kuya puti

Loosely translated, kuya puti means "uncle white-guy" in Tagalog.

I now respond to this, because it's what Ben's little nieces and nephews call me. The older ones call me Uncle Jeffrey, the title rarely dropped as dictated by culture and tradition. There are ates and tatays and many more, but Ben is a kuya, and by default I am now a kuya too.

I don't fully understand it, but I go with it.

I've been hearing it a lot more lately, because Ben's brother passed away last week. It was sudden and unexpected. Per tradition, nine days of prayer are held somewhere, and that somewhere is our living room. There's a makeshift shrine on our buffet where I've come to memorize parts of the Rosary, the Virgin Mary atop a spare bed sheet.

I don't fully understand it, but I go with it.

There are many milestones and events that form a long-term relationship, but no one talks about what happens when, together, you first encounter death. You're suddenly thrust into new territory and realize you're awkwardly unprepared - an emotional pop quiz on chapters you've both yet to read. You know eventually the darkness will give way to light, but you (naively?) hope to not make such a fuss the next time he doesn't replace the toilet paper. The lines of grieving blur, and on any given day it's unclear who is comforting whom.

You want to do everything but most of the time there's nothing you can do. You internally debate where to sit, what to say, how to be present while still allowing space, where's the sympathy card from "people who aren't blood related but swear they have every intention of getting some form of married eventually but for now are living in sin and didn't really know the deceased?"

Small anxieties, sure, but let's not pretend they don't enjoy coming out to play.

The one thing I've learned through all this is that we will be okay, which is as vague a description as it is deliberate. The disposable pans of food will slowly disappear from the fridge. The flowers will wilt, the doorbell will stop ringing, and we'll soon discuss when to get a Christmas tree. The holidays will be rough, but who are we kidding, when are they not?

Understatement of the week? This is hard. But this is not about me, a valuable lesson I'm slowly learning that goes far beyond this week. I don't know how to be a partner, a kuya, an emotionally stable person...I'm usually two for three at best. But I'm going with it. Doing my best, celebrating life - this emotional wound a fresh reminder that life is too short to proceed any differently.


“You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about the business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way.”

-Liz Taylor
(compliments of http://itsnotthatserious.tumblr.com/)

Scraped the bottom this week, but no permanent damage was sustained. The combo of circumstance, time of year, and general chemical imbalance due to excessive holiday partying has begun the perennial assessment that goes along with pulling out a new calendar. But rest assured, things are good. All of the things. Tonight is the obligatory work party, where some people drink that shouldn't, and some don't that should, and I'll undoubtedly wake up tomorrow needing to apologize to at least one entire department. 

Regardless, trying to stay mindful of Ms. Taylor's little white diamonds of wisdom.  Gotta keep living. 

Stay classy out there, and for fuck's sake take a cab. DUI's are decidedly not sexy.  




welcome to october.


no but really

This week has been a moderately-priced disaster, and I can't promise that one more straw of professional fuckery won't break this camel's back. BUT, that being said, I have Santa Monica, Big Lebowski Birthday Fest, and a visit from the parentals on the horizon. It's nice that even when it's bad, it's not that bad.

Yours in exhaustion,



I will never stop searching...

...for that one time when it is actually appropriate to tell a coworker to go fuck themselves.

I deal with days like today with the utmost professionalism and maturity - I write passive-aggressive emails, sigh heavily, openly play Bejeweled for all to see, pout in meetings, use big words for no other reason than to be condescending, question authority when I know I'm in the wrong, and mutter lots of comments on the topic of how such a successful company can be so full of ass-hats.

I am not what you'd call "proud" of Tuesday, July 19th, 2011.

But not every swing is a home-run, right? You go home, you cool down, and you remember that you're going to the Giant's day-game tomorrow on your work's tickets instead of actually doing your job.

Oh, and whiskey.

It helps too.

Don't let the man get you down,



nuptials and knives

I got a new knife last week.

To clarify, I did not go to the knife store with all my knife knowledge and pick out the latest in knife technology. I was a groomsman in a wedding, and we six gentlemen were gifted knives.

I very clearly have no need for a knife. I am not in prison, nor do I often work slaughterhouses / the docks / mafia hits. I am but a common urban homosexual, and I need a knife like I need pleated khakis. But the knife was part of a bigger lesson from my Idaho adventure.

The knife wasn't about me.

I have now been to a fair amount of weddings, but this one involved two of my dearest friends and therefore hit quite close to home. I see them usually once a year, and at the risk of sounding disgustingly corny, every moment I get to spend with them is a treat. But when you go to a wedding where the invited guests equal a quarter of their hometown's population, one on one time is an elusive goal.

Another groomsman that hadn't seen the couple for quite some time said it perfectly on our first night out. Noticing that I hung back when we all saw our buddy for the first time, he said "It's hard not to push everyone out of the way, isn't it? We all feel like we've earned a special spot in the moment."

When the groom asked me to be in the wedding, we were washing dishes after the engagement party on a snowy Idaho night, and he stumbled through the question in the anti-climactic way only straight guys trying to convey something important can do. It was not a particularly poetic moment, but it was ours, and therefore special to me.

During the wedding I did everything I could. I took the toasts while we adjusted our suspenders, I umbrella'd old people through the rain, and I helped the groom dry his pants when he had a wardrobe malfunction minutes before the ceremony. With the other fellow's words in the back of my mind, I did everything in my power to be the best groomsman possible.

During the reception, after the meal but before the cake, I found myself dancing next to the groom, and it was mutually decided that a piss break was in order. Being males in a red state, we bee-lined for the door and found somewhat-secluded foliage mere feet from where they'd taken photos earlier in the day. As a wedding's worth of alcohol emptied before us, I said -

"You good?"

"Yeah, I'm good."

And that's all I needed. To clarify, for this guy that's a fairly lengthy conversation. More importantly, I knew that him, and me, and the marriage, and the moment, and the people inside....we were all good. He probably would never give that instance a second thought, but for me it brought the peace I needed. The day was about him, and if he was good, then so was I.


I will probably never use that knife. But my friend gave it to me as a thank-you for standing beside him during what was arguably the most important day of his life, and for that I will always be honored. It was the best way for him to share his special occasion with us. That knife will continue to remind me that it's not about your life's place in the moment...it's about the moment's place in your life. Thankfully I was present for this moment, as it is one that I will truly never forget.



Smile. It's Friday.