Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Lost Knight

I love line dancing.  I love the cupid shuffle and the wobble.  And thanks to Dance DTLA, I learned Footloose, Mambo6 and Despacito.  After the event, I had all this energy that I needed to burn off.

A post shared by Christopho (@letopho) on

Jimmy asked me "if it's okay that he went to West Hollywood" after line dancing.  He asked me if "it's okay" because he knew that he would be leaving me on a Friday night with nothing to do and taking all our friends with him.  And he felt guilty because he knew that I would be lonely even though we had already spent together line dancing for two hours.   But again,  I need this independence and do things that I want to do and avoid places that I hate.

Ern agreed with me, "I don't understand the appeal, they go and they complain about it after."  Anyway, to each their own.  Any way.... DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WEHO.  Anyway.

I found myself walking to Sunset Ave. where I walked into The Lost Knight.  I was pulled in by the live music by The Colour Coast.

I stood there ironically in a WeHo appropriate tank top drinking a Hendrix soda.  Something different. I observed ... hipsters, yes I think these are hipsters.. celebrate a birthday, chat in the patio and looking pretty fashionable in dark clothing with random holes.  I spotted some gays.  I also noticed that this camera was left on the table for 10 minutes until finally, its owner grabbed it.  I guess, I'm in a safe space.  I liked it here, but I'm sure my friend would ask to leave after 20 minutes because it's not gay enough.  Which is annoying because you can make a place gay by filling it with gay people.. any way.



A guy approached me and said, "hey."  I looked around seeing if he meant to talk to someone else, but then he put his hand out to shake mine.  "How's your night going?  What are you doing here?"  He looked 20 years old, white kid with a nice grin and obviously buzzed.

"Oh, I live nearby, I was lonely so I thought I'd just check this place out."
"aww," he was absorbing my honesty, but proceeded, "I play in a band here, but not tonight, come check us out on the 21st, we're performing next door!  We're called Sinner Lady.  We have an instagram if you want to follow it."

I added him.  There were four photos.  They looked like a high school garage band.  I was amused.  I chatted a little more than said good bye and tapped his chest for ... some weird reason.  I remember when I was like that, I would approach ANYONE and would chat about nothing.  I was sort of looking to do that tonight, make a new friend the old fashioned way: without a screen, but without seemingly like I was hitting on them. Not brave enough tonight.

Prior to wandering to The Lost Knight, I messaged everyone.  I went through my phone book. It was already midnight, people were settling in.  I texted a friend from work who's been the only person I could jive with.  "I wish I saw this message 10 minutes earlier, I was actually at Gold Room!" he responded.  I love Gold Room. This guy - super friendly, super interesting and not in engineering or sales.  This guy would actually be someone I'd hang out with outside of work. #missedOpportunity next time.  It made me happy that he existed, it made me sad that I was feeling alone despite how many people are in this city.  I think New York would crush me.

I pulled out my phone to text Jimmy, "hey, I'm pretty lonely right now.  Would you be okay with me going on Jackd / Grindr to find someone platonic to hang out with?  I understand if that makes you uncomfortable and won't do it."  I looked at the text and deleted it.  It was 1AM, what "platonic friend" am I going to find at this hour?  And all this text would do is make Jimmy feel even more guilty for leaving me and ruin his time, make him feel obligated to stay home in the future with his codependent boyfriend who hates WeHo.  I decided to let him live.

I wandered home at 1:30AM after my second drink and silently people watching.  I walked through Echo Park Lake and noticed young couples enjoying the warm night.  Two skinny gay latino guys were holding hands; something Jimmy and I would never do... any where.  Jimmy came home 20 minutes later and we drove to Taco Bell together.

He told me how he went to Cantina and Rage and I think I lost a few neurons hearing about it.  "Let's plan an event at Oil Can Harry's [where they have line dancing]" he suggested.  He put his arm around me.   And I kissed him on the cheek.  I don't give him enough credit for how much he understands me and eventually I'll learn to do other things on my own without the desperation.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Alone with Your Thoughts

I'm trying to understand why I'm unable to appreciate time alone; after-all it's supposed to be good for me. But instead of turning the time into productivity, like I promised myself in the last post, I end up psychoanalyzing myself. Or watching sad Jollibee commercials which is up there with those Thai ones.

I'm helping a friend out with his podcast.  He wanted to interview me about "values."  And during our preliminary conversation I fell into a rabbit hole of talking about my self realized quirks.  Things that you sort of keep to yourself because you don't want your friends to think you're completely insane or incomplete.  Made me realize that it's been a while since I've talked to my therapist.

My blogspot therapist. I need to unload because I find myself unable to move forward and be productive during my moments alone.

Food Poisoning
On Wednesday last week I got food poisoning from a salad I got from work.  I threw up in the streets trying to release a burp by forcing a cough.  There was a lot going on.  I rested in bed for two days. I found myself uncomfortable until finally I had a greasy slice of pizza and kombucha.  That seemed to have healed me.

A few weeks prior my parents told me to avoid food shipped from China and Vietnam because of how dangerous and dirty it can be.  I argued that American processed food is just as bad and stubbornly denounced their concern.  "That's NOT how I like to live.  Show me proof that it's dangerous from a credible news source and then I'll listen."  I work in advertising, "organic, free range, gluten free" are all hype words that don't mean anything.  Unless you farm your own food, you're fucked either way.  And as proof, I got sick from a salad from work that has one of the highest "American food regulations" that my dad trusts so much.

Values: No Waste
My friend is very intrigued by my "no waste" life policy.
"Chris, you are so 'no waste' that you finish the broth of a noodle soup."
"why is that so unusual?" I thought to myself
"Did you grow up poor? I'm just trying to understand the source?" He questioned.
"no, pretty middle class.. but my theory is that people who did grow up poor are more wasteful because as they find success, they relish in no longer needing to live like that to survive."
"Interesting." He seemed to not really agree.
"Though they're related, there's a difference in not wanting to waste and being cheap.  For instance, I want your leftovers NOT because I don't want to pay for my own meal. Rather, I want your leftovers because I don't want it to go to waste.  It's purely because everything especially food has a purpose and it's awful for things just to be thrown away if they can be eaten or used."

This is why I'm enjoying selling my things on OfferUp.  It's not because I can make money but rather I can give/sell to someone who truly needs/wants it.  No only did these objects serve their purpose, they have another opportunity to continue to make others happy.

I sound insane, but I reassure you that I'm not cooking meat from roadkill.

Anyway - there's a rush you get by finding good deals and also by using things that you already have. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.  No waste.

How is 2017?
Like for many, 2016 was an awful year for me.  2017 is just coasting along.  It's a year of breaking a few traditions like not going to Bay to Breakers or going on a trip during Fourth of July weekend.  It's a year of realizing that I'm 31 and things are going to continue to be the same if I don't do anything about it.  It's a year of not being evicted and celebrating.  And we've got our house party themes lined up.

  • Phoenix: Rise from the Asses - Fire and Feathers
  • Crowning: A King and Queef Party - Royal theme
  • Gaytorade: What Team do YOU Play for?  - Back to school, sports tryouts theme
  • Boo, You Whore!  A Mean Girls Halloween with Sexy Rodents of Ghouls 

Was excited to do a bonfire in July but with a shit ton of maybes, I'm thinking of moving it to August.  That's really the only thing I want to "achieve" this year is a fun bonfire.

Family


Alysia asked me to come with her to San Jose.  She said that she would appreciate the company during the drive and I took that opportunity to see my family.  My dad planned a trip to Capitola for Father's Day and we had an amazing time.  It's a quaint, hidden gem beach town next to Santa Cruz with these colorful houses.  There was no wait for lunch with a view and parking was easy.  We walked around and sat on the beach.   It was a wonderful outing that we haven't done in a while because my brother works odd hours and is too exhausted.  But he's making more of an effort.

My dog stopped eating and will probably pass away soon.  That will be a sad day for the family since he's been with us for 17 years.  He's deaf and looks lost wandering the halls of our house. But I'm glad I got to pet him one last time.

My dad retired this passed Thursday.   More like he got laid off, but with a very sweet severance package.  With that, he's going to continue to oil paint. He's taken a few of my travel photos to paint from.  Here's one from Paris.  Not bad!  Next is Sapa, Vietnam.


Basic Queen
I sat there with the most basic queen at a pool party.  Initially turned off by the repetitive sounds coming from his jambox, and then again as he made insensitive cancer jokes about people we knew.  I watched as he changed out of his swimsuit and into street clothes exposing oddly placed muscles.  Body shaming him in my mind, it was as if he was working out specific parts, but nothing that tied the thing together.  He looked lumpy.  Nothing he talked about was interesting aside from our mutual friend in New York who is "so cool."  That I could agree with.  I was a bit shocked that he knew him since I've thought of him as a bit disconnected from... the scene sounds like an appropriate word here.  I glanced around the hotel room: kettle vodka and two forms of drugs I've never been introduced to until now.

Is this... gay?  Is this gay culture?

He was a nice person.  I politely engaged in what I could as they described their friends from a scale of "averagely toned" to muscularly beefy.

Value: Trust In People
I told my friend that I trust that people are innately good, which is why I talked to strangers when I travel, but probably less so now that I got pickpocketed in the Athens, Greece metro.  But I don't trust people to properly execute things.  Not that I'm the best planner, but I know what you need to consider to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner.  I know that's how my mind works.  I also know that a lot of people don't think like that.  I ALSO know that it's often not my place to criticize, but it's so hard.  And when I'm proven wrong, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Again, I sound insane or at least neurotic.


Alright - that's all for now.  Thanks for listening, I can continue living a productive life as a seemingly well adjusted gaysian in Los Angeles again.  Talk soon.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Self Care

I consider myself well adjusted. What does that mean exactly? Well, I guess it means that I’m functional, rational, productive. I’m doing quite alright with minimal breakdowns or life emergencies. But then there are moments when I realize that I’m just as crazy, insecure, needy, impulsive, dramatic as everyone else.

It’s a good thing. I’m human.

Lately I feel as though I’ve lost myself. I find myself wasting so much time doing nothing. When I know that having a back to back schedule would keep me happy.  I haven’t planned my weekends or free time well this year, and I’m reminded that planning is what excites me. Thinking ahead gives me something to look forward to. And not doing that is creating great dissatisfaction.

Aside from weekend warrior shit, let’s start with a list of regular weekly actives for the sake of consistency. I love lists.

  • Monday: Evening dinner with lost touch friend
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday: Early morning workout
  • Sunday

There’s a problem here. The two days that I have goals are based on times that Jimmy is unavailable to spend time with me.

So maybe we should start there.  Why does my schedule have to be based around him?

After work, I would fill the time by cooking at home for us to save money and eat healthier. Jimmy would show great unsolicited appreciation and affection when I cooked chicken, salmon, curry, steak… etc. and we both lost some weight. It’s a winning activity. But his understandable exhaustion from work + his disinterest in cooking is wearing me down. “How can I help?” he would call out with a tone of reluctance while on the couch in the living room. I was chopping up veggies.

“Come into the kitchen first” I said sharply. He didn’t understand why I was so short. “Wash these vegetables.” What I wanted to say was, “be present first and then I can give you step by step instructions."   He always jumps to do the dishes after - which I love.

Point is -  cooking for him us was something I thought was related to self care, but being a good chef isn't a personal goal and obviously it's not a bonding activity.  So I should find something else.

“Self care, self care, self care.” He says this at least 10 times a week while he watches his foreign films, meditates, exercises, walks around target, edits photo, sees other friends. “I need to take care of myself.” He reminds me as if I’ve forgotten what that means and as if he's asking for my approval and as if I'm suffocating him. Because his happiness is never dependent on anyone else and he feels guilty leaving me to do his own thing. And that’s my problem. I have forgotten what self care means.

I’ve become too dependent on him; doing things that I think would make him happy like cooking, or sleeping in on weekends thinking that it would make me happy: to make us happy.  I'm being too accommodating and revolving myself around my perception of my boyfriend's happiness. And that’s not what SELF care is.  What makes a relationship strong is both compromise and individuality.  And this is probably part of why I’m starting to feel incomplete.

Okay. What activities can I do on my own?  Let's start with blogging. Yes.  Therapeutic.  And with this entry, I already feel better and closer to myself again.

Let’s give this list another try
  • Monday: Evening dinner with lost touch friend
  • Tuesday: Organize pictures and cook 
  • Wednesday: Exercise, Plan the weekend: hikes, beach plans, road trips
  • Thursday: Go to a new restaurant with or without Jimmy
  • Friday: Movie Nights on the projector
  • Saturday: Early morning workout
  • Sunday: Volunteer somewhere. Blog about the week. Write Yelp reviews. Read LA Eater

Looks more complete. 2017 starts with April 1.  Let's go!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Eulogy for My Grandpa

I took a $220 one way flight to San Jose about a month ago to visit my grandpa because my mom texted me that he didn't have much time left.  Frantic, I bought a ticket and landed 5 hours later after begging the airline to let me on earlier fearing that I would miss him.  But when I arrived my mom told me that he is eating again.  But it wasn't a wasted trip.  It was a trip to say good bye.  I held his hand and told him that I loved him, wondering if he even recognize because of his Alzheimer's.  I watched my mom affectionately rest her hand on his head.  Every day for the past year she would visit him at the nursing home.  She would wash his linens and help feed him.  She would make friends with the staff to ensure that he was treated well.  

But now that he passed, she is relived.  Only burdened by the funeral that she planned months in advance with no siblings to help her.   I'm currently on the bus to San Jose and I've written a simple eulogy.  My dad told me that I would be saying a prayer and that I should prepare "something nice" to say about my grandpa in English while my mom did her in Vietnamese.


This is my eulogy:


My grandfather didn't need much to be happy.


He was an amazing gardener growing giant squash that hung in our patio.  He grew chilis that would be used for dinner. He liked plants so much that he would go on walks and pick them from the neighbor's yard until one day he was caught.

He didn't say much, but he was the type grandfather that would walk me and Shannon to school when I was young and sit quietly observing the people around him.

When he smiled it was bright, but probably because he had the best looking dentures.

He would pick things off the street and recreate them into something new.  Bend wires into some contraption.  My mom told me that it was a habit of his.  Because that's how he survived in Vietnam.  Find, recreate, build... never waste.   He taught me that nothing should be thrown away if it could be reused in a different way.  And that's how you make a lot out of very little.

And this is probably why he lived this long despite being so deaf that you have scream into his good ear.  Despite being so blind that he couldn't recognize me.  He found other ways to create a life out of nothing.

But he knew that it was his time to go and to be reinvented into something else. Thank you for being here to celebrate his life with our family. 


My last four Christmases with him:

2013


2014


2015



2016




Sunday, January 29, 2017

These Asian Men Make Me.....

Ryan Ryoo from Common Souls makes me shiver with chills


Trọng Hiếu makes me dance in my room


... his German version is pretty sexy



Hayden Szeto makes me uncomfortable because he's a 30 year old actor playing a high schooler which MAY be the reason why they never had him kiss the protagonist which is completely unfair because she makes out with the other boy.  Can Asian guys just be sexual?



Marko Germar makes me um... "I'm thirsty boy..."


Jordan Andino makes me so hungry


Jordan Yeoh makes me throw up when I tried this routine


Following up on my last post, I decided to make my own list of Sexy Asian Men that are Breaking the Internet that You Need to Know RIGHT Now... you know, to help empower the community.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

California Privilege as a Gaysian American

When Steve Harvey joked that Asian men were undateable I was unaffected.  It's like when people tell small penis jokes.  Roll my eyes and sympathize, honey, you have no clue.  If you're going to make a race joke, make it clever and WITTY.  Like a drag queen.

And then these articles started surfacing:

16 Stunning Photos That Shatter Society’s Stereotypes About Asian Men
21 Gorgeous Asian Men Guaranteed To Make You Thirsty
21 Fine-As-Hell Asian Men Who Will Make You Swoon And Then Some
Asian Men are Reclaiming Their Masculinities on Their Own Terms

And I just had it.  In a Facebook comment I wrote:

Over it. If you don't think Asian Men are attractive, there are about 20 billion people who do. We don't need to reclaim, prove, or break the internet for anyone. And if people need these type of articles to validate themselves, then ya'll gotta stop looking at Abercrombie ads and hanging out in non-diverse spaces.

I can easily say this because I live in California and I've never felt like a minority growing up.  I have resources to create and build a place where I feel comfortable and surround myself with likeminded people - asian, gay... gay and asian.  I've never felt alone in my identity. To have this is a privilege.  "You are a stronger more confident man than most of us sir." As a friend put it, but it's because I can and I need to have some compassion for Asian Americans who never heard of this sort of community in America and need this empowerment.

But then I read shit like this from another POV. "Many of my gay Asian friends have mentioned that they wish they were white so dating would be easier."

WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE DID THEY HURT YOU?!

No no no!!!!  This self hate, this shame, this white worship makes me vomit in my mouth.  Makes my bones rattle with anger.  You are entitled to be attracted to who ever you want, but when it costs you your identity then, honey, we have a problem.

As I was complaining to my friend, he pointed out other things outside of dating that related to the racism people experience being a minority.  Situations where their life was endanger or that opportunities were taken away from them.  With personal experience, he said something that resonated:

"I don't fault any Asian who gives away their Asianness to survive."

And there it is.  Feeling safe was never an issue for me.  Having my voice heard was never an issue for me.  Finding a date was never an issue for me.  Being judged for what I ate, wore or sounded like was never an issue.  I could just live and thrive and be happy and that's a privilege that I need to remind myself to never take for granted.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflection on 2016

It's unfortunate that it's human nature for us to remember negative things more vividly than positive.  Which is why for most, 2016 felt like such a terrible year.  It was an interesting year for me as well.  More of a contemplative year and as we reach the end of it I'm feeling like I understand more about myself and what I want and what I value.  But I feel like that happens every end of year.

Travel
Every long weekend has been an adventure.  Jimmy initiates it, and I run with it.  And with every destination we always conclude that we will come back.  Someone once told me that it's not worth it to travel when you have such a short amount of time, but I've come to appreciate the opposite.   We do everything is the shortest amount of time and budget ourselves $1,600 per trip per person which includes airfare.

New Zealand
Holiday: Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-30)
Adventures: Zip lining, luge racing, glow worms cave tubing and Hobbitown
Return for: South island's Milford Sound
Food: Like crappier American food, but the Chicken in hipper town Ponsonby was great!
Low point: Aukland - like a sad Seattle





Iceland
Holiday: 4th of July (July 4 - 13)
Adventures: Waterfalls, glacier hike and huge road trip around the island
Return for: Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss Peninsula, natural hot springs hike Reykjadalur and northern lights
Food: Our travel mate Carlos cooked us amazing meals in our camper.  Tuna cakes, omelettes and pastas from scratch!
Low point: realizing we didn't how enough time/gas to do the peninsula and getting a sleeper camper that didn't work at the beginning, but we returned it just in time!







Vietnam
Holiday: Thanksgiving (November 21 - 28)
Adventures: Greatest hits tour!  Hanoi, Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Sai Gon.  Seeing friends and family and doing 8 hour motorbike tour on Imodium.
Return for: the 30 restaurants that I bookmarked and this hidden building full of coffee shops Tuyet-Anh told me about in Sai Gon.  Egg Coffee in Ha Noi
Food: Ha Noi dishes: Bun Cha, Pho Chien and Hue food.
Low Point:  Travelers diarrhea half way through!




And with all this travel, you'd think that we have all these points or something.  But this is where we fail and probably had a lot of missed opportunities to get free flights.  Is there a consultant on this?

Career
It took me 11 months to fit into my new job that I started in January.  The culture, the resources, the environment, the coworkers, the management, the product and the clients.  It all took getting used to, but now I'm comfortable because I get it now.  I understand how it all works and I'm appreciating it.  But I still don't like to tell people where I work because of preconceptions that they may develop.  My job does not reflect my values or my personality.  So if you ask me what I do, I will continue to say "advertising" and then change the topic to food.

Family
My mom has finally accepted the fact that my grandpa is getting older and she finally allowed a senior nursing home to take care of him.  To lift the burden that she feels as an only child.  She's able to go on trips and enjoy life instead of being sad how he's aging and how she's going to age.  My parents are religious and liberal -  this allows me to have open conversations with them about religion, politics and sexuality.  I'm very fortunate in that sense because I grew up comfortable.  And so these "my parents never said I love you" or "people made fun of my packed lunches in school" articles don't resonate with me.  Any way, family is doing well.  Dad has high blood sugar.  Grandpa didn't recognize me during Christmas and my brother is chugging along at school and work.  There's nothing more I could possibly ask for.

Home
The request for us to vacate the house was the biggest thing on my mind this year, but it's time to move out to something nicer.  A place without leaks or ants or plumbing issues.  During our last Christmas party, it felt like a celebration.  Like - we've had great 8 Christmas parties, but we've all grown up and it's time to shift our focus and enjoy different parts of life outside of this community that revolved around this house.  I thought I would cry when I started the white elephant game that involved 40 people, but It was all good vibes.  And as everyone left one by one, I could not help but feel an amazing sense of closure.  Plus we got an extension and won't have to leave until June 2017.  So we'll worry about it then and I'll continue to build on my virtual garage sale on OfferUp.

Health
My goal is to be at 150lb which I came really close to this year.  But I'm always around 155 and now 157 because of the holidays, but I'm feeling good.  My addiction to cheese is now replaced with my addition to milk tea which is full of sugar and extremely over priced.  But I have to continue reducing.  If there's anything I miss, it's my metabolism.   For dinner I cook a solid salmon + tomato + parmesan.  I also did a great lemongrass beef which I'll try over veggies.

It seems like 2016 was a good year for me personally.  And I'm excited to do it again in 2017!