November 21, 2008

No Ipods This Christmas

Last week, I locked eyes with a wide-eyed stranger while riding my five year old Jamis cross country uphill towards work. Two things came to mind: either that I had met this guy once upon a time in Mexico or that I should have removed my nerdy spectacles the instance I stepped out for fresh air.

He went down the opposite direction when the traffic ahead caught my attention. I stopped at the intersection giving way to the noisy engines and lo, beside me like a predator sneaked up Mr. Stranger. "Buay, you know anybody weh want buy wan ipod"?

Oh okay, he's selling a hot mp3 player. Actually about four for $30 BZ a pop! He confessed about breaking into a warehouse or something of the sort. Sounded super fishy, but who cares, show me the good stuff.

So I scheduled a meeting at my workplace and before I could settle in, he shows up with a cardboard box enclosed in a black plastic bag. He's quite in a rush this time and looking very desperate. Still on his yellow beach cruiser, he approaches, and says "see it ya, run it now".

My immediate reaction to this is wtf?! I reach over to grab the box he's pushing at me and he reacts. Then I react: "Show me!".

"Buay stop play, dem done see me already, ih deh in ya, jus tek it!"

This time, he shakes the box inadvertently too much and I hear something in there that doesn't sound like four ipods. I retreat leaving behind a long-haired, Antonio Banderas looking mad man in uproar. Emma looks at me on my way in, "Wat you do di li man Leonardo?". I walk towards my desk, pissed. There will be no ipods for me this Christmas.

November 20, 2008

Garifuna Settlement Day 2008 in Pictures

The arrival of the Garifuna (re-enactment); New River, Orange Walk Town.The arrival of the Garifuna (re-enactment); New River, Orange Walk Town.

In Belize, November 19th is Garifuna Settlement Day. It marks the arrival of a people of African descent who migrated from the Carribbean islands. On this day, throughout the country, there are re-enactments commemorating the advent of the Garifuna. Here are some pictures of this year's "Yurumei" in Orange Walk Town.

Parade lead by Garifuna women; Banquitas, Orange Walk Town.Parade lead by Garifuna women; Banquitas, Orange Walk Town.

Garifuna Day celebrations on Main Street, Orange Walk Town.Garifuna Day celebrations on Main Street, Orange Walk Town.

View more shots at Natural Selection, a photo project of mine.

For more on this event, Belizean Journeys has a nice write up from Dangriga Town, home of the first Garifuna settlement in Belize. Here's a link to last year's Garifuna Day in Pictures.

November 7, 2008

My Retirement from Chess

I’m taking my chess books down to the library next week. There's no place for them on my bookshelf, anymore.

I picked up chess in a club during my sophomore year at St. John’s College. I wasn't any good at it then, that is, until I moved to Muffles College High School.

I had been expelled from St. John's for bad conduct and moving back home took a toll on my nerves — everything was different.

During this time I met my best friend, Roberto. We joined the chess club. At club, I found comfort. Eventually I got addicted, then I got good at it, and then I became a junior chess champ.

I found enlightenment by breathing chess. But today's story is different.

Chess is boring.

With some respect left, chess does good justice by emphasizing, at an intense level, the importance of patience and strategy — characteristics one can't learn straightforwardly on a daily basis.

That said, I will miss the fancy awards, the chess books, and the practice sessions, tournament days and those that I’ve met on and off the board because of chess, the traveling, and the great exposure.

It's ovary.

October 6, 2008

Baby Caesar Wallpaper

For those that just can't get enough. Available in 1280x800, 1280x1024, and 1900x1000.

In case you're from the sixties and don't know how to save pictures from the web, simply click on a link and save the page after it loads completely or right click and "Save Image as" if you're from the fifties.

September 28, 2008

Natural Selection

This photo project has been in the making for weeks and it's finally here (most of it).

Natural Selection separates itself from casual journalism style photography and lends to a more fine art approach. The site is minimal and light, no commenting, no flash, just pure imagery. All images showcased were taken in Belize, most coming from the beautiful Orange Walk Town. Enjoy.

Natural Selection — A Photo Project by Leonardo MelendezVisit Natural Selection — a photo project by, Leonardo Melendez.

September 21, 2008

September Celebrations 2008 - Orange Walk

Fresh pictures of September Celebrations in Orange Town, Belize. Happy Independence Belize!

Belize September Celebrations 2008Image of September Celebrations Parade in Orange Walk Town, Belize.

Belize September Celebrations 2008Image of September Celebrations Parade in Orange Walk Town, Belize.

Belize September Celebrations 2008Image of September Celebrations Parade in Orange Walk Town, Belize.

Belize September Celebrations 2008Image of September Celebrations Parade in Orange Walk Town, Belize.

June 15, 2008

The Intricacy of Currency Design

At five by two point six inches, with classy UV lamination, the Mexican cincuenta pesos is twenty-first century Aztec sophistication in all its glory.

The bill is compact and representative of modern Mexico. It utilizes a cool-neutral color pallet and modern sans serif typography. Historical figures and landmarks, political crests, and distinct fauna give it Mexican genetics. But beneath identity and that sexy smooth, rubbery coating lies an art more intriguing — an intricacy of security mechanisms.

It's perhaps the most distinct aspect of Mexican capital. A closer look shows over 20 security features from finely printed patterns and text to semi-transparency and embeded illustrations.

Intricate patterns.

One might wonder if the butterfly is an accessibility feature for the visually impaired, like Braille.

The 50 peso note seen here is a new plastic paper version and was introduced in 2006. Visit this site for more about the mexican peso. Until then, keep on counting those security features.



May 26, 2008

Titanic in 5 Seconds

May 15, 2008

Easy is Harsh

Go back to the nomadic days, when time was time and man was gradually taking majority share of the wild, around the time when humans realized they could all of a sudden ride animals instead of eating them. Could you imagine how difficult it must have been to capture, tame, and ride a horse in black and white?

Today horse power is harnessed into our automobiles allowing us to go more places, faster. Advances like this make life effortless. It’s what’s been going on all this time – progression and a common search for the easy.

Whether or not man’s evolution has done more harm than good, it sure has made the world a hotter place don’t you think?

April 29, 2008

Follow Follow Follow

United will play the European Cup (Champions League) final in May against the winner of tomorrow's semi-final bout between Chelsea and Liverpool. It doesn't matter who we'll play as long as we're there. Tracy asks if we must wear red again. Umm, doh!

Sorry if I've bored you with too much football this month. Normal blogging resumes.

April 23, 2008

Anti-climax in Barcelona, United Gear Up for Tuesday

Barcelona F.C. were welcomed in electrifying fashion this Wednesday night at the Camp Nou when 95,000+ home supporters gathered to witness what would be a grueling chess match against English crème de la crème, Manchester United. Some 56,000 yellow flags were lifted by home fans forming a large mosaic that read Tots Units Fem Forca (Together We Are Strong). But at the end, even the largest football stadium in Europe, filled to capacity, couldn’t breach a most stubborn Manchester United defense.

Two minutes into play, Cristiano Ronaldo, of all the players in the world, failed to give the Reds an early lead after missing a penalty awarded against a hand ball by Barcelona’s Gabriel Milito. And what a price he’s paying. Look at these headlines. Barca were allowed to dominate the entire game as United refrained from the usual attacking style and pursued a more strategic defensive stance. The result was a satisfactory stalemate.

The Spanish giants will travel to Old Trafford this Tuesday for the second leg of the semifinals.

Over in Manchester, United has organized a campaign calling all Reds supporters to fill The Theatre of Dreams with a sea of red and white for next week’s clash against Barca.

It's not over yet. This Tuesday, wear your red!

April 22, 2008

Extremely Bad Taste

April 21, 2008

Wear Red on Wednesday

Girlfriend and I departed at the bus "terminal" this morning sentimental and gloomy — a typical Monday. Little does she know, they'll be other (equally important) thoughts entertaining my mind this week.

In case you're not the football savvy kind, Europe's most lucrative football competition, the Champions League, is at its semifinals stage. Chelsea F.C. play away against 2005 champions Liverpool F.C. on Tuesday and Manchester United face off against 2006 champions Barcelona F.C. for their away game in Spain on Wednesday. Leg 2 (United play at home) of the semifinals continues on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

All my years of watching football, I've never seen United pass the semifinals. I only dream of it. I think about it all week because nothing else matters. Will they survive Barcelona?

Regardless, when Manchester United F.C. travel to Spain in two days, I'll be watching ESPN 2 at 12:45pm wearing red, black, and white.

This Wednesday, wear your red!

April 17, 2008

Frying Pan

Some two weeks ago my sister and family came in from Florida to visit. Twenty-two now, Gabrielle is the eldest of four, married, now a mother, and about 500 pounds heavier. This trip, she brought back the most amazing thing — her brand new baby.

Allan Michael Sorenson is 7 months out the womb, healthy, heavy, white, with circumcised penis. He's quiet and smiles a lot.

At first glance I thought "holy crap, you brought the Boss' son!". Doesn't this baby have a slight resemblance of Sir Alex Ferguson? One cousin said he looked like Wayne Rooney; I disagree.

During their short stay, I must have changed, fed, and looked after him only once. Not that I'm lazy or anything, just trying to avoid being used/suckered by my sister this time around. Besides, are you used to seeing poop smothered all over a little person's legs, back, and frying pan? Thought so. To add, babies require plenty energy and responsibility. Did you know babies get changed about 6-8 per day? I learned a bunch of new baby stuff. One that tickled me most was the frying pan.

The frying pan is proven to be the filthiest part of the male anatomy. It's that inch of space between the anus and the testicles. When lying down the eggs just rest on the frying pan. I've got pictures to show for ten bucks a shot. Anyone?

April 1, 2008

April is for ManUtd

Every Manchester United fan in the Milky Way knows that April will be the most decisive month of the season. I won't attempt to bombard you with football boringness or convince you that Manchester United is the best club in the world. No.

Instead, if you find yourself adrift in April, here's a link to the best football club in the world.

March 19, 2008

On the Go-go-go

Did the laundry early this morning. Got XML parsing to read up on in a bit. Tackling the “sty” later tonight. All done to the beat of Armin van Buuren’s A state of trance episode 320/2007 and DJ Tiësto’s In Search of Sunrise 6. The days have become busier and I'm constantly on the go-go-go. It's been like this since January and I hope it stays the same.

Some two weeks ago I got a new job in Belize City. I’m working two days (T/Th) from home. On other days you can catch me getting off on Euphrates Avenue in the city (please don't mug me...on the other hand, I do have a weakness for diversion). It's all right working for this new company. It beats the once esteemed freelance lifestyle by a hair.

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately:

Screenshot: the new Orange Walk Town Council websiteScreenshot: the new Orange Walk Town Council website.

I began working on the OWTC's new site during the freelance days. It's shadowed me for months now and I'm relieved that it's almost over. Hope to update you on this project in the future.

TUV TUV "Nightfly" wallpaper (1280 x 800). Download here.

Night time transcends deep, emotional atmospheres. Coupled with proper lighting and electronic tunes, it easily becomes the most relaxing part of a day. "Nightfly" was designed to enhance the nightly working experience. Take it for a spin. It's not the first TUV wallpaper I've tried my hand on. The concept was inspired by Glen Morrison's "Contact" in Tiesto's new mix. Available at 1280 x 800.

On another note, there was an inquiry last week about the type of camera used on TUV. It’s not a point and shoot. The now obsolete Canon EOS 10D is a semi-professional digital SLR. It takes a pretty decent shot.

Canon EOS 10D

March 17, 2008

I Can't Take This Shit Any Longer

I don't have a dog, yet my room's been smelling like manure for months. I don't know about you but the stench of dog shit isn't in my list of favourite morning scents. You see, my room is located just 10 feet behind my neighbour's backyard where two semi-pot-licker dogs proudly prance around all day long and you've guessed it, they excrete like crazy, all over the place. I can't open my windows nor tie the curtains for fear of the harmful toxic stuff!

I've thought about approaching the owners on the issue before contacting the health department. However, I never forget the days when I do the laundry and they bark viciously at me and that time when dog poo was floating around in the backyard after hurricane floods. Which is why I've also considered dog poison.

I can't take this shit any longer; the woof woofs must go. Bring along the salchichas and the dog poison we got from town board — we'll strike at the break of dawn. P.S. Bring a bandana, preferably of blue PUP color, your "puss-killa", and a trimmed branch; I've got idearzes.

March 4, 2008

Picture Sundays

Something I should have done long ago.

Sarah — one afternoon in San Ignacio.

Dylon Ayuso sits an IT test at Sacred Heart College Junior College; San Ignacio, Cayo.

What a tree trunk looks like in Spanish Lookout.

February 20, 2008

Candidates Game

In its schedule of annual chess activities released last week, the Belize Chess Federation (BCF) is set to host its first major event of 2008 in February.

The Candidates Games is a three-day tournament organized to determine Belize's top 5 chess players. Winners will represent the country in a bout against FIDE international players in April where, for the first time ever, Belizean chess players will have the prospect of aquiring official FIDE ratings.

The event kicks off at the Civic Center Conference Room on Saturday February 23, and proceeds on March 1 and 8. First game starts at 8:00am. Two three-hour games per day; all Belizean players invited. Registration is free.

February 13, 2008

Back to India, Welcome to Orange Walk Town

Tarachan spending his last days at LK Shopping Center on Queen Victoria AvenueTarachan spending his last days at LK Shopping Center on Queen Victoria Avenue.

My Indian friend Tarachan shut shop the other day and never returned. Bismillah store now occupies what was once LK Shopping Center on Queen Victoria Avenue. Yet another business gone bad in town.

The other day, proprietors of Eduardo Martinez and Sons Ltd., a hardware store on Main Street, filed for bankruptcy after years in business. I can't imagine what goes through the mind of a body when its backbone income just slips away like that. I sympathize.

What bothers me more is that Bismillah, a business with parent outlets in San Ignacio Town, will sell the same merchandise at the same location. Folks, I like to sit back and see what I can learn from high risk business ventures like this one. I'll update you as soon as things start looking bright for Bismillah or god forbid, as shit hits the fan.

February 11, 2008

Picture Sundays: Belize Elections 2008 Edition

Ramon Cervantes and Ex-PUP minister Dave Burgos(right) stand amidst the masses at polling area 60 (Orange Walk East)

Ex-UDP minister Ruben Campos having a cautious conversation with Rosendo "Chendo" Urbina, Orange Walk Central standard bearer.

Trial Farm voters walk in serenity after casting their votes in Orange Walk North.

January 29, 2008


Coming into 2008 I find myself in more complications than the time I was introduced to the potty. Let’s just say transitioning from fantasy land to the real world hasn’t been too sexy for me – there’s much to be done.

On the list (in chronological order): choose a career, continue school for a while, get a job (hmmm), get a wife (that’s easy), build a house (or ark whichever strikes my fancy), get a new bike, watch a Manchester United game at Old Trafford, have a baby Leo or Tracy, get a third job, etc… What a life!

I got a couple of calls to make and some errands to run, guess I’ll see you around.

January 28, 2008

Picture Sundays

Andy Ko contemplating his next move. Regional Chess Tournament, Orange Walk Town.Andy Ko contemplating his next move. Regional Chess Tournament 2008; Orange Walk Town.

Regional Chess Tournament 2008, Orange Walk Town.Regional Chess Tournament 2008 kicks off at the Sports Complex; Orange Walk Town.

Juventus F.C. manager Salvador Leiva at the People's StadiumA day of football with Sugar Boys Juventus manager Salvador "Juice" Leiva. The People's Stadium; Orange Walk Town.

Range Rover.Helwas' daddy's obsolete Range Rover.

January 22, 2008

Nomination Day 2008 — Orange Walk

United Democratic Party supporters parade the streets of Orange Walk Town on nomination day 2008.United Democratic Party supporters parade the streets of Orange Walk Town on nomination day 2008.

Coming at you with some fresh pictures of nomination day 2008 in Orange Walk.

United Democratic Party (UDP) candidates Marcel Cardona, Gaspar Vega, and Rosendo United Democratic Party (UDP) candidates Marcel Cardona, Gaspar Vega, and Rosendo "Chendo" Urbina salute supporters on Main Street, Orange Walk Town.

People United Party (PUP) candidates and supporters march.People United Party (PUP) candidates and supporters march.


Weather reports say we’ll be experiencing another cold front. Luckily my feet are kept to temperature by a 130 watt subwoofer during the cold though I wish I had the choice of not wearing fleece all day round. My room's looking misty. Maybe I should close the windows. On the other hand...

I've been eating like a hobbit lately, having breakfast, breakfast before lunch, lunch, lunch before dinner etc...

Routinely, I walk in circles before breakfast. This morning I couldn’t help but notice a figure sitting on the couch. I walked by thinking “white-haired, aged, short, soft and stocky… sounds like a troll”. Not sure if she's enjoying the weather or praying but my grandma’s been sitting on that couch since she got here. This is the grandma dad imported to “fix” our terrorist ways while we were growing. The level of respect and order in the environment she damanded set her apart from any granny in the world. She used to strike us with a stick because we looked too tender. Granny Mrs. Quan’s presence terrified us (which perfectly explains why my bed’s been well spread this week). She’ll be in for a few more days but who’s counting.

Jose Ruben Melendez Quan a.k.a. my dad has been weirder than usual these days. He’s sporting white shoes, long sleeves, and carries with him a Sony Walkman CD player.

Sony Walkman Portable CD Player Model No. D-SJ301 with G-Protection (hahaha).

January 12, 2008

Picture Sundays

Yesterday, I set foot on an afternoon of picture taking in Orange Walk Town. Diego was taking his new camera out for a spin so I tagged along. Not sure how he managed to pull this one off but this time he got us a model and a pretty good one too (better than any that I've had).

Dianellie Medina: very pregnant and damn photogenic.

We shot at two locations: first at some random unsupervised private property, and second at Lamanai Riverside Retreat. The folks at Lamanai were so kind to have provided us with something a bit more than the average human model. How about a super vicious model!

Baby Crocodile: very relaxed and damn photogenic.

January 2, 2008

Picture Sundays: End of Year Edition

UDP candidate for Orange Walk central, Rosendo UDP candidate for Orange Walk central, Rosendo "Chendo" Urbina.

Some Dudes new guitaristNew guitarist joins local rock band, Some Dudes.

Once more, I find myself in front of this machine sharing my interests for those that spare the time.

2007 got the most of me while returning from a business trip a couple weeks ago. For sanity sake, I decided to take the remainder of the year off. It's been long and rough but entertaining nonetheless. Resolutions anybody?

It's 1pm in sunny Orange Walk Town. I'm steering out my bedroom window as I type, wondering what the new year will bring. The future seems so distant and already it feels taxing. Speaking of taxing, here's a picture of UDP candidate for Orange Walk central, Rosendo "Chendo" Urbina. He runs against number one contender, Johnny Briceno in the battle of the big kahunas. Come election day in March we'll find out who'll be fondling our tax dollars. Yuck (not at you Chendo, you're photogenic).

Pepe's the latest addition to the local rock band, Some Dudes. He's from Yo Creek (a village in Orange Walk) and pukes before a big gig. That's all I know. Come to think of it, very little is known of him. This was taken moments before a performance in Corozal Town.

Sadly, I ditched the guys (something I'm infamously known for) this Christams Eve and New Year's Eve to spend some hours with that person that's been taking up all my time lately. And that's as selfish as I can get. I haven't spent time with them for a while. I'm certain/hoping they won't miss me. Raas mein. Should I bend over for a spanking? Sorry fellas.

Jack Palma and sidekickJoaquin Palma and sidekick walk the streets of Orange Walk Town on Independence Day.

Three generations engage in conversation.Three generations engage in conversation at Banquitas, Orange Walk Town.

As always, hope you've enjoyed. Thanks for stoping by. It's been a pleasure.