Riding Between The Raindrops

March 9th, 2011

The training continues… One of the ride leaders, Ben Armstrong, posted a “Guide to the Ride” on his website, describing each day by mileage and elevation. Seeing the seven days mapped out is further motivation to keep up the training and keep adding miles.

After an unseasonable warm start to the year, we’re back into stretches of cold weather. In fact, a couple of weekends ago they said it was going to snow in San Francisco. In the end, I think a shivering camera crew at the top of Twin Peaks saw a few flurries for a minute, but the snowflakes never made it to my neighborhood. Bracing myself for wet weather, I decided to participate in a “cyclothon” at Gold’s Gym. I wound up doing four hours of spin classes. Crazy, right? On top of that, the rainy Sunday I was planning for never came and I wound up spinning while sunshine streamed into the room.

Training Ride

The predictions for weather were a bit more accurate last weekend. We were able to get some miles in on Saturday — a 42-mile ride that included a climb up the Marin Headlands and the Tiburon Loop. It was a clear morning, so we were treated to a gorgeous view at the top of the Headlands.

All in all, a great ride with lots of rolling hills and few good climbs. One note to fellow bicyclists: The parking lot on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge is all tore up. Be prepared to stop and walk your bikes across the dirt.

The rain came the next day, washing out the possibility for a ride. The forecast for this weekend are cloudy skies but no rain. Fingers crossed.

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So Far So Good

February 19th, 2011

It all started on Pip’s birthday. As we sat around the table enjoying cocktails, our friend Bryan announced that he just ordered a bike and was doing the AIDS Lifecycle again. A drunken gleam sparkled in my eye as memories of the three rides I did 1998-2000 came to mind. Fast forward to the next morning. In the haze of a slight hangover, I thought, “What did I agree to do again?”

A seven-day, 545-mile adventure with 3000 other people — that’s what I agreed to do. I know a few of those 3000 people already. I’m doing the Ride with Pip, and our friends Bryan, Mikie, Victor and Joseph are also riders. It’ll be a chance to bond with our friends and make new ones over the many miles of training ahead of us.

The training has begun, and so far, so good. When I did the Ride previously, I did it on a mountain bike with slick tires. When I first started riding in 1998, I didn’t know any better, and I just became comfortable with the bike. This time around, I’m going for a more efficient ride. I’m not that scrappy twenty-something anymore! I got a road bike that’s much lighter — a Marin Argenta.

It’s been over ten years since I’ve done any major biking, but I’ve discovered that riding bicycle is like… well, riding a bicycle! The muscle memory has come back pretty quickly. I’ve been going through the process of reacquainting myself with how to shift gears, anticipating when to unclip my shoes out of the pedals, and just rebuilding a general awareness for the road again. I’m also getting used to the more aggressive posture on a road bike.

We were blessed with some fantastic weather for the first couple of weeks of February. My first training ride was in sunny San Jose where we did 20 miles of flats and a couple of rolling hills. My friend Victor had this idea of seeing how many Filipino people in the Bay Area were doing the Ride, so he organized the Pinoy Ride and Potluck. It was a great first ride, because it reminded me that one of the things that I loved about doing the Ride was the community of people involved. It’s a ride, not a race, and you can really feel the friendship and support from your fellow riders. Also, in addition to the time on the bike, the Ride is an opportunity to just be with the people around you. Sometimes you should take the time to smell the roses (or eat the lumpia!)

Last weekend, Pip and I did back-to-back rides from the Presidio to Tiburon. It’s an exhilarating start when you ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and fly down the hill into Marin. It’s a pain in the ass on the way back because you have to climb your way back up the hill at the end. Pip has been doing great with the hills so far. He lost 65 pounds last year and got back into shape, so he’s been cranking up the hills without stopping. The only thing I have fought with so far was getting used to saddle soreness on our second day. Ouch, my ass!

Riding back from Tiburon

The rain and cold has finally come. I think it’ll be sunny tomorrow, but I know eventually we’ll have to get some time out on the road when it’s not so nice. In years past, it has rained during the Ride, so it’s good to be prepared. I don’t look forward to it, though.

The fundraising has gone well so far. Thanks to everyone who has helped me raise $1905 so far, almost 40% of the way to my goal of $5000. If you’d like to help me reach my goal, you can donate online or make a donation by check.

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Blog Restart 2011

February 1st, 2011

Sometimes a guy needs more that 140 characters to express himself… After taking a break from my blog for three years, I’ve decided to start it up again. Expect periodic postings about training for the AIDS Lifecycle, the job search, and random thoughts about music, food, monkeys, and life in general.

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Goodbye 2008: The Year in Photos

December 31st, 2008

2008 was a good year. Thank you thank you THANK YOU to my husband, family and friends…

For all the miles we walked together in memory of those we’ve lost
For all the music we enjoyed at concerts and on the dancefloor
For all the Sunday dinners, birthday parties and happy hours
For all the smiles and laughter
For all the years together we’ve celebrated

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Crab Dip

December 23rd, 2008

Pip’s mom makes a killer crab dip. It helps that she comes from Cajun country where the crab is pretty damn good. Pip received a request to share, so I thought I’d blog about it and share it with everyone.

1 eight ounce package of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 shakes of Tabasco
2 shakes of garlic powder
1 pound of crab meat

Melt cream cheese and butter in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over boiling water. Add onions, Tabasco and garlic powder. Mix well. Add crab meat and heat through. Taste for salt and serve. A squeeze of lemon juice can also be added if it is too rich.

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A Day in the Life of a Gay

December 11th, 2008
5:00 am At least, I think it’s 5:00. Who knows. My eyes are still shut but I can hear Pip putting on his shoes and picking out which glasses to wear for the day. Every morning before he leaves for work, he gives me a kiss goodbye. As soon as hear him walk out the door, I promptly fall back asleep.
6:30 am Alarm goes off. It’s cold so I stay snuggled up under the covers listening to the radio. They mention Day Without a Gay on the news. I heard about it a few weeks ago and decided I was going to participate because I’m not happy with the outcome of Prop 8. Since I am a tax-payer and we live in a democracy and not a theocracy, I want my marriage to my partner of sixteen years to be recognized like any other civil marriage. Day Without a Gay is a way to take a lot of the energy that’s been generated since the election and focus it on doing something positive. I decided to take a vacation day so that I could give back to the community. I have been talking about doing volunteer work for a while, and now is the perfect opportunity. I called around on Monday searching for places to go and decided to spend the day at the San Francisco LGBT Center.
7:00 am I finally get up. I log on to my work email and turn on the “out of office” notice. I decide I am not going to check emails until the end of the day, which is hard for me because I do it all the time out of habit. I’m an email addict.
7:50 am I’m out the door. Time for some coffee before I head over to the center. The air is cool and crisp on this sunny morning.
9:00 am Arriving at the center, I’m welcomed by Gayle, a director at the center. She leads me up to the third floor where she introduces me to the task at hand — sending 1500 fundraising letters. We have to fold personalized letters, stuff them into envelopes, affix address labels, seal and stamp them. We’re joined by three gentlemen who have taken the day off from the United Way — Enrique, Angel and Jose. Between the five of us, we get into a groove and slowly make our way through the stack of letters. The repetitive nature of the work feels almost meditative. As we work, Gayle tells us about the center, and I learn about the many things they do at the center. They do all sorts of stuff I didn’t know about, like help with housing, business relocation, and child care.
2:00 pm Someone walks into the room and says that there is a news crew outside. They are covering Day Without a Gay and want to film us at work. I’m fine with the filming, but I was feeling shy and not really interested in being interviewed. We pretended not to notice the cameras as we worked. The reporter interviewed Angel, and it looked like she was done, but then when she found out I was the only person in the group not from United Way she wanted to talk to me. I figured, why not and decided to not be so shy. They say that the footage will be used on the Channel 36 News at 7pm.
3:00 pm By the time the group adjourned, we had made a big dent in the stack of letters. I think we finished about 1200 of them. It felt good to contribute time to the center, so I leave with a smile on my face. I walk home, enjoying the unseasonably sunny weather.
4:00 pm In addition to community service, we were encouraged not to do today was spend money today. Gay money helps support the economy, people! Although I want to abstain, I realize that today is the only opportunity I have buy something for a potluck at work on Friday. I’m going to a concert tomorrow night. I go out and try to spend as little as possible.
6:00 pm My project team at work is having a holiday get-together, so I decide to join them. It’s been a long, busy year at work, so it was good to hang out and celebrate with the team. They are happy to see me, although somewhat surprised since they know I’ve been in the city all day. I’m not protesting alcohol, I joke. If you’re buying, then I’m drinking!
8:00 pm I come home and watch the beginning of the 7:00 news that has recorded on the DVR with Pip. You know that feeling you get when you hear your recorded voice for the first time? I had a weird, anxious feeling. “I look like that? I sound like that? Why didn’t I shave?” It was only a fifteen second clip, but I got say what was on my mind, so generally I’m happy with the result. I spend the next hour or so going through work emails, so that I’m somewhat caught up for tomorrow.
10:15 pm As I talk to my best friend Kurtis on the phone, I start getting text messages and Facebook notifications. Apparently, my interview was also used on Channel 2’s ten o’clock news. The response is positive all around. (They posted the video online late last night. You can see it on the KICU website.)
11:30 pm Pip’s already lightly snoring as I climb into bed. I drift to sleep as I think about the day’s events…

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Indian Summer

October 31st, 2008

BerlinThe past few weeks were beautifully warm and sunny, but as we near the end of October, I can feel the end of our indian summer as the temperatures drop and rain begins to fall. The colder mornings and shorter days are making it harder to get out of bed in the morning. At least we took advantage of the warm weather while we could.

On the weekend after we were married, we kept our tradition of hanging out at Folsom Street Fair with Chaz, Rochelle and David. It was a fun day of hanging out with friends, walking amidst the fun freaky nakedness, taking some photos, and enjoying a few cocktails. One of the main highlights was seeing Berlin live. Terri Nunn still sounds great and looks incredible. They performed a lot of the older hits as well as a new song off their soon-to-be-released album.

Lovefest 2008The following weekend was Lovefest. Market Street was overtaken by floats pounding out dance beats at high decibels with hoards of people following them like mice after the Pied Piper. After the floats parked around Civic Center, we did a lap around to check everyone out. The floats covered the gamut of the dance landscape, both literally and figuratively. Ultra Records had a huge float pumping out a more commercial house sound. Temple Nightclub had a white float that featured David Harness in the afternoon. I stopped by to say hi to David and got to take in the amazing view of the crowd. A lot of the lot of the local party collectives, like Qool and Pink Mammoth had floats. Even my new favorite gay bar, Truck, had a small but fun presence.

DuffyIn the middle of October we celebrated Kurtis’ birthday at his house with his friend and family. The next day we enjoyed a sunny day in Golden Gate Park at Alice Radio’s Now and Zen Festival. The main reason we wanted to go was to see the headliner, Duffy. Since early this year, we’ve been listening and loving her debut album, Rockferry. I have a weakness for soulful female vocals. She’s only played a handful of dates in the U.S., and Now and Zen was her only date in the Bay Area. Being the total geeky fans we are, we got there early so that we could be right up front to the stage. Our friend Kelly joined us later. Surrounded by mostly frantic teenage girls, we stayed in our spot the entire afternoon and enjoyed all the acts — Lenka, Sara Bareilles, Sugar Ray, and Gavin DeGraw. I thought Duffy’s set was short but awesome.

Last week was insanely busy but fun. I DJ’ed at a LGBT mixer and fundraiser, Out Together. However, what took a good chunk of my free time was Halloween at work. My co-worker Matt masterminded a haunted house for a company event. Being super creative, detail oriented and just a little crazy, he designed a haunted house with eleven distinct sets. This included a graveyard with a real hearse, a mad scientist’s lab with old equipment donated from one of our facilities, a ghost wedding complete with altar and skeleton priest, and a murder scene where the bloody victim would come life. One of my fun tasks was to design the sounds for all the areas. While we didn’t get to use the sounds everywhere, I think it added that extra something where did. After some frantic last-minute preparation, I slipped into my pirate costume and welcomed people as the wandered into our maze.

November quickly approaches. I fight the temptation to hibernate…

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Out Together

October 19th, 2008

I’ll be DJ’ing here at an after work LGBT mixer at the Symantec campus in Mountain View on October 22. The proceeds will benefit the Billy DeFrank Center and Project Outlet. It’ll be a fun evening. Get your tickets now!

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Just Married!

October 2nd, 2008

Just married!Sixteen years ago, Pip and I met on March 22. The vernal equinox. The first day of Spring. The mark of a new beginning. Now that we can be legally married, it was only appropriate that we have our civil ceremony on September 22, the autumnal equinox.

We were married on a sunny Monday afternoon at City Hall. Since we have already been together for such a long time, we wanted to keep things small. Also, at City Hall, they limit the amount guests that can attend. Our witnesses included my mom, my brother Eric, and my best friends Kurtis and Michele. Pip’s best friend David, who was our best man at our first commitment ceremony in 1995, was there as well. Another close friend, Rochelle, came with her kids. Rochelle’s husband, Chaz, was there the night I met Pip. Kurtis’ boyfriend, Doug, generously offered to photograph our special day.

A lot of time was spent waiting in lines, applying for the license and waiting our turn to be married. As we waited, we wandered around City Hall with Doug taking photos. At our first ceremony, we didn’t really think about a professional photographer, but we have a lot of photos taken from disposable cameras. We may get those glamour shots this time around!

The ceremony itself was short but really heartfelt. We stood in the main rotunda surrounded by our family and friends. Although it was a standard civil ceremony, I was struck at how beautifully crafted it was.

Rochelle and the kids brought a bag of flower petals. As we left the building, we were showered with them. Afterwards, we took everyone out for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Again, although it was low-key, all that mattered is that we were surrounded by some of favorite people on our special day.

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Hottie Stalking

September 13th, 2008

Warming Hut Hotties

Last weekend was the Susan B. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. Many of our friends from the Warming Hut Hotties were participating, so we decided to go out and be cheerleaders. The Hotties were there to cheer us on at the Avon Walk and it made such a big difference, so we wanted to do the same for them.

Thank you from this survivorWe met some of our Hottie friends on on Saturday near the beginning of the Golden Gate Bridge. The walkers camped in Chrissy Field and were going to walk to Mill Valley and back. Our friend Marsha came prepared with tons of stuff to support the walkers during the long trek in the sun. We were happy to be her little elves and help distribute goodies throughout the day. In Sausalito when it was starting to get hot, we had spray bottles to spritz and cool them down. In Mill Valley after the lunch stop, we offered strawberries and mini ice bags to help them cool off in the sun.

On Sunday, we met with our friend MJ and went to Alamo Square to cheer. MJ, who won her fight against breast cancer, wore a sign around her neck: “Thank you for this survivor for walking.” It was incredible to see all the Hotties on the route.

The 2000 walkers and 400 crew members raised $4,729,000 for the cause. This year, the Warming Hut Hotties raised over $400,000 participating in four events. Way to go, everyone!

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