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Signs of Life

I am alive. I am well. I graduated nursing school; yes, I am a nurse. Not licensed yet, but a nurse.

I’m looking into a solution for this website which may mean it’ll move again in the next few days. Jut FYI.

Categories: Editorials

A Recipe For Coquito

December 16, 2012 Leave a comment

This creamy drink might camouflague as eggnog but it is something all its own. The mixture of evaporated and condensed milk with the coconut milk and cinnamon water produces a sweet flavor that is a perfect compliment for the rum that goes along, creating a mildly sweet but deceptively strong drink perfect to share with friends. Make it ahead of time so that it gets very cold, a great refresher for tropical “winter” nights.

Ingredients
Yields 5 cups.

1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white rum
1 cup of water
3 cinnamon sticks
4 egg yolks, well beaten
Ground cinnamon for decoration
Instructions

1. Toss the cinnamon sticks in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2-3 minutes, turn off the heat, then allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks.

2. Combine all the milks and the rum in a blender or food processor. If you have an immersion blender (motorboat), even better.

3. Combine all the other ingredients (except the ground cinnamon) and blend until well-mixed.

4. Pour into containers and chill. Puerto Rican tradition has it coquito must be stored in glass bottles, but I have buckled tradition there a few times. I leave it up to you where you store it.

5. Serve chilled with ground cinnamon sprinkled on top.

If you want to enhance the coconut flavor, use a bit more coconut milk or use
coconut rum. Adding an extra 1/2 cup of condensed milk increases the sweetness, if you like that (and I do). You can also make the cinnamon water ahead of time and chill so that the finalized coquito has less time to go in the fridge before it is ready for drinking and sharing.

I have made coquito following the above steps and also just blending everything together at once with my immersion blender. Both times the coquito has been fantastic, so feel free to try that as well. Lastly, double up all the ingredients to make about 1/2 gallon of coquito, a perfect amount for a small party or to share a few cups with friends. If you’re having a medium to big party, be ready to make 3 or 4 times as much, because coquito goes fast. You’ve been warned.

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Introducing #MiaMundo, A New Bilingual Series

My wife works for Telemundo, the oldest Spanish-language television network in the US, and has done so for over 10 years, most recently in the general Marketing area. I normally don’t talk about my wife’s job at all either here or in social media since I would rather avoid a situation where my words could affect her work. Today, however (and with her permission), I am breaking that silence to tell you about her new project.

Mia Mundo is a short-form bilingual web series for the modern (Hispanic-American) young professional.

What does that mean?

  • Mia Mundo is a 13-episode series (as in American TV-style series, not a novela) created to air primarily on the web, with each episode being 4-5 minutes, and a finale that will show as a 1-hour special on Mun2, Telemundo’s cable channel.
  • It basically follows the format of a romantic comedy, combining a dramatic storyline with some comedic moments; think Sex And The City and you’re in the right ballpark.
  • The series is bilingual, mostly in English with Spanish sprinkled throughout, reflecting the reality of the modern Hispanic-American, and it will be subtitled for all audiences.
  • Most importantly, it was created from the start to portray and appeal to the modern Hispanic-American crowd, especially the female demographic, though it is also general enough to appeal to the young professional crowd at large, Hispanic or not.

See, Mia is an acronym for Modern Independent Achiever, one of the psychographic segments of US Hispanics identified by a study done by Telemundo Media and Starcom MediaVest Group. As this article on Broadcast & Cable puts it, the series was built with an audience in mind, literally.

Read more…

Categories: Editorials Tags: , ,

Officially Car-Free

Well, it finally happened: today I sold my car. I am now officially car-free.

I’ll admit it is somewhat bittersweet. This is the third car I’ve owned, and though I’ve never been a guy who friggin loves his car, I did like it the way a carpenter likes a really good hammer. Miami is a sprawl of a city, so a car is extremely convenient when you have to move around from one end to the other, like I had to when I was attending pre-nursing classes and working at FIU. It gave me mobility at my convenience, which is ultimately the purpose of a car.

But it had been failing for a while now. I simply did not have the money to do the proper upkeep it needed, and even so this green bastard kept chugging along for 16 years and over 150,000 miles. But when the brakes failed the first week of January, I knew that was it. The cost to repair it was just too much, not to mention the related costs like parking, insurance and gas. It simply did not make sense for me to have it anymore, especially since both school and the hospital, the two places I attend on a daily basis, are no more than a bus ride away. That I kept it around for four months after realizing all this was simply melancholy.

I got a pittance for it, I know. But it’s cash in my pocket instead of cash going out to pay for repairs that won’t extend the life of the car for more than one extra year. The cash I got will go to pay for my student transit cards for the rest of the year, so at least the car, in a way, is still gonna be helping me to move around.

I’m writing a whole lot about a car that I just said I did not love.

Goodbye, trusty Camry, you green beast.

Blog Restructuring

Just a heads up: over the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing some behind-the-scenes tinkering to the website in order to merge all my blogs under the same roof. This is something I have gone back and forth over throughout the years, but right now it makes perfect sense to do given my very limited time. Besides, I have decided that I would rather have all my interests under one roof then use the tools provided by WordPress to mark differences.

For example, if you read this post on the main page it will look as my website usually does, but if you read it under the category Editorials, you will see that the page header is slightly different. Using that same tool, I can make the category pages for Slow Bike Miami (my bicycling blog) or The Literary Nurse (my nursing blog) look different while still having them in my main blog. I will even have separate RSS feeds for each category, for those who only want to follow one topic in particular.

Mainly what this means is that this blog will see more use on a wider variety of topics, from gaming to writing, from bicycling to nursing, and so on. After all, this is my personal blog and I am the sum of all those parts and more.

Categories: Editorials

12 Pints Of Blood

December 19, 2011 4 comments

During my mom’s stay at the hospital throughout 2009, she had to have a lot of blood transfused to her. The tumors she had were especially hungry for hematocrits and as her levels would drop suddenly, pints of blood had to be had at the ready so keep her stabilized. All in all, over the 5 or so months she spent in and out of the hospital, she ended up using 12 pints of blood.

You know those commercials where they say to please donate blood, that you might be saving a life? Guess what, they’re 100% true. Thanks to those 12 pints of blood my mom was able to live just a little longer. She had no way to pay that cosmic debt back, but I had.

Since late 2009, I embarked on a small quest to donate those 12 pints of blood back (and just to put it more in perspective, that’s 1.5 gallons of blood). Last night I made it. Last night I donated my 12th pint of blood of the last two-ish years, and finally managed to pay back what was owed.

[ichc-flickr-slide width=”500″ height=”375″ username=”dmperez” set_id=”72157628482719023″ player_r=”109615″]

I feel awesome. I know for a fact that this blood I have donated will go to help someone else live a little longer, be with their loved ones a little longer. I know Mom is high-fiving me right now.

I don’t intend to stop. I intend to continue donating every 2 months, because someone will always need blood. I exhort you to donate blood regularly as well.

For Mom, for myself, for those who will need it and will have it thanks to my and your donations.

My Dad

December 13, 2011 5 comments

Today is my dad’s 59th birthday. Or, it would’ve been, anyway. My dad died in 1993, 18 years ago last November 19. I was 19 at the time, he was 40, just a month shy of turning 41.
Read more…

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A Brief Thought on 9/11

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Ten years ago I woke up to get ready for class. It was a Tuesday. I shuffled half-asleep into the living room and turned the TV on as I walked to the kitchen to get the coffee started. It was maybe 5-7 minutes after the first plane had struck. I’d never been to NYC, never seen the Twin Towers so the scale of the event was lost on me. When they said “plane” I kept thinking “small personal jet” at most. A replay of the events slapped me across the face into understanding. I went to the room to wake up my girlfriend (now my wife) whit the words, “A plane crashed on the World Trade Center.” I walked back to the living room in time to see the second plane crash live on TV.

Today is Sunday. I won’t be watching the litany of TV shows about that day. I have no need to. I close my eyes and I still see those images clear as day in my mind. I can remember without wallowing in it. The best way to honor those who died that day is to live. Live a normal life; live normal, regular life. It’s good to remember but it’s even better to honor by doing the one thing they can’t anymore, the one thing they wanted more than anything that day: to live.

Today I will go out with my wife and we will ride our bikes and maybe hit the beach and we will live. We will remember but most of all we will live. Do so as well.

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To My Atheist Friends

September 1, 2011 18 comments

A link to a page called “How to stop your kids from becoming Atheists” flew around a couple times this morning on my Twitter feed. I decided to ignore it, as it wasn’t aimed at me directly, but then I thought about it and decided to actually respond to it. Or rather, respond to years of such little links and comments read and heard from people I consider friends or close acquaintances. This isn’t a rant, this isn’t a retort. This is a response.

You decided you do not believe in G-d, and I decided that I believe in G-d. Your decision does not make you any smarter, insightful, wise, accepting, or educated than me. Neither does mine make me all that in relation to you. When you say general statements about believers, remember you are including those who are your friends, those whom you respect and respect you, among them. That means me, Daniel, the guy you play games with, go to school with, chat online with, joke with, even sometimes share a true memorable moment with.

I don’t mind that you’re an Atheist. I honestly don’t care because that is your choice. I respect your choice. I will even talk about our choices, how they differ, how they may even be similar in some ways, and not have a problem with it (heck, in many cases I’d welcome it). It’s your choice and I respect it, especially if you are my friend, even if I don’t believe the same way. That goes for Atheist, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Pastafarians. I only ask you do the same.

I am a convert to Judaism. That means I chose my belief, and I did after a really hard and intense–painful, even–struggle with myself about belief in G-d and me as an individual (and frankly, it’s a struggle I continue to be engaged in every day). But even if I wasn’t, even if I’d been born into observant Judaism (or Christianity, etc), my point remains the same. I am not an anomaly, I am simply an example, just like how you reached your decision to be an Atheist isn’t the same as that of others.

“But, Daniel,” you may ask, “what about the Westboro people, or the Jihadists, or the [Insert Religious Extremist Group Here]?” What can I tell you, there’s shitty people in all walks of life. What about Atheists that believe all believers should be killed (I’ve actually heard this, don’t laugh)? I’m sure we’re both groaning right now. Listen, these people are out there. Let’s not be like them, then.

I don’t need you to apologize for tweeting that link today if you did, or for any comment you may or may not have made in the past. I honestly don’t. I also don’t want you to police what you say to be politically correct. Just be aware of what you say, what you forward along, and understand you might be hurting someone you actually esteem.

Categories: Editorials, Religion Tags: , ,

Two Years Without Mom

Yesterday, August 8th, was the second anniversary of my mother’s death. I spent it flying, mostly, and getting ready for the fast of Tisha B’Av. To be honest, it almost slipped by me.

Much like last year, the anniversary came during Gen Con, arguably my happiest geekiest time of the year. Last year, however, I was in a very bad place emotionally and personally. Gen Con was an escape, literally, from everything except from myself. It also being the first anniversary, it hit me really hard. I remember being piss drunk at 3AM, the time when she died, and wandering the streets looking for ways to further my descent.[ref]Strangely enough, it was precisely at this time that I met with Ryan Macklin and he offered me This Just In… From Gen Con for 2011.[/ref]

That wasn’t the case this year. I am a very different person one year later. I went through almost a year of therapy and some crucibles that changed me and made me the healthier person I am now. So when Sunday night rolled around and I was just packing and thinking about the transportation in the early morning to the airport, it suddenly felt like a cold splash/slap when I looked at the clock and saw that it was just past 2AM. I almost, almost, had let it pass unnoticed, unmarked. I kept packing and 3AM rolled around. I did a small prayer and thought about her at that precise moment.

I felt somewhat guilty that I almost forgot about it. The alternative of being like I was last year was not appealing, either. Had I been there at that dark spot, it would’ve meant wasting a lot of therapy and blood, sweat and tears. Not to mention that I know my mom wouldn’t like it a bit. But then again, almost having that moment slip by because I was concerned with frivolities was maybe too much. And I realize I am beating myself too hard here.

The truth is this: it is now two years since my mom died, and I still miss her terribly so. The last two Gen Cons I find it bizarre that I’m not taking a moment each night to call her and tell her about my day at the con. The week before heading out to Indy, as I returned home from work, I had that urge to call her in the afternoon after work, something I hadn’t experienced in months. Though I now go through life normally, there are times when this hits me again, and I just need to power through it and move along. I am ok, I really am, but I also have a hole within me since the day she died that won’t be filled in ever again. I’ve learned to live with it, but sometimes, just sometimes, it hurts.

To my mom, whom I loved and still love like only a son can love his mother. I miss you.

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