Archive for December, 2007

Random Photos to End 2007

December 29, 2007 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos

As my last post of 2007, I thought I’d purge some to-be-blogged photos from recent walks around town. Without a doubt, it’s been a strange year. I never thought people I’ve never met would come and visit my blog regularly and actually send me presents and things. When I was fifteen, a friend and I chatted up some girls in Colorado over AOL and even got them to send us some photos of themselves (or two girls anyway…it could have been one fat old man screwing with us), but that was as close as I’d ever gotten to knowing a stranger via the internet. The fact that I now have a handful of people whose lives I follow and comment on on a daily basis would have surprised the me that entered 2007.

Alas, my Year of Bond idea did not spread like wildfire across the English-speaking world. Oh well.

Angel From Montgomery

December 27, 2007 By: erik Category: Music, Reviews, Videos

One of my favorite songs has got to be John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery. I’ve mentioned it once before here when there was, well, a fly in the kitchen. It never ceases to amaze me how songwriters and novelists can write about someone else in the first person, to become someone else and really feel their emotions. This song also touches a special chord with me because I work from home and have spent some time with my wife being the sole breadwinner of the household. Even though I am obviously a lot happier with my life than the protagonist of the song, I feel a kinship with her that’s hard to explain. I have experienced the lethargy and loneliness of the last verse.

Navidad 2007

December 26, 2007 By: erik Category: Family, Mondragon, Photos, Spain

In Spain, the most important time around Christmas is the family meal on the evening of the 24th, called Nochebuena.

Santo Tomás

December 26, 2007 By: erik Category: Mondragon, Partying, Photos, Spain, Videos

Basque ChapThe main feast day for Saint Thomas in the Catholic church falls suspiciously close to the winter solstice, and is celebrated on December 21 with a huge fair in San Sebastian, Spain. In Mondragón, my wife’s home town, Santo Tomás is also an important day. But since San Sebastian is so close and so much bigger, no one ever came to the fair in Mondragón, so they moved it to December 22 and the event exploded into a huge annual fair of crafts and livestock and dancing and drinking and general merriment.

Happy Winter Solstice, Everybody!

December 22, 2007 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain

Today the sun is at it’s lowest arc in the southern sky, something our ancestors have been celebrating for many millennia. We are headed to the in-laws to celebrate the solstice in the typical Spanish way, with food, wine, and merriment.

Windows Upgrade, Part I

December 21, 2007 By: erik Category: Geeky, House, News

My sister-in-law recently purchased a new computer that came with Windows Vista pre-installed. She couldn’t stand it. She said, “I can’t find anything anymore!” The first thing she did with her new computer was have her boyfriend come over and install Windows XP on it. I suspect that this scenario has played out for thousands of surprised computer customers. People vehemently dislike change. This change-hating inertia is exactly what keeps people using such a crappy operating system in the first place. Within the first week, she called me and said, “Whenever I try to run a google search in IE a box comes up and says something about ‘spyware has blocked something’. What do I do?” Upgrading software to provide more features without confusing the user is a very delicate balancing act and Microsoft has really screwed things up (and is frustratingly not yet bankrupt).

The three or four people that I have spoken to about their recent upgrade from Mac OS X Tiger to Leopard, when asked what they think of the new operating system, all have said, “[shrug] Meh, looks pretty much the same”. This is a huge compliment to the designers of Leopard. It’s supposed to look exactly the same! Of course some things have changed. Very few people like the translucent menu bar initially. The firewall settings have moved and gotten dumber, etc. But no one that is familiar with Tiger will say, “I can’t find anything anymore!”

Wait, what was I talking about….oh yeah, windows upgrades… (more…)

International Shipping Sucks

December 20, 2007 By: erik Category: Complaining, Family, Photos, USA

I’ve sent a few packages abroad lately, and for every single one of them, the shipping cost more than the value of the items being sent. That’s pretty frustrating, but I guess it’s obviously true for the base case of a single sheet of paper, so maybe I can’t complain. And something simple like a cookie or a cigar that is easy to purchase here goes up in value when sent to a place where it can’t be easily purchased. Perhaps my annoyance is irrational.

Electronics Prices in Europe

December 19, 2007 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky

Electronics prices in Europe are really insane. When I visited the US in Feburary 2007, I also purchased my MacBook Pro, which I feel like I’ve had forever now. It cost me $1,000 less in the US than it would have if I had bought it in Europe. At the time of this writing, the cheapest new MacBook Pro is $1,999 at the US Apple Store and 1,849€ at the Spain Apple Store. That’s a difference of $663.56.

Lio – Bébé Vampire

December 19, 2007 By: erik Category: Colindres, Music, Weird

The other day during a morning walk around Colindres, I found this very waterlogged album cover lying on the wet pavement. So I took a photo and forgot about it until today. Using the all-knowing internet tubes, I’ve found some information about the album.

I'm a real driver now!

December 18, 2007 By: erik Category: Complaining, Spain

LToday marks the one year anniversary of me getting my Spanish driver’s license. This means that I no longer have to display that stupid L1 on my forehead the car. In Spain, you see, for the first year that you have your license, you have to display this L sign which means that you also have to go 90 kph on the 120 kph motorway. Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? And all this is still true even when you have been driving for 11 years in other countries and one full year in Spain. Because you’re “inexperienced”. Poppycock!