about that!

When I got up this morning, I fixed myself some breakfast and sat down in front of the television to eat and watch recorded shows from my DVR. After I ate, I played some Fish Wrangler, taking care of my daily tournaments and stuff, and I made the mistake of scrolling through my on-screen television guide to see what was on. When I got my new DirecTV service, they gave me three months of all the premium channels free. Of course I have to remember to cancel them later or they’ll charge me. I will definitely cancel them because I “never” watch premium channels, or even have a need/desire to watch them. Why would I need premium channels when I have this?

20120212-220715.jpg

But it just so happens that HBO Family was running all six of the Star Trek (original series) movies and I got sucked into them for a little while. I watched the second half of the first movie and then turned off the TV, but I realized I wasn’t really finished with the computer so I turned the TV back on and watched the second half of The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. I set the DVR to record The Voyage Home because I really did have things to do.

I did put my laundry away, take a shower, and heat and eat left overs from last night’s dinner at Red Lobster. I watched The Voyage Home while I ate dinner and ironed some clothes. Now I need to read my samples, but it’s almost 10 o’clock and I need to turn on the Grammys so I will be up to date with the rest of the world tomorrow morning and before anybody can spoil the results (not that they’re that important).

Since I am one of the three people whose work is being critiqued this week, I only have two submissions to go through, so I’ll do one tomorrow and one on Tuesday. It’ll work out fine.

So there’s your boring report for this Sunday. Hope you had a more adventurous week-end than I did.

 

 

Are You Being Served Downstairs?

A quick point of correction for those of you keeping track at home, and really, aren’t you all?  Last week I told you the Write on Edge program was called “Remebe(red)” which evokes thoughts of the “Join (Red)” campaign and the many forms it has taken over the years.  While Join (Red) is certainly a worthy thing (isn’t anything whose purpose is to eliminate the AIDS epidemic?) that is not what Write on Edge’s program is about.

In actuality, the program is called, “RembeRed.”

This week on RemerRed, “…we asked you to write, in 400 words or less, a memoir in which dialect or colloquialisms feature prominently.

“Why are you watching that?!?” I asked my mother on multiple occasions.  I would find her in her usual spot, laid out on the living room sofa with one cat curled behind her knees and another snug against her breast, and always with the remote control resting on her hip, ready to obey her tactile commands.

My mother always felt that American television was too unwholesome and often looked for alternatives.  Frequently she would find something she deemed acceptable on the local PBS affiliate which often aired British television shows.  She was fond of the likes of Upstairs Downstairs and Are You Being Served, All Creatures Great and Small and Masterpiece Theater.  It all felt so old and foreign to me, which of course it was, though it wasn’t nearly as old as I believed it to be at the time.  It didn’t help that most of the shows took place in a bygone era.  In truth PBS could be counted on to broadcast various British television series from just a few years prior.

I would sit in the living room, in front of the only television in the house, captive to my mother’s whims of fancy, pouting while my mother would laugh at things I couldn’t understand.  It was as though she was listening to a foreign language or a code only she could decipher.  All I knew was she had deemed these to be morally acceptable programs.

For many years as an adult, I avoided British television at all costs.  Little did I know there were a lot of wonderful television shows on British television, now more readily found on their American cable affiliate.  I have learned that at least one of these “morally acceptable” programs, Are You Being Served was actually quite risqué… and quite funny.

One of my favorite television shows, today, is Doctor Who.  Oh, it’s still like watching a program in a foreign language.  Sometimes I have to watch with the captioning activated, just to understand the words.  At least once per episode, some joke or reference escapes me entirely due to the cultural differences and the colloquialisms I simply do not understand, but these days I’m far more entertained, and even motivated to learn what these “foreign” words mean.

Fries are chips, chips are crisps, crackers are biscuits and biscuits are cakes (I think.)  Don’t even get me started on pants versus trousers!

 

 

It’s All Fun and Games

Another quiet day here at the Riggledome.  I haven’t even left the house today, which is nice.

You’ll recall that I had my appointment today to get my new DirecTV installed so I didn’t go to work today.  My appointment was between 8 and noon this morning.  I got up around 7:15 so I could make sure I was showered and dressed before the possibility of the installer’s arrival.  However, with so much on my plate this week-end, I didn’t get the cleaning done I wanted to before I went to bed last night, so I was counting on The Rule of Installation Windows coming into play.  What’s that you say?  You don’t know what The Rule of Installation Windows is?  Well, silly! The Rule of Installation Windows says that if your appointment will be between 8 and noon, the installer will show up at 11:50.  That would give me plenty of time to get my TV stand and dresser dusted, pull the TV stand out and sweep behind it, and clear a path to my dresser so the installer could get to the second TV with minimal risk to life and limb.

My installer showed up at 8:10.

At 8:40, I received a phone call from the installation company.  Since I don’t answer the phone when I don’t know who’s calling, I waited for the voice mail.  I was informed, at 8:40, that my appointment was today and that my installer would arrive between 8 and noon, and that he would call me 30 minutes before he arrived.  The installer was outside getting something from his truck when I listened to the voice mail, but I was sure to let him know I’d been reminded that my service would be installed sometime between 8 and noon.  We both had a good laugh and he said the dispatch guys at his company are good for that kind of reminder call.

When I had DirecTV installed at this house almost four and a half years ago, the installer that came out was on his first day out of training.  I was his first job without supervision.  It took him nearly five hours to install my service.  When the installer came today, he arrived at 8:10 and was gone by 10:00.  I have to say, it may be the rose-colored glasses, but I think the picture is clearer.  I know the DVR is more user-friendly.  I was a little dismayed to realize that I can’t record as many shows at once as I could with AT&T, but so far I haven’t found any conflicts that can’t be resolved with DirecTV’s ONE THOUSAND TIMES BETTER On Demand features.

Otherwise, it’s been a pretty quiet day.  I watched a little TV.  I watched a Doctor Who original series DVD from Netflix.  I read a bunch of blogs (and I still have 39 unread posts in my reader right now.  When I hit publish on this, I’m going to go make some dinner and then eat while I watch the pilot episode of Smash On Demand (one of those programming conflicts that prevents me from recording it when it’s on the air.)  And then I’ll do some of that dreaded ironing I always want to put off as long as I can.

Yep.  Nothing but fun and excitement around here!

Is There A Certain Kind of Store For That?

On the television show Glee, there is a gay character by the name of Kurt.  Kurt has known all along that he was gay and never tried to hide the fact from anyone.  After a year and half of being terrorized by one of the jocks in the school (a self hating, closeted homosexual, in denial) he transferred to another school, a private school with a zero tolerance policy for bullying.  He met Blaine who is also gay and they have become friends, though it seems apparent that the relationship is budding into something more.

Each week I watch as Kurt grows and learns from his experiences and gradually becomes a more secure, self-confident person, able to accept himself as he is and surviving the adversity he experiences.  The relationship between Kurt and Blaine is very special to me to watch because it mirrors something I very much wish that I had.

~~~~~

On the television show 90210, there is a gay character by the name of Teddy.  Teddy is just coming to terms with being gay.  He was an All American Athlete, professional tennis player until he injured his knee.  Blond hair, blue eyes, and a body that goes on for days (what does that even mean?)  Teddy had a reputation as a ladies man, which stood in the way of him having a relationship with, Silver, his girlfriend last season before she finally got over the hype and gave him a chance.

This season has been about Teddy coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out to his friends.  It’s a story that is still being told, but aside from what I see as an accelerated time line, has been very believable and satisfying.

While drunk, Teddy hooked up with a guy name Ian at the beginning of the season and then tried to pretend it never happened, denying any confusion about his sexuality, even to Ian.  Right before the winter hiatus Teddy admitted to Ian that he was gay and that he wanted to be with Ian but needed time, before telling anybody about it.  Of course, Ian agreed, they kissed and one of Teddy’s friends saw them.

A couple of weeks ago, Teddy finally came out publicly, letting all his friends know that he was gay and was with Ian, only to have something come between them and he ended his relationship with Ian.  Last week’s episode saw Teddy sulking and having his ex-girlfriend, now friend-friend supporting him by taking him to do something she already knows lifts his spirits; hitting tennis balls off the roof of some building or other.  Just as Teddy starts feeling better he hits one last ball off the roof and we hear a male voice cry out in pain.  In the next scene, we see Teddy and Silver standing over a guy, dressed in soccer attire, sitting on a bench with an ice pack on his eye.  Teddy offers an  apology, the guy asks what they were doing and Teddy tells him that Silver was supporting him after a bad break-up.  The soccer player tells Teddy that the person must have messed him up pretty badly and before he thinks about it Teddy says, “Yeah.  He did.”  There’s an awkward silence as Teddy realizes what he just said and as the soccer stud doesn’t react to it, and then Soccer Stud says, “Yeah.  Well, I’ve been there,” before writing his phone number on Teddy’s tennis ball and suggesting that maybe Teddy could give him a free tennis lesson “to make up for hitting him.”

In this week’s episode we see Teddy’s friends, Dixon, Navid and Liam talking about going to a girls volleyball game to cover the story for the school news.  Just then Teddy walks in and they shut up.  There’s an awkward moment when Teddy feels left out and the idiots guys feel awkward for having talked about girls within the ear shot of the gay guy.  Later Teddy see’s Silver in the courtyard and they talk about how he feels like he’s out in the cold with all his friends.  Silver scolds the idiots boys who confess that they thought Teddy would be uncomfortable with what they were talking about and that they didn’t mean to be leaving him out.  The idiots guys decide to make it up to Teddy and invite him to hang out.  Teddy agrees without knowing what they have planned only to realize, too late, that they are taking him to a gay bar.  When this is revealed to the audience, my own anxiety level skyrocketed as I imagined being in Teddy’s shoes.

Inside, the bar is full of muscular, shirtless guys dancing and the friends stand dumbfounded, staring at the crowd.  Everyone is awkward, the guys don’t know what to think, and then a guy comes over to them and asks if he can buy Liam a drink.  Liam storms out and stands on the sidewalk outside, as if that’s going to make him less appealing to the gay guys in the area, and soon he is joined by Teddy.  They have a nice little heart to heart in which Liam tells Teddy he’s just not comfortable in that place and Teddy tells Liam he isn’t either.

“This just isn’t my scene,” Teddy says.

“So, what is?” Liam asks.

There is a moment of silence as Teddy looks through the huge window at Dixon and Navid dancing together while the pedophiles guys in the bar watch.  Teddy shakes his head in uncertainty, not disgust, and says, “I don’t really know.  But it’s not this.”  In that moment I can truly relate to Teddy.

Liam and Teddy leave to get a burger and leave Dixon and Navid inside with their admirers.

~~~~~

Heather, as I have mentioned before, is perhaps the one and only person in the world who has taken the time to know me of her own volition.  Deb probably knows me as well as Heather does, but I pay her for that and as much as I’d like to be able to look beyond the business nature of our relationship, I just can’t.  Heather knows me because she wants to.  She wants to take the time to see and understand me.  She wants to know the truth of my existence and not just the flowery, fun, shiny, “happy” side of my life (because she knows it’s not real).

While having dinner on Saturday night, I decided to ask her a loaded question.  I didn’t know how far the conversation would go, or just how useful it would prove to be, but I decided it was worth a shot.

“So tell me,” I started, “what’s wrong with me?”

“Well!  How much time have you got?” she asked, with a chuckle.  “What do you mean, what’s wrong with you? In what context?”

“Socially,” I answered.  “Why can’t I meet people?”

I don’t remember the exact dialogue of the conversation but she asked me for more specifics about what I was thinking and it came down to this.  Stereotypes exist for a reason.  I truly believe that.  The stereotype of a modern-day gay man is one of promiscuity, lecherous even, damn near predatory at times.  I saw a movie once in which one of the characters talked about how sex, for gay men, is like a handshake.  I am not like that.  I wasn’t like that before I knew I was gay and I’m not like that now.  But I buy into the stereotype… Because stereotypes exist for a reason.  And as such, I don’t trust gay men (I mean, I don’t really trust anybody, but for the purposes of this conversation, I don’t trust gay men.)

I know it’s not realistic to compare my life to characters on television or in movies and for the most part I try not to do that, but T.V. and movie scripts are based in some modicum of reality and so when I see things that I like, but which don’t jive with my own experience it’s disheartening, to say the least.

You see it all the time on television.  Gay characters meet in the most ordinary of places under the most ordinary of circumstances and they fall in love and have a relationship, like I would like to have.  Depending on the show their might be some “cruzing”/ “club scene” hooking up taking place but rarely is that where the lasting relationships come from; kind of like reality.  But these guys go about their day-to-day lives and meet each other in the most random and ordinary of circumstances and end up in relationships.  Meanwhile, I go about my day-to-day life which includes an overabundance of ordinary circumstances and I never meet anybody who I know is gay first of all, and with whom I have a connection, secondly.  I never have a moment of realization in which we both realize the other person is “family”.  I never meet a guy, think he’s attractive and have certainty that he’s gay and he knows I am as well and then bond and have anything, whatsoever, evolve from that.

I go to work.  I go shopping.  I go to school.  I go to the gym.  I go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters events.  I go to random training opportunities a couple of times a year.  I may not be a social butterfly, but I’m honestly not a shut in, either and yet, never once have I met someone I thought could be something more and had it turn out to be so.

Heather suggested that I should look into on-line dating.  Honestly, that idea is abhorrent to me, for me. But even if it weren’t, stereotypes.  Exist.  For.  A reason.  What little exposure I have had to the world of on-line gay dating has proved that those men are looking to live up to the stereotype, and I am not.  So I don’t trust it.  I don’t trust them.  And honestly, I’m afraid of them.

Heather says I lack self-esteem…  Well, DUH!  If anybody knows where I can buy some of that, please let me know!

The Olden Days

My television died yesterday.  I’m sad.  Now I have to replace it and money that I was going to use to pay off another credit card has to go to replacing my TV instead.

Discussing this on-line with my mother today lead to the following conversation:

Kevin says (3:45 PM):
So I’m getting a new TV tonight.  My one that I’ve had is kaput.  I’m not happy (except that I’m getting a new toy and that’s always fun).

Mom says (3:46 PM):
Sounds like fun to me.  Do you have one picked out?

Kevin says (3:47 PM):
Yes.  Vizio 37″ LCD HDTV.  Pretty much the same thing I already had.  I’d like bigger, but the cost is too much and since I wasn’t in the market for a TV to begin with…

Mom says (3:48 PM):
OK.  That means nothing to me, except the 37″ part.

Mom is not especially tech savvy.  I helped her to buy a TV on-line late last year and she pretty much just looked at the price and listened to what I had to say about the unit and took my word for it.

Kevin says (3:48 PM):
🙂

Mom says (3:48 PM):
well and the HD part

Kevin says (3:48 PM):
Pretty much the same as what you’ve got, except, I think yours was 32″?

Mom says (3:48 PM):
yep

Kevin says (3:49 PM):
I thought I was going to have to get a 32″ which probably wouldn’t really be that bad, except I’ve been looking at 37″ screen for four + years.
I think I’d notice.  But then I found this TV and with my Target Visa card I get 5% off so that’s not bad either.*

I’m getting a big enough income tax refund to more than cover it so I’m not really “charging” it exactly, but my refund will probably be another 7-10 days.

The part I’m unhappy about is that I planned to use that money to pay off another credit card.

Sigh

Mom says (3:50 PM):
Things are tough all over . . .

Kevin says (3:50 PM):
🙂
yeah

Also, I paid over $700, only four years ago for the TV that died.  Meanwhile, the 19″ tv I bought at Foley’s in 1994 is still going strong.

AND, the company that made the newer TV went bankrupt and was sold to Ericson who says right on their website, they don’t care about the old products and the people who own them.

Throughout the first half of my childhood we had a series of hand-me-down televisions in our house.  Several of them were cabinet units as big as a couch.  One of them was a mahogany monstrosity with sliding fabric panels that covered the screen and lift up doors in the top under which were an AM/FM stereo with 8-track player and a record player!!!  That one was nice while it lasted.  Back then no one had ever heard of such a thing as a “cable ready” television and each of these successive televisions had rabbit ears with aluminum foil flags at the ends that periodically had to be adjusted by someone for better reception.

And by “someone” I mean the youngest child.

And by “the youngest child” I mean me.

Three guesses whose job it was to change the channels…

In the mid 1987 my mother finally decided to use money from an income tax refund to buy the family a new color television.  She bought a brand new RCA model that must’ve been no more than 19″ and quite possibly smaller, but it was color with working volume and it came with a remote control!

Mom says (3:52 PM):
There’s a lesson in there somewhere,  Probably a history lesson.  They don’t make things like the used to!

My previous TV lasted, I’m not even sure how long.  Many many years

Kevin says (3:54 PM):
Oh, yeah.  You had that since… Shortly after we moved to Tulsa, I think… We didn’t buy it before we moved, did we?

Mom says (3:54 PM):
No, but it was soon after we got here.

Kevin says (3:54 PM):
Remember how excited we were, to have a brand new COLOR tv WITH a remote control?   Tiny little thing that it is.

Well, anyway I remember how excited III was, to have the remote control…

Mom says (3:55 PM):
Yes.  Hard to believe we used to actually get up and walk across the room to change the channel.

Kevin says (3:55 PM):
We?
😛

Mom says (3:56 PM):
Hey!  I was watching TV a looong time before you came along!

Kevin says (3:56 PM):
You had two other kids, too.

But yes, there was a time when you had to get up to change the channel.

Not long after I moved to California and my mother had no more tech support children at home she called me one afternoon and told me she had rearranged the furniture in her living room but now she couldn’t get her TV to work.  After asking some leading questions I determined that the television was coming on but that she was receiving no channels.  Back then, you had to “program” the channels in by allowing the television to “surf” through the frequencies looking for channels that came in tune.

I still remember the day you called me in San Francisco ’cause you had rearranged furniture and needed to reprogram your tv.  I told you to go push the “program” button or whatever it was called and you said you couldn’t find it on the remote.  I told you it was on the front of the actual television and you said, “You mean I have actually walk over to the TV???”

Mom says (3:58 PM):
Huff puff and wuff.

*For the record, I am receiving no compensation or consideration by Target, Vizio or Visa… Darn it.

Young Girl Don’t Stand So Close To Me

If you’re not a Glee Fan, this won’t mean much to you and you should go find something else to read.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Glee fan, if you are too… Well, read on!

I’m sitting here, doing random non-blogging things and Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police comes on the trusty ole iPhone.  Good song.  I’ve liked it for years.

I’m splitting my attention about 70/30 between the task at hand and enjoying the music.  The 30% is tapping my booted toes and bopping my head along with the music.

Suddenly, the 70% is completely distracted from the task at hand with the realization that some portion of the brain (not sure if it’s the 70 or the 30) is looking for lyrics that aren’t there.  Something is wrong.  The lyrics are supposed to be different…

Young teacher, the subject of school girl fantacy
She wants him, so badly, knows what she wants to be
With all the charms of a woman
You kept the secret of your youth…

Clearly, I’ve listened to the Glee soundtrack a few too many times!

By the way, Glee comes back with new episodes on Tuesday!  Yay!