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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Fafmuffem

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 205 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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Carried By Dog Sled

February 17, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, USA, Weird 435 views

John Beargrease Letter (crop)Dog sledding is one of those activities where I think it’s really cool that other people do it. Personally, I will go to only very short lengths when it comes to trading comfort for adventure. My Uncle Neil is one such dog sledding crazy person enthusiast. He recently sent me a letter that has about the coolest postmark I’ve ever seen: “Carried By Dog Sled”.

Every year in northern Minnesota, they celebrate the John Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon in honor of a Native American man who used to deliver the mail by dog sled along the shore of Lake Superior. From their website:

For almost twenty years, between 1879 and 1899, John Beargrease and his brothers delivered the mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. With the limited equipment available and loads weighing as much as 700 lbs. The trip was made once a week…an incredible feat for one man to accomplish especially when you consider the constant range of altitude along the shore.

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Shrouded Spaniel

February 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Photos 119 views

Shrouded SpanielI took these photos while I was working from my parents’ house earlier this month. It’s their English Springer Spaniel sitting in his favorite window sill, which allows him to simultaneously bask in the sunlight and keep a sleepy eye on the comings and goings of the neighborhood. I like the contrast and the lighting in these photos.
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Like two halves of the same fuzzy fruit

February 14, 2009 By: erik Category: Food, Photos 346 views

This photo comes from the archives of the “Don’t Eat That Fruit Until It’s Been Photographed” Department from last September.

Kiwi Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, Marga!

33 Weeks, 3 Days

February 13, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring 270 views

33 weeks, 3 daysYesterday Marga had a difficult audit at work (which she passed with flying colors) and she wore an outfit that my grandmother bought her back in The Great Black Friday Maternity Shopping Extravaganza of Aught Eight. I’d had a husband-foot-in-mouth moment the day before when I’d absentmindedly asked her if she was going to wear her business suit that she normally wears for business visits. Doh.

She’s looking pretty good, if you ask me. Read the rest of this entry →

Conversations With a Pregnant Woman – Episode 4 – Don't have a cow!

February 13, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Science 513 views

Evolutionary biologists have historically struggled to understand why the human animal developed a sense of humor. The best theory I have heard comes from watching when infants laugh. Babies don’t truly laugh until about the fourth or fifth month, and they do so as a response to relief after a fright. e.g. Mommy makes a scary face (fright), but baby realizes that it’s still his loving mother (relief); Daddy tosses baby into the air (fright), but catches him a second later (relief); the game of peekaboo; etc. Eventually we get to the point where we enjoy the shock-relief contrast such that we seek it out. All physical comedy is based on this principle. The man falling down is only funny after it’s clear that he’s really alright. I’ve come to classify the vast majority of British comedy as “humor from uncomfortable situations”. Monty Python and The Office are good examples. “Safe fear” is the apparent attraction of scary movies and roller coasters (neither of which appeal to me). While this fright-relief pattern is not the only dimension to comedy, it’s one of the first to develop in children and is definitely one of the principal aspects of why we laugh.
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