Archive for July, 2011

Spanair A320 Legroom is a Disgrace

July 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel

Spanair A320On my recent return from the United States, I had the displeasure of taking Spanair flight JK 6116 from Madrid to Bilbao on an Airbus A320. I’m not a big air traveler, but I take about ten flights a year. This A320 had the least amount of legroom on any plane I’ve ever been on. Spanair should be ashamed of themselves for cramming so many seats onto this aircraft.

Motion Composite Dives

July 22, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photos, Photoshop

Paul DivesRecently, when I was with my family at a swimming pool, I had the opportunity to use the fast shutter rate of my DSLR camera to take some quick photographs of them. I took the photographs specifically with the intention of practicing a Photoshop technique called motion composition or motion multiplication. The idea is that you make a composite photograph of a subject that is in motion by combining various copies of the subject in different positions.

Tweetsie Railroad

July 20, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos, Travel, USA

Steam EngineOn July 4, 2011, my country’s 235th birthday, my family and I visited Tweetsie Railroad, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I would be the first to agree that the name sounds like some sort of social networking app (and they might do well to unload before the bubble bursts), but Tweetsie Railroad is actually a “Wild West theme park”, from back in ye olde days when theme parks actually had themes. The primary attraction since its opening in 1957 has been an old coal-burnin’, steam-tootin’ train engine that takes visitors around a three mile track.

Mermaid Girl

July 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos, Travel, USA, Videos

Picnic LunchIn North Carolina in the summer, it gets very hot. Like in southern Spain, there are several hours every day when you simply can’t be outside unless you’re actively cooling yourself with water. Marga and Nora spent a lot of time in swimming pools. First, they went to the municipal pool at the Morganton Recreational Center, which has a nice kids pool where Nora can touch the bottom. It’s in a nice location because they can walk there from my parents new house they bought a year ago. Later in the week, they decided to go to the swimming pool at my parents old, yet unsold, house, a pool my mother has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours cleaning in the twenty years they lived there. That was a lot of fun too. At first, Nora was a little skeptical of the water, but eventually she made it to the point where she was throwing herself into the pool from the steps.

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Toddler Conversations

July 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Videos

Airplane Leg Room Show-OffNora continues to excel lingually in both English and Spanish. Oh, wait, she didn’t used to. Her English got a much needed boost on our fortnight (a flight attendant asked why we were going for only four nights) visit to the United States. When we arrived, she was speaking about 20% English, and when we left, she was using English about 90% of the time, even with her mother.

As parents often do, I had high expectations for her to not confuse the two languages upon returning to Spain. However, she did, in fact, speak a few sentences to her abuelos in English. I had to teach my mother-in-law that “me too” means “yo también” and what a “potty” is. She said, “Oh, I’ll remember that for sure, since my pharmacist is named Poti.”

The Beauty of Google+ Circles

July 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Reviews

Social Networking Logo FunI think I’ve finally gotten my head around Google’s intention with using “circles” for control of social networking content. It could be a really elegant solution to the awkwardness of the rules outlined by Twitter and Facebook. Some people like the openness of Twitter, and other people like the exclusivity of Facebook, but I think that Google may have managed to combine the best of both worlds and allow its users to control where their use of Google+ falls on the spectrum from Twitter to Facebook.

Mast General Store – Valle Crucis

July 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Photos, Travel, USA

Mast General StoreOne of the interesting must-see places in the Boone and Blowing Rock area of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the Mast General Store. Built in the late nineteenth century (that’s like America’s equivalent of a medieval castle!), it is a store that has retained an old style of nineteenth century consumerism: the general store. When rural people would “go into town to the store”, they meant they were going into the general store. It was a store that sold absolutely everything, not unlike the Chinese stores in modern day Spain, be it bolts, rice, pillow cases, cheese, jigsaws, milk, rope, candy, razors, motor oil or olive oil…everything but deals on cheap package holidays.

Parenting: Perpetual Bargaining

July 10, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Offspring, Parenting, Politics

Perpetual BarganingMy two year old now had the mental capacity to reason through simple causal statements like “Mommy is sleeping, because it’s night time, so we need to be quiet,” but the logical side of her brain isn’t yet powerful enough to override the emotional side enough to accept, “It’s night time, so you need to lie down in your crib, be quiet, and have the light off and no one else in the room with you.” She does, however, accept small bargains where good behavior results in her getting something that she wants. Lately I’ve been using this to my advantage.

Charley and Christanne’s Wedding

July 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Partying, USA

Newlyweds (Cropped)On July 3, 2011, we attended the wedding of my childhood friend, Charley Coffey, to his beautiful bride, Christanne. Due to the separate courses our lives have taken, I had never actually met Christanne until the wedding. Both of them are incredibly photogenic and every photograph of them looks like it should be on an orthodontist’s wall. They are both medical doctors at the end of their schooling, primed to stop living like students and start living like kings in San Diego, the city said to have one of the best climates on the planet. I couldn’t be happier for them. Everyone at the wedding was very nice, the North Carolinians from the groom’s side as well as the South Carolinians from the bride’s side.

Google+ Restricted Sharing Is A Bad Idea

July 01, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Internet, Reviews

Google+Although I have not yet actually used Google+ (I’m waiting on my invite), I have been reading a lot about it, watching demo videos, and thinking about it. One feature that Google+ is offering to set itself apart from its ubiquitous rival, Facebook, is the concept of “circles”. The idea is that you define circles, subsets of your friends, that are defined by how you know or interact with them. You’ve got your coworkers, your ex-coworkers, your bowling buddies, your book club, and your ever ubiquitous “people I took a class or worked with once that no longer have anything in common with me, but that I was mildly curious to see what they are up to these days and so accepted their friend request”. I don’t know about you, but this latter group makes up the majority of my friend set.

One thing Google+ is using circles for is to allow you to optionally restrict who can see your status updates to only certain circles. While on the surface, this seems like a good idea, after giving it a little thought, I’m convinced that it is an inherently bad idea.