Archive for July, 2010

Nora Cam

July 30, 2010 By: erik Category: House, Offspring, Videos

Nora Cam (still frame)The other day, Nora was in my office chastising me for something in her gibberish language, so I got out the video camera. While I was taping, her mother called her into the living room to put on some sunscreen in preparation for an afternoon trip to the beach, so I walked with her, with a slight detour into the kitchen. The result is a sort of Nora’s-eye-view of our front hallway, kitchen and living room.
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How was this working?

July 29, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Programming, Weird

Friendly Bug!An oversimplified description of my job as a computer programmer goes something like this.

  1. I get some requirements for a program from my boss or a client.
  2. I write the program as perfectly as I can.
  3. I test the program with all the cases that I think it will need to handle.
  4. The program is done and people start using it.
  5. For whatever reason the requirements change (or a bug is found), and I have to go back and modify the code. Inevitably less testing is done on these changes than the original writing.
  6. Go to #4.

It’s pretty rare for the original writing of a program to have a significant bug in it after testing, although I’m not perfect. Almost all bugs are introduced in step #5. When you first write the program, the entire program and its relationship with other programs is in your mind. But when you go back to look at old code, it’s just not fresh in your memory, and it’s very easy to make a change without taking into consideration all the consequences that change will have.
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Aladdin Pants

July 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Weird

The Magic LampI’m pretty sure that I will never understand clothing fashion. It seems to be a futile conundrum of combining the desire to be like everyone else with the desire to be unique. But then I don’t get a lot of social customs. Every once in a while, however, a new style comes along that makes me think, “Wow, you are going to be so embarrassed in ten years to look back at photos of yourself wearing that!” In the last five summers in Spain, there has been an explosion in the popularity of capri pants, called “pirate pants” here, that I have successfully avoided. C’mon, people! Having trousers that stop at your calves is a ridiculous idea.

It was about one year ago, last August, that my wife showed me some new trousers she had bought. They seemed to me to be the most ridiculous thing ever, and I was unable to stop from laughing at the idea that someone would wear them. I’m not sure if I hurt her feelings or what, but she ended up giving them to her sister. The only way I could think to describe them is with the term “Aladdin pants”. Some googling, in preparation for this post, has revealed that they are actually called that! Perhaps the correct term is harem pants? Much to my chagrin, they are huge this summer.
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Angelic Morning

July 26, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos

Hiding and Grinning (crop)Nora was exceedingly well behaved this morning. When she woke up at 6:47 AM with a mild cry, I got up and explained to her that, due to the slight tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbital plane, we have a season, summer, in which the sun comes up very early and sets very late, and that just because the sun was already up and that Mommy had just left for work, it was, in fact, according to the definitions set forth in the household rulebook, still officially Night Time and that she should go back to sleep. She and I both went back to bed until 9:00 AM.

I carried her downstairs, put on her shoes – good traction is very important at this stage of her ambulatory development – and left her in the living room to play with some toys while I went to the kitchen to prepare her morning bottle and orange juice. Before the 45 seconds on the microwave were up, she had crawled into the kitchen with me. Soon I had her breakfast ready and we returned to the sofa for alimentary administration.
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Agua

July 23, 2010 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos, Videos

Long TongueToday I took Nora to the pediatrician to learn the results of a blood test she had recently. Her mild anemia has been rectified by the iron supplements we’ve been giving her. I mentioned to the doctor that we’re mildly concerned about Nora’s language development. Her only word is “no”. No mamá, papá, mommy, daddy, bread, water, pan or agua. It’s also totally unclear to me whether or not she understands anything at all that we say. Confirmation bias makes it easy to remember the times she gets a command or question correct and all too easy to forget when she has some random response. The doctor asked if we thought Nora’s hearing was okay, and I said there’s no doubt that her hearing is great. Whenever there’s the faintest bit of distant music, Nora’s gettin’ jiggy wit’ it. The doctor said that Nora’s situation is a little unusual by this age, but that being in a bilingual household is known to retard initial language development. In the philosophy of “better safe than sorry”, she’s referred us to a specialist that is somehow going to “evaluate” her at some not-yet-made appointment in the near future. I’m almost more curious to see the means of evaluation than to get the result.
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Bathtime Fun

July 21, 2010 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Videos

Bathtime Fun (frame cap)Well, Nora, you keep getting more and more interesting to be around. You have no trouble whatsoever pulling yourself up to standing on almost anything, but you still lack the ability to stand up from a sitting position pushing off only the floor.

Sometimes you surprise me, like when your grocery store friend, Tona, recently asked you, “¿Dónde está la nariz?” and you pointed to your nose. I immediately asked you, “Where is your nose?” and you gestured correctly again. But you either forget things or choose not to do them. You’ve completely stopped saying your first word, Up. And your rhinolocation trick happens so rarely that seems an awful lot like chance.
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Fun With Arithmetic

July 16, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math

Solutions to Friday Puzzle by Goal ValueI’m an avid reader of Richard Wiseman’s blog, and I find his Friday Puzzles to be particularly fun. Today’s puzzle is as follows:

How can you place the arithmetical signs ‘+’ and ‘-’ between the consecutive numbers 123456789 so that the end result is 100? So, for example, you could go…..

12+34+56-7-89 , but that would make 6, so that doesn’t work.

Try to come up with the method that uses the least number of symbols.

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iPad Baby Apps

July 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Parenting, Videos

iPad Baby AppsWe continue to encourage Nora to play with her iPad. She definitely like the sounds it makes; her favorite is the oinking pig, which she likes to dance to. While she clearly understands that she needs to touch the screen, but she tends to be too quick in her pokes, and her actions either result in dragging the icons around or the icon she’s going for is simply not triggered because her touch is so fast. At the moment, the iPad remains a “noise box” to her, but I have little doubt she will learn to control it within the next year. And then it’s just a matter of time before the Pentagon gets hacked.
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Spain Wins The World Cup!

July 12, 2010 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Soccer, Spain

Spanish FamilyWe began World Cup final Sunday evening by heading to nearby Laredo, where we’d heard there might be a big screen set up on the beach. We were certain that we couldn’t take a 15.5 month old child to an enclosed space with Spanish fans because she’d die of fright from all the screams. We discovered that the beach screen was only a rumor, and the real big screen was in the old town hall square. We took one look at how packed the square was with people and turned around and headed back towards Colindres, but not before spotting a group of old ladies wearing red-yellow-red striped headbands singing A Por Ellos.

Once back in our home town, we chose our favorite soccer-viewing bar, El Vapor (The Steam), which is only about two hundred meters from our house. The twin brother of our friend with the restaurant in Laredo was already seated at a prime table, and he informed us that he was leaving before the game began and promised us his table. We would spend the game outside on the sidewalk looking into the bar through the glass to a projected screen. And it was a good thing we were outside, because, well, let’s just say that inside the bar, it lived up to its name.
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The Clothes Pin Game

July 09, 2010 By: erik Category: Games, Offspring, Videos

The Clothes Pin GameOne of Nora’s new favorite games involves clothes pins. In Spain, most people live in apartments and almost no one has a clothes drier, so everyone dries their clothes by hanging them from their balcony, which is often overlooking an internal courtyard of the building, not the street. As a result, every Spanish house has a bag or basket of clothes pins on their balcony. The game involves her mother placing her on a window ledge to the balcony where we keep our clothes pin basket. Nora proceeds to pull clothes pins out of the basket and throw them on the floor, expecting her mother to pick them up. They have a great time playing this game.
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