Slide show


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.

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I hope to occasionally use this feature in my blog in the future!

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Test


Iphone

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.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Excuses


Focusing on the Spanish exam

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.

Stuff White People Like


 

Stuff White People Like on my iPhone.

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! 🙂

The dream job for the English major.

English Major

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.”

See! I can act white, too!

Writing letters


My best friend!

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.

Spam


I still enjoy watching Monty Python.

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):

  1. You want yours bigger, all men do
  2. Iva debt consolidation
  3. I hadn’t had sex for a while
  4. Whip out your huge manhood
  5. Best offer in gambling history
  6. Huge discount watches
  7. Start seeing dollars pouring in
  8. How about a $2400 welcome bonus
  9. Best Rolex Replica
  10. Elite products for your style and reputation
  11. Enlargement of organs possible
  12. After that it’s only fun and winning
  13. Affordable luxury online in the world’s no. 1 rated replica watch store
  14. Legal software sales
  15. Gravidty (sic)
  16. Win $$$
  17. 10 inches is possible
  18. Online University Diploma degrees
  19. You have just received an e-card
  20. Penis Products Reviewed
  21. Looking for a watch? Visit Replica Classics
  22. Great sex secrets revealed
  23. Your diamond replicas
  24. Perfectly crafted luxury timepieces
  25. Suffer from short babymaker? Don’t loose (sic), the only solution is here.
  26. 15 mistakes every woman made
  27. We give out BONUSES to anyone who joins
  28. Stunning video with naked celebrity
  29. Unsecured debt consolidation loan
  30. Hey
  31. Male enhancement
  32. Small male aggregate is not trouble
  33. Convenient discreet online pharmacy
  34. Real enlargement
  35. Shaved pussies sell better
  36. Come find out
  37. Lovely present
  38. The opportunity presented itself
  39. I was “horny”
  40. Hot sexy latinas all craving for you
  41. Rejoice in your newfound girth
  42. This e-card is hillarious
  43. Do not let them mock at small weener (sic)
  44. Obtain PhD of your desire
  45. Take her longer, harder, and deeper
  46. Need a great gift idea?
  47. Drugstore which guarantees quality
  48. Size enhancement a scam?
  49. Shiny pieces of sheer beauty
  50. Want to be a hero in bed?
  51. Three inches in just weeks

Written Spanish


Spanish keyboard map.

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.