Archive for October, 2009

Too real Día de los Muertos

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30, 2009 by Cristina

I had been looking forward to celebrating Día de los Muertos during Alberta Street’s Last Thursday but didn’t think I’d be mourning the tragic loss of a new friend at the same time. Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful few hours enjoying delicious matzo-ball soup and getting to know a farmer girl named Maggie who I promised I’d help plant the new crop in the spring. She died three days later. Finding out about this hit me harder than I would’ve expected and resulted in gushing tears every few hours. I couldn’t stop thinking about the unfairness of it as if fairness had anything to do with accidents. To make matters worse, I had to teach three classes that day and tell the students about an extra credit opportunity of attending a Day of the Dead procession and writing about a loved one, dead or alive. I almost broke down in front of them each time. In the Mexican spirit of celebrating the loved ones with colors, food, music & dance instead of tears, I headed out there looking like a skull:
I still shed a few more tears but also drank a toast for all those who couldn’t be there (non-alcoholic hot chocolate, of course, because I’m still ID-less). I carried with me a picture of my grandparents who I still miss but am glad that they lived long and relatively happy lives:
buniciHonestly, I don’t know how the Mexicans do it… song and dance is tough to do when all you want is for the dead to not be dead. I suppose they cope by distracting themselves with making skeleton figurines on intricate ferris wheels and drinking their woes away:
not whee. 
This week has been too too hard and although I’m trying to draw some good stuff out of it, all that’s coming out are thoughts that life is too fragile, that death is doled out randomly to undeserving people and that the probable absence of an afterlife compels all of us to cherish the now as much as possible. Knot in back of throat and wet eyes, bah.


I’m crying…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 by Cristina

…tears of laughter and almost peed my pants just now. I kid you not, I’m sitting in my room by myself (’cause I’m something of a grad school loser) checking out a website my sister sent me and am wiping tears off from my face. I haven’t laughed this hard since reading Engrish Funny which I thought may have been funnier to me because I learned Engrish from Hooked on Phonics. Now, I realize that maybe I just laugh really hard at ridiculous shit… like the stuff on this website called Regretsy, a funny spin on the handmade site Etsy (which I adore for very different reasons). The compilation of things actually for sale on Etsy is now on this site under the category, “Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet.” Take this ummm…interesting…sculpture for instance:

weird violence
The site writer, Helen Killer, comments, “Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I asked myself how much crueler bullbaiting would have been with minotaurs. Seriously, that’s the kind of shit that keeps me up at night. I also wonder how much better bacon would taste if it came from the Calydonian Boar, and if the Hydra got discounts on hats.”  I’d almost recovered from the giggles over the $150 minotaur sculpture when I was nearly sent into convulsions by this next image:
hairy putty
It was followed by, “What the hell is this? Is this actually a blob of silicone with hair in it? For $18? No, sorry. If I wanted one of these, I’d pull it out of my nose at a traffic light. Talk about hidden treasures!” HAH! I really need to stop reading these because my neighbors might think there’s something wrong with me, the giggles are too loud and hearty. Nonetheless, after a long day of mediocrity in teaching, it’s just what I needed!


Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2009 by Cristina

My absent-mindedness struck again, I lost my last piece of official ID, my passport. In a country so ID-crazy, I now feel a little like a faceless, nameless outsider who must go through this ordeal sober. I almost couldn’t believe my own words when I asked a friend, “Ummm…could you buy me some beer to take to the potluck?” And then to feel nervous as I stand next to her at the register?!! Good God, the Man has really done a number on me. 
Somewhere in the depths of the second floor of the Ace hotel, my passport jumped out of my purse and committed suicide by hipster-trampling. The event, Content 09, was a really fascinating series of fashion/design/art installations in the rooms of this old hotel. I must have been too blinded by interesting displays like this one to notice the moment that I became a non-citizen.
As cool as this event was, I’m not sure that the sights I saw were worth the pain of being identity-bourn this week. Nonetheless, it’s now a great time for a name change!

Seasoned croutons

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2009 by Cristina

yum, cube
A couple of weeks ago I ate a salad with some friends and garnished it with these “cube seasoned” croutons. I’d never tasted cube flavor before, but found out it’s pretty bland… maybe I’d prefer triangle flavored ones. Last night we decided to go out in search of some delicious beer and more croutons; our first four attempts at happy hour fun were thwarted by my lack of proper ID, an opera performance and one hour waits. After an hour of tromping from rejection to rejection downtown, I’d almost decided to give up on the neighborhood. We eventually ended up at Blue Hour, a place too swanky for my anarchist shirt and our teacher baggage but it fit the beer & food bill. Maybe this was an example of the old Romanian saying, “foamea e cel mai bun bucătar” or “hunger is the best cook,” but the croutons on my caesar salad tasted nothing like cubes. Heaven-seasoned croutons were worth the downtown trek.

I love fat boys!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2009 by Cristina

Fat in the eyes, that is. This is the physical trait I find most über-attractive in people and I usually have a hard time explaining myself to friends… so here’s the breakdown, people. I’m referring to the pudgy upper eyelid fat that rests on the eyelashes of these foxes. Let me illustrate: 

Rainbow o'Fat

Brad, Benicio, Joseph, Denzel, Heath, Bruce, Lord have mercy! Having recently watched an Argentinian documentary, I’ve found out that the northern variety of those people are the most eye-fat-endowed ones I’ve ever seen. Methinks it’s time for a liiittle viiisit to Latin America. Add in an eyebrow scar, beard and freckles and I’m completely sold!

Welcome galoshes!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2009 by Cristina

It’s finally here, the day that galoshes need to be pulled out from the depths of my closet and dusted off…I remembered the image above from Barcelona’s brilliant Contemporary Art Museum. The permamist turned torrential today and the Portlanders seemed a bit taken by storm, people were running around without umbrellas shouting exclamation marks all over downtown. Since my first introduction to galoshes on July 8th, 2007, I’ve been a big fan. Back then, it was a matter of survival:
I camped outside in rainy-gooey-muddy Denmark for a week and these trusty rubbers were my best companion. Unfortunately, the end of the music fest meant the end of our relationship and as everyone boarded the train to return to civilization, all the rain boots were lined up in the longest line of abandonment I’ve ever seen.
Since then, I’ve used them in times of mini-NYC-floods and also pulled them out on the occasional night of debauchery… because there’s nothing more fun than making cutoff pants and jumping around in galoshes at 5am with friends 🙂

Existentialist hour

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 by Cristina

One part fried-brains, 2 parts discussions-in-spanish and 3 parts grad-students-too-smart-for-their-own-good is a recipe for the metamorphosis of “happy hour” into “existentialist hour.” The normal 5-7pm outing after a long school-week usually ends in enjoyable, albeit very serious talks about mindblowing things. Recent topics include the Holocaust, dreams of murder & rape, the nature of relationships… no lighthearted stuff about beer preferences. Leaving the outdoor patio with muddled minds, we always come face to face with this lighted sign:
As if to punctuate the evening’s discourse, this empty yet alive sign greets us with its eery message of nothingness. Perhaps it’s time to begin the search for a new happy hour bar that features a more optimistic sign outside… something along the lines of this flowers & baby chicks one that I saw in the Belgian countryside: