December 1-2, 2014

M is out of town, so I’m getting by however I can. Had dinner at Dos Perros on Monday, because Taco Night, always, although I actually had the pork pozole, which was delicious.

I think I stayed up too late reading, but I don’t remember what. Probably Volume 1 of the Kelly Sue DeConnick run of Captain Marvel, which is full of confusing time-travel stuff, but also kickass midcentury women aviators. I’m of course so old and out-of-touch that I didn’t even realize that there was a difference between Marvel’s Captain Marvel and DC’s Captain Marvel, aka Shazam.

Work is really time-consuming and stressful right now, because I’m basically having to take on a whole new job function in addition to all the ones I already perform. Which is actually kind of fun, and gratifying (and marketable, in the long run), but like I said, time-consuming and stressful.

Today the guy I was supposed to interview bailed at the last minute, which is actually really a bummer, because I interviewed him once before & really liked him. But it cleared my calendar for essentially the whole day, which means I’m nearly caught up at this point, at least in terms of the stupid quotidian crap that was clogging my inbox.

And I had time to download a bunch of 2014 metal albums so that I can figure out whether there’s anything that came out this year that I’m going to want to listen to again. Apart from the latest YOB, which I already know is awesome.

I downloaded 7 albums this evening & I paid for five of them. Not such a bad ratio. And I only pirated the other two because I couldn’t find anywhere to pay for digital copies.

They were:

Lord Mantis
Witch Mountain

I’ll let you know on January 1st which, if any of them, made the cut.

Had dinner at Gocciolina because unlike M, I could eat there every day & not feel constrained, menu-wise. Of course I’m also the person who can happily eat lunch at the same 2-3 restaurants (or ONE restaurant, under certain circumstances, Park Diner RIP) for literally years.

December 1-2, 2014

November 26, 2014

The snow in Virginia postponed a planned trip to the Roanoke area by a day, leaving me at loose ends. Should have been a study day, but honestly I temporarily forgot that every day this week is supposed to be a study day. Was so annoyed at everything in the world that I just surfed the web and read comic books.

Comic book, that is, Strong Female Protagonist, which is loose and jokey and kind of web-comicy, which I guess makes sense, because it is:

Braved the wet and the mysterious crowds at Morgan Imports to have a BLT at Parker and Otis. It’s a damn fine BLT.

Dinner at Gocciolina, because I was about to leave town, and M wasn’t. It’s always just so good.

Saw Birdman, which is quite the tour de force. But I’m in the mountains of Virginia, writing this on my phone, so my thoughts on that will be written on my laptop tonight & uploaded whenever I get a chance.

November 26, 2014

November 22, 2014

I think the current series of CS lectures I’ve been watching has outrun its usefulness, which is actually too bad, because I have come to believe that for at least some topics, I really do learn better via the combination of listening, note-taking and watching slides. 

I’ve also noticed recently that having a solid grounding in some fairly basic core concepts and vocabulary has made it easier to understand all the books that I’m going to have to rely on for the other stuff I’m trying to learn. Yay education!

After lunch there was a brief errand run, partially accompanied by the Sound Opinions dudes fawning over Robert Plant. To his credit, he sounded pretty self-deprecatory and grounded. There was one moment where Greg Kot floated some theory that he was clearly very proud of having conceived, and Plant was like “no, I disagree." 

Critics: Keep inventing those convoluted nutjob theories about other people’s art; it’s a fun game. But in an interview context, maybe just ask open-ended questions?

Got to Gocciolina at 5:35 and snagged the last 2 seats at the bar. I was really happy to see photos on Facebook from the friends-and-family soft opening of The Boot, since it will hopefully ease the pressure on Gocciolina somewhat. I love that they’re super-successful, but having to go full-bore packed house with your dinner service from the opening bell has got to be stressful.

I remember looking at the kitchen crew, thinking about how tired they must be, and then looking at the clock and realizing it was only 6:45.

Food was awesome, of course. 

(I’m also looking forward to trying out The Boot when it opens for real, because I’m a longtime fan of Andy’s cooking. The menu looks more American-Italian, though, and I have a pretty limited ability to handle cheese.)

M stayed home and watched Nights of Cabiria, and I went to Carrboro to see Gross Ghost & desark & The Tender Fruit. Good times, always:

Not pictured: the ~13-year-old girl who stood right down front next to the speaker cabinet throughout the des ark and Tender Fruit sets. Her mom bought a des ark CD. I hope it straight legit changes her life.

At no point did I see the Carrboro city bus with Aimée’s photo on the side of it. Drat.

November 22, 2014

October 27, 2014

This morning I thought that I might start this entry with an insightful commentary about Jian Ghomeshi, but I don’t think there’s all that much to say, other than that he would appear to be utterly full of shit. This is a good primer on the story as of this morning.

Except for ugghhghgh don’t read the comments unless you also want a primer on how Ghomeshi’s fan/apologists are defending him.

Had a 3-hour block of time this morning at work and actually managed to make use of most of it. I definitely can’t get anything done without at least 2 contiguous hours; need to do better about blocking my calendar to enable such things.

Today was the release date for the new Dawnbringer, so I listened to it three or four times. It’s different from the past couple – sadder, slower, more death-focused. I don’t have a clear view yet of where it will rest on my year-end list, but I’m fairly confident it will be there somewhere.

Night Of The Hammer by DAWNBRINGER

Wound up having dinner at Piedmont, in part because (a) they’re open on Mondays and (b) I had Dos Perros tacos yesterday. Cocktail was good. Sweetbreads & gnocchi appetizer was good. Pork loin was a giant slab of porkchop rather than the slices of loin I was expecting. I don’t like giant slabby porkchops, but it wasn’t bad. I think I let myself have dessert to make up for letting myself order an entree that I was skeptical of, but all I can say about that is that if your fried apple pie isn’t as good as the fried apple pies at Char Grill, then you might just want to stay out of the fried apple pie business.

I mean, I like Piedmont OK. They are very nice people and they are trying really hard, and the food has gotten much better and much more consistent than it was during its most hit-and-miss period. Most things are still too salty-sweet-saucy-intense, though. Being a farm-to-fork joint where the basic ingredients are overpowered by the sauces & seasonings is kind of a shame.

A friend asked me about our trip to LA this past spring, and I was reminded of how great the food was. Everything we had was so much more about the simpler flavors of the ingredients. Obviously they have a bounty of produce out there, year-round, but even in the heart of summer here, it’s rare to find a restaurant that will just let the vegetables do their magical thing.

This reminds me that I need to make Gocciolina reservations. I love/hate the fact that our go-to Friday night drop-in supper spot is so amazingly delicious and so absurdly cheap that it has gotten perma-mobbed & requires reservations just about any night – and more than a day in advance for the weekend.

I hope to hell that the endless hotel & condo development happening in Durham over the next 18 months brings with it more than the tiny handful of restaurants that have been mentioned so far, because otherwise every joint in town will be multi-hour waits on Tuesdays & whatnot.

October 27, 2014