Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friends vs. Latin Friends

I didn't write this, but I certainly have experienced it. And my life is so much richer for it!


FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
LATIN FRIENDS: Are the reason you have food.

FRIENDS: Will say "hello."
LATIN FRIENDS: Will give you a big hug and a kiss.

FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
LATIN FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
LATIN FRIENDS: Cry with you.

FRIENDS: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.
LATIN FRIENDS: Will spend hours there, talking,laughing and just being together.

FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
LATIN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.

FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
LATIN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
LATIN FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds' ass that left you.

FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
LATIN FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

FRIENDS: Are for a while.
LATIN FRIENDS: Are for life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


So let's just say – not that this necessarily actually happened – but let's just say, just for the sake of argument, that perhaps your family dropped the ball a little bit on Mother's Day, or your birthday wasn't exactly celebrated with quite the fanfare which you might perhaps deserve .... and perhaps you need a little bit of a sonrisa today .... or let's just say that perhaps you need a smile for no reason at all!

Well, here is something that will definitely bring a smile to your face ...

Thanks to the incredibly brilliant Marisa Treviño, the brains behind Latina Lista (originally "just" a blog, soon to be a movement ... more on that in a separate post), I have discovered ....

The E-Serenata!!

How incredible is this??

Click on this link to be transported to a second story window, from which you are looking out onto a garden ... and there is a mariachi band below, just waiting to serenade you!

And then they do!

And – here is the best part – you can send an E-Serenata to anyone, for any occasion. OK, it does cost two bucks. But the proceeds go to the Mariachi USA festival, and certainly I don't mind supporting musicians.

So I got my serenata, and my sonrisa, today!

Now go to your window and enjoy your very own serenata!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Inspiración, sin límites

Fun and inspirational -- a reminder that the only limits we have are the ones in our own mind.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mi Espacio es Tu Espacio

OK, don't use the MySpace en español version until they decide to have a real Spanish speaker do the translations ... (see my previous post) ...

But DO consider using MySpace as a fabulous networking and platform building tool for any small business, artist or writer.

I thank Nancy Marmolejo of Comadre Coaching for opening my eyes to all the networking and business-building potential at MySpace. It really isn't just for teens anymore. (In fact, as any teen will tell you, they've all moved on to Facebook!)

I had actually signed up for a MySpace page a while ago, just so I could get some information on a band I liked. But it never occurred to me to use it as a business networking and platform building tool until Nancy suggested it. In fact, even after Nancy suggested it, and told me what success Crafty Chica Kathy Murillo was having on MySpace, it took me a long time to come around! I just didn't see the connection at first. After all, my company, Chispa Productions, creates multimedia Spanish educational materials that celebrate Latino culture and heritage in the U.S. Where's the MySpace in that?

Trust Nancy, though, to see the possibilities and run with them ... and to motivate the rest of us to do the same! She even published an easy-to follow guide called Make MySpace Your Space to help us get started.

Following her suggestions and her example, I created a MySpace profile that showcases me and my business in a way that no website ever could. I've got pictures, music, animated graphics, quizzes, and even interactive, moveable alphabet magnets on a refrigerator! (I put a new Spanish dicho on every week.)

I cross-link with my website, Chispa Productions, and my blog, La Tertulia, and have seen an increase in traffic to them both. I am connecting with people from all over the country who love the Spanish language and want to celebrate Latino culture and heritage. I know that as I build my network, I have ready-made contacts for all my current and future projects. And I have a network of "amigos" whose colorful pictures and artwork reflect the excitement and sabor latino that I want to share with the world.

Nancy's teleseminars on MySpace and the easy, step-by-step instructions in the book make it easy to get started, and to build on what you've already started. I would never have thought of some of the tips Nancy provides (e.g. put your website at the bottom of every message you send!!). They are truly invaluable.

I really thank Nancy for opening the door to this new opportunity, and for making it so easy to enjoy the benefits of networking and platform building on MySpace!

Try it yourself ... remember, Mi Espacio es Tu Espacio!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

¡Lo siento! Ocurrió un error inesperado. (Bienvenidos a MySpace en español)

¡Lo siento! Ocurrió un error inesperado.

Este error se le ha reenviado al grupo técnico de MySpace.

If you've seen this message before, then you probably signed up for MySpace en español.

Really, though, it should be called "MySpace en Spanglish." Or maybe just "MySpace really poorly translated by some online translator in a way that would make any Spanish speaker cringe ... and would make any Spanish teacher flunk the person trying to use it."

Ever use a translator like BabelFish to try to translate something? A word of warning ... don't try using it with your language teacher .... we always know.

How do we know?

Well, first of all, it's kind of obvious when a Spanish I student turns in an essay with pluperfect subjunctive (when said student can't even conjugate a regular verb in the present tense.)

And then, there are the mistranslations.

My daughter's friend showed me an essay she had "written" in Spanish, which included a phrase about someone having to stay behind. The online translator translated that "behind" as trasero ... i.e., the kind of "behind" you sit on.

Want to have some fun? Try it yourself. Go to BabelFish and put in any sentence in English, and translate it to any other language.

For example, I typed in "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," to be translated from English to Spanish.

BabelFish gave me:

"El alcohol está dispuesto, pero la carne es débil.

Now for the really fun part ... have BabelFish translate that sentence back into English!

Here's what I got:

"The alcohol is arranged, but the meat is weak."

(Try it with any saying, with movie titles, etc. ...)

Translating languages is not just about words, and you can't just do it with a computer. Ignore the culture and nuances, and you lose not only the meaning -- you lose the communication, and you lose the motivation to communicate.

And this is what reading MySpace en español is like. The translations are bad (I get things like "Ver todos * Ruth * Chispa Productions Grupos de" for "See Ruth's groups"), and aside from having a few Latinos as suggested "amigos", and some obscure Latino groups as featured artists, there is nothing particularly "español" or "Latino" about it.

I certainly don't see any added bonus. In fact, right now, it's a negative.

Also, you know that error message that opens this post? I get that with practically every "clic."

At this point, MySpace en español seems like a poorly executed attempt to grab the Latino market. I'm not impressed, and I know they can and should do better.

(And here's the REALLY annoying part ... I can't figure out how to get it back into English mode!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

El cielo

I am in love ....

.... with YouTube.

Yes, YouTube.

I cannot believe what I just found .... poems by Mario Benedetti .... read by Benedetti himself and other actors (from the movie, "El lado oscuro del corazón") ....

Táctica y estrategia

No te salves

Corazón coraza

What a treasure ....