Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Quotes I Like

La vida es sueño, y los sueños, sueños son.
(Life is a dream, and the dreams themselves are dreams.)
--Pedro Calderón de la Barca, La Vida Es Sueño

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos.
(The sleep of reason produces monsters.)
--caption to plate 43 of Francisco de Goya's “Caprichios”

Verte desnuda es recordar la Tierra.
(To see you naked is to recall the Earth.)
--Federico García Lorca, “Casida de la Mujer Tendida”

Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos.
(Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the USA.)
--Porfirio Díaz

Mestizaje es grandeza.
(Mixture is greatness.)
--Spanish saying.

Mi raza es tu raza.
--Ed Morales, Living in Spanglish

I'm not the other. I am you.
--Ed Morales, Living in Spanglish

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Monday, January 30, 2006

More Spanish Words I Like

1. aburrido -- boring.
2. alborotada -- excited.
3. amado -- beloved.
4. amante -- lover.
5. amoroso -- loving; loved one.
6. biblioteca -- library.
7. chiste -- joke.
8. chistoso -- funny.
9. cuento -- short story.
10. dallasita -- Dallasite.
11. sueño -- sleep; dream.

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Revelation of the Month

One of my friends found out two weeks ago that her father has leukemia. I pray it goes into remission.

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Discovery of the Week

I discovered how to make tildes on this site. For a moment there, I thought I forgot.

Alt + 164 = ñ
Alt + 165 = Ñ

Accent marks are nice too...

Alt + 130 = é
Alt + 133 = à
Alt + 138 = è
Alt + 141 = ì
Alt + 149 = ò
Alt + 151 = ù
Alt + 160 = á
Alt + 161 = í
Alt + 162 = ó
Alt + 163 = ú

Plus...

Alt + 168 = ¿
Alt + 173 = ¡

And...

Alt + 0192 = À
Alt + 0193 = Á
Alt + 0200 = È
Alt + 0201 = É
Alt + 0204 = Ì
Alt + 0205 = Í
Alt + 0210 = Ò
Alt + 0211 = Ó
Alt + 0217 = Ù
Alt + 0218 = Ú

Because, you know, we don't all have the option of using Castilian keyboards...

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

28 Calls Later


Stephen King has a new novel out about the evils of cell phones. A fact that I can't help but find ironic since my friends and family have been bugging me to get a cell phone for years.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Heart Lucy (Davis)

I saw the second season of The Office last week and I was so impressed that I went ahead and bought The Office Special, which is basically the final episode in the series.

My favorite character in the whole series. Dawn Tinsley, of course. Played by real-life actress Lucy Davis.

I guess the reason I like this character is so much is that she reminds me of some of the many real-life artists I've met -- artists who are forever trying to strike a compromise between the demands of the Muse and Mammon.

I suppose I'm a little like Dawn in that I don't exactly pretend to be in my dream job right now but am not yet successful enough to quit it in favor of what I'd like to do.

Someday perhaps. Someday...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Girl in the Hood


Okay, it didn't exactly make me forget Tex Avery's famous version of the Little Red Riding Hood story, but Hoodwinked did provide a bit of much-needed laughter and escapism. I'll admit that the animation style -- which seemed inspired in part by Jimmy Neutron as well as Davey and Goliath -- left a bit to be desired. But the movie itself was very funny, with Patrick Warburton being especially amusing. Even the rather derivative squirrel who serves as Warburton's companion was amusing -- though why the filmmakers didn't just call him “pseudo-Scrat” is beyond me.

Very easily the most amusing cartoon I've seen since last year's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. Of course, that's not saying much...

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Monday, January 16, 2006

“I Have a Dream...”

It's MLK Day here in Dallas.

If not for Martin Luther King, Jr., it's very unlikely that I as a person of Mexican descent would be able to work where I work, live where I live or even eat out where I eat out. I owe him and his brethren -- and sisthren -- in the Civil Rights Movement a tremendous debt that I can never really repay -- save by standing up for the rights of others.

I suppose that's one reason I chose to vote against Proposition 2, the anti-gay marriage proposition that was voted on here in Dallas just last November. Technically, my vote against it seemed at best a quixotic gesture. But it was better than doing nothing at all. And even though I am not now nor ever been a homosexual, I can hardly expect my rights as a Mexican-American to be fought for if I don't fight for the rights of others.

As the old cliché goes, what goes around comes around...

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fuego

More than 100 people were left homeless when a six-alarm fire struck one of the buildings in my condominium complex. I wasn't one of them -- thank God -- but there for the grace of Dios...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

“There are 40 million Latinos in the United States today...

...And Rick Najera is determined to tell the story of each and every one of them.”

At least that's how a line goes in the end credits for Latinologues and Latinologues 2. Not really a bad sentiment at that, even if the stories themselves seem to lean rather heavily upon the very stereotypes they're sending up.

The most poignant of the stories thus far are “The Janitor” (about a Dominican janitor whose life is disrupted by 9/11) and “Cuba Libre” (about a Cuban prostitute who is desperate to escape Cuba). However, most of the stories don't aim for poignancy as much as mere humor and some -- like the one about the Salvadoran mother with a vampire son -- are little more than outright farce.

The result is not really bad. In fact, I can't help but wonder what Najera will come up for the inevitable Latinologues 3.

However, if you're expecting deep social insight from these shows, don't hold your breath.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Repairman Jack Redux

I used to like F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack character. In fact, back in 1987, when I first came across the character in Wilson's novel The Tomb in a Michigan library, I used to visit the local library every day just to read another few chapters of that book. (I didn't have a library card for that library so just checking out the book like a normal library patron wasn't an option.)

And yet Wilson's new Repairman Jack novel Infernal makes me wonder why I bothered.

Repairman Jack has gone from being a genuinely interesting character to a fairly predictable one. Nor is the plot any help. Yet another mysterious relative of Jack's -- this time his brother -- is introduced, yet another mysterious entity shows up and yet more time is marked between the events of The Tomb and its sequel (of sorts) Nightworld.

I realize Wilson doesn't exactly have a lot of room for flexibility in this storyline, but geez, he used to be better.

Perhaps the adventures of Repairman Jack were better ended with Nightworld. After all, it's a little hard to care too much about Repairman Jack's latest adventure with the Adversary when we readers of Nightworld already know what happens to Repairman Jack in the long run.

Besides, I for one would like to see F. Paul Wilson move on to a new character. Preferably before readers like myself start moving on to another author...

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Let's Twist Again (Like We Did Last Summer)


I saw a new horror film last weekend called High Tension aka Haute Tension. The acting was better than average but the violence was so over-the-top it was almost impossible to take it seriously. Ever wanted to see a Gallic version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Just check out this film. On second thought, don't. After all, director Alexandre Aja spills more blood in a single scene of this movie than director Tobe Hooper did in the entire length of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And then throws in two of the oldest horror clichés -- including the most overused plot twist of the last decade -- to boot.

However, to its credit, it did manage to come up with a relatively creepy ending (even if said creepy ending was a little reminiscent of similar endings in The Crush and He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not.) And I suppose I should give major props to any director who is able to make a kiss between two human beings seem like an outtake from Alien³.

Oh, well. At least Aja didn't make the killer a Muslim. That bit he's no doubt saving for the sequel....

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Office Politics

I finally saw the complete first season of the BBC series The Office this week. I've heard about it for years, but didn't even think about checking it out until recently.

The show itself starts out slow. (If you're looking for the easy humor of Fawlty Towers, you'd best look elsewhere.) But the show eventually becomes more interesting and the ending is surprisingly bittersweet.

What's so interesting about this show isn't so much what it does but what it doesn't do. Though there are bits of rude humor, the show makes it clear early on that it's not exactly interested in catering to Benny Hill fans. And though there are signs of a potential romantic relationship between two major characters, said relationship doesn't exactly develop the same way it would in an American sitcom like Cheers or Friends. It's tempting to compare the show to Yes Minister because it too has a major character who relies all too much on jargon, but in many ways, it manages to be even more subtle than that series.

I kinda liked this show although I wouldn't exactly describe it as the feel-good sitcom of the year. And to think this entire show does so much in only six episodes.

American sitcom creators should be ashamed of themselves.

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Happy New Year, Everybody!

I'd like to think this year will be an improvement over last year, but then I always think that every January...

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