Transatlantic Movie Marathon – February 2013

February 14, 2013 By: erik Category: Reviews 117 views

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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Carnival 2013 – Preschool Clowns

February 13, 2013 By: erik Category: Colindres, Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, Spain 141 views

Carnival 2013Due to Easter falling early this year, the annual local children’s Carnival celebration fell during my annual February golf trip. I was quite disappointed, since I have very much enjoyed photographing the festival in past years. However, it has been raining pretty much nonstop for all of 2013, and the weather got particularly bad last Friday when they were scheduled to have their parade, so all the activity was kept indoors. There is some talk that they might try to do the parade later this week.
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What the IT department is REALLY doing with your laptop

February 01, 2013 By: erik Category: Funny, Geeky, Offspring, Videos 128 views

What the IT departmnet is really doing with your laptop (thumbnail)Have you ever left your computer in the shop or with your employer’s IT department for them to fix? You can’t help but wonder, why are they taking so long?

I’ve worked for several IT departments, and I’ve worked with some really nice, competent people, and some really cranky, incompetent people. Being a network administrator is a huge power rush. When I was 16, I was interning at a local government institution and had full administrator privileges across the entire network with hundreds of users. I could view people’s screens or delete their files on a whim if I so chose. Luckily I was a benevolent deity.

After all my years of experience, I now present the secret that the IT department doesn’t want you to know: what they are really doing with your laptop.
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Third Sonogram

February 01, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 130 views

Feburary 2013 SonogramThis morning we went to our appointment for the third sonogram of this pregnancy. While I was waiting on the curb for my wife to drive up and pick me up, one ambulance and four police cars sped by going towards where she was supposed to be coming from. She was five minutes late, and I started to get worried. Soon, though, she drove up and told me that she’d just driven by an accident and the motorcyclist was still lying on the ground with his helmet on. Yikes. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that we beat him to the hospital.
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State of the Offspring Address – January 2013

January 30, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos 157 views

Dress by Abuela (crop)The biggest offspring event this month was Kings Day, the day the traditional Three Wise Men break into the homes of Spanish children and leave presents. This Christmas was the first one where Nora really got into the spirit of anticipation and consumerist lust. The item she most wanted was a maletín de médico, a doctor’s bag. Even after multiple interrogation sessions, I’ve still been unable to find out where she got that idea from. Luckily I was able to find one in the local toy store.
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Pelele – Spanish Impotency Effigy

January 29, 2013 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Weird 712 views

Pelele, GoyaMy three-year-old daughter has been instructed by her teacher to bring in some old clothes that no longer fit for the Pelele celebration. According to this Spanish Wikipedia article, the Pelele is a rag doll or straw puppet that is thrown high up into the air by a group of women during the Carnival (Mardi Gras) celebrations in Madrid, while they sing about beating him to death. The doll is later burned. Ritual burnings are common in Europe around the solstices, as an ancient pagan symbol of rebirth. The symbolism of burning your old clothes is pretty straightforwardly similar, however, I suspect that the use of old clothes is more about getting straw into a humanoid shape. The real reason for the doll becomes apparent upon listening to the lyrics of the song.
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Rainy Sunday Make-Up Party

January 28, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos 91 views

Rainy Sunday Make-Up PartyI don’t think I’ve ever had lipstick on my lips that I didn’t acquire through a kiss… until yesterday. I think it was also the first time I’ve had my fingernails painted. Twenty-four hours later, they still look fabulous. The weather was cold and rainy, as it has been for pretty much all of 2013 so far, and it occurred to my testosteronally-challenged housemates that getting all dolled up before bedtime might be a fun thing to do. Something tells me that my son is going to experience lipstick, eyeshadow, rouge and fingernail polish long before his first birthday, courtesy of his extremely feminine big sister.
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Tick Tick Tock Tock

January 24, 2013 By: erik Category: Geeky, Videos, Weird 75 views

Tick Tick Tock Tock thumbnailRecently, my watch broke. Well, kind of. I’ve never seen a watch break like this. Rather than the second hand moving 6° every second, every two seconds, it goes tick-tick and moves 12°, thus keeping perfect time. While on another errand to the local jeweler to see if they could fix my mother-in-law’s earring, I casually showed it to the jeweler to see if she’d ever seen something like this. She explained, not very clearly (to me), that often watches have an auxiliary battery or chip or something that ticks every two seconds, and that when the battery runs low, it switches over to the two-second ticking.
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Lance Armstrong and the Psychology of Cheating

January 23, 2013 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, News, Photos, Videos 153 views

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.
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Brussels Cathedral

January 18, 2013 By: erik Category: Photos, Religion, Travel 116 views

Brussels CathedralI hate it when I do this. Sometimes I take a bunch of photos in a day, but then I set aside some of them, like of an iconic bridge, for later for their own blog post, but then I get so exhausted of blogging about the whole trip that the group of photos gets overlooked for months.

When I was walking around Brussels on October 10, 2012, I stopped by the cathedral and took a couple dozen photos, which I left out of my original post to save for later. I just now rediscovered them. Below are some of my favorites.
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