Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 Mohican Runners

I just wanted to say a quick congratulations to all of my Mohican buddies who ran the 2010 Mohican 50 or 100 Mile Trail Race. I'd like to give an extra BIG congratulations to those that fought through the pain, the sun, the darkness, the heat, the chill, dehydration, nausea, lucid day-dreaming, and (in some cases) hallucinations to actually FINISH the race.

I don't want to get into a name dropping post, so I'm just going to say that if you're reading this and was a part of the Mohican Trail Ultra, then this is me saying: Congratulations !

Hope to see you soon and put in some miles together. I can't wait to hear all the stories...

An American Hero (Still) - Van T. Barfoot

I received this in an email and thought it was worth sharing on my blog. Please overlook the formatting problems, and focus only on the content. If you are reading it directly from my blog, then you may have to highlight the words in order to read it due to the dark background:

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg -- probably didn'tmake much news back then.
Twenty-five years later, on
May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T. Barfoot,
who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun
positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced
through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned
with 17 prisoners of war.

If that wasn't enough for a day's work, he later took on and destroyed three
German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions

That probably didn't make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it
did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in
Korea and
Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.

What did make news last week was a neighborhood association's quibble with
how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban
Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted
bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot's 21-foot flagpole were
He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court
action if he didn't take it down. Since the story made national TV, the
neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed to indulge this
old hero who dwells among them.
the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without
interference," Barfoot told The Associated Press.

As well he should.

And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to
read his Medal of Honor citation.
It indicates he's not real good at backing down.

Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor citation:
This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor
Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond
the call of duty on
23 May 1944, near Carano , Italy . With his platoon heavily
engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding
ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled
to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand
grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German
defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun
killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew
then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving
the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions
in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to
17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly
captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at
his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed
position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. >From a distance of 75
yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it,
while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled
tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued
onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German
fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his
platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts,
assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety.
Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and
aggressive determination in the face of point blank fire are a perpetual
inspiration to his fellow soldiers."


If you got this email and didn't pass it on - guess what - you deserve to get your butt kicked!
I sent this to you, because I didn't want to get MY butt kicked.


Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Maine Vacation (Part 1 of 2)

Jennifer and I finally did it. We have talked about traveling to the state of Maine for years, and this year we decided it was time to just do it. We saved up our money over the course of about 8 months and took our girls on a 2 week camping adventure through the Appalachian mountains over to the Atlantic coast. We spent a week in Cape Cod, then another week in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was the vacation of a lifetime and one that we know our 3 girls will remember for the rest of their lives.

Starting our journey

Mountain Driving

We left bright and early on Saturday morning and drove all the way over to eastern PA. We ended up making it all the way to the east side of PA and stayed in a Comfort Inn. The girls got to swim for a little bit, and that's all they cared about. :) The camper pulled really nice behind our SUV and we were pretty amazed at how the mountains didn't put too much strain on it. Gas mileage was atrocious the entire trip, but at least we budgeted for it and it was not an issue at all. We had to fill up every 260 miles or so, which worked out nice anyway. Oh, and Daizi (our 3 yr old) get's credit for the "quote of the vacation" after only 2 hours into our 2 week vacation when she said:
"Mommy, I waaa go home."
We all got a good laugh out of that one. :)

A tornado forming just ahead on the highway in PA!

Woodstock, NY
The next morning we headed to Woodstock, NY and went through all the shops. The girls thought it was cool to see all the tie dye and we explained to them exactly what the Woodstock Music Festival was all about and all about what happened back in 1969 that brought all the musicians together. We tried to explain that the event drew a crowd of +500,000 people from all over the world. They did the "...woooooow" response, but I don't think they really understood what it meant. Once I was able to show them a picture of the crowd consuming a whole New York hillside, then we got the real "WOOOOW" that I was looking for. At that point they understood how many people "+500,000 people" actually looked like. :) We had a lot of fun here and got some cool souvenirs. About 1 day is all that was needed to see everything here in Woodstock. We spent about 4-5 hours going through the various shops, and that was enough for me.

That night we stayed in another Comfort Inn and and the girls got to swim again. Before calling it a night, we ended up eating at a place called Ninety Nine's. It's like a bar and grill style restaurant with an amazing menu. We all loved it!! It was cheap and delicious. The kids meals were amazing and beat the "sox" off of every other kids menu that we've seen on the entire trip. Best yet, when the Boston RedSox win a game the night before, the kids eat free anyway. We ate at Ninety Nine's two times and both visits were after the Redsox won a game. :) Bonus!!

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The next morning, we woke up and finally made our way to our camp site in Cape Cod. We ended up getting a REALLY good site named Cape Cod Campresort and Cabins. Our site was huge and we have no real complaints with anything. The only downfall to this campsite was the prices inside the camp resort. A small bundle of firewood cost $7! A small bag of ice cost $3.50!! The washing machine cost $3, and the dryer cost another $3! Needless to say, we learned the hard way with each purchase. To offset the cost of the firewood, we all went foraging for wood around the campgrounds after dark. ;)

Free Firewood

Aside from the costs of the items, the place was a 5 star camp resort! They had a very friendly staff that took great pride in the campground. There were all kinds of sites for all types of camping: primitive tent, pop-up, RV's, and cabins. The bath house was immaculate as far as camping bathhouses are concerned. We've seen some doozies in our days, and this one is by far the best that we've seen. No creepy crawly's anywhere, and they were always clean. This resort also offers 3 different pools: a family pool with a slide, a kiddie pool for toddlers, and an adult pool separate from the other two for prime relaxation. There was a huge game room, free wifi, laundry, large pond with paddle boats and kayaks, a huge playground, horse shoes, basketball, volleyball, and more... I would definitely recommend this camp resort to anybody that wants to camp in Cape Cod. Again, be ready to spend some money if you plan to use any of the resources inside the campground though.

Bike Party

Napping at the campground

Writing postcards to family and friends.

Sparkler Party!!

Girls building a log cabin with twigs :)

Jazzy is in her element

Some crazy "Daizi Dance"!? :)

We did venture out in the truck around Cape Cod quite a bit. We got ourselves lost each time we did, and got turned around quite often. We would drive and drive only to be looped back around to where we started a few times. A few times we came into little harbor towns and it was need to see all the little shops and restaurants on the bay. Both of us were very surprised as to how big the peninsula actually was. On paper it looks like a 10-15 mile stretch of land, but it is actually like 75 - 80 miles long. We never did venture out to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket Island; the boat ride was too pricey for our family of 5 and the islands were nothing more than money-traps anyway. We did go to a couple of beaches and of course we all ate some great seafood.

Beach Babes

Not too much happened outside of our little trips in the truck to various land marks. I did get to see where SteveRunner runs his Falmouth Road Race and it was neat to actually drive on the course that he has always talked about in his podcast. :) Other than that, Cape Cod was pretty much a nautical get-a-way along the Atlantic coast. This was quite a nice little pit-stop town on our way to Maine.

My Happy Campers

Boston, Massachusetts
On Thursday morning, we woke up and got checked out of the campground around 9am. We were going to drive through the gut of Boston, just to say we did it. Boston was pretty cool! We drove under a huge tunnel that spanned +3 miles under the city only to open up to a suspended bridge over other highways in the middle of the Boston skyline. The girls thought it was pretty cool, as did Me and Jennifer of course.

Once we got outside of the Boston city limits, we kept heading north and did quick jaunt through the state of New Hampshire for a few minutes. Our next stop was going to be in the great state of MAINE!!

Living our dream

(to be continued...)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Projects and Fresh Ideas

Jennifer and I were sitting at the kitchen table after a stellar egg breakfast this morning talking about vacation and other stuff. We were also discussing where we saw ourselves in a couple of years, etc... You know, husband and wife talk.

We came up with some really cool ideas that would generate some steady income outside of the ol' 9-5. Jennifer came up with an idea that got my wheels spinning. It got me excited, and I decided to post something about it. The idea is to fill a gap that no other website has done yet and trust me we've looked. It would not only benefit local home owners, like ourselves, but would also benefit local businesses in the area. If we could advertise it and exploit it enough here in Newark, then there's no reason it wouldn't work in Columbus, or any other big city for that matter. I need to do a little more research to see what other gaps we could fill with it, but for now, the idea is very slick, and (most importantly) extremely valuable to all users that would log on. Remember, eBay was started up from a wacky idea to auction off a broken laser pointer. The underlying code was built in a weekend:
Omidyar was 28 when he sat down over a long holiday weekend to write the original computer code for what eventually became an internet superbrand — the auction site eBay. - Wikipedia: Pierre Omidyar

Twitter began in a "daylong brainstorming session"... - Wikipedia: Twitter
Check out the first sketch an idea that later became Twitter: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Twttr_sketch-Dorsey-2006.jpg

Stories like this keep me believing that our idea isn't so far fetched... Our idea is a service that everybody would be able to use, and would have a cool little twist on it that would keep people logged and coming back, much like they do on any other addictive site (eBay, CraigsList, Facebook, Twitter, My blog :), etc..). I'm very excited to sit down and visualize it's underlying architecture and start building the first set of pages. This will be my perfect excuse to master Ruby on Rails and MySql in my spare time. I also need to interview some of my friends and family who own their own businesses to see what I'm missing...

If I can come back from vacation with this much excitement, then it WILL happen. Sorry no more information right now. Feel free to post comments of ideas for such a website though. If that's no a vague request, then I don't know what is. :)