Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reaction to "Rodrigo D: No Futuro"

When there's no future / How can there be sin / We're the flowers in the dustbin / We're the poison in your human machine / We're the future, your future
―God Save the Queen, Sex Pistols, 1977
Within the film, Gaviria reappropriates the 1952 Italian neorealist film by Vittorio de Sica. Gaviria applies the same desperation of Umberto D while adding a message different from that of Vittorio de Sica. In the same fashion as Vittorio de Sica, Gaviria used a majority of non-professional actions, but Gaviria really takes it a step further to make a story about the disaffected youth of the Colombian slums, going so far as to use people from those neighborhoods to play the actors within the slum story. The punk mentality concerns itself music with the issue of authenticity. Throughout the film the only sound-scape heard throughout Víctor Gaviria’s Rodrigo D: No Futuro is punk rock music. Gaviria incorporates punk rock into the mix to add another dimension to the Rodrigo D: No Futuro in order to achieve a universality within the message of his story.

Starting with just the title as well as the opening sequence with punk rock playing on top of title cards against a black backdrop. The parallel to de Sica’s film is evident without even beginning the film while the “No Futuro” part must be experienced in the first 30 seconds to understand where Gaviria wants to take the film. By 1990 within the US and the UK, the punk rock movement was already experiencing an acceptance within their places of origin; and by acceptance, it also experienced a blanding. It had gone through many a subtle development to arrive at a place where the mainstream saw it as yet another segmentation of the market to sell to, which meant it was de-fanged. Understanding this temporal context of punk rock, the music played in the opening sequence is definitely seen as not a stylistic choice on part of the director, but a nostalgic reaching back to a purer punk rock (as much as any point of origin can be argued to be the “pure” form). The music’s not pretty. It’s raw. It’s loud. It’s aggressive. It’s expressive and little else. By refraining from the mainstream punk music available to him in the late 1980s, Gaviria must be referencing punk music from its early days.

Once one is given this music history lesson, the combination of “No Future” and raw punk music automatically pays homage to the Sex Pistols, one of the seminal artists in the early days of punk rock. One of their most famous songs (outdated when Rodrigo D was made) God Save the Queen has a chorus that repeats “There’s no future / No future / No future for you” multiple times throughout and finally closes the song. Taking this chorus with the last verse of God Save the Queen quoted at the beginning of this reaction, it’s easy to see parallels between the themes of the film and the nihilism within these quotes. Crime and violence is of no issue to the people within the slums because no one has given them a reason to avoid these destructive habits.
When one thinks of punk, they usually think of anti-establishment rhetoric. The repetition of the lines “Dinero / Problemas / Sistema” at the beginning of the film with Rodrigo D walking through the slum reiterates the structural inequalities experienced by the poor of Colombia. The lyrics sung are all in Spanish, which signifies a Colombia-focused re-appropriation of England’s punk rock to be applicable to Colombian (perhaps, more broadly, even to Latin American) sensibilities. The confrontational aspect of the movie that is anti-establishment is the unglorified/ un-commented upon crime perpetrated by the characters in the film. In trying to break with the past norms, punk music eschewed the perceived excesses of mainstream, and this can be seen in Gaviria’s use of non-professional actors from the streets of Medellín.

To push the punk rock parallels more, in the same in which early punk rock music consisted of basic chords being played by unskilled instrumentalists, Gaviria presents the audience with a pure, stripped down, no bullshit film about what it’s like in the slums of Medellín. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mentality is taken to an extreme within the punk movement since it manifested itself in pure expression without talent. In the film, the pervasive crime can be seen as a DIY philosophy about economic empowerment. Rodrigo D figures out how to get himself some drumsticks without actually spending the money on them. There is a punk rock band playing wherever they can to be able to express themselves. Further, the message of Rodrigo D is not some subtle, sublime message intended to illuminate some dark corner of the viewer’s intellect, but rather, it is really frank and confrontational. The distance that punk rock sought from the bombast and sentimentality of mainstream is evident in the manner in which Rodrigo D is composed so as to avoid any obfuscation or manipulation by Gaviria.

This is not to say that Gaviria is unskilled instrumentalist, because he still knows how to use the camera to capture this story, nor is he some obtuse observer since he knows how to inject the monotony of the cotidiano into the story to reveal how the slums affects its inhabitants in a deleterious manner as well as force the non-impoverished observer to identify with a more humanized form of their life.

Reaction to "Secuestro Express"

Chavez’ arrival to power created divisiveness within the Venezuela with respect to class differences. The only reason that the divisiveness has been created by Chavez is because he has decided to give voice to the normally voiceless through populist strategies. Having been kidnapped himself, Jonathan Jakubowicz paints a very skewed, polarizing view of Venezuela’s problem with poverty and violence. The beginning of the movie evokes the anti-Chavez position as related to the violence perpetuated during the April 11th attempted coup d’état of President Chavez. I believe Jakubowicz’s social stratification and his personal experience with his own kidnapping have compromised Jakubowicz’s ability to give a cogent message within his story since there are so many differing messages instilled within the film.

Martin is characterized as high maintenance (like a female and, thus by correlation, a homosexual tendency) and as “old money”. From his introduction, he is detached from society, only compounded by his prolific drug use to the point of getting sick in the middle of a public space. To add to the lack of masculinity embodied by Martin, he partakes in sexual intercourse with Marcelo, to the chagrin of Carla and the derision of his secuestradores (Aside: It was mentioned in class that Marcelo’s intercourse with an Afro-Venezuelan cadet is a jibe at Chavez’ sexuality. If that is so, then Martin’s intercourse with Marcelo is equally as abominable, yet possibly with a shred of redemption since he was the more masculine within the exchange.). Further along the story, Martin finds an avenue to flee and abandons his girlfriend to the secuestradores, despite being told that fleeing will only make it worse for her. Despite the fact that Martin is probably the closest identifiable character to Jonathan Jakubowicz, Jakubowicz seems to be condemning Martin in many different types of ways.

In the sequence with Martin walking through the square after fleeing his captors, Martin encounters a gathering where a man dressed as Jesus is re-enacting the Good Friday journey under the weight of the cross. This is a Holy Week tradition in Latin America common among globalized movies to imbue the backdrop with exoticism. Given the popularity of la Plaza Roja to the Chavista faction, Jakubowicz seems to be mixing his signs. There is little reason why the martyr of a class victimized by the masses, seen as running “wild” around the city and supported by the Chavez government, should be associated with a pro-Chavez. This Jesus imagery serves to foreshadow Martin’s re-capture and ultimate death. In the square, Jakubowicz is trying to say that the one who fought against his captors and ran away will meet the same end as Jesus Christ did, having deserved such a sacrificial slot within the metanarrative. Yet, the Plaza’s close attachment to pro-Chavez groups lends itself to a thematic ambiguity within the film.

In the same way in which Jakubowicz splits his symbolism, Jakubowicz used very popular, commercialized actors to sell a movie where the majority of the movie is carried by non-professionals. According to Wikipedia, Jakubowicz it “stars ‘non-stars,’ mostly rappers, who were trained for the role over a period of six weeks.” The hiring non-professionals to play mimics Victor Gaviria’s attempt to truly represent the lower class by giving them the opportunity to voice their discontent. But it only is a poor mimicry of Gaviria’s sincere attempt to reach out since Jakubowicz has no truly redemptive scenes of the kidnappers. The attempts to show them as people of values is cursory and insufficient to give the audience a humanizing view of the desperate kidnappers and the structural problems in Venezuela that led their wanting (read: needing) to kidnap for random. It’s an interesting comment to his motive of deriding the massified public (read: “el monstruo”) he perceives as harmful and dangerous to the continuance of a civil Venezuela.

I believe Jonathan Jakubowicz is sloppy with the symbolism of his insincere reaching out to alien social classes. Albeit that he has an agenda to promote an intra-class awareness (read: terror) among the middle class of Venezuela, Jakubowicz’s coherence within his own film seems to fail. Jakubowicz’s message most evidently is that the nice middle class people need to live their life with temperance and moderation since the outside world is so vicious and perilous.

Reaction to "Memorias del subdesarrollo"

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea en Memorias del subdesarrollo plantea una dialéctica entre la ideales de la revolución comunista cubana y su realización, simbolizado en la discrepancia entre los pensamientos de Sergio y las realidades sociales pasando después del golpe del estado. Al nivel muy superficial, Alea demuestra la desconexión entre la burguesía cubana y las masas con la yuxtaposición de los pensamientos neuróticos auto-reflexivos con imágenes de la revolución. Un ejemplo sencillo está demostrado cuando Sergio dice que nada ha cambiado en la ciudad, pero se ve Habana a través de una perspectiva distorsionada por el telescopio. También esa secuencia tiene el símbolo de su punta de vista siendo de un nivel separado de la de las masas.

Con su tratamiento de la relación entre Sergio tiene con Elena, Alea quiere crear una alegoría entre un país joven y una clase que tiene la capacidad de contaminar la nueva Cuba. Es posible decir que Sergio destruye la pureza de Elena pero otra lectura diría que Elena aprueba su propia profanización. Más al fondo, algo interesante en esa secuencia es el juego y la inocencia que demuestra en no ser consciente de las consecuencias de su propia sexualidad con el movimiento alrededor de el apartamiento de Sergio. Lo que indica esa proposición es la manera en que cada perspectiva subjetiva choque con la persona enfrente de sí. La cámara consigue la perspectiva de Sergio y Elena para simbolizar la culpabilidad de ambos en la interacción destructiva, aquí: la destrucción de la inocencia de Elena. Todo éste trata de proponer que Cuba y su burguesía tiene a responsabilidad de relatarse a y comunicarse con sí mismos.

Sergio states that “underdevelopment is inability to relate things, to accumulate things, and to develop.” There is a connection between the underdevelopment of Cuba’s revolutionary ideology and the two round table discussions Sergio attends, one being the intellectual discussion on underdevelopment and the other being his trial for the false rape of a young, naïve girl. In each, the discourse is equally absurd. At the intellectual roundtable, a bunch of white, (probably) European-trained intellectuals discuss how Americans view all Hispanics, and that they are on equal footing with all other Cubans. Alea gives a contrast between the speaker identifying himself and all Cubans as “criados negros” whilst being serviced by a black servant. Being representatives of the intellectual in Cuba, these people obviously are unable to relate to things in a consistent manner. Another thing just as absurd is the question posited by the American inquiring why the manner in which the intellectuals are debating is not more revolutionary, which is symbolic and intellectually stimulating yet holds no applicability within the actual revolution. The state is symbolized by the judges who hear the case of the rape of Sergio where the rich intellectual is on trial. Camera perspectives are in Sergio’s face and those of the judges where the confrontation between the government and its bourgeoisie is shown. The simple fact that social norms did not accompany a revolution is completely visible as Elena’s parents as well as the judges’ question demonstrate another gap between the ideology and the reality. Another instance where Sergio says but does not do is when he laments his relationship with Elena and states that he thought Elena would be more complex and interesting whilst pulling out “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. This contrast between sounds and sight give an irony to the sequence that intends to prove Sergio’s sole objective with Elena was to enjoy the carnal pleasures of a young, fertile, mestizo female. His own intellectual pandering forces him to rationalize and insert some loftier ideal into the situation so as to reduce his culpability in taking away Elena’s innocence.

Otro ejemplo de la separación de Sergio con la mayoría de la población cubana occure cuando Sergio visita la casa Hemingway. Hemingway killed himself despite his ivory tower, I assume that Sergio’s time in the house of such a “citizen of the world” parallels Sergio’s class destruction within the Cuban revolution. Alea concluye su pelicula con el hecho de juntar unas imágenes de lo militar de la revolución con secuencias de Sergio pensando en su cama jugando con su encendedor. Aquí Alea quiere concluir que alguien como Sergio no va a tener un lugar en la revolución porque la nueva revolución no sea determinada por un intelectual y la inactividad de la reflexión sino por la hegemonía militar que un gobierno puede exhibir. This is most evidently Alea’s message for the viewer since the juxtaposition of “thinking” versus “doing” is preceded by a single static shot of Sergio’s sink full of some white foam. Sergio slowly washes the foam down the drain until the sink is clean again. Symbolically, this simple scene can only mean that all the concepts (or ideologies) for the revolution will go down the drain as well. All of the neurotic intellectual drivel delivered the entire film amounts to nothing and is destined to go away never to be seen again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

...About new techniques I use to calm myself.

"Well, if you didn't keep fucking up so royally, you wouldn't have to resort to all this New Age crap to calm yourself down."

- Great Uncle Fidencio

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Average American Male, Part 2

"I've never seen someone's face when their heart explodes, but I'm pretty sure that's what I'm looking at as Casey's mom falls out of her chair and her mouth and eyes get big enough to make her look like a cartoon."


--The Average American Male, Chad Kultgen, Page 115

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America


This is from somewhere in the world.

As a citizen of these United States, I know that this should be the conception we all take given the fact that we are all bastards from castaways of what has been perceived as the Old World.

The world was falling apart in Europe, Asia, & Africa and for some reason moving West was the only solution they found in common.

Most of what has been touted as American seems to revolve around one continent and it's rugged individualism. There's obviously an opposite side of the success United States that has manifested itself in the southern part of America.

This is our legacy. This is where the world's failures and successes lie.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Average American Male

I change my mind about smashing my car into a pole. Instead, I realize I'd rather get into some kind of accident that would result in Casey's mom being trapped and me having to save her, so for the rest of her life she'd know the man who ruined her daughter's life also saved hers.


--The Average American Male, Chad Kultgen, Page 115

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I hired a private investigator today...

I hired a private investigator today. I waited in my office behind my desk with my back to the door when I heard a few knocks on it. Through the sliver of window to the left of the door, I saw his right arm wearing a tweed jacket with a blue-faced watch with a stainless steel band. I remained still as I slowly spun my chair back to face the door. I just watched what his right arm since I had nothing else to watch. It just hung there expectantly while I watched my breath hoping he couldn’t hear me through the inch-and-a-half wooden door. It was times like this that I was glad to have foregone the CHEAP door for oak. It took me a couple of seconds to catch hold of myself and then I finally decided I would acknowledge my presence.

As I was about to vocalize a noise, I opted to shuffle some papers together to make a single stack from the rows of those spread before me. I got everything together and then I made a sound that sounded like, “Come in!”

The private investigator opened the door and peered in, “You called me.”

“Yeah, come in. I have a job that I need your help on.”

“Don’t call for me ever again.”

I finished mussing with the stacks of paper on my table and stared into his grey stormy eyes. He was completely serious. I felt sheepish, so decided that I might as well start laying out my business on the table in front of me.

“I need you to follow someone for me.”

“What’s new?”

“Ah, well, this is a little different from the other assignments I’ve asked you to do for me before.”

“No it’s not.”

“You might be right, but I have a couple of different objectives with this job than from other ones. I’m right now working on a contract with a competitor of mine to try and unite our businesses against our other larger competitors...”

“So, it is like every other job.”

“Now wait a minute. I didn’t get to finish. I’m not so interested in the business from an organizational point of view. I want to know about the owner’s wife, Kim.”

“Why?”

“Well, that’s proprietary.”

He crossed his legs and leaned to his left side. It was possibly the most contorted position I’ve ever seen.

“Well I can’t investigate someone if I don’t know the context. I’ll assume you want to create leverage against your fledgling business partner by discovering any sort of improprieties, infidelities, indebtedness.”

He pulls out a cigarette and lights it with a match.

“You’d be half correct.”

“Then you’re fucking her and want to know if anyone knows about it.”

He ashes onto my carpet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Delusional

"Wenck's Army had reached Furth. Hitler reached for the map, looked at it, and turned toward Krebs as if he wanted to say, 'Maybe we can make it after all.' Krebs adjusted his monocle and said,'My Fuhrer, Furth is not Berlin.'"


Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven
Adjutant in the Bunker
(30 April, 1945)

Click here for more context.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Look at Me! (1 of many)

Look at me! Look at me! I'm so well-dressed I can hardly speak. But when I speak, grammar so good eyes begin to leak. And my teeth begin to treat. Leaf by leaf, I seem to give it my all. Turn over one more and I am precocious and gaul.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Effort

This is something I find funny. It is very humorous when people put lots of effort into normal, everyday things that a normal persons themself wouldn't think to do. As an example, my sister is a Project Manager at her job (with whatever she does), so things like this (I feel) are fun for her since it's not "Action Item"-oriented, nor is there a "Performance Review"-related. I will aimlessly pontificate on this topic later, but felt it necessary to at least post the screen shot for all of my adoring fans.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Better than Nostalgia

This feels better than a nostalgic moment where you turn your head from your desk where you a lugubriously toiling at the matrices or the algorithms or the atomic structures or the linearity of the logic of your theses. You look up and catch a vision from your past. You see a cute boy and girl holding hands. Despite the fact that they are nothing to write home about (or write to your audience), but they are not unattractive. They're the non-descript good-looking couple that only brings on a Purelled vision of joy lacking any sort of lust, admonishment, envy, or despair.

Your mind wanders backwards in a rush of air that can slam you back upon sticking your head out the window while on the highway. You might as well push back from your desk, stand up, walk around, and sit back down after making a commute to and from the water fountain. You don't occupy yourself like you normally do when you lose focus, but grab onto the sliver of your history that makes you remember times with your eskimo kissed. You're laying in bed and forget to figdet because your focusing on her breathing. There's that moment during the car ride while holding her hand that you forgot to use your seatbelt. And then you knew....

It's a retrospective look at your own life that is not fraught with some sort of watering down of the past.

The past comes forward and slaps you as hard as it did the first time it did when you got around it.

The songs have not staled as time as blown by.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Grippin' the Mic

Grippin’ the mic
And rippin’ the stage
Sippin’ on hype
But hatin’ the taste.
Starting at the back wall (or: Staring back at the wall)
And imagin’ the haze
Where is my microphone?
I’m forgettin’ the pages
Suckin’ in all the hyper-tones
Just like a microphone-phage does
Yet spittin’ up
Yet spittin' up
Yet spittin' up all these hyphied flows
And still tryin’ to amaze us
Stuck on ideals but “Oh, to be famous”
You’re glad I so unfocused or I’d be contagious
Never knew this movement could ever be contagious
Wait a few more bars and you’ll find I’m sensatious.
I see that these mind peels keep flaking off the paper
Let me keep rhyming, let me just keep rhyming
I’ll show you a savior
With coked out behavior skipping beats like a broken CD stuck on repeat
Yet still on the stage giving you savory delight
Let me write, let me rhyme
Let me wrong, and let me write
Let me write and let me rhyme
Let me lead ya through foggy nights
Get me to the light
As the spot checks me to make sure me be doing it right
Just get me to the light
Up up up and outta sight
[Something brilliant will go here.]
Because I’m graciously gleaming off the wings of an unctuous being
Though never retreating, I try as many lines in the time it takes me to grab my nine
On my hip, which doesn’t exist
While all minorities in the room shake their heads with a “tsk, tsk, tsk”
Maybe I’m over-directed, a lil’ misunderstood.
Maybe I’m over-corrected, I should just tell ‘em I ain’t from the hood.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Truth Stripped of Its Cloak of Time

It took me ten years to truly comprehend how TV twists and turns truths to fiction and fictions into realities and realities are turned into memories embedded within the sheets that keep us firmly cemented into temporal safe-havens that warmly cuddle and muzzle our fears from screaming, seeming to blur the lines between what binds and what reminds.

Though unknown to my mind, I knock the dirt out of the holes as I dig for memories in the rain. I slosh & buckle under the pressure, mistaking my own digging for a purposeful end where I shovel for the future, for the enlightenment of ages to come from unearthing the unknown. I pause. In the darkness, I see nothing but the inconsequential incontinence of a continental paradigm shift that moves, not mountains, but foam thrills. And through the darkness, with the sight left to those who have indigent sensations that float forward into a rush of air, I see my homeless feelings are tired of flittering toward a misplace metaphor that you can’t even pick up from the ground.

I dig for the memories in the dirt with nothing to pick up and loose rigor to unearth. Digging for memories at a time when I forget my own name, when I callus in my head, and when I only remember the inane.

Now back to the rain pit of despair where I dig up new earth simply to sink to the bottom and realize this new birth. Digging for memories through the rain that unwelcomingly satiates new seasons as the cause and effect of these unfurled reason, as an unattended scene ends with a framework most undoubtedly European. Digging through all the useless things that enclose a precious memory that makes me feel alive and sane, through feelings cemented in my brain, the ones that are to blame.
Truths are turned to fiction by perverting the true representations of reality. TV is but an abstraction of the reality representing it.

So I dig for the future, using the past to produce a more fruitful future. Moving earth with brute strength in order to disclose what’s buried there. Rain only complicates the matter, like emotions do, blurring the lines between what binds and what reminds. The rain seems to muddle our perceptions so that we must reason our way to what we see as our own veritable “truth”.

Monday, March 9, 2009

And then my Mother was born.

It was early 1952 (sorry, Mom) and Everado Casares realized he needed to expand his homestead if he was going to have enough room for his moderately expanding family. So, before my mother was born, my grandparents arranged to purchase some houses in another area of town, away from Downtown Brownsville, and closer to the elementary school he wanted his sons to attend. It was near Lincoln Park, which was ironic since it is Brownsville, but it's not like no one carries around pennies or something. My grandparents pinches pennies (oddly enough) to save for their first purchase of a brand-new home.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And then my Grandfather learned how to leave home...

Helping out the household only worked so long as Everado was seen as a valued asset within the family. When that failed, he decided he would have to leave home to do his own thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So Then the Great Depression Hit...

My Grandfather loved school. He wanted to be a doctor. Statistically (due to socioeconomic reasons) he probably would never have become a doctor, but at least he had aspirations. More than some people I know... But, like everything else in life, there were some things, other than economic stratification, that at work that were not within his control. Everyone lost. No one was safe. Black Tuesday came and went. Hoover did his thing (sucks to have hindsight). Prices dropped. People lost land. People relocated. Shanty-towns spring from the earth like bacteria in a Petri dish. It was more than just the Economy that was depressed. I’m pretty sure emo kids wouldn’t even dig this time of U.S. History (i.e. no place to recharge their iPods). Everyone lost. No one was safe.

He started to cry once Nicolas told him he had to leave school. His father Nicolas Horacio Casares was not one to mince words: “This is not the time,” would be all that was said for something that involved some tangential issue like health, well-being, feelings, etc (things normally attributed to pussies or liberals).

“When will be the time?”

“No time soon.”

So Everado Casares had to do odd jobs for his father around the farm. He delivered produce from the farm on a daily basis to scrape together more cash than was possible with just his father doing everything. He was weak at first. He never got a fair price for anything at the market. He was a smart kid, but was too timid to try to stand up for himself. Everado would get slapped when he got home by his father, who repeatedly did not know how to get the message across to his first-born.

There was one night when my Grandfather arrived home from the market with only 10 dollars (worth about $200 nowadays—that’s called relativism) for about a weeks’ worth of produce.
Nicolas stepped back with fright when Everado told him this. In the small farm house, there was not far to step back. Nicolas couldn't help himself though and he kept stepping back as if he were falling. He put his left out arm to balance himself. He kept falling backwards. He stepped and stepped back until he collided with the wall of the living room. Nicolas stared back at Everado: “Don’t you know what you are doing to your family?” Everado didn't know what to say; he realized his weakness was harming everyone in his family. He knew something had to change. He had to change.

Everado soon learned how to deal with food merchants trying to cheat him out of money because he was so young. He changed into his father in order to give off the impression that there was a lot he was thinking about. He never knew exactly what he was doing, but he figured he would just fake it until he made it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

...How My Grandfather Won the Affections of His Father

As I'm already mentioned, my Grandfather grew up in the Agriculture business. And by that, I mean that he spent a lot of time out in the sun slaving away. His family weren’t sharecroppers, but the land was rough on everyone. My Grandfather’s family had been in Mejico/Tejas/Republic of Texas/US since 1823, so they were used to the area. They weren’t probably used to being treated like they were second-class citizens, but, hey, everyone adapts to situations.

He was impoverished as much as anyone else was around him, but Everado’s job was to work as hard as he could to help support the small family that was rapidly increasing in size. So he woke up very early in the morning to help out with chores, went to school, then came home to work on chores in the afternoon. It was a hard life. Springs and autumns were times when he would miss more school than normal, but all of the farmers' kids missed school, so he wasn't a snowflake or anything.

Once while he was working in the fields the Texas sun started to work on his blond hair something fierce. A seven year-old Everado Isassi Casares was tilling the soil for next week's planting of the batch of cotton they were growing this season. It was that time of year when the weather is perfect (i.e. Spring), but the summer Texas sun didn't want to wait any longer than it had to.

Within from the light forest of his full head of golden hair, beads of sweat emerge from his skin like SuperMario came shooting out of those green pipes. They traverse through the follicle forest Like barbarians attacking a Roman legion, sweat pours out of the Follicle Forest and encounter the rollings plains of the Forehead. Then comes the oscillating landscape of the Eyebrows, Eyes, Nose, Lips, and then the precipice that is the Chin.

My Grandfather, hunched over with his hoe, kept pecking at the dirt while beads of sweat rolled down his forehead, temples, and wrists. The hoe and everything Everado touched would slip out of his hands. He didn't have any control since the sweat was everywhere. The sun finally took its toll on our golden boy. My Grandfather collapse right there at 3 in the afternoon underneath the hot, vindictive Texas sun. [The way my Grandfather related the story to me was done differently than I will present it to you, so you must understand I am going to apply a little of a modern perspective here.] My Grandfather was so dehydrated that he experienced sunstroke.

He recounted in the story that Conejo, the horse he that warmed him nightly for the first 2 years of his life, came to his rescue. Who knows why Conejo would be without a harness, but somehow Conejo came upon my Grandfather. Conejo, though, wasn't Lassie, so it wasn't like Timmy was caught in the well or something. Conejo has to make due with what God had given him, so he somehow figured a way how to drag my Grandfather out of the field and back to the farm house.

Over 5 miles my seven year-old Grandfather was dragged through the dirt.
For over 5 miles my seven year-old Grandfather was baked by the sun.
Conejo couldn't walk that fast either because he didn't want to harm Everado, so he was turned over and over throughout the 5-mile trek.
The sun slowly change Everado into what he would look like the rest of his life.

By the time Conejo made it back to the house, it was that mid-point between dusk and twilight. My Great-Grandmother Maria didn't see Conejo until he was within a few feet of her. Upon hearing a scream from his wife, Nicolas rushed over to pick up my Grandfather, but as he stooped over to untying Conejo from his son's leg, Nicolas realized that this wasn't Everado he was unlashing. The child he was carrying in his arms was a dark-skinned child with hair like the night. Nicolas tried to rouse the boy to consciousness, but was unable. Nicolas splashed water on Everado's face trying to see to where he came from, to no avail. Maria staged a coup and led her husband over into the house to care for the injured child. "Details, details!," she would scold my Grandfather in the future, as she scolded my Great-Grandfather right then.

It took 2 hours for Everado to wake up from his fainting spell. Nicolas, who didn't trust anyone who wasn't family (even if they were a child), stood over the bed and commanded, "Who are you? Why are you on my land?" Everado felt more pain from his father's overbearing treatment than from the sunstroke. Everado sat up and started crying. Nicolas stood there not knowing how to interrogate a crying child, so he opted to only ask the lil' darkie to "remove those tears from his face" [Translator's Note: That's really what he meant, not just what he said.].

Everado, after hearing those words he'd heard many times before, looked up to Nicolas and asked him, "Don't you recognize me, Daddy?" Then it struck Nicolas that this somehow was his son. The "Papa" that stumbled off of Everado's lips was undeniably his wife's son. Nicolas was frozen. He had been praying to God for a dark child. He never realized it would materialize like this. A flood of guilt proved that for the first time that my Great-Grandfather was not an android or an alien life-form: he cried and hugged his first-born son in his arms.

And that's how my Grandfather won the affection of his father

...And then it starts again.

My Grandfather was born to poor farmers. There was no debate about that. To be born a Mexican-American farmer in south Texas in the early 1900s, or anytime actually, really sets you up for failure. Not like his parents had any other options for their child. Probably the best thing that they could have done, and did, for my Grandfather was to be situated on the north side of the Rio Bravo/Grande (whatever) when they got pregnant with him.

So he was born unequivocally American, but he was a pale baby. My Great-Grandfather Nicolas (now you know where it comes from) found this to be an embarrassing detail to disclose to neighbors and other family members. But it's not like a bad job interview that you can just tell people to not ask about, My Great-Grandfather has to display this new pale baby with blond hair and blue eyes to his own family and friends. Since he was as dark as the soil as was his wife, it made no sense to him why his first-born would look like a gringo. Apparently Maria de la Fuenteseca Casares, my Great-Grandmother, was accused of infidelity for the first two years of my Grandfather's life, which was ironic since she and her sisters were known for playing hard-to-get.

It was a hard two years for Maria and Nicolas since he refused to lay with her at night, so she had to sleep in the horse stable with the one horse they had on their farm. "You shall sleep with the horses if you like to ride so much" was the final phrase he belted out to her as soon as she recovered from the night of Gritos. It was said that my Grandfather Everado used to sleep on the horse's neck to stay warm while Maria tried to stay as warm as possible with hay and the horse blanket during the winters. Needless to say, the horse did have a tendency to hog the blanket (ironically enough). Every daily chore was still performed in and out of the house, but nighttime for Maria meant travailing herself and her newborn to the stable. Inexplicably, my Great-Grandfather relented after the 21st month of subjecting my Great-Grandmother to an embarrassing sleeping arrangement.

Nicolas (it turned out) proved to be unable to go on any longer without sex with his wife. [fix this later. this is awkward as written.] So he welcomed Maria back into his house. Because of My Grandfather started developing a liking for his father, Nicolas couldn't resist his first-born son's charm. He slowly was able to get over his desire to kill this symbol of his wife's infidelity. It wasn't until he was 7 years old that my Great-Grandfather decided not to kill my Grandfather.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So It Begins...

This tale begins with my Grandpa living somewhere in the southeastern portion of Texas (lovingly referred to as “The Valley”, but believe me, this is a Valley way different from that which a Californian Chicano sees when they think of “from the Valley”). We'll say it was between McCook and Rincon on a road that didn't (and shouldn't) have a name. Born in 1914, one hundred years to the day after Father Hidalgo called for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, my Great-Grandmother had her own Grito de Dolores, which culminated in the primogeniture of Nicolas Horacio Casares and Maria de la Fuenteseca Casares being squeezed from her uterus. Oh what a day. My Grandfather would be the first of 13 children born between 1914 and 1941. [Luckily, I have not had the same luck with fathering children or words of brilliance.]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Beginning of this Month's Story

So I guess I’ll start at the beginning. As an outside observer completely unfamiliar with the complexities of the context I’ll leave out, let me assure you that I am starting this story the same way anyone has ever started their story: from the outer fringes of Memory. Where is Memory begin in this tale? Well, I’m not anyone special. I wanted to research all of the history, but it seemed like it would be a lot of work to do something so comprehensive and holistic. So, in lieu of investigating the annals of small towns and their disgustingly Catholic churches, I decided to focus on what I already knew. I wanted to dedicate myself to the truth I have been told my entire life.

So here, I begin my tale...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Live Out Your Imagination

Live out of your imagination and not your memory; Your memory will take you to where you failed, your imagination will take you somewhere glorious.


- Dave Peterson

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introduction to The Poetry of Eveything from the Study of Nothing

Hello. Good evening. Or “Good morning” if you have just awoken to read this treatise on the everlasting glory of nothing in particular. If you’re an evening reader, you’ve made a good choice in your selection of a short story [or whatever this ends up being]. If you’re a morning-sitting-on-the-pot-while-grasping-three-pages-of-excellence, I will forewarn you that you would be best served to read a Maxim, or a Dan Brown, whichever strikes your fancy more. Moving on…

Hello again. My name is Homunculus P. Vernon , IV, and I believe there has been a great miscommunication beset upon you. Your normal view of me will probably be that of a drunkard, but you would be mistaken to think that since you have obviously been left out of the true account of my life story, or of the pieces that are of import.
To clear some things up, I must pursue a tangency that will be reveled in in the beginning of this story and then quickly discarded subsequently since we have serious business to attend to later.

So it begins…

Friday, February 6, 2009

Universal Mind Control run-down

"See, this is really a revisionist's construction of the post-funk pre-hip hop sound that came out of the New York ghettos seeking cultural autonomy from the white mainstream, which was perceived as encroaching upon black funk music in the late 1970s. Perhaps Eduardo de la Fuente's doctoral thesis on musical expression being a pressure release valve for race relations should be considered when re-listening to Universal Mind Control. In addition to the aforementioned statement, let me qualify it by stating that UMC goes a step further to redefine the past in terms of the events of the last 30 years of history within ghetto culture, which has become universalized rather than localized, and thus stream-lined for mass consumption, due to technological advances. So ironically enough (as is apropos of such arguments), the inevitability of technological progress, which goes hand-in-hand with the passage of time, has crossed the boundary of a cultural object originally intended to be a barricade between two groups."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

G.B.


I hate Great Britain
Yes, I do
Hate Canadians too

Non-American white people suck
They don't even have any trucks

They talk funny with an accent
And they usually tell us to get bent

Harrison Bergeron?


Why must I be made to do anything?
They're not my boss
It is the only way I do something
Force
It's how I fassad my way
Into doing shit I don't want responsibility for
No choice
How I wanna operate
Am I weak? For wanting no say?
I want a say, but no consequences
Rather have a choice
Wouldn't want to Wrinkle Time

Lou the Jew*


*Ode to a Semitic Lifestyle
*The Chosen People

Lou the Jew, oh, I wish I knew you.
You play soccer, and with the ladies, you're a talker
Being rich ain't new... to Jews
But Semites they're overall pretty nice
That's Lou the Jew
Tennis sucks, but he don't care
He even doens't like his new hair
Unassumingly, he must be taken in in bits
So moody, I'm unsure if he's got the schitz
Lou, whatta pudgy, puday man
He nor his Semitic friends are at all tan
Smartie pants, wiht knowledge as a lance
Tuba, guitar, violin, saxophone, or any other instrument known.
Jew pride? Somethin' he'll never hide
Lou, you're Jew.

[Really, Nick? Really?]

The Weatherman: The Old Man is Snoring


(I decided to do a poem that was an ode to "The Weatherman" with a tone of a fan with an over-zealous, damn-near-stalker mentality. "Billingsley" came easy to rhyme. It's jus for fun, nothing else.)

Frank Billingsley
You never knew you were killing me
Doing your reports on the TV
On the Kay Pee Are Sea.
Oh, Frank Billingsley.

Frank Billingsley
You neve rknew you were killing me
Weather done so beautifully
"It's raining; it's pouring"
"What a wonderful morning"
Oh, Frank Billingsley.

Frank Billingsley
You never knew you led me to killing
Just because of that floor warning
What is the key?
That is what I ask of thee.
What is the key?
What is your key, Frank Billingsley?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Abstract


It's like nothing you've felt before
It's like being cool when you're a dork
It's like knowing everything when you know shit
It's like crawling on the ground and passing those running
It's like you're both David and Goliath
It's like talking eloquently but really being a bore
It's like doing everything well without any work
It's like a burning candle that's unlit
It's like Odysseus without the cunning
It's like a true story constructed from a myth.
It's like...
It's like...


Perfect.

3 Haikus Which Make No Sense


Spite
I do not like you
Why do you think I say that?
Cuz I don't like you

Verbose
Un-breviloquent
That is a fucking big word
It is not a word

Remindton 20-Gauge
Nosy squirrel on
My lawn where you eat my trees
I will end this now (Don't do it again)

Apathetic Zeal



I wuz tryin' muh best to stay on muh feet
Cuz if I didn't, it'd only spell defeat
All the glory, if I outlasted
This phuckin' throwin' a punch. [?]
I'm just thinkin' about baskin'
In all the glory stories during Monday's lunch.
Uh ring of people cheering, but what do they care?
They have no idea this all started with uh glare.
Why is this happening? I don't wanna continue.
I cain't stop; his skin's like glue.
Everything I'm throwin' out there is hittin' his face.
What a phawking disgrace! [???]
How am I doing all this?
I wish I could say
Maybe once I should miss
But then I'd pay
Then out of me, I'd get hte shit kicked
By maybe a few licks
I'm ending this now.
This guy is going down
I will not allow
Ne1 to ask how.

H.M.E.



Oh, tan man, how I adore thee.
Sometimes I have ot remember you are me.
I remember while we've workin' in the field,
I do this for fun, but you're in it for a meal.
I do feel like a fake.
Cuz I'm gonna end up with a house on a lake.
Zach says you're the "People of the Sun,"
And I know your misery ain't even done.

Hoo-M-Eye
Hoo-M-Eye
What do you buy?
Cuz I got the pie,
'N you get the lies
Hoo-M-Eye
Hoo-M-Eye

Oh, tan man, how I adore thee.
Sometimes I have to remember you are me
I try to call myself Latino
Knowing I'm only gonna see you at the Camino
School ain't something you'd even consider,
But ignorance ain't makin' you bitter.
Viejita, should I get up from my chair?
Or do you even really care?

Hoo-M-Eye?
Hoo-M-Eye?

Split Down the Middle / El Infierno





Split Down the Middle
Mammamasita
¿Qué necessesitas?
No te puedo dar algo

I can never give you shit
Cuz I gots iz two bits
Don't look at me that way
Don't ever think you may
It was never okay

I am poor and all I can say
It's hard to help you cuz mi esposa wants more
And between you two, I'm torn

El Infierno
I made a deal with the Devil
I asked to be hot
I asked to have a lot
I asked to hang out with famous people
Now Look at me!

I'm in Hell, shackled to Hitler, and I have a lot of misery.
That Devil is bad.

An explanation of the posts to follow....

[Editor's note: Okay...I'm going to take a pause from inserting my usual moments of inspired brilliance to delineate this tangency I'll be taking in order to be both a catharsis and a self-discovery and completely & utterly embarrassing and self-effacing but also revelatory to my captive audience.]

So... my mom just moved into a house after living by herself in an apartment for a year after her quick divorce from my step-dad. (Don't worry, it wasn't one of those difficult divorces you always hear about. It was like ripping off a band-aid. So don't pay that minor detail any mind.) The apartment complex was a good one. It was a two bed, two bath unit where she also paid for a garage and a covered parking space. I think she ended up paying $1,500, which isn't a lot for Houston (for those of you readers from a place where real estate is actually valued).

Anyway, so she moved into a new house in the middle of nowhere and finally got to the task of throwing things away/parsing through all her worldy possessions/separating my sister's and my things from each other, which had previously been strewn together in only one room in the apartment. Among the many things I found included in the collections of my memorabilia was this notepad with these "poems" I wrote the summer before freshman year of high school. I figured they were funny enough to post, yet bad enough to laugh about in a light-hearted manner.

My posting these written pages from my past has also been done with a notebook from the 2nd Grade (i.e. the 1993 posts) that I found. Hopefully, I'll figure a way to scan those pages too some time in the near future. In the same vein of discovering and laughing about my past will be my slow but steady posting of journal entries from a journal I kept when I was 8 to 9 years-old (i.e. the 1995 posts). I didn't even remember writing in this journal, so it's funny to look back at what bothered me.

So yeah, I hope you enjoy it.