Labtest Contest IX: Win A Rise Above HIV Shirt!
January 29, 2013
It’s that time again- time to guess my t-cell count for the chance to win a fabulous prize! So what is the prize this time around? It is a Rise Above HIV t-shirt, designed by my friend and Synthetic Division bandmate, Josh D’Elia, and modeled by my lovely partner, Gwenn, below…
This time around everyone is up against the first champion to ever guess the exact count, Scott Anderson. He is someone I’ve known since we were teenagers and he is a steadfast competitor who has no intentions of being a one-time champion. Feeling lucky to take him down? Then take a guess for a chance to win! Post your guess on my Poz blog Comments section- see the official rules below.
SCOTT ANDERSON (GUESS: 620 ACTUAL COUNT: 620)
March-July 2010: Charles Oliff (guess: 567 actual count: 565)
July-December 2010: Aimee Lee (guess: 516 actual: 511)
December 2010- March 2011: “Satan” (guess: 666 actual: 662)
March-July 2011: Sharon Paul (guess: 520 actual: 508)
August-January 2012: Justin Starkenburg (guess: 570 actual count: 579)
February- June: Bob Geise (guess: 595 actual count: 590)
July-September: Sahara Frog (guess: 515 actual count: 512)
1. You have to post your guess (between 300 and 800 t-cells) on my Poz blog Comments section
2. Relatives are allowed to guess!
3. Closest guess wins- no Price is Right logic applies.
4. One vote/guess per person.
5. Deadline is Monday, February 4, 2013 12:01 am EST
VLOG: Happy Thankful Day
November 19, 2012
For me and Gwenn, Thanksgiving is all about taking a step back and realizing what we are thankful for. I am thankful daily for having a healthy relationship, for living through the fearful years of my HIV diagnosis- the years when I was too afraid to ask questions. In this vlog, we talk about how we met, and why that encounter is what we are most thankful for.
I give a special shout out to Ryan White for making it happen. Watch and find out why.
8 Years Ago Today
October 23, 2012
Happy Birthday, Steve Schalchlin!
October 4, 2012
That’s a mug. It’s where I keep my tooth brush and toothpaste in our downstairs bathroom. And that’s me and Steve. We came upon a cubicle in a mall-type situation in 1998, and decided to get our likenesses plastered on a coffee mug and a t-shirt. Steve gave me first choice: I choose the mug.
Today is Steve’s birthday. I posted this photo on his Facebook Wall. I post Happy Birthday messages on there from time to time, but truthfully, I don’t check in every day and I’m sure I miss some key birthdays… for that I am sorry. I am grateful that I caught this one. When I first went online in 1996, armed with a desire to share my HIV status with whomever would listen, Steve was one of the first people that I found. He was one of a literal handful of people blogging who were HIV positive- if there were more than 3 I couldn’t find them.
He encouraged me to join in. I didn’t want to copy him. He assured me that as a young straight man, I wouldn’t step on his older, wiser gay toes. I took his advice. Steve was the first guy with HIV that had a sense of humor that matched my own. (A shout out to Bret Turner, who I met shortly thereafter!) It was a game changer for me. I was in my very early 20s, and Steve gave me advice and friendship and assurance that I had a place in all of this- that I was a relevant voice and that I should keep talking about my reality as someone living with HIV.
When I met Steve, he was very sick. He’d just started on Crixivan, a drug that saved his life. A few years later, when I got sick, he vehemently told me that I needed to switch gears and start meds. It was jolting. He didn’t pull any punches, and it scared me. I started meds, and it saved my life.
I love you Steve. Happy birthday, my friend.
C’ville’s First Pride Festival a Success
September 17, 2012
photo by Vannathan Hugh L S
Last Saturday, my beloved hometown of Charlottesville hosted its first ever Pride Festival. I heard about it a month or so ago, when my good friends in Bella Morte contacted me about singing a song during their 30-minute acoustic set. Of course, I couldn’t resist being a part of this event to show my support for a community that has shown me so much support since I decided to speak out about being HIV positive.
More on that in a moment. Here’s me singing The Cure’s “Close to Me”, with Bella Morte’s Tony Lechmanski on guitar. He worked up such a great version of a song that is primarily keyboards and bass.
The energy at this event was wonderful. The Facebook Event page blew up with people RSVPing “Yes”, close to 1,000 by the time the event rolled around. Of course, there was the usual Failbook posts about not being able to get a free t-shirt at the event, or wondering if there were going to be too many couples there. Some people really struggle to see what an event like this is truly about- I’m thankful that I got exactly what this event was, and was happy to see a real turnout of support in a packed park full of great energy.
Tony, Andy and Marshall of Bella Morte (photo by Vannathan Hugh L S)
Performing Earth Angel. Love this photo, another one by Vannathan Hugh L S!
Before their set, Bella Morte’s singer Andy Deane had a funny line. “If we seem nervous we apologize- we just didn’t realize there’d be so many gay people here.” Everyone laughed. After they played four songs and Andy invited me up, I said: “If I seem nervous, I’m sorry- I didn’t realize Bella Morte would be here.” Everyone from vendors, to performers to attendees just had a huge smile on their face. Undoubtedly the result of this past weekend’s Festival will make this an annual event, one I look forward to attending every year.
Why? Because my life today wouldn’t be possible without my “gay allies”, AKA friends. When I was just a confused, 20-year old straight kid in Waynesboro, Virginia with a web site, it was a group of gay men at Poz Magazine that opened my handwritten letter and invited to me New York City. It really was a portion of the gay community that gave me confidence in knowing that, as a positoid, I was a catch as a single man. And, when I wrote My Pet Virus, once again it was the gay community that pulled the strings to get that book published.
I am forever indebted, and forever grateful.
C’ville Locals: Orzo Benefit Dinner on Monday Sept 10
August 31, 2012
For those who live in the Charlottesville area, our good friends at Orzo are once again hosting a benefit dinner that helps benefit people living with HIV. Good food for a good cause! All of the pertinent details are listed below, act fast as there is limited seating and this event always sells out.
I love my hometown.
Benefit Dinner for the UVA Ryan White Program
Monday, September 10, 2012
Orzo Restaurant is hosting a benefit for the UVA Ryan White Program (HIV Clinic). The benefit dinner and silent auction will raise money for the HIV Family Camp at Camp Holiday Trails and gas cards for patients traveling to the clinic.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and wine reception. At 6:30 p.m., guests will be seated for a three-course, Italian-style dinner.
Tickets are $40/adult and $20/child (gratuity and tax included). Orzo will donate half of the money raised from ticket sales to the Ryan White Program.
Tickets will be available at the door; cash and checks will be accepted. If you would like to support the benefit but will be unable to join us, the requested donation is $40.
Three-Course Dinner Menu
- Orzo’s Caesar: Hearts of Romaine, Parmigiano Reggiano, Garlic Croutons
- Traditional Lasagna Al Forno (vegetarian lasagna available upon request)
- Italian Citrus Cake: Orange Juice and Cointreau Reduction, Fresh Whipped Cream
Monday, Sept. 10, 2012
416 W. Main St.
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Mars Landing… Curiosity Did What? (Comic)
August 10, 2012
That’s a funny drawing that my friend and Synthetic Division co-conspirator Josh D’Elia did in honor of the Mars rover landing. Hope everyone has a nice weekend. If you’re a cat and you’re on your ninth life, look both ways wherever you may be roaming.
Hemo-Positoid Hero Bikes Across the Country
August 7, 2012
Yesterday Barry Haarde, a long-time advocate for people living with hemophilia and HIV, completed his cross-country bike ride for Wheels For the World. 50 days and over 3,600 miles: all to raise awareness and money for people with bleeding disorders all around the world.
Thus far, Barry has raised over $20,000. To donate, click here.
A tip of the iced mocha to you Barry. You have not only conquered this goal, but you have also lived a full life with hemophilia, strength, HIV and hepatitis C. A capital “C” for Class as well. Keep fighting the good fight!