I have mentioned that I am a Science Fiction fan. So it should come as no surprise that I am a Star Trek fan. I watched the reruns of the original series, with William Shatner as Captain Kirk. I watched all the “based upon” series. I watched the movies, with the original cast and the “new generation.” Really, I even re-watch the ones I didn’t particularly enjoy.
I am a fan. So I identified Khan before my friend did, and I kept trying to see Dr. Carol Marcus (from the Wrath of Khan) in the accurately described “damsel” from this movie because I knew who she was. I knew what she’s going to accomplish, or supposed to accomplish. (By the way, there was no resemblance.)
The actors in Into Darkness were great. They did the best they could with what they had. I especially like the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the characters, from McCoy and Uhura to Spock and Kirk. They have depth and passion and flaws that crack open in clichéd moments. The flaws often work as wonderful plot devices, they move the story along.
I hated that the “girls” were just girls. Uhura picks the worst time for a fight with her boyfriend. Marcus just keeps getting in the way and is no help whatsoever. That’s quite a come-down from the woman who created the Genesis project. And why exactly was she stripping down to her underwear?
I hated that they seemed to have combined two or three movies and tried to make one from it, unsuccessfully. There was too much going on. Too many plot twists. And I was disappointed that I could anticipate the biggest of them.
I would still recommend the movie. It’s a lot of fun. If you don’t pay too much attention to the plot (or don’t know the original well enough to make continued comparisons) you will enjoy it much more than I did.
And it’s Zachary Quinto as Spock, with a cameo from original Spock. Isn’t that enough?
I’d just finished telling a new acquaintance about a project I’d launched recently. It’s an English-language website with event and news for the Hispanic market in a very multicultural city. I explained how the target was chosen, the content strategy, and the goal of the site. I’m very pleased with the project. And I’m very emotionally invested in it.
This man I’d known for less than 15 minutes proceeded to tell me how dumb the name of the site was, that our plan to exclude political information was ridiculous, and that he believed that having the site in English-only was going to be too limiting. He grilled me on whether this topic or that topic was going to be added; I answered “no” to all his questions. And he scoffed at my explanations on how the decisions were made. In short, he told me that the site was doomed for failure.
It’s so nice to get expert opinions from non-experts.
I was polite. I told him that there were, in fact, many sites that already covered the topics that he was mentioning. I explained that the focus of the site I’d launched was “good news” that was often overlooked by other sites. I explained and I explained and I explained.
And then I lost my patience.
“You know,” I told him with a smile, “there’s plenty of room out room. You should feel free to build your own site.”
This is my sandbox. Build your own.
* * *
Written on my ipad. I promise to proof and edit it later (maybe).
My mother is threatening to go visit my grandmother.
It’s a threat because my grandmother lives in Mexico. Specifically, she lives in the northern part of Mexico, which is now infamous for violence and death. “It’s fine in the town,” my abuelita tells me. She believes that, she has to, otherwise she couldn’t stay there. But I know that that’s not quite true.
It’s been three years since the deaths of my uncles. It was an experience that has never faded. That gut-wrenching fear that I felt making my way out of Mexico… I will never forget that. It changed me.
My grandmother lives in a war zone. It’s an undeclared war, but the casualties are rising. I don’t want to lose any more family members to the violence.
My mother goes to visit my grandmother and we all hold our breath. While she’s in Houston I can go weeks without speaking to her, but when she’s in Mexico I call her every day. I only talk to her for a few minutes, but all I want is to hear her voice. All I want is to know that she’s okay.
And I hope and I pray and I tell myself that she will be fine. And I make myself believe it.
I don’t want her to go. The little girl inside me, the one who look for her mommy when she’s hurt, she wants to yell and throw a tantrum. “Don’t go! Don’t go!” I want to tell her.
But I am an adult. She has to go see to the health and wellbeing of her mother. If she lived there, I would go to visit her to make sure she was okay.
When I was little, my bed was a mattress on the floor.
We lived in a duplex on the East Side of Houston, in an area that even now is considered dubious (though it’s rapidly gentrifying because of the rail line under construction). Though we didn’t consider ourselves to be poor, we didn’t have money for eating out or other “luxuries” like that.
My Dad worked in construction. Most of my life I remember he always tried to improve our financial situation. Sometimes that meant working two jobs. Sometimes that meant that he ran small projects on the side, like running a stall at a flea market. Eventually that meant opening his own business and throwing caution to the wind that way. That was when I learned a new word: subcontractor.
Before I was even double digits in age I was already helping out by separating bills into category piles so she could take them to the bookkeeper. As I got older, my “assistant” duties got more involved (at one point I was human resources and payroll).
I tell you this so you can get an idea of one end of the spectrum in my life. So that when I say that I bought my niece a bracelet at Tiffany’s for last year’s birthday, or that my best friend’s child has a personal shopper, or that I paid $30 for a small bag of organic pine nuts… so you can understand what the 180 degrees looks like for me.
But I’m not done. I keep reminding myself that I’m not done.
I love love love frenc fries. I make them at home, but they never come out crispy enough. No more. According to this article by Lifehacker, the trick to making crispy french fries is to cook them at a low temperature until they are fully cooked. Then you remove them from heat, increase the temperature of the oil and fry them until golden brown. In addition, the article notes some additional tips to make sure you have amazing results.
If you want to buy some, though, you need to go to Boheme and try the Vietnamese Fries. When both CultureMap and Houstonia Magazine recommend a dish, you know it’s going to go on my must-eat list. In this case what’s recommended is the Vietnamese Fries from Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar. Culturemap describes them as follows: “Sweet and pungent Hoisin sauce, spicy Sriracha, creamy aioli, fresh cilantro leaves and roasted peanuts.” How can you resist?
Fruit Salad, with spice
I grew up eating food from street vendors: tacos, tortas, elote en vaso, and fruit cups. So, when I came across this recipe for Spicy Mexican Fruit Salad on Babble, I knew I had to share it. The video is from Presley’s Pantry; I’ve spotlighted recipes from that blog before. I enjoy her recipes, but I love her videos.
One of the great things about living in Houston is that I can indulge in many different types of food pretty much whenever I want. I love Mediterranean food, mainly Greek. Tabouleh is one of those things I try to order as often as I can. I used to call it “cilantro salad” even though, technically, it’s not made with cilantro — it’s made with parsley. And I know this even though I’d never made it myself. This recipe in Running to the Kitchen has a variation of Tabouleh made with strawberries and walnuts. And now I want to know what that tastes like. If you try it out, let me know.