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

Friday, July 22, 2005

Cholo Word of the Day - Safado

We used to use this word all of the time. It literally means loose. Instead of saying, estas pendejo or something, we opted for "estas safado."


Meaning According To DT:
crazy, dumb, messed, loco

Used in a sentence:
"El Chiquis esta bien safado. El etro day se fue pa' la store en sus chones. Andaba bien cuete."

"Nombre Muribindo, es que su morra lo trae a el puro pedo. No lo deja salir. Y cuando se pela, se hace take off real quick."

Translation according to DT:
"Mr. Enrique (En-Ree-Kay) is a tad bit off kilter. On the morrow he visited the market in his unmentionables. I believe he was slightly inebriated or out of his element."

"Well, Muribond, I believe the reason behind his actions are quite clear. His lady in waiting is quite demanding, so when he ventures out, he's acts with haste."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

Emily has decided to take a detourand spare the Valley. My brother decided he would ride out the hurricane at South Padre Island. Really smart. I talked to my mom this morning and she told me they're going to leave the house boarded up in anticipation of the next hurricane. Uh huh, that means those damn things will be up for the next 5 years. Does anyone even know what I'm talking about?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ay Emilia! Stay Away.

Hurricane Emily sure is causing headaches for folks along the Gulf of Mexico. I'm lucky, I have fun hurricane stories. Today my pops called me during class to ask if I still had contacts at the local t.v. station because the city was ignoring him. He wanted them to pick up all of the debris (tree branches, rocks, dirt) next to the house (the local community college is building a parking lot) so that the winds would't send all that mugrero crashing over to the house. The city manager had already returned his call by the time I got in touch with him, before my Dad could sick the news on him. I thought it was hillarious. (this is for another post, but he would have never of thought of doing that before I became a reporter and the debris would have probably never been removed -- see, going to college does pay off).

I called home this evening and my folks told me that they had started boarding up the windows, moved all of the lawn chairs and other chingaderas that could fly away into the storage room, and cleaned out the garage to make room for a car. I think the tabla from the window to my old room stayed covering the window for about 6 years and finally fell off last year. We'll see how long those boards last this time - kinda like christmas lights.

When I was a kid, and since we lived in El Campito where the houses weren't very sturdy, we used to go to a shelter everytime a Hurricane came. The red cross ran the joint and chingos of poor families would trickle in as the rains got worse. The red cross provided food and blankets, sometimes. It was interesting. I remember looking across the hall (at the h.s.) and seeing hundreds of people just laying on the floor with their blankets. Every now and then someone would cough and then a flashlight would turn on. My older siblings made friends with the red cross volunteers and they'd become part of the volunteer team. My dad would meet every damn person there while he was walking around the halls whistling. I think I just watched and ran around the school which I thought was huge. Then, the hurricane would be over, and ya. Otra vez. Back home.

We stopped going to shelters when I got to 8th grade I think. I think I missed them for a while. Seeing all of the people there was kind of cool, even though I didn't realize we were there because we didn't have a house that could withstand the storm. I just hope people don't have to go to shelters this year. I hope Emilia stays away.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Married Man's Best Friend

Yup, that's me. Everywhere I go I happen to be the married man's best friend. Why, you ask? Because wives trust me. Why, you ask? Because my married friends can say that they stayed out all night, because I didn't want to go home. I don't mind. I'm their outlet. They're not doing anything wrong. Believe it or not, I have a conscience and I make sure they do too. Plus, my friends are of good character.

Tonight, my class had a function at the Washington State Bar and afterwards we decided to go grab some drinks. I have a married friend and I was his ride. He's pretty cool. He invites me over to his house, his wife cooks, and I play with their kids. Last weekend I went with them to a soccer game. Bien buena gente.

Today, we hit the town after the event and stayed out not so late, but apparently late for a married man. We got to his place at about 11:30pm, but made sure to stop by Wendy's before we got to his house. It would "soften the blow."

"She'll ignore me tomorrow until 3p.m. and then when we get to my brother's BBQ, she'll talk to me." Dude, she's going to hate me. "She's not going to hate you." She opens the door because my friend doesn't have a key. I have a couple of burgers in my hand. "It's not his fault." She semi-smiles at me and I feel akward. She walks upstairs and we eat our burgers.

Back in McAllen, the same thing. My married friend and I (different dude of course) went out to another friend's house. We stayed a good while and I was ready to go home at about 2a.m. He wasn't. The next morning, "hey dude, I was at your house till 5a.m." Me: "Uh, ok."

One year later the wife walks up to me and tells me: "I don't like it when he hangs out w/ you because you're a bad influence." Little does she know I'm anti-strip clubs, I rarely drink, I don't do drugs, I have a conscience, and I hate to spend cash. I take the abuse and smile.

That seems to be me. I'm the married man's best friend. I'm 28 and they can blame it on me. To tell you the truth, I don't mind. My friends are good guys. They're not doing anything wrong other than not going home at the time they're supposed to. It sucks, but it happens. I think it keeps them sane. That's the way it is and I'll continue to be that guy.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Problem with the U.S. Soccer Team

The problem with the U.S. soccer team is not that they are not good (we're ranked #10 in the world), it's the FANS.

I went to the U.S.A. vs. Canada game this weekend at Quest Field and the damn Candians were much better organized. They had chants and cheers and sat together. The Americans - Nada! My friend/classmate (when can you start calling people your friend?)offered me a ticket. He and his wife, who happened to be wearing a United States and Mexico jersey, respectively, and I went. We sat in the front row and cheered and even managed to heckle some of the Canadians and please some of the Cubans and Puerto Ricans from the previous game. The game was a blast, but the fans no valian.

I understand nobody likes soccer here. It's too slow. It's too boring. It takes forever to score a goal. It's not football. Bueno, but the fans that are at the game -- por favor.

The best part about the fans was that there was a good contingency of Costa Ricans watching the early game and they were loud and cheering and booing and doing everything fans should do. As soon as the Costa Rica game finished, they traded in their Costa Rican flags for an American flag and continued being loud and cheering and booing and doing everything fans should do.

It was fun though.

Monday, July 04, 2005

El Dia De La Virgen Del Refugio

Es el dia cuatro de Julio, the fourth of July. This morning people from the neighboring towns of El Refugio, Queretaro, wake up before three a.m. to make the trek to pay homage to the Virgen del Refugio. La Fiesta Patria del Refugio has been going on for a week now.

Eight years ago today, my grandfather Manuel Hernandez, said goodbye to this world. Today, the altar is there for him, and my grandmother is once again wrapping up the novenario. The man leading the rosario would kneel in front of the Virgen holding his sombrero in one hand and the rosary in the other and begin to pray. Ave Maria Purismima....Padre Nuestro..Sin Pecado Consevida...Amen...

El Rosario

Today the novenario ends and I sit in a cubicle at my law school studying for the week I am about to encounter and I think about my abuelito. I think about how strong of a man he was. Then I think about how my parents are also getting older and how important family is. Irasali captured it perfectly when she talked about her grandmother.

My grandfather was a strong man. People came to him for advice and he never turned a hungry soul away, even if he too was hungry. I wrote this while I was still in Dallas:

This summer I visited the tiny Mexican pueblo of El Refugio where fences are made of stone, dirt roads are the only roads, and water is stored in wells, for my grandfather’s novenario. The nine day traditional Catholic tribute to the dead brought together old men and women, middle aged couples and the occasional child to my grandmother’s two-room adobe home. The day before my visit to El Refugio I had been sitting in a cushy chair in my air-conditioned downtown Dallas office. Now in El Refugio I stood next to the faithful while they prayed and I mouthed prayers I did not know. People paid their respects to a man who had done so much for them. He was not formally educated, but still represented neighbors when they had issues with local police, politicians, and municipalities; all of whom respected him. I have always been inspired by my grandfather’s story, leaving his young family to work in Mexico’s northern states and the United States as a bracero, but this day I was visiting his home wanting to take with me some of his courage, enthusiasm, and will to serve the people,...

Tonight the bells will toll. It's called El Doble. My grandmother, my mom, some tios, and other older people will be praying inside my abuelitas house and the church bells will toll letting El Refugio know that today we remember a great man. Some people will make the sign of the cross while they are walking to the corner store, cooking dinner, or sitting and chatting. The people inside my grandmother's house will get a chill down their spine and remember.

For more pictures go here.

Talking Race in the Pacific Northwest

I have only been in Seattle for four weeks and I have already been told several times that I talk too much about race. "Why does it always have to be about race?" I feel like saying, "because it always is."

My theory is (and feel free to blast it) that people are even LESS comfortable talking about race, racism, and sensitive issues here than they are in the South. I think people here feel that because Seattle is so "liberal" that people are all equal. Everyone is on the same level. There's no reason to talk about race if everyone is on the same level. Well, I hate to break the news, but I'm still brown and most of my classmates are still White or Asian.

I make jokes about race and there's uncomfortable laughter. I make a comment in class and people look uncomfortable. C'mon. It's who we are for pepe's sake.

The other thing about being up here that people started telling me as soon as I got here is that the locals aren't very inviting. The people here are extremely nice, but that's as far as they'll go. They won't let you in. I was talking about this to a new friend over dinner the other day and she thinks it's because it's always raining over here. People tend to retreat into their homes. They shut the doors on the rain and others. She's a fellow Texican and feels that way.

No se. I'm going to continue talking about what I like to talk about. We'll see what kind of reactions I get. I don't want our society to be color blind. I want everyone to see that we're different colors, so that we can learn from each other. So that we can be better people. I want you to know that I'm a Chicano from South Texas. I want you to teach me about yourself. And I want to make fun of your dancing skills (or lack thereof).

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Person of Color Hello!

It's the first day of class and you're scanning the room trying to find anyone who looks like you or whose name resembles yours. This is what often happens when college students go to class. You spot somebody, make eye contact, and acknowledge each other. We all do it, but it seems that black people are more conscious of this than Mexicans. Well, except in Seattle.

This post all goes back to a couple of days ago. My study partners, 2 black girls and one Mexicano, and I were taking a break outside of our law building before we hit the books again when a black dude walked by. The girls looked at him and he turned the other way. It was hillarious because the girls I was with started talking shit as soon as he didn't acknowledge him. One of them more than the other. The one girl, lived a long time in the South, and says that black people in the South all acknowledge each other. I'm not sure if that's true, but it sounds true.

So, I started thinking about raza. I do usually make an effort to say hello to my brethren, but even in Texas, it's not so common. Here, a couple of the Mexicanos not in my class have looked at me, but don't really say anything. The raza in my class is cool. I walked up to them on my first day of class and now I'm starting to develop a pretty good friendship w/ one of them.

It's just interesting to me how we look for people with whom we can identify.