Walking Around Brussels

October 15, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel 298 views

Cinquantenaire ArchesOn the evening of Wednesday, October 10, my plane landed in Charleroi airport. That’s Brussels’ version of the out of town airport that the budget airlines fly to; London, Rome, Stockholm, and Paris have similar airports. I walked past customs and out into the arrivals area and began searching for my ride, an internet friend named Brian. After about three minutes of walking up and down the very small area outside a cafe, I saw Brian entering the doors. We shook hands and headed to his car, which had been parked for such a small amount of time that the parking machine didn’t charge him a euro dime.
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Nora’s First Bicycle Ride

October 09, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Videos 116 views

Nora on a bicycleToday I had to go pick up Nora after school because my wife had to work an extra hour in the afternoon. Unsure what the standard procedure was, I followed the other mothers’ lead and walked over to the school playground and gave Nora her sandwich (all Spanish kids eat a sandwich between lunch and dinner). She snarfed it down and played with some of her classmates, particularly with the two girls whom she has known for a few years from daycare.
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Meeting Internet People

October 08, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings 154 views

Facebook Friends BreakdownThis week, I am traveling to Brussels to meet some very good friends of mine, with whom I communicate on a daily basis, but whom I have never actually met in person. This is a very, very strange phenomenon which has only been possible since the rise of the internet. Maybe before the internet, you could have a pen pal that you get to know intimately before meeting, but that’s not the same as feeling part of a social group dynamic like I do.
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Four Noras – From 6 months to 3.5 years

October 02, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Photography, Photoshop 281 views

Nora, at 2.5 and 3.5 years oldI love it when creative photography ideas come to fruition. When Nora was six months old, pretty much as soon as she could maintain a propped up sitting position in time for me to snap a photograph, I created a composite photograph of four of her sitting on our ugly green sofa. Then, a year later, I followed up with a shot of her six month old self with her eighteen month old self, which clearly left two spots on the sofa for older versions. Last year, I filled in the third spot with a 2.5 year old Nora. The time has now come (I set a calendar reminder) to continue the September tradition and add the fourth Nora to the sofa.
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Do NOT pay more than $14 for your ESTA Application!

October 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Marketing, Scary, Travel, USA 12,442 views

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.
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2012

September 27, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 160 views

Cutie NoraThe big news this month has been Nora starting school. Her Period of Adaptation will end at the end of September, and in October she will be going the full five hour school day. She has taken to it wonderfully! Before she used to ask me two questions every morning, “What day is today?” and “Do I have to go to daycare today?” On weekdays when the answer was affirmative, she would be sad. But now when she asks if she has school today, she gets excited. She loves it! She goes in without any complaining and comes out with a big grin on her face. We all couldn’t be more pleased about the situation.
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Hey, Obama, My 3 Year Old Wrote You A Campaign Slogan

September 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Politics, USA, Videos 232 views

USA Flag
Dear President Obama,

No doubt you are missing that mindless chant of Yes We Can that your followers could repeat incessantly during your 2008 campaign. It was brilliantly open ended. If what “we could” do was elect the first African American president, then yes, we could. But now so many of your promises turned out to be harder to accomplish than expected, so you certainly can’t use the same slogan for re-election. Fear not, however, dear leader, for my three-year-old has written a new slogan for you.
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How to throw a ball against a wall

September 14, 2012 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Parenting, Videos 189 views

How to throw a ball against a wall (thumbnail)One day back in July, I was out with my daughter at the school playground and she was playing with a ball. She wasn’t throwing it very well, so I stepped in to fulfill my fathering responsibility of teaching my child how to throw a ball. I explained that you turn your side to the target, and step forward with the opposite foot as you pivot your body and transfer your weight before releasing the ball. Step by step, I pointed out how my body was positioned as I slowly mimicked throwing the ball.
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Grape Flies

September 12, 2012 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, Food, Photography, Photos 461 views

Fruit Flies on GrapesMy wife brought back several kilos of grapes from her grandfather’s grapevine in Extremadura last month. They are very sweet and delicious, but, having grown up eating only seedless grapes, I have found it nearly impossible to adjust to eating grapes I can’t just chomp down on but have to be careful to either remove or swallow the seeds. I had no problem adjusted to eating olives with pits, but I think it’s the ambiguity between whether or not grape seeds are small enough to swallow or big enough to spit out that has kept me from enjoying Spanish grapes.
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Meeting Nora’s Teacher

September 06, 2012 By: erik Category: Education, Offspring, Parenting, Spain 236 views

AppleToday we had a meeting where the parents of all the 25 kids in Nora’s school class had to go and meet the teacher, get information about the school schedule, and see the classroom and facilities. Nora has been getting up at 10:30 or 11:00 this week, but this morning I had to wake her up at 8:45 to make sure we were on time for the 10:00 meeting. She was not pleased. But when I told her, “We have to go meet your teacher!”, a huge smile broke out across her sleepy face and she sat right up, ready to start the day.
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