That might be the longest post title I’ve ever used.
There are few things in the world better than cupcakes and wine. I mean think about it. Excluding Life’s essentials, what’s better than delicious gourmet cupcakes and free wine? Nothing right? Not even cats in top hats!
Since Ryan was going to be working much of the time that I would be in California, I asked him to find a few things for me to do while I was out there. Ryan is incredibly good at this sort of stuff. He planned the epic spring break we had a few years that went from Kansas City to Buffalo New York to Niagara Falls Canada to Toronto to New York City to Washington DC and back to Kansas City. Quite possibly the best vacations of our lives.
Never to disappoint, Ryan managed to find three of my favorite things as events in the city. Cupcakes, wine tastings and a half-off coupon, in this case, all together. It’s the San Francisco Cake Moda Cupcake Wars at Crush Barrel Wine Market. I’m in and so were my friends Kevin and Dave.
We made the bus ride to San Francisco’s wharf to the Herbst Pavilion and readied our tickets, thanks Eventbrite and Yelp for the hookup. We were in for the gastronomic time of our lives. Right? There was lots of fun live music, great wines to try out and a coupon for $10 off any wine purchase. Win!
Alas, who knew it would be possible to go to an all-you-can-eat cupcake and wine tasting and not have a single cupcake? Also, who knew that not eating all day coupled with drinking lots of wine could be a bad idea?
Both lessons were learned on this voyage to Cupcake Desert, Wine Oasis. Apparently 1,000 other people had the same idea and the free cupcakes became $1-4 cupcakes and all you can eat became all you can afford and dare to wait in line for. We wandered around for a bit, enjoyed some wine, kevetched on the complete absence of free cupcakes, took some photos and eventually decided this wasn’t our scene.
Instead we opted for a cupcake from Ghiradelli Square and dinner with Ryan and Mark at Home.
The next morning I woke up extra early, picked up my rental car, a sweet Volkswagen Jetta and headed north to Healdsburg where a limousine, Kayla and a great time awaited me.
Three weeks ago, yes, I’ve been bad at updating, Amy, Korrie, Dave and I went to Sedalia Missouri to check out the 2010 Missouri State Fair on its last day. I was partly there for fun and partly there to take pictures and video for work.
Of course we all had our reasons for wanting to go. Amy wanted to experience cheese on stick, Dave wanted a foot-long corn dog, Korrie wanted to ride the tilt-a-whirl and I… I wanted to observe the people. There are always the most interesting people at fairs and by interesting I mean completely different than me.
And by completely different than me I mean this.
Republicans are cool?
I haven’t been to a fair, carnival or the like where I didn’t feel like I was the only liberal-minded person around. The disparity between the Democrats and the Republicans at these sorts of events is truly remarkable. It reminds me of my participation in the 2004 George W. Bush reelection rally at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
Geoff and I were given tickets to the event through a fraternity brother and were told to do our best to fit in. We were given instructions on what to wear, to carry, how to act. All this so they wouldn’t figure out we were actually Democrats. They made me take off my suit jacket and my oxford, presumably to make sure there wasn’t a “Kerry 2004” t-shirt underneath.
We bumped into a friend who got in without inspection by carrying a bible under his arm. How apropos to Palin’s recent rant.
Fire Pelosi, the perfect disguise
Pretty sure in this election season, a Fire Pelosi sticker could be your ticket into just about any Tea Party or RNC event!
But I digress.
One of the first things I did was check out the Missouri Wine tent. I’m not the biggest fan of Missouri wines but I’m also not really familiar with too many of them. So, what better way to familiarize yourself than to taste a few?
Of the wines I tried, Stone Hill was definitely the best. Missouri wines are typically described as jammy, sweet and a little over-the-top. I tried some from St. James Winery and, while it wasn’t too crazy sweet, you could actually taste the steel from the stainless steel tanks in which it is fermented. This was a bit remarkable since part of the point of stainless steel is that it doesn’t carry a flavor or smell. It’s why they make stainless steel odor removers.
Metallic wine is no good.
Amy and I enjoyed some pretty delicious cheese on a stick, Dave got his giant corn dog and Korrie got to ride her rides.
I love theme park rides, even though they scare the crap out of me. Two years ago, Ryan and I went to Six Flags, or some similar theme park, and rode the rides all day long. It was an absolute blast. However, my better judgement normally tells me traveling carnival rides aren’t for me. I have this vision in my head of a bolt snapping, just as I reach the top of a a ride at full speed, sending me flying into the air. Thought, that’s not the part that scares me. It’s the part where gravity starts to pull me back down and I come crashing into the ground. Ouch.
But you can’t deny the fact that Dave and Korrie were definitely having more fun on the rides than I was sitting on the sidelines.
I do wish we had gone a week or so earlier. I would have liked to have had the full fair experience. By the time we got there most of the stuff was closing up. We didn’t make it to any shows beyond pig races and stunt dogs. There was an exhibit of farm animals which was kind of fun. Pigmy goats are adorable by the way.
Tiny full-grown goats aside, nothing says farm life like a big ol’ red rooster.
Next time around, I’ll go to the fair earlier. I’ll wear sunscreen, I’ll check out some shows, a rodeo perhaps and I’ll ride the rides. In the end though, I think we all had a great time.
Holy cow, I almost forgot to show you the creepy trash receptacles they had all over the fair grounds!
Creepy as All Get Out Clown Trash Receptacle
Felt very weird putting my trash into a clown’s mouth. Just say’n.
Seems like I keep writing blog posts about change and loss. How depressing right? And come on, after a summer where your precious goldfish went to bigger waters, four of your best guy friends moved away, a semester where you said goodbye to two jobs and a ton of great classmates, a year that your parents moved to Saudi Arabia and your apartment of the last three years was vacated… what the hell else could you have left to say goodbye to?
Believe it or not, something bigger than all of that recently left, moved away to the great left coast of California.
Ryan and I have been trying for years to get back to California, visiting at least two times a year since we started dating three years ago. I never thought it would be Ryan that would move to San Francisco first but it sure did happen that way. Just a week ago Ryan made the long drive west to start a new chapter in his and my life.
We’re both baffled when the two of us think about how much has changed for us over the last three years, how much we’ve endured, grown and loved. When I moved out of the downtown apartment we were both so excited to actually, officially, share a home together. I think that lasted all of around 2 weeks. After a whirlwind summer between coasts for education seminars, job interviews and some well deserved vacation time, Ryan got the great news that he would be moving to San Francisco for a fantastic new job.
Oh, and me? Well… I’m here in Columbia. I’m continuing my work here, which I enjoy so much, paying a mortgage, which I am not enjoying so much, and thinking about the day I get to make the very trip Ryan made nearly two weeks ago.
It’s actually kind of funny. Phoebe, aka @fotofobe, joked that Ryan and I were the only two people in a long distance relationship who lived in the same house. Never a truer statement was spoken. You can see a typical Monday through Friday on the right.
I only worked 5 hours on Sundays so my weekends were mostly free. Unfortunately, Ryan often worked 24 hour shifts on Saturdays so there goes the weekend.
But I guess what I’m really getting at here is this. For three years we lived together and more or less barely got to see each other. We took trips from time to time, we were lucky enough to have a few weekends off here and there but really, on average, we saw each other only a handful of hours every week. It’s insane right? Yet it never messed with us. If anything it only made the time we spent together more important and more cherished.
We always looked to the summers, when I wasn’t in school, for long trips to California or somewhere on the east coast. This summer, for the first summer ever, I was done with school and had entered the real world. That is to say, I had a job. Which also means, our summer together traveling never happened.
In less than a month I will be flying to California to spend a week with Ryan in our new apartment in San Francisco. Do you have any idea how exciting that is? After a summer behind a desk and away from Ryan, we will finally have some time together, for an entire week! I cannot wait.
Ryan moving away has been incredibly difficult but I refuse to let it be the coup de grâce of my life here in Columbia. I’m so lucky to have some great friends still left here in Columbia, a job that let’s me travel and iChat for us to video chat.
Big thanks to Laura, Chadd, Korrie and Dave for being there for me. I may not be showing how sad and lonely I am but with you guys, I don’t have to.
So look forward to lots of pics from San Francisco soon! It’s been forever since I broke my camera out and shot things I wanted to shoot. Way too long.
There are a lot of people that come and go in your life. Your childhood best friend, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, college roommates… You get the idea.
I've done a lot in my short time in existence, which just recently hit the 26 year mark. I've lived all over the place, up and moved across the country three times. I am lucky enough to have friends all over the state, the country and the world. It never fails that I will be in a random city, for a random reason and I bump into someone I know. Just last week my friend slash coworker Amy, aka @adifran, and I went to Blue Springs Missouri for a Think First event.
Amy and I weren't there more than ten minutes before two people came up to me, a classmate from Advanced Photography and a guy who couldn't quite pin down from where exactly he knew me. A little later I bumped into a friend of a friend.
A couple of years ago Ryan and I were in Chicago, about to hop onto the L when, what do you know, someone who pledged my fraternity recognized me. He and his girlfriend road with us to our stop, we talked old times and parted at the next stop.
But then there are those really special people in your life. The people you don't expect or don't even realize how much they mean to you until it sneaks up on you.
As a kid there were these people in my life. My brother Patrick who I looked up to as most little brothers do. I wanted to be just like him for the longest time. I don't think he ever really knew how much I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Even today, when I need that really big life changing type of advice, he's the first on my list. He was the first family member I came out to. Without his support I wouldn't be where I am today.
The next person in my life was my cousin David. David and I were best friends from childhood. We summered on the beach every year together, we went to the Cayman Islands together, we built forts, we did all the things you do with your best friend… breaking into swimming pools, talking shit, camping out, you know the drill. When I decided I was going to move to California David was the first person on my list of people I wanted to live with. A couple of weeks later the two of us were driving to California for an adventure like we'd nothing we'd ever dreamed of.
In high school there was Joseph. I could tell Joseph anything, he could tell me anything. Together we somehow survived uniquely difficult junior and senior years. It seemed like our friendship blossomed overnight. One day we were two parts of a huge clique of friends, the next day we were best friends. Our nights were shared going out to dinner at Chipotle or Macaroni Grill, driving up and down FM 1960 blasting hip hop music, buying music and finding comfort in our shared company. Always kind, always funny, always there for me and up for just about anything.
One way or another I said goodbye to each of these people. Patrick is married to the most amazing person in the world and living off in Houston. David is also married, which is a bit of a shocker, he always was such a heart breaker. Joseph, this was perhaps the most surprising. He's in Korea teaching English, getting a law degree and generally exploring the East in a way that would make Dhani Jones jealous.
I would argue that the hardest part of goodbye is the feeling of emptiness it leaves you. There are these people who have made such a strong impact on your life, they have shown you love, they have taught you about yourself and the world, they have been there for the good and the bad through laughter and tears, love and pain. What they leave behind is a pit, an endless abyss of negativity. You are happy for their ability to move on, move up and move out. You know you'll see them again, that you can talk on the phone or online and that you'll still be friends for life. But your heart fights reason.
Your heart reminds you of everything they were to you, everything that is now lost.
These are holes you are certain can never be filled back in by anyone or anything else.
Chase entered my life after I abruptly moved back to Columbia from California. Little did we know we were dancing around each other nearly our entire lives. From living in the same part of Houston, to the same part of Tulsa. We went to the same concerts, even an obscure Jason Mraz concert my senior year of high school. We both loved the same music, the same obsession with technology, movies and shows. Who would have thought that this total stranger would become like a brother to me?
I have Chase to thank for a lot. Would I have Ryan in my life without Chase? I'm not so sure! He brought so much to my life in a really unexpected way. At the time I didn't really have many straight guy friends. Most of my friends were other gay guys or girls who attracted gay guys like moths to a flame. I have Chase to thank for the next two people on the list.
Corey, over there on the left eating Dave's bicep.
The first night I met Corey I thought… David? He reminded me so much of my cousin and proved to be just as cool, fun, exciting and generally bad ass. A little over a year ago I realized just how important Corey was in my life. He and chase moved to Blue Springs with their band to do the music thing full time. All of a sudden I felt this emptiness like I hadn't felt in a long time.
When Ryan was in the hospital and with a dangerous prognosis, Corey was the one I went to. He comforted me in a moment of absolute vulnerability. I was emotionally drained, physically shaken and felt like the world was closing in around me. I drove from the hospital to Corey's work. I made it all the way to the counter before I broke down into a sobbing mess.
Corey brought me the level of comfort, compassion and love I needed so dearly. He held me, dried my tears and absorbed some of my fear and despair.
And in then there is Sam. An incredible photography, a fantastic musician (like Chase and Corey), passionate, funny and ridiculously in touch with his feelings and the feelings of others. There is nothing I couldn't share with Sam. His heart is pure and his mind is open.
It's a little funny how when I think about Sam my words begin to fail me. In place of words are memories, his last night in town at the Snorty Horse, Scouts concerts, bar hopping around town, photography talks, trivia nights, tequila shots at The Artisan… Thinking about these memories literally brings a smile to my face. He shares a heart and humor paralleled by only one other person I've ever had enter my life, my high school best friend, Joseph.
I get lost in the memories of these three guys. A mixture of happiness and sadness overflows me. This time a few months ago we were hanging out and then, one by one they moved away. Sam was the first to go followed by Corey and then Chase. They moved up, on and away in the exact opposite way that they entered my life.
Not going to lie. The night Sam left, signifying the inevitable end of one of the best periods of my life, I was a big ol' mess. Cried my freaking eyes out.
A lot of people have entered my life. These people came and went, they made their impact. They were friends, roommates, classmates, boyfriends… They were for me the most important people in my life at the time.
Things were different with Chase, Corey and Sam. For the second time in my life I felt an endless sense of loss. There was something unique to these three people that affected me in a way only my brother, my cousin David and my best friend Joseph had before. It was in the night that I said goodbye to Sam that I realized something. That whole left ages ago had somehow been filled by these three guys. I realized that there are people put into your life to fill a certain purpose. To help you grow, learn and love.
Twice in my life I've had this experience. Who could ever expect to be so lucky?
I put off writing this blog post for quite a while. June 22 I started writing and over a month later I'm here to finish it. Why am I finishing it now? Well I got some other big news late last month. Ryan, arguably the most important person in my life will also be leaving. We're both excited, scared, nervous and happy about the big change we're both about to experience. In a few weeks Ryan will be living in San Francisco and I will have to say goodbye, temporarily as I stay here in Columbia.
But that's another day and another post.
Sam, Corey and Chase moving away was incredibly hard on me. I felt that familiar emptiness. But today I smile at the prospect of visiting Sam in Seattle, Corey in Florida and the incredible excitement at Chase's wedding in December. They will be a part of my life for the rest of my life and I can't wait to see where we all end up. Who knows, we might some day find ourselves back in the same city together, drinking PBRs and grilling some burgers.
It’s such an awesome time of the year, time for scary movies and haunted houses. FUN!
I went out the other night to do some long exposure (5+ minute) photos.
Before I went out to take the pics, I met up with Kevin, Libby, Travis, Crysta and David at Shakespeare’s Pizza.
I didn’t eat or drink anything which is totally unfortunate haha. It was sure good to see all my old friends who I had not seen in a while. Libby looked fabulous, love the hair girl! And Kevin is always fun to hang out with, one of those old friends that no matter how long you spend apart, you pick up right where you left off.
Dave and Crysta came along with me to take the pics. It is so much more fun to have people go with you, especially when they sing N’Sync and Blu Cantrel with you as you drive haha.
They spotted this house as we drove around, it sure is hallowing isn’t 😉
What do you think? This is just a start. Tonight Micheal is going to join me as I take a bunch more of these long exposure pictures.
After leaving the Corey’s football party, I road my bike to McNally’s to hang out with Dave, Brittany and Crysta. We had some drinks and hung out, had a great time.
I had never had the pizza at McNally’s and while it might have something to do with being drunk… it was really freaking good. The cheese sticks were deadly.
The night ended with me riding home on my bike and going to bed…. Then Dave came over, we chatted for a while and then finally, I got some much needed sleep. It was a fun night though, and thanks Dave for the pizza and shot!