Cheese and the Golden Apples of the Sun

Today was an interesting day. We had another one of our “brown bag lunches” at the office, this one a talk (and tasting) about the wares at a local cheese shop. It was actually really quite interesting. Did you know, for instance, that cheese made from cow’s milk is usually yellow because of the beta carotene — which goats, on the other had, digest, making cheese made from their milk white. We each had a plate of five cheeses, which we went through one by one. I think the Cabot clothbound cheddar was everybody’s favorite, although I think more than a little of it would be almost too sweet. It was almost toffee-flavored or candied as is, but still, delicious.

All together, it was one of our more successful brown bag lunches — lunch itself was salad, which itself was different — and I left with some great tastes, a little bit of knowledge, and a 15%-off coupon. (Of course, that cheddar alone is priced at $22.99 a pound, so I’d probably need the coupon if I decide to shop there.)

It was all I could do not to ask about Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

Of course, the whole day had a kind of weird pall over it. I’m not sure I can express just how saddened I was by the news that Ray Bradbury had passed away. Or just how much the man’s stories and novels meant to me. So maybe I’ll just leave you with this lovely quote from the man himself:

The thing I dream is this: That some night, a hundred nights, a hundred years from now, there will be a boy on Mars reading late at night with a flashlight under the covers. And he’ll look out on the Martian landscape, which will be bleak and rocky and red and not very romantic. But when he turns out the light and lies with a copy of my book, I hope, The Martian Chronicles, the Martian winds outside will stir, and the ghosts that are in my book will rouse up, and my creatures—even though they never lived—will be on Mars. And that’s the dream I have.

If there was ever a better argument for going to Mars, I haven’t heard it. He will be greatly missed.

Back to the daily grind

Well, almost. I worked from home today, what with it being a Tuesday and all, and I didn’t have any trouble easing back into things. (Mostly because a lot of the people I’d hoped would have responded to my e-mails in the time I was out…didn’t.) I don’t really get back into the swing of things until tomorow, when I have to get up and get the train and all that again.

For lunch, for my last day home, I went to my favorite sushi and seafood buffet — actually, the only sushi and seafood buffet I ever go to. I think it’s a great place to explore sushi, which I used to hate, in an unintimidating setting, thanks to all the other more typical Japanese fare like beef teriyaki and shrimp tempura. And the quality is excellent, which is a definite must with raw fish, and you’re able to sample from an extensive collection of rolls and other stuff, constantly being replenished. (I’m a newbie, often content with nothing more adventurous than tuna and avocado, and the nomenclature eludes me.) My meal was excellent, and more than filling, and so even the relatively high price tag — with tip, about $25 — didn’t seem bad at all. Especially when compared to the absolutely awful microwave country-fried chicken with gravy I tried having for dinner. (For shame, Marie Callendar, for shame.)

Anyway, that was my Tuesday, more or less. Sushi (and more) for lunch, working from home…oh, and discovering what looks like a half-made bird’s nest in the tree in the front yard. This is a tree, understand, whose branches are at best six or seven feet above the ground, relatively sparse, and, at the end of the driveway, in an area of considerable foot and vehicle traffic. I found piles of twigs around the base of the tree and couldn’t figure it out — was the tree molting? do trees molt? — until I spotted what looks like a nest, sans bird. I’ll keep an eye on it, but it seems like an exceptonally stupid place for a bid to roost.

Okay, so that’s my Tuesday. Now to bed with me.

Duck hunting

It was a quiet though lovely day here in New York. Lots of sunshine, nothing much to be done. Oh sure, I’ve got lots and lots and lots of Kaleidotrope submissions still to get through — and I only managed to get through a tiny handful today — but beyond that and an episode of Supernatural, it’s not like I had anything remarkable planned.

This evening, I went out to dinner with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law, for Mother’s Day. We went to the same restaurant we went to for my birthday in March. I even had the same duck entree. And it was good, but not anywhere as good. Oh well.

When I came home, I watched Predators, which will never replace the original in my heart — really, what could? — but it was surprisingly not terrible.

And that was my day.

Easter parade

I went into Manhattan last night, with my parents, sister, and my sister’s husband, for dinner and a Broadway show. We saw Nice Work If You Can Get It, starring Matthew Broderick, which is still in previews. It was pleasant enough, good fun if not particularly memorable, and if Broderick himself was maybe a little stiff — my sister thought he was “clunky,” which I think is a little unfair, if not completely inaccurate — the show was entertaining. It’s a jukebox musical of Gershwin tunes, some of them awkwardly shoehorned into a silly, paper-thin story — and not all them, I’d wager, either of the Gershwins’ best — but most of the cast (including, for the most part, Broderick) is game, and I think we all had a good time.

Of course, when we arrived in the city, we discovered that the restaurant where we’d had our reservation was closed for the holiday weekend. There was a sign on the door, apologizing for the inconvenience and redirecting us to one of their other restaurants around the corner, but it was still something of a shock. We’d discover today that they’d sent an e-mail (complete with a 30%-off coupon) to apologize and let us know, but in the end it worked out okay. I still prefer the first restaurant to the second, but we had a nice meal nonetheless. (I had roasted duck breast to start — creamy lentils, duck confit, sherry caramel — and then suckling pig — with bacon onion marmalade and toasted almonds. Although the goat cheesecake with sherry poached pears for dessert was probably the best part of my dinner.)

Anyway, that was yesterday. We got home late, after midnight, so I didn’t post anything here about it. Today, we didn’t do much of anything. I did the crossword puzzle, watched Community, went with my sister and her husband to buy Easter plants for my mother, and probably ate a little too much candy. No writing group again this week, because of the Easter holiday, but hopefully we’ll start meeting up again next week.

In the meantime, I still have a lot of Kaleidotrope submissions to get through. I’m starting to get queries — rightly so — asking about submissions I may not have even had a chance to read yet. It’s not quite at the point where I’m seriously thinking about hiring on a slush reader — what guidelines would I give them? — but it is a little overwhelming.

At least I’m temporarily closed to submissions, so I can get something of a reprieve. Meanwhile, the latest issue is still there for your reading pleasure… Just saying.

Happy Easter! (Or Passover, or Sunday, or whatever.)

Friday the 13th

I spent the whole day — well, 10:30 to 4 — in a meeting with our sales reps talking about some of the new and important books for the season. There was a free lunch, but I’m a little wiped. I’ve spent the evening mostly watching the end of Aliens and doing a crossword puzzle. Dinner was from the local Azerbaijan grill restaurant, and the crossword was from the New York Times.

It’s a long weekend here, which is nice, although it’s turned quite cold again, which is less pleasant. It snowed for about five minutes this morning — blink and you might have missed it — but right now it’s just really windy.

Did I mention I was in a meeting all day long?