Readuponit: Travel and voracious reading

Max Hartshorne, travel website editor, sharing some of the stuff I read, hear and see with you. Updated every day. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Julie Butterfield Cavacco

Julie Butterfield Cavacco

Julie Cavacco wants to bring people together in our small village of South Deerfield.  So that’s why she’s organizing a community supper this Friday night, with a free dinner for anyone who wants to sit down at the table at the Congregational church on North Main Street from 6-7 pm.

I admire that Julie is putting this together, and I totally understand why she wants to do it.  Like Julie, I like feeling a sense of community, and I like occasions where I can talk to the people who live nearby and share what’s new in their lives. That’s why I like living in a village, and not way out in the country.

Even if you don’t live in town, you’re welcome to come to the supper, I know this because someone asked the question on the event’s Facebook page.  Julie answered yes.

I have admired the work that Candice Bradbury-Carlin and others have put in to create Community Central in Deerfield, with events like their arts show and some similar supper events. Both Julie and Candice used to come to my cafe in town, they miss that feeling of having a central place where people  congregate, so they’re working on events like these to bring people together.

With our new Arts Bank and its art openings and events, we’re working toward having a town with people who are connected.  Cheers to Julie for her efforts, it takes work and nerve to organize and pull these events off.

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Kitchen Renovation: Things We Learned

by Max Hartshorne on April 21, 2014

Our kitchen is almost finished!

Our kitchen is almost finished!

We’re just days away from being finished with our kitchen renovation, and we’ve learned quite a bit along the way.  Here are a few of the things we picked up in this process, which has been percolating in my head for many years.

I have been staring at a stain on the kitchen ceiling for more than 10 years, and that’s one of the motivators that pushed me to decide to go for this.   By the way, the cardboard will be replaced with a black granite top in a few days!

Projects like this bring a couple closer together.  Spending time painting walls and ceilings and shopping for drawer pulls and countertops is time that we added together.  As we move along in our lives, we need to create these opportunities to work as a team, and this project provided that in spades.

Despite my usual assumption that almost everything you have done to your house will end up costing more than you think it will, in our case, it’s cost us less.  Just now the electrician left and after he couldn’t do what we wanted him to do, he said he’d credit us $100 on our bill.  We didn’t really need to have that timer installed in the upstairs bathroom anyway.

Some contractors are a perfect choice for the job. In our case, we have to salute Steve Mizula who is a neighbor and is totally connected. The benefits of  having a local guy do this is that he’s friends with the retired electrician who lives just two streets from us, and he also is buddies with the plumbers who are in the village. This meant that when he needed either of them to show up, they were there, and the same was true for the permits and inspections. It’s much easier when you deal with a guy on his own turf.

We broke this big kitchen renovation into two phases, because we can’t afford to rip out all of the old cabinets and mess with the windows during this go-round. But we had Steve design a plan so we knew what the next steps would be, and it gave him an extra incentive to do a great job, knowing a bigger project lies ahead.

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The Budos Band

The Budos Band brings a 10-piece orchestra playing Afro-soul with no singing to Pearl Street Ballroom tonight.

The Budos Band blows into Pearl Street Ballroom tonight and we’ll be front and center. I have been listening to this 10-piece orchestra that plays Afro-soul without the benefit of singers on Spotify, and I can’t wait to see them live.

That’s kind of unique, no vocals. But what I love most are their grooves, they can build up a hypnotic rhythm that flows like any good jam band.

I always love it when a new band I’ve never heard of joins the legions of musicians who play in the fair city of Northampton. We are so lucky, I often say, when I visit places like Princeton New Jersey where there king_cobrais plenty of money but virtually no live music. We don’t have the bucks here but we have the music, that’s for sure.

The Budos Band uses the symbol of a striking cobra as their band mascot.  They record at Daptone Records, and they call their music “the quintessence of Staten Island Soul.”  Here is how they describe their live shows:

“At any given Budos show, one might see b-boys break dancing to the band’s funk and hip-hop beats; record junkies nodding their heads to the soul-infused melodies; metal heads thrashing to the dark and ominous guitar and bass riffs; and general music lovers who eagerly attend Budos shows and smile approvingly at the melting pot of music that takes place. Simply put, The Budos kill the live show and with each record, their ability to put the energy, sweat, and passion of the live experience to wax increases.”

See you on the dance floor!

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Dan Peltier

Dan Peltier

Since 2004, we have had interns from UMass who work for GoNOMAD during the school year and often during the summer.  The interns who have worked with us have all contributed mightily to our body of stories, and each of them has left their own mark.   I often marvel at how great some of these young people are at writing and at social media, and some times I am left disappointed in them too.

There is one consistency that I see every semester.  It’s the one thing you can’t really teach–but it’s something that will have an effect on these interns as they turn into graduates and then job-seekers.  The thing that’s the hardest for them to do is to come up with their own ideas for stories that we publish every day on GoNOMAD.com.

I’m happy to hand out writing assignments, and every week, at the close of our Tuesday sessions, I dutifully do this. I give each of our two interns three or four assignments to work on during the week.  But I wish they could think of their own assignments too!  When I was a daily newspaper reporter, I tell them, I had to make up my own topics. I had to come up with stories every day.  Some times the interns buck this trend and do offer their own ideas.  I heartily appreciate that.  I tell them how you have to have ideas–and that’s the most valuable thing you can offer an editor.

Steffi Porter

Steffi Porter

This semester I am very pleased with the two interns working with us.  Daniel Peltier and Steffi Porter both met me in BJ Roche’s journalism class, both pursued me after the class telling me they wanted to come be our interns.  Both Dan and Steffi have been writing great stories with well-polished leads, and they get all of their assignments done and always show up on time.

These two have even given me two of their own ideas for stories–and both were first rate!  Dan wrote about visiting the site of the former World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and Steffi wrote a piece about visiting remote villages in South Korea when she made a visit to see her soldier boyfriend there.

Next week both Dan and Steffi are flying out on assignments for GoNOMAD. Dan travels to Virginia and Steffi will be going to New Mexico.  All expenses will be taken care of and they will write stories about the places for GoNOMAD.  I couldn’t be more pleased to be sending them, and they both have already done some local traveling around the state for stories and are both excellent writers.

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Easthampton’s Art Walk and Galaxy, a Fine Spring Combination

April 13, 2014

Tweet It was the first warm night of spring as we drove past woods erupting with the sounds of peepers on our way to Easthampton on Saturday night.  It was the monthly Art Walk, and as we turned the corner onto Cottage Street, it was clear that the balmy weather and excitement about this up [...]

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Sofie Reminds me to Play Whenever She Visits

April 10, 2014

Tweet What do you do when a little girl pays a visit to your house? I often am confronted with this when my daughter Kate asks me if I can watch Sofie, her five-year-0ld daughter on a weekday. There are times when I think I should decline, and tell her how busy I am and [...]

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