Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Archival posts from my former blog, Walking and Talking

Engineering's loss is Star Wars geekdom's gain

I realized today that YouTube and the New York City subway would be a much drearier place if it were not for the recession. This was after another interesting subway experience, once again, on the L line. What is it about my local cross-town line that breeds such crazy/talented buskers? It must be the vegetable pheromones that waft down from the Union Square green market.

Descending to the 6th Avenue station L platform, I caught strains of the Star Wars theme song being played on the accordion. This was amusing enough, but then the musician came into sight: it was Boba Fett! He was sitting on a little stool with a sign in his instrument case that read “Have Master’s Degree, Need Engineering Job.”

It turns out he was Nathan Stodola, a graduate student working for his master’s degree in transportation engineering at City College, wearing a homemade Boba Fett mask. It was crude, but you got the idea. The entertainer earned his first master’s (in mechanical engineering) from Columbia but went back to school after taking a look at the job market. I know all this because he had a little stack of resumes in his case for the taking. You never know when some big engineering boss with super hiring power might be taking the L line.

But really, engineering’s loss is Star Wars geekdom’s gain! The Force was with Nathan as he belted out dramatic Star Wars tunes on his Guerrini. I was enthralled. Here’s his YouTube Star Wars Medley. Check out “renegadeaccordion” on YouTube for a lot of other tunes (he has a soft spot for video game theme songs, like Super Mario Bros. and Halo), including many avec masque Boba.

I asked Nathan if he was making a lot of money and he replied, “Not as much as I would be with an engineering job.”

Yerba Buena spices up Perry Street

Why I wished I lived in Santa Monica, or at least spent, say, every February here