My Blog

Archive for 2008


by on Dec.27, 2008, under Site News

Ashley has finally had time to post about some of the things she wanted to post about for the last 6 months or so. They have been inserted into the blog where they would have occurred. So that you don’t have to hunt for them amongst the other posts you’ve already seen, here are some direct links to them.

FITS 2008
Fall 2008 Student Leadership Retreat
Driver’s Edge
Halloween 2008

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Merry Christmas 2008

by on Dec.25, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Yo Ho Ho Ho Ho!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

After getting up early and opening presents at home, we drove out to the folks’ house for more presents and a light lunch with the folks and Marie and Wayne, then back home to meet up with Karen’s brother Dave and his family at our house so that the kids could play together.

From what we’ve been hearing on the news, the weather up north has been cold and snowy. Not the case here! While it was overcast today and drizzled a little at dawn, it was a pleasant 78 degrees today!

Don’t forget to take some time out of your busy day and remember why we celebrate!

— Rich

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Ashley’s Florida Christmas Songs

by on Dec.25, 2008, under Ashley Bingle

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas,
With lots of palms and grass to mow,
Where the treetops bristle,
and children whistle,
Until I say they’ve gotta go

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas,
Not like the Christmas cards I’ve seen.
May your days be quite peachy keen,
And may all your Christmases be green.

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas,
Not like the Christmas cards I’ve seen.
May your days be quite peachy keen,
And may all your Christmases be green.


Oh the temperature is frightful,
But the pool is so delightful,
And since we will have no snow,
Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow!

The rain doesn’t show signs of stopping,
Just keeps on drip-drip-dropping,
It does the grass good you know,
Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow!

Oh the weatherman gives us a fright!
The sun makes this day really warm!
Though the breeze makes us all delight,
Watch out not to get caught in a storm!

Oh the rain, it is slowly dying,
And, oh dear, the grass is trying,
But as long as we shall not mow,
Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow!

Merry Christmas!

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Catopolis Anthology Story Written Nine Years Ago

by on Nov.27, 2008, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family

catopolis (2).jpg (19505 bytes)

My latest story to come out is in the anthology Catopolis, edited by Janet Deaver-Pack and Marty Greenberg.  I’d actually written this story in 1999, when Jean told me that Barnes & Noble was putting out an anthology with a hundred cat crime stories (I’m not making this up).  I wrote the story, but nothing came of it, so I moved on to other things.  Then, about a year ago, I got a message that Janet was doing this anthology and needed an extra cat story in a hurry.  I got the document off the old computer and sent it off the same evening.  This makes my sixth short story to come out this year, which is the most in any year so far.  Right now I only have two short stories slated to come out next year, although I have two out at publishers right now for consideration.

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Halloween 2008

by on Nov.05, 2008, under Ashley Bingle

Well, no contest winnings this year. Apparently we have less chance of winning at youth group specifically because we are Bingles. We were told that we were at a disadvantage (having placed the last 3 years), although we did have costumes in the running. However, since Halloween fell on a Friday this year, and our costumes for youth group didn’t have to be ready until the Monday after, we had different costumes on the actual day.


Alyssa was an Olympic Gymnast, complete with Gold Medal and American Flag. Pictured are her Olympic Rings, on the front of her jacket she had “USA”.


Amber was a fisher person, using some shiny pins as lures on her hat and our Fisher Price fishing pole. Here she is trying to fish out of our pool. Needless to say, she did not catch anything.


I used one of our store bought costumes from after Halloween sales a different year and was a gypsy. I used our little mini tambourine and some earrings that were almost used on Alyssa’s pirate costume last year.


Daddy took the cake, though, with his costume which he wore all day at work. He was a Former Wallstreet CEO: (You wouldn’t believe how many people asked him that night if it was real!)


We worked during the weekend on our costumes for the contest at Youth Group and this is what we came up with:


I was a blue Lego brick, our Youth Director thought it was a domino, and Amber was a monster large bag of M&Ms®, complete with the registered trademark symbol.

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Driver’s Edge

by on Oct.27, 2008, under Ashley Bingle

Well you know I have my learner’s permit and am learning to drive, but this wasn’t a typical “Driver’s Ed” class, it was Driver’s Edge!

This program is sponsored by Bridgestone and organized by people from Las Vegas who recognized the need to educate teen drivers in how to handle situations where it is easy to lose control. The four hour class involved a pre-test to evaluate your knowledge prior to the class, an introduction to explain how everything worked, four rotational stations, and a post-test, to see what was learned. All of this was held in the empty parking lots of the Orange County Convention Center so the worst we had to worry about while driving was hitting little orange cones. (The light-posts were far enough away from the courses.)

The stations were two lectures and two hands-on driving stations. One was a lecture by the Florida State Highway Patrol about seatbelts and a demonstration of “Drunk Goggles” which simulate the vision of someone with an intoxication level exceeding the legal limit. The other lecture was by one of the founders who detailed seat and hand position as well as some of the internal components of the engine.

My favorite parts were the hands-on stations where I actually got to drive. They had cars with four seatbelts and they would put two or three students in the car with a driving instructor. The really neat part was that the instructors were mostly racecar drivers. One of the stations they wet the road and then had us floor the accelerator then let off and try to turn. We would lose traction and have to try to come out of a skid. I’m pretty sure most of those instructors were drifting racers. I did pretty well on that one, I think, because I only ever spun out completely once, the other times I managed to finish driving through the cones at the end of the course. The instructors took us through once or twice then each student was supposed to go three times. The second course was really two put together, one where we slammed on the brakes to see what antilock brakes do, and one where we were supposed to change lanes very quickly like an obstacle had just fallen in front of us. They would take us through that whole thing once and then each student got two turns. The first time on the ABS section we just slammed on the brakes when they told us to, the second time they told us to put them on later and so we had to steer around a curve while braking.

I had such a good time doing it the morning of October 25, the first of two days they were doing it, that I signed up for the Sunday afternoon class too. I felt like the driving experience was very helpful and I am hoping the Driver’s Edge people come back again next year because it was good to get to practice accident avoidance skills in a controlled environment.

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International Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008

by on Sep.19, 2008, under Ashley Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

The time has come again, Mateys! That most wonderful time of year when we get to annoy all passers-by with our piratical speech. I know I will lapse into pirate speech just about any time now that I have gotten to see all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (since last TLAPD I hadn’t yet), but this gives me a reason to be talkin’ like a pirate. (I get a few less stares that way, maybe…)

Last year I confused my Computer Science teacher when I answered all her questions about java coding in my pirate persona and this year I saved up my Web Design teacher’s oral quiz for a similar demonstration. Ironically, as I am usually the Captain when we play pirates at PE and it started just yesterday, I got to try out my pirate voice prematurely.

-Cap’n Ash

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Fall 2008 Student Leadership Retreat

by on Sep.15, 2008, under Ashley Bingle

At our church we have two groups of Student Leaders, the regular Student Leaders, who are high schoolers, and the Junior Student Leaders, sometimes called the Padawans, who are in middle school. These kids are supposed to help by leading ministries, or for the Padawans to help lead those ministries. My ministry is singing in the Youth Praise Band for Youth Group on Monday nights. They also discuss some more in-depth or controversial doctrines in weekly Student Leadership Meetings. Requirements have gotten more strict this year and include attendance of these meetings, mentorship meetings, and scripture memorization each week.

In the Spring of this year the high school Student Leaders of our church who were available went to a leadership retreat at Cedarkirk, where the Children’s Ministry had been before (with Mom, Amber, Alyssa, and I all attending) for a High School Retreat organized by that camp. Our Youth Director did not have anything to plan or worry about, just getting the small group of us there and back in one piece. This Fall, with a new semester of students and attendance of the biannual retreats now mandatory all but one of the Student Leaders attended a completely different “Retreat” to Southwind camp in Ocala.

Amber went to Southwind for her summer camp, Great Escape, the week following my summer camp, leaving the same day I came back, and apparently our Youth Director struck a deal with someone there about getting us to be the Work Crew for someone else’s retreat at that camp. It turned out that the church who is usually the Work Crew for Great Escape was having a family retreat with around a hundred people that we got to serve.

The whole point of the retreat was for us to learn about serving attitudes and get better at our leadership, communication, and teamwork skills, which we did, although not how we originally thought. Our Youth Director apparently did not expect Work Crew to be quite so much work, but we spent most of our time doing that. We got to serve the food, acting like waiters, asking people if they needed anything, getting them more food, clearing their dishes. We got to clear all the tables entirely, washing them, putting the chairs on them so we could vacuum the entire floor, then resetting everything with new place settings for the next meal. We got to wash and put the dishes away, which was a special job called The Pits. We almost had to cook too, but then four of the kids would have to be working at times when everyone else was off work. Shaun managed to talk our way out of that so we had time for having time all together for talking about the upcoming year and doing an “exercise”. We did a traditional Leadership Retreat exercise that I had not been around for before, which involved a spider-web like net that we had to get the entire group through without touching the net or using the same hole more than once. It took us a while to do it, but we made it eventually on our last attempt before we were going to give up so we had time for something else before dinner. We were very pleased with ourselves, because apparently, the game had not been won by a youth leadership team for several years.

We got some break time also, where we went swimming, played ping-pong, air hockey, and foosball in the game room, and went on the ropes course. The ropes course was two different “rides”, one which was a giant swing where three people were strapped in and rode to the top of the swing’s height with a winch and then released themselves to go swinging back and forth until coming to a stop when the ride operators caught a specific part of the swing and hooked it into an anchor. The other was a jump off of a twenty-five(?) foot tree harnessed onto a belaying rope that was held at the bottom to let you down slowly. Both rides were very fun and I got to ride on each of them before we headed back to get ready for dinner.

The entire trip was entertaining and educational and in my opinion we learned just as many teamwork, communication, and leadership skills being the Work Crew as we did in our exercise. I know we all came back having learned how to work better together and it was a good experience to serve on that trip.

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Imaginary Friends Latest Anthology

by on Aug.31, 2008, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family

imaginary friends.jpg (7863 bytes)

Here’s the cover for the latest anthology in which I have a story.  My story is called “Suburban Legend” and it probably is different from most of the other stories in the anthology.  The book comes out September 2.  Another story follows in December.


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Fay Update #3

by on Aug.23, 2008, under Jim Bingle Family, Richard Bingle Family

Fay has finally left Central Florida.

We had no problems with wind or flooding here at our place in Orlando, although it rained most of Friday. We’ll be heading out to the folks’ house on Sunday to check out the impact there. The folks are reporting that their screen enclosure needs a bit of repairing, but until we get out there and see it, I don’t know how bad it really is…

— Rich

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