Monday, April 25, 2016


Contrary to what some of my fellow Arizonans believe, there is a difference between Mexican and Chicano. There’s also a difference between Chicano in California, and Arizona, and other parts of Aztlán. What kinda Spanglish da your familia hablan, ese?

This was something I needed to deal with in writing High Aztech. I couldn’t just do the same Chicano sci-fi that I did in Cortez on Jupiter. I had to get into a Mexico City state of mind, call up memories of my mind-altering visits there, and more: I made a point of reading books, magazines, and newspapers from Mexico -- and yeah, I dusted off mis historietas -- tuned into a lot of  TV from Mexico and local Spanish-language radio.

This was back when they were trying to establish an English Only law in Arizona. Did these people realize that in the Metro Phoenix Area radio waves carrying the Spanish language was constantly passing through their bodies, jiggling their DNA? Maybe a religion virus wasn’t necessary . . .

I made a point of tuning into a Spanish station while writing High Aztech. Get the rhythm of la idoma as well as the music dancing in my synapses, absorbing songs lyrics, DJ chatter, news, and occasionally, something truly different.

I forget the station, but now and then there would be an echoing countdown: “Diez . . . nueve . . . ocho . . . siete . . . seis . . . cinco . . . cuatro . . . tres . . . dos . . . uno . . .”

Then I would hear sci-fi blast-off sound effects, and a male announcer would announce that Doctora Luna was on the air. He invited the listeners to call in for advice on heath, spiritual matters, and amor!

The first time I listened carefully, and was shocked buy what I heard, or rather didn’t hear.

Doctora Luna had a radio show, but her voice was never heard. She was only “on the air” in the sense of being available to take calls, off air. I assumed that this was probably because the nature of her advice had less to do with medical science than with a kind of curanderismo.

The FCC probably has regulations against broadcasting such things. Maybe it’s better that I don’t remember that station.

During her program the countdown and solicitation for calls was repeated, then they would alternately play two different Spanish translations of the song Love Potion No. 9: Pócima de Amor:

And Bola de Cristal:

Repetitious? Sure, but it was weird, just the sort of weirdness that slammed my brain into the world of High Aztech.

Doctora Luna was a big help in writing High Aztech. She also inspired my story “Doctora Xilbalba’s Datura Enema.”

Doctora, I would like to thank you. You probably have good reasons for protecting your identity like Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and the enmascarados de lucha libre. I hope that you are still out there, working that magic.

I also remember that my Spanish got pretty damn good back then. I should do it again. In fact, I wrote this while listening to an Austin TexMex station via iTunes.

(Originally posted as a Chicanonautica at La Bloga.)

Friday, April 15, 2016


The new Garza Twins book gets reviews in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

The first in the YA series won an award:

It its about teenage naguales:

The new one features the underwater world of Tlaloc, who the Germans honor in this ritual:

And merpeople:

Monday, April 11, 2016


One of the big pendejadas of life in the twenty-first century is that you end up spending so much time frying your eyes, staring into a glowing screen. The drawing board and sketchbook provide some relief, but what do you do when it's been hours, and you need a break? And if you're like me, so visually oriented that your idea of a good time is looking at stuff?

Luckily, I'm married to the fabulous Emily, and our house is surrounded by an incredible Venusian garden – that is, Venusian for the time being, during this cooler part of the year. Summer will be here soon, early again, and the heat and radiation levels will burn it into its Martian aspect. But for now, it has the look of Venusian jungle out of 1930s pulp sci-fi, or if you prefer a more high brow metaphor, a Max Ernst composition. A few steps out either the front or back doors, and I'm surrounded by strange lifeforms, struggling to survive in a harsh environment. If I'm not careful, they'll attack me and draw blood.


It takes me out of whatever writing or drawing I've been working on and derails my imagination into someplace different. Also forces me to focus my eyes a variety of distances. Sometimes I just enjoy the abstract beauty of the ever-changing light and color on jagged shapes. Sometimes it starts looking like art to me.

Must be my training. Sooner or later, everything starts looking like art to me.

So I take pictures. I never liked photography. It was too mechanical. Too much fiddling around to get everything perfect. I prefer my art to be an immediate confrontation, like a bullfight.

Then, Emily bought me a iTouch with a camera and encouraged me to use it. Since I have so little experience with photography, I'm not hampered by thinking of it as art or craft. I point and shoot, and if it doesn't come out right – delete it!

I have fun. It gives me something to post online. Who knows, it may actually come in handy with my wacko career, but I'm not worrying about that now. I'm getting distracted.

Friday, April 1, 2016


It's all about our beautiful Arizona spring, in Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

I can't seem to get this song out of my head:

And yes, there really is a Fountain Hills, Arizona:

Things happen there:

Who know's what the future will bring?