Gold

September 5th, 2008

We met Michael Phelps!!

What a great day! They had a special event at VISA HQ for Michael Phelps. Pip was able to get me in for the meet and greet. We got our photo taken with him and got his autograph. I was star-struck and we were only with him for a minute, so we didn’t really get a chance to say much to him other than thank you and congratulations. Still, it was a treat to shake the hand of the most successful Olympian ever.

Later, he was on stage for a quick interview. He talked about what he was doing next — working on a foundation for kids and water safety, attending the MTV Video Music Awards, hosting Saturday Night Live, and then going back to Baltimore to see his dog.

I rushed back home to do some work at home in the afternoon. Then, it was off to the theater! We went to see the opening night of Spring Awakening with our friends, Jim and Joe. I didn’t really know anything about the story before seeing it. Pip had seen a version of the original play years ago.

We had great seats — five rows back, stage left. The entire cast is really strong and performed excellently. The music was written by Duncan Sheik who is probably best known in the pop world for his mid-90’s hit, “Barely Breathing”. From what I remember from his first album, you can hear Sheik’s musical and lyrical style throughout the rock and roll score.

Based on a German play by Frank Wedekind from 1891, Spring Awakening is a play about youth, sex and morality. Considering the themes of the play, it’s not surprising that Wedekind’s plays were repeatedly banned and censored during his lifetime.

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Bachelorette Party

August 26th, 2008

Flirtinis!Pip and I are going to make things legal and tie the knot (again) at City Hall in September. After sixteen years together, we feel like an old married couple, so I don’t exactly have that new bride feeling. Still, it’s important to us to have our relationship recognized legally, and for that, we look forward to this milestone.

To commemorate our upcoming nuptials, we had a little “bachelorette” party at our place. We invited some people over,  mixed up a batch of flirtinis (vodka, pineapple juice, Chambord, and champagne) and had Rock Band out. David, who was the best man at our commitment ceremony in 1995, came dressed in the barong — the Filipino wedding shirt — that he wore on the day.

Some of my co-workers came and brought gifts. At one point, they made Pip and I sit in the middle of the room and open a big red box. Inside, was an “instant bachelorette party” kit complete with masks, sparkles, toy rings and… toilet paper? We were told to stand up, and people started creating wedding dresses made from toilet paper. After the tossing of the toilet paper bouquet and removal of the toilet paper garter, we played The Newlywed Game. Our guests shouted out questions, then one of us had to write an answer, and the other one guessed. There were just a couple of questions we missed, but it was nice to demonstrate that after sixteen years together, we know each other really well.

It was great to see everyone. Thanks to everyone for a fun boozy bachelorette party! Here are some photos that our friend Doug took.

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Walking on Sunshine

July 19th, 2008

Warming Hut HottiesWe did it! Last weekend, Pip and I joined 3,200 other people to walk 39.3 miles at the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. So far, $7.5 million dollars were raised by walkers.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, so that we could arrive at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park by 5:00 am. Although it was not even light outside, we could sense the excitement and anxiousness in the crowd. As we prepared for the start, we saw our friends from the Warming Hut Hotties. We were all wearing pink deeleeboppers on our heads, so it was easy to spot each other. The other Hotties who are doing the 3-day walk were there to cheer us on. They were all wearing glittery butterfly wings. With hugs and words of encouragement, they told us to watch out for them later on in the day. We wouldn’t miss them!

Walking Buddies!We connected with my friends from NASA — Jill, Tim, Gina and Karen. We all lost our friend and co-worker Chris Gong last February. Another friend, Sue, made these wonderful laminated tags with her photos, so that we could tie them to our backpacks and have her present for the entire walk.

After some stretching and a quick opening ceremony, we were off! You can imagine what it was like to have 3,200 people trying to leave at the same time. It was slow going at first, but after the first mile when we had spread out a little, it was more comfortable. The energy on the route was unbelievable. People cheering from cars and from homes. Signs of encouragement were everywhere. Some dressed in costumes, like the Wonder Boobs superheroes.

The Mothership!The weather was perfect — overcast and not too cold, but it warmed up to a nice temperature as we went further north. We walked across the Golden Gate and down into Fort Point, and as we rounded a hill heading into Sausalito, we saw it — the deeleeboppers of all deeleeboppers! The Hotties had outfitted two SUVs with hugest pink fuzzy antennae you’d ever seen. The ladies were there cheering us on and handing out beautiful pins to wear.

We spent most of our walking time with Tim and Gina, so it was really nice to chat and catch up with them as we walked. As we walked, we continued to see people cheering us on. One of the great surprises of the day was to see Jeff and Elaine, two of our AIDS Ride buddies. They were out for a ride and stopped to see if they spot us in the crowd.

By the time we got to Mill Valley, it was getting a little warm. Once again, when we needed them the most, there were the Hotties. This time, they were handing out icy cold baby wipes. Ah, refreshing!

Day One Finish LineWe were so excited and energized that we didn’t spend a lot of time resting at the pit stops. I think because of that I started to feel a little pain at the top of my left calf. The last few miles I took time to stretch and rest a little more. It was still aching by the time we got back to Chrissy Field, but I was so jazzed that we completed Day One that I think too much about it. 26.2 miles! We hung out with our friends for a while, but then David came to collect our tired bodies home so that we could rest up for the next day.

We arrived back at Chrissy Field early the next morning. Even though I iced and massaged my leg the night before, the pain in my calf was still there. I started the morning moving pretty slow. The pain started to creep slowly from my calf to the back of my knee. I consulted a medic at the first pit stop, and she said that my best bet was to take it slow, ice my leg at every opportunity, and take something like Advil or Tylenol. I haven’t had any injuries the whole time I’ve been training, so I was bummed to be dealing with one now. It wasn’t bad enough to stop, so I gimped along. I’m reminded of one of the signs that I saw on the road: “Blisters aren’t chemo!” A pain in my leg ain’t the same thing as cancer. I was fine to keep going.

The route headed south towards Chrissy Field, through MoMA and then Potrero Hill! The route actually went right in front of our place. We ran inside for a quick break, so that we could use a real bathroom instead of a porta-potty. I also got to ice my leg for a few minutes.

Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast CenterWe took our time in Potrero Hill. As slowly made it to the top of Connecticut St., there was a team of women in pink T-shirts cheering for us. They were just lovely and made us feel great about the climb, but we turned the corner and there were still a few more blocks. My good leg was doing most of the work. When we got to the top, the Hotties were there. When I needed the Hottie love the most, there they were.

We made our way downhill and stopped at the Avon Breast Cancer Center. It was really inspiring, because it was great to actually see something that the fundraising helped build and supports.

We had lunch in Dolores Park and then made our way to the Panhandle and into the park. My leg didn’t hurt as much the last three miles or so. We were on flat land and the energy in the streets was just insane. We were greeted with cheers at the finishing line, and it felt great.

The Finish LineThe closing ceremony was emotional. I felt a real sense of accomplishment as I walked to the stage with all my fellow walkers, and I felt proud of all the money I raised and time I spent training. I also felt a real sadness. During the walk, we were reminded that every three minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. We took a moment to remember all the people we’ve lost, and for the first time I cried about losing Chris.

Although it was the loss of a friend that started this journey, it’s ultimately been a very positive experience and an opportunity to connect with family and friends, new and old. Thank you to everyone who supported us, both financially and emotionally. With your help, Pip and I raised $4550 for the cause, and that’s not counting the company matches that will be coming in. A special thanks to David who took care of us the weekend of the walk. A extra big thanks to all the Warming Hut Hotties. It’s been a pleasure to train with you and to get to know you. Your spirit and enthusiasm made a huge difference.

You can see all the photos I took on Flickr.

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Yazoo Reconnected

July 18th, 2008

YazTwenty-five years after breaking up, Yazoo have reunited to go on tour, and I was lucky enough to see them perform at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on July 7. They had already parted ways by the time I had discovered them, but their first album, Upstairs at Eric’s, was part of the soundtrack of my adolescence. Judging from the audience that were attendance, that was probably the case for many. It was what you might expect — a lot of enthusiastic thirty and forty-something new wavers and dance music enthusiasts.

From the opening number, “Nobody’s Diary”, you can tell that Alison Moyet has still got it. Her big and soulful voice glided over Vince Clarke’s percolating rhythms. Since the duo broke up before their second album was released, many of these songs were performed for the first time ever. They played all the songs from the first album and a majority of the second. Although there’s a definite 80’s synth sound to their music, it still sounded fresh to me. The melodies are simple but strong. Yazoo’s music wouldn’t sound out of place alongside a lot of current electro bands using older analogue synths to create their sound.

They ended the night with their most familiar material. The main set ended with “Don’t Go” and then they came back to perform “Only You” and “Situation”. Ah, the memories!

The photos I took are on Flickr.

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Go-Go Dancing Mad Scientists

June 30th, 2008

Genentech FloatPride weekend was fun! Genentech had a float in the parade. Although we were in the parade last year, this was the first time ever doing a float. Considering we had almost no budget, I think it all turned out pretty cool. The theme was “Mad Scientists”. Some of the team put together a huge DNA strand that spanned the entire length of the float. A bunch of people, including me, wore lab coats that had been decorated and danced. I was able to rent a speaker system. I put my mixes on an iPod and run the sound from it. We were contingent #158, so it took a while to get going, but it was worth the wait. It was a lot of fun dancing on the float!

A special thanks to my friend David who helped me all weekend. Unfortunately, PIp had to work all weekend, so David helped me pick up the sound system and set it up on the float. I was a little stressed about out the sound, so I appreciated David’s help.

This weekend I also attended a cocktail party for our friends Jim and Joe. They’ve been together about twelve years, and they tied the knot at city hall. Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

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Hot Hot Heat

June 27th, 2008

Golden Gate BridgeThe Avon Walk is a couple of weeks away! We’ve started tapering down our miles. Last weekend, we did only one long walk — an 18-mile walk to Tiburon with the Hotties. The Bay Area was experiencing a heat wave. We started our walk at six in the morning, and the temperature was already in the mid-sixties. With a lot of hydration and sunscreen, we made it. The Hotties supported the walk, so at various pit stops we were treated to fruit and buckets of ice to add to our water bottles. At the top of one hill, Linda was there to hand out little baggies of ice to help cool ourselves. Even though we made it to Tiburon for the 12:45 ferry, Pip and I decided to stay and have lunch — and a margarita!

That evening, we had dinner with our friend Bryan. He’s moving to Chicago for grad school soon, so it was a nice opportunity to hang out. We went to Supperclub, a fun and trendy joint where you lounge around in beds while the servers, dressed in costumes, perform and flirt with the costumers. I thought after a long walk that I may fall asleep in bed, but the place was quite entertaining.

The night ended on a bum note. We had accidentally locked our keys in the house, so we had to call a locksmith.

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Getting There

June 18th, 2008

Golden Gate Bridge

This past weekend we logged a lot of miles. We did 22 miles around San Francisco on Saturday, and then on Sunday, we did a 13-mile walk from the Presidio, across the fog-ensconced Golden Gate Bridge, into Sausalito and back. 35 miles… that’s just four miles shy of the total mileage we will do on the Avon Walk. I am now confident that we are properly trained for the event.

Unfortunately, Pip developed some blisters on Sunday. He had to take his time on the last few miles. We think it might be these new socks we had bought. His feet are doing much better today. You can’t even tell that the blisters were there.

A special thanks to the Hotties for all their support during both days. The cheering and good vibes made all the difference.

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A Busy Week

June 9th, 2008

View from Tank Hill

What a busy week it’s been! Last Saturday, we did a 12-mile walk with the Hotties. Starting from the Warming Hut in the Presidio, we walked over to Cole Valley. Our major climb was up Stanyan St. to Tank Hill. Although overcast, we still got great views of the city. On the way back, we walked up the Vulcan Stairs — a set of stairs in the Castro off of Ord Street. The stairs are surrounded by trees and lush greenery.

Cheering Squad

We took Sunday off from walking and drove down to San Gregorio to cheer on the AIDS Riders. We got there early before the riders and displayed our sign that said “Go Riders!” and listed the names of our friends in the ride. It was a fantastic day of positive energy. The ride ended yesterday. I got a text message Bryan today saying that he had an awesome time and it looking forward to doing the ride again next year. The photos from that day are on on Flickr.

On Thursday, I DJ’ed at a cross-company fundraiser at Gap HQ. It was a fun gig. There were well over 500 attendees and they raised over $25,000 for three organizations: LYRIC, NCLR and Cheer SF.

Yesterday, we decided to join the Hotties as more than 200 walkers did a 10-mile walk around the city. Since we’ve been walking with the Hotties regularly and are kind of familiar with the route, we were given pink fuzzy antennae so that newer walkers could follow us. As we walked through the park, a couple of people on bikes commented on our poofy-ness. It turned out to be Jeff and Elaine, a couple of our friends we’ve done the AIDS Ride with!

Our pink thingiebobs

In the evening, we went to San Jose to celebrate Milan’s third birthday. What a sweetheart — she calls me Uncle Joel and gives me hugs and kisses when she sees me. We got to see lots of old friends that we haven’t seen in a long time.

The view at the top of Market St.

Today, we completed a very hilly 16-mile walk around the city and enjoyed the sunshine. We started at the top of Arguello Blvd. at the entrance to Presidio. We made our way behind the SFSU campus where we started our ascent towards Twin Peaks. We walked through the neighborhood on the western side of the hill until we hit Portola Drive working our way down into West Portal and then down Sloat Blvd. On the way back, we walked through the tony St. Francis Wood neighborhood. We got great views of the eastern part of the city as we walked down Market.

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Pride Month Fundraiser

June 4th, 2008

pridemonth.jpgI’m DJ’ing at a fundraiser this Thursday, June 5, at Gap Headquarters in San Francisco. Nine gay and lesbian organizations from Bay Area companies are producing the event and the proceeds go to three groups — Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Cheer SF.

The party is 4:30 - 7:00 pm at The Gap Cafe, 2 Folsom Street in San Francisco. For tickets and more information, go to brownpapertickes.com.

I like the Bono quote they’ve used for the poster: “To be one, to be united is a great thing, but to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.”

PS: Happy Pride Month!

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I’m walking. Yes indeed, I’m walking…

May 30th, 2008

We made it to Fort PointThe training continues! For the Memorial Day weekend, we did a couple of walks. On Sunday, we did a 15 mile loop starting in Potrero Hill. Instead of starting our walk long the Embarcadero, we decided to mix it up a bit and walk to the Castro and then go down Divisadero until we hit the Marina. Initially, we feared climbing the hills in Pacific Heights, but they actually weren’t that bad. It was harder going down the hill than climbing it. Given that we were freezing our asses off the weekend before, we came bundled up and brought rain gear just in case. To our delight, it was a gorgeous day by the bay. We made it all the way to Fort Point, right by the Golden Gate Bridge. We made our way back home down our now familiar path — Fort Mason, Aquatic Park, Pier 39, Embarcadero, AT&T Park, SFSU Mission Bay.

That evening, we had our usual Sunday dinner at Chaz and Rochelle’s. Rochelle made me yummy cupcakes for my birthday. I scarfed down two!

I believe in fairiesMonday was a shorter walk — about 9 miles. We walked to the Ferry Building and stopped for coffee. We continued to Teatro Zinzani near Pier 29 and then walked back to Market St. We walked the long city blocks of Market until we hit Church St. where we stopped for a quick bite to eat. From there, we made our way back to Potrero Hill.

I was pretty tired, but we went over to our friends’ Jeff and Joe for a late lunch and cocktails. After a couple of cocktails and a full belly, I was asleep on the couch by 7:00.

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