Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mechanic: Resurrection is big dumb summer fun

This film feels like a video game starring a perpetually scowling and seriously muscular Jason Statham.  His superpowers include brutal fighting techniques, apparently endless cardio, perfect aim with all weapons, complete knowledge of all sciences involved in killing, a knack for finding unlimited amounts of money at any moment, and the ability to turn everything he touches into a bullet shield.

Yet none of that matters, because the movie never slows enough for you to think about it--which is, of course, a good thing.

The supporting cast members turn in competent enough performances, with Jessica Alba filling the role of the tough woman in distress and Tommy Lee Jones delightedly chewing the scenery in a minor role that made you wish for more of him.

If you're in the mood for non-stop action and video game levels of death and destruction, check out Mechanic: Resurrection.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A good travel day and a rough travel day, all in one

Good stuff:  I was lucky enough to get upgrades on both of today's flights.  I had a healthy lunch in DFW.  I could work on the second flight.

Bad stuff:  I had to get up at seven and won't get to bed until about four; that's a long day.  The bandwidth was the worst I've experienced yet on a plane, making work quite painful.

I'm glad I'm home.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Counter remains atop the Austin food scene

It's late and I have to get up very early to begin the journey home, but I couldn't leave town without eating a meal at Austin's best restaurant, Counter 3 . FIVE . VII.  After finishing the seven-course tasting menu (they also offer three- and five-course options, hence the name), I can with absolute certainty again declare that Counter is simply the best in town.

Every single dish was delicious, with not a single misstep.  The chefs and staff are friendly and happy to talk with you about the food, and the setting--you sit at a counter and watch them work--makes the whole experience fun, informative, and intimate.

I love this place, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Otoko delivers a superb sushi experience--and more

Tonight I was fortunate enough to score a ticket to eat at one of Austin's new restaurant sensations, Otoko.  As the servers and the website both explain, this 12-seat Japanese restaurant delivers an omakase menu that "blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu, selected and prepared by our chefs based on ingredient availability and seasonality." How could I resist that description?

Otoko comes from Paul Qui, one of Austin's best-known chefs, and his longtime friend, Yoshi Okai.  Okai appears to control the menu and personally prepared most of our sushi dishes tonight.  Across the board, every single piece of sushi was excellent, flavorful and fresh and frequently adorned with unexpected touches, such as olive oil.

The grilled dishes were also spot-on, every one a tasty treat.

The only place the meal suffered, at least for my palate, was in the dessert phases.  Some of the dishes felt out of place; ref., for example, the friend eggplant.  The final dish, though, "Memories of summer", tasted exactly like that, a beautiful blend of many different takes on watermelon.

If you like sushi, are willing to spend a great deal, and are going to be in Austin, it's worth trying to get a seat at Otoko.  Though it hasn't unseated Counter as my Austin favorite (I'll be there tomorrow night), it is a top-drawer place that will let you experience absolutely wonderful sushi.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One of those days I can't discuss

The whole day, including every meal, went to work.  It was all interesting stuff, but nothing I can discuss.  Sorry about that.

I can say that, wow, the new Tesla P100 is amazing!  I definitely want that car.

Tomorrow, I hope to report on an amazing dinner.

Monday, August 22, 2016

If it's Monday, it must be Austin

And, indeed, it is.  I flew out of Kansas City in the late morning, enjoyed some quality time in DFW, and hit Austin in the very late afternoon, just in time for rush hour.

Most of today went to work, as tends to happen on Mondays, even Mondays that are part of my three-city, two-week road trip.

Dinner was delicious barbecue at Cooper's and ice cream at Amy's, my new Monday in Austin tradition.  Neither ever lets you down.

Tomorrow, meetings!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

As the Worldcon winds down

I find it important to remind myself that what matters most is that we do the work.  The socializing and the networking and the schmoozing are all well and good, but if we don't write the books and stories, then as authors we are just pretending.  I need to put my focus ever more squarely on doing the work.


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