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Paper on Cones

Posted in Being Quirky on August 18th, 2013 by GAD – 3 Comments

I like ice cream. I prefer soft ice cream in what we Easterners call regular cones, but hard ice cream in a sugar cone will do in a pinch.  Since ice cream vernacular can vary with geography, allow me to explain that we call the cones in these pictures sugar cones. The pictures are from the event that prompted this particular diatribe, where while on vacation, my displeasure with the modern ice cream cone industry came to a head. For those of you disinclined to read the entire tale, the following summary should suffice:

Whoever had the bright idea to adhere paper to our ice cream cones needs to have canvas luggage straps stuck to their skin with a hot glue gun, after which disgruntled children, recently deprived of their half-eaten ice cream cones, will attempt to rip the straps off without breaking any skin. read more »

Image of a Hero

Posted in Dogs, Pointless Ramblings on May 8th, 2013 by GAD – 2 Comments

This picture is of my friend, Mike Stevens. Mike has worked tirelessly for decades as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He has regaled me with stories both heartwarming and horrifying over the years, but somehow when I saw this picture on Facebook, I got a sudden, clear image of what it must be like to be a first responder with a big heart.

This is a tragic tale, told here, of a fire that devastated the lives of an already disrupted family. The story is heartbreaking in every sense, and the sadness must be overwhelming for everyone involved. In the midst of the fire, the heroics, and the drama, the image of a man trying to resuscitate a little dog stands out. Mike has saved countless lives in his career as an EMT, and has no doubt seen many fade away as well. The image of him trying to save this little dog, though, really shows what kind of man he is. read more »

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

Posted in Disaster Preparedness on February 8th, 2013 by GAD – 1 Comment

In November of 2012, New Jersey was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Places like the Jersey Shore and parts of Long Island, New York were destroyed utterly. Many people in these areas were keeping watch with shotguns while their families slept. There was looting, a National Guard presence, and countless people lived on the brink of a societal collapse. It was literally that bad in many places.

We live about sixty miles inland, and though we did not suffer the ravages that plagued the coast, we were among the last of the towns left standing to get our power back. From the day the storm hit until the day we were “back to normal”, we spent 14 days and nights without power. Like many homes, no power means no TV, no computers, no Internet, and of more importantly in the cold of a New Jersey November, no heat. But that wasn’t the worst of it for us.

We thought that we were prepared, and we were for a few days, after which things changed in unexpected ways. My hope is that someone will benefit from the lessons we learned from this event. There is a lot of information here, so I’ve split the original 6000 word essay up into smaller chunks. An index of these posts appears below. read more »

Hurricane Lessons: Shelter and Warmth

Posted in Disaster Preparedness on February 8th, 2013 by GAD – Comments Off


Shelter is one of those things that many of us take for granted. You need to be safe from the winds, the rain, the storms, and whatever else nature can throw at you.  If 70 mile-per-hour winds knock a tree into your bedroom, you’ve suddenly got a compromised shelter. If your shelter is compromised, take steps to find new shelter, fix what you have, or both. Many survival schools teach students to make a shelter before even starting a fire when lost in the woods. In our case, our house was thankfully unscathed, but there were many people sleeping in church, firehouse, and Red Cross shelters in our state. Don’t be afraid to use such services if you need them.


With shelter taken care of, the next immediate need in the winter is warmth. This is one category where I thought we were prepared, and we weren’t. We have a wood-burning insert in our fireplace which keeps almost the entire house warm when the power is out. We had some wood, and I had bought some kiln-dried firewood just in case we ran out. I had figured on a few days without power, and that’s how long the wood lasted. Since we were burning wood on a 24×7 basis, we went through it at an alarming rate. read more »

Hurricane Lessons: Water

Posted in Disaster Preparedness on February 8th, 2013 by GAD – Comments Off


Since we live in a very rural area, we have a well, and the well pump runs on electricity. While many people complained about not having any hot water, like most of our neighbors, we had no water. A lack of hot water means being unable to take a comforting, hot shower. No running water means no flushing toilets.

The average person can survive for about three to five days without water. We have Poland Spring water delivered to our house, and we always have at least four five-gallon jugs of clean, drinkable water available. With four of us and two dogs, in a worst-case scenario of one gallon each per day, we have water for 3.3 days. None of us consumed one gallon per day, especially at the beginning when we still had bottles of other things to drink. We went through about one 5-gallon jug per week, and that included giving the dogs water. Note that we only use this water for drinking, possibly cooking, giving the dogs water, and things like brushing our teeth. The bigger issue by far was the water consumed every time a toilet was flushed. read more »

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