Thursday, August 31, 2006

Peach Fuzz

This morning.

End o' Summer Round Up

1) I guess it's not officially the end of summer yet, but it sure feels that way these days. In Toronto the weather has cooled down considerably. Our project is entering a new phase at work and a lot of other folks in the office are coming back from their long summer breaks. Amado's getting ready for his first day of school (just kidding!) and I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do with all our plants on the balcony before the first frost hits. I've lived here for about seven years now (on and off), but I am still amazed at how fast and dramatic the change of seasons is. Before you know it I will be blogging about all the snow.

2) Bob Dylan has a new album out, Modern Times, which this reviewer in Slate calls "his best album since Blood on the Tracks (1975)." That's really saying something, since Dylan's last two albums, Time Out of Mind (1997) and Love and Theft (2001) were truly amazing and some of his best work ever in a lot of people's opinions. Modern Times is at the top of my list to hear.

3) I guess that's it for now. As you might guess from the last couple weeks of skimpy (but deceptionally deep) posts, I've been really busy and haven't really had much time to spend on this ol' blog. I'm not sure if this situation will improve soon, but thanks for sticking with me anyway! Peace.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Seven Months Old!

...and quite the rascal!

Generation ADD

For those feeling overwhelmed by the numerous technological devices (email, blackberries, cell phones, blogs, etc.) demanding your attention---you are not alone.

Esther Dyson, who is called an "Internet pundit," is not sanguine about the societal implications of all this.

"I worry about something I call Mental Diabetes Type 2 - a lack of ability to think deeply and in a concentrated fashion over a period of time. We're getting a diet of empty information calories that's over-processed, over-sugared, too bite-sized and way too appealing."

Dipchand Nishar, who oversees Google's wireless efforts, adds: "We had Generation X and Generation Y. Now we have Generation ADD."

Here's the link, but you don't have to check it out. You can turn off your computer and pick up a book, play with your baby, or take a walk or something. The choice is yours....or is it? Have we lost control?

Do You Answer Your Cell Phone During Sex?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006



Hi, I'm finally back after our General Council meeting. After I flew back to Toronto from Thunder Bay on Saturday, I immediately drove up to Wendy's parents' cottage on Lake Bernard, about 3 hours north of here. Wendy and Amado were waiting for me there and it was very nice to see them again after a week. It took a while for Amado to figure it all out, but I think he remembered me even if he was a little shy when I first arrived.

Our Emerging Spirit intiative was affirmed by the council, which means it will continue for three more years. It was quite a dramatic vote. We heard a lot of questions and concerns, most of which we have already been working on, but some new ones too. But in the end, the vote passed with what looked like at least 90% support. Most of all, I was humbled by the opportunity to participate in this major project for the church.

It's going to be a very busy fall, so now it's back to work. But it sure is nice to be home.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Greetings from Thunder Bay!

Yes, I'm still here. Everything here is going fine, though we've really been on the run most of the time. Yesterday our team did escape to Kakabeka Falls, which is 30km outside of Thunder Bay. It was really nice, but guess who forgot his camera! (The photo above is from the web.)

Our major presentation on Tuesday evening went fine, though our presenters Keith and Lesley felt constrained by the technological limitations and trying to connect with 800 people in an airplane hanger. Now we are waiting for the vote on Friday. Meanwhile we have had a lot of interest from folks about how they can get involved in our project, as well as some questions about various aspects of it. Overall, it seems the ads, website, and training events we have put forward are being very well received.

Here is an article about our project that appeared in the Canadian press. The reporter didn’t quite get all of the facts right (e.g. is not a “proto-type” of Emerging Spirit’s web outreach effort, but simply a site to share information about the campaign), but this article still offers a good overview of the work and background of the Emerging Spirit initiative:

United Church Turns to Web to Reach Non-Churchgoers
"The United Church feels it has the right mix of policies - openness, welcoming those with various sexual and relationship preferences, and an approach that challenges traditional teachings - that this group (30-45 year olds) should find appealing."

Also, here is link to an interesting blog from one of the young ministers who has helped plan and lead the event. Check it out!

Inner Dorothy

p.s. I miss my baby and my wife!

Monday, August 14, 2006

General Council 39, Thunder Bay

Hi Folks,
Photographer Richard Choe has posted some photos of the event I am at...including some of our new General Secretary (Nora Sanders, the woman in the pink suit). If you look in set #1 of his site you might even find a picture of yours truly.

Here's the link:

After a lot of rain yesterday, today is beautiful. The event's been pretty good so far, though there have been some technical and logistical issues to transcend. But there's a lot of friendly folks here, so that helps.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Trails to You

I'm getting ready to head to Thunder Bay, Ontario for the General Council meeting of The United Church of Canada. Emerging Spirit, the project I've been working on will be presenting plans for our big national initiative. I should have Internet access there, so you may see some blogging from me, but posts will be irregular for the next two weeks or so.

I've just received a notice from the airlines that due to the current security concerns, no liquids, gels, or balms will be allowed on my flight. Looks like I will be brushing my teeth with baking soda, just like ol' Trigger did when he and Roy were stuck out on the borax flats.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Is this the way we look, running around the way that we do?

The Moon Unit Has Landed

Amadisto seems to be mastering all his toys at a rapid rate, so Wendy went out and found this baby entertainment center for him to try out. Like almost everything these days, we were required to build it ourselves. I took one look at the instructions, which were written in an artistic intermingled jangle of English, French, and Spanish; and decided that I would have to save this project for the weekend.

But then Wendy and her friend Liz had the sudden inspiration to build it themselves and they did a great job! Amado was a bit frightened by the contraption at first, but now he likes it and will play in it as long as his little legs can hope him up. It's so cool.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


How to Listen to Boleros

visit abuelo
steal his 78's
find a busted up
that plays
out of one speaker
carry it home

on a rainy day
hang your hammock
from two leafless trees

pour three fingers
of dark rum
into a clear glass
sip slowly

dressed in a wrinkled
linen guayabera
one hand raised in the air
the other pressed to your chest
and cry

by Sami Miranda
© Sami Miranda 2005. All rights reserved.

I love this poem.

You can read more of Sami's poems here and here.

In the mid-90s I was a volunteer with Sami Miranda at DC Barrio Unidos, which was the Washington chapter of Barrios Unidos, the gang intervention organization.

You can read a couple of articles I wrote about Barrios Unidos here and here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just Chillin'

Amadisto chillin' in the park with Daddy yesterday. (Had to post one more...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Medicine Buddha

This one goes out to my Mom, with all best wishes.

We love you!


East Dobson St., El Monte, Calif.

I lived here for most of the time I was in 4th grade. My Mom, brother, and I lived in the last house at the end of the long driveway. My Aunt Beki and Uncle Joe and their kids lived in the house next door. Sol and I and some neighbourhood kids made a baseball field in the empty dirt lot immediately to the left of our driveway, where there are three large buildings now. We lived here during the Sylmar Earthquake which shook LA on Feb. 9, 1971.

I am not sure why looking at this place still gives me the creeps.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Irene!

Yesterday was Irene's birthday!

Irene (above with my niece Sierra and a giant butterfly), has been my Mom's loving partner since 1981. Irene is a Santa Cruz native and an amazing artist, drummer, and computer wiz. She's also a great mom and grandmother and one of our all-time favourite people! Rumor has it that Irene raced stock cars as a teen in Watsonville. Now that's something I would like to see a picture of!

Happy Birthday Irene! We love you!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gone Fishing

I once had a vivid dream that Fidel Castro decided "hell with it all," and just walked away from his job as dictator of Cuba. He traded his fatigues for a Hawaiian-print shirt, grabbed a cigar and a couple of poles, and hopped on a deep-sea fishing boat just as it as leaving Havana for a long, relaxing fishing trip.

I took it as a lesson that even the most committed of us should remember that life does not equal work. Every once in a while we should take the time to step back and reconnect with our true selves.

Above: Fidel trades fishing stories with Ernest Hemingway (that's what the caption says...see more pics from the early years of the Cuban revolution in the Yale archives, including pictures of Fidel and his brother Raul trying and executing peasants.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


When I was a little kid, growing up in East LA, I was totally into the Legion of Super Heroes. After much deliberation, I decided that Mon-El was my favourite of the Legion. I think I liked that he had all the powers of Superboy, but wasn't Superboy. If you know what I mean.

The Rastafarians - Orthodox

I just found this out-of-print album from a great new bit torrent site, Reggae Traders. Roots reggae from 1981. Positive vibrations that are perfect for a hot summer day, just like the way I like it.

Back in early 80s, The Rastafarians were based in Santa Cruz, California. The rumor going around the city's Christian churches was that The Rastafarians and their entourage had occupied a Baptist church on Seabright Ave. and held Rasta worship there every Sunday morning, smoking huge bowls of their sacrament and singing their praise to the Lord backed by a neighbourhood-leveling bass downbeat. A friend of mine told me that one Sunday morning he drove by the church and the Rastas had build a huge bonfire in the middle of the street and they were all outside dancing around it, dreadlocks flying.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Invisible Man?

Hello, is there anybody out there?

Or will this be another post of the Invisible Man?

Was it just us, or has this blog been invisible to everyone for the last 12 hours?

Perhaps...just...need..time...the serum will...fade...soon....couple more....minut....

Six Month Check Up

The findings of Dr. Eddy Lau and Intern Dr. Rebecca:

Weight: 18 1/2 lbs. (8.5 kilos)
Length: 25" (66 centimeters)
Head: 18" (46 centimeters)

Amadisto is eating rice cereal now. He loves it! However, the squash we tried yesterday was not such a big hit.

Los Lonely Boys

I've been listening to Los Lonely Boys new album for a couple of days now. They have a beautiful blues sound they call "Texican," but us old timers would call "puro Chicano." After I heard their first album (Los Lonely Boys, featuring the hit "Heaven") I described LLB as sounding like the love child of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Carlos Santana who was raised in the house of Los Lobos.

Los Lonely Boys' first album holds a lot of emotion for me and helped get me through some tough times, so it's hard to top it, but Sacred is a good album too. They've added keyboards and horns to their foundation of guitar, bass, drums, which sounds nice and gives the music some more weight. But, like their first album, Sacred still has a little too much pop sound for me. They write some nice hooks, but Los Lonely Boys are blues players and shine brightest on loose instrumental jams like "Onda" from their first album.

Los Lonely Boys are best live. I saw them open for Santana last year and they kicked ass (sorry, no other way to put it). After their set they came back for a long blues jam with Carlos on "Boogie Chillen," the John Lee Hooker tune. It was truly amazing. Orale boys.