Extremadura 2010

August 11, 2010 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain 1,481 views

Playing with water bucketsLast Friday, August 6, my wife and I headed down to Extremadura to see our daughter, Nora, who had been down there the entire previous week with her grandparents and great-grandfather. It was a little disappointing not to be able to present her to our friends down there, as most of them had already seen her earlier in the week. She clearly recognized us (whew!), but was pretty unenthusiastic about it. We were immediately merged into her ordered hierarchy of people she likes to be with:

  1. Mommy (Marga)
  2. Abuelo (her grandfather, Juan)
  3. Abuela (her grandmother, Marce)
  4. Daddy (Erik)
  5. …everybody else…
  6. Bisabuelo (her great-grandfather, Ramón)

She spends a good portion of her time in her great-grandfather’s house prohibiting him from touching things. If he puts his hand on a chair or table or toy or glass, even if the object is across the room from her, she will race over (still holding someone’s hand) shouting, “No no no no no!!” and remove his hand from the object in his home that he had the nerve to touch. It’s actually pretty cute, and I think she understands that it’s a bit of a game. He certainly does.
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Dancing With Mommy

August 06, 2010 By: erik Category: Dancing, Offspring, Videos 158 views

Dancing with MommySometimes when Marga gets back from picking Nora up at daycare, they stop by to see me before going on a walk. I often have music playing in my office when I’m working, and sometimes Nora starts to dance. Only after watching her for a while last week did I think to get the camera to record a little of it. Pretty cute, if you ask me.
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Devils and Angels

August 05, 2010 By: erik Category: Music, Videos 147 views

Playing the guitarOne thing having my daughter off on vacation has allowed me to do is pick up the ol’ six string again. Since she was born, I haven’t had much time alone to strum. This morning I finally got around to recording one of my favorite songs I know how to play and sing decently. It’s a song by Toby Lightman called Devils and Angels. I first became aware of the song and of Toby Lightman because Apple and iTunes were giving it some play when it first came out because the video for it (watch my performance first!!) is more or less an advertisement for the first generation iPod.
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Agustí­n's Vegetable Garden

August 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain 1,694 views

Erik with DonkeysTaking full advantage of our temporary childlessness, my wife, sister-in-law and I had an exhausting weekend. After sending Nora on her way, we grabbed our swim suits and our always-prepared-this-time-of-year beach bag and drove the five minutes to Laredo’s beach. We parked right at the midpoint of the five kilometer (3.1 mile) crescent-shaped beach and walked to the main town center on one of the beach, where we found a restaurant to have lunch.

Six Feet UnderAfter lunch, the desire for siesta was strong, but we had to walk back to the car to get our beach towels, and the sky had clouded over, much to the chagrin of my companions. I suggested we take off our shoes and walk back in the surf, so we did. But when we reached the midpoint where the car was parked, we were enjoying the walk so much that we continued all the way to the tip, where we stopped for a coffee at the bar there. Heading back, the same thing happened, and we continued all the way back to the other end. On the third time passing the midpoint, we did stop to go home, though. That’s a total of 15 km (9.3 miles), most of it in a foot of water.
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Stephen Colbert on Spanish Sports

August 03, 2010 By: erik Category: Bulls, Funny, Spain, USA, Videos 474 views

From last night’s Colbert Report.

It has been a huge year for Spanish sports, or España Esports. Spain’s soccer team won the World Cup, Rafael Nadal conquered Wimbledon, Alberto Contador took the Tour de France, and Javier Bardem took the world record in the Thousand Yard Smolder. His prize? Himself. But there has been a major setback in Spanish athletics.

[cut to CNN footage]

The controversial tradition of bullfighting is now illegal in one region of Spain, the Catalonia region, which includes Barcelona.

[cut back to Colbert]

I don’t understand! Barcelona should be used to horrors. Their streets are already running red with the sangria vomited by thousands of American backpackers. I’ll say it again, folks. Barcelona is just the San Francisco of Spain. They’re a bunch of effete liberal elites talking down to the rest of Spain with their sthmug Sthpanish listhps. They don’t undershtand! Heartland Spanish values like Mom and apple paella. I’m with the pro-bullfighting community who have called the ban a “political manipulation”.

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URLs and Green Beans

August 03, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Internet, Spanish, Weird 453 views

Green BeansIn general, for just about any academic topic you want to know more about, you can find information on the internet to satisfy your curiosity. Luddites complain that “We know less these days because we can forget things and look them back up with such ease!”, but I think that’s a load of bollocks. Having more knowledge at our fingertips means we can learn more, and, even more important, we can recheck our current knowledge more often to keep it accurate.

Several times a day I find myself in a situation in which my understanding of a subject is unclear, so I look it up on the internet to clarify my knowledge. Over the past week, however, I have had the same rare experience twice: that the all-knowing internet was unable to clarify my foggy understanding.
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Nora on Vacation

August 02, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 121 views

A kiss for DaddyThe plan for our summer vacations was for Marga and her parents to take Nora down to Extremadura, where we usually go in August, last Saturday, and then I would go this coming Saturday to visit for a week and then Marga, Nora and I would come back the following weekend. However, last Thursday, Marga’s boss fell off his motorcycle and broke his shoulder, landing him a week in the hospital and putting the kibosh on Marga’s first week of vacation. It was a tough decision, but we decided to let Nora go with her grandparents to Extremadura to leave us childless for a week.

At least I have this heart warming video I recorded last Friday to remember my daughter this week without her.
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Nora Cam

July 30, 2010 By: erik Category: House, Offspring, Videos 201 views

Nora Cam (still frame)The other day, Nora was in my office chastising me for something in her gibberish language, so I got out the video camera. While I was taping, her mother called her into the living room to put on some sunscreen in preparation for an afternoon trip to the beach, so I walked with her, with a slight detour into the kitchen. The result is a sort of Nora’s-eye-view of our front hallway, kitchen and living room.
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How was this working?

July 29, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Programming, Weird 104 views

Friendly Bug!An oversimplified description of my job as a computer programmer goes something like this.

  1. I get some requirements for a program from my boss or a client.
  2. I write the program as perfectly as I can.
  3. I test the program with all the cases that I think it will need to handle.
  4. The program is done and people start using it.
  5. For whatever reason the requirements change (or a bug is found), and I have to go back and modify the code. Inevitably less testing is done on these changes than the original writing.
  6. Go to #4.

It’s pretty rare for the original writing of a program to have a significant bug in it after testing, although I’m not perfect. Almost all bugs are introduced in step #5. When you first write the program, the entire program and its relationship with other programs is in your mind. But when you go back to look at old code, it’s just not fresh in your memory, and it’s very easy to make a change without taking into consideration all the consequences that change will have.
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Aladdin Pants

July 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Weird 1,404 views

The Magic LampI’m pretty sure that I will never understand clothing fashion. It seems to be a futile conundrum of combining the desire to be like everyone else with the desire to be unique. But then I don’t get a lot of social customs. Every once in a while, however, a new style comes along that makes me think, “Wow, you are going to be so embarrassed in ten years to look back at photos of yourself wearing that!” In the last five summers in Spain, there has been an explosion in the popularity of capri pants, called “pirate pants” here, that I have successfully avoided. C’mon, people! Having trousers that stop at your calves is a ridiculous idea.

It was about one year ago, last August, that my wife showed me some new trousers she had bought. They seemed to me to be the most ridiculous thing ever, and I was unable to stop from laughing at the idea that someone would wear them. I’m not sure if I hurt her feelings or what, but she ended up giving them to her sister. The only way I could think to describe them is with the term “Aladdin pants”. Some googling, in preparation for this post, has revealed that they are actually called that! Perhaps the correct term is harem pants? Much to my chagrin, they are huge this summer.
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