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Salute Your Shorts

Hey Team,

It was an exciting week of firsts! Obviously there was the Crayola Factory but, in true Amtrekker fashion, that was just a tiny little piece of the adventure.

I grew up in a relatively low-income neighborhood without a ton of money (good to see some things never change) so I missed out on a few of the “typical” childhood adventures. Summer camp would be one of those things. Which isn’t to say I didn’t get to (read: have to) hear other people bragging about their adventures come the start of the new school year…which really only served to make the idea of camp that much more foreign to me.

BUT, thanks to some nomadic serendipity (I love that phrase…good job Cherie) the new friend (Chelsea) that took me along on her trip to Pennsylvania so I could explore the Crayola Factory was a former camp counselor and we got to crash at the camp for a few days!

It was awesome! I got to meet some really cool people, teach some kids about teamwork and science (I don’t THINK I scared any for life, I’m pretty sure someone will be able to re-teach them the right way to do things.) and sleep More >

Salem, Massachusetts Halloween [podcast!]

Hey Team,

I FINALLY managed to find some time to re-shoot the closing to the Salem podcast. I can’t thank everyone who wrote in with their recommendations for where I should spend Halloween enough. I hope everyone enjoys the podcast!

More camp and Pennsylvania/Crayola news tomorrow!

P.S. Don’t hesitate to send in those answers for the “trivia” question! I’d like to get that out as soon as possible. Thanks again!

I’m done.


If you enjoyed this podcast then feel free to spring for another costume for next year!

Don’t let me stop you.

Mister Rogers Would Be Proud

Hey Team.

Today was a great day. I’m one step closer to eventually seeing home again (and considering how cold it’s been in the North East DO NOT underestimate how much I’m missing Southern California weather) thanks to a daylong trip to the Crayola Factory!


1. Seeing how crayons are made (duh)!

2. Seeing Mister Roger’s Crayola Factory shirt from when he made the 100,000,000,000th crayon.

3. Making a sculpture of Ace the Wonder Monkey (the podcast will reveal all) using free Model Magic clay!


1. No ghost of Mister Rogers haunting the halls.

2. No hardhats involved in the tour.

3. Couldn’t find anyone to convince that Crayola needs to adopt an “Amtrekker Green” crayon.

The evening was spent with camp counselors from the College Settlement Camps of Philadelphia where I’m staying (constantly thanking god that I’ve never seen Friday the 13th) thanks to a fortuitous meeting at a Halloween party in Boston last weekend. And since I get to wake up early tomorrow to see what life at camp is like I’m going to have to cut this post short. But there will be plenty more info about the great Crayola adventure AND a podcast coming up.

PLUS, I was able to re-shoot the closing to the More >

Color Me Excited

Hey Team,

Granted, my world has been colored by a lifetime spent in California but it just seems strange to sit in a car for six hours and cross through FIVE states. I could barely make it from LA to San Francisco in that time.

Today’s big event (besides finally caving in and purchasing new pants…which, apparently, you can’t buy with shoestrings) was a road trip with Chelsea, the Museum of Science educator that I met at a Halloween party last weekend. Turns out she was looking to take a trip to a summer camp she used to work at to visit some friends. Lucky for me, this summer camp also happens to be a scant hour car ride from the Crayola Factory AND has an open bed!

So tomorrow brings with it some #47 butt-kickery (it’s a word…promise) and a summer camp exploration.

Okay, I’ve gotta go make my bunk. Good thing the kids are all in school. I’m looking forward to pretending I’m back in the dorms.

I’m done.


If you enjoyed this story, feel free to chip in for crayons…

then I can draw myself a map.

The Past Colors Memories of the Future

Hey Team,

Time to start moving forward again. There’s been a lot of interesting stuff going on. I made yet another cool contact through the magic of Halloween. So, tomorrow I’ll be catching a ride to Pennsylvania and Sunday I’ll be touring the Crayola Factory (#47). Plus, I don’t know the person I’m catching the ride from at all so there’s almost guaranteed adventure there.

A little background: Does anyone else remember that episode of Mister Rogers’ where he goes to the Crayola Factory? Because that’s literally the only episode of that show I remember despite watching it after school everyday for years on end. As a result I’m pretty excited about this weekend.

It’s interesting how little snippets of childhood can stick so firmly with you throughout your life. Arguably, everyone goes through childhood experiencing more new things in a single day than the average adult will in months and yet it’s just those little pin pricks of time that stick out amongst all others.

Somehow it doesn’t matter to our brain how important those memories are either. My memories of the first time I rode Splash Mountain are every bit as powerful as the Crayola Factory episode of Mister Rogers’ but I More >

All That Jazz

Hey Team,

I had a story all lined up today about Mark Twain being the first great blogger (it’ll make more sense when I write it) but then I spent the better part of the evening at a pub in Brookline, MA where there were literally about 20 different jazz musicians all taking turns jamming on the each others instruments.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those posers that talks about how great jazz is so he can sound hip when he’s chatting with the ladies. In fact I’m the first to admit that I’m fundamentally deaf when it comes to music. I’m absolutely incapable of listening to a song from beginning to end with out getting distracted by some shiny object and I don’t even know what words like harmony and chords mean. (And for god’s sake you’ve all seen me try to dance and you know that nothing good has ever come of that.)

And yet, despite my musical deficiencies, it was still a great night.

Many of the things on my list made the cut because I hate thinking that I missed out on entire eras of modern American history or that I’ve missed out on whole slices of current More >

Which Town? [updated with pictures!]

Hey Team,

I just got back from Salem, MA’s (Is Massachusetts’ even pronounceable by the human tongue or do you have to be some creepy Star Trek Kligonistonian?) Halloween happenings and thanks so much to everyone who wrote in with suggestions for places to be this year. I had a blast…a short blast, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

My digital camera broke this weekend so you’ll have to wait a bit until my camerawoman for the night sends me the pictures tomorrow but here’s the skinny.

I spent a grand total of ten bucks and ten minutes fabricating one of my favorite Halloween costumes to date. I actually bought the clothes I used at a place in Boston where they just throw a ton of second hand clothing on the floor and let you sift through it. AND they sell it by the pound. Coolest thing ever. So, I got cheap clothes AND a solid chance at an incurable rash.

I got back to the house of Team Douchebag (Home of Michael, George and Aaron…The first strangers I stayed with on this trip and the first lifelong friends I made on this trip. You met them in one of the very first More >

Last Minute Costume Idea

Hey Team,

I know how stressful it can be to be scrounging around for a costume idea at the last minute. So, in an effort to make all your lives just a little bit easier I was able to dig up this pattern for a Halloween costume circa 1936. I’m here for you Team, call me a problem solver.

Glad I could help.

I’m done.


If you enjoyed the last minute costume idea then feel free to provide some funds for my own costume!

Don’t let me stop you.

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