The Writing Bug Strikes


Well it’s back. The Bug. This time, however, I’m not going to take this laying down. I plan on grabbing this bug, looking it straight in the eye and saying,


“Hey McFly, you bojo, those boards don’t work on water!”


Now, I know, to most people, that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Unless you’re a fan of the Back to the Future movies, specifically the second one. For me and my odd sense of humor, it’s completely logical. Funny even! I mean, a deranged writer holding a large insect of some undetermined species, quoting one of the most famous Michael J Fox movie series to date… what’s not to love?


In all seriousness, however, the writing bug is in the house. Both Sandy and I have always had heads chocked full of original stories to tell, but lacked confidence in our abilities to tell these stories in any medium. Photography, art, music, writing. Notice how I said confidence, not ability. Sandy is wonderfully talented, but just doesn’t admit it. This time, though, I am personally going to take Nike’s advice: Just do it. And I think Sandy is going to also, but that’s not for me to reveal. Shhh! Spoilers!



At the time of this post, I am 17,500 words into a story. A somewhat poorly worded and gramatically incorrect story, but a story nonetheless. I’ve decided to take the angle of NaNoWriMo, and just push the story out, quality be damned, in a fixed period of time.


So far, it has worked out pretty well. I’ll admit that I have partially betrayed the spirit of NaNoWriMo and have done a few Editorial passes over my writing thus far. But I was looking for blatant misspellings and grammatical errors as well as obvious plot holes! E.g. Character A was killed in chapter 5 but reappears in chapter 7. My OCD would not allow such atrocities to wait until the story reaches completion. My OCD demanded their execution immediately.


Things are going well, and with the help of the editorial passes, I think I’ve got a solid basis and direction for where the story will go. 17.5K words and 10 editorial passes in one week’s worth of time gives me a fair amount of encouragement that I’ve the inertia to see this attempt through. I will finish!


The fate of Carter Johnson, however, remains to be determined.



Samantha Crashes Her Ferrari



At approximately 5:10 pm, Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, Samanatha Loman, eldest daughter of Sandra and David Loman, was involved in major vehicular accident. The car involved in the accident was severely damaged when it struck a house at high speed. Ms Loman walked away from the scene uninjured.


In reality, she was carrying her newly completed 1:24 red Ferrari over to her ‘model road’ to stage a scene when she dropped it. It literally shattered into its original parts. She was really upset, but I pointed out that none of the pieces themselves had broken, but rather, the pieces had simply come apart. Superglue, it seems, provides quick bonding but lacks the sheer strength that model cement provides. Good to know.


Making the best of the situation, and trying to get her to smile again, we staged a scene anyways. Always look on the bright side of life!


Sammie Wrecked Her Ferrari from claymore1977 on Vimeo.


Epilog: The model has been rebuilt with less superglue and more cement. Order is restored to the universe.


Exit Stage Left

Well, some friends just showed their true colors. It really is saddening, as their walk with God was turning them into some very pleasant people to be around. But it seems that they have been internalizing all the issues they had with us as friends.

So I suppose the question is: How do YOU deal with a friend who is holding things against you, rarely considers themselves in the wrong, and doesn’t talk to you about these issues they have until they build up and boil over? I’m a firm believer that communication is key to a successful relationship, be it working acquaintance, friends, or marriage. So is a friend really being a friend when they hold things against you without giving you a chance to discuss it?

Personally, I think the answer is no.Forgive_Not_Forget No they are not being good a friend. I believe that in order for a friendship to work, understanding and forgiveness are musts.

The bible says to Forgive and treat them like you have forgotten, but not to actually forget. Remembering past transgressions is otherwise known as wisdom. Forgetting your lesson God gave you would be folly! Now, remembering all the wrongs that have been done to you, and at the same time acting as if they never happened takes a LOT of will power and is really what makes true forgiveness hard.

Which then leads to the logical assertion that maintaining a good friendship, complete with understanding each other’s flaws and forgiveness…. is very very hard to do.

Well, coming full circle, my question still is: How do YOU deal with a friend who is holding things against you, rarely considers themselves in the wrong, and doesn’t talk to you about these issues they have until they build up and boil over?

Without going into details, I decided to cut to the chase, and call them on their behavior. The response was simply amazing. The shear amount of bile, hate and venom I received was nearly overwhelming. Personally, I’m not going to subject myself, or my family, to that kind of abuse anymore. So, these ‘friends’ have exited our lives, stage left.

Null Checking in Java

Learnt something new today!


In order to prevent the accidental setting of a variable to null like so:

	private void testMethod(Boolean b) {
		if (b = null) {  //Ack! This works but is not what you want.
			//do something
		if (b == null) {  //This works, and is correct
			//do something


… put the null first

	private void testMethod(Boolean b) {
		if (null = b) {  //Throws compiler error
			//do something
		if (null == b) {  //This works
			//do something


javac picks up on all other datatypes except java.lang.Boolean and will throw a compiler error, so this tip is of very limited utility. Still, it’s interesting!

Absolute Towing in Lancaster, PA





Lessons Learned from dealing with Absolute Towing: (No, this is not a slam on the company, merely my experience with them)








  1. Absolute will charge you $240+ for a tow and <1 hour storage
  2. The driver I dealt with was unaware of the exact property lines in our community.
  3. The driver I dealt with was unaware of exactly what our HoA’s rules and regs are for towing.
  4. The driver I dealt with ignores temporary Registration forms and temporary inspection forms posted on vehicles.
  5. The driver I dealt with ‘forgot’ what was said in a conversation as early as 2 hours after the conversation.
  6. The driver I dealt with repeatedly lied to myself and the police (when I called them)
  7. The driver I dealt with took, on average, 4 days to return a call.
  8. Absolute is very secretive about their chain of command. The secretary never gave me the name and/or contact information for the boss of the driver I dealt with.
  9. Small claims court filing papers had to be shown to Absolute and the driver I dealt with in order to get their attention.
  10. Even on a completely bogus tow, Absolute did not refund all of the $240 fee.


In summary: Absolute could tow your car from anywhere on the HoA’s common property or from your own private property, and even if the tow is 100% illegitimate, you will have to fight them to get your car or tow fees back. Their standard fee of $240 is high enough to be significant to many people, but low enough that it would not be cost effective to persue Small Claims Court…. and Absolute knows it. I was told multiple times, “Lets take this to court and see what the judge says,” which was amusing because Absolute would lose hands down, but they were trying to bluff me.


I want to throw a shout out to Kevin and the Exec Board for assisting me in my fight against these crooks. At first I thought it was my mistake. But when i double checked my facts and realized I had done nothing wrong, I realized it was Absolute’s mistake. So over the course of 2-3 weeks, several emails, office visits and phone calls from Kevin and myself, Absolute finally started negotiating. We settled on a refund of $160, which given the costs of going to court, seemed the best I was going to get. Thanks Kevin, I know it was annoying dealing with me and my incessant pursuit of this tiny injustice, but it just affirms what a stand up guy you are!


I know tow company’s deal with some pretty raw customers and have to have thick skin to stay in business, but in my case Absolute was dead wrong and wouldn’t admit it. From the many conversations I had with the driver, it became apparent that the company’s attitude is “Tow at will, because if the tow is bogus most people will just roll over and pay the $240+”. Even the borderline criminal tow companies down in Washington DC only charge $75-100. In my opinion, Absolute is a pretty shady company. I know I’ll be the minority in this, but I think our community should look around for a different company when the contract is up!


Review: Book of Eli

I watched the Book of Eli about a year ago, and again recently. In my book, its a great movie. It has it’s rough points, to be sure, but on the whole… wow. Sure wasn’t what I was expecting.

The movie opens up with the standard run of the mill, dreary, post apocalyptic imagery. From the beginning the writers and director are bent on driving home the point that life, even 30 years after ‘the flash’, is rough. Food is scarce, lawlessness abounds, and kill or be killed is the way of life. The first 25 minutes or so are spent establishing this fact with the viewer along with establishing that the main character, Eli, is no push over. The violence and foul language in these first 25 minutes can be a bit of a turn off, but once past that, the real story begins.

Eli is a man heading west. At first, we don’t know why, just that he is. The fact that he’s survived for 30 years in this wasteland leads us to believe that Eli knows how to stay alive. Wandering into a small town, he rubs elbows with the wrong fellows and another bloody fight ensues. The thug boss, Carnegie, decides to try to recruit Eli and in the process introduces us to the second important character in the story: Solara. Additionally, we learn that Eli has a book that he is very protective about: A bible.

Turns out, Carnegie has a fetish for books and, oddly enough, is desperately seeking a specific book. Hrm, I wonder, oh what a coincidence… he’s looking for a bible! At this point the plot direction is fixed. Eli wants to head west, Solara wants to tag along and Carnegie wants Eli’s book. I won’t spoil the ending of the movie (and I’m sure I’ve slaughtered the movie thus far with my terrible description), but rest assured that there’s a few twists in the plot that should intrigue most people.

All in all, its a good movie. Not something I’d have on repeat in my DVD player, and certainly not something I’d let the kids see. The overall theme of Christianity really makes this movie special for me, all be it, a very odd movie to find it in. Bottom line: Check it out, but perhaps fast forward the first 25 minutes of it.

What Do You Call a Little Boy Who….

So the family was partaking of dinner and the increasingly more frequent past time of trading jokes (okay, bad jokes… okay,fine: *Really* bad jokes) at the dinner table started up once again.

Me: “What do you call a little boy who hangs on the wall all day?”

Matt: “I dunno.”

Me: “Art!”

I get a goofy snicker from Scott, but an eye roll from Matt. Not deterred, I try again.

Me: “What do you call a little boy who lay in front of the door all day?”

Matt: “I dunno.”

Scott snickers because he’s figured it out.

Me: “Matt!”

Matt, slightly annoyed: “DAD!”

Me: “Okay okay, Scott stop laughing at your brother.”

Me: “What do you call a little boy who spends all day in the bathroom?”

…slight pause…

Matt: “Scott!!!”

Now, the real answer was ‘John’ but at this point Sandy, Jean and I were in hysterics, and Scott was glaring visual death upon Matt. Matt, however, was positively beaming with pride.


I love my kids. 🙂


Winds of Change

So there comes a time in all creature’s lives where they must endure change. is no exception. After long hours toiling at an SSH Terminal, is now hosted on vmware virtual machine running Ubuntu Linux on very beefy physical hardware.

Of course this means very little to you, the reader. For us, the webmaster and webmistress, it means easier updating of our web site.