Saturday, October 21, 2017

Chicken Thighs Save Lives

I feel like I've blogged about this before, but this year I've started to develop a love of cooking for Jimmy. I task Jimmy with finding a recipe.  After work, I head directly to the grocery store and buy ingredients for the night.


I'm learning that chicken thighs save lives: it's cheap, it's delicious, it's moist and it's so easy to cook.  I've compiled the recipes that I've completed on my pinterest board! I've made all those things.  I also make enough for Jimmy to have lunch the next day.

After dinner Jimmy provides me with with so much unsolicited appreciation and affection.  "Thank you baby it was delicious" as if I've achieved some amazing feat. "Let me do the dishes!" He shouts as I put things away.   It's so wonderful and makes me so happy when he responds that way.  Food is love.

He's usually home by 6:30 and dinner is ready.  One time, he came home earlier.  To my excitement he was able to help me like those couples on TV!  I gave him basic instructions and after completing them he just sat down.  I was annoyed.  As if the rest of the meal was going to prepare itself!  I thought about it for a moment, cooking is the last thing he wants to do after work and forcing him wouldn't help.  So I just took a deep breath and made a mess in the kitchen while he scrolled his phone.  He offered to help when I was basically done, (of course.)  He proclaimed how delicious and it amazing it was and gave me a giant kiss.  I compare it to how I never offer to drive.  Driving is the last thing I want to do and he knows this, so he ends up driving us to restaurants and events and always finds amazing parking.  I should show more gratitude for this.  While I can't say Jimmy loves driving all that time, I think it's fair to say that we find balance with things that we don't mind doing for each other.  I feel pretty lucky that we're able to compliment each other in this way.

Cooking has allowed me to become creative with left overs.  I always take home extra rice to make fried rice and recently I turned a box of leftover veggies from a party platter into soup!  No waste ever!  One of the best moments was turning cherry tomatoes into a light marinara for pasta!

I should take better pictures of my creations, but for now... here's an Instastory about my journey with Emeril  Braised Chicken Thighs and tiny hands.


  

Friday Ups and Friday Downs

Last Friday was a little rough for me.  I've come to realize that I'm not interested in the escape rooms since every day at work is an escape room.  I'm challenged with getting client questions which my initial response is, "WHAT?"  And after pinging coworkers willing to help me, scanning 20 page resource docs, reviewing presentations, and reaching out to slow-responding specialists I'm able to provide an unconfident answer.  It's puzzle after puzzle.  Duct tape after duct tape applied on multiple tools that are supposed to work with each other.  And "digging" for the solution becomes more and more literal.

The job can be frustrating. And last Friday I was defeated.  I apologized to my urgent requester:  "I'm only as good as my resources."  I also embarrassed myself in front of VPs of VPs when when I asked a question that I should have know the answer to 2 months into starting, not 2 years.

But this Friday was different.  I prepared for a 2 hour presentation and killed it.  My throat was dry at the end of it and the room of 8 was gracious and asked me if I could come back.  My counter part was grateful that I was able to do them this favor and informed my manager that she wanted me to work on these accounts that could turn into millions of dollars.  I want to work with her.  Good at her job and genuinely cares.  My rating has improved to "Exceeds Expectations."

Driven to do better, I was on the phone with another client for 1.5 hours working passed 5PM on the same Friday... like back in the day when I was entry level.  Put in those hours.  But I can't complain.  I feel like these Friday ups and downs have helped me re-engage.  Work can easily become mundane but these days have shown me that a roller coaster is good for me; to keep me holding on.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gaysian YouTube Vlog Click Hole

Jimmy really wants this $1,000 point and shoot camera: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 MP Digital Still Camera.  While justifying the cost, I found that it's very popular among vloggers.  So I started to search for Gay Asian Travel Vloggers... which got me to a bunch of random hits.

This is how I'm spending Wednesday...



Hank!  I'm suprised this gaysian is still vlogging.  An with Mike Bow too who apparently is hustling.  Get those entertainment dollars Mike.



Is this my future?  I'm always amused when I stumble upon content from people I know.  I guess, it's not as exciting as before since you can find them once you're friends on facebook.  I miss the days when you needed to get a screen name. RIP AIM.  Quentin is a friend of a friend that I've been introduced to before.  Interesting to see what he's up to...



Ooo A Thai film about "Fathers."  Maybe when I feel like watching something alone and crying.



I met Sam Tsui at Ikea.  Super nice guy and very talented.  I remembered watching this music video wedding video and Jimmy cringing.  LOL.



Will is fighting cancer right now.  He's super entertaining and I don't think he's gay, but he's speaking Salitang Beki which is gay lingo in Tagalog.... which apparently is an art form.



Oh god, this kid is going to regret this one.  But it's cute.



I... no words.... but I screamed a couple of times.



Something different.  This guy was adopted by two dads!  How cute.



Putting Project Gelb on my to-watch list.



LOL!  I'm really into these Consent videos by ACAS Asian Community AIDS Services




Ooooo Gay Asian Web series!!  YES!  But only one American one.    And so much bad kissing.

The Boy Next Door - Korea
Hanging Out  - The Philippines
Paper Boy - America
Red Ballon - China
Awakening Love  - China
First Kiss - ?
We are Gamily - Chinese
People like Us - Singapore
All About Sec 377 - Indian

Wow there's a bunch of interracial gay couples on YouTube.   Errr.. got a bit complicated labeling their race, ethnicity and nationality per usual... corrections welcomed.  But.. hmm, couldn't find a gaysian couple.  Where ya'll at?

Nozomi and Micky (Japanese and English)
Michael and Luigi - (Japanese American and White American)
Adam and Wil (White and Asian)
Rupert and Juan (Latino?)
Tsukasa and Jonas (Japanese and Swiss)
Jack and Ben (Black and white)
Aaron and Stephen (French and American)
Huey and David (Asian Canadian and Canadian)
Bernardo and Adam (Brazilian and American)
Shawn and Taiyo (Japanese and South African)
Matt and Blue - (White guys... but that's Kyle XY!)

Oooo and a channel dedicated to Gays with Kids!

Whoa... what a roller coaster.









Hmmm Gaysians with blue contacts...not quite it... Albert Pham and Scotty.

Okay gay travel vloggers, finally: Estevan's Travel Vlog Playlist, marco in a box, Ravi Round the World, Nomadic Boys and two bad tourists.  Ugh.. but no gaysian travelers or gaysian couples....... Oh well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My 32 Year Old Gay Asian Body



I feel as though everyone has experienced some sort of body dysmorphia / self consciousness in their life.  More now with Instagram hotties getting a shit ton of attention.  I really like this picture above, but I can't stop starring at that gut that rolls over my waist band.. so that means I won't post it on instagram/facebook.

I've once daydreamed that in my 30's I would have an amazingly ripped body that I wouldn't mind showing off.   Or even in my 50s like this Singaporean hottie Chuan Do. But I've shifted my focus to lowering my cholesterol with turmeric and cardio and I'm proud to say that I'm healthy!  I have a goal of losing some weight so that I'm no longer considered overweight for my height based on this random chart below.  But I'm not willing to compromise what brings me joy: delicious food from different places; in moderation.. and small slices of pizza.



Body positivity is important and body obsession makes me roll my eyes.  Folks that are body obsessed seem so one dimensional and empty.  They complain the most about their bodies when they're the most fit in the room and they don't seem to talk about anything interesting. Anyway... I'm being judgey.

I wonder why at times I feel so self conscious about a little belly fat. It seems that being trim, having abs means having a normal gay Asian body.  High metabolism and smooth dolphin bodies seems to be expected.   I keep seeing unsolicited large group photos of trim gay Asian men in my social feeds even though I've unfollowed many vanity profiles.

Do gays-with-abs ONLY hang out with other gays-with-abs?   Is it that ONLY gays-with-abs post large group photos on social media tagging each other multiple times at shirtless parties so that they keep popping up in my feed? Like women's magazines, I'm inundated with... hashtag impossible body goals.  But these aren't photoshopped celebrities.

These are standard gaysians separated by one degree.


If this is what being gaysian means, I'd feel extreme anxiety to keep up.

For a second, DadBod was talked about.  Attractive dads who were busy with family and raising kids.  Their belly fat became charming. But what about the men who can't easily become dads aka - gay men?  Without children to take care of in our 30s it actually seems lazy to not take care of your body because you have the time.  To add to that the gay community completely hijacked what being a daddy means any way.  I am neither definition.




After seeing a couple of pictures from the bonfire I got really self conscious, but just needed to be reminded that it's all in my head.  I was assuming what typical gaysian bodies looked like and started comparing myself to others.  But fuck that. I'm healthy, happy and I planned a kick ass bonfire called "Beached Whales." Come as  you are, we don't give a fuck and you shouldn't either.

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!