Archive for June, 2008

Swiss Banking No Longer Secret

June 30, 2008 By: erik Category: News, Politics

Switzerland Unlocked!Switzerland has finally given in to the fear of terrorism. From 1934 to June 30, 2008, Swiss banks would not and could not, under Swiss law, give information about where their clients’ money came from to third parties, even foreign governments or the Swiss government itself. Switzerland is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body developing and promoting policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Starting on July 1, 2008, the FATF will be requiring name, address, account number/IBAN of the originator to be specified for all money transfers into a Swiss bank account. From now on, any foreign government can request all information about money transfers going to and coming out of any Swiss bank account. All European Union countries have already been implementing this FATF regulation since January 1, 2008.

Euro 2008 Champions!!

June 30, 2008 By: erik Category: Partying, Soccer, Spain

Go Spain! (cropped)Wow! What a night! Who knew that an optimistic attitude like Podemos would really work? I was wondering the whole time if they would stop using that word for the Euro 2008 coverage if Spain got knocked out of the tournament. But I guess we’ll never know.

We were going to go to a local bar with people our age (although we know very few of them) to watch the final, like we had with many of the previous Euro 2008 games. But then we got invited by some of our older salsa dancing friends to a bar in Laredo to watch the game. We knew it was going to be a lower-key crowd, and therefore a little less fun, but we don’t have that many friends that call us to invite us for things like this, so we decided that in the long run it was better to go with them.

Wedding Video Photos: Marga

June 29, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Photos

Dirty DiggerPart of finishing up our wedding video responsibilities included choosing photos of each of us as children for the obligatory “before they met” montage. This post is dedicated to the adorable little Spanish girl that became my wife.

Lottery Year – Second Quarter Results

June 28, 2008 By: erik Category: News

Lottery Year - Second Quarter ResultsHere we are already! 2008 is half over. We’ve actually had 27 of our 52 Fridays this year. I have continued to play 5€ in the ONCE lottery every Friday. I predicted that the most likely final balance would be 31€, sustaining a total loss of 229€. So the most likely loss after half the year is over would be 114.50€.

Let’s see how things are going! (more…)

Wedding Finally Over

June 27, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, News

MAER1034Part of the wedding package that we purchased with the videographer that filmed our wedding was a “Paseo de solteros” (Singles’ stroll) that involves being filmed in scenic locations where we live walking around holding hands, giggling, smiling, caressing and generally looking “in love” to be placed at the beginning of the wedding video. We ran out of time to do it before the actual wedding like you’re supposed to. And the summer of 2007 was exceedingly crappy. But apparently doing it post-wedding is fairly common. Of course after we got back from the honeymoon, it was November, and we really didn’t want to have our video showing us strolling on the beach with scarves on. So we waited…and waited… Marga is off of work this week, so we decided we’d do it this week. We decided on yesterday, but then it was foggy, rainy, and stormy all day long. But when we woke up this morning (groggily after celebrating an amazing soccer victory against Russia), we knew that today was the day. We called up the videographer, who lives an hour east of here in the heart of the Basque Country, and we went about making our final music and photograph choices and, more importantly, deciding what clothes to wear on the video that we will have forever to look back on how young we once were.

Avoiding Double Taxation Between Spain and USA

June 26, 2008 By: erik Category: Complaining, Spain, USA

Spain and USA Flag MergeMy tax situation is very unique. It will be less rare in 40 years, but I’m probably one of the first full-time transatlantic telecommuters. I’m an American citizen working for an American company, which pays me in US dollars into an American bank…….but I live in Spain.

Logically, it makes sense to pay taxes in the country in which you reside. I’m using the Spanish transportation system. I can get free medical care at the Spanish hospital. The Spanish police force is protecting me from criminals. The health of the Spanish economy is putting food in the grocery stores and therefore on my plate. I have a Spanish mortgage. I should be paying taxes in Spain.

That would all be true, I believe, if the other country involved was not the greedy superpower that is the United States of America.

Stabilizing Video With Apple Motion

June 25, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Reviews, Stuff I Found, Videos

Recently I’ve been playing around with a pretty cool software package called Apple Motion. Follow that link and check out the intro video to see the kind of professional graphics it can produce. One really impressive trick that it can do is to stabilize shaky video. That’s what we’re going to be focusing on today.

By Jove, I Saw Ganymede!

June 24, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos, Science, Videos

Orange MoonLast Saturday, I was looking out the window at the full moon and noticed another unusually bright celestial object near it. Curious what it might be, I dashed to the computer to fire up Stellarium, the quickest way to identify objects in the night sky. It turned out that the bright object I was seeing was the friendly neighborhood giant, Jupiter. I grabbed my binoculars to look more closely. Once properly focused, I could just barely make out some little specks of light nearby, background stars, I presumed. Of course, I was unaware that I was making the same assumption that Galileo had made 398 years ago. Back at the computer, I zoomed in to see what the background stars were (Galileo would have liked Stellarium). It turns out that I was seeing three of the 63 Jovian moons. It was pretty thrilling to be seeing such an important detail of our solar system with just my weak little binoculars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the magnification I was using was pretty similar to that old Double-G was looking through so many years before. Very, very cool.

Antique Car Show

June 24, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos

ElegantOn Saturday we went to the beach for the first time this year. The weather was better than any single day of 2007, so we’re off to a good start. The water was pretty icy, but amazingly refreshing after being in the sun for an hour. Nothing like going from uncomfortably hot to uncomfortably cold in a couple seconds to get the blood flowing.

But before the beach, we stopped by the Colindres town hall to see an antique car exhibition. It was pretty cool. A lot of the cars were fairly normal old cars that had been preserved really well. But the more interesting ones were the cars that had been souped up or were more than 50 years old. (more…)

Martini Season

June 20, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Food, Partying, Spain

Martini HeavenIt’s Martini season again! There’s nothing better than taking a nice stroll around town in the hot sun, ordering an icy red vermouth, and sitting on the bar’s patio to sip it. Lovely!

If you’re confused about what I mean by Martini (and the word has a very different meaning in Spain than in the US), check out last year’s post extolling this refreshing beverage.