Lila Downs rifa con safos

I have wanted to write about this, but every time I sit down to write it, I forget what I was going to write about. Anyway, here goes.

Every year, Houston has an annual International festival. They pick one country and try to provide that kind of food, entertainment and customs. In 2003, for the maybe third or fourth time, the selected country was Mexico. Of course, they didn’t really sell authentic Mexican food or anything because well, most gringos don’t really like it. They tried, but there were still smoked drumsticks and gyros in the hands of festival attendees. They brought tons of Mexican musical talent, but the three I was concerned with were Maldita Vecindad, Café Tacuba, and Lila Downs. Of course they were on center stage and a ton of people showed up for Maldita Vecindad y los Tacubos and they both put on a hell of a show.

Lila Downs was scheduled for like 2 P.M. and was to perform on one of the side stages. With my sister being a huge fan, we arrived really early to ensure a spot front and center. Of course, there had to be someone to announce her so this Flanderesque vato comes out and says, “Wow, when we booked this next performer, we didn’t think so many people were going to show up.”

If you all recall, this was after the Frida movie had been released in which her song was featured. Yeah, maybe a lot of people didn’t know who she was, but come on, what kind of shit is that?

Shopping @ Payless

I went to Payless today. I hadn’t been there in so long, especially to buy shoes for me. See, there’s this job fair tomorrow at school and professional attire is a must. I’ve been trying to purchase more clothes that look a little more professional since my current job allows me to wear jeans and tennis shoes all the time. However, I’ve totally missed the shoe area during the “brown girl goes office chic” shopping trips. Originally, I was going to go to Dillards and shell out fifty to seventy-five dollars for some Steve Madden chanclas, but then I thought about it and I’d rather save that money for the wedding or a trip or something. Within ten minutes, it would have been five if the lady in front of me had gotten it together and gotten out of my way ASAP, I walked out of Pay More But Why with two pairs of shoes that can either go office chic or movie date casual.

As I drove home with the car speaker’s blaring Red Neck Woman and my windows rolled down (si, ya se, que naca), I began thinking about the old days. I remember as a kid, Payless was the shit. My mom used to buy me and my siblings shoes from there because they were cheap. Of course, to us, it only mattered how they looked. My sister had an entire collection of flats, sandals and wanna-be Keds. When prom or homecoming was coming up, you could see here walking up Alameda Ave. toward Ysleta High School with her books and a box of Blow Pops which she’d sell to buy the fabric for her dress or the shoes that would match the dress.

During my brother Jorge’s high school years, he didn’t get Payless shoes. Instead, we’d take bus #61 to the Wal-Mart and my mom would shell out the $20 she’d made that day cleaning houses to buy him some cowboy boots. We’d joke about them being made of Ulefante or Ligartija. Since those were the only shoes he got, he’d have to wear them during the smear the queer and football games he and his drill team buddies would play after practice. A lot of times, he’d twist his ankle and it would turn all shades of blue purple. Sometimes my dad would take him con el señor que sobaba, but most of the time, he’d just deal with it. He too would walk the length of Alameda Ave from Yarbrough to Ysleta because when my dad did leave him bus money, he preferred to save it to buy my mom a pair of polyester pants in a 16 average and a set of markers for me from the Kress store downtown during his sporadic trips downtown with his friend Louie.

Up until I was about twelve, I would wear hand me down shoes from my sister or Payless shoes. I remember one year, I wanted those black and white shoes you see the chick’s from the rock n’ roll era (50’s) wearing. My mom bought them for me at the beginning of sixth grade and I wore them until I’d worn out the soles. I think out of my siblings and I, I got the best deal. My mom got a better job by the time I was a teenager and my siblings were all a lot older, so they helped her our as much as they could. Still, I can’t help but wonder how the jefita did it.


Hispanism Conference

I went to the conference. I left after lunch. The end. That could sum up what I witnessed at the “Re-inventing Hispanism in the Age of Globalization” conference but since you guys are worthy of more, I will give you more.

The most interesting presentation of the four that I witnessed was the last of the bunch which talked about a new reading of the Quixote, and even that one was somewhat lame. The rest of them talked about the term Hispanic. In the end, it all came down to what has already been said, it is used to describe those who speak Spanish. It’s nothing new and not a term that I agree with, but I use it if it’s going to benefit me. ¿Convenenciera? Sí, ¿y qué? I’m no different from the rest of this country.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. There was another presentation by Sebastian Faber from Oberland College who basically told us why he, a Dutch man, studies Hispanism. You know why? Because he likes it and he feel like he needs to help bring attention to this particular subject. Once again, he’s trying to write our story, sort of like what Sandra Cisneros wants to do by living in San Antonio. As my jefito used to say, “A que la chingada.”

The most interesting “talk” I heard was by an Arroz English Lit grad student in the lobby who was telling my sister about her dissertation on redefining the term Chicana. She’s got some interesting stuff, she’s looking at Michelle Serros and Latina Magazine and that fantabulous book (please note that the prior adjective is dripping with sarcasm) Border-line Personalities. She’s supposed to keep in touch with my sister; so hopefully, I hear that her dissertation becomes a book sometime soon.

Speaking of my sis, this news is kinda old, but it’s still great news. Her book is going to be adopted by the Califas University system. We were commenting over lunch about how interesting it was that everyone was talking about the money. That was the last thing she cared about when she hear the great news.

Well, I have so much more to say, but if I keep typing it’s going to come out a garbled mess. I do leave you with this: Elite Universities in Texas, like Rice, really suck. They had one Chicano and one woman presenting at the conference. Furthermore, they did not invite one of the most important people in Hispanic Literature that resides in Houston. My UH degree will by no means carry as much weight as an Arroz one, but fuck, at least I earned my 3.25 (they can pass a class with a P instead of a grade) and our international students don’t equal 613.

That is all.



Yesterday, in my Pop Culture class, I had to pose as a Chicana Feminist. It was rather interesting since I think I’m the only Chicana Feminist in that class. Although this class is cross listed with the Mexican American Studies department, the class is full of those Indie film watching, museum rat, Peace Corp bound people. It’s rather interesting that at a university known for its racial diversity, this class is not particularly diverse.

Anyway, it was interesting because there is this one girl, whom I’ve nick named Ronald McDonald, who gets on my nerves every time she opens her mouth, but yesterday, she actually made a coherent comment. Most of the time, she says stuff in an attempt to portray a real life Pacey, and as Daniel would say, “Nooot Funnnnay!” Plus, it’s annoying how that man who looks like a cuervo produces a Snagglepuss laugh each time she talks. Yeah, it’s circus hour at UH Tuesdays and Thurdays from 2:30-4:00 P.M.

Life has been pretty uneventful. I’ve been doing a lot of catch up in regard to school so I’ve done nothing exciting. I have an exam tomorrow, the first exam of the semester in my Communication Theory class. I’m not too excited about it because it’s a distance ed class and as it is, I’m really bad about paying attention in class, so you can imagine what it’s been like watching a class on DVD. I can go back and watch what I missed while I made popcorn and took those ten minute naps, but I don’t feel like looking at my professor anymore. She looks like Jabba da Hut and she’s got the voice of a Southern Belle. That’s what I get for not crying for admission into the History of Music class.

I’m supposed to attend a Hispanic Literature conference after my exam tomorrow @ Arroz University. I’m not sure if I’m going because I will be arriving late. I guess it’ll be cool to interact with people outside my little UH world, but at the same time, that means being around some snotty academics. Then again, this is what I am studying so I might as well get used to being around them.


Home Alone

I guess I really shouldn’t be talking about this on the internet in case someone is stalking me, but given that I’m not as famous as Alicia Valdes-Rodriguez, I feel safe saying this: I’m home alone for the next month.

I’ve been alone since Sunday night. I don’t exactly feel any difference. I have been sleeping a lot less, but that’s because I was in high gear procrastination so now I’m catching up with the papers, reading and studying for exams. I did put the television in my room. It’s nice to lie in bed and watch TV. I can leave the door to my bedroom and bathroom open without having to worry that the dog will mosey on in and chew on a shoe or bookcase.

In any case, this is the first time in years that I’m alone. For most of my high school career, I lived alone. My mom had a job where her hours were midnight to midnight from Monday thru Friday. The only other person at home was my brother who was working and going to school full time. He would come home when I was leaving for school and leave for school when I was getting home from school. Most of the time, we didn’t see each other, not even on his days off.

I don’t think this quick jab at “true” independence could have come at a more perfect time. This is the last month before the shacking up happens. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it right, living my life like it’s any other time. Shouldn’t I be having wild parties or hanging out at bars until all hours of the night?

Not really. I mean, I could, but either way, I’d still call Daniel when I got home. Sometimes I do worry that having him around all of the time is going to drive me up the wall. During the raging hormone period of the month, I probably won’t want to come home to see him sitting on my bed playing Madden. But in the end, I know there will be days when I get home and will be glad to be greeted with a hug from him.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my month of eating hummus and pita chips for breakfast and cereal for dinner, leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight, turning on the air conditioner at whatever setting I want, listening to whatever music I want whenever I want, and watching PBS documentaries in the middle of the night.


The White Girl

I know there are a lot of Latina/os out there that have light-colored skin. But it always trips me out when people look at me and think I’m white. Saturday, after I almost killed myself by almost taking a red light (insert gasp or “Thank God she’s ok!” here), I stopped by Subway to get me some comfort food. I was standing in line ordering my sanwish when the girl behind the counter started talking to the other chick in Espanol (dicho a la Peggy Hill). I stood there feeling a bit awkward because they were talking about this girl that worked with them and went back to Mexico without telling anyone. When she asked if I wanted my sanwish toasted, I said, “Sí.”



“O, yo no sabía que puedes hablar español.”

But even after I answered everything else in Spanish, she still insisted on talking to me in English and to her co-worker in Spanish. When I lived in El Paso, people always assumed I was white. When I was able to speak to them in Spanish they would look at me as if there was a gold aura around me and ask, “¿Hablas Español?”

When I have visited Daniel in Redneckville, people at the Movie Gallery, Dollar General, and grocery store give me these weird looks. One day, his buddy from the Movie Gallery kept staring at me. I was skimming over a bin of previously viewed DVD’s and I could feel his eyes burning my skin. When I’d look up, he’d look away. When we got into Daniel’s car, I said, “What the heck was up with your wanna be astronaut buddy? He kept staring at me.”

“Babe, I know you hate to hear this, but you don’t look Mexican.”

I don’t know how I really feel about this. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I know it’s an advantage. But I guess in the end, it always pisses me off because people still maintain this stereotype of what people of certain nationalities look like.


Planning a Wedding

Next month will make a year since Daniel proposed. Within that year, his aunt got married after dating her husband only two months and my brother got married after dating his stupid wife for the same amount of time. What have we achieved? We’ve set a tentative date of “sometime in October.”

When I read online journals that have months planned to the exact minute in regard to wedding preparations, I laugh. At least four times a week, I’ll receive an e-mail from The Knot offering me boxes of mini bottles of bubbles, Bride t-shirts or advice in regard to in-laws and other hair pulling wedding issues, I immediately dump them in my trash.

I haven’t totally sat on my ass about all this. I have some money in the bank for it. My co-workers have already offered their cake decorating services. Actually, they said not to worry about the cake. I found a site online where I will buy the flowers for my bouquet. My sister has offered her house for the shindig afterward, although I plan on going out to lunch or dinner with the handful of guests. Today, I found a pack of 50 invites for $20. I also have an idea of what kind of dress I want.

I never really believed my sister when she said I was laid back, but I guess I am. I mean, I don’t exactly have a place to actually have the wedding, but I'm not spazzing. I was planning on doing it outside or at the University. Originally, I wanted to go to New Orleans, but who knows if we’ll get to take time off for the wedding and besides, I do want some of the people I know from here to be there. The ladies I work with at the press are my Pancha and Rosalie.

When I got an e-mail from MyKnot that read: 8 months to go! I didn’t realize that it’s ONLY eight months! And pull out my to do list and calendar and worry about being able to finish all those tasks. I’m in no rush. My wedding day will not be like any other day, but it won’t make me tear my hair out. Besides, shouldn’t these events reflect the personalities of those being celebrated?


Jukebox Jive

I think it’s the weather that gets me into this funk. The sun shines like Budha’s belly making me think that tomorrow will be Spring, but the next day, the clouds are back and with them, the icy wind that stings your skin with its touch. I never used to be this way. I liked clouds and rain, pero ahora, no se que me pasa. Well, I’ll just have to weather it. Yeah, that was lame.

I think I need some music to put me in the right mood; there’s nothing like the right tunes. This is especially true when you’re at a bar and find a few dollar bills or a five wedged in between ID’s, credit cards, debit card and receipts. So what are the songs I always pick?

Pennylane by The Beatles, when I was about twelve, one of my older brothers moved back home and slept in the living room. He had bought himself one of those console stereos with the big speakers. In the mornings, when he’d leave for work, he would leave this song playing on repeat. At the time, I hated it, but then I learned to love it.

No Tengo Dinero (con Juan Gabriel y El Gran Silencio) by Kumbia Kings, my family has always loved Juanga. My mom’s uncle was the one who taught him to play guitar. My brothers and sisters remember passing by his orphanage in Cd. Juárez and seeing him interact with the kids. All I remember is el Noa Noa and all the Juanga specials I had to watch as a kid. I love all his songs, and I think it’s cool the Kings pulled a P. Diddy.

La mesa que mas apluada, I know this is an annoying as heck song, but it always makes me laugh. When my sis and I were having our last meal together in Mexico City, the waitress at the restaurant began singing this song and my sister just held her head in agony. She had been the Mexico the month prior to our trip and it had driven her nuts.

Eres by Café Tacuba because this is one of my sister’s favorite songs.

Mediodia by Café Tacuba because this is one of my newer favorite songs from them.

Circulo de amor by El Gran Silencio, I like the part where the guys sings, “Solo besarte quisiera, quisiera, quisiera…” If my oldest brother could sing, that’s what he would sound like.

El Reloj Cucu by Mana, I think this is the sadest song in the world. When this album was released, I remember I used to listen to it on my walkman, the cassette kind; I’d rewind it about five times because it made me think of how things were at that time.

Hit Me by Molotov I think this is one of their best songs.

Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows this is one of my friend Billy’s favorite bands. He sent me an acoustic version of this song that I just love, but I still love this version and Billy.

Just Like Heaven, Friday I’m in Love, and Pictures of You by the Cure, when you’re with me, no night can be complete without these three.
I Can Still Make Cheyenne by George Strait I’m only picking one today. Anyway, I really like this song, too bad he doesn’t write them.

Como la flor by Selena, I used to listen to this song over and over as well because I used to have a crush on one of my brother’s friends and he used to like this song too. It makes me cringe when I think of the guy because a few years ago I had one of those “What was I thinking moments,” but I still like the song.

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights by Freddy Fender, I remember going to my Tía Lupe’s house for parties and there was always a Freddy Fender album played followed by Sunny and the Sunliners. Too bad I can't score a Sunny and the Sunliners cd.

Andar Conmigo by Julieta Venegas another song that reminds me of an incident in Mexico.

Desnuda by Ricardo Arjona this guy is a poet.

Who’ll Stop the Rain by CCR childhood memories.

Desperado by The Eagles for some reason, I’ve always liked this song a lot.

New Kid in Town by The Eagles, my sis’ favorite song by them.

Sweet Dreams by Patsy Cline, when I was a kid, my sis was a teenager. One summer, she got a job babysitting for this kid that had mental issues. To keep him civil, his mom got him cable with HBO, so he would watch TV all day. This was when my sis first saw the Patsy Cline movie. She recorded it and when the summer was over, she brought it home and would watch it a lot. One day, when this song started, she did the “Turururururu…” at the begining of the song and my mom yelled from the kitchen, “íChavala cabrona! ¡Cáyate!”

Neon Moon I can’t remember who this is by. I don’t know why I like this song. It was released after the big break up in my family and yet for some reason, my sis, bro and I all like it. Every time it comes on the radio and we’re together, all three or any combination, all of know all the words.

I tried to think of songs that would be on the jukebox, but of course, I picked from the files on my mp3 player. ¿Y tú? What would you pick?


UH Students Shortchange Themselves

I was sitting in class scribbling away on my new notebook waiting for the prof to arrive. I had my headphones on. I was the only one in the classroom because on Tuesdays and Thursdays I always arrive about an hour to an hour and a half before my class begins. Ten till, this lady and girl walk in. The girl asked the lady, “Did you read?”

“No. I just didn’t have time.”

“Me neither. She gives us so much to read. I’m taking 17 hours! I thought this would be a blow off class.”

“I know. Well, I told Cano I was taking this class and he said she was going to be hard because she went to Harvard…” I didn’t want to hear their bitching and moaning so I drowned out their complaints with El Gran Silencio’s Chuntaro Style and besides, it was Stanford not Harvard.

Later that day, before my U.S. Pop Culture class started, I was in my nook being insulted with the strong scent of cigarettes and sweaty man smell when the wanna be Brit invasion sporting the Sergeant Pepper hat and Mr. I’m too cool for school guy began discussing reading requirements.

“Yeah, I didn’t read,” said Brit Invasion.

“Me neither.”

“I’ve read one article for this class. I hate history.”

“Hahaha, I’ve read nothing.”

I know being related to a professor changes my perspective on things. Yeah, sometimes I’m lazy and I slack off and don’t keep up with my reading, but I make it up. And besides, the worst part of it is when you show up to class and you have no idea what they’re talking about because you didn’t read. But that’s not the true root of the problem.

The true root of the issue is that if UH students keep acting that way, people will continue thinking of UH as a community college. I don’t think that’s fair to our professors who bust their ass getting PH.D’s and doing endless amounts of research to put together a syllabus that will enhance a student’s knowledge. I don’t want these slackers weighing down my degree because I have put forth my best effort to attain it.

No, the Latino Lit version

Ok, I’m totally gonna pull a Daily Texican y le voy a copiar a la Cindylu. My twist on it is that it’s the Latino lit version.

No, I don’t live in a purple house in San Antonio, Texas. I did not move to the southwest because I need to give a voice to the people that live here. I did not turn my back on the people who helped me out when I first started my career as a writer. I am not Sandra Cisneros.

No, I did not win the Mármol Award only to have my book edited by a gringo who does not know how to conjugate in Spanish. I am not Lorena Lopez.

No, I do not hold meeting to antagonize a certain Hispanic Publishing house. I am not Gary Soto.

No, I do not have to prove that I’m a macho through my writing. I am not Dagoberto Gilb.

No, I do not want to be the great Latino thinker. I am not Richard Rodriguez.

No, I do not sell my book for a ridiculous amount of money only to watch it flop when it is released. I am not Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.

No, I did not copy Luis Valdez’ acto. I am not the guys from Culture Clash.

No, I do not totally ignore people criticism of the white sheet being too obvious. I am not Daniel Chacón.


El Pachangon del Jefe

I was typing something up, but in the midst of transcribing, I didn’t save it and now it’s gone to untitled Word document heaven. But it was basically talking about what I was too tired to recap yesterday.

Yesterday, we celebrated our director’s 60th birthday. This was a pretty big deal because this is also the year that the press turns 25, like me! Well, it started in 1979, but you know, it’s got 25 years under its belt.

In the past, we’ve always had a surprise party for NK, our director. The first year I was here, we had a gag gift party. He was given herbal supplements to enhance his virility, dollar store men’s hair dye, an “El Jefe” action figure, and I made him a t-shirt with this horrid character concept we received and used my photo shop skilz to place his head on the peasant farmer meets cholo body. But the best part was the catalog. We took the Fall 2002 Catalog that lists all of our titles and somehow related them to him, i.e. for our book AmeRícan, we called it AmeKanellos. I don’t know if he really liked it, but everyone got a good kick out of it. The following year, we had the run of the mill fajita and cake lunch which turned out to sort of suck because people were complaining about not being asked to be part of the planning the year before and then when asked that year, they didn’t want to participate.

This year, we said, fuck it, whoever wants to help will help and whoever does it can so, so suck their toe all the way to Mexico! We pretended to forget NK’s b-day for two weeks. In the meantime, we made preparations. I was in charge of decorations which Layout Lalis helped me with. During one of our trips to our storage facility, me and my boss found this huge portfolio bag with tons of the old school cover jobs and all these theatrical pics. I scanned some of the pics and Lalis put NK’s face on it. I wrote descriptions for the pics and we titled it “The Rasquache Photo Exhibition.” I’d post them up here, but they’re on Lalis’ Mac and I don’t know if any of them are copyrighted. It was awesome to see him walk in and see the exhibit. He laughed and at the end of the lunch, he took them all off the wall and took them to his office. But the best part of the whole thing was when the trio walked in. My sis and roomie contracted a trio to come and sing to him because of course, he loves music. The first three songs were about Puerto Rico or being Puerto Rican, because you know, he’s a Nuyorican. You should have seen the smile on his face. It was like giving me fresh tamales in the middle of the summer.

I know I’m taking forever to get to the point y estoy cantifleando, but the point of all this is that he deserved this and more. Yeah, sometimes he can be rude and brash, but he’s an extremely busy man. How many men do you know that teach, run a publishing house and influence the actions of a Spanish department? He’s planted so many seeds in his lifetime and I hope he gets to see all of them bloom.


Subliminal T's

I'm hella tired so I'm going to share one of my assignments. This was for my Pop Culture History class and we had to write a letter to the editor. Hope you all are having a find day and that the lady signed the papers!
Chinelas! I forgot I had it on my little do-hickey, you know the usb port and it's totally gone from there cuz I used it for work. Damn! Ni modo. I'll type it up when I'm not so tired.
Anyone heard the new or latest Molotov cd? I just got it in the mail and I'm dying to listen. Nos vemos tomorrow.


gmail invites

Hey hipsters. If you're not one of the hip cats out there with a gmail e-mail and you'd like one, hit me up in the comments. For some reason, gmail gave me 50 invites to hand out to the entire world.


Valentine's Day 2000

We’ve all heard the account of the real reason we celebrate San Valentín. If you haven’t, google it, I’m sure you’ll find something. Of course, now it’s turned into a Hallmark holiday in which people milk money out of those men hoping to get some later tonight. This holiday is especially great for women because it’s the day where we get wined and dined and magical things are supposed to happen.

Over the last four years, Daniel has sent me endless stuffed animals, candy and cards. Before Daniel, the infamous ex would prepare candlelit dinners and magnificently wrapped jewelry boxes. But the year that sticks out the most in my mind was the one in between the ex and the cheater, in which I had befriended San Jose Dave. We had met in an Excite chat room late one December night. We had exchanged descriptions and pictures and eventually beeper numbers. He’d call and leave me voicemails or dial 50538.

That February, while I was Tae-Boing my little heart away the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, there was an obnoxious knock on the door. My mom answered it and was given a large rectangular box. She knocked on my door and handed me the box when I opened my bedroom door. Because I had mentioned that I had ordered some shoes online, she quickly dismissed it as the shoes.

I, however, knew it wasn’t a box a shoes because it was far too long. I examined the box further and realized there were flowers in there. I eagerly tore it open to find half a dozen of red roses. I grabbed an empty hard plastic Slurpee glass and filled it with water and that magical little powder that always comes with flowers these days. I arranged the bouquet in the glass and placed it on the speaker box at the foot of my bed.

About an hour later, when my mom no longer heard the Tae Bo video, she wandered into my room. The first thing she saw was the flowers, “Mi’ja! ¿Quien te mando eso?” she exclaimed. At this moment, I was forced to tell her all about Dave. She was pretty surprised and seemed happy, not freaked out like I thought she would.

My brothers of course wanted to know who he was and where he lived so they could kick his ass. They looked at the return address on the box and since they were unaware of online orders said, “Florida? Is he a Cuban? Puerto Rican? He better not be black!”

At that moment, I didn’t care. He was far away and most importantly, I knew he thought enough about me to send me flowers for Valentine’s Day. Things quickly took a nose dive into the pacific between us, but occasionally I'm remined of his gesture when I run into the card that came with the flowers and that one time while I was home, I saw that my mom had used the box to store some of her ceramic angel figurines. Nevertheless, every Valentine’s Day since, I always recall the excitement of actually getting flowers for Valentine’s Day and I can still smell their fragrance that infused my room for about two weeks.

I know that wherever he is now, he’s making plans to take his girlfriend/fiancé/wife on some romantic evening on the town. He’s probably having her picked up in a limo and having her delivered to a suite at the best hotel in town where they will have dinner and ending the night with champagne on a horse drawn carriage where he will present her with some awe inspiring gift. Although this could make me jealous, in the end, it doesn't matter because I'm with a guy who loves me so much that he didn't watch any college bowl games because he wanted to spend all his time with me.


Ya se, ya se, siempre linkeando a la Cindylu, but she has some really interesting stuff to say. She was my portal into this whole lantana/o, in her case, chicana/o, blogging world. ¿Que le voy hacer?

Bueno, she talked about the self defense class she attended and linked it to her gas station incident saying that, “I think my guardian angel works overtime.”

I think all our angelitos work over time. Lately, I always think its my dad whose watching over me. I remember that year after he passed away, siempre lo estaba jodiendo. For everything, I’d think, “Please Dad, please…” Now, I don’t bother him so much.

But before that, I don’t know who I used to bother, I guess God. But I know I did have an angelito watching over me, especially that Friday morning in August of 2002, when my sis and I were held up in her house. It was pretty scary shit. It felt like a movie. All I could think was, “when is this asshole leaving?” I never thought to pray to God then because I was too busy trying to make sure he didn’t rape my sister.

After the police report, a lot of crying on my sisters part, and picking up her husband from the airport, we joked about all the santitos my mom had turned on its head and the sleepless nights in which Mom stood in front of the big portrait of Jesus meditating the night before he was hung on the cross touching with her hands on his hands asking him to keep all of us safe. Till this day, I don’t think she knows about the incident and I don’t think we’ll ever tell us or the praying will hit triple time.

Almost three years later, if I’m going to be out late, I always carry an umbrella or something I can hit with. I lace my keys between my fingers, look around and scope out my car before I get into it. I don’t walk to my car all alone. Even if I’m not walking with someone, I keep someone in sight. I look people in the eye and greet them when I pass them by on the street. I triple lock my door and periodically turn lights on and off. I trust and respect my instincts.

But I can’t spend the night alone in my sister’s house, no matter how many resos y angelitos I have over my head.



I attended a seminar this morning about teaching in a local school district. I’m definitely investing my $40 to apply. If I get accepted and I get hired, I’ll be teaching either middle school or high school English. Wouldn’t that be grand? Now, I just have to fill out the application and answer billions of questions about how I would teach. It’s actually pretty exciting. I think back to all those English teachers I had in high school, well, except for my senior year teacher, Mrs. Something or other, and they were the coolest. They would float in the classroom and allow our minds to float and dream up of all these possibilities.

Anyway, when I got home, I felt a little sad that I would be all alone tonight. My roommate is spending the night with my sister and I don’t want to stay over there because it’s weird. I feel like the odd man out when I’m with them, so after lunch, I skedaddled a.s.a.p. On my way home, I stopped by to get Javi (my new fish) some rocks for his bowl and pills to stabilize tap water for his bowl. Since I was right by Cactus Video and Music, I went to see if they had the Freddy Fender CD I was looking for and a copy of Garden State. I only scored Garden State (by the way, good movie). Okay, I’m way off the point. I was sitting around debating whether to watch the movie or a DVD for my class as I sat around and checked out my favorite blogs/journals/diaries and listened to some music. JV’s Oleada started to play on my MP3 player and even though I’ve sung along to it numerous times, for some reason, today, between the sadness, confusion and indecisiveness, it all made sense: I just gotta float along. I’ve been so determined to make my life take some kind of course, like I have to do certain things, and you know what? I don’t. I’ve always come to this conclusion in the past. I mean, of course, I’m not going to become a bum and live out of my car, but I just gotta go with the flow, as trite as that phrase is.

Somehow, this realization has made me…happy. It sort of reminded me of my trip to Mexico this past summer. It was all a blank Word document, ready for me to fill up with my jargon and in the end, I have this beautiful picture next to my desk of Zacateros street in San Miguel de Allende, which I gaze at almost ever day for that high that words just can’t explain.


I almost stayed another semester

I typed up an entry yesterday when I got home from school y la chamba, pero pos, no se vío. Nimodo. I have no idea what it was about. Orale, it was about the zoot suit and Dung, Daniel’s step-grandfather. Ya no tengo ganas de contar la histioreta otra vez.

Anyway, I almost stayed as a student one more year. My sister and supervisor had me all convinced about doing the teacher certification and then I could stay working at the Press, pero chale. I did my research and I have to take another semester of prereqs and that would mean graduating in the fall which means I’d be S.O.L. on a teaching job until the next year and I’d wouldn’t be going to grad school for another year. So I told my sister, who hasn’t really been spending time with me which is why she doesn’t know my plan, that I was going to take this year off, work, in anything and apply to grad school, try to publish and take some workshops here and there. Tambien yo pendeja, pa que les hago caso si ya tengo mi plan ¿verdad? Chinellas.

I did like the idea of staying in school, but really, if I want to go to grad school, shouldn’t that be what I pursue next? I plan to get a lot of the crap like essays and the GRE done this summer when I’ll most likely still be working at the Press. Well, if I don’t find a job before that. I figure with all my experience, I could easily land a selecetary job anywhere.

Bueno, nada interesante hoy. I have all these ideas boiling up but they always disappear when I sit down to write. Aye nos vidrios.


More Talk of the Zoot

Last night, I was talking to Daniel and he mentioned he may actually wear a zoot.


Yeah. He only wants to do it because it'll piss off his step-grandfather. Daniel was talking to his aunt Tamanda (I don't know what's up with the names, guess it's a redneck thing) about the zoot. He said I was into all that stuff because of the legend that the chuco's en El Chuco started wearing them first and Tamanda was like, "What? You mean she's from Mexico?"

"Yeah," replied Daniel.

"No wonder she wanted out. I've been there..." he summed it up with her saying it's violent, blah blah blah. Her comments are a whole other entry I don't want to get into right now.

Anyway, Dung, I mean Don, but in and said, "She doesn't know the real history or else she wouldn't want you to wear one."

To which Daniel replied, "Uh, yeah she does. That's why she wants me to wear one."

"No she doesn't. The zoot suits are associated with all the hoodlums and bad people."

This is when I had to interrupt his story. I couldn't help it. It was pissing me off too much. I said some not very nice things about Dung, but it's fair since he once called me a valley rat. While I talked, he googled the zoot suit and found some pretty interesting stuff that he printed out and planned to show Dung. I promised to send him some of the articles I have about it and a copy of A Gringo Manual on How to Handle Mexicans.

Bueno, I've missed half of CSI. Nos vemos al raton.

P.S. Anyone know how to do the accents on here or am I just gonna have to import from Word?

P.S.S. I found it lurking in the archives. I guess I should be more careful where I point my mouse.


Los Front Chihs

Living on the border of another country and another state, as is the case in El Paso, is quite an interesting place to be. The other day, for some reason, I got to thinking about the huge diversity there. I mean, I had thought about it before of course, but I guess reading Pilgrimage to Atzlán, Tato Laviera, and Alurista made me think about this.

In El Paso, where there is so much mixture of cultures and ideas, often times, you are identified by the license plates on your car. For example, if you were driving down the freeway and there was a car that was holding up traffic, it was almost certain that it was a Front Chih or a Chih Mex, occasionally it’d be a Land of Enchantment, but hardly ever was it a Texas plate.

Sometimes, while I was at Wal-Mart (because Wal-Mart practically runs the city) while a couple picked and chose the items at one of those self checkouts, I could almost see the mustard yellow Front Chih plates on their backs. Most of the time, I was right because by the time they loaded all their purchases into their cars, I had already left the parking lot.

The Front Chih’s and Chih Mex’s were infamous for coming over in troops on Sunday mornings or during any big sale and leaving far and few scattered sale items on the shelves. What they did with them no one really knew, unless you were of course related to one. But for the most part, my guess is that a few actually kept one of the televisions or pairs of jeans and the rest they sold to those who could not legally cross the border.

Many of us criticized this aspect, but honestly, I think we did it because we were jealous. Jealous that they could enjoy both worlds and not be referred to as Pochos. For someone in Mexico to wear Tommy Jeans was a sign of status, even if they owned one pair which they wore to every birthday party, quinceñera or boda.

It’s just their way of doing things, just like I crave their tortillas and walking the markets on a Sunday afternoon in search of fresh produce, they want to have chocolate Americano y pantalones Tommy y Guess. It’s just interesting how the people crave what the other side has.


The groom will not be sporting a Zoot

Last month, while Daniel and I were waiting for my dreadful departure, he held me tight and said, “If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, I’ll wear a zoot suit to our wedding.”


“If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, I’ll wear a zoot suit to our wedding.”

I didn’t really know what to say at the time because I was overwhelmed with gloom, but when I got back home and settled in, I made sure I had heard correctly. I had indeed. In fact, he had told his family, so they were all hoping the Eagles would win. Everyone wanted to see the white boy in a zoot suit, but I guess that won’t be happening.

I didn't really want him to wear one. I used to just joke with him about it, especially because he doesn't see the zoot suit as a text. But in the end, it would have been kinda cool for him to wear one. Our kids would have been so embarrassed.

In other news, I met with my advisor this morning and have confirmed that on May 13th, 2005, I will be donning a black cap and gown. I submitted my graduation application just a few minutes ago. Fuckers charge you $25 for it.

I had one more thing to say, but I can’t remember what right now. Orale, ya me acrode.
Cindylu left a comment the other day about my fondness of George Strait, said us Texans were weird. I can accept that, but it’s all as a part of this sundry identity of mine.

Bueno a trabajar se dijo.


¿Que vamos hacer?

Los domingos, I usually sit around and read all day until about 7 PM, when I head out to the living room to watch Extreme Home Makeover and Desperate Housewives. Today, the only difference has been what I’ve been reading.

I’m taking my sister’s Latino Lit class in Spanish. We’re using an anthology called En otra voz. I remember when I started working at the press, I had to send out all the intro’s to the people who wrote them. That fall, it came to fruition and there was a lot of talk about it. Just having started mi proceso de concientación, I had no idea what the big deal was.

Having read the first seven chapters and taken a numerous amount of Mexican American Studies classes, I see the importance. Every time El Profe comes upstairs performing the same song and dance he does at least ten times a semester to get some rico do donate some money to the press, I wish I was rich. Half the time, those people take our books and don’t give a single cent. I’m sure they take the books and give them away or put them on a bookshelf to collect dust. Never do they consider the importance of the press.

The other day over lunch, I expressed my wish of donating money to the press. And you know what my sister replied, “You already donate a lot. You’re underpaid, you work extra hours, and you read our books.”

I didn’t realize it until now the importance of that last thing she said. Es como gritaron y gritan el J.A.G., Alurista, Tato Laviera, Gloria Anzaldúa, Dolores Huerta and all the other Chicana/o foremothers and fathers from words on a page to “Viva la Raza” chants, tenemos que hacer algo.

My generation has the ball now. We’re at the fifty yard line, are we gonna for the first down or the touchdown?

P.S. Ya'll go check out Lotería Chicana and The Daily Texican.


Music Meme 2.0

I took this from Lotería Chicana.

Orale pues, here's the Meme

Ten Random Songs

Instruciónes: Put your MP3 player on "shuffle" and list the first ten songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.

Why Don’t You Get a Job-The Offspring
All My Loving-The Beatles
Desperado-The Eagles
Down on the Corner-CCR
She’s Got Issues-The Offspring
Asignatura Pendiente-Ricardo Arjona
Lullaby-The Cure
It Won’t Be Long-The Beatles
All My Ex’s Live in Texas-George Strait
Dare You to Move-Switchfoot

II. Q & A Section

What are the total amount of music files on your computer?

1,029, for now

The last CD you bought was?

I bought four cd’s last night. Toby Keith, The Millenium Collection, Ray Charles Genius Loves Company, Ricardo Arjona Solo, and Los Tigeres del Norte Pacto de Sangre. I was looking for a Freddy Fender cd, but I didn’t find one. Maybe I’ll go look for it today as well as a Sunny and the Sunliners album.

What is the song you last listened to before this message?

A Beatles song, I think it was All I’ve Got to Do

Name three artists/bands you adore:

Hmm, only three, George Strait, Molotov, and Julieta Venegas

Write down five songs you often listen to, or that mean a lot to you.

Wilde Horses-The Rolling Stones
Desnuda-Ricardo Arjona
Hard Candy-Counting Crowes
Daughters-John Mayer
And as a bonus, because I can’t forget this one Changes-Black Sabath

Who are you gonna pass this stick to (three persons and why)?

I don’t know yet



I flip flop in your palm
Like a translucent,
Cherry Jello red,
Cellophane fish.



Earlier today, I was sitting on my bed looking around my room, trying not to think about the time since Daniel and I won’t be talking for a while, when I remembered I should write a letter to my friend Ruben. I went over to one of my bookcases to get a monkey card that I bought at Half Price Books when I realized that my photo albums were right next to the box of cards. Of course, I took out one photo album and started flipping through it and then another and another until I had seen them all.

Most of my pictures are of Halloween or my nieces and nephews. I have tons of pictures of Ricky, my cute little nephew whom I love to pieces. I also have a lot of pictures of Joann, his oldest sister and my oldest niece (she’s now 19).

Every time I see those pictures of Joann, it makes me sad. When she was still in high school, we used to hang out a lot. Usually, we’d go watch a movie or go walk around Target and then eat something cheap like McDonalds or Peter Piper or Slurpees and nachos from 7-11. When I was on the diet of all diets with the strict exercise regime, we’d walk around her neighborhood at a brisk pace for a couple hours.

When she and her family moved to the other side of town, I would pick her up on weekends or during school breaks and she’d spend a couple days at my house. When I was working at Wal-Mart, she went to work with me once and she realized it was no fun. When I applied to U of H and came to tour the campus, she came with me.

Throughout all those years, we used to always make plans about how things were going to change once she graduated. She wouldn’t have to live with her psychotic mother because we’d be living together. We were going to find a cheap little house in central El Paso or maybe on the lower east side and put lawn furniture in the living room and living room furniture on the lawn. We were also going to have four microwaves and she was going to give me all her paychecks so I could take care of her finances. We were both going to be in college and I’d have some long distance lover, preferably Billy.

But when I started my UH plans, she started dating this guy and working at Burger King and everything changed. We never saw each other because she worked late and I worked semi-bankers hours at Wal-Mart. By the time I was ready to leave, there was a Grand Canyon between us. We had missed too many movies, Slurpees, and plain cheese pizzas.

Looking at the pictures, there is one from a baby shower for her mom where I’m sitting on the couch and she’s sitting on the floor. I was sick as hell that day, but I had asked for the time off so I could attend the baby shower. When it was over, she went home with me and we went to watch some movie. This guy I was dating at the time met up with us after the movie and we all went to Denny’s. As soon as she got a chance, she said, “I don’t like him. You can do better.”

We were always looking out for each other like that. But she did it more that I did. Now, she’s two deep with some guy who’s just using her. Instead of telling her what she told me at Denny’s that night, I told her to take care and told him it was nice meeting him.