Saturday, October 1, 2011

September Haikus

I've kept on the Haiku Everyday practice. I like how these 30 go together.

In a scale to ten
You are a gazillion
I pick I'm the judge

I love to watch you
At night sleeping and dreaming
I'm the luckiest

Astounded by the
Observations you make
It's a sexy brain

A calm radiates
As your hands glide over me
Body soul soothing

We walk hand in hand
Down the crowded city streets
All can see, I'm yours

When I hold you tight
It's not that I am clinging
I'm recording life

Such serenity
Existing within our home
Oh awaken one

What did you see there?
You drifted, looking away
Such green eyes I thought

A long night away
Turns into a fun escape
White Mountains ahead

We went in circles
But as always seemingly
The right direction

I worried all night
Was it a restful night then,
In cold mountain air?

"I love you" I say
Words are so inadequate
How can I tell you?

A unit we form
In repose and in response
To a world of hurt

Words invigorate
Arriving at mid-morning
And carry me home

Five seven five verse
Written daily for a month
All for you to read

When patience knocks
You invite her for coffee
Visit as needed

Silliness abounds
A force that sustains our life
But yields to our love

Our journeys become
A way to be together
But always be home

The city noises
Filter up to our small room
It's good to be home

An off-Broadway play
Feels just like one in High School
Were we really there?

Do you enjoy cabs?
If we lived here I'd be broke
Some way to travel

Each moment stays fresh
Like it's to be lived anew
When you are around

Deftly your hands move
Dance not choreographed
Magic in motion

When did I last say
That you have been my savior
It has been too long

I'm much more in now
Since you came into my life
Don't tell the Buddha

I'm in awe of you
Is there a thing you can't do
I bet you'll speak Greek

Some days get away
The unimportant takes over
I should stop and write

The crisp autumn air
Brings me a sense of decay
Your love removes it

While on the drive home
The anticipation starts
When I think of you

I can be too much
But your patience with me
Makes me so thankful

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dreaming of Sweaters and Anti-Matter

I had a dream that I was looking at a sweater very closely. I could see the fibers in great detail. It was well-worn but very beautiful. The fibers were so clear. I could almost look beyond single strands, maybe to the actual molecules that made up the elements that wove together to make strands, that in turn came together to make fibers and that finally made up the sweater.

At first, it reminded me of that gray sweater I once had. I had it for ten years, maybe more. It was a soft wool pullover with buttons on the right shoulder. It was an odd design that if the buttons were undone the sweater would fall askew over the shoulder. I never undid the buttons.

But the dream sweater was nothing like it when it draped over my face. It had brown, reddish, and yellow, or maybe green, strands; there was no gray. The strands pulled apart the closer it came to my eyes. The weave opened and between the strands there was a vacuum, like that from space. "Was it a vacuum, or was it anti-matter?" I remember laughing at the thought, remembering that earlier during the waking day we had talked about chemistry and physics.

The sweater vanished as I tried to reach for it. I could still feel the warmth of it, however. I could somehow feel it was there but I couldn't touch it. The dream dissolved into something else entirely and eventually I wasn't dreaming anymore.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Land of Morpheus

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Haiku Every Day - Week 2

I made it through week 2, plus. While technically there were days that I didn't write a Haiku, I'm averaging one a day. It's my project and my rules. You can look for my hashtag #haikueveryday on twitter. Unfortunately, there is someone with that phrase for a name, that's his problem. As far as I can tell, he doesn't post a Haiku a day, so it's false advertising.

Show me what you want
Your gentleness inspires
The night is for us

Guide my hand, oh Lord
For I want to be the man
That she sees in me

When you were a child
Did you imagine me here?
Your world is mine now

Even in silence
We still talk to each other
A waive or smile

Beautiful face
Curls framing such a smile
Love anew each day

Your fingers curling
Around the steering wheel
We move through space

Nervous meeting her
Your friend from long time ago
Not sure the reason

Hurling through the sky
Has only been fun with you
What's it about you?

Home is not a place
It's nothing less than just you
You are frowning now

End of the month now
Away from you for hours
Feels like a small death

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Haiku Everyday - Week 1

For the past week, I've been posting a haiku everyday on my twitter account, with the hashtag #haikueveryday. I don't know how long I'll keep doing it. Here are the seven haikus for this past week:

A delicious time
That moment when it strikes you
Laugh in abandon

When I have to rant
You lovingly assure me
That all is not lost

Even when away
You are thinking about us
How we can be close

When you are playful
You remind me how serious
I thought you were once

Holding you so close
Feels like the world unending
You are start and end

Remember the night
When we were close yet
Thousand miles apart

Seeing things anew
Your eyes show me more, as I
Get to live again

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What are American liberals to do?

I'm angry. I'm angry at the center and right leaning Democratic party and at a President that sold me a message of hope. I'm angry at a President that gives it and takes it away. He is the President that finally eliminated the ludicrous "don't ask don't tell" but says is "evolving" in the issue of gay marriage. He is the President that signed a health care bill but didn't include a public option. He is the President that has kept the promise to take troops out of Iraq but moved them into Afghanistan. More than all those capitulations, I'm mostly mad because he is the leader of a Democratic party that has absolutely no back bone.

Today's Democratic party is a distortion of the Kennedy-era Democratic party that promised equal rights, progressive ideas and a bright future for America. The party is run by jaded baby-boomers that once had hippie ideas and have morphed into "pragmatic" new agey jerks that lack any convictions. Equal rights are sold out to the far right for a promise to keep them as the other party in Washington. Being called a progressive or a liberal is something they shy away from because they have allowed the other side to change the meaning of it to mean a weakling. Instead of a bright future they have become doomsayers of everything that the far right stands for, but they offer no alternatives at all.

You have to handed it to the "Tea Party" neo-Nazis who have revived a screwed up Republican party with an anti-big government message. No one seems to even realize that the far right stands for a big government anyway; how else are they going to make sure we are praying in schools, teach the bible and stay with our own kind? I don't even have to mention that the far right stands for the largest military any nation has in this planet. Yet, Americans are falling for the lies being fed to them by an increasingly right-wing media led by Rupert Murdoch's FOX.

This week, the Tea Party and the emboldened Republicans held the American economy hostage in a game of chicken against a namby-pamby Democratic party. The Dems folded again, as they have done for a while now, and gave in to what Speaker John Boehner called 98% of his goals. Way to go, spineless hippies!

The President and the weakling Democratic party once again told the American voters that they stand for nothing. They tried to spin this "deal" as a 50/50 win, as the capitulation would trigger big cuts in Defense if they don't work out an agreement when money runs out again. Hey, does anyone want to bet that the Tea Party will once again hold the economy hostage and the Dems will give in? It seems like a certainty to me.

So what is a proud progressive liberal to do? Should I stick with the lame spineless "pragmatists" that stand for nothing because they are the only alternative to a far-right Republican party that wants to drag all of us to the 1800s? Or should I go with some fringe "green-like" party that has no chance of even mount a credible Presidential campaign? Any vote against Obama would be a vote for Michele Bachman/Mitt Romney/Satan dressed as Jesus with a NASCAR t-shirt, right? When should we all stop being weaklings, stop singing "All we need is love," stand up to the right-wing bullies and clean up the mess we have made?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Certainly not Washington, DC.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vegetarians Travel Too

We’ve been fortunate to be able to do some traveling in the past couple of years. While we love traveling, there is always the dilemma of where to eat. As vegetarians, that is always an issue. We seek out Indian places and other veg-friendly cuisines. The issue is that we are always stuck with the same thing, or worst yet the one vegetarian dish on the menu, usually some uninspired grilled vegetable dish.

Fortunately, we have been able to find some pretty awesome places that cater to vegetarians or vegans, so we can enjoy ordering pretty much anything in the menu. Here is a small list in order of my favorites:

  1. Café Flora, 2901 E Madison St., Seattle, WA. Aside from the inherent coolness of Seattle, this would be reason I’d consider living there. The food here is amazing. I recommend anything and everything.
  2. Greens Restaurant, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA. This is the fanciest most gourmet vegetarian restaurant, I have ever seen. Not only is it a class above vegetarian restaurants, but I’d consider it one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. By the way, I have been to America’s best restaurant, Per Se in NYC, so I think I know what I’m talking about. I recommend it all here too.
  3. Ethos Vegan Kitchen, 1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL. The simple dishes, organic beer and the always cool clientele, from hip-hop hipsters to hippies, make this place our favorite place to hang out in Orlando. I recommend the Vegan Philly Cheesesteak.
  4. Atlas Café, 73 2nd Avenue (Between 4th & 5th Street) New York, NY. This Lower East side place has a huge menu. Even carnivores can eat here, which almost disqualified it from the list. However, my punk vegetarian brethren that frequent this place, along with the Lower East Side hipsters, overcome that small flaw in the menu. Don’t expect gourmet; this is veg sandwich heaven. I recommend the vegan chocolate cake.
  5. Candle Café, 1307 3rd Avenue (Between 74th & 75th Street) New York, NY. I know this place has a sister restaurant Candle 79, that is supposed to be it’s fancier version. I have read lots about both, but have only had delivery from this one. I can’t vouch for décor, location or anything of thee sort. All I know is that their delivery is fast and the food is awesome. I will check out both, I promise. I loved their spring rolls.
  6. Grasshopper Vegan, 1 N Beacon St, Allston, MA. Technically this is not one of our traveling finds. However, given that Boston has nearly no vegan places, I have to list it here. There is one reason above all to visit this vegan Chinese restaurant, the No Name. I can’t describe this gooey, crispy, decadent-for-sure concoction of vegan protein, so you’ll have to visit us and try it yourself.
  7. Maos Vegetarian, 1817 M Street Northwest, Washington D.C. Carnivores can keep all their BK Lounges, McDonald’s and whatevers, but we’ll take Maos. It is vegetarian fast food with locations in several cities around Western Europe and North America. We have visited the DC location and nearly visited the one in NYC. Their falafel is fantastic.
  8. Dharma Kitchen, 3667 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6R 2B8, Canada. This place has fantastic food. We didn’t like the stuck-up Buddhist waiter and the décor made me think of a Buddhist monastery. Those are not bad things at all, but they seemed rather heavy handed. Regardless, the Dharma Dude, that’s a dish, was pretty yummy.

Do you know of any vegan/vegetarian places we should check out? We’ll be venturing over the pond soonish, so anything in Western Europe or the UK would be appreciated.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Scandinavian Movies, Tattoos and Girls Named Noomi

I'm a sucker for girls with tattoos *cut to my lovely Mandy* and for girls in punk gear (I still think of Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson in Times Square, back in the day) so it was no surprise that I thought The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was awesome.

I liked the somber, appropriately lit scenes with a building story line that was thrilling. It's supposed to be a thriller, after all. I thought Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist were excellent. It was so Scandinavian.

I was excited to see the other two movies that make up the Millennium trilogy. I wanted to like them so much, but they are just terrible and it had nothing to do with Noomi or Michael.

It seems that they switched directors for the last two, This new hack thought he was doing Die Hard sequels or something. Clearly, he wants to move to Hollywood.

I wonder what David Fincher will do with the actual Hollywood version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Mandy is excited. I'm just waiting to see Noomi on the next Sherlock Holmes movie. In the meantime, I'm up for a trip to Ikea.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Beatles

I guess everyone has some sort of story about how they were introduced to The Beatles, from watching them on the Ed Sullivan show to being introduced to them by parents. Well, here it's my story.

In 1978, my siblings and I arrived to the US. My mom had been here a year and my dad three or so. We were at the mercy of the Immigration and Naturalization Services, and that's how things work sometimes for immigrants to the US.

As soon as we got here we wanted to be just American kids. Despite learning English very quickly, my accent was, and is, a dead give away that I'm not a native American. Each of my siblings have less and less of an accent depending on the age they were when we arrived. Since I'm the oldest, my speech patterns had been more set as was my tastes and attitudes.

I was a 13 year old that was crazy about football, soccer for you natives, poetry, clothes, math and science. That didn't translate well to a world that saw soccer in the same light as the metric system or where early teen boys that spend time memorizing poetry were effeminate. The culture also put down those of us inclined to math and science as geeks, nerds or worse yet terribly uncool. I'm glad to say that in the years since, some of those things have changed for the better.

My siblings and I spent months trying to figure out how we could recast ourselves to fit in. To figure out this crazy country we spent hours and hours watching TV. To me it was no diversion, it was cramming. We caught up on The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island and every cliched show from the 60s and 70s.

Once enrolled in school, I noticed that kids in my school grouped themselves by ethnicity, culture but more importantly music tastes. I couldn't fake my way into the Disco/R&B crowd. While many Latinos were in the group, I was much too white. Also, I didn't understand what the weird repetitive talking over songs was about. Later I realized that I had seen early hip-hop, I just didn't get it.

I tried to fit in with the Latinos who were into salsa. My countrymen and all other Latinos found me lacking for I knew nothing about their music and surprisingly even less about their culture. Why? That is a totally different blog, but let's say that socio-economic reasons matter much more in Colombia than they do in the US. It was as if I came from a different place from most of them.

For weeks, I affected various regional accents trying to find one that they'd accept. That failed. I tried to fit in with the Dominicans, the Boricuas, the Argentines but I was too "white," I was told. I didn't understand what being too white meant in that context. Many of the Latinos were just as white as the Greek, Italians and Jews that made up much of the impenetrable white boy camp. I tried to be one of the white kids, anyway. I still didn't fit there but at last I did make a sort of friend, Charlie.

Charlie was an awkward chubby half-Pole, half-Irish kid. He was a redhead and was the pinkiest person I had ever met. We shared a history class together. We sat next to each other in the back of the room. While everyone gave our teacher, a first year 20-something girl, a hard time, Charlie and I chatted away about this and that. He liked that he finally had someone to talk to and I liked that he wasn't puzzled about who or what I was.

One of his favorite topics was The Beatles. Of course, I knew who they were. I had heard their music for as long as I had been alive. Up until that point it was just background noise to me. I had never paid much attention to them. Charlie's fascination was contagious. I started thinking about what I knew about The Beatles.

My earliest memory of The Beatles was my mom listening to Rubber Soul sometime in '68 or '69. I remember looking at the record cover and thinking about how odd were the elongated faces of the four boys. Yet, I had very little recollection of the music.

I brought Charlie's stories home and somehow, I don't remember how but perhaps my sisters may remember, a copy of the Red and Blue Albums arrived at our apartment. Just like the TV shows, my siblings and I began to listen to these records obsessively. Quickly we picked our favorite songs. Strangely, my sisters and I decided we each had to pick a different Beatle to like too.

I chose Paul, while my sisters chose John and George. My brother, who was 5 at the time, was assigned to Ringo. He didn't seem to mind; then again I think he was too busy with his Rubber Ducky to worry about it. I have thought about this for a long time and have noted that our choices were very evident of who we were or wanted to be. I was "a poet" and preferred sappy sentiment, just like Paul. I still love Paul and while I'll admit he was the lamest of The Beatles, without him they would have never gone anywhere.

Quickly, we bought copies of Beatles albums; my sisters favoring the earlier stuff, while I focused on the later stuff. The Beatles opened a flood gate that changed how we became to fit in, or in many cases how we chose not to fit in, in our new country. More current music was purchased, first in hit collections from "As Seen On TV" advertisers and quickly replaced by albums from people like Steve Windwood to David Bowie.

The introduction, or re-introduction, of The Beatles to our home sent all four of us into a love affair with popular music that continues to this day. We moved from one genre to another, quickly cramming just like we did with TV. As the 80s came to being, we settled on an eclectic mix of everything from country to German techno.

Just as the popular culture at large, there are so many things that are important to me that I attribute back to The Beatles. Without The Beatles I may have become a fan of Man U. That would be awful. I don't know if The Beatles ever followed football or if they were Everton or Liverpool fans, but I'm a huge Liverpool FC supporter because of them. George's interest in Eastern Religion was a catalyst for my interest in the subject and my very flimsy Buddhist leanings. Paul's vegetarianism was in a small part one of the reasons I tried it. Sixteen years later I'm still a vegetarian.

We can debate whether the Fab Four were real Mods or not, but because of them I like to say I'm one too. At a minimum, I like Mod music and Mod aesthetic.

Finally, The Beatles made me into a life-long Anglophile. Please don't think that means I love the Royals or that I like Simon Cowell. It simply means that given the chance I prefer English things. Their telly is many times better, at least their comedies. They have better sports, although a multi-day cricket test sounds more boring that a baseball series. They have Tories so they are as idiotic as we are with the GOP. Not even England can be perfect.

As for Charlie, we attended the same school for four more years. I'd see him in the hallway from time to time and we'd smile and say hello. The last time I saw him was at our High School graduation. I think of him rarely, but I'm glad we crossed paths. I wonder what ever happened to him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad 2 (The last one I won)

Location:In Bed

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I must come clean. It has been decades building. I'm ashamed of it, for some unclear reason. Perhaps because I have fancied myself as a hard edge sort of fellow.

I spent years in the early eighties following the NYC hardcore punk scene. I was there when the Beastie Boys forsook hardcore and embraced hip hop. I was at the show when Rachel played with them for the last time -- Yes, the Beasties once had a female member. I was there when GBH played and halfway through the show The Ramones walked in and the band stopped playing to pay homage to the gods of punk. I was there at a Dead Kennedys show when Neo-Nazi skins were beaten when they dared boo Jello during "Nazi Punks Fuck Off."

So what is this that I have come to terms with? I've come to realize that my all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode. Yes, that Depeche Mode. There is no denying my LastFM scrobbles. Far and away they are the artist I listen to the most.

It's true I have everything they have ever recorded including every single, remix, b side, etc. That in itself is a testament to what I think of them. Then again I have the full discography of acts that I don't listen to that often; David Bowie comes to mind.

So why Depeche Mode? Seriously, I don't completely know. There are artists that I love everything they do like Esthero, Morrissey, Jack White, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and Paul Weller. But with the exception of Esthero, there are months where I just don't listen to them. I always seek out Depeche Mode.

They have always been written off as a synth-pop example of 80s excess. I find them to be brilliant; the opinion of my beloved Mandy not withstanding. Their lyrics are more profound than most people think -- perhaps because the continuing struggles with drug abuse. Their music is down right catchy. It doesn't hurt that they are inspiration to groups like Ladytron and Datarock, which I love; not to mention a slew of Goth bands the world over. I do admit loving Goth sensibilities while finding them contrived at the same time.

After reading gobs and gobs of Buddhist books from Thich Nhat Hanh to Ram Dass, and from time to time even spending time meditating, DM's "Get the balance right" is still my favorite explanation of the middle way. Did they even mean it that way? I don't know and I don't particularly care.

I gotta get back to the DM Barcelona Concert I'm watching while on a plane heading to New Orleans; "Drive" is coming on. "Oh little girl there are times that I feel I'd rather not be the one behind the wheel..."

Another learning, it's hard to dance in a small plane seat while your love is next to you reading a serious book.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Flying somewhere over America

Saturday, May 14, 2011

iPad Crazy

Last time I wrote about the iPad and I wondered if I should get an iPad 2. It seems that the gods of Apple (would that be Jobs?) are always smiling at me.

In an unconceivable stroke of luck, I have once again won an iPad and this time it is of the 2.0 version. It was at one of those booths where you drop your business card into the bowl and snicker since there is no way you'll ever win. Well, I guess I'll stop snickering now.

Should I now be ready to win an iPad 3, when that comes out?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why would I want an iPad?

When iPads were first introduced I had a hardy laugh. I'm not a Luddite. In fact, I'm more of an early adopter (I learned that in bidness school). However, the idea of having an oversized iPod Touch just didn't make sense to me.

I heard people were planning to replace their laptops with iPads. "How could that be possible?" I thought. After all they cannot multi-task and the largest one only has 64 gigs of memory. That won't even hold all of my 24,000 songs that are in my beloved "Pedro Pablo," (That is my iPod Classic with 160 gigs) not to mention the several movies, albums of photographs, few books on audio and a slew of music videos.

I started seeing the iPad commercials and had to agree that the folks at Apple did something right. As always, the slick lines and the simplicity of the design called to me. Still, there was no reason for me to have yet another standalone Apple device. Aside from Pedro Pablo, there is the shuffle, Bernabe, that I use during runs and the new iPhone, Diego.

In October, I attended a conference that had a mix of business people, technologists, some developers and the financial press. There I saw the new toy being used by a large number of people. As I sat next to a gentleman from CNN Money, tapping away at his screen, I felt envious. Meekly, I pulled out Diego and typed some items into my "notes" app. It just wasn't the same. He then clicked on his Twitter icon and began to tweet about the conference.

I looked over at my former boss sitting next to me. He's far from a gadget guy, despite being the CTO. He was also looking at the oversized iTouch longingly. At the next break, he called his assistant. Later, I found out that he asked her to order two iPads; one for him and one for his Head of IT, "to test out."

I made it out of the convention and back home. However, I did pester Mandy with my sighs every time an iPad was shown on TV. I told her I really didn't want one. What would be the point? She agreed and brought up the lack of memory, multi-tasking. We didn't want one. We stood united.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a consulting firm. I had participated in an industry survey, which had as an enticement to participate a chance to win an iPad. "Congratulations, Alex you won the iPad," a woman said to me. What iPad? When did I sign up for this?

And yet a few days later, there it sat on the kitchen table. I resisted opening the box for a whole day. What better way to prove to me, and more importantly to Mandy, that I didn't really want one. I opened it, played with it for a little while.

I downloaded the Kindle app; no need to buy a Kindle now. I downloaded the Zinio app; time to get rid of paper magazines. I downloaded EA Sports' latest versions of Tiger Woods, FIFA and Madden, all for less than $15 dollars; good bye X-Box. I downloaded the New York Times app. I never buy the paper, but now I'm actually reading it. I found myself ignoring my laptop and only turning it on to sync iTunes.

During a trip to Nevada, which I'm still on, I watched a couple of movies I had bought for a few dollars in iTunes. I guess I may not need a DVD player either.

I carry the iPad to work intending to use it as a note pad. I have yet to do it, but that is more of a testament to my awful note taking than anything.

Now Mandy wants one too. Should we wait for the iPad 2?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Somewhere over Oklahoma