Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The River

And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of God and the name of that river was suffering - and I saw the boat which carries souls across the river and the name of that boat was love.

---St. John of the Cross, Spanish mystic, 1542-1591
The photo is of one of my favourite spots on the Potomac, about 20 miles south of Washington, D.C.

Too Much Flash?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sippy Cup and a Bob Haircut

The little tyke loves his sippycup, though he hasn't quite wired it. Amado is changing alot everyday....early this morning we could hear him singing "mooommaaadddaaaddddaaaaaa," which is of course him calling for us to come and rescue him from his cold, dark crib.

He's also keeping us really busy, so I haven't had time for blogging or much else lately. However, I did find the time in my busy schedule to get a bob haircut. I wasn't planning on it, but on Friday I walked by the place I get my ponytail trimmed every six months. I saw the woman who cuts my hair was free, so I just popped in and asked her to trim about two inches off of my ponytail, which had grown to about ten inches or so. I am not sure what happened next, but somehow things got confused and before I knew it I had a ponytail of just two inches. It's barely able to be tied back and looks so unbecoming I'm not even going to post a picture of it here. As I left, even the other hairdressers were asking me why I got all my hair cut off.

Though I'm kind of bummed, it will grow back. Meanwhile, I will take this as a sign that it's time for a full life makeover---with fall settling in and our child babbling in syllables, I've got a fresh, new look. Light, bouncy, and full of energy.


Saturday, September 23, 2006


John Coltrane would have been 80 years old today. Through music, he was one of the greatest spiritual seekers of the 20th century. And even today, there is still a healing, spiritual sound resounding in his music that can lift listeners to higher ground.

My hard-core fans :-) would know about these already, but for those who don't, here are two articles I wrote about Trane from a couple of years ago:

A Sax Divine (Utne Reader)
Spiritual Improvision (Sojourners)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Now Playing - Bob Marley & the Wailers

Not a perfect recording, but a very nice concert....from

Bob Marley & The Wailers
Madison Square Garden, New York
June 17, 1978
source: aud > unknown > cdr > eac > flac (level 6)
Total Time: 89:00

Disc 1
1.Intro > Positive Vibration
2.Them Belly Full
3.Concrete Jungle
4.Rebel Music
5.Running Away > Crazy Baldhead
6.Is This Love?
7.The Heathen
8.I Shot The Sheriff (cut)
9.No Woman No Cry

Disc 2
1.Kaya >
2.Get Up Stand Up > War > Exodus

Santana Festival

I was messing around with the video clips below on YouTube this past weekend. I tried to post one of them here, but it didn't seem to work, so I tried another, and another. Nothing.

But then, suddenly, this morning, all the clips mysteriously showed up. So there you have it, a surprise Santana Festival on Alma's Soulfood.

Rock on man.
Buddy Guy & Carlos Santana

OK. One more with the great Buddy Guy. Man, everyday I got the blues....
Carlos Santana & Eric Clapton - Jingo

Another reason why I love Santana...this time with Eric Clapton.
Wings Of Grace

Carlos Santana and Chester Thompson in 1993, when Santana played some of their best music. This song is a flower in full bloom....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gone Mobile

If you go back a couple of days, you will see a post about Amado attacking his mobile with a fury unknown before in infants. Now, while we had our heads turned for a moment, our budding anarchist got his hands on the toy and has completely destroyed it. Into many pieces.

Was it because the mobile played Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart instead of Miles, Trane, and Bird? Was he tired of its constant presence, looming over him? Did he just want to see how it worked? Or did he destroy it just because he could?

We may never know.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Famished Road

From The Famished Road by Ben Okri:

In beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.

In that land of beginnings spirits mingled with the unborn. We could assume numerous forms. Many of us were birds. We knew no boundaries. There was much feasting, playing, and sorrowing. We feasted because of the beautiful terrors of eternity. We played much because we were free. And we sorrowed much because there were always those among us who had just returned from the world of the Living. They had returned inconsolable for all the love they had left behind, all the suffering they hadn't redeemed, all that they hadn't understood, and for all that they had barely begun to learn before they were drawn back to the land of origins.

There was not one amongst us who looked forward to being born. We disliked the rigours of existence, the unfulfilled longings, the enshrined injustices of the world, the labyrinths of love, the ignorance of parents, the fact of dying, and the amazing indifference of the Living in the midst of the simple beauties of the universe. We feared the heartlessness of human beings, all of whom are born blind, few of whom ever learn to see.

[The Famished Road tells the story of Azaro, an abiku or spirit-child, born in post-colonial Nigeria. He has the ability to experience both the spirit world and the human world together, on the same plane, and he lives distressed by the greed and ignorance of the inhabitants of both. It's a long, rich book--500 pages--and I usually don't make enough time in my life for reading novels, so it took me nearly 9 years, 1993-2002, of off and on reading to finish it. But it turned out to be one of the most amazing, beautiful books I have ever read. Definitely on my Top 5 list. You can read the rest of the first chapter here. It won the Mann Booker Prize for fiction in 1991.]

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rex Gallegos

Meet my Dad. This picture was taken in the early 60s, probably at our house in City Terrace, which is part of East LA. My father was just 33 when he died of alcoholism on this date (or was it Sept. 15?) in 1972.

For many years I've wondered about him. I only saw him twice between the time he died and when my Mom and my brother and I left him in the 1969 or 1970. I have my memories, but they are vague and ghostly, like remembering a dream you had a long time ago. Some of my memories are centered on minutiae like the feel of his whiskers on my cheek or the smell of his breath after he had been drinking. Others are more specific, remembering word for word short conversations he and I had. But mostly they are just filled with fleeting images.

My reflections about him have changed since I've become a father. My thoughts about him used to be more romantic, imagining the crazy life of an artistic, poetic East LA Chicano in the 1960s. But now I'm stuck on thinking about him as a father and I'm mystified that he didn't take better care of himself for the sake of us, his kids.

I wish he could have known us. I wish he could have known his grandkids. I wish I could have known him. But that was not to be.

Friday, September 15, 2006

1st Place Winner!

My Mom the artist won 1st place at the Santa Cruz County Fair with one of her fantastic sculptures. You can't see it too well in this photo, but here's a better look.

Congratulations Mom!!!!

....of course, we always knew that anything less than 1st place would have been a crime.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Miss Wrightwood

My niece Sierra was Miss Wrightwood this year. How cool is that? What's even more remarkable is that she doesn't even live in Wrightwood. Way to go C.C.!

Santa Barbara Pier

This is a nice photo from my Mom and Irene's epic photo series, "Coop's Birthday in Santa Barbara." The series also features guest appearances from Uncle Mike and Aunt Berta.

This picture is so California to me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Going Mobile

Amado has a thing about the mobile attached to his crib. If given the chance he will grab it, eat it, shake it, and pull it down on top of him, where his savage attack will continue using his feet as well. This morning I caught the critter in the act.

Monday, September 11, 2006


No matter how many times I watch the videos of planes flying into the World Trade Center and the towers collasping I am still shocked at what I am seeing. What happened that morning is still so unbelievable, but what has happened afterwards has been so predictable.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

New Morning

Dear Neighbour from the 17th floor of the building next door,

I wish you had been able to see the amazingly beautiful sunrise this morning. It was a silent riot of awesome colour. Truly spectacular.

Instead, your body lay at the foot of your building for three hours yesterday afternoon covered in a pink sheet, as firefighters, police, and finally the coroner came and did their examinations. With all your neighbours standing vigil on their balconies and in the driveway, they finally took you away. The sad building supes cleaned up the mess and the local teenagers stood gawking around the point of impact for a while. Then everybody left, except for an older couple in the apartment just above yours. Together they leaned their snowy heads over their balcony for a long time, looking down into the twilight at the spot where you landed. Were you friends?

My wife and I didn't know you, but we burned some sage and shared our prayers for you and everyone involved. After that we felt a little better, but we still wouldn't let our child look out the window, even though there was nothing out there he would have understood anyway. Later we couldn't bear the sight of your building, so we drew our blinds and tried to forget what we had seen. Late in the night I peeked out and saw that you had left your lights on and your balcony door open as if you thought you might be returning home soon.

We wished one of us had had the opportunity to talk with you. With all our strength we would have insisted and promised there would have been a beautiful sunrise in your life again. If not the next morning, then the morning after that. If you had been with us on this new morning, I guarantee you would have loved all the beautiful colours we could have shared. I am sure you could have seen them from your house too. There is beauty all over the world today.

Are They Still Following Us?

Taste of the Kingsway

Yesterday we took a little family trip down to the Taste of the Kingsway, which is a street festival held each year in an old-money neighbourhood near us. Amado laughed as he watched his Mom and Dad bite into raw hamburgers and spit them out. (But, this morning, we're still here to tell the story.) For a neighbourhood with so many fantastic resturants, the food offering at this "tasting" festival was sure poor. Just regular stuff, in some cases not even cooked well. We're just lucky we didn't get sick! As Wendy said, we could have found better food than this in any Toronto neighbourhood anytime of the year! Next year we're packing a lunch!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Wild-Animal Tamer

From Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

....During the same time a gigantic man came into the offices of El Universal unannounced, removed his shirt with a great sense of theater, and walked around the newsroom to surprise us with the sight of his back and arms mottled with scars that seemed to be of cement. Moved by the astonishment he had inspired in us, he explained the devastation of his body in a thundering voice:

"Lions' claws!"

It was Emilio Razzore, who had just arrived in Cartagena to prepare for the performance season of his famous family circus, one of the great ones in the world. It had left Havana the week before on the steamship Euskera, of Spanish registry, and it was expected the following Saturday. Razzore boasted of having been in the circus since before he was born, and you did not need to see him perform to know he was a wild-animal tamer. He called the beasts by their first names as if they were members of his family, and they responded with behavior that was affectionate and brutal at the same time. He would go unarmed into the cages of tigers and lions and feed them out of his hand. His pet bear had given him a loving hug that kept him in the hospital for one entire spring. The great attraction, however, was not Razzore or the fire-eater, but the man who screwed off his head and walked around the ring holding it under his arm. The least forgettable thing about Emilio Razzore was his indomitable nature. After listening to him, fascinated, for many long hours, I published an editorial in El Universal in which I dared to write that he was "the most tremendously human man I have ever met." At the age of twenty-one there had not been that many, but I believe the phrase is still valid. We ate at La Cueva with the people from the paper, and he was cherished there, too, with his tales of wild animals humanized by love. On one of those nights, after thinking about it a good deal, I dared to ask him to take me into his circus, even if it was to wash out the cages when the tigers were not inside. He did not say anything but gave me his hand in silence. I understood this as a secret circus gesture, and I considered it done. The only person I told was Salvador Mesa Nicholls, a poet from Antioquia with a mad love for the circus who had just come to Cartagena as a local partner of the Razzores. He too had gone away with a circus when he was my age, and he warned me that those who see clowns cry for the first time want to go away with them but regret it the next day. Yet he not only approved of my decision but convinced the tamer, on the condition we keep it a complete secret so that it would not become news too early. Waiting for the circus, which until then had been exciting, now became irresistible.

The Euskera did not arrive on the anticipated date and it had been impossible to communicate with her. After a week we established from the newspaper offices a system of ham radio operators to track weather conditions in the Caribbean, but we could not prevent the beginning of speculation in the press and on the radio about the possibility of horrifying news. Mesa Nicholls and I spent those intense days with Emilio Razzore in his hotel room, not eating or sleeping. We saw him collapse, diminishing in volume and size during the interminable wait, until all our hearts were confirmed that the Euskera would never arrive anywhere, and there would be no report on what had happened to her. The animal tamer spent another day alone in his room, and the next day he visited me at the paper to say that a hundred years of daily struggle could not disappear in a single day. And so he was going to Miami with not even a nail and without a family to rebuild piece by piece, and starting with nothing, the shipwrecked circus. I was so struck by his determination in spite of the tragedy that I accompanied him to Barranquilla to see him off on the plane to Florida. Before he boarded he thanked me for my decision to join his circus, and he promised he would send for me as soon as he had something concrete. He said goodbye with so heartbreaking an embrace that I understood with my soul the love his lions had for him. I never heard from him again.

See Time magazine's story from September 20, 1948 on Emilio Razzore and his lost circus.

The photo, which I realize is a clown not a wild-animal tamer, has been borrowed from:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Love My Winnipeg

...sorry for bugging out on you guys. I just returned from 25 hours in Winnipeg where the ice cream is cold all year round. We had an Emerging Spirit meeting there to prepare for the launch of our ad campaign and regional training events. Not too much to report, except that I feel good about our work, even though we are super, super busy and will remain that way for some time to come. It is good to be back home, even after a short trip out of town. There's nothing better than coming home to a smiley baby and sweeter-than-sweet wife!

p.s. No Lesley, I didn't sneak off to the Bridge Drive-In for a cone when you had your back turned. This picture is from June when you took us there yourself!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Amado's Wonderland

Wendy took this nice picture of Amadisto playing in his crib. Got to love what the little guy is doing with his hair these days!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Air Power Show

For the past two days there has been a big air show roaring around our house, which I guess is part of living near the lakeshore. I actually love to see these incredible machines, especially the fighter jets (which I think are U.S. Raptor F-22s). Everytime I hear the roar of one as it makes its turn around our apartment building---and they are VERY LOUD---I scream "Holy!!!!.....", and drop everything, including the baby, and run out to the balcony. Of course, the jet is traveling faster than sound and is long gone by then.

Despite the rain leftover from Hurricane Ernesto, I have spent a lot of time this weekend out on the balcony trying to take pictures of the jets as they fly by. Getting a good picture of one of these planes is not as easy as you might think. The show continues today, so maybe I'll be able to get a good shot. Check back later.

Words of Wisdom

TallSkinnyKiwi is a leading blogger in the emergent church world that I often check out. I've actually learned more about cutting-edge web technology than about the church from his blog, which I guess could be some of what he is alluding to in announcing his "blog fast" for September. Not that I'm ready to follow him, but I found a lot of wisdom in the reasons he gave for stopping the blog for a month. Below are some of the points he gives, you can see them all at:

Why a Blogging Fast?
  • Because I feel that a new season is upon us and I need to take a breather before plunging in. If i dont, I may miss this new season through laxity and the curse of routine sameness. Does that make sense??????
  • Because I Do suffer from blog addiction and blog fasting is a way for me to kill the old man and crucify him again - allowing God the opportunity of resurrection in his way.
  • Because my blog is old and tired and not nearly as much fun as it used to be. I want to be re-inspired and invigorated.
  • Because I have an idea of how blogging should be and I want my blog to catch up to my vision.
  • Because I have been SELFISH in my blogging recently, concerned with building my own blog and tracking my own progress rather than being a resource on other people's blogs.
  • Because the quality of my blog posts has decayed and I am posting fewer poetic posts [a sign of good spiritual health] and fewer thoughtful theological/missiological posts [a sign of rigorous thinking in my head] and I need to raise the bar.
  • Because I have become infatuated [again] with my stats and my blog authority and google-ranking - a form of idolatry and narcissism that can only be harmful.
  • Because my blog is becoming institutional and I want to OWN it again - as a whole-life blog and not a way of fulfilling other peoples expectations.
  • Because my blogging world is more complex, involving a number of blogs, and I need to think on how to bring all these worlds together
  • Because I want to PURGE my site of the thousands of visitors who are jumping in without any history and would do better reading someone else's blog written by someone who has the time to explain the basics.


Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter R.I.P.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday (she's the one seated in the top picture, with the "Olivia" shirt on) . I'm not sure how old she is, but I'm sure she's older than I am.

Recently Mom made the trip to the big city and got a totally cool tattoo of her totem spirit, a crow. Like the crow, she is brave, has a creative soul that can make something out of nothing, and has a strong wild streak!

Mom, we love you a lot and we miss you too much! Amadisto, Wendy, and I all hope you have a great birthday and a great year with many piercings, opps...I mean many blessings.

Much love!