A Cloudy Walk Around San Sebastián

August 08, 2011 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 246 views

San Sebastian BeachOur two-year-old daughter, Nora, has been in Extremadura with her grandparents for all of last week and will be there for another two weeks, one of which we will be visiting her. It’s hard to be away from her for a whole fortnight, but we’ve been video conferencing with her with some success. We thought it wise to take full advantage of our childlessness and do some tourism that would be a lot more difficult with Nora around.
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3D Bottle Window Effect

August 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Science, Videos, Weird 122 views

Virgen del Carmen (in bottle)In my local cured meat and cheese shop, they have this bottle of water that is very intriguing. It’s meant to be a souvenir of Colindres, the town where I live, showing the Virgen del Carmen, the statue of this version of the Virgin Mary (more or less a goddess of fishermen) that they parade around town once a year. In the photo, she’s seen in front of the town church. What’s cool about the bottle is the exceedingly clever 3D visual effect it presents. Watch the video first, and then I’ll explain it.
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Spaniards Don’t Understand Roundabouts

August 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Skepticism, Spain 1,247 views

RoundaboutThis rant has been near the surface for several years now, but a news report on television yesterday set me off, and I need to write it down to get it off my chest. Let me be clear. It’s not that Spaniards are stupid or generally bad drivers, the problem is that they are taught wrong at driving school! Believe me, I know, because I had to go to Spanish driving school to get my Spanish license.
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Tapas in Santander – Semana Grande 2011

August 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 585 views

Goat Cheese and WalnutsEvery year, right around Santiago, nearby Santander celebrates its Semana Grande (Big Week), with the most Spanish of traditions: bullfights and tapas. My interest in bullfighting has waned in recent years, but my interest in tapas is as strong as ever! On Sunday, the last day of the festival, my wife and I went to sample the wares that the restaurants around Santander had to offer.
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Colindres Beer Festival 2011

August 01, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Partying, Photos, Spain 449 views

Beer MaidThis past weekend my town, Colindres, celebrated its Second Annual Beer Festival. We went only one day last year, but this year we went all four days. I had a total of 3.5 liters of beer in seven half-liter (±1 pint) mugs. They also had liter steins, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy one. Plus, I subscribe to the “smaller servings is better” beer philosophy of my adopted country.
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Spanair A320 Legroom is a Disgrace

July 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel 447 views

Spanair A320On my recent return from the United States, I had the displeasure of taking Spanair flight JK 6116 from Madrid to Bilbao on an Airbus A320. I’m not a big air traveler, but I take about ten flights a year. This A320 had the least amount of legroom on any plane I’ve ever been on. Spanair should be ashamed of themselves for cramming so many seats onto this aircraft.
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Motion Composite Dives

July 22, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photos, Photoshop 352 views

Paul DivesRecently, when I was with my family at a swimming pool, I had the opportunity to use the fast shutter rate of my DSLR camera to take some quick photographs of them. I took the photographs specifically with the intention of practicing a Photoshop technique called motion composition or motion multiplication. The idea is that you make a composite photograph of a subject that is in motion by combining various copies of the subject in different positions.
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Tweetsie Railroad

July 20, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos, Travel, USA 566 views

Steam EngineOn July 4, 2011, my country’s 235th birthday, my family and I visited Tweetsie Railroad, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I would be the first to agree that the name sounds like some sort of social networking app (and they might do well to unload tweetsie.com before the bubble bursts), but Tweetsie Railroad is actually a “Wild West theme park”, from back in ye olde days when theme parks actually had themes. The primary attraction since its opening in 1957 has been an old coal-burnin’, steam-tootin’ train engine that takes visitors around a three mile track.
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Mermaid Girl

July 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos, Travel, USA, Videos 322 views

Picnic LunchIn North Carolina in the summer, it gets very hot. Like in southern Spain, there are several hours every day when you simply can’t be outside unless you’re actively cooling yourself with water. Marga and Nora spent a lot of time in swimming pools. First, they went to the municipal pool at the Morganton Recreational Center, which has a nice kids pool where Nora can touch the bottom. It’s in a nice location because they can walk there from my parents new house they bought a year ago. Later in the week, they decided to go to the swimming pool at my parents old, yet unsold, house, a pool my mother has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours cleaning in the twenty years they lived there. That was a lot of fun too. At first, Nora was a little skeptical of the water, but eventually she made it to the point where she was throwing herself into the pool from the steps.
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Toddler Conversations

July 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Videos 312 views

Airplane Leg Room Show-OffNora continues to excel lingually in both English and Spanish. Oh, wait, she didn’t used to. Her English got a much needed boost on our fortnight (a flight attendant asked why we were going for only four nights) visit to the United States. When we arrived, she was speaking about 20% English, and when we left, she was using English about 90% of the time, even with her mother.

As parents often do, I had high expectations for her to not confuse the two languages upon returning to Spain. However, she did, in fact, speak a few sentences to her abuelos in English. I had to teach my mother-in-law that “me too” means “yo también” and what a “potty” is. She said, “Oh, I’ll remember that for sure, since my pharmacist is named Poti.”
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