Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ronda Rousey is amazing

Even if you're not a fan of MMA, you might want to check out some of the fights of UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.  She is simply amazing, an undefeated fighter who is in a class all her own. 

Earlier tonight, in the main event of a UFC pay-per-view broadcast, she faced number-one-ranked and undefeated challenger Cat Zingano.  Zingano was supposed to be Rousey's stiffest challenge yet. 

Instead, Zingano rushed Rousey, made a mistake, and was tapping from an armbar within seconds.  The whole fight lasted 14 seconds.

Rousey is a spectacular athlete the likes of whom we rarely see.  It's a privilege to get to watch her fight.

Friday, February 27, 2015

On the road again: Portland, day 5

After a 15-hour travel day, I am home.  Possibly sick and definitely exhausted, but home.

The story of today's travel will have to wait for another day.

I am crashing.

Well, damn: R.I.P., Leonard Nimoy

I'm sitting in the Admirals Club at DFW.  The day started rough and continued rough, with my sinuses plaguing me with either a cold or an allergic reaction, little sleep leaving me exhausted, and a rough first flight making me feel only worse.  None of that got me down. 

Then I read that Leonard Nimoy had died.  That got me down. 

Nimoy accomplished many things, but like so many SF fans, I loved most his work as Spock on the original Star Trek series, which I watched as a boy.  Spock was tailor-made for a geek boy like me to love.  Brighter than those around him, but poorly socialized.  Stronger than anyone else--but only when they really needed it, so his powers were hidden.  Clearly more interesting than Kirk, but never getting the girls--though one could argue that was his choice.  He said he had no emotions and acted most of the time as if he didn't, but you could always see them, just below the surface.  Every geek boy I knew wanted to be Spock.  I sure did. 

I know the Star Trek reboot made no sense, and Nimoy's presence in it as the original Spock caused some of those plot problems, but I didn't care; I loved seeing him in the role again.  Ditto the second J.J. Abrams movie. 

I am sad that Nimoy has died, but as long as anyone who remembers the original Star Trek is alive, his Spock will live. 

At the risk of being another cliche--no, with the certainty of being another cliche--here am I, in the DFW Admirals Club, remembering Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock.

Yeah, I am that big a geek and that big a Spock fan, and I'm okay with that.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

On the road again: Portland, day 4

Today's non-work highlights:

I had hoped to sleep a decent amount, but I woke up every 45 minutes or so with bad sinus drainage.  Thus, I got out of bed exhausted.

I started the day with either a very bad cold or a very bad sinus attack.  I can't tell which.  In either case, my nose and the skin around it are draining red wrecks--a lovely image, I know.

I had a fabulous dinner at Le Pigeon:  the seven-course tasting menu with non-alcoholic drink pairings.  Every single dish was awesome, but the foie with crab wonton (stuffed with Dungeness crab and cream cheese), a concoction that sounds wrong in many ways, was instead in classic Gabe Rucker style fantastic and easily one of the best dishes he's ever made. 

I have to crash and hope I can sleep at least a bit.  Sinus drainage is not my friend tonight, and I expect my sinuses to be bundles of pain on tomorrow's flights.  Oh, boy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On the road again: Portland, day 3

It's late, way later than the pre-set timestamp indicates, and I'm exhausted, so I'm going to keep this short. 

As usual, work--meetings and driving and email--ate most of the day. 

Stuff I can talk about boiled down to a scoop of delicious ice cream at Salt & Straw and, later, a delicious meal at the always great Little Bird

I know these short entries are dull, but right now, I just have to crash.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On the road again: Portland, day 2

After a few hours of sleep, I commenced a day of email, driving, work phone calls, email, work meetings, email, driving, and email.

Back home, more snow coated Raleigh.  Today in Portland, the weather was gorgeous, with temperatures high enough that I left my coat in the car, and a sky so bright and blue it could have been spring back home.  Lovely indeed.  

Dinner, the only activity of the day I can discuss, was a very tasty meal of Middle Eastern food at Levant, a Portland restaurant I have not previously tried.  Everything our group sampled was tasty, with citrus playing a strong role in both my appetizer and dessert.  I'd definitely go back.  I recommend it if you're in the mood for this sort of food.

Tonight, I hope to sleep a bit more.

Monday, February 23, 2015

On the road again: Portland, day 1

Well, that was special. 

I spent four hours in bed last night, but only one of them asleep.  I hate trying to sleep when I know I have to get up early.  At 6:30 a.m. I was up and showering, just in time to learn that weather was stopping most of the flights leaving from DFW.

At the RDU airport, I spent half an hour with a very nice American Airlines check-in person who worked hard to find a way for the two of us on this trip to get from RDU to PDX given that American had canceled our flight out of DFW.  Eventually, we headed on a now-delayed flight to DFW, spent a few hours there, and then flew to Las Vegas.  Of course, before we could leave DFW, we had to spend a couple of hours on the tarmac.  Joy.

In Las Vegas, I didn't have enough time to do anything fun, so we grabbed dinner at the airport and eventually got on an Alaska Airlines flight to PDX.

It's now about 1:00 a.m. PST, so I've been up and working--work filled every spare moment--for 21.5 hours.  Worse, I have to be up working again in less than six hours. 

A very special day indeed. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Tesla Model S isn't perfect

After driving my Model S for 1 2/3 years, I still get questions about how I like it.  The short form is that I absolutely love it.  I do have to concede, however, that it is not perfect.

I've done a joke post about the things I hated about the car, but it was just that:  a joke post.  The Model S does, though, have a few failings worth noting.

For one, it's short on cup holders, with two awkwardly placed ones in the front and none in the back.  I'm alone in the car more often than not, so this is not a big issue, but it is real.

My charge port door (the cover over the place you insert the charger) does not always open as it should.  I then have to use the display's controls to open it, a process that requires several button pushes.  Again, this is a small thing, but it's a failing.

Some people in the rear seats have encountered problems with the seat belts being too tight on them. 

Neither the steering wheel nor the rear seats are heated.  Yes, that may sound like a silly gripe, but if you're aiming for perfection, you should address these concerns.  (Tesla offers both of these heating options in one of its packages for the new P85D.)

The biggest problem with the car is not one that matters to me:  It's not good for tall people.  They have trouble getting into the car's front seat, and in the back seat a person over 6'1" tall is likely to have his/her head touch the roof.  Other than encouraging those folks to buy a Model X when it appears, I have no answers for this one.

The oddest characteristic of the car that troubles me regularly is that software updates cause it to change its behavior in ways I can't always control.  For example, for a long time the car would default to one view of the energy usage (instant sample) when I wanted a different one (sample from last 30 miles).  A software update caused it to stay with whatever you had last selected, which was great for me, because now I always see the sample from the last 30 miles.  On the other hand, that same update has caused the car to start playing music when I come to open it, and I would prefer it not do that.

All of these are quibbles for what I still consider to be the world's best car, but for those who are wondering and asking:  I still love the Tesla Model S, and I feel very lucky to be able to own one, but I must admit it's not perfect.


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