Friday, August 28, 2009

The Mt. Tom's/BearFest Pro Shop is open.

Check out the new Mt. Tom's ballcaps. Be the first on your block to sport one...

And a fresh batch of Mt. Tom's tee's, the thick custom colors kind. All have 'you know what' written on the back. Ok, if you don't know what - 'Life is Short. Eat Ice Cream.'

We still have plenty of Easthampton BearFest 2009 collectibles too. From left, water bottles, beer glasses, coffee mugs, maple sugar candy pops, pure local maple syrup, honey, and buttons.

Lots of BearFest tees too, from youth thru XXL.

All proceeds go to supporting great BearFest causes.

The glasses and mugs are pretty sweet. Just $6 each or 2 for $10. How can you beat that.

Hope you're enjoying these last days of summer, even if it feels a little like Fall right now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dredging the Pond: Video Short from Gazettenet.

For all you pond dredge enthusiasts...

End of summer push going on right now. Some great weather keeping the biz brisk, new scoopers just coming on board and scratching their way up the learning curve, and all the usual summer ice cream chaos all have been keeping me away from my blogging activities. Things usually settle down a bit after labor day.

Hope you're enjoying your last respites from pencils, books, and teachers' looks...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calling all artists (12 and under).

Ava Schmitt, age 6.

Just underway, Mt. Tom's first drawing/coloring contest. It's open to any and all kids from zero to twelve. The theme: Ice Cream, Bears, and Summer Fun.

The contest is open until September 7th, which will give me and the scoop crew just enough time to pick the winners before the next ArtWalk. First prize: a $15 giftcard. We will also pick a runner-up for each age. These winners will each earn a kid's sundae with all the fixins.

Better yet, (at least for the parents I suppose), winning entries will be framed and hung on the shop walls for the next artwalk on September 12th. They will be on display in the shop for a month, right up until the next artwalk in October.

So next time you're in the shop with the kiddos, grab a box of crayons and some paper from the contest display, and let's see them work some ice cream, bear, and summer fun crayon magic.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What a difference a week makes.

This was the pond a couple weeks ago, as seen from a kayak...

This afternoon...

It may not seem totally drained when you look at the front section of the pond, the part we're used to gazing at from Cottage Street and Williston, but the pond is down to a trickling brook on the east end. That side did not disappoint. Can't wait to see the giant earthmoving equipment go to town on the muck.

As you see above, the fishermen have realized smaller pond means easier to catch. Not sure if that's actually true, but they've definitely been trying. They don't seem deterred by the muck and low tide smell at all.

It was a little too hot this afternoon to spent too much time exploring the new Easthampton mudflats, but there are definitely some intriguing items already being unearthed (I'm wondering if you turn this you'd change time like in the show Lost. Come on, I dare ya...)

The biggest freshwater clam I've ever seen, right in the shop's backyard...

Here's another before and after shot for you. Looking west from the town beach...

And a few more to round out the tour as logged today, Monday, August 17th, 2009...

Stay tuned, much more exploring of the new flats to be done...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pond Dredging: Stink or Swim?

Well, it looks like the pond has started its exit in prep for the long-anticipated dredging out project. It could be yet another tease, but it does seem that the valves on the spillway have been opened, and the water level is slowly starting to drop.

As promised, I will keep you appraised.

The two big questions on my mind are: 1. When the pond is reduced to a babbling brook surrounded by a giant mud field, will it stink? I thought I detected that start of empty pond smell in the backyard yesterday. But then again, it could have just been the overflowing dumpster.

The second thing I wonder about the project and the touted improvements it may bring is will the old Easthampton public beach someday be brought back to life by a swimmable Nashawannuck? I think improved watercraft traffic, e.g. paddleboats, kayaks, etc., better fishing, and a neater looking pond are the reasonable expectations, but wouldn't a swimable pond be sweet. Friends that grew up in Easthampton fondly remember frolicking at the town beach.

I guess time will tell, at least on my 2nd question.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to make ice cream and hang out with my bear buddy.

Don't call 911 on me just yet. This is just me taking one hiding bear home for safe keeping at night. So if you see a guy with a Mt. Tom's Tee and ice cream on his arms, toting a power drill and a green bear under his arm at around 10pm, try to resist heckling him or calling the cops. It's just me, doing my part to keep the little bears out of harm's way from the mean streets of downtown Easthampton. Unfortunate it had to come to this, as Easthampton City Arts folks are also tasked with bringing in the bears every night, but it seems to be the only way to keep them safe.

Enjoy this coming stellar summer weekend. See you soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Staying Cool, Chasing Sunset, & Call to Artists.

After sweltering it out during this first real blast of summer heat these past few days, it became clear the shop's center A.C. unit, the workhorse, just wasn't going to make the cut. I never considered a big window AC as a disposable thing, but between the size of the shop, the people, the heat thrown off by all the freezers, and the door constantly opening and closing, 3 12K window AC's just are no match for those 85+ degree and humid days. And after blowing warm air at us during the hotest times of the day these past few, it became clear today that one of us had to go.

I went.

To Sears for a bigger hunkin' AC. Thanks to Dad for the assist on installing this 100 pound gorilla. Er, polar bear.

Moving right along, anyone recognize this?...

Have always been intrigued by this tattered facade (can you call it a facade if it's on the side of a building? sidesade?). Someday, I'll get a good image of it.

Speaking of images, one night last week I saw a great sunset brewing and was determined to get the shot. I wasn't really up for a twilight climb to the summit of Mt. Tom, followed by a dark and somewhat scary descent, so I jumped in my truck and set out to find the next best spot for the shot.

After sitting in the Tavern on the Hill parking lot for a while...

I realized, although a great view and a fine waft of some exotic garlic butter sauce eminating from the kitchen just above me, it just wasn't the spot I was looking for. There had to be a better place. So I got back in my truck and headed due west. I quickly realized (once I got to the bottom of Mt. Tom to be exact) that one of the downsides of being landlocked in a generally flat space is you're probably not going to get a good open horizon sunset even if you stand on an empty ice cream mix crate on top of the bed of your truck.

It was fun trying though. Ok, it was a little frustrating, and probably slightly dangerous, since my best view of the sunset was whilst driving down Cottage Street...

I was actually stopped for this one, a little safer...

Where did I end up for this beautiful sunset you wonder?

Why, across from the Tractor Supply store, of course. Ok, it's not Montery Bay, but you gotta give me points for trying...

One last item of note, I'm looking for artists to show their work on the walls of Mt. Tom's during the next few artwalks (and throughout that month). If you or anyone you know is interested, drop a line or stop in. It's free (I don't even take commissions if you sell anything!), and the shop is still bustling, so it'll definitely get seen.

Stay cool.
And if you're not, Sears still had 5 of those 15K BTU AC's left this afternoon...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Guest Blogger - Tim Jenks

Today's entry comes from our buddy up the street at Pick Your Flick, the cool local video rental joint on Cottage Street right here in Easthampton. Since the last movie I saw in the the theater was Star Wars, I defer what I thought might be an interesting and timely topic, summer movies, to resident expert, Tim Jenks, proprietor of the aformentioned video rental place.

If you haven't been to his store, I suggest you check it out. Sure, Movie Gallery has more copies of stuff, but Tim's place is way cooler, has much more hometown feel, and is chock full of hidden indie gems. And the best part is, you can get movie ideas from Tim and his wife Liz. Their smiley daughter Gwen mostly gives movie recommendations by giggle and flailing arm gestures, but I expect soon she'll be another source of friendly conversation and movie info.

Here's Tim's take on the Summer of '09 movies he's seen so far...

+ Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen +

If you were between the ages of 5 and 18 during the 1980's, then you probably share the same feelings that I do about Transformers. If you don't fall into that age category, here's a glimpse into my thoughts: Transformers are Awesome! That's it, nothing too complicated here - they are without a doubt Awesome. So when I heard that they were making a Live-Action Transformers movie, I thought it was a joke. No one could make that work on the big screen if they weren't in their original animated form. Then, in 2007, Michael Bay blew us away with the coolest looking, walking, talking, destroying and gigantic "real" Transformers anyone had ever seen. So I hear that they are making a sequel to this awesome movie and don't think much about the way it will look or feel because I already know how it will look and feel, right?


Revenge of The Fallen is nothing like it great predecessor in any way other than the fact that there are Transformers in the movie. First off, the camera moves way too quick to even decipher what is happening on the screen if you could follow who was who anyway. They introduce way too many Transformers to try and remember on the fly and the Decepticons aren't that much different than the Autobots.

I would like to tell you that this movie was great but unfortunately that is not the case. Too many robots and explosions and not much story development make this one fall right on it's face.


+ Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince +

If you have read the books then you probably feel the same way that I do about the last film, The Order of the Phoenix. It was nowhere near as good as the book and they seemed to have left out about two hundred pages of vital plot from the film. Well, the latest installment in the Harry Potter series blows the last one away by far. I would even go as far as to say this film is the best adaptation of the books to date. It's very dark and dreary, just as the book portrays. You should definitely watch this movie if you're a fan of the series, books or films or both.


+ Star Trek +

Let me start by stating that I am not a fan of Star Trek by any means. I never watched the original series or the spin offs or any of the previous films. That being said, let's talk about this film.

Simply put, this film blew away any expectations that I've ever had about Star Trek. It is awesome in every way. Visually it is simply stunning and the sets are incredible. The story line and character development are equally great as is the acting.

I highly recommend seeing this film even if you were never a fan or you still aren't a fan. After the film ended I wanted to watch more immediately, and I think you will agree.


+ Bruno +

Let's start this one off by saying that Bruno is a fictitional character from an HBO television series Da Ali G Show. If you were offended by Borat, then chances are that you will be highly offended by Bruno.

If you want to see male parts flying around, then go see Bruno. This film is definitely not for the easily offended, and this comedy hails all the stereotypical flamboyant gay jokes. It actually makes you question Sasha Baron Cohen’s own sexual preference, not that it makes a difference one way or another. Some of the props used during the filming are definitely not for the faint of heart. I’ll just leave it at that.

The scene where Paula Abdul is being interviewed about humanitarian issues while sitting on an old Mexican man is hilarious but miles from politically correct. The last scene of the wrestling match gone horribly wrong is so funny it had me nearly peeing in my pants. I strongly do not recommends this movie for families or people who are easily offended. If you can enjoy the raunchy movie, it's worth every penny to see it at the theater. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD to see what all the extras are.

Conspiciously absent from Tim's list is the flick, The Hangover. Rumor has it, that's the funny movie of the summer to see. Miles funnier than Funny People, I'm told. Maybe I can get one of my scoopers to write a little review of that one.

Then again, that may not be suitable for family-friendly ICD reading.
In any event, it's prime movie weather. Too hot and muggy to do much else, besides eat ice cream of course.

And if you don't feel like driving all the way to West Springfield or South Hadley, crank up your a.c., stop by Tim's video store, and pick up a few flicks for tonight.

Tim's working on another ICD installment - his favorite rental summer of '09 flicks. Stay tuned for that.

And feel free to leave a comment with a movie recommendation of your own...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pond Surveying & Stalking the Blue Heron.

In case you were wondering why the pond is so high right now (aside from all the rain we've been getting)...

An Army Corp of Engineers survey boat, out this morning, doing its thing.

With the water level so high, and a stellar morning of weather on tap, I took it as an opportunity to drop the kayak into the pond for a little pre-work paddle. Of course, I brought the camera...

In case I came across interesting things, like spider webs...

Sunning sun turtles...

And the prized Blue Heron...

I was a total heron stalker this morning...

This guy was I'm sure pretty annoyed with me by the end of my paddle...

With the water level so high, the Nashawannuck Pond looks almost like a Nashawannuck Lake...

With watersports and everything...

Hey, you never know.

Not sure when the dredging will actually begin, but just in case the water level starts dropping, I was happy to get in one good last spin around the pond today. The water was roaring over the spillway this morning, so we'll see...

In any event, hope you get out to enjoy this fine day. If you're stuck at the office still, feel free to click on an image above and make pretent it's a sunny Sunday afternoon...

And you've got an ice cream cone in your hand, naturally.