First Annual Colindres Beer Festival

June 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Partying, Photos, Spain 166 views

Oktoberfest Backdrop (crop)For a week now I’ve been seeing signs around town advertising the “I Festival de Cerveza de Colindres“, but none of the signs said exactly what or where it was, just the dates, June 17 – 20 and the bars that were sponsoring the event. I sort of assumed that it was going to be some discount on beers in those bars or something, but yesterday we ran into a friend that informed us that it was a big festival with bands in a tent near the town hall. Unfortunately, it has been cold and rainy all week, but today, on the last day of the festival, we went to check it out. This is what we found…
Read the rest of this entry →

Cueva El Soplao – Soplao Cave

June 19, 2010 By: erik Category: Photos, Science, Spain, Travel, Videos 1,097 views

El SoplaoToday, my wife and I we took full advantage of our childless weekend to do a little local tourism. One of the “must see” attractions of Cantabria, the northern region of Spain where we live, is the Cueva El Soplao, an ancient cave discovered by miners in the late nineteenth century and only opened to the public in 2005, containing some of the finest known specimens of stalactites and stalagmites in the world.

The stalactites form at a rate of about one centimeter every 150 years. Some of them are two or three meters long. That’s 45,000 years old. It’s rather mind boggling to look at a stalagmite standing as tall as I am and think that, in the time that it takes to have all the happiness, sadness, pain, pleasure, and joy of one entire human life, this structure gains a couple millimeters. And then, once you’ve contemplated the single tree, you take a step back and see the whole forest of thousands upon thousands of stalactites and stalagmites… You can’t help but have a transcendent moment and appreciate the transience of your own existence. Read the rest of this entry →

Abuelo's 90th Birthday Bash

June 17, 2010 By: erik Category: Family, Partying, Photos 283 views

Abuelo with SparklerOn June 12, 2010, shortly before the United States faced off against England in their first World Cup match of the second decade of the third millennium, we had a party to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of my third grandfather. It was a lovely meal with good friends and family followed by a balloon-popping event, some gifts, and cake. A good time was had by all, even if Nora did manage to receive more gifts than the birthday boy.
Read the rest of this entry →

Entertaining the President

June 14, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Photoshop, Stuff I Found, USA 44 views

President Obama really likes this recent video of Nora.

Entertaining Obama

I’d be more than happy to send the smart-object-enabled Photoshop file for this to anyone who requests it.

Making Decisions About Car Seats

June 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Musings, Parenting, Science, Skepticism 174 views

thumbSometimes it seems like parenting is one big series decisions about trading comfort for safety. My child is tall and lanky, so it has taken her forever to reach the magical 9 kg threshold in which the car seat manufacturers say she can face forward in the vehicle. In her rear-facing seat, she looks, and is, horribly uncomfortable. As her tall and lanky father who takes a couple transatlantic flights a year, I sympathize. My daughter, her mother, and I have all been looking forward to when we can flip her around to face forwards.
Read the rest of this entry →

Quirky Old Grandpa

June 12, 2010 By: erik Category: Family, Spain 394 views

Abuelo Toasts his GoddaughterI have three grandfathers. There are my parents’ fathers, of course, but there’s also my wife’s maternal grandfather, who I love like my own. One of the most unforgettable moments of my wedding day was when he took me aside and said, “To you, from now on, my name is no longer Ramón. It’s Abuelo.” I get choked up just thinking about it.

During our recent summer vacation to his house in Extremadura, I came to understand – if you can call it that – two strange quirks that he has.
Read the rest of this entry →

Baby DJ

June 10, 2010 By: erik Category: Dancing, Music, Offspring, Videos 127 views

Baby DJAlmost a fortnight ago, Marga’s cousin, Rubén, and his girlfriend, Patri, gave Nora a toy, in the shape of a butterfly, that plays up to 30 different songs. In other modes it will pronounce the letters, and some words that start with them, from the alphabet. But Nora’s not quite at that stage yet, so we keep it in the “music” mode. She absolutely adores this toy. Without fail, as soon as it starts playing music, she starts dancing, which has been a tendency of hers for some time now. The music selection is also perfectly appropriate for Nora, with a mixture of American songs like Oh my darling, Clemintine and Tennessee Waltz and some Spanish pasodobles. The video below is pretty typical of her playing with this lovely toy.
Read the rest of this entry →

Tags: , ,

Walking in a Fishing Village

June 10, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos 231 views

Colindres LighthouseLast Friday during my morning walk with Nora around town, we went down to the fishing port. The port was as busy as I’ve ever seen it: people mending fishing nets, loading nets onto boats, and unloading fish by the metric ton. It was very interesting, but also something I didn’t want to be in the middle of with a baby for too long. Below are some photos I took of the fishing port followed by some others I took on the rest of the walk.
Read the rest of this entry →

Glenn Beck and I…

June 10, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Politics, Stuff I Found, USA, Videos 112 views

Oh my! It seems that Glenn Beck has written a novel with the same title as one of my blog posts. While I continue to support the notion that it is important to examine the limits of what is not socially acceptable to discuss in political discourse, I also firmly disavow any notion that the utter nonsense spewing from Beck’s mouth has anything to do with such a window. Talking provably incorrect bullshit is not “pushing the limits”. Behold the nonsensical “dog returns to his vomit” (there may never be a more apt sentence written about this novel!) “burnt fool’s bandaged finger [going] wabbling back to the fire” teaser. It’s too bad you can’t burn eBooks

Read the rest of this entry →

Banking Security

June 09, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings 87 views

Fourteen Thousand EurosToday I went to my bank to pay my Spanish taxes, which, after avoiding double taxation, came to a whopping 4.87€. I had done the taxes on my computer with the downloadable java app and had generated a PDF for myself and one for my wife. However, when I printed them, they came out strangely formatted. I couldn’t understand why, so I loaded the PDFs onto a USB pen drive and took them to the bank along with the poorly printed versions. They said that my printed versions weren’t good enough and agreed to print the ones I had on my pen drive. So I watched as my local banker inserted the pen drive I gave him into his Windows machine and opened and printed the PDFs.
Read the rest of this entry →