Sunday, July 30, 2006

Autumn Races

My autumn calendar is being filled up by various commitments. The focus is still on marathons as 3:30 is within reach, and a Boston qualifying time no longer seems impossible.

Saturday September 16
Ben Franklin Bridge Pride Walk / Run (I'm the organizer!)

Sunday September 17
Jefferson Hospital Philadelphia Distance Run (13.1 mile)

Saturday October 7 - Sunday October 8
Pumpkin Patch Soccer Tournament

Saturday October 14
Under Armour Baltimore Marathon

Sunday October 15
Philadelphia AIDS Walk

Saturday November 11
SunTrust Richmond Marathon

Sunday November 19
Philadelphia Marathon (not yet registered)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Adventures @ chat room was a major sponsor at the Chicago Gay Games. Not that I needed a reason to log on for some idle chats. One of my least favorite goes like this ...

***top4u*****: hi
***top4u*****: nice mas geneorus man here
***top4u*****: $ and fun
***vtop4u*****: looking to meet and spoil
***top4u*****: a hot young guy
***top4u*****: possible job
anhphl: Not interested. thanks
***top4u*****: ok
***top4u*****: good luck
***top4u*****: if you ever need to be spoiled
***top4u*****: let me know

While I appreciated a little attention, this exchange made me amused but sad at the same time. Whom did he think I was, Miss Saigon? I don't know why this person doesn't go to a bathhouse or contact an escort service. We're talking about the likely chance of success here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Most Viewed Flickr Photos

I'm such a statistics nerd that I use Flickr primarily to examine human behaviors. Guess what, skin is in!

Viewed 5,397 times
Dude, where's my towel?

Viewed 3,815 times
American Idol

Viewed 2,846 times

Viewed 2,742 times
The baker boys

Viewed 2,701 times
Poodle Beach 2

Viewed 2,198 times
Live Strong

Viewed 2,103 times

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Urban Legend Exposed: Does CVS put security tags only on hair products for blacks?

Here is a new twist on a common urban legend about a supposed ignorant business discriminating against a minority group ...

CVS and Black Hair Products

This is a follow up to the e-mail which I sent on Friday. On today, I went to my neighborhood CVS store to personally see for myself if the news reports of this national drug store profiling African-Americans by placing anti-theft devices on only Black hair care products were valid. After arriving at this store, I looked at both expensive and none expensive White hair products and I found NO anti-theft devices. I then looked on the boxes of both expensive and not expensive Black hair care products. What I found was shocking! ONLY Black hair care products had anti-theft devices on them. I immediately went to the store management and asked why did only the Black hair products have these devices? The store manager looked like a 'deer caught in the headlights of an approaching car.' He said White hair products also had the anti-theft devices. I asked him to walk please walk to the aisle with me and show me the White hair care products which had these anti-theft devices and he refused escort me to the aisle and show me and he was not able to tell me of any White hair care products which had the anti-theft devices on them! I immediately turned in my CVS cards and respectfully told this manger I would NEVER shop in this store and that I would inform all of my family, friends and Internet friends of this. I am now keeping my promise to inform each of you of this dirty, hidden, secret ploy of this national drug store CVS. I hope each of you inform your friends, family and Internet contacts and stay clear of this national store.

The most interesting thing is that the Urban Legends Reference Pages currently classify this urban legend as "True", citing several television undercover expose. The source that I believe is Diversity Inc which goes to bat for every possible minority groups. Its own investigation conclude that the story is no more than a sensational hoax, similar to the one involving Tommy Hilfiger and his racist comments supposedly made on "The Oprah Winfrey Show". The reasonable explanation is the a shoplifter is difficult to profile, thus it makes no business sense to target any specific groups.

I'm keeping my CVS Extra Care Card!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

War is a drag

After more than a week in gay heaven, I'm flying back to earth only to read about the war in the Middle East. It's an unpleasant reality that conflicts among men are a part of our civilization. While it's easy to blame organized religions for the Middle East situation, I don't know how I feel about the events that are unfolding the past two weeks. It's getting out of hands. Where is Superman when we need him!

I see Hizbollah guerrilla as bullies, Israeli as a high school drag queen / victim-gone-mad, and the Lebanese government as a ignorant high school teacher. Talk among yourselves! I'll give you a topic: Gay Sex and Advanced Calculus is neither about sex nor calculus.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Chicago Gay Games Closing Ceremony

DC Philly United
Originally uploaded by reflexblue.
After Cliff took this photo of Vinny and me at Wrigley Field, it suddenly hit me: the Chicago Gay Games was over! Vinny was the most amazing person I had the honor to meet and play soccer with for the week. There are a handful of other people that I hung out with in Chicago that I will miss dearly.

It's been an incredible experience I will talk about for the rest of my life.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Chicago Gay Games Marathon

Chicago Gay Games Marathon

July 22, 2006 - I came in sixth place in my age group and 39th overall. No medal but I set at personal best time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 53 seconds.

The modified race course consisted of four loops. My splits were 54:00, 52:21, 56:56, and 1:00:30. Not a great second half, so there is room to improve.

Gay Games: Day Eight

Partying @ Sidetrack on Thursday. Team rules were gone, so I was getting friendly with one of my teammates in front of everyone. Craig asked me if this was going on all week. I thought it was old news. Anyway, Craig was the brave one, having to navigate through a crowded bar with a cast on his foot. Almost everyone of my teammates was getting some play, but I decided to give my body a rest. I shared a cab with Craig back to his hotel and went to bed around 2 a.m.

Friday July 21st was my eight day in Chicago. It was the only day this week that I didn't have any scheduled competition. Off to Hollywood Beach I went, doing some yoga on the beach by myself. It was I really needed to clear my head to get ready for my next Gay Games event.

Took a bus to see Matt's Ulta store, and to the Navy Pier to join Michael and Jeremy for the volleyball gold medal game.

The Human Rights Campaign pasta dinner for marathon atheles was fun. I got to meet a dozen of amazing gay and lesbian athletes who share such inspiring stories. I left the dinner feeling great.

I made a brief stop at Shaun and Tony's Gay Games BBQ. Left at 8:30 pm with a nice send-off applause for my event the following morning.

It was a great transition day.

My eight marathon overall would occur the next day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gay Games: Day Seven

The DC Philly United soccer team was eliminated from the Chicago Gay Games playoffs today, Thursday July 20. We tied 0-0 with the hometeam, Chicago Blaze, but lost the penalty kick shootouts. I was one of the three United players who missed the kicks. It was a stunning end to an otherwise spectacular game. I started and played the entire game. Everyone on my team played full out. I had a few great runs, going toe-to-toe with guys who were nearly a foot taller. No one could get through me. Everyone else on my team did a fantastic job.





Chicago Gay Games - Opening Ceremony

The line up for the playoff game was:
Goalie: John G.
Defensive Right Wing: me
Defensive Left Wing: Jeremy J.
Stopper: Steve S.
Sweeper: Shaun G.
Right mid-field: Ryan B.
Left mid-field: Cliff E.
Center: Vinny C.
Offense: Ray N. and Stephen C.

Other players: Mike P, Dave, Tyson, Tony N, Craig C

It was an honor and privilege to play with these guys. They truly represented the spirit of the Gay Games. They refueled my passion for soccer and my committment to the gay sports communities.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gay Games: Days Five and Six

My host Matt and marathon man Bill came out to see my third soccer game on Tuesday. My team beat the London Leftfooters 2-0. I invited them both to the team dinner which was in Andersonville. Everyone on my team was in high spirit after the win, which put us in a good position for the playoff.

Wednesday morning I got up early to go with Matt to his 5K race. I volunteered at the main fluid / energy station. Met a bunch of people including the 5K overall winner Brandon who is the captain of my Team HRC Marathon. The last person to cross the finish line won a silver medal for her age group since she was 74 and there was only one other woman competing in the 70 and Over Female category. Saw one angry lesbian who thought see wasn't given a medal due to a computer glitch. That drama was music to gay men's ears.
Chicago Gay Games 5K
I was nervous coming to the Wednesday game, which was the first game I didn't start. I did play for about 10 minutes each half. We tied 1-1 with San Francisco, but three of our players had serious injuries. Craig's foot was broken in two places. Tony and Mike are questionable for the rest of the tournament. I actually cried after I saw Tony going down. While we were waiting for a medic, I rubbed his shoulders and felt helpless. The turn of events left the team in such a downer.
We were supposed to start the single elimination round Wednesday afternoon, but 20 minutes before start time, the game was canceled due to lightning and thunder.
Toronto Hot Shots!
I went shopping to get my mind away from soccer for a little bit. I also went to Crew Bar for the party.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gay Games: Day Four

I got up early to see the 10K race but by the time I got there, it was over. I hope this won't be a recurring theme for my time here at the Chicago Gay Games.

I did run into my Frontrunners Philadelphia teammate Mike Z. and my Washington DC friend Jeffrey D.

My Gay Game competition debut was a success as my team, DC Philly United, beat the New York Ramblers B Team. I was the starting right back. I was fierce as no one could run pass me. I sent text messages to so many people afterward to brag about the win. What I didn't mention was that I had a head-to-head collision with my own goalie. He went down for a few minutes but he was OK. I was a little dizzy but I kept on playing.

We lost the second game to the Boston Strikers. It was a much more physical game. I acquired a few more bruises on my legs and right arm. I didn't think I play as well as I did in the first game. There was an instance on the second half that I wanted to come out to catch a breath but there was no substitutes available to come in for me. I managed to stay in for the rest of the game, but I didn't feel like I was at my best.

After the game, I immediately took the train going nearly all the way south to the University of Chicago campus to watch swimming. I saw Jim J and Jen H winning gold. I cheered for Roper, Dennis, Brian G, Brian C, Lane 6 Terry S, Rick H, Jim R, Keith. Had a great time sitting with teammates who were on in the pool.

I can't wait to start competing in swimming meets!
Chicago Gay Games - Swimming

Gay Games: Day Three

DC Philly United had its first practice on Sunday between 11 am and 1 pm. It was hot, hot, hot! We played on an outdoor turf field. We could feel the rubber and the plastic materials welting under the heat. Despite the extreme condition, we had a great practice and scrimmage with Team Chicago.

We worked out positions and strategy. Everything went smoothly except for a high ball that resulted in a trip to a hospital and 8 stritches for one of our best players.

After practice, I went with another soccer player to see swimming but we were too late. I did run into a handful of my swimming teammates, one of them won three gold medals earlier in the day.

Dinner at Smith and Wolenski with teammates Craig and Tony.

Drinks at Cocktais in Boystown. I had a bottle of water.

We all left at 10:30 PM so we could get some rest before the games the next day.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gay Games: Day Two

The Chicago Gay Games Opening Ceremony was a disappointment. It was delayed, drawn-out, unevenly paced, and uninspired. I enjoyed the idling time to mingle with fellow participants, but I could have done without the program. Anti-gay groups were out there, but there presence ony fueled more noise from the participants.

I wanted to stay for Maragret Cho, but three hours into the start I couldn't wait any longer. I wanted to take a shower to get rid of my sweats and b.o.

I took me a while to walk out of the Soldier's Stadium, and about 15 more minutes to find the Red subway line.

Soccer starts tomorrow!

Chicago Gay Games - Opening Ceremony
Chicago Gay Games - Opening Ceremony
Chicago Gay Games - Opening Ceremony
Chicago Gay Games - Opening Ceremony

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Gay Games: Day One

Once I got to the Phila. airport, I realized that I was on the same flight as Jen who is one of my favorite girls on the swimming team. Our plane arrived in Chicago two hours late. Jen already studied the Chicago train map, so I just followed her to the Hilton to get my Gay Game badge. Once we got off the train, we just followed gay people to find the host hotel.

Walked right into my soccer teammate Cliff outside of the Hilton. Cliff and I had no problem getting our badges which contained photo ID's that we previously uploaded. Jen's photo didn't come through, so she had to go through the long process.

While I was waiting for Jen, I ran into Jeff, whom I met at the gay soccer tournament in Rehoboth last year. Not only I was surprised that Jeff remembered my name, first and last, he and his boyfriend Mark took me to my hosted housing. They also invited me to Team Phillipines Welcome Party. It was such a random thing, but I went and had a great time!

I forgot some printouts of critical info for this trip, but now that I have Internet access, I can easily locate everything I need.

It's a good start!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gay Games: Here I Come!

You'd think that by now, 4 hours before my departure for Chicago, I have already packed for my trip. NO! I keep having distractions, such as

Soccer Practice (yeah!)
Center City Fun Run (yeah!)
Swim practice (yeah!)
Team Philadelphia Steering Committee Meeting (yeah!)
Madonna After Party (yeah!)
Openning Night of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (yeah!)

I still have a few work-related tasks to complete this morning while I'm packing (and doing laundry).

It's going to be a bumpy day!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

World Cup Soccer Fever: I'd Do Both France and Italy

The World Cup must be the most popular reality TV show on earth! Even here in America, there are people I personally know who are on the edge emotionally the past four weeks. There are people who take vacation days just to go to a pub to watch a soccer game. Most of Philadelphia pubs offer World Cup specials. Even some gay bars jump on the bandwagon.

I haven't watched any of the games entirely, but I've caught some glimpses and highlights. I do follow the tournament by reading the sports section of newspapers.

During the round robin, I rooted for Team USA and all the Asian teams. Since none of them made it to the second round, I started to root for France. I have been a fan of the French national team since the mid 80's when Michel Platini was a soccer god. I like Italy too, so I won't be too upset if Italy ends up on top. Both countries have won before, so I would have been more excited if a new country got a chance to play for the FiFA Cup. Four more years until the next installment of this reality program!

Photo Copyright: Reuters

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gay Games: Seven Days Away

Five months ago, I made a decision to participate in the Chicago Gay Games.

It's days away. I'm flying out this Friday. I'm beginning to plan for logistics.

Although I have not discussed in great details, my marathon training has gone very well. I've done increasing long runs the past six weeks, including a 20-mile run last Saturday. I'm set as far as the marathon goes.

I will also play soccer in the Men's Division Two at the Gay Games. I haven't played much soccer this year, despite my recent soccer themed photoshoot. I figure I'll play in Division Two, so as long as I can run, I'd be able to contribute to my team, DC Philly United.

I briefly flirted with the idea of swimming at the Gay Games too, but I'll settle to be at the pool to cheer on my FINS teammates.

It's going to be a gay old time!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Out: Dell PC; In: Apple MacBook

My Dell PC died a suddenly last week. I had it for two years and four months. It was a workhorse, carrying me through grad school, professional certification exams, and endless household errands. It also processed thousands of my photos and songs. While I used it heavily, I wasn't emotionally attached to it. Once it was pronounced dead, I was ready to move on.

I jumped on the opportunity to join the Apple revolution. I am a Mac user, baby! This MacBook a little more than I could afford, but I look at it as an early birthday present for myself. With help from a Mac Addict, I think my trip to Appleland is going to be amazing!