Thursday, November 27, 2008

And the story continues...

So I thought I was making a comeback in April. Boy was I wrong! I stated back then that this blog was a hobby, and given the fact that my time was not being monopolized by my job I could go back to my hobby!  Well, one of them. You see, I am a self declared geek! And if the 2008 primary and general elections did not present a moment in history, I do not what else would. Well, maybe the astronaut that let her tool bag slip and go floating away in space. And now there are  amateur astronomers (another hobby) tracking the whereabouts of this tool-bag in orbit.  What is it with women and their bags?  I though the the time my friend left her purse in the Starbucks in downtown Santa Barbara was bad enough! We were past half way back to LAX, 100 miles away!!

But, I digressed. Basically it seems now that I have been busy with my other hobbies!

Today, I am at work!  Sitting at the Marriott Torrance's RAIN Wine Bar and Lounge! What a surprise when I logged on to the wireless service that the computer knew who I was.. 

mc






Welcome to Torrance, Anthony

..Are you freaking kidding me?  Cookies! What else are they saying about me?

What motivated me today to come and write was finding and reading the blog of an old high school friend! "BORICUAS REALENGOS". It is written in spanish, so if you do not dabble in the spanish language, and you don't like the way IE translates websites, just don't bother. A Boricua is the very native name used among puertorricans, to identify themselves. The island was called Borinquén (in one of its many different forms) by the native indian (Indio Taíno), before Christopher Columbus and the spaniards took over. "Realengo" is the words used to refer to a stray dog; one without a home. Some of us, puertorricans, or boricuas, find a major puertorrican or spanish community within our place of residence in the states, in my case, South Florida, to which we feel we belong to. I guess when you live in Tennessee like my friend does, the plurality of puertorrican people is nonexistent. And therefore, the feeling of being one of the few puertorricans among all the trees of Tennessee, might leave you longing for those things deep within our nature that are not present anymore but yet are the make up of who we are!

And what does that have to do with me?

With the explosion of the online community called FACEBOOK, I have had the opportunity of finding lots of old friends; kindergarden friends, elementary school, high school, college. And these people have turned out to be great people! They are part of who I am. They give meaning to my life even when they are, and were not present in my life. At this age, our commonality is probably based on our longing to look back and see who we were, and who we are. It further fulfills Maslow's higher need; Self-Actualization.

In the higher realm, there is not a sense of being 'realengo'. 

And for that, I am very grateful on this THANKSGIVING DAY!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Assaulting my blog!!

That is the only way to re-start this blog.. an assault.. rapid fire. Nothing else.


ELECTIONS 2008

While the dynamics of this election season are very interesting, let me start by focusing on one issue; the voting public.

It is amazing to me the fact that a lot of people in this land can exercise their right vote, without taking the time to educate themselves on all the issues. Dictionary.com defines education as; the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

While I can go on a major academic dissertation demonstrating my point, let me just point to the most obvious overt misinformation of this campaign; the email being passed around that Barack Obama is a Muslim 'who wants to destroy the US'. I have received this email from a few friends already. The funny part of it is that, while no one cares to check the information for themselves (for God sake, we all now have computers at home.. we can all do a search for the latest stupid YOU TUBE video, why not for something factual and important) is that the email contains a name,a title, a department and a phone number belonging to someone who supposedly works for Yale University. Because to me it is important that *I* look the information up, I called the phone number and searched the Staff Directory for Yale on the web, and found no one with that name. That simple.

If a friend has a rotten apple, they would not pass it on to their friends. It is very simple to see its rotten. But, I wonder, would they feel qualify to make a judgement on the state of the micro and macro socio-economical situation of agriculture in the US? It reminds me of a friend who claims to be a supporter of the Republican party. But she believes in pro-choice, in gay marriages, and in the responsibility of government to take care of the needy and the poor. Does she knows that none of those issues are part of the Republican platform?

This brings me to the fact that based on my experience all through high school and college, only about 5% (3 out of 60) of the students, did their homework and applied themselves to be able to handle the questions in the tests, to be able to read a passage and answer comprehension questions corrrectly, or were able to look at an equation, analyze it and provide a good result. Trust me, the curve does not go up to 50% just because all of the sudden you are older. If you have not applied yourself, you are still as stupid as before. Hence, why 90% of the emails that I get do not even show paragraphs.

So before you go to vote, please educate yourself on the issues, and the record of your candidates. There is nohing better than the 'web' to find all of your info (on that and nything else).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

THE COMEBACK!

When I first started writing this blog on September 2005, I had found something to do that I love. I have found a hobby. Dictionary.com defines hobby;

1. an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation

I do have a main occupation. But until last October I found myself more 'occupied' than I needed to be in my life. And sadly, forgetting about my hobbies, and about myself. But lately my main occupation is not as time taxing (isn't today April 15th ?). And so, there are a lot of interesting topics out there that I like to explore.

When I wrote that first post I did not know who, if any, would read it. By the time I took my hiatus, I was averaging a modest 1000 singular hits every month. So this hobby is not so much about who reads it or how many readers I get, but more of an academic exercise. Sort of like taking the verbal section of the SATs again; reading and comprehending. And of of course, it is also about making some observations in life, and asking questions I might not hear being asked.

And in honor of my first post, I will post several topics at once. So like in Poltergeist... I'mmmm baaaaccckkk!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics is Heart Disease, accounting for 28.5 % of all deaths. The second one, at 22.8 % is Cancer. Keeping the probababilities simple, we have a 50% chance of dying of either heart disease or cancer.

As much as I would like to put my efforts behind the
American Heart Association, it is cancer the cause that got my attention the first day 'I saw it' in a scan of my mother's body. While the disease sucker-punched and took all of me at the time, it also drew my ire and disposition. I declared war on it immediately, way before her one single death. Cancer might have won that battle, but there are many more that I believe I can help to fight.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Among many themes, the one thing women need to be aware of is that early detection leads to successful treatments. Letting it go might prove lethal. Besides a women, you might be a mother, a sister, a wife, a grandmother. Cancer does not only lives physically in your body, but also mentally and emotionally, in you, as well as in those around you. There are many organizations that focus on cancer education, outreach program, patient support and most importantly fund raising programs that help in the research and development of new medicines and treatments.

In 1978, Nancy Goodman Brinker promised her dying sister Suzy that she would do everything possible to bring an end to breast cancer. In 1982 she founded the Susan G Komen For the Cure, the nation's larger private funder of cancer research and outreach community programs. They organize the nationwide Race for the Cure. Komen also host the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk. The American Cancer Society and their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program put together the Relay For Life. And City of Hope, along with plenty of strong sponsors brings you the Walk for Hope.

And speaking of hope, I already said from the onset that fighting Malignant Neoplasms is my cause. While I choose to focus on those tumors that grow in the breast, I just do not like Cancer. Period! And since my mom's death I have had other reasons to feed my fire. So I would also like to make you aware of others organizations and events.

Let me start with the Lance Armstrong led, 10-days, San Diego to Washington DC, bicycle
Tour of Hope and 3-days Ride for the Roses. I am a supporter of his LIVESTRONG - Lance Armstrong Foundation which "believes that in the battle with cancer, unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fight blood cancers and they put together the amazing program called Team in Training. Among other foundations check Katie Couric's National Colorectal Research Alliance.

And while Colon, Breast,
Prostate, lymphoma and Leukemia, in that order, account for 33.1% of all cancer related deaths, let me finish by mentioning that Lung Cancer by far is the main culprit accounting for 30.9% . The recent deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeves should bring well deserved attention to the cause. An example of that is MSNBC Keith Olberman 'editorial/testimonial' while reporting Mr Jennings' death , and while you can read the article, I prefer you click on the Launch button provided and watch the video.


Recently, I became aware of myelodysplastic syndromes. MDS, formerly known as "preleukemia", a diverse collection of hematological conditions united by ineffective production of blood cells. Although not a true malignant neoplasm, MDS is nevertheless classified within the hematological neoplasms. This disease took the life of my most beloved friend's mother.

Finally, if you will, click here and go to my webpage at the Race for the Cure in Miami, and you can securely donate a dollar, or two, with your credit card, and help me raise funds for the cause.

Visit YAHOO, Breast Cancer Awareness!

All of you women out there, please remember, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. BE AWARE! Pat yourself on your back, once you have checked yourself on the front. My Mom would probably be still here, if she would have detected her condition earlier.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

St Patrick's Day


ST. PATRICK'S DAY


There is an observation I need to make; how did St. Patrick's day become to be the 'drunkiest' day of the year in America?? And while the green dye might work well in the Chicago River, it doesn't make the beer taste that good.

Ireland's bishop in the early 450's AD, Patrick established monasteries all over the green land and convereted many to christianism. He died on Mar 17th, 461 AD, and later throught the cannonization process of the catholic church, that day became a national holiday for the Irish people. Considered a feast on the Roman Catholic Church calendar (a day to celebrate or remember saints), this day has transformed itself from its irish roots of a gathering of families with a big huge dinner (sort of a thanksgiving day), to an american excuse to carry license to go out, drink and get drunk. I take it that from the famous, or infamous, perception of irish people drinking and celebrating, everyone ended up thinking this is what you do on that day.

Here is a another interesting tidbit on St Patrick's Day. The famous shamrock that people pinned to their clothes, or hats, was made famous by St. Patricks, as, during his sermons he would utilize this leaf to explain the holy trinity as three separate entities being one. The Catholic Irish would then wear this symbol as demonstration of their religious faith.

So there is my observation as to the contrast of what its supposed to be, and what it is.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Call Tones


I am, what you call in marketing, an early adopter; I was one of the first ones among my friends to own a cell, then a camera phone, the latest phone, a song as a ring tone, and now a call tone. A call tone is a song(or sound) that you can have play in your cell for a incoming call. So when you call that phone, you are treated to a custom sound.

I chose for my first Call Tone, James Blunt song, "You Are Beautiful". I received many compliments over it, many people were pleasantly surprised, and 'baffled' about how I had done that. I knew that if I chose a Call Tone, I would have to keep changing it to keep it fresh. But I was not prepared for all the comments.

My close female friends loved it! My guy friends couldn't let a remark or two go unsaid. One cool thing about call tones is that you can custom them to play at a certain time, or for certain people only. So, the song that I selected for the one person that I have loved in my life was "ADORE" by Prince ("Until the end of times, I'll be there 4 U; u own my heart and mind, I truly adore U, if God one day stroke me blind, your beauty I'd still see. Love is 2 weak 2 define, just what you mean to me"). One thing though, I am not sure that she would ever hear it.

Anyway, about a week or so ago my friend Wendy asked me why would I have a song about 'unattainable love' as my call tone. Huuuummmm?? I never thought of that song like that. But after that, I could not take that comment out of my head. She was right.

So on the net I went trying to surf for a song that would be great for me to have. I was mostly focusing on actual 'hits'. See, "Charlie's Angels" theme song would have not been a good choice ( I ran into my friend Shannon today, and tha was her ringtone; perfect for her!!) So, among the songs that I like what were the possibilities?

"What goes around comes around" by Justin Timberlake, "How to Save a Life" by The Fray ,"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol , "Keep holding on" by Avril Lavigne, "Waiting on the world to change" by John Meyer, "Lips of an angel" by Hinder, "If everyone cared" by Nickelback (tickets for a March 18th concert are sitting in my room)... Ok, wait; the theme on all these songs is love gone bad, cheating and deceit, and obsessive hope. They are all in my I-Pod. Darn, what does that mean? It made me wonder, about how many songs we like without really paying complete attention to the lyrics.

Well, after all the search, I decided on Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". Not only does it have a catchy beat, but, when we do what we like, when we are who we are, and when we love who we love, despite all the losing battles, and despite those who think we are crazy, we can die happy when we are done.
Now my friend Leo says that he used to love that song, but not anymore since he hears it on my phone all the time!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

What to title this....?

Live throw curves at us. That much is true.

On Friday I was sitting in the same position I am now, debating about which of three topics I wanted to write about. Today, as I was driving to run some errands, I had made a choice and couldn't wait to comeback and write. That was when life threw a curve at me.

I was trying to decide on whether to go for a run or go to the Mall to buy me a light jacket that would go well with my work clothes. Besides, we will once again experience cooler temperatures in South Florida during the next few nights (low 50's), and I need something for work for the next week. That is how long it will take the thermostat to catch on. So I chose the latter, and on my way to the mall I needed to make sure I accomplished a few other things like stopping at the pharmacy. I had these gift cards, and today's shopper brought a buy one-get one free-sale on vitamins.

But on my way to the mall, and as I passed the pharmacy I remembered I left the gift cards at home. I passed the pharmacy on the way back home, and decided that I needed to go home and come back. I hate doing that, so it was not an easy decision. I even measured how many extra miles I was wasting. Grabbing the cards took seconds, and on my way back I went into the busy streets of my neighborhood. A bit more than a mile and a half away from home, I was sitting on the furthest left lane, of a two lane-left turn light, listening to my radio, singing, minding my own business. Just a happy me. To my right, 3 lanes of traffic, a traffic lane, and a wooded area. The top part of this picture looks West; I was heading South. I would have been to the left, and to the back of that white car, waiting to turn and go east or heading towards the bottom of the picture.

All of the sudden I heard a loud snapping sound. And another; and another. I quickly look to my right and a bit back, and on that wooded area (upper right hand side of the picture) I see a city transportation bus riding between the trees and the sidewalk, breaking tree branches as it forged ahead. My immediate thought was that it had been forced there by another car, and it would come to a stop soon. NO! It broke through a wood sign in the corner, and the stop sign, as it kept it going forward, with a little right angle, direction.

Here is when for the first time I experience what surreal, really is. The bus was now crossing two westbound lanes, tranversally. But wait, I thought it would stop at the center island. NO! Its front tires jumped the median as if it was a movie. Its gotta stop, I thought! NO! The back tires now jump the median. I realized then that sometime wrong, like a heart attack, happened to the driver. Luckily, there were only two cars going east on that light; next to each other. The bus passing close to the rear of their cars. By now, the bus was losing steam, but it still jumped the next curb. First the front tires, and then the back ones. I am realizing now that there is a chance it might hit one of the houses in its path. But, at the same time the back tires hit the curb, the front of the bus was hitting another line of trees. And it finally stopped.

I felt some sort of helplessness as I was blocked all the way to the left. However, many cars changed direction and proceeded directly to the bus. The second I reached for my cell to call 911, I looked around and there were people already on their cell, some of them already out of their car walking towards the bus. No one was coming out of it. My light changed, and so I had to keep going.

Here is the kicker; the bus route takes a left and heads east, just the same way I was going. That sidewalk is my running path, coming from the west and heading north. This left me thinking for the rest of the day, what would have happened if this driver would have had one extra second to make his left turn? I would have not been in this situation if I would have gotten my gift cards the first time I left home.

Basically, life is not only about inches, but also about minutes and seconds. We are reminded every now and then to live life to its fullest, everyday as it was our last. Today, that point hit home once again. Harder than ever. And I was sad, because my 'house' is not in order for something like this. And then angry, because of the wasted opportunities we let go; especially with out family and friends.
Always appreciate every second of your life.