Thursday, May 29, 2003
A year ago at this very time I was in a bar in Makati, watching Sugarfree’s Ebe Dancel play an acoustic set for a couple of his friends. I knew none of the people there save for his older brother (whose name escapes me at the moment) who I exchanged some inconsequential small talk with. But apart from him I was there all by myself. So why was I there? Because I wanted to turn 27 around people instead of by myself in my room, because at that time I was weary of being alone.
Fast forward a year later. Tonight here I am sitting in front of my computer, now officially 28 years old. I’ve chosen to stay in. I’m by myself; yet not alone. Not in the most important of ways, not anymore.
What do birthdays mean to people? For children, they are an opportunity to get lots and lots of presents and often the best day of the year. For others when they get older, birthdays are seen as a source of depression; a reminder of the human condition, and that time slows down for no one. And for others, they simply become just another day.
As for myself, how do I feel about them? Reflective, for one. I remember last year thinking what I was going to say to my mom when she invariably asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I imagined my reply: “What I want most you cannot give me.”
So what do I want for my birthday?
She actually did ask me that question a few days ago, and I answered that I didn’t know. For this paragraph, I was going to write a wish list of things that I wanted off the top of my head, but after coming up with the newest Macy Gray CD and 60 hours of studio time at Tracks, I honestly couldn’t think of anything else. There is nothing that I could want right now that I don’t already have, and those things which I listed are just that: things. If there was one word to describe how I’m feeling right now, it’s Content. And that contentment can be (pardon the pun) largely be attributed to a big, burly-yet-gentle 5'10" Web designer-cum-writer who goes by the name of Nelz.
During this time last year I was on the cusp of something wonderful and exciting and scary, something which I had no idea where it was going to go. Given my level of experience at the time, there was a reasonable probability that it could have went poorly. Instead, it ended up exceeding all of my expectations. I met and fell in love with the sweetest, kindest, sexiest, most wonderful man. What made things even more amazing? That he loved me right back.
Personally, I’ve always looked forward to birthdays. It’s the one time of the year when the entire world revolves around me. (don’t get me wrong, I believe this is so ALL the time; birthdays are is just the one day of the year that I actually have half an argument to back it up) I don’t know, perhaps it’s the part of me that has never grown up, but I’ve never really felt the depression and angst that overtakes other people on their birthdays. I mean, the whole idea is a little silly (at 364 days you’re fine, but after that 365th day you have to start moping?) .
Growing up, growing old, just growing, is not something you worry about once every 365 days; but an ongoing process of living and learning, towards becoming the person you are going to be. And if you’re extremely lucky, you’ll have someone by your side to accompany you on that journey.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
One day to go.
Monday, May 26, 2003
The sun has become a distant memory,
taking with it the warmth and the light,
leaving behind only emptiness.
Perfect for how I'm feeling right now.
You can view the other photos, including my Derek Zoolander impression here. Many thanks to Poetic Pixel for the images. :)
Her: Bakit mo ba kailiangan gawin yan?! Anong gusto mo ba? Nakakahiya ka! ("Why do you have to do that?! What do you want to say anyway? You're an embarassment!")
Me: I don't "want" anything. I just like it!
Her: Hindi naman yan makakatulong sa pagka-banda mo! Pinagawa ba yan ni..Nelson?!? [hey she said your name! I think that's a first! :) ] ("That won't help in your being in a band anyway! Did Nelson put you up to that?")
Me: I didn't get it for the band. And Nelson had nothing to do with my decision. For the record, he has black hair again.
Her: Hindi ko naiintindihan! Bakit mo kailangan kang maging ganyan! ("I don't understand! Why do you have to be like that!?")
Me (keeping a very rational, non-aggressive tone): Teka, teka, ano ba yung ibig sabihin mo ng 'ganyan' ("Wait; first of all, tell me what you mean exactly by 'like that'")
Her: Yung....yung abnormal! ("Being abnormal!")
Me: You keep bandying about this word "normal" so much, let me tell you something: No one is normal, least of all this family. It doesnt exist. The ones who say that they are normal are the biggest freaks of all. Everyone is dysfunctional.
Her: But at least yung pagka-abnormal namin hindi ganyan! ("At least our abnormalities aren't like that!")
Me: Okay then, thell me what you mean.
Her: Yung pagka-abnormal namin, at least... ako, mataba! At siya... ("Our abnormalities, at least...I'm overweight, and he...")
Me: So you get to decide what is an 'acceptable' abnormality?
Her: Ay nako! Basta!! (At this point she enters her room and slams the door.)
Well, that went better than I had expected.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
Bent over and screaming in pain, with Nelz was behind me saying "kaya mo yan!"
...And so went the process in turning me from a brunette into a blonde. (Why, what did you think we were doing?). Since my 28th birthday was coming up soon -- for which I have absolutely NO plans for a party on that night for a change; just to see what that's like -- I felt like doing something drastic and something I always wondered about but never followed through.
We picked up Nelz's friend Bong at his place near Anonas yesterday afternoon and proceeded to QA where I endured 3 painful bleachings where an oxidizing solution was slathered onto my noggin coloring my hair and sizzling my scalp. For anyone who is wondering what it feels like to get a blonde job, imagine your scalp being rubbed raw with sandpaper, drizzling the wounds with salt, then squeezing fresh kalamsansi on it for a finisher. Imagine enduring that pain for about 40 minutes, for three times, and you have a decent picture of what it was like.
When my black roots inevitably grow out, I may consider doing this again, but that depends on how long it takes for me to block the pain of this whole thing out of my memory, like a woman who gave birth. Yeah, the whole thing hurt like hell on a bad day, but the final results looked awesome; I went for a light shade of blonde, almost platinum, to contrast with my skin. If I picked anything darker, lke a strawberry or honey blonde, it would just mix with the color of my skin, so a light color was essential.
After conditoning my hair (which by now was the consistency of a walis we drove all the was to Diwa in Makati where I had pictures of myself taken with her digital camera. I took several shots in a variety of poese, from smiles to snarls to my b est Zoolander impression. D promised to send the pics to me as soon as she could. After that, we drove back to San Juan where I dro[pped Nelz at his apartment and finally got back home, taking care not to let anyone see my newly blonde hair yet, and crashing in to bed.
And what does mom think? She doesn't know yet. I've kept a black ski hat firmly over my head since I entered the house. My mom probably suspects something is up, but knowing her fabulous son, is probably too afraid too find out.
Pictures to follow. Plus the inevitable mom reaction/fallout.
Friday, May 23, 2003
As I was talking to Myles on the phone this morning I started coughing. After getting off the phone I started clearing my throat and felt phlegm in my lungs which I spat out, and immediately took some Benadryl.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
I don't want to point fingers at anyone. But how the fuck am I supposed to react when the person who needs the most work is the one who txts you to say he might not be showing up for practice next week?
Anyone know a drummer who might be available? Even just for recording? Myles?....
There's this commercial for (I think) skin whitening cream which features a chunky yet cute woman talking about how she uses the product to get white, since (and I'm paraphrasing here, she really did say something to this degree) she's already fat, she had better be at least white, because no one will go for her because she's such a porker.
Let me add that this was a very pretty woman who wasn't even that heavy, just a little on the healthy side; who I personally thought was attractive enough for me, thank you very much. But here she was blabbering repeatedly about how she needed to be white so at least she would have something going for her. I felt terribly offended for my sister, who is chunky and dusky (a lovely shade of brown, by the way) and very pretty.
So now, they not only make you feel bad about your skin color, but also your weight at the same time? What is this, a two-for one insecurity special?
Sunday, May 18, 2003
And what have you been doing lately?
...Not updating this blog, for one thing. Lots and lots of stuff, actually, not the least of which is going into the studio and recording our songs for the first time. In fact, this afternoon, we go back to do some mixing and get a copy of what is hopefully our first-ever song.
More updates to follow.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
From the pages of Frontiers Magazine:
Families of Choice
Family. It's a powerful word that evokes many conflicting feelings. Family is the source of our earliest relationships, our closest ties, and more than any other influence, it forms what we become as adults. It's not surprising that many of us romanticize family as representing nurturing, safety, belonging, unconditional love--and for some the reality actually approaches this idealized picture. But psychologists have long known that family can also be the source of our deepest wounds and our longest-standing pain.
When social conservatives speak of "family values," we gay people are far more likely to think of shaming, separation and exclusion than safety, acceptance and love. Even those of us who come from the most loving families have experienced the wound of realizing that we aren't who they wanted us to be. We've had to wrestle with the issue of disclosure versus invisibility; have lived with estrangement and rejection; have had to cope with being treated as an embarrassment; and so on.
A man whom I'll call Mike came out to his family in his early 20s and quickly learned that the price of continued acceptance was agreeing to the terms of a contract: that he not "rub our noses in it," as his father put it. He was not to discuss his "lifestyle" with anyone in the family, nor was he to be "obvious" to relatives. The reward for "not making an issue of it" was that he had regular phone contact with his parents and brothers and was welcomed with apparently genuine affection on his regular visits "home." Eventually he met a man who became his lover and lived with him for 12 years. But every Christmas, he flew home to visit the family without his partner, whom he was discouraged from mentioning.
Eventually, Mike's lover died of complications from AIDS, and Mike mourned his death with no comfort from his family. They all knew that his "roommate" had died, but having never seen the two together, and never having talked about their relationship, they had no real grasp of what had happened to Mike.
About a month after his lover's death, Mike called home to talk with his mother. When she asked how he was doing he said, "I'm feeling awfully sad today." She replied, "Oh? About what, dear?"
Mike says that this was the moment when a light went on. A voice inside him said, "These people are blind." In a quiet, calm voice he said to his mother, "I'm sad because the man I cared for most in this world, who was my lover and closest friend, died a horrible death last month." Then he hung up. He hasn't visited or called them since, and has not responded to several letters from his parents taking him to task for being so "unreasonable." Maybe someday he'll reconcile with them, he tells me, but not unless they make it clear to him that they're willing to change the contract.
Mike's moment of insight clarified a lot for him, although more than one person who reads this is probably asking, "What took him so long?" But he's hardly unique. Many of us are quite willing to twist ourselves into pretzels in order to be "accepted" by our families and will put up with levels of abuse and insensitivity from them that we wouldn't dream of tolerating from friends. I've lost count of how many people who, when I ask them why they put up with so much, just shrug and say, "Well, you know, they're family."
We seem to be hardwired for an indiscriminate loyalty to family. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but it's detrimental to us when the relationship is destructive. Psychotherapy regularly turns out to be about loosening loyalties to abusive family members.
One of the most common forces cementing family "loyalty" is called "separation guilt," the idea that ending a relationship with a family member or setting up protective boundaries is an act of betrayal and abandonment. And we can be loyal in deep and hidden ways, even to people who are long dead. There are people who grew up with depressed parents, for instance, who in their adult lives deliberately, if unconsciously, sabotage their own happiness because they hold the belief that to be happier than one's parents is to leave them behind. This kind of dynamic accounts for all kinds of self-sabotaging behavior. When we're in the grip of such ideas we can lose sight of the simple truth that loyalty that is earned is rational, but loyalty that springs from guilt is always harmful.
It's common to think that we're stuck with our families, that we have no choice in the matter, but family isn't fate. As free adults, we have the power, if only we'll claim it, to decide who is in our family and who isn't. It's possible to make self-affirming, rational decisions about who belongs in our "spiritual families" or "families of choice."
One way to do this is to make a list of all the important people in your life. For each person, ask some basic questions, such as: Do I feel safe in this relationship? Do we trust each other? Do we support each other's values and life goals? Is our relationship characterized by mutual affection and respect? Do I know and feel known by this person? Do we enjoy each other's company? Of course, no relationship is going to score 100% all the time on all of these criteria, but asking these questions about your relationships can quickly throw into sharp relief which are the positive relationships in your life. The people for whom you answer mostly "yes" to these questions are your "family of choice," whether or not you're related biologically. These are the relationships worth cultivating. These are the people who deserve your loyalty, your commitment and your love.
Quote of the day
"Life ain't about sittin' in a church. It's about drinking and smoking and carrying on--living!"
- Craig Chester, "Why the Long Face?"
Monday, May 12, 2003
Thin and stupid or fat and smart?
After about 5 months of denial, I've finally come to the long overdue realization that I've gotten FAT. Most of the weight can be attributed to the past Christmas season, where I've always been able to lose the weight before. But really, even before that, since I hooked up with Nelz, I've been so deliriously happy and just indulged in food, which is a passion for both of us. I could never get how good-looking couples would balloon up once they got together. I used to shake my head and just say "tst tsk... they've really let themselves go!" Hello karma, Nice to see you again.
So I've decided to go back to the one regimen that's proved the most successful for me: The Atkins Diet, which empahsizes high protein and low carbohydrates. Basically, you can eat all the bacon, burgers, steak you want, as long as you cut out the garlic rice, pasta and french fries. It sounds insane, but let me tell you that it totally works. I ate myself to a svelte lycra-wearing physique, which is one of the reasons I was able to ensnare a goddess (and keep him there with my sparkling wit, personality and smouldering desire *charing!*)
But not without a price. For one thing, even though I could eat a can of vienna sausages followed by a can of beans -- for a snack, mind you -- it never, ever made me full the way a simple cup of rice does. There's something about carbohydrates that fills you up in a way meat never can. In this case, rice really does satisfy. Even though I was eating a lot, I was constantly hungry.
But there was another, more serious cost: I learned from my friend Adam who initially introduced me to the diet, that he had subsequently gone off it because it hampered with his work. He was a flash animator, needing to think constantly, and the Atkins diet was making him stupid. Apparently, carbohydrates are the body's primary source of glucose, which is in turn transformed into glycogen. Glycogen is the brain's main source of energy; making up 75% of your body's total glycogen consumption.
Have you even come from an intense study session having "hit the wall" and unable to think any more? Chances are you haven't eaten in a while, and you need to get some rice into your system. Even if you do nothing but sit in front of the computer and think all day, then you will feel an intense need to fill up on rice, and you will feel sluggish and unproductive until you do so. Simply put, glycogen is brain food.
In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense: back when I was on the Atkins diet, all I could think about was food, to the expense of everything else. At first I thought it was just hunger at work, but now I think that the reason why I couldn't think about anything else was because my brain was literally running on empty.
When I first heard about the connection to carbohydrates and thinkers, it got me thinking about how many artists and scientists are usually out-of-shape, and overweight, and how most fat-phobic, protein shake-guzzling jock types are mental midgets. The carbs-as-brain food theory makes a lot of sense when viewed in that light. You can find out more about glycogen and glucose here.
Perfect example: I hadn't had any rice since yesterday. And last night I was planning to write some lyrics for a song I'm doing. But I found myself unable to come up with any thoughts -- let alone song lyrics -- worth writing down. Instead, I just vegged out in front of the TV until I went to sleep. This morning, after giving in to temptation (and what I suspect was my body telling me something) I had myself a nice breakfast of tuyo, fried eggs, and a big bowl of sinangag. I got on the computer immediately after polishing off the last of the rice, started typing and haven't looked back since.
Which now brings me to my current dilemma: Do I, currently at least 20 pounds overweight and allergic to cardiovascular activity (I find it boring, boring, boring!!) stay on the Atkins diet and willingly put myself into a hi-protein stupor; where I am able to wear fabulous clothes once again but lacking the mental clarity to do much else; Or so I consume carbohydrates and give myself the brain power to write, draw and compose songs and say goodbye to all of my body fit shirts? The decision is a lot tougher that you'd think. The bright side of this now is that being overwieght can be a sign of intelligence: "That guy's kinda chunky. He must be really smart!".
And Nelz, ever the B!tch Goddess, naturally came up with a new insult to use the next time one is faced with stupidity: "Siguro naka hi-protein diet ka, ano?"
I've gone nearly a week without blogging; because the past week has, quite honestly, been rather uneventful and mundane. Nelz has been working on overdrive the past week, including the weekend, continuing all the way into this one.
He's stayed at the office 'til 8 or longer every night; last friday I picked him up from his office at 2 am. Saturday night even turned into an all-nighter; with him leaving the office at just before 6. He txts me to see if I'm awake and if we can meet for breakfast. (I didn't even remember getting the phone; One of the advantages of being a light sleeper) Meet him at McDonalds in St. Francis Square. We try for a dim sum breakfast in Hap chang, but alas, it was closed. Upon retrospect, we should have gone to Gloria Maris if we wanted dimsum in the morning, but it was probably out of both our budgets.
After finally having breakfast at McDonald's Greenhills, I dropped him home. He's slept like 3 hours in the past 48, and I haven't fared much better. I'm not really used to staying up late anymore because of what it does to my health, but what I'm going through is nothing to the punishing schedule Nelz is enduring, so I'm not even going to think about whining. I just feel terrible for my baby, and wish that his stupid company would treat him better. Or at the very least, pay him a whole lot more than what he's getting now.
A lot has been discussed about a possible career change, but the current problem is that his options at the present would only throw him back into the same schedule. Even a career path he's considering, corporate communications, would no doubt have its' own share of all-nighters. Bascially what he wants is to no longer have to do punishing schedules like the one he's on now. I totally agree with that sentiment; He's thinking more about quality of life at this point rather than how much money he can make (which is also very important, of course).
There's no point in drawing a huge salary if you're too stressed out and exhausted to enjoy it. And at his current job they're not even paying him that! Who knows, this isn't the first time he's had this conversation only to go back into saying that his company isn't so bad after all, so maybe this is just another one of those phases. But I've told him several times that whatever he decides, I will support him wholeheartedly and not turn into another thing he has to worry about as he decides what path to take now.
It is hard though, the part about missing him. We saw each other twice on sunday (morning and evening), but come monday morning I was already missing him something fierce. It's something we just have to deal with. Lord knows some of our friends have had it much, much tougher (hi Jagard & Boccelli!). But knowing that the feeling of missing the other is mutual makes it a little easier to bear.
Yep, no doubt about it
Saying "12-year dating virgins" in my head only gets funnier and funnier.
It's finally over...
... Until Next season anyway. Jenna Morasca surprised many people by winning Survivor last night. She was not portrayed in the best of light -- shirking work and declaring herself and friend Heidi as 'cute girls' handicapped by their beauty did little to ingratiate herself to fans -- but she was downright likeable in the 2-hour finale, and she won 2 straight immunites when she absolutely needed to. Even Kathy from Survivor: Marquesas couldn't do that.
My pick was for Rob to win; the guy was absolutely brilliant and knew the game inside-out, but there is only so much you can do to control your own fate. Even in the Reunion show he was funny and snarky. Here's hoping he'll be popping up sometime on TV again sometime soon.
I'm sorry, I realize a lot of you who are reading this couldn't give two shits about Survivor (hi Nelz!). But I'm just a huge reality show junkie, and this season of Survivor, the one that started it all, was one of the best of the Series. Survivor 7: Pearl Islands has a tough job following up this edition.
Hey, Amazing Race 4 is on May 29! Whooooooo!
Monday, May 05, 2003
The Amazing Race 4 finally, finally premieres May 29! It's been delayed for the longest time; and at long last, my favorite reality show (yes, even more than Survivor) is back for an all new season.
Teams for this season include:
- The standard alpha male team
- Two african-american women who despite being mothers, look like they can kick some serious ass
- A couple that has been dating for 12 years and still remain 'virgins' (and are my pick to self-destruct before the race is over)
- A pair of female models, one of them a lesbian (a first for this gay-friendly show!)
- And most interestingly, a pair of two good-looking men who describe themselves as "married". *grin*
Click here to check out the teams for yourselves.
The countdown begins.
*Theme plays in head: dun, dun, dun dun-DUN-dun dun, dun dun!........*
Sunday, May 04, 2003
My brother amazes me sometimes: when I think he cannot get any more appalling; he goes and tops himself, often in the very next sentence. An example:
Setting: the family is sitting down to lunch in a restaurant. Brother brings out a newly-purchased issue of Pulp Magazine. This is significant in that he has never been interested enough in music before -- let alone OPM -- to buy a magazine solely dedicated to it.
Me, with one eyebrow raised: Pulp Magazine?
Brother: Oo, tinuturuan ako ng kaibigan ko ["yeah, my friends have been teaching me"]
Me: Bakit yun pang binili mo, walang music articles sa issue na yan, puro promotion lang para sa Summer Slam na tapos na. ["Why'd you buy that issue, it's got no music articles, it's just filled with promotion for the Summer Slam, which is already over anyway"]
Brother: Hindi naman yan ang binabasa ko, binibili ko ito para sa reviews. ["That's not what I got the mag for anyway, I bought it for the album reviews section"]
Me, slowly softening my position: ahhhh, okay....
Brother: .......Para alam ko anong mai-bu-burn. ["So I know what songs to download and burn so I can sell them for my little piracy business"]
Me: I........ see. (If I was an manga character, a large sweatdrop would hang from the back of my head)
Brother: Besides, puro Pilipino na artists naman dito, hindi ko naman gusto yun eh. ["besides, this magazine features nothing but Filipino musicians, and they all suck anyway."] (at this point, I am ready to fall out of panel anime-style, with my leg twitching)
Ladies and gentlemen, my brother.