Archive | May, 2010

The Dancing Toddler Redux

28 May

Back in the day, I am talking way back in 2008 here, I used to be all up on the internets with the one and only myspace. Now days, the mere mention of the word “myspace” will usually get you a giggle and an eye-roll. I mean, bitch, please! Who the fuckity, fuck uses myspace anymore? Today, I dusted off the old login and took a gander at some old posts of mine that are still meandering throughout the wide world of myspace. As remedial as they are, I decided to share a few with the people who actually follow me now. By doing this, I may actually lose followers. So, please don’t hate me. All you have to do is read my fifth grade writing style, point, laugh, and sneer. So without further ado, I give you The Dancing Toddler (Originally written July 23, 2008).

The Dancing Toddler

For those who know me , I am not an overly emotional type of person. In fact, I tend to hate most things that are “mushy” in nature. This can get me into trouble from time to time, partly because the people who I care about the most think that I am unattached emotionally or that I just flat ass don’t care. This is a trait that I have been trying to “fix” for years, but have never been able to conquer. Why in god’s name do I bring this up now, you ask? It took one simple, tiny thing to turn me into a 15-year-old girl. It happened just the other night. I watched my two-year old son dance.

It was a normal night. My wife had just came into the room from taking a shower and my son was watching TV with me on the couch. As I aimlessly flipped channels, I landed on a music channel. All the sudden, my son leaps up, looks me directly in my eyes, and with his own bright, blue eyes and a huge smile, screams “I wanna dance!”. He jumps off the couch as fast as he possibly could and starts the best, awful dance I have ever seen in my life. Up, down, left, right. His arms and legs flailing about. It was pure genius. At that very moment, for some odd reason, I was reminded of the most important things in my life. Not material possessions, not money, but just being able to sit there and watch my son convulse, uh, I mean dance. As I sat there in pure amazement, I looked at my wife and instantly fell in love all over again. It was like we had just met for the first time. I would glance up at my wife, back to my son, and my eyes would fill up with tears of pure joy. Now here comes the moronic part. I sat there with all these thoughts and feelings in my head, but somehow, someway failed to convey them into simple vernacular. This is a prime example of my issue. Am I completely incapable of speaking my feelings? Maybe. Who knows. So in a feeble attempt to right some of the wrongs in my life, I make a promise to all that I care about. I promise to try my best to start to verbalize my feelings and tell you all exactly how I feel. For once in my life, I actually hope that I can keep true to my word. This article may be only a small step in “curing” my lack of verbal emotion, but I have to start somewhere. To all my friends and family, I love you all very much. To my wife, I love you with all my heart. I always have and always will. And to my son, I love you more than you ever will know. And please, never stop dancing.

I Am Only 10% Gay

26 May

Around my house, Tuesday nights are filled with magical fairy dust, unicorns, and rainbows. Just as the sun sets in the Western sky, my wife and I settle down, flop our fabulously rotund derrieres on the couch, grab the remote, and within an instant, we are transported to the happiest, gayest land of all. That’s right, I am talking about Glee. For one hour of my week, I get to escape the every day grind and enjoy some musical and theatrical therapy. Now, I realize that might not sound so “manly” of me. I mean, how can a super macho, hetero, family man enjoy such a blatant display of song, dance, fashion, and an occasional dash of homosexuality? Simple. I am 10% gay. Yes, you read that correctly. 90% hetero and 10% gay. Now that I have completely blown your tiny little gourds of your shoulders, let me explain.

As Americans, we love us some labels. Be it the tag on your jeans, the brand of cereal you buy, the kind of car you drive, all the way down to socioeconomic status, we love to adorn things and people with as many labels and categories as possible. This brings us great comfort. It soothes our souls just to know that something fits or has its place. We come up with labels for everything we do, see, touch, and feel in life. Poor and rich. Black and white. Gay and straight. Gucci and Prada. Walmart and Target. Happy and sad. Well, you get the drift. Every little possible thing has to get a place, a role in life. If things don’t get assigned a category, mayhem ensues. For some odd reason, our minds just can’t comprehend that something or someone might not have a label or fit into just one category.

During last night’s episode of Glee, this became a blaring undertone for pretty much every character involved. Thanks to the writers, in just an hour’s time, we got to witness some very poignant and real struggles that today’s and yesterday’s youth alike have dealt with at some point in their lives. Even if you try to hide it, I am sure on some level, you could relate to at least one character on this show. Were you the super badass, tough football player? Maybe you were the Gothic kid sporting black hair and nails? Could you have been the geek that was constantly ridiculed for what you wore or how smart you were? Or maybe you were the gay kid feeling as if you were the only one around. The point is, we all were there at one time or another. I am willing to bet, there are a few of you out there that still fight that internal battle of trying to figure out just what you are.

As a lot of people do, I get excited about certain things, so I head straight to facebook and twitter to announce my often insane thoughts. It could just be a random quote from whatever show I am watching or a song floating around in my mind. More often than not, my postings are rarely meaningful or full of any type of insight. Never to shy away from comments of any kind, I often get called many awesome things. Funny, weird, gay, fairy, dumb, and womanly to name a few. Now, these so-called labels are almost purely (I think) in jest. With most things in life, if it is funny to me or others, then it gets categorized as totally acceptable. Laughter and humor easily fix most things in my book. So when somebody calls me “gay” for watching Glee, I take it as a badge of honor. I am as just a guilty as the next. I love labels. However, I love to be labeled with more than just one label. I am a label collector, if you will. The way I see it, the more labels or categories that fit me, the better. I have no problem being called dumb, smart, funny, lame, gay, straight, ugly, or dashingly handsome. None of these labels bother me in the least. As time goes by, the more labels I can collect, the more well-rounded man I can become. At the ripe old age of 30, I know who I am. I know who really loves me. I know what and who I really love. When it all boils down, what is more important than that? So, the next time you catch me listening to Paula Abdul, watching Glee, humming show tunes, all while doing a little interior design with America’s Next Top Model recording on the DVR, remember this. I most likely just got done mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, playing football with my son, changing breaks on the car, letting my beard get all scruffy, and watching the latest UFC fight. Why? Because I am a jack of all trades and whatever you want to label me is just fine by me.

Peyton in the Park

24 May

Photographing kids has its own very unique challenges. I, however, love to capture the little ones as they roam and discover this odd, odd planet. I took my nephew out on a very warm spring day last weekend and mischief inevitably ensued. Come and take a gander at an awesome little boy’s journey through an old-time park.

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Thank You, Daryl Hall and John Oates

21 May

It’s no secret I have been in a total shit funk the last couple of months. I have not exactly been myself or even a tolerable human being for the most part. Waking up on the daily, feeling like a bag of mashed assholes does something particularly detrimental to one’s soul.  This week, however, things are slowly starting to change. I actually have a sense of hope again. Numerous times this week, I have begun to laugh and let a little bit of sunshine filter through the dark spaces in my mind. Today, during my outright mundane commute to my so-called day job, I was reminded of just how beautiful life can be. Now, I am not going to get all philosophical on you or try to pretend to be all roses and no thorns here, but what occurred this otherwise ordinary morning is on the same level as unicorns and leprechauns. Yes, you guessed it. Purely magical.

As I shuffled my heavy feet through the garage to my rental car, I noticed a shiny disc on the ground amongst the heap of toys, bicycles, and Power Wheels. Almost immediately, my curiosity got the best of me. Thanks to my extra long shower, I was already late to work. So, stopping to rummage through my garage wasn’t exactly on my to do list. Still, I couldn’t shake this tiny, little object that seemed to be glowing to get my attention. (Let’s face it, we all know how I am easily distracted by shiny things.) After damn near tripping over a foam covered baseball bat and sidewalk chalk, I finally made my way to the shiny thing. And there it was. At first, I almost dismissed it. After all, I was nothing but a plain old burned CD-R disc. “Probably just a stupid mix-tape”, I mumbled to myself. But as my eyes focused on the unknown prize, I realized just what I had in my hands. There, etched in black Sharpie pen, were just a few words. “The Daryl Hall and John Oates Ultimate Collection, Volume One”, it read. A couple of words and two full names that, at that moment, I didn’t know would instantly become the soundtrack and credo of my day.

At this point in my life, I have totally given up on Kansas City’s radio stations. They all sound the same and have nothing to offer me unless I want to listen to Beyoncé or Brittany Spears on a constant loop. So, my typical morning drive is usually filled with nothing more than sports talk radio. The witty banter and rage fueled arguments with multiple callers is enough to put my brain at ease for the 19 mile trek. Today, however, was a different day. As I put the Camry in reverse, I popped my newly discovered surprise into the handy-dandy CD player. I didn’t even make it to the end of my sub-division without cranking up the volume to a deafening level. She’s Gone, When The Morning Comes, and You Make My Dreams filled the cabin with a feeling of calm and happiness. Without warning, my mind instantly concentrated on all the small and inornate things that ultimately make me happy. Some of these things I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Some of these things are right in my face on a daily basis, but in typical fashion, I had failed to be smart enough to clue in on them and let them help me through my self-imposed darkness. My wife’s beautiful eyes and the touch of her skin. The smell of fresh-cut grass on a rainy day. The little things that get swept under the proverbial rug when you think nothing is going to be great in your world again. It’s amazing how vocals, rhythm, and a little bit of  musical soul can transform you. Today, I feel like a new person. A new-found optimism props up my smile. So, thank you, Mr. Daryl Hall. I salute you, John Oates. I needed a smack in the face and you were there to give it to me.

R.I.P Melrose Place v2.0

19 May

Yesterday, my favorite purveyor of trashy, lovely, delicious, and outright tasty television smut canceled the best way I like to waste an hour of my time. Yes, the CW, put the good old/new Melrose Place in the proverbial guillotine, yanked the rope, and let the poor cast’s pretty little heads fly. This gives me a serious case of the sads. Now let’s get serious here. I never really intended to watch this absolute mess of a show. Like most things, I was forced into it at gunpoint by the wife. From episode one, I was hooked like a two dollar whore on the smack. I don’t know what it was. Was it the beautiful people who, by luck,  all seemed to find the most kick ass apartment complex in all of Los Angeles? (Maybe) Was it the fancy cars and diamond rings? (Certainly) Or maybe, just maybe, was it the true love and ultimate romance of Jonah and Riley? (Definitely) I mean, how am I supposed to sleep at night when I will never know what will become of the Jonah, Riley, and Ella love triangle? This is very unsettling for me. I am getting queasy just thinking about all the unfinished story lines. How am I going to live without having the possibility of finding somebody dead in a swimming pool on my Tuesday nights? How will I ever know if  Dr. Michael Mancini’s heart thingamajig was actually killing patients? I may actually need heart surgery one day, you know? Shouldn’t someone alert the FDA about this? Never fear, some good has come from this. The cancellation of Melrose Place has brought me some inner peace. Why, you ask? We are almost guaranteed we will never have to see Ashley Simpson “act” again. No more of her trying to be sexy and ruining my nights with her portrayal of Ms. Violet. This will bring me a lot of needed comfort in the coming weeks. As we all know, I will definitely need it.

Promises, Promises

17 May

As the sunlight made it through the window and past the old wooden blinds, it immediately found your beautiful blond curls. Each ray of light seemed to make them sparkle and illuminate the entire room. With each gift your mother passed you, I could hear your vivacious giggle fill every person in the room with warmth and energy.

You were turning four years old that cold, but sunny November day. Like most four-year old girls, the promise of cake and presents was probably the best combination a little girl could ask for. As usual, your mother had you dressed to the nines. From head to toe, pinks, purples, and glitter wrapped each and every limb all the way down to your silver Mary Janes. With each and every present you opened, your excitement grew and grew. Not to interfere, I just sat back and relaxed. I watched your happy little feet swing back and forth as they dangled six inches from the ground compliments of the two phone books it took just so you could reach the table.  With double the energy than any other eight year old boy I have ever known, I just laughed and attempted to wrangle your older brother as head ran across the room making animal sounds along with every other thing in his repertoire to make you smile. Each time he passed me, I would try my hardest to get his attention, but as usual, this fell on deaf ears.

Your mother tried her damnedest to keep the party small. “Only friends and family”, she would constantly insist. In typical fashion, this was never the case. The house was crowded and a downright blissful mess. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see your mom. She was as gorgeous as the first day we met. Right down to your curls, you were almost an exact replica of her. Each time you would laugh, she would do the same. Yet, I could tell something was wrong. There was a hint of sadness to her face. Every once in a while, ever so discretely, I could see her wipe a tear from her cheek. Puzzled and concerned, I made my way over to see what was wrong. As I pleaded for some insight, I placed my hand on her shoulder. I could feel her shiver as the goosebumps raced up her arm. I don’t know why, but she hasn’t been talking to me lately. Even standing right next to her, whispering in her ear, I couldn’t get even the faintest of a reaction. For some odd reason, this has been the unfortunate usual between us lately. Most days, she would just start crying, mumble to herself, and gingerly walk away. I would try and try to get her to talk to me, but it was as if she was just flat-out ignoring me altogether.

As each hour ticked away, the guests thinned out. After multiple hugs and goodbyes, you had fallen sound asleep on the couch. I glanced at the clock and whispered to your mother “It’s only 7:15pm and she’s out like a light”. Once again, no response. “Why are you acting like I am not even here?”, I belted out in an anger filled roar. Still nothing. Before I even had a chance, your mother had scooped you up into her arms and had you tightly tucked into your bed. You were so exhausted, you didn’t even budge. I sat in the chair by your bed and just watched you sleep.  Occasionally, your arm would twitch and you would even mumble an unrecognizable word or two. As silly as it sounds, it comforted me to watch you dream. I would sit for hours just wondering what your little mind was dreaming about. What could make you belt out a laugh in your sleep? What could actually make you audibly cry? I counted each one of your breaths like they were sheep. Hypnotized,  I was well on my way to nodding off as well.

I could hear your mother in the other room. It was time for your brother’s bath. As the clear, warm water filled the bathtub, sounds of splashing and singing filled the air. Your brother absolutely loved to sing. He would sing anything and everything that came to his active little mind. It didn’t matter what it was, his thoughts would usually flow from his lips in a beautifully imperfect melody. This made you laugh and laugh. No matter your mood, you would instantly chuckle. With the water draining out of the bathtub, I could hear the pitter patter of his feet across the cold ceramic tile floor. He scurried down the hall as quick as his little feet could carry him. The sound of his footsteps came screeching to a halt as he made his way to your bedroom door. I could make out just the whites of his eyes as he cautiously peered around the door frame. He crept ever so quietly to your bedside, placed his hand on your head, and whispered with a raspy tone, “I love you, Sissy”. Just as quick as he entered, he was off to his bedroom to put on his pajamas. I could hear your mother tell him goodnight and off went his light. I am pretty sure he was asleep before his head even hit his superhero pillowcase. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him goodnight or as we did for years and years before, perform our nightly routine of hugs, kisses, and I love you’s.

The house was eerily silent and dark. Careful not to bump into things and wake you, I made my way across the hall to find your mother. The room was completely pitch black and with the exception of a little bedside fan that hummed in the darkness, almost silent. Something was wrong, though. I didn’t know what I said or what I did, but the air in the room had this heaviness to it. It’s almost too hard to explain. There was a feeling of pure sadness. A tension like no other filled the room from corner to corner. As I got closer and closer to the bed, I could hear soft and subtle whimper from your mother. Her pillowcase was almost completely wet from tears. Her body trembled as a flood of emotions raced through her body. “What’s wrong, honey?”, I asked. “Was it something I said?” Still nothing. No acknowledgment to the fact I was even by her side. “Well, if you aren’t going to talk to me, how am I supposed to know what’s  going on?”, I quipped with an anger filled, sarcastic tone. Still nothing. “Fine. “You can find me on the couch.”, I barked. With my back to her, she finally spoke. “I love you. I, I love you so much.”, she whispered. With tears rolling down her face, she uttered between cry filled breaths, “Why did it have to happen this way?” “What on Earth are you talking about?”, I asked. An hour later, I was still waiting for her answer. Why was she playing this game with me? I have no clue what possessed me to wait so long for her to speak, but I did. I just wanted to know so badly. “I have been laying here for a whole hour and you refuse to answer me. Can’t we be adults about this?” At this point, her back was turned to me. I inched closer and closer to her to find her grasping a what appeared to be a folded up newspaper clipping. She was fast asleep. “So much for talking like adults tonight.”, I mumbled as I let out an exhausted sigh. My mind raced and raced as I laid my head on my cool, soft pillow. The alarm clock on the nightstand read 1:02am. After tossing and turning for a few hours, I finally drifted off to sleep.

My dreams were as vivid and shocking as any other night. You see, I have been sick for such a long time now, so my dreams were fueled by a bevy of prescription narcotics and your basic, run of the mill antidepressants. Over the past three years, I had this reoccurring dream that would shake me to the core. It was nothing out of the ordinary, though. Your basic “struggle with mortality” type of dream. The kind of dream that scares you the next morning to the point you rush to check your pulse and hope to feel your heart beating as normal. I read somewhere that psychics and so-called dream experts like to believe that these are not dreams, but rather premonitions. “Bullshit”, I would utter underneath my breath. I never spoke of these to your mother because I didn’t like to scare her. Hell, I never really brought these dreams up to anyone. But yet, here I was, having this dream for the fourth consecutive night. It was so real. I could see you. I could touch your mother. I could even hear your brother and television in the background. Everything was so clear. Everything was so bright. Each night before, I would wake up soaked in sweat and tears. This night would be no exception.

I glanced at the alarm clock. The glowing red numbers seemed to sear into my eyes as I strained to focus. It was already 7:21am. I rolled over expecting to find your mother’s beautiful, smiling face, but she was gone. I could hear her scuffling around in the bathroom as she made her way to the shower. I sat up, stretched my arms, and let out a big sigh. I peeked into your room. There you were, as angelic as I left you. Through the wall, I could actually hear your brother snoring in the next room. As loud as he was, it was oddly comforting to me. It was almost 8:00am on a Saturday morning and amazingly, you were both still asleep. Still groggy, I made my way back to our bedroom. On your mother’s side of the bed I could make out that newspaper she had clutched in her hands all night long. I sat down at the end of the bed, picked up the paper, and inquisitively began reading. “Hmmm. That’s odd.”, I thought to myself. “Why would she be reading the obituaries in bed?” As I tossed the folded up mess back onto the bed, I noticed something eerily familiar. And there it was. Plain as day and without a doubt. There was my name. Etched in black ink, my entire tenure on this planet, my whole life was neatly summed up in one single paragraph. A sharp shooting pain shot across my forehead as I sat on the corner of the bed completely dumbfounded at this unsettling discovery. “How could this be?” This surely had to be a bad joke. Nope. It wasn’t. You see, sweetie, your father had been dead for quite some time. He just didn’t know it. According to the newspaper clipping in my hand, almost four months had passed. I always told you, through thick and thin, no matter what, I would make it to your fourth birthday. You made me promise every single day I would be there. You didn’t know it. Hell, I didn’t even know it. I was there that day to keep my promise. Just like I said I would.

Teach Your Children Well

13 May

As every good father should do, I try from time to time to hand down a hand-basket full of useful information and worldly knowledge to my children. You know, important things like, always wipe from front to back, Van Gogh’s raging syphilis infection, and the importance of Burt Reynolds’ mustache to the stability of the United States. Until my beautiful baby girl was born, all I had to do was teach my son the ways of the alpha male. Apparently, I have to make this education equal now because girls can actually learn to read and write. I know, I was blown away by that little known fact too. I mean, what’s next? Females can run out and vote? I just don’t buy it. To be as fair and balanced as Fox News, I have come up with a few educational courses for my two kiddos. Enrollment is limited and tuition is costly, but these important life lessons will surely help them on their way to adulthood.

The Boy”s class schedule this semester will be as followed:

Strippers 102: Some are actually working their way through medical school. How to tip accordingly.

Strippers 201: Glitter and the American Male. How it can ruin everything.

Bodily Functions 101: Farting is always funny. A discussion group.

The Girl’s class schedule this semester will be as followed:

Burkas 102: Just a fad? The growing acceptance of burka by the American Female. Also, how not to show your legs, you slut.

Sexual Psychology 201: Celibacy until age 35. Guest speaker on living comfortably with a chastity belt. Also included: How living with your parents is totally acceptable.

Home Economics: How to bake pies.

If you ask me, I couldn’t be more fair if I tried. Simple life lessons for each of my lovely children. I mean, so what if I used 1940 as a basis on how to educate my daughter. It’s for her own protection, right?

Jamie and Josh Get Married

7 May

I had the great honor of photographing an old friend’s wedding last weekend. I usually don’t get too emotional or anything silly like that, but if everyone was as happy as these two, the world would be a much better place. That isn’t just lip service either. Take a look for yourself!

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