All posts by New Britain Bo

FMBD – February 2017

I got in some interesting reading over the holidays:

Flashman – George MacDonald Fraser

A wild romp of a book features Flashman, a swashbuckling, womanizing, scoundrel in Victorian England’s Army, on assignment to a cantonment in Kabul. A raunchy coward, he bumbles his way miraculously through thick and thin. This is the first of a series. I just started another book in the series (Flashman in the Great Game) where Flashman gets caught up in the middle of the Sepoy Revolt.

The Last Moriarty - Charles Veley

We were at my next-door neighbor’s house for a pre-Holiday soiree and got to talking with this couple who live across the street. The conversation somehow got to Benedict Cumberbatch and the BBC’s Sherlock series.

I’m a big fan of the canon, and recalled a recent A.C. Doyle story I had just downloaded from Project Gutenberg and read on my newly purchased Kindle. The main jist of my observation was about what an a**hole Holmes could be to Watson.

So this couple both start to smile broadly, and it turns out he is a UTC engineer by day, but a fiction writer by night, and a big Doyle fan.  He had also recently written (and had published) a Sherlock Holmes ‘continuation’ story which fits into the canon with historical precision.

The Last Moriarty picks up after Reichenbach Falls, when Holmes finally comes out of hiding, and gets involved in an intrigue involving several industrial magnates from America, some Connecticut connections, and even a reference to Farmington’s Miss Porter’s school.

The Noise of Time - Julian Barnes

I’d read Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending after a positive review in the Economist (+ Man Booker Prize winner) and really enjoyed it.  I’m also a Dimitri Shostokovich fan, so when I saw this book reviewed, I immediately ordered it and devoured it.

The book starts with Shostakovich in a panic as he has just had his first opera performed (Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District) and the three figures in Stalin’s box seats walk out after the first act (including Stalin).  Shostakovich'  music is soon after denounced in Pravda.

He proceeds to dress up every night and sit in a chair next to the elevator with his kit and toothbrush, because he expects to be taken away by the secret police at night, and doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his wife.  A lot of Soviet history mixed in with the musician's life and music.

A Whole Life - R. Seethaler

A tender read about a simple man who lives a simple life in the Austrian Alps, overcoming adversity, and yet persevering. Well written - a sad story but not a bummer.

So Nation - what have you been reading?

Smoking Char

fullsizerender

Ordered these fine fellows (Arctic Char) from Coastal SeaFoods on Snelling in St. Paul, approx 3 lbs each.  Originally I was going to get Lake Trout but they can be iffy to get fresh.

fullsizerender-1

Soaked them in a brine (salt and brown sugar) for 6'ish hours.

fullsizerender-3Then on to the smoker with Alder chips soaked for about 15 minutes.

fullsizerender-4

Turned the smoker on to 200F and let them cook for about 3 hours (turned up the temps slightly for the last 1/2 hr.  Meanwhile me and the brothers were chainsawing trees in the yard.  Awesome Alder smell from the smoker.  Can't get too far away as the chips sometimes catch fire and need to be doused.

fullsizerender-2

Tender, moist, and wonderful flavor.  Char (Salvelinus alpinus) is a delicate, fatty fish - smoking is a great way to make it.

 

γνῶθι σεαυτόν – Know thyself

Looking back on 2016, I had some high points (Simsbury TryAthlon, TrapRock 17K Trail Race, Ragnar Trails in MA, Longest Swim Evah in Carnac-Brittany, Narragansett Wheelmen Century Ride), but I also had numerous nadirs.

A glance at my training spreadsheet over the summer yields several gems: "more limping", "muscle spasms", Select Therapy sessions, "sore ankle", "sore knees", "epsom salt/vinegar bath."

Thanks to Baby Jeebus that it's not age-related.  And, this boyo ran my first mile in a month two days ago,  and the knee is behaving.  I'm trying to run responsibly while on the heal, but I want to go out there and run 10 miles.

What are you Citizens doing?