Saturday, February 28, 2009

Notes from my writing desk

I am currently working on what (in my wildest dreams) will become a much beloved book. Well, perhaps not so much beloved as well-liked. Well, if not well-liked, then at least something that will be purchased for birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, farewells, etc. Oh, what the hell... if I ever did a publish a book (which I do hope to do one day), I'd be perfectly content with at least one stranger buying a copy. Though, not going to lie, I would love to sign my autograph to a copy of one of my creations.

Oh, and by "currently working on" I mean that I thought up the idea last night and jotted down a few notes. A book I've loved ever since I was a little kid is "Love You Forever." What I want to write will be my version of this book's "plot." I plan on basically writing a speech addressed to the most important person in my life. It will be an ode to my muse, but (I hope) it will be general enough that it can apply to anyone reading it. In other words, I hope to create a written work that embodies the feelings a reader has for their "#1 person."

It all sounds so cheesy and sentimental (and perhaps it is). But I can dream, can't I?


- R

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A thought

I was driving when I noticed the road kill in my lane was a seagull. How does a seagull (or any bird for that matter) end up as road kill? I pose this question to my mother who tells me it's probably a matter of birds dying mid-flight and falling onto the asphalt.

The image of a bird dying in mid-air sends my mind racing. The thought of a bird suffering a stroke and falling to Earth is simply hilarious. Simultaneously, it's a pretty terrifying scenario. I imagine walking (hahaha,... that would be the day. As if I would walk anywhere. But I digress.) down the street, minding my own business. All of a sudden, a dead bird drops on my head. If I'm lucky, the impact would kill me instantaneously or cause me to fall into the path of an oncoming car. With my luck, I'll survive the incident. Bystanders will laugh at the unbelievable sight and tell their friends and family. To add further insult to injury, no one would believe me if I told them that an avian corpse nearly knocked me unconscious. Live or die, no scenario is to my liking.

I figure I'm safe since in nearly 24 years of living on this planet my person has never suffered any bird-related injuries. Yet I still fear for my safety. My birthday is coming up in 2 weeks. Without fail, my birthday always brings me bad luck. Don't know why, but something bad always happens on or around the date of my birth. To make matters worse, my birthday will once again land on Friday the 13th. What horrible fate will befall me this year? Stay tuned.

On a different note altogether, I've decided to also use this blog to post some stories. Some will be old, some will be new, and some will be works in progress. I've realized that I never really share my stories. It's time to change that.

So I would appreciate your comments on these (and any posts for that matter!). Don't be shy to post your thoughts on my musings because I love feedback of any kind.


- R

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I rule

Recently, my sister and I were sitting around watching television when she received a call. It was my aunt calling to see if my sister could help our 14-year old cousin with his 9th grade English homework.

My sister agrees and asks, "What's the assignment?"

"They're reading 'Romeo and Juliet' and he has to write a poem from Romeo's point of view," replies my aunt.

"He has to write a poem, and you're asking Kisai to help!?" I shout, unable to contain my laughter.

I get the evil eye from my sister and she proceeds to help our cousin. I sit and watch the blind leading the blind for a few minutes. She utters as many "ums" and "ers" as he does. Amusing as it is watching my 18-year old sister struggling to come up with any actual word, I eventually grow tired of their literary minds drowning out the television. I decide to take matters into my own hands.

"Does it have to be in iambic pentameter? Rhyming? How many lines? Shakespearean sonnet form?"

*Insert sound of crickets here*

I'm told the requirements are that it has to be an original five to seven-line poem from Romeo to Rosalind and it has to include an oxymoron from the actual play.

You would be surprised how easily and quickly I can come up with a poem/rhyme (actually, those of you with whom I did the Boston scavenger hunt knew this already. remember our team chant?). And so I composed the following masterpiece:

My lady, my Rosalind:
My heart's desire true,
I had never lived until the first time I saw you.
Grant me your favor.
Glance my way.
Though your icy stare burns me with cold fire,
I long for a love's duet to play.

Genius, right? My sister thought it was probably too good for it be from a freshman, but I was too busy praising my lightning-fast creativity.

How did he end up doing, you say? Here's the best part of the tale. His teacher loved the poem and even gave him extra credit for it.

So when the cards against me and I am doubting myself, I will think back on this most glorious of moments. The time when, at 24 and with degrees in English and Journalism, I was able to get an "A" and extra credit on a 9th grade English assignment.

I don't get praise very often, so I'll take it wherever I can. You'd be surprised how long these tiny (i.e. pathetic) victories will last me.


- R

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dead like me

Am I a cold, unfeeling bastard, or am I just dead inside?

When my great-grandparents died, I carried on with my life as though they had simply moved to a new house. I figured that my lack of emotion resulted from my being relatively young and not having really interacted with them much.

My paternal grandmother died when was 21. She lived in Mexico, but I had visited her several times throughout my life. I knew that her health was deteriorating, but I weaseled my way out of accompanying my family on what would be the penultimate visit. I was in college when my mom called me to say that they were heading to Mexico because my grandmother was dying. Once again I made an excuse for not wanting to go. Such a hassle, I thought to myself. A day or two later I received another call from my mom. My grandmother had died, asking for me.

The news had no effect on me. I didn't shed a tear. I didn't feel a thing.

There has only been one time that a death brought me to tears. A cousin in Mexico had died in a car crash. I was shocked by the news because he was young and could not believe that such a thing happened. Still, I was not saddened. It was not until I received a call from a friend that there was any emotional response. I told her that my cousin had just died. She began comforting me and it was this concern that caused me to get emotional. "Were you two close?" she asked. We weren't. Not really. I hung out at his house every time I visited my hometown in Mexico, but that is about the extent of our interaction. I went to see his younger brother (who was my age), not him. I realized that my sobbing was a programmed response. I was emotional because this is how a person who has suffered a loss is supposed to act. The social situation pressured me into crying, but there was no actual need or desire to do so. I simply did not want to seem cold.

I recall an event from my high school years. I was part of a teen leadership group all four years of high school. The group required participation in many community service activities, one of which was spending time at a local convalescent home. I told them the trick to working with the elderly is to not get attached. These people were strangers and had one foot in the grave anyway, I told them. I saw no point in building an emotional connection with a pointless cause.

No one listened to me. We sang Christmas carols, we talked with them about their families, brought gifts, and so on. And each time we paid the elderly a visit, my fellow volunteers became saddened that one of their favorite old people had died. I can only imagine what went through their minds as I reacted to their "loss" with, "I told you not to get attached."

Flash forward to the present day. My sister works at a luxury retirement home. The residents are all wealthy retired individuals in relatively good health. Fancy as the place may be, it is still an old folk's home. My sister loves her job. She adores the residents, and they adore her. This weekend she received word that one of her favorite residents had a stroke and fell into a coma. My sister became extremely worried for his well-being. I asked her why she had even become attached in the first place. She knew that these people were bound to die, so why bother forming relationships? Instead, the resident in question became a family friend. He and his wife would come to our house for dinner. He was present at my sister's high school graduation. I only met him once, but was constantly told that he was one of the kindest and most respectable men one is likely to meet.

Yesterday, however, my sister received another call. The man had died. My sister was heartbroken and could barely speak through her tears. One would think a close family member had just died in front of her. I thought it best to say nothing in response to her emotional reaction, but my grandmother thought otherwise. She asked my sister why she was crying. My sister eventually managed to spit out a comprehensible sentence. My grandmother responded with a chuckle, "Is that all? They were going to die sooner or later. Geez, I thought someone important had died."

I was shocked. Partly by my grandmother's cruel insensitivity, but mostly because she dared to actually utter what I, more or less, felt.

When I related this tale to my mother, she shared the sentiment. "I understand caring about a person, but there is no reason for her to react so emotionally. It's not like he's family. I wonder if she'll take my death this hard?"

I've asked myself a similar question time and time again. Will I cry upon hearing of my mother's death? Will I even care? In the past, when I was an angry teen, I would have simply said, "No." But even now that I have a positive relationship with my mother, I am still unable to answer that I would be affected. I do not know. I'd like to say that I would be heartbroken to lose my mother, father, sister, or maternal grandparents. But I honestly have no idea if I actually would be. Does this make me less human?

And yet I am a very sentimental person. To a fault, I'd say. Any trivial thing (music, movie, show, book, etc.) can get me very emotional. I get nostalgic very easily. I suddenly fall into pits of melancholy just by dwelling on memories, sad themes, and so on. Reason dictates that a death, any death, would leave me shaken for days. Not so. Why do I allow myself to get so affected by fiction and unimportant matters? Why doesn't reality and actual loss leave the slightest impact?

In a society that progressively desensitizes us to the horrors of our world, perhaps I am the ideal citizen. I don't lose sleep over a loss, I accept it and move on with my life. Because, as I have told people on various occasions, "What's the point?"

- R

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What have I been up to?

Because I am a terrible pen pal (this has been proven time and time again), I have received the following question several times: What have you been up to?

I've answered it a few times, but it wouldn't hurt to answer it once more. This (the blog you are currently reading) being a record of my life, the answer should be on here. 

I really have not been doing very much of anything. At first I felt like I needed a break from reality. I allowed myself to succumb to the lazy, beach town-lifestyle of San Clemente. I ate, slept, enjoyed the warm weather, sent my East Coast/London attire on unpaid vacation, and brought my t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops wardrobe out of retirement. This pretty much sums up my activities. Oh, and there has also been plenty of television and movie watching. I think the most exciting thing I've done is start this blog. Pathetic, no?

I eventually grew tired of this lazy lifestyle and decided to rejoin the world of the living. I began work on my final project for BU. I am currently in the research phase for my two 2,500 word magazine pieces. I would describe them, but I was informed by a very reliable source (GQ) that I should not do so. Any project usually undergoes many changes, so the final product usually doesn't resemble the original description. So here's the deal: after I get further into my two articles, I will talk about them in further detail. 

Speaking of GQ, isn't wonderful how I let magazines run my life? I try (key word!) to dress myself according to the rules of GQ and Esquire. And if The New Yorker says "jump," I say "how high?" I'll watch what it tells me to watch and so on. I like guidelines, and these are mine.

But I digress. So I am currently in the process of working on those articles, so that I can actually get my Master's degree. Also, I am trying to find some random part-time job to keep me busy (and earn a little bit of cash) during the other hours in the day. So far, I have not been successful on the job front. I never thought that even a non-career job would be difficult to obtain. This world we are living in is hell. The career I have chosen is rapidly plummeting toward its doom. Why didn't I listen to  my mother and become a doctor instead of a journalist? Oh right, because I am rubbish when it comes to math and science. I blame my mother. She should have read to me from a math book instead of Oscar Wilde and Grimm Brothers. Damn her for making me a reader at a very early age!

Meanwhile, I have also begun haunting all the Starbucks locations in San Clemente. I try to switch it up so as not to become a proper regular, but I spend hours each day at a Starbucks. It's become sort of an addiction. Keeps me out of the house, I get "free" wireless, and I get to overhear so many fascinating conversations. Perhaps I could add anecdotes to each of my posts from now on: what I heard at Starbucks today. 

So that is it. You are completely caught up on my life. Hopefully, my pitiful existence brightens your day. 


- R

Sunday, February 8, 2009


My loyal fans,

Welcome to the Official Roberto Blog.

It's been a long time coming. At last I can say, "Why, yes. I do indeed have a blog." No longer will I have to explain that I have posts on one site, posts on another, and so on. From now on, all my musings, deep thoughts, witty banter, and mindless chatter can be found on the site you are currently viewing.

But allow me first to explain this blog a bit. All posts prior to this one are a compilation of my previous attempts at blogging and keeping my friends au current. Since this will be my "official blog," I wanted to create a forum that held all my thoughts. So here you will find posts from 2004 when I first started blogging all the way through the present.

It's fascinating to see how much I have changed throughout the years. I don't simply refer to emotional growth and maturity, though that also is evident. I refer to how my writing has changed. Even something as basic as capitalization and spell checking; I used to simply write and post, editing be damned. Moreover, my writing began to develop greater depth, style, and humor. My writing is a reflection of myself; watch my posts grow, watch me grow.

But enough rambling, I want to take this moment to thank you. I received so many compliments on my batch of travelogues from my time in London. As my journalism colleagues can attest, what greater joy is there than to know that people genuinely enjoy reading what you have to say? So thank you for liking my writing. I hope to continue entertaining you.


- R

p.s. I've said it once and I'll say it again, don't let me ignore my duties as a blogger. Remind me to write (aka tell me to stop being lazy and use my downtime productively)

November 28, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 9

Hello again,

I owe you one story about Thanksgiving, and so you shall get it!

In between reviewing shows around London and going to Richmond to see another, I managed to find a gap of time in which to fit in grocery shopping. I volunteered to try my hand at making the gravy. It is something I have never attempted to make, but I've been getting braver with my sauce-making. It was especially ballsy of me because I chose to recreate one of my dad's recipes. Since I couldn't get away with only providing the gravy, I also said I would bring a salad. To be perfectly frank, and maybe I'm wrong for saying so, I don't think I should have been asked to bring something else to the feast. Either they expected me to buy gravy from a can or they don't realize how difficult making a sauce from scratch can be. But let us not dwell on the past lest I sound really bitter.

My dad's gravy recipe was a mushroom-wine gravy. My extended family tends to not allow my dad to make the big dinner items because he always makes their cooking ability look bad. And it doesn't help that my dad is a bit of a show off in the kitchen. But there was one year that he was allowed to make one of the turkeys and the gravy. I remember it being the most glorious gravy I have ever tasted, and it was this particular incarnation that I would attempt to bring to life.

Up until the moment I actually started to make the gravy, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I was simply confused and bewildered by the task the lay ahead. I called my dad 4 times to make sure I had all the correct ingredients and make sure I understood the recipe correctly. When do I add the drippings? Do I need broth? What do I do with the neck, heart, and that mysterious black thing? Do I cook those innards first and then add them in?

I finally got to a point where I understood what needed to be done, much to my father's relief. In retrospect, I should have increased the quantities to make more servings. Gravy for 10 was just enough, which, when it comes to Thanksgiving, is not actually enough. I was very nervous about what everyone would think about my gravy, but I got nothing but very positive reviews. In fact, and this is why I think they assumed I would merely heat up canned gravy, Brittany kept bragging to everyone that I made the whole thing from scratch. I was so happy they really enjoyed it.

The salad was not nearly as much trouble. I decided to also make everything from scratch because I wanted to avoid any potential snide comments about using store bought dressing and croutons. So everything had to be homemade because I didn't want to be "that guy."

I scoured (I love this website!) and for potential salad candidates, but no salad particularly inspired me. Eventually, one recipe called out to me. I opted to make a simple salad with a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. For greens I chose a medley of watercress and spinach. And all this I paired with some homemade garlic-cheese croutons. I was concerned that it might be too many flavors clashing together, but everybody loved my salad. I did not think it would be as big a hit as it was. Again, the fact that I made this dish from scratch was repeatedly brought up. I guess my efforts weren't for nought.

Every dish was wonderful though. We had ourselves a delicious meal. This wasn't my first Thanksgiving away from home (some of you may remember my having spent it alone last year in Boston), but it was the first time I have ever actually celebrated Thanksgiving away from home and with friends. Ellen had us all say what we were thankful for, so we all said something rather silly. I said I was thankful that my gravy came out so well, which was entirely true. I was extremely grateful that everyone loved what I made. But I will take this opportunity to say what I was really thankful for. I didn't say during dinner because I did not want to drag down the party to an embarrassing level of cheese and sentimentality, but here it is now....

I'm thankful for once again being in England. I'm thankful for being in this country I love so much with an incredible group of people who consider me their friend. I'm thankful for having them as my family during this most familial of holidays. And I am grateful for all that life has given me in the past few years.

But enough cheesy words. You've granted me a moment to be sentimental and it's time I get back to my story.

We ended up having quite a crowd. Our small Thanksgiving kept getting bigger as people made last-minute invitations to others. The grand total came out to ten, and I was happy with 9 of them. He's a nice person, but I just find him obnoxious beyond words. His childlike naivete and social awkwardness is at such an extreme level that I cannot tolerate it. But hey, it wouldn't be a proper Thanksgiving unless there was somebody present whom you can't stand. At least, that's the case in my family.

Two of the guests were new to us. Oddly enough, I had a strong connection with both of them. One of them, Iliana, was born in Mexico but lives California. The other, Aria, is also from California and... *drumroll* ... also went to UCLA for undergrad! It was an unexpected surprise, and certainly a fun one. Finally, I was no longer the sole West Coaster in a sea of East Coasters. Plus, both Iliana and Aria were really great. She was very nice and he was fun to talk to. It's a shame we all met these two so late in the game, but I feel we'll meet up again sometime before it's time to say goodbye.

So that was my Thanksgiving. Mine was definitely one I'll remember for years to come. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well. If not, then I hope that at least your turkey was moist and your gravy abundant.

I have to end this here because I need to wake up early tomorrow. The Cambridge excursion is on! Pri and I are set to meet Karl, our tour guide for the day, in the morning, so I need to get some sleep.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to one and all!


- R

November 23, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 8

Hello again,

What's my excuse this time for not writing another chapter of my London adventures? This time, and I kid you not, it was not due to laziness. I simply didn't feel there has been anything to write home about. But I also didn't want to leave you, my faithful readers, high and dry (what does this phrase even mean?). So this chapter consists of a motley assortment of happenings.

Let's begin...

My social life is comatose. Still alive, but only technically. Breathing, but barely. Have I become a recluse? Has the Internet finally taken complete control over my life? The reason I have not written about my fun and exciting adventures is because I have not had very many. My internship has taken over my life.

It seems that all I do is review shows or attend them with my boss. Before you can say "Oh, you love it. Admit it," let me say that I do enjoy what I am doing. My total number of published clips are steadily climbing and I'm getting to see a slew of plays (and the occasional musical) for free. And allow me to emphasize the FREE part of the deal. But even theatre junkies need a break.

Take this last week, for example. With the exception of Friday and including today, I had to go to a show every night. I had actually been scheduled to go to a show on Friday too, but a rescheduling spared me one more show. I'm glad that I was able to have a night off because I had not seen any of my friends since last Sunday. I could have been dead for all they knew.

Three notable things did happen during this last week. On Tuesday I reviewed The Walworth Farce at the National Theatre. First off, I absolutely loved this play. But that isn't the newsworthy part. I wrote the review for class, but asked my boss if she wanted it too since she was not able to fit that particular show into her schedule. She told me to send it her way, and so I did. I email it to her the morning and, a few hours later, I get a reply. She loved my review. This is the first compliment she's ever given me. My boss is the most critical person I've ever come across and is never satisfied. She told me it was very well written and that it is the best review I have written. I was giddy beyond words to read her positive comments. But the thrill didn't stop there. I just checked out the published version of my review and found that it had been published unchanged. She felt no need to edit it! She thought it good enough to stand as is. This revelation had me jumping on my bed from joy. I finally did something right. :D

On Wednesday I went to the press night for the new West End musical, "Imagine This." It is a musical about the Polish Jews during the Holocaust. After seeing it, I can now say without the slightest hesitation that this was the worst show I have ever seen in my life. It was 3 hours of utter rubbish. Bad music. Horrendous lyrics. Tasteless jokes. Weak book. I was so relieved to find the next morning that all the other critics agreed with me. We all hated it and were upset for having to sit through that.

Yesterday was a very long day. I had to sit through 5 plays on Saturday. From 11am to 10pm. The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond put on four of Vaclav Havel's early works and his newest one, all of which have never been performed in England. So this was a very special occasion. Unfortunately, Brittany arranged a dinner and some nighttime fun last night. I figured I could stay for 4 of the 5 shows and be back in time for dinner and debauchery. What I didn't count on was my boss blackmailing me into staying. Yes, I said blackmailing. I asked her if it would be ok for me to leave after the fourth show, so I can go home to celebrate my friend's birthday (lie!). Her response: "You need to decide if you want a social life or a career." She didn't stop with just that blow though. She also said she would advise the director of these plays (a man I plan on interviewing for an article) not to speak to me because my being unprofessional makes me unworthy of his time. She had me, and she knew it. I was forced to stay.

On the plus side, fate was on my side. I got home in time to catch the crew right as they were about to leave. I dropped off my stuff and headed right back out. I was pretty tired, but I was in need of a break and some social interaction. We ended up at a club next to LSE (London School of Economics). It was packed with people one would define as looking a hot mess. We had a pretty good time dancing the night away and didn't get home until 3am or so.

We planned on going out on Friday night, but everyone flaked. In the end, only Brittany and I hit the town. We went to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. It was the most interesting pub. It feels like someone's house. And by house I mean one that has been around since before the Great Fire of London and whose rooms saw Voltaire, Dickens, Twain, and Johnson drink away their troubles. Historical aspect aside, this place was enormous. The multi-floor building has many rooms of all shapes and sizes (some with fireplaces). Brittany and I had a drink in one of the bottom floor rooms, but we had no clear idea as to how far down we were. Can you imagine just how amazing a party you could have in such a place?

What else... Oh, yes. Tonight I burned my thumb. I took a hot baking sheet out of the oven and accidentally touched it with my bare hand. I instantly recoiled my hand, but the heat was enough to scar my thumb. So now my left hand has burn scars on the pinkie and the thumb. My body is going to end up looking like dad's (he's a chef and has many a cooking-related injury) out of pure clumsiness. :(

I thought I could keep writing random happenings, but it seems I've come to the end. I really wasn't joking about not having done much. I work all the time, go to class on Friday, and maybe fit in some rest and fun.

Speaking of rest, I think it's about time I get some of that. Enjoy your lives and have some fun on my behalf.

And before I forget, the crew and I our celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday. Be on the lookout for an account of that event. Ellen is having us play certain traditional roles. I chose to play the drunk uncle. Will I be an emotional drunk or a quarrelsome one? Stay tuned to find out!


- R

November 8, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 7


Did I keep you in suspense for long enough? I meant to write this continuation of my previous entry sooner, but life kept getting in the way.

First I had this work-related drama that I don't particularly want to go into. Everything is ok, but it is simply too long a story. Then I had to review a show for class and then proceeded to stay up all night for the elections. I'm so happy that America was smart enough to put Obama in the White House. On the other hand, I'm completely ashamed to be from California. The passing of Prop. 8 disgusts me. This is all I'm going to say on the subject because I will get very heated on the topic and this is not the place to rant about my....hmmmm, how to put this lightly... hate of religion and the Church. So yes, as I was saying, I stayed up all night and then went to work completely exhausted. I expected to have a short day and then "work from home" (i.e. sleep), but ended up being sent out to review a show at the last minute (Round and Round the Garden at Old Vic, in case you were interested). I got home hoping to take a quick nap before going out again to celebrate Guy Fawkes (this is another long story that I won't go into. I'll just say that, due to poor planning, it was a complete waste of time), but someone (you know who you are) drew me into a draining phone conversation that did not help my weakened mental state. Then on Thursday I had to review a show and write up a pending one. And, finally, yesterday I went out to a rather mediocre Mexican restaurant (Mestizo in Camden). Ok, the food was pretty good. I was really only upset by their god awful drinks. I ordered a caipirinha and was given something that barely resembled that oh-so delicious Brazilian drink. First of all, it was weak beyond words and tasted of sugar and lemon. On top of that, it was mostly crushed ice. There is no crushed ice in a caipirinha! It resembled a frozen margarita. But what really offended me was that their mojitos were similarly disgraced. Mojitos also should not look like a frozen margarita. We only planned on going out for dinner, but decided to keep the party going by to a "New York bar" that our friend Karl suggested. It certainly was a Manhattan-style bar, but it had a fun Brooklyn-vibe to it. A bit silly perhaps, but it played good music and the drinks were surprisingly cheap. Four drinks later (do I really need to say what I drank?), we left feeling a lot happier... and warmer. So that is why I didn't write yesterday. And I almost didn't write today because I was feeling rather lazy after coming back from Salisbury (I had to review another show), but I decided not to postpone it any longer.

But enough excuses. On to the point of the story. The Cardiff trip I took last weekend.

Our little group (Ellen, Pri, Brittany, and myself) met up with Ellen's friend, Laura, and left London early in the morning. I'm not actually sure how long it took to get to Cardiff by bus. I guess I could check online. Hold on........

4 hours later we arrived in cold and cloudy Cardiff. The bus dropped us off right in front of Cardiff Castle, so we started our trip there. It was a neat castle with a keep and a moat. We explored the grounds and then took a tour of the owner's ancestral home. The house and castle belonged to members of the Stuart (as in relatives of Mary Stuart) family. I really liked the house because the original inhabitant decided to make his house look like a Medieval estate even though it was built in the 18th century (or was it 19th?). Anyway, the house was amazing and our tour guide was really funny.

We had a private room with 6 beds at the hostel Ellen booked, so that was pretty sweet. Unfortunately, we had rowdy and loud neighbors. One group in particular were a nuisance. They were a group of Scottish guys that were getting ready to go out. For some reason, the shower became an extension of their room and, therefore, the private became public. They hung out in the bathroom while one of their buddies was showering. They would stand around naked (in the hallway, mind you) toweling off in front of each other. These guys were clearly very comfortable with each other, especially since it wasn't considered a big deal that one of them was standing naked (while the others just stood around talking) in front of the mirror and admiring.... himself. People are, um, interesting creatures.

We actually didn't do that much the first day. We settled in and went out to find some dinner. We ate a pub called The Goat Major. Why The Goat, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Turns out the Cardiff army was so confident that they would take a goat into battle with them as a mascot. The goat is now on display in the castle.

After dinner we went back to our room, watched a movie (Stranger than Fiction... I wasn't happy with the ending, but generally I liked it), and passed out.

The next morning, after breakfast, we got a start on our day. Our first stop was a farmers' market. I love farmers' markets because they always give free samples of their goods, and this once was particularly excellent. We made our way through all the stands and proceeded to walk the long road to Cardiff Bay. After a very long walk, we eventually made it to the bay. We checked out a bit of the Millennium Center. Took in another farmers' market. Took many a picture. And then went back to the city (this time by bus).

Once back in the center of town we checked out the Cardiff art and natural history museum. The art portion was not terribly exciting, to be honest. I did, however, enjoy the natural history part. Seeing stuffed animals and such is always fun. There was one thing in particular that stood out. During the prehistoric section of the museum, they had this cave display with a really creepy stuffed hyena lurking in the shadows. There were bones strewn around and it would emit that scary laugh of theirs.

From there, we had lunch and then travelled back to London. Cardiff is actually pretty small, so 1.5 days felt like enough time. It was really cold, but we definitely had our share of fun and adventure.

And so ends my tale.

I hope it was worth the wait. If so, then I thank you for your support and continued readership. If not, too bad. I'm not about to make stuff up just to entertain you.

Goodbye for now. May the Force be with you.


- R

Saturday, February 7, 2009

November 3, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 6


I promised you 2 updates last week. Clearly, I did not follow through on my promise. But I can explain.

I was too tired after the show on Thursday (more on this later) and ended up at a party on Friday (more too on this later). That explains the lack of update 1. The subsequent update is a no-show because I got back from Cardiff early enough to write a log, but I needed to write and send off a review. Which brings us to present day. And so instead of 2 mid-sized entries, you will once again get a huge one. Or perhaps I'll split this entry into two as it was originally meant to be. We'll see when we get there, shall we?

First things first. I will start this recollection with coverage of the French dinner I made for my fellow grad journalists. I worked from home on Wednesday, so I was not pressed for time. My menu, for you are surely insanely curious, consisted of the following:

1) A mushroom and ham melange (Epicurious simply called it "sauteed mushrooms with ham," but I felt it needed a better name). I sauteed large button mushrooms with shallots, garlic, chives, porcini mushrooms, and smoked ham. This dish was especially popular because my fellow journalists are also fellow mushroom lovers.

2) Steak with a mushroom-wine sauce. The sauce was the difficult part because my dad suggested a roux-based pan sauce, something I've never attempted before. I simply seasoned the steaks with peppercorns, cooked them to medium-rare, and set them aside. I sauteed some mushrooms in that same skillet with garlic and then set them aside. I then made a roux (a combination of flour and butter for you non-cooks out there), to which I added the meat juices from my plate of cooked steaks and some Bordeaux. Wine sauce reduction nearing it's end, I added some thyme and put the mushrooms back into the pan. This sauce was then poured over the steaks.

3) A simple bistro salad with a homemade spicy lemon-mustard vinaigrette. I made the dressing by combining English mustard with lemon juice, black pepper, parsley, basil, and olive oil. Pour it over the greens and you got yourself a salad with a kick to it.

Now, we normally just bring whatever to these weekly dinners. I, however, decided to make my French feast right and chose to be a little more organized. I assigned two people to bring French red wines, one person to bring baguettes and a cheese, one person to bring a dessert, and one person to be the wild card and bring in a surprise item to compliment the French theme (she ended up preparing artichokes).

Once again, being all about setting the mood, I made playlist of French music to have playing in the background.

With the exception of the salad, I was worried about dinner because I had never made these dishes before. Luckily, everyone was completely satisfied and the dinner was a total success. Let's see the future hosts top my dinner! ;p

Let us leave the topic of food and move on to Thursday night. This was a night I will always remember. You always remember your first. In this case, it was my first press night. I was initially only accompanying my boss to the press night for La Cage aux Folles and not actually working. I got an e-mail from her the morning of, however, and was told that I should just work from home because she was sick. More importantly, that she would not be attending the premiere of La Cage and that I should go on her behalf. I, Roberto Hernandez, future theatre critic for The New Yorker, would be attending my first press night as a representative of the press!

It's a bit difficult to describe the mix of elation and trepidation that I felt as the event drew closer. I arrived dressed to impress, a feat I'm not too shabby at. *pops collar caddishly* It was certainly an event! All the big name theatre critics were there, as well as some celebrities (I saw Hal Prince and there was some tennis star) and the gay community (I heard a lot of "Hey, boys!" and "Oooh, girl. You're bad!" and "Oh, my god. I am loving your outfit." I was amidst a crowd of stereotypes). I picked up my ticket from the press box and was told that all the critics would be meeting in the downstairs bar for drinks. I nearly fell over at this point. I was giddy and I surely looked it. All nervousness had vanished and all that was left was pure, unadulterated excitement.

The show was incredible. This revival of La Cage featured an amazing cast. I was even blessed with an utterly enjoyable production. During the interval I went downstairs to meet "my colleagues" for drinks. They had a table set up for us with various drink options: vodka with mixers, red wine, and white wine. It was at this point that I wished my boss had come along after all because the private party was a collection of cliques. They all knew each other and quickly formed little groups. I knew no one, so I had no "in" with any of the groups. I must have looked like I didn't belong, drinking my wine and standing by a corner. I really should have matched names to faces before going to at least be able to recognize the people whose reviews I frequently read. Oh well. A small downside, but it was such a thrill rubbing elbows with London's theatre critics.

It was a night to remember. For one night, I was a legitimate theatre critic.

And now I whisk you away from the world of theatre to a night of unexpected festivities. The school had organized a Halloween party at a club in Notting Hill. I had not planned to go, but it turned out that I had ordered a ticket back in the summer. So I had this ticket that i planned on letting go unused, but Brittany talked me into going. I argued that I didn't even have a costume, but neither did she. I eventually agreed to go with her to the party and we thought up some costumes. I lent her some clothes and she went as a jockey. I put on some business attire and made sure to look very disheveled, with tie askew and the linings on my pockets out (Hoover flags). What was I dressed up as? A banker.

The night was actually a lot of fun. Free drinks and good dance music. We danced the night away until 1am or so. I probably would have just stayed in and watched a movie if I had not gone to the party, so I'm glad that I decided to go at the last minute because I really enjoyed myself. I may not have been the soberest of people when I awoke four hours later to start getting ready for the Cardiff trip, but it was a sign of good times.

It seems we have reached the moment to decide whether to continue with my tale or to continue this in a separate entry.

I'll continue later. May the suspense be with you.


- R

October 26, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 5


I've been overdue for another one of these updates, but I've been very busy with work. It's been the longest two weeks.

I spent the first week doing the hard part of being a theatre critic. I mentioned last time all about going through press releases and scheduling. Well, that was only the beginning. I thought contacting press agents and theaters would not be too difficult, but I was wrong. If all went well, the agent would respond right away and say that your seats are reserved for the dates requested. If things went bad, they wouldn't respond and you would have to bug them until they gave you a confirmation. if things went really bad, the agents would ask you to pick another date.

My boss' schedule for the month of November is completely booked, so when an agent asked me to move something around it was not taken well. I would have to move five shows around just to accommodate one. Requesting tickets took me forever because I kept having to rework the schedule. The day I finally finished all the booking I had to stay two hours after my shift was over. My boss kept telling me I should go home, but I did not want to come back the next morning to more of the same. I left work with a massive headache and quite exhausted, but
the schedule and bookings were done. The first week was definitely the most difficult.

This week was also a lot of work, but it was a different beast altogether. I am now reviewing shows, so it means I am working a lot more than my colleagues. Their shifts end, and that's it. Mine ends, and I still have to work at night.

Last Sunday I reviewed my first show, "La Clique." It is a circus/burlesque show that featured naughty gymnasts, ribald jokes, a woman who strips to her birthday suit and pulls a handkerchief out of her hoo-haw, and much more. To put it simply, it was a fun first assignment.

Since Wednesday though, I have been reviewing a show every night. Tonight is my first break. Wednesday was a musical adaptation of "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" (so funny and cynical; Oscar Wilde meets "Sweeney Todd"). Thursday I'll go into in a bit. Friday was "Shooting Clouds" (a wonderful "kitchen sink"-style family drama that used a small town in Georgia during the 1958 recession as the setting; the Brits did a great job with the Southern American accents). Yesterday was "Cradle Me," a family drama that featured such stellar performances that have to been to be believed (amazing. Simply amazing.).

But back to Thursday. I may have mentioned in an earlier e-mail that my job would involve travel. Thursday was the first instance of this aspect of my reviewing duties. I took a train to Salisbury to review the 50th anniversary revival of "A Taste of Honey" (a dated play, but lovely production). The 1.5 hour train ride up to Salisbury is filled with green plains, farm communities, and other pretty sights. The city itself reminded me a bit of Oxford. It had that very quaint, small-town feel to it. It is situated on the Avon, so it had plenty of bridges as means of crossing the river. I had fun getting lost in its city centre and high street. I even found that a carnival was in town. I LOVE carnivals. They are such simple, old-fashioned fun and fill me with nostalgia for days of yore. That, and they're a great excuse to eat cotton candy (or candy floss, as the Brits call it). Sadly, I had a job to do and couldn't spend any time going on the rides.

I'm not reviewing on my own this week, but I will be going to the press night for "La Cage aux Folles." I'll be rubbing elbows with all the theatre critics in town, and enjoying a fun, camp musical.

And while on the subject of reviewing, allow me to express my complains. I get a byline for all my reviews and they are published, but it's with what is published under my name that I have a problem. My boss HEAVILY edits my pieces. I feel what is left is a bastardized shadow of my original critique. I was going to include the link to my published reviews in this e-mail, but I am almost embarrassed by what you would see as my work. We'll see what I end up doing.
Maybe I'll swallow my pride and just get over it. But I say the edits make my work look mediocre and pedestrian.

That's all for now. I'm going to make good use of my day off and do absolutely nothing. I will, however, leave you with a preview of the next two travelogues. One will be about this work week and what comes of my week to cook dinner for everyone. I decided to make a French country dinner for my fellow grad students, and I will have some wonderful French music playing in the background. The second update will be about my upcoming weekend trip to Cardiff. I'm sure it's going to be a fun trip involving lots of hilarity and good times.


- R

October 18, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 4


I must admit that I almost didn't write this entry. Or rather, I almost procrastinated doing so. I didn't write it on Sunday after the end of my adventures because I had to work on a final assignment. I'm nothing if not a master procrastinator, so that took me all day, night, and early the next day. I didn't write last night because I was exhausted from my first day of work, but more on that later. I wasn't going to write today because.... well, I was just lazy. But enough back story, on to the storytelling!

I was in Barcelona from Wednesday until Friday night.

The trip didn't get off to a good start because I very nearly missed my flight. In fact, I should have missed it. The Tube took its sweet time in getting me to my stop. Then, it took me forever to get through security. My flight was scheduled to leave at 10:50am and I arrived at the gate at 10:48am. Luckily, the plane was delayed and I ended up not missing my flight. Clearly, this trip was meant to be.

I arrived in Girona airport two hours later, took a bus into Barcelona, and managed to find my hostel. I was staying two blocks away from Passeig de Gracia. I had a private room, and the staff was very friendly. Upon settling in, I walked around blindly looking for somewhere to eat. I ended up at some wine bar whose food was satisfactory. I didn't really do much that first day. I walked around Passeig de Gracia and took pictures of Gaudi's "bone homes." I tried to find these two bars that I had seen in a guide book, but I could not for the life of me find them. I was on the right street, but they seemingly didn't exist. Instead, I wandered around the city and found myself in a beer garden that was open until late. Two pints of beer and a split of wine later, I made way back to the hostel

I woke up early the next day in order to fit the most stuff in. My first stop was the top of Montjuic. I wasn't going to at first because it seemed so touristy, but then I remembered I was actually a tourist. The top if the mountain offered the most amazing views of Barcelona, as you can tell from my Facebook pictures. My plan was to take a cable car to the top and then walk down the mountain, and that's what I did.

At the top, and my first stop, was the military museum. Not terribly interesting, but, like I said, offered amazing views of the city. I then walked down the mountain, passing the various gardens, and made my way to the site of the 1992 Olympics. I saw the stadiums and all those wonderful tourist attractions. I continued down the Montjuic to the Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. I didn't go in because I could spend all day in an art museum and I didn't want to lose the day. Instead, I continued down and to El Poble Espanyol (The Spanish Village). It was built for the 1929 World Exhibition and is basically Spainland, a compilation of various Spanish villages in one place. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to wander in and out of, and lots of artisans are featured throughout the village; and you wander through alleys and tiny streets to find all these things. It was pretty neat, and I would recommend it as a sight to see.

After The Spanish Village, I left the Montjuic and went to the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). Saw the Barcelona Cathedral and, following the advice of the hostel staff, purposely got lost. I went in and out of small streets, seeing lots of great architecture along the way.

From there, I took the Metro to the Parallelo Why? Mock me if you must, but I intended to see Spamalot..... in Spanish! It is the first time the show has been produced in a non-English speaking country, and fully translated too. I had seen the show before, but the curiosity over how British humor could be translated was too much to bear. Not only was I able to get a ticket, but I managed to get my hands on a center row seat near the front. And, let me tell you, the show was AMAZING! The cast must have had something to prove because each actor put on a glorious performance. Plus, I was so impressed by how well the show was interpreted and translated. In fact, some jokes/songs worked better in Spanish than their English counterparts. I debated seeing this show to begin with since I had not really liked the Boston production I saw, but this experience was like seeing the show for the first time. I completely forgot the show in Boston.

After the show I went to have dinner at some random restaurant and was treated to a second show. This time the performance was "Dance of the Drunken American Sluts." These 19-year old girls on their break came to Barcelona, drank themselves silly, picked up some sleazy-looking Spanish guy (who looked to be nearing 40!), and came to the restaurant where I was dining. The guy knew he'd be having sex with one (if not all) of the four stupid, drunk girls before the night was through And the girls' flirting and groping was not making him think otherwise. The girls also flirted with the waiters, which made their night. One of the girls randomly starts making out with some young guy sitting next to them. The whole scene was so ridiculous that other diners turned their chairs and blatantly watched the spectacle. It was truly dinner and a show. I left once the girls took the sleazy guy, a waiter, and the guy who got some action out to find some more fun; the show was over, what was the point of staying?

I was on my way home after my two shows, but decided to have one more drink at an Irish pub near my hostel. Needless to say, I pretty much passed out as soon as I got back to my room. I had done a lot of walking (and all the drinking I did didn't help).

For my last day in Barcelona I decided to swallow my pride (and principles) and rode on one of those "hop on-hop off" tour buses. I figured it would give me a whirlwind tour of the sights I had not yet seen. I had to put up with hordes of tourists, but I knew what I was getting myself into. I saw and went inside the yet-to-be completed Sagrada Familia. Explored Parc Guell, taking a picture sitting on the tile benches featured in L'Auberge Espanol. Saw Las Ramblas. And pretty much took a lot of pictures. I was a total tourist.

I also made one last stop before heading off to the bus station for my departure. It also happened to be the most memorable. If there was one thing I always heard (and pretty much knew) about the Spanish is that they don't take kindly to Mexicans. Something about thinking we're dumb, but, last I checked, we don't speak with an idiotic-sounding lisp. I spent three days in Spain and never experienced any discrimination whatsoever. That is, until I entered one last place before leaving Barcelona.

I stopped at a restaurant before heading out. I had this waiter who kept acting strangely with me, being sarcastic and pretty much not being serious in the least. I didn't think much of it at first, but then it became increasingly obvious that he was messing around with me. It was as though everything I said was a joke, like I only knew two words of Spanish and was attempting to have a deep philosophical conversation with him. Also, I think he expected me to prostrate myself before him in order for him to grace me with his presence; I was there a lot longer than I should have been. Eventually he asked me where I was from, with a smile so cynical as to put movie villains to shame. I knew what answer he expected, so I said the United States. When it came time to pay, I used my credit card. He took this as his opportunity to confirm his suspicions. "Oh, Roberto Hernandessssssssssss. I'm going to need to see your passport (note: I'm obviously translating)." I knew this was just a bullshit excuse to see where I was from because he was the first person to ask for my passport, let alone ID. I told him I could show him my license. He saw California on the card and gave a chuckle, as though to say "I knew he was a stupid Mexican."

I don't think I have ever experienced such blatant discrimination just for being what I was born. It really bothered me, and it still upsets me to think about it. It was just this one guy and I shouldn't let it ruin my Spanish experience, but it was just so surprising and uncomfortable. I should just put it behind me. After all, what is the use of dwelling on the actions of some 40-year old waiter who will still be a waiter 10 years from now?

Moving on...

I intended on going to Cherbourg, but decided to postpone that trip until later. I have a college friend studying abroad in Newcastle at the moment, so we ended up spending the day together. She'd never been to London before and wanted to check out some shows. Right up my alley. We watched "Chicago" (surprisingly disappointing) in the afternoon and "Spamalot" at night (pretty much on par with the Boston production, but far inferior to the Spanish production). Overall, it was a fun day and didn't regret not going to Cherbourg as originally planned.

So that was my mid-semester break. For better or worse, truly memorable.

I started my internship yesterday. I won't go into too much detail now because I'm pretty tired and need to get some sleep. I spent today and yesterday scheduling shows to review from next week until July. I didn't realize that this was an aspect of theatre criticism. I always thought an editor told you what to go see and that was it. Not so. Going through mountains of press releases and press invites, and then sorting them into workable schedules is exhausting and intensive work. Tomorrow I will be contacting all the press agents to ask them to save us tickets. I can tell you now, I am going to be a busy, busy boy.

That pretty much sums it up. I'll give a more in-depth summary of my first week of work later on.

Good night, and good luck.

- R

September 28, 2008 - Roberto’s England - Vol. 2, Ch. 3


I almost didn't write this latest entry for no other reason than sheer laziness. I may have to go out and get some coffee soon because I need a jolt that tea just cannot give me. But, anyways, on to my recent activities....

I spent most of Friday doing absolutely nothing productive. Planned on heading over to TKTS for some half-priced tickets to a matinee show (I was considering Chicago or some play), but I got a late start on my day and then was far too lazy (seeing a recurring theme here?) to go all the way to Leicester Square and back. Instead, I watched the season premiere of The Office. Once again, it forced me into various emotions. Sad, shocked (is this even an emotion?), giddy,
and so very happy (if you saw the episode, then you know why. If you haven't, then I won't spoil it for you because I always get in trouble for doing that).

Eventually it became to start getting ready to for the party I mentioned in my previous update. It was a birthday party for Priyanka and Ellen's friend, Dee; she is now my friend too. In the age old tradition of partying, we decided to do a bit of pre-gaming. Brittany had half a bottle of wine; we made short work of that. But we also had some tequila that we had yet to finish. Interestingly enough, it was Pri who told us we should take shots until we finished it; we've been a bad influence on her. And so we did. And it was good.

All warmed up from booze, we made our way to The Light Bar. It used to be an electric company, but it has been transformed into a three-story bar/restaurant/dance spot. It had a great vibe and was two blocks away from The Gherkin (that building that looks like an Easter egg). Dee had reserved the top floor for all her guests and provided us with a large supply of wines and bubbly. We drank, talked, and got down with our bad selves (as you can plainly see from the pictures that were taken that night); Facebook will show you that we clearly enjoyed ourselves.

We eventually left the party and began a search for food. We had to take a bus since the Tube was closed by the time we left Dee's party. It was decided that Piccadilly might be a good spot to find some late night eats, so there we went. We ended up eating at this awful pizza place on Shaftesbury; I ate there the last time I was in London, but forgot just how bad the food was. The pizza tasted of nothing but dough. It would not have mattered what flavor pizza you ordered because each tasted exactly the same. Although, there was one pizza with purple pepperonis. We were scared of that one. But other than this disappointing eating experience, it was a good night.

The next day I was slightly more productive. Yesterday I got some reading done and sent out some school-related emails. Pri and I went to this coffee shop we like. We went there to do work, but found ourselves distracted and disturbed by the music being played over the speakers. This is normally a great place, but that day they were playing country music. I didn't mind the genre so much, but I just could not tolerate the fact that I was listening to country music in an English establishment. And they were playing full albums rather than a playlist of random country songs. At one point they put on a CD of country covers and remixes. But the most disturbing song we heard was this weird children's Christian song. First off, it was bizarre that they were playing a song for children. But being told by singing children that God will take me into the light is just too much. To top it off, and make matters worse, the table behind us had these two very loud and annoying American girls.

Call me elitist. Call me hypocritical. Call me whatever you want. But I seriously cannot stand Americans abroad. Why can't they show some tact and decorum when they are in other countries. Why must they be loud, crass, and obnoxious boobs? *sigh* Alright, ranting done. Moving on.

We planned a dinner at The Prince Regent, this neat looking pub we always pass on our way to class. Unfortunately, it didn't go smoothly because of miscommunication. Long story, short: Pri and I get there at the scheduled time. We have a drink. No one else comes. We go home and receive a call wondering if we were going to come to the pub or not. We go back and meet the others.

It was a fail. Oh well.

Oh, and I nearly forgot. It's the most important piece of news too. It took me forever to decide where to go, but I finally booked a mid-semester holiday. I will be spending 3 days in Barcelona. I'll be all by my lonesome, but I will make the most of it. Also, I have not booked it yet, but I plan on visiting Cherbourg. Why Cherbourg, you ask? For no other reason than, being a fan of the film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, I want to take a picture of myself holding an umbrella. It's ridiculously cheesy and silly, but my high school French teacher would get such a kick out of it.... and most likely mock me for it.

So, like I mentioned before, pass along any tips you have about Barcelona sights, eats, and activities.

That's all for now. Until next time!


- R

September 26, 2008 - Roberto’s England - Vol. 2, Ch. 2

Hark! Tis another installment of mine adventures:

I'll be damned. I am keeping my promise of sending regular updates.

Yesterday was one hell of a long day. Or at least it seemed like it.

Ellen and I were assigned to write a profile on someone in the arts. We send out requests, followed up, awaited responses, and were left the day before the due date with no interview set. We had joked around about just grabbing some random stranger off the street interviewing them for our respective profiles. Well, that's what we ended up doing.

I wrote up some general questions that could apply to anyone and some that could be customized for specific arts. I made a list of places in London where I figured I could find some artistic person. I grabbed my notepad, a pen, my recorder, and off I went with only the hope that I would have something to turn in on Thursday (today). I planned at Hyde park, but the weather was terrible and rain was imminent. I scrapped starting there since I figured that there would be few people at a park on such a awful day. Instead I started my journey at Southbank.

Every time I have been there it is performer/artist central. But of course, the moment I arrive at my destination it begins to rain. So there I am, walking in the rain without an umbrella and looking for someone doing something arguably artistic. The only people brave enough to stay out in the pouring rain are those who pretend to be statues. I guess I could have built up what they do as some form of updated miming, but I wanted to find someone more obviously artistic.

I walked from the London Eye to the Southbank Centre in search of a profile subject. What I got was soaked and my hair plastered to my face by the water. I found one guy doing caricatures under a bridge, but he would only consent to an interview if I bought one of his drawings. I passed on his generous offer and moved on. I had noticed some sort of activity at the mini skate park, so I went back there to check it out.

It turns out that there was a film shoot in process. It was some Indian pop star filming his latest music video. I figured I had struck gold because I could interview one of the back-up dancers. My luck being what it is, one of the members of the production team informed me that I would have to wait until filming was completed and that would not be for a long time. I stuck around for a while to see if they would go on a break, but mainly I wanted to get out of the rain (the skate park is under an overpass/bridge). I eventually notice some guy with a pile of drawings next to him and in the middle of drawing one of the dancers in the music video. *Insert light bulb here*

I approach him and ask if he would be interested in being the subject of my profile. Unfortunately, I came off as though I were trying to pick him up rather than requesting to interview him. "So do you come here often?" are the first words out of my mouth. I don't know why I said it, but it was the first thing that popped into my head. After a brief awkward reassurance that I am straight and had no desire to have sex with him, I finally compose myself and get to the point. He begrudgingly agrees and answers all the questions I throw at him. I had a page of prepared questions, but I mostly had to come up with them on the spot. It was an interview that could have gone horribly wrong, but it ended up turning out ok.

I got home with just enough time to dry off and make something to eat. Pri, Ellen, and I had bought tickets to see "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at The Globe Theatre. I was so sure I would have to miss it because I was not able to find anyone to interview. It was complete and total luck that I was able to turn in my assignment. But let me tell you about the show.

We bought one of the cheap tickets and got to experience a Shakespeare play as a Groundling. A brief history lesson: the Groundlings were those who stood on the ground next to the stage rather than watching from an assigned seat (i.e. the poor). I was conflicted about doing this. I really wanted to experience having a true Renaissance experience like that, but to stand for 2+ hours.... Plus, The Globe has no roof so I would be exposed to the elements. Well, I had an amazing time. The play itself was hilarious and very well acted. But the experience was the best part about it. There I was, next to the stage and literally rubbing elbows with the actors because I stood next to where the actors walked through the crowd to get back onto the stage. I was definitely tired from standing for so long and after having had such a stressful day, but I would not hesitate to see another Shakespearean play as a Groundling.

After the show we went back to the apartments for a late night meal. The girls came up to my kitchen and I made them all bean & cheese burritos. Meanwhile, they prepared margaritas for us all. It became an impromptu fiesta. I would love to say that the night ended on such a good note, but I then spent all night actually writing my profile.

But let us now move on to today. As I mentioned in my previous entry, we each have been hosting theme dinners for our little group of graduate journalists. Today was Candy's turn. She prepared a veritable feast of Chinese food. She went all out, putting the previous dinners to shame and leaving Ellen with a hard act to follow. Candy made a fish dish, a rice dish, a chicken dish, and vegetable dish. Besides that, we had red bean buns and a homemade black currant beverage. There was barely enough room for our plates.

We somehow managed to finish most of the food and still were able to devour the two cakes we brought for dessert. The night came to end with a screening of High Fidelity. And by screening I mean that we watched the movie on Ellen's laptop. Good times.

So that's it for now. The next entry will feature a party I will be attending tomorrow, a pub night, and whatever spontaneous adventures I have this weekend. Be on the lookout! :)


- Roberto

September 25, 2008 - Roberto’s England - Vol. 2, Ch. 1

I present the first chapter of Roberto's second round of England adventures. Enjoy!


Greetings one and all!

I am writing to you from England! I just arrived after a long flight that consisted of many a movie and many a vodka tonic. But I'm here now, settling in, and....

Ok. That's all bullshit, except for the part about being in England and the many vodka tonics.

I have been absolutely horrible about updating everyone back home about my situation in London. In fact, it seems that I receive an email from my mother about every other day telling me to write her. I always respond with the same answer: "I'm sorry, but I will write you at my earliest convenience." The convenience has been there time and time again, but I much prefer to press refresh on Facebook until the wee hours than actually do something productive. Well, no more. I promise to get back to my old habit of writing daily updates.* I am undecided whether to post these recaps of my British adventures on my MySpace blog or to simply e-mail them. I'm open to suggestions.

So I guess I have several weeks worth of adventures to report. Hmmmm.... how to wrap it all up in one neat little package?

Let's start with my arrival. I had to take two planes to get to London. I normally abhor flights with layovers, but the BU-recommended travel agent told me that it would be the most convenient flight for me. If I chose the flight I ended up taking as opposed to the direct flight from LA, then I would save money (true) and not have to worry about transportation from the airport to my London apartment (FALSE!). Sounded like a good enough deal, so I went with it against my better judgment. It turns out that the booking agent was talking out of her ass because BU informed (at the last-minute) that I was given faulty information since BU does not provide transportation of any kind (GAAAHH!!). So I took a 7am flight from LA to Chicago. 5 hours after arriving in Chicago I took another flight from O'Hare Airport to London Heathrow. I arrived in London at about 8:30am the next day. The journey was a long and exhaustive one. I would not have survived if not for Virgin Atlantic providing me with a constant supply of free alcohol and coffee. That steady intake of uppers and downers probably did a number on my body, but I needed it.

At least I had something to look forward to upon arriving (the country of England aside), Priyanka and Ellen's plane (they flew in together) arrived an hour after mine. I waited up for them and had a nice little reunion with my Boston colleagues. The reunion was made even sweeter because the always charming Nabeela joined us at our terminal on her way back to Boston. We talked over cups of tea and then parted ways.

We somehow managed to cram all our bags (we each had two large suitcases) and ourselves into a taxi and made our way to our posh new home. If you don't know London geography, then let me tell you that South Kensington is one of the nicest and wealthiest parts of the city. Our apartment building is behind Royal Albert Hall and surrounded by embassies. We got a pretty sweet deal. We were hoping to all live together in one apartment or floor, but that wasn't possible. The building is set up like a dorm. Priyanka, Ellen, and Candy share a room on the first floor. Meanwhile, Brittany and I live on the fourth floor; I have my own room, as does she. Each floor has two kitchens, but no laundry room (BOO!). It sucks having to go back to a dorm situation after living on my own for the past year, but it's the way it has to be.

Alright, let's move on to my adventures. For our first weekend in London I organized a trip to my old stomping ground: Oxford. None of the girls had ever been, so I acted as tour coordinator and guide. I took them all around central Oxford. I showed them the different colleges, my favorite restaurant, city centre, the Ashmoleon musem, the Bodleian Library (couldn't go inside though because all the tours were sold out), the botanical gardens, the covered market, took them to eat the Eagle & Child Pub (where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein ate, wrote, and debated), and just walked around the city. The weather turned against us toward the end of our day trip, but it was great excursion nonetheless. I was glad to show my friends around, but even happier to be back where my love affair with England first started.

We haven't gone on any other day trips, but we have explored and revisited (Ellen, Pri, Brittany, and I have all spent time in London prior to this trip) various part of this amazing city. One of our little adventures took us to Burrough Market. It's a farmers' market with lots of amazing food (cheeses, wines, meats, vegetables, etc.). I experienced the glory that is an ostrich burger. It was the most amazing meat. I drool every time I think about that oh so delicious burger. *wipes drool of keyboard* At first I thought I loved it so much because I had been starving, but I passed the burger around and the group all agreed that it was indeed delicious. Oh my god, I want another one right now. I'm not even hungry, but I feel like I must have another. I think it may been laced with crack.

I don't think I have eaten anything else that is as interesting. Oh wait, I lie. There is currently a Festival of Food going on, and we went for free samples. I ate oxtail pate and venison sausage. The oxtail pate was interesting, but the venison was so good. I must try more of it.

What else? Oh, yes. As you know, I am a theatre junkie. I watched Zorro the Musical. It was soooo cheesy, but so much fun. The Gipsy Kings did all the music and the Flamenco was great. High art it wasn't, but entertaining it certainly was.

I then watched Les Miserables. They just put in a brand new cast, and they were incredible. It even featured some big names. Earl Carpenter, who I had previously seen as The Phantom, played Javert. Drew Sarich (extremely overrated big name American actor) played Jean Valjean; his American accent was distracting and I thought his voice sounded too young, but he was ok. The guy who played Thenardier was another actor I had previously seen in another show. But the girl who played Eponine was brilliant. She was the second understudy, but you would never know from her incredible performance. She had the grown men around me in tears.

I recently watched Now or Later, a play about American politics. The British actors' American accents were not the greatest (and one was particularly grating), but it was a thought-provoking and well-written piece of theatre. If I had had the time, I would have seen more so far. I want to go see Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov, Les Cage aux Folles, August: Osage County, Carousel, and possibly The Sound of Music.

And speaking of theatre, I will be starting my internship on October 13. I will be working with Blanche Marvin, the most well-known theatre critic in London. If you are a New Yorker or English and have any connection whatsoever to theatre, you know her. She's so influential that actors will perform in her living room should she happen to miss a performance. Also, she was responsible for Sweeney Todd being made into a musical; she called Sondheim and told him to turn it into a musical and that would make him a lot of money, which it did. She has connections everywhere, so this is going to be an AMAZING networking opportunity. First off, I'll be helping her organize the theatre awards she started. I'll get to work alongside all of London's theatre critics. I'll also be in charge of sending New York's Lincoln Center programs and reviews for all the West End shows; she maintains the Lincoln Center's West End archives. And finally, I'll get the chance to review as many shows as I can handle. She watches 8+ shows a week in London or otherwise. She's already told me that I'll be reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will get to travel to Liverpool and other English cities to review their productions. It's going to be really hard work (my love of theatre is going to be tested), but it is a pretty sweet deal for someone who wants to do end up doing this for a living. I'm going to have one hell of a portfolio and resume after this is all over. New Yorker, here I come!

Another thing we've been doing is having weekly theme dinners. It all started with Brittany making us dinner one night. We decided that we should each host a dinner, each with a personal theme (Brittany made Italian, I made Mexican, and Pri made Indian). So far each has been a tasty success. I had to trek all over London to get the necessary ingredients for my menu (enchiladas suizas, guacamole, quesadillas, and black beans). A lot of work went into that night, but it all turned out marvelously. I even brought my laptop into the kitchen and had Latin music playing all night.

This Thursday is Candy's turn to feed the group. She's making us a Chinese feast, which will surely be awesome. And last, but not least, is Ellen with her upcoming Polish dinner. Not going to lie, not terribly excited about that one. Hehehe... But, hey, I'm always up for trying new things (cf. ostrich burger).

As for future plans, I will be watching The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Globe on Wednesday. On November 1, my little posse and I will be taking a weekend trip to Cardiff. We have a mid-semester break and I am planning on spending time in Barcelona and some other Spanish city (tips, anyone???). I actually haven't booked anything yet, so I should really get on that ASAP. Also, we are planning trips to Amsterdam and Paris.

Let me conclude this very long entry with the following thought. I came to London feeling that this study abroad experience would be even greater than the last. I went to Europe for the first time with a few acquaintances (who became good friends) and had myself a fun and fine first experience. This time, however, I was coming to what then became my favorite country with a very different group. I was studying abroad with a good group of friends with whom I have had many a fun time with in Boston and who have all previously spent time here. It was going to be all the fun I had in Boston, but relocated to an even greater city. Well, I now know I was right. I have been having the time of my life. Living, studying, and working in England with friends is a dream. There is only one thing missing from this experience, and you know who you are. ;)

On the topic of missing someone, I find it curious that I don't miss people more than I do. Not to say that I don't, but I think it's because I've gone through the whole "leaving people behind" thing before. I've left the country for an extended period of time before. I have also temporarily parted ways with amazing people (a shout out to my old UCLA crew and you awesome COMsters in Boston). I'll be back and we'll meet again. But yes, I do miss you all.

But enough for now, I've rambled on for far too long. Serves me right for being too lazy to write sooner.


- Roberto

* Someone please remind (i.e. harass) me to do so!

June 13, 2008

So I finally made it to trivia night. Went with my Print peeps to Matt Murphy's in Brookline. The service is definitely not customer friendly. Actually, just the bartender is rude. The waitresses are pretty nice. The one being the trivia master was really cool, and my age. I couldn't believe it. Jess thought she looked 23. If that is what 23 is supposed to look like, then I look 12. Or maybe I just look good for my age, the ripe old age of 23.

Anyway, the point of this post. Went to trivia (our team name was Dog Fancy. Long story.) last night and won. Yeah, baby. Free beers for us all. 125 points. How we won? I have no idea. But hey, all that matters is that we ended up with free booze.

That's it for now. Never win anything, so had to share. :p


- R

June 5, 2008

It's been two months since last I wrote? Wow. I've been really bad.

Well, I guess it's time to sum it all up.

- I spent a 5-day weekend in LA with Mariana
- Been working in the Writing Center and built closer friendships with my co-workers
- Mariana spent another weekend with me in Boston
- Been hanging out a lot with Jacquelyn
- School (3 As and one B+. Stupid Manoff.)
- The day after spring semester ended, I was basically drunk for 14 days straight
- Started hanging out with people from my program
- Currently taking a culinary journalism class, which is pretty chill
- Saw several shows
* The Drowsy Chaperone (so funny; a theatre junkie's show)
* Jesus Christ Superstar (first row and with Ted fucking Neeley as Jesus. I swear, I
had a religious experience)
* She Loves Me (sooo good! such a cute and funny musical. Plus, the cast included
Troy Britton Johnson [Drowsy Chaperone's original Robert Martin] and Dick Latessa
[Hairspray's original Wilbur Turnblad]; will be seeing this one again on Saturday)
* Chess (an imperfect show, but I REALLY liked the music; I now have four different
recordings, for crying out loud)
* Cosi Fan Tutte (bittersweet)

The last two months have been filled with more social activities than anything else, so I have no real complains.

Will I start writing more? Eh.... we'll see.

- R

April 5, 2008

I went to see Margaret Cho tonight. She was amazing and I had an awesome time!

Afterwards, I went to a birthday party at Jillian's. Drinking + bowling + good company= good times. Turns out the birthday girl lives on my floor.

Oh, and I also had lunch at the best Mexican restaurant. The food and ambiance were excellent. Plus, the food was wicked cheap.

Overall, I had a great day!


- R

April 1, 2008


*sigh* Finally...

And now to let the apartment people know that I won’t be renewing my lease and my boss that I won’t staying on for the fall.

This is truly a big day:

- I found out about London and can now put things in order.

- I have decided to spend the summer in California. I said I would never return, but I figure it’s the least I can do for my mom. After all, I may not return to the US (other than for my graduation ceremony) after finishing grad school.

- I’m pretty sure I will be taking a class in the summer (Food Writing, in case you were interested)

- I got the birthday present my sister bought me (Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd)

This ended up being a good day, indeed.


- R

p.s. Mariana and I have the greatest plans for the weekend I’m spending in LA (April 17 - April 21). I get to see my best friend again and will be having an amazing time. I cannot wait!!

March 27, 2008

I’m just going to get straight to the point.

I need to figure out whether I’ll be staying in Boston for the summer or going back to California. The powers that be are telling me I need to either renew my lease or notify them when I will be vacating my apartment. So I need to figure out what I am going to do soon.

Not only that, but I need to figure out if I’ll be needing an apartment in the fall. My boss wants to know as soon as possible if we want to stay on in the fall, but I can’t give him a reply until I know if I’ll be studying in London. I haven’t received an answer from the London program and I can’t make any decisions until I do. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much since one of the broadcast kids, a girl I consider the dumbest and most obnoxious people alive, was accepted. *sigh* Stupid school pressuring me to make decisions I can’t make until they give a stupid answer. Grrr...

In other news, I’ll be in LA April 17-21. It’s official, Mariana and I cannot stay separated for long. She’s made two trips to my side of the country and it’s time I make another trip to her side. Plus, with Nick on his two-month Europe trip, she’s going to be lonely. I’m super excited to spend time in LA with Mariana. Moreover, I’ll get to hang out with my undergrad friends and be treated to warm weather. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to go out wearing shorts and sandals. I cannot wait!

In still more news, finally tried the famous Anna’s Taqueria. I’m still trying to get the taste out of my mouth.

’till next I write...


- R

March 26, 2008

Spring Break is over. Berto sad. :(

Luckily, the first week back was not bad at all. Sure, having to set an alarm clock again was depressing. Sure, having to wake up early for work was painful. And sure, having to sit through three hour classes in addition to working was not something I was looking forward to. And yet, surprisingly, it was a pretty good week. First off, only three clients so far. One of which I've worked with before and was glad to work with again. One who was an ex-student of mine and happy to see again. And another who was new, but a pleasure to work with. All three were film reviews, so they were fun assignments to mold into stronger pieces. Secondly, only had three classes this week because Arts Criticism went to see the show I saw last week. Thirdly, the school week flew by.

This week has also become quite a social one.

Had dinner with Brandon on Monday night. Always a pleasure.

Tuesday was Lauren's birthday. She planned a little celebration at Cornwall's. She seemed really happy that I had come, which I thought was slightly strange. It was as though she seemed surprised. Why wouldn't I help a friend celebrate their birthday? Well, it turns out most people had to pass. Our friends were busy and said they couldn't come. This will probably come back to bite me, but here are my thoughts on this situation. I'm not going to pretend I know the amount of work anyone else has to deal with. But would taking an hour-long break really do that much damage? You don't have to stay the whole night if you can't, but stopping by for even a short time makes a difference. Cat was busy too, but she came to Cornwall's for the latter portion of the night. I don't know Lauren's thoughts on the subject, and it isn't even my place to be speaking about it, but the situation upset me. *sigh* I guess I should just move on before I get emotional and say something I'll later regret.

Anyway... Today I went to see a special screening of 21 with Brandon. I'll post my review of this film later on.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I'm having dinner at Brasserie Jo with Diana from work. She is definitely one of the perks of my new job. She and I clicked soon after getting to know each other. We have similar personalities and tastes, and have totally bonded. I'm sure tomorrow night will be a fun and tasty night. Good food and good company. How can I lose?

I have no plans for Friday (any takers?), but have plans to attend the national (?) a cappella competition on Saturday with Lauren and Marie.

Overall, starting school anew was not as awful I expected it to be. Plus, I turned in my London application and it is in Fate's hands now. Now I am just stressing out until I know whether or not I'll actually be moving to England in the fall.


- R

March 15, 2008

Well, I have been doing a whole lot of nothing. There are times when I wish I had just gone back to LA, but doing nothing feels so good. I can sleep and wake up whenever I want. It’s wonderful.

As for my birthday...

Well, I’m 23 now. Ugh. It was a pretty ok day. I didn’t feel like a birthday, but it wasn’t a terrible day. I had some fun, so I guess that’s all that matters. The day started with a trip to the movies. I won a free movie ticket on Blingo, so I used it to go see The Other Boleyn Girl. It was just as bad as all the reviews said it was, but I needed to see it for myself. Ok.. ok... I only went to see it because it had Natalie Portman in it. Anyways, two hours felt like three and it was nothing more than sexless bodice ripper. It was a bit depressing though. Not the movie, but the overall experience. First off, it was depressing because I would be spending the entire day alone. To make matters worse, I was the only one in the theater. I couldn’t decide whether to feel even more pathetic or to feel special because the film was being screened just for me.

After the movie I walked around Newbury for a while. I had time to kill before my dinner reservation at Eastern Standard, so I looked for something to do in the mean time. I was told I should eat some cake to make it feel like a birthday, so I decided to go to Trident Bookstore. Seeing as it is Spring Break and all the students are gone, I was easily able to get a table. So I ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of tiramisu. So there I sat. Eating my tiramisu-birthday cake and reflecting on my situation. I felt sad to be alone, but I figured I should accept it and get used to it. I wouldn’t always be among friends. Plus, why get upset over something I can’t do anything about? Brandon was busy and I had no other friends in town. So I had to deal with it.

After finishing up at Trident I went home to get ready for dinner and such. Dinner was good as usual. No complaints there, and not much to tell.

After dinner I headed over to the Colonial Theater to see Avenue Q because I had to review it for my arts criticism class. The show was hilarious. I could see why it beat Wicked for the Best Musical Tony.

After the show I went out to a lounge with Brandon and two of my neighbors (Jonathan and Victor). It was very LA (aka trendy/kitschy) and had some cool drinks. I didn’t get to spend time with other people until the last hour of my birthday, but at least it wasn’t a day of complete solitude.

Overall, it was a pretty busy day. I figured that I should fill the day with activities if I was going to spend it alone. I think I made the most of the day and had some good times.

*sigh* But now it’s Saturday night and my time of rest and relaxation (aka laziness) ends tomorrow. How depressing. :(


- R

March 10, 2008

Here's a little update for you.

Prior to Spring Break I joked around about planning to do nothing but sleep and drink (with occasional breaks for food). Turns out that that is exactly what I have been doing. I wake up, eat, drink, sleep, wake up, eat, drink, and sleep. That has been an average day for me. At times I feel guilty, but then I remember that it's my Spring Break.

There have been some variations though. Mariana told me that she had gone to this cool spa resort. I took her lead and decided to pamper myself. So after breakfast I poured myself a glass of wine and ran a bath. I moved my iHome to the bathroom, grabbed the latest copy of GQ, and sat in the hot soapy waters sipping my Chianti and reading my magazine. It was wonderful just laying there while listening to a playlist designed or just such an occasion ("Mellow"). The combination of the wine and bath water eventually made me feel like I was sitting in a sauna. I decided it was time for a cooler drink, my wine being long gone, so I got out of the tub to prepare myself another tasty beverage. I reheated my bath and made myself a refreshing gin and tonic. This time, the magazine having been read completely, I just sat in the warm waters and enjoyed my cool drink while listening to some relaxing music. I don't know how long I spent in the bathroom, but it must have been at least 2 or 3 hours. Vacation is a wonderful thing.

Yesterday was also a change of pace. I decided to finally leave the comfort of my apartment and get stuff done. I had a mediocre breakfast at Z Square (I don't know why I keep going back there; I am constantly disappointed) and then went to get a haircut. From there I went to FINALLY take some clothes to the dry cleaners. I say finally because this stuff has been sitting in a bag since the end of January. After doing that I went to buy some things I have also been procrastinating on (cereal, ink, and stuff to clean my computer screen). I thought the rest of day would be like the others, but Brandon came home from Medfield and asked if I wanted to do something. We decided on Deep Ellum and made our way to Allston. Nothing major happened, but it was fun just sitting in this neat little bar having drinks and eating some sinfully delicious gorgonzola fries. We planned on making our way to another bar, but ended up walking home instead. It was a pretty long walk and the night was pretty chilly, but our drinks had sufficiently warmed us up to the point where we could have been walking around in shorts and sandals.

As for today, I hope to get my admissions essay for the London program done. Here's hoping! I'll update either tonight or tomorrow.


- R

March 7, 2008

Hey there,

I say this so often it's become cliched, but I haven't written daily as I used to and should. Sorry about that. I simply haven't had the time or desire. I like blogging, so I am going to try to go back to that. It's just that my life has been consumed by work and school, so there's not much to discuss.

What I have been thinking about, however, is starting a separate blog. The blog will consist purely of reviews (theatrical productions, films, restaurants, and such). I figure it will be good practice since it's the sector of journalism I hope to get into. Also, it will help you decide to what to do, what to see, or where to eat. And, hey, maybe it will become so popular that it will get my name out there. Pushing it? Maybe. But you can't blame a guy for dreaming big.

On that note, my first review will be of Boston Conservatory's production of The Life. I went to see it last night, and it was ........ hmmm, I guess I should save my verdict for the review. Sorry for keeping you in suspense. I will say this, however, I was one of four straight guys in the audience. I had never been to see a production at an arts school before; I felt like the odd man out.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I got back from the show and was heading towards my apartment when I ran into my neighbors exiting theirs. They invited to go out to Eastern Standard for drinks. I dropped off my stuff and went out with them. One of my neighbors works at Z Square, so I got to meet his co-workers. They were a fun group of people. I could see myself hanging out with these guys and their crew more often. It's a good thing too because it seems to me that I need to find more social outlets. The old group has split and polarized into splinter groups that once every blue moon reunite. I love my little group of Ambika and Brandon, but I need more of a social life. The more groups I belong to, the more I can be dragged out of my apartment and kept from going back to my old hermetic ways. *sigh* It's such a shame what's become of my Boston crew. I see Lauren every so often, for theatre nights and such. I never see Meghan anymore, and I see Cat even less. Oh well. These things happen, I guess. Such is life and you have to deal with it. It's fine though. I couldn't ask for better friends than Bika and Brandy. :)

That's all for now. I'll let you know about the new blog as soon as I create it.


- R

February 13, 2008

I got NO sleep last night. Was stressed out and worried about the quality of my work. And yet, I ended up having a really great day.

I got a really thoughtful message from Mariana that made my day. My Workshop professor actually liked my first draft; she thought it was witty and a great start. In my second class, I got my first review back and she had really liked it. I got an "A," and she thought my piece was well-written and funny. Yay. We had a special guest (Alicia Anstead), whom I had been really excited to meet.

After class, my arts criticism professor paid me huge compliments. I felt like I belonged here. This is something I have been doubting since last semester. Today, however, marked a change. I have aspirations to be a great journalist and write epic things, but I cannot deny who I am. I love arts and entertainment. I like to have fun with my subjects. I want my passion to shine. This in mind, I have been seriously thinking that what I really want to do with my career is be an arts reporter. I want to get paid to attend theatrical performances (professional or otherwise). I want to write critiques and reviews. I want to write critical essays about pop culture. It is the sector in which I know I would be the most happiest. Of course, food writing is a definite interest but I can live without it. I think I may know what I want to do with my life.

I had made plans to go out or drinks with Denise. We needed to catch up and didn't get a chance to do that at her dinner party last week. We caught the tail of end of Uno's happy hour and then went for another drink at the BU pub. We're very much alike and it's a shame Denise and I haven't hung out more. I had a great conversation with her about life, love, careers, and all that jazz. Excluding the time I spent with Mariana, it's been a while since I had a good conversation.

I don't know what it was about today, but the fates felt I was overdue for compliments and renewed confidence. I'm exhausted and I thought this day would be awful, but it ended up being a really great day.


- R

p.s. really excited about seeing My Fair Lady on Saturday. Trevor Nunn production. Straight from the West End. Marni Nixon is part of the cast. Cannot wait!

February 6, 2008

a quickie (really, i'm just using this to procrastinate):

sorry for not writing in a while. i have done so much since last i wrote. i spent a glorious 2 weeks with mariana, so i had better things to do than write in my blog. it was amazing and tragic spending all that time with her. we were jet setters and created many long-lasting memories. therein lies the tragedy. i grew accustomed to being together again and now she is gone. there is the slightest chance that i'll see her for a day or two in late march, but it is highly uncertain. we parted ways not really knowing when we would see each other again. so for many reason, we shared an emotional 2 weeks. i will forever treasure those days for i never thought myself worthy of knowing such happiness.

also, here's a list of the latest musicals i've seen:
- The Little Mermaid (you knew that)
- Spamalot (you knew that one too)
- The Color Purple (with Chaka Khan!)
- The Producers (with Tony Danza.... unfortunately)

upcoming musicals i will be seeing:
- I Love You Because... (maybe)
- My Fair Lady
- Avenue Q (on my birthday no less)
- Anything Goes
- Company
- She Loves Me
- Jesus Christ Superstar

i'll try to start blogging again on saturday once i catch up with all my work. although, i do have sough drafts to write. we'll see.

'till next i write,

- R