Adventures in Canadia

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.

Who Knows Whose Nose?

November 26th, 2008

Say… Can you identify the nose below? It’s not Titan’s nose… Who could this be?

Do you nose?

SHHHHH!! It’s a secret!

Ebnet Funtime @ Marymoor

October 28th, 2008

Sunday morning a bunch of us Ebnet Berner owners converged on Marymoor’s dog park at 10:00am. Titan usually doesn’t like dog parks, but he did awfully well there even before we met up with the other berners. It’s very wide open and friendly so I think that helped. After getting him used to the park for awhile, we met the other Berners. For about 2 hours we hung out and watched about 20 of them, including 4 puppies romping around and wrestling. Titan, the goofy teenager, played with everyone he could. Especially Riley. He loves Riley. He’s got a serious man-crush on Riley. He gets all up in his grill and walrus barks and begs to play, slobbers all over him, until Riley finally caves and they romp a bit. We also met Serene, who we almost got a chance to take home before she found a good home with Riley’s humans. She played with Titan a bit, but wasn’t too nice at first. She warmed up to him. Titan was super-excito dog all morning, and towards the end he started being the crowd protector, shoeing non-berners away from puppies he was guarding, and trying to herd dogs that look like sheep.

Overall, he was very friendly and got on great with all the other dogs at the park, and didn’t show anything I would call ‘aggressive’. He just puts on a big show and because of his size it looks impressive, but it’s really nothing. One thing that usually gets people wondering what he’s doing is when he starts chasing a small dog. Small dogs are quicker than he is, so when he starts after one it takes a bit for him to get up to speed. So, picture this: Big Titan chases small dog, huffin’ and hollerin’. Small dog stops and turns to confront Titan. Big Titan has inertia and can’t stop fast enough. Big Titan slams into little dog. Little dog yelps and goes flying. People then turn and wonder what Titan did to the little dog. It’s funny to watch because he can’t help himself. Some dogs, like Duncan, are so fast they can move out of the way of Mack Truck Titan.

He’s a good boy. I’m very proud of my puppy; he’s coming along very well with his dog social skills. He got lots of treats and lovins before he zonked out for the rest of the day.

No… Don’t Hump My Dog’s Face!

October 22nd, 2008

So Jen and Duncan came over on Saturday. I was hoping Duncan and Titan would get along better than they did the first time they met. I think Titan was a bit overwhelmed then, and Dunk’s… well… Dunk’s a spaz and Titan doesn’t read spaz-dogs well at first. Plus, Titan’s come a long way with his doggie issues. The first time it took Titan about 4 hours to relax enough to chase him around the yard a bit but they still didn’t play too much because Dunk was fixated on his ball being thrown.

They arrived about just before 1:00. Titan huffed and barked a bit at the door, we corrected him and distracted him with cookies. They checked each other out, and while Dunk’s still a little unsure of everything, Titan suddenly said “Hey! I know you! Let’s play!” He chased him around the house a bit, which Dunk didn’t like too much to start, but Duncan chilled quick and with 5 minutes of their arrival they were both outside, romping. Dunk’s used to playing with dogs his size or smaller, but he changed gears straight away and suddenly played like a big dog. Wrestling, boxing, romping, chasing, bowing, having a good ol’ time.  He only had to correct Titan once, and after that they played like they’d known each other forever. It was a beautiful thing. Titan would try to sit on Duncan’s head, then roll around on the ground while Duncan chewed on his ears, neck, face, etc., Duncan would run away and Titan would gallop after him.  Both dogs are at best Beta males, and it appears that Titan is probably a Delta male, considering that Duncan, who romps with pitbulls, suddenly decided that he wanted to try to be the dominate one and was mounting Titan. He tried humping his face at times. Of course, he’s never done that before. He just thought it would be a good idea to do it to a dog that is twice his size. Big man when you don’t have pitbulls pushing you around. :)

We took them over to the park to romp and run and met another little dog, Trixie. Trixie wanted to play too, and she and Duncan went tearing after the ball, while Titan amused himself with chasing them and eating grass. Then we played on the playground equipment, going down slides, going up slides, letting strange children pet them… They had a blast.

We hung out all day drinking scotch & watching the dogs play, and they played ALL DAY. Especially Duncan. That dog just never stops. He’s like a 2 year old on too much sugar. By the end of the evening, Titan was quite tired, and slept most of the day Sunday in recovery. It’s the first time he really had a good time with a dog that wasn’t a Berner, and I’m glad Jen brought him over to play. We will definately have to do it again.

Let’s Recap, Shall We?

October 14th, 2008

Apple Crush… GOOD! Lots of food and plenty of good homebrew. Everyone dug my beer, even the people who beat me at the Chelan Fair. Did I mention tons of apples? We brought back about 7 gallons of freshly crushed cider and a whole box of apples in which to make all sorts of applely things like pie and crisp and sauce. Want an apple?

Politics… Sigh… Is it frickin’ over yet? I’ve watched the debates, I’ve read the stories, I’ve reviewed the various SNL skits. Stop telling me how important this is. If it was, then the LAST time it was so important, why did nothing change? And how can I be focused on “The Most Important Election In The History of The Universe”(tm) if I’m also supposed to be scared shitless over the economic collapse of the entire planet, which apparently both candidates caused?

Beer… Dean clued me into a new brew competition coming up. Turns out it’s on November 1, and I’m entering. I brewed last Monday Night, and while it might still be a bit young, I have just barely enough time to get it fermented, bottled, and conditioned before they open them up on 11/1. I tried to do the same recipe as “Stranded Hiker”, but I had to substitute the yeast and 1/3 of the malt with other things. I still don’t have a name for it. I will have more bottles this time, so if it’s good I’ll have plenty to share.

Dodgeball… Team Meatballs is ripping it up not. I roped Goob into the team, along with Ace from work and 5 people from Blue Steel, and just got Chuck’s lady drafted this weekend. We lost our first matches last week, so we’re 0-2. It was tougher than I thought it be, and much more exercise. Last week we played for the 1st time in 20 years so we had an excuse. This week we don’t have that excuse. We’ll have to come up with a new one. WOOOOO!

Titan’s getting his winter coat in. Suddenly he’s shinier and thicker. There’s a lot more furry doggie there to grab onto and rough-up. Good thing that coat never covers up his goofy face. He’s had some food weirdness lately, like not eating everything. He’s OK though, so either he’s just not that hungry or he’s getting picky with his kibble. He visited his new vet last week for a check-up and he’s healthy and happy.

Oh…. did I mention that Stacia hit the board on a dive during her diving meet Saturday? Yep. She broke her big toe on her left foot, plus strained it a bit. She also sprained her 2 middle toes on her right foot. Thankfully, she’s fine and never hit her head or anything, but she’s done diving, is on crutches and has limited mobility. It’s hard to walk on crutches when you have 2 bad feet. She’s going to try hard to recover in 4 weeks because she’s got gymnastics coming up. We’ll see. Today was her first day back at school, and first day not just sitting on the couch getting iced and rested.

We’re still kinda looking around for a companion for Titan. I have a couple of very different leads in very different directions, but am waiting to see how they pan out. In the meantime, I have to email the local Berner group and see if there’s some Berner folk close by that we can arrange some playdates with. He needs a buddy. I have thought about not even doing another Berner, but I didn’t think that for long. I’m a Berner dude.

Tomorrow is Shayna’s 38th birthday. Well, it would be, if it wasn’t for that rather unfortunate death issue. Tommorrow I will spend the day trying not to think about that. I’ll distract myself with Presidential debates and dodgeball.

I think that’s it. If it’s not, well, that’s it anyway.

Assorted Miscellaneous Flotsam With a Accidental Peppering of Haphazard Random Chance

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.

Ah-Hah! Touche!

August 7th, 2008

Did I mention that we’re puppysitting Touche, Titan’s sister for a week starting on the 15th? We’re borrowing her from Dave & Shirley. This will be fun. Two big Berners romping around. Touche is… she’s… she’s a little Titan. They are very similar and look strikingly similar as well. She FEELS like a little Titan. She looks just like him. I dig her a lot. Expect lots of pics and hopefully movies too.  Maybe we’ll find one of their brothers, Fraser, over on Bainbridge Island and have a little family get together.

D&S have Touche now, but it may not be permanent. She hasn’t had her elbows and hips fully certified, and if she fails them then she can’t show and breed. She turns 2 in November and will have to be certified then. If she fails, then at that point, D&S will probably have to re-home her. They have enough pet Berners; they need SHOW dogs. And, you know…

Ever since I met her I’ve had this feeling…

Berners rock.

A Proud Moment of Puppy Play

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.

Savage Chicken’s Dog Parks

July 31st, 2008

I thought I’d try to beat Jen and post this cartoon.

Where Tennis Balls Go To Die...

Weekend Update with Guido

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.