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 ├ža 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.