Curtido y Salsa

July 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

blog.salvamendoza.com has become Curtido y Salsa (curtidoysalsa.org).

This is simply an evolution of my blog. For a long time I had not been happy with the name and had been searching for a worthy name.

Why Curtido y Salsa (curtidoysalsa.org)?

Curtido y salsa is a reference to my Salvadoran heritage.  If you’ve ever had Pupusas, the quintessential Salvadoran food, you’d know that Pupusas are served with Curtido (slaw with a Salvadoran twist) and salsa. And if you haven’t had any, you don’t know what you are missing.

Although the name is a reference to food, this is not a food blog.  However, I may blog about food from time to time.

As always, I have big plans for my blog. Expect regular updates.

Simplemente Recuerdo…

January 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Recuerdo ver la Guardia Nacional patrullar las calles rurales de mi cantón.

Recuerdo que aun siendo un niño había que apartarse a la orilla de la calle para dejar pasar “La Guardia” porque si no te “patiaban”.

Recuerdo la noche que fuimos al aeropuerto a recoger a mi papá porque en 1979 después de cuatro años regresaba con intención de nunca mas regresar a los Estados Unidos.

Recuerdo que solamente después de cuatro meses mi papá salió de regreso hacia los Estados Unidos porque la situación en El Salvador estaba en deterioro.

Recuerdo que nos mudamos a la casa de mi tío en el centro del pueblo con mi mamá y mis hermanos después que mi papá regreso a los Estados Unidos.

Recuerdo vivir en la misma casa de mi tío pero ahora bajo el cuidado de mi tía maternal cuando mi mama salió hacia  Estados Unidos en 1980.

Recuerdo escuchar sobre los escuadrones de la muerte.

Recuerdo ser sacado de mis clases un día a la semana para recibir instrucción de marcha militar administrado por el comandante local del pueblo.

Recuerdo mis hermanos y yo irnos a vivir a la casa de  mi abuelo maternal y estar bajo el cuidado de otra tía cuando se casó mi otra tía y se fue a vivir con su esposo.

Recuerdo ver a mi abuelo en el patio de atrás de su casa escuchando Radio Venceremos.

Recuerdo escuchar las noticias sobre el asesinato de Monseñor Romero y subsecuentemente ver su entierro por televisión.

Recuerdo escuchar por la radio o leer en el periódico las noticias a diario de decenas de cuerpos decapitados o mutilados  encontrados al amanecer en otras partes del país.

Recuerdo cuando mis otros dos primos menores salieron hacia los Estados Unidos con mi abuelo.

Recuerdo el sonido constante de metralletas y rifles en la cordillera que separa La Union y Morazán, y aprendí a distinguir los diferentes sonidos. En ocasiones parecía que disparaban por dos minutos o mas sin parar. Años después conocí los nombres de las armas que solía escuchar como niño.

Recuerdo ver los aviones, tipo Cessnas A-37 Dragonfly de la era de Vietnam, que se elevaban y luego se tiraban a pique para tirar sus bombas sobre Morazán.

Recuerdo escuchar rumores de la muerte de uno de mis profesores a las manos del ejercito por sospecha de “ser guerrillero”.

Recuerdo la preocupación de mis padres porque se acercaba mi doceavo cumpleaños. La meta era sacarme del país antes de la edad de doce años para evitar ser reclutado por la fuerza armada o la guerrilla.

Recuerdo que un día sentí la necesidad de regalar algunas de mis cosas a mi primo Miguel, como que si presentía que me iba.

Recuerdo que dos días después, sin aviso ninguno,  llegó mi tío (hermano de mi papá) y nos llevó a mis hermanos y a mi a San Salvador en preparación para el viaje a los Estados Unidos.

Recuerdo el día que salimos en avión hacia Cuidad Mexico, Tijuana y eventualmente Pomona, California donde mis padres nos esperaban a mis hermanos y a mi para llevarnos a Nueva Jersey, donde aun vivimos hoy día.

Simplemente recuerdo para no olvidar y para que otros no olviden.


Ayer fue el 20 aniversario de los Acuerdos de Paz que  pusieron el fin a la guerra civil en El Salvador. “Simplemente Recuerdo…” es en honor a esos acuerdos.

Gracias @cheleguanaco por la inspiración.

LATISM’11, A Spiritual Experience?

November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s been just over a week after the LATISM National Conference 2011. I spent the first few days recovering, and I’ve spent the last week or so catching up with my work and reaching out to those who I met at the conference. I met a lot of wonderful people and I made it a point to ask them for their thoughts about the conference.

“#latism11 was more than just an annual conference. It was an experience, a lifestyle, inspirational, something like no other. Connections were made, friends were made…Never have i been to an event that can be so life changing…” – Alcides Aguasvivas

I had one participant tell me that this was a spiritual experience. The conference affected each of us in different ways and it speak volumes about LATISM and the conference that we were able to invoke such deep feelings. I think I kept asking because I needed to validate what I was seeing and feeling was real and shared by others. For me, there were a few things that stood out and left an impression on me during the conference.

This was the first time that chapter directors and volunteers were in one place and worked together. It was amazing to see each person set aside self interest and do whatever it was necessary to make to conference a success. We put our titles aside and got to work. I think Ana put it best when she wrote on her conference recap that we had “Top bank programmers driving the shuttle? Elected officials registering people? Top marketers running crazy to fix signs?“ It was amazing to see the group come together for a common purpose and take ownership of different tasks and get them done and quickly move onto the next thing that needed to be done.

The LATISM group of directors is diverse group of individuals with varied careers and life experiences and that makes for very interesting conversation. I can honestly say that I had the most interesting conversations with several of the directors. I just wish I had more time to talk to more of you on an individual basis, but I guess there is always next year in Houston, TX. No doubt we have a group of talented chapter leaders.

Up to now I have not called out anyone by name, but I will do so for the next three persons I want to talk about. Before LATISM’11, I had only read about Dolores Huerta.  Her speech was such an inspiration. What she has done for farm workers and Latinos in general is invaluable. She is such a petit lady but a giant in courage, heart, and character. She is an icon in the Latino community. Nos enorgullese Señora Huerta.

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Ramon De Leon speak several times. He has been a LATISM supporter since the very beginning. But it’s always an experience to hear him speak. He is a Social Media visionary and a role model to our youth. Es un orgullo tener un gran representante de Social Media entre nosotros los Latinos. I think sometimes we take this for granted, but the conference help me realize how important this is.

“I have been to many conferences before. This one by far has been the best. The workshops were good and the quality of the keynote speakers unbelievable. It was nice to see how many young professionals and entrepreneurs we have in the community.“ – Carlos Aguasvivas

I don’t think we could’ve had a better speaker/performer for the closing ceremony. Tony Melendez is such an inspiration. Born without arms, he learned to play the guitar with his feet and has forged ahead as motivational speaker and performer. If Tony, with all the obstacles he has faced in his life, can have a bright outlook on life, why not us? The problems I encounter seem miniscule compared to those Tony has faced throughout his life. I cannot end without saying que eres un orgullo Guanaco, Tony.

Many attendees have told me that this has been the best conference they’ve been to. So I wondered why LATISM’11 was so different. I think it has to do with the people. This includes the attendees, panelists, moderators, speakers, volunteers, organizers and sponsors. Everyone had a genuine interest in bringing out the best in our community. And let’s not forget the Latino spirit. Where else are you going to get a day full of learning, inspiration and parranda all wrapped into one? I’ve never seen dancing at another conference. It’s that uniqueness that made LATISM’11 the success that it was.

Last but not least, We owe a huge thank you to the sponsors. Without them, we couldn’t have had the opportunity to meet, collaborate, make friendships, hear Dolores Huerta speak, hear Ramon speak, be inspired by Tony Melendez, and enjoy that what makes us Latinos. So here it goes, I big Thank you, Gracias, and Merci to our sponsors.

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I hope to see everyone next year in Houston.

Occupy Wall Street: It’s not about the occupiers, it’s about us

November 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Yesterday, the Zuccotti park occupiers were displaced by the NYC Police Department. Given that I work so close to the park, I’ve had the opportunity to walk through it several times and observe what was happening there. And that’s when it occurred to me. Occupy Wall Street is not about the occupiers, it’s about us.

What I mean by this is that although the occupiers are making all the noise, even now when they have been displaced. It is up to us to demand real change. The occupiers have been, are, and will continue to be there to continue to bring awareness to the issue, but it is us who must speak with our wallets, actions, and collective voice. We have not seen social uprising at this level since the sixties. So, many people haven’t experienced what it is to go against the grain. I’ve personally experienced social uprising that led to civil war. By no means do I mean to imply that what is happening here is the same, but it does add perspective. What is at stake here is not our lives, as was the case in El Salvador in the eighties, but our livelihood and as such we must defend it even if it means going against the grain.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been gaining momentum since its inception two month ago. It has spread across the country and across the world. It clearly touches the lives of many, hence the potential for profound change not seen in the US in a very long time. It’s also no coincidence that the critics of the movement are not as vocal. To do so would be to undermine the collective voice of the majority. I have yet to hear an argument against the Occupy Wall Street movement that passes muster.

It is up to us to demand real change. Occupy Wall Street is about us.

WordPress Workshop at the LATISM National Conference by Yours Truly

November 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

This weekend I’m visiting the family in Montreal because next week I will be very busy for the latter half of the week. I will be attending the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Conference in Chicago, September 9 – 11.

Not only will I be an attendee, but I will also be staffing the conference, tweeting and live blogging some of the sessions. If that wasn’t enough, I will also be doing a couple of WordPress workshop sessions:

Workshop Title: WordPress Beyond the Basics

What you will learn in this workshop:

  • How to install WordPress
  • How to work with themes, widgets and plugins
  • Popular plugins for popular uses
  • Integration with Google Analytics
  • Speeding up your WordPress installation with caching plugins
  • SEO Quick Tips
  • How to host multiple blogs with WordPress multisite
  • I’m really looking forward to connecting with other like minded Latinos from around the country.

    Learn more about the conference here

    Learn more about LATISM here

    This blog runs on WordPress. Learn more about it here

    College: A Life Changing Experience

    October 20, 2011 § 7 Comments

    Naci un campesino, y morire un campesino”. It roughly translates to “I was born a farmer and I will die a farmer”. I don’t know who wrote it but it’s something I identify with and my life experiences only strengthen it.

    I share this with you because my family is of humble beginnings, but of entrepreneurial spirit. Hard work was and it’s still the norm and it was engrained in my brain at an early age. My parents emigrated to the US in the early 80′s and my siblings and I followed in 1985. Upon my arrival, I entered the seventh grade and six years later I graduated high school. Although my mother only finished 3rd grade and my father 8th grade, they value education and always encouraged me to go to college. I was fortunate that they offered encouragement and financial support, but not much in the way of guidance as they were unfamiliar with the US higher education system. I had to find my way through the college and financial aid application process. Having no form of mentoring or guidance, I decided to attend one of the local colleges.

    Although at first I struggled, I quickly found my place and began to explore. It’s no coincidence that it took me six years to graduate, not because I was not a good student but because I began on a learning quest that extended by college career. I began to take courses like Photography, Poetry, Jewelry Making, American Literature and many others that were not part of my field of study. Today, I do something totally unrelated to what I studied, but I could not do what I do had I not gone through my college experience. One of the most important things college taught me was to “learn to learn”. That’s something that is invaluable and that’s why I always say that my college experience was and still is life changing.

    I understand and appreciate the fact that I’m one of the lucky few. The Latino community in the US is now 50 million strong , but reality is that higher education is still an unattainable goal for the majority of Latinos. That’s why I’m encouraged and delighted to learned about initiatives such as the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and that of private corporations such as Univision’s Edúcate! Es El Momento and Scholarship Program. We need more programs like this to mentor Latino youth and give them a fair opportunity at attending college.

    As for my parents, my mother learned to read and write well in Spanish in night school. Here in the US she went to school and speaks English well. Although, she is sometimes shy to speak it. My father finished his high school and went on to college. Although he is currently not taking classes, he hasn’t given up on finishing his degree. They are both business owners.

    As for myself, I’m a software developer with a passion for the use technology in education. I encourage you to give back and mentor even just one kid and give our Latino youth a fair chance at attending college and getting ahead.

    Now, I’m inclined to change my favorite quote to “ Naci un campesino, y morire un campesino educado”.  

    Have you ever thought about the retweetability factor of your tweets?

    June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

    140 characters is a very small number of characters to express yourself. Many of us tend to use the full 140 characters to get our point across on Twitter, without ever thinking about the retweetability of our messages. Often, I find myself abandoning a retweet because it is too long and I have to edit it in order to be able to post it.

    Why is retweetability important? We have a limited number of followers. Our tweets are certain reach our followers but by making your tweets retweetable, you increase your chances of being retweeted and reaching a wider audience. In fact, a retweet will get you the most views and impressions as compared to the initial tweet.

    Here are some guidelines for improving the retweetability of your tweets:

    • Write concise and compelling headlines
    • Use contractions and abbreviations that make sense
    • A good rule of thumb is to write tweets that are no longer than 120 – 125 characters, including hash tags and links, to allow others to re-tweet you with a single click
    • Include no more than two hash tags to allow others to add their own if they choose to do so
    • When including links, use an URL shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl.com

    I’m aware that most Twitter clients automatically shorten your tweets upon retweet, but that’s hit or miss because there are times when what’s retweeted makes no sense and the message of the original tweet is lost.

    There is nothing ground breaking here, but some common sense when tweeting will go along way to improving your retweetability factor.  So tell me, how does your retweetability factor measure up?

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