Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Crunch Time

Haven't posted in slightly over a week and I apologize for that. I've been far too occupied with a potent mix of anxiety and thesis research. I have one month to finish the thesis and make sure it is okay with my advisors and I want to make sure that the thesis is as close to perfect as possible. If I were to face the same scenario two years ago I probably wouldn't give two shits about doing the thesis, much less getting it done right. Yet nowadays I'm consumed by the same fear of failure that compelled me to bust my ass through high school and undergrad college. It has been four difficult years as an NYU grad student, and I yearn to finish it ASAP and sans regrets.

On Wednesday, I'll probably go back to reviewing the articles I got off JSTOR last month before playing dress up to attend a career fair. Hopefully I'll see a familiar face or two. I know C. will be these so that's a bit of an added incentive for me. Nothing wrong with getting a little fresh air after being stuck at home for a week, right?

Ugh, time to pick a tie; yellow, blue or red?

Monday, March 20, 2006

And now a word from our pseudo-sponsor

When you have the chance, please take a gander at this blog I’m helping run with a fellow NYU grad student: http://ourlatinamerica.blogspot.com/. The Latin Americanist looks at different aspects of Latin America such as politics, economics, arts, literature, and culture. There are also several handy links on the different dialects of Spanish spoken in Latin America as well as other blogs on the region.

And now back to your regularly scheduled stuff.

Friday, March 17, 2006

When Irish eyes are sort of smiling

I could not have said it better than Christian Finnegan did in this interview from The Apiary:

"We've read that you recently went to Ireland. What did you do there? Were you surprised by what you saw?

Honestly, I was surprised at how much people drank. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I kind of assumed that the Irish, being the butt of so many alcoholism-related jokes, might be determined to convince the world that they are a sober, serious people. Nope. The Irish drink and sing and dance and sing and drink a bit more. But it's not a frat-boy, "let's get wasted and stick roman candles up our butts" type vibe. Excessive drinking is simply something the typical Irishman crosses off his daily to-do list, a la:

• Go to the post office.
• Drop off the dry cleaning.
• Get drunk.
• Pick up the kids from school.

It's quite heart-warming."

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all (and to all a good night).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Five Extra Nipples

I am still in pain.

Early Wednesday morning I went to take a stress test to see how my heart was functioning. I had been a nervous wreck since Monday since I was afraid I would be diagnosed with a deadly heart ailment. And my paranoia was worse since my dad died due to heart problems. To add to that lunacy, I had to fast for 12 hours before the procedure and ingest no caffeine all day Tuesday. And then to make things better, my stomach was killing me on Wednesday morning. Oh yeah, I was a ton o’ fun to be around by the time the stress test commenced at 8am.

Seven hours later I was stuck in hell.

The IV needle was still under the skin near my left elbow and it was itching uncontrollably. In lieu of running on a treadmill for 60 minutes, thallium and who-knows-what-else were injected into my bloodstream, and that part of the stress test gave me a humongous headache and nauseated me to the point that I nearly shit my shorts. I was about to retake some sort of MRI-like exam for the fourth time. My fast had entered its 24th hour.

I was slowly going stir-crazy.

I finally finished and arrived home at 4pm. Tired, pissed, hungry, bitchy, dazed, and incredibly unpleasant to be around. Though a nice hot meal and some downtime in front of the TV helped, there was still the annoying matter of getting the plastic suction things off my chest. During the stress test, about five plastic suction things each with a metal tip were placed on my chest and wires would connect to the metal protuberances in order to measure my heart function. These plastic nipples still adhered to me like leeches by the time I got home. Taking them off hurt far too much since chest hairs had stuck to the damn plastic things, I couldn’t cut them with scissors, and showering barely helped at all. So I had no other choice but to yank the suckers out, and try not to scream too loud at the pain or the sight of small tufts of chest hair being stuck on suction cups. It hurt like hell and my chest still smarts from having its hair torn by the roots.

I will never get a bikini wax in my lifetime.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Thoughts on Sunday’s Colombian legislative elections

+I honestly did not expect the political movements backing president Uribe to have gained as many seats as they did. According to estimates this morning, the Uribistas were projected to win about 70% of legislative seats up for election! Recent polls indicated that they would have a difficult time getting half of the seats in the Senate, much less a majority in both houses.

+Though it pains me to say, kudos must be given to Juan Manuel Santos and “El Partido de la U” for their campaign. They won the most seats in congress and did so through a very thorough campaign to gain support and always going on the offensive. They had an enormous war chest to spend on advertising and getting the word out. Somehow they managed to distinguish their candidates from the other Uribistas from groups such as “Cambio Radical”.

+Can somebody please explain to me why anyone in the Liberal Party would choose Horacio Serpa as their presidential candidate? And by such an ample margin no less. He’s Colombia’s version of Neil Kinnock, for Christ’s sake! Please go away Horacio!

+Antonio Navarro Wolff buried his own grave weeks ago with his quitting as potential candidate for the “Polo Democratico” then returning less than a week later. For a politician as he seasoned as he is, he should have known that his pale imitation of Ross Perot would be disastrous. He needs to keep his personal aspirations in check and support Gustavo Petro. (Example: don’t declare in television interviews that he would never, ever run as a vice presidential candidate. Oh too late, he already did that this morning).

+I don’t believe what the Colombian media is saying over about the failure of candidates closely linked to paramilitary groups. For every Eleonora Pineda that lost, a Dieb Maloof won. (Even the son of Enilse Perez won a legislative seat, and his mom is currently in jail after being up to her armpits in being heavily involved with paramilitaries).

+I also don’t believe what the non-Colombian media claims in two areas:

1)Sunday’s election does not mean that Uribe will easily win reelection in May. Politics can be a fickle lover that can easily jilt you for someone else. Though Uribe can do no wrong in the eyes of the electorate, anything is still possible and one can never discount that he could mess up over the next 10 weeks.

2) the misconception that Uribe + an Uribista legislature = a formidable counterweight to leftist leaders (Bachelet, Chavez, Evo Morales). Leftist leaders in Latin America represent several spots on the left-wing political spectrum; they are not a monolithic force. To say that Uribe would counterarrest leaders on the left seems very far-fetched, even with support from the U.S.

+It should come as no surprise that only 35% of the electorate went out to vote since many believed the election was a done deal way before Sunday. Also, it’s not surprising that over one million votes were nullified mainly due to the confusing manner in which to fill out the voting sheets. One newscast I saw on Monday showed a nullified voting sheet because the voter drew one X on top of another for the party of his choice. Sadly, the system appeared to be rigged away from less educated (read: poor) voters who could not comprehend the silly details of filling out the voting sheet or having to memorize what number corresponded to which candidate. (Maybe I should not say that so loud since I voted in Florida during the 2000 U.S. presidential elections, and we all remember how fun that experience was).

+Finally, from a personal standpoint, I kind stand Uribe for various reasons; his strong ties to paramilitaries, placing far too much emphasis on military combat, lack of sufficient social development. (Even his constant name-calling of guerillas as “bandidos” makes him sound less presidential and more like a small child trying to insult a bully). However, the reality is that Sunday’s legislative elections gave him a big boost for his reelection bid and will give him a green light to pass any of his proposals. This is his election to lose and it certainly looks like it won’t happen.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Only Shadows

“Birth, School, Work, Death”

I remember watching the music video to this song by The Godfathers on VH1 Classic in early December. Catchy little number with okay lyrics, but it was the title that really caught my attention. Is this really life? Four simple words. A mere bullet point that defines our lives. I though about it for a little while, but forgot soon after when “Here Comes Your Man” came on.

Two days ago I remembered that song again as I was commuting to Manhattan. Those words were decals on the rear window of a truck. It jolted me out of my early morning daze and the same questions I had while watching “The Alternative” returned to me.

And then it hit me.

September 10, 2005: the night my dad passed away.

Yes it could be possible to divide his life into four parts, but in my eyes his life was far too rich to simplify. His was a plethora of adventures, experiences, trials, and tribulations. He never embodied any one or two specific qualities, and he endured through so many emotions. There were times when he could be one’s best friend in the whole world, times when he was ruthless and masochistic, and times in between. Yet no matter what we pulled through with him. We never stopped respecting one another.

Now its six months later.

Many things have gone on since then, and along with my mom and brothers we’ve done a decent job trying to move forward step-by-step. The pain still persists, yet so do our dreams and goals. Life isn’t short so let’s run the best damn marathon we can.

Just like he did.

Te quiero viejo.