Thursday, September 15, 2016

The first Kickstarter I've plugged here

I've participated in a number of Kickstarter campaigns, and I've always been happy with the results.  I've never, though, openly plugged one in this blog.

Until now.

I think everyone who loves illustration or who still has a child inside should consider supporting Omar Rayyan's Goblin Market art book Kickstarter.  Go ahead and follow that link.  I'll wait.

Now that you're back, let me explain why you should jump on this book:

  • It's beautiful.  You've seen that.
  • Rayyan is a great guy.  I own several of his originals, and I've gotten to talk with him on a few occasions.  He's always been intense, fun, funny, and genuinely nice.  
  • Rayyan's work deserves a huge audience.  If you've followed the link, you probably already know that.  (For more examples, go to his site.)
  • The book is from a Christina Rossetti poem!  
I could go on, but you get the point:  this is a book you should own, a campaign you should back.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Though in this trailer Ben Affleck talks a bit too much

I still very much look forward to the movie and expect it to be big fun.

I'm hoping that the filmmakers show some sensitivity as they focus on the action, but I have to confess that even if they don't, I'll go just for the action.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Durham's Picnic hits and misses

I'd been meaning to try Picnic, a fairly new barbecue restaurant in Durham, but I hadn't gotten around to it.  After reading Greg Cox's recent review of the place, though, I made a point of getting a variety of take-out items for a recent UFC gathering at home.

I'd love to be able to report that I agree with Cox, but I don't.  What I sampled ranged from excellent to mediocre to weak.

To be fair, before I dive into specifics, I must note that this was a take-out meal, so I wasn't tasting the food under optimum conditions.  I picked up the many styrofoam containers on a busy Saturday night, which might also have caused some troubles.  Nonetheless, I've done the same from other local barbecue joints, notably Bullock's, with better overall results.

The star of the show by far was the pork barbecue.  Everyone who tasted it liked it, and to my palate it's one of the very best local versions of this NC classic.  So rich and moist and flavorful that it didn't need sauce, I would (and will) go back to Picnic for this dish alone.

The other meat we tried, the fried chicken, was a favorite of Cox's but a very weak sister on my plate.  On the dry side and with breading that had still visible flour--a clear kitchen misstep--the plates of fried white chicken meat bombed overall.  I also hate that no dark meat was available.  I'm hoping we just caught a bad batch, but had I not read Cox's review, I would never try the chicken again.

The sides and accompaniments ranged from straight-from-the-bag (the buns; nothing home-baked here), to okay but no better (the pimento mac and cheese, which I had expected to be better), to solid (baked beans), and even to unexpectedly good (the simple but perfect slaw, not a normal favorite of mine).  The hush puppies were a huge disappointment, bland and dry even when we ate a few right at the restaurant.  We threw out most of them, a rare occurrence in our house.

With so many other great barbecue places dotting the local landscape, Picnic needs to raise its game considerably if it wants more of my business.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A reminder: If you don't vote for Clinton, you're helping Trump

It really is that simple.

If you're a Trump supporter, someone who really believes he should be the next President of these United States, then I'm not talking to you.  I strongly feel you are choosing poorly, but that is your right.

The following choices are also the right of the people making them, but I want to make sure we're all clear on what those choices mean.

If you stay home in disgust at your choice of candidates, you're giving Trump a greater chance of winning than if you pick the lesser of two evils, which is clearly, at least to me, Clinton.

If you vote for Johnson, who cannot win, then you're giving Trump a greater chance of winning.

I mention this again because of Clinton's recent screw-up: her choice not to be open about being sick.  As countless analysts have observed, Clinton has an unhealthy tendency toward secrecy, and that tendency is part of what has led so many people to distrust her.  She should have been open about her illness, as her campaign ultimately agreed.

Even so, though, the choice in this election is clear:  either we put Clinton in the White House, or we let Trump win and live with all that he so obviously is.  To me, every bit of available data about the man makes it completely obvious that we should never let him lead this country.

Yes, you can talk about casting a protest vote, joke about wanting a big meteor to end it all, and be legitimately appalled at having to pick from among two candidates you don't trust, but in the end, choose the one who is a rational human being who at least cares somewhat about other humans.

Choose Clinton.

(By the way, I think rather better of Clinton than the above entry might suggest.  I think she will make a solid President, and I absolutely will vote for her.  I wrote this entry as I did to highlight my very strong belief that even if you don't like Clinton, you should vote for her because she is a vastly better choice than Trump.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen years ago today

I was in the Westin Burlingame on a business trip when I learned the news.  Gina, who was in the same hotel on this trip, pounded on my hotel room door, woke me up, and we watched in horror as the plane hit the second tower.

I wasn't in New York.  I lost no friends in the attack.  Yet I still feel sick about it.

That Friday, I flew home on the first flight to leave the Bay Area since the attacks.  We had to arrive over three hours early for the flight.  Lines were huge.  Everyone was somber.  Most were shell-shocked.  No one complained.

Almost everyone on our flight sighed in relief when it took off, but people remained tense the whole time we were in the air.

On Monday, I flew into La Guardia on a business trip.  As we drew closer to the airport, I could see out the window--I was on the left side of a small commuter plane--the smoldering ruins and the helicopters still patrolling the airspace.  The anger in the plane was palpable.  I felt it.

The ripples of that day have cost a probably unknowable number of human lives and an also probably unknowable amount of money, to our country and to others.

I wasn't in New York.  I lost no friends in the attack.  Yet I still feel sick about it.


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