Friday, December 26, 2008

my blogroll heroes 2008

i just bought the second volume of the graphic novel version of heroes. inspired, i thought it would be my theme for my year-end post.

as a personal blog, navel gazing has been a guilty pleasure, albeit necessary to live up to ‘life as a write- up’. unless i take a picture of my insides, and analyse each part till kingdom come, i probably wouldn’t be able to out-bare myself in a post more than i have already done.

while i offer no apologies for my blog’s self-centredness, i decided something different for the year-end post is called for.

so i end the year by paying homage to some of my own personal best bloggers. this is how their blog contributed in making 2008 a year of restoring my faith in the human spirit. in 2008, for me: this is how they manifested their powers:

1. the idealist: boying meets tao

while many make snide remarks about how blogger EB is a thinly-veiled form of internet dating, i have never met anybody as resolute and positive about it as boying. as a person who had the uncertain honour of being the first blogger to meet with boying, i have to admit that i had my doubts. but he surprised me by being, well, a really nice guy. lately, i noticed his post has started to leave the usual happy space it inhabits. i don’t know the reason and probably have not been as good as a blog friend i hoped i could be. still, it was boying who made me believe bloggers are good people. it may be a jungle out there, but i hope somehow this nice guy won’t let the bad things get him down. because he made this blogger a little less cynical.

2. the survivor: mandaya-kulot break-up

mugen had it. fiona had it. gibo had it. even i had it twice (temporarily). but no break-up has shaken the gay blogosphere as the mandaya-kulot break-up. i think i am not alone in saying that mandaya has succeeded not only in making us a part of their relationship through his blog (let’s face it, we were all a little in love with kulot) but in the austere beauty of his language made us feel the heartbreak of giving-up on someone you love. and yet, after such pain, mandaya is back with boys all around (some of them even having parts of their anatomy likened to bread!) mandaya is a testament that you can't put a good faggot down for long.

3. the mischievous: lyka’s & LTE’s titi-llating tattle

i have never seen a blog where cattiness is celebrated as much as LTE. as a fan of lyka and the star coven, my position that to be nice all the time is not good is embodied and given a gay flamboyant flair. and while bitching is the rule in this site, there is warmth, friendship and solidarity that shines through. here’s to lyka and LTE and may their blog be as colourful as their award is erect.

4. the traveller: gibo’s lens and hasty exit

gibo has taken us with him in many of his travels. in many occasions his camera lenses made us see the world in a way that was at once heart-wrenching and sublimely uplifting. but where is gibo? i have been sworn to secrecy not to reveal. much like how he treats his journeys, gibo has moved his blog with minimum fuss and made for a clean break. gibo has taught me 2 things with his blog: (1) that you can always start again and (2) you can find beauty amid misery. godspeed in your travels, my dear friend.

5. the heart-warmer: mel’s divorce

after baffling us with an infatuation with some TV personality meriting a place after her hyphen, mel changed atienza to pattinson succumbing to the charms of an actor playing a blood sucker. this must be the most light-hearted divorce ever. but this is what i love about mel, his blog just make me want to sing ‘my favourite things’ and ask everybody to sing with me. mel’s blog means to me: it’s never that serious. and seriously, each of his post never failed to make me smile.

6. the beautiful: luis’ photoshoot

braving the danger of spiteful comments, luis’ posted a series of nudes portraits of himself. he gave the hyper-masculine, obsessive calorie-counting, muscle mass fixated gay culture a dirty finger. fuck body politics. it was beautiful. luis is beautiful. and in the great words of tyra, here is your best shot...

7. the teller of tales: id’s goddesses and monsters

as the most mysterious blogger in my blogroll, id has got me enraptured with his/her stories of goddesses and monsters. so i say, there maybe times when life sucks, but that’s always material for a good story.

8. the activist: jericho’s militant heart

i counted 29 or so political posts in 2008 alone. that makes for more than 2 posts per month. what’s more admirable is he has made people’s issues real to his readers, engaged them and many times won them over in his discourse. i’d like to think that i am still an activist but jericho – he has set the bar for blog activism high. it’s not just what he writes, it’s what he does. it’s who he is. and to me, this is his message – you can carry the torch longer, higher and in more ways than you think you can.

9. the compassionate: kik’s disclosure

i was just starting to blog when kiks disclosed his HIV status in june. he did this in a post that spoke about the plight of M, an activist who was having difficulties accessing adequate health services in the Philippines after being taken ill and diagnosed with HIV. kik’s outing himself for M was such a moving gesture that it made me think, this blogging – it’s not all garbage and self-serving mental wanking with your computer – it can be an expression of our shared humanity.

10. the fabulous: kawadjan’s faggotry

lastly, and definitely not the least is kawadjan and his poses in the most surprising and quirky places. for levity, (as this post turned out to be longer than i intended) this is what the princess from ban-cock taught me: even a sewerage pipe can be a site for fabulous faggotry.

to each of you, from one blogger to another:

thank you.

and as cheesy as it may sound, to borrow a question from the divine miss midler...

did i ever tell you you're my hero?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the beauty is in the detail

this post should be in a blog called "life as a slide-show"

i kept on dissing travelling and my work as if they’re the most painful thing imaginable.

to be fair, there is beauty in these travels. and i thought id share with you some:

most recently, in geneva - the 3 days was a full-on airport-hotel-meeting venue-hotel-airport affair. despite that in my 30 minutes in the airport i found these...

the smokers' lounge was lit by these floating orbs that exude soft yellow light

just in case the smokers feel too marginalised and decide to set the airport on fire, they made the fire alarm cute and non threatening

and they can ponder on their evil deeds while sitting in this bench

while of course, flicking their ashes in this ashtray.

i raved enough about the beijing airport, but let me show you just how i started being awed by it...

i drank in this fountain and as i brought my head up, i noticed the clean and crisp design. (which goes to show you'll never know what you will discover after bending over)

this made me think should there be posh garbage for this bin that can easily be functional art

and this toilet entrance made me feel like there's a ramp and i had to strut my way in.

in istanbul, the almost eight hours lay-over got me stuck in the business lounge of the modern airport. the lounge, however, attempts at highlighting east meets west design...

the lounge was lit by this chandelier.

for the most part, i watched tv. and my, they did try to make high tech blend in with old world charm

before leaving i went to pee and used these faucets to wash my hands.

in bishkek, i had time to go to the national park for 30 minutes and i found
painted rocks

a cafe bar signage

and a dilapidated seat in their national park

but i will be amiss if i fail to say that beauty can be found in (where else?) my own shoes!

my black kurt geiger lace-ups (featured here with my quirky socks).

and my personal favourite, camper suede ankle high boots topped by viktor cords

these shoes take me to these places, after all.

the pics are a sorry excuse, i know. but it reminds me that, despite the drudgery, there is so much beauty in the world.

Friday, December 5, 2008

finding kiel

A counterpoint to Lyka's 'A Time to Kiel'.

This morning: I woke up on the first day of my 39th year, I got off the bed, kissed JP off to work, shitted, shaved and showered. Naked, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. Creases in my face. A certain roundedness in my stomach. A giving-in on the firmness of the ass. The ravages of the years.

“This is you at 39 – live with it.”

I packed my bags and went to work.

In the office, I try to finish the Nth project proposal of the last 5 months. My thoughts meandered and I pondered how my life has changed in a year.

A year ago today, I had a high-paying, high-profile job. I was respected by the people I worked with. I lived with a man who loved me and dogs that adored me. I lived in a house with a sitting room that opened up to a courtyard garden and a patio with a view of the city. I was surrounded by interesting people. And while I consider only a small fraction of them as friends, they all show up to my parties.

I felt lost. I needed to go home.

So I moved back to the Philippines.

After a dabbling with the idea of freelancing, I committed to a new job for a year – nowhere as high-paying or as high-profile – and I am still in the process of earning the respect of my new colleagues. There’s loads of travel which I don’t like but my boss is willing to negotiate. In this job, I haven’t found a need to stop myself from saying what I think for fear of some foreign superior’s disapproval.

Sometime after the move JP broke up with me twice saying I might be better off without him. I broke down in pieces each time but I managed to find some parts of me strong enough to assure him this were not so.

Now I live in a hotel with JP. We left the dogs in Africa with his kids. We are still waiting for his business deals to become final before moving our new apartment. It will be modest by comparison, but I look forward to my mother bringing my sister-in-law’s adobo every week. And I’m starting a monthly poker night with my brothers.

I also re-connected with my gang. That group which is more family (that you chose as opposed to that you were born with) than friends. We don’t see each other often but each get together is blog-worthy. I help organised two 40th birthday parties and we are now planning our Christmas holiday in Baguio – kids and all. I reconnected with id, a close friend I used to work with and we took ball room dancing for a while and try to have blog brainstorming once a week.

I started a blog. Made blog friends. Won the titi twice in a row. The last one made me think and so now I write this post.

My life is not perfect. I made decisions that may not make sense to anybody else but me. But they are mine. I have a feeling that I found my place and in the process I have been found. Being with people I love and who loves me I am reminded of Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to Edward in the movie “The Hours”:

”To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.”

illustration in this post by Ismail Fatah Al Turk

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