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?