Monday, January 31, 2011

twenty-ten in twenty pics

I realized today that I don't post many pictures here. I also realized that my sporadic posts about what's going through my mind the days I blog don't do justice to the things that happen in between.

2010 was an incredible year. I traveled more than ever, met a ton of awesome people and made a bunch of memories I won't soon forget. Not only did I visit Atlanta, New Haven, New York City and St. Louis, but I road-tripped to Gainesville about 10 times and Sarasota twice. I managed to do all this exploring despite working Monday-Friday, 9-5. In case you (whoever you are) didn't know, I love lists. Here we go.

1) Towards the end of 2009, I stayed with a friend of a friend of a friend (seriously) in NYC. The plan was to spend New Year's in New York, which turned out to be epic. Aside from eating great food, walking around and seeing new places, I got to see snow for the first time in my life.

2) I turned 21. Not having to use a fake ID from Venezuela that looked more like a library card was pretty refreshing. For some reason it gave me more incentive to check out new places in my hometown. One of the events I discovered was Art Walk, where a circuit of art galleries in the Design District/Midtown/Wynwood open to the public once a month. Not all of the galleries change their exhibits on a monthly basis, so it can become a bit familiar, but there's always new stuff to see. I saw this a few weeks after my 21st birthday at my first Art Walk.

3) I made a pizza from scratch for the first time. (This isn't entirely a list about first-times. Promise.) It was my friend Guillermo's suggestion for a random Friday night, and it was delicious.

4) I drove a LOT in 2010. One day I'll sit down and write about why I like road trips so much. Over half of those drives were alone, which has its pros and cons, but getting to see the same routes at different hours of the day is interesting. In general, though, Florida is still pretty boring to drive through. (Unless you're driving to/from the beach, like I was in this picture.)

5) As I'll describe in a bit, 2010 was the year of live shows. I can't get enough. I saw a shitload of my favorite artists and discovered a goldmine of new music. Needless to say, Bonnaroo tops the list of last year's best live music experiences. It was my third year there and the greatest one so far. Last year's trip was particularly fantastic because I flew to Atlanta a few days before the festival. I explored, shopped, ate, drank...and fell in love with the city. Plus, I was on a pre-Bonnaroo high. I think it's fair to say my life is structured around Bonnaroo: the first six months after the festival I'm trying (and failing) to get over how great it was, and the next six months are spent looking forward to the next 'Roo. That's where I'm at now, anyway.

6) Summer of 2010 came. That's when the traveling really began. But not before some much-needed weekends on the beach.

7) After Bonnaroo, my first major trip was to New Haven/NYC for Manoli's birthday weekend. I literally headed to the airport after work on Friday at 5pm and flew back Sunday night. We had the most delicious brunch ever in New Haven. I had brie-stuffed French toast with caramelized berries, pears, whipped cream and cinnamon. (My sense of recollection is totally random sometimes. But really. Would you forget that meal?! Didn't think so.)

Although it was my third time in New York, it was my first time driving into the city as opposed to flying. Besides stumbling into some unknown cafe (that had a bluegrass band playing—perfect for a Sunday afternoon!), there was this really cool exhibit at the New Museum which had people's wishes printed on ribbons that hung from this long wall. After pulling a ribbon from the wall with someone's wish, you would replace it with your own wish written on paper.

8) I've always wanted to see Interpol live. After years of listening to them, I got to check them out at The Fillmore in August, and I got to see them with two of my biggest Interpol fan friends, Iris and Erika. They were really, really, really, really good.

9) Second major trip of last summer was my St. Louis visit. Broken Social Scene (my favorite band on Earth) was going on tour but they didn't have any shows scheduled in Florida, so I decided I would pick one of their weekend shows and visit a new city before the end of the year. Joanna, one of my best friends, goes to WashU, which meant I wouldn't have to look for a place to stay. Moreover, BSS' St. Louis show was at this new music festival called LouFest (first music festival for that city, I believe). Music festival? Visiting a friend's college town? New city? First time in the Midwest? The choice was easy.

After working eight hours and flying into a different time zone, maybe I should have been tired. Giddy from being in a new place, however, I spent my first night checking out the Thursday night college student scene, which included a stop at the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel. The place has a bar (with bad caipirinhas, though expectations weren't high to begin with), a nice view of the city and a big, spinning (and appropriately corny) replica of the moon.

Broken Social Scene played an amazing set later that weekend. I didn't care that I was at the show by myself. Five years after hearing "7/4 (Shoreline)," the song still gives me goosebumps from time to time. Forest Park is also beautiful and probably the largest green space I've ever seen.

10) Sometime last summer, I heard about Miami Horror. (No, it's not a local Halloween orgy.) They're a disco-influenced electro-pop group from Australia and they have some of the most contagious, catchy and dancey songs I've ever heard. After the release of their first album last year, they toured the U.S. Their stop in Miami was at LIV, this ridiculous, snooty club at the Fontainebleau hotel on Miami Beach. (I quote, from their website: "The quintessential, 21 and older nightspot fuses the appeal of an ultra exclusive lounge and a high-energy nightclub. LIV is home to celebrities, VIPs and Miami’s local party crowd.")

The fact that admission at LIV is as ridiculous as its ego goes without saying. Two (male) friends and I waited at the front of the line for over half an hour, mostly ignored as hordes of girls in colossal heels and circulation-cutting skirts glided right in. Hey, maybe we weren't females but we weren't bros either. WTF? Anyway, soon after doubt started setting in, I felt a tap on my back. I turn around and this REALLY pretty girl (with three really pretty girl friends) says, "Hey, can you get us in?" I didn't even have to think; my Miami genes clicked like clockwork. I beamed and said, "Absolutely." Once I flagged down the bouncer and nodded at the girls, it was smooth sailing from there. Despite the fact that Miami Horror's set was only 20 minutes long (LIV truly is lame), the night was a blast and a new musical obsession was born.

11) A week or two after the Miami Horror show, my parents flew back to Lima. I've written so much about their move in this blog so I won't go into detail. But my memory of their going-away lunch sticks out in my mind more than most of the meals we ever had together.

12) The next show in the "spend a sinful amount of money on concerts" season was Sleigh Bells and LCD Soundsystem. I had already seen LCD at Bonnaroo, but like most bands their own show was completely different compared to their festival set. Also, since they're a musical project (not so much a band), who knows when their last show will be? Sleigh Bells were intense, awesome, and I'll probably see them again in April when they come to Miami.

13) A week or two later, I saw Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation but I didn't get any good pictures. (They rocked! My 2C-I-induced perception of Thievery at Bonnaroo left a pretty cloudy memory, so seeing them again was worth it.) A week or two after that, I saw Matt and Kim at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale.

Let me preface this by admitting how often I throw around the same general adjectives: fun, awesome, and incredible. But Matt and Kim SERIOUSLY blew the roof off of the Culture Room. They have more energy than any live duo I've seen before. Kim walked on top of the crowd while people held her up with their hands. They played a cover of "Better Off Alone" by Alice DeeJay, which threw our inner nineties child into a pseudo-ecstasy-ridden frenzy. The place practically exploded when they finished their set with "Daylight." I got pushed around (if not trampled) and lost my friends, but the show was amazing.

14) Life went on as I spent the months of August-December in a live-show-stupor. Last year was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, and I wasn't throwing in the towel in terms of having a traditional feast. With help from my brother, I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey and made cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, couscous, gravy and chocolate cheesecake—all from scratch. Everything tasted amazing and there were leftovers for days. My parents joined us via Skype and were both proud and jealous. (Thanksgiving is nonexistent in Latin America.)

15) December started with Art Basel and an event called Art Loves Music. They set up a large stage on the beach the first night of Art Basel and the event was free and open to the public. It was my first concert on the beach (literally) and my first time seeing Metric, who are somewhat related to Broken Social Scene. I was excited, despite knowing only a few songs. The beach was packed. Besides Winter Music Conference, Art Basel is one of the most exciting times of the year for Miami. I saw Diplo later that month and went out every single night of the week of New Year's with all my friends who were home from college.

I'm really glad I wrote this. In high school, my LiveJournal was titled "La Vida Es Buena" ("life is good" in Spanish). Having completed this lengthy and detailed post, it's comforting to know that in light of these countless new experiences, some things haven't changed. And although I still want to live somewhere else later on, last year I finally came to love Miami and appreciate everything this city has to offer, in spite of its flaws. It took 21 years but eventually I learned that—like a lot of things—you just have to look on the bright side.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

obsession #2

Is this becoming a habit?

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I can't stop listening to this song.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's been 12 hours...

...since I deleted my Facebook account. Not just deactivated, but deleted. It's "deactivated" for 14 days and then if I can fight the temptation to log in until then once the 14 days are up they erase everything. Permanently. I'm not sure how much of that is true—they probably keep your stuff hidden away on some server for an indefinite amount of time—but it feels good to know I've gotten rid of my largest internet time-consumer.

I first went through all ~950 tagged pictures of myself and saved the ones I liked, then went through my ~350 friends and made note of e-mail addresses and contact info for the people I actually care about. Unsurprisingly, there were only 30 people. So either a) I'm a douchebag, or b) my distaste for the intense amount of insincerity that exists on Facebook is justified. Or c) both.

What will I do with all this time? It's going to take a while to get rid of this habit of rapidly typing Command-T (to open a new tab in Google Chrome) and then typing "f-a-c-e down-arrow enter" whenever I'm bored...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Keeping up with this blog has been a difficult task for me for a while now.

Today I went home for lunch. I had leftover ravioli from the night before that I made with (among other things) Smart Ground Original veggie protein crumbles. They resemble ground beef, but they're made from soy and wheat (and are therefore meatless). Every once in a while I like to please the part of myself that was a vegetarian for six years. I always wonder when I'll make the switch again and stop eating meat.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that I had lunch at home. Sitting on the balcony and eating by myself was really relaxing. I was alone with my thoughts, which is a luxury I don't get to enjoy too often these days. I started thinking about how much I miss my parents, how strange it is that they're in Peru and how they've been there for almost four months. I talk to them almost every day, thanks to Skype and cheap long distance phone plans. Our relationship has changed so much with them being over 2,500 miles away.

On the surface, I think my mom is more relaxed. She would always worry about me and, to a lesser extent, my older brother. I don't know if this perspective is ridiculous or not, but I feel like my presence was a constant reminder to her that I don't live my life the way she wants me to. The thing is, she has no idea. She doesn't know how often I smoke weed, or how much sex I've had in the past, or how much I enjoy going out and drinking with my friends, or how much I dislike religion, or how little faith I have in the idea of a "supreme being."

On way too many occasions, I felt like the mere mentioning of my friends would remind her that she had no idea what I would do when I wasn't with the fam. It was an ever-present pressure, only a portion of which was lifted when I moved out two years ago. Another, slightly larger chunk was lifted when they moved to Peru. But I still have a lot of guilt. I definitely feel like I have a lot of morals(?), but a large part of those "morals" are based in guilt. Is this a good thing? Is this normal? I may never know.

What I do know is that I had no intention of developing so much on this subject. I actually sat down to type a brief summary of what I've been up to the past six months and to discuss my goals for 2011.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that without seeing them face-to-face or interacting with them on a regular basis, I think about my parents a lot. Today was one of those days. I had so many flashbacks from the past 21 years, birthdays from my childhood, family trips, weekends on the beach, piano concerts of mine that they attended without skipping a beat, deep conversations we had about human nature and societies across the globe, that time my dad paid me $100 to throw away my bud/bowl/Zippo, the day I decided I was going to try LSD for the first time and the day my parents "discovered" my sexuality (they were the same day, although the latter happened first), the day I graduated high school, the night I got broken up with for the first time (8th grade—no big deal in retrospect but disastrous at the time) which was also the first time they found me crying and I couldn't/didn't tell them why…

It's funny how I wrote that I "think about them" a lot, but everything I just described above is a moment from my life. I guess those were moments in their lives, too.

Well, this is my blog after all…so I guess it's OK that I write about me a lot.

This is getting really long and I feel like I'm weaving through topics like…okay, I was about to make a joke about Peruvian drivers. The stories my 'rents tell me are scary. Four cars side-by-side on a two-lane road, all trying to get in front of each other. No llamas on the street, though that would probably make the constant near-death-experiences worth enduring.

I still don't know what I want to do with my life or what path I'm on at the moment. I'm doing what I do as best as I can and figuring it out one learning experience at a time. On an unrelated note, I need to go to sleep. So I'm going to make a list of what I meant to write about today and what I'll write about in my next post.

New year's resolutions for 2011, in no order whatsoever: go back to being a vegetarian, stop burning bridges and attempt to fix a couple of them, save money, get some exercise, always be on the hunt for new music, find a place in which I can comfortably and happily live on my own.*

Good night.


*Okay, I need to expand on that last one. My brother has decided that he's joining my parents in Lima in a few months. Could be as early as May but more likely towards the end of the summer. Regardless, I AM SCARED SHITLESS. A little. Moving in with my 32-year-old brother after not having lived together for several years was a great help in the transition to having my parents on another continent.

I still have time to make a choice between moving out of this apartment and getting my own place (ideally a studio in Coral Gables or Midtown/Wynwood) OR finding a roommate to take my brother's room (our apartment is in South Miami). But since I'm crazy and like to plan everything centuries before it's necessary, I can't stop thinking about it. I'm sure I'll get over it eventually. Maybe if I focus on those resolutions I'll relax a bit.


Oh, and this.