Saturday, December 31, 2005

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

To all of you who would get to see this in time...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year resolutions Plan

As a, not so good 2005 comes to an end, there is nothing left to do but to look toward a new year with a hopeful look! And while I take it upon myself to call 2005 a bad year, let me remind you that are plenty of people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that might concur with me. Not to mention those in Pakistan, and still all the people in the Indonesian region affected by the Tsunami On Dec 26th, 2004, because 5 days later they had to begin a new year with their lives destroyed. And there are many who have expressed to me this was not a good year, and many other who have not, whom might agree with me.

Its funny! (or not), that my first perception was that the number 2005 added to 7, and that should have been a lucky number. I wondered, as the year neared its end, if the proximity of the planet Mars to earth this year, had anything to do with the bad year. But then again, I have never been certified in numerology or astrology. And I am just taking my first steps in blogology. So there is nothing left for me to do but to get going on my new years' resolutions for 2006.

I will eat less, watch what I eat, exercise more.......... what in the world am I talking about? Scratch that list! Right now!! We do not need a un-realistic list of things to do; specially one that we have re-cycled before. No! Forget it! We need a plan! That is what we need. Something that says that tomorrow in the morning I am going to get up and do X, Y and/or Z. And that by next week I am going to measure my results and adjust accordingly. A plan. If you submit a plan to your boss, it better has a specific line of action, deadlines, the results expected, and a contingency plan. So why would you do this for the job that you complain about, but yet cannot do it for yourself? Because you get paid? The best return on investments are those that relate to our personal growth. Nothing else will change if we do not start investing in ourselves. It is time to get out of the rut and stop acting like caged hamsters, and induce change.

If there is something to be learned from Katrina, is that we have to take care of ourselves; because in time of need we are better off not counting on any one else. As we get more global, we need to be more self sufficient. What a dichotomy. But this also works on a personal level. While hope and faith are good things, we need to make sure our emotional needs are met from the inside. A not such happy person wont make a happy co-worker, friend, spouse or parent. I mentioned George Bailey in "Its A Wonderful Life" on my earlier post; think about the scene when he comes home contemplating the demise of his life, and how bad he treated his family.

So do not leave your welfare and happiness in the hands of others. Go and define these for yourself, and write your 'business' plan. And be the boss of something more important that any job or any entity; be the CEO of your own life. And while becoming the CEO of your newly found business, think about the spirit of treating everyone fairly and cordially, and regardless of the direction of your sails, make sure you do not run over others in the process of running (or ruining) your life. Every decision has its repercussions; so weight your actions against these and ask, is it worth it. As Einstein postulated, "every action has an equal and opposite reaction".

Good year, and Good luck!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

1225

According to the Christian tradition and faith, on this date the messiah was born. The greatest gift of love and sacrifice; God gave up his own son, so that every human that believe in him would have eternal life.

And in this I believe. And in celebration of that moment I wish everyone a
Merry Christmas!

While maybe our remembrance of this moment might have sprouted roots and flourished under a commercial celebration, and found a symbol in the story of Saint Nicholas
(click here to track Santa's journey), the spirit remains the same. People are in their best behavior, spreading love and joy. Remembering and appreciating not only family members, but also friends. The tradition of gift-ing is nothing but that of giving love and joy. And remembering those who we care about, those who somehow have touched our lives and make it a little better.

When I make gifts, I make sure that I follow three rules of thumb: Number one, I try to make it meaningful. There is no point in preparing a nice wooden box full of a variety of teas, when I have shared many precious moments over coffee with that person. Last year, I gave my friend a small model Hummer, for I could not buy the real one. The second rule I follow is to make gifts that might introduce someone to something new. In this case the box of tea above might work, only if the person had mentioned to me that they drink tea. And my third rule of thumb is to provide gifts that are produced by the giver. I got a nice batch of biscottis and chocolate covered pretzels this year. I wish I could bake!

However, this brings me to the following point; it does not matter what you get, always be grateful and graceful. By the way, thanks Des for the tree graphic. And thank you Play in the City for the next graphic and muse.

I think the best spirit of Christmas is best captured by George Bailey. The man who gave throughout the year, just to be remembered by all his friends when it counted. "To my big brother George, the richest man in town". We might complain about bad things in our lives, but would it be any better without us in it? Thanks Helen for making me rent "Its a Wonderful life"!

I recently learned that the non-denominational holiday of Festivus has as one of its main components the "airing of grievances". Participants at the dinner table air out the disappointments received by some of the other participants at the table throughout the year. I propose that we do not air how were we disappointed, but that in the spirit of love and joy we make it a point to approach those we have disappointed, and give the gift of being re-born, or start anew.

So, whatever your believe is, the reason for the season is all about love. About joy. And about giving! Now,If you please excuse me, I am going to have some coquito, some chestnuts roasted over open fire, and think about my relatives, friends ... and ponder about what I just told you. Posting from my native land of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feliz Navidad!, All!

Merry Christmas MOM!
.......Merry Christmas Ruth!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Where has Chivalry Gone (Part Deux)

On my first post on Chivalry, the ideas were so many that I just ended focusing on the historical part of how "gentlemen" became to be, and the values and/or principles that distinguished them. It is time now to reflect on Chivalry on the 21st century...

I mentioned on that blog that I am old school, and carry a handkerchief; probably my symbol or flag that identifies me as a 'gentleman'. Keeping Chivalry alive. And what are the characteristics that I have that may classify me as one?, you may ask. Let us see.

First of all, I am conscious of some old abstract virtues that make me who I am (click on virtues to see list). With those in mind, allow me to list things that I do in my daily life which I consider to be genrlemanlike, and have been complimented on;

1- I open doors, for anyone and everyone
2- If I take you to lunch, dinner, etc, I offer to pay.
3- I listen to what people say and make sure I learn a thing or two about them.
4- I dress nicely when on dates, or meeting new people.
5- I say thank you and please.
6- I'll give you my coat if you are cold
7- I'll use a "how are you?" when meeting new people, and mean it.
8- I'll use Madame and Sir when dealing with strangers.
9- Always say Good Morning, Good afternoon, hello to anyone you speak to.
10- I will hold the umbrella and be on the outside of it.
11- I will pull out chair for my dates.
12- I will order for them once I know their entree selection.
13- Will order an appetizer/drink if I know its absolutely good, to introduce a friend to it.
14- Will offer my clean/unused hanky for anything needed.
15- Will call my dates after a few days to say hello regardless of interest.
16- Offer the window when traveling on a plane.
17- Try not to walk in front of the girl.
18- Offer positive comments on specific aesthetic issues (a new haircut; pretty dress).
19- Wont mention anything that I might noticed could be out of place.
20- When in doubt, I always ask.
21- Never kiss and tell; and much less make other stories.
22- I honor woman; they could be my mom, sister, wife.
23- I make sure the lid is always down and the sheets clean.
24- Ensure the towel is warm and I do the clean-up.
25- Never, ever give the perception of impropriety when it comes to friends' girlfriends.
26- Do not talk bad about your friends specially girls you just broke up with.
27- Only argue to find the truth; not to spite others.
28- Never raised your voice to a woman.
29- Do not burp, pass gas, or yawn loudly in front of a woman.
30- Respect thyself; respect others.

And I am certain there are others that I do not remember right now. But the most important thing about these is that they should come naturally to a man; they should not be forced in order to impress anyone. If I were to do that, I will miss on all the joy that is to be the best man I can be. And also, I might have failed at doing any one of these at any given time. Just like Michael Jordan missed shots and took bad shots. But still, he is/was Michael Jordan.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Post a Secret??


Here is a short post, but it should be a fun one for those who have not discovered the blog that I am going to write about.

It is called
POSTSECRET.

Earlier today while watching CNN, they had a segment where they featured the book written by the blog's host and an interview. For a minute, I felt like I was having a Deja Vu. All of the sudden I remembered I have visited this blog, and it is pretty entertaining.

The concept is easy; people send a secret or a confession on a card. The card usually has images that relate to the secret. It is pretty cool! You might want to send one yourself. They do not only form part of a book, but also a traveling gallery, as well as postings on different publications. While some of the confessions might not be completely true, just like the author said on TV today, just like in a library, fiction can also make for very interesting reading.

So go ahead friends, enjoy the blog!

PS This is only my 23rd blog, and Im on a mission to write 25 blogs by December 25th. So keep it tune to the same 'bat channel'.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What a BLAST!!

......and other Christmas 'Lights'

I received a call from a friend earlier this week; she wanted me to get tickets for us to go and see "BLAST". But what in the world is "BLAST" ? I love anything theatre, so I welcomed the opportunity.

This show, more or less, is in the family of STOMP, RIVERDANCE, BLUE MAN GROUP. Music combined with choreography and theatrics. However, it adds the familiar concepts of your local town color guards, high school bands, stepping groups and drum corps. Let me just say, this show is major candy for the senses!!! Unlike regular theater, where people clap, whistle, hoot and holler at the end of a scene, during BLAST, these actions take place the entire show!

Think about the Rockettes with their tight choreography; except that besides dancing, they also have to play the music with their instruments. Or imagine the same setup on any scene from West Side Story. Its just amazing. Add to that the energy of the performers, their involvement of the crowd, and you will have a definite unique experience. Please visit their website for information and schedules. I highly recommend it. And if you go, get a seat close to the exit and be the first out, so you don't miss out on the 'impromtu' performance at the main exit door.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

This is where I saw BLAST yesterday! This building, located in the center of downtown Fort Lauderdale, next to the river, the shops and restaurants of the renovated River Walk, is absolutely beautiful and a definite treat. If in town, go to dinner to any of the intracoastal waterway restaurants, call the water taxi, and arrive in style to the center. I am proud to live here and support this place. And I remembered last night, that I want to volunteer a few of my nights at this place.

Christmas Lights!

So yesterday I put up my Christmas lights. And this morning I woke up to see the bad job I had done, as some of them had already fell down. This year I went with all BLUE lights. There are some things missing in my life; little joy, little hope, no red lights, no greens. So they are blue.

And they are my Christmas lights because I believe in Christ; and because they are mine. I think we have it backwards. We should not have to try to be politically correct when it comes to the use of our language for this 'personal-religious' holiday. I should not have to say "Happy Holidays" or "Holiday Lights". In doing that, I am not being true to myself, as I try to please others just with words. I am puertorrican; I do not try to speak with another accent or language when I talk to others. Saying "Merry Christmas" speaks as to who I am, my culture and my believes. So even when I respect others use of these words, If someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza, it will be much more welcome, as they are sharing with me who they are.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Being friends is about sharing new, and or good things with others, and in the process create a nurturing sense in our constant growth and maturity. A good friend suggested the movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, by Tyler Perry. Besides being a very funny movie, it also showcases moral and human dilemmas, the joy and pain of love, the black experience, and the religious topic. To quote my friend "It has so many emotions tied up in it. It is funny, sad, and angry, etc."

What is best about her suggestion, is the chance to know who Mr Perry is. A black gospel playwright, who at one time was homeless, but in the end accomplished his dream. And now spreads his word, knowledge, and entertainment to the rest of us.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Five Weird Habits

Ok.. so the blogging world (and Lori's) is catching up with me... I have been tagged to do my Five Weird Habits. Ladies and Gentleman, this I was trying to do as I fell asleep last night.

Here are the rules;

“The first player of this game starts with the topic. “five weird habits of yourself,” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.”

My 5 weird habits (in no important order)

1- I have to fall asleep with the sheet touching my lips (something about feeling the coolness and softness of the sheet)
2- I dont drink my orange juice.. I sip it.
3- When I shower, I need to lay against the wall for a little while and let the water just hit me.
4- At night, when I go to the bathroom I don't turn the lights on; these includes all the hotels I go to where I place the math right in front of the bowl so that I know where I have to stand. And no I don't miss.... Im a trained professional, PLEASE do not attempt this at home.
5- After brushing my teeth and rinsing, I have to clear my throat, with the same sound my Dad used to wake me up when I was a kid (this habit was not conciously acquired).

So there you go.. not too weird, huh? (or at least I like to think so).

Ok.. let me comeback here before I think about who to tag ..

Thursday, December 15, 2005

From My Point of View

When I started this blog, I entitled it “From My Point of View”.

While it would seem almost logical to give a name like this to a blog, please allow me to share the real reason for this title.


I spend a lot of
time on airplanes. I have been for the last 15 years. For whatever reason it is my mind starts wondering and thinking about all sorts of things, when I am cruising the skies. I have always carried a notepad to write when I get on an airplane. I have written letters, essays, poems, work reports, and even written on paper the lyrics to songs that I already know or like.

I sit by the window and I contemplate the world below. The shape of the land, the shape of housing developments, the streets that cross cities, the bridges that cross rivers, bays etc. I would have not known Lake Ponchatrain from Lake Michigan, if it was not for the many times I flew over it, as it peaked my curiosity as to its size and the closeness to the city of New Orleans.

I have seen the Golden Gate Bridge from above acting as it was holding off a massive fog, as its west side was completely cloudy, and its east side completely clear. I have seen the lights of Times Square from a plane, the smoky rubble of Ground Zero, the likes of Yankee and Shea stadiums; and a snow covered Wrigley Field.

I have seen the shapes of clouds undiscovered by the human eye from the earth below, a shade of northern lights, thunderstorms,
St Elmo’s Fire, the shuttle taking off in the distance, the Tuttle and Harley comets, Miami savaged by Hurricane Andrew.

And from my seat I look at a world from a different perspective. I have these thoughts, and I write them. And while I have never written a post on an airplane before, here I am, somewhere above the Gulf Mexico, seat 18D, traveling west from Florida to Texas, sharing my thoughts “From my Point of View”.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Where has Chivalry gone?

I have received lately several compliments regarding my qualities as a person, a human being, a co-worker, a manager, a friend, a cousin, and most of all, a man.

Anyone that knows me would assert that I do not suffer from insecurities. If anything, I can toe the fine line between 'cockiness' and confidence. I have nothing to be cocky about, or would like to be. That attribute is fun when is used temporarily, spontaneously and among good friends. Otherwise, I do not have to boast about what I can do, and/or do good. But, bottom line is that it feels good to have those qualities recognized by other people; specially, when they are just mere observers in your life. And the reason why it feels good to have these positive qualities recognized is because, to me, they are just my values; the code of ethics I try to live my life by. A set of invisible self-imposed guidelines if you will. Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living". Let me add that it would not be worth it for me to me to wake up and live my life without these set of tools.

I have heard the questions many times; where has chivalry gone? Well, it lives within me. Let me refer to
Wikipedia to make it a little bit more clear what chivalry is: Chivalry1 refers to the medieval institution of knighthood and, most especially, the ideals that were/have become associated with it throughout literature. It was also often associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and of courtly love. ..the chivalrous knight was idealized as brave in battle, loyal to his king and God, and willing to sacrifice himself. Towards his fellow Christians and countrymen, the knight was to be merciful, humble, and courteous. Towards noble ladies above all, the knight was to be gracious and gentle. The idealized relationship between knight and lady was that of courtly love. Boy do I love those last two sentences. Here is another secret about me; My favorite song from the Rolling Stones is not any of their classics; is Emotional Rescue; where Mike Jagger utters the words, " I will be your knight and shinning armour; coming to your emotional rescue".

If you go click on the words Knightly Virtues above, you will find a whole list of characterstics which you can add to the list which I live for; nobility, generosity, hope, courage, justice, faith, being beautiful in spirit, good cheer, courtesy, determination, selflessness, forgiveness, friendliness, helpfulness, happiness, honour, humillity, justice, kindness, mercy, loyalty, patience, perseverance, prudence, sincerity, sympathy, tenderness, truthfulness, and wisdom. After the medieval times, men living by these set of rules were given a name; in France, Chevalier, in Spain,Caballero. These translate into the word Gentleman in english.

But do not make a mistake here. These were alpha men, whose attraction for the best female specimen was always present. And they would not shy away from romantic possibilities, If anything, they were passionate and intense, for they understood that love was not a half-way given gift. A man like this could only give love or mate in only one way; all out. As the times evolved, french and spanish literature told of men like these and their stories. Their triumphs, their struggles, their loves. The tales of battles fought to defend honor and dignity. The loss of lives, justified or unjustified for corresponding or un-corresponding passions. Stories about sacrifice to always elevate the one they love.

The spirit that lives in me belongs to those knights, for I have never made a concious effort to posses those qualities. If anything, I had recognize those attributes in me, and the conscious effort was to make use of them, to honor and defend the values. And like those valiant, spade wielding, armored covered man, when the values were pierced by those close to us, the weapon would cut throught all the metal, and make incisions next to the heart. And while not mortal, the wounds take longer to heal.

While knights carry a spade an armour, today in the modern world I carry a simple handkerchief. And will tell you in my second post how do I translate that chivalry into today's world.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A FareWELL to a blogger!

Sasha;

This is a post that I started writing in your comments, and thought it was too long, but better yet, on its own, worth a post.

I was sad to access your blog and see those letters that read GOODBYE, along with the beautiful picture that I here copy from your site in your honor. I knew immediately what it was going to be about.


Somehow I was saddened to know you would be gone. But, I don't know you. Or do I? And am I really sad, or happy for you?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, your courage and honesty to make your sentiments public was simply eye opening. I have learned so much from you (and don't let me forget other bloggers) that I Know I am a better man. It has made me a little more understanding, tolerant and compassionate about human beings, and our struggles through life. And I am more open to things I was not before. I have a little more faith, because, as I already wrote, within your indiscretion, you always sought happiness and fulfillment for your and your partner. This was as honest as it comes, and if we hypocrites say we value honesty, we have to value everything you have to write about.

I think we watched you evolve. Your internal conflicts were real, and those of us who read it felt it that way. Almost 8000 hits since September back me up. This was not Halley Barry in "Monster's Ball" this was you; a real person. And lately the discomfort you were going through became clear, and how when you missed a few days, you would come back fresh, with sort of a different mind set.

So you write you have been happier lately, and so we all wish! Funny, the first time I saw your URL I thought it read "SMILER", and that's how I always thought about it although I knew better. I hope someday, somehow, I run into your future blog. I hope someday, somehow, to use one of Cheri's words, you are fulfilled.

Thank you, and Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blessings in Disguise.

A bird misses out on an early 'flight' south shortly before winter time. The weather gets bad and the bird decides to flee; but its too late. While in flight the wings freeze, the bird loses lift and plummets to the snow accumulated on a farm below. Buried on the snow, the bird thinks this is it. However, one of the cows in the farms is strolling along and takes a dump right on the spot where the bird is buried. The warm manure melts the snow enough for the bird to stick his now brown head out. And the fable continues, but one of its morals is that even when you are crapped on, it might not be such a bad thing.

In the movie Sliding Doors, the director tells a story in two simultaneous times: What happens to the life of the main character (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) when she 'fights off the sliding door' and catches her morning train to work, and when she misses it. When she misses the train she tries to catch a cab, gets mug and suffers a small cut in her forehead. She returns to her apartment just to catch her living-in boyfriend cheating on her. Not a good thing, but in the long run she gets rid of this no good man. It took her much longer and much wasted time to know the truth when she caught the train.

Garth Brooks sings about not marrying the woman he really liked when he was young, but how happy he was with whoever ended up being his wife. He tells us in that song that 'sometimes he thanks God for unanswered prayers; and to remember when we are talking to the man upstairs that just because he doesnt answer it doesn mean he don't care'.

These examples serve as my background for the thought of Blessings in Disguise. A thought which was spurred on by a friend of mine today after the events at the Miami International Airport where a 44 year old gentleman was shot by a Federal Air Marshall. We did not get into the specifics of what she meant. I recognized immediately it was definitely a very interesting approach. But, it left me thinking, how many times in our lives do we sit down and try to dissect or identify those Blessings in Disguise?

A little over a year ago I had the opportunity to interview for a new and exciting job, with obviously more money on the line. I needed to schedule a second interview with the hiring manager regarding a compensation packet and a business plan. Unfortunately, I had to go out of town, and while checking my messages, I could not hear this one particular voice mail. It was a weekend, and by the time I responded to the voice mail on Tuesday, I had lost my opportunity for not contacting them back in a timely fashion. It would be an understatement to say how upset I was. It took me days to get over it.

However, a few weeks later my mother passed away unexpectedly, and I was able to fly home and stay with my dad for 2 weeks before returning to work. I kept making repeated visits on the weekends, leaving work early on Fridays, and sometimes coming in a little bit later on Mondays. Something that I would have not been able to do with a new job. So there was a blessing in disguise.

And as I sat and ponder, I wonder how many times in our lives we do not recognize these blessing in disguise. I also realize that blessings do not only come 'disguised' in negative situations. Meeting a new person provides all the good feelings that a human can experience. All the positive things that we can point out to, that is. Having good friends and our interaction with them also provide good experiences. But, what are the blessings in disguise that we are not that easily aware of within those relationships?

So, let us every once in a while meditate on those things in our lives that we might not easily see, but that might be making our lives a little bet better. Those Blessings in Disguise.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dating after 35!

After my last post, I received a few emails asking me who was KP, and what in the world happened with KP that I was thanking her in my PS.

We made love with words!! That's what happened!! And in the process she returned to me some intangibles of life! She restored in me faith in the process of dating. The dance between two human beings just starting to get to know each other. A give and take. An exchange of thoughts, ideas, glances, slight touches, laughs, smiles, sexual tension and innuendos. Two human beings circa 40 years old, not playing the dating game, but putting to work everything they have learned throughout the years. And it was good! And effortless. It was also rhythmical and right. Sealed with a half-lip, goodbye peck, which came natural. Hey, this was only the third time I have seen her ( the first two not equaling 10 minutes). But that night, three hours of conversational intercourse.

Yesterday, just to hear her talk and laugh on the phone, aroused me! Really liking someone for who they are, is indeed a refreshing feeling! If only all my encounters of the past would have been like this one, my life would be richer today. And lord only knows where are we going with this.. But who cares about the result? Right now I am enjoying whatever she gives me! And I'll treat her the same way!

Keep warm my dear! I'll kiss your boo-boo soon!