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!