Love is a Class IV substance that was legalised in the 1960′s for treatment of depression and bunions. Often confused with hunger, love is not a matter to be taken lightly.
I once bought a bottle of love, then I woke up in the desert two days later with a criminal record in all four Australian states. I had “GORDON” tattooed around my belly button and a thermos full of dead whores. I was forced to walk back to Sydney using only my cunning and a greyhound bus, and when I got there, I threw out all my love and ordered a mandolin and a chocolate-brown shag rug online.
If you’re worried you might have been exposed to love, you can call the Gay Men’s Health Line on 1800 009 448 and do not listen to John Mayer.
To conclude: people often fall in love and people always die.
What you are about to read is a very special guest post by William Raleigh, interim webmaster for http://www.timallenzone.org
Bill first came into my life when he commented on my previous post regarding Tim Allen. Since then I have been inspired by Bill’s dedication and heart-felt contributions to the Tim Allen cause. I think you will all agree that Bill is a pioneer, nay, an evangelist, and a man worthy of your respect, attention and admiration.
Over to you, Bill.
In 1997, the motion picture For Richer or Poorer was storming into theaters. The English Patient was winning Best Picture. And Tim Allen was winning the People’s Choice Award for Best Male Television Performer. Even more importantly maybe, Tim Allen was winning the hearts of millions.
But as much as it pains me to say it, this is not a post about Tim Allen. In fact it’s not even about my love of Tim Allen. I could go on and on about my connection to Tim. About the fact that, as an orphan child, I truly looked up to Tim and Jill as my “tv parents.” But I think, on some level, that’s something we all do with Tim Allen. There’s something so deeply unique, yet commonplace about the man, that we can’t help but subjectify the experience, the ecstasy, that only a performer of Tim’s caliber can induce. But as deeply as it hurts, I know that Tim Allen is not someone who we can take in our arms and never let go. He was meant to be shared with the world. I will always treasure the moments of solitude I’ve had, psychic connections you could say, with Mr. Allen. But I fear that expounding on the subject may only serve to mitigate your own experiences, dear reader. And if there’s one thing I don’t want to do, it’s soil your personal connection with Tim Allen.
So instead, this post is about my lifelong journey, my dharma, of spreading Tim’s Warmth with all who care to bask and revel in it.
Naturally, when Annik asked me to do a guest post on her blog, my first thought (as it usually is) was- How can I use this to help Tim Allen? Recently my friend, and Timallenzone.org co-founder, Andrew Kane, said to me: ”You’ve done enough for Tim Allen, Bill. Isn’t it time you got the spotlight for a little bit?”
And maybe it is. See, in 1997, a small group (two, to be exact) of avid fans got together with one goal– to utilize the World Wide Web in a way that had only been fantasized about before– as an entertainment mecca. An amalgamation of news, media, and fanboy love. Since then, a lot of people have taken timallenzone.org’s lead, and such websites have become common place. But at the time, everyone thought they were crazy.
Benjamin Smith and Andrew Kane pooled their resources, and launched a website on the now defunct Geocities (rip). The site was a tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time– and, as history has proven, one of the most timeless icons of the last few generations– Tim Allen.
I was still a relative child at the time. And, while I watched Home Improvement religiously, and while my heart swelled with love and pride for the Tool Man, I didn’t even know what it meant to be a true fan. Not until Ben and Andrew found me, and set me free.
In 2003, I was working at an apple orchard in Vermont. But even there, on those peaceful plains strewn with sun-ripe fruit, I found myself magnetically attracted to my computer. You see, by then, Home improvement was off the air. There were no megaplexes nearby, and thus no way for me to see the latest Tim Allen blockbuster. The internet was my only true connection to my hero, Tim Allen. I moderated a lot of messageboards, I spent a lot of time in chat rooms. And yes, unfortunately, I did a lot of cocaine powder. (Funnily, that addiction, and my subsequent recovery, only made me feel more connected to Tim. Tim’s been there. He’s fallen from great heights, and lifted himself back up again. As Tim did, so did I.) My cocaine-fueled scouring of Tim Allen internet sites eventually led me to Andrew and Ben’s magnificient, “Unofficial Tim Allen Fan Zone.”
Two years and several rehabs later, I became the interim webmaster for Tim Allen Zone.org. A dream come true, to say the least.
What we lack in content, we more than make up for in heart. We’ve received critical feedback about our spotty news feed (which I should probably update) as well as our lack of any functioning message board. But message board or not, there’s no denying that Timallenzone.org is a community. A real community.
And I guess what I’m asking you is to become a part of that community. We’re adding new stuff all the time. We recently added a Fan Art/Fan Fiction section, which I urge you to check out. There’s some great stuff there. Also, by teaming up with the folks at Beards Encouraged, we’ve managed to bring our little-website-that-could into the 21st century. We now feature original Youtube tributes, a Facebook Fan Page, a Twitter Feed… even our own blog. But no matter how high-tech we get, no matter how high our page-counter soars, we’ll never forget who we are, where we came from, or why we’re here.
We’re here for one man who taught us all how to laugh and love. We’re here because of Tim Allen. Remember that. I know I will.
I know it’s usually all fun and games and mangled feet around here, but now it’s time to get serious.
Sometimes people kill themselves, especially young dudes. And so, as part of the Man Week initiative (which aims to raise awareness about mental illness and addiction in males), Gavin Heaton, who is super nice, and Mark Pollard, who I met once at a conference, have both survived being young dudes and worked really hard to put together this book for men. The book is about all kinds of stuff – what it means to be a dude, how to cope when you’re a struggling dude, and teaching your kids important stuff about being a dude. All the proceeds go to the Inspire Foundation and they’re going to do awesome things with the money, which you probably don’t need anyway.
As a lover of men, this is an issue that is close to the place in my chest where a heart would normally reside. I also know what it’s like to feel crap and not really know what to do about it.
I wrote a story about my dad, who is awesome, and how he taught me some valuable lessons about what it means to be a man. You can read that, along with many better pieces in the book, which is now available for your purchasing pleasure.
You can find out more info about the book here.
If you are shy on cash, you can buy the eBook version for $15 here.
Or if you prefer a more “hands on” experience, you can buy the soft cover from Blurb and I will read it to you by candlelight.*
So dig deep and get a nice present for your pa or some other dude in your life.
*will not actually read to anyone by candlelight, not even Jesus himself.
As you can see, Neekersneakers has had something of a face lift, and now includes a bit of colour and an attempt at conveying some personality. This is so you guys can stop saying “the text hurts my eyes… it’s boring… you’ve gone too minimalist… I’m a massive vagina… etc etc blah.”
The new design comes courtesy of my rather talented and fiery-haired friend Mitch (pictured above), whose other work can be viewed here. Mitch designed this working with only a very loose brief (“just make me something cool, with pink bits”) and then changed the twenty-seven things I complained about, then changed them back, then changed some more again. I paid him in snaps.
I would also like to thank the ever-lovely and always helpful Zac for his keen eyes and expert advice, as well as Darwin’s best-dressed lady, Kahlee Rose, for agreeing with me when I already knew what I wanted but required confirmation.
Yall can leave feedback if you like, but let’s be honest, I can’t really be bothered changing anything and I have annoyed Mitch plenty enough. I do hope this one is easier on your beautiful eyes though, and if you spot a major fuck-up bug, please send an email to support [at] annikskelton.com
This is my cat, Georgie. I have a rather unique attitude towards pets, in that I generally consider them to be completely disposable. Some call this callousness, I call it post-modernism, whatever. If one dies, I simply buy a new one. And if a live one annoys me too much, I usually take it to the vet and have it put down.
Georgie has been on thin ice for a while now, because despite being cute, she is the most irritating and fickle creature I’ve ever known. (And I have worked at an accounting firm and dated many musicians, for your reference.) Georgie likes to be let in and out of the house roughly every half hour, day and night. When I am sleeping too deeply to hear her scratching at the back door outside, she jumps onto my window-sill, grabs the fly-screen with her claws and slams the frame against the window pane repeatedly until I am jarred from my slumber. “I hate you,” I tell her, cracking open the window and lifting the screen for her to crawl through. She glances at me briefly before wandering to her food bowl, eating one biscuit, and then meowing at the back door to be let out again. I imagine having a child to be similar to this sleepless, constantly annoyed state, which is why I use eleven different methods of contraception, including abstinence.
Georgie does not want anything much to do with any of us, but requires a human around at all times. Just in case. Usually she has my mother, who is lazy and rarely goes out, but whenever my parents are away, Georgie finds herself alone during the day and becomes anxious. She follows me around the house at night and jumps on top of my computer, my dinner plate, my piano, whatever is occupying my attention when I should be more concerned about her needs. When I go to the bathroom, she scratches frantically on the door and wails mournfully. I let her inside and she perches on the edge of the bathtub and stares at me intensely as I sit on the toilet. Unused to such scrutiny, I get stage fright and do not urinate for 3 days.
The reason I cannot get rid of Georgie is because despite the fact that she is cold and sometimes violent, I love the boundaries she forces others to accept. She will allow herself to be patted sometimes, but only if the person patting her doesn’t obviously want it too much, and only if they are satisfied after a few pats. You may not grab her or hold her in any way. You may not pick her up and put her on your lap either, although she may deign to sit on your lap if it is a chilly night and she is feeling sleepy.
I recently complained to my friend Matt about Georgie and how I sometimes wished she was more affectionate with me. I was lying on the lounge while Georgie sat on the coffee table, staring at me suspiciously. She knew that I was talking about her.
“I just don’t know what to do with her,” I told Matt. “She’s not really contributing much to the household. I think it might be time to go, you know? Try a different breed or something?”
“Annik, this cat is you,” Matt said.
“What do you mean?” I asked, reaching out to scratch Georgie behind one ear. She snapped at my hand, then rubbed her nose against my arm.
“Well she looks pretty and friendly, so people want to touch her,” Matt explained, “Sometimes she’s receptive and affectionate, usually with total strangers. But if you’re a nice, caring person and actually try to get close to her, she’ll scratch your fucking face off.”
“Mmm..” I said, rolling onto my back, “I guess she can stay.” As if on cue, Georgie stepped from the coffee table onto the lounge and settled down on my chest. She nuzzled her face into my neck and fell asleep.
Precisely four minutes later she woke up, dug her claws into my shoulder and hissed at my face, then fled from the room.
Those four minutes were nice though.
A few years ago I was lonely, bored, depressed and rarely left my bedroom. After too many white wines one night, I created a profile for myself on RSVP and sat back to watch my inbox fill with eligible young bachelors. One guy in particular sparked my interest. Let’s call him Gavin, because that was his name, and still is his name, assuming he hasn’t died.
Gavin and I exchanged a few emails and chatted on MSN. He was smart and funny, and looked cute in his profile picture.
I asked Gavin if he wanted to meet up for coffee. (Like I said – I was extremely single at this point in my life.) He agreed, but said I’d have to meet him in Penrith because that’s where he lived and he didn’t drive.
Alarm bells began to ring softly in my head, but I ignored them. Unlike today when a single spelling mistake can disqualify somebody, back then I was a lot more tolerant. I liked to think that I would never judge a person based on where they lived.
And so I made the long drive out west, found the shopping centre Gavin had nominated, and located the coffee shop he wished to meet at. It was closed, so I sat outside on a bench and watched the local ageing men walk past. Suddenly one of them stopped in front of me and asked, “Annik?”
I considered denying my identity, but I’d already hesitated too long and confirmed it. Gavin bore an uncanny resemblance to Mr Burns from The Simpsons. He was completely bald, hunched over, and had rotting teeth. He smelled like cheap cologne and was wearing a block-colour charcoal track suit. He embodied every physical Penrith cliche.
“The coffee shop’s closed,” I stammered.
“That’s okay, we can just go for a walk,” he replied.
We strolled slowly to the side of the carpark as he babbled awkwardly about a holiday he once took, I can’t even remember where, because my brain was busy going “JESUS FUCK I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE.”
As we approached the road, I turned to Gavin and said, “You know what? I have to go.”
Then I walked over to my car and drove home.
When I got there, I had a text on my phone from Gavin saying, “Sorry if that was disappointing.”
I didn’t write back. I blocked him on MSN and changed my email address. I removed my profile from RSVP and showered thoroughly. Then I burst into tears.
Never before had I felt so incredibly shallow. I’d enjoyed conversing with somebody and exchanging stories, then as soon as I knew what they really looked like, I wanted nothing to do with them. I was a bitch and I was going to hell.
Later that night, I related my online-dating experience to a friend’s mother.
“Am I totally horrible?” I asked her when I had finished.
“God, no,” she replied, “You can’t fuck an ugly person.”
My friend Mark is one of the most important men in my life. A nurse by trade, he has the privilege of fielding all my medical questions (“Okay, so I was in the men’s room at Q Bar, and stuff was happening, and then I fell…”) A mechanic by hobby, he also has the joy of fixing anything that goes wrong with my car. In return, I introduce him to hot chicks who he might be able to convince to sleep with him.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing though.
My friends and I first met Mark at the beginning of Year 11. He was new that year and his parents had sent him to our conservative Anglican school after he’d been busted with a knife too many times at his old place of learning.
“Hey laydeeez..” he drawled, sidling up to us behind the science block at lunchtime, “Where do you girls go to smoke around here?”
“There’s an abandoned house across the street,” we offered, “And we’re having a party this weekend if you wanna come.”
That Friday night, as we passed a bong around my friend Kim’s backyard, Mark burst through the side gate and waved a bottle of Passion Pop above his head. “LET’S GET WASTED!” he suggested, and spun the bottle on the ground hopefully.
“Ew, slow down,” and we rolled our eyes as Mark went around the yard, sussing us out one by one.
Later we reconvened to share our experiences.
“He said I had an arse from heaven,” Kim laughed.
“He didn’t say anything at all to me, just went in for the kill,” I shuddered.
“He followed me into the cubby house,” my friend Bryony admitted, “And when I offered him a cigarette, he leaned over and whispered, I wanna suck you dry.“
“Good god, that’s fucked up!” we agreed unanimously.
However, it was at that moment, in the early hours of the morning, that we realised none of us had seen Mark for quite some time. We searched the house. We searched the yard. We walked up and down the street, calling his name. We found no trace of him, except his shoes ,which lay on top of the BBQ next to his car keys.
“Shit!” Kim’s mum wasn’t happy, “I’ve lost the new kid. The Christians will kill me!”
We sat up for a while wondering what to do. Then we passed out.
I woke up at sunrise to find myself on the couch on the back deck. As I mentally assessed my hangover, I heard a groan from beneath me. Slowly, Mark crawled out from the small space underneath the couch and turned to look at me.
“Hey, gorgeous!” he said.
Three years ago, I sold my Yamaha Pacifica. I was living out of home, studying full-time, working part-time, drinking heavily, and dirt poor. I really needed things like bread and dental work, so I flogged my guitar on eBay for $150.
To be honest, I had no regrets at first, as I had purchased Francine mainly to hold while I struck rockstar poses in front of the mirror in my bedroom. She was also useful for creating extremely loud and distorted noises while my parents attempted to hold bible study lessons in the living room. But apart from that, I didn’t play her often. Sure, she was soft and sleek, but I always seemed to come back to my Maton acoustic because he complimented my voice better.
However, now that I’m getting older and more experimental with my music, I really miss Francine.. She allowed me to do so much more than Mate, and was smaller, thus allowing me to dance more freely while playing.
The worst part is I don’t even know where she is.. I have no idea who bought her, because I made my friend sell her online, not having the guts to do it myself. I simply told her that I needed a “break” and that she was going to spend a little time away from home.. then I collected the cash, had a boozey night out in the cross, and awoke the next morning fully dressed with a splitting headache and a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my thigh.
I’m really worried about Francine. She could be sitting in any old geyser’s garage in Australia, cold, alone and unsatisfied. I’ll bet whoever bought her has put his filthy hands all over her.. By now he’s probably stroked her neck, removed her g-string and touched her entire body. Thank god she’s not acoustic or he might have put all kinds of things in her sound-hole.
I guess I just have to hope that Fran has gone to a better place. Perhaps she’s in a nice house in the country, surrounded by a loving family, romping through fields of daisies under a bright blue sky.. Or maybe she is the pride and joy of some young budding guitarist, the next Nathan Cavaleri, and will rocket him to early stardom..
I will never know for sure. I just hope she’s okay.
Last week I met up for drinks with an ex-boyfriend. He was very much an ex — by almost seven years — and I felt that enough time had elapsed to allow us to develop some kind of platonic relationship.
I picked him up from the shopping centre where he worked and we hugged tentatively, then I babbled about work and my new car as if nothing else of note had happened to me since grade 9. Fortunately, I require an embarrassingly small amount of alcohol on weeknights to become intoxicated. An hour, no dinner, and three beers later, I was chatting quite comfortably about everything in my life and throwing in some religious and political theories for good measure. The ex was in the middle of telling me about the hideous end of his latest romantic relationship, when he mentioned the fact that he was now seeing somebody new. I initially thought he was referring to me, and panicked, then realised he didn’t mean me, and immediately felt slighted. I took a large sip of my beer in an attempt to hide the fact that for some reason, I really didn’t want to be listening to this. Then I excused myself to use the bathroom, snuck through the beer garden and drove home.
The problem wasn’t that I planned to reinstate this guy as boyfriend one day. God knows, if I wanted to be fifteen again, I’d wear a USA hoodie, drink a six-pack of Strongbow and vomit onto a rosebush. No, the issue here is that I never want to think about my old boyfriends moving on. In my mind, I let them recover enough to get past the stalking stage, but after that I like to imagine each of my ex’s sitting in his living room, unshaven and pantless, drinking whisky and watching day-time television through eyes clouded by addiction and blurred with tears, for the remainder of his miserable, regret-filled, post-Annik life. Occasionally he rises to urinate, wanders aimlessly through the house, and pauses to kneel at the shrine of photos, flowers and candles that he has erected in my honour. Then he crawls into bed and drinks cask-wine straight from the goon-bag, attempting to achieve the alcohol-induced coma in which he sometimes dreams of my beautiful face…
But the truth is, I’m usually the dumpee. It’s hard to imagine somebody being depressed about losing you when they’re the one who initiated the break-up. You would think that being constantly rejected would damage my self esteem, but I have somehow managed to maintain a high level of morale. I am mentally unable to process the fact that I could be anything but the perfect girlfriend. Whenever a guy tells me he wants to end things, I quickly remind him, “But I’m amazing. And gorgeous and smart. Are you gay or just stupid?” If that doesn’t work, I change tactic: “Well you can’t have me anymore anyway, cockbag!” and flounce from the room. As I drive to the nearest bottle shop, crying hysterically and swerving dangerously within my lane, I imagine him back home, sitting with his head in his hands as the full extent of the huge mistake he has just made dawns upon his tiny idiotic brain. He took me for granted. He didn’t know what he had until it was gone. He will never love again.
In reality, they always love again. One boyfriend loved again in front of me at the pub every Friday night. Another called me each weekend after he had gotten laid and gave me a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) description of his shag, analysed her technique and then provided a helpful comparison on what was better or worse about my own abilities. And my latest boyfriend didn’t even bother breaking up with me before loving again.
I think that every relationship, no matter how trivial or traumatic, has something valuable to offer us if we look at things the right way. I wouldn’t want a break-up to affect any of my ex-boyfriends’ abilities to love, just as I don’t let any of them affect my own ability to love. In fact, I kind of want my old boyfriends taken off the market, just to erase any potential sexual tension that may crop up in future chance encounters. And, because I’m not a bitter or spiteful person, I want my ex’s to find somebody they can be in a relationship with, and I want them to be happy. I just don’t want to hear about it.