Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Why I don't understand str8 people (part 1 of many)

So I'm currently being the watchdog at a str8 dive on Polk St. called
Vertigo in SF for a bunch of str8 friends for their stuff. Oh yeah, the
husband's with me too, trying to get my friends to sober up.

Anyway, if someone would explain to me why str8 people like dancing to
these songs (especially people in my age group ...*sigh*), I'd
appreciate it. This seems to go across racial lines though it seems to
be either white or whitewashed Asian folks who like to dance to them:

1. White Lines by Grandmaster Flash
3. This medley of songs from Grease 1 and 2
4. Mambo #5
5. I Will Survive

I'd probably understand it more if they were actually of dancing age
when these songs came out (except for #4), but these people were maybe
7-10 years old in the late 70s-early 80s. I don't get it!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Newest addiction...

Looking through Bit Torrent files to get shows of _Trivia no Izumi_ now that the American version has been cancelled. While I don't understand Japanese at all, I can infer enough of it so that it's actually pretty hilarious. The American version, which was all poorly dubbed voiceovers (using only 5 voices no less!), sucked, but it got me hooked. It also helps that I have a crush on Norito Yashima (I'm a sucker for cute Asian guys in glasses).

Most recent one:

#475 -- If you play a song by female J-pop singer Hitoto Yo, "Weeping in Sympathy," at a slower pace, it sounds like a male singer, Hirai Ken.

The show played the song at full speed, and then slowed it to 80%, and it did sound like a guy. One of my friends who's more conversant in J-pop than I am was shocked that it actually did sound like the guy.

It got me thinking--are there any American singers where that could happen?

The mind ponders...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

SF Pride...blah.

So tomorrow's SF Pride.

Big f-in deal.

It doesn't have the ring or the cachet that it used to for me. But then again, it's like that for a lot of queer people who live in SF. Most usually take off the weekend to go somewhere else, especially if they live in the Castro (god help them tonight).

I guess after what happened last year when it felt like there really was something to be proud of--to see queer couples getting married and being happy to show their newly married selves out there. My husband and I were one of the lucky 4000+ couples who got married in that mad dash to marry last year, and for those few brief months, it felt like something magical was happening. And for the most part, there has been a significant shift in the way people look at our relationship, as something legitimate, and demanding of rights. Even if I have my own rather non-traditional views of what relationships should be (my husband and I are in a polyamorous relationship that would take a bit too long to explain here), the fact that on a very deep level, straight people are starting to see queer relationships on a deeper and appreciative, but also profound and paradoxical level--as both incredibly and radically different, but as ordinary and banal as straight relationships.

I guess that's the one thing that I have problems with the whole queer marriage thing. For the most part, it really is all about rights and political privileges that straight couples get when they marry. After all, on its basest political level, marriage is really nothing more than a social and political contract between two parties to share economic resources to begin a family. But there just seems to be such a pressing need to show that queer relationships are somehow better than straight, that in their need to assimilate, a lot of conservative queers feel a need to copy the model of relationships, right down to having babies.

It makes me ambivalent to think that so many queers are involved for marriage when in most states and cities across the nation that we're not even protected for basic civil rights based on our sexual orientation and gender presentation.

And don't get me started on what it's like for us queers of color. I feel like I've gained a reputation here in SF as being the "Asian fag with a mouth," since I've insisted in talking about my racial and ethnic along with my sexual identity; something that most queer whites don't want to understand. Case in point--the husband and I were invited as the token Asians to talk about racism in the queer men's community in the Castro and I basically spouted off on my experience as being a queer man of color who is constantly challenged about my masculinity, my racial and ethnic identity and my sexuality all at the same time and how I'm sick of it. What surprised me the most was the response of the whites and blacks (you could count all the Asians at the forum with one hand and still ahve fingers left over); the blacks (who all had white partners) were surprised and pleased that an Asian guy "talked like them", and the whites were stunned that I actually put in any thought into this. But I digress.

Even as we struggled to come to grips to what marriage came to mean for the both of us, on both political as well as personal levels, it feels like our relationship is stronger than before because we're both allowing ourselves to grow as individuals even as we both come to understand that our relationship is evolving as much as our own personal identities.

So to get BACK to one of my original points--it feels like that while the whole queer marriage thing is in the works--it seems misguided and needs to be re-evaluated. People forget that when interracial marriage was made legal across the country in the late 60s, less than 25% of people actually were approving of it, and the government realized that the rights of all minorities had to be respected, regardless of public opinion. Instead of trying to appeal to the mainstream, who will keep looking at us like the freak show for decades to come, to appeal to a sense of rights guaranteed to us as American citizens and that the government should do what's right, not because it's popular, but because it's morally right.

And now, getting back to my original point about not feeling very Pride-ful, well, since I seem to be the most well-known (or infamous or notorious) Asian fag in San Francisco, I feel a bit disconnected with the communities that I've claimed as my own. With me being fired as the executive director for FTFA a month ago, and the relative silence from the communities that I've always worked hard to represent, I feel (justifyingly) bitter. Surprisingly enough, I've been embraced more by the mainstream queer white community b/c of all the bullshit I've had to go through because I was fired; and also the straight Asian community seems to be more interested in me getting involved with them.

It's just really disheartening to think that queer Asian men (especially in SF) are so apolitical or unfeeling about what's going on in the world. Whenever I go out with the husband and there are queer Asian men about, I feel the stares and hear the whispers from them immediately. It's just really sad because except for the husband and a few really close friends, I haven't gotten any support from this community. It just feels like most of the men that I've met are either too afraid to come out and be political, or are too worried about their own situations to help out, or they don't want to be paraded about, like I've had to deal with the past year and half--first with getting married, and then with the whole FTFA fiasco.

The queer Asian men's organizations here in SF are useless--they only wanted me and the husband because we're seen as the epitome of what queer Asian men should be, two Asian men together, living together in a long-term relationship and thinking about getting a house, having kids, etc. We were fielding calls and e-mails from all the different organizations last year after we got married because we were the ONLY Asian male couple willing to be shown on international TV and news for putting on an Asian face to gay marriage. This year, because of the controversy surrounding FTFA, nothing.

Maybe they realize that I'll end up being the whistleblower and shitkicker that I've already done with FTFA and that they don't want that kind of attention placed on their organizations.

Then again, maybe I should join those orgs and try to clean them up. :)

So, yeah, that's why I'm not feeling much like Pride this year. What do I have to be Proud for?

It feels like I need to try to find a community of progressive queer Asian men here in SF who are actually committed to being progressive--or at least create one. It would help if they were cute too. :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

People at the gym that really, really annoy me...

So I've been a faithful member of UCSF's gym here for the past 5 years (and I'm finally getting rid of my 24 Hour membership because their gyms are just nasty), and while for the most part I love the gym because it's clean, the people there are nice, and there are lots of cute students; there are some really annoying people at the gym that just get my goat. It's lessened somewhat since I've stopped doing free weights since it took too damn long to do my workouts (1-2 hours, and that includes having to deal with all the muscle queens, clueless men and women who are there to ogle the muscle queens, etc.) and started doing Body Pump and taking lap swim classes (swimming anywhere from 2200-2700 yards per workout) instead. It's helped immensely since I'm more toned and not as bulky, but I do need to work a lot on what I eat. If anyone can help me out with that, I'd appreciate it. :)

So these are a list of people that just annoy me at the gym, in no particular order.

1. The guys who cruise for sex at the gym. While this usually doesn't annoy me, it gets irritating when it's the same damn guys walking around like it's a frickin' gay sex club. Too bad the guys aren't particularly attractive, nor are they subtle about it. There's this one Asian guy, in glasses, who's kinda cute in a dorky/nerdy sort of way, but all he does is go into the locker room, take off his clothes, slaps on a towel, and walks up and down the locker room, showers 5-6 times in 10-15 minutes and sits in the sauna. Numerous times I've seen him do this while I'm trying to shower off all the chlorine after my lap swim class. I'm so tempted to say, "Dude, don't look so obvious," or just give him a quickie bj in the bathroom just so he'd get the fuck out. He has a nice cock too, so I wouldn't mind, but it is annoying. I've complained to a couple of the queer staff there and apparently he's been doing this for years. I've asked them why they haven't revoked his membership, and they just answer with a shrug. Any other gym and he'd have been kicked out a long time ago--thank god for sex clubs like Steamworks and the Watergarden, but doing this at a regular gym is just asking for trouble.

2. Inexperienced people at the free weights who use WAY too much weight. This happens a lot. New guy (or girl) comes in, is totally intimidated by all the people who've been working out for years, and tries to prove that s/he's worthy by doing some kind of exercise with a huge amount of weight with the wrong technique that's just begging to become some kind of nasty injury if they're not careful. Probably the most obvious one is the lat pull-down machine, a machine where one holds onto a metal bar, usually at least as wide as shoulder width and pulls the metal bar down in front of the body. The trick is to have everything else supported so that the only muscles you use are the ones in the back and the biceps, meaning you shove your legs underneath the leg rest so that your lower body is immobilized; sitting up straight, and making sure to focus enough so that your back is doing all the work. Also, pull the bar in front of you, since trying to do it behind can lead to some nasty neck or shoulder injuries. If you do it right, you only need a minimum amount of weight and it's pretty difficult. When I was doing weights consistently, the most I can do correctly was maybe 80-90 pounds, 3 sets, 10 reps. Most of the other muscleboys can maybe do 110-120, and it's jaw dropping to see their muscles work. Of course, the novices see that, bulk up the weight to 150-170, and literally tug at the thing with their whole bodies while they bring the bar behind them. I can almost hear things snap and pop that aren't supposed to.

Even worse is when people bench press and either bounce the bar off their chest (could lead to cartilage or bone snapping if the weight's too much), or people clanging the goddamn weights when they're done. If you have good technique, people shouldn't be able to hear you put the weights on or off. If you have bad technique, well, everyone knows it.

Case in point--there's this short butch Asian dyke who works out on the gym and has at least 10 pounds of piercings in each ear, along with wearing 80s style workout clothes that Grace Jones stopped wearing years ago. Every time she goes into the free weight room to do her rows, she jacks up the weight, pulls out the rows and proceeds to move the weight back and forth maybe 1 1/2 inch in either direction about 20 times before throwing the weight down, like she wants people to know that she's doing the work. Maybe if she took off the piercings the weight would be easier for her.

The one thing that amazes me is that for all their posturing, the really serious muscle boys don't even notice the novices are there!

3. People in the sauna. Aside from the guys cruising for sex (see #1), there are people who go in doing all sorts of crazy shit there. Most of it's annoying, like people shaving or exercising or something they're not supposed to do, but this one guy who I think got his membership revoked takes the cake.

He was this big European guy who always brought a bottle of baby oil and slathered over his be-speedo'ed body. By the time he was done, the entire fucking sauna was covered in baby oil, and he looked like a roasted chicken (and the sauna smelled like one). Never mind that he wasn't supposed to have anything on in the sauna except for a towel, nor was he supposed to bring baby oil inside.

This is one (probably of many) instance where the naked body is a lot less obscene then people wearing clothing. The whole situation was just made that much more disgusting because he was wearing a speedo instead if he were naked.

4. Guys who wear underwear in the shower. This I do not and cannot understand for any reason at all, and again it seems more obscene and disgusting to have a guy wear his underwear in the shower than if he were naked. For some reason, the only men who seem to do this are either Latino or Asian and who seem incredibly macho otherwise, but yet for some reason are so insecure in the shower that they have to put on underwear so that no one can see their dicks. The fucking underwear gets wet anyway and it just looks ... gross. There's this one Asian guy who always goes in wears the same damn underwear, showers, then halfway through the shower ends up taking off his underwear and proceeds to wash it. I am now fully convinced that this guy only owns one piece of underwear and am tempted to take up a collection so that he can buy more.

Well, aside from all the criticisms, I really do love working out at the gym. Given the fact that I'm probably in the best shape of my life right now because the facilities and staff are so great, it's just the fuckwits who also go there that make it either amusing or irritating, depending on my mood.


Random phrases going through my head...

First sentences of paragraphs that I never finished writing: Some are fiction, most are truth.

“and he looked at me, his face contorting slowly. The next moment, his face shattered as the realization couldn’t be contained any longer, and he ran away, screaming epithets, crying bitter tears. I didn’t bother to run after him because I knew he’d come back.”

“As I braced for the first bite of the scalpel, I heard the shaking of the chain link fence 15 feet away. A barrage of sounds assaulted my ears as different scenes were unfolding around me. Muffled cries and barked orders, loud sighs with orgasmic grunts. But, it was the barking that did me in. A couple of guys, barking at each other. My body started to shake as I tried to contain my laughter. I knew that there were a lot of different fetishes, but the barking wasn’t sexy. As it devolved into yips of poodles and Pomeranians, the cutter waited for me to calm down before he tried again.”

“The rush of the endorphins as the tattoo needle incessantly bit my skin made me clutch my head so hard that I didn’t realize that my forearms were aching until a couple of hours after it was all over. Intermittent buzzes and needle stings feeling like hot knives going through my upper thigh while the husband tended to his knitting.”

“I wanted to scream at her, wondering where the hell she got her holier-than-thou attitude. I was afraid though, because I knew that once I started, my rage wouldn’t end until I saw her cowering in front of me, pleading for forgiveness. The look in my eyes of crimson rage said it all. She hasn’t spoken to me since.”

“It’s so easy to be bitter in the face of impossible odds. I realize that it’s easier just to prove your worth by doing what you need to do. Sure it’s foolhardy, but my conscience wouldn’t let me go if I didn’t at least try.”

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Isn't this supposed to be the middle of June?

Why the hell is it raining in SF now? It should be warm and sunny!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

What is being Filipino?

I've been hanging out with someone for the past few months where we share a lot of things in common, like both being 2nd generation Filipino American, we're both queer men, our mothers passed away recently, we have a penchant for Asian men, etc.

One of the things that we've both discussed a lot is what it means to be Filipino, especially given all the bullshit that Filipinos go through, especially when we're dealing with each other. I was raised to have pride in my heritage, even if it was a bit uncritical (but then when you grow up in a fairly sheltered household, thinking becomes something that takes up way too much time). After being involved in the Filipino community, both queer and straight, I've found it frustrating, especially when dealing with Filipino immigrants. Sometimes it feels like they might as well be from another planet, especially when trying to talk about things that have to be brought up more publicly.

Case in point--my coming out to the Bay Area Reporter about the financial situation of the agency I was trying to run out and essentially saying that the organization can not and should not continue to be run. While the reports from the mainstream queer community have been overwhelmingly positive, the immigrant community was aghast that I had even talked about it with non-Filipinos, particularly since I was airing secrets that everyone within the API HIV/AIDS community knew anyway, but didn't want to be made public for one reason or another. What makes it even more frustrating is that all the information I had put out there was in the public record, and that all it takes for people to know the truth is to do some easy web searching for income tax reports and reports from SFDPH. I just couldn't believe that board members and other people invested would think that this would go away simply by firing me and denying that the agency wouldn't go bankrupt.

Personally, I couldn't stand there and watch everything go to hell without at least putting in my own two cents before the agency closed. And while for the most part, the response has really made people re-think about the queer API men's and Filipino men's community here in SF, particularly in regards to HIV/AIDS, I got fired from my job.

I guess it's lonely being a whistleblower and shitkicker, but I don't have any regrets.

So getting back to my original point, it just seems that so much of being Filipino seems to center around outward appearances, and what you know and who you know and who you do it with (I know that this can be applied to every culture), but it's just so crazy to think that Filipinos can hide the truth with smoke and mirrors and spinning.

Again, while I do have pride in being Filipino, sometimes shit like this makes me wonder how Filipinos are brought up to believe that the outward is more important than what's inside, especially those who are immigrants. What is it about our culture that we're so focused on how many TV shows we can be on, or how many stars we know, or how many papers quote us, even if it makes us look bad? Why can't we get down to business and try to fix things up in our country and in our community here in the US?

Well, karma's going to be a bitch, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fabulous day for physical activities (even if my interview did suck)...

Well, I had my interview today for the job I really wanted, but it turned out that what the people who were hiring wanted was really not what I had to offer. After an obviously painful and awkward interview where we all knew I wasn't qualified for the position, I got around to asking, "So, why did you call me in for an interview?" They answered, "We LOVED your cover letter, so we wanted to ask you in."

Great. A fabulous cover letter that detailed to them (at least I thought) that I wasn't qualified in their eyes, but they still wanted to interview me. And it took an hour long drive for me to get there. At least they said they'd consider me for other positions that were more to my talents.

Oh well.

At least I had a great day doing active physical stuff. Had an archery tournament where I placed 4th, but I was doing consistently very well. 40 yards sucked (scored a total of 63 out of 300), but at 30 yards I scored relatively well (averaging 30 out of 60 points), and by 20 yards, all of my ends were in the high 40s (46, 48, 49, and 48). I would've broken 50 when I was scoring the 49, but I grazed my friend's arrow, and what should've been a 10 ended up being an 8. Dammit.

(NB: An end is 6 arrows shot, and scoring is from 1 to 10, with 10 being the inner gold or a bullseye. The size of the target is about 80 cm, so from 20 yards it's literally trying to be William Tell, shooting an arrow at a circle the size of an apple or a large orange.)

The last end was amazing. The first 5 arrows were all in gold. 10, 9, 9, 9, 9. At the last arrow I thought, "Wow, I havent scored this well since I was a beginner."

I think I jinxed myself. Last arrow fishtailed, spun around, and landed in the outside blue. A 5. Damn.

At least I scored a 51, but I could've scored as high as a 56.

Now if I only I could be as consistent and good all the time!

Oh yeah, my two hour workout at the gym after that was amazing as well. I'm feeling really good.

That makes up for the lousy interview, but at least all I really have to do is keep applying (or ask for more work from my transcription job...).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wish me luck, burn candles, pray, do whatever it takes...

I have a job interview this coming Friday which I really, really, really, really, really, really want.

Did I mention I really want it?

Send good wishes, vibes, prayers, energy, etc., my way. I need it! :)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Going through a weird blue funk lately...

Not sure why. I've been going through a lot in terms of work--being fired from my executive director's job for FTFA for telling the truth about our financial situation; leaving UCSF's doctoral program because I came to realize that I was doing the PhD for the wrong reasons; and now looking for a full-time job. I've gotten some great leads and have been interviewing. I know I haven't done anything wrong and I don't regret anything that I've done.

I keep reading through astrology (and from other people) that I'm going through some transformation and starting to move on into a new phase of life. What that looks like still isn't very clear to me. I guess I'm so used to living my life a certain way and expecting certain things to happen because of it and now everything's been thrown upside down and inside out. Thank God I've got the husband and friends who support me. It's weird because most of this funk is internal and my own shit, and not what other people have done. It's just weird finally leaving the school part of my life behind and that I'm finally moving towards something different.

I'm excited, but still freaked, and wondering if I can actually do it.

Well, we'll see what happens--I have an interview coming up this Friday, so I could use some well wishes and good thoughts. If I get this job, it'd be great. :)