San Antonio Tejas

I do not want to dog on San Antonio because the people I know there are very nice and I was treated with respect in every encounter I had with people. However, I felt like the areas where I was at were super commercialized and all you saw driving through the highway were billboards advertising this and that. I also thought parking spaces were crammed, but as my wife wisely put, its just that the cars are bigger, like everything else in Texas. I did bring back a stuffed animal armadillo for my wife, even though I did not see a live one… and I guess they are not cuddly little animals, but vicious dog killers that need to be shot… as a cop at the airport explained to me.

I was there for work this past week. I did not get to see the Alamo or the River walk. I did get to see a lot of Mexican looking people that did not speak Spanish at all.

I was not surprised that people that looked Spanish did not speak the language, I have encountered that before, I was surprised by the percentage. I would venture to say that at least 70% of the people I saw that looked very Spanish to me, did not know how to say anything but the basic Spanish that is picked up by watching TV.

I was then later informed of TexMex as it refers to language, and it being what I call Spanglish. I was also told that people that spoke TexMex would not be understood in Mexico.

Two thoughts came to mind, one is how sad it is that people in this country are so against letting illegal immigrants into the country, without realizing that a growing percentage of the country is already Hispanic. I did not know how big the percentage was until I went to San Antonio and saw that a lot of people are Spanish there. I also know that many ignorant people in this country see a Mexican looking person and automatically assume they are an illegal immigrant. What some might not realize is that the percentage of the Hispanic population that is here legally or have been in the country for generations but are still of Hispanic descent is probably bigger than the ones that are here illegally.

The second thought that came to mind was how sad it is to lose parts of your culture like your language. I love languages and think they are beautiful. I now I have two languages in my repertoire and sometime can only express my true feelings in one or the other. I am lucky my wife understands both because it lets me communicate better than if I had to rely on just one.

Even thought I understand why so many people lost their language, ask anyone of German or Italian descent, because their parents did not want them to have an accent when they spoke or be segregated because of their other language. In some rare cases, they kids simply did not care about their heritage and let the language get lost.

If I am ever blessed with kids they are going to learn as many languages as possible before they are 10. I know at least inside the house only Spanish will be spoken. I think English is also important, but living in the US it is something they will pick up at school. I also hope that when that happens I have already started to speak French and can also give them that language, I know my wife will.

Speed for calm

Appetizer
What is your favorite beverage?
I really like water with lemon.

Soup
Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
Blank DVDs, Learn French Software, and a Fax/Printer.

Salad
On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
11. Just ask me ;) I have been told I am as subtle as a mac truck.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
Not sure about this one yet.

Dessert
What stresses you out? What calms you down?
I think the unknown stresses me out, video games and high speed vehicles calm me down.

To believe or not to believe

“The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.”
-Eric Hoffer

One of my closest friends does not believe in God, another one has completely separated himself from organized religion but both of them are very kind people that I believe can make it into the heaven that I believe in.

Recently XO has been posting about atheism in the sense that you should doubt faith, and I will put him in the bag with the fanatical atheist. I think anyone that is actually giving people information for one cause or another has taken a step towards that side and can quickly become fanatical. I am not offended by what he posts and I actually like that there are people out there challenging religion.

Part of having faith is being able to believe even when others don’t. Part of believing is knowing that it is your choice to have faith. I also don’t think spirituality should be confused with faith. While some people might not have faith in something like the thought of God, they might have faith in the goodness of people, in love or many other feelings.

Humans are capable of abstract thought, and what differentiate us from animals is that feelings can make part of our decision making progress on top of instinct. We choose to override our instincts with either morals or feelings. Society prevent us from for example taking food from one another even if we are hungry. The formation of society is what allows us to think in those terms, to believe that there is something out there bigger than us.

To actually promote that there is no god, to deny his existence is in some way an acknowledgment. I believe that Nietzsche saying “God is dead.” is a cry for help from someone that feels abandoned. To attack organized religion is one thing that I am not against, bloated institutions that take advantage of people are not good in my eyes. To attack the faith that people have on anything I believe is dangerous in the sense that you are not trying to open eyes but close them. Where once person sees beauty and comfort, someone else might see something unpleasant. I think it is important to respect what others believe, because that people that believe in nothing probably feel pretty empty inside.

Political Party

By the results from this survey, I have fully switched political party… what a difference 8 years make.

88% John Edwards
88% Barack Obama
86% Hillary Clinton
86% Chris Dodd
85% Bill Richardson
79% Joe Biden
78% Mike Gravel
71% Dennis Kucinich
49% Rudy Giuliani
41% John McCain
40% Tom Tancredo
34% Mike Huckabee
32% Mitt Romney
31% Ron Paul
23% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

T.H. to Chuck.

Visit from my best friend

My best friend and his girlfriend just left Kansas City. They actually spent the weekend here and got to enjoy some quality time with us. We played tons of Guitar Hero and some Star Fox 64. We went to the casino to test Travis’ theory for roulette which seems to work if you have enough of a bankroll. We got to eat some awesome meals, but overall we got to reminisce. Travis and I have been friends for over 10 years now, and college seems to be further and further away this days. My 30th birthday is approaching faster than I thought it would and for the first time in a long time I am really looking forward to celebrating.

I cannot believe that so much time has passed by, so much has changed yet so much has stayed the same. Our group of friends was pretty close during the first couple of years of college, then slowly we started to lose one after the other. I was the only one out of my original group of friends that graduated. I did start hanging out with people I knew from the very beginning, but it was after my friends were either kicked out or dropped out of school.

I realize that I used to swear a lot back then, I also swore a lot this weekend. I don’t really enjoy profanity all that much, but it is fun to just let go and act childish once in a while. I also had not thought about some of the situations that we got into and out of back then. We were not criminals, but we did do a lot of things that eventually got us in more trouble than we really needed.

I also realized this week that out of that original group of friends I am the only one that ended up being a programmer. While some of my friends are still in the field in one way or another, I am the only one that actually has stayed in the software side of things. Even thought most of my career has been spent in integration and process analysis, I am back to the writing code lately and I love it.

I know most of the people that I used to hang out with back then loved computers. Liking them is not enough to be a programmer, you also have to have lots of patience and tons of perseverance. While what I do is not overly complicated and I think most people can do, not everyone will actually enjoy using logic for everything you do.

It was good to see my best friend, something that has not changed from back then is how much I enjoy his company. My wife got to see a side of me that probably scared her a little. Nothing she did not know, more like she did not know to what extent the debauchery back then used to get to. Meeting Travis’ girlfriend for the first time was also good, even though I am not sure what she will think about me now that she has met me. My wife has met Travis before, but I think this weekend was the first time she got to see how annoying we can be once we are together.

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