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Leaping WORMS

In the latter part of the 1990s, Clint Gonzales Catalan started W.O.R.M.S. (Wearing One Really Makes Sense), a line of hand sewn/hand painted bags with its trademark “spikes” for guys and girls of the punk rock generation. The pink market is a big market for him.

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While finishing his advertising degree in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of the University of Santo Tomas sometime in the latter part of the 1990s, Clint Gonzales Catalan started W.O.R.M.S. (Wearing One Really Makes Sense), a line of hand sewn/hand painted bags with its trademark “spikes” for guys and girls of the punk rock generation.

“It started out as a hobby for me, then friends got interested, and soon enough, I was participating in school fashion shows and trade bazaars,” Catalan recalls.  “It came naturally for me as a visual artist, to create artworks, but since I’m inclined more into fashion, I combined both to create functional / wearable art.  I would stylize (by painting and embellishing) my own stuff, and people would notice them and would like to have one for themselves.  I found a demand for it, so I pursued this kind of business, and which I enjoyed doing at the same time.”

Initially based at home in the province of Laguna, Catalan eventually moved W.O.R.M.S. to Pasig City, with consignments all over Metro Manila, e.g. The Cubicle ( Pasig City ), FaRT (Kamuning, Quezon City), and I Love You Store and Pablo Gallery (both in Cubao Expo, also in Quezon City); and then in Haftig (Tacloban City). He also joined expos/bazaars/et cetera

Looking back, Catalan says it’s now hard to ascertain how much he just spent when he started, considering that “I made my stuff from discarded items and scraps of cloth – call it recycling, if you will, but I rarely bought raw materials except when clients wanted a specific fabric to go with a specific design,” he says. With the growth of the business, though, Catalan can recall putting in “around P10,000” to further push the business forward, especially since “I’m now pursuing the ready to wear (RTW) and couture line in a smaller scale.”

SECOND NATURE

Designing is second nature to Catalan, actually. This nominee for best production design for the Luna Awards, Gawad Urian, and Golden Screen Awards, already held numerous art exhibitions, including Boxed in Big Sky Mind (E. Rodriguez, Quezon City); Comfort Zone in Club Government (Makati City); Shoe Show sa Shaw in the Store for All seasons (Mandaluying City); and Thorns Among the Roses in The Cubicle Art Gallery (Pasig City).

Among others, he served as a production designer of Gaby’s Extra-Ordinary Files (ABS-CBN 2), Ka Pete Na! – Totally Outrageous Behavior (ABS-CBN 2), Gee-gee at Waterina (Big Apple Productions), Ikaw Lamang (Giant Sponge Productions), 22nd Star Awards for Philippine Movies (ARG Productions), Pinoy Out of the Box (Mandata Corporation), Rock da Vote (ABS-CBN), and MONA: Singapore Escort (Bandit Productions).

Catalan also served as wardrobe consultant of Room 213 (Viva Films and Kino Art Productions); art director for Tambolista (Cinema One Originals); associate art director of MEMO Magazine; and contributing stylist of MetroHim.

HARD WORK

Interestingly, even though Catalan says return on his investments came after only approximately six months, things weren’t always easy. At first, “I had to do everything by myself – cutting, sewing, painting, marketing, selling – the works,” he says. But now, even if he still has the final say on the designs, he is now “able to have people to do a bit of (the tasks for me).”

A large part of his success he credits to his being gay.

“No, it hasn’t been hard (for me, as a gay guy, to) start a business. People trust designers especially when they’re gay because they can tell that ‘us’ people are creative and ingenious,” he says, adding that being gay has even entered his designs, with the use of gay lingo in some of his prints.

The “dash of gay-ness” is but part of what makes W.O.R.M.S. unique, though, as Catalan also draws inspiration from music, as he did when he just started (“What I listen to at the moment maybe always translated into my designs,” he says); and by graffiti, which “I currently incorporate in my shirt designs with (that) dash of gay-ness.”

Drawing on being gay is easier now, says Catalan, largely because “at least now, gays are not typecasted as weak and sissy-like (as we used to be, and are now seen as) strong and serious people too, and we mean business,” he says. “We now have a voice, and we can say what we want.”

This is why gay entrepreneurs should “keep on dreaming and doing what it takes to get it, and I mean, you REALLY have to want ‘IT’ while being fabulous,” Catalan says.

For more information, call (632) 6416700, or 9195848808; or email clintworm4ever@yahoo.com.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.

Health & Wellness

Sexual minority men who smoke report worse mental health, more frequent substance use

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

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Photo by Dominik Kempf from Unsplash.com

Cigarette smoking is associated with frequent substance use and poor behavioral and physical health in sexual and gender minority populations, according to Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, examined tobacco use by sexual minority men and transgender women to better understand the relationships between smoking, substance use and mental, psychosocial and general health.

The researchers, who are part of the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, surveyed 665 racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sexual minority men and transgender women, 70 percent of whom reported smoking cigarettes.

They found that smoking was associated with participants’ race/ethnicity, marijuana and alcohol use and mental health. Current smokers were more likely to be white and reported more days of marijuana use in the past month. The study also found that current smoking was associated with more severe anxiety symptoms and more frequent alcohol use.

“Evidence also tells us that smoking is associated with worse mental health and increased substance use, but we don’t know how these conditions are related to each other, exacerbating and mutually reinforcing their effects,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s senior author.

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

“Our findings underscore the importance of holistic approaches to tobacco treatment that account for psychosocial drivers of substance use and that address the complex relationships between mental health and use of substances like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana,” said Caleb LoSchiavo, a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s first author.

The study recommends further research examining the social determinants of disparities in substance use among marginalized populations and how interpersonal and systemic stressors contribute to poorer physical and mental health for minority populations.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Bringing your employer to rights over workplace health and safety

As LGBTQIA people often find barriers to gainful employment and legal recourse, they will find workplace conditions even more unsafe than the average person. However, legal protections are changing, and workers can now bring their rights against their employers.

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Workplaces in the Philippines are often not safe to work in. A study conducted in 2016 by the British Medical Journal found that workplace injury was prevalent nationally in the Philippines, rather than just being outlying incidents and errors on a small scale.

As LGBTQIA people often find barriers to gainful employment and legal recourse, they will find workplace conditions even more unsafe than the average person. However, legal protections are changing, and workers can now bring their rights against their employers.

How the law has changed

A big turning point in workplace health and safety protections came up in 2018, and is now starting to be implemented. As highlighted by the WHO, the Occupational Safety And Health Standards Act brings with it a raft of protections to help the workplace be far safer. What comes hand in hand with this is an enriched legal environment.

American legal experts JJS Justice note that government protections are only as good as their enforcement, and it’s the job of national attorneys to ensure people are well represented. Increasingly, this is becoming a reality for Filipinos – even for the historically under-represented LGBTQIA community.

Improved legal environment

Legal representation is slowly becoming a good news story for LGBTQIA people in the Philippines. 2017 saw the meteoric rise of Geraldine Roman, and her trendsetting has seen a far greater level of protection afforded, legally speaking, to those who could not access legal help due to societal pressure.

Legal advocates and help are starting to take the issues presented by LGBTQIA people in the Philippines seriously, even if the government and administration do not. International trends are starting to indicate that the country is taking this, and workplace protections, seriously.

International recognition

It can sometimes be a good yardstick as to the quality of a country’s legal protections to see how the international community perceive them. The Philippines recently received the Safe Travels stamp from a major international tourism body in recognition of improved safety standards all over the country. With international bodies likely to only recognize international levels of good work being done, this is encouraging in the overall push for better workplace standards.

Keeping this push going is important to improving working lives for everyone. This includes LGBTQIA people, who have historically faced discrimination in employment. As one workplace improves, so do all – and that’s a good thing.

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Health & Wellness

Notable percentage of trans men who have sex with men never got tested for HIV, bacterial and viral STIs

When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

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When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

In “Sociodemographic and behavioural factors associated with testing for HIV and STIs in a US nationwide sample of transgender men who have sex with men” – done by Nadav Antebi-Gruszka, Ali J. Talan, Sari L. Reisner and Jonathon Rendina, and published in BMJ Journals – researchers tried to examine HIV and STI testing prevalence among TMSM along with the factors associated with testing in a diverse sample of TMSM. They used data from a cross-sectional online convenience sample of 192 TMSM, analyzed using multivariable binary logistic regression models to examine the association between sociodemographic and behavioral factors and lifetime testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs, as well as past year testing for HIV.

The researchers found that more than two-thirds of TMSM reported lifetime testing for HIV (71.4%), bacterial STIs (66.7%), and viral STIs (70.8%), and 60.9% had received HIV testing in the past year. Engaging in condomless anal sex with a casual partner whose HIV status is different or unknown and having fewer than two casual partners in the past six months were related to lower odds of lifetime HIV, bacterial STI, viral STI and past year HIV testing.

Being younger in age was related to lower probability of testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs.

The domiciles of the TMSM also affected their health-seeking behaviors. In this study, those residing in the South of the US were less likely to be tested for HIV and viral STIs in their lifetime, and for HIV in the past year.

Finally, lower odds of lifetime testing for viral STIs was found among TMSM who reported no drug use in the past six months.

According to the researchers, these findings indicate that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs, though at rates only somewhat lower than among cisgender MSM despite similar patterns of risk behavior.

They recommend for “efforts to increase HIV/STI testing among TMSM, especially among those who engage in condomless anal sex.”

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Health & Wellness

People with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder show brain similarities, differences

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders.

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Photo by Joe deSousa from Unsplash.com

A new UCLA study shows partially overlapping patterns of brain function in people with anorexia nervosa and those with body dysmorphic disorder, a related psychiatric condition characterized by misperception that particular physical characteristics are defective.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, found that abnormalities in brain function are related to severity of symptoms in both disorders, and may be useful in developing new treatment methods.

The results reinforce the understanding that eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. “These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders,” says Dr. Wesley Kerr, neurology resident and biostatistics researcher at UCLA.

For the study, the researchers recruited 64 female participants: 20 with anorexia nervosa, 23 with body dysmorphic disorder, and 21 healthy controls. Patients with anorexia nervosa have a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight, leading them to eat very little. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by obsessions with a particular body part or a perceived flaw rather than with weight.

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look.

Participants were shown images of male and female bodies while researchers observed their brain activity via MRI. Three types of images were used: normal photos, “low spatial frequency” (LSF) images, which had details blurred out, and “high spatial frequency” (HSF) images, in which the edges and details were accentuated.

Functional MRI is a brain imaging technique that detects the blood flow within the brain, allowing researchers to see which parts of the brain are active while a person is doing various tasks. It can also be used to understand what brain regions’ activities are in sync with each other; that is, “connected.”

Each of the women performed a “matching” task while inside the MRI scanner. On the top of the screen, the person would see an image of a body, and would have to choose the matching body from two images shown on the bottom of the screen.

While viewing the images that differed from those of healthy individuals, people with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD showed patterns of activity and connectivity in visual and parietal brain networks. These abnormalities in activity were different in BDD and anorexia nervosa, whereas the connectivity abnormalities were largely similar. The more severe the symptoms, the more pronounced the pattern of brain activity and connectivity when the images were viewed, particularly for the LSF images. Further, connectivity and activity abnormalities were associated with how the participants judged the appearance and body weight of the individuals in the photos.

What the researchers saw indicated that while the brains of patients with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD abnormally process images with high, low, or normal levels of detail, the abnormalities for low level of detail, that is “low spatial frequency” images, have the most direct relationships to symptom severity and body perception. The results may help researchers understand the underlying neurobiology that leads to the characteristic body image distortions in both cases.

“This gives us a clearer picture of neurological basis for what is one disorder, what is the other, and what characteristics they share,” said Dr. Jamie Feusner, senior author and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

A next step for the research will be to see whether, with existing psychotherapy and medication treatments, the brain activity in patients begins to normalize, or else changes in a different way to compensate for underlying abnormalities.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Things only old-school Pac-Man fans will appreciate

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

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Pac-Man is one video game that has been around for the longest time. In fact, this game was released back in the 80s and has managed to stand the test of time. In fact, Pac-Man is actually one of the top-grossing game franchises of all time.

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

Below, we list some of the things that old school Pac-Man fans will appreciate about the game. Enjoy!

Pac-Man Was The First Game With Major Merchandise

We guess that when Pac-Man was first released, it was at a time when mainstream media had just started realizing the power of merchandising. Thus, a lot of products were made that carried the game logo or character on the packaging. This increased sales astoundingly. As a result, Pac-Man became popular amongst all people of all ages.

The Pac-Man Cartoon Was Pretty Good In Its Day

The Pac-Man cartoon was made as a spin-off to the video game. While many cartoons like these seemed to fail, that didn’t happen with Pac-Man. In fact, back in the day, Pac-Man was a really pretty cool cartoon.

Pac-Man Fever Was A Huge Hit

Pac-Man Fever is the soundtrack album of the game that was released on cassette, vinyl, and 8-track. The album carried a total of 8 songs that were based on video games and meilleurs jeux au casino . The album was so popular that the title track actually became a top 10 hit, and it also got featured in a few TV shows. 

Of course, the young generation may not understand it, but the album was pretty cool when it was released. It’s not surprising to see some die-hard fans of the game jamming along to some of the songs today.

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Lifestyle & Culture

How SMEs can practice more effective digital marketing

This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

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Digital marketing is the perfect way that you can get to grow and firmly establish your business.  The best thing is that there are a lot of tools that you can get to use in order to be successful. You might want to start your own fashion network, online casino and so many other lucrative businesses. This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

Improve Your SEO Skills

The best way to be able to stand out is by making sure that your business is the highest ranking on google. That way you can get to come out on top of the completion. Also, you will get to be the buyer’s first choice. Considering that the buyer will not have the time to scroll through all the pages, they will just pick from the first pages that they see on Google. 

The best part is that there are a lot of tools that you can use to achieve this.  For example, the Neil Patel Ubber suggests platform or the SEMrush Assist tool will give you all that you need to know about your competition and what you can do to outrank them.

Do Your Keyword Research

This is the most important that you will need to do to make sure that you rank. And, even if you are at the top, you should continue monitoring your pages and make sure that you are on the right track. Remember, there is a lot of competition that will be wanting to outrank you, more especial on machine a sous industry .  And, the best part is that there are tools that you can easily use for all this.

 Keep Audiences Locked In

 The best way that you can get to do this is by starting your blog. That way there will be frequent traffic on your page. Also, the blogs may be a way of getting even more people to know about your services.  Hence, research on the latest news and start uploading now.

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