Tuesday, June 30, 2009

more than meets the eye

I'm not a Michael Jackson fan. We're opposites in fact, since he likes his men young and I like mine old. He never wanted to grow old, I was born some five decades too late. But his old songs were undeniably great. My favourite is Black and White, which I've been listening a lot lately (I love the Adam Lambert version). But there's one thing that baffled me about the icon: the whole body modification process.

MJ is the only black person I've ever heard of that became white. I never knew how he did it, and honestly I don't buy the skin condition story. I've met people with vitiligo (a German teacher of mine had it), but they only had some white spots on their faces, neck, arms, whatever. The rest of the skin kept its regular colour. MJ, on the other hand, had his whole skin became white instead of some patches popping out at a time. Admittedly, this happened over the years, with his skin progressively becoming fairer, but it's still very different from the vitiligo I've seen.

I think we all have some physical features we're dissatisfied with on ourselves. For instance, I detest how I look. I'm an daddy fanatic that looks like anything but a daddy. More of a sonny, really. There isn't a single part of my body I'm satisfied with. I'm skinny. My facial hair - the most important part of a man's body IMO - is... very sparse. Teenager quality. If I grow my hair I'll get an afro. Or maybe a jewfro since I'm pale (I'm neither black nor jew, though... so a "brazilfro" maybe). And so on. Could it be that if I had the money MJ had I would also try to make myself look closer to what I picture as the ideal look? I've never heard of surgeries to make people grow facial hair but I've never heard of treatments to make people skins go white either, and Michael Jackson is the living proof (...or not so much) that those do exist.

I prefer to think I wouldn't go to the extremes MJ went, seeing how those eventually turned him into a monster. But I wonder if I were in his shoes I wouldn't do similar things on a smaller scale.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I've just noticed the Up premiere here in my country was pushed back to September. September. I admit I never considered myself a Pixar fan - I always liked their movies but never found them particularly outstanding... until I saw Ratatouille. I cried like a little baby over the latter half of the movie, no idea why, it's not sad or particularly emotional, but I did. Needless to say it quickly became my favourite animation movie ever, and now I'm doing my best to catch the new Pixar releases. I saw WALL-E days after it was released, and while it's great, I don't feel it's up to Ratatouille level of greatness, despite being far better than almost every cartoon out there.

Up's plot summary caught my eye. A grumpy widower's soul search has all the "Wild Strawberries" potential to be good, in a lighthearted "Pixar" way. I'm trying to avoid any further information on the movie to be surprised when I finally watch it. I hope it meets my expectations, I'm sure it's capable of that.

Monday, June 22, 2009

run of the mill

Life has been pretty boring lately, and I've been uninspired as I can be. My idol, Shoutaroh Kojima, is taking part in the Summer Comiket, with a Chris Redfield doujinshi... and I won't be there. I'm the saddest person in the world. Still, I hope someday I'll be able to get my hands in that book. He might release it digitally, but nothing compares to having the actual book.

I'm so bored.

Monday, June 15, 2009

criminal intent

I originally intended to play World of Warcraft as a Horde character. Specifically, a Troll Shaman. I'm fond of tribal themes and, from the descriptions, Shamans seemed cool as hell frozen over. Totems! Dual-wielding! Windfury! Shocks! Not to mention Trolls are goddamn sexy: how could I possibly not like lanky, bloodthirsty voodoo fellows with tusks and a Jamaican accent?

It happens that on our first day of gaming, we created a Human Priest for my boyfriend (he always plays with the priest/healer type of classes). The problem was that his priest was an Alliance character. Cross-faction cooperative play among Horde and Alliance being impossible, my Shaman would never be able to play with his Priest. So I ended up making a Human Rogue, solely in order to play with him. I figured I would still be able to play with my Shaman when I was by myself.

Fast-forward a couple weeks and I was completely addicted to the Rogue gameplay. He became my character of choice - my main. So much for being Horde!

To be honest, being a Human makes more sense: I'm a nice guy at heart (stupid, I know), and Alliance has that goodie-goodie feeling going on that's completely absent from Horde's ravished landscapes and shanty capitals. Once I got to Stormwind I just knew I belonged there. And, as much as I try to fight the urge, I always play the rogue/thief characters. It's inevitable - it's as if there were a voice in my head constantly asking "how could you NOT be a mobster when you are perfectly able to?". My great-grandparents must have been part of Cosa Nostra, it's likely in the blood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the sims and simulating life

The Sims 3 is great. My only family so far is (obviously) a gay couple - I'm always impressed how gay-friendly The Sims is. One of them has black hair, stubble and fair skin. The other is tanned, blond, with a goatee and glasses. Both of them have as much muscle as the game allows, which isn't that much, really. Dark-haired boy started as an outlaw, but he was caught and went to jail on his first day of work. That same day he received an offer to start a career in sport (he's very athletic), so he left the criminal life and is now a promising athlete. Tanned-blond boy is a geeky journalist who for some reason wants to have a baby with dark-haired boy. He's a great cook and is writing a science fiction novel.

Videogames in general are dirty fun, in the sense you waste your life doing something amusing but ultimately pointless. But The Sims epitomizes this notion: the gameplay revolves around nothing other than an extremely ordinary virtual life. It's meant to simulate the life of a regular person, as plain as it can be... but it's strangely enticing. I don't really get why it's fun, but it actually is, and I'm having a great time playing it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

fanboy memoirs - part 2

(first part here)

That one wonderful site was "No Bishounen Allowed", or NBA for short. It's, without a shadow of doubt, part of my top5 list of "Best Websites The Internet Ever Had" (I'd say it's the runner up - top site being one of which I'll speak of in a later post). Rockear, the host, is a fellow gay nerd and one of the kindest people in the world. Back in the ancient year of 2003, he would scan his own, very modest (to today's standards) collection of Japanese drawn smut and share it with a then small community of ravenous gay nerds. Did I say he's one of the nicest people in the world? Because he is.

I daresay, though, that the crucial turning point can be found in 2004. Early this year, Rockear posted news of a very special Japanese magazine that focused on drawn gay porn. Later on, he showed us some stories from this special book. Why special? You could tell simply by looking at its name: Kinniku Otoko (筋肉男), or "Muscle Men". It was a serial anthology that featured a bunch of short manga stories with a common focus - manly men. Some plots were romantic, other had a BDSM twist (especially Gengoroh Tagame's stuff), but each and every of them involved manly men doing naughty things with other manly men. Yes, Kinniku Otoko was everything I was looking for. And for that marvelous discovery, I have only Rockear to thank. Is it clear by know why he's so nice?

I think Kinniku Otoko vol.6 or 7 were just released when I found out about it through Rockear's site. And we, the small community of gay nerds, vigorously followed every release with fanfarre. My favourite artists back then were Masanori (remember him, from the old post? He did some covers and some stories for KO!) and Takeshi Matsu, both of them still active to this very day. Matsu's work is featured in almost every Japanese gay magazine; Masanori isn't nearly as prolific - he updates his site very seldom and hasn't had anything published in a magazine since around 2005-2006. It's a time I'll never forget: Mens Love, as it is know now (back in the day, everything gay in manga form was still called BL, or Boys Love), was still in its early steps and all but undiscovered in the West, so each new story we got our hands on was a tremendous achievement. I remember I was one of the first people to get his hands on Takeshi Matsu's first compilation, Itsuka wa Kuma Goroshi (いつかは熊殺し, or Kill the Bear Someday), and my scans of Baito Yamemasu (バイト辞めます, or Quitting This Part-Time Job) are still around if you look hard enough. :)

Besides Rockear himself, to whom I would talk a lot, I became acquainted with several of his suppliers - other people who, like me, were also interested in Kinniku Otoko, bought the books, scanned them and send them to Rockear so he would put them up at the No Bishounen Allowed. This way I met Gub Smyth, Zombot and others - fellow fans and good friends. But sadly, after all these long years I've lost contact with most of them. I miss these guys - but unfortunately most of us old timers aren't nearly as active these days. I guess we grew up.

Still in 2004, Rockear introduced me to 4chan, which wound up being a major part of my life for several years. Why? Well, our fandom didn't have a place to hang out besides NBA. NBA was a distribution site, mostly; we didn't really talk in there. It happened that 4chan had (and still has) a yaoi board, /y/, which was meant to be the place in 4chan where fangirls would post their feminine yaoi artwork and gloat over their faaaabulous men and all. But Mens Love was still technically yaoi - there wasn't as strong a split as there is today. So we basically expropriated 4chan's yaoi board from its original occupants. Ah, the clashes we had back in the days! (*nostalgia*) We would post our muscular, hairy, bearded men, polluting their beeeautiful board. They would get angry and start complaining. We would defend our point of view... basically, flamewars were rampant. And a rich source of amusement! I was a major troll, under the alias I still use today: Red (people hated me, heh!). And our sense of community and awareness would only be fostered by these arguments. Fighting our common enemy - yaoi fangirls - was as fun as it gets for a gay nerd. Especially in an anonymous board.

But around 2005, Rockear closed his site due to threatening emails from supposed Japanese publishers, and Kinniku Otoko had its last volume published, Kinniku Otoko Pride. It was canceled after 12 volumes. Did this mean everything was over?

Far from it! We already had /y/ as our meeting place, and KO was merely the avant-garde publication that set the trend - several new anthologies were released, and, even if they didn't last as long, they were enough to fill our cravings. Artists that drew gay manga were already all over the internet, and 4chan's Japanese older sister, Futaba, opened its own board focused on manly gay men - it was called "bara", or ばら. We had found a name to call what we liked and, for once and all, distinguish ourselves from yaoi: we were bara fans. I never liked this name (I consider it a 2chanism, since nobody in Japan except that Futaba board would refer to what we liked as "bara" - I prefer Mens Love), but we were already established.

(more to come in the third and final post in this series - I promise it'll be considerably shorter!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

internet service provider

I'm having several issues with my ISP. It's erratic, sometimes my it's up for several minutes, then I get disconnected for two hours, then it's up again. It's a major pain since I'm typing this entry and I'm not sure if it'll get published.

Thankfully I got my boyfriend a copy of The Sims 3 this Saturday, and it's a game that doesn't require an internet connection to be played (those seem to be more and more rare by the day). I borrowed it before he even had the time to play so while my connection doesn't get repaired, I'll resort to living a Simlife. Geez!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I'm tired. I'm having tons to do at work. I barely have time for myself in there, so writing blog posts are a hard task currently. Besides, it's so damn cold right now my fingertips are freezing and it's a major pain in the ass to type anything.

I'm going to watch the Beauty and the Beast musical on Sunday with my boyfriend and his aunt. I hope it's fun (looking forward to see Gaston, he's so damn sexy - hint, skip to 1:57). September the three of us are going to NYC (still no idea where to go or what sights to see, never been there) and we are planning on watching some musicals there too. Wicked is a given - the rest not so much.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

metal gear life

To nobody's surprise, Metal Gear Solid 5 was announced. I'm already having spasms of nerd joy while typing this at work. I love the Metal Gear Solid games with a passion. I would never call myself a MGS fanboy - I simply couldn't. I know what it's like to be a fanboy, since I am a Shoutaroh Kojima fanboy, for instance. And based on my own acts of fanboysm, I can assure myself I'm not a MGS fanboy. I'm merely a fan who deeply loves every MGS game I've had the pleasure to play.

When I play a game, I'm most interested in gameplay. A good plot surely enhances the fun factor. Great characterization does that too, as do beautiful graphics and pleasant music. I recognise all aspects of a game (particularly the characters) are of utmost importance. But my biggest interest lies on good gameplay, above all the rest. And Metal Gear Solid is a series that's far from being my favourite style - I never liked action games (or espionage games FWIW). I've been mainly a RPG player since back when I started playing Phantasy Star on the SEGA MasterSystem, at age 7. That's sixteen years.

Then why do I like MGS so much? Because I learned to savour MGS games as experiences rather than games. Everything in a MGS game is always just perfectly put together. Even though I don't particularly like the style, it fits the overall package to an extent you can't imagine it playing as something different. The game plots always entrance me, maybe partly due to myself being a dimwitted person - I'm always taken aback by the twists and turnarounds. The characters are always interesting, the setting and atmosphere are very immersing...

...and there is Snake. Solid Snake, Naked Snake, whatever. Snake is godly perfection. There aren't words to describe him - he's what I consider to be the best done fictional character in nerd media. The personality, the looks (*swoons*) and the voice (whether by David Hayter or Akio Ohtsuka *melts*), everything reeks of the essence of sexy manliness sent from the heavens by God himself. I wouldn't dare to try to describe Snake's greatness, because I'm obviously incapable of such heroic deed.
Even though I'm far from being as big a Snake fanboy as some I've seen (he isn't even my favourite fictional character (that honour will always belong to Musashi, from Eyeshield 21 - although Snake is my favourite videogame character), I believe Snake is the perfect character. "Perfect"... I guess that might fit Snake. But it still doesn't feel... complete. That's Snake for you!

We have one being to especially thank for creating MGS (and, especially, creating Snake): Hideo Kojima. I don't follow his every step or even play every game he releases, but that the man is a genius is, to me, undeniable. I consider him to be one of the most important people in videogaming this days, almost up there with Yasumi Matsuno, my videogame God.

Even though I probably won't be able to play MGS5, as I haven't played MGS4 or even finished MGS3 (possibly my greatest frustration in my videogame background), I hope the MGS series is far from being over. Videogames, as a media, need the anticipation MGS ensures. Even when it's not yet announced, we look forward to a new MGS and feel certain that nothing could satisfy our needs for an over-the-top, often touching and, above all, very manly videogame experience as well as a MGS game does.

(EDIT: The trailer for the new Metal Gear Solid game for the PSP has a short scene of two Snake clones sharing private moments under a cardboard box with "Love Pack" written on it. Is there a limit for fanservice? This might have broken it, and I'm loving every moment!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

small snippets of a busy life‏

- I spend every weekend at my boyfriend's house. I wouldn't even consider writing a post in there since I have much better things to do with him, and we don't see each other except on Saturdays and Sundays so I have to make every minute count. It means this blog to be solemnly abandoned by the end of each week... but I'll do my best to write a post every Monday. (I really wish weekends would last longer *sigh*)

- Since finding PUG Heroic runs for my Protection Warrior is turning out to be an exercise in frustration, Ulduar is shaping up to be the current focus my World of Warcraft life. We're stuck in Mimiron on 10-man, and, sadly, we seldom get enough people to run 25-mans: we downed Kologarn last week, but couldn't get past him this week. It's fun, certainly more than Naxxramas, but still nowhere close to T6 in TBC for me - tier 9 can't come soon enough! I have to admit my rogue's kicking major ass on the DPS meters, though, and that is certainly a lot of fun. After a whole tier of gimped DPS, finally I feel worthy of my raid spot.

- Speaking of World of Warcraft, it seems Ferraro, a popular Paladin blogger, especially notorious for being a very cute lady and working as a playtester at Blizz, was unveiled to be a phony. She had been stealing the pictures from a beautiful nerdy girl's blog and Facebook for over four years and, from what it seems, made up several stories - the latest being a very... unlikely tale about there actually being seven different Ferraros who passed the baton one to another over the two years. Her blog was always a very interesting read but not only I doubt that she will write again, even if she would, I don't think I'd read it with the same eyes.

- I bought Casablanca, a movie I've always wanted to watch, but I still haven't had the opportunity to watch it. I'm a huge fan of old movies (my favourite film ever being It's a Wonderful Life), and I'm highly anticipating this one.

- My next post on the Mens Love memoirs should be up by Wednesday. I'm loving to dig up those memories. I'm thinking of writing a lot more about Mens Love in this blog than I originally planned to. Maybe with pictures? Rainbow Shoppers's emails about my points to redeem into discounts have also been tempting me into buying more Japanese porn... but after spending 10 dollars on a book and FIFTY dollars on shipping (yes, five times the book's price) last month, I'm kinda weary of falling in this trap again.