Thursday, December 31, 2009

Writing Furiously

I'm working on my book, Hamden: Tales from the Sleeping Giant, over break. Sitting at my computer for 5-6 hours a day isn't exactly "vacation," but I'll live. I just finished gathering and organizing the photos. Above is a photo that didn't make it into the book - Eli Whitney's blacksmith shop.

Taking thousands and thousands of words of research notes and shaping them into cohesive chapters is certainly a different type of work. My scholarship on Henry Miller (and Sherlock Holmes - I have another essay accepted!) has certainly helped me prepare for this. But it's a combination of that and my travel writing...turning research into something people actually want to read, giving it life, choosing the memorable details, while still staying true to the facts of the situation.

It's a daunting task, and one I take seriously. What is more important to write than history? There is so much revisionist nonsense out there, and I often hear people making the most outrageous claims about history because of it. Only by going back to the primary sources (and sometimes not even then) can you see how these sorts of lies get told over and over. So, keeping to the facts while still making a story that appeals is a fine line to walk. I'll do my best.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hey, I said I didn't want this to turn into a food blog, but I had to post a picture of our latest experiment - pickling. So far so good...the pickled leeks and cucumbers are tasty. Tonight, the spicy pickled cabbage (kim chi w/o the fermentation).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Xmas Time Again

Its holiday time again.

Time for children playing with toys...

Time for eating giant birds...

Time for snuggling on fleece...

Merry Xmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous festivus! Beneficent Saturnalia! And a crackling good Yuletide to all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Favorite Restaurant

I'm not going to turn this into a food blog. But since I just received the Momofuku cookbook for the 1st day of Xmas (or of Hanukkah, if you like), I have to give a shout out to this place. Of course, it doesn't need any shouts - David Chang is wildly succesful, and getting a reservation at Momofuku Ko is impossible. But I've been to Momofuku Ssam, and Milk Bar, and no joke, this is some of the best food I've had. Now, I've been to some great restaurants, like Le Saint Amour in Quebec City (amazing) and L'Escargot in Paris, but they are EXPENSIVE restaurants. Momofuku Ssam is totally affordable and has an atmosphere of casual quality that belies the myth of "fine dining." Check it out for yourself below.

I've already experimented with his kimchi stew at home, and it was a revelation. I can't wait to slow roast a pork belly...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bobcats and Black Snakes

Amy and I revisited a spot from my recently published essay, "The Birds and the Silence." This is the boulder I sat on when the bobcat appeared, before "I walked down the hill and into the summer of my life."

While hiking on High Rock, we found another possible dream house to live in someday. (2010?) We have also hit on something that is going to push my career into overdrive. Look for big changes in the New Year. For now, no peeking!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleeping Giant Park Association Xmas Party

Today was the annual Sleeping Giant Park Association Xmas hike and social. The fellowship was strong, the hike was brisk, and the cider was mulled.

Amy and I had a wonderful time meeting new friends, and enjoyed the sing-along after cider and cookies.

Although I've lived in Hamden for over a decade, I never joined the Association for hikes before. I guess I was a bit of a loner. But now it feels good to have others to hike with on the slopes of the Blue Hills, Hobbomock, the Dead Indian, Mount Carmel, the Sleeping Giant, call it what you will - it is home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nomad's End

My wife, poet Amy Nawrocki, has had her second book of poetry accepted by Finishing Line Press. It will be out this Spring. Everybody say "hey!"