Affiliations (arts org, fun things you do, etc) :
My professional affiliations are with the CSUN Asian American Studies Department and the Filipino American National Historical Society (LA Chapter). To a lesser but equally important degree I'm affiliated with the Tuesday Night Project and Tia Chucha communities. I've also been a published poet for just over twenty years - another key passion of mine.
What's the one word you are guilty of using too much?
I tend to abuse "Batman" and all its affiliated euphemisms. Like Linus, I guess I'll always have a boyish security blanket, albeit figurative. Even if quietly, for instance, when I see something cool or delightful I'll say to myself, "That's fuckin' Bats".
How did you end up doing what you are doing now?
Without revealing TMI, a series of family tragedies beginning in my teens catalyzed the guilt and anger that drove me to become (what I hope is) a socially-conscious educator. Folks who know me intimately know why, ah, here comes that guilty word, Batman is my favorite fictional character. We're not saints or heroes, and we're probably an eyeblink away from crazy, but we're driven to do what we feel we must for a better world.
Which member of the Wu-Tang Clan best describes your personality?
Tough call, but I lean toward RZA. He's best known for his work behind the mike and behind the scenes as a shadow planner and producer. When it comes to group work with students or fellow artists I'd much rather they bring their time and talents into the spotlight, while I'm more than happy to provide ambiance, support, and motivation.
Dogs or Cats, who wins? Why?
I love both, but I'm afraid I'd have to say dogs. In my observation most people are fond of (cute and friendly) dogs; I don't know if I've ever known anyone who loves cats but hates dogs though, alas, I've come across those who feel vice versa. Also, sadly, dogs - which still have their hardwired wolfish instincts - are more likely to act aggressively toward cats, while cats are unlikely to ever threaten dogs in that wise. Cats are certainly more self-reliant and independent. And I don't imagine humanity ever turning its back toward dogs' indelible neediness - to crib Jack London, they regard us as their gods. Such an indelible bond.
What is the best part of any given day for you?
For me, the best part of any given day is when I come home at its end. Whether I've had a great or awful day, there's a breeze of peace that comes over me when I pull up to my place, returning to my dogs, my toys, and all my other safeties. To have a home and to return to it alive is a treasure and constant blessing.
In a zombie apocalypse who would you want on your survival team?
Definitely my survivalist and Filipino martial arts-aficionado friends.
What is the last thing you searched for on google?
Oh, I google image-searched a bunch of faces for my course readers, many of whom are scholars and artists connected to the CSUN and TNP communities. A lovely exercise.
If you could talk to your high school self, what would say?
I would tell him/me: "Who you are now is not who you're 'doomed' to be for the rest of your life. Stick around and keep your eyes open. You'll find your way, and when you do everything will make sense. You'll find your place in this world, you'll find your joy, and you'll find what struggles and suffering you'd endured so far have a payoff."
What is the best thing or meal you ever ate?
Ah, amongst countless memorable meals there's one that persistently stands out. When I was in high school I visited an aunt in St. Joseph Missouri, a small midwestern town with rolling hills and farms. The restaurants we frequented had incredible, lush menus built upon local ingredients. There was one place (whose name, alas, I can't recall) specialized in fried chicken. This was a particularly classy joint with a silverware ambiance akin to Lawry's. Their signature chicken, which was served fresh and AYCE (!), along with their requisite comfort food sides (potatoes, spinach, mac & cheese) were unbelievably heavenly. I remember freezing solid with my first bite. I was literally stunned by a hot, juicy flavor paradise bursting in my mouth. Ask anyone what comprises "perfect" fried chicken, and this meal embodied all those qualities and more. Oh, man. Decades later I find I've never had any permutation of chicken comparable to that experience.
What is a memorable project that you are working on or have worked on?
At the moment my most personally notable projects are reviving CSUN's Filipino American Experience class - so many ideas, so little time, so much fun to be had! - as well as polishing up, finally, my poetry manuscript which, perhaps for the first time, feels satisfying and at least close to complete.
Anyone interested in events coordinated by our CSUN Asian American Studies community can browse our Facebook page and main website:
Likewise, anyone curious to browse my writings and other professional info: