Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lobo on lying

From deep into No Going Back, a tidbit of a conversation between Jon and Lobo that I will offer without context:

“What’s your plan?” Lobo said.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “Probably to tell her the truth. Mostly.”

“I think we call that ‘lying,’” Lobo said.
I sympathize with both of their viewpoints. Lobo's phrasing, though, is, as always, funnier than Jon's.

Friday, April 6, 2012

On the road again: Austin, day 5

After very little sleep, I headed to the airport to take my alternate path home. The good news is that I made it. The flights went well and arrived on time.

The bad news is that my landing in Raleigh was the second worst I've ever experienced.

The pilot brought the plane in fast. Worse, he couldn't stablize it, so we were rocking side to side and bouncing a bit. People chuckled at first, then became quiet, then gave voice to their fears. We hit the ground hard, the whole plane continuing to rock side to side, and then we bounced several times. By this point, many people around me were crying, a few were screaming, and little kids were freaking out and clawing and yelling for their parents. The pilot hit the brakes hard, and the plane rocked even more. Rather than dispel momentum by running past the terminal, he took a hard left when the plane was opposite our gate, and the plane rocked more.

When we finally came to a stop, people applauded.

I have no way to know what happened, but I sure would have liked the pilot to have offered at least some explanation. Instead, the cockpit door stayed closed until the last of us were off the plane.

Given how upset some people were, that was probably a wise choice.

Today was a great reminder of why I always consider the best outcome of flying to be boring flights.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On the road again: Austin, day 4

Today the weather in Dallas messed up my return. I woke early to find a voicemail message from American Airlines informing me that tomorrow, Friday, I would indeed be flying to DFW as planned, but I would not get to continue to Raleigh until Sunday. This fine plan would strand me for two days in a city wracked by tornados, a city with no hotel rooms.

I think not.

Much work by Gina later and thanks to Rana for noticing a flight option, I am now headed home tomorrow on Southwest via Nashville. I have to get up at oh-dark-thirty, and I will probably have a crappy seat, but at least I should get home.

After many meetings, dinner was at the reliably tasty Lambert's Downtown Barbecue. Lambert's doesn't cook only over wood, but the meat is still very good, and everything else on the menu is quite good. Dessert was, of course, at Amy's.

In not many hours, I must get up and start a long day of travel, so to packing and writing I return.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On the road again: Austin, day 3

Another very long day of work that I can't discuss. Sorry about that, but maintaining our clients' confidentiality is paramount in our work.

Dinner tonight was at possibly the finest restaurant in Austin, Congress. Executive Chef David Bull and Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Meeker routinely produce lovely, flavorful dishes that prominently feature local ingredients and traditions. If you live here and haven't tried Congress yet, you're missing out.

Very early morning meetings await me, so I must return to my current writing project and then crash.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On the road again: Austin, day 2

In the late afternoon, thunder cracked the air and a hard shower briefly fell. Listening to nature from the dry safety of drinks with clients in a local bar, I realized with a start that in the times I've come to Austin, I've never heard thunder. I found this storm rather a nice change.

Dinner was at the wonderful Fonda San Miguel, a place I recommend highly.

My plea earlier today for votes in Baen's SF buddy team poll may have helped, because Jon and Lobo now have a tenuous hold on second place. Given the enormous lead of Honor and Nimitz, however, I see no real chance of my guys winning. Still, I appreciate those who voted.

As longtime readers know, I can't say much about these business trips. By way of compensating a bit for the short entries, here's a song that ties both to travel and to my youth, a tune I loved the moment I heard it and still love today. The interlude is particularly wonderful. Enjoy.

Vote for Jon and Lobo!

Over at its Web site, my publisher, Baen Books, is holding an April contest to pick the most popular teams in SF. Jon and Lobo are one of those teams. You can see and vote on the poll here. Right now, my guys are in fifth place, with Honor Harrington naturally leading the way.

Surely we can do better!

To help advance Jon and Lobo, go there and vote. You can also, at the bottom of the page, enter the contest via email and win a shot at some signed first editions. Good luck!

Monday, April 2, 2012

On the road again: Austin, day 1

As travel days go, today was pretty darn good.

I awoke after too little sleep, as usual, but at least I had a few complete sleep cycles. A little email, a shower, and off to the airport I went.

Luck was with me there: upgrades came through on both legs of the trip. The first flight, the long one, even offered bandwidth, so I was able to stay current on work email while in the air.

My connection time in DFW was scheduled to be a scant 40 minutes, but the plane arrived almost 45 minutes early, so I ended up with enough time to grab a Red Mango parfait.

After the usual logistics in Austin, I dove into work and caught up, always a good feeling.

Dinner was at one of my favorite barbecue joints, the County Line by the Lake. We arrived as daylight was fading, so the view over the lake was lovely.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version of it.

The food was, as always, wonderful. On the right of this plate is a stack of a beef rib, some sausage, and some brisket. Damn fine eating.

Dessert afterward was at Amy's Ice Creams, which is a tasty treat indeed.

Tomorrow's meetings start quite early, so back to work and then to bed I go.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I will not be denied muffulettas

Last night, I held my belated birthday party. As has been my tradition for a few years now, I planned to serve muffulettas, the delicious New Orleans sandwich, as the centerpiece of the meal.

Events conspired to stop me, but I would not be denied.

The first challenge is that only one New Orleans business, Central Grocery, still sells them mail order. All the other suppliers have stopped selling them. Normally, that's no problem: I know by phone Frankie in shipping, and I order from him successfully each year. This year, though, he had tickets for the Final Four, so muffulettas would not be available until April 3--too late for my party.

I tried calling the main store and offering a bribe if anyone there would pack and ship the muffulettas, but that didn't work. When I said, "But I have a party full of people Saturday night," the man with whom I spoke responded, "Not with muffulettas you don't."

Droll, and accurate.

After exhausting all the options we could find, only one path forward remained: making the muffulettas. Fortunately, Nola Cajun sells the special bread you need and also the Central Grocery olive tapanade that is a key ingredient in the sandwich. Recipes and videos of the construction of the fabled sandwich are readily available. Add meat and cheese--twenty pounds of it--from a local deli, and we were set.

All that remained was nearly two hours of assembly work for two of us. Here are the twelve sandwiches in mid-construction, with the first layer of cheese on the top and the olive oil already on the bottom.

As always, click on the photo to see a larger image.

After many more layers of meat and cheese, the muffulettas were ready to be pressed, taped in paper, pressed some more, and, less than twenty-four hours later, served.

If it sounds like a ton of work for a sandwich, it is. The result, however, is well worth the cost. These things were delicious!

I have to admit, though, that I still hope that the next time I want them, I can just order them.


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