Who Knew? Dinosaur Blood Makes for Crappy Gasoline

The following conversation took place as Joy drove home with her parents in a fossil fuel burning Chrysler. They were discussing Pemex, the nationalized oil company of Mexico. Mexico sells a lot of its crude oil to U.S. companies. Joy’s father is a long-time petrochemical refining consultant, so he’s seen his share of Mexican crude.

Dad: [Name of refinery redacted] processes about 50,000 barrels of Mexican crude every day.

Joy: 50,000 barrels a day? That’s a lot of gasoline. How we don’t run out, I have no idea. (Trying to sound smart)… Most Mexican oil is from offshore drilling.

Mom: I wonder why they don’t do more drilling onshore in Mexico?

Joy (speculating wildly): Probably because of all the mountains. It’s not flat like Texas.

Dad: No, that has nothing to do with it. It’s random, you find it where ever dinosaurs died….

Joy (dumbfounded): ….I thought gasoline was from, you know, old plants and stuff.

Dad: No, mostly dinosaurs. They’re huge and there used to be tons of them. That’s what most gasoline comes from.

Joy: That’s kind of creepy. And sad.

Mom: Yeah, it really is, isn’t it?

Dad: There’s even some crude that’s hard to use because it contains so much iron. Iron from the blood of dinosaurs. It’s hard to remove the iron.

Joy (a little grossed out): Uh, wow.

(Hours later, an incredulous Joy Googles the issue and discovers that one Tyrannosaurus Rex yields 460 gallons of gasoline. Moral of the story: Dinosaurs fuel this world.)

Water Aerobics and Green Mohawks

Today I went to water aerobics. Here’s where you laugh and say “but isn’t that for fat old ladies?” Yes, but it’s also for 31-year-old not-so-fat ladies on vacation. Water aerobics may not be the New York Marathon, but 1) I didn’t sweat 2) I had fun and 3) I shoved the foam barbells underwater so many times I know my arms will be feeling it tomorrow. So there.

Still, when I got home to my parents’ house after my “workout,” my 60-something parents pointed out that 1) I like to play bingo and 2) I attended water aerobics today. Harumph, I said, while admiring the pocketwatch collection on Antiques Roadshow.

But don’t send me off to the home just yet: One of my photos (taken at a loud rock concert! attended by people with tattoos!) made it onto the homepage of MohawksRock.com. Which means I am completely cool, hip, young, edgy and everything the opposite of water aerobics. Even if I had no idea what MohawksRock was until about four minutes ago.

Here’s my photo, and check out MohawksRock.com while yer at it, folks.


If I ever have the privilege of naming a new mascot for a water aerobics team (one day, it will be an Olympic sport, you’ll see), The Green Mohawks is it.

The Not-So-Sparkling City by the Sea

corpus christi

I can’t help but love my hometown, but the place has seen much better days. Especially the older parts of town. It’s a damn shame that such once-beautiful houses and beach bungalows are literally rotting, and that almost every other business is shuttered. I do not have much hope for the future of Corpus Christi, a place dubbed the “Sparkling City by the Sea,” a motto that most people laugh at. Sure, there are lovely parts of the city, but each time I come back, I see fewer of them.

texas casa


I See Miles and Miles of Texas

snow white

In one week of vacation, we kayaked the South Llano River with Dana and Cristian, spotted pronghorn antelope, frequently contemplated how to earn “passive income,” learned to play the card games 99 and Bull Shit, polished off a bottle of Tito’s Vodka (distilled in Austin), got turned away from the YO Ranch, smelled a dead deer behind a rest stop, petted Fluppy and Motley, sipped drinks under the watchful eyes of a stuffed longhorn at the Driskell Hotel, bowled in San Antonio, played pool in several Texas cities and some shuffleboard in Austin, toured an impressively eco-friendly remodeled King William Historic District house owned by our former landlord Roy, saw The HorrorPops with Ric, Amber and Nicole (and admired a young lady’s Snow White tattoo), spent St. Patty’s Day at Cheers, ate many plates of migas, toured adorable-but-windy Rockport with Betty and Don, giggled with Jenny and John, visited Dan and Zach at Chuck E. Cheese’s, watched a homeless man draped in a self-made plastic spacesuit walk across a park, soaked in lots of South Texas humidity, drove many miles, drank lots of coffee at uber-cool Austin coffeehouses, and generally had a great time seeing our fantastic friends and family in the mightily mighty Lone Star State.

In an Absolut World

Manana, I head up to Texas for two weeks. So, a parting shot — and free advertising for Absolut. This billboard sits above the corner of Nuevo Leon and Sonora, a busy intersection in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.


Clever, eh?

Headache Grande: Trying to Talk Joy into Driving Stick Shift

One of the quickest, most concise ways to get a meta-glimpse at yourself is to review the terms in your Google search box. Since I’m online at least 40 hours a week, I’ve gots lots of search terms. Basically my whole life is crammed up in there.

A not-so-random sampling:

  • “mojito recipe”
  • “disillusionment” (spell checking for previous blog post headline)
  • “austin barton springs pool” (for upcoming trip)
  • “Popocatepetl” (local hard-to-spell volcano)
  • “pinched nerve in neck” (ouch!)

And, most recently and perhaps most embarrassingly:

  • “learning to drive stick shift”

Yes, folks, Joy can’t drive stick shift. No, more accurately: Joy gets heart flutters, palm sweats and crossed eyes at the thought of trying to get into second gear. Especially now that she lives in Mexico City. Why? As the Arizona Republic puts it, driving here is “headache grande.”

We’d like to buy a car — a cheap one — but the cheapest coches always have manual transmission. We have a friend who is selling her relatively new & cheap manual transmission compact car. It’s perfect…except for the whole transmission thing.

Of course, my phobia of stick shift driving irritates the better half to no end. “Why can’t you just learn? It’s eaaaaaasy,” he says. “Muy facil! Come on, you have to learn someday!”

So, amigos, what do you think? Am I being ridiculous and a little retarded? The few times I tried to learn, I was pretty shitty city. I managed, once, to drive to a mall and back, but not without stalling several times (and enduring merciless honking and shouting.) If I could drive around with nary another car (or batshit insane taxi driver, bus or truck) around, I’d try it. Sure, no hay problema. But on a normal day in the D.F.? No f’ing way. (I think my stress level — from just the mere discussion of this! — can be measured by the amount of swearing I’m doing right now.)

I like to blame this all on the fact that I’m left-handed. That if the gear shift was on the left side, I’d be fine — my left hand would be in control, I could become the female James Bond, shifting my way to lands yet unexplored at 80 mph, and looking good while doing it. (But do you even shift at that speed?)

I also think it has something to do with the fact that I don’t want to learn. I’ve got enough to learn right now, like a whole new language, culture and general-way-of-life. No small frjioles, eh?

Once I’ve got those three things mastered, perhaps I’ll take up stick shift.

Me Gustan Mucho: Mojitos y Cochinita Pibil

Last night I made real mojitos, following this recipe.

And then Brendan ordered cochinita pibil, which arrived fresh and steaming to our door about 30 minutes later, with a side serving of tortillas, sliced red onions and habañero salsa (muy picante, as in just smelling it makes your tongue burn. Not lying).

Taking a bit of the pibil, wrapped up in a hot corn tortilla, and then taking a swig of mojito: Flavor purrrr-fection.

Thanks to Spitzer, My Political Disillusionment Is Complete

Holy hay-zeus, could Eliot Spitzer be more stupid? Ain’t no lady of the night worth what he’s experiencing right now!

When the first news broke, I was emailed and IMd by a barrage of friends. Friends who remembered how I loved Spitzer when he was running for governor. Example, from my friend Connie:

“Spitzer your favorite gov was involved in a prostitution ring…oy vey! What a scam he is! I had so much faith in
him in the beginning…. ”

And from my friend Marc:
“hear about NY governor elliot spitzer? best scandal of 2008”

And of course, from my better half: “sorry that your hero has fallen.”

Anyway, to make a sad, pitiful story short, I hate American politicians. All of them. As I’ve said before, and I guess I’ll keep saying it again, Politics…Primaries…Blah, Blah, Blah.

Web Writing Workshop – Courtesy of Moi

Today I’m headed over to Televisa, “the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world” to hold a workshop on “news writing and editing.”

My friend Susana, who works there as part of her journalism fellowship, will be the translator. (And she’s the one who convinced me to give the talk.) I’ve put together a little PowerPoint prez, and practiced it in front of the dog — who watched intently, head cocked, the entire time. Good sign, right?

Here’s what was sent around Televisa to advertise my workshop:

Taller con Joy Victory
“Escribiendo, editando y optimizando su contenido en los buscadores”
Viernes 7 de marzo 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Joy Victory es una editora freelance para About.com, propiedad del New York Times. Antes de mudarse a México DF, hace cinco meses, Joy trabajó como editora de tiempo completo en About.com en Nueva York. Empezó su carrera como reportera de salud para varios periódicos estadounidenses. Después de varios años en la prensa escrita, trabajó como productora multimedia en temas de salud para ABCNEWS.com. En About.com, Joy edita artículos, verifica el uso de gramática, estilo, precisión y search engine optimization (SEO).
En su tiempo libre, Joy escribe su “Blog de Joy”