Saturday, May 13, 2017

How I fared in my UFC 211 picks

I'm happy to report that I was right in my picks of the two championship bouts on tonight's UFC PPV event. I chose both champs to win, and they did.

I said that heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic would beat challenger Junior dos Santos by TKO, and indeed Miocic did just that. I was also right to note that it would come before the end of the third round, but I was off in my belief that the fight might go as long as three rounds. Instead, Miocic polished off dos Santos in brutal fashion mid-way through the first round.

Strawweight belt-holder Joanna Jedrzejczyk dominated challenger Jessica Andrade for all five rounds of their bout and emerged with the decision victory, as I predicted. Andrade deserves a ton of credit, though, for taking a huge number of hits and never slowing down, never giving up, and even hurting the champ in the first round. Andrade is tough as nails. For now, though, Jedrzejczyk is untouchable in her division and really ought to be ranked second on the pound-for-pound charts (behind men's flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson).

For the next big UFC event, I might take more risks and call more fights, but I'm definitely happy with tonight's results.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Calling tomorrow night's two main UFC fights

Tomorrow night, UFC 211 will feature two championship matches:  heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic vs. challenger Junior dos Santos, and women's flyweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. challenger Jessica Andrade. I'm looking forward to watching both fights, but I'm going on record now with my prediction: the current champs will come home with their belts.

Miocic is quicker, in better condition, and more powerful than dos Santos. Unless dos Santos gets lucky early, which could always happen, Miocic is going to hit him until he drops him. Miocic will earn the victory, and probably by TKO before the end of the third round.

Jedrzejczyk is a buzz-saw of a champion with a significant reach advantage over Andrade. Andrade is definitely tough, and Jedrzejczyk has plenty of holes in her game, but so far no one has really taken advantage of them. This one is likely to go the distance, but one way or another, Jedrzejczyk's hands will go up in the end.

I'll let you know after the fights how I did.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Star Destroyers

is the name of the upcoming Baen anthology, edited by Tony Daniel and Christopher Ruocchio, in which I have a new story, "Another Solution." I mentioned the book in an earlier post but at that time didn't know its name.

I've seen the Kurt Miller cover, and it definitely fits the title; this is a classic space war SF cover.

I've also read a David Drake story that will be in the book, and it's quite good.

I do like my piece. I hope you do, too.

Unfortunately, I don't think you can yet read the book.

Yup, I'm teasing again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You know you travel too much when

the only restaurant in which you eat dinner twice in a month is in an airport. In my case, this happened tonight in the DFW Au Bon Pain in Terminal A near gate 33. I had a fairly tight connection and needed some sort of meal, so I grabbed a small sandwich and some fruit there.

Just to prove to myself that I'm not set in my ways, however, I did not order my usual (chicken Caesar wrap) and instead opted for another sandwich with similar calories (ham and cheese and lettuce). Take that, those who would pigeonhole me!

I'm now home for a couple of weeks, and I'm mighty glad to be here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Keeping it simple and delicious at Bouchon

My colleagues and I dined tonight at Thomas Keller's lovely Bouchon in the Venetian. The bread and butter are so good that I could almost live on them, but instead I opted to add the steak frites, a dish in which the steak is good but the frites are better. I made them better still by asking to have truffles on them--a standard offering of the restaurant.

Wow, was it good.

Click the image to see a larger version.

In a stunning display of self-control, I scraped the butter off the steak and gave a chunk of my frites to a colleague. I still didn't come close to finishing them. The small steak, though a tough cut, proved to be perfectly prepared and delicious.

You really cannot go wrong with a Thomas Keller restaurant.

If only I'd had the time to eat brunch at Bouchon, my time there would have been complete.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Just another friendly Las Vegas person

I was walking this morning from my hotel to the convention center, moving along well, minding my own business, and enjoying the people watching. At a bus stop ahead of me, a woman was dancing. She was about four foot nine, maybe two hundred pounds, and wearing skintight bright white tights and stretch top. The white fabric extended to her wrists and her ankles. On her feet were white shoes, and she wore short white socks. Her hair was bleached white, and it poked out from under a pure white ball cap. As I drew closer, I saw that she was in her late sixties or early seventies, and though she was dancing, she wore no headphones or ear buds; the music she heard came from inside.

She flirted with each man who passed by, and she offered each a chance to dance.

I went wide and opted not to accept the invitation.

Part of me wanted to know her story; part of me still does. Part of me, though, feared that even hearing it might draw me into a rabbit hole I have neither the time nor the inclination to visit.

As I walked away, I glanced back over my shoulder, and though she was then all alone, still she danced.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The best and the worst, all in one day

I flew on two planes today, and I ate two meals, and each pair yielded examples of the best and worst of travel.

The first flight went as perfectly as one could ask: I received an upgrade to first class, the plane left on time and arrived early, my row-mate was quiet, and I was able to finish a lot of work. I left the plane feeling better than when I entered it.

The second flight, by contrast, proved to be a nightmare. Though I had an exit row, the leg space was minimal.  I was by far the smallest of the three of us in the row, and my shoulders were definitely the narrowest, so none of us had any space. Rather than all suffering, however, the guy in the middle decided to launch an attack for the available space. He spread his shoulders and elbows into both me (aisle) and the other guy, and whenever we tried to regain any space, he'd raise his arms and push back. I didn't want to end up in a fight on a plane, and apparently the guy in the window seat decided the same thing, so we just took it and leaned away from the guy in the middle. By the end of the flight, I was so angry that it took all of my self control to exit the plane calmly.

My first meal was on the first flight, and it was a wilted salad flanked by a wooden piece of the Chicken of Great Despondency (patent-pending by American Airlines). I've eaten a lot of rubber chicken, but this was wooden chicken. Every bit of the salad was droopy and almost as sad and defeated as the chicken, but in a wet, wilted, go-ahead-and-try-to-eat-this-veggie-mush sort of way.

My second meal was dinner at the amazing é by José Andrés. It's very late, and I have to get up very early, so I must save the full review for later. Suffice for now to say that the meal was world-class, the staff's performance exemplary, and as a bonus, all nine of us in the dining room got along well, were foodies, talked and laughed a great deal, and generally made a great meal even better.

More on this meal later, but if you're in Vegas and can afford the time and cost--it's not cheap, but it's worth the tab--definitely check out é by José Andrés.


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