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Happy Holidays and an Update

Happy Holidays!

I wanted to give a little update to all of you who’ve been reading my blog posts this fall. I’m going to drink some tea, write a little and listen to Drake’s Take Care. The album brings me back to the beginning of 2012, when I’d drive on I-5 into Sacramento, away from the loneliness of the rice farm where I worked to my unlikely haven, a financial accounting class at Sac City College.

I first started blogging in 2008, the heyday of blogs. I didn’t use social media much at the time, I had a facebook account I hardly ever checked and I didn’t get a smart phone until four years later. Blogging was a hobby, I’d post a few photos, write a paragraph about pupusas one week, or a blurb about The Wire or hiking in the Bay Area. I had fun with it, interacting with random people who stumbled across my blog and checking out their blogs.

My blog morphed into a travel blog in December 2008, when I went to Nicaragua to study Spanish. Then in fall 2011, it became a farm blog. While I…
Recent posts

El Lupo and other tales

In this post, I will review two Italian crime shows on Netflix, Suburra: Blood on Rome and Gomorrah. Then I tell the story of El Lupo.

Crime Show Reviews

I finished watched Suburra: Blood on Rome a few weeks ago. It’s a crime show about three young men in Rome who are trying to make their way in an organized crime world dominated by a cunning and cold blooded puppetmaster: the aging godfather Samurai. Suburra succeeds in developing characters that despite their shortcomings, I found myself sympathetic towards. The series aptly conveys how organized crime preys on people’s faults, their petty ambitions, greed and desire to be someone important, and draws them into its sinister web. I loved the setting: most of the scenes took place in the darkened streets of the Italian capital and in dingy cafes and gas stations in run down suburbs, but also included shots of the beach at Ostia as well as a gypsy crime family’s ostentatious palace. What I also liked about Suburra was that the way the …

November Life

Did the food photo lure you to click on the link and find your way here? Those food pics we see on social media have a way of capturing our attention, and can spark a variety of feelings from disgust, curiosity and mild jealousy to “damn I need to eat that now”. This happened to me the other night, when I saw a photo of mole poblano and decided I had to get some. So, I found a highly reviewed taqueria on yelp in the Southwest Washington town of Chehalis that has mole on its menu. On Friday, after taking Roco out for his walk and fetch, I drove half an hour down I-5 to get some enchiladas en mole, which are my favorite food.

I first had mole many years ago when I was working as a garden and nutrition education teacher at Park School in Hayward, California. The school year was almost over, and I had been invited to the after-school program staff end of the year party. Mrs. Marquez, who worked for program, had cooked a bunch of homemade pollo en mole, served with rice. Mrs. Marquez had …

Under the Oak Trees

I fell in love with oak trees on a chilly day in January 2011. I was visiting friends in Davis and decided to explore. I decided to check out the arboretum and eventually happened upon the oak collection.

At that moment in my life, I had no home, no job, and no plan. I was bouncing around Northern California, from San Francisco down to Santa Cruz and then up to Davis. I was feeling a lot of stress from being transient, trying to find some direction in my life. When I began wandering the path through the oaks, admiring the stately trees, with their various forms and leaf shapes, I felt at peace. It was not long after that I decided to stay in Yolo County, with the dream of studying something related to agriculture at UC Davis. Although my plan didn’t work out quite as I imagined, I remained enchanted by those oak trees.

California has many endemic oak species, and during the last few years, I got to know a few of these unique trees. Perhaps the most visible is the valley oak, Quercu…

Monday was Hip Hop Night: My Dance Story

My long break from blogging began in March 2013. At the time, I thought I had figured it all out. Things were looking good in the world: Obama had just begun his second term, the U.S. was recovering from the Great Recession, and California had not yet entered the depths of multi-year drought. I was incredibly optimistic about my life. I was thriving in my Master of Accountancy program at UC Davis and had accepted my first real professional job at the California State Auditor. I began cultivating my community garden plot in Davis and was at the beginning stage of my dance addiction. What happened between now and March 2013? Among the usual things—work, life and failed romances—I danced, a lot.

I’ve always liked to dance, but for most of my life I thought I was bad at it. Back in high school, I’d look forward to dances in the cafeteria, where I enthusiastically but awkwardly shuffled around to all that great 90s music. Many years later, after I’d finished college and was living in the…

Morelia International Film Festival

Around this time last year I got sick. Ok, I admit, I wasn't really that sick. It was more that I hadn't taken enough time off from work during the past few months, my body was tired, and I was completely lost at my job.

The timing for those days at home couldn't have been better. Not long after I became "ill", I saw a post from Remezcla on Facebook about streaming movies from the Morelia International Film festival for free.  I followed the link and as soon as I began watching the first film, I knew I had found something really good. In the company of a distinguished film critic (Mr. Roco), I consumed many bowls of Chicken soup and cups of tea, and I watched nearly all of the 2016 offerings.

Last year's films remain vivid in my memory. There was El Charro del Toluquilla, which was about a Mariachi singer in Jalisco living with AIDS; another film was set in a village in Chiapas whose residents must cope with the annual flooding of their community. One mov…

Fall Colors at Lake Quinault

Note: I haven't published anything on this blog for years, but I decided to revive it, mostly to share the experience of relocating from California to Olympia, Washington. 

This past Saturday, I decided to take advantage of beautiful fall weather and go on an adventure on the Olympic Peninsula. I headed west from Olympia, stopping for a delicious breakfast in Elma, then continued along country roads that wound through the emerald pastures and timberlands of rural Grays Harbor County. Eventually we arrived at our destination: the Quinault Rainforest.

I had wanted to explore the Quinault Rainforest, which receives 12 feet of rain a year, and thought it would be a good place to see fall colors. I decided to try the Fletcher Canyon trail, a four mile round trip hike that begins near the Quinault river. The trail climbs along the slope of the canyon through a sea of ferns, past giant mossy trees. The first mile or the trail is fairly manageable, but conditions deteriorated after tha…