Happy 21st birthday Grandpa Walo! (at least that is the age he is claiming). We drove down to Redlands for the day to visit with Aliciana’s side of the family and to go out to eat. Unfortunately, we had to leave the party before the birthday cake.

The baby in the pictures below is Gina monster #4, Diego. He is a ham for getting his photo taken… just like the other nephews, besides Marco, who bolts at the sight of a camera.


Cutest baby ever!


My in-laws and nephew Papis came for the weekend to see the beautiful sights of Bakersfield. No, not really, Bakersfield is close to the ugliest city in California. They came to wish us goodbye before we move up to Seattle. We will be leaving for Washington in a couple more weeks to get settled before I start my new job at Amazon.com. More on that to follow when I get time.

We didn’t do much in Bakersfield besides go to CALM to see some California wildlife (and be entertained by the flock of sheep in the field across the street). We also had a nice walk in the park and some yummy dinners.


We started at 7:00am… I should say the movers started at 7:00am. We just sat there and answered questions. The movers finished packing and loading everything 12 hours later, at around 7:00pm. It was much easier having the movers pack everything and worry about getting it up to Seattle, but it was still very boring. It is very hard to entertain yourself when all you have available is a couple of lawn chairs.


Most of the regular readers of this blog should know by now that I have accepted a position at Amazon.com. I start my new job as a Software Development Engineer in the Enterprise Applications Development group on April 2nd.

Although my consulting business, Aona Systems LLC, has been doing well, I felt that I was capable of working on much larger projects. I knew that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with my work as a consultant, or frankly any technology work that I could find in Bakersfield. Plus, I found out what I truly love to do is create elegant software to solve challenging problems… and not worrying about marketing my services, finding clients, and convincing people I am worth spending money on.

Owning my own LLC, and being able to get it off the ground and profitable, is definitely not an experience I regret. I got to learn a lot about different tax laws, how to put together a business and marketing plan, and all the government hoops you need to jump though. The best thing I discovered is that I am a scientist and an engineer in my heart, not a businessman. My passion is discovering creative solutions and creating beautiful works of software engineering. It is the chance to create and discover that will get me up each morning and drive me to be a success.


Aliciana and I decided to escape from unpacking our new apartment and enjoy some of the sunshine. We met up with Nick and Jessie, and took a small hike in the Arboretum. It was hard to believe we were still in the middle of a large metropolitan city while we were walking around the park.


Nick, Jessie, Aliciana, and me celebrate Zeus’s birthday with a trip to the dog park and some sweets. Zeus loved his doggie brownie…. and Jessie’s cupcakes were good too 😉


Linuxfest Northwest is like a giant LUG (Linux users group) meeting. We decided to check it out since we were planning on going up to Vancouver anyways. I figured it was a good excuse for our first trip into Canada.

Besides checking out some exhibitions and attending a talk on OpenID, we didn’t do a whole lot at the festival. It seemed like a lot of the geeks were having a good time but because we had just moved to the pacific northwest we didn’t know a single soul.

It was worth checking out the festival since we were in the area but I don’t think it would have been personally worth attending otherwise. I greatly enjoyed LinuxWorld last year in San Fransisco but this festival was nothing like it. But, the LinuxFest Northwest group was trying for more of an intimate get together of local Linux lovers, and it seemed like they accomplished that. I think Aliciana was expecting something a little more impressive… I definitely need to drag her to LinuxWorld in the future.


Vancouver is a very beautiful city. We did some shopping in the “Robson Street” area of the city. Then we headed to Stanley Park just west of downtown. It is quite amazing to have such a large park bordering a major city. We took a small hike though part of the park and enjoyed the many gardens. It was a very good first impression of Canada; I really wish we had more than just an afternoon to spend there.

On the trip home we spent 30 minutes trying to get back into the US. While sitting in line we took in the sites of the waterfront and the Peace Arch. After convincing the border patrol we weren’t terrorists, we were finally allowed on our way. It struck me as funny, and kinda sad, that it took 20 seconds to get into Canada, but a 10 minute interrogation, and 20 minute wait, to get back into the USA. I guess that is just the world we live in these days.




Finally, someone scientifically proves that requiring the males in the household to lower the toilet seat does not minimize “the total cost of toilet seat operations per household.” I have been arguing this point with my wife since the day we moved in together. Now, I have game theory analysis on my side. Unfortunately, because the correctness of leaving the toilet seat up goes against currently entrenched social norms, I don’t see the male gender convincing society that their actions are inefficient anytime soon.





Aliciana and I took the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Next we drove up the 305 to Poulsbo and then down the 3 to the 16 and into Tacoma. Click here for a pretty map.

We ate dinner at the Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the service sucked. Go to the Spaghetti Factory in Seattle instead.