Christmas Letter

I composed the following e-mail to my friends. Kind of a makeshift Christmas card. I got some pretty nice responses already. Definitely a Merry Christmas!!

This time of year I usually receive a lot of e-cards from friends, even people I don't know too well maybe from a list or somewhere else where we swapped e-mails. Then today I received a Christmas Card from a friend, actually a fellow license plate collector, from North Carolina but included was a letter outlining how he, his wife and two kids were doing, I enjoyed it better than the card because we never really chat viae-mail or on IM so I enjoy reading it. The letter inspired this e-mail about my family and myself. While I always promise to be short, I always wind up writing more, that's my great Aunt Millie's (grandma's sister) Influence.

Anyway the most exciting event was my younger (always have to sneak that in) brother Chris and his wife Natalie welcomed their first son, Zander Bruce Mattes into the world on July 13th. I actually was there when he was born because my folks and I decided to drive down to Philly when Natalie went into labor. He really is cuter than the picture and is already getting big. We have seen them a handful of times since and they will be coming up here this weekend after celebrating Christmas with Natalie's family. Like every other baby that's come into our family my cousins fight over who gets to hold him. Although that's where the "Uncle Jay Card" comes in, I get to hold him whenever. I only get overruled by Natalie Chris or my Mom, kind of neat. Zander is getting bigger and cuter every time see him.

My other brother Petey, ok Pete so he doesn't kill me, moved down to Philly in May.He's still working for ITT but as a sales engineer, a job he enjoys. Pete actually moved the Manionk,PA (I KNOW I spelled that wrong) to a pretty cool apartment complex. I spent a week down there this past September while my folks went down to Delaware with friends Yes we didn't kill each other. I also got to attend two of his friend's weddings. Both guys I have known since they were in kindergarten. My "cousin" was the best man in one of the weddings. I also attended my friend Dustin's wedding back in April. I don;t think my bank account, or my dancing shoes, have recovered.

Mom and Dad are both doing fine, as always. Their bringing up retirement a lot and have been actively looking at homes in a warmer climate, meaning NC. Although I serious doubt a big move is in our future,. They are planning a BIG summer vacation next year for the Outer Banks. They added a bathroom onto their bedroom, dad's do-ing the inside so of course it's unfinished. We also went down to South Carolina to visit my Aunt Katy, Dad's sister, my Aunt Ilse, flew in from CA. It was funny and I got to shoot pictures of the Sullivan's Island Light House.

As for me, I saved the best for last, everything is status quo. For those who remind me I need to take better care of myself, I am still doing swimming at the Y in Ridgewood once a week. I continue to do what I do best....WRITE. I'm keeping up with my blog aka "Mattes's Madness" , a handful of newsletters (especially my ham radio club newsletter where I have been offered a monthly column) and still manage a "Letter to the Editor" when I see an issue I feel strongly about writer who needs to be taken down a peg. I also continue to travel to license plate conventions. This year it was Erie PA where I won an award for my license plate display Route 66 by wheelchair. I also hosted my second license plate meet with my friend Marco in Washington Township this past November . A lot of work but it's worth it! I STILL am the world's busiest unemployed man

Alright I will; rap this up with my warmest wishes for this holiday season and a toast to 2010!!! Please give my love to your families and keep in touch.
As always
Justin "Jay"Mattes KC2GIK


Back on PSK

Well I wanted to write this a few weeks ago but as usual got distracted. As reported here previous I have a new laptop which is now a couple months old. I don't know who is happier,me or dad, since I was using the downstairs computer for a few months. Almost everytrhing was back to normal except for the fact I was still off the air with PSK-31. Isaac my ham buddy who moved back to Germany a year ago promised when he visited we get PSK back. I was thrilled because this meant one step closer to a "more portable" setup. Well Isaac came, with his wife Grit and their new daughter Sarah in tow, and once again worked his magic. I need to tweak some things after the left, but I was back!!
It lasted a week and then the USB Port I used suddenlydied so Chris rigged up an extention so I can use the USB port on the other side of the computer. It's been working fine ever since. In this short amount of time I have racked up some interesting contacts.One of the things I'm still aftere besides lighthouse contacts is special event stations. I have been on two weeks and have made two contacts to special event stations. One was the National Weather Service out in Witchia Kansas for Skywarn Recognition Day and the other was an event celebrating the 100 th Anniversary of the Canadian Park System. Not bad if I say so myself!
As you probablly figured with this new laptopthere is a potential for portable PSK operations. Well I figured out that I needa mobile antenna and a better power system. However this is just the beginning!!


The myth of unity

As you know by now Chris Christie is Governor-Elect of New Jersey. Christie,a Republican and a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan, invited The Boss to play at his inauguration. Springsteen turned him down because he b"doesn't support candidates";. Oh really then why did he do some fund-raising concerts for Obama? Secondly I don't5 think anyone who knows anything about politics would label Springsteen anything but liberal. Springsteen also LIED when he said he doesn't support candidates. Bruce appeared with Barack Obama and Jon Corzine numerous times and called for the impeachment of George W. Bush on numerous occasions. So Springsteen's statements he isn't political are offensive because they insult his fans' intelligence.
Barack Obama's first message as president-elect was one of unity. Now obviously that has been thrown out the window by both parties. However Chris Christie renewed that same optimism by inviting one New Jersey's most recognizable faces to play at a celebration honoring the state and Springsteen dismissed it.
While I wil always enjoy Bruce Springsteen's music, but I'll never accept his political views. Not because they are so far out of touch with my own views, but because he should know he is New Jersey's son FIRST. Bruce Springsteen owes New Jersey a lot more than New Jersey owes Bruce Springsteen


You need a LITTLE secrecy

The breach of security at the White House last week was an example of why "sweeping changes" in the way business is conducted in the Oval Office isn't always a good thing. I recall the die-hard Obama suppporter moaning about every little thing Bush did in the White House needed to be undone. Well Bush never had "uninvited" geusts visit inside 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue, at least within the gates. Should I saywe don't know if there ever was a breach into the actual White House. Yes I know about the various incidents on the grounds but they were handled with professionalism one would expect from the Secret Service.
Obama's "open door policy" backfired and will continue to backfire. He needs to take the incident seriously and learn from this mistake., Why Obama? He sets the tone for what goes on in the White House. While critizing Bush, Obama said Bush should realize no matter what happens, he is responsible for everything thath happens in the White House. Now that he's been in the White House for awhile I hopehe starts to see what a hard job it is to bePresident.
People have been putting heat on the Secret Service. W hile it is their mistake, and someone should pay, you bet heads will roll, let's take a minute and turn it around. What iif someone was on the list and for whatever reason wasn't admitted to the party? Would the reactio-n be any different? There would have been questions of favortisms. God forbid the couple was a minority, the entire White House Secret Service detail would be order to take sensitivity training. The last thing this country needs is yet ANOTHER Professor Gates scandal.



2nd Annual Garden State Meet a Success

I posted this to the ALPCA Listserv but since it touched on everything I would post it on here as well. Hey some might call it cheating but why retype something when "copy and paste" does the trick?

Well the second Garden State Region Meet was a blast, lots of friends, a few old stories and of course plenty of p;plates. Folks came as far away as New Mexico to partake on a perfect Saturday in November. In total ten states were represented as well as collectors from north of the border. Things ran a bit smoother this year because we got the tables setup the night before with the help of Jim Moini, Marco's soon-to-be- bride Kristy and my mom Mary which cut down on an otherwise hectic morning. I also like to thank Mrs, Lebowitz, Jon's mom, who gave Kristy a break on the registration desk and helped out setting up the food. I could see people's eyes light up when Chuck Sakryd starting wheeling in his latest finds. Michael Wiener rolled in and immediately setup his four tables filled with the latest and greatest NJ non-passenger plates, a few of which made their way into my collection. Sorry about the confusing directions! Another great auction was conducted by our chief auctioneer Chuck Sakryd with the assistance of Ron Ridolph. I even had a microphone ready to go this year.
> I would again like to thank Steve Timpanaro and the Knights of Columbus for their gracious hospitality and pulling the site together at the last minute. They all were extremely helpful and everyon complimented about how nicely pulled this together in such a short period of time! People understood that we had to find a new place fast and made it all work out
> We already have a bigger location booked for next year. Yes Ron they have an in-house PA system all ready to go!
> From were I sit the second annual Garden State was a huge success. I look forward to seeing everybody again at next year's meet which will be on Saturday November 13,2010.
> Justin Mattes ALPCA#6748



A few "subtle changes"

Well if you haven't visited Mattes's Madness in a few days, there have been a few improvements. I am playing around with a few things. First the color scheme, bear with me on this one. I wanted something that said fall, the red and orange seemed like a good idea. It don't think it's pemanent but for now it's saying maybe for a week or two, then I'll change it around, maybe even back to the other colors.
Secondly I FINALLY figured out how to center the license plate graphic on top of the page. I know it bothered a lot of people but it's finally fixed! Now if I can link it to my e-mail instead of this page, I'll set it up!
I have been cleaning up a few entries that didn't have tags on them and even using a spell check here and there.
Finally when this blog started I used a screenname I always use "jaymatt1978" then I decide to register "justinmattes.com" and forward it to "jaymatt1978.blogspot.com". I was going to change it to "justinmattes.blogspot.com but never got qaround to it !


The plate meet saga--2nd Annual ALPCA Garden

It all started back in September when the town rejected our application to use the Tice Center. I didn't realized that last year the council thought the plate meet fell under an OEM event, don't ask me why. So this year when I submitted the application I didn't think much of it. The woman in charge of the place e-mailed me saying the town rejected our application. After a day of thought Marco and I put out some feelers to see if someone could come up with a neww place. In the midst of this chaos another monkey wrench was thrown into the mix when I got the i9nvitation to Dennis and Erin's wedding. The wedding was the same day. So I sent Marco an e-mail stating the if we change the location we might as well change the date as well. Enter a fellow New Jersey ALPCAN Ed Natale who said he c ould get a place in Waldwick fast. Since we didn't have a lot of time Marco and I made new fliers up without seeing the place....BIG MISTAKE*. So here we were a month before the new date and we didn't have a viable location. We're finally all set. People interested in attending please e-mail me at kc2gik@justinmattes.com

So for the record here is the FINAL DATE AND LOCATION:
2nd Annual ALPCA Garden State Region Meet
November 21,2009 8:00AM -2:00PM
Knights of Columbus Hall
46 Pascack Road
Washington Township, NJ 07676
Google Map to the meet


Sullivan's Island Lighthouse

This past week I have been visiting my Aunt Katy in Summerville SC. My folks and I, along with my Aunt Ilse who flew in from California, really had a ball this week. One of the more recognizable highlights, for this blog anyway, is a trip to visit the Sullivan's nIsland Lighthouse. Even though I have visited it before, had my own camera this time. So like I did in Lake Erie, I approached this shoot semi-casually, but I wanted to add it to my collection. The bad part is this lighthouse is closed to the public and doesn't offer a passport stamp but I got some great shots.
For all you ARLHS members yes I was yearning for my Yaesy FT-897 so I could fire up PSK and give out ARLHS# USA-827. I am still working on getting this laptop to work with my RigBlaster. However I also need a portable 20 Meter antenna. One thing at a time!!


First mobile post from Pete's apartment in Philly

Well this is yet another first -- a mobile post! On 09/09/09 I wrote about getting a new Toshiba laptop. At first I was going to wait to post something from a location other than home, but I was so excited I could wait. Well this week I'm in sunny Philidelphia visiting with my brother Pete while my folks are in Delaware! So this is my first official post from the road. Of course Pete has wireless Internet a major Godsend since I'll be here all week. He works out of his apartment, actually his office is in his bedroom. Technically he's working...in sweat pants and the same shirt he wore yesterday. Although he goes on the road travelling to oil refineries and stuff making sure the pumps are working properly
He also has his pet birds, Goldie and Charlie to keep him company. He got them when he still lived in Woodcliff Lake so I am used to them flying around him room and landing on furnitre.
Although Charlie's favorite pervch is people. When they were still up in Woodcliff Lake my dad would play them. Charlie would fly on anybody's shoulder if they let him. Goldie is a bit more reserved. They would never come to me at home, but Charlie came to my shoulder a few minutes after I settled in.
I visited n*Pete for the day when he first moved in. That was back during Easter with Mom and Dad. So this is my first official trip down here! While it's only Monday it's alright so far. Stay tuned I might drop a LINE later in the week


Remember 9/11

I had something all planned out for this post. It was going to be about how the country, even though people at strugglinmg is still pluggin along after that
tragedy that struck us eight years ago today.n Then I saw Glenn Beck (yes I do watch him) and his monologue today included the usual patriotic themes like many other newcasters today. Then Beck turned anmgry, not at Muslim extremists or other terrorist doing harm, but at the US. At first I thought it would be a pointless bathering, but then he asked an amazing question:Why aren't the towers rebuilt? Beck then rattled off other great engineering feats America has accomplished in modern times, like the Hoover Dam which started construction back in 1931 and was completed in 1936! How about the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago? They broke ground in 1970 and was COMPLETED three years later!! Folks something is wrong here!
While I would never attempt to put myself in the families of victims' shoes, it just seems the best way to spit in the face of the folks who killed my love one is to rebuild the sym bolt they knmocked down.
On that day eight years ago people said, "We are all Americans!", now it's back the same old thing. Who's screwing up this or let's blame this person for that problem. It doesn't solve anything and nothing gets done
If people really want to honor those who died that day, do something to fill the void down at the lower end of Manhattan. Let use the sense of patriotism and unity we all felt that day to rebuilt what those cowards knocked down!


Multiple topics

As all of you know today is 09/09/09. I wanted to write something good today to mark the occasion and I haves two options. First off I am now typing this on my brand new Toshiba laptop!! Yes the HP finally kicked the bucket about a moth and I have been using my parents' computer downstairs which has caused friction between my dad and I. It seems he always has to check his stocks the exact same time I want to check my e-mail. So after weeks of debate I bought this Toshiba notebook yesterday. Well mom picked it up on her way home from work. It has everything I need now let's hope I have enough control to bang it, accidentally or "otherwise. I'm still getting used to the keyboard but it's really not that bad. I haven't figured out the wireless part of it yet, yes I have a wireless modem, but it's left over from my brother Pete and setting it up requires a "magical touch" ahem Sean ahem. However despite still being tethered to a desk I do enjoy this new toy. For all you PSK-31 folks I haven't hooked kmy radio up to it yet, but all in due time!! If anyone out there wants to give me a hand.. (hint,hint)
Alright I said multiple topics and here is the second, Obama's speech on health care and the Republican response. Well I can't get into every aspect, so I'll go for my hottest topic, the insurance reform/tort reform debate. If you have read my writings on medical malpractice issues, my position is clear. Even if you haven't read everything, you could guess where I stand. Many of you know I have testified in front of Congressional committees about medical malpractice. I am strongly oppose tort reform and have voted for Democrats 3/4 of the time because of it. Obama did go on this front because he did go after the insurance companies. However he had in the audience tonight a person without insurance. He could have gone one step further and invited a medical malpractice victim too.


Slow August---NOT

I was just looking at posts I made the last few years and it seems every August I hit a "slow time" for writing on justinmattes.com. Some might think it's because there's not much going on, but in reality there's a lot going on. So much that I have a hard time finding the time, or the energy, to write about it all. Let's see here I think we'll try something new here...
Well the very first day of August I had the Stony Point Lighthouse Activation...this time I was ready with my YAESU radio to do PSK. Even though I only made 19 contacts, the day couldn't have been better. Unlike the rest of the summer the weather was perfect, sunny low humidity and a light breeze off the Hudson River. The group we had was perfect it included 90% of the 10-70 Board and some geust operators. We had a blast and again vowed to make the trip again next year. Although with Howie moving to Reno, it might be tricky. A little aside I did write an article about the day's activities so I managed to slip a writing project in as well.
The next weekend was the big Woodcliff Lake Fire Dept Wetdown of their new ladder truck. So I did take some good shots and had fun with the guys. Again great weather was a real bonus and the shots I took were great. I even got invited for a hardy steak dinner afterwards
I recouped from that outing with my yearly trip up to see Gail and Michael. Gail is one of my former high school teachers. However since I actually met her before high school (she accompanied me on the 8th grade trip to Boston) she let me call her Gail.. Anyway her husband Mike is a photographer and he had a show to do the weekend I went up so I help them setup and take down. It is always nice t o see them and it gets me out of dad's hair.
Then a week after returning from Deposit, Sean ands I went to the Loggins and Messina concert which is when I broke down and wrote an entry! We had gotten the tickets back in the spring so this was a long time coming....and as you read well worth the wait. I had to break my silence for that event
Then to cap off the month I attende kMike and Karolina's wedding. Mike has been my brother Petey's friend since grade school. I have watched him grow up just like all of Pete's friends. Imagine my surprise when they invited me to their wedding. I was touched by the gesture. It was very exciting and we all had a great time!
Well there it is, all in one single post!!!! How's that for a recap?


POCO/Loggins and Messina LIVE at PNC 8/22/09

Here's something for you folks to ponder: Is there a better way to cap off a great summer than a POCO/Loggins and Messina Concert? I think not! Sean and I had been planning this night for months. It started off as a dare, we went to a POCO concert in Wyckoff a few years back and said if they were ever touring again we'd go. When Loggins and Messina announced they were teaming up with POCO, Sean said it was a no brainer. We got tickets back in April and every few weeks we would remind each other it was coming up. Finally the big night came and we had a blast.
It was a bit of a rocky start because it was raining on and off all day, although our seats were protected by the overhang at the PNC Bank Arts Center so we weren't too concerned. The drive down consisted of comments like "It's passing" and we'll be alright and we were right on the money. Even though dark clouds followed us down there and we drove into a brief shower, we didn't get wet. By the time we took our seats, it was just very overcast and even a cool breeze was blowing.
POCO was the opening act, which was the driving force to get Sean to go. Even though the drive was a bit hairy by the time they start both Sean and I were slowly relaxing. They played for a good 45 minutes before Jim Messina joined them. They played all of their hits and Jim Messina's guitar playing was excellent. The "opening act" was a class act!!
I will never forget the introduction Jim Messina gave Kenny Loggins. You could tell that even though they broke up and reunited they always remained friends throughout the years. You could tell they have aged a lot but they still have the same spark. I have wanted to see Loggins and Messina in concert ever since my friend Cathy from high school introduced their music to me back in 1997
It was a fun night for Sean too, once we got t here. I caught glimpses of him tapping his feet to the beat of the music!
The intermission was interesting because I met this fellow that was in a bad car accident. We chatted for a bit and he just was such a nice guy I needed to give him a shoot out. The pitiful thing on my part is I forgot his name, so did Sean. Hey it was the end of the evening g and we were both tired. So if he's out there reading this entry, drop me a line at kc2gik@justinmattes.com and you'll get proper recognition
Also if anyone happens to know any POCO members or Loggins and Messina drop them this website. Ya I know the chances are slimmer than I am that they'll actually read this entry. However I did write an e-mail to Kenny Loggins once and his simple reply months later gave me the inspiration to continue composing, whether it be poetry, letters...or this blog

Kenny wrote:

God Bless
Keep in touch....and keep writing


Loggins and Messina Revisited

Loggins & Messina Website

Kenny Loggins's Website

Jimmy Messina's Website


Storm Report 7/24/09

!!! WEATHER ALERT This Is A BergenSkywarn WEATHER ALERT !!!

NWUS51 KOKX 250220

1020 PM EDT FRI JUL 24 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....


Shown above is the radar shot of the hail I reported on the Bergen County Skywarn Net last night !! The radar is provided by George Sabbi,KC2GLG, Bergen County Skywar Deputy Coordinator. This is the second time my report has made the NWS this summer!


North Pier & Preseque Isle Lights

Alright I started writing this entry right after I got from Erie, but admittedly I have been dragging my feet. While I was out in Erie at the ALPCA I got to g et aNother couple of lighthouses under my belt. Actually three more lighthouse stamps are in my book, TWO out of the three I actually go t to shoot myself not bad Ok so the above photo isn't one of MY shots, but I had to prove I was there. Although you couldn't actually climb this light, I walked right up to it and grabbed the door handle/ It was the closest I could get!!

Next up is the Presque Isle Light which i s actually a private residence!! There are signs surrounding the property that it's PRIVATE, but the shore infront of it is PUBLIC so you can get decent shots without risking being arrested for tresspassing. Now if I owned that lighthouse, I would be activating it everyday. Which of course would obviously get boring, yeah maybe after thirty years!! I just starred at the light for what seemed forever. So with the Lake being rght there I decided to wade into the lake to make the entire trip out to Erie that much more enjoyable!


So they weren't interested

Well I was very excited to get the Pascack Press this week because I had submitted my pictures of the storm damage. I opened the paper up this morning to five a page full of sh=ots, but not o ne of mine made the cut. This is really pissing me off because the "staff photographer" of the Pascack Press got some shots published which when I looked at the shots and to be honest mine weren't half bad compared to the ones that appeared in the newspaper.
I also noted that the one that did make the cut were of shot was poor at best. I never liked the guy. I have studied his work and it's crap, just dumpy shots that anyone can just point and shoot. I have submitted a few of my pictures and while I don't really think my pictures were better than the pictures that appeared in the paper, I still feel a little jipped


Storm Report for Woodcliff Lake 7/7/09

We had some storm here in Bergen County Tuesday night and the radios were hopping with down trees and even a few water in basment calls. Above is a picture I snapped the day after. Below are excerpts from the official National Weather Service report

1114 PM HAIL HILLSDALE 41.01N 74.04W
07/07/2009 E0.75 INCH BERGEN NJ PUBLIC







Happy 4th of July

I could do my usual page or two of comments about the Fourth of July, but I had a better idea......let "Brother Ray" do it for me. I will say this remember our veterans and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. God Bless America!! Watch this video:
America the Beautiful by Ray Charles


Post Erie Wrap-up Part II

Now there was specific reason why I broke this into two entries while one would have been sufficent. Of course the main theme is collecting license plates, and a lot of that went on, the stuff that went on after t he convention hall closed was just as exciting. Wenesday is the usual Welcome Reception where everyone mingled and got caught up on the latest news outside of collecting.
Since this was my fifth convention I have become accustomed to the pattern, trading during the day, the bar scene at night. This time I got to do something I have always wanted to do, have dinner with Marco, who co-hosts the Garden State Meets with me. Sure we've had dinner before but there's something about havingl dinner at a convention that's special. I also got to formally congratulate him on his engagement to Kristy. So we chatted about our meet in November and some other stuff that couldn't be one via e-mail.


Post Erie Wrap-up

Alright well I tried to write this e-mail three times last night and three times I hit send too early! Driving eight hours certainly home had more of an effect on me. Note to self next time listen to the little voice i your head when it says, do some swimming instead of hanging out at the bar. Although I had so much fun with John Ferguson, Tom Smith and the gang it was definitely time well spent.
OK onto the big convention. I arrived Wednesday about 2PM, mom and dad in tow. We got to the convention and immediately bumped into Tim Laughlin. Well not even a hello, Tim just said "You HAVE to be Justin!" we exchanged strong hand shakes from that time on I knew this was one for the books.......and I was right
By the time I got there the trading was in full swing. I entered to see Roger Haynes greet me with "Here's speedy!". I went to the registration desk and was warmly welcomed by Scott Mitchell. With his trademark military, but friendly military tone he said," Ok Justin you're all set". My dad put my Route 66 wheelchair plate display down and left. After doing my initial few laps around the two rooms, I finally got back to the hotel room, (have to love that sky bridge) and found my folks relaxing, much deserved.
The Welcome Reception was great.....except of course for the food! I won't got into details, but I will say the convention center made up for it on auction night! The "oh I'm so glad you made it Justin" remarks continued!!
Thursday was my full day at the hall and man did I pick up a few jems! Actually th
Alright I can't go into every day of the convention but I have to mention the night of the auction. I got there late and missed the number 99 souvenir plate, which was the one I got t he previous three years. After some negotiating with the winning bidder, he -let me buy it from him. Out of respect he will remain namelss, but if he's reading thank you again!
I glanced on this list and dropped a few posts during the convention I saw a few negative comments about the two rooms. I again like to remind everyo-ne that Erie was a last minute decision based on things out of the Board's control. If you keep that in the back of your mind you'll realize it was a great convention.
My hats of to Mike Liscio, the convention manager, did a great job
Justin Mattes ALPCA#6748


Erie here I come

Alright since the postings have been a bit light these past few weeks I figured I would try something a bit different......a preview of the convention whichj starts tomorrow! Well this makes the fifth convention I have attended since joining ALPCA in 1994. IO know other members have made everyone since the seventies, but each convention I have tried very hard to attend, this one isn't any different. Like the title infers this gathering of ALPCA member is in Erie,PA. Erie is about a seven hour car ride, not a record for me but close. The majority of the driving will be in Pennslyvania which is kind of anti-climatic, as a matter of fact the trip is the same as a round trip upto Lake George. Something tells me my back will not be same for a few days, just in time to come home.
The convention itself is three days of wall-to-wall license plates!! I don't think it's possible to visit every singhle table, but I usually cover 90% of the floor. My scooter becomes the "license plate recovery unit" I have been very lucky with some of my finds over the years. I got my want list ready, but always manage to pick something up I didn't expect.
I also looking forward to catching up[ with some old friends, like Roger Haynes,Jeff Minard ( the "other " JM) among others. I'm sure people are g oing to be looking for me too. It's something I have gotten used to over the years.
An yway the Friday auction shoul[d be interesting because if all works out I'll have another ALPCA #99 plate in my collection. What started out as a fluke at the auc tion in Huntsville has become an obsession! I wound up bidding, and winning, the ALPCA #99 plate in Salt Lake Cit. So now I have to go after it again this year!!


CQ 070 Club TDW

Well the PODXS 070 club has come and gone for another year. Even though I have participated in contests ever since I got on the air, the last few times have become a bit more competitive. I have sat down and actually "worked" the contest although not continuously like I do on Field Day or the January VHF contest.
Some highlights, I bagged 31 qso's, which is a pretty modest amount. Mark,N8MNI, the king of PSK made 4X as many QSO's but he's located in Ohio really to perfect spot to work all states on 20 meters. Anyway the main goal was to work a new state and I managed to get New Hampshire on 40 which is a new state for me.
After the contest, the next three days were spent going over my log and converting them into HTML to be put up on Bergenscanner.com which is a bigger task than writing this soapbox! I then submitted the log into the contest manager and then composed this entry. It then occurred to me I haven't been keeping track of the 070 Members I worked so added another tab in this spreadsheet of all my contacts to keep track of my LONP.
A lot of work for three days of operating.....but it definitely is worth it!!!


Rockin at High Falls Cafe

Alright I have been wanting to write something about Memorial Day weekend for a week, but been distracted. I went with my parents and friend of theirs, who are almost like aunts and uncles to me up to the High Falls Cafe High Falls, NY. The bar, named after the town, is owned by Buffy and Brian Gribbons who I have known most of my life. They are the same age as my Uncle Matt, nine years older than I am, so it' was near hanging out with them.
Unlike my regular haunt, The Cornerstone, High Falls Cafe has a different kind of atmosphere. It's a family restaurant that happens to host some pretty awesome local bands come in, even has a little stage in the bar when they aren't preforming outside. The High Falls was celebrating their fifth anniversary so they had a few live bands and an outdoor BBQ. It's kind of ironic because wen t spent a great deal of time outside the actual bar.
After everything settled down I did get to have a few beers with Brian and just catch up a little. That was really neat because even though we have seen each other on and off for over 20 years, we never really talked. He also gave me the grand tour of the place and introduced me to the staff as an "old family friend". Definitely a sign of how long we've known each other
The whole day was just a lot of fun. I definitely have been thinking maybe I'll have to go back up there on my own!!
Anyway above are some pictures I took that day of all the festivities. Check out some of the pictures I shot. Brian is the guy in the beard and Buffy has the long curly hair. I also managed to snap a few shots of the band!!

High Falls Cafe Website


Feedburner now works

If you have tried to subscribe to this blog Feedburner the last few weeks you'll notice it wasn't working properly. Actually I didn't notice either until Dave K2DSL dropped me line. After a few e-mails back and forth he helped me troubleshoot it through and now everything is fine. If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog and click on the button so you get e-mailed whenever I post to this blog. I actually have had it going on and off for awhile now but now it works and is just another handy dandy feature to make your visit to justinmattes.com more enjoyable. I still have a few things to workout and I have a another great post coming up...........Stay tuned


Google today only

I haven't posted anything ham radio related here on justinmattes.com in awhile so I figured it was time. The entries have been kind of lengthy so this is short and sweet. Today is Samuel F.B. Morse's birthday so Google wanted to honor him the best they could. I actually did a report on Morse in school once, back then we didn't HAVE Google so that stunk!! ?Anyway it's a cool way to celebrate Morse's birthday and promote the use of Morse Code


"Swing Vote" and the ALPCA Elections

While I have written about both politics and ALPCA, I have never addressed ALPCA politics on this blog.......until I watched the movie Swing Vote. While the elections of officers of a license plate collector's Club don't even come close to the President of the United States, I went to bed staring at the 2009 ALPCA elections form. I took away from the movie what everyone else did, every votes counts (no comments from the peanut gallery. The movie is about this loser of a father, Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) getting forced by his daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll) to go do his civic duty and VOTE. Bud, half drunk, stumbles into the voting booth and is about to cast his ballot and (of course) the machine fails. Molly casts his vote for him, but somehow it doesn't count. This time the election officials figure out Bud's vote will decide the fate of the entire Presidential election. Once everyone in America finds out the fate of the election is in Bud's hands, he becomes an overnight political icon. This simple man with dreams attempts to give folks a voice, with a little prodding from Molly! Of course it wreaks of the debacle in 2000 but the one thing I really liked about the movie, is while both sides pull out all the stops Bud remains on the fence. Each candidate shows they both will do absolutely ANYTHING to get that one vote, even though it means some bribery. The irony behind the movie was panned by most movie critics who invoke the 2000 election, but my folks and I enjoyed it!
For the ALPCA members,especially this running for the Board, reading this note, I have made up my mind on the Directors for 2009, but not VP. No I am not going to name names on here, I seldom ever do. However if you haven't voted yet, or even if you have, rent Swing Vote. Yeah it's corny and far-fetched, then again..... but rent it. It will definitely open your eyes!
Good luck to the candidates.....See you in Erie
Since I wrote about ALPCA I'll throw a plug in the for the ALPCA Garden State Region Meet on November 21,2009 in Waldwick,NJ


Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part III

People tell me not to dwell or harp so three entries about the visit to the Branchville Elementary School might be pushing it. However the closer I get to going up there, the more I have the urge to write about it! Call it a way of comprehending what is going to happen. I have told everyone I know about this trip which makes it seem like I am going up there for more than a day. Although the is the same reaction when I went do to Washington DC on my own, to visit Jane in Tennessee or even the license plate convention in Alabama two years ago.
These kids are definitely going to bring back to a time with mixed feelings. I mean the kids I'll be speaking to are same age when things starting getting real tough. It was the perfect storm back then. My body was getting worse, and the more I tried to hide it, the more evident it became. I never wrote this before but since I could remember I) was made to wear a helmet while walking around the halls. I fought this hard and finally in fourth grade I got the school to agree for me to only wear it during gym.
When I agreed to speak to the kids I knew deep down it would be rewarding and a little painful at the same time. I also knew since Kurt asked I couldn't let him down. It's a coo-l feeling to have a nine year old look up to you. When this opportunity a little voice (ok grandpa's voice) said, "You know Justin you always wanted to repay some of the good deeds done for you, well here's your chance". Am I going to enjoy it? Absolutely! However that doesn't mean I am a bit unsure of myself. So whoever reads this between Tuesday do me a favor, just take a moment and think about me. Yeah it's selfish, but what else do you expect from me??
Branchville Elementary here comes Justin Mattes!


Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part II

First of all I want to make a few things clear about this visit upto Kurt's school. Tim's biggest selling point to Principal McKinnon was my writing. Does anyone notice a theme here? Anyway I want to outline my day on Tuesday. Well it actually starts out Monday afternoon when Tim and Kurt drive down to pick me up. We'll then drive back to Connecticut and maybe help setup for the following day.
I will be talking to a second grade class and a fifth grade class. I keep telling everybody I'm more nervous about talking to the older kids than the younger kids. The older kids might hit on some more sensitive areas. Going through the process is making me think about my experiences in second grade. When I would go to the Special Education class in the morning, where I didn't belong. Then I would be "mainstreamed"
Irony of ironies of of the teacher's name is Mrs. Wilson, I had a Mr Wilson when I was that age. I'll take that as some kind of a sign. I will spend some with Mr. LeFebvre's class, c ome to think of it if the classroom has a computer I could demo some of my typing skills. Finally I will go to Ms Sane's class and face another twenty pairs of eyes
All of this talk brought up another t hing I did in high school where one day a week I volunteered at a school in Montvale some afternoons. The kids were around the same age as some of the kids I'll meet Tuesday. Yes it's all coming back to me.
This is doing me some good as well and hey it has gotten me writing again! :)
Trip to CT--Branchville School Visit Part III


Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part I

This should be a very interesting post because originally I was going to write about my trip to Connecticut after it happened but since my writing is part of my presentation, I was asked by the people who invited me to write something of a preview prior to going up there so I could show the kids some of my writing.
It all started with an e-mail from Tim Stentiford, a license plate collector friend and editor of the famed PLATES Magazine explaining how Kurt, his son, was having what they call a "Diversity Day" at his school. Kurt suggested I come up to speak and when Tim presented this idea to the rest of the planning committee, they loved it. Talk about your ego booster, this is right up my alley. I have spoken about myself at various venues before, even on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC My mom kept saying I had to prepare but I didn't know how. I have been bouncing a few ideas off my mom and am getting my thoughts together. I decided instead of typing them just in Word they'd be better off here. So I think I'll do a multiple series. Maybe two parts before I go up, one part when I'm up there and maybe one part when I come home.
Say tuned
 See also Trip to CT Branchville School Visit Part II  and Trip to CT Branchville School Visit Part  III


Ones that get away,but a cooler head prevailed

I have won and lost my share of auctions but this one will sting for quite awhile. For those of you you don't know NJ license plates, the pair shown above are 1928 New Jersey Courtesy license plates I have been follow this auction on eBay since it came out but decided to wait until the fourth day to throw a bid in and it was for $60 which is high for me to jump in but this pair was sweet. Four days went by w ithout another bid so I first thought that either folks were either really hurting from the current economic problems facing the world or people were just lurking..To my dismay it was the ladder. Nothing happened until today when I saw another bidder kick it up to $86 and I threw $100 at the plates without flinching which still was a bar gin for these jems. We played this game all day raising the stakes north of $200 which made me sweat a little. Finally I decided it was time for a gamble and I threw $222 at the pair of plates knowing he eit her would stall out or we'd be going to $225. Well at $227 I began to think to myself "Am I really ready to fork over a quarter of $1000 for a pair". I really had my eye on spending $200 tops but I figured "$220 would do it". My head said stop byut my heart said go for it. My hand trembled as I entered the numbers "2", "2" "7" and carefully pressed Enter. It turns out no because a brand new bidder swooped down and picked these jems up for a grand total of $229.50! I chickened out. Well now I could have thrown $250 at these one of a kind plates and won, but I decided there will always be a next time!!


31 Statements about Justin Mattes

Jeff had a version of this posted on his face book page and I thought I would publi0sh here too. Let's face it it is indeed of of my better writngs. Even though I don't turn 31 for a few weeks, I
1. I am proud to say I am the only one in my immediately family who was born in Bergen County (Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.) This really means I am a Bergen County Guy. Although when I was born I was transferred to Columbia Presbyteran a day later. Mom was so sick she stayed in Ridgewood and didn't see me for 5 days. First thing she asked my dad was "is it a boy or girl?"! I prefer C.P. to Cerebral Palsy

2. My Birthday is 3/15/78 I share my birthday with Andrew Jackson, probablly why I always use $20 bills whenever possible. Other notable events on 3/15 were the assination of Julies Caesar. Bit of irony because if the doctor had done a C-Section instead of natural child birth I wouldn't have CP. Thee state of Maine was admitted into the union on 3/15 , Maine was the first "road trip" I was Maine when I was a few months old

3. I have a lot in common with my cousin Jennifer than anyone else in my family. Both our names start with "J", we're the oldest of three siblings of the same sex. We both were baptized at our grandparents house, with our great Aunt Millie attending. Our moms are each others godmothers. We are considered to give everyone in our families the most stress.

4. The first time I stood up unassisted was in the garden with my dad, it was went I was in preschool. We started a pumpkin plant in a paper cup in school and I brought it home and planted it in the back. I stood up behinds the pumpkin and my dad took a picture. My mom didn't believe him so he devloped the picture the next day to prove it

5. Even though my brother Chris is 13 MONTHS YOUNGER he has done EVERYTHING FIRST. Drive,date, marry. Even though this has bothered me growing up, and sometimes still does, I know there will be advantages later in life!

6. I only have one friend, Darren, who's EXACTLY MY age. He also has CP and we met at therapy when we were ess than a year old.

7. I actually hold the distinct title of "most Honorary Memberships" in Bergen County, in four different towns. Park Ridge, Ramsey, Teaneck and Woodcliff Lake (not really but you know I had to slip it in there!)

8. My grandfather, Charles Princiotto is the man I admire most. He is also the man I have written about the most. He inspired one of my license plate "runs".

9. My first and only kiss on the lips WASN'T with a girl who I was in love with.

10. I've have all major events in my life happened when I was an even number age.

11. For the record I have NEVER "acted retarded", I have sometimes, ok more than I will admit, acted "Emotionally disturbed", =but ALWAYS WITH GOOD REASON!

12. I have WRITTEN about commiting suicide five times. Four of those times are a direct result of events happening in middle school, once when I was recovering from hip surgery and had to relearn how to walk.

13. My most exotic travels occured on my own or wit h people I didn't know real well.

14. I am probablly one of the youngest people to testify in front of the US Congress. My statements can be found in the Library of Congress.

15. My worst dream was when my mom turned into the Wicked Witch of the East. Nothing implied there!

16. I am known for my love of Jack Daniels. My very first Jack and Coke was with my brother Chris in Atlantic City.

17. Speaking of AC it holds memories not to be written here. My close friends know what I mean!

18. I shared two classess with Jeff and Lauren.Jeff I see the most, Lauren the least.

19. My Uncle Matt is only 9 years older than I am. Therefor I have a hard time calling him "Uncle".

20. In anthoner life I was definitely a lawyer. My Uncle Sal is a lawyer and my godfather.

21. It tok me 7 hours to complete an exam once. I write most of my poetry under 7 minutes, including Grandpa's poem.

22. I cried when I finished "Of Mice and Men".........only book that made me cry.

23. Sean is my best friend, because he has trusted me the most.

24. My family never felt sorry for me, however I can ALWAYS count on them when I truly needed.

25. Writing is my greatest gift. At times I have abused it. At times I have hurt people with it. However I will ALWAYS respected it.

26. I have more of my borther, Peter's friends on Facebook . They are ALL my "younger brothers" they look out for me. In turn I share my gems of wisdom with them.

27. This may sound a bit obvious but my mom is my hero. Everything I ever accomplished or ever will accomplish is because she always believed in me.

28. I want to visit every state in the country before I die.

29. The only people I would ever wish harm on are the ones who make fun of me.

30. ALL MY HOBBIES: Antique Cars. License Plates, Police Scanners, Ham Radio, Photography and Lighthouses are ALL connected...let's leave it at that!

31. I would have written this one my 31st brithday BUT Jeff Krentzman inspired me so much I decided to write it now.


Surviving Valentine's Day

In fine JM tradition I have been waiting all day to write this entry. As a matter of fact I went out last night so I could stay home tonight and write. These last few Valentine's Day I have been more sensitive maybe because I have yet to ihave a girlfriend myself. I go through stages at times I'm thankful I still single, I couldn't really afford one right now anyway. Although part of me just wishes I could expirence true love. Instead of snuggle up with some sweet someone I'm stuck here writing this entry. Such is life
People have asked why I haven't written more poetry. Wedll I just am not as inspired as I was when I had a fickler of hope at a few romantic encounters. Some of my best poems stemmed from the hope I once had. Like many other times I felt that if I really meant what I wrote, some how insome magically way it would work out for me. However as I sit behind the keyboard I am finally facing yet another demon that rears its ugly head every February 14th! Maybe I am building this up too much however what do you expuect from a guiy who's had co-untless failed attem pts at romance
Out of all the things I don' t have or can't seem to accomplish having so-meone look at my the way my mom looks at mom dad or Natalie (my sister-in-law0 looks at m y brother (younger brother) Chris. They say love isn't a luxery, it's a need well what they don't tell you is youu need different kinds of love in order to make your life complete! This is one o-f the many lessons I have learned the very hard way
If you think I'm feeling sorry for myself, I could careless. The title of this post is "Surviving Valentine's Day" and the only way I know how to do that without getting insanely drunk, is to write about it
I always said anyone can deal with physical pain, it's the emotional pain that can derive you insane. Well having a day celebrating love when you 're not IN LOVE is the most painful an adu lt can face. It's another sign of a failed attempt at a normal life. I see it everywhere and it makes me so sick. It looks so easy for people to fall in love, I upsets me that it hasn't happened to me once.; I have fell in love only twice, both time of cours the feelings weren't mutual! The funny thing is both times the girls felt I was one of their best friends
Everyone getts their heart broken but I haven 't had the fortune to have it recover. Let me tell you it sucks.
The title of this is "Surviving Valentine's Day" because you know what even though I may sound upset now, I'll wake up tomorrow in better condition than I am in right now. That's the "surviving part".
Happy Valentine's Day


Kicks on Route 66-ham radio style

Alright I have been a little behind on posting to this blog but I thought I would do a little backtracking. Every September a few hams setup stations along old Route 66. Now given my love for license plates and cars this obgviously is right up my alley. This past Sempteber was the first time I was able to participate with my new setup! The stations use special 1X1 callsign ranging from W6A to W6S are scattered along the old Route 66. So I looked the information up and learned that the Missouri Texas and New Mexico stations setup PSK, so of course I attempted to pick them off. Well easier said then done. I had to go on 40 meters in the middle of the night to see if I could get them. All of the contacts happened around 2:00 in the morning so I couldn't actually run downstairs and tell my folks...So I had to wait until the next day.
I sent the QSL cards out one by one, complete with SASE and patiently waited for the return cards. I also needed New Mexico on 40 Meters so it was a double treat, a special event and a new state
After doing some investigating I found the group sponsoring this event every year awards a certificate if you send away for it. So I filled out the application along with $5 CASH (figured nobody would think that cash is sent by mail any more) and off I sent it to California. Then the waiting game came because it wasn't until after New Years did I get the certificate, I call it a late Christmas gift.
Now the question remains, will I do it again? ABSOLUTELY I am hoping a few more PSK stations come on the air, like Illinois which is a fairly easy hit from my QTH in Bergen County.


One Contact - Five Lighthouses--W9C

Back in the summer I wrote an entry in here about my Lighthouse phone contact with Bill,N8ET, so now I had to top that with a five lighthouse PSK contact in Wisconsin!
I was orginally going to wait until I got the card like my other contacts but I think at this stage of the game you can take my word for it. This contact was with a husband and wife team also known as "Team Cheese"--WI9TC (I love the callsign). Like the contact with Bill, they were in the line of sight of five lighthouses located on the Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan. As soon as I saw them on the BeaconBot (the e-mail reflector used to notify people of lighthouse activations-) I knew I had to take my best shot. There were tons of stations dying to get a contact. Well after some monitoring of the waterfall and waiting for a break in the QSO's, I dropped my call. Unfortunately I was getting overpowered a lot so I actually wound up waiting for quite awhile. Although I have to admit it was also fun just watching them work stations. Now ARLHS members know I really only do PSK (although I do have a handful so they actually look for me on the waterfall.
A few minutes after the QSO I sent out the QSL Card! That's how exciting it was for me to work them!