Creating a Lighted GHS to Replace GMC Logo on Ben’s Truck

I thought I’d give a slightly detailed view of how I made the GHS replacement of the GMC logo on the front of Ben’s 1998 GMC pickup.

3D Printing the HS front part of the light housing. Because the logo is wider than my 3D Printer, it has to be printed in two parts.

3D Printing the front part of the light housing. Because the logo is wider than my 3D Printer, it has to be printed in two parts. Here I’m printing the H and S or right side of the logo.


Prior to gluing the front pieces together with plastic epoxy.

Prior to gluing the front pieces together with plastic epoxy.


After gluing together the two pieces, putty and sandpaper were used to create a smooth sanded surface.

After gluing together the two pieces, putty and sandpaper were used to create a smooth sanded surface.


The NeoPixel (from 8x32 strip is glued into place.

The NeoPixel (from 8×32 strip is glued into place.


Printing the back portion of the mount.

Printing the back portion of the mount.


All the parts before assembly.

All the parts before assembly. This would have been much easier if my printer was large enough.


Tape and paint (I forgot to take the picture until after I pulled off the tape)

Tape and paint (I forgot to take the picture until after I pulled off the tape)


Fill each of the letters with 1/4" of acrylic.

Fill each of the letters with 1/4″ of acrylic.


Attach nipples (hollow threaded tubes) to the back plate.

Attach nipples (hollow threaded tubes) to the back plate and over the plastic cylindrical pegs that were printed.


This is where it is to be installed.

This is where it is to be installed.


The complete project. Lights are controlled by BLE attached to a Mega Arduino controller board.

The complete project. Lights are controlled by BLE attached to a Mega Arduino controller board.

Baby Just Fall by Ben (2012)

Ben wrote a song for a close friend, Cassie, whose father was deployed to Afghanistan in July. I’m proud of Ben and his tenderness toward such a tough subject that the boys and girls of our country have had to endure for 11 years now in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Ben was 3 when our country declared war after 9/11 and his entire generation has grown up with their fathers and mothers consistently deployed.

May God bless the wonderful men and women who have faithfully and sacrificially given in service to our country and may the dear friends to each of their families continue to say a heart-felt “baby, just fall.”

To help Ben raise $1200 to record this song in Nashville, go to our Kickstarter Project


Jack Busks In Downtown Franklin

After a day of studio work where Jack hung with dad for 12 hours, I told him we could do anything he wanted. He opted for making money with his guitar and we headed down to the town square of Franklin, Tn.

His sign said “Tips for New Bike” and he pulled in $105.00 in 1 1/2 hours.


Booked In Branson: On Stage With Eagles Tribute Band

Benji and Jack were just booked to perform two songs each night during Memorial Day Weekend in Branson at the “Eagles Tribute Band” concert in the God and Country Theater (Friday, May 25 – Sunday, May 27).

The “Eagles Tribute Concert” has been voted best show in Branson and features uncanny resemblance to one of Rock-n-Roll’s greatest bands.

A special thanks to long-time friend, Jon Sousan, for the invitation and booking!

iOne – Episode One – Guitar Fight

I knew it had to happen at some time.

Last weekend: My boys asked me to grab the camera.

I went upstairs and I recorded what they did. Ben edited it into their first episode. I made a few suggestions, but this is the boys’ work. Their first, all by themselves, work.

As for the content…well, I actually didn’t think it was funny, just cute; but they showed it to two of their close friends, Isaac & Jaron, and I couldn’t believe how much they laughed. As soon as it ended they asked to play it again because they couldn’t hear all of it because they were laughing so hard.

So, to really enjoy this show, find a boy who hasn’t become a teenage yet…and watch it with them.

I’m a proud dad. I have two creative boys who amaze me beyond my wildest dreams.

Guitar Fight

The Adventures of Is and Be

Ben and his long-time buddy, Isaac, got together this weekend and wrote, drew, animated, recorded and programmed the first in a series called “Is and Be” short for Is(aac) and Be(n). To watch it, just click on the image.
If you really like it, click to “signup” a new account and then you can click the “LOVED IT” link to make their animation move up the charts.

Okay…here you go! Enjoy.

Is and Be – Happy Mother’s Day

One of Ben’s Scratch Programs

Ben and Jack have been programming with MIT’s new programming language for Elementary students called Scratch ( Here is one of Ben’s cartoons he’s created. When we were in Texas, Ben and the twins (cousins) were out playing when they looked up and saw a fawn-deer. What happened next was funny for two of them…and traumatic for one. The fawn, though never seen again, has since been named Buddy.

All characters and buddy were drawn by Ben

Tribute To A Hero

The Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony of Commodore Dennis A. Schulz

Finally, the day arrived to depart for our long-awaited, highly anticipated trip to San Diego where we were to attend the Change of Command and Retirement ceremony for our dear friend, Commodore Dennis A. Schulz. This auspicious affair took place aboard the deck of the USS Midway, serving her final mission as a spectacular Aircraft Museum in downtown San Diego’s Navy Pier. Majestically draped in red, white and blue for the occasion, this magical ship took my breath away as Brian and I approached to come aboard for this rich, traditional naval ceremony. From the moment we gathered with other guests to await an official arm of escort to our seats on the flight deck, we drew in the history we were experiencing first-hand and felt deeply honored to be Dennis and Karla’s friends.

Our personal history with the Schulz’s dates back to the 6th grade where Karla and I met in Mr. Wiesler’s band room at Franklin Middle School in our hometown of Shawano Wisconsin. We went our separate ways after high school when she went to college in Oshkosh and I played music and traveled. It was in college that she met Dennis, a young, handsome military man with a heart set on a brilliant Navy career. They had two beautiful sons, Douglas and Dennis, early in their marriage as they traveled the world per the Navy’s orders. I always marveled at Karla’s commitment to Dennis’ career, especially when it left her alone with her little ones in places like Japan for many months at a time when Dennis was on deployment to who knew where. She was so dedicated, brave and strong, an equal counterpart in every one of Dennis’ heroic exploits. Karla always understood the value of Dennis’ difficult work, and she and Dennis raised their boys to understand it, too. The Schulz’s are one of America’s best examples of what makes our military great, our country strong, our families safe, secure and free!

So that brings us to this very special day on the deck of the USS Midway, where the sun beamed bright over 200 invited guests and meandering museum visitors who were about to witness one of our Navy’s most formal, awe-inspiring traditions fraught with pomp and flair. I tried to pay close attention to all the sights and sounds going on around me, most of which I didn’t even understand the significance of, but knew were in keeping with the strong Navy tradition of this Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony. The dress was bright service whites and swords; the flags lining the back of the platform whipped in the wind, the Navy Band played; the Side Boys proudly formed their human passageway; the boatswain’s or bosun’s pipe whistled; a brass bell tolled; the Colors were paraded by a High School Naval Training Corp. I sang Duty Calls before the official ceremony began. Brian sang, beautifully, the National Anthem. Rear Admiral John R. Hines, Jr., Deputy Commander of the Third Fleet, spoke eloquently and with great wit, honoring Dennis’ 27-year stellar Naval service, his eyes reflecting great admiration for this highly decorated hero. Well-deserved Awards were presented by Admiral Hines to Karla for her tireless support of Dennis throughout her 24 year marriage to her Navy man. Preceding the heart of the whole ceremony, which is the formal reading of official orders by the relieving officer and the officer to be relieved, Dennis gave a brilliantly crafted speech that, to the word, perfectly reflected his giant personality as a celebrated Officer, a dutiful husband, a doting dad, a loving son and brother, an awesome boss, a funny friend, a wild-hearted surfer, a faithful Neil Young fan, and all around wonderful guy. There were few dry eyes after that one! The breaking of Dennis’ Pennant and the hoisting of the new guy’s Pennant on a distant flagpole towering high over the Midway’s historic flight deck marked the official Change of Command of Tactical Air Control Group ONE at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego. More pageantry followed as Dennis was presented with the traditional Shadowbox filled with mementos of his career, as well as his Command Pennant. Then a glorious reading of the heart-stirring poem Olde Glory was read as a tightly-folded American flag was passed in slow motion from one uniformed service member to the next, as each performed perfect, deliberate about faces and crisp salutes, until it reached the honored retiree at the poem’s end. Dennis, then, proudly delivered Old Glory to the lap of his lovely bride with a kiss. Awesome! The ceremony concluded with a Benediction given by the Chaplain who married Dennis and Karla, retired Commander Gary Simons. Finally, Commodore Dennis A. Schulz was “piped over the side” for the last time. Dennis broke with tradition in this last detail in that instead of enjoying the honor of the Side Boys’ final salute and whistle of the Bosun’s pipe alone, he departed through the honored Side Boys pathway with his beautiful “other half,” Karla, on his arm and their handsome sons, Dennis and Douglas and their lovely girlfriends, Andrea and Tiffany, close behind. How perfectly fitting!

The tears welling up in Karla, Douglas and Dennis’ eyes during the ceremony confirmed what everyone already knew, that they believed that all of their sacrifices were well worth it! Russ (US Navy, Retired) and Marilyn Schulz’s tears said that their son had filled his father’s footsteps very well, indeed. The misty eyes of Dennis’ two elementary teachers who flew in from HAWAII made clear their belief in his greatness all along. The tears of all of us who had the privilege of being in attendance at this hero’s military farewell shouted a resounding “Well done!!!” to this really great guy who had his heart set on a brilliant Navy career. We salute you, Dennis. Long may YOU run!!

A lovely reception on the ship’s Elevator Deck followed the ceremony, where we all got to relax and visit, sharing stories of how our acquaintance with the Schulz family had fortuitously landed us all on the USS Midway on that beautiful, sunny day. Now as if that weren’t enough celebrating…What would a Schulz Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony be without a grand party to top it all off? Those of us who know Karla, know that when she throws a party, its top shelf all the way. This celebration, the day after, took place poolside, in Dennis and Karla’s back yard, and was certainly the best ever. Fully catered, staged and decorated, everything was perfect from the fabulous food and almost-too-beautiful-to-eat-cakes, to the party band, the easy-going, laughter-filled conversations, to the romantic sight of Dennis holding Karla in a slow dance.

We wouldn’t have missed this event for anything. As we drove away from their home that night, we were honored with a “Schulz Family Salute” from the curb. How precious is that? How lucky are we?

Please click on the photos to view images of Dennis’ 27 years:
Dennis-2.jpg Dennis-1.jpg Dennis-0.jpg