Anthony Bourdain in Colombia

December 5th, 2008

I tried to look for Anthony Bourdain’s email address on the internet with no success. He is apparently very hard to get a hold of, which seems reasonable with the crazy schedule he must handle whenever he shoots No Reservations. So my only hope is that maybe for one crazy twist of life, he stumbles across this post on the internet.

I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. For many, the synonym for a drugs, violence and corruption. I grew up on a very different Bogotá though. Mine was full of kids playing soccer, my mom working 8am to 7pm and a catholic school that taught both Creationism and Evolution without any of the controversy surrounding the same matter here in the states.

I was not oblivious to the violence that occurred in my country growing up. I remember guerrillas taking over the Justice Palace where the supreme court of Colombia resided. I remember presidential candidate getting killed (one in a plane, one in a platform while giving a speech), and their funerals. I remember the kidnappings of periodists, the release of some and the dead of others. I remember bombs exploding on government buildings and malls. I remember Escobar being taken down from the roof of a house. His bloody shirt, and his limp hands tucked in his pants.

I also grew up on less violent times and yet a lot scarier. A corrupt president that gave half the country to the guerrillas in a lob sided trade to sit on “Peace talks”, and that same president that sunk my beatiful country so far into the mud that my family was forced to leave it in search of a better future.

Those are realities we cannot hide, not should we ever forget. Yet, life in Colombia has changed (as Anthony Bourdain so beautifully has shown). Gone are those days of daily fear. Optimism can be smelled in the air. An economic boom that has sent ripple effects through out the nation has occurred in the last 8 years. I didn’t get to enjoy any of those things, but I’m happy to see my own country do much better than when I left it.

Rotating Cube

June 16th, 2008

I’ve been working on learning some DirectX 9.0 which is a great library to create games! Obviously when you’re learning, it’s not all about making games. You have to start somewhere, but a long the way you get to do some pretty neat things. One of those things was a rotating cube. The code came mostly from the book I’m reading, but I modified it with some pretty simple controls to make it some what fun.

This is by no means a complex project, but it’s fun to play with it because you can add your own graphics and it will move the cube at different speeds or directions.

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From Serendipity to WordPress

June 15th, 2008

Finally finished moving the blog from Serendipity to WordPress. I initially liked Serendipity better. Serendipity has a great community and it has a ton of plug-ins. However, Serendipity took way to long to load and it uses too many tables. Also the folders in Serendipity are a mess. I guess there is a reason why WordPress is the leading blog engine as it is flexible and light weight.

The migration was also a bit painful because of the way Serendipity stores the posts. I finally ended importing the entire set of posts by hand. It wasn’t that many (thank god!) but it took about 2 hours to do the whole thing.

I’m glad I moved to WordPress now. I think I might start posting more too because they have a great UI and the WYSIWYG is much much better and less buggy than serendipity’s.

Till next time!

The History of Martinez

May 28th, 2008

Recently I had to do some research about the city I live in. It turns out my town is full history. When I moved here I thought it was a small town that was more like a hole in the wall. After doing some very interesting research, I found out that it’s not only one of the first towns to be built along the coast of Northern California, but that it played a very important roll on the development of the state both during the Gold Rush and the Railroad Monopoly. It was also a fishing town, shipping point and had one of the first oil refineries in the west coast. Here is my Essay:

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Boys will be boys…

May 1st, 2008

I watched this video on ESPN.com today:

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3361421

The story is simple. Tech guys in the silicon valley, get to gether once a month and beat each other up into a pulp. It’s a new story on itself. Fight Clubs have been existence for a long time, and although Brad Pitt and Edward Norton made them mainstream, this particular one predates the movie.

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God damn it! I hate cracked.com

April 29th, 2008

I think it’s not news to anyone that knows my web habits that I hate cracked.com with a passion. They’re the most stupid website ever created. The problem is not the website itself or what they do. I have the guilty pleasure of trolling “top-ten” lists of all sorts. I enjoy the cheap thrill of enduring the first 9 boring items for the surprise punch effect of the number one. Hells, I even watched all the VH1 specials even though they recycled every single top ten with the same videos and just changed the title.

No… The problem I have with craked is that they’re not even honest on their lists. They don’t do research, they don’t even try to look up what they’re talking about before making a “statement” on the subject they’re listing.

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artsy fartsy penny-arcade!

April 21st, 2008

Edit: Stupid Serendipity doesn’t let me embed video. So I added the url to penny-arcade TV on USTREAM.com
I’ve always loved penny-arcade I’ve followed these guys since around 2002 when they got introduced to me by my good friend dustin. I haven’t been lucky enough to go to PAX, but I make a point to donate to Child’s Play

because I strongly believe on the power of video games (PSA: If you don’t already have a charity, please think about this one. It’s an honest effort from two guy in Seattle to try to make sick kids’ lives a little more enjoyable).

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I got the 36 points!

April 11th, 2008

Finally finished my assembly language class. This is probably one of the most difficult programming assignments I’ve ever had. The assignment seems simple enough at the begining. The idea is that we get a working program. All functions have already been written for us and compiling and running is successful. However, all the functions are in a library that we do not have access to. Instead, we must rewrite the functions and make sure we do not break the existing program.

It sounds a lot easier that it actually is. The functions involved things that are so simple in C++. For instance, we had to travel arrays, bitmap tables, and a “linked list” assembly style.

In truth it was a very difficult task. Traveling arrays requires knowing the exact size not only of the array but also of the data type as that’s the only way we can figure out how many memory offsets we need to travel. Also for the bitmaps, switching one involves going over multiple segments to get a to the specified bit, and then only turning on or off the specific bit.

It was indeed a difficult program, but I’m finally done with it and I got all 36 points (pending teacher review). That means I can go back to reading my game programming book!

<EOM>

Assambler is the suck!

April 2nd, 2008

It’s a lie! It is actually a very good way to trully understand programing. I think through out the time that I’ve spent learning programming I didn’t apreciate the subtleties of it. It’s easy to forget, dismiss, or simply ignore why things behave the way they do. I think learning assambler language has really put things into perspective. Do I like assambler? Not really. It’s a difficult language to understand. It’s hard to make sense out of it, even if it is heavily commented. Do I enjoy it? I think so. It’s like a puzzle. Pieces need to match exactly and even if a piece “looks” like it belongs in the picture, it might actually ruin the entire flow of it. Each piece needs to be put together carefully, thoughtfully.

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Parsing XML’s!

January 7th, 2008

WOOT! I finally got my XML parser to work. It is still in a very rough stage. I can parse an XML file, but there is no connectivity to the internet yet. Also I can see future issue with performance and handling things like content on the tags (when there are several paragraphs worth of text for a single tag). But the recursive function works and it will return a parseXML class populated with a Tag vector that contains all parent and children.
It is by no means a full on XML reader or parser. This was very roughly built on my free time with the tools I have at the moment, and for one specific purpose. I did it completely oriented to read Blizzards XML format for the http://wowArmory.com site. However, I am very proud of it because it’s been done all by myself with no guidance or help from others.

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