Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for April 30

Wow. I was aware I had dropped the ball there for a while, but didn’t realize it had been almost 2 whole months.

That changes today. I’m getting things back on track a step at a time. This is the first step.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my high school years the last few weeks, particularly because of the recently resolved student strike at the UPR (the secondary school I attended was part of the University system), and one thing that came to mind was a sort of unofficial call to arms my class had. So I started doodling and sketching– something I hadn’t done in quite a while, and came up with what would eventually become this:

©2010 rafael armstrong

Anyway, there we are. Let’s see what my brain has in store for me tomorrow.

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Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for April 15

Originally I had planned on doing something related to the Doomsday clock (something about “tax day, deadlines, that sort of thing), but scrapped it doing the “idea” stage. Then I got involved with prepping for a phone interview, and next thing you know, we’re on Sunday and I haven’t done anything for a couple of days. So, once again I need to catch up.

Growing up in the late 70s/early 80s in PR meant that, more likely than not, you were exposed to a lot of anime (Japanese animation), way before it would become fashionable in the US. Local tv was inundated with all sorts of Japanese imports– among them an animated, serialized version of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, Captain Harlock, Candy Candy, Battle of The Planets, and a slew of mecha.)

My favorite mecha was also the most popular– Go Nagai’s Mazinger Z.

Domo arigato gozaimasu, Nagai-san ©2010 rafael armstrong

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– April 6

Today, while enjoying the outdoors for a bit (read: doing yard work), the word “cucubano” came to mind, and with it a song (of the same name) popularized by Tony Croatto (and, if I’m not mistaken, covered by Menudo as well). In case you’re wondering what a cucubano is, the wiki entry (found here) sheds some light, and the blog “Speaking Boricua” has a short and sweet explanation on Tony Croatto here.

I always thought cucubanos were fireflies. It appears I was wrong about that. Anyway, today’s CSED was inspired by the song’s title and part of the lyrics, which translate as follows:

I am a star of the night
in the mountains as well as the plains

Enjoy! As always, your thoughts and feedback are most welcome.

©2010 rafael armstrong

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– For March 17

So this extremely late piece will also dig into the obscure of my music catalog. It is the title of a piece by “El Combochorno Express”, the house band for Sunshine’s Café,  a sketch comedy show locally produced in PR during the late 80s (and, if memory serves me, into the early 90s). “Batutera” is a term used in Spanish for band or drum majorette (“batuta” being the Spanish for the baton used in majoring, or whatever the term is). “Batutera Asesina” translates into “murderous majorette”.

©2010 rafael armstrong

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for March 11

Some thoughts on the CSED:

There was a locally produced tv show in PR in the mid-late 80s called Sunshine’s Cafe. It was a sketch comedy show that satirized and lampooned society-at-large during that time. One of the more popular characters (and there were several), was “Vitín Alicea”, a poseur gym-rat wannabe (even though he was a bit soggy around the midsection) with an unhealthy fascination with professional wrestling and wrestlers (he constantly mentioned that he had a 15×15 wrestling ring with 8-inch foam padding built at home), and who was– in a not-at-all-subtly implied manner– gay.  The show’s house band had a “theme song” for each major character, and Vitín’s was Hombres en la Noche (Men in the Night). The show also released an album under the house band’s name– “el Combochorno Express” (“Combochorno” being a variation of con bochorno— with shame– as well as playing with the “combo” as a musical group), which included all the major theme songs.

After reading that paragraph, I’m not entirely sure if anyone that didn’t experience Sunshine’s Cafe first-hand will get it, so here goes:

©2010 rafael armstrong

Here’s an audio link to the song in question

as well as a video from the show.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– Feb 27

So, yesterday I decided to take on the works of a woman widely regarded as the #1 female poet in Puerto Rico. Today, I figured I’d take a stab at número dos.

Turns out this choice was rather appropriate, considering the events of today.

The woman’s name is Gabriela Mistral. Now, I have to admit, I didn’t really know much about her. As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, I remember one of the schools (pretty sure it was a high school) named after her, and I knew she was a poet,  so I figured she must have been a poet of some import. I also recall studying her life or her works in high school, either. I might have, but who knows.

So, in doing a little research on her for today’s CSED, I found out she wasn’t even Puerto Rican. Turns out she was Chilean.

So, that settled it. I had to use her words as the base for today’s piece. I decided, since I really knew nothing about her life or her work, that I wanted to use a quote or personal saying that might have been attributed to her. After a little Googling I found a bunch. The moment I read this one I knew it was the one:

©2010 rafael armstrong

It translates as follows:

Wherever there’s a tree that needs planting, (then you) plant it.
Wherever there’s a mistake that needs correcting, (then you) correct it.
Wherever there’s an effort that everyone avoids making, (then you) make it.
Let it be you the one that clears the boulder from the path.

I think the world could use a little bit more of this mindset.

Thanks for visiting. Your feedback is always welcome.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– Feb 26

Today’s CSED is inspired by (probably) the best-known work (Rio Grande de Loíza) by  a woman who is widely regarded as the greatest female Puerto Rican  poet– Julia de Burgos.

Funny thing, though. In giving myself a quick refresher on her life (I had not read up on her since high school), I found that her birthday was a little over a week ago, so I find it rather appropriate that I’m using her words on a Feb piece.

©2010 rafael armstrong

The verse, translated, reads as follows:

Who knows in what rainfall of what far land
I shall be spilling to open new furrows;
or perhaps, tired of biting hearts,
I shall be freezing in icicles!

As always, your feedback is encouraged and appreciated.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– Feb 21

I mentioned earlier– to no one in particular, and yet, to everyone at once (such are the wonders of the interwebs)– the State of my dinner, and a very good friend commented that I had created something good and my CSED couldn’t top it.

Which made me think of all the times I had spent  evenings with friends and family (including this friend) playing dominoes. So I decided to take a shot at some dominoes. The caption on the illo originally made references to curling (one of my favorite winter Olympic sports, probably because its rules and conventions are somewhat foreign– literally and figuratively– to me, and I find that intriguing), but I opted to edit them out and keep the caption simple and relevant to the game at hand.

©2010 rafael armstrong

Hope you enjoy. Your feedback’s always welcome.

Create Something Every Day (#daily365)– for Feb 16

I can tell Tuesday nights are going t0 be rough. At least until May In a word: Lost. By the time the week’s episode is over and I get around to sit in front of the computer (following a requisite, yet somewhat brief, post-ep discussion) it’s almost 11pm. Last night I had it all laid out, the file was ready, and then Illustrator decided to drag its feet. Almost an hour later and things were still moving like molasses in a Minnesota winter. In the end, I started nodding off at my desk, so I decided to bag it and put my #daily365 out in the morning.

Once I took a look at it again in the morning light, what looked good last night now seemed a bit corny. So I decided to re-tool it a bit. I’m not 100% satisfied with the result (I think using a displacement map might have helped), but I’m bound by my time constraints, and I intend to follow and honor them.

A little background on today’s piece:

Although the “official” lyrics in La Borinqueña were written in 1903 by Manuel Fernández Juncos, there is an older set of lyrics, written 35 years prior during one of the watershed pro-independence events in Puerto Rico’s history by Lola Rodríguez de Tió.

©2010 rafael armstrong