27 November 2010
With Papá away and Mama in hospital, I can’t stay home alone anymore. That kinda sucks!
So I’m staying at the house of a friend.
A neighbour, Señora Jimenez, is looking after our house – she’s the one with lots of crazy barking dogs.
I visit Mama in hospital but she doesn’t recognise me at the moment. The doctors are giving her lots of medicine. I get sad just looking at her because I can see she’s in pain. I wish they could make her better.
Papá does too. He’s called every night so far, to see how I am. We don’t speak for very long. What’s to say? Mama’s no better, Papá says nothing about his top-secret project, and I-
I wish Abuelita was still here. Mama might not have fallen if Abuelita had been at home. She wouldn’t have been lying there for so long, anyway. I wouldn’t have to stay with my friend.
I would at least have my home.
24 November 2010
Mama has fallen downstairs. She’s broken her pelvis. I found her. It was terrible. She was all alone in the dark, crying.
Papá is halfway around the world in
I knew there was something wrong. My mom was supposed to collect me that evening because Papá couldn’t. And when I asked someone to call Mama there was no reply.
The doctores said that Mama is lucky I arrived when I did. She was in a bad way.
She could have died. I don’t like to think about it…
22 November 2010
There was so much blood outside my school today!
I was at recess when it happened. These two older guys were fighting on the street outside. They were arguing. This guys in my school had been watching them. I overheard them say it had something to do with money.
One of the guys who was fighting wearing our school uniform. The other guy, no one recognised. He wasn’t wearing a uniform.
There was a van at the side of the road. It looked like the other guy was trying to drag the boy from my school into his van.
The guy from the van pulled a knife. There was blood all over the place. I screamed. Not just me - so did everyone. When the teachers came they were shouting at us to be quiet.
Our school doesn’t have that kind of violence. We don’t have metal detectors, not like the state schools. Normally we don’t have problems with knives or weapons.
I hate knives.
They are real scary. It’s part of why my parents don’t allow me out on my own. I’m not even allowed to walk to school. Some of the kids have drivers who take them to and from school. I have Mama.
The boy from my school was real badly hurt. But the other guys just drove away before the police arrived.
The rumour is: the boy’s older brother owes the van driver money. The van driver wanted to kidnap the younger brother until he got his money. Kidnappings have always been high in the city, but recently they are getting worse.
Everybody is like, really scared.
19 November 2010
Just in case you’re thinking I’m a little obsessed with my dad’s work – forget it!
But I am obsessed with ice cream. And my dad’s lab is near the best ice-cream in the world.
Now do you see the connection?
My dad works at Temixco Biotech Institute, about 65 kilometres from
If you’ve never tried them you don’t know what you are missing. And that’s fine – more for me.
I never miss a chance to visit my dad’s lab – I always persuade him to drop by Tepoztlan. When we have more time we even visit the pyramid ruins, at the top of cliff.
He hasn’t taken me there for months though. Papa says things are getting really frantic at work. Some big scientific breakthrough, all very, very secret.
16 November 2010
I have now read all the HaRRy PoTtEr books. The series is finished - finally. I can get on with my life!
No, it hasn’t taken me this long to read the last Harry Potter book. I just decided not to read it right away. That meant avoiding the films too (and it’s not because I’m crazy for Daniel Radcliffe, Kasper Castillo, so don’t get started).
I wanted to make up my own mind about whether it was good or not. I don’t get much time for reading, not when I have so much school work to do, and my computers. Plus, I have to leave some room for friends.
Harry Potter had to wait. But it was worth it!
I won’t spoil the ending for those of you yet to read it. I just wanted to say that reading them one after the other over the past few months has left me agotada.
Yeah…I definitely need a rest.
I don’t think anyone could live through what Harry has to live through without a heart attack. It would have finished me!
14 November 2010
Papá was very excited because they delivered a big new machine to his lab. An automatic
I asked Papa how you use it – he laughed.
“Who knows” – that’s what he said. “There’s a special technician who operates it. I just send off a test-tube and they send me back the
I was supposed to be showing him about information bits and there was my dad telling me about his brand new
It always comes back to his work.
I guess genetics is kind of interesting. NOT!
I wish my dad would notice that I don’t care enough to want to study it?
12 November 2010
Papá was trying to tell me how alike we are with our programming. Me with computers, him with
Imagine a city with roads, and rivers, railways and footpaths, all leading into it. A computer doesn’t have roads. It has ports.
Ports do the same thing as roads, really. A road lets in a car, a port lets in data. Simple, see?
So, by blocking a road or closing a port you prevent cars or data from getting through.
I want to make my computer invisible so that other websites won’t even see it.
Papá was impressed. We have a small network at home and I showed him how to connect to my computer from his. Then I showed him what happens when I close the ports.
Anyway, Papá was telling me how similar computers and genetics are.
All data stored in computers is made up of ones and zeros. It’s like a secret language.
If I wrote 1001010111100010110100011101000101111, all those ones and zeros (each one is called a bit) could mean something like “Hi, Señora Estrada”.
(It doesn’t really, but you see what I mean.)
I explained to Papá that bits work like a light switch so that they are either on (1) or off (0). He told me that computer programs are man’s answer to God’s programming!
He said that
While bits are either 1 or 0, Papá said, the bases in
At least – I thought he said Dogman. That would have been cool!
But it turns out he actually said ‘dogma’. It’s like ‘the central belief’.
Not as cool as a Dogman.
10 November 2010
Abuelita always thought I was a bit of an oddball when it came to music – I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. She had a sense of national pride –for singers like Luis Miguel o Los Fugitivos.
ThOSe sOpPy lOVe sOnGs aRe aLL a liTTle… cUrSi!
I guess I’m a little different to some of my classmates. I don’t like rap, hip-hop and especially not reggaeton! Yuk!
I guess I’m a rock chick. Anything with a strong guitar sound will get me on my feet – Papá’s caught me a couple of times, dancing on my bed, just jumping up and down really.
My favourites groups at the moment are:
- Bon Jovi
- Rodrigo y Gabriela
And, I have a soft spot for my dad’s favourites too. He likes the Rolling Stones and Clapton and The Police.
You know, the typical, old guy stuff...
8 November 2010
I loVE tO pLAy aRoUNd wItH lITtLe prOGrAms.
Creating computer programs can be real fun. Though, I think you need determination to solve puzzles. I guess that’s what Papá was always going on about with his work – trying to make a mouse glow, or turning a frog into a prince, or whatever he does.
Computadoras are where it’s happening. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when it all comes together and you solve the puzzle you set yourself.
Try this game. The Towers of Hanoi is a great example of decision making – and mostly that’s what programming is – you have to choose how best to carry out a task. Programs are designed to make decisions depending on what they are told to do.
If you play the Towers of Hanoi, and try to work out the quickest and best way to move all the discs, then your brain is running through a set of questions and trying to decide the best way to do it:
Where shall I place disc 1?
I can’t put disc 2 on disc 1, so I have to put it on the only free peg.
Should I move disc 1 on top of… well, you get the point.
ThAt’S eXaCTly wHat A prOGraM dOEs. YoU uSe tHOse dEciSiONs tO Do sOMe exCeLEnTe tHIngS
7 November 2010
I dON’t gEt wHaT’s sO iNTerEsTIng aBoUT lOokINg aT thInGS tHaT aRe tOO smALl tO eVeN sEe.
Papá looks at “the building blocks of life”, he keeps telling me, but I just think we’re made this way for a reason. Why are they playing around with what makes us human?
He’s tried in the past to get me interested (I really think he wanted me to take after him - seguir los pasos de alguien). Once, we did this experiment to extract
When Mama saw where Papá had snapped the
I’ve just found the experiment we did. It’s here if you want to give it a go for yourself.
Papá always told me never to do any experiments unsupervised. Like he thinks I’m still a little girl and interested in science.
4 November 2010
PaPá dOEs a lOt oF tRAvELling – hE’s a moLEcuLar bIoLoGIst, reMeMbeR?
Usually he has to go where the work is (he works for himself and companies hire him). He’s always jetting off to
He was getting really excited about his latest employer, some company called… er… I wasn’t listening…
Papa never tells me what he’s going to be working on. When I used to ask, he’d go all quiet, make sure no one was around to listen and whisper in my ear: “Es un secreto”. And off he’d go, laughing to himself.
Oooh, big, secret, money-making science ideas…
Don’t worry Daddy. Your secrets are safe with me.
(Like he’d ever tell me! You’re crazy!)
3 November 2010
mY tWO fISh, MyStERio y EpHeStO, aRe nAmED afTeR mAskED wReSTlerS fRoM frEEstYLe pRo-WreSTliNg. I dOn’T reALly lIKe wReStLing bECauSe iT’s jUSt bIg, sWeATy mEn gRUntIng aNd thROwiNg eAch oTHer arOUnD. But, it’s so big over here that you can’t help but see at least one masked man every day.
Really, I named my fish after luchadors because they are dumb. They both make the same breathless, puffing faces. It’s so ugly and funny. Luchadors never see the setup either – when their opponent does a flying headscissor they never see it coming – talk about short memories!
My family aren't known for keeping pets - they're all too busy with work. But my aunt did have a little cat called Isabel.
We all called her Isa.
2 November 2010
PaPá iS aLWayS aWAy oN buSIneSS, sO MaMa aNd AbUEliTa, pReTTy mUch, bROugHt mE uP. EvEN wHen pApá iS hOMe I hArDLy sEe hiM bECauSe hE’S sO oBSesSEd wItH hIs wORk.
Before Abuelita died, she used to say that’s where I got my determination from. She was the same though. Nobody ever won an argument against Abuelita. She was a testarudo old lady. Once she’d set her mind on something, there was no way to change it. She’d give you un golpecito just for trying. Not that it would hurt – Papá used to clutch his cheek like a little boy, while she would continue to wag her finger, just to wind her up. And she’d brandish a rolling pin until he fled the kitchen, laughing. Territorial as a gato (miaow!), prowling the kitchen and salón, keeping the rest of us in order.
Papá loves his genetics, but I love computer programming. OK, I’m a nerd, get over it!!!!
I guess the only difference between him and me is that I’m playing around with software programs and he’s playing around with
It all sounds kinda boring.
WhAtEVer! It’s still programming.
Occasionally, he tries to interest me (seems to think science is cool), like, a couple of years ago he was going on about a breakthrough in fighting malaria…
I’ve just Googled it, and actually it’s a “breakthrough in understanding the genetics of” blah blah blah.
See, like I say - boring.
But you can read about it here if you think you fancy becoming a scientist.
Why do these things always have something to do with fruit flies?
AnYWay, iF YOu wAnt tO sAVe tHe wOrLd - wEAr a wHitE cOaT.
1 November 2010
mY naMe is gAbi.
I was born Gabriela, but the only people who call me that now are the boys when they’re trying to be chistoso. The only thing funny is the way they run away when I threaten to kick them in the- (Señora Estrada has told me to save my insultos for playground).
ApoLOgiEs iF yOU’ve aCcIDenTAlly fOuND yoUr wAy heRE bUt I’Ve gOt soMe aBuRRido tHiNgs I haVe tO wrITe tO pRovE a bAsIC kNoWLedGe oF EnGlISh:
Like, I am 14 years old. I have no brothers or sisters. I have two fish. They are called Mysterio y Ephesto.
Mi papá is a molecular biologist and mi mama is a housewife. Mi abuelita (papá’s mama) used to live with us.
I live in
It might sound like a great place (it’s one of the world’s largest cities) but Mama refuses to let me go anywhere unsupervised. I can’t do anything myself, like go into anywhere with just my friends.
Pues, mira – I want to be free to enjoy myself. OK! Like, I know the city can be a dangerous place. It wouldn’t matter so much if we were poor. (OK we’re not rich but, you know what I’m saying, we’re not poor, not like some of the real poor people we got here in
You don’t need to be rich to be kidnapped in
It’s just that round here all the faces are the same, and you have to put up with the same idiotas (tHIs mEaNS yOU KaSPeR caSTiLlo – thE nEXt TIme yOu sPReAd rUmORes aBoUT mE I’M gOInG tO tELl eVEryOne tHat yOU eStAS enAMorAdo dE lEOni