We spent the holiday at the Opening Our Doors festival sponsored by the Fenway Culture Alliance where various cultural institutions were open free and offered special events and entertainment.
We started at the Christian Science Center where Joh Camara and Jama Jigi performed African drumming. Then we visited the Mapparium. At the YMCA, my daughter built a kite and flew it around the gym. Then at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy the kids did some drawings and we borrowed a bird watching kit which we used to explore the Fens. Finally, at Evans Way the kids were able to decorate their own solar lamps.
It was a fun and full day.
This weekend we visited Connors Farm in Danvers. It wasn’t quite what expected, less farm and more amusement park with a loud band, a chainsaw artist, and massive crowds. The line for tickets wound through the farm stand and was quite confusing (NOTE: if anyone from Connors Farm reads this, consider setting up admissions sales tables/tents in the parking lot on busy days to make it easier to get the wristbands and easier to shop for farm products).
Once we settled in, it was a lot of fun. Even the band, Psychedelic Relic, sounded pretty good. We tried to make our way through the corn maze but got really lost. Or not so much lost, as we kept circling back to the beginning and could not figure out how to advance further into the maze. The kids got frustrated and we decided to take a break, but we never made it back. No matter. We had a great time seeing the barnyard animals, watching the pig race, and playing on the horse swings, jumping pillows, and pedal carts among other things. Then we picked two massive pumpkins to bring home.
Here are some nice photos of our day of autumnal pleasantries.
A little gospel to knock your socks off to start the week. The sock-removers are the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers of Los Angeles, performing “Little Light.”
Author: Felicia Day
Title: You’re Never Weird on the Internet
Narrator: Felicia Day
Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015)
Felicia Day’s memoir is funny and inspiring, and especially good narrated in Day’s own voice. Day describes her unusual childhood where she was homeschooled and first found community through gaming communities on the internet. Growing up and deciding to go into acting, she finds herself typecast in roles and ends up writing, producing, and starring in one of the earliest successful web series, The Guild. I first learned of Day watching The Guild, and despite knowing next to nothing about gaming culture, I found it hilarious and accessible (and if you haven’t seen it you should watch it now). While the documents her success as an artist creating her own niche, Day also has lived with anxiety and depression with a particular bad period coinciding with the end of The Guild and honestly described. Day also includes a chapter about gamergate, the notoriously misogynist and nasty movement which has split the gaming community Day loves so much in recent years. All in all, a good, honest, and funny celebrity memoir.
Recommended books: Bossypants by Tina Fey, Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg, and American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent
Beer: Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments: This bubbly amber-colored beer with a thick head smells of cinnamon spice, and has an appropriately sweet pumpkin flavor up front with a bitter aftertaste. There’s light lacing, bit of a lingering head, and a light mouthfeel. Definitely a pumpkin delight for the season.
Beer: Oktoberfest Bier
Brewer: Paulaner Brauerei GmbH & Co.
Source: Draft, in a beer stein
Rating: ** (6.3 of 10)
Comments: I quaffed a stein of this seasonal beer, which is copper in color with lots of bubbles and a thin head. It offers a mild, grainy aroma and has a nice graham cracker flavor with a hint of honey followed by an acidic aftertaste. Nice lacing on the glass. This is your basic Oktoberfest Märzen and good for the occasion.
Author :Truman Capote
Title: In Cold Blood
Narrator: Scott Brick
Publication Info: New York, NY : Random House Audio, p2006.
Previously Read by the Same Author:
This is one of those books that’s long been on the list of “Why haven’t I read this yet?” In Cold Blood is known for being the prototypical non-fiction work written in the novelistic style and a forerunner of the true crime genre. Through Capote’s extensive research he is able to recreate before, during, and after of a brutal quadruple murder in Holcomb, Kansas from the points of view of the victims, perpetrators, investigators, and variety of friends, neighbors, and townsfolk. Capote’s writing style is impeccable and the story is griping. Yet there’s a nagging doubt in my mind of just how much of this is true to life and how much was designed to make a good story. Despite being a well-written story, there’s also is a gratuitousness to it that left me feeling a bit dirty afterwards.
The Casey Overpass is over and past. The elevated highway structure that darkened the skies over Forest Hills and divided a neighborhood (literally and figuratively) for more than 60 years is gone. I wrote several times about the multi-year process that went into the plan to remove the highway and replace it with an at-grade city street, improvements for walking, biking, and transit, and public space, but had doubts that it would ever really happen. So when the big machinery arrived this spring and began dismantling the overpass, it was a delight to watch them in action. Even more so was the dramatic change that occurred in the Forest Hills area as the sunlight was able to shine on the area and views of the Boston skyline and nearby wooded parkscapes opened up.
There’s a lot more work to be done to complete the Casey Arborway Project, and I expect the construction period won’t always be fun, but I look forward to the continuing transformation of Forest Hills from a place where cars just drive through, to a place where people live, work, shop, dine, and play.
Here are some photos I took over the course of the year showing the demolition.
Author: Robert Kirkman
Title: The Walking Dead Vol. 23: Whispers Into Screams
Publication Info: Image Comics (2015)
The last volume of The Walking Dead introduced the Whisperers, a group of people who wear skins of the dead so they can walk and live among the undead. In this volume, a girl from the Whisperers is captured and during her captivity, Carl befriends her. Meanwhile, Maggie is facing opposition as leader of the Hilltop community. It’s a nice change of pace to take the focus off of Rick for once. I feel that these issues are kind of dragging their heels for now, but there’s a lot of potential that could be building for the Whisperers’ story. They could become the next group our heroes have to fight a war against (god, I hope not), or there could be a more nuanced story of how these different types of survivors interact.