Category Archives: Entertainment

Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey

In a previous post I mentioned that the end was near for the Dark Tower series from Stephen King. It came out on 9/21 and I finished reading it this past Tuesday morning 9/28. A little bit slower then I thought, but its a big book coming in at 845 pages. It probably should have been two books. I’ve been meaning to post about it all week, but I wanted to reflect on it before I did. I also don’t want to drop too many spoilers here as I know many people haven’t gotten to the book yet. (Hello to my blog follower from Finland, where its unknown when the book will be out.)

As a quick aside, I want to talk about my attachment to the series before I go on. I’ve been trying to think of a way to say how much I enjoyed the series as a whole. The only thing I can come up with is the following: I was at the book store the day the last three books where out waiting to jump back into Mid-World (and any place else the tale would take us, say true.) On average, its taken me less than 4 days to read each book. The only thing getting in the way was either work or sleep (and with the last two books, my daughter.) The only other book series I’ve done this with has been Harry Potter.

I wanted the time to reflect on the book, as my initial impressions where not the ones I know I will have long term. Part of the reason reflection was necessary was due to the fact that I was saying goodbye to at least 4 characters (maybe 5) I’ve followed for somewhere around 13 years. (I don’t remember when I read my first book from the series, but I know I was in high school, so I’m putting it in the middle of that time period.) Due to the attachment I’ve grown to these fictional characters any goodbye would be tough. In general, and I’m sure any author will tell you, endings are tough. (That’s probably why so many authors suck at endings, but that’s a different post.)

The other factor is what I’ll call The Matrix Revolutions Factor. After The Matrix Reloaded I had all sorts of ideas of where the story should go and what would be interesting ends to subplots. Obviously, The Matrix Revolutions didn’t match up with what I had in mind. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what appeared on the move screen didn’t surpass my expectations. It just met them, if not was a little lower than them. (This reminds me, I should go back and watch the movie now that some times has passed.)

**** WARNING: I can’t help but add some potential spoilers in the next few paragraphs. You have been warned! (I’ll also drop some more protection, to be nice.) ****
Continue reading Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey

I ain’t getting on no plane!

My friend Val, who is also the secretary at our church, is quoted in the Chicago Tribune religion section in the article Still Mr. T: The `T’ is for testimony. She was at Willow Creek Community Chuch when Mr. T. was there speaking. I was talking to her Wednesday morning and she mentioned that she was interviewed by the Trib so I was on the lookout for the article.

The article as pretty interesting as it talked about Mr. T’s faith and how he came back to it. I also liked that many of the people who were at the service weren’t really aware or remembered Mr. T when was at his celebrity zenith.

Being a child of the 80s, I’m all about The A-Team and I remember such things as the Mr. T breakfast cereal and the Mr. T cartoon. However, raving about Mr. T is one of those things that show the seperation between my generation and the one right behind mine.

Anyway, the reason I post about this is to retell a story Val told me. She said the best thing she’s ever heard was when Mr. T was telling a story about his life and reflecting it to his faith. “So I was driving around one day, pitying fools…” Val said the casual dropping in of “pitying fools” just made her day. From what Val was telling me, as a line tossed in to generate laughter it hit its target.

I’ve decieded that I need to just start dropping that into sentences. “So I was at work, writing some Java, pitying fools, and…” And that’s is no jibber-jabber!

Rachel Barton spreading the musical love

I was lucky enough to see Rachel Barton Pine last year when she was a soloist during a Dupage Symphony Orchestra. Disclosure: my wife, Sarah, plays violin in the DSO. The piece she played with the orchestra was great, but it was her encore that blew me away, as well as most of the audience who was there.

Since DSO was spending the season celebrating their 50th Anniversary Rachel’s encore was “Happy Birthday” played in about 100 different styles. Super fast, slow, a duet with herself, plucking, and many other tricks, some of which I didn’t even know a violin could do. Sarah was upset she was sitting with the orchestra being Rachel as she couldn’t see her hands as they worked the musical magick.

For the past number of years she’s been combining her talent with the violin with her love for metal and using that to expose more people to classical music.

From the article: Young violinist on quest to spread classical music

During her rehabilitation following the 1995 accident, she played her own virtuosic arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at two Chicago Bulls playoff games and at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1996.

“People started coming up to me on the streets saying, ‘Wow, I heard your national anthem and I never realized that violins were so cool,'” she said. “That really inspired me, by the fact that it’s not that people don’t like violin music but maybe that they just haven’t given it a chance, been properly exposed to it.”

So off she went to visit rock radio stations, bringing her fiddle and her vast knowledge of Megadeth and Mozart, Metallica and Mendelssohn, Robert Plant and Johann Pachelbel.

Anyway, thanks to Chicagoist who pointed out the MSNBC story to me and two of the rock cover tracks, I’ve now ordered Stringendo Storming The Citadel off Rachel’s web site. Luckily my wife doesn’t typically read my blog, so I should be able to suprise her with it.

WLS does it again

Yes, its two day old news….

You think they would have learned after the Garry Meier fiasco, but WLS (and their talent) did it again. Don and Roma’s contract was up on Tuesday and the past two days have been Teri O’Brian and Art Wallis. I didn’t really agree with Don and Roma much, but they kept me entertained in the morning for at least 12 years. Its not destroying my morning routine, but its not the same either. Supposedly, WLS is still in talks with Don and Roma, but I’m not holding out hope. Once you take the talent off the air, it can’t be good.

Since I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than listen to Teri O’Brian, I guess I need to start setting my clock radio to something else. WBBM is looking pretty good.

Its a shame really. Don and Rom gone, Roe’s not as good without Garry….I’m starting to have no reason to listen to WLS. Jay Marvin is the only thing keeping me there, and I barely get a chance to listen to his show.

[Update 12/30: Those of you hitting my site today (thanks to google) are probably looking for this article I wrote a few days ago (in relation to this update.)]

The end is near….

The end is near! On Sept. 21st to be exact. I think I’ll start at the beginning this weekend.

The Dark Tower web site and print advirtising used “The end is near, start at the beginning” last year when they re-released the earlier books. Its been stuck in my head since then.

Now its almost time….THE END IS NEAR!

[Update 9/21: THE END IS HERE! I just picked it up at the bookstore. Gotta wait for the train home to read it. If no one hears from me for 3 days, this is why.]

DuPage Symphony Orchestra Concert on 9/11

Pre-Dinah’s birth, Sarah had been playing with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. She stopped playing once she couldn’t sit comfortably for an hour, and the summer for us to get used to having a baby. She’s just started rehersal again preparing for the yearly outdoor concert at Cantigny Park.

This concert is great, you can picnic, you can listen to my wife play with the symphony, and…CANNONS! You can never go wrong with cannons.

Perhaps our friend Maggie will stay in her chair this year when the cannons go off.

I’ve quoted the information off DSO’s web page below since they didn’t have a static URL for this information.

The DuPage Symphony Orchestra will end its historic 50th season with a gala outdoor concert at 7:00 pm on Saturday, September 11 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The park is located on Winfield Road just south of Roosevelt.

The DuPage Symphony concert will feature music of both Scandinavia and America. The concert will begin with a spirited march by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius from his Karelia Suite and Finlandia, the stirring anthem of his homeland. Norway is represented by the music of Edvard Grieg with his charming Peer Gynt Suite No.1.

Traditional American music is presented in the second half of the concert when the orchestra performs Patriotic Melodies that Stirred Our Nation. To commemorate the events of September 11, 2001, on the third anniversary of the tragedy, the orchestra will perform James Grant’s Tribute for Orchestra.

Highlighting the concert will be the DSO’s annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s “explosive” 1812 Overture, with the assistance of Taylor’s Battery, First Illinois Light Artillery Division.

For details and ticket information contact Cantigny Park at 630-668-5161.

NY’s loss is Downers Grove’s yummy-alcohol-gain

For Sam’s Wine and Spirits, it’s Downers Grove over N.Y.

One answer about why Sam’s Wine and Spirits is making its first expansion to the western suburbs can be found in the store’s Lincoln Park shipping room.

Boxes of wine are stacked to the ceiling awaiting shipment to customers in Hinsdale, Geneva, Naperville, Western Springs and Forest Park, along with numerous other communities across the United States.

Widespread telephone and Internet orders have helped make Sam’s the largest volume wine and spirits store in the United States. This year, it expects to book $60 million in sales and employs 150 people.

Absent, however, are large numbers of boxes bound for New York City, where Fred Rosen and his sons had planned to make their first foray away from what has been their only location, tucked behind the new retail district along Clybourn Avenue, north of North Avenue.

“We put New York on hold because we’re like farm boys. It’s much harder to deal with the people there. It’s not like Chicago,” said Rosen, 67, who has handed day-to-day operations of the store over to his sons.

Sam’s Wines, if you’ve never been there, is an awesome store. Its only problem to date is that its a fair trip into the city for me to shop there. However, every time I’ve gone, I’ve not been disappointed. Also, its nice that its located right next to the Goose Island Brew Pub.

On those times I haven’t made the drive, Binny’s has fit the bill. The guys from Sam’s claims they aren’t doing it to compete with Binny’s, and I’ll accept that at face value. However, it’ll be interesting to see Sam’s give Binny’s a run for their money out in the burbs.

Downers Grove is getting all sorts of interesting places. First Fry’s, now Sam’s. I wonder what’s next.