Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lo que aprendi

¨Christmastime is here..."

There have been many lessons big and small that I have learned in the week I´ve been in Bogota, Colombia such as...

...there is no such thing as a bad homecooked meal

...flying first class is not as great as it seems

...9 out of every 10 people are nice, and not just at people that look like tourists

...laughing at those that consider cloudy, 50 degree days in Bogota as ¨bitterly cold"

...Citytv is by far one of the best television stations I´ve ever seen

...tipping is not optional in taxis but drivers will still gladly take one

...the socioeconomic divide between the rich north and impoverished south has narrowed only slightly

...Bogota taxi drivers make the ones in NYC look like driving instructors

...flirting is not a privilege but a neccessity due to the seeming abundance of single people´s far better to eat at an ugly restaurant that serves
massive portions of food instead of a joint filled with snobs

...more and more people are doubting the Uribe administration (naturally that happens
after he´s reelected) of
Millonarios suffer the team´s mediocrity far more than RBNY (but not by much!)

...I like to look at suits but I ode wearing them

...the copious imbibing of
aguardiente is obligatory at any party

...I´m still a little homesick inasmuch as I´m having a grand time

...I will never like reggaeton, especially as a ring tone

...90-minute mid-afternoon newscasts are good to fight boredom while it´s raining outside

...I can somehow live sans blogging and the Internet for one week

...most importantly, I learned how to appreciate and love my family here. They have been gracious hosts but also unbelivably kind, friendly, and willing to do anything for you. It has been an incredible week so far in Colombia- from my cousin´s quincianera to going out to the Parque de la 93 (see above image) to blowing out the candle to my suprise birthday cake last night.

Tomorrow at dawn I leave for one month to the
La Palma- town where my parents were born and raised. I´m anticipating a prime opportunity to get some rest surrounded by more family members than here in Bogota. It should be nice and I´m optimistic that it will be well worth it.

Since I´ll be without Internet for a month, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tidbits: leavin’ on a jet plane

Bogota at night (December 2005)

Approximately 13 hours from now I will be on a plane leaving New York City and bound for Miami wherein I’ll quickly transfer to another plane bound for Bogota, Colombia. I have mixed feelings about the trip since I will be gone for several weeks and immersed into a culture quite different from what I am accustomed to. Nonetheless, I will be happy to see my family, get some well-needed rest, visit my father’s grave to pay my respects and emerge refreshed and rejuvenated upon returning to NYC in January.

With that said I present to you a musical edition of tidbits that I’ve culled over the past few months. Some of it’s old news, but they caught my eye and hopefully you can understand why. Here we go:

I have no clue as to when will be my next blog entry since I will spend the better part of my time without Internet access, cell phone coverage, and even cable TV. At least it’ll give me more than ample time to read.

Take care, everyone. Happy holidays, festive New Year, and all the best!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I feel strangely fine for someone set to make a big speech in approximately 12 hours.

I really ought to be shaking in my boots and more high-strung than normal. Yet I am quite confident in what I will say.

Mind you I still don’t know exactly what I will say.

However my confidence as at an all time-high. At approximately 1 in the afternoon I will say a few words thanking the charity that helped pay for most of my undergraduate tuition and show my gratitude to the people that somehow take time and energy out of their busy schedules to raise money for young people in the U.S. and Ireland.

It will be quite a lovely occasion, I’m sure.

After the luncheon I’m off to the Wasserman Center for a job information workshop, and then I’ll fight the masses commuting from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the evening.

Knowing me I’ll probably be a nervous wreck by the time I am supposed to speak. But until that happens I’ll be a perfect pillar of poise. Period.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving thoughts

I don't know how I got the energy to write this up earlier today but I did it and it has made me feel somewhat better.

Thanksgiving thoughts

Yesterday I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family here in New York City. It was just the four of us- mom, two brothers, and I- and we enjoyed a relatively low-key dinner. It was all very nice and pleasant though that did not lessen the pain of my father not being there.

You see, my dad passed away over a year ago from a sudden but fatal heart attack. It has difficult moving on day-by-day since we were such a close-knit family. Not a day goes by when we don’t think of him even though we were not on the best of terms when he died. For him Thanksgiving was the best of the day of the year since it represented the pinnacle of family unity and togetherness. It was a day where he would return home from work physically tired and spent but with a spirit of joy and bliss at being in the company of his loved ones. He would sit beaming with pride at the head of the table satisfied in the knowledge that we were enjoying a bountiful meal that he helped prepare the weekend before Thanksgiving. Sometimes he would take us out after the meal - full bellies and all- to gaze and admire at the holiday decorations around the neighborhood. It would always be an unforgettable night.

In his absence, Thanksgiving has taken a changed meaning for my family. More than anything it represents the gratitude that we have for having known him and for remembering all the positive things he represented. He was a very caring man who sacrificed a lot in his life-such as giving up a cushy lifestyle in Colombia to move to the U.S. in 1972- to give his future progeny a better living. He faced far too many obstacles but he would always overcome them with hard work and determination. I learned so much from him and still do today as my family continues to be as close and unified as he envisioned us to be. In the wake of his passing my mother, brothers, and I have taken things in baby steps with the hope and faith of a brighter future. Perhaps in the future I will raise my own family and then I should aspire to be half the man he was in my lifetime.

For all that I am eternally grateful and to me that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Monday, November 13, 2006

When nature calls

Over a month ago I jokingly mentioned that the second-best reason for me to maintain matriculating at NYU was due to the Tisch Hall computer lab opening at 6:30 in the morning. I’ve yet to mention the best reason.

Until now.

You see, the men’s restrooms on campus have saved me from many a delicate situation. Unfortunately there are few public bathrooms in New York City, much less wheelchair accessible for someone like me. Hence I treasure the bathrooms at NYU even if they are not kept in the best and cleanest condition.

Last week NYU’s student newspaper came up with the top 5 and bottom 5 bathrooms around campus. Though the authors only rated the women’s restrooms, their rankings were pretty good. Nonetheless, I am going to go ahead and rate my personal best and worst of the NYU bathrooms based on somewhat separate criteria such as accessibility and ease to enter and exit.

Crème de la crap

5- Silver Center, 8th Floor. In the article the authors complain about the terrible smell in the bathroom of the Silver Center yet they neglect to mention on which floor it is located. This makes a huge difference (see “Avoid like the plague” pick #1) since there are bathrooms on at least 3 floors of the building. Anyway, the 8th floor bathroom located by the hallway connecting to the Waverly Building is medium-sized and can be difficult to get to when students leave and enter classes en masse. Nevertheless, the spacious handicapped stall includes a freestanding grab bar which makes it easy to transfer on and off the toilet. The sinks are pretty easy to use and the paper towel dispenser isn’t located too high. All-in-all, an average restroom.

4- 19 University Place. The main problem that I have with this bathroom is that one gets a hernia opening the bathroom’s two large heavy. Yet once inside the bathroom is spacious with plenty of room to take care of business. Kudos for the angled mirror to help short people and those in wheelchairs. Though the bathrooms are on the second floor they are easy to access since the building’s lobby is small and the elevators are always speedy.

3- King Juan Carlos Center, 1st Floor. The King Juan Carlos Center is where I’ve attended most of my graduate classes in the years I’ve been at NYU. Thus, the building has a special significance for me and I feel it is vastly underrated on campus. The KJCC is easy to enter, has a small lobby with a vaulted ceiling, a great auditorium, and a patio that is an absolute godsend for springtime lunches away from the usual hustle and bustle. It is the ease of access which is the greatest advantage of the 1st floor bathroom at the KJCC. It is only a few yards beyond the security desk and in an alcove off the side of the lobby. There’s no need to use elevators or meander through a maze of hallways; just go up the small ramp, though the double doors, flash some ID, and walk a few feet to do what needs to be done. There’s just enough room to comfortably maneuver though the bathroom is very small with 2 urinals, one sink, and one handicapped stall. The toilet is at an appropriate height, the hooks are not set very high, and the bathroom itself is very warm during the winter. A very good restroom in a not very well-known building located on Washington Square South.

2- Kimmel Center, middle floors. To repeat what I said before, the original article form the Washington Square News makes the error of not differentiating between bathrooms on different floors. In the case of the Kimmel Center there isn’t as big a disparity between bathrooms as in the Silver center but some restrooms are better than others. It’s best to skip those located on the 4th Floor where the E & L Auditorium is located or the 2nd Floor where the computer stands and several lounges are found. It’s best to hit the middle floors where all that can be found are small offices and classrooms. Admittedly, the article is spot-on in that for the most part there really is nothing to complain about. The restrooms are large and very clean. The handicapped stall is by far the biggest of the bathrooms on campus and definitely easy to use. The sinks are at a good level and there’s always soap on hand. The only problem is that getting to the bathrooms may take a few minutes by the time one goes through security and uses the elevators.

1- That building housing the auditorium where The Bottom Line used to be: I’ve only gone their once, but it did save me from a slightly embarrassing situation. On Commencement Day last May I lined up near the front of the line of GSAS students at the corner of West 4th and Greene Street. After a half hour of waiting for the processional to start and overall anxiety I had to go to the bathroom. Desperately. I asked a friend to save my spot on the line and I quickly darted into the building where The Bottom Line once stood and ran to the restroom after fumbling for what seemed like an eternity to get my ID out from under my robe. Luckily the bathroom was located just a few feet from the entrance and it was clean and modern including a handicapped stall and lowered urinal. There was a nice and neutral odor and the bathroom was pretty clean. The fact that the bathroom was small did not detract from its many positives. My time in the restroom was only a minute but it saved me from having to cut the line and running over who knows how many people during the processional.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Palladium Residence Hall, 3rd Floor: Great location near Union Square and Irving Plaza but security is very hesitant to let non-Palladium residents through when it’s not business hours.
  • 726 Broadway (Health Center): Individual unisex bathrooms though the door locks sometime fail.
  • 240 Greene Street: Hard to access since it’s in an office area, but very clean and comfortable.

Avoid like the plague

5- Meyer Hall, 1st floor. My first undergrad class on campus was located in Meyer Hall- a dull, bland building built in 1971 off of Broadway. The course- “Conversations of the West: Antiquities and the Renaissance”- was one which I enjoyed thoroughly and opened my mind to learn how to be astute and very analytical. There was never an overly dull lecture and the class was a treat to look forward to. The bathroom in the building was certainly not a “treat’ by any stretch of the imagination. Hard to find, dark, diminutive, and dank. Not to mention that it was always freezing cold in the winter. A substandard bathroom that was always a pain to use.

4- Tisch Hall, Lower Concourse. Even though the bathroom is amongst the biggest on campus it is never kept in a clean condition. Enter the restroom at anytime of the day or night, weekend or weekday and one will find newspapers, gum wrappers, flyers, and even discarded food strewn over the floor. The toilets are constantly clogged up unless you go to the bathroom early in the morning when nobody’s around. Even if the toilet does flush one has to run out the stall unless you’re in the mood to get your clothing damp from water splashing out.

3- Cantor Film Center, 1st Floor. Though access from the street is not too bad, the main problem with the 1st floor bathroom at Cantor is the difficulty in entering and exiting it. For reasons unbeknownst to any sane person the floor inside the bathroom undulates like a bad roller coaster ride. It is a small climb to get to the door to the handicapped stall which is annoying but even worse is the precarious downhill from the stall towards the sink and then a steep dip in front of the door. Worse is the tight squeeze cause by the door not opening fully and hitting the wall on the other side of the hallway. Cantor’s 1st floor bathroom is impossible to use when it’s raining or snowing outdoors since the floor is too slick and irregular even for the most surefooted of people.

2- Bobst Library, Lower Levels. When I was an undergrad at FIU I adored using their library for many reasons (which I will discuss in more detail in a later post). One of them included the ease and accessibility of the bathrooms which are located on all the floors. Sadly for a library as cavernous and busy as Bobst the bathrooms are absolutely heinous. There are no accessible bathrooms in the entire building aside from the lower levels and the 5th floor restroom that is always locked. In spite of extensive renovations of the lower levels nearly 2 years ago the bathrooms continue to be decrepit and unsanitary. Surely a museum can be opened on the lower level dedicated to the dirt and grime that have collected for decades on the bathroom walls. Their laughingstock of a handicapped stall barely has enough room for a pogo stick, much less a wheelchair. The bathroom door is a lovely 5 ton slab of steel which requires a superhuman effort to open it. The odor is reminiscent of a summer day ages ago at Fresh Kills. An absolutely terrible bathroom, but there’s one which is far worse believe it or not.

1- Silver Center, 7th Floor. Ah yes, the 7th floor men’s room at the Silver Center. The worst of the W.C.s on campus. Where to begin with all the things that are wrong with it. For starters we’ll go with terrible location as it is near the hallway connecting the Silver Center to the Waverly Building and just a few feet from the usual throngs of students entering and exiting the elevators. Then there’s the size of the bathrooms which is reminiscent of the cubicles found on an airplane and the narrow stalls that practically forces users to enter and remain sideways. For that matter, it is sometimes best to stand sideways in the stalls since they almost always neglect to have toilet paper and don’t expect to leave the bathroom with clean hands since soap is usually at a premium. The lights don’t work above the handicapped stall. Though it is understandable that bathrooms are not the best-smelling places the odor of Silver’s 7th floor men’s room would even cause a waste treatment worker to wince and squirm. Lastly there is the personal anecdote from my undergrad days about a decade ago when I went to the 7th floor men’s room on a Friday afternoon and had to wait for about 20 minutes to use the handicapped stall. Why so? Because two gentlemen decided to engage in some afternoon delight and apparently didn’t think that anybody would intrude on their tryst. Naive fool that I was I decided to wait it out and after they were done and left the bathroom I tried to go in. But my need to go to the men’s room rapidly went away once I got a good view and smell of the mess they left behind (pun sort of intended). Ah, the lovely memories.

Dishonorable mentions:
  • Gallatin Hall: Heavy doors and diminutive stalls make Gallatin’s restroom hard to use.
  • Tisch School of the Arts, 1st floor: Easy access from the lobby but only when the lounge is not busy and the bathroom itself is quite dirty.

I have never been in the bathrooms selected by the article as best and worst which is why I did not rate them. Most of the time the abovementioned bathrooms have served their basic purpose and have gotten me out of a jam like the time I stumbled drunk on a Saturday night into D’Agostino Hall a few years ago and got permission to use their men’s room. Better a shitty bathroom than no restroom at all, perhaps.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tidbits: On pins and needles

A view of the Queensboro Bridge, via this site

I am a wee bit nervous tonight on account that I’ve been a news junkie all day paying attention to Midterm Election coverage. I went out this morning with my mom to go vote at P.S. 219 and I felt fantastic doing so. Ever since I was a little kid I was very proud of voting rights in this country and it’s a great privilege to have. It was that pride in civic duty (as well as the strong possibility of bringing in a divided government to break up the Republican juggernaut) that compelled to go out and vote even though my body was killing me from having gone out on Monday.

Besides today’s election coverage I’ve been a little jittery over my dentist’s appointment Wednesday morning. The thought of needles, scrapers and other sharp devices being jabbed and prodded in my mouth does not bode me well. That’s a minor worry to have yet naturally I’m taking it too seriously. Oh well, I’ll probably be feeling better in about 12 hours from now so I better stop drowning in a glass of water.

On to the tidbits:

* So my roommate from DC in ’02 that visited New York did not bother to call me and figure out a time for us to meet. The weather during the weekend of October 28th was terrible but I had hoped to see him and his friends briefly. That was all for naught, unfortunately, but maybe there will be a chance next year. It’s too bad because I was hoping to take them to Lucky Cheng’s as well as the recently opened Automat-like place in the East Village. Perhaps I can indulge certain people in some fun and debauchery if they ever decide to visit NYC!

* Admittedly my undergrad alma mater has been involved in some recent events that can only be described as shameful and pathetic. Thankfully, FIU does produce smart, creative students as evidenced by performance artist and grad student Becky Flowers via her ingenuous blog. Thank you Becky!

* Metafilter is always great to read and that’s evidenced by these posts on pictures of the world’s subways and an analysis of Wikihelp. Another great read is Newyorkology who published a list of outstanding New York blogs several months ago.

* When does a political phrase turn from annoying to an absolute hackneyed cliché? Here’s a clue – government officials are relying on the term “stay the course”…in Canada.

* It was hilarious to hear goal calls set to the tune of old 80s hits, but it would’ve been sheer bliss to have heard him sing to the tune of Pimpinela during last Sunday’s Arsene Wenger-Alan Pardew spat.

* I would much rather eat a cardboard pizza box than Domino's latest godforsaken pizza creation.

* Unbelievable. If only the Queensboro Bridge would look this nice.

* My ego thanks US Soccer for “listening” to one of my previous posts and accepting an invitation to play in next year’s Copa America.

Good night and thank you.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The shittiest week of the year

You know how there are some days that go so wrong that by the end you mutter something to the extent of "I should've stayed in bed"?

That was what I said every day over the past week.

Frayed and broken wires meant that the Internet connection at home was nonexsistant for over a week until just a few hours ago. Either way I could have gone to NYU to use the computer labs and perhaps make a date with a friend or two. Maybe I could take C. out to lunch at the United Nations for Greek Week since part of her family is from there. Certainly Venegas would not mind if I took her out for dinner and a movie at the Film Forum. That would be quite nice.

Instead a stomach virus hit me on Tuesday and for several days the most that I moved around was between my bed and the bathroom.
By the weekend I was feeling rather stir crazy and couldn't handle more time-wasting activities like organizing mail from the past 5 years or watching daily re-runs of Keeping Up Appearances. Surely sports would help aleve my slight insanity.

Wrong and wrong.

So now I have a lot of catching-up to do. I sincerely doubt that this week could be any worse.

Here's hoping for the best.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Battle of the bulge

Goodbye Gray’s? (image via this site)

When I woke up this morning I couldn’t help but ponder of the friends I hadn’t heard of in months. Yes, I should have written to them a while ago; at least a quick 100 word greeting could’ve sufficed. Perhaps today would be the day that I would reacquaint myself with those people that mean so much to me inasmuch as time has kept us apart. Yeah. I’ll do it. It’s Friday. It’s the weekend. It would be a good thing.

Within 6 hours I heard from 3 friends I had not communicated with in over a year.

There was the message from the girl I first met as an NYU undergrad nearly a decade ago while we were trying to read quietly in a lounge at the Silver Center. Nowadays she’s happily married living in Cincinnati and about to get her MBA.

The second message came from my mentor while I was a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. She wanted to know if I was going to a conference next weekend in Las Vegas. Pity I have to decline.

The final e-mail correspondence came from one of my roommates of the apartment I shared with during my 10 weeks interning in Washington, DC in the summer of 2002. He had been doing well as a grad student in Connecticut though he was homesick for his native Texas. Nonetheless he was doing okay and that pleased me.

Then he said the following:

“I would like to meet with you soon. I am going to NYC on the 27th of this month.”


I should have been happy and delighted that he would be in New York. I mean, I had a smashing time the last time he was in the area 2 years ago. His boyfriend was very cultured and a fantastic conversationalist. I chatted for hours with his female friend from Texas on the Pixies. We laughed, complained, drank, and enjoyed our time together.

Yet since that visit I had gained a few pounds. Normally I try to keep my weight within a reasonable limit so that my health would not be adversely affected. My weight tends to fluctuate depending on my general mood and levels of stress. I never worry about my looks as related to weight or body size.

That suddenly changed after reading that he would be visiting in about 2 weeks. For quite a while I felt obsessed with losing at least 8 pounds before the 27th. I made plans on dieting and ensuring that I would melt away my second chin. Odds are I wouldn’t have washboard abs or a lithe neck, but I wanted to look good. Doesn’t matter if I wear nice clothes or if I’m charming or enjoy listening. My body was my prime concern.

It took me a while until I figured out why I desperately wanted to shed a few pounds. Over the past two years my life has been pretty good, but I am not content with that. My time as an NYU grad student will soon come to its end, though not without several struggles and tough times. Technically I’m still working as a UN intern but I haven’t done much since last year. I have several female friends but I still await the chance to enter a relationship. My mom and brothers have supported me through thick and thin though there are times when life at home is too much to bear. I suppose I irrationally want to have a fantastic body since that would be the only thing that would be great, not just good. It’s an unusual aspect of my life to focus on and I suppose it’s the easiest thing to target over the short-term.

Now I’m feeling a bit calmer. I will try to lose a bit of weight, though 3 pounds in 2 weeks seems like a far more realistic target. Regardless of whether I do or don’t I’ll be eagerly looking forward to their visit on the 27th and I’m sure they’ll be happy to see me whether I’m paper thin, round like a beach ball, or somewhere in between.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hoping for a clean bill of health

Well, I a’m off to go see my doctor in about an hour. Though I try not to be too worried about my health I confess to feeling very nervous and uptight since I will find out the results of several procedures I took last week. (A two-and-a-half hour x-ray exam of my gastrointestinal tract and an MRI of my kidneys).

I am scared. I really am.

In the end I hope all goes well.

Update: Good news after visiting the doc. The MRI results showed that while I do have a small cyst on one of my kidneys it is not cancerous or anything that serious. The results of the GI x-rays have yet to come in though the doctor doubts anything major will turn up. Needless to say I'm relieved and much less jittery than before.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tidbits: I will never name my son “Niwre”

Taking over Thailand, one kick at a time

* Confirming the obvious.

* So much for winning the battle of hearts and minds in Iraq.

* It’s difficult to pick which documentaries I will go to view but for now I’m leaning towards “One Day In September”, “Señorita Extraviada”, and “Hillbrow Kids.”

* The second-best reason for me to keep matriculation at NYU- computer labs open at 6 in the morning! (Yes, I really am excited about this and, yes, I am pathetic).

* Yawn.

* Hey Mandi: I hear Rutgers is a great deal for the money in case you’re interested.

* I don’t care what you say but there’s nothing as heavenly as a well-mixed White Russian.

* It’s reassuring to know that the odds are in favor of the Red Bulls to clinch the final playoff spot, though knowing them they’ll find some way to mess up.

* When I’m in my mid-50s I would love to be as cool and calm as McCall from “The Equalizer.”

* Yes it is incredibly satisfying to win the first game, but things can change in an instant so one cannot be too overconfident.

* Would you believe me if I told you that I looked at the posters in order to check out the fonts? No? Dammit I’m not a good liar.

* After reading this I will refrain from making a snarky remark about getting a public school education.

* “Medibot!

* The second Food Network bumped off Anthony Bourdain while continuing to promote the bejeezus out of Rachael Ray was the moment I abandoned that channel forever.

* Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would have something in common with Barry Goldwater besides having the same number of letters in our first and last names.

* Lastly, rest in peace R.W. Apple Jr. ; I haven’t felt this sad over a columnist’s death since Mike Royko passed away.

(By the way, here's a hint regarding the title of this post).

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Initial thoughts on “Ugly Betty”

image via

After a shitty day in which I went to 3 doctor’s appointments as well as a 2-hour x-ray session I was eager to veg out for the night. As part of tonight’s relaxation I decided to catch the first episode of “Ugly Betty.” Though I tend to avoid telenovelas, I was a rabid fan of “Betty la Fea” when it aired in the U.S. several years ago. Its quirkiness and campy humor caught my eye, and I was endeared to its unorthodox approach instead of the usual rags-to-riches novelas. Anyway, here are a few quick impressions of the pilot episode of “Ugly Betty”:

-America Ferrara does a fabulous job as the protagonist, Betty Suarez. It’s not just the fact that her body is not the “ideal” thin coat-hanger type but also her knack in conveying what it’s like to be an outcast, an underdog. She was excellent in “Real Women Have Curves” and helped carry the movie along. Though I haven’t followed her recent trajectory, I’m really hoping that her involvement n “Ugly Betty” can serve as a springboard to better and brighter things.

-Who was the bigger douchebag: Betty’s boss, the French photographer, or her ex-boyfriend? It’s a tough call, but I’m going to say her boss since he thinks a wee bit too much with the head between his legs and I have a nagging hunch that he will turn on her somehow very soon.

-It was fun to note the similarities and differences between “Ugly Betty” and the original “Betty la Fea.” There were several similarities which caught my attention- such as the social naivety of Betty and the use of fashion as a setting. Yet the most stunning similarity I noticed was in the demeanor and physical appearance between the actor who plays Bradford Meade and his Colombian counterpart, Kepa Amuchastegui. It’s as if they were twins. On the other hand, I was very uncomfortable with the differences between the families in each of the versions. (In “Betty la Fea” Betty had an older nerdier brother, both her parents were alive, her mother was doting, and her father was a hotheaded comic foil whereas in the U.S. version Betty’s mother had already died and her older brother was replaced with a fey nephew).

-Believe it or not the funniest moments of “Ugly Betty” had nothing to do with Betty herself. Rather, it was Salma Hayek’s cameo as the femme fetale in the way over-the-top telenovela playing on the television in the Suarez household. Too hilarious!

-For a pilot it was not too bad. Though the story went a little too fast and covered one too many subjects, it helped to adequately establish the general plot line. Thus, I am looking forward to next Thursday’s episode to see how the story will flow. All-in-all it was quite enjoyable and a nice way to spend a night relaxing.

Update (30 September): Did you miss the beginning of “Ugly Betty”? YouTube comes to the rescue as it posted the first eight-and-a-half minutes of the pilot episode. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tidbits: “Here’s where the story ends” edition

Automat by Edward Hopper (my favorite painting of all time) via this site

Lately, I haven’t been in the mood to type up 800-word posts on my failures with the fairer sex or live-blogging soccer matches. Thus here are several links I’ve found lately that have caught my eye. (Some of these links I’ve found from other blogs but I forgot to record where I got them from. I apologize for that).

  • It’s so nice to see that the MSG television network has rescinded on its pledge to show the last 3 Red Bulls regular season games live. Yes it’s better to have something than nothing (at least for 2 of those games) but it’s still a cruel reality that soccer has to take a back seat. Oh well.
  • Just another reason why I adore watching BBC America (aside from repeats of “The Avengers” and “Whose Line…” as well as nightly airings of the “BBC World News.”)
  • I will never ever forgive myself if I miss the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Whitney.
  • It would be very interesting to note if there’s any sizeable increase in U.S. aid to Guatemala in case the Central American country wins its bid for a U.N Security Council next year.
  • Speaking of the U.N., maybe I should call up and see if there are still reservations available and invite one of my friends for lunch.
  • Please, oh please let’s hope that an official DVD of The State can be made and sold soon.
  • I’m a little shocked to read that tickets have not sold out for the conversation with Gustavo Santaolalla event at The New Yorker Festival next month.
  • “I did not knowingly take steroids, sir. Period. Snoopy gave me something to make me throw harder, but he said it was flaxseed oil and vitamin drops”.
Well that’s all I got for now. I’m off tomorrow for three different appointments. Hopefully I’ll post something in about 24 hours time.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

“Pop quiz, hotshot”

Red Bull New York/Metrostars : DC United :: Manchester United :...

a) ...Arsenal.

b) ...Leeds United.

c) ...Manchester City.

d) ...Bayern Munich.

e) ...Who cares about MLS! Soccer is teh ghey!

p.s. Yes, I hate Jaime too.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Long time coming

It's been well worth the wait after putting up with 18 years of lots of putting up with disappointment, humiliation, and being second banana.

There's still a long ways to go but so far so good.

I'm sure dad's celebrating from up above.

On to October and hopefully on to more glory.

Ren & Stimpy - Happy Happy Joy Joy

Update (22 September): All MP3s in this post have been removed.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

To my brothers

A photo of my brothers during our trip in January to Colombia. (My cousin is in the middle).

It is very difficult to find words that accurately express my gratitude and joy to you both on the occasion of your 24th brithday. Nevertheless, here it goes.

I do not know if I would be the person that I am had I not known you both though I'm sure it would be far worse. You have both been two strong pillars of support and I have learned more from you guys than from anyone else. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for being in your presence. It's always a pleasure having you guys around me regardless of the petty quarrels and silly arguments we often engage in. I doubt I would have pulled through the darkest times of my life without your guidence. Your will to survive, dedication, and courage have been a constant inspiration for me. There is no doubt in my mind that you are the smartest people I know; far wiser than you believe. My greatest hope is that I can continuing being by your side and learning from the fruits of your labor.

God bless you now and always. (Hopefully I'll make it to your 25th brithday party and not flake out!)

Here are a few songs in celebration of your birthday based on appropriate titles:

Charles Mingus - Eat that Chicken

Jens Lekman - Are Bithdays Happy?

The Sugarcubes - Birthday

Yossarian - Koala

Update (22 September): All MP3s in this post have been removed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

48 hours

It’s nearly the end of the most difficult two days of my life- the first anniversary of my dad’s death followed by the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is one these days that I remember and look back at the details of those two days. A somber pall blankets my mind as I think about all that I’ve learned from those two days as well as paying homage to those that deserve it. I have learned to accept the events of those days within the terrible circumstances that they occurred. For instance, I am not in “9/11 Denial” inasmuch as I vehemently disagree with most of the actions taken by the Bush administration since then nor do I keep asking myself why my father passed away even though it was an incredibly unfair that he died. Unfortunately the wounds are still too fresh and the healing process continues without a foreseeable end. Yet from the past we learn of how to conduct ourselves in the future which is why I try to do the best I can to move forward little-by-little and try to help others do the same.

I guess what I really want to impart is an old quote from famed NYC radio personality Harry Harrison: “every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift.”

Lastly, there’s one song that has helped me cope with me anxiety over yesterday and today: The Smiths’ “There is a Light that Never Goes Out.” Here it is as a music video (via YouTube) and as an mp3 (via this wonderful post from Obscure Sound).

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Trying to stay afloat

Funeral by Myrhlyn Mcfay (via this site)

I've been AWOL over the past few days from posting here as I've been in a bit of a rut over the first anniversary of my dad's passing away coming up this Sunday. I've already passed the point of denial and accepted that it occured. Yet this does not take away from the sadness that still weighs hevay on me. My motivation has been minimal, except for some posting on
The Latin Americanist and getting a few light errands done like grocery shopping and doctor's appoitments. I guess I should continue taking things day-by-day and little-by-little as I have been doing for the most part over the past year.

So while I try my damndest to get out of this funk I'll link to the following YouTube vids that have caught my eye:

* (via Metafilter) an absolutley lovely cartoon set to a 1960s French love song- "A quoi ça sert l’amour?"

* the music video for one of my favorite songs which has helped boost me a bit every so often over these past few days- "Black and White Town" by the Doves

p.s. I just found this article via Hispanic Tips on the difference in the messages behind eulogies in English and Spanish. I can closely relate to the article since I gave the eulogy at my dad's memorial mass last month in Spanish and English, though I didn't modify the message in either version.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy Blog Day to you!

Well, I had originally planned not to do this and instead post a bunch of links I’ve found recently. But then I figured it would be a good way to tell others (i.e. the three people that read Huevos Pericos) about some of the blogs I check out daily. Since there is less than an hour left before the end of Blog Day I humbly present to you five exceptional blogs (as well as several honorable mentions).


Though I can be a political windbag at times (just ask my brothers) I tend to ignore political blogs that are too partisan or extreme. It drives me crazy to read about lunacy or intransigence regardless of what side of the political spectrum they're on. This brings me to Sullivan’s blog; he is very thoughtful, pragmatic, and pulls no punches at either the left or the right. I may not always agree with him (like during his initial defense of the invasion of Iraq) but his forthright and pensive manner is what always attracts me to his blog.

Honorable mentions- Global Voices, Foreign Policy Passport, Hispanic Tips, Plan Colombia and Beyond, Poor but Happy Colombia Guide, VivirLatino, Wonkette

MUSIC – Brooklyn Vegan

So maybe I could have put this under the category entitled “NEW YORK” but BV also writes about all types of indie music stuff. For exaple, imagine my shock and consternation as the first post on BV tonight mentioned how kick-ass Internet radio station WOXY will shut down on September 15th. (Reading that along with Robert Christgau’s firing from the Village Voice served as a painful double whammy today). It has been through BV that I’ve found out about lots of the summer concerts I thought about going to. I even e-mailed BV last fall trying to unload a ticket for the New Pornographers at Webster Hall but to no avail. Anyhow, BV sets a very high standard for music bloggers and it is always a pleasure to read.

Honorable mentions- coolfer, largehearted boy, Morrissey-solo, pixiesmusic, stereogum, The Hype Machine

NEW YORK – Overheard in New York

For a long time the champion at this category would have undoubtedly been Gothamist and even though I continue to read it several times a day it has lost some of its previous quality in its posts. (Perhaps they overextended themselves and cover far too many things at once). Yet now the winner is Overheard… which I enjoy thoroughly. The premise is simple- New Yorkers send in bits and pieces of stuff from conversations and other types of communication. Given the site may encourage people to be nosier but the beauty of Overheard… is the variety and weirdness of some of the posts. There’s the pair of snarky girls upset over a wheelchair getting on the bus, the language barrier between baristas and cops, and the silliness of tourists. Overheard… never ceases to amaze me.

Honorable mentions- Gawker, Gothamist, Manhattan User’s Guide, New York Hack, NewYorkology, nycmosaico, Pushcart NYC

Greg and Jason are a pair of lifelong New York Mets fans; they breathe, bleed, and sweat blue and orange. Their prose goes beyond that of mere sports fans as they delve into the minutiae and larger meaning of following a sports team. Though they may harp a bit too much on the ’86 champion team, they truly embody the best spirit of being a sports fan and their love and passion for the Mets are an added source of pride for a Met fan like myself. (Quirky bit o’ trivia- since 1986 only tree times have teams I’ve been a loyal fan to have won championships. Those would be the 1987 and 1991 New York Giants and the 1994 New York Rangers).

Honorable mentions- Deadspin, The Fan’s Attic, The Musings and Prophecies of Metsdramus

PERSONAL – forksplit

Last but definitely not least I present to you the main reason why I decided to enter into the blogosphere. I first discovered her blog via this Gawker post last year. It’s not easy to describe why I’m attracted to her writing (which is why I’ve had writer’s block for the past 30 minutes) so I will defer to the following written by this blogger:

"I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t done drugs or anything self-destructive for the longest period of time, or the incredibly dry yet hilarious way she journals her life - like a ’sex and the city’ for ‘misanthropes, agoraphobes, depressives, alcoholics, pill poppers, pot smokers, losers, outsiders, and chronic masturbators’ [to quote the author’s supposition of her audience] - but Miss Forksplit really floats my boat...Reading through such a vibrant and hilarious blog, it’s hard to factor Forksplit into the dull and dusty definitions often attributed to the blogosphere. But then perhaps it’s inevitable that academia will have to allocate such a constricting lexicon on this colourful media expression - after all, the literati couldn’t very well praise a self-confessed “lazy sack of shit with a significant pot problem and possible Attention Deficit Disorder” as a pioneer of online literature and virtual cultures. It just wouldn’t do!”

Well said, my friend. Very well said.

And thanks a ton to you, forksplit, for dragging yet another moping fool into the world of blogging.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

“We shall overcome” (in spite of stairs, injustice, and discrimination)

After many years of negotiations, debating, deliberating, and nit-picking over details the Draft Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by a United Nations Ad Hoc Committee last Friday night. There were several occasions during the Ad Hoc Committee’s conference last week that the draft may not be approved over issues like reproductive rights and international monitoring of the treaty. Several NGO representatives I communicated with were very worried that the draft approval would have to be put off until next January. Thankfully, delegates got their act together and hammered out major areas of dispute. The draft was okayed and should be ready for approval by the General Assembly this fall. Like I mentioned in a recent post, I was fortunate to observe several sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee when I was working full-time as a U.N. intern and I was able to truly appreciate the effort set for by delegates from governments and NGOs alike.

Which brings me to this article that I found denouncing the treaty as a “power grab” by the U.N. against nation-states, or “United Nations jurisdiction over American businesses”. The overall tone of the article is one based on fear that American law will be circumvented by the corrupt, evil, and useless organization known as the U.N. The problem with such a view is that, whether conservatives like it or not, the U.N. will not go away anytime soon. This is why (though I don’t always agree with his tactics) I support U.S. Ambassador’s John Bolton’s push towards reforming (rather than removing) the U.N. Unfortunately the U.N. is in serious need of reform in order to strip away at a lot of the bureaucracy that hampers progress and meaningful change within the organization. For instance, continuing to have the Trusteeship Council is a waste and should be eliminated as soon as possible (as proposed not only by Bolton but by Secretary-General Kofi Annan).

Nevertheless, the author of that article may be somewhat heartened to know that the monitoring portion of the treaty will most likely be left up to the states with only a few simple guidelines that need to be followed. As such, states will have considerable leeway into how to implement the treaty in their own countries. Furthermore, not every country will ratify the Convention; one of these countries will be (surprise, surprise) the United States, especially since laws here have gone very far in protecting the rights of the disabled. In essence, “American businesses” need not be too worry to the extent that the article inaccurately implies.

The governments that do need to “worry” are those of countries that have done shockingly little to protect the rights of disabled people. They include governments in countries that have engaged in activities such as forced sterilization, institutionalization of the disabled, and other shocking and disheartening human rights violations. It will be in those countries that the convention will make a huge difference for disabled individuals. There are times when I even wonder what would have happened to my brothers lives as well as mine if my parents would have stayed in Colombia and not immigrated to the U.S. Surely we would have had far less opportunities for advancement especially due to our disabilities had we stayed in Colombia. I doubt that I would have been able to go to university and have the same amount of mobility that I do here in the U.S. (And trust me I should know since I had a shitload of trouble last year mobilizing around the campus of the
Universidad Nacional and even in the streets of Bogotá due to the lack of access).

Hence, the Convention should not be seen as a “power grab” but rather as a solid attempt to assure that disabled people around the world can be afforded the rights that people without disabilities have. Empowering the disabled can and should be a priority (rather than relying on charity and welfare) and this Convention is a solid step in allowing for “people…to adopt a ‘can do’ rather than ‘can’t do’ approach” that is necessary for disabled people to move forward.

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