Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Traditions

October 31, 2008 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain, USA

It’s been at least a decade since I have taken part in a pumpkin carving ceremony to produce a jack-o-lantern. Last year I didn’t really have the option because we had just returned from our honeymoon, and I’ve been feeling nostalgic about the practice. So this year I decided that there would definitely be pumpkin carving!

I began looking around in the grocery store but all they had were small white pumpkins, produced with human consumption in mind. I asked my local grocer, Andrés, if he could acquire “one of those big orange pumpkins that the Americans use for Halloween” for me and he said that, while they are very rare, he had seen some and he would ask the farmers he buys from. I went to the town market and found some strange acne-covered orange gourds grown and sold with decoration in mind, but none were appropriate for the tradition I wanted to partake in. A few days passed, and Andrés told me that he had asked around, but that all his growers had stopped producing that breed of pumpkin this year because there was just no market for them. I was crushed. I solemnly informed Marga, who had been hearing propaganda and hype about pumpkins from me for weeks, that there would be no Halloween this year.

On Monday, October 27, the doorbell rang. Through the intercom, I heard, “Erik! It’s Andrés. Let me in, I have something for you!” My eyes lit up with that childlike wonder captured in so many Christmas films. Sure enough, Andrés walked up carrying a big orange gourd. He explained that he had seen it at one of his sellers’ stalls and explained about the heartbroken American he knew and they gave it to him free of charge, a price he passed on to me as well. I was ecstatic!

On Wednesday, October 29, I introduced Marga to pumpkin carving.

Hey, Little Bunny!

October 30, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Weird

It’s time for another edition of Strange Things You Might Find On Your Plate In Spain. Previously on STYMFOYPIS…. Hey, Little Piggy!

It is very, very common in Spain to eat rabbits. Any of the 15 small butcher shops in my small town will have a whole skinned rabbit any day you go in to ask for one. It’s typical to cook it with onions and, ironically, carrots. The meat is very good, a little like dark poultry meat. Still, it’s funny when you recognize something on your plate and it brings you back to what it is, exactly, that you are consuming.

Obama's Loss Traced to Erik Rasmussen

October 28, 2008 By: erik Category: Internet, Politics, Stuff I Found, USA, Videos, Voting

The intelligence and creativity of people that create successful viral internet memes amaze me sometimes. In this case, it’s those clever liberals over at What a clever, clever idea!

Where does all that money come from?

October 28, 2008 By: erik Category: Media, News, Politics, Reviews, Scary, Stuff I Found

Money As DebtAs I have been learning more and more about the way our economy functions and how bankers have gotten us into this “credit crisis”, there has been something nagging me, a distant voice in my head shouting and pointing to the elephant in the room, the big obvious problem that no one is talking about. I have been unable to put my finger on it, and have been actively trying not to think about it. But it keeps coming back. We all hear the figures. The US national debt is increasing by three billion dollars each day. Congress proposed a 700 billion dollar “bail out package”. The question that no one ever asks, and has been nagging my logical mind is: Where does all that money come from?

Santander with Robert and Ania

October 28, 2008 By: erik Category: Photos, Science, Spain, Videos

On Sunday, we decided to go to Santander with our weekend guests, Robert and Ania. The day was sunny and warm, with very little wind. We had no idea that the memorable experience from the trip would be enormous waves coming in from the sea. We were still a bit tired from our walk up Pico de las Nieves the day before, so we took it easy on our stroll through Santander.

Pico de las Nieves with Robert and Ania

October 27, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Spain

Human Totem Pole (cropped)This past weekend, we were visited by some friends of ours, Robert and Ania. I met Robert while working as an IT contractor in England. They came to our wedding last year, and this year they got married in Ania’s hometown of ToruÅ„, Poland. Unfortunately, because of the available airline flights, there was no good way for us to travel to ToruÅ„ for their wedding without spending a ton of money or having 24-hour layovers each way. Thankfully, we had not booked flights, because their wedding took place during one of Marga’s worst weeks of her first trimester, and she would have been miserable. As a wedding present for them, we offered to fly them, carbon free, to our house for a weekend to come see us. We had a wonderful visit. On Saturday, I took them up to my new favorite place to take visitors: Pico de las Nieves.

Opie and Richie would like a word with you

October 24, 2008 By: erik Category: Funny, Politics, Stuff I Found, USA, Videos, Voting

This might be my favorite political celebrity internet election video so far. I mean, it’s the only one with The Fonz! Could have used a little Fife, though.

Roaming Flickr Gangs

October 23, 2008 By: erik Category: Complaining, Flickr, Internet, Weird

86/365 I wake screamingThe Groups feature on Flickr, along with photo tagging, is what makes Flickr so interesting and better than other photo sharing websites. The structure is wide open. Anyone can start a group, and anyone can add any photo to any group. And, importantly, the group administrator (the person that started the group and anyone the creator deems worthy of administrative rights) can remove any photo from the group. So what you get are groups about certain topics, e.g. flowers, clouds, reflections, west highland terriers, horses, rusty things, door knobs, etc. If you upload a photo to Flickr that fits into one of those groups, you can join that group and add your photo to it. The point being that other Flickr users that like photographs of said subjects can find lots of photos from many different uploaders about that topic.

Professional Photographer

October 22, 2008 By: erik Category: Flickr, Funny, Internet, News, Photos, Spain

I always sort of knew it was only a matter of time, with me so humbly submitting photos of such outstanding quality to Flickr, before I would be offered money for some of my work. Well, it finally happened. I signed over some rights to Panraven, Inc. to use ten of my photos on their website. To me, “Panraven” sounds like a Pentagon operation that you’re not supposed to know about, but from what I can tell without signing up with them, they seem to provide a way for people to write up stories about their travels to various corners of the globe and provide a stock library of photos from common tourist destinations for people to include in their write-ups.

It all began back in September, when I received the following standardized Flickr message: (more…)

We got malled

October 19, 2008 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain

Three Singing BearsNothing like telling people you’re expecting a baby to send those advice-giving neurons a-firin’. One good tidbit we received lately, was that there is a store in a local mall that has really cheap prices on decent baby clothes. Being the clueless cheap-skatepenny-pincher prudent first-time parents we are, we had to go check it out.

We left home at noon on Saturday morning and returned home from the mall at 9pm. The mall is 20 minutes away. Including lunch, a coffee, and three bathroom breaks, that’s over eight hours in the mall!