Friday, December 23, 2011

turkey -

so a while back I decided to buy a post thanksgiving turkey, since they are dirt cheap and I never made a turkey in my life before. So it was time to give it a shot...

So originally I wanted to smoke the turkey, since I consider this to be a delicious meal. But it turns out that there are size restriction. Basically it's considered unsafe to smoke a turkey over 15 lbs. Ours was 25 lbs, so plan b) was put into action and we roasted it.

before it went in the oven...

5 hours later, slightly overcooked, since the 'turkey popper' got stuck to the bag and so didn't go off...

dinner time, with stuffing and cranberry sauce
after several hours of sniffing and waiting a slightly overcooked turkey came out of the oven. For some reason the turkey popper got stuck to our cooking bag and so didn't go off in time. Lesson learned I guess...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

saint Nicholas and preparing for Christmas...

so the festive time of the year has begun and I'm slowly training robin in the Christmas and pre-Christmas rules and traditions. Like always obey your hubby and give him all your chocolate..

So first of all we are proud to announce that we have our first Christmas tree together and my first 'Christmas tree in my house' ever.

yip it's a tree
Now as you can see in this picture that this is not a normal tree. No everything and I mean everything in our house has currently little pink labels on it, to ease Robin into the German language.

Now who knows me, knows that my favorite colors are red and blue. More tending towards red for some reason and so I was pleasantry surprised that the most Christmas ornaments were red too. It's always amazes me how similar Robin and I are.

Another important custom Robin had to learn, was the custom of Saint Nicolas. A brief overview, who are not familiar with this custom:

In Germany, Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a tree branch (Rute) in their boots instead. Sometimes a disguised Nikolaus also visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they have been good (sometimes ostensibly checking his golden book for their record), handing out presents on the basis of their behavior. This has become more lenient in recent decades.
So we both found something little under the tree in the early morning.

And as you can see in the pictures, I managed to get my camera working again. Turned out both of my rechargeable batteries were dead and it worked with normal once just fine. Happily I got a battery on sale at amazon and so we will be able to take more pictures again.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

robins birthday party,

since she was getting rather nervous the last couple of month's, after she is turning 24+n and supposed to behave like a grownup, I decided to take her out to a nice grownup dinner where there are no crayons to draw on the table with.

So I went ahead and booked a table for 2, at the sacramento firehouse for my 'little' girl. And told her to order what ever she wants from the menu.

highland park 12 for me and a lemon drop
After the standard wait period was over we started ordering our food. Like a grownup we did this ala carte.


  • oysters on the half shelf (R)
    • served with champagne mignonette
  • smoked tenderloin carpaccio(G)
    • herbed chèvre croquette and baguette crostini, capers, onions, Parmigiano-Reggiano and white truffle oil

Second Course:

  • Hearts of Roamine Caesar Salad(R)
    • whole leaves of crisp lettuce, house-made dressing, anchovies and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Heirloom Squash-Lentil Soup(G)
    • warm spice-roasted winter squash, caramelized shallots and leeks, roasted root vegetables and stewed lentils
Third Course:
  • Fruiti di Mare(R)
    • pan-roasted Nigerian salt water prawn and a 6-oz Maine lobster tail, pan-seared sea scallop and butternut squash risotto 
  • Cherry Chocolate Duck(G)
    • house-made confit of Sonoma Saveur artisan duck leg, pan seared with a dark cherry glaze and almond milk foam, polenta cake and chili-chocolate “mole” paint

classic vanilla bean crème brûlée, cinnamon apple confiture and almond lace tuile

We paired this with a nice fruity Cabernet and several glasses of champagne for robin.

I do have to say, we looked rather handsome.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2012 camaro ss2 - 6.2L 426-hp V8 engine

while we were in Vegas it happened to be that Robins dad joined us and rented a car for the drive from sacramento to vegas and back. After all it's roughly 1200 miles round trip and you would expect that you take a car like our trusty little 2007 corolla.

Not so by Robin's dad, he rented a 2011 camaro SS2 convertible with just a touch over 426hp and 6.2L engine. Yes it did not do as well gas wise as our corolla, but it was way more fun to drive and definately put a grin or two on our face, till you hit a curve and noticed at once that all these  3860   lbs (1750kg) are trying to keep going straight.

Needless to say I was like always the responsible grownup I am and promptly tested if it can really hit 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds. Or how much it takes to make it spin out (I did not succeed...) Or how much fun it actually is.

My statements

  1. it is fast, but doesn't feel fast, a 2011 WRX is way more fun
  2. it's so fat, it doesn't like to turn and does not feel nimble in any way
  3. convertible's are fun and I loved the feeling of the wind
  4. 40k for this car are way to much, the interior is so incredible cheap. Hard-plastic is everywhere
  5. it takes forever to unfold the roof and you have to keep the button pressed all the time
  6. parking is impossible, the doors are so high. I was literally not able to see the curbs
  7. the tip-tronic is an abomination and shifts incredible rough. It's fine but not great in automatic mode. But the manual mode is pointless and I gave up and stuck to the automatic mode
  8. the heads-up display is cool, but the limited angles render it kind pointless
  9. sound system is blah

Now the wife'y statements

yip she looks good in it.

  • convertibles are fun
  • I want a mustang
  • it feels really heavy
  • I want a mustang
  • parking is terrible
  • I'm scared of the tip-tronic and leave it in manual
  • I want a mustang
  • I don't know if I can wait 5 years till I can buy a mustang convertible (we have an agreement that we each are allowed to buy a nice car between 30 and 31)

it's getting christmassy? here...

well today I was running around to find a nice little advents crown (Adventskranz) and to my shock I could not find one anywhere. But since I watched my mum for years building these by her own, I decided. Hey I can do this too and so off I go to different stores and buy all the required ordainment's, green pointy tree branches, candles and smelly stuff of different kind and went to work.

and put and tied this all together. Not to bad for my first homemade advents crown ever.

Since this can't stand alone I also needed to get some basic first advents ingredients like 'Gluehwein' (mulled wine), domino stones, marzipan stollen and round cookies covered in chocolate. Not to forget, you also need the standard little snowman's, from Lindt. To give us the illusion of having snow here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

shopping and other stuff

so after Robin and I have been complaining since month's first about my ikea foam bed from 2006, how uncomfortable it is and how cramped it, we started to complain for a couple of month's about her all american springbox bed.

So we finally caved in and ordered a new bed, obviosuly in california king size to avoid the: 'you are taking up all the space' or 'stop elbowing me in the face' or 'every morning I trip over your feet, which hangout of the bed' issues.

So we really hope that:

72in × 84in
1.83 m × 2.13 m

is large enough for us and we can finally find some peace. This also meant that our old bed could move to the guest room, which is now not as empty anymore.

Let just hope that the upgrade from queen to california king was really worth it.

On an unrelated fact, I got a call from nissan that my car is due for a service recall and has to be dropped off at the dealer. So that they can check it for rusty suspension (front struts) mounts and...

  • redo the anti corrosion sealant
  • reinforce it with steel bars
  • replace the vehicle in case the damage is to progressed
They will also tell me that...
  • my oxygen sensor is broken
  • the valve covers are leaking
  • the knock sensor is going out
and that they offer me to fix it for 2-3k$...

which is all on my todo list to fix, once I have a weekend time and need to get the car smogged, otherwise It won't harm anything to leave it as it is. I mean I have done this all on the passat and the parts are like 200$, just a lot of labor.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

applehill -

so after our halloween party last night and a total of 4h of sleep (no idea why I couldn't sleep, maybe the matress?) We decided todo something fun today. Robin has been kinda unhappy recently with the lack of entertainment and the amount of time we spend at home. So off to apple hill we went to enjoy some apple pie and candied apples after a fun breakfast at cafe italia.

an apple missed during the harvest...

these were not missed during the harvest...
yes we do have fall colors here, (car is a 1925 Ford Model T)
Missies Pumpkin Head...
Mister Pumpkin Head...
The only thing, which didn't worked out was that we did not manage to get a single piece of apple pie. Nobody accepted a debit card there, guess it's time to bake my own apple pie now...

halloween -

well it's the time of the year again, that everybody goes a touch crazy around halloween and since it's Robin's favorite Holliday. Well I had to follow suit.

Now since Robin just got married to a german and we got the greencard recently, we thought we should switch roles and both go as iconic figures of our partners country of origin.

For me it was easy and classically I chose one of the most known american figures ever, good old uncle sam.

uncle sam - I worked 2 month's on this beard...

Now for Robin this left her with 2 major choices, being the german chancellor or a southern bavarian beer girl.

Luckily she went for the second choice.

Sadly the third member of our family was not to thrilled about the whole halloween thing and promptly tried to run away. Such a party pooper...

cowboy mojito
Obviously pictures by our self are kinda silly, so there is a pictures of us together

I really need a remote for the camera...
And last but not least a picture of robin and the little one again

mojito happy again without a costume...

wine -

since robin and I go on average every second month wine tasting and really enjoy some wine with our dinners, we thought it was time to invest some money into a wine rack, to make it easier to store the wine. And also gives us the incentive, to fill it with different wine over the time. After all, every-time we go wine-tasting and there is some wine on sale, we grab a case and bring it home.

mostly zinfandels and the odd bottle of barbara

our little condo -

well it's been a while since we moved in here (6 weeks now) and so we thought, it's finally time to show some pictures of our little place.

up stairs office
As you can see our office/guest room is a toch empty currently and so we are still trying to figure out what to put in there. My favorite idea would be two heavy leather recliners, some bright lamps and a little stereo to make a reading room out of this. But the wife want's a foldout bed so that people can stay over here.

upstairs bedroom
So we have quite a large bedroom with a balcony and the required big screen lcd display in there, for some reason the wife demanded it and was not flexible about this one. We also have a nice big walk in closed, which is evenly spread at 75% for her cloth and 25% of mine. Speaking off, I really need togo cloth shopping next month. We are planning on replacing the bed in the next 12 month's with a tempurpedic mattress.

living room
Our little living room, downstairs with fireplace, couches and eating area. It's still work in progress, since I'm planning on installing a stereo system there sometime next year and a couple of bookshelf's. After all, a week ago we managed to get a wine rack up and now just need to fill it with more delicious wine.

the world tiniest kittchen
This little room is the world's tiniest kitchen. Which is sadly not a joke. It just has enough floor space in it for one person to actually do anything in it, but plenty of counter space. I guess it's alls about compromise after all.

Now the biggest question is, are we happy with our place? Yip we are totally and blissfully happy. Especially after I managed to fix the upstairs plumbing issues. Pictures of the front and backyard are coming soon, well in a months or so I guess...

Sunday, October 16, 2011


since we are going to spend thanksgiving in vegas this year means that I will be down there for like 7 days. Or in other words, I need to plan a roadtrip, to get out of this city.

So the current idea is to create a smaller version of the roadtrip I did last year and to include antelope canyon finally...

View Larger Map

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

camping - the car version this time

in the last couple of years I realized there are different definitions for the term camping

  1. drive a car up to the campground and unload everything what you could fit
  2. hike to a campground and all what you need and want is in your backback. The hike can be 500 yards or a couple dozen miles
  3. drive an RV to a campground and position the satellite dish the way you want it
So after we did number 2 a while back and spend a weekend in Yuba, it was time to full fill my promise and do number 1 too.

So Robin and I decided to join her Dad and little Brother on a Weekend camping trip in the mountains, which gave me enough opportunities to take some more pictures.




travelling to vegas using a different route

now this blog post is just a little bit outdated, since this event happend about 2 month's ago. I think this might show how busy we have been, that I didn't manage to pull these pictures from my camera any earlier.

Basically we wanted to visit Robins sisten in Henderson (A little town close by vegas) and also combine this with a fun drive. After all we all know that the quickest way to vegas is going down the 5 (2 curves?) or the 99 (4 curves?) and than on the i-15.
That I can recall the actual route means, I have driven to Vegas to often in the last years.

So instead I went with robins suggestion and we drove over Yosemite.

View Larger Map

Now this gave me the amazing opportunity to drive over Tioga Pass and so complete my 'driving over all passes in california' goal, half of them on a motorcycle.

And we even stopped for a terrible, terrible and overpriced lunch at Priest Station

and of course there was the standard picture of a waterfall too

after all the trip was totally worth it the extra 2 hours of driving!

Sunday, October 09, 2011


over the past couple of  years I nearly exclusively worked on laptops and I'm quite sure I didn't own a private computer since 2002 or so.

So I thought it was time to build a computer again and let me say a lot of stuff changed. Specially size wise. I used to build my own pc's and learned this when I was around 9 years old. While helping out my dad. Well mostly when I did not accidentally put something together in the wrong way and blew up a motherboard or power supply. I guess it's called learning by doing?

So after I was researching the current pc architectures for a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that I need to know what I want todo with it first.

So let's see:

  1. fast enough to run virtual machines
  2. fast enough to play any game now or in 2-3 years
  3. able to support at least 2-3 monitors. After all I want to use it to work from home
  4. needs to pay for itself, with something called bit mining. So it needs excellent graphic card(s)
  5. lot's of memory, so I can work on it
  6. possible to use for photography and to be able to support 20-30MP files, which will come someday.
So after I looked at this, it was obvious it's going to be rather pricey. But thank's to bitcoin mining, I should be able to recover some, if not all of my investment over the next year to two. So far the GPU mining made me a bit over 500$, so both graphic cards are already paid off.

What did I end up with?
  • 4x1TB Hard drives as Raid10, I love my data...
  • 1x128GB SSD to host virtual machines
  • 16 GB Ram
  • 1x i5 quad core cpu running at 4.5GHz
  • 2x6900 AMD Radeon graphic cards, not necessarily, but I always wanted to have dual graphic cards...
  • to many coolers, to keep this system running stable

I am rather happy with the performance it creates and the possibilities it opens up. Now I just need to find the time todo some GPU based calculation's with openCL. It did take 4 month till I finally got all the parts together and everything up and running.

But the size of modern graphic card's is slightly disturbing. As reference there is an iPad in the picture.

yes one graphic card is heavier and longer than an iPad2...


since we got our kittchenaid for the wedding we keep try to use it whenever possible and now that christmas time is approaching and it slowly get's cold in Davis, we decided that it's time to make some tasty waffles.

The first problem with this was, that we had no waffle iron and so I started researching these to find the perfect waffle iron...

A bit latter I ordered a simple 30$ waffle iron

Presto 3510 FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker

which has outstanding reviews and is so simple to use, that is amazing.

Now the next step was to find a good recipe, which is not to complicated and doesn't take to long to make.

So after some googleling I found this one:


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • Directions
Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. In 1 medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl use the wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and whisk to combine. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the flour mixture and whisk just until blended. Do not over mix. In third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Do not overmix! Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour enough batter in iron to just cover waffle grid. Close and cook as per manufacturer's instructions until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Now it was more complicated than I expected and quite a bit of work, specially cleaning up all the bowl's afterwards.

But the result was wonderful tasty and my darling quite liked it.

yay breakfast waffles
now we just have to find a better topping than apple sauce or powdered sugar.

now that robin and I are finally getting settled and life calms a bit down, I have time write a bit in this blog again and so I have to fillin the last weeks, where nothing was posted.

Our current main form of entertainment is going beer tasting once or twice a week. Yes we downgraded from wine tasting to beer tasting.

This is mostly related to the fact that a litte shop opened in davis, called the Davis beer shop. Which has a huge selection of beers, from all over the world.

For example today we tried 'fruity' beers and there were surprisingly tasty

?,apple,cassis,strawberry,cherry beer

  1. Choulette Framboise - very refreshing
  2. Lindemans Pomme - interesting and incredible strong apple taste
  3. Lindemans Cassis - tasty, but very strong cassis taste
  4. Timmermanss Strawberry - tasty molded and undrinkable
  5. Lindemans Kriek - tasty and rather complex

We actually liked the cherry beer that much, that we ordered a whole bottle of it, which was a first.

and at 8$ a bottle a touch pricey. But definitely a better experience than last week the IPA tasting. Gosh these were so bad, it wasn't even funny.

IPA's - definitely not a fan

  1. Alaskan - drinkable 
  2. Mammoth - terrible
  3. Ale Smith - terrible 
  4. Caldera - terrible
  5.  Ranger - terrible

Obviously since I'm a german and trying to introduce robin to more german things, there was no way that we could skip the most important beer tasting.

The german beer tasting, which we did a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, she loved most of it.

a selection of german beer

  1. Spaten Original
  2. Paulaner Hefe Weizen
  3. Ayinger Ur-Weisse
  4. Weihenstephaner Korbinian
  5. Reutberger Dunkel
But her favorite Beer so far, is Franziskaner Dunker - Weissbier. In as big as possible glasses... I might just have to pickup some dedicated Franziskaner beer glas for her in germany around christmas time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Playing with circuits

Over the last 45 days I spend quite some time working with electronic circuits.

And now I finally managed to wrap my head around point to point soldering, schematics, resistor, capcitators, regulators and potentiometers.

Well it's not pretty, but it's a start and works.

First result?

Adjustable voltage regulator using voltage dividers.

+5V/-5V/G output
0-12V adjustable output

Now I still have to figure out the correct capacitor ratings...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 26, 2011

moving time...

now we finally are ready to move into our little condo tomorrow. Well little is a slight understatement, after getting the keys today and walking throw it. I noticed that it's rather big and spacious. Except for our homeoffice, which is so tiny :(

anyway no internet for 3-4 days now...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting away - Bucketlist

Over the last couple of month Robin and I created at bucket list, what todo this summer and to ensure this all is going to happen, before her schoolwork starts again. So far we are making fair progress and also did a lot of things which were actually not on the list.

forgot the tripod at home...
This weekend for example we wanted togo camping with friends for 3 days at the Yuba river. Since I always loved this spot for it's beauty and since it's so hidden, that not many people know of it.

Sadly our friends promptly ditched us with the lame excuse 'sorry I need to work, the q-tof needs babysitting' so it was just robin and me.

So after finding a nice camping spot next to a waterfall and some rapids, we pitched our tent and relaxed a bit, before settling in for the night.

waterfalls tend to be a touch loud...
At about ~10.30 pm. It always amazes me how early you go to bed, when you are camping. Maybe it's something about the fresh air, which just makes you tired?

the view is just amazing here
After a restless night of sleep, it turns out that waterfalls are so ridiculous loud that you can barley sleep and smart as we are, we didn't bring any ear plugs either... We woke up in the morning and packed up the tent. There is not that much space on this spot and we didn't want to clutter it with all our stuff. And I kinda like to have it all together, specially since it's only takes 5 minutes to setup or pack-up anyway.

2 hours later it turned out that Yuba is not that private anymore and dozens of people were swarming the area and searching for gold and gemstones. And proudly showing off the tiny pieces of jade they found. 5h later Robin and I were so annoyed by this, that we decided to pack-up and hike back to the car.

Now I mentioned hike. The thing is to get to this spot, you have to hike a rather steep and narrow path for 25 minutes or so. Which should rather repel the average camper with his beer cooler, chairs and inflatable's. So we were both really stunned to see all the people there, specially 2 years ago when I was there it was totally empty and peaceful.

Guess it's time to find a new spot now...

it just keeps going...

The next plan is togo camping at point reyes, maybe 6 mile hike in's give you more peace...

Monday, August 08, 2011

homemade pasta...

since we are going to move in two week, we decided to deplete our stocks of stuff and produce some homemade pasta.

So what do we need for the pasta?

  • 3 1/2 cups of flour ~400g
  • 4 eggs
  • some salt
  • 3 tablespoon of water, give or take
now the first step is to build 'mount eggy'

mount eggy
after kneading this for 12 minutes by hand we surrendered and the let the kittchenaid do the rest of the mixing. Now the fun part was to let the dough rest for about 30 minutes and than roll it out, till you can see throw it.
It turns out to be quite a workout and after 5 minutes I started to complain that I want a pasta machine, that this is so not worth the effort and so on.
15 minutes later I finished the first bath off the rolling out and started to cut up the pasta...
1/2 the dough is cut into stripes
The idea was to have tagiatella, since this seems to be the easiest possible cut todo.

Now while I was doing all the pasta mixing and rolling and cutting, robin volunteered to make the sauce, based on a recipe from my sauce book
  • 2 cloves of gralic
  • lemon olive oil
  • vodka to marinate
  • chicken breast, cut in stripes
  • spinach
  • basil
  • white mushrooms
and our result looked something like this.

all in all not to bad for 2 hours of work and delicious.

Now the big question, how did it taste?

Robin: I like it much better than store bought pasta
Me: it's really tasty, but a touch chewy. It's just different than store bought pasta