This is the evolution of the blog TURNING FORTY and is the continuation of the rants, raves, perceptions, and misperceptions of a gay man living in the Gayest City in the World, San Francisco. Here is the banner from season 1 of Turning Forty/DanNation:
And earlier banners from the 2nd and 3rd seasons of DanNation (compliments of Jimmi):
And, a very rare holiday banner that made short appearances in seasons 2 and 3:
You can check out my podcast, “The Jimmi & Dan Variety Cast” here.
1. I grew up on a dairy farm with 500 cows, and realized I might be gay when I used to “feel dizzy” around the shirtless and hot boys who were my dad’s summer farmhands. I was 9 at the time and they were muscular and NEVER wore shirts. I got especially dizzy when they skinny-dipped in our swimming pool. I wish I would have figured out who I was then.
2. I almost became a professional photojournalist – I interviewed at The Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara to become a pro after graduating from Dartmouth. Instead, I went to work in education.
3. When I was 13, I auditioned and screentested for “On Golden Pond,” the movie with Henry and Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. I was playing Billy (the smartass grandson) in summer stock at a theater in Maine (I was such a little fag – see my post TURNING FORTY: Top Ten Signs that your son is gay). The casting agent came to check out the play and asked me to audition. Unfortunately, I hit puberty between the summer and late fall and my voice cracked like that of Peter Brady when I finally auditioned. My fucking hormones! They gave the part to another young actor instead.
4. I am adopted – my birth mother put me up for adoption when she became pregnant in high school with her fiance. She dumped him and had me in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Boston. Three years ago, I found my birth mother’s family. Unfortunately, my mother died in 1999. I found my birth father’s family a year ago – my father died earlier in 2004. So, I will never meet either. However, I have 7 half-siblings from both sides who do not know about me (yet) and whom I plan to meet in the next year.
5. I am a horndog.
6. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 22 and I lost my “gay” viginity when I was 32. I know this doesn’t jive with #5 and my “horndog” tendencies, but I whack it really, really well!
7. I asked a woman to marry me in 1997 – she was my best friend and we had never had sex – I don’t know what I was thinking. I was confused, and was trying to hide my sexuality behind our friendship.
8. I love gay porn, especially S&M and bondage.
9. I am not very close with my adopted family. My family are my friends.
10. I love lobster dripping with melted butter, followed by a swig of cold beer.
11. I am versatile, but prefer top.
12. I got involved with a dot.com company that made me a millionaire for a brief time until it all crashed and burned.
13. I love aviation, took flying lessons for a while, and am a Flight Simulator junkie.
14. People ask me why I didn’t come out earlier – it guess it just wasn’t relevent when I was working 18-hour days throughout my early 30s (see #12 above). Whether I was hetero or homo, I had NO time for a sex or romantic life, nor did my friends. Of course, I was an emotional wreck but that’s a whole other story.
15. I hate cats.
16. I love dogs.
17. I am an avid road biker, and have participated in two centuries (100+ mile rides). I plan to ride in the AIDS/Lifecycle ride in June 2009. My legs and muscles will look fabulous!
18. I am a very loyal friend, and still maintain close ties with friends I’ve had for 40 years.
19. I love kissing, and am good at it. My biggest turn on – watching boys kiss!
20. I have never been fired from a job.
21. I used to be a caregiver in relationships, and the financial provider, etc. I will never play these roles again with a boyfriend. I’m all about reciprocal support and individual stablility.
22. I adore younger guys (now there’s a shocker).
23. My favorite films are “Cinema Paradiso” and “October Sky” (Jake’s first film). I also love “Star Wars,” “Caddyshack,” and “Fletch.”
24. The Burning Man event in Nevada changed my life. I don’t know who I would be without it and my friends I’ve met there — it is MY defining event and made me a better person.
25. In high school, I drove a 1981 Pontiac Firebird with a fire design down the front. I often blasted Meatloaf out of the stereo, wore a mullet hairdo, and drank 16 oz. Budweisers while I drove. Yes, I was a gay redneck. How do you know someone is gay AND a redneck? They hang disco balls from their fly strips.
26. I was the Maine state milking champion for 11-14 year olds in 1978, hand-milking a full 8 oz. glass of milk right from the cow’s udder in less than 6 seconds. What a skill to have!
27. I have two tattoos. The first one I got on my upper-right shoulder blade in 2001. It is Max from “Where the Wild Things Are.” With my active imagination, fear of monsters, and love for faux-fur costuming, I have always related to Max. I also played him in our first grade production of the same title. My second is on my left upper arm – it is a cool tribal stone design that my ex-boyfriend and I picked out several years ago.
28. I have a younger brother with whom I don’t have a close relationship. He was born to my parents 2 years after they adopted me. I also have an older sister who is actually a first cousin. My parents adopted her when I was 8 and she was 16. She lost both her parents and was left in the custody of an abusive step-mother. She came to live with us after much emotional and physical abuse. We are very close.
29. I have a fear of heights.
30. My first job out of college was at a small New England boarding school where I supervised a dorm of junior and senior boys. One of my students remains my best friend and brother to this day. He and his wife are the reason I live in Santa Fe (they live here too).
31. I have attended over 150 Grateful Dead shows, and spent my 20s going on tour with my friends.
32. I worked as a photojournalist “stringer” when I was in college, and photographed the 1988 presidential campaign in New Hampshire where my photos were picked up by the Associated Press and “Newsweek On Campus.”
33. I am a huge Johnny Carson fan, and had the opportunity to go to one of his final “Tonight Show” tapings in 1992. Regis Philburn was the guest, and I’ll never foget the exhilaration of seeing him walk through the curtains in his studio at NBC in Burbank with the theme song blasting in the studio. I feel that I am one of a diminishing group that saw Johnny in person.
34. Speaking of NBC, I have seen two live broadcasts of “Saturday Night Live” in the studio audience. The first time, in 2001, Mena Suvari and Lenny Kravitz were the host and musical guest. The second time, in 2004, Megan Mullaly and Clay Aiken were the host and musical guest. Since I have a friend who works on the show, I was also able to attend both cast parties and met the cast and Lorne Michaels in person. Another unforgettable experience.
35. I love Latino men.
36. I was a long-distance runner on both the track teams and cross-country teams in high school.
37. I was my Alumni Class President at college.
38. My friends would consider me loyal – I have managed and cultivated friendships with people I have known for almost 40 years. Two of my oldest friends from Maine, Sharon and Liza, came to Santa Fe to visit me in September 2004.
39. I lived in Lyon, France for a semester of college in 1986 and can speak French.
40. I went to church regularly growing up (often without my parents), and was President of my Youth Ministry group at my church in high school. Although I don’t consider myself religious, and I have my own idea of God, I do consider myself spiritual.
41. I voted Republican through the first Bush administration. I started to vote Democrat when I moved to California in 1990.
42. I am an active gay rights activist, and spent time several years ago in the New Mexico Legislative session lobbying to defeat a destructive DOMA (when I lived in New Mexico). We won.
43. I am an active volunteer, and chaired the board of an outdoor experiential non-profit when I lived in Santa Fe. The organization focuses on programs for at-risk teens, Native American youth, and GLBT youth (including creating the fist Gay-Straight Alliance network across NM high schools – the first program of its kind outside of California).
44. I almost died of pneumonia when I was 7. I was hospitalized for weeks and lived in an oxygen tent. To this day, my lungs suck.
45. I have written several screenplays that will never see the light of day.
46. I hated cooking until about two years ago when I bought my house and finally had a decent kitchen. My ex b/f also taught me a bunch of cooking techniques. My cooking rocks now!
47. I have psoriasis, and have had it for ten years. It’s a genetic skin disease where your skin does not dispose dead cells properly. My fingernails are especially affected, and I am very self-conscious about people seeing them (I’ll never be a hand model).
48. My favorite food is pepperoni pizza. Love it.
49. I am an aviation nut, took flying lessons in 2000 (but didn’t finish), and have an entire cockpit set up for my PC flight simulator program.
Left: Max adorns my upper right shoulder blade.