Visiting San Francisco

I’ve been staring at my screen for the last twenty minutes or so trying to decide just what I wanted to title this blog post. Choosing the right title for a post is important. Will my title convey the post subject of the post succinctly? Will it capture the attention of a potential reader? Will it SEO? Will it blend? Will it give the wrong message?

Obviously I just gave up. Oh well. Better than something totally cheesy like “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” with an embedded video from YouTube of Tony Bennett singing…well you get the point.

A few weeks ago, as many of you know, I took a trip to California to see Ryan, our new apartment, our amazing friends and to get a little bit of a break from the Midwest. The trip was awesome. I had an amazing time and if anyone were to ask me, yes it was too short. My time in the Golden State also brought up the question of why I was living in the Show-Me State. Why am I living 2,500 miles from Ryan working a job that can be done from anywhere in the world?

In fact, I did much of my job while I traveled across France, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Germany. If I can do it from Saudi Arabia through a government implemented firewall, I can certainly do the job from San Francisco.

No need to dwell on my longing for California, let’s instead, celebrate the great times I had while I was there! including a morning stroll through Dolores Park!

It was a long trip out there. Started way too early in the morning and didn’t end until around 2 in the morning my time. Long day. But who can complain when you have Ryan picking you up at the airport to drive you to your new home in the city?

When we got home, he gave me the tour of the apartment and neighborhood, talked about how wonderful it would be to live there together, full-time, and finished the moment off with a climb to the roof and a stunning view of the entire city.

The next morning I went to the roof to take this picture. Be sure to click to enlarge!

Our apartment is in a great area for us. Just a couple of blocks from a Safeway, a couple of blocks from a MUNI station, not even a block from a bus station and snugged in just outside of The Castro. When I previously lived in San Francisco, I lived on the other end of Market, about five blocks from Union Square. It was a different life then. Seemed I made whatever excuse I could to go down to the area where we now live and enjoy the higher altitude, the slower coffee shops and local color. I worked near Union Square but ached for The Castro, Mission and Haight.

I think it was the second night in town when I lamented to Ryan of the good ‘ol days. The days when I lived with Mike and Kevin in Santa Rosa. It was right about the moment that I turned to Ryan and said, “You know, I really wish you could meet Mike. I think you’d really like him…” when I’m interrupted by a callout, “Justin?!”

It’s Mike and Kevin, standing 15 feet from the front door of our apartment! By the way, Mike moved to St. Martin a few years ago, a Caribbean Island not known for its proximity to San Francisco.

It was amazing. We went out for drinks, Mike and I caught up on all the changes in each other’s lives while Kevin and Ryan, likely, shared embarrassing stories about me.

I couldn’t think of a better way to close out a night in San Francisco than that.

The San Francisco Post

I swear to whatever is necessary that I have a blog post or twelve coming. Life is just too busy for me right now to really explain what’s going on. I find it ironic that this blog is my release yet I’m too busy to spend the time necessary on it to get that release.

It’s a pretty horrible situation to be in. I’m too busy to write so I get frustrated, annoyed and even a little depressed. So now I need to write even more but again… no time.

So I’ll leave you with this.  A photo I took from Fisherman’s Wharf. It was an amazing afternoon, the air was crisp and cool, the sun shining through a sky completely absent of any clouds and I was walking with two old friends to an unlimited wine and cupcake tasting. What could be better?

So, a post about all the fun from my San Francisco trip, like a month ago, is coming. It’s a two-part post. This will be followed up by a post covering my gallery show in Chicago and then another post about the future, San Francisco and work.

After that I’m thinking a few political posts and maybe one covering a musical artist I’m digging right now.

What else would you like me to write about? Leave it in the comments. Maybe I’ll make time to write if I feel there are people creating the obligation.

Goodbye is the Hardest Word to Say

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.

Enter Chase. 

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.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Koss PortaPro, 25 Years of Excellence

After twenty-five years in production, and five years of absence of ownership, the Koss PortaPro headphones still kick ass. I’ve encountered no headphone in their price range that unseats them from their highest of pedestals. The Sennheiser PX100s come very close with superior comfort and a more streamlined design but simply don’t have the same passion in their reproduction of music.

Before I had my Sennheiser HD600s, my Grado SR60s, any of my Shure, UltimateEars, EtymoticResearch or Klipsch headphones, I had these Koss PortaPros, until their untimely loss while moving from California, back to Missouri.

My new set arrived today with only a change in packaging from when I bought mine my junior year in high school.  There’s a sort of comfort in that, just as the Klipsch Heresy speakers I have still sold today have changed very little since mine came off the assembly line around 1984.

If you are in the market for a sub $100 on-the-ear, open-air headphone, this is the one I’d recommend.  I got mine from Amazon.com with free shipping for under $35.  It’s a steal and it feels oh so good to have them back.

Leo Laporte Won an Emmy for This?!

Ok, so you might know that @LeoLaporte is a hero of mine. I know @ZackLuye knows that, he just LOVES to point out his affiliations to my technology heroes haha.  I even went as far as moving to the area of California where Leo lives and even worked at the Starbucks he always goes to for his coffee in Petaluma!

Stalker much? Meh, maybe.  Never did meet him though.

This morning Leo mentioned something that popped up on the web about him in the latest This Week in Google, one of Leo’s podcasts.  There was something on the internet that said, “Leo Laporte makes $1″

I looked it up. Turns out Leo Laporte makes $1.5 million a year doing his TWiT network, not $1 haha.  While reading more about him, I stumbled onto this video where he talks his rise from radio to broadcast TV and then to where he is today, self-distributed internet podcasting.

Click here to view the video (can’t embed…)

It’s a great video if you have the time to watch all forty minutes.  But the point of this blog post is his Dev Null character on his MSNBC show, The Site.  Leo makes fun of this character, so I don’t feel so bad doing the same.  Because the producers, of his own show, didn’t think he’d be good for video across Soledad O’Brien, they made him a horrible looking 3D character.

Cheesetastic!

And what’s more? I found another video of Devnull where he gets a $29.95 upgrade, the character doesn’t hide the fact that he is computer based.  The cheap upgrade doesn’t work so well, and Devnull get’s even more messed up looking.  Why does this interest me?  Mostly cause I’m a nerd.  When Snow Leopard came out, Leo went on and on about how it wasn’t a REAL upgrade to Leopard for the Mac.  Making the point that it wasn’t a totally new operating system, but more of an expansive service pack.  What Leo stressed the most though? How for $29.95, this was a fantastic value adding upgrade.  So if you’re a total nerd, it might be funny/interesting.  Probably just to me though…

So there you go.  Oh and Leo.  If Pure Media & Marketing doesn’t hire me, hows about you make a move? hehe

Time to run downtown to pay my rent and then get to class. Catch you later!

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

I’m Alive in the Lone Star State

I’ve been busy working on my internship/job here in Texas.  Having a great time all the while but really missing home, Ryan, Mr. Belvedere and my friends.

Yeah, so working a lot, hanging with my grandparents who are fantastic and figuring out my future.

As of this moment, right now, as I lounge in bed watching Dead Like Me on Hulu… I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that it is completely feasible that as of this December, I will be motherfucking done with the University of Missouri.

Now, I don’t hate the university or anything, it’s just that it kinda hates me.  I figure, it’s best for both of us for me to get out, asap.

Therefore, by the end of this summer, I will have completed 12 hours of summer school.  Yes, the limit by statute of the University is 9 hours and that’s only if you get permission to take over 7.  I worked my way into it.

So yes, maybe I graduate in December.  Then?  Oh crap, that’s where I start to freak out.  The plan of course is to move back to the golden hills of California.

Yes, the beautiful hills of California. They’re golden because they’re starving for water, not because they’re full of gold.  That’s so California 1849.

Soon I should hear back from my advisor who will tell me if I graduated in December or May.  Either way, I’m getting the hell out of Dodge and moving on with my life with Ryan.  We’ve even casually looked at some homes to buy in the city!  Exciting right?

But what will I do for work?  Continue my work for the Agency?  Start my own company?  Do I even THINK about photography much less graduate school at Stanford?

Life is so full of questions, obligations and unknowns.

But… Let’s worry about those as they happen.  Right now I need to get back to bed.  Busy day ahead of me!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]