Thursday, November 26

Thanksgiving

Okay, I have a chance to write about Thanksgiving because I am not working today and I am not watching TV and I am not playing video games and I am not farming or playing Mafia Wars (no commas intentional). It is another year, I can't believe I am 27, or however old I am, and I can't believe it is Thanksgiving again. As most of us young'uns have, I have spent most of my Thanksgivings with my parents and at home. Over the last couple of years Thanksgiving is the holiday we visit my mom in El Paso and the holiday I get to spend with my family.
It is weird, I am waking up and I am not smelling the smell of turkey, or I am not waking up early and stumbling to my mom's living room on her cold tile floor. It is definitely something I miss, it isn't just the turkey, but it is seeing my mom, grandma, sister, tias, and cousins. 
My family is a wild group, I sometimes can be loud and sometimes be the center of attention, but most of them make me look as quiet as a baby kitten (I know that is a little redundant). It is funny how my mom sometimes crowds like 20 people into her tiny kitchen. Thankfully since we all have been around each other for so long the chaos goes smoothly. 
Now the food is the other thing I miss. I am a very simple guy, I do not miss the gravy (I think she usually buys the gravy), I do not miss the stuffing (something my mom and her sisters go crazy over), and I do not miss the other crap. What I do miss is the turkey with chile con queso. I know for those of you who have not tried this is may sound gross or crazy. I like chile con queso on many things, but I think on turkey it is the best.   I am not sure exactly, but I think this will be my second year not having Thanksgiving at home. Thankfully Laura knows my need for chile con queso and she is making some for me today. The advantage I have is having better mashed potatoes, they are not exactly my mom's specialty. 
Erin will get to have another holiday here, but I really hope to make it a very regular thing to go there once a year or have my mom and sister come here to see her. Her family here (my in laws and my mother in law's parents) loves her very much, but Erin has so much other family that loves her. I want to make sure she knows them and they have the pleasure of being able to see her. 
What I am thankful for? I am thankful for Erin and Laura. I am thankful I have a job that I do not hate. I am thankful Erin and Laura are healthy. I am thankful for Modern Warfare 2. I am thankful for Gizmo. I am thankful for everything, I think if you are not thankful for something you have to change it and make it work for you, or change your perception of it. 
I hope everybody has their best Thanksgiving yet!

Tuesday, November 17

What I learned from Erin today.

Erin bites, she was fighting me and bit my leg. When I told her my foot was broken she pulled some random toes to heal me. I think it worked. 

Sunday, November 15

Erin's Take on Love

This morning I told Erin I loved her. She told me she loves me...sometimes...when I am not scaring her. I guess I know what she is talking about. I love Chupcabras when they are not scaring me.

Friday, November 13

Erin

So let's dive right on into this blog, Erin is my daughter. I know she is my daughter because the dragon part of her comes out sometimes, she obviously gets that from me. Seriously though she is my 2 year old (almost 3). If you ask her how old she is she will say she is 6, well not anymore unless she is trying to be a funny little goof.
Anyways, why write a blog about my daughter? Why not right? She is the first thing (not that she is a thing, but you know what I mean) I think about when I wake up and the last before bed. She is so much to me.
Anyways, (wow I say that a lot and use a lot of parentheses) for some time I have been thinking "What is the best way to say I love you so she will know forever?" I try to encourage her with things she does because I know in the future confidence will be important. Laura and I try to make sure she treats other people right and hopefully we can teach her not to judge people. 
If I had to grade Laura and I, I would give us a B+ or an A. I think Erin is good for the most part and I think she is shaping to be a good little human. Now something that is becoming a struggle is her being spoiled. She is like Stitch, she just can say something and it will happen, maybe she gets her convincing skills from me. 
So back to the topic. I want her one day to be able to look at my blog and look at my thoughts and say "My dad really loves me". It is true I do. My goal is to start with this and everyday add one way she has amazed me and maybe something I have learned from her. 
For those of you who do not have kids they are really great. Make sure you are ready to give them your all. It is weird how much you can love your child before they are even born. It is even weirder how you can love them immediately after they are born while they still look like an alien (all I have to say to Erin is I am glad she does NOT look like a Conehead anymore). 
So I hope if you read my blog, I hope you can feel a little of what I feel. All you need is love right? 




P.S. Daddy loves you!

Monday, October 19

Haunting

Okay, so it is that time of year when everybody is dressing up as Frankenstein, a ghost, or a vampire. Wait a minute this isn't 1968 people are dressing as sluttier sluts, Twilight characters, and ladybugs (that is what Erin is going to be). So we are thinking about Halloween costumes and every scary movie is coming out on TV or being highlighted at the video store. Yes, there are the classic monster movies, what really scares me are haunting movies with ghosts or poltergeists. 
Over my life span there are a few moments that have scared me and really stood with me. The first one I really remember was at my parents house. It was when we moved to the west side of El Paso. The house was right off of Bishop Flores and it was there was no development further than that. Imagine no Franklin or Hornedo or any of the billion things that are there now, just desert. Anyways, our house was two stories, my parents room was downstairs and my room, the den, and my little sister's room was upstairs. Of course being the little prince I was spent time downstairs with my mom especially while she cleaned or ironed or whatnot. 
One day she was cleaning the house and went upstairs to clean the restroom. I stood downstairs because I was watching TV on her old console TV. I did not think much of her cleaning or being away from me for a few moments, but while I was watching TV I felt a weird feeling and I heard a low growl in the room with me. It wasn't our pekingese Twinkle, but when I looked at her she looked scared. At that moment I started crying and screamed for my mom and nothing happened for quite some time. 
The next things that happened were in that house and I do not remember the specifics. At the top of the stairs we had a framed picture of the Virgin Mary and it came off the wall and went down the stairs. I am not sure exactly how this happened, but it would have had to have jumped a few feet off the wall to land close enough to the stairs to slide down. If it had fallen normally it would have fallen along the wall then down face first or hit the wall and have fallen. The strange thing is it landed face up at the bottom. 
The other thing in that house was witnessed by my sister and I and sounded like a high pitched scream and low growl at the same time. I thought it was my cat Shenehneh, but when we looked at her she just looked befuddled and there was nothing going on with her.
Okay so fast forward several years into the 21st century. Now we have running water and flying cars and our lives aren't ruled by Voodoo. My parents got divorced (it happens) and my mom moved into a house with my sister and I. My mom was doing college at night to work on her masters degree and Laura and I watched my sister Brandy because she was like 13 or something. 



So my room was in the back of that house and it was an extension of the original house. My bedroom door was a wood door with frosted glass. We usually hung out in my bedroom because Laura and I bought a decent TV and we would watch movies or whatever was on TV. My mom's chihuahuas (Pup and Bandit) would hang out with us as well. The first weird thing I remember happening was smelling cigarette smoke. Since it was just us and none of us smoked (my mom does not smoke either) I found it a little strange. So as I always do I grabbed a knife and went to investigate. I did not have to go far. The kitchen was beside my room and there was a cloud of smoke in there. It seemed to not be moving and it was not thick, but it was visible. All doors and windows to the house were closed, but the confusion and the slight fear that caused kind of kickstarted some of the other weird stuff.
Once we all kind of were freaked out we used to close and lock my bedroom door while we were watching TV and hanging out. That is when we started noticing shadows walking across the door. To me it looked like it was people and the time I distinctly remember I think I saw two figures. They did not come in, but with the frosted glass I did see figures walk by.
The other time I heard another strange sound, we heard the sound of glass shattering. Glass shattering is something that will get most people's attention because you are like, "Oh S@*%!!! What is happening, or what just broke?!" Well that was my initial reaction too, but when the sound went on for 30 seconds or more it really scared me. So I grabbed my knife and very hesitantly investigated. No broken glass and no broken objects. My mom did not believe us, but she had the house blessed and it was a million times better.Sometimes when I go back to that room I feel scared from my memory, but I don't feel the feeling that was always there previously.
So most recently (maybe a year after that) Laura and I moved in together. We lived on the west side of El Paso again off of Mesa Hills. Our apartment was super cheap, I had a job, life was good. I am not sure how it escalated or what happened, but the feeling of fear was back. I am not sure if any of you believe in things like this or have experienced anything like this, but there is a feeling you get when this is around you. Anyways, I didn't experience too much besides door's closing, but Laura would see dark shadows crawling in her restroom. It was just in that spot and I would tease her for some time, but it seemed like she stopped using it. She saw the shadows (even in darkness they were darker), but at times she also saw light in there. Taking a cue from the other house we got some holy water and went to every window and every door and said "Our Father". I do not know if it is psychological, which I know skeptics would say it is, but the holy water really helped. When that feeling of fear leaves you it is like your life changes for the better. Until next time. As always catch me on Twitter @gizmoalex or Facebook


On a side note Laura's parents old house was always very scary. Laura and her brother Justin experienced cabinets open, doors closing, sounds of steps on the hardwood. I am not too sure of every single detail, but I do know her dad's uncle (or other family member) died there. I also know that the house was essentially two stories and the bottom story was a basement. The basement housed her parent's room and Justin's room and the feeling gets you as soon as you start going down the stairs. That house was scary and I am glad it is not involved in any part of my life anymore.

Friday, October 16

Twitter

Okay, I am always late on internet trends. I am late on computer stuff as a whole. I mean it is 2009, I am starting my blog like 3 years after all the cool people did it. I am not starting it to make money, or to showoff my awesome (sarcastic) writing skills, or even to gain 1 million readers. I am doing my blog to help give me an extension on some of my thoughts and put them on the interwebs forever (or at least until "The Googles" explodes). 
So, I have a Twitter account I am @gizmoalex, and I put much of my "expression" into Twitter. Unfortunately it has also let my randomness and weirdness evolve into something that is more of a persona of myself than what I actually am. With the blog I hope to reclaim me a little bit.


I would like to say I discovered Twitter because I was part of a beta program of awesome people or something, but I just stumbled upon it cruising my regular websites I like. I made two accounts, one was going to be for work be more professional and one was going to be for me and a little sillier. The more professional one took a turn for the worst in a very bad way. See the evidence here. It was basically me or my daughter mashing keys and then me saying "Get to da choppa" in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.Internet meme video here.
So my other "silly account" was there. I did not follow many people at first, and I was like "What is the big deal"?. Twitter seemed boring. I was instantly bored with it and frustrated with the fail whale (Twitter website not working) so I started looking at other social media like Blip, Jango, and Plurk. After some time I revisited Twitter and started following more people. I suddenly saw the value in Twitter, YOU MAKE IT WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE.I am interested in technology, videogames, movies, weird comedy, being a good person, etc. So I started following other people that are involved in what I find interesting or are Tweeting about it. 
After that Twitter turned into a whole different beast. I follow more people now, and I am actually building relationships with awesome people I probably never would have met otherwise. I follow all sorts of different people and I really believe they all bring value to me and I enjoy connecting with them.
Twitter is also super valuable for their search results. If I use Google to search "Where the Wild Things Are" it would probably pull up sites referencing the book and the new movie. If I use Twitter to search that, I get short blips on what real people are saying about the movie. For me they are both valuable, but more of a real time relevance is exponentially more helpful. Twitter usually has trending topics so all you have to do is look on the right side of the Twitter page and that says the topics people are talking about the most. You do not know why they are referencing "Kanye" so you click on it and find he has embarrassed himself once again and you find out how he did it.
The last thing I want to leave you with is how to use Twitter. Say whatever you want on it, try to find out your company's policy on Tweeting and if it could cause any issues with your job. The tool I normally use to Tweet is SocialScope. It is a Twitter client for my Blackberry and it also integrates my Facebook timeline. I also have been using Seesmic it is a desktop application that runs on Adobe Air. I prefer it to Tweetdeck. If you use iPhone you have a ton of apps to choose from, but some suggestions are Twittelator Pro, Tweetie 2, or I like Twitteriffic. If your phone isn't super fancy (which is okay) you can always use your mobile web to Tweet or you can Tweet via text message. If you have any questions contact me on Twitter or comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Until next time muchachos.

Sunday, October 11

Android and the future of phones

I have always been a clown of sorts, sometimes it takes longer for people to discover that side of me. When it comes to work I try to be pretty mellow and straightforward, but something that I have always loved doing is communicating with people. Okay, now that I have stumbled over the first few sentences let me spit it out, my phone (Blackberry 8330/Sprint) allows me to communicate with people like I never have before.
Back in school I talked to most people in person, I said hi, they said hi, it was awkward sometimes, but that was life. I really do not remember many people having cell phones (I graduated in 2000), but I do remember calling my friend Sergio on his home phone every morning to see if he was ready to go to school. Some days he was, some days he wasn't, but we usually managed to get to school on time everyday. 
Then I got a job, I always swore to myself "I am not getting a cell phone, if they need to reach me, oh well". Then I am not sure what happened, but I eventually got one. I think the first cell company I had was Alltel. All I used my phone for at the time was to talk. I really liked them, but I had an old school phone after two years and I wanted something different.
After Alltel I had the good old AT&T for a short time. I made calls and dropped calls and then dropped a few more calls. It sucked. Now that was the first time I liked my phone, it had a screen with colors on it, and it had Tetris which I am a gangster at. I eventually got tired of having horrible service in a relatively large city, El Paso (one of the top 20 cities in the country by population believe it or not).


Next was where I am at now Sprint. Sprint used to be like the top tier of cell phones and I had a cool phone with a retractable antenna. The phone had animated National Geographic screens, a web browser, and the now extinct short code messaging (basically text via web that was horrendous). The phone was a soldier and it worked in most places. To this point my phones were all similar with a minor evolution happening from my first phone to my third.
After some time PDAs like Palm started gaining popularity. We have Blackberry in the game and eventually we have Windows Mobile and iPhone. If you have ever gone from a regular phone to one of these devices it is a good difference. You can play more media files (you can do that now with dumb phones), e-mail, games, camera (usually), and so on. 
Android is one of the most recent editions to the Smartphone market, and I think with help of the iPhone, Android is going to change the market the most. We all know there is one iPhone and it is with AT&T and unless you unlock the phone that is pretty much it. The iPhone has been so important in the market because it has really helped close the gap between high end customers and business customers. With the fairly reasonable price it has allowed some lower and medium tiered customers to enjoy a phone other than the basic phones they are used to.
I think Android is building on this. I think Android has a similar application based platform that is evolving faster than iPhone and Google is not limiting themselves by being only available to GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile. They recently (today) launched the HTC Hero for Sprint customers and some Verizon Android phones should be coming very soon. 
They are launching to multiple carriers, that along with having a solid partnership with HTC (who wants to become bigger in the United States and is making the push to make that happen), and a budding partnership with Motorola and LG could make them huge. 
I think in the next two years the major manufacturers like LG, Samsung, and HTC will load this is a default into carrier operating systems, it is just a theory, but I am going with that. You may have a Sprint flavor of Android with pre-installed apps and themes out of the box, but you will probably be able to replicate the Verizon or ATT equivalent. I know this was no Farmville, but until next time. 
Oh yeah, back to the clown thing. With my Blackberry I can go to Myspace and communicate with my people. I can update my Facebook, and I usually say the most random things on my Twitter it is surprising anybody is even following me (@gizmoalex by the way). So I love that my phone, which should be for calls, allows me to communicate in these different ways. When you add in e-mailing and text messaging the only thing you are really missing is smoke signals, and I am not sure but there may be an app for that.
In reference to my Farmville Blog, it also applies to Lil' Farm (or whatever it is called) and Farm Town.

Farmville the saddest addicition

As you may learn from future posts on this blog I usually have really weird dreams. They used to be funny weird (I will get into someday), but now they are starting to become scary weird. Either way a bad dream woke me up about 3 hours early today and inspired me to start my Blogger blog.
I woke up and I came straight to the computer. I logged into my Brizzly account thanks to @coffeedaze (Private profile, great guy), I opened Facebook, and I opened Gizmodo. So Facebook was the first thing to get my major attention, I checked to see if I had any messages and after that I immediately clicked on my Corn bookmark and launched Farmville.


This is usually my routine when I get on the computer, sometimes the other stuff does not get opened, I just go straight to my farm. This wouldn't be sad, but the game really is not that fun, there is not really a point, and in my opinion it is not that entertaining. I know all this, but I keep coming back.
If you are not familiar with Farmville it is basically a game where you harvest plants for coins that are used to upgrade your farm. Some of the upgrades are bales of hay, barns, and windmills. You plant a crop, you harvest it, you rinse and repeat. It is sad because whatever game you start with (Mafia Wars, Yoville, Cafe Wars) you usually become hooked.
We have gone to a friends house that have a laptop out and they are "farming" while we are visiting. Now you might think this is perfectly normal if it is some punk kid or something, but these are respectable people with good heads on their shoulders. I personally do not even know if we have company anymore because I am always farming. I am excited about the new Flash coming to Android and Blackberry because it gives me the hope I may be able to farm from my phone. It is sad that when I plant something I try to think of my schedule so I can make sure I will be able to harvest it.
So I am essentially writing this blog as a hint to my loved ones. Contact the show Intervention, lets play some sappy music, and let us get this Farmville problem solved as soon as possible. Until next time.