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Showing posts from 2013

The lyrics to a dream.

You plug it in, The data flows and knows no bound, You dance to a stream of numbers, With your eyes closed, you become one. Who are we but our senses, Consciousness would remain, But our input lets us live, It lets us grow, it lets us be. In a fantastical imitation The ants did TCP/IP, but it was us, It was us that let it be. So when you stop and dream When you fade into the illusion that one day We'll plug ourselves in for knowledge, Realize that the words of Neo did just that. As we grow into a model of our experiences, Remember that our stream of emotions is but a mimicry of the input we have seen before, And that a single song can change it all and more. Let the words transform you like before, Let it grow you once more. For that edge of glory, find my lady, Or let Mackle tell you more about the equality of ladies, We really should let it be. We intervene in the dreams of others, Because two thousand years of telephone Suddenly became the nor

Building your passion.

This was inspired after I went to a SpokenWord event for the first time at JavaMonkey in Decatur. Loved the experience! Perhaps I was only dreaming, Only wishing that things would fall into place, That the blocks that scattered my mind would build an empire from the rubble, But deep inside, buried under this mess I knew those words that told me to stretch out, To reach out that hand and pick everything up. Piece by piece, I had to rebuild. Don't you tell me that your dreams have fallen, Don't you tell me that its been a waste, Because when you give up, that's it, That's all you've got. Sure there's a friend, a mother, and a brother, Sure there's the heart of compassion of others, But if your heart doesn't want it, Then don't expect it. I want you to take down every wall, Take down every word against you, Step on them and build a ladder, Make it to heavens, you are greatness. I believe in you, I believe in passion. Passion

A shitty mystery.

Step by step and pair to pair, This inconsistent dance, It's all to avoid despair, But at second glance, we've left it all to chance. Our growth is imminent, But convergent, Should we be rash for fake coal, Or shy to pick until we're whole? I've known enough to see fate, I've known enough to know that what I said, was just fake. I can't know it all, not even a little. This isn't destiny, its elasticity, This blue mammoth holds us captive, And yet we run wild and free, Playing by simple rules and needs. Would you give it all for a chance? A glimpse at immortality. Would you die a proud warrior? One who lived and loved, but was quickly lost. History is quick to swallow, Its excrement is an assortment of randomness, You dare to fight and live for greatness, But only you can define it. History will not choose the greatest, It will not choose the immortals, It will choose as it may please, Always unpredictable, such a tease. I

Why we need to work on community.

My name is Daniel Castro and I've been a part of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 4 years but I will be a yellow jacket for the rest of my life. I studied my undergraduate career in Computer Science under the College of Computing, and am now pursuing my doctorate within the same institution. I am an avid supporter of our Athletics department because I love cheering for the school that has made me grow as a person, and taught me everything that I know today. I go to football games drenched in yellow paint, ready to scream our glorious fight songs to cheer the brave and bold. I love this school. But not everyone does. In a recent discussion I was having with a colleague, we joked about how Georgia Tech students often bond over the fact that they went through similar amounts of pain and suffering. To paraphrase what my friend mentioned, "we talk about Georgia Tech like we had been to Vietnam together." I was very confused and began to talk to my peers about the

I don't think happiness is what I want, but rather, what I'll get.

Last week I got the chance to sit down with Robbie Stokes, the founder of a movement which I was very much inspired by, called  I Talk to Strangers . Robbie walked up to me while I was grabbing some lunch, getting some work done. He sat down in front of me and introduced himself, wearing a shirt that simply said, I talk to strangers, and it's changing my life. Admittedly, I was thrown aback, I didn't know how to respond or what to do. I wasn't sure if the person who had just sat in front of me at my table was going to steal from me, ask me for money, or if he needed help. I made an instinctive check for my belongings before I finally listened to what he was saying. It was quite a foreign and yet familiar concept to me. I used to give people the split second of attention before I lived in cities like Barcelona, where that split second is the difference between you getting your wallet stolen or going home unscathed. Robbie was hitting on a much stronger point, however.

Your life is never lost.

The leap of faith, A synapse, The signal sprints across, A message is never lost. Etched in gold the signal is sound, The train shouts and runs off. A gentle acceleration, You block out the light, but the waves let you know, Time would continue its flight. Perhaps in desperation you twitch, But your eyelids confirmed what the son of a stonemason coined long ago, You know the train is gone. And yet there you stand beside the tracks, The passengers are but a pixel in the distance, You stand and look across the gap, These tracks were just a hurdle, you realize The leap of faith, A synapse, The signal sprints across, Your life is never lost.

Reaching for your dreams.

This post was inspired from reading Ang Lee's essay (translated thanks to Irene Shish here ) and Irene's other post on dreams. I actually found both of those links from a question asked on Quora that had a number of incredible answers, feel free to check that out here . You stretch out your body and jump, reaching as far as you can but that dream you jumped for floats away. You begin to fall deep into the abyss, zooming farther and farther away. You're in tears because you were so close and now you've gone past ground zero. Your dream is nowhere to be found. Gravity is omnipresent, you will fall. You will hit the ground because you've failed. You have not been successful at making that dream come true. Then you backtrack. You rewind to the moment when you were in thin air and your body was fully stretched reaching for that thing you love so much and that's when you realize... you're the one telling the story, you're the one making your dreams. Sudde

There was a reason, a motive to be.

The rays of light were on vacation, The stars blocked by our civilization, There was nothing to see, but in your mind, There was clarity, there was a reason, a motive to be. In thin air the friction ignited, the rays were back at work and the gentle curves of this newly lit match blazed your sight with opportunity, An illusion of discovery was born. No longer did you feel your way around, Feeling was no longer necessary, The rough walls were avoidable because now these rays were your guiding stick. Rotation after rotation it became commonplace, With our vision defined and our emotions behind We walked the easy path, the one whose shape we did not make. Your sensitive feet lost their touch, The road was paved and unobstructed, You zoomed past it all with no consideration, No longer did you greet the world with touch. Somewhere along the lines, vision made you blind, so close your eyes and realize in time, There was a reason, a motive to be.

Listen closely.

It's game time. The clock is ticking, and you've been sitting around hoping things would get done. Sitting around hoping and dreaming that maybe some day something would fall out of the sky and fall onto you served on a golden platter. You weren't even holding the golden platter -- you were too busy pawning it off for pennies that quickly dwindled because you didn't realize that life was about experiences, not material goods. No one was born to be successful. No one was born to win their awards and to triumph above all. Those people don't exist. Those that were born into money are unfortunate because it is often more difficult for them to realize what struggle is. You were born into those struggles and hurdles, you were born to fight every moment that was going to end your dreams before they even began. The moment you stop fighting, the moment you lose that encouragement, remember that this is all you've got. You have one life, not five. You don't get

In search for truth.

How do you tell your heart to stop being hopeful, so you can move on, get some sleep, and convince yourself that it just wasn't right when you knew it was meant to be. I feel frozen in time, begging for a better moment, I compulsively want to write you stories and thoughts, tell you everything that's going through my mind, but I step back, a cordial greeting is all I've got. The personality has been stripped away and all we're stuck with is hello friend, or just goodbye. With a dark smudge at its end, the very definition of a period makes me cringe, this is final. Our messages our counted, every one of them gets closer to the last one, I'm losing the urge to write, with hopes that when I tuck myself in, my heart stops asking why. My mind knows it well and has gone through it thirty times just this morning. It knows that you felt this was right. It knows that you are suffering just as much, but that our hands can no longer touch. At every vi

A Glencairn in the abyss.

You stare into it, and it stays unmoved, in the mid center of an abyss, Nothing ever changes, it remains, untouched and unaware. The subtle decay is not visible, it remains strong to the penetrating light Its the rays that brings it to life to enlighten our humble eyes. Light works in interesting ways, it gives us so much and yet we sometimes see so little. I wish I knew what went wrong, but light knew all along, into our vision it walked upturned, and yet our brain chose what it saw. In the blink of an eye, the delicate piece shatters. The light bounces every other way, and yet a beauty remains. A beauty that lies unseen, time can only tell what we try so hard to predict. History may be of guidance, but never of certainty. Spend less time looking that way, And realize these final words which are not mine. "Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion." - Holstee Manifesto.

The things that matter.

You have to let me know, every step of the way, you have to tell me if what you’re doing really matters . Time is a resource that we are always spending. We always decide how we spend it, and more often than not it’s in a very poor manner. Right now you’re reading this; you got to this link through Facebook or Google+ (or on a very low probability from elsewhere). You’re staring at the screen. The clock is ticking. What are you doing? Is what you’re doing important – does it even matter to you? Don’t take this the wrong way. There are things that are a waste of time from the perspective of a productivity junkie, that matter tremendously. I’m not here to argue that you shouldn’t be doing activity a or b, I’m here to argue that you should ask yourself whether it matters to you. To me, a lot of these seemingly unproductive activities are vital to my productivity. If I don’t take a break in one way or another, if I don’t refresh my bandwidth (see this  and my thoughts on it ), I

You should never be busy and we should grab lunch.

This post was inspired from reading this article , and this article , both of which cover a lot of the points I discuss below. I'd still recommend reading both of them. In fact, if you only have time for two articles, read those. I'm writing this post to share some of my own personal strategies on the subject. These readings went over two important points which I'd like to highlight: Telling people you are busy all the time isn't necessarily a good thing. Its generally a sign of poor time management. Incredibly productive people know that performing activities that distract you from your work often help you tremendously with making progress at work. I'll quote the second point since I can't really put it better than this:  "some tasks tax your bandwidth even when you are not working on them — a looming deadline or a challenging decision call your mind away from whatever you're working on," while "other tasks do not tax bandwidth but ref

Hey, you should do this.

For a very long time in my life, I had given no thought to living. I was the product of my hard-working parents, and I tried my best not to disappoint them. Once college came around, I worked hard to continue this trend, but by then, I was already successful in their eyes, I had gotten a scholarship to go to Georgia Tech and they knew once I landed my first internship with a big tech firm that I had made it. But something happened after that. I started applying the knowledge that I was so fortunate to have to how I lived my life. I started three tasks, which everyone knows can be good for you in moderation. I started working out, eating healthily, and being more thoughtful. These are three areas which I was particularly weak in. These three areas vastly improved my quality of life. I was falling asleep immediately after going to bed which made me get some truly wonderful rest, my skin was clearing up by being more careful about what I ate and I felt like I grew as a person by starti

Random ink from my trip to Denmark

I copied this directly from my notebook with some minor changes. I had written this while I was flying out to Denmark and then shortly after landing there. I didn't know how to title this. It has been nearly three years since I was in such a calm and relaxing situation. Just the ink and me awaiting for the hoard of passengers to cram into a scrap of metal. All of them awaiting anxiously in a disorderly line to get into the plane, is it always everyone's first time? I get it, you want to assure yourself that your maximum-size carry-on luggage fits perfectly. It used to matter to me too before I embraced a more relaxed lifestyle. I still have hints of a relapse, droplets of anxious thoughts that are quickly cleaned away by the reason in my mind that brings clarity. And then, my phone rings. Norwegian Airlines has texted me a reminder 30 minutes before I board... FREE WIFI ON BOARD?! What in the world. Maybe that's why everyone is crowded at the gate ;). But seriously, the

Should I study abroad in Barcelona, Spain for the summer?

The sun is setting. I sit in a small dorm room in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Barcelona. I have been to Barcelona, Spain on numerous occasions. I have brought and met up with friends from all over the world here, I've made countless friendships in every corner of this city, I've studied here, and now, I'm a teaching assistant here for the summer. I'm writing this post to answer one question for Georgia Tech students in a very extensive fashion, should I study abroad in Barcelona, Spain for the summer? The answer is YES . Here are my top 5 reasons as to why, in no particular order. It's going to change your life. Whether you're a world-traveler or an in-state student who has never left the United States, the GT Barcelona program will have an incredibly lasting effect on your life. I've tried to explain this phenomenon before, but its relatively difficult to put into words. Traveling and more specifically  expe

Nutella Quinoa with chopped strawberries and bananas

I'm starting to experiment with quinoa and the different types of meals I can make. So far I have gathered it is a very interesting seed (pretty much a grain) that upon boiling, absorbs a lot of water, making it very tender (depending on how you cook it of course). Today I boiled some quinoa following a very simple recipe: First I put some olive oil (a teaspoon at most) on the pot, and let it heat up until the oil spread around easily.  I tossed in the amount of quinoa I desired and let it cook for about 1 minute in the oil, stirring it every few seconds to make sure all of the quinoa got cooked for a bit.  I then put in twice the amount of water as quinoa, and waited for it to come to a boil. Once it had gotten to a boil, I covered the pot, and let it cook for 15 minutes in low heat. The quinoa as it boils. I chopped some frozen strawberries and frozen banana slices in the process, and left those in a bowl. Frozen diced strawberries! Adding them to the

Sweden and Denmark, check!

This was one crazy weekend.. Flew out to Copenhagen on Friday and decided to take a 20 minute train to Malmo, Sweden. It was midsommar which meant everything was closed and everyone was barbecueing and relaxing at the parks, pretty neat. I came back late and met a few travelers at the hostel before heading to bed.  Saturday morning I went to the David Collection in Copenhagen, which has to be the best museum I have ever experienced. I learned about Islamic art and its origins, truly a must visit in my opinion.  I followed this with watching the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series which was outstanding although, like in a lot of places in Copenhagen, a ton of construction was going on, which was a bit frustrating for photography. After that I visited a variety of different landmarks including passing by the Tivoli Gardens (I didn't have time to go inside but it looked so awesome, next time it shall be a must do! -- note to others, its a theme park, I thought it was just the

My Guide to Panama, the place I call home :).

Last updated (May 2015) - Still need to flesh this out. This is a guide to the place I call home -- my favorite place and dearest to my heart, Panama. I'll give some general tips on places to go, along with some more generic itineraries. Transportation: Panama has Uber . It is much better than the somewhat unreliable taxi service, and it will most definitely revolutionize transportation in the city. I love it and take it everywhere, and I hugely recommend that you do as well as it is so much more convenient. If you are out of range, I recommend you drag the pin closer in range and then when you get an Uber, call the driver immediately and ask him if he'd be willing to drive farther for more money. I have done this and they are generally willing to make the trip for cash (basically not through Uber but at a decent price). Places to Travel: Miraflores Restaurant : This one is a decent option, call in if you want a reservation for a table outside to see the boats c

Atlanta (Georgia Tech) - The Food Guide

This is an intimate, detailed breakdown of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta. It is particularly focused on Georgia Tech, and only makes some regard for spending money. In terms of that, I will try to denote what everything in the guide costs, but i'll focus mainly on good quality restaurants that in my opinion are worth the cost they are categorized under. P.S. I have done a similar list before on Reddit, see here , but this one I will focus more on the best places you can eat at, mostly because I'd like to eventually go to every restaurant on this list that I have not been to. This all came about when a little over two weeks ago I decided, for my birthday, that i'd make reservations at Abattoir for a good dinner with my friend, and after going, I could not have enough of the place. Admittedly, I could not stop talking about it to all of my friends and how they had to go. The waiter had even asked me if I had any allergies that I'd like to inform the kitchen