Viejo II

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Canimao climbed out of the boat and let the cold of the great water wash over his legs. Looking back across the sea where so much of their lives had been spent in the recent months of their voyage. Here they arrived to find and explore the land of men with no color that would bring them to the land of the men they sought, the men who died in a terrible storm that lashed the shores of Canimao’s home land. Saddened by the lost men and their failed quest…Cinimao’s quest succeeded with his warriors quest to bring them home.
Canimao gathered his warrior’s and searched for the items of the lost men. They were pale men challenging what is known by the people’s bohiques, surmising the dead man’s origin and considered adding the found men to return them to their people and their land…
Canimao’s spear, tethered to his waist, a shield held in his arm, six warrior’s, all exhausted from there long trip, still healthy and fit but thinking of rest and hunger. They found a place to camp among in the tree, hidden from view of any natives. Finding their bodies laid about the beach, Canimao asked his people for volunteers, to help gather their bodies and things then try and transport them all back to their homes, a dangerous and great distance away…The dead men were sailors from a land over the horizon. A consult with the chiefs and bohiques led them to understand where the pale men were from.
Canimao once heard of people like them who’s color was pale compared to him and his people. Their home, a journey long and far away on the great water and much preparation would be involved.
Canimao, I have heard of these men but have never seen them, they are explorers of riches and only riches, the riches of others; they seek wealth from others to add to their already stolen wealth as their own. Your quest is your own but know that their lust stains them as blood. But know the consequences of your journey.
In the year 1491, inhabitants of a land far across the Atlantic, arrived on the shores of Portugal. Canimao and his crew arrived in a large seaworthy vessel with the personal belongings of the men they found after having succumbed to a terrible storm off the shore of Canimao’s land. Each, equipped with survival pouches, and information describing the men whose lives they tried to save; men who arrived across the ocean in a land they believed was in Portugal.
“Canimao, how will we find those who knew those men?”
Shaking his head side to side, “I don’t know yet, we don’t know the language, who the men were, I don’t know how but we shall try with their goods of trade.”

Canimao and his crew disembark from their sailing ships and scan the forests perimeter, looking for signs of life while dragging their boats up from the waves onto the shore. They quickly unloaded the boats of their goods and packed the remains of the men of no color, the items that were theirs and lay them beside the their own and the lay down to relax and rest and ponder their journey. After some thought they walk along the edge of the forest without straying too far from shore to prowl along the forests in search of someone who might help them find the origins of the men they helped. Without calling attention to themselves. Skirting along the edge of villages they judge who they will try and communicate with… They watch the daily lives of the inhabitants of this new land and they wonder…
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Tuning Papi’s Chrome Blue Nova with A Warm Glass of Rum

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Papi used to tune the 6-cylinder engine to his Chrome blue Chevy Impala with a warm glass of rum.
On Saturday mornings, after spending the start of the weekend sleeping, Papi used to walk out to the car, which he kept parked in front of the red brick tenement we lived in, in Brooklyn. In the trunk he kept his tools and likewise in a greasy brown bag an old drinking glass stained with use and a bottle of dark Puerto Rican rum. He opened the bottle and poured a half glass of rum, warmed by the summer heat that turned the trunk into an oven and cooked whatever was inside. Then he walked around to the front of the car and leaned forward to unlatch the hood through the front grill, lift the hood, take a small sip of rum and then place the glass on the right front fender.
As he worked, Papi would take small sips from the glass for each part of the car he worked on; checking plugs, wires, air filter, belts. Then he would check the engines idle that would actually cause the car to shake more or less.
Taking a small screw driver, he would reach reach deep into the carburetor and turn the idle screw. He watched the glass of rum as he turned the screw and judged his work based on the ripples that formed in the rum. The ripples started at the center of the filled glass, then radiated out to the edge of the glass, then bounced back, creating a storm of waves that seemed to boil the rum. Often I stood beside the glass and watched the storm grow in the rum, until Papi tuned the car. He continued to turn the idle screw until the car settled, and the rum settled. Finally the car didn’t visibly shake, but the rum rippled ever so gently; like the warm pools of water in the mountains of Puerto Rico. The ripples had become shallow, even and fast.
The car was tuned; and Papi was glad…
Papi would stand in front of the car and admire the engine. Then take the warm glass of rum and pour the rest down his throat.
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El Viejo / La Vida de La Dona y El Cuerpo del Cacique

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“Hurakan…”spoke El Cacique. “I can smell the water of the great sea burning”… said El Cacique…
“The dead…”
“To speak of the dead is wrong…”
“Men of no color?”
“Men of any color?”
Canimao and his men gathered the remains of the men of no color, the men of no color, who suffered the storm…
“They are dead and deserve rituals of their dead…”
“They are dead, Cacique,” said Canimao… “We do not know their ways…
“Nor do we know their intent… They consume without the intent of nourishment…
Canimao…since you will explore where they come from… It is your choice…
We will…gather their remains from the beach and ready them for transport…It is a long journey and I fear we will know what we fear to know…
The fear of where these men come from…
Return them to rest…
I fear they will come back…”Cacique shooed them away….and to himself he spoke.
“We arrived to this world too late and the world will return us too soon…
They’re hunger is like the heat of an angry fire…
The fear is they are seekers of desires, of lonely people who never stop looking for they know not what they seek…
Their desire, their urge is insurmountable… a mountain never to be looked upon or climbed upon…”
The great sea was tormented…inundating them with a great wash…
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Data guru living with ALS modernizes industries by typing with his eyes

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By Susanna Ray 10 September, 2018
The self-proclaimed “oldest nerd of Guatemala,” Otto Knoke is an admitted workaholic, glued to his computer screen from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. as he analyzes data and creates business-intelligence dashboards for customers ranging from restaurants to hotels and real-estate companies.
The 60-year-old data analyst is well-known in Guatemala’s business community, especially after he helped modernize the banking industry by bringing ATMs to the country 20 years ago. But even as the then-40-year-old’s career was blossoming, his muscles were beginning to fail him. In 1998, Knoke (pronounced kuh-NO-kuh) was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and was told he had two years to live.
Always an early adopter of new technology, Knoke persistently researched ways tech advances could help him thrive even as the disease has progressed. Two decades later, he has become the first person in Guatemala to use Microsoft’s new eye-tracking software for Windows 10, called Eye Control. That’s given him access to pivotal tools, helping his mind overcome the restrictions of his body, and his business is booming.
“Technology has permitted me to work and communicate with my loved ones, with the people who help me and with my friends,” Knoke said in an interview conducted over email, his responses typed using his eyes. “And now that I’ve learned to use Eye Control and a foot mouse at the same time, my productivity at work has skyrocketed and my relationships have improved.”
Otto Knoke, who has lived with ALS for 20 years, “always has a big smile on his face, because he’s got his independence back” thanks to new technology that helps him communicate, says his wife Pamela Knoke.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, erodes muscular functions until a person is unable to walk, talk or breathe. There’s no known cause or cure, and it usually results in death within five years, according to the ALS Association, although physicist Stephen Hawking lived with the disease for 55 years until he died earlier this year – one of just 5 percent of patients, including Knoke, to survive for more than 20 years.
Once an avid cyclist, weightlifter and tennis player, Knoke lost use of his hands and arms first, which meant he couldn’t hold a cane to support his weakening legs. So he’d tuck his arm under his wife’s, and she propelled him forward. His symptoms progressed slowly, allowing him to keep his job as a chief executive officer in the banking industry for 12 years. He retired in 2010 when he began losing his voice, making it difficult to communicate with his board of directors.
But he didn’t stop working; he simply moved his office home and became a data analyst, helping nonprofits and small- to medium-sized companies use new business intelligence tools to get value from their data.
“He’s not retired – he doesn’t know the meaning of that word – he just doesn’t go to the office anymore,” said his wife of 32 years, Pamela Knoke, who quit her job as a bank process manager to become his business partner – and his voice.
The couple remodeled their two-story townhouse near Guatemala City so he had everything he needed on the first floor and didn’t have to navigate stairs. Otto learned to use a trackball mouse with his foot to type with an on-screen keyboard. But it was cumbersome, and he needed Pamela nearby to move the cursor from one corner of his two 32-inch screens to another as he navigated Excel spreadsheets and Power BI dashboards.
A tracheotomy was put in his throat to help him breathe, taking away his limited speech and increasing his isolation. But when Knoke, who spends two hours a day reading blogs and researching, saw his friend Juan Alvarado’s post about the new Eye Control feature in Windows 10, he let loose with his version of a shout and immediately ordered the Tobii Eye Tracker hardware to use with the software.
Otto Knoke with his wife, daughters and sons-in-law. Photo provided by Pamela Knoke.
Alvarado, who met Knoke as a database consultant working on the ATM system Knoke had implemented, hadn’t known about Knoke’s condition until he suddenly saw him in a wheelchair one day. And fittingly, Eye Control itself began with a wheelchair.
Microsoft employees, inspired by former pro football player Steve Gleason, who had lost the use of his limbs to ALS, outfitted a wheelchair with  electronic gadgets to help him drive with his eyes during the company’s first Hackathon, in 2014. The project was so popular that a new Microsoft Research team was formed to explore the potential of eye-tracking technology to help people with disabilities, leading to last year’s release of Eye Control for Windows 10.
Knoke said it was “a joy” to learn how to type with his eyes, getting the feel of having sensors track his eye movements as he navigated around the screen and rested his gaze on the elements he wanted to click. Using Eye Control and the on-screen keyboard, he now can type 12 words a minute and creates spreadsheets, Power BI dashboards and even PowerPoint presentations. Combined with his foot-operated mouse, his productivity has doubled. He plans to expand his services to the U.S., where he spent six years studying and working in the 1970s. He no longer relies on his wife’s voice, because Eye Control offers a text-to-speech function as well.
“It was frustrating trying to be understood,” Knoke said in the email interview. “After a few days of using Eye Control I became so independent that I did not need someone to interact with clients when there were questions or I needed to explain something. We have a remote session to the client’s computer, and we open Notepad and interact with each other that way.”
His wife and his nurse had learned to understand the sounds he was able to make, even with the tracheotomy restricting his vocal chords. But now he can communicate with his three grown daughters, his friends and all his customers.
Using a foot-operated mouse, Eye Control for Windows 10 and the text-to-speech function, Otto Knoke is able to communicate with his family — including his daughter, seen here — as well as with clients.
“Now when our children visit, he can be not just nodding at what they say, but he can be inside the conversation, too,” Pamela Knoke said. “He always has a big smile on his face, because he’s got his independence back.”
He’s also started texting jokes to friends again.
“It’s kind of like it brought my friend back, and it’s amazing,” Alvarado said. “Otto told me that for him, it was like eye tracking meant his arms can move again.”
Being able to text message with Eye Control has helped his business as well.
Grupo Tir, a real-estate development and telecommunications business in Guatemala, hired Knoke for several projects, including streamlining its sales team’s tracking of travel expenses with Power BI.
“Working with Otto has been amazing,” said Grupo Tir Chief Financial Officer Cristina Martinez. “We can’t really meet with him, so we usually work with texts, and it’s like a normal conversation.
“He really has no limitations, and he always is looking for new ways to improve and to help companies.”
Otto Knoke uses Eye Control in Windows 10 to create spreadsheets and interactive Power BI reports, such as this one, for his clients.
Knoke’s ready feedback on the Microsoft products he works with every day, such as Power BI, led to improvements in the software’s features, along with a job offer that he calls “a dream come true.” The company hired him as a contractor this month to serve as a community manager for Power BI’s customer advisory team.
“I was really inspired,” said Cesar Cernuda, the president of Microsoft Latin America, who visited Knoke at his home earlier this year. “And it’s not that we’re helping him, but that he’s helping all of his customers, as an expert on Power BI.”
Knoke’s pioneering use of Eye Control in Guatemala and the way he’s been able to harness technology to enrich his personal life spoke volumes to Mario Ibarguen, the general manager of Taco Bell Guatemala. The fast-food franchisee has been growing in the country, opening 54 restaurants including the world’s largest Taco Bell, housed in a former bank in Guatemala City. When Ibarguen needed a tool for the restaurant managers to measure growth and sales in real time, he knew Knoke would have the answer.
“All these tools that Otto has have helped him a lot, so it’s good to have someone like Otto helping us,” Ibarguen said.
Knoke credits his family, work, faith and attitude as the “winning ticket” that has sustained him as his disease progressed over the past two decades. And with his renewed ability to communicate, he said, “I’m so busy that I don’t have time to think about my disease.”

Top photo: Otto Knoke and Juan Alvarado discuss a Power BI report Knoke created using eye-tracking software for Windows 10.

That’s All There Is…

Again…
Things aren’t as I expect…
What do I expect?
I don’t know…
But this isn’t it…
Something’s wrong, I think…

In that continuing query there’s an answer…

Life is filled with expectations and when you look hard enough there are none…
That’s the stop I’m at all the time and every time I get off the stops stay the same, nothing changes… There’s nothing but expectations…a voice says expect something, anything… That’s all there is…