Touching Down in Memphis

So I’ve finally made it home, after a month and a half out of the state and away from my home and friends, I’m back.

And it feels great!  Last night I went out with some friends for dinner (including tweeps @Chadd65203, @akikooda and @beauaero), bumped into even more friends (@coreyschmidt, @alexandrabrant) at the restaurant and had just a wonderful time.  It’s funny, how much Ryan and I complain about Columbia only for me to ultimately miss it when I leave town for a bit.

I might have been breaking FAA rules by keeping my phone on (in airplane mode!) while we took our final decent into Memphis International Airport.  The view as we touched down reminded me of one of my favorite We Are Voices songs…

So I turned it into a video using my iPhone 3GS, iMovie and their amazing album, What Makes Us So Alive? which you can get by clicking that link to iTunes.  They play some great concerts too, in fact I’ll be at their August 23 show at the Cherry Street Artisan, right here in Columbia Missouri.

Without any further ado…

Feeling a Little Homesick

I’ve been here in Texas or in California for a month now.  While I absolutely love traveling and working here in Texas, being away from my home, my friends and Ryan is really starting to grate on me.

Apartment Living Room

Apartment Living Room

The time spent away from home this summer is the longest I’ve been away from Columbia since I moved to California.  While it’s not unusual for me to spend my summers traveling around the country and then some; I typically make trips back home to recharge between trips.  So far this summer I’ve slept in nine beds, I’ve driven thousands of miles, I’ve flown three flights and I’ve eaten out at around 50 different restaurants.

It’s been a great trip.  With still a few days left working at the office here, I’ve accomplished most of my goals.  I’ve visited several professional photographers and even got to sit in on a few photo shoots.  I’ve made fantastic contacts and have been offered four jobs!  I also accomplished conquering 12 hours of university courses, which is like 3-5 credits more than the university would normally allow!

My Capstone is complete.  My internship is complete.

But all of these accomplishments don’t compare to missing the ones you love.  I’m counting down the days until my flight back to Columbia where I’ll meet @Chadd65203 for a ride to Ryan’s.  Then I’ll hop in my car and drive to see Ryan at work.  Wow, 38 days apart?  It’s insanity, it’s never happened before.  A week apart is one thing, but to not see him for nearly the length of Lent?!  Never would have anticipated that.

Pretty soon though, we’ll all be back to together, I say, let’s hit up Cooper’s Landing, what do you think @kaleb1983 @ok2baprincess @bigred77 @ericcox?

Dinner at Coopers Landing

Dinner at Cooper's Landing

Tomorrow will be yet another work-packed day.  We’ve still got a lot to accomplish before I head back to Houston on Saturday.  August 2nd is my birthday, third year in a row that I’ve missed celebrating it with Ryan!

Alright friends, it’s time to close my eyes for a bit.  Catch you guys on the flip-side!

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I Miss My Boys

My dear friend Karen aka @ok2baprincess always refers to her “boys” as the important guys in her life, her closest male friends.

Being a gay male, you’d think that I have a lot of really close gay friends, like you see on television.  Well, TV lies.  I do have a few great gay friends but really… in Columbia, besides my amazing incredible beautiful wonderful boyfriend… I only have two or three super close gay friends.

I won’t name them… you know who you are.

So, when I say “my boys” I mean the guys in Columbia that for any particular amount of time were of the most importance to me.  In particular we’ve got Chase and Corey ( @clettenberg and @coreyschmidt respectively).  They are of the awesome band, Scouts (check them out at http://scoutsmusic.com or on their MySpace).

The band recently moved outta town, off to Kansas City Missouri, you know, where all the big bands really make it… Well… hopefully that’ll be the case for them.

Ever since, my life has been a little empty.  I miss the late night bad decisions they helped me make, the trips to the tattoo parlors where I drunkenly asked for full sleeves and various body piercings.  There’s the incredibly open conversations about sex, relationships and emotions that I don’t think I could have with any other friend.  I miss Chase’s insults on my clothing, taste in music, taste in television, taste in movies, taste in… well my taste period.  I miss the apparent battle between Chase and Corey for who could wear the gayest outfit, the tightest jeans, the deepest v-necks.

I miss their concerts, taking their pictures, shooting the shit with the band and just generally experiencing all the good, and bad, that we all went through together.  Breakups, new relationships, shit jobs, shit classes, you get the point.

I miss the random trips to St. Louis to hang with Chase’s insane(ly awesome) cousin and the completely EPIC beer pong tournaments at Corey’s apartment.

Bottom line, I miss my boys. And Chase coming into town the other day, seeing a movie with him and Karen at RagTag Cinema just brought back all those positive memories.

Soon I’ll be moving to California, well in about a year.  There I will be reunited with all of my old wonderful friends.  Meanwhile, I have a few of those really special friends in Columbia; as time passes and external forces push us away, again I will look fondly at the times we had together.

So here’s a cheers to my best brotastic friends, even if they abandoned me here in the great abyss that is Mid Missouri.

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What Can Go Wrong…

Ryan and I had this plan.  The plan was that we would have a couple of friends join us to St. Louis where Six Flags was “celebrating” GLBT Day.  The idea was, two hotel rooms, one car, four friends driving, having drinks with mutual and new friends Saturday night, waking up Sunday and picking up Jenny and going to the park for a fun filled day of rides and expensive bottles of water.

Well damn!

My car broke down.  A recalled part landed my car in the shop.  Coincidentally, that recalled part cost me money to get fixed…

Ryan’s car was too small for four people and the air conditioner is on the fritz so we investigated a rental car.  Every dealer was sold out.

Jeremy’s cousin volunteered to drive us, quite nice of her.  A few problems there.  That made a total of five people driving up in a car made for four people.  Never mind picking up Jenny the next day, never mind that we wouldn’t have a way to see our friends for drinks that night.  Never mind that the other three in the car would be under 21 and thus unable to go out with us.

We get about ten miles outside of town when I get a phone call from my dad that he has managed to get us a rental car.  Our driver reluctantly turns the car around.  (Not so secretly, I was thankful to get out of the car.  Between the packed backseat to the driving skills of our 17 year old driver… I was ready to get the hell out of there).

The car rental place does indeed have a car for us.  It’s a 2008 Ford Mustang GT.

You’ve got to be kidding.

$75 a day, 14-20mpg and you have to be 25 to rent it.  I’m 23.  Reluctantly, again, our driver brings us back to the condo.  Ryan and I decide we will just take his mustang.  It was really the only choice.  So we go inside the condo to pick up a few things… and notice the fabulous trail of chocolate tracked in by my flip flops.

For real?  OMG.

We work hard to clean up the mess, it was actually a bit fun, thanks mostly to Ryan’s eternally positive attitude.

So we clean up the floor, pick up our things, get some gas, buy a few drinks and drive.  We have fun in the car because… well we always have fun together.  If left on an otherwise deserted island and given the option to bring one thing with me, it would be Ryan.

He makes me laugh, he makes me see the brighter side of things.  He makes me feel whole.

Ryan would bring hydrogen peroxide.  He isn’t as romantic as I am in times like these.  wink wink

We make it to the hotel, we get dinner, and ultimately decide that driving 40 minutes to meet our already partially drunk friends at a bar and then have to find our way home would be a bad idea.  Plus our other three people are under 21.

After about an hour of talking to each other about me allowing myself to be trampled on by my friends and my exes, we head downstairs to the bar.  Ryan charms the bartender, I drink my vodka and Sprite.  It was tasty.  We again, have a wonderful time together.

We wake up, head to Jenny’s, get lost… get lost some more.  Get bagels, cheat the system at Panera, get to Jenny’s, eat said bagels, meet her roommate, meet her roommate’s boyfriend and his friend, head to Six Flags.  We forget the camera.  Holy shit.

About the park later.

After the day at the park, we went back to Jenny’s, took a nap, took a shower, and headed out to see Geoffrey for dinner.  Got lost, then we got really lost.  Then we made it.

This weekend has convinced me that Ryan and I have to get a Garmin, or at the least, I’ll definitely have to get the new iPhone 3G with built in GPS.  Holy hell.

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Chicago Recap

So I’m here in Chicago at Starbucks and it’s out last day here.  Actually, it’s our last half day here.  How sad.

We have had a wonderful time here taking in the sites, hanging out with friends and bumping into friends we didn’t even know lived here!

Our first day here, we met outside of Orange.  It is this really neat breakfast/brunch type cafe off Harrison near the library.  I had not seen Ryan in a few weeks so that was a pretty special moment for us both.  

We both enjoyed a delicious breakfast, Ryan had these waffle and fruit shish-kabobs and I had a simple small order of silver dollar pancakes and eggs.  With the main course we had a tasty treat called Frushi.  It’s fruit sushi and it’s really quite tasty.  A little but on the sweet side but good none-the-less.

My early flight had me up around 5:00 am and Ryan was on the bus from like 11:00pm the day before.   That being said, we were quite tired.  We picked up our suitcases and proceeded to make the venture down State to our hotel stopping at a few sites along the way.

They fella who checked us into our hotel room was a nice enough guy but got on our nerves a little bit when he was moving our bed from a king to two double beds.  He said a few times, “are you sure you want just one bed”, “are you sure, it’s a smaller room and just one bed”.  I took this a little better than Ryan I think haha.

We got into our room and took a little nap before exploring the city.  When we woke up Ryan showed me the surprise he had gotten us.  A Canon SD870-IS.  I was way excited.  For a few weeks I had been looking at getting a new point and shoot digital camera focusing my efforts on the Canon SD1100-IS.  It is a more expensive, supposedly higher-end camera.  

After Ryan’s careful research, and famous frugalness, he decided on the 870-IS.  And as it turns out, it is a better camera.  You do sacrifice the viewfinder in favor of the large LCD, but you gain in the zoom but 0.8x and the image stabilization is in the lens not the CCD which is really a better way at doing it.  

Oh, and despite not having a viewfinder and relying on the screen as the only way to view your shot before you take it, it gets something like 30 extra shots per battery charge.

Ryan and I took the new camera with us when we went out that night to Pizzaria Uno, Starbucks, and wherever else we wandered.  I really cannot even remember haha.

Sadly, when I was trying to quickly switch from the computer to shoot some video of this guy collecting milk jug caps, I corrupted the secure digital card, or at least the data on the card.  So all those pics and videos were lost.  Sad.  Here is a video I made with the new camera, Jason Mraz’s new song playing in the background.  It’s 20 minutes of Starbucks activity squished into 4 minutes.  

[flv:Starbucks_Condensed.flv 500 333]

After some consoling from Ryan and me pouting a good while, we headed out for dinner. As we waited for the Red Line to show up we noticed this gaggle of straight guys trying to figure out the CTA system.  There were with a girl and all acting the stereotypical way that hot straight jocks act.

Well, all but one.  He was acting the way a stereotypical in-the-closet gay jock acts.  It was pretty hilarious.  he would brush up against the other guys for no reason, start wrestling fights out of no where… It was so obvious I could not believe that the other guys weren’t catching on.

We were so enraptured by the scene before us that we almost missed two fellow Columbians-come-Chicagoans walking onto the terminal.  Tom and his girlfriend!

I have never talked about this couple on my blog.  Tom was to pledge Acacia back in the day and I might have suggested that he rethink that.  At that time Acacia wasn’t for him and while I could see that, most of the other guys could not.  He would have been a guy that was burned by Acacia and I didn’t want to see that.

We have been friends or sorts ever since then and I used to bump into him and his girlfriend all the time in Columbia.  It would seem that everyday I would see at least one of them in the most bizarre places.  

And what do you know, here I am in a random city in America on one of only two nights in the city on a subway station that they have never been to since they never go to downtown and there they are.  They just happened to be visiting his girlfriend’s mother downtown.  

We didn’t hang out but we did chat for a bit, it was so fun to see them.  Of course Ryan took this as a chance to make fun of me.  He seems to think I know too many people because everywhere we go together I know someone.  When we first started dating we couldn’t walk ten feet without someone saying hi to me.

We finally made it to Boys Town where our dinner was scheduled to be.  Unfortunately Chicago Diner, a vegetarian restaurant, was closing.  Nevermind that their hours sated they had one more hour before closing… grrr

They were nice though and sent us to The Pick Me Up.  It was a really neat inde-punk rock-emo-hipster half vegetarian restaurant.  We had these AWESOME empanadas, wow.

On the way home from The Pick Me Up we bumped into our sexually confused friend from the subway just a few hours earlier.  He and his buddies had gotten off a few stops before us but here he was with two of his friends in Boys Town.  They were both saying something along the lines of, “Dude, I just don’t feel comfortable around you right now” and “I feel a little weird about you”… I guess he got a few drink in him and finally made his move haha, something Ryan and I had joked about earlier.

Went home, slept, I woke up early to do some work, we met up with Brett and his really great boyfriend for brunch at The Bongo Room.  Awesome brunch followed by some shopping down Michigan Avenue and tea at Argo.  We need an Argo in Columbia.

Ryan and I broke off from the fun couple and went back to the hotel for a quick nap.  Woke up, got all cleaned up and headed to the Chicago Diner again.  On the train with us was this guy that looked quite a bit like Chadd, to me at least.

Well worth the second chance.  The food was delicious and the service great.  Did I mention how good the food was?  Before we had even finished dinner I had ordered a copy of their cookbook off Amazon.com haha.  You should get a copy too.  It is worth it.

We went to a couple of local shops, met a guy named Paris who said I’d be screaming his name in bed that night, he was fun.  Apparently Rhianna was there just a couple of days ago.  Damn us for not being there at the same time.  I would have loved to have met Jay-Z’s alleged ex gay on the side.

Off to Whole Foods and then the Center which is one of the coolest gay advocate sites I had ever been to.  We walked around Boys Town for a bit more before going into a bar called Side Track.

Great bar.  If you go to Chicago you must go to Side Track.  Great drinks, friendly bartenders and fantastic music videos all around.  We befriended a bartender named John who works the fourth floor bar there, outside.  He is a paramedic just like Ryan and is going to school for journalism.  He was such a nice guy, bought us each a Jagerbomb.  Tasty.

We went through all of the bar within Side Track.  I think there were five… Really quite the classy place.

Then off to Berlin where we almost met this potentially really cool, accidentally hipster-emo fellow who was actually probably just really dorky but we both thought was probably nice and incredibly shy.  Unfortunately we are just as shy and we didn’t break the ice though I did make several attempts.

Back to the hotel room, back to sleep, whew.  I woke up early to get online and blog this with some pictures and a video I did at Starbucks but AT&T’s internet is down.  Boo.

Oh yeah, and I got a free hug!

Well I’m going to wake up Ryan.  We don’t have much time left in Chicago so we gotta make the best of it!

Not Lazy

I really don’t feel like I’m being lazy with my site right now. I have updated the look of the site, fixed some security holes, added some widgets and worked to make a better flow.

However, when I don’t make an actual post, my site traffic drops to a near crawl. I will try to be better at keeping the blog more up to date. I actually have posts in my head, I just seem to have trouble getting out of my head and onto the screen.

I am going to work on writing up a post tonight after hanging out with Chadd and possibly Michael and maybe going to Lance’s 22nd birthday party. I’m acutally at Chadd’s right now typing this on my iPhone. He’s running a bit being schedule due to work being so busy.

Speaking of being so busy, even without a job or classes, I’ve managed to keep myself quite busy and weekends are no exception! Ryan and I have made some serious headway on our patio garden. Today I planted a ln assortment of five different florals totalling around 100 different plants. Just getting the seeds started so that we can plant them into pots later.

I’m gonna end this post, not sure how much more the iPhone can handle!

Bill Clinton Visits MizzouRec

I met Beau and Chadd at the Hillary Clinton rally yesterday here at Mizzou. Hill’s wasn’t there but Bill went in her place. He gave a fantastic speech and just really sold Hillary. She’s got my vote come Super Tuesday!

It was is crazy to think that this guy lead us to America’s strongest years since I have been alive and that afterwards working for so many philanthropic groups.

I bumped into several friends at the even, Geoff, John, Chad… and I even saw Mark and his beau Sam.

After his wonderful speech, Bill greeted the crowd signing books and fliers and, well anything people could get autographed.

I actually got to shake his hand a few times and even got a hug! Yes, I got to hug Bill Clinton.

I can die happy now. 😉

As we were leaving the event, KOMU took time to interview Chadd and Beau.

The full photostream is available here and a slide show with two hundred shots (I was fighting 1256 people and about 40 press…) can be viewed over here.