You’re gonna wanna read this

June 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Offspring, Parenting, USA, Weird 262 views

Gonna WannaChildren are excellent mimics; it’s how we all learn to behave like we do. Everyone has heard the clichéd stories of how a child with verbally abusive parents will invent verbally abusive dialog between his toy dolls, or how a child of smokers will pretend to smoke. I like to think of myself as pretty introspective and self-aware; I know my personal vices and weaknesses. So I was surprised to notice, recently, a behavior in my daughter for which I am completely responsible, but was totally unaware that I was doing it myself.
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Capitalizing on Kindness: A Lucrative Proposal For Drive-Throughs

May 30, 2012 By: erik Category: Marketing, Musings, USA 116 views

Capitalizing on KindnessIt has been over a decade since I went through a drive-through of any kind, but I have heard rumors of a strange phenomenon developing in the United States in which customers will randomly decide to pay for the order of the customer behind them. The colloquial verbal phrase for such random acts of kindness which cannot be easily returned is paying it forward.
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Child Dental Fillings

May 24, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting 560 views

Nora's New FillingThere are few things that makes you feel quite as terrible as a parent as seemingly allowing a part of your child’s hygiene to deteriorate to the point of actually causing pain. We have known for some time that Nora has had some cavities in her molars, but it wasn’t until she started complaining about tooth pain that we sought out the local pediatric dentist for an appointment. Nora went to her first inspection and was very good, opening her mouth, like a hippo, for the dentist. The dentist told us that she has cavities that require fillings in all four corners of her mouth, but that her left lower molars are particularly rotten, requiring some drilling, killing the nerve, and then a cap to replace the missing bit of tooth.
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Nora and the Red Mercedes

May 21, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 143 views

Nora and the Red CarOn Saturday we went to a birthday party at a friend’s house. Remember that, in Spain, it’s the birthday boy that hosts the party and/or buys the drinks. Nora was quite well behaved, although when the group of fifteen or so friends got too excited, laughing loudly, she cowered from the noise. Several of the men at the party did a “BOO!” trick to surprise Nora, which Nora absolutely despised, running terrified in the opposite direction. Since the host was one of the guilty booers, he gave her a model car to play with. She and I played with it for quite a bit, away from the other guests. Knowing that my iPhone’s camera was particularly good at short range close-ups, I took some photos of the gorgeous car before Nora dropped it and broke off a piece.
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State of the Offspring Address – May 2012

May 21, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos 122 views

FashionableThe big news this month is that Nora got one of the 21 spots in the three-year-olds program at the local school that we were hoping she would get into. When I say local, I mean that I can take ten paces out of my apartment building and touch the school. Needless to say, this will save all kinds of time and headaches that would normally be the result of having to drive her to and from a school every day. Of course it’ll be a few years until she’s old enough to walk there (i.e. cross one street) on her own, but we might have the zip-line installed from our sixth story apartment window before then.
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Exploring The Countryside

May 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Spain 189 views

San Juan Church and Sheep - Colindres de ArribaAfter surviving the more or less nonstop rain for all of April, we are starting to see some sun again in May, however we are suffering from some icy northeasterly (I love words that are their own opposites) gusts that will chill you to the bone if you’re not wearing a good sweater, the same sweater that will make you unbearably hot the moment the wind stops. As a result, it’s really not comfortable to be outside, no matter what you are wearing. On Sunday, however, we braved the elements to take a walk up to Colindres de Arriba, an older part of town, which I’ve mentioned before. I love being a short fifteen minute walk away from the green ovine-speckled countryside. Here are some photos from our walk.
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Colors and Schools

May 10, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 207 views

Colors and Schools (thumbnail)Nora’s language ability has veered mildly towards Spanish lately. For a while now she would only converse with me in English, but now she will sometimes switch to Spanish if she doesn’t know how to say the phrase in English, or if she just forgets. I dutifully respond, “You mean, ‘blah blah blah’?” translating what she just said into English, and she repeats it and goes acquiring new English words like this.
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A Just World: The link between conservative politics and religion

May 09, 2012 By: erik Category: Musings, Politics, Religion, USA 390 views

balance scaleFor a long time, I have been trying to figure out how conservatism and, in particular, the Republican Party in the United States, have married politically conservative and socially conservative ideals, and thereby successfully courted the vast number of religious voters. How does a biblical position like being against gay marriage and abortion correspond with reducing healthcare and welfare spending? And on the liberal side of the coin, how does being in favor of allowing gay marriage and abortion rights correlate with being in favor of universal healthcare and welfare?
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Aitziber’s Wedding

May 06, 2012 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain 265 views

Bride and GroomIt was December 15, 2001, when I first got on a plane with my suitcase and guitar and the plan of no longer being a resident of my native land. I flew into Birmingham, England, and my future wife picked me up and drove – amazingly, to me – effortlessly on the wrong side of the road to the flat she was renting with a friend and coworker, a tall Basque girl by the name of Aitziber (pronounced eye-CHEE-bear). The three of us would be flatmates for nine or ten months. Aitziber moved back to Spain a couple years before we did, and we fell out of contact as happens in life. Aitziber, however, is one of those thoughtful people that, without fail, calls on my wife’s birthday to chat and describe what happened since they talked the previous year. We were pleased to be invited to her wedding this past weekend, especially since it was so close, in Getxo, a suburb of Bilbao.
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Cantabrian Clubs Without Courses Championship 2012

April 30, 2012 By: erik Category: Golf, News, Photos, Spain, Travel 207 views

Santa Marina Golf Club - TreeThis weekend, I represented my local golf club of Laredo, of which I happen to be the reigning champion, in Cantabria’s Clubs Without Courses championship. You may snicker at that, but golf courses in Spain are pretty scarce. Part of it has to do with the lack of popularity of the sport and the ingrained notion that it is a sport for the rich, and part of it is the strict land usage laws. Laredo won the very first Clubs Without Courses National Championship five years ago, and the two best players from the winning club from this weekend will go on to represent the region of Cantabria in the national championship in Córdoba.
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