June 20th, 2009

20111112, Marilee

Longhorn Redux

After last month's bookgroup, we went to the new local Longhorn Steakhouse and had a rather bad time, chronicled here. I noted later that Longhorn had contacted me via email (must have googled) and wanted to make it up to us.

I got a call from the Baltimore-Washington manager a few days later and he offered to either send gift cards or to just set it all up to be covered. He wanted us to come again the next meeting, which was today. I told him I wanted to email the group that had been there to get their opinions and he said that was fine. I emailed and we thought having him take care of it and going again today was good, but we also wanted to bring whoever showed up. We wouldn't publicize it, but we would feel uncomfortable telling our friends that they couldn't come or would have to pay when we wouldn't. I told the B-W manager this and he said that would be fine with him. We agreed that I would call him at 3:30pm today with the final number.

So today I called with 14 + baby (four of the fourteen hadn't been there last time, and three people who had, weren't today) and he said it would be all set up. We got there a little early, but it was about 15 minutes after our set time that we got to the table. The B-W manager hadn't called them and they were expecting "about a dozen" so we got a choice of more comfortable seating at a line of tables and some folks at a booth, or less comfortable and all at the line of tables. We like to talk, so we took the tables.

After that, things went really well. We had excellent servers* (who we tipped) and the food was very good. I think over all, they really did make it up to us and although they knew we were coming and were more prepared this time, they'll probably deal better with larger groups in the future.

*One of the servers went to school with one of our members.

ETA: Our librarian and her husband wore really spiffy retro-future shirts from here. I note the website has a coupon good until tomorrow!
20111112, Marilee

The Runaway Skyscraper and other tales from the pulps by Murray Leinster

Leinster's real name was Will F. Jenkins and he was a Virginian. Virginia designated next Saturday, June 27, 2009, to honor him so we decided to do one of his books this month. The acquisitions librarian had a lot of trouble finding enough of one of his books, so about half of us bought this book from Wildside Press and donated them to the library. They're listed as trade paperback, but appear to be POD. That's not bad considering they would be out of print otherwise.

The stories are of their time: racist and sexist. Most are not really SF, but the headline story (probably closer to novella length) is, and is pretty good. A skyscraper travels through time and a male engineer saves everybody's life, keeps them fed, and gets them back to current time, plus marries his secretary. Did I mention sexist? I commented on how he frequently repeated essentially the same words after each other and was reminded about word count being more important than editors in the 20s.

The other story that most of us liked was "Morale" which was about a war in his future where enlisted men invent a lot of real weapons and deterrents that were used much later in our real time. And the major general believes them and lets them do it.