6/26/14

Sedona, AZ., Airport Mesa Vortex

I had heard how hippie and new agey Sedona, Arizona is. I never thought of going until the last year or so. Various people told me of vortexes, vibrating on rocks, new insights into their lives and just how beautiful it is. I had a trip penciled in for this summer, but no solid plans to go. Within two weeks several people had posted on my news feeds pictures and stories of Sedona. I had to go. Now.

I flew to Phoenix, got a rental, and drove to an Air BnB condo within in 4 days of deciding to go. Something was just pulling me, yelling at me to GO.

Upon arriving at Phoenix and getting my car, I wanted to stop in at Carolina's, a spot we ate at on one of our trips to Arizona with Rudy Acu~a and CSUN students. We had two trips to have our students collaborate with AZ students over battles with Mexican American Studies. Carolina's was closed on this Sunday. So I ended up at a Yelp top rated spot called La Santisima Gourmet Tacos. It was very good. I got the Sure~o burrito, cuz well, I am from So. Cal.

My drive to Sedona was uneventful. Desert and more desert, but it did make me consider driving next time. The desert gets you in the mood for the desert. Listening to the radio on scan, I settled on a trippy little station out of Prescott that was playing a mix of classic instrumentals and some standards. It was like muzak, regular songs and music I felt like I had heard as a kid that my mom played for me. After hitting one rise in the road the first sign of the red rocks emerged. It was breathtaking. Amid all the blanched land and foliage, this massive red rock shot up and across, saying welcome.

Got to my condo, which sits next to the Oak Creek Golf Course, and took a nap. Got up to go catch the sunset at Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa is a vortex and is a very weird place to have a small airport. I parked up, near the overview, and started my hike down to the "vortex." Parking at the lower parking, nearest the vortex, was full.

Like I said, I had heard about these vortexes amplifying emotions or your state of mind. I had heard one friend had cried and cried at one vortex. Her mother had passed and she went to Sedona for peace and release and the vortex helped. Another friend felt they were vibrating on a rock and felt their intuition had reached a new level of acuity. This Aiport Mesa vortex is written up as helping to balance or strengthen the masculine energies.  I was open to whatever it would offer me or not.

I felt good. Maybe it was the higher elevation; maybe the clean air; maybe the adrenaline of being on my first trip all alone; maybe the beauty of the landscape all around me; maybe the energy of the vortex.

After sunset, I went and had some Chinese food and watched the westside of Sedona shut down by 9pm. I walked around since I was so hyper. Found a market and got supplies to take back to the condo.
Back at the condo I researched yoga classes, tours, hiking trails and made a plan for the next day(s).




6/10/14

The Riff Raff Ride to San Marino July 5th

I have written about my bike riding in this blog.

I ride alone and with various groups.

One group The Eastside Bike Club based out of El Sereno and headed by Carlos Morales is organizing a ride to San Marino because apparently San Marino thinks its neighbors are sketchy or riff raff.

The story broke in the Pasadena Star News. San Marino residents were kind of upset about proposed bike lanes running through their barrio. They figured it would give more access to undesirables. This pissed off my homie Carlos Morales and so he organized the Riff Raff Ride. “I just found it kind of racist. I found it discriminatory that here we’re in the 21st century and people still think this way,” said Morales, 54. “Our bike rides … it crosses all ethnic barriers as well as financial barriers. We have people who are maybe homeless or students, and we have people who are professionals — they are entrepreneurs.”

San Marino, apparently trying to stay off the radar, had also began pulling back on their Farmer's Market because that also attracted outsiders that can't afford to live there. 

Dennis Romero at the L.A. Weekly posted this today. Good summary of the pedo.

I'm tripping on it all. I want to ride, but this Mercury Retrograde also has me thinking about that other bike ride that was coming from that god forsaken side of the river over to my beloved Boyle Heights.

Of course that bike ride was put together by parasitic real estate developers that want to come, show and take our homes so they can still make it to game night at Wolf and Crane, without the ludicrous downtown rents.

The Riff Raff Ride is to show San Marino "We have people who are maybe homeless or students, and we have people who are professionals — they are entrepreneurs." and this I don't get.

I want to ride to San Marino to tell them:
"You can't hide muthafrakers!!
You can't make 3rd Borders!!!
I can ride and kick it wherever the frack I want!!!"

I don't want to ride to say:
"Hey I'm just like you, I just don't have your amount of money, but I would like to.
Let me show how nice we are and how you should let us kick it with you fine folk."
NO. I really hope this is NOT the intention of this ride.

It is time we stopped trying to prove worthiness or acceptability and address xenophobia, racism, classism and white supremacy. Stop talking about how good enough WE are and start talking about how scared, stupid and fucked up the TYPE OF THINKING that assumes you can buy your way away from other humans you think are less than you.

Chris Rock says it best in this interview:


I will be at this ride Saturday July 5th at 8am. Check here for more details.  I hope to see you there.

Los Five de La Loma

Another family death whine.

La Loma 6/18/2014

The week leading up to Mother's Day I got a call from my cousin Lucy telling me that my uncle Kiko had passed away. He was the last of my uncles on my mom's side. My mom's only sister, my aunt Leli passed in October of 2013.

In the Estrada sibling tradition, starting with my mom, none had wanted any services. I wrote about my uncle Mike in this blog. His kids, never got a hold of me. Don't know if they had any services or not. When Leli passed in October, I didn't know about it until December or January. We are not a close family.

Lucy told me they wanted the military funeral for Kiko and that it would be in Riverside. "You know I don't drive that far, no way!" Lucy is at least 65 and refuses to drive "far." I asked her to text the number to Kiko's daughter who had contacted her, my cousin To~ia. Lucy don't text. Eventually, To~ia and I connected.

To~ia is a year older than me. Her, me and my uncle Mike's son Francis, make up the three youngest of the grand kids of my grandma Concepcion Estrada Contreras. Haven't spoke to Francis in over 25 years. Tonia in about 5-7years ?

To~ia told me my uncle Kiko passed well, surrounded by all his kids and grand kids. The services were yesterday June 4th. Turns out a lot of veterans are dying and they are doing 4-5 services a day at Arlington in Riverside. My uncle's Korean veteran generation is leaving.

My mom, tios and tia are now together with my grandma and grandpa in the next plane.

Kiko was the oldest and Leli was the youngest.
My mom, the second oldest, passed on first, then Mike.
My grandma, their mom, passed in '09.
Their Dad passed when they were kids.

My grandma never re-married, never took off her ring. They were asked to leave La Loma to make room for the projects that were never made, another victim of the red scare that thought public housing was Socialist and bad for America.

They found a large Victorian two story, with a large attic, just south of the 10 fwy off Main St. The southern edge of LA's heart, where I grew up. 

I went to the house I grew up in about three months ago. I got the last of my mom's ashes that my father and aunt had been holding onto. I put all the ashes together, and on Mother's Day, now knowing that Kiko had passed on too, I took those last ashes to be spread over the site of their beloved house on La Loma. I was hoping to see all of them there.

This is a photo of a photo that was in an album at my uncle Kiko's post funeral reception at his home, where I spent many days of my life at. It was good to connect with my cousins To~ia, Diane, Anita and Frank. We will see each other soon.



my young grandma
Grandma and Grandpa
















family tree


mom, miguel, kiko, grandma

1/18/13

Glances. Ahead.

Happy fucking 2013, as Dr. Rudy Acu~a posted on 1/1/2013, "One less year to live." 

Many believe the Mayans were wrong because the world didn't end on December 21st, 2012. I say Columbus landed on October 12th 1492 and the world of the Arawak ended within the next few months. The world and city of Mexico Tenochitlan didn't end until August 13, 1521. Many Mayas and other groups knew their "world" was ending before 10/12/1492 and thus "left" (see the Anasazi and various Mayas, particularly in Tikal) and in some cases had mass suicides. A passing glance of the world we live in, where chasing zeros to collect in banks is the highest goal of most, our world has been doomed for a long time. We as humans need to evolve beyond this present state of material collecting and self exploitation/destruction.


I'm putting the finishing touches on new syllabi at Starbuck's, Monterey Park. Little Tokyo only gives me an hour of parking so here I am wired, working and procrastinating in the deep Eastside. Just a few pages of rules and expected standards to go.

I got new classes this semester that have me reading and gathering materials for tweaking minds into new levels of consciousness, hopefully. History of the Americas and US History from Reconstruction to the Present. Looking at the Mestizo Nation that stretches from Alaska to Patagonia and connecting economics, myths, counter narratives and cosmology to make sense of how we are where we are.
 
I got a great essay dissecting Speilberg's usual caramel covered Hollywood slop of "Lincoln" to Tarantino's visionary and revolutionary "Django." NO Chicano or Black director/writer could ever have written and directed "Django." Sorry homies, but that white boy did/does what we can't do, yes cuz of his skin, but also cuz he can imagine a film where every white person is decrepit, cruel, stupid and gets killed. Big ups to Tarantino for breaking all the rules and hiring more black people than anyone else; helping others come up in the game and still maintain and advance his style, with a bad ass soundtrack as always.

Lots of articles of praise and piss were generated cuz of DJANGO. Poor old Spike Lee said he was boycotting it. Mr. Lee is bad ass, but we all forgot, and thus he hasn't been pushing more than the usual Hollywood slop (done well) "Inside Man" puleez part 2 is being worked on as I write. Film students need to rediscover him and do like a retrospective and give him his props and then he can hopefully step up and write us something visionary and revolutionary, again. 

All the talk about banning, regulating and collecting guns was the best PR the gun manufactures could ever have paid for. Gun sales are through the roof. Yes, other countries have less deaths due to their strict gun laws despite viewing the same violent films and playing the same video games, so? Most didn't build their countries on stolen Indian land, Black slavery and creating "races"to hate each other that fight over crumbs from the master's tables. We wouldn't be a country without guns and violence, it is our heritage and most likely our end if we don't evolve.

The conversation about why white men get so pissed off and go on killing sprees has still not reached, or is still too scary, for mainstream media, but there is a lot going on in academic circles that have been dissecting White Privilege for a while now. White men make up 30% of the population but are 70% of mass murderers. Needless to say if it were brown or black men killing at double their population numbers, I would probably have a tracking device in my skin and could NEVER buy a gun. The NRA only asked to tighten gun carrying laws when the Black Panthers started walking around with shot guns. When White men kill children and innocents, they scurry to make sure they can keep them.

Chose to take an FB break. I'm on day 18. I check in to see about private messages, but that is about it. I don't feel I am missing out as much as I thought I would. Got fed up with people's posts about "this is me before... during.. and after a night of drinking...", "come to my party it is going to be special...", and only getting an occasional good article or piece of information from a dwindling number of smart connected friends. I am so glad I missed the bowl game updates, the award shows updates, and the scores I don't care for at all. Yes, I need to get smarter friends who floss their brains in social media and not just their pics. Working on it.

R.I.P to Huell Howser. True story, I met him at The Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation at the old Lincoln Heights City Jail back in like '94. We were hosting an Illegal Interns events with all the usual Chicana/o artists performing in the parking lot on the back of a flat bed truck. My boy Manglor spotted him and we chatted him up. He knew Aztlan! He was down!!!


Manglor and I invited him to follow us to The Dome, later that night, which was at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, where we were doing weekly live broadcasts of Power Tools and rocking the place. He came along! After getting a few drinks in him, we took him to the stage. We were having a performance that night. He brought his drink with him which is a no - no cuz the place was 18 +, except in the bar area. Security stopped him and he just looked at him and pulled out his honorary Sheriff's badge and security stepped back. We had a great time introducing him to our dancers and various characters that made the night pop that night. He was fun.

Two days after Q was born in '96 we were coming back from a doctor visit and we stopped at Texas Original Bar B Que King on Figueroa and Sunset. It is now gone, replaced by gaudy apartments. Howser was there doing his "On The Bench" series interviewing people as we came up and waited for our food. He turned the camera on me and I of course pulled my little baby Q out of the car and showed her off. Too cool. Toast to you Huell Howser I know you had a helluva lot of more stories in you that you couldn't put on TV, so glad to have shared some space and time with him.

Recently I'm inspired by the work of the Idle No More Movement that is making necessary noise and by artist Guillermo Gomez Pe~a's struggle back to health. He is well on his way. Of course Harry Gamboa Jr. my friend and mentor inspires me weekly and he is set to go back to Europe as the expansion of Aztlan consciousness continues to evolve and make shards of the current state.

 I have been able to spend great quality time with my daughters and I am so grateful to all involved in helping this be so. For this I feel ahead in life, love and the world. No matter what is happening, the smiles of my two daughters when they see each other, or that they each share with me cannot do anything but fill me with hope and love and the will to continue to strive for a better planet. I will give it my all to instill in my students care for each other and all our relations, to see beyond mainstream myths that support poison filled systems and to create new value systems that are concerned with the wealth and growth of the soul and our smiles.







12/4/12

Daughters

My Q saved my life when she chose me over 16 years ago. I was running full speed down the road of life heading towards the edge of the abyss.
My Vivi, at only 6 months old, has changed me in ways I still have no words to explain it all. My patience, understanding of trauma(s), and my ability to censor myself have grown with her.
They are all I worry about in this world.

Que Que met Vivi on Thankstaking week. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I was there able to sit with my two loves, my two daughters, two souls I helped bring into this world. To watch Vivi reach out to Q instinctually, and witnessing Q's amazement at Vivi were truly magical moments on this blessed of days.

I look forward to sleep overs at my place where we will build beautiful castles of blankets and sheets. I look forward to walking the streets of LA showing Vivi the magic my Q still sees in the skies above the buildings, the sanctuaries hidden from most and the best food from all around the world. I look forward to trips where we will play games, sing songs, eat rich, and tell stories. I look forward to rainy days where Q and I will show Vivi how to find worms and watch them dance in the puddles. I look forward to talks about our futures, dreams and magic.

My precious daughters, you fill me with life and love.
I am here to serve you, to give you my life.

p.s


11/12/12

family death whine

This is the first holiday season I will have with both my parents dead.

If you read back I'm sure you will find how much I hate the holiday season. I find it depressing, gaudy, fake, and totally plastic. I imagine Xmas being made by merchants as a way to get people out of their homes in the dead of winter to buy crap they don't need. ThanksTAKING is clearly a false celebration, yet I do recognize the idea of harvesting. You must harvest or it dies, cuz this is the dieing time.

Our ancestors knew that the line between the living the dead was thinnest at this time of year because everything in nature is dieing. Getting ready for the dead of Winter before the rebirth of Spring, right?

That is why we have Day of the Dead and All Souls Day, etc., cuz they are right here, near.

I turned on my mini waterfall, lit some sage, a candle, and poured a shot of tequila in front of pictures of my parents. I felt them near.

I have felt my dad more than my mom cuz he just left in March, but I began feeling both of them when I was cleaning some power stones for my new baby V. I was praying over the stones, wiping them down with an oil, over a candle, near some water and sage smoke. They stood by me. They let me know all would be ok with V in time.

I asked Q if she would leave town with me on Thankstaking and she said she wanted to stay home with family. It hurt a little that she didn't just say "yes dad." Its my first holiday season with no parents. I don't want to be around family or families. I don't want to remember, this year at least, what it is to be in a family. I miss my parents, I miss Keta who always made things seem better.

I have seen what a family can do and it is beautiful. Not so much in my immediate family. In my family, we would just stroll in grab a plate maybe sit around together, eat and then split. Sometimes some members would just grab their food and go to another room in our big ass house. But I did get to see how others do it. Some like being around each other and make fun of each other, remembering stories of silly events. They laugh and laugh. Others pray and eat and then dance up a storm, kids and parents, in laws and all mixed up in a dance-a-thon all night. And others get together each bringing plates more amazing than the last, eat at LARGE tables so all can see each other and then play games together, all ages laughing. I felt so alien participating. I am so thankful I got to experience this at least once. I remember as a kid our parties were more fun but something happened over the years and we got boring and silent. I'm sad I remember the silence in my family more than the laughs and games. We never danced together.

I had imagined when V was born in May that all of us Q, V and I would spend Thankstaking together, somewhere. That Q would be holding V feeding her, me taking pics and being silly to make them laugh. Dance with both of them. Tell them the real meaning of Thankstaking and how we need to say "To All My Relations." Q n I singing songs to V I used to sing to Q when she was little and planning trips where us three could go and be. That doesn't seem likely.

Thus I wanted to just get out of the way. I looked at flights to Mexico. San Luis Potosi, somewhere I had never been, where I would be lost. Where I wouldn't have time to think about here. But I always remember the line from Repo Man "No matter where you go, there you are." I can't run.

This weekend Grandma Teddy invited me to her house for Thankstaking. I can't say no. We are both only children and share that bond. It will be her first season without her mom, Keta. She asked me to bring the wine. I know she wants Stella Rosa. Need to get to the San Antonio Winery this week.

I shut down from now til the end of January. I go on cruise control. Let my grading pile up so I can bury myself in papers. I get it done in time for when grades are due, but I put myself in intense (or selective) isolation with a valid excuse, "I'm grading, can't do anything." I ghost myself.

Yeah I am also hitting that age, when some of my homies are getting divorces after long drawn out marriages and they come to me for escape. I got nothing to say. I never got married, but I guess I've had my share of "divorces." One homie who's a few years older dropped it hard and true, "We are worth more dead than alive." Our kids will be not be without, except for us. We both know we need to stick it out for our kids. As little as we may get to see them, they know we are here. They know we are their fathers. They know we are watching and caring and waiting for them to just call our name.

I know my parents are here. I know they are watching, caring, and pushing me to keep on despite the madness. Despite not getting the call(s). Despite anything.

In what seems like another life, reading Casteneda about how children leave a huge hole in our energy field, I never wanted kids. I wanted to be a solid force of energy that could do amazing things playing with Power and the strands of reality. Being a dad, I now see how I am still playing with the strands of reality, but in other ways. In ways that cross life and death, space and time, probably more clear than if I was working solo. Working with my parents on the other side and my daughters on this side there is power and energy, and it needs to be cared and nurtured through thoughts, focus, and love. So I may seem like a ghost these days, but I will be working on other levels of energy for all of us, with all of us.

See you on the other side....