Nomad power-outlet-vampire recap

Our power was restored last night and I am really grateful to the crew of guys that came all the way up to Pennsylvania from Georgia and Mississippi to re-erect the telephone poles that were split in half. Some estimates had us not having power until Saturday, so it was awesome that they completed the work early and we could sleep with the heat on.
Finding a wifi connection and power outlet to work from this week was kind of fun, but mostly challenging. Barnes and Nobles near us had the weakest signal and I wouldn’t have been able to use an outlet if it wasn’t for bringing my own extension cord, which I shared with the other nomads. Plus I had to sit on the floor for a few hours until a chair opened up. The public library was awesome, although also a somewhat weak wifi signal. They had plenty of power outlets (4 to some tables) and plenty of room. Nice and warm in there and good atmosphere. Panera Bread was the strongest signal and they have outlets at most tables too, so that was the best situation for me – as long as you could find a spot. You really did feel like a vampire though, trying to suck the power out of the holes in the wall wherever you could. I would plug my extension cord into the outlet, then my laptop into that, my phone, my kid’s phones, Kindle – I had like a mini power plant situation. I learned that people are mostly all nice and that you really do have to be thankful for the little things.
Hope everyone else gets their lives and power back as soon as possible – and none of this is as important as the people who lost family members or homes. Our hearts and thoughts should be with them first, obviously.

The old playground rocket ship!!!


I have some memories burned into my brain from childhood. It’s hit or miss if those are happy or disturbing memories and what they are about. I remember they showed us videos in elementary school of overdose victims partially decomposing in bathtubs. Just hearing the word heroin or cocaine gives me a Clockwork Orange/Fight-Club-Tyler-film-edit flashback effect in my brain.
On a happier note, I always had these subconscious, very fond memories of the rocket ship in our playground – and my mind was blown when I found this picture of the same model playground rocket ship on retronaut of it! There was something really difficult about getting up into that capsule at the top. I forget what made it so hard, but it was something that was slightly challenging and very scary for a little kid, and I was proud when I could finally do it. Maybe you just had to pull yourself up – I forget exactly. Once you made it up there you’d usually rest and just sit up there in the capsule hide-out and talk, because it was an accomplishment to be up there, and you were kind of a badass if you made it.
The extra crazy thing people would do, which I never had the courage to do, is slip through the bars and then be climbing on the OUTSIDE of the rocket! You might not be able to tell from this picture – but that rocket is very very tall. If you fell from the top of it, you’d probably die. That’s the stuff we’d do in the late 70’s before we all became helicopter parents ourselves. The burst of nostalgia I get from this picture is like a shot of dopamine in my brain. I miss you dangerous rocket ship.

The tale of the butterflies continues…

So to continue the saga, the Fritillary caterpillar we bought was living happily on the Passion flower plant that Shady Oak Butterfly Farm sent us with the growing kit. He was eating the leaves off the plant pretty fast, but it seemed like the plant we had would hold him as long as he became a chrysalis soon. Then the caterpillar eggs hatched over night, and boy can they eat. The first picture below is the plant when it was shipped to us. The one below is after one night of having the baby caterpillars eat it…

So, we had problems. The caterpillars ate the entire plant down to the stalk. They were going to starve now. So I rushed off an email to Shady Oak, asking them if there is an alternative food for them, because I doubted I’d be able to find a Passion flower plant here in the Northeast. To be continued…

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar visitor


We put up a temporary greenhouse, it’s like a tent basically, but tall enough to walk into. After it was up, we realized it’d be perfect to have butterflies flying around it. Wouldn’t that be cool? Like the Disney World butterfly garden. So we got online and ordered from Shady Oak Butterfly Farm in Florida:

> 1 Gulf Fritillary caterpillar
> 6 Gulf Fritillary butterfly eggs
> 1 Monarch Crysalis

Approximately $50 (!) after 2 day air to our house.

What do you do when you run out of food because you have too many caterpillars and they eat your plant to the bare stalk? Stay tuned and find out…

Personal butterfly shields

What if butterflies repelled lightening? Like, what if they found out that during a thunderstorm, we were protected from lightening strikes if we had a butterfly with us. So people would start to raise them in their homes and then have little cages they carried around with butterflies in them during bad weather. Golfers would buy them from the course, or they’d start raising them on their own to bring with them. People would have them in the Supermarket with them and at picnics and barbecues. I think this could be awesome, or it could be really bad. I think awesome.

Also, this is going to be the name of my new band, Personal Butterfly Shields, so don’t steal it.

This is the front door we want to have someday. Current problems with this plan are as follows:

1. Our doorway is not currently arched. It would need to become arched.
2. This door seems very very expensive. Too expensive for us.
3. This door is for a castle and we do not live in a castle. More like a large hovel.
4. This door may be too cool for our doorway.

A list of all the cool discoveries I made so far this week:


1. I didn’t know that they found evidence that the mark of the beast might actually be 616 and not 666. They’re even going to notate it in new versions of the Bible. It’s going to cost a fortune to revise all the incorrect tattoos and heavy metal album covers.

2. Spotify. I know I am late to the party on this one. Amazing service – makes Pandora look old. I am on the free trial and I discovered so many new bands I love already (see #3). Awesome. Awesome. Double Awesome.

3. How did I not know about the band: be your own PET? Also I found Operator Please, Rival Schools, and the Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Groehl” (again, late to the party on that one).

4. The Lose It! iPhone app (It’s free!). Late to the party one last time. How cool is it to scan a bar-code and then it captures all the data about what you just ate and have it track it for the whole week? I am eating waaaay too much sodium. Found this via Quantified Self. Which is a cool website, and I also discovered it this week.

5. Found an envelope of old letters written from my Dad to his sister from an aircraft carrier where he was a crewman during WWII in the Pacific Islands. They are dated from 1945 and 1946 and they are such a window into my dad. He passed away in 1995 and I hear his voice when I read the letters. I am not through all of them yet. I might post snippets of them on here – it’s so weird looking back at that time in history through your own father. Very cool.