Monday, December 31, 2007

Adios 2007!

I haven’t written here in ages; that’s quite obvious by now. I hate to toss out alibis for every little misstep I take, but I’ve been really burned out. One of the main things that tired me out was blogging here and for the last few weeks I hadn’t been as attentive to publishing there as I would usually be.

Nevertheless, I’m eagerly looking forward to a renewed spirit of work and excitement in the upcoming year. 2007 wasn’t a terrible year nor was it an extraordinary one. It was ennui, plain and simple. Next year will not be the case and I will strive to make sure that it is memorable for all the right reasons.

There’s a cliché that goes “here’s hoping for the best and expecting for the worst” (or something like that). For my goals in the year ahead, the saying will be “here’s hoping for and obtaining the best.” In that there will be no doubt!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The pressure cooker

I've been a nervous, over-stressed wreck for the past 2-3 weeks.

I've had a lot on my plate lately and certain things have accumulated at the same time.

Something's got to give. I just don't know what. And I need to make up my mind very soon before I breakdown and get nothing accomplished.

I'm going to sleep on it for tonight. But hopefully I'll have something figured shortly after I awake in about 6 hours time.

Ugh. Mega ugh.

Update (December 19, 11.45am):

Well, I finally figured out what to do.

After much though I decided to shift the thesis. It’s really the easiest thing I can move for now while I take care of more pressing issues such as the U.N. work.

I don’t know how I’ll be able to break it to mom. But I’ll have to do it.

I really hope I made the correct choice.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The genius of Oscar Niemeyer

I hate to post video clips two days in a row and I especially don't like to do memes. But I'm still feeling funky and ill (as in sick not cool). Hence, I'm going to play it easy for this post.

Earlier tonight as I was messing around on Wikipedia I found that famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer will celebrate his 100th birthday tomorrow. Since I just celebrated my 28th birthday yesterday it led me to think of what I've accomplished, my potential, and the hope that I won't be facing a mid-life crisis sometime in the next dozen years. (I'll probably get into more detail over those things tomorrow).

Anyway, below is a trailer of a 2007 documentary on Oscar Niemeyer which features his work, inspiration from his native Rio de Janeiro, and interviews with the likes of Chico Buarque. I wrote about it today on The Latin Americanist, but it's worth repeating here on my personal blog.

Genius may take on many forms; in the case of Oscar Niemeyer, it is evident in his sketches and the many buildings that carries his vision.

(Video link):

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Woody and the bookstore


That's how I've felt today.

Bland. Sickly. Ennui.

And on my birthday, no less!


I've been trying to cheer up a bit by watching YouTube clips of some of my favorite films like The Party and Sleeper.

This scene from Bananas made me laugh the most, partly since a similar experience happened to me eons ago. Yet right now I'm not in the most energetic state to describe it. Thus, here it is courtesy of the inimitable Woody Allen:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

De Musica Ligera: As cool as Kelley Deal

The Breeders, circa 2002. (Image source).

Unfortunately, my musical enjoyment throughout childhood was hindered by my parents. For the most part their musical tastes were distinct from mine and they had little patience for what I liked if it differed from them. Though they didn’t specifically forbid me from listening to certain forms of music, they did raise a big stink when I made it public. Hence, I had the tendency to listen to many different musical genres behind their back.

The first time I heard The Breeders was while watching MTV in the early 90s. A few months after we first installed cable TV at home I caught sight of the music video for “Cannonball”. The video was eye-catching and very interesting visually. But what most caught my attention the brief portion of the chorus when she said “In the shade, in the shade” very sweetly and then repeated it with her sister Kelley. To me it seemed like a siren’s call; a call to come and join them to relax.

Though the rest of “Cannonball” had nothing to do with that, it was that snippet that was my invitation to buy the cassette of Last Splash and listen to an infinite amount of times. It also compelled me to try to catch their videos on TV as many times as possible. (Hence, this post). Obviously, this was all done without my parents’ knowledge despite my desire to play it loudly on the living room stereo instead of surreptitiously on my Walkman. It was weird to have to grow up and be two-faced; one side publicly enjoying Billo’s Caracas Boys and Lisandro Mesa, while also quietly liking The Breeders, Miguel Bosé, and Smashing Pumpkins.

A few days ago it was announced that The Breeders will release a new album in April and embark on a concert tour. As you might imagine I’m eagerly looking forward to it and hope that past vices have not hurt Kim and Kelley’s voices too much.

More importantly, there’s a living room stereo where Mountain Battles will be playing at full volume in a few months time. Regardless of the tastes of others.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Fun Fair

I've been a little too irresponsible blogging here which is why I aim to do double posts this weekend. Hopefully my arms won't detach from their sockets by Sunday evening!

The following video
is a small preview of one of the topics I'll write about over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Reminiscing about the “motherland”

For the first time in four years my family will not be traveling to Colombia over the holidays. I’m feeling a little upset about that since I will be missing many things:
  • Screaming at the TV while watching soccer club along with my futbol-crazed cousins.
  • Being able to enjoy a taxi ride in what can be described as a golf cart with windows but for a small fraction of the cost compared to NYC.
  • Heading to the corrientazos and savoring a hearty meal along with everyday people.
  • Eating at El Corral and Crepes & Waffles with the not-so-everyday people.
  • Holiday shopping at San Victorino in lieu of the ultramodern new shopping malls.
  • Reading El Tiempo as a tangible newspaper rather than straining my eyesight reading online.
  • Playing cards with aunts and cousins straight through the evening (and winning!)
  • Partying into the New Year but not before everyone gets blessed by grandmother at midnight.
  • Watching the sunrise on New Year’s Day after dancing and drinking far more than one should.
  • Visiting my family which lives in different neighborhoods around Bogota instead of being stuck around a hotel in the more affluent northern part of the city.
  • Trying my hand at sapo and tejo after taking a delightful swim in the pool at Murca.
  • Getting up at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast, whether it is the complimentary one at the hotel or the one made with lots of love by my grandmother.
  • Arguing over which team is more “cursed” - Millonarios or Red Bull New York.
  • Quarreling over domestic politics such as the best way to handle the hostages kidnapped by guerillas or how corrupt the Uribe administration really is.
  • Regaling cousins with descriptions of South Park episodes that have not aired over there.
  • Not freezing my assiduous self off in NYC by sweating profusely in La Palma or getting drenched by the latest rainfall in Bogota.
  • Watching Citytv, Señal Colombia, and the CM& news while making fun off some of the sappy holiday adverts, Jorge Baron, and dubbed Hollywood films.
  • Trying to convince others that reggaeton and rancheras are not the only types of “good” music by making them listen to Los Amigos Invisibles, the Pixies, TV on The Radio, and Airiel.
  • More than anything listed above, being surrounded by loving family members who are appreciative and unbelievably nice.

Not everything there is paradise and there are certainly some things I miss when I was over there. (i.e. not using my motorized wheelchair, not having Internet at all). Yet as I gradually realize that I will not be spending the holidays there I have become increasingly appreciative of the Colombian people, customs, and culture. It will be difficult to cope not being there this year though I have faith that by this time next year I’ll have my bags packed and will be ready to travel!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Equality (redux)

I hate to replay a video already featured here before, but I'm posting the following YouTube clip in honor of the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons.

(Video link):

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's not easy being a chef

I wonder who would win a confrontation between the "lobster banditos" and the Minutemen?

I would place my bet on the crustaceans; pincers and revolvers can be a lethal combination!

(Video link):