Saturday, April 11, 2015

Parkshore Grill

is a restaurant in St. Petersburg that has garnered quite a few accolades for its food and its chef, Tyson Grant.  I met Grant a few months ago at the Cayman Cookout and enjoyed the nibble he'd created, so while I was in St. Pete I had dinner at his place.

I'm disappointed to report that the meal was entirely unremarkable.  Imagine a completely competent steakhouse with no particularly distinguishing dishes, and that's what our small group experienced.  The menu was straightforward, but I'm okay with that; you can have a great meal from standard dishes superbly executed.  Unfortunately, the execution of our food was good but no more.

I don't like to beat up on restaurants, and Parkshore Grill is not a bad one--it's quite a good steakhouse-style place--so I'm going to say only that from Grant's reputation I had expected rather more.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Back where I grew up

For one night, a total of less than 24 hours, I am back in St. Petersburg, FL, where I grew up.  Instead of staying in our old house, however, I'm in a fancy hotel downtown, across from the water, a place I visited as a kid but could never afford to enter. 

This section of the town is pretty at night.  A small park separates the hotel from a row of businesses and other hotels.

Click an image to see a larger version.

When I lived here, nothing much happened downtown.  Now, it's hopping, which is nice to see.

The view from my hotel room is also quite lovely.

I wonder if a younger version of myself would have felt triumph upon returning to my home successful enough to stay in a hotel that would not have let in the younger version of himself.  I do not.  I realize there is no triumph in such things; they are just distractions from all that matter.

That said, I do appreciate a good hotel and a comfy bed, and I am glad to have both tonight.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A new Delta Rae album

is out, and I can't wait to listen to it.  If this track

is any indication, After It All, the new release, is going to be great.

No matter how old I get, a new release from a band I love always makes me happy.  I hope that never changes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Whatcha doin' Friday night, April 24?

If you're free and you're an SF fan, you might want to wander by Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at The Edge to catch the SFWA Southeast Reading Series.  At this event, a bunch of SF writers, including your correspondent, will be involved in a panel discussion of, well, something related to science fiction and fantasy.  You can find details here.

I'm betting I'll want dinner afterward, so I expect a group of us will wander somewhere and eat.

Come on by if you've got nothing else going on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pondering dental etiquette

I have to go to the dentist tomorrow for my semi-annual (more or less) teeth-cleaning appointment.  I do not enjoy time in the dental chair; never have, never will.  In anticipation of these trips, odd ideas often creep around in my head.  Today's concerns dental etiquette, specifically whether I should shave before the appointment.

My beard hair grows reasonably quickly, but I hate to shave.  That's why I wore a full beard for many years, and it's why I shave most of my face only occasionally.  As a result of my intermittent shaving strategy, however, my face mutates rapidly from smooth to rough to fine-grain sandpaper to coarse-grain sandpaper to whatever you call something that you could use to rub the slime and barnacles from the hull of a boat that's spent the last three years at the bottom of a particularly murky intracoastal waterway.

I'm currently at the fine-grain sandpaper stage; by morning, I'll be coarse-grain.

Do I shave before I go?

On the one hand, doing so seems considerate, and I do not mean to be rude to my dental hygienist.  (Never be rude to anyone wielding sharp instruments and poking around in your maw.)  On the other hand, she wears gloves and so may not give a damn.

You may consider shaving to be a task of no cost, but given that I have to do it in the morning, when I am a bear of little brain, and that it leaves parts of my face looking like someone's been slapping me around with chunks of poison ivy for half an hour, I do not enjoy it at all.

And so my brain spins round and round.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Amanda Palmer

played the Fletcher Theater in Raleigh earlier tonight, and a small group of us went to see her.  Our group included people new to her work, people who loved her work, and me.  I am familiar with a reasonable amount of Palmer's music and writing, have read (and mostly enjoyed) her book, and have mixed feelings about her work.

When we left, those who had loved her work still did, those who did not know her did not find the performance particularly good, and I still had mixed feelings.  I'm not sure what, if anything, that outcome says about Palmer's performance.

Most of the audience members seemed to be hardcore fans and to have a great time.  Her connection with her fans is strong and two-way; though most of her music is very personal, her affection for her fans seems genuine.

I enjoyed most of her songs, though her musical craft level seems rough to my admittedly untrained ears.  I enjoyed more her storytelling, as did one of the people new to her work.

On balance, I recommend seeing her if you have a chance, if only to find out whether you're in her audience.  I'm not sure I'll go the next time she's here, but I might.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I'm a big fan of con-artist books and movies; Slanted Jack is my (so far only) entry in that genre.  I tend to go to con-artist films as soon as they appear.  With Focus, however,  I let the mediocre critical (55%) and audience (58%) ratings on Rottentomatoes deter me--until the other day.

I'm so glad I caught it in the theater.  Despite those ratings, I enjoyed this movie from start to finish, as did everyone in the group that went with me.  Neither the overall plot nor the many sub-plots are simple, but that's exactly as it should be:  we're talking con artists here.  The cast members turn in uniformly good performances, with both Will Smith and Margot Robbie very good in their lead roles.  The dialog is snappy and often funny, and the film is full of grace notes.

If you also enjoy con-artist films, I encourage you to ignore the reviews, avoid reading any spoilers, and head out to catch Focus.


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