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.