was born on a cool Spring day in Buffalo, New York.
I was a curious child, though nothing
the ordinary happened to me during the first five years. Well, there
was that time I ate a toad stool and they had to pump my stomach, and I guess
you can't count out that time
I bit into a tube of modeling glue, but everyone pounds a nail into a hose
to see what would happen. Curious indeed.
day I wore my new cowboy boots on the wrong feet to pre-school. That's about
it for highlights until we moved east to the country, which was
miles away. It's a small, rural village called Akron (town of Newstead).
My father Joe was a passionate and successful wrestling coach, so
at a very young and tender age I too became passionate about wrestling, though
I didn't have much choice in the matter. I was successful as a youth and through
high school. It wasn't easy, and there were some definite hard times, but in
the end, wrestling has taught me many things, and given me confidence, and I
appreciate both my dad and the sport for that. In fact I recently coached wrestling at Berkeley HS and am now having a ball doing wrestling photography. Funny that, the circle of life.
farm was small and quaint, not for profit, but it kept us busy. Cold winters,
warm summers. Rustic by 1970s standards. We didn't have cable television
and I had to ride my bike five miles to get to the nearest video game, I
rode another five
to a mall. I rode a lot; it was healthy for me. Except for the time
I broke my hand riding (crashing, really), but that introduced me to
pain killers, and thus, I learned at a young and tender age how to see the
good (drugs) in the bad (pain) of life.
Elementary school is a big blur [Clarence
Though I do remember some key moments, like the time Shirley Tinklepaugh (thanks
for the spelling Shirley! =) sat down to go to the bathroom with a pencil
in her pocket and it broke off in her thigh (she recently wrote to me to say
she has no recollection of this). Or the time Gordon Klingenschmidt and I got
into a fight on the bus and I knocked him on the head with a
round sucker. He was also the kid that got in a fight on the bus with his friend
Doug Smith and bit Doug's foot, but Doug had dog shit on his sneaker. Poor
Gordon threw-up the whole way to school.
When I was 10 my parents had twins, and my siblings Benjamin and Rebecca came
into the scene. They rule. They are part of why I'm lucky. They make me laugh,
and make me proud. But then, so does my whole family. My mom is an amazing artist and just overall great mom. Her love is unconditional, and that's all that i ask. I used to say she's a character out of a Tom Robbins novel, but seeing as she had never read Tom Robbins, she didn't appreciate the compliment fully. My dad is an artist
recently retired from teaching high school science for about 30 years. He's
currently obsessed with constructing a building for each of his vehicles.
My brother Mike and his wife Kathy are gracious and learned, and their daughters
Jackie, Jessie and Jenny are cuter than dimples on a rosy-cheeked baby.
I really enjoyed high school [Clarence
The social part, that is; my "B" average wasn't causing
a stir at college recruitment offices. Maybe I was naive and didn't
realize I wasn't
supposed to like high school; maybe I garnered respect because I wrestled;
or, maybe I was just a happy kid? I'm not sure, but I feel fortunate I didn't
suffer the wrath of the high school social feeding frenzy. Nor did I participate
it (very much). I had little angst. I
didn't dress in all black nor paint my face white, and in my world, the Smiths
were neighbors up the street not a band. I
was social and friendly.
I did start listening to music, it was all Def Leopard, Van Halen, and ZZ
know the mix. I was definitely young and naive. The only kid in school who
listened to Prince had a bit of a complex and only wore purple. He only
wore one glove as well, so, now, I'm thinkin' he had several identity
issues. Through this
ever complete representation of funk music (one kid, one glove), you can imagine
what the majority of the school thought of Prince. Ironically, later, I started
DJing funk music. Funny
how things turn out, isn't it? Anyway, I managed to graduate from high school
in 1985 and through a "special talent" admission (wrestling), got
really enjoyed college [SUNY
The social part that is; my "B" average wasn't causing a stir
at employment offices. I went to the State University of NY at Buffalo
and for the first year lived with my brother and hung out with his friends
while making my own. It was madcap. The highlight must be winning
of the dorm softball league and the kegger that followed. Four-square in
the dorms was also a highlight. My sophomore year I fell in love with an
amazing kid named Chris, but everyone calls
the Dead, love, sex, beer, traveling, etc. We were
young and in love and we stayed that way for five years. We are terribly fortunate
10 miles away from one another, and remain close to this day.
I guess I just didn't realize that I was supposed to not like college? I
having Spot in my life helped. Sure I didn't know what a major was, or that
you had to take a preset number of courses in this "major" thing
(my second semester I only took classes that looked fun, and only one of
was a prereq) , however, four years later I was a senior, and had it all figured
out, and graduated with a BA in Communication. Internships saved my butt,
and so upon graduating I worked at
the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research where
I had interned. Once that went south, I did as well. In 1990 I moved to
D.C., for several years.
lived and partied with great guys from Buffalo [Vienna,
Mike Zimmerman, Eric Zimmerman, Tony Suffoletto, and Howard "Chief"
Rowley [RIP]. We had some wild times, so I guess you could say I really enjoyed
my post-college, still crazy days. We called ourselves the Rotimmerlettos
Zimmerman, Suffoletto). Our battle cry was: "'Lonians stranded in the Nation's
capital." We taught those Virginians how to party with cheap beer and "good" music.
Once the first set of 'Lonians split, a second set moved in with me:
Jeff Schmidt, Rick Cole, and Todd Kale.
once Spot and I broke up (which, sadly, was inevitable), my friends got
or moved back home, and I became disenchanted with work, so I headed West. "Social suicide," as
I called it, for I knew very few people in California.
I found myself in San Francisco, at 25, with some professional skills, and
whole lot of good energy. It was the Summer of 1992 and San Francisco was alive
fell into place for me in San Francisco
As if she wrapped me to her bosom and guided me to my destiny. Hell,
maybe it was just the quality California dope? I swear, I found an apartment
and a job the very first day! It was amazing. Granted, I had to
commute from Potrero Hill to Marin, but I was lovin' it. I worked at a deli
in Marin, learning how to make a great latte and slice an avocado.
I would come home after work and walk up and down Haight Street and write poetry
lie!). After this stint in Potrero Hill I moved into a great place in Noe
Valley with a woman named Kelly and a guy named Jon. Little did I know meeting
and Kelly would change my life for the better (remember things were already
good). Through Jon I have met an amazing array of people, mostly Cal Berkeley
alumni, and secured a wonderful job at Xinet,
our friend Scott's
company. Jon also lead us to our friend Jamie, who is, unequivocally, the
sweetest man alive.
Kelly left, Steve moved in and we lived and played on Chattanooga Street
for six years. Barbie the cat (the only female) rounded out the group. Life
was good, real good.
really enjoyed my post-post-college, have a real job, time to become
an "adult" days
played much in the fertile woods of the Bay Area. "I have seen more than
I can remember," as Buffet sang. I have been to many music festivals,
traveled the West Coast, met an immense number of people, and enjoyed them
all. I have been on possibly the best Green Tortoise trip ever made to Baja
(Celine contact me!). I have enjoyed the desert and beaches of California...naked.
I have danced all night, for many nights in a row. I became involved in the
I could never have dreamed of going. It also lead me to my love and partner...Menyui.
in the winter of 1999, our landlord decided the apartment was in fact so
that he would live there. So, legally, he served us notice and we were looking
for a three bedroom apt in the toughest market in the country. But, with
of hard work and a bit of luck we found a fantastic place on Lyon Street, north
of the Panhandle, SF.
the same time, my Canadian partner Menyui and I decided to get married, so
that one day we could live together. That was an exciting event and we hope
to do it again some day (which each other not other people). Only a year
and a half later she actually received her green card and moved in with us.
a great set-up with lots of space, great landlords, and we threw some kickin'
parties. Work was good, adjusting to married life was rocky, Barbie was getting
we were quaffing martinis as any young working household should. Menyui and
I went to places like England, Amsterdam, Italy and Scotland, and I went
on a trip to Australia
and New Zealand. We recently went to Hong Kong, and Menyui continued that
trip to Thailand.
Steve had been hunting for a house to buy for some time and in a remarkable
coincidence found a house the same week Menyui and I found our house in Oakland.
So, after nine years, the union that was originally the Chattanooga Boys and
then the Lyons Club broke rank and went on three separate adventures. Fear
not, we still see each other often and have a bond that is precious, unique,
Menyui and I have settled into our new place and love it. I am doing volunteer
work for the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society, Open Paw, as well as coaching
at Berkeley High. Barbie is doing well, ruling the roost that is our back yard.
We have a two-car garage that's converted to a shop, so I tinker a lot. Our
friends are starting to have babies which is great! You can't have too many
kids just a phone call away. ;^)
Quick update (2/06)
It's currently about 37 hours before I leave for a 3 month trip to Thailand. This will be the longest trip I've taken and I am fully of excitement and anxiety. I am going "because I can," as M liked to say, not to escape, or run from anything. I go with a full heart and an open mind, looking for wonderment and to spread the love of the little freaks.
No longer at Xinet, still living in Oakland, happy, secure. Barbie remains delightful.