We Got A Puppy!

Becky’s birthday was the 18th of January and her present from me was a puppy. We’re moving into a new townhome at the end of the month and I thought having a puppy would be good for us.

We used the very helpful Pet Finder website to locate a dog that fit our requirements – namely that it be under 25 pounds, as specified by our new townhome lease. Now, don’t tell our new dog this, but our first choice was a cute Beagle puppy. However, due to restrictions of the The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City we were not allowed to adopt that puppy. I’d like to note that requiring a fence for every dog that gets adopted is ridiculous and simply impractical. This restriction unnecessarily rejects numerous potential adopters – namely us. I don’t know if these animals are living in a puppy-Hilton or what, but I would think that the purpose of the Humane Society is to get pets adopted into good homes. But anyways, I’m ranting.

Weiner Dog Vs. Hot DogBecky and I are now the proud parents of a 9 month old giant Dachshund. I say giant, because if you measure from the tip of the tail to the tip of her nose, this dog is 3 1/2 feet long. Maybe it’s a mix between Dachshund and Greyhound. Regardless, this dog is the longest Dachshund I’ve ever seen. But we love her anyways.

I don’t think it would have been appropriate for us to name her anything other than something alcohol related. Subsequently, our new edition is appropriately named Kahlua. 🙂Kahlua, The Dog

The Kansas City Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

After a tasty, and a tad expensive, dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, Josh, Gill, Becky, and myself attended The Nutcracker ballet at Midland Theater. Midland Theater is located in downtown Kansas City; from my house, it is way downtown. We had a little trouble finding the place because of some very annoying road construction, but eventually we found it. The historic theater has that classical elegance that you see only in old black and white movies.

The Nutcracker is an annual ballet put on by the Kansas City Ballet. Due to construction slated to begin next year, this is the last showing of The Nutcracker at Midland Theater, until 2007 at the earliest. It was fun to dress up nice and attend the last showing.

We had balcony seats for the show, which wasn’t that bad with the exception of the slightly elevated temperature. I somewhat prefer balcony seats, makes it seem more like a show to me. The show itself was pretty good. The sets were surprisingly well done. I’m not much of a theatergoer, but I was intrigued by these colored blinds that they used as backdrops. If light was shined on them in the proper way, you would see that particular blind, if the light was offset, then you would see through it and barely notice that blind. It made for nice transitions between scenes. I’m not really sure what the proper timeline of a ballet is, but this ballet had the first half as more interpretive and the latter half more focused on the dancers and their abilities specifically. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s how a ballet is supposed to go, but that’s how this one went.

All in all, I’d say I enjoyed my first ballet experience. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to self-sacrifice every now and again for the lady in your life. The ballet, like sushi, isn’t all that bad once you actually try it.

New Belgium Beer

This past Wednesday, at my apartment complex clubhouse, a New Belgium representitive put on a beer tasting. We tasted all of their six regular beers as well as their current seasonal beer.

I would like to comment a bit on each of the beers I tasted. After reading, I hope that you, my dear readers – all six of you, will have a better idea about the beer offerings by New Belgium.

This list of beers is presented as it was presented to me – roughly from lighest to darkest. Enjoy.

Sunshine Wheat
This is the beer that I thought I would like the most. My favorite beers happen to be wheat beers and I wasn’t disappointed by this beer. This beer is a nice light beer with a refreshing citrus taste – orange in particular. On a related note, our New Belgium representative noted that many people in Colorado – where this beer is brewed (Fort Collins) – drink this beer with a slice of orange in it to heighten the orange flavor. I’ve heard of lemons in beer, but the orange additive is new to me. Sounds good though. Because of its orange tastes, this wheat reminded me of Blue Moon by Coors. Only this was a better taste in general.
Fat Tire
Fat Tire is New Belgium’s flagship beer. Prior to this beer tasting, it was the only New Belgium product that I had heard of. This is a fairly light beer that has a nice balance of hops and malt flavors. It’s one of those beers that I could drink regularly. This beer is named because of a bike trip the founders of New Belgium took while touring Belgium.
Loft (Seasonal)
Loft is New Belgium’s March through September seasonal beer. This is another fairly light beer offering from New Belgium. Not too malty or too hoppy – nicely balanced. There is a light citrus flavor to it as well. The name Loft pays homage to the wind powered New Belgium brewery – a first for American breweries.
Blue Paddle
Blue Paddle is New Belgium’s pilsener offering. Because it’s a pilsener, it is more bitter than the previous beers that I’ve written about already. It was a nice crisp beer, that I thought, depsite me not being a pilsener fan, was quite acceptable.
1554 gets its name from the type of beer drank in Belgium during that year. 1554 is a black style ale. However, despite it being very dark, it doesn’t have a dark taste like a porter or a stout. It’s actually very light. When you first taste it, you will be pleasantly surprised at how light it is. The more I drank it, the more I liked it. In fact I might be picking up some of it the next time I’m at the L-store. Another distinct taste you’ll find is a coffee overtone.
This beer is made in the tradition of Belgian styled double ales. This is the type of beer that monks used to brew to support their abbeys. It’s a higher alcohol by volume beer. It’s much darker than the previous beers and has a more malty taste. Even for a lighter beer drinker like me, this was a very drinkable beer that I would have again, given the opportunity.
Trippel is similar to Abbey – dark and malty. This is New Belgium’s most alcoholic beer, something like 10.2% alcohol by volume – if memory serves me correctly. Yet, despite the high alcohol content, it is still a very drinkable beer. This beer gets it’s name from the way that beer casks were labeled in olden times. The Abbey would have been a XX and the Trippel would have been a XXX, hence the name Trippel – three X’s.

Overall, I would say that I would drink all of these beers again. As I’ve noted, I prefer the lighter beers, yet the darker beers were still very good beers. As such, I’d recomend you pick up one – or more 😉 – of the New Belgium beers and try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The DMV, JoCo Style

Some of you may know that I recently purchased a 4×4 2000 Isuzu Rodeo LS just prior to moving to Kansas City. I knew that I was moving to KC right after I got it, so I called both the Riley and Johnson County Treasurers offices. I figured I’d register and get tags for it in whichever county was cheapest. Seems smart right?

The Johnson County office quoted me a much cheaper price, so I decided to go there. Happily, the office is just off of Santa Fe, though down a little ways from my house, it’s really not that far from me in Kansas City terms of distance at least.

When I get there, there is absolutely no parking. Bah. So drive around for a bit until I find a side street. I go in and walk around like a blind kid in a game of tag. Finally I find the office. There is one guy in there before me. He’s paying about two grand in delinquent taxes. Relevance to this story? None. I’m just trying to paint a picture. Or something. Finally this guy gets done, seemingly after twenty minutes, but probably more like half that. I get up to the lady at the counter and I explain that I just bought a new car and I need to register and tag it. Her response is that they don’t do that there, I need to go to the DMV office, which is on Ridgeview and Santa Fe. First actually point of anger/frustration is right here in the time line. I called these people on the phone already and got the address, phone number, and a price quote for what it would cost me. You would think they would mention that I don’t actually go there to do it, though. Nope.

Thankfully, the DMV office is right down the road about three minutes. Ok. The desk lady told me something about behind a Quicktrip on the corner. Aiight, I see it, turn right. Ooooh, as sign that reads “Johnson County Department of Motor Vehicles ->”. Wait, which way is that arrow pointing? Is it down this road more? Is it down this backstreet-looking road? Is it this car was right here? After driving to all of these conceivable places, I then realize that the DMV is not located at any of them. So, pull into the Quicktrip parking lot and make a phone call to the Treasurers office again. For reference, my inability to locate this place would be frustration point number dos. Yes, I just dropped some Spanish. What up? Vato.

I’m on hold forever. And by “forever,” I mean about seven minutes. Frustration point number three. I decide to go drive around whilst still being on hold, right as I am about to pull out of the parking lot someone on the other end picks up. Convenient. So I ask exactly where their located and she says some address or something (I wasn’t really listening. You’d think I would have been, but no. I wasn’t. Meh). I pick up “behind Quicktrip and Waffle House.” Close enough, I’ll wing it.

I Drive around the Quicktrip and it’s tucked away in the corner of this strip mall. Who-woulda-thunk? Obviously not me.

Upon entering the premises, I realize that there are about two and a half tons of people in here. Literally. Roughly estimate about 200 pounds per person. Divide it up. Roughly twenty five people. Perhaps there could have been as much as three and a half tons of people. Really, it’s a tough call. They have a little “press this button, get a number” machine. I press and find a seat. As images of stereotypical descriptions of DMV’s flash through my head, I realize this is frustration point number four.

I break out the cell phone for some Bejeweled action while I wait. Eventually, I get called and go talk to this guy at booth number one. He looks over my stuff, signs my number, and informs me that they will call my number again. Damn it. I thought I was close to being done. Nope. More damn waiting. Flash forward another ten minutes and my number gets called again.

This time I’m at booth number four. I explain to Deloris that I just bought a new car and I need to get registered and tags for it. I present her my title and registration, just like the first guy. She’s typing away on her keyboard, entering stuff into her computer, looking up stuff. I notice that she has long fingernails and I wonder how easy it is to type. Again, random. Oh, she also looks at her fingers when she types. Anyways. While standing there, I realize that I’m without my checkbook. Crap. I then start thinking that I may have to leave and come back with it. A task I obviously don’t want to partake in.

Deloris asks me some information about where I purchased the car, such as the name of the company and the city and county of the business. I say it’s in Manhattan. Either in Riley or Pottawatomie county. I’m not sure, it’s right over the Big Blue River, which I think is the dividing line of the county, but I’m not 100% sure. She’s the one with the computer, she should be able to figure it out. Not really. She has to go look at something. I don’t know what, I couldn’t see. She then asks me if I wanted to renew the tag until 2006. Otherwise I would have to come back to this horrible place next month. I gladly accept paying for the next year.

She then explains that I have to be charged for the differences in sales tax between Pottawatomie (thus was my deduction at least) and Johnson counties on the Rodeo. The money-grubbing state of Kansas will charge you whichever sales tax is highest, regardless of where you bought it. The guy who sold me the car failed to mention that. I payed the sales tax right there when I bought it, just to avoid this. He mentioned something to the effect of “You can pay this sales tax now, so that when James goes to get his tags, he won’t have to pay it then.” I now realize why he would say such a thing. Pottawatomie county has like six percent sales tax, versus the seven and a half here in Johnson county. It makes the price of the car seem less than what you actually have to end up paying for it.

Then, the bombshell, how much it’s going to cost me: roughly $450 bucks. Daaaaaamn.

I came here expecting maybe $20 – $30 bucks, based off of the original phone call I made to the Treasurer’s office. Nope. Again thinking about my absent checkbook, I wondered what I was going to do. She said I could pay with my Discover card, but I don’t remember how much I have left on it before my limit. I know I had used it a few times before, but I don’t really remember how much I put on it. I tell her to run it anyways, if it gets declined, then I know it would put me over my limit. Thus necessitating me to go to an ATM nearby.

By the grace of God it goes through. I sign the receipt and depressingly leave. As I leave I realize it’s almost 1:30pm. This whole ordeal took almost an hour and half. Frustration point number, well, whatever it is.

Oh, and guess what the three numerical digits of my license plate are? 666. Sign of the devil.

When I saw that, I kind of chuckled to myself. I mentioned it to Deloris. She asked if I wanted to change it. I said, “Nah, it will be easier to remember.” Her response: “You’re not a Christian, are you?” No ma’am, I’m not. Doesn’t really bother me.

It’s over!

5°F, Feels like -6°F­

­Ever since I moved here completely, last Saturday, I haven’t seen sunshine. It’s been overcast the whole time. What started that Saturday is only now – Thursday – starting to end. I’m glad too. Apparently this was the winter storm of ’04 – ’05. This is in comparison to the big winter storm of 2002 ( I think ). I was in that storm too, ironically also in Kansas City.

Yesterday morning I had almost a solid inch of ice on my windshield. Glad I woke up a little early to start the car 20 – 30 minutes before I had to leave for work. Today I did the same routine, however the second I walked out of my door, I realized it was much colder. The wind was what sent the cold to my bones. Geeze! When I got back inside, I checked the weather to find out what the actual temperature was: 5°F, feels like -6°F. Yeah, cold.

Thankfully the next few days are all starting to get warmer and there is no more rain / sleet / snow.