Friday, July 31, 2020

Under the Railroad Overpass

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Summer sunlight on a suffocatingly hot July afternoon with a heat index up around 100.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Major Muffler

Waterbury, Connecticut

For the past month or so the exhaust on my car has sounded—"wrong." Not really loud, but just not quite right. I've had the car over nine years and driven it 117,000 miles so I know what it's supposed to sound like, and something's been off. Strangely, under hard acceleration it sounded normal (there's a place nearby where you make a full 90° right turn straight into a really steep hill so you have to run it up in second or it will bog down when you shift to third) but it was raspy and louder than usual just puttering around in normal driving and light acceleration. It's also been making a weird "thud" sound the instant the engine catches from a cold start. That's a new phenomenon, but I hadn't connected the two.

When I started the car this morning, that thud was more like a BAM! Now the exhaust was loud, not just weird. I shut it right down. Oh great, it's Thursday morning and I need to drive into Manhattan Saturday morning to teach a private, one on one, workshop, at The Penumbra Foundation.

There's a great mechanic in town who we've used for more than twenty years for our often rather old cars (we run them till they're ready to donate). His new place is triple the size of the earlier one, and it's always really busy. I called, and of course found that they're booked up over a week in advance. When I explained my dilemma, Pete recommended an exhaust system specialty place, Major Muffler, way down at the bottom of South Main Street, Waterbury, almost at the Naugatuck line.

I called and explained the situation. The guy on the phone said, let me check out on the floor, came back and said, bring it in at 2:00 PM. Wow. A two-thousand-something street number on South Main is a scruffy end of town, but the phone was on speaker and while I was doing this, Tina looked online with her iPad and said, "these guys are great, they get 4.5 star ratings from Goggle and Yelp." Well, I said, and from Pete.

My GPS got me there smoothly, avoiding driving noisily through the middle of town. I arrived ten minutes early. The front office door was locked and had a little clockface widget in the window indicating that they'd be back at 2:00 PM. It’s an old three-bay garage building with a used car lot attached. A guy pulled in with a huge RV that needed a tailpipe.

I'd been sitting in my car in the 93° heat with the AC on, deleting junk mail on my phone. When the guy got out of the RV I shut down and put my mask on. He'd been told to turn up at 2:00 as well, in what turned out to be his son's giant machine that had been diagnosed earlier in the week and needed a new section of tailpipe.

The crew came in a couple minutes after two. I followed a weight-lifter looking guy with tattoos and a big black beard, who would turn out to be my mechanic, into the office and handed over the key. There was no AC in the beat-up looking office so I waited outside. He came out a few minutes later to drive the car in, then ran it up the lift. A few minutes after that he came out and said it’s no big deal, had me come in to look. He slapped the muffler and said it’s in great shape, but the section of pipe that bends up and over the rear axel, then down again, was rotten. Pointing, he said we just need to cut out the bad section, here, and here, bend a new piece of pipe to fit, and weld it in place. Will only take a few minutes, $85. I said great! Then I hung out in front of the building, even took a couple snaps of the view up and down South Main in the 93 degree heat. The car came backing out of the garage, so I went in and paid the bill. Got in the car and it was 2:35 PM. Pretty efficient. Also a huge relief that it happened this morning instead of on the East Side Drive Saturday morning. Tina’s car has been making exhaust noise for a while now. I think I’ll take it in to these guys soon and hope for as good luck again. 

Weeds at a Vacant Factory Building

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Over the decades this building seems to keep losing its occupant, only to find a new one before massive deterioration sets in, and then the pattern repeats. I'd guess it's been idle for about a year at this point.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Tagged Billboard

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Somebody did some climbing to tag this billboard along the elevated railroad track.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Semi-trailers and Weeds

Naugatuck, Connecticut

I've photographed this area many times before. I'm not sure if it's an equipment graveyard, or a slow-acting rehab center. Seems more like the former.

Monday, July 27, 2020


Litchfield, Connecticut

White Memorial Conservation Center, calm after a rainy July morning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Monticello, Georgia, 2012

I couldn't figure out whether the roller skated car hop was an antique or a tacky retro production. Also, there was no parking lot adjacent to the building and clearly no car hop service, though they did offer home delivery. Also noticed that McMichael's doesn't sound exactly Italian.

In the Forest, II

Litchfield, Connecticut

Intense greens after a rainy morning at White Memorial Conservation Center.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

In the Forest

Litchfield, Connecticut

At White Memorial Conservation Center on a rainy Friday afternoon, 7/17/20.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Litchfield, Connecticut

At White Memorial Conservation Center.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Cows and Calves in the Rain

East Morris, Connecticut

During a summer afternoon storm, 7/10/20. (Click on either picture for a bigger, clearer view.)

Monday, July 13, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020


Torrington, Connecticut

One of the shop windows of a large retail space that was occupied by a Salvation Army thrift store for many years, closed a couple years ago.

Thursday, July 09, 2020


Monticello, Georgia, 2012

Another from eight years ago.  With a large display, click on the picture to get a larger, more legible version.


Torrington, Connecticut

The faded billboard is for a bath supply store. The window is to a vacant storefront last working as a sandwich shop.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Wall, Fence, Reflection

Madison, Georgia, 2012

More rummaging around in the archive of "Off Topic" pictures made on my Giant Drive-in Theater Road Trip in 2012. Look closely enough and you can see the old style hand painted advertising from long ago on the brick wall. Window reflections always fascinate me. I couldn't figure out what the little white plastic chain fence was for.

More Tree Portraits

Washington, Connecticut

From early June at Steep Rock Preserve.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Another Truck

Shelton, Connecticut

Looks as though the sheet metal actually came from a couple different trucks over the years.