That is correct, 4! We need 4 tuners to capture all the programming Karen consumes in a given week. She had to make some tough choices this programming season. Still, with all that paring down, she missed some shows because my zombie thing bumped her program.

Can I get a w00t for The Walking Dead?

This year, to save her from tears, I am getting her something special. (Wham! reference, you are welcome).

No, it is not a surprise. Congratulate her when you talk with her again. Ask her about her shows and conflicts. Tell her The Walking Dead was worth it!

Proud Jesus

Jesus is a Packer?

Storm Survivor

Sandy knocked us off the grid for 12 days. The house and grounds survived with on minor damage. The power being out for 12 days was unacceptable. JCP&L just keeps putting wires up on poles and wondering why the trees rip them down again.

Time to invest in personal power generation. Maybe in the 8kW range with an on site fuel source. Perhaps even a battery system for kicks?

Garden Bounty

The harvest is almost done. That is the third load of tomatoes. With pepper and Scallion on top. I am chopping, bagging and freezing like Depression Era grandmother.

Ooooh! Chicken

The soup was creamy, Jeremy! The soup was creamy.


Read the label carefully. It this some advance in cleaning technology? Does the bucket add a high electrical charge to the solution that tases bacteria? Is it super effective?

Super Jake

Able to leap tall sofas in a single nap.

21 Again

I turned 21 again today. We went bar hopping to celebrate. Morris Tap had a great band. I even got Karen to dance.

Arcade at Work

I felt like I was playing Q*bert in real life at work today. We were preparing briefing books for the agency that included several drawings. Each drawing was mostly a white page. Each drawing got a yellow title sheet. Eileen was turning little cubes of paper white while I tried to turn them yellow.

Full 7 Levels

Seen here ferociously guarded by a bird, the tomato plants have fulfilled there assigned destiny and filled all 7 levels of the cage. I really did not think this would happen. Now if we could just get one tomato I might feel it was worth the expense. I might.


Karen desperately tried to miss her 44th birthday. Thursday evening while calmly reading her book she announced that something was not right. Her hands and tongue were itchy. Within 30 minutes of panic and failed remedies I had to call 911. She was turning blue and losing consciousness.

A police officer, 3 EMTs and 5 other emergency workers saved her life and got her to the hospital. Hours of monitoring and tests later we know it was anaphylaxis but we do not know the cause.

Good News: while the episode was exhausting the only residual damage is a face bruise caused by hitting the tile floor in a bout of lost consciousness. Well, and a poker hand worth of prescriptions! Puppy and Mommy will be fine, after a good long rest.

New Ear

The first ear of corn pushed silk out today. Karen counted 4 ears. Might get a dozen out of this crop.

First Plum Tomato

The first fruit of the tomato vines has made an appearance. These are on the Roma vine. Hopefully more will appear soon. The flowers are abundant, just no fruit yet.

Level 4

This is the critical level! The smaller cages stop here at Level 4. If the tomato plant gets larger than this (it will) then the taller cage was the wise investment.


This is the bulk of the harvest from the raspberry bushes. I took two early harvests, each of them was half this size. They are really sweet.

I had to fight the birds for every berry. Netting, posts, dogs chasing them, unshielded bush on the side yard, nothing seemed to stop the attempts to steal my berries. All that effort for maybe $8 worth of berries. I have to rethink my gardening strategy.


Grow, baby, grow! This is the first (recognizable) cucumber of the season. I don’t like them, but I like growing stuff. Especially stuff I can see grow on my daily walk of the garden.

It is really warty.

Level 3

We have reached level 3. We have now passed the extension joints. Wise decision, Jim, wise despite your doubts.

Level 2

The tomato plant has reached level 2 (of 7). Maybe the cages were not so optimistic.

Fruit Burst

The Raspberries have burst, summer can now begin.

We have cultivated several square yards of our little lake lot. Mostly herbs and vegetables, but I managed to squeeze a few fruit bushes in the less sunny spots. This is a native ( it was growing on the lot when I got here) berry bush. I created a nice spot for it, raised a bed for it, put some weed cover down and placed a bird net around it. I might get to eat one or two of these berries before the wildlife gets them all.

Tree Down

So, the big dead hemlock is gone. We called for an ESTIMATE and liked the price. The service came out while we were in Negril and took it down. I never said, “Yes” to the service, but it is done now.

I am not sad it is gone, just surprised. I will have to call them Monday and pay up.

Goodbye Negril

The week in Negril is concluded. It is a very nice Sandals property. I have tried many and this one is very good.

The beach is better than described. The service level exceeded all the Jamaica resorts. It has that nice mix of party places and quiet spots like LaToc on St. Lucia.

Great Expectations

We bought the expandable tomato cages online. In reality I think this was an optimistic choice.

Garden Project Complete!

75 Red Cedar Planks
50 1x3 boards
12 cubic feet of pea gravel
8 cubic yards of top soil
7 pounds of weight loss
50 wheel barrow trips to the driveway and back

She finally has her garden. I placed the last wheel barrow full of top soil in the last box this morning. We set up irrigation, planted and set up cages this morning.

There is a Mojito Mint garden, Herb garden, Pepper and Onion garden, Tomato and Basil garden, Cucumber garden, Watermelon patch and Corn field. Who is coming to the lake this summer?

Inspiration: Oakville
Photos: Construction


Bruce was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Berks Chapter. He entered with Donyell Marshall, Rick Bausher, Katie Kauffman, Keith Bricker, Stacie Jack, Joe Reedy, Jay Weitzel, Willie Pegram and Doug Dahms (my wrestling coach!).

Congratulations to Bruce.

Bruce was also there to present the Robert Harbach Award. That is his father. Very sports-involved family.


Do not touch the 15,000 volt line driving your arcade monitor while it is in operation. It will:
  • Make a hole in your finger by turning your flesh into smoke
  • Cause Auxiliary burns on your finger
  • Numb your finger
  • Increase your heart rate
  • Kick your adrenal gland, hard
  • Make you yelp
  • Prompt you to take a photo and show everyone how stupid your were last night!
The monitor will not skip a beat, drop a frame, lose vertical hold or show any remorse at having vaporized a small piece of you.

By the way that numbness will wear off and you will feel pain later.

Oakville Inspired

I installed some garden boxes in the yard in Year One here at 6. That garden has received many compliments from my family and friends. Mostly asking, “Did you build that?” That question gets asked with a combination of surprise that I could build such a project and the expectation that, if it is in my yard, I did build it.

Truth is it was a rather simple kit. The difficult part was leveling the ground under it and hauling the yard of dirt into it. The design and build was done for me.

The compliments came from friends and family, except my wife. While she does enjoy having a garden that provide fresh herbs, this was not the ultimate vision. She wanted more space, more height and a style to be named later.

Napa Valley Trip

In addition to cooking with the fresh garden herbs, she like wine. After years of reminding me, we finally took a trip to California Wine Country. She had millions of hotel, airline and rental car points. I thought, “Great!” this will be an almost free trip! I was very, very wrong.

She shipped cases of wine home. Cross country airfare suddenly became a pittance by comparison. I was, officially, duped.

I got over it and assembled a kit wine rack to hold her new library of rotten grape juice. I racked them up in her newly designed indexing scheme. I thought I was done.

Oakville Inspired

We stopped several times at the Oakville Grocery for lunches, water, fruit and other bits. Next to the Grocery is a showplace garden. It is a pea gravel covered lot with raised gardens in wooden boxes. She had acquired a vision.

She planned and plotted in Visio and Excel and handed me plans for her own showplace garden. We had some scraps left over from the famous Fence Saga. I designed and built some boxes. I am still destined to clear some of the yard, place the boxes, fill them with yards of fortified top soil and then drop the pea gravel between the boxes.

Photos: Garden Box Build

Dog Watchers

These two were parked across from me at the grocery store. They moved to the front seat while the humans were in the store. I bet they are thinking, “I hope they remember the milk bones!”

Fustating Kyboad

My keyboard stopped working in the middle of a document today. E and R were the worst, but the entire QWERTY row was flaky. Tried it on other machines, same result. That mean this one hits the chopping block.

After the fir whack the keycaps flew all over the place. It was explosive! The “board” part took the hit quite well, though. I flipped it over to try the second whack, but the Dell technology survived this swing as well. I see why Lizzie Borden felt 40 whacks was necessary. Two was enough fun for me.

The Crocus Has Spoken

All hail the harbinger of Spring! The first Crocus popped today. Forget your calendar, Vernal Equinox, or Groundhog. The Crocus has spoken! Emperors, planets, stars and small mammals are defied!

Arcade Fever

I sold 3 games and a parts order this month. It is still a hobby, not a business.