Archive for Canon

Productive Day

// May 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS

Malibu Logoon State Beach 059Today was the first day that I put myself to the test of being certain to stay focused, stick to my schedule and get things completed and I did awesome. The only area where I slacked was getting up to get things moving along. I missed that window by almost three hours…..I’ll do better tomorrow. Even with missing the window by almost three hours I still got lots done for my organization and even got my exercise time in as well.

I was able to schedule a Dr. for my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row next week, designed a flier and sent out three emails seeking support, advice and guidance from some people who have been in the field of HIV a long time and have told me on many occasions to “reach out” if I ever have questions or need some support with my work. Only time will tell if this was sincere or just more people talking.

I took a look at a website someone suggested to me about this idea I have and I spent some time uploading photos from the weekend. WOW, over 300 photos.  Thank God for the people at Flickr, because there would be no way for me to store over 30,000 pictures on my laptop. Thanks again to my good friend Eric for the Seagate Free Agent external drive. That too is such a huge help.

I had a case management appointment today to turn in my service logs to show where I have gone to the Dr. and doneMalibu Logoon State Beach 150 other things like my community work and other things I do to help me deal with being HIV positive. This meeting is always a breeze and never takes more then 10 minutes because she knows what she is doing and does not want to take up too much of our time. She really gets that she is there to support us, not police or make us. Something that is greatly lacking from other organizations who claim to be doing the same work she does.

Dodger and I went on three walks today which allowed me to get some much needed exercise and even clear my space so I could come back and finish the job at hand. The breaks during the day seem to give me the energy to get back and get things completed. My mind is sharp and my energy level was even all day long.

The big score for me today was getting a Dr. to speak at the very last minute to my Unplugging HIV outreach down on Skid Row. I called her to talk about dates for a workshop in July and as we spoke she offered to come speak next week and even provide the meal for the group.  AWESOME!!!!!

I’ve seen her present before and each time I am so blown away by how she is able to make things basic and clear. She also takes her time, being very careful not to leave anyone behind. She is also someone who is very sensitive to the needs of the people she presents information to. This is key for my outreach on Skid Row. My outreach is mainly minorities which are populations greatly affected by HIV and AIDS, so it if very important to have someone who can present information in a manner that is not judgmental or condescending. They have to feel like they can trust what the presenter is telling them and have been known to test each presenter just to make sure they know what they are talking about.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 160It is going to be such a huge blessing for me to have her present to my residents  through my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row and I am very certain that they will be thankful and appreciative of her effort to supply them with the tools to live a long happy life.

So it’s now 8:59 in 51 seconds on Tuesday night. The goal is to be in bed by 9:30 no later then 10:00 and up at 6:00am for my bike ride and morning news, walk with Dodger, morning calls and then back to the grind to move my organization forward.

The pictures with this blog are from the photos I took on Monday (Memorial Day) You can view them all by clicking on myphotos to the right of this blog entry.

I hope you’ve had a great day

Growth and Change

// May 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, Pictures

JAZZ & ART @LACMA 046This long holiday weekend  has been awesome. It started with jazz at LACMA and today it ended with an awesome day of picture taking with my friend Franklin, who was just one of my friends who helped me kick my weekend off. All I can say is that I’ve had an amazing, fun filled weekend.

Franklin and I have been spending lots of time together and I must say that it has been simply awesome getting to know him better and spend so time with him. I already blogged about how I met Franklin and already talked about some of the things he deals with in his daily life. It has been so cool to watch him open up and grow, so cool to watch him move from someone who barley spoke a word to someone who talks and smiles, so cool to watch him go from someone who stayed in his dark apartment, to someone who now calls me about going on picture safaris.

It is simply so amazing to watch how the gift of friendship can help to change things for someone. How simply showing up and refusing to allow someone to waste away can mean the world to the life path that someone is on. This is why the word “friendship” means so much to me and why I never just throw the word “friend’ around.

My friends are all straight and all couples,  newly weds with a baby, while another has been married a few years with aJAZZ & ART @LACMA 089baby on the way, another couple planning a wedding and the last couple has been together for a very long time. They are all great people and to be very honest they are great friends, not just supportive of me, but of my community work as well.  At times I feel like a third wheel, even though I know when they ask to hang out they truly want to see me and have some hang time with me.

Until Franklin I had no single friend and with him I get a friend who is not only single, but we also share the common interest of photography, jazz, classical music and so much more. Like me, Franklin is HIV positive, so there is just one more thing we have in common and one more thing we can help to support each other through.

For the past two months, maybe three I’ve been thinking of how I am going to grow and change, not just my organization, but in my personal life too. Just last month I had a great HIV check up and in order for that to continue I need to make certain I am doing everything I can to keep my body healthy and stay off HIV medications.

Purpose 118To address this I have been back on my bike and taking longer walks with Dodger, I am also doing all that I can to address more healthy eating habits, however doing this is a huge challenge on government assistance, but I am doing all that I can. The main thing is that i am making certain in get rest and plenty of exercise.

In addition I am also removing people, places and things from my life that only serve as distractions and yes, even problems or drama. This is going to be key in my overall health and well being. It’s funny to me how once you make your mind to be a better person all the way around, people, places and things start to work against you. All of the sudden people you never hear from are now calling, people, places and things start to do more to show up and be distractions and this is where I need to make certain I am clear in where I am going and what I want to accomplish.

The cool thing is this, with getting rest and more exercise I have seen major changes in my mood, my energy and my Sickle Cell is not given me that much of a problem. My days seem to be more full of energy and my stress level is very low. I seem to be smiling more, if that is possible for someone who smiles all the time.

Now let’s talk about my outreaches because they too are changing and I am adding an addition to my HIV outreach.

Do Something Saturday~that empowers people

This is my oldest and most visible outreach and for the past four years I have run this outreach out of my own pocket orMalibu Logoon State Beach 122 efforts combined with the backing and support of my friends and supporters. It’s been awesome and the people I have been able to reach has been great, but it is time to step it up and take this outreach to the next level.

I dont mind sharing my ideas or even talking with friends about what I want to do or how I can help them. But I must say that my feeling get hurt when I my ideas at work in organizations that do not even respect people like me. My feelings get hurt when I see people collect awards for an idea that was mine, but simply because they have the backing of some non-profit or people with deep pockets.

These past three months I’ve had to really swallow my pride and set my feelings aside and know that my ideas are at work making things better for people battling HIV and AIDS as well as people who are homeless or transitioning from homelessness into having their own place.

I’ve always said I do not so this for someone to call my name or to get some award, however it does not feel good to see other people take credit for my idea or something I’ve worked damn hard at. I simply does not feel good.

So no more will I allow organizations who wont even allow me to volunteer for them, take my ideas and use them for their good only to line their pockets and flip me or even people like me the middle finger.

I will say this as I have said all along, you cant help people if you do not speak with them and seeing what I have seen and reading what I have read from 4 very different mega funded organizations really makes me angry, but not in a bad way, i that makes sense. It makes me angry enough to do more, push harder and raise my voice that much more, so that people who are seen but not heard have their concerns addressed.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 193I am adding a support group for people battling HIV or AIDS to my Skid Row outreach. I am just so sick and tired and hearing the same old tired line from the “community” and even people at “ASO’s” when it comes to addressing the needs of people who are greatly affected by HIV and AIDS.

No longer will I wait for people to return emails after I’v sent several and even had face to face conversations with such people. I will no longer accept “they are out of my SPA area” I will no longer wait while HIV and AIDS continues the path it has always been on unchanged since the start of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

After reading this you will understand why I need to remove some people, places and things in my life that only take up space and offer up nothing. I can not allow my health to fail me because I am not doing all I can to remain in good health.

Tomorrow is day 1 in the journey of positive growth and change for both me and my organization.

Today I ended my awesome weekend at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. I am uploading the 344 pictures I took and the video of the day is already live on my youtube channel. I will share the other surprise later this week in either a blog or vlog.

I hope you all have had a great holiday weekend.


// May 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Canon, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Me Time

Friday Photo Safari 004Since my last trip to the hospital I have followed the instructions of my doctors to the letter. I was told to rest, take it easy and try to reduce stress and also to find a way to relax. I have done just that.

I dont recall if I blogged out my last HIV check up or not, I’m pretty sure I did, the results were awesome and I was so pleased to hear this. Everything that was of some concern when my blood was taken for the labs was laid to rest with the results. So the past two weeks I have done my best to continue this trend of great health.

It’s funny how certain people who say they are close to me have not even picked up the phone to call or check on me, while others have gone far and above to visit, hang out and all else. However I did not allow myself to get worked up or even worry about it. It is what it is or as Ma use to tell me “sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with all that may be going on with you.”

I recall getting a message from someone who hinted at me needing depression meds, this person happens to be on them as well. Now this is not the first time someone has said something like this, but each time this has come from someone who takes such meds and after making such a statement they vanish into thin air never to be heard from again.

However this time I did have a heart to heart with a good very good friend of mine and after that conversation I didFriday Photo Safari 020speak with my doctor about the possibility of me being so depressed that I need meds for it. In defense of my dear friend, she did not hint or imply this at all, however the other person did because she felt I was crying far too much. Apparently crying is a sign that someone is depressed and in needs of drugs to control them.

Just as I told the people who have made this suggestion in the past, my doctor once again confirmed the fact that I do not need any signs of depression that requires me to seek out meds. However just as I have always said I do get depressed from situations, but this always passes once the situation works itself out. Anyone who has gone through anything and certainly anyone who has been through what I have is bound to have some situational depression. This is not cause to go sounding the trumpet or alarm that the person needs meds to help them deal with things in there life.

My great grandmother “Nana” as we called her use to say that misery not only loves company, it also demands it. I have to say that each time I have had someone already on meds to control them suggest that I need them as well, they also tell me which meds to ask for. As if this is some sort of recruitment or celebration that someone else is taking meds just like them. Which brings me to my final point on this topic. There are certainly people who have a chemical imbalance in their brain that would require them to take such meds, but there are also those who simply just need to learn some basic life skills instead of depending on a pill or several pills to correct something they can correct themselves.

Friday Photo Safari 035It’s been awesome hanging out with friends, going to lunch, dinner and even on picture safaris. This week alone I have already gone on three and tomorrow I am planning to go on one alone. I must say that several people have asked me to hang out tomorrow, but none of them have confirmed if in fact they truly want to do this. The old me would check in and make sure, but this new me is no longer begging people to come hang out or follow through on things they set into motion.

It is always so funny to me how people say things only to not mean a damn word of what they have said. They simply wanted to say something and they could care less if what they say will be taken to heart by the person they have said it to. For example; “please call me if you need anything” or “I will be there for you when you need me most” and then the one I really hate, “please let me help”

So today was yet another day filled with pictures and the company of a friend. I’ve truly embraced and enjoyed theDowntown Los Angeles 218peace in my life and the coolness of the real people in my life. From my awesome friends I’ve made through YOUTUBE, this blog to the crazy, sexy, cool friends in my daily life. My life is rich and truly blessed.

Praise God

Hot Saturday

// March 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, Canon, Cooking, Me Time

Saturday, March 5, 2011 023It was a hot day here in Southern California and a perfect day to get out and have some FREE fun with my friend Walter. We were talking on the phone Friday night just laughing and catching up when he told me about the Chinese Lantern Festival in Downtown Los Angeles. So we made plans to link up and hang out together.

I met Walter through the community work that I do and it is always so funny to how I hear people say such silly things like “you can’t be friends with the people you are trying to help” I think this is simply a lame and backwards way of looking at things and truly the wrong way to look at how to help people. Now I am in no way saying that you can be friends or that you will ever develop a friendly relationship with everyone you encounter. What I am saying is that when you close yourself off to the possibilities in life, you tend to miss out on things and even some amazing friendships simply because you made the choice that someone in need is not worthy of friendship.

Right away Walter was someone who welcome me and the work I do and soon we developed a dialog that has led to a great friendship. He is someone I truly admire and have a great deal of respect for. I was so excited when we made plans to hang out together to take in the Chinese Lantern Festival.

The event itself was great and the fact that both of us learned so much about Chinese culture in such a short time and it was alsoSaturday, March 5, 2011 028 a time for me to share with Walter the richness of Los Angeles and this Golden State. It is always so cool to share the place where I was born and raised with someone who has moved here and may not know all the amazing things there is to know about Los Angeles. This city has such a rich and vibrant history that I love to share with those who are interested.

There was so much to see and do, but first we had a small modeling session and then the fun began as soon as we turned the corner and it lasted until we said our goodbyes on the Red Line Train home. Whenever I have the chance to hang out with Walter I have a great time and we are always laughing and learning so much about each other. Each time I walk away knowing that this young man is more than just a sexy body and a beautiful face. His beauty goes much deeper than what you see on the surface and I am so happy that I get to see the many amazing sides to this brilliant young man.

After laughing and getting an awesome short tour of the Chinese American Museum we headed out into the main courtyard where we took in some dancers and made our rounds at the food trucks. After checking out the menus we made the cool choice to eat at Komodo food truck. WOW this little gem certainly got it right. The lady on the truck who took out order was so cool and made our experience so much fun. We were so excited to come back and eat the awesome food they had to offer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011 124No day would be complete without a walk through Olvera Street and visit to the beautiful Union Station. While taking pictures, eating a pink cookie and laughing I had the chance to once again share some rich Los Angeles History about the area and what it was like growing up here in Southern California. While talking with him I couldn’t help but think back to the conversation I had with my friend KoKo where we were saying how very blessed we were to have grown up in Santa Monica and have been raised in such a beautiful and culturally rich city. Many places talk about their vibrant cultures, but Los Angeles is simply the place to live among the worlds people in one area.

After our tour of Union Station we jumped on the Gold Line Train to take a quick look of China Town before we headed back to Union Station to jump on the Red Line Train to call it a day and make plans to see each other tomorrow for yet another adventure together.

I was looking forward to getting home because before I left I got a gift box in the mail from my friends Kim and Nicole. I had noSaturday, March 5, 2011 168 clue what they had sent, but I knew it was for my outreaches to homeless people or people living with HIV or AIDS. I was also missing Dodger and I really wanted to get home to take him for his evening walk and then chill on the sofa watching TV with him.

Today was a great day and I had the chance to spend it with a great friend and tomorrow thanks to two great friends I get to spend a portion of my day helping people in need. When I told you I have some amazing friends in my life I truly meant that and each day they help me help others and help me remain encouraged.

Escape with Me

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, Me Time, photos, Pictures, video, work

Explore 060Today was a day for me to unwind and remove all stress. It was something that I have not done in a very long time and believe me when I say it was long overdue.

It’s amazing how much time we spend doing things that have nothing to do with our overall well being. Shocking how much stress we allow to build up in our lives and many time we don’t realize it until something like a stroke or heart attack happens, even worse death.

About a month ago someone said to me “your Sickle Cell has given you so much problems since you started working this job.” Last month I went to the funeral of a cousin who lost his battle with Sickle Cell and after talking with his wife, she too feels that if he only spent more time removing stressful people and things from his life, he would still be here. The last time I spoke with her, she asked me to take better care of my overall health and well being.

It goes without saying that my last job was very stressful and more the 95% of the stress was caused by a director who knew went out of her way to cause chaos and confusion among the staff. Constant changes to schedules, job requirements, emails, voicemails, pictures and even threats that she would fire us were just some of the ways she caused so much stress.

Today after my first round of housing inspections and my trip to the doctors, I did something for me. Something I have not done in a very long time, but as I said before, it was long overdue.

I came home grabbed my cameras and headed to the beach to escape for a day. I know to many this was not much of an escape, but for me it was all I needed. Since I grew up in Santa Monica and I love being near the water, this is where I headed and I am so glad that I did.

it was a cook day today so I needed to make sure I was dressed right. I didn’t want my day of relaxation to turn into a night of fighting off a cold. I dressed in layers and topped it all off with my USC hoodie.

I spent the day with no real plans other then just taking it slow and not spending a bunch of time online or in contact. What I mean by this is, I had my cell phone with me, but if was off for more the 90% of my day. I did not return calls unless they were something that could not wait until the next day or at least until I was heading home later in the evening.

Being near the water was so calming and cool. it was like all day therapy for me. I walked from the top of the Santa Monica Pier all the way down to Venice Beach, just south of the new skater park. Taking pictures every step of the way.

I finished my day with dinner at the Santa Monica Place Mall and a sunset at the Santa Monica Beach. I had spent my most of my day relaxing and clearing my space. I did such a good job at it, that the crowded bus ride home filled with people who were loud and some of them rude, didn’t even bother me.

I was welcomed home by my dog Dodger and I spent the night on the sofa talking of the phone with my friend Christina. I picked up a scented candle on my way home and that has been burning for sometime now. It smells awesome.

I took over 450 pictures today. They are currently uploading to my Flickr page. I had a great day and I am so glad I took most of it for me.

Have A Happy Day!!!!

// January 28th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Canon, HIV and AIDS, Me Time, photos, Pictures

Have a Happy Day 029Today more then ever I wanted to get out of my apartment and have a great day. It was sunny and pretty warm out and I refused to sit inside and let this day slip away from me. I was up pretty early to watch Good Morning America and then spent some time talking with a friend in Atlanta and then cousins out in Texas.

By mid morning I had called my friend Donald and made plans to spend the better part of my day with him. Since I had not seen him in a while I thought this would be one sure fire way to get me to laugh and have a great time with an awesome friend. I am so glad I called him, because from start to finish I was laughing and having such a good time.

However first there were some things I really needed to make sure were in place, so I could have some peace in my mind that I have done all I am supposed to do. I’ve been worried that I have not heard anything from the housing authority with regard to changing my rent since I am now working. I have placed calls to the office, but they have gone unreturned. So I started making my case manager aware of this and today when I talked with her, I one again expressed my concern that I have not received a return phone call.

She assured me that she would look into it and also would make sure she made notes so if the situation ever came up that IHave a Happy Day 011have not tried to report a change in income, she would have it documented in my file. This was my second call to my case manager and the 3rd time we have spoken about this matter. I certainly don’t want my housing to be in jeopardy because of some oversight that is not from a lack of me trying to do the right thing.

I also needed to speak with my case manager to inform her on my medical appointments as well as all other things I have been doing this month. Since my housing depends on me going to the doctors and doing all I can to educate myself about HIV I have to report what I am doing each month. For the most part this is not a big deal for me because I am always going to HIV updates, doing my volunteer work and even doing my own peer support which all count as me doing all I can to educate myself as well as take full care of myself. Since I am working now, having a face to face meeting with my case manager each month is a bit hard, so she and I have worked out a way for me to do my monthly reports that does not require me to take time off from work.

Have a Happy Day 016While I am was hanging out with my friend I received a phone call from my case manager, she told me she received an email from my analyst at the housing authority letting her know that she had in fact got my calls and would take care of any changes at my next certification. I was so happy to hear this and in turn this news helped me to relax when it comes to my housing.

Donald and I headed over to the Beverly Center and as always Donald looked like a million bucks. I joked with him saying “are you ever casual Donald” He laughed and said “I am casual”

Right away Donald was on top of his game which meant I was laughing and smiling the entire time. There is just no way you can spend time with him and not laugh the entire time. The bus ride over to the mall was like comedy hour. At one point I was in tears from laughing so hard.

I had a $100 gift card from Bloomingdale’s, so I wanted to get some Armani and Channel cologne for myself. I also wanted toHave a Happy Day 032 stop into the APPLE Store and take a look at the laptops and give myself a visual on what I want to get for myself.

After leaving the Bloomingdale’s at the Beverly Center, we headed over to NORMS to get a bite to eat and continue our laugh fest. It’s been sometime since I have eaten at NORMS, but eat time I go I am always happy with the food I am served and the service is always nice as well. It always surprises me how a place like NORMS can have such low prices but serve steaks that are tender and juicy. While other places have high prices and steaks that taste like rubber.

Back home Dodger welcomed me with barks followed by kisses. I uploaded my youtube video and started my night to unwind. I spoke with my friend Walter and then to my friend Seth. It was nice to hear his happy voice on the other end of the phone. He told me he had read my blogs and rather then comment he thought he would call me to let me know he was thinking about me.

Have a Happy Day 038Right now I am watching World News with Diane Sawyer, I have some scented candles burning and later I am sure I will take a hot bath. Saturday is yet another day for me that will start early. I have an appointment to get my carpet cleaned and then plan to take some time out taking pictures. I am hoping to find a place where I can take pictures of simple things.

In all my day was filled with love, light and laughter. My heart is filled with joy and my soul is at peace.

New Camera-Canon Rebel T2i

// January 15th, 2011 // No Comments » // beach, Canon, Me Time, photos, Pictures

Learning 002I’ve been wanting and needing a new camera for sometime now, but I have not been able to afford the to get one, but now that I have a job that pays well, I’ve been able to do things for myself that I have not been able to do for a long time. Getting a new camera for a birthday and Christmas present to myself is one of them.

I was shooting with a Canon Powershot and was very happy with the pictures the camera took. However I outgrew that camera very quickly and because of the amount of photos I was taking the retractable lens was starting to fail. I knew it was only a matter of time before I turned the camera on and the lens would simply not open.

Back in June of 2010 while hanging out with friends, I saw the new camera my friend Eric purchased and before even seeing the quality of photos it could produce I was “lusting” after that camera. I already knew I wanted to stick with Canon because they had been so good to me when I called for support with my powershot, plus I loved the quality of pictures I was taking. However after I saw the pictures Eric took, I knew this was the camera I want to purchase. He was shooting with a Canon Rebel T2i.

I was sick for most of my 3 week break, but got up to do an outreach for my birthday on the 19th of December and afterwardsLearning 003had dinner with my friends at ZENGO in Santa Monica. Eric and Willow gave me a sweet gift for my birthday. It was a book on Digital Photography. Once I opened the gift I knew I now needed to get my new camera, so on December 29th I made the trip to Sammy’s Camera and got my new baby.

I love this new camera and the quality of pictures I am taking is simply awesome. People have told me that the pictures “pop” and the detail is “great”, however I was still not getting the higher quality that I had hoped for. This is where my buddy Eric comes in handy. I can always text or call him with questions and he always supplies the answers I need. Moreover the book he gave me is simple and easy to understand, so while reading a few chapters today I put many of the suggestions to work.

Tonight I am going out to shoot my first sunset at the beach. I am so looking forward to putting into practice what I have learned from reading the book. The biggest change I will be making tonight is that I will be shooting my pictures using a tri-pod to get more crisp pictures. Like the book said this is a bit more work, but in the pictures I’ve seen already I am willing to put in the extra effort to get more “popping” photos.

Learning 004I will also be investing in a better, more quality tri-pod as well. The book suggest a few types and I have seen others use the suggested tri-pods, so after speaking with Eric I will make my choice. The biggest investment will be a new lens where I can shoot things from a distance. The lens I have is great, but for my community work I would like a lens that will deliver high quality photos that I can shoot from a distance so that I don’t disturb the situation I am shooting.

This new camera will also help me take my pictures to a whole level and has already started me to think about planning another photo exhibit like the one I did back in 2007 with a team of photographers and kids down in the Oakwood area of  Venice.

With all the stress of work, my new camera is going to provide me with some awesome picture safaris to help remove some of the stress and will also get me out of the house more to walk to find some awesome places to snap some really cool pictures. I can already tell that my adventures in photography have just begun.

Well it’s already 12:32pm and I need to get ready to head out to the beach. It will take two buses to get there, or maybe just one if I go on the Sunset bus which will take me down to Pacific Coast Highway. The only down side to that is the fact that there is a private beach and I would have to walk along the highway before I could cut back over to the beach. I don’t think I want to do that, but you never know.

I can’t wait to snap pictures of the Santa Monica Pier and of the sun as it deeps into the Pacific Ocean. Plus tomorrow my plan isLearning 006 to get up and head to the beach to get the sun rise at Venice Beach. Now that should be fun.

Hold on tight to a whole new “My Life Through My Lens” experience