Noviciado Bike Race, Santiago Chile

Five years ago I was in Santiago Chile pretending to race my bicycle. I wrote about my first experience then, which involved a much steeper learning curve than I experienced today. None the less, I feel compelled to document how today came to pass so I may help future racers and my own shitty memory. Where to get the Information So first thing is to be friends with the facebook person/page . They seem to do most of the communication through facebook although they have a website but it does not seem to be updated as often. While you are at it, you can befriend which is the other organized racing I hear about but have not participated in. Maybe it will come in the summer? Additionally, the following page seems to be trying to represent the Chilean cycling scene so it’s worth a check every now and then, . It included a slightly more helpful instruction set for today’s race. I was sent the following post to instruct me on the winter cycling season for the Canadela association. So, I am now living in an enormous city with a shit load of little towns all around. And this is all the information I get for the whole winter. If you google map Cerro Navia you get a highlighted area of maybe 15 square kilometers. Fortunately, Canadela is on top of it and sent out this post a few days ago. Don’t worry about the Spanish. Basically it says, the start is at the corner of Las Torres and J.J. Perez, it’s gonna be neutralized until Noviciado and the finish is in... read more

Iceland – Part II

Continued from Part I. Note: The first several paragraphs of this blog go into detail about my hike with Naomi–which I found interesting enough to include, though it isn’t exactly my typical content. If you only read my writing for the sex-related stuff, skip down to the bolded “Weekend #2.”   At first, I was pissed Naomi had woken me up at 8 just to catch an earlier ferry. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was probably for the better. Nothing would be going on at the island during the day, and it would be nice to have a bed to sleep in to recharge for the night. It’s no secret that partying is a big part of my traveling experience. Naomi, however, would rather read a National Geographic about Madagascar wildlife; she likes to party, but not if it gets in the way of her top priorities. And at the top of her list was the 49-mile hike we’d been planning for the past few months. The both of us had loaded up on expensive mountaineering gear, and had even gone on some practice hikes through El Morro Canyon, so this trek was easily the crux of our trip. Our journey began early Monday morning, but I still had no intentions of wasting a party night in Reykjavik. I was 5 for 10 over the past three nights, which was a better percentage than my 2003 Havasu spring break days. So taking a break from the roll I was on would be like giving up my spot at a hot craps table so... read more

Iceland – Part I

Travelers always give the best advice. Over the years, word was spreading like wildfire: Trust me. Go to Iceland. Ask yourself what you’re looking for, and Iceland will have it. Since I don’t trust online forums or professional travel writers—most of whom are middle-aged and married—this was all I really needed. The main thing that had hindered me from going to Iceland in the past had been the insane air prices, which averaged around $2500 for a roundtrip ticket. But when I looked it up in March, they were an unbelievable $1000. Only problem was that all of my travel buddies had become lamer than a co-ed fantasy football league. Axe had a hazy summer work schedule and couldn’t give me a straight answer; ODR had become employed to an engineering company that gave him a whopping five days off a year; and Punchline was still broke after spending thousands on his wedding a few months prior. From the looks of it, I’d be going solo. Then one night at Woody’s, I ran into Naomi, an old college friend. She knew about my book, and had been to Havasu spring break with me a couple times back when we were undergrads, so she knew I was scum. Being a teacher, she got the same time off as me, and after ordering drinks at the bar and lightly discussing the idea of “Oh, we should travel together!” we went our separate ways as I turned in another 0-fer at Woody’s. A few weeks later, I got extra antsy and nearly booked a solo plane ticket, when I remembered my conversation... read more

Presentation: How do I build an app or a webpage?

On Thursday the 23rd of October at 7pm, I will be doing a quick presentation on just what it takes to build an app or a webpage or in general anything that might need a software developer. This is not a sales pitch. I have had the conversation a number of times with friends regarding how much they plan to spend on a website or how long it might take to build that great idea of an app they have. This presentation will hopefully be done in 15 minutes and I hope to cover the following topics: How long and how much it takes to make various kinds of webpages like blogs, business card sites, portfolios, e-commerce Native application development like Android and iOS Graphic design Outsourcing and how to find people to do the work for you How to avoid common pitfalls most projects run into Hosting and servers If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask before hand and I’ll make sure to cover them or just ask during the presentation. You can watch at the youtube link below or join the hangout... read more

Curiosity and the Asian Pirate

At some point in your career as a software consultant with IBM, they funnel you into a small featureless room with 12 uncomfortable seats and a bubbling projector on it’s last few hours. In this room, you are taught how to survive on the road, in the hotel, and at the client site. I only took three things from this… Always do your dry cleaning outside of the hotel, it’s exponentially cheaper, and you can bring mountains of clothes from home and the salvation army to clean for the same cost as doing it at the hotel. Chicago is a shitty hub airport to fly though for about 10 months of the year. I can only infer that Chicago is shitty as well. The receptionist is your first and most valuable friend at any client site. He/she knows everything that is going on and usually are in dire need of some conversation beyond the passer by saying Hi or Goodbye. One receptionist, let’s call her Janine, was as happy as could be. Always huge smiles on top of her very round torso. She was young and always in everyone’s business. One day I gave her my blackberry number so a group of us could meet at a concert which I made an excuse not to go to. A week later she sent me photos of her smooshy boobs from behind the front desk. An hour later and the photos were still arriving of other areas of her body. What the hell was going on in that lobby? As I left work that day I had to pull her aside and firmly whisper... read more

The Fear in Puerto Rico

If you tell anyone from the USA that you are going to Puerto Rico, they will ignore you and think you mean Costa Rica. If you tell anyone from the USA you are going to Puerto Rico for an entire month, they will immediately ask you “Why?” This is actually the programmed response for most Americans regardless of the destination as long as it is outside of what they know to be real. The Rum Diary by Hunter Thompson takes place in Puerto Rico and in particular the San Juan area where I am staying right now. I read this book once before, but considering my circumstance, I thought I would dive in one more time now that I am a local. In university I wanted to emulate the characters in Thompson’s books. A Raoul Duke halloween costume that lasted for several days even. But more than ever I saw myself in Paul Kemp, the 32 year old wandering journalist who is seeking his next place in life. After 10 years of travel and temporary residences and insignificant relationships, he begins to wonder “Why am I looking?” I was feeling better now, warm and sleepy and absolutely free. With the palms zipping past and the big sun burning down on the road ahead, I had a flash of something I hadn’t felt since my first months in Europe—a mixture of ignorance and a loose, “what the hell” kind of confidence that comes on a man when the wind picks up and he begins to move in a hard straight line toward an unknown horizon. When my kids are in elementary school, I plan to swap... read more

Rest in Peace: OurThursday Android app, Get a Grip

Three and a half years ago I created an app that I hoped would break the introverted chains of the masses. I called it “Get a Grip” and it was available on the Android Play Store. Apple rejected it saying it did not provide enough functionality, those sorry sots. Well last night, I made the decision to retire GAG in hopes for a more civil and humane future. This blog is a memorial to GAG. The app was simple as all good apps should be… you opened it up, clicked the enormous and somewhat scary tongue, and a microphone was presented to you with a stop button. That was it. What would you do? In 1000 days this app was downloaded 246 times and collected roughly 100 recordings. So what did these people say? Who were they? Why would they download an app that had a grotesque image of people gripping a slithery tongue? What would you do? Well my first and only use of the app reveals that I need to be much more creative as I still use this in my daily routine including work meetings.   My Dad… whoops… I mean Sophie chimed in with his very dependable attitude towards most people.   This dude took the opportunity to practice his Italian swagger for all to hear. talkintoyoumeinwhyyounolikelaspaghetti This lost soul thought that they could earn some money with this incredibly well funded app.   This bastard said probably the most obvious and intellectual thing out of anyone.   I couldn’t help but feel this girl was the precursor to the currently annoying and... read more

Q & A: What Men Want

First of all, it has now been almost two years since my last blog post. No, I’m not married or in a relationship. I’m still professionally single and living the dream. I still love writing, but I no longer party every Friday and Saturday night like I was from 2008-2011, and I’ve taken on some new creative aspirations that don’t involve my disturbing sex life. Anyways, one of my female Facebook friends recently sent me a message asking me some intriguing questions pertaining to a male perspective on sex and relationships. I thought I’d share it with everyone. If any girl has any additional questions, feel free to post a comment, and if it’s good enough I’ll add it to this blog.   Hi Dave. I’m just trying to understand men’s brains. Would you mind honestly answering some questions? Do guys notice boob size, sagginess, cellulite, jiggly thighs, etc., when looking at a naked woman, or do they just think, “yaaaaay! Naked woman!”? Yes, guys notice everything—maybe not the first time, but eventually there are no secrets to your body. If something is fake, we’ll notice. If there’s cellulite or sagginess or a gnarly mole somewhere, we see it. If you’re scared about some physical shortcoming, don’t be. Some guys will like that part of you. I personally don’t care much about breasts (though I’ve never been a fan of huge areolas). But I have friends who value breasts more than a face. If your body means anything to you, exercise hard and eat right. It’s worth it.   Have you ever had trouble maintaining an erection during sex?... read more

The Time I Quit Smoking

I first experienced cigarettes in sixth grade. I sneaked out my parents’ house in the middle of the night to go TP’ing with a friend. Some older neighborhood kids were sitting under a streetlight blowing giant plumes of smoke into the still night air. They had long greasy hair, baggy jeans, and absurdly long belts hanging past their knees. If one of them pulled out a switchblade and told us to take a hit, it would’ve been exactly as I imagined from all the PSA’s. But they didn’t. My friend came over and asked for one. They handed him a Marlboro Red 100 – the kind you only see in bowling alley bars and Keno lounges. He held the thing with all five fingers and smoked it like a fine Cuban cigar – then he threw up on the curb and never smoked again. I wasn’t so lucky. I smoked my first cigarette at 20. My best friend at the time lit one after finishing a can of Bud Light. “It feels awesome when you’re drunk, gives you a better buzz.” he exhaled. Due to his undeniable reasoning, I tried it. I didn’t cough up a lung as they do in every movie, which I’ve never seen in real life (not even when a 12-year-old smokes an entire Marlboro Red 100). And I didn’t feel like I’d found the missing piece of my soul. It was just…nice. For the next few months, I bummed smokes until finally I broke my first rule – I bought a pack. You are not an official smoker until you: -Buy your own pack.... read more

McNever Forget

The morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke excited. I was buying my new car that day, a ten-year-old Volvo, all black with leather seats and an aftermarket spoiler I couldn’t wait to remove. I’d spent the previous months backing out on the concept of college after graduating high school because 18-year-old me placed an irrationally heavy emphasis (100% sexual) on having a car in college. Having totaled my Dad’s Volvo by exiting a freeway without the aid of an offramp (that’s paraphrased from the police report), my days consisted not of learning to smoke weed or appreciate the Dead in Santa Cruz, but two jobs: repairing golf clubs and stringing tennis rackets for chump change, and hustling golfers on courses and putting greens for significantly more. 8 months after becoming car-less, I’d made enough (half the actual amount, thanks to a loan from my parents and a tap-in birdie worth $760) to buy another. I popped out of bed, too excited to shower. I flew out of my parents’ door and walked up 29th Street to my bus stop, ducking into my childhood McDonald’s because I had a few extra minutes as a result of not showering. I grabbed a #1 (Egg McMuffin, hash browns, OJ) and waited for the #7 on Pico. As I sat on a bench near 30th, a homeless man covered in excrement (or an extraordinarily done excrement-esque pattern) approached me. This wasn’t your typical Santa Monica homeless man, the “sleeping under a freeway, drunk or high at 9 AM on a Tuesday” variety– but more along the lines of the “tragically aware doomsday homeless... read more

Double Day

Lay awake in bed from 3AM till 7AM and you finally say whatever screw it and start the day. No aid or detriment of drugs to blame here just biochemistry, mental over stimulation, Circadian rhythms — what a mystery.  Morning smells like morning where you are and everywhere it’ll smell this way.  Good.  Crisp cool and you always feel like you want a hoody.  It feels like it just rained. There’s a printout on the kitchen table saying our gas will be cut off on September 15th due to a $1,446.41 outstanding bill.  You have lived here for not even one month and the bill is made out to someone not you nor your roommates nor anyone you’ve ever heard of so you ignore it because its still August for two more days and you need milk. Run across to the Bodega. “Morning.” people say to you. “Morning.” you say in return. Affirmations passed back and forth.  Yes, it is morning.  That’s right.  Say it out loud and convince yourself. You suppress the urge to say it’s been morning for over seven hours and the cheery folk are just showing up for the nice parts.  Insomniac jealousy, that. In the bodega the radio plays a station you’ve never tuned into and you remind yourself you’re awake by hearing it now.  Oh yeah.  Things are going on as if everything fit a definition of normal.  The radio is still a real thing.  People still use it, for real.  Its another reminder like one of those of tearaway day calendars, little disposables to mark the uniqueness of an otherwise pedestrian occurrence.... read more

The Dos and Don’ts of America

A handy dandy list for living in the greatest country on Earth. – DO marry a 16-year-old if you’re 50. – DON’T marry a consenting adult of your same gender. – DO separate church and state. – DON’T actually separate church and state. – DO drink alcohol and throw a table through the window. – DON’T smoke marijuana and sit at home laughing at the wall. – DO share your teen pregnancy on national television. – DON’T provide children with proper sex education. – DO vote. – DON’T worry, it doesn’t always count. – DO buy food from a Walmart Supercenter. – DON’T ask what’s in it or where it came from. – DO cut social programs that help struggling families. – DON’T tax the wealthy! They’ve got more boats to buy. – DO hire foreigners for a low wage then kick them out for being aliens. – DON’T allow foreigners to legally immigrate to our country and pay taxes. – DO bring your machine gun to the mall! – DON’T discuss gun control in the White House; it’s not the right day,... read more

The Falling Man

The Falling Man–So much happened so fast.                                In the midst of the atomic age, JFK challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, and within a decade, the space program did. The moon landing inspired a Cold War generation to pursue science and engineering in the name of innovation.  Kids who watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon grew up to launch satellites, create the internet and build the International Space Station.  It’s 50 years since JFK, and even as we retire the Space Shuttle program alongside its memories and triumphs, our curiosity [1] is still wild enough to take us to Mars.It’s the Age of Terror and double-dip recessions now.  Everyone wants to know exactly where our money is going, and why.  What else can we do?Just eleven years after we watched one suited man fall to Earth [2], a global team of experts sponsored by an international corporation [3] put a new man in the sky.  Up.  Way up.This man [4] was wearing a suit, too — a new suit — one that caused him panic attacks and claustrophobia in the years leading up to his historic fall.This man was all alone.In his ear was the voice of an older generation. “All right, step up on the exterior step. Start the cameras. And our guardian angel will take care of you now.”(Previous record holder Joe Kittinger, now 84, a retired Air Force colonel) The man in the suit stood on a small platform facing outward, suspended at the foothills of the heavens. ... read more

Another Failure

She winked at me. I average about eight of these per year, none worth following up – except this one. She was a skinny 27-year-old blonde who wrote at the bottom of her page “If I dig your profile and you dig mine, let’s cut the bs and just meet up. I don’t need another pen pal.” I said I dug her profile, and we agreed to meet for lunch that Sunday. Disclaimer – is never that easy. I’ll spend hours sifting through an endless amount of boring, predictable profiles, racking my brain trying to come up with clever things to email. In the end I get a few views and no dates. My first impression was that she looked older. Still attractive, but 32, not 27 which she claimed to be. She was sitting at end of the bar, a glass of red wine in hand. It was 12:30 in the afternoon. “You must be Brian, I’m Callen,” she said and gave me a half hug. She smiled, apologized for the drink, and started a thirty-minute story with “What a weekend! . .”something about an estranged friend from high school asking if Callen would be her maid of honor. I interrupted and motioned for us to go outside because it was a nice day and I wanted to look assertive and manly. During her story-telling, I noticed budding bags under her eyes. “I’m actually not much of a drinker,” she mentioned in reference to some bachelorette party that she now had to host. Somehow the reception, bridal shower, and beginning of the bachelorette party were all at... read more

Can’t Hardly Wait

It was Saturday night going on Sunday and the streets of Williamsburg were crackling with rain and laughter.  I was in a fourth floor apartment by myself watching the second half of Can’t Hardly Wait on HBO.  I recently turned 27 and this is how things are now [1]. For people of similar age, Can’t Hardly Wait was making the rounds on HBO/Showtime when we were just entering high school.  I think there’s a cycle to these things so each group of 12-16 year olds gets access to a pseudo-guide before beginning/defining their own trajectory — and, later, this new group will become the old group and pass on their own pseudo-guide.  Dazed and Confused.  Fast Times.  American Pie.  Breakfast Club.  As a youngster, you see these stories and characters as frameworks or almanacs.  As veterans, you see them as splintered pieces of your experience. In Can’t Hardly Wait, I of course identified with Preston (Ethan Embry) — an excellent iteration of the goodhearted, shy, idealistic main character in these things.  Believing in Romance, big ‘R’, is pretty impossible to do out loud at any age, and rarely harder than when in high school.  Wit, no matter how layered, often goes unnoticed  by everyone but the wit-user themselves (Aman…duh!) and a quasi-supernatural belief in songs and Pop Tarts as real-life omens is a tough cross to bear even if you are attending a religiously-based high school.  So when Preston affably showed his shyness, his reticence, his delusionary pursuit, and ultimate action… he sold it.  I bought it.  I found justifications or hope or whatever.  I doubt I’m the only... read more

The Disturbing Yacht Story

Twenty-two miles off the coast of Southern California lays a hidden gem in America: Catalina Island. Technically it’s part of California, but anyone who’s ever experienced it will tell you otherwise. Known for its big city, Avalon, most people overlook the quaint island village of Two Harbors. It has only one restaurant, one bar, and one general store, all of which are run by residents who work for dormitory accommodations. It makes a profit mainly during summer from its campgrounds and visiting yachts. Every June, a group of 20-40 of my college friends will camp there for a weekend of sports, hikes, barbecues, swimming, drinking games, and public debauchery (there is no law in Catalina for drinking in public, which is why I don’t consider it California). After a couple hours of drinking games, accompanied with a few shots, our group had taken over the bar. The only downfall of Two Harbors is the quality of women. Very rarely will you come across a solid 8 between the ages of 21-35. Because there are so few acceptable targets, girls who are actually 5s seem like 9s–like Double A pitchers at a little league game. If I were an ugly chick, I’d move to a low-populated place like this, snag a guy way hotter than me, get married in a haystack or something, then move back to the mainland and start a family. Beats competing with all the other California bimbos who get spray tans, “mani-pedis,” and dress better than I do. So as a result of such a poor selection, we are usually stuck going after high school chicks... read more

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Come True

Ladies, and some exceptional gentleman, I recently fulfilled a childhood dream. Are you sitting down? I picked wild flowers, fashioned them into a crown and frolicked in the countryside on a midsummer’s day; exactly like a storybook princess. Now that you’ve stopped weeping gleefully, here’s what happened. Once upon a time, I studied abroad for 10 months in Uppsala, Sweden, where I learned many life-lessons and came away with some very solid friends. This summer, my friend Katie, whom I met there, and I re-visited those lessons and friends, and my heart exploded all over the place. I cried when we landed, I cried when we left, but the highlight of our two-week stay was Midsummer. Midsummer is the celebration of summer solstice, the second most-observed holiday in Scandinavia behind Christmas, which exists to appreciate the minimal months of warmth and sunshine. On our third day in Sweden my two dearest Swedish friends, Tobes and Po, took us to a brick-red farmhouse surrounded by lush greenery and colorful blooms. Behind the house was a clothesline, because of course there was, and a herd of sheep grazed in the shade. Coolers filled with ice and beer sat on the front stoop where about 80 guys named Daniel and two sisters named Anette and Ann-Sofie welcomed us with open arms — literally. Hugs all around. Before we knew it, we were at a park with beers in-hand standing before the midsummer maypole,  which is essentially a giant staff covered in foliage, topped by a huge triangle with two wreaths dangling from the bottom corners. Children and seniors dressed in old-timey Swedish... read more

One Girl, One Cup

Due to my mom’s hatred for wild and ruthless confrontation, she never exposed me to the toothless sport of hockey.  The one time I attempted to watch it, I experienced so much trouble following the puck on our 32” rounded screen TV, I gave up instantly and turned on another competitive activity, Iron Chef. For me, I liked other easier-to-follow sports and simply stuck my thumb up at any band wagon that would pick me up on its way to the playoffs.  You see, growing up we moved plenty and clicking my ruby slippers to take me to a “home” meant Maui, Albuquerque OR Simi Valley. Try picking a football team with those choices.  It’s impossible!! But eventually the fair weather way of fandom became embarrassing and my reluctance to settle down turned lonely. The solution: place two quarters into a dispenser holding NFL team stickers and whatever team slid out had my heart.  I’ve been a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan since.  Ugh. Many many hockey seasons passed before I took another shot at watching a game and when I started dating a guy who lived for it I needed to lace up and learn to love it.  It took grave patience to teach me the rules, point out the fast-moving black speck (“or is that a bug?!”), and tell me the deep-rooted traditions of the coveted Stanley Cup. Stanley…What a namesake.  He helped me turn over a new leaf (type: maple) of embracing MY OWN HOME team from inception. The team: “under major construction” Los Angeles Kings. Winning never seemed so out of reach and the reality of becoming... read more