Archive for January, 2011

666 combo

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2011 by Cristina

Procrastination and the devil made me do this. Since Ernest Hemingway wrote his now famous six-word short story (For sale: baby shoes, never worn), it’s become a popular exercise in conciseness. As you might guess, I have too many words to read and write in the coming weeks, so it drove me to this distraction. Here are six six-word short stories accompanied by six of my photos. 


Fin, good night and good luck.


Sherpa fleece

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2011 by Cristina

I was surrounded by it on Thursday night at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival that brought a few films to Portland. I’d never heard of this event, but the Patagonia/MountainHardware crowd made it clear that there was a cult following in our little outdoorsy pocket of America. My date was a gem, the beer and burgers were awesome, free shots from the bartender, and the movies were mostly great. I say mostly because one film really irked me: a mini documentary called Khumbu Climbing Class 2010. In 8 minutes, the film riled up my anti-imperialist sentiments to the point that I now feel the need to share them with you.

Film nutshell: “Students—many of whom have already reached the summits of Everest and K2 and worked in the Himalayas for years—learn proper techniques for knot-tying, belaying and ice climbing from Conrad Anker (star of The Wildest Dream) and other top-flight mountaineers.” Oh, really? The star of a Hollywood movie needs to teach knots to someone who lives and breathes that mountain? Long before “sherpa” was the name of a fleece material, these people proved their climbing superiority: the first ascent was accomplished by Tenzing helping Edmund Hillary’s ass to the top. One Sherpa climbed the mountain no less than 11 times, another reached the top from all four sides and most ascend oxygen-less.

A western instructor said of a student, “he used to feel like a workhorse but after the training he can call himself a climber.” Are you fucking joking? That guy was born climbing and doesn’t need a technical jacket or a paper certificate and an embroidered patch to legitimize his art. If he feels like a workhorse, it’s only because of western attitudes that introduce shame and want where it didn’t exist before. A blonde coordinator organized a “tea” and was overjoyed with the turnout of about 50 village elders. Injecting Martha Stewart event-planning into local traditions certainly looks beautiful in HD, but it doesn’t enrich any life but blonde lady’s. I’m sad that our egocentric explorations of the world often leave this in their aftermath:
I hope the Sherpas don’t start sipping on infused iced tea chai lattes while they study their English flashcards on account of films like this one.


Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 by Cristina

I did it again. Accidentally drew a penis on the board while trying to teach Spanish. And believe me, college students are ruthless when it comes to this kind of stuff. The giggles start coming as soon as that dry erase marker rounds the glans; they have an uncanny ability to spot the slightest hint of lewdness. The first incident happened when I was attempting the necktie that I tried to overcorrect with a Windsor knot that just ended up looking like balls. Yesterday, the island of Manhattan turned out to be a flaccid distraction from my Por/Para lesson. I’ve recreated my doodles here but you’ll have to just use your imagination to visualize the redness of my face:

 This alarming trend leaves me 3 options:
a) eliminate pictionary from my teaching repertoire
b) take a drawing class
c) steer away from all penis-shaped vocabulary 
The next chapter is “nature” and a lot of those animals are too oblong for comfort. uh oh.