Tales From The Ipe!

I sit by and watch the river flow. I sit by and watch the traffic go.

Category: News (page 1 of 21)

2017 CMB Karate Demo Team performance at the Wells Fargo Center (2nd time!)

Last April, the kids performed with the rest of the CMB Karate demo team at the Wells Fargo Center. Last year, it was on the concourse next to a Kia Optima on display. Nice, but it obviously would have been cooler to perform on the hardwood in the actual arena.

This year, they did! You’ll find Joshua on the far right, and Lily in the middle.

CMB Karate Demo Team “Space Jam” performance at the Wells Fargo Center – 04-08-2017 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

**UPDATE** The Sixers organization recently published a much better (and closer!) video of the demo team performance. Check it out!

My sister was able to take some photos as well.

My son Josh vs. peanuts everywhere, and Josh won

Josh has lived through a number of allergies growing up, since he was an infant. He was originally allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and had some lactose intolerance thrown in there too. It was a lot to deal with, but some kids have it worse, so I guess he/we couldn’t complain. We spent many meals ordering specific food items, navigating away from many foods with eggs or dairy in the ingredients. His allergist (plus research that Namita found on her own) advised that we should stay away from all of these allergens, with the hope that the body would slowly grow out of these allergies. In the meantime, we continued to purchase expensive Epi-Pens, in the event of accidental exposure to peanuts, as well as ensuring his various school nurses kept him away from other kids and their meals. Kinda sucks to spend elementary school stuck at the “peanut-free” table.

We went painstakingly about it for many years. Over time, he grew out of his allergies to eggs, lactose, and even gluten. It’s opened up a world of food choices to him. About two years ago, his skin test and blood work showed little to no sensitivity to peanuts. Tree nuts yes, but no peanuts! Still, the allergist recommended that we wait another year to confirm the results. Last year, again little to no sensitivity. They put us on peanut challenge wait list (about a year for us to wait it out.)

In March, his name came up on the list, and we scheduled the peanut challenge. Unfortunately, we also got blasted with a very late March snowstorm, and the doctor’s office was closed. Unbelievable — we had waited three years for the peanut challenge, and a freak snowstorm blows in. Thankfully, they were able to slot us into a last-minute cancellation the following Wednesday.

We got to the doctor’s office around 7:45 am, filled out paperwork, and carried in his clear apple juice. Over the course of 4+ hours, Josh drank increasing amounts of peanut powder dissolved in the apple juice, which he said was somewhat disgusting. We got worried at first, because his tongue was tingling after the first dose, but it calmed down after some water. After each dose, we had to take pictures, and the doctor and nurses inspected him for allergic reactions. While we waited patiently, Josh hung out and worked on stuff.

After the last dose, Josh and Namita had to wait around for two more hours in the doctor’s office for further observation, and I had to leave in order to get to my own office, so I high-tailed it out of there to grab some lunch and then to the train station. I’m happy to report that Josh officially passed the peanut challenge. It’s been a long time to wait, but this was huge progress. Later in the week, Josh enjoyed a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the first time.

He said it was delicious.



Lily attends the Acolyte Festival

Lily attended this year’s Acolyte Festival for much of the day. We grabbed a quick breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts, and sped down to the Episcopal cathedral in Trenton. I helped her sign up for morning and afternoon workshops (including and a scavenger hunt), then I hit the road. 

I came back in the afternoon to attend the worship service where all the acolytes participated.

Adopt-a-Spot Recognition for Boy Scout Troop 59


In late January, our township recognized local organizations that had helped to clean up various parts of the town through the Adopt-a-Spot program. Joshua and other members of Boy Scout Troop 59 received a photo opp with our own local celebrity…. Mayor Janice Mironov.

Chaos on NJ Transit

On January 23rd, we experienced a strong storm with high winds. The wind was so strong that it knocked out the overhead high-powered catenary wires providing power to NJ Transit trains traveling north/south of Newark. I heard it happened around 3 or 4 pm.

All northbound and southbound train traffic for the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines were out of service for hours during the rush hour commute home for thousands. I tried to catch a bus home in the rain, but buses were either crowded or hard to come by. I eventually received a notification that service was back up, and I eventually made my way via the PATH train to Newark.

I encountered absolute chaos.

Platform entrances were closed, easily hundreds of commuters were jam-packed in with no clue what was going on. People shouting at other people to get out of the way. NJ  state troopers were on hand doing their best to manage the confused throngs of people. Can you imagine if this was a true crisis? Zombie apocalypse, large-scale terrorist attack, natural disaster, you name it. As soon as a small disruption occurs, absolute chaos.

By the time I got upstairs to the train platform for Tracks 3 and 4, and caught a train, it had been an hour. Although I eventually caught the next train, it was stuck on the tracks for another hour, then slowly proceeded south. Thankfully, I was home before midnight.

What a mess.

A long time to wait, but my official CRISC certificate arrived in the mail

It felt like forever, but my official CRISC certificate arrived in the mail late last week. I spent the last month or so checking my certification status online, and even called the Certification Dept for update.

I went out, bought a document frame on Saturday, and now it’s on my wall. All those months of studying, practice questions, testing time, plus fees?

Worth it.

I bought the Nikon SB-700 speedlight

I’d been considering getting a separate flash for my camera. I’ve been reading up on the benefits, the basics of flash photography, etc. It’s not as if the built-in flash on my camera is bad at all, but there’s a lot more you can do when you have a separate flash that you attach to the hot shoe of a camera. Yes, a separate flash is more powerful. You can adjust the power of the flash to get the right exposure level. The other big benefit is being able to aim the flash away from your subject, so that you can bounce the light off the ceiling or use a diffuser (material that diffuses the light from the flash.) This helps to soften the light, and help reduce shadows.

Recently at my mother-in-law’s retirement dinner, I was plagued by shadows and funny lighting in the ceiling.  I didn’t like the shadows behind my subjects. I didn’t like being unable to counteract the orange-yellow light in the room. I was recently asked to help take photos at someone’s event coming up in a week, and I didn’t want to have this problem anymore. Not at this dinner thing coming up, or going forward, especially with Christmas coming up too.

So I bought the Nikon SB-700 speedlight, which is what Nikon calls them. It’s a bit expensive, so I had to use up all of my Amex points to bring the cost down. The kit comes with speedlight itself, three diffusers (for use in different lighting), what I think is an attachment for a tripod, and the large case. I had to rejigger my camera case, but I was able to find a way to fit this, a camera, and three lenses in the same bag.

I took a few practice shots, but I need to continue practicing during the next few weeks.

Shanta’s Retirement Dinner

My mother-in-law recently retired as a long-time professor at Union Community College, where she taught English as a Second Language for over 30 years. On Friday evening, her former colleagues threw a small party for her and two other retiring colleagues. The venue was The Westwood in Garwood, NJ.


Photo of the Supermoon on November 15 2016

We recently had this “Supermoon” event in mid-November, where the Moon was abnormally close, and won’t be this close again for another 20+ years.  I decided to try something different. I got my camera out, set it up on a tripod in the driveway, used a 55 – 200 mm lens, and took a few photos using a very long exposure. I seemingly tried 20 different combinations of settings in order to try to get the right resolution without getting a washed out picture. I took so many that I lost track of what combination of setting actually worked. Ah well. In any case, I got one good photo. I used Adobe Lightroom to help clean it up a bit, and here ya go.

I think it’s pretty good for a novice.


The Ipes ran in our first ever 5K at the Princeton Pacers’ Clash Dash 5K

Since September, Lily has been running in a program called Girls on the Run. Twice a week, she’s running on a track with a number of other girls. The season is now over, and I think it was a good experience for her.

On Sunday, Nov 13th, Lily and many girls from her group would be running in the Princeton Pacers’ Clash Dash 5K. Since she’s, you know, 8 years old, I’d be her running buddy. As the event got closer, Namita and Josh also both decided to run, so we made it a big family event. None of us had ever done something like this, but we’re not afraid of anything.

The run started at 8:30 am at the Stuart Day School in Princeton, and we had to be up early to get there by 7:30 am. Dressed for the cold weather, we were up, bundled up, and out the door early enough to get some hot breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts.

The run went well for all four of us, though Lily was a little challenged  / winded by the hills. Guess she never encountered hills running on a track. We may have Josh now thinking about running in one of these groups, so we’ll find out if we can encourage in this area. Here are some pictures from the event.

As soon as we all crossed the finish line, we had to book it to the car, as we had to get home to shower and dress for church! Never a dull moment for the Ipe family.

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