LA, you always let me back in

In the middle of last night’s Rilo Kiley concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, I turned to X — a guy pretty unfamiliar with their music — and confessed that the band’s music has helped get me through graduate school. I joked that when I finally get that PhD, I’m gonna dedicate it to Jenny Lewis. I first started listening to Rilo Kiley in fall 2004, when I was making the transition back in to school. It’s been pretty tough since then, but whenever I listened to More Adventurous, The Execution of All Things and Take Offs & Landings I felt instantly calmer, a little happier and a little more hopeful. Their most recent album, Under the Blacklight has a similar feel. To anyone dealing with a tough break up, just list to “Breaking Up” it’ll have you dancing and singing along “feels good to be free…”. Maybe.

At last night’s concert, I didn’t write down the setlist or take photos as I sometimes do when I see one of my favorite bands or singers live. However, I do know they played a lot of songs off their older albums and “I love LA”, which I don’t think is recorded. Thanks to YouTube and people with digital cameras, you can see/hear Jenny Lewis and crew’s ode to their hometown. I didn’t get too many photos either because I was behind a bunch of tall hipsters and couldn’t get a view of the band, but that’s what Flickr is for. Check out this great set.

It was pretty awesome, just as I expected.

Halloween on a budget: La Chilindrina

According to my site statistics, I’ve been getting a lot of people referred to the site after searching Chilindrina costume. I find this funny since I’ve never posted any photos of such a costume or even mentioned it on here.

Of all the costumes to search for, this one should be pretty easy (and inexpensive) to put together. I even wrote a haiku about it:

Low-budget costume:
Pigtails, freckles, sweater, dress
La Chilindrina

Originally published in Puro Pedo Magazine’s February issue along with several other Chicano haiku.

I forgot to include the glasses, bloomers and sneakers, but you get the gist. Dressing up as La Chilindrina for Halloween or any costume party seems to work best as a group or couples costume. After all, la Childindrina without el Chavo del 8, Kiko and crew is just kinda sad.

Next up in the low-budget costume series: Frida Kahlo.

Photo by Nney, used under a Creative Commons license.

Schwarzenegger vetoed the California Dream Act

File under things that suck:

The governor’s veto of SB 1, dubbed the California Dream Act, marked the second time in two years that he had rejected a proposal by Sen. Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) to extend college financial aid to illegal immigrants.

The legislation would have made California high school graduates who met the nonresident in-state tuition requirements eligible for the Cal Grant financial aid program and a fee waiver at community colleges.

Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure, citing its cost. [In UC only about 300 students would benefit from this legislation. So, cost shouldn't be much of an issue. Okay, that's wrong. See the comments.]

“At a time when segments of California public higher education, the University of California and the California State University, are raising fees on all students attending college in order to maintain the quality of education provided, it would not be prudent to place additional strain on the General Fund to accord the new benefit of providing state subsidized financial aid to students without lawful immigration status,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message.

Cedillo said he had support for the bill from college administrators.

“The governor has basically said today that immigrants can do the hardest and most dangerous jobs in California, but they are not allowed to dream for a better future,” the senator said.

Cedillo said the governor objected last year to a version of the bill that might have allowed some illegal immigrants to get financial aid before all qualified legal residents received aid. But the senator said the new bill required that all requests by legal residents be filled before aid could be made available to others. (link)

I talked to my friend Oiyan, the president of the UC Student Association, before she had a phone press conference about the student response. She’s been working really hard along with lots of other UC students to urge the Governor to pass the California Dream Act (aka SB 1). She says the governor has no human compassion. I agree.

For more on this issue scroll down for my post on the subject.

(No) Tengo Todo

I went to five stores yesterday in the hopes of getting my hands on a copy of Café Tacuba’s new album Sino. I had no luck. If I didn’t already have the mp3’s (thanks, Hector!) I would have probably kicked any one of the guys at Best Buy who tried to help me. They’re also streaming the whole album on myspace I tried these stores (in order):

  1. Best Buy (Westwood): I should’ve checked online before going because this location didn’t even have the album to begin with.
  2. Borders (Westwood): I wasn’t planning to go here, but it was on the way home. No luck.
  3. Best Buy (Culver City): nothing. I asked for help, the guy even checked in the back.
  4. Best Buy (West LA): nothing. I asked for help again. The guy who helped me told me they probably did have copies, but that they were in a box somewhere in the store and that they couldn’t get to them because some re-organization in the store.
  5. Target (Culver City): I didn’t think they’d have it, but I tried anyway. Their música Latina sections sucks. All I bought there was toilet paper.

I’m going to try Amoeba Records today. Hopefully they’ll have it because they’re usually pretty good at stocking “Latin alternative.” If I don’t find anything, well I guess there’s always purchasing it online.

I know there’s lots of reasons why people don’t buy CD’s anymore. I didn’t think not being able to find the album would be one of those reasons.

Nada mío es fake, ven y tócame

I saw Los Abandoned today at Tarfest 2007. Finally. I’ve been meaning to see them for at least a year. Last year I even had tickets to a show they played with Los Liquits, but my meeting in Oakland went long and I had to reschedule my flight. I missed all of Los Abandoned’s set. Other times, I just didn’t get around to buying tickets or didn’t feel like finding a date.

But today was different. I had to be there, especially after I learned that this would be their last show. El Más Chingón/César let me know that they announced the group’s break up earlier this week via their email list. The show at the tarpits would be their last as a group.

Lady P and her guys, Don Verde, Vira Lata and Dulce, put on a great show for a small but enthusiastic crowd. Young raza hipsters sang along and pumped their fists, accustomed to the band’s high energy show. Los Abandoned started off with Conquistarte Bien, sung in English and Spanish like their other songs (listen on myspace). Throughout most of their set they stuck with the more energetic songs and didn’t play my favorite State of Affairs. The only part of the show that sucked was the sound system. It sounded too crackly and even cut off as they sang Electricidad.

Highlights: Lady P and Don Verde singing Pantalón, the band’s stage presence and the reaction from their adoring fans.

Unordered setlist:
Conquistarte Bien
Van Nuys (es very nice)
Stalk U
A La Mode
Nada Mío es Fake
Panic-Oh!
Heavy
Pantalón
Me Quieren en Chile
Live + Direct
Thais
Electricidad
Como La Flor (encore)

Skip this

cancún roll at pacifico's Rescued from the drafts that never go anywhere pile:

June 2007

I want to go on a date. I don’t want to write this monster paper on my research project. Though, I gotta admit that analyzing the data and coming up with themes was pretty exciting and fun. Yes. I’m a nerd.

But back to that date thing. I want to go on one.

It’s been a while.

Back to work.

Present

I went on a date. Actually, I went on several dates. We went to a comedy club to watch several Latino comics, enjoyed a concert at the beach, went dancing, saw the Dodgers lose (too bad), enjoyed another concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and did the whole dinner+movie thing a couple of times (we ate that Cancún roll one one of those dates, yum!).

One thing certainly has not changed since June. I’m still avoiding work. In this case it’s a report on UC admissions policy for work.

At least one thing changed. Back to work.

Question of the week: Working it

I like my jobs. Yes, that’s plural. I have two jobs, which might be too much for a graduate student, but we got to hustle.

Both positions allow me to work with some really great people, learn a lot, apply my work to my academic interests and vice versa. I’ve been working at both jobs for over a year now. In my primary job, I help run a program for freshman and sophomore college students majoring in the sciences. I’ve gotten to know the sophomores over the past year and really like them. They’re all super bright, intelligent, and hard working. I know that’s kind of the norm at a place like UCLA, but these kids are special. I know they’re going to be very successful and I feel lucky to be part of it. Oh yeah, and my bosses love me, which makes me feel good when I feel lost as a graduate student. It’s nice to receive praise.

In the second position I’m a graduate student researcher writing reports on things like University of California admissions policy and how it affects underrepresented (read: black and Latino) students of color. Aside from gaining valuable research experience, I also get to explore an area of higher education that has always interested me: who gets in and why?

I feel a bit lucky. I don’t have to choose between the job that pays and the job I like.

La pregunta: How do you pay the bills? Do you enjoy what you do for a living?

California DREAM Act

I just called the governor’s office. No, I didn’t talk to Arnold Schwarzenegger (not that I expected I’d get to speak to him).

I called to ask him to sign California DREAM Act or Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Senator Gil Cedillo.

According to the action alert I received from UCSA:

SB 1 will qualify undocumented students for non-competitive Cal Grants as well as private scholarships, and will enable California to educate more students and continue to compete economically in the changing economy.

Currently, undocumented students in public higher education — known in California as AB 540 students — qualify for in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements. (I’ve written on this in the past.) However, since they’re undocumented they’re ineligible for all forms of federal and state financial aid. They also can’t apply for many scholarships because those often require citizenship or permanent residency.

The bill is supported by lots of constituents. The UC Student Association (woot woot!) made this one of their main campaigns for the year and has been working hard on building student support. The main University of California Office of the President lobbyist sent in a letter urging the Governor to sign SB 1 (pdf). The California Postsecondary Education Commission did the same (pdf).

SB 1 is currently on the governor’s desk and waiting to be signed. You can help out. Make a call, send a letter or an email. It takes a few minutes to make a call, I was on hold longer than it took me to say “hi I’m Cindy Mosqueda. I’m calling to ask the governor to sign SB 1, a bill I think is very important to expand access to higher education.” Or something like that.

Either way, if you’re in California, show your support!

Question of the week: Autumn

My summer is officially over. Classes have started once again at UCLA and this week has been packed with receptions and orientation meetings. I’ve been swamped at work making sure everything is squared away with the freshmen and sophomores in the program.

Even though I’m exhausted, I can’t complain. Last weekend, we finally got some rain and cooler temperatures. The Bruins are doing okay. Ugly Betty and The Office are back with new episodes. I shouldn’t watch as much television as Melanism, but somehow I think I’ll find something to replace Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls. The Dodgers are out of playoff contention and may barely be ending the season above.500, but at least I can cheer on the Bruins. Finally, there’s the concerts: Rilo Kiley, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Café Tacuba.

But what am I looking forward to the most? (We all know what I’m dreading)
Café Tacuba’s new album Sino in less than two weeks!

La pregunta: What are you looking forward to most this fall season?