Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Today's Update

Current Status

Today Martha and Anthony flew home to Florida, I am presently sitting in front of the couch, got home 10 minutes ago, would have kept on working but my text editor kept on freezing up on me, it is the first time in my life that my Unix box freezes on me, it was like Windows all over in frustration I drove home to an empty apartment, I've got a pot of Mac'n Cheese cooking,hmmm, yummmi!!! and I've got Comedy Central on TV, right now "Drawn Together" is playing, but I am waiting on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Got a lot of things to do before I can head home.


My lack of cold weather clothes is starting to get to me. These days the weather is not getting warmer than 30 degrees and all I have is an Army fleece jacket and a little windbreaker, no gloves, no scarf, no nothing, It's starting to suck, but, I still enjoy watching the snow flakes fall, it's relaxing.


Just made a big mess in the Kitchen, on a completely unrelated note: Martha, I miss you so much!!!

This thing is awesome, I've found so many good sites, If I only had more time...

More later


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Going Home Soon!

I can't believe that I am going to be in Florida in less than 3 weeks. That means going back to school, going back to 1 hour commutes each way, going back to Boca Raton the most materialistic place I've ever seen, back to the Beach! The Strip, The Variety, good restaurants, Latin food, Latin music, Latin people being loud, Cuban coffee (aka liquid crack)

Oh Florida!

Oh the mighty Rain! The Road Rage, The Humidity, The People, so cool, so beautiful, some shallow, some smart, some street smart, the 90 year olds doing 10mph on the highway, the ruthless amoral criminals that go by the name of "lawyers", the celebrities, the pro-atheletes, the hustlers, the dealers, the gangsters and the wannabe gangsters, the Cartels, Russian, Colombian, Cuban and Jamaican, The New Yorkers *sigh*, The Cubanos, The Italians, The Haitians, Dominicans, Mexicans, my fellow Venezuelans, the Snowbirds from Quebec and Toronto that come during the winter (I can't blame you anymore, I think I understand you now), the crazy Jamaicans, the Trinitarians, Chinese, Indians from India and from here, All we have in common is that we call ourselves Floridians, (except the New Yorkers, they all claim to be New Yorkers even if they moved to FL when they were Two-year olds) all of us live fused together in the same land we call home, South Florida, how I miss thee, I can't wait to go back...

Most of all I miss my Family and friends, you know who you are, but I will be leaving the new friends I've made in Minnesota. I will miss this place, the least I can say about MN is that I've met some decent people, people who are real, who look at life in a fresh new way, people that Think, Nice people. Minnesota, I have nothing but love for you, but I am going home.



Friday, November 25, 2005

This is Strange

Here's a little list of books that I have started to read, really liked, and for no reason at all just stopped reading them without reaching the end:

  • Tommyknockers by Stephen King

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

  • The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (Stopped at Vol.V (sorry Caro))

  • Yes, I just put a paranthesis embedded in another parenthesis, got a problem?

  • How to solve it by G. Polya

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace by Robert M. Pirsig

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

  • Excuses, Excuses

    I hate not finishing what I start, is just that my life is so chaotic that if something distracs me away from a book for more than a couple of days I find it impossible to get back to the book. This list is strange because these are books that I really enjoyed especially the last two, I'd say they were life changing books, and yet, I can't bring myself to start them over again, I'd like to point out that these are the exception rather than the rule, and I plan on finishing them someday.

    I swear!


    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Thanksgiving Plans


    Going to take everyone to the movies, we're still trying to agree on one, so far the votes are SAW II (3 votes) Chicken Little (1 1/2 votes)


    Martha has this Turkey that has been Marinating since last Wednsday, it should be completely dissolved by now. I am going to spend all day being Thankful for being alive.

    Black Friday

    Ever wonder what type of person goes to the Mall on a day like this? My wife is that type, she wants to go to the Mall, not any mall, no sir, the one and only Mall of America, so I will be one those guys that day following their wives while they look at every item in every window in every store of the mall. Thank God for Barnes and Noble, that's where I'll be.


    No idea what I'll do.


    Go to Church, then relax.

    I will probably write more as the weekend progresses. Take care people. Be good to each other.



    Life is Good

    Two things I enjoy about life:

    1. Coming home from work to see my wife and my little one.

    2. Talking to good friends and family, It's awesome to keep in touch those few people who you have known for years and still keep in touch even if it's only once in a while. You know who you are, thanks for making my life better.


    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    Back to the Real World

    Communication is important

    Army life reminds me of the litte things that make a big difference, like being able to get your point accross without room for misinterpretation. I learned that lesson the hard way, of course. In the Marines I had to learn how to listen, and how to talk, in the Army I had to learn how to communicate, I had a Captain in Iraq, who was from Mississippi, I suspect that he was fooled by my heavy accent, and he didn't think I was as capable as a native English speaker, as wrong as his attitude may seem, he may have a point, being able to express one's ideas is paramount if one wants to get anything done as a group bigger than two people. I have tried to master that obstacle to the best of my ability, but here in Minnesota there are many soldiers who can't understand what I am saying, so I get a lot of opportunities to work on that. The best Communications teacher is marriage, oh yes, being married tought me many lessons about that. 99.9% of all our fights have been because of this, one person assumes that what he or she thinks is obvious, while their partner is thinking something completely different, this applies to all aspects of the relationship, if a couple can master how to properly communicate they have mastered most of their issues...if anyone out there can figure out how to do that please let me know, until then I will continue to get pounded in the head with a mullet.

    A true Hero

    I know one person that I admire and respect but that I will never have the guts to say so to his face, He's a personal hero and an inspiration.
    There's a guy in my National Guard Unit who is a disabled veteran from Afghanistan, he was a member of a Special Forces Team (green berets) that got hit with a cluster bomb by accident. Friendly fire is the most accurate fire says Murphy's Law. His Team lost many men, He lost his right arm. But unlike many veterans I know, he decided to live his life the best to the fullest. I admire the fact that he continues to work in the Army even though he was crippled, six months after losing an arm and almost losing his legs, this person was skiing, he still runs, does push ups and can pass the Army's Physical Fitness Test, not only that, but he never complains about it, he just drives on, I heard that he was going to get a job as a ROTC cadre at a college but the instructors thought that a disabled veteran would scare people away from the Army, WTF! I think that was so much BS, but I am glad that our company got him, people like that are true heroes, not because they went to war, or because they got wounded, (after all, it does not take heroism to take a bullet, they kind of come your way automatically) the hard part is how you act afterwards, the biggest enemy is the one within, this individual could have easily cocooned into a self-pity state and who could blame him? it happens all the time, he could have turned bitter, depressed, and those would have been "normal" reactions to his luck, but he decided that he was not going to let that change the way he lived. I admire that dedication. He's an ispiration to me and should be for everyone, what's your excuse for not doing what you want to do? A lot of times we like to put the blame of our misery on God, the devil,our parents, the president, society, the goverment,liberals, conservatives, rich people,criminals, big corporations, etc, etc. But we fail to realise that the biggest obstacle, our biggest enemy is withing ourselves. I am the first one that could use my advice. I have quit doing thigs that I really wanted to do because I thought they were too hard, but it can be done, all it takes is the right aproach to the problem.

    What else is going on

    It's good to be back from my weekend Drill, I am doing good, Anthony is growing up so fast. He went to the Doctor last Friday, he weights 15lbs! That's a big baby. Martha is doing good, we're happy Mayi and Esteban are here visiting. They are fun to be around. I wish my sister could have made it up here, but you can't win them all I guess.

    Ok Everybody, that's all I have, stay tuned for the next installation of The King's Own



    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    Some random thoughts

    Weird Dream Last Night

    Last night had a dream that Anthony was a computer chip. And Martha was yelling at me because He was crying too much, and it was my fault, becuase I programmed him wrong. I think I've been working too many hours.


    Was looking at a map today and I noticed that Bemidji is further North than Fargo! So, now I really want to go, I need to see what is like to live that far up, away from the rest of the planet. I can't wait, I know it's going to be an interesting trip. Minnesotans never cease to amaze me. I am seriously going to miss it when I go back to Hurricane-Land a.k.a Florida.

    New life goal

    As if I didn't have enough things to do, I've found a new calling, the world of Open Source, I've decided to contribute code to the Linux effort, the reasons? Completely selfish ones, I want to prove myself, I want to have the satisfaction that I helped the Linux community. That my name will be in Linux boxes all over the world, would anyone else see my name in there and care? probably not, does that matter? not to me.


    She loves it here, doesn't want to go back to FL. This is the last thing I expected her to say, after all, she's was born in NYC.


    I swear he looks bigger everyday, I can notice the difference when I get back from work. Before I know it, he's going to be asking for my car keys and dating advice.

    So many books, so little time

    Ok, Why is it that I never read the books I buy and I never buy the books I read? I have a serious problem, I can't control my bibliophilia. Next book in my list:
    The Guns, Germs and Steel: Fates of Human Societies If I ever finish the book I'm reading.

    IBM culture

    I want to write a bunch of stuff in here, but time I am running out of time because I have a....

    Sucky weekend coming up

    It's that time of the month....Monthly National Guard training, I'm going to spend the weekend away from home while Martha gets to spend time with her sibbling who are visiting. That reminds me, I have to pack my crap.

    I can't wait to see you Esteban and Mayi! To Everyone else, have an excellent weekend, be good to each other.


    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    It's Snowing!

    Cool beans man.


    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Weekend Update


    Just got back from the Windy City, I saw Kamran, my old friend from the Marines, and I met fellow blogger Awkward Silence. We visited the Art Institute of Chicago,ate Chicago style pizza and talked about the good ol' days. We walked all over the place, Anthony made new friends, oh man, It was a good weekend.

    Book of the week

    I am reading Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar, the book that helped the Open Source project get off the ground.


    Like this paiting? This is Jason, a friend and a member of my unit in Iraq, through the eyes of Steve Mumford. Yesterday I saw his new book, Baghdad Journal: An artirst in occupied Iraq , and he mentions Bravo Co. 1st/124th Infantry of the Florida National Guard. There's an essay about the Lost Platoon, one of the three platoons in our company. Even though I am not mentioned explicitly it talks about many of my friends. I was impressed by the quality of his work, Steve did not spend that much time with our unit, yet he was able to write a good description of Bravo company's days in Ramadi, and he's a decent painter too.
    The Essay is online, you can read it here

    More updates later. Stay tuned.


    Friday, November 11, 2005


    My wife and I decided to come spend the weekend here....6 hours ago, so here we are, we're going to see the obligatory sites, and then we're going to visit Kamran and his little people. More later.


    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    The Marine Corps turns 230 today

    Speaking of Jarheads, today is the Marines birthday, if you know a Marine, buy him a beer, 230 years is a long time.

    Semper Fidelis


    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    So what do you think about the War?

    I hate war, I don't like the whole concept, The Violence, the uglyness, Loss of Life, etc. I wonder if having U.S. Soldiers in Iraq is accomplishing something in the war of terrorism. But I do Agree with Eric Raymond.

    We must fight Terrorism, Religious fanaticism and absolutism.

    We must Realize that our Civilization is worth defending.

    We must Realize that no adjustment in American Policy will ever stop Terrorism.

    We must not become become what we fight.

    We must use Reason and Truth as our Keenest Weapons.

    This is what I get from reading An Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto I know that these days support for President Bush is down, I don't care, this is what I think it's the right thing to do. Some things are worth fighting for, even if the fighting sucks. But we must be careful to fight the right enemy and not to become what we are fighting. We should be better than that, if we use torture, commit war crimes and hate in the name of stopping haters, what makes us different from them?


    Monday, November 07, 2005

    My Reaction to Jarhead the Movie

    I have a bias

    Liked it a lot. But for personal reasons. It took me back to other times, when I used to call myself a Marine, Devil Dog, Jarhead, Grunt, Mortarman. 0341.
    For everyone else, you'll get the same reaction by watching Full Metal Jacket or Platoon But for me it was different.

    I am one and I am many

    For those of you that know me, you only know a version of me, the Jose that was born and raised in Venezuela, the Jose that you see at church on Sundays, the one that you go to school with, The one at work, Then there's Jose the husband, Father, cousin, friend, None of these versions are fake, as far as I know, they are me. The real me, all of them.

    But there's also Jose the Marine, Jose in Iraq. The Jose that knows the alleys of Ramadi like the back of his hand, the Jose that can strip an M-16 blidfolded, that can recite the nomenclature of the M224 60mm Mortar by heart. The Jose that shot his Rifle at people who he never met before and would otherwise have no reason to shoot them. That Jose is still in the desert. He is still looking out for IEDs and still keeps an eye out for anything that looks suspicious. But, I am glad that Jose is dying.

    When I got back from Iraq I decided to put all these events behind me and never talk about it. So that's what I did, or tried to do, but little by little I told a story here and there, and I noticed that it was liberating. It's like getting a big weight off your shoulders, just getting it out, talking about it.

    The only thing that ever worried me was the dreams, I wouln't call them nightmares because they were not always unpleasant, sometimes I'd be joking around with old pals, sometimes I'd place friends from School out there with me. Sometimes I was just there, like any other day in 2003, I'd wake up not knowing where I was, this used to happen often, but they went away after a couple of months, then they'd go away completely until something triggered it, usually CNN News coverage of the war, seeing a burned out car, or the video of the guy taken hostage would garantee a visit to Iraq that night. The last time I had a dream like that was a couple of weeks ago when a friend of mine forwarded a clip of a carbomb going off at a gate checkpoint. It was an umpleasant dream, but I knew it was coming.

    I thought Jarhead would take me back the night I saw it, but it didn't. I went back in time when I watched it, but I did not dream about Iraq. This is good news, it seems like a lot of things are fading away, and it is because I've been getting a lot of things off my chest in this blog. This is my way of dealing with it. My self-therapy, my cure, medicine.

    I have confessed my feeling of guilt, guilt of being alive when others did not come back, my confusion at the validity of this war, my complete respect and admiration for the members of the Armed Forces, particulary the Marines, but the Reservist and Guardman that serve this nation deserve a lot more credit than they get. I have talked about my feeling towards Religion, how fanatism has destroyed lives. But I wish to elavorate on that. I have a bone to pick there. How can we be decieved so easily? I see Religion in a different way now, I was numbed from seeing so much pain and suffering, but I'm starting to get my feelings back, I feel grateful for being alive another day, and I feel good that I live here. I am glad that the Jose that lived in Iraq is just a memory, there's no reason for him to be here, none of you will ever meet him. Because he's not there anymore. I am not him. He is not me.


    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    Latest Update


    My parents finally have power, now that they do, they realized that there's no cable or internet. Oh No!!! How can they live like that? I feel for them. I truly do. Also, they tell me that the usual 45 minute commute to work now takes about two hours, due to the total absence of traffic lights, as if South Florida Traffic was not bad enough before Wilma.


    Little Anthony is a fat baby, he eats all the freaking time, his Mom spoils him too much, but what am I going to do?


    I am still employed, they haven't figured me out yet.


    Is looking better every day, today we're hiring a sitter and going out just the two of us. Going to see that movie jarhead, if you're wondering why would I want to watch such movie, refer to my profile.


    Still working on it. Like it.


    I realize that even though blogging is easy, writing is not, I want to put out good stuff, but it takes a lot more time and effort that I'm willing to take away from the other things that I do. Having said that, I still plan on writing more diologes on the subjects that haunt me.

    My Space

    I am having a blast learning HTML, I din't even know I was learning it until I put that link to w3schools , it is so easy, and there are plenty of tutorials out there like the one I just mentioned, just google HTML.

    How to improve your Blog
    Excellent website that list the top ten mistakes bloggers make, I read it and realized that my blog pretty much sucks. But that does not stop me from trying.

    Computers are easy
    Four years ago my little sister knew more about computers than I did, and frankly, I have not learned much in school, and yes, my Major is Computer Engineering, In FAU I learned Math and Physics, that was a little hard, They show you the basics of Programming, but they don't teach it to you, You learn by actually doing it, once you've done it, it is not hard, writing code is easy, being a good programmer is not.
    I read blogs from people like Joel Spolsky (that's where I saw the article on the top ten mistakes) that talk about the Art and Science of Computer Programming, But that's not even what I do, Computer Programming and Engineering are two different things, Programming is telling the Computer what to do, Engineering is creating things that have never being done before, I rather do the latter.To me Programming is just another tool that Engineers use to get things done. I am not an Engineer, not yet anyway, but when I get there, I hope to God that I don't end up in some IT shop in a bank fixing Networks (yawn) I want to be in a company that's going to change the world.

    Funny enough, I have learned a lot of "Theory" just by surfing the net, the links that I think are good enough to share are listed here. The rest I've learned by my limited experience as an intern. My point is this. Computers are easy. A lot of people mystify them to make themselves look smarter, well, it is not that hard, even the complicated stuff gets easy once you have done it a couple of times. Math is hard, Science is hard. Being a good writer is really hard. Computers? Not really.