In preparation for the imminent collapse of industrialized civilization, I have gathered together a small collection of hand tools. When the last head is struck from the last zombie with the last machete, the world will be rebuilt by hand.

In the aftermath of the great Zombie War, you may have a hard time finding a place to plug in your Sawzall.

Having the tools is one thing, knowing what to do with them is another. So today, after doing some research in books and on the YouTubes, I have cut my very first dovetail joint using only hand tools.

From what I gather, this is a pretty good result for a first attempt, and so I am rather pleased with my joint. I will keep you all posted as my interest in post-apocalyptic joinery continues.

Harrisburg Tweed Ride Nov. 2nd!



Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  

There is going to be a tweed ride in less than a month.  You should come.

Official Announcement Plagiarized Below:

Harrisburg, PA Tweed Ride Sunday Nov 2, 2014
Don’t think this is a sweaty bike ride – but a fashion show on wheels. The fancier and frillier the better. Of course, the bikes may be decorated also – but any ole’ bike will do. •Awards for the best dressed man, the laciest woman, fanciest millinery, and coolest bike

  • Kids must wear helmets, and all traffic laws are to be obeyed – this is just a public ride that looks like a fashion parade with wheels
  • Bring cameras, because we will make numerous stops for photo ops at various Harrisburg sites
    Ride Details:

  • Meet at the Obelisk on Division Street, at 11 am Sunday, Nov 2, for pictures at Italian Lake.
  • At 11:30 am we start cruising down Historic Green Street
  • Photo Op at Stash’s (one of our sponsors) on Green and North Streets
  • Circle the Capitol Complex with picture taking at the fountain.
  • Then ride RiverFront to McClay Street for an ending ceremony at Little Amp’s Coffee Roasters, 1836 Green Street
    For ride information: call Ross at Recycle Bicycle (717-571-2008).

Commute Videos


I recently received a Garmin Virb “action camera” as a present from my lady friend. Yesterday, I recorded (most of) my commute to and from work. If you have some time to kill, you may want to watch this enthralling footage.

Here is the monring ride:

And here is the afternoon ride:



Tuscarora in Tuscarora Part 2


As part of my continuing quest to hike all 798 miles of the Pennsylvania State Forest Hiking Trails System, I drove out to the Tuscarora State Forest to pick up where I left off on the Tuscarora Trail.

Your author at the trail head

Your author at the trail head

My plan was to hike from Cowpens Road to Fenton Knob, and then turn around and hike back to the car.

The trailhead parking on Cowpen’s Road is next to a very nice overlook, so I stopped to take in the scenery.

A nice view of the Cumberland Valley

A nice view of the Cumberland Valley

The hike started on top of the mountain, so the first two miles or so were a gentle downhill to a small stream called Laurel Run. I stopped here to top off my water bottles.

The subsequent climb was ridiculous. Forward progress meant picking my way through a jumble of boulders, straight up the steep face of Sherman’s mountain. Also, the rocks were covered in slippery leaves, so it was one step forward, and half a step sliding backwards. Progress was slow.

The "trail" conditions climbing Sherman's mountain

The “trail” conditions climbing Sherman’s mountain

Once I made it up on top, the trail followed the ridge line of Sherman’s mountain for a little while. I stopped for a rest near the site of an old fire tower before descending into the next valley.

Sherman's Mountain Fire Tower Sign

Sherman’s Mountain Fire Tower Sign

By the time I arrived in the next valley, I was running low on water. I was disappointed to find a muddy swamp instead of a nice clear mountain stream. The only drinking water was full of frogs and tadpoles. Not a problem; I had my water filter, and so I pumped a fresh liter of swamp water, and stopped for a while to eat trail mix and contemplate the universe.

At this point, I had been walking for several hours and had not seen any other people. It was wonderful.

Contemplating philosophical questions by the swamp

Contemplating philosophical conundrums in swampy solitude

I didn’t make very much headway with my philosophical musings, so I strapped on my pack and continued hiking. After a quick up-and-down over a smaller ridge, I started the climb up to Fenton Knob.

This climb was almost comical. It was steeper, rockier, and leafier than Sherman’s Mountain. It was ridiculous.

After a great deal of grumbling and stumbling, cursing and complaining, I made it to the top!

This is the look of exasperated accomplishment

This is the look of exasperated accomplishment

Now, all I had to do was turn around, and walk back to my car. This meant descending the steep mountainside that I had just scrambled up, which is even trickier. I fell more than once, and ended up scooting part of the way down on my butt. I’m sure it looked silly, but better to look like a buffoon than to run the risk of turning an ankle in the middle of the woods all by my lonesome.

By the time I scooted my way back down to Laurel Run, I was in dire need of refreshment, so I fired up the ESBIT stove, and made a gigantic pot of coffee. Then I sat next to a little cascade in the stream, drank my coffee, and engaged in additional philosophical introspection.

I made a little video of the scene.

Isn’t it lovely?

After consuming a large quantity of coffee (and a considerable number of candy bars), my spirits were much improved. I walked the rest of the way back to the car without incident.

Here is a map of my adventure. (I GPS logged the whole thing for the greater glory of OpenStreetMap.)