Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Out to Istanbul in 5 hours

It has been a crazy week, we had the hurricane last Thursday, problems
with the car my colleague lend to me on Saturday and Sunday, Javier
Zambrano (A Venezuelan AIESECer that I met at my first conference)
visited on Saturday and we had a great chance to catch up, my wife left
to Mexico that same Saturday with our daughter, I was all day long
yesterday giving a training, spent all night long cleaning and packing
things at our place (so that if another hurricane comes the damage would
be kept to minimal), and I am leaving today to Istanbul for 2
Any advice on places to see, visit and things to do in the short 2 days
that I will have off during my stay?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Robertson's apologizes for calling for assassination of Venezuela President Chavez

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for his comments made on Monday's telecast of his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 club". He said: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
He continued: "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

At the moment Chavez is playing well his politics and is an important US ally, due to the high oil prices and Iraq occupation it is just not a viable (or logical) option to "take him out"; even to oppose his government or intervene in any way with the political situation in Venezuela would be something US is not willing to risk. There's just too much at stake.

So even though this is a really it's interesting to see all the dust that these comments have raised and how the Venezuelan and US government promptly reacted to everything.

Pictures from my sister's visit

Here are some of the pics from the first time my sister met her niece, it was indeed an interesting experience to see how they reacted to each other, and see that special sparkle in my sister's eyes.

After investing 4 days here with us my sister went back to Venezuela with a ton of pictures and great memories of her niece, so enjoy the pics.

Vilma & DanielaVilma & Daniela
Vilma & DanielaVilma & DanielaVilma & Daniela

Tropical Storm / Hurricane Katrina on its way

Lighting in Storm Cloud
Originally uploaded by rafuchoski.

Tropical Storm Katrina is coming our way and is expected to become a hurricane category 1 just before landfall. Hopefully this won't be too hard on us, as it will pass really close to where I live and work, and it shall be gone already by Sunday. I updated my navigation bar so that it will show the advisories, position and projected path for the storm, if you want to know more about it, click on the image in the navigation bar or go to the National Hurricane Center

The picture on the right is from a recent Thunderstorm, something we had almost every night for a week or so.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Computer's down, postings will be delayed

My computer’s Hard Drive died 2 days ago, and it was only until today that the IT support team managed to save my files, so the posting with pictures from last weekend and about the Venezuelan Currency Exchange System has been delayed till next week.
Anyways I wanted to share some interesting and positive news I found today:

Ariz. High School Trades Books for Laptops: Students at Empire High School started class this year with no textbooks — but it wasn't because of a funding crisis. Instead, the school issued iBooks to each of its 340 students, becoming one of the first U.S. public schools to shun printed textbooks.
Schools typically overlay computers onto their instruction "like frosting on the cake," said the Superintendent of the District. "We decided that the real opportunity was to make the laptops the key ingredient of the cake. ... to truly change the way that schools operated."

Health Benefits for Chocolate? Not Yet: The health potential is real. Cocoa beans have natural compounds called flavanols, and a growing pile of scientific research suggests they do good things to blood vessels.
"Most chocolate, in fact, isn't flavanol-rich," said Norm Hollenberg, a radiology professor and flavanol expert at Harvard Medical School. "But all chocolate is rich in fat and calories. Chocolate is a delight. It can and should be part of a prudent diet. That means you limit what you take."
Flavanols are found in other foods, such as red wine, grapes, apples and green tea, although cocoa beans are a particularly rich source.

Woman, 85, Celebrates Her Birthday on B-17: "I just happen to be fun-loving, I guess," she told The Ann Arbor News. "I always like to try crazy things. ... So I was thinking: What was I going to do for my 85th birthday?" Her answer: To ride in B-17 bomber.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Great weekend with my sister in town

My sister came to visit and meet her only niece, and it proved to be a great weekend, with tons of challenges.
It all started Friday as we left to "Sawgrass Mills Mall" to buy some things she needed, and ended up shopping from 2 to 10pm :-S, we were there until everything was closed. After that marathon we decided to chill home with a good bottle of wine, some cheese and good music.
Next day we went to the beach, walked a little bit, had some lunch, and enjoyed the sun. In the afternoon we visited some friends and after that we hit downtown and Bayside Mall. It was a challenge as there was some event at the Arena & the amphitheatre, and of course there was no parking available, and to make things even more interesting Daniela was hungry, so with tons of patience we lived through it, and enjoyed the night.
Sunday we went to buy a couple of things my sister was missing and ended up investing 4 hours at it. Her Venezuelan credit card didn't go through at the shop, so she ended up paying in cash for a camera, then calling the bank in Venezuela and the credit card company here in the US, just so that we could go back to the shop and ask for a refund of the cash, and have them charge the credit card afterwards again.
It was a disaster that to most of you guys might not make sense, but I'll explain later on another posting why for a Venezuelan that is really important.
Anyways, the weekend ended today with yet another adventure that was taking my sister to the airport. We decided to take the I-75 and then the Palmetto, and ended up stuck in traffic. There was a traffic accident at NW 26th st, and it was packed up for 5 miles (~9 km), so we decided to step out of the highway and try our best in the city, without minding the fact that we didn't have a city map!
So after being lost and trying to find the lost paths in Miami for 30 minutes, we made it to the airport, with plenty of time for my sister to check-in. Never again will I travel without a map, I'll try getting a road map for my PDA.
Anyways I write this posting while I am on the train back to work. Check tomorrow for the explanation on Venezuelan currency exchange control challenges and pictures of course.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Belgian monks run out of the world's best beer

A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 Countries on the RateBeer Web Site (www.ratebeer.com) in June rated the Wetveleteren 12 beer as the world's best.
The Beer is made by aprox. 30 Csitercian and Trappist Monks that live in the abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium, who shortly after receiving this award could not cope with beer's sudden popularity and had to stop selling their beer.
The Abbey has only limited Brewing capacity and its not thinking about raising it, even if outsiders are asking for it. "We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks" said father abbot on the abbey's website.
Read the Entire article

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How addicted are you to computer games?

A 28 year old man in South Korea after playing online computer battle simulation games for around 50 hours, just stopping to go to the toilet and tap brief naps; died of heart failure from exhaustion just minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, this Tuesday.
This reminds me of Oliveira's "Only in America" postings, but this time I have to say "Only in Asia", so be careful my friend.
Read the complete article

Animación sobre nuestro mundo

Here's a great animation in Spanish about some facts from our world that a friend forwarded to me, you can find the original at http://www.planeta.fm/video/ and the translation of the Lyrics in the comments section.
In order to see the animation just right click on it and choose "Play".
Para ver la animación hagan un click derecho sobre la misma y seleccionen "Play"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Things to do while your Co-Worker goes on Vacation

I received this great ideas by email of "Things to do when a Co-Worker goes on Vacation", it's just reminded me of a story of a Costa Rican colleague from Novartis in Guatemala about a soccer (or football) game when Guatemala beated Costa Rica and they put newspaper all over his office, take a look at the images these are good ideas, and be careful on your next vacation.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Innovation and Change: Breaking the Rules

To all of you interested in managing and leading organizations, businesses, companies, teams, etc. I have to recommend reading and subscribing to The CEO Refresher, a monthly newsletter that is really good, and has a great knowledge base in their archives.
Reading the latest issue I came across with a column made by Karim Jaude (Founder of BusinesssCoach1, a professional coaching service with over 6 years of experience) very interesting about innovation and change, here are some remarks from it:

We often think of innovation as creativity, but as Harvard professor Theodore Levitt points out, "the difference between innovation and creativity is the difference between thinking about getting things done in the world, and getting things done. Creativity thinks up new things, innovation does new things."
Innovation drives the heart of every exceptional business. Innovation continually poses the question, "What stands in the way of my customer getting what he wants from my business?" For the innovation to be meaningful, it must always take the customer's point of view. At the same time, innovation focuses your business on its critical essentials. It should make things easier in the operation of your business; otherwise, it is not innovation, but complication. Innovation helps your business identify itself and establish its individuality. This skill --developed within your business and your people constantly asks, "How can we do this better/best?"
While great leaders in the world might seem to have little in common, they all excel at turning every team member's talent into palpable performance, and they do not hesitate to break virtually every rule, held sacred by conventional wisdom. Leaders know that the business climate is in permanent flux and that different approaches to lead people are necessary. They must be open to new opportunities, find ways to be innovative, and be willing to change.

Now pose a question for you guys: How often do we use creativity instead of innovation in our daily work and activities? How often are companies (NGOs, Teams) truly open to innovation? What are we doing about it?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Daniela's Photo Attack

I decided to make a Daniela's Photo attack!

So here are some pictures taken in the last month from our little daughter.

I can assure you guys that she was not hurt in any way while the making of this photo attack, and that she actually cooperated very well with us.

I have to give it to my wife who actually planned and executed all of these pictures. Way to go Perla!!