Saturday, April 25, 2009

It is raining gender confused cats, but no dogs. . .

Variety is the spice of life, and so when we saw an add for more kittens, naturally we had to call. Now Tom has a brother, Aaron Burr. Tom's full name is Thomas Jefferson, so our vice kitten has thus far proved to be an adorable and good influence on Tom. But as with any good story, there is a twist. Yes, readers of our blog, we can exclusively present a little know historical fact, Thomas Jefferson may have been a girl. Or perhaps he is just cold. After seeing our obviously boy kitten Aaron Burr, and watching Tom turn over to play with him, we noticed, shall we say, a difference. We are not experts, and according to online sources, it can be hard to tell at this age, but it is entirely possible that Thomas Jefferson is a girl. Interesting. . . At this point we are waiting until they are done doing battle with catnip mouses and string to see if further discoveries can be made. This does bring into question the name Tom, I am in favor of keeping Him/Her/It as Tom, Jak is undecided. And we have discovered that while Aaron Burr is a calm sort of individual, Tom is like a heroin junkie on a bad trip when he has cat nip. I am sure that more amusing updates will follow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tom Cat

No, we have not succumbed to Scientology and have no fascination with Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes, or whatever weird thing either of them is doing at the moment. In all honesty we are rather cut off from the events of the US, we get our news from the BBC, and only catch the highlights. Or lowlights as the case may be. No, the Tom Cat we are referring to is our cat, Tom. And despite some reports, it is quite an origional name. We have given him the venerable name shared by such notables as Jefferson, Bombadil, Boonen and even Riddle. But the last, we really can't talk about his name. Writing these with my bride proofreading really shows my hatred of the apostrophe, what a damned foolish piece of punctuation. She also points out that I have 18 run on sentences so far, and my grammar is that of a 4 year old. Nonetheless, I have temporary control of the keyboard, and if I wish to maintain it, I should get back to the point. We have a cat, a kitten really, he is all black and promises to have a beautiful medium length coat. He is a postal cat, insomuch as we got him from a gentleman who works at the post office. And Tom is quite adorable, and has quite a loud voice with which he occasionally voices his displeasure at being seperated from his mother and siblings. Now I think our menagiere of pets is complete for the time being with the two mice and the cat. The only thing we need now is a boxer, probably a puppy so that the cat and boxer can get along famously. I have great faith that in due course fate will present us with the perfect puppy, and that Jak will then be the happy queen of a further expanded household.
PS: Ma and Pa can now visit in the safe knowledge that Pa's favorite animals will be present.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A return to reviews

So I originally intended this to be an outlet for our opinions on things, and have been decidedly lax on that front. Now considering I live in what could be considered the capital of beers, the very people who inspired Beer Fest, and who annually hold Octoberfest, it may be surprising that the beer I chose to review now is a bit closer to home. I bring you Samuel Adams Boston Lager! Oh and an aside, proof that they like their beer, the entire state still hasnt sobered up enough to realize that they hold Octoberfest in September.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager
4.8% ABV and 35 IBU

This is as much a review of German Beers versus American Beers as much as it is a review of Sam Adams. My annalogy is to relate them to cars. I love German cars, VW, BMW, Mercedes, they are refined, generally flawless, and a joy to behold. But anyone who saw my first car knows that I like a bit of what would be generously described as roughness. Not 120 grit sand paper rough, I mean rough around the edges. My first car was also Aaron's first car, and Ethan's first car, and it was older than me. It was a 1983 Chevrolet Crew Cab with an extended bed. It was light blue, though it spent various times in its life with us with brown doors, a mismatched rust and blue paintjob, and its final baby blue courtesy of Pa and I and a June afternoon. I digress, but you may see the difference I am hinting at. German beers are wonderful, perfectly smooth, balanced as only hundreds of years of brewing the same recepie can be. But they lack that origionality, that tail pipe about to fall off edge that I really like. This difference led me to a proclaiment last Friday night, when I looked in the fridge and said to my bride, "I need some American Beer." Now while that could have meant Coors or Miller or Budweiser, I wanted an origional car, not a 1983 Honda that belches blue smoke. Sam Adams is a readily accesable representation of what makes American beer great. It has the right blend of hops, that hint of spice, and the rich warm color that make you feel like youre back in New England again. It goes perfectly well with steak or hotdogs, as a refresher after mowing the lawn or something to enjoy after dinner while my bride quafs a Guiness. It is like Otis, my stuffed dog from when I was 4, that reminder of warm days and happy memories. It can go anywhere and still be great, even if it is the young whippersnapper compared to its neighbors in my refrigerator. And when push comes to shove, it is easier to justify 12 ounces over 1/2 a liter.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Cows in Moos

Sorry for our extended absence from these pages, the last several weeks have been rather hectic, and a stressed Miller is one who does not really have a desire to write. So, to update on the last several weeks, Ethan and his girlfriend, Chris, and her kids came down our neck of the woods for Easter. It was a blast, we had dinner prepared by my lovely bride, and hiked up to the tower on a clear day this time and saw what there was to see. It was beautiful, the only hitch was that I am now apparently a pedophile, as Jak paid the kids rate going up the tower, while Ethan, Chris and I paid the adult rate. The gentleman collecting the money would not let Jak pay the adult rate. Funny and economical all in one!
We no longer have the dog, last week a call came from his old owners asking for him back, and while he was happy, we decided that although we were happy with him, it was unfair to pull, the "he's mine and too bad" act. There will be other dogs for us, and we will be in the market for a boxer. You can't really top Helen, but we will try to come close with our next dog. If anyone is looking to sell a preferably white boxer puppy, we have a dogless home that needs one!
Although work has been truly stressful for both of us, we are at least finding a bit of time to take some great bike rides! Jak made a crazy suggestion on Saturday, that had the full potential for disaster, but worked out gloriously....fixed gear cyclocross! If you have no idea what this entails, ask Alli and she can tell you how crazy we are. Well, needless to say, we loved it, and will be riding tons more cross, minus the free wheel. The only snafu to a great ride was our ending up in a cow farmer's yard. We had accidentally ridden down a cow path that lead to great big cow barns. When we had realized that we were in fact right in front of his house/ barn area, it was too late to escape as his jack russell terrier had already sounded the alarm. Both farmer and wife came out to check out why in heck two spandex clad bikers were in thier yard. At that point, Jak, being Jak thought it best to act as the silly girl she is. Instead of explaining that we were lost, she simply asked "Where is the road?" although it was in plain sight on the other side of an irrigation ditch. Both farmers looked at us like idiots, and simply pointed to the road. We thanked them and asked if we could traipse over thier lawn to the road. Thankfully they allowed us to do so, more to get rid of us than anything. Ironically enough, the cows were not in the Town of Moos that we often ride by, but in the neighboring town Grub. Go figute. I am sure they will be talking about us over thier Sunday dinner!
Anyway, we miss you all and love you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Two Towers

Okay, same tower, second visit. No Ents. No Dark Riders, in fact very little similarity with the above literary reference. But what are bad puns if not tenuous at best. Jak and I decided to return to the scene of our earlier adventure in Neustadt am Kulm and the really cool tower. This time we were dressed somewhat more appropriately for adventuring, namely there was no spandex, we were wearing practical shoes, and we had a huge black dog. I suppose if Jak didnt wear her glasses and it was really dark and misty out and she was in the mood to be imaginative, we could mistake him for a dark rider. Minus the rider, so more of the dark rider's horse. Now my reference is less tenative.
Anyway, the tower is even cooler than we could have hoped for. After using our phones to free translate the parking signs, we figured out where to leave the car and went for a hike up the hill to the tower. It reminds me so much of Connecticut it isn't even funny. It has the same rock scree slope as the ridge back home, which was really fun to negotiate while trying to keep up with Rocco. On our way up we saw numerous bronze age archeological sites, but we didn't manage to find any pieces for ourselves, which was dissapointing. All dissapointment was banished when we got to the top and found that the tower is open to the public all the time. 82 Stairs later (I think) we reached the top and despite the hazy day we were treated to quite a view. Rocco was unimpressed, he mainly wanted water, as we have discovered that we own the most hydration obsessed dog in the world. After a quick lunch and nap at home, we went to Obi (wan Kenobi), which is the cooler German brother of Home Depot. They even have the same orange clothes for the employees, but their logo is a Beaver. Which did spark a question for Jak and I as to whether or not they have Beavers over here. I am inclined to think they don't, as in "Buffalo Girls," they have beavers in a Zoo only, but they may have proliferated and become plentiful again. (Note: Pretty much that whole sentence will only be fully understood by the Weidner-Miller side of the family) And now the long awaited answer, thanks to wikipedia. . . . (drum roll) there are beavers here!! They were hunted nearly to extintion, but have been reintroduced in such awesome areas as Bavaria, Austria, and SERBIA!!!!! And I also discovered that there was a pre-historic Giant Beaver in North America that was the size of a Black Bear. I want one to go with a giant german rabbit. The Beaver will be named Tiny and the Rabbit will be named Gigantor. Jak says that the big dog is enough, but I firmly believe that Rocco should be the beginning of a menagere of giant animals. At Obi (wow that was a long side track) we got plants and gardening tools so that we can begin to make our yard look less like Peyton Place. Don't ask me what Peyton Place looks like exactly, but apparently we look like that. Which is a bad thing I think, as mention of it drives my wife into a cleaning and gardening frenzy. Pretty much, I don't want to go to this Peyton Place place. Apparently it is Guilmonton Iron Works, so sorry Guilmonton, I will not visit. All in all a successful day, and a tired Jak, Miller, and Hund. Goodnight and all our love!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Epic Poo

So Miller was right, big dogs take big poos. Yesterday we had to take the car to get a new spring-thingy put in. While the car was being fixed we decided to walk around the surrounding countryside. We had to cross through town to get to some walking trails, and while doing so, mother nature called on Rocco. Seeing what he was doing, I quickly pulled out a bag. He had to have chosen the narrowest cobbled sidewalk to conduct his business. One preface to this next part of the narrative: Germans will tell you if they don't like what your are doing, and expect others to do the same. So some guy in this crappy little Fiat decides to yell out his window while driving way too fast (as is the German way) something about how he hates poo.....whatever. So I attempt to pick up this cow plop sized mound....well, it was just too much for the bag. Admitting defeat, I tied up the bag with a good portion of poo in it, and we quickly made an exit to the farms on the outskirts of town....where Rocco could crap to his hearts delight, I mean, the cows do!
Following his pooing adventure, we walked for almost four hours, covering about twenty kilometers before the car was ready. During that time, we were able to solidify some old obedience training (sitz and platz) and teach him some new ones (fus and give paw). He is a very quick learner, so the rest won't be much of a problem, I just have to keep my supply of cut up hot-dogs and cheese on me until he gets the hang of them all. The poor boy does have an ear infection though, which we are treating with drops, but I don't think are doing very well, as it is tough to get him not to shake them out, so I think very little medicine is getting in. We will discuss this with the vet when he goes in next week for a check up and to schedule for him to be neutered. Just like Zack always did, even though Rocco is very much a boy, he still pees like a girl....oh, and did I mention he is afraid of the dark and small much for a big manly dog! Anyway, we are going to spend another day gallivanting around the Bavarian countryside, as is our habit!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Family- Rocco, Rocco- Family

Well, Jak and I have a new addition to our family. Rocco. He is beautiful, big, and every bit of the dog we wanted.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Tomorrow (Thursday) we are getting our dog!! We are adopting him from an Army family whose small son has developed a really bad allergy. His name is Rocket, though that is going to change. Possibly to Werner, but we will see what he thinks. Oh, one more thing.
As in bigger than Jak.
No Joke.
I'm getting a saddle.
Western, maybe English for Jak
Maybe a tandem Saddle
He is that Big.
I am not even joking.
He is big and beautiful. He is a Lab/German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, and I think his feet are the size of mine.

Positives: Huge Dog
Negatives: Epic Poops
More to follow
PS: Jak got the fire department called while cooking dinner. I have the pictures of the 2 firetrucks and 2 MP vehicles that showed up. German sirens sound really cool. And German firemen are nice. And dinner wasn't even burnt. I am now fully confident that we will not die in a fire. Or even get a nasty wax burn from an errant candle. Or even light a match in peace. Because they don't have those nice move the smoke away from it and it stops sounding the air-raid siren type alarms. Nope, none of this backing out or exit strategies. Once you're on fire here, you are committed. Screw stop, drop, and roll, they will be there in a minute at most to save you.

High on A Hill. . .

I will preface this by saying that we never did see the lonely goat herder. Perhaps societal expectations of a lonely goat herder demand that they shun outsiders, as otherwise they probably would not be all that lonely.
Okay, a bit of explanation is probably required. On Sunday, Jak and I drove to Pottenstein, which is better known to my troops as the place where steak-on-a-stone is. While we did not visit this gustatory Xanadu, I do have to put forth Jak and my opinion. At this particular restaurant, which fascinates all of our battalion, they bring out a really hot stone to you that you then cook your dinner on. It is reminiscent of taking out a pan, putting it on a stove, and cooking in it. Wait a moment, it is pretty much the same thing. Except you pay for it. I have to give the owner credit, that is a work of genius. Get the silly patrons to cook their own meals and sit back and watch the deutschmarks (now euros) roll in.
Moving on, Pottenstein is in fact a startlingly beautiful ancient resort town, complete with hot mineral springs, and cold ponds full of fish. Where there is no fishing allowed. Very German. The immediate surrounding area has more than 450 Kilometers of hiking and biking trails, so we decided to park and avail ourselves of some of that length, cameras in hand. Or bag. We hiked past an absolutley beautiful house that is perched on top of a pilar of dolomite. We didn't go inside, but from the looks of the place you can stand off an army. Even an army that would have to storm its heights in order to go to steak-on-a-stone. While the house was cool, Jak and I tend to run to more simple tastes, namely the goats we encountered further down the trail. Now you understand the Julie Andrews references above. As evidenced by the more than 100 pictures we took of them, they were quite cool. If you look at our flickr, you can see some of the more choice selections, with such gems as Goat Looking Angry, Goat Standing, Goat Doing Goat Things, and my favorite, Goat So Bored It Is Chewing One Leg. Did I mention we like goats? We were also able to see the locals enjoying the mountains, and a real live boar. . .Kinda. Fortunatley, we were able to escape the viscious local ducks, and bring these pictures back to you. It was a great day out, we cant wait to go back.
PS. We saw the Pope!!