Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pride buried under a hill of tissues

Monday I was feeling very surly and apathetic.

Tuesday I was hungover and desperately trying to remember if I made any mistakes Monday night.

Today I've been knocked out by allergies and I can barely think straight.

I'm just waiting to be hit by gangrene tomorrow then the aviary flu on Friday.

That will just make my week worthwhile.

(And another thing, I would like to wish my brothers (who are just about the only readers of this humble blog) a great deal of congratulations for graduating from college tomorrow. Regardless of how I fell or what I say I will always be proud of your guys).

Monday, May 29, 2006

Random Thoughts While Drunk

-If a guy arrives a at party, stays at a party, and refuses to leave the side of a girl for the entire time except she goes to the restroom, chances are he’s her boyfriend.

-There is no excuse to leer at a woman’s breasts regardless of how skimpy she dresses or how shiny her necklace may be.

-Never argue with a woman about her weight. If you guess to low she will believe you are a liar. If you guess to high she will kill you.

-If you get drunk after two glasses of wine and you still want more to drink, then you are a lush.

-Being the first person at a party in a bar/restaurant has its advantages. Just ask the attractive server you have talked with for fifteen minutes before anyone else arrived.

-Be glad you did not bring a camera with you to take photos since they would all out of focus or completely crooked.

-“Ah so you must be the infamous boyfriend I’ve heard so much about.” = telling the world you’re plastered.

-If you forget to tip your bartender due to your tipsiness, make sure to tip triple value the next time you meet.

-It is almost always a red flag when people of the same gender hit on you then people of the opposite sex. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it if you happen to be of the persuasion that enjoys getting undue attention from the same gender.)

-Losing the ability to speak incoherent sentences and slurring every other word = telling the world you’re plastered.

-Alka-seltzer is the king of hangover cures; a greasy hamburger is a close second.

-‘Tis better to go home lonely than to go home with a fellow lush is almost always true.


Tidbits: Happy Belated Birthday, Moz! (part 1)

In honor of Morrissey’s 47th birthday last Monday, this HP post (part 1 of 2) will be themed based on songs from him as well as The Smiths.

“Bigmouth Strikes Again” (YouTube)- I have been a massive asshole since convocation and graduation ceremonies a few weeks back. I’ve been wont to snap at just about any thing that disturbs me and I’ve acted very insular and selfish. For instance, I snapped very harshly and unjustly at my brothers last Friday because they went out that morning to run some errands but they did not bother to let me know. Since I must know every little move they make I yelled at them as if they were my traitorous minions. Though we worked out our differences, there was no need for me to be as mad as I was that day and I have to learn to control my temper and vent my stress more constructively.

“Barbarism Begins at Home” (YouTube)- Speaking of lunacy and rage, life at home has been a little hard-to-handle lately. And it’s not just my own messed-up thoughts but my mom has been very moody. She now has the incredibly annoying tendency to make unexpectedly curt comments that serve to both shock and drive me batty. The other day I was cleaning some old books when I stumbled upon an agenda given to me by “la vecina” a few years ago. Mom enters the room and says sarcastically in Spanish “how nice it is to see your gift from your sweetheart” and leaves my room with a massive grin on her face. Huh? What? Who? Why? Maybe it may not seem like much on the surface, but a comment like that is like a swift kick between the legs to me. There are occasions when she’s fantastic to be around and others when she’s off her rocker. This is tolerable for the most part, but her moodiness has been more unpredictable recently so I’m trying my very best to put up with her.

“Disappointed” and “The Queen is Dead” (both via YouTube)– As I alluded to at the end of my post yesterday, I felt nauseated by the landslide reelection victory of Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe. I honestly believed Uribe would face a run-off election in two weeks time; instead, he receives nearly two-thirds of the vote and handily beats leftist Carlos Gaviria. (Ironically, Gaviria used to be Uribe’s professor when he attended law school. Go figure.) I don’t believe that Uribe is as loathsome as the left feels since he’s instigated several valuable changes such as reforming the judicial system, ensuring basic security in some regions, and proposing a more secular and streamlined system of holidays. However, these accomplishments pale in comparison to his readiness to grant impunity and flexibility to right-wing paramilitaries, an escalation in the armed conflict, a lack of improving social services, acting as a lackey to big business including his endorsement of a lop-sided free trade agreement with the U.S., and his overall arrogance and intransigence. More worrisome is the trend in reelected leaders of the Western Hemisphere to have disastrous second terms in office as this article from El Tiempo describes. (Examples include the firestorm of corruption that came to light during Alberto Fujimori’s third term as well as the political scandals under the second term of Fernando Henrique Cardoso).

If there is a positive to yesterday’s election was the strong showing of the left through Carlos Gaviria who received their highest vote total ever with a shade over 3 million votes. In his concession speech, Gaviria vowed that the left would not be co-opted by Uribe and will transform itself into a viable opposition movement. As of now that seems like a longshot since Uribe not only controls the presidency but
factions loyal to him have a clear majority in congress. Yet that could change in the next few years if the growth of Gaviria’s party , the Alternative Democratic Pole, continues.

Another positive that came about was the near demise of the Liberal Party who barely got into the double digits yesterday. I said it a while ago-
Liberal presidential candidate Horacio Serpa is the Colombian version of Neil Kinnock. Serpa and his Liberal dinosaurs need to disappear ASAP and allow for young leaders like Rafael Pardo to take the reins of the Liberals. Yet even if that does occur, Uribe’s win and Gaviria’s second place have brought the death knell to the antiquated, out-of-touch, and pathetically oligarchic traditional bipartisan control of Colombian politics. Or as El Tiempo said “there is a totally new political panorama in which the Liberal and Conservative Parties which have lorded over the scene for almost 200 years have been replaced by new forces.” Finally!

“A Rush and A Push and The Land is Ours” (YouTube)- I found this post a few days ago by political blogger Latino Pundit. Regardless of what you think of Lou Dobbs, the idea that illegal immigrants will take over seven U.S. states and as part of a “Reconquista” is comical and downright silly. I sorely doubt that most immigrants crossing the border due so in the interest of creating Mexican territory, de facto or otherwise. Though I agree that Dobbs should discuss immigration since that issue focuses so much on economics and labor, I am surprised that he would use “Aztlan” as a paltry excuse against illegal immigration. I almost always disagree with him I don’t mind reading some of his perspectives that can be backed with intelligent evidence. In this case he’s going to have to go back to the drawing board and not come up with something as childish.

“Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness” (lyrics)- Tonight I’m off to be with some friends and colleagues for a brief dinner and drinks. Details to come tomorrow. Good night and drive home safely.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!

It has been an eternity since I've posted here. There's no single reason why; sometimes I don't have the enegy to do it, while other times I'm far too apthetic or I'm distracted by other subjects like my thesis work or blogging on The Latin Americanist. Even though I anticipate being busier this week, I will try to make up for lost time here on HP and submit at least five entries by next Sunday. And good, quality entries instead of short simple ones like this.

So hang tight dear reader(s).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to vomit.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Once Again, a Word from our Pseudo-Sponsor

A while ago, I posted here on HP about another blog I’m contributing to: The Latin Americanist. My love of satire compelled me to write two posts that I hope you check out. One is on Monday night’s immigration speech by the president and the other is on a funny alt-weekly column called “Ask a Mexican.”

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming from Club Technochocolate.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Random Thoughts while Attending last Thursday’s NYU Commencement Ceremony

-Baryshnikov looks stone-faced and hungover; maybe he had a wild time at Brighton Beach last night?

-Stern has Thundersticks? What is this, a women’s soccer match?

-She looks cute but vaguely familiar. Kinda like that girl Wendy I knew from Model UN in Miami.

-I really hope my brothers are taking good pics of this.

-Jeez, it better not rain during the ceremony. I’m not in the mood to get soaking wet.

-I wish I could jump in the fountain after all this is done. Knowing my luck I would catch hypothermia if I do leap in.

-Thank goodness Justice Kennedy is speaking, not Clarence Thomas or Scalia.

-Gallatin genuinely adores their dean. I’ll still take Dean Stimpson any day of the week, however.

-Damn, I’m one lucky bastard to be “graduating” with my friends from CLACS. Damn lucky.

-I wish I could’ve done study abroad. Florence would’ve been nice for a semester.

-I hope mom’s comfortable and not worrying too much.

-Yeah, I miss dad but I’m sure he’s by my side in spirit.

-I can’t wait to take off this gown!

-I wonder if I could afford returning to grad school for a Doctoral degree.

-Well it’s over and it’s been worth it. Now what?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Live Blogging: Red Bulls v. Chicago Fire

6.44pm- Believe it or not, it was not my first choice to stay home tonight and watch the Red Bulls. I had planned to go out with other NYU students from the Latin American & Caribbean Studies department, yet things transpired differently. The first option was to go out this afternoon to picnic at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, but I had heard all week long that it was supposed to rain hard all day today. Alas, nary a drop fell from the sky. Meanwhile the other option was to go out tonight to a bar in SoHo called Botanica, yet I found out that the bar is several steps below street level. Hence, I’m here at home eagerly anticipating what I’m really hoping will be a Red Bulls victory.

We’re coming off a bye week into a three-game home stand starting tonight. Much like us, Chicago has underachieved this season and only lies two points above last place in the Eastern Conference. Not that we’ve fared much better as we are the team in last in the division. Still, it is imperative that we get our first win tonight in front of the home crowd at the swamp.

As was the case with our last game, I’m hoping for the best, yet expecting the worst. I’m such an optimist, aren’t I?

7.17pm- Just finished reading the latest article by Red Bulls' announcer JP Dellacamera. I absolutely agree with his opinion on the problem of having bye weeks this season in light of next month's World Cup. Still, I disagree with him in that I feel a 32 game season is far too long and 26 or 28 games should be the norm.

7.27pm- Out with injuries for the Reds: Buddle, Magee, and Graham. Not a good sign. On the other hand, I'm looking forward to the the battle of the goaltenders: our Fat Tony vs. former Reds' back-up Zach Thornton. Top-notch goalies that have been strong for each team; Thornton saved a penalty attempt last week, for instance.

7.30pm- Spoke to fucking soon. MSG reports that Fat Tony injured himself during warm-ups and will not play tonight. Give me a friggin break.

7.32pm- Here's the stats on tonight's strating goalie: Jon Conway. Not bad, but we could not have afforded to have
Fat Tony as a no-show tonight. Fuck! Save me Jeebus!

7.37pm- Starting whistle sounds. Dellacamera mentions that Wynne will not be starting on defense tonight since we're going with a 3-5-2 formation. You have to be friggin' kidding me. I dread a blowout against us.

7.40- Conway proved himself a sec ago by stopping a partial breakaway. I breath a huge sigh of relief.

7.46- 12th minute; scoreless. Few attacking chances for either side, though Chicago seems to be a little more dangerous against our back line. They have more possession, though its a fairly even match.

7.54- Offense caught offside for the fourth time. Signs of improvement up front, perhaps?

8.00- Yet another big save by Conway on a breakaway. A heavier sigh of relief escapes my lips.

8.03- GGGGGGOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! THANK YOU JEEBUS!!! Looks like an own goal off of a Chicago defender from Stammler's cross. Peguero given credit for the score. Still, we'll take it since a goal is a goal!

8.13- Fuck, Djorkaeff's 37th minute goal was negated due to offsides. With halftime coming around the corner, we need to be a little more cautious on our possession.

8.17-
Djorkaeff was thisclose to scoring off a 41st minute free kick. It has been a good past 15 minutes for us.

8.25- Halftime. We're up 1-0. We've evened out posession after the goal was scored. Chicago was dangerous in the attack in the last few moments but we held on. Now we need to make sure that in the 2nd half we can keep playing as smart as we did after the goal.

8.41- 2nd half begins. Fat Tony interviewed at halftime and he expressed his support of Conway and his hope on returning next week against Chivas USA (a.k.a. "goatfuckers").

8.49- Reds' offense has increased the pressure and nearly scored off a corner kick. Conway comes up with another big save against the far post. There's plenty of time left in the half, however.

8.56- Wynne was subbed in few minutes ago for Amado Guevara. Guevara is pissed on being subbed and leaves fro the locker room instead of sitting on the bench. "Tough shit, pussy" I scream at the t.v. as Guevara pouts off the field. He has done very little so far this season and tonight is no exception. Dellacamera and Shep Messing (MSG'S t.v. crew) rightly observe that this move is indicative of the unpleasant relationship between Guevara and the coach. Guevara's substitution is a wake-up call to him that he needs to step up if he wants to be an important part of the Reds. At this point, though, Guevara cares more about himself than the team and will most likely seek a way out of the Reds.

9.03- 1-1. Chicago ties via penalty from that dumbass O'Rourke knocking down somebody in the box. Obviously, it's our worst defender that causes the penalty. Fuck!

9.09- 75th minute. Amado's up in the crowd sitting with some acquaintances(?); MSG reports that after he was substituted he left for the locker room, took a shower, got dressed, then emerged to sit with someone along the first row. His days on the Reds are numbered.

9.18- DAMMIT! Djorkaeff hits the post as he tried for the near corner. Less then a minute later Chicago's Nate Jacqua blasted a strike off the crossbar.

9.20- 5 minutes left + injury time. We cannot afford to be content with yet another tie. Come on Reds, dammit!

9.25- Just started injury time. 3 minutes. C'mon we can do it!

9.28- Game, set, match. 1-1 tie. Should've won it inspite of Chicago having most of the posession or the PK comverted against us. Just frustrating and upsetting. "Jon Conway played well and deserved more" said Dellacamera, and he is absolutely right. Guevara's turned into such a non-factor that I'm eagerly awaiting him getting traded elsewhere (for suitable compensation, of course). O'Rourke ought to be berated for his idiocy in causing the foul that led to the PK; he should not be a scapegoat, mind you, but he needs to be reprimanded. I don't want to go on anymore about this as I'm far too pissed off over yet another tie. This was silly. I don't know if I'll live blog next week's game. (Maybe if I don't I'll be doing you a favor!)

9.43- Last thing I'll say about tonight's game: this post on bigsoccer.com made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Relief and Reward

Monday went by much better than I expected. We arrived at Lincoln Center around 2 o’clock which was just on time inasmuch as the Access-a-Ride fouled up big-time and picked us up 90 minutes late. My nervousness was getting the best of me and I was feeling constantly nauseous and with pangs to use the restroom. Hence, it was annoying to take off and put on my robe the zillion times I had to go to the men’s room before leaving my guests and being placed on stage nearly an hour before the academic procession began.

I had the good fortune of being accompanied by another wheelchair-bound graduate, an Asian student who was excited to receive her Doctoral in Mathematics. She was very happy to be able to get to this moment and be hooded. I was far too anxiety-ridden to think straight. Well, there was only one clear thought running through my mind:

“I really have to go to the bathroom.”

To the discerning eye the first part of the ceremony was absolutely wonderful and inspiring. The academic procession was filled with the faces of dozens of eager grad students, the speakers were wise in their anecdotes and advice, and everyone in the audience beamed with pride.

I smiled often, too, and at times I was very happy. Yet more often that not my worry was about how to sneak out quietly offstage and without attracting much attention to use the bathroom. I even turned the wheelchair on and off a few times without moving while reenacting the scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where Cameron’s stuck in his car pondering whether or not to stay at home. (“I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go”.) By the time I knew it, however, it was time to place the graduate hoods on Master’s graduates. I sucked it up and dared not leave the stage since I knew I would be the fourth person to be hooded.

A tremendous relief swept my body as I was being hooded by the head of the Latin American & Caribbean Studies department. No, the relief did not come from peeing on the stage; rather it felt like I was being rewarded for overcoming so many obstacles since I entered NYU nearly four years before. It has been a very rocky road and there were many times when I wanted to quit. Yet somehow I held on and kept going, slowly but surely. I was ecstatic not only for myself, but also my teachers, classmates, friends, and family. I dedicated that moment to all of them, for their confidence, support, and generosity. I can never repay them, though that I will try.

As every graduate emerged on stage, had their name called, received their graduate hood, and posed with the dean for photos, I felt a child-like giddiness. To see the fruits of their labor culminate by being hooded was a privilege for me to be part of. The cultural, racial, and academic diversity they represented is something that will always remain etched in my memory. Although my graduation date will be this September, I felt like I was one of them and this was the just reward for so much sacrifice and hard work.

I thought about my dad upon leaving the stage after the ceremony concluded. I knew that he was very proud of me, more than anyone else I’m sure. I was always certain that he was by my side in spirit, smiling as every moment passed.

Now that convocation is done, I’m preparing for Thursday’s Commencement in Washington Square Park. It will be a dream come true for me and I’m very confident all will be well.

I haven’t been nervous since convocation ended and I doubt I will be tomorrow. Which is good because I will savor every second of commencement and enjoy the dream that will come to fruition.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I’ve Changed My Plea to Gulity

My period of enjoying things for what they were only lasted the eight hours I slept early Friday morning.

As soon as I woke up Friday morning I had but one emotion on my mind: doom.

It was as if every worry and anxiety decided to appear simultaneously. I felt paralyzed by my own paranoia, unable to work or think straight.

It had grown to such a degree that I decided not to go out to the end-of-the-semester party that evening at NYU. Mind you, I had looked forward to it for weeks in order to unwind and dance, eat, and drink with many acquaintances I had not seen in ages. Moreover, it would give me the opportunity to thank the many people that have helped me since I started grad school in January 2003. If I were lucky, I might have even had the chance to go out for an hour or so for drinks with my peers.

Instead I have been home since Thursday and incommunicado with all my friends except for a brief conversation with Junior, one of my best friends from high school.

I really ought to heed to what I mentioned in the post I wrote shortly before falling asleep at 2 on Friday- the happiness of accomplishing a major step in my life and a dream of mine ever since I was a piglet. But I’ve allowed myself to cower under my blanket of stress; hence my paranoia.

To compound my craziness, my mom has been acting rather nutty over the weekend. Much like me, she wants to make sure that everything runs smoothly and correctly when we all go out for the Convocation ceremony Monday afternoon. Unlike me bottling up all my stress, however, she is exerting a lot of foolish energy in nagging, haggling, and disturbing my brothers and me. Normally it would be fine, perhaps healthy, to let one’s emotions run free and not keep it cramped inside one’s body. Yet is has been very annoying hearing her comments and scolding on how to behave and how to be prepared for Monday.

It was almost 1am Sunday morning and I was about to collapse from exhaustion when she unexpectedly blurted the following:

“Now I want you all to listen to me and listen to me clearly. Are you listening? Good. I want you all to wake up early and get you clothes sorted out. No waking up at 11 or forcing me to iron at 10 at night.”

“Okay mom; no problem.”

“Wait, don’t interrupt me. I haven’t finished. We are going to eat early today and you have to be in bed early, not at 2 o’clock with the computer on chatting with your friends.”

“Fine.”

She continued repeating the same nagging points for a few minutes until she unfurled this gem:

“Oh if only your father where here to see this. He always dreamed of seeing you graduate. He always made plans for it; what days to take off from work, getting the camcorder set up to tape you. I am going to be so sad on Monday when you are up on stage and he is not here to see you. He should have been sitting by my side. It's not fair that he was taken away so early. At least he will be there in spirit.”

Now I don’t mind hearing my mom talk about dad since I’ve missed him every day since he passed away and Monday shall be no exception. But the notion that Monday’s convocation will be more a time to mourn rather than a time to celebrate drives me up the bleedin’ wall. Convocation will not only represent a moment of personal accomplishment but also for my entire family as well as friends and well-wishers. It should be a time of joy, pride, and moving forward instead of being morose and somber. I will remember him the moment I am on stage robed and with my hands touching my “diploma,” and I will most certainly dedicate this triumph to him and his guidance, help, and sacrifice. Nevertheless, I will also think of those that have had a part in me getting to where I am. And these thoughts will be positive and of celebration. Maybe I’ll weep, maybe I’ll smile, and maybe I’ll dance. There’s no doubt that I’ll be overjoyed and I would expect the same from my mom.

My mom has asked me a few times today if I am doing well. Every time is the same answer: “I’m just stressed. I want to make sure everything’s okay tomorrow.” But I don’t have the guts to snap and tell her why I’m so uptight. I really wish I could but doing so would just break her heart and would make an easy situation infinitely worse. So for now I’ll keep my paranoia bottled inside me. Hopefully I will have let it go by this time tomorrow in a positive, blissful, and unrestrained manner.

Besides, I have a hunch dad agrees with me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Incredulous Joy

I still cannot believe it.

In a week from now I will have attended convocation and commencement ceremonies at NYU.

There is a strong feeling anticipated relief and liberation just thinking about going up on stage at Lincoln Center to receive my “diploma” Monday night as well as sitting with my classmates in Washington Square Park on Thursday morning. I’m a stone’s throw away from finishing graduate school and moving on to the next step in my career.

Yet that does not take away my slight anxiety over getting my thesis done as close to perfect as possible. The researching and writing of my thesis crystallizes every sacrifice I have made in my life. As a nerd in elementary and high school, my motivation for graduating was to be a better person and enter college on good standing. To that end, I was a bookworm to the nth degree and I eschewed many opportunities to go out and socialize with friends or even to try dating outside of school. While this attitude did help me immensely to enroll in the university of my choice (and get my tuition almost all paid for) it hurt me in that I was incredibly na├»ve and inept around other students and people. As if that weren’t enough my grades were shit for almost the entire time I was there. Yet even after my grades rebounded after transferring out, I could never get over the sensation that I was socially inept and dumb. Graduation followed by depression in grad school made a bad situation far worse and I’ve had to crawl and climb for nearly four years to get to the point that I am today- three months away from officially graduating and with many friends and acquaintances I’ve acquired by learning how to be better socially.

I often times think of all the mistakes I’ve made that have coalesced to challenge me. They’ve been minor and major, silly and serious, accidental and intentional. But all the errors in my life have allowed me to develop into a mentally and physically stronger person. Yes there have been very low times, yet in the end I’ve learned from my experiences and move on.

I have no idea how I will react during the convocation and commencement ceremonies next week- fear, sadness, excitement, anxiety, pride, joy. As of now, I’m too damn happy to worry about the myriad of feelings I’ll have in me, and I’m just going to enjoy things for what they are.