Archive for January, 2009

Horizontal Rain

January 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, News

Horizontal Rain

When I went to the town market today to buy olives, the vendors could barely serve anyone because they had to hold down the tarps attached to their stalls. A few citizens were futilely attempting to keep their umbrellas open against the whipping wind.

The forecast is for winds gusting up to 150 kph (93 mph) tonight and tomorrow. Waves up to eight meters tall! The local government is strongly encouraging everyone to stay home!

On the bright side, I got to see a new icon in the OS X Dashboard Weather Widget: horizontal rain!

Conversations With a Pregnant Woman – Episode 3

January 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Weird

28 weeks, 3 daysThis episode isn’t so much about conversations, but interesting things that my lovely pregnant wife has told me. The first one comes from the horrible, horrible first trimester. It’s clear that she had been reflecting on why the pregnancy would make her feel so terrible.


January 22, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Photos

PatucosA couple weeks ago, we ventured into the attic of Marga’s aunt with the youngest children (the youngest is 18 now, I think) to raid her boxes full of baby clothes. She has two boys so a lot of the clothes and blankets and things were “too masculine” (aka. blue) to apply to our particular case, but there were some pink crib sheets that had once belonged to Marga’s mother and had cascaded to the parent of the youngest child.

One of the items of clothing that we have inherited is a special kind of footwear called patucos in Spanish. I’m not sure what they are called in English. Footies? They are little sock-shoe hybrids meant for decoration and maybe a little warmth, but definitely never designed to be walked on. Pretty darn adorable.

My Peeps

January 21, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Geeky, Photos, Photoshop, Weird

My Peeps (cropped)Most of you probably wonder how I am able to be such a good blogger, employee, husband, golfer, soon-to-be father, and still manage such incredible humility. Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are more then one of me. Normally it takes quite a bit of logistics to make sure we’re never in the same place at the same time, but occasionally we get together for meetings and to synchronize our knowledge, so that Golfer Erik has a few anecdotes about family life, etc. This year, we decided to let Photographer Erik take a photograph of our meeting.

Congratulations, Mr. President!

January 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Politics, USA

I’d give you a big hug if I could, Mr. President. It’s so nice to have someone smarter than me running my country. Good luck, sir!

Congratulations, Mr. President!


Eight Years Ago

January 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Mondragon, Musings, Photos, Travel

Passport Stamp - Gatwick - 21 Jan 2001Eight years ago today, I was in my apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina, packing my suitcase, preparing for a trip to Europe. I can very vividly remember every detail of my living room and television as I watched the inauguration of George W. Bush, whose “election” was decided by nine justices of The Supreme Court. It was cold and raining outside and also in Washington, D.C. Later that evening, I boarded a flight to Dublin, with a layover at London Gatwick. The airport security was, of course, no more or less of a sham than it is today, but it was much less intrusive of a sham. After working for a couple days in Dublin, getting very sick from some food poisoning, and spending the rest of the week curled up in a hotel room, I flew to Madrid, entering Spain for the first time. From Madrid, I somehow managed to take a train north to Vitoria, where a girl I’d met a little over a year before stood with her father waiting to show me her home town and introduce me to her family. The world I was entering was so incredibly different from anything I knew. Such was the first visit I had with my future in-laws.

The Vikings Used Birds To Find Land

January 20, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Geeky

While watching one of my favorite British television shows, QI, the other day, I learned an interesting fact that had been lost from my family for years. This is really brilliant.

The Vikings, when sailing around looking for new land to conquer, would use a bird to look for land. They would let this bird go, it would fly up to five thousand feet, look around, and if it saw land, it would fly in that direction. If it couldn’t see any land, it would come back down to the boat. This wouldn’t work with just any bird, of course. It had to be a non-migratory bird that was not accustomed to flying over and landing in water. It had to be big enough to see at that altitude, and have excellent eyesight. Because it despised water so much, the boat was a better option when no land could be seen.

As anyone with a distance to the horizon calculator can tell you, by going up 5,000 feet, the bird is able to see over 86 miles away! That’s quite an improvement over 20′ crows nest that only lets you see five miles away.

There’s at least one story that reports that a Norseman by the name of Flóki Vilgerðarson discovered Iceland this way.

Question: What kind of bird did they use? (more…)

An Historic Inauguration Drinking Game

January 19, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Media, Politics, USA

Okay, Media. Let’s get one thing straight: The only time you should use the article “an” with the adjective “historic” is if you are not pronouncing the H in “historic” like some British people do. Think ‘enry ‘iggins. Got that, Media!!?!? If I ever see any of you that misuse this phrase crossing the street, you will be the victim of an hit and run.

Work Related

January 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Bulls, Funny, Stuff I Found

No comment.

Also, check out

Definitely Work-Related

Prints and paraphernalia with this cartoon can be purchased from

Accidentally Plagiarized

January 15, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Internet, News, Stuff I Found, Weird

Today I was accidentally plagiarized by one of my blogging heroes, Phil Plait, keeper of the Bad Astronomy blog. He wrote a post titled “How far away is the horizon?” in which he goes about explaining how to calculate the distance to the horizon given your altitude above Earth. His methods are slightly different, but his diagram and data almost exactly match my “Distance To The Horizon” post from last March. When confronted about it, he said,

Holy cow. Mine really *is* similar to yours. I swear, I never saw it. I even searched to see if someone else had done this before! Great minds, I guess.

I believe him, of course. Even accidental imitation is a form of flattery.

I still like my post better because I calculate the distance along the surface of the ground and I include a handy javascript calculator rather than a lookup table. Plus, mine has actually been put to good use calculating the distance from Sarah Palin’s house to Russia!