Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm on vacation!



Well, relatively speaking, I am not at work, so by default that means I am on "vacation" ha ha, vacation, that's funny, that word implies rest, peace and tranquility, well, I sort of remember what that used to be like, the year was 1995 and I had a peaceful day, well, back to reality, I am sitting at home, Anthony is trying to take over the laptop, he just tried to attack me with a pen, Martha yelled something but I can't really make it out, I have her tuned out with my Ipod. let's see, where was I...oh yeah, so I am on vacation.

On Thursday we came back from vacationing in Orlando. It was good, we went to Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Seaworld then we went to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Cannaveral, I must say the latter was my favorite, but I really like going to Orlando, there's something about those parks that make you feel like you are somewhere special. The NASA trip always makes me wish that I worked there. I bet those Engineers really like their job. Maybe someday...

Anyway, last night Anthony was a little sick, now, that's something, I don't have the stomach to see sick people, but when I see my own son not doing well, it feels like some hidden paternal instincts kick in. I wanted to do whatever it takes to make them feel better. Well, everybody understands that. So he had a little fever last night, but he's doing better now.

So that's my vacation so far. The beginning of next year is going to be a little busy. I start Graduate school in January, also, I am participating in FIRST, a high school robotic competition sponsored by Motorola, I am really excited about that, I really want to encourage local, American talent to get interested in Science, Engineering and Technology, we used to be the world's most technologically advanced country. Now days the majority of high school grads can't find Iraq on the map. I want to help change that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving



I'm spending Thanksgiving day at my parent's house. This should be interesting.
More later.

J.V.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two lives blurred together by a photo






I feel for this guy, another casualty of PSDT. Read the full story here.

J.V.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

November 10, 1775



Happy 232nd Birthday to the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Kamran





My good friend Kamran gets a year older tomorrow. Happy birthday old man, I love you like a brother.

Miami






The weather is so nice down here, this is my favorite time of the year, it's nice and mild, today it was in the 60's... absolutely gorgeous.

Work






I wrote some code that turned evil and is making the Radio do bad things. I've been looking for the bug all this week, the only good thing I can say is that it's been a learning experience. Reality: it's work, but I still like my job. Very interesting work, good people to work with.

Family






I love those monkeys more than anything in this planet. They make me laugh everyday, but damn, they test my patience as well. Raising them is going to be a challenge, I already think I made a mistake somewhere, Anthony is so rough with other people, I don't know what to do. But I think it will turn out ok.

Book I'm reading





The Oral History of Buster Casey. I used to like Palahniuk, Fight Club and Invisible Monsters were good read, but his later stuff feels like more of the same, although the plots vary, the formula feels the same: confuse the hell out of people and at the end everything comes together to reveal some grotesque fact that supposedly shocks you or something. I'm bored.

What's on my head







Ever since I read the book The World is Flat, by Tom Friedman, I've been interested fascinated by India. I am setting out to learn more about this sub-continent.

Interesting Web Article




The web is full of good stuff (like this blog...ok, no more bad jokes) I found this article very interesting.
It's called "An Economist walks into a bar and solves the mysteries of dating". It talks about an experiment done at Columbia University about the statistics of attraction. Good read, it confirms and busts some stereotypes that come up when it comes to that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Radiohead


OK Computer (1997)
The Tourist


It barks at no-one else but me like it's seen a ghost
I guess it seen the sparks, a flowing no one else would know
Hey man slow down, slow down, idiot slow down, slow down

Sometimes I get overcharged that's when you see sparks
You ask me where the hell I'm going at thousand feet per second?
Hey man, slow down, slow down, idiot slow down, slow down

Hey man, slow down, slow down, idiot slow down, slow down


I wish I could explain how much I can relate to this song. I can't.

Just a random thought, do not read too much into it.

My Day


Today Anthony almost choked to death on a Halloween candy, Martha was at the store, he just got the damn thing stuck in his throat, I don't know, I just froze up when I saw it, he stuck his hand in his mouth and cleared it up, made himself throw up, and I was just sitting in there shocked, I gave him a bath, afterwards, (he managed to get puke all over himself), so I washed him off and 10 minutes later it's as if nothing had happened. It's amazing, how often do we have a brush with death? or tragedy? It's crazy how fast life can change, right now I could be mourning my child instead of sitting here blogging. But thank goodness he's fine.

Speaking of Anthony, he is growing up, he lives up to the "Terrible Twos" stereotype, but he cracks me up so much, with every new thing he says or does, he makes me laugh.
I need to be more strict with him, so far Martha is the authoritarian, but I'm noticing that he thinks he can get away with murder when he is around me, and that can't fly.

So that's my day, I went to work early, wrote some code, went to lunch with friends from work, then I worked some more, I get home to a nice dinner and then my son almost chokes to death, you know, just the usual. Oh, we watched a movie afterwards,
let me tell you what happened, we were watching Reign over me with Adam Sandler, it was kind of a strange movie, it was weird to see Adam Sandler playing a serious role, anyway, In the move Sandler has post-traumatic syndrome, I could not help myself, I started to think about the guys I went to Iraq with, how the war affected each and every one of us in some little way, some more than others, the whole thing makes me sad, so many of us come back all fucked up from that shit. How many of our guys are going to need help the rest of their lives? How many lives will never be the same? And for what? Damn, I wish this war would stop soon. Oh, so what happened you ask?
I was crying during the movie, yep, crying, now, I am not the crying type ok? But I could not help it! I kept telling Martha that no, I was not crying, but it must have been me releasing all the stress, it was that kind of day.

Ok, I think I am going to bed now, thanks for stopping by, be good to each other.

J.V.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kamran has a new blog.

And it's pretty good, I might add.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Congrats to Froyd



Froyd just published a book. The movie will come next, and the fame and glory.

Since the last time I wrote a post:

I had my 10 year high school reunion
I celebrated 10 years since my Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation
I went on vacation to Costa Rica

...and much more, I missed out on a lot of opportunities to share with the blogsphere many interesting thoughts. I can say that I've been busy, but, I've always been busy, in fact, I was busier when I was going to school full time, but I still managed to post in this blog, so what happened?

Well, the first thing was that I got discouraged, I felt as if I had nothing interesting to write, so I stopped writing. Also, I started to write some stories for a book, but I decided I did not want to write about Iraq anymore, I wish I could erase it from my memory sometimes, not because I think it was so bad, it's just that I don't want to bring up the subject, I can't help it in this blog, but in real life, I feel uncomfortable with it.

Speaking of other things, I downloaded the latest Radiohead album "In Rainbows" it's freaking awesome.

Can't believe that the Red Sox did it again.

I've been playing Brain Age 2 in my Nintendo DS, it's really hard, much harder than the first one. Two thumbs up.

Library cards: use 'em. I've decided not to buy books, unless I absolutely can not wait. i.e. Froyd's new book.

Books of note:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist



Great Read, I could not put this book down, I read the first three pages by chance at the public library (I was looking for something else) and I could not put it down, four hours later I was in my bed reading the last page, and thinking about Pakistan. The next day I went back to the library and checked out Moth Smoke, another great book by the same author.

That's all I have for now, I love you all. Be good to each other.

J.V.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just finished watching the movieCrank I want those 87 minutes of my life back. What a disappointment, generally I like Jason Staham's movies.

Oh well, back to my Saturday afternoon.

Anthony is going to wake up from his nap soon, so long....


J.V.

Wow



Being a parent is hard, I don't know how Martha does it.

I really appreciate your hard work.

-J.V.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hairy news






I've decided that I am not going to get another haircut until the we the people of the United States of America decide to stop killing people in Iraq. I want us to stop this un-winnable war.

-J.V.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Question of the Day



Froyd wants to know

If you shoot a mime, should you use a silencer?

Thanks Froyd, that made my day.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Graduate School



Today I got an email from the University of Florida, I just got admitted to the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Go Gators!

I'm really happy right now.

You see, seven years ago, I applied to UF for my bachelors degree and was denied. Getting in for Grad school makes me feel better. I know, it's a silly thing, but I celebrated today with a steak dinner and a couple of tall beers.

So, life is good. That's all for now.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What I've been reading these days






The weekend is finally here, and with it comes all the chores my wife has saved up for me, but, my mother in law came to the rescue and took Monkey with her, so now it's me and the girls, and of course, Mo the cat. Martha is hosting a "Candle Party" (shiver) today and I have about half a day of total freedom...wooo hooo!!

So, I am going to finish that book about the History of Ft. Lauderdale, a quick paperback that has it's own history...(pun intended). You see, my old man used to work for the the Historical Society of Ft. Lauderdale, and I got this book at one of their events at the old downtown next to Riverside FLL. So I got a signed copy, I bought it for the old pictures, not the articles, back in the day this place was nothing but a swamp. Now the only wildlife you will see in here will be lawyers, strippers and crazy college students. Anyway, it turns out that the history of FLL is actually kind of interesting.

I plan on going to the beach tomorrow, and I am a taking a library copy of James Joyce's A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man, it's one of those book the keeps on getting mentioned in other people's top list. The article in wikipedia said it was among the most important works in the English language, I read the first forty pages and so far the fireworks have not gone off. But, I'm going to give it another chance tomorrow.

I the technical land I have Scott Meyer's Effective C++ and I'm reading an online book called "The Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing" I never took DSP in school and now I am dealing with it all the time at work, there's one issue we are seeing that requires some DSP knowledge to solve, I am trying to fix the issue on my own, realistically speaking, I could have just thrown my hand up and said that I am not a DSP Engineer, but, I think it's a very interesting area of study, so I plan on brushing up and maybe take a few courses on it. And as for the little problem I'll let you know if we fixed the issue. There are a lot of things on the web that cover this topic extensively.

Since we are on the subject of the web, I found a funny website, funnyordie.com it has bunch of funny stuff...for when there's absolutely nothing better to do, or when you are waiting for your code to compile at work...actually I take that back, some of these videos are definitely NSFW.

So, that's all folks. Until the next one. Be good to each other.

-JV

So Long, Yummy Brain Gravy



The Gravy is dead, long live the Gravy!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Old Fort Lauderdale




It's funny how some things never change.



The following excerpt is from "Fort Lauderdale The Venice of America" it was written by an Army officer visiting Ft. Lauderdale in 1821:




Florida is certainly the poorest country that ever two people quarreled for. The climate is in the first place objectionable; for even in winter, while persons further north were freezing, we were melting with heat. In the next place, the larger portion of Florida is a poor sandy country in the north, in the southern portions nearly all wet prairies and swamp; healthy in winter but sickly in summer; and in the south even the Indians said they could not live a month without suffering, and in the summer not at all. It is in fact a most hideous region to live in; a perfect place for Indians, alligators, serpents, frogs, and every other kind of loathsome reptile....




Two things come to mind right away, first, thank god for AC. When I was in the National Guard and had to be out all day in the summer, it was torture at it's purest form, I can relate to the Army pioneer. But...did he just imply that Indians are reptiles?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm Back!



I love this commercial, I can't wait either:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Random Musings




Hello Blogger world. I have a lot to say, and like always, I feel pressed for time.


Venezuela is out of the Copa America





The dream is over, Venezuela lost yesterday against Uruguay in the Copa America Quarter Finals. The game was tied 1-1 in the 2nd half of the game, then, Uruguay steam-rolled three goals to kill the venezuelan hopes of going to the semi-finals. Thanks a lot Uruguay, I hope Brasil has mercy on your poor souls.

Martha and I went to Orlando the other day





For her birthday we went to Orlando, we visited Sea World, had a fancy dinner, and then we went to Animal Kingdom to check out the new ride they got out there, Mt. Everest. It was good times. We have this thing in Florida, if you don't visit one of the Theme Parks at least once every three years, your Florida residence gets revoked, we were just following the law.



Father's day gifts



Thanks babe and thank you Caro (my crazy younger sister) for giving me what I want the most: books!

Dreaming in Code



This book was featured in one of the blogs I read, and it got a ok review, I wanted to read about software projects since this is sort of what I do for a living.

It was an interesting read, it was a story about a team of gifted programmers set on a mission to create a new product that would "change the world" in it's journey, they encountered many obstacles. I have only been a software developer for a measly six months, and I can relate. It is laced with the history of computing and software engineering, which makes it a must read for young computer professionals who are just getting started in this business. It was a good read. Here's the book website.


god is not GREAT



This blasphemous, hell-guaranteeing book I read thanks to my sister. I've already read "The God delusion", "The End of Faith", "Letter to Christian Nation" and now the only one I am missing is "Breaking the Spell".

I recommend reading this book if you are an skeptical person. If you are the religious type, you are going to hate this book. Christopher Hitchens is known to piss off a lot of people.

If you are the type of person who wonders about what the truth is, then I recommend you do your own soul-search, like I did. I truly believe that everyone has the right to think on their own. I hate it when others tell me how to think so I am not going to do the same to others.

However, if you ever wonder how I lost my faith, I recommend reading these web pages,
Ebon Musings and Control-Z.
Nietzsche said that "if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire."

That's all I am going to say about that.


An Unexpected gift



Last week we got a package from our good friend from Oregon Nicole, among the many things was a book called Road from Ar Ramadi, by Camilo Mejia.

Reading this book meant something to me. Sgt Mejia was a Squad Leader in my Battalion, I did not know him personally, although I believe we met and spoke in passing while being out there, I think I vaguely remember a conversation we had about Costa Rica, since that's where my wife is from.

Mejia's account of his experiences is very honest. I respect that. I also have a lot of respect for his Moral Courage, I honestly think he had no idea what he was getting into when he decided to become a deserter. I agree with many things that were said in this book, in particular about the mistreatment of Iraqi people. When I was there I never felt good about the way we were dealing with the locals, I rationalized it by figuring that in a combat zone the first casualty is innocence. We could not treat everyone nice. We just could not do that. It still hurts, I think of the people that died in our hands that would still be alive today. I remember many of the firefights he describes. He also has a few "facts" wrong. For instance, in page 37 he wrongly states that his outfit (Charlie Co) was the only one in our Battalion that flew into Iraq (as opposed to driving), when in fact Bravo Company was right behind them, ( I was in Bravo)

I, like him, changed my mind about the war, but I do not condone what he did, he left his men, he deserted, I am not saying he's wrong in doing what he thought was the right thing to do, I just would have acted differently. The other thing about his book, he comes across as a little whiny. I think he's a bit hollow. However, I respect him as a person for doing what he thought was honorable.

For me it is really difficult to discern what is right and what is wrong when it comes to this. I think that wars should be avoided, in the other hand, service men are expected to act a certain way. I don't know, I am still confused. I can't say I am ashamed of our service, but I wish we would get out of this war that's not helping out anybody...I could go on this subject for a while, but let me end with me saying that this book is important in putting a new point of view out there.

Even when I disagree with Mejia's conduct, I think there is an important message there, and his book should be read.



Farewell



This is it for now, I am not shutting down this blog people, but I don't know when the next installment will be, it could be tomorrow, or next months. Until then blogger world. Stay Tuned.

Be Good to each other.

J.V.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Go Venezuela!



Venezuela's soccer team has won it's first game in the Copa America in 40 years!

Venezuela 2 Peru 0.

yeah!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The more I want to blog, the less time I have to do it



Blogging is for the truly dedicated people, or maybe for those that have a little too much time in their hands. I am neither of them.
With the kids, the job, and other things, I barely have time to read my favorite blogs, (see my list of links) but I'll take 10 minutes to fill you in the latest.

I had an awesome time in Phily, I came back to a job that's mounting up the pressure to perform, and a family with a toddler, a new baby and a sleep-deprived wife. Add a crazy set of parents and in-laws and you get the picture.

Then there are the things I love to do but don't have time for, like baseball games, going to the beach, and good books.

The only problem is that I am trying to be a writer. I have two stories that are a work in progress, and I have an idea for a third one. If I can just get them finished I would be very happy, I don't care about getting them published, I already have a job, but I need to write, I need to get all this stuff off my chest.

Sometimes I feel like studying engineering was a way to chicken out, I should have been an English Lit or Philosophy Major, but, looking back, I thought Engineering would be a tough challenge, and I needed to prove that I could do it. (not unlike going to the marines when i was 18)

But, in my heart, I'd love to read, write and breathe philosophy. I just love it. I would love to express my ideas about this crazy world we live in. But hell, I am too busy living life to write about it!

Speaking of Philosophy and Engineering, I have found a blog that I think it's along those lines, It's called Algo Blog. I don't know the guy who writes it, but I bet we have a lot in common, the only difference is many years of experience, education and income, but that's it.

My job keeps me very busy, last week I found out that I don't know C++. Funny, if you would've asked me before that I would have told you different. I got good grades in all my computer science courses, I paid attention, but, you don't know crap until you are there trying to make something work. I am trying to do that but I am not doing a good job, the problem is, we are working with deadlines, we have a lot of work, but not a lot of people or a lot of time, they expect me to figure things out as fast as possible with the minimum amount of help. Either one would be fine, but the combination is hard. As a result I've concluded I have to hit the books again, but, I also have to study for the GRE, I have to take that sucker before the fall. I am applying for UF and Georgia Tech, If I don't get accepted, then it's either Miami, FIU or FAU. I loved FAU but I don't want to go there for my Masters.

Ok, so I am rambling, that means it's time to go, going to play Rise of Nations with Martha.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rome, oh Rome




It turns out, they are literally breathing cocaine and pot.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day



I remember you who gave more than you had to. I pray it was for a good cause.

J.V.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sleeping in the Dorms



Ha! I am staying at the Dorms in a Seminary! How cool is that?

It doesn't feel like I'm in Philly. I am in the middle of Christian-Land. I am getting royal treatment though, everybody is so nice. It's amazing.

Joe is a friend I know from the Marines, he had a bachelor's degree when he went in. He has now completed his Masters of Divinity,he plans on getting ordained somewhere, so he's going to be Rev. Joe.

After all these years we have managed to keep in touch.I think is great to be here.

I feel a bit weird given my non-religious views, but, so far everyone's been nice to me. I just hope that nobody starts a discussion about politics or religion and I should be fine.

There are times when is better to keep one's mouth shut.

J.V.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Philly



Life is good.

I am sitting at the airport, taking a little break to see my friend Joe graduate up in Philadelphia, PA.

The break is from work, being at home is enjoyable still, in fact, I am going to miss the hell out of the gang, but, I'll be back in a couple of days.

Philly, philly, the city of brotherly love, Bill Cosby, Will Smith and Girlfiend. I can't wait to get me some Cheesesteak, last time we went Joe took me to some place called Pat's I think, it's near the downtown, (south side) there was long line, the people were not that friendly, my clothes smelled like onions afterwards, and I absolutely loved it.

Work is getting a teeny bit stressful



Monday night I was up until 1 AM trying to figure out a problem with my code. Turns out, there's nothing wrong with my stuff, but it depends on another component which in turn depends on something else, which has problems, therefore, it breaks my stuff.
But, that's life. I am just glad I can get away from it for a little while. I am, in fact, not going to check my work email for a little while.



Airport wireless are getting better



Six months ago the speed of the wireless network here at Ft. Lauderdale International was sluggish at best. Now I have a decent 11.0 Mbps. I like that. I just opened the laptop and I was automatically connected.

That is all. Good day good people. Carry on.



J.V.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Introducing the Mouse, Mouse



It's a computer mouse made with an actual...mouse. What will they think of next?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Holy Crapola!



This picture, could it be a fake? a hoax? Please let me know.

Do I get extra money if I report my own family members?

OK, on a serious note, what's happening to us? Why? Why? Why?

Thursday



I changed a couple of the links in here, I took out digg and del.icio.us. because I don't go there anymore, I added the link to Slate Magazine, since I read that a lot.
Usually it's the series blogging the Bible that I read "religiously", it's very good. I've gotten great bible verses like Ezequiel 23:20, just to name one.

I just finished reading Dear Oprah, please stop promoting The Secret.
Insightful.

I've also added a link to a blog I've been reading for years but have never placed a comment. Coding Horror is one of the best blogs about programming out there.

Working from home today



It has its perks, but, it sucks having two bosses at the same time, the one that gives you money and the one that spends your money.

But, I don't have to commute, and it's about the same productivity. The only down side is that it's tougher to ask questions when you are not there. I like to talk face to face, the old fashioned way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What a day



Don't even ask.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Things to do



I have a bunch of things to do. Serious ones and not-so-crucial ones.
I've got to do the weekly budget get-together with Martha to agree where we are going to spend our money. I say wine, books and coffee, but she wants to pay bills and crap like that, so we have to arrive at a compromise once a week.

I've got to screen mail, something that I loathe, my impulse is to hoard it until it becomes a big pile, and then just throw the whole thing out, one time I accidentally threw away a $700 check from the insurance company, good thing that I hadn't taken the trash out when Martha asked me about the check.

Other than that, I plan on updating my myspace profile, even though I hate myspace, I like to keep in touch with people that otherwise wouldn't talk to on a daily basis. I still think that all the world's retards congregate on that site. But oh well, that's just me.

I want to open a flickr account, and move all the pictures I put on my msn space in there.

I am so tired though, last night Gaby didn't want to go to sleep, Martha took care of her until 3:00AM I took her from 3 to 7, then she fell sleep, she's been up a couple of times now, but it's obvious she's got her internal clock a little off. Oh well, at least Anthony has been napping since 10:30 AM, he should be up soon. Anyway, now that I think about it, I don't know if I'll have time for the flickr just yet. But, it's on my list of things to do.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Reaction to Nietzsche.



I have finished reading the Portable Nietzsche. I can’t say I understand everything that he wrote, I didn’t even agree to most of it. However, it made me think, it made me understand that I don’t know Jack. I loved him and detested it at the same time. I loved how it would suddenly make me stop reading, and make me think about it. I loved his attitude towards life, reason, inquiry, reality, truth. I loved how he wrote with passion,
He commands us to deny our soft side, to become hard.

I can not say that I am very smart, I cannot say that I am a deep thinker or that I have come up with observations no one else has had before. I just appreciate seeing things from a new perspective, and that’s what I liked about his works.

That’s what I loved about it.

I detested having to guess at what he meant most of the time. Zarathustra did not read very well, I kept reading the words out loud, but somehow, it sort of made sense, but I am not able to say exactly what I got from it, I think it deserves another read or two.

He was a crazy man, and I am thankful that he had pen and paper to go with that madness.

P.S.

It was funny that the he titled the chapters in his last book "Ecce Homo"
-Why I Am So Wise
-Why I Am So Clever
-Why I Write Such Good Books
-Why I Am a Destiny


Ha! such modesty.

We are now home




Just got home, Martha was the perfect patient, no complication, well versed in the whole motherhood thing, and easy to work with, all the nurses loved her. So we're out of the hospital.

I just noticed that Gaby looks a lot like Anthony.

I'm going to get some rest.

Gaby's picture






It just hit me, I have TWO kids man, Two freaking kids! What am I going to do to keep myself sane? Dunno, it was interesting before, now it's just crazy. Thanks to all the family and friends for all the help so far. I have no doubts things will turn out OK.

My concern is, will I be a good Dad? It's hard for me because, I am so lost most of the time, I live inside of my head, pondering about useless things, it takes effort for me to keep my head on reality. That's why I rely on my wife so much, she's good at this type of things. But she cannot do this by herself, that's why I need to pay attention, my theory is, teach them the skills they will need to make it to this world, I will talk to them about everything my parents didn't talk to me about. I want to give them lots of love. That's it. It's live and learn baby.

This reminds me of my favorite quote by Kurt Vonnegut:

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Anyway, that's it for now, there's a bunch of people in the room, so I better go.

J.V.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Long Day



I am going to spend the night here at the hospital. It has been a long day, driving back and forth, I still have not had a chance to upload the baby pictures to the laptop. I think it's awesome that we have a wireless connection, I also realize how long it's been since I used to write regularly in the blog. But as it happens that means I'm busy.

Lately I've been trying to get through the books I mentioned earlier last month. I am almost done with Nietzsche, Yesterday I got the new book by Douglas Hofstadter. It's titled "I am a Strange Loop" So I can't wait. It's supposed to be about the same thing that The Eternal Golden Braid is about. I've written about that book before. It's one of my favorites.

So that's that.

On a completely unrelated matter.




This story
.

My first reaction: are you kidding me?

It's Titled the Dark Side of Diversity, written by Pat Buchanan, what surprises me is not the level of bigotry, but that people actually listen to such drivel. His argument basically is that only immigrants do bad things, completely ignoring um, reality. This is sad.

Gaby is here!




1:55 PM EST in Coral Springs N.W. Hospital.

I thought it would take a lot longer, so I went home to fix myself lunch, when I got back, she had just come out, I stepped in literally one second and half after later, I almost missed it! But I was there.

I can't believe it. I grabbed the wrong cable at home, so no pictures yet. She looks a lot like Martha. Wow, this one was quick!

So there you have it folks. We are one big happy family. Thanks Loralee and Natasha for the comments.

More updates later.

We are having a baby today



We are inside the hospital room right now. I can't believe there's a Wireless connection. If I had brought the usb connector, I could be uploading pictures live.

Anyway, we are doing good. She's getting induced today, which was not how we thought it would happen. But so far everything is fine.

That's so cool. Gabriela comes to the world today.

*****UPDATE #1 9:35 AM EST

Contraptions every 2 minutes. On a scale from one to ten, she says she's feeling a three. The room is not a big as the one we had in Minnesota, but, I have a nice couch to sit on. Hell, I am even tempted to log in to work... but I won't, I took the day off, dammit! I am not a workaholic, I swear.

Martha is comfortable and watching T.V. I am reading a book next to her. I feel relaxed and happy. Everything looks good.

*****UPDATE #2 11:25 EST

Is it wrong that while my wife is going through labor I am blissfully surfing the net? she does not seem to mind, she's watching ER on TV while the nurses seem to be the only ones that care about the fact a baby is coming pretty soon. But the peace and quiet will not last forever. My Mother-In-Law (God bless her) is coming over soon. I love her and everything. But this place will be anything but quiet after she's here, two's company, three is a crowd. But that's cool. That probably means I won't post much after she gets here.

I have no idea how long this will take, when Anthony was born, Martha was in the hospital at 9:00 AM and he was born at 7:00 PM, Gaby seems to be taking her sweet time, I can't say I blame her. Knowing what awaits her in this world.



J.V.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pictures from Last Sunday




I think I have found a new Desktop background Pic. Anthony is growing so fast. He understands it when we speak to him, but he doesn't speak back yet, he gives two-syllable answers that could be interpreted as talking...but he's not having conversations yet, that's ok, he's not even 20 months old yet, so he's doing just fine. The funny thing is, this guy has a well defined personality. To me is incredible how early and how fast kids learn.


The Beach in Marco Island was awesome, we had a good time until Monkey got tired and wouldn't take a nap at the beach, so at 4:00PM we had to go. It was nice while it lasted.



Books I'm reading




I want to read these books at least two times each. I want to understand every sentence and for the last two apply its knowledge, they represent some of my biggest passion in life, I've always been fascinated with man's search for the truth, I am slowly building my understanding of this world by studying the minds of great men that were in this quest. Minds that were infinitely greater than mine, Giants whose shoulder I am struggling to climb on.




Today I am reading Nietzsche. I got started this morning and I am already in Love,
I was hooked as soon as I started reading. Just take a look at this small fragment found in only the second page.


"...The errors of great man are venerable because they are more fruitful
than the truth of little men..."


Holy crap, I can't describe how I felt when I read this, I had to put the book down and ponder on this for a minute or two, how true this is. Reading Nietzsche is giving me pure delight, is like riding a mental roller coaster.





Code Complete




I want to be the best Software Engineer that I can possibly become, which means to learn the methods and Techniques for software construction, these things one cannot learn by reading alone. You have to do it. I see my programming skills growing at my job and I am very happy about it. Knowing how to program is just a small part of making it in the Corporate world, that's why there are many great programmers that get fired while mediocre programmers get promoted. Software Construction is about people, and technology. You have to master both, people are harder to figure out, but technology is a perishable skill, I strive to never stop learning, and there's enough stuff out there to learn.


Auto




I've always been interested about how things work. Specially airplanes, and cars, to me machines are as amazing as computers. Engines are where we engineers get our names from, and reading this book has awaken an interest about what's going on under the hood of my car. The thing that's more amazing to me, is that I can understand it! I thought that I wasn't mechanically inclined, but it's only because I have not tried it. I can see cars as a serious hobby in my near future, all I need is a new set of tools....I don't know, maybe my birthday, or father's day?

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is dead



I'm sad, I liked his books.

Story.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Naples,FL



Yesterday we went to the Naples Zoo.






Then we went to eat by the pier.







After that we walked around.




So that was yesterday. Let's see how it goes today. We are sharing a room with my cousin her husband and their kid, who is three weeks younger than Anthony. We are supposed to go to the beach. But, when we travel in big packs like this, there's no telling in what will happen next.

J.V.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Weekend plans



Yesterday went to the Marlins game, Man they took a beating from the Phillies. But it was a perfect night for baseball.

Right now we are about to take off for Naples.

More Later. I'll take my laptop.

The plan is to spend all Sunday at the beach. We'll see how that goes.

J.V.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I got this email today:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: anthonyfloyd@onemailuk.co.uk
Subject: BANK UNCLAIMED DEPOSIT
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 23:29:55 +0200
>Dear Friend,
>
>I am Alan Burnet, The credit manager of Hsbc Bank Uk. I have a proposal to discuss with you, concerning an abandoned fixed deposit account valued $24.6 Million dollars.
>The owner died without a next of kin. I am contacting you now to have you presented as the next of kin since you bear the same surname with the account holder.
>
>
>After we have secured the funds into your account, I intend to share with you 35% for you and 50% for me, 5% set aside for expenses while the balance 10% will be donated to Orphanage.
>
>After the sharing, you will assist me invest me own share in Real Estate, under your supervising.
>
>Please contact me if this interest you and I will provide you with more details.
>
>Thank you.
>Regards,
>Alan Burnet


To which I replied:



Wow!!! no way dude! I'm rich! Wooohoooooo!!!!!

Sure, man, I'll do whatever you want. oh my God, just let me know what information you want!


I wonder who actually falls for these things, apparently a lot of people do, since they would have stopped doing this otherwise.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Play Ball!



Baseball season has started. May the best team (the Marlins) win!

Later today Florida will beat Ohio state. I will watch for my amusement.

Anthony



Crazy like always. I can't keep up in this blog, with so many things going on.
This weekend we went to the beach, for the first time this year. This means that the summer has arrived, along with baseball, longer days and pretty soon, afternoon showers. For those of you not familiar with South Florida weather, please know that the months to come visit are October through March, the weather is nice and mild. The hot months, well, it pretty much rains everyday. Which makes going to the baseball game an act only for the true faithful fans. All 17 of them.

So that's what I've been up to lately.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm back!




Funny that I write only when I have time, and when I have time, that means that I am not:

Being a Dad or,
Working or Studying.

I've been caught up doing a bunch of stuff, I am finally producing code at work, which is very exciting for me. Two weeks ago I was assigned a tasks that involved creating software that didn't exists. To me that's as good as it gets.

On the home front I've been doing a lot of home improvement and a lot of reading. So I have not been online as often as before.

War Journal



Today among other things, I cleared up a storage room we were renting in order to save some money, one of the things I found was a Journal I kept when I was in Iraq. I was browsing trough it reading my thoughts four years ago. It was an interesting read. To say the least. It's amazing how much I've changed, and how glad I am that things turned out ok for me. I feel so crappy when I think of all the people who weren't so lucky. The journal is filled with a lot of boring details, but I found some goodies in there.

Should I share?

Before I write an entry, I should share that before going to war I considered myself an "open-minded Christian conservative" I came back from Iraq an atheist, and I had reservations about the war, but I kept them to myself, this entry dated July 2003 was written when I was feeling total despair, we thought we were going to go home very soon, and we found out that it wasn't the case, things were going from bad to worse as far as the attacks were concerned, in Iraq, I had a lot of time to think about stuff, that's probably the reason why I had such harsh change of "life-perspective"



Wednesday July 2 2003
Ar Ramadi, Iraq

There are many ways in which the human soul can feel pain. Suffering, frustation, despair. There is of course, physical pain, There's stress, there's also the pain that comes after having lost something that can't be brought back. There is the pain that comes after someone close to you betrays you. I am not too fond of suffering, I am not afraid of it, but I realize that thorughout my life I have tried to avoid activities that lead me to it. In my mind the worst way to suffer is to have your life taken from you and yet still be breathing. It's a tease to have my life on hold, I live with the hope that i will get it back, but setting my hopes on a quick return to a free life is giving me pain. Buddha said that pain comes from desire, If one eliminates desire then pain will go away, but how can I stop desire? If I do that, then I am giving up all that I am. I am Martha's husband, I can't stop my love for her, I want to be with her as many problems as that brings, I want to be in school, that's one of my goals, I want to be a professional, have a degree in Engineering. But this place is keeping me from it. The Army is giving me pain, I am taking it, I've been taking it and there's nothing I can do about it. They say the 15 of July now it's July 30th, on Jun 29 they said no more River bathing ( we used to go to the Euphrates) luckily we got that back, but how long are we going to be here? the MAX time is still too far away, 6 more months of this is too fucking long, but I am completely helpless against all the events that are dictating my life. I don't care about IRAQ, what are we, trying to help them? they don't want our help! they want us out of here, they want to kill us, and what are getting from it? why exactly are we here? Are we doing anything that's "Good"? I hate to admit it, but we (the U.S.) are wrong, we are the bad guys here. We are not doing anything constructive, we are not helping Iraq and we are not helping ourselves. If there is a greater good for the US from this whole fiasco I fail to see it. on my level it's ridiculous, we are NOT accomplishing anything, presence patrols? what the hell is that? And that's not mentioning the "raids" TCPs (traffic control points) in which we disturb the "innocent" and all we do is make more enemies as if we weren't hated enough. I personally don't believe in the "innocence" of the people we see, for all I know they could all be plotting to kill us all, but there is no way to catch them all, and our attempt is a joke. We don't know who is where. We are here risking our lives for nothing, that's in my level as an NCO in Bravo 1-124th but as whole, how exactly is the US benefiting from all this? Hmm I better stop before they get me too. And all I want is to carry on with my measly life, get my things done, I am just hoping that all of this is over August? Sep? Dec? it will be worth all my troubles, my wife will still be there hopefully, I could resume my education, get a good job and move on, have kids, have fun, learn about this world of ours, maybe write a book someday, I read Farenheit 451 by Ray something, I forget, but it brought a great impact, wow, I cannot say enough about it. I completely agree with him, I share his point of view. I enjoyed reading it. I want to be writer, I should have known before, I know now.

It's amazing how the mind works. throughout our stay in Iraq I have never been afraid of the Iraqis, even after being at the mayor cell (middle of Ramadi) after they shot an RPG at us. Many grenades were thrown at our compound, shots fired, etc. etc.

NOW I FEAR.
Mortar rounds. they fired at us last night and the night before that, It's been at the back of my mind because I don't want to think about what it means to be defenseless against mortars. How do we shoot back? they missed but it was closer than the last time.
It was the loudest boom I've heard, I heard mortars before, I am after all a mortarman, but never this close to me. I heard they caught one guy, but they think there's more. I didn't tell my wife about any of this and not planing to either.


***


This was before IEDs became popular, I think the first one was in the end of July, but the Mortar rounds were scary. Funny I forgot all about this entry, I don't remember feeling this strongly against the war, this was in a moment of frustration that I wrote this. I am thinking about typing this journal and sending it to my friend Joel to see what he thinks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

best of craigslist : I cant believe I did this

best of craigslist : I cant believe I did this

Now, this is funny.

Martha had a 3 minute laughing fit at this one.

Got to love craiglist.

J.V.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I've been challenged to a throw down




I say bring it! One insightful blogger has questioned my fighting skills, strength and virility, by noting that a sixty year old woman and I have one thing in common, we both got sent to the hospital by a crazy kitty.

Well.

I'm here. Give me your best shot, old lady!

Costa Rican coffee and Chilean wine





Is what life is all about.


This week in the web



Interesting: This piece by Wired magazine about famous faked photographs.

Funny: MC Plus+, Chip Hop. Programming Rap! Any Geek would appreciate this.

J.V.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Memory Repression: A myth?




Those of you who know me, know that I am a skeptic, I try not to be too dogmatic, at the same time, I don't want to be gullible, that's why I was a little upset at that document The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Anyway, today I was reading this site called Skepdic, and it's filled with goodies, I read the first chapter of a book about critical thinking, in it, I found this passage:


Even more controversial is the case of repressed memory. Some psychologists believe that a person can
experience something extremely unpleasant and then almost immediately forget it. Many years later another experience may trigger a recollection of the horrible event. Many people forget things and intentionally repress memories of unpleasant experiences. But all the evidence on memory
supports the notion that the more traumatic an event, the more likely one is to remember it.
(Schacter 1996).



Now, I saw some crap in Iraq that I rather not think about, nothing like seeing my best friend blown to pieces, (all my friends came back alive) but, I saw human suffering at the worst degree. I did see human bodies blown to pieces, and I saw what bullets do to the human body. I remember all 4 IEDs that me and my crew survived. But I noticed that I've forgotten many details pertaining some incidents and other memories are foggy.

There was one incident in particular that I had forgotten the details about. But when I talk to some of my friends they say "Hey, remember whe..." and I honestly didn't!

So does this mean that I have been lying to myself? Deluding myself into thinking that I forgot?
or maybe these things were not traumatic enough to be forgotten.

I am very lucky that I seem unaffected by it. The worst thing I ever had was nightmares and they went away within the first year. Most of the time they weren't even that ugly of a dream, I'll just be back in Iraq chatting with old friends. Sometimes I'd be in a firefight and I look beside me and there's Martha with the cats. But dreams are like that, just a brain dump. Nothing to it.

Now I am confused, I am supposed to remember these things for the rest of my life. Apparently I am lying to myself.

J.V.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Amirah the Psycho cat finally lost it.







You are not going to believe what happened last night. The family cat attacked us!
I don’t mean a scratch and run. The thing went wild and was trying to take my life. No kidding.

Let me start from the beginning. I came home from work, started dinner, and all was good in the world. Around 6:10 Martha came home with Anthony, I saw that he was playing with the car keys so I took them from him and then I said,

“Anthony, you have so many new toys, why don’t we go and play with them?”





I grabbed the new Talking Teddy that his grandma gave him. As soon as the thing started talking, the cat wigged the hell out. I was in the living room, she was in the kitchen. All of the sudden the cat comes running from all the way out there, and jumps on me and starts scratching me! She’s growling and moaning loudly and every time I manage to get her off, she comes back again. She stops attacking me and then goes for Anthony! As soon as I saw her leap for my son, I knew the cat was done. Thankfully Martha was quick to grab Anthony, the cat scratched her instead. I kept on screaming “Go upstairs! go upstairs Martha!” and she kept saying, “I can’t! I can’t!” she couldn’t move because she was trapped between the wall and the crazy cat. I grabbed a piece of plastic to move the cat, and managed to open the screen door to the backyard and get her out.




I was full of scratches in my legs and arms. Shocked was the best word to describe my condition though. We noticed she had been acting weird these couple of days. We did not know it was going to get this crazy, she was always a feisty cat, but she never made any acts of aggression like this. It’s crazy.




Getting her inside of a cage was another story. It was an effort and a half. My sister (who is really good with animals) came to the rescue, we had to get her inside the house and had to use a thick blanket to grab her and get her in the cage, she was not a happy camper. She was shaking the cage so bad we thought she was going to get out. We drove to the Humane society and dropped her off. I still feel so bad for her. We may never find out what really happened to make her do this.

After that I went to the hospital to make sure I didn’t need a shot or something, the cat was current in its vaccinations and so was I, the Dr. prescribed antibiotics for me. My sister and a nurse kept laughing at me, I got my ass kicked by a cat.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus



So I am watching this documentary right now. And I can already point out a discrepancy.
There is a Biblical reference to Jesus' family tree. According to the documentary, Matthew Ch 1 refers to his paternal family line and Luke Ch 3 refers to his maternal one, problem is, the Bible actually refers to both of them as being the paternal side, which is a contradiction because the names don't match.

Here are the facts.

They find a tomb, they are sure it belongs to the first century A.D. the names inscribed are Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, and Jose the brother mentioned in the Gospel of Mark somewhere. Skeptics point out that these are all common names, believers point out that statistically speaking the odds that a family with names that match the family of Jesus, (A guy named Jesus with a Father named Joseph and mother named Mary, with a brother named Jose) seems too small to be a coincidence, therefore it is highly unlikely that it is a coincidence.

Updates coming soon

***Update****

They also claim to have found Mary Magdalene, but, the actual name written is Marieme, (not sure about the spelling) the same name in the Gospel of Philip, a Gospel that was excluded from the Bible by the Catholic church in the fourth century.
It seems that the odds of this tomb not being the Tomb of Jesus is one in six hundred according to the documentary.

***Update2*****

Interesting fact, Christian tradition says that Saint Peter was cruxified upside down and buried in Rome, the exact location of his tomb being what is now called the Vatican, underneath St. Peter's Basilica, but, in a Franciscan Church in Jerusalem they found the real bones of St. Peter....

****Update3*****

The Jesus in this tomb and the Marieme (Mary Magdaleme) do not share DNA so they are definitely not related, so, for them to be together in a family tomb, they were most likely married, this can explain why the Gnostic Gospels were not included in the Christian Bible, because according the Gospel of Judas and Philip, Jesus and Mary Magdalene were more than just friends.

There are some that think that Mary Magdalene went to France pregnant with Jesus' child, finding her body in Israel debunks that Myth.

My Opinion



It seems that this is strong evidence that this belonged to Jesus, but I don't know if you can be 100%, with these things, you cannot be, if anything, to me this gives the Bible a little more credibility.

A brief commentary about ethics



Sam Harris' book The End of Faith raised an interesting dilemma. The age-old question of whether morals are absolute truths or relative truths.

I tend to disagree with the Moral absolutism theory, I personally think that it's arrogant to think that one culture has a monopoly on the truth. It's so easy to see an error in somebody else's way of thinking and to proclaim yourself as morally superior. Not only that, but, how do you know that you are not wrong? How can you check and test your theory? In other words, how do you know you are right?

However, I have a big problem with moral relativism, the thought that there are not absolute truths, that it is all relative to the culture in question. Take for example the practice of honor killing in the Middle East. Out there it is considered a norm for family members to kill women in their families that have been raped, in order to preserve the "honor" of the family. This practice, has got to be wrong, it violates human rights, and yet, under the theory of moral relativism, the wrongdoers are acting in a moral way. I find that unacceptable.

Sam Harris suggests that there are universal truths about morality but we cannot understand their source at this time. It appears that we are naturally "wired" to be this way. (an in depth explanation is in the book, I just don't want to get into it for briefness sake)

Can there be universal rules of morality? I don't have a strong argument against it. I just think that societies dictate who gets to be wrong or who gets to be right. In this society it seems perfectly normal to believe there is a God out there who reads our thoughts and hates homosexuals and blasphemers, but if a person claims that God sends them messages in Morse code trough the rain, they are considered crazy. The same group of people who have no problem believing that The Red Sea was split in half, or that God sent 10 plagues to Egypt to make a statement. So what does that say? There is safety in numbers. If you believe what everyone believes you are ok, if you happen to think different, prepared to be challenged. That's just how it is.

But I am not messing with religion today. I am just wondering about the right way to think about what is it that we ought to do? If there are rules that apply to all humans, who has the authority to say what they are?

THINK.


I want to see the documentary on Jesus's Tomb, I want to see what the fuzz is all about. For a non-religious person, I seem to pay a lot of attention to these things.

J.V.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Addicted



I am seriously addicted to coffee, it doesn't help that I make Cuban Coffee twice a day at work, the stuff Martha brought from Costa Rica is so smooth and yet packs a heavy punch, it's truly delicious Central American goodness. why are the things that are bad for you feel so good?


Anthony



Just put the little Rascal to bed. He's a funny guy, he swears he can talk, but he's still mumbling for the most part.


South Florida



I wonder, do we really have a bad reputation here in South Florida? I know we are nothing like the rest of the United States, but is it that bad? I live less than 10 miles from the Hotel Anna Nicole Smith died, and, sometimes I feel embarrassed that I am a Floridian, but, 99% of the time, it is really good in here.

My biggest gripe with Fl, is that there are not enough local bookstore like the ones they have in Oregon, I wish there were more coffee shops like that. They copy everything from the Northeast or the Caribbean, everything except that, do they really think that nobody likes to read and have coffee down here? Well, to be honest there's plenty of Barnes and Noble but, it doesn't feel the same way.

Having said that, the Barnes and Noble in Coral Springs is my favorite hang out spot, I forget all my troubles when I'm there browsing through the Philosophy or Science section, if I ever become rich that's what I'd have, a whole library, from wall to wall full of good books.

Nextel



The phone the company gave me just stopped working, for no reason at all, the phone is just fine, but I have no service, oh well, Motorola giveth and Motorola taketh away.

Amirah



Amirah, the psycho cat, the Hannibal, Chuck Norris, and Kill Bill of all cats, seems to be pregnant, her, um, nipples, are all big, and she is acting weird, now there are two pregnant females in this house, just great.

Martha



Martha is on a Soduku rampage, she's done 8 in a row..and counting!
It doesn't look like she's stopping any time soon. This is what we do for entertainment. TV is just too normal for us.

Me



I am just tired right now, I am going to lay down and read, later I plan on finishing that bottle we opened last week. Tomorrow will be another day.

J.V.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A day in the life of a Floridian Engineer



05:00 Cell phone alarm sounds, hit snooze button
05:34 Roll out of bed, get ready for work.
06:00 Tell Martha that I love her, while she still sleeping, her answer is some mumbling that could be interpreted as "me too"
06:04 Go to work.
06:05 Come back in the house...can't find car keys.
06:09 Go to work for real
06:35 Get to the Motorola site plant, run 2.5 miles on tread-mill (sp?)
07:15 Shower (short workout today)
07:45 get to my cube
08:00 Read pages of documentation, code, etc, etc (work)
09:00 Prepare strong (expresso cuban style) coffee at my cube
09:15 People come over for fresh Costa Rican coffee brew, (Martha brought some from her trip)
10:00 Boss stops by and gives me more work. Basically I have to become an "expert" in this particular chip that we have to program, for those of you technically inclined, it's a chip that converts analog signals from the air into digital signals that the CPU can process.
11:59 Go to lunch with Co-workers, topic of conversation? Embarrassing dating moments, to protect the innocent, I will omit details...but it was good times!
12:59 Get back to work, Make more coffee, a guy came by my cubicle to introduce me to an engineer that's a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Reserves, this guy is totally the opposite of a Marine Gunny stereotype, I imagined some crusty old guy with a coffee mug attached to his hand, but not this dude.
02:00 Meeting. Listen to managers talk about the schedule, and talk briefly about my role in the project. Rest of the time spent drawing intricate triangle shapes in my notepad.
02:45 End of meeting.
03:00 Read code. lots of it.
04:45 More reading.
05:25 Leave work
05:45 Home, take out trash, fetch the mail
06:00 Go outside talk to the neighbor, who also happens to be a former Marine, he deployed attached to my old Battalion a year after I got out.
07:00 Have Dinner, Anthony managed to get spaghetti in every part of his body imaginable. Yes, there too, no, don't ask me how he did it.
07:45 Give Anthony a bath.
08:00 Put Anthony to bed.
08:30 Write blog.
????

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cats do the darnest things



The cats, Moha and Amirah, know how to open doors, and it's downright annoying. We'll be sitting there watching TV and whatever when suddenly the door opens and it's one the freaking cats walking up like the own the place.

Amirah would kick my ass if I even think about opposing her. Moha is a little more laid back, but, I
think the inmates are running this ayslum here.

J.V.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jose 1, Ipod 0



Ha! I got my Ipod to work!

The solution? Pure magic of course, I just left the ipod plugged in before going to work, and when I got back, voila! my whole music library was in it. No kidding.

I'm sure there's a rational explanation for this, I just don't know it.

Book Crisis



Ever since I finished reading Brothers Karamazov I have not been able to finish any book I start, I tried reading Code Complete, a book about Software Engineering, it's a good book, but I can't get into it, it's hard to read it like I read a good novel. Then I tried doing a junk read just for the heck of it, I tried Michael Crichton's State of Fear, I could not keep reading it. Next I tried a science fiction novel called Ringworld, I got 100 pages into it and then lost interest.

Today I got two new books from amazon, hopefully they won't suffer the same fate.
I have Sam Harris' The End of Faith, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. They look promising. More later.

My losing battle with Ipod




I am a music addict.

I've been a recreational ipod user for the last two and a half years. I first got into mp3s back in Iraq, I mean, everyone was doing it and I saw no harm in it.

Two years ago I was given an Ipod. I was happy and I thought I had it under control.

Then about a month ago, I dropped and killed my ipod.

The withdrawal symptoms are horrible. So I went out and tried to fix the problem. The thing is, Apple Inc makes fixing an ipod as painful as possible so you just give up and get a new one. Which is exactly what I did.

I figured, hey, let's get the upgrade. Not so easy, said apple inc. I spent 3 hours last night trying to get this thing to work, Itunes sees my ipod, downloads a song or two and then freezes. I tried every single step in the support web page, no lie, I restarted my computer at least 10 times. Deleted and reistalled Itunes twice, messed with local settings, hidden files, windows services, the whole works, and yet, it still acts up, I was up until 40 past midnight trying to get this thing to work. I am late for work this morning and pissed as hell. Why can't stuff just work?

So, I am an ipod addict, but Apple is failing at giving me my fix. Whose fault is it?
Them for giving me a faulty product or mine for buying it in the first place?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Incredible




Anthony has just shocked the hell out of both of us. We're sitting there having breakfast, and Martha tells his 17 month butt to stop playing around and Anthony, get this, he replies by telling her to shut up!

He is so young, that I don't want to be too strict, in the other hand, his personality is so strong, if we don't put our foot down he will be driving us.

Parenting is so hard, because basically you only get one shot at getting it right.

Anthony is more than a handful, now he can kind of talk. Oh man.

We'll see how it goes.



J.V.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oh Boy




There's controversy coming our way. James Cameron has made a documentary where he claims he has found Jesus' Tomb...apparently, he's done his homework, rounded up a team of experts, and it's going to hold a press conference to reveal the news.

I can see that he's doing this to get the publicity, and who can blame him?

What makes me uncomfortable is that it is going to spark a lot of debates, and people are going to start saying stupid things.

Myself I don't take the Bible literally, I am not a religious person, or a man of faith. I read the Bible often, but I don't agree with a lot of "Christian teachings" furthermore, I don't believe there is a God, not in the way that most people believe.

I don't like to think of myself as an Atheist, that only says what I don't believe, not what I do believe. I like to think of myself as a Secular Humanist. I believe that we can better understand our Universe through reason, without the use of Supernatural explanations. Furthermore, I believe in having compassion for our fellow man, I am against human suffering, and I don't need to fear a hell to do what I think is right.

I believe this is the first time I mention my beliefs (or lack of) here.

Awkward silence

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, let's greet this with an open mind. The first thought that came to my head when I read the news was: FAKE.

But I want to hear the facts, and make my own judgment. I know that even if they can proof beyond any doubt that they have the body of Jesus H. Christ Jehova Jr. Social Security Number, DNA and what not, is not going to stop Christian people from believing, never. Even if God himself showed up and told us to stop believing in him, I think that we will. We want to, we need to. Life is too empty without a meaning, we don't want to accept that this is it. There's no afterlife, there is no heaven or hell, just today.

I understand why we want to believe in something, facts and reasons will not get in the way. I know. I get it. I've been there.

I don't know what I am trying to write here, it's late, we just finished watching a movie. (The Departed, Two Thumbs up!) but I feel the itch to write to the net.

So I think I know why we believe, I think I know enough to make my informed opinion.
I used to be afraid of letting people know how I feel about God, especially since I have a Christian upbringing. My uncle is a Pastor, my Mother works at a Seminary.

But, I can't help it. That's the way I see it folks. I don't want to lie anymore. I am not afraid anymore. I am not what I believe in. I am still the same person.

I've told my sister, and I've told two of my cousins, I need to tell my parents, and I need to tell my uncle the Pastor. I want to get this out of the way.

I love my Christian family. I love many things about the church, but not enough for me to defend it. I am not on their side. I don't have any hard feeling for any believer either.

I am going to stop right now. I need to go.

Good day.

J.V.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life



It's so funny that now there never seems to be a good time to write on my blog, I am at work most of the day, and I can't blog from there, and whenever I get home there's always so much going on.

The sad thing is, I have a bunch of things to write about, and I don't simply because I don't have the time. It's a shame.

Like tonight for example, we found the most charming, little wine shop not far from where we used to live back in Coral Springs, near the Mall, apparently it's been there for two years now. The owner was there and she was so nice, I bought the best bottle of wine I've had so far, and it was only $14.00. Which is a lot less than the crap you can get a Publix.

So after we put Anthony in bed, I lighted some candles in the living room, popped a CD to soften the mood, and had a glass of vino with my fair lady, she only had a sip because she's pregnant. But I was able to simply sit back, relax and savor one full glass of the red gold.

Everything was perfect until I tried to get up, I guess I did it too fast...I managed to hit furniture that wasn't even in the way. I am the biggest lightweight on this planet. "A cheap date" is the way I see it.

I am going upstairs to sleep it off. That was one strong glass of zifandel.

J.V.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Windows, Unix, and other bad ideas



I feel like a total traitor, back in my old IBM days, we used to get everything done with perl scripts, I lived in the AIX Unix enviroment and the only time I ever got close to anything resembling MS, was a windows emulator we had so we could check our email (Lotus Notes didn't run on Unix back then). We were develping with VHDL, but we hacked everything with Perl, sort of like God himself. Doing so used to give me that smug feeling that's so common among the Condescending Unix Users.

Now everything has changed, Motorola uses Windows for everything, we have a code repository that's Unix, but everything is synchronized with Windows almost seamlessly, and now all I do is click, click all day to get things done, gone are the days when I had to write handy little scripts to do get things done.

The thing is, I feel like I am more productive in Windows (gasp! OMG! I just did computer blasphemy!) but it's true, with windows I just DO stuff, I don't have to sit there figuring out how to do my job. I am actually spending my time solving engineering problems, instead of trying to figure out which command to type in the prompt. I know is different for everybody, that's just me.

As a result, I just don't use Linux at home anymore, I don't feel like playing with it anymore. I am tired of things not working, I don't feel like using my spare time trying to figure out a cranky Operating System. So, I drank the Kool-Aid and stayed with Windows. How sad.
However, I embrace being pragmatic over being dogmatic.

Speaking about Dogma, I recently discovered David Plotz's Blogging the Bible series. Good reading.

Today Martha and Anthony come back from Costa Rica. More later.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I can't believe Anna Nicole Smith is dead




Poor thing, she was only 40. Sad ending to a sad life.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

MIAMI!



The past four days have been all about sports in South Florida for me. Thursday Night it was the NHL's Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Arena, Friday I saw FAU's baseball opening game against Mississippi Valley (Won 8-1) Saturday night we saw the University of Miami's squad lose against Mercer, and today I watched the big football game at my friends. I wanted Chicago to win, but, oh well, I lost my $10. You owe me, Chicago!


As you may know, I love baseball, not as passionate as I used to be, but, I go to games whenever I can. Now that I have a little bit more time, I plan on splitting time between my Alma Mater (FAU) and the ranked Miami Hurricanes, it's two completely different experiences even though it's the same damn sport.


FAU has a small baseball stadium, they need to get a bigger, better one, but, since nobody goes to watch them, they won't be getting one anytime soon. But, I still like it, the hot dogs are the best in this side of the galaxy, and the atmosphere is very laid back. We actually chatted with the Head Coach before the game, they are so cool.

UM has a decent stadium down in Coral Gables, and of course since it's UM they have a fan base, and more people go, but, they are not nice down there, it reminds me of New York fans, you know, the type that cheer went the visiting team does something bad..
but, you can't beat a nice Saturday evening watching top notch baseball.

When I was in high school, I dreamed of playing baseball at the University of Miami, but I never got recruited,well, I did get recruited by a different organization, but I didn't play any sports for them.


Brothers Karamazov



I finished reading it the other night. Wow. It was not the type of book that I usually read, but I feel it was worth the effort.

Many things are peculiar with this book, the whole story is narrated from a third person's point of view, and even though the story is "serious one" the tone of the story is light, I laughed out loud in some parts, of course, my wife no longer thinks I am sane, but, whatever.

The other thing, I think Dostoevsky covered the whole range of human characters, he was able to portray so many different ways of interpreting life so convincingly that I can't tell whether he is an atheist, Christian, Communist, conservative, or what, the only thing that I can see is the effect the loss of his 4 year old child has on this book. The last chapter specially made me feel the pain he must have felt more than a hundred year ago.

You can tell a good story when it transcend the time and place that it takes place. This is a prime example.

Well, It's way past my bed time. So I will go now.

J.V.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's the matter with me?



I just don't blog anymore!

Please bear with me. To me this blog is like that old treadmill that sits in your house, you see it everyday knowing you should get on it. This is how I practice writing for that book that I will write someday....But, I don't like to write just about myself and my boring life, mostly because:

1) Nobody Cares
2) I feel uncomfortable sharing stuff about my job.
3) Nobody Cares
4) Personal stuff can always come back and get you.
5) Did I mention that nobody cares?

I don't think my life is boring. But I don't think I have the talent to narrate mundane events in a way that would make people want to read it.

I would like to write about the things i am passionate about, but, I am such a lazy bastard these days, by the time I get back from work I am so spent, I don't feel like taking the time to write on my blog. But, out of respect for the blogsphere, I will not quit. I will keep going, I will make the effort to bring you what I think is good.

So, you may ask...what are you passionate about? Well, I am glad you asked yourself that question my dear reader, because, I am about to tell you.

These are the things I like to talk about:

Software Engineering.



This is a fascinating subject, but, I don't feel qualified enough to write about this subject yet, I am too new and anything I write would be stolen from someone else. Plus...who else cares? (that reads this blog anyway)

Politics



I somehow manage to piss conservatives and liberals the same, they both think I belong to the opposite side, and they may be right, because I am neither of them...
anyway, this topic will make me a bunch of enemies, do I really want that?

So I don't know. I am having a blogger crisis.

What I'll do today, is, point you to some interesting things I saw on the internet today:


Some interesting things I saw on the internet Today



I read a pretty good debate between best-selling atheist Sam Harris and pro-religion blogger Andrew Sullivan, who, I might add, wrote me an email one day...(OMG!)

Also, today I learn where the term Cancer came from.

I read a great story today (after work, of course) The Last Question, by Isaac Asimov, the author of I, Robot. Great stuff!


So, that's all for now, I have 30 pages left on The Brother's Karamazov, so I want to finish that tonight.

J.V.