Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise

That’s today’s proverb.

Funeral Announcement and Obituary for Lee J. Sonko, my Father

Lee J. Sonko passed away April 29th. Visitation will be held Saturday May 4th, 2024 at 4-6pm with services at 6pm at Aycock-Riverside Funeral Center, Jupiter, FL. There will be an additional visitation at the Cochran Funeral Home, 905 High Street, Hackettstown, NJ on Friday May 10th, 2024 from 4-8 pm with services being held on Saturday, May 11th at the funeral home at 11am with Father Timothy Dowling officiating. Burial will follow services at the Union Cemetery, Hackettstown, NJ.

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He lived long enough and happily enough to write his own obituary. When he was 41 he had his first open heart surgery. Every day since then has been on what he knew to be borrowed time. He borrowed 47 more very happy years and used them as well as any person I’ve ever known.
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My Father’s Obituary

Lee J Sonko born Oct 25, 1936.

Born in New Brunswick NJ, Lee grew up in Elmira NY. He graduated with a B.S. Degree in 1959 from Fairleigh-Dickinson University and an M.B.A. in 1961. He is also a graduate of the Executive Program at the Wharton School. He was one of the first to receive a C.F.P. designation in the 1970’s and he taught the course.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Marlene Sonko (nee Ferranti), daughter Melissa, son Lee, Lee’s wife Megan, and his granddaughters Julia Sonko and Abigail Flom-Sonko. He was brother of Rita Temes and Marcia Sonko, and brother-in-law to Dorothy Howard and Ernestine McCarren.

Lee and family lived in West Milford NJ and he was President of the Library Board, an Environmental Commissioner, active with the Jaycee’s, Knights of Columbus, a fundraiser for local and state politicians, and coached a little league baseball team to two championships. Lee then moved to Smoke Rise in Kinnelon NJ where he was active with the Smoke Rise Tennis Club and building their Club House. He also enjoyed the family’s ski house at Stratton Vermont.

Anticipating retirement he then moved to Panther Valley in Allamuchy NJ and Jonathan’s Landing in Jupiter Florida. He was a member of the Panther Valley Golf and Country Club as well as a member of Jonathans Landing Country Club. He was founder of “The 12 Santas”, a charitable organization active in Hackettstown NJ.

In an earlier career, he was the manager of the paper dress project for a major paper company. Lee ultimately retired from Morgan Stanley as a Senior Vice-President in 2003.

His hobbies included golf, his beloved 1951 Packard, sailing, wine making, social evenings, and especially his family. He enjoyed what life had to offer, often traveling around Europe and the west to vacation and ski in his younger days and golf trips more recently. He is currently vice-president of the pacheata society.

Lee died peacefully on April 29th, 2024 of heart failure with family at his side.

My Beloved Father Passed Away

My beloved father, Lee J Sonko passed away yesterday, April 29th, among his family. Services will be held in Jupiter, Florida and then in Hackettstown, NJ. Details to follow.

 

Survival Research Laboratories

The SRL show in San Jose in 2005 rocked my world! Here I am talking about it 20 years later!

Find out what is so astounding. I signed up to their Patreon this week to hopefully see another show and bring Abigail. You’ll have to sign up for their Patreon for the possibility of catching their next show. Join me?

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl, performed by the Madera Elementary Drama Club

Please enjoy this recording of a live stage performance of The Witches by Roald Dahl, directed by Lew Williams, and performed by the Madera Elementary Drama Club on the evening of April 11th, 2024!

Lee, proud father of Abigail / “Girl” and “Diner”

Imposter Syndrome: a repost

In case you don’t know, Neil Gaiman is a rather good, rather famous author. I just found out that he wrote what you see below, here.

I’m posting this because I need to remember this anecdote for myself. Maybe you need to remember it for yourself, I don’t know.

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017

THE NEIL STORY (WITH ADDITIONAL FOOTNOTE)

(I wrote this on Tumblr. It’s since been picked up and quoted all over the place, and I’m being asked a lot if it’s actually something I said, and if it’s true. It is, and it is. Here’s the original.)

duckswearhats asked: Hi, I read that you’ve dealt with with impostor syndrome in the past, and I’m really struggling with that right now. I’m in a good place and my friends are going through a lot, and I’m struggling to justify my success to myself when such amazing people are unhappy. I was wondering if you have any tips to feel less like this and maybe be kinder to myself, but without hurting anyone around me. It’s a big ask, I know, but any help would make my life a lot less stressful The best help I can offer is to point you to Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence. She talks about Imposter Syndrome (and interviews me in it) and offers helpful insight.The second best help might be in the form of an anecdote. Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things.  And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name*. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

(There’s a wonderful photograph of the Three Neils even if one of us was a Neal at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/08/neil-armstrong.html)

*(I remember being amused and flattered that he knew who I was, not because he’d read anything by me, but because the Google algorithm of the time had me down as Neil #1. If you just typed Neil, it would take you to neilgaiman.com. Many people, including me, felt that if there was a Neil #1, it was most definitely him.)

LABELS: 

 

and the photo of the three Neils…

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2012

NEIL ARMSTRONG

Neal Stephenson and I were not standing in order to make it quite clear who Neil #1 was and would always be.

I spent a couple of days in Neil Armstrong’s company. He was as nice, as modest and as wise as anybody could have hoped for. If you ever wondered what my face looks like when I’m going “This is really happening, and I am the luckiest man in the world,” it looks a lot like it does in this photo.

His achievements were the stuff of legend, and I am lucky to have known him, if only for a brief time,  I am sad that he’s gone, proud as a member of the human race that he did what he did for all of us.

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Inflatable Hot Tub Electricity Costs

How much electricity does a hot tub use?

Summary:
In the winter, our hot tub uses about 9kwh/day. With a cover or insulation, it uses about 7kwh/day.
In the summer, it uses about 5kwh/day. I haven’t tracked it with insulation in the summer yet.

Our electricity costs about $0.45 per kwh. So without a cover in the winter, it costs about $120/month and with a cover it costs about $95/month. I asked my neighbors in the area on a FB group and 3 told me it added about $100/month to their electric bill. My neighbor with a “real” hot tub uses about 7kwh/month in the winter, which is similar!

I’ve tried to track costs methodically but it’s hard to do! Confounding factors include usage (sitting in it uses more power than leaving it covered), daily outdoor temperature changes, modifying the hot tub temperature on occasion (our daughter plays in it at 100 degrees, not 104), turning it off or refilling it on occasion, not knowing when another person has changed the temperature, occasional poor note taking, etc. But my numbers above feel about right.

Details: We have a 180 gallon, 180 cm diameter inflatable hot tub. We live in the San Francisco Bay, El Cerrito, CA. See The National Weather Service for a temperature almanac

What this means:
Should I get an insulating cover for my hot tub? Meh. Our $100 Cleverspa cover saved us about $150 until it fell apart. And it was a slight bother to put on every time. Maybe a more durable, better insulating cover would be worthwhile.

Should I insulate my hot tub with foam board insulation? Probably! 2 hours work and $50 of insulation is saving me 2kwh/day all winter, that’s ~$200/year.  And it looks like it’s going to last several years! I used R-Tech 1/2 in. x 48 in. x 8 ft. R-1.93 EPS Rigid Foam Board Insulation from Home Depot

   

Excellent Inflatable Hot Tub Insulation

With $50 of 1/2″ thick sheet insulation from Home Depot and about 2 hours work, I insulated my inflatable hot tub better than a purchased insulating blanket cover! It insulates as well, saves about 20% on electricity (paying for itself in 2 months), it’s easier to get into the hot tub with no blanket to remove, and this insulation will last much longer than the Cleverspa cover I got last year which fell apart in 6 months from the sun.

 

How to Adjust the Chain Tension on a Dodowin 6″ Chainsaw

My wife loves me. She got me a 6″ Dodowin chainsaw for Valentines Day! I’ve been trimming all manner of trees up to about 4″ around with it. It’s great. The manual doesn’t show you how to adjust the chain tension. It took a while for me to figure it out.Watch and you’ll see how.

Cleaning the AC on my 2008 Toyota Prius

I used an air conditioner core cleaner on my 2008 Prius. I show you how I got to the drain hose. It was actually really easy.