Friday, February 21, 2014

What Girls Don't Know We Know They Know

Girls like to think that guys are clueless and not tuned in to the world around them. Lots of jokes are made at the expense of my gender, some of which are based on fact. And some of which are not. For instance, boys are not the only ones who judge based on looks. Girls do it all the time! And sometimes we catch them at it, sly though you try to be.

I've been noticing this more and more while going about my daily routine around this great big city of New York. It's amazing what subtle changes in behavior, look, and attitude can have when it comes to garnishing the attention of the opposite sex. Here are just 5 of the top observations I've made now:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Living Single

This is just one of those general how-am-I-doing and current events updates rolled into one.

Love Is In The Air:

So, Valentine's Day came and went this past Friday, and the amount of F's I gave remained at an all time high of: zero. That's right, zero F's. I actually went to see the new rebooted Robocop in theaters after work. Oh, young naive me. I remember remarking to a friend earlier that day that V-Day is the perfect time to go to the movies. What with all the young couples feeling all romantic-y and googly-eyed for each other, the theater should be quite empty, right? I mean, not only is Valentine's Day when you should be out at some candle lit dinner gazing into each others' eyes, but it's a Friday to boot! I would have thought you couldn't find an empty seat at a New York City restaurant on such a night.

Bzzzz! Wrong!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Game of Thrones: Season 4 Anticipation Begins . . . NOW!

What, you thought you'd go this long with no mention whatsoever on The Bimillennial Man of my favorite genre television show? As if!

Yes, Season 4 of Game of Thrones is almost upon us, and this past Sunday HBO finally deigned to deliver some much needed meaty goodness on what's in store for fans this year. Behold for your viewing pleasure, Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing -- the 15-minute first look into just how dark and twisted this next season will prove to be. I'm telling you, guys, it's going to be BIG! But don't just take my word for it, whet your appetites on this well crafted preview:

Oh. Mah. Gerd! There's just so much to squee over! I will try to maintain a tight lip on any spoilers, but if anyone has questions about what you may have just watched, ask me in the comments section. I won't give anything away with my replies, but I will clear up any confusion if you have such. As for the clip itself: feel free to watch with no fear of ruining anything. It's really just quick glimpses at things to come, along with on-set commentaries from some of the cast and crew involved. Click just to see Gwendoline Christie's (the Lady Knight, Brienne) insane laughter and obvious excitement alone. She's a hoot, and seems to really be enjoying her time on the show.

Personally, I'm very happy to see the long awaited arrivals of some fan-favorite and new to the show characters. Primarily Pedro Pascal as the Red Viper, and his fierce consort Ellaria (portrayed by the always lovely Indira Varma!).

Both characters represent the first time on this show we will see anyone hailing from the oft mentioned 7th Kingdom of Westeros, Dorne, as they arrive at King's Landing for Joffrey's pending nuptials to Lady Margaery Tyrell. And ... for other, not yet disclosed, reasons.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the other big Thrones-related news. Yes, the wait is finally over. Season 3 of the show will be hitting store shelves on DVD and Blu-ray early next week! That's Feb. 18th, to be precise. And for the first time ever, the home video release will include extended special features such as: a lengthy recap of the season highlighting the most important details; deleted and extended scenes; and on-set, behind the curtain-style insights into the making of the show. Material that has never been included on a Game of Thrones video release, let alone most other HBO shows. This is a big first for fans!

I will be purchasing my set on Day 1, naturally. What about you? Come on, don't try to play coy with me!

As for the upcoming season? Game of Thrones: Season 4 will premiere on Sunday, April 6th, only on HBO. Get ready!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Am I?

Yesterday over on Huffington Online's "Latino Voices" section, blogger Icess Fernandez Rojas wrote about her identity as an Afro-Latina -- feeling at times this need to justify herself depending on which group she happens to be hanging out with, be they black or Latina. As someone who is both, she felt excluded from either group depending on the situation:

"Why, in this modern age, do I have to prove myself? Why do I have to prove my Blackness or my Latina heritage while denying the other exists?"

As someone who also has a dual-heritage background, I can sympathize with her plight. My mother was white, and my father Dominican. However, unlike Ms. Rojas, I can only claim one side of the divide: my mom's side. My father was never in the picture, except for the rare holiday or out of the blue appearance by which I would infrequently see my Dominican grandmother and perhaps a handful of aunts and uncles, along with a tiny portion of assorted cousins. My skin color is fairer than most Latinos thanks to my mom, but I have my father's island features--my hair color, nose, cheekbones, mouth, and eye shape are all Latin-Caribbean!

Funny, he doesn't look ambiguous.

It's a strange pickle to be in, for sure: looking Hispanic, but having no Latin identity whatsoever. Living in New York, most Latinos assume I'm one of them. They'll walk up to me and immediately fire off full-blown sentences in Spanish as if I can understand them. And sometimes I can. But most times, I cannot. Not completely, anyway. Inevitably this leads to a lot of confusion and, on rare occasion, some attempt at cultural shaming. This used to put me on the defensive, whereby I would tell the offending party to go have a talk with my dad and ask him why he couldn't get his shit together and include his son in on the cultural cues making up around one-half of his heritage. What little Spanish I do know, I learned in high school alongside most of my African American classmates. And although I did excel in these classes, it was due more to having a natural facility with languages, and not because of my last name. Sure, I'm certain everybody else assumed I was "slumming it" in Spanish class for the sake of increasing my GPA, but to this day I still cannot roll my r's for the life of me!

As for other cultural signalers--food, music, literature, pop art--I'm woefully ignorant. I couldn't tell you the difference between the merengue and salsa, although I vaguely know that they are both the names of dances from two different islands. What? You're wondering why I didn't do more to learn about my father's culture? Well, why should I? He never had any time for me, so why should I have honored him by doing the job he should have been doing all my life?

Yes, therein lies the heart of the problem. Any curiosity I might have had concerning the island nation from which my father and his family came from in the 1970s has been overruled by the anger from being abandoned at a very early age by him. My mother raised me alone, and her mother continued the job when her daughter was no longer with us. My father had ample opportunity to play a more active role in my life at that time--the man lived in the same city, after all! But he had no time for me, and so I had no time for him or his culture.

It's petty, yes, but for a long time this was how I felt. And now? Well, now that I'm getting older I find myself softening my views. I still lack a Latino identity, and know very little about Dominican culture specifically; but my natural inclination is to be curious about other cultures, and to value their values. In college I adopted Chinese as my culture. I learned the language and the history, loved the art and watched the movies. I read numerous books in Chinese, and even studied the classics in their original written forms! When I show an interest in a culture, I hold back no stops. So why should this be any different?

Yes, I really should try to do more to find out about the one culture I actually have genetic roots in. I will never have Dominican pride, because ultimately my nationality is American, and my culture that of my mother's Scots-Irish lineage. But I can do something to cultivate a social connection to the ways and lifestyles of my father's people as well. Even if I don't particularly like the man.

As far as the interesting issues Ms. Rojas raises in her article, I'm afraid I do not have the same luxury she does of choosing to be both. Being Latino is as alien to me as being Chinese. It's still the culture of the other in my mind. A friend asked me once: "Which do you consider yourself? Hispanic or White?" And to which I replied easily: "White." What else could I say? To say I'm Latino is a gross exaggeration. It's not a question of being repelled by my own background, but one of familiarity. I know all about the American culture to which most white people in this country can ascribe. It is my comfort zone. It is the love I have for my mother.

But about being Latino? What the hell do I know about that? What right do I have to lay such claim beyond the verity of my features and bearing the last name of my Caribbean ancestors? Because, to right now say that I'm Dominican would to be to only pay it lip service. And I'm sorry, but I refuse to be so disingenuous.

So, I ask of the world the same question as Ms. Rojas, except in the inverse: Why must I acknowledge both sides at all? Why not just connect to that one side that has always been there for me, and be who I feel myself to be? Being both, I should have the right to choose which one I identify with the most. And in that case, I'm not white nor Latino--soy Americano.

I am American! And America means being both or neither, or the sum of all the parts. It means whatever I decide it to mean for myself, on my terms.

Or shouldn't it?

Panama Trip - Day 1: Here There Be Balboas!

In late May, 2017 I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. A trip to Panama's steamy tropical province, Bocas del Toro. Now, before 2017 ...