September summarized

September was a good month.

Labor Day weekend

Where the magic happens

Sean and I traveled to Napa/Sonoma for a wedding. We spent the rest of Labor Day weekend hanging out friends in San Francisco and Berkeley before going back to work.

Long Beach Marathon training

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11

I got in to the dreaded peak weeks of marathon training and knocked out an 18 mile run followed by a 20 miler and a 21.5 miler. They were tough and the new aches in my knee and hamstring reflected it. I got a new pair of my trusty Brooks Adrenaline (in purple, of course).

Getting some culture

Global Soul night

We saw the National at the Hollywood Bowl. They put on a great show (setlist and review at the LA Weekly). Sean and I were reminded once again that we really need to put together our Hollywood Bowl concert bingo. It’ll be ready for the 2012 season. Sharon van Etten and Neko Case opened for the National. (Not the National in the photo.)


Source

A few days after the National concert, we saw “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. We saw the show off Broadway last year and had a moment to chat with playwright Kristoffer Diaz then. I’ve known Kris (via the internets) for about 7 years now and it’s neat to see his career take off. I remember when he was working on Chad Deity. The show was equally enjoyable the second time around even though our seats were up in the mezzanine rather than a few rows in front of the stage. The production was almost identical to the NY show and featured the same set design, actors (most of them) and director. Kris tweaked at least one line for the LA setting, but I wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t tweeted about it. It’s tough for me describe the show, but Kris can tell you in his own words.


Source

We went to our last Hollywood Bowl show of the season: TV on the Radio, the Arctic Monkeys, Panda Bear, Warpaint and Smith Westerns (we missed them). It was a great show (see the LA Weekly review. I’ve had Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” in my head since then.

Birthday celebrations

Adrian & friends

Adrian’s birthday was on the 17th, but we celebrated a few days before with a surprise BBQ at his girlfriend’s house. Alexis insisted we park our cars on a different street so we wouldn’t ruin the surprise. He had no clue we were hiding in the backyard. When Adrian came out, we yelled “surprised” and he was stunned. He responded, “you wasted the good surprise on me!” I wasn’t surprised that he quoted Big Daddy.

Ready to give myself a toothache-2

Two days later, my family hosted my 31st birthday party. That was a lot of fun, but also a lot work both before and after.

Alexis' birthday

The following week, Alexis (brother’s girlfriend) celebrated her birthday. We joined a big group for a late dinner and drinks. I’m not sure Alexis remembered much.

Starting fall quarter

We had way too much cake

Zero week (September 19-23) is always busy for me at Job1. I work with the rest of the staff to pull off our two main events that week, a chemistry diagnostic exam and a welcome reception. I’m used to it after 6+ years at Job1, but I still find it difficult when students get the results from the exam and I have to find a tactful way to advise them about their courses for fall. It’s not easy to tell someone you think they’re unprepared for a class they’ll need.

I’m working less hours at Job2, but the projects are picking up. It’s weird how that works out.

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Going ham(string)

Diabeetes Bear, The Saddest Bear In Westwood

I’m a bit worried the Long Beach Marathon. I went through a summer of training without any problems only to begin feeling new aches and pains in the last few weeks.

First came the mystery pain in my left knee. I still did my 20 miler and felt fine. I took 3 days off from running (I haven’t done that since I was on vacation in Yosemite) to recover from the run as well as ice and let Aleve do its work. I skipped the speed workout on Tuesday and marathon pace run on Thursday. Instead, I ran 3.5 miles on Thursday and 4 miles on Saturday. A week later, the mystery knee pain was past me.

I thought I’d be fine tackling the 21-22 miler I delayed until Monday morning. That run didn’t go so well. My stomach was a mess and halfway through my left hamstring started tightening up. I shifted my gait a little and kept going. I wasn’t worried about the pain at the time. I thought it was just part of the long run. I started worrying when the pain lingered after the long run soreness went away. My hamstrings tightened as I walked down stairs. I started limping around campus.

I went back to the plan that worked for the knee (icing, etc) plus massages with the Stick. I tried doing a marathon pace run on Thursday. The pace was manageable, but my hamstring started tightening up and I stopped a few times to stretch. I went out again for an easy run on Saturday. The pain was still there.

On Sunday I bought KT Tape to see if the compression would help me recover. I don’t have pain when walking or any bruising on my thigh, but the pain starts shortly after running. On Monday evening, I set out for a 10 mile long run in a nearby hilly neighborhood. Bad idea. Midway through, I wanted to quit and was mad I’d left my cell phone. I thought about toughing it out, but I didn’t want to risk an actual strain. Still, I was 3+ miles from home. I slowly ran and walked the rest of the way but only got in 8 miles.

As I walked home, I had a lot of time to wonder why this was happening and how I could have prevented the injury. Maybe I wasn’t running enough and was undertrained for the 20+ mile long runs. Maybe I’d run too many miles in my shoes and they were worn out (likely, I’d been using them exclusively since mid-May). Maybe I should have done some strength and cross training. Maybe I need to lose some weight. Maybe two weeks before a marathon is a great time to deal with an injury.

I don’t want to go to a doctor. Frankly, I’m scared they’ll tell me not to run for a while. I don’t want to skip out on the Long Beach Marathon.

So, I’ll stick to what worked for the knee (plus KT tape). If I run later this week, it’ll be short and slow. I might skip the last hour long run I have scheduled for Saturday. I’ve bought new shoes, but don’t know if a few miles in them will be enough to break them in before next Sunday (advice?). I also have a massage scheduled for the Thursday before the marathon.

I guess these last two weeks will just be a super taper. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a cold too? Rest is even more important now.

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Halloween on a budget: Superman the illegal alien

ComicCon08 026

A couple years ago Target caught a lot of flack for selling an illegal alien costume. I was one of those people quick to criticize the corporation and point out the inherent hypocrisy of simultaneously sponsoring Hispanic Heritage Month events and selling such a costume.

I still think it was stupid of them to sell that costume (and other “Mexican costumes”). However, you can flip the unsavory term on it’s head as Jay Smooth did with his commentary on Rick Perry and Superman.

Can you see where I’m going here? Yup, this costume will be more Ill Doctrine than Fox News.

If you’re not afraid to mix a little politics with your Halloween fun and games, you can even raise some awareness about the movement to drop the I-word and refrain from calling undocumented immigrants “illegals.”

Superman the “Illegal Alien” costume

1. Buy/borrow a Superman t-shirt or costume. Wear it. If you go in the t-shirt, dress up in a suit like Clark Kent. Don’t forget the glasses.

2. Carry some papers/signs that have things like an individual tax ID number, DREAM Act petition, info to call Governor Jerry Brown about signing SB 131 (financial aid for AB 540 kids), passport from Krypton, visa (make sure it says Kal-el), etc. Get creative. You can also blatantly wear a tag saying “Illegal Alien.” If you’re squeamish about using the word, go with undocumented immigrant.

3. Channel the amazing superhero qualities of the immigrants who do the work no one else wants to do. If you need some inspiration, check out Dulce Pinzón’s Project Superhero about Mexican immigrants in New York.

For women, you can go as Supergirl. Same things apply. If you’d like to dress up as a less popular superhero from outer space, may I suggest Martian Manhunter?

If you live in Arizona or Alabama, don’t bother with this costume. That should go without saying.

Photo by Sean

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Cupcakes, cookies and race-conscious admissions

Earlier today, I was making fun of the Berkeley College Republicans on Twitter:

“I’m surprised college Republican groups are still doing the pay by race bake sale thing. That’s so 2000. I think they’d be more original.”

A few minutes later I added a link to the cartoon Lalo Alcaraz (above) published after the UCLA Bruin Republicans held a pay by race bake sale in 2003. I’m not sure you can actually call it a bake sale since they sold Oreos, Twinkies and crackers. Heavy handed with the symbolism much? Fellow UCLA alumni told me the bake sale was also done in the mid 1990s.

I wasn’t offended by the bake sale. Instead, I was surprised they were getting so much attention. Must be a slow news week, huh? Plus, these students could barely read when race conscious admissions were banned in 1995 and 1996 (first by the Regents of the University of California and then by the California electorate). SP-1 and Proposition 209 probably mean nothing to today’s freshman, born in 1993. My politics and education were shaped by those policies.

In the spring of 1998, I was part of the first class admitted under the new race-neutral admissions policies at the University of California. As I made my decision about which UC campus to attend, Berkeley or Los Angeles, I read about the severe drop (up to 50% for some groups at UC Berkeley and UCLA) in the LA Times. I didn’t get in to UC San Diego and wondered if I would have been admitted to San Diego under the old policies. When I toured UCLA and Berkeley with my parents, I noticed students protesting the effects of Proposition 209, a severe drop in the numbers of underrepresented minorities admitted. In the fall when I began classes at UCLA, I was well aware that my freshman class was much less black, Latino and American Indian than previous classes.

In the next few years, I got involved with student groups actively working on diversity issues and admissions reform. I continued my involvement as a doctoral student in higher education. I spent a couple of years on the board of the UC Student Association and lobbied California legislators on bills related to higher education access and affordability. I researched and wrote about admissions practices at UC campuses, attended weekly meetings of black alumni and community leaders pressing for admissions reform at UCLA, and was the graduate student representative on the systemwide Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools. I was definitely plugged in to admissions and diversity issues at UC.

Yet despite my years of activism, research, and lobbying, I hadn’t heard about SB 185. The bill, introduced by Senator Ed Hernandez would allow California’s public universities “to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions.” (Source)

I’m thankful the Berkeley Republicans recycled the bake sale. If not for them, I’d still be out of the loop. Now I can email Governor Jerry Brown encouraging him to sign SB 185 and encourage my friends to do the same.

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Halloween on a budget: Tapatío bottle

Tapatío Costume

I didn’t grow up eating spicy foods. Sure, there were spicy foods — whole jalapeños in vinegar, homemade salsa, and roasting chiles smoking out the house — at home, but I didn’t eat them. Those were for my parents and grandparents. Mom would often make two batches of the same food, one for the kids and one for the adults. The only time I tasted jalapeño or other chile was when it accidentally got mixed in to our foods. I didn’t like it. In fact, jalapeños were our punishment for cursing.

Then I grew up. I spent more time in Mexico. I started cooking my own food and realizing I liked the addition of a little chile.

I’m not about to swallow whole habañeros, but I won’t ignore the escabeche (tiny bowl of carrots, onions pickled in jalapeño vinegar) on my table at Mexican restaurants. And of course, like every other Chicana, I’ll add Tapatío to my tacos and burritos.

Tapatío bottle costume
In the past, I’ve met people who loooove Tapatío and add it to everything. If you’re one of those people, why not show your love for Halloween?

Of course, if you’re a bigger fan of another table hot sauce like Cholula or Sriracha, it would be pretty easy to switch out the logos. You could also make this a couples or group costume. It’d be much spicier (sorry) than those ketchup and mustard or salt and pepper costumes.

How to do it:
1. Get a large piece of cardboard or some other sturdy poster board and roll up in a large cylinder. Make sure you can fit in this cylinder. Either paint the cardboard red or cover your bottle with red butcher paper.

2. Attach a smaller cylinder up top with tape, staple gun or whatever else you have lying around in your crafts drawer.

3. Hand draw (or blow up a copy) of the Tapatío label so that it’s large enough to cover most of the bottle.

4. With an X-Acto knife, cut out a circle for your face. You could also cut out a larger hole and wear a large sombrero through the whole. Get creative!

5. Get some green contacts. You need to have the ojos Tapatíos, right?

6. If you show up at King Taco at midnight on Halloween weekend, be ready to pose for photos.

Thanks to Alan for taking this photo and letting me use it.

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