Archive for November, 2008

Elfing Around

November 26, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Funny, Partying, Weird

As you can see, things are getting pretty festive here at the Rasmussen household.

Our Dog Blue

November 26, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Wine

Our Dog BlueOne of my parents’ dogs is named Blue. He’s a border collie with blue merle hair color, hence his name. So naturally when they found a bottle of wine called Our Dog Blue, they had to purchase it and keep it, unopened, for display. Perhaps one of them can share how they found or were given the bottle. I was showing the Marga the bottle, which is blue glass, I noticed where the winery was located, and I had to take a picture of the bottle label and the dog in question.

How Not To Renew Your Driver License In Your Home Country If You Are An Expat

November 25, 2008 By: erik Category: Musings, USA

When I was stateside in February, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to check about what I should do about my soon-to-expire driver license. For some reason, all driver licenses in the US (or just North Carolina?) expire on your birthday. I explained that I was living in Spain, and that my license would expire in October when I was not here, but that I would be in the US again in November. They told me that I couldn’t renew my license until a few months (3?) before it expired, but that I could A) make the renewal payment over the internet and promise to take the visual test upon arriving in the US in November, or B) just renew it when I got to the DMV office again in November. I chose the latter.

So I get to the DMV office and there is no one there, but they still give me a number and forward me immediately to a certain agent with my newly printed number displayed above his desk. It’s an asian gentleman named, unfortunately, Hang. He looked at my expired license and asked if I still lived at that address in Raleigh, to which I stupidly replied….

Keeping Culture Free

November 25, 2008 By: erik Category: Internet, Media, Stuff I Found, Videos

Right at bedtime, I came across Lawrence Lessig being interviewed on Charlie Rose, went to his site, and got caught up watching this hour-long video about copyright and creativity sharing. I’ve seen some videos of Lessig online before, and possibly a TED talk. But this video perfectly demonstrates his arguments and the values he’s promoting. It really is worth watching. But save 60 minutes to do so.

Turkey Break

November 21, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Mondragon, News, Photos

Turkey CloseupIt’s been seven years since I spent Thanksgiving with my family, and Marga has never partaken of the celebratory feast beyond my littletraditions of eating turkey on the day. This year, I’m looking forward to showing her what Thanksgiving means in my mind: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pumpkin pie at my grandmother’s house. My mouth is watering already!

This past weekend, we visited my in-laws and I got to see how my father-in-law’s turkeys are doing. They were quite small a month ago, but now they are huge! I don’t spend much time around poultry, but these were the most friendly fowl I’ve ever been around. I never actually touched one, but they didn’t actively avoid me like the chickens do. And they were fascinated, as they should be, by my iPhone. (more…)

Swelly Belly

November 18, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos

Pregnant MargaA few days after finding out that we’d be having a daughter, a thought came to me, I laughed out loud and told Marga, “You know, the main reason Americans want to know the sex of their fetus is to paint the nursery, the kid’s room, a gender-appropriate color. So that’s one less thing to worry about.” This is only funny if you’ve ever visited our house and know that all of our floors and ceilings are pink. Not a girly princess pink, but more of a flesh tone. I don’t even notice it anymore, and sometimes I mention it to our guests after a couple hours, and they haven’t yet noticed. Not that we would’ve painted anything if we’d had a boy, but still kind of funny.

PC World 1985

November 17, 2008 By: erik Category: Funny, Geeky, Photos, Weird

PC World - March 1985The other day, I stumbled upon some photos I took last February of some old PC World magazines that I found lying around my parents’ house. They really bring back memories. The hardware and software that was thought to be really cool and revolutionary back then looks so quaint and silly now. Will the iPhone look ridiculously quaint 23 years from now?

Whirled Peas: A Case Study in Legume Buoyancy

November 13, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Geeky, Musings, Science, Videos, Weird

Whirled PeasI make a lot of salads, more in summer months, but probably at least 50 per year. I also have been known to, on occasion, blogaboutsalads. One of our favorite salad ingredients is peas. We buy them frozen in a bag, pour a few into a glass, and add warm water to thaw them. One of the things that puzzles and fascinates me every time I thaw peas is that 20% of them float. And it’s roughly the same percentage every time. Why would this be? Do the sinking peas have a skin breach that is letting in water? Do the floating peas contain air, or is it some property of the cell tissue? Is the freezing and thawing process relevant to this phenomenon? Do fresh peas float?


November 12, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Stuff I Found

I am really enjoying this book I’m currently reading, especially the parts about visiting and fitting in to foreign cultures.

One of the major differences imposed by Display Rules is the degree of ‘dampening’ of particular actions that occurs from region to region. In some cultures it may be usual to underplay the smile, even when genuinely happy. If we meet a person from such an ‘inscrutable’ culture, we may imagine that we are observing a Shortfall Signal indicating deceit, when in reality we are witnessing a genuine but ‘damped’ display. This kind of problem can set up unconscious confusions in our dealings with foreigners, over and above verbal language difficulties. This is particularly true of tourists who for most of their lives have stayed strictly within their own social group and who then go abroad for a short holiday. If you watch the faces of such people when engaged in conversation with their foreign hosts, you will detect a curious phenomenon. Realizing that they have lost the subtle nuances of their home-town interactions, they avoid the danger of accidental and unintended Shortfall Signaling by employing a device that is both crude and effective: they over-exaggerate everything. They not only talk more loudly and laugh more noisily, but they also smile more intensely, nod more vigorously and generally overplay their friendly gestures. Since they do not have time to learn the local non-verbal ‘dialect’, they intuitively feel that this is the safest way to behave. But to over-exaggerate a visual signal can be as transparently artificial as to underplay it.

– Desmond Morris, Peoplewatching.

Sunset Season 2008

November 11, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Science, Spain, Timelapse, Videos

It’s that time of year again, as the hour hand approaches the six, my computer screen is showered with sunshine, forcing me to lower the shutters. During the warmer months, there is a building blocking the sun from entering my office, but the analemma of the sun has moved it far enough south at sunset that its rays invade my workspace. Yesterday, I had a premonition that it might be a good idea to set up my camera pointing west. I was right.