Saturday night

On Saturday I ran out to see a friend from Highschool, Victor. His wife, Amy, and he live pretty close in Buda, Texas. They made fajitas for me – quite good, and we caught up on old times. Turns out she is pregnant and expecting in May. Other than that things haven’t changed for them since last time I was there well over a year ago. I told them a little bit about Germany, but mostly they were interested in television.

Another really cool thing is that I found something special at the grocery store when we went to pick up food for dinner: coca cola. What is special about coca cola you might ask? Well, it Mexican Coca Cola, and they use real sugar. It tastes much better, and best of all, I don’t have to drive to Mexico anymore to buy it! The bottle is really cool too, written in Spanish, it is a half liter and glass. And as everyone knows the best coca cola is made with sugar and comes in a glass bottle!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Here it is ๐Ÿ˜€

On the way back from Victor’s I took advantage of the clear night to snap a couple photos of the Austin skyline from my road and also the moon again. Sorry no telescope shots this time, it was too low on the horizon.

Moon shot link

Skyline photo: you can click to enlarge

On the left is the UT Tower, lit up Orange at is custom when they win a football game. In the center is the state capital seen 90 degrees from the front face, and on the right is the downtown business district. You can walk from the Tower to downtown in less than 30 minutes.

Enjoy – That skyline photo was a little dangerous. The road I live on is slightly busy, and I had to stand in the middle, as evidenced by the photo, to get a good shot.

Kentucky was great

I had a blast, and I think Wojtek and Otylia also had fun – we may have scared them a bit however. I picked them up after a long drive, and we arrived around 6PM It was a good reunion for me and Trev and Jen. We hadn’t seen each other in well over a year, and they had a new baby to show me. Trev is real proud of his son, and I suspect he’ll make a great father.

First off we had to tell some stories, but soon he had a publicity stunt to do for the radio station at the local high school football game. My friends had never seen football live and were quite curious.

Of course the photos wouldn’t be interesting to most of us, but I’ll put some in anyway.

Sadly the home team lost. They lost bad. Otylia was taking the photos. I made them sit on the cold metal bleachers because it was traditional, and actually it was something I had to do every single football game of highschool for the band, and I kinda missed it.

Later we showed them how Trev gets free pizza and went back to the house to celebrate.

Saturday was fun also. Recovering a little from Friday, the three of us climbed a mountain across the road from Trev’s driveway. It was steep, but we made it safely. Only a couple incidents, one with a snake and another with a dog slowed us down. Here are some photos for ya.

The Snake, Otylia resting, and Wojtek and Oti taking in the view from the top. I was surprised, nearly two years ago I climbed that mountain alone and at the top “built” (I mean laid some sticks on the ground) a cross up there as a symbol of my nickname. Anyway, they were still there after 2 winters and 2 summers plus rain and all the likes. So I had to throw a couple more sticks on to see how long it can go now. Who can tell when I’ll get back up there?

But the adventures didn’t stop there. A little while later Trev started up his bike and allowed me to take my friends for a ride. Otylia went first. I took it very easy and it was just a short ride. When we stopped she was shaking – I think she wasn’t used to so much excitement! Wojtek was next, but I wasn’t so smooth with him. He really enjoyed the ride and might even consider a bike for him before too long. ๐Ÿ˜€

The original intent of the motorcycle riding was to pick up food. So we grilled shortly, and ate well. But the real adventure started soon after that. Trev has this 1979 Jeep Cherokee BEAST that he bought for the sole purpose of getting it stuck on top of a mountain. Oti and Wojtek had never even seen a vehicle like this before, never ridden in one, and much less had gone off roading. This would be an experience! A buddy of Trev’s came with us, J was his name, and before long we met up with Brad who was finishing repairing his own jeep. Soon we were on top of a mountain doing things that vehicles were not intended to do. Running through mud, getting stuck, nearly flipping over, hitting trees, losing mirrors were just part of the fun. At one point Trev’s clutch linkage broke, and a trusty bungee cord was all we needed to fix it. He says it’s even better now. On the way down Brad’s drive line broke, so we had to pull that off – thankfully the front wheels still drove or we’d have had a hard time getting home. All in all I think they enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until we were back safely at the house that I heard the first sound from Otylia, a sigh. She had held her breath for almost 2 hours!!! Believe that!

She sat in front. I though originally it was to get the best view, but she really just wanted the seat belt! ๐Ÿ™‚

Later on we played darts and celebrated again. A friend of Jenn showed up, Wanda, and it was a late night with 8 people in the house!

The next morning Jenn prepared a nice breakfast for us and we moved a little slow. No mountains this morning, but we had to pack and eventually head out. Some photos of us as we said goodbye.

Me and Wolfgang Alexander Huff; Trev, Jenn, and Wolfgang, Otylia and Wojtek in front of the Juggernaut!
We had a great time. Trev is a great host, and I was very happy to show my friends from Poland around the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. I imagine it was a weekend they will never forget.

By the way, the photos posted here were all taken by Otylia’s camera. I took some but was having such a great time I forgot to carry it with me. Thanks Oti for the photos.

See them all here

Heading down to Kentucky

I got a friend down in the mountains of Kentucky that I’m going to see. Trev is his name, and if you’ve read this blog for a while you probably recognize his name. Heยดs a friend I’ve made from motorcycle riding, and while I was away last year he had a baby. I gotta get down there and see him.

Something else nice about this trip is that I get to see some friends from Germany. Otylia and Wojtek Labacki are living in Northern Kentucky for a short while, and I’m going to pick them up to show them around for the weekend. They’re looking forward to getting out of Florence, KY where they’ve been for the last month without leaving. I’m happy they can come along and look forward to showing them a part of one of our most beautiful states. I’ll take pictures this time and post them early next week.

Today is set aside for spending time with my friends in St. Louis and studying. Hopefully more of the latter than I’ve been getting done so far.

I saw Dan Hopper on Monday. He and I played some putt-putt and hit baseballs in the batting cages before he invited me out for dinner. I say out because lives far outside of town on the other side of the river. Dinner was good and so was seeing him. Dan’s got much of my furniture in his basement that he’s been keeping for well over a year now. I’m very grateful, but it’s now time to take it to Texas. So next week if everything goes as I plan I’ll pick it up and be back on my way home. St. Louis will be only an occasional stop after that.
Wish me luck studying for my test. It will be around noon next Thursday. If I pass that graduation is in December!

Yesterday was fun.

Yom Kippur was interesting as I’d never seen one before – growing up in the woods. I liked the service, but towards the end one of the Rabbis decided it was her job to preach to us about how the government should behave and it approached a boundary withing church and state. I never considered Synagogue to be like that and avoided churches that did so. Anyway, we got out alive and went to eat some Chinese food. The food was good, and the table next to us was a group of older women that spoke Spanish. It was interesting to hear them talk with the waitress since none of them knew English very well. I couldn’t figure out where they were from, their accent was not one I immediately recognized, nor did I hear any dialectal words that would make one country stand out over another.

After that Jessica and I headed to the “Taste of St. Louis” a big gathering where local restaurants set up booths and people sample their food for what I though was a reasonable price. Of course you couldn’t get filled up on the samples without going broke, but we did get a sample from a friend of hers that runs a catering business. Crepes with apricot preserve filling!

I forgot my camera of course, but there were a lot of people downtown last night. The after-party was in a bar not too far from there, and we got in free again thanks to the catering friend. Some big time musicians were supposed to make an appearance, but when we left at 12:30 they still hadn’t made it. The band was pretty good too as a Grateful Dead cover, and both of us sang along to many of the songs we knew. Sugar Magnolia and Shakedown Street were some of my favorites. I dropped her off and headed home.

Today I’m going to pick Dan up from the airport. Maybe Dave will accompany us as we go to meet our other friend Dan Hopper aka SuperDan for some batting cage activities and maybe some put-put. Dan has kept to himself lately, and I knew something sport related would get him out. Oh, and look soon for the photos from DS&T, I’m finally ready to finish up typing the entry.


Thing are going well. I’m in Missouri and getting all of my ducks in a row to graduate. The paperwork is filed, I’m getting my professors setup to be on the committee for my defense/orals. I finally got my grades from Germany, and they were actually better than I expected – well, they couldn’t have been better in fact. I made As in my physics classes, the ones I’m transferring to Missouri.

I’m very pleased because it is not normal to make As in Germany. I say that because there is no incentive like we have here. A German student at the end of his studies gets a certificate/diploma no matter what his GPA, and the guy with perfect score is just as qualified as the guy that just passed his classes. Like I said, I’m happy. If these grades really are part of my transcript like my professor says, I’ll have a 3.94 average for the Masters. There was one B+ I made my first semester in Graduate Electrodynamics. I redeemed myself though, and the second semester with the same professor and more difficult material I made an A.

Ok, today will be fun. First Yom Kippur at the Temple with my friends Dave and Diana. Then “Taste of St. Louis”. Jessica and I will spend more time with her friends who are pretty cool people. Then later Margaritas probably followed by sleeping. Gotta run, the day is beginning.

Saw Lance Armstrong last night.

It was cool. Mom got us passes to watch an interview with him and Texas Monthly magazine. He’s promoting a cancer research and a bond initiative for Texas. The interview was quite interesting, and of course there were the questions about bicycle riding and competition. It was a pretty cool interview. Of course I went with my mom and her two friends that all ride bicycles. These women were all googlie eyed over him. I guess he is a hero an all, but really, and I had to hear it. I have to say he’s well spoken and witty at times and made for an interesting time.

So, here’s some photos of him and his daughter who was running around during the interview. She provided some laughs.

The interview was on UT campus, so I stopped to snap a photo of the UT tower. And later that night I got the capital building, but it was dark. I’ll try to get another better one soon.And at dinner we sat under the biggest Pecan tree I’ve seen in a long time. It was quite photogenic so I snapped a few. It was a good dinner, and I got to drink one of my favorite beers from times past. Turns out it won’t be my favorite beer anymore. Man, I was spoiled for so long buying good tasting beer. I can’t believe it I used to like that beer. Man, I’ll have to quite drinking or go broke buying expensive beer. The good news is that my burger was good, and made with real beef!

One last thing. I posted the second half of highlight photos and the story associated the other day, but I have trouble seeing them. If you are having the same problem please let me know.

my email is cross(at)