Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Washington, D.C., day 3

Today was, for a rare and pleasant change, more con than work.  I kept up with my various efforts, but I also managed to spend more time in the dealers' room and the art show, hit two panels, grab a quick lunch, and enjoy a dinner at a local Ruth's Chris steakhouse with a bunch of friends who also happen to be Baen folks.  I should be writing longer entries, but once again, it's late, I'm tired, and I have a bit more to do. 

So, I'm outta here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Washington, D.C., day 2

Most of today's daylight hours went to work. 

I did get to spend a little time in the art show and the dealers' room.  The Virgil Finlay original art on display here really is fantastic.  I picked up a lovely book on his work, and I enjoyed getting to see so many originals.  I also found the rest of the art in the art show to be of a generally very high caliber; it is quite a treat to see such good work.

Dinner deserves its own blog entry, but it's three a.m., and I need to finish some work and crash, so I'm going to write that review another time.  I will say that the meal was at Jose's Table within minibar, and it was not only world-class, it was also one of the very best meals I've ever had the privilege of eating.

After the dinner, I spent time chatting with friends, both old and new, and then, as usual, worked into the wee hours.

A generally good day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Washington, D.C., day 1

Busy day.  Awoke after way too little sleep, worked liked crazy, and headed downtown to apply for Global Entry.

The folks there were pleasant and efficient, and I'm now all set.  Excellent.

Grabbed an egg salad sandwich and some salad at a food court in the Ronald Reagan building.  Not bad.


Some more work.

Did I mention work?

Toured the art show.  Great show that included over a hundred original pieces of Virgil Finlay art.  Wow, was that guy amazing!

Did a quick walk through a very nice dealers' room refreshingly jammed with books.  Very tempting stuff.

Dinner was with friends and colleagues at a nearby Italian place, Portofino.  Decent food, service that could use some work.

Got back in time to do some work and then moderate an SRO panel on "Fantasy and the Reality of Law Enforcement."  I was there just to keep things rolling along.  The stars of the show were Griffin Barber, a cop for a major city, and Alistair Kimble, and FBI agent.  Both are friends, both are fellow writers, and both did a fine job on the panel.  It was fun.

A little time at the Tor party, more work, time chatting with friends, more work, and a jammed day comes to an end.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Washington, D.C., day 0

Driving in the D.C. metropolitan area sucks.  Most of the drive here proceeded uneventfully, the traffic never pleasant on I-95 but never horrible, either--until about 30 miles from D.C.  From that point on, it was unpleasant. 

Still, I'm safely at the World Fantasy Con in Crystal City, so I shouldn't complain.  The con cranks up in earnest tomorrow, but registration and the hospitality suite open today, and it feels like a good quarter of the people have already shown up.

Dinner tonight was a delicious meal with friends at Jose Andres' Jaleo in Crystal City.  We shared a wide variety of small dishes before waddling back to the hotel.  Any evening that includes Jamon Iberico de bellota Fermin is a very good evening indeed.

Work filled part of the drive and all the rest of my time except dinner.  Despite the timestamp on this post, it's after three a.m. in the morning, so I'm outta here.

Tomorrow, I will head into D.C. for some Global Entry paperwork, eat dinner with friends, and moderate a panel.  Oh, yeah:  I'll do a ton of work, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PT folks doing good in the world

As I've mentioned many times, I'm particularly proud of the sabbatical program at PT and all the good work that PT folks do while on sabbatical.  We just released today a video about the good work that my friend, Eric, did while on his sabbatical.


Monday, November 3, 2014

You want to smash pumpkins?

We smash pumpkins.

You want interesting and useful product comparisons?

Of course we have those, too.

It's all in the latest installment of Now with PT.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

St. Vincent

is a wonderful film that you should not miss.  I wanted to get that out of the way right up front, in case you decide to stop reading early. 

This movie demonstrates one of the basic truths of art:  It's not the journey, it's who's taking you on the journey.  There are no new plots, no new stories, no types of paths you haven't already seen in film.  The particulars of each story are what we come for.  St. Vincent is at one level a tale we've seen way too often:  new kid in the neighborhood helps redeem crusty old guy next door, while crusty old guy next door helps new kid grow up.  Any such summary, however, does great injustice to this movie for two reasons.

The first is the script, which Theodore Melfi, whose previous work I do not know, executed with style and infused with so many grace notes that its charms gradually win you over.  Yes, as some critics have noted, the movie veers close to--and sometimes into--sentimentality, but always in interesting ways. 

The second is the acting, which is uniformly excellent.  Bill Murray deserves an Oscar for this one.  He won't get it, but he delivers here a character who displays both Murray's considerable comic talents and a subdued yet powerful dramatic presence.  Murray nails this one and is a pleasure to watch at all times.  Naomi Watts turns in a pitch-perfect turn as a hard-bitten Russian stripper and prostitute.  Melissa McCarthy dials way down her comedic side and shows she can act in dramas as well as comedies.  Chris O'Dowd, whose work I've long admired, does a beautiful job as a schoolteacher and priest.  Jaeden Lieberher plays the boy, in many ways the toughest role, and by acting relentlessly smart, quiet, and polite, he creates a special character you can believe. 

Do not miss this film.  Yes, it's sentimental at times, but that's okay; honest sentiment is a fine thing, and this one comes by its sentiments honestly. 


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