Stevens Brosnihan’s Drone Flight

Remember staff photographer Stevens Brosnihan? He was on probation for awhile after the last few “miscommunications,” but we decided to give him one more shot when he said he had a drone. I mean the Clam already has one designated drone pilot, but it couldn’t hurt to have one more. This is what Stevens gave us. 

The Flight of the Analog Drone

In the blogosphere of late, there has been far too much hype about semi-autonomous flying camera platforms. These whirring, digital monstrosities leave nothing to the imagination. At best, they capture every moment: their harsh, crisp, unnerving eyes drinking in vast detail, oozing streams of image and telemetry data that is easily intercepted via man-in-the middle attacks and posted to nefarious servers for later manipulation of our collective histories. At worst, they slake our souls by diverting human vision and understanding through an interface that promises the singularity but leaves us all gasping at the shore of reality with nothing but a false memory tainted by corporate greed.

Robot overlords, you have betrayed us!

Robot overlords, you have betrayed us!

I’ve decided to respond to this trend with my own drone. One that is warm, friendly and approachable. No spinning blades or all-seeing eyes. A drone that your grandmother could understand. A drone you can build with parts laying around the house and a minimum of cash. A drone that is soft of focus and temperament.

drone2

That’s hot glue and tape holding the imaging parts together

I started with a 1977 vintage ripstop delta kite that I got when I was in middle school. It was state-of-the art for it’s day with carbon fiber spars and a seven foot wingspan. The design was inspired by hang gliders popular at the time and it was sewn in a full rainbow of fabrics–back when rainbows were just rainbows. I fly it now with proud ambiguity.

12-15 knots getting us off the ground

12-15 knots getting us off the ground

Add to this powerful airframe the following components:

  • A light-weight Chinon point-and-shoot Multi-focus film camera picked up at Second Glance for $5 with it’ auto winder and decent glass optics
  • Some shitty film from Walgreens
  • A $4 servo to depress the shutter release. The camera advances the film!
  • A vintage radio control transmitter and receiver (garage sale or basement find)

Voila! The Analog Drone is born!

Fuji Superia 400 asa color print film cross-processed with ancient Rodinal 50+1 20C 10 mins

Fuji Superia 400 asa color print film cross-processed with ancient Rodinal 50+1 20C 10 mins

If you have a big old kite kicking around, a stiff wind and a few bucks to spare, you can gain entry into the elite drone club. If you lack the kite, fear not. Kites are really simple. They are made of sticks and fabric and string. They make bicycles look like carefully engineered, super efficient mechanical devices made of machined parts, cables and gears. They make semi-autonomous flying robots look like our dark future.

drone5

My daughter piloting the drone while I control the camera. Next time, we let out all the string!

Posted in Stevens Brosnihan | 4 Comments

No Snark Sunday: The Things I’ll Miss About Owning a Business

Most of you know that for the past four years, I’ve run a local business here in Gloucester with my other half, Big Mike. We started running a bike shop with nothing more than a tax return, getting bigger and bigger every year – literally, we ran out of space twice in two years. This was our best season yet.

However, a few months ago we decided that this would be our last season in business. We’re closing our doors on October 9.

We’re doing it for a few reasons. Obviously, not making enough money to be worth the hours we put in being the top reason, although we didn’t do terribly. We also saw trends in where the bike shop industry was headed, and decided now was the time to get out. We were shortchanging our kids – we really didn’t spend the time with them that we could, because we were so busy working. We have other opportunities already, we’re actually looking forward to our last day so we can relax and take a nice long weekend with our vintage camper and our kids.

I can’t say enough good things about how Gloucester received us. So many people went to bat for us immediately, tried us out, talked us up to their friends, and loved us. It’s been an amazing journey to become part of a community. When we started I knew a handful of people in town. Now, I can’t walk into a bar or restaurant without stopping to chat with someone. I’ve got an amazing group of friends that would never have been on my radar without the shop. Heck, Jason Grow was one of our first customers before we even had a shop. Marty and Michele DelVecchio as well. And if we didn’t have the shop, and Jim Dowd’s bike didn’t get stolen, there would have been no way the Clam would even exist.

I will miss a lot of things about owning a business here.

I will miss selling a kids’ bike, getting it back in on a trade in, and then selling that kid a bigger bike, with the kid saying “man, I loved that bike!”.

I will miss meeting new people. I know, I think I just said that. But there’s been so, so many people I call friends now, who I met when they walked in the door and needed something.

I will miss the gratitude we got when helping folks learn about bikes. We taught a lot of people the basics they needed. We filled a lot of tires for free. A lot.

I will miss field trips from Pathways, where I could show kids how to change a tire, read them a book about bicycling, explain to them all the parts of a bike, and have them color in helmets. Did you know girls can change tires? They do.

I will miss tourists who come in, decide to rent a bike to see our wonderful city, and return with nothing but accolades for everything we have to offer here. Sometimes you forget the beauty of what you’ve got until a German tourist family reminds you.

As refreshing as it will be to move onto the next chapter in our lives – the frustrating moments of business ownership will definitely be a future Clam article – this will be bittersweet as well. It was so wonderful to be woven into the fabric of a community like Gloucester, and I intend to keep that up even without the bike shop.

All I can say is thanks.

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The Gloucester Clam Presents: Tournament of Shitty Intersections

Remember our Tournament of Shitty Parking Lots? Well, we’re back again with the next installment of “vote until stuff happens”: The Tournament of Shitty Intersections! Gloucester has some of the most insane, death-defying, and infuriating intersections known to man. We shall, in the coming days, celebrate our miserable infrastructure by voting, tournament-style, on the shittiest of intersections. Join us!

 

intersections

Centennial & Washington vs Barn Ln & Eastern Ave

Centennial and Washington is first for a reason. It’s one of Gloucester’s premier shitty intersections, and it’s the first ones that tourists get a whiff of when they journey to see “the place from the Perfect Storm”. A few years ago there was talk about putting a stoplight in, but then who knows what went on but it never happened. It remains a gauntlet of suck – turning left out of there can take you twenty minutes on a weekend day or at prime commuting time, and if you’re driving down Washington, there are always two or three cars that will attempt to dash out in front of you, causing you to check how well your ABS and child restraint systems work. Even worse is when there’s people trying to pull out of that side street by Tony’s Variety. Every time I have to turn left from there, I say a prayer that Poseidon will just send a flood wave over the entire city because that’s more fun.

Barn Ln & Eastern Ave sucks almost equally as hard as Centennial/Washington, so this might be a tight race. Let’s add a bunch of beach travelers using a GPS to one of the toughest lefts, shall we? No one on Eastern will stop for you. Seriously, yesterday I had to go to Radio Shack (it still exists) and turning took 4 minutes and 32 seconds. At one point, a lady stopped for us, but the other lane of traffic refused and some angry minivan driving woman with her entire back liftgate smashed in beeped at her until she kept going. I always let people go if I have time, but it’s equally annoying when four or five cars take advantage of my good graces. The absolute worst is somehow being stuck at that intersection behind someone who has the space to turn left but stops to make sure left is really where they want to go. No. NO NO NO. JUST GO.

Tally’s Corner vs Essex/Western/Kent Circle

Tally’s Corner. Oh, god, this might be a long one. Is it a rotary kind of thing? No. Does it make any sense? Hell to the no. Let’s start with the fact that when you’re coming down Washington, the most logical way to get downtown, you’re suddenly forced to take Angle Street to get where you need to go.  And at the end, no one’s gonna stop for you. They will look you dead in the eye as they roll past you. It’s not any easier approaching Tally’s Corner from any other intersection, either. You think you’re gonna get out of the Fort? Not today, bubs. Add in people who have no idea who has the right-of-way, and then a random island cut-through that no one really knows the correct purpose of, and you have the shitshow that is Tally’s Corner. And we’re not even getting into Fiesta week and that area.

Essex Ave and Western Ave and the straight line that is Kent Circle (WHAT EVEN IS THAT) is another clusterfuck worthy of our Worst Intersection. Especially with the bridge. Oh, god, the bridge. No one understands that Kent Circle is two-way because IT BEING TWO WAY HAS NO USEFUL PURPOSE except to make life .25 seconds easier for the people living on Kent Circle. And that’s the way we make our decisions in Gloucester. “Two-way traffic here is unnatural and could lead to a terrible accident!” “True, but if Jim over here has to make 2 quick lefts instead of a right to get home, I will be voted out of office, as is customary in this town.” Anyway, you add in the people trying to turn left amidst traffic hurtling by at Mach Bridgespeed, and it’s just a giant disaster that should go far more smoothly than it actually does. Oh, and biking there is terrifying, because no one, ever, is looking for you.

 

Stay tuned for our next four contestants!

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

KT’s Pop Song Review: “Rude” by Magic!

Hey Clamsketeers, I’m here with a new column. Every couple weeks, or when the mood strikes me (we’re not the scheduling type here at the Gloucester Clam), I’ll do a review of whatever pop song I hate the most at that time. Now, I don’t hate all pop music by a long shot, but some of it just sucks major taint.

“Rude” by MAGIC!

 

Right out the gate, I hate this song. I have hated it since I first heard it probably driving my kids somewhere fun while they complained heartily. First of all, MAGIC! bills themselves as “Canadian Reggae Fusion,” which is literally the worst phrase I have ever heard, right behind “Vaginal Trans Mesh.” I am not a big reggae fan, first of all. Sorry (I am not sorry). But a Canadian white bro group offering up a “fusion” of reggae? Oh my god, I need a moment to compose myself here so I don’t start screaming “WHY DO WE LOVE WEIRD CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!” at the kitchen walls. UGH. UGHHH.

I loathe this type of music. It’s the kind of song that 45 year old office managers with crunchy curly hair and pullover sweaters like. It’s the equivalant of soft white bread, in musical form. Listening to it is like stepping in wet cat food. This is literally the least edgy band to ever exist. This is worse than Jason fucking Mraz.

So this video. Of course it starts off with a pretty blonde white girl. OF COURSE IT DOES LOOK HOW SKINNY SHE IS. No one looks this hot ever. Meanwhile the odd-looking fellow fronting the band (I shall imagine his surname is Noseario because look at that thing) drives a 87 Tercel off to ask his pretty blonde white girlfriend’s dad if he can marry her. He is looking like President Business, so this isn’t gonna end well. Oh, he says no, what a surprise.

I DON'T LIKE YOUR FACE OR YOUR STUPID MUSIC

I DON’T LIKE YOUR FACE OR YOUR STUPID MUSIC

And then he’s all “I’m gonna marry her anyway!” THEN WHY DID YOU ASK? WHAT THE FUCK GAME ARE YOU PLAYING HERE SIR? I haaaate the phony asking your hand in marriage bullshit in the first place like any half-assed feminist should. More middle aged white people pandering shit, right there.

Why does this weirdfaced dude keep kicking at the camera? Is this 1996, am I watching a No Doubt video? Stop it. You stop it right now. Stay still. Are you on meth?

OH YOUR SHOES ARE WORN, HOW AUTHENTIC.

OH YOUR SHOES ARE WORN, HOW AUTHENTIC.

There are so many parts of this song that are the worst, but the petulant, whiny tone of “WHY YOU GOTTA BEEE SOO RUUUUDE” is like nails on a chalkboard. Literally worse than when my children make that whine/scream when I turn off Futurama.

And then there’s some wedding scene where the hot blonde chick looks stunning, and this stoner is wearing a red knit touque like an asshole.

The rest of this band looks like dicks, too. What are they wearing? Oh my god I would rather meet a rotting sack of potatoes than this band.

THANKS A LOT, CANADA

THANKS A LOT, CANADA

I don’t ask for much in this world, but if this band could be a one-hit wonder, I would be content with my lot in life. Say yes say yes cuz I need to know.

(I hope you have appreciated this review. If you like how much I hate this song, be sure to let me know, and I will do more. I also hate other songs.)

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SPORTHORSE RECAP FISHBOX DERBY

HELLO THERE. SPORTHORSE RETURNING TO DUTY. WHEN NOT DOING SPORTS COLUMNS FOR THIS BLOG, SPORTHORSE PAINT HOUSES TO PAY RENT. I KNOW, HOW DOES A HORSE PAINT WITH NO OPPOSABLE THUMBS, YOU THINK? LISTEN I CAN DO MANY THINGS, JUST BE QUIET AND READ THE DAMN BLOG. I CANNOT HIT THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON THOUGH I HAVE TRIED I AM SORY ABOUT THAT.

MY BAD

MY BAD

SPORT HORSE WENT TO FISHBOX DERBY WITH FOALS OVER WEEKEND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A PLAY BY PLAY OF EVENT. SPORT HORSE NOT SURE WHAT TO EXPECT. IN GORTON PARKING LOT, MANY FISHBOX CARS WERE BEING PREPARED FOR RACING – EXTRA WHEELS, AXLES – THESE FOLKS ARE PREPARED FOR SERIOUSNESS.

AND I AM LIKE, RACING IN CARS? I THOUGHT THIS WAS A DERBY WITH HORSES.

THIS IS NOT A DERBY WITH HORSES.

THERE WAS NOT EVEN A HORSE CAR.

I HAVE BEEN DUPED. BUT SINCE SPORT HORSE IS GOOD SPORT (IT IN MY NAME), I STAY AND WATCH. AND HAD FUN! KIDS AGE 8-15 RACE SMALL CARS DOWN HILL IN 2 LANES AND TRY NOT TO SMASH INTO HAY BALE AT ENDS. THERE IS OFFICIAL TIME CLOCK AND EVERYTHING. IT KIND OF AWESOME!

SOME KIDS SMASH INTO HAY BALES AT END. ONE KID PUSHED HAY BALE LIKE 30 FEET. I THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO MANCHESTER BUT WHO REALLY WANTS TO GO TO MANCHESTER.

HERE GOES MY SMALL FRIEND CALVIN DELVECCHIO WHO IS NOT A HORSE

HERE GOES MY SMALL FRIEND CALVIN DELVECCHIO WHO IS NOT A HORSE

RACERS GET TO GO TWICE, ONCE IN EACH LANE. THEY AVERAGE THE TIMES AND WHOEVER IS FASTEST WINS. MY FAVORITE CAR WAS ALLIGATOR CAR. ALLIGATOR CAR NOT FASTEST, BUT MOST AWESOME, AND THAT IS WHAT MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE. NOT WINNING, BUT BEING AWESOME.

SPORTHORSE LOVED ANNOUNCING. REMIND ME OF RACES OF MY YOUTH. ANNOUNCERS SPENT ABOUT 80% OF THE TIME THEY WERE TALKING TO TELL PEOPLE TO GET HOOFS UP OFF CURB. YES YOU. GET FEET AND PAWS AND HOOFS OFF CURB. YOU IN THE RED SHIRT. THIS MEANS YOU. READY UP ABOVE? READY DOWN BELOW?

I GUESS THEY NOT HAVE WALKY TALKYS FOR THIS.

SPORTHORSE LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN OWN PROGENY CAN RUN RACES. I MEAN I AM HORSE, SO I MEAN HORSE RACES, BUT FISHBOX DERBY NOT A BAD BACKUP.

WELL UNTIL HOCKEY STARTS, OR I HAVE TIME TO WATCH A FOOTBALL GAME, THIS IS SPORTHORSE SIGNING OFF.

Posted in SPORTHORSE | 1 Comment

Pumpkin Spice: What Gloucester Needs

This is another amazing post from our social media expert and altogether hilarious contributor Brooke Welty. 

With the arrival of autumn, tourists are starting to trickle off of the cape and return to their warrens and vast underground lairs to slumber for another year. This can present a problem for some local business owners who rely on tourist dollars to pay the bills.

Aand they're gone.

Aand they’re gone.

With this in mind, some enterprising locals have come up with a plan to lure some of the hardier tourists to the area during the chillier months; Pumpkin Spice.

Pumpkin spice is known to attract several types of people, and the local business council decided, during a recent secret meeting, to take advantage of the seasonal favorite by experimenting liberally with its application to popular tourist food items.

International Sign of Autumn

International Sign of Autumn

Local fishermen have had mixed success with the introduction of things like “Pumpkin Spice Dog Fish” and “Pumpkin Spice Flounder.”

“Well,” Said a captain of a local trawler, “Some women in yoga pants tried it and really seemed to love it. They weren’t sure at first what to do, but we packaged it as sushi and they just went to town. Some of the older folks though, they just didn’t get it. Said something about pumpkin spice belonging in coffee. Traditionalists, yah know.”

You can really taste the pumpkin. Also, the swordfish.

You can really taste the pumpkin. Also, the swordfish.

When asked what brought them to town now, at the end of the season, one of the women replied “We just love Pumpkin Spice so much. It makes me think of sweaters and leaves!” She paused, taking another bite of her Pumpkin Spice Swordfish, “Pumpkin Spice fish just really says ‘fireplace weather’ to me, and when I heard Gloucester was offering it…well! I had to come.”

Pumpkin Spice is helping about another local business, The Crow’s Nest. The late-night bartender said “Well we got a little thing of the McCormick does a pre-mixed Pumpkin spice blend, so we just started shaking that into the bottom of the glass before we pour the beer. It’s not even just the tourists that drink it up. These guys love it.” She nodded over to a long time customer, a man in his fifties with a graying beard who nodded, lifting his Pumpkin Spice Bud Light in return.

pumpkinspice

 

The allure of Pumpkin Spice is sure to breathe new life into winter tourism here in Gloucester.

(Bud Light picture is courtesy of Elite Daily, who are funnier than we are.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Humans of Gloucester

Brooke Welty needs to get her own dang login, so she can post this awesomeness and get the mad cred she deserves for writing this brilliance.

For the first in a series of hopefully many. I’ll be stopping random humans through the city, so please know that if I stop you, it’s legit and you’re not going to end up on some weird fetish site. Not by my hand, anyway.

For the rest of my interviews, I’ll be stopping to chat with actual humans (mostly) but I thought I would start out with one of those who we share our fair city with.

YO

YO

ME: “Were you born in Gloucester, or did you migrate?”

TIM: “Oh, I was born here. I’m a true islander. My family has been here for oh…thousands of years I would guess. One of my great grandmothers actually nested in the Babson house’s chimney.”

ME: “What do you think about the decline in Gloucester’s fishing industry? Is it affecting your family?”

TIM: “Oh, yeah it is. I mean, I get it. Less fish means fewer fishermen, means less fish parts for us to steal. I just wish the government had taken measures to prevent this from happening decades ago. They should have seen it coming, but your kind tends to put on blinders to future problems, am I right? We’re managing, though. We get by. This new hotel down the fort will help, bringing in more tourists. More trash, you know.”

ME: “What’s your favorite thing about Gloucester?

TIM: “Oh, the seafood, definitely. If you go the right time of day, you can get whole fish heads right off the dock over at Capt. Joes. We haven’t got much cod fishing any more, but lobstering is still going, so I get plenty from those guys. Nothing like snatching a half eaten lobster or some fries from people,too.”

ME: “What is one thing you think Gloucester could really do to improve things?”

TIM: “An Indian restaurant would be nice.”

Posted in brooke welty | 2 Comments