Peter T. Brown – 2 of 9

April 25, 2017 By: erik Category: USA 80 views

Peter Brown

What follows is a serial essay written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his best friend, Peter Brown. Part 1

It is a bad idea to hire a senior in college to be a security guard for that college. I don’t know how straight a line I would have walked on my own, but Peter definitely drew me to the dark side. It is not that Peter was immoral. Instead he was bored, and looking for excitement. He decided we should make a copy of the college’s master key, so one late night when we were both on duty we located the maintenance department’s key duplicating machine. We discovered that the available blank keys were incapable of becoming a master duplicate, but in the time available to us, Peter learned how to use the key duplicator. Later we learned where the supply of blanks capable of becoming a master was stored, and duplicated the master key checked out to us at the start of each shift.
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Peter T. Brown – 1 of 9

April 24, 2017 By: erik Category: Family 106 views

Peter Brown

What follows is a serial essay written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his best friend, Peter Brown.

When I left for college my father armed me with just one cryptic piece of advice. “You will find that some people have much more money to spend than other people, so be careful.” My mother, less vocal but more practical, sent me a $7.00 check every week.
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Snapchat AR Fun

April 19, 2017 By: erik Category: Geeky 41 views

Snapchat AR RainbowYesterday, Snapchat, who is really kicking ass lately in the selfie-camera augmented reality tricks, where they can virtually put a hat on you, or makeup, or facial hair, etc., has released some new augmented reality trickery, but for the front-facing camera, so that you can place virtual objects into scenes, move them around, and they will appear to remain in the same physical location as you move your phone. We are just cracking the surface of this sort of technology. It seems inevitable that we will someday be wearing lightweight glasses that can display virtual objects and information that will appear, to our brains, to exist in the physical world.
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Mourning An Internet Friend

April 17, 2017 By: erik Category: Internet 271 views

Black RibbonI have a different relationship to social networks than I think most people do. As a transatlantic telecommuter, I spend much of my day physically isolated from other humans. When I was doing this before Twitter and Facebook, I was much more chatty and collegial with my coworkers over whatever chat service we used to use. I also blogged more. Whilst I certainly suffer from the distraction, filter bubble, and other dopamine-based addictive issues with Facebook (I saw a report the other day that the average Facebook user that logs in every day checks their newsfeed 150 times a day…seems high, but…) that everyone does. But Facebook also scratches my innate human social itch that would not otherwise be alleviated by watercooler chitchat.
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Splash Trails

April 10, 2017 By: erik Category: Photography, Photos 60 views

Splash ThumbnailYesterday my family and a friend of ours went out for a walk along a local river bank. It was as lovely and peaceful as you would expect such a nature walk to be. There was one section where you could go down next to the river, and, as usual, it was lined with smooth round stones, carved by the passage of a millennia of water molecules. While there, I discovered the perfect fusion of two passions that my almost-four-year-old son and I have: throwing rocks into rivers and interesting technical photographic techniques, respectively.
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Return to Cabárceno Zoo

April 09, 2017 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 96 views

Cabárceno - April 2017The last (and only other) time we went to Cabárceno Zoo, Nora was not quite three years old. She just turned eight, and her brother, Ian, is about to turn four. It was time to return. It is amusing to compare the prices as I blogged them back then. The adult price went up from 21€ to 30€, the kid price went down from 18€ to 17€, and the family year membership went up from 100€ to 135€. This time we decided to buy the year-long pass, which becomes cheaper if you go more than once.
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On Protests

February 23, 2017 By: erik Category: Musings, Politics 121 views

ProtestFor much of my adult life, I have been rather cynical about the value of protests, people rallying in the streets with big poster signs, in opposition to whatever decision those in power have made. I have watched news coverage of thousands upon thousands of people protest everything from the Iraq War to local taxation laws to Occupy Wall St. And with all that effort, I have not seen a single thing gained. The Wall St. fat cats suffered not one iota, the Iraq War went on as planned, and the local government did whatever the hell they wanted.
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Nora and Ian’s first time in the snow

January 22, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Travel, Videos 183 views

Nora and Ian's first snowIn the twelve years I have lived in this town, it has snowed once such that it stuck for a few hours. It very rarely gets down to zero degrees Celsius here at sea level. Unlike their cousin, Xander, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who needs a snow shovel to even leave his house for 5 months of the year, our kids have never really experienced snow.

In past years, we have seen photos of Nora’s classmates playing in the snow. Because we live right next to the mountains, it’s possible to drive a bit into the mountains and find snow, but we never have. Mainly because the kids never had any appropriate clothing for rolling around in frozen water. This year, we were determined to do it, so we bought the kids snow clothes. This weekend was the first weekend after a week of cold precipitation (rain here, snow in the mountains), so we decided to do it. Unfortunately we still didn’t have appropriate shoes, so on Saturday we went to the mall to buy the remaining shoes and gloves, and on Sunday morning we left for the hills.
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Inauguration Emotions

January 20, 2017 By: erik Category: Photos, USA 197 views

2017 Donald Trump InaugurationWell, it’s been eight years. Eight years of holding my head high as an American expat, proud of my nation and its great (but never flawless) government. During the George W. Bush years, I shut down so many “Why on earth would your country do X?” conversations with, “I don’t know, man, I apologize…” Under Obama that happened – hold on, let me count – never. The Spaniards in my town with whom I am in regular contact did nothing but praise the US leadership.
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La Vijanera – Cantabria’s Pagan Nature Festival

January 08, 2017 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Travel 149 views

La Vijanera - SilióSeveral years ago, I became aware of this truly bizarre festival celebrated in Cantabria, my region of Spain, on the first Sunday of every year. Since learning of its existence, we have always been busy doing some other family thing winding down Christmas when it is held, but this year we finally made it! The festival is called La Vijanera, and it is the most pagan thing I’ve seen since I took down our Christmas tree yesterday.
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