Monday 06.24.2013

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I’m in travel planning overload, Internet.
I’ve been searching flights for my San Diego > San Francisco trip and am pretty surprised by the costs. I just paid $101 to go from Philly to Austin Texas, but the cheapest flight I’ve found from SD to SF is $117. Such is life; I probably should have booked earlier, so I’ll take what I get. I’m getting super excited for the trip; Three days in San Diego and two in San Francisco. Pushead Collector buddies, tattoo buddies and adventures. Can’t really ask for more than that so I won’t complain too much when I book the ticket tomorrow. I think I have most of the lodging situations worked out for both legs of the trip and soon I’ll start looking into public transport options- San Diego Airport to the city, etc. Usually I’m much more ‘seat of my pants’ than this, but I’m trying to be an adult about it and have all of my ducks in a row before I get out there to hopefully thwart any last minute chaos.

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Girlfriend | Good Friend | Best Friend

Non-travel related, things have been coming up Aces in my life lately. I feel like the last year of therapy and working on myself has really paid off; my relationship with Julia is amazing. Lessons I learned the hard way are coming easy now; hard conversations are a breeze since we’re working with mutual respect and understanding. I’m really lucky to have the life I have. Even had a bit of a milestone the other day- Julia met my good friend (and former girlfriend) Natalie and they got along swimmingly. I’ve never really been able to stay friends with an ex before much less introduce them to a current love, so this was kind of new territory for me but it worked out just fine. I keep deviling the recently blonde Natalie about my fear and dislike of change, but if change means that I can keep up a friendship with her, I’m all for it.

Other than that I’ve been keeping pretty low-key of late. Saving money for the trips has kept me pretty boring. Movies, hangouts with Julia, movies with Erin, walks with Bailey. I have the life I want right now. Stable and fun with little bits of travel, adventure and chaos.

Photos: Hex Sign (inset: Julia, Natalie and Erin)

Thursday 06.20.2013

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I had intended to write a big wordy blog update on my time at the APP conference this year, both for SD and for ModBlog but you know what they say about good intentions.

APP this year was a trial; probably one of the best conferences I’ve attended but at the price of a lot of negativity that had nothing to do with the event itself. The trip started with having my luggage left in the rain by the airline’s baggage handlers (flooding the contents, ruining items and making me have to do my washing/drying in my hotel bathroom) and coming down with a wicked summer cold making me sleep more than I’m used to, missing a lot of my already limited socializing time.

So there I was in Vegas, surrounded by friends and loved ones and I’m sick as a dog with a suitcase full of soaking wet clothes. Kind of hard to get into the vacation groove. But ultimately I still managed to get up at 6:45am the next day to do a 2mile jog with Stephen and the rest of our assembled running club. As the days went on that became more difficult with the last day of jogging almost unbearable due to the run down condition of my immune system. I really need to remember that it’s ok to take a day off sometimes.

brosI still managed to dress up and deliver a eulogy to my friend Shannon. I still managed dinner with Denim Dan, a trip to the desert for a really amazing suspension with Neeko and Orb, and a little bit of socializing at the bar with so many rad people that it would be irresponsible to name them for fear of leaving someone out. I even managed to get a ‘bro-tat’ with my old friend Ron; we got back almost 19 years and this was a long time coming. Our choice of design… a skull with a party hat.. seemed to be silly at first but the more I read my facebook feed and see RIP messages as our friends are leaving us.. it’s a great memento mori. Ron’s wife Nakota did the honors for us and that’s a story of it’s own. Maybe I’ll share it one day.

Throughout it all I was consciously aware of missing Julia. Strange. I think I mentioned this before, but APP used to be a vacation away from my partners; a chance to pretend I was single for a week, debauch, do bad things that I’d forget to tell them about and then come home refreshed… this year it was a chance to tell my dearest friends about this amazing woman who’s come into my life. Show some pictures. Tell the funny story about accidentally confessing we were in love. I decided that the next trip I booked would include her; so when I found that I had enough frequent flier points for a Halloween adventure (Austin, Tx) I decided to invite her along. Big step for me. Trips with girlfriends were always something I begrudgingly did; to invite J along… kinda rad.

All things told I had more fun this year at APP than in previous years despite having so much to deal with. Paul King’s class “The Grieving Body: Does Body Modification Injure or Heal the Psyche?” was one of his best, which is saying a lot. APP attendees this year were a lot more sedate; our jogging club, people promising to stay sober and generally a more grown up vibe, which was great considering the amount of first timers. Leaving the city and spending the morning in the desert (on no sleep) to watch a friend suspend, Chipotle with Greg… It’s hard to condense a week of really amazing times into a short blog, so I won’t try.

Thanks to everyone who made my trip the much needed vacation that it was.

Photos: Desert and bro-tats (inset)

Monday 06.10.2013

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I’m tired, Internet.
It’s been a heck of a few days with multiple four floor madness at the bar and it’s finally over. In a few hours I’ll be sitting in a Southwest waiting queue (likely notified of yet another delay. My luck lately with Southwest has been questionable) headed out to Las Vegas for my yearly APP Conference sojourn. My bag are packed, my ticket printed and my faithful hound boarded with my lovely girlfriend (who I’ll be curling up with for my two hours of sleep once I get out of here) and I’m finally getting really excited about going.

Conference is a weird trip for me. Most of the Vegas experience is lost on me since I don’t drink or gamble, and most of the APP crowd falls under the ‘trying too hard’ category but ultimately more people I care about attend than don’t so where else am I going to have that big a collection of my favorite people together in one place at the same time? Puts you in a pickle is what it does. So I go. I bitch and I moan and I tell everyone that I won’t be attending, but I do. Always. It is what it is and I’ve made peace with that. Vacation commencing, bitching ceasing…

I’ve been really spoiled lately with the amount of time Julia and I have been able to spend together, so like I said last update there’s a bit of melancholy about leaving her (and Bailey!) for a week, but she’s been so amazingly positive and supportive that it’s been a lot easier. I hate to sat it, Internet, but APP used to be my little escape from the people I dated, but this year it’s going to be different. I know I’m going to have fun and have great stories to tell J when I return.

So. Check with BME’s MODBLOG (which can be found at http://modblog.bme.com) over the next few days for live updates from Vegas, and come back here next week for a full wrapup.

Until then,

Goodnight Internet.

Photo: Vegaswear. 

 

Friday 06.07.2013

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I’m alive, Internet.
The wounds from last week’s bike accident are healing; the bruises slowly fading and the stitches are doing their job of repairing my torn eyebrow for good-as-new, so I guess that little dramatic episode is almost fully behind me. The staff of Liberty Bell Bicycle in South Philly were amazing with my bike; I stopped in to price forks and they hooked me up, selling me a used set from one of their employees plus install for $20. Sure, the fork has a huge medical marijuana sticker on the side (which I intend to keep on. Screw it.) but their service was rad as hell and they even fixed my bent brake calipers and argued when I tried to give them a tip. Great little bike shop.

Now I just have to deal with this chipped tooth and the whole thing will be over.

I’m in ‘vacation mode’ mentally right now with Vegas a few days away. It’s bittersweet this year; I’m really looking forward to going out and seeing all of my rad friends, but… there’s part of me that’s sappy and sentimental and is worried about missing Julia. I haven’t felt this way about someone in a really long time. We do the whole “we have busy lives, sometimes we just won’t be able to see each other- it’s cool, we’re patient” thing on paper, but with the prospect of being away for a week I admit to being melancholy. Waking up next to her is a fine thing; apparently I smile like some sort of quasi-ginger cheshire cat when I wake up (she just told me this) and see her next to me. I know I’ll have a great time on vacation, and that she’ll be there when I get back, so… I’ll not let the grumps get to me, have a ball and get back to her next Friday.

Speaking of, dear Internet- I’ll be in Las Vegas from Monday after noon to Friday morning. If you see me at APP, say hello. It’s always such an odd thing, APP. I’ll get messages from folks when I get back to Philadelphia saying that they saw me there and didn’t want to ‘bother’ me by saying hello. It’s truly no bother. I really want to be more social this year outside of Conference; we’ve started a jogging club for health conscious attendees, I’m tentatively scheduled to go out in the desert with from friends and I’m going to be doing some sit down interviews for BME’s MODBLOG, so… say hi. I promise it’ll be good times all around.

Otherwise life is nice and calm. Bartended for a bit last night; it’s always a rare treat for me to get behind the bar. Slow, cool, rainy night so I wasn’t rolling in the big bucks, but… it reminded me that you can have fun behind the bar, making the most out of what you have. Good times.

That’s what it comes down to lately. Good times.

Photo: LOVESKULL