Monday, December 31, 2018

Conspicuous Consumption

I just learned this highfalutin term recently from PhD student-friend. A fancy term for those into buying Branded stuff (with a capital B) or Luxe.

The term kept running circles in my head as I watched Sex and The City (and will continue on with Devil Wears Prada). For the most part, Carrie and the girls consumed fashion with passion. The dresses, bags and, of course, the shoes were all designer labels. It was just so lovely to look at. These are one of the times I wished I was a lady, so I could indulge in couture.

It just ain’t the same for a man, methinks. Sure there are all those brands pour homme too but face it, the cuts and the styles are extremely limited. You can’t be too fashion-forward, especially at my age. So a shirt is a shirt is a shirt whether by designer or not. Yeah , I can turn to bags. But monogrammed messenger bags or even duffels are not my thing either.

But beyond fashion there are many other pricey items I have started to appreciate.

There’s bone china or dinnerware. In my mind there was only Noritake and its exquisite sets. I finally found a classic set, 136-pc for 12 but from a Korean manufacturer Hankook. I discovered that bone china stands out from ordinary porcelain because of its luminescence. And Hankook supplied the sets used in Buckingham , the Vatican even Malacanan!

That was followed by crystal stemware. Turns out that the properties of crystal (lead glass) allows it to be thinner than glass. And that makes it more desirable when looking at wine. I loved the shape of the Diva line of Schott Zwiesel so I decided on the Bordeaux Goblet, the White Wine and the Sparkling Wine sets. The water goblets I got from Crate and Barrel.

Then there is the flatware (used to be silverware). This was harder to find as I had a particular design in mind , to match the dinnerware. I found the Tramontina brand with the 18/10 (Chromium Nickel alloy) stainless steel (they don’t use silver as this tarnishes). This alloy has the highest polish finish and superior rust resistance.

I made these investments last year. Yes , investments as there is (supposedly) an after-sales market for these items. I was initially hesitant to use them. But this year , with all the health issues of my folks , I decided to use them for everyday. I wanted all of us to experience having meals in these really beautiful dining pieces.


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Sunday, December 30, 2018

MMJ112

J is a Grindr-based therapist. But he was referred to me by another masahe-junky friend of mine. I checked him out on FB and found him really cute. My friend didnt find his jewels ..uhm... ‘exciting’ enough but the massage was legit. I eventually got in touch with him and booked the massage.

His FB photos sadly were previous shots before an acne ‘infestation’. I was quite disappointed at first and puzzled. But you could tell that under the pimple landscape was a very cute face. So I proceeded with the massage and found it pleasant. No formal training as I recall. But he said he was trained by his ‘hilot’ grandmother.

His body was toned and actually sexy. He had this nice round butt. And he was a bit shorter than me and that made it perfect. His hagod had an electricity to it especially when he made me sit. He was massaging my shoulders and arms from behind. It felt so intimate. I was getting aroused. But he didn’t make any overt moves to deliberately stimulate me. So there was no happy ending then.

He was also very nice and even amusing to talk to. And coupled with that ‘hagod’ I knew I was going to try it again.

Around two weeks after, I got him again. And this time, something happened. I thought he wasn’t the type to give head but he did. And that endeared him to me Hahaha. He quickly became a regular therapist.

He was the ideal masahista in a lot of ways. He was really cute despite the breakout. He was sexy and of the right height for me. He was friendly and funny. He enjoyed the happy endings so much that these became happy beginnings instead. And he would allow me to move in from behind. ;-)

But we had a falling out after a few months. It turned me off that it seemed like he could turn to me when he needed some extra cash. Hindi ako atm. It was regrettable. I was almost done with searching for The Masahista.

I guess no matter how nice they all start out to be , they would still look at you as this ready-cash machine. And that just zaps the fun out.

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Penultimo Adios 2018

Only because it is the day before New Year’s Eve. And It’s Rizal Day.

So indulge me as I look back at 2018 as cheesy as this may sound. Top 5 Highs and lows of the year in no particular order:

1. Lagen Island El Nido Palawan

I loved that trip with c3. It is a lovely place quiet and so honeymooney. I got my sunset and plenty of drinking. I was in the best shape and probably my best torso pic ever. But the peak was my surprise dinner-for-two on our last night to celebrate 5 years. I had it arranged on the boardwalk part of the shore with torches to light up the area.

2. New York in late Winter

I thought it would already be spring by March. But blame climate change and I still got my share of snowstorms. And one was on the day I was watching Hamilton on Broadway. Trains going back to Jersey were cancelled. But I managed to go home. Proud to have watched that and Dear Evan Hansen and Lea’s Once On An Island.

3. Auckland in Spring

It was my 2nd trip to NZ. Mainly to visit my bro and his family in their new place. This time was really meant for bonding with them. But they took me to Hobbiton and Lake Taupo. That was lovely.

4. Health Issues of people I love

Tatay complained of hearing problems in the early part of the year. Nanay was brought to ER for extreme vertigo (and I accompanied her in the makeshift ambulance) around mid-year. Then c3 developed vision problems that forced him to take an extended break. Then Tatay didnt seem to be responding to his prostate CA hormone therapy anymore (by Q4). That deteriorated to some anxiety. My dear fag hag fainted on the street and she turned out to have had a mini-stroke. By mid-December Tatay was in the hospital for pneumonia.

5. The company’s turnaround performance

Finally we are ending 2018 at 100% and it feels really great. I can hold my head up high at least for this first part of 2019. And because of that I allowed myself to be part of the big corporate celebration at the yearend celebration. Though I was a wreck leading up to that I turned in a decent performance in front of the the owners top management and probably 5K people. I am only as good as my last performance so I am savoring this while it lasts.

2018 was a mixed bag of surprises. I remain grateful and optimistic.

2019 bring it on.

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Father and his gay son

its almost 10pm. Im at the hospital, companion to my father who is confined for some gastrointestinal upset. The decline in his health has been steep for the past two months, as his prostate CA seems to determined to assert itself.

Timing is not the best. I have just wrapped up one of my most toxic year-ends. On top of usual sales catch ups and meetings, I had to accept a performance at the big, corporate Xmas party. It was a major, major production, with budgets in the tens of millions. I didn’t realize the pressure until rehearsals started.

I suddenly felt so amateurish. I was singing with pros, and with a band conducted by the brother of Ms Broadway star herself. I was being scolded by the director for my missteps. I was panicking. I was so afraid of so many things: forgetting lyrics, not reaching the high notes, missing my cues.

All on top of running a business, chasing the numbers, dealing with people issues, and of course, attending a hundred and one Xmas parties. I almost broke down or got sick. My regular was in susani - suspended animation, i.e. no Workouts!

But when it was all over yesterday, i felt sooo relieved.i started eating and drinking as my pat on the back. i was so determined NOT to do anything today.

Then I woke up to news about dad’s condition and the need to be confined. Honestly, I felt anger and frustration. Why now? What did I do to deserve this? And I knew I was transparent, even to my dad. I felt so guilty but I couldn’t control how I felt.

Ultimately, I volunteered to accompany him, from admission to sleeping over. When I was alone with him in the room, anger just dissipated. Well, it turned into self-pity for a while. But that quickly passed.

For the first time, too, I did what I never thought I’d ever be able to do - wash him after he moved his bowels.(he was just too weak to do it himself.) All the eww and ick didn’t happen. I was methodical and unemotional. Even with the odor and all.

He kept on apologizing. I told him he should stop. Of all people, he deserved to be taken cared of. He is entitled to it. He can be as difficult as he wants with me because he earned it. He gave decades of his life to us, to me,to get me to this place and time. No, he doesn’t need to apologize.

I failed to tell him that I should do the apologizing. For even daring to think for a moment of my selfish need to relax on top of taking care of him. I am deeply ashamed.


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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Boracay after Rehab

c3 and I were back in Boracay last weekend. We made the reservations way back in January. We were actually afraid that rehab might take longer than 6 months and affect our reservation.

Luckily the island opened up as promised on Oct 26. And we were excited to go back after almost 2 years away.

Transfers

From the arrival terminal we noted that it wasn’t going to be easy to arrange transfers to get to Caticlan Jetty Port. There were no tricycles. We had to go with Southwest Tours that offered terminal to hotel transfer at P700/pax. Quite an amount but they also made sure that you were ‘herded’ properly into the aircon bus to their waiting lounge at the Jetty port. It was good save for the waiting at the Boracay port. We had to wait for an hour before the van arrived to bring us to the hotel. Traffic was that bad because of the ongoing road works.

While on that van going through the back streets of the island you get a sense that it was still work in progress. It shouldn’t have opened yet as everything was still build build build. The main road became one-way. Despite that traffic was still bad and terribly dusty. Lucky for us we were chatting with cute bedimpled German guy who looked like Oberyn Martell hehehe.

The Beach

Immaculately clean bright and white the beach is. Though we noted that the algae formations usually disappear this time of the year. But still it was wonderfully refreshing. Not much people (as the tourists were still arriving or they have delivered on the promised maximum tourist arrivals control). And very few pesky individuals selling items and tours to your face (at least in Station 1).

So if you don’t wander over to the main road at the back you would still feel that paradise was finally reclaimed.

We had a grand time just enjoying the sun sea and sand even during midday.

Food choices

Not many choices in Station 1 as many establishments were still closed and/or renovating. But we were staying at Two Seasons which still had its Bar Lo resto. So we ended up having many of our meals there.

Station 2 had more restos open especially around D Mall area. Best part is that they prohibited restos from extending to the beach area. So no more tables and chairs from the pedestrian lane to the shore even in Station 2.

Jonah’s Shakes along the shore still closed. But the original one on main road is still operational. Real Coffee is open. Starbucks still closed. Over at Station 3 Sunny Side is operational. Aria and Cafe del Sol are open but Epic is closed.

Night Life

Station 1 area is almost dead for night life. You have to head on out to Station 2. But even there you get a sense that there are very few open. I believe that loud music was restricted so maybe that was the reason. Our fave Om Bar is non existent. But Summer Place now enclosed is open. So is Exit Bar. We noticed Aplaya Bar had a nice vibe. But we decided not to sample night life yet.

Massage

This won’t be complete without a mention of my fave service hehehe. It seems that the manangs roaming the beach area for massage were not there (or not in Station 1). We missed that. But there are still spas and massage centers in Station 2 so you won’t be wanting. And sadly there are still those roadside pushy offers from ‘commissioners” (commission-based). And they can get annoying.

I loved this trip of ours. With less choices (especially the night life) you are forced to enjoy the beach from sun up to sunset (still as glorious). It reminded me of what I loved about Boracay and it’s not the hangover and sleeping in the hotel till lunch time.



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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

True Humility

”Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest."

At first, I have always been perplexed about the way Jesus juxtaposed the first verse (welcoming children) with humility (and pride). Don’t we all welcome children? What does that have to do with being ‘greatest’ among the apostles?

Only upon reflection today did I make the connection for myself. It is all about me having the humility to receive (and accept) that a child, or someone with the stature of a child, is actually ‘greater’ than me. Yeah, I find children or kids cute and adorable, but I easily dismiss them, shush them when they talk too much. I don’t even bother to listen to them. Such is my ‘adult’ attitude. I am superior to them.

Imagine being so humble as to be treated lowlier than a child. Try accepting that everyone else is valued much more than oneself. Now that is true humility. Only with such grace would I be able to increase my value in the eyes of the Lord.


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