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

sexta-feira, novembro 30, 2001

I just found out that the past two days of blogs were not posted until right now due to some technical difficulties.

LONG LIVE TECHNOLOGY!!!!!!!!! So all of you who think I have gotten bored of posting my thoughts...I need to get home.
STUCK AT UCLA, ACT IV

The only good thing about being stuck at UCLA every Friday evening is that I'm forced to study. Granted, I spend most of my time on the Internet reading goofy things and posting to this Godforsaken blog, but when things need to get done, I do them. Exhibit A: the research paper for my LAS course. Got good feedback from my advisor, so I've spent the past 2 1/2 hours incorporating it. It'll be a good paper that I'll submit for publication, but that's in the future. I'm doing a draft that's good enough for an A for this course and that's it. Does this mean I'm slacking off? Of course not. I need to locate resources and do research that will take the course of an academic year. If it comes out good, I'll post it on my site. If it's bad, you'll know because I would not have received an A for this course.
---
My car is giving me problems. Again. Doesn't want to start when it's cold. I despise auto mechanics. I'm distrustful by nature (though that is slowly changing) but auto mechanics are the worst. They always suggest extra maintenance that is not necessary at the time. The defining moment of auto mechanics' morality for me was when I took my old Camaro for a tire rotation and the mechanic said I needed to buy new tires since they were on the verge of blowing out. When I refused, he wanted me to sign a paper absolving the shop of any damages if I were to crash due to a blown tire. I told him to change the damn tires and fast lest I take my business elsewhere.

This incident happened when I was about 17. When I sold the car about three years later, the tires had never blown. I hope that man goes someplace nice for trying to screw me over.
---
Before going to Westwood, I got stood up today by a friend which shall remain nameless and genderless. I was supposed to meet said friend at El Curtido, a great Salvadoran restaurant in Santa Ana (SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION: I DID A REVIEW ON IT FOR THE WEEKLY. CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE IN MY "ARTICLES" PAGE). I went but friend never showed up.

Perhaps there was a legitimate reason behind it and if it is, I'll forgive. Though I hold strong grudges, I forgive easily and completely. Nevertheless, I hate being stood up. I hate saying to meet at a certain place and the person coming late. Many of you know my strong feelings about this; many of you don't care. Don't worry: I love all of you--but I don't forget anything.

I am well. Hungry but well. The Salvadoran food was great. You missed out, nameless, genderless friend.

quinta-feira, novembro 29, 2001

It's funny how I think I'm somewhat computer-literate. Because of this false notion, I have had to reset my computers more than 5 times and suffer countless fits of frustration when my computer doesn't want to support the simplest of programs.

The virus thing happened, as I have already explained. But I tried doing something else and nearly fried the computer--for good. Do I ever learn? Yes, but I am such a stubborn mule that I frequently don't bother to remember.

And one final thing: I have too many cliches to describe myself. Does this mean I'm conceited? I'm not sure, but let me say one right now because it describes perfectly these last few days of wackiness: I wouldn't wish my life on my worst enemy, but I would't want my life any other way.
Things are getting incredibly boring.

All my reading is done for the quarter. Papers are for the most part done. Finals await; why can't they be tomorrow?!

Articles are done for a while. A couple of ideas need to be OK'd but I receive no word. Were they rejected or just haven't been looked at?

Friends are there, thankfully, but only on weekends. The week is dull, and although I did say "Never a dull moment", the week is usually boring and uneventful.

But hope is around the corner. Tonight, the final TB meeting before Saturday's action. Tuesday, another protest. Next Saturday, another protest. Then finals week (actually, just one final that I have to show up to; the other is a take home) and ! returns.

Where is !? Obviously, she is abroad, but haven't heard from her in a while. She's currently in a region where there is not much access to email. Just my luck.

The computer is finally back to normal. I am well, if bored. Oh well.

terça-feira, novembro 27, 2001

Never a dull moment.
Oy vey.

So many thoughts, so many occurrences.

If you're checking this out, no doubt you know about my virus fiasco. If not, DON'T OPEN THE "RE:" MESSAGE!!

All for now until things calm down a bit. I got no sleep!

domingo, novembro 25, 2001

SUNDAY SONG
---
Today's choice is "Paperback Writer" by the magnificent Beatles. Actually, it was written by McCartney with only a few words added by Lennon. I choose this song because I've written WAY too much this weekend and the Beatles are just awesome. As always, the songs I choose are semi-autobiographical but don't take them literally:

PAPERBACK WRITER
(Lennon/McCartney)
Dear sir or madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job and I want to be a
Paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's a dirty stor of a dirty man,
And his clinging wife doesn't understand.
His son is working for the Daily Mail;
It's a steady job but he wants to be a
Paperback writer,
Paperback writer

(chorus)
Paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few;
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a
Paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It can make a million for you overnight
If you must return it you can send it here,
But I need a break and I want to be a
Paperback writer.
Paperback writer.

(chorus)
Paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
I am so screwed it's not even funny.

sábado, novembro 24, 2001

I messed up. In my last post, I said The future, the future; where on earth is the present? It's wrapped up in a paper that won't be able to be opened in two weeks.. I meant to say "for" two weeks. The present will be opened in two weeks (actually, a little more); no sooner, no later.
GUSTAVO'S JOURNAL OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS, BOOK XIV
---
Bizarre one. The beginning I can no longer remembered but it was alright. Then I rode my scooter on the street and was going to go on the freeway. Mind you, this is not a motorized scooter, it was one of those fold-outs that were the rage this summer. A cop pulls me over and says he's going to write me a huge ticket for this and that I might even go to jail. The cop had long hair and was not dressed in uniform at all but instead was wearing a shirt with the flag of Brazil on it. Intrigued, I asked him "Pode falar portugues?" and then he told me "How do you say, 'a little'?" I responded "Um pouco". Then he said that back. I thought that by talking to him in Portuguese, he'd be happy. Nope, he kept writing the ticket. Scared, I woke up from my dream and went outside.
---
Ate lunch with Natalie earlier (I will mention people by full name only if they are a public figure or if they have a blog to the right of this text). She is in the pantheon of my official goddesses (I only have 3). What makes a goddess for me? First off, I do not want them. Maybe in the past I did, but not anymore and never again. They also must be beautiful, intelligent, and have a strange mix of self-assuredness and anxiety. But most importantly, they have to know they are beautiful and act it. I will explain my stratification process in a later essay. Regardless, Natalie knows she is beautiful. She was my first goddess.

She lives in Arizona now and makes infrequent trips back to la naranja. We had a blast, just catching up on things and fretting about the future. The future, the future; where on earth is the present? It's wrapped up in a paper that won't be able to be opened in two weeks.

sexta-feira, novembro 23, 2001

These are the thoughts of a man who is filled with steak, chicken, shrimp, and a heroic amount of rum

Went out to eat the above ingredients with VM today. This is my boy from way back. Well, of course he is being that VM is my cousin. But there are some cousins I never talk to. This guy (and his brother P) I've been talking to ever since we both lived in the bad part of town. 15 years later, he lives in South County North and I live in a relatively nice section of Anaheim. He should be online more since that is the best way to keep in contact with me but we always have things to talk about. He was uninvited to a wedding his "girlfriend" (not official but come on! type of deals) is coming out in because he's racist and it's an African-American affair. Or, as he says "I like stereotypes because they're not true."

We went to a steak house and after a while, I noticed we were the only non-"white" people in the restaurant. I can't remember the last time I was in an all-"white" environment. So what did I do? I started talking in Spanish. Honestly, I'm asking for it.

The following excerpt is rated PG-13. Why PG-13? According to the stupid MPAA, a movie that has the word "fuck" in it once automatically gets a PG-13. Two "fuck"'s and the movie is an R. Stupidity reigns in Hollywood.

Fuck the Anaheim "Left". They are selling my beloved town down the river. How dare our ethnic "leaders" sell our soul to evil incarnate! And the worst part is, our mainstream press will report this as "a new day in Latino leadership". Hypocrites! Morons! I need to run for office and become ZH, the legendary spoiler lest true evil wins!

What on Earth am I blabbering about? Is it the rum that is running through my veins? Of course not; I'm not that drunk because I'm not that stupid. I have to study some more. But the OC Latino "Left" is full of it. Why? Email me and find out, as always when I have a story I must protect...

And since I have spoken more than enough, I will finish with these thoughts and then go play cards with the boys

I cannot believe how much I have gone out this week. Maybe because it was Thanksgiving. But I'm happy to note I am going out more than I thought I was before my grad school career started. And I'm doing good in school. And...but I cannot jinx the good that I have. All I can do is offer my complete thanks to God (BTW, I say "God" even though I believe all religions are equal in worth. Since I was raised Catholic, my conception of the Higher Being is "God" and my virgencita de Guadalupe).

Thank you for reading through this mess. If you did, you know something's the matter with you--mainly, you have an inordinate fascination with reading my thoughts. Don't just read; talk to me! Or think of something funny I said. Whatever works best.

quinta-feira, novembro 22, 2001

I'll let everyone in on a little secret: I know who reads these web blogs and when.

Well, of course I have an idea who reads them: whoever sends comments back to me. But Yahoo! has a funky service that allows people to track how many people see their website, how often, and when. It's not as intrusive as it sounds, though. It just gives statistics. For example, most of the people that visit my main page do so between 9AM and 1PM. I don't know who they are, or from what country (as other, more demonic website services offer). Less people read my blog, but it also occurs during this hour. And one hardy soul reads my page at 3AM nearly every day. Have no clue who.

Here's the bizarre thing, though: to reach my blog, you have to go through the main page. But sometimes, people manage to bypass it. Either they read it so much that they go to the page directly by typing in the exact URL, or someone has posted a link directly to my blog without my knowledge or permission. It gets weirder. Sometimes, people read my blog but it does not register on the service. For example, I once wrote something and ! responsed to it. Thing is, the tracking service did not record anyone visiting my website or blogger page at all. This has happened more than once. Either Yahoo! blows or people are reading minds now.

Just came back from eating Chinese food with JM. Magificent man. Once an illegal, now a Republican geared towards libertarianism. Only in America.

quarta-feira, novembro 21, 2001

Lest anyone get wacko ideas about my last post, I did not mean my UCLA/Weekly/social activism analogy literally. I have no wife, I have no mistress, and I have no love that I dumped. I like one person right now (and I still like her) and that's it--no one else. How dare you get such ideas JT!
Amusing email correspondence between myself and one of my newspaper bosses:

His email excerpt:
> oh, i forgot to mention this to you: one of the reasons i got distracted
> from answering my emails yesterday was DT swang by the office. as
he
> was pitching me story ideas, he mentioned he spoke at some deal at
lafayette
> park featuring mexican punk bands.
My response:
>I knew about the event;
>however UCLA is my wife right now while the Weekly is my mistress >and social
>activism is the girl who I once loved and still think of a lot but I had to
>dump her.
His response:
>very funny.

Funny, sad, yet true. Perhaps I should get a divorce or only have one love. But intellectually, I like to sleep around. People-wise, ha! I'm a one-love person. Do I have my priorities wrong? I sure don't think so.

Ate lunch with PS today. Came down from Berkeley for the Thanksgiving holiday. Has turned into a lush yet is surprisingly lucid. He introduced me to a very sweet Mexican wine today. I didn't even know Mexico produced wine.

terça-feira, novembro 20, 2001

I suffer from what Peirce termed "unlimited semiosis", the process in which one thought leads to another until perpetuity. Here is an example: while I was waiting for a phone call today, I thought of these things in this order:

-An review on a book claiming that Hitler was gay
-Stupid anti-Semitic websites
-the Chicano movement's similarity to Zionism
-Mexican nationalism
-the song "Mexico, Lindo y Perdido"
-Jorge Negrete, singer of that song
-Metropolitan Opera House in New York
-Arthur Toscanini and how he made the NBC Orchestra famous
-Leondard Bernstein
-Aaron Copland
-I like the Copland CD that I own
-Where is my Tigres del Norte CD?!

All in less than a minute. People think I have a good attention span; I don't. There's always thoughts going in and out of my mind. Doesn't mean I don't pay attention, though.

Went out with probably my dearest friend, AC. She is such a cool person. Had a good time, talked about her boyfriend, !, and school in general. She is doing fine, if a bit frazzled with school. I, on the other hand, just turned in my ROUGH draft of my term paper to my advisor to tear it apart. This holiday weekend will be a respite from academics--kind of. I have no readings but I have to finish three articles by Monday for my various publications. Wish me luck

segunda-feira, novembro 19, 2001

So it turns out I didn't get an A in my test after all, I did get a B. Oh well. Just means I'm going to have to study harder is all.

More writing opportunities are piling up. But let me do them first.

I am good. Really good. Bizarrely serene. The school quarter is wrapping up with a great reward at the end: relaxation.
Every Sunday, I will now feature a song. Why? Because I am a musician in my soul. Invariably, each song will speak about how I am feeling at this particular moment but as always, take the lyrics with a grain of salt. The first offering will be the great Hoagy Carmichael standard "Stardust", offered in memory of the meteor shower that I missed yesterday, because I've always loved the song (especially the version by the forgotten doo-wop group Billy Ward and the Dominoes) and because it kind of speaks to me right now for the obvious reasons (distance, duh!)

STARDUST

And now the purple dust of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart.
Higher up in the sky, the little stars pine
Always reminding me that we're apart.
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a love that cannot die.
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights
Dreaming of a song.
That melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss and inspiration.
Ah, but that was long ago
And now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.

Beside a garden wall
Where the stars are bright
You are in my arms.
The nightingale tells its fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew.
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
my stardust melody
The memory of love's refrain.

Though I dream in vain
In my heart it always will remain,
My stardust melody
The memory of love's refrain.
--
Punk is cool. Moshing is cool. But it's too loud. I like melody in my music. I like romance. I've never heard a romantic punk song. I like straight edge punk--the fastest punk around. I went to a concert tonight. Three crappy bands, one band that was decapitated by technical problems, one magnificent band. A bunch of queers, and they're damn proud of it! Limpwrist. Hear them. Went with ER, met up RM there. She's a Chicana chingona, he's an artist. Cool people. Then met Chris Ziegler there. Now, I refer to him by name and not initials only because he is my co-writer for our cover story this week (I'll not provide you with the link here; go to my freaking story archives). He's a awesome writer, hilariously geeky. Kind of like me.

domingo, novembro 18, 2001

To paraphrase Neruda (in one of his greatest poems): I'm explaining a few things...

Well not really. I just thought of that poem and realize I need to go buy the complete works of the Chilean megalomaniac. The greats are always megalomaniacs. I am a megalomaniac. I am not great.

I'm slowly starting to regain the academic swagger I had for the past four years. I did my short essay on Marxian and Weberian racial theory; I think it's great. But we'll wait for tomorrow...

I neglected to mention this in my post yesterday, but I went to the BRU meeting in LA at the invitation of DK. I also saw FH there, who was surprised to see me. I don't blame her; we hadn't seen each other in a month.

I never join groups, but I can objectively say which ones impress me. BRU impressed me greatly. Not only is their cause great, but the makeup of their members is my idea of the Great Society. They had Spanish and Korean translators and everyone spoke, from neophyte college students like myself to elderly Koreans (who, contrary to their stereotype, are incredibly friendly and gregarious) and Latinos. I declined to join but did vow to help them with my most powerful weapon--my literary mind. Articles on the BRU struggle will come shortly, God willing.

sábado, novembro 17, 2001

Some of the jobs that I have imagined for myself in the past, whether in my imagination or in real life:

-a chicken farmer
-an accordionist
-a sniper
-a journalist
-an academic
-a warehouse worker just storing things
-a gardener
-something with film
-a DJ for an oldie's station
-no job at all and living in Mexico

What will I eventually become? Probably one of the above but I don't know which. Why do I bring this up? Because I want to.
---
Got a postcard from ! today. Says written on the 2nd of Nov. but postmarked the 12th. International mail takes its sweet time, no? What did it say? Haha, wouldn't you like to know. Let's just say...nothing because I already said "wouldn't you like to know?"

sexta-feira, novembro 16, 2001

Went to a party today at school. It was for Latino grad students. Good time, good food. As usual, didn't talk to too many people. I'm just not a party person. But I did enjoy myself. I always smile whenever people think I don't have fun at social events just because I'm really quiet. JC of JC Fandango fame always goes up to me during concerts and offers me drinks or to accompany me. I always politely refuse. I almost always have a good time anywhere. If I hate it, I let my feelings known.

I'm starting to get sick. This is not good. I'm the type of person who never gets sick but if they do, it's bad. And yet I trudge on. One time, I forced myself to go to work and type. By the end of the day, I was have hallucinations. If I have any hallucinations this weekend, it'll be of Marx and Weber fighting over what makes a black person black.

STUCK AT UCLA, ACT III
I should be doing research right now, but the website I'm doing my paper on is not up. What luck.

My first commentary was printed today today. Actually got a lot of good emails. Except one Chilean. Said "respectable" upper-class Mexicans would never boo the United States. Bourgeois asshole. One of the unintended things about my column is that I finally have an online face. As far as I know, no other picture of me exists online. For those of you who haven't seen me in a while, here I am again...OK, so I'm still not web-fluent. But Uds. can use my picture for whatever suits your devious minds.
Oy vey, que dia.

Got my test results. I got a good B, which to me is failure. Got me very depressed. Slim chance B can turn to A. Will post once I find out. Then went to a TB meeting. No one there. That's what I get for not showing up the past month.

To make myself feel better, went to visit my all-time friend, JAM. MM was there. Of course, they lifted my spirits. Good people. Then went to visit MS. OS (M's brother) was there, as was TA. What were they doing? Getting wasted.

One of the things I have prided myself is my friends. Granted, I don't have many but I know TONS of people. And they span the variety of humans. Amongst my associates (people I can call and they won't feel weirded out) are millionaires, ultra-progressives, Chicanos, John Wayne Americans, ex-convicts, sweet pious Catholic ladies, Hindus, you name it. But in this diversity, I sometimes feel I can't talk to anyone. Not the friends I visited tonight. I can always count on them. But they're wasting away and I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't hang out with them anymore. I cannot help them anymore (I've tried to no avail). Only I can get hurt now. But thinking about this saddens me.

I shall not get existential again, but I am better now. Sometimes, I need a kick in the ass to get me going. I believe I got it today. Final note: ! is well. That is all, I am dead tired.

quarta-feira, novembro 14, 2001

GUSTAVO'S JOURNAL OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS, BOOK XIII

Bizarre stuff. I dreamnt about a lot of people, woke up at least three times last night. The only part I remember is JAM telling me how him and MM went to Mexico City and were assaulted by people. Nothing serious, though. These people only wanted to flick their noses. And while he was telling me about it, I saw it as a movie, with JAM providing the voice-over. And the guys were trying to punch MM with their heads. Weird stuff
---
And so it has finally come to a close, this day in which I rested for exactly 5 minutes by meditating on a bouganvillia (sorry, I cannot spell it for the life of me) plant. Starting at 7:30AM, I read, ate and read, wrote and read, then read some more. I also was rejected, accepted, acknowledged and ignored plus ditched for an outing I was supposed to encounter tonight. The next three weeks promise more of the same. Then about a month of heaven combined with yet another future of uncertainty yet assuredness. Sometimes, I wish life would stop. But that would mean I was dead.

terça-feira, novembro 13, 2001

I think I overestimate my worth to people in general and the world in particular. I am insignificent, one of thousands of graduate students, one of millions of children of immigrants, one of many disaffected youth (although I am getting older). How am I making my mark on the world? Am I?

I think I am. And not even through my writing, which is fun and all but ultimately doesn't say good night to me (although I dream about it a bit too much). Rather, in helping out people, just being there for them and taking time away from my precious studies, I am making a difference in this world. But as a horrible high school poem I once wrote noted, sometimes I feel like a reservoir that has an abundance to give but is not replenished often. One day, the reservoir may dry up forever.
THE DANCE OF THE STUPID
(actual correspondence between me and one of my fans regarding my recent Latinola.com article on Los Tigres del Norte)
---
FAN:
...To non-conjunto norteño followers, the members of Los Tigres del Norte appear to be stereotypical male Mexican immigrants -- mustachioed, a bit chubby, skin bronzed from countless hours of work under the sun,
bedecked in tejanas and cowboy boots...
Is this how you see them? This is just like the liar saying, "I am not going to lie to you." They are not chubby, and they do not look like they have worked under the sun. Even a stupid non-conjunto norteno follower would not stereotype Los Tigres del Norte in this manner. They look like Henry Cisneros. You have again attempted to stereotype and disgrace the Mexican. You are a very ignorant writer.
ME:
Do you mean to tell me that your typical non-Latino/Mexican/Chicano/whatever you want to call yourself with zero knowledge of music will not stereotype them as just another bunch of insignificant Mexicans? Who's the ignorant individual here? I'm glad to see you did not use curse words this time.
FAN:
Your response is very ignorant, and it is irrelevant to my answer to your stupid article. Los Tigres del Norte have never been viewed as you assume others view them. It is idiots like you that write articles that cause others to begin stereotyping. Your article did not have to begin in the stupid manner that you wrote it in. I have much more knowledge of music and much more knowledge of my MEXICAN culture than you do, GRADUATE BOY.
---
Bit of background: this same person once compared me to the Nazis and Hitler for daring to say that Mexico is underdeveloped and slowly dying. To me, said person wrote a curse-filled message; to Latinola.com, a civil letter. I then challenged them to be consistent; either curse or don't. I'm glad to see I make such an impact in people's lives.

Why do I even respond? First off, I respond to all commentaries on my articles, good and bad (it's half and half so far and let me tell you, people get angry at the weirdest things--like the truth). I don't like to get in email battles, especially with strangers. But sometimes, their responses are so moronic or they miss the point so badly that I feel compelled to respond. This person missed the point of my intro, which sets up the rest of the story and exemplifies what Los Tigres would be mistaken as by ignoramuses (the average American citizen) due to the stereotyping that I supposedly perpetuate. To boot, FAN calls me GRADUATE BOY. Hence, my new nickname. Nah, I like "cabana boy" better.

segunda-feira, novembro 12, 2001

I really do.
I hate computers.
As you have no doubt noticed, I have changed things a bit. This isn't a case of catharsis or something symbolic, I'm just playing around with the damn template. For one, I can finally list the websites of friends (both real and imagined). I'm still trying to get my past postings up, but I always have troubles with that. The more I play with the website, the cooler it will be.

If I wasn't a pseudo-everything, what would I want to do with my life? I think I'd be a gardener or even a farmer. I like being around plants and getting myself dirty with dirt rather than grime. Pruning my mother's roses and bougambillia's, cutting the grass, rooting out weeds--I really like it. Too bad I wouldn't be able to make a living off of it. So I'll continue to be a graduate student until I graduate, then become a chicken farmer.

And the final random thought for the night: I did absolutely nothing today that I don't usually do on Mondays. In other words, I studied, talked to people, and brooded. But I'm OK.
Spent yesterday eating, writing, and wasting time.

Morning: Went to an evangelical mass with NS to see our national hero, Ollie North. Ollie doesn't have it anymore; he's actually somewhat human. Afterwards, went to eat food and see Mexico beat Honduras 3-0. Viva Mexico, cabrones! NS is a good man, don't talk to him that much based on our conflicting schedules. Smokes--I think he's one of two friends of mine that smoke. I have such clean-cut friends.

Afternoon: Worked on my term paper. This is my rough, rough draft, written in some sort of delirium. I make a lot of sense when I'm delirious, which is most of the time. Now that I think about it, am I ever normal? Is Gustavo defined abnormal? Will work in this (both paper and sanity) this week.

Evening: Went to eat with JR, someone I've known seemingly forever. She's found love; good for her. Love is in the air...that is a song in a commericial but which one I have no clue. Everyone I know has found someone. Good for us. Afterwards, went home, saw Simpsons, sent my batch of emails and played hockey on the computer since I'm such a philosophical bore.

Night-right now: nothing at all. Woke up to more crashing airplanes, did the same thing I did the morning of 9/11: walked.

domingo, novembro 11, 2001

Went to hear Sam Quinones yesterday at Espresso Mi Cultura, a small Latino bookstore that's on the outskirts of Thai Town. Only in Los Angeles.

Quinones was a great speaker, a tall man who, despite his last name, does not identify himself as Latino (his grandfather was Spanish). I talked to him afterwards and he gave me some interesting advice: don't be a Latino writer, be a writer, pure and simple.

Although I kind of disagree with him being that almost no one writes about my community (and when they do, it's usually laughable), I do agree with him. I don't want to just write about Latino stuff. I am a man of many interests, my ethnicity being one of the least important parts. The weird thing is, I barely write on my real interests. Why? They're not exactly article-worthy (Simpsons arcania? Doo-wop?) I'm a dork, folks, let's not lose sight of that.

But I think that I am a pretty diverse writer. Even when writing about the Latino community, I've written on a wide range of subjects: art, food, movies, music, actual news, the whole megillah. And, while we're using Jewish terms, I write for a Jewish paper! If that doesn't prove my diverse writing capabilites, I don't know what does.

Went to my cousin's today, VM and PM. Great men. We're men now, yet we still cite Pokemon and Simpsons. Heaven forbid we ever have children.

Need to sleep now, but those damn Argentines next door are still dancing up a storm. They're great people. They gave us food. And it was good.

sexta-feira, novembro 09, 2001

I was mistaken for an "Oriental"--not my words, but the word of the man who called me that. Again. Briefly, here are some of the ethnicities I have been mistaken for in my lifetime:

Armenian (by a Korean lady who was impressed by my knowledge of Armenian history in the US)
Arabic (by the owner of a Persian/Arabic restaurant)
Turkish (by a beautiful Turkish woman back at Chapman)
French (by my 9th grade math teacher, who would call me "Gustave" because he thought I was French)
Chinese (by day laborers)
Korean (by the girlfriend of my cousin!)
Vietnamese (kind of--! said I can pass for one)
Oriental/Asian (surpisingly, many people)
Anything but Mexican--my entire life.

People are surprised when they find out I'm Mexican. If they don't mistaken me for some other ethnicity, they think I'm Hispanic. But for some reason, never Mexican.

It bothers me.

My culture is Mexican. My upbringing is Mexican. My being is Mexican. Do I consider myself Mexican? Of course not!

As Barth would note, I construct my ethnicity based on my interactions with others. Ethnicity is not primordial but rather created on the boundary with other people. When I was young, I never thought of myself as Mexican. I still don't--until someone calls me something and I'm forced to consider who the hell am I ethnically.
---
One of the emails I was waiting on came today. I'm happy about it but can't report on it just yet. For inquiring minds, it regards professional and academic opportunities, not ! (although I do like her emails also--she's nice). Details to come, as always...
Los Tigres del Norte are the most amazing band ever with the exception of the Beatles. Notice I did not say "best" or "most innovative". But few bands can be appreciated on so many different levels. And in the context of an intimate concert as tonight in the HOB Sunset Strip, they are even better.

Granted, the environment was not something I'm used to at a Mexican party (people in suits and networking). And there wasn't a banda. But the concert was magnificent. I had a blast with PM, even though I wish I had someone to dance with (when it's conjunto, you HAVE to dance) and the parking was 15 friggin' bones. I didn't pay for it, though: PM did. Least he could have done considering tickets were $150 a pop. I'm telling you, not business as usual.

4 more weeks (roughly) until ! comes back. But even more frightening, only four more weeks of school. I have to facilitate a class, give a presentation, write two papers, and take two finals. I think I'm prepared. But in many ways, I'm still way over my head. But that's how I have always lived--and always succeeded.

quarta-feira, novembro 07, 2001

The emails I am waiting for have not arrived. They're not terribly urgent, but I would like to get them. What's worse, my missing CD's have yet to turn up. My only lead in this case--a missing CD case where I usually stuck other CD's--turned out to be dead. I found the CD case. It had nothing inside. Who on Earth would want their own copy of Las Jilguerillas? Even my mom barely likes them and they're of her time.

I've been busy as of recent, yet I frequently find myself bored and restless. I need physical activity (and yes, you can take it in the randy way). What I really need is a job. I miss working. 5 years of working full-time will do that to you. Now, I get my wages from the taxpayers of California for debating with superior students whether patriotism and nationalism are one and the same (I say they're not). But tomorrow will be fun. Going to see Los Tigres del Norte w/my cousin PM. I usually take him to concerts because he's probably a bigger fan than I am of Latin Alternative. Los Tigres are not alternative, yet they are. Enough for now.

terça-feira, novembro 06, 2001

Let's wait on a couple of emails, then I'll report something substantial.

segunda-feira, novembro 05, 2001

Went to go hear Ruben Martinez, author of El Otro Lado and seemingly the only Latino to EVER work for an alternative weekly. Or definitely one of the very few. He seemed to take a great liking to me because I also write for an alternative weekly. He made the observation that he was the first Latino to write for LA Weekly and that I'm the first Latino to write for OC Weekly. I hope that the parallel's in our careers do not end there.

Before he gave his presentation, Rueben Martinez (the store owner) read out loud a short article I had written to publicize the event and presented me as an important member of the Latino community. Needless to say, I was embarrassed. I was even more embarrassed when people were laughing at my article not because they thought it was dumb but because they LOVED it. They even applauded after the reading of my article was over. An approving audience. I feel so humbled and honored. Afterwards, people were approaching me as much as they were Ruben, telling me that they have read my articles and enjoy them to the point where they wait for every new article I write. I'm becoming known. How scary

domingo, novembro 04, 2001

"Good Night, My Love"

Goodnight, my love
Pleasant dreams and sleep tight, my love
May tomorrow be sunny and bright
And bring you closer to me

Before you go
There´s just one thing I´d like to know
If you love is still warm for me
Or has it gone cold?

If you should awake in the still of the night
Please have no fear
For I´ll be there, darling you know I care
Please give your love to me, dear, only

Goodnight, my love
Pleasant dreams and sleep,
May tomorrow be sunny and bright
And bring you closer to me

Goodnight, my love
Pleasant dreams and sleep tight, my love
May tomorrow be sunny and bright
And bring you closer to me

Goodnight, my love
Sleep tight, my love
---
Sung by Jesse Belvin, made famous as Alan Freed's signature sign-off song. I was thinking of what I could write to express what I feel right now (sleepiness, happiness, loneliness) and I think this song sums it up best.

I'm tired, having written non-stop all weekend. Finished three articles, started 3 academic papers, read about 100 pages. I'm happy, having heard from ! once again, having talked to friends I hadn't spoken to in a while and having spent a good weekend watching the American pastime with my family. I'm lonely, being that many people that I care for are long distances away from me and I haven't heard from some of my friends in a while.

So let this song be dedicated to me, those that I care for with all of my heart, and that special someone who knows who she is.

sábado, novembro 03, 2001

A bizarre day indeed.

First off, I cannot find two CD's. The cases are in my car; however, the CD's are not. No one EVER goes in my car outside of my family and they do not have them. ! has been the only person in my car as of recent and she did not get them, especially because they were wabby CD's. So where are they? I'm racking my brains trying to figure out where the hell could they be. My only explanations: either I must have put them in another CD case (which I have searched all of my CD cases and no luck at all) or CD's are now magically disappearing.

The other bizarre incident was that I spoke to my ex-girlfriend for the first time in more than a year. She just IM'd me out of the blue and spoke to me as if nothing had happened and we were good chums. What do you say to someone who you haven't spoken to in ages and that you share hurt feelings?

Nothing at all. Just random questions about life. I had to go WAY back since I hadn't spoken to her in a while. She's doing good, working but not going to school. Got boring after a while. As she is no longer a part of my life, I was not terribly interested. But the question remains: why did she IM me? Oh well.

Yesterday was great, though. Los Amigos Invisibles rocked as always. I hung out with my cousin PM, a guy that goes by the nickname of "Pelos" (Hair, but don't know his real name), two Peruvian sisters, and the gorgeous G sisters, 4 devoutly Catholic Mexican girls ranging in ages from 24 to 15. Great group, great fun. I'm starting to hang out with them more, not because I have a thing for any of them but because they are always at concerts (GG works for JC Fandango, Pelos writes for a magazine, everyone else just gets free tickets from any three of us). It was fun, if overly crowded and tiring. Got home around 3 in the morning, woke up at 7AM to start writing. About to stop now, but all my necessary writing is finished. Good night, Irene.

sexta-feira, novembro 02, 2001

I am stuck at UCLA, with absolutely nothing to do except surf the net. Yes, I have many things to do, but they are all at home and not here. I have articles to write, people to talk to, concerts to go to. But I am stuck here until 8PM. The traffic on a Friday night is horrendous.

! emailed me today. She wanted to know my embarrassing moment (as many of you have emailed me; I do have an audience!). Couldn't respond to her, though, as I got it right before I was about to leave for school. Things are going well for her and her Spanish is excellent. Scary thought: when all is said and done with her Guatemalan sojourn, she will speak better Spanish than me. I doubt I'll ever speak better Vietnamese than her, though it would be a hilarious switch, que no?

I am now an official Daily Bruin columnist. Watch out Westwood, here I come. More details shortly...

quinta-feira, novembro 01, 2001

I am an insufferable intellectual.

I went to see yet another free movie today, once again neglecting my progressive side. It was bad, it was horrible. But my friends loved it. I got so angry at them for liking it that I got a headache. Mind you, when I'm angry about aesthetics, it's me usually trying to prove to someone something that is essentially subjective. Sometimes, I succeed in making people see it my way, but not with my friends. They liked a stupid movie and were happy with that fact. I, on the other hand, couldn't stand it. I had a great time, though, as I always do with those punks.

And now comes the horrible, lonely weekend. Actually, Sunday is yet another REE concert and Saturday is a boxing match. I miss !, though. Of course I do. The worst part is that there's five more of these weeks to come. The best part is that she'll be back. In the meanwhile, I'll just continue to keep myself busy with writing, reading, and ranting.
GUSTAVO'S JOURNAL OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS, BOOK XII
Even worse dream than last night. Couldn't find !'s number, couldn't call her, she was expecting my call. Woke myself up pretty early to get out of that one. Now I'm tired.