Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

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.

A Proud Moment of Puppy Play

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

So on Saturday we took Titan to the BMDCGS Berner Campout down at Penrose Point State Park. It’s a yearly car-camping gettogether, and while we didn’t camp, we spent the day out there with Titan, socializing and playing. Then on Sunday we scrambled together a little hike up Lake 22. We usually do Lake 22 at least once a year, but usually much earlier in the season. By this time of year the cool trails open up, but this year is wack so the snow-free pickings can be slim.

Anyway, Titan met a number of dogs in the parking lot and on the trail on the way up. He passed them all without issue, and even said hello to one doggy. When we got to the lake we hung out for a bit before some people came up with the doggies he had seen before; Kobe and Mardy, I think. They were behind us, romping around in the water and Titan was interested. When he sees doggies having fun, he wants to play. Their humans said he could come play too, and the big goof had a ball playing with NON-BERNERS. He definately plays different than small dogs and they’re not quite sure how to interprete him, but their owners knew he was playing and allowed the playtime.

These videos were taken while he was playing. My boy is still learning about all this stuff so when I see him interacting with dogs like this, well, it’s a really good thing and it makes me proud. Titan’s biggest issue is how he responds to doggies and this play session was wonderful to observe.

Good boy.

Weekend Update with Guido

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

So far, the weekend looks like this:

Saturday Morning – I’m brewing beer, Dammit! I’m going to get it RIGHT.
Saturday Afternoon – HOA picnic thing. Yipp. Eee.
Saturday Night – Nine Inch Nails concert. FUCK YEAH! Twice in less than a year.

Sunday…. Variable, options listed below in ascending order of likelihood. (1 = less likely)

Option 1:
Sunday Morning – Drive to Ferndale to meet with Lisa Ebnet re: Titan’s paperwork & meet her doggies who need homes.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Option 2:
Sunday Morning – Go hiking out I-90
Sunday Afternoon – Visit Robin & let Titan romp with puppies, play with Titan’s poppa, Rocky.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Option 3:
Sunday Morning/Afternoon – Go hiking anywhere.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Next weekend is even more up in the air… Hiking… or maybe sockeye fishing at Lake Wenatchee? I can’t lose either way.

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…

Doggies! Doggies Everywhere!

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This post is also known as “Titan’s Exciting Weekend”

Ah… a three day weekend comes around finally, one without a day being sick on either end. Here’s a rambling account of the weekend activities. 

Friday after work I went out for a drink with Jen because I’m a helper. See, her computer died 10 months ago and she’s been unable to get it working since. It’s also taken her 10 months to ask me for real help. We met so I could get the computer and work my magic. (My magic appears to work well.) Afterwards, I was supposed to go down to the market to get my Copper River Salmon, which is my extra-extra splurgy birthday treat for myself. But they were closed by the time we got there. I pouted for about an hour. :) We got home, made dinner, played with Titan, watched Sahara and then went to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up with ideas of hiking. The forcast for the week had shifted from being promising to looking like crap. But you should never let that stop you. We opted to go to Lake Serene, and off we went with Titan. As soon as we got out of the city, the clouds were gone and it was a beautiful day. The hike was good; we were basically the first ones up the trail. Titan did really well and I think he’s getting conditioned nicely to our activity level. Lake Serene is a short trail, only 3 miles one way or so, but it gains its 1600ft of elevation gain in miles 2 & 3 via a number of steps. The big goof had plenty of energy, wasn’t too hot, and loved it all. We didn’t make it all the way to the lake because the final slope was rather snowy and had lots of postholes and gaping black spots of nothingness, and Titan didn’t quite know how to handle it, which made our traverse of it dangerous. So, we just stopped and had our snacks there.

We were running a little late after the hike because Titan was due for his monthly bath. The place closed at 3, and we got there at 2:30. He’s been blowing coat lately, and he was getting groomed on Sunday, so getting a bath on Saturday after a grungy hike was important. He was very tired after the hike and during the bath, but when we got home he still had energy to romp around and play. Like I said, his conditioning is getting better. He did crash hard later though.

Sunday was planned to be a big, big day for Titan. On the morning walk we met the local Berners, Ben & Jewel, who live down the street. We’ve seen them before and had good encounters, but we haven’t spent much time with them. Titan’s very timid with dogs, but with Berners he’s much more comfortable. After a minute of uncertainty, Titan let his guard down and he was romping around the yard with them. He really liked Ben, and they rolled around the yard, romping, huffing, growling; fur flying everywhere. Jewel participated too, but she was more interested in flopping on my feet and getting a belly rub. We parted company and made tentative plans to get together on Monday for more romping.

At 9:30 we left to go down to Tukwila to visit with Dave & Shirley, Titan’s previous humans, and get him groomed. He’s not been back to the house since we took him home on March 8. As he got out of the car he was excited, curious, and as soon as he saw Shirley he went nuts; jumping around, tail wagging wildly. He wandered through the house, sniffing everything, checking out all the old haunts. And if all that wasn’t exciting enough, they then let the dogs out:

Spirit, the now 6 month old puppy he used to babysit and play with.
Summit, a new 6 month old puppy he hasn’t met.
Touche, his sister from the same litter, who he has only seen once since the litter split.
Luna, his old girlfriend and the one who makes him lose his mind.
Bart, his old friend.

What a mass of dog. We all hung out on the deck while the doggies checked each other out. Titan was tremendous. He was a little unsure at first when all the dogs came at him, but he got over it quickly when the familiarity of most of them took hold. He especially liked Luna. Titan, the dog-timid Berner, was romping and playing with 4 dogs in an enclosed space. He batted Spirit around as usual, he welcomed Summit with an open mouth and a big paw, and Luna? Well… he’s only been fixed for 3 months. He kinda remembered what she meant, but nothing happened. Of course, Touche interested him too. He was great with all of them. Totally at ease.

Then we got the carting equipment out. He’s never been attached to a cart until now so I was unsure of how he’d respond. The first time alone was ok, but he was definately uneasy with it on him at first, but calmed down a bit. To aid in his acceptance, she changed the cart from a single to a double and put him in a team with Bart. This was the key. Bart did most of the work. He’s a carting national champion. Titan was calm and walked next to his buddy proudly. Then we took Bart off and let Titan go it alone and he did much better this time. The cart still spooked him at times, but he didn’t freak. I will definately be getting him a cart to work with from time to time.

We all played with the dogs, ruffing up puppies, being extra nice to Touche (she’s people-timid), and getting covered in drool and hair.

After all the dogs calmed down we grabbed Titan and put him on the grooming table. Dave groomed him nicely, and after blowing coat, having a bath, and a grooming session, he was in prime condition. Then Robin came over. Robin owns Titan’s dad, Rocky, and she was instrumental in me getting Titan. She got to see our big, beautiful, healthy happy Berner Boy Titan for only the 2nd time in 5 months. She was impressed. She also brought along her puppy Ferarri, who is 4 months old. That puppy got mauled by everyone when he showed up.

It was a great visit, and D&S were impressed with Titan. He’s is great shape, well behaved, and I was very proud of him, and with myself and all of us too, for being able to take care of him like we have.

Around 1:00 or so we left to head back downtown. I still had fish business to complete. We parked at Goob’s office and walked down to Pike Place Market to obtain my salmon. It was packed with people. The goobers stayed back with Titan while I went to the fish throwers. Titan had had enough by the time I got back with my fish. Too much going on, too many people paying him attention, hot, thirsty, and tired. We walked back to the car and he had his “I’m ready to be done” walk. This walk is fast and purposeful, it’s only direction is the one that leads directly back to the car/house.

It wasn’t over for him yet though, because we had to go to his final class in his Better Manners course. He was excitable, tired, hungry, and a little off during the class. He wanted to play with the other dog (which he never did before), and was timid around the instructor. But, he was attentive and followed instructions well. We went through all the tests of the CGC (Canine Good Citizen), and the only one he had a problem with was the ones with the instructor petting him, grabbing a paw, etc. He’s done it fine before, but he was just off on Sunday. He finished the course, got a toy and a certificate, and we went home for dinner.

Somehow, he still had energy. Both Saturday and Sunday when we expected him to be a Zombie, he managed to be energetic and playful. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with if we can’t wear him out on a hike.

He’s had a big weekend thus far. Today should be low-key because this human needs a day of rest. However, Ben  & Jewel may come over for some romping. Other than that, he’ll be calm. He’s tired, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He’s sleeping right now, but I guarantee that if I grab his lead and show it to him he’ll be up, alert, tail wagging, and ready to go for a long walk again.

As for the humans, Goob’s home working, I have fish, floors, and computers to attend to, and the girls have… well, homework and room cleaning. Other than that, we’re lounging today.

Drunken Squirrel Suppositories From Beyond the Moon

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

So it is May 15th already, huh. Damn. That means that I have rolled another digit on my doomsday clock. It also means that May is half over and that the summer months are on the way.

That means hiking! Yay! We’ve done some goober hikes lately with Titan, such as Rattlesnake and Wallace Falls, but pretty soon we’re going to have to start doing some harder hikes to get in shape for the season. We’ll also have to work more on Titan’s conditioning and see what trails are appropriate for him. He’s a big strong boy, but he’s got a thick black coat and can get very hot. Plenty of water breaks are definately in order.

We have a short heat wave on the way; it’s supposed to reach 85 by Saturday. Bleah. Mid 70’s would be plenty, but I appreciate the higher temps to help melt that snowpack. I’ve got marmots to play with! Anyway, we’ll head out somewhere like Lake Serene on Saturday and take advantage. Probably get the grill out, maybe take Titan to Magnuson park, who knows.

The bike is out and is in full swing. I got a tune-up yesterday, and they let me know that my chain was uber-stretched, and should have been changed 1,500 miles ago. Because I hadn’t, it wore down the gears. It all makes sense because last year I started having a lot of sluggishness when riding, but I figured that it was just me. So I got a new chain and a new gear cassette. What a difference it makes! Anyway, I’ve got at least 2 rides this week, and might get 1/2 one tomorrow morning. With the weather nice, it gives me an opportunity to work on my chipmunk racing stripes.

Last weekend was Maifest in Leavenworth and Titan and I walked in the silly little parade. He met a bunch of cousins and half brothers and about 40 other Berners and Swissies. He did really good with all the dogs and people, I was rather impressed. He even stayed in an Xpen with 2 other dogs with no issues. However, by Sunday I think he’d had enough dogs and while we were waiting for girlies to get ice cream he barked and caused a fuss at non-berners as they passed by. I think he was mentally tired and turned into a bit of a snot. I dig that doggie a lot, but he can certainly get on my nerves with some of his behavior.

That’s about all I got. I’m not really exciting. I work, I take care of dog, I sleep. That’s about it. There’s some TV, eating, and maybe other extra curricular activities like hiking/biking/bouts-of-uncontrollable-rage, but it’s pretty predictable. Like Trent Reznor said, “Every day is exactly the same…”