Monday, March 27, 2017

If it's Cooper's, this must be Austin

Indeed it is.  I landed this afternoon in Austin, worked for quite a while, and then headed downtown to Cooper's for some extremely good barbecue.

We're talking serious meat here, rich and delicious brain food.

Of course, we had to add a little bacon jalapeno mac and cheese, some beans, and a little Wonder Bread and pickles.

For the short time before I wanted to crash (I didn't; it was a very late work night), I'm sure my IQ doubled under the influence of the barbecue's power.

Pure Texas joy.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


If you've watched any of the trailers for this new science fiction/horror film, you've probably thought, "I've seen this movie before under other names."  For the most part, you're right:  you have.  What surprised me about Life, though, is that it entertained me and held my attention the whole time, even though I knew exactly how it would go almost every step of the way.

One of the reasons it's so engaging is the cast.  All of the actors turn in good performances, and the director, Daniel Espinosa, takes the time to let us get to know each of them at least a bit.

Another aspect that worked well is the use of the International Space Station as the setting.  From its construction and layout, which lent themselves well to long shots in cramped spaces, to the choice to make all the action occur in zero-g, the ISS proved an unusual and powerful place to stage the film.

What you have to suspend to enjoy the movie is your analytical side.  If I had designed the ship's lab, for example, the first bit of bad action would have occurred, and my safeguards would have taken care of the problem in no time at all--but then we'd have no movie.

As long as you're willing to stop analyzing, though, Life will reward you with an entertaining and engaging story.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Something odd is coming

I can't yet tell you anything about it, except that it's a rather odd thing for me, and I'm rather excited about it.

I'm pretty sure you'll know it when you see it, but I'll definitely remind you that it was what I was talking about when I wrote this entry.

More to come as this mystery unfolds.

Friday, March 24, 2017

On my mind tonight, for so many reasons

Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jean, and this fine Bernie Taupin/Elton John song about her.

She's still running around in a lot of our unconsciousness.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

What will I be trying to watch on May 25?

Why, the Red Nose Day, Actually broadcast, of course.

I know it's just a 10-minute film and likely to have all the depth of any cast reunion, but it's from Richard Curtis, and it's about Love Actually, so I'm unreasonably excited about it.

Of course, if I were back in London, I could watch it on BBC One tomorrow, but I'm not, so I can't.  Lucky Brits!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

About that amazing dinner in Barcelona

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had eaten a wonderful, world-class dinner in Barcelona, and I promised to tell you more about it.  I'm writing now to fulfill that promise.

The meal was at Enigma, a new restaurant from Alber Adria (with some input from his brother, the famed Ferran Adria, ex of El Bulli).  Though Adria's name is on the restaurant, its lead chef, Oliver Pena, and his team do the cooking, and they do it extraordinarily well.

As the name suggests, Adria's concept is to lead you from one mystery to another.  For example, they call each of the multiple separate dining rooms an enigma, and you move among them in the course of your meal.  To help with the illusion, they ask that guests not reveal the menu or show any photos of the food, so I cannot do either.

I can show you the imposing door

Click a photo to see a larger version.

and its keypad,

on which you have to enter a special code, which varies from person to person and which they supply only when you've paid your reservation's deposit.

The many, many courses are all remarkable, each one a blend of largely local ingredients and the sort of modernist cuisine cooking techniques for which El Bulli was justly famous.

I can't say more without violating my agreement with the folks there, so let me just suggest that if you are ever in Barcelona and can get into Enigma--it's perpetually sold out, and I ate there only by being on the waiting list--you should.  It is a wonderful, delicious experience.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thunder filling the air and rain falling on the skylights

are two of my favorite sounds.  Earlier tonight, I had the privilege of enjoying both, and for the short time they lasted, they were wonderful.

Thanks to the intertubes, you can have your own, should you feel in the mood.

Not as good as the real thing, but on a decent set of speakers, not bad.


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