Archive for June, 2010

Almost standing, Almost walking

June 30, 2010 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Videos

Almost standingNora is standing nervously on the branch of Babyhood, contemplating taking the plunge into Toddlerdom. No longer content to sit and play with an object, she must be upright and moving at all times. Unfortunately, her sense of balance is more or less equivalent to that of a World Cup striker in the penalty area.

At the moment, she requires, and demands, a helping hand to hold her as she walks, but every day she is using that hand for balance less and less. Even worse than this stage when she can pull herself up, but doesn’t yet know how to fall (she arches her back so her cranium hits the floor first) is the stage we are entering in which she needs to teeter along solo, but you have to have your arms there to catch her if she falls. We are not yet ready to let her start falling all over the place yet, since she does it so badly.
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Oyster Mushrooms

June 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Experiments, Food, Photography, Photos, Timelapse, Videos

Oyster MushroomsAs soon as I learned that my friend and grocery store manager, Andrés, cultivates mushrooms, I knew immediately that we had to do a timelapse photography project with his next batch. The particular species he cultivates is Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom. He buys preprepared bails of hay wrapped in plastic, to which nutrients, mushroom spores, and water have been added. Holes have been cut in the plastic on the top and sides of the bail. Before you can see any mushroom growth, the whole bail gets warm to the touch, as the nutrient consumption begins inside. When the little fungal sprigs started appearing in the holes, Andrés came to me, with a big grin on his face, and said, “Today’s the day!” So I returned that afternoon and set up the tripod, flash, and intervalometer pointing at the bails of hay in his grocery store’s warehouse right down the street from where I live. And then we waited…
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Why I love the World Cup

June 24, 2010 By: erik Category: Musings, Soccer

World Cup 2010 South AfricaI enjoy watching soccer. Aside from the occasional beautifully executed maneuver, however, soccer, like all sports, is boring as hell if you don’t care who wins. My biggest problem with soccer is mustering enough energy to care who wins. I did a better job this past year following the Spanish Liga, choosing allegiance with the local team, Racing Santander, even reading the sports newspaper, Marca, in a bar at least once a week. But the effort required to keep up with player trades, injuries, and rumors is more than a little exhausting…all in an attempt to generate some emotional attachment to teams or players.
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She's a sand eater

June 24, 2010 By: erik Category: Beach, Offspring

Sand ChildToday is San Juan, a pagan-made-christian solstice holiday involving bonfires and general merriment. Since Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of Colindres, it’s a holiday for the town, including Marga’s work and Nora’s daycare. The weather today is absolutely superb, 24°C with a cool breeze, so we decided to head to the beach and watch Nora play for the first time (almost) in the sand. And there’s no sand better than that of the beach in Laredo.
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Shoeless

June 21, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Photoshop

Nora left on Thursday afternoon to spend the weekend with her grandparents. She’s still a little too young to appreciate Father’s Day, and she already celebrated Spanish Father’s Day with me this year, so her absence on Sunday didn’t hurt too much. She’s coming home this evening to watch the Spain – Honduras World Cup match with her old man.

Nora Shoeless Frame Break
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First Annual Colindres Beer Festival

June 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Partying, Photos, Spain

Oktoberfest Backdrop (crop)For a week now I’ve been seeing signs around town advertising the “I Festival de Cerveza de Colindres“, but none of the signs said exactly what or where it was, just the dates, June 17 – 20 and the bars that were sponsoring the event. I sort of assumed that it was going to be some discount on beers in those bars or something, but yesterday we ran into a friend that informed us that it was a big festival with bands in a tent near the town hall. Unfortunately, it has been cold and rainy all week, but today, on the last day of the festival, we went to check it out. This is what we found…
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Cueva El Soplao – Soplao Cave

June 19, 2010 By: erik Category: Photos, Science, Spain, Travel, Videos

El SoplaoToday, my wife and I we took full advantage of our childless weekend to do a little local tourism. One of the “must see” attractions of Cantabria, the northern region of Spain where we live, is the Cueva El Soplao, an ancient cave discovered by miners in the late nineteenth century and only opened to the public in 2005, containing some of the finest known specimens of stalactites and stalagmites in the world.

The stalactites form at a rate of about one centimeter every 150 years. Some of them are two or three meters long. That’s 45,000 years old. It’s rather mind boggling to look at a stalagmite standing as tall as I am and think that, in the time that it takes to have all the happiness, sadness, pain, pleasure, and joy of one entire human life, this structure gains a couple millimeters. And then, once you’ve contemplated the single tree, you take a step back and see the whole forest of thousands upon thousands of stalactites and stalagmites… You can’t help but have a transcendent moment and appreciate the transience of your own existence. (more…)

Abuelo's 90th Birthday Bash

June 17, 2010 By: erik Category: Family, Partying, Photos

Abuelo with SparklerOn June 12, 2010, shortly before the United States faced off against England in their first World Cup match of the second decade of the third millennium, we had a party to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of my third grandfather. It was a lovely meal with good friends and family followed by a balloon-popping event, some gifts, and cake. A good time was had by all, even if Nora did manage to receive more gifts than the birthday boy.
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Entertaining the President

June 14, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Photoshop, Stuff I Found, USA

President Obama really likes this recent video of Nora.

Entertaining Obama

I’d be more than happy to send the smart-object-enabled Photoshop file for this to anyone who requests it.

Making Decisions About Car Seats

June 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Musings, Parenting, Science, Skepticism

thumbSometimes it seems like parenting is one big series decisions about trading comfort for safety. My child is tall and lanky, so it has taken her forever to reach the magical 9 kg threshold in which the car seat manufacturers say she can face forward in the vehicle. In her rear-facing seat, she looks, and is, horribly uncomfortable. As her tall and lanky father who takes a couple transatlantic flights a year, I sympathize. My daughter, her mother, and I have all been looking forward to when we can flip her around to face forwards.
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