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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Wow! It's been 2 weeks since I posted anything. I have one more big post coming for 2011 but I don't have everything put together yet. I have to scan in some pictures and compose a few more thoughts about closing out the year with a tribute -which I hope to do all by tomorrow afternoon. 
I hope my little band of readers is enjoying this holiday time!
I only wish I was here right now!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oppose SOPA now!

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit:

Don't █████ ████ █████, ████ ████, █████, ████████ or ██████+ ██████ █████ ████ ████ ████? If ████ ██████ it █████!

Uncensor This

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hellhounds on my trail?

I was feeling pretty darn grateful yesterday. My boss gave me the option of switching my days around so I could take Monday off instead of Friday (and I needed it after my 'sump pump weekend' - see previous post). I was able to go for a nice long walk on the trail with Kayla & Chance and we all enjoyed it. 
Nahhhh...just my faithful companions on the local Perkiomen! 
Kayla was atypically a good photo model - probably because she was well exercised! Chance was way too distracted by everything to give me a good pose...

I'm a proud supporter of the rails to trails program!

The mighty Perkiomen Creek!

I forget this is practically in my backyard. Most of the time I feel like the world is going to Hell in a Bucket so when I get an opportunity to pause and take a look around, I'm always pleasantly surprised at the beauty that is right there in front of me. 

A small tributary

Recording it here helps me remember it and not get dragged back into the normal day-to-day doldrums. I hope you're seein' it too!

Lemonade from Lemons...

 First of all, to my small and devoted group of followers, I apologize for not posting more frequently. Now that the holidays are approaching, I find myself busier with real life and unable to devote as much time to virtual pursuits. I also realize that I could just continue to post pictures every day to achieve my previous goal of posting daily but the season also brings a time of reflection and I've been wondering why I post at all. Before I get into a major ramble here, let me just say that I intend to change the focus of this blog as we approach the new year. Very simply, most posts after today will deal with the following themes: Gratitude, Inspiration, Creativity, Vitality and Service. Which brings us, in a most circumspect way, to today's post:

I planned on going to NYC this past weekend to visit my brother and make the rounds with some friends but this damned thing consumed my whole weekend:

The Old Sump Pump

On Wednesday night, my wife was playing around with this dying contraption and succeeded in getting it to remove much of the water from last week's downpour. After work on Thursday, we realized that this galvanized monstrosity was finally done for. We have an emergency pump but it doesn't have an auto shutoff so I decided to use this until we could get a new sump:

The Pool Cover pump
So my Thursday evening trip to NYC was, at that point, only postponed until sometime Friday. Later that night, I watched this video on YouTube:

...which, along with a visit from my friend Chris McColgan, gave me hope that I would indeed be on my way in no time at all...

On Friday, I went out and got a new sump, some 1.5" PVC, a check valve, and a few other parts, realizing I'd need more but not sure what that would be until I removed the old sump pump and converted some of the galvanized joins into PVC. Do you remember that 1st picture of the sump pump up there? I actually took that late Friday afternoon after struggling with those galvanized fittings for most of the day. Talk about frustrating!
Ultimately, I took a calculated risk and yanked the whole thing from the wall. I finally got it out and that's when the real fun started...

The hole in the wall
Inside the wall was a piece of 3/4" black pressure pipe inside a piece of 1" pressure pipe. This 7" length of pipe was all that came between 1"  piece of pipe that was attached to the reducing joint of that wonderfully corroded galvanized pipe. Now I knew why the wall was so water-damaged - a small pipe inside 2 larger pipes with nothing to prevent the pressurized water coming out of the sump from spraying inside the block wall. Oy! I would have to get creative and craft a solution. That meant no NYC.

What it did mean was this - me, using my brain to come up with a solution. I tackled it alone and came up with this:

The replacement
So I went from this:

Galvanized don't give a shit how strong you are!
To this:
Clean looking PVC and new 1" pressurized pipe into existing  system.

Now I had a proper check valve, a weep hole and even though I decided to use the existing pipe behind the wall, it all had proper joins and reducers. The part you can't see here (sorry, forgot to take a picture) is the smaller, 3/4" pipe joined to this 1" piece with a similar gray reducer join. That smaller piece is still inserted in the 1" piece of hose behind the back of the block but I inserted about 4.5' of it rather than the measly 3" it only had previously. 

I then filled the sump hole with water and tested it all out. Success! We saw water coming out of the drain into the drain field which slopes away from the house. Would I have liked to use 1.5" PVC all the way through? Of course, but this works - much better than before - and I completed it solo.

So that's a win in my book. I'm sorry I wasn't able to keep my original plans but I was ecstatic to solve the problem using my brain and a bit of brawn - even if the galvanized won a battle - I won the war. Huzzah!

The new pump doing its thing!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sundays we serve Dog!

We commit to dog runs as a form of service. Service of others, be they human or canine, can be a sacred experience. Not to help the weak, fix the broken, or assuage whatever guilt we have but rather to experience that which makes us feel alive and connected to the mystery of life. As we approach this holiday season and take time to reflect on changes we may make in the New Year, I expect I'll devote more time to service, gratitude and experimentation as I try to become healthy and whole and to paraphrase Ghandi 'be the change I want to see in the world'.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Diaspora* - Open Source Social Network

Do you like the ability to control your information easily and transparently? Without large corporations controlling what you see & how you see it? This may be the social network platform for you. Currently in alpha, Diaspora promises these abilities and more. From what I've seen so far, it looks a lot like a mashup between facebook & google+. I am curious to see if it delivers on its promise and I believe it can with our help. To be continued...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is it live or is it Memorex?

Roman street performing statues. I saw a lot of groups like this but this was the most interesting lot. Kind of a fascinating way to make a living which I may explore further in a future post.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

e-commerce is still retail - no matter how you slice it. At the new gig I can already see the 'nets heating up and online orders increasing steadily now that people are mostly at work. Unofficially based (or anecdotally if you prefer) on what I've seen and heard - online ordering is set to double last year's totals. Is the economy finally picking up or are we seeing really great/desperate deals?

Monday, November 21, 2011

A great weekend...

Lots of pictures to make up for not posting but you'll see why in a sec here. Starting out with massive leaf clean up on Saturday!
And it's reward on Saturday night...
Then a puppy rescue run from Newark, DE to Norristown as my leg early on Sunday morning. They were all so adorable! Support your local dog rescue!
Another Transport Hero! Support your local dog rescue!
Another Transport Hero! Support your local dog rescue!
More cute puppy pics!Support your local dog rescue!
And the big finish on Sunday night. I pulled out the smoker and smoked 4 racks of ribs, a lamb shank, a beer can chicken and even the giblets for the dogs(not shown 'cause those were kinda gross). This was all local farm fresh meat and super tasty!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NYC Marathon 2011

I forgot to post these last week but I just wanted to mention how inspiring it was to watch the runners. The (rather lousy) middle picture is of Mary Keitany - she set a blistering pace for the women for almost 2 hours and then ended up in 3rd place. It was so exciting to watch and a bit of a letdown (for me) that she didn't win as we were totally rooting for her...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Need some?

I certainly do! I may have picked the worst time of the year to start my new gig. 6 out of the 7 days I've been here so far have been fairly catastrophic as we work out the bugs before Black Friday...

Monday, November 14, 2011

City Island love

Gotta post from the phone this evening. My router blew up last night. Here are some pics of our time on City Island last week.