Monthly Archives: August 2010

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When an English “No” isn’t dramatic enough, Spanish may be your answer

If you don’t speak Spanish, I will not translate this for you, but surely you have a friend who can help you. If not, there’s always the Interwebz.

For those who ‘habla’, it’s humorous…regardless of whether you would actually use it or not.

I had a manatee for lunch

Okay, I didn’t really have a manatee for lunch. I did have the good fortune to see a mother manatee with her baby in tow, as they calmly foraged near the dock. It was definitely another one of those “only in Puerto Rico” experiences.

I was also lucky enough to shoot a short video of them:

Enjoying the real, not the virtual…

Are you stopping… or stopping and living?

Sometimes, the little things in life begin to dominate the big ones. Stolen parking spots, annoying coworkers and other, similar annoyances can quickly overtake us. We can go from being generally happy people to bitter cynics in no time at all.

So, recognize the signs. Instead of becoming annoyed, refocus and tell yourself: “If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, I’m a pretty lucky person.”

The sign in the photo reminds us of a similarly positive idea. In the end, life isn’t about stuff. It’s about what you did with the stuff. So, the next time you roll up to a stop sign, don’t just stop. Take the moment as a gift you’ve been given. Stop, remember, refocus, and above all…live.

A few photos from Old San Juan taken with the BlackBerry Torch

Green Iguana or Chupacabra? You be the judge.

This morning I saw a Green Iguana that could easily be mistaken for a small crocodile. According to Wikipedia, they aren’t native to Puerto Rico. In all likelihood, they were brought in years ago, as pets. A lucky few escaped the bondages of captivity, which has resulted in a very healthy population of the little monsters in Puerto Rico.

Green_iguana

If you do visit Puerto Rico, give the iguanas a wide berth. They may appear photogenic and tempting to follow. Be aware, though, that they are very fast and aren’t afraid to whip their tail at an enemy, which can result in a very nasty wound.

Thankfully, they are herbivores. Of course, Wikipedia states that Green Iguanas are ‘primarily herbivores’, which might lead one to wonder if they could be persuaded to partake in carnivorous pursuits. I believe I’d rather leave that to the imagination, though. There’s no need for me to try and prove or disprove accepted science.

Of course, one has to wonder just how big one of these things can grow. Also, what if they are ‘primarily herbivores’ but sometimes like to savor the flavor of a goat, chicken or cow? That might explain that whole Chupacabra legend.

Think it sounds ridiculous? Compare an artist’s rendering of the Chupacabra, below, with the photograph, above. I believe there is a striking resemblance, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. In the end, ignorance of the possible truth may, indeed, be bliss in an instance such as this.

Chupacabra

 

Excuse me, could someone turn the elevator music back on?

Riding in an elevator can be an awkward experience. Let’s face it. You’re packed into a very small space with complete strangers. Some may have bad breath. Some may have body odor. Some may have that look that says, “I like to harm small animals and bury them in my yard.” Of course, there are the friendly people, too. Yes, some smile and try to make polite conversation. Overall, the experience remains an awkward one, at best.

Elevator

That’s where I believe ‘elevator music’ came into play. I have no personal knowledge upon which to base this. I’ve done no research. I didn’t even Google it. It just randomly popped into my head (as many things do) and seemed to make sense. Playing music in an elevator would give everyone something else to focus on, while they desperately try to avoid brushing against the person next to them.

Why is elevator music so distracting? Well, normally when someone refers to it, it isn’t in a flattering light. No, people generally use the term elevator music when referring to some annoying or monotonous tune. Sometimes it may be because it is a xylophone version of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, which is obviously tantamount to sacrilege. At any rate, the point is that elevator music has a specific purpose and important role to play in society. We just seem to have lost sight of that important fact.

This leads one to ask, “Where has the elevator music gone?” I’m not old enough to remember an elevator with actual music. I know I’ve never been in one. Are there old elevators out there with broken music systems? Alternatively, is it that no elevators really ever had music playing in them? Is the term simply a result of media lies (right or left wing…take your pick)? If not, they should. If elevator music played on the elevator stage before, it’s time for it to make a comeback. After all, a little elevator music couldn’t make the awkwardness any worse…..unless of course the guy with the creepy smile standing next to you starts to dance.

(P.S. If we can get some music injected into our elevator rides, I’d like this one included in the mix, if someone would be so kind.)

 

Coquis, el campo y la noche: Nature with a Pink Floyd feel

In today’s world, where noise pollution abounds, it’s often easy to unconsciously tune out the natural noises like the sound of wind in the air, the shuffle of fallen leaves or the refrains of a lone songbird.

Sometimes, though, nature doesn’t take no for an answer. It demands to be heard. Tonight I had the pleasure to sit in a hammock at the ‘Casa del Campo’ (a country house) of some friends. It’s tucked away from the view of prying eyes in the rolling hills that form Guavate, an area of Cayey, Puerto Rico and is the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation.

Let’s get back to the hammock before the point is lost. The worn netting wrapped around both me and Baby Geek Shui, and I slowly rocked us back and forth. Within minutes, his eyes and mine began to close involuntarily. As mine did, I hovered in that odd limbo between wakefulness and sleep. There was no television, radio or other auditory distraction. Instead of hearIng silence, though, my ears were bombarded with the sounds of the night. It was as if the trees, coquis (a small frog native to Puerto Rico), and the night itself had all been ‘miked up’.
The result was astonishing and made me think, oddly enough, about Pink Floyd. The sound of the coquis, rustling leaves, and the hammock’s creaking anchor bolts could have come straight from one of the underlying layers of a tune from Meddle, Atom Heart Mother or Dark Side of the Moon. Keeping my eyes closed, I continued to take in the singular sounds and their collective output. For the first time in some time I was forced…and quickly acquiesced…to listening to nature…with a Pink Floyd twist.

And right in the middle of it all…Baby Geek Shui smiled at me for the first time…45 days after gracing the world with his presence. He had smiled at everyone, except me, all week. I guess he was just waiting to do it at a moment I would be unable to easily forget. I’m glad he did. Now, I’ll be able to go back to that hammock, whenever I need a small reminder of how little is actually required to make a happy moment. I’ll forever have the coquis, Pink Floyd and a 45-day old smile. Yet again, I’m grateful.

Twelve years of marriage, still shiny on the inside

Today is the twelfth anniversary of my wedding to Mrs. Geek Shui, the one that joined us together forever. That’s right. I said forever. There is no other option, as far as I am concerned.

I could tell a thousand stories about a thousand fond memories that I share with her. You see. I’m one of those lucky guys who married way out of their league. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a decent guy, with some intelligence. That intelligence, though, let’s me realize that I really did luck out. I don’t know why she went for me, but she did. That’s all that really matters.

What I will share is the one thing that I think about at least once a day, as I live my life with my wonderful wife and our two sons. It’s something that the minister who married us passed on.

During the ceremony, he held up our rings and explained that, over the years, the outside would sustain many scratches and scuffs. Regardless of the cosmetic damage to the outside, the inside would always remain as bright and shiny as the day we wed.

And as each year of marriage comes and goes, his words become even truer and resonate more loudly. We may not look exactly the same, weigh the same or have the same amount of hair (well…me anyway). Inside, though, we’re just two kids in love with one another, whose rings are thankfully still shiny on the inside.