In my never-ending quest to improve my blog, I’ve discovered a new feature in WordPress.com! Yes, if you look below, you will see … Ta da! A slide show!
I’m not sure why, but I have a lot of pics that I have saved from the Internet. For some strange reason, I saved a lot of pics with computers in them. What exactly does that say about me? Hmm. I wonder. So if you look below you will see some of my favorite PC pics. I took the liberty of adding my own captions.
I hope to occasionally use this feature in my blog in the future!
This was just a test to see if I could publish a blog entry from my iPhone. I guess I can. I think I’m getting ready to start publishing blog entries on a regular basis. I just went a whole week without the Internet in my house. I tried to upgrade to a faster broadband speed and I lost all connectivity to cyber space.
You probably have a few questions for me and so I feel obliged to explain my long absence from my blog. No matter what explanation I give or what excuses I enumerate, nothing will seem to justify me absence. Except, perhaps, only to me.
I mainly write for myself, and mainly for therapeutic reasons. I could tell you about how I was so busy last semester because I take teaching Spanish seriously. And how I spent a lot of time preparing for a Spanish composition class that I was teaching for the very first time. That meant I didn’t have any handouts that I love to hand out to students. Then, I had to spend a lot of time grading all those compositions!
Plus, I must also add that I was Assistant Coordinator for the Spanish Basic Language Program at UIC. Doesn’t that job title sound impressive? That impressive title permitted me to work many more hours per semester than I had anticipated. Oh, joy! That was time I was forced to spend away from the Internet! Whenever I did have free time, I no longer had the energy to write a blog entry. But now I’m on summer vacation. And I plan to make time to write as many blog entries as possible this summer. I won’t promise to post an entry each and every day, as I once boldly promised as a New Year’s resolution a couple years back. I try to forget about that unfulfilled resolution, but a couple readers constantly remind me. You know who you are.
I started reading the blog Stuff White People Like about two months after it started up. I think I read about it on the Internet somewhere and I checked it out. I really enjoyed reading it and found myself laughing out loud many times. Then, one day, I thought, “I could write for this blog.” So, I contacted Christian Lander and asked him if he accepted freelance submissions. He said that he would, but that he had just signed a book deal and they didn’t want a lot of other new writers now. I understood perfectly. But for some strange reason, I had really, really wanted to write one post for the Stuff White People Like. I tossed around several ideas in my head during my idle moments–of which I seem to have more and more with each passing day. But I never actually wrote anything down, as I am wont to do.
Soon the blog announced the forthcoming publication of the Stuff White People Like book and there was much excitement in the blog’s comments. I commented that I wouldn’t buy the book since I had already read all the posts and comments on the Internet for free. As it turned out, the book version had several new never-before-read entries. However, I still refused to buy the book and ended up reading it for free at Borders in two visits!
Before the book’s release, Lander announced that there would be a contest for the best post written for Stuff White People Like. The prize? A free copy of the book. I immediately sprang at the opportunity to write for this blog. There were hundreds of entries. Since there were so many good entries, the first prize was expanded to the top five best entries. In addition to the free book, the winners would also receive a subscription to The Onion. Well, the first winner was announced and there were scores of complaints about the quality of the entry. Commentators complained that it wasn’t written in the same style, that it wasn’t funny, etc. With each winning entry announced, the complaints grew more vocal. Soon, readers started posting their own submissions in the comments. Okay, so did I! And since I wrote it, I’m posting it here for the sake of posterity! 🙂
When choosing a college major, white people often choose the tried and true English major rather than the last resort of Undeclared. When asked why, they will give the convincingly believable reason that an English major will help them get accepted into law or med school. Worst case scenario is that they can always go to grad school for that arts degree and work at the local coffee shop and be the most intelligent, misunderstood barista there. Being misunderstood adds to the mystique of the English major.
Whenever a college student announces that he or she is an English major, be sure to state, “But you already know English!” This will reaffirm his or her belief that no understands the value of a great liberal arts program. When speaking to an English major, whether a current student or a proud graduate, always comment on how well they speak English and how flawless their grammar is. Also mention the decline of the English language since the Elizabethan Era. Many English majors have learned some very funny jokes while enduring long, boring seminars on Chaucer and the Romance of the Rose. They will even share these jokes with you if you let your guard down. English majors are proud of the fact that they are English speakers.
When engaging in a conversation with an English major, be sure to nod in agreement but never interrupt. There is no need to start an argument with an English major. Oftentimes, he or she will start one without your assistance. For example, the conversation may suddenly turn to The Wasteland, and without your aid, he or she will begin arguing whether T.S. Eliot was American or British. Be sure not to get involved in the argument. You will not win. If you would like to change the subject of the argument, simply mention how you always felt that the Nobel Committee screwed James Joyce.
In order to gain the confidence and friendship of an English major, be sure to ask about his or her writing: “What are you working on now?” But don’t expect an answer immediately. In fact, don’t expect to learn any details about anything he or she has ever written. He or she will tell about how difficult it is to write. Be sure to ask to read a recent work. Of course, the reply will be, “I haven’t let anyone read it yet. Very few people will understand all the literary allusions.” Give them a consoling look and say, “It must be hard to write with all the long hours you put in at the coffee shop.”
I don’t know why, but Mexicans find it difficult to write letters to each other.
When I left Mexico, both times, I said I would write back and send pictures. Well, it took me a while took write back, but I finally wrote back! And guess who wrote back? One cousin to whom I didn’t even write. So, I felt guilty and wrote her a letter.
I wrote to my aunt and then she relayed a message to my cousin who e-mailed me telling me that my aunt said hello. This same aunt still had letters that I had written to her thirty years ago. They were tucked away in her picture box along with my Chicago Marathon medal, which I have no idea how she obtained it. Perhaps, I gave it to my mother before she went on one her trips to Mexico. Now it’s starting to come back to me. My mother said if I wanted to give something to my aunt, so I gave her my marathon medal. Actually, it was a lot easier than writing a letter. Even with the Internet we don’t seem to be writing to each other any more frequently. I still have a long list of relatives to whom I will write before my next visit. But even if I don’t, we’ll pick up the conversation right where we left off the last time. My cousin likes to IM me and that’s fine when I have time. It is a lot easier than writing letters.
My first recollection of Spam is eating it at home. Fried. With tortillas. I was fascinated with the whole process of opening up the can with the little key that was attached at the bottom. When my mother finally opened the can, I was expecting to see sardines. Not ham because the can was too small. So my mother fried the Spam and served it to us on tortillas. We ate it occasionally just to vary our diet a little. But not too much since we always ate beans, rice, and tortillas at almost every meal.
Since I am speaking of Spam, I am reminded of a certain British Comedy troupe who coined the term spam for all that unwanted e-mail that we receive. But not intentionally. They had a skit in which the waiter recites the menu, most of which is comprised of Spam.
When I was in high school, one of my friends introduced me to Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS, Sunday nights at 10 p.m. I was so young and naive that I just didn’t get the show. Who exactly was Monty Python? Where were the trapeze artists? Where was their tent? What strange language were they speaking?
Of course, I knew better than to actually ask anyone these questions. You know how teachers and college professors say there is no such thing as a stupid question? Well, I’m convinced that all my questions were stupid judging by the looks of the people who heard them when I occasionally voiced them. So I never asked questions.
I discovered that Monty Python spoke English–English English, as opposed to American English. Luckily, one of my friends was an English to English translator and he explained the jokes that I didn’t get, which was basically all of them. I would have quit watching Monty Python immediately if it weren’t for my friends and the home where we watched the show.
It started quite by accident when we were at Myrna’s house one Sunday night. Her father, we called him by his first name Tom, told us we had to leave about 10 p.m. because he had to get up early on Monday morning to go to work. He had been watching PBS and then Monty Python started on the tele. One of our friends had actually seen the show before and explained to the rest of us that it was a British comedy. Well, this piqued Tom’s interest and we all sat around to watch it. He forgot all about sending us away until the show was over.
The next Sunday, we all watched Monty Python again at Myrna’s house. We really loved the show and I eventually laughed because I got all the jokes without the aid of an interpreter. One Sunday, Tom told us that we couldn’t come over to watch Monty Python anymore. We watched it at Cecilia’s house for a few weeks, but it just wasn’t the same. Luckily, Myrna told us that we were invited back to her house on Sunday nights to watch Monty Python with her father. He told us that he missed us while watching Monty Python. So every Sunday night we watched Monty Python with Myrna and her father Tom.
But getting back to Spam, that was the skit we re-enacted the most. So the Internet term spam is derived from the Monty Python skit in the restaurant where just about everything on the menu includes Spam: “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, eggs, and Spam,” etc.
Well, I thought of all this because of all the spam that I’ve been receiving lately. The maddening thing about spam is not so much that I receive a lot of spam, but rather that I have started to receive it from myself, too! And, I’m fairly sure that I didn’t send it out. I’m not sure why, but I thought I would share some of the Subject lines with you (in no particular order):
You want yours bigger, all men do
Iva debt consolidation
I hadn’t had sex for a while
Whip out your huge manhood
Best offer in gambling history
Huge discount watches
Start seeing dollars pouring in
How about a $2400 welcome bonus
Best Rolex Replica
Elite products for your style and reputation
Enlargement of organs possible
After that it’s only fun and winning
Affordable luxury online in the world’s no. 1 rated replica watch store
Legal software sales
10 inches is possible
Online University Diploma degrees
You have just received an e-card
Penis Products Reviewed
Looking for a watch? Visit Replica Classics
Great sex secrets revealed
Your diamond replicas
Perfectly crafted luxury timepieces
Suffer from short babymaker? Don’t loose (sic), the only solution is here.
I’ve already mentioned how when I went to Mexico everyone seemed to comment on my American accent when I spoke Spanish. Well, my written Spanish is much better than that of my Mexican relatives. I often get letters from Mexico and some relatives just don’t use accent marks that are absolutely necessary in Spanish. When I e-mail my cousin in Mexico, she is always amazed that I write much better in Spanish than her, even though she’s a native speaker. Another cousin constantly IMs me. Every so often, she asks me how her Spanish is. I tell her it’s pretty good, even though she doesn’t spell very well, doesn’t capitalize at the beginning of sentences, and doesn’t use any punctuation. Some of my Spanish students have seen these types of writings in Spanish and then question why I insist that they use accent marks and ñ and all things Spanish. Well, the main reason is to show that you have been educated. It works for me because my cousins take more seriously when I write proper Spanish.
One difference I noticed when I entered México was that EVERYONE speaks Spanish–as opposed to Chicago where only half the people speak Spanish. México is like a totally different country!
I may be Mexican, but I’m not a real Mexican who grew up in México. When I checked into a hotel in Matehuala, I realized that my name, David Diego Rodriguez, even though it sounds Spanish, is really American. My name, if I were really, really a Mexican, would be David Diego Rodríguez Martínez. But so far, I’m blending in here in Mexico. Or at least, I’ve convinced myself that most people don’t really notice that I’m from America. I found this Internet Café in Celaya and it has accent marks and ñ just like a real Spanish keyboard!
Well, I have to go now. My time is up at the Internet Cafe. Hasta pronto.
Well, I’ve been thinking about all of my lifelong goals and how I haven’t completed most of them. There are so many things I have yet to do. I’ve started so many things that I’ve forgotten to go back to them to finish them. I’ve started writing several novels, but haven’t gotten past the opening lines. I have actually almost already finished a comedy play. Of course, I’ve been working on it for 25 years now. However, I’m almost done editing it. Really! I have about eighty pages and it’s almost done. Any day now!
But I have a lot of other things that I haven’t finished either. I have a utility sink in the basement that I probably won’t install before I sell the house. I have a set of French books so I can learn French some day. Ditto for the Italian and Latin books. I have an unopened jigsaw puzzle of the John Hancock building when it was the world’s tallest building. I’m almost done with my website that I started four years ago. NOT!
Since my retirement, I’ve been trying to re-create a lot of things from my previous lives. That is, things I had prior to my marriage and children, things that I had to sacrifice for the sake of being a good husband and father. Now, I have the opportunity to regress a little and so I am trying to recreate my writer’s garret. Back in 1981 BC (Before Children), I had a nice little apartment all to myself that served me well for all my writing purposes. I actually wrote a lot back then, but nothing very significant like the Great American Novel or the Declaration of Independence. However I did get published in some local publications. Even though these bylines impressed no one but me, I was proud of my writing and myself for achieving another one of my personal goals. Furthermore, I also earned enough money to say I was a paid, published writer, even if it wasn’t enough to earn a living. But I was in my glory as an aspiring writer!
So now, in my retirement, I’m trying to write again. To finish the play that I started 25 years ago and have been finishing up for the last nine; to start the novel I’ve been meaning to write since I was in grade school but never actually started writing; and just to write everyday just to be able to say that I am a proficient writer. (Only real writers know how to use semicolons!)
To that end, I realized that I need my very own writer’s garret where I can feel comfortable expressing my most inner thoughts as a writer. I decided that I must create this writer’s space where I can agonize over the mot just and play the long-suffering writer who lives under squalid conditions that will induce great literature. I need a place where I may rendezvous with my muse, but she better bring some help because she’s really going to need a lot of reinforcements with me.
And so, I have been constructing my writer’s garret. Only, I’m not too much for playing up the suffering part. I’d rather focus on the creature comforts now, especially now during these warm summer months. Therefore, my “writer’s garret” is air-conditioned and has a ceiling fan. How am I supposed to write the Great American Novel if I’m hot and sweaty? Would you like to read a hot, sweaty novel? Plus, I need music to inspire me. Ergo, I have a high fidelity sound system in my garret, along with a cordless phone, a fax machine, Internet radio, and a television. Don’t laugh! So far it’s working. What you just read is a product of my writer’s garret!