Mar 222015

There is this Cupertino Education Endowment Foundation. I didn’t really know much about them, except that they do school fundraisers. Sometimes we goto particular restaurants or grocery stores during the year and money gets kicked back to the Cupertino schools. They have a party every year. Casino themes, Hawaiian themes – all interesting to me, keeping me curious about going but we have never gone.

This year though, I noticed that Sal’s teacher won the teacher of the year award. Which was the tipping point. Strangely enough, in conversations with Sal’s Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers, they didn’t find me bringing up this reason to be as amusing as I did…

We got the tickets not really knowing what we were in for. Some folks we talked to brought up the prospect of spending the evening dining with bureaucrats and fundraisers. Which I hadn’t really considered, but by then, the tickets were bought. And right after we got our seat assignments, I ran into a teacher selling bead necklaces, to be part of a “heads or tails” game to win a dinner. Maybe there was something to that hustling perspective. But the teacher hadn’t really sold many. Thinking that it’s for the kids, I told him we’re in for a couple of necklaces.

A few food tasting stations and wine tasting sessions later, I see him again. And we’re still his most recent sale. So I buy some more, to share. And while we’re talking about how many, another lady working the fundraiser comes by, with a neck full of beads, encouraging me to buy some beads…but I have to take them off her since her hands are full (food station and wine stations).

It’s for the kids I’m thinking again, but since I’m reminded of the kids, I turn back to the original teacher selling the beads and buy some beads from him for our table. And then some more for Sal’s teacher and her fiancé. And I think I bought a few more later too.

The game works like this. Someone’s going to flip a coin. And you’re going to guess if it’s heads (hands on head) or tails (hands on rear). And if you guess right, you get to continue. If you’re wrong, you lose a necklace. If you’ve got no necklaces left, you’re out. The game was more entertaining than I had expected. Though I was out pretty quickly. I was out in 4 flips and I had 3 necklaces…so pretty bad. But fun to cheer on the folks continuing.

The winner had pooled together some of my other gifted necklaces though, so I consider it a partial win.

But all that was a setup to the live auction.

Winning hatI haven’t been to many fundraiser live auctions before. And the last one I really remember taking seriously, I regretted afterwards. Had a chance to win a round of golf with Larry David. Which would have been a great gift for my father. And I let it slip away. I didn’t want to let that happen again.

But nothing really jumped out at me on this auction. Hockey tickets. Some Napa getaway. Another Napa getaway with balloon rides. A diamond pendant. Stay at a resort in Mexico. Dinner for 8 at Testarossa though – that could be interesting. And dinner for 8 at a firehouse – sounded kind of interesting too. But more as girls’ night out. No alcohol on the firehouse premises. Seems like a good policy in general, but certainly quite different themed than the dinner at a winery. Girls’ night out dinner though with firemen cooking leaves a lot to the imagination. Maybe with a chauffeured car. Maybe visit a winery beforehand for a tasting…that could all come together nicely. The Testarossa dinner started at high price and I think I bid with my number facing the wrong way. Embarrassing!

So now I have a fireman’s hat and a toy firetruck too. And plans to get 4 of Sal’s teachers together and his principal (who seems like a blast – very different to talk to principals at a parent instead of as a student) for the dinner.

Catherine tells me it was the most expensive item for the evening. I am not sure I bid properly. In hindsight, I think I treated it like a poker game, where I was bidding aggressively, and that might have been dumb. As soon as the other guy bid, I re-raised. He’d think about it and I’d re-raise instantly. Before the auctioneer could finish asking for the next price. I don’t know if I thought I could bluff him out or what I was really thinking. Probably something like “auctions are fun!” or “Catherine’s putting her hand on my arm as a sign of support!”

I never gave him the joy of seeing me think it over and feel like he might win. And I regret that. Cause I just kept raising my hand instantly. It would have been more fun, for him and crowd, if we had let it go to “going once…going twice…” a couple more times, both ways. I think I have played too much bad poker and haven’t studied Storage Wars enough. (That fire truck is a solid 3 dollar bill though!)

Then he made me feel worse, afterwards, coming up and congratulating me on the win. He pointed out how he could make reservations at Testarossa anytime, but he couldn’t call up the firehouse and ask them to make him a home cooked meal for him and his 7 friends. I think he really wanted to go see the firetrucks and maybe slide down the pole and wear some big pants with suspenders. At that moment, I was already wearing big pants with suspenders…and me saying it was going to be a fun girls’ night out didn’t seem to make him feel any better.

Oh well, it was for the kids!

May 302014

There was a time when I was riding off on my own and we thought for safety’s sake, I should pay for Runkeeper so it could broadcast my trip. And then if Catherine ever needed to find my body on the side of the road, she’d know where to start looking.

The day after I paid for it, RoadID came out with the same service for free.

Oh well.

The benefit is now you’ll be able to follow my ride at this link – but to really follow it live, they’d like you to sign up for a free Runkeeper account too.  I think it’d be worth it. But maybe I’m biased.

Anyway, that was one way I thought I could cheer people up during the week. Ever feel down?  Go load that page up and enjoy a good laugh at me…

But then, I was thinking I wanted to do something to help keep people more engaged with the whole phenomena of the ride. And prop bets seem like the right answer.

So let’s play.

Right answer gets you a point.  If no one hits the number perfectly, closest answer, without going over gets you a point (aka Price is Right style). I’ll do my best to update my stats daily.

Most points win. In the case of a tie, all the people with the most points will have the deltas for the ones they didn’t get perfectly right summed up.  Smallest delta wins.

What do you win?  I’ll take you (and your family/significant other) out to dinner.  If you’ve sponsored my bike ride for any amount, it’ll be a nicer dinner.

Here are my props:

  • My max speed:
  • Times I will ride the bus:
  • Number of miles spent riding the bus:
  • Will I ride my bike over the finish line:
  • Weight difference between 5/31/14 and 6/8/14 (negative means I lose weight):
  • Average speed for all miles cycled (mph):
  • Day of my fastest average speed:
  • Day of my slowest average speed:
  • Will I wear a tutu?
  • Total steps taken during trip (pedal strokes relate to steps the way I use Fitbit) (in thousands):
  • Number of times I do the QuadBuster hill (1.5 mile hill on day 3 @ mile 10 out of 67 for the day; 0 means I rode the bus, 1 is normal, 2+ means I went back to do it again!):
  • Number of strangers hugged:
  • Time of checking my bike in on final day (minutes):
  • Earliest start time of day (minutes):
  • Latest finish time of day (minutes):
  • Number of times I get someone to help me adjust my bike somehow:
  • Crashes:
  • Wardrobe malfunctions:
  • Difference between my 6/8/14 weight and the total of the first game of the NBA Finals:
  • Number of seconds iOS Mail is featured during the WWDC keynote:

Entries need to be posted/emailed to me by midnight Sunday night.

Good luck!

May 222014

Sal’s third grade class had job interviews for doing chores around the class. The kids would do those jobs for Inghram bucks.  Inghram bucks can be used to buy a class party. Sal told me about an ice cream party they had. I was jealous.

Catherine and I go into the class every now and then and teach the kids programming with Scratch. After I heard about the ice cream party, I needed to get some Inghram bucks, so I asked the kids to tip me for the classes I’ve been teaching, cause that’s a job too. One kid wanted to give me a penny. He’s not on my list of favorite kids. And there isn’t even an Inghram penny.

With 23 kids, I pulled in $45.

This week, I found out that the end of year party was going to run about 100 Inghram bucks. tourDeCure

I thought of asking for another round of tips, but I wanted to make it more meaningful…and get more bucks too.

So I told them that for every Inghram buck that they gave me, I would match it with a real dollar donation to my Tour de Cure bike ride on June 8th. There is a diabetic in their class, so it seemed more relevant than my AIDS ride.

The kids asked me if they gave me $1000 if I would match it. Of course! What about a million?  That made me ask the teacher how much money they had at that point.  They said they were rich.  I asked if they were generous though.

Mrs. Inghram figured the average was $300…across 23 kids – that seemed doable. Some were thinking of giving me all their money, except then, they wouldn’t have money for the end of year party. Real issues now with Inghram bucks!

It definitely gave them something to talk about and discuss for the rest of the day. And I left there trying to think of more ways to get all their money for some reason. Somehow I felt like I was playing Monopoly.

I got a text after school. They gave me over $800.  A couple of standouts – someone donated $115 flat out.  Another one donated 80% of their money. I think I’ll be buying a lot of her wares at the open house product showcase, to make sure she’s got enough money to get to the end of year party…but I love the thought.

It was extremely touching. Of course, it would have been even more touching if they actually hit that $1000 mark they tried to scare me with in the morning. But in the end, we’re donating $911 (x2, with a corporate match).  Not too shabby for our little ride.

Feb 242014

But I did it again yesterday.

20 years ago, it was for fun, for beers at Ensenada. And tacos. I didn’t train. I was young enough (and dumb enough) to just be able to will it to happen.

Yesterday, I rode 50 miles just as training for a larger ride, with more meaning. I’m doing the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from SF to LA in June.

Things have changed a bit over the years. It has definitely gotten harder. I don’t remember cramping up last time – but felt it yesterday. Priorities maybe shifted. There is a kid around that I want to make a lasting impression on.

Catherine called my bike “crappy” when talking to a friend of hers. I asked later on, what she meant by that. “It’s old, too heavy, and not built to go long distances on the road.” It felt like she was talking about me. I figured we’re a good match that way. (Me and the bike that is…)

Instead of dropping a large chunk of change on a road bike that’s half the weight of my current bike and would lead to buying new shoes and wearing a lot of spandex as outerwear, I donated the money. Your eyes can thank me anytime you see me not wearing spandex outerwear.

Waving a magic money wand would definitely make the obstacles ahead of me shrink. But my obstacles seem tiny compared to the obstacles those living with HIV face. If there could be a magic wand, I want it waved for their obstacles, not mine. One of the leads for my training rides had a post a while back (couldn’t find it to link to, so need to paraphrase) about how all of us will face various challenges on this ride. Fundraising, equipment, conditioning, time, health…no one will have an easy time. Upbeat huh?

And yet, over 2000 folks will do it. To help others. Through awareness, fundraising, or just inspiration and/or support. I am expecting it to be an emotional event and I’m also expecting that I’ve underestimated what I’m going to get out of it.

But to get there, I’m going to need support too. Right now, I’d really like someone to go on one of these rides with me.  But if you can’t make it out, I’d be more than happy to thank you for sponsoring my journey

Oct 172013

Most of the time, when we wager, I wager for a meal.  I enjoy going eating with others, cause the conversations usually get interesting.  Like making more bets over who can fit a beard papa creme puff in their mouth.

9027151818_0d7e52d672_bBut one time, this past summer at lunch, a couple of guys I work with talked about doing the AIDS LifeCycle ride.  Wanted to see if I was interested.  After all, I was like them – commuting to work occasionally.  Just that their commute is 50+ miles and mine is 1.5. If I take the scenic route.

I’ve thought about doing a century often. This event would check that box off. Twice. In a week. While sleeping in a tent.

I’m not getting any younger. So I might as well do it when folks I know are doing it. I told them I was at 80% likelihood of joining them on the ride. Something interesting was happing at that lunch.

I thought I could get out of it when I saw that the Tour de Cure that Sal and I ride was happening on June 8th.  But luckily enough, the ALC ride ends on the 7th. So I can catch flight home that night and be ready to go with Sal the next day. I didn’t have any good reason not to do the ride.

Sonny went to a meeting in the city one night, registration was at a discount and I got signed up.

Folks, that probably know more than me, suggest getting a new bike. But I’m kind of used to my bike (and stubborn and cheap) and I don’t think I’d ride a road bike after this, so it seems like a waste to get a bike just for training for this ride. Perhaps I would have a different story next spring or summer. As it is, I’d rather take that money for the bike and donate it instead. Much healthier to shave 10-15 pounds off my body than off my bike instead…

If you would like to join me, I can get you a discount on the registration fee. Send me a note. It is going to be fun! (I need to keep reminding myself of that…)

If you would rather just sponsor me on this craziness, I sure would appreciate it. Use this link.

Thanks – and let’s go eat sometime!

Mar 022012

I love local competitions among my friends and coworkers.

But even more than the competition, I love the handicapping.

And I love seeing how everyone handicaps differently.  So when my fellow Apple co-workers, who are new to this process, asked me about the odds for the fitness challenge, I was excited to say that we weren’t doing odds, since that would require one unbiased person to handicap.  Instead, I was going to show them all how to expose their biases.

Out of the 9 rankings, 3 people have me finishing first.  One person has me finishing last.

My wife, was not one of the 3 people that has me finishing first.  She went on a little rant about how I’m not in as good of shape as I was last year.

Which is fair – I’m turning 40 this year.  Each year, I’m a year closer to dying.  (Health care workers don’t like hearing that when they ask you how last year was, by the way.)

But it’s all good fuel for the fire.

I just wish I didn’t have some sinus issues that put a sharp pain in the back of my head when I climb a fight of stairs.

Still, the show must go on.

And of course, I’d love it if you’d sponsor me.

We’ll see if I can represent for the nearly 40 crowd tomorrow…