Question of the week: Escribiendo

I’ve never been good at conclusions. I don’t really end things, they just fade or stop abruptly. It happens with papers and blog posts, romantic relationships and friendships, projects and goals.

I’m never satisfied with my endings. When it comes to a paper, the conclusion is just annoying, even though I know how important it is to tie things together in a cohesive conclusion. Ever since I learned about the basic essay, I always had the most difficulty with the closing paragraph. Red ink would surround the last five lines and I got lots of comments like “weak conclusion.” The papers I write now never feel complete. That’s probably because most of the time, I’m in such a rush to turn something in and forget about it, that the conclusion isn’t even an afterthought. I could revise and revise and revise… and the conclusion still would not feel like a real conclusion.

Oh, and let’s not even talk about starting. I always procrastinate.

La pregunta: What’s your achilles heal when it comes to writing? How do you deal with your weakness?

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Si volviera comenzar, no tendría tiempo de reparar

Five things I’m looking forward to:

Los Lobos at the Santa Monica pier. It’s been a couple years since I’ve seen Los Lobos. I don’t think I’ll come away feeling as nostalgic as I did last time, but I intend to enjoy it. Oh yeah, it’s free.

My birthday. I don’t usually look forward to my birthday, in fact I kinda dread it, but it’s different this year. I’ll have a small family BBQ and then go out dancing at one of my favorite clubs/lounges. The DJ is a friend, so I know he’ll play good stuff and not the crappy dance music you hear in other clubs.

The Dodgers having a winning September and making a run for the playoffs, actually getting in to the playoffs; baseball playoffs in general; UCLA football and tailgating for the first time ever at the Rose Bowl.

The start of the fall quarter. Weird, I know. Still, the sooner fall quarter starts and ends, the faster I make real progress toward getting the hell out of grad school. I’ll also get to know the incoming class of students in the program I help run and welcome back the sophomores.

Café Tacuba’s new album, Sino, which will be released on October 9th. To listen to the first single, “Volver a Comenzar,” check out this e-card (have your speakers on). Yes, that’s the same song I posted a while ago on YouTube from a Mexico City concert. The official website hasn’t been updated, and the splash page points to their MySpace page. My friend Hector sent me a link to Este Encanto where you can download the single. A new album means new tour, possibly in December. Hopefully when los Tacubos play LA again, I won’t be able to predict the setlist.

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Chisme on a Monday evening

I think I’ve done this one before, but Rio tagged me so I’ll do it again.

Rules of the game:
a) give eight random facts, chisme or confessions and post to your blog
b) tag eight other people at the end of your piece (I’m ignoring this one)
c) that’s it.

The Cheese

1. I’ve only been to one Dodger game this season. I didn’t stay for the whole game because it was way too hot and I had to get to a wedding. My friend Gabby would probably say this makes me a bad fan.

2. I’m still in grad school even though I threaten to leave all the time. I’m done with my coursework and need to take my qualifiying (quals) exam in the fall. I’m scared about that. It’s not my ability I’m worried about, it’s my own motivation to sit for a three-day weekend and write three 10-page papers. Yikes. I even had a nightmare about quals earlier this summer.

3. Some of my best friends are named Victor. I’ve never met a guy named Victor who I didn’t instantly get along with. The thing that sucks is that my four favorite Victors no longer live in LA. Two recently moved to Texas and the other two are in the Bay Area.

4. I just got a new nickname. Flower. As in Flower the skunk from Bambi. I think I like it.

5. If there’s a fire in my apartment or in the building, I can be pretty certain I’ll get out safely. As I’ve been interrupted three times in the past 10 minutes by the smoke alarm. It keeps going off because my roommate burned bread in the oven. Oops. Oh well, at least we know the batteries in the smoke alarms are still good.

6. I used to have a very low tolerance for alcohol. My friends made up a rule: Cindylu gets two. Luckily, I’ve built up my tolerance over the years but I still have to limit how much I drink because I usually need to drive home.

7. As I walked in to Kerckhoff, the student government building, this afternoon I noticed that the photos of the student government officers and members of governing board for the student union and student media had been changed. The old members are now gone and in their place, just the names. Soon enough, the names will be accompanied with photos of all the students. It made me sad that I’m no longer up on that wall. I liked seeing my photo on that wall with the title External Vice President. I miss the travel and being in on all the University of California chisme. I even miss the conference calls and day-long meetings. I miss my stipend too.

8. My favorite song to play on Guitar Hero II is “Let’s Talk More Rokk” by freezepop. However, as of yesterday “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses might creep to first place ’cause playing it allows me to do the cool Axl Rose dance.

I know, I know… that wasn’t all too juicy. I save the real chisme for the one-on-one communication.

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Question of the week: Compliments

A long time ago — okay, it was only 2001, but that feels like ages ago — I got my first weird compliment.

We were close together, so he had a good view of my face. All he could come up with at that moment was, “You have a really symmetrical nose.”

A few minutes later, he complimented my eyebrows too.

Weird, I know.

I like my nose, and I do think it’s symmetrical. In fact, I’m really happy I got my mom’s nose and not my dad’s. (Sorry, Dad.)

It’s been a while since I’ve received another one of those weird compliments. Boys are much more conventional these days. They note my cool beaded bracelets. Most compliment my smile and lips.

I received another weird compliment recently. Rather, it was just unexpected.

As I danced at my friend’s party, my dance partner looked at me and offered this one up: “You have really nice moles.”

Mis lunares? Really. Cool.

La pregunta: What’s the weirdest compliment you’ve received?

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Born in East L.A.

Back when I was still contributing to Metroblogging LA I had an idea for a series on films based in LA where Latinos were the main characters. I made a long list and drafted posts. I even reached out to El Chavo! so we could tag team on posts for Metroblogging LA. He was down, but I never followed up. A year after my initial idea, I’m finally getting around to the movies. Enjoy. Oh yeah, and feel free to add another movie to the list.

Born in East L.A. (1987)

Director: Cheech Marin

Starring: Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Kamala Lopez-Dawson, Daniel Stern and Lupe Ontiveros

Neighborhood: East LA

Based on a true story: No. However, deportations of undocumented workers are a common occurrence in/around Los Angeles. During the Great Depression and then again in the 1950s, the US launched mass deportations of immigrant and US-born Chicanos. Present day, we have the story of mentally disabled Pedro Guzman who was wrongfully deported by ICE and was lost in Tijuana for three months (LA Weekly story on Guzman). So, it isn’t too far of a stretch to imagine that Rudy, a US-born Chicano, who barely knew Spanish could be mistaken as an undocumented worker and deported.

Edward James Olmos connection: Not directly. But there are several actors including Paul Rodriguez and Lupe Ontiveros who have worked on projects with Eddie Olmos such as American Family and Mi Familia.

Main themes: immigration, undocumented immigration, assimilation and reconnecting with one’s roots.

Memorable quotes:

Immigration officer: Where were you born?
Rudy: What?
Immigration officer: Read my lips, El Paco. Where were you born?
Rudy: I was born in East L.A., man.
Immigration officer: Sure, sure. If you were born in East L.A., then who’s the president of the United States?
Rudy: I-I don’t know, that guy, that guy who was on T.V., the guy in the cowboy hat… he used to be on “Death Valley Days”… uh, John Wayne!
Immigration officer: Get him out of here.

Rudy: The president of the United States is Ronald “dickhead” Reagan!

Feel free to add more quotes. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie!

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