Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy new year!

That's pretty self-explanatory. I know it's not new year here yet, but I'm leaving with my parents and sister to the Seattle Center to watch the new year fireworks. At least we will try to do something, although they claim they are very sleepy right now.

Maybe it was the dinner: cheese and chocolate fondue. Both were very good, but a little on the alcoholic side. Hey, it's new year, anyway. It happens only once a year and you have to celebrate! Hope everybody had a great time and will have a wonderful year to come!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Who do I want to be?

I'm not sure who I want to be, but I'm sure that whoever it is it isn't me. But that's typical, and somehow healthy. You shouldn't always be happy about who you are and what you know and do, because this way you won't get anywhere. The joy comes from the journey, they say, and not from the destination. I coudn't agree more, but sometimes it's funny to argue with myself about something that I did and I shouldn't have done. I won't get into too many details, because this may scare some people. I'm not into scare tactics.

Today was a good day, though. I worked and then came home to go and look for a printer. My father is trying to convince me to buy one, mainly because he has some things he wants to print. Very typical... Then I had dinner and watched for the first time 10 minutes of "The Sopranos". I really don't get why people liked the series that much, but ok. I have to understand that I'm not a TV guy.

Alright, let me stop here and go to sleep. It's almost 1 am and I have a long day ahead. It's the last work day of the year and I have a huge list of things that I need to get done.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

It is 8 am and I'm at work. Why that? Well, it's not really that I can't stand my family any more and left home to be by myself. They are on their way to Victoria, Canada, by boat! Because of visa issues, I can't go with them (not considering the fact that I can't take any day off right now). So I had to drop them at the pier in the morning and then came here to work.

Not much else to talk about, besides the fact that I'm too succeptible to guilt trips and I just can't help feeling guilty. Not that there is much I can do right now to undo what I've done (because I'm sure things wouldn't change much anyway), but it is just confusing (yes, I mean confusing) to see the consequences of your acts.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm still alive

Yes, I actually am alive... And I can't really complain much about my weekend. The only thing that didn't make me feel too good about this weekend is that I wasn't able to touch my research. My computer is in the room where my parents are sleeping right now and when we are not out, either my father is using the computer or they are asleep there. Very worrisome, I can tell you. But right now I'm back in the office. Ready for a long day ahead with many things to be done.

Today is a pretty nice day here. Blue skies, no chance of rain... The weather forecast is saying that we will have only one more day like this until they are gone, tomorrow. But weather forecast doesn't work that well here either. I thought it was just because I lived in Oklahoma, a place with pretty chaotic weather, that weather forecasting was terrible, but I'm learning that it is this way everywhere! I remember listening one day to a comedian on the radio (XM radio) and he was saying that they should put some monkeys with darts to do weather forecasting. At least this way we can always say: "But they are just monkeys" if they miss the prediction! For example, I've been seeing a snow forecast in the horizon (in 5-7 days) for more than a week already and it hasn't even come close to snowing. The interesting thing is that there was a snow forecast one day where the low temperature was 42F (~5C). How can you have snow in such high non-freezing conditions? Sure it can snow when and melt as it reaches the ground, but when it is 42, I don't think it would even reach the ground. Anyway, I'm not a snow expert, so I shouldn't really discuss this.

Back to work here.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Again here I am in my bedroom while everybody is asleep. Today it is even earlier and I didn't get to have dinner yet. It wasn't a very exciting day, because most of the things I know what to do involved walking around and it was raining the whole day. But we did some walking anyway to see everything closed.

It's really good to have my family here, but I'm already starting to think about all the research that I'm not doing, and all the work that I have to do next week. Monday is going to be crazy, but I'll still have to get back home early. Maybe I'll learn to be more productive by forcing myself to leave early. Who knows?

Alright, I guess I really don't have anything else to write about. I'll go and read a book and wait until I get tired enough to sleep. Or maybe until I get hungry enough to force myself to wake my sister up when making dinner. There is one big problem about me and dinner: I really don't like to have light dinner, sandwiches for example. They are easy to make and not too noisy. Let's see... By the way, talking about dinner, I've cooked most of the lunch for today and it was so good... Pasta with chicken and tomato sauce.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Bedroom alone

After a very interesting day talking and showing my parents and my younger sister around (a little), now they are asleep in the living room and guest bedroom and I'm in my bedroom using my cool wireless connection to let time pass. It's strange to have people around, but it's really a good thing. It is definately going to be hard when they leave, because suddenly my apartment will be empty again.

Anyway, that's pretty much what went on today. We had lunch, walked around the mall a little, then everybody was tired, so we went back home and watched some TV, talking about random things. Oh, I also received the many gifts people sent me. I made dinner for my father and I (the rest were either sleeping or just too tired to eat) and that's it.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain here, so I'm not sure what we will do. I have some ideas, but I will see what they want to do. I also have some books about what to do in Seattle, so they can go through them and decide. I'm only afraid we can't go too far, because we will have to come home for lunch, as pretty much everything will be closed tomorrow.

I think it's time to try to sleep myself. They will be up early tomorrow, so I'll have to be ready for it. Before I go, though, I'll just write the strange experience I had at the Sea Tac airport...

I checked online to see if their flight was on time, but it was 20 minutes late, so I relaxed a little and planned to get there a little later. I actually didn't have much of an option, because the cable guy decided to show up early.

I got to the airport, after some traffic to get to the parking and some time to find a parking spot, 5 minutes later than I wanted, 11:50am. I walked really fast to the bagage claim area (like most regional aiports here in the US, the bagage claim area is accessible to anybody) and when I got there there was nobody around. I went to the monitor to check if the airplane had arrived and if I was in the correct bagage claim belt (I got the number from the internet) and, for my surprise, my family's flight wasn't listed!!! I was confused! I really didn't know what to think about it, because it just didn't make sense for their flight not to be listed!

After some time some people started showing up and claiming to be in an American Airlines flight from Dallas, and that relaxed me! When I looked at the monitors again I realized that they had run out of space and were just not displaying all flight. Very terrible system! Fire the engineer that built it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The week is going by and I'm not writing much, just for a change. It's difficult to write when you really don't have anything exciting going on, and not even time to think of anything interesting to share. I've been just scratching my head with problems at work (things I have to solve, not really conflicts with anybody or anything), and getting home to work on my research and clean my place to receive my parents and my sister.

Today was a kind of special day, actually. It is my grandmother's birthday and they were having a pretty big party. My day was pretty busy, but I did remember to call! The problem is that my call didn't get through and I wasn't able to talk with her and wish her a happy birthday. I feel like a bad grandson right now. I'll try to call her again tomorrow and see if I'll have more luck. One day late is not too bad, is it?

Oh, well, I guess that's all I had to tell. I'll go and make myself something to eat and then come back to my research. It's getting cold outside, just before my parents arrive! They are lucky, huh?

Monday, December 20, 2004

A late Sunday night with friends

Yes, you read it right: friends! I met some people today and had a relly good time talking with them (too good, because I got home and my throat is complaining that I spoke too much against loud music and it's sort of late, 1:30 am late, and I work in the morning). It all happened in a bar just by my apartment!

Me in a bar meeting people? Sounds like a strange story, right? Well, it's because it's not the whole story. The University of Washington Hillel has a group named JConnect that organizes events for people in grad school or new in the job market to get together and not be lost in the world. Every other week they organize a meeting at a bar, once in Seattle and another time in the Eastside. This time was in the Eastside, and very close to home! I even walked there and back! I had a great time, but waking up in the morning is going to be "fun".

I'm only depressed about one thing: I'm becoming normal! I now have a TV in my apartment! Sure it is on the floor in my living room and cannot show anything but static, but it's a TV nevertheless! Scary idea! Next thing I know I'll be going to bars to meet people!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Weird investment opportunities

This article coughed my attention today:

Gamer buys $26,500 virtual land

It all happens in a game called Project Entropia, an online RPG-like in which you can transform "real-world cash" into "virtual world cash" (PED Project Entropia Dollars) AND BACK! This can have some very interesting consequences in the economy. They say that the GDP of this virtual world is almost equivalent to the GDP of Namibia (that isn't that much, but imagine that it's just the beginning). That's what investing money on entertainment is!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Some news make me sad... But this made me depressed: The Kyoto Protocol is Dead It is just scary to think of what the world will be for the next generations. Oh, but can the next generations live without economic growth? I don't know why people can think that they can't! Maybe because that's the way you are tought think by your economy instructor. I don't see anything but a dark future for all of us!

As for the rest, my week was pretty busy. I was working until late almost every day! But I've survived! My boss even asked me to work less, because he doesn't want me to burn out that quickly, but I can't say I have that much to do at home (except from my research, of course).

No big plans for the weekend besides buying the last things that I think are missing to receive my family here. Next two weeks are short, because Fridays are holidays (I'm not going down the rat hole of discussing why I don't think that they should be holidays). I'll be busy, anyway. Lots of things have to happen until January.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Good that it started upbeat

Yes, today was a tough day. Lots of very hard meetings that didn't do more than make time pass really quickly. In the end I almost didn't get anything done today, but that's the way things work, I guess. I got home at around 11:20 pm and now I just can't work on my research for the day (although I will try a little just after finishing this post).

The only "interesting" thing that actually happened today is that I read a nice article on Seattle Post Intelligencer about how much hybrid vehicles not necessarily are fuel-efficient. They claim that they are more silent, have more power, but they haven't shown any real fuel economy that would compensate for its very high cost (213 buses for $152 million! But the Seattle transit system can claim that they have the largest hybrid bus fleet in the world, whatever that means). It's sad to see that new technology isn't helping much. Hopefully in some years it will prove to be better... Or maybe by then we will have good hydrogen solutions.

Starting the week upbeat

I don't quite know what is going wrong with me, but today I woke up feeling very well and ready for a long week ahead. Next week my parents are coming, so this last weekend I spent mostly cleaning my house and making sure I was getting rid of most of the boxes I could get rid of. And I actually did get rid of almost all boxes! The only boxes that are left in my apartment are the ones that are being used as pieces of furniture (yes, it's depressing, but it's better than spending more and more fortunes). I officially have a home theater system now in my living room. But with no TV! That's what makes the home theater nicer! :-)

Anyway, just wanted to drop a line before going to work. I'll have some fun meetings today! And today is the day to start implementing my new project (although things may get a little delayed due to one of the meetings). I also finally worked more on my research this last weekend. I didn't get a lot further, but at least it was something. February is a tough bet, but I'll keep aiming for it!

Ok, time to go.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The end of a very tiring week

One more week is over in the Seattle world. And this one just flew by, very scarily! I worked maybe an average of 12 hours per day this week, didn't have time for lunch three days during the week, but everything went pretty well. Of course I still have a lot of things to do for next week, but things are moving ahead.

Today I got good news that my second journal paper was accepted! Still no papers related to my research, but I hope I can survive this. Talking about research, I do need to go back to it soon! The year is almost over and I still have tons of things to do to get it done.

I don't think I have anything else to talk about. I think I'll go sleep right now and try to make tomorrow a productive day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The front page of Seattle Weekly

Today a co-worker ripped out very excitedly the front page of the "Seattle Weekly" (a free alternative weekly newspaper) and posted in his cubicle. The article said: Is Bush the Antichrist? Sometimes it's fun to live in a liberal place. It's not really for the political views, but for the bold approaches to reality. It is a long article that I haven't really read. But write this on the front page of anything in Oklahoma and you will see your consequences. Freedom of speech, of course, but the people that will be in front of your building on the minute the article is out also have freedom of speech. Freedom of yelling and throwing rocks at you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I see that blogger didn't like me yesterday. I tried to post a short note with the fact that I was in the office until 10:40 pm yesterday, and that I was only kicked out of the place because I was a little hungry (not too much, because I only had time to have lunch at around 4pm) and because all lights were going off here! It's hard to work in the dark!

Anyway, today I won't go that late. I had to finish a document for a meeting I have tomorrow with my boss's boss to show him my work and get some feedback (my first official meeting with him). I'm excited, but a little worried. But I finished the document and sent it out for some people to have a look and give me suggestions to make it easier to understand and explain. It's only 9 pm still, so I can go back home and light the Chanukkah candles. Later I have a chat with my parents.

Oh, yes, there was one more thing I wanted to post... Something that I never understood from the time I lived in Stillwater, and hopefully will be different here. Look at this new year's party invitation:

"Additionally, we are inviting everyone to a "First Night Celebration" on Dec. 31st New Year's Eve, with lots of family activities, beginning at 6 p.m. We will try to include, in various rooms of the church: a potluck supper followed by continuous snacks, a talent show, a video marathon, playing board games or cards, a musical jam session, a dramatic reading of a play, and watching the ball drop at midnight! Please email or call the church office if you can volunteer to help."

Now what can be wrong with it? A very simple thing: "and watching the ball drop at midnight!" If you are not aware of the American celebrations of new year's, you may not realize it, but the "ball drop" is the big New York City celebration, where a ball drops and exactly at midnight and falls and starts all the lights. It is an interesting ceremony, although I think it is a little boring (well, I don't know fireworks, anyway). But my concen is that, for Oklahoma, this happens at 11pm, not a midnight! I've heard of lots of people that actually go to sleep after the ball dropped and don't really celebrate the local new year. Very bizarre concept! Hopefully around here people don't do the same, because it would be at 9 pm! Celebrating new year's at 9pm is depressing.

Oh, by the way, I just received an email from my boss saying that I have to work on the document more. Now I don't know if I should go home and work from home, or just stay here and work on it a little more... Oh well, I'll figure it out.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

More and more shopping

Yes, that was what my day was about today! But it was finally good shopping! I was on my budget and got pretty much everything I wanted to buy! If my parents arrive tomorrow I would be able to at least have a place for them to sleep. No living room yet, but that is what I'm targeting right now. I bought a couch and a recliner. They will be arriving on Saturday. Now the only thing that is left for the living room is a TV. I don't mind not having a TV for me, but I really think that my parents and sister would like to have one.

Besides that, yesterday I had a very good day! I went to services in the morning. I went to another synagogue, a little farther from the ones I went before, but had a very good experience there! First is that I entered the synagogue and lots of people went to me and greeted me. The cantor, rabbi, president of the congregation, secretary... More than that, the person that sat beside me even asked me if I wanted to join him and his family for lunch. I went to his home and had a wonderful meal. His wife is Iranian, his family in orinigially Spanish and they have traveled around the world. All this was summarized in the food.

Oh, well... The only thing that makes me sad is that I, again, didn't have time to work on my research this weekend.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A person shouldn't blog when he/she does not anything to say, right? Wrong, because I'm blogging anyway! :-)

Today I was starting to list all the things I have to buy until my parents and my sister arrive and I was just scared with the list! My apartment is still so empty that it makes me a little depressed. But there is one thing I like about it (although some people might find worrisome):

Yesterday I had tons of work to do to deliver something for a meeting I had in the morning. I came back home to do some exercise (today was the last day of my free trial at the gym), took a shower and then sat on my bed with my work laptop on my lap and worked... Being able to access the internet through the wireless connection that came "for free" with my DSL router... It was just great! Especially because now I know I'll be able to access internet from my bedroom when my parents are sleeping here in the second bedroom (my office). I like my apartment.

Today I participated on a phone interview (my second) and the candidate did terribly. It's sometimes so sad to see it, because he was so excited about the opportunity... Hopefully he will get another chance on another company that will be a better fit to his qualities.

I also found out that I'm a tough interviewer. I feel for the people I'm going to interview on Monday (I have two interviews scheduled, one which I'm the co-interviewer and the other that I'm the only interviewer). I have this tendency of thinking that people should amaze me, because my co-workers do amaze me most of the time! I don't want to decrease the level of the team! Tomorrow I have a visit from a person that was already offered a position... These people are invited to visit Amazon before they decide if they accept the offer. Let's see how this is going to go.

Oh, and talking about this, I was asked to call another person that was offered a position at Amazon to see if I could do anything to help him decide, but he never answered my emails. I left him a voice message and nothing either. Have I ever told you that I hate phones?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Control explains everything

Sometimes I just feel like I was born to be an observer. Actually I feel like this more often that I feel like I have to do something in life. The whole world just is around to be observed and admired. Not really understood, but you don't need to understand something to admire its beauty.

Beauty comes in the unexpected results you get from something you don't do, or what other people do, when something different happens in their lives. For example, get a poor person and give this person a US$100,000 check. It is amazing to see what happens to this person's personality at this point on, until it goes back to its initial state (yes, most lottery winners are back to being poor right now). It's like a plant in control systems that you throw a pulse or a step and learn how to model it based on its response. The most important thing is not to do anything. You step back and study the result...

I don't have much more to say. Work is killing me, and research is always lagging behind. Today I realized the reason why I don't really want to talk to anybody: I am ashamed to tell them that I still haven't finished my Ph.D.! It's depressing the fact that I'm loosing track on the date that I will finish it. But it will be done! It will be done! I just have to stop looking at other people and concentrate on my things.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Perhaps, even after some time, people don't really learn anything about you. I guess that's something to be expected, because a person is a complex system with multiple things to learn, but it was just strange when I realized that last evening. Probably it's all my fault, because I don't make myself easily understood, but I always thought that this is the whole point. There are things about me that I can't understand myself. If I try to explain to a person who I am, I'll give to this person a biased view based on what I think I am, but not really based on what I do.

Anyway, it's water over the bridge and now I'm just trying to get back to the essentials. My day was spent cleaning and being shocked with the fact that not only my parents are coming in a month, but my sister is coming with them. This is great in a way, but in an apartment that can only right now take one person, there is still a lot of things that have to be done (and, especially, bought) to accept three more people. But, well, I guess I have to just go for it.

Oh, on Saturday I was finally able to get a package that has been waiting for me since last Monday: I'm finally the owner of R.E.M.'s new CD, Around the Sun. It is an interesting CD, very R.E.M.-ish, and not one of those extremely innovative ones. It's simple and good.

I'm also the owner of a DVD! The first DVD I've ever bought, actually, and the 4th in my collection (all the others were gifts): Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It's actually a BBC miniseries, with 6 episodes of half an hour each. It's just like the book (that was actually written after the script was written, but has some things that he couldn't make in the original). Very enjoyable! Envy me, Mr. G!

Yesterday I went to services in the morning, and I decided to try something new again. Because I had gone to all conservative synagogues already, and one modern orthodox, I decided just to try a Reform temple. It was an interesting short service, with lots of singing and with a real singer as a chazan. But the extremely abbreviated service is just too akward for me. Hard to recognize it and follow it. Sad... I guess I have to give up on finding something that matches exactly what I want for a service and just realize I have to get used to something.

I guess that's what I had to talk about. It's interesting how messy my life is right now. Not in the terrible way, though, it's just that when weekend comes I just loose sense of schedule. I wake up early usually (except today that, for some strange reason I woke up and it was almost 11 am) and then I have breakfast sometime in the morning, lunch at around 4 pm (because I force myself to eat and not that I'm hungry), I work, clean or whatever and then when it's time to go to bed I don't know if I should have dinner or head straight to bed. And that's what I'm trying to decide right now. I had days like this in the past, but not every weekend. But I did some major cleaning today (again). My living room is almost empty (and that's a little sad)! I think I need just a couple of more weekends and I'm done with all these boxes!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Ah... My office is ready!

This is my first post from my "new" office! I'm so excited that I finally got it ready! I even had to do some magic to be able to get the hutch on top of the table. Imagine this: a piece of wood and glass weighting around 80lbs (40kg). I had to move it from the floor where it was lying to my table that is around 80cm from the floor. The most difficult part is that the hutch has a back panel that is very weak and a little longer than the side bars that are strong. If I try to stand it upright on the floor, the back panel would break! It was hard and painful, but I got it all done!

Besides that I think I just have to find something to eat. It's 10 pm and I haven't even thought of dinner yet. I know I don't have pretty much any food at home and I'm almost sure all restaurants are closed right now, or closing. What to do? I'll figure it out!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Giving thanks to not much at all

Today is Thankgiving day (almost was right now) and I can't say that I really had a great time. Last evening I realized that I had a package waiting for me outside (they put it inside my storage room outside the door): my office desk!

The result from this: I spent the day assembling the desk and didn't really work on my research. It actually took me a long time to assemble it and I haven't finished assembing the hutch yet. But it looks nice so far! The only thing that doesn't look nice is my hand that is very sore from using the screw driver. I actually decided in the middle of the day that I needed an electric screw driver. I went out to find one and, after driving around for a good time, because most stores are closed today, I bought one.

However, when I got home I found out that I couldn't use it for another 9 hours, because it required charging. So I went back to the manual method and not I'm really sore. But, hey, soon I'll have a clean dining room table!!!

Not much else to talk about, thought. I went out with a co-worker for dinner. He also doesn't have anybody to enjoy Thanksgiving with. We drove around for a while to find an open restaurant but we did and had really good food (a little on the expensive side, though). And that's pretty much it. I think right now I'm off to bed to get ready to work tomorrow. It's strange not to work on a Thursday and then work on Friday. I feel like it's Sunday and that I have a whole week ahead of me, but there is only one day and then it's weekend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The strangeness...

Transformation, confusion, uncertainty, future? Things got strange instead of resolving themselves. No sleep and no decision. The future lost its charm and became a monster on the hunt. The doors are closing, the bridges are falling. The golden path is full of mud. Water keeps falling on the rocks of decision exposing their components, washing away what binds them.

I'm afraid, but I just don't have time for it right now. I have to move on... I have to go to work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The pain...

It is over. It was painful, and it actually is still painful, but it was something that I still want to believe that had to be done. I'm sure that the world will move forward and will take us with it and this will solve the pain.

Anyway, besides this I don't have much to tell. I've been doing lots of work and I decided that I'll make my research easier and just drop all the C++ stuff. I'll go back to my old method that I can improve and make it work almost as fast as if I did it from scratch. I don't have time for working things from scratch any more.

And, by the way, I still need to eat dinner. I just don't know what to eat, so I guess I'll go out now and buy something from the grocery store.

Strange, my mind can't really think straight any more. It's been just a tough day, and much tougher evening.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ah... Finally my Linux is working with network. The only "problem" is that now I don't have an excuse not to work on my research any more. And currently I'm stuck with such a silly problem that I don't get any motivation to actually work. But I'll do it!

Anyway, today I just continued cleaning my apartment and went around for a walk and to visit the local gyms. I'm considering joining one now that I'm not walking as much as I used to walk in Stillwater. Actually, in my last months in Stillwater I wasn't exercising as much as I used to and I was feeling the difference (and I felt the difference this morning when I decided to do some Yoga and I realized how stiff I am).

Another thing I did was to take some pictures of the surrounding area that I am going to upload and make available some day.

Then I came back to work and did lots of different things, including studying for my long days of programming coming up this week at work. It is going to be "fun"!

Oh, yes, before I forget, I found this interesting article: The Worst Jobs In Science

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A mixed day of delight and...

Well, I think I should keep my post happy, right? So let's start by saying that yesterday I did go to the R.E.M. concert and it was great! Because I didn't get there that nervous like last concert (the one I got VERY late and lost about 1/3 of the concert), it was just delightful. I was sitting closer this time, because the concert hall is smaller than the one in Dallas. They played a good mix between old songs and songs from the new album. It was amazingly great. It's difficult to find words to describe the experience.

Oh, the opening band was called 5'8" and is a small band from Athens, GA (the "birthplace" of REM, but not really where all of them live right now, but I'll get to this). It was a pretty interesting band, very noisy, with very depressing, but somehow funny lyrics...

Another thing that I learned is that out of the 6 people that built the REM concert band (3 fixed members and 3 "invited musicians"), 4 live in Seattle! You learn things every day. I even learned today that critics didn't quite enjoy the concert, but, hey, they are there not to enjoy things, right? ;-)

Not much else I should talk about here. I spent the day here cleaning, chatting with my parents and working a little on my research. Now I'm actually hungry, but I don't know what I want to eat. I think I'll get my car and see if I can find an interesting restaurant around, then back to my research and trying to make my Linux understand Internet.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

More about elections

A day of talking about election stuff, I guess... So here comes another report, this one from Wired.com: Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy. This is actually a scary report about some statistical studies made comparing the counties where the vote was electronic with the counties where the vote was using the paper system. The strange results were that in the electronic counties, Bush got much more votes than in the other counties, considering all the statistical variance and all the variables such as gender, income, race, etc. If this study is proven right it won't actually change the result of the election, but it will make some heads roll... And continue to prove how ridiculous the election system is in this country.

Anyway, I finally have internet at home! For some strange reason, my internet is not working on my Linux (something very strange seems to be happening when I turn on Linux), but I can blog from home! And also work with high speed internet (although I also wasn't able to make the wireless link work - as you can see, there are lots of things that I still have to deal with).
I have to post this... Although most of you must have already seen it:

Sorry Everybody. The tale from the 49%.

By the way, talking about elections, the governor race here in the state of Washington is not over yet. Rossi is winning by 261 (0.0093% of the votes), but they are recounting. Imagine that less than a week ago they found new ballots that hadn't been opened! What kind of election system is this???

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Just keep waiting...

Yes, I'm waiting for many things. Among them my computer desk (I have to mention that the name of the manufacturer that is shipping me the desk is called Bush Furniture, right?) and my phone line to be connected. I do have a new phone number, but they messed up with the cable connections (at least that's what they claim they did) and I got a phone line from somebody else. More than that, I should have DSL, but I can only have it when I have my phone line. Hopefully this will happen sometime today and tonight I'll be able to enjoy the internet in my apartment (but without my computer desk).

Not much else is going on, though. I've been working and receiving more work to do. I'm starting to be anxious for the R.E.M. concert on Friday, and that's all that is really going on. By this weekend I hope I'll have a more liveable apartment, without all the boxes and piles of paper. It's actually not too bad, if you ignore that I still haven't thrown the boxes out. But I have most of my books on my bookshelf (my bookshelf is already full and with double rows of books - most probably I'll need another bookshelf soon), my clothes in my closet and kitchen stuff in the kitchen. The only things that I have to deal with are my papers (tons of them - I still have to sort through then and find out that most can go to trash), gifts (I need shelves for these) and all the boxes and wrapping paper that need to get out of my apartment. My only worry is that once all this is taken care of, my apartment will look very empty again and I'll start planning on spending more money. Not good...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Home, messy home...

Yes, I finally moved! Now I'm in my new apartment, but I can't say I'm enjoying it that much. I'm still waking up in the morning and not really recognizing where I am and wondering when I'm going back home. Then I realize I'm home! I have a whole huge apartment just for myself!

On Saturday I received my mattress (or I can call it the tall flat stone - I really like it!) and my dining room set (table, chairs and a hutch - very fancy one, actually!). Then I had a living room full of boxes and these pieces of furniture. After chatting with my parents, I went shopping for a microwave oven, bed sheets and some other small details. I spent the rest of the day trying to open boxes and organize my apartment. However, I found out soon enough that I wouldn't be able to get anywhere, because I didn't have enough organized storage space (no drawers or shelves in any of the rooms, except the kitchen, bathroom and the new hutch). So, on Sunday I went out and bought bookshelves and a 4 drawer dresser.

I spent pretty much the rest of the day building these things (yes, you have to mount them). Actually I wasn't feeling great, maybe because I did more work than I was ready to do, so, before I was able to finish the bookshelves (the only thing that is left to do is to stand it straight and choose the position of the shelves) I decided to stop and rest for the rest of the evening (this was very early - something like 8:30 pm). However, I din't sleep that well. The whole time I thought I was going to wake up late and be late to work! This was a very ridiculous thought, because I would never be able to sleep that much to get late, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. And I wasn't feeling too good either. It was interesting that I was feeling cold and hot at the same time. Parts of my body felt cold and others were drenched in sweat. Very strange night indeed. But I feel better today! The only thing now is that I have to decide what I should work on.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Things are getting more stressful here, because I'm being requested to work on a project that is getting pretty big quickly. I was working on it until very late last night, and woke up early this morning to try to finish it, but there are still some small details that I need definition.

But in the middle of all this stress, on Tuesday evening, in a well-thought impulse I decided to go and watch a concert with the Moscow Virtuosi. I say "well-thought impulse" because I already knew of the concert and I wanted to attend (actually I knew of it since my second day here), but I didn't know if I would have time. At 5:30 pm I decided that I was going to make time and called the ticket office to know if there were any tickets left. As there were, I got one. $50, not a very good place, but it was a great concert! They played my favorite piece: Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht.

This piece has 3 different versions. The original is for string sextet, and it's my favorite version. Then it was transcribed for orchestra and then modified for orchestra and this last one is the most common of the versions to find around, and it's my least favorite. What they did is that they played the sextet version, but transcribed for string orchestra (12 violins, 6 violas, 3 cellos and 2 basses). It wasn't as nice, but it was good enough. Great tuning, wonderful control and interpretation. I was delighted.

Another interesting thing about the concert is that it attracted the whole Russian population of Seattle (and maybe neighboring cities). At least 50% of the people sitting around me were Russians. And I even saw the "stereotypical" Russian thing of a guy walking with two over-produced women. It was almost hilareous, because they gave that impression that they were among the owners of the theater (even though they were sitting in the cheapest area of it).

That's it. Saturday is arriving and there are so many things to do until then that I just don't want to really think about it. But on Tuesday I should have high-speed internet at home (without a computer desk - it was first expected to arrive tomorrow, but I called the factory yesterday and they hadn't even sent it yet, but that's a minor detail, right?)

Alright, back to work!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Time for some advertisement here:

Check Amazon.com for the Amazon Theater! It's an interesting initiative with some fun short films to watch for free. They showed to us two of the movies, Agent Orange and Tooth Fairy, and they were really fun! Hope you enjoy!

Besides that, I don't know what else to talk about. Maybe later I'll have what to write.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I got my boxes today, so my apartment is starting to look like it has some stuff. But one interesting thing happened with all this: I realized how much bigger my new apartment is comparing to my old apartment. When they were putting all the stuff in boxes there, after all boxes were filled, there was barely space left to move in the apartment. Now they put all the boxes inside my living room and it almost didn't use 1/4 of the living room space. 27 boxes! It's so cool! :-)

I also got the bus from my new apartment to work this morning and I'm sad... I just have to walk about 2 blocks for the bus stop and it's the second stop of the bus, so it's very empty. The result of this is that I'll end up walking less and I'll have to find other ways to exercise. The bus takes 30 minutes to get to work, but it drops me half a block from work. I'll just have to start taking some books to read.

Finally, there are some things that surprise me, but I just don't have words to describe this post. Very interesting indeed.

Oh, I only had one big issue to sort out today: I was chosen to lead one of the largest projects on my group. We were setting deadlines for it and it ended up having to be delivered by mid January, with a second part being delivered in mid February. Do you know what this means? Simply that I just don't know when to schedule my Ph.D. defense any more and when I'll find time to work on it. It's just a lot of work that I have to do until January! I can tell you that I'm genuinely scared!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Something is really wrong in this world. At least in my world, the world where my friends live. I go and read their blogs (1, 2) and the only thing I see is people depressed, disappointed, desperate. It is very sad to see this happening at the same time to too many friends, but what really makes me sad is that there are things that I could do to help them, but I just don't think I can afford it right now. The last thing I want to do is to increase chaos in my own life, so I just keep away from all this and change the topic.

Today I went for Shabbat services in Mercer Island. Mercer Island is an island (oh, wow, who would have imagined that?) in Lake Washington, between Seattle (where I live right now) and Bellevue (where I'm going to be living starting next Saturday, hopefully). Very nice place, with beautiful houses, but it is a dormitory community. There is nothing there to do, only houses (and the synagogue, actually more than one). Services were great too, with very friendly people. Most probably next weekend I won't be able to go to services anywhere because I'll be waiting for the delivery of my mattress (yes, I finally bought it today!) and my dining table, but I think I decided which community I'm going to join. One step closer to having a "normal and steady" life here.

I bought two more things that were bothering me: silverware and a set of pans. And in this last one I went all out and bought a very expensive but good set. Hey, I have been cooking here pretty much every day, I deserve good pans, right?

Tomorrow I decided that I'm not going to go shopping. Most of the very important things I already bought, so I'm staying at home and working on my research. I also have to work on some documents for work, so it is going to be a pretty busy day. Monday I have to be at my new apartment to receive my boxes, so I should work tomorrow to compensate, right?

You know, I like my work. I'm learning a lot of interesting things and getting to establish the basis for something that I see as a huge change for the Internet as a whole. But it is a bold bet, a high-risk project. We can very well not get to what we want to get, but we know how to compromise. How to get to part of what we want and increase value to the service anyway. Lots of challenges, it's good to be a developer! :-)

Alright, time to go back to work here. I actually haven't had dinner today, and my lunch was very light, that's why I'm feeling a little hungry!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Right now we here are going through a very active selection process to hire new people. Every time I see this happening here, I remember how different the process is here comparing to my experience in Brazil. I know I talked about this before, but one of the most important issues that people talk about here is loosing good people to other companies. Advertising the company is a very important thing.

My experience is that most people in Brazil are "beggers", it means that if the company hires you you don't really think twice, you just go there. If you receive more than one offer (something that doesn't happen every day), then you may think about it for a while. I've seen people here rejecting an offer just because they didn't like the company, and not having anything to fall back on (apart from credit cards). It is very interesting.

Anyway, I finished one of my big reports that was due today and now I'm trying to relax a little before I go back to realizing that I have two other use cases to write. Document writing is just a lot of fun!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And Mr. Bush won... I saw this coming since the beginning of the whole process, but, well, it's what the majority wants, let them have it! At least this time there was a real majority of voters that wanted him to continue as president. And I'm not going down the path of analyzing the states that actually made him win. I'm not going to discuss average literacy and education levels... But some people have to think about this one day.

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about the elections. Oh, first, just to let people know, it's sunny here today! I haven't seen the sun for a while here, but it's not that my office has any windows anyway.

It's not that I have too much to talk about, at the same time. Work has been using all my brainpower and when I get home at night I can't even decide what I'm going to have for dinner, and how I'm going to cook it, and so on... My research is very close to a complete halt and I just don't know what to do about it. Yesterday, for example, on my way back home I decided that instead of going home, I should just walk around and try to breathe. It was a long walk, but I can't say it did me much good, though. I got home hungry and I still couldn't do much for the rest of the evening. I just tried to work, then I went and continued to change my address on many different places where they have my address, and that was it.

Ok, back to my head-scratching here. Defining systems that if I got wrong would only delay my graduation date is one thing. But defining systems that if I get it wrong could mean a much more catastrophic (money-wise) event, is another thing. And I don't know if I got all the details of the system yet to really decide. Oh, well, I have to move forward anyway.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

There isn't much to talk about. I'm starting to receive lots of work, and that's a good thing in one side, because I come to work and I know what to do, but at the same time I go back home and I don't have much time to work on my research any more. It is interesting to see how busy I am lately by the mess that is starting to appear in my living room and bedroom. I did get to work a little later than usual this morning to clean up a little, but my research is starting to worry me.

At the same time, with all this going on, I still get people all around me trying to say that I don't shop well, and that I should have already built my whole apartment. If I can't find furniture the way I want, I should just buy the closest-looking one and then modify it myself! The only thing I can do about all these people is listen to them and remain calm. It is hard for people to understand how little free time I have, and how little experience I have in "modifying" furniture and that related directly to the amount of time that it would take me to make even simple changes.

Anyway, I have to get back to work here. I have two hard documents to write today...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The end of a tough weekend, where not much was actually done, is never something you are eager to have. This is my story this weekend. A very tiring weekend, but not very productive.

Saturday started with me going Synagogue hunting again. This time I chose Emanuel Congregaton, a "Modern Orthodox" synagogue. When I got there, there were 4 elderly gentlemen at the bima discussing about something related to the service. Another older person went to greet me and explain some things about the congregation. Most of them came from New York, where they participated on the "Young Israeli" movement. One of the ideas behind this movement was to teach everybody how to conduct services. So, what happens is that everybody there knows how to conduct the service and take turns to do it.

It was a good service, but I don't know if I felt too strange in an environment where the average age is almost 3 times my age. I guess next weekend I'll just have to continue "shopping".

Then, after services, I went to my apartment and signed the lease. Officially now I have a new apartment. I analyzed the size of it and went shopping for the three basic things that I need before moving in: a bed, a desk for my computer and a dining table. I didn't have any well-planned ideas, so I just went around where my apartment is and visited some of the many furniture places there. The problem is that they were mostly very expensive, I mean VERY expensive! So I went to my temporary home kind of disturbed and worried. But I devised a plan. I went online and got the address of many places that sold things a little cheaper and even set a route to pass through all of them.

This morning, starting at 10am, I left my apartment and went shopping. I had all the measures in my mind, and a pretty good idea of what I was looking for. Something actually very similar to what I have here in my temporary housing: dark wood, metal and glass, with modern and clean lines.

At around 6 pm I was exhausted, hungry (I didn't have time to have lunch) and clearly depressed with the result of my shopping: the only dark wood that I could find was for a dining table. All the rest were either too "classic" or very light wood. The kitchen there is already in light wood with white appliances. If I have a light wood living room, I can't have a dark wood dining room. It just wouldn't make any sense!

In the end, not only I didn't buy anything (apart from a toolbox for me to put my license plate on my car and a vacuum cleaner), but all my planning backfired and I have to rethink on my furniture ideals. Now I'm more for a light wood, but still keeping the glass and metal. It's not perfect and would require a lot of decorations to make the house look a little bit less "white", but it's something that I can find, at least.

I just hate to shop... Why isn't there an inexpensive store online that you could enter your floorplan and then play around with the furniture. When you found the right things you want, you press "buy" and they ship and install it in the same places you have indicated in their system.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Another week is gone and there isn't much to talk about. Yesterday I listened to a phone interview that I didn't quite like. The person had some knowledge about the subject that we are interested in, but she had some major language difficulties that would give her a very hard time when it came to work in the team I'm working. Sometimes even I can't really grasp what is being discussed in the middle of the meetings, because of the speed people think and the concepts they are able to throw at you without even stopping to think for a minute. But I may be wrong, let's see... She should have been invited for an on-site interview and maybe I'll know the result.

Continuing this interview process, today I was invited to participate on an on-site interview. This guy that we were interviewing had theoretically lots of experience, but in other fields, more for telecom and embedded systems. But he did so poorly in the interview that was a little sad to be there. Sorry, he didn't get it.

Let's see what else I can talk about... Work is going alright. I've been mainly writing documents and sending it out to people and, so far, people have been liking them. I actually had two very good conversations today with some people from the team that helped me a lot to understand where we were going and what I have to do next. There is only one thing I have to say about it: there is lots of work ahead, but once it is working, it is going to be great!

More to the personal things... Uhm... Yesterday there was a soirre at the building I'm living right now. Good food, drinks and convesations. If I was a little bit more "corageous" I would probably have had more fun, but I guess that's the way I am, and I sort of like it.

The weather here is getting colder and wetter. This evening it was kind of nasty. Lots of wind, and a little rain. Perfect for you to catch a cold! Especially because lots of people from my team have come down with a cold this week, and today my office mate was feeling pretty miserable. I'll keep taking my vitamins, eating a sleeping well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I'm alive, but I don't have much else to say. I got my new apartment, but I still don't know the full address of it. When I do, I'll send it out to the people that asked for it (and maybe for some people that didn't).

I finally have work to do, and it's not very little. But now I'm going home. I have a chat with my parents tonight and I don't want to be too late for that. And actually right now my requirements for the work are being analyzed, so I shouldn't move forward until I have more feedback.

I also have to work on my research. It is moving slowly, as I feared. I also have to finish modifying one more paper that was accepted for publication.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Going...

Life is going on. Very confusing, actually. I don't know what is going on here, but the days are going by and I still haven't decided on a routine, besides waking up between 6-6:30 and going to work, arriving there between 7:30-8. Oh, of course I'm ignoring the fact that I do still wake up at 5 am, but, fortunately I'm able to fall asleep again.

Work is going on. I still don't have anything official to do, so I just keep reading and thinking. My research is not going very far either, and I'm not too sure why. I'm just not in the right mindframe to get anything accomplished, and this is scary.

Anyway, today I felt good, because I finally was able to say something "intelligent" in a meeting, not only asking questions about things that I didn't understand. I'm finally getting most of what is going on, but I still end up loosing one or another discussion because my brain locks at a certain aspect that is being talked about and I just can't really pay attention to what comes afterwards.

Besides all this work, I really don't have anything to say. I'm happy to be here, but I'm starting to worry about the lack of other people around me. My teammates are very nice, but they have their lives when they live the office. Most have a family, some just don't quite leave the office. So I'm left to just enjoy my cooking and reading.

Talking about reading, I finished "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon. It was a very nice book. It's about a boy that has some mental disabilities that makes him very anti-social, but extremely introspective and good in solving problems, especially math-related. Well, one day he finds the dog of the neighbor dead with a big garden fork through its body and decides that he is going to investigate.

Things don't turn out the way he was expecting, but it's not the main scope of the book. The goal is to show how a "different" mind thinks and reacts to what we are used to doing. He points out how many strange things we do throughout the day, and that we are not too different from a mentally handicapped person. It's a short and entertaining read, recommended!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Apartment decision should be in the past

Today I decided that I've spent too much time looking for apartments already and things weren't going to get much better than they were, I was just going to get more and more points in the "Pareto front". So, I went back to the apartment I liked most and filled the application. I wrote the checks already, but it all depends on the "background check" that is done on all new perspective renters. There shouldn't be any problem, but right now I can't confirm with 100% certainty that I have an apartment.

I decided that it made much more sense for me to live outside Seattle, in Bellevue. Why? Because I'm not a "go out every night" kind of person. I prefer to either be working in the office or to stay at home and enjoy my hobbies (well, my research right now, until I finish everything). If I want to go out is mainly to go to restaurants and as I can't eat at the same place often, I would end up using the car anyway. Being in a suburb means less traffic to go do groceries, less violence, less noise. It also means longer commutes, but, hey, I'm from Sao Paulo, Brazil: 40 minute commutes are normal even if you live in the city.

I also went to the synagogue this morning. I decided to try Beth Shalom, a conservative congregation. I got the day that there was a Bat Mitzvah going on so I ended up going to a very packed service (mainly at the end - it started with around 6 people inside the sanctuary, but ended with something like 150 people that is still small for my experience, but much larger than what you would find on a normal Bat Mitzvah in Oklahoma) where everybody was a stranger. I had to leave early because the moving people were going to pass by here to drop my 3 boxes, so I just didn't enjoy all the food and talk after the service.

There were some things, to tell you the truth, that didn't quite meet my taste. First, the first cantor (a girl, maybe 20 years old), had a low female voice, very soft and terribly out of tune. She knew how to read Hebrew for sure, but it's not enough. Then there was a whole complicated process in the Torah reading to include the whole family of the bat-Mitvah'ed girl that was just a little too distracting. And the service ended with another cantor, not a ~40-year old woman, that had more voice power and tuning, but was still too low for a cantor. Imagine, I'm sometimes considered a Bass-II in choir (i.e. a low bass, the lowest voice in the choir) and it was a little too low for me to feel confortable singing along. It annoyed me...

I guess it all means that next weekend I'll try somewhere else. Most probably an orthodox congregation... But those are hard to choose from, unfortunately. Too many variations, and there are some that it's just impossible to be able to follow the service. I have a week to decide, though.

So, as I mentioned, my boxes arrived with my computer. Now I just have to find out an internet service provider! Right now I'm using the laptop from work that can connect to Amazon's network. Most lower-cost providers require for you to use their dialer and browser, but none of them, as far as I can tell, support Linux, and I really don't want to drop my Linux.

Alright, time to start working a little on my research. Let me get back on track, because life is going to be pretty hard very soon.

Friday, October 22, 2004

My first week of work is gone

5 days of work are almost pretty much gone. Right now, 4:45pm, Amazon is starting to get silent, with many offices already dark with people discussing non-work-related things (although I did hear some people from my team passing by and saying that they had a meeting - I wasn't informed of this meeting, so I'm assuming it is not with me).

What is going on with me besides trying to learn everything, understand the project I'm involved and, perhaps, start giving some ideas? Well, not too much, to tell you the truth. This morning my car arrived... Last evening I went to see a condo that I really liked in a region I liked, but there were some issues about it that I will address below. First I'll talk about my experience visiting the place.

I didn't have a car yesterday, because I returned the rental car on Wednesday evening (and got my first bus back to town - very easy process, you only need to access the Trip Planner, tell the addresses and time you want to leave or arrive and it's done!), so I got the bus. Well, the bus that I got actually didn't leave me that close to the apartment, but at least it left me above it so I only had to go down. After getting confused more than once (you don't quite get lost, it's just that the streets sometimes stop making sense becaue they end and start due to the hills), I got to the condo (it is basically a building made by a private person, with 4 apartments) just when the renter was leaving with the previous prospect.

While seeing the condos (there were two, one that belonged to the seller and another that belonged to his friend), I found out that the guy was Israeli and Jewish. We talked a little and, after finding out that I got there by bus, he asked if I wanted to join him for dinner and then he would take me home with his car. So we went to this very interesting Mediterrenean place and had a nice chat for a long time and then he dropped me by my apartment. I arrived at the condo at 6:30 pm, and back to my apartment at almost 9 pm!

Anyway, I did like the condo, especially the one that belonged to him. However, comparing to the apartments I've seen before, I have some concerns: 1) price: it is difficult to really compare two apartments that have different features, but this was around $500 more expensive than a "psychologically similar" one that I've visited in Bellevue; 2) maintenance: it does not have a 24h maintenance system as most apartments have; 3) quality of the cupboards & equipment: although they were alright, they really have this "designed by a common guy" feel and quality. Most apartments I've looked have a little bit more detailed and well-kept cabinets and doors.

What I liked about it: 1) friendly owner: I don't really have to explain this; 2) good location: Queen Ann is a very nice place, not too "happening", but close enough to "city life" with nice restaurants and such; 3) Huge kitchen: for an apartment, of course; 4) Nice view: especially from the deck on top; 5) Cool deck on top for relaxing and entertaining; 6) Free parking for 2 cars: 1 with a closed garage and another outside; 7) Lots of storage space: even with a storage area in the garage.

Decisions... Decisions... They are always what reminds you that you are alive.

There are a couple of other things that I could write, like the expensive restaurant that I've been to on Wednesday that played Bossa Nova and had Caninha 51 (a type of cacha├ža/pinga) - but I didn't ask if the bartender could make me a caipirinha... I was to overwhealmed with the price of the stuff. But it was good, don't get me wrong! Anyway, I'll leave it here and go back to working. I'm feeling guilty that today I almost didn't work, because I was waiting for my car in the morning, then I went to a "all-hands" event, with everybody from a particular subgroup of Amazon, especifically software developers, and heard my boss's boss's boss's boss talk (that was wearing bermuda shorts, T-shirt and a sweater, just for the record), then I had a lunch meeting until 2pm, then another meeting until around 4pm, and only then I went back to my studies...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Now I have a little bit more time to post. Not much time to work on the layout, though... I'll wait for my computer to arrive for this one!

Anyway, I'm at home and posting from my laptop connected to Amazon's dial-up access. It is pretty neat, but I'm not completely sure if they are not logging everything I do and I'll receive a nasty note from my boss saying: do not use Amazon resources for personal stuff! You are fired! :-)

My first two days at work were pretty confusing. I'm trying to get used to all the thousands of acronyms that are used, and the concepts of the system that is being built, while trying to get settled, trying to find a place to live and so on. I've had 3 meeting so far and I can't say I understood that much of what is going on during these meetings. Tomorrow I have a couple more scheduled, Friday my boss will be back from a trip and said he would like to meet and, hopefully, discuss what I will be doing more specifically. So far I have only been studying what I can from their huge intranet.

A little bit about Seattle: it does rain here! My first evening here was great, but then it pretty much rained every day. Not the whole day and never that much to really get you wet, but it was always cloudy and many times it would be sprinkling.

Seattle is a very nice city, anyway! Many things to do, a place where they show "Motorcycle Diaries" (they didn't in Oklahoma), with some trafic and streets that can be confusing easily, mainly because of all the hills.

I'm sure I have a lot of other things to write about, but I just don't know what right now. I think I'm a little tired (I'm still a little in Oklahoma time, waking up every day at 5:30am) and ready to hit the bed... I'm just glad that the dial-up thing works. Maybe I will be really able to post more in the evenings at home.

Starting a new home

Yes, this is my new blog. I won't have much time to work on it right now, because I'm at work and I do have a lot to read and to get used to here, but at least I was able to start it.

If people are asking themselves about the name of the new blog, it was actually a decision I made on the airplane while coming to Seattle. I decided to think about what would be a good name to summarize my life, regardless of where I am, and, while looking at rivers below me through the window, it hit me.

I can't say I have fought a lot to get where I am... I did study, but I never really got out of my way to do something. I would get out of my way to be able to continue doing something that someone asked me to do.

I'll give a couple of examples:

- When I started playing clarinet, I didn't really choose it myself. When I went for my Bar-Mitzvah trip to New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, I was with the wife of my father's (ex-)best friend, her son and her sister. She is a well known pianist in Brazil and at the end of the trip she turned to me and said: "I think the perfect instrument for you would be the clarinet. I know a great teacher. When you have time, give me a call and I'll connect you both". It took me 4 1/2 years after that to start, but I did.

- I started my Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University because this opportunity simply appeared in front of me, from a professor that went to my school to do some recruiting.

- My job at Amazon.com also fell in front of me and I took it. I didn't really go too much out of my way, besides having written a terrible resume at Monster.com.

Now do you understand why I defined my life as "moving downstream"? I just keep taking the paths that are close by. I won't say that they are the paths of least resistance, because it would have been much easier if I continued in my old low-paying job in Brazil, instead of starting my life anew in Stillwater, OK, EUA, but it wasn't something I fought to get.

Welcome to my new blog, anyway! For some time, while I don't have internet at home, I won't be posting too much, and I won't have time to work on a nicer layout, but I'll try to stay alive.