Saturday, August 15, 2015

Shaun the Sheep

Given its title, you might be tempted to dismiss this movie as a kid flick, but that would be a mistake.  As with all of the work from Aardman Studios, the stop-motion clay animation specialists behind the wonderful Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep offers fun for people of all ages.

The plot is simple enough:  a farmer ends up lost in the city, and his many sheep, including the title character, and trusty dog must rescue him.  Hilarity and danger, in nearly equal measures, ensue.  You know how it will end, but that doesn't matter; you go along for the ride.  That journey is short--only 85 minutes--but it feels just right.

With almost no dialog, and with what little there is being nearly unintelligible, the film relies a great deal on its music and on the facial expressions of the Plasticine characters, but that proves to be a good choice; I never felt the lack of dialog as a problem.

Most of all, the heart of this film is good, not in a sickly sweet way but in a way that makes you feel good about it as you watch it.

I had a good time viewing Shaun the Sheep, and I suspect you will, too.  Check it out if you can.

Friday, August 14, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 6

I'm home...for a total of 40 hours before I head to the airport again.  Two flights after that, I'll be in San Francisco for the Intel Developer Forum until Tuesday late afternoon.  From there, I'll head to Spokane for Sasquan, this year's World Science Fiction Convention.

Today passed in a blur of travel, work, and work during travel.

I look forward to a very, very long night's sleep when I finally hit the sack.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 5

Another long work day with little I can discuss.  Sorry about that; it's my life on the road for business.

Dinner is worthy of mention:  a fun and delicious meal with friends and colleagues at Fonda San Miguel, an excellent Mexican restaurant and something of an Austin institution.

Dessert, of course, was ice cream at a nearby Amy's.

I saw this trailer recently and, though I know the movie will be bad, want to see it more than ever.

Oh, yeah, crazy violent madness of the fun kind.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 4

Another very long work day full of interesting meetings I cannot discuss.

Dinner tonight was with colleagues, clients, and friends at the local branch of a steak and seafood chain, Eddie V's.  Dessert was later--at, of course, Amy's.

The most upsetting development of the day was learning that the box that was to contain my lost book, book cover, and glasses arrived at my house--utterly empty.  Yes, they shipped me and charged me the shipping fee for an empty box.  Worse, it's now not clear if my possessions are still in DFW or, apparently more likely, went to someone else, courtesy of the airline.  Gina is once again on the case, but now neither she nor I is very hopeful.

I am quite bummed about this.

I suppose it is another of those reminders never to celebrate a thing until it actually occurs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 3

Once again, work filled the day from very early until very, very late, with no breaks whatsoever.

Both meals were also for work, though with friends, colleagues, and clients.

Lunch was barbecue at a nearby Rudy's.  In Austin, the brisket and sausage here are good but no more, sort of average, tasty barbecue offerings.  In Raleigh, both would be by far the best available.

Dinner was a delightful and delicious meal at an old favorite of mine, Uchiko.  We opted for the omakase, and it was, as always, extremely good from start to finish.  If you ever have a chance to eat at Uchiko, do so.

We headed to a nearby Amy's for small cups of ice cream as dessert.  Their peach ice cream is particularly good right not.

Time for a wee bit of sleep.

Monday, August 10, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 2

The vast majority of today went to work, so I can't say much about that.

Gina worked her magic with the airline and was able to get back my book cover, book, and glasses.  I am very happy about that!  Clearly, I need better rituals for exiting planes.

Dinner tonight was a working meal at chef Tim Love's new Lonesome Dove in Austin.  We shared multiple dishes, and every one was very tasty.  I particularly liked the elk and foie gras slider.  I would definitely return there.

Dessert was a small ice cream at a nearby Amy's.  It was as delicious as always.

The high temperature today was somewhere around 104, so the heat was a tangible presence each time I had to brave the outdoors.  I very much prefer Austin in cooler seasons--though I have to confess that it's plenty warm back home.

Tomorrow morning early, work resumes!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 1

Well.  That was a day.

Thanks to the kind of intestinal distress that demands a lot of sitting time, I never slept a full hour during the six hours I was theoretically to be in bed.  Not the way one wants to begin a trip.

I ran a bit late but got to the plane in plenty of time, and I even received an upgrade.

The lunch choice was chili or a "chicken salad."  Given the condition of my gut, I went with the salad.  The salad itself was bland and wilted but tolerable enough, but the meat was in a separate little container on the plate, and it was The Chicken of Sadness.

Thin, drier than it looked (which is saying a lot, and, yes, I ate one tiny nibble), this creepy burnt bit of ex animal flesh radiated melancholy for three rows in all directions.

I was involved in a work discussion during the flight, so I managed to leave on the plane both a pair of glasses and my treasured black leather book cover.  The book inside that cover is replaceable, but no one makes this sort of cover any longer, and in a zipper pocket of it were notes my kids had written when they were very young.  Gina is trying to retrieve my lost possessions from the airline's lost-and-found department, but the odds are never good in such a battle.

I did not discover any of this until I was in my hotel room, at which point I also found to my dismay that the lock on my suitcase was jammed shut, with the zippers inside their places, so I could not open my suitcase.

Half an hour or so later, I was back at the airport, where a TSA woman was kind enough to open the bag for me--after I reassured her that my business cards were inside and that I could name every item in the suitcase, claims she did test.

The later part of the evening went better than the rest of the day, with my usual barbecue dinner (well, my usual order; I ate less than normal) at the County Line by the Lake and dessert at the Amy's Ice Creams at the Arboretum.  Gut issues or not, one must observe the traditions.

My stomach hasn't yet decided how the night will go, so I can but hope for the best.


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