Happy Saint Patrick's Day

March 17, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Partying, Photos, Photoshop 164 views

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Worth seeing detail large.

Read the rest of this entry →

European Parking

March 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Complaining, Photos, Spain 272 views

Peugeot 1007In Europe, the only thing smaller than the cars are the parking spaces. It’s impossible to use a car for any more than a month without sustaining some bumper scratches, because you absolutely must come into bumper-to-bumper contact with other cars in the course of normal use. I’d say that in 40% of trips I take in the car with another person, to facilitate entry and exit of the vehicle, the car is removed from the parking space before the passengers try to squeeze in, and the passengers get out before the car is squeezed into its space at the destination. And we have a pretty normal-to-small car in Europe, one that would be considered tiny in the United States. So you can imagine how impressed I was when I saw this Peugeot 1007 for the first time in the neighborhood a month ago.
Read the rest of this entry →

Thirty Inches, Baby!

March 16, 2009 By: erik Category: House, News, Photos, Reviews 130 views

My 20″ Apple Cinema display that I bought on December 12, 2003, when I bought my G5 for the price of a small automobile, finally died. Well, it didn’t actually die. I think the point of failure was the adapter from my MacBook Pro’s DVI output to the oldskool proprietary ADC connector. I suspect that the Cinema Display will still work just fine with the G5 it was purchased with. The problem is that I don’t have the desk space to plug it in nor the need to have that computer running with a display. So for now the old monitor is going into storage. That was the sad news. Here comes the good news…
Read the rest of this entry →

Respigos – Colliding Gastronomic Cultures

March 13, 2009 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, USA, Weird 302 views

RespigosLast night for dinner, I had respigos. One of our Thursday night salsa dancing friends has a farm, and another has a restaurant. These respigos were taken straight from the farm to the restaurant and prepared for us last night. Do we know how to pick friends or what?

When I asked what they were, I was told that they were the leaves of the nabo. I’d heard the word nabo before, and knew from context that it was some kind of vegetable from the garden, but I’d never heard it used in direct relation with an object that I could identify. iPhone Spanish-English dictionary to the rescue: nabos are turnips! Actually, most usages of turnip in English are metaphorical as well (truck, blood, etc.).
Read the rest of this entry →

Little Girl Clothes

March 12, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 801 views

Little Girl ClothesSomehow we already have a wardrobe full of infant clothes, the vast majority with an undeniable feminine theme. Marga handwashed the set that will probably be taken to the hospital to clothe our daughter for the first time. Here they are drying in the sun. They don’t actually have black stripes on them, those are the shadows from the other clothes lines.
Read the rest of this entry →

What the close-up? #2

March 12, 2009 By: erik Category: Games, Photos 254 views

What the close-up? #2It’s time for another close-up identification competition. The answer and winners have been posted on the previous post. The name of the game is to see if you can identify what the picture below is a close-up of. This one’s a little harder.
Read the rest of this entry →

Coin Bouncing

March 11, 2009 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos 245 views

Coin BouncingOne of the tricks my new expensive speed light (that’s snooty SLR-camera-owner-speak for “flash”) lets me do is strobe photrography: having multiple flashes in the same photographic exposure. For lack of a better subject, I’ve returned to photographing coins in motion, this time dropping them onto a hard wooden tabletop. Each of the photos below is a result of having the shutter open for 0.04 seconds and firing a flash four times at 100 Hz (one flash every 0.01 seconds). This being my first attempt, I am quite pleased with the result. I can’t decide if I like the blurring between flashes or not. The room was quite bright when I took the pictures. Repeating the experiment in a dark room would, in theory, remove those “between flash” bits. I’ll have to try that next.
Read the rest of this entry →

Basque Signature Extortion

March 10, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Mondragon, Scary, Spain 234 views

A couple days ago, in the Basque valley town of Mondragón, where my in-laws live, some notices were posted on the entrances to all residential buildings. It read more or less the following:

Over the next two months, we will be going house by house collecting signatures for a petition to the mayor’s office to release prisoners that are either gravely ill or that have already served their time.

Seems like a good cause, doesn’t it? Well…
Read the rest of this entry →

First Crib Ornament

March 09, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, House, Offspring, Photos 228 views

Crib OrnamentNora, my dear, we’ve finally got your bed ready for you when you decide it’s time to enter this bright and chilly world. While you’re in there becoming a Kung Fu master (seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if you emerged with a ninja mask on), your mother and I are out here getting things as ready as we can for your arrival.

The first blanket you will sleep under in this house was a gift from your Abuela, Marce. It’s got three little bears and some balloons and is suitably adorable and infantile. And soft! I don’t recall things being so soft in my childhood. Science has really come a long way in the field of fabric softness in my lifetime.

Your first crib ornament is a giraffe that clips onto the side of your crib wall. It was a gift from your great aunt, Marga. There’s no doubt that she will be your favorite great aunt, as she seems incapable of curbing her addiction of buying you gifts. I doubt that, later in life, you will be able to recall a visit from her from your childhood when she didn’t have a present for you.
Read the rest of this entry →

ESA Exhibit At Local Mall

March 06, 2009 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos, Science, Spain 197 views

ESA Exhibit at Max CenterTwo weekends ago when we were looking for twigs for nesting, we stopped by one of the local malls, the Max Center in Bilbao. From the very entrance, there was a space exploration theme decorating the place which I thought was a little odd. But then in a central hallway I saw a very nice exhibit aimed at small children put on by the European Space Agency (that’s like NASA on this side of the pond). They had these two big cylinders, one for showing movies in and another that was closed when I was there, and lots of little kid-sized space suits, all under some huge dangling planets. From what I could tell, the kids would put on the space suits, enter the chamber, and learn about space exploration. Seeing all this pleased me immensely, as I am very much in favor of space exploration as a general goal for our species and to push the envelope of our understanding science. Getting kids interested in space travel is extremely important. Very cool. Go ESA!
Read the rest of this entry →