Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mr. Arkadin

"A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
This story, told in the middle of "Mr.Arkadin", is at the center of this flawed, but interesting movie. A story of a man who destroys, even if it goes against everyone's best interest. This is a very uneven film, with things that let you know the genius of Welles is behind it, but things that remind you that when a genius is let to do anything he wants, chaos can ensue.
Still minor Welles is better than 99% of the movies you can see today


Today is my parent's 46th wedding anniversary. I tell this to people and they open their mouths in disbelief. 46 years. Amazing. In a time when it's hard to maintain a three month relationship, when just clicking with someone is so hard. 46 years. I guess I open my mouth in disbelief too.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


I have nothing much to say today. I woke up really early this morning to take my car to the Honda service at 7am. So I've spent the day kind of sleepy today. Which is not a bad thing really. Sometimes it's nice to have a really lazy Saturday, just hanging around the house, not doing much anything. Reading, zapping channels and being a bum.
Anyway, I wish I could write something deep and significant today, but I can't. I can only type really unimportant things. Hmmm...I wonder what's on cable?????? bye....

at the park

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hell House

Very few people know Richard Matheson. He wrote things everybody knows,pop culture classics like the monster in the airplane Twilight Zone story and "What Dreams May Come". He also wrote some amazing horror stories such as "I am Legend" about the last man on earth, alone and surrounded by vampires who want to kill him. And then there's "Hell House", perhaps the best haunted house noverl ever written. It is a perfect, little book, perfect to read late at night before going to sleep. You are safe in your home while you read about a place where ghosts seem to be everywhere. Which is exactly the point of a good horror book, YOU are safe, the people in the book are in trouble.

I love this novel.It is the kind of book you could finish in a night, but you don't want to.


"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."

Orson Welles

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The other day Alida Valli died. She was not a really a well known actress, but she appeared in one of the greatest movie scenes of all time: the ending scene from "The Third Man". In a movie world where the nice guy gets the girl, here is a scene that says otherwise.

The guy rescues the woman from a genocidal killer (her boyfriend). Days later, the rescuer runs into her. You expect she will be grateful for saving her life and run into his arms as romantic music plays in the background. But she reacts in a more human way. She walks past him. She ignores him. He has killed her true love, even if her true love was going to kill millions of people, even if her true love was ready to kill her.

It is either most romantic movie ending ever or the most cynical of all time. Or the most real. Or maybe, I guess, all the above.

The Passenger

The Girl: People disappear every day.
David Locke: Every time they leave the room.

This movie, made in 1973, and released again this year, takes you to a diferent era in movies. To a time when movies tried to be challenging. When movies were not based on focus groups full of 15 year old boys. When movies provided no easy answers, or comforting escapism. This is the early 1970's and movies were out to surprise you. So here we have Antonioni's "The Passsenger". Antonioni was a favorite of intellectuals and college students who would enjoy his particular brand of obscure cinema.
In this movie Jack Nicholson plays a journalist in Africa. His neighbor at the hotel where he's staying dies and he decides to assume that man's identity. Something which gets him involved in dangerous situations. He also meets a woman (Maria Schneider from "Last Tango in Paris") and they try to run away from various people. The film is truly interesting and it features a knockout, 7 minute continuous shot at the end.
The film also has some truly unforgettable images. And it takes its time to develop. There will never be "The Passenger: The Video Game".

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Best film in a long time

What can I say about "Match Point"? Well, not much because I can't ruin it for others. But I loved this film. It's not your typical Woody Allen movie. There's not a single moment of humor in it. It's more a film noir. But one with big questions about life, guilt, justice and more important, luck. In fact the movie begins with a statement that says that most of what happens in our life is a matter of luck. That we control very little and that hard work counts for not very much. It's all about luck. We just don't want to face such a thought that goes against all we have been taught since we were children. This is the best movie I've seen this year.

found these quotes

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.

The more fantastic an ideology or theology, the more fanatic its adherents.

Edward Abbey


Last night I saw a movie on Turner Classic Movies that shows you that in anything you do, if the basic premise is great, you can't miss. And this movie had the greatest premise I've seen in a long time. A plane traveling from Mexico to Panama crash lands in the jungle. A jungle full of dangerous natives. There are 12 people on board. They have no hope of being rescued. So they fix the plane. But the problem is only one motor is working, so only five people can go on board and escape. The others will have to be left behind, and will be killed by the natives. Who goes on board? Who doesn't? wow.

one morning at the beach

Seems that many of my photos have to do with the beach. Especially the beach in the morning. Before the masses of people and their blaring radios invade the place. In way, there is more to see at the quiet times. And you notice all the important things.

Monday, April 24, 2006

favorite places

I love this place. My favorite Chinese restaurant. Kimpo Garden. Great food, great service and a peculiar taste in background music (they play piano versions of "Morning has Broken" and "The Elephant Man theme"). I go there with friends and sometimes my parents order delivery from them and invite me over.
It's one of those places that are completely unpretentious in their decor, but serve amazing dishes. And this is real Chinese food. None of that "Asian-Caribbean" crap from trendy Old San Juan restaurants.
Anyway, I just got a call from my father and it's Kimpo Night. Life is good.

this week

It would be a good idea, I think, to take things slower this week.
Last week I was too edgy. Maybe it had to do with the car accident and all the hassle involved in that. Maybe it had to do with the clavazon at work. But I was constantly on the edge. And that is not a really healthy way to go about things.
So...this is my mantra for the week.
"I will take it easy"
And hope that I don't throw my office chair against my desk.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

a scheme goes wrong

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry"

No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. The saying is adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

I experienced something the other day that reminded me of this famous quote. How a well laid plain, a scheme that was supposed to produce a certain result ended up creating just the opposite. I enjoyed the experience of seeing its failure because it was a sneaky, evil scheme. And the scheme may still work in spite of this obvious setback. But it was good to see it fail so miserably and pathetically on its first try.

a poem

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
I always remember the first time I read this poem by Theodore Roethke.
I was vacationing at Club Med and I took a couple of books with me to "read under a palm tree." I thought that I was taking a book for light reading. When suddenly I read this poem. I must have read it a hundred times that day. It seemed that fate was letting me read this poem just in time.
What attracts me to this poem? Maybe the idea that one must take things slowly. The idea that one shouldn't "fight fate", that the way to live is to go with it...and see where it takes you and see what you learn.
It is a simple message that unfortunately sometimes I forget.

Orson Welles and creativity

I am back into a "normal" mode after being really tired from work. I went to Borders and bought a couple of DVD's. One of them is really amazing. It contains a documentary on the last years of Orson Welle's life. It chronicled the 1970's and 1980's when he was considered a washed up, has been by Hollywood. It was sad to see that the man who basically created the modern movie at 24 with "Citizen Kane" was reduced to making home movies at his house. And it was truly sad to see his streak of bad luck that made him unable to finish the few decent projects that came his way. Something that cemented even more his reputation as a relic from the past.

Being in a profession where creativity is the name of the game, it makes one wonder. Wonder when the day comes when one is considered "an old fart", " a hack". Is it a few years down the path? Am I there already?

That's why in our profession one must always have a plan B. An escape plan. A plan to put into effect when the industry figures they're better off by hiring a rookie, paying him or her $20,000 and exploit him or her until the wee hours of the morning with the promise of "an advertising award". A plan when the industry does that and blames it on the fact that you're a "has been".

As to my plan B, well, I'll write about that some other time.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

a change in the blog

I want to make this blog a bit more personal. I have been writing about movies and books and things like that...but there seems to be little of me in my writing. I want to put a personal touch in this blog. To speak my mind more. Let's see how I achieve that.

last night

Last night I worked until 11pm. It was a really tense day at work. Everyone was pissed off, angry, frustrated.

Today I just want to do absolutely nothing. And I mean nothing. Not a single intelligent thought should cross my mind. In fact I'm taking another

Friday, April 21, 2006


hedonism rules!

a masssage at Olas Spa at the Hilton. Sure it's a silly extravagance.Totally unnecessary.
But fuck it, I'm getting one tomorrow.


Yesterday I was too tired to write. Worked till 10pm on a project. I lost my cool a couple of times in the process, but I guess that happens in a project of this scope.
When I got home,I just wanted to watch some tv, don't ask what I watched because I was kind of groggy. I read a bit, some Richard Matheson short story. Hmmm..maybe I should re-read it, cause I also don't remember much. Then I fell asleep. Instantly, I imagine. Although, of course, I don't remember much.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


One of the most fascinating things in life is seeing a master at work. I recall a movie which showed Picasso creating a painting. It is magic to see someone great at the top his game. And the other night I saw a baseball game that showed that. Greg Maddux, one of the best pitchers ever pitching a flawless game. It was a beautiful thing to watch. It was amazing seeing how one guy was so overwhelming that the other team simply couldn't react. It was a performance as perfect as they come. It was artistry as great as seeing a painter, an actor, a musician at his best. One wishes to reach at least once in lifetime a moment of being so in tune with everything, a moment of Zenlike purity. I'll probably never reach that. But the other night I saw someone achieve it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

accidents will happen

dammit...I was leaving my parent's house yesterday. Put my car on reverse and suddenly felt the sound of metal being crushed. Hit a car that was park on the other side of the sidewalk. Fuck. My car was not damaged but the other car got a pretty good dent.
Why didn't I take a better look when I was pulling back? I guess as usual I was thinking of something else. Thinking about getting home. maybe.

Monday, April 17, 2006

working today

Fuck. Every other place in the industry has the day off and I'm working. And I will be screwed by an amazing amount of work.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Brunch at the Ritz Carlton. desserts!!!!!

morning 2

Easter morning

Easter Sunday. Woke up early and decided to take a walk on the beach. Photographers love the morning light for shooting at the beach. And I learned why.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cat is back!

One of my favorite singers is back!!!! Unfortunately if he decides to tour I can't see him because he can't enter the US because "he may sometime have had contact with terrorists". Idiots. I'll buy the album though.
Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens to make pop return

ATHENS, Ga. (UPI) -- Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has reportedly reconsidered his retirement from pop music and is making a comeback.

Sources told that Islam has recorded his first pop album since "Back to Earth" in 1978. Several record labels are reportedly bidding for the set, which is due out next fall.

Dido and Rod Stewart's producer, Rick Nowels, worked with Islam on the album that reportedly harkens back to 1971's "Teaser & the Firecat," which made Stevens a household name with a string of hit singles.

It's unclear what name the artist born Steven Georgiou will release the album under, said.

Islam changed his name and swore off pop music after the release of "Back to Earth." He currently lives in London.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Went to La Bombonera to pick up cocas mallorquinas. We eat this every Good Friday, a family tradition started by my late grandfather, who was born in Majorca, Spain. Cocas are basically veggie pizzas with sardines but no cheese. They are delicious.Most panaderias make them, but the ones at La Bombonera are the original ones.

empty city

I wake up early in the morning. But there are mornings that are special. Like this one. Because it seems everyone has left the city to go to the beaches. And there is peace and quiet. A reminder that what makes San Juan stressful is the fact that there are too many cars, too many people.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


What You Must Believe to be Republican

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals, Hillary Clinton and environmentalists.
Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in the public schools.
A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving and drug records are none of our business.
Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity).
What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.
Ethics and moral values apply only to the rest of the population, not ammoral, greedy, power-hungry conservative officials who will do absolutely anything to ensure GOP electorate majorities and wide access to Republican-friendly lobbyists.
Illegal immigration is bad. Except for when they are willing to work practically for free while performing slave labor for you.
George W. Bush is the messiah. Armageddon is near. Period.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

found this quote

May your trails be crooked,
winding, lonesome, dangerous,
leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into
and above the clouds.

Edward Abbey

Monday, April 10, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

I saw this movie last night. The movie that has been the source(I was going to say the "Butt", but thought otherwise) of all the jokes. Many people that have seen it have commented that it's ok, but no big deal. And I can see their point. But I thought the movie was good. The acting is excellent, the photography is amazing and you do get involved in the story. You feel bad for these two men who basically lived a lie their whole lives. And you feel even more pity for their wives who are facing such a a terrible situation. Was it the best movie of the year? No. But neither was "Crash".

gospel of judas

I saw a fascinating documentary the other night on cable. About the discovery of a lost gospel that basically says that Judas betryed Jesus because Jesus asked him to do it.But the really interesting thing was that the documentary said that there were over 30 different gospels at one point. But that a monk in the third century narrowed it down to four because "the wind blows from 4 points" or some other lame excuse like that. In fact the monk was a very conservative man who was outraged by any gospel that would be slightly "strange" and decide to pick the ones that fitted his own narrow view of Christianity. So everything we were taught as kids as "the word of God" was the product of some monk's editing. A nice thought for this Holy Week.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

grandma's tree

A few years before she died in april 1978 my grandmother planted two little trees in her frontyard. One of the trees got stolen when it was small. But this one grew. And survived two hurricanes. And to me is a constant reminder of her.

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime." Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

3 films by Louis Malle

One of my favorite movies of all time is finally on DVD. It's "Au Revoir Les Enfants" by Louis Malle. And it comes in a set with two movies by the same director. I just saw one of them called "Murmur of the Heart" a fascinating film about growing up. Only someone like Louis Malle could make a warm, funny, sad, poignant movie that ends up in an incest scene and make it seem normal, natural and heartwarming. Like Francois Truffaut, he knew how to capture the small things in life and he was excellent in capturing childhood and adolescence. Both were true geniuses and both died too young.
I still have "Lacombe Lucien" to see and, of course, I still have "Au Revoir Les Enfants" to enjoy again. Although "enjoy it" is not the word to describe the experience of watching it, it's more like to "think with it", to "feel with it".


It's a good day for being here.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Semana Santa movies

If you're a certain age, you may remember this. The days when in Good Friday all movie theaters in San Juan would stop showing regular movies and would show religious films. Even the porno houses would stop showing their hard core fare for a day. I am not kidding. "Inside Seka" one day...a religious epic the next.
In those days people would go to Mass during the morning and then it was off to the movies. The films would be the same every year: "Ben Hur", "The Robe". "The Ten Commandments", "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "King of Kings". I liked "Ben Hur" because there was plenty of action. I did like "The Ten Commandments" but mainly for the parting of the Red Sea scene which was very cool. "The Robe" was ok. ""The Greatest Story Ever Told" was kind of long but it was full of movie actors doing cameo roles so it was a sort of "Spot the Star" thing.
Those days are long gone. Although for purely nostalgic reasons I did buy "Ben Hur" on DVD. And I will play it and recall a time that will never come again.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Remembering someone.

The person that taught me copywriting died the other day. He was a very low key guy. He didn't seek publicity like so many others do in this business. He didn't go to Cannes or won FIAPS. He won a bunch of Cuspides but never made a big deal of that. He did not get adoring articles in El Nuevo Dia. He did his job. Had a good time doing it and never took himself too seriously.
He taught me that advertising is great, but life outside the agency is better.
Thanks for the lesson. Rest in peace.

Now at Fine Arts, on DVD in 3 weeks

I am a big movie fan. Especially of small films. You know, the ones that play in Fine Arts. But I no longer see them there. Simply because these movies, by the time they play at the Fine Arts, are a couple of weeks from DVD release. I guess Caribbean Cinemas brings these movies when they have played out in all movie theaters in the States. Because, of course, they will be cheaper to show. But this simply makes it silly for one to see them at their crappy theater.
On the other hand,on the DVD, you get a better sound, if you have a nice tv set, you get a better image. Plus, if you like the movie, you get commentary, interviews and much more. Plus no people talking or blocking the screen.

Match Point-DVD april 24
The Passenger(trailer shown for 4 months at Fine Arts, but never shown)- april 25
The White Countess- DVD in May.

Fuck Caribbean Cinemas.Stay home.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Driver

Saw this movie on Fox Movie Channel. One of the coolst movies I've seen in a long time. It was made in 1978. It's about an obsessed cop trying to catch a guy that drives getaway cars in robberies. Movie has great characters, a cool, existential feeling, Bruce Dern playing a weirdo and Isabelle Adjani wearing dark glasses. And lots of amazing car chases (no CGI). What more can you ask?

suddenly I'm having this fantasy.

shit, must be that I'm 45 today.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

my roots

This is Porto Colom in Mallorca, Spain. The place where my grandfather was born. This is where part of my roots lie. I visited the place 16 years ago to see my relatives. I was fascinated by their life. A life of no stress. Of taking a couple of months off during summer and just going to the beach. They are in no hurry to go anywhere. They drink their wine, eat their fat loaded "ensaimadas" and live to be 95. None of them got Alzheimer's. Makes one wonder about what is really important for a nice, long life.


I love mysteries. And this writer is one of the best. His books are all set in Sweden and they feature a detective called Wallander. But he is not your typical loner detective. He is a man full of issues and problems. He is a detective with a family life. With problems with his father and daughter. He has a love-hate relationship with his job. In short, he is like any of us. Except for the solving puzzling murders part.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

on the first day of baseball season

You see the ball, you hit the ball.
They hit the ball, you catch the ball.
You catch the ball, you throw the ball.
That's it.

"Kirby Puckett's Zen of Baseball."


I took this photo while waiting for my father to come down to the hotel lobby.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I got a call fron the person at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo. They are working now on the exhibition of old Santurce photographs. I can't wait to see what they have done with my Riviera theater photos. I am really excited about this. But then again, maybe they don't like them and I'll invite my friend to the opening to see other people's photos.

Anyway, the fact that the MAC called me (and some friend's comments) have made me want to take photography as a hobby. It's never too late to take a new hobby. And it is a nice creative outlet that does not involve "client approval".

Saturday, April 01, 2006

when there was no rock in Puerto Rico

I don't know why. But I remembered something last night while listening to some music. I recalled the time in my youth when there was no rock n'roll in Puerto Rico. It was the late 1970's when all rock stations went disco. They all did. Suddenly it seemed there were just a few of us who listened to rock music. But how could we know what was new in the genre? Cable tv had 3 channels. There were no satellite music channels. No Internet radio. If you liked rock you could not hear the music. For a couple of years it was like that. No Springsteen. No Lennon.No McCartney. No Rolling Stones.

It was a really strange feeling living in a place with no access to the most popular music in the world. Suddenly someone at school said that at nights there was a faint signal from an FM station in Ponce called WZAR who would play rock. I remembered trying to set my FM antenna to try to get the signal. But I lived in a small building surrounded by huge ones. So I could barely hear it. But it was there. Faint. Full of static. But it was back. The music I loved.