Partying like it was 1999

Unlike many Harry Potter fans, I didn’t try to read the book in one sitting. I slept and I ate and I showered. I even put it down for several hours on Saturday evening when I joined up with friends in Alhambra to celebrate Chispa’s last night out as a single woman with dinner, drinks and dancing.

It was the perfect evening, mainly because it felt so, so… well, 1999. I felt like we were back in college at one of the many Raza Grad fundraisers held at a local club. That sense of déja vu might have come from the similarity of the music, lots of 1980s British pop and New Wave-infused rock en español with a smattering of recent music like Peter, Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks.”

Of course, it wasn’t 1999. We’re no longer 19. We can buy our own drinks — and we bought plenty of them — and don’t need to bug one of the older students for a ride to the club. Then there’s the simple fact that the 2007 group of dancing girls is different than the 1999 group of dancing girls. No one has been replaced, but some of the girls were out of town.

Yet some things remain consistent:

  1. At the end of the night, I’ll regret my decision to wear the cute heels.
  2. Chispa is still one of my best friends and I love her tremendously.


July 23, 1977
Boyle Heights

Just married

April 22, 2007
Newport Beach

30 years and going...

July 23, 2007

No photo (at least yet) but the love is still there. Happy anniversary, parents. I wasn’t there to hear the vows, but I’ve seen you live them and provide excellent examples of selflessness and love.


Question of the week: Guilty pleasures

I can’t wait for the final installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve already reserved my copy and will probably try and get it late tonight or tomorrow morning. Last week, I watched the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and two weeks ago I re-read the sixth book in the series Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince so that the story and details would be fresh in my mind.

That’s probably pretty normal.

But let’s not forget the time I dragged a friend with me to go see Harry and the Potters and the green Save Ginny! t-shirt I often wear, which alludes to the storyline of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

I’ve been reading the books since June 2000. That was when I found myself at home for the summer and about to go on a short road trip to San Diego. I like reading in the car, but didn’t have any books on me. My mom had just bought the first three books of the series for Adrian and Lori, my younger siblings. Since Adrian and Lori were currently reading the first and second books, respectively, they offered me the third book. I got hooked after reading The Prisoner of Azkaban and immediately devoured the first two books. A few weeks later, the fourth book was released and I spent almost the whole mini-vacation in Palm Springs holed up in the hotel room with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The Harry Potter series is one of my guilty pleasures.

La Pregunta: What’s your pop culture guilty pleasure? (This can be about books, music, television, movies, comic books, etc.)


The Moving Guy

“What are you looking at,” Linda* asked.

“Oh, just some guy in a truck over there,” I answered, still distracted by the white mover’s truck and its driver.

By the time Linda had turned around to face the intersection of Weyburn and Broxton, the white truck had disappeared south on Broxton.

Linda looked back at me, “who were you checking out?”

“Just some guy.”

I tried to explain that I’d seen the truck’s driver several times. Apparently, the moving company he works is often ontracted by UCLA to move professors and staff from one office to another. I first saw Moving Guy in December 2003 when the Student Retention Center was moving from its temporary location back to the Men’s Gym (now known as the Student Activities Center). Moving Guy was dressed in jeans, work boots and a gray uniform shirt. I think I was dressed like someone cleaning and packing her tiny cubicle: in sweats and a sweatshirt.

I didn’t talk to Moving Guy. I’ve never talked to Moving Guy. I just see him occasionally around campus, doing his job. I’ve seen him in Moore Hall, the home of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies a couple of times.

The last time I saw Moving Guy was a few weeks ago as I left my office. He held a door for me and smiled. A few steps later, I went in one direction and he went in another.

“So you never talk to him?” Linda asked.

“Nope. I don’t even know how to start a conversation,” feeling like a loser. I’d had plenty of opportunities and almost 4 years!

We continued catching up and eating our trendy frozen yogurt with fruit toppings. In the back of my mind, I thought about the next time I’d see Moving Guy. Without a doubt, it’ll happen and I’m sure I won’t be over my shyness.

*Pseudonym my friend uses whenever she needs to give a name at a coffee of frozen yogurt shop. She’s rather not have her Chinese name spelled incorrectly.


Café Tacuba at the Hollywood Bowl

Café Tacuba at the Hollywood Bowl

It took me 3 hours to get from Santa Barbara to the Hollywood Bowl (no more than 85 miles!). I was really worried I’d miss part of the concert and was asking mi tía Macaria* to work her magic. Either LA traffic on the 101 was really good for a Sunday afternoon, or la tía Macaria came through. Even though there was a lot of traffic in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, once I got in to LA County, I was speeding along at 70-75 mph all the way to the Hollywood Bowl. Either traffic was just good, or la tía Macaria’s magic came through.

I met up with Ralph at Hollywood and Highland shuttle stop to the Bowl. We got to our seats before the opening act, Groove Armada, even began. Some wine helped calm my nerves and get me back in the right mood to enjoy Café Tacuba.

It had been 2 years since I last saw Café Tacuba perform, way too long in my book. The show was well worth the 3 hour drive and traffic. The band was dressed all in white and black. Rubén Albarán, the lead singer, wore a white suit and black t-shirt. He had his mid-length hair in two braids and wore a large white bowler hat with eyeholes cut out so he could see.

I was on my show the whole way through, but most of the people up front were sitting down. Rubén made fun of them for sitting down, but they probably didn’t know it as most of the people in the box seats probably weren’t the big fans and didn’t speak Spanish. All the cheers and dancing were in the cheaper seats at the back of the Bowl. I remember Rubén mentioning that he felt bad because he couldn’t address the audience in English. I yelled out that he shouldn’t care, he should just speak Spanish since we were in LA, after all.

Café Tacuba played from about 8:45 to 10 p.m. (including their 4-song encore).

The setlist:

  1. No Controles
  2. Cero y Uno
  3. Las Flores (my favorite!)
  4. Mediodía
  5. New song (it was the same song I posted here a few weeks ago. They mentioned the name, but I didn’t hear it. I’ll post videos of the two new songs on YouTube)
  6. La Ingrata
  7. Chilanga Banda
  8. La Chica Banda
  9. Déjate Caer
  10. Encore

  11. Eres
  12. El Baile y el Salón
  13. New song (not sure if they mentioned the name or not)
  14. Como Te Extraño Mi Amor

I only have one criticism: the shows are pretty predictable. I’ve seen Café Tacuba enough times to know that they’ll end their show and then come out for a four song encore. I also knew that the encore would include their cover of Leo Dan’s classic, Como Te Extraño Mi Amor.

Overall, I’m glad I made it. I need my Café Tacuba fix. The summer just doesn’t feel right without them.

*La tía Macaria is a great-great aunt on Mamá Toni’s side. Supposedly, she was a very pious, generous and saintly woman. My mom is a big fan of tía Macaria, which is the reason we often ask for her help in tough situations . These days, we ask “las ánimas de mi tía Macaria” for everything from a good outcome from a surgery to clearing up traffic so I can make a very important concert! She doesn’t help much when it comes to sports, or else the Dodgers would be winning the pennant — or at least a playoff game — every year.