All posts by la_cindym

UCLA records hacked

I found out this morning that my name, Social Security number, birthdate, address and contact information may be in the hands of some hackers. As I read through the acting chancellor’s e-mail and the LA Times story, I got a headache. Finals week worries, headaches and other maladies are supposed to be reserved for final exams and papers, not identity theft!

The LA times has more information on the security breach in which a hacker may have accessed the records of 800,000. Those affected include current and past students, faculty, staff, some students who applied, some parents of students who appied, current and former faculty and staff at UC Merced, and finally current and former employees of the UC Office of the President (located in Oakland).

UCLA administrators have already identified the affected — such as myself — and suggested contacting one of the three major credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on our records. In addition, they’ve set up a website on identity alert and hotline (877-533-8082) to find out if you’re in the database that was compromised.

Come to LA, Meet Barbie!


Somewhere in Buenos Aires, Argentinean women are being lured to LA with sepia-toned photographs of the Hollywood Sign and promises of “going shopping, surfing, and seeing the latest.” LA is fun for las chicas.

Come on, if LA really wants to lure Latin American tourists, I’m sure the tourism board can do better than Barbie.

Photo of a display at the International Tourism Fair in Buenos Aires by Morrissey.

When Megan’s Law Comes Home

While reading Peter Hong’s excellent account of what it is like to live near a registered sex offender, I thought about my own experience with the Megan’s Law database earlier this summer.

Although I live in Los Angeles, I frequently go home during the weekends to visit my parents, hang out with my siblings, chat with the grandparents (when they’re in town), and play with our dog, VR.

My family lives on a quiet street in an unincorporated suburb of Los Angeles County. My parents moved there from East LA in 1978, just a few weeks before my older brother was born. Since then, we’ve forged strong relationships with our neighbors. As new families move in, we get to know them too.

The newest residents are a family of 8; a couple, four teenage girls and two boys about 8 years old.

Late in the summer, Dan (the father) came over to our house. He talked to my dad, a grey haired man who never acts on impulse.

“Do you know John Doe?” Dan asked angrily while his daughters stood behind him.

One of Dan’s relatives looked up the family’s new address on the Megan’s Law website. The results showed that a registered sex offender named John Doe lived just a few doors down.
Continue reading When Megan’s Law Comes Home

UCLA 13 – USC 9

uclaflags.jpg The last time UCLA beat USC in NCAA Football, I was a naive freshman. I remember thinking, ‘I guess it’s cool we won, but it wasn’t even an exciting game.’ At the time, I didn’t think I’d have to wait 7 years to see the Victory Bell come back to Westwood.

Today’s against-all-odds win over USC was the kind the Bruin faithful dream about. It’s nice. Go Bruins!

Read details on the game over at the LA Times.

Photo by JoeBruin88

LA’s Latino bloggers on books, huevos rancheros and home remedies

Back when I first started contributing to about a year and half ago, I lamented the fact that I couldn’t find too many blogs written by LA-based Latinos focusing on Latino themes.

Thankfully, some great blogs have popped up since then. Below are some of the ones I enjoy, feel free to suggest others.

La Bloga is a group blog named “Best Blog 2006” by Tu Ciudad magazine by Rudy G, Manuel Ramos, Michael Sedano, Daniel Olivas and Gina Ruiz. The focus is predominantly on Chicana/o and Latina/o literature and writers, but the La Bloga team also include works of fiction, versions of classic Mesoamerican legends, and intelligent commentary about pertinent issues such as immigration and education. The best part about La Bloga is the consistency of posts (each contributor posts once per week) and the reviews of recently published works of fiction or poetry. However, I often feel bad reading La Bloga because all the reading I do is limited to journal articles and books for class. Meh.

Chanfles! is written by the anonymous Chavo who mouths off on everything from assimilated huevos rancheros to the stupidity of multiple satellite dishes attached to roofs and in yards in his Lincoln Heights neighborhoods. El Chavo is hilarious and his photos let you explore the oddities of Lincoln Heights from your home or office.

Son Mis Locuras is written by a junior high school teacher turned newspaper reporter turned “superhero attorney.” Laura Genao details some of the rather interesting lawn and door decorations in East LA neighborhoods and some Latino home remedies. VapoRub anyone?

UCLA Taser Incident Just Keeps Getting Worse

kerckhoff.jpg The LA Times and Daily Bruin reported yesterday that the names of the UCPD officers involved in last Tuesday’s infamous taser incident have been released. It may not be a surprise to anyone following this past week’s events that the cop who shocked UCLA student Mostafa Tabatainejad has a shady record.

According to the Times, Terrence Duren, has been a UCPD officer since the late 1980s and was charged with excessive force soon after.

In May 1990, he was accused of using his nightstick to choke someone who was hanging out on a Saturday in front of a UCLA fraternity. Kente S. Scott alleged that Duren confronted him while he was walking on the street outside the Theta Xi fraternity house.

Scott sued the university, and according to court records, UCLA officials moved to have Duren dismissed from the police force. But after an independent administrative hearing, officials overturned the dismissal, suspending him for 90 days.

A second incident involving Duren occurred much more recently. I remember it vividly since at the time I was working in Kerckhoff Hall, home to student government, publications and students groups. The Daily Bruin covered the incident and the ensuing trial in detail (Frazier released from hospital, After near dismissal, Frazier heads to trial, Frazier opts to represent himself, Frazier’s mental state questioned):

Police say UCPD Officer Terrence Duren confronted Willie Davis Frazier, Jr. in the Kerckhoff Hall second floor study lounge on Oct. 5 [2003]. A physical confrontation ensued and Duren, reportedly in fear for his life, shot Frazier (link).

Frazier was later convicted of assault, but his attorney contends that he was “mentally ill and didn’t do anything to provoke the shooting” (LAT).

I wonder if the outcome of that case would have been different if a student had captured the incident on that Sunday night 3 years ago on his camera phone. Would Duren still be around? Maybe, maybe not. I hope this time administrators don’t second guess themselves and do more than just suspend him for 90 days.

Post updated with more information on Duren’s past, after the jump.
Continue reading UCLA Taser Incident Just Keeps Getting Worse

UCLA students, alumni speak out on diversity

diversityrally.jpg There’s a lot of pissed off students at UCLA these days. Before Tuesday night, a lot of those students were raising a ruckus about the the extremely low numbers of African American students in the freshmen class (103 out of over 4,800 freshmen) due in large part to the changes brought on by Proposition 209 approved by California voters 10 years ago. Now they’re pissed off about the incident of police brutality Tuesday night in which a Muslim student was Tasered by UCPD (see 5000!’s post below).

At the UC Regents meeting, students, alumni and community members voiced their concerns about the low numbers of black students at UCLA and called for more action on the part of the Regents and university leadership to address the lack of diversity.
Continue reading UCLA students, alumni speak out on diversity

10 Reasons Why I’ll Probably Never Return to Knott’s Halloween Haunt

ratguy.JPG On Friday night, I returned to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt for the first time since I was a high school junior 10 years ago. My experience then was great, and I was excited about checking out the new mazes, rides, and recurring shows (e.g., the Hanging). Either nothing about my last visit sucked, or I just blocked it out because the whole experience was much scarier, and not in a good way.

I’m sure there are thousands of people who attend Halloween Haunt, love it, and can’t wait to return. I’m not one of those, and here are 10 reasons why (after the jump):
Continue reading 10 Reasons Why I’ll Probably Never Return to Knott’s Halloween Haunt

Satisfying a craving for tamales

It’s quite ironic that around Christmastime when there are dozens of tamales around my house of all different types, I refuse to eat tamales. However, when it’s still a few months ’til Christmas and I haven’t had a tamal in months, I get a huge craving and have trouble satisfying it since I’m quite picky about my tamales.

I could get some from any Mexican restaurant or even a street vendor, but I prefer Mama’s Hot Tamales in MacArthur Park for their variety and the ambience.

Lucky for the tamal-lover in me, the Tamale Festival is coming up on November 10-12.

A Danzante’s Day of the Dead Altar

muertos06.jpg Gina MarySol Ruiz, a contributor with La Bloga, offers the unique perspective of an Aztec dancer in preparation for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The week before el dia as I call it, I am frantically working on a special traje de gala, making sure all the hemming, embroidery, feathers and beadwork is in properly in place. I am shopping for flowers, fruit, ingredients for recipes and gathering supplies for my altar. Not altar.. say altaaarrrr. My compadre Rudy likes the word descanso, but I was brought up to use altaarr. For danzantes, we have a specific way we set up our altares, everything has significance and its proper place. Maybe it is that way as well for non-danzantes, but I know only our way – the way of my ancestors.

Ruiz goes on to describe her elaborate process as well as some of the symbolism that goes into constructing the altar. I’m not sure I can make one as elaborate as hers, but I’ll definitely be honoring my muertos (dead).

calacas.jpg If you’re not already bogged down with plans for Halloween, you might want to check out some of the upcoming events celebrating the dead in/around LA:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery (October 27-28)

Self Help Graphics (November 2nd)

Olvera Street’s Muertos Festival and Viva el Amor Eterno art exhibition (November 2nd and October 28-November 26)

Central Library’s Puro Muerto exhibit (through March 4, 2007)

Baile de las Calaveras at the jFERRARI Gallery (October 21-November 1)

Haiku at Soto & Marengo

Un atardecer
Creado por el esmog
Que ciudad bella

English version is not a translation of the Spanish haiku.

Dark buildings stand tall
Against pink, orange-hued sky
Created by smog

Location: Intersection of Soto St. and Marengo St. just off the 10 and a few blocks away from USC Medical Center.

La Bienvenida


[Note: I’m bilingual and figure that there is no reason I shouldn’t post in English and Spanish. Hopefully this will be the first on many bilingual posts. English translation after the jump]

Hace dos semanas llegué desde León, Guanajuato al aeropuerto internacional de Los Angeles. Después de haber pasado por la aduana y inmigración entré a la sala de Bradley Internacional y sentí de nuevo una sensación familiar.

Es raro y no sé si lo puedo describir en español o inglés. La sensación es una mezcla de alegría, melancolía, y anticipación. Sólo lo siento cuando llego de vuelos de México dónde unas tres horas antes me despedí de mis parientes.

No soy la única que siente esto. Lo veo en las caras de los otros viajeros y sus seres queridos que los esperan con paciencia. Los que esperan llevan flores, globos, y monos de peluche. Están listos para darle a sus seres queridos una bienvenida a Los Angeles más auténtica que la del alcalde Villaraigosa que sonríe en un cartel saliendo de la aduana.

Esperan cuidadosamente como guardas, vigilantes y preparados. Cada vez que alguien sala del corredor la muchedumbre lo revisan para ver si es él que esperan con tanta anciedad. Cuando ven que no es, las sonrisa se convierten de nuevo a caras de anticipación. Si es él que esperan, sus caras se prenden de alegría con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja. El viajero corre con sus maletas a los brazos de sus seres queridos, y recibe los besos y abrazos que esperaban. Aquí no hay lágrimas de tristeza, solo de alegría.

Por otra parte hay otros como yo, ciudadanos estadounidenses con inumerable familiares en México. Llegamos a Los Angeles un poco triste con ganas de regresar a nuestra madre patria. Pero nos encontramos con nuestros seres queridos también y regresamos a la ciudad conocida donde trabajamos, estudiamos, y nos divertimos.

Aunque estes triste o alegre por haber llegado a Los Angeles, te doy la bienvenida.

English translation after the jump.
Continue reading La Bienvenida

Are local universities in bed with the RIAA and MPAA?

BoingBoing editor Cory Doctorow has beef with USC, and it’s not because he’s tired of hearing about the “legacy” of their football team (BoingBoing post). He’s upset about an e-mail sent to USC students at the start of their fall semester (e-mail dissected).

Doctorow’s concerns center around the omission of fair-use provisions particularly relevant to young scholars at a prominent research university, USC siding with the RIAA and MPAA rather than protecting students, and USC’s supposed purpose as a postsecondary institution . He proposes comparing policies based on “which schools side with scholarship and academic integrity, and which ones take USC’s approach of putting non-leagl notions of copyright ahead of its students’ education.” I’ll leave that for someone else to do, and just focus on UCLA and the UC system.

Words and acronyms like file-sharing, RIAA, P2P, and MPAA are heard regularly at UCLA where some students have been sued by the RIAA. The Daily Bruin reports on the latest on the topic and publishes editorials criticizing the RIAA and MPAA (here, here, here, here, here, and here). This past academic year, UCLA launched the Get Legal program to promote legal alternatives to downloading music and movies. There are small incentives to using the iTunes Store. Five cents of each song or 50 cents per album purchased will go back to students through student government. I suppose after 7 UCLA students, and some from our sister campuses in Davis, Berkeley and San Diego were sued in May 2005, the university felt it needed to step up its efforts to inform students.

More after the jump…
Continue reading Are local universities in bed with the RIAA and MPAA?

Rock en espanol/Latin alternative upcoming concerts

barrioeconomy.jpg The Latin Alternative Music Conference won’t be held in LA this summer, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting some of the best acts of the genre.

Rock en espaÔøΩol, or Latin alternative, draws lots of attention not only from the bilingual Chicanos and Latinos like myself, but also from Gueros like Nic Harcourt. Some bands and artists are homegrown in cities like LA and Austin, while others come from Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia.

Tonight I’ll be heading out to Verano Alternativo 2006 at the Knitting Factory.
I’ve heard great things about one of the bands on the lineup, Maneja Beto (MySpace) from friends in Austin.

My dusty dancing shoes will be getting some practice soon.

Rock en EspaÔøΩol concert dates/venues coming up after the jump.
Continue reading Rock en espanol/Latin alternative upcoming concerts

Ricardo Legorreta in LA

I took a day trip to San Francisco last week to attend the UC Regents Meeting held at the still-in-construction UCSF-Mission Bay campus (what UC campus is not currently under construction?).

When I entered the Community Center, I told the other students with me that the building felt familiar and reminded me of the Tom Bradley International Center on the UCLA Campus. Both buildings are bathed in bright colors and natural lights streams in through huge windows. I wondered if they were designed by the same architect.

I later found that I was right. The Community Center and the Bradley Center are just two of 100 or so buildings designed by Ricardo Legorreta, a famous Mexican architect.

I checked out the Flickr tags for both Ricardo Legorreta/Legorreta and took virtual trips throughout Mexico and the Southwest US. Legorreta has designed libraries, musems and other buildings in Texas, California and Illinois.

I never drew the links between the Tom Bradley International Center at UCLA, Pershing Square and the bright blue building at the corner of Motor Avenue and Palms Boulevard. It turns out that Legorreta has an office in my neighborhood. Legorreta also designed Ricardo Montalb√°n’s Hollywood home in 1985, but I couldn’t find any photos of the house, just as I couldn’t find a decent photo of the Bradley Center. Oh well, there’s more than enough photos of Pershing Square and other Legorreta buildings on Flickr.

Pershing Square photo by Flaxter