Monday, October 16, 2017

We Heart Local

The locavore philosophy -- favoring locally sourced foods -- has caught hold in many places.  It is especially strong in New England.  I stopped for lunch recently at The Popover Bistro and Bakery.

There was a simple menu for breakfast and lunch, featuring vegan and organic foods.  
I liked the blackboard that showed where most of their foods came from.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Tommy's Tattoo Convention is taking place this weekend at the Connecticut Convention Center.

I went by on Friday afternoon, before the convention began.  Sarah and Mikey were hanging out.
Sarah has numerous tattoos, some reflecting her Buddhism and others based on Goth-style
movies that she likes.  Mikey has a fascinating left arm illusion tattoo, 
with skulls that morph into human figures. 

Sarah, Emily and Mike are tattoo artists from Philadelphia.  Their tattoos don't have any specific meanings.  They just liked the art and thought the tattoos were cool.

Cory is a tattoo artist from Groton, Connecticut.  He was fine with being photographed,
but he is a man of few words and didn't want to talk about his tats.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Organ music filled the empty Trinity College chapel.

An organist, Thomas Ospital, was rehearsing for a performance last evening.

Bach.  Mozart.  Fauré.  Debussy.  An original composition.  It must have been heavenly.

Thomas Ospital is organiste titulaire at Saint-Eustache Church in Paris and organist-in-residence
at Maison de la Radio (Radio France Music Hall).

Thursday, October 12, 2017


The kitchen garden behind the Pond House in Elizabeth Park is deliciously overgrown
as the end of the growing season approaches.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Austin Organ

Founded in 1893, Austin Organs Inc. builds pipe organs using the Universal Airchest System developed by John T. Austin. The longevity and reliability of an Austin Organ speaks to his ingenuity; many of their instruments from the late 19th century are still in use today.
The factory is a big pile of red bricks on Woodland Street in Hartford. 

Everything is designed and manufactured on-site, from scratch.  Curt gave me a tour.
This is the room where lumber is received and planed into lengths for further tooling.

The cabinetry for a big organ commissioned by a Houston church is being crafted here.
This one is perhaps two floors high and the equivalent of six big rooms.
It takes about a year and a half to build the organ, which costs nearly $2 million.

Two men meticulously finish parts of the pipes by hand.

 Three women attach leather to wood blocks.  The organ's pedals will make these parts expand and contract, operating some of the keys.  (Or something like that . . . don't hold me to the details.) 

Dan does the voicing.  When he receives them, the pipes are just metal cylinders.  They make screechy noises.  When he finishes, each makes a clean and distinctive note of 
the desired pitch and tone.  Very cool to listen to a before and after.

The factory is a fascinating blend of old and new.  Many of the machines date back to the 19th century, but the planning and execution is guided by sophisticated engineering and technology.