I never really had the patients to sit down and write (mostly because I get too concerned with trying to sound witty and making sure my writing is solid…which it isn’t).  When I actually have time (which was not this past semester or the one before), then maybe that’ll happen.  Even this summer is busy.  One day I’ll get the hang of it.  Until this, here’s my tumblr account which I update regularly with random pictures and music (I have linked to it as well…yes, I did in fact buy my domain name in a drunken moment of clarity).  I’ll make one for Jake and my’s trip to Europe in a few weeks and also one for when I’m off to Korea to teach English.  Until then…


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Homebrew #1

So, I think I’m gonna start keeping regular updates on the homebrew1 operation here on the blog.  Here goes…

I brewed a Munich Dunkel a couple of weeks ago with my roommate after finding the ingredients in my trunk.  I bought them the last time I was Charlotte (June 2010), but never got around to actually brewing (something about getting ready to leave the country).  Keeping this in mind, our hopes weren’t very high for this beer, but it seems like it’s turning out alright.  I racked it on Friday, and while it was still really yeasty, I let some it floculate out in fridge and it’s rather tasty.

A few days later, we brewed my dunkelweizen for the Hokie Home Brew Club’s competition in April.  This one I’m a little worried about.  I tweaked a recipe I’ve used several times in the past to get it closer to an actual German wheat beer, but it turned out too light.  It’s also been inactive since I racked it on Friday.  I’ll probably take a look at it this weekend to make sure I haven’t ruined my competition beer.  Fingers crossed

Well, that’s a good start, eh?  Maybe I’ll put a little widget on the side with my brew status.  Until then…

In primary: Nothing
In secondary: “Lost and Found” Munich Dunkel and “Wags-weizen” Dunkelweizen
Next brew session: American Cream Ale
On the way from Northern Brewer: Biere de Table


1. Is it “homebrew” or “home brew”  ??

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The McLovin Show

I host a radio show on WUVT-FM 90.7 Blacksburg every Wednesday from 9am-12pm.  You can tune in here —>

This semester’s McLovin Show playlists.

Hopefully we’ll have the recordings soon and can post them here!

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The Tallest Man On Earth

At some point last week, I agreed to a “The Tallest Man On Earth” concert with Kaleigh.  It was only 13 Euro and in Frankfurt, so we could get here for free.  I hadn’t listened to much Tallest Man before, but it seemed like it would be a good show.  I was mostly looking forward to seeing some live music again.

We met up in Frankfurt on Sunday around 7 and headed out to “Das Bett” (the venue).  It looked like it would only be a short walk from the train station, but 30 minutes later we still weren’t there.  It wasn’t terrible at all though – it was beautiful night and I really enjoy Kaleigh’s company.  She’s easy to get along with and we tend to be on the same wavelength most of the time (which is good for my sanity).  The two of us hadn’t really hung out one-on-one before this, so it was awesome to getting to know her better.  We finally came to Schmidtstraße (or whatever it was called), but quickly became alarmed when we passed the supposed address of the club and there was nothing there.  After walking for another 10 minutes, we found it!

The outside of Das Bett was littered with European hipsters smoking their cigarettes and boozing it up before the show.  The inside had even more of them, all decked out in skinny jeans, cardigans, plaid shirts, and other various ironic garb.1 The atmosphere was great:  super small venue (maybe enough for 200 or so people), mostly dark with blue neon accents, low stage with minimal lights, full bar, and sharpied graffiti/messages all over the white brick walls.

After a litre and half of beer, the show finally started (45 minutes late – apparently concerts here don’t run on German time, which was comforting.  It’s good to know that concerts all over the world, even in a country as pünktlich as Germany, begin late).  This girl, under the name Idiot Wind, opened everything up.  It was just her with a piano, but it worked with her voice.  Her set was pretty short – only 45 minutes.  I couldn’t find any examples of her music online, but I’d like to get some eventually.

A little while later, Tallest Man finally came out on stage.  The next hour and half were truly amazing.  We were only a few feet away from the stage, and the crowd was great.  Tallest Man is a Swedish guy who sings in English.  He played a mix of happy and sad songs, but even during the slower ballads, I still found myself completely transfixed on the music (something that doesn’t always happen).2 He has great stage presence – walking/bouncing around during longer picking sessions and bantering with the crowd/talking about the origin of songs in between everything.  His music is lyrical and heavy with metaphor, belted out in a strong, scratchy voice, but it’s backed by incredible guitar picking.  I can’t tell if I like his voice or his picking better – either way, it makes for an incredible combination.  At the end of the show, Idiot Wind came back out, and they sang a duet.  It was wonderful.

You can tell this was towards the end of the concert, because he was dripping in sweat.


Awesome cowboy guitar strap.


Horse tattoo!


Last song (before the encore)

This song is great. Check it out.

Kaleigh and I realized there was an S-bahn stop right near the venue, so we were able to get back to the Hauptbahnhof super quick.  We caught the 00:31 train back to Marburg, but unfortunately it was one the slow trains that stops at every stinkin’ village on the way home, so we got back around 02:00.  At this point, I was already suffering from sleep deprivation, so this didn’t do much to help.  I’m gonna be paying back this sleep debt until Thursday, but it was totally worth it.

[1] My favorite was an American little league jersey that was too small.  I have no idea where this guy found it, aber es war supe Klasse.
[2] Really the only other concert I could compare this to would be seeing Horse Feathers last summer at the Newport Folk Festival.

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(Finally) getting out of Marburg

So after what’s probably been the most ridiculous ever, I finally find myself sitting on a train headed to Paris, France.  Before I got to this point, I had to wade through several hundred pages of German text, write a paper, not sleep, lose my room key, not sleep in my room, convince my Hausfrau to give me a spare, then negotiate the release of my original key from another Hausfrau, run down a bus (and subsequently convince the driver to let me on), buy the wrong Hin-fahrt ticket to Paris, argue with the ticket guy for 20 minutes, have a break down near Elizabeths Kirche, buy another ticket, and then almost not make it to Frankfurt for my next ticket (apparently ridiculous bus and train delays are all the rage these days)…

…I’m looking forward to sleeping so much tonight.

Here’s what we have in store for the next couple of days:  visit the Normandy beaches, go on some tours, see the Bayeux Tapestry, and probably poke around Paris a little on Sunday too.  Should be fun.











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Micro Thought #3

Also, I know I said that I would try and keep this more updated with Micro Thoughts, but you must remember that I also (English meaning) said that I probably would fall behind on updates.

That said, I’ve been super busy.  I’m currently working my way through several readings, including Arthur Schnitzler’s Liebelei, literary theories about dramatic texts (Das Drama), and histories of Die Wiener Moderne, and universities during the 14th Century.  So give me a break.

Today’s Thought: I love how bike-friendly Europe is – or at least Germany and the Netherlands.  Back home it’s so nerve racking riding my bike on any road except around campus.  If you want to go anywhere, you’re stuck “fending off a bunch of entitled WASPs1 (or probably more often than not, the children of said WASPs2) and in constant danger of getting run off the road.  It’s freaking scary.  Here there are special lanes everywhere specifically for bikes, and why the hell not?   They’re often denoted by red stone paths on sidewalks or on the side of the road itself.  I’m praying that since they’re doing so much construction to Main Street in Blacksburg that they’ll have the foresight to add bike lanes (considering 3/4 of the town owns a bike).  It’s probably only a pipe dream, but one can hope.

(and other antics)

Please ignore our antics, and pay attention to the awesome bike lane in the background.

[Picture coming soon with red-bike-lane example!]
[Update: The picture’s here!]

“Ach so!”
“I see!”
(That’s the best translation I can think of – it’s used a lot to show you understand something. Note: You must use enough of the German pflem-in-the-back-of-the-throat-sound but so much that you sound like you’re hacking up a lung.

Pipe Dreams3: Whhaaaa?? Only one more month?; Weird German Mannerisms; Weird American Mannerism; Top 10 List About Germany; My Adventures into the Blogosphere (I can’t believe I just used that word…).

Well that’s it volks.

Später Gators.

1. Awesome photography blog I found today.  The guy’s from Charlottesville.  Check it out if you like pictures of stuff.
2. The author is aware that he also the child of WASP parents.  Not hating on WASPs, but it’s just true of the demographics of Blacksburg/Harrisonburg. And it’s a sweet acronym.
3. I have decided to change “What’s in the Pipeline” to “Pipe Dreams” because that’s really what my future blog plans usually end up being…

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Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof…

…sondern ein Bahnhof. [1]

So, it’s been a long time since Oktoberfest and instead of writing an in depth account of what happened, I’ll just give you a paragraph and some pictures.  How’s that sound?

So here’s some background:  tickets to München are pretty expensive (w/o a Bahn Karte) so we decided to get a Schönes Wochenende pass that allows up to 5 people take any regional train in Germany for 27 hours (00:00 – 03:00 the next day).  In total, the trip took a little over 7 hours.  We left at 05:00 and got there a little after noon.  Thinking ahead, we packed two kegs of Apfelwein so we would be sufficiently prepared for the festivities.[1]  When we got there, we met Johannes and 3 of his friends.  They were all native Bavarians and led us confidently into the city towards Oktoberfest.

Mmmk, I’ll leave it at that and let the pictures do the rest of talking!


Strangely enough, we sat down at a table that had 4 other Penn Staters.  Crazy, I know!

Alright, well that’s it.  Later!

[1] We spent more time in train stations than we actually did at Oktoberfest, but it was worth it because we each only spent 20 Euro the entire weekend.  Success!
[2] In retrospect, two kegs was probably overkill.

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