John Connolly is coming to BAM in Harrisburg, PA (my backyard)

John has a great track record of coming into the Harrisburg area, and I met him in 2003 when he was promoting Bad Men. I enjoyed spending time with him and talking about Trinity College, Temple Bar, the Botanical gardens, and Irish expatriates in Germany.

His latest Charlie Parker novel, The Wolf in Winter is what he is promoting and I am very interested in reading this one.

He will be at BAM (Book A Million) in Harrisburg at 7:00pm pm on 11/24/2014.


Rain Dragon Rescue Releases January 28th 2014!

Suzanne Selfors has a new book coming out, and my son is pretty excited! This is book three of the Imaginary Veterinary series, which started with the Sasquatch Escape, and was quickly followed by the Lonely Lake Monster.

My son and I first read Smells Like Dog a couple of years ago. It is a wonderful book with interesting quirky characters, mysterious places, adventure, and yes, treasure. We were both hooked on her writing from there and read the next two books in that series Smells like Treasure and Smells like Pirates. All outstanding books, and I think that there may be a fourth book on the horizon in that series as well.

One of the small things which caught my attention was the introduction to Smells Like Dog, Selfors assures the reader that nothing bad will happen to Dog, which is a very calming thing for younger readers of an tale of adventure and misdeeds by the villains and sometime friends of the hero, Homer. It was an endearing statement.

Regardless, if you have kids (or even if you don’t ūüėČ ) this new book will be out soon, so if they haven’t read them, pick up the first two and get ready to explore the world of Buttonville!


More information is on

Cub Scout Pack project – Rocket Car!

I have found this cool project on Home Science Tools¬† and was really pumped to share this with the Cub Scouts for which I am the new Cubmaster. Here’s a quick step by step for how to build a balloon powered rocket car.

First off we need a plastic water or soda bottle (500ml or 16.9 oz depending on your favorite measurement system).

You will also need 5 beverage straws, one wooden shish-kabob skewer, 4 water bottle caps (wheels), a balloon, and duct or masking tape.

Tools will be a nail, hammer, knife, and scissors.

First step is to cut one beverage straw into two bottle width lengths.


Second step is to use a hammer and small nail to put the hole in the wheels (bottle caps).


Make sure the nail is a bit narrower than the skewer.  If it is not, you will need some modeling clay, or some form of glue to adhere the wheel to the axle (skewer).



After putting one wheel on each axle, you will then attach the cut straws on the bottom of the bottle and attach the other wheel on each axle.



Following this, you will then stretch out the balloon a bit, by pulling it, and then inflating/deflating the balloon several times to prepare it.DSCN0656

After doing this, you will insert four straws into the balloon and then tape them together.



After this you will cut a small x in the bottle about 4 inches from the mouth of the bottle and then insert the straws from the cut through the mouth.



You will then blow into the straw, between breaths pinch the balloon above the straws to seal it and let you inflate another breath into the balloon.

After it is full, set it on a hard surface and let her go.  She should move along the ground powered by the air from the nozzle you built with the straws and the balloon.

Your rocket can be decorated with stickers, paint, or other light weight objects.

Send me pictures of what you have made here

The watch that Bret built…. With the help of Adafruit!

I built a watch yesterday from a kit I ordered from Adafruit.  It is called the TimesSquare watch, and it is really cool the way time crawls across your wrist.  It also shows date, phase of the moon, battery levels, and is a binary watch as well.

Here’s the overview video from the gang at Adafruit.

Another cool thing, is this Arduino compatible, which means that you can modify the code, so that you can change the way the watch works, so that it can either reflect your personality better, or perhaps be easier to read based on how old your eyes are or aren’t.

The instructions on the Adafruit site are perfect for a beginner, and hold your hand through the entire process. Since I am a relatively new solderer, it was helpful to get the very basic steps, as well as photos of each step as well.

I will be showing this bad boy off to the other folks at work tomorrow, and I think there will be a few more built in the next few months for birthday presents for friends and family…. Perhaps another one with different color leds (I got red this time).

Thanks Adafruit for a fun and attractive project! Perhaps someday, I’ll be able to convince one of their engineers to allow me to interview them. We’ll see what I can do.

The Coin… One Card to Rule Them All!

A buddy of mine just sent out a notication that he preordered a Coin. ¬†What is Coin? It’s just about the coolest thing that I’ve seen this week!

Coin is a credit card sized electronic card, which can act as one of 8 credit cards which you store within it.  You select which card you want to use, swipe the card, and PRESTO!

Checkout this video!

More info at

Things that make you say "Interesting" or "Cool!"