Archive for December, 2011

Papa Americano

December 28, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Music, Offspring, Videos

Papa Americano (thumbnail)Over the past two years, a song by an Australian group, Yolanda Be Cool, called We No Speak Americano (known colloquially as Papa Americano), has swept across Europe. Every so often a Spaniard who knows that I am both a United States citizen and a father, will think they are being clever and original by calling me “Papa Americano” and singing a bar or two of the hit song. I think it’s cute, and I enjoy the song, so I decided to make it my ringtone. Over the course of the last few months, my daughter has fallen in love with my ringtone, often reminding me out of the blue, “Poppy, your phone says papa americano!!”, adding, “Sometimes.”
(more…)

Crescent Moonset 2

December 27, 2011 By: erik Category: Photos, Science, Timelapse

MoonsetThe moon just after sunset today was really gorgeous, hanging there in the sky next to Venus. The new moon was on Christmas Eve night, so Rudolph’s nose must have been extra important this year. After seeing the pretty Moon, up high in the sky, I told myself to go and look in an hour or two to see if I could catch it approach the horizon. Normally, I would never be capable of such a thing, but I actually did remember, and I caught it just as it was touching the horizon. Unfortunately, in the time it took me to set up my tripod, the tip of the moon went behind the hill on the horizon, but I still got nine shots in the time it took to set completely.
(more…)

Elementary Fun

December 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Photoshop, Science

NoRaThis afternoon I was succumbing to a risky vice of mine, surfing the product pages over at ThinkGeek, when I came across this t-shirt where they had used chemical symbols for elements to write a dirty word. Silly, yes, but also kind of fun as a tool to separate people who know a lot of science from those that don’t, which seems to be the primary goal of the t-shirts at ThinkGeek. For instance, I always get a chuckle out of the one that says, “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don’t.” Is that kind of elitist behavior rude? Yes, but it’s a social defense mechanism, creating an “us vs. them” mentality that is ubiquitous in our species.
(more…)

A Basque Christmas

December 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Mondragon, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Spain, Videos

Olentzero - A Basque ChristmasWe spent Christmas in Mondragón, in the Basque Country, this year like we have every year for a while now. This year was a little more somber than most because of the recent death of the family patriarch, but I think we did a pretty good job of being respectful but not wallowing in our sorrow too much. The best part was catching a glimpse of the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of my two year old daughter.
(more…)

Semana del Pincho 4 – Laredo

December 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Spain, Travel

Semana del Pincho 4It’s pincho time again! Every year just before Christmas, bars and restaurants in the local town of Laredo hold a competition to create the best tapas (called pinchos). It’s one of my favorite events of the year for reasons I described here. Unfortunately, this year the weather has been absolutely terrible. Last weekend, when it started, we had steady downpours with heavy winds that kept us at home all weekend. Of the eighteen pinchos competing, I was only able to sample six this year. For that, I apologize, dear readers. I’ll try to do better next year.
(more…)

Nativity Shepherds

December 21, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Offspring, Photos, Religion, Spain

Little Shepherd GirlToday Nora’s daycare had a special Christmas party in which one of the activities is dressing like shepherds and making the 200 meter trek from daycare to the town church where they have an amazing nativity scene set up, called a belén, which also means Bethlehem and is the name of my sister-in-law. I finally understand the enormous banner they put outside the church every Christmas saying “¡Tu belén está aquí­!” (Your Bethlehem is here!). It was amazing!
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – December 2011

December 20, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Park MonkeyWe’ve taken a bit of a slide backwards in our nocturnal potty training efforts this month. There was one week when we had to change wet bed sheets every single night of the week. Plus, with my parents’ visit and the loss of a family member this month, we have gone back to having Nora wear diapers at night to avoid the hassle of midnight bed making. While disappointing, when one takes a step back and gains some perspective, this is really not that big of a deal. It took her seventeen months to walk (and longer to crawl), and her English was slow to develop at first, but is now staggeringly advanced. We’ve decided we’re in no huge rush with the nocturnal bladder control.
(more…)

Civil Baptisms

December 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Politics, Religion, Spain

Water Drop With BubblesI recently came across this tidbit of local news. The conservative political party in my small town is up in arms because the ruling liberal political party is allowing the practice of “civil baptism”. Of course they are not arguing the reasonable point that the term is self contradictory; they are more concerned that the practice is offensive to The Church. I don’t think it’s offensive so much as it’s a reminder of the decline The Church is suffering in Spain.
(more…)

How big is the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

December 16, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Musings, Photos, Science

Earth's UmbraWhen I saw yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was fascinated by just how big the Earth’s shadow is on the Moon. When I made a comment to this effect on Facebook, my friend, Josh Grady, said, “It’d depend on the distance between the two, no?” Of course the size of a shadow depends on the distance to the object its cast upon, but I hadn’t considered that the distance from the Earth to the Moon varies, due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth-Moon barycenter, by 42,840 km, causing it to appear 12% smaller at its apogee than at its perigee. This raised the question: What are the minimum and maximum sizes of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

To the geometrymobile!
(more…)

Nora’s First Video

December 14, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Offspring, Videos

Nora's First Video (thumbnail)You know how annoying it is when you take your modern digital point-and-shoot camera or mobile phone to take a photograph and the darn thing is in “video” mode? If you’re like me, you’ve taken countless one or two second videos when you thought you were taking a photograph. Well, it turns out that it’s also annoying when you are a two year old with your father’s mobile phone and you want to take a photograph of your father, the dinner he is preparing, and yourself.

I found the following video on my phone recently. I had no idea that she had shot it.
(more…)