Category Archives: Fotos

Twenty-three

Happy birthday, Lori!

The top ten cool things about my sister, Lori.

  1. She shares her birthday with a man who died simply trying to share his dream and make the world right.
  2. Her wide array of nicknames. Her given name may be Laura, but I call her Lori, Laurel, Girlpants, Sisterpants, GP, Yoyi, Yo!, and occasionally Ugly. Of course, when I call her Ugly, I’m speaking in opposites.
  3. She’s good at math. Really. She’s majoring in math.
  4. She has a MacBook.
  5. She can quote all of Clueless, The Sandlot, and several Disney movies.
  6. She was employee of the month in November at her dealership and her name featured on an electronic sign facing the freeway. She’s up for employee of the year.
  7. She bakes all sorts of yummy pastries. Too bad you can’t try any of her carrot cake.
  8. She lets me borrow her shoes and is nice enough to help me get all dolled up for those times when I want to look extra nice.
  9. She doesn’t let herself get pushed around or stand for something she knows is wrong. You don’t want to be on her bad side.
  10. She’s generous and kind and loving and considerate and all that good stuff.

And Lori, 23 is not old, but it might just be one of your best years. I know it was for me.

The high maintenance girlfriend and other realizations

Adrian's casino-themed party was better than Las Vegas

Ten things I realized this past weekend in Las Vegas:

1. I might be the kind of girl I never liked… the high maintenance girlfriend.

2. Gambling with play money at Adrian’s 21st birthday party, which featured Black Jack and Texas Hold’em Poker, is much more fun than gambling with my own hard-earned money.

3. When I get a hunch (say, bet on 31 on the roulette table), I should follow it. I missed 4 opportunities, but the worst was when I stopped playing for a few spins of the wheel after betting 31 (and other numbers) for every spin and two of the next three numbers that came up were 31! I wanted to kick someone, but I think that’s not cool in Vegas casinos.

4. Cold weather makes me grumpy.

5. I really need to get my camera repaired or just get a new camera.

6. There are several things I don’t like about my home state, but I love the fact that smoking is not allowed indoors in public spaces such as restaurants. The negative impact of second-hand smoke in public places may be debated, but the annoyance factor is still high.

7. I’m too old (and high maintenance, see above) for the “cram a bunch of people into a single hotel room to save money” strategy.

8. I don’t really like the food at most buffets.

9. Vegas was more fun when I used to go with my parents as a kid or as a babysitter with my madrina’s family.

10. The boyfriend puts up with a lot from me. I think it’s because he loves me.

My favorite photos of 2006 you probably haven’t seen (part one)

I used to feature one of my photos every Wednesday, but I stoppped. Part of the reason is because my camera is broken and the other part is because I got too busy/lazy.

The following are a collection of my favorite photos I took (or taken of me and others) in the first six months of the year. For more photos from 2006, you can check here for the Mil Palabras archives.

January

That's what a hamburger's all about
In-N-Out cheeseburger, Rowland Heights

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Mil palabras: Isa

Happy Birthday, Isa

Isa loves telling people about her first impression of me way back in the summer of 1998. According to her, I was a snob and because (a) I was from Hacienda Heights and (b) I was in the UCLA band. Lucky for me (and I do mean lucky), Isa and I were placed in the same sections for our composition and political science courses that summer. She was kind of enough to let me use her computer to write my papers and we studied together for poli sci. I’m not quite sure what made her initial impression wear off, but I’m glad it did.

Since that summer, Isa has become one of my closest friends and confidants. I can (and have) tell her anything. She knows me so well that she can tell when I’m lying or holding back on the truth. I can’t lie to her. We’re a lot alike and love to compete with each other. The only times we even get close to fighting or arguing comes in the middle of a Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit game.

Isa moved into the apartment over 2 years ago. It’s been a difficult two years, but having her across the hallway has made it easier.

Happy birthday, roommate!

Mil palabras: blue and gold

Blue and gold
Master of Arts sash, 2005

A few months ago, I posted the following:

While I was waiting for Chispa’s graduation to start on Saturday, a thought came to mind.

My parents weren’t at my graduation last year. They didn’t see me walk across the stage or hear the dean actually pronounce my last name correctly. There are no pictures of me in a cap and gown flashing a huge smile between my mom and dad. There’s not even a picture of me and my sister. Danny and Adrian, my brothers, were the only ones who could attend. (To be fair, I decided at the last minute that I’d be participating in the ceremony.)

I decided on Saturday afternoon that I want my parents to see me graduate again. Maybe that will help me get back on track with this thing called school.

Even after writing that, I couldn’t find my increasingly elusive ganas (motivation). I informally checked out of school and classes.

I didn’t completely drop school and made a half ass attempt at finding mis ganas. At the Raza Graduation, I sat on stage and listened to Dr. Katy, one of three PhD students participating in the ceremony. She spoke about participating in the ceremony four years earlier when she earned her MA. Katy said, “When I heard her [a PhD student] speak, I decided then and there that I wanted to finish and come back to Raza Grad as a PhD.” Nice words, but not quite what I needed.

I spent the long summer talking my issues out with peers and a therapist. I spoke to anyone I trusted and who knew me well enough to know this wasn’t just a phase. Thankfully, I have a lot of good listeners in my circle of friends (undoubtedly related to many of their backgrounds as counselors). No one told me what to do, but they did make suggestions and asked helpful questions.

I didn’t talk to anyone before making my first decision last week. I tried to sleep late Monday night, but couldn’t and got out of bed. I emailed my advisor’s secretary to set up an appointment. I needed to talk to my advisor about filling out any paperwork required to formally withdraw. I decided to be a PhD drop out.

But something strange happened between 3 am Tuesday and 3 pm on Wednesday when I met with my advisor.

Perhaps there’s a guardian angel for graduate students who was looking out for me.

When I woke up, I found an email from Erica, my pseudo-mentor and recent graduate of the program. I replied to her cheery “what’s up, Pucca?” email with a more somber explanation of my recent decision. That evening I told a fellow grad student and good friend, Arshad, about my decision. I couldn’t see his face over instant messenger, but I knew his words “shouldn’t we talk about this?” meant he was concerned. We did talk, but didn’t get too far.

I wrote out some of what I needed to tell my advisor on Tuesday night. I was less sure of my earlier decision and knew I couldn’t drop out without talking to my advisor and getting her feedback.

On Wednesday morning, Erica called from ~2,000 miles away. “You know, I’m on the stay in school tip, but I also want you to be happy,” she said. Our conversation was more like a counseling session and it was just what I needed. A few hours later, I spoke to my advisor. She was supportive, helpful and said everything I needed to hear.

I took me four months, but I made my decision last week. I’m sticking it out. Some day, you all will get to call me Dr. Cindylu.

Mil palabras: Kinky

Kinky's record-release concert

Thanks to losanjealous, I won a pair of free tickets for Kinky’s record-release concert at the Avalon in Hollywood.

I saw Kinky open up for Manu Chao on August 2nd but barely enjoyed it. The venue, Shrine Expo Center, had horrible acoustics and felt like a sauna. I spent most of Kinky’s set outside trying to get some fresh air, but failed miserably because everyone was smoking.

I like Kinky. I’ve seen them several times live, but it’s always been as part of a lineup or as an opening act. No problem, they get me dancing. This time was no different, but it outshined any of their previous concerts I’ve attended at the Hollywood Bowl, Universal/Gibson Amphitheater, and House of Blues in Anaheim.

Review

Isa and I arrived at the Avalon a little before 9 and got in the line for those on the guestlist. No, we weren’t that cool, but the bouncer pointed people who had tickets at will call that way. I picked up my envelope for two tickets at the window and Isa joked that I was a rockstar.

We made our way into the Avalon, already crowded with fans. Soon it would be filled to capacity as the rest of the fans made their way in. We ran in to one of Isa’s friends, Jerry, who was surprised to see me since I told him I wouldn’t be going. Tuesday night plans quickly change when the tickets are free. We left Jerry and his friend downstairs and made our way to the mezzanine. I know I’m not old and neither is Isa, but we both acknowledged that back in the day we would have surely squeezed our way toward the stage. We’re over mosh pits and being pushed around by sweaty people. We’d rather be upstairs where it was cooler and spacier. We had a good view of the stage and melee below without having to deal with their sweat.

The energy in the crowd and on stage remained high the whole way through. Gilberto bounced around the stage in the same manner as Rubén Albarrán from Café Tacuba and Roco from Maldita Vecindad. The frontmen of all three Mexican bands are small and thin, I’m sure the on-stage exercise helps. The other guys on drums, keyboard and guitar don’t attract much attention. The bassist, on the other hand, always gets my attention. César Pliego always dressed the same in jeans, boots, a t-shirt and his signature black tejana. Some guys think the look is a bit cheesy, but they’re just jealous. Pliego reminds me why I love Mexican men so much.

Kinky played a pretty long show and gave the energetic crowd a taste of their new album Reina. While, I enjoyed hearing some of the new stuff that has a stronger rock feel, my current Kinky favorites all come from their eponymous first album. I danced like a mad woman to “Mirando de Lado”, “Soun the Primer Amor”, “Más”, “San Antonio”, “Ejercicio #16″ and “Sol.”

Half the enjoyment from a concert comes from the music, but the other half comes from the atmosphere (see: my horrible experiene at the Maldita Vecindad/Julieta Venegas concert in July). The crowd at Kinky’s concert was one of the best I’ve seen this summer, second only to the multi-ethnic crowd cheering on Manu Chao and Radio Bemba. I wasn’t even all up in the mix near the stage, but I could still tell that the fans were excited and showed it by dancing to the beats.

Isa and I didn’t try to squeeze our way near the stage, mainly because at 25 and 26 we’re becoming squares. We watched the show from the upstairs mezzanne where it was cooler, we didn’t have to touch any sweaty neighbors, and we could dance more freely. When Gilberto dove into the crowd after playing three songs during the encore, I was glad we made the decision to go upstairs. I didn’t want to have to try and catch a sweaty singer.

Mil palabras: las rosas

Someone loves Vanny :D

My cousin Vanny received a dozen roses (pictured above) from her boyfriend on her 18th birthday. I don’t think she was surprised.

I received a dozen too. I was surprised and so were the roommate and her boyfriend.

Me: Hey Isa, look. [I took the roses out of my room where I was trying to hide them.]

Isa: Wow! Who loves you?

Me: _____. Well, that’s what the card said.

Isa: Is he your boo?

Me: No.

Isa: Red roses… that’s really romantic.

Five minutes later, her boyfriend emerged from the room where he was relaxing after a long day of teaching. As I put the roses in the pink hand-blown glass vase, Daniel continued the questioning.

Daniel: Who gave you roses?

Me: _____.

Daniel: What? Just last week you said…

Me: I know, and I meant it. But he asked if he could give me a birthday present and I said yes. I only saw him long enough for him to give me the roses.

Daniel: You know what red roses symbolize, right? It’s not friendship.

I may have had to work on my birthday, but I can’t say it wasn’t interesting.