Archive for June, 2010

Quirky Old Grandpa

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

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.

Baby DJ

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

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.

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Walking in a Fishing Village

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

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.

Glenn Beck and I…

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

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


Banking Security

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

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.

Every Move You Make

June 08, 2010 By: erik Category: Dancing, Offspring, Videos

PosingNora continues with her tendency to dance whenever she hears music. Last week when I put her in her crib while I looked through her wardrobe for some clothes for the day, I had her iPad playing some music. She was groovin’, so I ran to get the video camera. Check out her pantomime of a “midnight train going anywhere”.

Grand Theft Moto

June 08, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos

Bad Girl ImageRecently at the playground and around town Nora has been “finding” toys that their owners have temporarily abandoned and has enjoyed playing with them a lot. Once she heisted a toy baby stroller and managed to walk a good ten paces with only the stroller as her support…before crashing it into a fence. On our walk on Sunday she borrowed, with the owner’s “I really should let you use my motorcycle that is way too small for me now, but I really don’t want you to” reluctant permission. She did quite well on it, despite the fact that she had to lean dangerously to one side to touch the ground.

I suspect that no matter how many toys you have, the ones that don’t belong to you – and therefore you cannot become habituated to – will always sing their special siren song.


June 07, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Marketing, Musings, Reviews

Recently I’ve been enjoying the genre of popular psychology books. I realized that what I most enjoyed about my college psychology courses were reading about the experiments and studies, especially the ones with seemingly counter-intuitive irrational results. So far in this genre I’ve consumed Predictably Irrational, How We Decide, Outliers and Stumbling on Happiness, which no one took my hint to buy me. One of them, funnily, doesn’t fit that neatly into the genre.


Use Your Words

June 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Uncategorized

thumbNora has understood the “first I talk, then you talk, then I talk again” format of human conversation for several months now. But it wasn’t until just recently that she’s begun forming clear sentences with what are clearly words. Unfortunately none of the words she speaks are in either of the two languages I understand. As you might imagine, it can be very frustrating for both sides of the conversation. It is clear, however, that she is trying to express some concept through speech. And, because the words seem so much like words, only in a foreign language, sometimes I get asked on the street by people that know my origins if she’s speaking English. Perhaps the set of sounds she’s making is what spoken English sounds like to a non-English-speaker?

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Bubble Photography

June 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos

Bubble PhotographyRecently I’ve been having a surprising amount of fun playing with some bubble solution that Nora was given by a local shopkeeper. Besides the obvious, the bubbles are my favorite of Nora’s toys. It took her a while to break out of her awe at looking at them enough to intentionally pop them, and she still hasn’t understood the process of blowing through the hoop to create them. But that’s fine; I’m content blowing them for her.

I have more ideas about photography of bubbles than I have time to implement them, but last night I finally got around to my first attempt. For some reason my off-camera flash wireless connection wasn’t working, so I decided to turn off the room lights, set a long exposure, and manually fire the flash. Of about twenty shots, these are the best three.