Midland Comunity Blogs

Midland has blogs now. They are being hosted here for free. It is an interesting idea and somewhat of an experiment but it sounds like something that I might like to participate on some level. I know one Midland blogger, Dan Lacher. I know there are more but those are the two that I visit. Now with the Midland blogs i think there is a great opportunity to create a blogging community. They could link to us via RSS, and also have our content show up there.

In somewhat related news Dan Lacher has agreed to do an interview for my podcast. Something that I find awesome, interesting and just overall cool. I know how eloquent of me. I am looking forward to meeting him and doing an interview, I think it will be my best podcast yet.

*Update*

Dan is calling all Midland bloggers. I hope soon we can have a meetup. So if you are a Midland Michigan Blogger, go and say Hello!

How far is heaven?

I have been saving this topic for quite some time. It is one of those topics that runs around my head, sometime just at a slow pace, sometimes running as if stole something. It has been just a rant about heaven but it was brought to the forefront of my mind this weekend. I was asked do I know for sure if I will go to heaven? I did not hesitate to say sure. I am not sure why Christians have such a complicated way to look at the concept of eternal happiness. It seems to want to become the most complicated question that transcends even existentialism. The why am I here? becomes, I should want to be somewhere else, I should long for eternal happiness. Then you mix in the whole “Salvation” concept and the “rules” that one must not break so that St Peter meets us at the Pearly Gates and lets us into heaven. Being Catholic complicates matters just a little further with the concept of Purgatory.

It would take me years to fully explore those subjects. A process that at times seemed to me the only appealing thing of becoming a priest and joining the seminary. I would have joined if I could accomplish quest for knowledge and understanding of all those subjects that I stated before. The whole rest of rules that becoming a priest involve kind of shut down that idea, but Theology has always been an interesting subject and one I feel I have not studied enough. I have visited plenty of Churches and even worshiped with the for periods of times, but it would almost be like saying that I am an expert on Mexican cuisine just because I eat quite often at taco bell.

Personally I believe in a very simple way. I know I am a good person, I know I try to do the right thing in most situations and truly try not to harm anyone. Am I perfect? Of course not. Am I still making mistakes that I should have put behind me years ago? Yea, that is what makes me human. However I do follow a path that involves a lot of self-reflection and self-actualization. Before I completely get off the subject I want to state something that bothers me about the concept of heaven.

Why don’t we have heaven here on earth?

It really bothers me that religions (at least most of the ones I have studied) believe in another plane, an afterlife, another universe where everything is happy and ok. Why don’t we believe in making our life here and now heaven? Why do we have to wait to go to heaven to be truly happy? Why can we truly be Christians and be happy about our time here on earth. I have always thought that Jesus was a very cool guy; to me he is the ultimate friend. I think the Christian religion missed God’s point of sending Jesus to earth. I think God send Jesus not just to save us all, but to show us that life here can be heaven on earth. If we follow his message and love one another and everything that the thought entails I think heaven can be here on earth. Let me know what you think.

You don’t speak Mexican?

If Mexican were a language, it would still be hard for me to speak it. The biggest reason would be that I was in Colombia and not in Mexico. Even though I was born in Colombia, I don’t speak Colombian. I know it seems strange doesn’t it. Now if people put a little thought into it, they would realize that words like Hispanic, Spanish, and Latin have more to do with language than actual ethnicity. Not too long ago I wrote about the subject and how I am proud of in a way being Mexican by being Latin.

There is something to be said about the American school system. I remember in Colombia learning about every country in the world, knowing what language they spoke, their currency, population, flag and type of government. I knew that in the United States they spoke English. While it could be debatable if Americans really speak the Queen’s English or an American version of it, the language is still called English and I have never asked anyone if they speak American. That would make a lot more sense since even the aliens on the movies speak English. The bad guys for some reason have an English or French accent but that is a whole other post.

Yesterday enjoying lunch with some coworkers the subject of ethnical identity came up; it was stated that to most non-Spanish people, when they see someone that looks Spanish they are automatically deemed Mexicans. Now this has been true for both Michigan and Illinois. I am not sure if in New York people think all Spanish people are Puerto Rican or in Miami everyone thinks they are Cuban, but in the Midwest being Spanish automatically makes you Mexican.

I had experienced this same conversation before with various groups of people. Most people then get very defensive when I tell them that I am not Mexican, and ask why do I care if I am called Mexican. I have nothing against Mexicans, my sister is married to a Mexican, I have Mexican friends, love Mexican food and furthermore I think that the Aztecs and Mayans were civilizations to be admired. However I am also very proud of my own heritage. I am very proud of being Colombian even though my country does not have the most positive image in the world’s eyes.

The other question that is often asked is: “What is your real name?” A lot of people, including some Spanish people think that I changed my name once I moved to the United States. I’ve had people try to call me Juan, which is the translation of John to Spanish… but not my name, I was born John, it is the name my parents picked. So talk to them about naming me with an English name. Do me a favor and don’t accuse me of “Americanizing” my name.

While language unites Spanish people, or Hispanics, or Latinos, or whatever it is politically correct to call us these days, we are not a united front. There are very deep division lines betweens people from different Spanish countries and a lot of people outside of our ethnicity do not realize that. People from different countries seem to just dislike you for being from a country different that theirs; I have experienced this dislike first hand. I do seem to get along with pretty much anyone, but because of food similarity, or music taste I have always seemed to get along with Cubans and Puerto Ricans. But it does not stop there, I am also a big fan of Spanish rock and thanks to it I was got to meet couple of guys from Guatemala during high school. I believe the only person that I know from El Salvador is JorgeQ. I hope that I never experience that country segregation and that someone will not read me just because I am from Colombia. Overall though there is a division, I am not sure if it is Central Americans vs. South Americans or what, but what I do know is that no one likes Argentineans, “they are kind of stuck up.” (Joking)

I am not trying to offend anyone here; I like everyone for who they are as people and like to find out where people are from just because I love to learn about cultures, not because I am not going to like you because of where you are from; Even if you are from Argentina. I am trying to point out how ridiculous it is to have all the prejudice that we see between Spanish people, or for that matter between humans of all races. It is cool to be proud of where you are from, of who you are, but make it a springboard for unity, find common ground. Do not make the color of your skin an excuse to find differences and things to divide you from your fellow humans. I am extremely proud of my flag and I wear it on my arm (literarily), but I want it to be taken as a sign of pride and not arrogance. While Colombians are very proud people, at times a little too loud and at times just annoying, I can tell you that as a group of people we have “ganas” (drive) and hearths as big as our houses.
On the spirit of humor one of my coworkers found a little Homies figurine depicting a Mexican Mariachi. I thought it was hilarious, now it is going to be eaten by my dragon.

Zathura (****)

Based on the best-selling book by the acclaimed children’s writer Chris Van Allsburg (“The Polar Express,” “Jumanji”), Zathura is a heart-racing sci-fi adventure about two squabbling brothers who are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game they discovered in the basement of their old house. (Sony Pictures)

Most of the children’s movies that I have seen in recent years seem to want to cater to the adults with a lot of humor that either relates to pop culture, other movies or sexual innuendos. I understand the business mentality behind it, but I think we are giving our children an inferior product when we go to a movie that entertains us more than them. At times I feel like children’s movies have forgotten about the kids all together. Movies like The Sandlot, The Bad News Bears (I cannot wait to see the what they did with the remake), or even E.T. seem to be a thing of the past. I was very excited when I first saw a preview of Zathura and really wanted it to be a good movie, but I was cautious not to see it with over inflated expectations.

Zathura is unrealistic and unapologetic about it. It is predictable and far-fetched… and, I loved every second of it. I have not seen a children’s movie this good in years. The movie uses imagination as a central theme and all the characters really help deliver a great story. The kids that were cast fit the roles perfectly.

The special effects were believable and fit the movie while not making graphics a centerpiece of the movie. The overall message of being nice to your siblings came shinning through as well as parents not having enough time for their kids. Tim Robbins was excellent as the father even though he was only in the movie for the introduction of the characters but he really help set the kids on the roles they would play throughout the movie. The humor was great, the laughs kept on coming and it felt like a true story.

I love movies that stimulate the imagination of kids in today’s era where videogames and movies at times seem to corral the imagination of kids to confined spaces. I also think that a lot of producers can learn from this movie that adults still have children inside of them and they can reach that adult or teen audience if they have a great product like this movie. I did not have the pleasure of reading the original book but I can only hope that the movie captured the magic. I not only recommend you watch this movie but I urge you to buy the DVD. If you don’t have kids it still makes a great gift.

buy at Amazon.com

Zathura.

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Johari Window

Bea posted this not too long ago and it looked like a good test. I think those around us help shape who we are, so maybe seeing what others think can help me with my quest for self actualization.
The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.
So go and participate here. Help me map my personality :)

If you just want to be nosey, then just look at the results.

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