Category Archives: Family


As I work through the oodles of photographs, I came across one of Beetle and her friend Kyra from when we went to the Wildwood boardwalk with the family a decade ago. The photograph was labeled Friends Riding the Music Express.

That got me thinking. I used to ride that same ride with my friend when I was Beetle’s age (perhaps a tad older).

Beetle isn’t really friends with this girl anymore although I understand she went to a her graduation party recently. Once they hit high school, they had different groups of friends. That happens.

I am not really friends with my buddy any longer either. We went our own ways long ago. I have reached out a handful of times over the years. He has responded, but he’s never made an effort to contact me.

It reminds me of another relationship I had. I always felt like I was the one making the overtures. I would chastise myself when I would tell myself that it wasn’t fair that it was always one-way. Then I would suck it up and reach out. In the end, that relationship ended. It was indeed one-way.

My son has no friends. Some of us just don’t connect with others. That’s all.

Silverball Retro Arcade

22-07-19 Silverball Retro Arcade

Older folks are sometimes wistful for those childhood moments that live happily in their minds. If you had asked me a week ago for an example, I would have fondly described the smell of the stale bubble gum that used to accompany baseball cards. That is a special memory.

But today I was reminded of another, something I hadn’t experienced ina long time.

Asbury Park, within eyesight of the Stone Pony, is home to the Silverball Retro Arcade. It’s an arcade like I remember: pinball machines. And they have such a wonderful collection, including wooden rail machines.

But the biggy is the 1975 El Dorado machine. I lived on that machine. I recall it being about the fourth one in the row at Cape May’s arcade. This was the original one-player game. No extra balls until the follow up version. I expected this to be present today; it was.

I played many games on this today. I figure it’s been more than 40 years since I played this machine. Fritz joined me. Not certain he was as into as I was. Thought an arcade would be up his alley. Teenagers are tough to please.

As I played my first game, however, I heard that sound. That wonderful sound that has long been forgotten. That knock of winning a free game. This is a sound that is unlike any other. I immediately smiled. Love that sound. Heard it lots today. Love, love, love this place!

In addition to El Dorado, I played Evel Knieval, KISS, Wizard, Joker Poker, Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and many others. This was a step back in time.


No Photographs

One of the benefits heralded for simple living/minimalism is that fewer items means fewer items that need to be cared for (organized, dusted, washed, fixed, etc.). I have touted that myself here on this blog at times.

Digital clutter is a real thing. I think I have not taken it as seriously as physical clutter. Two things come to mind:

  1. I have successfully conquered physical clutter
  2. Digital clutter doesn’t really exist. A file isn’t a thing; it’s a name on a computer. You might move it from one named place to another, but it really isn’t there. All my my digital stuff takes up no physical space in my life, so I have sloughed it off.

And that’s the problem. At more than 180,000 photographs, this blog that is more than 10,000 posts, and YouTube channel with about 5.000 videos, I can tell you that even if this stuff doesn’t exist physically, it requires me to organize it. And that is time consuming!

I am hate it!

At the beginning of the year I wrote that I wanted to take fewer photographs. I document everything. It’s too much for me to manage. Sometimes I feel as though I am so busy documenting what I’ve done I don’t go out and do stuff.

I have taken fewer photographs this year. I’ve taken plenty of photographs, but it is fewer than normal.

I’ve also noted that I have gone out many times without my cellphone. The other day I asked myself, “What do I need a cellphone for?” One of the things is that it is my camera. If I want to get out of the tech company tracking game, I’ll need to address the phone.

Today Fritz and I headed to North Wildwood to see the New Jersey Barbecue Championship. I like this event and have gone several times. I take lots of photographs and video. It is my kind of event.

As we drove down, I recognized I had forgotten my cellphone. Fritz said we should turn back for it. I declined. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need to have a photographs to document this trip. We could go and have a good time and just have memories, not photographs. The more I thought about it on the way down, the more it bothered me that I didn’t have the cellphone/camera. The more that bothered me, the more bothered I became that technology was at the center of this event. Pfffttt!

We went and had a fine time. Fritz isn’t into the barbecue scene, so we didn’t spend a lot of time there. We did walk around. We did hear some blues music. I did get an $18 brisket sandwich. We had good father-son bonding time.

And no, there are no photographs documenting the trip. Fritz enjoyed going into the re-modeled McDonald’s and the doo wop Wawa. That’s what he wanted to do. We are both pleased with the trip.

I can document the event with words here. But I have no photographs to name, crop, rotate, tag, and otherwise deal with. Glory be!

Car Seat

This popped up in my Facebook feed. Just another thing that others struggled with that I thought was unique to me. I thought I was a poor father because I couldn’t get my son into the car seat. My ex-wife often had to get involved. That made me feel as though I was inadequate as a parent. Once, I actually carried my son home from the Rieck Avenue School because he wouldn’t get into the car seat. I then had to walk back to retrieve the Jeep.


After the last few days of being emotional with my daughter’s high school graduation, reality returned.

This girl, now a high school graduate, was to start a job this morning before going to college in August. But Beetle walks to her own drumbeat.

Her mother e-mailed me this morning: Beetle won’t go to her job. She’s had this anxiety before. Nothing’s changed.

But the consequences will . . . at least from my seat. I have no control (and never did) over others who continue to lavish her with what she wants. Why the girl’s cellphone is still operational for her to hang up on me is beyond how I would handle things. Then again, I was a poor role model for her as I was emphatically told.

G’luck conquering your mountain, Little One.

Murder at the Motel

22-06-11 Murder at the Motel

Picked this up some time ago. Fritz and I started this one night and abandoned it quite quickly. I was exhausted and we realized this was going to be a little more involved than others we had played.

The four of us sat down today and spent about four hours total solving this. The four of us work well together. Everyone contributed. We tossed theories about. We plotted the timeline, deciphered stuff (not as much as most of these), and worked our way through all possibilities.

I am proud of the work we did on this one. The game is rated decidedly harder than the other one-off boxes. I wouldn’t say it was hard, but it did require looking closely at the evidence.

I liked this box!

We then headed out for a late dinner at Chili’s to celebrate.

Defective Child

Fritz is here this weekend. Last weekend, Beetle commented that he had had detention. I questioned that and was informed that he had been missing school. When I investigated further, I found that hadn’t been the case although he had missed one day. I gather because I had asked, earlier this week I was told Fritz did miss a day of school this week because he was sick. Poor boy.

He arrived today. He’s coughing up his lungs. He looks horrible. He doesn’t have an appetite. He went to bed early. He’s snoring loudly. He is obviously still sick.

I asked Fritz when I realized he was still sick if he missed more than a day of school this week. Yup. “Three or four,” he said.

So yes, I was told he had missed a day. I had no idea he had missed most of the week. Sicker than anything, no issue with dropping him off here for the weekend to pass on his illness. Nice!

On top of that, in passing I was informed that the reason he was late in arriving is that Beetle was getting ready to go to Delaware for the evening.

Yeah, I am really removed from what is going on with my children. It’s almost as though I do not matter.