How to emigrate from the United States? Don’t.

March 15, 2016 By: erik Category: Travel, USA

Emigration from USSeveral of my American friends have asked me privately about ways or plans to emigrate from the United States should certain political powers assume control. This is an open letter to them.

The truth is that emigration is hard, and for the most part, Europe doesn’t want you, no matter how white and educated you are (and I can really only speak to Europe; maybe the Canucks will have you?). I am a highly sought after computer programmer – I literally get recruiter emails every day – and it was nearly impossible for me to find a company willing to give me a work permit in the UK. The escape chute might be a little better lubricated if you are a college student. It’s easy to live abroad temporarily as a student, and easier – though still almost impossible! – to find a permanent position once you are already temporarily abroad.
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Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2014

October 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

'Twas a foggy Saturday morning at the Munich AirportWe spent the first two weeks of October in the US visiting with my family. Several uncles and aunts and cousins, that I only see every five years or so, were also there to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the kids spent nearly the entire summer in southern Spain with their grandparents, I was beginning to worry about how little English was spoken. Pretty much all of Ian’s words were in Spanish, and Nora had to be reminded at the dinner table to speak English. Like most of my parental worries, this one was also unfounded. After an American fortnight, Nora is now principally playing with Ian in English, and Ian knows several English words, like “cookie” and “down”, and follows English instructions where before he only followed Spanish ones. He just turned 18-months old.
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My Rite to Bear Arms in America

October 22, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Politics, USA, Videos

Marga - Colt .22 HuntsmanDespite growing up in the American South, I’ve never liked guns. Loud noises annoy me, I grew up in a Liberal household where guns were shunned, though rarely spoken about, and, as an intellectual matter, they – pistols, at least – are clearly designed to kill humans, which is something I feel pretty strongly against. Add to that the fact that America has a “gun problem”, where every day of the year you can read about people killing each other, often by accident, with unattended guns. Plus, I’ve generally been averse to hobbies, like scuba diving, skydiving, motorcycling, bungie jumping, etc., where the first objective of the activity is “try not to die”. Firearms have just never had any appeal to me.
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Buying A Christmas Tree

December 13, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, USA

Decorated Christmas TreeI think my parents normally buy their Christmas tree around mid-December, but this year, I requested that they do it a little early, during our visit with them. As good hosts, parents and grandparents, they obliged. It’s been years and years since I took part in the Christmas tree selection process with still-alive firs in a lot. My wife, who hasn’t had a real tree since she was a little girl, and daughter also enjoyed the experience. The trees at the lot were so fresh that they still had unmelted snow on them from the night before up on the mountain.
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3D Printing and Legislating Object Ownership

December 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Politics, USA

Solidoodle 3D PrinterOver the past few years, the technology of 3D printing has shown itself to be a complete game changer. In a few very short years, with the initial investment of a printer, it will be possible to download physical objects. The plastic molding industry is going to be the first to feel the pain but eventually all manufacturing will be at risk. I expect to be a grandfather before complex electronics can be printed at home, but a wide variety of knickknacks and general household replacement items will be coming sooner, e.g. already you can download and print replacement knobs for a variety of items.
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Do NOT pay more than $14 for your ESTA Application!

October 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Marketing, Scary, Travel, USA

Department of Homeland SecurityIn preparation for our upcoming trip to the United States, I was double checking that everything is in order. After last year’s ESTA debacle, I want to be 100% sure we have my wife’s immigration approval number before leaving for the airport. So I did an internet search for ESTA to search for her approval number. What I found is a system of websites designed to scam unknowing foreign travelers out of their money.
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Hey, Obama, My 3 Year Old Wrote You A Campaign Slogan

September 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Politics, USA, Videos

USA Flag
Dear President Obama,

No doubt you are missing that mindless chant of Yes We Can that your followers could repeat incessantly during your 2008 campaign. It was brilliantly open ended. If what “we could” do was elect the first African American president, then yes, we could. But now so many of your promises turned out to be harder to accomplish than expected, so you certainly can’t use the same slogan for re-election. Fear not, however, dear leader, for my three-year-old has written a new slogan for you.
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Open Letter To Opponents of ObamaCare

June 29, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, USA

Dear people who oppose ObamaCare,

I’m curious about your thinking about possible solutions to the messed up US healthcare system. One starting assumption that leads directly to opposing ObamaCare is that healthcare is not a right, that poor people should not be given healthcare and allowed to die simply because they are poor. If you agree that only the wealthy deserve to be healthy, then you are a cruel, inhumane person and please stop reading this letter.
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Paper or Plastic: Cash Is Dead

April 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Spain, USA

Fourteen Thousand EurosI just got back from a ten day trip to the USA in which I ran a bit of an experiment: I never carried a single dollar or cent of US currency on my person. All my transactions were electronic using a debit card, even the extremely cheap ones like buying a $0.99 bottle of water from a convenience store. None of the cashiers even batted an eye when I pulled out the plastic for such a tiny purchase. In Spain, I suspect they would refuse your business if you tried to pull a stunt like that.
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