To catch you up on all-things-etherfarm, not much has happened since my last post, which was made on the day of my daughter’s birth a few years ago. In that time:

Sweet Home Chicago

The family has escaped moved back to the Chicago area from California. It’s probably no secret to anyone who knows me well (or, actually, anyone who had a passing conversation with me) that through my fifteen years away from Chicago, I had been longing to come back for roughly 13 of those. We landed softly, and with the exception of my work travel, our life here couldn’t be better. We’re in walking distance of everything we need, live on a great street with fantastic neighbors who pepper our social calendar with block parties and progressive dinners and the like, and there are numerous options for good deep-dish pizza and Italian beef.

I had high expectations moving back to Chicago, and—incredibly—reality has exceeded all of them.

Sitting on the wall

Birthday Girl

Family

Easter Song

You Shall Not Pass

The Street

House & Kid

Job. Job. Job.

I’ve changed jobs. Twice. I don’t usually blog about work on etherfarm. Work stuff goes here.

Dense as Wood

My woodworking activities have largely been put on hold due to the time demands of my new job and two small kids. The need to dismantle, move and reassemble my woodshop didn’t help either. I’ve made some small things (shelves, racks, etc.) but nothing I’d point out to anyone. Some downtime and an extended period at home over these holidays, however, have allowed me to start to getting things in the woodshop back on track (more on that soon).

To compensate, I try to make as much time as I can for projects with Lost Art Press, a small publisher dedicated to texts about woodworking run by a good friend of mine. Among those projects:

Lost Art Press is good people.

Fork Bending

I have eaten. A lot. Being back in Chicago is both good and bad in this regard.

Good: there is so much good food to eat.

Bad: I eat it.

Since my last post on food, I’ve got at least three food benders under my belt (literally). Don’t worry, I’ve got a post for one of those already lined up.

The Not-Swiss Family Nayar

The kids have obviously grown two-and-something years older. Ray is no longer a toddler (a large part of me thinks he skipped that phase altogether); he’s fully mobile and articulate and reads books without pictures and on good days, helps me cook, clean, and do stuff around the house. He’s interested in anything that involves lasers, robots, and photosynthesis. He still says some of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, which I’ve been documenting on Twitter for a while (#rayquote). Among my favorites:

  • “Right now, medicine is racing through my body on a piece of lasagna, slicing pain in two.”
  • “I don’t wanna learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. I mean, what good is a bike going to be after I learn how to fly?”
  • “I tried and tried until I successed.”

Anya is very much a toddler and Nara and I are being schooled hard on parenting a two year old. I can tell that Anya quotes are right around the corner. Until then, you will all have to be amazed with the following short videos:

Like I said—not much has changed. Just a reboot of practically every facet of my life except my marriage—a partnership which in just a few weeks will have started almost twelve years ago.

Anya Viola Nayar

Narayan, Nara, and Ray are pleased to announce the birth of Anya Viola Nayar. She was born (very quickly!) on May 23rd at 13:29, weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and measured 19.5”.

After Anya and Nara settled into a nap, I went to pick up some Ray and some dinner. My first conversation with Ray after his sister was born unfolded as follows:

Me: Hey buddy, we’re going to get some pizza and some ice cream for your mom…and your sister!

Ray: gasp … Did the baby come out?

Me: Yes, she did!

Ray: Is she a robot that shoots fire from her tentacles?

Me:

Ray: Because that would be cool. And dangerous.

Me:

Ray: Can I eat my ice cream next to the baby? What if the baby puts fire on my ice cream?

Me: I don’t think the baby will do that.

Ray: That’s great news! So can I have sprinkles on my ice cream?

And so it begins…

Addendum: Anya Viola’s Flickr Set grows almost as fast as she does. If you’re on the main page, some of my favorites to date are after the break.

The girls:

Look!

Yawn

Catnap

Food Bender 2010 involved some quality time in a part of the country I don’t know very well–the southeastern midwest (or if you prefer, the northwestern South). In 2008, I went to the Woodworking in America Handtools Event in Berea, Kentucky, but other than my brief stay at the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, that trip was primarily about woodworking, not about food.

Old Ministry House

This year, in addition to a few nights in Cincinnati (a way cool town, it turns out), three friends and I used the Old Ministry House (pictured above) as a base of operations for exploring the area’s culinary and cultural offerings. The bucolic setting and the sporadic mobile phone reception left me about as unplugged as I get–both mentally and electronically. And not since my last road trip, which now seems a handful of forevers ago–have I imbibed in such a distinctly American experience. And by “American” I don’t mean the “fusion-of-everything, rooted to nothing” way California expresses American, but rather the bourbon-making, horse-racing, black tobacco barn raising, salty country ham-eating American woven into the cultural tapestry of southern Ohio and northern and central Kentucky.

Fence

After the last few chaotic months of work and just around the corner from once again being father to a newborn, time away with quality people and quality food was just what the doctor ordered (and, to give credit where credit is due, it was also what the wife allowed–thanks, honey!). As was the case with Food Bender 2009, names are being withheld to protect the guilty.

Sunday, 18 April

Nada: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chips, Salsa, Guacamole
  • Nada Sliders (Angus beef, steamed onions, queso, jalapeño)
  • Short rib Sopes w/ creme, cotija cheese and pickled onions
  • Cazuela tasting (iron pot sampler): Tinga Poblana (chicken & chorizo, spicy tomato, poblano rice), Pork green chile (braised pork, roasted chiles, salsa verde, poblano rice), Lamb mole (braised lamb shoulder, ancho chile, peas, spaghetti squash)
  • Yucatan chicken: allspice-chile rubbed bressed, charred green beans, carmelized cauliflower and grilled chayote squash with citrus-habenero salsa
  • Carnitas tacos
  • Crispy Pork Belly tacos
  • Margueritas

Monday, 19 April

Delites: Maysville, Kentucky
  • 2 very gray hot dogs. (Editorial note: After seeing the world’s largest hammer museum I was starving and needed to make an emergency food stop. Let me just say that the interior of this place reminded me of a 1970s diner but in someone’s basement. I think the hot dogs dated back to the 1970s as well.
  • Diet Coke (a rarity in my diet–but in this case a necessary one, since we all know that beverage is the Clorox bleach of beverages.)

Tuesday, 20 April

Taste from Belgium: Findlay Market, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1 Belgian Waffle

Tuesday, 20 April

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill: Trustees Office Dining Room: Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  • Johhny Cakes and Mushrooms: Silver dollar cornmeal cakes, topped with sautéed Sheltowee Farms mushrooms with shallots, white wine, butter, garlic and fresh herbs
  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken: A fresh chicken breast, leg and thigh soaked in buttermilk and fried to perfection,served with sour cream mashed potatoes and crisp baby green beans
  • Baked, Sugar-Cured Bluegrass Farms Country Ham
  • Shaker Lemon Pie

Wednesday, 21 April

Keeneland: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Kentucky Bergoo (for the record, it’s listed on the menu as KY Bergoo, which is just…wrong)
  • 2 Beef Hot Dogs
  • Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream

Thursday, 22 April

Kurtz Restaurant: Bardstown, Kentucky
  • Johnnycakes
  • Corn pudding
  • Hot Brown
  • Coconut Cream Pie
  • Lemon Pie

Thursday, 22 April

Maker’s Mark Distillery: Loretta, Kentucky
  • Tasting of Maker’s Mark Mint Julep
  • Tasting of Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Thursday, 22 April

Jack Fry’s: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Shrimp and grits: sautéed shrimp in a red eye gravy with shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, and country ham served over creamy grits
  • Duck Confit: Local duck served on a buttermilk biscuit with Brandy demi-glaze and blueberry Bing cherry preserves with Crème fraîche
  • Dates: Bacon wrapped Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo sausage and Capriole Farm goat cheese with a smoky tomato sauce
  • Spicy Fried Oysters: Kentucky country ham, green onions and creamy grits
  • Roasted Beed Salad: Kentucky arugula with pistachio and herb rolled Indiana goat cheese in a shallot citrus vinaigrette
  • Veal tenderloin: with gremolata mashed potatoes and caramelized apples in a Calvados cream sauce
  • Filet: grilled center cut beef filet with Parma Proscuitto, asparagus, sage beurre blanc and a crispy potato cake. Finished with Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Filet: Encore. ()Editorial note: No, really. Because it was that friggin’ good.)
  • Lemon Raspberry Beignets: lemon curd with raspberry coulees, almond ice cream, and caramelized ginger

Friday, 23 April

Tucker’s: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Home Fries Deluxe: Deluxe Home Fries with Mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and fresh basil
  • Goetta (Editorial note: uh, yum!)

Friday, 23 April

Honey: Northside, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Honey Fries: Sweet, Yukon, and Idaho with chili lime honey
  • Creole Meatloaf with Tasso ham gravy, cracked Tellicherry mashed Yukon potatoes, and sautéed vegetables
  • Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with apple and house-cured bacon bread pudding, wilted greens, and Router’s apple compote
  • Braised beef short ribs served over mashed Yukon potatoes, seasonal vegetable, and Amaretti cherry fortified braising jus reduction
  • Banana walnut croissant bread pudding with homemade vanilla ice cream

Saturday, 24 April

Taste from Belgium: Findlay Market, Cincinnati, Ohio

Editorial note: Yeah, I went back. Because, uh, yum! Why aren’t these available everywhere?

  • 1 Belgian Waffle
  • 1 Belgian Waffle w/ strawberries & whipped cream

Notes

  • Best meal: Jack Fry’s.
  • Worst meal: the gray hot dog incident in Maysville. I have to admit I was somewhat conflicted about writing about that particular meal. In the end I did so not out of malice but out of some sick sense of pride. It takes an immense amount of courage (and intestinal fortitude) to wolf down two tubes of gray meat on some dry white buns.
  • Best dish: my hands-down favorite is the crispy pork belly tacos at Nada. If I could, I would walk the earth with a bottomless bag of these, spreading porkgasmic goodwill, teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, etc. These tacos would, without question, single-handedly resolve the conflict in the Middle East (if people in that region ate pork).
  • Runner-ups: Shrimp & Grits or the Filet at Jack Fry’s
  • Biggest surprise: Cincinnati. I’ll be back.

There are, of course, photos from Food Bender 2010 on Flickr.

A Tale of Two Cabbies

April 11, 2010 — 1 Comment

A 3-week long business trip a few weeks ago began in early March at 6:15am when Scotty pulled up to the house in his taxi. I got into the back seat and, having used Scotty’s airport service several times, asked Scotty how he was doing.

“I’m cold, man!”

“Yeah? How cold is it?”

“I don’t know. It’s freezing. It’s like 42 degrees or something”.

Scotty’s a great, affable guy. If he didn’t tell you, you’d be able to guess in 5 minutes that he’s a Redwood City native, born and raised.

I said, “Are you kidding? I’m going to Chicago! Don’t complain to me about being cold!”

Hours later upon exiting the airport in Chicago, I met Jonas. Jonas is a taxi driver my parents use often and speak of highly. I had never met him and, not having any other options, I had arranged for him to pick me up. He pulled up to the curb and shook my hand vigorously.

As he put my suitcase in the trunk he said, “Welcome to Chicago! You’ve come on an absolutely beautiful day–it’s like 42 degrees or something!”

On To Two O One O

December 31, 2009 — 5 Comments

Most of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances found 2009 a harder year than years past. The global economic downturn and its residual effects of course weighed heavily on all of us—some more directly than others. For me, 2009 really wasn’t bad, and I’m going into 2010 with some good momentum.

The Could’ve-Been-Better

2009 was a bad year for the Nayar dogs. Both Sadie and Lakshmi passed away, and their absence is palpable. I can say without hesitation that Lakshmi’s death was the low point of the year for me.

Viewports

Other than at work and in regards to PS3 game trophies, I was spectacularly unproductive this year. In woodworking, I tried a lot of new things (like turning) and have honed some essential skills over the last year, but in service of nothing productive (sans more shop furniture). I’ll endeavor for more tangible results in 2010 and already have a list of pieces I hope to build in the first half of the year (and yes, dear, your side tables are on it smile). I’m also empty-handed when it comes to etherfarm developments–I had grand plans for this site this year, but at the end of a day staring at screens and talking with people who stare at screens, after Ray goes to bed I find I’d much rather be at my lathe or at my bench in the woodshop than in front of HTML, CSS and PHP.

Bit-O-Hole

Sadly, though, I more often ended up with a videogame controller or mouse in my hands rather than a tool. This I lament, even though there were some amazing games in 2009, some of which I even found inspiring.

The Good

My work travel was less than 50% of my 2008 corporate globetrotting. That didn’t necessarily translate to more time at home; I spent almost all of my vacation days in Illinois. Which, for a variety of reasons, is a splendid place to be.

Lush

I might be one of the few people I know who likes their job. I took on a new role at work this year, and it’s full of new and interesting challenges. For the first time in a long, long time, I feel that when I’m engaged with what I’m doing, I can end just about every day having learned or done something new or having found new ways to apply the one or two things I actually do know.

I spent a lot of time with friends this year–old and new, near and far. Last year, my tolerance for West Coast Flakiness achieved a critical mass and I more or less went into seclusion. This year, a few of my friendships in the Bay Area seemed to take root and it somehow worked out that I had more quality time with friends in other locales. It perhaps goes without saying that I ate a lot of good food with some of these good people in 2009.

And to counter all that good food, I managed to swim at least 3 times a week all year this year (with just a few exceptions due to travel). This wasn’t really a goal (it’s an unintended accomplishment) but I’m ending 2009 feeling much more healthy than I have in years past. Which is nice, because despite my relatively low number of years on this planet, I’ve felt physically old and decrepit since my back surgery in 2003.

We transformed the front and back yards from worthless patches of horrible, clumpy grass to wonderful outdoor rooms. I admire them every time I leave and arrive home and probably will until we leave this place.

Before: Front Yard
From Garage Door
Back Porch

And of course, there’s Ray. I go on and on about him, and I’ve found that those who meet him tend to go on and on about him as well. It’ll suffice to say that in the last 365 days, he’s gone from toddler to little boy, and I find joy and poetry in almost everything he says and does.

Obviously, in balance, I really can’t complain about 2009—to do so would be absurd. It has left me exhausted in a good way, like being “just full enough” after a great meal. And I’m optimistic about 2010 for a variety of reasons, but Nara has the biggest one in development:

If all goes well, Ray’s little sister will arrive in early June. And if that’s not a reason to look forward to 2010, I don’t know what is.

Less Is More

October 21, 2009 — 2 Comments
Sprawl

This year I’ve traveled only a quarter of what I traveled last year. Though I have friends in most places I visit, it has been nice not having to go overseas so much. The real difference, though, is not measured in miles traveled or time abroad. The difference is that this year Ray really notices when I’m away. You have my word that etherfarm won’t become a repository for quoted conversations with my son, but if you ever hear the following, it’s time to unpack the suitcase for a while (or be sure to pack him in it next time you leave).

Narayan: How are you today, Ray?

Ray: I’m fine. But I got run over while you were in Philly-delphia.

Narayan: You got run over?!

Ray: Yes. I got run over.

Narayan: What ran you over?

Ray: A lawnmower.

Narayan: A lawnmower?! Did it hurt?

Ray: Yes. But I also got run over by a jackhammer.

Narayan: Really?

Ray: Yes. It was a steel rod jackhammer.

Narayan: Oh, those are the worst kind.

Ray: And I got a boo boo.

Narayan: Where?

Ray: On the inside.

Narayan: You got a boo boo on the inside?

Ray: When you go away I miss you and I get run over on the inside.

Narayan:

Silly

July 5, 2009 — 4 Comments
Puzzled

Below are excerpts from recent conversations I’ve had with Ray:

Playing with Trains

Ray:Choo-a-choo, whoo-a-whoo…

Narayan:Choo-a-choo, whoo-a-whoo…

Ray: “Slow down for the government!”

Narayan: “What did you just say?!”

Ray: “Slow down for the government!”

Narayan: “Wow. OK. What does that mean?”

Ray: “Slow down for the government!”

Narayan: “Yeah, but what does it mean?”

Ray: “It means you have to go slow so you don’t hurt anybody.”

Narayan: “Oh, I get it, the government says you have to slow down to be safe.”

Ray: “Yep.”

Narayan, strategizing: “You know what else the government says, right?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “The government says you have to take a shower this morning.”

Ray: “No it doesn’t!”

Narayan: “How do you know?!”

Ray: “Because you don’t take showers on the train, that’s silly!”

Watching a Jogger

Narayan: “There goes a jogger!”

Ray, wincing: “He was nekkid!”

Narayan: “He was?”

Ray: “His legs were nekkid!”

Narayan: “Yeah, he was wearing shorts.”

Ray: “His tummy was nekkid!”

Narayan: “Yeah, he wasn’t wearing a shirt.”

Ray: “And his head was nekkid.”

Narayan: “Yeah, I guess he was a little bald.”

Ray: “And his arms were nekkid and his neck was nekkid and his fingers were nekkid.”

Narayan: “…”

Ray: “Daddy?”

Narayan: “Yes, Ray?”

Ray: “HIS EYES WERE NEKKID! THAT’S SILLY!”

Making Pancakes

Narayan: “Ray, do you want blueberries in your pancakes?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Do you want blueberries on your pancakes?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Strawberries?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Butter?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Whipped Cream?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Honey?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Maple syrup?”

Ray: “No.”

Narayan: “Well, I’m out of ideas. What do you want on your pancakes?”

Ray: “Daddy?”

Narayan: “Yes, Ray?”

Ray: “You know what I want in my pancakes?”

Narayan: “What, Ray?”

Ray: “Flavor.”

Narayan: “Well, that’s silly.”

Five Years

June 26, 2009 — 1 Comment
Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today on a farm in northwest Illinois, my wife and I drove to our wedding on a tractor. She was wearing a dress she made herself and I was wearing a traditional ceremonial Indian outfit (complete with curly, pointy shoes!) brought to the U.S. by relatives. The tractor, a six-wheeled John Deere Gator, was a fitting chariot for an excursion through an apple orchard, a mud puddle, across a land bridge, and up a small hill to a throng of people wondering exactly which cultish ritual they had signed up to attend.

Our dogs and 80 or so humans were in attendance while a judge who, in a ceremony about as long as a trip through the Portillo’s drive-thru during non-peak hours, read vows we had written ourselves. We then stuffed our faces first with Indian food then a three-layer cake (carrot, chocolate, and Indian rice pudding flavors) which Nara and her mom made the day prior.

Veiled Attempt

It was by far the best wedding I’ve ever attended and easily one of the best days of my life so far. Even though the whole endeavor was completely improvised from start to finish, it still managed to convey that the eclectic, creative, crafty, irreverent and beautiful aspects of her personality could blend successfully with the best I have to offer: emotionally distant anal-retentiveness (and a freakish absence of body odor). And I couldn’t be more thrilled to say that five years later, that nothing about that has changed. We’re still improvising, and we’re still blending successfully. And I still smell good.

Our wedding invitation, a postcard, aptly paraphrases the last 1800+ days:

Wedding Invite

Love you, honey.

Lakshmi, 1995-2009

June 11, 2009 — 18 Comments
Lakshmi

Today I had to say goodbye to my dog, Lakshmi. I’m not one for sentimental monologues–in fact I’m patently bad at them. I’m obligated, however, to at least a few words, as so many people absolutely adored Lakshmi. I was reminded of this just recently when I was in Portland, Maine, for the Food Bender. I lived in Portland for three years and anyone who knew me while I was there also knew Lakshmi–we went absolutely everywhere together. As I was walking down the street a few weeks ago, I thought I recognized someone walking toward me, and as she slowed down with a puzzled look on her face, it was clear she thought she recognized me as well. She said, tenatively, “Lakshmi’s dad, right?”

Lakshmi’s dad indeed. And this happened three times over the five days I was in Maine last month, a full nine years after I left Portland.

Granted, this phenomenon is common among dog owners. But some of these people would also just stop by sometimes–not to see me–but to walk my dog. And this has happened everywhere I’ve lived (except now in the burbs). There were a handful of people who actually couldn’t wait for me to travel somewhere by plane because if I couldn’t drive there, Lakshmi didn’t come with me and would need someone to care for her at home. People who hate dogs have professed love for Lakshmi, and she did her fair share of recruiting dog owners-to-be.

Into the wilderness

We really did go everywhere together. She crossed the continent with me at least 4 times and went on every single one of my epic two-lane highway roadtrips. I gather that over her fourteen-year lifespan she probably logged 150,000 miles. She slept in the car and in tents with me most of those trips and for a couple of months, we even lived out of my car, graduate student office, and a few Santa Cruz laundromats and cafes due to a pathetic housing situation. We traveled to glaciers and through deserts, to the center of North America, and the Center of the Earth (she’s got an official, signed certificate of her own for the that last one). She rode the subway in NYC as I had to get her uptown somehow and I had to pretend like I was blind to get her past the ticket booth. She backpacked with me all over the U.S. and Canada and has gone swimming in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. She’s growled at moose, beavers, raccoons, bears, buffalo, bison, whales, fish, and hippies. And she ran. Boy, did she run.

Air Lakshmi

Last September she had a buildup of fluid around her heart which almost killed her. When she made a completely unexpected recovery (she had lost about 1/3rd of her weight and there was a very high likelihood of the fluid buildup returning), the vet christened her “Miracle Dog”. Though she was as sweet as she had always been since that incident, she was noticeably older and more tired. Today I noticed that her back leg had swollen and brought her into the vet thinking she had sprained it or something. Unfortunately, an ultrasound revealed that the fluid was back in her chest and the swollen leg was probably related somehow to the root condition. And I really didn’t want to put her once again through the medical treatment which a few months earlier saved her life but seemed to take her spirit.

I’ll admit, regrettably, that in the last few years, the business of life with Ray has made us interact with the dogs more as furniture than as pets and as such, Lakshmi didn’t get the kind of opportunities she’s had in the past to run back and forth at light speed on a beach. But she seemed to understand her new role. When Ray was a baby, she’d sometimes lick his face while he was crying. And she was so patient with him as he grew from a helpless larvae in a bouncy chair to a kid who liked to make loud noises, pull tails and stroke her head with more vigor than he should have.

Bumbo Ray and Lakshmi

Patience

As she went to sleep for the last time today, I probably also stroked her head with more vigor than I should have as memories of all the crazy adventures we had together came to mind. It was a lot harder than I had thought it was going to be. But she had a great run of fourteen years and played such a significant role in making my last fourteen years as memorable as they have been. So yeah, I’m extremely sad. But also extremely grateful.

Here’s a photographic tribute to Lakshmi.

If I can, I plan on taking her ashes to the family farm in Illinois and burying them there in a box I’ll make myself, by hand, with as much love, compassion, and devotion that she showed me all those years. If you knew Lakshmi and have a few words to say in tribute, do leave a comment below. I’ll print out this entry and put it in the box with her ashes.

Maker Faire

June 8, 2009 — 2 Comments

My family has been attending the SF Bay Maker Faire every year since its inception. It’s relatively easy to describe what The Maker Faire is—unsurprisingly, it’s a gathering for people who make things—but it’s very difficult to articulate its scope in a way that can be understood for those who don’t or can’t attend.

The horizon of creativity witnessed at the Maker Faire is mindboggling. In attending the faire one imbibes equal parts art, science, craft, hobby, delusion, and obsession, witnessing everything from master yo-yo performances to roving squadrons of cupcakemobiles to battle robot arenas to pipe cleaner art. I think of the faire as a local Burning Man but one which, in ways I find refreshing, substitutes the pleasure and delight of “just making stuff” for the increasingly annoying pretense of “being cool”.

Only at the Maker Faire

One of the things I love about the Maker faire is that it’s so incredibly kid-friendly. This is really the first year that Ray is substantially cognizant in his exploration of anything, so even days later he’s still raving about the giant hydraulic hand (he’s fascinated by hydraulics–go figure) and the lego trains and the underwater robots.

It’s fair to say that despite the flashing lights of walking robots and the spectacle of flamethrowers, the highlight of the 2007 faire for us was this gentleman, Zach Houston, who ran a “Poem Store” in the expo hall.

Poem Store 2007

For whatever you think a poem is worth and on whatever topic you fancy, Zach will bang out a short poem on his tiny typewriter. In 2007, when Ray was just 1, we spoke for him, and the topic we chose was of course, Ray. Zach tapped out the following:

We looked for Zach in 2008 but unfortunately could not find him. We were thrilled this year, however, when we found him sitting under a tree, and we immediately queued for a sequel. When asked what topic Ray wanted for his poem, he thought for a few moments before saying, “ticket” (?!). Zach went to work:

Thanks, Zach. We’ll see you next year.

Here’s a bunch of photos from this and previous years compiled into a Maker Faire Flickr photoset.