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).

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 (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?