I got out of the movie theater with my 3D glasses still on; behind them my eyes were completely bloodshot. I cried, yes, like a always cry at the movies, but through the wet blur of my conditioned tears I did see a film.

Dia de Muertos is a date of magical realism. It’s secular, because it’s part of the curriculum; it’s humorous because it makes light of Death; it’s bittersweet, because there’s always room for one more portrait at the altar; it’s solemn, and mad, and gloomy, and silly, but above all it’s made of memories. The good thing is that after Coco, I don’t need to explain it to you. It’s practically the same thing people feel and do, maybe with a little less bones. My Grandma still talks with my Grandpa after 17 years, always lost in her love story, and Mami Tere has always had place for an altar, after 30 years. Everyone in his one way, even skeptics and intellectuals, make altars, even for famous people, by themselves or going big. Marigolds are only second to the Noche Buena flower, which makes the Dia de Muertos one of the 3 biggest holidays.

Pixar, aided by many happy accidents and previous takes, made a movie that treated a delicate subject for a delicate audience marvelously. My Mexico is a land of complainers, yet, of all the voices there were, only hymns of praise could be heard. Thanks to a public relations blunder, very critical advisors joined the production to help with its authenticity. Thanks to Guillermo del Toro as a producer, an earlier take on the Day of The Dead forced Disney to take a different path, because it’s more what it’s not included (what deities to choose to reign the Land of the Dead?), that what it’s showed for a place named in a thousand euphemisms. The Book of Life had Placido Domingo singing Cielito Lindo, and Coco had the equally fitting La Llorona.

Another thing they nailed was the Mexican family structure. The old with the young; matriarchy as the norm, yet a machismo society. Strong women, always toiling and keeping everything together. Food at the center of everything, and laughter at the side. Music and color contrasting a melodramatic and anachronistic view of life, that is never serious, even after it.

The movie was simply great. I was in tears listening to the Disney intro, in Mariachi style. There’s nothing as good as being represented. I felt fresh, and embraced, and celebrated. Disney was tender, even predictable in its story. But the movie feels like what should be, like those tales you know everything about yet you still sit and listen at the table. It feels a little surreal, even blushingly flattering, to have a big, big studio making a movie about your culture. They do they usual thing. Fiddle with your heart, touch all the right chords, scratch at your heartstrings, and well, you feel the movie could be longer, wouldn’t you?

Mama Coco is the loveliest character, although there are a lot (yet not even half of the half of what conforms a real Mexican family tree), and the obvious outstanding song is the unforgettable ‘Remember Me.’

I wanted to say more things, but I have to say good-bye. I watched this movie last Wednesday and ever since every review and every mention and even the stories about it’s reception in China has made me teary-eyed. I didn’t even had a complain with the Spanish. And in retrospect now I see why it wouldn’t be easy to translate our tradition of calaveritas literarias or alfeniques. I am posting a translation of La Llorona as soon as I can.

Oh, and did I mention the animation?

I keep finding absolutely everything too much of a bore to write it down.

I mean, there was a flying sausage terrorizing us, which later turned out to be a chipmunk; there was the fascinating series of romanced lucid dreams that visited me during the past weeks; there was the wet peregrination in the rain that we had to do, from store to store, yesterday, because the rain was not stopping us from eating and shopping and we seem to be foreign to umbrellas—and I wanted to test the resistance of my shoes, or is it the résistance?—oh, and it feels like it is the season… but other than that…

I am thinking of including the good stuff that I only reserve for my personal archives here. Maybe see if someone likes it, I dunno. I am planning to include thegingerbreadempire.com in a presentation card, so I have to stuff well this site with good, handsome pieces rather, and maybe garnish it. I feel as if I have left this place like an empty room with some stale cotton candy on the table, instead of anything more wholesome. But then I love excuses, and also, I don’t have any time. Ha, see, I don’t even edit all this shite.

It has come to my last empty promise. I may actually mobilize, spring into action, yet, I write this right before bedtime. Ha, oh, no, this is my favorite season.

I dread haircuts. I try to never get them. Once in a while, though, I forget why, and, as if possessed by sudden madness, I surrender to the scissors.

I wanted the sightliest of trims. I even brought a picture. The only available lady seemed impatient, yet she wanted to cut my hair. I accepted her. She saw the picture and nodded, as if provided with a perfect memory. I didn’t know she was blind.

She made small talk and rumbled. I think it necessary to whip them up, so they don’t cut you on purpose, so I talked too. I mentioned a wedding, and she talked about divorces. I continued awkwardly, even as she grabbed me by the hair and washed me like a pet monkey. She talked about my generation, her motherland, and that I looked possibly asian. I was distracted, I admit. I had my guard down.

‘You have beautiful hair,’ said the sadist.

It did look beautiful, long and black. I told her I liked my fringe, and, to this day, I feel that saved me. She fret everywhere and with every new inconsistent word she would erode the sides, or repass over where there was no more harm to do. I don’t know at what point she had forgot about the picture, and strayed from course, falling of the sharp cliffs she was creating, sculpting something she alone could see. I sat there with horror in my eyes. I couldn’t react.

I was considering tattooing ‘no clippers’ on the nape of my neck, when I noticed. She must’ve had a knack for dictators, because she was going full Kim Jong-Un.

‘I think it’s too short.’

‘Too short. It’s never too short. You know why? Because it grows,’ the audacity.

But that stopped her. I was fuming inside, but she was a nice lady. I didn’t say a thing. I gave her a handshake even, and a tip, horrorstruck that I would rejoin the civilized world looking like this.

I cried. I cried like I always cry. My companion at the mall saw through my stoicism. I put my fringe down like I always do, and as I like it. The Mom said I looked OK. I saw my reflection on the windows of the shops. I looked like Hitler.

See, this gentleman here was found in a hole. He managed to dodge a shovel digging in a small garden, because the whole thing is to be removed and paved with stones. I captured it, and asked for ransom. I wanted his toadstone, but it was a family heirloom. I gave him a plastic half coconut that no other amphibian but him had used properly.

Speaking more serious, I really would like to keep it. But I won't. I know it's the cutest thing but it must be rehoused in the back where it may lose itself forever and be eaten by raccoons. Also, it's well armed, an acrobat and possibly trained in some obscure, secret police martial art, because it was very hard to catch. No wonder he refused the food. He was keeping himself light so he could scape.

I won't give him a name; he won't tell me his alias.

I am going to make a toad house in his honor so some other traveler will find good accommodations. After all, it was his house that we demolish.

He reminds me of this doodle.

I have been watching the BBC’s Call The Midwife, and crying every time. It is a terrible sight, to see how a 23-year-old young man can crumble under the crushing weight of something so densely emotional. I wasn’t even that fond of babies. I always considered them too snotty. Neither I thought I would grow so fond of nuns. I always pictured them as rum-makers.

 

I love the casting. Sister Evangelina, Sister Monica Joan, Jenny, Trixie, Chummy, Jimmy!, Sister Julienne, Cynthia… oh, everyone. Even the deaths are palatable. I had a hunch about Jimmy’s friend. That episode I cried because of the isolated woman and the way she bravely steps into the world once more.

 

The BBC always makes the best television. I joined Netflix because of Fawlty Towers. And in this few years in an English-Speaking country, I have devoured a disproportional amount of it. Keeping Up Appearances, Monty Python, Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, The Vicar of Dibley, The Peep Show, The Thin Blue Line, The Office… Black Books, to mention some. Obviously, compared to other series, 394 episodes in Gintama and 1012 with One Piece, these are nutritious, dainty bites.

 

When I was small I saw Mr Bean, and my local TV station, Canal Cuatro, broadcasted David Attenborough’s nature documentaries. I was his fanboy. That may be the reason I’m so fond of those kind of programs. They had The Animals of Farthing Wood too, but I don’t think they were BBC’s.

 

I mean, where else would they have things like Embarrasing Bodies, or Graham Norton.

 

I need to come but to watch my nurses. I may not have mentioned other shows, but I have them all in good standards. Such good actors.

 

Where else would a Gingerbread Man live but here?

More of Whole Cake Island. Sentient things and edible buildings? I saw it and bought instantly. You see, I have the secret whim of visiting Japan alone, in the future. If I know Japanese I may be able to roam about aimless and eat sweets. Maybe share a bench with an apparition, or a sandwich, who knows? But if I am to be introduced to the language I want it to be via my favorite of their sagas, One Piece.

Look at this cover! This volume ends exactly where the anime is at this time. I like Big Mom very much. A ruthless, voracious, scary, spirited woman? Oh, have too many in my family.

I have translated two pages so far, despacito. I am excited. It is tedious and onerous as I use two dictionaries and a web translator, but, it is like the good all times, learning a language. What's more, it is another thing to fit in my weeks. I wonder if I could be a pirate, as I'm always shipping.

Today I remembered I have a blog. I had to check twice to make sure I didn’t have some pot plant dying somewhere, or had run out of meat for the vultures. I took my camera, and rations for three days, then I went outside to find some rocks to talk to. I like rocks for they stay still, and listen. I had some trouble today, as they were discussing boisterously. Threw one opinionated one to the river, and made silence. In short, I was advised to go on.

I like James Gurney’s blog pretty much. It’s a good, wholesome ration of a well munched bite of information. But he does post every day. I wondered if I could have been biting more than I can chew, but I rarely chew, I wolf down the victuals.

I have a cute little book of quotes, and there is Ovid:

‘Either don’t attempt it, or carry it through to the end.’

The monster above is a doodle in my bujo. I started one two months ago! Wow.