Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Robo Pac-Man!!!!

This is the best robotics project ever. Kudos for these guys!!!!

Link to their project: http://pacman.elstonj.com/

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

It happened

Ojos got a nice job, its corresponding visa, and was accepted to two US top-20 MBA programs. This has several implications.

Great ones:

  • Ojos will keep kicking major butt in her already successful career.
  • Ojos will keep moving towards her ultimate goal of World domination.
  • This automatically qualifies us for the famous DINK status (yeeeeeeey).
  • We got a nice Honda Fit Sport 2008 so Ojos can drive to work and we’ll finally be able to have some weekend escapes.

Not so great ones:

  • The IRS hates us DINKies. As such, we have to claim as fewer allowances as possible in our paychecks, so Uncle Sam doesn’t jump on our income when we make our taxes next year.
  • I don’t cook as well as Ojos. I mean I’m a great cook because, as Robert Rodriguez says, “not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to fuck”, but just not as good as she is. We don’t have the time for experimental stuff now.
  • We’ll have to change our December vacation plans, giving US Airways more money in the process.

All in all the balance is absolutely positive. We completed this successful transition 6 months into our marriage. Keep it coming!

I want my rain back!!!!

Nostalgia.

These past days have been rainy in CLT. The problem is that it isn't a real rain like in Mexico. It’s a little, tiny, light, but abundant rain… that has the additional quality of lasting all the freaking day.

It kills me. In Mexico it’s always a heavy as hell rain, but it only lasts a few minutes, couple of hours maximum. Several theories have been made around it:

  • Being a land of Machos, rain plays along and hits hard.
  • Radioactive elements of Mexico City’s share of the atmosphere create a heavier rain.
  • The presence of Tlaloc.
  • English were stupid for establishing a city in the middle of the forest, where rain is light, tiny and lasts all freaking day and I was stupid for coming here.

Whatever it is, I don’t entirely like it.

Thanks for stopping by… I promise to write something worth reading one day.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Evolution

It's always been clear to me that playing and appreciating tennis is the ultimate sign of evolution :)
Great image found in the signature of some folk who posts in MensTennisForums.com

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Friday, 17 July 2009

Updating

Since life keeps happening whether you blog or not, here is a small list of updates...

1) I'm moving in two weeks to a brand new flat in South End, near Uptown Charlotte and Dilworth. It is basically 1 block from my current apartment, but the community has nice advantages: you can borrow a bycicle to go places (handy when you don't have a car), the interior design is awesome, we'll have a mini second floor, and we'll have many neat restaurants at less-walking distance.

2) Ojos is applying to MBAs. She will kick ass as usual.

3) The NC Music Factory opened at Charlotte, featuring "The Fillmore." Having a Fillmore here guarantees some decent concerts in the World Capital of Boredom (it's actually not that bad but the nickname sticked). First decent concert will be Collective Soul, August 28th.

4) I still haven't bought a car. Basically becaue I don't want more debt in my back (I'm still fighting the credit card debt from Mexico)... but sometimes I just want one so bad. For instance, each time I go to Wal-Mart, each time I think about going to Atlanta for a weekend... or Myrtle Beach! ...

Coming soon in the next post: something worth reading.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Events, events, events…

Life has been quite eventful in the last weeks, reason for which I haven’t been able to blog. Taking advantage of the unbearable lightness of Sunday, I’d like to post some of the stuff I’ve been doing lately.

1. Rent a car and drive to IKEA to buy a drawer for the bedroom and a nice bench for my beautiful 40’’ LCD HDTV.

2. Go to ByDesign to buy our living room!!!! It is a fantastic white leather sectional with an additional armless chair. It bloody rocks:

3. Right after IKEA and ByDesign, drive for 3 hours to Fayetteville, North Carolina to catch a gig of my favorite band: Collective Soul. It’s been almost 8 year since my last Collective Soul concert (July 5th, 2001 @ Teatro Metropolitan, Mexico City).

They played a very very very good set list with almost all of the big ones (they left Precious Declaration out), 3 songs from their upcoming album (Ed Roland said it would be ready for September) and a couple of not-that-famous ones and the newly famous Tremble for My Beloved from their 1999 album Dosage (it is newly famous thanks to Twilight… it is the only good thing out of that crappy movie –which I didn’t see, but I know it’s crappy-).

My wife got me a Dean Roland’s set list. Nice souvenir.

IMG_0030 The only bad thing is that since it was a town festival, not all of the people was a lot into the concert… but once we got to the front rows it was a great atmosphere. A couple of action shots:

IMG_0028

IMG_0026

And the other bad thing was the 3 hour drive back to CLT… but it was well worth it :)

4. Kings of Leon!!!!!! Yeah!!!! First KoL gig for me and Ojos. It was brilliant, even though the place wasn’t full (illiterate southeasterners) and the acoustic of the place wasn’t great. Other than that, it was a great concert.

Here’s the setlist:

Crawl
Taper Jean Girl
My Party
Be Somebody
Molly’s Chambers
Fans
Milk
Four Kicks
Charmer
Sex on Fire
The Bucket
Notion
On Call
Cold Desert
Use Somebody
Slow Night, So Long

Encore
Closer
Knocked Up
Manhattan
Instrumental
Black Thumbnail

Brilliant! They only missed California Waiting.

A bad action shot here (we had all the lights pointing to ourselves for some reason):

IMG_0034

And 5.

We just received the CDs with the official wedding pictures!!!!!!! (By Enkuadre… hire those guys if you’re getting married around Mexico City).

Now comes the titanic task of choosing 200 pictures from 2000… but it promises to be a lot of fun. I’m of course creating a Picasa Web album for those!

Well… that’s it! thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Got a direct message from my fave band

Thanks, Tweeter :P

Whatever, they claim to follow back all of their fans. I told them they weren't in my case, and Dean Roland from Collective Soul sent me a direct message to prove me wrong.



It doesn't matter if I ended up looking like an idiot. It still is a direct message from my favorite band, isn't it?

BTW, this end of month looks great:

April 25th - Collective Soul @ Fayetteville, NC
April 30th - Kings of Leon @ Cricket Arena, Charlotte, NC

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Let Me Google that For You

Ooooooooooobviously, there will be a post about my wedding, marriage and stuff. It was wonderful and married life has been great so far.

But that's not the subject of this post... "Let me Google that for you" is.

I'm sure that you know a lot of people who simply WON'T google and instead, they ask YOU how to do something. Let me Google that for you is a great educational tool so people will stop bothering you and start asking Uncle Google, who knows all answers.

Quick example. John Doe wants to know what a prompt in MicroStrategy is. Instead of googling it, he decides to ask Coller.

=======
John Doe says:
Coller. What is a prompt in MicroStrategy?

Coller says:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Microstrategy prompt
=======

John Doe will now get his answer and will -hopefully- learn to google stuff. Amazing!

Now go and use it.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

mBanking - Telcel + Banamex

Y powered by Gemalto =)

Aquí algunas notas del lanzamiento:

El Universal

CNN

Invertia

Este amiguito me quitó el sueño de 2006 a mediados de 2008, cuando dejé México y el mundo de Telecom y las SmartCards por mi nueva vida gringa y el mundo de BI.

La solución es sumamente segura y la facilidad de uso se garantiza por medio de SIM Browsing, tecnología que permite usar el servicio hasta en los teléfonos más piñatas del mercado.

Así que los que están en México: corran y úsenlo!!! Pero ya!!!!

Y felicidades a los de GTO.PA

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Mario Bros, cumbia version

Update: Here's this great band's MySpace...

My cousin sent me the link to this video. It simply kicks ass. These guys are legendary.

Just try to ignore the first seconds with the idiotic hosts announcing the band... it's well worth it!

Friday, 30 January 2009

From Windows Live Writer

I’m experimenting Windows Live Writer, a desktop client for blogging from the Empire. So far the experience has been pretty solid: an open platform that can be used for blogging not only in Live Spaces, but also in Blogger (hence this experiment), WordPress, among others.

It features a nice architecture that allows the use of plugins. The following picture, for instance, is from my PicasaWeb account and I’m inserting it using the Picasa Link plugin. It basically loads your albums and images to a side bar so you can choose the one to insert from there.

Another plugin is for Live Search maps. Here is where I live (or how it was some time ago… MSFT apparently had some delay on the pictures, when compared to Google Maps):

Map picture

And everything is done with a few clicks. It even loads your template! It’s a true WYSIWYG.

It’s really surprising for a Microsoft product. Besides, the latest version of Messenger finally respects my decision of having Firefox as my default browser and doesn’t try to use IE when I click the Hotmail icon.

Recommended piece of software. Only thing I’d add is to load my tags (it has some tags providers but I don’t use any of those… I just want my bloody regular tags).

Download from here

Monday, 26 January 2009

Salsas in the US

Hot sauces are a basic ingredient of Mexican food. Arriving to the US I found they had different varieties and classifications for hot sauce.

The classification normally has the following levels: mild, medium mild, medium hot, hot, very hot, extremely hot and some places have one called infierno.

It looks complex at first! Especially for Mexicans who just arrived to the country... you want salsa, but you remember that in Mexico "extremely hot" usually means something crazy, like habanero or mashed dried chile de árbol... very hot stuff.

Well... no more suffering and wondering... after trying all the salsas they serve in different quasi-Mexican restaurants like Chipotle, Sandía, Cantina 1511 and Jolina, among others, I have prepared the following table to illustrate how salsas in the US correspond to how hot that salsa would be in Mexico:

  • If you ask for mild.... you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Medium mild, you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Medium hot, you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Hot, you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Very Hot, you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Extremely Hot, you'll get mild
  • If you ask for Infierno, you'll get mild
There you go, now you can have any salsa in the States and know EXACTLY what to expect!!!!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Monday, 19 January 2009

Dream House (Heineken Ad)

I'm so having one of these rooms in the future!!!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

How many countries can you name in 5 minutes?

I didn't like my score... it was 60. My girl is gonna do like 200 or something crazy like that (click on the image if you'd like to take the test).

60
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Sites


The interesting part, though, is not the test, but how I got there. I was peacefully browsing through blogs when one of them led me to one made by a girl from the same company I work for, everything fine up to that point, in the end it's a 1600 people company (minus the folks they fired last week... stupid crisis), the surprise was to find a comment from Renán, from Gemalto, there. That led me to his blog, and ultimately to the above referenced test.

Renán is a talented engineer in the smart card world (my ex-world :P to say it in a way) and last year he got the chance to transfer to Paris, where he now lives a life full of glamour and crossaints (it's expensive to have anything else for breakfast).

I highly recommend his blog, Renan à Paris! He uses the same high-level prose and complex sense of humor that made lunch time a better time in my Gemalto days.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Converting to Metric

I have a difficult time explaining the metric system to yanks... and thanks to this Mich's post (that by accurately describes the Windows 7 beta) I found this beauty from xkcd.com (click on it to enlarge)
:
I must confess I never thought of "reference points" as a means to explain the metric system, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

Monday, 5 January 2009

2k8 / 2k9

I'm back to harsh reality (in which I have to work and live in a small southern city)... its welcome couldn't be any more violent: my bags didn't make it to Charlotte yesterday, and when they did, they delivered them earlier than I told them, so now they are at the concierge office that opens from 9 to 6 (or to say it in a different way, when I'm not home and I can't collect them).

I realized that I would never write the traditional last year review if I waited until my rage against American Airlines gave in. So here it is:

2008 turned out to be the most eventful, busiest and craziest year of my life (my life isn't eventful, busy or crazy so this recap will be seen as rather ordinary by many of you... well... if anyone reads it anyway):

- January: a new experimental position is created at my ex-employer and they somehow decide I was the man for the job. In the few years I've been working I learned that when your job description if diffuse, your objectives don't exist, and you are supposed to cost less instead of generate more, you have two choices:
  1. Run
  2. Hang in there, sneak into the first available open position
I opted for the second one, and lost two months seeing how things got more and more kafkian, which takes us to:

- March: I applied and interviewed for my current job. All the process was held in Mexico and I was told to wait a couple of weeks to get news. In this same month, I bought THE engagement ring.

-
April... this one is special
  • 19th: Board plane to Dubai (hey! there had to be something good about that role)... ATL-DXB... 14.5 hours...
  • 24th: I get the offer for my current job, in the US of A, location to be determined. I decide to negotiate it a bit (it worked).
  • 25th: I proposed!!!! This was by far the best day of the year... 4x4 ride on the dunes, camel ride, dinner in the middle of the desert and yes for an answer. It doesn't get much better than this
From Dubai Baby!!! (and engagement baby!!)

- May: I keep negotiating and accept the offer... it's official, Coller moving to the US. I turned 26.

- June: Wedding place hunting at full throtle (in Mexico you need to book at least 10 months in advance to get the right place at the right date). Visa arrangements start.

- July: I got my Visa (made a nice short trip to Monterrey to get it done faster), got the place to marry, and I receive my one way ticket to DC.

-
August: Can be summarized in one word: boot camp. While remembering how to study, I got to re-visit DC calmly (my previous 2 trips there were pretty short), meet a bunch of great guys who were also starting in the company. I attended the qualifying round of the Legg Mason Tennis classic.

- September:

  • US Open baby!!!!! Murray vs Melzer was the best match I saw(Murray went all the way to the final, beating Nadull in the process but losing it to Federer)
  • My location is defined: Charlotte, NC. Second financial center of the USA (Bank of America is based here and Wachovia was -and their new owners, Wells Fargo, are setting the East Coast HQ here).
  • I start renting an apartment in Uptown Charlotte (with appliances like fridge, microwave, washer and drier included) at a rate I'd get a small room with shared bathroom in cities like LA, NY or SF (I'm trying to stay positive about Charlotte).
- October: My fiance comes, we go shopping and semi-furnish the apartment.

- November: My fiance comes again and we go to Mexico for thanksgiving.

During these months I also get to see my first NBA match in a good while and my first NFL match ever. In early December I go to see both teams again :P

December: I completely unplugged myself for the last two weeks, went to Acapulco for Xmas and stayed in Mexico City to receive 2009. Ate an awful lot:
  • Quesadillas (from Etén, a street in Lindavista -actually the street where I lived- , you are highly encouraged to go)
  • Birria
  • Pozole
  • Flautas
  • Turkey
  • Apple salad
  • Seafood, tons of seafood!
  • Chilaquiles
  • Paella
  • Tacos
  • Quesadillas from Tres Marías
I somehow missed tacos al pastor though...

- 2009: American Airlines manages to lose my bags for the 3rd time in 6 trips. They deliver them one day later when I'm not home and leave them at an office that is open exactly when I'm not home.

But it will get better... I'll get married and bring my girl here... and I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better than that :)

Other things:
  • Loved Juno, Nick and Norah's infinite playlist and Wall-E.
  • Read a lot of Kafka, Chejov and ... go ahead, crucify me, Harry Potter (first 3 books... stopped because my fiance didn't have the 4th one at home)
  • Traveled like a freaking idiot for the third straight year. Kept my gold status at Sky Team. Will lose it with the travel ban imposed by the company =(.
  • I'm sleepy I can't remember much more...

Sunday, 4 January 2009

I'm back in town...

After 2 weeks in Mexico (one at Acapulco, one at the city) I'm back to Charlotte, a much more uninteresting place hehe... but hey! they pay in dollars.

Well, since I bought my ticket with American Airlines I was sure something wrong was going to happen. For some reason, the CLT-DFW-MEX leg was flawless. I even started thinking of using AA more frequently... but then, in the return trip today, my bags didn't make it to Charlotte with me (and therefore my toothbrush, deodorant, and a bunch of other things).

I have used AA in a total of 6 trips and they have managed to lose my bags in 3 of them!!! 50% effectiveness!!! I just can't believe these guys!!!!!
  • 1st time I was returning to MEX from Trinidad & Tobago, via Miami. The bags arrived 2 days laters, with a tag from JFK (the bags were sent to New York!!!)
  • 2nd time they cancelled my Santo Domingo - Miami flight and sent me to San Juan and then to Orlando where I took an AeroMéxico flight to MEX. The bags stayed at San Juan for 1 more day, and I received them 1 hour before taking a cab back to the airport for a flight to France.
Why does American Airlines hate me? Any ideas?