Friday, December 26, 2008

Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

A week has passed since I've arrived in my home state of Colorado to celebrate the holiday seasons with the family and friends that I love. Every visit to Colorado since my departure after high school graduation has been short and sweet. This visit has been relatively different. Maybe it's my perception that has changed or maybe it is the struggling economy reaching all homes and families or a combination of both. The people here, especially in my hometown of Salida, are really down with a low or negative energy. I am witnessing firsthand the struggling economy reaching the back roads of our country at a time when everyone is supposed to be joyous celebrating their respective holiday.

I was sitting at a bar in our town last weekend watching some football and that one Christmas song kept playing in my head "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." just then, I witnessed a friend's mom storm through the bar in a high-strung ball of stress because of lack of money, being lonely, etc. Those who were trying to help kept saying, "it's the holidays, tough time of year." Let me get this straight, the most wonderful time of year really ends up being the most stressful time of year for many... especially in a struggling economy, why is this?

Your number one answer can be pointed to the fact that our religious family holidays have succumbed to the pressures of corporate America and has become a consumer-based holiday. I believe we should give gifts to those we love at any point of year, not just on Jesus Christ's birthday. What is so wrong or politically incorrect about that? The pressure for lower to even middle-income families begins to build around mid November and takes full swing on black Friday, day after Thanksgiving when all the blowout sales take place. This year especially has been very alarming since the Wal Mart employee was trampled to death in Long Island due to frenzied shoppers who somehow forgot what the true meaning of these holidays are. It seems to me this holiday season was a great national gut-check for our conusmer-based society. I thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with those that I love and didn't ask for a single gift, though my Mom gave me several books to add to the collection, thank you Mom.. you really didn't have to!

The point I'm trying to make should be absolutely clear by this point, I only hope that for a country that has had a 20-year party of over-consumption on the next hot buy for the bigger and better, we are beginning to realize what really is important in these times and any time for that matter.... friends and family. Material pleasure is only satisfying until the next best thing comes out, which happens more and more rapidly these days in a Web 2.0 digital world. Let's take some time, even one day during holidays from time to time to keep the credit card in the wallet and show our loved one they are loved by being there for them, hugging them, and letting them know what really matters, a simple "I love you."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lose Your Shoes, $50bn Fraud and Internet vs. Sex

First off, thank you to those who took their valuable time to respond to my last blog, it means a lot. Much of my time recently has been filled with job interviews, networking events and reading. Being unemployed has been an absolute blast because I've been able to fill my time with reading what I enjoy, authors Robert Kiyosaki and Deepak Chopra specifically. Also I've been able to enjoy the finer side of San Diego; farmers market, Argentinian restaurant and a Spanish tapas bar. However, I'm fully aware with the many interviews I've had recently, one of them will pull through and provide me a paycheck in exchange for my time, woopie!

The recent current events have had me engaged. What's the latest?

Did you see Dubya's reaction time? Though he hasn't necessarily been the brightest President and has probably been worn out from 8 years of being surrounded by dead-end ideals and administrators, he sure hasn't lost his cat-like reactions. Who in the world who has seen this hilarious seen doesn't wish at least one of those shoes connected, it would have been one of the most remembered scenes in his Presidential career. I commend Bush for being quick to duck out of the way and laughing it off, however I don't think he's fully aware of how large an insult shoe-tossing is in Arab countries. It made me think that Bush and Cheney probably play ''duck the shoe'' at their holiday gatherings every year, how else could have Bush ducked quicker than De La Hoya could manage against Pacuqiao? Cheney and Bush probably had a recent ''duck the shoe'' game just to prep for Bush's last visit to the country he liberated.

Enough with shoe games, let's talk about something that really does concern me and should concern anyone who has any kind of investment in ''securities.'' Former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, Bernard Madoff, was arrested and charged with fraud which has affected some of the world's largest banks and is estimated at a value of $50bn, 33 billion Euros. You can read the article here. This is likely to cause hedge funds to go out of style as well. What comes of frauds like this and the Enron scandal? I hope it leads the average investor or citizen to become financially educated instead of always relying on your financial advisor who probably knows less than you and has just mastered sales jargon. My opinion is if you really want to place your hard-earned or inherited money into the markets, read up and educate yourself on what the hell you're doing. How do you do this? Read Benjamin Graham's "Intelligent Investor," "Prophecy" or "Financial IQ" by Robert Kiyosaki or any literature by Warren Buffet. Don't let yourself be a victim of any frauds or schemes.

The final piece of news that caught my eye today was how nearly half of the women surveyed by Harris Interactive would rather go without sex than losing their internet connection. Meanwhile, almost half of men in a similar survey earlier this year by electronic retailer Comet would give up sex for six months in exchange for a 50 inch plasma television. This is how we know we are truly in the digital age. It makes me wonder if this could be a cure for overpopulation? There's no doubt that people are addicted to clicking on the 'inbox' tab, opening messenger chats and have blackberries attached to the ears at all times, but giving up a basic human need for it? It just goes to show that sex really isn't even a human need anymore, just a luxury that is a backseat complement luxury to your plasma screen.

What can we conclude from all of this? When losing your investment to a fraudulent hedge fund, show how pissed off you are by throwing your shoes at the situation and telling your significant other that you're a reborn virgin who can't escape internet blog junkies like myself.

It's a strange world we live in and I love every minute of it, after all it is the most wonderful time of the year right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Need Your Thoughts!

Hola Hola everyone!

I'm now back in California, as many of you know already, and actively ''starting from scratch'' as I like to think of it. I sold my car before I went to Argentina so am actively searching for employment, a place to live and an automobile, or a scooter :) . Amongst all of this, I do wish to continue one of my passions, which is writing. I've received many compliments from those who read this blog and would love to continue.... so....

My next task is what I should do with this blog. Pura Vida came from the Spanish reference of a pure life, which in my opinion, can be lived anywhere whether I'm writing from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, California or Colorado. Regardless, I was thinking that I continue writing that which is of great interest to me and could possibly benefit you and your life for the better, or search for your pura vida. This includes health, diet, exercise, sport, media, current events, comedy or travel. The point is I've had people ask what I planned to do with my blog now that I'm back in the 'boring' United States which most of my readers are fully aware of. Well, I do plan to continue my writing but am not sure whether my readers want more of one niche topic or a very general delivery on my future posts.

Therefore, I would love to hear from you whether you want to read more on the aforementioned topics or whether you could care less... an email from you saying "I don't give a damn," would suffice. Maybe I could even create a new blog tailored to whatever you want to read. If I don't hear anything, no worries, I'll continue to write. I just love to hear from you as well!

Hope all is peachy in your world, and in an effort to gain more Spanish-speaking readers, I will tranlate this, so please pass it on to anyone you know that speaks Spanish or Spanglish. If I am aware of Spanish-speaking readers, I will translate the majority blog postings!!! Take care

Hola Hola todos,

Ahora estoy acustombrandome a la vida aca en California. Estoy buscando trabajo, un lugar para vivir y un coche. Deseo continuar con una pasion para mi, escribiendo. He recibido muchos elogios de los que lean mi blog.

El proximo objectivo para mi es decidir que debo hacer con el blog. El nombre, la pura vida, significa vivir una buena vida. Sin embargo, alguien puede vivir la pura vida en cualquier lado del mundo, ya sea en Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, California o Colorado. Estaba pensando en escribir lo que me interesa y pueda influirles a ustedes por el mejor, en su propie busqueda de la pura vida. Esto incluye la salud, ejercicio, deportes, medios de comunicación, acontecimientos de actualidad, comedia y viajes. Lo que quiero decir es que me han preguntado muchas personas que voy a hacer con el blog ahora que estoy viviendo en los EEUU que es tan conocido. Me gustaria continuar escribir pero queiro una opinion de ustedes, los lectores.

Por lo tanto, me encantaría saber de usted si quiere mi opinión sobre los temas antes mencionados o si no les importa... un email que dice "No me importa," esta suficiente. Si no recibio nada, voy a seguir escrbibir, solo quiero su opinion!

Espero que esten bien y que sigan leer la pura vida!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

La Bomba de Tiempo

"Bomba Hoy?" Reading the flow of text messages every Monday would all entail the same topic, 'bomba de tiempo.' It literally tranlates the the bomb of time. So every Monday evening in the cultural arts center Konex located in the Abasto shopping region of Buenos Aires the bomb of time takes place. Not your typical bomb of time, this one is in the form of percussion drums transcending a high level of energy to an audience in attendance just to de stress.

Bomba de tiempo is a drummer group led by Santiago Vazquez. The group has an improvisational style and creates a very festive, rave-like atmosphere for the crowd. Each week, a new guest accompanies the drummers and throws their own style into that continuously changing style of the group. The guests would range from Ecuadorian vocalists to saxophone players to hip hop vocalists. One of the fourteen members would rotate every half hour and serve as the conductor for the rest of the players. Each conductor had their own style and you never hear the same set twice, it's continuously new!

From the moment you enter, the drums take hold and slowly begin to impart a positive, high energy into your bloodstream. You look around and notice people of all ages and backgrounds feeling that same energy, it becomes contagious as the night goes one. The two hour event really starts rocking the crowd with thirty minutes left and you take a momentary gaze around the audience and notice ten different forms of dancing, which do you choose? La bomba de tiempo has no judgement on which form of dance you take part in; jump, swivel, rock, just find a way to move and let the energy take hold so you are no longer aware what day of the week it is. You notice parents with young children on their shoulders rocking, a young man with his shirt off on someone's shoulder performing spiritual-like movements, young women shaking the salsa hips, and hippies swivelling and swirving. Bomba doesn't care, just move por favor, let your body go. By the time the last drum beat has vibrated the sound waves one last time for the evening, you are now ready for the rest of the week to take place, no more stress, no more worries.

You remember why you would come to this event every Monday you had the opportunity to. Thank you for taking a step into our shoes and those who are true 'bomba heads' in Buenos Aires. This is a reminder that music is there to serve you, let it absorb you transform your energy to that which is feliz. My hope is that when if/when you are in Buenos Aires, your Monday evening is taken up, la bomba de tiempo is yours for the taking. Handle this bomb with care, if not, you'll find yourself as a bomba head and never consider leaving.... which case of the Mondays would you prefer to have?