Alcatraz Parenting

September 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 677 views

Alcatraz Magnet - Regulation #5When we visited Alcatraz last year (which I highly recommend), I couldn’t resist buying two souvenir magnets in the gift shop on the way out. During the tour, we learned that, when a prisoner first arrived to the maximum security prison and was shown to his cell, he found, on the fold-out table in his cell, a list of the prison’s rules and regulations. The two regulations on the refrigerator magnets I bought are fantastic for parenting a child. I plan to have them posted in the kitchen for the duration of my daughter’s stay under my care.
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Wall Walking

September 01, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Experiments, Offspring, Photos, Photoshop, Videos 92 views

Wall Walking CompositeEvery kid has done it and loved it. What could be better than walking on top of a wall, holding your parent’s hand, up at grownup eye level, carefully placing each step, enjoying the illusion of danger. Last Sunday, we took a stroll up to Colindres de Arriba, the picturesque village within a town just up a hill past the town hall. We spent about thirty minutes picking blackberries and then continued on to the medieval church. If I had been planning on it before we left, I’d have taken a better camera, but it occurred to me while we were up there that I could take a series of photographs and photoshop them together into a motion composite. I’m fairly pleased with the result.
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Worst. Cleaning Lady. Ever.

August 31, 2011 By: erik Category: House, Offspring, Videos 1 views

Child LaborI’ve had it with our cleaning lady. She does a lot of moving around the house, opening and closing doors, so it seems like she’s working, sometimes visiting the trash can to supposedly dispose of dust she’s collected, but then the floor is never actually any cleaner than when she started. I’ve been suspecting that she was inept for some time now, but I finally was able to record a video of her “at work”, and I must say that my suspicions were totally confirmed. I’m afraid we’re going to have to let her go.
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Ballybunion Cashen Course Sunset

August 31, 2011 By: erik Category: Golf, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Travel 100 views

Ballybunion, Cashen Course SunsetThis past June, I traveled to Ireland to play golf with some friends. I briefly mentioned, in a post about playing Ballybunion Old, that my good friends, Jacob and Jeff, took a walk one evening (while I was in bed shivering with a fever) on the Cashen Course at Ballybunion. I said that I’d post the photos Jacob took, but I never got around to it. Yesterday was Jacob’s birthday, so I thought today would be a good day to post these gorgeous photos he took. For photogenic terrain, you really can’t beat golden hour on an Irish links course.
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Transatlantic Telecommuter

August 30, 2011 By: erik Category: News 114 views

Desk TrafficOver the past fortnight, several of internet friends have asked me that important question that any adult relationship eventually reaches: “What is it that you do, exactly?” One of them asked if I was a professional blogger, which is flattering, and, now that I think about it, I can see why one might think I should be getting paid for all this gorgeous content. But no, I have a day job.

Initially I was going to write a narrative of my job history for the last decade, but I realized that would be more than anyone really wanted to read, so I’ll just talk about my present job.
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Batalla de Flores 2011 – Laredo, Spain

August 28, 2011 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Travel, Videos 724 views

Batalla de FloresOn the last Friday of August every year, the nearby tourist town of Laredo hosts their annual Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle). It consists of a parade of floats, decorated entirely with real flowers. The floats range from fairly simple – but more complex than I could construct – numbers with a cartoon character or two, to huge elaborate contraptions with various animals or other themes. Each float is decorated with some sort of Homo sapiens specimens deemed to be cute, usually small children or young maidens in elaborate costumes. The floats are judged on a variety of categories:

  • Presentation: relative to the size of the float, the combination of diverse pieces and parts, and complexity of the float
  • Art: the general beauty, composition, design, originality and “wow factor”
  • Flowers: how well the flowers are nailed to the float, and the general quality of the floral craftsmanship
  • Quantity of flowers: the percentage of the float covered in flowers

There is also a separate prize for the best dressed human ornaments. During the video you’re about to see, the announcer mentions that this year, there were floats that had more than 100,000 flowers on them. Wow!
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Colindres Panoramas

August 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Videos 169 views

Colindres FlagAbout a year ago, I became a fan of a Facebook page about Colindres, the town where I live. With the exception of one brief spat in which I suggested that perhaps the town hall shouldn’t be sponsoring a bunch of crackpot UFOlogists to come to town and vend their wares, where a few people got offended by my suggestion that extraterrestrials have probably not travelled light years to come visit the Earth and not leave any evidence that psychology cannot explain, the experience has been very interesting. No new meatspace friendships have come out of it, but I can stay up to date with festival schedules and things.

One of the things I enjoy most about following this particular Facebook page are the photos that are posted fairly regularly, taken by a gentleman named Raúl Gonzalez. He has an eye for capturing his town’s beauty. Earlier this week, I was looking up some census data for Colindres on Wikipedia and discovered this gorgeous photograph of the two bridges with a rainbow, taken by none other than Raúl.
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F.C. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

August 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Soccer, Spain 3,406 views

Real Madrid - F.C. Barcelona Animated CubeIf you live in Spain, there is one question upon which you absolutely must have an opinion: Are you a Barcelona or Real Madrid fan? You can be a fan of your local team – Go Racing Santander! – but you still have to pick a side between the two rival fútbol supergiants.

Most Spaniards have some emotional connection to one of the two cities, or sometimes team loyalty is passed down from generation to generation, but for a foreigner like me, I’ve got nothing to go on, so I’ve had to think about which side to choose. By just about every measure, I come firmly down on the side of…
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La Más Why

August 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Parenting, Spanish, Videos 188 views

Spanish QuestionEarlier today I came up with a Spanglish joke: “Mi hija es la más why del mundo.” Like most one-liners, it’s a play on words. It is pronounced exactly the same as the syntactically correct Spanish sentence, “Mi hija es la más guay del mundo” The word “guay”, which is pronounced exactly like the English word “why”, and I think is only slang in Castilian Spanish, is a general positive adjective mainly used by youth that could translate to the English words cool, great, awesome or terrific. So the meaning of the proper sentence “My daughter is the awesomest in the world.” Of course the joke was to substitute her new favorite English word, making her “the most ‘why’ daughter in the world”.
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Encounters with the Guardia Civil

August 22, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Extremadura, Spain 1,389 views

Guardia CivilI had my third ever run-in with the traffic division of the Guardia Civil, Spain’s national police force, this past week. I was on my way out of Higuera de la Serena, the small town in Extremadura, southern Spain, where we spend a week each August drinking beer and complaining about the heat. Luckily, it was early in the day, before the day’s imbibing had begun. Before I explain what happened, let me briefly summarize my first Guardia Civil encounter, because the lessons it taught me came in handy this week.
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