Orale, vatos y rucas! QUE ONDA, homeys, weesas, locos y chuntaros! AJUA, Banda! Wow, I'm in a raza mood after our visit to Pasadena and the tasty reception the city threw for us at Mijares restaurante. The mayor offered to buy us margaritas, but somebody else had already beat him to the punch!

If you watched our Twitter feed, you saw pithy notes about the whole trip. But, briefly: we flew west last Wednesday (Cinderella, Megan, Chayo et moi). We hit LAX in the leftover daze from getting up too early in Chi cold and landing in early morning (time travel) in LA heat! Sun! We were pale as Edward Cullen! (That's a cheesy plug for Little, Brown books--brownie points. Oops. A pun. Darn it.) Got to Hertz and found our car--one of those really tiny Chevy deals that looks like a 1941 panel truck that got zapped by a UFO's shrink-ray. We toodled off in the putter-wagon. Got checked in to our Santa Monica hotel. Hit the bricks, checking it out. Drove the girls into Hollywood. My agent amigo Mike invited us to the Chateau Marmont so Megan could see somebody famous. This was my obsession: find Meggy a star to sneer at.

I did not expect Chayo, the Urrea Goodwill Ambassador, to join the various supermodels at their tables and schmooze. I don't know what angle she was working, but perhaps the little one was hoping to be discovered. Meanwhile, the iMac commercial guy--you know, the guy from Die Hard 4--Megan knew his name--was at the next table. OMG! THAT'S LIKE SO TOTALLY HIM. Meg was, I think, bored by our movie talk, and started playing games on my cell phone. Had that dark shades and icy face only a 17 year old girl could have. The iDude got up and walked behind her and leaned over her shoulder to see what she was doing. She never noticed! Meg could have kissed the Mac-Daddy if she'd turned her head.

All in all, a great movie-slut afternoon. Satiated, we went back to the hotel. Up in the morning to walk Santa Monica. Miles of shops and shops and coffee shops and shops and, well, shops. We went out of the pier, and Chayo rode her first roller-coaster. Four times. Trooper of the year. We rode the ferris wheel. We watched seals steal fish off fishermen's hooks. I taught Chayo how to feed pigeons and seagulls. She vanished under an undulating mound of birds. Good thing her mom didn't see that.

Seriously put in four or five good miles of walking. Then drove to Pasadena. Still, being the barbarous wad of man-meat that I am, I uncoiled my two oiled pythons and did my muscle workout when we got back to the room. The skin squealed for mercy as it stretched over my smoking magnum sixguns! Room 213 of the Sheridan was a terrifying riot of manhood--the women cowered.

In the morning, Cinderella got up and went to the treadmill. I slept. Yes I did.

Pool! Couldn't keep the girlies out of the pool! Hot sun and Brit tourists in bizarre open-legged squat poses with bikinis much too small. I observed as a poet might, noting piquant yet tender images and pondering the fleeting moment of life we are given, evanescent and lace-winged. I did not notice jiggling buttocks nor thongs.

Somehow, we managed to walk another two miles.

Yes, Olympic triathlete that I am, I hit the treadmill that night.

We embarrassed yet thrilled Megan by buying as map to the stars' homes and invading Hollywood again. We were on a mission. Ozzy's house! Where Ozzy doesn't live anymore! But Christina does! Tom Cruise's driveway! The house where Superman was shot! (Girls: huh?) Bruce Springsteen's private winding road! Oh, oh! Gene Simmons's front gate! We were almost done when we saw...wait for it...we saw...hang on now...we saw K-FED! In a Mercedes! Like, all backward baseball cap and jammin hip-hop megabass! Go, go, go, go, go, Daddy, gooooo! Chase K-Fed! GOOOOO!

Uh, then what happened. Um. I spoke at the local community college, and we had a really happy time. Except one quivering-with-rage Mexican yoiung lady who wanted to fight because I had dissed the Virgin of Guadalupe. "What book did you read?" I asked. "YOUR BOOK!" I said, "I didn't write whatever you read!" She said, "Yes you did!" I asked, "How much of the book did you read?" She said, "Well, I didn't read it, but our teacher showed us one page!" Wow. This was so weird I simply smiled at her and said: "Whaaaaat?"

One of the young men had me sign his copy, then he showed up at the next gig and had me sign it again--but this time in the back. He told me to write: NOT YOU AGAIN! So I did.

Cindy and I went to a lovely supper at local lawyer/superstar Raul Salinas's MANSE. Let's not even kid ourselves, that homeboy lives large, and I was thrilled to be invited, but Chayo was even more thrilled because she got to swim in their pool. A nice group of local pols and lawyers and readers gathered, and we talked into the evening about Teresita and the Hummingbird's Daughter. Sitting in front of his back yard fireplace. Just a fine, fine gathering.

We LEAPED from bed in the morning! Yes, we did. Honest! Teresita's great-grand daughter, Sylvia, was meeting us for lunch and sharing of stories and secrets before the Pasadena One City/One Book celebration. It was our first meeting. I wasn't expecting a movie star. Muy guapa, mi prima. She brought us many pictures and many family secrets and legends for Book II. It was big love all around.

We all went to the convention center--there was a fancy marquee, and a red carpet, and a mariachi group outside. Banners and big posters. We went inside to a ballet folklorico. Chayo said, "Daddy--all this for you?" I wanted to say somethimg cosmic like, "It is all for Teresita." But I was more like Hell yeah. Sylvia's familia came. Librarians came. Urreas from Clifton-Morenci came. My dear old pal Elia Esparza and her beau, the actor Miguel Najera came. There were between 600 and 700 people in attendance. Pretty stunning, when you think about it.

I introduced Sylvia to the audience, and she rose to the occasion--you could feel all the cosmic folks straining to touch her. Whew! The mystery is still with us.

Well, the event went well. Lots of laughs, anyway. I could hear Chayo hooting and laughing--I even heard Megan laugh. Probably because I looked so gargantuan on the Jumbotron TV screens. It's pretty ghastly, when you feel like your face already looks like a boiled hamhock, to have one on each side of you bigger than a Hummer. I could constantly see, in my peripheral vision, two giant mutant me's coming from either side to eat me.

I sat onstage with our Librarian Goddess, Jan, and we chatted.

An unexpected standing O at the end. Gracias. You really didn't have to do that.

The signing line was over 100 people long. I have to report the best thing that may have ever happened on book event tours: six different Yaqui people or families thanked me for telling their story. I was so happy. That's where it's at, right there. Sylvia seemed happy, and my yaqui brothers and sisters were happy. What more can you ask for? (Except a margarita from the mayor!)

At Mijares, the second bizarre and uncomfortable moment, though. Man, I got scolded in Pasadena! A crew of "concerned women" waited till all the fans had left and I was clearly trying to go to bed so we could leave for the airport this morning at 5:30. "If you had used language like what is in your book in my house, you would have gotten smacked in the mouth!" the head Taliban said. I was tired, cranky, and astounded this person had sat through the event, sat through the long long signing, then come across town and waited through the entire reception to attack. I said, "My book isn't about your house. It's about somebody else's house." She said, "I am extremely uncomfortable with your choices as a writer." I said, "Who told you that your comfort was my responsibility?" (I was thinking: get your Sherman Alexie on, Luis!) I found out later that the book had been banned! Yes. From high schools. Duh. They could have called me, and I would have suggested it was never intended for a high school audience.

We said a sad farewell to all our new Pasadena friends, kissed Sylvia good-night, went back to our room where I brooded. Why is it that 700 people tell you they love you and your work, but one angry girl and four women who look like they just smelled a fresh cat turd as they stare at you can pierce your heart? Well, I don't know.

It's all in a day's work. I sought God, and God came. Even when I used naughty language.

We dragged out of bed today at 5:00. Crawled to the putter-truck a half hour later. And have spent the day in the plane, coming from brilliant sun and heat to fresh snow. No K-Fed, dawg! No iMac commercial Die Hard dude! Just us. Our cat. And early bed.

Still, being the Visgoth warrior prince that I am, driven by my superhuman genetics, I mounted the treadmill tonight and squirted blood out of my eyes before writing this note to you.

And yes, damn it! I cried while watching "Marley and Me" on the plane. All right? Are you happy now!!!

XXX, Luigi--El Santo de Cabora and Shit-Talker

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