Thursday, July 20, 2006


Hey Hey.

I'm gone to the midwest for a week. I'll be computerless there, so most likely no posts. Check back in the beginning of August for exploits and wacky zany misadventures as AJ and I travel around the heartland with our friends Rita, Damon, Karen and Ben...

Hopefully we won't die of heat exhaustion....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sports Fan.

There are very few sports that I really enjoy watching. I grew up in the midwest, but by Junior High, the national football team in my hometown (St. Louis) had been traded away and the city would not get another football team for another 12 years. By that time, I had graduated from college and a few years later, I would have moved away to San Francisco.

To this day, football confuses the hell out of me. AJ used to play center in junior high and comes from a family of football players. Whenever we end up watching football (usually by accident, or during a group watching of the Super Bowl - which I watch usually because I want to see the commercials and to keep an eye out for any more "wardrobe malfunctions" - hopefully on a male singer this time...) I am constantly pestering AJ on all the rules of the game. "Why are they stopping the game now? What's a down? Why are they kicking the ball now instead of running with it? How come that was only worth 6 points instead of 7? The list of questions goes on and on.

I was forced to play soccer when I was in grade school (something about character building, plus I think my mom hoped that I would lose some of the fat that I carried around). I hated it and hence have never really watched it since. A brief year abroad in Holland in high school made me appreciate soccer (football over there in Europe) as a spectator sport but since American had pretty much ignored soccer as a sport, I quickly lost the momentum when I came back here. Besides which, the US soccer teams always sucked (still do - though they are getting better). This year's World Cup probably has increased our nation's appreciation of soccer, but I'm probably too old to be jumping on that band wagon.

I probably would have liked hockey as a sport to watch (all that violence) and St. Louis actually had a decent hockey team while I was growing up (The St. Louis Blues - who at one short brief time had Wayne Gretzky) but alas I never got tickets to see them. My parents weren't sports fans either. The only tickets to sports games that we got were the Straight A tickets in the nosebleed section of the baseball games.

And so baseball became the default sport to watch growing up. And let's face it, unless you are at the actual game itself - with the hotdog, coke, popcorn, and chips, baseball is really boring. People strike out, there are balls, and if it's a good game, there are few runs. But mostly baseball is slow. Nothing to hold your attention unless you are hardcore fan, and I wasn't. Nine innings could be excruciating to a small child with the attention span of a gnat, and my family usually left after the fourth or fifth inning. I still occasionally enjoy going to a baseball game here in San Francisco, but mostly for the sausage, garlic fries, and the novelty of watching people throw a ball around. The best thing about the going to the game is that you can hang with friend and eat junk food, and talk all the while the game is going in background and it's not considered rude. Well, not in the seats that we get anyway. The rules are pretty straightforward in my eye (much more so than football) but I refuse to actually pay for a ticket, so alas the chances to see a game are pretty rare (I think I've been to four games since moving here - all free promotional tickets).

I won't go into the lack of basketball in St. Louis (absolutely no team worth watching) or golf (soooo boring) or tennis (back and forth. back and forth). I occasionally watched the Olympics, but only certainly sports made my cut. Diving, swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, all perked my interest. But my favorite Olympic sport was RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS.

It's also probably the gayest sport to watch. Ever. The little girl running around with a ribbon or a hoola hoop dancing and jumping just amused the heck out of me. Gay men might flock to watch diving, or men's gymnastics (the Russians on the rings, doing the iron cross seems to make most gay men drool) but rhythmic gymnastics is probably the gayest. Who else is going to watch a teenage girl run around doing flips and cartwheels while jumping through a hoola hoop? And when they had to throw that plastic ball up in the air and do four cartwheels and backflips and then have to catch the ball BEHIND their back... well I just think that's dandy. If only all sports could be this graceful and dramatic.

But the reality is rhythmic gymnastics really only occurs every four years. And despite my praising the loveliness of it, I really don't watch it even when it comes on. And that leaves me without a sport to root for or watch.

Becoming a sports fan didn't seem to be in my cards. Or so I thought.

This weekend AJ was out of town and my friend Amy and her husband Jeremy were in town. They were staying with my friend Jenny, and Jenny told us about a hip little event that is all the rage with the kids these days.

Roller Derby.

Why I was not hip to this amusing little display of violence is beyond me. The game itself is fairly simple. There are two teams with two "jammers" (one from each team) who score the points and blockers (three or four from each team) who block. I don't really understand the entire strategy or all the rules, but basically the jammers try to get around the blockers by pass them. If they can do that, and then loop around again and pass again, they get points. All the while the blockers are doing their darndest to beat the hell out of them and push them out of bounds or knock them over.

It's one vicious sport.

And it's (indie) rock and roll fun.

Starting the game was a faboo group of old school hip hop dancers. Five ghetto fabulous girls came out with a boom box (ghetto box style cassette player) and popped and breakdanced to old school Run DMC and LL. Cool J. The routine culminated in the two lead girls taking off their earrings and "dancing off" old school style. The crowd ate it up.

Then to the game. Most of the roller derby players had drag queen/wrestling names to go along with their rock and roll demeanor. Names like Janesaw Massacre, Genghis Blonde, Hurricane Skatrina, Annie Agony, Lemmy Chokeya, Keely Kills, Rolita Raunchita, or Dis-lo-Kate were all duking it out on this time rink trying to get past each other and shoving each other. The game consisted of three rounds - and though the teams seemed evenly matched in the beginning, the Treasure Island Gold Diggers pulled ahead by the second round by a good 20 point over the Alcatraz Escapees.

Most, if not all, the players were the sort of hipster San Francisco women that you see rocking the Mission. And not the bridge and tunnel Mission folks that come in on the weekend and complain that there's not parking. I'm talking the piercings, tattoos and dreadlock women that don't give a shit about what they look like, and all the while look hot regardless (or perhaps because of) this attitude. Jenny's friend Dan kept on raving on and on about Iva Vendetta (one the kick ass jammers for the Escapees) and how she was a viagra on wheels. Jenny later said that's how he normally is - I believe the phrase she used was "He's a walking sperm."

Amy was fascinated by all these women who looked alike, with their dreadlocks and their punk rock tattoos and piercings. "It's amazing how they all seemed to have found friends that look just like them! That's so great!" We had to explain to Amy that it was a pretty common look here in SF. Throw a stone on Valencia Street, and you'll hit one (and they'll probably come and kick your ass for throwing a stone at them).

Amy and I were rooting for the Treasure Island Gold Diggers. They had better outfits - black with gold accents. Some of the skaters had gold short shorts, or gold sequin minis. They kicked ass. But our allegiance was not solid. We would normally root for the Gold Diggers - especially if the girl with the dreadlocks was the jammer (we couldn't see her name as it was covered by her dreads, but I think it might have been Injure Rogers) but every now than a cute kick ass jammer would take the lead on the Alcatraz Escapees and we would start rooting for them. Our favorite was Panda Monium. She was sassy! She had painted her eyes black to look like panda bear eyes, and we just thought that was adorable. She apparently had a following too, as I saw more than one person wearing a baby blue tshirt with a picture of a panda head and a couple of cross bones underneath.

The half time show featured Ultra Gypsy, three bad ass tattoed punk belly dancers. I've seen some serious bellydancing in my time (shout out to Stephanie, Michelle, Erin and all the other bellydancer I know) and I have to admit, I liked what I saw. Granted I stopped watching after the first set - having seen better and more interesting shows before - but they were pretty decent for what they were. The crowd was half hipster indie kids and the other half lecherous old men, but both halves seemed to be enjoying the dancing.

By the second half things were brutal. The Treasure Island Gold Diggers were much in the lead, but The Alcatraz Escapees definitely were catching up. Near the end of the game, they were only trailing behind by 2 measley points. The final score - Gold Diggers 74 to Escapees 61. A comfortable margin but one that was cost them sweat and tears.

With the Roller Derby as just an appetizer I now plan on becoming a full fledge sports fan. Granted Roller Derby is probably as off the beaten path as you can get, but still. It's a rock and roll good time, and I plan on being there every game I can catch.

The other reason I'm all prepped to be the new biggest Sports Fan ever is that AJ had left this weekend to go to the Gay Games. He was competing in cycling. Now most of America has caught up with the cycling craze thanks to Lance Armstrong. But watching the Tour de France with Lance leading up those hills can be nifty for short periods of time, but anything longer than 15 minutes and I quietly sink into boredom.

But with my boyfriend competing it's a whole different game. AJ went with his friend Eric on Monday to cheer and rally for their other friend Robert (Dr. Bob) who they cycled with during the AIDS lifecycle and who was on their cycling team. Robert was competing in the cycling criterium - which is a crazy race on a track where everyone is next to each other cycling as fast as possible, constantly turning on the track. AJ had already stated that he didn't plan on competing in it because it's just scary. But at the last minute, Eric and him decided "Why the hell not? We're here already!"

So they competed.

And AJ won GOLD!!!!

Robert was the only person who beat him in his heat, but Robert is in a different age category and hence AJ ended up getting gold in his division!

Whoo hoo!!!

And I CANNOT believe that I missed it. AJ competes in a solo time trial on Wednesday and the entire team (including Robert who won the gold, and Eric who won a bronze) compete on Friday. I'm taking the red eye out Thursday night to see them all compete on Friday. I can't wait. I'll be the one cheering and yelling and rallying them on. I'll be their biggest Number One Sports Fan!

Because I am ready this time. I know how to cheer.

And they better win GOLD!

Nature Walk Part II

AJ and I went hiking yet again (last weekend).

This marks the second weekend in a row that involved nature and the outdoors (going to Opera in the Dolores Park or other free summer events doesn't count). I believe this is the second time in the last two years that I have gone hiking.

I am not an outdoor person. Beside that though, I am not a morning person, and hiking often entails waking earlier than necessary on an otherwise blissful morning of unconciousness. I have the opportunity to sleep in two days a week, and I try to exercise that option as much as possible.

I was, however, very excited to wear my hiking boots. I purchased my hiking boots two years ago when AJ and I (along with Rita, Damon, Karen and Ben - the same group of people who I am going on the Midwest Trip with later this month) visited Hawaii, the Big Island of.

AJ and I had brought along appropriate shoes to Hawaii, but through circumstances too boring to talk about even on this blog (and let's face it, I talk about some boring things) we ended up over on the Hilo side of the island ready to go on a hike to see the flowing lava with flip flops on - well AJ only had flip flops - I think I had fashionable but totally tractionless sneakers acquired three season earlier on clearance at Banana Republic (this was when I used to shop at BR).

The park rangers advised against walking on molten earth with footwear manufactured and marketed by Gap Inc. and their subsidiaries. This, of course, included my tractionless uncomfortable (but still kinda cute) BR sneakers, and AJ's Old Navy flip flops. We were screwed.

So we left our friends and drove over to Hilo to see if we could find appropriate footwear. We ended up at WalMart, where lucky us they were having a two-for sale on Hiking Boots. Why any one person would want to buy TWO pairs of hiking boots for themselves if beyond me, but it worked out perfectly for AJ and I. We now had matching hiking boots ($12 each or two for $16) and let me tell you, they were the best $8 I spent in Hawaii.

Our friends ended up meeting up with due to the weather we all bought cheap umbrellas and went over to the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens. We never did get to see the lava flow that trip - as the lava had inconveniently decided to flow to an area of the island that would require a six hour hike over dangerous terrain. But perhaps next time.

Nevertheless, I brought my $8 hiking boots back to San Francisco and held on to them in the hopes that AJ and I would hike again. This was difficult as I am an avowed shoe whore and really don't have room to hold onto shoes that I never use. Nevertheless the hiking boots went into a plastic shoe box bin (courtesy of The Container Store) never to come out. Until last week and this week.

This week's hike was significantly more strenuous than last week's shady walking-down-a-gravel-fire-road hike. In other words, I actually got to utilize said shoes traction.

We hiked in Point Reyes with Peter and Grant. Peter isn't as outdoorsy as Grant, who, being the plant biologist, is inclined to actually enjoy nature in all it's glory. A simple example of Peter's woodsy nature is exemplified by his choice of socks. While AJ, Grant, and I wore white atheletic socks, Peter chose a more dignified pair of argyle socks to wear with his atheletic shoes. This is why I love Peter so much.

The hike out to Point Reyes was beautiful and AJ had brought out his camera. After taking several shots of the coastline (we hiked the Bear Valley trail) he commented that no matter how beautiful the coast is, pretty much every shot that he's ever taken of the coast looks pretty much the same. This is kind of true. Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves immensely, because photos never do a that sort of scene justice.

The trek out to the ocean was easy breezy (cover girl), relatively shaded, on a pretty nice wide area, next to a cracklin' creek (I love the aliteration that goes with slow moving water - cracklin' creek, stuttering' stream, babblin' brook, etc.). On the way back, we later took off all our clothes and waded around it the creek strutting about as if we were in a Bruce Weber-Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot - except A&F would never feature two Asian boys and two hairy white boys in their ads. There was an old tire hanging from one of the trees, and so we took turns swing off of it and jumping in the water and generally make fools of ourselves in a very Tom Sawyer sort of way. After awhile the cold water got to us and we lazed about in the sun and shade for the rest of the day, in vaguely homoerotic positions hoping a couple of attractive park rangers would come across us and tell us "I'm sorry, but we don't allow that here. We're going to have to punish y'all...."

No, actually we went down to the creek and dipped our hands in the water to clean them off, but there was no skinny dipping. That only occurs with AJ and Peter get drunk during High Spring Day.

On the trek out to the ocean, Grant decided to point out plants that would make us itch - which was important because apparently the West Coast has different poisonous plants than the midwest/east coast. No Poison Ivy out here in California, but definitely Poison Oak, and Nettles. AJ taught us all a lovely reminder that he learned in camp - (or in cub scouts I can't remember) about poisonous vegetation - "Leaves of Three, Let it Be" as well as showed us some sort of hand thing he was taught (where he put his hands on top of each other, one palm to the back of the other hand) and said that he was also taught in camp/cub scouts if the plant had leaves like his hands configuration that it was also poisonous. Grant seemed amused and said that AJ had just described 95% of outdoor plants, and perhaps it would be better to just avoid anything green. AJ later said that he didn't really learn anything useful in cub scouting... other that marijuana might kill him (you can ask him for that story).

The ocean was beautiful (with huge seagulls that flew over) though the rock at the end of the trail was labelled "Arch Rock". We saw no rock, and though the name to be a definite misnomer. Shame on the park services for misleading us.

We ended up hiking back a different route that was much longer and not in the shade. The trail was in the sun and rather exhausting but relatively enjoyable. It was on this trail that I realized there was one big reason that I really didn't care for the outdoors and nature.

The bugs.

I love hiking, I love vegetation, greenery, the babbling brook and the potential for any sort of Abercrombie and Fitch homoerotic scenario (that really never occurs, but one can always hope). But those damn insects are just plain annoying. I, of course, blame the horses that came through the trail leaving their droppings everywhere, attracting huge horseflies that irritated the hell out of me. Peter took to whipping his shirt around his head during portions of the hike to discourage the flies. I was amused, but considered it myself. Those flies were annoying.

And that's when it all fell apart. Because as much as I was having a great time, those bugs were... well they were bugging me. And I could no longer enjoy the trees or the green grass, or the lovely rocky vista. No all I could do was swat away the flies in the hopes that they wouldn't land on me.

I really hate bugs.

And that is where I realized I can only take the outdoors for so much. I love hiking, and I love going on a day trip, but anything more strenuous and all of sudden all the little things become big things. I need a hot shower and a comfy bed.

AJ and Grant love the outdoors and most everything that comes with it. I am sure that they don't really care for the flies and the bugs, but it's not a big deal for them, that there are bugs - it's just a minor inconvenience. They don't think a second thought about hiking out into the wilderness with backpacks to camp overnight - something that they have talked about doing with our friends Ben and Chris. But our friend Felisa and Karen agree that if they do that, we'll just go for a day hike. And then we'll go back to a lodge where there's climate control air conditioning, running hot water, and where we don't have to dig a hole in the ground to take a dump.

Felisa and Karen call it "Frou Frou Camping" and Peter and I are all for it. I say let them go on their hike in the woods. We'll meet them the next day. Because as much as I'd love to go hiking out in the woods and frolic in the stuttering stream, I'd much rather go hiking in the woods and then shower under rapidly running hot water.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Well apparently I've been tagged by a meme - which makes me feel like I'm officially part of the blogosphere. That and getting listed as a newbie of the week on Best Gay Blogs. Big fat kisses to all those involved over there and to everyone who stopped by via that site.

Of course, I was unaware of my tagging, as I am rather sporadic about checking my friends blogs. Shame on me. My undergraduate friend ED, one of several gay Asians that graduated from my alma mater tagged me a couple of weeks ago. I just found it now. *sigh*

I had been to his site recently, but alas, I hadn't gone farther than his lovely posting about the fried white trash food items available at SF Gay Pride. I had seen the funnel cakes booth (which was a first sighting for me in the bay area, I had never seen funnel cakes out here at the street fairs in San Francisco, and I had always wondered why that was, as I LOVE funnel cakes and partook of them often in St. Louis - probably a reason why I so husky back then). But I did NOT seen the FRIED TWINKIES/DEEF FRIED HOHOS/CHOCOLATE DIPPED OREOS booth.


So when Ed blogged about it, I stopped reading and thought to myself. DAMN. DAMN. DAMN. I missed another chance to rediscover my white trash roots (AJ is often telling me that I am the most white trash Asian boy that he has ever met, and having met some of the Asian boys that he knows in SF, I probably would agree with him. Apparently I am also the butchest Asian boy he's ever dated - and again after meeting some of the Asian boys that he's been with, yeah, no contest there - talk about nelly).

So no deep fried Hostess treats for me. It's just as well. I'm on my LFBFSF (Lose Fat Before Folsom Street Fair) plan - not that I'm sticking to it. I just had Spicy Louisana Fried Chicken for lunch today with Peter. Rita would be so proud, as I ordered my leg and thigh with mashed potatoes and extra gravy. The gravy wasn't as great as I remember the old school Kentucky Fried Chicken gravy use to be - when they would give you a container of mashed potatoes (with that totally runny completely-uniform-made-from-reconstituted-potatoes consistency) and a same size container of gravy - which, try as I might, I was never ever able to finish off. I mean who uses a one to one ratio of gravy and potatoes? Not even I could justify that. Gravy, alas, is a condiment, not a beverage. But that gravy back then was the best. It had that unappealing gray brown matte look - but tasted so darn good. The Spicy Louisana Fried Chicken place had decent gravy (and the potatoes did have that uniform consistency that only comes from potatoes flakes), but it was no competition to those memories.

But back to the meme. Here's the dish:

5 items in the freezer
  • 12 Quiescently Frozen Confection Fudge Bars by Lucerne (the Safeway House brand). During a random one-day heat spell here in SF (O.M.G. it's 80 degrees in SF!) a couple of weeks ago, AJ and I were at Safeway and went a little crazy in the frozen novelties section. The Fudge Bars are currently sitting next to the Original Brand Popsicle Firecrackers (they are red cherry, white lemon, and blue raspberry, and very very phallic), and the Breyer's brand All Natural Pure Fruit Swirl Bars (in blueberry-lemon, strawberry-blueberry, strawberry-orange, and strawberry-lemon) in our freezer. The heat spell (of course) ended and we haven't open any of the boxes of frozen treats (anyone want a popsicle?)
  • Belvedere Vodka. AJ loves a good martini. His brand of choice is Belvedere, while I prefer Hangar One (but mostly because it's so exclusive - I'm a sucker for anything hard to find or available only for people in the know. When I was a child I used to eat Boo Berry cereal not because it tasted better than its brother cereals Franken Berry and Count Chocula but because it was harder to find.) AJ acquired his taste for martinis in New York a couple of years ago, where he realized that it was the most effective way to get drunk in the NY bars. A martini was only one or two more dollars than any other cocktail, but it was ALL alcohol. So he switched to martinis and he's never looked back. He likes them dry with lots of olives and slightly soiled - that is - not dirty with loads of olive juice but just a hint of olive juice. Shaken not stirred, of course. Note the image of Boo Berry cereal and not the image of vodka. That tells you how much I really drink and where my true interests are.
  • Homemade Turkey Stock. I made turkey stock over Thanksgiving with the carcass of the turkeys (yes that's plural - we made two turkeys for Thanksgiving, one for presentation and one to be carved and eaten). AJ asked me what I was going to do with all the stock, and I said we could either use it to make soup, or keep it frozen for when we wanted to make a nice demiglace. He asked me what a demiglace was, and I admitted I hadn't a clue, I was always just reading about it in my fancy cookbooks. The turkey stock has stayed in the freezer ever since.
  • 1 lb Ground Buffalo. AJ is off ground beef right now, because of mad cow. He's been on-again/off-again with ground beef ever since bovine spongiform encephalopathy surfaced in the news, but right now he's off of it. So now any recipe we have that calls for ground beef is substituted with ground buffalo. After all, they don't call it mad buffalo disease.
5 items in my closet (just to clarify, we have four closets in our apartment, all these items are from my personal closet, not the ones that AJ and I share - unless otherwise noted.)
  • Two Wigs. I used to have three, but Peter has borrowed the afro one (along with the hair pick that I made him take to got with it) for the drag queen brunch happening up at Roshambo winery. The wigs are pretty nasty and are shoved in one of two paper grocery bags full of random halloween costumes (Pringles Guys, Crayons, Wham, a mime shot to death, a china man, a pantone swatch book page and a few others, I can't remember are shoved in to those bags). I believe one of the wigs belongs to Damon who wore it when he went dressed up at Catherine Zeta Jones' character from Zorro (Rita went as Zorro) for Halloween. They gave it to me when AJ and I went dressed up as MILLI VANILLI for halloween a couple of years ago. Girl you know it's true.
  • Fifteen (or is it sixteen?) Manbags. Growing up I was always envious of my mom who had a purse. She could throw tons of stuff into it (and she did - she carried EVERYTHING in her gigantic purse) while guys were relegated to a wallet in the back pocket. How I longed for a purse of some sort. The closest approximation of a purse was the backpack, and I wore mine all the time. But it wasn't the same as the stylish bags that my mom would sling over her shoulder. I need something that would allow me to carry my walkman, a book to read when I was bored (probably something girly like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), and maybe some candy (I always had a sweet tooth) - all in a fashionable way. I was so pleased that when it became socially acceptable in the late 90's to carry a manbag. It all started with the YAK PAK and I've haven't looked back. I believe I have about four or five more that I've retired to our bedroom closet.
  • A Flip-n-Fuck. A green vinyl folded foam mat. Our friend Bryan coined the term for it (as he had one as well). Our friend Michelle borrowed it ages ago when she was between beds, and returned it to us awhile ago. We thought it might come in handy to keep - and hence the storage at the top of my closet. And yes, it has lived up to it's name.
  • A shoe box of old 1.44 MB 3.5" floppy disks. Why haven't I thrown these away? I don't even use zip disks anymore. Who uses floppies anymore? I do have an external USB floppy drive, I don't even know where it is. How's that for sad?
  • Thousands of old cassettes (in the shared living room closet). I used to be (and still am) a huge music whore. Contained in those cassettes (that I can't bear to throw away) is the history of my tween and teen life told through music. My very first cassette tape purchase (Irene Cara - Oh What Feeling and Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual). Mix tapes from high school featuring Erasure, New Order and The Smiths. Bootlegs of Tori Amos shows (Little Earthquake era mind you). Random rarities like The Cure's Entreat - a live album that was released as a promotional item. And complete throw away trash tapes like Stacey Q's Better Than Heaven (you know you loved "Two of Hearts" back then, and really Stacey gets extra props for guest appearing on not one but TWO episodes of Facts of Life). I keep on telling myself that one of these days I'll convert them all digitally and burn archive audio CD's or compressed lossless audio files (FLAC) archive DVD's. But who knows if that will ever happen.
5 items in my car (Damn. I don't have car. AJ has a car, but really, it's his car, not mine. Oh well, I shall pretend that I have one and this is what I would have in it.)
  • A cassette tape converter to an audio jack for my iPod. My pretend car would be old and beat up and wouldn't be fancy enough to have a CD player, much less an actual iPod jack. Nope. It would be oldschool, stick the tape in with the wire hanging out and plug the iPod in and rock to a tasty mix of Gnarls Barkley, The Stars, the new Yo La Tengo (hey, it's a pretend car, so I can pretend I have the new YLT album), and whatever disposable pop star I currently am listening to.
  • AJ's fingernails and eyebrow hairs. AJ, of course, would ride in my car every now and then. And inevitably he would get nervous and start to peel off his fingernails and pick at his eyebrow hairs. And inevitably they would end up on the car floor. Yes it's disgusting. But I love him anyway.
  • Cheap emergency sunglasses. Probably an old pair of retired sunglasses would have migrated to my glove compartment in case I had forgotten to wear a pair. That or I would have forgotten them in there. I love sunglasses. One can never have enough accessories.
  • A sweatshirt in the trunk. You never know when you might get stuck somewhere and all of sudden become exceedingly cold. I probably would throw an old polartek shwag pullover shirt from the dotcom era (I'm thinking of the blue one from a defunct dot com company called that I had help design the collateral for back in the day).
  • A bunch of cassettes. You never know when you might forget the iPod. And listening to the radio in this day and age is not an option (not counting the occasional NPR show). So I'd probably have a couple of old school tapes in there too. Probably mix tapes now that I think about it. Because who wants to listen to the same musical group over and over again?
5 items in my purse. (See! Having a purse is cool. But I have a manbag. The difference - a manbag strap is worn across the chest, while a purse is hung from just one shoulder - unless you are a paranoid tourist that is).
  • A Thursday Next novel. Right now I'm on the second book - Lost in a Good Book. I'm obsessed. I keep on giggling through the book, and I think even AJ would like it, but then AJ is illiterate so I doubt he would actually read it. Shout out to Felisa whose blog profile turned me onto them. Oh and RITA - if you haven't read it, you'd LOVE them.
  • a bag of cough drops. I have a sinus infection. In fact I've had this sinus infection since Memorial Day weekend. It has not gone away. I have extreme post nasal drip. Which makes me cough a lot. It is not pretty. I have always had bad sinus issues. It is why I earned the nickname in college of "Phlegmy Spice."
  • Two iPods. I have an old school 4G 60GB Photo iPod. Six months ago I got the "sad iPod" face. Three weeks after my warrantee expired. I've been living on borrowed time ever since. I bought a shuffle soon afterwards via Craigslist to work out with and to go skiing with. I will never go skiing without music again now! Whoo hoo! I figured the shuffle would be a good thing to tide me over when my iPod died as I waited for the long talked about "full screen" video iPod. Luckily my iPod has not died yet, as said rumored video iPod has not been released. Oh yeah, and the video iPod to left is totally a fake mockup. I just thought it was fun to show it.
  • Gum. I used to get free gum from my friend who works at Google. She would sneak me a pack from their snack room whenever I sent her an email reminder about it. Usually my emails go something like this "Hey. I need gum. My breath stinks." Alas my gum of choice (Orbit) is no longer available in the snack room thus leaving me with the ugly business of actually spending mony on gum, or chewing the boring Wrigley's that Google still has to offer. I've opted to spend the 89¢ per pack because no one like haliotosis and Juicy Fruit does nothing to help my breath.
  • Puffs Plus with Aloe Vera Lotion Facial Tissue. See sinus infection above. I never leave home without some sort of tissue.
Tag 5 people
Wow. That was really boring wasn't it?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


three short (for me) posts.

1. I was in Safeway last week, post work. I was picking up a few things for dinner and the guy behind was dressed in a slightly wrinkled button-down shirt and navy blue work pants (slacks) from Banana Republic or some other nondescript business casual retail store (Eddie Bauer? No - they weren't "broken in" enough. J.Crew? No - they weren't preppy enough. Club Monaco? No they weren't euroskinny enough. I'll stick with my first guess Banana Republic). He obviously was coming from work as well.

My basket of groceries held various items for dinner - pork chops, corn, broccoli, cherries (which I'm currently obsessed with). I placed them on the black conveyor belt and then added the courtesy separator bar after my grocery selection.

He placed his items behind me - one large 1.75 liter of Skyy Vodka, two 1 liter bottles of tonic, and 2 limes - unbagged, placed directly on the conveyor belt.

I looked at his groceries. And then I looked at my groceries. And then back to his.

I wanted to lean over and ask him if he was having company or if it was just a really hard day at work. I didn't. I figured it was more interesting not knowing and having to guess.

2. AJ and I were at Cafe Floré last weekend. I was working on my previous blog entry, and he was working on his. A slightly daft woman with bottle dyed red hair walks by and hands us a flyer for CUAV. Apparently they were looking for volunteers to help lead talks about violence in the gay and lesbian community.

She was the sort of woman who you'd think would be in recovery, but as she sat down next to us she had in hand a bloody mary. She proceeded to loudly chit chat with the gentleman across the table, about various people they knew and what happened in her life for the past week.

She then turned to AJ and I and again reiterated that they were always looking for volunteers for CUAV, and asked if we knew what CUAV was.

I pointed to AJ and said he used to be high school teacher, and that the CUAV people had come to his high school several times to talk about violence in the GLBT community. She nodded pleased that we knew of the organizations.

"You know, we really REALLY need speakers and volunteers. It's a great organization. That's why I am always handing out the flyer, even when I'm not working. I'm that dedicated." she gushed all the while sipping her bloody mary.

"And you know we could really use you especially." As she points to me.

"Oh." I respond, not quite sure how to take it. " Why? Because you need more people of color?"

"Oh no. It's because we need younger people." she explains.

"Um. Actually we're the same age."

I haven't let AJ live that one down yet.

3. AJ and I went hiking on 4th of July before the fireworks. We got a late start and ended up going over to Mt. Tam for about two or three hours. It was quite fun, though it's obvious that I haven't spent that much time in nature in ages. I kept on proclaiming "look! a lizard!" everytime I saw one. I think AJ was amused by my excitement about wildlife, no matter how small it was.

I will say that we did see other wildlife during the hike and picnic and drive including a hawk flying over us a couple of times (my guess is that it was a red shoulded hawk, but I might be wrong, I didn't get a good look), along with two wild turkeys. I asked AJ if he thought they might have been feral turkeys, but he said that it was highly unlikely that any local residents had turkeys for pets and they had escaped back into the wild. After much thought, I agreed with him.

After the short hike, we stopped by an Albertson Grocery Store to pick up some water. We had brought a few cookie bars with us, and though they had aged well, they were also incredibly sweet, and thus needed some water to wash them down with. We had consumed most of our water on our hike.

Strangely the Albertson was going out of business. I have never been to a "going out of business" grocery store sale. It had me very wary of all the perishable goods there. What if they just left the food out, unrefrigerated or beyond the expiration date? What did they care? They were going out of business - it's not as if someone could come back and return it or sue them.

The numerous "ALL SALES FINAL" signs that dotted the landscape of the store did not instill any sense of security either.

AJ and I stocked up on some wine (20% off!) and some Perrier (it was bottled water, we figured the worse that could happen was that it was flat) and some tea (hey it's already dried out).

I also impulsively bought some gum, some mints, and three packs of JONES SODA CO carbonated candy. These babies come in FUFU BERRY, BERRY LEMONADE, and GREEN APPLE. I (of course) had to buy all three. They were 20% off of 50¢!

The checkout clerk was cracked out. She had the nappiest braided hair extensions that I have ever seen on a white woman. I also think she might have had Lee Press On Nails.

In short, she made the ghetto shopping experience that much more authentic.

During the check out she carded AJ, who was very flattered. When he stated as such, she went on a diatribe about how everyone in town started drinking early. They start as young as 9 years old she said, all matter of fact. And they look it too, coming in to buy liquor at the age of 21 looking like they were 40. She said that both of us looked younger than most of them, after they had been drinking hard for 12 years of their life. And she said that we both looked the same age. AJ seemed especially pleased by this statement.

I wanted to ask her when she had started drinking, but I refrained. We left the grocery store with our alcohol and our breath mints (she had charged us for four Jones Soda Co. Carbonated Candy packages but we didn't feel like making a stink for 40¢) and with the hope that it would be a long long time until we visited another ghetto grocery store.

The Jones Soda Co Carbonated Candy is disgusting by the way. Avoid it with all your might.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another coming out...

It is time for me to accept myself and to fully come out of the closet. It has taken me a long time to realize it, to accept it, to finally come to grips with it. It has take me awhile to be able to proudly stand up and say it without wincing or mumbling it under my breath.

I am a nerd.

I've always know that I was. Looking back at my life the signs have all been there. But I always was able to talk myself out of it. And the truth of the matter is there has always been self justifications as to WHY I am not a classic nerd.

Let's look at the facts.

I can't get away from the fact that I am Asian. That's a strike against me automatically. Now we all know that not all Asians are nerds, but pretty much growing up in the 80's the only time I ever saw an Asian on the TV or in the movies, it was as prototypical nerd. Examples range from the japanese exchange student in Revenge of the Nerds, to the asian guy in Goonies, to Long Duc Dong from 16 Candles, Asian = Nerds.

from L to R: Revenge of the Nerds character - Toshiro Takashi, Goonies character - Data, 16 Candles character Long Duc Dong

To combat this inherent nerd-ness I rebelled. I ignored my destiny to become a doctor or an electrical engineer (there's a reason why there are TWO EE's in GEEK). No, I went the exact opposite route - in high school I grew my hair out (in a misguided attempt to be punk rock, it just looked more hippy kung fu), grew mustache (something I NEVER should have done, I just look ended up looking ultra FOB-by) and spent all my time in the art department.


Even in my attempt to actually avoid being a nerd, it backfire.

But despite my concious attempts (regardless of how poorly they turned out in retrospect) I tried hard to not be a nerd. But like the g(r)eek tragedies, once something is predetermined, there is no avoiding it.

The cards were stacked against me. From the get go, I should have known the gig was up. I was the first one of my friends to own a personal computer. It was an APPLE II+ (not to be confused with the later ubiquitous APPLE IIe which all the grade schools and junior highs had). I learned how to draw squares with LOGO and how to program in BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code) in summer school. I watched movies like WAR GAMES and thought to myself "That is totally realistic. I could be Matthew Broderick and hack into the government computer, possibly launching World War III." I ignored the fact that my computer did not have a modem and the only thing I had learned to do with BASIC was make my computer write the phrase "Irvin is Great" ad infinitum.
20 GOTO 10
In junior high I had developed a love for comic books. True nerd style. I had my comics stored in nice neat plastic bags, all organized and categorized. I even went to a couple of comic book conventions, but small ones in St. Louis. I didn't have the money to actually travel to any of the big ones. Those comics are still stored in my parents basement, ready for me to eBay them off one of these days. I did rescue a few from the basement though, and have brought them back to SF for posterity sake.

I liked reading science fiction growing up. But I loved to read fantasy novels. Somehow science fiction was worse than fantasy books. Mostly because fantasy had a softer edge to it, it was more magically, less hardcore science geek. Of course, looking back, fantasy was equally as geeky and nerdy. But it had the added bonus of being totally gay too. Anything that features magic is either written for girls, or for gay boys. My favorite book growing up - The Girl with the Silver Eyes was pretty much a story about how it was okay to be different (oh how I related to being different as a gay Asian boy in the midwest). How I wanted to have silver eyes and move things with my mind. But alas my mother did not take medication while pregnant with me that was later pulled from the market for harmful side effects. So no silver eyes and no special powers.

And, of course, no life of a nerd can be complete without a foray into RP games. What's RP? ROLE PLAY of course.

In my junior year of high school I had the chance to actually rebel against my fate as a nerd. My parents moved to Europe for a year and took along the family. Here was the change that I was looking forward to. I could go to Europe, become the cultured sophisticated debonair man about town that I knew was buried deep within me. Soon I would be wearing cufflinks and ascots and drinking French Red Wine with my beef burgandy. Would me wearing a beret come next? Would I soon be speaking in a eurovague accent, and pronouncing the letter "z" as "zed" and saying the world schedule as "shed-du-al" instead of "sked-du-al" ? I surely hoped so.

It was not to be. I fell into the nerd crowd, and in The Netherlands, in the college town of Leiden, where my dad was doing research at the same University that the Prince of Holland was going to, where I went to an international program in a Dutch school, in the country that gave us Van Gogh and Vermeer, and Mondrian, I played my first game of Dungeons and Dragons.

How's that for sad?

I fully blame my dyke-to-be friend FLOORTJE for introducing me to the game. But soon, because of her influence, I was playing D&D, trying to save my elf warrior from all the hazards that come with entering creepy dungeons and scary caves. Floor (as she preferred to be called) was a huge nerd. We had met in art class, and she not only introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, but also to Lord of the Rings and the ever classic movie THE HIGHLANDER - where an improbable race of immortals had to fight until one survived (THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!) using swords and other ancient blade weapons.

I never played D&D or any RP after my year in Holland. And in fact I remarkably was able to avoid most nerd activities in college. I went to art school, didn't buy many comic books (though I had a brief love affair with THE SANDMAN), avoided the game MAGIC: THE GATHERING which my senior roommate Steve was enthralled with. Did not major in engineering or biology/pre-med. Hell I even had a friend who tried to get me to join the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms). I declined. That would be like tatooing a giant "I AM A BIG FAT LOSER NERD" on my forehead.

By the end of college, I thought I had beat my destiny. English Literature and Painting were decidely not nerdy (in my mind anyway). They were both cool liberal arts. Or so I tried to tell myself.

But then I decided to go into graphic design.

Now you'd think that graphic design is pretty cool. Whenever I describe what I do people always seemed enthralled, as if what I do is the coolest job in the world. "Wow. Do you love it?" And the question always baffles me. Because on paper is sounds great. But spend three days color correcting an image only to have the publication you are sending it off to screw it up because they sent you the wrong ICC profiles and you'll know that it's so not cool, despite the subject matter that I work with.

And the fact of the matter is no matter how "cool" a job is, if you excel in that job, if you love that job and it becomes part of who you are and what your identity, then you'll become a bit geeky. A bit nerdy. Because any time you take that "job" or some interest of yours and bring it to the next level, well you've nerded out.

Case in point. To the left is what I dressed up as for Halloween one year. If you don't know what that is, congratulations you are not a design nerd. If you know what it is, and you groaned, congratulations you are not a design nerd. If you know what it is, and you automatically proclaimed "That is SO Cool!" congratulations you are a total DESIGN NERD. By the way (BTW) Those three reactions are the only three reactions I got when I wore the costume out to Castro. (The costume, FYI, is based on the Pantone Color Matching System - a total designer tool used to match color properly from design to production to finish product.)

So in the end I've finally come to accept the fact that I am nerd. Right now I'm obsessed with a game called Killer Bunnies. I've been told it's similar to Magic: The Gathering, except WAY cuter - and you don't collect cards. There aren't spells to cast, or magic to use, there are just cute bunnies that you try to kill with weapons like a kitchen whisk or curry-spiced poppadoms. AJ and I have had the game for a week, and we've played it every single day. In the course of week, we've gone from normal average cute gay couple to obsessed game playing nerds that have not only bought three expansion booster packs but have also bought the bunny blank pack so that we can make our OWN cards. And yes, we've already brainstormed ideas (and have a bunch of awesome ones) to create. We've introduced the game to our friends Karen, Ben, Felisa, Chris, Peter and Grant. Peter and Grant were not enthralled immediately but Felisa and Chris were instant converts. Karen and Ben are pretty much as addicted as we are, and had mentioned to AJ as they left tonight, after playing yet another game, that they wanted to play again tomorrow. That would make the third night in a row with all three of us.

And there in lies the realization. I am a nerd. But so are all my friends. And that is why I love them all, and that is why I'm okay with it. I plan on introducing the game to several more friends who I know will fall in love with it (Rita and Damon are so going to love the game, and if we can ever get Cara and Stefan to play, I know they would love it too).

In the end, everyone I know is a bit of a nerd. Misery loves company. But I'm not miserable at all. I'm content and happy. So from now on, when someone looks at my crazy antics and tells me I'm such a geek, such a nerd, such a dork for doing what I'm doing, I can look at them and say "Damn right I am."

And I'll always know that my boyfriend - the Star Wars loving, white trash hors d'oeuvres eating, chemistry professor - will always be a bigger nerd than me.