Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hector and the Search for Happiness

The critical summary for this movie at RottenTomatoes is that Simon Pegg remains appealing but the movie is too schmaltzy, a summary that reflects the film's 31% critical rating.  The audience rating, though, is 66%, which jibes rather well with its 6.6 rating at IMBD

I'm with the audience. 

I loved this movie.  Pegg's performance was the best I've ever seen from him.  Though the film's very existence immediately summons fears of sentimentality, it did a good job of wandering in and out of that territory just as its protagonist's own feelings did. 

I don't want to spoil the movie for you, so I'll leave you with this:  Though the critics certainly can make a case for their opinion, I believe they're wrong, that there is still room for a film with good heart and strong feelings, that though there may be no simple answers to complex questions, sometimes, just sometimes, for each of us a simple answer may be the only answer to a very complex question. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 5

I am home.

In fact, I will be home for 3.5 weeks, which is quite some treat.

Today's travel went about as well as one can reasonably expect.  Check-out from the hotel was an unreasonably long and hassle-filled process, but this trip the hotel's staff seemed to have lost a great deal of knowledge, so I was prepared for this development.  The trip to the airport was uneventful, and check-in and security were painless processes.  That truly is about as good as it gets.

I love lunching in the Austin airport, because standing side-by-side are two wonderful places:  a Salt Lick bbq, and an Amy's.  When your lunch includes brisket and a small cup of delicious ice cream, your day is bound to be good.

I got an upgrade on the second flight, and I was able to work for all of it.  As I said, as good as it can get.

I am so very pleased to be home.

What's that you say?  You want some more Petula Clark?

Happy to oblige.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 4

Lots of work, some ice cream at an Amy's, and a pretty good dinner with colleagues and friends at Roaring Fork.  Indoors during the heat, outside for a tiny bit in the lovely cool air of the early evening. 

A work day in Austin.

Tomorrow, I fly home.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 3

All of my hours today and all of my meals were for work, so there is almost nothing I can discuss about the day.  The notable exception is the weather here, which somehow has decided it's still early September and so is giving us highs in the 90s every day.  When I walk out of the hotel in the morning, the air is crisp and fresh and feels like a fall afternoon.  By afternoon, it feels like summer in Raleigh. 

Oh, yeah:  there's this.

Exactly who thought this was a good name for a store?  I don't even have to write the jokes to go with this one; you have already filled in your own.

I certainly did.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 2

Very interesting and good meetings today, but nothing I can discuss.

Lunch was a tasty meal with colleagues and a client at Jack Allen's Kitchen.

Dinner was take-out from Manuel's; I had too much work to be able to take the time to leave the hotel.

I wish I had more to report, but it was the kind of day that went almost entirely to work.

Gina knows I love this song in Love Actually and so shared this BBC video with me.  I loved it, so I thought I'd pass it along to you as well.  Enjoy.

Monday, October 6, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 1

I'm writing this post while enduring the worst hotel bandwidth in recent memory.  The Round Rock Marriott, where I'm staying (and where I usually stay when here), is delivering simply the slowest, most terrible bandwidth I've experienced in a very long while.  A 6.5MB email message attachment took 12 minutes to download.  12 minutes.

I can only hope the situation improves.

Much of today, as bad luck would have it, has been about slowness.  My plane out of New Orleans was slow and ultimately late to depart, because it was late to arrive.  I thus missed my flight out of DFW, a development whose only up side was getting to enjoy a lovely Red Mango parfait.  I caught the next flight, which promptly...sat and was late, thanks to a late-arriving crew. 

My checked bag did reach Austin with me, for which I am grateful.

My next frustration came courtesy of Dollar Rent-a-Car, where the service was the worst I've yet experienced from a rental car company.  This picture of the slot through which they used to slide the key and contract (they've now blocked the slot with some computer gear) really sums up the sad state of that place. 

Yes, that roach is dead, no doubt from waiting for the key to its vehicle. 

I spent most of the next many hours working while cursing the horrid bandwidth.  The exceptions were not quite two hours for dinner and dessert, my traditional visits to The County Line On the Lake and the Arboretum Amy's.  Both were, as always, delicious.

Now, finally, I can crash.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

On the road again: CONtraflow, New Orleans, day 3

The con wound to a close today, though the panels were hopping until five o'clock in the afternoon.  I took advantage of a light load of responsibilities to head into New Orleans and do a tiny bit of sightseeing and grab some good food.

Lunch was a tasty mix of meats at McClure's Barbecue.  While none of the meat was up to the best of Texas (brisket and sausage) or North Carolina (pulled pork), it was all quite good, and I very much enjoyed it. 

After some walking along Magazine Street and a bit of driving around, I grabbed dessert--a delicious ice-cream sampler--at The Creole Creamery

In the early evening, I joined the con's Dead Dog party, which was a fun, low-key gathering.

The folks who run CONtraflow are a great group who are always insanely nice to me.  I'm already looking forward to returning next year, when I should once again be Toastmaster. 

Tomorrow, I head to Austin!


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