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 smh.com.au

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 babynames.com. 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.