Category Archives: Preguntas

Question of the week: The playlist

This is what I’ll be listening to Sunday morning as I run through LA. Well, some of it as the whole playlist is 9.6 hours long and I will not be running that long. I likely won’t have my earbuds in the whole way through in order to really take in the experience, hear the crowds, and absorb other runner’s energy.

There’s no theme to the playlist. I’ve been using the same ~140 songs or so since the 18 mile Friendship Run six weeks ago. There are some running-related songs, some that make me feel like a bad ass, some that make me happy, and some that just make me want to move and dance. It’s been a good motivator for the 20+ mile long runs. (I actually start off with some podcasts for the first few miles as I warm up, but left them off this time.) I added some upbeat songs from my LA-centric playlist for obvious reasons.

La Pregunta: What would you add? Any LA-centric or running songs you love?

Question of the week: Sibling influence

Last week during Jaime Hernandez’s talk, I started to think of how my own siblings, especially my older brother, Danny, had influenced me. Jaime is one of 5 children (4 boys). He said both of his older brothers had influenced him, but when it came to comics and writing it was mainly Gilbert. Jaime spoke of Gilbert with the kind of admiration you admit to strangers, but never to your own sibling.

I’ve done the same thing. I’m pretty sure I’ve written kinder words about Danny, Lori and Adrian here than I’ve ever told them. I’ve also never thanked them for unknowingly influencing my interests and habits.

Danny is about 20 months older than me, but because of his December birthday, he was only one grade ahead. Because of this, we were often enrolled in the same childhood activities like baseball, children’s choir and ballet folkórico together. I don’t remember choosing those things, but being a shy kid, I enjoyed them much more because Danny was there. I chose to be an altar server because Danny had been one for a few years before. Similarly, I picked trombone in 7th grade because my brother and cousin Robert both played. I likely would not have been in band if I didn’t know about Danny’s experiences his freshman year. I was a shy and bookish kid, but Danny was outgoing. He helped me come out of my shell.

Lori is the reason I’m running the LA Marathon. She’s the reason I took to running two years ago. I’d run before, but without Lori’s advice and her encouragement, I probably would’ve picked another activity for exercise. I cheered on Lori at her first half and full marathons. At the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in May ’09, I was at the finish line with her boyfriend at the time. I’m pretty sure I cried a little as she finished. I’m sure there are more ways she’s influenced me, but running is the first to come to mind.

Adrian and I share a lot in common (we’re both Virgos), but he’s also 5 years my junior and I’m less sure of how he’s influenced my interest. In writing this post, I could only think of Harry Potter and certain bands when it came to his influence. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough, or maybe we’re already a lot alike.

La Pregunta: How have your interests or habits been influenced by a sibling?

Question of the Week: Quinceañera

My cousin, Valerie, celebrates her 15th birthday today. She’s the youngest of the cousins on my mom’s side, but towers over most of us.

On Saturday, family and friends will gather at her home to celebrate. She bought a special dress for the occasion, a white cocktail dress. She won’t have a Mass nor court of chambelanes y damas. There’s no waltz, but she will dance with her father and padrino. Of course, there will still be food, drink and dancing.

I like the bending and adaptation of tradition. In fact, I think every quinceañera I’ve been to is different from previous ones. I’ve seen to co-quinceañeras, quinceañeras celebrated during the 16th birthday, full courts (14 couples), courts of just girls, courts of just guys (Lori and I did this), seen girls wear white gowns as well as colored gowns, seen a waltz, seen a choreographed modern dance, seen slide shows, and more.

But there’s constants. The girls are always surrounded by proud parents, friends and extended family.

And the party is fun.

Question of the week: Did you have a special celebration for your fifteenth birthday? What was it like? For guys, were you ever a chambelán? What was that like?

Question of the week: Musts

I was just called out by my brother Adrian for admitting that I’ve never eaten at Pink’s.

He claims I have no excuse. I’m from LA. I live just a few miles away from La Brea and Melrose. I have transportation. I don’t have any particular dietary restrictions that would keep me from eating a hot dog. It’s an LA landmark, thus he reasons, I should have eaten there.

I shrugged.

Nunca se me ha antojado. (It’s never called to me). The line doesn’t help much either. I once waited 45 minutes in the cold for a hot dog, but that was in Chicago and for Hot Doug’s. Even Anthony Bourdain ate there.

La pregunta: Anything you haven’t done in your city that is a “must” by mainstream guidebooks or magazines?

I’m bringing back the questions. If you have suggestions for future QOTWs, let me know via email (see contact page above).

Question of the week: The Blog Crush

I got an email today. It went something like this.

I found your friend’s blog. Now I got a huge crush on said friend!

I smiled and thought of the timeliness of my friend’s email. I’ve been thinking about blog crushes these days.

The blog crush isn’t really about looks, but looks definitely help. Rather, the attraction is centered around a talent for expressing ideas or telling stories. The blog crush is just like an intellectual crush, but it starts online.

I’ve been blogging a while and over the years I’ve had a few blog crushes. They wear off when said blogger begins blogging sporadically or stops all together. Sometimes the crush just wears off as I get to know him better.

My current blog crush is Jay Smooth. I think he’s my first internet “celebrity” blog crush.

Question of the week: Do you have blog crushes? Or have you had a blog crush?

Question of the week: Adressing los abuelitos

Last night I joined Pachuco3000, Chimatli, El Chavo, El Random Hero, Wendy Carrillo (who goes to USC, boo!) and Leticia of Thats So Paisa for the monthly bloguer@ gathering. We met up at La Carioca in East LA for beers and $2 waters (really, they charged us for water).

After talking about Halloween and Día de los Muertos plans, I learned that Chimatli had also just finished reading Gustavo Arellano’s new book, Orange County: A Personal History.

“You’re from the same place, right?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I told her. “Well, my mom is from the same place, El Cargadero.”

“Did you grow up in Orange County too?”

“Oh no.”

We both liked the book and discussed some of the things Gustavo wrote. I don’t have time to get in to a full review (I should be packing). However, I can say that I really enjoyed the autobiographic aspects. As I learned more about Gustavo and his family, I learned more about my own family history and roots. While everything felt so familiar to me, Chimatli found some things curious, like how Gustavo addressed his grandparents.

“Do you call your grandparents something like that too?” she asked.

“Yeah. I call my mom’s parents — the ones from El Cargadero — Papa Chepe and Mama Toni. But on my dad’s side, the Guanajuato side, we call them Grandpa and Grandma.”

I never thought this was odd. It’s easy to generalize your personal experiences and make them seem normal. But Chimatli made me wonder. Could such labels be associated with gente del rancho? Wendy chimed in and suggested that the labels may correspond to the role your grandparents played in your upbringing. Perhaps the mama/papa was emphasized because the grandparent played a surrogate parent role or lived with you.

Or it could all just be a family thing. So I went to the expert on my family, my mom.

Mom admitted that all she and her cousins addressed their grandparents as Mama ____ y Papa ____.

“Mama Toni’s dad was Papayito. I don’t know where the -yito came from. [His name was Juan.] There was your Mama Chila, Papa Chepe’s mom, too.”

I’m still curious, thus the question of the week.

La Pregunta: How do you address your grandparents?

Question of the week: Searching

I love looking at my site statistics. That’s how I find out someone linked to me (WordPress isn’t always updated) or that someone in Arizona spent an inordinate amount of time going through the archives.

The best part of stats is the search words. I’m surprised at the words or combination of words that most people type in to a search engine. While most people get here through something expected like funny Chicana/o t-shirts or costumes, there are some words that just make me scratch my head.

This week I got: super hot Chicana p*** (rhymes with corn)

Really now? I mean, I may be super. I’ve been called hot once or twice. I’m definitely a Chicana, no doubt there. But p***? Dude must have been disappointed (yeah, I know my gender bias is showing). All he got here was a question of the week post on telenovelas (see the comments).

La Pregunta: Do you get puzzling searches?

Question of the week: Caló y Spanglish

When you’ve been blogging for a while, you realize something. People quit blogging all the time. Some of my favorite bloggers no longer post or took long breaks from their blogs. They’re off becoming attorneys or working on their dreams of becoming professional writers. Sometimes, we just realize that we shared too much and need to take a step back.

Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers was the Daily Texican. He stopped blogging when he moved to Seattle for law school a few years ago. One of my favorite DT features was the “cholo word of the day.” DT defined Caló, Spanglish, or common Spanish phrase (e.g., chota, Entiendes Mendez). He’d also use the words/phrases in clever sentences and translate them for non-Chicana/o consumption. I loved the translations.

In honor of DT, I’m focusing the QOTW on Caló and Spanglish.

La Pregunta: Do you use Caló and/or Spanglish words/phrases in your daily life? What’s your favorite Caló and/or Spanglish word/phrase(s)? If you’d like, define the word/phrase a la DT (see above for an example).

Question of the week: El Verano

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with a good friend who is having an amazing summer. Still, she confided that something was missing: the summer romance.

I smiled to myself and didn’t say anything, but it made me think of this list written in the big loopy handwriting of a young woman. The summer romance is on there too. Making out on the beach at night. Falling love. Champagne trick? I’m not sure…

I didn’t make my own list or tried to fulfill that list. If I did, a trip to Salamanca, Guanajuato would be on there. I’m missing Salamanca more than usual, mainly because I usually visit around this time of year (except for 2005, I visited in December). My summer just doesn’t feel right without a visit to Guanajuato and looking through pictures won’t suffice.

La Pregunta: What do you need to make your summer feel complete? Or, what’s your quintessential summer activity?