Monthly Archives: April 2011

This day in Chicano history: Oscar Zeta Acosta (1935)

April 8, 1935:
Oscar Zeta Acosta was born in El Paso, Texas (also known as El Chuco)

“Oscar was a wild boy. He stomped on any terra he wandered into, and many people feared him….His birthday is not noted on any calendar, and his death was barely noticed….But the hole, that he left was a big one, and nobody even tried to sew it up. He was a player. He was Big. And when he roared into your driveway at night, you knew he was bringing music, whether you wanted it or not.”
- Hunter S. Thompson in the introduction of the reissues of Oscar Zeta Acosta’s The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockroach People

Still lost on this Oscar guy?

Maybe this mini-bio from Gregg Barrios in the San Antonio Current will help:

Oscar Z. Acosta, born a Tejano in 1935 in El Chuco, grew up in California. He later became a lawyer and part of the Chicano cultural and civil-rights movimiento in the late 1960s. He ran as a Raza Unida candidate for sheriff of Los Angeles County in 1970. Despite a minuscule campaign budget, he came in second with more than 100,000 votes. His platform: Abolish the police department. [source]

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Every day is like (a Lenten) Friday

Chilaquiles by El Chavo

I gave up meat for Lent. I chose meat over sweets because the former seemed easier. I’m still eating fish, seafood and eggs, so it’s basically like every day is a Lenten Friday.

I’ve never gone so long without eating poultry or red meat. It was a bit challenging initially. I wasn’t eating enough protein and was hungry all the time. Plus, I was still training for the marathon and I worried that the change in diet might negatively affect me. It didn’t.

After the first couple of weeks, I’ve adjusted to the new diet. I miss meat, but not too much. There have only been a couple of instances when I really wanted meat. One was when I was right in front of the taco stand at my family’s fundraiser. The tacos de pollo, al pastor and carne asada smelled so good. It didn’t help that I wasn’t interested in any of the meatless options. A second was after the marathon. I really wanted a cheeseburger but settled for a salmon burger.

I miss meat more out of convenience. When I cook, I usually make something with chicken or beef. If I don’t have time to pack anything for lunch, I typically make a turkey or ham sandwich, or I grab a Trader Joe’s microwavable meal. Those usually have chicken. I’ve tried TJ’s vegetarian microwavable meals and they’re either not satisfying or just taste bad.

The best part of this has been trying out new recipes and cooking some things I love but never make (e.g., tacos de papa). Over the weekend I made El Chavo’s veggie mole. I had this at his house last year and loved it despite not caring for tofu. I followed El Chavo’s directions to a tee and my veggie mole was delicious. Sean even had seconds. [Note: the chilaquiles, soyrizo with papas and beans up there were made by El Chavo too. Very delicious. He needs to post up a recipe for the salsa he used on the chilaquiles.]

If anything, I know that giving up meat for 40 days is much easier than giving up tortillas. I dreamt about tortillas three times then, but haven’t had any dreams about cheeseburgers or tacos de pollo asado… yet.

UCLA Tri 5000 recap

Finishing up the UCLA Tri 5000 Now that I’m done with the marathon, I’m trying to figure out my next goals. I have some half marathons planned for the fall, but no other races… yet. I definitely want to get faster and beat my current records.

Since it’s been a while since my first and only 5K, I decided to give it another shot. I found a convenient race, the UCLA Tri 5000, on Sunday morning. I had two official goals and one unofficial:

  1. Beat my previous 5K record, 35:21 set at the Aztlan Indian Run in July 2009
  2. Finish under 28:30. It was a semi-arbitrary time, but also pretty close to what I’d been running 3 miles when I was trying to go “fast.”
  3. Finish under 26:26, the time I ran the first loop for the Turkey Trot 10K with Lori last fall.

I arrived at the starting line at UCLA’s Drake Stadium around 7:30. I had plenty of time to stretch and do a couple of warm-up laps around the familiar track (I did all of my track workouts during marathon training at Drake). The sun peeked out from the clouds and I was worried I’d overheat in a long-sleeve shirt. Volunteers and members of the UCLA Tri team, who were hosting the race, did an 8-clap to show their school spirit before the race announcer urged us to line up.

Promptly at 8, we started and were off the track through central campus and then to Charles E. Young Drive, the main road around campus (the course). I kept an easy pace for the first half mile as we climbed the first hill from Westwood Blvd up Young to North Campus. I ran the first mile in 9:13 and then sped up. I didn’t look at my watch much, but knew I was putting in a hard effort. At one point, I felt like throwing up, but it went away quickly. Most of the course was shady, so I didn’t get uncomfortably hot. I got some water at the first of two aid stations in Perloff Quad.

I felt good and around the Law School and passed up a couple of people. I stayed about 5 yards behind a woman in blue capris (in the picture above) for most of the race. Once back on the flatter part of campus by the business school, we were joined by an older man. He was huffing and puffing really loud. In the last mile, around Dickson Quad, I passed up the woman in blue capris, but let the man in red go ahead. As we entered Drake again, the announcer counted down to 26 minutes but I couldn’t kick fast enough to finish under 26.

I finished in 26:03. I was pretty happy with that given that I met my official goals as well as my unofficial goal.

After I caught my breath, I got a bagel and Gatorade and recapped the race with Sean. After eating and drinking a little I ran a few cool down laps. We grabbed some more snacks from the small expo, watched the awards (top 3 men and women), a few silly contests and laughed at the announcers’ unintentionally funny statements. Before I left, I checked my official time and place. I was 31st overall. I don’t think there’s even been anyone more excited to be 31st than me.

We left campus and walked down in to Westwood Village for a more substantial breakfast at Headlines (I recommend their Westwood and healthy omelets). We did some grocery shopping before Sean dropped me off on campus. I got to work catching up on some coding for job2, but I would have much rather taken a shower and followed it with a long nap.

THE STATS:
Finish time: 26:03 (splits: 9:13; 8:57; 7:53… all over the place)
Pace: 8:24
Place: 31st (!!!) overall, 80 total runners
Fuel: banana pre-race; water during the race; cinnamon raisin bagel and gatorade post-race

Passed on pranks

I’ve never been in to April Fools’ Day. I’m a really bad liar. My face always gives it away or I’ll start laughing. If I want to pull of a prank, it has to be written. I pulled off a semi-convincing prank 6 years ago, but never did anything like that again. Pranks take creativity, planning and time. I tend to procrastinate and this year was no different.

I was pretty busy on Friday with job1, job2, helping Sean move and then getting to a Dodger game in the evening. I thought of a couple joke posts, but didn’t have time to write anything until after the game. Afterward, I just posted to Twitter and Facebook.

My tweet: At the store at Dodger Stadium. Looking to buy a pink* cap. (This is my April Fools tweet.)

After the fireworks show, I posted this to FB:
Since I’ll be marrying Sean, I’ve decided to adopt his team. I’m now a Yankees fan. Goodbye Dodger blue, hello pinstripes.

I later updated my profile picture with the photo above, but I’m pretty sure no one was convinced.

As for the failed posts, I thought about announcing the creation of a new blog.

31 percent
A new blog focused on living a healthy lifestyle from a Chicana’s viewpoint. It’ll be called 31 Percent in reference to the percent of weight I lost. The new blog will be modeled on A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss and feature posts on my own weight loss story (which I rarely wrote about as I went through it), exercise and workout ideas (with a focus on running, duh), daily meals with photos, recipes, and tips for staying motivated to reach your goals.

JaMexican Wedding
Sean and I will collaborate on a wedding planning blog. We’ve both begun poking around wedding planning blogs and planning sites. They’re not too helpful since the writers’ idea of a large wedding would probably only include my family. With the rise in intermarriage rates, we also thought we’d documented the trials and tribulations of trying to incorporate two cultural traditions, hence the name, a combination of Jamaican and Mexican.

Sean talked me out of JaMexican Wedding because he said some of my readers might want to read about this and would be disappointed to find out it was a joke. Then I’d feel compelled to write wedding planning posts. As for 31 Percent, I find keeping food diaries a chore (though helpful). Taking photos of every single meal would be worse.

I’m not a fan of pink athletic or workout gear, especially when it’s replacing a team’s actual colors. Actually, I’m not much of a fan of pink in general.

On writing the future of LA

Last Tuesday I was part of a panel on digital media and blogging at Loyola Marymount University’s annual LAy of the LAnd conference. The theme for this year was “The Wired City: Writing The Future of LA.” I joined Kevin Roderick of LA Observed and KCRW, Juan Devis the webmaster for KCET’s Departures, and Kyle DePinna an LMU senior and co-founder of an electronic music blog, Shifty Rhythms. We were introduced by Rubén Martínez, the organizer of the conference and a member of the faculty in the English department. The panel was moderated by Evelyn McDonnell, a new hire in the department. About 40-50 students attended the talk.

I arrived a few minutes before we were set to start and me the co-panelists and moderators. Although I’m familiar with Kevin’s work on LA Observed and his commentary on KCRW, I’d never met him in person. Likewise, I’d spoken to Juan Devis before, but it was my first time meeting him too. I’ve met many bloggers (and non-bloggers) before and it’s always a good experience. This was no different.

I was a little nervous for the panel as I didn’t really know what to expect and I didn’t want to sound like an idiot. Thankfully, it went well and I’m pretty sure I sounded competent thanks to Evelyn and Rubén who moderated the discussion. The moderators introduced each invited panelists. We then spoke for about 5 minutes about our blogs/sites and our roles in digital media. As Kevin mentioned in his recap, he was the self-appointed old guy who transitioned from old media to new media. He spoke about LA Observed’s early years and it’s growth. Juan spoke about telling the stories of communities through interactive web content. I focused on using personal blogs to tell stories. I read lots of personal blogs. The ones I enjoy most are written by strong writers who have interesting and funny stories to tell, even about mundane things. This doesn’t even have to be done with words all the time. Oftentimes, photos or music are prominent part of the story. Kyle finished off by discussing the role of music in blogs and how he uses his blog to promote local DJs.
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