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for the last couple of weeks i’ve been thinking about going back to Ecuador, like its something i need to do before i get to be too old to really appreciate what it is to set foot in a place before i consider it to be just a place for “vacationing”  i know that my tia Paola just visited; my cousin Ricky, my brother Ivan and our friend Simon are visiting during the new year and I am insanely jealous.

I can only blame myself.  i was asked by my brother about 3 or 4 years ago to tag along with him, and I simply said no.  I wish i had an explanation for this.  I think it was because i thought it would be too boring, that in the end i would still be dependant on my uncle and aunts with day-to-day situations (walking around, sightseeing, transportation, etc.)  Ideally i want to go by myself.  obviously it would be super-rude to go to Ecuador without touching base with relatives, so i guess i wanted to avoid it altogether. 

I wonder why it is that now i’m having these thoughts.  my financial suck-ness could not get worse in the matters of surplus cash, so even a domestic trip i would consider out of the question unless i didn’t mind being broke for a month.  the immigrant in me pictures a reverse diaspora where many like me, who have lived most of their lives in another country, would like to come back for a couple of weeks and see what comes of it.  but ultimately there’s a huge apprehensiveness (is this even a word?) on my part.  Ecuador never really belonged to me or vice versa, the same way I don’t necessarily belong here, even though I am a U.S. citizen.  For anyone who might think I’m weird for this, i believe Nationalism as a concept is something of a farce, a tool used for political purposes only to let you down in the long run.

I had a dream last night where my brother Ivan’s sister was here in the States on military leave or break (confusion sets in when i couldn’t identify what country she was fighting for).  She had just come from Iraq and found her way to Pennsylvania.  My brother insisted we go visit her.  By the time i woke up, I never did get to see her.  Yet I have this mental image of what she may look like, and at this point it is hard as hell to illustrate that into words.  To me it’s just a face, it may be a memory of a picture I may have seen some years back. 

that dream makes so much more sense to me now than it did eight hours back.

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i didnt watch any of the two games,  so admittedly i dont even know their quality of futbol.  but i do know this.  they lost 1-0 to venezuela, one of the worst teams in South America.  and they were crushed by Brazil by a score of 5-0.  it doesnt take a genius to understand that both score represent general diappointment and negative signs of what’s to come.

i know its only the first week of world cup qualifiers in South America, and there’s about 2.5  more years of this, but i’ll be looking at all their games with caution.

UPDATE:  I just saw the highlights for the Ecuador-Brasil game.  some of those goals are just remarkable, particular Ronaldinho’s effort, and Kaka’s shot.  Goal #s 2 and 5 are just pathetic on the part of Ecuador.

and take note on the oh-so-fine babe presenting the highlights.  I think i’m in lust.

UPDATE #2:   a more in-depth highlight real.  Brasil was just toying with Ecuador.  it was basically a practice drill out there.  Woe is me.

Ecuador – they really blew it.  I mean they sucked major bolsa.  It’s so amazing to see a team falter so bad in a tournament.  my brother insists that copa america is not really important – he’s probably right considering brasil didnt have their big guns in the pitch – but you still have to show up ready to play.  nevertheless i am eager to see what they bring for the eliminatorias, which should sooner than we may expect, or ready for.  the 2010 world cup is just under 2 years away!  can’t wait.

Argentina – wow were they dominant, almost.  all the stars made their presence felt, including inspiring performances by Messi and Riquelme, who caried on their respective great seasons into the tournament.  unfortunately they fell short.  which lead me to…

Brasil – Dunga was heavily criticized for the team he took to Venezuela, and for a couple opf their early pefomances, but it seems this team was destined to beat the Argentines.  It wasnt the brand of pretty football we’re all accustomed to watching, but their midfield defence was on point, not allowing any effective balls for the Argentine front.  Congratulations.

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I attended the Latin Alternative Music Conference last week and I must admit to being a bit underwhelmed.  I understand that the budget cant possibly compare to that of a CMJ or Austin City Limits, but the number of shows is something that has to be worked out better.  I tried to show up to 3 shows with some success: the SOBs acoustic showcase, the MTV3 sponsored show in the Bowery Ballroom, and Cafe Tacuba in Central Park.

The SOBs show was a total mess.  Some bands are just not equipped to strip down their sound and come off more “intimate.”  Worst of all, each of the many, many acts were restricted to two songs, bringing other problems  to the forefriont: 1) you can’t soundcheck all bands;  this wouldnt be a problem knowing this is an acoustic show, but every act thinks they can bring their own flare with different instruments they cant possibly tune in the short time, and 2) even if you build momentum after 2 songs, you are cut off.  They have to increase the set list to 4 songs and decrease the number of bands to showcase.  Pinker Tones were the marquee band but after 2+ hours of being there, i had to leave.

The Bowery show was alright.  The space is better,  beer cost about the same, but the atmosphere wasnt as stuffy.  Rock band Panda started it off and they had a young fanbase starting a mosh-pit, which was startling, considering how poppy their sound is.  they were good though, specially compared to The Dey, the following group.  They come accross like the latin version of the Fugees, except everyone sucked.  Totally forgettable stuff.  I saw a bit of the very attractive (IMO) Mala Rodriguez, but it was getting late and I had to leave.  She’s cool.

As for Cafe Tacuba, through a series of unfortunate events I arrived at Central Park as soon as they were announced, but the line to enter was so long and Summerstage reached heir max capacity.  So we just sat outside the venue like everyone else.  They played great from the parts we heard.  Me and my cuz left for a bit to get beer in between.

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I got tickets to see M.I.A. !!!  She’s playing this Saturday for free at the Siren Festival in Brooklyn but i’m not really down to go.  And I dont mind forking over $20 to see her in Studio B.  Whoo hooo it will (hopefully) rock. This will be my first time seing Maya in concert so I’m all sorts of excited.  Just on week away.  Party on!

Just days after that will be Rock the Bells in New York.  Rage and Wu-Tang together, so i’ll make up for the concert i didnt attend when i was like16 y.o.  Two concert in one week will help make up for the fact thaat I couldn’t attend the Long Blondes show i paid for, and the Morrissey show that was cancelled.  There, indeed, is a light that never goes out.

Ecuador vs. Chile, 2-3

I’ll keep this brief.  Ecuador pretty much dominated most of the game despite a couple of players in midfield playing sub-par soccer and an aging defensive line.  Unfortunately, they could not hold the 2-1 lead for long.

On offense, Ecuador was efficient.  They worked their passes well and created many opportunities for scoring and came up short a few times.  On defense, however, they were slow and static.  They never attacked the ball and Chile made them pay with some good strikes.  Hats off to Chile for not letting up despite some signs of giving up in the first half.

Mexico vs. Brasil, 2-0

Admittedly I didn’t watch much of the game, still in disbelief of Ecuador’s deserved loss.  The second Mexico goal was nice.  Brasil played their brand of beautiful futbol, but were unable to penetrate the Mexican backs. 

Overall, two surprising results in the Group B opener.

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i haven’t posted anyting in weeks,  life sort of gets on the way of free time.  so in order to feel e-productive i’m doing preliminary documentation of this year’s Copa America hosted by Venezuela.

Ecuador is in a tough group, rounded out by Brasil, Mexico and Chile.  I can honestly say i have no idea how the national team will perform.  Lucky for us the tournament will start on Tuesday, with Ecuador playing their first match on Wednesday.

One look at the Argentine squad and there is no doubt they are the faves.  Even la brujita Veron is in the team!  Not enough can be said about Messi.  And Riquelme’s recent performance in the Copa Libertadores makes him one to look for.

here’s the Ecuador call ups for the Copa America:

Goalkeepers:
Cristian Mora
(Liga de Quito), Marcelo Elizaga (Emelec).

Defenders:
Ulises De la Cruz
(Reading), Neicer Reasco (Sao Paulo), Oscar Bagui (Olmedo), Ivan Hurtado (Atletico Nacional), Giovanni Espinoza (Vitesse Arnhem), Jorge Guagua (Colon de Santa Fe), Renan Calle (Liga de Quito).

Midfielders:
Edison Mendez
(PSV Eindhoven), Luis Antonio Valencia (Wigan Athletic), Segundo Castillo (Red Star Belgrade), Edwin Tenorio (Liga de Quito), Patricio Urrutia (Liga de Quito), David Quiroz (El Nacional), Walter Ayovi (El Nacional), Luis Caicedo (Olmedo).

Forwards:
Carlos Tenorio
(Al Saad), Felix Borja (Olympiakos), Cristian Benitez (El Nacional), Felipe Caicedo (Basel), Pablo Palacios (Deportivo Quito).

If I’m as lazy as i plan to be, I should be able to catch every game, with hopes that I will be commenting on all matches.

Good luck to Ecuador and all nations involved!