Eastside essentials

Eastside has:
-bu~elos, tamales and champurrado on street corners
-elotes, tacos, hot dogs w bacon, everyday, at anytime
-98cent stores, not just 99cents
-the majority of people are Mexican, Chicana/os or some generation of Raza immigrant
-banda music, techno, explicit rap, and KROQ 80's music blasting out of homes and cars
-we know what KROQ music is newbies
-backyard parties with DJs that play every type of music without being ironic or thinking it's kitsch
-strolling mariachis
-Virgen murals on most street corners, most with accompanying flowers and candles from the devout

What the Eastside DOES NOT HAVE, or need:
-fixed gear riders
-Pabst Blue Ribbon
-know how to spell kitsch
-overpriced Mexican food
-vintage stores
-chain smoking, depressed looking gringos
-juice bars


The Codes of Warriors and Thieves...

This long holiday break saw me renting four films that were all linked on a superficial level by the code of warriors and/or thieves.
"Letters of Iwo Jima"
"Ninja Scroll"
"The Transporter"
"The Wild Bunch"
Yes all very macho, violent, action filled, blood and guts. I watched alone so I chose what I wanted.
In all of them the characters were morally ambiguous. They all killed for various motivations, but they maintained a code of honor, integrity, and discipline which were shaped by a life of extreme violence and circumstances.
When speaking with a friend about these codes, and the often sexist and racist settings in which the stories took place, I asked if artistically should filmmakers sugar coat the past in fiction in order to present not so sexist, racist and stereotypical images. They responded immediately with" "Of course they should, it would make their audience much bigger and the main point of making movies is to entertain and make a lot of money." I was asking if it was artistically or morally correct to change history in a work of fiction for a greater good. Needless to say, said friend works for a major multinational media monster which often dishonors historical facts for a cheesy love story.
They presented the capitalist motto: Profits at any cost.
In the context of the the broader conversation the codes of warriors and thieves seem to be a better alternative than today's psychopathic capitalism.
The samurai, the soldiers, and the former members of military branches turned thieves and shady businessmen, were ruthless and brutal, but they had rules. Most of the rules were to protect themselves, but at the same time served as a stop to potentially greater violence, loss of life and money. There was a limit.
We need honor, integrity and discipline to come back into mode. These give us limits.
Right now we can look around and see that our leaders were never in any situation that helped shape their honor, integrity or discipline, so they act without restriction or any real remorse. Moral compasses are twisted so that, multi million dollar homes that were burned are visited for photo opportunities, but entire bays that are environmental catastrophes are treated as every day accidents. Overeating contests and $1,500 desserts get 5 minutes of media coverage, while drought conditions are ignored until it is time to institute water police, which contribute to the police state/union.
I gotta pull out my old Carlos Castaneda books and re-read the parts of being an impeccable warrior. I know I need to work on my honor, integrity and discipline, because I have not seen many examples of that in a long time... except in bloody morally ambiguous films.


fee, fi, fo, fum, how are U beating boredom...sleep?

Several friends have mentioned to me that they have no idea what to do with themselves this holiday break. I'm kind of in the same boat. I do got things to do it's just not what I really want to do or what I think I should be doing on a break like this.
My students are excited about not having to come to school, so am I, but when I ask them what are they going to do, many just say: SLEEP.
Isn't excessive sleep a sign of depression? I like sleeping. I also read that sleeping makes you live longer. Maybe if you are depressed and you sleep a lot, you work it out in your dreams, which equals less stress on the body which leads to longer life?
I had some crazy dreams lately. In two very different situations I would get pissed off and then blew up. I don't blow up in waking life like I did in my dreams/nightmares. In these dreams I threw chairs and table at windows, not to get out, but to destroy. I threw other objects at cars, buildings and an airplane in an anger that I have only felt in that dream.
The cause of the anger wasn't even that important, I missed a flight time, a bus left me, someone told me 'No.' There I was in dream landia blowing up. I scared myself and was tired when I woke up. Today a fellow commuter told me she had similarly angry dreams. In hers there were kitties with steel rods sticking out of their chest, so they couldn't runaway, so hey that should piss anyone off. I hope if I sleep alot this break I don't have those kinds of dreams.

I feel the need to pack up and get out of town after fulfilling familial obligations. I'm tired of hearing about this or that store opening at 4am and the sales I just NEED to be at. I also need to correct two virtual stacks of papers that are coming in tonight. Sure I can blow them off, head to Vegas, be in a stupor all weekend and then correct the papers hungover, but then I'd be more tired afterwards. I can be responsible, stay in town, correct papers during the day, go out at night. We'll see...


So far, so fast...

Life is at this speed that makes me feel like I can split into a bunch of pieces, and that would be a good thing since I got to be doing so many things.

-DoD was great. Q n I did go to the cemetary to see grandma and grandpa. Grandma I grew up with, Grandpa died in 1945, so all I knew was the stories I heard about him from my mom and grandma. We bought them cookies, laid out my yoga mat and ate tortas, as we cleaned their tombstones and laid flowers on them. I told her stories of how strong my grandma was bing able to lift old bathtubs and how amazing her beans were. An elder came by us o visit his wife who had passed 15 years ago. He talked to us about the saint on my grandparents tombs and told us he was the Santo Ni~a de la torcha (sp?), the patron saint of Zacatecas and of miners. My grandpa was a miner! And they were both from Zacatecas! I was impressed with him. He got on his cell phone and called one of his sons telling him "Don't forget to come to the cemetary today, es el dia del panteon, Mexican style." My daughter paid close attention to him despite not really understanding him.

-Later that night we were at DoD at SHG here are some pics:

-I've been re-working my thesis on DJ Culture of East L.A. because lately I've been having a lot of talks with different people on this subject of Chicano DJs, music, art, space and how we fit in the global DJ culture. When I have a good edited copy I'll pass it on to you if you ask.

-A couple of Saturdays ago I was quoted in Agustin Gurza's LA Times column commenting on my homeboy DJ Raul Campos or try copy and paste this:http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-culture20oct20,1,5852472.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

-It is almost the end of the semester and papers are piled up. I am confident in all my students, so its been good reading not just because they are bright, but because I gave them good ideas and fodder to fill their brains with before letting spew on the keyboard. I've had a great semester despite a rough beginning due to some health issues.

-Looking forward to two great rides this coming weekend:

I just hope my stack of papers is smaller by then.