Misc. Attaboys for komar.org

I started my personal web site - www.komar.org - back in 1997. While the layout is not going to win any design awards, there's actually quite a bit of helpful information such as the bbq grills section and my climbing Longs Peak saga. And there's some goofy/entertaining stuff such as The Incredible Hulk and my outa control christmas lights that have raised thousands of dollars for Celiac charity.

Over the years, I've received thousands (yes, thousands!) of Emails from people expressing their appreciation for the info, a thanks for the chuckle I provided, or for other reasons. I do try to respond to most of these, especially if they are thoughtful questions/comments. So I finally decided to annotate a (very) few examples of those here since they are nice to read and gives you a flavor for things at komar.org. Also see the "Email Santa" archives for a LOT more Emails related to my holiday lights displays which have brought a ton of joy and humor to a buncha folks.

I've also collected some misc. comments about my pictures from Antarctica, South Georgia, & Falklands - Churchill Polar Bears - Galapagos Islands - Baby Hummingbirds - so cute! ;-)

Send me your two cents and/or consider buying me a beer if my stuff has been useful to 'ya and/or made you laugh.

Date: August 17th, 2005       From: UPSTomL       Subject: You are a riot!
Hello there... my name is Tom and although I know you must get A LOT of email, I hope you take time to read this...

In short, I have a 1972 Mustang Grande that I have nicknamed 'THE HULK'. I often go to ebay and try to find 'HULK STUFF' for my ride as I often show it at car shows. I am really looking for a license plate of the Incredible Guy, but can't seem to find one... anyway....

When I searched Google today for HULK I found your big green guy online and went to your site. After looking around some more, I found out all kinds of things - (like your new patio, your crawlspace - your kids disease) - interesting about you... Then, the kicker.. I saw the info about the webcam spoof you pulled - and I gotta tell you - if you were local, I'd buy you a beer... that was the funniest thing I've seen in awhile (ok, so I lead a sheltered life) but it was F-U-N-N-Y... and to know all the smiles you put on peoples faces - it doesn't matter that it was a fake - what matters is the fact that all those people - believing it or not - got a smile on their face from your actions... I once heard that when you get to heaven it doesn't matter what kind of car your drove, what kind of clothes you wore - how much money you had - what matters is how many people you made happy... Well sir, let me say that your act of (mischievous) kindness goes a long way. I know you must have lots of friends, and each are happy and proud to have one like you. You seem like a real nice guy - with one heck of a sense of humor...

When I first saw your picture of 'the big green guy' I was going to write you and ask that, when you wish to retire him - let me know and I'd take him off your hands... After seeing the smiling faces on your kids, there's no way he's EVER going to hit retirement... And my work with him wouldn't put a dent in the fun he's bringing now.....

Anyway, I just wanted to write to you to say that I very much enjoyed reading your website and wish you and your family a lifetime of happiness and laughter... I know you've given it (laughter) and hope you've also received your fair share!
Thank you. UPSTomL

Alek Responds:
I appreciate the note Tom - stuff like this really makes my day, so thanx for taking the time to write ... Yea, I've had a few fun times. WRT the HULK, someone actually called my house a while back and asked politely if the Hulk was for sale - my wife responded that since he has become part of the family, he is NOT for sale! ;-)

Date: September 19th, 2005       From: StephenD       Subject: You inspired me ...
Alex, Upon our return home from a vacation, I found that we had a busted pipe in the basement. While crawling around, looking for the source of the leak, I went into my crawlspace under our family room. After finding and fixing the leak, I started thinking about that wasted space. I went on to the internet to do some research and found your site! I want to thank you for inspiring me to reclaim that area.
[and in a subsequent note] When I look at the before pictures, if I knew now what it took to get to this point, I don't know if I would do it again. What kept me going was that I was doing this for my 4 year old son. He will have a playroom in the reclaimed basement. This and the fact that my wife would have cleaned out everything if I didn't move it. I probably wouldn't have done it if it weren't for you. You proved it could be done.
Date: November 5th, 2005       From: MikeD       Subject: Thank you
Your advice for converting a propane grill to natural gas saved me thousands of dollars..moved into a new home with a socket on the deck to plug in a natural gas grill.thought I would have to buy a new grill..took me 10 minutes to fix..

Thanks a million - MikeD

Alek Responds:
You are welcome Stephen and Mike. I get these specific type of "thanx" Emails pretty frequently ... and in fact, folks actually send me Emails asking if they could hire me to finish their basement crawl space, convert their BBQ grill, etc. ... but as you found out, one time is enough!

Date: December 11th, 2005       From: DaveH       Subject: You ROCK!
Alek - Love your website and all the interesting stuff you have on it. I thought I would just look at your lights page and ended up spending an hour browsing through everything. Keep up the good work!
Date: December 11th, 2005       From: StevenN       Subject: your website is awesome
Hey! This is kind of random, but I am a college student in Pennsylvania and I was doing a project for my 3D modeling class and I searched google for pictures of a basement, and I stumbled across a picture of a guy next to a giant hulk thing I was thinking to myself .haha ok lets check this out... Well turns out I went through a lot more of your site and let me tell you, it is cool. I really liked looking at the projects you did to your house and all that. Really cool stuff. It seems like you can pretty much do anything! I plan on checking out the rest of your site later, just for fun, cause for some reason it is pretty entertaining. I wish you had video of the hulk guy flying off the house. That would be awesome! Haha, alright. Keep up the quality work!
Date: December 14th, 2005       From: JoshG       Subject: great website
I swear Alek the deeper I dig into your site the more cool things there are. Its like a never ending supply of good reads. You have got to be one of the most prolific writers I have ever met. I don't know about you guys but for one man he has the biggest site I have seen. I bow down to you in awe of your writing/publishing talents. On second though I will drink a beer in awe of your talents this weekend but I will most likely do it sitting down watching NASCAR which involves bowing to get the beer off the table. Hope that counts.
Alek Responds:
Examples of another common type of Email I get as people seem to start on one part of the web site, and then wander all over the place, probably finding stuff that I've forgotten exists ... ;-)

Date: April 23rd, 2006       From: MarkS       Subject: Sam's Club Grill
Hi Alex, I just wanted to say that before I purchased my grill, I did some checking on the internet. I ran across your web site, and found it to be very educational. So much , I made my decision to buy the Members Mark grill. I must say, everything you had to say about the grill was very accurate. I do not regret my decision to purchase this grill. I have you to thank for that. I have also found your cleaning methods to be OUTSTANDING! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Stainless Magic is that. (You might mention that you can purchase these products from Ace Hdwr.) I had to do some calling around to find these products. Also, the aluminum foil over the grates is a dream. You are right. This cleans them better than anything else. Oh, by the way, my cover fell apart just like you said it would. (LOL) Alex, once again, Thank you for taking time to put your knowledge on the net to share with others. You do make a difference. Happy grilling. MarkS
Alek Responds:
Thank you for the nice note Mark and glad it has worked out well for you; sorry about that grill cover ... but I told you so! ;-)
Best Wishes and Happy Grilling to you too - alek

Date: October 1st, 2006       From: SergeL       Subject: BBQ Shrimp, etc.
Over the years I have visited your site for different odds and ends but mostly because I really like your shrimp recipes. Anyway, I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know I think you have a beautiful family. It just seems like the epitome of a happy and content lifestyle. I appreciate all your help.
Alek Responds:
Thanks for the nice note - yea, I've been fortunate in life. Glad you like the shrimp recipes - we make those at least once/month; huge hit with my family,

Date: April 11th, 2007       From: BoK       Subject: A debt of gratitude owed ...
I found your bbq LP->NG conversion site about this time last year. I built a house three years ago and tried to get the builder to put in for a gas grill quick connect on the 24x20 deck overlooking the river but no dice. I then, after reading your analysis of methods used for the conversion, decided to buy a grill of high quality at the cheapest price via this great medium, the internet. I scored my grill via www.stealdeals.net in June last year and it has been sitting dormant until today. My friend, a certified plumber, informed my he was certified for gas as well so I bowed to his wisdom and between his "get the gas to the grill skill" and your "wing it conversion calculations" I now have the, as some would say, impossible. I "luckily", after much thought and calculation, guessed and got it right on the first try. Tonight I eat steak, your family is more than welcome join but the airfare from your location to mine wouldn't make it worth it (Elkton, MD). Again thanks for having the genius to post your adventures online....
Alek Responds:
Thanks Bo and while I'd love to join you for steaks, yea, it's a long way to go, even though I'm sure they are darn good ... but you are welcome to buy me an online beer. Glad I could help out and happy grilling to 'ya!

Date: April 19th, 2007       From: Jez       Subject: All American Web Site ...
Hi Alek,
I took a look at your site the other day. It's great. You have effectively captured something really amazing. You all look happy! You come across as being that All American Family that people talk about so often but sees so little of! :-) I wish I had some time to put up a family info site like that. Maybe one day I can. My kids are 7 (Abigail) and 2 (Archie) and they would like something like that to look at as they grow up. Got to rush - I am taking the afternoon off to play golf with my friends today! :-)
Alek Responds:
I can't see we're always smiling (my kids drive me nuts sometimes! ;-), but we've had a lotta fun times and the "cameraman" (as my boys call me) shoots tons of pictures. So stuff just accumulates over the years and while it is a lot of work, it's fun for me to put 'em online for friends & family ... and glad I made your day. BTW, If nothing else, be sure to take pictures now of you kids so at least down the road, you'll have 'em to sort through. Thanks for writing Jez.

Date: April 20th, 2007       From: SandraS       Subject: I laughed this morning!
Hi there.. I was just checking out recipes for BBQ's and I feel upon your website. I just wanted to say that you started off my day with a smile. I thought that this was the most down to earth website that I have seen! It was a real pleasure to see it! Thanks for the great recipes. I might try a few of them this weekend! It is really funny to look at other peoples pictures! You look like a really nice family! Have a good day. P.S. Don't forgot to add more recipes when you get them!
Alek Responds:
Thanks for the nice note Sandra and good luck with those BBQ Grill Recipes - let me know how they turn out. And also glad I made your day with a laugh/smile - be sure to come back at Halloween and/or Christmas when I provide a bit of holiday cheer! ;-)

Date: June 14th, 2007       From: ShaneP       Subject: Basement Project
I can't tell you how informational your site was concerning your crawlspace project. I found it when searching for how to cover a section of basement I have that is dirt. I have a situation where concrete can't be used, but luckily the current floor is dry. I must say up front without the information on your site I wouldn't know where to start with my project. Your site is the only one that I could find ( and trust me I searched ) that actually showed what steps were taken, and detailed how to do each and every part.

I am preparing to start my project, and although it is slightly different than yours ( I'm covering walls to, for finished look) it would be impossible to get all of the little important details correct without referring to your site. ( Let's just say I'm using it for a blueprint for mine.)

When I'm finished I will try and shoot you some pics of the finished project. Thanks in advance for all your assistance, even if you were unaware of providing it.

Alek Responds:
Glad it was useful for 'ya Shane - I thought about doing the walls, but I wasn't that motivated; but yea, that would add a nice look and brighten up the space a lot. Good luck and thanks for the nice note,

Date: November 10th, 2007       From: JoesephS       Subject: Tucson Greetings - Thank you for grill help
Thanks, Man! What a breeze thanks to your well-researched and experiment in kind. The only glitch I had with a similar grill to yours was the rotisserie burner--couldn't find the orifice--but that's the project after church tomorrow. Don't care much for the negative criticism engineers receive these days, but one thing's for sure, we're thorough! You were my inspiration about five months ago when I was pondering the back patio renovation where I installed an NG stub, just waiting for the right grill deal to pop up here in Tucson. Wouldn't you know, the grill with my name on it only came in LP but I cashed out with confidence thanks to your considerate sharing and atypical engineering prowess. I related, followed your guidance and recommendations practically to the letter, knowing success was my reward. In my case, save the rotisserie system, my LP and NG performance stats balance, all attributed to you. Thanks, again, my friend...Joe
Alek Responds:
Glad it helped you out Joe and thanks for the compliment about Engineers - Best Wishes,

Date: January 30th, 2008       From: ScottW       Subject: Thanks, Man! What a breeze thanks to your well-researched and experiment
Hey Alek ... I guess i was actually going to buy you a Beer but i see how much you love your kids and actually believe for once that a man like your self would put the $10 in stead a $2 towards the kids McDonalds. for this reason i have sent you a $10 instead ... Thanks so much for posting the info about hooking up the BBQ to Natural Gas ... I could not find any info anywhere for the last 3 months i have been looking, and i think your site is the only place for a GUIDE on the WWW. Buying your kids McDonalds for all the Help you gave me, and probally saved me $100's ... But thanks anyway, I actually spent hours reading your whole site tonight and got quite a laugh ... I have a 1 year old son and if i could have a smile on my face as BIG AS YOURS every time somebody took a photo of my doing something for a guide or with my boy ... it would make me a better person ... I really do enve you for that
Alek Responds:
Thanks Scott - glad I could help you out ... and yes, my Kids will enjoy their Happy Meals! ;-)

Date: December 9th, 2008       From: LorenK       Subject: Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease
I have a Cousin who finally figured out he was suffering from Celiac Disease at the ripe old age of 50. He can't believe the change in the quality of his life since he stopped eating wheat products.

It's good that you're doing something to publicize the disease. Cousin Dean lived for many years "feeling that way" without realizing that he shouldn't and that is wasn't normal. He became aware when he overheard someone discussing symptoms and realized, "that's how I feel."

Your site is just plain cool in the first place, but all the more so because it may help other people to realize that their quality of life isn't what it should be.

Regards, Loren

Alek Responds:
Yes, a big issue with Celiac (becoming less so fortunately) is the diagnosis. We've lost track of how many people that we've "helped" get diagnosed by suggesting they ask their Doctor about Celiac. Please pass on my regards to Cousin Dean and Merry Christmas, alek