Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kitchen Based Musings

I have recently learned to cook soft shell crabs.

Hell, to be more honest, it has barely been more than a year since I actually started cooking.  Thankfully, I've discovered among the many dishes I have gradually learned to do better that there are two dishes that I can do pretty well.  Both dishes were staples that I used to always order with my partner at this restaurant called Fish and Co.

Fish Fillet with chips.
Soft shell crab salad.

Fish Fillet is quite easy now that one can buy Cream Dory fillet in a supermarket.  With just a light seasoning of salt and pepper, then an egg to bind flour to it and you got a dish ready for pan frying fun.

Soft shell crab on the other hand takes a bit more effort.  Having been able to toss my partner and myself a salad when the urge was there, I decided a few days ago to take a stab at actually making soft shell crab salad.  I had discovered that Shopwise sold alfalfa in a generous amount for its price, and with the balsamic vinaigrette salads I've been making, the idea of being able to add to it a soft shell crab was something I could not resist.  I mean, how hard could it be right?

It turns out, creating a soft shell crab salad does require a strong determination to accomplish the task.   Well, at least it did for someone like me.   I discovered Shopwise also sold soft shell crabs in the frozen Japanese section for Php250 a box (which had four crabs) and while I was letting two of them thaw, I decided to surf the net for any tips on how to cook the sucker.

Soft shell crabs, it turned out, need to be cleaned before cooking.
Oh my lord.
Lemme explain that reaction  by letting you watch the video I viewed.

OH MY GOD.  Yes.  They cut off those parts and the FACE while the crab is still alive.
Alive!  Do you read me?!??!
I don't pretend to be an animal rights activist or anything, but seriously couldn't they have at least killed the crab properly first before cutting those parts off and cooking it?

This video kinda hit me bad.  And even though I was working with long dead frozen crabs, I found myself feeling sad for the fellers as I took the kitchen shears and snipped the faces off.  I felt their firm bodies in my hand and hated how my brain could still imagine them squirming and struggling in dying agony.


It is interesting how you don't even need to season the crabs much.  Just roll them in flour that has been seasoned a bit with black pepper and paprika, and that's it, it is ready for frying.

So yeah, the salad was delicious!  Very easy to prepare and well worth the effort.  I'm certain certain chefs and foodies out there have loads of suggestions for me (like how to better prepare the crab, or what is a better way to season things, etc) but ultimately what matters is being able to cook something my partner and I will enjoy.

I just wish I didn't find myself stopping each time I had to clean the crab and remembering how somewhere out there, some of these poor things have to get "cleaned" before they even die.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

While it is hard to think of good gossip, here's an example of Bad Gossip.

Hey everyone, sorry for the long delay.  Having recently come out to my parents, I haven't gotten around to getting the details to finally sink in and come out as a coherent blog post.

For now, however, let me talk about something else:
Here in Manila, one of the key gay hangout spots is Malate.  Once the central bohemian destination where musicians, artists and writers converged, the place - and more specifically the intersection of Nakpil and Orosa street - have transformed with the times to become a gay mecca in the metropolis.  There are a number of gay friendly establishments along this strip, with two bars being most notable:  O bar and Bed.  Both cater to the drink and party crowd and both have their own pros and cons.  Many who seek to relive the illusion of a wild life presented by shows like Queer as Folk prefer Bed and its overly expensive drinks and massive flirtation space.  Others who have begun to see the joys of bonding with friends have begun to embrace O bar as the place to be.  And while both bars of course have their own share of monkeys and undesirables, both tend to have crowds whose main drive that night is towards one or the other.

But I'm not focusing this blog post to talk about the bars, though.

Instead I am focusing on the existence of a small page in Facebook that seeks to stylize itself as some kind of Gossip Girl wannabe.   With struggling English, thinly veiled code names, and a very large tendency to get the facts wrong, the page has declared itself a hub for the latest gossip about certain people who hang out in the area.  As of this blog posting, the page has targeted a dancer and a few regular customers of O bar, and has even released a list of more names to follow.

While the urge to gossip and share news about other people seems to be a strong trait of anyone more social than not, I do not know if I can appreciate a site that prides itself in spreading rumors about people who aren't  even celebrities.  Celebrities already walk a thin line in having private and public lives separate.  And some would even say celebrities don't have much of a choice, since their personal lives are in many ways what make them even more popular.  This self-proclaimed gossip site, however, targets private individuals and worse, shares unconfirmed (or at least claims to have confirmed, but clearly has details wrong) rumors about them.   The most recent entry on a Mr. U.B.E. has many facts twisted askew and while the entry tries to sound somewhat respectful or favorable of the guy being a nice guy, shares potentially damaging information about someone the page itself declares as "This guy is often quiet, shy, and real nice."   The page even alludes to some group thing going on and claims the reason for one of them staying with the two others is "withheld", when the real reasons is actually because the other guy simply needed a place to stay at for a while.  Ergo, the real reason, which lacked any real malice, was intentionally kept from the readers to again build intrigue and malice.

The page could be fun.  There is always something nice about reading blind items about celebrities.   But the beauty about blind items is that it keeps things vague and interesting without being insulting or slanderous.  This page fails to do just that.   Instead, it seems to think intrigue and making insinuations about others is a positive and fun thing that doesn't harm others.

And clearly, the people behind the page itself are aware of this fact.  They know how wrong what they are doing actually is.  Why?  Because they choose to stay anonymous to avoid being targeted themselves.

To those listed as current and future targets of the page, while I might not know you all personally and to be honest, I might not even be able to consider you all as someone I'd call a friend, I still feel for you and how this page seeks to slander you for sheer fun.

To the people behind this page, either shape up and get your act straight, or quit and vanish people someone actually takes action against you.  Realize worse things have been done to people who try to ruin the reputation and name of other people.  Slander and libel are also things you should research on.  Take my advice and quit while you haven't riled up the wrong people, or you might find yourself gossiping more than you can handle and learning how words can be the catalyst for worse things.  I.P. addresses can be traced.  Online identities can be hunted down.  Things can be done.  Quit before things get out of hand, for your own sake.  Are you forgetting that you live in the Philippines?  Worse things have happened to people for far less.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goodbye Closet.

I am finally out to my parents.  There will definitely be a blog post on that soon.
But for now, I will just relish the joy and happiness.

Thank you every one for your support.

Nearing the end of one era, and the beginning of another.

It begins.

I approached my dad today and told him, "Dad, is the family meeting happening today?"

Supposedly, the family is meeting to talk to my sister who has a few career changes in mind.  My parents want to talk to her about possibly making the most of this transition which in more common speak means finding a way to get her to live her life closer to how they want it to be.  Last week, I had mapped out that this week would be the week I was to come out to my parents.

Many years ago, back when dates were still appended with a 90 something, I came out to my brother on a night he was sharing with me a problem he was foreseeing.  Back then, he felt the world was ending with his problem.  But when I came out to him, he looked at me and said, "Yikes, yours IS going to be much harder."

Earlier this year, I came out to my sister.  She looked at me funny and finally admitted, "I actually knew before you told me."  When I asked why, it turns out a gay friend of mine whom she has worked with in the past accidentally blurted it out to her one evening.  He  was so happy to have met my sister and greeted her with a, "It is so cool that you are okay with your brother being-" "Being what?" she asked and that's when he realized he had outed me.  He made her swear never to admit he broke the news out to her too soon.  But clearly, family bonds are tougher than friendships.

Which makes today something I am in many ways worried about.  In my earlier entry, I spoke about how I might have to actually step from one closet into another just to help my parents accept things better.   I am starting to wonder, however, if that would truly be a better thing to do.  Coming out is an act of honesty.  An act of gaining strength in being finally true to oneself, even at the risk of emotional, and in some cases even physical, pain.   Would lying in the act of coming out just cheapen the act itself?

I was juggling the option of coming out for quite some time now.

After being in numerous relationships with both guys and girls in my life, I had in many ways seemingly perfected the "we're just friends" projection to the extent that I am certain that while there might have been doubts about me being straight before, such doubts were quickly quelled by close-minded logic.  I was into arts and theater and film, which for many parents is a warning sign in itself.  However, I was not into musicals as much as most were.  I was more into horror films than love stories.  And when it came to artwork, many found my stuff macabre and disturbing.   I wasn't effeminate in action or speech, but I did have a softness in how I carried myself.  I didn't have thoughts or cares for basketball or football and wrestling bored me.  I was more fascinated with swords and sorcery and dice and spaceships.

In many ways, I was a geek more than gay, and for my parents being a geek was the "answer" to why I probably didn't seem man enough.

But now, nearing my thirty third birthday, I realize I want to be honest at last.  For many years I dreaded birthdays because they always made me depressed.  They always made me think, "There goes another year my parents don't know their own son."  The idea of living another year lying to them was no longer something I could find acceptable.  And this was more so because in the last few months, I have found the one person who really gets me and understands me and accepts me for who I am.  I have found the person who makes love more than a word, and makes cliches more than a literary tool.  And unlike me, he has been proudly out and open about his sexuality.  He has been keeping my identity anonymous out of respect for the fact I was still in the closet.

It was an odd closet too.  

Odd considering everyone else in the world save for anyone directly associated to my parents and my parents themselves were the only ones who didn't know me as me.  To friends, co-workers, clients and new strangers I meet, I am out and proud.  I am the boyfriend of my partner.  I am the bisexual one in the group.  We proudly walk around the mall with our hands held together, or our bodies hugged close.  We would kiss when we felt the urge to.  We would talk about anything we wanted to.  There was no need to censor ourselves.  No need to hide.

So now, this strange closet has outlived its purpose.  It is time to break the doors open, and free the truth within.  Time to let the piggies inside that loves a wonderful handsome and intelligent Egg be free to oink out loud, "I'm here!  And yes, I ain't gonna hide again."

Am I scared shitless?


I'm more scared about the revelation affecting my parents health more than anything.  While the pain of being disowned is terrible indeed, I feel that knowing my words might cause actual physical anguish scares me.  I would not want to be someone who sends his parents to the hospital when he tries to finally be himself.

But the fear is no different than the fear I know they too will have to face after this.  Once they know, they will fear others knowing what they know.  And only by showing them others knowing isn't as bad as they think it is will that fear begin to alleviate.   Courage is needed to come out.  Courage will be needed after as well.

Coming out feels to me like a race that I have been on for many many years.  There have been many false starts, especially back when I would try to get my parents to ask the question.  Deep down I always felt that if they asked, that meant they were ready to hear the answer.  But in the last few months, even after clearly speaking about how my boyfriend and I were looking for a place to live in, as well as how we were considering finding something rent-to-own, and the ultimate hint being when I told them I wasn't hoping to get back together with an ex girlfriend because I found the person who completes me (they strangely never asked who it was or if they could meet "her") I began to realize they knew the hints and picked up the clues but intentionally chose not to ask.    I began to consider that maybe just maybe they weren't asking because they thought I wasn't ready to say it.  Maybe they were waiting for me.

So, this is it.  I began the countdown to the end.
The family is meeting tonight to talk to my sister.  I realized it was the best time to share something else the family had to talk about.

I approached my dad today and told him, "Dad, is the family meeting happening today?"
My dad answered, "Yes.  It should.  Everyone was supposed to be here at four, but its just you so far."
I told him, "Good,  I'll want to discuss to you all something as well."
My Dad seemed curious.  He asked, "About what?"
I smiled and told him, "Later... when everyone is here."
My Dad pressed on, "About what?"
I told him, "About me."

Here's hoping it actually ends better than we've all heard coming out stories go.

Tell you more soon.

Here's hoping the finish line is a joyous celebration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From One Closet to Another

Strange but true, I am starting to realize I might have to lie even when I actually finally come out to my parents.

You see, I am and have always been and shall always continue to be bisexual.  I find both men and women attractive.  I have had long term relationships with either.  I have considered being in a lifetime relationship with either.  To be more brutally frank (at the risk of being rude) I like cock as much as I love pussy.

And I am starting to realize when the time finally comes when I get to come out to my parents, I will have to lie to them and say I am simply, "gay."

Don't get me wrong, though.  I am gay.  I am gay cause gay does, for me, mean a person who is not straight.  Gay is  a person who does get attracted to, and would be willing to have a long term relationship with someone of the same sex.

So yes, I am gay.

Cause I also am, using that narrow definition "straight."
Cause straight is a person who gets attracted to the opposite sex, and would be willing to have a long term relationship with one.

So yes, I am straight.

If one were to be more honest, however.  Both implies a "but not with" clause that would then force me to embrace a more honest but grossly misused and abused term, "bisexual."  It is a sad but true fact that most of the time, people who call themselves bisexual are either:  too afraid to admit they are gay, just confused and still experimenting both sides, or simple misunderstanding the term to mean being masculine and gay.

But it isn't.  
A bisexual is someone who gets attracted to either sex, and would be willing to have a long term relationship with either sex as well.  Or in my case, someone who doesn't really care what the sex of the person is -- if I like the person, then I do.  Dipping in, being dipped into, or doing both at the same time are all just additional perks and ways to manifest your love for the person further.

I am bisexual.

But yes, sadly, come the day I come out I will have to lie.  On the day I finally see that my parents are ready (and healthy enough) to hear the truth, I will stand up before them and tell them, "Mom.  Dad.  I need you to know your son.   I am gay."  And on this day when I face the music and threat of being disowned, and hopefully not risk their health and mental stability in the same process, I will have to hurt them with this much more acceptable lie.

Much more acceptable?


Because if I were to tell them I what I am really - if I were to admit to them I am bisexual - then they would never ever accept the fact that I have chosen a man to become my partner for life.  They would always (and rightly have the idea) that I can still someday end up with a woman.  It isn't a wrong thing to think, after all, strictly speaking as definitions go, I can end up with a man or a woman.  But it would not be something I think healthy for them to live with for the rest of their lives.

I can't leave them holding on to a real, though extremely unlikely, hope.

To tell them I am just gay will still, yes, have them wish I could choose a woman still.  Stories about of the many parents who know of their gay sons or daughters and secretly (or in some cases, still openly) nurse the idea that their non-straight child will "break from the phase" or miraculously fall in love with the "right" gender.  Deep down, no matter how they hope however, such parents know they are lying to themselves and merely in denial of what their child has admitted themselves to be.

But to actually know and understand the child CAN still choose the gender they desire the child to have... that would be far more torturous.

No, I will have to lie to them.
I will have to let them believe I could never love women.
I will have to become a closeted bisexual, who will come out to them as gay, after years of being in the closet and letting them continue to believe I am straight.

It is the only way to make it easier for them to accept that I have found who I want to spend the rest of my life with, and he's not going to be someone they can ask me to replace.

Bisexual Pride will have to wait.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Because I am a Geek first, and Gay second...

Seven things I recommend every gay geek should know:

7) Seven Sins
While not a fantastic game, the game does allow you to go around and sleep with men.  Ultimately a meh thing, but it does add you geek cred when you mention this game since... practically everyone else ignored it!  But yes, this strange lovechild of The Sims and the Bible tries to draw an audience that has always wanted to indulge in the Seven Deadly Sins but learned such aren't allowed in the Maxis videogame.

6) Robot Unicorn Attack
From the people who brought you Adult Swim comes a fun free flash-based game where rainbow hues are definitely well deserved.  Robot Unicorn Attack takes elements from the free-online-turned-iphone game Canabalt, adds a wonderful robot unicorn with the ability to charge in the air, and packages it neatly with the last song syndrome inducing Erasure tune, "Always."   This is definitely a game that has to be experienced, and yes, for closeted people like me the game is safe enough to play in public.  Trust me!

5) Dragon Age: Origins
Few roleplaying games allow you to have gay relationships in them.  Thankfully, the beautifully rendered and wonderfully challenging fantasy game, Dragon Age:Origins, gives you a chance to do that and guess what, it ain't just some small moment of text either.  While the call for a "nude patch" has finally been answered by someone out there, even without such a hack, the game itself not only allows you to have a gay lover... but actually gives you one who looks pretty good.

4) Ultimate Muscle Roller Legend

Never heard of this?  Watch the vid and you will never forget it ever again.
While it might not actually be a game, any gay geek should know it.
And spread it even more.

3) Cho Aniki series
Also known as Super Big Brother, this side-scrolling videogame has more gay elements than you can imagine with each successive edition to its series.  Of the few aware of the game's existence, know now you are counted among the few who have heard of it. 

2) Katamari Damacy series
Any gay geek who does not know of Katamari Damacy is definitely in the need of having his or her gender checked.  Seriously.  Katamari Damacy and its sequels have always had a nice campiness without losing the fun edge.  The game is popular enough to have become the source of inspiration for cosplayers, wedding themes and commercials.  Even the catchy music is worth checking out (I know I've survived a few long drives by playing the songs of the first and second game in my car.)

1) Muscle March
And just when you'd think Katamari Damacy has broken your brain and made you love the Royal Rainbow, the same makers have come up with a new game that goes even further.  If you've seen those hilarious videos of the Hole in the Wall/Human Tetris gameshows then you have an idea what this game is like.  

If you've been wondering whether or not to get a Wii, this game should be the answer to that question.
To quote the official site:

Muscle March™ is a quirky Japanese action game stuffed full of macho bodybuilders. The all mighty protein powder has been stolen so it's up to Tony and his muscle-bound crew to catch the thieves. Choose from a variety of perfectly molded superstars and bring these terrible villains to justice. As each thief attempts his escape, he will smash through walls while making a variety of poses. You must match these poses to fit through the holes and catch up to the thieves. The protein powder will be yours again!

Expect to question your sexuality on WiiWare soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pancakes and Wavelengths

It is almost 8:00a.m. and I am right now cooking some banana pancakes for breakfast/dinner.  It was supposed to be a surprise for my partner but somehow (again) he read my mind even if he was kilometers away at work.  Surprises are hard to do in our relationship simply because of this thing we call the wavelength that we share.

The wavelength is the word we use when we attempt to define this connection that we both share.  As baduy as it sounds, my partner and I have this almost unbelievable ability to pick up on each other's thoughts and sync together like an iPhone plugged into a computer with iTunes.   This has ranged from something as simple a both of us listening to the same song even if we're miles apart, to something as strange as me dreaming of the theme song to Garfield and Friends on the same day he decides to choose it as his Listening to: entry in his live journal account.   The anecdotes we can share about our wavelength are many.  There was that one time we were eating with some friends.  I was facing one friend while he was facing another and the very moment I felt the urge to hand him my glass to take a sip from, was the very moment he actually choked on a bit of food.  So the moment I turned to offer the glass, he was turning to reach for me and ask for it.   There was that other time when we were both in a music shop looking for stuff to get and he happened upon a Limited release of Jason Mraz' We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things 2 CD collection.  So he snagged it, intent on surprising me and when he was about to show me what he got, there I am holding the same 2 CD collection, cause I had planned to buy it to surprise him.

The stories are many.   Very many.

And I can honestly tell you, I used to want to think they were all just moments of chance or coincidence.  I was scared at how incredible a connection we had between us.   I was amazed, but at the same time, a tad frightened and overwhelmed.  These were the kind of things people only wrote about in songs.  Or talked about in movies.  This wavelength... it couldn't be real.

But it was.  And one of the biggest moments it was felt was when my partner and I were on the verge of breaking away from each other.  The details of that night are private and I will not recount them here.  However, what I will say is that there was that one point when my partner opted to raise his defenses and close himself internally from the incoming pain.  It was something he always did, I was to learn later on.  Some defense mechanism he had developed which no one knew about.  Like an island city, he would raise the bridges that connected his heart to the outside world and detach himself from everything else.  Outwardly, however, he would show no change.  His expressions and manner of speech would not change at all.

And yet, I felt the sudden distance that existed.  I felt the emergence of a massive gulf which did not once exist.  I felt him move away.

So I told him to stop.  I asked him what he was doing and begged him to stop doing it.

I felt it.

So he stopped.

It is this strange yet real and almost tangible bond that we share which makes our relationship beautiful and to be honest, something that we understand is greater than just the two of us.    Something that is bigger than anything else we have ever had.

And it is real.

I can only hope more people find something like this in their lives.
For now, though, I have pancakes to finish.  :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Generic Genres and Gender

I am currently at work today while my partner is resting at home and watching Wedding Wars, the campy movie starring Rob Lowe and Sean Maher.  (update : Oops, was it Rob Lowe or John Stamos!  I think I got it wrong)  In a recent post, I was musing about what makes a movie a "gay film" and I found myself wondering even more about that today.

Must homosexual situations always be present for a film to be considered a gay film?
And is that actually a good thing?

Part of what made my growing up tougher was the lack of positive masculine gay role models that I could look up to.  The closest I could remember at that time was Tom Hanks' role in Philadelphia where he played a gay guy with Aids who sued his company for discrimination.  Other than that, a large majority of gay characters I could watch were the extremes of campy femininity or closeted self destructiveness.

It didn't help either that locally back then, the concept of gay was not as broad as it is now.  The term bakla, which is generally used to refer to homosexual men, was actually much more defined as referring to a man who acted effeminately and tended to cross dress and carry himself with overly expressive theatrics.  Such a representation was made most popular by Roderick Paulate and the comedic characters of Dolphy, Joey de Leon and many many others.    The idea of a masculine gay guy was practically unheard of.  (Just as practically all lesbian characters back then were tibo, the women who tended to wear jeans and polo tee shirts with the sleeves rolled up and on their head, concealing the bun of hair, a cap worn backwards.  So for a long time, I didn't even think I was gay.  I didn't even think the term bisexual would apply to me.  All I knew was, I wasn't straight.  And I wasn't gay.  What I didn't realize back then was, I just wans't gay that way.

Even now, the image of the bakla and the tibo are still perpetuated on local television and movies.  It is only thanks to much more modern works like Carlo Vergara's Zsazsa Zaturnnah that the idea of a masculine guy who likes another man is being given some screentime (or in Zaturnnah's case, screen, stage and print time).

It makes me wonder when does something become labelled as a gay show or movie.  Is it simply the presence of campiness?  (And as a friend of mine put it, pag gay roles pero sobrang serious... art film yan, hindi gay film.)  Does having a gay lead automatically make it a gay show?  Ellen and Oprah's shows have a huge set of differences, but most people would easily say one is a talk show and the other is a gay show.

Is it the presence of gay themes and topics?  What then does that make Modern Family, since the show does have sharing the spotlight a third of the time a gay couple.  Part of what makes the show excellent for me is how they tackle gay issues and show such problems ain't limited to homosexuals.

Does it really boil down to the presence of gay sex?  Queer as Folk is definitely considered by some as a gay show.  Queer Eye is too but doesn't exactly have sex (although it does discuss sexuality and attractiveness a lot).

How does one define better this genre?  Should it even be considered to be a genre the way westerns are?  Does it empower to say Torchwood is a gay show with its sexually explorative charcters?  Or does it limit it to an unnecessary perception when it would be better to say it is a science fiction show.   Should the "gayness" of a show matter at all?  Do we want to make it a genre or subgenre of its own?

Or wouldn't it be nicer to have any show with gay elements still recognized as what they are in the standard definitions of entertainment - be it action, comedy, science fiction, or drama.

Sometimes I personally feel that removing the need to call any show or film "gay" would be better.  Not out of shame or anything similar.  But rather, so the film can be seen for what it is, and the gender of the characters be accepted as that and not highlighted like some circus freak being given the spotlight.  Torchwood for example is good campy sci fi.  Jack Harness being willing to sleep with anything, male, female or alien, is just an additional detail.  Caprica is doing well without having to overly highlight that one of the Adamas is gay.  Modern Family too nicely has the campiness without having to alienate others by calling it a gay show.

I can understand the want to be proud of being gay.  And in many ways, I can imagine others would argue I don't see the need to be too vocal about being proud since I am still in the closet.  But sometimes I think in all the calls for equality and equal rights, what many mistakenly are expecting is actually special treatment.

And with that kind of an expectation, we end up alienating ourselves from the world we're hoping to be accepted as equals.

It is possible though that I had horribly misinterpreted things.  Not being a scholar of gay culture and gender politics, I speak merely from things I had experienced and observed.  But I guess that's the point of having these things in a blog.  If anyone would love to share their own views, do feel free to leave a comment or two. :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

[something to try] Beer + Extra Joss

The next time you hit a bar, try making this simple drink to ensure you stay awake long enough to get home okay.

Simply add a bit of extra joss to your bottle of beer.

San Miguel Lite works best with the original Extra Joss.

Red Horse works best with either the Apple (red) or Bubble Gum (blue) flavored Extra Joss.

The beer gains a sweeter taste, and the caffeine in the Extra Joss perks you up with enough energy to keep from getting too sleepy too soon.  Just don't over do it with the Extra Joss.  A single sachet, however, isn't too different from a mug of coffee, so moderation is always the key.

But be sure to pour your beer out to a glass, or drink around 1/4 of the bottle before adding the Extra Joss or you will have a very messy surge in your hands  (not that you guys aren't used to having that.)

So What Am I Into, then?

Having read my earlier posts, you probably are now wondering what I am then into?
Well, let's see if I can sum it up nicely here.

First of all, I am proudly a geek.

I love fantasy and science fiction (though not necessarily all kinds).  My favorite show is currently Lost.  My favorite movie, however, is American Beauty.  While I'm not into toy collecting, I do have a fondness for a lot of things 80s.  I miss 8-bit graphics, and I still have happy memories of Voltes V, Voltron (the Lions, not the vehicles), Macross, Gai King, Transformers, M.A.S.K., Spiral Zone, and more.  I am neither a Trekker, Trekkie or Star Wars addict, however I do appreciate both franchises.  Just not as much as I do Battlestar Galactica.  

I am a gamer.  I storytell game sessions of White Wolf Gaming Studio's World of Darkness line.  I have had my share of Dungeons and Dragons, but the flexibility and story crafting focus of the WOD appeals to me more than the hack and slash tactical feel of d20.   I still have my odd moments where I run either DC Heroes, Exalted, Children of Fire, Paranoia and more.

I am also a film maker.  I have worked on a few short films and have acted in a few.

I am a writer, with some published work under my name.  I have also written two short plays which have been produced by students from different universities.  I have also won some minor awards.

I am a comics geek.  I love various comics with Vertigo's limited run The Enigma winning first place.  I have a special spot in my heart for WE3, Sandman, Fables, Y The Last Man, Legion of Super Heroes, The Walkin Dead, The earlier Authority run,  Planetary, Shade the Changing Man, David Mack's Kabuki, Carlo Vergara's ZsaZsa Zaturnnah and Tobie Abad's Diliman.

I consider myself an artist even if I have feeble attempts at painting, line art, and computer generated artwork. I tend to have a strange unconventional approach to things.  I tend to come up with looks or designs that seem off-kilter or weird or strange.

I love horror.  Clive Barker hits me in the right spot.  Stephen King has his moments, but at times I feel he's overrated, treading over the same ground over and over again.  I would high recommend High Tension over Hostel.  Or Paranormal Activity over Dawn of the Dead.  I actually liked The Blair Witch Project, but more so because I was in the hype of it being real back when it was released before everyone knew it as some award winning indie film.  I actually enjoyed Cloverfield more than Godzilla.  I still think Freddy Kreuger is king and Jaws is a perfect horror film.  I've been trying to read more.  I used to love reading Banana Yoshimoto and Poppy Z. Brite.  I also had an Anne Rice phase.  Twilight disgusts me.  Wheel of Time puts me to sleep.  I'm now trying to get through Dune, which I am having trouble with not because it is badly written but because it is so well written I find it hard to skim through it too quickly.  Once I'm done, I'm going to whet my appetite with Murakami and Prachett.  I had a Piers Anthony phase too, but that quickly passed.

I love music.  I have over 200 different movie soundtracks and scores simply because I love hearing how people "translate" a story or mood into a song.  I am not that much into classical music although there are some pieces I do appreciate.   I am not into opera, however I do like Carmen and Carmina Burana.  I have my share of musicals, but top on the list is currently In the Heights, Repo a Genetic Opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rent.  As for musicians, I used to be very much into Tori Amos until she got a band to back her up.  I have a huge spot in my heart for Jason Mraz.  I still love Kylie, Mika, Lily Allen and Ne-Yo.  I am not so much into the divas however (and personally think Mariah Carey is waaaaay over-rated.)  I highly recommend Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, Zee Avi, Maria Mena and Jose Vanders.  Lady Gaga is fun to dance too, funner to watch, but not so much to sing.

I am online most of the time.  I don't like MMORPGs and refuse to see them as roleplaying games.  I tend to be online to be in touch with my friends or to read up on articles and forums I've subscribed to.  I am not much of a chat/webcam/camsex person and frankly, if you are, that's fine.  Just know I tend to really go out of my way to talk only to those who show a genuine interest getting to know me as a friend, rather than just for some one night sexual thing.  I am no longer in any gay social networks.  I quit once I got together with my partner and I see no reason to go back.  Such places 95% of the time are for hookups anyway.  I have Facebook and the like to keep in touch with friends anyway.

I do go out.  I have a very very small list of places that I frequent.  Given the choice, I rather stay home and drink with some friends since that allows me to be comfortable and just have fun.  No problems with people shoving me around.  No problems with drunk jerks making a scene.  Singing is cool.  Dancing is better.  But playing dress up only ever happens if there's enough alcohol and laughter to go around.

I am in a relationship.  My partner is a wonderful, sweet, sexy, intelligent man who shares with me a bond unlike any other.  We have conquered tidal waves and unexpected droughts, and we continue to grow stronger and more passionate each day.  We haven't been together long, but I have no doubts we will be together for much much longer than most expect.  I'd write here the kinds of men and women I find attractive, but I thought it might be best to save that for a future post.  Sadly as of this writing, I am still not out to my parents and family.  However, friends, co-workers and neighbors all know me to be gay.  My partner and I walk around malls holding each others hands.  We kiss when we want to.  We call each other "Love" and other endearments in public without fear or embarrassment.  But until I find the chance to come out to my parents (and more on why I haven't in future posts), I will have to keep things anonymous to some extent online.

For now, however, I hope this paints you a picture of the kind of stuff I am into.

Gay Shows Must Go On

There is a guilty pleasure in watching Ru Paul's Drag Race. 

While I don't have fantasies of being a woman (and yes, to you naysayers who might throw me a "Don't diss it until you try it" line, I have dressed in drag for the fun of it for my best friend's birthday, as well as for theater.) I do admire the contestants in the show for being fierce, creative and very proud of who they are.

Season one was fun, with comparisons to Project Runway and America's Next Top Model constantly visible.  I tried to enjoy the show more as its own thing, but I couldn't help but feel they were just taking from the two and calling it something new.

Season two, however, found more of its own voice.  The challenges were very entertaining, drawing inspiration from old movies, grand divas and real issues which affect gay men.  

Lipsynching for your life, which is how the show finally challenges contestants who are leaving, is a fun and creative touch which I feel could have been better utilized in the show if they were to have less cuts away from the contestants and more screen time to show how they present themselves.

Then there is the Big Gay Sketch Show which I love watching for its campy fun and its hilarious skits.  While Saturday Night Live used to rule as the funniest show on the tube (with Whose Line Is It, Anyway? on a close second), SNL has progressively been getting more and more boring with nonsense skits such as "What's Up With That?".   The Big Gay Sketch Show has funny recurring characters and concepts with the young boy Fitzwilliam  winning my heart.  Fitzwilliam is a young transgendered boy desperately seeking to find a way to have what he always wanted in life: a vagina.  Amusingly, the role is played by Kate McKinnon, a woman, who carries the role so well it just works!  Other recurring characters are Svetlana, an ex-KGB agent and chorus dancer, Naldo the package guy, Maya Angelou who reads sexually explicit Craigslist postings and many others.

Other than these two shows, I don't really know of any other gay shows that I do like watching.  I have never been into the supposedly best gayest show, Queer as Folk.  I never got interested in  Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  I don't think I'm interested in Dante's Cove.  I, however, must confess I am anxious to catch up on Will and Grace.

Ultimately, I wish more gay oriented shows come out, with less focus on sex and more on being gay.   The ongoing series Modern Family has a gay couple who have adopted a child and has wonderfully touched on gay topics and issues (and interestingly enough, presented them in a revealing way that shows they aren't issues only gay men face) without having to fall back on the idea that gay has to always equal wanting to grab someone's ass.  Other shows like Flash Foward and Caprica have been showing non-stereotypical gay characters as well.  But sadly such shows aren't exactly gay shows are they?

Local films and television seem to still be hung up in the idea that gay has to equal effeminate.  A gay character, in local productions, has to have a twangy voice, an interest in cross dressing (or at least having overly exaggerated hand motions) and find every hot man irresistible.)  Local productions push the idea that all gay men have to be sex-craving man eaters.  THAT image I can have much less of.

Or am I getting myself too hung up on the idea that a gay show has to be a show that caters 90% of the time to a gay audience alone?   Does this mean I view all OTHER shows to be straight shows?  Is it a question of whether or not the cast is predominantly heterosexual or not?  Or is it just a question of whether or not the show has a non-straight lead character?

Hmm... now that I'm thinking about it, what about Torchwood?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Searching for where the peg fits

For the longest time I felt I didn't fit in.

When I was young, I was the clumsy lanky child whom everyone picked last in sports.  I was the kid who preferred to sit beneath the shade of a tree and spend the afternoon drawing or reading while everyone else was playing football.  At home, I was the precocious one who enjoyed listening to classical music while my brother submerged himself in 80s tunes and my parents played their cassette tapes containing  songs by the Beach Boys and the Pretenders.    I was the only one who had to be forced to play basketball.  I was the only one who didn't like the idea of getting into fights.

But ironically, I wasn't meshing well with the girls either.  While they enjoyed playing house and dressing up their dolls, I found myself getting bored pretending to be the husband/daddy/baby.  While they talked about cute things and pretty stuff, I found myself fascinated with gross and gory things.  And as the years passed, the girls began to try to steal kisses, the boys found the girls yucky, and I found myself bored with it all.

I just didn't feel I fit in.

High school was no different.

While everyone else was going gaga over girls, I was silently finding a few intriguingly interesting as much as I did some guys.  A curious eye would scan over their bodies, pondering on why her nape or his neck made my lips water.  An uncertain hand would tremble at the thought of the hollow of her back or the glimpse of his armpit.  Around me, classmates spoke of how this girl or that woman made them jerk off the night away.  I would find myself searching for words to express why the smile of someone I knew made me want to kiss him.  Or why the laughter of another one I knew made me want to hold her close til the morning game.  The hateful words were commonly thrown around by that time too.  Bakla.  Binabae.  Bayot.  And while I understood the word's meaning, I did not comprehend why it should apply to me.  Back then, being such required a manner of speaking.  A choice of clothing.  A predilection towards moving in a certain manner.

I could not relate.

I did not see myself wanting to wear women's clothes.  I had no desire to have glitter around my eyes or lashes that reached the tip of my nose.  I had no shame in exposing my nipples or going shirtless.  I had no illusions of making my voice sound lighter or higher pitched.  And last of all, I would never tell anyone I felt like a woman trapped in a man's body.

I knew I was male.  I celebrated the fact I was a guy and loved the emergence of my pubertal growth of hair. My arms, legs, armpits, chest, stomach and crotch area had their share of hirsuteness and I proudly showed it off.  I wasn't interested in being any rough and tumble siga like other guys were, but I had no dreams of going around with make-up or wearing a wig.

I felt lost.  I felt I was alone.  I felt like I was an outsider even among those already deemed outsiders.
I was a geek with goth tendencies.  I was a guy with to some degree feminine interests.  I was starting to realize I was gay... but at the same time, knew with certainty I was not bakla.  I was a man who also liked other men.

College would be the turning point.
It was in college I took the first step in finding where I fit in.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Should I stay or should I go

My partner and I have been together for nearly a full year now.

And yet, I have been in the closet for more than thirty years.

It is strange how even with all the progress we have achieved in so far as gender issues are concerned, the fear of disappointing one's parents and being disowned still has its sting.   I had always believed myself to be a brave soul.  I have faced many of my fears before and survived them.  I have even faced the threat of ridicule and embarrassment before masses of people.  And yet here I am, nearing another birthday, and still worried if I will ever be able to face my parents head on and tell them, "Mom, Dad.  There is something I want you to know.  Your son is gay."

It isn't even about me worrying about no longer being taken care of.  For many years I have been self-sufficient, surviving on my meager earnings and balancing out my budget on my own.

I would like to believe it isn't about being disowned, because part of me believes I have already found the other person who completes me.   But I guess deep down, I do fear being told that I can no longer consider myself part of the family.  Call me a wuss, but family attachments are important.  And deep down, I love my family and have no dreams of being labelled a stranger by them.

These are the kind of conflicting thoughts that I find myself going through which I realize I cannot even blog about unless I created a blog separate from my own profile.   I needed an outlet where I could discuss these kind of topics freely.  A place where I can proclaim, "Yes, there are bisexuals who aren't just in a phase.  Not all of us bisexuals are just too scared to claim we're gay."  A box where I can stand up and share my own experiences and views to an audience without being insensitive to my parents who aren't aware yet that I'm not straight.

My partner, who has been very open about his sexuality, once commented that so many of the gay blogs he used to read have suddenly vanished.  Of the few that do remain, some are wonderful sites talking about gay life, while others seem more determined to simply propagate the idea that gay people want nothing but sex and buff bodies and penises.

And so, this blog was born.

I'm no fashionista.  I'm not a fan of Miss Universe.  I don't like cross dressing and I can't name Mariah Carey songs by title.  I don't think Madonna is a goddess nor do I know all musicals at heart.   But I do have my own share of geekiness and my own opinions to share.   I don't even find the typical hairless muscle-bodied pretty boys attractive (I prefer men with meat).  So will this blog be smart, witty, or worth the time to read?

I guess only time will tell for certain.

But if you don't like what end up reading, either drop me a comment or just blame it on the rain, bro.

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