It’s Present Season, Yo!

Over the weekend a yearly cool hipsterish Gloucester occurance took place: the season opening of Present.

If you get your news from dumpster graffiti or the back of a Keno card and haven’t heard, Present is a pop-up holiday season retail shop featuring a ton of local artists and great stuff to buy. It embodies the whole “shop local” movement but with the added bonus of buying handcrafted items from your friends and neighbors. Last year I pretty much gave everyone in my family stuff from Present. This year it’s at 269 Main, between Alexandra’s Bread and Leonardo’s.

fish with tiny santa hats. WITH TINY SANTA HATS!

This place has fish with tiny santa hats. WITH TINY SANTA HATS!


As a matter of fact, as far as friends and neighbors go, several of our own Clamtributors are involved with Present on a yearly basis. The hipster creative artist community and people who read and contribute to this blog had somewhat of an overlap, who knew? Both Staff Photographer Stevens Brosnihan and Poet Laureate Amanda Cook have stuff they’ve made here for sale. I’m sure someone in the comment section will accuse us of being shills or whatever, but bite my ass, this place rules.



Stevens Brosnihan’s RTFM patch. Jeez, google it, if you’re not a nerd.

Sunday was their opening reception, which Marty DelV took a time-lapse video of. You can watch me eat artichoke dip and rice krispie treats in time-lapse! If you’re into that kinda thing. It was an awesome time, and it was great to see the place packed like it was.



One of the most awesomely hipster things I found in there that I hope someone buys for me (not like this is a hint for my mom or anything) were these awesome fabric record-shaped placemats.


The handmade Christmas decorations kick ass. Want a tiny fox? Yeah you fucking do, because it’s cute as hell. You put that shit on your tree, and all the hipsters will come out of your bushes and be like “whoa, that’s twee.”

oh my god it's so freakin' adorable

oh my god it’s so freakin’ adorable

Present is not only awesome because it contains many cool gifts, but also because it represents the Clam’s vision of what Gloucester is growing towards: a hip, artsy community of makers. We don’t need to import cheap plastic gifts – we can make our own right here in town from old sweaters and they are way more awesome! It’s ingenuity at its finest. And when we have homegrown stuff like Present and the Farmer’s Market and the other craft fairs that happen here, it grows our hipfrastructure, as well.

Heck, we’re so good at making stuff right here in town, maybe next year we can get locally 3D printed stuff at Present (Stevens I’m looking at you – make it happen).

Anyway, TLDR: Present is what makes Gloucester hip, and you can pick up locally-crafted stuff there for reasonable prices.


like a disco jellyfish.

Make-a-thon 2014 is a Soviet Plot!

We told staff photographer Stevens Brosnihan to take some great pictures of 3d printers. This is what he came up with.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told to cover what was billed as a community effort to assemble “3D printers” for a one-to-one maker-inspired curriculum at O’Maley Innovation Middle School. Naïvely, I enlisted my trusty 1951 David White Stereo Realist camera (in the spirit of 3D) with it’s handy bulb flash and some contemporary Arista EDU film (in the spirit of education) to shoot what I assumed would be a typical after-school parent-teacher collaboration. What I discovered instead was a sinister and obviously Soviet-backed plot to enslave unsuspecting sleeper agents, forcing them to manufacture, test and deploy an army of self replicating, semi-autonomous, nuclear powered robots! After much paranoid deliberation along with liberal applications of poultices of crushed Xanax™ tablets and raw honey to my face, neck and genitals, I’ve decided to come forth with the terrifying truth, even if it means risking my own safety.


Mikhail Golubkin posing as ‘’Jim Dowd” – soldering the contacts on the guidance system of the latest Russian nuclear powered combat exoskeleton

Sweden thinks it has it bad with its russian U-boat infested waters! Friends and comrades are working in our midst, assembling the tools of the neo-Soviet uprising. Their overseer, a KGB agent code named “Colin” was blaring on multiple screens, straight out of a scene from 1984. He gave step-by-step instructions to the room full of sleeper agents and kept referring to his ‘dog’ while still remaining mysteriously anonymous. His hands often worked off-camera on complex tasks he would describe in his perfectly practiced American accent only to return on camera with a completed assembly, brandished as if to taunt the enslaved workers. Gasps of frustration would ripple through the room every time this happened and yet the workers would plod on.

Don’t let that smile fool you, Pyotr, aka “Tad” is under his monthly quota for gyroscope assemblies and will likely be sent to mine yttrium in outer Mongolia.

Don’t let that smile fool you, Pyotr, aka “Tad” is under his monthly quota for gyroscope assemblies and will likely be sent to mine yttrium in outer Mongolia.

Food and drink were supplied in uncharacteristic abundance, including cappuccinos, undoubtedly laced with truth serum and the antidote to a slow acting poison used to ensnare and retain the laborers.

I snuck away from the primary laboratory–craftily disguised as a Middle School library–into an underground bunker that housed a massive inventory of completed and partially assembled high tech mechanisms, each with it’s own computer brain, sensors, and actuators. I could smell the radiation.

What appears to be a storehouse of mostly-assembled self-replicating, nuclear powered, semi-autonomous robots.

What appears to be a storehouse of mostly-assembled self-replicating, nuclear powered, semi-autonomous robots.

This series of anaglyphs is rock-solid evidence of a complex and terrifying plot being orchestrated in our midst by Vladimir himself who intends to undermine and eventually enslave our entire population. Use standard issue red/cyan goggles to get the full 3D effect. остерегайтесь козёл!

Image courtesy of Snowden/NSA/KGB/Pixar®

Image courtesy of Snowden/NSA/KGB/Pixar®

 A close-up of what I speculate to be the fuel rod insertion mechanism.

A close-up of what I speculate to be the fuel rod insertion mechanism.

These devices are a testimony to the success of the underground neo-Soviet menace that is plotting to re-emerge as the earth’s dominant superpower.

These devices are a testimony to the success of the underground neo-Soviet menace that is plotting to re-emerge as the earth’s dominant superpower.

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.


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.


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

Clamstastic World Tour – Stevens Brosnihan’s Special Staff Photography Report

It’s been an amazing few weeks. The clam is now the top grossing website on the planet with 12 billion hits and a deluge of donations pouring in, putting our estimated net worth at just shy of a trillion quatloos. Even more astounding is the ubiquity of our corporate identity. In a recent Reuters survey, the clam logo is second only to Coke in terms of global brand recognition. J.D. Power and Associates so desperately wanted to give us a consumer satisfaction award that they created a new category just for us: Snark.

Taking advantage of our newly acquired corporate resources and connectivity, we have sent staff photographer, Stevens Brosnihan on a world tour in search of our fearless mascot. Though he did disappear for over a month and returned looking like Nazgul, we are a little suspicious of his subject matter. You be the judge.


Bon Voyage

Travelling light, I brought my trusty Nikon F3 with a 50mm f1.4 prime lens and a few pairs of socks. The camera has the famous MD-4 motor drive that delivers 7 frames per second on a fresh set of batteries. I didn’t want to miss anything.



Applying for visas and getting immunized took almost as long as my four week sojourn. Gratefully, my trip was unburdened by disease, excepting that bout with hoof and mouth while crossing the Upper Volta.




To avoid diarrhea, I tend not to eat while travelling. I stick to vitamin supplements, coffee, bottled beer and absinth when I can get it. I only lost 32 pounds on this trip.




The anti-malarial drugs were an unexpected perk. I love skirting the edge of psychosis while immersed in foreign cultures–alone and hypoglycemic. It reminds me of my childhood.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

I think I over did it with the vidhara seed while crossing Rajasthan. There are four days and 2000 miles for which I have no recollection. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have willingly agreed to facial tattoos. But hey, when in Rome…







Now that negotiations with Elon Musk are finalized, I can formally announce my next photo tour: The lunar pits of Mare Ingenii. Preliminary launch date is March, 2017, barring liver failure or a severe downturn in Clam stock.