Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dear Toll Booth Collector

Dear Chicopee Toll Booth Collector,
I usually keep quite a bit of change in my car in order to pay the $1.50 in tolls that I incur each way daily traveling the Massachusetts Turnpike. Today I unexpectedly needed to take my wife's car to work. While approaching the tollbooth exit on my way home, I realized that I had no bills in my wallet and there was only $1.35 in change in her ashtray. $.15 short.

Now, I've been driving the Pike every week day for the past 13 months. Off the top of my head, that amounts to around $840. I'd say I've seen you at least twice a week over that time period. So again, off the top of my head, I'd say that you personally have collected no less than $168.25 from me. The extra $.25 includes the quarter that you shorted me in change two months ago.

So what happens when I drive up to the tollbooth and tell you that I'm short $.15? (By the way, that's 10% short of the required toll... .00054% of the total amount that I've spent driving to work over the past 13 months.)

You cop an attitude and tell me, "You know... this isn't MY money."


Thank you... I wasn't aware.

Believe me, it wasn't my intention to short the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and by extension, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, its $.15.

I don't require much of the people to whom I give money for the pleasure of driving a poorly maintained stretch of highway. But I have noticed that not once... once... have you ever managed anything approaching a smile or even civility when taking my money, unlike the majority of the people with whom you work. You should really work on that. I made a simple mistake that, at the end of the day, didn't cause anyone to die in a fiery wreck or lose their sight or even require a band-aid. I hope you can forgive me and we can go back to our previous relationship of blank stares and outstretched hands.

I once watched a comedy sketch on The Upright Citizens Brigade about a businessman that was able to maintain a sense of confidence and superiority with anyone he'd deal with through the concept of what he termed, "Ass Pennies". See, what he did was stick $30 in pennies a day into his rectum for 11 years, and then spend the pennies. His theory was that the person who intimidated him most likely has his ass pennies in their pocket.

Google it... I'm sure it's on YouTube. It's hilarious. Unless you handle change all day. Then... probably not so much. Not that I would ever do that. It seems a little extreme. But this is Massachusetts and there are some weirdos that live here. Just something to think about.

So, even though I figure you're still $.10 ahead of me from that quarter, here's your $.15. I apologize again for the oversight. It won't happen again.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Road Shoes

Every time I see a shoe on the side of the road, I wonder if it has a foot in it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I'm just saying... It could work.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Those sailors back in the day must have been really horny to think this was a mermaid...

Or they liked fat chicks.

A Bike for Christmas

When I was 10 or so I wanted a new BMX bike for Christmas, but when I opened my presents in the morning, all I found was two new inner tubes.

American Idol Article on SBR Forum

My friends Robyn and Bread have been writing an American Idol wrap-up and wagering info for the last couple of weeks on SBR Forum. Bread went to the Tampa Bay Rays game last night, so I filled in for him.

Last night's show was a little weak... I was a fairly disappointed with everyone considering where they are in the competition. But the really disappointing thing was that nobody screwed up horribly enough to give any real grist to the mill.

Overall, it was fun, but it's not easy trying to be funny on a deadline. At least when it's not completely creative. I think we would have been better if we were in the same room and could have played off each other. I gotta give Robyn respect for the David Archuletta photoshop. I guarantee that kid has a human tail.

So here it is... SBR Forum's Elite Eight Night American Idol article.

Please stop by and leave a comment.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Curiously Weak Radio

This week I was listening to the Make podcast and got an idea for a new project... the Altoids foxhole radio.

For those of you (most, I suspect) who don’t know what a foxhole radio is, it’s a homemade radio made famous by American GIs in World War II. In 1941 at Anzio, troops were forbidden to have radios, as the Germans had equipment that could detect the oscillator signal of commercial receivers. Someone cobbled together a radio out of scavenged wire, a pencil, a razor blade and a shitload of ingenuity. The idea spread up and down the beachhead and soon many were listening to whatever passed for Opie and Anthony back in the day. This is what they looked like:

Foxhole radio

And in action:

I thought a foxhole radio would be an easy, fun project that I could tart up a bit. Looking beside me in my car, I saw an Altoids tin and figured that an Altoids hack coupled with an old skool foxhole radio and sprinkled with a dash of steampunk would be right up my alley.

The plan:

1. Wrap the tin in black or red leather embossed or tooled.
2. Varnished cherry wood dowel to wrap the coil around.
3. Obligatory brass.
4. Marbled paper inset into the lid.

My goal is a turn of the century iPod. Best of all... no batteries.

I’m getting supplies today and will post my progress or lack thereof.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


It's almost warm enough to get out and start shooting again. This year I vow to take a lot more photos, both in the studio and the field.

And actually post them to bugguide.

That is all.