Archive for November, 2008

Chess Pepper Mills

November 10, 2008 By: erik Category: Food, Geeky, Weird

On Saturday, we braved the mall scene again and went to investigate strollers, cribs, and car seats. We knew nothing going in, and we learned a lot. Many manufacturers sell a bundle of the necessary items, a car seat and a stroller that can either have a little bed for the first 6 months or a seat for the 18-20 months after that. And the car seat can be unhooked and carried around as well. Some models are futuristic and trendy, and some are the old faithful common models that never go out of style. Some fold up better and easier than others. For some of the models, apparently, because the models change so often (to tempt trendy parents into buying more than once?), you actually have to order your stroller directly with the manufacturer and wait three months for it to be produced and shipped to you. Crazy! And we thought we had plenty of time on this!

In the bargain basement of one store, we browsed some of the stuff that hasn’t been selling well upstairs. In the kitchenware section, I saw the coolest pepper mills I’ve ever seen. (more…)

Dos Equis

November 07, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, News, Offspring

Offspring UltrasoundIt has always seemed odd to me that, in the English language, we say “It’s a boy!”, or “It’s a girl!” Why not “She’s a girl!” or “He’s a boy!”? But then we say “It’s me,” when calling someone on the phone. In Spanish, they say “Soy yo,” conjugating the verb into the first person. Kind of a dumb tautological sentence in any language. But I digress…

The wave function has collapsed, the universe has bifurcated. The sex of the fetus has been observed.

Conversations With a Pregnant Woman – Pilot Episode

November 06, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Funny, Musings, Offspring

We’re still a little ways out from the infamous third trimester, but we did have a conversation the other day that makes me chuckle every time I think of it. Marga was looking at a shop window that I wasn’t interested in. I was looking in wonder at a jewelry store window full of diamonds and sparkly expensive things. I called Marga over, gestured towards the jewelry, put on my millionaire face and said, half-jokingly…

Michael Crichton was one of my favorite authors

November 05, 2008 By: erik Category: News

Just when I thought nothing could wipe this grin off my face today, I hear that Michael Crichton has died at the age of 66 after a private battle with cancer. I think I have read every one of his books. He’s the only bestseller author I can say that about. His books were quite formulaic: a group of intelligent experts in different fields are brought together to solve a crisis. The formula worked well. Since each character was ignorant in the other experts’ fields, they had to explain everything to each other in layman’s terms, thus informing the reader as well. What I loved about his books was that he took a field of science and blended smoothly the known reality of the field into a science fiction “what if” scenario. None of his work is classic literature, but it’s all excellent reading for scientifically inquisitive.

Celebrating Obama Victory

November 05, 2008 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Politics, Wine

Celebrating Obama VictoryToday we had a special lunch of veal steaks with fried red peppers, salad, and champagne to celebrate Barack Obama getting elected yesterday. I have yet to stop grinning today. I’m just so pleased!

One of the best consumer item ideas I’ve seen recently is the mini champagne bottle. It’s the size and volume, 25 cl, of a normal Spanish beer bottle, smaller than what other countries use (33 cl, I think). It’s enough to completely fill one glass of champagne. You see, the problem with champagne is that, once you pop the cork on a normal bottle, you really have to drink the entire bottle, because otherwise it loses its carbonation. Between just two people, one bottle of champagne is finishable, but it will leave you both pretty tipsy. That’s why these little serving sizes are so nice. They are sold in three-packs at the local grocer. (more…)

¡Felicidades Presidente Obama!

November 05, 2008 By: erik Category: News, Politics, USA, Voting

I haven’t cried yet, but I suspect I would have if I had been watching the live election coverage in the US. It also helped that I received the news when Marga woke me from deep slumber to inform me that “Barack won,” and to point out the clear evidence of blanket hogging. Everyone alive today needs to remember where they were when this historic event occurred. This is absolutely not something to be shrugged off as “boring politics”. What Barack Obama and his supporters have done is unprecedented in the annals of human history. Even if he had lost, his campaign and the passion behind it would not have gone unnoticed around the world. On behalf of American expatriates around the globe, I would like to thank Barack Obama and everyone who voted for him for restoring pride in my country of origin. Finally I can say “¡Soy americano!” in a loud voice.
[great, now I’m crying]

And the winner of election is: Everyone!

November 04, 2008 By: erik Category: Funny, Politics, USA

Washington, D.C. – In news that has shocked the nation, the chairman of the Federal Elections Commission of the United States, David Mason, has suspended voting across the country during this presidential election. When asked what prompted this unprecedented move, Mason explained, “Competitions like this should not be about who wins and loses. It’s about participating and having a good time. In the 2008 election, there will be no losers, because I think we are all winners.” Ellen L. Weintraub, the vice chairman of the FEC, was as stunned as the rest of the country. “[Mason] had been talking a lot about the lessons he learned in kindergarten recently, but I never expected anything like this,” reported Weintraub.

Two Bits

November 03, 2008 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Politics, USA

What do you think of when you see the words “two bits”? Is that 25¢ or half of a nibble? To me, a computer geek in the early 21st century (no quantum computing yet), two bits means the latter: half a nibble, a quarter of a byte. Two binary values, 0 or 1. Combined possible values: 00, 01, 10, or 11. Information.