Thursday, August 30, 2007

Road Trip Destination: Louisville, Kentucky

We spent the weekend in Louisville, KY and met up with Jason, a fellow GCN'er from Northern Kentucky. He took the grey hound bus to meet up and spent the weekend with us. We arrived on Friday, Aug. 24th late afternoon and left the morning of Monday, Aug. 27th.

Seeing Louisville was fun but the main reason we planned this whole road trip was because our friend Becky (from Michigan) was competing in the Ironman competition. So much of our time was geared around that. But we also got to connect with some awesome GCN'ers in the area . . . .

Once we got into town and picked up Jason at the bus station, we got our hotel and then made our way to the Kentucky State Fair. It was fun to see local Kentuckyans in their native habitat (haha, okay not really but sort of) as we walked around booths and games and rides and horses and pick up trucks and national guard vehicles and men in military fatigues (purr...) and country music bands and such. The main draw for us was that Switchfoot was having a concert there. It sure was hot and humid in the outdoor stadium but it was fun.

Switchfoot has always been a favorite band of mine. I had been listening to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) for more than a decade and so naturally I was drawn to Jon Foreman and the boys. His lyrics have always moved me! But I stopped listening to CCM at around 2001 when my paradigm of "Church" started changing. As I began to live more of an organic lifestyle of faith and started building friendships with people outside of the "church-culture" bubble, my music interests have been more in the genres of pop/rock/alternative - you know, the kind of music everyone else listens to. That may sound terrible to some but I found myself to be completely irrelevant and unrelatable to people who didn't identify as Christians when I was listening to solely "Christian music". What makes something "Christian music" anyway? I've experienced God move me incredibly through songs not thought of to be Christian. But I'm a Christian and I receive a song as a Christian so doesn't that make it Christian music to me? Anyway, I could rant right now, but i'll save it for later. Nevertheless, it was good to hear many of my favorite Switchfoot songs again, plus some new ones!

I will always love their song "This is your life". It touches me because I know what it's like to see my life go down hill. I saw God rebuild what I had torn down during my rock-bottom year of 2001 and the restorative years of 2002-2005. I've made reference to this season of my life in previous posts but i'm still not ready to blog about it yet. I found an awesome video that someone made with this song though. It doesn't tell my story (at all) but it does paint a moving picture of a man who's journey leads to God. Check it out here:

So I found myself flashing back to past memories, mistakes and regrets during the concert. But I did enjoy the concert! After the concert, we walked around the fairgrounds and listened to a couple of country music bands and even a heavy metal rock band. There were some interesting fair rides that I've never seen before either. Gosh, I don't remember amusement park attractions being so . . . . death-defyingly dangerous! Whew! No, we didn't try any. But these here Kentuckyans really know how to have a fair!

The next day, I had an early start thanks to good ole BeckyO. She lives in the states but it's like her internal clock is set to UK time. Our hotel room was right next to hers so since we didn't get to see each other when we arrived before the Fair & Concert, she decided to knock on our door at an ungodly hour I don't even remember right now (but i think the sun was still sleeping). We silently screamed and gave each other huge hugs like old girlfriends who hadn't seen each other in months (that's true actually). Last I saw Becky was when she was in SoCal several months ago. She is soooo moving to Long Beach. But anyway, we spent some time in her room (with her awesome Michigan friend/room mate who was also rooming with her in the hotel) then we eventually went downstairs for the groddy (that's worse that gross) breakfast waffles. Yeah, I went downstairs of the hotel with morning hair and morning breath wearing unflattering bedtime clothes just to hang out with Becky and to meet her friends and family. Only for Becky!

Afterwards, we had brunch then went to Ironman village to see Becky check in her bike. It was awesome to see so many triathletes. I noticed that they've all got something in common. Yes, they all have hot bods but that's not what I was going to say. They all have that sense of determination in their eyes. Focus. It was amazing. And yeah, the bods were too. Apparently the guy from the Bachelor was there. I don't watch the show so I wouldn't have recognized him. But I did get a couple photos of him though! You'll have to look at the Facebook album (link below) to see some. *grin*

But anyway, Becky couldn't hang out with us too much because she had to prep for the triathlon. I totally understood because that is a crazy yet incredible feat! She was going to swim for 2 miles, then bike for 112 miles, then run for 26.2 miles. C-R-A-Z-I-N-E-S-S!!!

So understandably, she couldn't join us for dinner as we met up with some other GCN'ers in the area. We met up at Wick's Pizza (which will be discussed in the "Pizza Wars" post. Actually, Michael will be my first Two World Collision guest co-blogger for that after our vacation. He'll write up his pizza reviews along with mine! So stayed tuned for that!). It was tons of fun meeting up with a couple other GCN'ers in this area. It's always good to share stories with people who have some kind of common thread. We're all on a similar journey so we should always try to connect so that we know that we're not alone in this walk of ours.

After dinner, we all went to Graeters for ice cream. Michael and I had never been there before - in fact, i don't think there are any of these in SoCal (that I know of). It was good stuff. We hung out for awhile and met up with a couple others. Then those of us who could stay later went to a magic show happening on Bellarmine University's campus. David is an awesome guy (and local GCN'er here) who is a student and also works there so he invited us to check it out. It was more like a comedy show because it was funny with a few kewl tricks. Plus, he was sooo gay! I could tell. That's not an insult just an observation that made the experience all the more fun and hilarious (because he was making comments to/about the girls as if he were straight). After the show, we went to a pretty kewl (and I suppose popular) music store called Ear X-tacy. That was fun. Then we decided to check out some more Louisville night life so we went to a dance club called "Connections". It was actually pretty fun! And it was definitely more lively than our experience at the club in St. Louis. Granted that was a weekday in St. Louis and this was a Saturday night in Louisville but still - it was alot of fun. Some of the bartendars in Louisville were noticeably friendlier than what i've seen before - both in SoCal and in St. Louis. Perhaps it was good ole Southern hospitality. We stayed out dancing and having a good time until close to 4am!

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was 4:10am. Yes, Becky was up and awake getting ready for her triathlon. So rather than going to sleep, Michael and I went with them to Ironman village to see Becky start her race. (Jason stayed behind and caught up on zzz's).

So Michael and I were functioning on zero sleep. Becky and all the other triathletes and all the family and friends were getting ready for the big race. Yeah, it was still dark. The race would last all day and these heros will have tested their bodies to their max. So I can't really complain for being tired. Besides, it was exciting! There were about 2100 triathletes and the whole operation was pretty impressive. By the time the race started, Michael and I secured front row seats.

You want to know how fast Becky is? Everyone was lined up ready to jump off the dock one by one. My camera followed Becky as she moved up the line, got to the front, and by the time I snapped the picture, she had already been in the water! So I got her before she jumped but I didn't get a shot of her mid-air jumping into the water. She's quick like that! Actually, swimming is her strongest event. While we were waiting for Becky, I fell asleep standing! I was on the edge of a step and I nodded off and I suddenly grabbed on to the guy next to me. No, he didn't know me. He was startled but since I was half asleep, I couldn't think of what to say so I just kinda mumbled something like, 'oh i'm sorry'. I should have said, 'oh pardon me. I just fell asleep. While standing.' Hehe. And it happened again too! We relocated to where Becky and everyone else would exit the water and while waiting for her, I nodded off several times. There was a different guy standing next to me and I lost count of the number of times that I fell over and bumped into him side ways. It was kinda embarassing but funny as I think back on it. LOL, after Becky came out of the water and I cheered and took my pictures, I announced, 'okay, i can go to sleep now!' He kinda chuckled.

Becky's next event would be the 112 mile bike ride followed by the 26.2 marathon so we knew we'd have some time. We returned to the hotel to sleep for three hours, then we checked out of our room. We eventually got lunch/dinner then found a spot along the road to watch the runners go by. It's funny because we all had a chant prepared and sang for her when Becky went by! It's so amazing to see them go! One guy took a short break next to where I was sitting so that he could change his socks. This was his first triathlon and I asked him what motivated him to do this and he replied, 'Well, it's a mountain.' That was so inspiring! LOL, but he also said that this would probably be his last triathlon.

The really fun part was being at the finish line area. There were crowds of people lined up on both sides as everyone cheered for everyone running, jogging, or walking by. We all clapped, yelled, screamed, cheered, and rang lil cowbells in congratulations as the triathletes crossed the finish line. I found it moving to be a part of someone else's victory. There we were cheering for someone we didn't even know and being genuinely happy for their accomplishment. It was awesome because there were people who were crying as they approached the finish line. Many were even holding hands with family members. These people put their bodies through hell and got to the finish line where hundreds of people were cheering them on. And we contributed to their experience. It's amazing! Can you imagine what a bummer it would be to have silence as you finished? As if it were unnoticed? That would suck! So I cheered the best I could.

Then when Becky came around just after 11:00 PM, I exploded! She had been doing this for literally the entire day and here she was finishing. She had her mom in one hand and her sister in the other hand and together they crossed the finish line. Wow! What a day!

By the time this was all done, it had been a long day and everyone was tired. We met back up with David who let us stay at his (huge) place on campus. Thanks Dave!!! He's got an enormous apartment dorm room all to himself so he let us crash there since we only had our hotel room for two days and we had to check out. He saved us a buck plus it was super fun to hang out with him again more! =)

I can say that Louisville, KY was fun. We may not have been able to see a whole lot of sites and do the whole tourist thing, but that's totally okay. We'll be doing tons of that on our road trip. Really, the whole trip was planned to support Becky and to see her race. It was a pleasure to see her finish! Plus it was extra fun being able to meet her family and friends. And finally, it was really good being able to meet David and Larry and Jason and Pablo - somewhat local GCN'ers in this area. Oh yeah, and the dancing was fun too!

If you'd like to see tons of other pictures of the Louisville leg of our road trip, check them out here in my facebook album!

Next stop - Indianapolis, Indiana (via Cincinnati, Ohio)!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wanting Someone To Choose Me

Pardon me, but I'm interrupting this series of road trip vacation blog posts to process some raw thoughts that i've been having since before I left for this trip. Things and thoughts have kinda escalated since then and i'm feeling pretty crappy about things. I'll resume the posts about the vacation soon - we left Louisville, KY and have been in Indianapolis, IN for the past couple days. We leave in the morning for Grand Rapids, MI. So stay tuned for that because i'll have pics to share.

For right now though, I just need to be real.

I think i'm feeling pretty romantically rejected. Jeez, what the frickin' hell is wrong with me? I mean, seriously. It's like i'm the freak that NO ONE in their right mind would consider dating. Am I really that hard to connect with? How can I NOT feel undesirable when every time I begin to develop feelings for someone, it is NEVER mutual? For long, at least. I mean, damn it!


Okay, so what the hell happened to Eric this time?

Remember almost two weeks ago, I briefly mentioned that I was hanging out with this guy that really peaked my interest? I said that we had both expressed interest in each other and we were just taking things slow and that we connected on many levels, blah blah blah. Well, I received a message from this guy about a week and a half ago saying that he and his ex were "working things out" . . . .

What the frickin' hell is up with that? We hung out several times and both expressed interest in each other. We both articulated feeling like we both connect. And so now he's revisiting potentially getting back with his ex-boyfriend? So here's the thing. He spent enough time with me to figure out whether or not he wants to spend more time with me. And yet, after that he chooses to go back to the guy he broke up with rather than continuing to connect with me.

Here's the kicker too - this past Sunday night I received a phone call from the ex-boyfriend saying, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't text my boyfriend." WTF? First of all, he never communicated to me that they were "boyfriends" again. He simply told me that they had been talking and working things out. Whatever. Secondly, who the hell does he think he is? He's marking his territory like some kind of animal pissing around and telling me to stay away from his man. And this is the kind of possessive machismo guy (who is too insecure about his "boyfriend" receiving text messages and hanging out with someone else) that he chooses to continue working things out with instead of choosing to connect with me further? Plus, he couldn't tell me himself? I had to hear it from the exboyfriend that he's no longer the ex and he tells me to back off?!

Do you see how this can make me feel both angry and frickin unwanted? From what he discovered about me thus far was not enough for him to want to choose me.

Is it so bad to want someone to choose me?

I must sound utterly pathetic. The confusing part is that when I take a step back and look at myself, I don't see someone who is pathetic. I don't see a loser. I don't see this guy who no one in their right mind would want to date. I do think I'm a catch. I think. Wait, right?

In one instance, I crushed on a guy who I had been getting to know for a year and we were good friends. I was hopeful because I *thought* that I was seeing certain "signals" of interest. It became clear that he doesn't see me as anything more than friends. After knowing me, he didn't choose me.

In another instance, I started communicating with someone over a period of months. At the time, we were mutually interested and even, for a time, were physically affectionate towards one another. But eventually, he wanted to just be friends. After connecting with me, he didn't choose me.

In three other (separate) instances, I went on some dates with guys that I just didn't feel a connection with.

In the most recent instance with the one and his ex, I was really hopeful about this one. He really did make me smile inside. We had common interests, common heart, common passion, common vision, common interest in each other. But he still didn't choose me.

There was also this guy that I had been interested in but we hadn't really spent much time with each other yet because I wasn't around all that much. But I was definitely interested in this guy. So much so that I was even ready to ask him out on a date after vacation. Well tonight, I spoke on the phone with a good friend of mine who hesitantly told me that this guy that i'm interested in just sent my friend an email asking him for a date. Another guy who didn't choose me.

Why is it so hard for me to get on someone's radar? Why is it so hard to experience a mutual connection with someone and to have that progress further? I've never been in an actual relationship. I've gone on dates but I've never had a boyfriend. Why?

It seems like I tend to crush on guys that are unavailable or not ready for a relationship. At least, that is, that's just what they're telling me. Maybe they are just watering down the fact that they simply are not *in to* me.

I dunno. This just sucks though. It's not that I'm desperate. It's that I want to feel connected with someone more intimately than the hundreds of platonic friendships that I have. Is it okay to just want to be with someone of whom we could walk through life together? Is it okay just to want someone to like me enough to want to court me?

To be honest, there's a part of me that seriously wants to just give up on the hope of a romantic relationship. I'd like to just say screw it all! I'll stay single.

Look. I know I'm not perfect. I know I haven't figured all this out. I'll be the first to admit that i'm still trying to navigate these relationship waters. There are times when I crush. There are times when I fall for someone. There are times when I just enjoy good fun with someone (for a time). But at the end of the day, I just want something mutual and reciprocal.

Is that much to ask for?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Road Trip Destination: St. Louis, Missouri

It's so hard to say goodbye (to home) so we decided to yell it instead . . . . from St. Louis, Missouri!

We finished our first couple days of our lil' Road Trip Adventure through the MidWest and it's been fun so far! We arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday late eve on Aug. 21st and we stayed until Friday noon on Aug. 24th so that means we had all of Wednesday and Thursday to site see, relax and play.

As we make our way on this trip, we're sampling pizza along the way - so stay tuned for a future separate post on "Pizza Wars" - the quest for the best pizza in the Heartland of America. Ha, okay, so maybe it's a bit unofficial and won't make the Food Network but hey, i'll review and recommend some of our fav's that we've discovered.

Aside from the pizza, we also saw some fabulous sites, interesting people, took tons of pics (see link below) and oh yeah, I met a hot guy in the restroom . . . .

Ah St. Louis! The thing that I loved about this city were the neighborhoods. There were trees everywhere! Remember, I'm coming from Southern California where you have to drive out an hour and a half to see a tree larger than your house. In St. Louis, it was amazing to see how the trees branched over the streets. It was green. It was peaceful.

The homes had character too. Most seemed built out of brick and I was jealous of the fireplaces that many of them had. Although I hear that most people have to run their air conditioning 24/7 because it's otherwise crazy hot. I said in my last post that it was humid. I take that back. It was just warm and hot all the time.

Michael and I are good friends and we've taken a number of trips together. In St. Louis, we were hosted by a friend of ours, Ron, who showed us around town the best he could. (Thanks Ron!) He had just moved there from Seattle, WA a week ago because he's in a doctoral program at St. Louis University (SLU). He showed us around campus and I was pleased to see that it was a very well maintained campus with clean grounds, nice landscape, interesting statues, and hot students - oh my gosh the guys there are so cute. Sigh, and straight too, most likely. But still.

It was actually kinda fun to see undergrads moving into the dorms with the help of their parents. I've never lived on campus so the sight of seeing "move in day" with students and parents hauling boxes and furniture into the dorms from out of their vehicles and U-Haul trailers was something i've only seen on TV or the movies. I think it would have been fun to live in the dorms (had I been able to afford it at the time) so that I too could experience loud music from the neighbors across the hall at insane hours, having to share a room with a weird guy I had just met, eating expensive cafeteria food that isn't quite fine dining, and trying to navigate the social hierarchies of a system much bigger and more intimidating than high school.

Actually, it sounds bad, but I really would have loved to experience the dorms during the "college years". Right after high school, I went to a university but I still lived with my mom and so had to commute. I did join a co-ed social fraternity, worked on campus, and was involved in numerous clubs - but the dorm experience would have topped it all off! Oh but it was fun hanging out with a frat bro who did live in the dorms. (No, nothing happened. Probably could have. I was too deep in the closet to have had the courage.) That's okay though. My college journey was mine, even without being in the dorms. But I digress . . . .

Apparently SLU is a Catholic university. I didn't know that. We checked out St. Francis Xavier Catholic church (near the campus) which seemed nice enough. Michael thought it was actually a "School for Gifted Youngsters" but I told him I didn't think St. Francis was Professor X. Afterwards, we went and saw the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Now that was an impressive structure. It was grand and regal and actually quite inspiring. As someone who's expression and lifestyle of faith is pretty organic, I enjoy seeing institutional structures. I'm just not impressed with having my faith governed by them. But artistically, I love them!

We made our way to Forest Park. Pretty big park. I guess it compares to Central Park in NY. We needed our GPS to navigate out!

There was this awesome statue of St. Louis riding a horse on top of a hill. I always feel so free when I see huge lawns and hills of grass. I walked through it barefoot too! Ah, to be on vacation!

The park also has several museums and touristy type stuff. We went to the planetarium which was kinda cool because I enjoy star gazing, except for the fact that I fell asleep during the cheesy cartoon super hero constellation show. One cool thing, though, at the planetarium was seeing a replica of Space Ship One. That's the aircraft that won the Ansari X-Prize - a competition to build a space-worthy craft. I wrote a paper about it in school.

We met up with a friend and fellow GCN'er, Bill, who lives in Missouri a few hours away from St. Louis. He took time off work to come out and so we all spent our vacations together! It was fun hanging out and getting to know him for a day and a half.

Bill is someone with an incredible heart and has been committed to praying for so many people, including myself, in the GCN global online community.

We also took some time to check out the Missouri Botanical Gardens which was quite nice. I enjoy going through gardens, not necessarily because of an interest in botany or plant species but because I find it relaxing and peaceful. We had a good time strolling through the huge garden landscape, taking our time chatting and telling stories.

We also met up with some other local GCN'ers for dinner at a restaurant called Blueberry Hill. We had a good time reconnecting with some that we hadn't seen for either a few weeks or several months at the last GCN conference. I also met one for the first time. It's always interesting to hear different people's stories and about how various "gay Christians" are serving the Lord in their community or in their lifestyles.

While here for dinner, I noticed a rather attractive guy from across the room and while in the restroom to wash my hands, he happened to be in there. We struck up a conversation (yes, right there in the restroom) and I discovered that this incredibly hot guy was also incredibly friendly! His name was Elliot and he suggested some good places to go to while visiting St. Louis. He told me about Central West End which has some good "night life". I found out afterwards that this was a very gay-friendly area. Boy, if I knew that, I may have asked him out for a drink when he told me about it! Sigh, missed opportunity! It's okay, i'll likely never see him again. But it was a fun conversation.

During our last evening in St. Louis, we wanted to go see what the gay night life was like so we went to a bar/club. Since it was a Thursday night, it was pretty dead. We didn't get there until after midnight and it was also cowboy night. We ended up going to another club called Complex and it was pretty dead too except for a few more people there. The dance floor was empty so Michael and I danced. Eventually, Michael sat down (it was a long day!) and so I just continued dancing on my own. Other people started dancing too and it was fun to just let loose, close my eyes, listen to the music, and just move.

Before the club, we went and saw the Arch. This was an impressive piece of architecture built to represent the gateway to the West as the U.S. expanded into new territory. In many ways, I've gone through a gateway of my own - chronicled on this blog. I have been thinking over the past several days that I am happy where I am at in life because of this journey that I'm on. Regardless of the drama that is happening at work, I don't feel led in my spirit or by His Spirit to leave just yet. I enjoy being able to do event planning and logistics. I also like the fact that I don't have to invest enormous energy staying in the closet or mentally managing who knows and who doesn't. I can just be me. I'm also content with my faith. It's in tact. I feel like i'm living it out while at the same time acknowledging my short comings and trying to be better. There are definitely things in my life that aren't completely done in faith but God's grace keeps me humble. I'm also content with my friends and the people God has put in my life. And I'm thankful for how God is using me in this world, my community, and in my sphere of influence. I'm happy about alot of things despite a few of life's road bumps. I hate to paint such a rosy picture because it's not all perfect. I guess, for today, that's just what i'm choosing to focus on at the moment. Gratitude.

In 2005, I began a journey of reconciling my faith and my sexuality. I stepped through that gateway Arch and the view from up there has been awesome!

If you'd like to see tons of other pictures of the St. Louis leg of our road trip, check them out here in my facebook album!

Next stop - Louisville, Kentucky!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Road Trip Adventure Begins!

It's here and it's official!!!!

I'm on vacation!

I had a heck of a time trying to get out of the office yesterday. I was hoping to get out of work by noon which didn't happen. There were tons to do and I was frantically trying to handle the priority tasks while at the same time coordinating a few more trip details for Chicago and Louisville while also coordinating my planned meeting with my mutual life insurance representative (to sign a new policy) who was running late and would have thrown off my tight schedule because right after work I needed to get home, finish packing, clean my room and get it ready so that it could be painted while I'm gone, go to the store to get a paint roller and stuff, and then get my butt to LAX to catch my flight. The killer was when I was literally packing up my things to leave the office when the president called me and said, 'hey remember that thing I told you was NOT a priority and can wait until you get back from vacation, I need you to do it NOW before you leave for vacation.' I HOPE THEY MISS ME WHILE I'M GONE.

Okay, stressed after reading that? Sorry. I know, i'm on VACATION!!! Woo Hoo!!!

So i'm in St. Louis, MO. Ugh. How do people live in humid weather, I don't get it --says this spoiled SoCal'er. It was warm and sticky at midnight. But i'm excited to be here. Michael and I rented a car and we met up with a friend and we're staying at his place. We're gonna check out this place called Imo's Pizza. We've heard mixed reviews (from being the best pizza place ever to being a place to go to only if you enjoy getting sick to your stomach) so we want to try it out. We think it'll be fun to sample pizza from throughout the midwest (Louisville, Indy, Grand Rapids, Chicago) and see how it compares to my fav Domenico's in Long Beach, CA. I'll give you our review of Imo's later!

We don't have set plans for other sites to see here in STL but we're going to just follow our nose's. I'll be sure to take pics and share with ya! For now, we're off for breakfast....or, er.... I mean lunch. Wait, what time is it again? Blasted time zone difference.... =P

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Perfect Time For A Vacation!

I just worked a 14 hour day today. I originally planned on going in to work at 6am, however, I was up last night until 2:15am and I had a tough time waking up at 5 o'clock this morning. So i went in to work at my normal time of 8:30am and I was there until 11:00pm tonight. I'll still be coming in tomorrow morning at 6:00am to finish some things that I hadn't completed tonight.

Tomorrow is a training conference for work that I'm the event planner for so I'm in charge of running logistics. It'll be another long work day tomorrow plus I'm having friends over at my place in the evening for dinner and a movie night.

It's been pretty crazy at work for several months now. I mentioned the internal strife in last night's post. We were on the front page of the newspaper today once again. Sigh. My boss is really getting grilled! So the tension in the office was pretty high this afternoon. But as the day progressed, there was just too much to do than to be focussed on all of that nonsense.

So now is the perfect time for a vacation!

This coming Tuesday night, after work, I'll be taking off with my friend Michael for a 12 day road trip in the Midwest and Great Lakes region. I'm flying out of Los Angeles to St. Louis, Missouri and spending a couple days there from Aug. 21st - 23rd. We'll rent a car and road trip to Louisville, Kentucky from Aug. 24th - 26th. My friend Becky is a triathlete and is competing in an Ironman competition that Sunday. We'll move on to Indianapolis, Indiana from Aug. 27th - 28th. Afterwards we'll go to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Aug. 29th - 30th and then we'll go and spend our Labor Day weekend in Chicago, Illinois from Aug. 31st - Sept. 2nd. We'll fly back home to Southern California and I'll have Labor Day to rest up before heading back to work.

We'll be meeting up with friends and GCN'ers along the way. We've planned dinner gatherings so if there are any Two World Collision readers that are in those areas and would be available on any of those dates that we're there, I'd love to connect with you! Just let me now and email me at twoworldcollision(AT)yahoo(DOT)com.

Either way, i'll take lots of pictures to share the road trip journey with you.

I'm super excited about seeing my friend Becky again. She's a true inspiration. She's got a heart of gold for the GLBT community (she's an "ally" of ours). As a triathlete, she raises money for non-profit groups. For this Ironman, all her proceeds go towards the Marin Foundation. I've already donated and if you'd like to join me in supporting Becky and the work of the Marin Foundation in helping to form bridges between the faith community and the gay community, you can do so by going here:

Becky's Donation Page

Stay tuned because this is going to be an exciting end of Summer!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catching Up On Recent Events

It may have been over two weeks since my last post but that doesn't mean life has been uneventful.

With so much going on, I haven't had the time to sit and process my thoughts. It usually takes about 2-3 hours to write a blog post about something I'm really chewing on. But the thing is, I've been chewing on about 5 things that I could write about - all in separate posts. I hate to just write updates about my life (as if that's anything to follow) but perhaps sharing with you about things that I'm doing or am involved with will help paint the broader picture of my journey to date . . . .

At the end of July, I witnessed for the first time my dad cry in front of me. His brother (my uncle) died and we were burying him. His sister (my aunt) fainted during the funeral and the paramedics came out. These were his only siblings for all his life. My dad's twin sister died when they were young in the Philippines during the war when a bomb landed on the house. Now, with my uncle having passed away, it's just he and his sister. My relationship with my dad growing up was pretty emotionless. We're better now, now that we both came out to each other. But still, seeing my dad vulnerable like that was heart-wrenching. I'm sure this all makes him consider his own mortality too. It makes me consider my dad's mortality.

The busyness of my life and the constant connecting with friends has made the grieving process short. For the past several months, I've been intentional about catalyzing the regional Southern California Gay Christian Network (SoCal GCN) community. I've accepted the role as the region's group leader and facilitator and so I've been working to help build a tangible sense of community among them in local areas throughout the region. I'll write more about this later.

In a nutshell, in the last four weeks alone, I helped facilitate opportunities for people to connect in gatherings, events, and activities at Downtown Disney for over 20 people; a bonfire at Newport Beach for over 50 people; dinner gatherings of 7-20 people each at Long Beach, San Diego, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Universal City Walk, Redondo Beach and Mission Viejo; hanging out one on one or as a small group at Oxnard, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Pasadena, El Segundo, Culver City, Cerritos, and Woodland Hills. I've literally driven all over Southern California! I'm hoping to show you a bunch of pics in another post this weekend.

I've gone on a couple of dates with guys that didn't seem to be a match. I've also had a crush or two that weren't mutual. Most recently, I've been "hanging out" with someone who seems to really peak my interest. The exciting part is that it's mutual. We've communicated romantic interest in each other! We'll see how it goes but we're just taking things slow and one step at a time. We're getting to know one another and we're discovering that we connect on many subjects and many levels. He makes me smile inside.

The work place drama, infighting, and internal politics at my job (not my non-profit) have intensified. People are still trying to get others fired. Board of Directors are suing each other and cussing at each other. We were in the newspaper numerous times. I work in a hostile work climate. My boss seems clueless as to the actual climate of the office. I tried to give him feedback by telling him what the climate was like and he responded with a sense of denial. He says that nothing could possibly be wrong because our office has produced so much this summer. He forgets the fact that we produced so much because I'm the one he tasked to do all of these special projects in the midst of the craziness. Our productivity has nothing to do with the work climate. Of anything, it just shows that I was able to complete these projects despite the hostile work climate. But in his eyes, everything is simply peachy. I've also been working event logistics on a mini-conference that's happening tomorrow (Saturday). That means its going to be crazy busy over the next two days at work. I've been avoiding overtime, when possible, because I so much look forward to my weeknight and weekend social life away from work. But I may be going in to work this morning at 5am or 6am (goodness that just in a few hours from now) and I may be staying late until 6pm or 7pm. I haven't decided for sure but this will be my last work day before Saturday's big event. Sigh.

Through Catalyst (my non-profit), i'm working with a few other organizations on an HIV/AIDS Collaborative and we'll be working together to explore how we can serve the needs of the HIV/AIDS population here in Long Beach. We're only at the very preliminary planning stages so we'll see how this develops. The interesting thing is that this is the first collaboration that I'm doing with my old first non-profit that I co-founded 5 years ago. This is the same one that I left in 2006 because of the whole "gay issue". Read more about what happened in "For the Kingdom and For the Baby". It's weird to see this organization (that I still love) do so well - without me being a part of shaping its direction. The Collaborative meeting was held in my old organization's office so it was quite uncomfortable. But I know that we're working together on something important and I know we'll make a difference. The other thing is that I know that our collaborating efforts will stir things in the Hot Zone. Despite our shared value that what we're doing is NOT a gay or straight thing, it will be inevitable. But at least it will stir discussion within the Church in our city.

A sad/frustrating piece of current event to share is that the same night that we met for this Collaborative, when I got back to my car at 10:30pm I discovered that my car had been broken into. They used a slim jim to get in through my driver's side door. The only things they took seemed to be items relating to my identity. They took my DMV car registration, my car insurance card and my health benefits card - all of which were held together in the glove compartment. They also stole my new portable GPS which I got specifically for my upcoming road trip next week (I'll post about that soon too!). I had to take time off of work to go to the police station early in the morning to file a police report, then also go to the DMV to get a new car registration card. Plus, I spent time on the phone doing all the identity theft/fraud prevention measures.

Oh well. As with the passing of my uncle, I've had too much going on to really dwell on uncontrollable circumstances. I've just been moving forward and perhaps i'll grieve later. I hope that doesn't screw me up.

So much more to share so stay tuned....