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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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....


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?


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.


Friday, March 02, 2007


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?


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.


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, 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 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.


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.