Going to a Celtics Game

April 17, 2014 – Last night we had the chance to go to the last Celtics game of the season.  Admittedly the team didn’t get as many wins as many might have hoped, but it was still a fun game to go to.  Why?  Glad you asked. :)

  • The fans love their team.  Really.  We applaud every free throw, and fist pumps are common.
  • Did you know you can do The Wave in an indoor stadium?  Me neither.  It was fun though.
  • Cheese fries and sausage with peppers and onions.  Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.
  • Seeing all the banners, both Celtics and Bruins, hanging from the rafters.
PAX

PAX East 2014 Highlights

April 14, 2014 – This past weekend was PAX East 2014.  For those who might not be familiar with PAX, it’s a three-day event where gamers of all kinds (video, board, and card) converge by the tens of thousands to play games, hear panels about games, and weave their way through a convention hall packed with game designers.  Some of these are big-name designers (Titanfall and Borderlands, anyone?) but others are smaller studios using Kickstarter to get their games out there.  So, after three days and very little sleep (because really, who sleeps during PAX?), here are our highlights.

  • Concerts, particularly MC Frontalot and The Video Game Orchestra.  MC is just fun, and VGO is insanely good, particularly on the guitar.  Oh, and bring earplugs… my hearing still isn’t back from Friday night, and any sound makes my ear cringe.  Yes, ears can cringe, it’s a fact.
  • Chainsawsuit Podcast.  I’ll admit, I haven’t heard of this podcast before.  But Kris Straub and Mikey Neumann have got to be the single funniest group I’ve ever seen.  Literally non stop laughs.  I mean, really, who comes up with The Sarcophag-nator as a move for an Egyptian wrestler?
  • The Make a Strip panel with Mike and Jerry.  Funny.  Always funny.  “It’s my bump.”  And no, it’s not what you think.
  • Actually finding decent food – Italian sausage with cheese, peppers and onions, fries and a drink for $10.  That’s a conference food win.   Do yourself a favor and eat on the bridge.  Actually, don’t, I like having room to watch the conference activity from above.
  • Getting over 10,000 points playing Threes.   We wait – a lot- in line for these panels, and playing Threes was a good activity.
  • Love D&D with Chris Perkins (from Wizards of the Coast) as DM – you’ll never know you just spent three hours watching the fun.
  • Other honorable mentions – Borderlands, the Pre-Sequel!, food at Legal Test Kitchen (we recommend anything with scallops, sweet potato fries or calamari), the crowd at the final Omegathon corn-hole match (“Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” “My name’s not Jerry, it’s Tycho.” “Ty-cho! Ty-cho!”), game show night, and the Titanfall panel.

Restaurant review: Hot Chocolate Sparrow

This past weekend we took a day trip to Cape Cod.  Some time in the middle of the afternoon we thought that coffee sounded great.  The Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans fit the bill and then some.  The shop was packed even at 3:30pm, but there was plenty of off street parking.  You know a coffee place is good when you can smell the coffee from the street.  We recommend the mocha made with home made fudge sauce – they don’t skimp on the chocolate or the espresso.  The drink was rich and slightly bitter from the coffee and chocolate.

We (er, I) couldn’t pass up the display case of treats.  Tony enjoyed the Italian almond cream cake, while I tackled the chocolate cake-peanut butter mousse-pie.  Both were fantastic, and we noticed quite a few people eating ice cream as well.  We definitely recommend this candy/dessert/ice cream/coffee shop, and will be back the next time we’re in Orleans.

Kaiserburg Tower View

Kaiserburg Nuremberg

September 9, 2013 – Today began with another hotel breakfast.  We’re definitely spoiled with good butter, good bread, cold cuts, cheese and coffee.  After breakfast we started the walk over to the Kaiserburg.  Maybe it’s because we’re Americans and, well, we just don’t have fortresses and castles.  Or it’s that we think things that were built before 1900 are old, and things from the 1700s are REALLY old.  Coolness point for the Kaiserburg, which was starting to be built around 1105.

Walled Park

The walk to the Kaiserburg was quiet and scenic.

We reached the Kaiserburg via the back wall, through the gardens, and then walked around to the main entrance.  Impressive, huge, formidable – the Kaiserburg is all this and more.  It dominates the skyline, and is also a symbol of how proud these people are of their home.

Seed Collector

Where did the seeds go? I think this bird knows.

There’s a self-guided tour around some of the rooms and the chapel, as well as through other rooms in the fortress.  Our ticket also came with a climb of the tower, which offered fantastic views over the old city.  The tower also included before, immediately after, and rebuilt pictures of the city after the bombs fell.  The city is beautiful, and you would never guess that it was once virtually leveled.  After we climbed back down the older gentleman keeping track of people going up asked us a question in German, and then switched to English.  He wanted to know if we had found the view enjoyable, and seemed pleased that we thought it was beautiful.

Tower

Yep, we climbed this tower.

After the fortress tour we  ventured down the street to find lunch.  We discovered a little restaurant with some great small sausages and potato pancakes with applesauce – enjoyed outdoors while drinking a beer, of course.

Stairs

I’m a huge fan of wooden stairs.

Up next was the Albrecht Durer house.  The house has been beautifully restored (honestly, you’d never know it was restored if you were just looking at it) and includes a self guided audio tour from the perspective of Durer’s wife.  We greatly enjoyed the workshop and kitchen areas, as well as the small art gallery.  Of particular amusement was one painting that may or may not have been stolen by a gallery in Munich.  Between in-country theft and the artifacts carried into the USSR, one has to wonder how much priceless art is just stacked in drawers and closets.

German Building

Our lunch destination was right outside the Kaiserburg.

We were starting to fade and headed back towards the Kaiserburg to get some coffee.  They had coffee, as well as some delicious looking treats.  We enjoyed two espresso drinks and a slice of cake while sitting outside in the shade of a tree that grew through the cobblestones.

Underground

We did not realize that this massive cellar network existed.

The location of the coffee shop was also advantageous since it was just a block from the underground beer cellar/bunker tour.  Picture this.  One guide, two Americans (who can understand enough German to figure out what the guide is saying, for the most part), two Asians (who live in Germany and are basically German) and about 10 Germans.  So we’ve got translated audio guides, to supplement what the tour guide says.  Then we all traipse down the block, and through a tiny door with steep stairs, leading to some of the beer cellars under the city.  On the way down we pass under a diffused bomb hanging from the ceiling; on the wall behind it is an arial photo of Allied planes on a bombing run.

Stained Glass

We did have time to check out a few churches during the afternoon.

The cellars-turned-bunkers are damp and dark, with beautiful brick arches supporting the roofs.  Since we’re ending the tour at the brewery and beer (who doesn’t like beer in Germany?) we start the tour with WWII.  As an aside, we intentionally did not make WWII the focus of this trip – the country and the people are so much more than the 12 or so years the Nazis were in power.  However, some things (like beer cellar bunkers) ought to be experienced.

Church Exterior

It’s interesting to see so many buildings that were around before our country was founded.

The tour was interesting and informative, with more than a bit of pride that the people rebuilt their city (as evidenced from the fist pump one of the teenagers gave when the guide talked about the rebuilding effort). The tour ended in the restaurant, where we got a chance to sniff a variety of beers and vinegar.  Since there was no tasting effort, we knew that our dinner destination would have to meet that need.

River Crossing

We crossed this river quite a bit during our visit.

After the tour we wandered through town a bit, winding up at St. Sebald’s church.  St. Sebald’s is still rebuilding, over 60 years after its destruction.  The walls are painted white, except for the sections where the soot is still visible.  Stained glass stops abruptly, replaced with regular clear glass.  Pictures show how far the church rebuilding efforts have come, and old newspaper articles are reproduced and displayed; there’s something jarring about seeing a photo of the swastika hanging from the church where you’re standing.   A sign inside says that the church is a memorial to peace, and compared to other churches and cathedrals there’s little talking as people take in the space.

Sausages

You just can’t go wrong.

We walked inside the town hall, and then over a bridge where we found an outdoor market.  And those wonderful Nuremberg sausages – you can get three in a small bun for a few euros.  We enjoyed the snack while looking out over the water, watching the sunset.

Do A Barrel Roll

“DO A BARREL ROLL!” No, not now, Peppy.

For dinner we knew we wanted someplace with sausage, kasespatzle and beer.  We found all that in a narrow, wood-paneled pub, Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, where we managed to snag a small bar table for two in the far back.  Tony enjoyed a plate of sausages with bread, and Louisa happily dug into a bowl of kasespatzle with fried onions on top.  With two beers (try the red ale!), it was the perfect dinner.

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