Roberto Sifuentes, Presente!!!

One of my favorite professors died today after years of battling various maladies.

Sifue, as many would call him, came to CSUN in the early 90's. He was very debonair, he wore a suit and tie everyday.

He was from Mexico, but was a devout Chicano. He had a thick accent that made his reciting of poetry, from memory, or reading of passages from books enthralling. He was too cool.

He was always hanging out with the students in the Chicano Lobby, always dropping stories, jokes, dichos, one liners and up for a little party. He came over to a couple of bar b ques and hang outs that we would have in our apartments around campus. Never drank with us, health issues he claimed, just smoked his cigs and once played some dice with us. Maybe some cards.

I had him for several classes as an undergrad and grad student. My cohorts through BAs and MAs loved his passion and love for life and knowledge. He would always want to know what we were into and doing outside of school. Everything he did, or said, or asked was with passion. One of my co horts was so moved by his description of Guanajuanto while reading a Carlos Fuentes novel, she packed up and left for Guanajuato at the end of that week.

He was a tough and loving professor. If you didn't read or come prepared to speak up in class he would kick you out of the class. If the whole class was lagging, he would just walk out and say "Don't waste my time and yours." He was always available to us. Anyone who met him, was a new friend.

He never told us anything about jobs and the future, he wanted us to learn our stories, culture and to dream. He was a man in love with knowledge and loved getting his students turned on to learning and to love life.

He was a painter and poet. He helped students find these talents within themselves, walking along with them.

He had lived his life like baller. He told me about all the jobs he had in his life from glamorous to menial, but at each one, he had a great time. That is living.

One of my favorite Sifue moments was in La Paz, Baja Cal. Mex. A lot of us from the dept went there to present at a conference. Sifue was presenting a paper on his Chicano identity. All of his students, about 5 of us and other profs, rolled in with him. We knew what was about to happen and we needed to be there. See, the Mexican academics don't really 'get' Chicano. They are very Euro centric and parochial. When Sifue ended his presentation the Mexican academics threw a fit. "How can you be born in Mexico and now call yourself a, a, Chicano!" He simply said, "Didn't you pay attention to my presentation?" and laughed!!!! They were so pissed off. He let them stew for a couple minutes and then said "Chicanos are down to fight for the underdog, anywhere. I see myself and my revolutionary spirit in that attitude, that consciousness, so I am a Chicano. If you aren't down to fight for your people or people who are oppressed you can't be a Chicano. You almost can't be a human if you aren't down to fight oppression of humans." He said this in the most eloquent Spanish I had ever heard him speak. He left them silent. Like on cue all of us from CSUN began to stand up and applaud. He then walked towards us and said, "Let's get out of here."

They don't make men like him anymore.

He was our profe.
Un chingon de aquellos.
Suave, smart, hip, passionate, intelligent, and inspiring.

They don't make men like him anymore.

I'm so glad and honored I knew this man.

(Sifue, Frank Colon & Harry Gamboa Jr.)
*all photos taken from FB CSUN heads who have posted his pic. All rights reserved to each and all.


like a dream,

Showed me colors where theres none to see...

I'm glad I didn't die before meeting you...


Days of the Dead

Two years ago on Day of the Dead I had been asked the day of to come and be the MC for the bands from sundown to the end. I had done stage managing in years past, so introducing each band would be no problem.

That morning I took my mother to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. It was the beginning of her final fight with cancer.

My dad was out of town and she called me telling me she wasn't feeling well. I asked if she wanted to go to the doctor. She said "Yes." Leaving BH to pick her up was a long ride. My mind wandered to possibilities I wasn't ready for. At the hospital she checked out 'fine.' but they wanted to keep her overnight for observation. She told me to go and do what I had to do.
(all images from DoD 2010)
I will never forget the fear and loneliness I carried that beautiful Sunday afternoon. I had planned on resting most of the day then going to pick up my gf in the valley and back to the Eastside for my 5 p.m. call time at SGH. I told my gf I couldn't pick her up because of my mom.

Getting to SHG was a blur. I don't remember parking or most of the bands. I know I interviewed each of them before they went on to give out info. during their intro. I wanted to keep my head in the work and not back to mom. My gf showed up with her two friends and that was great, and hard. It was good that she was there to support me, but also hard cuz I just wanted to just break down on her. Keep it together, keep it together.

It was the Sunday night before the election of Obama and people were excited about voting and hope. I would mention the election, to make sure to vote, and the crowd would erupt. It got me excited and took my mind far from mom. I had this high before and it sucks cuz you can be on stage and all this great energy is there, but then you have to go home all alone and don't know what to do. I knew it was going to be a long night. My gf left with her friends after a long good bye, telling me that all would be ok. Fortunately she surprised me by getting dropped off at my place and she was there for me when I got home. The next day we were able to go to the hospital together to get my mom and learn about the upcoming battle.

Within that year Obama would become Prez and hope would be lost on him and my mom passed in August.

Day of the Dead 09 was the third month anniversary of her passing. I went to the site where I scattered her ashes before going to be the MC for that year's SHG event. I was still in deep mourning. I fluctuated between relief for her passing and end of suffering, crying, numbness, heartbreak, loss, fear, anger etc and so forth. It was a lot. My gf and I had broken up a month or two before my mom passed, so I was dealing with this all by myself. I kept busy with work, and being asked to co-host the DoD event with Lalo Alcaraz helped to keep my mind busy during the first day of the dead without mom.

It was the first year SHG did DoD at the East LA civic. It was an awesome show. Eight thousand people came. I rented a mariachi suit and had my face painted. People took my picture anytime I left the backstage area. It was a long evening. By the time I was done around 11:30 p.m. my feet were killing me. The boots I wore were super pointy. I came home showered and just knocked out from exhaustion. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling not alone. I felt my mom's presence and fell back to sleep.

I didn't do an altar for my mom that year, nor this year. Last year, it was just three months since she passed and I was told that she was going to be near me for about a year checking in and also checking out Mictlan, getting her bearings. I did feel her around me a lot. When I needed to make decisions I could hear her voice telling me what to do. When I would get scared or lonely I would hear a noise and snap out of it, knowing it was her. This year I didn't do an altar for her because she didn't believe or practice such things.

My mom's mom, my grandma, Nana, passed five years ago. She lived in the same house as my parents. I would often ask my mom if she felt her mom near, and she would say "Always. Sometimes I can even hear her upstairs walking around." Both of them, my mom and grandma, were hard core Catholics. Church every Sunday until they were too sick to go anymore. They didn't do altars in the house or the cemetery, and hardly went to visit graves. They did believe and I helped them bless their house by dipping yerba buena in holy water, praying and sprinkling the corners of each room, but this Day of the Dead thing was me, from what I learned at SHG and school.

So I felt a little weird about doing an altar for my mom when she didn't practice it. My gf mentioned building an altar for our loved ones, but we never got around to it. It was a small relief. As is, I have a place where I keep my sacreds. Power stones, sage, cedar, candles, etc. I didn't know if we were just going to add some pics to this or build something entirely new. She left out of the country just before DoD this year. I would be doing another DoD alone.

The first night she was gone, I heard a lot of different noises in the house. I walked around checking windows and doors. We had gone to see "Paranormal Activity 2" a couple days before she left, so that was in the back of mind somewhat. We saw it at the Highland Theater for $3 with a bunch of young rocker types who talked and laughed through most of the movie, making it seem like a pretty lame 'horror' movie. Nonetheless here I was alone at home during the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. I poured out a shot of my good Cuban rum and put it where I keep my sacreds. The noises stopped and all was calm. A couple of days back I cooked for myself and made a taco that I placed next to the shot glass for any visitors. Maybe I'm on my way to making a proper altar.

This year SHG had Felipe Esparza, winner of the Last Comic Standing on NBC, a local BH homeboy that is getting his 15 minutes - to be the host of DoD. I was helping him and the bands backstage. It was another great show. I came home around midnight with that high. Sat down to calm my mind down, played some video game and before I knew it was 2 a.m. on a work night.

This year I didn't even have time to visit where I scattered my mom's ashes. I will go in the next couple of days. My dad has been out of town as well. Hopefully he can go with me when he gets back. Haven't heard from the gf since the morning of DoD; based on her fb she is having an amazing time. I feel my mom still pops in to check in on me, especially when I get scared and lonely. I know loss and death are something everyone goes through in their own way. My way, even as an only child is not unique by far. I did have a moment when a friend asked me if I meditated. I replied "As an only child, I think I have meditated my whole life. No one is there." I stopped myself, because there is always someone there. Or at least it makes me feel a little better to think that when I looked around and see no one is there, but I know someone is There.


Are Friends Electric?

Gary Numan was the soundtrack to my teen angst. Along with Ultravox, Adam and the Ants, The Police and various punk rock bands I drummed along or laid underneath furniture with headphones on, eyes closed, escaping.
Today, when things, or friends break down I wish it was as easy to escape as it used to be.
Today's escapes are self exile, and I'm the broken friend.
Or am I going through another form of puberty?
I told my students today, in order to grow sometimes you need to go through some fertilizer, just like the grass. Shit makes you grow.



Most of us know the unconditional love between a parent and child.
Most of us strive for unconditional love in our other relationships.
It looks and acts unselfish and self sacrificing.
It is also soul enriching.
The highs and lows of this love are the most profound.
You look forward to every day because every day makes you closer.
Each day, each one gains some for their Self.
Each day, each one loses some of their self.
It is the love that consumes.


Friday rides

Riding my bike with a group of people I do not know adds to my practice of animosity.
In South Central we ride pass a large parking lot filled with cars despite none of the stores being open.
Next to the cars were groups of people hanging out, listening to their car radios, talking, and checking each other out.
One of the riders hears me yelling at the people near their cars "Come on grab your bike!"
He then says to me, or to anyone within earshot, "How sad is that? Just standing around their cars in a parking lot."
I reply, "They are just like us, a bunch of people riding to nowhere."



in a week my daughter will be 14
in weeks it will be a year since my mom passed
in weeks you can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows
in weeks my father will find out if it is cancer again
in weeks my students will be full university students
in weeks life changes



End of the semester head spins fall into headstands at 24 hr fitness where Rudy, Kozmica y Ruben also stretch, run, sweat.

End of semester softball vs students, faculty wins, again.

End of semester F's, A's and "I was in your class but I hardly ever came, can I get a C?"

End of sanity in Arizona, apartheid returns to Amerikkka.

End of reacting to insanity masked in big lies, media repetition and myth makers/followers.

I got my own myths to tell, repeat and twist over and over again.

Looking at ideas/words like: immigrant, economic refugee, illegal, conspiracy, repetition, erasure, censor, myth maker, idea editor, dignity, racism, patience, fertility, desert, death, next gen, mex gen, bilingual, single, education, stolen, borrowed, renting, fading, reclaiming, can't deport us all (or kill), we didn't cross the borders, the borders crossed us, Machete, Shakira, stepping up, hiding out like Olmos et al. nada on Az., kissing up to whitey, eugenics, biological determinism, ghosts of lies and truths, hyperbole, honesty, honor, history, Rudy Acu~a, Nazis burn books, literacy rates in Amerikkka, die with dignity, or screaming about being under attack by the most powerless?, culture evolves, that means large parts of it die, deal with it.


one cup

just a cup of ashes
just a cup of time
just a cup of memories
just a cup of mind

8 months seems so long ago
water washed hills
sun = green fields
soil wet from tears

just one cup of coffee
just one cup of lies
just one cup of forgiveness/unforgiveness
just one cup not mine

pray each day
me, mine, them, n those
healing quick
there are still mental blows


How Many More Hoods Before One Murrieta?

Every time I see a trailer or ad for the retreaded Russell Crow "Robin Hood" it pisses me off!
I mean this story has been told at least 15 times!!!!! We get it.

When are we going to get the Joaquin Murrieta story?!?!?! Come on Robin Hood had to ditch arrows but Joaquin was dodging bullets and the largest man hunt of that era. This poet breaks it down pretty good. Like all good legends there are slight variations in the story that add to the myth of this man who died "because somethings are worth fighting for."

In this era of racist States, we need some Joaquin's to remind people what is worth fighting for.


back to the path...

Revisiting my old books. "Tao Te Ching," "A Separate Reality," "My Wicked, Wicked Ways." "Emplumada," and "The Path To Love."

Looking at old ghosts between the lines. I can't even remember how I felt when I first read some of those words. I was lost many times and still am in many ways. I remember who gave me a certain book, who read to or was read a poem, who recommended, who reenacted, and why I might have returned other times. It was so long ago in such a short time.


March/April Madness

Its been a tripped out two months within and without.

Earthquakes, deaths of friend's family member, eruptions of egos and ashes, more earthquakes, polar shifts in emotional cartography, lucid dreams, found great music, possibilities never imagined, texting replacing talking, riding across town, rolling up the coast, new levels of beauty and viciousness, rewiring old friendships, erotic art that lingers, fairy dust, confessions, relinquishing, moving on, ...

I wish I had the energy to write it all out nice and neat for you to understand, but things are moving so fast these days. One day I will look back at this and remember this time. How will I feel about it? Will I laugh, cry or sigh? Regret, forgot or misunderstood it all?

To sum it all up:


Jaime Escalantes School Proposed

Ron Unz announced that he was planning on opening an elementary school in the MacArthur park area to be named after his good friend and fellow Republican Jaime Escalante.

An Unz spokesman Will Garglio, stated that this will be called Jaime Escalante Westside Elementary School (JEWES). Unz plans to open a similar school on the Eastside.

JEWES curriculum will be total English immersion with a focus on media manipulation. Plans include having a student run television station just like professional Latino TV stations. They plan to staff the station with the lightest and blondest of the community, even if they have to import them all the way from Miami to do so. Will Garglio said, “We want these youth to feel like they are in the real world and that world doesn’t look or speak like them, so they need to get used to it now.”

Textbook orders have already been filed and include texts that exclude Sal Castro, Che Guevarra, Rudy Acu~a and other Chicano/Latino heroes that might instill pride in the students, something that must be avoided, according to textbook publisher: Bendover for Texas Press.

Chicano-Jewish Conversion Classes in Boyle Hts.

The Breed Street Shul in Boyle Hts. has announced that they will soon begin classes for local residents to convert to Judaism. The goal is to tie Latinos to Judaism so that when Latinos have more political power they will continue America's support for Isreal.

Ricardo Montoyiswich a recently converted Chicano Jew said, "This will help re-establish the Jewish presence in Boyle Hts. and hopefully lure Canters back to the heights!" Montoyiswich, who will be teaching several classes at the Shul, said his life has changed for the better since he made the switch. "As an actor I was having a hard time getting work, but out of no where, once I converted, I started getting all these cool gigs."

Some of the classes that will be offered include: "Putting Down Those Whiny Santos," "How To Leave La Virgen and still Love Your Mom," "Circumcising The Chile: Grin and Bare It," "Menorah and Dradle Care for Chicanos (Don't smoke it and it's NOT Pon)," and "How To Trace Your Distant Jewish Roots."

Sleepy Tonatiuh, a next door neighbor to the Shul and proud Aztec dancer said, "This ain't right. They should be teaching people about the people on this land and how this land was stolen, just like the Isreali's stole Palestine." He plans to protest the classes once they open by having his danza group do ceremonies during class time. When asked for a response, Montoyiswich said, "Sounds like that indio needs to see the play "Palestine New Mexico" and learn how Indians are Jewish."

Will there ever be peace in the mid Eastside?


These times....

It's been a crazy year so far.

Major earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and a little one this week in LA.
People are talking about the end of times.
2012 is out on DVD, apparently the end of humans will be available on Netflix

Students are waking up and protesting, yet 2,000 people protesting in suburban streets don't get the media's attention until cops push and are pushed back.
So who knows how many other protests are going on that aren't reported because they were peaceful and didn't push back.

If we listen, we can hear the grumbling
If we stop and smell the air, the hunger is rising
If we open our eyes, the light is dim at the end of the tunnel

On the flip side people are reaching
Seeking out new forms and systems to replace this crumbling joke
These thoughts will be actions, words, intentions, and yes hope, but one based on the real, not the kind funded by the same corporate devils who created it and benefit from it.

I learned this week to relinquish when I give something away or lose it.
Many times we give something up but we don't relinquish it. We hold on. Psychically, in memories, in hope.
When we relinquish we really let it go.

Wolf explained it like this: Imagine I gave you a sacred object that had been in my family for generations. I wanted you to have it because we had a good moment. Now I see you one day going into the pawn shop with the necklace. You come out with money and no necklace. If I really gave it to you, I shouldn't care what you did with it. I relinquished it. I don't hold it in any way with me. Relinquishing is tough to swallow but that is what giving and losing is.


CSUN Protest

In the end, 6 students were arrested and one 72 yr old professor was pushed by police, and fell on her arm, breaking it.

We had a month build up on campus for this day. Chicana/o Studies had a teach in on Feb. 3 and began telling our students that today, March 4th the whole State was going to protest.

I couldn't have paid anyone to make this happen. During my 11 am class I just finished showing them the 10 minute version of "Storm At Valley State" the 1985 documentary that looks at student activism on our campus 41 years ago. I was explaining how many in that generation protested because they demanded more from their country. They expected more for offering their lives and bodies in wars. They expect America to live up to its promise.s And they loved themselves. They felt they deserved more and asked for it. They loved themselves and were moved by love for a better future, like true revolutionaries always are. Moved to act out of love. I asked my students how many loved themselves? How many of you feel you deserve better than what they are offering and cutting away? I asked them if they were ready to start demanding satisfaction.
And like it was a sign from the Goddess, protesting students kicked open the doors out in the hallway and were yelling "Walkout!!!
I looked back at my students and said "They are calling you. Are you going to act? Or be like a good slave and not piss off the master, not rock the boat?"
"WALK OUT" you could hear the students coming closer to our door.
"They are calling you, what u going to do?"
One of my students put his fist in the air and yelled "Walkout" and boom they all jumped up and out the door.
Like I said, I couldn't have paid for that to be more perfectly timed.

The wait for the big meet up in the quad had various groups walking campus asking other students to 'walkout.'

One scene that was an 'only at CSUN' moment was when a small group of marchers came upon one of the CSUN choir's impromtu performances they hold in the breezeway of Jerome Richfield. I walked over to see if the choir was really doing their singing thing today, a day of protest. I was hoping they would be doing protest songs.

When the marchers came up on them I half expected the marchers were going to get up in the face of the choir and ask them to join the march and stop the singing. It was the "american idol" generation facing its burgeoning activist other half, would they clash? No.

The choir said "We are singing this one for you."

The marchers stopped their chanting and listened for a few minutes then, while the choir kept singing, just turned around kept on recruiting other students to join them with another chant and marched away.

When 2pm finally came around there were about a core of 300-400 students throughout the quad in front of our library. Speeches were made, people inspired. We lined up on Matador Way and it looked like the 3-400 swelled a little more. Teachers and students from local schools came to join the march. By the time the march hit Prairie we had at least 2,000 people.

At Prairie and Reseda we went south to Nordhoff. Cars were stopped and honking in support. People got out of their cars and were taking pictures and video. There were no negative Nellies to be seen or heard.

As we went East on Nordhoff the long line of protesters was split in half by CFA 'march leaders.' These were the adults in charge. As faculty we tend to hang back and support our students, but not take any leadership or guiding roles. We advise before hand and if anything gets crazy, but its the students who are doing this, its theirs. CFA did play a major role in organizing this day of protest on a State level and they obviously did a great job of getting people out. At one point they cut the protest in half by letting half the column proceed down Nordhoff to Zelzah and turning the other half back in to campus at Lindley. I stayed with the front half knowing this was going to be a long walk.

We kept going down Zelzah and stopped briefly at Plummer. Some students tried to sit -down there, but the mass wanted to keep moving. At this point I got my homey Nelson's djembe from him. He said he was tired and I love drums. I carried and banged that sucker all the way around campus back to Reseda and Prairie where we had Thee Sit Down, you see in the news.

As you can see in these videos, all the numbers that the media reported are under counted.

(video is from iphone using an app.)


Happy Birthday Pachucoville!!!!

Yes today three years ago I began this blog and its been one great time.

My first blog is here and the one that followed was about the Super Bowl.

I want to thank my readers for the comments and support and my fellow bloggero/as. You have all made my world richer and more full of chisme.

In reading my Super Bowl post I see how I have changed. For one I became a Colts 'fan.' At the start of the season that year my homeboys who are big sports fans said I had to have a team. They said I couldn't just show up to hang out without adding to the shit talking and in order to shit talk I needed to have a team that I would support no matter what. My home Emi said your team will be the Colts and that was it. So with yesterday's humiliating loss I still write here as a Colt fan.

This year's Super Bowl sucked, not only did I miss the pre show (did they even have one?) but The Who at halftime sucked, the commercials were not funny or creative, and my team lost the game due to divine intervention.

How could the Colts lose? The spiritualist in me thinks it was because EVERYONE wanted the Saints to win for so many non football reasons. They wanted the Saints to win for history's sake, the city's sake, everything but that they were a great team. So with that I hope that our collective hopes and dreams take us to a better future in light of whack leadership and a system that consistently sides with the rich, powerful and few.

So that is my bday wish, that if we can all pull for the Saints to win, lets all pull for all underdogs out there, near us, and far and hope that their day in sun is today or tomorrow but soon for sure.

Happy Birthday Pachucoville!!!!


Sampling is NOT a Crime, its an art.

The title of Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod's documentary airing on PBS stations implies that sampledelia is a crime.
Copyright Criminals asks DJs, producers, label heads, lawyers and music critics, how sampling music and using it to make new music became a crime.

Sampling as we know it today began in the late 80's as early hip hop and house music producers used various samplers to take snippets of records, and combined them to make music which would eventually dominate music charts and dance floors around the world.

The doc does show a little about how musicians are 'influenced' by other musicians to the point of mimicking and how the Beatles (viciously anti sampling) sampled stuff for their White Album.

I've always championed electronic music artists and their sampling ways. I believe the main reasons record labels and artists took such a hard stance against this new form of music making was because of course money and good old discrimination. The majority of early sampledelia artists were black and brown and some were gay. Many had kept gay disco and their clubs open through the musical drought that preceded them where 'the best' at the top of the charts at that time were Bruce Springstein and Fleetwood Mac (sp?). When these new generation producers began making sounds out of other sounds, labels (their lawyers) and artists saw a way to make money and give some innovative, creative artists that were making sound scapes never heard before, a hard time.

I admit that some folks who sample and simply loop a part of a popular song over and over with out changing its pitch, or adding any of the various effects available, are lazy and not very creative. They are just using the sample for its popularity. See: MC Hammer "Can't Touch This" (samples Rick James' "Super Freak") and anything by Puffy who blatantly rips off Bowie and The Police.

The majority of artists that utilize samplers often spend days digging through music for the perfect beat or chromatic scales. They reverse, speed up or slow down, delay, reverb, pan, split, make stereo into mono, and many other tricks to change the sample to make it work in their piece.

Many often employ complicated mathematic algorithms to make sure they are not clashing frequencies and some to intentionally clash frequencies in order to produce never before heard frequencies. A lot of dedication and work goes into a lot of production, but many stuck in the 'musician with a traditional instrument can only make music- mindset, don't see (or hear) the revolution happening in their ears.

Check the website for future air dates. The doc is worth viewing much like Scratch and Maestro are essential in understanding music forms made from the margins.


Feliz Nu Decade

I'm back from a mental and physical break. Skipped December cuz it was just too much to spew here and didn't want to shoot out the energy I was holding at the time.

Now, what are we going to do this new year and decade?
Well I might slow down some on posting cuz I'm writing other stuff I want to make some feria on so I won't give so much free reads, sabes?
I'm also exploring the invisible world more with meditation using various techniques that just keep finding me.
I'm still going to post at LA Eastside.com as well, I know I need to do more there too. That blog is blowing up!!!
One blog that I recently read over there was about a Thai restaurant and it got me thinking about my experience with Thai food.

Growing up the only Asian food I had was Chinese and my folks weren't very experimental at that. It was always the dinner specials with the basics: egg flower soup, fried shrimp, sweet pork, fried rice, some veggies and noodles. Never did I hear of Thai or Vietnamese for that matter.

The first time I thought of even trying Thai was driving through K-Town on Vermont and seeing a line of people for a place with a red awning that said Thai Bar B Que in big bold letters. Later I would learn it was called Ocha. I remember driving by there all the time coming from Hollywood heading home in South Central at the time. One day rolling with mom, we were hungry but didn't know what to eat so I said let's stop there, "they always have a line so it must be good."

We parked right in front and got in line. It was a trip they had so many people working. One person sat you, another brought water, another took your order, others stood in between tables ready for you to ask for anything, the food came out quick and the customers were mostly Raza. WOW. Never seen anything like this. All the people working had headsets and they would rattle off your order or request for more water or tea and boom someone was there with what you asked. Efficient and fast. I learned about their 'caldo de siete mares,' pad thai, and garlic chicken. It was the only place I would go to for minute.

One day while attending CSUN my homie Hugo came to the apt. and was telling Oscar, Ernie, Manny and Me about this amazing soup in this cool restaurant that had Coronas for $2.50. So we piled into Oscar's ride and went to Aruni on Western. It was a lighter siete mares soup than what they had at Ocha, but very good. This place was also packed with Raza who were pounding beers with their soup. Everyone only came for the soup! Later I would try something else on their menu and realized I should stick with the soup there. That was my second Thai restaurant.

My next experience with Thai food came from Michelle D. who brought me some Bar-b-que chicken from Chao Praya (sp?). It was a much nicer Thai restaurant than Ocha and Aruni. They had table cloths! All their servers were super model looking Thai women that spoke in soft tones. Muy cool. I learned about coconut milk soup, and other dishes here. I would sometime just ask the super models what was good that day and trust them. It was that good all around. They were on Yucca near Vine, no longer there, but will always be remembered.

Since then I have gotten bolder and braver and now have a variety of Thai spots for the variety of peeps and tastes I or my peeps need.

My favorites these days are:

Palms in Hollywood for Thai Elvis and basic Thai.

Daisy Mint, thanks to Yanini, this is very special, very tasty, its French fusion brings squashes into dishes like I never knew could be done. They are for those ready for flavor bombs to go off.

Saladang is also muy flavorful and consistent with their quality. Its also in a very modern nice locale with a sweet patio.

Vics is in the Valley (omg) thanks to Fabi for this one too. This is Thai fast food style but very good. Its like the many burger joints in the Eastside but with Thai. They make everything by the order.

Now I also have Korean spots, Japanese houses and Vietnamese joints that I love.

The other day I was driving with my father going to eat in Chinatown and he took a phone call. His friend on the other end asked where are you? and pops said (in spanish) "We are in the barrio Chino for lunch." The friend probably asked "Oh you like THAT food?" and pops answered "Oh yes, I'm international like that."
I love that.

Happy Nu Year and Decade, eat well, treat yourself and yours well...