Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Update: Best fireworks ever (in pictures and videos) plus the ‘mystery’ lights dancing in the sky

Of course, there were fireworks to finish off the celebration of Saint Anthony in Colonia San Antonio.

And they were beauts.

Worth climbing up to the upper deck to watch. So worth it. Enough said.

Just a great way to finish off a crazy Sunday.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dads. Hope there were crazy moments and fireworks and lots of love in your life today.

What was this?

Just before the San Antonio fireworks, this cluster of lights floated up into the sky and hovered for about six minutes. In sync with the music, they rotated, changed position, changed color, and spun slowly around. And then floated ever-so-slowly to earth.

It was an unusual aerial ballet.

Computer-synced drones? Alien space ships? Northern Lights? Too much wine? What do you think?

Video of the San Antonio fireworks:

Click on any photo to enlarge:

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Crazies galore: Watching half the Locos parade … until the very end

That’s true. I only saw half the Crazies parade this morning in San Miguel de Allende.

The upper half.

Even at 6-foot-2 I wasn’t tall enough, or close enough to watch the Dia de Los Locos parade with such an unobstructed view. Man, there were a lot of people out there, and they got to the curb long before I did. What’s fair is fair.

Therefore, you may notice that many of my photographs are filtered through a variety of hairstyles, various hats, the occasional waving hands and fingers, hands holding iPhones in front of my iPhone, and the odd umbrella.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Update, Saturday night fever: The drums beat, the tribes dance, the final procession to Parroquia de San Antonio is a stunner

I thought the day began at 5:30 a.m. with a massively loud fusillade of fireworks from the Parroquia de San Antonio grounds, about a block away from my home in Colonia San Antonio. That’s what sent me upright in my bed and nearly over the side.

The explosions kept up every 10 minutes or so for the next couple of hours.

My friend Bob Cooksey, who lives directly across the street from the church, says the celebration began an hour earlier with a 30-piece marching band heading out from the church grounds and down the street in front of his home.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

The jewel of Colonia San Antonio

Parroquia de de San Antonio de Padua in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

The fireworks began late last night from the Parroquia de San Antonio d Padua grounds. The ongoing celebration of the Feast of Saint Anthony seems to be building strength as the day draws closer.

The music was more lively, the singing was louder, and the roars from a happy crowd were freighted with joy. Every night, the people gather at the church as the evening’s procession draws near. Different processions from different parts of San Miguel de Allende have been taking place since June 3. They will continue until June 18.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

In Colonia San Antonio: Los pequeños locos make my day

This thing about San Miguel de Allende is you just never know when a parade might break out.

Like this morning.

I was on my way to Pilates. (I know this woman who rocks at teaching floor Pilates. …) As I turned off Calle San Antonio and headed down Calle Allende there was a distinct change in the atmosphere. People of the parental type were hanging on the corners near the church and all looking down the street.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

A world away, next door: Instituto Allende’s garden campus of tranquility inspires creativity

Lost and found art, seen through a workshop window near the sculpture complex.

When I first heard that the Instituto Allende and I were born in the same year I had some mixed feelings.

I mean this venerated arts center on the Ancha de San Antonio in San Miguel de Allende looks ancient. Old stone and mortar. Buildings and walls that go back centuries. An architectural graybeard.

And me, well, I’m … I’m … well, never mind.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Dance, dance, dance in the streets for San Antonio

Every evening until June 19, there are different groups parading through San Miguel de Allende (shortly after 6 p.m.) and ending up at the Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua in Colonia San Antonio.

These are little parades and processions but colorful, a mix of religious and locos imagery, with fun and traditional costuming, and each night promises to be different. The photos here are from two different evenings this week.

It is all in celebration of namesake Saint Anthony, and a run-up to the giant Dia De Los Locos Parade on Sunday, June 19. (Think of these little parades as pieces of that giant puzzle — The Day of the Crazies.)

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Ireland, Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Day 4, ‘Not’ Walking the Burren: Ballyvaughan to Carran

Adirondack chairs set out behind Cassidy’s Pub in Carran offered a nice respite as the sun broke through. I can imagine sitting here with a cold pint on a warm summer evening, contemplating the Burren beyond.

We’ve been dodging in and out of the rain since we began walking the Wild Atlantic Way in County Clare four days ago. This morning, awakening to the steady patter of rain on the windows of the Wild Atlantic Lodge in Ballyvaughan, it feels like we’ve run out of dodges.

Did we really want to walk to Carran — or Carron? It is spelled both ways, often side by side, and nobody seems to really care. I asked. “Either way,” is the most common response.

One of the Burren walking guides calls this leg “extremely rewarding and scenic …”

Well, that is encouraging. Except it is dumping buckets outside.

But wait, there is more.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Welcome to my very first ever New Yorker subscription existential crisis

I have a subscription to The New Yorker, the print edition. It is the one magazine that I like holding in my hands while reading.

Circling unfamiliar, fanciful, and inventive words is part of my reading habit. Circling whole paragraphs. Underlining brilliant turns of phrase. Highlighting exciting writing. This magazine feeds that habit well. The writing is occasionally above my fighting weight, and I appreciate that.

Every time I read The New Yorker, I come away feeling a little smarter, a little more informed, and definitely motivated to keep writing.

Living in Mexico, the New Yorker can arrive two or three weeks later than it should. More often than not, it is the only thing in my mailbox. Late delivery didn’t matter when the content was less topical. Good writing is good writing and it is timeless. I always valued the New Yorker more for its literary content than for its news.

Even the front-of-the-book calendar on events happening in New York City is entertaining, even when those events occurred several weeks ago. New Yorker writers are like the city — bright, challenging, acerbic, engaging, chatty, witty, savvy and, above all, never dull.

The New Yorker is trying to be more timely and that works against my cross-border mail delivery universe. It is still some of the best writing around but by the time the magazine reaches my hands, the rest of the world has moved on. Now, when I pick up a copy, I find that I’ve read most of the stories online.

I also have a large stack of old New Yorkers that I am reluctant to throw out. It feels like hoarding.

So, I thought, time to switch to an online subscription.

Imagine my surprise, then,  when I went online and found that my print subscription expired March 1, 2015.

Is that even possible?

For years, the New Yorker has been arriving faithfully, sometimes two at a time after especially long delivery droughts. And I’ve never once paid my subscription?

For once, I am moved to use two words I despise to describe this moment: existential crisis.

My prized subscription, my only subscription to a printed thing – and I’m what? A glitch in the operation? A bug in the system? A ghost in the machine?

This is a computerized universe. We are a data-driven society. Marketers can tell when your stomach is growling or when you are leaning more Democrat — and swiftly rectify the course of things with ads uniquely chosen for your predicament. To say we are living our authentic lives today means that we are jogging beside a digital stream that knows our every need, predicts our every whim — and responds accordingly.

Usually, an alert arrives well before a subscription expires. Most offer automatic renewal if you choose to take no further action. My online newspaper subscriptions work like that. Convenient, timely, and seamless.

I am not the most conscientious bookkeeper when it comes to my bank accounts. Most times I don’t even think about it. The pension and Social Security come in and the bills get paid. If there is anything left, that is gravy.

I don’t recall an expiration or renewal notice from the New Yorker‘s data grinders. That would have gotten my attention.

Recently, The New Yorker did send me a rejection letter for an essay that I wrote for the magazine’s Shouts & Murmurs section. I sent it in about six months ago and they did warn me that the backlog was horrific. (Ie: “Don’t hold your breath.”) 

It was my first New Yorker rejection and didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it might. It wasn’t even an, um, existential crisis.

(Here is a copy of the essay: That time Guy Raz interviewed Satan on the NPR podcast “How I Built This.” Look, I know it is not New Yorker material. A guy’s gotta dream though, huh?)

I actually felt at the time that the humor in my essay was more topically in tune with David Egger’s McSweeney’s magazine. I had a momentary dream of submitting to both, having both simultaneously accept the article, setting off a fierce bidding war that resulted in publicity to all the right people and a three-book publishing contract with an embarrassingly frothy advance.

Instead, I thought, let’s give the New Yorker a chance. It was, after all, my first love, in a literary sense.

So, months after submitting, and forgetting like a furtive one-night stand, I found out that I wasn’t ghosted. I was rejected.

In fact, it felt pretty good. How many people can say they got turned down by The New Yorker

Real answer: Lots. And often. 

Getting published follows the same rules as winning the lottery. You have to buy a ticket to win. And most likely, you’ll need to buy lots and lots of tickets before you get a winner. 

Many writers are rejected dozens of times before a submission is accepted for publication. The magazine is that good. Cartoonists have it even worse. They can be rejected 30 or 50 times before making it into the magazine, although I believe the cartoon department is set up to more quickly reject a submission than other sections of the magazine.

I don’t really think I’m New Yorker material as a writer but you never know.

The trouble is, I’m in the Grandma Moses phase of my literary life. (Look it up, kids.) I don’t know how much is left in the tank and how much of it is worthy of rejection by prestige publications.

By now you might be thinking, “This is all well and good, Bob, but I think you are avoiding the existential crisis that initiated this essay.”

And you are right.

And I don’t know what to do.

I feel like I should submit this to “The Ethicist” column in the Sunday New York Times.

But wait. I’d better check and see if my NYT subscription is up to date.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Friday in the Park with Moppit

Hermes Arroyo walks past a collection of his mojigangas on the old basketball court, awaiting their chance to lead wedding parties through Parque Juarez on Friday evening.

Moppit the Philosopher Dog is pretty insistent that I take her for a walk, no more than 10 minutes after she finishes her 5 p.m. dinner. She is a creature of habit. Moppit starts a huff-snorting sound around my ankles if I’m not reaching for the leash, the kind of sound a woman makes when the husband comes home late smelling of booze and perfume and mumbles “biznish shmeeting.”

lately, it has been in the high 80s around 5 p.m. here in San Miguel de Allende, so I try to reason with her.

But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

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