¿Qué estoy haciendo aquí? – Lost & Found in Oz

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Going away for college “Miami kids” face a pluralism that is hard to reach in the self-sufficient enclaves found within South Florida. University and career choices can carry young Cuban-Americans away from Miami and everything the city means to them in terms of family, language and culture. When second-generation Cuban-Americans travel far beyond Miami they are uniformly struck by just how Cuban they feel. They ache for dishes of black beans and rice, and they search their iTunes for salsa music… Having relocated far beyond the United States I’ve also been stricken with just how American I feel… Elements of both cultures run deep… Continue reading

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“Magic 8 ball” of musical delight.

♫ ♪ Now Playing ♪ ♫

iTunes music library – Shuffle All

“…there will be an answer,

let it be…”

The above is a cover of The BeatlesLet it Be– a tribute by Felipe Fontenelle.

“When I find myself in times of trouble mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be… And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

Wordmark of The Beatles, originally painted di...

Please visit  http://soundcloud.com/felipefontenellle for more information.
Virtual 8-ball:

15.gifClick to consult the magic 8-ball (indra.com)

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Spider Chronicles (continued): White-tailed rabbit?

I wish I was kidding…

Another one bites the dust

Just found this one as it is (without the coin) while turning off the lights before bed... I've been home (alone) all day - so - My best guess is that I stepped on it without noticing. Don't think I'll get much sleep tonight.

They say white-tailed spiders seek the comforts of your home in the Summer to take refuge from the intense heat.  Summer doesn’t start until December 1st.  We’re still in Spring and it hasn’t even begun to get hot; not by Australian standards.

Just one more reason to look forward to visiting home for the holidays.

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Spider Chronicles: The White-tail

I’ve always said that I’m more afraid of the spider web than I am of the spider itself…

...Then I met this little guy (image via termite.com.au).

White-tailed spiders wander about human dwellings (beds) and may be encountered unexpectedly, unlike the black house spider and the redback which are more often seen in a web. They may be responsible for a disproportionately high number of spider bites compared with other Australian spiders, because of their wandering habits.

They live in gardens and inside houses, beneath bark and rocks, in leaf litter and are often found in the folds of clothes, towels and shoes.[1] They do not build webs… Most active at night, they hunt for other spiders. – Wikipedia.org (accessed 28 Oct 2011)

I got up from the couch to stretch and get my blood flowing but after a very close encounter with this little arachnid, my heart started pumping a bit faster than I had bargained for.  I would not describe myself as a quick thinker (I’m more of a deep thinker) EXCEPT when I unexpectedly find myself faced with an emergency.  In situations where the average person might freeze or lose control, I remain calm, cool, and collected.  I come up with a plan almost instantly, and execute it quickly and methodically.  When I’m certain that the danger has passed, only then do I feel the effects of what might have gone wrong. – Anyone who has ever seen me in one of these situations can testify to this, and for those that don’t know me very well – it catches them totally off guard.

In this case it went a little something like this:

October 28th 2011

Initial reaction to seeing a giant spider crawling out from under the covered chest = 

“¡Santa María Madre de Dios!”

(Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus!)

  • Step 1: Assess the situation

Holy $&*%! That’s a White-tip! That sucker is deadly… I AM NOT GOING TO DIE TODAY! I need to add this to my “Spider Chronicles” for Mikie! … [2 second pause] … Okay!

  • Step 2: Grab a glass from the kitchen and place it over the spider.
Danger averted

Now I know that this particular spider will no longer be inflicting harm upon anyone, ever. This allows me to sit back for a minute (or 20) and contemplate my near death experience; while I wait for my heart to resume beating at a normal pace.

  • Step 3: Take pictures.
  • Step 4: Guarantee that I will not have to fear a bite from this spider ever again.
Postmortem

R.I.P

BOO!

Fin…

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Soudtrack to My Life — “80’s Freestyle Legends”

♫ ♪ Now Playing ♪ ♫

When I hear music…

it makes me DANCE!

Harking back to the time of mix tapes, my 80’s Freestyle playlist includes tracks complied from a tall stack of “burned” CDs.  My best friend and I made them (and many more) from our dorm room in Smith Hall; during our freshman year in college.  Equipped with T3 high-speed internet connections; back when Napster was a fledgling peer-to-peer FREE file sharing interface… Unlimited feels like an understatement (x2).  Looking back, it’s no wonder I’ve ended up with 9078 songs to shuffle with.  The good, the bad, the ugly, and all sorts of silly randomness in-between.

If only I had a digital photo to go along with the visual that I’m having in my head right now!… I’ll be sure to add a scan of the glossy 3×5 as soon as I get my hands on it!

Napster:  A brief History (compliments of Wikipedia.org)____________

Although there were already networks that facilitated the distribution of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Napster specialized exclusively in music in the form of MP3 files and presented a user-friendly interface. The back-end system was built by Napster’s chief architect, Jordan Mendelson.[5] The result was a robust system whose popularity generated an enormous selection of music to download – at its peak there were 25 million users and 80 million songs, but the system never once crashed.

Napster 2.0 Beta 7's file transfer screen duri...

Image via Wikipedia

Napster made it relatively easy for music enthusiasts to download copies of songs that were otherwise difficult to obtain, like older songs, unreleased recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings. Some users felt justified in downloading digital copies of recordings they had already purchased in other formats, like LP and cassette tape, before the compact disc emerged as the dominant format for music recordings.

These reasons aside, many other users simply enjoyed trading and downloading music for free. They created a username and password and were able to make their own compilation albums on recordable CDs, without paying any royalties to the artist/composer or the estate of the artist/composer. High-speed networks in college dormitories became overloaded, with as much as 61% of external network traffic consisting of MP3 file transfers.[6] Many colleges blocked its use for this reason,[7] even before concerns about liability for facilitating copyright violations on campus.__________________________________________________

Miami Sound Synthesis

Being all the rage in Miami, and receiving continuous airplay on the radio even today (and I’m not talking “oldies” or “adult-contemporary” stations) – it never occurred to me that this “Freestyle Music” was foreign to anyone who grew up outside of New York, Miami, or L.A.. As a matter of fact, until today, I never knew how closely tied it was to American/Latin Culture or to Miami in particular.  I never heard of  it referred to as Latin Freestyle either. The songs are in English (a few in Italian for some reason? but none in Spanish) that I know of. The producers and artists do not have distinct Latin or Hispanic names… I’m still a little confused.  One thing is certain. The lyrics are intensely over-dramatic, and that’s got Miami written all over it.  As for the genre, you either love Freestyle or you hate it!

“The origin of the term ‘freestyle’ to describe the genre is not completely clear and has often been debated, but the term stems from these electro and hip-hop roots. In [Miami] Florida, the name is said to have come from local producer ‘Pretty’ Tony Butler, who was in a electro-funk group called Freestyle, and also had produced Debbie Deb’s club smashes ‘When I Hear Music’ and ‘(Lookout) Weekend.’ His production work laid down the template for what freestyle music was to become, and so the genre is said to be named after Butler’s group.”Michael F. GillStylus Magazine

And what’s all this talk about Hip-Hop?

“People called it Latin hip-hop, but the pop producers didn’t want to use that term because hip-hop had negative connotations. So they started calling it freestyle.”

You learn something new everyday!

Image courtesy of openclipart.org

Here’s something else I learned…

Celebrate the miracle of life, the gift of new beginnings, and the memorable legends that live on beyond their time – even if only within that place which they call home.

Never stop dancing:

“When I hear music it makes me dance. You’ve got the music here’s my chance. I went to the disco, couldn’t believe my eyes.  I looked on the dance floor and saw so many guys…

Everybody’s having fun the music’s #1…” ~ Debbie Deb

I’m really interested in knowing what the rest of the world has to say about this “so-called” Latin Freestyle Music so if you have anything to add – please feel free to share your thoughts. _ Thank you
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Soudtrack to My Life — “All will be well…”

♫ ♪ Now Playing ♪ ♫

The Gabe Dixon Band – All Will Be Well

This is my “go-to” song when things aren’t going quite right and I need a little extra boost to keep me moving forward – so it makes it all the more special when the song comes to me instead (through the magic of iTunes shuffle – all 9078 titles).  I’ve usually got music playing in the background; specially when I’m studying, reading, writing, cleaning… anytime I don’t want my mind wandering away from the task. When the words “all will be well” start playing out of my speakers the music becomes part of the foreground – causing me to stop whatever I’m doing and just reflect.

No matter how I’m feeling at the moment it always has the same effect – it gives me a little extra boost – so when it comes to me randomly and unexpectedly it has all the more meaning.

This one goes out to my family and I dedicate it to my cousin Laura:

Album Cover "Gabe Dixon Band"

Cover Art via Amazon.com

“All will be well,  even though sometimes this is hard to tell, and the fight is just as frustrating as hell… you can ask me how but only time will tell.”  ~ All Will be Well, The Gabe Dixon Band

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An ode to the not so distant past

What is it like to disappear?

I’ve been a member of facebook since it was first conceived as an exclusive college networking site.  They required you to have a valid university email address to create a profile.  Styled after the same concept as an “old-fashioned” Face Book — you can say its come a long way.

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Image via Wikipedia

I had never been a regular on the social networking site; never logged in on a regular basis, never updated my profile… My best friend finally convinced me to change my profile picture in 2009, the 1st time since creating my account – she was very excited when I finally gave in.  My activity on the site increased slowly when I decided to go back to school in Tallahassee, FL – 500 miles away from home.  Still, I didn’t pay it much attention.  I was too busy studying, going to school, living my life… I did not become a “regular” on facebook until I took a trip to Saipan, CNMI (USA).  It was the easiest way to keep in touch with my family.  Then I moved to Australia for school, and somehow it became the only way to keep in touch.  I slowly found myself becoming more than just a regular, I was approaching addiction.

I remember a world without facebook – and it was a lovely place, almost as lovely as the world without text messaging (but that’s another matter).

Its been less than 24-hours since I removed myself from the world of facebook and already I find myself asking… Well, what do I do now? – Followed by… What did I used to do?

The answer came quickly – I used to read books! Real ones… made of pressed cardboard and paper, bound with glue and string, the words pressed in ink, with pages you have to turn…

So!  That is what I intend to do.  Today I will fill my idle time by reading books, like I used to do.  But, for some reason I’ve decided to blog about it first, so blog about it I will.  I intend to turn this into a log, or perhaps even a guide, of things to do in lieu of facebook.

Every time I find myself asking what do I do now? I will add my answers to this entry.  My hopes are that with time, the entries become fewer and farther apart, as I no longer will have to ask what I should do away from facebook – and just start doing it.

October 1st 2011

Reading:

1492: The Year Our World Began. By: Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Writing for Social Scientists. By: Howard S. Becker

October 2nd & 3rd

Still reading…

While I managed to get by for a whole day without any temptations for returning to facebook, the social networking site came up in conversation at least twice.  I really gave it no mind until a friend questioned my reasons for de-activating my profile.  I had expected people to ask me why I left, but this question did not address my personal motives for leaving.  It was more like – Why on earth would someone do such a thing?  My first response, the one I gave only to myself, was – are you serious?

Courtesy of my facebook page on August 15, 2011 - So glad someone's keeping tabs

Can you really not think of a single reason why someone might want leave a site which allows for others to keep a 24/7/365 log of your interactions; and for you to do the same with others’? … and what of the log that facebook keeps?

Today, October 3rd, 2011

When I asked myself what do I do now?  I logged on to wordpress and put my thoughts into writing.

Now I find myself asking – Is this any different? (being followed as a ‘blogger’ instead of a ‘social networker’) – What do you think?  I want to say that it is, but the truth is that I’m not sure.

In the words of Linda Richman,

Courtesy of Google Images via bottlegoose/ dreamwidth.org

“I’m all verklempt.”

“Talk amongst yourselves…

I’ll give you a topic.”

Facebook – it’s neither face, nor book. — Discuss!

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Welcome to “No Place Like Home”

Pitbull on Walmart Soundcheck

Example of a GenX Cuban-American: Image by Lunchbox LP via Flickr

For now you can call me Fulanita Tal Qual.  I was born and raised in the United States, and I aim to give you a Cuban-AmericanGen X” perspective of this wild and crazy (and beautiful) world we live in. – All from my point of view of course.  So sometimes I’ll throw a bit of “Spanglish” in here and there because that’s the way I view the world.

p.s. I fall into the late range of  gen x-ers and…
p.p.s. I went to high school with that guy pictured above.

Why x NoPlaceLikeHome x?

Because… what is home?  It has no meaning on its own, only the meaning that you give it.  It’s not a tangible place, but when you are there you know it right away… you feel it with your entire being.  It’s different for everybody and some people may feel like they have more than one – or none at all.  But everyone has an idea of what it feels like – or at least what it should feel like.  Finally, there’s the real space where you keep your things and where you keep yourself… you call that “home” too.

So whats my point?

Right now I have 3 homes.  The one I return to every night to sleep, the one where my family awaits my return, and the one that I long to find.  I carry the second one with me everywhere I go and it shapes the way I see the world.  This is the underlying theme of my blog.  How home shapes the way people view the world around them and how the world views people depending on where it is they call home.

There is no direction beyond that – Just whatever comes to mind..

… De todo un poco!

* A note on the photograph that headlines my page:  It was taken from the window of an airplane flying over Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida.  I took it from my seat, as I was leaving home on January 31st 2011 en route to Adelaide, SA, Australia where I am today. - My home is a truly unique & amazing place.
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