Saturday, January 31, 2015


is easily one of the strangest (always), grossest (frequently), funniest (at times), most disturbing (frequently) films I've ever seen.  I saw it on Blu-Ray, and though I cannot recommend it to everyone, I ended up quite glad to have seen it. 

Though it is a German movie with English subtitles that jumps around in time, I never had trouble following it--but I also never knew what would be coming next.  Few films manage that feat, so that alone is an endorsement of it.

This is absolutely not a family film.  Seriously.  Do not watch it with anyone who does not want to see breasts, vaginas, and penises on screen.  Yet it is not in any sense a porn flick; the dirty bits appear in other contexts.

Should you decide that, like me, you're up for a disturbing, odd, yet ultimately interesting film, I don't want to spoil Wetlands for you, so I'm not going to tell you any more about it. 

Should you decide to skip it, I wouldn't blame you at all.

If you watch it, though, and you hate it for being, say, gross or disturbing, don't blame me; I did warn you.

Friday, January 30, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 5

Today went to travel and work during travel.  Lunch was at the Austin airport, which amazingly includes a Salt Lick Barbecue and an Amy's Ice Creams; I ate food from both.

I'm home now, and I'm quite tired, so I'm going to leave you with a question that I'm sure has been nagging you as much as it has been bothering me:  Is it possible that this

will finally be a good Fantastic Four movie?

I'm doubtful, but you know I'll check it out.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 4

Another day of work on the road, another day I can't say much about.  The work meetings were good, and the work reasonable, but that's the end of what I can discuss.

Dinner was with friends and colleagues at Hudson's on the Bend, a place that has, I am sad to report, slipped quite a bit.  The food was good, but it never reached the heights it had previously achieved. 

Tomorrow, I spend the day working and flying home. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 3

Beautiful weather, with highs in the low eighties.  Wow.

Great meetings with clients and with our team here.

A client thank-you dinner at the world-famous Franklin Barbecue, home of the very best brisket I've ever tasted. 

Ice cream afterward at Amy's.

Lots and lots and lots of work.

Another day, a good day, on the road for work.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 2

While snowstorms battered the Northeast and cold hit home, here in Austin the weather was unseasonably warm, with highs today in the high seventies and tomorrow possibly reaching eighty.  It could hardly have been more gorgeous today.

For various reasons, we ended up with a large group eating together at the same two places I visited last night:  The County Line By the Lake, and Amy's Ice Creams at the Arboretum.  I was very happy to reprise that dinner-and-dessert combo, because it's one of my favorites. 

The rest of the day went to work, which, as usual, I cannot discuss.

I hope that wherever you are, the weather is treating you reasonably--or, if it's not, that you manage to stay warm and safe.

Monday, January 26, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 1

The storms that are about to hit the northeast part of the U.S. affected me today in only two small ways:  rain on the drive to the airport, and a much lower than normal headwind for the flight to DFW that led to us arriving there half an hour early.  Not bad, not bad at all.

With a long layover in DFW, what else was I to have for lunch except a Red Mango berry parfait?  I've eaten a lot of these creations over the years, and every single one has been tasty.

I'm skipping all the work on planes and in my hotel room because, as always, I can't say anything about it.

Dinner was my usual trip to The County Line by the Lake, where I ordered what I always do.

Click an image to see a larger version.

My drinks were the usual vats of water and Diet Coke; nothing is small at this restaurant.

The sugar container just behind the water should serve to illustrate just how big these glasses were.

My meal was the three-meat combo, which features brisket, sausage, and a beef rib.

All three were delicious, though I could not finish all this meat.  (I don't even touch the sides.  I've tried to get them to serve me the meat without the sides, but that's never gone well, so I've stopped trying.)

For dessert, I headed to the nearby Amy's Ice Creams, where I enjoyed a small cup with three flavors:  mango, chocoberry (strawberry ice cream with chunks of chocolate), and sweet cream.

You cannot go wrong with Amy's.

And so another trip to Austin begins auspiciously. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Exactly why would I go to a movie whose RottenTomatoes critics rating was a dismal 31% and audience rating an even worse 29%?  Two words:  Michael Mann.  I'm a fan of the look of Mann's films, and I'll check out anything he makes. 

To my pleasant surprise, I quite enjoyed the movie.  Despite its many flaws--I'll hit a few in a minute--I had a good time, found the look as interesting as I would expect from Mann, and very much liked the harsh, short brutality of the moments of violence.  Both Leehom Wang and Wei Tang turned in good performances, and Viola Davis created an interesting character without having a ton to work with.

About those flaws.  I really can see what the critics and audiences responded to; I just reacted differently to the total package.  The film ran too long, with many scenes Mann could have tightened.  Chris Hemsworth's limited acting was never more tested, as in this movie he was supposed to have at least two emotions.  (He managed maybe half of one.  He was also smaller than in the Thor films; clearly he was cycling off the juice to give his body a break.)  The tech, though by far not the stupidest in a hacker movie, had plenty of issues.  I could go on, but to no point.

If you're a Michael Mann fan, definitely check out Blackhat.  If you're up for an action flick with an interesting look, consider going.  If you're seeking great acting, give it a pass.


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