Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Love Pandora!!

I am officially addicted to Pandora. Pandora Internet Radio is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Seriously, it's that good and it's free! For those of you that are not aware of this little gem, it's a website that creates radio stations for you based on your favorite artists. They created what is known as the Music Genome Project which analyzes up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. This is how it is described on their website:

These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners. The typical music analyst working on the Music Genome Project has a four-year degree in music theory, composition or performance, has passed through a selective screening process and has completed intensive training in the Music Genome's rigorous and precise methodology. To qualify for the work, analysts must have a firm grounding in music theory, including familiarity with a wide range of styles and sounds. All analysis is done on location.

The Music Genome Project's database is built using a methodology that includes the use of precisely defined terminology, a consistent frame of reference, redundant analysis, and ongoing quality control to ensure that data integrity remains reliably high. Pandora does not use machine-listening or other forms of automated data extraction.

The Music Genome Project is updated on a continual basis with the latest releases, emerging artists, and an ever-deepening collection of catalogue titles.

By utilizing the wealth of musicological information stored in the Music Genome Project, Pandora recognizes and responds to each individual's tastes. The result is a much more personalized radio experience - stations that play music you'll love - and nothing else.

This website is truly a music lover's dream and a great way to discover new artists based on your music preferences. They have artists from all over the world. It's truly amazing and for those of you with iPhones, there is even an iPhone app for Pandora. Unfortunately, for now, Pandora is limited to the United States. They have not yet acquired licenses to stream in other countries. It is something that they would like to do in the future. You can read their blog for any updates directly on the website.

I am desperately seeking a Blu-Ray player by Samsung (model BD-P2550) which has Pandora and Netflix Instant Watch programmed right into it. It was such a popular item during the holidays that it is sold out everywhere. Are we really in a recession?? People seem to be spending. Boh. I keep hearing that it is going to be in stores again soon. My current BR player just isn't cutting the mustard anymore and I'd like to sell it.

I hope you check it out, if you can and let me know what you think. You can even connect with friends and share music. Have fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009

For the Love of Calcio aka Futbol aka Soccer...

The Italian and I share a love for the sport. My Father played in a Semi-Professional League in Mexico and then a league here in the States, so I grew up around the sport. Not to mention the fact that Mexico has a spectacular national team known as El Tricolor (the Italian national team is known as "i Tricolore"). My favorite regional team from Mexico are known as "Las Chivas". They are the team with the most wins in Mexico and are from Guadalajara, which is near where my Father is from. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of money for the sport in Mexico like there is in Europe. In fact players like Rafa Marquez and Andres Guardado often leave Mexico in search of better compensation for their talent. Rafa plays for FC Barcelona and in fact when I was in Barcelona visiting the futbol stadium, the employees there expressed to me how much they love Rafa, which of course made me very proud.

Ale, is an FC Inter Milano aka "I Nerazzuri" fan. I would say it's his second love, but who I am kidding?? I remember in the beginning of our relationship he said something to me like, an Italian mans calcio team will always be his first love because a wife can always be traded, but his team, never. Ha! I like to think I have taken the lead in that race, or at least I am neck and neck!! Anyhow, on my first visit to Milano, Ale treated me to a match at San Siro against Parma. Now I have been to many sporting events. Laker games, NFL games, college football games, baseball games but nothing compared to this. I have to say that Italian (and maybe German) soccer fans are truly the craziest fans I have ever come across. I've never seen anything like it! If I remember correctly, I was the only woman in that section, also known as the Bob Uecker seats here in the states, so it's probably better that I didn't understand too much Italian at the time because I am pretty sure there were some pretty vulgar things being said. I had fun though and I hope to go to many more matches in the future, especially against teams like Juventus, AC Milan and Roma. Am I being too ambitious?? I have to admit, their song is pretty catchy. Have a listen and admire the hotness!

When I saw this video of this amazingly talented 6 year old, I was stunned! This kid truly has skills. It's like he's dancing with the ball. His name is Madin Mohammed and he is from Algeria but has lived in France for the last 3 years of his life. He is being compared to Zidane and is already on the radar of several big clubs. Let's hope there isn't too much pressure put on this little guy.

Mexico and Italy's national flags have the same colors. It's kismet!

Ale wrote a nice post about about a project by Inter called Inter Campus here

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day....A Few Hours Early

To My Chiquito Lindo:

Although we are separated by an ocean, you are always right here with me in my heart.

Te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto...cada dia un poco mas. Bacione.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody. I hope your day is filled with lots of love and affection.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Back...It's Been So Long....

Well, what can I say? So much has happened. I have joined the ranks of the nations gainfully employed, albeit in a field that has nothing to do with medicine. But, with major employers announcing lay-offs daily, I am lucky to have anything at all. The hospital that I was hoping to get a job with, just announced 500 lay-offs, so that went out the door. I did have an interview there, but the position was given to an internal candidate..surprise, surprise. I was told there may be another position opening soon, however, that was before they announced the layoffs.

Now that I have some extra income, I have been playing tennis and taking Krav Maga lessons. I didn't realize how much I truly missed tennis. I used to be really good and participated in tournaments. I hadn't played in over a year and a half. Now that I am back on the courts, it's going to be hard to ever get me off again! I just love it so much, so I am extremely content to have the opportunity to play again. Krav Maga is Israeli self-defense. Krav Maga is used by the FBI, CIA, INS and several law enforcement agencies. It is very intense. Not only do you get a great workout, but you are learning to defend yourself also. It's not for the weak. I've had a few bruises already and have been extremely sore. I haven't felt those muscles in a long time! Maybe my next post will be about Krav Maga....

The Italian is still in Italy, but we are hoping he can make it here by late spring/early summer. It's so hard to be away from him, but we speak on the phone as often as we can and email and text almost everyday. This global economic crisis isn't really helping things much, but we are both optimistic. This is the land of opportunity after all! See, it's all in the attitude, isn't it?

Portland has been in the news in the last few months. First we had the snow storm of the century, dumping almost 2 feet of snow. The city was completely shut down. No one knows how to drive in it, nor is the city equipped to handle it. I just had a chuckle because I have lived in two different states where 2 feet of snow is considered a light dusting. Then Portland was in the news because some nutjob was tired of living, decided to get himself a gun and go to the club district, which is like a mile away from my apartment, and randomly take out some people. The people he victimized were foreign exchange students. 2 died and several were gravely injured. The girl that was most severely injured was a foreign exchange student from Italy. Rome, to be exact. She was shot something like 11 times. Or was it 17?? I don't remember, but it is a miracle that she made it. Her parents came here and I believe are still here with her. It looks like she is going to ride out the school year here. Her family says they love Portland, and they realize it was completely random. I'm so glad that she made it, but I feel terrible for those kids that didn't.

I've also been on Facebook a lot. It's addicting!! I've connected with people I hadn't heard from in years. Are any of you on Facebook?