Here’s a deal for you.

If you donate to the Snotbot Kickstarter anytime this week (through Sunday) for any amount, I will videotape myself screaming your name at the angry,  unfeeling ocean.

Donate $100 or more, and I’ll yell anything you want at the ocean and record it.

Donate $250 and I’ll push Jim into the ocean fully clothed.

I haven’t even told him I’ll do that, I’m just GONNA.




Your The Clam Goes National

“There is a non-zero chance that Patrick Stewart could be involved in our Kickstarter,” I remember saying to Jim, quietly, while seated at Midori, while shoving a spicy tuna lunch combo into my facehole.

Turns out, the non-zero chance was all the chance we needed. Originally, we assumed the shoot would be in Brooklyn, where Sir Patrick and his lovely wife Sunny have a Park Slope residence. We’d take Jim’s minivan and my aging and now deceased Nissan Xterra with the roof box for all our gear. But four days before it was supposed to take place, we learned it was going to be in LA. Oh. Crap. But we pulled it together – borrowing lighting and gear from Marty DelVecchio (one of the best dudes you will ever meet), bringing our local gem of a filmmaker Stephanie Cornell with us, as well as my boss Iain and Jim’s business partner Eric, who is every bit as snarky as Jim but with a newer Subaru. We’ll get into the insane story at a later time, but we basically went in as a ragtag group of misfits and pulled off a pretty great looking film with no previous access to the location or talent. At one point, Jim was lying on the floor of the hotel room I shared with Stephanie, completely unable to process how we would pull this off – but we did. Nailed it!


Jim’s actually shitting his pants in this screengrab.

So here we are. After months of work, we finally launched last week at a pretty Clam-oriented party down at Maritime Gloucester. Last year, when the Market Basket story catapulted us into mid-level local notoriety, I thought we had made it big. I mean, hell, Esquire? Fuck yeah. But now we’re getting somewhere even crazier. And again, the story isn’t us – it’s about something bigger than us, better than us. But we wrote the script, we wrote the copy, we “acted”, we edited, re-edited, almost kicked each other square in our respective genitals – and we’re proud of how it’s going. We just got picked up by NBC News. We’re in the Globe. Popsci. Your beloved The Clam is making you proud – hopefully.

But, we need help still. We’re a long way away from our goal, and if you’re unfamiliar with how Kickstarter works, we only keep the money if we meet our goal of $225,000. It’s a terrifying position for us to be in, but we need to have faith that our project is worthwhile. We’re making a difference not only in marine research, but with a positive use of robotics amid a world where drones are still synonymous with military use or with those dipshits who fly them into crowds during holiday weekends.

Or this.

Or this.

And we’re here making a change for Gloucester. All the people who want the waterfront to stay marine-focused, clap yo’ hands! Hey, look what’s going on in the Paint Factory, right under your noses! This should be exactly what we want to stay in town – it provides jobs *coughminecough* and makes Gloucester look pretty damn innovative and awesome. But, in order for that to happen, everyone needs to step up and support it. The Paint Factory nearly became condos. Instead, Ocean Alliance took a huge risk and bought it. They’re bringing robotics and remote controlled flight projects to our kids – the weekly robotics club offers a chance to make your own foam RC Plane, or fly a drone without breaking the bank – providing any kid, regardless of ability to pay, with a way to interact in a fun STEM-based environment. They do cool stuff, man.

I won’t ask you too many more times (lies), but if you’ve been a fan of The Clam, please help us reach our goal. We need to go into the future with the best technology we can muster in order to save the oceans and save the damn planet. If you won’t help us reach our goal so we can go out and research – for Gloucester, for science, for whales, for humans – who will?




No Snark Sunday: An Appeal for the Weird

We’re at a weird point in history.

Today all the exciting stuff, the ideas leading to real change, is happening at the margins. In garages, workshops, kitchens, in people’s laptops and heads. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the “creative economy” on Cape Ann, and have to say that we wholeheartedly agree when it comes to the need to focus on creativity.

PS Snot Collection

Creative Economy: What can we get for this on Ebay?

But we disagree on the scope. It seems like the focus is on what we usually think of as “artists.” Painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, poets and writers. Yes, those people are obviously creatives, but the most creative thing that’s happened in Gloucester in a long time- Chief Campanenello’s new opiate policy.  A long-term problem, a seemingly intractable one. A new approach, one with some risks and very real objections (“are we just letting people go for breaking the law?”).

Creativity is about solving old problems new ways. New visions, breaking down old barriers. We’re at a time when people have unprecedented power to get incredible things done both as individuals and groups, probably more than in the entire history of human civilization. We have communication and collaboration networks, open-source tools and limitless access to information.

We have whatever internet genius did this. Bravo sir. Bravo.

We have whatever internet genius did this. Bravo sir. Bravo.

But we actually have to get over ourselves and do shit. It’s hard. And we have to support new approaches. But this is what Gloucester desperately needs right now. Everything is changing. Whatever the fishing industry becomes it will never be like what it was in the 70’s and 80s. Again. Ever. It will need to change. Our education system needs to change (And we see so much evidence of that in our schools, in the STEM labs and with the truly creative teachers in all disciplines).

But there is so much incredible happening out at the margins. In a building in the  industrial park on Kodelin road they are making pipe organs, huge beautiful pipe organs, for churches and cathedrals all over the world. The process is jaw dropping, forging their own pipes out of molten lead. That, folks, is the creative economy. Applied Materials up in the Blackburn and pushing the limits of technology. Creative economy?

Here is the thing: If you are creating new ideas, new approaches and actively implementing them, you are creative economy. We have to push the boundaries of what “creative” represents. And even what “economy” represents. New ways of funding, paying, trading and buying are coming along all the time.

So, here I’ll I’ll include Snotbot. It’s a huge risk. It’s something a lot of good people have worked their asses of on, and it’s something that can literally make a positive impact. Of all the things we do in a day to try and help the environment: turning off lights when we leave the room, riding our bikes or taking public transportation, recycling and composting, of all those things we try and do- this has the potential to have a direct impact on a threatened species: whales.

When we study them, currently, we harass them In so doing we also are very likely getting bad data. To get better data we have to sample them from a distance. It’s the difference between watching birds with binoculars or chasing them around your yard screaming, “BIRDY BIRDY BIRDY BIRDY!!!!” And that data ties in to toxicology, to the health of our oceans. It’s stuff we need to know for not only the survival of whales, but for the survival of PEOPLE.

So we, your beloved Clam, are asking you to support this thing. Because you’re weirdos and you like the weird and this thing is weird in all the right ways. Because whales. Because we’re fairly certain at least 47% of you are actual drone fetishists and probably also contribute at drone/sex/slash/fic over on reddit. Drop a couple of bucks, be sure to send it, remind your friends and family and hassle some people for us. Say you knew us before we flew to LA and drove to Patrick Stewart’s house and shot him with a crossbow.

Or do it because Patrick Stewart asked you to. I mean, it’s Patrick fucking Stewart.

We Haven’t Disappeared!

Actually, Friday we will have the culmination of months of work, and our trip to LA, to show you. We have written, re-written, and yelled at each other and then apologized for yelling at each other. We have debated pictures of Putin with a crossbow and how many times we can say “snot” and “drone” in one paragraph. What we have is awesome, and we’re helping to put Gloucester further on the map for STEM innovations on a national, and hopefully international, level.

We hope we’ll make you proud.

Here’s a preview – but it gets much, much cooler.