Something of a jack of all trades, I grew up in a household that had an artistic bent as well as a scientific one, and this is apparent in the fact that both my sister and mom are painters, my dad is a retired engineer and an amateur theater actor, and my other sister writes poetry. I grew up playing piano, singing, performing in theater. In high school I had an aptitude for math, so later when I went off to college, not knowing whether I should pursue the arts or the sciences, I defaulted to the latter and studied physics and finished with a degree in applied math. I went to one of the best engineering schools in the country: New Mexico School of Mines. My dad also graduated from here. As did Conrad Hilton.
Although I studied math which focused on engineering problems, I tended to prefer the pure math. My favorite class was Real Number Analysis, in which one of the intringuing things we learned was that there are two different kinds of infinity: countable and uncountable - the rational, and the irrational.
Some of the interesting people I've befriended over the years include John Stockwell (the CIA whistleblower). The story of how I met him and subsequently became friends is interesting. I was living in Austin, TX at the time (mid-90s), I wanted to buy a used car and responded to an ad in the local paper. We arranged to meet at the lake in the center of town so I could test drive the car. As I drove, the owner, who was in the passenger seat, started telling me that he used to be in the military and in the Government. I thought "so what" but kept my mouth shut. He continued talking. I sensed that he, for whatever reason, felt a need to open up to me. (I have often had this effect on people, from the nefarious to the saintly.) So he continued to describe his past, disclosing that he had been in meetings with Kissinger and that he had written an expose of the CIA. I didn't really believe it, but I was polite and after the test drive told him I needed some time to think about the car. The next day I went to the local library, located a copy of the book he had purportedly written. On the back cover was his photo. So I called him up, bought the car, and subsequently we became quite good friends. I was mostly unemployed at the time, so I spent a lot of time hanging out with him, picking his brain and listening to his stories.
Other cool people over the years are on the following list. I mostly include this because I've lost contact with many of them, and hopefully they will run across this page and reach out to me:
- the eclectic bunch of guys that were our reggae band in the 90s: Miles, the bassist. The drummer who is married to a cousin of Mike Judge
- Ernesto Ponce my buddy from Austin, we had some interesting experience trying to get you to pass Calculus class
- my Mexican friends and roomates in Austin, TX including Ronaldo and Beto. Beto: years ago you moved to Chicago, and I lost touch. Ronaldo: I enjoyed our friendship and time together.
- college friends and roomates from different countries around the world, including Yousef Alfarsi (my pal from Kuwait), Andres Terrasa who is also a NMT graduate and is now in charge of a couple hundred professors at the University of Valencia; Dave Leon, another NMT graduate, one of my roommates in college, now a Senior Research Scientist in the Atmospheric Physics department at University of Wyoming.
- Hugh Thomas. I enjoyed our camping and hiking trips and general tomfoolery
- Steve Balke - I'll never forget the time you went grocery shopping in an upscale neighborhood in nothing but your underwear and sandals
- Gabe Cisneros, a cool guy and a good pal
- Robyn Drummond (Austin)
- my teenage pals growing up in the barrio, including Enrique, we shared some special moments in our youth despite the dangerous, rough surroundings and events associated with growing up in the violent and poor neighborhoods
- Richard Valent of NCAR, the most reflective and patient person I've ever known
- Tim Hannan. A cool guy from college who I always respected.
Additional individuals who I was only acquainted with, but whose thoughts, writings, discussions, etc. nonetheless held large influence on me:
- Michael Sidoric, another jack of all trades, medical researcher, journalist who worked with Walter Kronkite.
I never called it the barrio when I was there. I referred to it as the Spanish Part of town. What can I say? I spent two decades of my life there. There was the bad (and when it was bad it tended to be extreme), there was the occasional good. Mostly it was boring because I was busy keeping my nose out of the places I did not want to be (which was most of the neighborhood) and avoiding the people I needed to avoid unless I wanted to be hurt, or forced to do things I did not want, and/or get involved in a nefarious life that had no good end. In any case, what do you want to know about life in a Spanish neighborhood. Probably the best telling of this tale can be found in the poetry and writings of Jimmy Santiago Baca, who incidentally is from the same neighborhood as myself and whose Black Mesa Poems refers to the Black Mesa, located about a half mile from the house I grew up in, and where I spent many hours in solitude climbing its cliffs and sitting atop during the sunset hours so I could gaze out at the Rio Grande Valley. Jimmy Santiago Baca also wrote the screenplay to the movie Blood In Blood Out, a well-made, faithful and accurate potrayal of certain aspects of our Hispanic culture. I grew up in the South Valley of Albuquerque.
Someone else you may know from Albuquerque: Johnny Tapia. He was from the North Valley, also the Spanish Part of town. Tapias life and philosophy embodied a lot of what is the Hispanic and New Mexican attitude and stance towards life.
I have travelled all over the U.S. and also done a little bit of travel in Canada, Mexico and South America. I like Latin culture, particularly that of the coffee growing area of Colombia. My favorite cities in Colombia are Caicedonia and Manizales.
I have spent the past 10 years with Martha Cecilia Valencia, who I met when I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, and who I have dragged all over the place to live in New Mexico (boring), Colorado (boring) and now Silicon Valley (not boring.) Martha is from a large well-known familiy in Caicedonia, Colombia (hence my fondness for this region and their culture.), and whose father was a successful businessman and put all seven of his kids through college.
Having worked in the computer industry for a number of years, it is natural that I should end up here. I continue to work as a Linux system administrator. See my Computers page and why I am a lazy sysadmin.
I used to trade oil futures and options, but no longer do this ever since Marty Chavez (also from the North Valley in Albuquerque) told me that it is a waste of time due to the random walk theory and Brownian motion.
I am currently in a South Bay Band called Boomslang. We play covers of classic soul jazz tunes. We are a four piece - drums, guitar, bass and keyboard. Half of us are a spinoff from another band we were in last year called Camino.
I love the outdoors. I love to backpack in the mountains. I have spent a lot of time in the southwest rockies, camping, hiking and fly fishing. The most intriguing mountain environment I've ever seen is the little-known Selway-Bitterroot/River of No Return - a vast wilderness in Idaho, part of the Rockies, that thwarted Lewis and Clark and was where the author of "A River Runs Through It" spent his years.
When I am not reading a book, practicing music, watching a movie, or eating out, I am with my wife and friends drinking beers with a shot of Patron Silver at Molly Maggees because I really like the Friday and Saturday night atmosphere here, or drinking and dancing salsa, bachata, etc at Albertos.