Why I haven’t given up blogging

Almost all of the runners

A few weeks ago I received an email from a longtime reader. She asked if I was done with blogging.

It was a fair question. I hadn’t updated in over six months. I had slowed down a lot in recent years but never just stopped for that long. Like La Profe Chicana, I had a few reasons for my hiatus. And like her, I’d married a blog reader (hi, Sean!) and now had two children.

Enter one of the reasons for the hiatus. Blogging is work, takes time, can be a technical headache (go away hackers!) and is much less easy to do one-handed while nursing a baby than scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I’ve also struggled with how to write about my new-ish identity as a mother while also respecting my children’s privacy.

Blogging didn’t always feel like such a chore. It was fun when I first started in the early-mid ’00s, before I ever even read the word (web)blog. I can relate to Xoloitzquintle who blogged a lot while also writing his dissertation. For me, blogging was a nice distraction from academics. I connected with amazing people and over the years have been lucky enough to meet many of them despite being scattered across the country and abroad in some cases. I’ve danced in Tijuana, run in Carlsbad and shopped at a cute store/coffee shop in Little Village.

I got a lot of validation from blogging and the communities I developed. I think I was good at it, and that mattered to a wannabe writer and someone trying to find a foothold in academe. The topics came easier and the technical stuff wasn’t a headache. People still read and commented and that was an incentive to keep posting. Other bloggers’ posts inspired new topics and so on. The community was still there but the blogs were largely inactive, rarely updated.

Now, the community is challenging me to get back to writing at least two times a week. The trial period is July. I’ve already faltered in the first week, but that’s okay. I can make it up.

Nos vemos en los comments.

Second two photos by Oso/David.


Fried catfish: On identity theft

Yesterday afternoon I got a message on Flickr from a user I didn’t know. He alerted me that someone on Facebook was using my photos and also harassing him and his family.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I didn’t know if it was real or not but it couldn’t hurt to search Facebook.

I searched and found some weird stuff.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Um. What?! I don’t have anything against the employees of Walmart, but I’ve never worked there or any other retail position. Also, I’ve never heard of the name “Consuela,” but I do know a couple of Consuelos.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I checked out the photos and “Consuela” had been using my personal and family photos for almost a year.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Hey, look, my sidebar photo. Also, that wasn’t a nice summer day in Pueblo, Colorado. It was hot summer day in East LA.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I guess we have something in common. I really like this photo too and have used it since ’08 as a profile or avatar photo.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

This one really bugged me. That’s my family! Using my photos is one thing. That’s creepy, weird and just plain wrong, but using photos of my family is on another level. I’ve seen enough episodes of Catfish to know that this kind of thing happens, but never wanted to search for my own photos on Google Images. Where would I even start? I have thousands of photos online. By the way, I searched the stolen photos later. None showed up on the Facebook profile probably due to privacy setting. My photos did show up where they’re supposed to: my blog, Flickr account, friends’ blogs, and blogs where I occasionally comment thanks to Gravatar. I believe “Consuela” downloaded the photos from my blog based on the photo sizes and the fact that all my photos are friends only on Facebook. My download settings on Flickr are limited too.

After going through the photos, I sent a couple of messages asking “Consuela” to remove the photos. I also looked up how to report an impostor account and submitted my complaint. I posted about it on Twitter and Facebook. Several friends reported the fake account as well by saying the user was pretending to be someone they knew. Each time they submitted a complaint, I’d get a message:

Hey Cindy, it looks like this person is pretending to be you. You should report them for impersonation if you think they are.
Report “Consuela” for impersonation

I haven’t received anything from Facebook, but later in the evening I noticed my photos were gone. A friend told me a few moments later that there were new photos up on the profile. I’m assuming “Consuela” stole those too.


Down with Downcast

For several years, I put off getting an iPhone. My main opposition to getting one — other than pure laziness inertia — was the increased cost to my cell phone bill. I know I can afford the cost, but that doesn’t mean I wanted a 75% increase in my mobile costs.

Now that I have an iPhone 4, I don’t see myself going back to the old school flip phone.

It’s not about the games, access to my email and internet at all times. It’s not even the camera and social networking with Instagram. I’d miss those things, but I’d be fine without them.

Playback speed

I’d have much more trouble giving up my favorite feature: various playback speeds for podcasts.

At first, I just listened to podcasts via iTunes, but then Sean told me about the app he uses to download and organize his podcasts: Downcast.

Downcast playlists

Downcast is officially my favorite app. I subscribe to almost 40 podcasts through Downcast. The app allows listeners to organize playlists (e.g., news, music, favorites, shorts) and listen at various speeds. While iTunes only allows one to listen to podcasts at 1.5x and 2x speed, Downcast has 9 different speeds from 0.5 to 3x speed. I usually listen to podcasts from NPR or other public radio shows at 2x speed.

Favorites playlist

I’ve been a podcast fan for years now, but I never was able to listen to everything and would build up quite the backlog on my iPod. I still have a bunch of un-listened episodes, but there are fewer on the list since I can get through the same podcast twice as fast while cleaning my apartment or doing some student tracking at work.


Sopa and SOPA

SOPA opposition

All this talk about the blackouts today in opposition to SOPA/PIPA is making me hungry. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to make sopa de fideo. Too bad. It’s one of my favorite foods. But I’ll give up my favorite angel haired pasta in a tomato/chicken broth to support the protest against internet censorship.

More on the SOPA/PIPA blackouts at Mashable or Google. But not Wikipedia.


My blog is my constant: A decade of blogging

Birthday cake

Ten years ago, I started Lotería Chicana and became a blogger — even though I didn’t use either terms back then. I signed up on Diaryland with the same alias I used for AIM and posted four sentences about applying to graduate school and the World Series:

grad school update
11.07.01 // 11:43 a.m.

I’m gonna leave L.A. and escape to the Bay Area. I’m tired of the smog, traffic and the LA-ness of this place. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I need to get out for a few years... perfect excuse to go to grad school in Berkeley (or San Diego). In other news, the Diamondbacks rock!

Tigres del Norte

At the time, I was a college senior in the middle of fall quarter. It’s clear from subsequent posts that I was avoiding writing papers, reading for class or studying for exams. I didn’t do a good job balancing a full course load with my work-study job, student leadership positions, teacher education program applications and social life. That last part was pretty distracting considering I was going to a few concerts that fall — Los Tigres del Norte (above), the Roots and Res, and Jaguares — and distracted by my crush in San Francisco. Apparently, I had time to watch the World Series and hate on the Yankees. (Sorry about that, Sean). I did okay that quarter. I passed my classes, started dating that guy in SF and abandoned grad school plans temporarily. It was for the best, I didn’t really want to be a K-12 teacher.

Casa de las tiranas does Halloween

I never followed through on that first sentence I wrote 10 years ago. I never left LA nor UCLA even though I almost went to Michigan for grad school. I didn’t even leave the apartment I shared with my then-roommates Pato, Ome and Vane. I’ve been consistently flaky for a while. I still don’t care much for the Yankees even though Sean has tried his best to get me to.

And of course, I’m still blogging. While the platform, name, URL, and look have all changed at least once, my desire to write and interact with other bloggers and readers never waned. Some of my interests have changed. I don’t think I could run a mile without stopping in 2001 and now I write about training for marathons and half marathons. On the other hand, I’ve been writing about access to higher education for undocumented students and telling stories about my family since the beginning.

I’m really glad I’ve kept at it this long. The friendships alone are worth it. If you’ve been reading a few years or just a few months, thanks.


A coincidence
While preparing this post on Saturday, I looked up my Fall ’01 course schedule, just so I could see which classes I was taking and what was keeping me busy then. One of the classes was Ethnomusicology 120A, Development of Jazz with Gerald Wilson, literally a living legend in the jazz world. His lectures were more like story time about the jazz greats he once played with than the origins of jazz itself.

I didn’t think much about Professor Wilson until the next day. I got in my car to run some errands and heard the announcer mention Wilson’s name as he introduced one of his records. The DJ spoke briefly about Wilson’s contributions to jazz and the LA-scene and then mentioned his age. “He’s about 90 years old now.” Wikipedia says he’s 93. Damn. I knew he was old when I took his class, but I wouldn’t have guessed he was 80+.


If I don’t get lazy, I’ll have more for the 10 year anniversary posts including:
– My favorite posts (if you have one, email me citlalli31 AT gmail dot com)
– Things I’ve learned through blogging
– People I’ve met through blogging


Previous anniversary posts:
Four years and counting
Fourth grade blues (9 years)