Friday, September 2, 2011

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Brief Interlude: Where ya been?

Yeah, I know, I have been MIA. Lots of traveling for work. Plus, I have become a civil service employee. I really need to continue my Germany story, but in the meantime, this is where I've been (ever):

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Germany, part 1: Frankfurt

What an amazing vacation!

We drove up to Philly and spent the weekend at my parent's place. Only a quick trip to Victory Brewing was worth mentioning - they have redone the whole place, and it looks MUCH better these days. Good times, good food, and good BEER!

Anyway, Dawn and I were in the plane to Germany Monday afternoon. We flew into Frankfurt, where we were scheduled to stay for three days. After scrambling about to figure out the trains, find our hotel, check in and feel the place out, it was time for a beer!

I, of course, HAD to do my "beer geek" thing...

The following day we did a day trip to Stuttgart in an attempt to research Dawn's family. She has already tracked back to 1540, and was attempting to go further. Unfortunately, it was pretty much fruitless, despite some really nice people trying to help us out.

The last day in Frankfurt, we did a Rhine river tour. Cold, rainy, but a very nice trip up the river. We hooked up with a cool Australian couple, and we joked the whole trip, snapping pics of churches and castles. Lots and lots of churches and castles. DAMN, there are lots of churches and castles in Germany! One of the many:

Anyway, by the time we got off the boat for a quick wine tasting, I was feeling rather ill. I believe I was done in by a salad I had in Stuttgart the day before. Either way, by the time I got back to the hotel, I was running a pretty good fever and couldn't go more than about 15 minutes between bathroom trips. I threw down some Tylenol and went to sleep at about 9PM, as Dawn left to grab some dinner and go to the historic area for a little shopping.

I awoke at 10:45, feeling MUCH better. Dawn was still not back. By 11PM, I figured she ran off with a young Frankfurter (pun intended) and I was going it alone... LOL. Actually, she got VERY lost, and wandered around for hours until she finally hopped a bus and got back to the main train station. She was a bit shaken, and had developed some huge blisters on her feet, but she was safe, thankfully.

More to come: Cologne!

BTW, if you aren't interested in all my prattling, click here for all the pics, good and bad.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I had been in Groton, CT for a week working, and had to attend a conference in Washington, D.C. I popped up at 3:30AM Tuesday to get my stuff together and drive to T.F. Green airport in Providence. I barely made my 6:10 flight. I shuffled down the aisle to my seat in the far port (left for you land-lubbers) corner. There were two rather attractive ladies seated in my row, and after everyone was seated I leaned my head against the bulkhead and fell asleep for the hour or so flight.

I awoke as we landed, and something didn't seem right in my world. People around me were, you know, kinda looking at me, and it was a bit too quiet. Whatever. I was the last person off the plane, and saw the lady who was next to me meet a bunch of people. They asked if she slept on the flight, and she replied "No, the man next to me was snoring so loud no one could sleep!"

I was, of course, fatally embarrassed. I called the wife and told her what happened. Level headed as usual, she told me to blow it off - "It's not like you'll ever see her again."

I make it to my conference, and just after the first break, guess who walks in and sits next to me. I'm horrified, and she's giggling. I apologized profusely. Dawn laughed and laughed when I told her...

That evening, I hooked up with my friend Aaron for a little beer tasting at his house. Good times! We all got a little buzzed and shot the shit into the evening. Aaron and his wife Kathy are great people, and excellent hosts. Visiting them makes any snoring-on-the-plane embarrassment worthwhile.

I flew home Wednesday to see my family... for a minute. Thursday Dawn took the kids to PA for her brother's wedding. I was to follow Friday after work. I got my Amtrak ticket Thursday evening and spent the rest of the night watching TV with the dog. Ah, quiet in my own home. Nice!

Friday was enough to drive a man insane. My uncle picked my up at 3PM to take me to the train station in Newport News. Traffic was insane, and I missed the train by about 10 minutes. DAMN! Working my cell phone for all it was worth, I got a rental from Hertz, but I had to be there by 6PM. With traffic, I JUST made it. 3 hours in a rush hour loop around Hampton Roads is NOT my idea of fun. Still, I was on my way.

I got all the way to the PA Turnpike without incident. Then, the semi in front of me lost a tire, which I promptly hit. Fortunately, no damage to the car. I was all safe at my father in law's house by Midnight.

The wedding was funny. I was one of three readers during the mass. All three of us muffed the reading horribly. The first guy, Todd, read completely the wrong passage from the bible. I got up there and started in the middle of my passage, then jumped to the beginning and read to where I started. I damn near burst into laughter at the pulpit. The third reader couldn't find her page, as I forgot to flip to it as I left. Then, as icing on the cake, I realized what I did and popped of an "OH SHIT" in the middle of church. I am SO going to hell.

Dawn was in the wedding party, and the girls handed out programs. All three looked absolutely beautiful, if I do say so myself. The reception was one of the best, EVER. Amazing spread at the Springfield Country Club. I can't begin to imagine what it cost. Simply amazing food, service, everything. Cheers to the new Mr. and Mrs. Koder!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


What a weekend. The girls had their dance recital. Finally.

It all started Thursday with dress rehearsal. Got to the opera house at 4PM, didn't leave until 10:30, and it wasn't really over yet - a few dances remained, but WE were done. On to Friday!

Friday, my Dad drives down for the big show(s). Off to the opera house we go, 6PM to 10:30. Saturday was the same, with my cousin's graduation party to attend prior. By the time all this is over, I am seeing Little Mermaids dancing in my head, and the songs are embedded in my head so deeply I want to dig up Walt Disney and throttle his corpse.

Sunday was nice and quiet. It was really cool to sit and drink coffee with my Dad on father's day, just talking and relaxing. The kids got us Skil Power Cutters. Fun stuff.

After Dad left, I was uploading the pictures from the recital, and was struck by the way the girls had grown over the last year. Comparing lat year's pics to this year was amazing, particularly Danielle. Last year she still looked like a little girl - this year not so much. I remembered that while I was watching her dance pointe, I thought she looked strange to me. Not a little girl. Not my little girl. A blossoming young lady. I felt very proud. And very sad.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Porn is dead.

Well, dead to me, anyway.

But Immy, the interweb pipes are chock full o' porn! Whatever could you mean?

Glad you asked. Let's talk about porn 20 years ago. Lots of stuff was still taboo, even after the alleged sexual revolution. My first exposure, as I imagine many a boy's was, consisted of a few scraps of Playboy pictures found by a friend. It was so cool, the girls were so hot, the pics so hard to come by - add to that the fear factor of getting caught, it was a helluva rush. The few pics we had were damn near treated as underground religious artifacts, hidden, cared for, reveled in. Just... wow, right?

The next stage was in the teen years - maybe some of us had even tasted a bit of the female fruit to some degree, but the porn factor was still huge. These were girls we (wet) dreamed about, perfect, but nigh untouchable. Sure you had a girlfriend that gave you a good grope or the occasional hummer, but THESE! THESE were women, dream women who would fulfill your wildest dreams. Oh, how tame those dreams were, in retrospect. Penthouse, Playboys, the occasional Oui stolen from someone's father's stash. Manna from heaven.

Then, the internet happened.

I remember my first experience. I was pretty much fresh out of the service, and the net was just starting to ramp up. I was using AOL dialup, and had a T-1 at work. An UNMONITORED T-1. I surfed for all sorts of porn. Redheads. Shaved. The ever-popular anal. All of these seemed exotic, taboo stuff. Then, all in one day, I saw two images I'll never forget. The first was a girl getting abused with a Louisville Slugger. HOLY JEEBUS! WHAT WAS THAT!?! Then, in a bizzare stroke of, uh, luck, I saw it. I'll never forget it. It was horrid. It was porn. It was evil.

It was tubgirl.

Don't know what it is? DO NOT GOOGLE IT. I WARNED YOU. (You will. You'll hate me for it.)

Yup, she was out there, even in 1997. I died a little that day, but a thirst was born. Each day, I saw more and more fucked up stuff. Bondage. S&M. Golden showers. Fucking Lemon Party. (AGAIN, DON'T GOOGLE IT. Yer warned.) Why? Why did I do it? I dunno. Morbid curiosity? The whole train wreck mentality? No clue.

I saw all kinds of porn along the way. This was not quick - it took years. Things that were taboo became passe. Anal? Whatever. Double penetration? Eh. Monster toys? Whatever. Gagging? On ONE cock? Amateur. Penis abuse, cigarette burns, the list goes on. Animals. Repulsive? HELL YEAH. Shocking? Hardly. It was all out there - gays, trannys, crossdressers, foot fetishes, food fetishes, you name it. Hell, most of the time it wasn't even erotic, it was a freak show you couldn't look away from, mixed in with piles and piles of vanilla sex - various positions, anal, oral, the "normal stuff", so to speak. Then, one day, it happened.


Yup. Nothing. To explain, I spend a lot of time on the road away from my wife. Therefore, I surf porn. It keeps me, um, honest. So there I was, in my hotel, laptop and cable internet, loads of porn. It did nothing. Not a chubber. Not a whisper from my pants. In the words of Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking. It was..... boring.

Yup. Bored with porn. It happened. I tried to just "lay off" for awhile. No dice. It's over. There is nothing I can view that will elicit an erotic reaction. Not on the internet, anyway. The love (lust?) affair is over, fuck the honeymoon. Game, set, match. I'm ruined. It's like I need actual, PHYSICAL CONTACT now!!! From my SPOUSE! Just to get OFF! What a freak I have become...

Saturday, June 7, 2008


So it looks like Obama will be the Democrat's choice for '08. I am a Republican at heart, but try to always give all the candidates a fair look. I went to Obama's website to see what this guy is all about.

I'm not impressed.

First, props where they are due. The guy is clearly charismatic, likable and a very good speaker. However, I think that is where the Obamania comes from, because beneath that I see little substance. It seem to me that most of his pitch is "change", "hope" and rah-rah. When you start to dig into his ideas and policies, one thing becomes clear - he wants to tax us out of whatever ails us. Every issue I read about talked about more taxes, primarily to the "rich". Democrats always seem to talk about this huge number of "rich" people, and how they seem to be getting away with financial (or, at least, tax) murder. Who are these people?

Oh shit, it's me!

Depending on which person you listen to, if you make about $100k AGI you're "rich". WHAT?!? No, I'm not there yet, but I'm getting dangerously close. Am I rich? I don't think I'm bad off at all, but I think very few would say I'm rich. Aside from that, why should people with higher incomes pay even more taxes? The top 10% of earners pay 70% of taxes, and the top 50% pay almost 97%!

Now, I know it's not all that simple, but I do think it's an important fact. Again, I'm not "rich" (or am I?) but here is an example:

I contribute to a 401k, and, of course, pay my taxes (income and payroll) just like anyone else. Because I pretty much know that SS is fucked, I see it as money wasted (I will likely not see much ROI) and consider my 401k a "self imposed retirement tax", so to speak. That is, since I know that SS is fucked I am required, as a fiscally responsible person, to save for myself.

All told, after taxes and saving, I take home about 50% of my check, and that does not include health insurance payments. Sounds pretty close to confiscatory to me.

Here's the kicker.

He wants to increase spending on social programs, and cut taxes to "average Americans" (whoever that is). How can you do that? Obamagic? Either that, or the tax increase to the rich folks is going to be HUGE.

All that said, when I see an Obama who basically says he’ll tax me even more, I get a bit antsy, particularly when it’s for providing child care and the like, which I feel the federal government has no business in.

I'm not really a McCain fan, either, but once again I'm picking the lesser of two evils, IMO. I'm not buying the hype, the Obamania, and don't trust Obamagic. Ya know, if the Libertarians weren't so wing-nutty, I just might jump ship on the GOP. And that hurts me.