100 facts about me you may or may not know

  1. I’m rarely on time.
  2. I was tested and admitted to GATE (Gifted and Talended Education) in 5th grade. I think that’s when my life changed. Tracking worked for me.
  3. I don’t drink coffee.
  4. I prefer my hair short rather than long
  5. I was separated from my mother at birth (briefly).
  6. I rarely drink soda.
  7. My sister says I overuse my iPod. I don’t think that’s possible.
  8. I eat Altoids Tangerine Sours like candy
  9. I did better on the math portion of the SAT and GRE than the verbal portion.
  10. I’ve been reading Cien Años de Soledad for more than three years off and on.
  11. My favorite types of apples are Golden Delicious #4120.
  12. I have a complex about being too pale.
  13. I have great vision but have wanted to wear glasses since I was a kid.
  14. I blame 6 years of marching band for my bad hearing.
  15. I’ve seen Café Tacuba live 10 times.
  16. I’ve met the band twice.
  17. I took AP Statistics in high school and loved it. Graduate school killed my love for statistics.
  18. My favorite type of pens are Gelly Rolls. I was obsessed about owning all of them, but grew out of it.
  19. I don’t like taking the bus, but I don’t mind saving money (or reading on my commute to campus).
  20. I finished paying off my car in September. I thought that was cool
  21. I still sleep in a twin bed (my room is kinda small).
  22. My favorite book is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.
  23. My dad is my guitar hero.
  24. My brother thinks I should start playing Guitar Hero songs on the hard level because I’ve mastered medium level.
  25. I prefer Facebook over MySpace.
  26. Continue reading

Café Tacuba at the Gibson Amphitheater

I wasn’t sure what to expect for my 10th Café Tacuba concert. Via Twitter, I’d learned that their show in San Francisco didn’t go too well. The sound was bad and the band seemed low on energy.

But I was hoping for the best. I needed Café Tacuba to put on a great show and let me get my mind off of shtuff. I was accompanied by Chispa. I still don’t understand how she had never seen them live up until Thursday night.

We arrived at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal Studios full of rockeros. It seemed like everyone was wearing black and Converse Chuck Taylors. Chispa and I counted a half dozen pairs of Chucks in our row alone and estimated how many there were in the crowd as a whole (I guessed 10% she guessed higher).

The show started promptly at 9 pm with the two initial tracks of the recently-released album, Sino. The crowd responded well to the new stuff, but was much more excited about the songs from their albums released in the ’90s.

Los Tacubos continued for two hours playing songs from all of their albums minus Reves/Yosoy. I’d complained that they were a bit predictable when I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl in July. That wasn’t the case this time since they were including new songs as well as old songs they rarely play in concert like “Alármala de Tos” and “El Fin de la Infancia.” I have to admit, I can’t really dance along to “Alármala de Tos,” it’s too depressing.

Highlights, lowlights and the setlist after the jump.
Continue reading

Question of the week: Battling the blues

These past few weeks have been tough. I took my qualifying exam. I didn’t feel so good after it and pretty soon (no more than two weeks) I should get my results. Then of course there’s more things to add to the mix, but I won’t go in to them here.

I’m counting on Cafe Tacuba tomorrow night and ice skating on Friday to cheer me up.

La pregunta: How do you battle the blues?

Mexican pirates

While waiting to pick up our exams on Friday morning, the topic somehow turned to pirates.

I asked Doug, “did you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day this year?”

He nodded his head.

“Wait, is it international or just national?”

Doug responded, “I don’t know.”

“Maybe it is international, but only in the English speaking part of the world, the UK, Australia…” I mused.

Nolan jumped in, “how do pirates speak in other languages? How would a Mexican pirate sound?”

“I think they just really roll their ‘aaarrrrghs’,” I responded logically.


Dear Family, Friends, E-Stalkers, and anyone else who reads my blog,

Thanks for the support this weekend. I really appreciated seeing your good wishes pop up in my inbox (at least when I had my wi-fi turned on). The weekend was pretty tough. I freaked out at least once. I took a walk and played Ozomatli’s “Can’t Stop” and Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” loud on my iPod to clear my head of the self doubt. It worked too. Getting some sun and fresh air* was also good as I had been cooped in my apartment for a couple of days. I slept enough, but I think my eating habits and the stress affected my complexion (too much sugar?).

I turned in the exam a few minutes before the 11 am deadline. When I arrived, I was greeted by four of my fellow test-takers and study group. I submitted the papers and drank some champagne. We talked about weird dreams — who had time to sleep? — and agreed to meet up for a mid-day happy hour to celebrate getting through some good ol’ fashioned academic hazing.

I don’t feel too confident that I did well. I feel about two-thirds confident (there were three questions). And don’t tell me I did great, ’cause I know my work. I’m done with the crying and I think I’m okay with messing up or even failing. As Blake Sennett of Rilo Kiley sings, “everyone fucks up, it’s gonna be okay.”

On the bright side, now that the exam is over and I wait a few weeks for the results I’ll have plenty of time to write about my fun and exciting life. I know you all missed me.

Now, off to sleep.



*By LA standards

Help! You know I need somebody

I’m really bad at asking for help, but I can improve, and I can ask for help.

So, help!

If you know me outside the realm of this blog, please call or text or email or IM to check in on me. I probably won’t respond, but it will be nice to know I have people behind me. And if you don’t know me outside the realm of this blog, you can still email or leave a comment. Just tell me to get back to work. Or just pray.

I pick up the exam at 9… deep breaths.

The food drop

After reading a couple of articles, I heard my dad’s Jeep pull into the driveway around 10 pm. I went out to find him and my mom unloading a box and a couple of bags. They also brought the puppy, VR. While I played with VR, my parents unloaded fruit (apples, bananas, pears, lemon, jicama), bolillo, queso, aguacate, tamales, tacos al pastor, burritos de steak picado, burritos de chorizo con huevo, brownies, instant oatmeal packets, deli-sliced turkey, Fritos, and about four tupperware containers with ready-to-eat meals like ravioli and meatballs. Everything was labeled and showed that the whole family had pitched in. Lori made the brownies. Adrian made the burritos. Mamá Toni made the rice. My madrina Chilo made the tamales. My mom made stuff too, but she didn’t label it. Oh, and there was Adrian’s little note (accio, burrito!) which was silly and sweet.

Their visit was quick, no longer than 10 minutes. I was left with a table full of food and VR’s hair all over my sweater. I took pictures of the goodies I’d eat over the next few days as I finished up my preparation and started the arduous process of taking my exam. I put everything away, and ate a brownie.

Then I got back to work. I read one article and while looking through my files for an article on determinants of Chicano students’ retention in college, I found Gándara’s article instead.

The passage below jumped out at me.

In fact, it was interesting to note that while Chicanos tended to credit their own inner strength and abilities for their educational success, Chicanas most often attributed their accomplishments to the support of their families.

Gándara, P. (1982). Passing through the eye of the needle: High-achieving Chicanas. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 4 (2), 167-179.

I’m not quite the high-achieving Chicana Gándara interviewed. I may not have that PhD, but I do have the family support (and love!). I’ve always had it. The food drop tonight was just one more thing to add to this list of the tangible things they’ve done for me. The intangibles are far greater.

Dr. Patricia Gándara’s dissertation focused on 45 Chicanos from low income backgrounds who had earned a JD, MD or PhD. Her sample was all relatively young (<40 yrs of age) and from working class families. This particular article focused on the differences between the 17 high-achieving women and their male counterparts.

La Brea & Willoughby

On the way home from the Rodrigo y Gabriela show, my friend* was pulled over by an LA County Sheriff’s Officer.

The officer asked for his license.

My friend gave it to him.

Then the officer asked for registration and proof of insurance.

My friend reached for the glove box and opened it.

The officer then said, “you don’t have a hand grenade in there, do you?”

My friend calmly said, “that’s an odd question… Did I do something wrong?”

The officer then mentioned the broken headlight and that he didn’t know if my friend had a weapon in the glove box. The officer then returned to his car with my friend’s documents.

The officer returned and said, “Mr. ___, you’re clean as a whistle.” He advised my friend to get the headlight fixed and sent us home without giving my friend a fix-it ticket.

We talked about the incident the whole way home. And laughed.

*My friend is an Indian man in his 20s. He’s also Muslim and has a full-grown beard.