29 December, 2008

Economics 101

I ran across this clip that explains the basics of the financial and mortgage mess in simple, easy to understand language.  Economics 101, I call it.  

Este video da una lección de economía de una manera fácil de entender, nada rebuscado.  Está en inglés pero tiene subtítulos. 

27 December, 2008

Christmas Lights

These are the best, coolest Christmas Lights I've seen.  
Thanks to the hard work of the Hodo Family in Van Buren, Ark.
You drive there, turn off your car lights, tune your radio to a neighborhood radio station and watch.

24 December, 2008

Merry Christmas / Feliz Navidad

‘Twas the night before Christmas y por toda la casa,
Not a creature was stirring. ¡Caramba! ¿Qué pasa?

Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,

While hanging the medias with mucho ciudado
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado

To bring all children, both buenos y malos,
A nice batch of dulces y otros regalos.

Outside in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my pies like a frightened cabrito.

I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:

"¡Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Berto,
Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!"'

Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.

With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,

Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his real suit de gala,

He filled all the medias with lovely regalos-
For none of the niños had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone como viento.

And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad,
Merry Christmas to all, y Feliz Navidad!

Wishing you the best this holiday season.
Que esta noche es Nochebuena y mañana Navidad.
La Mexicana

05 December, 2008

Just Released

Get one now!
Great news! J. Michael over at JML Multimedia has just released Volume two of his hit tutorial on Magix Movie Edit Pro. Just click the link over on the right to go grab your copy.

This is an absolute must have if you use MEP to edit video. Volume 2 features tips and tricks on how to pull off special effects, and you know you want to know how to do it. Go ahead and check it out, and while you're at it, grab a copy of Volume one. Trust me. I learned how to use Movie Edit Pro just from watching these tutorials. Enjoy!

26 November, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Hope you have 
a Happy 
Thanksgiving Day!!

This is a day to take a couple of minutes to reflect. I am thankful to be surrounded by my family and friends. Their kind words, comments and advice touch my heart, even if I do not say it aloud. Thank you.

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; 
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." 
- Edward Sandford Martin

13 November, 2008

Levanta Ánimo / Cheering Up.

My friend Gato posted a link to this viedo. I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with y'all.  
I can't carry a tune to save my life, so to me it is even more amazing how they put this together.


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

01 November, 2008

Día de Muertos

“Para el habitante de Nueva York, Paris o Londres, la muerte es palabra que jamás se pronuncia porque quema los labios.  El mexicano, en cambio, la frecuenta, la burla, la acaricia, duerme con ella, la festeja, es uno de sus juguetes favoritos y su  amor más permanente.  Cierto, en su actitud hay quizá tanto miedo como en la de los otros; mas al menos no se esconde ni la esconde; la contempla cara a cara con
 paciencia, desdén o ironía”.
To the people of New York, Paris, or London, "death" is a word that is never pronounced because it burns the lips. The Mexican, however, frequents it, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and most steadfast love. Of
 course, in his attitude perhaps there is as much fear as there is in one of the others; at least he does not hide it; he confronts it face to face with patience, disdain, or irony.
"The Labyrith of Solitude" Octavio Paz

The Aztecs had a celebration to honor the children who had past away.  As a belligerent tribe, they also had a day devoted to honor the warriors who had died in battle.  There was a day, also, to honor all other who had passed away.  These festivities took place sometime in the summer.  When the Spanish conquistadores came to Mexico, the priest that came with them thought that
 the way to make the locals learn and accept the religion was to mix the native religous believes with the Catholic dogma.  Places of worship were tore down and it is place churches and cathedrals built. So the tradition to remember the dead was fused and transformed to the modern day "Day of the Dead".  

November 1 is Día de Todos los Santos (All Souls Day) This is the day to remember children.
November 2 is Día de Muertos

Altars or oferings are set up at people's homes or at the cementery to honor the person who passed away.  There are few basic elements of an altar. The table is decorated with cut out of tissue paper. Cempasúchil flowers (a type of marygold) with their bright orange color adorn the altar as well as lit candles. The favorite dishes that the person liked are also brought to the altar as well as drinks: hot chocolate, tequila and water. There is usually a picture of the person
 that is being honored. There are also baked goods, such as the Bread of the Dead -a bread with dough bones. You will also see sugar skulls. Playing cards, cigarrettes, or toys are also placed on the altar. The Aztecs belived that life began once you were dead, and  on this day the souls of the 
dead rested in their pilmigrage of life. The food and drink, symbolically, gave them stregnt, the candles lit the way.  On this day the living and the dead
 share a day together.

Most cementeries open November 1 and do not close until November 2, they remain open for a wake. People go to the  cementery, clean the graves and set altars. At night, the cementery is lit up by the candles. People pray for the deseased, tell stories about them. Some even bring
 musical bands to play the favorite tunes of the deseased. 

The sugar skulls are sold by street vendors.  The vendors gladly write, with frosting, the name of your friends on the skulls. Then you can give the skull to your firends, kind of a sign of friendship, like a Valentince card.  

Many people have asked me why Mexicans do this and think this is a morbid idea. I know Mexicans honor their dead because it is a tradition that has been handed down to us from the Aztecs.  It is not morbid, there is nothing wrong to remember your dear relatives and have a special celebration for it. Part of the Mexican culture and this tradition is to remind us how fragile life is.  In a way, on these two days, Mexicans mock dead. 
If you want to learn more about the Día de Muertos visit:

30 October, 2008

Magix Video Contest

As you may know, I am a member of Magix Movie Edit Pro Group. This group of folks use a film editing sofware produced by Magix.  I am no film editor, but I am learning how to use this sofware to make home movies. The guys at the users group are running a contest.  I decided to enter to promote one of the language forums I use. 

Here are the rules:
Make a fake commercial for anything you want! 
• Entry must be 15 seconds, 30 seconds or 60 seconds in length, no more than 60 seconds.
• Entry must be edited with Magix™ Movie Edit Pro!
• Deadline is October 31, 2008
• Prizes: A collection of stock footage (All sets currently available by deadline).

• All entries must be uploaded to this group (Mep users) by 12:00 midnight October 31, 2008 central time USA.
• Entries will be judged on originality & presentation. It can be serious or comedy. Far out or believable. Make us laugh or make a point, it doesn't matter.
• You must be a member of mepusers.ning.com to enter.

I decided that there is nothing to loose, so I put my thinking cap on and spent some time collecting images and editing.  I wanted to share with y'all my contest entry.  

What do you think?

29 October, 2008


Let's walk down memory lane:

The Right to Vote

The right of citizens of the United 
States to vote shall  not be denied or 
abridged by the United States 
or by any state on account of race,
 color, or  previous condition of servitude.
— Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1870)
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or 
abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
— Nineteenth Amendment (1920)
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election . . . shall not be denied or abridged . . . by reason of failure to pay any 
poll tax or other tax.
— Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964)
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years 
of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by 
the United States or by any state on account of age.
— Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971)

In many countries, the president is elected by direct popular vote.  In the U. S. the president is indirectly elected by the Electoral College. "Each state is allocated a number of Electoral College electors equal to the number of its Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress." (more here)

It is your right, use it.  Do not complain about politics or politicians if you did not vote. Let the Electoral College know what your position is. I, personally, do not care if you are Republican or Democrat, what is important is for you to vote. Let the Electoral College know what your position is.     

Regardless of who wins, the president will have a fine mess to deal with: an economic decline (we were told by Bush it is not a recession), the
downfall of the banking system and financial markets, the war in Iraq, immigration, Bin Laden, and many other issues.

Do not forget to go vote on Tuesday November 4th. As a U. S. citizen it is your right.

21 October, 2008

Funny Video

This video came as an e-mail attachment. It's about the recession.  Could not resist posting it...  

20 October, 2008

Visiting Library

Today's New York Times has a very interesting article on a Colombian guy who lives in a small town who runs a  mobile library service.  He takes his books and shares them with others in surounding villages by loading his two donkies. 

Luis Soriano with his teammates Alfa and Beto.

Read the article in the NYT or below:
October 20, 2008
Acclaimed Colombian Institution Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs

There is also now a documentary on the subjet.  It was presented in the Bogota Film Festival earlier in October. (source)

08 October, 2008

¡Aguas, aguas!

Aguas, aguas  is a phrase commonly used in Mexico to mean:  be careful or watch out!  It is more frequently used than “cuidado” (careful), it  is especially used when one is  immediate danger or about to hurt oneself.

I have been fortunate to run across many Spanish Speakers from different countries, and I have learned that this is a truly Mexican expression.  

One does not think about, one just blurs out:  Aguas, aguas. For instance when we see that someone is not paying attention and is about to touch a pot on the stove that we know it is hot but the other person does not, one may say:  aguas, aguas con la olla.  (watch out with the pot, don’t burn your self).  However, when you yell out aguas, aguas and other Spanish speakers look at you like you have lost your mind and they have no idea why you are talking about water. Plus they get mat at you for not warning them and they begin to believe you are a crazy Mexican.

I remember that one time I called my Salvadorian friend Pancho and left him a message on the answering machine:  Aguas, aguas, "Party Girl" is here!!! I thought I was doing my friendly duty to warn him.  Unfortunately my message was not understood. I got a phone call later from Pancho who was not amused to see "Party Girl" at his doorstep [she had rolled into town in the middle of the week and wanted to go out and party]. Plus he wanted me to explain this business about the ocean or the river or whatever I’d said.  To this day we laugh about the cryptic message.

 Why “aguas, aguas” you may wonder?  I’ve always been told that in Mexico, long ago, before people had inside plumbing at home, people would throw out to the street the “gray water” of the chamber pots. So they would go to the window and warn passersby of what they were about to do by yelling “aguas, aguas”.  Who knows if it’s really true, that is how my grandma explained it to me long ago -- I am sticking to her story.

 Till next one...

La Mexicana

23 September, 2008

Catch 22

A good phrase to use when you are getting the runaround on getting something done. You may have a choice between two things, lets say X and Y. But you cannot choose Y because X prevents you from doing Y. Thus you cannot choose X because Y prevents you from doing Y.  

Let's say you go to the local country office to obtain a construction permit.  The requirements say that you must have the blueprints of the project and must have hired contractors to work on the project, plus you also need this, that and the other forms. You have the blueprints, this, that and the other forms, however the contractors will not sign off on the project because you do not have a construction permit.  So unless you bribe, I mean, "convince" the county clerk to grant you the permit so that the contractors sign off on the project or you "convince" the contractors sign off on the project so that you can obtain the permit, there will be no construction permit issued. *

In other words, there is no way to win or get ahead or accomplish anything. This is a lose-lose situation. 

The term was first coined by Joseph Heller in his satirical, historical novel Catch-22.  The novel is set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards. The author cited an "Air Force rule whereby a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request." (source).

For a extended treatment of the novel, read the Wiki article

* I made up this example, but the more I re-read this, the more it sounds like something Mexican bureaucrats do. 

18 September, 2008

Importance of Learning your Lines Well

In my line of work I frequently teach occupational Spanish:  job-specific language that allows you to do your job in Spanish in a short amount of time. This is achieved by learning crucial expressions pertaining to your occupation.

One of my fellow trainers came a cross these scenes from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" movie.  They are perfect to show that in a short period of time you can learn key phrases needed to perform your job in another language.  Just remember that you need to spend the time to learn those key phrases in order to be able to perform once you leave the classroom. You need to stand and deliver your lines. Remember "your line of work requires specialized vocabulary," and requires you to do it without the help of cheat sheets, if you catch my drift  ;)  



15 September, 2008

Día de la Independencia.

¡Vivan los Héroes que nos dieron Patria y Libertad!

¡Viva Hidalgo!

¡Viva Morelos!

¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez!

¡Viva Allende!

¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros!

¡Viva nuestra independía nacional!

¡Viva México, Viva México, Viva México!

Happy Independence Day!

14 September, 2008


I have just learned how to use a video editing program, well, I am just learning how to use it.  As part of my lesson I used some of the pictures I took in Paris along with 4 little clips I took.  I tried using the music that came with the software but for some reason when I would burn the final copy the sound track would disappear. So I found La Vie en Rose with Edith Piaf and decided to use this classic song. Voilà!! This song did not disappear on the final cut.  C'est la vie!!!


Find more videos like this on Magix Movie Edit Pro Users Group