Being unemployed this summer gave me a great deal of time to get things done. I mainly didn’t get things done, but one of the things I did do was read. I feel like I go through spurts with reading where I’ll do a lot of it and then I won’t do it for a long time. I don’t know what got me started but for whatever reason, the theme of this summer was non-fiction, specifically autobiographies/memoirs.

I started the summer off by reading Lena Dunham’s “tell all,” Not That Kind of Girl.


Being a huge fan of her show Girls on HBO, I knew that her writing style, humor and sensibilities would be right up my alley. After reading it, I went back and watched some early episodes of Girls and it was really cool to see how many things from her real life made it into the show. The interesting thing is that when you watch the show, it feels that way. It feels like a heightened version of her reality.

After finishing that book I moved on to a manlier title, Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman.


Paddle Your Own Canoe is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I read very slowly but I got through that book super fast. Not only was it easy to read, but it made you want to keep reading because it was so interesting an funny. It gave a great sense of the struggle it takes to get into “the business” but there was also a great deal of insight and life lessons the basic gist of which was follow your gut, do what you love, work hard and things will work out for you.

While listening to the Nerdist podcast I came across the Felecia Day episode. In it, she was promoting her new book You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) and so the next time I was in the library, that was what I checked out.


You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), like the previous two, was about following what you believe and doing what you love. It too was very funny but it also offered interesting insight as to the struggles faced by women on the internet and in work environments. It dealt with being proud to be who you are, nerd or otherwise.

I have had the book Mo’ Meta Blues on my radar for a long time but it wasn’t until this binge of memoirs that it resurfaced to the top of my brain as something I should read.


I really didn’t know much about ?uestlove before reading Mo, other than the fact that he was great in the Chappelle sketch about drums vs guitar and that he drums for The Roots. The book had a lot of cool stories in it about people he met and things he’s done as well as his lifelong love affair with music and how he has worked to make a career in it.

One day I was in Newbury Comics and I saw the book Modern Romance on a shelf. I had heard Aziz talk about the subject of modern romance as a stand-up topic on the Nerdist podcast but I had no idea he had plans to write a book on the subject.


After seeing it in Newbs, I immediately went home and took it out of the library. Like Paddle Your Own Canoe, there was not a single chapter of this book that failed to make me laugh-out-loud (to be clear, every chapter made me laugh-out-loud). On top of that, the book was very informative and insightful as to the trends in relationships, hook ups, and other forms of romance today. I highly recommend this book as it was definitely my favorite of all of them.

I don’t know if was because I read Modern Romance, if I had just been seeing and hearing things about it or if I was just curious, but a while after reading it, I started watching the show Masters of None.

I really liked the show right away. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny but it is very well written. It deals with a lot of the same topics Aziz covers in his stand-up as well as the ideas expressed in his book. Because of that, Masters of None is a perfect companion (<–better word needed) to Modern Romance. Additionally, being a twenty-something year old looking for a relationship in our modern, technology-driven world, these subjects are very relatable and thus make it easy for me to be interested. I’m also just a sucker for great writing, great characters, humor and romance.

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“Irresponsibly Fast”

I recently started a new job as a Product Specialist for Tesla, at their new Boston location in the Prudential Center. When I started the position, I was told I would be able to -at some point- take a Model S home in order to familiarize myself with it. Little did I realize that opportunity would come at the beginning of my second week working there!

PeterIannacoPhoto-Tesla_ModelS_P90DTesla Model S P90D – photo by Peter Iannaco

On Monday night I “took delivery” of a Model S P90D. Being that I had to drive the car back to work the next day, I wanted to maximize the amount of time I could spend with it. With a pick up time scheduled for 8pm, and factoring in that I typically go to bed at around 1am, I only had about 5 hours to really explore the car. I needed to organize a way to get the most out of that 5 hours.

I wanted to include as many people as possible in my opportunity to very temporarily “own” a Model S. Knowing he would want to come, I brought my Dad with me to pick the car up from the Pru. After a short pre-flight inspection, I set the navigation for my home address and the adventure began.

I literally have never driven (a car) through Boston before. I know how to get from point-a to point-b on my bike, but a bike is a different story than a car. On my bike I can scoot past traffic, go down one way streets the wrong way (if necessary), ride on the sidewalk (if necessary) and many other things that just won’t fly in a car. In a car you need to adhere to the rules of the road.

Using my knowledge of the streets of Boston, combined with some playing around with Google Maps before heading into the city to pick up the car, combined with the GPS (as a back up), I was able to get us home without a hitch. In the parking lot of the Pru I had connected my phone via Bluetooth. While on the way home I used the cars connectivity to call my Mom. I asked if she would want to come out for a short drive. At first she refused because she was already in bed, but after a bit of convincing, she agreed.

My Dad and I pulled up to our house and my Mom was waiting outside. She hopped in and we drove to the commons so that my Dad and I could switch and he could drive for a bit. He basically took the car up and down a few blocks. Part of me wanted to suggest that he take it on the highway and open it up, but I wasn’t sure if he wanted to. Also, I wanted as much time driving as I could get and so, after a short jaunt around town, we ended up back at our house.

With my parents “dropped off” and the Model S safely in the driveway, I began to send text messages and make phone calls. I texted my friend Christian but he didn’t respond. I then called my friend Pete and he said he would let me know as soon as he got home. I then made my way back into the car to play around with a few of the features that had stumped me, or figure things that I still wasn’t sure about.

After fiddling around for a bit I got a call from Pete (which I answered through the car) that said he’d be home shortly, I pressed the brake (to turn the car on), selected drive and headed over to his house. He and his Mom came out to greet me. His Mom hopped in the front and asked if I would take her around the block. Pete got in the back and I took them on a quick loop before returning to Pete’s house to drop her off.

Pete got in the front seat and suddenly we were faced with an excellent problem; what to do with a $120,000 car at 9pm on a weeknight? The obvious answer, go for a cruise. We headed up and down a couple of different highways to stretch her legs a bit. I tried Autopilot for a bit and it was quite weird. It was really cool to see the car follow the curves in the road and maintain the distance from the car in front without any input from me. A few times it disengaged because there was not a strong enough line delineation.

Though it worked well and would probably be nice on a long road trip, I was never fully comfortable using it. This is not the car’s fault, but mine. I don’t even use regular cruise control so this was quite a leap for me to take. I think over time though, it is something that I could get used to.

One of the things I had mentioned to Pete, being that he is a photographer, was that we should do a little photo shoot while we had the car. We drove to Assembly Row, to the top of the parking structure where he was able to get the great shot at the top of this post with the Boston skyline in the background.

After that we were kind of stumped. I had wanted to stop by Highland Kitchen to grab a drink and to see if my friend Tyler was working. I was gonna park out front, point to the car and tell him it was mine. However, by the time I remembered this part of my game-plan, HK was already closed. I knew I needed to get up early to drive the car to work the next day so I didn’t want to stay out too late. At that point it was around 11:30pm so I decided to drive home.

Pete and I chatted while we sat in the car in my driveway and messed around with the settings. We discovered that the child locks were enabled, thus why my Mom had to be let out from the back seat. After a bit of general catching up conversation I drove him home. Along the way I may have enabled Ludicrous Mode and tried a nice acceleration run.

The next day…

…I got up super early so I could leave for work at a reasonable time. Being that I never drive into Boston during rush hour, I had no real idea -apart from the advice given to me by Google- how long the commute would take. I like being early for things and so, despite Google telling me it would take an hour and twenty-five minutes on the route I had selected, and despite the fact that my shift wasn’t until 9:30am, I left my house at seven.

Listening to my music on the way via Bluetooth and using the Hold feature to keep the car in one spot without having to keep my foot on the brake made for a relaxing commute experience. I felt undeniably cool in the car and thought, “Ha ha, everyone’s looking at me.” I was almost compelled to pick up a few people waiting at the bus stop to give them the chance to experience the car, get them out of the cold and to, in general, make their day a little better. I decided against it simply because it wasn’t my car but now I’m regretting it; that would have been cool.

The commute was fairly uneventful apart from the nightmare of traffic on the rotary in Everett. Despite taking the same route I would if I were biking to Boston, I had the GPS fired up just in case. It did help to reassure me a couple of times and it even told me what lane I needed to be in for certain turns, which came in handy.

Driving through early morning Boston on routes I’d only ever biked before was strangely exhilarating. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was amongst traffic or that I was in such a fun car or a little bit of both, but I actually enjoyed the commute much more than I thought I would. Eventually I got to the Pru, pulled into the parking garage, parked it at the charging station and plugged it in. That was it, no more Model S for me.

The day previous a customer had come into the showroom and told me that his brother owned one. He described the car as “irresponsibly fast.” I really liked this description, so much so that I used it as the title of this post. Do you really ever need to accelerate from 0-60 in 2.8 second? No, of course not. Do you want to be able to and is it cool to say you can? Absolutely. Model S stands for more than just a useable fully electric vehicle, it maintains the joy of driving that “true driver’s” love about cars.

This “short term review” was much less a review than it was a detailed description of my experience with the car. Of course with long term ownership you might find more things to critique. However, for the short time I got to spend with it, I couldn’t have been happier.


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The End Of An Era

We did it. Last night Dan, Pete, Kyra and myself went to the 10:10pm showing of Spectre. We finally completed the slowest marathon never run.

Part of me is happy to be done with it. At the same time, it is a little sad. It does sort of feel like the end of an era. It’s also sad because of the fact that we all had so much free time to dedicate to this. It’s weird because it directly shows the passage of time and how fast it goes by. In other words, because it was a weekly thing, I can mentally chronologize what I was doing each week for the past ~23 weeks.

Spectre_OpeningNightMe, Kyra, Dan and Pete at the Jordan’s Furniture IMAX in Reading.

It all started in a Brooklyn pub back in June. I was out drinking with my friends Guto, Harry, Zach and Katie whose couch I was crashing on. That weekend their friend Dan (whom I’d met a few times but wasn’t really tight with) had come down to New York, and was out drinking with us. Somehow, I got to talking with him about how, ever since I started listening to the James Bonding podcast, I wanted to go back and re-watch all of the Bond films.

I had watched all of them as a kid and they were a really big part of my life. However, my love affair with Bond tapered off with the inception of the Craig films.

I had gone to Guto’s apartment a few weeks earlier to watch Skyfall (the only Bond film they owned) as a means of satisfying my craving for Bond, and tiding me over until I could go home and watch them all. I asked Dan if when I got back to MA, he would be interested in doing a Bond marathon (watching one movie a day) with me. He said he was down, but I figured it would never happen. So many drunken plans like this are made at bars, but the people involved never follow through.

On my way to work a few days later, while listening to This Is Only A Test –the official podcast of Tested dot com- Norm mentioned the fact that as of that date, you could watch one Bond movie each week for the next 23 weeks and be finished with all of the previous Bond movies in time for the release of Spectre. I immediately texted Dan, my sister Kyra and my friend Pete (whom I had clued in to the original plan) and asked them if they would be down to start an epic adventure over the next ~4 and a half months to watch the Bond films. All of them were in. On June 19th, the day after I got home from living in New York, we began our “holy mission” with Dr. No.

There, we established the template for the weeks that would follow. The guest would bring a 6-pack of beer, we would watch the movie and then follow it by playing GoldenEye (or Mario Kart, or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or The World is Not Enough) for the N64 on mute while listening to the corresponding James Bonding episode.

The two constants of this plan were me and Dan. We alternated each week between watching the movies at my house and his apartment. Throughout the weeks there was a smattering of guests. Pete was a fairly consistent guest watcher. Kyra would come fairly often as well, but when she couldn’t join us, she kept the marathon going at her own apartment; keeping up with the films each week and listening to the podcasts. I was glad to have my friend John Papp, a huge Bond fan, join us for both Goldfinger and Thunderball. Additionally, our friend Katherine joined us for Diamonds Are Forever and Kyra’s work friend Alex joined us for The Living Daylights.

I am proud that for once, something I engineered, something I planned out, something I masterminded finally came to fruition. There are so many times I’ve tried to plan things that no one either ever responds to, or shows up for. That was not the case for this plan. Not only were people great at responding to my text messages and emails, but people were great at being flexible with their schedule in order to attend as many of these screenings as they could. Additionally, I’m glad that through the James Bond films, I was able to become good [better?] friends with Dan and John.

I just want to thank Matt Gourley and Matt Mira (Katie Levine and all of their guests) for making the James Bonding podcast. Without you guys, none of this would have been possible. I also have to thank the Nerdist podcast for making me aware of James Bonding and the Nerdist Network for producing and hosting the podcast. I have to give a shout out to the Tested podcast, specifically Norman Chan, for giving me the idea to watch one Bond movie per week for 23 weeks.

It goes without saying that I have to thank Ian Fleming for creating the character of James Bond. In addition I need to thank Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, Michael G. Wilson and everyone who has been involved in making films about the character we’ve all come to know and love.

Last but not least, I want to thank my friends, Dan, Pete, John, Katherine, Alex and my sister Kyra for joining me on this journey. It was long and arduous but we did it. We started out with 23 James Bond films; a new one on the slowly approaching horizon. We whittled them down week by week, until there were none.

Mission Complete!

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Back In Time

Let me start by saying that I am fully aware of how ridiculous all this is. That being said, the nerd in me couldn’t help getting caught up in it all.

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind. My brain has been inundated with various news updates about Back to the Future. For those of you who don’t know, yesterday October 21, 2015 was the date in which The Doc and Marty go to the future (in Part II ) in order to prevent Marty’s son from getting sent to jail.

YouthJailed-USAtoday-MartyMcFly-NewspaperUSA Today actually released a newspaper with the Marty McFly headline.

There was a lot of buzz around the date because for 26 years (the movie was released in 1989) people have been waiting to see if the future would hold up to what the movie predicted. Sure we don’t have hover-boards, but there were a couple of things the movie got right, most of which were fulfilled by various brands trying to cash in on the hype.

The most anticipated of all of the collaborations is the Nike Mag. Ever since they were featured in Back to the Future Part II, fans have awaited the day that the fantasy of auto-lacing sneakers would become a reality. Back in 2011, Nike did a release of the Air Mags, however, they didn’t feature the auto-lacing capability.

At the time, they said that there would be a pair on the market by 2015. Sneaker-heads and movie buffs such as myself awaited patiently the next four years to see what would happen. Sure enough as of yesterday, Michael J. Fox received the first pair of self-lacing Nike Mags.

As was the case with the 2011 Nike Mags, the auto-lace versions will be limited to 1,500 pairs and will be release via eBay. The proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox foundation which researches potential cures for Parkinson’s disease. The auction is set to take place in Spring of 2016. However, in addition to the Mags, Nike also re-released the Bruin, the sneakers Marty wears through the duration of the rest of the films.

Probably the second most anticipated collaboration that was set to happen was between BttF and Pepsi.  There was talk about whether or not Pepsi would release Pepsi Perfect, the drink Marty buys at The Cafe 80s in Back to the Future Part II. The plan was to release 6,500 bottle’s at midnight on the 21st. However, it was unclear where they would be sold and by the time people like me found out, they were out of stock.

As it turns out, the bottle were not being sold on Pepsi dot com, but instead on Amazon and Walmart.  Not only that, but instead of waiting until midnight, they apparently went on sale at 10pm so even if you knew the location, you still probably got screwed.

The Amazon price was an appropriate $20.15 (get it… 2015) and the Walmart price was set at $19.85 (get it… 1985). However, the next day Amazon and Walmart were slated to sell a few more bottle’s at 9am. My friend Pete was actually able to score a bottle from Amazon for $27 (which included shipping).

Apparently however, because of this massive “ball dropping” by Pepsi, they will supposedly be releasing more bottles next month.

The next collaboration that I was looking forward to was the one between BttF and the street-ware clothing line, The Hundreds.

Apart from just doing a bunch of t-shirts and sweatshirts with images and logos from the movies, The Hundreds also recreated some of the iconic costumes from the films, including the vest, the denim jacket, the multi-colored hat and the red jacket from “the future.”

Additional Links:

Back to the Future dot com, Back In Time – BttF documentary, Delorean, McFly Toyota Tacoma 2015 concept truck, History Channel Special – Back to the Present, Jimmy Kimmel – Michael J. Fox interview, Rock Em Apparel – BttF Socks, Nice Kicks – Air Mag 2011 release story, Amazon – Back to the Future: Ultimate Visual History, USA Today – BttF page, The Hundreds – Bob Gale full interview, The Hundreds – Back to the Hundreds collection, The Hundreds – Back to the Hundreds Lookbook, The Hundreds – Lookbook Behind the Scenes, The Hundreds – a look back at previous BttF collaborations

However, my personal scavenger hunt began today. I had heard that USA Today was going to be releasing a copy of their newspaper with the cover story featured in Back to the Future Part II. Because this was set to be the least expensive of the memorabilia, and undoubtedly the one with the highest volume of release, it seemed to me that it should be the most accessible. However, because it was the most accessible and because no one sells newspapers anymore (especially not USA Today), it made it very difficult to find.

I began my day by receiving a text from my buddy Pete who told me he had been to four stores on his way to work, but was unsuccessful in finding a copy of the paper. He asked if I could try and find one while he was at work, and if so, if I would get a copy for him. I was already planning on hunting for one and so, after my phone interview, that’s exactly what I did.

I began my search by going to our local Barnes and Noble; Pete’s suggestion. After a quick look around and asking the cashier, I was out of luck. Apparently B&N doesn’t sell that paper. Next I made my way to Shaw’s where I knew they sold USA Today, as I had seen it there the day before having mistaken the release date of the paper. (The Doc and Marty go to October 21, 2015 to prevent the headline the next day -October 22nd- from happening). Unfortunately they either never got them or, more likely, were already sold out by the time I got there.

Following that, I went to Stop and Shop in the next town over. I asked a worker if they sold newspapers and if so, where they were. He pointed me to the front of the store where I found a newsstand. Upon my arrival, I found that I wasn’t the only one looking for a copy. Another man a little older than me was clearly on the same mission. When no issues of the paper could be found, we began chatting.

“You lookin’ for the paper too?” I asked. He told me he was and that he had gone into a few other places nearby with no such luck. We then got to talking about our love of Back to the Future. He told me he had gone to a screening of Part I and Part II the night previous at the AMC in Danvers.

After a bit of nerding out we parted ways. However, before we did, I asked him his name. He told me it was Joe and asked if I wanted to give him my number so if he found a copy, he we give me a call. I handed him my business card and told him I’d do the same.

On the way back to my house I stopped at a liquor store and a convenience store I saw along the way, both with no luck. After that I went to the nearby Econo Lodge thinking that maybe they would have some extras, since motels usually put USA Today’s outside of hotel rooms, but alas, they had none. I guess they don’t do that anymore.

Finally, I decided to throw a Hail Mary. I made my way to Oak Grove and hopped on the train. I was determined to get a copy and could think of only one place that would [most likely] have one… The Airport. The train seemed to be going impossibly slow and though I knew that it’s speed wouldn’t effect the outcome of my adventure, whatever will be will be, I still just wanted to get there already.

At the State St station I transferred to the Blue line where I had to wait five minutes for a train. At the Airport station I hopped on the free shuttle that takes traveler’s to Logan. On the bus I nervously waited to see if I had chosen wisely. I tried to use my phone to check if they would have the store that I needed at the terminal to which I was headed but my LTE was getting very poor reception.

Finally, the moment of truth was upon me. As I arrived at Terminal B, my heart began to race. Looking through the glass I noticed a pre-security Hudson News, exactly the store I was looking for. However, I wasn’t out of the woods yet, I still needed to find an intact copy of the paper.

As the bus pulled to the curb, I quickly assessed which door had the least traffic before hopping out the back. I made my way through the crowds of people and luggage and entered the Hudson News. I began frantically looking for the section where they kept the newspapers as if I were Jack Bower looking for a bomb. I could see magazines, snacks, drinks and books but couldn’t find the newspapers; did they not have them?

Then, in the corner of the store, I found the paper stand. I began scanning the shelves of the paper racks, beginning at the middle and looking up and down. I saw the Post, the Herald, the New York Times but not what I was looking for. Then, finally my eyes centered and I found it. There it was right at the top, the first paper on the rack, USA Today! I was elated, I couldn’t believe my gamble had paid off.

I grabbed three (one for me, one for Pete and one for Joe) and turned to head to the register. Before getting to the front of the one person line, I turned around and grabbed one more. I knew I would regret not getting an extra one just in case. As it is there were still at least six or so left. I briefly considered cleaning them out, or, at the very least, buying a couple more to have as either back ups, or to try an re-sell for profit at a later date. I decided against it and stuck with the four I had; I didn’t want to be greedy. I made my $8 newspaper purchase, then headed back to the shuttle to take the train home.

In total I [we] went to eight places to look for the paper if you include the Mobile gas station my mom went to when I told her about my adventure. Even though it was just for a stupid piece of paper, I’m glad I did it. To me and to BttF fans it’s more than a piece of paper. It’s a piece of movie memorabilia. We can say we were alive in a time that was immortalized by a piece of cinematic and pop culture history. A piece of history that was 26 years (my whole lifetime thus far) in the making.

In the words of Doc Brown, “Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

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2015 Boston Cup

This Sunday I attended the fourth annual Boston Cup with my friend; photographer Peter Iannaco. For those of you who don’t know, the event is a car show put on by Herb Chambers which takes place on the Boston Common. The show features a selection of hand picked classic vehicles ranging from the dawn of the automobile to modern sports cars. Pete and I spent the day walking the lawn, admiring the range of vehicles that had been brought out to the event, and talking to owners about their cars.

Boston-Cup_115Herb Chambers’ McLaren F1 – Photo by Peter Iannaco

We started the day early, arriving a little after 6am. We were told that media could and should arrive early, in order to get the best possible views of the cars before the event opened to the public. Unfortunately we were so early that the show was very much still in the process of being set up. No one was at the tent to sign us in and many of the cars hadn’t arrived yet. Eventually we were able to get our passes as promised and Pete was able to get some shots of the cars as they rolled in.

Boston-Cup_15Cars rolling onto the common – Photo by Peter Iannaco

As the day went on and more people began to show up, the clouds broke and it got brighter. This gave us a second wind and we began to make the rounds again. The cars genuinely took on a new look in the sunlight. The beauty and variety of their colors really started to show.

Boston-Cup_70Fiat Dino Spider – Photo by Peter Iannaco

Peter was very impressed to see this Autozam AZ-1 (below) roll in. The AZ-1 was a Japanese Kei car designed by Suzuki and sold by Mazda in the early nineties. It has a 657 cc engine and gull-wing doors to boot! This little car was a show stopper. Everybody seemed to love it and it got more attention than some of the other more typical exotics.

Boston-Cup_531992 Autozam AZ-1 – Photo by Peter Iannaco

It just shows that in the car world, you never know what’s going to attract a crowd. In addition to the oddness and rarity of the car, the owner had an interesting story about how he came to own and restore it, involving a detailed restoration process. Apparently it had been in pieces in California when he found it posted on Bring a Trailer dot com.

Boston-Cup_109Malcolm’s MG F1 Magna – Photo by Peter Iannaco

While walking around the perimeter of the show, after returning from a lunch break, I pointed out a car to Pete that I thought he would be interested in. We told the owner we’d be right in to inspect it more closely, and after admiring a few other cars, we made our way back over to him.

The car in question was an MG F1 Magna. It was one of the smallest of the older cars there at only 3-feet wide. The owner of the car, Malcolm was very sweet and told us everything we wanted to know about the car. What had initially attracted me to the MG was the tiny single person “rumble seat” in the back. I couldn’t believe a car that small would have one.

Boston-Cup_73Lamborghini Miura – Photo by Peter Iannaco

He went on to tell us about how he had tracked down the history of the ownership. Though he got the car from Canada -a literal “barn find” out of Montreal- it had originally been purchased in England by a man who had bought it for his wife. Hence the “feminine” light-blue color. He also pointed out the hand made step which allowed passengers access to the rumble seat.

Apparently, the design -which had been tooled into it- was done by hand as a sort of “maker’s mark.” It was clearly not perfectly symmetrical and thus could not have been done by a machine. It is these sorts of details that show the value, history and craftsmanship of a handmade automobile.

Boston-Cup_90Mercedes 300 SL – Photo by Peter Iannaco

All in all, though long and a bit hotter than I expected it to be, the day was pretty good. However, this is only a fraction of what the show had to offer. For more photos from the day, visit Peter’s website.

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I attended my first Boston Bike Party in a long time. The last one I did was the Halloween Ride last year. Since coming back from New York (Yes, I’m back. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it and my time there and what led to me coming back but there hasn’t been a big enough of a thing to announce it. I know what I mean) I have been wanting to attend a BBP but different events over the past months have prevented it. Additionally, I had been wanting to take the hi wheel on one of the rides but I needed a good excuse to bring it (rather than my daily driver).


For those of you who forget or don’t know or haven’t read my previous bike party posts, which I suspect would be most of you, every Boston Bike Party event has a theme. For example, the first one I ever did was Robots VS Dinosaurs. People dress up in costume (although getting dressed up is not a requirement for the event) in order to support the theme. I typically don’t dress up simply because I’m there to ride and have fun with a huge group of people. This time however, I finally found a ride with a theme that would not only allow me to dress up but also to bring my mini hi wheel.

The theme for this September’s ride was simply, Boston. Each time BBP posts the theme, they also post a “look book” to inspire potential costume ideas. When I saw that they posted people in colonial costumes, I got the idea of Boston through the ages. Thus, a newsboy riding a penny farthing was a perfect fit for this ride. As far as clothes go, I was already covered. While living off campus in Fitchburg, we had held a speakeasy themed party. At that time I had gone to the Salvation Army and bought an entire get-up for the party. Luckily, being a guy who never throws anything away, I still had the outfit.

Upon arriving at Copley Square I was instantly greeted with praise, as I have come accustom when riding the hi wheel. My costume was not even one of the most clever of the group, several other people had been much more creative. However, being that they (we) are all “bike people,” they were able to appreciate the bike even more than your average passerby. As usual I was bombarded by the same questions I am always hit with whenever I take it out. Questions that essentially were the original reason for starting this blog; because I didn’t want to answer them anymore I was going to give out my business card to anyone who asked, rather than answer the same things over and over. A heavy cross I bear, but I take it in stride (joking).

Before setting off I ran into my friend Jesse whom I met on the first BBP I ever attended. Despite not seeing him in about a year he remembered who I was. I’m always amazed when people remember me. In any case, the ride ended up being a really good one (as they always are). Not only was it long but there was a lot of positive energy from passers by as well as fellow cyclists in the group (all told I believe there was in the vicinity of 500 of us). A bunch of spectators hollered at me and gave me the thumbs up or wanted to take my picture. Despite not really knowing how to handle it, the attention never gets old, haha.

The ride ended at the Charlestown Navy Yard. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that it didn’t end up at a bar (in usual fashion) as I was in need of a beer. Additionally, despite taking to a few ladies, I didn’t get any numbers; that was a bit of a disappointment too. Hmm, and I was so certain that a guy in period garb riding a penny farthing would be the single thing needed get their motors (or in this case pedals) going. Haha, oh well, I still had fun.

Saturday – morning

The next day, yesterday, I attended my third ever American Field event. AF is a show that features goods that are all made in America. It took place on Drydock Ave, the same place it had happened last year, however this year it was indoors. I had no intention of buying anything but I always like seeing the sort of goods that are there.

It’s like going to a Capsule show where you see a lot of independent clothing, accessory, leather, wood and furniture manufacturers. I didn’t bother taking any pictures because if you’ve gone to one, you’ve gone to them all. However, it was still fun and I even got to try a type of flavored vodka that is made in Texas I believe. Additionally, something new this year was that Tesla was hosting test drives. I didn’t get a chance to take one as they were all filled up, however it was still cool that they were doing it.

Saturday – afternoon/night

I sort of rushed through the American Field show in order to be in time for a double feature I had planned with my friend Dan and my sister. We have faithfully stuck to our 23 Weeks of Bond marathon. (I’m saying 23 weeks of Bond instead of 24 weeks because despite the fact that the next film is number 24 in the series, we are marathoning the ones that are already made. The icing on the proverbial cake is Spectre and thus I see it as being separate from the res id the films). However, due to a miscalculation on my part we started a bit late and thus had to double up this week. (We’ll have to double up on a couple of other occasions as well but this was the first one).

For this double feature we were watching Octopussy and Never Say Never Again. Though NSNA is technically not an official Bond movie, since they reviewed it on the James Bonding podcast, we counted it. The reason we grouped these two was because they were both released in 1983. I knew this was going to be a taxing double feature as neither of these films are exactly what one might call gems.

However, we were able to sucessfully get through both of them with the assistance of beer, popcorn, bagel bites, a frisbee break and an N64 video game break during which time we played The World is Not Enough and listened half of the Octopussy episode of the James Bonding podcast. All in all it was a successful night and but I am glad to be done with these films.

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Untuck Your Shirt

Going on a bike ride on a hot summer day is always a reminder of the past. This time, while leaving my house, I was reminded of a particular bike ride I went on with my friends when I was in around 5th or 6th grade. It was either a summer day or a random weekend towards the beginning of the school year; when it’s still hot in September.

I was in my house, probably doing nothing when all of a sudden there was a knock at my door (or maybe I heard my name being called from outside).  A group of my friends had assembled outside my house on their bikes and wanted to know if I wanted to go on a bike ride with them. I asked my parents if this was ok; I’d never gone out on a ride with just my friends before, I usually went with my dad. “Sure,” they obliged and I ran out back to grab my bike from out of the shed.

I brought my bike around front and was all ready to go. But, right before we took off, my friend John Goodhue said to me, “Untuck your shirt.” My dad had always instilled in me a neat appearance. I always combed my hair dressed in decent clothes, and looked like a young professional. This was the first time I was told to do something other than what my parents wanted me to do. It was the first time the notion of not following their commands was something I had considered doing. Not that untucking your shirt is a giant act of rebellion, but it was the first time this clean cut “goodie two shoes” had ever done something “defiant.” (My dad recently told me that Goodie’s a cop in my home town now; who’d have thought?)

I was always amazed that I had fallen into this group of friends. It seemed like, at the time, they were the “cool kids” (untucked shirts and what not) and amazingly they had allowed me to latch on to the outer edge of their circle. I was invited to their birthday parties, trips to Laser Quest, and even sleepovers.

Another revelation came when I was in 6th grade. As was the case with biking, I had discovered skateboarding. Everyday after school when the weather was warm I would walk home, grab my skateboard and skate back to the school to meet up with my friends. It must never have occurred to me to bring my skateboard to school and keep it in my locker so I wouldn’t have to go back and forth all of the time. We would meet up and skate around town, typically ending up at the Coliseum, a nearby skate shop. There we’d hang out, watch skate videos and shoot the shit with the employees.

I always remembered sitting on the floor of the cafetorium in elementary school during gym and noticing that the friends I looked up to were all wearing Vans. I remembered thinking how much I wanted Vans, rather than the knock off sneakers my mom got me from Payless at the beginning of the school year. Finally, in 6th grade I got my parents to by me a pair of és Koston 1s. I somehow convinced the clerk to sell them to me for $65 rather than the $80 they were supposed to retail for.

I’ll never forget them, all black with a grey sole. It genuinely felt like doors opened up for me after that. Guys noticed me, noticed my sneakers and knew I was a fellow skater, that I was part of their tribe. Funny how what we wear can dictate how we are perceived. However, after that I resolved myself to always buy skate shoes. I think the deprivation of “proper” skate shoes when I was younger made me realize that once I was able to afford to buy what I wanted, I was going to buy real skate shoes.

As I got older I began to experiment with style. I would ware neck ties with t-shirts to class. I’d wear a different sneaker on each foot. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to get noticed. I wanted to do something that was different that would express my individuality and show people I could do or be whoever I wanted.

Throughout the years styles have changed. I try to keep up with the trends to be perceived certain ways by certain groups. But I guess all I was getting at, all I was really thinking about was that one moment where fashion and friendship came together. Specifically and more poignantly, the friendship. It’s moments and memories like those ones that make you nostalgic for the past.

No one ever tells you you’re in your golden years when you’re in them. (I know I stole that line or notion from a book or a movie or something). I’d love to go back to a time when I had a big group of friends who would randomly show up at my house just to see if I wanted to go on a bike ride with them. I’m not trying to live in the past, I know you shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to thing of the ‘90s or early 2000’s without the sense that life was a little bit easier then. I guess whatever “problems” I had were so infantile that they were easier to brush aside.

I don’t know. I’m rambling. I’m really not trying to be a bummer. It’s just fun to think about the past.

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I promised I would update you once I finished painting the costume/puppet. So, here are some pictures of the final product…




TARS-interrogationInterrogation stance

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TARS Costume

Those of you who have seen the movie Interstellar know that one of the coolest characters in the film is the robot TARS (although CASE is just as cool and less of a dick). Ever since seeing the special feature about the making of TARS, I have been interested and trying to make a TARS costume of my own.

However, despite having seen the special feature several months ago, it wasn’t until recently that I finally started to look into what it might take to build a TARS of my own. I Googled “Tars costume” and found the following video.

Though I knew I didn’t want to do something as high-tech as that, It was just the inspiration I needed to get the ball rolling on a TARS costume project of my own.

So, this past Monday I began my search for some free cardboard. I started at my local appliance store, looking for scrap refrigerator boxes. After finding none in their trash, I checked a few more sources before eventually scoring a dishwasher box from Lowes.

My plan was simple, make four equally sized rectangular boxes, then cut a small circular hole in each side of each of the boxes and run a long cylindrical tube through the boxes to a) hold them together and b) serve as the pivot point to allow him to walk.

TarsConceptSketch_backThis is a conceptual sketch I drew of what the costume would look like from the back.

The follow is a step-by-step of how I made the costume. I apologize for not including reference photos of the process, but the descriptions should be detailed enough for you to fill in the blanks. Additionally, my approach was super simple and low tech. The entire process took only four days, and it only took that long because I was taking my time and not putting in nearly as many hours each day as I could have.

Materials: large cardboard box, hot glue, box cutter/razor blade, pen knife/exacto-knife, t-square, tape measure, compass, ruler, straight edge, cylindrical tube.

Step 1: using a razor blade, cut the box so each side is now it’s own individual panel. You now have four flat pieces of cardboard that are all approximately the same size.

Step 2: next measure the width of one of the panels, in this case ~30 inches, and divide it by three. I chose to not use the full width because the edges of the box weren’t cut perfectly straight. I ended up only using the center 24 inches and dividing that into three 8-inch panels. Using a straight edge, draw four vertical lines from the top of the flat piece of cardboard to the bottom. Do this for each of the four flat pieces of cardboard.

Step 3: using a straight edge and a razor blade cut the flat pieces of cardboard along the lines you drew so that you have twelve 8-inch wide panels.

Step 4: next, take three of the 8-inch panels and separate them from the group. Using a razor blade, cut the folding flap of the box off of two of the panels and put them aside. For the third panel, measure 8 inches from the fold. Draw a horizontal line and with a razor blade, cut off the excess cardboard.

Step 5: using the excess cardboard, cut out triangular gussets from the corners. The ones I made were 3 inches long. You should be able to get 6 total (3 pairs of two) gussets from your excess pieces of cardboard.

Step 6: next space the gussets out along the back side of the front face of one of your groups of three panels. The front panel is the one that still has the 8 inch flap on the top. Hot glue the gussets to the back of the front facing panel and attach the other two sides of the box to the gussets. Additionally, hot glue the flap of the front panel to the top edge of each of the side panels.

Step 7: repeat steps 4 through 6 until you have four equal sized rectangular boxes.

Step 8: On the side of one of your boxes, measure 6 inches down from the top of the box and 4 inches in from the front. Make an X at that point. That is where you will place your hole. The center boxes will need holes on both sides. The outer most boxes will only need holes on the inward facing sides. The boxes I made were approximately four feet tall and thus could be divided into four 1-foot sections. This will be important later when you’re painting TARS as he is broken down in four vertical sections.

Step 9: using a compass, make a circle the size of the cylindrical tube you will be using to hold TARS together. the center-point of the circle is the X you marked in the previous step. Once the circles are drawn, cut them out using an exacto-knife.

Step 10: take your cylindrical tube, I used a tube from a roll of wrapping paper, and begin to feed it through the holes you’ve just cut out until all of the boxes are on the tube. You now have your basic TARS costume complete. The only things left to do are the details ie. painting it.

TarsCostume_backThe back side of the costume. Here you can see where the gussets are, where I made the holes and where the tube fits.

My costume is not complete. I still plan on painting it and adding other details, but I wanted to put up what I have for now because I’m proud of it and wanted to share it with you. Plus it is essentially done… like 90% done. I will add more to this post -or post an update- once it’s complete.

TarsCardboardCostumePose1TARS – interrogation stance

Because of its size (the fact that it’s not as tall or taller than me), the TARS I made is less of a costume (something you wear) and more of an object I puppeteer. This is true of the prop used in the movie as well, however a bit of the mystery is gone from mine because my TARS is shorter than me and thus you can see me puppeteering it.

TarsCardboardCostumePose2TARS – walking stance

Oh the things you can accomplish when you’re funemployed.

Helpful links:

TARS typeface* – Trade Gothic Bold Extended

Google sketch-up schematic drawing – good reference for how the body is divided and where the pivot points are

TARS walking GIF – “gorilla”

TARS walking GIF – “stroll”

Replica Prop Forum – discussion about how to build a replica TARS

*click the link > click the “Try It” tab > type TARS in the word box > make the size 96 (the biggest they offer) > screen grab  the word TARS > open an 11 by 8.5 Adobe Illustrator file > import the screen shot of the font and stretch it so it spans the length of the page. Now you have a stencil you can print and cut out to spray onto your TARS. This worked for mine based on the dimensions I used for my costume. However, you may need to adjust yours depending on the size.

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Route 66 Road Trip

I’ve had in my head for a long time that I want, at some point, to take a road trip on Route 66. This fire was re-kindled recently while watching an episode of American Pickers. All the trips that they go on, the parts of off-beat America that they explore, all made me want to go on this trip again. I don’t know if you can still do it anymore, if the road is still in driving condition or if there is an alternate route one needs to take in order to follow it as close as possible; more research is required.

That is why I have prepared a list of books I would buy for research material in order to plan the ultimate American road trip. Additionally I made a series of a lists (written below) on several topics that I want to remember in order to make the trip as cool and fun as possible. Lists include things like what cars I would potentially be interested in taking on said trip, what music I want to listen to and what movies I want to watch to help ramp up my excitement.


-VW Bus (Brumos; see video above; also this)

-1950s Mercury Coupe


-“Bandit” Trans Am

-DeLorean DMC-12

-Chevy Nomad




-Cadillac El Dorado or Deville

-Mini Cooper (old)

Note: I feel that on a trip like this, the car you drive is just as important as the route you are driving. Like putting on the proper attire based on a certain function you’re attending, the right vehicle needs to be utilized for the right drive.


-Lonely Planet: Route 66 – Road Trips

-Travel Route 66: A Guide to the History, Sights and Destinations along the Main Street of America

-Route 66: The Mother Road


-License Plate Game

-plus look up others


-New Shoes

Cars soundtrack

-the 5, 6, 7, 8s

-see DJ setlists 1 and 2

-Vampire Weekend

-Personal Record – Eleanor Friedburger


-Wanda Jackson

-Alabama Shakes

-The Black Keys

-Roy Orbison

-Amy Winehouse

-surf rock

-Tell Me (What’s on Your mind)

-Dogheart II

Pulp Fiction soundtrack

-The Beach Boys

Places to Stay

Blue Swallow Motel

Wigwam Village Motel

Sights to see

-The Big Texan

-Cadillac Ranch (Carhenge?)

Road Trip/Appropriate Movies

-A Goofy Movie

-Smokey and the Bandit

-Cars (Pixar)


Route 66 wiki

Historic 66

Roadtrip USA

Legends of America

National 66

I have no idea when I want to do this or really even why? I don’t really enjoy driving and there is a lot of stress and work involved in a road trip; they aren’t exactly relaxing vacations. However, I think it’s important to do and something I should do within the next couple of years. I better add it to the “Vacations To Do” list.

Past road trips

Cross Country (2006) – I went with my cousin and my uncle on a cross country road trip in 2006. We drove his F-150 King Ranch edition truck which is by no means a small vehicle. This was on factor that was sometimes difficult to deal with when driving. Additionally, there are often very long days of driving which can definitely lead to cabin fever. I will say however that I didn’t see a lot of this country on that trip and that probably the good things outweighed the bad.

Celebration V (2010) – when my friends and I attended the fifth ever Star Wars convention in Orlando, we all thought it would be a good idea to road-trip from Massachusetts to Orlando, driving nonstop for 22 hours. The only negative thing was that in my car we only had three drivers so there was less passing off and longer legs of driving for each driver.

Additionally, my lack of driving confidence makes me nervous and self conscious. I feel I am a good driver but not a confident one. When I’m nervous, my lack of confidence sometimes causes me to make quick jerky decisions/movements when I’m driving and thus, understandably, causes my passengers to lose their confidence in me. When someone points this out to me -as was the case on this trip- it gets me angry and makes me more self conscious. This led to a bit of a spat between Andrew and myself at one point and thus caused an ominous cloud to hang over the rest of the drive.

Mini Takes the States (2012) – when Pete and I did MTTS we were obviously the only two drivers of his car. Because he is such a car nut, he was naturally very protective of his Mini. However, he made a lot of passenger comments whenever I was driving that in general made me nervous around his car, made me nervous to drive and additionally made me angry with him. i.e. telling me when to break, telling me how to adjust my mirrors, telling me to slow down, telling me to speed up and other things.

Additionally, because we had to stay with one another it meant that any decisions that were made where final. We couldn’t split up because there was only one car to get us wherever we needed to go. This led to other tensions when my ideas of what we should do and his ideas of what we should do clashed. Finally, being in a close space with someone -who is already prone to getting on your nerves- for a long period of time is not something that is fun to deal with.

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