Extremadura Stroll

September 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 146 views

Extremadura SunsetWhen we go on summer vacations in Extremadura, as we do most Augusts, the weather is usually too hot to do much besides drink and sleep during the day, but at dusk, it’s just the right temperature for a nice stroll through the countryside. Just after sunset, the stars come out with a light-pollution-free brilliance that I almost never get to enjoy. In the past, I have been a bit more serious about photographing the serene beauty of an Extremadura sunset, but this year, in a marriage of convenience and laziness, I decided to only take my iPhone with me.
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Bionic Transition Initiated

September 06, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Reviews 92 views

FitbitThis summer, I purchased a tiny computer, called a Fitbit, that I wear on my person that tracks my movements when I am both awake and asleep. Then, when I spend a few minutes in my office, with the device still clipped to my clothing, the information about my previous days’ movements are uploaded wirelessly to the internet and a report prepared for me, detailing how much I tossed and turned in my sleep each night and how much exercise I got. The Fitbit is a very advanced pedometer, counting steps and general movements and accelerations, but the integration with The Cloud is what makes the device special.
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Three Noras

September 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photography, Photoshop 243 views

Before and After: The Last Twelve MonthsI realized that it was about time to revisit my temporal compositing Photoshop project, placing Nora on the couch with younger versions of herself. It’s no surprise that she has changed much less in her second year than in her first. What follows are three Noras, one at 6 months, one at 18 months, and another at 30 months. To take the 6-month-old’s picture, I had to prop her up and run to press the shutter before she fell over. The 18-month-old could sit there just fine, but the 30-month-old could actually be told to keep her legs straight and put her hands on her knees to conserve horizontal space.
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Sevillana

September 04, 2011 By: erik Category: Dancing, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Spanish, Videos 645 views

SevillanaThe word Sevillana, pronounced “seh-vee-YA-na”, can refer to several things. It can be an adjective to describe a woman or any feminine noun from Seville, Spain. It can refer to a particular kind of folk music from Andalusia, or a particular four-part dance that originated in Seville. Like for other Spanish dances like the pasodoble, it doesn’t require much imagination to see that the movements in a sevillana dance are meant to mimic bullfighting, with the dancers gracefully passing buy each other without touching. The whole closeness without touching aspect of it makes it quite sexy.
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Alcatraz Parenting

September 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 680 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 93 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 101 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 730 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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