Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer reading buddies

Actually, for these two, I'm not sure "summer" is a necessary factor. Xan has been clamoring to see pictures of him and his friend Boone all morning. I decided to let everyone else in on the idea.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

"O Shenandoah, I long to see you..."

This weekend, we took Xan camping to the Shenandoahs. We realized it's the first time we've gone camping since Angela was pregnant; we also realized it's the first long amount of time we've had with each other for a loooooong time, given the major last push I've done to get the slavedriver evil thang book out on time. (Indeed, for those keeping track, all edits were made and the whole thing was sent out on Thursday for the next step in the process.)

We had a ton of fun and Xan had a fabulous time in the tent (particularly on the second evening, when we encouraged him to go to sleep by giving him a small flashlight to hold). Big Meadows campground turned out to be (a) farther from the actual meadows than we anticipated but (b) not as over-run as we thought it might be, particularly since we lucked out with a super-cool tentground way on the periphery. Xan made friends with a 4-year-old named Eli who had superhuman strength ("I have the strength of Batman and Superman and Spiderman! All together! I can pick Xan up, you watch!" This, in response to Xan scampering up the hill.) and we had personal encounters with raccoons, deer and Philadelphians. And we didn't even look at either a cell phone or a clock the entire time. Fabulous. Brilliant.

In the meantime, some scenes from the fam communing with nature:Look! A big meadow!

The kid and his mother, up a tree

On the Rose River trail, Xan shares the secret that there is no movie theater nearby.

A real nature boy

Yes, we really did hike the trail!

There is something else we learned. During our big hike, we had the following conversation:
"Hey, Xan, did you see the bear?" (There really was a bear and her cub, which we saw at a distance.)
"A bear. And deer."
"Yes, we saw a deer as well."
"And a tiger."
Blink. "A tiger?"
"Yes, a tiger. A red tiger."
"A red tiger? Where do you see that?"
"The red tiger gives me candy."

At this point, we looked at one another, baffled. Any ideas as to what this refers to would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

And this is why I can celebrate today!

And a happy Father's Day to all the other dads out there!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The best exhibit at the National Zoo

Seriously. Who needs animals where there is a backhoe? A backhoe!!!

I mean, really. Naturally, we were entranced by this for several minutes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Please place that "Absent Minded Professor" sign here. Thank you.


"Hey there."

"Um, so did you drive in this morning?"

"No." Duh. Of course, I didn't.

"Where is the car then?"

"It's not in the driveway?" Oh crap, someone stole our car?

"Um, did you remember to drive home last night?"

"No, I me-" Wait. Yesterday? When I was late to class and drove in and dropped Xan off and you and he went home on the metro, and I stayed late so I wouldn't have to walk in the rain, which means the car is still here on campus which means that it's PROBABLY GOING TO BE TICKETED RIGHT NOW??!!!!! "Ohmigod. I gotta go."

"You are unbelieveable."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

¡Sí, soy trailera! (Action Heroine Blog-a-Thon entry)

I spent last weekend at a fantastic workshop in Edmonton, Alberta, learning all about the many different kinds of movies revolving around “Latsploitation” – i.e. Latin American exploitation films. I learned a heck of a lot about exploitation films in general (which frankly I knew very little about beforehand) and how Latin America in general fits within the context of the many “genres” of exploitation films. (For the record, my own contribution to this project is on Luis Llosa’s films made in Peru for Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons pictures in the late 1980s, and how they might fit into current definitions of Peruvian national cinema. Also for the record: yes, I actually auditioned for one of these movies. No, I didn’t get the part. Yes, my high school English teacher is in the movie. Enough questions.)

It was also at this gathering that I was introduced to Lola la trailera.

Played by actress Rosa Gloria Chagoyán, “Lola the Truck Driver” is a super-sexy Mexican woman who inherits a big ol’ truck when her father is killed and she has to get to the bottom of things. In the process, she kicks some major ass and takes names. Seriously, she is a very different Mexican woman on screen than anything I had ever seen before: in a bar-room brawl, right after confirming on a date that “sí, soy trailera (yes, I am a trucker),” she smacks people on the head with a beer bottle instead of running away. These movies all take place on the Mexican-American border – part of a sub-genre of cheaply made, popular Mexican films derogatorily referred to as “cine churro” – and stress a different kind of nationalism than what we generally see from the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu (which actually Mexicans apparently don’t watch anyway – they do watch a lot of Lola, however). She succeeds in working against against narcotrafficking, foils her gringo nemeses and still looks good in a red mini-dress.

Honestly, I’ve only just been exposed to this myself, but I’m already smitten. One of the first things I did when the workshop ended was order a copy of the film Lola la trailera (1983) for my university so I can show clips for class. (Of her many films, it’s the only one subtitled so far.) What’s amazing is that apparently Lola-the-character has now turns the actress Chagoyán into something of a border activist herself. You’ll have to read more when this essay collection comes out sometime next year hopefully, with this article to be written by my colleague (and former advisor!) Catherine Benamou, who gave a fantastic presentation.

Thanks to YouTube (and some guy who apparently has a serious pantyhose-on-Mexican-women fetish), you can get some glimpses of what the big deal is about. Below are two pieces of what appears to be the same scene from Lola la trailera 3 from 1991; look for “Lola,” the actual truck that Lola drives, in the second clip. The other woman, by the way, is her madrina, or godmother.

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

This entry sends a big shout-out to Catherine Benamou (whose presentation inspired this posting), David Wilt (whose Mexican Film Resource Page provides a wealth of information), the Latsploitation Queens Vicki Ruetalo and Dolores Tierney (who put together the workshop and are organizing the larger project) and all the colleagues who I hung out with in Alberta last weekend. The entry is part of the 2007 Action Heroine Blog-a-Thon, featuring a variety of other blogs all talking about chicks on film who kick butt. Thanks again to Nathaniel at The Film Experience for putting this all together. Check this page for all the other participating blogs in this experience.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ketchup, with relish

I know I've been very lax with the blog these days. Finishing the manuscript has taken its toll on extra-curricular writing. Indeed, I only started really seriously looking at the paper I delivered in Edmonton on Monday on the Saturday before. I resolved that I could not go to my workshop until I finished the manuscript -- and so it was that, with about three-or-four hours of sleep for several days before, I managed to finish it. You have not seen a man more relaxed.

Now it's time for a quick edit -- and a lot of catching up. Luckily, the summer class is going well and I've caught up with grading there. I'll have Xan to myself for the next week since our day-care person is on vacation and Ange's 10-month gig doesn't end until next week. I have a flurry of other activity due this summer even after this edit goes through, including the translation book, the final copy of this paper I delivered and a new course prep for fall. So bear with me.

Coming up, however, are a couple other things: a posting about Edmonton in general, and some new pics of the boy, who is splendiferous. And, on Tuesday, my posting for the event advertised here. Originally, I planned to talk about the very woman pictured here since I think Angela Bassett is kick-ass (literally) and I actually really enjoy this movie. (Hey, I even have an academic piece about it.) Either that or Buffy, natch. But this last weekend in Edmonton introduced me to a new, different heroine, which I think could be more interesting for the blog-a-thon. So, stay tuned. And I promise I'll write a bit more these days. No, really.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Is that...?

Is it...?

A light? At the end of the tunnel?

Wow, so this is what it's like to be out of that tunnel? How warm the sun feels on my skin!

What a difference it feels to be...


(Quick edits start next week after Edmonton. And I finished about twelve hours after my latest self-imposed deadline. But at least it's all out on paper. Seriously, this is good news.)