Thursday, February 26, 2009

bodies on the amole mesa

there are so many things to love about new mexico--the food, the landscape, the weather, the culture, the history, the traditions. there are some abhorrent aspects that balance these things out--the crime, the poverty, high drug use, poor education, and specific attitudes involving culture, history and traditions as they relate to women.

over the past couple of weeks we, here in albuquerque, have heard news reports (but not as many as would seem necessitated) of bodies turning up on the west mesa of town. the west mesa was once a desolate area that has been rapidly developed over the past decade, and by developed i mean that string after string of low-cost housing projects have been plopped onto a landscape that can't even begin to support their water needs, but that will be another post. a single human bone was initially discovered by someone out walking their dog on newly-turned ground in preparation for another "development," and that one bone has morphed into the discovery of TEN TWELVE dead women, one of which was pregnant (thus eleven thirteen bodies).

thirteen bodies found buried on the west mesa. they've pinpointed the burial dates to sometime within the 2004-2006 range. an actual quote from the albuquerque police chief yesterday:
"Several years ago we noticed an increasing number of young women missing in the Albuquerque area, and the fact is we are very proactive and already had the files together of the missing 24 women and we actually already had on file 17 sets of dental records," said Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz.
i guess they can claim they finally found them.

four of the women (one of which was the pregnant one) have been identified (cinnamon elks, juliean nieto, victoria chavez and michelle valdez + child); they all had histories of arrests for prostitution and/or drug usage. because of that, this whole case is being largely dismissed here in new mexico as just one of those things that happen to women here who participate in that kind of lifestyle. i have several significant problems with this: first and foremost, did they actually choose to be prostitutes? i don't have a moral issue with prostitution IF the woman (or man) chooses it for themselves; i have a huge problem with it if it is forced upon them. secondly, i doubt anyone, male or female, chooses to be a drug addict, and i can't even imagine how crushing that addiction is to one's soul. third, these women are being treated as disposable because of their lifestyles. to further this idea, the local news station, KOAT, ran this gem two days ago:
One crime expert says the 10 sets of human remains on the west mesa might be the end product of a "commercial enterprise."

As the body count on Amole Mesa moved from three to six to 10, the case is raising the possibility of a serial killer. While police have not used that term yet, they have indicated they think the remains are the work of a single person, who may or may not be dead.

When he's not teaching communication and journalism at the University of New Mexico, Dirk Gibson studies serial killers and has written a book on the subject with a second book in progress.

Gibson thinks Amole Mesa is the workshop of a commercial serial killer.

"A person who is not motivated by lust -- the traditional FBI profile --not motivated by revenge," he said. "They want to make some money."

Gibson points to a long list of profit-motivated serial killers, ranging from the so-called "black widow" who disposed of husbands for insurance money to mob hitmen who worked on a contract basis.

"My theory is someone knew the west mesa, it was familiar to them, not real close to their home and when they were told 'get rid of some bodies,' it was a good location," Gibson said.

Gibson added he does not think this is the work of a killer seeking 15 minutes of fame.

"This person didn't want the bodies discovered, didn't want the publicity, the clamor, the notoriety," he said.

Gibson said there most likely is no reason for the public to panic. He theorizes those buried on the mesa are victims of opportunity among the homeless or involved in drugs or crime.

this position places yet another filter between "us" and "them" and allows "us" to care just a little bit less about what is going on on the west mesa, i.e. "they" made bad choices and this couldn't happen to "us." i hate to tell you, but at the end of the day honey, "we" are "them" and we had all better care very much about what has happened. from john galsworthy we get the immortal wisdom of soames forsyte, "scratch the surface and you are all the same!" yes, we are. these women had mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends, grandparents and children who loved them at one time--they were actually reported missing, which is why the police have those 24 names and 17 sets of dental records they are so proud of.

no woman deserves to be murdered because she is a prostitute or a drug addict.

i won't even comment on the fact that they also ran a news story yesterday saying that police were searching for two other bodies reported to be dumped in the south valley that were unrelated to this particular atrocity. and what is the front page news of the albuquerque journal today? UNM's continuing financial woes. if eleven dead bodies turned up outside of any other major metropolitan city, i have to believe it would be given more attention than this. it is indicative of the attitude towards women in machismo new mexico, particularly women who participate in illicit activities (by choice or forced upon them?), that sends shudders down my spine.

again, no woman deserves to be murdered because she is a prostitute or a drug addict. and i'm not sure i'd be writing this if it were thirteen men found out there. i'd be concerned because of the amount of death, i'm sure, but i probably wouldn't feel as strongly about the social implications of such. i think that might have to be someone else's cause.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

playing with my camera phone

meet my best girlfriend, sophie bunny

i rarely notice that i have a camera on my phone. even when i am desperately wishing i had a camera it just doesn't occur to me that i do...i could be pictorially documenting my life even more! and what is even weirder is that the only times i do think about taking pictures with the camera on my phone is when i am eating at a restaurant or cutting off all of my hair. here are a few recent jewels...

sophie eating a decorated cookie for breakfast at flying star

mr. gus at the counter of duran central pharmacy

the waitress at duran's kindly took a picture of us

rich took this of us at il vicino (there are some exposure issues with this camera...)

gus and mom (still with the exposure)

sleepy sophie with boots on her hands and feet

gus at the bmx track! what a bad ass.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


lindsay and her husband, jake, who were made for each other

i almost missed it! happy birthday sweetest little sister ever! hope you lose that rash you picked up in mexico soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

is the triangle such a bad thing?

the bermuda triangle, of course. or, more specifically, the allen family bermuda triangle. there are many, many other unsavory triangles to be inflicted upon us: we could be in a love triangle (always tragic), branded in 1940s germany with a pink triangle (didn't you ever wonder where the LGBT symbol came from? now you know.), or even the god-awful triangle shirtwaist fire. and the places within the triangle are lovely: houston has its charms (i grew up there, so it is easier for me to appreciate it), albuquerque is strikingly and sublimely beautiful, and even iowa city isn't too bad once you get to know it. and of all the "state" + city combos, iowa city would have to rank close to the top:

new york city: busy, fun, entertaining but also expensive, loud, and cramped
jersey city: no thank you.
texas city: HELL no--the air, ground and water is wicked toxic in this area; there is a reason it lies in the "cancer belt."
kansas city: this one might be alright, but i've never done more than drive through it. that might be an indicator that it would not suit.
oklahoma city: being from texas, i have to reject this out of principle alone.
colorado city: isn't even in colorado, it's in arizona, and it is chock full o' polygamists. seriously.
missouri city: isn't in missouri, it's in texas. and with the rampant growth in fort bend county i have no idea what it is like now (when i was growing up i think it had a jojo's, a tg&y, some newly-sprouted subdivisions, and that's about it).
michigan city: isn't in michigan...i should make this a criteria of comparison.
florida city: apparently there is a florida city, but i didn't realize that until i googled it, so no.

so really, the only "state" + city possibilities are new york city, which has major drawbacks, iowa city and possibly kansas city. and we already know iowa city pretty well--safe, wonderful schools, exceptional hospital, a tad bit flat culturally, more than a tad bit cold five months a year, lacking the intensity of sunlight of new mexico (which can thus stave off any form of depression or seasonal affective disorder), and so forth. it isn't a bad component of the triangle.

the cedar rapids airport is only half an hour away, too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy valentine's day!

for my peeps in iowa, yo.

i love valentine's day--i truly do. red and pink everywhere, hearts, refined sugar, chocolate--all that crap. i totally dig it. and another thing i really love is finding deliciously creepy vintage valentine's day images on ebay and around the web. so here is this year's collection--enjoy!

AAAH--MAMA! creepy clown! creepy clown!!!

nothing like the threat of abandonment to make your valentine's day complete--and was someone absent for subject/verb agreement day?

yeah, you dumbass, learn get the hell away from anyone who would give you this card

maybe it's just me, but the thermometer bulb is a wee bit suggestive. did i say wee?

there's just something about an angelic toddler with a really gigantic knife, not to mention the threat of vivisection if you don't agree to his demands

does anyone, male or female, really want to be considered the equivalent of an old shoe? i understand the reference to comfort, but maybe one could be called a warm cashmere sweater or a really nice pair of pants that don't make your butt look big? just sayin'.

i have no idea what the point of this one is--how can you open his trap (mouth) and say a mouthful by doing so? perhaps i am too literal. confusion is one of the hallmarks of valentine's day for many.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

apparently the year of the bully isn't over yet

rich and i decided to refinance our house about a month ago. whenever we go to do anything like this we fully expect a barrage of questions regarding rich's actual identity--we have a very hard time proving who he is because of his rampant identity theft issues--and sometimes we can't even do that successfully. this time, amazingly, we were able to prove not only who he is but that our assets are actually ours. whoohoo!

however yesterday i got a fairly curious and pissed-off sounding email from the refi guys asking when we were going to pay off our judgment so we could proceed. i found out that there is a judgment against rich at this property, made by a company neither of us have ever heard of much less done business with. and we were never notified of this. i called the business who placed the judgment against rich, kendra tellez court reporting here in albuquerque, and they won't even speak to me. they won't give me their attorney's name, they won't tell me how much it is for, they won't tell me what rich allegedly did to cause this judgment.

what the fuck? how is this shit even legal? i swear i feel like this is some form of extortionary plot against us. i'm really trying to quell the paranoia, but my god what a year+ we are having!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009


does anyone else remember this t-shirt from the 70s? i remember going over to see my aunt stella, omnipresent cigarette dangling from hand, mouth, wherever, wearing this shirt and telling me her tuts were getting too hard to find. she fixed that soon thereafter.

king tut, tutankhamun, was so all over dallas. it rocked. the exhibition kicked so much ass it was unreal. i should probably be putting my doctorate in art history to better use in this description...but seriously it was an exhibition of a lifetime. i highly recommend it. i also have some extra tickets if anyone is genuinely motivated to go see it before may 17 in dallas. i actually started a blog post about this in october 2007 when i realized tut would be so close by:
tutankhamun's treasures are on the move again (click here for info). i am so excited about this exhibition--about 30 years ago my grandmother took me to see an egyptian art exhibition at the museum of fine arts, houston, and that (along with a cezanne exhibit) was what made me want to become a curator. and now king tut's stuff (not king tut himself--he is at rest, sort of, in luxor) is coming to texas in october 2008. gus and i will definitely be there!

and so we were! my friend, julia, and her son, max, went with us and got tutified, too. we flew into dallas on friday, rented a ginormous chrysler aspen, had a fabulous feast of fish tacos at chuy's (and a few margarita/sangria swirls), then hit the dallas museum of art on saturday. i think we spent four hours there in all--it still wasn't enough for me. as ridiculously cliché as it sounds, i felt like i was going home to see old friends at the DMA (i worked there from 1992-93); i knew those artworks very, very well. it was bittersweet. anyway, the boys had their own hotel room, meaning that julia and i were thrilled to be boy-free, and we spent much time all weekend watching them swim on the rooftop pool (30 stories up--that was a huge deal for a born and bred albuquerqueño like max, as albuquerque has no buildings taller than maybe 20 stories at best). we flew home on sunday and got back to reality. we bought all kinds of tut-related memoribilia; alas, no "hands off my tuts" shirt to be found at the DMA.

this is actually the face of tutankhamun, newly-unwrapped a little over a year ago (click here for info).

this was one of my favorite objects in the exhibition--it is a canopic coffinette for king tut that held his liver. the really cool thing about this, aside from the obvious (that it IS cool), is that the way it was displayed you could see the inside of the coffinette and the back--it was visible like a proper piece of sculpture, 360 degrees around. i had no idea what the back of tut's head was supposed to look like, and i was so pissed that i couldn't take a picture of it (no photos allowed in the exhibition). you can kind of see the back of his head in the really bad photo below, but hey beggars can't be choosers and it was the best i could find. imagine the inside of the coffinette as beige slip with two tons of hieroglyphics all over it, spelling out specific spells from the egyptian book of the dead. tremendous little object--it is about 18 inches tall.

***timely update from yahoo news: new mummies found intact in saqqara***

Thursday, February 5, 2009

walking like an egyptian in the big D

gus and i are getting ready to go to dallas to see the king tut exhibition at the dallas museum of art! it should be grand. my biggest boy, gus, going to see the biggest boy king, tut (okay, i recycled that from my facebook status). rich and sophie are going to spend some quality time together here; hopefully he'll feed her more than di giorno pizzas for every meal.

we'll post pictures and a review after we get back--enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

two car-related things that made me smile

first: we discovered sunday that the 4-runner was dead to the world. totally dead. it kept making a clicking noise while it was off so we thought the relay was shot...or whatever the hell happens to an electrical system of a car when it dies. rich rides his bike to work on monday; i wait for the tow truck guy. he shows up and decides we are total idiots because it is just a dead battery and the clicking noise is the alarm trying to go off. whoops. so, he charges it enough to get it started and i drive to interstate battery. for those of you not familiar with albuquerque, please note that it can be a VERY scary place in certain parts. like panic-inducing scary. that's basically the kind of place where interstate battery was located. i'm just thinking "please don't stall please don't stall please don't stall" until i pulled into the parking lot.

then the strangest thing happened--a really nice man in a 1940s style gas station attendant jumpsuit waves me into a parking space right in front. at the same time he is doing this, a short, hard-living, probably ex-something addict, mid-40s white guy is walking up to him while telling him something. jumpsuit keeps waving me into the space. i pull in and he makes a sign to pop the hood. shorty is still jabbering away about something. jumpsuit tells me to turn off my engine and starts unhooking my battery. shorty tells me all about this new goo you can put on your battery to keep it from corroding as extensively as my dead one has. i get waved inside; the bill is already written out and is waiting for me to pay. i am seriously perplexed now, as i haven't even opened my mouth yet to anyone except shorty to say "weren't you here before me?" and thank you for the goo advice.

i pay my bill, comment to the cashier that this is perhaps the best customer service i have ever experienced in my life ("yeah, we're like the mcdonald's of batteries!") , and walk outside. new battery is already in place. jumpsuit turns to shorty and says, "that's a nice car your wife has," pointing to the 4-runner. shorty turns, looks at me (and i had actually showered and put on a dress that day, so for a change i looked good), looks back at jumpsuit somewhat incredulously and says, flatly, "she would not be married to me." i thought it was funny. we were the only two white people there, so i guess jumpsuit assumed we were together, since we all look alike...somehow it all led to me getting a near instantaneous new battery.

second: i met al unser, sr. today! he's funny, sarcastic, and his museum is near my house. i spent the day working there and met him, his wife, and their wonderful director, lita. very cool museum--you should totally check it out when you come to town...the unser racing museum.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


a couple of days ago i had a unique experience: i found myself more angry (about what?) than i had ever felt in my entire life. literally. i genuinely felt like i could uproot a tree or overturn a car. i was furious. rich thought i was going to stroke out i was so affected; thankfully, for all of us, i didn't.

so i decided to get creative with this unusual (for me) emotional sensation and create a superpower for myself. i loved bella's (more "twilight," i know, but this is the last of it i promise) ability to shield and thought that might suit me as well, but i want to physically protect as well. rich suggested using my overdeveloped gastrocnemii, grab everyone and jump to safety. granted, he's jealous of them, but i guess that works. i'd still like to be able to knock over a building--maybe big calves can do that as well? his superpower would be to blind everyone with the light reflecting off of his ever-baring pate. sophie's superpower is more subtle: she wins people over with her cuteness then deafens them with an incapacitating shriek. she also bites with those vampire teeth (that really isn't a "twilight" reference, i swear). i let gus pick his superpower and he selected an ability i never would have thought of--he wants to be a puppetmaster. he would embody whoever he chose and make them do whatever he wanted. he mostly wants to make people pick their noses. his body would be more immaterial and ghost-like when he is embodying someone else's and therefore harder to kill. nice. paco's superpower is his innate ability to make everyone feel better when he is around. he's a good dog.

next week is going to be a very challenging week in the triangle. please wish us well and pray our superpowers are on point.