Archive for January, 2012

What’s in a name?

January 31, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spain, Videos

What's your name (thumbnail)In preparation for her entrance into the school system in September, we recently began teaching Nora that her name is longer than just “Nora”. A lot longer, in fact. I would be very, very surprised if there existed another person on the planet with Nora’s two surnames. In Spain, you see, people have two last names, the first from the father, and the second from the mother. Her first is Rasmussen, which is both difficult to spell and pronounce. Her second last name is Matamoros – a fairly rare surname in Spain – that probably originated from a myth about Saint James slaying moors.
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Friday Rainbow

January 27, 2012 By: erik Category: Photos

Friday RainbowMy regular readers will be aware of my fascination of atmospheric effects, particularly as the sun disappears over the western horizon, but this afternoon, we were treated to some excitement on the eastern horizon, in the form of a double rainbow. I figure it’s Nature’s way of giving us something to smile about before dumping a dark, cold, rainy weekend upon us. Enjoy!
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Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney Face Swap

January 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Photoshop, Politics, USA, Weird

Gingrich Romney Face SwapThe more I watch the media coverage of the GOP presidential primaries, the more I’m struck by just how different Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are, physically. Newt’s got a pretty spherical noggin, and Romney’s is more oblong. My photoshop nerves are itching again, so I thought I’d try a face swap, like I did with Prince William and his bride. I searched around the internet for two high resolution photographs in which they are looking more or less in the same direction and are lit from similarly positioned light sources. Ideally for this, you’d have them both in the same photograph, but they don’t pose together that much. The result of my half hour of work is pretty mediocre, but I figure I’ll share it anyway.
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Union Rep

January 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Union Rep (thumbnail)Nora was being particularly cute recently during her nightly routine of barging into my office to interrupt my work and inform me of the state of dinner as it is progressing in the kitchen. So I grabbed the video camera and shot her. The result is pretty representative of her English abilities. The phrasing is a little off, e.g. “You no can work” instead of “You cannot work”, but she has the general structure down. Sometimes it takes her a moment to figure out where her sentence is going. In general, I’d say her English skill is about 80% that of her Spanish.
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Why does do church bells chime every fifteen minutes?

January 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Musings, Religion, Spain

Bell TowerWhere I grew up, there weren’t any church bells that I could hear from my house, but there was one in the center of town near the municipal recreation center, where I spent many hours of my youth. As a kid, I became quite fond of that Big Ben tune that preceded the hourly chimes.
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State of the Offspring Address – January 2012

January 20, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting

Good Morning, Sunshine!We have had our first month of nocturnal ambulation. The first incident occurred while I was asleep in Nora’s room. Often, if Nora cries at night, I will get up from my bed and go sleep in the guest bed in Nora’s room. This enables me to calm her down without getting up using just my voice, nipping a possible crying episode in the bud. In the time it takes her to crescendo up to a cry that I can hear from my room plus the time it takes me to get up and make it to her room, sometimes the emotions have snowballed into a bawl that’s harder to quash. On the night in question, I awoke at 3:00 AM to the sound of latex on latex; Nora was rubbing a deflated balloon over my ear. When I opened my eyes, I saw her big eyes there on the bed beside me staring intently. I told her that she had to go back to bed, and I put her there with little protest. It was only in the morning that I noticed that many of the objects, like her bedtime books had moved across the room to various places during the night.
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Why WWW is stupid

January 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Geeky, Internet

Back when the internet first began way back in yesteryear, there were many protocols (i.e. ways of transferring data). There was telnet for actually logging into command shells on remote servers; there was FTP for transferring files to and from remote servers; there was Gopher, which provided a very user-friendly system of menus to navigate to get to various information; and there was HTTP for requesting these newfangled documents with hyperlinks in them. Because of the interconnectedness of these hypertext documents, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau coined the phrase World Wide Web. There was a previous long-standing practice of naming servers by the internet service they provided, so FTP servers had a “ftp.” prefix, Gopher servers had a “gopher.” prefix, etc. So naturally they started naming these “web” servers with a “www.” prefix.
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SOPA y PIPA

January 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Funny, Internet, Spanish

Vota contra SOPA y PIPAThe internet has pretty much shut down today. Well, most of the sites that make the internet entertaining, such as Fark, Reddit, The Oatmeal and Wikipedia. They are protesting possible US Congressional legislation that could potentially give the US Government the power to shut down any internet site that any corporation claims is violating copyright laws. This “shoot first, ask questions later” approach is rather ridiculous to anyone that takes even the briefest moment to consider the consequences. Learn more here. Anyway, I thought I’d join in the protest by providing a graphic that uses some images to playfully demonstrate what these acronyms mean in Spanish.
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Friday the 13th is most common 13th

January 13, 2012 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Geeky, Math, Musings

Friday the 13th Facts and TheoriesI’ve always been fascinated by superstition, and friggatriskaidekaphobia – or, to be more clear, paraskevidekatriaphobia – strikes me as a particularly interesting one. The origin can only be traced back into the 19th century. I am disappointed to discover that experts find little reason to associate it with the slaughter of the Knights Templar on October 13, 1307, exactly seven hundred years before my wedding day. Oh well, something else Dan Brown got wrong. As if to show just how arbitrary the choice of Friday is, the Spanish speaking world fears Tuesday the 13th, and they even have their own tongue-twisting phobia word: trezidavomartiofobia.
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Sunset Flock

January 09, 2012 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, Geeky, Photos, Videos

Sunset Flock (thumbnail)During the months when the northern hemisphere of our pale blue dot on which I reside is leaning away from our stellar space heater, the light from our star enters my office window at sunset and distracts me from my work, causing me to get up and go to the window to shut the blinds. Depending on the formations of water vapor in the atmosphere, the view of the setting sun can be either boring and gray or spectacularly amber and crimson. Today, when I went to shut the blinds, I saw a lovely display of long wavelength visual electromagnetic radiation, which I felt compelled to take a photograph of.
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