Archive for July, 2008

My First Carbon Offsets

July 31, 2008 By: erik Category: Reviews, Stuff I Found

Today, I was buying some airline tickets to give as a wedding gift to some friends who are getting married next month so they can come visit us after their honeymoon. My choices of airline were RyanAir or easyJet, the two main budget airlines in Europe. After recovering from the seizure and cleaning up the vomit induced by RyanAir’s homepage, I went to They’ve cleaned up their interface and added more gradients (which I’m a sucker for) since I visited them last.

Gazpacho – Cold Spanish Soup

July 30, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain

GazpachoWe bought a new blender recently. Being myself, I bought the most expensive model that didn’t come with extra vacuum packing gadgetry thrown in. This, combined with some extra leftover bread from a few days ago, was enough to push Marga into buying some peeled tomatos and a cucumber to make gazpacho. She’s never made gazpacho before, but she’s seen and helped her mother do it countless times. So we gave it a try.

OCDelightful Squeegee

July 29, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, House, Photos, Weird

Shower SqueegeeIn the bathroom where I shower, we have a glass shower stall. After about a week of use, it gets little dots over it and must be cleaned. These are calcium deposits from the water that remain when the droplets dry.

When I was a kid, I always thought it strange that my grandparents had a squeegee in their shower stall. When I was visiting, I used to dry the glass in their shower stall after my showers, not because they asked me to, but because it was fun to pass the rubber squeegee over the glass and watch the water all run down to the bottom. It never occurred to me to ask why they had a squeegee in there. It just seemed fun to me.

About a year ago, it hit me that my grandparents’ squeegee was a solution to calcium deposits dirtying the glass. But it took me a year to remember this revelation when I was anywhere other than using or cleaning the shower. Finally we bought a squeegee for the shower!

iPhone App Idea: Capture The Flag

July 28, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings

Yesterday, as I was walking along a street watching my iPhone in amazement as the little blue dot representing my location moved ever so slightly towards the intersection I was approaching, four clothing stores were marked with flags after entering the word “clothing” into the map search. And, with my mind raised on hours of video games, I got to thinking…what if the other dots weren’t locations, but were other people, also moving around the map.

Here’s my idea for an awesome iPhone app. There should be just a simple app that lets you play games in which the other players are carrying their iPhones and everyone can see everyone on the map. In this simple framework, a wide variety of games can be constructed. The simplest and first to come to mind is Capture The Flag. Imagine with me…

Voice of a Pork Sandwich

July 26, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Internet, Partying

Sandwich PartyLast December, I participated in an international blogosphere Sandwich Party, put on by two lovely hostesses, Elsa and Jane, in which all the participants made and ate a sandwich and photo-blogged the process. This concept may seem very strange, but I am absolutely certain that this kind of thing will become more and more prevalent in the coming decade: strangers from around the globe banding together via the internet to participate in a creative project.

Well, the second Sandwich Party is this weekend, and I have prepared and consumed my entry. My regular readers won’t be surprised by what they find at the bottom of this post, but perhaps some of the other Sandwich Partiers that happen by will.

Ambigram Domains

July 25, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Weird (thumbnail)The other day, someone found my blog from Rather than think, “Oh, that’s Bulgarian Google. I know someone who is moving to Bulgaria,” the first thought that I had was, “Hey, lowercase ‘bg’ has a rotational ambigram equivalent!” For those of you that are not typeface junkies and haven’t read Angels and Demons, an ambigram is a word that, when written down, has some symmetry. It can be mirror symmetry, like “MOM”, where the left side is the mirror image of the right, or “BOID”, where the top is the mirror image of the bottom. Or it can be rotational, where the word reads the same way if you rotate it 180°. What follows is all about rotational ambigrams.

So I challenged myself to figure out what the rotational ambigram of “bg” was without rotating a piece of paper. I’m rather disappointed to say that, although my brain had immediately recognized that there was one, I went though several guesses involving “p” and “d” before figuring it out. The answer, is, of course, “6q”. And it still took me another hour to realize that “bg” is just a slight variation on the most famous numerical rotational ambigram of all.

Wacky Wacky Web

July 24, 2008 By: erik Category: Funny, Geeky, Internet, News

Hacked BlogYou may have noticed some weirdness on this blog this week. On Monday evening, some of my coworkers, for solid business reasons, had to reinstall the server this blog runs on. They backed up the database, reinstalled the operating system, restored the database, and brought the blog back up. The only real problem my blog experienced was with the character encoding of the database. The odd Spanish characters like “ñáéí­óíº” weren’t showing up properly. Today I managed to fix it, and there were only a couple comments from Tuesday and Wednesday that were lost. Below I’ll share a few interesting things that happened throughout the process.

Ribs and Sardines

July 21, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Food, Mondragon, Partying, Spain

SardinesThis weekend, we went to Mondragon to participate in some annual festivities at my in-laws’ social club, the Centro Extremeño. We really enjoyed the rib feast last year, and it didn’t disappoint this year either. And on Sunday there was free gazpacho and grilled sardines.

Should I?

July 18, 2008 By: erik Category: Funny, Internet, Stuff I Found, Weird

Google Suggestions?  Should I?Google is really funny sometimes, mainly because it provides an unbiased algorithmic mirror of society. While chuckling about people that find my blog by asking google 20-word complete sentences, I was going to run a search, for the sheer irony of it, for “Should I search with complete sentences?” But the suggestions that popped up distracted me. People are seriously asking Google questions about how to lead their lives in the first person!

No José Tomás Tickets

July 16, 2008 By: erik Category: Bulls, Complaining, Spain

A couple months ago, I read this fascinating article about bullfighting in the NY Times. It really is as fair and balanced as I’ve seen any articles about the controversial Spanish tradition. I highly recommend reading it.

In that article, I learned of a bullfighter named José Tomás, who came out of retirement last year to wow spectators in Barcelona, the stronghold of anti-bullfighting sentiment in Spain. Ever since, the phenomenon that is José Tomás has been snowballing. You know how they say that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity? Well, most of the people in the bullfighting community, including many professional bullfighters, think that José Tomás has gone way over that line. So when Marga, a fan of bullfighting, saw that JT was coming to Santander this summer, she got pretty excited. She said, “Look, it’s pretty clear that this guy’s gonna die young, so we need to see him as soon as possible.” That pretty much sums up the opinion of all bullfighting aficionados in Spain. (more…)