Archive for the ‘Complaining’

Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
(more…)

Smoking in Bars in Spain

April 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel

Smoking ManI first set foot in Spain in January 2001, and visited off and on before becoming a permanent resident in June 2005. [Wow, that’s a decade!] Due to the structure of the human brain, my memories of that time can be easily triggered by smell. Since Spaniards primarily socialize in bars, many of those memories are linked with the pungent odor of tobacco smoke, which was thick in the atmosphere of all Spanish bars during those years.
(more…)

The Turbo Roundabout – Just What Spain Needs

January 21, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Photos, Spain

Turbo RoundaboutToday I saw this article in the local newspaper, which informed me of this Dutch invention of what is called the “turbo roundabout”. This is followup post from my previous rant about how Spaniards Don’t Understand Roundabouts. The turbo roundabout is pure genius, as it eliminates most of the problems that Spaniards have in roundabout situations, forcing the correct behavior. The way the turbo roundabout works is how I think all roundabouts should be used (see previous rant for details on my views).
(more…)

La Otra Carta – Horrible Spanish IKEA Ad

December 18, 2014 By: erik Category: Complaining, Internet, Marketing, Videos

Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, has released a commercial in Spain that has quickly gone viral around El Internet. It’s meant to be a tearjerker, and it is, if you suspend all your critical faculties and ignore the underlying message. It only came to my attention because my daughter’s kindergarten teacher played it for all the parents of her students during a parent-teacher meeting yesterday. Some of the more intelligent parents questioned her motives, and rightly so. I’ll run you through it…
(more…)

The Great Quadriceps Contusion of 2014

July 28, 2014 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Scary

Dead Leg BruiseThe fateful day was Monday, July 7, 2014. The time was 13:00h. My daughter and I had just taken my son to daycare, and were going to the local grocer to buy bread and lunch supplies for the day. The day before, when I had gone to the grocery store, it had suddenly begun to rain while I was doing my shopping, and I was without an umbrella. Because they are just such nice people, and our daily relationship is so good, my grocer friend, Andrés, lent me an umbrella to take home for the day. So on that fateful day, I had returned it. As I was leaving the store, I turned around to catch Andrés’ attention to make sure he noticed that I had returned the communal umbrella to its spot. He acknowledged it, and I turned to continue walking, with the shopping bag in one hand, and my daughter’s hand in the other. That’s when it happened.

THUNK!
(more…)

International Travel With Kids

December 06, 2013 By: erik Category: Complaining, Reviews, Spain, Travel

FlightsWe just got back from our first transatlantic pond hop as a fully formed family of four. The offspring were very well behaved, considering the adventure we went through. I’ll be using this post to vent some of my frustration with our voyage.

It began when my mother dropped us off at the curb of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Just like she was for the first fifteen minutes of our car ride to the airport after saying adiós to her grandfather, Nora was wracked with inconsolable grief for the first fifteen minutes. She’s not good with goodbyes.
(more…)

Lance Armstrong and the Psychology of Cheating

January 23, 2013 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, News, Photos, Videos

Pencil portrait, not yet finished..As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather fascinated with the psychology behind decision-making. Both Dan Ariely and Jonah Lehrer are leading experts in the field, at least experts in writing best-selling popular psychology books about it. Ariely has recently moved into the study of lying cheating, and Lehrer moved into the practice of lying and cheating, getting caught for plagiarizing, if you can call it that, his own previous work and falsifying quotes from Bob Dylan to help support his conclusions.
(more…)

Transatlantic Movie Marathon – 5 Movie Reviews

November 27, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Reviews

American In Spain On A PlaneDuring my recent Thanksgiving pond hop, I had the opportunity to watch several movies during my 16.5 hours of air travel over the ocean. I was impressed with the selection available, with a few dozen older classics and about twenty “new releases”. With so many movies fresh in my memory, I figure I should tell you about them.
(more…)

Do NOT pay more than $14 for your ESTA Application!

October 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Marketing, Scary, Travel, USA

Department of Homeland SecurityIn preparation for our upcoming trip to the United States, I was double checking that everything is in order. After last year’s ESTA debacle, I want to be 100% sure we have my wife’s immigration approval number before leaving for the airport. So I did an internet search for ESTA to search for her approval number. What I found is a system of websites designed to scam unknowing foreign travelers out of their money.
(more…)

Open Letter To Opponents of ObamaCare

June 29, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, USA

Dear people who oppose ObamaCare,

I’m curious about your thinking about possible solutions to the messed up US healthcare system. One starting assumption that leads directly to opposing ObamaCare is that healthcare is not a right, that poor people should not be given healthcare and allowed to die simply because they are poor. If you agree that only the wealthy deserve to be healthy, then you are a cruel, inhumane person and please stop reading this letter.
(more…)