Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Woodstock News

I noticed in my weekly edition of The Woodstock Independent that they now have a new URL and new website design at Bookmark it and use it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Baseball in Spring

My six year old, Elijah, is a sports nut. He would watch anything sports related on TV if we let him. One of his favorite sports is baseball, so I took him with his younger brother, Daniel, to see the Woodstock High School varsity team play on Friday night. The weather was beautiful and the Blue Streaks won.

It was a fun evening for baseball, but an even more fun evening for hanging with my boys. I hope you are going to take full advantage in the months to come to enjoy your family in our beautiful city.

Field of Dreams

Lounging at Dream Field

Thursday, April 19, 2007

National Poetry Month & Billy Collins

It's not everyday a world renowned poet, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, and the author of the poem you read at your Mom's funeral comes to your hometown. So I just had to go see Billy Collins (via,, when he came to Woodstock today.

We didn't know he was coming until a few days after Mom's funeral. So I immediately contacted the Woodstock Opera House for tickets and learned they were sold out. That was disappointing. But I talked to a friend and Opera House employee about it and he called the next day with the news that some tickets opened up. We picked up two.

This morning we dropped off the two youngest at a friend's house and went to see Billy Collins. He read poems for about an hour: a sonnet or two, a handful of haiku, and the rest his typical, informal-style poetry. He was funny, thoughtful, and engaging. The crowd clapped and laughed, and even gasped at insightful lines. It was brilliant, just brilliant. I think if anyone who doesn't like poetry will go hear Billy Collins read his stuff will end up appreciating it.

I have three of his books and wanted them signed, so I got in line and met Billy Collins. I told him I read "The Lanyard" at my Mom's funeral. And guess what? A woman sitting with him helping him with the signing knew of this blog and had already mentioned it to Billy. Pretty cool, eh? He was very personable and showed real concern after I mentioned my Mom. He asked how well I got through the poem, you know, without crying. I told him I did fine. So then he signed my three books, including just above "The Lanyard" poem, and then we posed for a photo (via my hot wife). He said the photo would probably end up on the blog. He was right.

I think Billy Collins has become my favorite living poet. Watch his animated poetry (a very cool idea), buy his books at Read Between the Lynes, listen to his live readings, or attend a live reading. Here's a big archive of Billy reading poems. I think you may just learn to love poetry, or love it even more.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Chicago Olympics 2016?

USOC has picked Chicago to bid for the 2016 Olympics. We won't know if Chicago wins until 2009.

Going to See/Hear Billy Collins

Thanks to my friend Josh who works at the Woodstock Opera House and Read Between the Lynes, I found out that a handful of tickets had opened up for the Billy Collins poetry reading coming on April 19th. So my wife and I are going this Thursday morning to hear a great poet.

This is another great thing about Woodstock. Some people in Woodstock don't like the small town feel. I'm a bit like that because I really enjoy larger cities. But how many cities like Woodstock get a guy like Billy Collins to show up? And how many would come close to selling out an event like this? It's a great thing, and I'm excited to be able to go.

I'm also impressed that we have such a good independent bookstore in Woodstock. My wife and I spent a little time last night talking to Arlene Lynes about the poetry reading, all the Billy Collins books they have for the event, etc. I'm glad to get to know her a bit and I took advantage of the opportunity to grab a couple more Billy Collins books with my 10% member discount. If you don't use our local bookstore you are missing out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mom, The Lanyard, and Lightning

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately, but my Mom died and our family has been out of town for several days. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago and thought she beat it the first time around. It was still there and spread throughout her body. She was diagnosed as terminal with 6-24 months to live. That was 6 months ago. It's been a rough week, and I'll miss her a lot.

At Mom's funeral I read a poem I found a few months ago called "The Lanyard" by Billy Collins. It's a beautiful poem. After returning to Woodstock on Sunday we got our mail from our neighbor and noticed that Billy Collins would be in Woodstock at the Opera House on April 19th. Of course I ran downtown Monday for tickets only to find out it's sold out. If anyone has 1-2 tickets they can't use, I would like to purchase them from you!

We left town last Tuesday to be with Mom. I was up late Monday night (actually to 4am Tuesday morning) taking pictures of the thunderstorms that came through Woodstock. I holed up at the Mary Endres Middle School doorway and captured a few lighting shots. Here are a few, the rest can be seen on my Flickr page. Click the photos for a larger view.

Lightning & Color

Sepia Strike