Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

The lola's (grandma's) Christmas Eve.

Tita's (aunt's), Tito (uncle) and one Lolo (grandpa).

Bored cousins young enough to be my own children.

The ironic thing about this blog - set up to show my family and friends the other things that interest me besides my love for my work and my passion for running, is that the pursuit of those things, the time and energy that it takes, leaves me unable to blog about them. There is a saying I have heard in exercise that seems applicable here, "if you can talk you are not going hard enough". Ah well so it goes. I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet however, primarily because my other reason for blogging, the same reason why I kept journals when I was younger, was to keep a record of experiences that I can revisit later in life. It is something to read down the line if I am blessed with a long life or posts to share with friends. My first post is still my favorite. I've shared it many times and will most likely continue to do so.

For now Merry Christmas and since this might be one of those posts I may get to read again later, a note to myself;

Rick you are reminded this Christmas season of 2010 that no matter how old you get or how far you've come, you will always have a place with family. Celebrate them while you are able, while they are still around. It also doesn't matter where you are. You like to talk smack about Corona, CA but deep down you enjoy the company. Oh and P.S., stop hating on Christmas. You hate all the shopping and commercialism but other people enjoy it. Wipe the inner sneer off and get off your horse. Hahaha stop being such a curmudgeon. You will turn into Kirby at 39.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Two weekends ago I was in Williams, Medford and Ashland, Oregon for a big race. I celebrated another finish by not running at all this past week. In fact this past Saturday I had intended to just lay about the apartment, maybe work on some personal projects, maybe not. However the day was too good to spend indoors. We had blue skies and warm temperatures. Our Indian summer was in full swing, seemed like a shame not to take advantage of it. So after a hearty lunch I took my sketchbook, my camera and went walking around the city. I visited a few places, stopped off for a second lunch and ultimately ended up at the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). I like the gift shop, always fun and entertaining. I like the books, the cool funky gadgets, the posters and the t-shirts. The shirts are great but wow I ain't spending $36 dollars on a t-shirt. As always I like to venture into the interior just to look at the space. As luck would have it I ran into my neighbor who works in the museum. She informed me that if I wanted tickets in the future to just drop her a note in her mailbox. She also told me that the last half hour is always free - something I didn't know. Not much time so I just concentrated on admiring the rooms and interior of the museum. Oh I looked at a few pieces too but it was really the interior that grabbed me this time. Okay, the interior and Alexander Calder's work. While admiring the space I came upon this one thought; what if for just one day we can just admire the space for what it is. I would like to revel in the empty white rooms and hard wood floors. I like art, I'm just trying to imagine the space without it. I do have to admit however that the new rooftop sculpture garden would be quite boring without the sculptures. Anyway it was a great end to my walkabout in the city.

Main staircase inside the museum.

Main staircase inside the museum.

Beyond the glass, the new rooftop sculpture garden, great on a sunny day.

The very top of the museum.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wedding Time

J.P. and Janet.

The last two years I haven't seen much of J.P. or Janet for that matter. We all met through the triathlon club, served on the club board together. It was Janet who got me into Facebook - "c'mon Rick we are all in here, join in on the fun". It was J.P. who talked me into taking over his spot as the run director as he took on the responsibility of being club president. There were parties, runs, bike rides and lots of meetings. Then Janet left for Kellogg's in Chicago for graduate school and J.P. moved out of San Francisco, back to a smaller place in Marin to save money on rent. For the next two years they traveled back and forth between the two cities every three weeks or so, J.P. more so than Janet. In the end their love persevered. Both are back in San Francisco and I was honored to be at their wedding. Just a feel good story all around.

Enjoy the pictures.

J.P. and Janet.

Groomsmen and their pal Angela.

The Venue.

Two friends I would like to see at their own wedding one day.

Yours truly on the far right. I clean up okay.

The tables were named after trails and bike paths.

The last wedding celebration I attended was theirs. Such goofballs, made for each other.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thank God it's July!

June was a tough month. I know I hardly post on here but I actually missed a whole month! It was tough because there was a lot going on, more than the usual.

I had a big race in the middle of the month as well as some time scheduled with my mom and relatives in southern California. I was looking forward to all of that but my stepdad, the man who raised me, was also in the hospital and his progress was like the terrain in my trail race - a series of ups and downs. His condition as you can imagine was a source of concern and stress for the whole family. At the end of May I actually flew out to Orlando to be with him for a week. I dedicated my run in San Diego to him, I've never run for someone, and the week after he passed away. It was tough news for the family but I was also thankful that it was not a sudden death. We had time to say our goodbyes and ponder the possibility of a life without him. I am especially thankful to have seen him one last time.

Ah Dad... what else is there to say that hasn't been said already. I am the man I am largely because of you. You are truly missed.

James S. Frederick Sr., my dad.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


You know where's a good place to listen to music without having to pay for it, a great place to check out music from artists you are unfamiliar with before committing to paying for an album - YouTube. The 30 second snippets that they give you on iTunes or Amazon is just not enough sometimes.

A good friend, Katelyn Benton, an artist herself, used this song on one of her race videos. Loved it and I finally got the name of the song from her today. Check it out and after doing that you should check out the second video which is Katelyn's. She's pretty darn talented and is a great ultra-marathoner on top of that. I am always surprised at what my ultra-marathoning friends do outside of running.

Video of The Cinematic Orchestra's "To Build A Home" featuring Patrick Watson Live @ The Barbican in London, 2007. As heard on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. "To Build A Home" is found on The Cinematic Orchestra's most recent album Ma Fleur

Katelyn Benton, Impossible Love. Winner of the 2009 JPFolks award for BEST MUSIC VIDEO. Off of the EP Once, available at Song features Big Head Todd and the Monster's Jeremy Lawton on lap steel and organ and Captain Pablo's Corey Schreppel (drums) and Dave Stephens (Bass). Directed by Brandon Nicholas. Cinematography by James Mann.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Just Incredible

I've heard about him before, forgotten and was reminded this evening. Gotta love Facebook and friends posting their favorite videos. Simply amazing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And It's Already April

So I finished reading the book. Actually I finished it a couple of weeks ago. Really liked it, I'm still thinking about it in fact. Now I go around looking at dogs and saying "What are you thinking? Speak to me dog, speak to me!" Of course mostly I'm just thinking it. I mean c'mon I don't want to look like a lunatic in the city, there's enough people here who talk to themselves. That's a market I don't want any share in.

Speaking of dogs though here is one I've been lucky to dog sit. Huck is much bigger than this now, they grow scary fast. One day they are a pup, the next day a large dog.

Work is still slow but I'm am so damned busy. It's crazy how I can be so busy without working a full-time job. How did I get anything done when I was working 40-50 hours a week. Huh. My theory is that I'm just faster and more efficient when things are hectic. Just a theory. I run like that. When I'm training I think to myself, "Jeez you are so slow, how do you ever finish well?" But when it's time to boogie, the boogie is in the legs. Anyway till next time.

Huck from Rick Gaston on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My New Book

I read a lot but not necessarily books. I'm always on the internet; blogging, facebooking, tweeting, reading news at sfgate, cnn and other miscellaneous websites. I will be at Wikipedia looking up subjects I've read or learned about from my netflix movies. I've even started using the internet in my bible studies - sometimes my bible is hard to understand but I found a site where I can read passages in all the available translations. I also have a stack of magazines collecting dust. Oh and a small library of audiobooks and podcasts. Nothing like a good book though. I grew up on books. When I was a child I lived in a part of the Philippines where there were only 3 channels and only two of them clear. I was an only child with no toys because I kept taking them apart. So I spent my days day dreaming to the music of my uncle's record collection, drawing and plotting world domination on notebook paper and reading books from the school library.

Last Sunday at a dinner party we talked briefly about a book and it turned out that a friend had it and was gracious enough to lend it to me. It was a gift given to him shortly after his dog passed away. The book is called "The Art of Racing in the Rain". Some of you know I'm big on running so no this has nothing to do with running in the rain. It's about a dog. I just read the first chapter at lunch and now I just want to stop working, pick up a mocha at the coffee shop downstairs and read on my couch. I even forgot the annoying sound of a generator that has been running for most of the day at the building next door while I was reading.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Camera's Name is Lazarus

I have this Nikon snapshot camera that is about 4 years old. One day it just stopped working. No this isn't the one with the broken screen that is still somewhere in Southern California. I turned it on, the lens came out, the picture on the view finder was blurry, I got an error message, the lens retracted and the camera turned itself off. Not knowing anything about lenses, well really the whole camera, I just gave up on it and bought a new one. These cameras are so cheap it's not worth having them fixed.

I never threw it away. The camera body is scratched, the silver finish is buffed off in many places revealing the light gray plastic of the camera body underneath – this is why they are so light and perfect for running, but I kept it. I just couldn't throw this one away. We had done many training runs together, a couple of triathlons, even a couple of 100-mile races together.

Today I was playing with it; turning it on, waiting for the lens to come out, get the error message then turn itself off. I kept doing this over and over again then once while the lens was out I banged it on the desk lightly. It turned itself off but when I turned it back on, the picture on the screen was clear and no error message. The camera is fixed. Oh yeah an old favorite is back in action. Maybe I take a few pictures and post them here to prove it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

By The Way

I'll be here more often with random stuff. The running thing, still love it, working harder than ever but nothing exciting to talk about right now.

Ginger, It's Not Just For Nausea

I am rediscovering ginger. I hated it when I was a kid but I am slowly coming back to it. It's great for nausea. In these long trail run races that I do, some people get really bad stomach problems and nausea and one of the things that work is ginger. Thankfully I am one of those that has a pretty strong stomach. I'm starting to like it but I don't love it. This evening I found that flavored carbonated water mixed with lemon ginger juice is crazy good and that drink in turn reminded me of a childhood memory that seems so crazy now.

When I was a kid growing up in the Philippines there was a belief in our part of the country that if a fever lasts for more than 5 days a spirit has chosen to dwell in the person's body. The only way to get the said spirit out and end the fever is to call the local witch doctor and have them pray on you. I had these done regularly when I was a kid and I actually enjoyed them which doesn't explain my aversion to ginger... well my former aversion. Basically this person, usually an old woman, will pray on each of your hands and feet. She will have a thumb sized piece of ginger that's peeled and she makes the sign of the cross on each hand and foot with the ginger as she finished each prayer. Then she prays over your head and then blows away the offending spirit by blowing on the top of your head a couple of times - this was my favorite part. Afterwards you had to wear the piece of ginger, bobby pinned on your shirt, for a couple of days. I guess body invading spirits like ginger as much as vampires like garlic. Since I enjoyed these sessions I was always eager to have the procedure done whenever I had a fever. Of course it didn't really help when I turned out to have more serious ailments like the one time I actually had typhoid fever. No amount of prayer, ginger and hot breath on the top of my head helped that one. Typhoid fever... the cure was more painful than the illness.

So yeah kind of random I know. Last week a made a big pot of chicken and rice soup with lots of ginger but no ginger related flashbacks. Today I make a lemon ginger soda and bam, trip to memory lane.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to Normal

I think I am finally over the holidays. Yup just now.

I had a fun filled and exhausting running season and so after my last race in the first week of December I pretty much just plunked down on the couch and ate a few bags of chocolate. Rest and reward, but then I also spent a week with my mom and relatives in Southern California during the holidays and the rest and reward thing was taken to a higher level.

Well for the first few days the rest was lacking but great on the reward part. There was 21 of us in a six bedroom house and activities were going on till the wee hours of the night and the kids were waking us up early in the morning. Not as much sleep but the eating was out of control. There was dishes upon dishes of food and saying no was not really an option. You say no to one thing and they came back with something else and once you give in that was it. Once the floodgates are open as they say. It was a really great time though. The last 3 days was spent with my mom at her place, more quiet and I had some time to visit some friends in LA. A roundtrip to LA took 3 hours because of the traffic, so much traffic in LA. It wasn't so bad. Good to see these guys, hang with them in a couple of their hangouts.

When I got home I did feel like I needed a vacation from that vacation and indeed it took me a couple weeks to get back into rhythm. It was tough getting back into running after a four week break but getting back into has really helped me in establishing my usual routines. I'm still wishing I could eat like it was still the holidays though and I miss all the authentic Filipino dishes - homemade or bought. Wouldn't it be grand if all the tastiest things were also good for us?

It's been cold but now that the rains are back not as much. Nice and quiet now too without all the holiday craziness. Good to be back. My old camera is somewhere in Southern California, it has a broken screen but the memory card had 1GB of holiday pictures and videos. Oh well, I do have a new camera though so I'm not too bummed.

Mom and IMy mom and I Christmas Eve.

With two of the KiddiesWith two of the kiddies, the two who would wake me up in the morning!

With the Tita'sWith two of my Tita's (aunts).

Kicking BackKickin back.