September 2008


Day Five, Assimilation.

Today would be nothing like the previous day. When my alarm sputtered into my ear at 6 a.m. I got out of bed. On this day, my first task was to shower and being that I had a couple of years to practice this task, I was quite adept. I felt bad for whoever was on the other side of the wall to my shower, but only slightly, as I was singing “Dance, Magic Dance” as made famous by David Bowie from the 1986 Jim Henson movie Labyrinth. And before you ask, yes I was even doing the “You remind me of a babe. What babe? The babe with the power…” part. At ten minutes to 7 I sat down at my hotel room’s desk to attempt to figure out how to dial into a conference call using the hotel phone. My list of materials to accomplish this task was extensive: AT&T calling card, instruction sheet for said calling card, hotel binder with instructions for dialing the US, laptop with conference call phone number information, hotel phone, hard surface on which to bang forehead. As it turns out, this would be the most difficult and aneurysm-causing part of my entire trip.

First I tried the most logical of options and followed the instructions on the calling card. It instructed me to first dial my country of origin’s international access line listed on the opposite side. Easy. I then dialed my patch-through number listed on the back of the calling card, and waited for the prompt. A friendly computer told me to dial the number that I was trying to reach, so I did. Not a valid number. Okay, let’s try this again only this time I’ll add the “001” for reaching the US, which took me to the next prompt: enter in my access code from the front of the calling card. A different, but equally as friendly computer told me that I was not authorized to do “this”. How helpful and informative of an error message. So was I unauthorized to dial to the United States or unauthorized to use this card? I tried again, and again, and again using different combinations of numbers to attempt to reach the US. I even tried directly dialing the number without any calling card, which took me to a message in Spanish that while I didn’t understand, I could at least make out a maniacal “Ha ha ha”. Eventually I was able to figure out that repeatedly hitting zero while conversing with the helpful calling card computer took me to an operator. She said that I should not be able to reach the number that I was calling but she would put me through anyway. Ok, thanks? I think that little piece of advice may have actually been even less informative than the generic message I got from the computer. At least I made the meeting…
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September 17, 2008. Guadalajara, Mexico. Day Four, Destiny.

Static. The alarm clock made its presence known by sputtering out distorted voices and wihte noise at well beyond the acceptable decibel level of the human ear. It was 6:00 a.m., Central Time and today was my first day to venture out to the IBM site for work. I went to bed relatively early the night before so I was feeling extremely rested and relaxed. I turned the alarm clock off and thought about what my day would be like.

The desert was beautiful. The sun was still low on the horizon and it cast long shadows before the sand dunes as I sat atop my trusty steed. I wanted to take my shirt off and wear it on my head like they do in the movies, but as I reached back to pull it over my head I was unable to feel the fabric between my fingers. Oh well, no matter: As I watched the rhythmic moveements of the muscles in the back of my horse’s neck I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my right eye; something fast. There was a gigantic camel spider, and it was running full speed towards me. Before I had time to react it was already leaping through the air, screeching like a pterodactyl. I reached across and unsheathed the machete from the left side of my saddle. In a single motion I brought the blade across my body and down in a path that would intercept the creature. Suddenly I found myself staring at the belly of the beast as it hung, suspended in mid-air, my blade cleaving its body in two. The faint red glow emanating from its thorax read 8:00.
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I can’t believe I did that. As I sit in the lobby bar anxiously awaiting the Steelers game, I whipped out my laptop to write my next entry for the “Chronicles of a Mexican Legend” story. At this moment I realized a glaring omission from my last chapter. In fact, it would be impossible to detail the events of the following day without this very important detail. So let us return to my day of Discovery…
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September 15, 2008. Guadalajara, Mexico. Day Two, Discovery.

The TV was on. The channel? Golden. The movie? Nick of Time (1995) starring Christopher Walken and Johnny Depp. I had never seen it, but I’d watch anything with Christopher Walken. Unfortunately, today I had more important matters: setting out on an epic journey. My purpose was simple, to relish in the rich Mexican culture that was all around me, and in the meantime practice speaking Spanish. What I did not know however, was that by the end of this day I would be knocked unconscious by a freight train and thrown 50 meters, only to be found bleeding and face down in a pool of stagnant sewage by a roaming howler monkey…
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Here’s the deal; on Saturday September 13th, I was in need of a taxi to the airport. I was embarking on a journey. This journey would be my first solo adventure into a foreign land, and possibly the most interesting one. For this reason I am chronicling the events of my trip into this blog. I will try to dedicate one post to each day; however I make no promises. In case you couldn’t guess from yesterday’s post, I am in Mexico. Guadalajara to be exact, mira:

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When I arrived here Saturday evening, I checked into the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel, witnessed the Guadalajaran Soccer team take over the Hotel lobby, and went to bed…
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What is it about Mexico that makes it so special? As I see it, there are two very differing views when it comes to this issue. The former being that Mexico’s rich culture and vibrant celebrations set it apart from the rest of the world, while the latter will insist that the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with the diverse culmination of flavors within any particular dish are the key facets to the country’s unexplainable charm. I however, have an entirely different view. Allow me to elucidate…
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I’m in a real pickle right now. My last post was about Ubiquity; which, after plenty of testing, I can say that I do not want to go back to browsing without. But the interwebs has just learned that Google is now entering the browser wars with their own google-spin on web browsers. My pickle lies in the fact that Ubiquity is Firefox-only as of yet, which means I will not be able to use Google Chrome and Mozilla Ubiquity in harmony; however Chrome does sound and look swanky… So what do I do?

I guess since the aptly named Google Chrome is an early beta yet, I will not be able to rely on it for full-time browsing; however I know that once I get into it I’m going to hit Ctrl+Space and start typing away without realizing that Ubiquity is sorely missing. :( <– Sad panda. I wonder if Chrome has anything assigned to Ctrl + Space.. and I hope it doesn’t break anything when I do it!