One of my good friends at school inspired this haiku last year:
Wears Guadalupe pendant
Hangs near corazón
My friend was born on the 12th of December, the day Mexicanos and Guadalupanos of all nationalities celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe and commemorate her apparition to Juan Diego. A non-religious Chicano wearing a Guadalupe pendant shouldn’t surprise any fellow devotee. I think we all see the Virgen Morena in slightly different ways.
I struggle to explain what she means to me, especially when other writers have done it so much better (see Goddess of the Americas).
Above all, La Virgen de Guadalupe makes me feel at home and closer to my family. She’s all over my parent’s home. She has her makeshift cerro de Tepeyac in the front yard and greets visitors to the house as they enter the front door. She reminds me of my faith and calms me down in those tough times.
Previously: La Virgen Morena (links to blogging.la posts I wrote on La Virgen de Guadalupe’s ubiquitousness, history and manifestation in modern-day art).
As a kid, I almost always had a book with me. I’d bug my mom to take me to the library where I’d check out half a dozen books and read them as soon as we got in the car. Instead of being scolded for watching too much TV or playing too many video games, I’d get reprimanded for avoiding my chores because I was lost in some book.
I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on from my dad’s Reader’s Digest magazines to the Babysitter’s Club series.
My favorite books were Judy Blume’s hilarious Fudge series which followed around Peter Hatcher and his mischievous brother, Fudge. For a birthday, I got a boxed set of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania and Double Fudge. When I got older, I gave the books away to one of my cousins so she could enjoy Peter and Fudge’s misadventures.
La pregunta: What was your favorite book(s) as a kid*?
*Define kid anyway you want.
My parents had kids in pairs. Danny was born in December 1978 and then by August 1980, I showed up. Lori and Adrian didn’t show up until January 1984 and September 1985, respectively.
Thanks to this pair system, Danny and I spent a lot of time together as kids. We played on the same summer league baseball teams, danced together in folkórico groups, marched in the same band, played the same instrument, and sang in the same children’s choir at church. We were even put in the same class a few times in elementary school when classes would be combined with two different grades. I was often known as “Danny’s sister,” and I didn’t mind. It was nice to have an outgoing brother to compliment my shyness.
I no longer follow Danny around like I did when we were kids, but we’re still close and I still admire his talents to charm perfect strangers by singing or cracking a joke.
Happy birthday, Danny!
Cozumel (or Playa del Carmen), Quintana Roo
I never got around to writing about my family’s June trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Part of the reason I didn’t write about the trip was because as soon as I returned to LA, my friend José died in a car accident and the next few weeks were spent in a bit of a daze.
The photo above represents the long trip my family took from LA to Cozumel. Check out our itinerary:
6:15 pm – depart from Palms to Hacienda Heights
7:15 pm – arrive in Hacienda Heights [only for me]
8 pm – depart from Hacienda Heights to LAX
8:40 pm – arrive at LAX, check in and go through security (all rather quickly)
9 pm – chill for a few hours at the terminal
11:45 pm – board our Mexicana airplane
12:10 pm – depart for Mexico City. Had a sandwich and stayed up to watch I Think I Love My Life. It wasn’t worth losing sleep over.
3:30 am – arrive in Mexico City at Juárez International, go through immigration and spend a good 20 minutes trying to figure out where our gate was for the next flight.
5:55 am – depart from Mexico City to Cancún, eat some yogurt, sleep a little, but not enough
8:40 am – arrive in Cancún
9 am – depart Cancún for Playa del Carmen on a bus. No sleep.
9:45 am – arrive in Playa del Carmen, buy tickets for ferry, board ferry.
10 am – take ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Sleep for half an hour.
10:35 am – arrive in Playa del Carmen, get a taxi to take us to our hotel
11 am – arrive at El Cid de la Ceiba in Cozumel and check in.
Overnight travel and layovers are tough on their own, but they’re more difficult when traveling with 7 other people. By the time we arrived in Mexico City, we were snapping at each other. When we got to Cancún, we had to deal with the heat and humidity as well as thirst and hunger. I don’t think we could even enjoy the nice view of the beach in Playa del Carmen since we were dragging out luggage along.
The best part of settling in at the hotel was getting some cool drinks, taking a cool shower, getting dinner and taking a much needed nap. We needed our energy for the rest of the trip!
I got lucky today.
No, not in that way. No sean malpensados.
I was running late earlier so I opted to drive to campus rather than take the Big Blue Bus. I tried to buy an $8 parking permit at the parking structure closest to my office, but it was full and the attendant sent me to structure 4 on the other side of campus.
I circled around structure 4 and couldn’t find a spot on the either of the two levels. I went back up to the first level to see if anything had opened up. I was beginning to feel frustrated and annoyed when I saw a woman getting in to her car. I waited for her to pull out of the spot. As she drove past me, she lowered her window and held out her day parking permit.
In a friendly tone she asked, “You want this?”
“Really?” I asked incredulously.
“Yeah,” she responded. I took the permit and put it on my dash as she drove away.
I parked in the spot she’d just vacated, grabbed my things and headed over to my office thinking of my luck. I’d just saved $8.
I love random acts of kindness.
Gene posed a question over at okayplayer:
Is there any living black person as despised by black folk as Clarence Thomas?
If so, who?
Responses included Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, Condoleeza Rice, OJ Simpson and others. A lot of others couldn’t come up with anyone despised as much as Clarence Thomas.
The post got me thinking about Chicanos. Do we have an equivalent to Thomas? My first thought was Alberto Gonzales. What do you all think?
Clarence Thomas :: Black people
______________ :: Chicanos
Who is our vendid@ (not that we’d like to claim him/her, but you know…)?
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 “Café Tacuba at the Gibson Amphitheater”
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?
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.