April 2003

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April 30, 2003:  

OK, well life has been good and I've been keeping myself happily busy :)  Let's see, what's been going on!?!?

Last weekend I was out in Las Vegas for a Jimmy Buffett concert.  IT ROCKED!  My good friend Justin Green and I met up with Jessica and Mark "Hummer" Hamel and the rest of the Parrot Head crew for a fun loving time in the city of sin. 

On Saturday, after spending some time by the pool, we partied the day away before the concert at the MGM Grand, who hosted a parrot head get together at the resort.  It was crazy fun!  There must have been a couple of thousand people there drinking margaritas, eating cheeseburgers, having fun and enjoying the music.  There was a Trinity Steel Drum Band as well as a kick ass Buffett cover band who provided entertainment all afternoon long. The local radio station was there as well hosting some contests and I got to get in on the watermelon eating contest.  Hehehe, that was funny.  Hands behind our backs, me and 9 other guys had to eat a 1/4 of a watermelon down to the white of the rind.  Well, let's just say I was in the groove because I tore into that thing like a madman and when I finished, the next closest person to me was maybe just a little bit more than 1/2 done!  Needless to say, I took first place and put on a good show of "devouring the fuck out of that thing" for the crowd :)  First place earned me a $200 gift certificate good at any of the specialty restaurants at the MGM Grand.  That's a kick ass prize in my book!

That night, we all went to the show and Mr. Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band did not disappoint us!  It was a GREAT TIME!  He played a few of his new songs which were really good, but on top of that, he did some great old ones including "Knees of My Heart", "Gypsies in the Palace", "Burn That Bridge" (from the Riddles in the Sand album, first time he's ever done it in concert), and a really cool jazz version of "Pencil Thin Mustache" followed by "Grapefruit Juicy Fruit".  "Mexico" and "Southern Cross" and "Another Saturday Night" were the cover songs this year.  The show was awesome!  For the second encore, he come out by himself and played the acoustic version of "Lovely Cruise" which almost made me cry it sounded so good :-)  It was a very memorable show!

On April 26, my brother Tim turned 31!  Hehehe, he's catching up to me :)  I can't wait to see him next month when I'm out in New England for a visit!

And that, in a tiny coconut shell, is what's going on w/me :-)

:Penz

April 18, 2003:  Ahhh, yes, I must remember to update this damn thing :-)  Ok, so it's been a busy past couple of weeks.  Let's see if I can remember what happened.... ok, on Friday April 4, my sister Gini and her best friend Johnson flew out to CA to pay me a visit.  Even though 10 days seems like a long time for a visit, the time flew right by!  They had a great time being here and I had a great time hosting them.  

The first weekend they were here, we did a little CA site seeing on Saturday and on Sunday we spent the day in San Francisco.  That was a lot of fun!  My friend David met us for brunch at Savor down in Noe Valley.  After filling our bellies and taking a nice walk, it was off to The Castro for a debaucherous afternoon of drinking margaritas at Lola's on Market, which by late afternoon, was packed full of gay boys including a few go-go dancers.  Hahaha, it was a blast and made for a fun way to waste away the day :P

The following week, I worked the entire time and Johnson and Gini alternated spending days by the pool with trips into San Francisco. By the end of the week, they both had killer tans and spent more time drinking in the Castro than I have logged in 4 years :)  Hehehe, and no, my sister isn't gay but Johnson is!  Let's just say they both had a lot of fun ogling at the city boys :-) 

On Saturday morning, I went Scuba diving down in Monterey, CA on the dive boat The Monterey Express.  The weather wasn't great, but the diving was fun! The first dive was to 56' to explore a small reef.  The visibility was only about 4', but that was ok with me.  I just love diving!  If I only have a 4' window, that'll have to work for me :)  That dive lasted only about 25 minutes cause my dive buddy was sucking down air.  The second dive was right off the Monterey Aquarium with Kyoko, one of the owners of my local dive shop. That was a lot of fun! Visibility was about 10-12 feet and the reef was alive with sea creatures.  We were down for about 40 minutes and had a great dive!  This was my first time aboard the Monterey Express and I really enjoyed myself.  The crew were knowledgeable and friendly and the boat a good one.  I'll definitely be paying them another visit soon.  

Saturday night Justin, Gini, Johnson and I all went over to Michael and Shannon's house for a great BBQ dinner!  We had a wonderful time spending the night with them and their two kids Gabriel and Guilana.  It was great to just kick back and relax.

Actually, here is a cool picture of me and Gabriel from last fall that I just got.  Isn't he cute!?!?! :-)

Sunday it was one last afternoon drinking away in The Castro the crew!  Hehehe, hey, they wanted to go there :P and on Monday morning, Gini and Johnson flew back to Boston.  They took with them some great memories, great tans, and a bit of CA weather, as it was in the 80's for the next two days back East :-)  It was a pleasure having them visit and I look forward to seeing them soon during my trip back East in May.

And that, in a tiny nutshell, is what's been going on with me.  How about you? Drop me a line and say hi :)

:Penz

April 1, 2003:  

So, it's the beginning of a new month and I'm glad to say that it's starting off well.  Over the past weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of having Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold drive up from the LA area on Thursday to pay me a visit.  It was great to have him around for a few days, as I really needed to connect one on one with a good friend who really knows me.  Hahaha, since he and I have been like brothers since 1986, I figure after 17 years, he sure as hell knows me well enough.  On Thursday night, we hung out with my friend Alex and enjoyed a good night of eating and drinking together.  It was a lot of fun as Adam and Alex really got along well.  that made for an enjoyable night.

On Friday, Adam and I caught the first matinee of "Bringing Down the House".  Hehehe, with the both of us being big Steve Martin fans, and the both of us needed a good laugh, this was a great movie to see.  After that, we ended going on a great two and a half hour hike up in the East Bay regional park area.  We found this awesome place that I hadn't gone to before and considering it was 85 degrees out, it would have been a sin to stay inside. After two plus hours of hiking and talking, my body and mind felt really good.  I was able to temporarily relieve a lot of the stress I had been feeling for a while and continued to enjoy a great afternoon.  On Saturday, after breakfast, Adam headed back to LA and I headed back to the park for a good 3 hour hike by myself.  That was really nice.  It was sooooo peaceful to be out and about all by myself with nothing more than a day pack, a gorgeous place to hike and perfect weather.

Sunday was a good day as well.  After futzing around the house for most of the day, I ended up heading into San Francisco to see my good friend David Parker.  We hadn't hung out in a while and we were long overdue a visit, so it was off to the Castro for a night of beers and Sushi.  On my way to meet up with him I ran into my friend John, who was also hanging out with his friends in the city.  Dave and I met at the Pilsner for a few drinks and then after grabbing a couple of cigars from the local smoke shop, we lit them up and walked up to The Castro to see the sights and sounds of the night.  We ended up at our favorite sushi joint on the main drag and ended up ordering and eating way too much food.  Hehehehe, of course, we ate it all and washed it down with a nice little bottle of hot sake'.  Heheh, after that, we hung out for a bit, making a guest appearance at Badlands for about 10 minutes and then back on the street, I ran into an old acquaintance of mine (Mike) that I hadn't seen for a quite a while.  After that I dropped David off at home and headed back home.  All in all, it was a good day out.

"Sometimes, life is like a box of chocolates that have been left in hot sun all day. Everything is mixed up together and it all seems to be nuts!" :Penz

So, I've begun some serious work on reducing my stress levels.  I've learned a lot over the past couple of days.  First off, boiling things down to a very simple equation, I've learned that stress is an emotion felt by every living animal on the planet. One common denominator for the cause of stress is fear and every animal fears pain.  So, for the sake of this rambling, we will assume that:

stress is a reaction caused by a fear (current, imminent or perceived future occurrence) of pain (emotional or physical).

So, for me, I've come to learn that a great deal of my stress has been caused by me being afraid of something that I think can/will occur in the future. The fear is based upon some major life events which have taken place over the course of my lifetime

Hahah, yes, I know I'm 'speaking' at a very high level here, and I'm doing that on purpose.  These major life events are things that I need to deal with and they are very personal.   It's going to take a bit of time to work through the issues at hand, but I'm very comfortable to know that my stress has a name (fear) and that I have a way to beat it (identify what in my life is causing me to feel great amounts of fear).  The process of addressing this is something I'm enjoying. I've already figure out one major event which affected me in such as way that I changed the way I lived my life.  It has been a big cause of stress for the past year + and now that I know just how much it's been affecting me, I can deal with it. (just understanding this has already caused me to feel a lot better!).

You see, being someone who is generally pretty good at being able to give good advice, objectively analyze a situation, devise and follow through on a plan, it's been a real battle not being able to do this for myself.  Now that I've got some help in doing this, I feel very comfortable that my stressful days are numbered.  Hahahah, folks, when you're not accustomed to asking for help and you think you're really good at dealing with large amounts of stress, well, you're setting yourself up for big problems.  Turns out, the best way to deal with stress is not to be able to deal with large amounts of it (as I had been doing), but to ELIMINATE the cause of it.  This was a bit of knowledge that I forgot and needed some help in remembering.

So, in a nutshell, I'm track to fixing me and that's all I'm going to say about that :P

Over the weekend, I also had another great experience.  I got to reconnect with an old friend of mine, Leo Delaney.  Leo and I went to high school together.  Over the last 10 years, we've had very little contact together and the last time I saw him was back around 2000 during one of my visits to the East coast.  As it would happen, about a year or so ago, his father passed away and last week, his mom passed away.  I got the news through Adam's father and did my best to track him down.  Well, it was a lot easier then I thought and on Sunday night, I spent the better part of 2 hours with him on the phone.  Last night, Adam, he and I all got together on a three way call and talked for another 2 hours together.  It was a lot of fun to reminisce and laugh our asses off, as well as do a 'group' catch up. I'm looking forward to seeing Leo sometime over the next two months, as I'm sure I'll be making a trip back East for a visit soon.

On another happy note, my sister Gini and her best friend Johnson are coming out to pay me a visit this Friday!  They will be staying with Justin and me for the next 10 days.  They are looking forward to some nice CA weather (which I hope they get) and to spend some quality time with me :)  I am totally looking forward to seeing them.  I've really missed my sister a lot!!!!!!  It's going to be great to have her here.

Ok, so that in a really teeny tiny coconut shell is what's been going on in my life :-)  How about you? Drop a line if you so inclined and say hi!

All the best,

:Penz


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