Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sullivan's Steakhouse

If you've read previous posts and looked at my avatar to the right, it should come as no suprise that I like food. Good food.
But I'm not a connisour, like my fellow central-midwestern blogger. I just like to try new things, new places. Fortunantly my travels with the company have enabled me to do that.
Last week I had what may have been the best meal of my life at Sullivans Steak House in Naperville. We went to celebrate the completion of a complex and time-consuming data center move, and about 11 of us sat down at 8:45pm.
I started with the spinach salad, which was yummy. Just the right texture and dressing, not too much bacon to throw off the taste. Then the Cajun Ribeye. Normally when I order something Cajun I expect it to be a little too hot, but this was nearly perfect: a strong hint of Cajun spice and flavor without the heat. The steak was cooked perfectly. I wanted badly to lick the plate when I was done with it. I ate it slowly, cutting it into small bites to make it last, and man it was great.
We ordered sides of au-gratin potatoes and asparagus for the table, and those were excellent. The asparagus particularly was cooked just right and still had a bit of snap to it, not the usual overdone wilty fare.
Then dessert and I ordered the creme boulet. I would expect a little hockey-puck sized serving, but what I got was slightly bigger than a pot pie and it too was marvelous.
If you're a drinker (I'm not) they have about a bazillion wines to choose from, and the wine racks are behind glass and visible from the dining room. The service was excellent.
My dinner was around $50, not bad considering the quality of food, service, and the resturaunt. I'll most certainly go again... expecially if the company is buying.
I think we lucked out walking in with a group and being almost immediately seated. The night was winding down for the resturaunt. If I go again I will call and make reservations, as the place was otherwise packed.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter the Last

I write this with a strange mixture of elation and regret. At 9:15
this morning I began ...Deathly Hallows, and about twenty minutes ago
I finished.
My initial respone? I am in awe of J.K. Rowling. What an amazing
achievment these books are, and the last best of all. In years to
come, when great fantasy literature is discussed, Harry Potter will be
in the same breath with Frodo and Sam.
All of the questions are answered, all of the loose ends tied up. Is
Dumbledore dead? Is Snape evil? Will Harry find the remaining
Hoarcuxes? How can he destroy them without Dumbledore? All is told
without great honking chunks of exposition - except Snape. We learn
Snape's entire story and find out finally exactly who he is, and why
he is the way he is. And Rowling saves and saves it for deliciously
late in the book.
Rowling has become a master at this sort of thing, and this book is
her masterpiece. I can't wait to dive into it again, at a much more
leisurely and carefull pace.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Double Rainbow

On my last trip to Madison I came home "the slow way", avoiding four-lanes and tolls. Just outside Rossville I pulled over and took this picture with my phone. This was as the double rainbow was beginning to dissapate. You can just see a band of color in the middle left of the photo where the double rainbow was. A couple of miles back up the road it was really strong and clearly visible. It was more visible here than this crappy phone photo shows.
It was one of the coolest things I'd seen in years and I had to document it... I just wish I would have had a better camera.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Today Heinlein is 100

Sometimes things like this sneak up on you, but in this case I think I had no idea this was going on. Not that I could afford to attend, anyway, but it would have been nice to celebrate by re-reading some of my favorites.

The celebration is weekend-long in Kansas City, MO. Guest speakers include everyone from Arthur Clarke to John Scalzi.

Heinlein is one of the grand masters of Science Fiction, and in my list ranks somewhere below Asimov and above Pohl. I remember starting with "Tunnel in the Sky", then "Citizen of the Galaxy". Then being blown away by "Stranger in a Strange Land". You grok?

But where would one start today? If you're younger, we'll say pre-teen, then "Tunnel in the Sky" or "Citizen" are great books to get your hands on. I've likely re-read "Citizen" ten times, and it's not the science fiction that pulls me back - it's the characters and the story, again and again.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" brought Heinlein many new fans in the early sixties. Indeed, hardcore Heinlein - o - philes will tell you that there are two types of Heinlein fans: those that came in through SIASL and those who were there before. "Stranger" was written to break Heinlein out of the "children's author" pack, and break him out it did.

You can find a pretty pervasive site recapping Heinlein and his works here.

Gas, Oil, and the cost of Life

I have learned that, as things stand today, oil surplus supplies are up, while gas production is down. Why is this? Refineries are only running at about 86% capacity. This means that they could make more gas, but are not.

While cruising the news shows today I heard a pundit say that at $2.50 a gallon, the oil companies make 35 billion in profits. At $1.50, they'd make $20 billion. So the question is not allowing them to make a profit, but how much profit is enough? And should we be able to dictate? And granted, I realize that the commenter could have been pulling numbers out of thin air.

Like it or not our economy is dependant on oil and the gas that is made from it. What the maximum gas price we can sustain before the price of goods will rise beyond affordability? How high before all of those commuters overwhelm the public transit system? How high before cities, counties, and states have to cut other services to be able to pay for gas for police, fire, public works vehicles?

The last energy bill was written by the energy companies most likely to profit from it. It's time to give someone else a shot.

Friday, July 06, 2007


So we came back last night from lighting fireworks (legally, thank you, across the state line) and the kids are asleep and I find myslef with (gasp!) a few free minutes.

Dirty Jobs was a re-run. The History channel was the second place I looked.

On the history channel they're talking about prophesy, and end times, and the ancient Myan calendar (are there modern Myans?). And I'm all into it, until they tell me the world is going to end on December 21st, 2012. At first my only thought was "Cool. I'm buying a big-ass Lincoln on December 1st."

You see, the Earth's magnetic poles are going to shift on or around that date. So are the Sun's. Some folks think that the surface of the planet will actually shift (called "pole-shift) on top of the core of magma and Alaska will end up at the equator, putting us somehwere in South America.

To which I said "Yeah, right".

Then they started correlating the 2012 date with the bible, and Nostradamus, and other ancient prophesiers. There are blogs about it, a Wikipidia entry about it. It must be true! Some scientists insist it happened before.

Let's see now. In 2012 I'll be 47. My daughter will be 8. The twins will be 10. I'll have been married almost 20 years.

Having just survived the global holocaust of the year 2000, I can face the next one with some amount of bravery. I'm not afraid to die, even though I'm not real convinced there's anywhere special to go when you do.

All I can say is when it starts, make it quick please. I'm a wimp.

Then I turned back over to Dirty Jobs and there Mike Rowe making a snake regurgitate, so I figure the world can't be ready to end just yet.


It's suddenly February and I have a cast. All of them are people I know or have seen onstage, none of them are the people I thought wou...