2017.03.20 – Spirits lifting

Two weeks after the fracture – I am feeling more like my shiny self.

I never got around to posting the morning selfies today, but there is always time to do that before the day ends. But the news here should be that I actually wanted to pose and do my morning coffee selfies.

Since fracturing my collarbone – I have been in a funk and have not been feeling well about myself. But over the past week, my spirits have been lifting. I know this is not permanent and I will be back to my normal self shortly.

I am slowly getting around to processing the photos from my trip to San Diego for SD Leather Pride. While I was crippled I had a good time down there. It is interesting to see other communities at work. Maybe sometime over the next year I will spend a few weeks down there, work remotely, and check out what daily life is like. I will say I did enjoy the warm weather.

2017.03.14 – Recovering

Starting to feel more normal again

Last week, I had an accident. It is not what you think. It did not happen on the motorcycle, but rather right here in my own kitchen. I slipped and fell into the corner (where the camera is at) of the granite countertop and fractured my shoulder.

Yep – It’s fractured!

It looks like the recovery for me will be fairly quick. They want me out of the sling next week and want to start adding weight again in a few more weeks. I will be seeing a physical therapist soon and will go from there.

But the last week was hard for me – I was really starting to enjoy the motorcycle. Didn’t hurt that it made my commute much faster and cheaper. During the afternoon last Tuesday I was planning on making a trip down to Monterey for Sunday. On top of that, everyone around me noticed that my mood was just getting better. Since I had to focus on the road and bike – I would get to the office or home with a completely clear head. I honestly was feeling great.

So I went from that, plus getting around 8-12 hours of athletic activity in a week to basically having to sit back and do nearly nothing! I was fairly depressed over the last week. It is the reason why I haven’t posted up much. But that all changed this morning.

I attempted to go out for a run this morning. While within literally 10 steps I knew that my shoulder wasn’t ready for it, just the attempt changed my mood around. The reason why I attempted is because I woke up with no stiffness or soreness. I thought to myself, if I can do a 1 mile run, that would really help me. Sometimes just the failed attempt is enough to make you go, yes – things will be better.

Instead I’ll just make coffee and enjoy the morning

I need to start preparing for my trip to San Diego over the weekend. Can’t take my big lenses for the zoo, so I will have to make due with the RX100IV for the trip. But I am sure I will still enjoy it and meet plenty of interesting people at SD Leather Pride.

2017.03.03 – I am not dead yet.

I have been a bit silent for the past few days. Last Saturday I finished up the paperwork and rode home my first motorcycle. The last week has been very interesting for me. In a way I feel like I am a new person – something about me internally has changed for the better. But so far it has been an interesting journey. Here is how I started it:

After a bunch of internal back and forth going over should I get a smaller displacement bike in the 300/500cc category such as an Yamaha R3 or a Honda CBR500R or should I get the Honda CBR650F that fits me just right? In the end I decided that fit was way more important than a smaller engine. This was partly due to the fact that the inline-4 in this bike had no real torque spikes and every review mentioned that the power came on smoothly. But also many people who know me all thought that I would be level headed and would keep myself out of trouble. While not a supersport bike, it still puts out 86 horsepower at the crank and 77 at the rear wheel according to most dyno tests, which was something that weighed on the back of my mind.

This was not a decision I took lightly. I was hyper-conscience about what I was going to have between my legs. After I did the wire transfer to the dealer, I was wondering if I made the right decision preventing me from sleeping well last Friday night.

On that Saturday morning, one of my friends who rides picks me up so I can deal with the dealer and then tail me on the ride home. After all of the paperwork is signed, I do a bunch of back and forths in the alley behind the dealer trying to get used to it. Real quick I realize that there really wasn’t much to fear for me. The fit is nearly perfect and I felt no issues controlling it. If I kept the RPMs in a reasonable range, nothing bad was happening. After 30 minutes I hit the road with my friend in tow behind me.

Real quick I realized that I was going to need to do a bunch of parking lot maneuvers, my right hand turns were wide. There was rain on the way and postponed finding a parking lot until Sunday morning. But other than stalling a bunch of times, I was finding this real easy to handle. Part of me was wondering why so many people are against someone new learning on larger bikes, especially when they are a larger individual like myself. But I got home safely, got the bike pulled in in front of my car and decided that I would go find an empty parking lot on Sunday morning, which is a hard thing to do in SF, and practice slow speed turns and turns from stops.

That I did for 45 minutes until a van parked in the middle lot area where I was doing tight figure eight turns. But at that point, I was ready for some coffee and food. And this is where things started to re-wire for me. I was not in my normal neighborhood and I needed to explore. Since I was by the zoo, I just ended up at Java Beach Cafe. But I would normally never end up there since there was no reason to. I immediately start to get what I wanted out of the bike, breaking out my neighborhood and 7×7 square mile of a city.

The next thing I do is drive down Highway 35 until it merges with 280. This forces me to start getting used to starting the bike up hills, but in a very controlled situation with light traffic. Eventually it is time to merge with 280. At this point, I have really yet to be above 45mph, time to open things up a bit more. Without effort, I was doing 80mph and things were just smooth as butter and stable. I got off the freeway a bit later and rode around some roads I cycle and then headed home. This is where I realized that the power of a motorcycle can be insane – while following a BMW M5 on 280, we passed some cars. I looked down at the speedo and saw it indicating 100. I did not feel like I was doing that, but it was time to slow down and stop following that Beemer.

In the end I got home safely. But my adventures continued. Shortly after, I got a call from a friend who needed have his body shaven for an event. So time to make a b-line to the bike again. However, this was my first uphill traffic jam with no opportunity to lane split. By the time I got through it, I was really familiar with the clutch and how to start from a stop up hills on the bike. If anything learning to ride in SF is a trial by fire.

Tuesday made me grateful that I insisted on getting ABS. Someone jotted out in front of me and I had to stop hard on Market St and hit an oil patch on the road. The rear ABS went off, but everything stayed right on the line I wanted and there was no drama. For the life of me, I don’t understand why this is even an option for anyone who wants to ride in traffic or city conditions.

On Wednesday I decided to ride down to the office. I left at 5:45am mainly because I was up and I wanted to beat traffic. There was something magical about my first ride down 101 at dawn. Flying past all of the towns on the Peninsula, breathing in all of the smells, feeling the wind hit me, and watching the sun rise was just one of those magical experiences. It felt right out of a movie.

Once I hit Palo Alto, it started to cool off, and before I knew it, I was tucked in behind the windscreen with my chin resting on the tank bag. Honestly, I can care less if other people think it is douchey to go into a full, or mostly full, sportbike tuck on the roads. But when it is 37 outside and you are going 80 mph being behind the windscreen is a good thing.

On my commute home on Thursday I finally end up lane splitting on 101. And what people forget about it is that people generally make space for you here in the Bay Area. After giving it a quick thought, I saw a good line up until the next bend, and went for it. It wasn’t that bad and way less nerve wrecking than trying to bicycle in downtown SF. In the end, I have never gotten home so quick during heavy traffic periods – I was at my front door in less than an hour! In some ways I wonder if my comfort level is higher because of all of the cycling.

After getting a bit more comfortable splitting lanes, I started filtering more at red lights. All of these little things are becoming a bit less stressful and more natural as I spend more time on the bike. Furthermore, all of my actions are getting smoother. If anything, it seems like there is no substitute for time on the bike.

But throughout this, I know I am exposed. I know that I am invisible. I know that I have something between my legs that have a power-to-weight ratio of an exotic car. There is a healthy respect and fear about what I am doing, and that is still there.

2017.02.21 – Transformation

Tonight I had a close friend express how they were scared about recent events. When I went to go reflect on it – this is what came out…

Blood pumps rapidly – faster and faster.
Eyes wide open – focused and dilated.
Paralyzed by the crawler – no better on the radio.

The uncertainty surrounds us, scares us.
Misinformation on the screen generating the doubt.
The hatred bubbling on the surface.

This is how they control.
This is how they squash.
This is their plan.

We must resist.
We must prepare.
We must fight.
We must transform.

I will not be scared – I will transform this fear into art.
I will not be intimidated – I will burn the manipulation and grow stronger.
I will not be hypnotized – I will transform this rigor mortis into life.

2017.02.19 – Transformation

Left: Me on a run roughly a year ago. Right: This morning’s selfie

It doesn’t seem to me like my body has transformed over the last year. A lot of friends and even coworkers have noticed that I have lost significant weight recently. While my close friends say it has been gradual over the last few months, it really seems like it has just accelerated over the last few months.

It took digging up a selfie in the same outfit I took a year ago and putting it side by side with this mornings selfie to see my transformation. While going through selfies from around this time last year, I really wasn’t looking good. But even then, the selfies of me when I was doing a lot of cycling didn’t look much different. I really credit the new diet I am doing for this transformation.

I am happy that I became a selfie whore a few years ago – it helps keep me honest about what my life was like.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a new scale and I was shocked that I was only 210 – and just a few weeks later, I am at 207! 210 was roughly were I was before my old scale broke about 18 months ago – which coincided with my the reduction in my cycling. Even as of 5 months ago with my visit to the cardiologist, I was still hovering in the 225 range.

This morning I realized that my body has no issue running 10k now. This afternoon, I wish I went longer this morning before it started raining. Even as of a year ago, this was unheard of for me – a 5k run was long then.

Today, I am looking forward to actually running Bay to Breakers as a serious runner in May. I will have to figure out a outfit for it. But I have made a goal of doing it in 1 hour, which would be an 8:05 minute mile pace.

My lesson learned: Life can change fast!

2017.02.18 – Pain and new long term goals

My legs are protesting!

Time to stop being lazy and post selfies again.

I am still getting used to being highly active again. I woke up and my legs were protesting even doing a quick 5k run this morning. So I listened to it and said it’s a rest day. While running helped keep a low level base it didn’t use the same muscles as cycling did. Over the last few months, I went from having about 2-3 hours of active time a week to 6-10 hours of active time a week.

These changes have really kickstarted changes in my body. Between my new diet and being back to a normal activity level – the fat is starting to come right off. I am feeling good both physically and mentally. Riding in the rain has gone from being annoying to something I look forward.

This time spent on my bike puts me into a cathartic state and many of my worries just fall off. I didn’t use to get this deep into a relaxed state before on my old bike and I have an idea why – the new bicycle I bought is a full on race bike and the way it responds has a lot to do with it. While I would not say it is twitchy, it is very responsive to any input I give it. This has resulted in something very similar to the bikers (as in motorcycles) I know say to me, you have to clear your mind and just focus on the road and bike.

This is the type of pain I enjoy. I decided last night that I am going to start training to do a Triathlon or two in 2018. Good thing the office has a nice outdoor pool.

2017 is sure shaping up to be a transformational year for me.

2017.02.05 – Am I Too Intense?

Current Mood: Coffee

Today is turning out to be a really mellow day. My week last week was a combination of coming down from DNA and then it ended in a serious of frustrations which I don’t want to go into on my public site. I was going to do a flat ride along the coast, but there is a marathon blocking the route I want to take. Maybe in the end, a good chill morning is exactly what I needed.

But over the week, I decided that I wanted to get more serious about dating. So I decided to poke my toe in the water with OK Cupid. One of the debates I had over the week was, should I go use the latex poolside selfie I took in Vegas as main image. I decided to say yes to it. The reality is, if anyone is going to date me, they are going to need to be comfortable with who I am and not some perception of what they think I am.

I updated my profile stating that, hey if you are going to even consider me you need to be good with this. Over the last few years, I have just learned to speak my mind and be up front. And I should be up front on a dating site – I really don’t have time to deal with illusions. What I noticed is the number of people liking went down. Someone I was chatting to even said that I was too intense for him.

I was chatting to one of my close long time friends and he agrees that I have gone from someone that faded in the background to being very intense. But I am not sure this is a bad thing.

The question in the back of my mind is, am I just too intense for most people?

2017.02.01 – DNA Trip Thoughts

Selfie by the poolside at DNA 2017

Over the last six days I have been out in Vegas attending Drummer North America. This was an interesting and fun trip for me in many ways. In the end, I really enjoyed the trip and had a lot of fun. But my mood going into it was preventing me from loosening up some to enjoy it.

Starting the trip was rough for me. I was still coming down from the adrenaline rush from the near accident the day before. Sometime on Wednesday evening, my body finally relaxed and I was able to make smooth muscle movements again. It even took a few more days until I was mentally unwound from it.

Thursday started off with a 7.6 mile run around the core part of the strip. I keep on forgetting how many hills we deal with in SF. Went to the Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan for brunch and got an absolutely great breakfast and started to break my diet by having some added sugar. As a side note, throughout the trip, I cheated a bit on this front and allowed myself to drink. But I am back to following my diet now that I am home.

People watching at the host hotel lobby was putting me in a strange mood. More and more people in typical titleholder dress showed up and I started to feel like I was going to write off this trip as something that I would not do again. I also didn’t really have a good background about what exactly I came for – other than having a friend said ‘come on down, it’s fun.’ And for those who are just starting to follow me, there is nothing traditional or old guard about me at all. At this point, I am glad I weighed down my luggage with some formal leather,. since I was getting flashbacks to my MAL trip.

Some back story: During MAL it felt that one wanted to break the ice with me until I was more formal leather instead of my normal spandex/rubber/leather rocker look self.

But that feeling started to all fade away pretty damn quick at the first set of mixers and events. I got hypnotized on Thursday night – it was interesting seeing the different techniques used especially in a group setting. Nearly everyone there was friendly and fun and seemed to enjoy a variety of fetishes and kinks. Sometime on Friday morning after attending the Leather Uniform Club mixer, my worries all faded away and I really started to enjoy myself.

On Saturday for the Rubber mixer, I wore out the new catsuit. And oh man did it make an entrance. Afterwords, I decided to take a dip in the pool and some of the Women of Drummer helped take the following sequence of pictures for me – which I present to you in GIF form. Apparently I look like Jesus and they started calling me Rubber Jesus for the rest of the weekend – it was fun.

Rubber Jesus splashed for your sins! (Click for the animation)

I ended up winning a Silent Auction and now have yet another pup hood. There will be pictures forthcoming on that. I also got a pass to San Diego Leather Pride in that basket, and just booked my airfare for that. Plus tickets for Drummer California and I am going to plan on heading down there for that now. So much for my plans to reduce my fetish travel for the year!

Overall, I met a lot of new and friendly people, had a lot of fun, and really enjoyed myself. I’d do this again on the years I don’t do MAL.

2017.01.25 – More thoughts

I am still trying to figure out why I am so impacted by the close call I had last night. I’ve had plenty of close calls before on my bicycle in SF riding around. But there was something about this one that just impacted me in such a way that I have yet to fully recover. As I sit on my flight to Vegas I am starting to reflect on it and came up with three thoughts that may have contributed to it.

1: I’ve been learning to ride a motorcycle. I think this has a good chunk of the impact since I seem to be more aware of my body position, posture, and overall connection between everything. One of the things I noticed on Monday was that I started to tilt when I turned my head. Maybe this is something I always did, and if so I am just more aware of it. I also broke bad cycling habits and started keeping my head up more instead of looking right in front of my front wheel, started to not cover the brakes, and even use the same head movements you would on a motorcycle.

With all of that combined, I think that helped me avoid running into a curb at 17mph after swerving. But more so – I think I have a much different awareness of risks and actions I can take to mitigate them.

2: I had an eighteen month hiatus from bike commuting in SF. With the office in Cupertino, when I biked into the office, my route was on Highway 35. There isn’t much contention around cyclists and cars except for the Highway 1 intersection. But one of the first things I noticed with the new commute is that SF, and all of SF, seems to be more congested during rush hour than it was when I quit my last job. It seems like nearly every other car is a Lyft or Uber and everyone is impatient on the roads.

I really think that there is just more stress between all commuters in SF

3: I witnessed someone get doored on Monday evening. Was approaching Market and Van Ness in the evening and there was a taxi stopped in the bike lane. Someone with ample lights went to pass on the left and the door just opened on him. This just reinforces my vulnerability when out on two wheels.