Thursday, January 14, 2010


Picture taken from Weehawken, NJ - Empire State Building sporting the Hanukkah colors

Just finished listening to the audiobook version of Higher, by Neal Bascomb, and truly enjoyed it. It's the story of the race to build the highest skyscrapers in NY - The Chrysler Building, The Manhattan Company Building (guess who owns it today, it has a different name, sadly) and the Empire State Building - can you spot all three in the picture above?

The book tells the story of the architects who designed it, the people who commissioned it and the obstacles they faced throughout the construction. These buildings were done in record time - had I been around at the time, I would not have set foot in any of them because today I don't think any such structure can be built in such a short time and still be safe, and yet, they still stand and will probably still be there long after I'm gone.

I found it funny that when I started to read the book I was totally unaware of the Manhattan Company Building and actually thought the book was about the other two, but I won't say anymore, don't want to spoil it for you. Of the three I have to say that the top of the Chrysler Building is my favorite, I find it to be a masterpiece in design, but that's my opinion - I think it makes up for the overdone interior, to put it nicely. The one that has always stood up, though, is the Empire State Building and mainly because of the lights display that change depending on the occasion.

Picture taken from the Hoboken Pier, with the Empire State Building sporting Christmas colors.

As you can see, I'm obsessed with the NY skyline, as seen from the NJ side. It is so beautiful at night, and it has a calming effect from the stresses of the day - for me at least. During my holiday visit to the family I brazed the elements, climbed through fences, froze my behind trying to catch all the different light displays at the Empire State Building as possible - first pic is for Hanukkah, the one above is for Christmas, the one below is during the daytime - not as calming, and the last one is for Nascar.

The colors here are for Nascar's 4th consecutive Sprint Cup, click on the picture to admire the details closely - the colors are blue, white and yellow.

** All pictures are my property, please ask for permission before using them.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, umm.....2 Things I love About Phoenix!

LEFT ONLY LANES (Suicide Lane on 7th Street and 7th Avenue)

These are the center lanes marked by yellow lines that are used only when you want to make a turn, thus allowing you to get out of regular traffic. What's not to love? with the crazy drivers here in AZ, you risk your life every time you try to make it out of any establishment onto a busy road. As for the reversible lanes - suicide lanes - on 7th street and 7th avenue, well, I haven't used them ever since I got that speeding ticket two years ago.....heck, I avoid these roads during peak hours altogether!


Did I tell you that this whole week is going to be in the 70s? Don't hate! I love snow, and I love winter coats, hats and boots but I really, really love driving around with my windows down. Winters here are like Spring or Autumn in the East, love it!!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Today's Weather Report

Don't hate people, especially my cousins to the East, but today we had wonderful weather here in hell....

Could it be Segregation?.........

And now, a controversial post:

  • enforced separation of groups: the practice of keeping ethnic, racial, religious, or gender groups separate, especially by enforcing the use of separate schools, transportation, housing, and other facilities, and usually discriminating against a minority group
  • segregated state: the state or position of somebody or something kept separate from others
  • act of segregating: the separating of one person, group, or thing from others, or the dividing of people or things into separate groups kept apart from each other

I've always maintained that Arizona is a segregated state, and they are open about it, everybody actually seems okay with it - you stay on your side and I stay on mine, their unspoken pact. Coming from the East I forget about this until I realize that I'm the only Hispanic in a restaurant and people are looking at me funny. Don't believe me? Try it out yourself - go to a restaurant in Scottsdale and tell me how many Hispanics you see - not counting those actually cleaning or cooking your food. Drive north of Thunderbird Road and do the same, let me know what you find.

I got a haircut this morning and decided to stop at a restaurant for breakfast because I was too early for my next appointment of the day. They were actually very nice and as I sat on the table to wait for my order I decided to engage in my favorite pastime, people watching. First I checked the wait staff, all young and able but none Hispanic or American Indian, which I found strange since I would venture to say that these two groups represent 50% of Arizona. The only Hispanic people I saw where the one cleaning the tables and the cooks......this made me sad, specially for the girl cleaning the tables and busting her ass just as hard, if not harder than the other ones, but who would probably get very little money for her efforts. Then I decided to scan the crowd and realized that I was the only Hispanic in the restaurant - not that anybody was giving me evil looks, which has happened before, but it made me wonder why "my people" don't venture this far North. Is there an unwritten pact? is it non-visible, but palpable intimidation? somebody?

Then I started wondering, what is it that makes people think that they are better than others because of the color of their skin? is it the fact that we have always, since God knows when, associated white with good and black with evil? As I scanned the crowd I saw people who would definitely make it to the "People of Walmart" website, yet I knew these people thought they were better than me and any other Latin speaking person.....not because of their intellect and education, but because of their skin color.

I wonder how Obama really feels about his accomplishment as the first black president of the US - is he really, innocently enjoying it, or does he look at the crowds around him and wonders if they guy without the law degree and the missing teeth thinks he's better just because he's white?

My father is white, and I never saw skin color until I moved to the US and somebody told me I was not white, as if it was a crime not to be. I hope for the sake of humanity that we change soon, for the better.

Up In The Air

It's been roughly a year since I updated this blog, and I won't lie, I missed it, but as I said once to someone....I just couldn't find anything bad to say about Arizona. Now, if you know me well then you'll know that's just a lie....a big one...plenty wrong with Arizona, particularly Phoenix, but I'll have plenty of time to tell you about it - I've just been busy.

Today I want to briefly talk about the movie Up In The Air, with George Clooney (love him!.....this guy can't do anything wrong). I went to see it on New Year's day and it made me think - we just don't communicate anymore. We have substituted the personal touch for the electronic one, and we are okay with that. Now instead of cards you get a text message wishing you a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year, Happy Birthday wishes on Facebook from all you so called "friends".......and we're okay with that. I often find myself lamenting the fact that this or that friend doesn't have a Facebook account, so that I can wish them a happy holiday without having to actually call them and waste an hour of my life.......yet I have no problem wasting hours (3+ at a time) reading posts on the internet from people I don't know, and reading comments from friends on FB. Realizing this made me so unhappy and sad that I've decided to close my Facebook account, albeit temporarily, until I become a REAL friend to my friends, and give them the time they actually deserve.

Don't get me wrong, FB has been great for finding long lost friends, ex-colleagues and even relatives, but it's not a substitute for a real friendship. I love technology and don't plan on giving it up any time soon, but I don't want to depend so much on it either. Technology has made the whole world accessible to me, but at the same time it has isolated me from the real world and that's no good. I pledge that from this day forward, and I hope I can keep this, I will personally call my friends on their birthdays instead of sending them a message, and I will send cards more often. As for my FB account, well, that's up in the air......

Friday, January 01, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Yes, I'm back!! and what better way to ring in the New Year than with a public service announcement! Introducing.....

Yes, you heard me right - their tag line is "Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else would ever know" - and believe me, this shit works!!

Let's face it, everybody' s___t smells - I'm sure that if somebody had really ever made the claim that theirs actually do smell like roses, she (it would definitely be a she) would be very famous by now, probably selling the crap - no pun intended - on QVC and making tons of money; the rest of us should thank our lucky stars and kiss the feet of the genius behind Poo-Pourri. I'm going on my 2nd bottle - the first one lasted over a year - and I love it! The first one I bought was their original scent, smells like an orange grove - pretty nice, and it really, really works. The one I'm using now is their Heaven Scent (with every flush an angel gets its wings!) and I find it to be even stronger than the other one, so I only use a couple of spritz - trust me, it's very strong.......not too crazy about the patchouli....but it gets the work done. The people at work love me, and my mother and sister-in-law are forever grateful since I introduced two of my brothers to it! a marriage saver! So do us all a favor and buy yours today.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all, may you have a healthy and prosperous one!

I was celebrating at my friend parents' house and by 11:30 p.m. everybody was rushing home before the "shots started". After almost five years in exile here in AZ, I finally realized that the reason I couldn't see the fireworks from my apartment window was not because they were probably far away, but because the sound I heard was not of fireworks but guns being shot in the air.........suddenly, living on the third floor didn't seem like the safest place to be.

Adios 2009 (miserable year!), hola 2010 (full of promise)!