Archive for May, 2008


May 29, 2008 By: erik Category: Spain, Weird

Bruised AnkleOn Monday, May 12, Marga sprained her ankle. She went to the gym, for the first time in May, paid her entire May subscription fee, and half way through her aerobics class, she sprained her ankle. Somehow, she managed to jump up and land with her right foot on top of her left, thus twisting the right foot so that the outside part of the foot hit the floor. She heard a loud crack! and screamed out in pain.

She hopped back home, stood in the doorway, and yelled for me to get the car keys and take her to the emergency room. The emergency room doctors didn’t do much but wrap it up in a bandage and tell her not to walk on it. Duh.

A couple days later, I knocked on our neighbor’s door. The guy that lives in the apartment next door, I had learned from one of the nosy old ladies in the building, works as a massage therapist (masajista) in Laredo. It turns out that he was exactly the person Marga’s foot needed. He poked, prodded, asked specific questions about where it hurts and during what movement. After about five minutes of examination, he explained exactly what had happened, what to expect as far as pain and bruising, etc. It’s so nice to see an expert in a field that you have no clue about being so confident in his element. He said that if the pain didn’t go away after a week or so, then there could be more serious damage, like a broken tendon.

Two weeks later, that turns out to be the case. She can now walk a bit and drive herself to work (thank god!), but she’s still in a lot of pain. Marga went to the doctor and has been referred to radiology sometime soon.

About this time, Marga, who rarely ever mentions anything that I write about on this blog, said to me, “What? My foot doesn’t deserve a blog entry?!” The truth is that it did deserve an entry to reach the point we have now. Because what I really want to write about is what follows.

Giant Egg

May 28, 2008 By: erik Category: Science, Weird

Giant EggOnly recently have we had to buy eggs for the first time in Spain. That’s because my father-in-law’s hens are producing very few lately, apparently unaware of what fate awaits them if production ceases. But we still get some from him, but this is a first. It has got to be the largest chicken egg I’ve ever seen. Marga called dibs on it before I even knew it existed.

Basque Storm

May 27, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Mondragon, Videos

Wet RailingOn Sunday in Mondragon, we had a tremendous thunderstorm come through and drop a ton of rain and hail. Luckily, we were all safe inside my in-laws’ house. It sure was fun a hail of a good time to watch.

First Images from Phoenix on Mars

May 26, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Science, USA

You need some attitude control.I was really tired after coming back home from the in-laws’ on Sunday, so I went to bed at 10pm, disappointed that I wouldn’t get to witness the landing of the Phoenix spacecraft on Mars at 2am, Spain time. But then I woke up at 1am and couldn’t resist getting up to tune into NASA TV to watch the landing. The more I learned about just what they were trying to do, the more amazed I became at the hubris that they thought they could actually pull it off. An entry heat shield, a parachute, strobing thrusters to decelerate from 100 m/s to 5 m/s for landing while rotating to align perfectly east-west, etc. How could they do that, completely automated, in an environment they can only model?

Ensaladilla Rusa – Russian Salad

May 22, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Spain

Ensaladilla RusaIn the United States, you can find several mayonnaise-based salads: potato salad, tuna salad, and egg salad. In Spain, they don’t really have any of that, but they do have Ensaladilla Rusa (Russian Salad). Ensaladilla Rusa is a combination of all of the above.

My wife had a Russian immigrant friend when she was a child and acquired intelligence that suggests that they really do eat this dish in Russia, but I have no other corroborating evidence. Personally, I have never seen this dish outside of Spain. (more…)

Scorpion Moon

May 21, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Science, Timelapse, Videos

Scorpion MoonLast night, I took a timelapse video of the waning gibbous moon rising in the night sky using my usual method. Unfortunately the focus was a little off. Apparently “infinity” focus was inappropriate.

The moon was accompanied on its celestial journey last night by Antares, the 16th brightest star in the night sky, only a mere 600 light years away. Antares is the central star in the constellation Scorpius, forming the center of the scorpion’s cephalothorax.

Four Unrelated Photographs

May 20, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos

Just four photos I’ve taken around the house recently: two of the natural world, and two of human creations.

Too much Phun

May 18, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Science

Choppy SeasIt might not be possible to have too much fun, but it’s definitely possible to have to much Phun. Phun is a “2D physics sandbox”. What that means is that it allows you to draw shapes (circles, squares, or arbitrary freehand shapes) and then lets you bang them together using simulated physics laws. Check out the video at the link above for a demonstration.

Phun is exactly the kind of computer “game” that my brain adores. I used to play hours and hours of The Incredible Machine, which is a very similar concept. For me, at least, Phun is seriously addictive. It’s like crack for Newtonian physics lovers.

Sunny Walk Around Colindres

May 16, 2008 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Spain

Playground RoosterThese are some photos I took during a sunny walk around Colindres last week. Things are slowly warming up here. Still haven’t worn any shorts yet, but the day is coming.

Desk Traffic

May 14, 2008 By: erik Category: House, Photos, Photoshop, Weird

Do you know what happens on your office desk at night? Last night, I got up to get a drink of water, and I heard some noise coming from the office. When I went to investigate, I was amazed…