Archive for the ‘Weird’

The sun sets late in Spain

June 24, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Spain, Travel, Weird

Crepuscular!If you’ve ever been to Spain in the summer, you’ll know that the sun sets very late, which suits Spaniards, who like to have dinner as late as 10 or 11 at night, very well. It’s not just because of the tilt of the Earth at the summer solstice, or the fact that all our days are getting longer. Tonight, for example, in late June, the sun will set at 9:58 PM, one minute later than it will set as far north as Copenhagen! What sense does that make?

I blame the Nazis.
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Tourette’s Butcher

June 28, 2013 By: erik Category: Spain, Weird

Medium RareI’d never met anyone with Tourette’s syndrome before…until today. Rather than go to my local grocer for my daily shopping, I went for a bigger purchase to a larger supermarket chain. I needed to get some chicken thighs, so I went to the butcher section. As I arrived, someone was waiting for their lamb chops to be chopped, and another shopper came up to ask where a particular item was in the store. The butcher was very polite and told her it was “down that aisle and on the right”. As the woman was walking away, he mumbled, “¡hijo de puta!” under his breath. For those of you not versed in Spanish swearing, that’s “son of a bitch”. I was shocked, but the shopper either didn’t hear or didn’t respond.
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Tamarind – Adventures in African Pod Fruit

May 03, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel, Weird

TamarindThe other day, during my bidaily visit to the local grocer, my grocer and friend, Andrés, said, “Hey, Erik, come here for a second. I have something to give you.” From its hiding place behind some yogurt in the display fridge, he pulled out three strange fruit pods. He explained that they are called tamarinds, and that they are native to Africa and are sort of a cross between a peanut and a date. I had never heard of such a thing, but he instructed me on how to peel and eat them, warning that the seeds are very hard and to be careful.
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Knights

April 21, 2013 By: erik Category: Religion, Spain, Weird

Knight MosaicThis past weekend, I found myself thinking about two very different kinds of knights, one that seems very old from thirty years ago, and some others from several centuries ago. Both coincided with a visit from my cousin Jeanie and her husband Kit. It’s rare that two anecdotes I have to share align with a common word, but in this case, I’ve got two stories of knights to tell you, and both have to do with quirks of Spanish history.
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My Rap Video Debut

February 24, 2013 By: erik Category: Internet, Music, Videos, Weird

Rap ThumbNormally, I try not to blog about my gangsta days in Los Angeles or all the rival gang members I popped caps in, but every so often one of my homies from da ‘Hood calls me up to provide cameo cred to a rising rap star, and I take the private jet back to my L.A. stomping grounds. Snoop and I are still pretty tight, but I had a falling out with Jay-Z after Beyoncé found me a bit too fetching. You know how it is…
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Pelele – Spanish Impotency Effigy

January 29, 2013 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Weird

Pelele, GoyaMy three-year-old daughter has been instructed by her teacher to bring in some old clothes that no longer fit for the Pelele celebration. According to this Spanish Wikipedia article, the Pelele is a rag doll or straw puppet that is thrown high up into the air by a group of women during the Carnival (Mardi Gras) celebrations in Madrid, while they sing about beating him to death. The doll is later burned. Ritual burnings are common in Europe around the solstices, as an ancient pagan symbol of rebirth. The symbolism of burning your old clothes is pretty straightforwardly similar, however, I suspect that the use of old clothes is more about getting straw into a humanoid shape. The real reason for the doll becomes apparent upon listening to the lyrics of the song.
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Tick Tick Tock Tock

January 24, 2013 By: erik Category: Geeky, Videos, Weird

Tick Tick Tock Tock thumbnailRecently, my watch broke. Well, kind of. I’ve never seen a watch break like this. Rather than the second hand moving 6° every second, every two seconds, it goes tick-tick and moves 12°, thus keeping perfect time. While on another errand to the local jeweler to see if they could fix my mother-in-law’s earring, I casually showed it to the jeweler to see if she’d ever seen something like this. She explained, not very clearly (to me), that often watches have an auxiliary battery or chip or something that ticks every two seconds, and that when the battery runs low, it switches over to the two-second ticking.
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Egocentric Light Painting

September 05, 2012 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos, Weird

Light painting: erikrasOn Flickr, I follow the work of this Finnish guy, named Janne Parviainen, who does absolutely crazy things with a trick photography technique called “light painting”, which involves opening the camera’s shutter and then “painting” with an LED in three dimensions. In the same way that a long exposure photograph of cars at night shows only the headlights and no cars since the cars don’t reflect enough light from one position to leave an image on the film or digital sensor, the body of a light painter is also invisible in such photographs.
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Deadly Spanish Air Currents

August 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism, Spain, Weird

Curtain in BreezeCultural differences fascinate me, as do superstitions. So naturally I am enthralled by the utter mortal fear Spaniards have for air currents, specifically those running through a house. Every time I open two windows on either side of my house to get a nice current of fresh air running through, I am told to close one of the windows, because air currents (corrientes) are dangerous. When there’s a baby or child in the house – forget about it! – the importance of reducing air pressure differentials goes up by several orders of magnitude. Everyone in Spain knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who died because they had fresh air running through their house.
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Haiku Competition – Win a free Kindle Touch!

August 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Art, Marketing, Weird

Kindle Touch - Haiku Competition

This is a contest
to find syllabic poems.
Win a Kindle Touch!

Haikus for Kindles?
The very best poem wins!
Judged by yours truly.

You know you want one.
Enter multiple poems!
Only the best wins.

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