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


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.


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.


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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Monday, September 3, 2018

Bible Quotes for the Times

"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

"From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."

My bible-based rebuke against DU30`s joke regarding rape incidence in Davao. Rape happens because of intent. It is not a response to something external like beauty.

And for the one who staunchly defends him and dismisses this as `simply a joke`, here`s another:

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil [a]treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Reign of Injustice

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

This verse from the Psalms popped out of the readings of today. It is a poetic description of the reign of God.

Unfortunately, something else is reigning here currently.

Kindness and Truth are strangers.

Justice and Peace are at war.

Truth is hidden.

Justice cannot see anything from where it is.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Corpus Christi Sunday: I was wrong.

Almost 3 years ago to the day, I wrote this post about transubstantiation:

My soul searching then, prompted by a challenging question, ended with the conclusion that the Eucharist was symbolic in nature.

I was wrong. Although one of the raiders actually commented on it already, it took this video for me to realize that it is not symbolic at all. Yes, His body and blood are actually present in Eucharist.

(Lifted from Bishop Barron`s Youtube videos.)

My understanding of Bishop Barron`s thesis on the matter:

1. God`s word is not only transformative but creative. His Word, Jesus` Word, creates a new reality once it comes out of His lips. He raises a dead child, or a dead Lazarus, supplanting the reality of death with a new reality of being alive. His is the only authority that can do this. So when He says “This is My Body, this is My Blood”, he has supplanted the reality of bread and wine with a new reality.

2. Appearance is not necessarily reality. Our eyes, our senses, do not always perceive what is real, what is true. (Just look at how easily people believe fake news nowadays.) So even if we still perceive (see, smell and taste) bread and wine, the substance has changed because Jesus has said so. Again, His is the only authority that can create this new reality.

Why is it so important for us to believe in this real presence? I have come to believe that our true union with God can only happen if we come to realize that we are eating the body and drinking the blood of the sacrificial `lamb`. His Words, his other teachings cannot transform us without this fundamental belief. This continuous sharing of His Body and Blood is the only way by which we can experience that transformative nature of His Commandments. Slowly but surely, we become better followers, better people as we imbibe His Word AND partake of His Body and Blood, weekly or even daily.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

MMJ11: American Massage Story 2

I only access the site ( when I am in the US. As you could read from my previous re-post, my first time to try a masseur in the US wasn`t exactly a great experience. But I`ve been in the US for 3 weeks and I was getting any, if you know what I mean. And I know you do. I tried Grindr but I remain too scared of horror stories (the hookup from hell who steals or even murders!) so I chose to stay away from any meet ups.

I felt more comfortable with paid services, with reviews and ratings. So I started looking through the list. With all the white beefy options available, I still gravitated towards someone young, even short of stature, with lean muscle. He turns out to be Latino. Best part was that his place was a few blocks away from my hotel in Hell`s Kitchen area.

That`s another peculiarity about freelance massage therapists here. Some of them have their own place. Clients can easily book a massage (without the hassle of booking Sogo or Eurotel types hehehe). My first time in Boston was with a therapist who had his own hotel room for `in-service` sessions.

I read the reviews, looked at his photos and knew he was ok. He was actually part of a 4-hands offer. I`m guessing he`s the bf . But I went for the 2 hands.

I was outside his building a few minutes early. There were even school children in front, probably waiting for their ride home! (Ang mga bata!) I waited patiently. The building door opens and out comes someone who looked vaguely familiar. He even smiled on his way out. I remembered eventually that he was the other 2 hands! Hehe

Shortly after, I was buzzed in and found my way to his small studio type apartment, suddenly converted in to a massage room. At the middle of the living cum dining area was the portable massage table. The TV had a beach scene as wallpaper. The scent of incense was in the air. And lights were dimmed.

David was certainly as advertised: cute, young Latino. He ushered me in and even gave me free bottled water. I stripped to naked. That took time as I had layers of winter clothes. His cat was staring me as I did this. (He must have seen so many shapes and sizes).

I laid facedown on the massage table as he stripped to his jockstrap. We had some chitchat about where I am from. But he quickly quieted down as he began his strokes. The massage was good and relaxing but a bit too light for my taste. I have certainly had better. But seeing his cute face and lean body and bubble butt (yes) more than made up for the mediocre massage.

It was very erotic as he let me feel him up. And he seemed `substantial`where it counts. So that was really ok for me. But really, the smooth bubble ass and hole was the best. As much as I would have wanted to help myself to that, I knew I was going to pay a hefty price. So I just alllowed him work me up using his excellent hand strokes.

Soon after, I got to my geyser rush and it was over. It seemed to short. I wanted to be inside him. I wanted more body contact, maybe even kissing. But I didn`t push it this time. Perhaps on my next trip. :-)

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Monday, April 9, 2018

IJ Case: Hopemed, Cubao

Pucha. Naka-witness ako ng chupaan. LOL

I have heard of the place from about two years back. I even saw some online chatrooms (via the website manila massage) that discussed the many happenings in this place. Finally, after prodding from friends who have become regulars in the place, i decided to check it out one Sunday afternoon. But I had to make reservations early. I heard that the waiting could be hours for walk-ins.

The place was easy to find, thanks to Waze. A tiny reception area greeted me. What impressed me was the blood pressure check they did as routine. Oh di ba? Wellness talaga ang peg! They take your shoes and give you slippers. (This always makes me uneasy. I know how easy it is to get foot infecton!)

I was ushered into a small, cramp space that served as locker cum lounge. You step out of that and you already see the glass door leading to the tiny comfort room, the narrow steam room, the claustrophobic dry sauna room. Yes, everything is just squeezed into one place.

There were a few other guys there. None to make me feel horny and interested at all. So I asked that my massage be moved earlier. That took sometime to arrange. Meanwhile more patrons were coming. And as I waited by the doorway of the locker cum lounge, I actually saw this guy inside the steam room kneel in front of someone else!! I was shocked that it could happen in such a small place, a well-lit steam room at that!

I really didn’t want to see that. Luckily, my therapist was available. So I was led to a small cubicle for my “ocho ocho”. I signed up for a combination scrub and massage. My therapist was not one of the attractive ones. But that was okay. His scrub and massage was actually good. But the clincher was the deliberate way his arms would brush my penis to stimulate it. Yes, I was very stimulated. Yet, there was no offer of anything. It leaves you high and dry (well maybe dripping with pre-cum).

By the time I was finished (around 5ish), there were a lot of guys at the spa. Still, nobody worth a second look or even staying on for another round of steam or sauna. LOL.

Verdict: Therapist I got has good massage hands - strong with enough pressure and moves. The erotic stimulation I could do without, if it couldn’t lead anywhere. I don’t like the place - dark, old, cramp and not really well-maintained. I met someone who would never go back there because he was bitten by a cockroach! Yikes! But the place is packed with action. The thread online speaks volumes, I may have lucked out on someone I would find attractive. But if you scroll through the convo, it seemed that there were really hot ones who frequent the place.

I would have vowed never to return EXCEPT for that one cute therapist who was hanging around as I was lacing up my shoes. He had that naughty smile that made me rethink whether the massage may not be as ‘clean’ after all.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

MJM10: Repost - American Massage Story

cc: This was first posted Oct 27, 2015

I resolved to experience my first American M2M massage. A friend referred me to for a listing and for reviews. I chose this guy over the others because (a) his body was just right (b) I like his facial hair (c) he has 20+ reviews, all raving about him. I sent him SMS (yeah, international roaming). But up to that time I sent the message, I had to admit that I was unsure and apprehensive. What if he turns out to be a serial killer? Or at the very least, a thief? Or he doesn't even look half as good as his pics? A part of me was wishing he wouldn't reply.

But he did, after about an hour. He asked me to come over to his place. This wasn't unusual, based on that website. A lot of these masseurs use their private residences for "work". That explains the differential "in-calls" and "out-calls" rates for each of them. But for this guy, his "place" was actually the Hilton downtown. (mas soshal pa sa akin!) He is based in NY and just traveling, it turns out. We quickly finalized the day and time. In my head, a movie massacre scene was playing out.

I arrived 5 minutes late at the hotel lobby. Without asking how I looked, he simply messaged me to meet him at the elevator lobby. A few moments, the elevator opened and he peeped out to look for me.

He looked exactly as the photos on the site. One anxiety addressed. He looked like he came from the hotel gym in workout clothes. He was pleasant but not warm. He tried some chitchat. But methinks he was thrown off by this puny Asian client. The reviews mentioned how 'friendly and accommodating' he was. He was quite straightforward with me. "You can take off your clothes and put them on that chair. Then you can lie, facedown on the bed." I did as I was told.

As I was on my belly, I sensed that he took off all his clothes and knelt beside me. He quickly rubbed cold lotion on my back and began the massage. I asked for deep tissue massage but I didn't get it. His hands were light, his fingers doing most of the work (and that couldn't put too much pressure). I would get turned on feeling his thighs brush against mine. And from time to time, the limp cock would dangle over my butt. But it wasn't intentionally erotic.

After about 30 minutes, I was made to lie on my back as he worked my chest and arms. Again, even with my cock already facing him, there was no incidental brush against it. I would open my eyes to look at him. Yeah, he is hot, almost A&F-like. And he was within reach now. But I wasn't feeling intense desire.

He popped the question "Would you like a happy ending?"

"How much?"

"It's part of the package."

"Oh. Sure."

"Why? Do others charge extra for it?"

Initially, I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to give him ideas. "I don't know."

It turned out to be a straightforward kind of hand job. No frills, no nothing. When I was done, he pointed the way to the shower for me to 'clean up'.

This was release for the sake of it.

I gave him the payment and rushed out of there. We were done in under an hour. I may have lucked out in choosing the therapist. I am not about to generalize the ho-hum experience to all those masseurs on the site. This was a super-mediocre experience but will remain immortalized in the cc archives for being the first American masseur story. No, the second will not follow anytime soon.

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AQAG #10

Question: Sino ang Nanliligaw?
Answer: Eh di kung sino ang unang nagkagusto.

In the old-fashioned world, straights would struggle to force-fit LGBT relationships into the neat and tidy dichotomies of Male, the hunter, and Female, the hunted. A lot of them fail to realize that the norms of dating have changed since the 60's.

A question like this would probably come from the Titas and Titos of Manila. They don't even realize that perhaps, their own sons and daughters, nephews and nieces have not been following those norms either.

But let me reply to this at a personal level.

I've always been the pursuer rather than the pursuee (?). I am predator not by choice but by circumstance.

In the gay world I grew up in, the beautiful ones, the gods of our age, were almost always the one being pursued. If you were such a beauty, all you had to do was show up in the dance club or the bar and the lesser mortals would be gravitating towards you.

I wanted to be one of them. I craved for the attention they got. But alas, my physical circumstances were not at that level. I have a buddy who was one: handsome, fair, tall. We'd go to the clubs then and he'd get the stares and even the flirty chitchat. I realized then that my role was 'manliligaw' more than 'nililigawan'.

With that acceptance, I grew more confident and went after people I liked. It has worked for me immensely. I like that I have more 'control'. I also didn't take the situation as an excuse not to work on being a bit more attractive. On the contrary, I really worked on maximizing whatever potential I had. Even as the 'hunter', I had to make sure that the 'hunted' would willingly fall.

Looking back, it all seems so juvenile and immature. But those things got me started on my path towards physical fitness.

So yeah, Ako ang nanliligaw. Pero kasi ako yung may gusto at ayokong maghintay lang.

cc: I am having problems posting this with photos.

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MMJ9: Back to the Grind

The search for my masahista has led me back to that app called Grindr. I was informed that there are many ‘offers’ of both legit and not-so legit massage services there.

It made sense. The lines between hook-up and massage can get blurred. So I was back on Grindr to wait for masahe offers. And I got quite a few. Some were legit in the sense that they are trained therapists who have decided to expand their client base. But there were also a lot of ‘trialists’ - they want you to ‘try’ them out although they are unskilled. They claim to ‘dabble’ in hilot etc.

Yeah rrrright. They really just want to have sex and find giving massage as the perfect foreplay. Some even have the audacity to charge for it. Oh well.

I’ve sampled the spectrum. The best part of a Grindr massage is that there is no doubt that you will get your extra service. Some will charge more for it. But you can easily shoot that down. Looks-wise quite disappointing. Massage quality some were ok enough for a 2nd time.

Not common, but still there, is the therapist who will bottom. This is the plus factor when tapping Grindr for massage service. Some will include bottoming as part of the package. Some have even offered ... “in the heat of the moment.”

But that intersection of good massage, good looks and ok bod, extra service deluxe, I haven’t found there. Or maybe there could have been but the price was just too much.

Caveat: There are many risks with sourcing massage service from Grindr.

As in any social media hook up, there will be posers and weirdos. And there are horror stories of thieves and robbers.

I continue to be surprised, though I shouldn’t be, of many who do not practice safe sex. They offer to sit on your gear stick without condom. All done in the heat of the moment.

How to minimize the risks? Indulge in longer chat. Ask everything. Haggle and bargain if you must. I tell them what I want as part of the conversation. Declare that condoms are part of the service. Ask for pics, the more the better. If you can, don’t book immediately. Let the chat simmer a bit over a period of days. That will also filter those who are more legit (i.e. they need the moolah).

Proceed with caution.

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An Outsider Looking In

“Since you don’t live here, you don’t know what it’s really like.”

With that, my relative effectively shut the door to any two-way conversation in US politics. That is fine with me. I have come to seek understanding. And she is correct, I can’t possibly know how it’s like. I am an outsider looking in. I base my views on ‘biased’ media, according to her.

But thankfully, I have also friends (and relatives) who are more liberal-leaning. And they freely share with me where they are coming from. Nevertheless, I will proceed with caution. As I am no student of US history, I will just piece together my thoughts as an outsider.

I remain to be more liberal-leaning, as ultimately, I believe that contrary to their opinion, opportunity is not created equal for all residing in the US. By virtue of skin color, faith, culture, gender, gender-preferences, certain doors won’t open. Ceilings remain shut.

I am Christian-Catholic. My belief system contains a code of righteous living, yes. And some of those are very specific. Some of those would be in conflict with other belief systems, even within a Judaeo-Christian umbrella. I know of such conflicts between Protestants, Catholics, Jews. So I question the concept of a homogenous Judaeo-Christian “value system”.

But even more basic than any faith-based value system is a human moral code. This is something I share with other people. I believe there are basic universal values that people abide by.

I think that the wisdom of the US constitution lies in the recognition of those basic universal values and rights, not that amorphous ‘Judaeo-Christian’ value system. I reckon that even during the early years of the United States, there was already a plurality of faiths and cultures and traditions. Hence, their constitution had to separate the Church and the State.

As pointed out by friends and even family, Americans supportive of the current administration are not driven so much by their faith but by their fear. Their way of life is threatened by the diversity, economically, culturally. The violence and criminality is not helping this at all, but fanning the flames.

So they wish to build walls. They wish to keep to their own ‘kind’. Loosely, they define their ‘kind’ in terms of those sharing ‘Judaeo-Christian belief systems’. This will stop criminality . This will stop the violence. And walls would have to be defended. Hence, let’s keep the guns.

I will not even go to the irony of putting “Judaeo-Christian” in the same paragraph as “walls” and “guns”. Yes, this is so simplistic and reductionist. Blame my outsider POV.

But it is not just happening in the US. It is happening everywhere. I see this as a general resistance to years of ‘progressive thinking’ (inclusivity, sensitivity). The great melting pot of the US, the great example of diversity is now being rocked from the inside. The ideals being tested and challenged. I wonder how this will play out.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Understanding their POV

I was apprehensive at first. I was going to visit relatives in the US who are current admin supporters. I wanted to tell them that we will avoid discussing politics as I hold more liberal views.

However I decided that avoidance is not the solution here. Intelligent objective discourse should be the way to go. For my part I resolved to try to understand where they were coming from in supporting the current administration.

Yesterday I had the chance to hear them talk about it.

Here is my understanding of where they are coming from:

- The US constitution is founded on Judaeo-Christian values. The rights enshrined are God-given and that ‘God’ is a Judaeo-Christian God.
From such a background the values of liberty and democracy arise.

- They see the ascent of the US to ‘greatness’ because of the strict enforcement of those values. They remember the discipline needed to achieve in life. They remember learning the value of hard work as foundational to success.

- They see the current state of the country as morally decaying - violence and crime, corruption. These are the result of the way the the previous administrations have ‘given in’ or accommodated to demands of plurality of faiths and cultures alienating the basic Judaeo-Christian values.

- They are not against immigrants per se. But they believe that US constitution (and the values it is based on) should not be bent and relaxed to accommodate immigrants. (They brought in the pluralistic society the US has today.)

- On the contrary, immigrants should ‘abide’ by these values if they want to come to the US and be citizens. They should respect these Judaeo-Christian values as sacred to the country they wish to adopt as their own. These include hard work and discipline. No dole-outs. You earn your keep just like everyone else.

- Because immigration systems are not based on these but on ‘liberal’ views, there is the influx of immigrants that do not contribute. Worse, they expect welfare and support. They have burdened the economy.

- They want ‘better quality’ immigrants who abide by the values enshrined in the constitution and will work and contribute to society. (They do not necessarily blame the immigrants for the crime and violence rampant in US society.)

I felt it best to just understand and not argue at this point. I have to admit that there is a logic to their thinking. And that is what I came here for.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

It Can Be Done 2 (ICBD2) : Food Intake

I had to stop myself from giving updates until the holidays were over. I had to make sure that even after the binges, I could get back to my pre-December weight fast.

Up till Dec 24, I was holding up pretty well. Then Christmas came. Then New Year. By January 1, I had gained 4 pounds. By January 5, I was back to my previous weight. So I think I proved that I have some cred to continue this discourse.

What I have achieved so far could not be done without taking a serious look at your food intake. I have tried all sorts of diets in the past. But for last year, these are the things that worked for me:

Intermittent Fasting

I practice the 16-hour fasting period. I start eating at 12nn and stop at 8pm. I do take coffee in the morning. And I can drink hot herbal infusions at night. I am uncomfortable with the term, though. I’ve been doing this for months so this is hardly ‘intermittent.

The eating window I chose works best for me. It allows me to enjoy dinner with my parents. This is something very dear to me. Last December, I actually became quite lax about this, though. I realized I was still eating way beyond 8pm, usually on peanuts. So, one of the first things I did in January was to be strict about 8pm cut-off.

Though IF seems pretty recent, I have heard about the concept decades ago. This was under the “Fit for Life” diet program. The authors talked about the 3 stages of digestion, each 8 hours long. And how one should only eat at the ingestion phase. So IF is consistent with this old regimen.

Proper Food Combining

Again, the practice came from “Fit for Life.” One should never combine protein sources with carbohydrates. You can only combine either of those food groups with vegetables. Steak + salad, never Steak + Mashed potatoes. I did this years ago and lost a lot of weight then. But I eventually abandoned it as the science seemed sketchy.

But two years ago, someone mentioned the idea again, this time in the context of functional nutrition. I decided to revisit but tweaked it. I ended up avoiding the starchy carbs (rice, bread, pasta, sweets). I ended up with a low-carb diet.

Tracking Calories and Proteins

In the ‘Fit for Life’ program, you could eat as much as you want during the 8-hour eating period, and as long as you observe proper food combining. I didn’t subscribe to that as I still believe in the energy equation based on calories in and out. Hence, it was important for me to still track my protein intake and count the total calories consumed. As I mentioned in the first post of this series, I tracked this crudely on a worksheet. As by my reckoning, as long as I stick to about 1,700 calories a day, I would lose weight.

Over the holidays, I allowed myself to indulge in sweets. But I must say that I still did not go overboard too often. A few days I saw my calorie intake hit 2,500. But I quickly adjusted after.


I have started reading up on this. More on this once I start doing and start observing the results.

So there you have it. I wouldn’t get to this without watching what I eat, obsessively. LOL

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

“Be Creative.”

Last Sunday’s homily revolved around the family. I had my eyebrows raised as the priest was starting his homily with ‘lost values’. I wasn’t expecting anything different from him anyway. He was the spiritual director of our lector ministry when I was still there. And it was because of one of his statements during a meeting that made me quit anyway.

But he mentioned something different this time that caught my attention. “Be Creative.” He was exhorting the LGBT community to exercise more ‘creativity’ in creating labels. He begs the community to use terms other than ‘marriage’ or ‘family’ as we argue for our civil rights. He mentions the biblical context of ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ as so ‘traditionally-held’, even sacred, to the religious. Hence, our arguments fall on deaf ears every time we talk about same-sex ‘marriage’ and redefining the ‘family’. Surely there our other terms, he contends. Reframing the argument for same-sex civil unions and households with same-sex parents may move the cause further.

Though some we still find his position disappointing, I choose to see his homily as a softening of his stand. And I become a little bit more hopeful in 2018.

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