Monday, December 19, 2005

12 days later - random observations...

i can see my toes. i have really cute toes.

i can bend at the waist. so, drop something - i can pick it up now.

i have a lap. bring on the lap dances - just kidding.

i can do a zillion things with one hand. but am not ambidextrous.

i feel like a retired biohazard receptacle with leaking fissures.... sometimes.

we are living the fabulous life of a hermit crab family.

p'zilla and i are not getting enough sleep.

circumcised men should get anything and everything they want in life and their mothers should too. trust me. i know of what i speak.

b'zilla has an inny. we're a family of innys!

b'zilla looks like he's doing the hammer dance when he's really crying about something... which makes me move b'zilla arms and legs like he's doing the cabbage patch or the running man.... this is the highlight of my day. :)

i don't think k'zilla wants a little brother anymore. last night, i wasn't sure that p'zilla wanted him either...

setting the thermostat at 68 degrees is not comfortable. it's cold.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

b'zilla has arrived!

he was 7lb 30z & 19". he was born on 12/7 @ 8:46 p.m.

we're all home and everyone is well (albeit horribly sleep deprived).

more on the whole adventure later.... must. eat. something.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"december 7th - a date which will live in infamy"

ok peeps, i just got back from my weekly midwife/ob/gyn appt....

apparently, i have to report to the hospital tomorrow where i will be given some antibiotics for my group b strep infection and then, my membranes will be stripped and active labor will likely result and then, my second little screaming bundle o' joy will finally be placed in my arms... :)

on pearl harbor day - how appropriate, since a bomb of sorts will be dropping...

so send positive vibage my way... and we'll be home in a few days.

till then, lotsa kisses, no tongue!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

it's december first, do you know where my baby is?

no sign of baby's arrival yet. but, i am dilated between 3-4 cm now.

if i get to 4cm next week without any other progress, i'll probably get induced/have my water bag ruptured, etc.... and then, hopefully, the fireworks start, the champagne will flow while i devour a sushi party tray.

mood: kinda sad... kinda stressed... want my mommy... :(

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

um, we don't do turkey, we do lechon.

...the true hollywood story behind charlotte's web...

i can't believe i found an issue of giant robot at my local borders. what is the chicago south side coming to?! how multicultural! or as my friend, (d)Eva likes to put it - "Viva La Raza!"

...and the icing on my little asian magazine find? the cover story is about seonna hong, one of my favorite artists. so, dude, GO, pick it up now!

anyway, i'm flipping thru and i stop on this hilarious little tidbit about the "asian american lunchbox". readers wrote in with their favorite lunchbox memories and included is a layout/diagram of what different lunchboxes would have looked like and contained - each labeled accordingly - the chinese-american, hawaiian, japanese-american. there's some pretty quirky stuff in them there lunchboxes even for asian peeps.

man, do i have filipino-american lunchbox stories.... y'know, i think everyone in my grade school remembers my lunchbox. without going into too much detail (because it plays a huge part in the book i'm suppossed to be writing. ha.), i had a large porcelain sugar bowl (or maybe it was a small soup tureen) for a lunchbox. my mother used to put my lunch in it and put a rubber band around one handle, over the top and the around the other handle. the stuff that she used to put in? let's see, it was usually a combination of any two of the below with rice:

raisins or prunes (my mother should have been a california raisin, she would have met the height requirement)
banana chips (ok, i admit i requested these...)
bagoong (fermented tiny shrimps)
longganisa (pork sausage)
sinigang bangus ('cause what's a school day w/o getting a fish bone caught in your throat)
jello (like the time, the jello melted and ran out of the aforementioned lunchbox)
fresh mango (i could eat mangoes ALL DAY LONG)
smoked chub (and i quote,"children, do you smell fish? i smell fish. where is that smell coming from?" mrs. turnoy, walking by my desk, nose in the air, nostrils flaring, 3rd grade.)

i remember begging and pleading to accept dinner invitations from friends. i would dream about pancakes, ice cream, tacos, pizza, Hi-C and gelatinous pasta from a can. all we had was filipino food - morning, noon and night. and on the holidays, it was no different. we didn't do turkey, we did lechon. i felt SO deprived, my KINGDOM for one measley funyun!!!!

it wasn't until i moved out of my mom's house (and into bohemian art school/shared space hell) that i realized how much i took for granted and how desperately i missed filipino food - its odd odors, funky colors, alien textures, otherworldy ingredients and most importantly its familiar, steamy, stewy comfort.

nowadays, i look forward to meals with my mom and my extended filipino family. more recently, i've pulled the "pregnant lady craving card" and begged my mom to cook/buy stuff and bring it over. my moms is so great. she brought so much stuff over i had to give some away. well, ya can't really refrigerate/freeze filipino food, it doesn't really like that....

this year, i'm making a few "american" sides for my husband and brother in law (whose families are very traditional when it comes to the holidays) so that they won't feel so left out (or like guinea pigs). but i was delighted to find these filipino thanksgiving recipes on, that offer up a fabulous filipino fusion thanksgiving feast:

pumpkin soup
coconut crusted rebosado
whole wheat pandesal
cranberry achara
sweet potato buco pie
longganisa cornbread stuffing
lechon turkey/pabochon
baby green beans w/ cashews

i may actually try these...

in a few years...

when i actually have a spare hand...

...or two - attached to my body, in some postapocalyptic experimental surgery designed to revolutionize/modernize the stay at home mom - sahm v11.0 (see, even i'll go to eleven.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

19 days to go... time to place your bets!


hey, i actually had a fake contraction on sunday night.

woo. hoo.

yesterday morning, i went in for a not so routine ultrasound to make sure that bellyzilla was actually head down because at my last appt, my midwife thought he sounded and felt like he was breech. there i was spreadeagled on the examining bed, determined to smack the daylights out of my soon to be born son.

i swear this kid better be worth the multitude of health problems his presence has caused - the myriad internal plumbing backups, the debilitating neck and backaches, the hormonal rollercoaster rides, the paralyzing fatigue, etc, etc... my MIL is trying to convince me that this can only mean that our son will be an absolute angel. hmm... maybe she's trying to convince herself too.

my first pregnancy was so wonderful that i'm convinced testosterone is pure f*cking biochemical evil to women. and that is why, children, the devil is usually pictured as a male.

so anyway besides placing a bet on bellyzillas day and time of birth, you can also pick a middle name! those of you who personally know me and popzilla know his first name. here's our growing list of middle names: pick one or feel free to offer up a suggestion (and no, henson beckwith is not a choice) just keep in mind that our last name starts with an O and his first name ends in an S.


oh and another thing... i'm not going to use the word "k*dzilla" anymore. it turns out its another word used to search for porn.

i know that kinda made me wanna vomit too...

Friday, November 18, 2005

just an fyi...

i am the only harry potter fan in chicago who is not going to be seeing the movie tonight. :(

i'm signifigantly put out and disappointed.

piffle and rot. :(

i'm so pouting right now.... did i mention it's playing on the IMAX screen at navy pier? :(

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

i can't believe it....


...i'm slightly hormonal right now, functioning on very little sleep and btw - my midwife mentioned at my appointment on thursday that i'm already dilated a fingertip....

so. any day now, people.... ANY. DAY.

and for those of you who are snowflake deprived you can always "make-a-flake" here.

mmmmm..... i *heart* "make a flake". i hate snow.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


popzilla shares his birthday with
producer-director-actor Garry Marshall
actor Joe Mantegna
actress Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under")
actress Whoopi Goldberg
actor Chris Noth
comedian Jimmy Kimmel
basketball player Ron Artest

"IF NOVEMBER 13 IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Happiness and prosperity are on the upswing for those born on this day. Jovial Jupiter will be in your zodiacal area all year and you may be able to reap a beneficial harvest of good will from others before your next birthday. People in general, however, may be too willing to criticize between now and late January, so hold off on crucial decisions and changes. Keep a low profile until August, when chances to improve your circumstances can arise. Set crucial plans into motion in October to enjoy permanent peace and tranquility."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

me and my "rowdy" child... *sigh*

no mama/no kid zone

not too long ago, i walked into the border's cafe with k'zilla in the stroller and the looks i got were so cold that i immediately felt unwelcome and guilty. it's actually a very familiar feeling, we've gotten the same looks boarding the L, waiting to board airplanes, etc...

i was already having a blue day. i needed a place to "be" ouside the home. i needed a warm drink and an unfamiliar set of four walls - just to break up the monotony of our shared day. i needed to remember what it was like to be around people my height.

i made sure that before entering the cafe section, i purchased a few magazines and a jumbo coloring book to support the bookstore and keep us entertained. yes, even i was skeptical but hopeful that k'zilla would use her "inside voice" and behave long enough for the both of us to have a snack and share a little "quiet" time.

to my delight, the little bambina shone like a star. she was very well behaved, used her inside voice, ate her snack and colored away (outside the lines :)). but, i know from ear splitting, gut wrenching, heartbreaking experience that she wouldn't have done so if it weren't for all the other times that she didn't behave properly and we had to teach her how to do so - in real time, in real places, in real life situations.

so, it's stories like the one printed in the NYT that strikes me so hard. i first caught a glimpse of it on chicagoist and again this morning on wgn tv. though many people see this issue as parents vs. non-parents, it's really about the intolerance and immaturity of people who should know better - with or without kids.

again looking back as a mother with a very loud and rowdy child, i remember how often i isolated ourselves from the world for fear of disturbing my fellow human's sensibilities. by virtue of who i am and what i look like, i always tried to blend in with my surroundings. all of a sudden, that anonymity was gone and with it my independence to a certain extent. i was lonelier than i had ever been in my entire life. that was part of the reason why i started blogging, in an effort to keep in "soundless" touch with the world outside.

finally, i got to meet other new moms and felt the courage to attend coffee and brunch dates. sometimes, k'zilla behaved and other times, we would have to leave. but again, k'zilla wouldn't know how to behave if i'd never gotten the chance to teach her.

are there parents out there who don't pay attention to their children? sure there are. but before anyone goes judging them - they should walk a mile in their vomit & snot spattered shoes. i don't know any parent who willingly lets their kid(s) run ape sh*t in a public place - especially if it's a place that they visit daily or weekly.

just because we're parents doesn't mean there aren't those days when you want to leave your child in a park with a "free to good home" sign around his/her neck. but, you don't, you can either stay in your house and cry in a corner or maybe just maybe - go to a cafe/restaurant and calm down, take a breath and maybe catch a break, if not a little perspective.

ultimately, i think the sign at taste of heaven is humiliating - especially to spanking brand new parents.

i was surprised to read that other restaurants/cafes in other neighborhoods already had similar signage posted. and to add insult to injury, was the overwhelming postive response in favor of the restaurants & cafes.can restaurants/cafes post signs? by all means, yes. can they do it with a little more sensitivity? you bet they can. i don't care that the sign at taste of heaven says "...children of ALL ages..." - the sign is posted about 2 ft from the ground with kids handprints on it. if some vapid nimnull is raging on a cell phone, the last thing s/he is going to do is look at a sign posted 2 ft from the ground. that's funny, i haven't seen a sign like that in a restaurant, but it would be totally insensitive and intolerant of me to say anything about it, i suppose....

and does anyone give a sh*t that the owner of the bakery took insulting/lame potshots at the parents that do frequent his establishment. nope. if he insulted homosexuals or a whole race of people, the city would be up in arms, but hey let's sh*t on those parents. they made a "choice". yeah, who's having a toddler tantrum now? why can't the taste of heaven staff be as respectful as they expect others to be, instead of resorting to public humiliation?

after reading the NYT article, i also couldn't believe that women and children first bookstore had actually asked a woman to leave because she wouldn't stop breastfeeding. WTF?! and again, people wondered why parents were boycotting/complaining. HELLO!? the bookstore is f*cking called WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST.

i'll never forget stepping off a bus in san francisco years ago and thinking almost immediately how it seemed very un-family friendly to me. it was why among other reasons we decided to move to chicago and now this!?

imho - it's silly of those parents to boycott taste of heaven, toast or john's place. just go and support businesses in the area that do want you. easy peasy. i'm very lucky to have cafe luna near to me which actually has a kids menu and a kids area with kid size tables and toys.

all in all, it's kinda sad coz i used to work in an art gallery in andersonville for years in the 90s and i can remember when it was very residential, unhip and family friendly. years later, when i returned from san francisco, the neighborhood had definitely changed and was inhabited by the young and hip. i was so happy to discover a taste of heaven when it was still on foster. although i never sat in there with my nephews or nieces, we used to buy all of the family special occasion cakes at taste of heaven. i wasn't surprised but somehwat disappointed to see a cake from cafe selmarie at a party my sister hosted this past weekend. don't get me wrong, i love cafe selmarie, but it was just sad to not see a cake from taste of heaven.

anyway, the article follows...

The New York Times

November 9, 2005

At Center of a Clash, Rowdy Children in Coffee Shops


CHICAGO, Nov. 8 - Bridget Dehl shushed her 21-month-old son, Gavin, then clapped a hand over his mouth to squelch his tiny screams amid the Sunday brunch bustle. When Gavin kept yelping "yeah, yeah, yeah," Ms. Dehl whisked him from his highchair and out the door.

Right past the sign warning the cafe's customers that "children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices when coming to A Taste of Heaven," and right into a nasty spat roiling the stroller set in Chicago's changing Andersonville neighborhood.

The owner of A Taste of Heaven, Dan McCauley, said he posted the sign - at child level, with playful handprints - in the hope of quieting his tin-ceilinged cafe, where toddlers have been known to sprawl between tables and hurl themselves at display cases for sport.

But many neighborhood mothers took umbrage at the implied criticism of how they handle their children. Soon, whispers of a boycott passed among the playgroups in this North Side neighborhood, once an outpost of avant-garde artists and hip gay couples but now a hot real estate market for young professional families shunning the suburbs.

"I love people who don't have children who tell you how to parent," said Alison Miller, 35, a psychologist, corporate coach and mother of two. "I'd love for him to be responsible for three children for the next year and see if he can control the volume of their voices every minute of the day."

Mr. McCauley, 44, said the protesting parents were "former cheerleaders and beauty queens" who "have a very strong sense of entitlement." In an open letter he handed out at the bakery, he warned of an "epidemic" of antisocial behavior.

"Part of parenting skills is teaching kids they behave differently in a restaurant than they do on the playground," Mr. McCauley said in an interview. "If you send out positive energy, positive energy returns to you. If you send out energy that says I'm the only one that matters, it's going to be a pretty chaotic world."

And so simmers another skirmish between the childless and the child-centered, a culture clash increasingly common in restaurants and other public spaces as a new generation of busy, older, well-off parents ferry little ones with them.

An online petition urging child-free sections in North Carolina restaurants drew hundreds of signers, including Janelle Funk, who wrote, "Whenever a hostess asks me 'smoking or non-smoking?' I respond, 'No kids!' "

At Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg, Calif., the owners declare "Well-behaved children and parents welcome" to try to stop unmonitored youngsters from tap-dancing on the 100-year-old wood floors.

Menus at Zumbro Cafe in Minneapolis say: "We love children, especially when they're tucked into chairs and behaving," which Barbara Daenzer said she read as an invitation to cease her weekly breakfast visits after her son was born.

Even at the Full Moon in Cambridge, Mass., a cafe created for families, with a train table, a dollhouse and a plastic kitchen in a carpeted play area, there are rules about inside voices and a "No lifeguard on duty" sign to remind parents to take responsibility.

"You run the risk when you start monitoring behavior," said the Full Moon's owner, Sarah Wheaton. "You can say no cellphones to people, but you can't say your father speaks too loudly, he has to keep his voice down. And you can't really say your toddler is too loud when she's eating."

Here in Chicago, parents have denounced Toast, a popular Lincoln Park breakfast spot, as unwelcoming since a note about using inside voices appeared on the menu six months ago. The owner of John's Place, which resembles a kindergarten class at recess in early evening, established a separate "family friendly" room a year ago, only to face parental threats of lawsuits.

Many of the Andersonville mothers who are boycotting Mr. McCauley's bakery also skip story time at Women and Children First, a feminist bookstore, because of the rules: children can be kicked out for standing, talking or sipping drinks. When a retail clerk at the bookstore asked a woman to stop breast-feeding last spring, "the neighborhood set him straight real fast," said Mary Ann Smith, the area's alderwoman.

After a dozen years at one site, Mr. McCauley moved A Taste of Heaven six blocks away in May 2004, to a busy corner on Clark Street. But there, he said, teachers and writers seeking afternoon refuge were drowned out not just by children running amok but also by oblivious cellphone chatterers.

Children were climbing the cafe's poles. A couple were blithely reading the newspaper while their daughter lay on the floor blocking the line for coffee. When the family whose children were running across the room to throw themselves against the display cases left after his admonishment, Mr. McCauley recalled, the restaurant erupted in applause.

So he put up the sign. Then things really got ugly.

"The looks I would get when I went in there made me so nervous that I would try to buy the food as fast as I could and get out," said Laura Brauer, 40, who has stopped visiting A Taste of Heaven with her two children. "I think that the mothers who allow their kids to run around and scream, that's wrong, but kids scream and there is nothing you can do about it. What are we supposed to do, not enjoy ourselves at a cafe?"

Ms. Miller said that one day when her son, then 4 months old, was fussing, a staff member rolled her eyes and announced for all to hear, "We've got a screamer!"

Kim Cavitt recalled having coffee and a cookie one afternoon with her boisterous 2-year-old when "someone came over and said you just need to keep her quiet or you need to leave."

"We left, and we haven't been back since," Ms. Cavitt said. "You go to a coffee shop or a bakery for a rest, to relax, and that you would have to worry the whole time about your child doing something that children do - really what they're saying is they don't welcome children, they want the child to behave like an adult."

Why suffer such scorn, the mothers said, when clerks at the Swedish Bakery, a neighborhood institution, offer children - calm or crying - free cookies? Why confront such criticism when the recently opened Sweet Occasions, a five-minute walk down Clark Street, designed the restroom aisle to accommodate double strollers and offers a child-size ice cream cone for $1.50? (At A Taste of Heaven, the smallest is $3.75.)

"It's his business; he has the right to put whatever sign he wants on the door," Ms. Miller said. "And people have the right to respond to that sign however they want."

Mr. McCauley said he had received kudos from several restaurant owners in the area, though none had followed his lead. He has certainly lost customers because of the sign, but some parents say the offense is outweighed by their addiction to the scones, and others embrace the effort at etiquette.

"The litmus test for me is if they have highchairs or not," said Ms. Dehl, the woman who scooped her screaming son from his seat during brunch, as she waited out his restlessness on a sidewalk bench. "The fact that they had one highchair, and the fact that he's the only child in the restaurant is an indication that it's an adult place, and if he's going to do his toddler thing, we should take him out and let him run around."

Mr. McCauley said he would rather go out of business than back down. He likens this one small step toward good manners to his personal effort to decrease pollution by hiring only people who live close enough to walk to work.

"I can't change the situation in Iraq, I can't change the situation in New Orleans," he said. "But I can change this little corner of the world."

Gretchen Ruethling contributed reporting for this article.
accessed 11/10/05

Sunday, November 06, 2005

will someone explain to me...

"the throne" - world's most expensive loo - made of 380kg of gold & 6,200 pieces of pearls and gemstone.

what IS the deal with men and their fascination with toilets & humor involving toilets?

popzilla and i were at the grocery store yesterday. personally, i rarely use public restrooms. but, hey when ya gotta go...

anyway, we walked by the grocery's restroom door and this guy (soooo south side - btw) walks out and says smiling/sheepishly to the other guy waiting patiently outside, "dude, ya better hold yer nose before ya go in there."

of course, i'm mortified and disgusted. and i tell popzilla what "south-side-internal-plumbing- issue dude" said when he's finally out of sight/ear shot and popzilla totally starts laughing and has trouble stopping... wtf!?

ok, i guess even i can see the humor (somewhat) of the situation but C'MON! THAT'S JUST TOTALLY GROSS AND TRASHY!!!!

i was telling popzilla that i was going to blog about this and i wake up this a.m. to these news stories about toilets...

man glued to toilet seat, sues store

black toilet paper is rolling in

and just when you thought it was safe to potty train, Boy Finds Large 'Flesh-Eating' Lizard In Toilet.

y'know this totally reminds me of that tv show, jackass (insert guitar twangs here). almost every guy i know loves that tv show and the movie. i've never seen/met so many men willing to explore/expose their fascination for poo and porta-potties (poo hug, poo poo platters, poo cocktails, turning porta-potties over, making porta-potties explode). it's amazing to me that the vast majority of men, who are so enamored with fecal material, are chicken sh*ts when it comes to dealing with dirty stinky diapers.

i dunno... this is just one of the many mysteries surrounding the archipelago of men in my life.

oh, and another thing... whatever you do, don't do a googe image search for toilets. *SHIVERS*

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Chicago Pinoy Update

i get these update emails about pinoy happennings in chicago and i hate to admit it but they get lost in the melange of emails and spam. so, i figure i should park 'em here. they're really packed full of stuff re: the goings on of chicago pinoys. if you'd like to receive the updates contact edwin directly at

NOVEMBER 3-6, 2005


Slow Jam King (U.S.; 2004; 109 minutes)
Dir: Steven Mallorca
Making its festival return to Chicago, this comic road movie features Jojo,

a self-styled "Filipino Warrior" whose dreams of street credibility find him
on the run from the law with his best friend Devaun and a traveling perfume
salesman named Vance. Award-winning filmmaker Steven Mallorca and his
New York-based musical group, P.I.C., wrote and performed all of the film's
hip hop, country, and slow jam tracks.

Preceded by new videos from Chicago's own Pacifics and an award-winning

video by P.I.C.


Leave It to Chance (U.S.; 2005; 100 minutes)
Dir: Bernard Badion
Chicago Premiere. Special Appearance by Bernard Badion and other Cast and Crew
College students Charlie and Kailin are taking a little time off. While Charlie's

friends try to get him back in the game during a wild holiday break, Kailin wonders
if time off is what she really wants. Twenty-two year-old filmmaker Bernard Badion
directs this relationship comedy in which the Filipino and Asian American characters
step out from the background and into the spotlight.

10:00 p.m.
Blue Hour (U.S.; 2005; 81 minutes)
Dir: Francisco Aliwalas
Shot for under $1,000 in the streets of New York City, Francisco Aliwalas's Blue

Hour is a neo-noir amnesia thriller reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate and
Memento. When John volunteers for a medical experiment to pay off his best friend's
gambling debts, he soon discovers he has more to fear than some ruthless loan sharks,
and finds himself in a world of paranoia and conspiracy.

Preceded by:

Bampinay (U.S.; 2003; 21 minutes)
Dir: Matthew Abaya
The festival classic Bampinay follows a Filipina vampire hunter on the trail of an

"Aswang," the traditional vampire of Filipino folklore.


Bloodlines (U.S.; 2004; 53 minutes)
Dir: James Espinas and Timothy Kiley
In 2003, filmmakers James Espinas and Timothy Kiley followed the Philippine

Medical Society of Northern California on its six-day mission to the central providence
of Ioilo, Philippines, to provide medical services to a community lacking even the
most basic healthcare needs. Note: While the film captures the mission and its many
profoundly inspirational moments, some viewers may find the depictions of serious
medical conditions and surgeries to be difficult to watch.

Presented with:
Manila BaYou: Filipinos of Louisiana (U.S.; 2004; 57 minutes)

Principal Dir: Harold Kekoa Bayang
While many are familiar with the Filipino communities on the East and West Coast,

and here in the Midwest, Manila BaYou offers a fascinating glipmpse at one of our
nation's oldest Filipino communities, and the descendants of laborers on the
Spanish galleons and other Filipino immigrants who found their way to Louisiana
as early as the late 18th Century, establishing a community that continues to thrive.


La Visa Loca (Philippines; 2005; 105 minutes; English and Tagalog with English subtitles)
Dir: Mark Meilly
Director Mark Meilly's follow-up to the 2004 hit Crying Ladies, La Visa Loca follows

the story of a limo driver struggling to get his U.S. work visa. Robin Padilla turns in
a critically acclaimed performance in the role of Jess as he takes a famous television
host on a guided tour of the idiosyncrasies of Filipino culture. Sharon Cuneta is the
executive producer of this satirical comedy.

Co-presented by Pintig Cultural Group


Panaghoy Sa Suba (Call of the River) (Philippines; 2004; 120 minutes; Visayan

with English subtitles)
Dir: Cesar Montano

Filipino superstar Cesar Montano directed and starred in Call of the River, a wartime

epic set on the island of Bohol during the turbulence of the Japanese Occupation.
Montano, who made a memorable Hollywood debut in The Great Raid, has earned
awards in the Philippines for his acting and his direction in Call of the River which
was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.

Preceded by:

Spotlighting (U.S.; 2005; 30 minutes)
Dir: Josh Diamond and Justin Lin

Directors Josh Diamond and Justin Lin (director of Better Luck Tomorrow and

the upcoming Annapolis) document the real-life adventures of The Sunspots, a
Filipino pop group who chased the American Dream, until they ran into the British
Invasion. Spotlighting follows the group from their days playing American bases
throughout Asia, to a whirlwind tour through the U.S. during the 1950s and '60s,
to their recent years as a Vegas lounge act. Funny and inspiring, Spotlighting
tells the story of a legend that almost was.


Cavite (U.S.; 2005; 80 minutes)
Dir: Neil De La Llana and Ian Gamazon

An independent thriller shot on location in the Philippines, Cavite follows the

story of Adam, a young Filipino American Muslim, in a dangerous journey
through the streets of Cavite that challenges his identity, his family loyalty,
and his faith. Winner of the Special Jury Award at the South By Southwest Film
Festival and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.

Co-presented by FAAIM and the Chicago Asian American Showcase

Pinoy/Blonde (Philippines; 2005 100 minutes; Tagalog with English subtitles)
Dir: Peque Gallaga
Boy2 Quizon star in this wildly imaginative film by veteran Filipino filmmaker

Peque Gallaga. Packed with Tarantino-style references to Hollywood and Filipino
cinema, Pinoy/Blonde follows the comedic misadventures of two film school
dropouts sent on a mysterious errand into the criminal underworld. The soundtrack
includes songs by Bamboo, Radioactive Sago, and many other popular bands
from the Filipino rock scene.

Co-presented by Pintig Cultural Group

3:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m. La Visa Loca (Repeat) Co-presented by Pintig Cultural Group

7:00 p.m. Pinoy/Blonde (Repeat) Co-presented by Pintig Cultural Group

9:00 p.m. Cavite (Repeat) Co-presented by FAAIM and the Chicago Asian

American Showcase

eFYI: For more info, please check out

To purchase tickets, go to


THURSDAY, NOVEMER 3, 2005 /// 9:00PM
The Seminal presents....
The PACIFICS & Outerlimitz
@ Bill's Blues - 1029 Davis Street [Evanston, IL]
$5 cover / 18 & over
For more info:

By now, we hope you've seen the online clips of the videos, but just in case

you haven't, here they are:




Gypsy and 2004-2005 Jeff Award Nominations

Hi everyone,

Sorry for this mass email but I needed to get the word out about Porchlight's

most recent accomplishments and promote our newest hit.

We have received 10 Jeff Award Nominations for our 10th anniversary season,

the fourth most next to Marriott, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, and beating
the Goodman, Lookingglass, Northlight, among others. More remarkably, we are up
against Wicked, currently playing at the Oriental in downtown Chicago! For those of
you who don't know what the Jeff Awards are (, they are Chicago's
Tony Awards for professional Equity theatre.

Production, Musical - Sweeney Todd; Ensemble - Closer Than Ever; Direction,

Musical - L. Walter Stearns, Sweeney Todd; Direction, Revue - Nick Bowling,
Closer Than Ever; Principal Actor, Musical - Michael Lindner, Sweeney Todd;
Principal Actress, Musical - Rebecca Finnegan, Sweeney Todd; Supporting Actor,
Musical - Peter Polhammer, Sweeney Todd; Actress, Revue - Rebecca Finnegan,
Closer Than Ever; Musical Direction - Eugene Dizon, Closer Than Ever;
Musical Direction - Eugene, Sweeney Todd

Here is the link announcing the awards:

Also, we are currently running Gypsy, which has received rave reviews.

I hope you can come see our show. We run thru November 6th -
Fridays & Saturdays @ 7:45pm, Sundays @ 3:00pm.

Directed by L. Walter Stearns

Musical Directed by Eugene Dizon

Starring the two-time Jeff Award nominee and two-time

Jeff Citation receipient, Rebecca Finnegan as Momma Rose.

Hope to see you soon.



Subject: Philippine Christmas Bazaar

Pasko sa Nayon: A Christmas Bazaar at the Rizal Center

Saturday, November 12th
11am - 4pm
Jose Rizal Heritage Center
1332 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago IL


In the Philippines, the Christmas season is already underway!

On November 12th, the Rizal Center comes alive with holiday spirit

during Pasko sa Nayon: A Christmas Bazaar at the Rizal Center! And it
all begins with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11am.

Bring your family and friends to our festive bazaar where you'll have

the opportunity to purchase distinctive gifts (parols, jewelry, candles,
toys, handicrafts, etc...) while enjoying good food and entertainment!

There will be a Children's Booth where the kids can kids

make crafts while you shop.

RETAIL VENDORS: Showcase and sell your products!
AUTHORS: Autograph and sell your books!
RECORDING ARTISTS: Autograph and sell your CDs!
ARTISTS: Showcase and sell your work!
CRAFTERS: Showcase and sell your handicrafts!
REAL ESTATE AND INSURANCE VENDORS: Introduce yourself to potential customers!

(Booths only $35 -- limited space, so please reserve early.)

For more information, please e-mail us at:

All proceeds donated to the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago

for the upkeep of the Rizal Center (


From: Lani Montreal


Hey guys,

I was wondering if you'd be interested to perform for a cause and help us

raise funds for our youth theater arts program. Please see attached flier.
If you're interested, please email me and I'll send or email you the pledge
forms and other info.

Maraming, maraming salamat!

Lani T. Montreal-Bermudez



For the past four years the Center for Immigrant Resources & Community Arts (CIRCA)

has been providing creative arts workshops for immigrant and at-risk youth in
Chicago through its Youth Theater Arts Program. Held throughout the year,
the program brings together children and young adults, ages four to 18, from
various communities in Chicago to learn more about their culture and those of
others as well as develop leadership skills through drama, music, creative writing,
visual arts and movement. They learn from professional artists in the community --
actors, directors, musicians and writers -- who have a genuine love for and dedication
to working with youth and children. In the past, the program has culminated in
outstanding productions that highlight the participants' honed performance skills
as well as feature the design, directorial and writing talents of awesome immigrant artists.

This year, you'll have the opportunity to participate in this amazing community

endeavor by supporting CIRCA’s 2005 Fall Fundraising Perform-A-Thon!

Here’s how you can help…

1. Volunteer as a performer (or performers if you're a group or a band). Sing, dance,

read a monologue or poetry, do stand-up comedy, or contribute art for auction.
Artists pledge to raise money by performing during CIRCA’s Arts for Youth
Perform-a-thon event on December 10, Human Rights Day.
(We're hoping $250 per performer or at least $100.)

2. Support a performer with a pledge of any amount. All donations are

tax-deductible as fully allowable by law.

3. Jam at CIRCA’s Arts for Youth Perform-a-thon on December 10, Human Rights Day.

4. Enjoy an evening of thought-provoking entertainment by fabulous Chicago artists.

Donation is $25 per person at the Montclare United Church of Christ,
6935 W. Medill (hors d’oeuvres and complimentary drink provided).

5. Sponsor a community youth with a donation of $250. All sponsors will be invited

to all CIRCA events including main fall production.

Subject: Chicago Community Forum: Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005

Great opportunity to gain skills and network.

Presented in collaboration with the Asian American Institute

Chicago Community Forum:

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Sponsored by Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP), the event

Will discuss leadership development in the Asian Pacific American (APA)
community from several different perspectives.

Date: November 5, 2005
Time: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Location: DePaul University, DePaul Center
Download Forum Flyer
Download Registration Form
Download Forum Agenda


Workshop Descriptions

Morning Sessions

Understanding Yourself & Others:Explore the differences in communication

styles, and how they affect our personal and professional relationships.

Managing Across Generations: A panel of former and current non-profit staff

talk about the transitions in community work between older and younger generations.

Involvement in Non-Profit Boards: Non-profit boards are always on the look

out for board members- particularly those with skills, knowledge and resources
from the corporate sector. Learn how to get involved!

Afternoon Sessions

Understanding Your Cultural Values: Explore how your cultural values affect

how we interact with others, and how it shapes others’ perceptions of us.

Balanced Scorecard: For non-profits, the Balanced Scorecard is a proven

method of evaluation that also serves as a tool for fundraising purposes.

Adding Value: Making the Most of Your Corporate Affinity Groups: Corporate

affinity groups are a great way to network with APA professionals. Learn how
these affinity groups are also a good connection to the community.

CONTACT: Jade Agua,, (213) 485-1422 ext 4107

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

like music to his ears...

i was just reminded of a conversation i had with popzilla not too long ago:

PZ: y'know, how you think i don't listen to what your saying?
MZ: you mean how you never remember anything i tell you?
PZ: yeah. well i just heard that womens voices are like music to mens ears. so, it's not that i'm not listening to you, it's that i'm processing your voice like music. maybe it goes in one ear and out the other?
MZ: really. and where did you hear this little tidbit of news?
PZ: the *mumble mumble* show
MZ: the what show?
PZ: i heard about it on howard stern.
MZ: *rolls eyes*

well, i was curious and so i googled and the news story/research did actually come up...
yeah, good effort, guyville, but no cigar...

on a related note, did you know that charlie brown's teacher's (mrs. donovan) "waw-waw-waw" voice was actually made with a trombone?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



... fyi - the south side has taken to the streets screaming, car horns are blaring, illegal fireworks (ok, i hope that those *pops* are illegal fireworks) are shooting...

hopefully, k'zilla will sleep through it all.

Monday, October 24, 2005


i've been tagged by my dear friend and fellow blogger, bertville, to list my idiosyncrasies.

yeah, i didn't know what the heck that really meant so i looked it up...

id·i·o·syn·cra·sy n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

hmm, that seems easy enough...

1) i look like i have a jellyfish (ok, a small, detentacled jellyfish) attached to my head due to my cystic hygroma (brace yourself for the images).

2) i perspire under my chin when salivating or eating due to frey's syndrome (which probably occurred because of the many surgeries i underwent as a child to "shrink" my cystic hygroma.

3) i don't drive because a) my right eye has a hypoplastic optic nerve. so, i have very bad eyesight/depth perception. b) i'm really uncomfortable with controlling heavy vehicles with lots of power. c) when i did drive, i didn't drive well.

4) i can't see 3D (again, i really only have one good eye.) movies with those ridiculous red and blue cellophaned cardboard glasses.

5) i start numerous creative projects and find myself struggling to complete them.

6) i always wash a sink full of dishes the same way - first plates & bowls, then glasses, then pots and pans, then silverware/utensils get done last.

7) i go out of my way to wear matching underwear - my bras have to match my undies (currently, i'm so lost right now re: undergarments and will be until i lose the pregger poundage).

8) i really don't like to wear white socks or flip flops in public.

9) i am a slave to superstitions.

10) i always have kleenex. my nose has a tendency to sneeze and run when i least expect it. the brownie in me takes over - i must always be prepared.

11) i can't stand long fingernails - if my fingernails are 1/16" long, i have to cut them (and only during the light of day.)

12) i prefer not to attend large events. i find that if i'm unable to converse with a person in depth, i end up just sitting somewhere, shutting down and waiting until the event is over or when i've attended the event for a socially acceptable time.

13) i can't read printed words in a car, but i can read a map and very well i might add.

14) i am the most gullible person you will ever know. seriously, dude.

ok, i think that's it.
so i tag , monkeysteez, veloworks and dallas island to name their idiosyncrasies. really didn't know how freaky i was, did ya?! :) mwahahahahahaha!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

like i don't carry enough guilt already....

Nanowrimo is back.

huzzah. the ticking is getting louder and louder and louder......

on a happier note, p'zilla, k'zilla, b'zilla and i bought ourselves a tivo as an anniversary present and we all (ALL) enjoyed a lovely dinner (yup. dinner, not lunch. and i did in fact say, enjoyed) at frontera grill. :)

and before i catch h*ll for not mentioning it, i also received the wicked soundtrack cd, a lovely card, a big brick o' ghiradelli chocolate and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

let's see, that means a gazillion brownie points for popzilla and (surprise!) zip, zilch nada good wife points for mamzilla.... yeah, feeling slightly sheepish about it...

Friday, October 21, 2005

the zilla's celebrate #5!

photo of m'zilla & p'zilla by rufus diamant

so, 5 years ago, around this time, i was a blushing bridezilla walking slowly down the aisle at st. agnes catholic church in san francisco. the soloists, karen feder and scott grinthal were singing the prayer and i couldn't stop crying - my tough girl facade dissolving like my eye makeup, in front of God, my friends and family.

all the madness that occurred the evening before was finally moving out of focus and popzilla was moving into it.

the wedding rehearsal didn't go very well. alot of our attendants were late and everyone was so excited about the wedding and being in san francisco that hardly anyone was paying attention to what we were there to do. i was specifically worried that the kasalan portion of the ceremony wouldn't happen as seamlessly as i was hoping.

finally, the rehearsal was over and we were all looking forward to the rehearsal dinner. weeks before i had reserved tables at one of our favorite restaurants, e & o trading co. by the time, popzilla and i had gotten there, most of the wedding party was already there and they all looked really scared. apparently, e&o trading co had LOST our reservation. it was about then that i LOST my marbles and started to have a nervous crying fit on the staircase. after some calming and reassuring words from the wedding party and family, the manager on call actually did find the reservation which was "hidden under a bunch of stuff on the general manager's desk". they seated us pretty promptly after that but we didn't catch any breaks on drinks or anything. the dinner was delicious and we all had a really great time. it was the first time in a long time that my mom got wasted and silly on one frou frou drink. THAT was priceless....

since three of our wedding party were celebrating birthdays that same weekend, we'd decided a while back that we would go to bimbo's and dance the night away with the cheeseballs, the bestest 80's music cover band. i don't know how anyone got home that night and even weirder, we actually had tickets left over but i'm not sure who didn't show because it looked like we were all there.... i dunno. blame the al-key-hal...

i returned to our suite at the marines memorial club and didn't sleep a wink that night. thankfully, i also didn't have a hangover, unlike popzilla, who i called early that a.m. to remind him of some wedding day duties. no rest and no sympathy was to be found for poor popzilla on his wedding day...

i think MOH and i got to the wak shack early to get our vintage updos done by the lovely and talented kim long (who used to be the mermaid at bimbo's long ago, btw...) but we still managed to run late, after returning to the marines memorial club and changing because i remember getting out of the rolls royce and getting rushed into church with some hushed admonitions by the wedding coordinator.

and there i was, crying my eyes out. the wedding and reception were just this short of "perfect" but totally unforgettable.

and here i am five years later, truly living a life i really used to dream about. and i owe a (big, ginormous, hunking) lot of this happiness to popzilla - who loves me unconditionally and encourages me to "dream BIG".

popzilla, we might not be "doing much" to celebrate our anniversary this year (how can you when the traditional 5th anniversary present is wood - "dearest, i offer you this toothpick/tree branch/pencil/baseball bat as a symbol of our 5th wedding anniversary." ???!!!)

but, really we've done so much in five years... i really don't mind that we're "resting on our humble laurels" and just kickin' it at home w/ k'zilla and bellyzilla and dreaming BIG about our futures. :) i love you, babe. happy anniversary!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

it's been two years!?

i just checked - i started this blog 10/20/03...

go figure.


who woulda thunk i had this much nonsense in my head...


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tomorrow is "Bring Your Toaster To Work Day"... seriously!

i just saw this on WGN this morning... appparently, the toaster oven/toasters come in blue, green and stainless.


This observance will benefit the Salvation Army's Chicago Metropolitan Division. Each of the first 100 people to drop off an old toaster, or other small kitchen appliance, between noon and 2 p.m. Oct. 12 at the State of Illinois Building plaza, 100 W. Randolph St., will receive a free Ginny's brand toaster/toaster oven valued at $69.95. Donated appliances should be in working condition.

FYI: (312) 329-6120 or

WCLX 2005 (Windy City Lindy Exchange)

i was one of the dancers at federal plaza sunday afternoon and the willowbrook ballroom later that evening... still recovering...Posted by Picasa

more info at the official website...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

henson beckwith

so, i had the WEIRDEST dream last night... one of those dreams that i'm not even going to bother interpreting...

i dreamt that i was trapped in an elevator during some kind of apocalyptic event. i don't know what the apocalypse involved really - a continental divide or a flood or both - feel free to fill in the blanks... i vaguely remember stepping into an elevator (like i would ever do that if i knew the world was about the implode) the elevator dropping (duh) and the lights going out.

i wake up in a bed in a badly damaged (part of my room is ripped open to the elements) and barely functional hospital (the flashing fluorescent light fixture is hanging by two remaining hooks instead of four) . here's where it got especially weird, on the nightstand, next to the bed is a hand carved wooden overmantle that has a personalized shelf for each of us 'zillas - top left, i see my name, then top right, i see popzilla's name, bottom left, i see kidzilla's name and then, bottom right, i see "Henson Beckwith"

at this point, i see that my small family has indeed survived the apocalypse somehow and are cradling the new baby. some random family member walks over to me and says, "all along, we thought he was going to be named after popzilla - where did you come up with henson beckwith?"

henson beckwith?! wtf!? end of weird dream...

this dream could have been brought on by anything really - my first instinct is to suspect the turkish delight that i have been feasting on (and will continue to feast on, thank you very much, to my generous globetrotting maid of honor and the fantastic candymakers in turkey who made such a marvelously edible thing possible) ... the recent catastophic hurricanes... our impending trip to new york to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary... the fact that we haven't picked out a middle name for the new baby yet (popzilla wants a monosyllabic name whereas i would prefer a polysyllabic name)... the fact that i love all things related to jim henson...

anyway, popzilla and moh (my maid of honor) got a laugh out of it this a.m. so, i thought i should document it.

i googled the name and came up with nothing. spell check actually suggested "Hanson Becket" i checked the baby names websites and also came up with zero...

that reminded me of a fellow aca resident (i mean you, monkeysteez) who tipped me off to baby name websites as good resources for names of characters in writing. which made me think, "hmmm, maybe 'henson beckwith' is actually a name for a future character in that book that's hopefully just stuck in my head. and maybe like my firstborn, will need to be extracted from me with one mighty push and the help of forceps..."

i read today that nicholas cage and his wife named their firstborn, "Kal-el". yes, aka clark kent, aka superman... don't you just want to slap people upside the head sometimes? i shouldn't be surprised really since, nicholas cage named himself after a comic book character as well...

anyway, here i am 30 wks along and feeling big as a house. this pregnancy has been really tough. i feel like i have this scowling little ruffneck sauntering around inside me - kicking and breaking anything in his path, tagging my insides with amateur graffiti, littering his testosterone about willy nilly, streaking in public.... this boy is not honoring my temple the way kidzilla did...

and if i were a vengeful bitter mommy, i might actually name him henson beckwith.... but, lucky for the wee lad, i'm not. but, he better not piss me of any more than he already is coz' that whole circumcision thing is lookin' mighty tempting.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


ECHO! ECHo! ECho! Echo! echo!

(really, i'm still alive. no excuses for blogging hiatus, well, besides being 7 mos preggers...)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

sneak peek at baby boy bellyzilla!

the arrow is pointing out the obvious...Posted by Picasa

a wider angle in 2D... Posted by Picasa

and slightly freakier... a picture taken in 4D... :) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Posted by Picasa

I really miss writing.

I haven’t resumed writing the book much because I’m totally intimidated by it.

I haven’t been blogging because I feel like if I dedicate myself to writing anything it should be writing and finishing the book.

It’s been tough lately. K'zilla is growing and developing (no, i'm not talking about her boobies.) faster than the ivy outside, that’s once again threatening to engulf the house. which is another reminder (not that i needed one) that the house is in need of attention. It’s true what they say about repairing one thing and something else of equal or more priority simultaneously breaking and needing repair.

Everytime I think I’m able to sit down and write either K'zilla or Popzilla or the house remind me that I have other responsibilities. For example, K'zilla was making the “Psst. Psst.” noise and knocking on the back of my laptop earlier.

We’re inside the house and not outside at the park because the cable has been on the fritz and the cable guy is expected to show up between 8 am and 12 noon. Hopefully, we’ll be able to stroll on over to the local Panera and use their WiFi so I can actually upload this to blogger.

I need WiFi. I keep hearing that in the back of my head. That and Jessica saying, “I love WiFi because I can write anywhere.” freakin know it alls...

Tuesday night, Popzilla sprained his ankle – badly. He went to the emergency room yesterday morning. Fortunately, it wasn’t a fracture but it’s pretty swollen and he’s wearing a splint. He skipped work yesterday to the delight of K'zilla. She was also happy to find that BILzilla (brother in law) was also off of work. To top it all off a plumber was here to (expensively) fix a leak and leave an expansive water trail. So, K'zilla didn’t nap until she was vibrating from excitement and exhaustion. Popzilla’s foot was elevated most of the day and night which prevented him from doing much of anything. He hates that.

I need to write more because I think it might be related to losing my sense of humor. I don’t think it’s totally gone because I actually considered writing and posting a craigslist ad in the lost and found section. I know people do it all the time, but I just figured it was (celestially) my turn. Last night, I didn’t find much of anything was very funny. I’ve been having a REALLY hard time finding “The Daily Show” funny.

Have I mentioned that I’m not sleeping as well at night? I’m supposed to be sleeping on my side but I prefer to sleep on my back. It’s better and healthier for the baby, but it’s really annoying and uncomfortable to me. (as a side note, the baby is going absolutely bonkers. I mean, right now, while I type away. So, it’s true. I am a walking, talking human habitrail.)

I think I must be internalizing any stress that I’m feeling because my eczema is growing worse and worse. I really have to call my dermatologist… I am constantly waking up for no reason at night and having trouble getting back to sleep.

I refuse to believe I’m the wreck that looks back at me in the mirror. I think things (like me) will look much better after this weekend after a visit to my chiropractor and the salon (and maybe even the drugstore after I talk to my dermatologist).

Now, K'zilla is requesting (demanding) a bowl of cherries. Hmmm, aren’t we all requesting (demanding) a bowl of cherries from someone or something? The cherries are the new novelty thing for K'zilla and she’s got a one track snack mind.

It’s all my fault. I saw my first cherries of this summer in New Smyrna Beach and they were so shiny, taut and bloody red that I had to have some. I was on vacation, so I wasn’t as concerned about witnesses and me spitting pits or looking remotely vampiric.

So, of course when I got home I had to have more. I swear this baby is going to come out with a little birthmark shaped like two cherries connected by a wishbone vine.

It’s been fun teaching K'zilla how to eat cherries. It’s also tedious and messy. We both come out of a cherry eating seminar with cherry juice all over us and staining our fingers. I had to buy a new bottle of spray & wash for the occasion. She still hasn’t quite mastered the whole spitting thing. I’m just glad we’re finally beyond the “violently tear the pit out of the juicy tender meat of the cherry with your stained gawky hands” part.

It reminds me of going cherry picking with my mom. I think we may have gone about it slightly too “urban”. I vaguely remember my mom driving the car between the wide lanes of the cherry trees but close enough to the branches that they brushed up roughly against the car. I was picking cherries with difficulty, while standing on the passenger side seat and leaning out and against the passenger side window which was rolled partly up so that I wouldn’t fall out completely. We didn’t cherry pick for very long.

Off to sacrifice one bowl of cherries to appease the cranky non napping beast…

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

SSsssoooofffFFFFFTTTTtttteeeee goodness....

i can't stop thinking about ice cream. i don't think it's related to my pregnancy either.

the other day, i was somewhere, possibly the zoo or the museum with kidzilla and i heard it. the familiar music box melody of an ice cream truck. i imagined it's white square shape ambling up the street, just about to round a corner where it would be patiently waiting for me and my dollar clenched in my veiny, outstretched and vibrating fist. the song "how much is that doggie in the window" would waft toward me and envelop me in its summery embrace.

but alas, it was a f*cking ringtone on someone's stupid cell phone.

for some reason, weeks into the official summer of '05 (you know it's official when someone visits an ER with a serious burn or loss of digits/limbs due to an illegal firework purchased in indiana before the 4th) here in this south side chicago neighborhood, the ice cream trucks are noticeably absent. i say/know this because elsewhere in the country ice cream trucks are so obvious, they're driving people to litigate - ice cream vendor's music sparks outcry.

i mean what DOES an ice cream fanatic have to do to get a cheap vanilla softee delivered to her by a surly man in a beatup white truck!? do i really have to buy said white truck and do this myself?! i can't even get a paleta guy here with the bells and the whistles and the coconut paletas with the sticky papers...

as a kid, my old northside neighborhood was frequented by parades of paleta guys and ice cream trucks. in the event that we missed a parade, the baskin robbins down the street that had the cool bubble gum ice cream that my mother would never let me have. in fact, i think i was only allowed the green orange and white sherbet. there i was halfheartedly licking my sherbet plain cone next to my friends and their triple scooped sensations drip, drip, dripping seductively down their monstrous waffle cones and soiling the tops of their roller skates.

if we were really good, we'd get to go to zephyrs or to margie's candies. both establishments offered a vast array of ice cream treats and a large party bowl of ice creams - usually a thirty plus scoop fantasy that you could share with a handful of candied friends.

despite the lack of mobile ice cream vendors, i do have some choices nearby. there's the original rainbow cone shop which has been a fixture in the community for almost 80 years. they feature their own rainbow ice cream - a rainbow ribboned mixture of chocolate, strawberry, palmer house and pistachio ice cream and orange sherbet. a small cone will set you back $2.50 and they're open until 11 p.m.

a new coldstone creamery just opened down the street. i like all their creative little mixes, but the singing is a little too loud and kinda annoying. i know in this neighborhood something like two hundred teens auditioned for the thirty or so positions. it was like our own mini american idol but who wants that really? a small "like it" will set you back $3 and some change but they're also open until 11 p.m. and you smell SO GOOD when you leave.... my two faves "paradise found" and "birthday remix"

hopefully, the oberweis that's being built will be open before summer ends.
oberweis ice cream ROCKS. oberweis politics SUCKS.

ok, must go inhale some ice cream now...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

blue light special

(photo from astrogalaxy )

so, every once in a while, i check to see what's haunting the cyberhalls of eBay.

don't get me wrong supernatural stuff totally FREAKS me out. i'm such a chicken sh*t when it comes to the paranormal. never seen a ghost and don't wanna. EVER. no mysterious lights or orbs or mists....

some of the aca associates actually went to cassadaga, fl to hang with psychics in their spiritualist community. some of them even got readings and reported that they had good futures in store. as far as the future goes, i would like to know the gender of our new baby, but really that's all i want to know.

so, just in case you want to own a haunting or maybe you want to help someone who is currently being haunted (out of the goodness of your own heart) - Ebay (of course) has ghosts and hauntings aplenty...

(just wondering, is it really a surprise to anyone that a high percentage of those freaky porcelain dolls are haunted? hello!? FREAKY PORCELAIN DOLLS!!!!???)

haunted rabbit shaped pizza

haunted wooden salad bowl

haunted cast iron fritter tray

haunted guitar and song of death

haunted baby monitor

haunted full size flat sheet

oooo! i would however totally bid on this cat or this puppy and happily give them homes!
(hat tip to abroad at home for the cat story.)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Fathers Day!

Posted by Hello
it just occurred to me that father's day may in fact be a "hallmark holiday", unlike christmas and ramadan, i'm not sure that the philippines actually recognizes father's day as one of its holidays... hmmm... well, i live here and i have a father. so there. happy father's day, papa!

yes, i call my father, papa. i was taught very early on that that was the only (other) appropriate title to address him. "never call me, 'dad'" he said, matter of factly, to his three year old daughter.

this is my favorite picture of me and papa. it's one of a handful that i have. it's true that most of my life was spent with my mother in the states, but i remember how often he did come to visit and that a lot of the time he was behind the camera. i was thinking maybe it's actually because of my father that i spend so much time behind the camera instead of in front it rather than the obvious reason. something to ponder i suppose...

i think the other reason i don't have as many pictures is because one summer when my mother was feeling particularly empowered and pissed off, she actually threw whole photo albums into the trash - their wedding album and the early albums when the family was still fresh and together. she also managed to throw out most of my stuff that i had left in the basement for storage. jeebus, she was PISSED. anyway, a friend of mine from the old hood called to let me know that he saw one of my easels and an old portfolio leaning next to the trash cans. so, i ran over there. the easel was gone and i found the large mound of my life's memories had been picked thru by a dumpster diver or two. but, i managed to come away with the wedding album and some of the pictures including the one above.

the picture was snapped on one of my early trips to the philippines. on the back of the picture my father wrote, "taken during her departure, january 11, 1977." i'm pretty sure this was one of those years where my father would coax me into saying stuff like "mommy, i love the philippines and i want to stay." into a long distance phone call to her, his desperate attempt to guilt trip my mother into returning to the islands. didn't work, obviously....

but, despite all that weirdness between my parents. i managed to eek out memories with each of them. to my father, i owe my lifelong appreciation of simplicity, practicality and efficiency.

because of my father, i can gracefully cast a fishing line off the perimeters of a pond and i will always feed popcorn to the fish at starved rock state park. i can make a pretty good avocado shakes and i know how to pick & cut a mango. he bought me my first ube ice cream at the magnolia ice cream parlor in manila. he taught me how to ride a horse in baguio city and rode under the waterfalls with me at pagsanjan falls. at the beach, he didn't teach me how to swim, but he swam me out to a big rock in the middle of the sea and we watched the sun set while enormous dragonflies buzzed into and out of our field of vision.

i will always think of my father playing guitar and humming when he thought no one was watching. i have his eyes and lips and height and everytime i look down to pause my typing, i see i have his hands. in fact, i can owe writing to my father as well who is a thoughtful and beautiful writer of correspondence.

so, happy father's day, papa. i can't wait to introduce you to your granddaughter and eventually, to your newest grandchild in december.

p.s. of course, this is also a happy father's day greeting to all my friends and family members who are fathers or father figures. i hope you get as good as you give!

to popzilla, the love of my life and the apple of kidzilla's eye. to my uncle doug, who healed bee stings, made the best diaramas and sang like elvis. to my uncle caesar, who drove with his knees. to louis, who got me through high school. to dennis, who got me through art school and that first (devastating) love.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

ooo! a potential jessica sighting for you SFers!

just saw this on (while searching aimlessly for folks)

Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 12-5pm FREE Join us for a day long block party celebration of Intersection's 40th Anniversary on Valencia Street featuring live music and performance, food, drink and activities for all ages. Join us as we honor the thousands of people in our community who have touched Intersection in the past four decades. This day features dozens of artists from over the years through today, including Jessica Hagedorn, Ntozake Shange, ESP Project, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Marcus Shelby Trio, Robert Moses, Felonious, Peter Plate, Howard Wiley, devorah major, Youth Speaks, Keith Hennessy, Leslie Scalapino, Latin Youth Jazz Ensemble, Denis Johnson, Fresh Meat, Arundo, Kitchen Sink, Bantercut Strategy, WritersCorps, Suspect Thoughts, Ellen Sebastian Chang, Beth Lisick and many many more.

Monday, June 13, 2005

this time last year....

i was filling and taping up moving boxes and getting ready for our big move from our cool, hip, urban loft to our not so hip, but beautiful home. i was doing this with a 16mo toddler and a busy body cat - both insisted on getting in the boxes marked fragile. :)

today, i was packing and taping up all the christmas decorations (they were put away in the basement, just not packed up & taped shut). the toddler is now 2y 3mo old and napping away. the cat is still trying to get in the box and eat the infidel tinsel. and i'm 14 weeks pregnant.

i can finally tell everybody. :) no, we don't know the gender but, we would like a boy - a healthy baby overall. kidzilla seems relatively aware of impending babyhood since she will say things like "i'm the big sister" or she will point to the smallish swell of my belly and say "baby". we went to my midwife visit and when she heard the heartbeat kidzilla looked up to me, puzzled and said "mommy? choo choo?"

so, as you can imagine the residency was difficult because i was having fatigue and morning sickness issues, but they seem to be falling away... slowly but surely... see, leave it to me to come up with some lame *ss excuse... ;)

i realize now that i'm suffering withdrawals from aca. it's been tough. i'm absolutely feening (sp?) i miss everyone, the camraderie, the workshops and even the solitude and the lizards very much. i finally received some emails from other associates and thankfully, it seems we're suffering from the same malady.

i'm slowly getting back into my routine here. the first week was odd. kidzilla had picked up some new habits, which may turn out to be temporary glitches in toddler programming. some things in the house were moved too. so, i was trying to find/re-appropriate them from hiding places, etc... i didn't write at all in the past week, much to my embarassment. i just needed a break. now, i'm ready to start again. i really have to get my studio back in order. i went thru it like a mad woman before i left for florida.

anyway, i wanted to post a reading list that jessica gave to us. also, at the time, she was reading "the royal family" by robert volmann (?) - which i kept stealing glances at, it looks SO good...

so, just in case you were looking for something to read:

selected fictions - jorge luis borges
one hundred years of solitude - gabriel garcia marquez
the autumn of the patriarch - gabriel garcia marquez
disgrace - j.m. coetzee
continental drift - russell banks
rule of the bone - russell banks
the power and the glory - graham greene
bear and his daughter - robert stone
a flag for sunrise - robert stone
dog soldiers - robert stone
interpreter of the maladies - jhumpa lahiri
charlie chan is dead 2 - an anthology of contemporary asian american fiction - jessica hagedorn
the anchor book of new american short stories - ben marcus
yellow - don lee
coming into slaughter - michael ondaatje
the collected works of billy the kid - michael ondaatje
jesus' son - denis johnson
look at me - jenniger egan
drown - junot diaz
kiss of the spiderwoman - manuel puig
folly - sabina murray
aunt julia and the scriptwriter - mario vargas llosa
beloved - toni morrison
yellowback radio broke down - ishmael reed
the mmor's last sigh - salman rushdie
the blind assasin - margaret atwood
three trapped tigers - guillermo cabrera infante
the bridegroom and other stories - ha jin
fake house - linh dinh

the gate - francois bizot
we wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families - philip gourevitch
running in the family - michael ondaatje
news of a kidnapping - gabriel garcia marquez
seek - denis johnson
the heart that bleeds - anna guillermo prieto

ok, i'm starving. i have to go eat a chair leg or something...

btw - i just looked at david rakowski's website again (because he's one funny dude) and he actually posted a journal entry about the residency. there's pictures at the very end (in the fourth pic from the bottom i was sitting right across from ines (token beautiful argentinian blonde) and felipe (token hunky brazilian). guess i'm not signifigant enough to be pictured, eh, davy? ) click here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

i'm baaaaack!

i'm still recovering from new smyrna beach - physically, intellectually, emotionally, financially...

a) i look like someone with a severe case of chicken pox due to another losing battle with mosquitoes.

b) my brain is so full, it's difficult for me to type without self-flaggellating for not writing more in my first draft... and heaven forbid i even attempt to read something that isn't on my list of things to read that i compiled during my residency... catholic guilt has actually transferred & reached an all time high...

c) i'm so glad i'm home and yet, i eagerly want to prank call my fellow residents or order them pizzas they would never eat.

d) i pray that my credit card bill gets lost in the mail... pray with me...

i did actually write a final journal entry but, it's on my laptop, when i can, i'll post that one too. suffice to say, a first draft was NOT completed as hoped. but, i gained SO much more. thanks to everyone who thought good positive writerly thoughts for me - they came thru loud and clear.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Day 15 - 7:15 p.m. - word count: 21,109 (and yea close to giving up...)

The last few days have been really rough for me. I can’t seem to get out of this funk.

I started writing something else today – a portion of the book that happens later. I think I’ve been trying to write everything as it chronologically happens in the book. I’m being too strict perhaps.

I think it’s also I miss my family so much. I dream about popzilla and kidzilla every night. Sometimes, I get so tired in the writing studio that I go to my room to take a nap and I end up vividly dreaming about them again. I’ve enjoyed my time here immensely and the thought of leaving really depresses me. But, I’m also ready to go home, to be surrounded by the people I love. I especially miss getting and giving unsolicited hugs. :(

It was a very busy weekend here. On Saturday, Ines hosted a party at her beach house (fact – you can lease a beach house (steps from the water, the dolphins, etc) here in New Smyrna for under $600 a month). I didn’t go to the party but the majority of the associates attended and apparently the party went on until the next day. They left here around 4:30 on Saturday and didn’t arrive back here until about that time the next day. You could see it was worth it on everyone’s faces. They all looked so tanned, happy and relaxed.

Sunday, Jessica hosted a dinner for the writers & visual artists and Davy hosted another dinner for the composers. It was a lovely dinner. I helped to crush garlic again. I am an excellent crusher of garlic. I should list it in my resume as one of my hobbies. After dinner, everyone walked over to the theatre to watch the Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou. I was there for the first half hour and then, I turned into a pumpkin. I figure it’s on my netflix queue…

5 days to go… my goal is still to finish the first draft of this book… but I won’t be disappointed or surprised if I don’t accomplish that. What I have completed I’m quite proud of and today I mentioned to Jessica that I feel very humbled when I’m around every body or even one writers associate who compliments my work because I haven’t done any formal academic coursework on the fiction/creative writing. I really just think people are blowing sunshine up my ass. To which she responded with more compliments about my writing and the theory that maybe my poetry background plays a bigger part in my writing than I give it credit for…

Anyhoo. the associates are headed en masse to sing karaoke at a tavern in town tomorrow and then, possibly to watch the film “Crash”. I want to see this movie but not at the expense of singing a song. I can wait for it on netflix. Wednesday, a handful are going to look for alligators in a rented pontoon. One or two of the other master artists is doing their outreach in the area on Thursday or Friday. Then, Saturday, the associates are showing their work at an interdisciplinary show here at ACA – open studios, mini concerts and readings. It’s going to go by so fast…

Friday, May 27, 2005

Day 12 - 7:36 am - word count: 17,860 (crap!)

Yesterday, I got stuck in that writerly way....

So, I did some research and I sorta got unstuck but now I’m sorta just writing aimlessly until I find my way… it’s very uncommitted…

I learned a lot about the 70s though or rather I was reminded of a lot of the 70s which facilitated a few openings and connections for me. It’ll be interesting to see where I go today. Especially since another excerpt is being critiqued in workshop today. (!)

I don’t think I mentioned it earlier but I did bring a few books with me to serve as guides during my residency: John Irving’s Cider House Rules, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, Ursula Hegi’s Stones from the River and Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. ACA also has a pretty good library – I picked up Calvino’s Italian Folktales and Geek Love by... ?

I read a bit of these books right before I go to bed and last night I picked up Middlesex and paged through it. That book is fascinating to me. His way of maintaining that first person narrative is provocative and fascinating to me. I want to stay with the narrator, Cal, the whole way through even though I don’t like him all the time and I don’t like his story some of the time…

So, I’m just leafing through and I wonder if there is a small bio about the author at the back of the book. There’s nothing, just the end of the book. But, halfway down I see the words “New Smyrna Beach”. Three of the characters retire to new Smyrna Beach. The narrator informs us earlier that the family were on the run from the Turks in the 20s. They left their small island town by way of a harbor town called Smyrna on a boat headed for America.

I can’t help but wonder if Eugenides did a residency here.

Jessica’s reading was a success yesterday. There was a good sized audience and there were actually some Filipinos who came all the way from Orlando. She read some poetry and then she read from Dream Jungle. We all went out to dinner at this Italian restaurant. I still smell and taste garlic…. Yummmmmm….

Ok, I have to get out of this and write…. Goal for today: at least 20,000 words.

FRACK! I locked myself out of my room!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Day 10 - word count: 16,311 (i know, i'm not done writing today)

I have to write a short post if humanly possibly now… because as I mentioned above… I have more to write.

There have a number of highlights in the past two days…

Two nights ago, we watched Almodovar’s All About My Mother – which absolutely killed me… I ended up having nightmares all night that kidzilla had… well… you’ve probably seen the movie.

The next morning, a handful of associates went to the beach around six am. It was marvelous, truly. The moon was still in the sky and the sun was a small red orange dot. The water looked inviting. I stayed on the beach and just relaxed while everyone else, jogged, biked or swam. There were dolphins swimming pretty close to shore and pelicans swooping over them.

Workshop again was really great. I think Chris had just returned and we read an extended version of something he had read to us earlier. Again, he pretty much blew me away. It was interesting, he has this talent to put you somewhere, in a moment and with this uncanny and quirky precision. It’s very entertaining. His characters are especially entertaining. You want to hang out with them. Stare at them through window when they floss their teeth or choose a book from a shelf. Today, we read the continuation of what we read yesterday – “something he wrote today” he said, “the bastard”, I thought. ;) again, it was amazing.

John also had something for us to read, an excerpt of a short story. It was very different from the excerpt of his book that he read. I admire his ablity to write in different voices. It’s something that I am definitely struggling with. After all the questions that came up, it turned out it would be a better idea if we could read the actual short story – which we did today, where it was summarily decided it should be fleshed out into another novel. (HA!) SO glad, I’m NOT John today! ;)

Dina read a short story she also just completed while here. (everyone is getting something done while I’m freaking out over my measley word count!!!!) It was as Jessica said a tour de force. We all agreed that it was awesome and that she should be sending it out. I can’t imagine what I would do if Jessica said something I wrote was a tour de force. She already said something I wrote was elegant – I almost passed out.

Jessica read an introduction or preface written by Edward Albee about his play, “Three Tall Women.” If I can find it online, I’ll link to it because it really resonated with me. It was about how and why he wrote the play and how/if he was responsible with the memories of his adoptive mother. Albee discussed memory and its use in fiction or playwriting. Very interesting… I’ll do my best to find it tomorrow. If you’re writing anything, I think it will prove useful.

Last night, I went to the movies with Steed, Del and Chris. We saw Revenge of the Sith. I totally need to hang with those guys more often. I really enjoyed the movie first of all. It was the best of the three films by a L O N G shot. I still think Padme and Anikin/Darth Vader were stiff as boards, but the Wookie planet, Obi Wan, Yoda – totally worth the price of admission. Did anyone else notice how the movie started with these amazing special effects and then ended with the original Darth Vader – with the square of LED lights on his chest that looked like a simplified simple simon? BRILLIANT!!! I almost peed in my pants that time…

Ok, I think that’s it. Tomorrow, Jessica is reading at a local library. Oh yeah, the local paper came by and took pictures of us during workshop. If I show up in any (doubtful) I’ll post a pic. I just gave a 20+ page excerpt to everyone to read and hack at for Friday. Wish me Luck.

p.s. I have a fucking mosquito bite on my fucking eyelid. The one place I don’t stick the bug repellent. My Achilles heel turns out to be my fucking eyelid. And word count update: 16,981. I may have to attend the superfun dance party this evening to celebrate… I wish I had a bubble to protect me from the mosquitoes from here to there though.


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