Wednesday is Guitar Lesson Night

I remember as a kid, Wednesday had another purpose. You see, in Boston, especially Anthony's neighborhood, Wednesday is ....

Anthony--and even his mother--are still in Boston's North End!

Dodson Place, Geneva, Illinois

Look like a home anyone would wish to enter, relax and have a hot cup of java and kick their feet up by the fireplace? Well, it's the centerpeice of Shodeen's Dodson Place shopping and dining area at Third Street in Geneva, IL. A unique place, with enchanting gardens, a koi pond, great eating and drinking, and a true success. Anchors the far end of Third Street. A place I spend time on sunny days--especially when I'm hungry.


Broken, A Novel by Travis Thrasher, May 2010

Looking forward to western Chicagoland author Travis Thrasher's Broken, which I will purchase on Kindle and have forever, in May 2010. If it receives the accolades of Ghostwriter, it'll be a killer. Penciled in for my time in May.

Town House Bookstore and Cafe

A cozy nook of a bookstore on Second Street in Saint Charles is the ideal place to spend a late summer day, browising for that one novel, the single author, that you've never heard of before. Uneven wood floors, tight shelves; even the sunroom porch has books. This is the view from the sunroom porch back through a crackle-paned window back into the main store. Future photo and review of the attached cafe when I eat there this autumn.


Bowrudder in Mendicino, CA

My dear Bowrudder/Bohemia--you look comely playing in the caves like a seal or dolphin. Great cinematography by Peter-CA. Thank you for posting on and contacting me. Wish I was with you and Peter taking a faceful of Pacific brine over the bow. Tsunami Ranger Bowrudder. A world apart from Lake Storey. Very nice, my professorial Canoecopia and High Noon Saloon friend. Until we meet in person again.

Brilliant Purple Flowers

Are they asters? I planted them, I should know. But I don't. Oh, they are pretty, autumn blossoming gems.


Draughts Hustler

My wife is a checkers champ. She played the game as a little girl against her father, and she is good. She's very good. We had a set and last played the game together about 4 years ago, at which time she beat me like an old rug. And the boys, too. Now, finding it hard to locate a suitable Go foil, I decided to crack out the old draughts board. And lo and behold, the learning to riding a bicycle principle holds: she's still got it going on and never forgets. It's frustrating, but she is unstoppable. I remember playing checkers with my dad when I was a kid, too, but she brings it to a new level. And Cathy has a truly competetive nature. No handouts or gimmees. So here I sit like a wishbone on Thanksgiving. Broken. Realizing that checkers is not for the faint of heart--it's not just a kid's game for playing over a half-whiskey barrel in front of the country store--it certainly stings to get trounced repeatedly. Hey, maybe I can bring her down to the park and score some coin from the old time checker champs down there. Where's my The Color of Money DVD for pointers on "the hustle"?

A Scene From My One Hour Walk Along RR Tracks Today

This plus my blog header. A quiet day at home. A long stretch of railroad tracks, gnarled from years of traffic and steel wheels. Echos of summer sliding to fall, like steel on steel braking at a crossroads. We work very hard all week: work, early awakenings, long hours, soccer practice and games, homework, house chores. Today was a day for individuals. Everyone did their own relaxing thing. We meet over apple bourbon pork in the slow cooker in one hour to update and review the week ahead.

A Flying Bug Lights On My Hand

A Study in Color Versus Black & White

Same image in both styles. The color photo is more authentic. The B&W is more textured and stylized.


Autumn 2009 Approaches

Nights are now longer and early dusk falls across the garden like the shadow of a giant bear creeping up on unwilling food. Mums bloom and roses fade in the metamorphosis of seasons; this year like last, next year like this. The ebb of life, hurtling toward winter when the bear will retreat, and the shadows will fall to the dark of hibernation.


Microsoft Courier Twin Tablet! The eReaders Parade Continues

The Reader Movie 1 Word Review: Zzzzzz

After downing some Mexican chow at Los Zarapes, rented with my wife The Reader starring Kate Winslet. A fine example of a very well-acted movie telling an interesting 30 minute story in two hours.

Punctuation. I Dont Need No Steenkin Punctuation


Cormac McCarthy

There are few authors on my "must read when a new book comes out" list. I have just added American novelist Cormac McCarthy to that list. In the meantime, I will work my way back through some of his old material, such as the National Book Award winning All The Pretty Horses eventually. For now, it's back to No Country For Old Men. In this instance, I am reading a book now of a movie I saw 18 months ago--not just any movie, but an Academy-award winning Best Picture movie. Chicken--or egg? Movie--then book? I hate doing it this way, in general, because the image of each character is already there, etched in from the movie. This is particularly poignant in the case of McCarthy because he goes to great lengths, it seems, to not describe one morsel about the character's physical appearance. He just tells the story. Simply. Movingly. Moves the plot along like a winding river carving through the Texas floodplains. A perfect pace. Ideal tone.

McCarthy is much more Ernest Hemingway than he is John Irving. Irving = humor, character thoughts, long sentences, inner meaning, painstaking physical descriptions. McCarthy = action, motion, pacing, no commas or quotations, sparse sentences with occasional hard word (keep that dictionary handy). Which is better? Each has it's purpose. When Irving slogs, as I am seeing about 1/4 way through A Widow For One Year, he's molasses. Cormac never has gum in his shoes, and that makes for fun reading. On the contrary, when Irving is "on", and I hear that the hardcover sitting next to me in the "on deck" circle, Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany, is a modern classic, I know he is truly spot on. Fun diversity in storytelling. Two styles meeting on my bedside table.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy's masterwork and Oprah pick and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Writing in 2007, will be a movie next month. Trailers and photos are out now. A shame to ruin McCarthy's unique writing style, meant to allow a reader to enjoy his own image of the players and the places, with film. Read The Road the movie never.

Oprah did the only filmed interview with Cormac, and many report that she blew it--silly questions of an author clearly uncomfortable in front of the camera. But I do agree with her about The Road being poetry. A long moving poem. The only book I have ever read that has actually made me cry.


High Class Pets: Le Doggie Divine

I feel fortunate to live within walking distance of many neat places, gift shops, The Little Traveler, the Geneva Library--you name it, it's within walking distance in this great western Chicago town. Or at least my place in that town. Geneva is fairly affluent, but not grossly so. But with tongue in cheek, our pet shop has crystal chandeliers and doggie jewelry. This the the pet store on State Street. I walked past it the other night. It's called Le Doggie Divine Pet Spa. Indeed.


The Little Traveler, Geneva, IL

Despite living in Geneva, and walking past it plenty of times, I never went into The Little Traveler until this past weekend with my wife. That store is incredible! Much larger than it appears from the outside, it really is one of the key centerpieces for Third Street. And I'll have to eat at the Atrium Cafe, just like in Kelly's Geneva Daily Photo blog. Right in the middle of the Little Traveler.


Here's Looking At You , Kid

Axel emails---

Hy and this is me.

Who is this? Where are the photos? I would like to know the color of your hair? The sice of your wrinkles? How do your joints feel?

Let's talk about the real topics: sex, constipation, money

Best wishes, Ax

You are still a knee-slapper, my Northwestern friend. Happy times in Germany to you.

P.S. No worry. I will not place all your emails on blog. Just this one, because it means much to me; means you are alive and well. Here's looking at you, Kid.

The Way I Read My Ipod Touch Until I Get an eReader

Get supine. Place on chest. Screen 7 inches from face. Read.


The New Apple Tablet eReader/Computer

Coming potentially in November 2009 (by whispers), and certainly by early 2010. I have cancelled my Kindle DX order and will hold off on buying the giant magnifying glass at American Science so that I can read novels on my iPod Touch. Let's see what the mighty Jobs will bring to our book club table.

From ZDNet 9/20/09: "A little birdy tells me that Apple will announce a 12 or 13-inch tablet in the fall of this year. Most likely in the September or October time frame. It will run the full Mac OS X and have a slot loading SuperDrive, an “iPhone-type” GPS chip and an Intel Core Duo processor, presumably Intel’s Atom."

I don't know if I want all that--I just wanna read a book on a large touch-screen, thank you. Articles still speculate whether Apple will continue to be a hardware provider for other e-book sellers, like it has several reader apps on the iPhone and iTouch (including an Amazon app so I can access my Kindle library), or whether they will seek a more online book merchandiser role in iTunes and be done with any affiliation with other bookstores.

The 800-lb gorilla is knocking at the door.

The Egg Harbor, Geneva, IL

Ate not once, but twice, at Egg Harbor, Geneva, Illinois, in the past two days. Eggs-ellent food! Outstanding service. Highly recommended.

Kindle DX

After meeting friends Dave and Alexia at Kane, discussing books, and knowing that I am reading three books simultanesouly right now, I thought again about Amazon Kindle. I loved my Kindle 1, having used it for almost two years before selling it on eBay for about 60% of what I paid for it new. And having bought many discounted books on it--still stored in my Kindle library--I figured I lost nothing on the device overall. I sure miss the device, and I know that I can read faster on it than I can in a printed text. The ability to read is thus improved. Already convinced about the utility of eInk and eReaders, the only question for me was the Kindle DX's hardware--and it seems to be proving itself. So, I 'm considering the Kindle DX. I really appreciate the larger size, I know that already. Reading "A Widow For One Year" on my iPod Touch is, well, tough. The Kindle DX looks to be the ultimate reader out there now, and although Sony will have a wireless 7 inch (still too small for my aging eyes--I think I will prefer the 10 inch DX) reader by Xmas 2009, they only have 100k book titles in their Sony store, and Amazon has nearly three times as many. Plus I already own about 30 books on Amazon, and I want to try my Chicago Trib subscription again. Bottom line...I love eReading. I know the devices will shake out over the next few years. The hardware of the Sony eReader is better than Amazon, but everything else is better about Amazon; I agree with the reviews in this regard. I'll fill you in on my findings.
P.S. I fully anticipate a price drop of the DX by Xmas 2009. Apple's eReader, out in 2010, will likely be the ultimate then, but hints of $700 price tag are'll be like a large iPod Touch, they say.

09/20PM Decided to consider my options. The best thing about my iPod Touch--the touch screen--is the worst thing about the Kindle. That pesky scroll button which, no doubt one week after the warranty expires, may just break off. Darn! Wait for the Apple eReader? More research to be done. I may just get a magnifying glass at American Science and read my iPod Touch.


Early Springtime Lake of the Woods Illinois

Bicycle through the winding road of Lake of the Woods, by the golf course, and to the covered bridge.


A Calm Weekend

Good memories of the I and M Canal. This is the lock tender's quarters near Aux Sable. A half way stop along the Morris to the confluence Channahon paddle. A section we paddlers know well. A possible paddle destination for the autumn, when the air is crisp and clean.


Finish The Road Before The Movie

I just about finished it. Twenty-five pages left. The boy thinks The Road is a very good book. Better than he imagined. He hates future-settings. It is written starkly. Stripped. It's a question that he asks himself. As he walks across the floor. The room is scattered. Is the movie worth seeing, he asks. The book as no pictures. The nascent prose allows him to make his own vision. Like a waterfall, or dead trees, burnt in a field. A nude visage. The passages are blunt. In your face. Everything is left to the mind, he tells himself. Film cannot be as clear. By adding another's vision, it loses what is best about the novel. A basic wire of a story. A full dreamscape without other's notion. The boy will not see the movie.

Regards, Cormac McCarthy.

Watered The Flowers Today

Got home a little early from work today--enough to mow and water and look at the sunny day. A fine September day it was. As evening closes in, and shadows melt off the flowers in the setting sun, I grab a fleece jacket and stroll around the yard to take inventory of my "to do" list for autumn 2009.


Fishing the Fox River, Geneva

Pros: Comraderie. Sporting competition. Sunshine. Fresh fish. Water. Physical Activity. Humor.
Cons: None

Pretty Late Summer Looking Across the Back Pond


Blue Crush

I know it may be a bit of breezy fun, but the movie Blue Crush set in Hawaii is an absolute blast. With an awesome deep wave soundtrack that'll really test your Bose, it is such a wonderful movie, with awesome views of Oahu. Not to mention the angelic Katie Bosworth. But hey, who's watching, right? She works as a chambermaid at the Ihilani, a super hotel at Ko Olina on Oahu, where I have had the pleasure of staying twice. She falls for a football player that is staying there for the Pro Bowl (the All-Star game for pro football is always on Oahu), and has to put her loving feelings aside to care for her little sister, and to win (or does she win?) the big surf contest. Sounds like a "chic" flick, but really is awesome fun. Recommended. (Whitefordfalcon and tori's daughters would love this movie! Love, love love it!)

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Oahu 2005, North Shore

I took this photo of a Sports Illustrated photographer taking his photo at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, every December in Oahu, HI at Ehukai Beach, aka the Banzai Pipeline. The Banzai Pipeline, or simply "Pipeline" or "Pipe," is a surf reef break located off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea on O`ahu's North Shore. Plenty of celebs, bikini watching and cool surfer dudes. Good memories.


Pretty Flowers By Back of My House

Sometimes a new angle--a new view--of a place you have seen a hundred times sheds new light on a pretty angle. We hang our sheets from the clothesline all spring and summer. And I have been in and out of this slider over recent years, but never really looked back at it from the knockout roses. Now I have.


John Irving: a New England Author

I read The Hotel New Hampshire when I was a teen. I have seen The World According to Garp (but should read that one) with Lithgow and Williams and Close. I am currently reading e-book about Ruth Cole and her mother's lover Eddie at Exeter Academy in A Widow For One Year. I have a fresh copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany right here at my desk in the "on deck" circle. And in October comes his latest: Last Night In Twisted River, which I intend to Kindle. I'd better get reading if I plan to finish these many pages from New Hampshire native, now residing in Vermont and Toronto, one of our finest living writers.

Marcus' 2009 Valley Nordkapp

One sweet looking new boat.


Night Walking in Geneva, Illinois

I walked for two nights this past weekend in Geneva, Illinois. For a Labor Day weekend, it was quiet. The side streets were, at times, eerie. Calm, 70F. Very few patrons in the local pubs. Gift shops closed, but with floodlights revealing pretty architecture and signs. The BF Goodrich store glowing with red tricycles and wagons. The cobbled column at River Park uplit from the ground. Lights in the homes with people laughing and eating. And me, walking. I walked for two hour each evening, up the numbered streets to a banana snack at Seven Eleven. It felt good to be quiet. It felt good to be alone. It always feels good to have others in my life, though. Even alone, I know you're there next to me.



This photo is taken on a bench, under the arch, in Geneva's River Park. It reminds me of myself this week: busy as a bee.


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