Alexander Q: The most successful failure in the world

A gay man's quest for successful weight loss, a fullfilling love life and professional validation that opens doors, brings down mountains and summons the full fury of Olympus upon the world…all before 2

Living life Anxiously in Silicon Valley

Welcome back folks. I am going to give blogging another go as I feel I’m at a place in my life where it warrants the need to do so. Here it goes

I was reading this article today and it brought back a lot of feelings for me, mostly negative, some positive, but overall it was a reminder of what some of my failures as a person. To be honest, I did not need to read the piece, I live it every day. Sillicon Valley is a place defined by those who can, and those who can’t. Those who can live a pretty good life, want is rarely a word used by them and they never seem to worry about where the next meal will come in or whether they will have a place to sleep at night. On the other side however, the struggle to keep going is exacerbated by the high cost of living and limited opportunities available to them. I’ll admit to being grateful and fortunate enough to have some opportunities in the former, while avoiding the destitution of the latter.
I have to admit that I am fully accountable for my actions and decisions as a person. However, I can’t help but run the post mortem analysis of what went wrong; did I choose the right major? Did I network with enough people? Did I network with the right people? Did I choose the right school? Did I really utilize everything I had at my disposal? I can’t help but wonder where did I go wrong professionally and if theres a chance for a 31 year old to start again.
In any case, its the here and now that matters most. Some days I want to tackle my problems head on, other days, I just want to crawl into my bedsheets and either cry or host my own Netflix marathon. I have to be honest, its not compeltely figured out what it is thats holding me back, but a lot of it has to do with Anxiety. A lot of friends and acquaintances of mine will tell me to just deal with it or “pull myself by the bootstraps”. Unfortunately, Anxiety isn’t as simple or easy as everyone else thinks it is; while I haven’t had a serious episode of an attack like my brothers have, it can still sabotage a perfectly good day at times. I have my coping mechanisms which work fine, but I also fear that someday, I may have to deal with a professional.

If you’ve ever had an experience of feeling lost, feeling fearful or having anxiety, please share with me if you’re feeling inclined. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Thanks for reading.

Farewell Mr. Williams: My thoughts on Robin Williams death

robin-williams_1

Hello folks, I’m back.

As many of you are aware, We’ve just lost one of our most prolific entertainers of our time. Normally, celebrity deaths don’t get to me as much, but since Robin Williams portrayed a large portion of the characters I (and many others of my generation) are familiar with, I felt that a part of my childhood has gone along with him too.

I recall seeing the movie Mrs. Doubtfire a long time ago, and it is one of my all time favorite movies. I remember relating to the kids in the story, watching their diametrically opposed parents undergo the painful and often times convoluted process of divorce, from both the legal and emotional aspects. I remember the hilariousness of the movie too (Run by fruitings, Lol, can’t forget that one) and the struggle the father went through just to be near his kids. It was the ending speech, however, that stood out to me as a youngin watching his parents split up

You know, some parents get along
much better when they don’t live together.
They don’t fight all the time
and they can become better people.
Much better mommies and daddies for you.
And sometimes they get back together.
And sometimes they don’t, dear.
And if they don’t,
don’t blame yourself.
Just because they don’t love each other
doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.
There are all sorts of different families, Katie.
Some families have one mommy,
some families have one daddy,
or two families.
Some children live with their uncle or aunt.
Some live with their grandparents,
and some children live with foster parents.
Some live in separate homes
and neighbourhoods
in different areas of the country.
They may not see each other for days,
weeks, months or even years at a time.
But if there’s love, dear,
those are the ties that bind.
And you’ll have a family in your heart for ever.
All my love to you, poppet.
You’re going to be all right.
Bye-bye.

That’s why this death hit me more than most. When the movie came out, it was a few years after my parents got divorced. When a child doesn’t see their own parents love each other, or worse, the child often feels that the world is indeed a cruel and inhospital place, and at the disadvantage of being too young to truly understand what it all means. The movie came along and gave me the message that, in spite of the fact that my parents didn’t love each other like they used, they still loved me and my brothers, and they would continue (and still do) to love us until the end. Seeing that movie, during the time I was going through seemed like it was good timing. I didn’t feel the weight of guilt or shame, nor did I no longer feel that I was to blame for why my parents got divorced. For that, I am forever grateful that I got to hear these words so long ago.

Mr. Williams, I hope you’ve found the piece you’ve been looking for. My 10 year old self thanks you, and so does my 30 year old self.

If you are alone on Valentine’s Day

Image

If you are alone on Valentine’s Day, here’s a comforting thought.

You really aren’t alone today

As I’m getting older, I’m finding myself dreading the day, reminding me that I have been single for a very long time. I have to admit that social ineptitude seems to screw up all the good things in my life, relationships included. I try to find things to fill the void, but at times it seems that nothing will fill as well as the love of another person.

 

I do my best to put myself out there. Dating is a lot like job hunting, there’s the hunting the part, the interview part and the hiring part, but most jobs don’t ask you to get physically intimate with them (at least not the ones I’ve been after, but then again, perhaps I’m going after the wrong industry). For me though, my job hunts and my dating life seem to parallel each other very well: Lots of texts and emails promising everything, but gaining nothing. This very depressing litany just made life worse and worse for me, until last year.

 

Last year, I decided that I was going to treat myself to an awesome Valentines Day. I took myself shopping, bought a few gifts for myself and took myself out for some dinner. I have to admit, it was an awesome and awkward experience for me, taking myself out on a date, but I did learn one thing; I had forgotten that I had to love myself as I am if I was going to be a “well adjusted” and happy person for someone else. Nobody wants to be a crutch for someone else, and nobody every really wants to be in a positing where they need one.

 

I’ve seen way too many codependent relationships in my life, and rarely do they ever prosper. Both partners using each other as a crunch didn’t really appeal to my Sagittarian senses, but at the same time, the safety and security of having someone to love seemed to appeal to me. Each time though, I’d walk away from something I thought was a good thing or fucking it up beyond the point where reconciliation would be okay. I’ve found that half the times, I really did walk away from something that would’ve been a good thing to me, while the other half I realized I dodged a bullet.

Now, if you’re alone by choice on V-Day, I salute you. You display bravado and a sense of confidence that many others in our generation lack. You’ve decided to hold out for someone, or maybe you came to the conclusion that a relationship wouldn’t fit with the current life situation that you’re currently in and rather than have one to keep up with the Joneses, you’ve decided you’re all you need for now, or ever. For those of you seeking a lover and feeling bad about not having one on V-day, cheer up. Yes, it sucks not having someone in your life to care about, but you probably have many other people who might appreciate a Valentines Day treat of some kind, perhaps you could give them a call and let them know you love them and what a positive difference they make in your life? It’s worth a shot.

Just know that if you are alone on Valentines Day, you are not really alone.

My thoughts on interracial dating and relationships

042011-celeb-buzz-tamera-mowry

Alrighty folks, ready for an earth shattering, ground breaking revelation that may alter the course of your life and change the way you see the world? Are you ready for it? Are you sure you can handle it?

Here it goes, let me take one deep breath, and, here it is…

It is okay to date outside of your race

We are in 2014, yet it feels oddly strange that I have to say something like this. This and this inspired me to write my own two cents on interracial dating. I know I am a gay man, so I might explain this from my perspective, but I am pretty sure that this applies to the world of the straights as well.

I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for as long as I can remember. As you may or may not be aware, the population is skewed somewhat towards the Asian population, at least as far as my anecdotal evidence is concerned. Growing up in a mostly Asian-American environment during adolescence, I found myself attracted to Asians, even marginally considering myself part of that group (I’m half Filipino, we can discuss that whole “Filipinos Are/Aren’t Asian” thing another time, please remind me). Flash forward to 2002, when  first came out of the closet, most of the guys on Friendster that I was talking to at the time and considered dating were mostly Asian.

It’s okay to have preferences folks; White men can date Asian women, Black men can date White women and so on. Race shouldn’t matter when it comes to who you fall in love or spend your time with, it’s your call on how to spend those hours in your life. As for me, I prefer Asians, although now, I like to think I’ve live just long enough to be open to dating other kinds of men out there.

I’ve been around the gay interwebs long enough to know that there is a lot of shade thrown at Asians from other gay men, most do not see them as masculine or the ideal male within the Western context of what a man should be. If you ever get a chance, check out this website called Douchebags of Grindr and see what I mean. There were moments when I talked with non Asian gay men about liking them that my taste in men would be questioned. There would be a few jokes about penile size, intelligence and sexual ineptitude (or the opposite) thrown around by these guys that I seriously wondered if I was on trial here. Needless to say, I limited my contact with these people, although now, in our older ages, we’re finding ourselves being a lot more open to whats out there relationship-wise.

As someone whose social skills were lacking then (and, to a certain extent, even now), I had notions of what it would be like to date an Asian man; since I hadn’t dated until I was 23, there were a lot of different notions I had inside my head about what it would all be like. When I did start to go out with guys, my notions of what it would be like were thrown out the window. No two men are alike, even among racial groups. From this, I learned that while it’s okay to have preferences, its not okay to have expectations of others that are not grounded in reality. You shouldn’t date an Asian woman because you think that she will be “meek and submissive” or a black man since you think that he may be hyper-sexualized.

There’s that old saying “Its whats on the inside that counts.” When it comes to interracial dating, I couldn’t agree more with that tired, old cliche. You are allowed to love whomever you want, but remember that  no one wants to be with someone simply because the other person has made assumptions based on stereotypes and social conditioning from media and personal experiences, I am sure you wouldn’t want to be. This goes without saying but whether its an interracial relationship or not, remember to always look beyond the race, the face and see whats inside the heart, that’s what lasts long after everything has faded into obscurity.

By the way, here’s a picture of a couple that hits close to home for me; my lovely cousin and her boyfriend. Nobody in our family has thought once about how they are of different races (at least not to my knowledge), we’re just cool that they are happy together.

24280_10153717832060106_1351864720_n

As always, please feel free to comment and leave feedback. Thanks for reading

 

“Solo Sushi Night – A mini blog series about dining alone.”

Image

“You’re sure brave to be doing this.”

I remember telling the woman next to me that I was dining alone at a favorite sushi place of mine near my house, and that I had been dining alone for as long as I could remember. Sure, I had dinner with friends and family once in a while, but oftentimes, the demanding industry I work for doesn’t allow me to have much of a social life in sync with everyone else that I know who work a steady 9 to 5 job.

Her words had struck me as odd; I didn’t think that dining alone was a big deal, to me it was out of necessity. Necessity, however, sometimes keeps us oblivious to the others around us, and I didn’t realize that it was some sort of infraction to dine alone at a restaurant, to me, it was just a way of life.

I came across this revelation about dining alone probably in my mid 20’s. I had just graduated and was still working in an industry I was sure to have left a long time ago, trying to escape it during one of the worst recessions since the great depression. With no real options for employment, I found myself working nights and weekends, whilst other friends who had found gainful employment were living a life I could only imagine. I felt as if I wasn’t growing up, that life had held me back for some reason, but I will leave that for another blog.

I realized that I wasn’t living in a vacuum, that there was a world around me that begged to be experienced, either alone or with others. Social conditioning has programmed our minds to cooperate with others for long term survival, but I hit the manual override when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to connect with the people I knew on a regular basis. I dont remember the first time I dined alone, but I do remember how awkward it felt for me. I remember feeling like I was being stared at by others, that the waiter probably felt a sense of pity for me. I do also remember how hungry I was and how I was probably craving a certain specialty of this restaurant and, for some reason, it overrode the need to be with someone for lunch.

Over time, i got used to eating alone. I didn’t like it at times however, to be quite honest, it made me feel kinda isolated at times, which was ironic since I would usually be in a restaurant filled with people. I was often jealous of them at the time, yet, a part of me wanted to keep my sense of freedom intact, unbound by the need to keep someone happy. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed the moments where I would dine alone, accompanied only by my thoughts.

If you’re going to dine alone, the best advice I’d give you is just to enjoy your time. Many times, we lose sight of what we came for by the distraction that is other people. Enjoy your food, take in the ambiance, its the little details that matter there.

My goal with this is to learn how to dine alone, and in a greater sense, learn how to be alone. Being alone is a skill we’re losing everyday thanks to the internet and technology (I know, the irony is delicious, no pun intended), its time for us as a species to re-learn what it is to truly be invested in your own time and your own self.

Thanks for reading, leave me your comments below.

Loco over Lululemon

Image

Every Thursday, I will post an article up about the retail industry, the one industry that I feel the most experienced in. This week, I tackle the brouhaha brought about by the famed athletic wear company known as Lululemon. (Full Disclosure: I am a retail employee for a major accessories manufacturer and dealer)

As many of you are well aware, Lululemon has been under fire for some of their retail practices, and for this interview of the Lululemon founders

From a business perspective, I feel that Lululemon has every right to segment and target the market that they wish to capture. If they want to go after already athletic, fit 20-40 somethings already doing yoga, then they should have at it. The problem that I have with them is that, in spite of their marketing and promotional activities, their values seem very distorted from the perspective of the casual observer; you’ll see images of fit, well toned men and women with flawless skin and perfect bodies, yet they promote an attitude of being as body positive as possible. When over a third of the US population is overweight, it’s kind hard not to ignore the disconnect that exists between the brand and reality, then again, a brand’s job is to introduce another reality to a consumer, who then purchases into and becomes a part of it.

We all know and are aware the fire that Abercrombie and Fitch received earlier this year, after comments made by the CEO went viral all over the internet. Abercrombie too segments and targets their markets in a surgical fashion, and up until recently, did so unapologetically. Lululemon seems to be in the same boat, trying to exclusively target it’s mark, but unlike A&F, it strives to maintain a positive image to the rest of the consumer base that it doesn’t attract. Lululemon would do very well to heed these wise words “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything”. Of course, it may be a case of too little, too late for one of the founders of the company.

What are your thoughts on the recent controversy? Please share your thoughts below

Why Mad Men is a hard show to watch.

 

 

 

Image

Hey guys, great to be back after a somewhat relaxing summer. Now, you get to hear my thoughts and craziness again, whether you want to or not. 😛 Anyways, on with the blog.

Imagine a time where life seemed it be working against you or where you were calling some bad shots on court, where it seemed that no one was willing to even lift a finger to understand where you were in life, where all you wanted for someone to tell you that everything will be okay? Now, remember that point in time and keep thinking about it

I’ve gotten a lot of flack for choosing to catch up with Mad Men over Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead. I have to admit, I love the show. I love the attention to detail, the writing, the story telling and the acting that goes on within the show. Of course, whenever I tell people this, I get called a slew of names, but I don’t really care.

I’ve gotten a few friends and family members into the show. They’ve heard the hype about it and found that its one of the best written shows ever. I’ve also heard complaints from friends and family that its slow, the acting is meh or some other complaint in one form or another. I’ve pondered over why people wouldn’t watch the show (as a huge fan, like all other fan-geeks of other TV shows, we do that sometimes) like someone pondering over why someone would not like the awesomeness that is Nutella and Bacon (another time, I promise)

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

My main theory as to why people don’t watch it is not for the slow pacing or the redundancies in the storytelling that happen on and on, but because that there are some very depraved and seriously flawed people that give you no reason to cheer for.  Don cheats on his wives and lovers, Peter Campbell slow tears apart his wonderful wife Trudy by being the spoiled brat that he is, Peggy has a baby and gives it up as she “wanted other things.”, not to mention the drinking, smoking, drug use, racism, homophobia and sexism that defined the era. Not one character in the show gives you the impression that you want them to move ahead, to succeed in their endeavors. To see all of these behaviors juxtaposed against the sophistication, glamour and all American life (for Middle and Upper Class white Americans anyways) of the 1960’s seems equally jarring.

When there was a character that people loved, they were fired (Salvatore Romano), killed off (Lane Pryce) or left to their own self-destructive devices (Paul Kinsey). There’s no hope for the heroes (or what would constitute as one) on the show, as Peggy once lamented to Don “Innocent people get hurt, and people, people who are not good get to walk around doing whatever they want. It’s not fair” .

Despite all of this, I have come to conclusion that Mad Men is not a show about heroes, but it’s a show about people. Remember how I asked you to think of a time in your life earlier, its to remind you that people are flawed, people make mistakes, people make all sorts of bad decisions in life, but at the same time, people can be vindicated. What’s unique about the show is that we rarely see the vindication on the show, and that it’s up to the viewers in their minds to decide for themselves whose earned redemption. I’ve noticed that rather than cheer for the characters, I feel a mix of pity, empathy and sympathy for them, which make for a very powerful connection to them. I could relate to Peter Campbell and Peggy Olsen in some instances, wanting to make their marks on their careers, or Sally Draper trying to make sense of growing up and having to deal with some of the drama that comes with divorced parents. To me, that bond was a lot stronger than anything a hero saving the day could do. And of course, Betty’s weight loss drama hit real close to home (this is part of what this blog is all about right?)

In short, Mad Men is the show that gives the viewers a chance to connect with characters in a way that can be uncomfortable for some viewers and to demonstrate that even flawed people have a tiny shred of hope for them. It’s the chance to vindicate a person on the show that lures me in, and I for one am happy to give in.

Losing to win.

Image

As you know, gays love to look good. In order to do that, we take on some serious and sometimes even dangerous ways to slim down, bulk up or however we decided to contort our bodies. I fell into that crowd, going so far as to do cardio on a regular basis, even when I was sick or not feeling up to it. I lost the weight and felt awesome, but then had the feeling that I was good enough. Shortly afterwards, I gained the weight back.

It wasn’t the need to feel thin that triggered my current weight loss Obsession however. You see, years ago, I was at an Oscars party that my grandparents were hosting. The food was pretty standard fare, but I didn’t care, I ate whatever I wanted. When I got to the cookies, my inner fat kid took over and I basically had a blackout as to what happened. Needless to say, I felt very sick.

It wasn’t the normal food sickness however, it was something even worse. I felt dizzy and disoriented, a bit nauseous and unable to stand for very long. I laid on the couch for an hour before somehow managing to drive myself back home. I was still feeling very nauseous and dizzy, even as I was drifting into sleep.

Flash forward a week later, I was at the doctors getting a phyiscal. I knew that feeling was not normal, so I felt that it was necessary for me to at least check it out. Flash forward another week, I got the call that changed my life

I was pre-diabetic.

I had one foot inside a place I didn’t need to be, that I could control. Immediately, I took everything a bit more serious, I started exercising more, eating right, etc etc. At first, I felt pretty scared about almost being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Knowing what my mother has gone through, as well as many of my other relatives with T2D, it’s not an easy life to live, and it can be minimized at older ages or avoided entirely if the proper precautions are taken. Since that phone call that changed my life, I have been more aware of what I have been eating and how I have been exercising, although I don’t always act as vigilant as I would like to be (another blog entry, I swear), I feel that I have done a decent job so far. 

On that note, last year’s physical was even better. I got a call coming out from the gym one day, I was clear, the pre-diabetes was no longer present in my system. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I know that I have to keep it up, whatever it is that I am doing now. I felt like I had dodged a bullet there, that I wouldn’t have to subject myself to a life of blood glucose readers and testing strips. To this day, I do whatever I can to keep up the moment.

Wait, what is pre-diabetes
People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. They are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. 
-source, CDC

And now, some facts for ya
– Only 7% of the population is aware that they are pre-diabetic
– 79 Million Americans, 35% of them adults over 20, are considered pre-diabetic
– Over half of people aged 65+ and up are pre-diabetic

Now, the best ways to beat it? According to the CDC, physical activity, losing weight and maintaing a healthy diet are key to fighting off pre-diabetes

Image

In other words, “No Shit, Sherlock.”

First things first folks, if you think you have it, I encourage you all to get tested for it, usually through blood work. If you have it, make a plan to deal with it. If not, then do whatever you can to keep away from it as much as possible. It’s not a life one wants to live with, believe me.

If this blog inspires one person to take action, I will be the happiest man on the Earth. Thanks for reading folks, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Source Material
http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/factsheet.htm
http://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/diabetes_treatment_care

 

Why gayness should run the world

Image

San Francisco Pride 2013 was insane…and in a good way.

I love going to the parade when time allows. It inspires me to see different groups of races, religions, orientations and other groups come together to celebrate what makes us who we are. The event after the parade also inspires me as gays and lesbians come together, total strangers mostly, to swap stories, share experiences with each other and hopefully have a good time. You may think I’m glossing over the not so great parts, the pettiness, the jealousy, the zealousness to hang with your own clique; while I don’t doubt that stuff like that does occur, the LGBT community at large seems to, at the very least, tolerate each other, unlike the world at times.

What inspired me to write this post was seeing an Indian-American (From India) float in the San Francisco gay pride parade. There was one particularly heavy set India woman, who I assume was a lesbian (I have no clue) who was dancing proudly and happily to the beat of a Bollywood style song. I was amazed, here are people who I would’ve never thought to have many members of the LGBT community and here she was, being proud of who she was. On the outside, India does not appear to be very friendly to members of the LGBT community there. With that in mind, it must be such a relief for people who come from countries where being gay can mean anywhere from public mockery to an out and out death sentence, it must be a relief to be around those who can relate and understand you.

It was then that I realized that being part of the LGBT experience is one of those things that unite people that may or may not normally come together under different circumstances. I find it sometimes easy to bond over that with an individual, knowing that they too have experienced some of the same things I have experienced being gay. The need for acceptance seems to be the common denominator for us all, and while all of us in the community experience different levels of acceptance from the people in our daily interactions, at the end of the day we’re still trying to be accepted as individuals.

We’re all on the same road together, fighting for rights that others usually take for granted. Being gay can unite us all, rest of the world, take note.

Oh…and here’s a picture of the author (to the right, the guy in the blue checkered shirt) alongside a good friend of mine, in case you were curious
Image

Things that are threats to Heterosexual Marraige, a pictorial demonstration.

Things that are threats to heterosexual marriage

Image

Divorce

Image

Spousal abuse

Image

Infidelity

Image

Substance abuse

Image

Apathy

Image

Keeping secrets

Image

Evil monkeys

 

Image

Flying evil monkeys

Image

Scary clowns

Image

A room full of scary clowns

Image

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Image

Tyrannosaurus Rex with Laser Eyes

Image

Zombies

Image

The Borg

Image

??? (I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure it could be threatening to heterosexual marriage)

What is NOT a threat to heterosexual marriage.

Image

These guys.

Image

These Ladies

Image

This family

Image

Or this family

Folks, remember, lots of things can destroy the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. The LGBT community is NOT one of them. As a matter of fact, most of the stuff that would affect your marriage would affect us too. In the end, we’re all in the same boat here, trying to love the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with using everything we have in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.

This concludes this portion of the demonstration.