Sunday, December 30, 2007

The 2007 Slackie Ballot is Complete!

Sorry it took so long. I've been having connectivity problems during the first week of my work absence.

The full ballot is now available, and voting will now be extended until January 6. This should give you time to vote and re-vote as need be.

Thanks again for participating, and I look forward to recapping the results for you next month!

Happy New Year, all!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Movie of the Year

This is the most contested and debated category of the Slackies.

Last year, "Superman Returns" won the coin-toss over "X-Men III" (though, in retrospect, I have to call both of those choices into question). This year was a great year for movies, and I know, for me, it will be tough to pick just five, let alone the one best film of the year.

Good luck, Slackie Academy voters.

2007 Slackie Ballot: Album of the Year

Last year, a tie between POD's "Testify" and The Decemberist's "The Crane Wife" was broken when a Special Judge's Prize was given to Skillet's "Comatose."

Which album of 2007 will get your vote?

2007 Slackie Ballot: Best Returning TV Show of the Year

Last year, the PBB judges awarded this prize to "Smallville" (with their profound apologies to "The Office").

Will "Smallville" be unseated from its throne this year? Hey, anything can happen.

Do your part, and vote below!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Best New TV Show of the Year

Last year, HEROES won this grand honor (and most deservingly, I thought).

Which new TV program will get your support and rating as the best new show of the year?

2007 Slackie Ballot: Book of the Year

Last year, "Star Wars Darth Bane: Path of Destruction" by Drew Karpyshyn pulled off the longshot victory.

Which book that was published this year (or that you read this year, I'll even allow that) should be given the 2007 Slackie? You decide!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Worst Movie of the Year

Last year, "Little Man" was named worst movie of the year.

Could we find a worse one this year?

2007 Slackie Ballot: Most Underrated Artistic Achievement of the Year

Last year, Trevor's stick-figure gallery beat the mullet-hat, Guitar Hero II, and the PBB Cool Ten to be named the most under-rated artistic achievement of the year.

Which item/product/work of art or genius do you think should deserve more recognition this year? Enlighten us, with your vote below.

2007 Slackie Ballot: Most Overrated Artistic "Achievement" of the Year

Last year, Joel Osteen's book "Your Best Life Now" was voted the most overrated artistic endeavor.

Which event/item/product (any medium) will get your vote this year?

2007 Slackie Ballot: Serious News Event of the Year

Last year, the execution of Saddam Hussein was the biggest news event, according to the voters.

Which major news event gets your vote this year?

2007 Slackie Ballot: Ludicrous "News" Story of the Year

Last year, the non-story that got our attention and our votes was the Brittney-KFed break-up.

Which non-story has gotten too many headlines this year? Write your letter to the editor and vote below.

2007 Slackie Ballot: Sports Story of the Year

Last year, it was the World Cup that took home the Slackie trophy.

Which story gets the gold this year? Cast your ballots now!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Biggest Screw-up by a Government/Politican (a.k.a. The "D'Oh!" Award)

Last year, Mark Foley and his questionable IM conversations earn him the Slackie. Which political buffoon deserves the "honor" of such a prize this year?

Pull the lever for your "favorite" below.

2007 Slackie Ballot: Most Over-Exposed Lingering Celebrity (a.k.a. The Paris Hilton Prize)

Last year, Kevin Federline upset two-time winner (and prize namesake) Paris Hilton.

Which lingering celebrity earns your ire this year? Vote now!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Most Over-Exposed New Celebrity (a.k.a. The "Your 15 Minutes are Up" Award)

Last year's "winner" was Katie Blair, the Miss Teen USA with a drinking problem.

Which new celebrity are you already sick of? Vote now!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Buffoon of the Year

Last year, Tom Cruise brought the crazy.

Who's it gonna be this year? You decide!

2007 Slackie Ballot: Magazine of the Year

New category this year: What do you purchase from your local news-stand? What glossy issues do you page through on a regular basis?

(My personal vote: Paste Magazine for their "pay-what-you-want" subscription drive this year.)

Make your voices heard below.

Slackie 2007 Ballot: Best Non-Adult Beverage

Last year, the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha took home the award (and probably due to the judge's influence, I'll admit).

What tasty beverage will slurp up the prize this year?

(Note: The term "non-adult" is meant to refer to drinks that don't require an age limit to purchase or consume, not drinks that you would give to children. Thus, coffee drinks are okey-dokey.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2007 Slackie Category: Ice Cream Flavor of the Year

Last year, you chose Chocolate Cake as your Birthday Cake Flavor of the Year. Now it's time for the ice cream people to vote. Pick your favorite flavor, and feel free to be brand-specific.

(So tempted to make an Alana Davis reference here.)

2007 Slackie Category: Blog of the Year

Last year, you goofy kids voted this blog as your blog of the year. You can do better than that, I'm sure.

Provide the blog's name and web address in your vote.

2007 Slackie Category: Best Youtube/Online Video

Last year, Weird Al Yankovic got the special Judge's prize for his video "White and Nerdy." Which internet gem will walk away with the prize this year?

When you vote, provide a link also if you can, so that others can check out your choice.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let slip the dogs of end-of-the-year-contest-voting.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome again to the FOURTH-annual PBB Slackie (TM) awards!

This year, the contest rules have again been updated and improved, and I think most of you will better appreciate the new set-up.

In the past, you (the readers) have suggested nominees and have voted on your favorites, but the winner has always been decided by our panel of judges--namely, me. Then we tried allowing your votes to "count" or whatever, but the nomination process became tedious.

Your cries and complaints at the injustice of this set-up have landed on deaf ears--until now.

To review yesterday's post, here's how the NEW new system is going to work:

  • I'll post the category, and you'll cast your vote. If you can't think of anything, you may copy someone else's. If you vote and then change your mind, you may change your vote if you make it clear that you are doing so. The phrase "VOTE CHANGE" is very helpful.
  • The nominee with the most votes wins. The only exception is what I'm going to call the special "Judge's Choice" award. I will be allowed up to 3 overrides to be used when I think a vote is lopsided and a more worthy choice does not receive the award as it should. If I use the "Judge's Choice" option, I'll also list the popular favorite.
  • All ties will be decided by a fair and balanced coin toss.
  • Nominations DO automatically count as votes.
  • Votes from all over the world are eligible, but no spam-bot-like voting to make sure your favorite science fiction TV show about robot races trying to crush humanity wins the category. I'm looking at you, Trev.


Note: All voting is still for entertainment value only, but still has bearing on actual contest results. Contest winners are decided based on the majority/plurality of reader votes, except in the case of "Judge's Prize" vote overrides. The voting will be overseen by the PBB panel of expert judges, and all results will be verified by the accounting firm of Fine, Howard, and Fine. All ties will be decided scientifically (a coin toss). Unlike previous years, the method of picking a number between one and ten will not be used, since most of the nominees are works of art and/or inantimate objects, and cannot pick numbers or communicate their choices. Winners will be notified within three years via Pony Express. The management and staff of PBB/ATDTT, Inc. waive all responsibility of any injuries, arguments, or hurt feelings that may result from this contest or the ensuing voting in the comment box. Don't say we didn't warn you. You must be at least 5 years old in order to vote in all categories. Wyoming voters are now eligible. Contest is still void in New Hampshire, because you people get all pissy about election primaries. Who cares what you think, a full year before the election? Consider yourself voted OUT.

ADDENDUM: That last comment was not meant to insult or demean Iowans, who are equally pissy about election primaries. But the fact is, I'm not sure if you folks are eligible to vote in this contest yet, because you haven't decided among yourselves if it's pronounced "Eye-oh-wuh" or "Eye-oh-way." Get your own house in order before you come calling 'round here.

2007 Slackie Voting: Best Fictional Character (Male)

Last year's winner was Dr. Gregory House (from the TV show "House"). Can the frustrated physician prescribe a repeat victory? You decide!

Any genre, any format. Give the name of the character and what they're best known for.

2007 Slackie Voting: Best Fictional Character (Female)

Last year, indestructible cheerleader Claire Bennett (from "Heroes") was able to outlast all the others and pull off the victory. Can she regenerate a second win? You make the call!

Any genre, any format. Give the character's name and what they are best known for.

2007 Slackie Voting: "Best Guilty Pleasure"

This category was the winner of last year's category, "Best New 'Slackie' Award," and we are pleased to begin this year's proceedings with it. Place your votes in the comments below. (And I shouldn't have to say it, but keep it clean, huh? There's kids watching.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reminders and Notices

--If you haven't been keeping up with PBB this week, I wrote an open letter to Patrick McGoohan, listed my Top Five Musical Crimes Related to Christmas, gave you a link to a full online version of "It's A Wonderful Life," and dropped a bunch of fun links on you. Be sure to check all the goodies out, if you've missed them. No, I'm not giving the links here. Scroll down, lazy.

--Some of the Christmas cards have been sent. The rest will be sent tomorrow. You'll get them...sometime next week. Hopefully.

--The usual "end of the year" posting you have come to expect and endure here at PBB will be slightly modified this year. I'm going to be travelling and doing other things, so the year-end book list, mixtape soundtrack, and other such things will come eventually, but it may be during the first couple weeks of 2008. And yes, that includes my much-delayed Boston pictures.

But the key thing is, the Fourth Annual PBB "Slackie" Awards (TM) will be conducted in a different way. No more confusing "nomination vs. actual vote" process. Over the next ten days, I'll be posting the categories, and you will be asked to vote in each category. If you vote and then find a better choice, tell me in the comments to change your vote to your new selection. Your final answer will be the one counted. All voting closes at midnight on December 31, so make sure to check back daily so that your voice can be heard and your vote can be counted.

Hopefully this will help clear some things up. Expect the Slackie "intro" post and the first few categories to be opened up tomorrow. [If you've never experienced the PBB "Slackies," feel free to read up.]

PBB Presents "Open Letters to Celebrities": Patrick McGoohan

Dear Mr. McGoohan,

I just finished watching The Prisoner last night. Thank you for a compelling and bizarre television series. It really was one of a kind--and in a good way.

I simply loved the concept and the way it was carried out. Your portrayal of Number 6 was often hilarious and exciting. The rotating carousel of "new Number 2's" kept things fresh (though my favorite was, of course, Leo McKern). The writing was at times very crisp, the symbolism was thick without being pedantic, and the stories were often very gripping.

I do have to say that I started to lose a little faith toward the end. While I was willing to forgive the bizarreness of "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling," the episodes "Living in Harmony" and "The Girl Who was Death" were a bit too stagey for me. The show was most entertaining when it was firmly grounded in the pseudo-"reality" of the Village itself. Dream sequences and other cutesy machinations only served to distract from an otherwise great show. And really, "Death" was just a waste, slipping sadly to the level of an Adam West "Batman" episode, but without the helpful "BAMs" and "POWWWs."

Which brings me to "Fall Out." I was at once thrilled and perplexed by this episode. There were so many unusual visual and aural elements to take in and organize. So many images carried some sort of symbolic weight, though I had trouble really "getting" them on the first run through. I love the kangaroo court that ensues. I love No. 48's character. I love the hallucinatory feel of the episode.

But I hated the ending. I thought the reveal of No. 1 was a bit of a cop-out. I really would have preferred that there was no reveal of No. 1, or it's revealed that No. 1 was a machine, or that he wasn't really even there at that location, and was some desk clerk in London. Maybe one of those alternatives was really what you meant, and I just didn't get it. But the overthrow of the court, and the ensuing escape seemed very odd.

I loved that the butler stayed with No. 6, and that the number on his (self-opening) door was "1." Maybe that tells me all I need to know.

It was an odd way to end the series. Something tells me that was outside of your control, and I sympathize. I'd like to think that you weren't pleased to have to end it that way either. There's a sense of tension and disquiet in the ending. Perhaps that was just my projection upon the episode.

Despite my criticisms, however, I have to say that your program was one of the best television stories I've ever seen, and that all of the best TV storytellers currently spinning their tales owe you a great debt of gratitude for opening up the medium to the idea of a series being a difficult, abstract, and ultimately rewarding journey. Thank you for your artistic vision.

Be seeing you,

(call me No. 52)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PBB presents: Top Five Most Heinous Musical Crimes Related to Christmas

It's one week until Christmas, and, like me, you've been inundated with Christmas music for the past month or so. It doesn't bother me. I used to be a total Scrooge when it came to Christmas music, but I think a lot of that was just posturing, trying to be "too cool" for Yule. Suffice to say, if I had to pick a favorite holiday song, it would have been "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Sixpence None the Richer. (Which is a great track, by the way.)

I've gotten mellower now, and have developed more of a tolerance. I'm not quite at the "non-stop from Thanksgiving to Christmas" level yet. (My mother lives at that level.) But I can definitely appreciate Christmas music a whole lot more.

However, that doesn't mean I like all Christmas music. In fact, certain songs still just annoy the tar out of me--so much so that I feel it's my duty to unofficially indict these musical crimes and misdemeanors.

Here they are, then: PBB's List of Christmas-themed Musical Crimes.

[A Word of Disclaimer: If you like these songs, that's cool. If you think I'm being unnecessarily grumpy or negative, that's fine. Whatever, maybe I am, so what? These are the five songs that I avoid like the plague. Songs that make me turn the radio dial immediately, or off completely if they keep popping up. I'd rather listen to my truck engine idle than sit through these cheesefests ever again. But maybe it's just me, so whatever.]

#5: "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano

I almost didn't list this one, becuase really, it's harmless. But the sad fact is that this song is the "Margaritaville" of Christmas carols--everyone knows the words, everyone sings along with the song, and then everyone is deeply embarrassed afterwards. No Christmas carol should cause this much shame. And honestly, the lyrics aren't that inspiring. No magnificent angelic host, no inspiring star, no world laying pining in sin and error, no captive Israel. Just some dude saying Merry Christmas over and over and over. He doesn't even wish us a prosperous New year "from the bottom of his heart." What's up, Jose? Did you run out of sincere sentiment halfway through?

#4: "Jingle Bell Rock" by Billy Idol
Normally this song would be okay, but I hold against it that it turned Billy Idol into this:

I have no words for how much this disturbs me.

#3: "Santa Baby" by anyone who thinks it's still sexy.

Memo to everyone singing this song ever: You are neither Cynthia Basinet* nor Eartha Kitt. You will never sound like Cynthia Basinet or Eartha Kitt. Attempting to sing this song as if you were Cynthia Basinet or Eartha Kitt only demonstrates how ridiculous and incredibly annoying this song sounds. Plus, it makes you look sad and desperate. Please stop. For the love of Christmas, please stop.

*Thanks to Ash at for the correction. (But I still hate the song--no offense.)

#2: "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney

First, take everything remotely awesome about 80's synth music. Okay, ready? Now smash it with a candy cane until it's completely unrecognizable and repulsive. Once you're done with that, let it rot for about a year, and then set it on fire. Put out the flames with old pondwater, and then smother it with about 15 gallons of watered down vanilla frosting. What you'll have will still be more palatable than this turd, produced by one-fourth of the greatest band of the twentieth century.

The video is frightening and may in some subconscious way be intended to dissuade kids from doing drugs during the holidays. The disembodied piano-playing hands and the star people freak me out. At about 1:45 into the video, the Spanish Inquisition shows up (unexpected, natch). There's duelling Pauls, some kind of fire, angels vandalizing buildings. I'm giving you the high points here.

What stinks is that there is actually a decent version by Jars of Clay, but I can't enjoy it, because Sir Paul's original is forever tainted.

#1: "Christmas Shoes" by Newsong

If there were ever a tune deserving of criminal prosecution, it's this one--and I say this with absolutely no exaggeration. I can't even express how much I loathe this song. Some of these tracks annoy me, or stick in my mind like a burr that I can't remove. But this one makes me angry, to the point of minor violence. Why? Because it's expressly created to make you cry. A little boy is buying new shoes for his mother, so she'll be pretty when she dies and goes to Heaven tonight.

Holy. Freaking. Crap. And the kid can't afford the shoes, and a stranger buys them for him. For his mom who's dying of some unspecified disease. Because apparently Daddy can't get his butt to the store with his young son to buy the frigging shoes.

The stage-whispery vocals. The telegraphed musical swells at the bridge. The FREAKING CHILDREN'S CHOIR SINGING THE CHORUS AFTER THE BRIDGE!


*calming breaths*

I hate you, Newsong. I hate you very very much.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"I'll give you the moon, Mary." "I'll take it."

It's one of the greatest movies ever made, and yet I hear more and more people saying they've never seen it. Well, now you have no excuse.

The entirety of "It's a Wonderful Life" in glorious black and white (no offense*).

Consider this a top-level Teacherdave/PBB recommendation. Watch this before you watch any other film I've recommended to you this year. It's a beautiful film that's unfairly pigeon-holed as a "Christmas" movie. It's not. It's just a masterpiece, no matter what time of year.

[*If you got this throwaway reference, give yourself 5 bonus points and an Abbie-Normal brain.]

A Stockingful of Linky-Love

Some pre-Christmas goodies for you (both old and new):
  • If you haven't already done some investigation on the author and intent of "The Golden Compass," here are two articles (from Christian websites, so obviously a little biased) on the book series and its opinionated author.
  • Here's a dose of C. S. Lewis to cleanse the palate: the trailer for the new Narnia film, "Prince Caspian."
  • Arm yourself: here's Wizard Magazine's list of the 50 coolest weapons.
  • Leave it to the Onion to perfectly capture the unabashed narcissism of the blogger.
  • The Georgia Baptist Convention approved a resolution denouncing Baptists who blog, stating that blogging "has become a tool for personal attacks on Christians and promotes a negative view of the SBC." My response? That guy's a turd. (Just kidding.) [h-t: BHT]
  • Speaking of church: Have you ever gotten the feeling that some of the people promoting the seeker-sensitive approach to church may be going a bit too far? [h-t: TeamPyro's meta]
  • Want some scoopage on the new Indiana Jones movie? Ta-daa. (Not the Drama Bug.)
  • Honestly, this was bound to happen sooner or later, wasn't it? I just hope it's the start of a new emphasis in law enforcement--an era of arresting and prosecuting anyone caught singing Guns-N-Roses songs who is not immediately identified as "1980's" Axl Rose.
  • LOST! Back January 31! Here's the newest trailer! (The big shocker of the trailer is...*spoiler in red Pig-Latin* Arlie-chay is ack-bay? Aaaaaaaaang-day.)
  • For some reason, I didn't realize the Oscar nominees for Best Song were drawn from such a large list. Personally, I'm pulling for songs from Dan in Real Life, Music and Lyrics, and Once (which I still haven't seen!).
  • "Dark Knight" updates: New posters. New Trailer. SomeRandomChristmas.
  • More anticipated movie-ness: Cloverfield! video scoop.
  • Anybody remember watching the old children's show "Today's Special"? No reason, I just enjoyed the awesome 80's flashback. That was a great show.
  • Stereogum has named this bizarrely awesome video the third-best music video of 2007. I think it's hilarious and can't stop watching it, but unless you are nominally familiar with the comedian Zach Galifianakis, you won't enjoy it as much as I do. (Also, since it's a Kanye West song, there is some bad language, so be advised.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Twas the Night before Slackmas

'Twas the Night before Slackmas
And all through the 'Nets
All the PBB readers
Were placing their bets.

"Do you think that ol' Teacher
will really come through
With Noel cards for me
And with cards still for you?"

"Well that all depends,"
said one lad. "Now, confess:
Have you yet sent Teacherdave
Your home address?"

Said his mate, "No, not I!
Oh, say there is yet time!
I can't miss out this year
On his clever rhyme!"

The wiser boy cheered,
"There is hope, don't dismay!
Email him your home info,
For you still have one day!"

And throughout the webiverse
There rang peals of glee!
For one day remained
To get Dave's poetry.

So, write slackerlitgeek
at gmail dot com.
List the numbers and words
that help mail find your home.

And soon, very soon,
(well, a couple of weeks),
you'll hear from the clown-prince
of slacker lit-geeks.

I have to add one thing,
and then I must be gone:

I won't dress like Santa
and I jiggle for no-one.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"No-mail, No-mail, NO-o-mail, No-mail..."

"...No mail for tho-ose who fa-a-a-ail..."

(to ask for a christmas card from teacherdave.)

Just a reminder. Need your mailing addresses by Friday. I'll be sending out my cards this weekend, hopefully.






Gimme a holler, as the old folks say.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Missing an Artist I Never Knew Until After He Died.

Compilation Video of Clips and Interviews about Jeff Buckley (song is "A Body Goes Down," a tribute written by Duncan Sheik)

Aimee Mann, "Just Like Anyone" (another tribute written for Jeff; best version I could find)

If you don't know Buckley's work, you owe it to yourself to check him out.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Christmas Card from Slacker Claus

Who likes mail?

I'm making my 2007 Christmas card list. (Yes, I'm actually going to do them this year...unlike the last two years. Ahem.)

Do you want a Christmas card from me? If so, email your mailing address to slackerlitgeek-at-gmail-dot-com. (Not literally to that hyphenated phrase, but you know the drill.) If you get it to me before, say, next Friday, I'll send you a Christmas card with a little message inside. Personalized? You betcha. Maybe even a poem or a drawing. Who knows.

By participating and emailing your address, you are agreeing to the following conditions:

1) You won't spam my email inbox with forwards or mailing lists that I don't ask for, because that's not nice; and,
2) You won't use the return address on the envelope to stalk me. Seriously not nice.

If you agree to these terms, email away. And you'll get mail! From someone you've probably never met in real life! How awesome is that!

Moving further into "Fear Factor" territory.

At a genuine French restaurant (French owner, waitstaff, menu, music, everything), I ordered steak and potatoes, but I also tried the following:

--three kinds of cheese (Camembert, Roquefort, and something else)
--bone marrow (it had the consistency of chicken fat)
--Fois gras (goose liver pate)

And now that I'm back home, my culinary adventures are over, at least for now. Eating this way all the time is expensive!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Try the grey stuff, it's delicious.

I have to share this, because if any more time passes, I won't be able to do it justice.

My three coworkers and I just came from the most amazing meal experience of my life.

Meal "experience," Dave? Yes.

During every business trip, we try to go to one really upscale restaurant and blow a lot of money on a fancy dinner. This trip, it was what we were assured was the best restaurant in Boston.

Ain't no lie, my friends.

The decor seemed hip/classic. Lots of dark woods. Medium-dim lighting. Good music (Imogen Heap was a favorite). The menu was very self-assured and ostensibly snooty. I was going to go with the "fish and chips," since it was 1) the cheapest entree, and 2) the most normal choice.

One coworker said, "I wonder what the five-course taste meal is." I could tell you what it was--four times the price of my first selection.

Turns out the five course meal was a special chef-prepared feast, with all of the flavors and choices specifically planned to blend together. But it could only be ordered for the full table. Everyone was immediately on board but me. I finally acquiesced. Good choice, Dave.

My only concern at the start was, "No sushi." I have a standing policy against raw meat. The waiter, who was the spitting image of Omar Epps, went and asked the chef about this. Turns out there would be sushi. Feeling adventurous, and at the urging of all three tablemates, I agreed. Bring it on, I'm ready to go for it.

The idea of the five-course taste menu is to use small portions, so that lots of different flavors can be experienced. I was worried that I'd still be hungry, after a meal of what I expected to be miniature dabs of food. I was working with a media-fed expectation of "snooty restaurant food." My boss assured me we'd go find real food afterwards. That wasn't necessary.

I wish I could remember every detail of the symphony of food we experienced tonight. I can only give you the highlights. [Sara, you'll have to fill in what I missed, if you can remember.]

First dish: A miniature fish taco, essentially. Very tasty. Very small, no more than two inches long. Cute, but it didn't give me confidence that this meal would be worth the price. I kept eating the rolls, just in case it was more of the same. I had too many rolls.

Second dish: A trio of sushi choices. My boss told me afterwards that I stepped up and tried "graduate-level" sushi, instead of working my way up. I will say that I'm not likely to pursue further instruction; but the experience was good. I don't remember the exact details, sorry, though I know one was a tartar, one was a roll, and one was just a two-square-inch piece of flaming red fish. The first bite of each was okay. The second bites of the slab and the roll kicked in my gag reflex a little. But I got it down.

Third dish: More sushi. This was apparently my boss' favorite. It was topped with bits of real bacon, a fried quail egg, a few other things, and caviar. Caviar. Seriously. There was also a really tasty sauce. This bit of sushi was actually good. The warmth of the egg helped.

Fourth dish: Grilled fish. A halibut, I think. On a pile of veggies, with two different kinds of sauces ringed around, one buttery, one lemony. YUM. Not so yum: among the veggies were a few anchovies, which I'd never had before and didn't rave about, but the sauces cut some of the strong flavor down.

We thought that there would be one more to come. I said, "It wasn't a lot, but it was a good experience, and I tried new things. This was good." But then the brilliantly-skilled and top-notch waitstaff layed out forks and knives. More? There's more?

Five courses. Not five dishes.

Fifth Dish: Venison, medium-rare. More veggies. Venison reduction. Other things going on. This dish was a little too sweet, but I didn't want to miss it, so I ate a good bit of it.

Sixth Dish: Watermelon champagne sorbet. Cleansed the palate (though I'm not jazzed about the slight champagne-y aftertaste).

Seventh Dish(es): For the grand finale, four different desserts. I can't remember all the detail, but there were two cannolis, a butterscotch pudding, chocolate beignets, a praline ice cream with an amazing psuedo-cookie platform, and some kind of custard I couldn't pronounce. We all shared these amazing desserts, and then I had a cappucino afterwards.

I haven't done this meal justice; there were so many flavors and combinations and little touches that made it amazing.

We sat at the table for just over three hours. My share of the bill came out to more than my family of five would spend for a meal together. But I have to tell you, my friends, the shared experience was worth every penny.

New things I tried tonight:
four types of sushi;
a few new types of desert;
and various veggies that until now were little more than spelling words to me.

Gonna go to Boston, gonna find myself again.

Hey gang, sorry about the radio silence. Haven't had internet access until now, and I have to do some work stuff before I get back to my conference, so I can't really chat. Just wanted to drop a quick line to let you know that I'm still alive. (Because almost a week without a single post is jarring, I know.)

I don't think I'll be live-blogging the rest of my trip, but I am doing something creative offline (with paper! and ink!), so I may share that when/if I think it's ripened enough.

I'll be back by the end of the week (or by next week, at the latest) with my usual brand of inanity. And hopefully, Boston pictures! (It snowed last night!!!)

And I'll also tell you about a book I finished last night that has become my all-time favorite book about music. That's your teaser.

Take care, and be excellent to each other.