Archive for August 2012

A word on Libraries

Libraries are one of my favorite places on earth. I worked for the Miami-Dade Public Library System for nearly five years. Being around so many books and movies and other resources, was just wonderful, especially since I love to write. Writing a book on the ancient Maya? You can find resources at the library. Want to find that documentary your professor required, you are likely to find it at the library.

The Topeka and Shawnee Library does not disappoint. I'm usually there at least twice a week. Erin at the Reference Desk can vouch for that.

It's funny though, as much as I enjoy reading and writing, I never went to a library until I started to work there. When I was a little boy, in Cuba, my mother would take me to a bookstore a couple of blocks away from our house. There is where I fell in love with adventure stories, like Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, or his lesser known The Mysterious Island. But, alas, I never set foot in a library, except for the one at my high school, but that was just to print a homework assignment.

I don't know why it took me so long to go to a library, but once I did, I have enjoyed every moment, even its colorful cast of characters, which seem to show up no matter where a library is located. If you have children, don't wait too long to introduce them to the magic of books and libraries. I know Elena and I won't.

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Fall crazy

School just started, which means that I am a full-time student, full-time employee, full-time husband and full-time father. Condolence cards will be accepted. No, but really, it will be a very busy fall.

Fortunately, I know that my lovely wife is willing and able to help me in anything I need. I will certainly strive to get good grades (hopefully all As), and you can be sure that I will document my achievements and frustrations.

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Funky Friday #6

Charlie the Unicorn goes to Candy Mountain

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Sitcoms and our lives

Elena and I watch a lot of sitcoms. Whenever we find a good one, we just go through all the seasons quickly and love every minute of it. Some of them, we've seen many times, so naturally we can quote certain parts by heart.

But the best part of all this is when we apply those quotes to certain things happening in our daily lives. Since we know what we are referring to, we always get the joke and everything works out well. However, sometimes I find myself using those quotes around people who have no idea what I'm talking about.

What do I mean? Watch this clip from The Office below. Jim is sarcastically describing his first date expectations with Pam:

So, naturally, whenever something happens that doesn't quite meet our expectations, Elena and I often say, "some manure, just less." Now, imagine saying that to a co-worker who has no idea what you're talking about (been there, done that).

Then, there's this clip where Ted Mosby (from How I Met Your Mother) breaks up with Natalie by saying, "Listen, you're awesome..." The way he says it, it's just classic. So that's another thing Elena and I say around each other often.


This next one is one that we only use at home, meaning that I have never used it outside of our home, and you'll probably see why. Phoebe (from FRIENDS) sounds pretty cool with her deep voice and says this:

But for some reason, Elena and I always thought she said, "Goodbye my babies," which is what we say sometimes joking around when one of us leaves the home to run an errand. It works even better now that Ellie is here!


These are just some of the quotes we say, so in case you hear me refer to anything on this list, then at least you'll be in on the joke, too.

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An answer to the New York Times

There's a recent New York Times article that deals with the big networks struggling to appeal to Hispanics. In the article, the networks wonder why they haven't been able to reach the Hispanic demographic. The answer? It's simple, really.

Stop using so many stereotypes.

Not everyone of Hispanic descent is a maid or is clueless about life. There are plenty of professionals, inventors and even millionaires whose last name ends with a "Z." If you truly want to market and appeal to the growing demographic, then don't rely on clichés, but get to know your audience. How you do that? There are many ways, but one of them is to hire Hispanic writers (me, for example).

Find real stories to tell, stories that involve our culture and heritage. From my own experience, I have many stories of leaving Cuba and the shock of learning a new language and the abundance of capitalism. Still, today, there are plenty of things that happen in my daily life that could be part of a sitcom (just ask my wife). And like me, there are millions of us.

For a classic example of a great understanding of the culture (this is a Miami-Cuban sitcom), watch this clip from Que Pasa Usa? Oh, and my birthday is in December, in case any of you wants to get me the complete season.

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Open Letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix,

Since Netflix is a service that is used through computers and Blu Ray players, I assume that your customer demographic is mostly cool, young hipsters. If that's the case, then why is your movie selection 95% old-garbage?

I love old movies, but good ones, classic ones, not what you have on there. I pay a monthly fee in hopes of watching decent movies, but after hours of browsing thousands of titles, there's maybe only 5 movies that were released in the last year. I could probably film myself browsing for movies and that would probably be more entertaining than half of your selection. I'm sure that many some people would actually prefer to watch that.

What about our TV shows, you may say? Sure, I give you that. Your selection of TV shows is pretty good, however, many times you have one season of a show that had about seve or eight released. Why would you even do that? Why get someone hooked on a show and then only offer one or two seasons? That's just cruel and unusual. And if you do add a season, it takes you two or three years.

Be aware that you have competition. There's Hulu Plus! Unfortunately for me, my Blu Ray player is not compatible, so I can't watch it on the big screen. However, the minute I buy a new player, or Hulu expands its collection of acceptable devices, you will most certainly lose a customer. Unless you improve your selection, in which case, you may or may not lose a customer.


A. Customer

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