Tag Archives | Methuen


Yes Virginia there is still no snow…and not likely to have any serious snow until next year…unless of course it snows in JUNE, which I have seen happen. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but usually New England’s mud season only lasts a few weeks, this year, it will go on for months. In my never ending struggle NOT to off myself, I actually got a couple of projects done this week. Which should be a red flag to say that I have other projects that I MUST get done and SHOULD be working on, but for some reason I will dredge up and do nearly ANYTHING else to keep my busy so I won’t have to.

Anyway, See that tab that says Publications? yeah that. I have had some Createspace publishing projects that for the last few years I have WANTED to finish and I did the two easiest. They are basically the sharpest reprints of a material that is well out of print, but nearly ALL the print on demand reprints are wicked over priced. These are short, clean and cheap.

I have my eye on a couple of other titles to add in sort of a uniform series.  My theory is to do one a month.  as each page has to be restored like a photograph ..which separates MINE from other people’s…it’s not quick. but mindless enough.  – once it’s out there in the real world, selling or not, i don’t have to revisit it.  not bad for busy work.

NOW what i have on my desk, are all those scanned essays by a local writer that need editing.  The draw back is that they are very badly written.  I am ONLY editing for clarity, i am leaving the guy’s natural voice which excuses a hell of a lot of bad writing.  But once they are massaged into a bookish format, and some photos are added in.  I will publish this as well.  But thinking about it, I am going to have to start a different CreateSpace account with the friend who brought me that title.  I don’t want to have to go parsing out his royalties from MY own royalties.  God forbid.


stealing bandit signs

well i like to call it civic housekeeping….
These illegal or Bandit signs are just something else that bothers the shit out of me, along with abandoned newspaper vending units, graffiti, weeds, tires and bags of trash. a lot of these things i can deal with, this has now just just become another. This is the video that inspired me…i don’t know what city ordinance they would be breaking in Methuen, but certainly putting up these signs on city property or utility poles is illegal. Hell i know the utility workers themselves despise them. i despise the parasitic nature of “we buy homes”, “avoid forclosure”, “work from home” etc… personally i think locally grown signs are sacrosanct, i would never take down an unexpired yard sale or real estate sign, and anything a local businessman thought might make his store standout – but that still leaves a WHOLE LOT OF GROUND.

This week I grabbed my sidewalk scraper and have confiscated about a dozen offending signs. some were easy to remove, others took a few twists and whacks…but DAMN that is the perfect tool.

busy work

i have been avoiding some particular piece of work for the last couple of days…and you have NO idea how inspiring that process can be. So far I have done a large number of small projects and started a couple of big ones, just to avoid doing one little half hour project.

i even resurrected a project SO old it was petrified. I have had Methuen Common in the back of my head for a year now…no the 1st incarnation didn’t work. but the next one MAY.  basically it will be my 1st foray into community forums. so who knows what will happen.  but right now i have to either keep avoiding that small chore with every escalating crises or actually do the fucking thing.  any votes?

fish in a barrel

Recently i was interviewed by the local daily paper about the Rail Trail project here in Methuen. I didn’t expect much to come of it, I have been trying for 2 years to get coverage to further the project, but now that i don’t need it, they are calling. Well a by product of print media coverage is that they run the piece online, comments and all. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but this little local rag has a following of crazy stupids that spend their days slashing and hacking away at every news piece that appears on the website. I am not talking Boston Globe or New York Times type of reader who takes the time to comment, i am talking rabid frothing at the mouth phone in caller who is turned loose without a 10 second delay system. Basically it’s a rough impoverish urban landscape where all the angry white folks who think that brown people have taken their jobs and shat in their streets take their anger to the internet. Any civic improvement project is at their mercy for rumor mongering and finger pointing – you could be using your own money to build a convent full of vestal virgins and all in their tiny minds blind eye will see is a waste tax payers money and a playground for scum and villainy. Trailblazing Methuen Group sparks new use of old trail line.. Now I knew going in that there would be rumor mongering and disinformation and blind stupidity, but could i IGNORE such a confederacy of dunces? No, i couldn’t. With the blessing of people whose opinions I trust, I weighed in at every turn. They accused me of wasting tax money, i countered with the truth that it wasn’t spending anyone’s money, save my own. They saw crime at every road bend, I reminded them that the trail is piss straight and that drug dealers are notoriously lazy and wouldn’t walk 2 miles to commit a crime they can do from their own window. THey said the trail is all polluted and trashy, and i explained how we have been cleaning it every week with no expectation of praise….and so forth..mostly counteracting any silly ass conclusion with the truth…mocking mercilessly as i went. I could have continued answering every comment with a comment, but personally i though the returns became diminished as soon as I had provoked them into insulting me personally. As soon as i was called fat or rude or something I hadn’t thought of, then i abandoned the comment thread..i can’t argue with name calling, especially since i am probably whatever they had just called me…certainly fat and rude fit. Anyway, those with opinions I actually give a shit about don’t normally read these things, but those that have tell me that it is highly entertaining and that these numbskulls never stood a chance.

Why is Lincoln in Methuen City Hall?

Sculpted by Thomas Ball in 1876, the full size version of ‘the Emancipation Memorial’, sometimes referred to as the “Lincoln Memorial” resides in Lincoln Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (map)

Ball was Methuen scion Edward Searles‘ much patronized artist. Prior to sculpting the full sized piece, several smaller ‘demo’ models were produced and sold. This version standing in the entry hall of Methuen’s City Hall (neé Searles High School) is one of the few publically viewable Thomas Ball pieces left in Methuen.
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Telltale discovery on Bradford Rail Trail

On a recent stroll along Bradford’s newly opened rail trail, one discovers a small remnant of the railroad age. Removing all the trees and vines has revealed what is called a ‘Tell Tale’ a series or steel straps/cables dangled over the oncoming train, intended to give warning to a brakeman on the roof of the train that the train is approaching a low-clearance obstacle, such as a tunnel or a bridge.
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mind the gap

This is my bridge which i have started calling an island…of the entire rail trail project this is the only part that has been bugging me for 3 years..what can we do that won’t uglify it?
and then it hit me…don’t look at it like a bridge..consider it as an island.

So i sketched up a little something something….and today i met with a masonry company and tomorrow with a structural engineer…then i gotta get the historical commission folks to go in on the grant application with me.

If we add a couple of courses of granite blocks to both sides and connect the corners to the railings for the footbridges..we eliminate the need for railings all the way around the island. Then we can lay down cobblestones with a couple of courses of cobblestones perpendicular..as sort of ghost rails..to remind folks it was a rail road bridge.

Now since i already HAVE a nice little stash of granite blocks…all i need to do is scrounge up some reclaimed cobblestones…then the grant need only cover the mason and engineering labors. Well that’s my plan.

Now lets see if i can pull it off…

trashy girl

So what did you do with your afternoon?   It went from many days of rain to immediate and unrelenting sunshine..

of course i ran away from home and picked trash out of the river.

This is one of my new custom made weapons that’s hose clamps, a poop scoop a piece of plastic canvas and some zip ties..it helps with the little bottles that are hard to catch.  hmmm perhaps i need a lacrosse thingy,,

everything’s in motion

Eddie never sits still…..hey it’s not raining for the 1st time i like forever.

no i am not using the iphone, i used it all night ok?  in a very short time i developed a deep and meaningful relationship with it….i think i like it more than i did my exhusband.

I am still setting up just the way i like it…i haven’t found an organizer app that doesn’t suck.  but so far…there is much about it that is unsuck.

BTW the rail trail project is moving swimmingly…i have actually been working on that all morning when i should have been doing work for the folks who pay me.

We met with a BIG mucky muck who was quite impressed that we had gotten so far ahead without any serious support from the local pols.  I am kinda proud of that, we may not have two nickels to rub together but we are going to get a trail without a price tag attached…and the muckity is going to blow the project up big regionally which should attract some attention. See?  doesn’t the world work better when people just DO what i tell em to do?

goose goose duck!

busy day…oh wait that was yesterday…and still it runeth over into today too. I spent yesterday in meetings that centered around linking the Methuen Rail trail with the Salem NH trail which is a bit of a big honking deal…well in certain circles. Today I spent most of the day to find some vendors to buy scrap rail stock…and the rest of it juggling phone calls to pull off an extra pet spay clinic and arrange an accidental on purpose meetup between a railtrail developer and an influential politician – and then on TOP of it all…i finally made contact with someone who not only has goats but uses them to landscape in areas where traditional methods are discouraged – and then i finished off by trapping the last kitten at a particular location.

Somewhere in there i had interminable call from a customer who wanted me to teach them everything i know about book repair over the phone. NOT the first time this has happened..but i gather the customers are starting to tell that i am less than thrilled at this sort of thing. That’s an hour and a half i won’t get back and if i try to back off politely they act all insulted like the 4 or 5 dollars i am going to make from their entire transation is enough to make me just want to spend my entire day walking them through a repair on a book that i know they have no business doing.  but do they listen when i tell them that? no. they practically insist that if i just a FEW more questions then they can go off and make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

I keep telling folks the world would be so much better if people just did what i tell em to do.


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