From what little he has told me he has adapted incredibly well to the work environment, gotten to know several colleagues well, and has met the challenge of completing a flurry of assignments. It has been difficult after working from home for over a year and running at his own rhythm and style. However he’s busted his back in school and doing different projects to get the job that he so richly deserves. I’m very proud of him and hope that he will learn from this experience and it will be the start of a fruitful career.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Mom went out today to do run some errands in downtown Flushing. In a surprising move, she returned with a few small gifts for one of my bros who will be starting his first full-time job on Monday. We're all very proud that he's reached such a momentous and deserved occasion in his life. Now he'll enter the grind of busting his back at his occupation and hopefully it'll work out.
She also got some Colombian food from Jackson Heights which we devoured like Amazonian piranhas. Rotisserie chicken, beans, rice, fried plantain, and to top it off she stopped by Carvel to get an ice cream cake for dessert. Real good stuff.
Mom's on the phone now with one of my aunts in Colombia. I'm eager to find out how everyone's doing, especially grandma. I really hope she doesn't lose it though I understand if that happens to be the case.
So far I've yet to write to any long lost acquaintances/friends/colleagues. I better get crackin' on that tonight.
Though I don't regret the decision to miss the Joe Vasconcellos' gig last night, I've spent some time checking out concert footage of his on YouTube. Yes it would've been nice to go, but like the rest of the family I must pay my proper respects to Uncle Javy's death. He was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I've ever known and we all miss him very much.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Maybe next year I'll see Joe in concert so as long as the circumstances are right.
In the meantime, I will respectfully mourn the memory of Uncle Javy and hope that my family can slowly but surely move forward. I am certain that they can though my biggest fear is that my grandmother will not. Though she has always had a very strong attitude, she is in her 90s and is getting increasingly weak physically. A few hours ago we spoke on the phone for the first time in weeks and I could tell in her voice that she feels very frail and vulnerable. She and Javy were very close and it's hard to imagine how things will be like for her now that he's gone. I hate to have this anxiety in my mind; a worry that is shared by most of the family. It's an uncertain situation and only time will tell how she will react to it in the (hopefully) long run.
Selfishly speaking I must take advantage of the weekend to resume some work that I left behind over the past week. My UN work has gone untouched and I need to contact my supervisor ASAP. I've been in something of a writer's rut regarding the thesis work though I hope to get the ball rolling again on that quickly.
Crap, I forgot to send the e-mails to long lost friends and acquaintances. There's another thing I have to do on the weekend.
I wonder if she still remembers me?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Wednesday was difficult not only in that I wasn't over there but I was home alone with my thoughts and nobody to talk too. Though I did chat briefly with a few friends it was only a small relief compared to my bros and mom being by my side. I did got some work done thankfully, but the solitude was overbearing and I waffled a lot with my work.
Despite being moping and depression today I have resolved to break out of funk starting tomorrow. I have far too many things to get done for me to be listless. Much like when dad passed away I need to move on and try to serve as an example for the rest of my family. (For example, I'll try to call grandma over the weekend and try to give her a boost so she can feel better).
For now I'm in something of a transitional phase where I ponder over the lessons one can learn from such a tragedy. Even though my cardiologist told me on Tuesday that my cardio system is in tip-top shape, I must keep in mind to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, one should not take friends and family for granted; they are to be appreciated and enjoyed. (Which is why I'm going to send a bunch of e-mail greetings tomorrow to some acquaintances I haven't heard from in ages). Finally, one should take advantage of every day and exploit it for what it's worth.
Off to bed and early to rise. Tomorrow is a new day and I must be ready for it.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Uncle Javy's gone.
He wasn't improving at all during the weekend and this morning he passed away.
His entire family here and there are absolutely devastated and I'm certainly no exception to that.
My mind has been dull and unfocused all day. I barely got any work done. I just don't want to do anything until I can stop feeling so numb and helpless.
Yes, life goes on. It was a harsh lesson I learned all to well after my dad suddenly died. But I feel like being in stasis; unmoving, blank, still.
Inasmuch as I want to stay home curled in the fetal position I cannot. I have to go see my cardiologist on Tuesday and find out the results of my stress test. As if I weren't enough an anxiety-ridden wreck now I have to add worry over my health to that.
Most family over there have taken the news relatively well. That is, they're not in hysterics or paranoid. I really hope my grandma can pull through with her emotions and not become ill due to this.
It hurts far too much.
What else can be said but to take things day-by-day, little-by-little.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Hence, I cannot think of a more appropriate thing to post but the following. It just seems like the most appropriate thing to include.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
It also is the scene that Kerry-Kenney Silver confessed to being the one her son would be the most moritifed to watch when he gets older:
QS: What would you choose if you were to pick out one moment from The State or Viva Variety or Reno that you absolutely don’t want him to see until you can actually put it in context and try to alleviate the pain for him?
KENNEY-SILVER: Oh, that’s completely easy. Me butt naked, nine months pregnant, on
911 this last season. Tom, Ben, Cedric, and Carlos come busting in and do a panty raid in the women’s locker room hoping to find Clemmy in her panties and bra, and what they find is me nine months pregnant, naked, with a shower cap on dancing with a towel. If my son ever sees that, he’s either gonna love me more or we’ll never hear from him again. Reno
QS: What is the context that you would deliver on that?
KENNEY-SILVER: You mean to tell him?
QS: Yes. When he comes to you, sort of shivering…
KENNEY-SILVER: “You need to sit down. I think you need to sit down.” And then from there, I would just say, “You know what? You remember that nice house you grew up in and those great fancy shoes you always wore? Well, that’s how we paid for them.”
QS: Do you think they’ll ever erase the picture from his mind?
KENNEY-SILVER: No. Dear God no. To quote Ben in the actual piece, “There are some things you can’t un-see.”
QS: Of course, it’s even more awkward if he has a friend show it to him…
KENNEY-SILVER: It’s going to be ugly. I think we need to sit him down and show it to him before he can get the ugly truth in school.
QS: Sort of like when you temper an egg when cooking…
Dammit how I adore that show!
Friday, July 20, 2007
But more than anything it was the very stressing and tiring days today and yesterday that have just about knocked me out.
Yesterday I was at the Hospital for Joint Diseases all day in order to take care of some urgent problems with my health insurance and to accompany my bros to their respective appointments at muscle clinic. Besides being on the road for roughly a dozen hours the main problem ad to do with the changes with Medicaid and related health care that have made things fast more difficult for my brothers and me. For instance, whereas before I could just make an appointment to muscle clinic or equipment clinic with little trouble now I have to got through the rigmarole of filling it paperwork and getting referrals from my primary care physician. Perhaps I’m making it seem like before it was as simple as snapping one’s fingers but it feels that was compared to the current feeling of having to jump through a myriad of hoops.
Making things worse was the lack of accurate answers by the staff at the hospital. I talked to three different people regarding my situation and I received three distinct replies. It was as if more red tape was being added to the already growing mountain of confusion and complexity.
Below are a pair of pics taken yesterday, first of my brother Jonathan then of mom and Kevin:
Today was not as difficult and harried, thankfully. I woke up at before dawn and went with Kevin and mom to the dentist. Unfortunately, some miscommunication nearly derailed my trip as I was not scheduled to be seen today. Mercifully, there were some early morning cancellations so Kevin and I got our teeth thoroughly cleaned by a very kind albeit slightly sadistic dental hygienist. Unfortunately for me, it was not my usual hygienist which was too bad since I really like to see/chat/lightly flirt with her. Oh well.
Afterwards we decided to celebrate Colombian Independence Day in our own low-key, simple way by having a killer breakfast at a cozy Colombian bakery on
Chicharron, chorizo, coffee, arepas, corn mazitas.
The perfect remedy for our heady minds, tired bodies, and growling stomachs.
The rest of the morning was spent on running a few errands (e.g. supermarket, Kevin’s haircut) before returning home. I took this pic while taking a quick breather on the street outside the barbershop:
So yes, I did miss going to the concert tonight and I know I would’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I’m getting some much needed downtime at home which will definitely come in handy since I’ll be playing catch-up with some pending work and even more appointments await me next week.
C’est la vie, non?
MP3: Neko Case -Bowling Green (Live, 2000)
MP3: Neko Case - I Wish I Was the Moon Tonight (Live, April 2006)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
By the way, just for the record:
- Kim Deal's t-shirt and jeans over Kim Deal's shoulder pads and long earrings
- Bald Joey Santiago over Joey Santiago with hair
- Paunchy Frank Black over Thin Frank Black
- Young Dave Lovering over Older Dave Lovering
- Surfer Rosa > Come on Pilgrim > Trompe le Monde > Doolittle > Bossanova
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Still, I have to admit that I follow chef Anthony Bourdain's every footsteps. (Figuratively, obvs). Why? It's not because of this brash, "bad boy" persona some see him as. But it's his insight into food, cooking, and culture that makes him so appealing. Though I miss his original A Chef's Tour on Food Network (i.e. just about the only reason to watch that channel) I thoroughly enjoy No Reservations on the Travel Channel. (Let's just say that two of my favorite days this summer have been all-day marathons of No Reservations and Reno 911!).
One of his credos is that eating should ideally be an experience, not a chore or something to be treated so flippantly. Eating a meal- whether it be at home with family, in a restaurant with friends, or even alone from a street vendor- ought to be an event; something tangible that can satisfy all the senses. Practically speaking it may be difficult at times, as I learned when living alone in Miami when I had the tendency to consume my meals during quick breaks between classes or meetings. But whenever possible eating should reach and hopefully attain its ideal status.
With that said, I really liked this video clip I found of a book reading by Bourdain last year. The excerpt seems apt as to what I'm trying to say:
A quick update: my very ill uncle has been recuperating very gradually but without further complications. He remains in a very sensitive state, but it certainly seems like he'll continue recovering. Thankfully.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Now he's clinging to life while being hooked up to machines and tied to a hospital bed on the outskirts of Bogota.
He should've been dead based on the sporadic information I've been told by family over there. He had been very ill for several weeks yet nobody suggested that he see the doctor nor had he shown the initiative. It was not until Friday morning that one of aunts noticed his extremely weakened condition and took him to the clinic in La Palma. After being given several IV packets he was whisked via ambulance to a larger clinic several towns over, then to Bogota.
At every step of the way the doctors were amazed that he wasn't dead and noted that he was literally fighting for his life. Yet he could pass away at any moment despite his almost superhuman efforts to pull through.
I've been a wreck all weekend long trying to keep it together but it's been incredibly difficult. I'm hoping against hope that his situation can improve and trying to give the impression of being calm, cool, and collective much like in the aftermath of dad's death. It's just a weak facade, however, and everyone knows it.
In the meantime my family's playing the waiting game to wait and see how his condition has been. We're preparing ourselves for whatever news arises; good or bad.
Praying and wishing and thinking and weeping.
We'll just have to wait and see.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I can barely think straight, to be honest. The shock has yet to dissipate. I'm a nervous wreck. My plans to see some friends at the Cafe Tacuba concert on Saturday have vanished because I feel so out of my element. I don't want to go out and I would much rather stay at home in some seclusion.
Perhaps I'll go into more detail tomorrow.
In the meantime prayers are in order along with the hope that the family of the deceased can move on and the ill family member can pull through.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I was in ecstasy when in mid-2004 I first got word that they would play in NYC. I remember the day that they started selling tickets for their December gig I got up at the crack of dawn and headed to the Hammerstein Ballroom where they were going to play I mistakenly thought the tix would be sold there and it wasn’t until I had waited several hours into the mid-morning that I hightailed it to Irving Plaza. Unfortunately, that was the second erroneous venue I went to and I quickly ran to the now-defunct Tower Records store on Broadway and
Unfortunately by the time of the December 12th concert I was exceedingly busy with my studies and I eventually sold the tix at no profit to a then-close friend of mine. That was the closest I got to see the Pixies on stage, though I don’t regret giving the tix up since I was in a bind at the time.
Someday I hope to see them. In the meantime I’ll make do with programs like “The Pixies: Gauge.” Sans regrets.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Yet besides certain programs I also enjoy watching commercials. I see them as a canvas for creativity where in less than a minute one is trying to be convinced to buy a specific product or support a certain cause or candidate. Some of the most notable commercials are those that are able to grab attention in innovative ways via humor, shock, artistry, etc.
Hence, one of my favorite books is Bernice Kanner's The 100 Best TV Commercials which was published nearly a decade ago. Unfortunately, Kanner passed away last October. Yet her New York Times obit had an excellent quote of hers regarding ads:
“It’s chic to say you’re immune to advertising, but it does invade our pores.”Though I don't own a copy of the book, I've scoured all over YouTube during the little bits of spare time I had over the past few days. My aim was to try to find as many of the ads Kanner mentioned in the book. Despite not having eread the book since 2005 and working from memory I found nearly 40 of those ads which I will post on periodically.
This post will look at several ads by renown film director Ridley Scott. The man behind films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma & Louise has also directed several adverts. The most well-known commercial he directed was the "1984" ad for Apple Computers. It only ran once during the 1984 Super Bowl, but its stunning imagery and message of rebelling against dystopia remain etched in our collective memories. One never sees the product in the ad, but the commercial is unforgettable.
- Apple Computers - "1984" (video link):
The 100 Best... also points out another famous ad directed by Scott though it is not famous here in the States. It's a 1973 commercial for England's Hovis bread. The commercial, in my opinion, is superior to "1984" in that one really feels transported back to 19th-century England. Sepia-colored tones and Dvorak's "New World Symphony" define the ad and one even gets the sense of smelling the freshly-baked bread. Kanner mentioned that legal constraints led to the creation of the very memorable slogan seen at the end of the commercial.
- Hovis - "Bike" (video link):
As an honorable mention not noted in the book, I'm including Scott's 1979 commercial for Chanel No.5. Again we see fantastic imagery and great background music from Vangelis, (of Chariots of Fire fame.)
- Chanel No.5 - "Share the Fantasy" (video link):
Fabulous stuff, no?
Friday, July 06, 2007
Despite having such a conflicted relationship in the last year of his life, I still miss him dearly and wish he was still alive. Reality is another issue, however, and I have long ago accepted the cards I have been dealt with.
This is a video of one of my dad's favorite songs; an absolutely stirring tune that does justice to his memory (video link):
Thursday, July 05, 2007
[Cover your ears children and prudes]
Motherfucking putas bitch rat bastard damn sons of bitches idiots mothershagging idiots.
Mierda mierda mierda mierda no-good wankers.
That felt better.
Tomorrow I will return to my regularly scheduled pithy observations.
Apologies for all the dirty words.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Summer has unofficially been a month old so I figured it would be time to check out the myriad of concerts that will be held in NYC over the next two months and change. Last year’s list of concerts was disappointing in that I was a terrible 1-for-23 (parts one and two). This summer I will be far less ambitious mainly since I will be super busy working on the seemingly never-ending thesis as well as U.N. research. Yet with so many free concerts in the area it’s hard to resist passing up on them, though it hurts to have missed Rodrigo y Gabriela earlier today.
Well, here goes nothing.
- Saturday July 14 – Café Tacuba, Pacha Missive, La Sista @
To quote what I wrote in The Latin Americanist:
“(The Latin Alternative Music Conference) will host a concert in
with well-known band Café Tacuba. The Mexican quartet will top what should be a killer concert with local act Pacha Massive and Boricua singer La Sista.” Central Park
- Friday July 20 – Neko Case, Eric Bachmann @
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
I briefly discussed my adoration for Ms. Case’s music in this post, but the timing of this concert could not have been better for me since it’s Colombian Independence Day. Perhaps it may be more appropriate winging it to
- Friday July 27 – Joe Vasconcellos @ Queens Theatre in the Park
This is the only concert on the list that is not free yet I am more than willing to shell out $30-35 to see Señor Vasconcellos. I praised him before and I’m trilled at the chance to hopefully see him live.
- Thursday August 9 - Yerba Buena, Los Amigos Invisibles, José Conde y Ola Fresca @ Pier 54 or B-52s, Patty Smyth and Scandal @ Asser Levy/Seaside Park
This is a ridiculously difficult choice to make. On the one hand there will be some fabulous and funky Latin music playing in the
On the other hand, there’ll be the prime chance to catch the addictively unique tunes of the B-52s along with Venegas and some of her crew.
Choices, choices, choices!
- Friday August 10 – Au Revoir Simone, Metronomy @ South Street Seaport
I’ve always wanted to see ARS in concert in order to figure out if their live stuff deviates too much from their recorded tunes. This concert will be the best way to find out (assuming I’m not wiped out from the previous night).
- Thursday August 16 – Tribute to Hector Lavoe @ El Museo
- Saturday August 18 – Si*Se, Toubab Krewe @ Governor’s
The tricky part will be if my motorized wheelchair be able to go on one of the ferries to Governor’s
- Thursday August 23 – Los Amigos Invisibles @ El Museo
The lone concert I went to last summer was the unforgettable time seeing Los Amigos Invisibles at El Museo, principally since they played despite being delayed two hours by a torrential downpour. It was the only time I danced alone in the street at 10pm and one of the rare times I was happy that the Access-A-Ride arrived so far behind schedule.
Could lightning strike twice? Hopefully not in the literal sense!
- Friday August 24 – Camera Obscura @
If I’m not too tired from the previous evening's shindig at El Museo, then I’ll make my way downtown to catch Scottish twee pop near the
Nine concerts. Nine options for fun. I’ll try to attend at least 3-4 of them. It would be very nice.