Philosophical Friday

I joke about working 125% Monday to Thursday all the time. The extra 25% adds up to 100%, so I don’t have to do anything on Friday !!!…. well, today is Friday and I just don’t feel like burying myself into work. That’s that…. then, I am chatting with my peer from next cube and he is talking about retirement. That trigger some thoughts and that’s why I am writing this blog. I am getting some conflicting messages… let me explain. I am not that close to retirement but I am not that far away either. So, on the one hand, I do get tired and out of gas by Friday and I just deliberately take things easy. On the other hand, when I go thru my weekend ( particularly long weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day…etc ), I get bored and do things that are not good for my health ( like stuffing my belly with cakes and things of that sort… yeah, beer is one of those things too ). The thought that got me thinking is that I am facing a paradox, which I don’t know how to solve. I am  getting tired of working all the time but at the same time, work is what keeps me busy and therefore restrained from harming myself with bad habits. So, retirement will come and then what am I going to do?…. eat cakes and drink beer to death?…. no, I do not like the sound of that. Life can be cruel and this is just one good example. I enjoy life by being productive but time and age does not help this case !!!!…. I’ll keep thinking about it and I believe I should better start developing good  habits over the weekend now, so retirement won’t take me by surprise….. still years away and yet, I know that it takes just one blink of an eye and time just fly……..

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What was I doing on 9/11?

I believe a lot of people agree on the statement that everyone remember exactly what they were doing when the towers were hit and then hell broke loose. I do as if it was yesterday and yet, the 15th milestone is already here.

Before getting into my version of the events on that dreadful day, let me back things upn by just one week. I have just arrived to the US in March of 2001 ( Country I love now as a proud Citizen ) with my family, landed on my dream job. As soon as we got settled, my wife was planning our first trip. She wanted to go see Niagara Falls, so we got a rental car and drove over there by the first week of September. It was really awesome. Life was so simple. The Canadian border stamped our passports and just like that, welcome to Canada. We had a great time. On our way back, we went thru Chicago, so we did stop there. This is pretty much one week before 9/11. Hold on to that thought…. My daughters were little girls and I wanted them to experience the Sears Tower because that’s something I did myself when I was young. When we got to the top, we were looking to the horizon and as I was watching their body language and face expressions in awe ( theirs and mine, because of theirs !! ) I was telling them something like….”Next stop ( for our next family vacation ) would be something twice spectacular !!!.. the Twin Towers in NYC !!!!!”….. yup, I couldn’t keep my promise. Little did I know that a week later, not just both towers would be gone but our way of life would be changed forever.

So, it is 15 year commemoration and I still remember that Tuesday as if it was yesterday. We used to have a staff meeting on Tuesdays. As we were walking out of the conference room towards our lab, everyone was puzzled and scratching our heads trying to make sense of what our lab had on display on every TV we had setup for different testing purposes. A building on fire of sorts with lots of smoke and confusion all over the place. Everyone jumping to conclusions on how the hell a plane could’ve missed the fact that there was a huge building in front !!!…. all kinds of comments, trying to rationalize the whole situation when, right there, in front of our own eyes, the second plane hit the second tower……. silence…. disbelief…. it took a couple of minutes for everyone to regain self control so, talking was resumed. When both towers were smoking, one peer said out loud … “Can you believe there is people dying right there right now?”…. we were trying to process that thought when the first tower collapsed !!!!!….. there was another peer who got really pissed saying that he was there once and now the building was GONE !!! ( That’s pretty much how he said it… GONE, GONEEEE !!!! ). Of course there was more to come when the second tower fell. Needless to say, work was cancelled, we all went home to get our kids from school. I remember watching TV for two days in a raw, late at night, still immersed in my own toughs, completely  shocked and traumatized knowing there wasn’t  much I could do. The hate enforced on almost 3,000 souls on that single day, were a lot of them were people from all parts of the world, taught me that there are people out there willing to hurt everyone, regardless of any classification ( ethnicity, political, religious, economical, etc ) one may think of. Yes, 9/11 still gets me into deep thoughts of depression of sorts. Still ask my self why and I can’t get the right answers. The thing that troubles me the most is that we lost almost three thousand good people on that day but the matter of fact is that another thousands were already dead but they just didn’t know it yet. We have lost way more that three thousand over these 15 years and  that didn’t stop the madness of similar attacks all over the world. Why can’t we get along?….that is actually a very deep question.

The Snowden files

Book by Luke Harding

Young Edward Snowden was an American kid that didn’t know what to do or where to go. He didn’t fit. I am not sure but I even believe he was a dropout. Like any other teen, he found solace and refugee in computers. One thing leads to another and next thing he knows, he is working  now for the NSA and eventually landed in a well paid job in Hawaii. He meet his girlfriend there. He had it all…. the job, the girl, the bright future…. and yet, it wasn’t enough ( it never is, and that’s just the way life works and if you don’t know how to deal with it then….. ). So, out of the blue ( pretty much ), he threw it all away, packed few things and flew out to Hong Kong. It was a one way ticket and he knew it. Why??… he found questionable activities in his line of work and decided to “save” the world ( as much as he has always said that to become a celebrity wasn’t his intentions ). The whistle-blower contacted the British newspaper The Guardian and the rest is history. The sequence of events unfolded a chain reaction that would involve several countries, government agencies, newspapers, state leaders, you  name it. He managed to dodge the US government hunting and ended up in Moscow with Ecuador ( and other anti-American countries ) help. The book dance around way too much on the agencies involved and the technicalities of what was spied on and how it was done. The last line of the book says something like, we don’t know if E. Snowden will be held expatriated in Russia for weeks, years or decades…….. well, that’s exactly what I wanted to know !!!!….how is his life going in Russia and things like that !!!!. Anyhow, it is an interesting read for so many other reasons anyway ( From Albania to Zimbabwe, remember? )

Juarez to El Paso at Zaragoza bridge

Thursday Sep 1, 2016 On our way to El Paso, Tx from Cd Juarez. I am driving a rental car, PB is shootgun and CW is in the back seat. The line thru Zaragoza bridge wasn’t too bad. Approach to the booth immigration officer and the usual questions… – Are you all back from work? – Yes, and we are beat up. ( The officer smirk a bit and says something like “yeah I know”. He take all passports and goes back to his booth computer. Comes back kind of apologetic with all three passports bundled with an “orange” piece of paper ( hold on to that thought, there is an intended pun here ). He puts them on the windshield and tells me to go to box number 2.

I got to box number 2. There are four young officers on the side just chatting. One color, one hispanic, two blonde girls, one is clearly a tough lesbian with short hair and piercing blue eyes. The short cute one ( until she started talking ) tells me in a lousy Spanish something like “kill the engine” ( Can’t even remember how she word it in her version of the Spanish language ). Next thing, I grab my phone to check Face Book just to kill time and they reacted as if I had grabbed a weapon of mass destruction and I got yelled in a severe military tone “Put the phone down !!!!” (Since I know better, I just did… no questions asked ). Then silence and no further instructions, other than handing over the car keys to the blonde officer and she just drop’em on the windshield. A couple of minutes later, there it comes a color female officer to run the inspection.

She approached me on the driver window to ask: “Do you have any fruits or vegetables?” – No ma’m. “Do you have any liquor to declare?” – No ma’m. “Do you have anything worth more than ten thousand dollars?” – No ma’m. “Have you ever committed any offense?” -Not to my knowledge, no. “Do you understand that I have asked you and now we are going to search your luggage and if we find something then this will be a serious offense?”. – Yes, I understand…… then she posed the question to all of us and CW brings up to the officer attention that he had an offense two years ago……. ahhhhh… she was barking to the wrong tree !!! ( Always pick on the “Mexican”… see, blondie was trying to speak to me in Spanish. My guess is the booth officer may have point there was a born Mexican in the blue passports…. and then the inspection officer was conducting the questioning to me for a “reason”, right?..well, she was wrong ).

We all stepped out of the car and got our luggage on the bench for her to search it. She didn’t find anything at first glance, so she wrapped things up and we were good to go.

What happened was…. CW went to Thailand two years ago. He happend to have packed three ( I repeat THREE ) lousy and stupid oranges. He forgot all about it, so he kept them all along and brought them back to the US. He was caught thru customs inspection and got tagged with an offense. The sting has been on his record and this has happened quite a few times, I just didn’t happen to be there until now.

The moral to the story here is….. do not bring oranges because that will get you in big trouble and you will be hunted and persecuted every time you go thru the immigration process, even if you are a born American !!!!! ( Can you imagine if I would have been the real smoking gun???… yeah, the born Mexican now American would’ve been screwed over way worst, that would be my guess ). Anyhow, this is just another adventure going thru the border. Of course the names of PB and CW are encrypted for their own well being. In other words, I don’t want to have to ask for approval to user their full names. No need to do that, the story makes sense as it is anyway. The only question to myself is… will I be always capable to remember what PB and CW means??… Time will tell.

Let’s get the fire started….

If you don’t like political views different than yours then you probably shouldn’t be reading this….. continue at your own “risk”

I will be unloading my mind off on several topics…. of course politics will be one of them. No particular reason or priorities. This one comes off now due to events unfolding today. No other reason at all. So, I happen to be working in Mexico this week ( No need to disclose my location, that is completely besides the point ) and as I am getting ready to go to work, the TV news bring to my attention that Donald Trump has been invited to Mexico City. He is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at Los Pinos today. I didn’t make much out of it and then started reading some reactions on FaceBook and got to say, I kinda lost it… in a good way. Some of those ( more like a lot of them ) comments are just hilarious, from the whole spectrum of possibilities. Everyone is just too quick to jump on it to criticize or support, or just plain trash and disqualify the whole thing even before it happens. Why is it interesting to me, you may ask? Well, let me get this out of the way right away. I am NOT a Mexican living in the US, no no no…make no mistake. I am an American that just happened to be born in Mexico. So, I don’t have any frustration feelings against Trump by any means. I am convinced that every outrageous thing he have ever said against Mexicans, those were meant for illegal aliens. I have never been an illegal and now that I have pledge allegiance to The United States as a legal and proud Citizen, I have no sympathy for anyone that wants to do things their own way around the legal frame of migration. That being said, I will keep having fun with the Tweets, the postings on FaceBook and all those reactions. It’s just a fun read and does help to develop ideas to elaborate more stuff that can be added to this blog. We will see…. in the meantime, can’t wait to see how this one time event is going to unfold.

Aftermath update….. Thursday Sep 1, 2016. I had to digest my thoughts first. So, Trump went to Mexico City and got his private meeting with Peña Nieto. Keep in mind, my comments are solely based on whatever I can get from media sources like CNN on TV or stuff on line. Allegedly the “talk” was cordial in good terms, however…. yup, there is always something…. allegedly the wall question did not came up….mhhhh….how so? The interesting part, at least for me, is Trump speech as soon as he got back to Arizona. Pretty much the first thing he does is to rumble on how the wall it’s a go and how Mexico is still going to pay for it. He even went further on to say things like great technology will be used ( he said specifically sensors ) to detect tunnels under the wall and surveillance on the surface. The thing is, one minute he is in Mexico City behaving like a decent state man and next minute, as soon as he lands in his scheduled speech in Arizona, the first thing he said is some crazy stuff about the wall…. Well, this change in discourse of 180 degrees, depending upon who is he talking too, makes me wonder if he is still trying to pull something so outrageous that will get him off the hook for once and for all. The sad part of the story, at least from my personal views, as crazy as Trump looks ( sure enough he does ) I still refuse to accept that Hillary is better than this !!!…. How depressing is this????

To blog or not to blog….

I got to say, this is my second attempt to clarify why do I have started a blog…. the first attempt  was written  and I was happy with how the words came out of my fingers, only to find out that I didn’t manage to save the changes !!! ( No,  I am not proud of what I did, just in case you wonder )… so, still don’t know if this attempt will work though. Sure enough, I will be paying attention to this particular step in the process !!!…. so, let me try and find out if now I know how to save it…… well, I did click on the left link called SAVE ( no “brainner”, right?? )

So, getting back to the initial question, why do I want to blog? Well, I have always had a thing for typing stuff like there is no tomorrow. I have written tons of stuff in several computers over the years and most of it is gone lost due to obsolescence,  broken computer, lost computer, the dog ate it, you name it….. so, I am hoping this would be the last stop for my thoughts and crazy talk…. we will see about that !!!

Sunday Sep 4, 2016…. I think I am making progress. I still want to understand the whole concept a little bit better. I am starting to develop new ideas. I want to figure out how to organize my blog using different categories. I have already established a couple of them: a) Politics ( everything is fair game now that we are around the corner of our Presidential election ), b) Traveling stories ( Well, my job takes me to places so, every time I come back, going thru immigration is always an adventure ).

Of course I do have more categories in mind: Another language, this time around wold be French ( My goal is to be able to write some stories in French…. why?… because I want to ). Many more opportunities such as Technical corner, my family tree project, books summary, TV adventures ( Preacher, Impastor, Shameless, Gotham, The Big Bang Theory…uffff… you name it ). Of course movies, web sites, software, electronics, mathematics, physics….. history, geography, how to get the most of free services like Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, YouTube…ahhhhhhhhhh… too much stuff, so little time !!!!. Like a good friend of mind and peer says all the time… One day at the time !!!!