Paid Product Reviews

February 26, 2009 By: erik Category: Internet, Musings 840 views

Will Review Products For MoneyA month ago, a scandal rocked the e-commerce world. A Development Rep from Belkin, a computer peripherals manufacturer, was caught hiring people to write fake reviews of Belkin products on The internet tubes rattled with outrage! Everyone in the e-commerce industry knows that the latest must-have feature for your website is customer product reviews. has been the leader in e-commerce since the beginning, and their review system is excellent. I openly admit to being influenced by product reviews in my recent prepurchase researching. They’re really quite helpful…or are they?
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IKEA Nesting Instinct

February 25, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, House, Photos, Timelapse, Videos 2,496 views

Office ShelvesThe first time I heard the phrase “IKEA nesting instinct” was in Edward Norton’s narration of Fight Club. I’d never heard of IKEA, despite living in Scandinavia at the time. When we bought our house in England, almost all the new furniture we bought was from IKEA. Our first load of new flat pack furniture required the use of a rental van. We went to IKEA once or twice when we first moved to Spain, and we haven’t gone back or made any domestic layout changes for years.

So this time I saw IKEA with somewhat fresh eyes. What amazed me the first time, and amazed me again this time, is the sheer efficiency of the whole store. The entire retail is as well designed and consumer-driven as their furniture. Presumably they’ve made some iterative modifications to The IKEA Process over the lifespan of the company, because they’ve really perfected the process of maximizing sales of cheap, not-at-all-ugly furniture in bulk. I’m very impressed. Read the rest of this entry →

Hello, my name is…

February 25, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Musings 146 views

Today is Jack Handey‘s 60th birthday. In his honor, I’m posting this deep thought I had the other day.

If I ever have a son, I think that I’ll name him Inigo Montoya. You know, just in case I’m ever murdered.

This topic brought into my consciousness lately by this t-shirt.

I learned a new vocabulary word today

February 24, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Spain, Weird 282 views

I got a voice mail message this morning on my mobile phone saying:

Hola, buenos días. Le llamo para decirle…le llamo de _____ de transportes para decirle que tenemos un multo para entregarle. Por favor que nos pone en contacto con nosotros al numero de que le he llamado.

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Carnival Ants

February 24, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Photoshop, Videos 160 views

Carnival Ants
Last Friday was a strange day around town. Several times I was walking down the street and an adult dressed like a fairy or a lion, complete with face paint, would walk by me as if nothing was abnormal about either of us. It was very Twilight Zone. Of course when you see them together, costumed people look slightly less ridiculous. It was, of course, the annual pre-Lent partying known as Carneval. Later in the evening, a parade of little kids dressed in various costumes paraded out of the school we live near and down the street. It wasn’t quite as extravagant as The Best Party In The World, but it was pretty darned cute.
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ONCE Colindres Lottery Ticket

February 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Spain 548 views

ONCE Colindres TicketWell, this is about the only thing that could make me buy a lottery ticket after my year of playing the lottery and my decision to never play again. Every week, ONCE, the Spanish lottery company run by and for people with physical disabilities, has a different design on their ticket, often featuring a town or landmark in Spain. Today’s ticket features my town, Colindres, and its puente giratorio, which was built in 1901 by some guy named Eiffel had already built a tower somewhere, I think.
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February 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Funny, Spain, Weird 190 views

Not me, nor my addressThis might be a new world record in the category of Misspellings When Each Letter Was Spoken To You Over The Phone. The Spanish language is notoriously bad for distinguishing spoken letters, as most of the consonants are pronounced by putting an “eh” sound before and after the consonant sound. On Ruleta de Suerte, they require everyone to provide a word that begins with the letter they choose before accepting a chosen letter.

We requested a quote from some carpenters to build us a custom wardrobe to go under the stairs in our house. The quote arrived in the mail today in the pictured envelope. Somehow, even after coming to our house, they managed to put the wrong town on the address, too. Kudos to the postal service for figuring it out.
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Freaky Kiwi

February 19, 2009 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Photoshop 221 views

FreakiwiFor a while now I’ve been wanting to try some High Dynamic Range photography. My choice of subject for my first attempt probably shows my lack of experience. I cannot explain it, but I have an abnormal fascination with kiwi fuzz. If I ever get into macro photography, you can bet that kiwi fuzz will be one of the first things I attempt a close-up of.

The problem with HDR photography is that it’s so easy, and fun, to make freakishly surreal photographs with weird colors and lighting. The unreality of most HDR photos initially turned me off to the practice, but I’ve come to respect those photographs that use the technique properly, to overcome the limitations of the camera and make photographs more real.
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Apology Accepted

February 19, 2009 By: erik Category: News, Travel 236 views

Remember my post about being stuck in the Frankfurt airport for seven hours? Well, US Airways has apologized to me for the delay. And good on them. In my opinion, large corporations don’t do nearly enough in the way of apologies and voucher distribution, especially since vouchers are actually paradoxically profitable for business. I doubt I will be able to use the $150 they are offering, but I might.
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Coin Splashes

February 18, 2009 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos 208 views

ER DropRecently a friend and photography mentor of mine nudged me towards purchasing an additional flash for my camera. I’m still just learning to use it, but one of the things I’ve already discovered is that it is waaay more powerful than my built-in on-camera flash. My built-in flash doesn’t have nearly enough power to illuminate shots taken at maximum shutter speed (0.125 ms); they come out completely black. But with my new flash, I can take photos of things at very fast shutter speeds. So I thought I would go back and make another attempt at photographing water droplets.
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