Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Monday, February 28, 2005

Official Roadie

Saturday night, before the big show I didn't go out, because I had to rest so that could rest in order to be at 100% for the big Maneja Beto and friends show. I gotta say, my first roadie experience went fairly well. I didn't do much lifting. Los Skarnales was headlining so Patrick used their drums.

The band had a fantastic show while I danced. Well, I only danced one song and that's because this chick brought her friend to dance with me earlier, but I refused. Then, the band played a really firme song, so I decided to hit the dance floor. Anyway, I was having a great time. I was chatting away, talking to some folks when the band finished playing. I suddenly realized my job as a roadie wasn't over. By the time I ran up to the stage, I heard my friend asking for the roadie. It was pretty funny. We broke down and listed to the last band play. All in all a good time. I look forward to doing it again.

We're Dying

Elizabeth pointed me to this pretty interesting article.

Texas Hispanics Dying At Higher Rate

I still can't believe people don't know why poor kids go into the military!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

What The?

Somebody just posted the following comment in reference to my Cholo Word of the Day -Simon post from back in August.

Anonymous said...
wacha cuatuchos all of you should be proud of being Mexicans and cholo is not what you think it is . you be proud of being brown and stop critizing your own RAZA.

What The?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Maneja Beto at SXSW

Manejo Beto, the band I'm going to serve as a roadie for this weekend, is playing at SXSW. Good job guys. They'll also be performning with Charanga Cakewalk.

That's awesome. Congrats!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chicano and Mexican American

Israli's Domain asked what the difference between a Mexican-American and a Chicano/a is. I think we've blogged about these labels before, but I can't seem to find a post. In fact, I think Elena had some good stuff (i may be mistaken).

I guess they mean different things to different people, but when I use the two words, here is what they mean.

1. someone who doesn't take offense to being called a Chicana/o
2. someone politically/socially conscious
3. American of Mexican descent

1. American of Mexican descent

I refer myself as both in certain situations. I guess it depends. I'm sure other folks could give better answers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Handshake

I visited the State Capitol to get some stuff done and I met up with two dudes working in different political offices. Both of these guys are Chicanos - well, one is a Chicano and the other guy is a Mexican-American. When I was ready they both got up and put out their hand for a good ole' fashion hand shake - so I thought. No, each time, I was surprised that these tie-wearing cronies (they're my friends) were giving me a full fledged raza handshake. You know, the one with the multiple steps. It through me for a loop. I mean, I'm used to the handshake - I always do it back home or with other friends, but in this environment I was surprised. It obviously made an impression on me, since I'm blogging about it. I enjoyed it - it was pretty cool. Of course there were slight variations with the handshake - I almost got lost during the second one, but all in all it was some sort of Raza handshake.

The Art of Good Conversation

I've come to the conclusion that a good conversation is art. Tonight I sat down and had a great conversation with two very interesting people. I went to visit my friend/mentor (i know i've blogged about him before, but I'm too tired to find the link now) to talk about a project he's working on. I showed up to his office and we talked for a bit before the phone rang. This dude is full of anectodes and basically just interesting conversation, but you have to play close attention, because he speaks very fast and can change subjects at a moments notice.

Somehow, I managed to hang around long enough that he and his wife invited me to stay for dinner. I guess they probably figured I wasn't leaving until an invite was extended.

We had dinner and chatted. Actually, my friend's 5th grade son chatted a lot. I think he's learning the tricks of the trade.

After dinner we went sat outside in the backyard and that's really why I'm writing this post. It was non-stop questions and answers from both sides.
What do you think about this? How does this work? Have you read this?
Boom, Boom, Boom - non-stop. He's only about 12 (plus or minus 1) years older than me and it seems like he's on top of everything. You know when you can tell someone is well read.

The reason I believe it's an art is because I have problems communicating with a great deal of people. It can either be that they don't get (or care for)my sense of humour or just really that I get bored quick. I'm sure we've all had those conversations where we can't just wait until they're over.

The other day I was talking to my lady-friend (finish the sentence please) in Connecticut and asking her about a dude she's dating. She says, "I can't talk to him." Apparently this dude doesn't talk. So, the next time she saw him, she decided not to talk either. It was hillarious. She told me they just sat there and stared at each other -- quickly eating their food. Yup, I've been there.

So what is it? Is it that you have to be well-read to have good conversation? No - I can't say it is. Is it that you have to be funny - No, can't agree there. I think it just might be that you have to be willing not to be afraid to be yourself and express what you're feeling. There are people who talk a lot, but I can't say I enjoy their conversation.

My friend's wife joined us a little bit later and she started talking. I asked more in detail about how they met, and I finally got the full story. I thought I already knew it. Then we talked about the war and the neighbor, WWII and the border patrol.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What Makes A Good Writer?

I read blogs everyday and for the most part those I choose to read are very interesting and entertaining. I came across some cool sites the other day where people can submit article and several of them have writing styles and guidelines. I think those are essential - you can't just have caca all over the place - but is it essential for a good writer? For instance, should the word caca be caca in my previous sentence, to indicate a word in Spanish or even Slang?

I'm telling you there are some amazing writers just within the group of folks I read, but not everyone follows a certain style, or even rules.

I checked The Backword Magazine out after reading a post on the Art of Brownsville. They have this chingon style guide.

What do you all think? I don't like sloppy writing, but I also don't like writing being inhibited by rules. For instance - I like to be entertaining on my blog - so I just write all kinds of pendjejadas - and instead of using commas or breaking up sentences - I use chingaderas like this --. I reckon' I understand arguments for both sides.

The Rooster Woke Me

I've been awake since about 5am, because the damn rooster woke me. I live in the middle of a city. Ok, it's outside of Austin, and I reckon' it was once the country, but damn, and rooster just woke me. We decided to sleep with the windows open, pero, I think this is the last time.

So get this, yesterday I'm driving down East Austin, which is in the middle of the city, and there are about 20 chickens just walking around the street. I thought that was hillarious.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Growing Up Getting El Pan

I spent Friday night talking to an old friend and a new friend at Barfly's while sipping on Lone Star for most of the night. My old friend, Nelson, is also from the Valley. A., the new friend, is from San Diego, Califas, not San Diego, Texas (she laughed when I asked her to clarify).

The conversation led to growing up. The three of us grew up pretty poor. I thought it was funny when Nelson said that he and A. were "bastard children." A. agreed. Then he called her White Trash and she took exception. I laughed. Then they both laughed.

We swapped stories and I was reminded of summers in El Campito. Summertime was great. All of the kids in the barrio would come outside as early as possible to play marbles, baseball, stick ball, or any game we could invent, like Bote Sonado. For a couple of weeks in the summer, the Butter Krust company, would drop old, but edible bread at the office. Remember, I lived in Section 8 housing, so we had a main office, maintenance workers, a barrio police dude, etc. Every day, we would wake up and start playing, with no care in the world, but always making to be on the lookout for the bread truck approaching. The truck would drop off 50 to 100 loaves of different kinds of bread to be distributed among the residents of El Campito. The kids were usually the ones intstructed to go snag the bread - only two per kid. Man, that was fun. After we each got our loaves of bread, we would all compare. "hey, yo tengo este bread, you wanna trade." Then, of course we'd go on our way, drop off the bread, have lunch, and be back outside about 30 minutes later to resume our playing.

I'm not sure why I thought of that, but those times were pretty fun.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Picture Friday - Church From Roof

Church From Roof of Buelita's House in El Refugio, Qro. Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

No! - The Male Version

I decided to check out Loteria Chicana for some inspiration before writing. Bad idea. I've decided to steal her Still Not A Fetish post, because it's pretty damn good.

It's a pretty bad attempt and I don't differentiate between their characters and the real person. Man, I'm laughing over here just thinking of some of these idiots. Thanks Cyndi, and I'm sorry I'm not doing justice to your post, but I'm having a great time. In fact, I'm missing the entire point of your post.

No, I am not a California Highway Patrol Officer or the star of Dos Mujeres Un Camino who can't speak Spanish very well. No, I'm not Eric Estrada.

No, I don't smoke the yerba buena all day and say "wussapening" at people walking down the street in East L.A. No, I'm not Cheech Marin.

No, I don't have the face of an angel and have my students call me Kimo. No, I'm not Eduard James Olmos.

No, I don't say "he's decomposing in my locker," when the TEA asks me who cheated on the test. No I'm not Angel, better known as Lou Diamond Phillips.

No, I am not the most popular young Latino mayor, high Government official, good looking all around bloak, leader of a big time broadcasting corporation and pelado that pays off a gringita not to talk about indiscretions. No, I'm not Henry Cisneros.

No, I am not a high flying cartoon character adapted from real life wrestler, who prances around half naked on national television. No, I am not Tito Santana, Rey Misterio, El Blue Demon, or Mil Mascaras.

No, I don't live in a barrel outside of Doña Florinda's, but really my apartment is el apartamento ocho. No, I'm not el Chavo Del Ocho.

No, I'm not an ass kisser who thinks it's cool to torture POW's. No, I'm not Alberto Gonzalez.

ok - sorry. For the real deal, go to Loteria Chicana.

Social Security Calculator

Hey, check out this social security calculator.

Senator Harry Reid is leading the fight against President Bush's social security plan to the Internet.

Senator Reid and other congressional democrats Thursday unveiled an online calculator, which he says shows that people's benefits will get cut.

Democrats demonstrated the calculator profiling a 50-year-old man making $40,000 a year to calculate benefits.

"This person would have gotten $18,308 under the present system. How much would he get under the Bush plan? (He would get) $17,013. That means he loses $1,295 dollars," explained Charles Schumer (D) New York.

The Republican National Committee says the calculator is misleading because it doesn't take into account the impact on benefits if the problems with social security are ignored.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I'm A Roadie

I went out with a couple of friends last night and I think I've convinced them to let me be a roadie for them during their performance at the Cine Las Americas benefit. These are the kids from Maneja Beto. I heard them play on Friday for the first time and it was pretty damn cool. They sang this fantastic version of Carabina 30/30.

Also playing at the fundraiser for Cine Las Americas will be Charanga Cakewalk and Los Skarnales. It should be a pretty damn good show.

Anyway, back to my story. I asked if I could be a roadie and I think it was agreed that I could be: "as long as you show up early enough."

Meeting new people is pretty fun, especially when they're funny as hell. I went out with Nelson, Patrick, Alba, Alma and Will (he played in the Frank Sinatra-esque band we listened to) who hung for a while. All of them are part of Maneja Beto (except Alma), so I think there was a Quorom about letting me be a roadie.

Patrick told a story about sitting on a toilet at work and the damn thing breaking off the wall. Holy smokes that was funny stuff. I guess you'd have to listen to him telling it. He said he was on the floor, in the bowl, pants down, stunned. A couple of seconds later as he's trying to get up, the pipes burst and he gets shalacked in the back of the head with the streaming water. Oh man, it was funny. What was my point? Oh yea, I'm a roadie and meeting new people is fun.

She Signed!

The woman walked in today and cried in front of me. She was sad. She was also humiliated. The dude answered that "a difference in race" was why they were getting divorced, when the judge asked, even though he's a Mexican- American himself. The dude belittled her throughout most of their marriage. He often called her India and Mojada. She was strong for signing. I hope everything goes well for her.

Oh yea, and then about 10 minutes after this woman left the office another woman walked in. She got married on the 21st of last month. Her new husband beat the crap out of her last weekend. She's asking for a divorce now. What is wrong with these men?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sure, why not?

Mr. Frederick Smith emailed me asking for me to post some info about his book, Down for Whatever. I told him I don't usually hype people up, simply because they email me, but then I checked out his website and read his summary description and the book sounds interesting. I'm wondering how the hell this book will read. Check out what he says about it:

DOWN FOR WHATEVER is a black and Latino 'Queer as Folk' meets 'Sex and
the City' set in L.A., and explores four friends who wonder if true
love can be found in a city where Latino, Black, and Gay Pride collide
with the intricacies of family, social life, and ethnicity and class

Aver que. Good luck to him.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Maneja Beto Friday Night

Come out and join us on Friday Night. Maneja Beto is going to be jamming at Flamingo Cantina on 6th Street.

This show is on the Austin Chronicle's RECOMMENDED SHOWS list.

I checked out Grupo Fantasma yesterday and they were pretty good.

So, if you're in Austin or even Chicago - take a trip down to 6th street (btw, I've made the Chicago - Austin trip before. took about 16 hrs or was it 12hrs, straight shot).

I'll be the chaparro Mexican dude with a Lone Star in one hand and some maracas in the other (j/k on the maracas).

Oh yea, it was Ash Wednesday

Thank God Sensory Overload posted something about Ash Wednesday. That stuff is way better than anything I could write.

I knew it was Ash Wednesday, but I kinda forgot about it this morning. I remember when I drove by a Luby's and saw them pimping out the fish menu for Lent. Then, I went by Office Depot and noticed to Mexicans walking around with Ash on their forhead. Hmmm, that was me last year. Damn, I know I should go to Church, even if it's just to pray, but I didn't. Instead I came home and ate some chicken tenders with buffalo sauce.

Cuantos Cononces?

I get upset every time someone accuses me on not caring about the troops or taking them for granted, simply because I don't agree with the war! Wait, is this post out of the blue, not really. I'm on a message board with a bunch of my South Texas h.s. classmates and well.

So, I pose the question, how many members of your family, relatives, conocidos, acquaintances, vecinos, or just random folks do you know who are serving in this war?!

The reason I'm asking (and it's kind of a rhetorical question, but feel free to answer), is because I bet you my bottom dollar I know more folks over there than the President, or Donald Rumsfeld, etc.

This is why I get pissed off when people tell me I take the troops for granted. C'mon, one of my closest friends/college roommate is in Iraq right now. Do folks really think this doesn't affect me? Ugghhh, I reckon I'm posting this out of frustration.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

1040 Hell!

I am in 1040 hell. The 1040, like the LSAT, and the SAT before that, is kicking my ass. It's like I'm taking a freakin' math test. Oh, I wish I were in the land of 1040 EZ.

Did you know most of the Mexican kids in the Valley are really good at math? The Mexicans - not the Chicanos like me. All of the Mexican kids who would come over in junior high or high school, would always do really well on Math. Their English -- well, that's another story, but their math - damn.

I sucked. I still suck. I'm having to fill out a Schedule A and a schedule D and a who the hell knows Schedule. Please, light a candle for me and my taxes.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Valley Superbowl Connection

Just in case you didn't already know - Mission h.s. standout, Koy Detmer is the Eagles backup QB. Here's a story about him. I saw him play at McAllen Memorial Stadium in 1991.

Nuestra Gente

The point of this post was to show people coming together to discuss topics of interest. If there are other groups of Latinos (I know there are as several folks have already pointed out), I'd like to find them. Cool -- we shall move on.

Elenita recently posted a list of Blogeros and Blogeras. I recognized the names on the list because it's part of our group - Nuestra Gente. Is this officially a clique?

Well, I'm sure there's some of us active in more than just this small group, but it got me to thinking. Is there another group of Latinos (or bloggers who like to discuss issues involving the Latino community) around? Are we even a group or clique? We can't be the only raza, are we? And if so, shit - we're pioneers!

Nombre, en serio, I wonder if there is another lil' circle like this? Sepa. Ustedes Saben?

Friday, February 04, 2005

In Austin

I now realize I was right. I lived in Dallas WAY too long - 3 years. I've only been in Austin for a couple of weeks, but boy can I tell the difference. Dallas is very stuffy, materialistic, big, and elitist.

I finally brought my motorcycle to Austin, but I was having some problems with it and I didn't know how to fix them. No worries here. For the most part, bikers are friendly, but damn, I made a couple of best friends here (not really). The first dude I asked about my problem looked like he was high. He was doing some construction on an office space my brother and I were considering. He says "ah man, that's easy. Just go for it, you won't mess nuting up." ok dude - cool. He gave us a handshake and off we were. I wasn't sure if I should trust this grifo, seeing as how jaded I've become by living in Dallas. So, I go over to the Whataburger (fantastic!)to get me a burger and there's another biker looking dude sitting there. I strike up a conversation and ask him about my bike. One hour later I've got the answer and I've learned all about his trips around the world on his bike.

Then, last weekend my friend Nelson invited me to a punk rocker pachanga. He's in the band Maneja Beto and knows all those music playing kids. Maneja Beto has become pretty popular here in Austin. Man, el Nelson reminded me of why it's cool to be here. The guy is so laid back. You wanna talk about a cholo - Nelson! Well, not really, he's a kindergarten teacher -- all tatooed. You should hear the way he talks. He's also from the Valley. Nelson worked construction while going to UT. Anyway, we went to this party and met a couple of his friends. The kids at this party were mostly all gringos. It was cool. I could tell nobody spent 10 hours getting ready to go out- but they still looked good. These kids were trendy in their own way (baggy pants, freaky clothes, backbacks to a party), but it was cool. People were having fun and mostly everyone was cool with each other. I drank a bottle of water that night and enjoyed myself. That's all I needed. I knew it would be a good party when Nelson told me that he had gone to a badass party the night before -- then he went on to explain that there was almost a fight and a little bit of shenanigans going on.

Did this make sense? Ah, who cares. You'll know what I'm talking about if you live in Austin or if you ever visit. Now, if only these freakin' allergies would go away, I'd be doing really well.

I'm off to Dallas this weekend! Did I just talk smack about it? Oh well - we're going to get together for the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Los Pobres

Today I tagged along with my immigration lawyer brother as he traveled to San Antonio for some Pro Bono work. He volunteered to stand in for undocumented immigrant kids who were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. It was pretty sad. One of the kids was 14 years old. He was from Guatemala and said he had traveled the entire distance alone.

My brother talked to 3 different kids today. Two 17 years old and one 16 year old, from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, respectively.

The kids were humble. They said they did not fear returning to their countries, but did not want to because "queremos sacar a nuestras familias adelante." They want to work to send money back home to their families. That's it. That's why these kids are here.

Another kid, whom my brother did not represent, stood in court as the judge told him she didn't like seeing repeat offenders. This was his second time before the judge. He told her, "I don't like being here, but the situation in my country is bad. I hope it improves and I don't have to come back." This - coming from a 17 year old.

I don't think I knew how to microwave a hotdog at 17. These kids are taking months long trips - just to make it into this country to work. Wow. I think I have a couple of things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

HB 1403 Under Attack

House Bill 1403 makes it possible for undocumented immigrants to attend college in Texas. A similar law in Kansas is now under attack, which may threaten the Texas law.

Tonight, I attended a meeting hosted by Jovenes Immigrantes por un Futuro Mejor, a new group being organized at UT. I heard a couple of students talk about their dilemma. Several of them have graduated from UT, received their degrees, but are unable to work, because they are undocumented. They have lived in the United States for most of their lives. HB 1403 allows them to get educated, but now, more has to be done.

They are urging folks to help support the DREAM ACT. It's a pretty interesting initiative and one that I will follow closely.

Here's a press release link with more info.