Down with Downcast

For several years, I put off getting an iPhone. My main opposition to getting one — other than pure laziness inertia — was the increased cost to my cell phone bill. I know I can afford the cost, but that doesn’t mean I wanted a 75% increase in my mobile costs.

Now that I have an iPhone 4, I don’t see myself going back to the old school flip phone.

It’s not about the games, access to my email and internet at all times. It’s not even the camera and social networking with Instagram. I’d miss those things, but I’d be fine without them.

Playback speed

I’d have much more trouble giving up my favorite feature: various playback speeds for podcasts.

At first, I just listened to podcasts via iTunes, but then Sean told me about the app he uses to download and organize his podcasts: Downcast.

Downcast playlists

Downcast is officially my favorite app. I subscribe to almost 40 podcasts through Downcast. The app allows listeners to organize playlists (e.g., news, music, favorites, shorts) and listen at various speeds. While iTunes only allows one to listen to podcasts at 1.5x and 2x speed, Downcast has 9 different speeds from 0.5 to 3x speed. I usually listen to podcasts from NPR or other public radio shows at 2x speed.

Favorites playlist

I’ve been a podcast fan for years now, but I never was able to listen to everything and would build up quite the backlog on my iPod. I still have a bunch of un-listened episodes, but there are fewer on the list since I can get through the same podcast twice as fast while cleaning my apartment or doing some student tracking at work.


Sopa and SOPA

SOPA opposition

All this talk about the blackouts today in opposition to SOPA/PIPA is making me hungry. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to make sopa de fideo. Too bad. It’s one of my favorite foods. But I’ll give up my favorite angel haired pasta in a tomato/chicken broth to support the protest against internet censorship.

More on the SOPA/PIPA blackouts at Mashable or Google. But not Wikipedia.


My blog is my constant: A decade of blogging

Birthday cake

Ten years ago, I started Lotería Chicana and became a blogger — even though I didn’t use either terms back then. I signed up on Diaryland with the same alias I used for AIM and posted four sentences about applying to graduate school and the World Series:

grad school update
11.07.01 // 11:43 a.m.

I’m gonna leave L.A. and escape to the Bay Area. I’m tired of the smog, traffic and the LA-ness of this place. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I need to get out for a few years... perfect excuse to go to grad school in Berkeley (or San Diego). In other news, the Diamondbacks rock!

Tigres del Norte

At the time, I was a college senior in the middle of fall quarter. It’s clear from subsequent posts that I was avoiding writing papers, reading for class or studying for exams. I didn’t do a good job balancing a full course load with my work-study job, student leadership positions, teacher education program applications and social life. That last part was pretty distracting considering I was going to a few concerts that fall — Los Tigres del Norte (above), the Roots and Res, and Jaguares — and distracted by my crush in San Francisco. Apparently, I had time to watch the World Series and hate on the Yankees. (Sorry about that, Sean). I did okay that quarter. I passed my classes, started dating that guy in SF and abandoned grad school plans temporarily. It was for the best, I didn’t really want to be a K-12 teacher.

Casa de las tiranas does Halloween

I never followed through on that first sentence I wrote 10 years ago. I never left LA nor UCLA even though I almost went to Michigan for grad school. I didn’t even leave the apartment I shared with my then-roommates Pato, Ome and Vane. I’ve been consistently flaky for a while. I still don’t care much for the Yankees even though Sean has tried his best to get me to.

And of course, I’m still blogging. While the platform, name, URL, and look have all changed at least once, my desire to write and interact with other bloggers and readers never waned. Some of my interests have changed. I don’t think I could run a mile without stopping in 2001 and now I write about training for marathons and half marathons. On the other hand, I’ve been writing about access to higher education for undocumented students and telling stories about my family since the beginning.

I’m really glad I’ve kept at it this long. The friendships alone are worth it. If you’ve been reading a few years or just a few months, thanks.


A coincidence
While preparing this post on Saturday, I looked up my Fall ’01 course schedule, just so I could see which classes I was taking and what was keeping me busy then. One of the classes was Ethnomusicology 120A, Development of Jazz with Gerald Wilson, literally a living legend in the jazz world. His lectures were more like story time about the jazz greats he once played with than the origins of jazz itself.

I didn’t think much about Professor Wilson until the next day. I got in my car to run some errands and heard the announcer mention Wilson’s name as he introduced one of his records. The DJ spoke briefly about Wilson’s contributions to jazz and the LA-scene and then mentioned his age. “He’s about 90 years old now.” Wikipedia says he’s 93. Damn. I knew he was old when I took his class, but I wouldn’t have guessed he was 80+.


If I don’t get lazy, I’ll have more for the 10 year anniversary posts including:
– My favorite posts (if you have one, email me citlalli31 AT gmail dot com)
– Things I’ve learned through blogging
– People I’ve met through blogging


Previous anniversary posts:
Four years and counting
Fourth grade blues (9 years)


31, Westwood & most popular posts

My artwork

Last week I stopped by Rite-Aid to grab a drink before heading in to work. At first I was surprised to see that they were already had Halloween candy in stock. Then I wanted to grab a bag of fun size Snickers. I resisted. Plus, I barely had enough money to pay for my drink.

The thought of Halloween (and all that candy!) being a couple of months away excites me. I have fun picking my costume and putting it together as well as helping others come up with affordable, creative and sometimes culturally relevant costume ideas. I started the whole thing as an alternative to the super short, tight and sexy costumes.

I’ve also found that my low budget costume series has been quite popular and brings lots of visitors to my site. Check out my overall 10 most popular posts as defined by the Popularity Contest plugin (in descending order):

  1. Halloween on a budget: Old School Chola
  2. Halloween on a budget: La Chilindrina
  3. Halloween on a budget: Frida Kahlo
  4. Halloween on a budget: La Adelita (Funny thing, my cousin Nancy told me she wanted to dress up as an Adelita. I told her I did it once. She said, “I know, I searched on Google and you were the first to come up.”)
  5. Halloween on a budget: El Chapulín Colorado
  6. A Chicana outlook on Ruben Salazar
  7. The definitive guide to wearing your ethnicity (this could really use some updating)
  8. Nopalitos
  9. Halloween on a budget: La Catrina
  10. Concert buddy search revisited

All of these posts are more than a year old. Some as much as 6 years old. I wonder if this means I’ve already peaked as a blogger. Probably.


Not so anonymous

Fun with a fan

A few weeks ago, Sean and I went to our first Hollywood Bowl show of the season. Along with thousands of others, we watched Grease and sang along to the classic hits. It was a fun night and my inkling that the beloved musical isn’t really kid-appropriate was confirmed. A few choice words in “Greased Lightening” were censored on the big screen with pictures (e.g., a cat, cow and can of whipped cream).

I usually don’t stay all the way until the very end of a show at the Hollywood Bowl. I’ll listen to the last song as I make my way out. Not this time. We were stuck in the throngs. On the walk back to the parking structure at Hollywood & Highland, we navigated the crowded sidewalk like we would in Times Square. Soon we were ahead of the crowd of drunk, slowly walking Grease fans. We only stopped when we had to at lights or driveways.

I was a little impatient as we waited for an SUV to exit the parking lot at the Methodist church on Franklin and Highland. That was until the woman in the passenger seat leaned over to the driver’s side window and said “I read your blog.” I couldn’t hear her, but was able make out the words. I was amused. I smiled and waved back and then she was off.

This is the third time I’ve been recognized while out and about. The first was at an education conference. A few months ago, I was recognized on the track at UCLA.

I don’t mind being recognized. If I wanted to avoid getting recognized, I’d be anonymous like The Militant Angeleno or El Chavo. I’ve admitted that I’d try to be nice if a random reader stopped me to say hi. Still, it’s always unexpected and throws me off guard even if I’m genuinely flattered. I hope I don’t come off as a dork, or worse, a jerk to my readers.