If Day or Night

A short piece I submitted to two places open to brief slices of life, but had no takers, so now it has a home right here.

After a nonstop bus missed by one minute in Boston, and a replacement local route that brought me through much of New England for almost seven hours, I arrived at Port Authority Bus Terminal just past 1am when the station closes and most of the terminal completely shuts down. There I was, in need of a restroom before catching the subway home. I noticed people being led downstairs on a stairway just outside the terminal but inside its doors and decided to follow.

I remembered from a previous trip that Greyhound was down there, and that there was likely to be an open bathroom available to those awaiting late night departures out of the city.

Feeling relieved after I found what I sought, a woman entering paused, blocking the restroom doorway ahead of me. She was homeless, with a small pushcart at her side. She looked up at me when I said “Excuse me, ma’am,” but instead of clearing the path, she pointed toward something and asked me if it was one AM or PM on the clock. I told her it was 1AM, and she inquired if I knew what time the station opened in the morning. “I am not sure,” I answered,  “but today is Sunday, so probably a little later than yesterday.” She thanked me and went inside as I made my way out.

On #YesAllWomen

Some people question why women might feel the need to be cautious when approached. In the news today, where there is a sense of entitlement, there are real victims in California whose families have now lost them. Others face recovery and pain ahead. For many, our scars and experiences aren’t physical or visible. They might come in the form of triggers, anxiety, or even just a specific action. Reading the #YesAllWomen hashtag tonight, it’s just sad exactly how common this all is. It runs deep, across cultures, and it’s unclear exactly when it ends.

I’ve been followed by men who either later tried to ask me out (after following me around a store or for a few blocks) or who simply followed with unknown intentions. One night in 2012, I was followed by a tall man who asked me out. I turned him down, but he kept following me. He might have been a bit intoxicated. I walked faster, he continued to try to to talk to me, until I had to duck into a 7-Eleven. My pursuer then went into the store himself. Circled around. Waited. I kept to the other side of the store, listening to the innings tick away on the Yankees game on the radio. I kept him in my sight as I walked around, poured a drink, waved fingertips over chip bags. He didn’t even seem to pretend to try and buy anything. He just kind of waited, then when the clerk asked him a question, he mumbled something I couldn’t hear. I thought about asking the clerks to call the cops if this lasted much longer. Eventually, he left. I bought a drink after a few minutes, giving him time for what I hoped was him giving up and walking off into the night. I was terrified to leave because it was dark, I lived alone, and who knew if he would be waiting for me just around the wall when I left the store for the five minute walk home. Maybe he would follow me to my home. Then what? Luckily, he was truly gone.

During high school report card days, they’d make us gather in the schoolyard. The entire student body, which was approaching 2000 people when I graduated. Every report card day someone, cowardly enough to remain shielded by the crowd, grabbed my ass. The first time, it seemed accidental. It was very confusing. Then it happened the next time too. I looked around but couldn’t be sure of anything. Then again, at each report card cattle call. It happened again in the stairwell once or twice too. Similar things happened in general admission concerts, while squeezed up on the floor. It’s open season. The rapper Iggy Azalea recently said she quit crowdsurfing, has security barriers, and also wears more clothing on stage at her own concerts because men in the crowd would try to finger her. They would even declare their intentions online. Sometimes TO her. Sexual assault, entitlement, the right to women’s bodies. None of this is okay. And yet, it has lasted, culturally, for quite some time. High school wasn’t yesterday. I’m neither the first nor the last.

Years ago someone I had been friends with posted my number in places with messages. I saw some of the graffiti later and recognized the handwriting. I had recordings of him harassing me via phone and other means. I went to the cops. They refused to do anything.

Traveling alone to the subway to head to a New Year’s party when someone tried to grab me. Due to that and several events over that night, I had a panic attack.

On occasions, when having to come home late at night, I would make sure to buy a fresh Snapple before making the trip. I didn’t drink more than a sip or two. The bottles are glass, and when full, they are decently heavy and shaped to fit well in the hand. It is extremely sad and says something that I’ve ever come up with this, let alone done it at least a dozen times.

I don’t live my life afraid. I’m not a victim. Most women who have had these things happen, we just go through life. These events I’ve just written about don’t enter my thoughts too often. But whenever someone questions women’s (cis, trans, able-bodied or not)  caution when being approached, letting down men nicely or indirectly, not wanting to go home with him right off,  not wanting to have contact, or give our numbers, questions if we cross the street at night, or look behind us what seems like a few times too many, remember that these incidents aren’t isolated.

The result of Windows Speech Recognition listening to a recording of me brainstorming an article

This amused me, so I’ve decided to share. It’s only about a minute or two of the speech recognition failing to understand what it was hearing, but I assure anyone reading that my brainstorming sessions do not sound this jumbled!

In little bit of a turret that when the terminology out who control are a very intimate with that literally grew a little ahead a little cute little or jelly that looked like it and the even though you are a lot of Oregon and you’re paying attention. Your Dr. and you’ll hear a lock the players either you’re a little that whole page order you kill it will hire no linkage and 5:00 or your hard or on-hit you and your go either in a hotly hurt you have a little bit like to call in your watch that you will get you the required you to call road and there are for the little M little terminology are the

Quick Update

A while ago, I stopped blogging regularly due to a few of life’s circumstances, but my return has been in the works for a bit. I will be moving the blog over to my website very soon (a process delayed by fracturing an ankle in mid summer) and continuing the pondering in blog form.

During my absence, I’ve written a post here or there over at my Tumblr account, which is a bit of an experiment. That’s over at modernscribe.tumblr.com.

News Media Quick to Implicate Games Again

While reading the news yesterday, this headline caught my eye:

Anthony Maldonado, 9, stabbed to death over video game while visiting family in Harlem

Being a longtime gamer and someone who is wary of the often misguided media sensationalism with regards to video games, I read the story with a careful eye.

The headline and the grandmother’s quote about the boy being killed “over a video game” are irresponsibly misleading, most likely incorrect, and say nothing about the actual root of the problem – which is the lack of responsibility in leaving a child alone with someone known to possibly be violent.

Unfortunately, a lot of people will see “video games” and “murder” in the same story like this and develop or allow their negative views of gaming to be reinforced. I realize that the source the highest of journalistic respectability, but it’s still extremely sloppy reporting.

The information that the young murdered boy was left in an apartment with an older man who, quotes from family imply, was known to
have behavioral problems, is buried way down in the article.

“He was a friend. I can’t believe this happened,” Carlos Juela said. “He doesn’t act right on the street but he always minded his manners in the house.”

If this 25-year old man had a violent or problematic history, what was he doing left alone with a child? Even bringing in the games is completely incidental, but the paper hypes and inflates the role such that one could be fooled, if not reading carefully, that gaming played some role. Also buried in the article — all the way at the bottom — is a positive quote about the child and how he loved his PlayStation. The article itself isn’t negative, but the headline irked me because it’s not only unnecessary, but misleading. Sometimes reporters don’t write the headlines for their pieces, so the fault may lie with the copywriters who might not have read the story in full.

My condolences to the family of little Anthony.

We Now Resume Our Regular Programming

So I was finally fed up with the technical difficulties that have been plaguing me regarding Vox for the past none or ten months. I was fed up enough to start customizing a new blog over at WordPress today because the ideas have been knocking at the door of my head waiting to escape the darkness and be born of my fingers. I've been feeling the need to write and express myself in this format again.

Twitter has been fun, but unsatisfying. I'm not a soundbite writer. I longed for these shores once more and came here to Vox to see if there was a way to export my old blog data over to WordPress painlessly.

When it worked.

The edit option on my posts had returned. Wait, when did this happen?! I am also able to, once again, customize my theme and blog in addition to editing posts I make.

So I will not be leaving Vox, but instead will be relaunching this blog next week. I suppose it really begins today, but I'd like to put forth something better, as well as possibly introduce a new custom design.

I'm glad to be back. I like it here better, anyway.

“I wonder if he’s nervous.”

My boyfriend caught me off guard the other night when we were talking about the upcoming inauguration.

"I wonder if he's nervous," he said.

There is so much confidence, so much trust, and an incredible amount of political capital on this one man's shoulders. and right now, watching the television coverage and seeing the crowds, and President-Elect Obama (to be President in 20 minutes or so), looking pensive, without his big, bright smile that he so often shows, I wonder if he might be too.


My latest piece for The Escapist is up. I was happy to see
that it got the lead spot on the homepage for the week. I don’t know how that
decision is made, but it was certainly nice to see. This piece was a bit
personal, sprung out of a little reflection last summer about Silent Hill 4. I
decided to do some further reading on Hispanic female video game characters
only to discover that no one had written it yet.


I read an editorial over the summer by author Steven Saylor,
whose Roma Sub Rosa series I read in its entirety last year, where he
said something along the lines of: writers are always advised to write what
they know, but a writer should write the story he or she would like to read.
This was in reference to fiction, but it’s definitely equally applicable to
nonfiction. So I saw an opportunity and ran with it.


In other news, I joined Twitter a while back and I’m finally
starting to use it a little bit. At first, all I had was Greg Grunberg on my
follow list, but now I’ve added some other interesting people. What an
amazingly trivial concept, yet such an addictive site. I must say that LeVar
Burton has one of the coolest tattoos I’ve ever seen. It’s an ambigram of his
first name and “Kunta”, a tribute, of course, to his Roots role. Dan Brown may
have brought ambigrams into the popular conscious, but LeVar’s tattoo made them


Finally, the Times Square Virgin Megastore is set to close
in April
. I haven’t bought a CD there in a while, but that store holds so many
memories for me. I went there very frequently as a teen, attended signings,
in-store concerts, and sometimes just considered it a throbbing, lively, oasis
where I could drop in to listen to some of my favorite new songs and wander
around what seemed to me quite the cool location.


The prices were sometimes a tad high, but sale time was the
best. Lots of gems to be had. Apparently, a six-million dollar annual profit
isn’t enough for the chain’s new owners. The location is set to house a Century
21 discount designer clothing shop. I recall Century 21 liked to advertise
itself as “NY’s best kept secret”. Hard to live up to that when you’re taking a
prime Times Square area location. No matter. If it hadn’t been C21, it would’ve
been another client willing to fork over the cash.


Even for this native kid, this store was a destination. Say
what you will about big box type places, but this one going is a loss. I loved
how the jazz and vocal section was so quiet, even though the rest of the store
had loud, pumping music throughout. The last time I was there was for Christmas
shopping last year, and it was still the same chaotic, bright place. And I’m
sure it will remain so until April.

Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits – a Review

It was at the movies in 1998 that I first discovered Christina Aguilera. The film was, of course, Mulan, and the song was Reflection, a ballad about struggling to remain true to yourself. Now, ten years later, Christina Aguilera has released Keeps Getting’ Better: A Decade of Hits, her first greatest-hits package.

 The debut single, title track Keeps Gettin’ Better is an energetic electropop tale of a Catwomanesque temptress superheroine who just can’t stop straddling the line between good and naughty:

Some days I’m a super bitch
Up to my old tricks
But it won’t last forever.
Next day, I’m your supergirl
out to save the world
And it keeps getting’ better

The track leaked in early September, followed a few days later by a sexy performance (along with a preview of another track on the album, “Genie 2.0”) on the MTV Video Music Awards. The other new song, “Dynamite”, is a light, splashy dance track you’d expect more from the likes of Gwen Stefani. There’s no social commentary in here, no long-stored pain, it’s about feeling free. One can imagine two bodies together in a club enjoying each other and the moment.

“Genie 2.0” is one of two remakes on this hits set. “Genie in a Bottle” is redone with a slow purr as electronic dance beats swirl in the background. The other remake, “You Are What You Are (Beautiful)” takes a song already full of emotional power and makes it damp and moody. It’s faintly reminiscent of some John Lennon with a touch of Radiohead’s occasional weird sonic distortion. While the original version is still best, this is a highlight from an artist who prides herself on reinvention and usually includes new arrangements of older tracks during her concerts. Both “Keeps Gettin’ Better” and “Dynamite”, along with the two remakes are, according to Aguilera, a taste of what’s to come on her new album, scheduled for next summer.

 As for the rest of the album, there are some glaring omissions. The first is “Reflection”, the song that actually started Aguilera’s career and the track that would have officially made this set a complete decade’s worth of hits. As it stands now, all the songs are from 1999-2008. I wonder if it was her choice to leave it off or issues with using the song from Disney. Two other songs that should’ve made the cut are “Lady Marmalade”, which was a worldwide #1 hit, and “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely”, her duet with Ricky Martin that charted in the top 10 in many countries. These tracks are both on the international versions of the album, but “Reflection” is nowhere to be found. Another hit, “The Voice Within”, has been left off all but the British and Japanese editions.


The included tracks on Keeps Gettin’ Better showcase an artist who challenges herself to try different things. The earlier material is often poppier and less personal (“Genie in a Bottle”, “What a Girl Wants”), but songs taken from her albums Stripped (“Fighter”, “Beautiful”) and Back to Basics (“Ain’t No Other Man”, “Hurt”) hint at the growth personally, professionally, and in her ability to successfully tackle many musical genres that is even more blatant in the rest of those albums (on such songs as “Walk Away” and “Save Me From Myself”). Aguilera’s take on reinvention and of challenging herself will be familiar to any fan, but this is a collection that won’t disappoint the casual listener or someone who wants most of her hits in one slick Pop Art-inspired package. Even for a longtime fan with all her albums like myself, songs like Keeps Gettin’ Better and the remakes make this a must-own.