A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

quarta-feira, outubro 31, 2001

Bad dream. Dreamt that ! wasn't interested in what I was saying. Woke myself up before it got too far. Very disturbing.
If you've gone this far, you already know that I've added a guestbook to my site. Although it might seem as if this is just another onanistic effort on my part, I actually want feedback on this website since it will probably be my calling card online if I ever want to be somewhat known.

It's hard to believe, but I have not written an academic paper in nearly half a year. I had a blast doing them but now I'm used to writing cheap yellow journalism. It will be a challenge getting back to my previous armchair intellectual position. Currently, I'm lying down.

terça-feira, outubro 30, 2001

I slowly starting to get very tired. But I'm also academically invigorated. What to do, then? Move to UCLA's Young Research Library, live like those kids in "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil T. Frankweiler (?)". You know what book I'm talking about.

segunda-feira, outubro 29, 2001

What a 36 hours.

Sunday: Drove to Tijuana, drove non-stop for 5 hours . I have stamina. Bought a cheap-ass accordion that I have nevertheless started playing crudely. People were surprised that I could get a sound out of the toy, let alone some songs. Then went to concert; got home around 2:30AM

Monday: Woke up at 6:30AM. Yep, four hours of sleep. Haven't even taken a little nap like I used to. Operating under some sort of delirium. Other things happened (as previous post noted). But here's the kicker, probably the kicker for the rest of the year:

In my graduate course today, I did the single most embarrassing thing of my academic career. Worse than when my voice cracked during the middle of a speech contest. Worse than when I let out a huge fart during the middle of reading time. Even worse than when I dropped a giant metal dildo during the middle of Spanish class. What happened?

I cannot say. Email me and I swear I'll tell you. But it's so bad, I refuse to reveal its content out in the open. Let's just say me and Cruz Bustamante have more in common now other than our shared ethnicity. Besides, this is a cheap way to get people to email me. Don't know my address? It's around somewhere on my website; find it.
! called me from Guatemala, happy that she figured out a message I had written to her in Spanish. This was definitely a case of wishful longing and thinking.
Being sold out is a blast. I had been fighting to get an article published on a Santa Ana artist in my usual paper. And so what does the artist do? He lets himself be featured in the local daily.

I understand that he wants as much publicity as possible, but at the same time I feel betrayed. The point of alternative journalism is that it features stories that are not touched by the mainstream and the artist was supposedly alternative (definitely how he views Dia de Los Muertos, which of course was not featured in the local daily). I guess he's not alternative enough.

Went to a concert last night, stayed way longer than I had planned. It was worth it, though. All the bands were great, although the MC's were annoying as hell. Saw some old friends, kicked it with them. No moshing, though; too packed to do such a thing. This is a case where I'm glad I took no one (as I used to do). Then again, it was free so this could not have been a case of my benevolency.

domingo, outubro 28, 2001

I'm hungry.

sábado, outubro 27, 2001

So ! and I said our goodbyes again. Well not goodbyes. She'll be back and she'll carry me in her heart while she traverses the highlands of Guatemala. When ! comes back, it will be December, I would have finished my first quarter of grad school and God knows how much will have changed. I just hope neither she nor me does. Dejame prender una vela a San Judas Thaddeus--the patron saint of lost causes. But this is not a lost cause, only a delayed one.

sexta-feira, outubro 26, 2001

Yesterday was a good day. Good times had by all.

Today, I feel guilty. I will be missing school for only the third time since junior high. The first time was when I nearly died of a disease my junior year. Second time was for the funeral of my cousin. This time, I have no reason to other than I must be rested and prepared. ! is leaving yet again. But she'll come back yet again. And then leave. Then it'll probably be me doing the leaving. As Ruben Martinez put it "Why are we always leaving to arrive nowhere?"

But we're not going nowhere (forgive my double negative). It's leading somewhere. I think so, I believe so, I don't know so.

quinta-feira, outubro 25, 2001

Today will be a good day.

I will go see the magnificent Amigos Invisibles at HOB Anaheim with !. I will serve my community by going to protest the virulent ignorance of the AUHSD Board of Trustees. I will have at least one article published, maybe two, and quite possibly four. I will talk, listen, and love. I will have patience.

Today will be a good day.

quarta-feira, outubro 24, 2001

I was born different; I'll die different. If people cannot accept that, then maybe they shouldn't be talking to me in the first place. I'll never be the life of the party and frankly, I don't want to be. All I want to be is me--whatever the hell that means.

terça-feira, outubro 23, 2001

My mother's family is going through all these things right now. Petty things, mind you. Things that could have been resolved if they had not left things simmer for many years.

Me and my siblings will not be like that. I apologized to my sister this weekend for some vicious comment I made towards her and we both agree that we will not ignore each other during our lives. That is good to hear.

I am happy with !. She is so much fun to be with. She's leaving for Guatemala on Saturday, which means Friday is the last day I'll spend time with her for a while. Time flies when you're having fun, but time flies even faster when you truly miss someone and know they're coming back. Th time she spends away will be over in an instant--I hope.

segunda-feira, outubro 22, 2001

It's nice to see friends after nearly two years. Or has it been that long? I wound my way through the still-developing hills of Chino last night to meet my "pompous asshole" friend. He is a philosophy major and completely full of himself. But I love him.

I talked to him for no more than ten minutes since nearly 40 other people were vying for his attention. But I did talk to other people that I had not spoken to, either ever or in a while. Which got me thinking:

I'm growing up.

I met all those people 6 summers ago at a fun job. They were entering JC's; I was still in high school. Now only me and PA (short for "pompous asshole") have completed school and moved on. Everyone else is relatively successful with jobs. But what is this? Meeting people once a year, people that mean the world to you and that you used to see on a daily basis? Starting relationships that might possibly be continued over long distances? Seeing someone with the realization that you probably won't see them again until the planets align or if you reside in the same faculty (assuming both become professors)? It's scary; it's horrible; it's life.

sábado, outubro 20, 2001

I don't like myself. I don't like the fact that I'm so self-assured of what I believe in that I do not allow room for deviancy. I always expect things to go my way and if they don't, I experience self-loathing.

It used to be worse. I lived what sociologists would call a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was a double edged sword. On one hand, I would expect to succeed in certain things and would. On the other, I would expect to fail miserably at other things and would. But I'm better now and temper myself--with arrogance and a self-assuredness that can be construed as good but could ultimately screw me royally.

Doubts has finally entered my mind after nearly a year of living. I'm negotiating my life right now, figuring out what I want to do after thinking I knew what I wanted. Well, let me correct myself. I know what I want; I just don't know how to get there. Needless to say, I'm scared shitless.

sexta-feira, outubro 19, 2001

A couple of bullet points rather than a summary of my day:

1. My arrogance is incredibly large. But it is slowly dying--except in my belief that I am a Simpsons freak.
2. Dorks are dorks wherever they are. The Weekly staff are a bunch of dorks, even at their own party. For that, I like them even more.
3. When you're somewhere where you're usually uncomfortable with someone special, everything goes well.
4. Valet parking should not be.
5. The beach is incredibly beautiful when no one is there.
6. Ethnicity is created within the boundary between two groups.
7. Positive thoughts beget positive actions, which result in positive results.

No more. I need rest.

quinta-feira, outubro 18, 2001

The first test happened yesterday: ! and me going out with someone else. For such an important moment, I invited a dear friend of mine, a girl who've I've known for ages and who I am most sarcastic with. It went great. They both kept making fun of me, but in that nice way that comes from people caring about you (though in different intensities in each of their cases). And they really liked each other. As usual, I kicked major friggin ass on my test.

This entire week, actually, is mine and !'s social week. Tuesday we went to a Taco Bell meeting, yesterday the dinner (at Felix's, the best restaurant in all Orange County). Today, we're going to an OC Weekly party and tomorrow we're going to a Shabbat dinner and afterwards going to some benefit salsa concert. As alway, I will be ecstatic and so will she.

quarta-feira, outubro 17, 2001

The Left can be so stupid sometimes. They say they have no egos, yet they dump all over the hardest workers. Why? Ego. I'm glad I belong to no organizations. All I want to do is help, not belong.

! is back. I'm happy. How happy? I don't even have to say.

sexta-feira, outubro 12, 2001

For regular readers of my blog (which, judging from the ZERO amount of people that visited this portion of my illustrious webpage, is few), I have not written much as of recent because I'm still trying to work some bugs out with this freaking Yahoo! thing. Once I figure it out, I will write like no other.

The embargo is over. I shall talk to ! over the phone tonight. I am looking forward to it. But I cannot write right now because of Yahoo!!

quarta-feira, outubro 10, 2001


This one was not good at all. First, I dreamnt that I was at the Weekly's office, just working. A lady that I never talk to told me I was the sweetest, nicest man on the face of the Earth. No explanation given. Then a bunch of gang members overtook the offices (they were interns) and I had to broker the madness--I guess because I'm Mexican. One guy started chasing me and kept stabbing me in the back. I was terrified and hid in a park and slept. Then I had to run because he kept chasing me. Finally, my friend called me from Missouri. He was supposed to call me this past weekend but never did.
I HATE it when I am led to believe something and it turns out I was wrong all long. I feel like such a worthless moron. Case in point: I was under the impression I would have a submission in the Weekly's "Best of OC" issue. They really liked it and are going to structure next year's issue around my format. Turns out, they are saving my article for next year also. Here I am, all excitied that I'm going to have a submission only to find out I was wrong. When I got the response from my editor, I felt like such a fool. I know I'm a fool, but I hate being reminded. Sometimes, I succeed in forgetting

terça-feira, outubro 09, 2001

I have not gotten a good night's sleep for a long time and the fatigue is finally getting to me. Yet I persevere and do what I'm supposed to do. Why am I not sleeping well? The cause is not some overarching neurosis or an emotional disturbance. I'm talking to friends, missing !, doing my work--nothing out of the usual. The reason for my sleepless nights is that I'm still getting adjusted to grad school and its dynamics, getting used to the fact that I'm getting PAID to discuss theories of ethnicity and read about 200 pages a week for one class.

segunda-feira, outubro 08, 2001

The best types of baptisms are those done by fire. They cleanse and they are brutal. If you can't hang, you don't survive.

My entire life has been based on this philosophy. Although I like to think of myself as being cautious with life, and many people have told me that I am extremely cautious with everything, this is not the case. Many of the defining moments in my life has been a result of me just jumping into the midst of things, fighting like a madman to survive, and not only surviving but mastering the game.

Why do I bring up such arrogance? Mostly as a way to comfort myself. I had my first gradute seminar today for my sociology class, Theories of Ethnicity. 3 hours of non-stop discussion with people who know their stuff. If you don't know, you're screwed. I didn't know much. I survived--I think. I am looking forward to next week already. Whether I will pass is a completely different issue.
I have the strangest sleeping habits.

If I try to sleep before 11PM (like last night), I have a bad night's sleep and am tired and annoyed (well, more than usual) the next day. If I sleep for a ridiculously short period of time, I am refreshed for the day. And even when I take short naps, I start dreaming. I was starting to formulate one about ! as the Raiders were pounding the Cowboys, but then I woke up.

Bombs over Kabul! Like the song says "America's been good to me/But I laugh when people say/All the kids salute the flag/Uncle Sam needs you/Come on let's here it for the/Red, White, and Blue"


domingo, outubro 07, 2001

I haven't been sleeping well or having good dreams as of recent. I haven't had nightmares, mind you, but the dreams are not exactly present. This time, I dreamnt that I was friends with a gang member who warned me that I should stay away from me because either of us could get shot and the other one might be caught in the crossfire. He gave me a pin to signify that he belonged in a certain gang. Very strange as usual

sábado, outubro 06, 2001

The week I can make it through. All I do is study. The weekends are hell. Everyone is always doing something and I am left home alone with only a bottle of orange juice as my companion.
More weirdness. ! wanted to spend the day up in the mountain climbing deciduous trees. She was able to make that a pick o' the Week in the Weekly. For a picture, there was a shot of her and a younger female cousin when they were little girls. She wanted to go at noon; I wanted to go but I had a class at that time and didn't know how to tell her so she wouldn't be disappointed. So I tried to call her early in the morning and it turned out her cell phone was no longer hers; it belonged to an actor. I think we eventually went out, but I'm not sure.

Then I dreamnt that someone (not Mexico) unleashed an anthrax attack on la frontera. The US military went down and completely sealed the border and the drudge report and americanpatrol combined their website into a disgusting mess.

Finally, I dreamnt about the chicken I owned for the past 3 years. She was sad.

sexta-feira, outubro 05, 2001

The 405 Freeway is hell on earth come 6PM Friday evening. Especially when you're alone. Last Friday, I had the luxury of ! keeping me company. Today it was me and those crazy Amigos Invisibles.

Many of you do care about me! So most of you now know !'s name. Of course, she will always be ! in this horrible diary. I got an email from her yesterday. Business. Me being the suave gentleman that I am completely gave her the cold shoulder. I shouldn't have done that. But I am so insistent that ! think things through that this three...sorry, I noticed that I was using words beginning with "th" so I began to get crazy. Anyway, I know she's having a blast, but I want no contact with her right now. It's killing me, but if this means she's having clear thoughts about me and where I exist in her life, so be it.

I dreamed about my ex. Not this past one; the one I went out with six years ago. I have no clue why. She had a brother my age, who was the brother of a female friend of mine. We went driving and I noticed the gas prices were at $7 a gallon. I commented that that was a $1.50 increase from one day yet people were not upset. He said people don't care about anything. For some reason, I woke up sad.
The emails are slowly trickling in regarding ! as I sent out my explanation yesterday. Maybe I'll post them, maybe I won't. Ultimately, it will be my decision. If I come off as being blunt, I'm sorry. But Chinatown is a great place to study.

quinta-feira, outubro 04, 2001

I hate being in a class where the material is so easy, you get the answer wrong only because you're on a higher level than everyone else.

This is not another of my usual arrogant boasts. This is what happened today in my Urban Anthropology class. I read and reread the material so when the teacher asked a question, I answered it. She did not like the answer, though, but later on in the lecture contradicted herself, making me seem like someone who knows their stuff.

Do I? I guess I do. But in all fairness, I just read, reread, and then read again. I can do that because I have nothing else to do. Since there is an empty feeling inside of me, I fill it with theories.
Nothing concrete in terms of happenings. All I remember is that I had a new car and the name of a famous Chicano Studies professor. Each of these are easily explainable: the new car was in my mind because my friend bought one recently and I boasted to my sister a couple days back that I could buy a new car right now if I wanted to. The professor was in my mind because academia stole my brain.

quarta-feira, outubro 03, 2001

Do I know what's really going on? Or do I just need a good smack in the face?
Because my mind is burnt from studying all day today, I will post what some have said about my writings. First, on my article of Tortilla Soup...(note: these are all actual emails people have sent me)
I just read your critique of the film Tortilla Soup. I agree with you
and I think you do a great job of decosnstrucing the images. You should
think about writing one on the film Mi Familia.

keep it up
But I don't like compliments. Here is a wannabe deconstruction...
Just wanted to make an observation or two regarding Gustavo
Arellano's article 'Quien es mas macho?':
Firstly, yeah, Latino/Hispanic/Whatever-you-choose to call it
stereotypes are ridiculous. The Latin Lover IS a laughably wide-of-
the-mark depiction of latino males, and silly, cartoonish depictions
of *any* group of people are something that ought to be addressed.
Hollywood filmaking *is* a deeply racist industry that is screaming
to be taken to task for the many odious stereotypes it propagates.
But, having said that, I think that Arellano is guilty of some
cultural blindness of his own.
When he laments the fact that, in American films, "The actor
portraying the Latin Lover doesn't have to be Latin" he seems to be
forgetting that Hollywood has a long history of cultural inaccuracy,
and latino actors are not its only victims. You've always had
Italians playing Jews, Jews playing Italians, Americans playing Irish-
-Peter Lorre playing a Japanese man, for god's sake--and on and on.
I suppose one could make an argument for this being a bad practice,
but if we do make it, why should we limit it to only latinos?
And if Arellano does find this problem so serious, I also have to
wonder why he doesn't see fit to criticise the heavy use of white
European actors like Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem in Mexican
and other Latin American roles. Surely this is an even more
insidious form of Hollywood racism?
One would think that, given Arellano's worries about culturally
accurate casting, he would be happy that the role of the Spanish
actor Hector in America's Sweethearts was actually given to someone
with some sort of legitimate claims to "Spanishness," which Hank
Azaria, as a sefardi, has. I personally was happy to see that
someone who was supposed to be from Spain actually *looked* Spanish,
and I also think that a parody of silly Banderas-style machismo was
long overdue. But Arellano ignores all that and somehow works out a
scenario in which Hector is a sort of archetypal "destroyer of happy
white couples"--an observation which makes my mind boggle. A
cultural note: Spain's population is overwhelmingly white, the
Romany and the children of very recent immigrants forming very small
minorities. Given this, can anyone enlighten me as to how Hector is
supposed to be anything other than white himself?
Maybe it's possible that Arellano is looking so hard at Hollywood
racism that he doesn't see that he's falling into racist traps
Also, as a citizen of the Spanish State, I have to admit that I find
the sentence "Azaria cannot decide whether to employ the lisp native
to Madrid or the guttural Castilian of Moorish Spain" utterly
incomprehensible. The last time I checked, Madrid, though now
forming its own autonomous region, still falls smack dab between
Castilla-Leon & Castilla-La Mancha--in other words, a Madrileno & a
"Castilian" accent are virtually the SAME THING. Also, the so-called
"lisp" (note derogatory terminology) referred to is not "native to
Madrid" but to most of Spain, apart from some, but not all, parts of
the South. And what on earth is meant by the "guttural" language of
"Moorish Spain" is entirely beyond me. Reading Arrellano, I have to
wonder if he's ever even bothered to find out anything about Spain
before making his observations.
We all know that Anglo-American culture has huge misconceptions about
the Spanish-speaking world, but I don't think that's an excuse for us
to fall into the same trap of ignoring our multicultural, multiracial
reality. As a Spaniard, I feel largely erased from the story of
Spanish speakers, not just by ignorant Americans who think Spain is
somewhere near Mexico, but also by US-based latinos (funnily, this
isn't true of those from Latin America) who are very nearly as
uninformed. I imagine it must be even worse for others, like the
Sefardim, whose existence is virtually unkown to most people,
including other Hispanics.
How can we expect the Anglo world to know who we really are if we
don't bother to make the effort ourselves?
Should I respond to this attack? Nah, too easy. And don't think I'm just being arrogant. Besides the fact that no one outside of Spain views Spaniards as "white", the person miscontrues my argument by twisting the use of the term "Castillian". But enough ranting.
My knee is killing me. I don't know why, since my idea of athletics is playing hockey on the computer. But it has hurt me in the past. Maybe it's one of those trick knees that act up for various reasons. Mine would be more associated with stress than forecasting of rain, though.

But the crazy thing is that I don't feel stress. I just finished reading 200 pages on transnationalism and its various schools yet I feel refreshed. I'm a walking, talking, critical, analytical machine right now, ie. I'm an arrogant prick. Thank God ! is away (yea right). I'll probably start writing about my experience with her as soon as I decide what, where, and with whom am I going to eat dinner.

terça-feira, outubro 02, 2001

When is individuality too much? Or how much originality is in a individual?

As I am learning more about the social constructs of ethnicity, I am finding out that nothing is pure. Nothing. I can pretend to be this original person but in fact I am shaped and molded by my boundaries and interactions with other people and situations. These realizations put me back into my usual existential world view.

Do I matter? If I were to die tomorrow, would anyone care? More importantly, would I have made a difference in this world? Or would I just join the masses of people who, as Thoreau put, led lives of quiet desperation?

I don't know the answers. So all I can do is be myself and hope for the best in everything and everyone.
She is gone.

! has left. Two weeks and she'll be back here physically. Figuratively, only God knows...

I will elaborate more on ! in an upcoming letter I'll send to all you freaks. In the meanwhile, a personal message to ! (yes, she reads this website): call me or email me whenever you get back.

She is gone.