An Eater’s Manifesto

For my birthday I received In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  The book covers how the American diet has changed over the last century, mostly due to influences from processed food companies. It is more than a little disturbing how much control these companies have gained over government health advice, and in turn, over our diets. Pollan argues that the food companies are increasingly trying to push processed foods into consumers’ shopping carts since they can be made more cheaply, and allow for a higher price markup, than regular food items. Pollan’s suggestions for a healthy diet make sense to me: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Continue reading

My First Book – a review

Update 12/31/08: Since writing this I have also had another hardbound and a paperback book published by blurb.  In all cases I have been very happy with the quality.  Other family members have had good luck as well, although we have noticed that different print batches of the same book can come back with fairly significant differences in color. If you are looking for 100% color accuracy you may be slightly disappointed, but for most people blurb is a great deal and makes very nice products.

As a grad student I’ve had a few publications in conferences, but I recently published my first book. Unlike my previous work which was mostly technical giberish, my latest piece goes back to nature, and the backpacking trip that my dad, brother, and I took up Katahdin, an amazing mountain in Maine. Although the first print run was only two copies, it was very well received, and I’m planning to order a third copy soon. I made the book using software from, a site which makes it easy to create publish your own photo books. Continue reading

Straight Man: A Novel

I just finished reading Richard Russo’s Straight Man, a hilarious story of an extremely dysfunctional academic department. Over the course of a long weekend, the narrator, William Henry Devereaux , Jr, manages to be charged as a duck murdering terrorist, cry for joy from wetting his pants, and (almost) play in a donkey basketball game. While the storyline alone is comical enough, it is told with a sarcastic humor that shows up even when the tale turns more serious to deal with relationships both between parents and children and husbands and wives. Continue reading