ANXIOUS AUBADE no. 12 (a poem about meeting people)

(An aubade, traditionally, is a poem of leaving, or parting, particularly in the early morning.)

When I see someone approaching whom I can’t read or recognize,
I refer to the mantra of my stripper friend.
She recites a pep-talk of self-weaponization
for a person of average strength.
Her professional naked person’s psalm goes like this:
(I may be paraphrasing)

I have soft spots in my neck and my head.
I have hard edges on my teeth
and my knees and my nails.
If I bleed I can get blood in their eyes.
If they bleed I can open their wounds.
Are there scabs? Are there old scars to aggravate?
What are you REALLY talking about?
I have fear that makes the body quick and strong.
You have fear that makes the mind fragile and careless.
I have fear and you have fear.
Soft spots, soft spots.

(Strippers have the supernatural advantage of knowing how to be naked.
I admire her because I have no such strength.
I bundle up in the desert.)
She says that unavoidably, the mantra collides
with sense-memory of sex, recent or pined after:

Soft and hard. Stops and starts. Tease and release.
Like a mean kiss, a corruption.
Someone does something savage to you
and then something nice to you,
in a loop, a little death dispersed.
Sex is a power, a natural force made by any body
with the mass to exert gravity. 

And then the moment passes, because
you will never meet that person again.
Okay, hi, bye.
And then you’re by yourself, speaking out loud to no one.
She goes on:

And then I just dance til my mind settles.
My core style is jazz. I ain’t into ballet. Hard on the toetips.
But I try to pirouette like Prince, ‘cos his spins were perfect.
puppeted by a higher power on angelhair strings. That’s my shit.
I don’t act out what the song is saying.
Dancing is not literal,
it does not make words
or events make more sense.
I try to bring myself to the point when you’re committed to cry,
to come, to confess, and I spin there for as long as the song goes.
I have a few favorite songs that fit;
Lazy like lying in the grass, pointless and sharp points
a song meant to remove clothing to,
solely for the fun of letting them fall,
showing yourself, however you are. 

The old trick of picturing someone naked is a mnemonic gimmick
to let them across your lawn.
They are threat, and they could hold you together.
They could be someone you’ve met before.
But practically speaking,
they are wearing far too many clothes for you to know.   

Cosplay Karaoke Gets More Relevant Every Day.

So I'll be at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 tomorrow, and to honor the occasion made a bunch more cosplay karaoke videos featuring Spider-Woman, Jessica Jones, Mystique, Dr. Strange, Shadowcat, among others, karaokeing character-appropriate songs.

I wrote a piece on why karaoke culture is so important to me over here at YOMYOMF. And in this very blog, a listicle on how you can support, if you feel like it, without spending a cent or more than two minutes of your time. The point is, please subscribe, share, traffic, comment, critique, disparage, engage all the things, I will appreciate it mightily, and see you at Nerd Prom.

I Guess I'll Be An Ace: A Listicle

There are so many things I like about the idea of being an ace/asexual which happily correlate with things I already am. I'm not a great student of the subject, but can assert confidently that I....

1) Don't go for sex as the main thing. Don't get me wrong, I like sex and all the pageantry around it. Sex is natural, sex is good, yadda yadda. But the main thing I'm going for is usually comforting intimacy and that's a different animal with a lot of overlaps.
2) Believe it's awesome that you get to call yourself an ACE.
3) Am generally interested in women, but not so much in a "I need to get laid critically-soon or some sort of bomb will explode" kinda way.
4) Am exhausted with the default-heterosexual narrative of being hard up, in a dry spell, or lacking game. The narrative enforces the idea that if you don't have a regular sex life, you're doing something wrong. It's particularly tough on Asian-American dudes, who are the most desexualized of American ethnicities, consistently labeled in media and in online dating as the Not Fuckable Type.
5) Believe it's a very important vowel to maintain in the more-or-less-all-encompassing acronym QUILTBAG, which I'm told stands for Queer Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans Bisexual Asexual Gay.
6) Don't try really hard, and in sexual pursuits, it's a sort of sin to not even try. I don't try because the thing I would try for is so often misinterpreted, it is not even funny.
7) Am envious of those who own a sexual identity and can plan their lives around it.
8) Don't really know anyone else who identifies as asexual, but would be eager to meet someone and talk about it!
9) Don't really know anyone else who identifies as asexual, so it must be the hippest one.
10) Maintain that hookup culture is an asshole.
11) Just wanna be me, man.
12) Believe in real-shit love with someone you've never had sex with. Still a problem, but to me, a much more interesting problem.
13) Am probably seeking a path of less resistance on some level, since it's the one least subject to obvious persecution 'cause you pretty much aren't fucking with anybody.
14) Am well-prepared for any form of stigma or persecution that does occur, if it's on the level of being perceived as some sort of asexual freak, because am an Asian American dude, and that's not unlike what the mediasphere is saying about us every day anyway.
15) Don't want to belabor the point, but ironically, "Ace" is one of the sexiest words you could categorize yourself as.
16) Also like the terminology" gray-asexual" because you get to be a GRACE, how fucking rad is that.
17) Need to make a coherent move past the depressing loop of "You want something, I want something, but the murky potential of sex activity sabotages the important objectives like companionship warmth and understanding so we both end up feeling worse than when we started."
18) Am a huge fan of WILD CARDS. (My affection towards being an "Ace" on a purely linguistic level might be as whimsical as others' fixation on certain people's sexual equipment, okay.)
19) Am really full of love, so fuck you. :)
20) Wish to be part of the open-minded restorative solution, not part of the overcompensating creepy-guy problem.
21) Blackjack! The end.

(Ace card img courtesy of this Tumblr.)


It's Valentine's Day 2017, and I know of no more romantic movie than STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Here's my associative transliteration of the film in poem form, which may or may not appear in this sci-fi novella I'm working on, tentatively titled 12 VALENTINES (it does have something to do with Valentine's Day, and it'll all make sense in context, maybe):


Legend. Scroll. Gold over blackness.
Seed pods. An ice planet, an explosion. A crab rises out of the crater.
A Wampa.
The pirate and the princess. Solo and Organa. Their faces lit in an ice cave, from reflection. 
"The temperature is dropping rapidly."
"That's right, and my friend's out in it."
You will go from here to a jungle. A swamp. A planet.
And this will keep you warm. 

Have we ever known the story of that long night in the deathly freezing, in the shelter,
when Han watched over Luke, smelling of tauntaun entrails?

This is Rogue Two.
I have herded nerfs, up on Laserbrain Mountain. 
"I didn't hit it that hard."
Darth Vader sits in a semi-lotus position.
Leia briefs the daredevil pilots. 
The Ion Cannon shoots at the sky. The transport slips past the shark.
"We have spotted Imperial Walkers."

The snowspeeders are spitbugs, overmatched. 
Wedge is that guy who does everything right.
The AT-AT's soft spot is the armor at the back of their neck. It goes without saying. 
"I'll get her out on the Falcon." 
"Someday you're going to be wrong and I just hope I'm here to see it."
(That's an expression of true love.)
Vader's breaths as they leave. 
The chase of forever begins. The asteroid belt.
"You don't have to do this to impress me."
(The Millennium Falcon cockpit is the best 4-shot in the history of filmmaking.)
Scoundrel One, Slave One, Sith Two.

A swamp planet. Thick air. 
The Master plays the Fool. Grumpy, needy, dependent on a stick.
"Don't do that."
Yoda welcomes him with food. 
Anger. Like his father.
"Where he was. What he was doing." 
Yoda has his doubts. Look what happened with the other Jedi.

The peaceful hum of the Falcon in a cave. In a worm.
Mynocks. Chewing on our ship. Rebels cannot rest anywhere.
"I am not a committee." 

"Anger, fear, aggression. Easier, more seductive.
Knowledge and defense.
There is no try.
Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter. 
You. Me. The tree. The rock. Everywhere."

The Bounty Hunters. 

Also, how is Luke on Dagobah for only a day,
are they chasing the Falcon through the asteroids for a month?

Bespin, also known as the planet of constant sunset.
"I don't like this."
"Well, what would you like?"
"What have we here? Who might you be?"
"I don't trust him either. He is my friend."

Luke makes a necessary bad decision.
Remember your failure at the cave.
Leia is the another. She's the last one if Luke loses.

The carbon freezing chamber.
"There'll be another time."
"I love you. I know."
Hands up. 
"Luke, don't, it's a trap."

Force jump.
Dad knocks me through the spiderweb window.
R2's smokescreen.
Dad cuts off my hand.
"No. I am your father."
"That's impossible."
Dad watches me fall into the netherclouds.

"We've got to go back."
"You know better than to trust a strange computer."
The last chase.
"I'm standing here in pieces, and you're having delusions of grandeur."
Hyperspace, after all that.

The Medical Frigate.
A new hand.
The trust of siblings.
The rendezvous point.
X-Wings, to John Williams's most heartened theme, unto the end. 

I've Been a Youtuber For 10 Years and Still Am Not Too Popular, But It's Okay

Youtube informs me that today is the 10th anniversary of posting my first video and creating a Youtube channel, which is now dedicated to being I'm still not very popular, but the channel has started making tiny bits of passive income so there's no great reason to stop now. Plus I love this shit. Here are my 10 favorite videos/contents I've done so far on the channel, in no special order (most of them have to do with karaoke.)

1. Radiohead's "Climbing Up The Walls" with Spider-Gwen
#CosplayKaraoke! @CosplayKaraoke! And also Cosplay Karaoke! Spider-Jessika slinks around and Alissa purrs through Radiohead, and also shows the occasional value of a camera-falling-off-table-to-the-ground shot. #LetsJustGoToNicks

Yelp Obituaries: Famed Yelp Reviewer Dies At 27, Will Never Come Back

Life lost a customer forever yesterday when it failed to provide oxygen to Alex Darren upon request. Darren, known for his uber-popular Yelp reviews of over 107 local pubs, gastropubs, food trucks, and “dives,” was 27. Y.O.L.O. 

He had over 260K followers on the popular review site, with over 7 million confirmed stars rating his reviews. Yelp users found him extremely helpful. One of his most popular reviews of Izakaya Ba-Ka in Menlo Park, titled What kind of a Japanese place doesn’t have Teriyaki?, is excerpted below:

Fuck this place. The service was TERRIBLE. And they overcharge for all these little plates of food. I wanted to get a regular teriyaki burger with organic greens, they seemed to not know what I was talking about. Then I asked if they had gluten-free items on their menu, but it was like they’d never heard of the word, “gluten.” The sake came to my table COLD. The owner doesn’t even speak English. Plus, it was dirty. I’d rather tear my own eyeballs out than ever go to that joint again. See ya, I’ll take my business to a reliable Japanese dive, like Sushi Boat. 

Cosplay Karaoke: A Mah Manifesto

Here are some major problems in the world that #CosplayKaraoke solves:

1. Most superhero, science-fiction & fantasy films are NOT musicals.
2. Conversely, most musicals do not have superheroes in them. Some do.
3. Spider-Man: The Musical needed to be a lot more fun than it was.

4. Superheroes need to karaoke, too.

10 Easy Ways to Support Unpopular Youtube Artists Without Spending $ or Time

This question comes up now and then, so I thought it'd be useful to have a cheat sheet. We're in a time of financial calamity but people still make art, and in the social media age there are ways for fans to help/validate/enable artists which are quick and free and essential to your favorite-but-struggling videomaker/musician/writer/cat photographer continuing on their path and being able to make more art, which is what this is all kinda about, que no? 


1. Give them money or gigs. (Okay, this one is not free. The rest are. But venmo'ing @dominic-mah-1 is a thing.)

2. SUBSCRIBE to their Youtube channel. Or whatever their official channel is. Subscribing should be easy for anyone who has a Youtube or Google account. Every Youtube video's got a red SUBSCRIBE button next to it if you haven't subscribed already. Subscribing is extremely helpful because when producers or hiring folk look at an artist's Youtube page, they like to see that the page has a healthy regular following. And the best part is, subscribing obligates you to nothing, you don't even have to actually follow the artist, or have deeply considered all of their videos -- but by subscribing you've helped them a LOT. Subscribing means you might get an extra email from Youtube once in a while, big deal, you can get out of that on your preferences page. All the benefits of being a working artist who can pay some bills with their Youtube stuff (people do do this) lie in the direction of having LOTS OF SUBSCRIBERS. And it takes, like, 30 seconds at most.

Golden Girls/Nick's Lounge

This is very #LetsJustGoToNicks inside-jokey, but it's also out of love for The Golden Girls theme song. Please subscribe to my youtube channel regardless! And thank you for being a friend.

Dom's Favorite And Least Favorite Songs To Hear In A Karaoke Bar

This list will be updated periodically, you may use your vouchers for 2 GA tickets depending on availability, yadda yadda yadda....

Dancing On My Own
Super Bass
A Little Respect, also anything Erasure
Anything by Stevie Wonder
Almost anything by Prince
Most things by Michael Jackson or the Jackson 5
Fake Plastic Trees
Beast of Burden
Crazy For You
Untouchable Face
anything from Les Miserables
Cabaret from Cabaret
anything from Rent, Tommy or West Side Story, and one of those two Hedwig songs, but not both in the same night, jeezus they take forever

20 Thoughts On Rewatching BATMAN V SUPERMAN By Myself


2) Okay, dude, it's just a movie. 

3) Hans Zimmer almost saves the day with a cohesive score combining the Batman and Man of Steel themes and introducing a bracing, percussion-heavy theme for Wonder Woman/The Trinity (which slightly recalls the theme music to both the '60s Batman TV show and the Wonder Woman TV show). 

The Star-Sword-Superhero Nerd Trifecta

So I was on a podcast with Keith of Nerds Of Color, debating the Nerdiest Asian Actor In The Universe.

The Karaoke Social Contract (12 Principles)

1.  All people are entitled to sing a song once in a while.

2.  In a public social atmosphere, all people are obligated to be aware of their surroundings.

3.  If the karaoke is a free service provided in a bar, you are obligated to get a drink if you want to participate in the free service.

4.  Time is finite and songs take up time. If you don't get to sing a song because of the queue being particularly long, the proper attitude is, "Well hey, at least I'm still not involved in a civil war in Central Africa."