Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Weekends in Los Angeles

Staying busy makes me happy.  This passed weekend was exceptional!

Friday: Summer Nights at the Natural History Museum Botanical Gardens - Always thought Silent Disco was stupid, but then it was actually fun with a good DJ.  Learned that the ants in our house are not native to Los Angeles, but actually from South America through the coffee trade.
Saturday: Chinatown Summer Nights - got sassy with boring straight guys taking valuable dance floor space.  Made a scene when they left shooing them away.  Led the group of 12 to Won Kok for some loud 2AM Chinese food.  Shu mai is apparently a breakfast item and made Jason uncomfortable that we ordered it.  That morning got inspired by Ikea and want to buy some good patio furniture.
Sunday: Venice Beach - learned how to boogie board.  The trick is to point the nose of the board downward to better catch the wave.

New restaurants old friends, new restaurants with new friends, old restaurants with new dishes.

And a boyfriend to capture it all:

Visual Diary: Lazy Summer from Jimmy Raymond on Vimeo.

Meal of the weekend: Soft Shell Crab Curry Ramen from Curry House in Little Tokyo.
A season dish that stayed on the menu due to popularity.

Not just watered down curry, but with ramen oil adding dimension.  Wish the egg was softboiled



It's already time to plan the next one!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Make A Wish

Today is my dad's 62nd birthday.

I almost forgot to call him, but my brother sent me a text.  I sent him an early birthday gift a while back, so on the actual day it slipped my mind.

My brother sent me a video of my dad blowing out a candle during dinner in San Jose.  You can see him taking the time to make a wish.  I don't know what he wished for, but I imagine it to be something related to family, health and happiness.

I was going through some texts and found one I sent to Kevin reminding him to get a birthday dessert for Huan during his birthday dinner a few weeks back.  I was being type A and assuming that Kevin would forget his boyfriend duties.  I took the liberty to send obnoxious texts

 For a while I didn't understand why I was so obsessive about "properly celebrating a birthday" during a dinner.  I had always told people that if you don't blow something out, it's just another dinner outing with friends.  We eat out so often that the only way to make it special is by sneaking to the restroom to and make the server rummage for candles and then making everyone sing awkwardly in public and embarrassing the birthday person.  It just HAS to be like that whether the birthday person likes it or not.

Watching this video made me realize that I get it from my dad.  He's sentimental.  He's selfless.  And for the one meal that meant to be for him, he makes sure to make a wish to be thankful for the gifts that life has given him.  He makes sure that for every one of my birthdays I'm at least given a card to make me feel special and loved.  Maybe that's why candle blowing is so important to me.  Because, simply, that's how I was raised: believing that making people feel special is important.

==

A close friend of mine told me that he made his boyfriend cry when he presented a one year anniversary gift.  It was a photo book.  It made me think about how lonely it could being gay.  How hard dating can be.  How selfish and guarded and difficult gay men are.  And rightfully so because growing up gay really fucked with us.   To be able to find a partner that loves you, sacrifices for you, matches you and appreciates you is worth crying about.  I feel like it only gets harder the older we get because we become used to just dating ourselves that we forget how to find room for others.  I have so many single friends that it makes me wonder if most of them have given up on finding a partner and living single is just the life that they've accepted and adapted to.  After all, finding a soulmate to marry is a hetero norm... and why does it have to be a thing?  And that growing old doesn't have to be lonely when you have your chosen family by your side. 

If anything RAGE can turn into the Retired Asian Gay Enclave. 
It's 70+ and half off Ensure powder drinks before 9PM.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

69 Cents



I really don't give a shit.  And I find creative ways to entertain myself.  So back in 2014, I was browsing the social feed of venmo to see where my friends were having dinner without me and paying each other back.  I noticed this guy who I thought was pretty cute and interesting based on his ... other payments.  We had one mutual friend.

So like any self respecting gaysian thirsty for friendship, I decided to send him a payment of $0.69 with a few fun emojis.  I never heard from him and just left it as a funny story, making my friends feel uncomfortable that I actually did something like that.  But whatever, this guy was in New York and he took my money.

Fast forward 3 years later to my Tokyo trip with my family in 2018.  I was dying for something that wasn't my family and I found myself at a gay bar.  In the sea of gays I see him and somehow remember his first name.   I never remember names especially this one since I've always referred to him as 69 cents.  I only had two drinks in me, but in addition to desperation for a familiar face I shouted his name.

He didn't hear me and walked on.  So... like a lion to a gazelle, I chased after him. 
"Is your name Jun?!"  I was super excited.  The gears in my psychotic mind were turning.
"yeah.. um... "
"you don't know me, but we have a mutual friend!  How are you?  What are you doing here?"  I talked to him like we had known each other for ages and he followed along.

He told me about quitting his job, how he's been traveling for months.  I think seeing another American was refreshing for him... and then he disappeared after 5 minutes.  That was just the right amount of time to make me feel better and less lost in a foreign place.  I was so exhausted with my family that anything that felt like home aka - gaysian-American, felt nice.


Obviously, I didn't mention the $0.69 part.  I'm sure he knew, but wanted to make myself seem as normal as possible.  Which I thought I was pretty successful in doing.

I send this picture to our mutual friend who was aghast that we "ran into each other."  More like I ran at him.  He then shared his chat with 69 cents.



Glad to see that the story matched up.  But then I noticed that our mutual friend covered some of the text previously.  I can only imagine what was censored.  But you know what... I don't give a fuck.  I'm just here to make people feel uncomfortable while I laugh at myself at my ridiculousness.

How to Find Random Gaysians Online... and Creep on Digital Strangers

The internet makes it too easy to find people.  Just need a first name and you can really go hunting especially gay people.  Why?  Because we're narcissist and need to show the world that we're doing okay by checking in, by oversharing, by posting constantly.

A quick glance at an instagram geo hashtag and you'll find a gay sprinkled in the mix.   But you can also do the reverse if you're looking to "discover."

Tonight's adventure starts on YouTube.

1. Start with popular, but not viral LGBT video on YouTube. Brian Jordan's Gender Fluid Fried video is my current choice.





















2.  Scroll the comments and find that gaysian thumbnail.  OH hayyyyyy.












3. Dig into their social media and subscriber list.  Oooo. Cultured.  I like that.





























4. Slide into their DMs.  I've decided to go with, "Wow! I've always wanted to go to Italy!"

Bam.  New gaysian friend.

"But Chris, how do you do this without coming off creepy?"

Hate to tell you, but... I'm creepy... and you can be creepy too.  The end.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Quick Birthday Post a Month After


In your 20s you feel every year.  You're counting down until you reach 30 which seems to be the deadline to achieve all of your goals.  After that, you're just.. "in your 30s."  And that's what it felt like when I turned 33 this year.   

Jimmy truly surprised me for my birthday bringing all our friends into our house for an impromptu party while I was trying to host a game night with new shy faces.  I was thrilled, but not prepared.  As I was frantically pulling out snacks etc. Kevyn whispered to me, "it's okay to not be in control Chris."  And after that I just relaxed and caught up with folks instead of playing with the playlist and lighting.  I got my ube cake and I made new friends and saw old ones.  Jimmy took me out to a nice hidden gem restaurant a week after called Oriel in Chinatown that has become a favorite.

I've noticed that my vision is weakening and I've had my 8th bloody nose yesterday during a client meeting.  I'm seeing a head specialist who will probably cauterize the vessels.  But it was a moment of embarrassment when my clients left me alone in the conference room while I gushed into a trash can for 20 minutes.  I've determined that digesting spicy foods is not the only physical issue to concentrate on.

I had a heavy weekend learning about my friend's drug abuse and trying to properly address it.  I learned about another friend's aunt who's essentially a vegetable because of potential surgery malpractice causing his family severe depression and stress.  It reminded me that our mental health needs to be taken care of along with our physical.

===

In over 10 years we finally took a family vacation to.... TOKYO!


Crammed into a one bedroom was my mom, dad, brother and his girlfriend.  My parents on the bed.  Brother and girlfriend on the floor in the living room and me on the side on a pull out.  Zero privacy for 7 days and it was exhausting.  Especially since I was expected to plan the entire thing minute by minute.  There was a moment I got sick and I had to navigate myself by home because my parents didn't probably know how to use google maps.  I guess, this is the turning point in which I have to be the one to take care of my parents despite how youthful they may seem.  But damn, I thought "family trip" meant that I just had to tag along.

On my actual birthday I again picked the place the eat and navigated everyone there.  It didn't feel special so I decided that not matter what, I was going to go to the gay neighborhood to get myself a birthday drink after ditching the family at the Airbnb.



I was alone at The Eagle, Tokyo in Nichome... a familiar brand, but not an English speaker in sight.  I was hoping to meet up with Ernesto who had stopped responded for a few hours.  He was there taking care of business with his partner, but just landed that afternoon.  I assumed the jetlag got the best of him.


But they arrived and took me to a drag bar which I enjoyed.  I needed some gayness to balance the family time.  Luckily I was able to connect with an instagram friend for another night to give me another needed break.

==

It's already 10PM and I should sleep.

Walk up at 5:20AM, catch the 6AM shuttle, Arrive at work at 7AM, catch the 3PM shuttle, arrive at home by 4:30PM, look up something to eat or cook.

Browse flipped homes in desirable locations.  Compare potential mortgages to current rent control, realize that the investment would make most sense for non existing off spring, close computer.

Repeat.

==

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Different Breed of Gays




We hosted another house party in February for Lunar New Year.   We called it "Year of the Doggy Style," and encouraged people to dress up to their interpretation.  As innocent as Snapchat dog ears to puppy play kink, but you know... our circle of friends, not from Weho went in a few directions as anticipated.

When you think of a dog themed gay party...

EXPECTATION





REALITY


Doge approves.

We we had some leather as well of course!




But that's the idea of creating a safe space.  Be as freaky as you want to be and whatever that means is up to you!



Fur-bulous!


Was laughing at this for 10 minutes.

Jimmy's Vlog:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Two Old Gaysian Short Films that Surprised Me.

With HereTV's Falling for Angels: Koreatown, Chapter II train wreck that showcased a unrealistic interaction between two Gaysians in LA's Koreatown I decided to spend the morning watching some old gaysian shorts and I was pleasantly surprised.


The Golden Pin



This film addresses family obligation with blunt metaphors and good chemistry.  The Mom always knows.  I also love that the main character is a Vietnamese stud and that the white characters are just background.  The focus after all is about the Asian and his family and western elements are "the other."  He's also hot as fuck.

Yellow Fever



This film is SO 90s, but also so UK.  But the racial issues here are relatable.  The main character is intentionally insane.  He's hung up on his identity as a potato queen.  The moral of the story is summed up in this line, "when it comes to relationship, it should be about personality, not nationality."  Which is of course 90s talk for ethnicity.  The film exposes how ridiculous the gay community can be.

Falling for Angels: Koreatown
This was such a missed opportunity to showcase LA Gaysians; it felt like the director interviewed a handful of gaysians and smashed together his observations into one long terrible cringy dialogue.  It felt like it was going through a checkbox of things.  Actual quotes:

  • There's this metamorphosis that happens when you'r having sex looking into someone's eyes that look like your own
  • I knew that if i could love someone that looked like me, I could love myself
  • The [SGV gaysians] who grew here are like a different race, they're self confident and well adjusted and they breakdance.  It's like where's the neuroses of low self esteem? 
All of the issues covered identity issues.  But the gaysian community faces a lot more than just self hate.   They should have just scrapped the script and followed a group of four gaysian friends to Rage in Weho.  And then have them gossip at BCD Tofu house in Koreatown at 3AM featuring the following characters.
  • Slutty one who's careless, lonely and parties
  • Social Justice Warrior who doesn't practice what he preaches
  • Transplant with insecurities that overcompensates
  • One that's dating a white guy and addresses sticky-rice hypocrisy 
I can assume that the writer only knows gaysians who live in white spaces, who have and compete for white boyfriends.   These Gaysians, who are the sprinkle of color, struggle with predictable identity and rejection issues as the constant "other"  have been addressed enough.  Falling for Angels: Koreatown had the opportunity to expand outside those themes.Why not feature gaysians who are well adjusted and focus on their LA born/raised here specific lives?  Or is it unfair and alienating to show this utopian where the people you're interested want to date you back and that everything you do and speak is popular thought because both your high school and college were a majority Asian?

The first scene where the condom breaks was ridiculous.  It would have been more realistic if he discovers that the adopted Korean sleeps around A LOT and freaks out because of how nonchalant he is.  

"When was the last time you got test?!?"
"I don't know.. a few months ago.. don't worry about it.."

This would address hook up paranoia + hook up carelessness in two contrasting characters.  

Any way... I just hate missed opportunities.