Genius (NatGeo)

Albert Einstein was one of the greatest minds in physics. His unruly hair and grand ideas about the cosmos have changed the way we think about gravity, time and space. The eccentric character he possessed made him an icon in Switzerland, Germany and beyond, as he dared to challenge the Reich twice! Even after his discoveries were used to create the bombs that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki he remained relevant and revered for his humanitarianism. A truly amazing man.

His life wasn’t all roses and accolades though, and NatGeo does a superb job at piecing together the life of this true genius. From his love live, marriages and children to his journey as a student and patent clerk, they bring his softer side to light despite the shortcomings if his arrogance and callousness. The parade of scientific contemporaries, the likes of Marie Curie and Planck, make the show a remarkable geek and nerdgasm. Imagine living in those times and knowing the people we now credit for Nobel worthy discoveries. Time machine anyone?

If you have a moment, consider binging on this extravagant yet realistic view inside the science that shaped the 20th century. We wouldn’t be here without the application of the work these fine scientists. Their lives are very much worth celebrating and honoring on the small screen. Truly an inspiration for all of us who endeavor to reach, literally, for the stars. The men and women behind the curtain are truly admirable and interesting. The patriotism and overwhelming uncertainty of the first half of the 1900s palpable as it was an honor to advance science and engineering to win and end wars. A different take on history, if there ever could be one.

Watch on demand on NatGeo.

Prost!

Doom (2016, PS4)

What if hell was real? Not an allegory or a place to purge your sins but an actual arena where you could fight your demons to the death? How much torture and pain could you endure as you battle the forces of evil? If these questions haunt you look no further than this game to find out all the answers.

From what my husband stated, his quest through the game was so hardcore that he wouldn’t recommend it to the faint of heart. The music, onslaught of enemies and play are very impressive, well worth its value. I couldn’t watch him play for long periods of time because the changes in point of view make me dizzy. Hehe

Give it a whirl if you have a chance.

Se me hace difícil hablar español, hasta que me encojonan…

Despúes de doce años viviendo y trabajando en Estados Unidos, se me hace cuesta arriba acordarme de que tengo una lengua materna. Aunque las oportunidades para sacar a pasear el español son muchas, siempre termino pensando y escribiendo en inglés debido a mi entorno. La mayoría de las veces puedo “switch” entre los dos idiomas sin problemas, luciendo mi mas perfecto Spanglish con aquellos que conocen ambos vocablos pero de vez en cuando se me tranca la máquina inglesa y se me va el hilo. En esos momentos me endiabla tener que parar a enebrar la aguja para poder seguir laborando. Ugh.

Definitivamente, se me hace más fácil discutir en español. Este idioma tiene infinitas maneras finas de enviar a la gente al carajo, con todo el respeto que se merecen.

Lo mas “cool” de que me “saquen por techo” es que las palabras que forman mis oraciones cobran vida, y se entienden, por el uso del Spanglish colonial. Cuando voy a llenar papeleo oficial en cualquier estado de la costa oeste. Si no logro encontrar una prueba contundente para que el gringo entienda que Puerto Rico es parte de Estados Unidos, hay una ventana que me da la oportunidad de hacerlo en español, con un alma benévola que entiende nuestra situación de colonia. No sé porqué la gente le tienen miedo a latinizar a “América” pues eso ya lo lograron los conquistadores. Me da pena que vean hablar otro idioma como un insulto a la gran nación Estado Unidense. Nadie es de aquí, excepto los indios, y su lengua no se asemeja a la anglosajona ni por pura coincidencia. 

Quizás el que desea quedarse ignorante no entiende el valor de conocer mas de una manera de comunicarse, o no tienen la pasión necesaria para sobrevivir un argumento con una mujer u hombre de herencia cultural hispana. Por eso prefieren que todo sea en English. Igual les ganamos el argumento, la desventaja definitivamente la tiene la casa por ni siquiera entender que el que aprende inglés lo ha estudiado y tiene mejor vocabulario que el average Joe.

Hablar español es una bendición. Como es el tercer o cuarto idioma mas comúnmente aprendido (materna o de segunda lengua, Wikipedia), se escucha y lee a través del globo terráqueo. Los imperialistas y exploradores de España se encargaron de dejar su marca cultural hasta en el medio del Amazonas y no es difícil toparse con alguien que sepa castellano, en especial cuando se es Puertorriqueño. Estan hasta en la luna. Quizás por eso es más genuino el gesto de molestarme en Boricua. Nadie se mete con uno después de reconocer nuestro acento. La furia de los descendientes de Agüeybaná es legendaria.

Mandar a la gente al infierno en inglés no suena tan devastador como los chancletasos de una madre.

Ya quisiera yo poder argumentar con todos estos energúmenos en la oficina y la calle cualquier tema en mi primer y mas querido idioma. Mi computadora se conoce mis plegarias y ruegos en español ya, pero pues no tengo la dicha de que me conteste pa atrás. No tiene un Siri. 😂 Decirle a alguien “idiot” o “a-hole” no es igual ni se siente tan satisfactorio como decirles pendejos o huele estacas. Los viles mamaos se salen con la suya ¡Coño, ugh! A la larga “dropping the mic” nunca reemplazará un buen ¡Puñeta! 

Extraño la raza…

I remember when… (A Poem dedicated to the 80s)

I remember when NASCAR didn’t have Truck Races,
Dale Earnhardt was still Intimidating,
Jeff Gordon had Rainbow Warriors,
And Jimmy Johnson had no championships.

I remember when dial up modem tones were a sign of opulence and progress,
When printers were dot matrix
And 3 1/2″ floppy disks were new.
When people had to use a CD from AOL to “download” the internet into their computer (because it didn’t come with a web browser).

I remember when you had to call collect,
And left a message as your name to save the recipient charges,
Waiting next to a payphone for a call back,
Because my parents were running late to pick me up from school.
Their secretary would patch me through to their desks to remind them it was time to clock out and enjoy me.

I remember when videogame characters died after three lives,
The levels got harder as the story progressed,
And you had to take turns to play Super Mario Bros.
We dreamed of the day we could have 3+ players on the same screen.

I remember Jem, The Thundercats, She-Ra, The Jetsons,
Silverhawks, Rainbow Brite and the Care Bears.

I remember LPs, 8 tracks, CRTs,
Pentium computers and RPGs with no walkthroughs.

I remember the world before cell phones and Harry Potter,
When Star Wars and Star Trek were all there was,
And when the world wasn’t a click away.

There are so many memories as a child of the 80s,
Too many to write and ignore.
If I ever could get my hands on a time machine I’d revisit those simpler days,
And the youth that saw technology explode!

Proud to remember it,
Prouder to have lived it all.

If I Write A Book, Will People Will Read It?

It’s 11:22pm on a Sunday night and my brain keeps wondering why I shouldn’t do it. I’ve been writing a blog for two years and my friends keep telling me I should pen a few books based on all of my ordeals. The weddings, the new house, the failed DIY and the miscarriage, heck even the layoff, are full of funny anecdotes and incredible twists and outcomes. Even if I don’t think my life is entertaining someone else might find it hilarious. Who knows, maybe they have similar stories and will be relieved they weren’t the only ones to live to tell the tale.

The lack of confidence in my own skills is alarming. Fifteen year old me would have sold at least 20 copies of her books by now. Not a huge number but it is more than 0, and she wouldn’t have thought her friends would be too busy to read it either. In essence, and with the popularity of ebooks, creating a masterpiece wouldn’t be so hard. I’m sure my English major friends would be more than happy to help me polish the content for a reasonable fee or for a free stash of books. Lol

Hmmm…

Why am I over thinking this? Fear of success? Friends will take anecdotes too seriously or personally? Will my choices come under attack? Bad press? Insufferable book tours and crowds? Losing proposition? Too much competition? Debt? Printing contracts? Hard work? I should do whatever feels right and then ask for forgiveness. Once people do unto you as you have done unto others, you see the benefits of sharing the knowledge. No one has ever written about the cowards and the lazy. To the victor the spoils, no?

I need to conquer my low self-esteem issues and start writing. Let the universe sort it all out. Push comes to shove it sells! And then I will need to write some more. Hehe

Cheers! 🍻

On The Day of Fathers…

My life was filled with many dads that took up the responsibility of raising and loving me when my own father couldn’t. Every day of my childhood was filled with the support and lessons of my male role models, who ensured I knew the difference between a good, caring, kind and intelligent man vs those who would want to use, abuse and harm me. From train sets to repairing carburetors, my uncle and grandfather made sure I knew how to fix anything and solve problems that I was yet to have. In the periphery, my father worked hard to build on top of the educational foundation these great men had given me to be worthy of the moniker of dad.

My sister’s relationship with my father is strained because the environment had changed by the time she, 8 years younger, came into the world. My mother didn’t need him to be a constant in her life and ended their 16 year partnership. Through her developmental years, my uncle and grandpa were there for her, and as luck would have it my aunt’s boyfriend also became a strong positive presence in her life. She had three dads that would encourage her to reach for the moon and stars, a sentiment she desperately needed to get over her own child development issues. (She was one of the ADHD/anxiety generation, and her life didn’t really get any easier after she graduated high school.) It was their undivided attention and tact what got her through her darkest moments. We were blessed to have such great trainers in our corner teaching us how to jab, cover, and throw in the towel.

Because my dad is usually missing in action or with his first family (we are the second set), Father’s Day is just another commercial holiday. We will answer his calls and seek him throughout the year, but we won’t make a big deal of celebrating him. Unfortunately, my grandpa and Papo (aunt’s BF) passed a few years ago so we celebrate them in spirit. It is hard to remember what we lost when everyone is hanging out with their dads but the pain is worth it. These men went above and beyond the call of duty setting a high bar for what a father and husband should be to their daughters. We were blessed to have had them for as long as we did. May they rest in peace forever.

My uncle is the last surviving male role model left and we make sure we call and text as often as possible to remind him about the good awesome children he helped mold. His own daughter adores the idea of having surrogate sisters, and we make sure we treat her as such. Hehe. She gives him the hugs and kisses we can’t send via mail, and that is good enough repayment for his sacrifice. He was 21 when I was born and didn’t have a need to become someone’s guardian angel. As my godfather, he taught me how to do my pigtails in braids and showed me how to combine colors when dressing up. My favorite dresses were gifts he bestowed upon me when my mom sent him out to get my portraits taken. Pizza, Dunkin Donut holes, M&Ms and Baskin Robbins ice cream will always serve as reminders of his love and dedication to us. Hehe

To all the dads out there in difficult situations, please hang on and don’t give up. Long distance or up close, you can make a difference in your progeny’s life and emotional health. I grew up without my father and managed to “stay off the pole” because of all the effort my own absentee dad put in to help me aspire to a greater life that he could ever give me. Knowing when to step back and let the other men take over was a task he mastered a few years into the arrangement and it must have crushed him to know he wasn’t the only dad I had. He never took it out in us or on our mom, who to this day reminds us to give him the respect he deserves.  It took a village to raise us. We raise a glass to all the villagers out there too.

Happy Father’s Day everyone! Keep up the good work.

Cheers!

Popular 1980s Kids Shows And Movies Worth Rewatching (With or Without Children)

The 80s was a decade of change. Working women were taking and climbing the career ladders so fast and furious that studios flocked to market their take on the new powerful female executive persona. From Baby Boom to Working Girl, the subject of feminism and sexism became household conversation topics. Since many women went back to work because of their recent status as single, divorced or widowed moms, movies created for children during the decade tackled hard-hitting subjects like death, depression, child abuse and neglect, and infertility/adoption. Listed below is a list of shows with the reason for being rewatched.

1. Fraggle Rock

(Real life situations, depression, death)

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On the first episode, right off the bat, one of the characters states that he is depressed and shares thoughts of suicide. His friends rally around him to show how grand life can be. To add insult to injury, one of their other friends goes missing, (I vaguely recall he may have run away) and in their journey to find him they discover a bunch of cool yet perilous places outside their safe home environment. The series was so good at helping people empathize with difficult situations and narratives that Joseph Gordon Levitt is trying to reboot it. It is raw, very well scripted and, believe it or not, fun!

2. The Rescuers

(Child abuse, neglect and child labor)

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Disney used to make these dark socially critical films (101 Dalmatians anyone?) that raised awareness of animal and child abuse. The narratives featured neglected kids that were empowered by their circumstances to stop their abusers, teaching kids to spot signs of mistreatment and inappropriate behaviour towards minors. In The Rescuers, the story focuses on a girl named Penny who is kidnapped by a woman who has no consideration or love for her, an abuses her power to control and enslave. In come Bernardo and Bianca, two mice, that receive Penny’s pleas for help and set out to rescue her. By the end the brave little girl is adopted after she saves the day, all because of the unsanctioned UN help of her new friends. I am a more compassionate person because of this movie and I learned about the United Nations efforts to end social injustice, albeit briefly. Wouldn’t have wished this in my worst playground enemy.

Parents, uncles, aunts, and/or grandparents that reading this: Are you thinking that these subjects are too mature for children? As a child that lived through the tech boom, and saw LGBTQIA and female right movements gain ground, I cannot stress how important knowing all this was to me when dealing with other children and adults – be it in person or through social media. The world can be a scary place when one doesn’t have the tools to navigate it.

3. An American Tail

(Immigration,tyranny,oppressive governments, trust, loyalty, hope)

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Fievel Mousekewitz travels from Russia with his family to seek new opportunities in the new world. His parents want to give this young mouse and his sister a new beginning free of cats. They escape famine and poverty together but due to a series of misfortunes they to get separated at sea. Fievel must save his sister and search for his parents in this foreign environment. As a visitor in a new country, who can he trust? Will he ever find his family? This is a must watch for anyone trying to understand immigration policies or life on “the other side of freedom”. The theme song for this movie was “Somewhere out there” and to this day I will always remember Fievel’s promise to find his papa and mama for the sake of his sis. 😢😢😢

4. Russkies

(Cold War, ethical treatment of prisoners)

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A group of kids rescue a Russian forces operative in need of medical attention and protection. His mission goes awry and he is trapped in enemy soil. Will the kids save him or rat him out to the authorities? What would happen if the government captured the man? This movie helped me see the Russians as people and not just as enemies. 1980s Cold War kids were very aware of nuclear bombs, submarine attacks and espionage because it permeated the discourse. Because the intent was to end the war, films made later in the decade were meant to humanize our comrades and educate an entire generation to look beyond past tensions and see the Russkies as friends.

5. Explorers

(Space Exploration, Innovation, Team work, Loyalty)

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When you think about it, a group of misfits building a spaceship to explore the galaxy seems a bit cliché and overdone but back in the 80s this was groundbreaking sci-fi/fantasy cinema. If you can get past the mechanical contraption they get off the ground you will be able to appreciate the nuances of their adventure. Will they be able to remain friends after such a journey? What will they find? If this movie is too slow or dark for you try Flight of The Navigator. Time travel and time shifts anyone?

These are just a few of the worthy shows. There are so many that I could list, and so many more that I probably couldn’t recall because they were out of our TV listings. Do you recall movies and TV shows from the 80s that inspired you and/or taught you to be considerate and empathic to social change? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Enjoy!

What I Do Is Not Up To You

Diana turns to Steve and exclaims: “What I do is not up to you”. This phrase has been around for a long time and it defines Wonder Woman perfectly. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her what she can and cannot do, and most importantly, is an independent agent who is capable of brokering her own decisions and will. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to viewers and fans that this Amazon is a strong and resilient individual that will stop at nothing to pursue justice, doing was is right and not what is easy.

My husband got me a shirt with this slogan (link from The Tee Warehouse) after I won the “we are moving to a custom brand new house a few blocks away” argument because he realized there was no stopping me when my made was made up. I’m sure many spouses can relate to this dynamic, especially when their partner is headstrong and entrepreneurial. Backing down is never an option for me, and I attempt to achieve a win-win every time I am up against a situation in which many people would yield or compromise. This gift conveys how much he appreciates my will power and since he ordered it, by mistake, in a guy’s size he gets to see me wear it to bed or around the house although he keeps insisting I could wear it outside.

Vanity, thy name is MrsEnginerd. LOL

Women are told every day that they can’t do what they do or know what they know. In business and in society, their decisions are questioned, scrutinized and taken lightly. Congress is making bills to legislate over their rights to reproductive coverage and/or abortion because “their virtue must be protected”. Ladies can’t state that they like the pleasures of the flesh or the satisfaction of a career without being accused of being sluts or selfish, and even worse, inconsiderate of their husband’s and family’s needs. Heck, their hard work is devalued so much that they even get paid less because their performance in many fields is considered to be inferior to men. Sexism is alive and well folks; we need to make an effort to eradicate it.

If you have little girls or young women in your family, or love a very wonderful and impressive woman, take this message to heart. What they do is not up to you and furthermore, does not represent you. The men and women in their lives must support and build up their confidence and pride so they can reach their goals and enjoy their very well deserved achievements and accolades. Don’t sell yourself and themselves short. With an open mind and a courageous heart we can all live up to our full potential. My grandparents believed in my mom and she retired as a Colonel or Full Bird from the Army. I have a Masters and BS in Engineering. Someday my daughters, adoptive or by proxy, will be able to go to Mars and beyond. We need more Wonder Women in our lives. Let’s build a better future together!

Hooahh!😎💪🏅

UpCycled Air Conditioning Unit Pallet Home Decor 

When my builder had the A/C installed the crew left over some copper pipe, the original boxes and the pallets that kept the box structurally sound. Rather than selling or recycling them, I thought reusing one of these as a frame for the collectible hard liquors and wine bottles would be ideal since the house’s decor is a mix of industrial and farmhouse styles.

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Sanding down the frame – stain prep.

To protect the frame, I decided to stain it with the leftover product I used for the Master Closet DIY. The color is called Kona and is a Varathane stain + poly mix that is very easy to use with a roller, cloth or brush. After about an hour of dry time, for each side of the pallet, on a clear 70° day, the frame was ready. To install it to the wall, I used keyhole brackets from an unused past project. You can use hooks and other fasteners, just make sure the loaded assy doesn’t exceed weight limits for the method you select.

Originally, I wanted to add wood shelves because the distance between cross members was high enough to stack two rows of bottles in the rack. However, I had a hard time figuring out how to do it without making the whole assembly too heavy for the plastic wall anchors I had at hand. On top of that, I would have needed to cut and sand wood to size, and would most likely need to add a lip to prevent the bottles from slipping. Taking the lazy route was made even easier when I found two hanging wire baskets on sale at HomeGoods that solved all these problems. To keep the assy light, I installed the baskets directly into the wall in between the openings. Ta da!

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Finished assy with the wire shelves.

Now that I had the storage solution up, it was easy to place the bottles in the wire shelves and stack them up in the best possible pattern. You could easily make this pallet from reclaimed wood or scraps from your local hardware or lumber store if you don’t have a delivery with these smaller pallets coming your way. 😎😍🤔

Enjoy!

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