We been workin hard on this new #musicvideo 🎥🎶 #vantanarow #vanlife #vine #trapunk #chiptune #music #update #bandgoals #talk #vanlifediaries #bandtalk #browsonfleek #bluehair #bayareaband #bayarea #bayareaartists #bayarealife #cute #💯
#bayarealife #streetperformer (at Lake Merritt (BART station))
Serenaded by #zebraoperation on BART. #bayarealife
My 20 minute “commute” home from work…not so bad #bayarealife #sunset
I occasionally make the comment that we, as queer men, are our own worst enemies. We constantly judge each other on petty things, clique up while excluding others because they’re not burly enough or twinky enough…it’s kinda ridiculous, sometimes. But that’s another story for another time. I was chatting with a friend last night who was in the process of switching data from one phone to another and I made the comment, in a sarcastic manner: “Yay iPhones!”. I, myself have been a loyal Android OS user since my first smartphone. In today’s society, you’re either #TeamiPhone or #TeamDroid (if you have a Windows Phone or Blackberry, you are weird and you don’t exist). With these two “teams”, it seems like the majority of society seems to hold their precious iPhone as some sort of elitist piece of machinery. My experiences on that tangent have been that if you don’t have an iPhone, you’re second best, because Apple is God. Who the fuck came up with that logic? I had an iPhone once and I dropped it off the balcony of The Lookout and I was so over it, I never managed to replace it.
Anyway, this whole iPhone v. Droid debate comes rears it’s head again and again off and on and I tend to pay it no mind. I love my Galaxy S5. My phone is the bomb and it’s perfect to me. However, there was one instance where the whole debate really rubbed me the wrong way because it got personal. Literally.
In this update, I tell you the story of a guy that I went out to dinner with who basically compared me to a Droid and himself to an iPhone (granted, we were carrying the respective hardware) in a way that I just wasn’t cool with. Here we go…
I met Jeremy on a night where I was parked by myself on a barstool at Baggy’s, a bar usually out of my stomping grounds, but I’d recently heard that gay men are known to inhabit a certain area of this bar of any given night, so I took that advice and set out to do my homework. I managed to grab a stool near a window and ordered a beer and started to taken in the scenery. This wasn’t my first night here at this bar. A few weeks prior, I was here with a bunch of friends and people we’d met earlier, coming from a Warriors game and celebrating a great win. That night I would blackout and to this night, I still don’t know how I got home.
On this particular night, however, I was perched alone, sober as a door and enjoying the mellow vibe. Tugging on an empty stool to my right, a gentleman (at the time) asked me was the said stool free. I glanced at him and gave him the green light to sit next to me. I sipped my Newcastle, he ordered a Belvedere neat and the world kept on moving from there. In the middle of sipping my beer, Jeremy asked me was I alone and in due time I told him “Yep, just me.” He then asked me “Don’t you feel awkward?” to which I explained to him that I interact with hundreds of people on any given day and I like to enjoy my own company whenever I get the chance to. No more than six hours prior, I was at work, turning tables during the Saturday brunch service. Upon my explanation of me liking to enjoy my own company, Jeremy raised an eyebrow and turned about face. Feeling some sort of arctic chill form between us, I assured him that he wasn’t a bother and that if he was, I would properly let him know. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I have no problem with telling someone to evacuate my space, especially if I was there first. That’s what makes it mine, right? Right.
The night continued and Jeremy formally introduced himself and I told him my name was Trav. We carried on a conversation about the usual things that people talk about when first meeting each other, while trying to find common grounds on whatever topic; Where do you work? Where in Oakland do you live? What do you do outside of work? The safe questions that usually lead to stimulating conversation, a drink being thrown in someone’s face or somewhere in the middle. Our two jobs were complete parallels. He was a paralegal. Wanted to eventually be a defense attorney. Red flag. Jeremy lived on the East side of Lake Merritt (where Baggy’s is) and I live on the West side. Not necessarily a red flag, but I don’t go out to that side often and Jeremy isn’t the kinda guy I would travel out this way multiple times for. Mind you I’d only known this guy for like 30 minutes at this point.
The night continued with us making small talk and we found common ground over the fact that we are Oakland natives (me more or less self-established as such). We talked about the “New Oakland” movement, how we felt about the whole gentrification movement and our activists. I spent the greater part of my high school years in an after school program where we created surveys about things wrong in our respective communities and used those numbers to present cold hard evidence that the locals have problems and presented those testimonies to community leaders and city officials to try and apply change in these areas. I forgot what was his area of activism. Something related to empowering Latino/Hispanic to take back their neighborhoods in SF, primarily The Mission, which at the time was seeing a heavy transition of working class Hispanic families being pushed out and Caucasian singles and couples moving in.
An hour or so passes through our conversation and I decide that it’s getting late and was about ready to head out. As I’m closing out, Jeremy asks if I want to head to another local bar (I forget the name) and I politely declined, as I was pretty tired at that point. Upon me jumping out of my bar stool, he asked to hang out another time, stating that he wanted to continue talking more about social empowerment and what not. I accepted his offer and we exchanged numbers. I gave him my number and he laughed at my 415 area code replying with “I don’t know many *air quotes* locals *end air quotes* with that area code”. I didn’t respond since my Uber pulled up shortly after and I was feeling the effects of that last Jameson neat starting to creep up on me.
A few days later, Jeremy agreed to meet me for a drink and a bite at Dogwood. There was something about our previous interaction that didn’t warrant us having a dinner date as next course after Baggy’s, so drinks and bar bites felt more the course. In rare form, I was late on someone else’s accord. I apologized upon arrival and offered to buy the first round of drinks. I believe he ordered a Cider and I an IPA. We started talking about how our respective days went before our hanging out together and he mentioned that he had a pretty mellow day. I told him mine was somewhat the opposite and I’d been running around doing errands, work stuff and what not all day. At that point, I was really glad to sit and have a drink, whether it be alone or with someone else. Trying to ease from work into chill mode, I apologized to Jeremy as I was on my phone for a few minutes trying to tie up loose ends, so I could focus on hanging out. I do my best to not be on my phone in social situations, so I was trying to “phase out” of my work day. As I was finishing up a text, he looked over and said “What kind of phone is that?” and I replied “Oh, Samsung Galaxy S5. I love this bitch.” He then cocked any eyebrow and made a long-drawn “Ohhhhh” noise and turned about face.
**Present time break** I mentioned in the intro above that I’d had the “elitist” iPhone vs. “inferior” Droid conversation/argument multiple times with friends and acquaintances and how it rubbed me the wrong way that all iPhone users think that they and their phones are God’s gift. I am aware this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I’m the one telling the story here. With that in mind, let’s jump back to the story.**
After I finished my text, noticing his glare, I looked at him and asked “What ever is THAT supposed to mean?” There was a slight point in my voice, because I knew Jeremy had an iPhone and I know how some iPhone users tend to have a higher-than-thou feeling towards themselves while holding their device…so I waited for an answer, but I turned myself at an angle instead of about face as he had positioned himself. I had already put my self in an aggressive verbal stance, so I didn’t want my physical stance to be as aggressive. Mediums. Jeremy, sensing a bit of aggravation coming from me says “You know, a lot can be said about a man from the phone he has…”
With a sweeping hand gesture, I said “Continue.”
At this point, Jeremy mentioned “You’re probably nice and simple like your phone” and “It’s nothing personal, not everyone can own an iPhone” with some other dumb ass comments scattered throughout in between. I made my trademark “Come again/Bitch did you just?” face and turned my body toward him and we kinda just stared at each other for a few awkward seconds.
Quietly, I asked him “Are you comparing myself and my life to THAT?”, as I pointed to my phone lying on the bar face down. Which is pretty much the position I wanted to be at that point. Face down, and possibly banging my head on the bar top. He replied “Well…not really…but kinda?”. Oh, that’s definitely not a good enough answer at that point. I’m highly agitated at this point and feel like I’m going spin off and say something stupid, so I sit facing the bar, away from Jeremy and take a sip of my beer, which I believe was my last sip of the evening.
Swirling my finger around my rocks glass, making no eye contact, I ask “Do you honestly think you’re a better person because you have an iPhone?”. He started into my eye with a look someone would give me if I scorned them and sentenced them to death.
“No…I’m just saying…Everyone has an iPhone…and they’re more expensive…and-”
I stopped him before he could say anything else with a firm “Stop.” I took a few minutes to get my next sentence together. I knew I was leaving after I made my point. Nothing good could come from a man who flat out called my phone basic, therefore, rendering me basic in a guilty by association scenario. I basically told him that by him comparing me to my phone after knowing NOTHING about me that I wanted to do nothing with him. I continued to tell him that if I had even the slightest impression that he was joking, that I would have given him the benefit of a doubt. But him saying “…but kinda?” and further putting himself into a hole by mentioning that iPhones are expensive and “everyone has one”, that he made him self look really shallow and stupid and that as far as I was concerned, our evening together was over. I had already bought my last drink, so I told him goodbye, put my hat on and exited the bar.
As I was en route, he texted me telling me “That’s not what I meant”, but I had already deleted his number out of my phone, so I replied “Sorry, this number doesn’t have a name attached to it, who is this?”
Nothing like some #fireworks #onaboat #LightUpTheBay #SFLiving #BayAreaLife (at Sausalito, California)
“…and it is slow going.” #getawayFriday #BayAreaLife
Oakland has been a part of me all of my life. I have family members scattered around this town I would frequently visit growing up and as of two years ago, I became a born-again citizen after a six year stint of living in San Francisco. Over the past 10 years, I’ve watched Oakland transform from a place that no one would care to visit to one of the most sought-after cities to live in The Bay Area. With an eclectic nightlife, dining and art scene, Oakland is becoming beautiful again and MUA is one of the places that’s keeping Oakland hip, without a doubt.
Set at the end (or beginning) of Oakland’s artsy Uptown neighborhood, MUA deceives you with it’s exterior. If it weren’t for the recently added hordes of outside seating, you’d think MUA was a warehouse with a bunch of foliage in front of it. Once you pass those doors, you’re in for a treat…The Entry to MUA during business hours.
Once you enter past the giant rolling gate and through the curtains, you have an expansion of their dining room to your right (referred to as 3A) and in front of you are dining tables scattered about and long bar to the right, stocked with a grip of awesome drafts and spirits. Continue walking further down, noticing the mirror-lined wall on your left and you will come into the main dining area of MUA. A giant open warehouse/dining room/lounge/art gallery combination. The high ceiling gives the dining room a very airy feel, paired with the DJ playing music and the awesome art on the walls, you realize that this isn’t exactly your typical dining experience; this is the MUA experience.Part of the main dining room.
The bottom floor of MUA encompasses you in visuals galore, whether it be deer head on the eastern wall, or a screening of “Crooklyn” on the western wall. Also, the north wall features rotating art pieces from various local designers and galleries. If you’re looking for a bit more of an intimate feel, request a seat on the second floor, which features it’s own bar as well. Once seated, enjoy your water and take a look at the menu.
The menu is split into three sections: Smaller, Larger and Dessert. Some of my favorite items from the starter menu are the Grilled Prawns, Collard Greens w/bacon and the “Mac n Cheese” which is actually made with butternut squash instead of cheese. I enjoyed the “Mac n Cheese” a lot, considering I’m a HUGE fan of the actual dish and MUA’s take on it has no cheese in it whatsoever.
"Mac n Cheese" No cheese, made with butternut squash and cream.
You’re gonna need something to drink to go with the app you’re about to order, so flip over the menu and gaze in MUA’s intimate list of wines and specialty cocktails. The cocktail menu covers all of your needs from vodka to absinthe, so there’s something on there that will suit you. My personal favorites are the Joe Smash (Belvedere vodka, mint, contreau, red grape and lemon) and the MUA Manhattan (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, St. Germain, Sweet Vermouth and bitters). Y'all know how much I love my Manhattans, so I was impressed to find out that MUA pulled a signature one off so well.
Once you’re done with your app, jump down the larger plates section to get the tummy party started. Featuring an array of items from Vegetable Ragout to the massive Hamburger, you’re guaranteed to find something to munch on. Also to be noted, most items on the menu can be customized to be vegeterian, vegan or gluten-free friendly. Just ask your server for the night, they’re pretty knowledgeable. My favorite dish here is the Blackened Catfish. I order it almost every time I come here and it never disappoints. Served on a bed of dirty rice and drizzled in aioli, it’s my happy place.
Rounding up the MUA experience, is it’s amazing staff. The bartenders, hostesses, servers and bus staff. Everyone here is all smiles and all about having a great time while doing their job. I’ve been here MANY times and have never had an issue with any part of the staff. The servers are friendly and approachable and are quick to throw their nightly specials and recommendations at you, should you have trouble deciding from their vast menu. All of these factors make MUA one of my favorite places in The Bay Area, whether I’m going solo for a drink and a snack or with a large group for some pre-nightlife noms, MUA’s consistency and excellence never change. Really glad to have this place on my side of the bridge.
Last day at home before I head back to my second home. I have spent my entire life trying to get out of here and yet as a look around I’m trying to figure out why I wanted to leave in the first place. Nothing like the Bay Area.
This past weekend I had another pleasant surprise come out of the immense stress of adjusting to being in a new place and car less. All last week I made plans to go to this yoga studio in Berkeley called Yoga To The People which was really cheap and a cool place to go. Since I don’t have a car I’ve learned that I have to strategically plan my trips since I live 15 minutes from the BART station which on a bus takes like an hour. I’m not about that life. So I get up super early that Saturday and make my toast and chill and think “oh I can relax for about an hour, no rush.” Two hours later I realize it’s like 11 o'clock and I’m no where near ready to go. So I do some randomness with my hair so its not everywhere (the natural hair struggle) then run to the ATM to get cash because I forgot to get it the other day and then still had to make it to the bus by 11:40. I finally make it to the bus stop and get on the bus, which I then find out takes you on a 30 minute route around the town I live before it heads to the BART Station.
So after this whole ride I finally get to the BART station and have to rush and buy a ticket and catch the train and remember where I have to transfer and pray the train is magically there waiting for me. Not the case. So I get to Berkeley around 2:10 and hope they run on CPT time. When I reach the building I realize that I have totally gone to the WRONG studio and not only am I late for the class but have no idea if there is even a class at this studio for me to take. At this point I just want to find the nearest place that sells fried things and chocolate. BUT NO! The heavens open and I see that there is a hot vinyasa class available at 3 and I could go in early and chill before it starts. Sometimes the Lord smiles on me.
So I went in and was greeted by the extremely pleasant instructor who told me more about the studios and inserted the word “groovy” in every sentence. As for the class, its was pretty good! The heat did add a different element making me wish I would have worn some more freeing clothes but nevertheless very relaxing and a good workout. Near the end of the class we all were laying on our backs and doing our controlled breathing, when all of a sudden the instructor says “and now for the lion roar” and everyone starts to let out this roar like a lion! Bearing teeth and all. At first my inner dialogue was “what the hell?” but then I decided to join in the second time and it was the most freeing feeling, at least that day. I released everything through the roar. I released what I realized were minor stresses from that day and just the anxiety that had started to grow from me moving our here. And with that roar I bared my teeth for what this year has to bring. Namaste mothatrucka.