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, fevereiro 27, 2002

Every Wednesday, the crew of OC Latino (save for PSS, who's up in Berkeley getting in fights with Chicano radicals) meets to discuss what the hell are we doing. I think we're doing great, though I do have to crack the whip sometimes. But in all fairness, I'm guilty too. At one point, ER shut me up good by saying, "You're talking as much as we are, so shut up." Needless to say, I did.

So much news and I'm tired as hell, so I'll start from the beginning.

Shared a great enchilada breakfast with !. I think that the both of us would have preferred the sunrise soups of our cultures better (that is each of us partaking of the other's) but the meal was delicious. Gracias, mami! After that, I helped ! at her job for a while and finished quickly so that I could rush to the Weekly office. Met with Guillermo, who I hadn't seen the last couple of times I visited. Had a short conversation but found out an article I submitted long ago is finally going to get published. That made me happy.

Got home, played Shogun: Total War, to which I am completely addicted. There is something about real-time strategy games that I love, I'm still not sure what yet. I've never liked shoot 'em up games (except Unreal Tournament, but only the sniping part) but strategy games are cool. I am a samurai raining hell in the form of arrows on my enemy.

After I played and worked on another article, PM picked me up so that we could go to the Jaguares concert. It was great except that the concert started two hours late. I don't care how bad-ass you are, tardiness is unacceptable in my book. Probably aware of this, Jaguares proceeded to play a great show, playing non-stop until a bit past midnight. But in playing, I was also reminded why they didn't impress me at first--too mellow. I'm not a fan of arena rock. Give me something that's going to let out blood or precious bodily fluids (fans of Dr. Strangelove know what I'm talking about).

I recently got home, unfortunately too late to talk to !. That sucks. But before I went to the concert, I talked to her and shared some very exciting news. I cannot share it with the world just yet because I do not want to jinx it, so I'll share with everyone something I learned tonight:

Life Lesson #5: If the manager of a band invites you to see the band play, they're going to make sure you're amongst the first people in. Never trust the ignorant teller who doesn't recognize your prestiged persona

segunda-feira, fevereiro 25, 2002

I got an A on my Portuguese midterm. Everything went well except for my usual enemies: Spanish and grammar. What the hell is an article? Moreover, what the hell is an indefinite and definite article? I found out the hard way; out of the 10 possible points on that particular section, I got three. Nevertheless, I got an A and I am happy. Now I hope these stomach pains will go away.

domingo, fevereiro 24, 2002

The dance last night was splendid. ! was able to meet AG and they hit it off immediately, sharing stories about my weirdness. Is there ever anything said positive about me? I'm not saying people speak negatively about me (because they don't unless they do it behind my back) but most conversations about me tend to gravite towards the bizarre. Oh well, at least I occupy my friend's minds and hearts.

This was only the third time ! and I had danced at a party but we're already like old pros. Especially !. Everyone says that she dances really well--and she does. Even more amazingly, we dance completely in tune with each other. I danced with a couple of other ladies last night because it was the gentlemanly thing to do and needless to say, my Doc's got scuffed.

Stories are sort of done and amazingly enough, I don't see anything on the horizon for a bit. That's not good. Creative juices, start flowing throughout my synapses!

sábado, fevereiro 23, 2002

Going dancing tonight with ! for my ranch's quarterly benefit dance. Should be a blast, especialy considering I have no Catholic qualms about dancing to banda or conjunto. Salsa, on the other hand, inflames the senses. Is it any wonder I can't wait to learn how to dance the condiment?

sexta-feira, fevereiro 22, 2002

Every night, my father, mother, and youngest brother play dominoes in what can be called (for lack of a better term) our dining room. This has been going on for the past couple of months and I think it's hilarious. When I was young, my parents always told me that dominoes was a form of gambling and that I shouldn't play it. Now, in their older age (though they're not old by any means), they are introducing my brother to the fine art of mulas.

I call my brother a gordito prietito cubanito because he's the first two and I always associate domino-playing with elderly Batista supporter enjoying a round on Calle Ocho. When I tell him that, he immediately slips into an accent that he thinks is Cuban but in fact is Argentine. Gambler, smart, athletic, and with a wicked sense of humor--my brother will be a better version of me. How scary for the world.

Meanwhile, I am sitting inside the Young Library at UCLA in its artificially chilly bliss while a record heatwave blasts across the United States. Do you realize that this past winter was the warmest winter in the United States' history? Ever?! No global warming, my ass.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 21, 2002

Had an executive OC Latino meeting yesterday with NGF, AAS, ER. ADC also stopped by and contributed some valuable pointers. Let's put it this way: everyone is thinking huge while I'm still stuck on a 'zine outlook. But it was great. NGF took a picture of me that I really liked. It had me thinking with my eyes looking straight towards something, as if I'm ready to punch it through. Another observation is that I'm freaking skinny. The scary thing is that a camera is supposed to add pounds, not take them away. I'm not that skinny, either, but the picture that NGF sure made me seem like it.

I interviewed one of the boys from Zurdok, which went well. I think they're one of the best bands around in any language and the funny part is that they sing naught about politics but rather more...hold on, I'm sermonizing. Wait for my article on them (God willing) the week of March 7.

Outside of that, I've been writing all day and am tired since it is the pedantic academic prose that ! despises. Everyone says that once you enter a relationship, each person exerts influence over the other in some way. You know what? I believe it; academic writing is a bore now whereas this time last year, I couldn't get enough of it. Give me the rants of yellow journalism.

quarta-feira, fevereiro 20, 2002

I haven't seem some of the faithful readers of this blog in ages; some of the less frequent readers I've never seen before. But I think that the entries I put in nearly every day are pretty reflective of who I am. Of course, writing can only describe so much the reality of the beast.

No reason for the above observation; I'm just waiting for an email and that popped into my mind.

terça-feira, fevereiro 19, 2002

AN ENTIRE DAY WASTED

I spent all of today waiting for a phone call so that I could interview the amazing band Zurdok. I waited and waited but nothing. They said they would call at 11AM; 6 hours later, nothing. I didn't work on anything else because I couldnae go online. Argh! Oh well. The interview will have to wait for another day and if not, I can still do the story. After all, those guys are pretty damn good.

On another note, I think I'm finally getting the hang of both of my UCLA classes for this quarter. But I get the results of my Portuguese midterm tomorrow, so I might have to add a postscript to that last comment. Details to come around 3PM tomorrow...

segunda-feira, fevereiro 18, 2002

It's paper season again, that time of the quarter where I have to bunker down and produce around 15 pages worth of valuable insight on a subject that will only advance my career. This time around, though, I am not approaching it with the same enthusiasm. I'm not surprised, being that I've already mentally quit college and started working full-time for an alternative newsweekly, infuriating the town elders who stroke ther beards, cluck their tongues and mutter, "What's to be done with this Gustavo Arellano?"...

Sorry: I had to put in at least one Simpsons reference today, no?

domingo, fevereiro 17, 2002

Everything is fine, but I'm hungry.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 15, 2002

One of the major problems I am encountering in my Portuguese class is my familiarity with Spanish. Since the languages are so similar, I sometimes find myself slipping into Spanish grammar rather than Portuguese. On top of that, I barely know grammar, period. What the hell is an imperative? An article? All I knows how to do is write. And write I will!

On a brighter note, my beloved car is back in grey and the problems have already begun. The minute I got in, I hit the horn and heard silence. Let's see what other suprises pop up as I make my way back to the county that automobiles like mine built.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 14, 2002

Had a wonderful dinner with ! at a Thai/Chinese joint that we found in a beautiful strip mall (isn't that an oxymoron) in Costa Mesa. But tomorrow is the observing of the Catholic saint. Well, actually, tomorrow is Santa Jovita's day but I don't think that she'll be angry at us.
Yet another holiday in the Catholic calendar that has been usurped by the WASP elite occurs today. Remember, boys and girls, its Saint Valentine's Day, not Mister or some other secular title. Only Catholics and older Christian denominations believe in saints in the Christian world; self-professed born-agains call us pagans. Ooga ooga.

As I am a Catholic (despite my family's assertion to the contrary), I will honor the day by treating my particular person of affection to a night filled with...books! Maybe. Maybe not. Think I'm going to say it right here? I will say another life lesson here, though:

Life Lesson #4: If you profess to want something, be grateful when it finally arrives. Because if you don't, it might not be written again. At least pay the $100!

quarta-feira, fevereiro 13, 2002

Someone at the Register somehow got OC Latino's small promotional email. End result: we got a plug in the Show section. Sure, it's the Register we're talking about, but I still have to admit that's pretty cool. As a result, the emails are raining in. And I want to work outside of OC. How bizarre.

terça-feira, fevereiro 12, 2002

So I'm liked but I have to wait my turn in line. This, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, I was stuck in Thai Town yesterday, accidently locking my keys in the Explorer. I wasn't even able to partake of the region's cuisine, too paranoid to let the behemoth out of my sight. Which leads to yet another addition to one of my various series:

Life Lesson #3: Never drink coffee on an empty stomach. And definitely don't eat it with carrot cake

segunda-feira, fevereiro 11, 2002

Scary, but beautiful.
GUSTAVO'S JOURNAL OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS: THE NIGHTMARE EDITION

Had a dream where I murdered a medical student. I remember the media knew me because I left a rubber chicken at the scene and always carried one around. The search for me was intensive and the police was going to wail on me until I woke myself up in light terror. I had never dreamed that I murdered someone; that surprised me. But if we take a psychoanalytic view of it, murdering means the person dreaming is trying to eliminate something in their life. In my case, it's probably academia. Not intellect, mind you, but the droning world of academia (I think I murdered the guy because he was boring...you know, I think he was my doctoral doppelganger!)
---
I was always curious of people who could snap their fingers because I never could. So I snapped my finger today by accident. It is very sore right now. Beyond that, just waiting for more articles to be accepted or rejected. And drifting away more from the life I envisioned for myself no more than a year ago. Life is beautiful.

domingo, fevereiro 10, 2002

! and I were honorary Salvadorans this weekend, devouring pupusas in Anaheim and Pico-Union. We went to the grand opening of a community space in the Pico-Union area. It was fun and we got to see some people we knew. I am still trying to live down some words I wrote that people took in a way completely different from what I intended. But I am learning and as Los Tigres sang "Dame la fuerza para vivir/Un dia a la vez.

Meanwhile, my mouth is killing me. The cost of being me? Constant cold sores. Yes, they hurt.
The Decolonial Imaginery is not the most well-written book. A fascinating study of the exclusion of Chicanas in Chicano history in specific and agency amongst the colonized in historical discourse in general, the book is way too pedantic and suffers from what I arrogantly deride as academic onanism: writing for yourself and peers. But I will always remember this book because it finally unlocked for me the secret of La Malinche.

I never understood why feminists and Chicanas wanted to even bother thinking about La Malinche, a woman that I had always been taught sold Mexico down the river. But through Imaginary I have finally figured it out: while patriarchical Mexico esteems the pure Virgen de Guadalupe and try to forget the conquest ever happened, Chicanas acknowledge that Malintzin is the true symbolic mother of Mexico. La Virgen wasn't raped; Malintzin was. Mexico is the child of rape. This is something we all try to conveniantly forget and some of us have the privelege of being able to. But for Chicanas to confront that, I hold them in high regard. They have a courage I can only dream of having

sexta-feira, fevereiro 08, 2002

Yet again, another cancelled Portuguese class. But my trip up to Westwood was not in vain. Met up with IF, one of the few friends I've made at UCLA. Good guy from the Bay Area, skinny and wears glasses like me. We met up with a friend of his who's from Texas. Nice lady, also. We had udon noodles and let me tell you, those noodles are small. Tasty, but small.

The concert yesterday at Fandango's was not as packed as events passed, but it must be kept in mind that nearly all Skandangolandia's of yore have a big-name band. This time around, it was all local bands. Keeping that in mind, the turnout was impressive and, as always, moshingly exuberant.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 07, 2002

AC took me out to eat to Sahara Falafel today as a belated birthday present. She had never eaten Arabic food before but loved it. I love lavendar pickles.

We spent the time like we usually do: talking about life, love, and my crazy ways. As I wrote earlier about lost friendships, this is its antithesis. AC is someone that will remain my friend forever, someone I've known my entire life and will do so. And yet it's so strange that we remain friends. I told her about my confessional and she refused to read it, saying that she can't bring herself to think those thoughts. Repressed Catholic. Hey, I should be one to speak.

Getting ready to go to the quarterly Skandangolandia to scope out bands for future articles. Going as I have almost always gone--alone. I took ! to the Punk Posada in December at the club but I don't think she liked it. I think she got scared after we went into the mosh pit and people moshed into us. Hard. This is not to say she's a wimp--she's not. But I think she prefers to stick to Los Amigos Invisibles, thank you very much.

I, on the other hand, am not the best of concert-goers. Since I am a writer, I have to go with an objective mind. If I hate the music, I say nothing. If I love the music, I say nothing. I have no aural voice anymore; it has been exiled to the pages of weeklies.
I swear, sometimes journalism is so maddening. Nevertheless, I like it.

quarta-feira, fevereiro 06, 2002

One of the saddest things that can happen to a human is to realize that something good has ended. Whatever it may be. In my case, friendship.

Talked to SH yesterday, who called me during Super Bowl weekend looking to see if I was available to go to a bar to see the game. I called him yesterday and our conversation was painfully forced. We both promised to keep in touch, but I think we both knew it probably wasn't going to happen.

SH, GA, and TN were my inseperable friends my senior year at Chapman (especially TN). Now, we barely talk. They get at least one annoying email per week from me whenever I get something published. But I've heard nary a word from the rest. I try to keep in touch but for some reason or other, it just doesn't work out. Same thing with JT, the pompous asshole living in Missouri. Once inseparable, now barely speaking.

It kills me, it really does. But what it does to me is remind me of the beauty of all relationships one amasses over the years and to treasure them. Upkeep is always important. And as always, if you really care about something, you'll make it happen. For example, ND moved to Arizona about 4 years ago and we still talk almost daily over AOL IM. Whenever she comes back, we always make it a point of going to lunch or dinner. Just to remind us that we care for each other.

Or a better example: in the cartoon Recess (Disney-produced, yes, but an absolutely enchanting--and hilarious--ode to elementary school), the ringleader TJ Detweiler mysteriously vanishes one Saturday afternoon. When his friends ask him what he's going to do, TJ's doesn't answer. To their horror, they find out that TJ is attending the birthday party of Menlo, one of their sworn enemies. They confront TJ with this hypocrisy but Menlo replies in his defense. He reveals that TJ and Menlo were once the best of friends but the years had caused them to drift apart. At some point in time, TJ had vowed to Menlo that no matter what paths each took, he would always attend Menlo's birthday to remind themselves of the friendship they once had. Such a wise and loyal philosophy. And this coming from 4th graders.

All the relationships I truly care about are in working order. Some of the relationships I care about are not. I try to work on them, but I don't get any feedback. So all I can do is wish them well in life and hope that one day, they remember our times together and smile.

terça-feira, fevereiro 05, 2002

Once again, technology has failed me. Not my monster, but rather than web known as the Web. So I must make another summary of what I wrote:

Article I recently wrote not as bad as I thought. I'm cool
One of the gifts that MM gave me was a giant tray of pansit bihon, tiny little noodles that do not fill your stomach at all. I'll be eating it for the rest of the week or so.

Speaking of eating, I have been eating more than I should have yet I seem to be losing weight. Do I have such extra energy that I can't even gain a couple of pounds? I should join the track team or something.

And now for some unnecessary wisdom:

Talking is the best way of loving, kissing is the best way of feeling, and hugging is the best way to happiness

segunda-feira, fevereiro 04, 2002

Yet more technological glitches...

Regular readers of my blog (and the numbers seem to be increasing for some strange reason), I apologize for the ineptitude of technology. I thought I had posted some things, but not until I checked my website today did I realize I had posted zilch. So let me try to reconstitute my thoughts--though should I even try? Can I redo what had been done under the guise of spur-of-the-moment creativity? Remember Ginsberg via Buddhism (according to him): First thought, best thought:

Saturday: ! surprised me and took me to Kim Loan, a Fullerton Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant that I did an article on. Present was MM, JAM, and ER. NGF was also invited but did not show up. Why wasn't I surprised? I had fun and I think everyone else did also.

Sunday: Super Bowl. Talked to WS, who said he doesn't like football for its militaristic, Cold War-era overtones. Never thought of it that way. Oh well, I like it. Went to MS's house to see the game. Unsurprisingly, he wasn't there, instead in Ensenada wasting his life away with alcohol and God knows what else. Saw the game with JAM, MM, TA, and MS. Got taken home for a bit to await ! and her present. Went back to MS's house after ! left so I could see the end of the game. What a game, no? Afterwards, PM and JAM took me to Win Thai Cuisine. I love the restaurant but I went there specifically because PM had never tasted Thai before. Needless to say, another convert. Was very pleased to see my review of the restaurant framed for everyone to see.

Gifts so far: DVD of Kingpin and Simpsons shot glasses from MM. Hunger of Memory, Arab-American Business Journal and some Algerian music from !. JAM says he's getting me something; I told him not to bother. It's appreciated and all, but don't bother.

There is my weekend. Going to school for no reason other than I'm trying to preserve a way of life that is slowly disappearing for me. Reality is settling in, folks: I need to write more.

domingo, fevereiro 03, 2002

Some resolutions/promises/space fillers on this, the 23rd anniversary of my birth:

If I am not prepared to do an article, I won't do it
I will say what's on my mind--even more so than I currently do
If I buy a computer, I will order it with a network card
I will not allow a situation to get to the point where it is no longer salvagable
I will buy a flash for my camera
I will finally go to that Romanian restaurant I've been meaning to go to for the past two years
I will be more forgiving
I will never forget anything
I will not be as stubborn as I have been
No matter who says what or what I'm up against, I will always be myself


Congratulations are not in order. No, really: I mean it. But I do appreciate any given. No, really: I mean it.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 01, 2002

What is the most oppressive construction on Earth?

Class? Race? Gender? Sexuality? Age?

My answer: religion.

It is the only system that manages to combine nearly everything. Religion has oppressed others based on all of the above. You can only oppress someone so much through race or sexuality. And neither of them say you're going to hell because you choose to define yourself contrary to the moral beliefs of the majority.

Meanwhile, I consider myself very religious. Am I oppressed or the oppressor? Probably a combination of both. But I think I'm good.