Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Blue Diamond

Besides, 'don't shower after you eat', 'too much masturbation will make you go blind" or 'will grow hair in your hands'... I grew up hearing a few other things; Diamonds are a girl's best friend, Blue Diamonds are hard to find; grown man don't cry.... Hum, these last three do not hold true anymore. BLUE DIAMONDS are easy to find (especially if you have some disposable income) and they are a MAN's BEST FRIEND. And these two things can make a grown man cry!

I am talking about VIAGRA!! I was just sitting here minding my own business when a Viagra commercial AROUSED my intellect. I could not PUT IT DOWN, the idea of blogginb my thoughts that is.

Look, I'll confess, I have taken the little blue diamond pill!! No shame in telling you this; Why?
Because thank God I do not have a problem. At least not yet (fingers crossed). Well, OK, is not exactly like when I was 18, my problem then was trying to keep it down so that I could hit the toilet bowl. My dad did not want to spend money tearing a wall and making an extension in the bathroom so that I could back up and get a good arch going.

I took it out of your basic experimentation. Just like pot in college, except that pot did not do anything but give me the munchies (Hum... Viagra might have done that too). Anyway, I figure, Arnold admitted using steroids while winning body building competitions, what the heck, my muscle could use some help also. Mark McGuire, while on steroidal usage became the first season home run king and became Big Mac. And Barry Bonds, after the age of 40, and amid grand jury documentation of steroidal use, has banged more home runs than anyone in recent history. I figure I could do the same! Hey the little pill has not been banned in the MAJOR leagues.

Before I go on, let me say I am not a regular user. The reason why?, I AM AFRAID of becoming one! Besides, the head-aches I have gotten after the few uses (less times than fingers in one hand) are worst than any hangover I might have ever experienced. Besides, is not like you plan everything in your life, and is not like I can say "let me go to the restroom to freshen up" and do that for almost an hour while waiting for the pill to take effect.

The commercial today cracked me up...

"If you experience an erection for more than four hours please see your doctor immediately". - WHY?? WHY I might ask? After four hours I might dont want to see a Dr., I might want to see the one that couldn't go out with me earlier that night becuause one is all I could handle well! If I am not supposed to "be up" for four hours, whats the point in paying all that money for one little pill? I can do my job. I just need you to help me make it better and longer.

"Less common side effects are blurred vision or sensitivity to light...." - Hellooooooo.. why would I want to open my eyes?? Its better with my eyes close and the lights out... Of course I am going to have sensitivity to light once Im done. Besides, that's how I have fantasized about Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, etc, etc... At that time, I want problems with my eye sight because I want to go BRAILLE!

"Viagra is not recommended for those with heart problems"..... - LOL .. I have been on dates when experimenting with this.. my broken heart set me up with those dates!!! Of course I have 'heart problems!!.

" Viagra is prescribed to treat erectile disfunction" - Wrong!!! It has not become the best seling drug because every one has a disfunction.. how about to 'increase erectile functions?

"If you experience any discomfort during sex seek immediate medical help"- - .. Are you talking to me???

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Where has the time gone?

Where has the time gone?

They say time is the biggest commodity. Pardon my French, No shit!

Look, last time I looked at this blog was sometime last week. But it did not feel that way, although it is obvious that it is a fact.

Not only that, but June is almost over. Half the year gone!! I do not know about you, but I am pressing the panic button!! Hum, could it be that the globe is rotating faster and making its journey around the sun also a little bit faster? I am not going to use any more deodorant. I am joining the French! The hair mousse is going to the trash can. And tomorrow I am going to look into buying a hybrid car. Not only that, I am planting trees today all over my neighborhood. All the trees that were taken down by Hurricane Wilma last year. See? Thats me taking that picture last October.

So let me evaluate my week to try to feel a little better. Maybe I have not been here to blog, because blogger has been a 'bitch' lately. Is it me, or has everyone been encountering problems loading graphics, and wasting time waiting for blogger to save the work? I can certainly say that kept me away somewhat.


What else happened? OH, my MIAMI HEAT won the NBA Championship under the wonderful play of Dwyane Wade. Former Marquette University star. I was also a star in that university. At least in my own mind. And in case you wanted to know, I did go to see some of the 2006 NBA Finals- games. Something I always wanted to do since a I was a child. I spent a lot of time flaming people on the net, and being flamed also. It was amazing to see how many people were blaming the referees, while we here in were also fed up with the refs. We ended up having a parade here in Miami. And I cannot tell you the amount of money I have spent in buying souvenirs (tshirt, hats,jersey,etc).

I cannot also forget that living in Miami, we can claim that we are the one city in the United States that is directly affected by the 2006 World Cup. That is soccer my dear friends! One thing you learned about World Cup is that if your country is not represented, you root for the teams from your region. While I live in the USA, support the team and wish them well, being a latin boy, and understanding the culture behind the world's most popular sport (and not the US) I root for the underdog latin teams. That does not include Brazil, team that I watch with amazement as they are poetry in motion when it comes to soccer. Funny, this year I think England has the best team. We'll see. David Beckham not only has the best good looking wife (the former Posh Spice) but he also has one of the best shots in soccer. Wondered why they titled the movie "Bend 'em like Beckham"? On a short note, I like English people, but boy do they become rowdy and out of control when it comes to soccer. Its like watching your geeky friend get drunk.

Finally, I started writing what I think is a novel. FINALLY!! Sometimes in your life you just have to let things happen, you do not rush them. Shoot me an email with your email address, and I will send you the first two chapters. I need the feedback, I need to know if you put it down after the first page, or if you want a third chapter. However, it will probably be 2016 when I finish it.

Where does the time go?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

HFD!

Happy Father's Day!,
Dad!
I have heard many people say that their dad is their hero. Those words were somewhat strange to me. A hero? It is somewhat fitting that I am featuring this Tim McGraw video, who wrote this song inspired by his dad. Out of wedlock, Tim did not know who his dad was until his adulthood.

Growing up, while not stranged, I was not close to my dad. He was a very serious man whose roar I was afraid of. Like he told me recently, 'you did not come with a manual'. He lost his own dad when he was in his early teens. My parents were just 21 when they got married. So when I was a teen they were just in their 30's. How people of their generation could be parents at that age baffles me.

My dad was (is) the typical latin guy. Mom cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed, etc. My dad could not fry eggs to save his life. He has a phobia of airplanes; so with the exception of two times, he would not go on a vacation with mom and I. Everytime mom came to visit me, she had to make sure someone was going to keep an eye over my dad's needs; food, clean clothes, etc. He would call her the minute she landed. That was a joke among my relatives, that dad would try to protect mom even though she was thousand of miles away.

When mom passed away in May 2004, no one imagined what was going to happen to my father. I was so worry, not only because of his 'needs', but also because I could not imagine dad alone. The fatal last day of mom, I arrived to the hospital in the early evening to find my dad destroyed. He had been crying all day. He did not want to go into the room with me, he could not bare to see my mom like that. His cry of anguish after the Doctor said there was nothing else to do, will live in my mind forever. I tried as much as I could to console him the weeks and moths to come.

A year later, my dad was already taking care of his needs. I had taught him how to wash clothes, how to separate them; which ones to dry and which ones to hang. I taught him what fabric softener was. How to cook simple things like rice in a rice cooker; put a cup of rice in, put a cup and a half of water, salt, close it and hit the cook button. I also showed him how to brew coffee. Everything in a different manner that my mom, who use to do it all the old school way; boil water with the coffee grinds and pour that mix into a cloth filter on its way into the cup. Mom never liked my coffee maker and would always carry that cloth filter whenever she came to visit.

On Christmas Day 2005, I woke up and dad had scrambled eggs with coffee ready for me!! The greatest thing is that nowadays Dad prepares things that neither mom nor I ever made. He mixes vegetables with his rice; he makes killer scrambled eggs with onions, and peppers; he also uses green peppers on his steaks. I did not teach him any of that! I joke with him by telling him that mom must be throwing a fit; 'why in the world couldn't he do that before?'. One day he even took a chance to brag; "look at the creases in my pants, can you do them like that?" Heck no, I thought, but I could not say it, I was too amazed for words. On the other hand he has learned of the oddities of losing socks, and shrinking shirts.

But best of all, Dad has definitely taken the place of my mom. I used to call mom every day just
to share little stupid things of life. He has learned of my need to do that, and listens to me. We talk, joke, laugh and share like we did not use to. We even talk of things we never talk of before. When I come home he makes sure everything is cleaned for me. And when I leave, he has those things that are typical of our hometowns, specially food items, ready for me to take. He has definitely stepped up for my mom when it comes to me.

Most importantly, dad had to come home everyday to an empty house, filled of ghostly memories. He had to get over mom's death in the hardest way. Now, the roles have switched, and he has become my strength and support. And not too long ago I was looking over our entire, and realized he has become a hero to me.

Happy Father's Day! You deserve it!

And Happy Father's Day to those who happen upon this blog; especially Fred and Michael A.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What is Tony ....


Did you ever wonder what in the world are your fellow bloggers doing on their spare time when they are not blogging? Well, come on into my world, let me let you into what it is than I am doing, as I like to share some of the fun things I find in my life.

...READING

I just finished reading Nicholas Sparks "Three Weeks with my Brother". Who is Nicholas Sparks? You might have heard about a little book called "The Notebook" , recently made into a movie. Maybe you have heard about another movie starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn titled "Message in a Bottle". Or a Mandy Moore movie called "A Walk to Remember". All these were written by Nicholas Sparks. If you like to read, if you like a good love story, you need to get one of his books. In "Three Weeks with My Brother" he gets out of the love story telling, and instead tells of a trip around the world with his Brother Micah; but best of all he recounts his life growing up. If you had brothers and or sisters, you will probably get a kick of reminiscing about growing up with your siblings thru his eyes.

But that is what I just read. I picked up a new book entitled "Why my Wife thinks Im an Idiot". The author, Mike Greenberg, from ESPN, is a very witty, smart guy, who makes me laugh when I see him on SportsCenter. I saw him on a TV interview a few days ago talking about the book. He said that when his daughter was born, he figured that now for the first time he was going to be able to observe a woman growing up and finally figure them out. Five years later, now he is more confused! That sold me into buying the book.

...LISTENING TO

The latest release from PRINCE is titled 3121

If you watched the last show of American Idol, you saw Prince come in and put in a performance that was the surprise of the night and the talk of the town the next day. This album has dance music, funk, mixes of different music rhytms, and of course nice ballads. It has the power to put me in a very happy mood, and then again in a very relax mood.

....WATCHING

Is there anything else worth watching right now besides the NBA Finals??

I have had the opportunity to attend the first two games here in Miami, and I have lost my voice! It has been so much fun!! Especially when the best player of this series is one Dwyane Wade! The only player I have loved to watch after one Michael Jordan. But this one is special, because I knew of Wade before he came to Miami, as he played college basketball for my Alma Mater, Marquette University! GO D-WADE!! GO HEAT!! (And darn BLOGGER which does not allow me to upload my last graphic!)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Can you hear that....?



is Knocking !!!


OK, Blogger is going to give me an ulcer. This is the fourth time writing this post. And I was not able to upload my graphics. This has been going on for a week. Anyway..

I was driving home on Wednesday evening, radio tuned to a station that pretty much covers what my age of 40 speaks of; 80's music. The other stations I listened to? Classic Rock, Country, Jazz. And yes, in the mornings, Talk Radio. You know you are getting old when... !

At 7pm, a radio show hosted by a woman named Delilah comes on. Delilah takes request, listens to stories, offers advice, and you pretty much can catalog her as inspirational. I listen to this show because it helps me unwind after work. And, I am not trying to be insensitive, just as long as I do not listen to the sad personal stories. SORRY! At that time of a long day, I would be more insensitive if I do not take care of myself. I also like that they play soft music. I will be 80 years old and I will still accompany the Bee Gees singing falsetto in "How Deep is Your Love".

That evening, Delilah talked about stress at work, long days, etc, and asked, what was your definition of success during a day? She said for her it was making sure she took care of opportunities. She then asked to think about what opportunities presented themselves during the day that you took advantage of, or simply let go. Was it being nice to someone, touching someone, talking to a stranger, tell someone you love them, or say I am sorry, etc, etc.

I started to examine my day, mind you Socrates said that 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. At first, I was scared that I probably had many opportunities during the day and let them go. Soon I discovered that there was one opportunity I took advantage of. I think I made a new friend!!! At our age, making new friends does not come easy. We get so protective! So involved in our adult activities. Remember being a little kid and meeting a new playmate? How exciting!

The other day Erika posted in her blog the question about whether man and woman can be really friends. I answered by saying, "YES! And its beautiful!". This new friend is female. And as beautiful as she is, her personality doubles her physical part!! While at the moment I was not thinking about it as an opportunity, I asked this person if she wanted to go with me to grab something to eat. It had been a 4 conference calls-day, back to back to...etc., and I was hungry. She took the chance of accompanying this stranger.

We laughed, we talked, we joked, we teased.. we sang.... ( humm, she didn't), and for a moment I forgot about the rest of the world. For me, it was just us and nothing else mattered. I was looking for my bag of toys to throw ourselves on the floor and play!! My tonka trucks, my green little soldiers. Well, I guess nowadays I own a different set of toys, "AHEM", but hopefully you catch my drift! So it was plain fun! I repeat, as beautiful as she is, I was more enchanted by her ways than anything else. Her spontaneous, big-heartily laugh. And that is sooo refreshing! If I'd started thinking sex as the ultimate goal, I would have not enjoy myself in the moment. Which is what happens to a man most of the time. Actually, it is my theory that dates are sabotaged by the participants because rather than enjoying the moment, their minds are already in what could happen in the future, making judgments, analyzing. Just LET IT GO! Be yourself and enjoy the moment!

Hopefully, this opportunity will provide me with a new friend to enjoy, to be nice to, to help out, to listen to, to laugh with, etc, etc. Its sort of like discovering a new bar, a new restaurant, a new food; but much better. And to think, if I would have not taken the little opportunities that presented themselves, none of all of this would have happen. Including this post.

Share with me, what opportunities did you let go off today? Which one did you take advantage of?

Monday, June 05, 2006

How do you.......?


I went out last night. Went to see the Soul II Soul tour with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Yep, the puertorrican boy somehow likes country.

The show was great!! I wondered since this was going to be the 4th time I would see them, if it was worth going. IT WAS! Faith is top three on my list of fantasy women. Tim has some songs that are just plane down fun. While Faith is the most 'de facto', polished superstar amont the two, Tim receives the bigger applause. I could not count the ratio of women to men that go to this concert, but my friend Jolyn went with a group of 4 girls; so that tells me something.

By the way, this concert provided me with the opportunity to use EBay for the first time in my life!! I can see how EBay can become an addiction. I bought better tickets, and sold my original ones. Since, I have been looking at everything in my house to see if anything needs to go on the block.

I had my friend over for dinner. Some grilled salmon on spinach lettuce, grape tomatoes, red-onions, feta cheese, slices of strawberry, douse with berry vinaigrette, and accompanied by flat rosemary bread. She had a choice of beverages, she chose a 2003, Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot. Yes, there was dessert but we were running late. Ok, now that you know this, I cannot date you; otherwise, we would need to do McDonald's! Im kidding, there is more where that came from.

She came over and picked me up. We had a great time at the concert. Great seats! We had about 3 more glasses of wine. You know, the $7.00 dollar kind for a plastic cup, which quantity wise is just that, a little more than a measuring cup. And then it was time for us to go home.

I got up and felt my balance was a little out of whack. Now, I know how to hold down my alcohol; always have. So this felt weird. My immediate reaction was to look at my friend. She had no balance. My walk to the car was a big struggle. I was trying to shake the webs all the way to the car; someone had to be sober.

Once at the car, I asked her to let me have the keys. She wouldn't. I asked a few times and told her it was best if I drove; zip, zilch, nil, nada. She wanted to go dancing. I convinced her to drive to my house so that I can take my boots which were killing me. We made it alright. And once at home I gave her a bottle of water to drink, and tried to buy sometime in order for her to sober up. I went up to my room, trying to figure out something, hoping she might pass out if I took long enough. When I did not hear anything, I walked down to my living room. She was not there. She was in her SUV, with he lights on, obviously waiting for me.

How do you keep someone from doing whatever it is they want to do when they are a little inebriate? As I got in the car, I finally convinced her to forget about going dancing. She then said she was going home. I begged for her to hang around for 20 -30 minutes. I was not even making a dent into her reasoning. She finally went home, and I followed her. I was sober enough to notice she was using two lanes on a 3-lane road. She made it home. I saw her come out of the car, inside her garage, and I left.

This morning she called me to tell me she had left the engine running the whole night. WHAT? She was worried about maybe having damage her car, and now having to have someone come over and fix her battery etc, etc. I was thinking Mono Carbon- Dioxide, and how fatal that could be! I told her about me trying to keep her from going home; she didn't remember. I have been feeling terrible all day since she could have harm herself. We have all heard the phrases; don't let friends drive when they are in that state. But, how do you keep them from doing it, short of a physical confrontation to take those keys away?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

June 1st, Its Hurricane Season.... again

Its June 1st, and I have a knot in my stomach; Its hurricane season.... again.

The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season became one of the busiest ever. 4 hurricanes hit the state of Florida along with one tropical storm. Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne made landfall within 2 miles of each other, just three weeks apart. Those two intersected the path of hurricane Charley in the Orlando area. Orlando; the place that most south Floridians at one time used as their destination during a hurricane evacuation. Back then, no one could foresee another season like that.

But the 2005 season was the daddy of them all. The season had 28 named storms, 15 named hurricane, 7 of them major. 4 hurricanes again hit Florida. The National Weather Service ran out of names for the storms. The 'poster child' , the most infamous storm of the season, and so far history, Katrina (pictured above). The pain that we witnessed in New Orleans will never be forgotten. However, Katrina was not the strongest storm of 2005. It was a system called Wilma. Now the most intense storm ever recorded. The last name on the list of storms for 2005, but just the 22th of the season.

Katrina became a hurricane two hours before landfall at Hallandale Beach, Florida; a linear 10 -12 miles away from where I live. However, my area was not affected much. About 30 miles south, a lot of people lost power for days. Maybe a foreshadowing of things to come. Exactly two months later, Wilma approached from the west. Many went to sleep that night thinking the storm would reach some maximum winds of 80-90 miles per hour. The same, or a little above the winds contained within Katrina.

With the advent of the internet, one of my hobbies has become to follow these systems. This one was a hard one to forecast. As I went to bed after midnight, I knew the system was going to be a little bit stronger than what people thought; a category 2, with around 100mph winds and the possibility of reaching category 3. I went outside and put my car in the garage. Still, I was not prepare for its effects.

As I couldn't sleep (other reasons), I watched the winds speed increase. My area remained on the eyewall of the storm, which meant the eye skirted us but did not pass directly above, and therefore we were hit by the strongest part. The shift of winds happened right in from of my eyes. A tree in the house in front fell westward when the hurricane first hit, only to be picked up and blown eastward by the backside of the storm. I could see my window panes come in and out. I was expecting them to burst. The noise of flying tiles and shingles was everywhere. I knew the storm was traveling at 22mph (very fast for a hurricane) but still, the whole experienced lasted about 6 hours. And I could not wait for it to pass. After it did, all the neighbors walked outside to see destruction all over. These are my pictures. There was not a single car in my immediate area without damage.

At 730pm, the reality of darkness done upon me. No a/c, no tv, no computer, no telephones. It felt lonely.. the loneliest I have ever felt in my life. As a good boy scout, I was prepared. I fixed some cold dinner. It was a weird night where we were force to sleep with windows open. The noise outside from generators and the smell of gas made me wake up early. The next day, I woke up to take a semi-warm shower; I knew it might be the last one for a while. Around 1100am, I had my second cold meal. I decided at that time this could take long, so I packed and I started to drive. To Orlando. However, it seem many others did too. I changed routes after driving an hour, covering the distance I usually cover in 20 minutes. I headed out west, thinking I could reach Tampa instead. At least my heart felt better going in that direction.

Some 120 miles later, I found a gas station with a food mart. I stopped, re-filled my gas tank, and had the best slice of pepperoni pizza ever. I finally found a working and vacant hotel, with tv, warm shower, and at that time, the unfortunate ability to check my email. But, that's another story.

For the next two weeks I lived at my cousins, waiting for my essentials to be turned back on. Debris and signs of destruction were everywhere. Lines for gas were 2 - 3 hours long. I had filled before the storm like you are supposed to, so I did not need any gas until the worst had passed; therefore I only had a 40 minute wait. Driving to and from work was a nightmare as many street lights were not working. My life was being hikejacked. I was also being affected by an emotional situation, and this nature's blow went hand in hand with it, changing my life forever.

This year they have forecasted 17 storms with 9 hurricanes. Last year? 13 and 7. I am starting to prepare early, even though I do not plan to be around if one comes. Is easy for people that do not experience these systems often, to say they would pick up and leave. Is not easy putting your life in hold when most of the times the effects are not as bad, and when you do not know for certain if you will be affected. A very good friend of mine has evacuated 3 times already. Weighing the pain of doing this (including the 10 hours drive for a normal 3 hours drive) she decided to stayed during Wilma. She lost her roof, and was without power for 2 weeks also. She really does not know what she will do next. Translation; it will depend on the magnitude of the storm. Or in the power of praying and hoping that another storm doesn't come our way for a while.

NOTE: AS I finish this post at 10pm est, blogger is not allowing me to upload pictures. I will as soon as I can.
UPDATE: After a few days and for whatever reason blogger does not let me upload the pictures I intended on using.