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The Alchemist: Achieve Your Personal Legend

Sometimes you need the right story to teach you that it’s all the worth in the world to never give up on your dreams. The book I am referring to is The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. The first time I was introduced to it, was when Heather read it to me at night. Reading is one of the things she does to put me to sleep. The second time I experienced it, was today when I read it, and how glad I am to say I was immersed in it again. Framed in a most beautiful and accessible prose, The Alchemist teaches you about life, love, religion, spirituality and your soul.

It is the story of a boy who had a dream and he dared to pursue it. Santiago was his name. In pursuing his dream he went out to find a treasure that he himself did not know what it was. Life is non-scripted. He met people along the way who helped him achieve it. These people were his guides, his signals. He listened to the signals and he followed their advice. Even when he himself questioned whether he should follow his journey, because he was in tune with what he calls the “language of the world,” he was able to find his treasure. And how fortunate was he, when he found his treasure was always his all along.

I won’t give away the plot details or the actual ending because just as Santiago did, you have to achieve your own Personal Legend. Besides, I bet a lot of you have already read this book – it’s the best selling novel in Brazilian literary history and has been translated into 67 languages, and according to Wikipedia, it has won the Guinness World Records for most translated book by a living author, so with 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, this is but a tiny review and just another crystal wave in the sea of Alchemist lovers…

I will, however, give you some quotations from the story, which cause one to ponder:

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise [people] are able to understand them.” (pg. 16)

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” (pg. 17)

About the Personal Legend: “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.” (pg. 22) – Do not give up on your dreams!

“Never stop dreaming…follow the omens.” (pg. 63)

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (pg. 24) – I find the best way to let this happen is to not doubt the possibilities of your dream, to be open-minded, so that you can listen to the signals and make the right decisions that will get you to where you want to be, what you want to do, achieve your Personal Legend.

If you haven’t read this book, I am glad because now you have something really exciting to look forward to. Go out and get it. It must surely be at your library, or you may order it from the link on the left or here. If you have already read it, experience it again – I found more meaning the second time around.

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Book Reviews

Wedding Music: Shake Your Groove Thang

Folks asked me about the music mix I made at my wedding with Heather. You wanted the list. I have it for you here. I know it has been over 2 months. Please forgive my tardiness. Any excuses I’ve made won’t hold anymore, specially on account of me being home 24/7 on “crunches”, so here it is, and for those who know DJ Bunny Luv, well, yours truly, is grateful that you appreciated the good time the music brought you – here is the list. I have separated it into 5 CD mixes: (Mix I: Intro; II: Amazed; III: Danzin Hitz; 3.5: Single Ladies & 4: The End)

MIX I: INTRO
(People came down to Reidy Hall, the reception hall from the Sanctuary, the music stopped when we walked into the hall and Yennie, my sister (also the EMCEE), announced us and starts toast) Not all of this music will be played, it's understood, just gave a cushion because I'm about emergencies…in fact all of it got played since we took longer coming from the ceremony after taking some pictures and signing the wedding license. This is a combination of American Songbook, Jazz, Latin Instrumentals and a Little Reggae.

  SONG ARTIST ALBUM
1 All the Things You Are Frank Morgan &
McCoy Tyner Trio
Major Changes
2 Desafinado Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd Nova Bossa: Red Hot On Verve
3 Could You Be Loved Bob Marley Legend
4 All the Things You Are Joe Pass Virtuoso
5 A Man And A Woman Charlie Byrd Jazz 'n' Samba
6 Como Esperando Abril Silvio Rodriguez Silvio Rodriguez--Lo Mejor
7 Moment's Notice John Coltrane The Art Of John Coltrane
8 Song For My Father Horace Silver Song For My Father
9 My Favorite Things John Coltrane The Very Best of John Coltrane

To download some of the songs of Mix I, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=318381714

MIX II: AMAZED
(This mix started after the Final Toast, given by Heather's Dad, Peter.  It began with Heather & I dancing our song, Lonestar’s “Amazed")

  SONG ARTIST ALBUM
1 Amazed Lonestar From There to Here: Greatest Hits
2 Can't Help Falling In Love UB40 The Very Best of UB40, 1980-2000
3 In The Mood The Swingfield Big Band Big Band Swing
4 Crazy In Love Beyoncé Dangerously In Love
5 Crazy For You Madonna The Immaculate Collection
6 Just the Way You Are Billy Joel The Essential Billy Joel
7 Our Love Is Here to Stay Mel Tormé 'S Wonderful: The Great Gershwin Decca Songbook
8 Cama Y Mesa Roberto Carlos 30 Grandes Canciones
9 Strangers In The Night Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits
10 You sang to me Marc Anthony You sang to me
11 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic The Police Every Breath You Take: The Singles
12 Can't Take My Eyes Off of You Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
13 You're All the World to Me Barbara Brussell Lerner In Love
14 Cuando Me Vaya Joan Manuel Serrat Joan Manuel Serrat
15 Hold My Hand Hootie & The Blowfish Atlantic Records 50 Years
16 So in Love Lara Fabian &
Mario Frangoulis
De-Lovely
17 Ain't Nothing Like
the Real Thing
Marvin Gaye Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye
18 Only You Rubin Nizri Let It Out
19 Always Be My Baby Mariah Carey #1's
20 All Summer Long Kid Rock Rock N Roll Jesus
21 Mas Que Nada Tamba Trio Nova Bossa: Red Hot On Verve

To download some of the songs of Mix II, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=318382651

MIX III: DANZIN HITZ 
(It’s dance music, there’s nothing else to say or do but get up on the dance floor and shake your groove thang… and you cannot excuse yourself, for almost any genre is represented, from Hip-Hop to Disco & Latin, Rock to Pop, Reggae, Sexy Classic Soul & Rhythm & Blues)

  SONG ARTIST ALBUM
1 Bamboleo The Gipsy Kings Very Best of The Gipsy Kings
2 American Boy Estelle American Boy PRCD
3 Copacabana Barry Manilow Greatest Hits
4 Billie Jean Michael Jackson History
5 Clocks Coldplay Rhythms del Mundo Cuba
6 Dancing With Myself Generation X Idolize Yourself - Best of Billy Idol
7 Say Me Dun Cutty Ranks Dancehall 101, Vol. 1
8 Into the Groove Madonna The Immaculate Collection
9 Jungle Boogie Kool & The Gang Pure Funk
10 Hot in Herre Nelly Nellyville
11 Hard to Handle The Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker
12 Brick House Commodores Pure Funk
13 Unbelievable EMF Schubert Dip
14 Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1 Marvin Gaye Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye

To download some of the songs of Mix III, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=318383125

* * * * * * * * * * * * *      Cake Time. Music stopped.    * * * * * * * * * * * * 
The tunes restarted after Heather & I fed each other the ceremonial piece of cake.

MIX 3.5: SINGLE LADIES (Dancing went on, but at the beginning of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" song, Heather got in position, danced, and in the song’s crescendo threw the bouquet for the luckiest or aggressive-est Single Lady to catch, in our case it was my Mama.)

  SONG ARTIST ALBUM
1 Hips don't lie Shakira & Wyclef Jean Hips Don't Lie & Laundry Service
2 Let It Rock Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne In the City
3 Suavemente Elvis Crespo Suavemente
4 Heart of Glass Blondie The Best of Blondie
5 Lady Marmalade Labelle Pure Funk
6 Dancing Queen ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits
7 Don't Stop The Music Rihanna Now That's What I Call Music! 27
8 I Wanna Be Sedated The Ramones Hey Ho Lets Go - Greatest Hits
9 Single Ladies
(Put a Ring On It)
Beyoncé I Am... Sasha Fierce

To download some of the songs of Mix 3.5, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=318383673

MIX 4: THE END
The end is a compilation of fun tunes from different eras of the popular persuasion that are fun to dance to or just listen. It was important to have Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” in there; I’ve always wished a wedding to have that song and never really remembered any in the dozen weddings I’ve been to, so when the opportunity presented itself when I was the DJ & bona fide groom, I made sure to add it.

  SONG ARTIST ALBUM
1 White Wedding, Pt. 1 Billy Idol Idolize Yourself - Best of Billy Idol
2 Viva la Vida Coldplay Viva la Vida
3 Cantaloop
(Flip Fantasia)
Gerard Presencer/
Rahsaan Kelly/Us3
Billboard Top Hits: 1994
4 Let's Misbehave Elvis Costello De-Lovely
5 The Sweet Escape Gwen Stefani Alex Christmas Break 07!!!
6 Escape
(The Piña Colada Song)
Rupert Holmes Billboard Top Hits 1979
7 Be a Clown Kevin Kline & Peter Polycarpou, & Film Chorus De-Lovely
8 Tainted Love /
Where Did Our Love Go
Soft Cell 20th Century Masters: Best of the '80s
9 Desire U2 The Best Of 1980-1990
10 Bust a Move Young MC Waxing Off: Delicious Vinyl's Greatest Hits
11 Can't Take
My Eyes Off You
Frankie Valli &
The Four Seasons
The Very Best Of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons
12 Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
13 Could You Be Loved Bob Marley Legend
14 Alegria The Gipsy Kings Very Best of The Gipsy Kings
15 Never Never Gonna Give Ya Up Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
16 Sexual Healing Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye's Greatest Hits
17 You sexy thing Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate: 14 Greatest Hits
18 Escape Enrique Iglesias Cool Daddy-O!
19 City Of Blinding Lights U2 How To Dismantle
An Atomic Bomb

To download some of the songs of Mix 4, go to: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=318384343

Big Credit goes to Rubin Nizri, without whom the sound would not have been possible. He made sure we had the A/V correctly and he was the one who had the most important job: Turning the Music On! You’ll also find Rubin in Mix II: Amazed, he being the artist of song 18, “Only You”.

Believe me, I wanted to add more music, and while we could have chopped some tunes in half, I prefer to listen to the songs in their whole, so time only afforded us as much and for that we were very thankful.

Let me know what you think of the tunes and composition of the mezcla. I love talking about…music! But…I love more to mix and listen to it :) What is it about music mixing that’s special? It’s expression, an art and and a science. Being pannish and free, I am attached to earthly pleasures and surely it will be a pain to leave them at death and maybe we’ll have them in the other life too, and that’s just if who knows, but the one thing the other life after this one must have is music, for that is the food of my love!

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Reflections

They Met at the Check Cashing Place

They met at the check cashing place. He was cashing his check from a small electric company. This was on 116th Street, near Park Avenue. The sign of the place, like most of the signs on the ghetto, marketed what they sold, “Check Cashing.”

He paid his $50 and was happy he had 90% of his money. Actually, he wasn’t happy but content that he could do this transaction and get the hell out of there and not have to go to a bank where he wouldn’t have to pay 10% but have to have overdraft fees that could have totaled his check. Too many slobs, he thought, but too many people trying to take your money at banks too. He preferred to see the slobs at the check cashing place.

As he got out, a blond chick walked in, he thought he saw a chick in her, a girl stirring his attraction. He asked her to stop.

Please, wait.

She stopped.

Yes?, she asked.

I’m sorry. I don’t care what you say, but I need to talk with you.

He had never said anything to a blond chick with such words. In fact, he never said that to any other woman. He was not the pick-up artist type. He was in the military for 6 years now, but he was not a reservist. Last year, he had fallen in love with a Philippine woman 15 years his senior but her children didn’t like him and he had to leave on account of other martial assignments. He was responsible for his age. He respected life as it came.

Yes?, she said, again.

He struggled to find the words. They are so hard to come by when a woman freezes your spirit. He realized, she no longer was a chick, but a decent and beautiful person of the gender he attracted, one that stirred his passionate soul. He wasn’t going to try to pick her up, but he was not walking out without making an impression that would last.

I think you are so beautiful. 

Most women find this annoying and untrue, but the way he said it, the way she needed it, it was perfect. She didn’t know how to respond and said naturally, I need to go and cash a check.

Yes. May I please go in with you? He had come out already and was going back in. For some reason in her feminine brain, she didn’t feel alarmed, and it was daylight. A woman of any hair-color needed to be on alert for catcallers, misogynists, perverts, rapists, bad men, in general, but she got the feeling he was sincere…

…that was three years ago. They now live together.

They have two cats and two separate bank accounts.

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Stories