Cueva del Valle – Rasines, Cantabria

October 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 46 views

Dad! Can I keep it?After an exhausting Saturday caring for the kids and doing housework, we decided we really needed to get out of the house on the unusually warm, sunny late October Sunday. Searching through some Cantabrian tourism websites, my wife found Cueva del Valle, in nearby Rasines (which I’ve decided to pronounce “raisins” because it’s funny). The place is called a Paleolithic Park, because evidence of human cave occupants has been dated to over 9,000 years ago. To help you grok that number, that’s temporally as far away from Ancient Egypt as Ancient Egypt is from us. Grok, incidentally, was one of the cave’s more notorious occupants back then.
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My Rite to Bear Arms in America

October 22, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Politics, USA, Videos 107 views

Marga - Colt .22 HuntsmanDespite growing up in the American South, I’ve never liked guns. Loud noises annoy me, I grew up in a Liberal household where guns were shunned, though rarely spoken about, and, as an intellectual matter, they – pistols, at least – are clearly designed to kill humans, which is something I feel pretty strongly against. Add to that the fact that America has a “gun problem”, where every day of the year you can read about people killing each other, often by accident, with unattended guns. Plus, I’ve generally been averse to hobbies, like scuba diving, skydiving, motorcycling, bungie jumping, etc., where the first objective of the activity is “try not to die”. Firearms have just never had any appeal to me.
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Catawba Meadows – The Beanstalk Journey

October 21, 2014 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 72 views

Catawba Meadows - The Beanstalk Journey - Crazy GoProThere are many moments during the week I spent camping with Outward Bound in November of 1992, when I was 14, that I will never forget but one of them is surely the swing to get down from the ropes course. I don’t remember much about the ropes course specifically, but the ten feet of free fall from a platform sixty feet in the air before the rope pulled me into a pendulum arc, the nervousness that preceded it, and the rush of adrenaline that followed shortly after will never be forgotten. It was a defining moment for me, in that it defined me as a person who understands why people seek those thrills, but who prefers to minimize even simulated near death experiences. I never again wore a harness attached to a carabiner.

Until my 36th birthday.
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Birthday Brunch at King Street Café

October 20, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Travel, USA 81 views

King Street CaféOn my 36th birthday, I had my first brunch. Brunch, you see, is a logical impossibility in Spain, due to the extreme sacred importance of the “midday” (2pm – 3pm) meal. Combining it with another meal has never once occurred to a Spaniard. While Spaniards do have a meal similar to a brunch, called almuerzo, lunch is still eaten afterwards.

I’ve heard talk of this restaurant in my hometown, called the King Street Café, and I was delighted to hear that my parents had scheduled it into our visit with my cousins and grandmother.
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Toledo at Night

October 07, 2014 By: erik Category: Photography, Photos, Spain, Travel 84 views

Toledo At NightThere is something really romantically charming, especially for Americans, about ancient medieval (or older) cobblestone streets in European city centers. The American cultural psyche is nurtured from childhood with tales loosely based on European history. After living in Europe for over a decade now, I’ve built up a tolerance to cobblestones and cathedrals, but every now and then a place is so thick with history that I can lose myself in it. Toledo was one of those places, with an endless labyrinth of stone passageways inside the city walls. The streets of Toledo were extremely photogenic during the daytime, but at night, the way the lights and shadows played off the stones was just spectacular. With a proper tripod and free time, I could fill a thousand blog posts with images, but I’m afraid I was only able to capture these somewhat blurry images. You’ll have to focus them with your imagination.
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2014

September 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 124 views

Ian Sits on BollardThe biggest news this month was the return of the offspring from their long summer vacation and the start of the school year. They came back less than a week before school started on September 11th. To ease the pain of summer vacation ending, the kids have only gone in the mornings so far in September, but in October they will start in the afternoons again, too. Nora was happy to go back to school. She’s a preschool senior now, in what other cultures call kindergarten, even though she’s with the same teacher she’s had for the past two years.
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The Fourth Mask: Parenting Airline Travel Tip

September 28, 2014 By: erik Category: Funny, Musings, Parenting, Travel 110 views

Airline Family SelfieThis weekend my family and I took a one hour flight to the other side of the peninsula. It served as sort of a dry run for next weekend when we will fly ten times further. My 17-month-old son is still allowed to ride on a parent’s lap, and doesn’t yet require his own seat, which is great, especially for our transatlantic hop, where the prices are non-trivial.

For those of you that have never had the pleasure of flying with another human on top of you, the airline provides a little baby belt that has a loop in it to put the adult’s seatbelt through so your offspring isn’t offsprung during extreme turbulence.
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What Size To Buy? Printable iPhone 6 PDFs

September 11, 2014 By: erik Category: Geeky 3,792 views

Printable iPhone 6 Models - iPhone 6 PlusOne problem with the latest iPhone models, 6 and 6 Plus, is that they are completely new sizes, so it’s not at all obvious which one you should get until you actually hold them both in your hand – and even then it’ll be a tough decision with trade-offs to consider. I looked around and found lots of sites drawing them relative to previous models to give an idea of how big they are, but that’s not the same as holding one. So I created a PDF document with each model more or less – they aren’t millimeter-exact – “life sized”.
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Ampuero 2014

September 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Bulls, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel 108 views

Ampuero 2014This past weekend we went to the annual festival in Ampuero. The best way to describe it is that it’s a mini-San-Fermín, the enormous annual festival in Pamplona known worldwide for its encierro (running of the bulls). San Fermín is seven days long, and the festival in Ampuero is only three days, but they do have a running of the bulls and they do party for all 72 hours for those three days. There is also a well respected dress code of wearing all white with a red scarf and optional other red accessories. The Ampuero festival is perhaps slightly more kid-friendly than the one in Pamplona. It’s also not as overrun by foreign tourists, which might make it closer to the San Fermín that Hemingway fell in love with. It might make a good destination for some cheap holidays in Spain. We had a great time, going out until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday night, and then going to the bull run on Sunday.
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A friend finder app that respects privacy

September 03, 2014 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings 60 views

Anybody here?Ever since smart phones became endowed with GPS, the apps that attempt to show you where your friends are have become as ubiquitous as the horrified privacy backlash against them. I cannot claim to have ever really used such apps because I live in a rural community, most of my best friends are sprinkled sparsely across the globe, and the friends that I do meet up with are either not that tech savvy, use a different smart phone OS, or have the more common sense about the privacy problems than geeky desire to test out what an app can do.
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