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SpudMatic 4000

I was cleaning out some things getting ready for the move up North when I came across the SpudMatic 4000. Being that I'm going to move relatively soon I thought to myself Better bring this back to Ben, he built it. So off I went to Ben's.

Ben is a long time friend of many years. I've known the guy since 7th grade. Years ago he built what is called the SpudMatic 4000. I should've snapped a shot of it. Hopefully I'll get one soon. The '4000 is two pieces of PVC pipe painted camouflage. One end is tub-like with a small opening for the ignition (a Coleman lantern lighter, twist-style that gives spark). It's about six to eight inches long and maybe six inches around. The "barrel" is a much longer piece, almost five feet long. The tub has a removable screw-on piece where the contact cleaner spray goes.

Here's how it works:

(Disclaimer: DON'T DO THIS)

Take a potato. Smash it over the long end of the barrel so the potato going inside form fits to the barrel itself. Push it down with a "lever", such as a shovel handle. Unscrew the tub. Spray in contact cleaner (the stuff they spray on oil based paintings which is extremely flammable). Quickly close the tub. Twist the lighter and BOOOOOM - flying spud, estimated to be traveling somewhere between 40 to 60mph. Maximum range is about 300 yards.

When fired, it sounds exactly like a shotgun. The best produce to use is potatoes or turnips.

No, we never fired it at anyone. Were a spud to hit someone at that velocity it would hurt them real bad. Enough for hospitalization. We knew even back then never to aim it at anyone. Besides which, it would be almost impossible to hit a target anyway considering the thing had the worst aim in the world.

So anyway, I returned the SpudMatic to Ben. We spoke for a long time about everything. He's still doing his thing with Dodge A-100 "Vanpickups". He owned nine of them at one point. I think he's down to five now.

I told him all about the move and everything. He wished me luck, which I appreciated. He also said I have to get him a copy of the one and only episode (to date) of Frosted TV which aired on public access television years ago. One of these days I'll put that video up for download.

When I get up North I'm hoping to do more episodes of Frosted TV. It's really good stuff. At least I think so.

***Tons of guitars under $500 right here

The road severely less traveled

Today I went to Wal-Mart in Lisbon to return the cablemodem I didn't need since the connection was fixed using the old modem. There was a little bit of an issue at the return desk. Evidently the UPC code did not match what the receipt stated. When I bought the thing originally, at the checkout I noticed the box had been opened before, so I swapped it with another one that hadn't been opened. The problem is that the cashier did not rescan the box so the old UPC code was still there. Heck, I didn't know that. That's supposed to be the cashier's job. I stood at the customer service desk for about ten minutes, the service manager interveined and I eventually did get my money back. I didn't make a scene about it or anything.

After that I decided today was a Where does that road go? type of day. I took off from Wal-Mart into uncharted territories of Connecticut, well... uncharted for me. I just wanted to go on roads I hadn't been on before.

I saw several school buses picking up kids on their routes. Some of the teens I saw were just plain funny looking.

Odd teen #1: All dressed in black. Rail skinny blonde white girl with ultra-flat hair (so much you could see the outline of her head). Loose fitting top. Pants are extremely loose, pockets everywhere, accessorized with metal hoops and chains all the way down the pant legs. Dumb, duh-dumb dumb DUMB! This girl is destined to work at Hot Topic in the mall, guaranteed.

Odd teen #2: Again, all dressed in black. Short. Don't know if he was white or black... possibly biracial, not sure. T-Shirt had some tribal looking logo on it. Black bandana on head. This teen was desperately trying to look cool - waiting for the bus. Most likely destined to work in an auto parts store of some kind.

Odd teen #3: Sandy blonde long-haired white girl with tight red sweater, ultra-tight blue jeans and black boot things with heels. Future harlot. Probably destined to work at the Piercing Pagoda right down the way from Hot Topic where hoopy-pants girl works. They'll probably trade dirty looks when passing by each other, one thinking Prep! while the other thinks Filth!

After a little while I came across the worst road in Connecticut, somewhere near the town of Newent called Walker Road. Unpaved, and I mean really unpaved. Two dirt tire tracks and GRASS in the middle with only enough room for one truck (has to be a truck, a car could never traverse this without banging some vital part of the car underneath). Scary driving, but at the same time an absolute blast. This is the reason I own a 4x4, I said to myself.

Back in Plainfield, I drove by Skate Inn, a place I've been to many times. It's a roller skating rink. It looked... old. On the outside, the place hasn't been updated in years. I don't remember the last time I went in there. I remember they had a cool arcade. The game I played most often was Trojan. I sunk many quarters into that machine. I also remember thinking Man, I remember when I used to think this place was a long way from home. When you're a kid and go somewhere where the car ride is over fifteen minutes it seems like a really long way away. Kids have a different sense of time than adults do, no doubt about that.

Lowest price at the pumps today: $2.95. That's a lot better than what it was in the recent past.

My StreetPilot i3 has given me a sense of driving freedom I never had before. GPS simply rules. I positively love the fact I can drive anywhere and not fear getting lost. Having that confidence makes me love driving again - except for people that tailgate. They still suck.

Quick trivia you already forgot

I'm betting the majority of you out there already forgot what today marks the anniversary of.

Just making sure you remember, that's all.

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