Sunday, December 31, 2006

Social interactions: breaking the ice

I went to a New Year's Eve Eve (12/30) party this afternoon with my friend David. I haven't seen him for a while so it was great to see him again and to be out and about and social.. well.. I don't know why but I was not that social today. I am usually pretty good at parties at talking to different people both known and new. Was I shy? Is that possible? :-) May be just pensive. But I was not sad or having a problem or anything. Just quiet. I guess that might have seem strange to some people since I was asked "everything OK?" a few times. And yes! Everything was OK. Perhaps many people are not used to see me pensive or without a smile from ear to ear :-)
I really enjoyed the party, in a different way. I enjoyed observing people interacting. I liked eavesdropping here and there and mainly I got to observe body language. Something that helps me a lot when I am acting or creating a character.

One of the things that stuck in my mind was a question that my friend David used as a conversation starter. He is very original at times... well.. most of the time. ;-)

So, I would like to ask YOU (the reader) this question.

As we welcome the New Year I’d like to leave you with a question that calls for a little bit of reflection (although I hope you don’t have to think too hard to answer it). For some reason the coming of a new year calls people to reflect a little bit. I certainly hope that people develop a habit of reflecting a little more every day.

So here it is:

What makes YOUR WORLD a beautiful place?

I hope to hear from you, or anyone who would like to answer that question, at

Take and give care,


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Unexpected and Unrequested Xmas present

Credit Card companies can be so generous sometimes!

I just checked my bank balances online and found out that my bank had double my credit line! According to the representative "they check my credit activity and payments regularly and give me an automatic courtesy increase in my credit line if everything looks good".
Ugh! I couldn't believe it! Why wasn't I asked first! I actually think that is kind of rude. But then, there are many things that I don't understand about economy in general and US economy in particular. That's why I am a Spanish Teacher! And a very happy one! :-)

Hasta luego!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The b-day songs are coming in!

So, I have 3 songs so far. Two in German and one English.

The first song in German is by Patrick Scully. Patrick is a little taller than me and he is the director of Patrick's Cabaret, a place where I usually perform or curate shows. Shameless plug: My next show at Patrick's Cabaret will be in June, 2007: "Noche Hispana 3"

Here is Patrick singing in German:

powered by ODEO

The second song in German comes from Marian. He is a part of the EPOTI team (English Practice over the internet). We organize Skypecasts weekly, keep a blog and a Moodle site called "Let's Learn English" where people can find plenty of things to practice English.

Here is his song

powered by ODEO

And the third is by Duan Atter, the director of "The Warren: an artist habitat"

Here is his song:

powered by ODEO


And what are you waiting for to send yours!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've been good

It seems that I've been a good boy this year.
Santa visited me and early!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Birthday: Cyberfiesta or Cyberparty, Cybercomments, Cybersongs

(Puedes ver este mensaje en español abajo)

As most of you know this friday, 12/22, is my birthday. I'll be 33!

I don't usually make a big deal of it in they real world but I am a little more liberal in the cyber-world :-)

I like my Cyberparty!

So what is it? Very simple!

You have from now until January 6th 2007 to send me your Cyberpresent. I have to give a little more time for those who need to think about it. And I always liked the Three Wise Men better than Santa Claus anyway (they are diverse, wise -duh!- and have thoughtful presents).

So, be creative and send me a cyberpresent: a simple "hello", a note, a story, a joke, lyrics of your favorite song, an anecdote about that time you and I got drunk... ehmm.. no, just kidding.. I don't drink :-) Anyway... send anything to

This is year I also would like to add a theme: Happy Birthday Songs in Foreign Languages.

If you have a mic and recording capabilities (software) in your computer, and you know how to use it, please record the traditional happy birthday song of your country and in your mother tongue and send an mp3 to

If you don't know how to do that but you still want to do it.. get a mic, connect it to your computer and click on this lovely pink "comment" button below (it even has a star! ah...!), it will take you to a website where you can record your song. You can also record any other type of messages (if you are sing shy) but please keep it clean: this is a family show :-) You can send some extra text with your recording on that website, too

Well... now stop reading and do it! HAVE FUN!

and thanks...

Como muchos ya saben este viernes, 22/12, es mi cumpleaños. Cumplo 33!

Usualmente no le doy mucha importancia a esto en el "mundo real" pero soy un poco mas liberal en el mundo ciber :-)

Me gusta mi Ciberfiesta!

Que es? Muy simple!

Tienes hasta el 6 de enero, 2007 para mandarme tu ciber-relago. Tengo que darle un poco de tiempo a aquellos que necesitan pensarlo bien. Y de todas maneras siempre me gustaron mas los Reyes Magos que Papa Noel.

Pues, utiliza tu creatividad y mandame un ciber-regalo: simplemente un "hola", una nota, un cuento, un chiste, la letra de tu cancion favorita, alguna anecdota de cuando tu y yo nos emborrachamos.. eh.. no.. solo bromeada.. Yo no bebo :-) En fin, cualquier cosa. Mandamela a

Este año tambien quiero agregar un tema: Canciones de Feliz Cumpleaños en Idiomas Extranjeros.

Si tenes microfono y programa en tu compu para hacer grabaciones, y sabes como usarlo, graba una cancion de "feliz cumpleaños" tradicional en tu pais y en tu lengua materna y mandame unmp3 a

Si no sabes como hacer eso pero igual queres mandarme una grabacion... consigue un microfono, conectalo a tu compu y apreta ese hermoso boton de "comment" que esta abajo y te llevara a una pagina donde puedes grabar tu cancion. Tambien puedes grabar otro tipo de mensajes (si no quieres cantar) pero por favor nada de palabrotas :-) Tambien puedes enviar un mensaje de texto junto con tu grabacion en esa misma pagina.

Bueno, deja de leer y manos a la obra! Diviertete!

y gracias...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Joseph again: 20 years after...

When I was young (10.. 13 years old) I used to participate in many activities in my local church (Roman Catholic). One of those activities was the "Pesebre Viviente" (the nativity scene). I remember once, I think I was 13 years old, I was one of the shepherds. Now I am 6'6" tall so you can imagine I was pretty tall then, too. During one rehearsal, when the shepherds come to visit the new born Jesus, the director realized that I was taller than the guy doing Joseph (who was much older than me). So asked us to trade characters. The guy didn't like it at all but I did. You know I was born for the stage :-) I was a better Joseph than that guy... My mom told me and I believe everything that my mom says ;-) Anyway, almost 20 years later (hint, hint, I'll 33 on December 22nd, 2006) I get to be Joseph again. This time with a bigger production put on by a really cool theatre company in Minneapolis: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

La Natividad

December 15-17, 2006 - one weekend only!

La Natividad

The Nativity Story According to St. Matthew and St. Luke
La Historia de Navidad de Acuerdo a San Mateo y San Lucas.

“En el nombre del cielo pedimos posada...

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre is taking the Nativity story to the streets!

  • Come experience the Christmas Story as you’ve never done before. The story of the hol
    y child being born in our midst – here in Midtown Minneapolis.
  • This innovative holiday presentation will combine puppetry, street theatre and a traditional Latino “La Posada” procession. And you’ll be a part of the action!

Audiences will move with the performers among three different locations:

  • First, meet “Maria and José” in the Mercado Central.

  • Across the street in the Avalon Theatre, you’ll discover shepherds and st
  • Then, in a colorful torch-lit procession, follow Maria & José (THIS IS ME) as they look for refuge down 15th Avenue to St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, where all will be welcomed for the Nativity.
  • Finally, join the fiesta in St Paul’s Fellowship Hall
    -- complete with music, food and games.

Told with HOBT’s signature visual beauty and soulful live music, “La Natividad” will be an utterly unique community celebration.

Besides being "Jose" in the procession I manipulated a stork puppet in the Church. I got quite a few compliments for that bird even though it was first time with that type of puppet. I hope to perform with HOTB again, soon. (I just did May Day Ceremony with then a few years ago)

I got to know a lot of new people in this production. And I also had fun sharing the stage with a family from my school (Spring Hill School), Tanja and Olivia (pictured below).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kinder Surprise

Yesterday I received a package from my mother. Since I came to USA she has this habit of sending me a nice small package with a few items that I like of that she manages to put it without going over the weight for a certain postal rate. This package is for my birthday, of course: December 22nd. So this one came a little early.
It included a few healthy granola bars, a small calendar (theme this time: angels. It's usually "saints"), a b-day card, needles (yes, needles... since I am into knitting and sewing now) and a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg. This latter is my favorite candy! I used to eat a lot in Argentina and then during my travels to Europe. They don't sell them here.
Inside the chocolate egg there is plastic egg and inside that one there is a surprise. Usually a small plastic toy that you have assemble. Over the years I have collected many of them. Don't ask my why but I brought them with me to US and now they are on display! Yes! I almost forgot to post it here. My collection of Kinder Surprise has been on display at my local library (Franklin Library in Minneapolis) for about 3 weeks now. Here are some pics:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Walker Church Craft Sale

Walker Church is a very inviting and warm community. I performed at their church with Paper Boats and attended a couple of their services. They are full of music, energy and sense of community.
Margo, a member of this community, invited me to be part of their Annual Craft Sale. I was not sure if I was ready for that, yet. I am not a regular crafter. But at the last minutes I just put a few things together (bags, my knitted horse, etc.) and make a few more (little Christmas stockings, etc).
I participated at the craft sale Saturday 9th from 10 to 4 pm and Sunday 10 from noon to 4 pm. It was a fun experience. I did sell a few things but not much. Anyway, selling was not the main purpose for being there. At least not for me. I just wanted to be part of the experience. I had a lot of time to work on other projects, like the One Square a Day knitted quilt which is coming out pretty well. A big plus of the weekend is that I got to meet, chat and have fun with Angela and Nicole: two crafters that were on a table by me.
On Sunday I brought my felted balls and taught Angela how to needle felt. She really got into it and made a lovely chicken with to of the felted balls. She finished it around 3:30 pm (30 minutes before the craft sale closed). The funny thing is that she put the finished chicken on my table and withing minutes a couple of nice smiley ladies saw it and immediately fell in love with it. And they bought it! That was awesome. It was my first craft sale and it ended on a high note: selling a craft which was the result of a collaboration between Angela and I!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

lag and vs. lack, same vowel sound

As most of you know I have been pretty active lately with some Skypecasts for people to practice English. I am also collaborating with a group of active English learners on a new website dedicated to practice English. It's called Let's Learn English .
That type of work has taken me to discover the world ESL (English as a Second Language) or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) on the internet. There are several websites for ESL/EFL learners and many interesting podcasts.
One of them it's called Speaking English Podcast,a young guys that gives tips so learners can "sound like a native speaker'. One interesting aspect of his website is that he posts all videos instead of just audio.
While I was looking in his archives I discover Episode #22 – leg vs. lag vs. lack posted in the month of October, 2006
In this episode he presented the words "lag" and "lack" as having different vowels sounds. I was pretty sure they had the same sound and emailed him about it.

His response:

"hi paulino,
one word features a long vowel, the other one a short one. that in itself makes them different. as you know i like to over-pronounce the words so that the difference becomes really obvious. in every day use by a native speaker the difference might be minuscule ;-)

thanks for the feedback.

To which I wrote back:
well.. in all the dictionaries (regular dictionary and phonetics dictionary) i found that both lag and lack have the same vowel sound
if you know about IPA pronunciation they would look like this
keep up the good work!
take and give care
ps: and yes, i am aware of your over-pronunciation.. but that's not what i was referring to. :-)"

Finally he was kind enough to include my correction in one of his recent podcasts. My phonetic teachers at Cervera (institute in Santa Fe, Argentina where I was studying to be a Teacher of English) would be so proud of me!!

Thanks Sebastian and keep up the good work!

Here it is

December 03, 2006
Episode #27 – pen vs. pan

Today, it is pen vs. pan, here is the direct link.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Skype, synchronicity and Esperanto

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

"synchronicity is the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality -- used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung "

Lately I have been "playing" with Skype a lot. Skype is a little program for making free calls over the Internet to anyone else who also has Skype. It has pretty good quality. One of the features I like (currently on beta version, though) is the Skypecast. With it you can create your own room and "host" a conversation (if people join in to your room). It's very similar to a radio show but with people from all over the world! You can give the mic to people, you can ask question, propose a topic, etc. I love this feature and I usually find myself wondering around different Skypecasts. You can find some interesting one by browsing the Skypecasts directory.

Lately I've been visiting many Skypecasts devoting to teaching English or practicing English (just like the EPOTI group I belong to). But I was curious about Skypecasts in other languages as well. I have been able to get to a few in French and practice my French a little bit.

One night, while I was waiting for a French Skypecast to start I was wondering if there would be a Skypecast to practice Esperanto. A constructed language that I have been fond of for quite a while. And to my surprise when I looked again in the Skypecasts directory, there it was: a Skypecast about Esperanto.

And that's why I started this post with the definition of synchronicity. I think that is a clear example of it.

I was very lucky that not many people was there. After a short while I got the host, Jose, all for myself. Jose is a young Esperanto enthusiast. Not only he is fluent in the language but he is also involved with a Esperanto group in Madrid, where he lives. It was very pleasant to meet Jose and get infused with his love for that mysterious language. That gave me enough motivation to continue my Esperanto studies again (which I am doing at

Jose has been very patient with me as I start catching up with Esperanto. I am really happy not only for getting motivated again about a language (I love that feeling) but also for making a new friend through Esperanto.

gxis la revido!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Buzzed again

Since I was quite young one of my favorite activities has been buzzing my head. YES! Cutting it all out! I still remember the first time I did it. I must have been around 15 years old. I waited until I was alone at home, got into the bathroom and cut all my hair with a electric cutter. When my family came back home: my sisters laughed, my father said "oh, well" and my mother shouted and cried! :-) I have buzzed my head many times since then. Sometimes by myself, sometimes I ask someone else to do it for me. Many people ask me "WHY?"... My usual answer "Because I can!"... There is no mysterious reason behind it. I do it mainly because it's very practical. This is what I look like today (11/21/06):
For I have played with my hair a lot over the year, look.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanksgiving Assembly at Spring Hill Waldorf School

Today we did an Thanksgiving Assembly at my school. I know it sounds a little early but we are taking the whole week off next week. Isn't that nice? I'll be working on my curriculum and studying Math ALL WEEK! :-)
I love the assemblies at my school. In them you can see a nice sample of what's going on in the classes since the verses and songs presented are usually part of the daily routine and not necessarily something new and prepared for the occassion.
I was very happy because I was able to present something from my classes (Spanish) with all grades: (in order of presentation)

2nd grade: "El león y el ratón" (Fable in Spanis in verse form)
3rd grade: "San Severino" (A songs that mentions different professions/jobs)
1st: We did a series of short songs and verses that we use at the beginning of each class (Hola amigos, Sale el sol, El sol es la vida, Donde estas?)
4th: Tonguetwisters with movement (Como poco coco... and Erre con Erre guitarra...)
5th-6th-7th: Guantanamera (and I accompanied them with the guitar. it's the first time I play the guitar in front of a big group of people in 20 years)

and finally 7th grade did "Zamba de mi esperanza" a lovely song from Argentina.

I am so proud of my students! (and why not... of me and my work!)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

English Practice Over the Internet

This week I have been playing with Skype ( a lot!
Specially with its Skypecast feature. It's a great way to get to know people and have conversations/discussions with people from around the world!

I have also joined a group of people interested in improving their English and helping others to do the same. They have a weekly skypecast called "English Practice Over the Internet". You can find more info by clicking here

I have been experimenting with my own English Practice skypecasts and I must say I like them a lot. After all I was studying to be a teacher of English when I was living in Argentina. My English is not perfect but I think it's pretty good. Well, at least good enough to help those who are just starting to learn English. I might do them more frequently when I have more free time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

IWLA 2006

I love conferences! Specially if they are Language Conferences. This month I am participating (and presenting) in two.

IWLA, October 6 and 7

and MCTLC, October 19 and 20

This weekend at IWLA I had a lot of fun, as usual. Mainly because I got to spend time with my good friends from El Lago del Bosque (Concordia Language Villages). Together we like to present a dance session called "Bailemos Juntos". Another reason that added to the fun is that I presented my one-man-show "The Adventures of Don Quixote" to all the teachers. It was the entertainment piece at Friday reception. It was so much fun to do this show for adults! It was very well received and I got lots of compliments! I might do "Paper Boats" next year!

In two weeks I will be doing "Bailemos Juntos" by myself at MCTLC. Fun!

My fingers hurt!!

My fingers hurt. I haven't been hammering on them.. or doing some intensive labor. They are not frozen from the very cold Minnesotan winter yet...

They hurt because I have started to play the guitar again. And I say again because I took some guitar lessons when I was a kid... Hm... 10 or 12 may be? Anyway... I was never very good with the guitar but I decided I needed to go back to it.

It all started with the songs I do in my Spanish clases at Spring Hill Waldorf School. Songs like Guantanamera o La Bamba sound a little dull if you don't have some instrument to accompany them. I have tried with some shakers or maracas before but it's not the same. I needed to get back to the guitar.

I am a lefty -meaning left-handed person...I am not stating my politival views here :-)
When I was a child and I was taking guitar lessons I used to have the strings in reverse order of the regular guitars. This I could do the chords with my right hand and the stroke with my left hand.

This time I wanted to try something different and challenge myself. I bought a cheap beginner guitar and I didn't change the strings. I had this idea that I should learn to play with a regular guitar so that I could play with any guiter everywhere I go. I tried very hard to learn to do the chords with my left hand. It was very very hard...and I got discouraged and stopped practising after a while.

About a week ago I had the realization that all I wanted was to accompany my songs with the guitar and nothing else. Besides it's not like I go to dozens of parties or meetings were there is a guitar and I have the opportunity to play it.

Mr. Jansen, our first grade teacher helped me last Monday to change the strings in my guitar and gave me a 30 minutes crash course. I was pumped! My right hand immediately started to remember some of the chords. When I got home all I could do was practice with the guitar and look online for the chords for the songs I wanted to play.

This practice was interrupted by my trip to Iowa this weekend, but today I played my guitar again and I was able to do (in an almost acceptable form) "Zamba de mi esperanza". I beautiful dance/song from Argentina. May be I will post a song or two in the future... I have to practice way more!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

funny/weird face

For those of you who still might doubt that I am able to do funny/weird faces, here is the proof. My friend Heidi Edwards took this pics of me during my school event: May Fair 2006. Which one is the funniest/weirdiest of all? Enjoy

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My issues with hot spicy food

This is the last week before I start teaching again. I decided to treat myself. I bought more RAM memory for my desktop computer and I went to Chinese restaurant (Big Bowl) for lunch. I never really like my food to be spicy or hot spicy. Most people are suprised when they hear this because they think we, "latinos", ALL like hot spicy food. This stereotype probably comes from the fact that most of the latino population in the states is Mexican. And most Mexican, but not ALL, like spicy food. But anyway, I don't usually go to ethnic restaurants either. I just don't want to think too hard about food. I just want to eat. With the help of waiter I order some corn dish with chicken that was not spicy at all, according to her. When they brought it to me it looked great! A really big place full of rice, corn, chicken and vegetables. Unfortunately, it was spicy for me. I really try to eat it but after a few minutes it was just too much for me. I wonder if I have become to sensitive to spicy food and if there is a way to change that? I didn't want to waste all that food but the waiter was very nice and changed my plate for another dish. Some orange chicken with rice. This was not spicy at all. The chicken was breaded and cooked with soy sauce so to meet it had an interesting take, but at least I was able to eat it without thinking if it was going to upset my stomach or me! :-)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Elvis and I @ Madame Tussaud's Museum

Have you ever felt like a superstar? Or have you ever seen one (on the street, at a bar, etc.)? Or have you ever taken a picture with superstar?
A visit to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas (or any other location for that matter) can give you a little bit of that. Except that all the famous people you'll find there won't interact much with you since they are made of wax. They are very well made, though. And you can take as many pictures as you want with them :-)

I really liked the museum. I went there Sat 8/12. It was very interesting for me to imaging how all these famous people would look like in real life. Most of them are very short :-)

A few years ago I personified Elvis Presley in the play "The Ballroom" at the Theatre de la Jeune Lune, so I was very excited to have a picture with the King!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco and Sacramento

Last Saturday I took a plane from Minneapolis to Las Vegas and stayed there until Monday. Now I am in LA until tomorrow, when I head to San Francisco for the weekend. Monday and Tuesday (8/21 and 8/22) I will be working with Diamela Wetzl (an experience Waldorf teacher) in Sacramento and then get back home.

I am taking tons some pics (some good, some not so good) and collecting many stories. I'll write more when I get back to Minneapolis.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fringe Festival 2006

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2006 started 2 days ago. Since I didn't see any shows last year I forced myself to see a few this year by buying a 5 tickets pass. Yesterday I did a mini-marathon and saw 4 shows in a row:

Die, Clowns, Die!
Presented by Joseph Scrimshaw

To the Winners
Presented by Wilson Loria from St Petersburg, FL

Dance Hall Days
Presented by Christopher Street Dance

Miss Margarida's Way
Presented by Teatro del Pueblo

I liked them all and I was going to write audience review for all of them. That way I could feel part of this year Fringe a little more. But I haven't gotten inspired to write 4 reviews yet. I know.. I've been very lazy this summer :-)
I have worked with Teatro del Pueblo before so I'll start with their show.

Excellent choice
* * * * *
Teatro del Pueblo couldn’t have done a better job choosing a play for the Fringe. This is a very incisive, strong and controversial show. Miss Margarida uses devices such as repetition (or more like drilling!), provocative comments and direct insults to the audience while explaining her unique teaching methods. It’s hard to miss the underlying political statements and many metaphorical insights. I attended the Saturday 8/5 at 10:00 PM performance. I thought the actress did a very good job but some hesitancy in her delivery made me wonder if she was not completely comfortable with the role yet or if the show was a little under-rehearsed. The apology given by her at the end of the show led me to think it was a little bit of both. I say, “Don’t worry, even if we look like eighth graders to you, we are adults and we can take it. Bring it on!” Bravo! And keep it going!—paulino brener

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New project: One Square a Day (c)

Finally! I have (at last) written most of the description of the project to open it up to anyone who wants to join it. It might need some editing but at least it's out there and I hope to start getting contacts from all over the world soon!!! :-)

visit the blog

Monday, July 17, 2006

A small change...

I have decided to make a small change in the title of my new play. Now it's called:

"barcos de papel - paper boats"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July fireworks

Yesterday my friend Mark and I went to see the 4th of July fireworks by the riverfront in Minneapolis. He took lots of pictures. I posted some of my favorites. They look very artistic.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fun at the lake!

Today it was an unusual Sunday for me. A friend took me to the lake to spend part of the afternoon. He had just changed the oil in his jet-ski so he was excited to try it again. I was scared. Well.. not really scared scared.. But like that type of scared you get at an amusement park. You feel a mixture of nervous and afraid (at least I feel that) but you enjoy it! I haven't been to a lake for a long time and I have never being on a jet-ski. This one was a pretty good one and I was afraid it would go too fast... too fast for me. :-) He took me for a ride and I must say it was quite enjoyable. Again, as much enjoyment as you can get for a ride at a park. Now, if you have ever been on the back side of a jet ski (or a motor bike for that matter) you probably know that there are not many places to grab on. There was a handle on the back but I didn't think it was very safe. I put my arms around his chest and grabbed (very firmly) from his life jacket. The fastest he went and the more waves we jumped, the tightest was my grip. He was lucky I didn't break any of his ribs. Although I think he complaint about some bruises on his chest, oooops! But he didn't seem to mind my occasional screaming either. AAAAHHHH!!! But it was a lot of fun. We also tried some tubbing (an inflatable tube attached with a rope to the back of the jet ski). That was kind of fun, too, but I had a strange grip and I was so tense that I think I hurt my shoulder a little. Finally, I insisted I wanted to try to water ski, why not? After 4 failed attempts I declared that my experience was complete and I was very satisffied with my water adventures. It was, indeed, a very fun afternoon. Well, at least I had a lot of fun. We'll see when I ask my friend to take me for a ride in his jet ski again if my idea of fun was shared.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

It has a title!

I've been having a real bad artist block lately. For the last several weeks I was supposed to work on my new play, another one-man-show. This one will feature several folktales from different countries in their language of origin. Don't ask me how people will understand! :-) I know that will be a challenge and that's exactly why I've been having a mental block. It has been difficult to find a good structure around it. Last night I was talking to a friend about different issues (not about the play). He was down and I was a little down, too. We talked for a long time and very late at night. When we ended the converstion I think we were both feeling much better. I attempted to go to bed but it was impossible to sleep. Then many ideas just came to my head, like rain, like a cascade, like a big storm. I immediately went to the computer and started to put all that down. I ended up with
1) A title for my play: "barquitos de papel - paper boats"
2) A draft of the dramatic framework for it
3) And a picture for postcard and promotion, here it is
More updates about my new play soon...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Signing more and more

I love my ASL 1 class. Sometimes it feels like we are moving a little slow, but it’s just that I have learnt other languages before and I like to go faster. I am trying to be a patient student though. I haven’t met any deaf people yet (other than my teacher). In the next few weeks we have to do some activities outside of class and that will give me more exposure to deaf culture. I can’t wait!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Juana again!

Today I went to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis to see a Juana Molina concert again. I saw her last time in November at the Walker Art Center. My friend Vessela was with me this time. It was fun! The night started with a cool band called PSAPP and Juana followed them. She is great. She makes all her music live even though it might sound like it's pre-recorded. This time I was able to get a picture with her.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Last day of school

Yesterday was our last day at Spring Hill School. We had a long but lovely closing ceremony. Each class did at least 2 things in Spanish. Sixth grade presented a short simulation of a Mexican market and the other grades did verses and songs. I was very proud of all of them!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Have you ever danced so much your legs gave up?

What a weekend! I was invited by my friend Vessela to June Camp. An International Folkdance Camp in Beloit, WI. We went there in Mary's van together with Anna and Dennis. We had quite a fun trip, although Vessela didn't seem to enjoy much my signs (I was studying ASL for part of my trip).
The Camp was a lot of fun. We had a free party on Friday night with different dances that people requested. All day Saturday and Sunday morning we had workshops. The teachers were Michael Ginsburg and Belle Birchfield -Balkan dance; and also Daniel and Gaylen Beal -Scandinavian dancing. I loved all the dances and I particularly enjoyed Michael's style of teaching.
Workshops and dance parties happened in a big gymnasium, a short walk away
from the dorms. After class Saturday, everyone (except me because 1) I don't drink and 2) I was having a nap) relaxed at the "Happy Two Hours Plus", which included culture sessions, impromptu
song and music sessions, and dancing, all in a lovely lounge setting. Then, after dinner, some people dressed up in their ethnic best for Saturday
evening's dance party, which featured the great music of Orkestar Sloboda. The late night Ice Cream Social refueled our energy for the nightowl
request dancing, which continued until very late (we are talking about 4 am here)
Mary and the rest of the people in her van returned to Minneapolis right after Sunday lunch but I stayed for the big review. Unfortunately I could review visually since my legs gave up by then. I was soooooooooooo tired but I had a really great weekend. Besides all the dancing that I did, on of my most fond memory was the image of the (approx.) 130 participants dancing together in a big circle or spiral at the gym. The power of a dance tradition with a strong community building function. All ages, all sizes, all colors and walks of life united by the enjoyment and passion for dance.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Prince of Fun! Presents...: THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM YOU *NEED* TO KNOW!

The Prince of Fun! Presents...: THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM YOU *NEED* TO KNOW!

Somehow I ended up being the director of this show.. don't ask me how! :-) But take a look at it!

The power of silence

Yesterday I started an ASL at MCTC. I was thrilled. I did a short community ed course back in Rochester, NY about 6 years ago but I have always wanted to take a class. I don't know what took me so long to get to it. I almost cried after the class. That's how strong I feel connected to this particular language. I love languages in general but I know ASL will be of special significance in my life. We had an interpreter (and we'll have her for one more class) but I can't wait for the next classes when no-voice instructions will be emphasized. The teacher, Holly, is hilarious. Two of the things she said, well... signed, really hit me hard and have been in my mind all night:
1) "Now you are my babies". I always incorporate changes and adventures in my life, but this new beginning, this new class definitely feels like a re-birth (more on this on # 2). This will be the only class that I will take this summer.
2) We (hearing people) have lots of "tools" to convey our emotions, specially with our voice: different tones, delivery, pitch, etc. In sign language that is shown by many things. Hand gestures is just a part of sign language. You need to use body posture, facial expressions and mouth movements. You need to "bring your emotions out". And that's something that has been really hard for me for a long time. That's why I feel that I will renew myself with this class.
Time to get it out...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Noche Hispana DOS

This last Friday (19) and Saturday (20) I had the pleasure to be curator and MC at Patrick's Cabaret one more time.
I have put together a all hispanic show including the following artists:

Sentir Venezolano
Chile sin fronteras
Wendy Everett y Lorena Duarte
Teresa Ortiz
Pachamama Band
José Curbelo y sus amigos

The show was very varied and people were very pleased with it. Many asked me when I was going to do it again. But I think I am going to rest for a little while.

Next time I will be just performing at Patrick's. It should be fun!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

One of those big days in your life

We cannot tell what big adventures life will bring to us in the future. But we certainly hope that our lives will be full of great surprises.
When we look back and examine our past, we can't help but remember very vividly some days better than others. Those big/great moments when something happened and left us without breath. Those days we know will leave a mark (or a scar).
One of the purposes of writing this blog if to share my life, ideas, etc, with friends and family. But there are things, feelings, events, etc. that are still too personal for me to share. Some of them are so precious that I chose (selfishly, yes I know) to keep to myself and enjoy them and savor them in my mind. Some of them so hurtful that I also chose to keep for myself and oppress them or find better ways to deal with them.
Today was one of those BIG days. I can tell. And all I can share is that I learned a lot about compassion, connection and as usual... taking and giving care.
As I usually say: "I am not a magician by trade, but I love the magic of life". And it's so great when a lot of magic happens in one day.

Monday, May 01, 2006

dancing, dancing, dancing

Saturday was a full day: class in the morning, garden party in St. Paul early afternoon, helping Felix make a skirt for Vessela and then dancing at Tapestry Folkdance Center.
It was there Black and White Gala and there were all sorts of dancing: folkdances (obviously), swing, contradance and latin. I got to enjoy a little bit of all. It was so much fun. Not only to dance but also see all those people having such a great time together, being social and dancing! I can get high dancing. Is there such a thing as "too much fun"?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

It's in my body

Who said that our bodies don't have a memory?
I had two very interesting experiences this weekend. Both had a very pleasant physical effect.
Friday night I finally made it to the Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis. I say finally because I've been meaning to go there for 5 years now. First I attended the folkdance class and then the folkdance ball. It was amazing! I totally felt connected to that environment. I was able to follow most of the dances pretty easily. I think that was not only because I've been dancing for more than 25 years (ugh! It sounds like I am very old) but also because I feel a deep and strong connection with ethnic and folk dances. I felt very comfortable, full of life and joy! I was also able to dance a couple of Argentine dances: gato y chacarera. Vessela and her family were there, and other friends. It was very nice to share the night with all of them.
Saturday night I saw the Argentine show "Tangos" created by Luis Bravo. The music, the songs and the dances were fantastic. I was almost in trance every time I heard the violins in the orchestra. The bandoneon players were very good, too. I was not particularly moved by their version of "Adios Nonino" (a piece I love) but the rest was great and very well played. Like with the folkdances, I could feel something in my body that was triggered by those tangos. After all I was raised listening to that music. It always great to feel so alive in many ways.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A different Easter

Last night I had Easter dinner with my friend Vessela, her family and friends. It was a very unusual but pleasant Easter dinner for me. Vessela and I practiced our chacarera, which we are presenting at Noche Hispana DOS (May 19 and 20) at Patrick's Cabaret. After that other guests arrived and we have a delicious dinner with several Bulgarian meals. The food was very good, but the two things that enjoyed most were:
1) The conversation during the meal: it was varied, deep and full of passion. What a pleasure to be surounded by such interesting people and discuss and share our ideas on many topics.
2) Dancing: Vessela and I started out by showing what we have worked on so far with our chacarera. But then the dancing continued with Romanian, Servian and Bulgarian dances (this last one dance by everyone present there). What a delight to share the enthusiams for dances!

Immigration, culture, string theory and, of course, weather were some of the topics touched through the night. Living in Minnesota, but being one somewhere else, it's hard not to talk about the cold winters. But I think that as far as we are able to keep this warm gathering to share about culture, dance, friendship, etc. the outside weather will matter less and less with time.

Thanks Vessela for this opportunity!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Spring sewing fever

Last weekend I had a very calm relaxing end of my Spring Break. I spend a lovely time in St. Cloud with my friend Scott. Boy that's a small town! :-) But it was great to get away from Minneapolis if only for 24 hours. Not computer, no cell phone... just countryside.. :-)
My most crazy adventure there was to buy a sewing machine. The sale was too great to resist.
The problem was that back home, Saturday and Sunday, I had this compulsive behavior to sew all day! Mainly bags and other small projects, though, but it was hard to concentrate on anything else. To compensate with that, I found "Gabriel", my PDA.. so... Crafts: 1 -- Tech: 1

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sewing and Low (or Lost) Tech

If only I could find the memory card of my digital camera (ugh!) right now you would be looking at a picture of me in my new pants, hand-made!
Today I was lucky enough that my friend Felix agreed to teach me how to sew. Many people know that I have become a somehow crafty person with all the knitting and needle-felting I do. Sewing is something that I always wanted to learn, but at home I was not allowed to touch the sewing machine. There was a good reason behind that. I was quite known for taking small electronics apart (and not necessarily putting them back to their previous operational state). But may be another reason was "that's not something boys do". Well, I am not a boy any more, I am a man and I am glad I can do all the knitting, crafts and sewing I want. :-)
Back to my digital camera, this new trend of hand made things might be having an effect on the technology around me. For example, I have been living without my PDA since December now. I know that's hard to believe, but for some reason it's somehow working. Even Electra (my old laptop) is demanding more attention from me. I don't take her out of her case as often anymore. But don't worry, Rudolph (my desktop computer) is not going anywhere and he is quite happy with the 24/7 attention of broadband internet he receives!

Spring Break

Last Monday I started Spring Break at Spring Hill Waldorf School. It's hard to think of a break when I still have to teach my 8-9 am classes at Orono and attend my classes at MCTC. But at least I am still able to have a sense of rest and variety during the day.
Monday afternoon I also had the chance to teach an argentine dance called "chacarera" to Vessela, my new friend from Bulgaria. I had a great dinner with her and her family. Vessela has recently traveled to Argetina, she is very interested in tango and other dances as well. She and I usually exchange some funny or thoughtful emails during the day. I enjoy talking with her about culture, meeting new friends, dance, etc.
Today, I should be finishing a couple of papers and working on other projects, but instead I am working on my new play (details coming soon!) and some other personal stuff. I have found an old website that has a blog-style narration of my adventures in Europe. I have decided to transfer those here. It will be a kind of retrospect blogging. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I have always being a big fan of the greatest Argentine actress Norma Aleandro. There are almost no words to describe her work. I have recently searched on Netflix for all her movies and put them in my queue. Last week I received "Cleopatra", where she shares the screen with fresh Natalia Oreiro and handsome Leonardo Sbaraglia. But Norma keeps surprising me. The movie has lots of similarities with "Thelma and Louise" (movie that I also like): two women abandon their "regular" lives in search for happiness . The main difference here is the age difference, so Norma and Natalia naturally bond in a mother-and-daughter-like relationship.
The scene that moved me the most, brought tears to my eyes and made me love Norma (and her character) even more is that when Cleopatra is driving on the road, Natalia and Leo sleeping by her side, and she "discovers" her happiness while listening to Francisco Ortega's "Que Tan Contenta". Her transformation is incredible. She really proves there she needs no words at all. Diosa!

Cleopatra (2004)


A raucous road movie that reads like a South American THELMA AND LOUISE, CLEOPATRA scored six nominations at the 2004 Silver Condor Awards, Argentina's equivalent of the Oscars. Prominent Argentine actress Norma Aleandro stars as the title character, a retired schoolteacher who becomes restless after her children have left home; her husband Roberto (Hector Alterio) is an alcoholic from whom she is estranged, and she is unsatisfied with her life and her inability to make ends meet. Cleopatra decides to pursue her lifelong wish to be an actor, and in the process meets Sandra, a soap star whose dissatisfaction mirrors her own. They decide to go on a weekend getaway together, and the adventure they share is one that nobody is likely to soon forget; they encounter love, heartbreak, and a string of unforeseeable events that are sure to keep audiences on their toes!

Tí­tulo original: Cleopatra

Sinopsis: Cleo (Norma Aleandro) es una maestra jubilada, casada con Roberto (Héctor Alterio), que lleva dos años desempleado, y madre de dos hijos que viven lejos de Buenos Aires. Hasta ahora, Cleo ha sido todo cuanto se esperaba de ella: buena madre, buena esposa, luchadora y compañera responsable. Pero ni ella misma sabe lo que puede llegar a ser si se lo propone. Sandra (Natalia Oreiro), en cambio, es todo lo que los demás han hecho de ella: estrella de televisión subida al tren de la fama, alocada, bulí­mica, caprichosa... En el fondo, una provinciana desprotegida cuyo ­ímpetu aún debe medir. Setenta y dos horas serán suficientes para que ambas mujeres empiecen a ser, de una vez por todas, ellas mismas. Hartas de sus rutinas, se lanzan a vivir un fin de semana diferente, pero no saben que han dado el primer paso para cambiar definitivamente el rumbo de sus destinos. En el trayecto conocerán a Carlos (Leonardo Sbaraglia), un joven de barrio que se suma a la aventura.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Happy Spring!

I opened my window today and besides all the sounds of the traffic, I was able to hear a few birds here and there. There are no leaves on trees yet and and there is some snow on the ground... but at least in our minds Spring is here.
March has been full with many events:


2006 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, March 9-11, 2006. Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL
There I presented Bailemos Juntos with Kika, Alicia and Luz. I had a blast! It was so much fun (like everytime we have this mini-ELDB reunion). One of the things that I liked most is that I was able to connect, at different levels and different times with all the girls. We are such a great team! I can't wait to do more presentations with them. We have at least 2 o 3 more coming next year.


I presented "The Adventures of Don Quixote" for PLAC (Parents of Latin American Children). It was an awesome audience. We also did a song and a couple of line dances. We had so much fun!


I participated in the festival on THE EDGE at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
An alternative performance series for those who appreciate an informal atmosphere and arts with a bit of an edge.Have some coffee, meet friends, relax and enjoy performances by local emerging artists in our intimate black box theater.A mix of music, comedy, spoken word, dance, theater and just about anything else keeps this series lively and entertaining. Each night features an eclectic blend of interesting professional artists.This series is recommended for adults age 18 and older.
Paulino Brener in Interpretative Lipsinging: Beautiful Moments
Mikael Rudolph in Swim Home, nonverbal physical comedy
Ray Terrill Dancers in Interplay/still and moving, inspired by the music of Suzanne Vega
Music by Eugene Huddleston


Presented 3 performances of "The Adventures of Don Quixote" at THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MINNESOTA (ISM). That was really exhausting! But a great experience as well.

March is almost over but April has many suprises as well!

Monday, March 06, 2006

It's All About Me!

Most of my friends know that I use this phrase a lot. And it's true, I do think "It's All About Me". But for those who are not familiar with Paulino's World, this might need some explaining.

It's all about me: I do spend a lot of time doing crafts: knitting, drawing, felting, etc. to create materials for my classes. I enjoy that very much, especially when I get to share them with my students. Also, I drive at crazy times (midnight) to groceries stores to get walnuts, and buy some, and open them, and clean then, etc. to do a cool little project with my students. Un barquito de cascara de nuez.

It's all about me: I love conversations with other fellow humans, even when it's not me who we are talking about ;-) It's true that I am always very busy (full time teacher, part time student and quarter time performing artist) but I always strive to make time to meet with friends and make new ones.

It's all about me: I have a lot of energy, positive attitude and lots of smiles and I put all that out there all the time (well.. most of the time) for everyone to take. As much or as little as they want.

It's all about me: I enjoy simple things in life. As I like to say "I love the magic of life". And whenever possible I share those and help people enjoy them, too. Creativiy, imagination, diversity are always values that I appreciate and help other appreciate as well.

Last night I visited a friend to watch the Oscar's together. He surprised me with a present that he has been promising for a while. It was a metal cut out banner with the words "It's All About Me". How special! I'll place it with honor and pride somewhere in my small and humble home. I am sure my friend appreciate and understand all I mean every time I say that phrase.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some excitement today

What a day! It was definitely not my usual Monday. Today I got this call from a very important theater in town, Mixed Blood Theater. They were looking for a last minute replacement for a show in Spanish that is going to be presented in Puerto Rico next week! I went crazy just thinking of the idea. What an opporutnity! Anyway, unfortunately I was not able to find a substitute for the 5 days that I was required to be absent from school. :-( Oh, well! But just that I was called was enough excitement for the day!

Monday, January 23, 2006

What is your best (most pleasant) memory from childhood?

Today friend of mine brought a gift from Argentina. She was there during the holidays but I have not been there for almost 3 years now. At first it looked like any other music CD but it turned to be very special to me. I did not imagine the songs in it were going to affect me so deeply. This CD is titled “Para mis niños de 30 años” (For my 30 years old children). That is me! It is a wonderful collection of songs from my childhood by a famous clown and singer Miliki (when I was a kid it was the famous “Gaby, Fofó y Miliki” troupe singing those songs). It was nice to have all those memories from childhood back to me, not just to my mind but my whole body was electrified. It definitely made me cry. I would like to learn about you, what songs from your childhood give you goose pimples? What songs from 20, 30 or 40 (or 50?) years ago bring you pleasant (and sometimes not so pleasant) memories? or What is your best (most pleasant) memory from childhood?? I would love if you could share that with me since I would like to learn some of those songs or learn about those memories. Please email them to GRACIAS!

In the meantime, I will share a lullaby that my mother used to sing to me and that it gives ME the goose pimples every time I share with the children in my classes:

Arrorró mi niño,
Arrorró mi sol,
Arrorró pedazo,
De mi corazón.

Este niño bueno,
Se quiere dormir,
El pícaro sueño,
No quiere venir.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

where did the holidays go?

I actually had a great time over the holidays. I enjoyed them inmensely doing lots of things and also doing nothing (at times). One of the things that I enjoyed more was meeting with old friends and making some new ones. I have always beeing very passionate about human interaction, to learn about other people's lifes and about mine in the process. Part of that is reflect in my last post about "meeting".
But now I am also happy to go back to school, both teaching and learning. Classes at Spring Hill School have been going pretty well so far. Tonite I started my first class at MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technology College): Ethics. So far, I am hooked. It's going to be an intense semester though.
Lately I've been wondering if the inability to say "no" to things is real a problem of mine. I seem to get committed to so many things. But the truth is that I love them all and being busy is not such a problem. I'll post more later about my future events and hopefully I get to finish revamping my website soon, too.