This is the first edition of 5 Things Friday, a weekly, lighter edition of the newsletter featuring five fun things curated from the internet and my ADHD brain.

This week, I present to you…

5. This Monkey.

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I too want to be zipped up in a giant hoodie and just gaze around at the world like this monkey is gazing around at the world.

4. These Fake Band Names.

Every so often, Charo (my gf) or I will say a phrase in conversation that makes the other one go, “That should be the name of our band.”

I recently started documenting these fake band names, and, as an offering to you, I present some of them here:

(I really do hope someone uses these—please send me some merch, if so.)

  • A Failed Hole
  • Two Types of Cheese in a Plastic Bag
  • Roots & Tubers
  • Constant Obstacles
  • Hegemonic Mac & Cheese (<— this one literally came to me in a dream, along with the name of their debut album: A Dominant Mac & Cheese is Unforgettable)

3. This Unscientific Diagram.

Is this…helpful?

2. This Delightful TV Show.

I recently watched all 6 episodes of Jonathan Van Ness’s new Netflix series, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.”

image credit: E! Online

I, of course, had seen JVN in the show Queer Eye, where they star as an exuberant hype person-slash-hairdresser, who seems to always be “on” — always ready to shower someone with enthusiasm and refrains of, “You’re so gorgeous!”

I feel like this new show, while still effervescent, gives JVN an opportunity to show more sides of themself—namely, their curiosity, which comes through in the form of endless, relatable strings of questions about unexpected subjects.

“They have GOT to be a Gemini,” I said while watching this.

I was close: they’re a Gemini rising! (Gleaned from their AA-rated birth chart, aka a highly accurate one.)

And, as I learned, they also have a Pisces Moon, just like me—which explains a lot, because let me tell you: I did not expect to watch this show and feel like JVN’s personality was actually my personality turned inside-out.

I’m a fairly serious-seeming person in public, but a soft, playful, unfiltered, and childlike Pisces Moon in private, and while watching this show, I felt like JVN was essentially my Inner Child on display. It makes sense: their chart ruler, Mercury, is also in Pisces, so it’s co-present with their Moon, along with their exalted Venus in Pisces, all featured prominently in their 10th House, the house of the public persona.

It confronted me with the thought: Wow, someone is out here thriving, just unapologetically showing all the weird and wondrous qualities I only dare to embody in private. It all made me feel seen and called-out in the most surprising way.

Anyway, bottom line: I highly recommend this show.

Some other thoughts:

I am half-Filipino, and even though I grew up pretty disconnected from my heritage, the things I have learned about Filipino history often leave me thinking about how invisible Filipinos are to the world and especially to America.

  • In JVN’s episode about skyscrapers, they ask: “What is the history of skyscrapers? Who invented them?”

    This fun fact popped into my mind right away (this is lifted straight from Wikipedia): American architect and engineer William Le Baron Jenney visited the Philippines for three months in 1850. He noticed that during a storm, the Nipa Hut structures are very "light and flexible". It only dances and sways through the storm. This inspired him to copy the flexibility of the frame of the Nipa hut. In 1879, he built the first lighter building. And in 1884, he built the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, the first metal-framed skyscraper in United States. Because of this, he became known as "The Father of Modern American Skyscrapers", which became the model of all the modern skyscrapers in the world.

    (aka white people being unoriginal but getting all the credit for it—what’s new?)
kinda similar to the house my mom grew up in (the stilts prevent flooding during wet season)
  • JVN asks in a later episode, “Are there any cultures where nonbinary and trans people were celebrated and revered?”

    Yes, in the precolonial Philippines! (along with other indigenous cultures across the world)

To their credit, I think the show makes an effort to feature perspectives from a diversity of people, and it’s not like any of these episodes needed to include Filipinos, but moments like these—where my brain chimes in with a piece of history that I know will probably never get featured in mainstream media—these are the moments that make me think: considering that the Philippines used to be a US colony (as recently as 70-ish years ago), and considering that Filipinos comprise one of the largest Asian groups in the US (larger in size than the US’s Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese populations), we sure don’t get talked about.

(It all makes me think of this not-so-fun fact: in the early days of the pandemic, as people were talking about the disproportionate covid mortality rates of white people, Asians, Latinos, and Black people, Filipinos got lumped in with the Asian demographic, which was said to be doing “well.” In actuality, Filipinos were specifically dying at highly disproportionate rates, and were—and are still—serving as nurses on the front lines in the most dangerous units. Sorry to be a downer during this 5 Fun Things Friday, but this is just where this particular mental thread took me. It’s something I like to bring up from time to time, because I never hear it talked about. —signed, the daughter of a Filipina nurse)

1. This “Would You Rather?”

Okay, abrupt tone shift: I am going to leave you with a would-you-rather question.

(I used to be a competitive swimmer, and in college, when I had to do long workouts with the “distance” group—aka those who swam the longest events—one of my teammates and I would keep each other entertained between sets by asking each other inane questions like these.)

Inspired by my rewatching of The Umbrella Academy these past couple weeks, my question for you is…

Would you rather be able to:

  • reliably teleport but unreliably travel through time (aka you could blip from place to place no problem, but time-traveling might accidentally dump you in an unintended era)
  • OR reliably time travel but unreliably teleport (aka you could time travel with ease, but zapping yourself from place to place is dicey)?

If you respond with your answer + explanation, perchance I’ll feature your answer in next week’s newsletter!

BONUSES: For Pride Month.

Clearly, I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately, because this last bit I’ve got for you is also TV (and movie)-related.

It’s now officially Pride month, and in the spirit of rainbows and such, I would like to offer up a selection of my favorite things I've seen recently that involve queer storylines that are heartfelt, nuanced, and lovingly crafted, and in which no queer dies at the end:

  • Heartstopper (Netflix) — Charo accidentally hit play on this show and we ended up watching it to the end. See screenshots below from my personal IG a few weeks ago to understand how passionate I am about these lil’ gays
  • We Are Lady Parts (Peacock, and trust me: it's worth the $4.99 just for this) — I will never stop recommending this show. It’s about a Muslim punk band and I wish this band was real.
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once (in theaters) — not primarily a queer film, but there is a queer storyline that is nevertheless integral to the plot. I am putting it here because it is required viewing for anyone with eyes. It is—I kid you not—the best thing I have ever seen in my entire life. And I once saw footage of a small, translucent slug eating spinach. The little green bits passed mesmerizingly through its see-through head, chomp chomp chomp, over and over. This film was better than that. Go into it without reading or watching anything about it beforehand, if possible.
We Are Lady Parts, in all its glory

Gay Footnotes:

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