Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gotta wear your yellow pages in this park

So things here stink pretty badly. This week has just been disastrous, so to clear my mind, I will share an experience I had Friday. So....I am usually in the mood for adventuring of any sort. Late Friday afternoon, on a very balmy 45 degree Virginia day, I decided to go for a light hike. Having been stricken with the flu (even though I had a flu shot.... that I did not want in the first place... but trying to tell ye olde medic about creating a super-flu is like talking to a heap of guano....anyway...) I wanted to find a local park where I could take it slow. I pulled out my "handy" dandy (all of you German speakers should get the pun) blackberry and searched for some nature area in the vicinity. The closest result was Appomattox Regional Park. I had seen signs quite a few times, and attempted to find it once, but every time I looked, I seemed to wind up in the Federal Corrections parking lot. Being adventurous, I decided to try once more. Well, trusting the technology in my car, I once again found myself in the parking lot of the county prison...lovely. I mean, hey, I miss Miller, but I am not quite looking for a nice "pen pal" who simply got "screwed by the system."
After thinking about this for a few minutes with my doors soundly locked, my thoughts were interupted by my Magellen prompting me to take a "left turn in .5 miles." Ellen, as I call my GPS, must be losing her mind! But as I was about to lose faith in my computer friend, a bumpy dirt road caught my eye. Putting my car in gear, I continued on my journey. My poor V-Dub didn't want to get dirty..."you just washed me," she cried! You all must understand, that my dear car is a very spoiled prissy girl. With my mind set on finding this place, I ignored her, something I never do. In a way, I wished I had listened.
With Ellen rooting me on, I traversed the dirt road. After driving a minute or two though, I noticed a figure in the distance. As you all know, my eyesight isn't much to write home about, so I did not immediately think much about the fellow. As the road was not well cared for, I was driving slowly to minimize my car's complaints. Well, as soon as I took one good gaze at the guy, I said "Sorry car" and and nailed the excelerator. Picture this...a deranged looking Paul Newman (as he would look now, i.e. decomposing) in 1980's styled clothes carrying a paper bag, i.e. his possessions from prision! Well to any sound-minded individual, one look would make anyone pull a u-turn and get out of Dodge. As I had explained earlier, I had been having a bad week, so I wasn't quite thinking with much sense, so I just kept driving. Within 5 or so minutes I reached the trail head and got out. I had a lovely walk and took quite a few photos, none of which were superb, but a couple were alright. I safely hiked back to my car, hacking and blowing my nose the whole way. I am not sure what made the ax murderer not turn around and come dismember me. I like to think it was God looking over me, as I think He sometimes does, but with all liklihood, the crazy killer heard me coughing up a lung from a mile away and didn't want to come within miles of Typhoid Mary. Another day without being hacked to bits by a guy who should be on CSI...that is a victory in my book.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Poor Honest Abe

We are at war on many fronts, the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Literacy. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the one we have won. The War on Pennies. Well to be perfectly honest, we have only won the European Theater. Wherever you go in US Army Europe, there is nary a penny to be found. In the year when we seem to be celebrating the great Lincoln, I guess the army has moved on from his current lasting memorial. It may have something to do with the economic viability of shipping an item made for 2 cents that is worth 1 which is worth at today's rates about .77 cents of a euro.
But I obviously digress. In fact, digression may not be the word, as not one coherent thought has escaped my lips, or in this case fingertips, since I began this particular rumination. By now, you are probably wondering what I have been doing over here. So please be prepared for a rather lengthy account of my travels thus far.
Ma and Pa dropped me off at Boston Logan to catch my flight. Thanks to my powers of persuasion, a military ID and a set of orders, I was able to avoid the 200 dollar upcharge for my third bad. Phew. Once inside airport security I found a restaurant that happened to have Harpoon UFO (one of my favorite beers) on tap. Score one for Miller!! My waitress was really nice, and shared stories of her son's deployment to Iraq with 82nd Airborne. In short order, it was time to board the 6 and a half hour flight to Frankfurt.
The flight was uneventful, I did have an empty seat next to me, which was a god send, and enjoyed a surprisingly good meal washed down with an impressively good German beer. You have to love Lufthansa. I arrived hours later and not much the worse for wear in Frankfurt, and began a long yet ultimately successful quest to find the USO. To make a long story somewhat shorter, I inprocessed and found myself on a bus to Grafenwoehr. Properly, I was in fact headed to the Rose Barracks, more commonly known as Vilsek to meet my sponsor and get into my hotel. Joe (my sponsor) picked me up and brought myself and my bulging luggage to the hotel, and moments later we were on our way to Graf proper to meet my new commander.
Instead I met her dog. Now dog in this case was at first overly generous, as the cats are all bigger, but it ended up being worthy of the designation and is in fact a pretty cool dog. I was then taken to meet the Battalion Commander, where I found out that I had not in fact met my commander, but Jak's as they had switched the positions that we were going to. I met my new commander as I helped carry some of his stuff into the post office. First sign that I will like it here, all of the various higher ranking officers I met were nice, and seemed to honestly care about a snot nosed new LT, which at this point is something exciting and new.
By this point, my body was confused, and it was time for dinner by my watch, lunch by my stomach, and nap by my body. The former two were heeded, and Joe and his wife took me to have my first dinner in country. Mexican food. Probably one of the best burritos I have ever had, with not a single Mexican person in sight.
I apologize if my account of the first day is disjointed, but I am trying to piece it together from jet lagged memories. The rest of the week has gone uneventfully, I have met some of the folks at my new unit, gone to my first OPD, had amazing Italian food (don't worry, German dinner is due some time this weekend), completed part of my in processing, and begun to reset my body clock.
Today was a flex day (Army for we have nothing that you really need to do, so don't bother coming in), so I had my first solo adventure outside the fence, and hopped the bus to Auerbach. (full name Auerbach in der Oberpfalz) It was awesome. I wandered through a city older than any in the US, found a bike shop, ate delicious pastries, managed to avoid and linguistic disasters that could cause a Third World War, and even made it safely back to post in the end. I also encountered friendly gnomes, a statue of a bull equipped with . . .well. . .it was obviously a bull, statues of saints, of god only knows what, and generally just a beautiful little town. I will definitely return.
Alas, this has brought us to the present, and fortunately for you all the end of a rather poorly written narrative. I love you all very much, and miss you, but Jak and I have been able to talk on skype, so all in all the world isn't bad at all.

-Post Script. Re-read the first sentence if you have not caught it already. Thats right, I guess we got another winner there. War on Literacy. Oops

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Made It

I am officially part of the permanent party here at USAEUR Grafenwoher. And man am I tired, my body has no idea what time it is, but im trying to make it catch up to local time. I have my unit (41st Transportation Company and the CO has as many bikes as I do!) and Jak is going to the unit I was origionally going to. Complicated story that will come later when I am more coherent. Love to you all.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Army makes me look so much cooler than I acutually am...

Thanks to the Army, my job, and therefore myself, looks so much cooler than it really is. To prove this point, look at the picture to the right. How nifty is that? A Chinook flying with a Humvee through the air has got to be one of the neatest things you would see for a while. This is what I got to do on Friday. We rigged a bunch of stuff to lift, guided the helicopters in, attached the loads, and did not get electrocuted. What a day. When we do things like this, you feel cool. So look at all my photos on Flickr and think of how cool I look. Just don't remember that I am a wicked dork who still loves the X-Files and has read every Harry Potter Book at least 10 times.

Woodland and Swamp Adventures

Hey nonny-nonny, hey nonny-nonny. For those of you who get this Disney reference, you can guess what this post may refer to. For those of you who are sadly behind on Disney films of the 1990's, I will fill you in. Yesterday I decided to go to the coast. I had had a very stressful week, so I took a cue from a great American writer and started driving. Like Herman Melville said in my favorite sentence in the English language, "...I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." I would quote the whole sentence, but it is 87 words long, and I have no desire to type the entire thing, but if you must see it, read the fourth sentence in Moby Dick. Even better, read the book. You might find you like it better now than you did when Mr./Mrs. Fillinthename made you read it for high school English. I know that I do.
Anyway.....did a bit of internet searching and found a great state park right outside of Virginia Beach. It is said that Virginia has the best state parks in the country. I would happen to agree! When driving into First Landing State Park, I noticed that it was not only well taken care of, but quite popular for such a chilly and rather damp day in January. This great park was established through the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, as were many other parks not only in Virginia, but across the country. Thank you FDR! Although popular and well taken care of, I was still able to feel quite alone (in a good way) in the woods, with few other hikers to disturb me on the trails. With over 19 miles of well marked trail, even with many runners and hikers enjoying the space, I never felt crowded.
This park was named to commemorate where the settlers from the Virginia Company first landed before moving on to Jamestown. Although it is a great wilderness, I can certainly see why they did not stay. The terrain is unforgiving, and it is easy to lose oneself in the cypress swamps, salt marshes, maritime foresst, freshwater wetlands, dunes, and shoreline. I was excited to see some tropical flora, like cypress and and palms. These plants are native and have addapted to fit in with the southern pines and hardy sea grasses that are common in the area. Some photos from this hike are posted on
After expoloring for a few hours I left to walk Virginia Beach. It was chilly, so I snapped a few photos and left to conduct some much need retail therapy. I was able to score some great clothes at 80-90% off at the outlet stores in Williamsburg. In fact, I got so many great deals I went back this morning to get some more! All in all, I spent less than $100! Got to love this crashing economy. As I heard on Marketplace on NPR " 94-92% of you still have a job and are making no less than you did last act like it!" Not only do I agree, but I am doing my part to stimulate the economy by looking cute in my new duds!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


For those of you who do not know, WTF stands for What The F@#k. And it is one of those days yet again. I said goodbye to my bride early this morning, which stinks, as she really is the best thing to ever happen to me. But goodbye always has to come before hello can be said again. Than I waited for Bean's exercise equipment to arrive by truck. While waiting I hopped in the shower, figuring that if they arrived, they would ring the bell or call the house phone. Apparently those things are too hard. I came downstairs after my shower to find the phone ringing, and answering found the dispatcher from the delivery company on the phone. Apparently I had just missed their delivery. Curious person that I am, I asked what their driver had done to find out if I was there. They knocked on the door. The garage door. Now call me crazy, but knocking on a garage door is not the traditional way I attempt to hail the members of a household. The driver was re-dispatched, and when he did arrive, I short cut the process by opening the garage door before he came up. His explanation was that no-one had answered when he knocked on the garage door, so he had left. I try not to disparage the working man, but WTF? I then loaded the car with everything for up north, got my hair cut, and ate some lunch when Aunt Robin called, asking me to stop by the office. Cue evil music. Met Life, the same ones who said that there would be no problems to close today, and to let all the involved parties know, has decided once again that they need more asinine information. Auntie's company is pissed, I am pissed, and now I understand the financial crisis. These people cant find their own posteriors with two hands, a flashlight, a pair of night vision goggles, an FBCB2, and damned near everything else that one can use to find anything. The only people who have come out shining on this are Auntie's company. If you ever need a mortgage, go to Reliant Mortgage, they are saints. Without them and Auntie, I would have committed murder ages ago. Love to you all, wish us luck.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whenever It Rains, It Snows

Do you ever have one of those days? Has it ever lasted a week? We have!!! Things to do this weekend: 1. Have Jak arrive in Manchester 2. Close on house 3. Move in to house 4. Fly Jak back to VA Results: 1. Late 2. Tuesday 3. See #2 4. Delayed till tomorrow morning due to snow. All in all a wonderful weekend for our last weekend together until the end of March. And it seems that our luck rubs off on others. Mum's car broke down. In an intersection. Where Bean than had to go direct traffic. And it than had to be towed 200 feet. After which she had to use Alli's car. Which had a soda explode inside. Everywhere. As in it took Alli 5 minutes to go all CSI in her efforts to find said can. There were, however some upsides. . .
Ummmm, upsides. . . right. Well, seeing family was good. We met Alli's latest Andrew (is this number 2. 3 or 4?) He was nice, and the 4 of us went to Portsmouth where Miller drank a Paddle of Beer. More on that to come, as you may have guessed that a paddle is not a traditional unit of measure for beer. This weekend has called for beer. Lots of it. We are going to the Wild Rover in Manchester to have a beer. They probably don't have it in paddles, but for now, it will have to do. Love to you all, remember, there is always one step further down you can go.

-Nate for both of us

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dear Met-Life, You Suck

The above may not be all that fair. But Met-Life, you have annoyed us greatly. In case you are wondering as to the source of our great frustration (aside, how do you pronounce that word, Jak says the "r" must be pronounced, I say she talks funny) is that they are making us close on Tuesday, so by us I mean me with a power of attorney, which is not as cuddly as Jak. I apologize for the run on sentence there, they have provoked that sort of running on anger. Nonetheless, we will have a house on Tuesday, even though it will be more than a year before we can both be in it at the same time. But that does give an opportunity for the rest of you; USE OUR HOUSE!! Just moments from route 93, 2 hours north of wonderful Boston MA, minutes from beautiful Loon Mountain, this 2 bedroom stunner provides every possible amenity. Comes complete with washer and dryer, Swedish masseuse (not really), real wood burning fire place (as in where you build a fire and light it, not turn on a switch) and so much more!! This can be yours for the bargain price of. . .well we cant charge rent, so we will just say wicked cheap!!! Just clean out the fridge, throw us a couple bucks for the utilities you use, or get that thing that no house can be without and leave a 6 pack from Woodstock Brewery. Ethan, that does not mean get us a singing fish, or anything of similar nature. Pa, that includes you too. Ma and Pa, no abandoning the cats there, no matter how much they are fighting. Alli, do not start a brothel with your friends to pay off college. Mum and Bean, no Bud Light, okay you can have bud light, just don't tell anyone what it is, and if someone catches you with it, we don't know you. Aaron, you can leave kayaks with us, but you have to include paddles, we do not want to be up a creek without one.
On a more coherent vein (it is now my turn to write, as Miller has retreated to the latrine for the time being), it is wonderfully crisp here in the Granite State. I have finally decided to stop wearing shorts, which are a staple of my wardrobe in Virginia. I still maintain, that it must be at least below freezing to warrant any kind of jacket at all, and you must be skiing to wear a parka. Though, don't tell that to all the rapper's wearing those horrible puffy coats to hide their gats down in Roxbury. It is just so funny how great practical clothing items like goose down parkas found their way from Sir Edmund Hilary's Everest expeditions to the streets of Boston. Go figure. I guess the coats must go well with those straight brimmed ball caps with the price stickers on them and untied Timberlands (a Portsmouth, NH based company I might add). I remember growing up, that you never wanted to admit you even bought a new baseball hat, and would promptly upon purchase of the new headgear, go run it through the grass and mud a couple times and bend the brim so much that it creased, but I digress. With the cold weather has come sweater wearing, and with sweater wearing has come a Michelin Man-like appearance, or to use his proper name, a Bib-like look. Winter in New England is truly a special time of year, where men and women alike resemble lumpy marshmallows. It is during this season that no person in New Hampshire could possibly have body image issues due to the fact that very few of us have taken off enough clothes to see the proper shape of our selves, let alone see a patch of skin besides the wind-burnt tips of our noses and the frost-bitten tops of our ears. So enjoy winter while it last, because soon enough it will be spring, and with the turn of the season comes a different lumpy sort of look, one that includes massive swelling caused by our resident black fly and mosquito population. It may be cold, but be thankful that all those biting insects have yet to evolve a way to live in the ice and snow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Taste of Home

Researchers say that a person's sense of smell spurs memories and sentimental feelings better than any other sense. I would happen to disagree. Taste, at least in my uneducated opinion seems stronger. To this, many would say, "Well, (in a very haughty way) a person's sense of taste is intrinsically linked to thier sense of smell." To that I would reply "Well (in an equally haughty manner), a person can have a damaged sense of smell, yet still have a highly developed palate. Just ask my Uncle Nick!"
With that being said, I will get on with the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of this rant. To me, the Red Arrow Diner is a taste of home. Now Mum, don't take offense to this, as your chili could never be challenged, but nothing says Manch-Vegas like some beans and toast (they are said to be from coast to coast!). The Red Arrow Diner, located at 61 Lowell Street, in Manchester, NH is the best of diner and great French-Canadian cuisine. Menu items include gut filling dishes like their home-made pork pie, baked beans, and liver and onions ( I hear that one is great, I just can't bring myself to try it). They also serve breakfast all day. There is nothing better than a short stack of banana peanut butter pancakes and a big glass of chocolate milk on a cold winter day. To top it all off thier desserts are out of this world. True to their new Hampshire location they serve all sorts of pie such as, strawberry rhubarb, chocolate cream, and apple, among others. Kids can even go in the kitchen and make thier own stuffed twinky or whoopie pie. My favorite meal (if I have not eaten for the past three days, that is) is a dog, burnt to a crisp plopped in the center of a plate of baked beans. For a side I love the sweet potatoe fries with lots of powdered sugar on top. To drink, a Red Arrow Root Beer is in order. If I will not be eating for 3 days after this meal, I will finish with a slice of pie (any kind will do, I don't discriminate).
Now that I am drooling, and am getting very homesick, I emplore all readers of this post to visit the Red Arrow Diner if you are passing through Manchester. It is open 24 hours a day, so no need to hurry and get there before they close! Just be forwarned, unless you want to climb over all the patrons and the cooks (the bathroom is through the kitchen. It is a legit diner, so space is very limited), pee before you leave the house!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Packing and Other Similarly Grueling Expierences

So I hate packing, and yet I am in the midst of getting all my crap together after 13 weeks and change in the same hotel room. My room is a mess, and I broke down and bought another duffel bag, because they are made of the same material as the black whole where socks go, able to hold infinite amounts. They are helping lots. The only difficulty is that I found something I had forgotten about. A frameset. This kind of thing only happens to me or Jak. I forgot that we didn't ship my track frameset to Germany, as we were planning on selling it, and had not gotten any bites yet. Oops. Other random things I am packing are our collection of 8 growlers, part of Ethan's climbing gear we found in the attic (thought you might want it Ethan), multiple pairs of bike shoes (I miss my bikes), and an entire duffel worth of bike clothing. The last amuses me because all of my normal clothes and shoes take up but a single duffel.
My hatred of packing makes me wish I could be doing anything else. Well I suppose I am in fact doing something else, writing this, but it made me think of one of our favorite cycling movies. If you care to find out more, keep reading.

24 Solo: One Man's Quest for a 7th World Title

Okay so comparing packing to racing one's bike for 24 hours non-stop may be a bit of a stretch. But it does show my hate of packing. Any my love of this movie. While this movie is without a doubt a cycling movie, I really do think that a broader audience can see and enjoy this movie. In the age of UFC and Ultra Marathons, we expect to see humans press themselves to and beyond any reasonable limit. And we celebrate and envy them when they do. This movie follows Chris Eatough in his quest to win a 7th 24 Hour World Championship, in case you didn't catch that from the title. What we end up with is the most epic duel on two wheels since "the Look" (2001 Tour de France). In terms of our expectation of human suffering, I wont ruin the movie, but I will say that any athlete that can drive themselves to the point where their muscle's break down and begin to poison themselves should definitely count.


I AAM awesome?

I got the Army Achievement Medal today "for the meritorious achievement as administrative support during the Last Warrior Standing Combatives Tournament. His attention to detail and outstanding work ethic was instrumental in the success of the tournament. His attitude and professionalism reflects great credit upon himself, the 16th Ordnance Battalion, and the United States Army." Kinda cool, I now have more flair for my dress uniforms, though it is weird to be rewarded for doing my job. Especially when the rest of my class did their job as well. But I wont complain, except to restate my belief that if you are 165 pounds, named Kelly Theobald, and your cadre didnt write down your sex, I can be excused for placing you in the women's division.


The interesting life of Nate Miller...the boring life of Jak Miller

Although Nate has been writing on such glorious and entertaining topics which include, but are not limited to cameras, beer, and naked mole rats, and is supremely entertaining, the same cannot be said for his bride, who maintains a constant state of boredom here in VA. Quartermaster OBC is certainly not the place to be for a young adventurous gal. This is where one must create her own adventures. Adventures tend to vary by day. Some are minor adventures, likeweaving through morbidly obese Wal-Mart shoppers in a shopping cart with poorly aligned wheels. Some are more on the wild side, like climbing trees in a park outside of Richmond, and having a silly hound-ish dog believe he has treed you.
Yesterday's adventure was leaning more toward wild end of things, due to interactions between myself and many non-domestic creatures. While taking my usual jog on the Petersburg Battlefield around dusk, I spotted what appeared to be a large heard of cattle. If I were in NH, I would think nothing of this. In VA, it is a bit out of the ordinary. Although I am used to seeing odd things in Petersburg, such as crack whores, and fine dining locales such as Domino's and Mama's Tattoo and House of Pizza, I thought little of this. As I ran closer, I realized that this was not a pack of holsteins, but was a herd of over 70 deer. At the time, I found this slightly disconcerting, but looking back on it, it seems quite mundane. This is larely due to the fact that there is no hunting allowed in this national park, and that all naturual predators of deer in this area have been extinct for years thanks to habitat distruction. As I ran even closer to my beady eyed friends I attempted to get them to move out of the way by flailing my arms. If anyone had seen me, they would think I would need to go to Concord (any New Hampshirite will get this reference). To my great dismay, not only did the blasted critters not move, but I was in fact seen by another LT in my class. Great.
This scene gave me flashbacks to a time in CT when I was learning to drive standard and a deer would not only not move out of the way of my ever stalling vehicle, but seemingly laughed at my pathetic up-hill start attempts. The scene had repeated itself. They were laughing at me. And they never moved. I did some Wal-Mart-esque weaving and eventually got past the herd, but I swear that I could hear them sniggering as I jogged by. Damn the deer.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Of Mole Rats and Men

As a serious reader, I read serious things. Always. Like Mo Willem's masterpiece Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. This book is amazing, we got it because I heard the title on NPR driving to see Jak and we had to find it. Fortunately it was at Barnes and Noble, and all I can say is that there are three things you need to know about naked mole rats: 1. They are a little bit mole 2: They are a little bit rat 3: They are all naked. Read it, no matter what your age is. You don't even have to buy it, just stop by the book store and read it.


New Camera and New Hobby

I fell in love with Pa's indestructible camera when Jak and I were in Spain, and thanks to Ebay I finally broke down and got one of my own. I am now the proud owner of an Olympus 850 SW in bright orange. Because I am distinctly lacking in bikes right now (they are all in a container that I am hoping will not fall off of a ship in the Atlantic), Jak and I have been doing much more hiking and walking. To go onto a tangent, I think we really have rediscovered the joy of going slow. I have been racing my bike for so long that until I had no patience for hiking or walking, because it didn't get me anywhere fast. Thanks to my bride, I have really started to love it again. It lets me see lots that I normally wouldn't, plus it is warmer now that winter has started to arrive in Maryland. To that end I went for a long walk at Susquehanna State park near me yesterday to enjoy myself and have some fun with my new camera. While I was there, I remembered that the camera is waterproof so against what some would call better judgment on a 25 degree day, I started sticking the camera underwater to get cool pictures of the streams there. And it worked. And my hand froze. Cutting my walk short somewhat, as my right hand lost all feeling and motor control, but I think the pictures were worth it. Next time, I need some waterproof gloves. (Click on the blue underlined words to see the pictures, I can't figure out how to put more pictures in this)


Sugar and Spice

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
??? IBUs and 5.6% ABV

This one is from a while back, and I have to give my best to the Puritan Backroom for exposing me to this. A little background of me and Smuttynose is in order. I love the name, it is funny and they have a seal, which is a pretty good combination, but a bit more than a year ago I had their Summer at a Fishercats game, and I hated it. It put me off Smuttynose, relegating it to a label I liked to look at but that gave me a sick feeling just rembering that particular pint. Fast forward to one weekend this fall when Jak, I, Alli and her boyfriend of the time went to the Puritan. There I had to be the adventerous one of the group and try the pumpkin ale. The adventerous part was not the pumpkin, or the return to Smuttynose, but answering "Yes" to the waitress when asked whether I wanted cinnamon and sugar on the beer. I am glad I did, the beer was good, but what made it sublime was the perfect bit of sugar and spice that perfectly managed the savory nature of the beer. The only problem was that 2 days later I was back in Maryland, where the only pumpkin ales are Michelob or Saranac, which are good but not great. So here is my long term recomendation, next mid-august start looking out for the pumpkin ale, and when the temperature head over to the Puritan to get some with sugar and spice.


Monday, January 12, 2009

A Hit and A Miss

DuClaw Brewing company is very close to me here at Aberdeen, and as a result they have enjoyed my patronage more than once or twice. As a result I have tried and enjoyed several of their beers, below are two I tried most recently.

Bare Ass Blonde Ale
19 IBUs and 5% ABV

Jak makes fun of me a lot for liking girly beers, and in this case I must confess, I like this beer a lot. It is simple, good, clean fun, despite its title. The hops are barely present in this, yet it has a complexity that lends itself to drinking regardless of the season. I find that the only difference in how I enjoy it is that in the warmer weather I like to have a lemon wedge in it (I know, fruiting the beer) while in the cold I prefer it as is. The finish is what I like best about this beer, it is smooth as, well I suppose a Bare Assed Blonde would be, though I suppose silk would be a more accessible comparison. It coats the tongue well, and the after taste is pure sweet joy. It is not the best beer I have had, but it is like skittles, not the most sophisticated or the best, but always there for a good memory.

Black Jack Imperial Stout
67IBUs and 8% ABV

This beer made me sad. It smells heavenly, just enough of that hoppy goodness with the perfect overtones of what the company claims is 3 different malts. The head did not dissapoint, it was almost like eating a Riesen with a little caramel for good measure. As I reached the beer itself, I had high hopes for some amazing beer. Maybe it is my lack of sophistication, maybe the Blonde had coated my tongue with main stream goodness, but once I hit the beer, I was glad I had ordered a sample glass instead of a pint. There was that same espresso and caramel that I had smelled and tasted in the foam, but where the Blonde triumphs, the Black Jack fails, as the after taste reminded me too much of medicine. The votes on the website disagree with me, but this is Jak and My blog, so I can say what I want.



I used to not like tea, in fact I used to hate it. Than I got fat. Once my weight began to rise, my bride began to admonish my love of Coke, and I must confess that I drank way too much of it. I do love coke. What I, by which I mean Jak, realized was that while Coke is delicious, it is full of calories that could be better used elsewhere. Mainly not on my gut. My biggest problem was that while I would drink water at home, when we went out and a beer was not appropriate, I would drink Coke for lack of anything else to drink. My life changed when Jak made me get Iced Tea at Panera. I hated it. That was not much of a change, but what I discovered was that when I added 3 parts tea to 1 part water, along with an obscene amount of lemon, I loved it. Now I cannot bear to be separated from tea. My new problem became the cravings between visits to Panera, and the associeate costs. Salvation has come in the form of Lipton's Iced Tea Brew, in the family sized bag. Thank you Lipton, for having the same flavor, at a bargain basement price, so now I can drink 2 or 3 quarts a day without feeling a single iota of guilt.



Now that I have a forum with which to pass on my opinions or knowledge or lack thereof, it seemed to me that I should work through a backlog of my own reviews. I write this as a disclaimer, especially because of the notes on beer that will follow this, that these are the collection of a summer, not of a week. More concisely, I am not a drunkard.


A History of the World in 6 Glasses

One of the good things about BOLC III (Basic Officers Leader Course, Phase 3) here at Aberdeen is that I have had a good amount of time to read. While that has entitled lots of fiction as normal, I have also ventured into several good works of non-fiction. Right now I am reading A History of the World in 6 Glasses. It is a good read, and absolutely fascinating. I am proud to share that wonderful beer is in fact one of the contributing factors that has lead to modern civilization. The book also covers the impacts of Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea and Coke. If anyone out there is looking for a really good and interesting book, this one has kept me up too late 2 nights in a row, so I would say it qualifies.



Wow, we are actually going to have a blog. This is our little way of trying to let you, our friends and family, know what is going on in our day to day life. It is a poor substitute for actually being with you all, but it should form an interesting journal of our adventures overseas. For the time being, we are both still in the states, Jak until March, Me until 25 Jan. After that we will be heading over to Grafenwoher, but not before we close on a house this Friday. Jak will also be hiking the Grand Canyon with Ma after she graduates in March.