Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Wonders of Slovakia?

Earlier this month, my boys and I spent four days at Scout Haven Cub Scout camp in Freedom, NY. 

I haven’t posted on the camp itself, but the staff are really the heart and soul of this camp. Our guide, Barbara was participating in a worldwide scout exchange program. Barbara was visiting from Slovakia, a region with a long history of scouting. 

She spent hours talking with the boys about the differences between US and Slovakian scouting. We also received a brief linguistics review. “Lighting a match/fire” is a concept that did not compute to Barbara, but “strike a match” and “start a fire” did make sense. 

Not much is all that different, but when it is different it is wildly so. 

In Slovakia, tepees are used by leaders and camp staff while at Scout Haven the staff use cabins. Written materials are largely absent in Slovakia, with an oral tradition taking its place. Food is about the same except for lunch, but the quantities in the US are not surprisingly larger. Lunches tend to be soups and/or finger foods on the other side of the ocean. 

Barbara spent several hours with our pack as our guide/VIP, and enriched our understanding of scouting with her perspective. She and the other staff made our summer vacation absolutely wonderful, with camp-wide events.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Panama Rocks Gallery

Panama Rocks is a wonderful private park located in Panama NY. My wife and I were driving back from a wedding in Warren, PA with our three children bouncing around the back of the car. We desperately needed someplace to stop. We had no GPS, or maps, were slightly lost, and only intermittent cell phone service. I had been trying to get directions to anywhere on my phone but had little success.

In a frustrated flail, I accidentally logged into Google Plus and before I could close it, I saw a message under “Nearby”. It read – “Panama Rocks! The kids will love it!” Soon, I had directions but no description. We had no idea what to expect.

We pulled in and found a beautiful house and barn, some trails and a small parking lot. The kids (and Jen) were pleading with me “What is this place? Why are we here?” I answered honestly “All I know is ‘the kids will love it’.”

A man took our admission in a small office shed: $7 per adult and $5 per child. Jen wanted to know what we were paying for, and then she wanted to know why they needed to go through her purse. Fact: there are places in this park where no people can get to safely; anything dropped or worse thrown down there is there forever. So, the owner ensures no one is taking anything into the park that qualifies as “disposable”. You need to have a reusable water bottle. Having passed inspection, we were allowed to enter the park.

You know what? The kids loved it.

Next spring, you can grab a brass lantern, a water bottle, and the kids and check out Panama Rocks.

This was written in 2012. Rates have changed a bit, be sure to check out the official website in the first paragraph for updated rates.

J5T - Starfleet Battles and ADB

Just 5 Things about Star Fleet Battles by Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc.:
1.Amarillo Design Bureau, on Facebook.
2. Miniatures are available at their online store and from Mongoose Publishing in the UK.
3. There are a pair of forums at their main site and a subsection on the Federation Commander Forum.
4. e23 sells over one hundred ADB products in pdf form, as does DriveThruRPG.
5. You can play online at SFBOL.

One of my favorite games is Federation Space. My next favorite is Star Fleet Battles

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just 5 Things: Google Drive

This weeks edition of Just 5 Things covers Google Drive.
1. Google Drive is a cross-platform cloud storage solution.
2. Google Drive supplies 5 GB of space for free.
3. Drive supports the following files types: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Portable Document Format, Apple Pages, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, TIFF, DXF, SVG, EPS, PS, TrueType, XPS, ZIP, RAR, TXT, CSS, HTML, PHP, C, CPP, H, HPP, and JS.
4. You can edit most supported files.
5. Google drive will someday love Linux.