Friday, January 04, 2008

Six Weeks to Rudgy: Fitness Plan

Time to get back in shape for rugby. Here are my goals for 02/17/2008

  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Strength: Fall 2006 levels
  • Conditioning: 12 bleep test
  • Diet: No soda, no alcohol, no Starbucks
01/02 Gym200.25Sidewinder, plyometrics, coreRun: 15 min. hill intervalsLate dinner - pasta
01/03 Gym201Chest, back, tricep, bicepRun: 20 min. start speed 5.5 end speed 8.0.Good; need more protein
01/07 Gym196Side-winder, Chest, tricep, obliqueRowing: sprint intervals 20 min.Forgot breakfast

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Already

Wow! Fast forward a year.
November 2006 - Chest contusion at New York 7s tournament, most pain I've ever been in. Fourteen months later and I'm still having some issues with it.

December 2006 – Great Christmas Eve with Eric and Jeff. Thought I would throw up the whole 2 hour train ride home. Christmas day at Anthony's everyone severely hung over.

January 2007 – Great Saturday touch rugby and awesome birthday (with rugby, brunch, movie, dinner, two stepping), briefly date super model.

February – Enjoy the Six Nations with friends, coach indoor practices for Gotham, start refereeing full time and will end up running touch, refereeing, or playing in almost 100 matches in 2007. Meet Arturo.

March – Outdoor rugby practice starts. Missed boot camp working at D&D Experience in D.C. but introduced the new talent to some of the coldest practices ever when I returned, Saint Patty's day at Anthony's. Referee at my first tournament – Village Lions 4 Leaf 15s. Play a really great match with Gold in Philly and loose my team jacket on the train coming back to referee a match in New York that night, run the bottoms off my first set of rugby boots.

April – Run touch for my first Super League game. Go to the ER for complications related to my chest injury. Travel to Dallas with Gotham where the team wins the Pride Cup.

May – Arturo and I officially become boyfriends. Referee my first tournament final at Long Island Mother's Day Tournament for Under 19s.

June – 7s rugby season starts. Coach Gotham 7s practices, referee 7s tournaments including the Women's Final at Rockaway 7s. Start work as the web and design manager at Lambda Legal.

July – Run touch for three New York RFC matches as part of a Sport Center documentary, attended the Lambda Legal program retreat, refereed at the Empire State Games (loose 15 pounds participating in 21 rugby 7s matches in 2 day).

August – Gotham fall practice begins, help run boot camp, coach new recruits, referee first men's final at Sea Girt tournament. Crazy party at Asbury, Chris and Jeremy visit from Denver,

September – Referee 2 toughest games ever (miserable experiences) and 5 really great matches. First road trip with Arturo to Boston, accidentally show up to referee a match upstate 25 hours early.

October – working over 100 hours a week, have to cut back on rugby. Gotham places 2nd in union qualifying the team for the territorial play offs. Miss Biff's birthday bash (first time since joining the team I haven't spent a major holiday without at least one of the Heathers). Travel to Austin for Convio Summit as a presenter for Optimizing Your Website and Information Architecture to Support Conversion Goals, Lambda Legal wins an Innovator award for our eNews.

November – Work, work, work, work, work, and travel to D.C. for work training. Spend Thanksgiving at Eric and Jeff's. Arturo moves in. Movie night at James and Charles's home. First time visiting someone in the neighborhood.

December – Hang out with Anthony for the first time in ages, organize the Blue Dragon Award for Gotham, Gotham EOY party, Lambda Christmas party, have the flu, Peruvian Christmas Eve, Christams III at Anthony's, New Year's Eve with Arturo's Friends in Brooklyn.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Race to Deliver

Saturday was another day of firsts in a remarkable year. I ran in my first race. The Gotham Knight's team raising money for God's Love We Deliver, met on a cool morning with about 5,000 other runners to celebrate a season of successful fund raising with a four mile run.

John Vernon, Aggie John, and the Horsenails took the lead and flew in with good times. Some of us opted for a more leisurely pace, but I enjoyed running with my friends. I was never really winded, so I know I can push myself a lot more in the future, but I'm also happy with my 33:02 minute time. I was running 8:23 minute miles and was able to stride out the last half mile with little difficulty. Except to escape danger, I never thought I'd run more than a half mile for anything. It turns out you run a lot more then that for rugby. While some of the at involves escaping danger, more of it involves sprinting into danger, so I don't know if it counts.

I'm considering running the 6 mile fun run with the Front Runners on Saturdays or Wednesdays in the off season to help keep fit. It's not optimal training for the type of running you do on the pitch, but it's something else I can do to stay fit for the next season, and it's a chance to connect with some new people. After the sevens tournament this weekend, I'll see if I can rope anyone from the team into hitting the road with me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

For Judy

The rocky crevice of her smile
is filled with autumn decay
where bits of earth and leaf spoil blue lips
and frost lingers in her eyes

Childless too young
and suddenly old
her strength prevents
grief from escaping her

On a lonely drive
with futures so uncertain

Monday, October 02, 2006

On The Platte

The savage places were I once dwelled have left this city. Monoliths of rotting concrete replaced with palaces for younger money. Those dead and dreaming spaces brightened with new futures. Forsaken sprawls of selfish, chocking weeds murdered and tamed; nature refocused and directed into the cold, human geometries of lawns and gardens. The seasons conspire to underscore such vivid change. This urban blossom basking in the mild days of late summer seeks to deny the other possibilities of winter days in hard, gray desolation. I am reflected in the old and new – abandoned and reformed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Inner Superhero

I am Superman: mild-mannered, good, strong, and love to help others.

The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gotham Defeats Suffolk

Game Report from Alex Fallis
The Gotham Knights broken open a tight game in the second half to defeat the Suffolk Bull Moose 31-5 Saturday on a sunny day in Stony Brook, Long Island. Gotham took an early 5-0 lead when James Bain chased down a missed penalty conversion kick in the goal area and touched the ball down for a try. Callum Sigg then put the Knights up 10-0 on a scamper from the 22 meter line. But Suffolk responded with hard hitting rugby and late in the first half took the ball in from a penalty deep in Gotham territory.

That scored stood for the first 20 minutes of the second half until Keiran Lanham found an opening and took the ball across for a 17-10 lead. Later David Xiao was awarded a penalty try (his first A-side try with Gotham) which put Gotham safely on top. Sigg added his second try of the match as full time approached.

In the B game, rookies, B side veterans and A siders making injury rehab starts combined to face a squad of Bull Moose senior men and Under 19's. The youngsters got the best of Gotham B, 17-0, but the Knights saw good play from their forwards as well as nice runs by Ed Villeda and Doug Fields.

Gotham play the New York Police Department squad Saturday, Sept. 23 in New York City. Time and location to be announced.

Referee Report
Good weather and a nice grassy pitch with not a manhole cover in sight, a treat for folks from the City. Play was pretty even in the first half with a score of 10-5, Gotham. Discipline and organization made the difference in the second half. with Gotham executing well. Some very able tactical kicking when Gotham got pinned down deep in its own end helped, as did old fashioned hustle, including one instance where a penalty kick went very wide and a Gotham back alertly raced down the field and touched it down for the try, rather than resting in the heat and waiting for the 22 drop to come back to him. Some good performances by Suffolk players as well, but Suffolk's game focus is not helped by the distractions of constant conversation by several players with the ref and each other and running commentary from the sidelines. Great social after the match at a pub with an open deck to enjoy the afternoon breezes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stupid White Boy

Last night was a bit unsettling. Walking through Times Square with a simpleton's contented grin, I began to notice a number of people staring at me uncomfortably. I decided to take a quick inventory of my reflection in Madame Tussaud's window. Besides the disconcerting feeling of turning a corner and finding Nicolas Cage glaring at me through wax eyes, I discovered a river of blood pouring from a scrape on my knee. My lower leg was transformed into a gory mess. I loved it.

There was no pain from the superficial yet determined wound, but it was an impressive sight. I likely cut myself on a park bench or table watching "To Have and Have Not" at the HBO Movie Night in Bryant Park with Anthony and Chris. Not quite ready to call it a night, and a little proud of the uneasiness my warm smile and indifferent attitude toward the wound was causing, I decided to walk to Barrage to clean up and grab a drink before jumping on the subway.

Once I tidied up, I wasn't really into hanging out at Barrage. It was really loud, a tad desperate, and packed full of young, female, Japanese tourists. I couldn't stay and felt something new was in order – like checking out No Parking in my neighborhood. After catching the train at Columbus Circle, I hopped off in Washington Heights and stepped into the empty bar. The space was pretty cool, and the atmosphere, with only five patrons plus the bar tender, was very laid back. Obviously Mondays are slow, but I needed a calm place to hang out after the busy weekend. I had a vodka tonic, watched some anime playing on the T.V., and chatted with the bartender a bit before finally deciding to call it a night. That's when a perfectly normal night turned disappointing.

I thought about walking home (it's only about twenty blocks) but went the three stops on the A train instead. It was about 2 a.m. and the car I boarded was toward the north end of the train. Only four people were on the car including myself: two young Dominican guys, and an older black man. I'd pulled out a magazine but wasn't really reading, so when one of the younger guys approached me between 190th St. and my stop at Dyckman, I was completely aware of his posturing and disposition. He asked me if I was a cop, then told me some black guy had robed him of twenty dollars and he wanted it back. I told him that was unfortunate and he should talk to the station agent at the next stop to report the incident. Then he started to get in my face and said, "Well I want my twenty dollars and you’re a white nigger so I know you have it." His reasoning and the epitaph struck me as being so flawed and strange that I laughed. (That and the fact the strong kicking leg rugby has given me was at the ready, and he was perfectly positioned to receive a debilitating punt to the groin before he could make a move.) I didn't really mean the laugh, though, that just came out.

Fortunately, it wasn't a reaction he was expecting, and I think it completely took him off guard. He said, "I want my twenty dollars" again but with much less conviction. He seemed stumped about what to do next. Knowing my stop was almost up and hoping that keeping him indecisive would help avoid escalating the situation, I acted like I was going back to my reading (allowing me to keep his friend in my peripheral vision) and said off hand that it was unfortunate and he should definitely report it to the station agent. He repeated himself one more time as the train rolled into my station and added "so what are you going to do about it." I stood up and said "get off at me stop." I left the train.

At the time the whole situation made me more uncomfortable then tense, but I really think I was lucky. My impression looking back is that it was a younger guy that thought he could use race issues to intimidate someone into giving him something he wanted, and not someone used to simply taking it. It infuriated me someone would risk going to jail or fucking up their lives for $20 dollars. (Although I'm certain would likely have taken the whole wallet if I pulled it out.) What kind of thrill did he expect to get from some petty cash that was worth risking jail? The disregard he was showing me and himself was enraging.

I think he saw a dumb white boy from outside the neighborhood. Someone who was somewhere he didn't belong. In that regard, he's partially correct. I am the outsider, the ethnic minority in this neighborhood. Not just that, I'm an isolated piece of the power majority that doesn't have a very good track record treating minority populations well. The current administration's take on immigration does nothing to improve that situation. While I hope to be enriched by living somewhere so outside my experience and have a chance to engage people with different perspectives and experiences from myself, I don't have any illusions of being assimilated, completely accepted, or of "becoming" Dominican or black or Cuban or Russian. After two years, I don't even entertain the illusion of becoming a true New Yorker. It's not from a lack of love for this city or a sense that I don't belong in the city, and I'm certainly gaining a New York patina, it's that I can't change who I have been and how that's shaped and influence me. I'll always be a Colorado boy that moved to the city and learned to live here. Believing I could become "Latin Jeff" would be folly and takes more hubris than does the act of moving somewhere and hoping to contribute your part to the community in which you live.

I'm also left wondering how I would have acted, thought, and felt in this incident if it were about being gay rather then about race. In some ways I may have been more equipped to handle it, because I've experienced so much more of it. In this instance, I felt there was a need to assert status and prove superiority before taking what's desired, were as in the gay bashings I'm aware of, or have dealt with, there seemed to be a more direct assumption of the right to take, violate, and destroy. What if it was about both race and queer issues? I think the delineation between "needing to prove" vs. "assuming" the right to take is more a question of who has power on a broader social level (not just among the individual involved in the particular situation) than about the issue be it race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. With both this incident and the Rockaway issue, I guess my mind is just whirring. What ever it is that informs this behavior, I think it's important to address the individual acting and not attack segments of society or institutions. It's still the individual acting, and these young men should be accountable for their own actions. It would be wrong for me to be afraid of my neighborhood and everyone around me because of two hooligans dumb enough to risk their future for twenty bucks.

Being the dumb white boy is definitely a hard lesson to learn. Yet, I think it's valuable to learn the stink left where ever race means power. I realize it's presumptuous to think I've really learned that much. "To Have and Have Not." Perhaps the best I can hope for is in knowing I'll always be a stupid white boy, I may learn humility and compassion.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

3000 Words

I've been stressed juggling work, school, the beginnings of a relationship, potent friendships, two stepping, the complexities of New York, worrying about Bingham Cup, trying to fulfill my board responsibilities, nailing down agreements as social chair for the team, going to the gym, going to rugby practice, learning the laws to get my referee certification, going to physical therapy, and pulling together all the music for my cousins wedding. I'm beginning to feel like a pressure cooker that reached the limit, exploded, and now it's starting to melt.

Then I was reminded that this week is my one year anniversary of becoming a Gotham Knight, and I took some time to reflect on how completely it permeates my life and how much it has given me. Looking around the tables at brunch this morning and seeing the smiles, listening to Glaessgen and Fields singing Indigo Girls songs on one side and Dent's conversational roar on the other, I settled into a sense of ease and camaraderie; I felt enriched. I also felt guilty knowing that my new beau hasn't really realized he's not only dating me; he is crawling into bed with fifty other ruggers, an equipment shed, and a muddy field. They're all part of the package.

Sometimes it is difficult for me to put all that the team means to me in words, but here are 3,000 that hit close to the mark.

Stressful? Sure. but it's worth it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fifteen Days of Christmas

Chris and Jeremy returned to Denver today after a weeks visit. I really enjoyed their time out here, as always, but now that I have a chance to look back at the holiday season I realize just how crazy it's been. I guess it all started late Christmas Eve.

I was sick of working like a mad thing all week and finally put down my laptop and headed out for a late dinner. I sort of forgot what day it was and that everything was closed. After winding my way around the Village and Meat Packing District, a lonely pizza shop caught my appeal. I grabbed a quick slice. Since I was in the area and really didn't want to go home, I found myself in line at the Roxy. I'm not normally a big fan but thought what the hell. It turned out being a lot of fun. It was a light crowd, so I could actually move around while I danced. I didn't know anyone there and enjoyed being an anonymous form moved only by the beat. I ended up chatting with a few people and being more social then usual.

I met a cool guy from Brooklyn named Andre. We sort of danced in the same area for while and chatted on and off. He got me started talking about rugby, which he though sounded cool, but I was good and pulled the conversation on to other topics. A friend of his recently started go-go dancing for the club, and Andre was having a good time teasing him about his thong. At the end of the night, I was dancing with a Dominican guy I'd met and chatted with earlier. Once we were danced out, we took off and headed to his place in Jersey. The ride over was a blast. We caught this short bus at Port Authority on 42nd that was blaring salsa and meringue and sped off to West New York more rapid than eagles. The bus picked people up and dropped them off, seemingly at random, before zooming off again. It's the closest experience I think I'll ever have to riding the night bus in Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban.

The next morning I caught a more conventional bus – much to my disappointment – back to the city. It was Christmas Day and off course, Manhattan rested under an ominous hush. I love the city when it's empty. After a short nap, I made myself presentable and decided to start my Christmas shopping before heading up to Anthony's for dinner. Despite my genuine desire to spend the day alone at home eating cookie dough, painting miniatures, and watching the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy in my pajamas, I had a good time hanging out with Anthony, Peter, Merf and Chris. We played some trivial pursuit, watch something on T.V., and ate way too much of the Italian food we picked up and Peter's Christmas cookies. Later in the evening, Peter was killing me with talk about a weekend child rental program he'd devised. He had me in stitches for an hour. When the conversation finally shifted to going out to a bar or club, I was tuckered out and caught the six train home, leaving the boys to their own devices.

I think Monday and Tuesday were all doctor's appointment, the gym, and work. It's likely I ate during that time, but I don't really recall. Wednesday, however, Chris and Jeremy arrived from Denver and the whirl wind took shape. They arrived late and we trucked it over to Urge to catch the tail end for the ass contest hosted by Mrs. Gusty Winds. Thursday we saw King Kong before I scooted off to a rugby board meeting at a German restaurant called Lederhosen in the West Village. After the meeting, I caught up with Chris and Jeremy and we headed out to Barracuda, caught a disturbing L train to the east side to be scandalized by Thursday at Boy's Room, and finally hit Urge before calling it a night. Friday was more of the same. I had a doctor's appointment in the morning. Later, we met some of Jeremy and Chris's other friends visiting from Denver out at Starlight. Little Adam Joseph met us there as well along with his brother and a childhood friend. Paul and some other New Yorkers were also kicking around. Leaving Starlight some people took off for Opaline, and the rest of us hit Boy's Room for round two. Gus was working the coat check, so I got to say hello, and Johnny was there, so I got to chat with him for a short bit as well. But, Boy's Room was not the end of our night. We still had a rat infested walk to the Cock where we hung out and danced the lights on. This cute scruffy guy danced with me for a while, and we started chatting. Apparently, neither of us really looks our age. We both froze when he found out I was almost thirty four and I discovered he was only twenty two. It's a bit unsettling to think he was in 1st grade when I was graduating high school. Thankfully, the bar flipped on the house lights and ended the awkward moment.

Saturday was New Year's Eve and turned out to be a mostly quite, although not entirely sober, evening. Jeremy, Chris, Amy and I ate dinner at Empire where we gorged ourselves on sushi. The restaurant owner was there and knew Amy from on of her other establishments. I also eat there a lot and the staff knows me somewhat, so we ended up with complimentary appetizers and Sake on the house. It was a really nice treat, except for one unidentifiable, rubbery tentacle that turned in to chalky goo in you mouth and really disturbed the others. Leaving dinner, Amy went to say goodbye to the owner, give her a hug and meant to give her a friendly cheek kiss. They both ended up turning their heads to the same side, and Amy smooched her full on the lips. Returning to my pad, we hung out until 11:45 then went to Pieces just in time for the count down. We caroused and danced a bit then decided we needed a change of scene, so we dropped Amy off on my couch and headed up to Splash.

New Years day we all slept in. Upon waking I worked most of the day, while Chris, Jeremy and Amy went to lunch with Chris's sister Katie, her husband, and their two kids. We finally regrouped, lounged a bit before pulled ourselves together for the Saint at Large party at Pacha. We arrived really early and hung out on the top floor which was Johnny's party. Once the night picked up and they open the doors to the three other floors, we hit the dance floor. Amy was the first to cut out and Chris and Jeremy left around 4:40. Paul and I ended up dancing until the morning light before finding our way out into the streets. We all finally regrouped around dinner time, ate, and headed over to Rockwood to hear Adam Joseph and the Elegant Children play. Adam sounded great as always. David was supposed to arrive back that night and play with Adam, but his flight was delayed because of the weather in California. After leaving Rockwood, we ended up at Urge where David caught up with us. I ran into Rocco there, and we had a great conversation. He was very encouraging about my continuing development with rugby, and he's got some exciting opportunities in Australia right now. He seemed really upbeat about it, and I was glad to see him. After mingling at Urge for a bit, we stepped next door to the Cock. The cigarette smoke added to my exhaustion from the night before finally did me in. Paul and I left after about fifteen minutes. We caught a midnight breakfast at Washington Square Diner and hung out for a bit, before heading our separate ways.

Tuesday didn't offer a lot of relief. After finally sleeping in, we woke up and went to lunch at Mamma Buddha with David. I split off to work while they returned to the apartment to chat and catch up. After work I caught up with Amy, Jeremy, Chris and Paul at the Dish before returning to a house jammed full off people. Adam Joseph was here with his brother, Justine and Niki. David was playing Rockwood that night and had a rehearsal with Sara Wasserman before the gig, so her guitarist, some other song writer, and Scott all showed up in rapid succession. At that point I was ready to wind down, but with fifteen people in the apartment, it seemed like another night was just getting started. After the rehearsal wrapped up we all packed it up and headed to Rockwood to hear Sara perform. Luckily her set started on time and we reeled it in for an early night and headed home. Chris and Jeremy had an early flight the next morning, so we all headed off to our beds when we got home. Unfortunately, I remembered a small detail that I forgot to correct in my work that day, so I flipped on the computer to correct a small style issue in an article I'd edited that afternoon. I got sucked into some other projects and ended up working until 4:30 a.m.

Finally, it was Wednesday. I woke up late, Chris and Jeremy were safely off, but the flood of events wasn't over. I wrapped up some work issues, dashed uptown to my physiatrist appointment, scurried back to the village to update my membership at the Greenwich House Music School, holed up in a coffee shop to hammer out some more site function issues, worked my back toward midtown to catch Jai's Improv show, returned to the Greenwich House to practice for an hour, and finally caught some breakfast at Gray's Papaya late this evening before settling in to a relaxing night at the apartment while David had a fight with his boyfriend over the phone. Good thing the week slows down now with only a trip uptown to help a friend home form the hospital in the morning, catching up with Elias in the evening, physical therapy on Friday, followed by meeting with Diego in the evening, and possible Opaline to see David play late that night. Saturday is my dad's birthday and Big Apple Ranch starts up again after a two-week hiatus, and then Sunday, sweet Sunday, I finally have a day to rest.

Next year, for the holiday's, I'm asking Santa for two weeks in solitary confinement.