Lotería Chicana at the ¡Lotería! Grill


Did you know that I write for blogging.la? Well, sort of. I haven’t written anything in a couple of weeks mainly because it is hard for me to come up with a topic at times.

However, if you want to keep track of what I write there, you can subscribe to posts I write with this RSS feed.

Also, for those of you who are in LA, perhaps you have time to come out tonight to the 3rd Annual LA Bloggers (and blog readers) get together thingy.

Place: The Farmers Market (on 3rd and Fairfax). Blogging.la folks will be near the southwest corner by the ¡Lotería! Grill, a lemonade stand and Starbucks.
Time: 6 pm ’til closing

Why? I’ll be there! Plus blogging.la will be buying beer and lemonade for folks, if you get there earlier. If you’re interested in going and want to meet up comment or send me an email. Maybe I’ll find my cell phone by then. (Gee, this is not a good week for me and technology, huh?)

Mil palabras: I miss my LifeBook

The best I could do

My Fujitsu LifeBook is gone.

This weekend while I was in Davis, something happened to input jack for the AC adapter. Even if the adapter was plugged in to the computer and in to a socket, my computer didn’t recognize that it was there. To make matters worse, my battery has a very short life and dies in about 45 minutes.

I took my laptop back to Fry’s for service. I got all chillona and stressed because the guys told me they would have to send it back to the manufacturer for service. This could take anywhere from 5 to 12 weeks. They also couldn’t just add a new battery from a LifeBook in the store because they no longer carry my model. Oh and did I mention that there are several things on my hard drive — like a lot of music, hundreds of photos and lots of school work — that I haven’t backed up in a while?

This made me stressed, and it made me feel dumb for putting off buying an external hard drive to backup everything. When I get stressed and I feel stupid, I cry. And that’s what I did at the Fry’s service counter.

I guess the middle aged man and his 20 something supervisor (who was cute and looked like he belonged in the band Inspector) felt sorry for me, especially when it was clear that I was a student and needed things on my laptop. Rather than charge me about $70 to backup my data, they did it free of charge. I also have a loaner Sony Vaio. I’m not sure I like it, mainly because of the size and because I find the keys funny.

I miss my little LifeBook. And all my music… there’s only so much you can fit on a DVD that holds 4.7 gigs.

Prefiero el Mundial en español… ¿y qué?

Mexican fans rock

For some strange reason, an editor at the LA Times gave John Ziegler, an AM radio host, space to make poorly written arguments and turn an enjoyable event like the World Cup to discuss the politics of assimilation.

Ziegler tries to draw links between watching World Cup soccer on Univision, as opposed to ABC or ESPN, and immigration from “the South” (but he really just means Mexico). He writes

THE HEART OF the debate over illegal immigration comes down to the problem of assimilation. For many of us who generally oppose the silent invasion from the south, if those who broke the law to come here acted as if their true loyalties were with the United States, then much of the fire in this highly combustible subject would be doused.

While at first glance it may seem an odd place to find enlightenment on the issue, the local TV ratings for games involving Mexico and the United States in the ongoing World Cup may provide some of the best evidence yet of where Spanish-speaking immigrants’ true loyalties lie. (for the rest)

He then goes on to make some rather lame points. First, he compares the LA broadcast ratings for the first few games Mexico and the US played. The total percentage of households that watched Mexico play in either English or Spanish was 28.1 and 19.8 for the US games. Second, the ratings for the Mexico games were much higher than those for the US games on Univision (21.7 to 11.8).

Ziegler reads these numbers and interprets them to mean that Spanish-speaking immigrants (codeword for Mexicans) have divided loyalties. I told Isa this and she said what I was thinking, “Our loyalties are not divided. They’re all for Mexico.”

Sort of. I ardently cheered for Mexico in all their games. My eyes got watery when I heard the national anthem. I was despondent when el Tri tied Angola, sad that they lost to Portugal but relieved that they advanced to the round of 16, even if it was de pansazo. I didn’t watch the US vs. Czech Republic match because I was at work. I didn’t cry when they lost 3-0 but still cringed. I cheered for the US against Italy and was glad that they tied. I watched Ghana beat the US and didn’t feel bad about it. In fact, I was glad Ghana won.

Can Ziegler be right? Does cheering for el Tri make me anti-assimilation? No. If you want to see my views on assimilation, you might want to look at other indicators. I’m definitely acculturated, but I’m wary of assimilation especially if it means giving up my mother tongue and connection to mis raíces. Still, I can’t deny the fact that I read Ziegler’s op/ed piece in an English language newspaper and am writing this post in English.

Did hoping for Ghana to win in their game gainst the US make me un-American? Nope. It just made me want to see the US not come in first in an important international competition. It’s nice to see an underdog win. By advancing to the round of 16, I’m sure the Ghanaian national team made their people much happier than a round of 16 berth would have made the US. Apparently, everything stopped in Ghana for the game, but people here barely care about the World Cup.

Ziegler may have had numbers, but he had no idea how to make sense of them. This is soccer, not a war. Watching games in Spanish is a simple personal preference.

1) Just because you watch the game on Univision does not mean you are an immigrant. Hell, I’ve watched almost every game on Univision and I was born in the US, am bilingual, and an upright citizen. Okay, I don’t know about the upright part, but I do take my civic duties seriously. But serioulsy, a lot of my Flickr buds agree with me.

2) This isn’t about assimilation or whether or not we’re becoming American. The definition of American should not be confined to cheering for the US team and watching the games in English. To me it is about sports, competition, cheering for the underdog and connecting with people. Cheering for el Tri just feels right.

3) As César (El Más Chingón) wrote in reply to CAD’s question, “real soccer fans know it’s Univision all the way.”

Have you actually watched the games in English? I fully understand both Univision and ABC/ESPN and choose Univision. Why? It’s not because I’m anti-assimilation or want to be more Mexican, it’s simply because the English language broadcasters are boring. They talk about the US as two other teams are playing. They also bring io politics which isn’t something you want to hear about when your mind is on soccer. My friends, Yousef and Mohammad, switched to Univision while watching Mexico vs. Iran because they got tired of the commentators talking about invading Iran. They don’t even speak Spanish, but it was better than ABC. I also noticed while watching Italy vs. US on Univision that ABC was delayed a few seconds. Finally, I had to watch Mexico’s games against Angola and Portugal in English because I don’t have cable TV.

Now, for the reasons I prefer Univision. I like to hear the commentators exuberantly call out “¡goooool!” I love the Coca Cola Borghetti/ice cube commercial and the fact that they show all the games. I can’t stand to hear Spanish names mispronounced and watching Mexico play while listening to the announcer speak Spanish just makes more sense.

Ziegler, it’s fútbol. Es la Copa Mundial. It should be enjoyed in whatever language helps to make the experience better. Para mi, esa idioma es español.

Girls (little or big) don’t cry

My mom had a simple way of dealing with six-year-old me whenever I decided to express my frustration and anger through streams of tears.

She would pick me up and place me in front of a mirror. My reflection showed a six-year-old mocosa breathing heavily, eyes red, face flushed and wet with salty tears. My hair looked messy and uncombed as these fits often came in the middle of getting my hair braided or arranged into tight pigtails.

“Mira que fea te ves. Cuando las niñas lloran, no se ven bonitas.”

She was right. The fresh, clean, smiley and peinada me was much cuter than this llorona. Somehow aesthetics were supposed to motivate me to be happy, content and quiet.

My mom’s words echoed this afternoon as I stared at my reflection in the hotel room mirror. A 25-year-old mocosa breathing heavily, eyes red, face flushed and wet with salty tears looked back at me.

Being pretty was the furthest thing from my mind.

Counting Backwards

In search of wild things Four years ago I dated a redhead with more freckles than Oso. We were in no way opposites, and our common music interest was one of the things that brought us together. Even then, I was still introduced to some great new music through him and my love for Prince grew even more.

The Redhead introduced me to the The Velvet Teen, a band from his hometown of Santa Rosa. (Speaking of Santa Rosa, I had a 10-minute radio on the David Glass show about the increasing cost of a UC education.) A few days after we broke up, the Velvet Teen played a show at UCLA. It was bittersweet, but I started liking the band even more.

The Redhead IM’ed me today to ask if I had any of the Velvet Teen’s music as mp3s on my computer. I did. I zipped up The Great Beast February EP & Comasynthesis EP and sent them via YouSendIt.

Four years after breaking up and moving on, I still have the music and now I’m the one sharing it with him… and you too.

The Great Beast February-Comasynthesis EP [Plus Minus Equals] (YouSendIt zip file)

Open letter revisited

With my hero

[Originally written and posted last March, but I decided to re-post because it fit the day quite nicely and not just because it is father’s day. I also went to the Raza Graduation today to see my former students graduate.]

Dear Dad,

I saw Los Lobos live for the second time last night. This time it wasn’t at the Hollywood Bowl, but on campus in Royce Hall. Can you believe that in the nearly seven years I have been at UCLA this was the first time I had ever taken advantage of the student ticket deals for events at Royce? The crowd wasn’t too different than the one at the Hollywood Bowl. There were a lot of white people and a lot of older Chicanos. It wasn’t anything like a Café Tacuba concert, but of course I didn’t expect that.

I went to the show by myself not because I couldn’t find anyone to go with, but simply because I was only able to buy one ticket. I almost didn’t go, but luckily my advisor reminded me about the concert.

I did not mind going alone. I thought I would be okay with it, and that I could enjoy the music by myself. I was wrong. I was barely able to handle the opening act, Perla Batalla. I thought about how much you and mom would have loved to hear her sing haunting renditions of classics like, “Cucurrucucú Paloma” and “El Reloj.” I felt bad to be there without you. In fact, it felt wrong to be there alone.

That feeling intensified when Los Lobos began their performance. They began with some son jarocho tunes from Veracruz. They played “Nicolás” and I wished more than anything that you could have been there to see them. I wished Danny was there to dance along to the song with me. I know that despite the fact that neither one of us has danced in over 10 years – like we used to when we were kids – our feet would remember the songs. And they did, I couldn’t stop imagining myself waving my skirt with the left hand, fanning myself with the right, and arching my back all while doing the quick zapateado.

Dad, you know what I realized for the first time ever last night? I realized the true reason why I love Los Lobos so much. It has nothing to do with their music or the way their music makes me feel. That’s all just a plus.

Simply put, the real reason I love them is because of you.

When I listen to Los Lobos or see them perform, I see you. I see a middle aged Mexican man strumming a guitar and singing classic ballads and boleros.

The Mexican thing isn’t the only thing you have in common with Los Lobos. Did you know that the members of Los Lobos met while they were students at Garfield High School in the early 1970s? Imagine if you were just a little older, you could have been a rock star too. They’re well known in the music world, but they seem to downplay that by proclaiming that they’re “just another band from East LA.” Aside from the East Los connection and similar music taste, I also see you in them because they have pansas and canas.

Last night, Los Lobos primarily stayed away from their blues-rock repertoire and focused on classic Mexican tunes. They played boleros like “Gema” and “Sabor a Mí,” as well as son jarocho, rancheras (“Cielito Lindo” and “La Pistola y el Corazón”), cumbias, blues-rock (“Saint behind the glass” and “Kiko and the lavender moon”), and songs from other Latin American countries (“Guantanamera” and “El Cuchipé”).

At one point, they sat on stools in a half-circle. They recounted a story about playing the same tunes at parties for friends and families when they were just starting out as a band. At that moment, I thought of you and was reminded of the dozens of times throughout my childhood when you did the same thing at a party or around the campfire. In my mind, I saw you, my Tío Johnny, my padrino Chaparro, Alberto M, my Tía Susana, and other former Marcianos singing “Volver, volver” or “Camino de Guanajuato” with feeling I hoped I would one day comprehend. Sometimes you just played the guitar without singing and other times you sang just as loud as the others.

He sings too

I always watched. I’d ignore the other kids telling ghost stories or playing hide-and-seek just so I could learn the songs. I wanted to be like you.

When I think of those times, I also recall the time you taught Danny and me to sing. I don’t remember what Danny sang, but I sang “Bonita finca de adobe” (I think). You taught me the meaning of the words, and strummed along. It was like that scene out of Selena. Those were great times.

Seeing Los Lobos perform last night reminded me of all those beautiful memories. They made me thankful for having a father who taught me to love the music of a country I have only visited a handful of times.

You taught me to sing, to dance (sort of, others deserve some of the credit – or blame – for this too), to love music, not to be ashamed of my mother tongue or culture, and to use my gifts. Gracias.

I wish you could have seen Los Lobos with me. You would have loved it.


Technically, summer is here

The quarter is over. A bunch of people I know are graduating or have graduated. It’s hot and sunny outside and there is no sign of June Gloom. I’m showing more skin by wearing skirts and sleeveless tops. I’ve left the tenís behind in favor of flip flop, which also means I need to ensure that my toes look cute.

I love summer, but it’s never my favorite season. I’m always so burned out at the end of the spring quarter — there have only been two years in the last eight years when I was not in school and even then spring quarter was hectic — that I end up finishing “de pansazo” como dice mi mamá.

No different this year, but soon all the stress will magically disappear (ha!) and instead of thinking about when the next paper is due, I’ll be counting down the days to a vacation or the next concert.

So far, the schedule is looking pretty damn good, and I haven’t even put in all the Dodger games I plan to attend or Copa Mundial matches I can’t wait for.

June 21-25: trip to northern California for a retreat at UC Davis
June 24: Sí*Se concert in San Francisco

July 1: Kahleah’s first birthday party
July 1: Kinky and Sidestepper at California Plaza in Downtown LA (free thanks to Grand Performances)
July 6: Belle & Sebastian with the Los Angeles Philharmonic & The Shins at the Hollywood Bowl
July 8: Julieta Venegas and Maldita Vecindad at Costa Mesa’s Pacific Amphitheater
July 9: Dodgers vs. Giants (day game! I will need sunblock…)
July 13-16: conference at UC San Diego
July 23: Dodgers vs. Cardinals
July 27: The Planets by Gustav Holst at the Hollywood Bowl (classical music!)
July 28-30: Kern River camping trip (but I might stay in LA for a wedding)

August 1: Manu Chao at the Shrine Auditorium, LA
August 3-7: trip to Guanajuato!
August 9: Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride Band & Joshua Redman at the Hollywood Bowl (maybe)
August 17: Inti-Illimani at the Santa Monica Pier (free thanks to the Twilight Dance Series)
August 27: Gotan Project, Zero 7 featuring José González and Sia, Herbert at the Hollywood Bowl

September 17: Adrian’s 21st birthday… which means party at my house that weekend (18th)

Mexico vs. Angola

Live blogging the game

They’re chanting “culeros!” Oh, how I love Mexicans.

What’s going on here? Don’t play dirty… just play!

Rafa Márquez = swoon, but I’m not watching because the players are good looking.

Aw, Pardo had a chance… oh well.

I would do a play by play if I knew what to say. Guy in red passed it… to another guy in red.

Wouldn’t it have been cool if Angola beat Portugal? The colonized beats the former colonizer. The Fanon fan in me thinks soccer is better than violence for decolonizing.

Damn, 12 minutes in and this guy already has a yellow card?

That was close (free kick). The playback made it look just a few centimeters out.

Another foul? I think this is number 6. And now the third free kick. Let’s see if Pavel can make it. Damn.

I get a sense there’s going to be a lot of stoppage time.

The fans are signing “Cielito Lindo.” Lovely.

I wonder how much of all these injuries are (bad) acting and how many of them are real.

Tiro de esquina for Angola. These always ake me nervous.

The shots never look like they’re going to go that high until after the fact.

Free kick for Angola. Come on Oswaldo! Looks like he didn’t have to do much. It was way wide on the right.

Zinha shot… too far. I just noticed they’re wearing white today.

The Univision announcers say it helps to distinguish between the teams.

Damn. The two teams are even on fouls right now.

Was that a foul? Another free kick that doesn’t get close enough to really scaring anyone.

Nice block from Oswaldo.

I don’t think I can stand this being one of those games where the goal comes at the end.

Yikes. Tiro de esquina for Angola.

Do you hear trumpets? Do they have a mariachi there?

“Mexico está desconcentrado” according to the announcers.

It looks like it too… maybe they’ll have their concentration back after half time.

That foul on Rafa Márquez didn’t look good. And now the guy got a yellow card.

That was a tease (shot on goal).

Olé oleé olé chants… at least the fans are in it.

Half time.

Second half!

I really hope they’re coming out with some better plays. I need something to make not working on school stuff worth it.

You know what I miss? Jorge Campos’ dayglo uniform. Sánchez’s blue is okay, but the fluroescent colors add something else.

Mexico’s first tiro de esquina.

Aaaah! Okay, at least there is shooting now. With all these close calls there’s gotta be a goal.

Arellano comes in for Zinha.

I ate tamales today to be as Mexican as possible.

Straight shot to Sanchez. Damn.

Aaaah! I’m still mad about that lost opportunity. Mexico fans are going crazy.

Free kick.

Latest chant coming through? “¡Sí se puede!”

So, I’m following the stats online and it is noted that the Mexico is ranked 4 in the world by FIFA/Coca Cola and Angola is ranked 57. That doesn’t look good for Mexico struggling so much.

Issues passing?

I gotta admit, that one-handed catch by the Angolan goalkeeper was pretty good. Damn.

Bravo! You were supposed to get goal number three right there!

I hope I’m not annoying the neighbors with all the yelling over here.

Lavolpe seems to have that infamous Argentine ego.

Those free kicks… so many with no results.

Kikín is in!

Mendez can’t get in when it’s three against one.

I just realized we haven’t seen any action from Sanchez in a while. But that should be a good thing.

Those players look pissed.
“¡Sí se puede!” again.

Mano! Andre gets a red card. This should work to our advantage in these last ten minutes or so.

Cielito Lindo again 😀 That calms me down… just a little.

I didn’t scream and cry in the last shot by Kikín.

I missed that last two close calls by Marquez and Bravo because I needed a bathroom break.

Lavolpe looks like he’s about to pulls his hair out. I think I am too.

What can happen in three minutes?

A tie. Damn.
Mal partido para México. True story.

Mil palabras: bon-bon

Vanny in purple

My cousin Vanny graduates from high school today.

In her own words

So last day of high school was friday…in a way im happy and in a way im not. happy because im graduating yay! and because i know that its time to move on in life. close this chapter of life and start a new one. but sad because there is so much im going to miss. ive had some great memories in high school, nurse some that i wont ever forget. and other memories that i will never forget but wish i could. and it brings a tear to my eye to think about some of my friends that are not graduating, but hey i guess you can only blame them for that. you can say that im scared for the future..because i dont know what to expect. many people say that high school was nothing and you will have so much more fun in college, but i dont know if thats true. i guess i really wont know till i am in college. graduation day is coming up fast and this last past 4 yrs have gone really fast as well. i remember every year and now thinking about everything i did each year brings a smile to my face. because i must say i enjoyed my high school years. and on wed. when i am getting my diploma, high school will be in the past and the perfect ending to this chapter in life.

Class of 2006

i love you all for all the support and making my years in high school the greatest.

Congrats to Vanessa/Vanny/Bon-bon/Totis!

El valiente, bandaged up

Adrian, el valiente I went home Wednesday night to see Adrian. Unfortunately, I didn’t call and found that Adrian and Danny had just left to take home Adrian’s girlfriend, Cindy.

I had to wait a few hours before Adrian and Danny returned from Egypt (North Hollywood is really far from Hacienda Heights). In the mean time, I played with the dog and when my dad came home he shared more details over a dinner of left over tamales. I asked him how he dealt with those kinds of emergency calls. He answered, “it takes it toll.” Getting little bits of information at a time was tough for him. He said he wished he would have known in the first message (received past 1 a.m.) that Adrian was conscious and even making a couple of jokes as the EMT’s carried him out on the stretcher.

My dad also thought it was interesting that my tío Chuy — who reads my blog, hi tío! — knew before anyone had called. When my dad asked how tío Chuy knew, he replied “una maquinita electrónica.”

Adrian and Danny returned close to midnight. I ran and gave him a big hug. Adrian showed me the pictures he took of his cut up ear with his cell phone.


See, hearing about his ear getting cut up was one thing, but seeing the photos of all the stitches and the blood encrusted around his ear and hair was worse. Adrian says he can’t eat like a pig anymore… he actually has to chew slowly since his jaw hurts. His girlfriend, lil’ Cindy, also helped him wash the crusty blood out of his hair. Oh yeah, I can’t make too many jokes because it hurts for him to laugh.

I showed Adrian all the well wishes sent to me through this blog. He kinda liked being called “el valiente” and was pleased (as I was) that so many people had wished him well. We ate some strawberry Haagen Dazs ice cream and watched a bit of Chicken Little but didn’t get through it because we were both sleepy.

I left at 7 am the next morning feeling glad to know that Adrian is good. His face is swollen up and he looks a little like Frankenstein with the bandage, but he’s good and that’s all that matters.