The Site Who Shagged Me


The Departments of Justice from all the most developed countries in the world worked together in the most coordinated way to capture him. Interpol started a manhunt and released his picture to over 100 nations. His assets were frozen and all the hackers working for government intelligence chased his communications and disabled any server used to host his domain. All of that for not using a condom!

How do you stop an Australian citizen who represents a website now hosted in Switzerland, which was also hiding probably somewhere in the United Kingdom and that has uncovered lots of secretes belonging to American diplomacy?

Does it really matter?  Unless you are part of the offended Amer Continue reading

Advertisements

AMC Mainstreet Experience.


It was the year 1982 when “The Clash of the Titans” arrived in Mexico; I was only 11 years old when I have a really cool experience while watching this movie. Next door neighbors worked at the movie theaters all their life. One day, I helped their patriarch picking up some trash bags; in exchanged, he invited me to watch that movie for free plus a tour to “behind the scenes” at thetheater. I really enjoyed the free popcorn and candies provided by staff, and of course the movie was great, but the coolest thing I experienced in that trip was the chance I had to go into the projector cabin.

 

AMC Mainstreet front door. 14th and Main

Once inside the room, Mr. Victor explained step by step how they received the films and how everything is prepare for the show. Film was mounted on a superior spinning drum reel, passed it through a sprocket and the film created a semi loop before passing through the gate. This gate is where the light from the lamp behind passed through and picture goes into the lens, projecting the image. After that, film went into another sprocket and then through the sound drum where audio is been picked and amplified for the show. After that, film is rolled into a lower spinning drum reel.

 

Popcorn like fixture inside turret

When I told the story to all my classmates, I felt the coolest kid in school because I thought I knew all about the cinema industry. Few days ago, I got the same feeling during a field trip scheduled for the class to the AMC Mainstreet, located at 14th and Main in Kansas City, MO. On what it used to be the old Empire Theater, one of Kansas City’s original vaudeville palaces. Unfortunately, I also realized I’ve been leaving another mesofact; movies are no longer produced in film, they are digital.

 

Old stairs used by African-American back in the dark American apartheid like history.

The AMC Mainstreet features six digital screens; three of which will include dinner and drink service. Some of these rooms feature a coliseum style seating with rumble seats that I bet are excellent for new action movies. For the minute you walk in, the turret with fabulous light fixture like popcorn immediately get your attention. The catchiest phrases from the biggest hits are listed on the floor.

 

Marquee Bar view

Besides the nice architecture fixtures, the Marquee bar, the awarded bathrooms, and all the amenities in the building, the coolest thing was once we got into the projection rooms. My eyes got wide open when I saw the way film arrives to the building. A hard drive is delivered in a look-alike armored case; this hard drive is plugged via USB port to the projector. The manager has to make a phone call to get the digital key to decrypt the file where the movie is located. We also had the opportunity to see a 3D movie projecting. We were given an explanation on how the movie is projected using two lenses; like projecting the same movie twice but at the same time, this is what gives the 3D vision. We also were invited to see their library, and once again, I realized another mesofact, this was a digital library. Their library room consists of two servers where digital movies are stored; these servers are also connected via network to the small servers on each projection room. This way, if they have the need to project an old hit, they don’t have to wait for the look-alike armored box to arrive with the hard drive.

 

Exterior Turret view

We were told that all the film industry is backing digital projectors, first because dramatically improve the picture and sound quality, while also reduced the cost of shipping film reels. The experienced lived in this field trip is something is going to stay with me for some time, just as the experienced lived when I was eleven years old. But something is true, all these years living in a mesofact about movies, makes me wonder how the film industry will changed in the next decade, if film was replaced by digital, how is digital going to be replaced by?

 

Digital Library

El Camino Real – Definitely the BEST Authentic Mexican Tacos in KC metro area


As mentioned on other entries of this blog, I was born and raised in Mexico; more specific in Mexico City. I lived there for 29 years; so please, trust me when I say I really know about authentic Mexican Food. I don’t want to break anybody hearts or hurt somebody feelings, but let me give you a good awakening to reality. Neither Chimichangas, nor Taco Bell, nor Jose Pepper’s are Mexican food (ad to the list: On the Border, chili’s, Chipotle, etc). When friends at work ask where I go to eat Mexican food, I always answer “Mi mother’s home.” She cooks amazingly, but I also wish my mom would cook the same way my “abuelita” (grandmother) used to do it, which was even better than my mom’s. But since I’m not going to have my mom cooking for anybody, I will recommend you the best place in KC metro area I have found to eat tacos. I have visited several places in the area looking for that authentic taste, but was never satisfied until my brother told me about “El Camino Real.”

 

El Camino Real - Taqueria # 2

Definitely the most typical food in Mexico City are “tacos al pastor” (Shepherd style tacos), also called “tacos de trompo” due to the resemblance of the “spinning top” toy. You will find places selling this type of tacos on every subway or movie theater exits, tacos al pastor are selling pretty much EVERYWHERE in Mexico City. These tacos are made of marinated pork slowly cooked over a vertical rotisserie. A pineapple is set on top of the marinated meat; with the heat, this fruit releases its juice showering all the meat, giving it a sweat and exotic taste. Meat is sliced in small portions out of the “top” and served in small tortillas; cilantro and chopped onions are put on top of them. Sometimes, little pieces of pineapple are also throw on them. Oh, don’t forget lemon juice drops, salt, and the HOT red salsa.

 

spinning top vertical rotisserie - Look at that meat!

What is special about this place that makes a difference? Taste, friendly environment, and price. I have the opportunity to talk to the owner; he lived in Mexico City for twenty years. Therefore he was able to duplicate the authentic flavor of these tacos. He personally bought the vertical rotisseries in Mexico City and drove all the way to Kansas with these on the back of his truck. As soon as you walk in, you can see a giant hunk of meat spinning; their open kitchen has nothing to hide to their customers eyes.  El Camino Real is a humble small restaurant offering excellent food for cheap prices. But if you really want to enjoy the whole flavor and have an even cheaper bill to pay, I recommend you go Wednesdays, as all tacos are only $1.00 each these days, compared to $1.50 regular price.

 

diced white onion, and chopped cilantro for garnishing. mmmm!!!

Two locations in Kansas City, KS give more opportunities to enjoy these tacos. Taqueria #1 is located at 903 N. 7th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101 (913-342-4333). And Taqueria #2 is located at 1147 Argentine Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66105 (913-342-4334). The owner told me he is thinking about opening a Taqueira #3 in Overland Park (that would be very convenient for me) either on the corner of 135th and Quivira, or inside the Oak Park Mall, right in the food court.

 

Inside view of Taqueria # 2

If you’re tired of Tex-Mex cuisine and really want to taste REAL Mexican flavors, this is the place.  Tortilla chips are given as entry (typical on every Mexican restaurant) with pico de gallo salsa. Or if you prefer, you can get your tacos To-Go and enjoy them in the comfort of your house, they would give you lemon or lime wedges, diced white onion, and chopped cilantro for garnishing. Oh, they also include salsa and napkins.

 

Look at the RED HOT Salsa and all that meat! Mouth watering already!

Airing the Dirty Laundry in Public


Earlier this semester I reinforce my knowledge about couple of concepts; but these reinforcements only brought more questions based on current events shaking the country these days. As an Interactive Media student I must learn about the history of communications; how interactive media applications have integrated different forms to communicate, but particularly how immediate and mediated forms of communication affect the content delivered, and how society is absorbing these messages.

  • Morality: Ability to distinguish well from wrong, good from bad.
  • Ethics: A set of moral rules of good conduct that guide ones actions.
  • Libel: Defamatory or harmful written statement.
  • Slender: Defamatory or harmful spoken statement.

November 2nd 2010, The United States Senate will experience another elections period. Thirty seven of one hundred seats will be in dispute in just few days. Thirty four of these seats will be secured for a six year period, while the other three are for shorter periods.  Securing a job for six years is a must have in these economic troubled times. I guess that’s why the battles are so fierce; all contenders start nice and neat, only broadcasting their own ideas and how they pretend to fix “Washington” once they take over that seat.  But as deadline approaches, everything turns dirty; all contenders start throwing low blows and pointing fingers to the opposite side.

I can understand some of the finger pointing actually comes from independent advocacy groups; but is it really “ethical and moral” to expose other contenders mistakes or points of views only in electoral times? Is it “libel or slender” to incur in such negative messages, portraying the other side as the bad guy trying to harm the roots of this country? Does a candidate flunk in “moral and ethics” when approved a message full of negativism against opponent instead of keep focusing in his own agenda? Does a contender falls into “libel or slender” when approved a defamatory message that can actually damage other person reputation? If these candidates or advocacy groups are really worried about the future of their district, why they don’t fight all year long instead of only electoral times? The country crusade against terror from extremist groups was really exploited by the Bush administration; creating a new way to influence the voters by imposing fear onto them. This new strategy is now used again to influence society on how to cast their votes in the 2010 election.

95th St and Antioch, Overland Park, KS

95th St and Antioch, Overland Park, KS

What is really interesting is the role of media and how money plays a big impact in the elections.  Thursday October 14th, while watching local news from 17:00 to 17:30, ten political ads air on KCTV5; meaning at least three on each commercial cut. Monday, October 18th in local NBC station, at least six political ads air from 18:25 to 18:30 one after another. The amount of media exposure truly depends on how much money a candidate can raised. In the book “The Obama Victory: How media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election” the authors exposed how candidates with big chunks of money can easily target specific demographics groups in crucial geographic areas (“Microtargeting”); showing how money spent on ads for these groups interests really translated into votes. Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook also played a big role enhancing democracy by reaching to young open minded voters.

The role of media in regards of people perceptions about the Republican Party has been indeed a major factor affecting voter’s attitude. The Republican Party is now doing every impossible effort to reach followers and earn their trust before deadline. Couple of months ago, prior to the primaries, I received an automated call from Sarah Palin (at least that was what the recording message said) encouraging my household to vote and terminate the Obama regime. On Monday Oct 18th I received a call from the Johnson County Republican Party asking if a Republican candidate would win my favors.  Political ads are flooding the air, the web, sidewalks, empty lands, and now even telephone lines. Which bring even more questions again: How are these candidates raising money? Who in their right mind will invest their money in these candidates without expecting some earnings or profits back? I mean, that is the basics of economics, right? What political favors are these candidates promising to their sponsors in return for their endorsements? What influence would these sponsors have in the elected candidate when time to enforce or interpret a law that could potentially damage their economic well is needed? Is the whole system falling over greed and corruption nested by lobbies groups? (Perhaps a topic for next entry).

Across JCCC

ads on College blvd & Quivira, Overland Park, KS

A retweet by @proflafferty (Patrick Lafferty – Assistance Professor of Interactive Media at JCCC) took me to an interesting posting by Andrea Nill in “News from underground.” The article reports that Latinos for Reform had spent $80,000.00 to buy in Univison air time to encourage Latinos in Nevada not to vote; this in protest for the lack of immigration reform promised by Obama and other broken promises from both political parties. Which take me back to my original questions: Is it moral and ethical spending all that money to deliver such negative content? Since casting a vote is not only a citizen’s right, but a civic obligation, will Univision incurred into a crime other than greed by accepting that money and broadcast a message against basics of civil rights? Latinos played a significant role in 2008 elections, giving their votes to the Democratic Party in protest of racist republicans and their lack of attention to Hispanics. Since some Republicans keep the same racist line on these elections, it will be a win for them if Latinos don’t vote; a political game they are expecting to win. What republicans don’t see is that the game they started could turn into a boomerang, and will return back to them eventually. By the way, Univison   announced same night the news was out there that they won’t air those ads as they firmly believe in democracy.

Yep, more ads

ads, ads, ads. Overland Park, KS

With media broadcasting numbers of jobs lost in recent months, economics still dragging, and the fear injected to society like a hypodermic drug by some unscrupulous politics using mass media, is not a surprise why people are so angry. So many cases of taxation without representation are creating a new collective conscience in society. People are tired of what they see and hear from the people who swear would represent them.  A government of the people, by the people, for the people is literally forgetting the essential ingredient here: “PEOPLE.” Some basic fears of using media trying to reach followers, is that a candidate can lose credibility if beg for favors before they have started a conversation, and that’s exactly what all these candidates are begging for, but mass media is praying upon that!

Unfortunately, we are living a new era of propaganda, a new era that arrived to stay, a new era where media plays a significant persuader in publics opinion; an era in where airing the dirty laundry to public via mass media is going to be on daily basis each election time. As digital divide closes in, more people around the globe will see how falling into libel and/or slender statements will feed the media more often; morbid will take place over morality and ethics. Why? Because when you get into the business, the business gets into you!

Celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial and Centenial (Celebrado el Bicentenario y Centenario).


Tonight, September 15th 2010, Mexico will start celebrating its two hundred anniversary of independence.  Mexicans around the world will celebrate all the historical events that leaded the creation of the independent Republic of Mexico, officially named United Mexican States. Mexicans will also celebrate November 20th 2010, the centennial of the Revolution. But, does this beaten country really have something to celebrate?  Let’s review some important facts in the History of Mexico that lead me to this question.

Mexico, from Nahutal (Aztec’s language) Mexihco, a com Continue reading

I Thought I Saw a (wild) Pussy Cat !!


Gravel road entrance on the right side of highway leaded the way to the most fantastic experience ever lived by our family.  USA flag was waving; like giving a welcome to all visitors with the small summer breeze. A big sign announcing the “Wild” sanctuary gave my kids a sneak peak of what was waiting for them ahead.  Wooden bridge surrounded by trees and plants was the walking pathway to the visitor’s center.  Hospitality could be defined as the act of being hospitable, especially on a relationship between a “visitor” and “host’. The experienced we had went well beyond this definition.  As soon as we opened the visitor’s center door, a group of volunteers and staff gave us the warmest welcome ever. A brief introduction about the center, its role in preservation, and refuge center for big cats and other wild animals was explained by couple of senior citizens.   One of them immediately engage in a nice conversation with Dylan comparing his New Zealand hat and Dylan’s Colombian made “sombrero.”

Cedar Cove entrance

Cedar Cove entrance

Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary is located twenty two miles south from where we live (Lenexa, KS), and approximately 3 miles east of Louisburg, KS on Highway 68.  Is important to mention this center is not really a park, although center has events where sometimes they encourage picnics and concessions are available. I wouldn’t even consider it as a zoo, but I can understand some people arguing this. Staff emphasized the center is a preserve for tigers and a refuge for big cats. Lately they have opened their doors to other species which were abandoned, neglected or simple their owners were no longer able to take care of them.  The center offers to each visitor or group of visitors a personal guided tour. This is something exceptional; all the staff we saw was so friendly and always showing a big smile.  The guides were willing to spend all the necessary time explaining every single detail about their animals, answering every questions adults and kids might have about the species, habitats, diet, play time, etc.

Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger

As soon as we walked to the ‘back yard” we saw all animals right there. Siberian and Bengal tigers are the firsts catching everybody’s attention.  Two of them were born at the center, a mix of Siberian and Bengal species, but definitely “Kimar” the white Siberian tiger is the one standing out from all others.  Almost across from tiger’s area, to the right side of the back yard are the Lions: Tonka, an eleven months male lion and “Shanta,” a female lion cub with only five months.  Next to Lions area are seen a Serval and a Caracal. Tigers and Lions area is divided by another wooded bridge that take us to the Leopard, Cougar, Bob cats, and Coati area.

Kimar, white Siberian

Kimar, white Siberian

Tonka and Shanta

Tonka and Shanta

Walking back through the visitor’s center and turning right is a big fence; this is the wolves’ area.  Three magnificent wolves live here. JB is the leader of the small pack, a gray and black wolf with a black strip on the face that goes from nose to middle of eyes. We could see lot of affection from the wolves for the staff (as do all of the animals), they came close to the fence to be pet, but guide keep reminded us that they were still wild. Special time was given to kids explaining the difference between captive wolves’ behavior and what people really experience in the wild if trying to approach these animals.

Wolves Area

Wolves Area

This was definitely the best time spent with kids. No other place in Kansas (at least that I know) gives the opportunity to be this close of the wild animals, especially when it comes to big cats. The experience lived by Dylan and Jimena this weekend will be memorable for years, the experience I lived in the center along my family is already the best. We know we will keep going to that place more times, but most importantly is spreading the word about the existence of this center.  Besides, who would’ve imagine seen” Wild, Wild” Bengal and Siberian tigers, African Lions, Leopards, Coatis and wolves; all together in America’s heartland?

Tom the Bob Cat

Tom the Bob Cat

Chronicles of a Defeat Foretold?


2010 Soccer world cup is on. This is the most watched sport event in the whole world.  The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not contested due to WWII . The current format of the championship involves 32 national teams playing for over a month in a host country, this year been South Africa.

During all the World cup tournaments held so far; only seven nations have won the FIFA World Cup Trophy.  Brazil (the only team to have played in every tournament), with a record of five, followed closely by Italy (current champion, but already eliminated in this 2010 edition) with four titles. Germany with three titles, Uruguay and Argentina with two, England and France (already ashamedly eliminated in this 2010 edition) one each.

*** Special note ** In this 2010 edition, France was drawn into Group A along with Uruguay, South Africa (host country) and Mexico.  Mexico played the second game against France, defeating those 2-0. Sparking a huge soap dram within the French team, a player was expelled from the team and the whole world saw how the French fought each other forgetting the reason why they were in the tournament. I have a special taste in this victory over France because a French coworker was making fun of me and the Mexican team for over a month prior to this match; remanding me about France already holding a Champion title and a sub-Champion title, and questioning if Mexico even had a soccer team. My only answer to him was “Remember Cinco de Mayo.”  Touché!!

This story is deceptively simple. Brazil has participated in 19 tournaments, Germany 16, Italy 16, Argentina 14 and Mexico 13. YES, my fellow Mexicans have played in 13 of the 19 World Cup tournaments but never been able to win it, in fact, Mexico’s best progression was reaching the quarter finals in 1970 and 1986, years the tournament was held in Aztec soil.

In the Germany 2006 tournament Mexico advanced to second round playing against Argentina. Mexico score first in the 5th minute with a goal by Rafael Marquez (who happens to play for the best soccer team in the world: Barcelona). Four minutes latter Argentina score. After ninety minutes played, both teams were still tight, forcing game into overtime.  In the very last minute of the overtime, and when all fans (in the stadium, in Mexico, in Argentina, and in the whole world) were already expecting to see the penalties shutout, Maxi Rodriguez score a volley that gave victory to Argentina.

South Africa 2010 edition brings all these memories because Mexico has advanced to second round, and because Mexico has to face its nightmare again. That’s right, Mexico vs Argentina June 27th at 13:00 CDT. Could Mexico defeat Argentina? YES, we can (we?), by far, this is the BEST team Mexico has ever sent to a world cup. Eight of the eleven players in the field play in Europe, within the most competitive soccer teams in the world, Javier Aguirre (coach) comes from competing in Spain “La Liga” and Europe in  the Euro cup with Atletico de Madrid. Argentina in the other hand has ten of the eleven players in the field playing in the same Europe leagues, among them, the best player in the world: Lionel Messi, but also their defense is extremely slow. So, what’s the advantage for Mexico? SPEED, DYNAMISM, and the HEART to defeat their nightmare! Romantic? Yes, Realistic? No so much. Why? Coach Aguirre has been stubborn in letting striker Guille Franco (an Argentinean nationalized Mexican) in the field.

Franco has been carrying an injure for the last 2 years, and the only thing he’s been doing in all games is to dive every time he feels touched and yield at the referee for not buying his drama. In fact, I read in twitter that Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent him flowers, because thanks to him, Calderon is no longer the most hated Mexican!! (yeah, is just a joke). I personally think we should UN-Nationalized Guille Franco, get a big load of “Jalapeno papers” and shove them in his “you know” to see if we forced him “FEEL” the true colors of the Mexican Flag!

Born and raised in Mexico, makes me really want, wish, desire, my national team to defeat Argentina. But reality is different. Mexicans are now used to false dreams when it comes to the national team playing important games. I want to be wrong, I want the “guys” to advance all the way to the final game and bring hope and happiness to a country dying in need for these. A country so beaten by corruption, drug lords, financial crisis, unemployment, and a passive society, whose all dreams are now, beat in a soccer match. I don’t want to hear, see or read  “they play like never before, but loose like always do”  as we heard, see and read every time the national team is defeated.   VIVA MEXICO CABRONES!!