Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Northside Swimming

It's gonna be October and the mercury still breaks 100. Ah, Laredo, sweet Laredo, why do you do this to me?

Anyhow, it was so hot I decided to venture out of my usual Laredo barrio comfort zones and head north to use other peoples' swimming pools. The place I headed to was in North Laredo, Wwwaaaayyyy north, past Del Mar, to visit a few compadres in those new fancy condominium complexes off of McPherson Road. I won't reveal specifically which condos they are so as to protect the innocent. But, let me tell you, I like crashing other people's pools.

This is not uncommon for a barrio dweller like me. In fact, I've been doing it all my life. Except that a few years ago, there were not too many apartment complexes in Laredo that had swimming pools. Nowadays, there are plenty of choices.

And, sure enough, I found my sweet spot.

It is particularly appealing to hit the North Side pools during the middle of the day, when people are out and about doing real things like working or ferrying the kids to school. No one knows. Managers are non-existent and security measures are not too stringent.

Bottom line. I haven't gotten caught.

But, back to my excursion. I don't know that many people who have swimming pools in their homes. Sorry, that's just my lot in life. I do know people in rentals who have pools in their units, however. If. If you are ever asked about why you are there, all it takes is a name and an apartment number and voila, you are good to go.

That's just how I roll.

Support Local Businesses

I want to make sure that all faithful readers of this blog support local businesses. It is important to realize that the mom-and-pop establishments that are found in the Gateway City are critical to our economic autonomy and the inherent character first promoted by the founding fathers.

De Laredo practices what we preach, too, by the way. So we went to a local bar to make sure we supported local businesses. I forgot how long we were there and why we were there to begin with. But, it is important to note that we spent a whole lot of money. Well, at least I had none when I got back home. Still, support local businesses.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Drink Laredo

  When you get a change, drop by a great new social site, DrinkLaredo and take a look at some of their interesting features. The good people over there have been working hard to bring you interesting articles, great out-and-about pictures, cool local tidbits and something that they call "bartender of the month". This month, they are featuring bartender Luis Juarez. So drop by and tell them delaredo sent you.

shots on the house are always cool

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Octsober Film Fest (part 1)

     Some people enjoy Thanksgiving because of football and family. Others enjoy Christmas because of gifts and God. Personally, I dig October the most because of Halloween.
     Yes, the time of the year when we can scare each other silly with treats and costumes. The time of the year when autumn arrives and brings in that cold, brisk air that forces us to reach for our sweaters and jackets. Summer goes away, the World Series is played and the streets are filled with Jack-o-lanterns. What's more, Halloween brings us horror movies.
  These films that are meant to scare, shock, and makes us squirm with frightening delight. What could be better? I bring to you something I call Octsober. What exactly is Octsober you ask? Well, its that time of the year where I bring to you the best horror movies to enjoy during this mad month of monsters. This year, I wanted to get a head start and since there are many movies I wanted to feature, I decided to begin Octsober Film month earlier than anticipated.
     I call it Octsober because the films I will feature are best enjoyed while drinking a six pack of your favorite lager. Whether it be Schlitz or Pabst, the beer hops are essential in making you jump out of your seat with fright. No sense in watching these films while sober; that would take half the fun away from the way God meant for these movies to be watched. Octsober films are all about watching "awful horror films while buzzed". I will make recommendations on movies to watch during October as well as the beer that matches well with that film. It's kinda like a book and wine club, minus the books and the wine. Get it?
     It was the infamous Final Girl that gave me the idea for Octsober Film Month. If everything goes as planned, we hope to feature 3 to 5 films a week from now until Halloween. Every film shall be from the horror/suspense genre and must have been produced and released from 1966 to 1996. Every film is guaranteed to be best enjoyed while not sober, hence the Octsober moniker. Get it? If you don't get it, don't feel so bad for I hardly understand it myself, and I invented Octsober Film Month! 
     The first film we shall feature in the first ever Octsober film month is the 1979 film, "When a Stranger Calls". Watch the trailer for now and be on the lookout for the review and comments from this movie by the end of the weekend. I would do it now, but I just realized I don't have a six-pack of lager so, it will have to wait. Tan-tan-tan! Watch the trailer and come back Sunday night for more.


Friday, September 23, 2011

La Carreta Bakery

Last Sunday, I was out and about, roaming the streets of Laredo when I stumbled upon "La Carreta" Bakery, over by Sanbernardo. Not being one to pass up good pan dulce, I entered the doors to this palace of pan and was immediately delighted by the smell of pleasant pastries.

What happened to the TortaMex?
While I am on a low-carb diet, I was too weak to resist the pan dulce temptation and I succumbed to the my past sins of conchas and cuernitos.

So many sweet choices

Choralas para tu pan, I like it

Cuernitos ricos, conchitas suaves
The Hand does Carreta Bakery

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bordertown: Laredo

I can't wait for the series premiere of this "controversial" new show coming out next month. I plan to make an event out of it and watch the premier with friends and relatives (come over, bring some Schlitz). Some people are already crying foul over the way that Laredo is once again portrayed as a dusty drug-filled town. We shall see what the show brings. Hopefully none of my primos make cameo appearances.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Digging thru my hard drive

Digging thru my hard drive: 
My top 6 songs of the moment

6) Strange Advance: "We Run"
Having first heard this song only about 5 months ago, it has slowly seeped into my top 6 right now list. The lyrics arent anything to write home about, but the 'space opera' synthesizer sound is what I currently dig. This Canadian band, much like Canadian bacon, has found a permanent place in my heart.

 "Frozen smiles for men returned
They never even left this place
She kissed me softly on the cheek
And a shadow cut across her face"

At times the lyrics are like, "what the fudge brownies". But just keep in mind its a throwaway 80's pop song. Enjoy it, then move along.

5) Talk Talk: "Dum Dum Girl"

80s Synthpop could do no better than Talk Talk. They could kick sissy Duran Duran's ass any day of the week. "Dum Dum Girl" is just the song to get you started. I currently have it on my phone as the ringtone for whenever ****** calls me.  I could go into a long-winded story about that, but it get me off track and you would hate me forever. I can't have that on my conscience.
 Anywho, most people only know Talk Talk because of No Doubt's sucky little cover version of "It's my Life". But it be such a terrible shame to relegate this awesome band to only that one great song.

"Another hand up on her hair
time probably erased.
Distate and so he's left where guilt is out of place.
I'm no boy stealing pennies from the poor"

I love that last line even though I cant seem to fit it together with the rest of the song. "I'm no boy stealing pennies from the poor". I might not steal pennies, but I do steal ideas. Just ask *******.

Rocking the Smiths in my Zenith ghettoblaster, so wrong

4) Los Piojos: "Tan Solo"

Of all the great Argentinian bands, it would be Los Piojos that I would pay good money to see live. They have several songs I dig, but its "Tan Solo" with its twangy harmonica bits that gets me the most right now. It's a great song for that time of the week when you are feeling vulnerable, which for me is the second Tuesday of the month. That's when Los Piojos is blasted over my Alpine car stereo.

3) Cornelio Reyna: "Soy un Nadie"

Every now and then, I can drink a couple of cold ones. Sometimes, especially after a difficult week, its required. And when I do, I like to slap this song on the turntable and drink a frosty one to my dad. I've always had a special place for Cornelio Reyna, even though his songs are terribly sad and nostalgic. They make me want to cry and jump off Meadow Bridge. Then again, maybe that's exactly why I dig them so much. This song in particular, "Soy un Nadie" has Cornelio's signature drunk guy in a bar voice to it. Something about it just makes me play it endlessly, much to the chagrin of the people around me.

2) Johnny O: "Fantasy Girl"

Summer is about end and it will hopefully take with it my love for this particular freestyle 80s song. Damn song has been in my head for months, right after I re-discovered it tucked away in a dark corner of my hard drive. I blame my older sister for me liking this awful song. So cheesy, so corny, so synthy  in a Casio keyboard overdose kind of way. It really is embarrassing having this song on my favorite list of the moment. I should turn it off and run away from it...right after I stop dancing to it (go me, go me, go me).

1) The Smiths: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

My good friend, Furniture in Life, re-introduced me to this song that just encapsulates my entire life in a 4 minute pop song. I swear that the Smiths wrote this song just for me. It's a perfect,perfect song in such a whiny-I hate my life and I hate the world tone. I'm not a cutter, but this song has me reaching for my Bic in all the wrong ways. Damn its such a good tune.

"In my life
Oh, why do I give valuable time
To people who don't care if I live or die?

What she asked of me at the end of the day
Caligula would have blushed"

My new ghettoblaster that I will purchase soon

Oh Morrisey, you have me swooning, singing my life story. I like it when pop stars sing about me. Makes me realize they know I'm miserable now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Gambit

Ah, the Gambit Bingo place off of Calton Road. Many years ago, I heard the place was some sort of roller skating rink where Laredo couples would congregate, holding hands while skating to the latest romantic songs as per Casey Kasem.

Nowadays, you play Bingo (B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his Name-o!) inside a light blue, weather-beaten warehouse. Oh, I've been there and I have lived to tell the tale of woe.

Yes, its crowded. Yes, it stinks, and somehow I think the old skates and shoes are still lurking the air ducts. And, it can feel a little hot.

But I was invited to tag along and since I had nothing better to do, I agreed. I had never really understood the culture of bingo, but I was immediately out of place as soon as I walked through the doors. I was a visitor, an intrusion into the lives and routines of dozens of people who saw their presence at the Gambit as more than just a way to pass time.

It was--I dare suggest--like a religious experience for most. I know I walked in thinking that bingo was just a game, someone calling out numbers while participants scrambled to fill in cards with their markers, anxious to call out Bingo before their peers.

But this was not where I was.

Instead, the people I saw and congregated with held Bingo sacred. Sacred, I say. The way a farmer looks at the Earth and holds it sacred. The way a Christian takes the Bible . . . and he holds it sacred. The way a lot of people hold their marriage sacred.

That's the world I found myself in one summer evening.

I . . . I couldn't understand.

Needless to say, I did not win. I left the close confines of the Gambit a bitter man, almost broken by the experience. When my partner in crime asked me if I was all right, I could only offer a half, crooked smile as I shook my head in disbelief.

So now I share my tale of sorrow with whoever listens.

If you know what's best for you, avoid the bingo halls of Laredo. Take it from someone who now knows.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

If there was ever a country like The Tortilla States of America, Laredo, due to its fervent love for the Mexican food source, would have to be it's capitol. I, like many of my fellow Laredoans, love tortillas.

I have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have rarely met a tortilla I didn't like. The best, of course, are the homemade variety. I think everyone in the Gateway City has a relative--if not mom, a tia, for sure--who makes homemade tortillas. It's clearly a skill, a talent, that some of us cannot all have.

For us guys, the best freshly made tortillas outside of the homemade variety are the new frozen ones that are sold at H.E.B.

Oh, you know the type, the ones that they sell raw and you just plop them on the comal and voila, you have freshly made tortillas. Well, there are a couple of different brands who make these tortillas.

My favorite? Oh, check the pic above, Sandy's! When I saw this truck driving on Del Mar, I almost pulled it over!

Mmmmm, the mouth waters just thinking about Sandy's.

Joy Cometh in the Morning: Kismet When you least expect it

(Sometimes, Laredo surprises me. There are 250,000 stories in this naked city, and this here is just one of them.)  The encounter I had ...