Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Adventures in Canadia

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Friday we took the day off to go up to Victoria, BC to see Nine Inch Nails live for the 3rd time in 18 months. This would be the 5th time we’ve seen them. We planned this trip months ago when the show was announced, but it recently was made more interesting by the addition of bringing a Bernese puppy back from Victoria for Robin. Of COURSE we jumped at the opportunity to spend a few hours with a 12 week old Cherokee (sssshhhh!) puppy.

We arranged to leave Titan with Lisa Ebnet overnight. She lives up in Ferndale, just south of the Canada border. I thought it would be a good test for him, as he’s never spent the night elsewhere, and he just might enjoy romping with the girls she still has at the farm. We hung out for a bit, then ducked out while he was trying to get Cami to play with him.

The border crossing was a breeze and we were pressing to make the 1:00 Tsawwassen ferry. Goob had a meeting with a colleague in Victoria at 3:30, which would have worked out great with a 1.5 hour ferry crossing. We got on the boat and sat down to listen to some Canucks play some decent music while we waited for the food service line to get shorter than 300 people. About 20 minutes into the crossing, and right after the first song, the boat’s alarms sounded, the captain called all hands to stations, and the boat took a sharp turn.  We looked out the right side and saw a cloud of orange smoke. Turns out, some joker jumped off the boat. They rescued the guy, got him on board, and we headed back to the Tsawwassen terminal. They had to cancel the next ferry, but we left later without issue, and only 1.5 hours behind schedule. I hope that the dude who jumped had a real good reason for doing that. If not, then he should be jailed.

Once we finally got to Victoria the rest of the evening went swimmingly, pun sorta intended. The NiN show was great, although the energy of the crowd was pretty low. 2/3rds of our section didn’t stand up until towards the end. Trent always puts on a tremendous visual performance, and even though they were lower energy, the crowd dug the show. It was a small venue too, maybe only 10,000 people? It was over around 11:00, and we stopped at a pub for a quick beer before heading back to the hotel to crash. We had business to take care of in the morning!

Saturday morning we got up and headed back out towards the ferry. We arranged to meet the puppy, Autumn, at a grocery store enroute at around 9:15. She was living with some breeders at a kennel there, Swiss Kiss Berners, and we met Jeff as scheduled. Autumn is adorable. We have pictures and will post some. We hung out for a bit to let her get used to us before heading to the ferry. Everything was fine until we put her in her crate. Then she freaked out. So…. out of the crate she came and Goob played with her in the back. When we got to the ferry line she was totally fine again. That’s the nice thing about puppies, they get past things quickly and return to being themselves. She romped around the soggy muddy grass at the terminal for awhile, getting wet and muddy, and attracting throngs of people who just had to pet her and say hi. If you don’t want to attract attention to yourself, don’t be seen in public with a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. The ferry ride back was uneventful, and we stayed on the car deck the whole time, playing with Autumn and plotting schemes to keep her instead of giving her back to Robin.

The line to get across the border was about 1.25 hours long. Bleah. So it was a good thing we had a cute puppy to play with and entertain us. When we were finally about 5 cars behind the booth, the border guards came out with their sniff dogs. We had just watched a German Shepard work while we were at the ferry line in Edmonds on Thanksgiving and he was all business. This dog… a young golden lab, was too playful. I don’t think she took her job seriously. We watched her sniffing along, kinda la-dee-daa happy go lucky, until she got to our car. Boy, she liked our car. The two officers took note of that, and to avoid false positives they take dogs away and let them continue on smelling other cars, then circle back to the offending car to confirm. Well, when they came back, she was VERY curious and totally dug our car. They’re trained to react when they smell drugs or bombs or explosives or certain chemicals or what not, but otherwise be calm. Goob and I were laughing, because here we are with this puppy in the car, the same car that within the last couple weeks has been to 2 different breeder farms, PLUS had Titan smells all over it… And this dog DUG our car. I was watching the officers and of course, they’re all serious and official. They radio up to the guy in the booth. When we get to the booth, they’re waiting in our lane in front of us. We go through our normal thing, where we went, how long, etc. Then the booth officer says “We’re going to ask you to pull over to the left for a little vehicle processing”, and sticks this orange sticker-form on our windshield.

So, we pull over to the left and the two very serious officers are discussing things, then the one without the dog comes over and asks me to shut off the car, and to give him the orange form. He walks off-camera while the dog handling officer takes ’super-happy sniff dog’ around the car. When he gets around to my open driver side window, this dog jumps up into the window to say hello. We’re laughing the whole time in amusement. When the dog finishes her circle, the other guy comes back up to talk to us.

Officer 1, “Is it just the two of you in the car”
Me, smiling, “Yep, just us two. And a puppy.”
Officer 1, “You have a puppy in the car with you?”
Us, full grins, “Yep. 12 weeks old!”
Officer 1, fighting a smirk, “Please wait.”
Officer 1 speaks to Dog Officer. Dog officer glances at car, rolls his eyes, and also fights a smile. He pets sniff dog and I swear he laughed.
Officer 1 returns to car, “We’re going to have you back up. You’re free to go.”

The drug/bomd dog loved our car because it was a haven of doggie smells, AND I’m sure because we had the puppy. I think these guys have had this sort of false positive before, based on their reaction. So funny. I will remember this little episode forever. We’d been joking all week about smuggling a puppy across the border, and then this little sniff dog took a shine to us for that exact reason. So funny.

Anyway, we made it back to Lisa’s to pick up Titan. He was wrecked. He was dirty from trying to play with the Ebnet girls. Most of which wouldn’t play with him. He was also tired and hungry because his overnight didn’t go so well. He hadn’t eaten. But, he got us and a puppy to play with a bit so that helped him calm down. As soon as we were in the car and on our way home, he was zombie dog the whole way.

We got home about 5:00 and Robin came by at 6:15 to get Autumn and take her to her new home. She left by 7:15 and Autumn had gone. She was so cute. I hope her new home in Wallingford. We will definately be keeping tabs on her to make sure she’s doing good.

All in all, it was an action packed Canadian adventure. Gotta love ‘em.

Assorted Miscellaneous Flotsam With a Accidental Peppering of Haphazard Random Chance

Friday, September 12th, 2008

16 verra-nice pictures have been updated in the gallery. Mountains, wet tree bits, and puppies abound!

I got the review forms back on my beer from the Chelan County Fair. It’s a helpful review, it kinda shows me where I fell down in my attempt. Or, at least compared to how it’s supposed to be according to the style. I wasn’t intending it to be true to a style, I was going for drinkability. That’s the first step; make something drinkable, then worry about style adherance.

I realized I haven’t posted any trail reports from the few that we’ve gone on lately. I’ll sum them up: Long. Cloudy. Upwards. Titan cute, then tired. Foggy. Too crowdy, use frash.

I played my last game with my kickball team on Tuesday. We lost, but it was a good game despite the buttheads we were playing. Seriously, it’s kickball. Get over yourself. Anyway, we’re at 2-3, but there’s one more game so I hope we can end up at .500. Good luck Blue Steal! Next up? DODGE BALL!

Centralia is all but done. Just waiting on final confirmations of payments and whatnot, and then it’s all over. Coming soon : More babbling, and some numbers.

I heard a rumor about me being on a sailboat this Saturday. Curious. Maybe I’ll unveil my latest brew on the boat with Scott & Bernie. ‘Stranded Hiker IPA’. It’s a hoppy, fresh hoppy brew. Fresh. (Fresh) Exciting.

Next week I am in Vegas for the VMWorld Conference. It will be 100 degrees and fake, all week long. Hopefully I learn something. Hopefully I don’t get fitschaced and bet the house on craps. I come back Thursday night. I haven’t flown anywhere since February. I haven’t gone on a business trip since March 2006.

Next Thursday is our anniversary. Four years. WOO! But, I’ll be in Vegas. That’s ok. Goob’s supposed to be wrapping up this crappy project that has consumed and wasted her for the last 6 months that week. Then, we’re taking the next weekend off and doing a ton of hiking, including an overnight up at Goat Flats. I’ll need a week off just to recover from the vacation!

First weekend in October is a big one. Dean’s Apple Crush Festival is on the 4th, and there’s tons of apples to squish and drink, homebrew to drink, and food to eat and people to laugh at. Plus, I’m bringing both of my beers there, and hopefully lots of people will give it a try and maybe even some will dig it. I’m really looking for feedback, good or bad. After that, there’s a home Seahawks game on Sunday. And I think Monday is the Overkill show. Not sure if I’m going or not.

New Metallica CD is suprisingly good. You can’t expect it to be like the stuff they did almost 20 years ago, but it definately sounds more like them than the last few records did. It’s growing on me. I got the concert tickets and will see them on December 1st. First Metallica show since the one I saw with The Zonies at America West Arena in Phoenix on the Black Album tour. 1992? Have I mentioned the 5 Nine Inch Nails shows I’ve seen since then?

Speaking of, they’re coming back this December to Victoria and Portland. We’ll go to the Victoria show. That’s two this year. Hella cool.

Check out this place. Perhaps Titan digs it?

Next beer : A porter. Nice and dark and roasty and smokey. But… ’smoooooth’, just for the Goob.

That’s all I got right now.

The Berner Butt-Whomp : Total Takedown!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

We went camping at a family reunion out at Pacific beach this weekend. More on that later, but I just had to post this video.

Titan loved the beach and he was offleash most of the time, being a total goofy dog. Sunday morning we (sans Kylie, plus Aimee) went down to the little river that drains into the ocean and played around a bit… skipped some rocks… Titan played at the shore… Goob decided to take a simple little movie of Titan digging in the sand… It was a nice quiet morning. Then Kylie woke up and came to the beach to join us. Titan the 98lb puppy was happy to see her… and then he took off…

Random Acts of Senseless Blogging

Monday, July 14th, 2008

This post is also known as “Short Update Update”…

So, the hand. Of course, I didn’t break anything. I have a rather mashed up and irritated tendon or two, which go from being ok, to being stiff, to hurting like bloody fucking hell, but nothing’s broken. It’s probably just my anxiety. I wear a brace from time to time and try to not use it, but still use it so that it doesn’t weaken or stiffen up. The weather last week and ALL week was beautiful for cycling to work, but of course, I didn’t even touch the bike because I can’t grip well, and I certainly can’t absorb the shock to the palm. And I’m not good enough to go for 13 miles in traffic one-handed. I was going to try and bike today, but a bad night caused me to sleep too late and also my hand was pretty stiff this morning from using it all weekend, so perhaps tomorrow. But I’ll live.

We didn’t hike this weekend during the great weather either, for two reasons. One, Goob is so shot and beat from all the work stress and bullshit that she needed the downtime, and I totally get that. The second reason is because we had other plans for Saturday, both of which fell through. So, Saturday ultimately became a complete wash. At least until I took Titan down to the beach for some wet romping, and a surprise visit with his neighbor Berner buddies.

Saturday, we were planning on going back up to visit Titan’s breeder Lisa to speak about her dogs that need homes and to meet them, but that fell through. Most of the reason why I have had so little success with getting in touch with her is because she found out that she was moving to England at the exact same time I got Titan, so she’s been spending the entire time since getting ready to uproot her entire life. And with that same reason, our meeting got postponed until the 27th because she’s still swamped and has other things going on and didn’t want to shortchange the meeting with other plans. So, that was ok. But we were also talking with Robin (who owns Rocky, Titan’s dad) about a female dog she needs to rehome, and we were trying to get something set up to go visit her and the dog and Rocky on Saturday as well. But that also fell through, for busy reasons on her end. (Every time we try… it falls through.)

Sunday we had a little BBQ. Chuck came over and made his “world famous” BBQ corn on the cob and some kebobs. We had brats, dogs, and burgers. Goob’s sister Aimee came over as well. It was a nice Sunday afternoon, and we grilled up a mess of meat, messed with the dog, had a few beers, and sat outside chillin’. Then there was pie! I love pie. PIE PIE PIE! And Ice Cream. Goob made two pies, her always most excellent Blueberry Pie, but then also tried a new pie, Peach! PIE PIE PIE! Sunday was good.

This weekend we’re going camping at a family reunion on Goob’s dad’s side out on the Ocean. It will be our first camping trip with Titan, and I’m concerned about the space in the car. We tend to bring way too much shit, and now we have the back taken up by the pooch. So, I dunno. I’m sure we’ll make it happen fine, after a bit of me stressing out about it. But hey, it’s a three day weekend in any case, so as long as it doesn’t rain on us like last time, it should be good.

The Mayhem Festival was… well, Lemme say this: 15-20 years ago when I started going to shows and listening to heavy bands, there were 3 types that just never did it for me. I’ve always been very picky about my heavy metal.

  1. The growlers. (Example: Cannibal Corpse) They tend to have really, really heavy music, very dark and moody. But then the guy opens his mouth and it’s just barking. And it is usually about death and demons and whatnot. Hey I understand that growling is brutal and definately metal, but you just gotta change it up. Ask Chuck Billy. He’s a perfect example of someone who uses EVERYTHING his chords give.
  2. Two: The screamers. (Example: DragonForce) These bands are the ones who have the fastest guitar chops around, fast paced, high energy music, but the guy they drafted to sing sounds like he should have never left the soprano section of the choir. And they always sing about dragons and mists and really pussy demons. These songs are easily identifiable as soon as they start. Fast Riffs, very tinny, and then BAM! Some guy’s nuts are put in the vise for 4.5 minutes. NEXT!
  3. Three: The yellers. (Example: 60% of the bill at Mayhem, i.e. Walls of Jericho) These are relatively new. These piss me off the most. The yellers are those who’s songs start like normal metal songs; very heavy, good solid riffs and heart pounding drums. Then the vocals start and it’s just yelling/screaming. What did you just say? Why are you screaming so much? Shut up fucknut because the music behind you is good, you’re drowning it out! I blame the Deftones. They were good at the scream vocals. But they always changed it up. That’s the thing. It can’t be your only trick.

These jokers are not doing anything new. I’ve heard all that before. When you were still shittin’ your diapers, we did that scene. It’s old. GOOD metal finds a way to be heavy, convey a message, and still be understandable. Even those who don’t get into the heavy stuff can tell the difference. You still can’t beat the Professionals who defined the genre: Go study Testament, Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, Flotsam & Jetsam, Overkill, Megadeth, and understand your roots. Then take the new metal elements and work them into it. You can do it. Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, and Slipknot are prime examples of bands who have done that.

Anyway, I went there for Slipknot, Disturbed, Machinehead, and Five Finger Death Punch, so there was a lot of waiting around while these other assclowns played. Machinehead sucked live. 5FDP stole the show on the small stage. They’re really good. They have all the elements to be a big hit. On the big stage the show was owned by Disturbed, and then Slipknot. Disturbed was really good live. I was impressed, as their songs transferred well to the live show. I will check them out again when they do their own tour. (And if you’re still stuck on that song from 10 years ago… get over it.) As for Slipknot… Wow. WOW. The energy they put out… They’re fucking nuts. My neck hurt afterwards. It was their first show in 2.5 years; new CD coming out, new masks… good shit. Goob was… uh… well, it’s not her thing but she took it all like the trooper she is. I did catch her boogying a bit though… It was worth wading/waiting through the crap.

There are a ton of new pictures posted in the Gallery. Go over there and check out new pics of Titan, puppies, waterfalls, moss, and other NW goodies. There’s about 10 small albums with about 40 total pictures posted.

Speaking of pictures, here’s one I’ve been waiting to post. This is a picture of Titan and his sister Touché. Can you guess who’s who? I’ll give you a hint… Titan’s the one sitting. :) Look at their faces. They are almost identical! (Click the image for a bigger picture)

Titan & His Sister Touche

So… about the 2nd Berner… That’s for another post…