Welcome to the Perkins’ Family page. You can browse the individual home pages for the kids:
All good things must come to an end. It’s been a long time coming and due to another hosting move, I decided not to rewrite the chat in php. That actually would be ironic because the language progression has been Perl -> PHP -> .Net 1.1 -> .Net 2.0 -> PHP.
What’s even more ironic is that I really love Facebook and a lot of the elements that I love about Facebook were incorporated into the chat over 10 years ago. Things like status, uploading photos, superpoke.
The webcam is still live though and you can watch me work since ’96. Here is a list of all the items that you can still peruse.
Well, I think it’s my first. firstname.lastname@example.org was my first email address. Pretty funny.
From: Frank Perkins (Frankp@cloud9.net)
Subject: No cd needed
I have a patch that i ‘got’ that will allow you play d2
without the cdrom.
Just thought you would like to know.
Stormshadow! That’s classic.
Here are some more old posts. Props to google for saving them all!
I keep my gear list up to date by using google docs spreadsheet. It doesn’t support images [yet], so I created a simple control that sources in the spreadsheet and the replaces the [[ ]] tags with proper html tags. The formating is still a little screwed up because I’m not stripping out the html tags. I haven’t thought of a good way to do this, because there are style references in there.
I try to keep this from being a blog about my muses and life experiences, but I thought it would be fun to list all the motorized vehicles I have owned throughout my life.
Homemade Minibike – Tecumseh X-HP engine – ~$250.00
Part of the deal, I cut with my parents, of leaving Queens to move to NJ in the 7th grade was that they would buy me a dirt bike. A good trick by my parents to easily get me to leave behind all my friends and start again in a new town. The dirt bike actually turned into a minibike once we realized how much dirt bikes actually cost. We found a used one in the WantAD press and I vividly remember going to pick up the minibike. It was a bright and sunny day and I was so excited. The minibike was pretty cool. It was white and had fat stubby tires. The braking system was suspect as it was a piece of metal that rubbed against the tire. Needless to say, it didn’t always stop when you wanted it to, especially when the tires were wet. Unfortunately, slapping a lawn mower engine on a frame is not very sound. I would say that at least once a week it would break down: new points, new condenser, new flywheel, clutch, gas tank leak, frame cracked, starter rope broke. The good part is that I learned small engine repair and was able to fix most things myself. Because of the poor experience with the minibike, I convinced my parents to buy me a…
1983 Honda 185S ATV – ~$900.00
Now this was a machine. I must have nagged my parents for a year straight to get an ATV. Of course, they were dangerous and kids were dying when they flipped over onto themselves. Personally, I must have had it flip on my at least once a day. I guess the reason I never got hurt was just dumb luck. I remember doing jumps and landing on an endo in 3rd gear, flipping backwards down a 20 foot hill, getting stuck in the lake, jumping it into the lake.
Maybe that’s why later in life I have purchased more than a half a dozen Hondas. This beast would never break down no matter how much I abused it. The only major issue I had was when the valve clip broke and the head had to be rebuilt. Fortunately, after leaving the parts strewn apart my garage for months, I got the entire engine back together and it started on the first pull. Absolutely amazing.
1987 Motomarina Sebring Moped ~1000.00
In NJ you had to be 17 to drive a car, but only 15 to drive a moped. A moped was classified as a 2 wheeled vehicle that had pedals and had engine no larger than 49cc or 2hp. I forget exactly how I got my Dad to buy me one on my birthday, but I believe my Mom guilted him into it. Unfortunately, I had issues with it the first few days because the head was warped. I remember the dealer saying that it “sometimes happens”, which I thought was ridiculous. Besides the warped head issue, it ran pretty well. It only got up to a top speed of about 29MPH though. If you tried to go faster, like down a hill, you would definitely foul the spark plug. No worries because the little tool kit that was included with the moped had a spark plug wrench and wire cleaner. Cleaning the spark plug was about an every day thing.
I had the moped for the two years until I get my regular driver’s license and it was great. I remember planning a trip to hobby store that was 30 miles away. While it doesn’t seem that far now, I remember planning if I would have enough gas and what back roads to get there. What a sense of freedom. Another fond memory was getting pulled over by the police. I was all legit though. I had an official driver’s license [I had to do 2 figure eights without using my feet to pass the exam, no joke], real insurance [85 bucks a year!] and it was registered. When I got pulled over, the cops didn’t really know what to do so they just told me to stay out of trouble. I guess moped registration was not on the police test.
198X Mazda GLC ~450.00
Technically, this was my first car, although I never actually drove it. My dad, kinda of a fix-er-up type of guy, promised my Mom that he would get me my first car. Unfortunately, it was from a junk yard and beat up pretty badly. I actually didn’t mind the car, but my Mom was really upset that my first car would be a junker. Somehow he bought the car from me and I then got a…
1981 Toyota Corolla ~2100.00
This was the 2dr sedan version. It was red and had a black interior. I guess my Dad felt bad about the Mazda ordeal, so he promised me to get a new radio for it. We went down to the city and I got a Blaupunk cassette/radio deck for it with Benzi box. I never even heard of the Blaupunk brand before, but it sure looked cool.
Thankfully the top speed of the car was about 75MPH otherwise I would have gotten pulled over a lot more than I did. Another good thing was that I played basketball with all the cops so when they pulled me over, they would say “you look familiar” and then let me off with a warning. I was actually a good driver and didn’t speed excessively. I just always seemed to get caught doing 40MPH in a 25MPH speed trap.
A couple of found memories were pulling the e-brake in the Space Farms parking lot and slamming the wheel into a concrete barrier, which bent the axle, which later broke. No problems as there were plenty of cheap parts at the salvage yard. I also tricked it out with a pair of yellow fog lights. For some reason, I would let random girls drive the car, which ultimately break off the fog lights. A prelude [no pun] to things to come.
I was able to learn more about fixing cars as well by rebuilding the head and retiming the engine. I’m not sure exactly how it broke, but it involved replacing a lot gaskets, and resetting all the valves.
At one point in college I was wearing Fahrenheit cologne and a bottle of it broke in the back seat. The car REEKED for months. TO this day if I smell that cologne, I think of my old corolla.
SO how the car ended its life is one of those infamous college stories that my friends have never let me live down. To put it bluntly, my girlfriend wrecked it and then broke up with me a few months later. Oh well. Good car, stupid me.
1986 Honda Prelude EX – ~6500.00
So when I got my first full time job working for the school, parking cars and getting free tuition I decided to buy a car. I remember my friend Steve, who was working at a car dealership, helped me haggle with the Honda sales guy. To be honest, I don’t think he budged on the price. I got my Dad to pay for the 1500 dollars and I paid the rest by taking out a 5000 loan from the school’s credit union. I believe between my car payment and insurance, it was half my paycheck.
It was worth every penny though. This was one sweet ride. I have the greatest memories of driving that car with the music blaring, windows down and sunroof open. It was also a 5 speed which made it so much fun to drive; I wish I still had it. Actually, I kinda do still have it. Years later I had given it to my Dad because he offered to fix the rusted out exhaust. Unfortunately, he never fixed it and it lays in his backyard, rusting away to this very day. I would ask him to get the baseball mitt out of the trunk, but he also lost the keys to it!
One 90′s thing I did to it was I added a Viper alarm that talked. If you got too close to the car it would say “Protected by Viper stand back”. And when you armed it, it would say “Viper Armed!”. MEGA MEGA awesome.
1996 Nissan Pathfinder EX – 379.99 a month Lease
My first new car/truck that I leased with my newly married bride, Toni. We got a great deal on the lease. No money down, 15k miles a year for 379 month. The first quote the dealer gave us was 480 something and we threatened to walk out. He dropped it a hundred bucks in a heartbeat. Cool and scary. Another great truck. It was forest green with grey leather. I loved washing it in the weekend, which was a big deal back before kids. I even took it offroad a few times, but it absolutely killed the shocks and springs. When we gave it back after the lease was over they charged us 500 bucks for wear and tear due to a ding, but that was ok since the CD player was broke, muffler rusted practically off and the 4wd stopped working. This was the first and last car we would lease. Leasing is just not for me and is just a waste of money in the long run.
2000 Honda Civic EX Coupe ~16k
I think the reason I bought this car was to relive some of the great experiences I had with my 86 Prelude. Unfortunately, driving a stick in the daily grid of going to work is a lot different than driving to a party in college. It was a nice car, but I think after driving the luxurious Pathfinder, I was not feeling the cloth seats and loud ride. It also made the worst rattle in the window. One cool thing is that I bought this car entirely online. I negotiated the price online and simply had to go to the dealer, sign the contract and drive away.
2001 Honda Accord V6 Coupe w/Leather – ~25k
We actually went to the dealer to buy a CRV for my wife and I decided to trade in my year old Civic for the Accord. I got the V6 2 door coupe with black exterior and black leather interior. I also got the rear spoiler, which the dealer threw in for free. A really great car and the only problem I had with it was that the ABS sensor would fail.
2001 Honda CRV – ~25k
This was for the wife, but unfortunately I made the same mistake with the CRV as I did with the Civic. This car was just too tinny and the seats were really uncomfortable.
2004 Honda Pilot EX-L RES – ~35k
A replacement for the CRV and had a similar feel to our old Pathfinder. We got the DVD option and the kids love it. A great car and we still have it for 2 more years. At this point, I would trade it in for a new one in a heartbeat. There is nothing on the market close to the quality [Don't even say Explorer]
2006 Acura TL w/Nav – ~35k
I had thought I had another year left on my Accord loan, but to my surprise, in December I got a letter with the deed to my car. Of course my initial plan was to keep the Accord for at least another year and enjoy no loan payments. Unfortunately a few weeks later I was browsed over to the Acura site and they had 4.9% financing on TLs. Two days later I was driving the TL.
So far it’s a great car and I have had no issues.
2009 Honda Pilot EX-L RES ~32k
If it’s broke don’t fix it, but do replace it! After 100k miles on our ’04 Pilot it was time to look for something new. Even though the car was in good condition, I couldn’t deal with service issues.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug In ~30k
100mpg? Plug in for free with rebates? I’m in.
Update 5/7/2011: After about 4000 brewed cups we started noticing that the well behind brew unit was filling up with water [which is normal], but there were grinds everywhere. To fix it, you should make sure you run the descale process and the rising cycle. The rising cycle is key to remove any oils that have built up in the brew unit. Additionally, replace the boiler valve o-rings per your owners manual. Additionally, I had to replace the brew unit o-ring [called #4]. I ordered it from Miele for about 15 bucks and it’s part number: 5049900 I also found the service manual online so posting it here as well: Miele Service Manual [6mb]
Just noticed the Miele CVA 4075 model which can have a plumbed-in water connection. Don’t you hate it when they improve products?
Our system is still working great and we have had zero problems. We’re up to 518 cups. The only issue I have had is that someone, who shall rename anonymous, was not emptying the grinds when the water was refilled and there was a slight overflow problem.
We recently redesigned our kitchen and thought a coffee center would be a cool addition. There really isn’t a lot of choice in wall mount units so it was either the Miele system that used coffee beans or pods. I didn’t like the idea of pods since they are more expensive and would have to keep ordering them. The CVA 615 system uses regular coffee beans.
We had our Miele installed in the middle of the wall by our pantry. We also had a custom draw built to go under the unit to hold coffee cups, tea bags, sugar, etc. The idea was a coffee station. We still have to go over to fridge for milk though.
To be honest, I’m not a coffee aficionado. I probably couldn’t taste the difference between a hot cup of fresh coffee from 7-11 vs. Starbucks. Ironically, I mainly like to drink tea that I steep myself. A lot of the tea I use recommends steeping at 212 degrees F. From doing a test, it looks like the max temperature the hot water is about 160 degrees F.
The water definitely comes out hot, but not boiling. I made tea quite a few times and really didn’t notice the lower temperature so it works fine for me. If I had to, I guess I could microwave it for another 30 seconds, but that kind of defeats the purpose. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust how hot the water comes out.
For coffee, there are a few temperature adjustments. To be specific, there are 5. At the “medium” setting, the coffee comes out at around 175 degrees F. I couldn’t imagine any hotter than that, but coffee gurus would know more than I as it affects the crema.
As you can see, the coffee comes up with a nice froth or crema on top. I think it tastes great and that seems to be the consensus of everyone else that tried it. Of course, once you see it working, it’s hard to believe the coffee wouldn’t taste great. I’m really happy with the unit so far and hope it gives me many years of trouble free coffee.
I don’t know of any other reviews of this unit on the web so if you have specific questions, leave a comment and Ill try to answer.
I have been doing day hikes in Stokes State Forest all my life. Just recently I picked up the “A Guide to Stokes State Forest” at the park office and was intrigued by a section about the Snook Silver Mine. Apparently there is a trail from Kittle Field which leads to an old abandonded Silver Mine that John Snook created in 1875.
Even more interesting was a project that he started to dam a bubbling spring brook to create a lakeshore summer resort. The undertaking was never finished, but the remnants of the project can still be seen today.
Snook Silver Mine
On the lower slopes of a small hill located about 1/2 mile east of Kittle Field, John Snook discovered a large crack in a rock outcrop. Upon further investigation, he found traces of silver ore and in 1875 started a small mining operation.
Alternating a hand drill and hammer explosive charges placed in strategic locations, Snook fashioned a rectangular shaft approximately 4′ wide, 32′ deep and 10′ long. In dealing with blasting powder, he drilled the holes into the rock, measured the powder charge, and tamped the fuses, he sent his younger children into the shaft to the ignite the blast.
When he wasn’t working the mine, Snook filled the hole with water to keep trespassers from extracting the ore. A small pitcher pump powered by hand was used to drain the shaft when operations resumed. A wooden beam structure covered the hole and a pulley system carried the dirt, stone and ore out of the bottom. Oxen were used to cart the ore away from the mine for processing.
Recently, some of the mining tools were found wrapped in an oiled cloth beneath the roots of an old tree. Today the shaft is filled in with mud and water.
Snook’s silver mine was reported to be profitable to the extend of receiving $75.00 per tone of ore. Several other mines have been found in the area containing traces of lead, gold, and copper; however, the fines where usually too insignificant to develop.
In 1928 Hiram Snook discovered a large bubbling spring in a lowland area approximately 1-1/2 miles northwest of Kittle Field. He conceived an idea of building a summer vacation resort complex where rich city dwellers could lease lakeshore homes.
The construction of the lake was a great undertaking. Using a gasoline powered steam shovel, he dredged the muck soil from the site. A ditch fourteen feed deep and 450 feet long was dug so that the dam would have extra support in its foundation from the surrounding soil and rock. The dam was framed with rough cut lumber and concrete and poured one section at a time from a small portable mixer. A portable rock crusher ground rock aggregates taken from family owned stone fences and the sand used in the concreted was taken from a nearby stream bank.
The length of the completed portion of the damn runs 212′, with its highest point above the ground being 14′. The width of the damn varies from 7-12 inches. At the western edge, one can observe the original mold used in the operation. The foundation ditch continues to stretch westward for approximately 230′.
The development of hard times during the Great Depression forced Snook out of the business, unable to finish his vacation resort. The dam can still be seen as he left it over forty years ago. Today it stands as a tribute to the vision and fortitude possessed by the area’s former inhabitants.
Vegetable Garden 6.0 – 2011
This year I started out by making my own grow light. I was going to buy one online, but couldn’t justify spending 75-125 dollars on a hobby which was suppose to promote frugality. I spent about 50 dollars in parts and was able to make an adjustable growlight using PVC and a shoplight. If you’re interesting in making your own, the hardest part is figuring out which bulbs to buy. I opted for the 6500k R12 fluorescent bulbs. We’ll see how it works.
I have a lot of seeds starting to sprout only a week after planting [3/15]. I’m growing sunflowers, snow peas, rosemary, pumpkin, sunflower strawberry blonde, strawberry, heirloom tomatoes, butterhead lettuce, french beans, ancho chile, jalapeno, cucumber, parsley, impatiens, saffron, tomato brandywine, beets, dill, cilantro, spinach
Vegetable Garden 5.0 – 2010
This year I actually did remember to start the garden from seed. I purchased the Burpee seed starting kit and a bunch of seeds from johnnyseeds.com. The seeds did germinate, but unfortunately they did not grow enough and when I tried planting them in the garden, they quickly died. This means another trip back to Gilberties and a hundreds bucks later…
One upgrade to the garden is the addition of a soaker hose. However, the soaker hose I bought at Home Depot was “flat” and was impossible to stake correctly in the beds. Most of the time the water would come shooting out the top of the hose. I’m going to replace it next year.
Vegetable Garden 4.0 – 2009
Once again I did not have a chance to start the garden from seeds, but I fully attend to do this next year by ordering from johnnyseeds.com. I just need to work backwards from the last frost date of mid-april.
For Garden 4.0, I remembered an episode of TOH where they visited an herb farm in Westport, CT. I did some quick search to remember the name and found the herb garden: Gilberties Herb Gardens. What an amazing place! If you’re live in CT, you have to check it out.
Unfortunately, the compost pile I started last Fall wasn’t ready yet so we added 8 bags of organic peat moss/manure to amend the beds. In the meantime, I have two compost piles next to the firewood pile. The kids are doing a great job and not throwing away things such as banana peels, egg shells, etc and composting the stuff we would normally throw away. They really enjoy it and understand that some trash can be reused to make something wonderful. Hopefully by next year we’ll have plenty of black gold.
One of the other things we did during the non gardening season was collecting sea and crab shells to line the borders of the garden. The crab shells we rinse off with clean water and break them up into the beds for nutrients.
We have three beds for the garden and here is what we planted
Bed 1: Greek Oregano, Mint, Chocolate Mint, Catnip, Sugar Baby Watermelon, Red Rubin Basil, Basil, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Golden Lemon Thyme
Bed 2: Brussel sprouts, carrots, bush pickle, Heirlom Oxehart Tomato, Old world Italtian Tomato Pantano
Bed 3 Strawberries, Butter leaf lettuce, Arugula, Red leaf lettuce, Anaheim hot pepper
Along Fence: Snow peas, Sunflowers
Vegetable Garden 3.0 – 2008
The plan was to start some plants from seed, but unfortunately I didn’t get an early enough start. In mid May Alex and Julia came up and we spent the day working on the garden. We added compost from what I started last year and also supplemented the beds with about ten bags of top soil. Since it was still pretty cold out, we only could find cold hardy seedlings. We got: strawberries, red leaf lettuce, green lettuce, peas and broccoli. We also planted herbs of: cilantro, parsley and lemon balm .
We also spent a lot of time covering the bed with chicken wire. While the system works pretty well, it took a long time to cut the wire and to create a system to easily remove the wire.
The first night the garden was planted we had a visit from a raccoon. Even though he was rather big, he was able to squeeze under the three inch gap in the fence. Since their carnivores, he didn’t bother the garden. Having seen the raccoon easily penetrate the garden defenses, I decided to set the trap for the ground hog to see what happened. The next morning I had a groundhog in the trap. I took him about three miles away to a park with a stream and released him. I felt bad because I read that they don’t always survive when you remove them from your home but I had enough of the dog like droppings on the lawn and the holes around my deck [where they lived underneath]. Needless to say, having them eat my garden was also a factor.
A few weeks later we finished the other two beds of the garden and planted: cucumber, three different varieties of tomato, yellow wax peppers, red peppers, eggplant, pumpkin. And also added herbs of: Greek oregano and basil. The pumpkins we’re actually “weeds” though. The pumpkins I added to the compost pile last year actually started to sprout between the other vegetables in the beds. We transplanted about 6 of them to the rear bed and then discarded the rest.
I decide not to cover the middle bed with chicken wire and just set the trap. The next day another groundhog. Off he went to another nearby park.
I spent part of the Memorial day weekend digging a one foot trench around the garden and adding twenty-four inches of chicken wire to prevent any critters from crawling in under the gate. This seems to worked out quite well because there hasn’t been any problems other than a few squirrels digging holes in the beds looking for nuts. Hopefully the deer won’t make it into the backyard as they will easily be able to jump the four foot fence.
In the first few weeks of planting the lettuce, we already had enough to pick. Along with some flowers from around the yard, we had our first Spring harvest.
Vegetable Garden 2.0 – 2007
We found the sunniest part of our yard that didn’t involve putting a garden right in the middle of the whiffle ball field and decided right outside our sun room was the best location. There was a huge shrub [6' tall x 15' long by 6' wide] that had to be removed. We removed the shrub, axed away the 12 inch trunks and the cleared the grass away. After the shrub was gone, I proceeded to determine how I was going to fence the garden in to make it ground hog proof. I wanted to match our existing picket fence, but the sizing dimensions would have to be 6 foot sections rather than what I can purchase of 8 foot sections. Having become an expert in repairing picket fences I decided it would cheaper and look more professional if I made my own fence sections. I fabricated four 6′ foot fence sections while also cross bracing one of the sections to be used as a gate. By the time the fence was complete, it was almost the end of the summer and past the growing season. I decided to use a Burpee seed growing system to start some plants. It worked really well and I simply just left it on the back deck. Unfortunately, the groundhogs found it and ate all the seedlings. Discouraged, I finished making the raise beds out of cedar and planted some Rosemary which actually survived the winter.
I also purchased a trap to relocate the groundhogs although I didn’t use it.
Using some of the ninety plus bags of leaves I raked, I created a compost pile in the backyard. I also added the pumpkins that we used to decorate the front steps of the house to the compost pile as well.
Vegetable Garden 1.0 – 2006
The first version of the vegetable garden was setup behind the garage in the back corner of our property. Since this space was hardly utilized, it seemed like a perfect place to create the garden. I created a U shaped raise bed out of cedar and planted sunflowers, tomatos, carrots, pumpkins and corn. I seeded directly into the beds and mostly everything sprouted. However, there were 2 major problems:
1) When I made the beds in the late winter, the location received a lot of sunlight. However, I didn’t take take into account one simple thing.. leaves! As you can see, once Spring hit, the leaves of the tree blocked out most of the sun.
2) Groundhogs love vegetable plants. They gnawed off most of the stems leaving only a few very very small carrots left behind. This was precursor to the problems I would have with my earth burrowing friends.