Archive for March, 2008

Ready for March Madness

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

2008 NCAA Bracket

So, do have your bracket filled out?

Hey, I don’t care if it’s a long shot. I’m ready to believe!

Happy Birthday Wife!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

happybday.jpg

Today is Apryl’s birthday! Unfortunately, Apryl’s been under the weather so we had to cancel her pizza party at yummy Giordano’s. It’s really no fair to be sick not only on your birthday but during your Spring Break, too! I hope she starts feeling better real soon.

Love you, Birthday Girl

Husband

Congrats Tigers!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Drew dances

Let the Dance begin!

(Photo: Nephew Drew sports his moves in Tigers garb.)

Sox vs. Cubs – TV Game #1 (Spring Training)

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

SoxvsCubsST1

On Saturday, the Sox defeated the Cubs during their first televised Spring Training game. The following nine observations are more about the spring training season thus far than about the above-mentioned game:

1. Steve Stone, sportscaster and one-time player for both the Sox and Cubs, has joined Ed Farmer in the radio booth for this season of Sox baseball. I had forgotten who Steve Stone was until I heard his voice, and then I was taken straight back to my childhood and watching the Cubs on WGN. You see, Steve Stone was the color commentator with Harry Caray for 15 years. Stone’s addition is highly welcomed among many Sox fans. Although, many wish he had replaced the television sportscasters.
2. During the game, TV sportscasters Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson interviewed Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams. There was hardly a hard-hitting questions asked between the two. Most of the discussion felt like it was being presented by official PR personnel for the Sox.
3. The best story from Kenny Williams was about how outfielder Jason Bourgeois stuck his baseball glove in the microwave before each game. Kenny cautioned all children watching the game that he didn’t know how long Bourgeois left the glove in the microwave, so it was best not to attempt this at home. One more thing about Jason Bourgeois. He had a great game with a single, two walks, one run, one RBI, and 3 stolen bases.
4. When Ozzie Guillen was asked to comment about how good of a Spring Training season outfielder Brian Anderson was having, his response was “it’s about time.” I mentioned Brian during a previous post, but to sum it up, Brian has been fighting to stay a part of the Sox organization. Many fans speculate that Ozzie doesn’t care for Brian that much and wouldn’t hesitate to trade him or throw him back to the minors. Last season, Brian had only 17 AB with the Sox, spending most of his summer days with the Charlotte Knights. Well, with Brian’s impressive batting and fielding during this Spring Training, Ozzie is going to have no choice but to put him on the roster. Now, he did mention how all the players were really rooting for him, which is nice to hear. Here’s a funny cartoon expressing the Brian/Ozzie relationship. It should be noted that Brian often has great Spring Training seasons that somehow don’t translate to the regular season. I was actually excited to see Brian play, but he apparently had the day off.
5. Oh, Joe Crede. In the last Sox post I mentioned how Crede, one of my favorites, was more than likely going to be traded to make way for the young kid, Josh Fields. Well, it looks like the trade fell apart, and now fans are confused about what’s going to happen next. Ozzie said he can’t keep both 3rd basemen. So, who is it going to be? Crede has been having a rough Spring Training season, although he did get a double and a run during the Cubs game. Fields had the day off.
6. Jim Thome’s homer in the seventh turned out to be the game winner. This was nice to see since Thome hasn’t had the best Spring Training at the bat.
7. Because of the popularity of Cubs’ Kosuke Fukudome, the game was also being broadcast in Japan. His overseas fans got to see him go 1 – 4 with a single as well as collide into back-up 2nd baseman, Mike Rouse.
8. The Cubs were playing without Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, and Felix Pie. The less said about Pie’s absence, the better.
9. The next televised game for the Sox comes next week on WGN as the Good Guys take on the Royals.

The Magnetic Fields play Old Town (again, again, again, again, again, and again)

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

No Cameras

The sign above is the sole reason that I haven’t any photos to share with you from last night’s The Magnetic Fields‘ show at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Apryl, Trey, Rachel, Tim and I caught the second of six sold out shows the Fields are performing this weekend at Old Town. And unlike the new album Distortion, the show was a fairly quiet acoustic fare. This was the third time that I’ve seen the Fields (previous times were in Nashville and Los Angeles), and last night was probably the best. Partially because of the venue, but also because of the hilarious banter between drummer/piano player/singer/overall band manager Claudia Gonson and the band’s ringleader, Stephin Merritt.

Stephin was probably in the best mood that I’ve seen him, which really isn’t saying a lot. At one point when Claudia shared some of the band’s past gripes with record companies, she concluded with “we’re a lot happier these days”. Stephin thought about that for a second, and then uttered, “I’m not.” Of course, Stephin wouldn’t be Stephin if he was too happy.

Another funny stage banter came from Claudia when she was trying to buy time while Stephin tuned his guitar. For whatever reason, she started discussing the lack of news about Eliot Spitzer in the past few days. “It was all in the news and now nothing.” Stephin’s response to Claudia was “We’re in Illinois. We’re in Illinois.” John Woo, the lead guitarist for the Fields, gave his own explanation for the lack of recent scandal reporting, “It’s Spring Training.”

Some of the songs that I can recall: Papa Was A Rodeo, Dreams Anymore, The Abandoned Castle of My Soul, Yeah! Oh, Yeah!, This Little Ukulele, California Girls, I Don’t Believe You, The Book of Love, Too Drunk To Dream, Take Ecstasy With Me, Crows, Zombie Boy, The Nun’s Litany, and Three-Way.

Eva’s Treatment – Week 1

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Eva has successfully completed her first week of radiation treatment at the Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, IL. And, according to her doctors, she has been the “perfect patient”. Admittedly, I was afraid she was going to start getting disgruntle by mid week, but she has really made the trip quite easy.

Since we have to contend with the morning rush hour, we have to leave an hour before her appointment. Eva makes a little cry when I first put her in her carrier but then quickly falls asleep once we hit the Edens Highway. During the drive, I switch back and forth between 670 The Score, ESPN 1000, 91.5 Chicago Public Radio and 88.7 Loyola College Radio. Buffalo Grove is the first exit off the 294 Tri State Tollway, so we have to pay up a buck going in and a buck coming out.

Once in Buffalo Grove, the vet is off of Milwaukee Ave, which is funny because that street goes all the way out to our apartment. I’ve even checked into taking it all the way into Buffalo Grove, but Map Quest says it would take an hour of driving time. I’m not sure if this would be quicker or not since there is surely less traffic than the highway. I’ll probably experiment with the route before the month’s end.

Vet Spec Inside

Once I get there, they are very quick to take Eva back for her treatment. Even if I’m early, they don’t make her wait until her actual appointment time. Earlier in the week, I had a shoot in the morning, so I dropped her off and picked her up later in the day. But the rest of the week, I didn’t have any morning shoots, so I was able to wait until they were done. I spent most of my time in the waiting room watching episodes of the 80’s classic Monsters on my iPod Touch (A special thanks goes out to Trey for giving me the complete first season).

Usually, the procedure only takes 45 minutes, and then we’re back on the highway, fighting traffic. Typically, Eva takes in another short nap while I listen to the radio. Luckily, as soon as we get back home, and I let Eva out of her carrier, she’s back to her kitty self. Since Eva’s not allowed to eat after midnight the night before, she’s really hungry. Then she bathes herself for about ten minutes straight and then heads to a sun spot in the window for about thirty minutes before wanting some attention. Eva has always been one to adjust to situations fairly well, and she’s seeming to be adjusting quite fine with our daily trips out to the suburbs. Though, I’m sure she’s not going to be sad that she’s got the weekend off before next week.

Eva in Apryl's Lap

Eva enjoying Apryl’s lap.

Where do the Cubs play? U.S. Cellular Field?!?!

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

U.S. Cellular Field

“The Cubs have been approached by at least three companies interested in purchasing naming rights to Wrigley Field, and team chairman Crane Kenney said on Friday that it is likely they will sell those rights.”

So opens Carrie Muskat’s article on MLB.com. The article continues with Chicago’s mayor Richard Daley’s suggestion that Wrigley Field could be bought and operated by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Basically, the ISFA is a government entity that builds and renovates sports stadiums in Illinois. It also happens to operate U.S. Cellular Field.

Ok, so here’s where the kicker comes in. If Wrigley Field is purchased and operated by ISFA (which won’t have an effect on the naming rights) then the stadium will get anywhere from a $250-$400 million dollar renovation. Where as The Cubs would have to play a part of their season at U.S. Cellular Field. Woah, wait! Are you kidding me? Not sure that either Sider (South or North) is going to be too pleased if that’s the case.

What the Tribune says.

What the Sun-Times says.

And what Chicagoist says.

Eva Update

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Yesterday, Eva had both an MRI and chest exam done, and although our specialist, Dr. Rhonda, still advised us to start radiation treatment, she said the results from the test showed that only a small residual from the cancer remained and that it hadn’t spread throughout Eva’s body. Dr. Rhonda also told us that because of those good results, they would be able to use a lower-energy radiation treatment. “Basically,” she told me, “this is the best news you could get.” So either this Monday or next, Eva will start her treatments five days a week for an entire month. I suppose I should find some interesting things to do in Buffalo Grove.

Eva and her food

Apryl snapped this photo a couple of days ago after coming home and finding Eva’s new bag of cat food dragged across the kitchen floor again, complete with a new hole torn open with her teeth. The food, Urinary SO 30, was prescribed to her to help remove crystals found in her urine. At first, we were afraid that she wasn’t going to like it, since she favored her old salmon and rice so much. Well, have no fear, she loves it so much that she’s become obsessed with it. Even if we’re home, she will drag it out when she’s hungry. It’s now being referred to as Kitty Crack.

Hopper vs. Homer

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Hopper vs Homer

All through the month of February, general admission to the Art Institute of Chicago has been free. Special exhibits, like the Edward Hopper/Winslow Homer showing we were attending, were half off the regular price. So taking full advantage of the discount and the fact that it was a leap year, Apryl and I took in some culture Friday night. I have been a fan of Hopper since college when I was properly introduced to his work by my friend Anna. She used to have a few posters of his paintings in her apartment, and it was quite amazing to see the originals up close and personal. I was also interested to see the Homer collection since my former college professor had just recently produced a documentary about the artist. Below are a few photos from our afternoon visit:

Hopper Exhibit

The entrance to the Hopper exhibit.

Hopper and blank canvas

Edward Hopper posing in front of a blank canvas that would soon become Nighthawks.

Nighthawks

The original Nighthawks. The first time I visited the museum, Nighthawks, which is in the permanent collection of the Institute, was on loan to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Homer exhibit entrance

The entrance to the Homer exhibit.

Hopper background

Since photography wasn’t allowed for the special exhibits, I wasn’t able to take photos of the paintings like I did in my last post about the Institute. And even though Nighthawks is part of the museum’s collection, I was surprised I still wasn’t thrown out when I photographed it. Well, at least warned. I did see someone about to get hassled for talking on his cellphone. Luckily, the guy left the exhibit on his own before the guard could get his attention.

As for the artists, I was most impressed with the work of Hopper. Homer’s paintings of the sea or wilderness hunts just don’t have the same effect as Hopper’s modern, cinematic view. However, I should say I was impressed with Homer’s early work such as his journalistic illustrations of the Civil War and a series he did on children while vacationing at a friend’s summer house. I was also amazed at how much skill Homer was able to achieve even without a formal education. Perhaps I enjoyed Hopper the most because I have had the most exposure to his work like Chop Suey, Automat, and New York Movie. Of all the Hopper pieces, I think I was surprised to enjoy Sun in an Empty Room the most. One of his last paintings, it simply shows the effect of light shining in the corner of an empty room. Most of Hopper’s paintings seem to be studies of how light, particularly a late afternoon sunset, create shadows along static images of man and his objects. And here with the Empty Room, it’s like he’s saying in his late career that sure he’s experimented with various settings and created any number of ambiguous story lines, but what it really comes down to is light. Anyway, I bought a postcard of it to send to my grandmother.

Afterwards, we ate a delicious meal at The Gage.