Category: New England

Photo Lab

I was looking at how much I pay every month for Adobe Creative Cloud and decided that I really, really need to use it more. (Or cut the cord.)

Many years ago, I originally bought a version of Photoshop to fix some vacation photos where every roll of film had a continuous scratch in the same place. I did learn at lot but I’ve forgotten most of it.

So, since I seem to learn more when I’m trying to fix a particular problem, I took a rather boring photo of a lobster boat in Maine, added some layers to give it a watercolor effect, and cropped it down to what you see above.

Here’s the original:

I once worked for a photographer who said that his best photo tool was the waste basket.

I can get uncomfortable with manipulating photos and I know that there are purists out there who want to let the original photo stand, but I’m intrigued by it. After all, we manipulated those black and white negatives all the time in the darkroom, right?

Trick or Treat?

Halloween Snow

Well, one more event in this most unusual year: it’s snowing outside.

These maple trees are always the last to lose their leaves. They like to wait until the yards are raked and the other leaves are bagged. And if you haven’t lived here before, you might have been silly enough to clean your gutters.

Trick or Treat? Trick.

Welcome to Salem — Next Year

I’ve never been comfortable with the association of Salem, Massachusetts with witches. Somehow, a painfully tragic event in the 1600s has morphed into New England’s month-long version of Marti Gras that draws over 250,000 worldwide visitors to this city with a population of less than 44,000.

Given that the streets are narrow at best, never straight (“quirky” you might say), and seldom marked with street signs except at the beginning and end of the street, I just avoid everything as much as I can.

Halloween 2019

A few years ago, I was driving home from work and came through one corner of the town as I usually did. My big mistake was forgetting that it was October 1st. I ended up right in the Halloween parade, the official kick-off for the Halloween party. So, instead of four minutes to make a left turn at the light to get home, it took almost an hour.

They canceled the parade this year, and the fireworks. Also no food trucks, or street vendors. The portable message signs at the entrances to Salem do not tell visitors where to find overflow parking, they just say “All Events Canceled.”

And still they come to town.

You cannot walk into a store or restaurant without a reservation. The commuter rail from Boston will not make the usual stops at Salem Depot after 2:00 each afternoon.

And still they come to town.

I get it. You are bored. I’m a little bored myself, but might I suggest that you go home and then come visit Salem when this pandemic is over? You are just exacerbating the problem, oh ye without face masks.

Yes, despite the mandate, many are not wearing masks for Halloween. Go figure.

See you next year.

Say what?

us_map_soda (1)


I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve lived in the US midwest until I watched an interview on TV last week.

A woman in Chicago was talking about the buying power of $2.00 in the late 18th century as opposed to 2016. “Back then, you could feed a family with two dollars,” she said. “Today you could maybe buy a good bottle of pop.”


Ask for a bottle of pop in some places and who knows what you’ll get?  I mostly got blank stares until I learned to call it “soda” in Boston.

  • In the midwest, people tend to refer to any sort of carbonated soft drink as “pop.”
  • In New England, Florida (except for the Panhandle!),  California, and a few other states, it’s called “soda.”
  • In the southern states, it’s just called “Coke,” regardless of what the label says.

It seems that there aren’t many regional differences any more, not with every mall and shopping center populated with the same stores. So I enjoy these regional terms and expressions across the country.

I sometimes have to translate menus for my friends when they visit. For example:

What would you call this:


A milkshake, you say? Well, here it all depends on the ingredients.

A milkshake has milk and syrup (no ice cream), but add some ice cream to the mix and you get a “frappe.” That’s pronounced “frap” (rhymes with “trap”) in case you want to order one.

Of course, you might want to order a “grinder” to go with your frappe, but that’s a topic for another post.