What can I say about the opera? We had never been to a Wagner before, in part because it was not something I was expecting to entirely love. I’ve heard enough of the music to know it’s not my favorite: I like Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi. But this is the glory of the Met in HD–you’re not risking kabillions on an experiment.
The results of this experiment were mixed. These broadcasts sell out fast and our seats were painfully close the screen. We could see the pixels at times, and they had a glitch with the satellite right at the beginning. But the Rhine maidens were very sexy and weird and the staging was ambitious. And I really heart Bryn Terfel, who sings Wotan. So I walked out saying “Yep, I suspected that might not be my cuppa.”
I was glad I went, though. One can’t love all operas (or all anything) equally, but I always enjoy going. And it was a perfect activity for what turned out to be an incredibly rainy day.
The other thing that was very sad about the adventure of Saturday was that once again we planned to eat at Nuba, only to get there and discover they’re not open. This is the third time, I think. I had been looking forward to that lovely wonderful spicy cauliflower all morning. I had brought snacks, but you cannot sit in an opera munching noisily away, and when we left the theater we thought we might as well get to the restaurant. The blood sugar got a tad low.
Plan B, as always, was to hoover up the food I’d brought and haul ass through the downpour to Memphis Blues. Why are they the go-to place? Because they bring your food in five minutes, dammitall, they don’t care if you eat with your fingers, and I’ve never shown up there and found a locked door. They gave me a barbecued lamb sandwich and a salad, and equilibrium was restored.
MB is right next to the Santa Barbara market, so on the last leg of the journey home, we went apple shopping. Only when we were safely home and ready to dry off did Kelly realize I hadn’t bought enough onions for the holiday perogies. So she went back out into the rain to buy some more, along with something else I had forgotten. I curled up by the fire with a book.
This being Monday, I am at Favorite Thing Ever, telling you all about how much I love a good feature article, especially if it’s by Pamela Coloff, and how this is entirely Snuffy‘s fault.
Kelly, meanwhile, posted a recent piece on Mika, musical love child of George Michael and Freddy Mercury, and kormantic sings the praises of a band called Flight of the Conchords.
In the spirit of being grateful, I offer this deep thought: be glad you don’t have one of these on you!
Kelly gets invited to a lot of wine-themed gatherings at this time of year, by people hoping she’ll mention their products in her Chatelaine column, and I’ve gotten to tag along once or twice. They are fun, bubbly crowd scenes, and the food is amazing.
Thursday, though, was the first time I got invited to a full-bore, five-course tasting dinner–and the host was the maker of my favorite beer–Innis & Gunn Oak-Aged Beer from Scotland. I have been looking forward to going to CinCin for this for weeks!
As you can probably deduce from their name, Innis & Gunn age their lovely, lovely beer in bourbon, Scotch, rum, and other boozy-type oak casks. We first encountered its wonders, improbably enough, at a Real Canadian Superstore liquor outlet in Airdrie, Alberta. The 20-something at the cash register raved about it… with cause, as it turned out. From then on, it has been the beer I actually make a point of getting and drinking on my 3-4 “Must have Beer Now!” days of the year.
The way these dinners work, it turns out, is they bring out each course of the meal, and the chef tells you what he’s made. Then one of the drinks experts explains which beer is paired with the food, and why. Then your brain explodes with the yum. They’re opulent affairs. The appetizer was salmon and beet root salad with a foamy beer zabaglione, and the main course was venison with chocolate sauce. Dessert was panna cotta, paired with the Canadian Rye cask beer–which was the sharpest of the bunch, and less a fave of mine. I lost my heart, on the other hand, to the Highland Cask beer, which was the drinking equivalent of a perfect day at the circus. It is a limited edition, alas! They won’t make it again. Fortunately, their Rum Cask is almost as mind-blowing, and is about to be available in Canada, hopefully forever.
This whole thing was hosted by the master brewer and owner of the company, Dougal Sharp, and I ended up sitting next to him and a young woman who was dressed like a librarian. It was a disguise, it turns out, as she’s actually something of a sporty adventuress: a helicopter-skiing, white-water rafting, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing rough and tumble woman from the Okanagan. The two of us asked Dougal many questions about beer making, and I’m thinking my next book has to feature some of the lore. Luckily, I have a planet on the drafting board that has infinite room for passionate little subcultures.
It was a delicious, extravagant and tipsy evening, and a great kick-off to the holiday weekend.
A question for the local folk–we buy Amore raw meat for the cats, and Sophie’s Pet Palace is currently out. Anyone know who else stocks it? Baby needs his quail!
And a shiny bug, in case you think it’s all spiders and stormclouds here this pre-Hallowe’en season.
Tuesday’s words on THE RAIN GARDEN came to 1,454, bringing me to a total of 38K and change, and to the last scene. One or two more writing sessions should do it, and then what I’ll have is this skeletal draft in need of a new title, some research, and much overall fleshing. In the meantime, I’m very pleased with the bones.
I’ve been madly chasing a number of projects and events this week. TOR.COM is hosting a series of Quantum Leap rewatch posts, by me–the first of them is on the pilot, Genesis, and can be found here. Meanwhile, the Tor/Forge newsletter is crowing about Indigo Springs winning the Sunburst Award. All of the books on the short list were TOR books, so they have extra cause to be proud.
And here’s a sign of fall, for you all: