My Pet Virus “Book Club” on Facebook

January 20, 2011

When my humorous memoir about growing up with HIV was published in 2006, I was doing a lot of self-promo for the book on MySpace.  I hardly ever log into that account these days, because it’s a Spam Hole.

mpv-cat-3.jpgEven though Facebook slinks closer and closer to the same fate as MySpace, I figured it would be smart to create a page for the book there and move over some of the pictures I received from people who were enjoying the book.  If you like the book and are on Facebook, join (Like) the group, I’ll be sharing more pictures and little knick knacks about the book, such as the following pearl of wisdom and insight:

At first cats think the book is about actual pets… but once they get over that, they seem to really warm up to the content of My Pet Virus.

Yes, I just quoted myself.  Join the group already!

Positively Yours,

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My CD, Synthetic Division, A Symptom of Life, is on iTunes!


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Chicken Soup… For the Positoid Soul?

September 13, 2010

I submitted a story for the Chicken Soup series a while back, detailing my journey with HIV and how I coped and survived pre-meds.  Some of it was luck, some of it was an innate idea and the teachings of my parents that being down would only harm my immune system’s attempts to protect me.

Well, the book is being published on September 28! It’s called Chicken Soup for Soul: Think Positive. My story kicks off the Health section, and is entitled “I’m Positive… Really.”


With the distribution of this series, I’m happy to know that this story will reach some newly diagnosed people who might need a pick-me-up, one I am honored to provide.  I also hope that by being included in such an omnipresent series, my take on life with HIV will open some minds as to the struggles (social, not medical) that some of us encounter.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Positively Yours,

The Chicken Soup folks sent me a handful of copies.  The next person to donate $50 or more to my participation in the AIDS Walk Washington next month gets a copy!


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Also check out the lovely Gwenn’s Fashion/Coffee Blog


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New Issue of Poz, My Article Ryan White Article

August 20, 2010


The new issue of Poz magazine is out, and there’s an incredible article on the role that homophobia plays in the spread of HIV.  I contributed to the issue as well, writing about the importance of remembering Ryan White 20 years after his passing.

Positively Yours,


Watch, Friend and Follow me on:YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Website: Also check out the lovely Gwenn’s Fashion/Coffee Blog

Like what you’ve read? Then buy me an iced mocha or check out my new CD: Synthetic Division, A Symptom of Life, which is now on iTunes!


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(b)Lab Results and Killer Books

November 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I went in for my every-four month labs to see what’s cookin’ with my pet virus.  Good news: my t-cells are 511 (28%) and the viral load was less than 48 copies, which is near nothing.  That’s pretty much the same as they were in June, and have been in the ballpark for the last couple of years.

As has been chronicled, I do a week on HIV meds, followed by a week off.  These labs were taken after 6 days off meds.  With the success I’ve had keeping my numbers stable, I broached the topic of trying one week on, two weeks off meds.. but Dr. Greg wasn’t too keen on it, thinking that two weeks would be too much time for the virus to cause trouble.  He said he wasn’t too worried about the short-term effects, but was thinking that down the line it could present other problems in my body.


I relented quickly, because I respect my doctor for going along with the plan that has worked like a charm.  And he’s the one who reads every boring article that comes out about the intricacies of this virus.

My reason for wanting a longer break has been absent-mindedness and lethargy.  Recent articles on how HIV can affect the brain and memory haven’t set me at ease, either.  I don’t write much about my worries about living with HIV, but I can say that losing my wits is right up there at the top.  And it’s especially frustrating on the days when things just aren’t clicking in the old nugget; like when I wake up feeling exhausted instead of rested or, in the middle of a shower, I wonder if I’ve already washed my hair or not.

This tends to happen after a couple of days on meds.  But I do wonder whether I pin everything on the medications, because laying blame on the virus is too damn scary a thought.

If I haven’t been blogging much, it’s because because my terd brain is liking the Twitter format: in and out, done in less than 140 characters.  I’ve been working on my second book.  Printing it out and realizing it wasn’t quite up to par has made me doubt myself and my ability to focus and tell a story that’s 70,000 words as well, another reason why the two weeks off fantasy materialized.  Also, 70,000 words is a substantial amount of characters… way more than Twitter allows.  If I don’t get the book where I want it, maybe I’ll just release the damn thing for free on Twitter as a 500-part series?

The inner battle to continue my writing career has been fueled by the literary (sales) success of Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin, both of whom outsold my cult classic memoir, My Pet Virus, in a matter of minutes.  Palin’s book even offed Rachel Maddow, one of my favorite TV politicos. 

See, I plan to outsell both Prejean and Palin together, but it’s going to take a lot of books to do it… and that’s why I’m sticking with one week on, one week off meds schedule that has worked for me.  Writing isn’t fruitful at the moment, so I’m setting the book aside until the new year.  There’s World AIDS Day/Week to focus on, which is taking me and Gwenn to five different states in five days.  And then there’s the holidays soon after.. but when the dust settles, I will write again.

In the meantime, I will sleep with one eye open, looking out for that damn Going Rogue book of Palin’s.  If you want to live to see 2010, I’d suggest that you do the same.

Positively Yours,

Shawn on:    Shawn’s Poz columns    Shawn’s book    Decker’s Daily Coffee

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Read My Column in Poz, Cute YouTube Video

July 2, 2009

POZ-156.jpgThe best part about being sick for a week was writing.  I blogged every day last week!  So, really, if your reading this and wishing me well, you might have to decide whether your care for my well-being as a human trumps your love for my incredibly witty style of writing.

Which is on display in this month’s issue of Poz!
I wrote a column called “Maybe Baby”, about the oft-asked procreation question, specifically whether Gwenn and I are interested. And no, that’s not our baby in the photo, but it is our Goddaughter, Evie. She’s guest-starred on Decker’s Daily many times, most notably in Episode 38 as my would-be assassin, after debuting a few days earlier in Episode 34.

Aside from me, she’s logged the most Decker’s Daily appearances.  Which is fitting, because when our good friend Lauren was pregnant with her, we spent most of the pregnancy in coffee shops.  When she was born, we were at the hospital, and have seen her explore babyhood and life on this planet for the last 9 months.

As for exploration of other planets, well…

Lauren just had a birthday, and as you’ve seen before, I have a knack for making cool YouTube cute baby vids.  My first work, When Babies Have Babies, feature my niece, Katelyn.  Then last Christmas, my second niece, Helayna, debuted in the sorta sequel, When Babies Save Christmas.

Inspired by those earlier works, I made this for Lauren, changing a Happy Birthday text to a plug for Lauren’s music, which I love.  So, without further ado, here’s Interplanetary Travelers, starring Evie and Lauren Hoffman.  Enjoy the ride!

Positively Yours,
Captain Shawn

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Book #2 Finished… Now What?

May 29, 2009

It’s been a little over a year and a half of the most nonstop writing of my life.  But Book #2, the vampire book, is finally finished as of 2 AM Wednesday morning.  To mark the occasion, this was my Decker’s Daily photo the next afternoon.

fangsdeckerdaily.jpg That’s straw paper in my mouth.  It wasn’t until after the photo was snapped that I figured out that vampires holding iced mochas are not scary, no matter how rock solid their body is with well-defined muscle.

I forced myself to stop blogging about writing the book, but now that I’m done I’m lifting the ban.  I’ve been irregular in blogging the last two weeks because I was really cracking down on finishing the book- a humorous tale of vampirism, set in a small town, centered around a group of incoming freshmen.

Yes, HIV is involved.  It’s my specialty!

The book was a joy to write.  I discovered my addiction to iced mochas through this ordeal.  But, at this moment, I am relieved that it is out of my hands.  Right now, my lit agent is going to look over it and then we’ll submit it to the publisher.  When I get any word on it, I’ll definitely blog it.

So… with colleges out of session and no more high school talks… how does a positoid fill his day?  Of course, I’ll keep drinking iced mochas, and Gwenn will keep snapping Decker’s Daily photos, which are being called “Iconic Imagery!”, “Daring Pictures!” and “Bravery in the Face of Mochas!” by no one.  What’s cool about the joke of Decker’s Daily is that I got some sponsors (Thank you again!), and one of them actually led to one of the discussions I had last week with an incredible Gay/Straight Alliance formed at a nearby high school.  It’s very cool the random ways in which we meet people, isn’t it?

With book #2 complete, finding a creative outlet didn’t take long.  Tonight I had band practice with Synthetic Division.  “Wait,” you say.  “Can you really call a synth duo getting together with an iPod band practice?”  Yes, you can!  But you don’t think so, how about a synth trio?  With a drummer? 

A human drummer! 

syntheticdivisiontrio.jpgThat’s Marshall on keyboards.  He joined me when my bandmate left in 2007, within a month of the end of his previous band, In Tenebris.  That’s Mike Johnson on drums, he was in In Tenebris with Marshall, so they immediately locked it down without any problems.

Now, if Christina- the former singer of In Tenebris- shows up at practice next time, I’ll know that I’ve been kicked out of Synthetic Division.  The victim of a non-violent (hopefully) takeover from the inside.   But really, adding drums and a friend to the band is going to make things a lot more fun. 

I’ll be posting more about our first Charlottesville show in July next week and, as I wait for a word on the book, I’ll be turning to music for artistic solace. 

Positively Yours,

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April 10, 2009


Check out to learn about the word, “positoid”, and read some of the first columns I wrote for Poz magazine.

My Column in New Issue of Poz

February 19, 2009


I have a new column in the latest issue of Poz Magazine, you can read it here: “Week On, Week Off”. It’s about the ups and one big down of my last seven years on my Structured Treatment Interruption.

Hope you enjoy reading it- I am especially proud of all of the Karate Kid references and am honored to be included in an issue that focuses on what we as positoids can do to improve our health.

Positively Yours,


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