Archive for the ‘Reviews’

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.
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Transatlantic Movie Marathon – February 2013

February 14, 2013 By: erik Category: Reviews

American In Spain On A PlaneSince moving to a different continent from my family more than a decade ago, I have become quite an expert on how my body reacts to jet lag and being confined to an airline seat for 7-9 hours. The method that works best for me is to not even attempt sleep, but instead, especially now that most transatlantic jets have personal video monitors and video on demand, to sit and watch movies for the duration of the flight. This time I was traveling alone and had my full attention to give to the video monitor, and I managed to get through seven movies.

I have arranged them in order from worst to best according to my personal opinion.
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Mayumana: Racconto Review

January 04, 2013 By: erik Category: Dancing, Photos, Reviews, Videos

Mayumana MomentumOn December 29, we went to a show at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao called Mayumana: Racconto. It’s a dance troupe from Tel Aviv, Israel that involves a lot of rhythmic percussion in their act. I was looking forward to it, because I’ve seen and very much enjoyed both Blue Man Group and Stomp. I must say that Mayumana left me a bit disappointed.
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Restaurante Solana – Michelin Star Dining in Cantabria

December 10, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Reviews, Spain

Restaurante SolanaBack in October, for my birthday, I enjoyed the treat of dining with my favorite gastronomy blogger at a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Brussels. It was an exciting and memorable experience. The worst part of it was not getting to share the experience with my lovely wife. Our neighboring Basque Country has a firmament of Michelin stars, but most of them are an hour or two away, which is not too far to drive to a restaurant, but it’s too far to drive back in a stupor of digestive bliss. So imagine my delight to discover last week that Restaurante Solana, a restaurant in our neighboring town of Ampuero, was awarded a Michelin star last year!
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Binary Clock

December 07, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Ireland, Marketing, Photos, Programming, Reviews

Binary ClockLast Christmas, after seeing me express some coveting interest in a geeky product on the internet, my parents gave me a binary clock. Part of what I love about it is that it reminds me of the very first circuit (with a chip) that I made in my high school electronics class. We had a breadboard – that’s a board with lots of holes to push wires into to connect them, not something to serve a cheese platter on – and a timer chip, a counter chip, a battery, some LEDs, and some wires to connect them. Sure enough, they started blinking and counting in binary! It’s sort of the Hello World of computer engineering.
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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.
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Learning Lytro – Light Field Camera Review

November 13, 2012 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos, Reviews

LytroI had never heard of a “light field” camera until I began hearing marketing buzz about the Lytro camera last year. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t really understand how the technology works. I have a pretty good layman’s grasp of how normal lens optics work to focus an image onto film or a CCD sensor, and how and why focusing at a certain depth works, but the “light field” camera concept still seems a bit like magic. They say that it captures not only the intensity and color of the light hitting each sensor pixel, but the direction of said photon as well. Huh? And somehow this magically allows the focal length (what depth in the image is in focus) to be modified after the moment has been captured, just like they do in Hollywood movies and television where a detective tells a lab geek to “enhance this area of the photograph here” and they can now magically read the perp’s license plate. Like I said, it still seems a bit like magic, but it really, really works.
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McDonalds in Spain

October 25, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Reviews, Spain, Travel, USA

McRoyale DeluxeI was weak once. On my first ever trip abroad to Scotland as an early teen, when given a day to myself to wander about and choose my schedule, I ate lunch at a Burger King. And later, as a 20-year-old, having moved abroad for the first time, it didn’t take me long to visit the McDonalds in the center of Copenhagen. When in Budapest, someone talked me into entering what was described to me beforehand as “the most beautiful McDonalds in the world”, and, while I can’t speak for the entire world, I must agree that it is quite pretty. Each time, my justification was curiosity about how my American culture had been translated to another culture, but I’d be lying if part of it wasn’t the comfort of familiar food that makes these chains so successful.
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Birthday Dinner at Comme chez Soi

October 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Travel

Comme Chez SoiI have long been a fan of my blog buddy, Simon’s, penchant for blogging about his hobby of going to really expensive Michelin Star restaurants. He really is quite prolific. I knew it was an expensive hobby, but I always wondered just how much it costs, what the ambience of the places feels like, and, of course, what such exotic food must feel like in one’s mouth. When he asked what kind of restaurants I would like to try during my visit, I immediately got excited about maybe going to one of these fancy places. He sent me a list of possible options, with links to menus and his blog posts about each one, and I very quickly settled on the most expensive one, Comme chez Soi.
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Vermouth Band – Classic Rock Cantabrian Cover Band

July 30, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Music, Reviews, Videos

Vermouth BandOn Saturday, my wife and I got to attend another live music performance at our favorite local sports bar, El Vapor. This time it was a classic rock cover band, Vermouth Band, billed as covering the works of The Eagles, America, Status Quo, Queen, The Police, Cat Stevens, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kansas and ZZ Top. That’s definitely my kind of tunes! Unlike the last band we went to see, this band was set up outside on the sidewalk. This being Cantabria, they had to stop playing for ten minutes once because of a light drizzle, but picked right back up when it subsided.
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