December 19, 2007

Where I'll Be On Christmas Eve

Leonardo says: so any plans for xmas

All Dogs Go To Heaven......... says: bway yea

All Dogs Go To Heaven......... says: reach da muy gial house xmas eve like 11pm or afta

Leonardo says: weh uno gwein do

All Dogs Go To Heaven......... says: bway we jus wah heng and bus palomita sunni

Leonardo says: aright

December 9, 2007

Picture Sundays

Haven’t had the chance to get out and take fresh pictures yet. Let's just say the weather hasn't been in my favor lately. Today I’m coming at you with a selection from the archives. You’ll notice a common theme — work — in this edition.

Canadian volunteers help in rebuilding Liberty Avenue in Orange Walk Town, circa May 2007Canadian volunteers help in rebuilding Liberty Avenue in Orange Walk Town.

This shot (above) was used for a project I was working on a few weeks ago where Canadian volunteers were working with the town council to rebuild a boulevard in town.

Yelitza Awe nailing in the final details on a presentation slideYelitza Awe nailing in the final details on a presentation slide; Sacred Heart College library, San Ignacio Town.

Working in drafting room at the ITVET Orange Walk.Working in drafting room at the ITVET Orange Walk.

The preceeding were taken in the library at Sacred Heart College and at ITVET Orange Walk, respectively. The library shot is my favorite of the set. Yelitza was calm and well poised which always makes for great composition.

My gramps, My gramps, "Maidy", chilling under garage.

This is my gramps. I call him Winnie the Pooh or Old Seed. You can call him Mr. Leiva. The old man was a veteran alcoholic in his days until one day when he mysteriously quit and started a trucking company. Now, he's in his seventies and not doing well. He went under the knife last night which explains why we’ve been wearing sad faces all week long. It’s almost time (sigh).

December 7, 2007

USB Devices, Viruses and Your Data

The advent of the USB interface meant that data could be transferred faster, cheaper, and more reliably across electronic devices. It fostered portability and brought new meaning to connectivity when digital cameras, desk lamps, keyboards, and audio players began arriving with USB capabilities. And because of the simplicity and ease of use involved, flash drives and mp3 players have become widely popular. For some, they’ve become a fashion statement; for others, a way of life.

Unless you live in a remote location in the rainforest, you probably own a USB device. Like you, I've made them a vital part of my everyday life. But here’s something you don't want to hear. That little gadget you carry around your neck so cheerfully is like a C-4 explosive ready to be detonated.

Just so you know, USB devices are prone to contracting harmful, infectious files (viruses, trojan horses, worms etc.). From what I’ve seen, it’s been the leading cause of the numerous cases of computer malfunction occurring in recent weeks. Within the last month, I've had to wipe out and tediously reinstall four machines, one for the second time in three weeks. Last week, Efrain was crying about his machine being stalled by a virus resulting in great loss of data (gigabtyes of mp3s and band samples) and hardware. Sad.

I’ve been getting complaints like these on a regular basis and I’m getting tired of it. All because someone neglected to scan their flash drive. Damn things should come with a warning label. It’s a perfect example of the negative effects of technology — people hating people for owning a piece of technology. Is this an invitation for a new stereotype? Maybe.

For blaming sake, let’s blame a group of people for the cause…

I suspect that students are the ones carrying around these HIV-like infections. (I’ve got many reasons that go beyond the scope of this article but if you fancy it, give me call.) Face it, the level of IT security at your school sucks (except if you’re from SHC; they use Linux). This means that the computer labs at your school and internet shops are utopian destinations for these infections to multiply at such rate.

Put a thousand bunny rabbits on island. Introduce bunny rabbit with disease. Watch number of bunny rabbits decrease rapidly... Of course, some bunny rabbits like me and my IT friends will be immune to the disease. This doesn’t mean we’ll never succumb. Being the brave bunny rabbit that I am, out of anger and hatred, I say we make an attempt to control the disease.

9 Tips for Preventing Viruses, Trojan Horses, Worms, etc.

Most people don’t know the ins and outs of maintaining a stable, infection-free computer. Below is a list of actions you can take to protect your hardware and data from becoming victims of technological evil.

  1. Browse safe sites. I keep telling my mom (novice user) the internet is evil. Don’t click anything that’s blinking or that has the word free in it. One careless click will cost you in the longer run. If you like free stuff, you've got a lot to learn.
  2. Shareware is the evilest thing. Limewire? Bearshare? You asked for it. It’s because of you that I’m making this list. You have no idea what goes on behind that stuff. Use it for a couple months and you'll notice a drastic decrease in system performance, that is if you don't already know what I'm talking about. If you find yourself needing more than a gig of ram for normal use (and trust me, most of you are normal users), that's a side effect.
  3. Just say no. Computers are supposed to make life easier. They really can when you know how to control the damn things. Good maintenance starts off by putting a question mark on every USB/storage device. Nothing's wrong with doubting. The minute you start inserting foreign devices, you’re taking a risk. Think of it as abstinence; just say no. After all, it’s not your friend that’s going to pay the technician at the end of the month.
  4. Your antivirus is your best friend. Learn to use it. Learn all its features: how to update; how to delete a threat; how to scan; how to turn on the firewall; etc. I’m using AVG Antivirus and AVG Anti-Spyware; both are free. Norton works well but hags up too much system resources. Note: No antivirus can detect all viruses. If your antivirus fails to detect a threat, don’t be surprised.
  5. Update your antivirus as often as possible.
  6. Do not Autorun. Windows automatically asks you if you’d like to access a USB device immediately after insertion. Take no action. Locate the device manually via My Computer and scan before opening.
  7. Scan everything, every time. When formatting is not an option, scan every USB or storage device, including your digital camera, before accessing it. Scan your entire hard drive on a weekly basis.
  8. Have someone else do the dirty work. If you can't do without it, have your “friend” download the “free” stuff for you. Or use a designated machine for downloading and browsing evil sites, preferably one with Linux or Mac OS.
  9. Backup often. Data is most important not hardware (ask Efrain). Hardware is bought for data. So it's good to backup often; at least once per yearly quarter if you've got a lot of important stuff. I also recommended you back up installation files. It’s always good to have a good copy of your data just in case your antivirus fails.

Follow these recommendations and you’ll be a computer geek before you know it (if that's what you want). Now get out of my face.

November 28, 2007


Earlier today I was following a Manchester United vs. Sporting Lisbon game on ESPN2. United were down a goal at the half. Carlos Tevez and Ryan Giggs came in as second half substitutes which was enough to change the face of things at Old Trafford. Tevez equalised on the 61st minute and a late goal by Crisitano Ronaldo gave United the win.

Given enough thought, I find it safe to say that if you ever find yourself facing a United squad in attack mode, you better brace yourselves and tighten your butts — some serious ass whipping is on your way! Merry Christmas!

On another note, I was flipping through some pages on Alan Fletcher's book, "The Art of Looking Sideways", and came across this interesting quote reiterating the idea that our life gets boring on a daily basis:

“The life of the creative man is led, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes. It is also one of the most difficult, because the amusement always has to be newer and on a higher level. So we are on a kind of spiral. The higher you go, the narrower the circle. As you go ahead the field of choice becomes more meager…” – Saul Steinberg.

This reminds me of a piece I wrote once upon a time.

I also finished a mock-up design for a project I’m taking on called Belize Chess. It’s an informative site with news, events, interviews and other chess related business. It's currently out for review by the chess community. More on this after the Christmas break.

Enough about me, what about you? What have you been up to?

Belize Chess scheduled to launch by 2008.

November 22, 2007

My Thoughts on Belize

Belize is not a country. It’s a tiny piece of Earth's real-estate located just right of Guatemala where people are struggling desperately to survive. Belize is powerless and can’t make an impact on the rest of the world and probably never will, not even via global warming. The people living there are lost in their own world. The government is comprised of a bunch of gangsters with their own agenda and as such, the country develops slowly. Belize is a tourist destination.

I like the third-worldness. It’s laid back and everything is in close proximity. Friends and family are just a five minute bike ride from home. If you're like me, everything's dandy until it's time to get a job.

Professional careers are limited in this place. Heck, I'd do photojournalism for a living but sadly, such things remain foreign to our education systems. Look at us, we do everything but kick ass in academics. We don’t produce scientists, designers, or engineers. If not for Andy Palacio, we'd never be noticed by the rest of the world. (Thanks for the exposure Andy.)

But who cares? Like I said, I like the laid-backness. Just one question. What would it be like if we weren't this lax, if we tried our best at everything we did, if we were really serious about education? Would we be cloning sheeps and making submarines? Would I be studying journalism as a major on some foreign planet?

November 19, 2007

Picture Sundays: Garifuna Settlement Day Edition

A day late but coming at you with some fresh pictures of Garifuna Settlement Day 2007. All pictures were taken in Orange Walk Town. View the entire album here. Enjoy.

Note: Some pictures, like this one, can be magnified. Be sure to take advantage.

Update:Garifuna Settlement Day 2008 in pictures.

November 14, 2007

A List of Design Books for the Holidays

Some design books leave Houston in October. They arrive late Monday night and when they do, I escort them to my sty then walk out closing the door behind.

I start walking around the house in circles like I always do, this time overjoyed instead of paranoid, talking to myself and screaming as if my team had just scored a goal. It takes a few minutes before I settle down and regain consciousness.

After the ritual, I proceed to my room. I flick the lights on and this is what I see...

Smiling boxes from Amazon containing design books for breakfast, lunch, and supper.Smiling boxes from Amazon containing design books for breakfast, lunch, and supper.

Three boxes smiling at me. Damn Amazon and their clever marketing. The boxes look happy to see me. I respond and we all embrace the moment.

Later, someone tells me that one of the boxes got wet passing through Mexico but I don’t fall for it. I take them out one by one to find nasty watered-down stains on some of them; some pages are bonded together. I glance at it and conclude that it’s just style.

I also find out that I’m two books short but this doesn’t ruin the moment. I welcome those that made it with warmth.

Then I scan them thoroughly, admiring design and form, fondling the varying paper textures, breathing in the fresh scent of new pages, all done with love. They are no longer virgins.

After inspection, they are assembled for picture taking.

From grid systems to typography, from color theory to the design of everyday things — my sleepless nights begin today with the turn of a page.

I pick up my favorite and start walking around senselessly again.

Look at me, I’m happy and all set for Christmas.

November 9, 2007

Of Vintage Proportions: A Look Back at Prom 2003

Actual Adidas shoe box, peppered with dust, protected by that wicked, stylish spider web effect.

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out what mom calls my sty, I came across an old shoebox where I stored memorabilia of my convoluted teenage years. Inside was a collection of pictures, letters, postcards, souvenirs, old ID cards, strands of hair, scents — the antiquated box held reflective material of interesting people and events that came before. Noteworthy was a series of prom pictures I recovered from my high school days.

In the summer of 2003, prior to my senior year of high school, on a magical Friday evening, I went to prom.  It was Tracy's senior prom and I was invited to be her gentleman for the night. At the time I was 16, yet in my 3rd year, and was fortunate to have experienced prom before my junior classmates.

Social events were never my bag and as such, there was nothing thrilling about the occasion except that it was my first and I was queasy. An uncomfortable experience it turned out, when I stepped through the door a complete stranger among T.T.’s senior classmates. But there she was, by my side the entire time, relieving the discomfort. Thank you T.T. and forgive me for posting these pictures without consent.

Leonardo and Tracy at Muffles College High School Prom 2003. View larger versions here.

Looking back, it did seem like much fun. Not certain if I’d allow myself to dress up like this again, but if you fancy it, who am I to let you down?

November 3, 2007

Picture Sundays III

Another fascinating week has gone by. Yesterday, I came in from a photo assignment in Cayo that which I’ll share with you in a bit. Elsewhere, Manchester United put on a stellar performance at Emirates stadium against league rivals Arsenal. The highly anticipated match resulted in a stalemate which was enough to keep the smirk on my face alit throughout the weekend. And yes, me and my bird are doing fine, thank you for asking.

A Photo Assignment In Cayo

I was in Cayo this week working on an overdue project. My client, the one that runs a gift shop on the Western Highway, is enhancing his online presence and I’ve been taking product pictures like wild for the new endeavor. On a few instances, usually, when a sporadic lapse of boredom crept in, I felt the urge to do more with the objects at hand as was the case with the pictures that follow.

Decorative wooden horse before being placed in front of blank canvas for picture taking

During my time as an amateur photographer, I’ve realized that my best shots are those that have stemmed from emotion. It’s the type of excitement evoked often by a combination of unusual lighting, foreign location, or psychedelic colors that together create a unique, first-time experience of things. I hear myself saying, “This feels new” or “I like this feeling” when the mood seems right. It’s difficult and very rare to be able to capture these moments but it’s also gratifying to know that you’re able to capture and share them through a timeless still image.

Exotic vases modeled on rooftop at Caesar's Gift Shop along the Western Highway (behind)

If you’re ever in the area, drop by Caesar’s Gift Shop on mile sixteen down the Western Highway, fifteen minutes before San Ignacio, Cayo in Belize.

Nephi and Melina Become One

Nephi’s been insisting that I return to church ever since he returned from his mission in Ecuador. Traumatizing, it’s the worst case of peer pressure I’ve had since primary school. Last week I finally made my way to the edifice, not to attend official church ceremony but to witness him and counterpart Melina united in matrimony. The couple, both Latter Day Saints, became one on Saturday October 27 of this year.

Newly wedded, Nephi and Melina, after wedding ceremony at LDS church; Orange Walk Town, Belize.


It’s changed drastically since the last time I took a picture of it. It’s a sign. It needs to be replaced; our country has been defaced.

Worn Belizean flag battered by Hurricane winds; Orange Walk Town, Belize

Thanks for the time, hope you enjoyed.

November 1, 2007

Octopus Ceviche

Octopus being prepared for ceviche.

Prepared by the finest chefs, consumed by the finest people, found at the bestest children parties — nothing fuels me quite like octopus ceviche.

October 24, 2007

Locked Out

Orange Walk has been chilly these last couple of days. Local weather reports say the northern regions of Belize will be experiencing a cold front. It’s better than all the heat we’ve had during previous months. Minus all the headaches, it reminds me of Guatemala — cool, gloomy and beautiful for taking pictures. Even more, it’s the kind of weather that makes me want to be close to someone. Ah, the memories…

Overcast skies in Orange Walk Town.

I woke up this morning with a plan to take pictures. I put the volume up on my favorite trance playlist, picked up my camera, and headed out the back door. I surveyed the area, took a couple of shots and retired to view them on my computer. I walked towards the door and noticed it was locked.

Calmly, I thought it could have been the new house maid who was unaware that someone was outside. So I went out front to verify, enjoying the atmosphere on the way.

I rang on the door repeatedly until it hit me — I was alone and locked out. It must have been the wind that pushed the door.

I was getting hungry, the air chillier now, and there I stood outside, boxer shorts only, in the cold, with a camera hung around my neck. By this time I was already upstairs checking if any doors were left opened. Then I turned to the windows but they were all barred, every single one of them.

As expected, an eight-legged spider in the backyard.

Half hour later, I heard someone ringing on the door; it was the house maid. Looking down from upstairs, in the pushup position, trying to hide my half nakedness, I communicated with her. I learnt that my parents had gone to Chetumal and that she had no access to house keys. So she went back home. No cleaning, no cooking — what a blunder on my part!

Permit me to elaborate on this. It was my dad’s idea to introduce yet another house maid. We’ve had scores in the past, but mom couldn’t put up with them for long. This time, he said he wasn’t getting enough cooperation from “us”, me and younger sibling, but I know it was an attack aiming right at me, at my forehead if I may. If something happens to me tonight, can I stay at your place?

Don’t ask how but I managed to get in at the four hour mark. I was watching football and having breakfast in the living room by 2:15pm. It was a victory feast.

Hmmm, wonder what my parents will say when they get home tonight to find out that there’s no food on the table.

Update: Unmoved by the news, my parents are here having supper. Hmmm, must be the weather. Turns out mom had cooked before she left. I love you mom but I hate chicken!

October 21, 2007

Picture Sundays II

In this second installment of Picture Sundays, I'll be kicking things off with a picture of startup rock band "No Service" after their debut performance at a neighborhood picnic in Orange Walk Town.

I missed the live show. But I've been listening to them for weeks during band practice at home, so it's likely I didn't miss much. No Service: Adrian, Jasmine, Johan, Billy Jeane, Edwin (from left).

Last night, after a slight shower, Sugar City became cool and slightly windy. I decided to take a stroll down Queen Elizabeth Park to enjoy the night's ambiance. For a while, I stood adjacent to a hot dog stall where two elderly men exchanged words.

Elderly men conversing at Queen Elizabeth Park in Orange Walk Town.

The rest of the night turned out great. I met Efrain in town where we had a short chat. Convinced, I packed up and headed to his place to watch "Superbad", the flick my younger sister once referred to as "perverted". In his own words, "Superbad is flawless". It's the exact opposite of a chick flick — wild, crazy, and curse words galore!

The following pair was taken at Caesar's Guest house in Cayo and in grama's backyard respectively.

Gyula and Crypto.

Experimenting with water — it's inevitable. Like smoke and fire, the effects of water are mesmerizing. I took a dish to the bathroom sink, and released the water. I must have taken over thirty shots to get this one in. Ripple in the bathroom sink.

And that's it for this edition of Picture Sundays. Hope you enjoyed.

October 7, 2007

TUV Presents: Picture Sundays

As much as I don’t like them, this October I’m planning to complicate my life with commitments. I know, I hate them too but you’ve got to understand, I’m trying to save myself here. Being a bum for more than 5 months was a lifetime achievement but now it’s time to move on, right mom?

That said, starting today and every other Sunday thereafter, until my Picasa account exceeds its limit, I’ll be posting my most recent pictures. Enjoy.

(From Left) Friend1, Nelsie, and friend2 at Nelsie's 5th Birthday Party.

Baby Frieda on hammock at Caesar's Guesthouse in Cayo.

Scenic morning sky. Louisiana Area, Orange Walk Town.

From assistant to fashion model, photo shoots with Zamir have never been this fun. View the Portraits album here.

October 5, 2007

Feel This

One can’t disagree that a lot of talk about thoughts and feelings has been circulating these days.

Women are mourning about departed pets – Cuddles is gone now Vicky, but we do know that wherever he went, that’s exactly where he is. Close friends are encountering asshats at unpredictable rates – hey, hey, relax Danni boy, there’s plenty more where that came from. And others are agonizing about school and stress management.

Not that I don’t appreciate the openness fellas, but sometimes I do feel left out from all the sensitive talk. Yes, I know. I haven’t been expressing myself in the most vivid ways. Truth is, lately, there’s more thinking than anything going on in this big head of mine.

It’s been nine months since I set foot in a classroom and five since I’ve had a real job. I’ve had the luxury to sort out my life during this time (thanks Dad for supporting while mom and sis thought I was being a retard). I’ve simplified the possibilities down to the most obvious, to the point where I’m feeling comfortable enough to take on the next step. And this is what I want in life – to have comfort and confidence see me through to the next step.

Granted, things won’t always be this way, but I'm sure my friends and family will be there to renew lost feelings. It’s a mutual thing; we’ll never be alone.

And this is how I feel.

September 28, 2007

TUV Wallpaper

When I become the boss of a creative agency, I'll dictate memos via walkie talkie. Until then, I'll be in my room, designing self-deprecating desktop wallpapers. TUV Revolution wallpaperTUV "Revolution" wallpaper. Download here (1280 x 800).

Reminiscent of my rebellious teenage years. Any rebels in the house?

September 25, 2007

On One's Underwear

At the end of this post, you may ask yourself: “Was this really necessary?” And I’ll say: “‘Twas necessary indeed”. After all, there’s nothing more precious than the well-being of ones own precious.

Let me just say that Jockey’s not paying me to say any of this, but I’ve been donning their line of underwear – the Pouch – for a couple of months now and have come to the conclusion that FTL and Hanes undies are nothing but punishing. Jockey’s Pouch experience is like no other. Its weightlessness makes it feel like you’re wearing nothing at all, yet your member is comfortably positioned, no dangling or rubbing just airy, comfortable, and well rested. Other said undies don’t offer half the comfort. If you’re a dated, no undies kind of guy, you shouldn’t have a problem adapting. Here, take a look at the specs. While you're at it, I recommend you also check out my personal favorite, their Classic Y-front which are even more comfy and lightweight.

This definitely deserves a place in underwear history. Bravo Jockey, bravo!

September 23, 2007

September Celebrations 2007

Coming at you a bit late this month, I finally got some time off to process some pictures of this year’s Independence Day parade.

As always, this year’s spectacle brought numbers to the street sides. They had it all: carnival dancers, floats, bands, music, and a whole lot of Belizean culture.

Here you have it, the album contains pictures taken at Orange Walk and a few from Corozal Town.

Giant flag flying high in Corozal Central Park on the eve of Independence Day.

September 15, 2007

Reviving Chess in Northern Belize

According to Glen Reneau, head coach of Belize’s national chess team, chess has been played in the country for well over a century. Even so, the board game has not gained substantial popularity over the years and probably won’t if there’s no plan to bring it to the spotlight.

Kofi Geban, president of the Belize Association of Chess Players (BACP), rightfully stated in a discussion at the CODICADER games in Guatemala last month that “we must work together as a team to achieve growth”. In the past, it was more of a one man show where one or two volunteers recruited and organized tournaments across the nation. Until recently, a spark of interest was ignited in high school chess clubs across the country thanks to Reneau, who has dedicated the last decade of his life to chess in Belize. While I'm not certain about its legitimacy, rumor has it that efforts are being made to revive the former Belize Chess Federation.

This afternoon, a small group will unite in a meeting to discuss the growth of chess in the Orange Walk district. The audience will consist mostly of members of the Muffles College High School chess club and a few aficionados of the game. We believe that it’s of paramount importance for us to focus on the younger generation of players since they’re expected to keep the light lit in years to follow.

So yes, this is an attempt to get a larger, club-sized body involved. We have no intentions of planning too much ahead. We’ll keep it simple, fun, and active. I must say that the resources seem reasonably favorable this time around. It is believed that there’s a bit more potential in this group than those before it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

September 7, 2007

ill Fated

An auction at Spanish Lookout, Cayo. Last year, I fussed about missing out on an important photo shoot with some photographer friends. I had another opportunity earlier this year with the same people – John Banman and pro photographer Tony Rath, a man who needs no introduction around here. The shoot took place some time in March at Spanish Lookout, a Mennonite community in western Belize.

This time around, I had the opportunity to travel alongside an old high school friend, Roberto Leal, who came along taking notes of the journey.

John took us to an auction around 9am. It didn’t take me five minutes to realize that they weren’t going to have fancy paintings or artifacts at this auction; there was more junk than anything else. I even saw a bucket of burnt oil being sold for a dollar. Apparently, the hosts were leaving the country and intended to auction everything including all their rubbish (talk about everything must go). The auctioneer did speak about 5 times faster than I could listen which was enough to say that there was something interesting at this place. This was my first time at an auction. The only memorabilia I brought back was a bunch of pictures I took.

Mennonite men pondering the next bid. View the album here.

After the auction we had breakfast and moved on to what was supposed to be the most exciting part of our trip – an aerial shoot! The plane could only hold four so we volunteered Leal to stay at the auction site.

Before I go on, let me tell you what not to expect from the following paragraph. Don’t expect me to be talking about how beautiful things looked from sky view, nor how great the occasion was. Don’t even think I got good shots because I didn’t.

The only thing I could recall occurred about a half an hour in flight when I summoned my little brown paper bag which was enclosed in a zip lock bag (clever!) given to us by the pilot before lift off. The rest is up to your imagination. So much for a day of great shooting. If it’s not the flu, it’s nausea. What next?

It's a boy!

My sister Gabrielle and husband Allan at Chetumal, Mexico. I'm not sure if this means that the world is coming to an end or if it's a sign that men are becoming more fertile than ever, but today I'm an uncle. To be honest, I don't know how to feel nor what to say. Will congratulations suffice? Holy crap, a new life form! Ah yes, that should do.

August 30, 2007

What's On Your Desktop?

August 26, 2007

What Beer Can Do For You

August 16, 2007


Who here plays an instrument?

August 9, 2007

Why Race Car Drivers Get Paid So Much

The video below is a testament to why race car drivers get paid so much. The car was traveling over 300 mph before it went airborne. Luckily, no one got hurt.

Dario Franchitti, the driver of said vehicle, was interviewed on Larry King last night. It turned out that the You Tube video had been viewed by over 250,000 people and counting. After disclosing this figure, the witty Larry King then asked a very thought provoking question. "Why do you think so many people enjoy watching other people suffer?"

Is there a Dexter in all of us?

August 6, 2007

TUV Rebirth

Sometimes the web gets complicated. The new TUV doesn't.

August 2, 2007

Orange Walk Town in Pictures II

Banquitas House of Culture at night time. View the entire album here.

August 1, 2007

Lessons in Survival

I was taking a shower the other day and I had the strangest experience. Like never before, I glanced over at my soapy right arm in mystery. I zoomed closer in until only skin was visible. How complex, I thought. Stretchy, colored, tiny hairs here and there, and filled with microscopic stuff like pores and cells. My mind then took me to deeper places.

I began thinking beneath skin. With flashes of muscle tissue, organs, skeleton and exoskeleton, my thoughts amounted to one thing – the ever crucial phenomenon of evolution. It followed me to dinner where I mused about the races in Africa and Asia and the effect of sunlight on their skin color. I thought about my parents and neighbors, my life and theirs’. Even Google and Yahoo crossed but when they did, all the thinking came to an end.

I won’t get into details but a few years ago, powerhouse Google came from nowhere and stole the initiative of most popular search engine on the web from competitor Yahoo. As an observer, I found it very interesting.

Just when you think you have everything under control, some asshat comes along with more money and genius and all of a sudden, you’re not where you thought you were in the market place. Now, you’ve got to work twice as hard to keep up.

I guess you already know where this is going.

The concept of survival of the fittest has never changed. Some variables have changed however, and will continue to. In the past, the alpha male got the best of everything including food, shelter, and females with nice tits. But that’s only true for lesser mentally developed beings. The same cannot be said about us fully developed humans. Today, you better have a fine job and people to sucker if you want to get places.

I’m sure you agree, the twenty first century has brought many new challenges and it’s no mystery that human survival depends heavily on competition. So, without further ado, I give you, five lessons that will make you a better survivor.

Eat your cookies fast

Eat them before someone else does because cookies taste good.

Know your cookie snatchers

Cookie snatchers are all over the place. They’re like leeches; they’ll suck the life out of you. They’ll get all the nutrients from your expensive cookies and sooner or later, you’ll feel hungry and sad when you find out that you’ve just eaten the last cookie. Nutrients from cookies are too priceless.

Read the label first

Most people don’t enjoy the full essence of cookies; they eat all the cookies first before reading the label behind the box that says: Best when consumed with milk.

Spread your seed

It gets scary when you start thinking about the future. If you don’t make kids, then who’ll take care of you when you get old? When social security can’t pay a house maid and your J-Lo has died whilst trying to make a baby, what will you do?

Seeds bring love and a bunch of other merriments. Like me, I came from the darkest corner in my father’s balls and look at me now – I’m eating cookies while typing on a computer and using the internet. How elated my parents must be! Spreading your seed is good. Besides, animals still do it.

The past is Important

If one day you decide that cookies aren’t that good again, remember all the good times you had with them. Remember the days when you found a prize inside the box. And don’t forget that mystery cookie from the other day. The one you picked up off the ground after the ten second rule and later realized it wasn’t a cookie. Cookies are tricksie.

July 26, 2007

3 Things Learned in 3 years

Progress, regress, shit, fan, evolution, evaluation. Reevaluating my life has always brought me to better terms with my surroundings. Unfortunately, it appears that there's more to life than doing things for the betterment of one's own self and one's own self only (say that five times fast). Among a million other things that echo through the holes in peoples' faces, it has been brought to my attention that I've got to help the needy if I want to get into heaven. Well, before my audition, I’ll share with you 3 things learned in 3 years of evaluating my life as a human living with humans. 1 - Make time for friends. Sometimes we lose ourselves. We get lost, we change and we evolve. The changes seem perpetual at my age. Whether I’m moved to make positive changes or otherwise, the only people I have to bring me back, to remind me of what I was like in the past before I became this shit, are my friends. Friends remind me of the better me. They’ll remember things about yourself that you’ve long forgotten or never really realized; you’ll learn a great many from them. That said, it’s only fair to make time for them. So, don’t always be busy. Make time, show some love. 2- Google it, seriously. Never ask me questions while you’re online. With the internet at your finger tips, you shouldn’t be asking anyone for anything. Everybody knows the cliché but do you really understand it? It took me two semesters studying IT before it truly became an extension of me. Be it in the form of video clips, blogs, podcasts, wikis, it's all there — everything you'll ever need (well, almost). You plug it into Google and like magic they’re there for you baby. It’s the best thing since apple scented toilet paper. Make it a habit, Google everything. 3- Write it down. It’s very important to know our capabilities. I’ll forget that you were coming over at 2pm until you start hitting that button beside the door — talk about ring a bell. I’ll also forget phone numbers, email addresses, scheduled meetings, lunch, but not a single Manchester United game. So, to be gentle on myself, I write reminders in a 3.5” x 5” mini notepad. And surely, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself forgetting about/misplacing that notepad after a few days. When this happened, I had to set a permanent location for the thing and most importantly, I started to treat it with respect.

July 19, 2007

I hate Chicken

July 17, 2007

River at Dusk

July 14, 2007

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Everyone's doing it so... Below are 10 things you don't know about me and probably don't care:

  1. I don't like chicken.
  2. I like to wear/use things until they wear out and fall apart.
  3. I eat once a day.
  4. I shower every other day.
  5. I detest being around too much people (which explains why I allow myself to shower every other day).
  6. I go to bed at 6AM and wake up at 3PM.
  7. I hate wearing clothes (blame the tropical climate).
  8. I don't go to church.
  9. You can beat me at Ping Pong.
  10. Someday, somehow, I'll tour Europe.

July 12, 2007

How Does Twitter Make Money?

I got an email today from Twitter, a free online application that lets users answer one thing — "What are You Doing?". Here's an excerpt from that email: "Hello, Twitter-ers! We were just as excited about the arrival of the new Apple iPhone as every other geek on the planet. So much so in fact, that Twitter Inc promptly issued a shiny new iPhone to all employees. We love them!..." I don't know about you but I'd definitely like to be a Twitter employee right now. This makes one wonder, how in the world could a service that doesn't charge for sign-up and has over 100,000 loyal users make money? Is there a magical money tree that I don't know about? Probably, the people that run it built a huge sailing boat in the 60s, sold it in the 70s after they toured the world, saved the money in a bank, and now they live off the interest. Indeed, that does explain the iphone, maybe not. I did some Googling but still, nobody knows how they really make money. NYTimes has an article about Twittering. And so does this guy and this other guy. Obviously, Obvious corp., the founding company of Twitter, run a blog,"Obviously", that I'll keep an eye on for clues about their little business ventures. I'll need you to keep an eye on Google while I do this, don't want them taking over the entire world again.

July 11, 2007



July 2, 2007

Zhung delivers at High School Finals

Muffles College High School's Zhung Ko and Yemin Tillet will represent Belize for a chess bout at Guatemala after placing first and third respectively at the Belize High School Chess finals held at the Belize City Civic Center on Saturday June 30th. Over 100 games where played and more than 20 participants represented their high schools and districts. The tournament was based on a 5 round Swiss system that lasted over 5 hours. Chess clocks were used to time the games with 30 minutes alloted to each player at the start of each game. At the end, the top 5 males and 5 females were chosen to represent the country in Guatemala. Zhung Ko (top) from Muffles College emerged with 5 victories being the strongest player in the tournament. Yemin Tillet, another Muffles College participant was third strongest in the tournament winning 4 and losing 1 to Ko. May I say that our efforts have been successful and our hours of hard work paid off well. Pictures can be found here.

June 29, 2007

Preparing for a Chess Tournament

“Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.” – Siegbert Tarrasch. I rarely ramble about chess until now. Today, my team and I shall have our final session before we head off to Belize City tomorrow for the Nationals.

Three weeks ago, I accepted to coach the Muffles College High School chess club in preparation for a national tournament on June 30. Since then we’ve trained daily in the college library. We’ve been out of the country on occasion and the team has even received special lessons from national chess coach Mr. Glen Reneau.

It’s clear that there’s been a drastic improvement in their playing since day one. I’m impressed. Their decisions are more mature, they exhibit knowledge of the basic principles and theories, and their improved creativity has been a significant factor in current head-to-head results.

I guess the preparation has paid off. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to find out, and we’ll know that by tomorrow.

June 22, 2007


Sometime last week, disturbance lurked Tangerine Street in the form of a sharp provoking "beep-beep". The noise was in motion for a short while until it stopped at its loudest. I opened the front door only to find one Zamir "Lou" Leiva and one Amir "Oyookis" Leiva honking away on what appeared to be a Dumb and Dumber style scooter. I shot a few. I call this shot "The Two Lous".

You can view the rest of the album here.

May 31, 2007

Orange Walk Town In Pictures: I

I've been busy taking pictures for a project that's coming up. The subject is Orange Walk Town. The picture above shows one of the main streets in the center of town. This shot was taken after 5pm just before the city buses start swarming into town. To the right my favorite burritos vendor. Further ahead is the prominent town clock which I believe is one of the most symbolic representations of the town.

There's only room for one in this fire station. The Orange Walk Town fire station is not the largest fire department in the world. No Dalmatians, no poles. This one storied building hosts, to my knowledge, the only fully equipped firetruck this town has ever seen — The Lucky No. 4. It's a 1973 Custom Cab Ford with a Caterpillar powered engine. The guy at the fire station said there should be two trucks but let's not get into that.

By the early 1900's, the society was heavily influenced by outsiders both culturally and spiritually. While it may not be the earliest sign of worship, La Inmaculada Church is a landmark in Orange Walk Town history. It is representative of a major religious development that has lasted for over a century. It, perhaps, is one of the most significant structures and indeed another symbolic icon of the town's past. In this picture, the janitors take a break under the shade adjacent to the left exit. It was taken around noon. The building at the far back is La Inmaculada Primary School which also extends to the left of the church. As a child, I've always wondered what was in that tank looking thing (below). It wasn't until a few months ago that I noticed some water dripping down. Turns out that it stores water for when it gets scarce. I'm sure we'll soon run out of it anyway.

Thanks for viewing not only my blog but blogs in general. I'll be posting some more pictures as the project progresses.

Update: Orange Walk Town in Pictures II is now available.

May 28, 2007


May 15, 2007

Rock Concert

Took some shots at Orange Walk Town's Fiestarama 2006. The main event was a kick ass rock concert! Local rock bands united to give a masterpiece showdown at the people's stadium. This guy shows up at every single Some Dudes concert. He's a crafty stage diver this fellow. Rumor has it that he's their number one fan. Once the musicians warmed up, fans poured in and... enter the mayhem. Head bangers, stage divers, retards, drunkards, and old folks all gathered to fill the gap and there I was to capture the moment. These guys came in from the city to give a rockin' performance. Their lead singer took us all away. I never thought locals would ever try the songs they did. Linkin Park, Hoobastank, Creed — they were pretty good if not best.

May 4, 2007

Blogging makes you stupid!

I've come to this conclusion after watching 15+ years of education get thrown out the window over and over again for more than a year. Since I started blogging, my grammar and vocabulary have deteriorated substantially - my sentences too casual, words less than 3 syllables, inadequately supported thesis statements, underdeveloped paragraphs etc ... Unfortunately, it's very easy to bring this lazy, simplistic style of writing to paper. You see, content on the web is written for people in a hurry. It's easy and fluent. It's like a style where, one expresses character over professionalism. Character is good and so is professionalism and each have their own context. But which is more important? Is writing with character what one evolves to after learning almost thoroughly the English language? Is it possible to say that the fast paced web, in its entirety, breaks good grammar and vocabulary skills ? Or am I going crazy?

May 2, 2007

Some Pictures

As I progress through my journey of becoming a photographer, I'll be disposing select photographs to the critics.

The picture above was taken some few weeks ago at the beautiful Southwater Caye. Pay special attention to the glowing fluorescent blue in the water. This is what it looked like in real life but being there was truly more rewarding; it was a phenomenal sunset!

The sun was bursting through the heavens after a slight shower. I couldn't resist. I call this one Apocalypse. This tricky shot was taken some time after 4pm from the ITVET Orange Walk Town grounds.

More shots later.