Friday, December 24, 2010

An Earthquake in Puerto Rico

Oh my God... talking to family at my sister's condo in Laguna Gardens, right across the street from the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. So there we were about to celebrate our Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, celebration...everybody thinking about having a wonderful dinner of pasteles, ham, arroz con gandules, when all of a sudden it seemed like someone had grabbed the rattan chair and was shaking it back and forth. I held on to it, but realized as everyone recognized what was going on that it was an earthquake.

My niece's little boy was sleeping in a room nearby. My niece grabbed her little boy and we decided to step outside and wait outside for a while until we had some idea that we weren't going to have an immediate aftershock. While we waited we conversed about what everyone had noticed. Some noticed the horrible rumbling that preceded the earthquake. My niece and her husband noticed that swaying and creaking of the door, as they were just coming into the building. Fortunately, it was only a warning, but no real damages.

Immediately called my daughter in Salinas, but her voice message came on, so I called my other daughter in Rochester, NY. It was the smartest thing I did that night because, about 10 minutes later all the phone lines were jammed. If I had wanted to call a few minutes later, I wouldn't have been able to get through. Just happy its over!

Two places we checked right away were: Seismic Network as well as the US Geologic Survey. Both offered in depth graphs and information about seismic activity around the world and in the Caribbean.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On a More Positive Note

I played Wii for the first time and had a blast! My stitches hurt a little from so much fun and a little bit of excessive walking but the truth is I really enjoyed playing Wii. I can see why some people are so into it.

My niece got it and it came with about 12 games. Bowling, tennis, basketball, 100 pin bowling, just to name a few. It also came with two hand remotes.

There were several things I liked about it from the get go. Starting with the fact that you personalize the event by creating your own avatar which you make look like yourself down to your favorite color, skin tone, eyes, shape of face, etc. Of course you can use your imagination or improve the original.

Then the games require physical activity, but not an excessive amount. In other words you don't have to be an Olympic star to participate. If you can use the hand remotes and had some coordination, you can play. When bowling for example, you always have the perfect ball, not like in real life, when you often can not get the right ball or they are often chipped. Not to mention the cost of bowling for a group of four. Real bowling might not be able to compete with this "virtual" game, when it comes to costs.

Finally, I liked the playfulness of the programs. When you were bowling you could hear the pins falling while others were bowling around your lane, or you could see non participating friends sitting in the background as you and your match were playing, as well as, total strangers bobble heading around or doing silly gestures on adjacent lanes. It was fun, and worked well to add a lot of endorphins from an excessive amount of laughter.

Going to sleep happy. Almost as clever as our family bingos.


Christmas and people protesting, police using tear gas, and clubs at the University of Puerto Rico. Dysfunctional...aggressive, confrontational, and both sides are antagonistic and I don't hear a voice of reason in the whole thing. Not one voice of conciliation.

On the contrary, I hear agitation, voices insulting people in leadership, broadcasters exposing, and rightfully so, the excessive force and police brutality. In fact, some people called these hardliners, repetitions of voices from the past. From the 1970's when there were riots at the University of Puerto Rico. I would know. I was there. The power plays are the same, different players, different issues, but same struggles.

I don't like it. No one likes it. It smells of trouble. It smells of violence. It smells of disgust.

Stop it. Step back. Slow down.

Are there no peacemakers in this country?