Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spontaneous Family Hang y Me Voy!

When I just need a break in general, to take a nap on a long bus ride and/or to be pampered in the way only a doting Puerto Rican grandmother can I take a quick trip up to Buffalo, N.Y. to visit my father's family. This time around my Grandfather requested the visit and despite my quickly approaching departure date from the States I conceded, even though my time with my Grandfather usually just entails me literally watching him do things- like watching TV (PR gossip television shows,baseball games,Italian cooking shows), strum on his guitar, or pour over highway maps of the United States all while he mumbles and hums to himself. He is adorable. In addition my visits entail my Aunt and Grandmother asking me if I am hungry nearly every hour and bringing me food even if the answer is no and comments that my cousin artfully described as "10% compliment 90% something else". Thus far favorites include my grandfather telling me I look like a tramp (he is not a fan of the tattoos) and from my aunt "Oh-is that what you call a skirt? From the front maybe but from the back not so much". The dry wit I have been exposed to my whole life and I am grateful for it, it reminds me to not take myself so seriously or to recognize people have multiple ways of showing their love that are totally acceptable (just look for it, make note and then you will know when the words that are really coming out of their mouths are "i love you"). The best comment so far is from my 4 yr-old cousin "Why do you talk so fancy? It's sexy", sigh why do they grow up? This is my last post until I return to Amerika early Novemeber. Good luck til then friends.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hang Out Song Break #6

No matter how many years go by and how much my musical tastes expand and grow, nothing makes my heart stir (in the way I believe it was meant to) more than the fast and passionate punk. When I  need to get my power back I listen to the voice of one of the best bad asses I have ever known.

Punk note: The band is Dark Lion and the label that recently pressed a 7inch of the original tape version of the recording is Vinyl Rites.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's a feeling

I have uprooted once again, having completely cleared out of my place in Bed-Stuy and plans indicate I will be leaving Brooklyn borders.   Excited for new prairies and not sad to leave but grateful I had a chance to live in this legendary cultural center of BK (and the world).  I am going to miss some aspects of the neighborhood.  Namely, the call to prayer from the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque located at Fulton and Bedford,  my landlord and her family which included Marcel my constant advice giver and morning chat friend and their grandson who would jump out and greet me from a hiding place sometimes when I would stumble through the door at the end of a long day, automatically lifting my spirits.  And last but not least Abdul, my friend and parking lot attendant on the corner of Halsey and Bedford always wishing me a nice day.

Some more things I will miss:

Masjid At-Taqwa
Cats named after revolutionaries.  I will also miss the laundromat on Arlington.

It's the Brooklyn way. One of my co-workers on a walk around the neighborhood, as love seems to emanate from him.

Random shit: Just another horse in Bed Stuy.  Federation of Black Cowboys pay a visit to the local elementary school.  On this same day a block away I came across a Afro-Carib cop trying to settle a traffic dispute between an old ass Orthodox Jew and an old ass Muslim man.  There's a joke in there somewhere.  I was tempted to take a picture but decided it would be rude but laughed out loud at the sight nonetheless.

The colors....

The stoop.  


Friday, August 17, 2012

Hang Out Type: Spontaneous

In the moves being made to a) move out of my apartment and b) go on a three and half month vacay, I realize here in New York I have finally built up a network of folks, solid and reliable who make my life here much easier.  And that even in New York with a little intention you can build up community to the point that living in this metropolis is starting to not feel so different from the smallest town I have ever lived in-a perk that includes the spontaneous hang out.  One of the things I was missing about my small town communities from years back was the random drop in, the impromptu dinners, having friends down the block who were immediately accessible for any random favor.   Although geographically my life here is not structured to facilitate this as easily as it was say in Pensacola, FL where all my friends for the most part lived within a seven block radius of one another, here in Brooklyn/Queens a bicycle makes disconnected portions of the city seem seamlessly accessible, fluidly blending into one another.  Ten to twenty minute rides providing you fairly quick access to one group of friends or the other.  The spontaneous hang is a web of assurance and a nod of reliability and accessibility from a circle of friends that you are cared for and taken care of.  And I don't think of myself as being particularly social but I do enjoy good company, keeping me from feeling like I exist in some sort of void but I am reluctant to plan.  So having people who are easily accessible and existing in my life allows for the spontaneous hang, that random moment of getting to catch up with your friend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


As a Floridian I hate to admit that New York City summers kick my ass, making me sluggish and slightly disoriented.  These last few days particularly difficult for me as I sport a mid summer fever, that as usual is a result of lack of sleep and a brief period of chain smoking. It's almost two in the morning and Files and I are standing on the West 4th humidified platform discussing our very young adult hood, when we first struck out in the world.  "How the hell do younger kids just own $2,000 laptops now? I remember barely having enough money to eat", "It's a different time".  Then we briefly discuss how dumpster diving was actually done to supplement meager means at the time (well for some of us any way).   We just got out of watching Slacker at the theater at West 4th  and the film had triggered a nostalgia in us, reminiscing about when our lives were fairly similar to the movie.

Just an hour before the movie I was eating nachos, sitting in the entryway of a closed Starbucks with an old friend.  We reviewed old "love affairs" that had circulated in our friend group over the years and passersby stared at us, their brains trying to process if we were homeless, injured, drunk or all three.  Who sits on the sidewalk on 7th and 24th, for a dinner of nachos as if they do it everyday?  We do.

Today ran into a buddy from Chattanooga at a local coffee shop I usually avoid.  He was telling me how he is almost done with school and is looking to become a Latin teacher.  That the "old guard" is dying and younger scholars of Latin such as himself are poised to take over.  I nod and comment approval on his smarts and he responds, "It's just my thing and everyone has their thing".   His comment contributes to my internal dialogue of the week, what does it mean to be "special"?  Which all began while washing dishes preparing dinner with friends.  Listening to a song in Spanish, that our host was translating and interpreting, I'm looking down at my hands and arms, shiny with water and soap, gliding over one green plate after the other.  I realized that I had thought the song was a love song, singularly isolated to make only one individual special.  He had interpreted it as a spiritual song on how all things were special.  This is the correct interpretation.    

There is no time of my life that I don't want to include moments such as these.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The bonds that tie

This past week I had a chance to sit for one on ones with a couple of friends who have been in my life for well over a decade.  We have not lived in the same town, much less the same state in years but here we are once again meeting up, consoling each other through our ups and downs, helping each other get through our day to day.  Leaving me to wonder, what are the bonds that tie us?  Is it chemical? Is it personality? Some reincarnated soul gang that rolls with each other life after life?  I have no answers here, I am genuinely intrigued as I get older why some relationships are so effortless and others so effortful.  When on paper two individuals side by side check out the same, it seems illogical that your connection to either of them should vary by much.  Being able to kick it seems less about the activity itself but more about the bonds that exist between you and that person.  Sure, yea I would rather be doing some activities over others but getting wasted with your head glued to the bar has it's place in life just as much as spending an evening creating something with friends.  In time being spent, I say I am up for whatever, which I am but if I think about it I am really up for people.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fuck "Eat, Pray, Love" this is my "Sin Mapas"

I say this to Marissa and she replies,  "That should be your Facebook status".  I don't have Facebook so here ya go.  We were standing in line waiting to get into the free Calle 13 concert happening at Prospect Park.  We had been talking about my disdain of folks referring to my upcoming venture to South America as my version of "Eat, Pray, Love".  In all fairness I have never read the book nor seen the movie that it seems now will peg all solo female travelers from here on out as desperate, lost, and looking for love in the far reaches of the world (from the western world at least).  As I had told Marissa and a few other friends earlier in the week via email , "I was a solo back packing bad ass before that chick even thought of writing that book".   This trip I won't be so much of a solo bad ass for most of the trip but bad ass nonetheless with three other folks who I hope to be blessed enough to have with me.  Sin Mapas was a documentary that René Joglar and his musical brother Eduardo Cabra Martínez of Calle 13, showing their venture through parts of Latin America in hopes of better understanding the countries they were touring through.  I am very much into the pan-Latin vibe of the group, Rene being the Latin Marcus Garvey of my heart.  Like the brothers in the film, I too am eager to understand the land and most importantly the diverse array of people that I share a colonized culture with and see what we have in common and what we don't and how I am going to continue that story for myself from this point onward. 

 I won't be taking pictures.  While I enjoy photography, I find the act of taking pictures makes me feel disconnected from what is happening to me in the moment, much like posting every thought you may have on Facebook, some things are better left in your mind.  I do however have plans of documenting my venture via sound!  With my lil janky digital recorder-plazas, busses, restaurants, beaches-I hope to bring you the sounds of Latin America by December- and that way you can develop your own pictures in your mind of my trek.

Link to Sin Mapas - shown in total. Yea it's in Spanish, get a dictionary.