Sunday, January 27, 2013

Family Christmas 2012




Christmas has been celebrated at my house for the past couple of years.  We have the space and with all the decorations there's a wonderful warm vibe at my house even though the central heating sucks.  Here's my mom who did the dramatic Vietnamese thing to me the day of saying, "this is the last time I'm going to host.. I'm just so lonely."  She started tearing up.  What this means is, "please help me, I have no daughters."  THEN JUST SAY SO.  I read between the lines, cancelled my lunch plans and helped her chop potatoes.  She went 180, "this is what I mean about Christmas SPIRIT!!"  Mom, you're dramatic.


My dad got my mom this all American apron from Texas... so this is what she would look like as a Houston Viet Mom.  My grandpa needs help shaving so my dad brought out the razor.  Quick myspace pic with parents.


Some of the dishes we had.  My auntie makes homemade pate and my cousin brought this amazing puff pastry, gruyere and asparagus. MmMM


Cheers!  This is my family with my brother's girlfriend's family.  One day I will bring Jimmy's family. Though he responded that that's weird.  sad face.


My brother and last grandparent and my cousins channelling the mountain people of Sapa.



This year I finally bought my parents decent gifts.  My dad hinted that he wanted a tablet.  Thanks to my distant cousin, I was able to snatch one.  My distant cousin was in Kansas where electronics aren't that hot apparently and bought the last one.  Lucky day!


Every year I hope that we don't have to go to church because well.. it's the same sermon and everyone is only half listening.  But I go for my parents.  I think being a good person doesn't mean that I need to be a good Catholic.  And I think it's interesting that people depend on religion to guide them as if being good is something they need to be guided on.  I guess many of us lose our way through our own selfishness and distractions and religion is there to help us on our way.  Though I get tired when I hear people say, "i'm a Christian.. with Christian values!"  Well, I'm a human... with human values ... the sort of values that are so logical that I don't need to tell everyone that I have them.  Like respect, forgiveness, patience.. yeah, got that covered.  And to mention your values as "CHRISTIAN Values" makes me feel a sense of arrogance that I don't think is mentioned in the bible.  "Though shalt act like your religion is better."  Nope, don't think that's in there.

Anyway - religion doesn't sit right with me.  Or at least the practice.  Good in theory, like communism.  But I have faith.


Anyway, we ended the night with some reverse charades.  I highly recommend getting this app!  Instead of one person acts, and everyone guesses... everyone acts and one person guesses!  It's pure brilliance!







Merry Christmas!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Overweight

Dinner
I knew I was in trouble when it was uncomfortable to sit down.  There's always going to be a little pudge on your tummy because you're pushing down on it while sitting, but on top of the flat tire was ... an additional roll.

That's right, I hit the second roll mark and that's when I realized I needed an intervention.  Those of you who have not experienced aquiring a second roll do not understand - it feels like there is more weight under your arm with no where to go but to sit on top of your love handle.  It's like a HAT for your love handle and you can feel it.. the whole time.  By crossing your arms you can reach around and give it a hand shake.  Disgusting.

The day has come for this fatty to become the type of person that he always criticizes:  people with dietary handicaps.  There is nothing more embarrassing than becoming something you've always made fun of and this is what I have to say - IM ALWAYS HUNGRY!

But now I'm counting calories using the "lose it" app WHICH by the way, is not meant for Asians because I can't plug in dim sum or pho.  There needs to be a Lose It - Orient version.  Along this journey I've received some helpful tips: lunch meat - low cal and great protein.  Ok, so i grab my turkey and dip in hummus.. but I finish the container... both containers.  FUCK.

Oatmeal - keeps you full, start your day with oat meal.  Well  those fibers are making me gassy.

...And that's it.

The good thing is by not eating out I've force myself to eat the things that we have in our pantry resulting in a good clean out.

What else is a good motivator is this Cancun trip I'm taking in mid February for work.  The LA office is getting into shape and I'm feeling the pressures of being LA beautiful while standing adjacent to the flabby Chicago office in group pictures.  On the elliptical I chant "cancun cancun cancun" and I wonder if people can hear me.

Jimmy on the other hand has been working on his weight since October and he is looking fione.  I call him slim jim.  He's on a daytime vegetarian and a eat out once a week plan. There goes my dream of being called the Chub Couple.

Faith in Other Humans

Jimmy posed a question, "if I felt physically threatened by someone what would I do?"  In this scenario, the police are unable to do anything and I have a sense that someone is out to harm me.

In this (extreme) situation would I get a gun as a form of protection? I responded, "no... I would NOT feel safer having a gun in the house." But I was unable to offer any other alternative solution.  The fact is, I have never felt this way so I really don't know how to respond.  Jimmy on the other hand had three black guys (of course they were black.. of course that's relevant) invade his house while he hid in the bathroom back in college.

Is it naive of me to believe that NO one is out to hurt me?  Is it silly to feel that the violence on the news is so far from me that I never feel unsafe?  Is it bad to have the, "it'll never happen to me" mentality?  I guess this ignorance keeps me feeling happy, but maybe one day I will realize that there are people out there who have nothing to lose by hurting me to get what they want... like the keys to my dented Toyota Corolla.

I've held a gun before and played at a shooting range, but even then I having extreme physical anxiety before I could get myself to go to bat. And it was still a game.  I've watched someone from the navy pull out his tool and whirl it around while being buzzed and feeling very uncomfortable. The phrase, "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is utter bull shit.  No one ever said that their 15 year old son found a taser in their nightstand and accidentally killed someone.

Back to the question above, in this extreme scenario I would get a weapon... a bat, a taser... but I will never resort to having in my hands something that can kill.  And I feel like buying a gun for "protection" is like replying ALL to an email chain saying, "please stop replying all."  Does more harm than good.  People are idiots.

I feel people are too eager to "protect themselves" from people that they feel are "dangerous."  Is this me being naive again?  I guess even a kindergartener can be a terrorist!

Pennsylvania kindergartener uses Hello Kitty bubble-gun at school, suspended for "terrorist threat"


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Slutty Christmas


We were a bit modest this year.  Our SGV chinese food, echo park taco, little tokyo ramen bodies did not compare to the west siders' salad and gym on every corner bodies.  But we compromised to match the theme of our friend's Christmas party.

Though it was a cold night, the virtual fire on the big screen warmed me some how.  Yeah - we're wearing those American Apparel booty shorts again.  Made good use of those things.





Duck face... i believe thats Jack Frost and a Fawn?    Slut + Theme is actually hard to do... wait, no I take that back, mouse ears and underwear is not hard, but the creativity above is noteworthy!

Sometimes I wonder why the gay community loves to slut it up so much...


Oh yeah, that's why. That reminds me, I need to do my laundry... against your washboard abs.

You mean I have to diet AND exercise?!? Can't I just do one or the other?

Family Dinner with Sandy


Every time Sandy visits LA she offers to cook us a family meal!  To her surprise, some of the ingredients that she had left in our house in 2009 were still there... oops.  Well an expiration date is just a suggestion.  What's on the menu?  Her very own Kung Pao Chicken / Shrimp with some sautéed asparagus.  Tommy made some oden to compliment.  MMM!


Don't mind the guest mattress.


Cards Against Humanity instructed us to create a haiku.  Which one would select as the winner?

A snapping turtle bitting the tip of your Penis.
Poor life choices.
Amputees.

Yellow Playground



Pershing Square in DTLA

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Date Night at Bashan

For those who just like looking at food.

Jimmy took me out to Bashan - French American in Glendale.  4 1/2 stars on Yelp! !
Thanks Groupon for the discovery!

Pork Belly 14

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup $12 


Prime Flat Iron Steak 27

Buttermilk Panna Cotta 8

Olive oil Poached King Salmon 27

Chocolate Bread Pudding 8

In Memory of Christine

2010 - Will Rogers Beach


Organic, expressive, bright, Spirited.  These are the words that are often used to describe Christine V. Le.  

I met Christine at a VSA general meeting, I was drawn to her energy and pulled in by her smile.  She joined because she was proud of her heritage.  She became an essential cabinet member and was nominated most spirited.  During Tet I remember how beautiful she looked in an Ao Dai.  She rocked that Ao Dai.

She had huge presence at the annual VSA culture show first dancing, then acting and finally playing a story telling clown in the show Monsoon - Gió Mùa. This was the perfect roll for her because Christine was a story teller.  I remember one time we were resting after a culture show and she fell asleep in my lap at Huan's house.  She murmured, "I love your inner thigh pillows."

Christine made her presence known in other communities - SASC, Dance and her Coop where she proudly displayed her recycled fashion.  Christine was expressive in these spaces and found her identity through culture, dance and poetry where she captivated everyone she performed for.

As we became closer, she would reach out to me, "DANCE WITH ME CHRIS!"  We took pictures together and in everyshot, she had her tongue, goofy.  If she wasn't goofy she would snuggle up against my body.  And anyone who has been touched my Christines can contest that her touch was electric.

I remember seeing her bald - shocked, "MY PARENTS ARE SO MAD, BUT I HAD TO DO IT!"  It became clear that her body and the world around it suffocated her spirit.  Her hair, her shoes, her clothes all had to be stripped away in order for her to feel like she can breathe in order to feel her surroundings.  Christine wanted to feel and experience everything.  Her hands callaused by touch, her feet rough from walkng bare foot.

After college, she accompanied me on a road trip down to LA.  She invited me into her home where she proudly excalimed, "do you want Buon Cuon!? my mom picked it up from the OC!"  On this road trip we talked about love, privilege and relationships.  Her mind was always on overdrive - digesting ideas and trying to understand the world.

We met up again - she carried a nalgene water bottle that looked like it had been run over, but she was very attached to it.  THough it served no practical use, it had become a part of her as it went along with her on every experience.   She showed me her binder full of ideas written on scraps of paper. a collection of her thoughts on colorful pieces of paper.  She wanted to open up a dance school. 

We went to the beach where she rolled around in the sand proclaiming that she can feel each grain on her skin.  "CHRIS! I LOVE THE SUN!"  She screamed.

I saw her in downtown LA.  She was in a car and screamed my name one last time with such enthusiasm and life.  Her voice echos in my mind.  

The last thing that she said to me was through a facebook message, through a poetic conversation

November 23, 2011
im ready for a performance chris
like
nasty everything packed
and fantastic
spastic
blast it
the lyrics
and movements
bloody secrets
please
i need it
sheeez
help me
pleaswe
when
can we be 
freeeee
so necessary
for meeee
to releease
these things
but maybe
it'll take some time

its always
its constant
marvelous
no stoppin it
pero
es muy necesario por
todos
to slowly
tu tu
gap nhau
trong
mot noi
"Tu tu gap nhau tron mot noi"

Which means - Eventually we will meet again in one place, in heaven.

I believe in heaven, Christine has found the freedom she was looking for.  This earth, this world could no longer contain her spirit that was meant to fly.

Dim Sum before her funeral - CAL VSA

Before entrance - suit is bursting at the seams

Tearing up during Eulogy

Amazing art piece

Highschool Tribute

Around her art

A couple of folks came up to me to tell me that my eulogy greatly captured how they felt about Christine.  This was important to me.  The speakers before me reflected on her high school life and I hoped that what I presented as her college life was a fair representation.  I prepared for my speech by light-heartedly pulling 5 pieces of tissue at the podium.  I was doing well until I teared up and delivered the rest of the speech with a strange frog in my throat.  Unlike my cousin Michelle's funeral in 2009 where I downed a beer before speaking, I was able to continue without experiencing painful heartburn and heartache.

Every time I think about Christine I murmur, "im mad at you."  Mad at her for not reaching out.  Mad at her for not properly saying good bye.  Mad at her for not responding to my text to her wishing her a happy birthday a year ago.  

I imagine myself intervening ... somehow... just being there at the right time to stop her from taking a route that she believed was the only way.  I've heard so many stories that end in, "...and thanks to so-and-so, I'm still here today."  And I wish I could step back in time to find her to make her understand that her life is worth living.  That many more people need to watch her dance, that she needs to create more art and experience everything this earth has to offer.  I'm mad at you Christine for not letting me show you and I'm mad at myself for not finding you in time.

Work Holidays



At work we played Secret Santa.  On my wishlist I asked for a gift certificate to some nice restaurant   My Secret Santa got me a certificate to Animal which has been on my to-do list for ages!  How did he know?  Because I mentioned it a few weeks back. Date night with Jimmy!

I decided to spice the gift giving event up by bringing some props.  I was the LA office's ELF!





We had our West Coast christmas party where we flew in folks from SF and Texas to LA to enjoy Mexican food and wigs!  For those who stressed, wigs were provided.  This made for a very hilarious night.



Beautiful LA Faces:


The third holiday event was a client party in Santa Monica at The Penthouse at the The Huntley Hotel. I'm told that the view at sunset is mesmerizing.  Fancy.

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

American Whore Story

I stepped into a beautiful Silverlake townhouse nested in the hills.  Parking was on a narrow slanted street curving upward - we were not longer in the hood. We were appropriately dressed to match the party theme: American Whore Story... well partially.



Fully dressed priest, doctor, psychiatric people.

When we stepped in, the decor knocked all of my themed parties out of the water.  There was black plastic pinned along the wall and tiny torch lights to make it look like a dungeon.  The host told me it took 2 weeks to prepare and his finger tips bled a little putting everything up.  I noticed 4 cooked turkeys, meatballs, pulled pork, and crackers set on various tables.  He told me about other Christmas parties - he's hosted 12 since living there.  A few years back was Brokeback Mountain in which he invested in haystacks transported from farms.  Another year was "Martha Stewart in Jail" - prison and crafts themed.  His creativity made me envious.

We were entering the territory of another subgroup of gay with actual disposable income.

Spectacular View
The crowd?  Older.  Daddies.  These were real Gay Daddies which included even more sub sub groups - leather daddies and bears.  Our twenty-something gaysian group was obviously out of place... and had a lot less facial hair and body mass.  As we huddled together I realized that this was different, the people around us were disinterested in us.  I was used to being poked and gawked at by older men in the space.  But not here.  This was a daddies for daddies party and we were lost children that happened to stumble in disrupting their fun like acne.  We wandered around the amazingly embellished house and I noticed a curtain covering an upward stairway.

"What's that?"  I inquired.
"It's the playroom."  The stranger my dad's age explained flatly.  I continued up and discovered the following:  Black fabric draped from the ceiling.  It was dark, aside from small mood-setting lights.  I followed the brighter glowing light and found VHS porn playing on an old TV sitting in front an even older couch.  Oh shit.. "Playroom..."

I turned another corner around the draped fabric, I was in a flowy labyrinth alone. And there it was, a sling hanging and rocking waiting to be occupied. It was a grown up swing - with a different purpose.  I would have never guessed this was here.  I snuck out and told my friends fellow giggling hairless children what I discovered.

We were all intrigued.  It was another world.  Some of us ventured back into the playroom to witness party guests make use of the props that the host carefully assembled.  And I wondered, if we weren't among friends would the idea of "joining in" be more of possibility. I stayed away. The thought quickly vanished as we found a safe corner in the patio with an amazing view.  As we talked, three party guests found themselves in the gazebo behind us... and then they found their mouths around each others'  gazebos.  I spoke louder to drown out my awkwardness.  They did not speak a word to us.

We slipped out before midnight having consumed all chips and dip and taking advantage of the personal bar.  I took home a suvenior - the host was handing out costume-y rosaries.

I thought that this sort of exhibition only existed at the Folsom Street Fair in the Castro or random bathhouses scattered around cities.  Never would I have thought that I would attend an actual party with a "playroom" tucked away.

I am thankful to have experienced for a brief moment the space of another subgroup of gay; it was like eating a new cuisine from a different country.

I was inspired by the party themes and elaborate decorations.

And I found an appreciation for a newly discovered extremity of "casual sex."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Act Your Age

Brigade of youth - blonde girls partying at a gay asian club
As I was peeing at Rage yesterday, my least favorite place in the world aside from vaginas, I made a very obvious realization.  I only feel old because I was surrounded by 18 year olds.  I expanded my thought and wondered - did I do everything that I wanted to when I was 23?  I assume so, it was my favorite age.. or I think it was...

While I was having these thoughts against the porcelain, Miranda was having her own bathroom troubles...

It's fact - you can't do it later, you can't get your youth back because your mind is different, your body is different, your definition of fun is different.  Instead of cursing my age which I do quite often, I wondered again...  was my early twenties as fun as amazing as the youngins that surrounded me.  I couldn't come up with an answer, my memory escapes me... because I'm old.

Also - not getting carded.  I wondered again, what about my face makes me look of age.  I hope the answer is my mature demeanor, but somehow I don't think it is.  I'm having gay man crisis and have bookmarked microdermabrasion coupons to revert my face back to my early twenties, but I guess on the asian scale my mid teens.  If that doesn't work, I hope I'm one of those folks who look better with age.

I'm not as scared to turn 28 compared to 27 because it's such an ugly number to me.    A.D.D. the three stages of life:


What do I find fun? What do I enjoy doing?  Definitely not attending this club, but I had a good time because I was plastered... politely vomited into a mug on the drive home.  I guess the point is - I need to surround myself with people my age not to feel old per se.

I'm glad I have this guy to look up to as a sort of gay asian mentor.  The "Honorable Evan Low" is what I call him.  He just did a recent talk on Ted Talks about Revising Capitalism.  Youngest, Gayest and Asianiest council member in the US.  I've known him since high school through Key Club.  Kept in touch, but not as close as I'd like to be.



Maybe this is what I need to do in my late 20s - speak about politics on a high profile education network.  I think great achievement is the new FUN in my late twenties.  Do it and do it well.  K.  That's my new hobby: "Great Achievement"

Dreaming

Found green couch across the street from my house
I wonder how my mind works.  I always dream and for that reason I hate sleeping in because my mind continues to wander in random directions through the snooze button.  I've often woken up agitated and unsettled because of the last thought I had in my subconscious.  This morning in my dream I was scanning through pictures... more like drawings.  They would flash in front of me then change like a slideshow with movement going horizontally.  The images were more landscape than portraits and they would quickly change before I could completely digest it.  I'm realizing as I type this out that's this dream is probably reflective of the volume of media consumption that I've been doing on my new tablet and on the bus. Scroll scroll scroll scroll.  Pictures, comments, likes... scroll scroll scroll.

I'm in a strange space because all of the internet browsing that I would do when I get home from work is already done on my new one hour - one and a half hour public transit commute.  I come home antsy.  But this is better - with facebook, tumblr, blogging, instagram scrolling out of the way, my weekday evenings can be more productive.  Should I pick up a hobby?  Should I create a new years resolution and keep it?

I had chat with Jimmy regarding progress.  I've put a lot of pressure on him to make progress and criticized him about creating roadblocks.  After all of that he explained to me that feels that he has made a lot of progress, he lost 12 pounds, his anxiety is under control and he feels more confident; I felt silly for nagging him.  Just want to make sure that we are both achieving our life goals together.  I hope to be the voice of reason... when he needs it.

Last night, I got a compliment and a diss.
Andrew told me that I have my shit together... I never really thought about this.  Yes, I do have my shit together the things that I complain about are so trite.  Even this car accident has just inconvenienced me... however I was able to create lemonade for this hit and run.  Which would be more difficult if I was dealing with other things that take precedence.

What was the diss? Mony told me my hair was ugly.