Posted in life

Learning to fit in

When I was 12, we got a new camera. We went into the backyard and my mom started taking pictures. It was one of those Polaroid Instamatics, so, unlike in the past we didn’t have to wait a week for the pictures to be developed.

My mom pointed the camera at my sister and she (my sister) just stood there. She clicked the button and 60 seconds later there was a picture of my sister – standing there stiff as a board.

While my mom was taking the pictures of my sister, I was practicing various poses in my head. When it was my turn I did a Betty Grable akimbo pose. Mom was not happy. She dropped the camera and let it dangle from the cord around her neck.

“Bob, please don’t do that”.

“Why not”, I asked.

“People will think you’re weird, or that there is something wrong with you.”

I want to cry, but didn’t. I felt bad. Like she was ashamed of me.

I had just started going through puberty, so there were all kinds of changes going on. The voice change and all that other mess. I also realized that my parents were becoming more concerned with my behavior. Maybe they always had been, but it was just now that I was noticing it.

My dad didn’t really hang out or do stuff with me. If he had any concerns he always voiced them to my mother, and everything was relayed to me through her. He was more in tune with my sister, so he did stuff and used endearments with her. I was just always getting in the way somehow.

After a while, I began to modify my behavior. I would go against what was natural for me. I would always think about what my parents would say or think about my behavior. Anytime we went clothes shopping everything I wanted was a NO. It had too many stripes, or plaids, or was too colorful. I wanted clothes that would make me stand out. They wanted me to have clothes that would make me fit in.

For a while, it was just my parents who were voicing concerns. It soon started happening with friends and relatives. I stopped talking about things that interested me.

“That’s stuff that girls do”.
“Only sissies like that.”

I wanted to play the clarinet, but picked the drums instead. I wanted to learn to twirl the baton, but joined Little League instead; even though I was awful at baseball. Everything I did was to fit in. I did however, practice with my sister’s baton – in the basement – when no one was at home.

About the time I turned 15 I decided, “This is fucking ridiculous”! I started doing things that I wanted to do. But, I still had that feeling of being wrong and different.

I began to realize why people were so concerned. Oh my gosh, they think I’m a faggot…and they’re right. Of course, we don’t really use that terminology nowadays, but back then it was everywhere.

So, again, I altered my behavior. I had pretend girlfriends. I started doing other stuff with kids and pretending I liked it. I did everything I could to fit in. But, I still felt like I was on the outside.

High School was a complete disaster. I hated it. Every day I would go and try to act like I thought I was supposed to. It was confusing and enervating. The only thing that really saved me was music. I was in the band, so I concentrated on that.

When I got to college, it was completely different. Somehow, I was popular. People liked me and wanted to hang around me. I was Vice President of my fraternity pledge class, and I was always doing something social. The whole time I was just being myself. Nobody seemed to care. Sure, there were a few times when people would say something, but I would just shrug it off.

When you get to be a certain age, and you’re away on your own, you start to become your true self and not care what people think. Or at least not as much as you did when you were younger. But, it has always stayed with me. There are still times that I alter my behavior to fit in. I still wonder, in certain situations, if I’m acting the right way. I guess everybody feels that way.

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Posted in Movies

My Movie Stats

Three movies that made me cry (where I actually made sobbing noises and snot ran out of my nose)

Mr. Holland’s Opus
Imitation of Life
Madame X

Three movies that gave me nightmares

Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte
I was 7 and my parents took me to see the stupid thing. That whole muddy and creepy-looking Joseph Cotten scene, and headless Bruce Dern terrified me for what seemed like years. I would sleep with the covers over my head.

Night of the Living Dead

I went with my cousins Ricky and Jeff when I was 15. It was on a double bill with Gruesome Twosome. I had knots in my stomach the whole time. Then we had to walk home in the dark.

Berserk

That creepy movie with Joan Crawford. Nightmares for weeks.

Three movies I’ve never seen

Ghostbusters
The Godfather
Caddyshack

Three movies I walked out of

Squirm

I seriously almost threw up. I had to go to the lobby twice. I finally said fuck it and left. I was 19 and it was the initial release of the movie.

Bladerunner

Idk, I just got bored

The Legend of Boggy Creek

It was just stupid

Three movies that made me queasy and almost throw up.

Squirm

See above

Saw

I hated that movie so much. That stupid puppet thing. I wanted to leave, but I was with friends and didn’t want to look like a big baby.

Blood Feast

Three movies I’ve seen more than 50 times

Meet Me in St. Louis
Diamonds are Forever
Night of the Living Dead

Three movies that were supposed to be sad in parts, but I laughed and made fun of them (in the movie theater)

The Promise (1979)

My friend Sherry and I guffawed like hyenas

Terms of Endearment

The Debra Winger death scene

Steel Magnolias

Same as above, just insert Julia Roberts

Three movies that I absolutely detest

The Notebook

You’d seriously have to bribe me big time to watch that thing again

Ocean’s 11 (remake with George Clooney)

I just hate it

Erin Brockovich

Three movies that I went to see every day for 2 weeks +

The Poseidon Adventure

I was going through my I’m in love with Gene Hackman phase

The Towering Inferno

The Sting

I was going through my I’m in love with Robert Redford phase

Three R or X rated movies that I got into even though I was underage and without a parent or guardian

Midnight Cowboy

I was 12. I just bought a ticket and nobody said anything.

The Exorcist

My dad wouldn’t take me. I was 14 and had the beginnings of a mustache. So, I decided to try it on my own. Again, the just let me in no questions asked.

Magnum Force

I was 15.

Posted in life

That time I wanted to be Ralph Fiennes

So, how come on Wheel of Fortune, when the contestants are introducing themselves, they always say, “I’m married to my wonderful husband Mark”, or ” I’m married to my beautiful wife Wanda”? Well, duh, of course you’re married to your wife or husband. Who else are you going to be married to? Frankenstein? I think that whole redundancy is covered in some kind of ipso facto.

And then there’s the part where there are 3 letters left and they have $15,000 dollars and they still don’t know it and then spin a bankrupt. That’s when I scream, “YOU IDIOT” and throw popcorn, or skittles at the tv.

Or they guess tame duck instead of lame duck.

And then there’s Jeopardy, where they have to stand there and make those dumb faces when they have their close ups during the show’s intro. And I’m sorry, but Alex Trebek has kind of turned into a snotty prick over the last few years.

It’s not contestant envy that I rag on these people. I was on a game show once. I was a 3 time champion and won a crapload of money. It was great. Paying the taxes wasn’t fun, but I still had oodles left over.

Back in the 90s I saw this movie called Quiz Show. I was like, “Cool, I want to do that”! So, I added it to my bucket list. This was before internet, so I went to Book Star and bought all kinds of trivia and knowledge books. I didn’t know what I was studying FOR, but I figured that to get on any game show you had to know junk. So, I made flash cards and studied them all the time. My friends thought I was crazy. I said, “Look bitches, I’m going to get on tv and win money just like Ralph Fiennes”. They just rolled their eyes. Sure, Bob.

My first tryout was for Jeopardy. I figured why not start at the top. The Jeopardy Brain Bus was coming to town, and I planned on it leaving with me on it. Figuratively, that is. I went to the used car lot where it was parked and stood in line…for hours. The lady in front of me brought out her Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition cards and started quizzing everyone. Only she pronounced it genius edition. I thought, “Okay, there’s one less competitor”.

I finally got to the area where you take the prelim test. 10 questions, fill in the blank. I knew them all but one. I passed. I got a card that got me into the 50 question test scheduled for the next day. I knew the first 7 answers. Then ummm, hmmmm, let’s see, blank blank blank…
So yeah, I bombed out.

I continued to study. And tryout. Any time tryouts came to town, I was there. Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal…everything. I passed the Millionaire test 3 times and got interviewed, but not selected. Then I figured I’d better start working on my interview skills. After a while you learn the dos and dont’s of what they’re looking for.

Ten years after I saw quiz Show and decided that I wanted to be Ralph Fiennes, I auditioned for some new show called The Rich List and got selected. I flew to L.A. and got sequestered in a hotel room. The network had ordered a certain number of episodes, so not all of us would get to be on. I got lucky. If you’ve ever seen the show (in other countries, because it sure didn’t last long here), then you know the premise. Needless to say, I got my glass booth (just like Ralph), only I had a partner. You work as a team with a stranger. That sucks because I’m not a team player. We ended up beating the champions and went on to win 2 more times. We ended up losing on a Peanuts question (my fault). I had done most of the work to get the other wins. I knew 11 countries that started with the letter C and 15 no. 1 Beatles songs, so the Peanuts thing wasn’t that big of a deal. We had spent 12 + hours filming 3 episodes the day before, and I was just exhausted. So, we lost. I must admit, the Peanuts thing still kind of haunts me.

After the loss, I was immediately put back on a plane to Vegas. Two months later the show premiered. My appearance would begin on the 2nd half of the next episode. Only that didn’t happen. Because they cancelled the show. After one stinkin’ episode. I threw all of my trivia books and flash cards into the trash. Ten years of study for what?
I got depressed and blamed myself. Some bigwig network guy probably saw my episodes and decided I was too hideous to be shown to the public. That was my thinking, anyway. The contract had stated that if our episodes didn’t air we wouldn’t get the money. So, I felt like the most screwed person ever.

When I had first gotten selected it would be 3 weeks before I started filming. I didn’t want to be a fat ass on tv, so I had stopped eating. To the point of passing out at times. When the show got cancelled I started eating everything in site. “Fuck those people and fuck game shows”, I thought. Oh yeah, and to add insult to injury, I got a call from Who Want’s to be a Millionaire. I had auditioned a 4th time, and now they wanted me. I got the call on the day after they cancelled The Rich List. My contract had stated that I couldn’t be on another game show for a year. I explained the situation to the lady who called. I told her (because she asked) that I had filmed another game show, but that it got cancelled without my episodes airing. She said she’d call me back. She did. I’m sorry, but blah blah blah…Basically, it was, “I’m sorry Lucy, but you can’t be in the show”!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

But, there is a silver lining. Four months later I got a check for my winnings. I guess they decided to pay the winners after all. I got the money and remained anonymous.

So yeah, when I rag on those clowns about being married to their wonderful husbands, it’s because I’ve been there. Like being able to complain about a crappy president because you voted (not for them, but just voted).

…and because I’m a jerk.

Posted in music, Uncategorized

Desert Island Playlist

You’re stuck on a desert island with only a 20 song playlist. What are the songs?

Click on the song to listen

Can’t See the Sun by Fjord Rowboat

Love Fade by Tamaryn

Teenage Exorcists by Mogwai

Release the Kraken by The Daysleepers

Friend Hospital by Nada Surf

Kill for Candy by Dreamcar

Summer’s Gone by Stargazer Lilies

Gun Shy by Widowspeak

13 Beaches by Lana Del Rey

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You by Lesley Gore

Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Dodged a Bullet by Greg Laswell

Light My Fire by The Doors

New World in the Morning by Roger Whittaker

Vergis Meine Namen by Michelle

Nur Liebe in Kopf by Matthias Reim

Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds

Harlem Nocturne by Georgie Auld

Fascination Waltz

Of course, only picking 20 is not an easy feat, but I think I can live with this list.

Posted in prompts

Liebster

Crushed Caramel has nominated me for the Liebster Award. I must admit that I’m not all that familiar with it, or how it works; but it seems pretty straight-forward. So, I’ll make an attempt, and try not to screw it up.

Here are the 11 questions I’ve been asked:

1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF CANDY OR SWEETIE?

I suppose I would have to say Skittles. A favorite seems to depend on my mood, but Skittles are never out of mood territory.

2. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A BLOG SITE?

I guess that it’s the fact that there is such a thing AS a blog. My blogging history is somewhat erratic. I have the personal, private ones; but, I also have this one, which is fairly new, and still trying to figure out what it’s supposed to be.

3. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BULLIED?

For sure. Growing up as a gay teenager in the 70s AND in the Bible Belt of the good ole USA made it virtually impossible not to be. As a kid it’s hard to stave it off, but as an adult I’ve learned how to deal with it and fight back.

4. WHICH IS THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – BOAT, PLANE, WHEELS?  WHERE WOULD YOU GO? (SORRY I KNOW THAT IS TWO QUESTIONS)

I’m peripatetic by nature. But, longer travel dictates some faster mode. I’m not a fan of planes. More for claustrophobic reasons. I suppose it would be car. You’re more in control and it’s better for sight-seeing along the way.

5. HOW DO YOU VIEW PEOPLE WHO CHEAT IN MONOPOLY?

I’m not really sure how you cheat in Monopoly, unless you have loaded dice, or steal money from the bank when nobody is looking. Anyway, they’re cads.

6. DO YOU PREFER POEMS THAT RHYME? (IF THIS IS TOO CONTROVERSIAL A QUESTION – YOU COULD SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE HOUSE-KEEPING TIP INSTEAD)

I like the euphonious rhyme, but I also like the non-rhyming freeform. Rhyme makes you look clever. Non-rhyming can confuse people and make you look smarter than you really are.

8.  FANCY DRESS PARTIES – WHAT HAVE YOU DRESSED UP AS?

I’m not really familiar with fancy dress parties. I’m from Arkansas.

9. WHICH SONGS WOULD YOU SING IN THE SHOWER WHEN YOU THINK NOBODY CAN HEAR?

Roxanne by The Police

10. IS ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY A BLOGGER OR VLOGGER?

I have a cousin who has a photography blog. Everyone else is like, “What’s a blog”? They’re still living the decemnovenarian life. Luddites!

11. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE MAGIC BIN FAIRY (WHO COMES IN THE NIGHT AND EMPTIES YOUR BINS MIRACULOUSLY WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING AND WIPES ALL THE SPILLS ON THE BIN AND ON THE WALLS AND FLOOR AROUND IT)???  OR ARE THERE MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSE-HOLD WHO BELIEVE IN THE MAGIC BIN FAIRY?TRAVEL – BOAT, PLANE, WHEELS?  WHERE WOULD YOU GO? (SORRY I KNOW THAT IS TWO QUESTIONS)

Well, I do all that stuff, and I’m gay, so I guess yeah, I believe.

Well, that was cathartic. I’m supposed to nominate 11 other people, but I haven’t really been around long enough (in this blogger biosphere) to even know 11 people. I am going to do that in another post at a different time. I hope that’s acceptable.

Anyway, thanks to Crushed Caramel for being a dear and thinking of me.

I know I didn’t follow the official rules, but I’m kind of an unofficial type of guy.

Posted in music

Convenient Music

I love my Amazon Echo. I pay the $3.99 a month for unlimited songs (for the most part) via Amazon. I love how specific it is. I can say play jazz from 1957 to 1963 and it will do it. You can even do it by month and genre. The only thing is that if different versions of a song are out there, it might play the song 2 or 3 times in a row. I’ve had that happen.

There are all kinds of games you can play on it, but I’m already over that. I use it mostly for music, or as the occasional timer.

I also have the iTunes music subscription. There are more obscure songs available on it. I can link the phone to the Echo to play them, but it seems like the sound quality isn’t as good.

I don’t really use Pandora anymore. Ads after every 4 or 5 songs. I don’t feel like paying for the no ads version. I have those other two subscriptions, so it’s pointless.

There are so many ways to listen to music nowadays. I even still bring out the vinyl every once in a while. Especially for jazz.

But, it’s just so convenient to say Alexa, play so and so…

I like all kinds of music. So, I go through phases. One week it might be nothing but metal; or the Beatles; or Jimi Hendrix. Sometimes I mix it up. I have playlists of my favorite songs. Sometimes I’ll listen to that. It all depends on mood, or what I’m doing. If I’m reading, crime, pulp, or murder mysteries I’ll listen to CSI music.

I remember how back in the day, I would sit around for hours waiting for my favorite songs to come on the radio, so I could record them on my tape recorder. The kind with a microphone. You had to be quiet as not to pick up background noise. I remember having cassettes of music with my mom, or sister talking in the background. Or somebody coughing or sneezing. When the straight from radio to cassette came out I was so excited. No background noise.

Now, it’s all so convenient. Younger people don’t know how good the have it.

But, I must admit, it was more personal and adventurous back them. I would get so excited when a song I liked came on the radio. Now, I can just tell some device to play it. Convenience kind of takes the fun and mystery out of it.