Friday, January 18, 2008

Arisia report, day 1

After a not very refreshing two hours and forty-five minutes of sleep, I rolled out of bed, trimmed my beard, showered, and headed to the airport for the delight that is air travel in America today. Everyone was quite kind, though the sheer quantity of electronics in my briefcase caused the nice TSA folks to swab many different parts of it. In the Admiral's Club I enjoyed a bagel I'd purchased earlier and caught up on email, courtesy of their now-free-to-members bandwidth.

The flight was on a commuter jet and uneventful. I dozed a tiny bit, read, and tried to keep my water from spilling during the bumpier bits of the descent. I carry an older pair of glasses for use on the plane, because I've lost glasses on planes before. Well, I did it again. I am dropping too many stitches--and I'm now out of spare glasses.

The con hotel is a pleasant Hyatt, though like most of its type (maybe all) it has the poor taste to be a Pepsi products establishment. The room is the usual adequate con hotel room, though the wireless is better than normal and the cell phone service in my room far worse--non-existent, in fact. I must make calls from the lobby. The only upside is that while doing so I ran into and chatted briefly with multiple fan friends.

We had lunch at the very nice Trident bookstore/cafe, then strolled Newbury Street for a bit before stopping in a quickie mart to load up on Diet Coke and water and then cabbing back to the hotel.

The early evening brought the gift of a lovely hour and a half with Dave Seeley, whose work I like and who did the cover painting for Transhuman, which as the link shows you can now order, and Rick Berry, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. I've long admired Rick's work; maybe someday I'll be able to afford it. I hope to be able to spend more time chatting with these two in the future.

Dinner was a tasting menu at Clio. Had this been my first tasting menu and my first top-drawer restaurant, the meal might have blown me away with its greatness. Instead, I found it overall a disappointment. The place charges prices comparable to the top-tier places, so it should provide food as good as theirs. Though the courses were indeed quite tasty, they were often a bit overwrought and frequently missed the mark by using one ingredient that overwhelmed the rest. A perfect small scallop, for example, sat in a shell in a pool of cranberry juice. Both the scallop and the juice were tasty, but eaten together the juice masked the flavor of the scallop. (I had two, so having learned my lesson with the first, I drank the juice of the second and then ate its scallop.) A perfectly seared piece of foie gras vanished in the face of the hot pepper shavings on the plate with it; I made that mistake only once. And so on. I recommend the place overall, but I would not again pop for the price of the tasting menu.

The rest of the night has been all work. To that I now return.

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