Thursday, December 17, 2009

Food and Drink

Carrie, kicking back and chillin'. An afternoon spent at my favorite wine bar with Carrie, Dan and Jessica. It's not for everyone but I find it cozy and I like the wine.

This year I only sent out a handful of Christmas cards. I had been scouring all my photo folders from this year because I wanted to print some pictures and enclose them in the cards. To my dismay I've found that pretty much all of my images were running related; running a race, spectating and volunteering at one. I need to do a better job next year of having pictures from other activities. Now on my mobile phone however, I found a bunch of pictures that made me laugh because most of them were food and drink related. Shows you were my mind is at when not at work or working out. I thought I'd share them here. I haven't had lunch yet and this post made me hungry!

Enjoy the pictures.

Bobs Donuts
Jessica, keeping me away from Bob's Donuts.

Gitane 2
At Gitane, the new bar down the street from Cafe Claude, same owners. Great wine from Europe. I don't know much about wine but I know the characteristics I like, know enough to ask the right questions.

McNabb Ridge
Hanging out at the wine bar again. It really is called just "the wine bar".

Jochen Horn
At Jochen's place for a BBQ. Jochen is a fellow ultra-marathoner who I've come to know more this year. He and his girlfriend Kaori are in the neighborhood too, only 5 blocks away. Grimacing in the left corner is a fellow ultra-marathoner, Beat, who twisted his ankle earlier in the day. He's not happy because he has a big, big race the weekend after.

At a new Filipino restaurant that friends took me too. Like the atmosphere, love the food. Good thing it's not close.

Asuka Ramen
At Asuka Ramen.My friend John Branderhorst is half Japanese, has lived in Japan and is quite the ramen connoisseur. I don't know where this place ranks on his list but it is literally just across the street from my building and I like their Tonkatsu Ramen (ramen noodles in pork broth). It's tasty, hearty and usually what I order. They also have good chicken katsu. This was a day when I was particularly stressed with a project and needed the break, good food and away from the computer.

Pacific Catch
At Pacific Catch. One of things I miss most about Hawaii is "ahi poke", a raw tuna dish. Pacific Catch's is the best I've tasted here in the city and I go back whenever I get the urge. The sweet potato fries is also very good. Unfortunately my camera things so too, it focused on the fries:)

Mmm...Philz Coffee. If it was closer I'd be in trouble. I would go all the time. Not that far about a 20 minute walk. It's not cheap at $3+ a cup but it's good and the staff, at least in the Van Ness location, is very friendly and helpful. A more welcoming atmosphere than Blue Bottle. I prefer their house brand which is called "Tesora", sometimes I'll have the mocha version which is only a quarter more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Volunteer Position

So after a stint as the Run Director for my triathlon club in 06, a failed attempt to become the club president in 07, hiatus in 08 and 09, I am now the Design Director for 2010. What does that mean? Well I advocated for this new position and fulfilled it's duties back in 06 along with my run director stuff. What it means is somebody who is in charge of the club's marketing assets; the logo in all it's various forms, artwork for all the merchandise, creation of brochures, flyers, posters, etc. and a possible help to the web director. It all got started when the Merchandise Director needed to track down the logo and have it resized for stickers and shoe bags. I helped out and was soon creating other design related items for the club. I also played photographer and took lots of pictures which came in handy for more communication materials later. I'm no photographer, I only had two classes in photography during my school years but I take a lot of pictures, do a lot editing and know Photoshop.

This year I plan to help out in the same capacity but I also have a couple of new ideas. I have to flesh them out before our January meeting. Last year's Board of Directors was a successful one and I'm hoping the 2010 board will be just as successful.

John's Campaign Poster/Shirt
John's Campaign Poster/Shirt. It used to say "For GGTC Social Director". He won so now it just has the date.

Dave's Bday Shirt
Dave is our new Bike Director in the triathlon club and a good friend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I was in Arizona onHalloween for a race. I was there to support, crew and pace a friend. I never though I would like the Arizona dessert but this event, the past two years, has changed my mind. I wouldn't want to be here during the summer when it's really, really hot but Fall is good. It still got hot during the day because there is no shade on the course. The night was beautiful though, full moon and the light reflected on the sandy trails. Sunset and sunrise were spectacular. I've also been to the Grand Canyon, ran it in fact but that's a different kind of beauty. I would come back to this event just for more weekends just as we have had the last two years. These pictures were taken at McDowell Mountain Region Park.





Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comic Relief

Comedian Louis C.K. talks on Conan O'brien about technology from
Nathan Lunde-Berry on Vimeo.

Love this video. Saw it once before when it made the rounds, saw it again today when someone posted in on Facebook. Take a look if you haven't already. So funny. A little comic relief for your day. Even if you've seen it already it may still be funny, it certainly was for me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Whitest Haoles

Jess asked me if I could design a logo for her and Sam. They are part of a local canoe club here in San Francisco and they have come to calling themselves the "whitest haoles". The word "haole" originally meant foreigner in Hawaii but it has come to mean "white foreigner" and not always used in the spirit of aloha. I tried explaining to Jess that you can't actually be a "haole" IN California but she's already sold on the moniker and ain't listening to me.

Hawaiian/Polynesian culture and designs dominate the paddling scene, at least from what I've seen, so I've tried to capture that feeling in the design. I hand drew everything including the letters and it was a lot of computer work once I imported it in to a program called Adobe Illustrator - the whole project took a lot longer than I anticipated but a lot of fun. In retrospect I should have based my letter sketches on an actual font. I work with type all the time but I'm no typographer. I should have either made the letter forms really funky (graffiti like) or traced them from an actual font. As it is, it is somewhere in between and a good designer will be able to spot the awkward not quite right sections in the letters. I needed help with the "O" and the small case "e" and ended up tracing those from an actual font anyway. It was then that I realized I should have worked it that way from the very beginning. It was a really fun project and I learned a lot. It took a long time but I didn't mind so much because I was enjoying myself. Besides I owed Jess and Sam, Jess especially. Jess has been my crew chief for my two summer 100-mile ultra-marathon races - it involves driving around in a car and meeting me at the checkpoints, getting me whatever I needed to keep going and staying up all night until I finished. Sam was my pacer on my last race, running miles 75-100 with me, from about 11am Saturday night to a little after 5am Sunday morning. So you see it was my pleasure to work on the project for them.

I was always taught that a logo should work in black and white first. The coming of web and interactive design has blurred that rule. I'm old school though, I've kept to the original rules that was handed down to me. Even in this day and age we still need these identities to survive in one color applications, i.e. the back of event t-shirts, faxes or a yellow page ad.

sam haole.jpg
The logo in color. Looks a bit washed out, I hope it's just the photo. Image courtesy of Jessica Fewless.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Madison, Wisconsin - Summer 08

I was looking through some old photos and I found pictures from the time I visited Madison, Wisconsin last summer. I was there for a race and after I got back the only thing I talked about and showed pictures of was from the race itself. The pictures from Madison was put aside and ultimately forgotten until now.

At the time my cousin Margie lived in Madison and I stayed with her before and after the race. She and her husband Adam actually now live here in San Francisco. Anyway I arrived a couple of days before the event and took the time to explore the area. Both Margie and Adam were working so I did my own thing for the most part. I really enjoyed it. Food was good and so was the beer. Margie worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Adam was a graduate student there, both are chemists. I returned the day after the race from the Kettle Moraine area, about an hour east/north east from the city, to explore a little more before heading off to the airport.

It was such a brief visit but I enjoyed my time there. I even enjoyed the terrible thunderstorms they were having. Unfortunately they were terrible enough to cause a lot of damage. I ran through two of them during my race which took 21:40, that's 21 hours not minutes. Lots of lightning, thunder, heavy rain, falling trees and everything while tornado sirens wailed in the background. What an experience that was and I truly did enjoy the sound of thunder and flash of lightning even when I was running in the Kettle Moraine trails... well when I was in the shelter of the trees, not so much when I was exposed in the open. I enjoyed thunderstorms as a kid in the Philippines but we don't have them here in San Francisco, we didn't have them in Hawaii either. Good times. I wouldn't want to be there in the winter though, brrrrr!!! I've heard the stories and seen the pictures.

Enjoy the pictures.

Waterfront, Student Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Waterfront, Student Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Waterfront, Student Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Enjoying one of my favorite activities.

Walking to the Museum of Modern Art.

Inside the Museum of Modern Art.

The capitol building.

Margie and Adam.

For more pictures click here

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Between 50 and 80

That refers to temperature. When you live in the San Francisco Bay Area your ideal temperature will fall roughly between those two temperatures. Anything above 80 degrees fahrenheit and it's a heat wave and anything below 50 fahrenheit is too cold. Last night I was at a dinner party and I listened to two friends complaining how they have completely lost their tolerance for heat, one is from Texas and the other from Miami. Yup, yup, living here will do that to you. My very good friend Jessica is from Wisconsin where they have really cold winters and these days she can't stomach the cold. Love it here but we do get spoiled with the temperature.

It's 5:30am and I've been awake for the last hour because it's too warm to sleep! I bet I could go running outside right now in nothing but a pair of shorts and feel totally fine. Makes for a spectacular sunset though. The dinner party I was at last night had a great view of the bay and Mt. Tamalpais. Tonight, like last night, the restaurants in the neighborhood will put out tables and chairs outside and it will be a fun time to walk around. Alright time to go back to bed. The heat from my monitor is going to over heat me, haha. It might not be a bad idea to buy a fan, I think we have this weather for a few more days.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lake Tahoe

My mom loves Lake Tahoe, so naturally I call her whenever I'm up there to make her jealous. Just a little payback for all the times she calls me to tell me she cooked this and that and it's too bad I'm not there to partake of it. You know I find myself falling for the place too. The more I visit the more I love it. Lot's of good memories in Tahoe which includes finishes in the two 100-mile ultra-marathon races held there every summer.

Last weekend was a big one at the lake. It was my friend Jessica's birthday and they were celebrating it again in Tahoe. The last four years she and her guy Jeff had headed up there for her birthday weekend and taking part in the TransTahoe relay. They organize the whole thing; house rental, boat rental, food and drink and swimmers for the relay. It's swimming so technically it's "outside running" so I don't mind posting here. I was just along for the ride, a spectator. While all the other teams used small water ski type boats we had a sailboat, so spectators were welcome and encouraged. Basically 6 swimmers take turn swimming across the lake and the route is about 11 miles long or just under 18 kilometers. Boats shadow their swimmers all the way across. A friend had told me that the lake water is so clean you can drink it as you swim.

Got in on Friday and stopped off at Carson City which was home base for another 100-mile ultra which was also happening that weekend then headed to Jessica and Jeff's house rental. We were up before sunrise Saturday for the swim relay, done by lunch, grabbed a huge lunch complete with margaritas, napped in the afternoon and enjoyed each others company for the rest of the evening. We all need days like this. Sunday was clean up then we headed out for some group activity. Some biked the roads, a couple of folks mountain biked the trails and I went on a solo run with my camera. We then got back together for a short dip in the lake, a quick lunch and then it was back to San Francisco.

The weather was great that weekend, blue skies, a bit on the warm side but better than cold and foggy like we have here. Wish I was back there now. Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday morning in the Lake, headed towards the swim relay start at Sand Harbor. We were the only sailboat in the relay, most were using small waterski type boats. Somewhere to the right is the start of the TahoeRimTrail 100.

Ariel, our star swimmer. Lake Tahoe is one big freshwater pool, surrounded by mountains and a mile up. We are not at sea level.

Blueberries and beer, a quiet moment during the relay. Birthday girl Jessica is the one with the cowboy hat and a beer.

Birthday girl Jessica, getting ready to take over from her guy Jeff.

Late lunch and celebratory margaritas at Blue Agave.

Solo time on the trails Sunday to snap some pictures of the views.

Great views.

More views.

One more.

For the complete photo set, click here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Food and Family

My mom has just reminded me that I have yet to post the pictures from her birthday. She was right! June has been such a busy month for the whole running thing. First was my race early in the month then it was pacing at Carrie's race at the end of the month. Then what followed was all the reports, pictures, yada, yada, yada. After her 100-mile race, Carrie went up to Wisconsin to join her boyfriend who was visiting friends and family. She also stopped by Chicago to visit her sister, her family and her friends. She had quite the recovery tour I must say. My recovery from my race was hanging with mom and relatives. As you can imagine after these big races we just want to sit down for awhile, hangout and eat. In my case, eat, eat, eat and eat some more. Is there anything better than sharing a good meal with family and friends? It just so happened in was a her birthday so there was an even bigger reason to celebrate.

Food I wish was on my table right now.

Birthday lunch with mom and the relatives.

Mom cutting her birthday cake.

Hanging out with mom.

For more images click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pinoy Ka Ba?

Are you Filipino?

Filipinos are the only people I know who will ask each other this question, at least those born and raised in the Philippines. And usually when they ask, they already know you are. The question is the ice breaker. I get asked all the time and when I say yes I automatically get an extra smile and a little more attention. They also start speaking Tagalog (national language). I understand most of what I hear and read but the speaking part is a challenge. In my defense I'd like to say that I'm not Tagalog and that I left the Philippines a month before my 12th birthday. I was at that age where it was easy to get in the groove of a new language but hard to hold on the old one. It comes back to me when I'm home especially my native language - illongo. They say I speak both with an American accent. As a child I went to a prestigious private school and my education included extensive lessons in English and Tagalog. I was educated for a life, a world away from the farmlands of my native province. Considering the way my life turned out, I am deeply appreciative for the foresight of my parents and the relatives who took care of me, especially my grandmother who raised me for the first part of my life. We were not rich but I was given a priviliged life. Not everyone leaves the old hometown of course. My uncle Ambrosio (don't you just love that old school/old world name) lived in Manila for three decades. It started with college then on to the the high energy life of a hard working, hard playing advertising creative to eventually landing the high stress life of an advertising executive. He has traveled the world like my mother and yet after all he has experienced, has chosen to retire in the more laid back, middle of nowhere farmlands of our home province. Something admirable and endearing about that. He has traveled, crushed deadlines with the best of them, partied like it was 1999 way back before Prince even coined the term and still his heart returned to the dusty, small town vibe of Bacolod City.

This thoughts got started today as a fellow Pinoy at the United ticket counter asked me if I was Filipino. When I was younger I used to laugh it off as sentimentality of the old but I am older now and perhaps much more appreciative of my culture. In a country that is so culturally and ethnically diverse I've come to celebrate my own.

My running has taken me to heights and accomplishments that I would never have imagined. Believers in Christ sometimes use the Cross as an illustration of growth. You grow vertically towards God (vertical stroke) as you also continue to grow horizontally to the people and communties around you (horizontal stroke). My path in running is the same way. As I've ascended to new levels of accomplishments and experiences my support base has also gotten wider. I've met a lot of people through racing and volunteering. My involvement with blogging and the online community network Facebook has brought even more people into that community. I guess it was only a matter of time before I started reaching out to other Filipino runners. Oh I've always known a few but this past year, through the internet, I've contacted Pinoy blogging runners directly. I gotta tell you, it's been a lot of fun.

Anyway I am headed to Orange County for a race. I will be spending the night with my mom. I have permission to use her car for the weekend and tomorrow morning I head out for San Diego where I pick up my friend Jessica who will be helping me with my big race this weekend and Chris Marolf, another runner who will be car pooling with us. The race is a long one and we will be there from Friday through Sunday. I'm looking forward to meeting some folks I've only conversed with online, a couple of them Pinoys. Sunday afternoon after dropping off Jess and Chris I will head back to Orange County to spend another night with my mom. The next day, Monday, is her birthday and she has planned a big lunch with relatives before they drop me off at the airport for my evening flight back to San Francisco.

I'm looking forward to the race, hooking up with family and eating a lot of Filipino food.

Myself, the uncle Ambrosio and cousins.

My mom in her high school years. The photo resides in our farm house where other family pictures are kept. My high school picture is up there. I wish it wasn't, hahaha.

Downtown Bacolod City, small but busy.

A family gathering with my cousins, a gathering isn't a gathering without lots of food. Every time I visit for 3 weeks I gain at least 6 pounds, at the most I gained 9 or so.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Day Down South


No not LA but in the Palo Alto / Stanford area. I have a big race coming up and I find myself with only one good pair of shoes heading into this race. I need another and there is a specialty running shop in Palo Alto that caters specifically to ultra-marathoners. They carry a line of shoes that I cant find here in the city. What is this race that I dont feel comfortable having only one pair of shoes? Well thats a topic for the other blog.

I've been wanting to visit this shop for some time but beacuse I dont have a car I havent been able to find the time. You know how it is with public transportation, it takes much longer. Well work is slow again after a busy month so I decided once and for all to head down. Work has been like the hilly trails that I run and race on, up and down, up and down; but God has been good, not only providing a means to survive but means to support the comfort and priviliges that I'm used to which of course includes my running habit, my running addiction.

I caught the train down, an Amtrak type, double decked commuter train that runs back and forth between San Francisco and San Jose. It takes a long time with all the stops but it's comfortable. Catching the train brings back memories of my last year in art school. A friend and I worked as interns for one of our favorite teachers. She had an office in San Francisco but when she and her husband decided to start a family they closed down the San Francisco office and asked if we would be willing to continue working for her in her home office. After some deliberation my friend and I decided to do so. It was no small sacrifice. Door to door a one way trip could take an hour and forty-five minutes. We would have been fools not to take it however. We had this great paid internship with a most excellent teacher who let us work on actual projects, was generous with everything especially her guidance and the use of her equipment. Most of all she treated us like family. A little known fact is that Rozanne was the one who inspired me to take up running. She was a marathon runner in her younger years.

When Sara was born, Rozanne's eldest, we took on the additional role of "nannies". We would have "Playing with Sara work breaks" several times during the day. I also helped with bathing her, back when she could fit on the bathroom sink. I was always good at avoiding diaper duty though, hehehe. I always managed to be indisposed at those moments which is no small miracle in a home office. By the time her second child was born a couple of years later, Jason, I was already working at another firm but I visited regularly and had babysitting duty a couple of times. Yes eventually I had to learn how to change diapers. Something parents know very well, kids are pooping machines. The life; eat, play, sleep and poop. Over time the visits became less and less frequent. I got more involved with my running and these days I hardly see them.

Well it ended being a day well spent. I got the stuff I needed, there was a 15% sale on everything so not only did I get a pair of shoes but picked up a new flashlight for night running (the old one broke) and some water bottle holders. Met up with Rozanne for lunch, she's still the same and I stuck around long enough to spend time with the kids too. We picked them up after school and I went to see Jason practice Wushu at the martials arts gym before catching the 5PM train home from Palo Alto. The kids are so active and getting BIGGER. Sara has her Taikwando after school then swim team stuff, Jason also does the swimming and martial arts thing. Sara is 11 and she already has some of that teenage attitude going. Jason who is turning 9 in two weeks is still a sweet and funny boy. I can't believe I used to change his diaper! Time flies.

Kids they grow up so fast.

Jason, Rozanne and Sara

Myself with the kids

Around the art studio

Jason after his Wushu class

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coffee and Chocolate Cake Moments

Tough choices.

Coffee and Chocolate Cake, just perfect on a sunny but chilly San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

Samantha just had to get the salad.

Ah yeah, a nice cozy Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. The unseasonably warm weather that we have been having is out and the fog and cold wind is back but at least it was sunny. These guys worked out and wanted to get together at 6PM for a little dinner. I on the other hand did not workout and was in all day working so I was more than happy to come out and play for a bit. I already knew what I was having before I left the apartment. Oh I have some work due early Monday and I'm out all day tomorrow.

These are some of my good friends. We workout and play together, do dinners, movies, etc. Dana is running her first 50k trail run race tomorrow and Cheyenne and I are coming down to support her. I'm also volunteering, well since I was going to be down there I wanted to be useful. It's in Santa Cruz and it promises to be a good day. By the time dinner was done we also got Samantha on board. It wasn't hard to convince her.

This place that we are at is called "The Grove", one of two coffee shops in San Francisco. Well it's really more than a coffee shop now, they have a full menu, great desserts and a bar. It's not cheap but it's good. It has a cozy atmosphere and lots of pretty girls stop by:) What's not to like.

I just finished a big race last weekend where it was 95 degrees, quite hilly, where the trails were quite tricky with all the loose soil and rocks and I wormed my way to the top 10. So I've been spending the week in recovery and rewarding myself with treats. Not too often and not too much but since it was Saturday I had to do the chocolate cake. Beer, Wine, Meat and Sugar, pleasing me is as simple as an abundance of all four. Partly why I run really.

Life is good.

Dana, Samatha and Cheyenne.

Myself, Brian, Dana's guy who eventually joined us, Dana and Samantha. Photo courtesy of Cheyenne.