Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Revenant

is not an easy film to watch, but it is one of the most compelling and powerful movies I've seen in a long time.  Every minute of its more than two and a half hours is both beautiful and bleak, visually stunning and bone-chillingly cold and dark.

Director and co-writer Alejandro González Iñárritu delivers a masterful depiction of a harsh frontier full of harsh people, a frontier in which both humans and nature are insanely dangerous.

Leonardo DiCaprio turns in what has to be the most powerful performance of the past year.  With minimal dialog and long, long stretches with no words at all, he nonetheless communicates his every feeling perfectly, and we understand completely his drive for revenge.  

The movie's only real weakness is its ending, because after all that Hugh Glass, DiCaprio's character, has survived, resolving his quest cannot help but be a let-down.  Even so, the end is lovely and powerful.

If you want a happy movie or a comforting one, The Revenant is definitely not for you.  Otherwise, don't miss it.

Friday, January 8, 2016

I'm slowly beating the cough

but only by reducing my world to sleep, work, and two to three hours a day for eating and breaks.  I look forward to returning to normal energy, but right now, this plan is working, so I'm sticking to it.

Which means that it's time to wind up work and crawl into bed.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The best bread pudding I've ever tasted

Earlier tonight, on a whim, a group of us headed to Panciuto for dinner.  As I've written here many times, Panciuto is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, and it owns a piece of my heart.  On a cold winter night, I love being there, eating the wonderful food of chef/owner Aaron Vandemark, talking with the servers, some of whom feel like family, and staring out at the beauty of Hillsborough's small downtown area.  When I spotted beef ribeye on tonight's menu, I could resist no longer and ended up at Panciuto.

I hadn't planned to eat dessert, but one of the two--"Pannetone bread pudding, cinnamon ice cream,
vanilla custard, honey"--was something I'd never tried before and intrigued me.  I must confess to not being a bread pudding enthusiast; though I have several friends who are, to me it's always a fine but not compelling dessert option.  Still, I ordered it.

I am so glad I did.

The dish was perfect, from the warm and substantial but not heavy bread pudding, to the best cinnamon ice cream I've ever had, to the thin drizzle of honey on top.  Every bite amazed me.

In talking with Aaron, I learned how very much effort he has to expend to make the dish and thus that it is one he prepares rarely.  I don't know how much longer it will be on the menu, but I am serious when I recommend that you drive to Panciuto the moment it opens even if you order only that one dish.  (Aaron might not like me recommending that particular dining choice; sorry, Aaron.)  Okay, indulge yourself and eat a full dinner there, and be smart and call first to make sure seats are available.  You will be glad you did.

Just do not miss this bread pudding.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Right about this time in 1988

I was working in Toronto and living alone there.  I went with a few local friends to the Diamond Club to see what had just become a new favorite band--and what is now, all these years later, still a favorite group--Blue Rodeo.  They played most, if not all, of their debut album, Outskirts, which for my money is one of the best albums ever made.  This is a live version of "Heart Like Mine," the first track on that album.  Give it time; it'll grow on you.

Country, folk, rock, jazz--that album mixed up a little of all of it.

I still love these guys.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A different sort of PT video

We showed the following video at our annual Seasonal Celebration.  Our team created every part of this video, from the script to the graphics to the music, so we can show it publicly as well.  I'm proud of it, and I'm proud of the company PT has become.  I hope we continue to improve as an organization.

We really are just getting started.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, Bill!

Today (January 4), is the birthday of my long-time business partner, Bill Catchings.  Last year marked the thirtieth year we've worked together, which is a long time for any sort of partnership.

Over all those years, Bill has given me many things, but the most important of his gifts is that he has helped me become a better person.  Though he and I differ on many issues--as we both say, we've never voted for the same candidate in an election--we manage to agree on so very many topics that matter greatly to us both.  By listening to him and observing him, I've learned a lot and tried to improve myself in the process.

So, thank you, Bill, and I hope you had a great birthday.  Let's keep this rolling another thirty years.  After all, I have a lot of personal growth still to do!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Health update

One week ago, I wrote that I was healing every day, coughing less, and generally making progress.  At that time, I expected to be fully healed before the New Year began.

Ah, foolish me.  I did beat the sinus infection, but the coughing became more and more frequent and intense, to the point that I now sleep very little and instead cough my way through the night.  After giving my body multiple days to fix this issue on its own, today I went again to the urgent care clinic to seek help.

The verdict:  the infection left my air tubes upset and so I have bronchiospastic (or something like that) coughing.  Put differently, every few minutes my chest goes off and I cough like I'm going to die.

Fun times.  Or not.  Mostly not.

I now have prednisone pills and an inhaler to help the air tubes, as well as something to help me sleep.  With luck, over the next week or less I should return to normal.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to that.


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