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24 December 2011

Carrillo's Holiday Ruminations, Part Forty-Eight

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

For some of these posts at Things in Light, I like to pretend that I am some really old and cantankerous guy who is looking back and then writing about things in el Burque from either the command center of a fairly complex time-travel/star cruiser parked at Tingley Beach and available to all local citizens in the year 2036, or, alternatively, from the back of a gasoline and rust-soaked 1968 Chevy El Camino that I end up living out of at Milne Field after the economy finally and utterly collapses.
Take your pick cause it's cold out there and I don't like the idea of you standing there, shifting from foot to foot on the cold concrete while you try to decide whether to read any more of this special Things in Light holiday blog post. I mean I could be writing undecipherable, paranoia-tinted sci-fi, but with old man winter howling around my front door, I gotta admit that I am in the mood for folksy and hope that you are too.
This season features a pale southern sun; that light has a certain thin fragility to it, like what's inside a dragonfly wing, or the wrapping tape from last year's gifts. The clouds and their produce mask whole geographies and are one of the few earthly phenomena that can make this place seem contained.
So, winter is damned poetic in these parts; a million times more poetic than any text or graphics-based representation I could come up with here. I'd be better off and more truthful as an artist too, if I invited you to go outside and take a walk around in it. If you do that, I'll step out the front door for a quick puff of tobacco, a mild stimulant which I prefer to use exclusively when turning sticks into RAM.
I told you it was cold out there. It is so cold that Samantha's miniature pug, Hannah, refuses to go out after dark. She just pissed on the kitchen floor for the third time this week and is obviously relying on her innate evolutionary advantage (perpetually small, bug-eyed cuteness) to get away with what would be seen as an abomination if practiced by my other dogs. During the sunny days just past, Hannah ran around in the backyard - soaking up the sun in the glad but awkward fashion of a tiny alien dog-creature sent to wreak havoc on the planet Earth -- for hours at a time. But at night lately, it's the same messy failure to launch. I am beginning to think her fear of the cold has a previously undetected co-efficient contributing to its intensity.
It could be all manner of things. But what if the little dog, who is all ears and nose -- and because of her size and position in the universe is imbued with a threat-recognition system that probably rivals that of any number of small Middle-Eastern democracies -- senses a predator out there in the winter night?
I've lived in Ridgecrest for going on 12 years. I've seen a few raccoons, three coyotes, a number of small hawks and burrowing owls, but never any large raptors. I can imagine that large owls, eagles and mammalian predators occasionally forage for prey between the mountain and the bosque too, slinking through town and taking pets when there aren't any healthy rodents afield. 
I am convinced this fleshy deficit is partly due to the seed and grain withering drought currently manifesting itself in the upper Chihuahuan desert. Most scientists are convinced that the dryness is the result of global warming caused by large scale human industrial processes.
So if Hannah gets snatched by a displaced predator, I am going to blame every last one of you unprincipled consumers currently driving around and around Nob Hill, looking for parking that is comfortably close to your favorite locally-owned, Chinese-supplied boutique. I am only sort of joking because it will never come down to that anywho.
When I do get la perrita to go out at night, I turn on a couple of lights and send Samantha's other dog, Schrodinger, out with her. He is orange and weighs about 100 pounds, with jaws made from a compressed and weighty metal spring. Mangy old coyote wouldn't stand a chance, plus the hound fancies bird meat, sabes?
So that's pretty much an accurate record of what I was thinking about last night. I let this post sit until the next afternoon, trying to decide whether it was mierda or not. I ended up thinking it was a sorta funny vignette of local experiencas en Burque, and decided to let it fly.
Before I toss this bit of paper into the wind though, here is one more situation I ran into today at the notorious Walgreens on Central and San Mateo. If you are wondering why I refer to the pharmacy as notorious, then you need to park your car and sit in their parking lot with feigned nonchalance for five minutes, as soon as is convenient.
So the guy in front of me at the cash register queue has a shopping cart of supplies to make luminarias. Bags, candles, sand, the whole enchilada, as it were. He was in his late twenties, well-dressed maybe from out of town, visiting or something. There is also an old woman behind me. She has a bag of Payaso brand Cheese Puffs in one hand and a bottle of mountain dew and her EBT card in the other. She looks over my shoulder at the guy hauling the cart of potential holiday mirth and starts cussing him in Spanish, telling him how its her tradition and that he is stealing it, and its all very shameful, et cetera.
This doesn't play to well with the young fellow, his reaction shows he doesn't understand la idioma. He starts to shift uncomfortably from foot to foot, like he is standing by the front door in the middle of winter and it is cold and he forgot his shoes by the fire.
Suddenly a rather large hawk descends from the ceiling and carries him away. I have to stand out of the way so I don't get clipped by the enormous wings.
The woman who called out in Spanish laughs and laughs until her head comes off.
Back in meatspace, I drive home and watch an old film I bought at the pharmacy. It is called Zulu and features the acting talents of Michael Caine. It's supposed to be about war, but really its about the relationships between race, economic class, religion, and bravery amongst the humans; plus the Brits wear neato red uniforms, just like the kind Kipling used to write about.

photo credit: Alberto Mena

14 December 2011

Frosted Landscapes: Winter in New Mexico

Samantha Anne Carrillo
Photo courtesy of Kimm Wiens

Things in Light asked artist Kimm Wiens to create a winter-themed photo essay for our readers and she happily obliged. Check out her beautiful images of things in Nuevomexicano winter light after the jump.

And, if you're in need of some estival meditation, check out her first TIL photo essay here

Photos: Copyright 2011 © Kimm Wiens

08 December 2011

Things in Light Podcast #10: Cock-of-the-rock Mix

Samantha Anne Carrillo
Flier by Christoph Knerr and Steve Hammond

Things in Light's tenth podcast, Cock-of-the-rock Mix, features some of our favorite XY Burqueño solo projects  Retard Slave (Steve Hammond of Leeches of Lore, Tenderizor), Ipytor Gavyen Machislav (Clifford Grindstaff of The Jeebies, Shoulder Voices), and Raven Chacon  and Leeches of Lore, Sabertooth Cavity, Tenderizor, and Xicana Machete. We wanted to include some I CUM DRUMS (Kris Kerby of Sabertooth Cavity, Tenderizor) but aren't aware of any recordings. Take a listen to this podcast and then head down to Small Engine Gallery (1413 Fourth SW) on Saturday night for an evening of memorable performances by boss dudes. Make with this click for the show featuring Hammond's long-awaited live solo debut! — deets and see the full track listing below. 

1. Retard Slave - The Creation and Subsequent Revolt of Horseborg
2. Ipytor Gavyen Machislav - Piano Song
3. Xicana Machete - Dollspit (Grita)
4. Retard Slave - O Morto Surge
5. Raven Chacon - This is where we went/were
6. Ipytor Gavyen Machislav - Stupid Handshake
7. Leeches of Lore - Night of the Llama
8. Sabertooth Cavity - Duke City Shuffle
9. Tenderizor - The Falconor

04 December 2011

a note on the unpredictability of winter weather in el burque y la vecinidad

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

I am busy tuning in on the local weather and the data I am receiving seems to indicate the possibility of snow. The information is coming to me in electronic pulses distilled by the formless agents of  technology into decipherable graphic objects and text-strings. it is iterated in such a strictly conditional tense that its transmission only serves to multiply the electric tension swirling around, in front of, and ultimately, through me.
You can't trust the weatherman. Especially as regards Burque. As far as I'm concerned, and on this account, I am convinced  he's sitting in the same lofty castle as the economist. For your information, the air-traffic controller lives far away, in a totally different kingdom, hanging out with the likes of civil engineers and such.
If you get my drift, I'll take it a bit further and reckon that all that weather forecasting, even the sort backed up computer models that come out of the fertile minds of the most recent top-notch graduates of the most high-faluting computer science schools in the country, can't say with any appreciable degree of certainty what is going to happen now or in the future as regards Burque's weather.
Oh, I get the global warming thing and I will be damned to admit this is the driest year I have seen this time around, with a summer basically bereft of monsoons except in their most truncated and momentary variations and an autumn wind on Friday that seemed like it had risen up from hell, mostly because it sustained itself violently for hours, which is something I imagine a demon would do, before being absorbed back into the earth.
I happened to drive through that diabolical draft, just as night began its ascendency and humans everywhere in the city retracted themselves toward home.
I saw a Honda Element on Coal Avenue and it was blocking both lanes. I thought it had broken down until I finally crawled past past. Somehow the SUV had become momentarily entangled with a tree that had continued past. An act of rampage had been played out here and now the human participants shouted into their cell phones and made wild hand gestures, walking as if on stilts, up and down the adjacent sidewalk.
Now the wind has blown and blustered about for a couple of days. Some snow came to visit, but only late and unannounced, with every intention of disappearing into liquidity and ultimately the cruel evaporate of drought by midday. It's really cloudy and cold and maybe it will snow.
The interwebz say yes, and at 11:27 pm on Sunday, the fourth day of December in the year of their lord dos mil once, one discrete electronic data emission source gravely intones:

Areas of light snow and fog will continue to develop over portions of western and northern New Mexico...including the upper and middle Rio Grande Valley. Before midnight...snow will increase in intensity and areal coverage. In addition...gusty southeast to east winds to around 35 mph will be encountered from the Taos vicinity south through Santa Fe and then eventually into the Albuquerque Metro. Visibilities will drop as low as one half mile at times in snow and blowing snow.

Areal coverage, eh? I just had to turn the thermostat on the furnace up, so that the room where my terminal is remains comfortable, sabes? So, maybe it will snow after all.

Or, it could be clear and cold in the morning, too, with the only clouds around being the low-lying, generated by piñon kind that you get all over the city when some Burqueños are trying to stay warm on dark, dry mornings.

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