La Burla – To Make fun of

English Version.

Ser inmigrante es una de las cosas mas difíciles que me ha tocado vivir en esta vida. Gracias a Dios estoy casado con una Colombiana y no tengo que lidiar con las diferencias culturales en mi casa como lo he tenido que hacer en el pasado, pero de todas maneras termino siendo alguien que no es ni de aquí ni de allá.

Cuando llega el momento de ser aceptado por una cultura, uno tiene que sacrificar algunas cosas. Una de las cosas que me toco sacrificar por mucho tiempo fue mi sentido de humor. El sarcasmo de los americanos es mucho mas negro que el de los colombianos y la recocha no es lo mismo. Este tipo de humor es solo usado entre amigos cercanos y uno no interactúa con personas particulares a ese nivel en ningún momento. En Colombia si alguien se tropieza la persona mas cercana diría, huy le movieron el piso, pero acá si uno dice lo mismo lo miran a uno como si uno no tuviera respeto. En Colombia esa clase de humor se utiliza para despejar el aire y vivir la vida un poco mas liviana, acá todas las relaciones se manejan a un nivel mas seco.

Ese fue uno de los cambios que le hacen sentir a uno mas solo en este país. Uno se aísla totalmente de los demás porque en realidad hasta para pedir permiso en un supermercado cuando estan pasando con el carro, parece que les cuesta trabajo abrir la boca a la gente, y cuando lo hacen es en un tono afanado y sin nada de cortesía. Yo creo que en Colombia estar listo con frases que uno conoce para muchas situaciones lo mantiene a uno conectado con la gente. Uno ya sabe que al momento que le pase algo inesperado alguien estará ahí rompiéndome el silencio con algún chiste acerca de la situación. Eso hace que uno le mire la cara a la vida de una manera un poco distinta.

Gracias a Dios he sido capaz de hacer de las personas alrededor mío mis amigos. En el trabajo hay varias personas las cuales están listos a cualquier momento de burlarse si yo con torpe que soy me llevo algo por delante, y aunque paresca tonto es algo necesario que le digan a uno al momento que uno tumbe cualquier cosa, “se lo empaco? o se lo lleva así?”

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Friday Feast, the site is looking good

Appetizer
Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?
I do not like practical jokes, I find them kind of dumb because we expect the person receiving it to laugh with us afterwards… I like jokes where both people are laughing at the same time.

Soup
What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?
Salt is regular round top restaurant style one, the pepper one is the wood grinding kind.

Salad
Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?
Hopefully Colombia, and hopefully soon ;)

Main Course
What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?
Whatever my wife has laying around.

Dessert
Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name.
Coconut delight, a coconut covered, caramel filled flaky pastry.

TKD Update

So I have been back to Tae Kwon Do for a couple of weeks. I have been learning 2 forms from the style and the hard part has begun. The having to forget movements that you used to practise over and over to perform a similar, yet different move. Thank God that I did do a little Kung Fu in between schools or I would not be able to walk right now because the horse stance is a lot tougher at this school.

The thing that has been the hardest so far is the push ups on my knuckles. I have done them before and my knuckles are hard enough, but we do either a set of 30 or two sets of 50 depending on the day. I can do about 10 the right way, after that it becomes an exercise of just dealing with the pain and maybe getting another 5 good ones or another 20 just regular push ups with my knee down. Squads are also no joke, specially when they are mixed with kicks.

I was concerned at first because there was no stretching before class and I did feel my muscles a little tight from not using them, but I trusted the teacher who is also a fitness expert. The way he structures the class we do end up stretching while we are warming up. I am actually amazed at how much we actually fit into an hour practise.

I am glad to know that my roundhouse still packs a lot of power, even though this style seems to emphasize the front push kick a lot more. I can feel the Karate a lot more than in any other school I have ever worked out at. My flexibility still has a long way to go, but its coming back a little faster than I had expected. The only thing I see just not advancing at a good pace is my stamina. I need to start running in the mornings or maybe even joining an indoor soccer league to not be so winded at the end of an exercise.

Today was the first time I actually got hurt by doing a sparring exercise. I am still brand new to this class so I did not know what to expect from the exercise that is basically a reaction to a front punch back and fort to work on self defence techniques. I will not go all out at a school class ever, and I don’t think the guy I was practising with tried to either, but he is a green belt, about mid level through the school belts and I think he does not have the control other people might. A couple of his blocks were stronger than I anticipated and I was just doing a dull punch so he caught me with his block bone to bone… nothing mayor, but still a little painful. We used to do an exercise in Kung Fu that would actually pair us up and condition our arms to take blocking hits, you learn to turn just enough to catch the other block at a good angle and not hit bone to bone, but when you don’t expect it hurts.

Overall I am super excited with the school. The other students are really nice, the teacher is knowledgeable and very through when explaining things. With time I will get more used to the differences on the styles and be able to maybe be back at a competition level. I know I miss breaking boards and bricks quite a bit, I have always found that quite satisfying.

Being too black

Knowledge is power only if it used. One of the biggest problems I have with formal education is that, it is almost set up to make you pass tests rather than to actually learn something. After reading blink, I saw an additional purpose for gathering information and it is that if it is part of your true knowledge your unconscious can tap into it. I have seen this while practicing martial arts, eventually after repetition things become reflexes and you do not even consciously realize that you are doing them. However I believe that this can also be applied in different areas, and one of them is racism. What if we could literally steer history in a different way by refusing to accept the negative imagery that is presented to us in a regular basis?

Being exposed to ideas that are antiquated can lead us to steer our brain in the wrong direction unconsciously. Just yesterday the amount of negative comments that where given in TKC’s little satire blog made me see how race is the first thing someone will go to while creating an attack specially if they are anonymous. While most of us could try to consider ourselves not racist, a movie like crash show us that it is actually a lot more complex of a problem than just saying you have a black friend.

I will recount one of the saddest moments in my life when it came to race, and it did not even happen to me directly. You would think I would think the worse race moment in my life was when a white woman in a store grabbed her purse a lot tighter because one of my black friends and I walked in. Before I read blink I thought of it as just a race moment, never as a reflex. But we won’t get into that, the moment I want to talk about was actually when one of my good black friends told me that she did not apply for a job because the black receptionist at the company she was about to interview told her that she was too dark skinned to get a position at that place. I first told her that it was illegal for her to say that, but if you would have seen the shame in the face of my friend when she was thinking of this moment you would have almost been brought to tears. Not only are you being discriminated against for being black, you are also discriminated by how black your skin is by someone from your own race. That made me feel so sick to my stomach I almost puked.

In only an instance someone can crush someone else’s dreams simply because of the snap judgment made by looking at the way someone looked instead of giving them an opportunity to prove if they were a value to the company or not. Actually, she did not even get the chance to interview because someone that was supposed to be on her “side” stop her dead on her tracks. Sad part is that even if my friend had ignored that person and gotten the job, it would have been a burden for her work with a person that thought less of her because she was darker.

I recently was told that South Americans were conceited and cliquey. Just like people talk about American’s sometimes with their blanket statements. While most of it can be attributed to ignorance and lack of vocabulary to express whatever frustration they have, it is also due to the things we allow our brain to consume. Just like junk food, negative imagery and ideas corrupt our capability to look beyond these superficial things and see what it is really inside.

It also happens in the dating scene quite a bit. While I totally believe that physical attraction has a lot to do with chemicals, I believe our environment plays a huge role. Even if we have someone that we totally click with in many levels, the pressure of our peers can sometimes make it impossible for us to date someone that does not meet a certain standard. I refuse to agree with this way of thinking, but I do see it happen all the time. I remember losing a friend because I was too fat, and I thought wow it most have been pretty horrible for him to hang out with me for so long and actually feel that uncomfortable being around me.

I have a different attitude towards people that are superficial enough not to give others even a chance. I actually feel bad for someone that put themselves above others by measuring things like color or country of origin. I feel that they are missing out on actually having a fuller life by closing the door to the opportunity to be around people that might enrich their experience on this earth. I truly feel it is their loss and not mine.

Bodies Revealed Boycott

The first time I saw one of the Bodies Revealed they looked amazing. I first thought of how 3D printers were just making awesome things today. Pretty much anything that can be made in a 3D CAD software can later be reproduced in plastic. My friend Travis actually works for a company that sells and installs this awesome technology. However, I was wrong, the Bodies Revealed are actually real human bodies.

When I started hearing that the exhibit was coming to Kansas City, I was not very happy. I do not believe that science needs to be displayed in a freak show manner, specially since now our technology permits the creation of life like materials that are being used every single day to train doctors. Gone could be the days of gross anatomy where you could only learn by dissecting cadavers.

Someone I know had seen the display before and proceeded to argue the point that it was interesting. He ignored completely my argument that computer 3D models were just as accurate and that displaying bodies like art was somewhat obscene for me. He even thought my wife would see it more from the scientific side of things being a biologist and all. I was not sure so this week I asked her.

She completely agreed with me that it was just creepy to begin with and disrespectful. She then told me how some catholic universities have mass at the beginning of a semester for the people that donated their bodies to science. I have even myself consider donating my body for science and if I do part this earth and my organs can save someone’s life I would be glad to help. I also want to donate bone marrow in the future and have donated donated so many times before that I even got a t-shirt.

I however cannot condone the display of human bodies as a spectacle. I do not see any scientific or artistic merit on this morbid display. I am not as satisfied as Union Station CEO Andi Udris with the company that potentially used unwilling condemned prisoners for some other exhibits. Even thought the company produced documentation, it is not enough for me.

So I call on everyone that reads this blog to just skip this exhibit all together. There are plenty of other exhibitions that can bring more to our city than potentially unwilling human beings displayed as art. Even the willing people that donated their body for science probably did not know they were about to be displayed as if they were part of some sick freak side show. Shame on the Kansas City Star for titling their article on the subject “Willing donors gave bodies to Union Station exhibit, says official.” If you want to believe what a corporation making millions of dead bodies over 20/20, be my guest. However I think that when our local paper posts headlines as full of opinion as Tony Kansas City, who is obviously satirical, we should read between the lines and not believe the headlines. Alonzo Washington was the first local activist to speak up about this, so I am 100% with him. Lets boycott this even.

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