2007 August : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Aggies, oh Aggies!

August 31, 2007 by · Comments Off on Aggies, oh Aggies!
Filed under: football, New Mexico, NMSU, Rasquache, where I come from 

The hills send back the cry
we’re here to do or die
Aggies, oh Aggies!
we’ll when this game or know the reason why

And when we win this game, we’ll buy a keg of booze
And we’ll drink it to the Aggies ’til we wobble in our shoes!

This is the actual fight song of my alma mater. I always rather enjoyed that our fight song mentioned getting drunk. It was always rather…appropriate, in my humble opinion.

When I was in school (lo these many years ago) we enjoyed being the losingest football team in the NCAA, having lost 27 in a row. The streak was broken in a 1990 win in which we tore down the goal posts. I remember. I was at that game.

We even make an ESPN list of worst college football teams of all time (scroll down, we’re number 9).

Today the Las Cruces Sun News is reporting that the 2007 NMSU football season has kicked off with a win over Southeastern Louisiana. The boys in crimson won it 35-14, including a 68 yard interception for a touchdown by a 273 pound defensive….who was gassed after making the run.

It’s an auspicious start for a generally crappy football team.

Gives me something to smile and whistle about leading into a long Labor Day Weekend.

Now to see about buying that keg of booze and commencing the wobbling…..

Same planet, different worlds

August 30, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Bay Area, New Mexico, where I come from 

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for ten years. You’d think in ten years I’d be used to the peculiarities of this great place where I live. But still, it makes me laugh.

Was browsing headlines today on SFGate (the online presence for the SF Chronicle, discussed yesterday) and found this headline on the front page….(I am not making this up)

A Possibility of Thunder

Seems there is a storm brewing and it’s headed our way. Seems there might be a chance of thunder and lightning.

And this is news, why? Top headline news?

When we actually do have thunder and lightning, it’s covered on the television news. In detail. With “on the scene” reporters.

Oh my. Well, to use an over used phrase….where I come from….if someone said there was a chance of thunder this afternoon, all good New Mexicans would be like….”yeah….and???”

The ongoing saga of a New Mexico girl in California continues…..

And then there was one

August 29, 2007 by · Comments Off on And then there was one
Filed under: ABQjournal, Albuquerque Tribune, San Francisco 

Was reading Jim Baca’s blog “Only in New Mexico” yesterday (if you aren’t reading it, you should. Jim rocks).

Jim’s reporting that the eventual is coming to pass: The Albuquerque Tribune is going buh-bye, leaving just the Albuquerque Journal as the source of news for our fair city.

This troubles me, not the least because I know that readership in newspapers is going down. That’s a well documented trend. But what I fear will happen in Albuquerque is what happened in San Francisco. The San Francisco Examiner was, for years, the “second” newspaper, behind the San Francisco Chronicle (that bastion of Phil Bronstein-ness). When the Examiner started struggling, it was clear that the Chronicle would emerge the winner.

The Examiner is now a toothless free paper, and the Chronicle, left to it’s own devices and without competition, has become something just short (in my opinion) of yellow journalism. The articles are woefully biased, censored, and slanted. At least once a week I read a Chronicle article and actually get pissed off.

So goes the way of the Trib and the Journal, I suppose. The Trib has never been the top paper in the city. I know that. I did used to love grabbing the afternoon paper out of our front yard and reading the funnies. Their comics were always far better than the Journal. (I think Jim agrees with me, he says in his post that the Journal should pull over the Trib’s funnies ASAP. Couldn’t agree more!). I also thought the Trib had a lot more heart than the Journal. You could always find a feel good story in there, or something to make you smile.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I think a little competition is a good thing in any space, but I know the Internet has basically submarined most print papers. So we soldier on….here’s hoping the Journal (which I actually do like) can keep up the quality in a space without anyone chomping at their heels (not that the Trib actually chomped their heels much in recent years, but you get what I mean….I think).

I can’t complain too much…I’m one of those “read the news online” people….guess I’ve contributed to the demise of print papers. Wonder if it’s possible for there to be a major shift in thinking in a fairly stalwart industry?

And on we go…in the name of progress.

What I did on my summer vacation.

August 27, 2007 by · Comments Off on What I did on my summer vacation.
Filed under: Bay Area, iPhone, Love, Opinions, San Francisco, Sodini's, summer, Townie, Turistas, work 

By Karen Fayeth

:)

Man oh man….back at work today after a most luverly week off. It took me three days to just relax enough to realize HOW MUCH I needed a vacation.

‘Course it took me three hours back at work to *forget* I ever had a vacation.

By 11:00 I’d already nervously eaten my packed lunch (I do tend toward emotional eating…something I did a lot less of last week when slings and arrows weren’t flying at me from all directions).

By noon I already had to ask someone to stop yelling at me. You know for one full week I never once had to ask someone to cease yelling at me? (Unless you count the meowling four-legged one who does get snippy when the bowl is empty…but that’s justified, IMHO.)

We’d originally planned a fairly elaborate road trip, which would have been wonderful, but at the last minute, my partner talked me into bagging the road trip and having a vacation at home. I was not thrilled about this at first, but he ended up being right (ssshhhh, don’t tell him, okay?)

We managed to get to “those things” on the home list that need to get done but never do. You know what I mean, little improvements to the living space that would be nice, but by the time the weekend rolls around everyone is too exhausted and running errands to even think about it? Right.

So we go those done.

We had a nice sit down breakfast every day.

Bikes were ridden.

Lots of good food was eaten….(I believe I’ve name checked Sodini’s here before….)

Sleep was had. Oh glorious lovely, beautiful, nourishing sleep!

We even played tourists a couple days. In the ten years I’ve lived here do you know I still hadn’t gotten around to walking on the Golden Gate Bridge? Driven over it a zillion times. Been to the fort below the bridge. Been on the Marin side and looked back and took photos, but never once actually walked over the bridge. So we did that. (Crappy iPhone photo at the bottom).

And I read…a bunch. Just for the joy of it. No contracts. No vast emails. Just, books, fiction, enjoyable. Watched some movies.

And mostly I reconnected with my partner. He and I have been running too far too fast. It was nice to just be together. To remember how nice it is to just be with each other. He’s still my favorite person to spend a day doin’ nothing with. For just the pleasure of his smile alone, it’s worth it all.

He took care of some much needed correspondence, I sent off some photos for a contest, and we let the days pace slowly by. God, it was wonderful.

Today I got stuck in a traffic jam on 101. Got to work and was set upon by my over caffeinated program manager, got buried in a mound of papers, and got yelled at.

*sigh*

Here we go again……..

And still they worry

August 23, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: ABQjournal, Aggies, Juarez, Margaritas, Mom, New Mexico, NMSU 

I am a proud graduate of New Mexico State University, as are my sister and brother before me. Attending NMSU comes with certain…er…traditions. Unavoidable. A right of passage. Integral to one’s education in the relatively sleepy town of Las Cruces.

You see, there ain’t a lot going on in Las Cruces. It’s a lovely town, mild, temperate, a great place to retire. It’s hard to be a fresh-faced college kid of, oh say, eighteen, away from home for the first time and looking to find a little fun. In the U.S., you have to be 21 to get into the clubs, but just across the border, being eighteen gets you in the door.

On that fateful day my parents dropped me off at school, as the engine of our old blue Blazer fired up, my mom admonished me, for about the one millionth time, to “stay away from Juarez“. Convinced, was she, of bad doings and some sort of old fashioned notion of “white slavery” rings running rampant.

I, being the most behaved of the three children in our family did, in fact, stay away from Juarez…at least for a while. But soon enough, the lure was too tempting. “All the kids were doing it”, as they say, and so I loaded up with a group of irresponsible, ne’er do wells that I’d met in the dorms. Off we went careening into the night down I-25 to I-10, slipping through downtown El Paso, parking near the train tracks, walking through a pretty seedy neighborhood, and across the bridge at the Avenue of the Americas, up and over the Rio Grande.

I remember huffing and puffing across the bridge (it’s a fairly steep span), and looking down at the water, thinking it not like any other part of the Rio Grande I’d ever seen. Halfway over the bridge you officially cross into Mexico. We paid our toll on the other end to get through the border station, a few coins, I recall, and then there we were. In another country. The stop signs read “alto” and I wondered what in the hell a kid like me, pretty sheltered in my upbringing, was doing there, and how I’d get home. Nothing that a two dollar bucket of Coronas and a bunch of tequila poppers couldn’t get me past…..

Ah, I remember it clearly now, some twenty years hence, the sharp sound of shot glasses slamming into the wooden bar, non-stop, all night long while crazy disco club music played in the background.

I can’t imagine now, in my adult conservatism, actually walking DOWN the weirdly blown-foam padded-wall tunnel of the place I think was called The Alive that was essentially underground ( : shudder: ). The place next door, I remember, sold yards of beer (the boys always went in for that. I couldn’t drink beer that way, the foam would make me feel claustrophobic). Those places were right over the border. There was a place, farther in, run by a man everyone just referred to as “the albino”. Everyone knew who he was. An American who owned a bar in Juarez and catered to the college kids, even selling a concoction called “The Aggie” that almost no one I knew drank. They also sold these nice poor boy sandwiches that were tasty, and good to help absorb some of the tequila and Corona coursing through the veins.

Luckily for me, I’ve never enjoyed being over the top drunk, and I was just scared enough (thanks to very, very tough parents) that I never let myself get too out of control, fearful of what might happen. School legends of poor treatment at the hands of the Federales ran through my head. What that means, of course, is that I was in charge of my friends who didn’t have the self-control that I tried to have.

I have dragged many a drunk friend over the border, slapped them back to consciousness and demanded they repeat the words “United States Citizen!”, the secret password to get back into the States. I have kicked and smacked at small children who tried to steal the rings off the hand of my friend (I, myself, never wore jewelry when I went to Juarez. That advice, along with “wear shoes you can run in” stuck with me, and I always followed both). I have ridden home in cars with people driving that I knew probably shouldn’t be driving.

And when I think back on how stupid I was, how stupid we all were, I’m thankful, like drop-to-my-knees-and-give-thanks-to-whatever-entity-you-choose thankful that I made it out alive, unscathed, and here to write wistfully about it on the other side.

So what got me to step into the “way back machine” and have a memory jaunt this evening? Well, ABQjournal blogger Bruce Daniels has a piece today titled “Aggies Back in Class”. In it, he references two articles from the Las Cruces Sun News that are printed in keeping with annual traditions. Classes have begun again at NMSU, and with the surge of incoming Freshman, the articles are aimed at keeping kids from slipping across the border and enjoying all the delights the Mexican border town has to offer.

Some kids might heed the warning. Parents will be fearful. And kids will still go. I remember tales while in school of many a kid not making it home. Cars rolled on I-10. Boys who got in fights and were tossed in jail. Friends who got the crap beat out of them trying to cross back over. A lot of scary shit. And still, it won’t keep kids from going. For better or worse, it’s a rite of passage.

I hope, tonight, from the safety of my red couch, that these newbs, these fresh-faced kids, these young folks with everything ahead and little to lose will keep it safe. Enjoy the freedom of being eighteen and away from parental control and explore the bounds of adulthood. Figure out how much tequila is too much, respect yourself enough to get yourself safely home. And most of all, have fun (while wearing shoes that make it possible to run, if necessary).

In a weird way, after all these memories, I crave a shot of tequila topped by Seven-Up, slammed into the bar, rapidly consumed and chased by a cheap Coronita.

By the by…the epilogue to my story is thus…..

It took me many years post-graduation and into adulthood until I finally figured out how my Puritanical mom seemed to know *so* much about Juarez. One day she sheepishly admitted that she and her roommate (my mom lived in Albuquerque when she was eighteen, working as a secretary) used to jump in the car on a Friday afternoon, zoom down to El Paso, find a couple military guys from Fort Bliss, and have themselves a party over the border. I’m sure it was all innocent fun back in the 1950’s, but still kids went across the border to have a little dangerous fun. She knows that during my college years I went to Juarez, but we choose not to talk about such things…….

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