Archive for November, 2011

Newt Gingrich Morphed Into A Newt

November 29, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Morphing, Photoshop, Politics, USA

Newt 2012I’ve been very much enjoying the puppet show that is the GOP’s attempt to find a candidate that has any chance of defeating Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign. As the media’s interest in each candidate ebbs and flows, they are each shown to not really be a contender. The most recent fad in the race is the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. As I watch the news coverage, I can’t help but chuckle to myself about the possibility of having a president with the same name as a species of salamander. I figured it was time to dust off my morphing skills and actually turn him into a newt.
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Spanish Thanksgiving – Tapas in Castro Urdiales

November 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Spain, Travel

Tapas with GrandparentsMy parents are visiting us in Spain this week. When it came time to make Thanksgiving plans, my first thought would be to make a turkey pizza to eat, and then lie around the house in a digestive stupor as is American tradition on this holiday. My wife suggested that we take advantage of my day off work go to Santander after she got off work (it’s not a holiday in Spain, of course) to see the penguins and sea lions at the Palacio de la Magdalena. This was, as usual, a superior idea to mine, so we decided to do that. Then, at the last minute, she suggested that, if we wanted to, my folks and I could take the entire day to go to the nearby town of Castro Urdiales to see the beach and church there, rather than wait most of the day for her to get off work. In the end, this plan won out. We spent Thanksgiving walking around and eating tapas in Castro Urdiales.
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Crin Roja – Genius Subliminal Wine Packaging

November 18, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos, Reviews, Wine

Crin Roja - ThumbnailMost of the wine I buy is not the dirt cheap young cosechero, the wine from grapes from last year’s harvest which is usually about 1.50€/bottle. Nor do I buy reserva from the best regions and vineyards, made from better grapes and kept in oak barrels for at least a year which sells for at least 10€/bottle. I normally buy crianza, the middle quality, from good regions (mostly Rioja) and good vineyards, wine which has spent at least six months in oak barrels and usually retails between 4€ and 5€. For the better Rioja vineyards, the grapes are so good that the cosechero, which has spent little to no time in barrels is almost as good as a crianza, at just under the price.
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Cloud Music and iTunes Match

November 16, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Music

iTunes MatchApple finally launched their iTunes Match service this week. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll explain briefly. In the eight years since Apple opened their iTunes Music Store, they have been amassing an enormous collection of digitized music that they have the legal right to sell. If you buy a song from them, and your computer crashes, you can redownload that song again whenever you like, since, rather than a physical medium like a CD, what you’ve bought is the right to have that digital file.
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Father and Daughter Dancing

November 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, Geeky, Offspring, Photos, Photoshop

Dancing with NoraToday I finally got around to attempting a bit of Photoshop trickery I’ve been wanting to try, creating a photo of me dancing with my two-year-old daughter where our sizes are adjusted, either me down to her height, or her up to mine. It turns out that this is very, very hard to do well. The principal difficulty is aligning the hands, in space and with the proper angles, so that they appear to touch. Of the five or so photos I took to work with, I chose the best two to merge together. The result is a photo where the viewer is never really fooled into thinking that the two people are actually interacting physically.
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Viento Sur

November 14, 2011 By: erik Category: Photography, Photos, Spain

November SkiesIn October and November, it’s very typical here to get strong winds coming from the south blowing warm African air over the Iberian peninsula. The Spaniards call it viento sur (south wind), and there is a mythology similar to that of full moons where the wind from the south makes odd people just a little more crazy. I have a love/hate relationship with viento sur.
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My Eye

November 11, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photos, Scary, Videos

Erik EyeToday I discovered a macro feature of my video camera lens that I had forgotten existed. The first thing I did was pick up a one dollar bill that I have on my desk for some reason and examine POTUS1′s face. Impressed, I decided I needed to record a video of something very close up. Not having an ant farm or a pet praying mantis, I decided the best subject for my first macro video should be my gorgeous greenish-yellow eyes. It took a couple attempts to figure out how to best, without too much effort, keep the camera and my head from moving around too much. I ended up sitting on the floor with the camera resting on my desk. Clearly, this level of intimacy required some creepy background music, so I found some.
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How fast do you need to drive in the rain to keep your rear window dry?

November 09, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math

Car Sketch - Rear Window AngleLast week, we had quite the deluge, which coincided, unfortunately, with me having to drive 120 km. I noticed that whenever I slowed down, the rear window would get wet and hard to see out of. Once I sped up again, one wiper pass dried it off and it stayed dry until I slowed down again. This is an obvious scenario for anyone who has ever driven, or anyone who thinks briefly about the physics involved: when you’re driving fast, the rain doesn’t hit your rear window. Out of the blue (or gray, in this case), my mouth spoke the words, “I wonder what’s the minimum speed I have to drive to keep the back window dry?” My wife immediately intuited that “it depends on the shape of the car”, by which she meant the angle of the rear window. This insight made the original question all the more interesting to me, because it gave me an equation to plot! Are you getting excited yet?
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Sunset Street Lights

November 09, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photography, Photos

Sunset LamppostWhen I took that glorious evening walk last week, my photographic attentions were drawn particularly to the street lights that had just come on, and how their artificial light contrasted with the natural light still in the sky. So I set aside the photographs of street lights for this separate post. The whole experience of that night has taught me that I need to do more night photography, actually lugging my tripod out with me into the cool evening air. The play of street lights against buildings and sidewalks and the rest of the urban landscape is a particular itch that I hope to scratch at the earliest opportunity.
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State of the Offspring Address – November 2011

November 08, 2011 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos

Nora drawingThe big change in the offspring this month has been the transition to the Big Girl Bed. It went quite well, and she’s been very proud about sleeping in a bed and not a crib. I dismantled the crib and moved it into storage, which was sad in a “my baby’s all grown up” sense, but also because I did it on what would’ve been the due date had our second pregnancy made it to full term. Nora hasn’t really fallen out of bed yet, but she has “oozed” most of the way out several times. Since the bed is so close to the floor, I often find her sleeping with only part of her body on the bed. My hypothesis that a nightlight would provide some visual stimulus and reduce nocturnal disorientation terror seems to have been correct.
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