The House of Random Crap
A clearinghouse for my crazed, deviant, trivial, irreverant & occasionally reflective thoughts.


Thursday, January 29, 2004  

Stuff in no particular order:

1. It looks like our living situation is about to be resolved. Nicha put flyers in nearly every mailbox in our apartment complex enquiring about possible rentals, and the response has been overwhelming. We are now in negotiation with the owner of a 120 square meter (1,291 sq feet for you yanks), 3 bedroom unit. If we sign an 18-month lease, we can get the place for Baht 28,000 ($700) a month. This is actually cheaper on a per square meter basis than we are paying now on our 105 sq. meter place, so we're pretty pleased. We did a bit of browsing at the Tesco hypermarket yesterday to see what it would cost for a fridge (~Bt 10,000), a washing machine (~Bt 10,000), a microwave (~Bt 3,000) and a 21" Sony Wega television (~Bt 16,000), since the new place wouldn't come with major appliances. The layout is fantastic, and because it overlooks one of the two swimming pools, Nicha says the feng shui is very good (I'm not into Chinese mysticism as much as Nicha and the locals, but I'll take whatever luck I can get). At any rate, we're both very excited now, and not nearly as peeved as we were last week. Special thanks to Anne for offering up one of her properties as a possible rental; thanks!

2. My work has more or less come to a grinding halt. Several of the potential deals I'm working on are in a state of flux at the moment, so everything I'm working on is either currently on the shelf, or progressing at a glacial pace, or in stasis awaiting further developments. I admit that not being in a complete flurry of activity while at work is slightly unsettling, but then again, I think perhaps I have been in this business too long. The upside of all of this is that I've had time to catch up on my holiday correspondance, albiet somewhat belatedly. I used to be really good at keeping in touch with friends and former colleagues on a regular, frequent, and even personalized basis, but after business school and my first few post-MBA jobs, the number of contacts I try to manage just exploded, and now I'm lucky if I get to send one mass e-mail a year, much less anything personal. And when it comes time to send that one e-mail, it becomes a monstrous undertaking. I spend days upon days attempting to update my address book, going through e-mails received during the year and alumni directories. I also spend a few days composing a rather lengthy e-mail; if I'm going through all this trouble to track people down to send them my one e-mail of the year (or one every two years), you can bet I'm gonna give them every detail short of my shoe size (which is 8, by the way). I figured out how to convert documents into PDF files, so I went hog wild crafting a 5-page letter complete with several photographs taken over the past year. It's fun, but it's certainly not something I want to do more than once a year. For any friends that didn't yet get my letter, be patient! I'm still sending them out. If you don't get it in a week, come harass me and I'll get it to you.

3. The lull in my work schedule has afforded me time to prepare for the Chartered Financial Analyst exam. I've been waffling on this for the longest time. I passed level 1 of the program back in 1996, flunked the level 2 exam in 1997, and have been flirting with re-enrollment for the last few years. I am now enrolled to take level 2 again in June, and have yet to really throw myself into study. It all begins now.

4. I am a bit disturbed with the rate at which my hair is going grey. I've always had a few isolated, tiny tufts and patches of grey hairs on my head, and wrote it off to genetics, as my mother's hair is (underneath all the dye treatments) completely grey. Actually, I used to joke that my mum's streaks of grey and my dad's shiney black hair were due to the fact that he got to spend his time working 36-48 hour surgical shifts, while my mom stayed home to raise her 3 wildly barbaric sons. Up until now, I had grown accustomed to those few greys that would sprout up in those predictable 2-3 places on my head. But over the last year, I've noticed that greys have popped up all over, and in significantly higher numbers. I used to occasionally spend 5 minutes in front of the mirror plucking the half dozen or so greys I could find. Now, there's no point. Nicha could spend a half hour plucking away and still not make a dent. It still looks very black from a distance, but closer up, I'm definitely showing signs of age. I suppose I shouldn't complain, since my hairline has not receded one iota, and my hair still grows in as fast as weeds.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:57 AM |


Sunday, January 25, 2004  

Captain Kangaroo, Rest in Peace

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:27 AM |


Thursday, January 22, 2004  

Stand by your man, my ass (“ass” in the Biblical sense of course). Isn't there something in the Bible about obeying your husband? While I'm on the subject, I would bet that 7 out of 10 guys are thinking about “oral sex” every time they hear that “obey your husband” vow, regardless of the context.

The other three guys are thinking about “anal.”

But I transgress….


--- Scott, ER doctor by day/prison shower bitch by night


One of the M&A (mergers & acquisitions for you non-finance peons. jk!) deals I'm working on just came to a grinding halt, and may not move forward for a few more months. That sort of freed up part of my day to get some other things done. Unfortunately, no, I squandered that precious gift of time. I've been spending an inordinate amount of otherwise productive time goofing off on the Rice Bowl Journals forum board. It's not like I don't have other things I could be doing, but the forums are rather addictive. I've encountered a very eclectic-&-fascinating group of people, who are likewise blowing off perfectly productive time. It's fun to troll through different weblogs, and occasionally, I pick up some truly insightful and spiritual pearls of wisdom, like the musings I posted above. I gotta start linking to more of these sites...

Well, according to the horoscopes at the Hong Kong Tourism Board, my recent eviction notice (and current sphincter-ripping case of the shits) is all part of some karmic master plan to make my life miserable for Q1 and Q2:



So basically, I'm hosed. Nicha's horoscope seems better, though not gushingly enthusiastic about her prospects:



I hope that last bit means I'm getting lots more nookie this year...=)

By the way, am I the only one who thinks there's something very wrong about sandwiching a pic of my niece between 2 vulgar and profane posts? Not that I'm gonna do anything about it; just wondering...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:57 PM |
 

Yesterday (which is still today back in California) is my nephew Jadon's 1st birthday! Happy Birthday, ya little rugrat! Yahoo Photos doesn't allow links to pics stored on their site, so I still can't post a photo of him. But underneath his rugged yet boyish exterior lies a destructive force of nature =)

Here's a fantastic photo of my niece Jessie discovering a pine cone in the local park. She rocks my world!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:53 AM |
 

Happy Chinese New Year! We're getting evicted!!!

Yeah, that's right. On the first day of the year, this supposedly very lucky year of the monkey, Nicha and I were informed that we are getting our asses thrown out of our condo. Nice, eh?

Last night, we got a call from the lady who owns the unit. A mere 13 months after she wrangled a verbal committment from us that we'd rent from her for at least 2 years so she wouldn't have to deal with a vacant unit, the owner decides to give us the boot because her daughter is coming back from the states and wants the place. Is it just me, or does it strike me as a common courtesy to wait 24 measly hours?!? On the frickin' new year for crissakes! Lucky year, my monkey-spanking ass!!

Nicha and I have about 3 months before we need to vacate, but that didn't stop us from scouring the net and the classifieds and making a flurry of calls at 10 pm last night looking for leads on decent rentals. Not a tragedy, but still a major fucking inconvenience.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:05 AM |


Monday, January 12, 2004  

Those who have been following my exploits these past few years know that I spent most of 2002 unemployed, and generally loving it. I had come off a grueling year and a half in banking, had a fat severance package, and wanted to recharge my batteries for a while (10 months, it turned out) before I started looking for a job again. In that time, I learned how to sail both small keel boats and large yachts.

During one of my trips to Thailand to spend time with Nicha (when I was still living in Hong Kong), I decided to make a mid-week day jaunt down to beach resort Pattaya with a friend to squeeze in a bit of sailing. It was tricky for two reasons: 1) I wasn't used to launching off of shallow beach front, and 2) I was sailing a small racing boat known as a Laser, a model of boat I neither was familiar with, nor knew how to sail. Well, in a nutshell, I spent the next hour capsizing the boat like crazy, and the 4th time, I completely flipped the boat. As I was tossed up into the air and down into the water, I could feel my wedding ring slip off my finger and plunge into the water. After making a few quick frantic dives, I realized that less than a year into my marriage, I lost my wedding ring. Not only was the ring a symbol of my love and commitment to the woman of my dreams, but that sucker cost 500 bucks!! (Insensitive bastard? Who me?!?) To add insult to injury, I broke the boat in 3 places, setting me back a few hundred bucks more. And for the final kick in the crotch, the price of white gold had significantly appreciated over the course of the year, so it wound up costing us 1,000 bucks to replace the ring. I won't go into too much detail as to how I felt and how Nicha reacted. Not pretty...

Anyways, this afternoon, I was riding down the elevator to head over to a client meeting when I realized that my (replacement) wedding ring wasn't on my finger. I raced back up to the office to see if it was around my desk. When I didn't find it, I headed over to the men's room, thinking that maybe it slipped off when I washed my hands a few minutes earlier. Not there! I was beginning to panic. I kept thinking to myself, "What kind of utter dumbshit loses TWO wedding rings in his first TWO years of marriage? And why am I that godforsaken dumbshit?!?"

I managed to calm myself down, and started to rummage through my computer bag, thinking perhaps it might have slipped off as I was packing my computer and notes for the meeting. Eureka!! There it was, wedged underneath my mouse. Man, how ironic would that have been to lose yet another ring on the second anniversary of one of our wedding recptions?

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:53 PM |
 

Today is the 2nd Anniversary of Nicha's and my Irvine wedding reception, so here are some pictures of that blessed occasion:



posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:05 PM |


Friday, January 09, 2004  

Here's some completely random crap (as promised in the title of my blog):

1. I very nearly got to eat at a restaurant (recommended by Lynn) that serves crocodile burger. I want so badly to try it out, since the last time I had a chance to eat crocodile was at Navy Pier in Chicago about 5 years ago. However, at the last minute, the group I was dining with opted to eat at Cabbages & Condoms instead. For those not familiar with this restaurant, it is an excellent Thai restaurant decorated with condoms from around the world (they even hand out free condoms in lieu of mints). Proceeds from the restaurant support its parent organization, the family planning non-government organization Population and Community Development Association. We even bumped into and chatted with PDA chairman Mechai Viravaidya, the former member of parliament who spearheaded Thailand's condom use and safe-sex campaigns that is largely responsible for stemming the country's AIDS epidemic in the 80s (he's so closely-identified with this cause that he is referred to as Thailand's Mr. Condom, and the Thai word for condom is affectionally known as a "mechai"). He's also the former head of the Thai branch of the WWF (Worldwide Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation!). However, none of this changes the fact that I didn't get to eat crocodile =(. Maybe next week...

2. I am generally a politically apathetic creature. I voted on the Republican ticket in 1988 and 1992, but haven't voted since. But I have to say that the current political situation disturbs and disgusts me. Our economy and our standing as the world's peace broker are in the crapper, while Bush and his cronies run their fiefdom to the benefit of their personal and corporate interests at the expense of middle America, the poor and indigent, our good, self-sacrificing, and honorable fighting men and women placed in harm's way by cowardly political hacks & robber barons, and the citizens of the world who deserve better from the world's sole superpower. This year I've decided to emerge from my political cave and register as a Democrat. While I would have rather had General Wesley Clark as the Democratic candidate, I will take Howard Dean over King George anyday. I've also been reading a lot of decidedly left-of-center literature, including Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" and Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country" and "Stupid White Men...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation". These books are scathingly and exceedingly witty/funny, whose coverage of conservative antics makes me shake my head in disappointment and revulsion at what America suffers for leadership. One comment by Al Franken was particularly insightful: liberals love America like a spouse or loving partner; they constructively criticize America because they want the person (or in this analogy, the country) they love to improve and grow for the better. Conservatives, however, love their country like a 4-year old child loves its mother; anyone who criticizes mommy is a bad bad evil boogey monster. Despite this rant, I'm not a rabid left-winger by any means. I abhor, loathe, and despise (enough synonyms for you?) extremists on either end of the political spectrum. I was impressed with Clinton's effectiveness as a middle-of-the-roader (Michael Moore dubs him "the best Republican president America has ever had"), and my current sentiment is a reaction of Bush & Co. steering the country dangerously far to the right. Sadly enough, I could have probably substituted "Thailand" for "America" in this last paragraph. Thai politics and the way it parrots the worst of American politics saddens me. Ok, that was my once-in-a-millenia politcal rant. How cathartic...not.

3. I'm in my college acapella mode again. There are about 5-10 schools with groups from whom I regularly purchase albums and listen to constantly when I get into this mode. Groups from Tufts, Smith, USC, and Stanford (ack!) are among my favorites. One of my favorite musical genres (I even attended the collegiate championships in 2001 when I was working in New York), college acapella cover versions of chart hits have introduced me to artists I would have never otherwise listened to on my own. I was introduced to such favorite bands as Tonic and Toad the Wet Sprocket through college acapella. I've very recently been playing & replaying a fantastic rendition of Joydrop's "Beautiful" by the USC Sirens (I'm a sucker for sexy female singing voices =). I started tracking down as many of Joydrop's songs as I can find; this is a band I expect I'll be listening to often from now on.

4. I've also been listening to a lot of Richard Cheese and his band, Lounge Against the Machine. Picture if you will the archetypical Las Vegas lounge singer, complete with wide lapels, tickling the ivories, voice warbling and rambling away into the wee, drunken hours. Now imagine that same Vegas lounge lizard crooning away to the classic stylings of Britney Spears' "Crazy", Linkin Park's "One Step Closer", Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher", Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back", Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up", Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf", and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax". That's Dick Cheese! This guy rocks!!

5. Since we're on a Vegas train of thought, let me tell you about a book I just read. "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" by Ben Mezrich is a true story about a team of M.I.T. card sharps who develop a team-play system of black jack card counting, and made a ton of money in the process. It's a fascinating and educational look into the world of card counting and the back office operations of Vegas casino security. It's added some much welcome color to my September Vegas trip and repeated viewings of "Ocean's 11" (remake). Whether you're a Vegas junkie, a math geek, or a fan of thrillers, I would recommend this book.

6. Another book I enjoyed finishing is "The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars" by Jol Glenn Brenner. I'm a big fan of reading corporate histories, and studying the impact that certain companies have on the development of not only the corporate landscape, but also on society at large. Chocolate is without a doubt one of the most pervasive foods globally, uniquely crossing over borders and cultural/regional palates. What is amazing is that while Mars & Hershey's are among two of the largest confectionary/food companies in America if not the world, almost nothing is known about their histories and inner workings. The author spent several years digging into both companies, even getting unprecedented access to both companies (being one of only 2 or 3 journalists ever to get interviews with Mars executives over its nearly 100-year history). It shouldn't come as a surprise that having gone through an entire history of chocolate, I've picked up the habit of scarfing down 2 Snickers bars a day (uuuhhhh...Sniiiickeeersssss. Yuuuummmm). This book makes it one of about a dozen books I've read in recent years on the history of companies and commerce, and every time I finish one, I start toying around with the idea of going back to school to get a PhD in history. Not many people know that my dream job would be to teach history at a university, especially one with an undergraduate department in business or commerce. Courses in the history of commerce, economics, and the Industrial Revolution that I took at Berkeley have greatly shaped my philosophy and views towards global commerce, and I would love to pass on a social, historical & ethical framework to the next generations of business leaders. I'm also still thinking about writing that book on the history of Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, thinking about it is all I ever do. Lardass.

7. And speaking of sitting on my ass, I've got 10 days to finish putting my next Thammasat University lecture together, and I couldn't be more stressed about it if I tried. I've been making progress these last few days, but I'm worried that I won't have enough material to cover a 3-hour lecture. I am lecturing on financing an e-commerce start-up, so it will be about the venture capital process and a brief overview about putting together a business plan. It's one of those topics that you either cover at a high level in about an hour or 2, or you go into detail for a day-long training session. It's hard to do something in between. And I don't know if I have time to do another case study. What should I do for the rest of the time? Song & dance? Pantomime? A little stand-up, perhaps? Ugh.

8. The Bangkok Post's Friday entertainment and style section had an article profiling 14 of the coolest pubs and jazz clubs in town (the popular places where expats and trendy Thais chill), and I discovered that I've been to or occasionally haunt half of them. Should I be pleased that I am a young enough hipster to have been to 7 of them, or grouchy and bitter that I have gotten so old that I haven't been to 7 of them?

9. I gotta go pee.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:32 PM |
 

As much of a Lord of the Rings fan as I am, this is a wee bit too much for my fragile brain to handle: Arwen & Aragorn-themed Barbie & Ken dolls.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:16 AM |


Wednesday, January 07, 2004  

The holiday sure flew by, didn't it? I had an oh-so-brief respite from being the major stress-monkey that I am, but now I'm back to "fully fledged freaking out mode." Yippee.

I had a day off for Christmas, but Nicha didn't, so I spent my day off catching up on work at home. We pretty much worked through New Year's Eve before we could take a break, and what a busy week that was. Juggling the 3 or 4 projects I have at work are fine, but with December being a perfect time to holiday in Thailand, I had a whole gaggle of different friends in town. Yes, maintaining an active social calendar is tough work!! I missed a chance to see my 1st-year business school roommate Graeme, who came down with a nasty case of food poisoning the night before we were going to go out for dinner and brews, but was fortunate to meet up with another business school classmate Tom after the new year at the tail end of his Asian vacation. It was great to sit down for dinner with him, since I hadn't seen him since graduation 4 and half years ago. It was also a chance for him to meet Nicha, and for me to meet his wife Kristen. We were also joined by Teerin, another of our section-mates.

My friends Cherry and Jeff were also passing through town before the new year. Cherry and I go way back, all the way to our snot-nosed-kids days in New Jersey. That the two of us (with my brother Pete in the middle), no doubt playing "cops & robbers" or "special forces tracking down an Iraqi dictator who had nothing to do with a crazy Saudi-backed Afgani fundamentalist group." We grew up together in Southern California, with most of her cousins also being childhood friends of mine (her aunt is my mom's best friend and nursing school classmate). I lost touch with Cherry when I was around 13 or 14, and didn't see her again until we both wound up at Berkeley, where we became fast friends again. Like Cherry and I, Jeff is also Thai-American, and he and Cherry hooked up at Cal, marrying soon after. Cherry is among the teeny tiny handful of people from my undergrad days I still manage to keep in touch with, even though we only get to see each other every 2 or 3 years. I was pretty psyched that she and Jeff were visiting, and Nicha and I had a great dinner with them, their two friends (also from Cal), her cousin, and her aunt. Sadly enough, both Cherry and Jeff each came down with cases of food poisoning at different points during their vacation, and each spent brief stints in the hospital. Ironic, since they're both Thai and are accustomed to Thai food (though in all fairness, they haven't been back in 20-odd years, and we have all sorts of intestinal nasties here!).

New years was a tame but enjoyable experience. Every new year, my mom's cousins throw a big new years party, full of great food and fun & games. I never really get a chance to spend much time with family throughout the year, so I make it a point to attend, and have done so for about 7 or 8 of them in the past 10 years. We headed home early, since we were at the party after a full day of work, and would be spending the next day with Nicha's parents. It still came as no surprise to get a 1 am SMS from my 2nd-year business school roommate Pathom asking us to join him at the bars & rave clubs in Patpong, Bangkok's red light district. Pass! We did the Bangkok New Year's Countdown in the major shopping district the previous year, and that was almost too much for this old fart to handle. Perhaps in my mid's 20s, I would have been drunk off my ass whoopping it up ion the streets, but I'm approaching my mid-30s for crissakes! Nowadays, just give me a beer and a good DVD, and I'm a self-contained party!

On Friday, the real vacation began. Nicha and I piled into a car with 3 of my friends, and we headed a few hours south to Pranburi to crash on the beach. I originally thought we were going to rent some ratty little bungalow on a private beach where we would just veg out on lawn chairs, but we actually wound up going high-end. We stayed at the Praseban Resort, which was very nice, but certainly not posh enough to warrant the $160 we shelled out for each of the two nights we were down there. But it sure was nice to get away from it all! Though it is apparent that the secluded stretch of beach we were on won't remain that secluded once local property development shifts into high speed, for the purposes of our trip, it was wonderfully distraction-free. The resort has 16 very nicely designed (in a Thai-Balinese style) villas with comfortable balconies and pool-side chairs. Nicha and I did ton's of reading (mostly work-related, ugh!), chatted away with our friends, and ate lots of seafood.

We also had a chance to visit the resort Aleenta just up the road. Aleenta was started by a friend of mine Anchalika (pronounced like "Angelica", definitely one of the cooler Thai names I've come across!), and has been reasonably successful in the year or so since its launch. Several of my friends have already visited (including the forementioned Pathom, Cherry, and Jeff), and it was where David Beckham and his Spice tart stayed during their recent visit to Thailand. A bit pricier that Praseban, but man are the villas nice! Anchalika has always struck me as an incredibly elegant and cosmopolitan individual, and it really shows in the layout, styling, ambiance, and decor of her resort. Very very classy indeed.

Here's what the Far Eastern Economic Review had to say about the place: "Discerning travellers no longer want monstrous and busy lobbies"...Take the Aleenta Resort, where the owner has created her "ideal beach house," free of phones and other distractions...It's all truly individual and the scale...size, or the lack of, does not necessarily define hip or "highly individual places," term made famous by Herbert Ypma in his Hip Hotels guidebooks. Location and design are also integral. Aleenta is Thai in context (traditional squid boats glow on the horizon at sunset) but free of Thai cliches. The thatched roofing and frangipani blossoms give a Pacific feel; the rendered white concrete adds a touch of the Mediterranean; the main infinity-edge pool has the feel of a Greek isle. A few steps away, an open-kitchen restaurant... completing the synthesis of Thai and international design...(with) the philosophy - small, stylish and personalized, Aleenta reinterprets the Thai beach aesthetic.

The resort also has 2 beach front houses for rent just up the road, which are absolutely gorgeous and perfect for goups of 6-8. Nicha was tempted to cancel our rooms at Praseban and crash at one of the houses, but I was too lazy to repack and unpack for just one night. I didn't realize that we were actually going to be vacationing in Pranburi (I thought we were going to be in the resort town of Hua Hin, 30 km away), otherwise I would have called Anchalika and gotten a discount. Oh, well, there's always next time.

Traffic coming back was surprising good, considering we were at the end of the 4-day weekend and were taking the only major road between Bangkok and the southern provinces. Nicha spent the rest of Sunday afternoon cleaning house while I (being a lazy bastard) took a nap, before we met up with Tom, Kristen, and Teerin for our last bit of holiday before starting 2004's grind.

And what a grind it's been. Just 3 work days into the new year, and I'm getting my rump roasted. Trying to catch up on all the work I should have done during my break but didn't. I know that any day now all of my clients are gonna come calling, and I'll be empty-handed. I also have one last lecture to deliver for my undergraduate e-commerce class in another week and a half. The topic is financing e-commerce start-ups, so I've been scrambling to gather source materials on the venture capital process and writing business plans. I'll be spending the weekend and most evenings next week putting together a pretty Powerpoint presentation.

I'm hoping to free up a bit of time soon, since "Master and Commander" just opened up here, and I want to see it before it gets pulled from the theaters. I also just bought the VCD for "8 Mile", which I've been meening to see, but just never got around to seeing. I need another vacation...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:55 PM |


Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

Think the term "metrosexual" is a wee bit over-used? You're not alone. The guy who coined it agrees, and even apologized for it:
_____________________________________________

Man Blamed for the 'Metrosexual' Says 'Sorry' - and Outs Himself As 'Lesbosexual'
Tuesday November 18, 4:35 pm ET

BINGHAMTON, N.Y., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- British writer Mark Simpson, credited by the New York Times for fathering the 'metrosexual' -- the moisturised, image-conscious male the global media has gone ga-ga for in recent months -- has apologised.

"I had no idea what I was starting," he said, speaking exclusively from his home in London, England. "If I'd known that metrosexuals would take over the world and make everyone wear fake tan and use glutinous hair care products I would have written about baseball instead."

In the last year, literally hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV items on 'metrosexuals' have appeared around the globe. Several well-known men have 'outed' themselves as metrosexual, including Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean (though he seems to have gone back in the 'metrocloset' shortly afterwards). This Summer's biggest hit TV series was Bravo's metrosexual makeover programme QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY.

Metrosexuality has even conquered Middle America -- in a recent hilarious episode of SOUTH PARK, all the town's males turn metrosexual after watching an episode of QUEER EYE.

Although Simpson first wrote about metrosexuals in UK national newspaper the INDEPENDENT back in 1994, the current wave of what he dubs 'metrosexmania' began after he formally introduced the term to the US with his famous article 'Meet the metrosexual' on Salon.com in July of last year, in which he cited British soccer star David Beckham as the poster-boy of metrosexuality.

Here is Simpson's pithy definition from that article: 'The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis -- because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they're pretty much everywhere.'

"After 'Meet the metrosexual' aired on Salon," says Simpson, "metrosexuality went from being a visually to a textually transmitted disease -- the word seems to have become even more popular than the phenomenon it describes." There are now over 24,000 Google hits for the term.

'Meet the metrosexual' was adapted from Simpson's 2002 collection of sharply satirical essays SEX TERROR: EROTIC MISADVENTURES IN POP CULTURE (Harrington Park Press), which has just been rush-reprinted. Revised and updated, it now includes Simpson's bemused response to the extraordinary fame of what he calls his 'Frankenstein monster with perfect skin terrorising and sashaying the globe," his thoughts on the way that his satire has turned into seriously hard sell -- and why the mainstream, marketing version of the metrosexual is always sold as being 'straight'.

The gay daddy of the metrosexual also makes a startling confession in SEX TERROR: "Clearly I display some of the symptoms of male vanity, but I'm a rather bad metrosexual.

"As my penchant for man-made fibre-rich sportswear and white socks would suggest, I'm more of a 'lesbosexual'. I may not be straight, but the gay 'Fab Five' would nevertheless have a hissy fit over my wardrobe. If I was stupid enough to let them into my house. Yes, I go to the gym -- but only because it's the only club that will let me in in my lesbianwear."

Other Simpsonisms from SEX TERROR to mention at dinner parties:

Metrosexmania: the media's insatiable craving for metrosexuals

Retrosexual: A man who refuses to pluck his eyebrows or use hair products

Lesbosexual: A non-stylish gay man

Metrocloset: A metrosexual who is in denial

HotSex: Sex as a form of conspicuous consumption: recreational rather than reproductive. "In a world of HotSex", says Simpson, "the back bottom is the new front bottom"

New Naff: Contemporary compulsory - and very, very conventional - 'good taste' and 'style' (see also QUEER EYE)

Weber-ism: The dominant photographic signature of metrosexuality (see also Abercrombie & Fitch)

Homoheteros: Hetero men who may or may not be metrosexual but nevertheless avidly consume what Simpson calls 'gay porn for straight men' such as Guy Ritchie movies, Eminem lyrics and prison rape cable shows like OZ.

Rapismo: Hip hop gender politics


Also in SEX TERROR: Simpson is cruised by 'Galen' from PLANET OF THE APES, goes on a disastrous date with a Hollywood divorcee who isn't Liza Minelli, gets worked up with Alexis Arquette over Stephen Baldwin's bubble butt, 'outs' Brad Pitt as a one-night stand that won't leave and -- very gingerly -- confronts Henry Rollins with those 'gay' rumours.

For more information on Mark Simpson, metrosexuals and SEX TERROR visit: www.marksimpson.com

ABOUT MARK SIMPSON

Simpson is the author of several critically-acclaimed books, including MALE IMPERSONATORS, IT'S A QUEER WORLD, ANTI-GAY, THE QUEEN IS DEAD (with Steven Zeeland) and SAINT MORRISSEY. He also appears to have been an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's manic cameo appearance in the movie SLEEP WITH ME as a party guest obsessed with the homoerotics of the classic Eighties blockbuster TOP GUN.

(Thanks to Greengrl for the link)

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