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Ten-Days Challenge: 1 Picture

Carlos  —  February 12, 2011 — 1 Comment

Ten-Days Challenge

I usually end up writing these posts at nearly 2 a.m. and publishing them later on in the day. I need to stop being such a damn night owl and go to bed at a reasonable time, but that is a discussion for another time. This is the last post that I took on thanks to Huma and today’s challenge is posting a picture of yourself. Well, this certainly has been a challenge not because I can’t find a picture of myself, but because there are not that many pictures of myself (by myself) in my new glasses. The picture that you see on the right is a really great picture of me that I really like and that many compliment on my smile. I get compliments on my smile and my tiny dimple all the time.

So I had to dig for a picture of myself in my old specs and one that I actually liked. Then the questions started to come: should I go with this one that makes me look serious? How about this goofy picture? No, I can’t go with that one because my smile looks creepy or I can’t go with that one because I look way, way too young.

So what did I settle on?

Bowling with friends

This picture was taken in the Fall of 2009. I had just finished off paying for my tuition and I was flat broke but I went out with friends of mine to bowl for a bit because I had not seen them for several months (I still haven’t seen them in such a long time). Like usual I bowled terribly, but we managed to make the best of it and actually had such a fantastic time. It was a great night all around.

So this is it! That is the last post of the Ten-Day Challenge! Its been fun and I hope you learned a little bit about me.

Now, to start taking more pictures and making sure that my spiffy new glasses are in them!

Ten-Days Challenge: 2 Songs

Carlos  —  February 10, 2011 — 1 Comment

This is the second to last blog post in the blog challenge made by my good friend Huma. Each challenge gets a bit tougher and tougher each time I sit down to write down that day’s challenge, like this one for instance. Why is this one tough? Because I go through phases where songs are my absolute favorites and then they become songs that I listen to on occasion because I just cannot listen to that song one more time.  Its not the song’s or artist’s fault that I get sick of their song, but mine: I do not practice restrain with certain things and just indulge myself until I get no utility out of something. Wow, did I just mention something out of economics here? Maybe that class was worth something after all.

So, what two songs should I post? I think I will post my all-time favorite song from my all-time favorite band and a song that I am currently obsessed with. Sounds good? Good.

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1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart-Wilco. Who didn’t think I would not include any Wilco on this list? No one? Gah, I hate being so predictable. Anyways, this song is right off their smashing album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and if I had to be honest my favorite Wilco song changes weekly, but this one is constantly my favorite; that and Jesus, Etc. I love that whenever you see Wilco live they play this song early on in the set, and just how amazing it sounds live, so much better than the album version. For some reason, this song always makes me think of Chicago and when I go to Chicago, I will be playing it on my iPod either as I land or as I am making my way through O’Hare.

2. Raised by Wolves-Voxtrot. This is my current song obsession and I am trying to really limit myself to how many times I listen to it because I do not want to get sick of it yet. I don’t actively look for it on a playlist or do I go straight to the artist on iTunes to listen to it. If it comes on, then it comes on. Simple as that. I got into Voxtrot thanks to the Dinner Party Download podcast (the only podcast I listen to besides Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me) when they played Long Haul for their One for the Road Segment. I went out and got more Voxtrot, fell in love and was heartbroken when I found out that they were breaking up. If I had to recommend any album by Voxtrot its definitely Raised by Wolves. Its amazing.

Ten-Days Challenge: 3 Movies

Carlos  —  February 9, 2011 — 1 Comment

Almost there! After this its two more post until this challenge is almost over and done with. Its both a good and bad thing! Good because I have really liked this challenge and bad because the challenge is also over. Fear not! I am searching for other challenges to partake in and we shall see how that goes. Alright, so let’s get started with today’s challenge: three movies.  This is going to be hard, folks.

1. The Empire Strikes Back. Yup, Star Wars. I loved Star Wars as a kid and the Empire Strikes Back was always my favorite one of the original trilogy. Why? Because the Empire was winning. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for being part of the Rebel Alliance, but I know that if they kept winning it would get boring and very predictable. That is why Empire Strikes back is so damn amazing: excellent story, Yoda!, Han and Leia sexual tension, Jedi training, Cloud City, Lando Carlissian, Vader vs. Luke, Han being frozen in carbonyte, and most importantly NO EWOKS.  Yup, I hate Ewoks. Deal with it.

2. Its a Wonderful Life.  Jimmy Stewart is the greatest American actor of all time. There, I said it. I love everything about Jimmy Stewart and all his movies but my absolute favorite is Its a Wonderful Life, which may be the greatest movie ever made. I don’t know that many people that have not watched it and not loved it. Its just amazing in every single way.  I won’t lie that I cry every time I see this movie. One of my professors, who is going to show it during class, questions why they consider this a holiday movie. Uh, maybe because the setting of the movie is during the Holidays? Anyways, like I said before, its the best American movie ever made.

3. The Shawshank Redemption. I want to thank TNT for introducing me to this movie when I was 11. It was on randomly, so I saw it 30 minutes in. Good thing that they decided to play an encore presentation of it and since then it has never veered from my top three movies.  Curiously, I have never bothered to read the short story that the movie is based off. I have a feeling that if I read the story than it would be disappointing to me, but then again I felt the same way about Sideways but I devoured that book in one sitting. One day I will.

Coincidentally, have any of you tried to watch all of AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time? It was a goal of mine for a while, but I think I am going to pick it up again, even re-watching those that I have already seen to make it more legitimate. This will be fun.

Ten-Days Challenge: 4 Books

Carlos  —  February 9, 2011 — 1 Comment

In late 2007 in order to clear my mind after some troubling emotional and mental times, I took on the task to reading more on a regular basis. My reading didn’t actually consist of just books, but also magazines and newspapers, that’s when my love for the Economist, The Atlantic and the Christian Science Monitor truly developed. In addition to these news sources I started to read books on Buddhism, specifically Zen Buddhism.  I started meditating for a while, stopped, then started back again and read as much about Buddha as possible or Zen literature. It was all very interesting, but it did not stick. If I stop doing something for a few days its extremely hard for me to pick right back up.

But this post is not about my reading habits but about four books that I hold specially dear to my heart. Its quite hard to single four books since I have read many and in some way or form they have all touched me in some way. I’ll try to include some excerpts of my favorite passages if I can. It is nearly 2 a.m and I have been dealing with an awful case of insomnia lately. Let’s get started.

1. The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway. For those who know me, you know how much of a Hemingway nut that I am. My dad stayed with Hemingway for a weekend in 1959 and has been writing a book on and off since God knowns when about it. In our living room there is a picture of my dad and Hemingway standing outside La Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Its a great picture and for the longest time I thought that my dad was Hemingway in the picture since at the time my dad looked like Hemingway with the beard and all. Anyways, back to the book at hand; I remember reading The Old Man and the Sea for a book report in 5th grade. I was a bit nervous about reading it since Hemingway is my dad’s idol and I feared that I may not like the book and disappoint my dad. Despite this, I read the book and loved it. I received a good grade on my book report and continued to read as much Hemingway as I could. The Old Man and the Sea, as cliche as it is, will forever be special to me for truly introducing me to Hemingway.

“I have never seen or heard of such a fish. But I must kill him. I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars.” Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon, he thought. The moon runs away. . . . Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him. . . . There is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behavior and his great dignity. I do not understand these things, he thought. But it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.

2. Illusions- Richard Bach. I was digging through the many bookshelves that we have in our tiny apartment one day in middle school and discovered this book. I asked my dad about it and told me to just read it to form my opinion. Its a quick read, less than 200 pages so you should be able to finish it fairly quickly, but its an extremely interesting and deep book. I remember lending my copy to several friends of mine throughout high school and they being blown away by the book despite being so simple. Whenever I need a good quote or just to get my mind off things I take my copy and leaf through it to calm me down and to clean my head.

A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion….this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.

3. The Razor’s Edge- W. Somerset Maugham. I was first introduced to The Razor’s Edge in an introduction to philosophy class in high school where we watched the Bill Murray movie. Years after my best friend Joe and I decided that we should start a book club with several of our friends and the first book chosen was The Razor’s Edge. I could not put this book down. Maugham writes stupendously and the characters that he created are based on real people that he met. Everyone in our club took something away from Larry, the main character in the book. Who didn’t want to be him? He sets off to find some transcendent meaning in his life and travels all over, meets all sorts of different people and suffering some very painful tragedies a long the way. Supposedly the story is based on Guy Hague, an American mining engineer that Maugham knew. I wish I had my copy because then I would be able to actually quote my favorite passage from the book, which is the part where Larry travels to India and witnesses a sunrise and achieves Nirvana.

You Europeans know nothing about America. Because we amass large fortunes you think we care for nothing but money. We are nothing for it; the moment we have it we spend it, sometimes well, sometimes ill, but we spend it. Money is nothing to us; it’s merely the symbol of success. We are the greatest idealists in the world; I happen to think that we’ve set our ideal on the wrong objects; I happen to think that the greatest ideal man can set before himself is self-perfection.

4. Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling. I know I am cheating a bit by listing the entire book series, but I can’t help it. I love this series. It has always been a big part of my life. Many tears have been shed from laughing or from crying at sad parts in the book. The best written chapter in my opinion (do not continue if you don’t want any spoilers!) is Ch. 34 of Deathly Hallows in which Harry marches to the Forbidden Forest to face Voldermort and face his doom. On his way, he sees the spirit of his mother, father, Godfather Sirius and that of recently killed Remus. It is such an emotional chapter and the best written. Here Harry knows that in order for Voldermort to die he has to be killed first and that it is up to Neville to make sure that Voldermort is killed.

He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent back home…
But he was home. Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here…

Odd listing of books, no? I think so.

Ten-Days Challenge: 5 Foods

Carlos  —  February 8, 2011 — 1 Comment

Today’s prompt is food. This is going to be quick and simple since I am a bit tired and for some reason my brain has been frazzled all day. I blame it on the awesome win from my Green Bay Packers. So let’s get started shall we?

1. Tacos (soft shelled only)
2. Mole Poblano.
3.  Sushi, specially if its eel or tuna.
4. Pizza. Sorry, pineapples don’t belong on pizza.
5. Cochinita Pibil sandwiches.

Damn it. I’m hungry.