Hard On

Even though some of my female readers would probably dissagree, I think males deal with hormones just as much as you do and not just during “that” time of the month. We are constantly charged with heavy doses of testosterone which makes us be prone to animalistic instincts like getting excited by the violence in the UFC or admire boobage wherever it presents itself.

Males spend most of their teenager years trying to learn how to handle erections. Its probably one of the toughest parts of going through puberty to have to deal with erections that we cannot either control nor take care of. This lead to one of the more weird instances of impromptu “sexual education” in my young life.

We were in Spanish class and the teacher was going on about his lecture. We were a particularly misbehaved group that was not only mean to each other, but also to the teachers. We got in our share of trouble and a lof of highschool was about who could do more mischief at one time or another. As the teacher continued with his lesson which sadly I cannot remember, one of my classmates yelled “Gonzalo (the teacher)” has a hardon.

Laughter ensued and even though all of us could relate since it was an all male school, the teacher was really disturbed by the acussation. His face changed and now that I remember the incident as an adult I can imagine how mortified he was. Back then I did not know the difference between a “shower” and a “grower.” Gonzalo got visually more upset and redder as the seconds continue to pass. Then he repeated the accusation trying to probably look for a reaction from the culprit but we had our “no snittching” rule in place for quite some time by then.

Then he went on a long tirade about how the penis multipies in size during an erection and seemed even close to just losing it during it. He looked so upset that we stopped laughin altogether and just listened about how if he had a hardon we would have “really” noticed it. He eventually cooled off and continued the lecture but it was an intersting reaction by an adult losing its cool over an obvious erroneous claim of “hard on.”

As adults we learn how to control erections and don’t walk around with a full flag pole salute unless we are about to perform; but during those teenage gears where if the wind hits just the right way we sported one it was a lot harder (lol pun) to conceal. Heavy books seemed to always be a good cover, but it was rather embarrasing when it was not Gonzalo that got called out for a “chubby” (not sure why but that word when referring to an erection still makes me giggle) but one of us. I certainly would not want to deal with aunt “flo” coming to visit every month, but uncontrolled erections were no fun to deal when during those years.

Too Proud to take Advice

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
Erica Jong

Most people prefer to give advice rather than receive it. Years ago I had this thought about it being human nature, that we just like to find things on our own rather than have someone give it to us. When I go back and read something that I wrote back in 2004 and I still feel the same way it makes me feel good, but I get a lot more excited when I find that I have changed my mind about something.

The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. I think that its not so much that we cannot take advice anymore, but rather that we think we know all there is to know. I don’t know if it is my Grandpa being very gentle with his advice and always making a little story out of it, but from a young age I learned that it is easier to take advice rather than make the mistakes on your own. It has been surprising to me how many people just want to do it on their own and make the mistakes themselves rather than take the advice.

I can count on my hand the people that I have met that have been very willing not to take advice, but truly listen to it. Those people have been very successful as the years have gone by, that and some of the happiest I have seen. The people that are not so willing to listen to advice seem to have a more cynical disposition and are almost paranoid to hear any advice.

Willingness to hear what others have to say is a basic principle of a community. If we are not willing to participate in that process, then we are doomed to not truly be a part of a community. I have seen people go as far as doing the complete opposite of what someone else has advice because the want to “find their own way.” I don’t get why some people like the “hard” way better than the tried one.

Sure, what works for some does not work for others; but there is always room to at least discuss the advice that others are trying to give you.

My favorite teacher gave me a piece of advice about education that applies to much more in life. “Don’t ever swallow whole; any time you get information try to understand not just what it tells you, but how the information was gathered.” This same principle applies to advice. When you hear someone giving you advice, think about where they are coming from and ask them if they have a situation or example where the advice came from.

Simply discarding what others say because you want to do everything on your own is not just pride, but simply arrogance. The more willing you are to listen to others idea, specially advice; the more we would make all relationships in life that much better.

Its all about control

One of my friends is now divorced, some time has gone by and only a handful of very smart individuals can put the situation together with the person. He is not what I would call a close friend, but I have spent time in his house and knew his wife to be a good, hard working person. That was the image I got from my friend and it is what I remember about her. I never had a true conversation with her. I also had no clue that they were having marital problems… I don’t think many of us from that group of friends did.

Before it all went down I did notice several changes in his attitude, it was not just bad, it was almost mischievous. He was constantly poking some of the people in the group to start drama and seemed to always be looking for an argument. It got to the point that I talked with some of the people in the group about an intervention, but they told me that they had tried over the past couple of year and nothing seemed to work. I kind of let the situation be, and slowly distanced myself. Then BAM!, they were getting a divorce.

“Hindsight is 20/20″… that stupid quote is both true and annoying. I knew that there were money issues, but the now glaring beacon on the whole thing is the pr0n. I don’t dislike pr0n and have had my own collection at times, but in my experience its a cheap replacement for actual fun with your partner. If you partner and you enjoy it together, awesome… if its an escape once in a while, cool… if you spend more time with the digital version and only get analog with yourself, there is a problem.

Those are only signs of the distress behind the scenes, that now I wish I would have been able to identify… not to save a marriage (which can only be saved by the couple’s commitment to stay together) but at least to be there for him as a friend when it was going down the slide. I know he is happy now and building a new life, I don’t know much about her.

The thing that I find interesting is how the lack of control in the situation created so much frustration. The fact that it was handled by just trying to make others miserable seems to be pretty common. It has to be pretty hard not to be able to talk your emotions out loud with someone, or maybe even understand them. Situations where we feel out of control are probably the worst, because we look to regain control in places that probably don’t matter instead of facing the real situation and solving the real problems.

I am a firm believe that people that love to create drama hate their lives. When you are content with your situation, there is no reason for you to be poking others unless you are simply starved for attention. So be careful and try to recognize that when someone seems to just trying to be pissing everyone off, they might just be crying for help… they might just not know how.

Colombia or Chicago home?

One of my friends asked me a question upon my return from our trip to Colombia. It was one of those hard questions that I was not prepared to answer, even though I ask it inside my head often. He asked “So now that you are back in Chicago, does Colombia feel more like home?”

It is hard to put into words how many thoughts go through my head when I start thinking of it. This will be a mental dump of some of them. In Chicago, I spent shaping my life as my adult. In Chicago, I finished high school, went to college and worked (and work) for some amazing companies. I have a lot of friends here from school, college and previous jobs… in reality it is too many to even count. Most important, I have all my immediate family here and most of my extended family.

KC is still a home for me, because not only did I leave some great friends there but Bea and I lived the first years of our marriage there. In many respects KC felt more like home for the two of us than Chicago does now. It feels goodto go back there and know that we have many people that would be thrilled if we said we are moving back.

But then we go to Colombia and nothing else feels more like home. Even the polluted air when you get into traffic behind a not-so-well maintained public service vehicle seems to not smell unpleasant but familiar. The weather is just so mild compare to the harsh changes that sometime plague our life here. I swear that yesterday I did not feel like I was breathing but rather drinking air; it was so humid. Then there is the people… the people is what makes living here so difficult sometimes.

Colombia is one of the happiest countries in the world, sometimes even being the number one. From year to year the United States is well bellow 100. When someone asks you, “hey how are you doing?” they do care. Here is a little story that illustrates what I mean.

Don Hernando (Er nan do, no Her.. silent H) is the doorman at the building where Bea’s family lives. He opens the door for you as you arrive or the gate to the garage. If I walk down the street to get something from the store I get to chi-chat with him. If someone arrives with groceries, he helps bring them up. He still remembers that last time we were there we gave him a tip when we left and is very thankful for it. He understands that the people that live there pay his salary and not some management company in some undisclosed location. He knows that each day he does not have to bring coffee to work, because someone in the building will call him up to have some coffee and bread. I think those little deeds are what helps you stay connected and happy.

While we were there Bea’s Mom had a little problem with her blood pressure and had a hard time making it up the stairs. Don Hernando was there every step as we helped her up (she refused to let me carry her.) He stayed vigilant by the door until the ambulance arrived to help stabilize her. He came back often and checked with us and seemed extremely worried, almost as much as we all were. He seemed to actually care.

In today’s world of iPhones and Androids we are supposedly more connected than ever before, but with hundreds of Facebook friends I felt more connected to that doorman every day there than with the people that could reach me even an ocean away.

I cannot help to think back of my next door neighbor in KC that died of cancer and I only found out days later when her son’s whom I had never met were moving out her belongings.

Going down there is not just fun as you will see from the pictures I will post soon; it’s heartbreaking when I know I have to head back. Whenever I think of pace of life I think of Travis’ face, and his face when after we had dinner I told him to relax and have a cup of coffee with me. He still remembers that just as fondly. That is my pace of life, being able to connect, being able to have conversations… I think that is happy living.

Chicago is home for now. When answering that question I cannot ignore that Colombia would feel like home the minute I get the chance to move down there permanently.

No More Dead Bulls

At least in Catalonia. But wait, what about that burger you are about to eat, isn’t that a dead bobine too?

Bullfighting is a violent sport, just like boxing or martial arts the attendants watch and cheer as blood is spilled on the middle of the scenary in a spectacle of pure animalistic emotions. We have explored this subject here in the past and found out that it all comes down to how much you value life… some value human life more when its someone they know, and not so much when they are a world away.

While Catalonia’s motivation for banning bullfighting might be more about politics and separatism it still sends a strong message. Even a province inside of Spain where bullfighting is still popular (even though not as much as before) can chose to do the less barbaric thing and stop the spectacle. I am sure they are not quite banning meat yet, but is that where we should head?

I enjoy mixed martial arts. I am not sure if that feeds some kind of human bloodlust inside me, but it is exciting to watch in a roman gladiators kind of fashion as people beat the crap out of each other. I liked boxing, but think that MMA are more entertaining even when they get as close and almost as fantastic as the wrestling can be.

If the world was free of violence and nobody eat cows I could see how we can draw the conclusion that ending bullfighting is the civilized thing to do. I think modern society is still very rooted into the, hey if I don’t see it, it does not touch me.

I am almost indiferent at the ending of bullfighting as a sport, however I do hope that the running of the bulls never stops. I get a lot of enjoyment from reading of the tremple count every years, specially when the ratio of non-spaniards is higher in the injury list. I mean, you have to be a genious to come up with an event that becomes world famous and you eventually become just an expectator when other idiots come and become your bull’s pin cussions.