Friday, February 05, 2010

Taking the plunge

After many weeks of indecision and doubt I finally did what I had to do:

I'm now on Facebook.

I'm still somewhat nervous on joining the renown social network; I worry about how much privacy I'm willing to let go in order to communicate with others. On the other hand, being on Facebook will hopefully help me reconnect with lost friends as well as stay in touch with family abroad. I sincerely hope that the pluses far outweigh the minuses and that this can be the start of a very beneficial step for me.

Here we go!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Friendship Reclamation Project

On Saturday I returned from a must-needed family trip to Colombia. I
won't get into too much detail know but there has been one thing
that's been on my mind since last week

On the 2nd I had what was for the most part a great dream. I dreamt
that I coincidentally met a certain someone online and we consequently
expressed our mutual desire. She insisted in sending me special
correspondence via snail mail (in retrospect I have no clue why). When
that mail arrived it wad in reality gibberish and I realized that
somebody perpetrated an ugly hoax on me. From there I awoke from my
nightmare but not before realizing that for far too long I had been
inexcusably excluding myself from my friends. I came to the conclusion
that I needed to regain their fraternity and loyalty. Hence the
genesis of what I've deemed the Friendship Reclamation Project.

The Friendship Reclamation Project is very simple: a concerted
effort to show goodwill, loyalty, and trust to my acquaintances. I
don't want to lose them and irreparably hurt my life.

The future is now and I must make the most of it ASAP.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Poor blog, how I have abandoned thee!

Why I haven't I written here lately? There are several reasons; for starters, I've gotten the nasty habit of bottling up my emotions far more often then I should. It's one thing to have a calm demeanor yet it's quite another when one acts much to dour and serious as a facade.

A minor part of it is that I've put a little too much effort into the group blog and far from enough on this one. By the time I'm done with the day's posts (along with my many other responsibilities) I'm just not in the right mindset to post here.

(Quick aside - perhaps I should've started a personal Twitter feed. Yet my problem is that I tend to be too verbose in my writing. Thus. staying within the 150 character limit is a little too challenging. Well, for now at least).

In addition, I've been hurt by death and the stress caused by it. I don't wish to get into a lot of detail because there are some mental wounds that have taken far too long to heal. Suffice it to say I need to overcome those hurdles and somehow march on.

Another reason is that I haven't really progressed as significantly as I would've liked. For the most part I've been in a state of stasis while otherwise I've regressed. Not good, my friends. Not good. (I'll get into more detail on that in a later post, I hope).

Furthermore, during most of the calendar year so far I've become weak and have allowed my old demons to get the best of me once again. Over the past six weeks or so I've woken up and tried to recuperate lost time and energy. It may be too late in some areas but I'm going to work hard to make sure any losses are minimal.

So where does that leave me? Introverted, timid, and in a cocoon. To my great detriment I've shunned all my friends, and I've been reluctant to be strong and face my fears and apprehensions. The latter I've begun to change in recent weeks. The former will require a yeoman's effort on my part. But I've got to start somewhere. Hence, this post which will hopefully serve as a symbol of my return to reality and the loosening of the mental chains I've placed upon myself.

Will there be sunny skies ahead or well the dark storm continue? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Music Break: Jazzanova

So sayeth Wikipedia:
Jazzanova is a German Berlin-based DJ/producer collective consisting of Alexander Barck, Claas Brieler, Jürgen von Knoblauch, Roskow Kretschmann, Stefan Leisering, and Axel Reinemer. Formed in 1995, the group is one of the foremost proponents of the nu-jazz, chillout and jazz house styles of music associated with record labels such as Compost Records and Sonar Kollektiv. They have also experimented with Latin jazz, which can be heard on the song "Tres Bien"...

Their latest release is the studio album Of All The Things, released on October 21st 2008.
Most of Jazzanova's tunes (like my personal favorite "Behold These Days") is relaxing and exemplifies the chillout genre. Yet the video below for "I Can See" is uplifting and a great song in anticipation of the springtime bloom.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's in a name?

Image via

One of the few recent bright spots regarding my extended family is the pregnancy of one of my favorite cousins. Admittedly there are numerous faults with her bearing a child such as the fact that giving birth puts her health somewhat at risk. Worse still, however, is that the father is a married man who abuses her and treats her with callous disregard.

(Then again, she actually likes being with such an overbearing prick to the point that he might be by her side when she gives birth. So there went that.)

Though the circumstances may be problematic I'm very happy for her and sincerely hope that the child lives a happy, healthy, and satisfying life.

Since I'm so overjoyed at her impending birth (mid-May?) I decided to help out by figuring out an appropriate name for the girl. I've been told that a name has already been decided by the mother but perhaps I can change her mind!

Anyway, before providing my five picks here are some basic guidelines behind the names I chose:
  • Since my cousin and her family is in Colombia I decided to choose names in Spanish. Furthermore, there appears to be an atrociously annoying trend over there of using English-language names with altered spelling. (i.e. Lady -> Leidy; Jonathan -> Jhonatan). I'm sorry but that concept makes me cringe!
  • Speaking of trends, there's the terrible custom of calling people by abbreviated forms and not using their full name. Years ago, for example, I knew an acquaintance named Pilar yet her friends inexplicably called her "Pili". The other day I nearly broke my TV when someone referred to a woman named Maria Catalina as "Maricata". That name sounds like a virus for crying out loud!
  • As the saying goes "brevity is the soul of wit". Hence, no names with four syllables or more.
  • Preferably no names of any family members.
  • Lastly, I tried to choose names that sound unique for Colombia but that don't sound too unusual or out of place. (This is probably the most subjective category of the four).
Without further ado, here are my selections:
  1. Paloma - I adore the symbolism related to the name since it means "dove" in Spanish. (A represntation of peace). The name is a mere three syllables and there's no way it can be shortedned without sounding terribly out of place.
  2. Rosa - I have to confess that this bends one of my rules since it's the name my aunts and uncles call my mother. Yet I like that it's very quick and easy to say in both English and Spanish.
  3. Liliana - The danger with this name is that it can easily be shortened to "Lili" and thus break one of the aforementioned guidelines. In its full form, however, the name rolls of the tongue easily and has a nice, poetic sound.
  4. Belen - This was the only name that I couldn't come up on my own in that I found it via a quick search of Aside from adhering to the above guidelines, what also appealed me to that name is that it's a unisex moniker.
  5. Cristal - Three of the four names already mentioned end in "-a"; thus, I tried to choose one that doesn't. Cristal just so happens to be the name of a girl I had a massive crush on many years ago though that's not why I selected it. Rather, it's because I thoroughly enjoy Juana Molina and her song "El Cristal." (Is that a lame reason?)
I would be flattered should one of my chosen names be placed on the girl. In the end, however, that is of little importance so as long as she's a wonderful person who will live a full and fantastic life. I really hope that should be the case.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva: Missing You

On New Year’s Eve I mentioned one of several resolutions that I plan on carrying through in the upcoming months. The following is another one:

Family – Simply put, I miss my family in Colombia.

The weird thing was that I haven’t seen them during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period since 2006. (I’m exempting this autumn since that was during immense duress).

Before the holidays I was not very enthusiastic to the notion of traveling over there with my mom and brothers. Yet there were occasions over the past few weeks that their presence was sorely lacking. For instance, waking up on Christmas Day and not being surrounded by grandma and the rest of the extended family felt odd. Mom was feeling rather down and she deserved to be with her beloved brothers and sisters. I got nostalgic to talk to my cousins and shoot the breeze with them. New Year’s Eve was lovely in that I was at home watching the ball drop and sipping on champagne but that’s nothing compared to getting plastered with loved ones, dancing the night away, and watching the sun rise above the fine mountain mist.

Admittedly there are some creature comforts that are missing when I stay in Colombia (e.g. warm showers, trusty toilets, non-English language TV) but its well worth giving up those luxuries when one is surrounded by happy family

How can I improve relations with those loved ones way south of the border? For starters, I really need to talk with those in La Palma more often via phone. Mom calls them at least once a week so I’ll try to horn in on her conversations more often.

In addition, there’s a better tool at my disposal: the Internet. For the most part it’s my younger cousins that are connected though I know an aunt or two who’s starting to get the hang of it. (Perhaps I’ll write send them an e-card tomorrow).

The easier option is one that I’ve deliberately ignored for quite a while. It’s an option that I once found to be juvenile and a waste of time. Alas, I cannot wait anymore.

One word: Facebook.

Just the thought of social networking makes me cringe slightly. It seems like it’s too easy. But then again, if I want to communicate more often with my extended family and be in touch with them then Facebook is the way to go.

I suppose the deciding factor was over last month when I celebrated my birthday and I received nary a message via e-mail. The preferred method was at least once every hour when my brothers, who have signed onto Facebook, would give me greetings from aunts, uncles, and cousins in Colombia. They had their own Facebook accounts and would “talk” to me using my brothers as proxies. By then I decided that social networking would have to do.

Despite my continued anxiety I’ll register with Facebook sometime this weekend. If it helps me communicate with my family thousands of miles away, who I miss immensely, then it’ll be well worth it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva: Battle of the Bulge(s)

Bye-bye delicious chocolates! (Image source)

Normally I abhor making New Year’s resolutions. They seem fickle and useless especially if one doesn’t commit to them. Furthermore, such life-altering promises should be made anytime of the year and not pushed off until early January.

Yet in my case I’ve experienced many more downs than ups, particularly over the past three months. Now is the time that I have to make some serious affirmations and improve my life along with those around me.

So what resolutions will I make starting in 2009? I’ll be writing about them over the next few days. Today's resolutions is one close to my heart (literally):

Physical – I’ve ballooned in weight since early autumn and I’m at least fifteen pounds obese. I haven’t been this fat in years and I cannot afford to continue ignoring the warning signs (e.g. heavier breathing, more labored movement).

In addition, my legs have been feeling very weak compared to, say, six to twelve months ago. I wake up several times nightly with leg cramps and I cannot sit still during the day for extended periods of time. My disability cannot improve but can only get worse. I’ve allowed it to reach that point.

Thus, my strategy is twofold. First, go on a steady diet; no more sweets or overeating and less take-out. I need to curb down on my starches and eat more veggies and fruits.

The second part is one word: exercise. Stretch more often and do some leg-strengthening work. It’s a simple resolution but one that will be a challenge to keep.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I cannot believe that it has been nearly four months since I've written an entry here. In this span I've penned a few hundred entries here, yet I've kept this poor blog in terrible shape. I mean, I could dribble on and on and on about why I've abandoned my personal blog but in all honesty it's not worth it. I'm just not in the mood to recall all the personal struggles of the past few months. (This partially explains why I tend to postpone appointments to see my shrink).

So why am I posting today? You see, this morning I found the following video of a recent talk show appearance by Louis C.K. Superficially, his rant seems like an anti-technology speech. Beyond the surface, however, it examines how society takes certain things for granted. It's a sentiment I've known far too well lately and it's one that I must correct.

I cannot keep repeating the same mistakes. The sooner I correct them the better I, and my loved ones, will be.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I’m now watching the repeat of this morning’s Opening Ceremonies from Beijing. I’ve yet to glimpse at how the cauldron was lit but I’m sure it was done beautifully if the artistry of the first part of the ceremony was indication.

So far the coverage on NBC is in the final third of the march of nations; I really wish Matt Lauer and Bob Costas would not be so chatty and let the images speak for themselves. (I felt this way especially when the Venezuelan delegation came out and all they could do was launch these smartass quips about Hugo Chavez. Trust me, I’m not a Chavista and I tend to disagree with his initiatives. But please give me a break with the whole “tee hee, he moved the clocks forward by thirty minutes” remarks).

Regarding the Olympics, I feel pretty neutral and blasé over the Games this year; part of it is due to the difficulty in watching the events live and part of it is due to the whole human rights controversy. The only sport I’m truly passionate about is the U.S. participation in soccer which explains why I woke up at 4:30 in the morning yesterday to watch the U.S.-Japan match. Otherwise I feel pretty “meh” about the whole affair.

This brings me to the inimitable wisdom of Eddie Izzard. Stoned Olympics?” Yes please!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ads, ads, ads: Negativity

Which one of these ads is worse, dear reader?

Obama on McCain:

McCain on Obama:

It's a tough call; they both stink.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The only enjoyable opera

If only all opera were this interesting then I would try to go to the Met more often:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Five Alive: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” in Colombia

Video link.

Two weeks ago, the second episode of the current season of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” visited Colombia. Naturally, the episode was a cannot-miss event at home and we huddled around the living room TV to watch the program. We all enjoyed it and were glad that he visited the country.

Admittedly, I should’ve written this up within 24 hours of the first airing of the program. Foolishly, I lost my notes and didn’t recover them until but a few minutes ago as I was organizing some papers in the pig pen that is my bedroom.

With twenty minutes to go before the next episode (Uruguay!) here’s a quick rundown of my impressions of No Reservations en mi madrepatria.

  1. The only section that disturbed me was at the beginning when he discusses that Colombia was not the cesspool of violence that it once was and that sadly continues to stereotype the country. Nevertheless, in his info he oversimplifies the decrease in violence of the cartels yet includes the paramilitaries as among those who have been “pushed back.” Understandably the show is not a political forum and some notes have to be presented in simple terms. Yet the “peace process” which led to the dissolution of the country’s main paramilitary organization was flawed and there are some who have retaken to the armed struggle. (See: Aguilas Negras). Compared to the rest of the program this was a minor gripe, however.
  2. With that said kudos to Bourdain and co. for heading off the beaten track and not focusing on the typical tourist traps. To see him wander the Cartagena market, travel to an impoverished island (Tierra Bomba) across from the affluent section of Cartagena, and visit the comunas in Medellin as a refreshing sight. Despite not trekking to Bogota or Cali, for instance, his enthusiasm to discover the distinct was rewarding.
  3. I was shocked that Bourdain didn’t mention President Alvaro Uribe during the entire program. I was convinced before the program that he would hop on the Uribe bandwagon and throw him at least a crumb or two of named praise. Instead, the only politico he mentioned was Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo who was key in the city’s “unbelievable transformation” during the post-Escobar period. While Uribe’s accolades are deserved (for the most part) it detracts from the efforts of deserving local leaders like Fajardo.
  4. Good god the food was mouthwatering! Calentado, emapanadas, and chorizo were just a few of the divine dishes and tasty treats he encountered throughout the program. I couldn’t help but chuckle at his amazement over the massive portions given during each meal; a quality of Colombian cuisine that even caught me off guard during my first visit to Colombia as an adult in 2003.
  5. Finally, it was touching to notice Bourdain’s amazement at Colombia at the end of the program. “I hope I’ve gained a reason for optimism” he said; a sentiment that is shared by those who wish to see everlasting peace and prosperity reach Colombia after what seems like eons of lost potential and bloodshed. “It’s the people that make the place,” he mentioned in closing, and it is those people who break stereotypes and strive daily for a better future.