Archive for April, 2011


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Food!, House Stuff, Life Stuff, Treehugger Stuff

I’m not sure why they call it canning, since you put the stuff in jars, but I guess “jarring” sounds bad.

My friend from work Kristen was kind enough to bring me back quite a large supply of food from Plant City last week, and I finally got around to getting everything in order to cook and can this stuff.  It was a fairly simple process (I had my Mother over to help me through it)

Clean everything, clean it again, cut tomatoes up, cook them, run them through a colander, cook that again, clean everything,  pour that into jars, add lids, and DONE.

That case of Tomatoes yielded 13 pints of Tomato juice, which I can later convert to pizza sauce/etc


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Humor, Tech


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

For his 3rd birthday, Charles received a toy store worth of toys, most of which we haven’t even opened yet. My fear is that he would just create piles of toy projects around the house, and be so overloaded that he wouldn’t actually play with any one thing.

One of the toys he got was a Thomas the train set. Battery powered Thomas, with a planned layout for how you build the tracks, but the pieces allow you to build pretty much whatever you want, in whatever form, limited only by the number of pieces that you have.  Realizing quickly that we need more pieces (Ok, mabee *I* wanted more pieces)  I made a random search on craigslist, and found someone cleaning out a group of about 8 Thomas the train sets of parts.   After a bleach washing of all the parts, I put them all out on tables to see what we had ended up with.

When Charles sees this, hes gonna crap his pullup.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

Dad’s 1yr – What was KAB1341? (a followup to a vague Facebook posting)

Back in the 60s and early 70s, microwave communication was a big thing, and it was what my dad was into, communications. This was back before wifi, back before large installs of fiber, etc. If you needed to go a long distance, microwave communication was what you used. Being into the communications world, he decided to move into the UHF 2-way radio world. Radios that they would have had for work, but this would be his very own. So, in the mid 70s, my father erected a tower, and built his own commercial repeater. Shortly after he added a phone patch, this would allow you to make telephone calls using the radio system. His personal, 1 cell cellular network.

This doesn’t sound so impressive till you realize that this was 1975(ish), roughly 8 years before traditional cell service would be released to the public.

A couple years later I recall fun afternoons of flying in our 1968 Cessna 150 (N3983J) with the radio/phone patch at my disposal. I was the coolest kid on the block when I could both call you from the plane, then fly over your house and wave at you looking up from your yard. Good times….

The FCC requires every station on the air, to identify itself at regular intervals (15mins, or so). Even if the repeater is not in use, it needs to continue the station identification day and night. Since this was before the invention of solid-state audio chips, so my father’s solution was to have a timed relay that turned on an 8-track tape playing his station identification. Night and day you’d hear the click clack of relays in the garage as the 8-track tape would proclaim to the world – “This is station KAB1341”

The system has been long since shut down, but sits untouched where it has been since 1975, the 8 track tape still in its place, ready to identify its repeater. Later in life, my father returned to Ham Radio achieving EXTRA CLASS, the highest level of license a Amateur Radio operator can hold. While others changed their call-signs as each level of upgrade, my father choose to stay with his original call-sign of KD4FZK.  In typical Ham fashion, he was known as “The Fat Zoo Keeper” calling on the last 3 characters of his call.

I tell you this story on the 1-year anniversary of the death of my father in the hopes that more could understand his gifts, and the amazing things he did in his life.

My father was very active in shooting, and had many trophys to show for his marksmanship skills., My good friend Alex and I skipped work, and went to the gun rage today.  This trip, as well as our trip to Beefy King after,  was more of an opportunity for me to be with my father, in spirit.  The shotgun used here was his, and was the first time I had ever shot this gun.  The 44 automag pistol was mine, but was a match to one he often talked about shooting when he did own one in the 70s.

Established in 1968, Beefy King is located next to the Herndon airport, and a place we loved to stop at after going flying on Saturdays. It will always be a place I go to connect with my father.  I’m pretty sure little has changed inside the store since those days long ago 🙂 I often wonder if my gather had ever stopped by one day, and sat in the very seat I’m in to enjoy his lunch.

Beefy King

Dad, its been a  year, and I miss you more.