Defensive Stare


Green Alligators

Date posted: November 12, 2016 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »


America, what have you done?

Date posted: November 9, 2016 | Filed under politics | Leave a Comment »

This weekend was long and productive. It started out with a spectacle: Cinderella the musical was playing at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. All three of us got churched up in our fancy clothes and we drove into town for the evening. The show was fantastic–the script was updated for modern audiences, but Rodgers & Hammerstein is timeless. The cast was outstanding and the whole production was fun and energetic. At several points during the show I looked over at Finn, who was on the edge of her seat, eyes filled with awe, and knew that Mama had done right by getting tickets.

A photo posted by @idiotking on

Saturday morning we rose and cleaned the house in preparation for a sleepover with one of Finn’s friends, for which she was very excited. Beds were made, toilets scrubbed, rugs  vacuumed, and rooms straightened. Finn had a soccer game at noon, so we worked up until it was time to leave and then got her to the field with minutes to spare. She worked really hard during the game and even though her team lost by a goal, she played ace defense and ran her legs off on offense. We stopped for some groceries, grabbed a celebratory donut and headed back home. From there I took the Scout to Lowe’s to load up on lumber while the girls went shopping for some new fish.

Back at the house I unloaded the truck and lit a fire in the pit, then got to work building a third firewood cradle. By dinnertime I had it in place and filled with another half cord of wood while the girls played in the yard. Around dinnertime the Geblers stopped over with Bear. We all hung out in the backyard as the sun went down, and I loaded up the grill with dinner. We all ate our fill and stayed up way past our bedtimes; the girls went down with only a peep at 11PM.

Sunday morning we rose early and I helped put a pancake breakfast together with Jen, then headed back outside to put a fourth cradle together and stack the remaining wood. After I finished that task, I turned the Ravens game on the radio through the garage speakers, dragged my brewing equipment outside, and put a grapefruit IPA recipe on the burner that I’ve had sitting around since June. It was the perfect weather for being outside with a fire; 60˚ and sunny all weekend. I’ve got piles of bark from the split wood laying around that I thought I’d never find anything to do with, but it turns out bark burns pretty well–and fast. I made the first pile disappear by Sunday afternoon, and made a dent in the second pile at nightfall. I doubt it will be that comfortable outside again this year, but I’m glad I took full advantage of it.

Date posted: November 7, 2016 | Filed under Baltimore, brewing, family | Leave a Comment »

Holy shit, this is genius.

Date posted: November 3, 2016 | Filed under humor, music | Leave a Comment »


Wow, it’s been several months since I’ve updated here. There really hasn’t been much to add; Peer Pressure has been running reliably and well all summer and I haven’t had a whole lot of time to make any upgrades or do any serious work. About all I’ve done is add a bicycle quick release to the underside of the rear seat. I broke down last weekend and put the hardtop on, which was hard because it was 80˚ on both days. Today was 60˚, and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than wrestling a 300-lb. pile of metal in the middle of November.


I am looking at one of the Champion aluminum radiators to replace the original one I’ve got; the outlet on the filler neck to the overflow tank came to me disconnected where the copper had been brazed. Mr. Scout has one in Chewbacca and says it works great. I may also buy a rebuild kit for my spare Thermoquad and tackle that inside over the winter months. (I’ve been saying that for three years now…)

Date posted: November 2, 2016 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on November




Date posted: November 1, 2016 | Filed under finn, friends, photo | Leave a Comment »

From the Asbury Park Press:

Thomas J. Dugan, 97 of Toms River, was born on October 10, 1919 and peacefully passed on October 27, 2016 with his wife by his side.

Tom served in the United States Navy during WWII and was stationed on the USS Borie. Tom was proud of the time spent in the Navy and talked of it often.

Tom moved to Toms River in 1953 where he settled to raise his family. Tom worked as a supervisor in the Powerhouse at Ciba Giegy, retiring in 1982. Tom was an active member in his community and was a parishioner of Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

Tom Dugan was a huge man with striking blue eyes. He lived up the street from my Uncle Tom (my Dad’s cousin), who I visited often as a boy. He always had time to stop and talk to my cousin TJ and I, and their door was always open to us during the summers I visited there. He drive a gigantic yellow Cadillac, which I thought was the essence of cool, and he always dressed sharp–I remember him as a man with style. He inspired a life of community service in his family; his son served in Vietnam and later became a police officer, as did his two grandsons.

As I grew up I was fascinated with the history of World War II, and one day he told me the story of his service on the USS Borie, a 4-stack destroyer that hunted, depth-charged, and rammed the U-405, a German U-boat in the North Atlantic. The Borie wound up high-centered on the U-405’s hull and the two ships were locked together for an extended period of time, during which the two crews fought with deck guns, sidearms, and cooking utensils until they separated in the heavy seas. The U-405 sank shortly afterwards, having sustained heavy damage, and the Borie limped away into the fog, to be scuttled by friendly fire the next day.

Tom Brokaw made a big deal about the Greatest Generation, which always sounded trite to me, but Tom Dugan was the real deal. Godspeed.

Date posted: November 1, 2016 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

Today I got up, made coffee and breakfast, put on my work clothes, and went out to split some more wood. This involved badgering my neighbor via text enough times that he dragged his splitter over and we set up a (dis)assembly line. In about 4 hours we went through a good number of rounds and made a pile of split, stackable wood that we estimate is about 3 cords. According to this calculator I’ve already got 1.5 cords in my cradle.


The weather was perfect for being outdoors. After lunch we picked up two six-packs of tasty session IPA, one from Burley Oak and one from Firestone Walker, and both were delicious. By about 4:30 we were done, so he hitched up the splitter and took it home while I gathered the chips for kindling and straightened the pile. Then I sat with Finley and showed her how to fix the wheel on her new wagon: drill the axle, add a washer, and secure it with a cotter pin. It got dark before she could really play with it too much, but I’m happy to see it getting love again.


The week was a long haul–lots of early mornings in and late nights out of work. We did close on the mortgage, which is great. Finley assisted with another goal in her soccer game today, before going down in a collision with another player. Jen texted me and said it was “like the Simpsons Trampoline,” which had me laughing after I was assured Finn was OK.

Now I’m laying in bed wondering if I will be able to move in the morning.

Date posted: October 29, 2016 | Filed under finn, general, house | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: October 25, 2016 | Filed under design, WRI | Leave a Comment »


  • Split, stacked and covered enough wood to fill the second cradle. There’s no end in sight.
  • Watched Finley make a stellar assist in soccer, resulting in a goal for her team.
  • Celebrated said game with donuts.
  • Went pumpkin picking and had dinner with the Morrises.
  • Picked up the CSA in the Scout
  • Fixed our old HP printer, which went on the fritz last year at this time. A new network board solved that problem right quick.
  • Put some old electronics on Craigslist
  • Watched my neighbor fly his drone 400 feet over our neighborhood with my GoPro.
  • Watched the Ravens lose
  • Made dinner for the family
  • Worked on a presentation for this event on Tuesday evening. 90+ RSVPs. Yikes!


Date posted: October 23, 2016 | Filed under friends, list | Leave a Comment »