It is unavoidable. Every time I walk into the office (something that has become quite rare lately) or any other place where people know me my hair becomes a topic for discussion.
Did you finally slaughter that comb?
Have you stuck your fingers on the power outlet?
Windy out there, ain't it?
That's some of the usual phrases that come my way. I usually smile, nod and keep walking. From time to time I l will reply anything between "f*ck off" to "it is just beyond my control".
Honestly, the thing is beyond my control. Period. I have 4 whirls strategically positioned that make their own decitions on how the hair will present itself to the outer world.
But, truth must be told. I'm proud of my relentless hair. I'm thrilled at how people I don't know subtly look at it, there's so much I can tell just by watching reactions. It is my trademark and represents my personality just fine.
Here you have it in all its glory, do note that I had to cut it more than I usually do after my wife decided to experiment with it:
This past summer, while at Junin for new year we went to some friends' country house. While we were scorching under the sun a fast storm front approached.
It took me quite a while to upload this pictures (don't know why), but I thought I'd share.
(click on the images for full size and technicolor glory @ flickr)
Colour mixed Fields:
After several years of investigation and tests I have finally reached what can be called a moment of enlightenment.
A bit of background.
In case you never heard about chaos theory (which means you have either been living in a cave or taken the "God does not play dice with the universe" statement a little bit two seriously), it is a field of math that tries to determine the behavior of certain dynamic systems under the premise that very slight changes on initial variables can yield enormously different final results.
Marketing scenarios are what you could call "dynamic systems". You have people spending money to influence other people in the hope that they'll end up doing about the same thing: spend money.
With that in mind I devoted every second of my spare time to find the ultimate marketing solution. The premise was: if a small change on initial variables can have a huge impact on the outcome of the system after an n number of iterations, then maybe a tiny marketing startup can make a company the hottest thing since the invention of sliced bread.
I was under the impression that some companies had already discovered this, since there is no way that perfectly normal products with nice packaging could have so much success without the aid of advanced maths. Either that or we are plainly stupid.
Since the investigation on the human race being rather short sighted was going to be too short, I decided it must of be maths.
It was just with the intuition that the theory could be correct that I embarked the task of figuring out all the different variables that could affect a perfect marketing campaign.
Drawing the complete picture of infinite different scenarios and evolution of the dynamic systems was a titanic endeavor. The old chaos theory cliché of the butterfly does apply; that is the reason why there could be absolutely no loose ends.
I have tried to abbreviate the complex maths and equations so that they make some sense. The following picture is a screenshot of an excel spreadsheet. Don't feel ashamed if you don't quite get the meaning of all the mathematical mambo-jumbo, since it is pretty advanced.
As you can see once you study hard and get all the pieces in the right places, it is a fool proof method for success.
The greatest thing (for you) is that my findings are for sale. For just a couple million dollars I'll send you the whole thing.
Oh... there is just a minor caveat. It'll take 527 years, 2 months, 9 days, 5 hours and 23 seconds (approximately) for the campaign to be successful. But, hey, you'll only spend a Dollar (in advertising) and a couple millions (paying me) to get it up and running.
Here was I, ranting against Yahoo's lack of innovation. Then I came across Yahoo Pipes. I had only looked at it very briefly and, most certainly, not deeply enough.
I'm sorry yahoo!
Pipe's tag line describe what it does quite perfectly, I must say. "Rewire the web". And that it does.
Its interface works quite well, it is pretty intuitive and very powerful. But I must admit that to go just a little bit beyond the basics you need some sort of programming knowledge. Although getting the pipes to connect is quite easy (you can drag the pipes out, and the available inputs get highlighted) there are some other functions that are quite advanced. Some of this are regular expressions, loops and that kind of stuff.
Some really complex stuff using a wide array of sources can be achieved through the tool.
Basically pipes allows you to input any type of data available on the web (Feeds, JSON, webpages), mesh it all up, combine it, filter it, order it. Then you get the option to output the results in a wide array of different formats: as a Badge, into My Yahoo, into google, as RSS, as JSON, as a PHP. You can also set up Phone and Email alerts for them.
Another nice feature is the ability to call pipes within pipes. This means a certain pipe can be inserted as a module within another pipe...
There are some caveats, though.
Some services are already starting to deny requests initiated by Yahoo Pipes. Most notably if you want to use Google's blog search RSS output the result is a 403 server error (access denied).
An area for improvement is Cache handling. Having the option to set up a cache timing and other settings could alleviate the burden on the servers and make the overall service more stable. Easier to say than to do since I can imagine that caching everything would put a lot of stress into Yahoo's infrastructure.
If you are wired into the net I strongly suggest you give pipes a try.
People who read this blog are aware that I am a BMW fan. There is a long personal and family history with the German car maker. Thus yesterday was a special day. BMW-Sauber secured its first GP win at Canada. Not only that, they finished both First (Kubica) and Second (Heidfeld). And to top it all Robert Kubica is now at #1in the drivers championship.
After Lewis Hamilton crashed into Kimi's car at the exit of the pit lane I started suffering. I wondered "what can go wrong?". Fortunately nothing broke, and neither Robert or Nick crashed...
Just 1 year after the massive accident the Pole driver had in Canada the way he set the pace and won the race was nothing short of amazing.
But my blissful day didn't end there. During the afternoon my Football (Soccer, ugh) team became Argentinean Champion for the first time in 4 years. After being left out of the "Libertadores Cup" on a not-so-nice way It was a great relief.
I am a happy man!
Or a handbook on how Argentinian Government runs this country.
87 fucking days. That is how long the strikes and protests from the rural workers has lasted. There have been ups and downs. We've seen Supermarket shelves empty and fill up again. Now we see them emptying.
What is going on around here is the kind of idiotic fight our current government loves to get into. Their definition of strength is to never step back a single inch. It would seem that "to talk" equals "debility" in their deranged and power blinded minds.
It all started due to a tax imposition to agricultural exports. With soybean and other commodities at record prices Government thought it would be a good idea to increase the export fees. There were two problems with this: a. It didn't contemplate that such high taxes would strangle small producers and b. the money will most certainly go to some obscure account somewhere in the Cayman Islands.
If a government calculates year-to-year inflation in 9% and independent studies show it could be nowhere bellow 25% one of two things must be happening. Those in charge of price variation measurements are either morons (and they need to quit) or they lie (and they need to quit). Only in a country such as Argentina can something so obscenely absurd can be sustained for so long.
The sheer lack of political intelligence to solve something as primary as food production in a country which has historically based its economy on... Guess what? food production, demostrates that this government (as those that preceded) cares not about the general wellbeing but to make as much money as they can during their time in power.
I don't think I have ever came across a policy that was thought to last for longer than a couple of years in my entire adulthood. A country is not built upon temporary fixes. A country is built with a general direction in mind, with a common goal, with planning, with long term policies.
Argentina survives by the sheer fact that we have settled on a blessed land. All it takes is to toss a couple of seeds and plants grow. Drill a hole on a mountain and some mineral pops out. Anyone who ever visits is amazed by the beauty of the geography. Maybe that's our problem, we take things for granted. Way too much. (There is even an old Joke about that: God is creating Earth and places great farmlands, beautiful mountains, amazing coastlines all in the same place; some Archangel comes and notices this; thus he asks God if he didn't go too far with the good things on this particular land. God smiles and replies: "maybe, but I'm going to fill it up with Argentinians")
This government (and their farmer counterparts) are sickening. The greed and idiocy on the method never cease to amuse me in the worst possible way.
(can you tell I'm pissed?)
About 10 minutes ago I finished going through the draft posts on this blogs. The original number was 47, current number is 15.
Many of those posts where no more than a couple of lines long. Some I couldn't even remember what drove me to start writing them in the first place. Others would of never seen the light of day anyway, since they where pretty aggressive rants and reactions to certain experiences, cathartic words that rejoice my soul on the sheer thought of having the possibility to *maybe* (just maybe) push the "publish" button.
This seems to be a recurring fact of life with me and literature. I have started writing books (fiction) at least 3 times. On neither of those cases did I go over 100 pages. I still have those drafts, but, much to the demise of the characters frozen in time, I never found it in me to go back and continue those truncated stories.
I think the only way to be somewhat successful in writing for me is to do things Hemingway-ly. Not that I would even dream on comparing my literary skills with great Ernest (as I also wouldn't try to compare my Drinking habits), but in case you don't know, the guy really struggled to get his writing done.
Most of his original scripts have word counts all over the place. He forced himself to write at least a certain number of words every day. If I wanted (or had the time to) write the stories and non-fiction stuff I have in my mind that is the path I should follow. Guess I could call it a method.
Over time I have learned to assume that some (most?) things won't ever see the light of day. This statement is true not only for writing but also applies successfully to all things. If I had to estimate the percentage of ideas that actually become something tangible, I'd have to admit those account for less than 1% of the total.
Some ideas are plainly bad, some are non-viable, some just die because I don't pay enough attention or push hard enough. The latter category is painful. I'm haunted by some of those ideas for years. "Ghost ideas" I call them. The only exorcism is to see them realized (usually by somebody else) or refurbished into novel thoughts that actually make it into the real world.
I lack method, I lack time and I probably lack the will to transform ideas from gray matter haunting ghosts to living and breathing experiences.
My first post with a "29" in the age field. Interesting times.
I'm in the verge of having to taking some decisions soon. Somewhat scary, I must admit.
As usual I can't say too much (what did you expect?) but the plot thickens and things will sort out one way or the other.
The good thing is that all options look good. Certain paths seem more promising than others from a certain point of view. But looking at them from a different perspective other paths arise as being best.
How do you take your own decisions? How do you weight what is best in the long run?
Anyway, fun times ahead, I'll keep you updated.