Monthly Archives: July 2005

Payola? Say It Ain’t So!

For those of you who have yet to slip the surly bonds of over-the-air radio, I present an amusing tidbit: a 60-page PDF of e-mails detailing what Sony was giving/paying to radio stations to play their crap music, as well as a nice sprinkling throughout of what radio stations were on the take (this is part of the $10 million settlement that Sony just paid for Payola).

Link via BoingBoing

A Romantic Weekend

And after long silence, I finally emerge. What’s the occasion? I finally got a computer at my desk at work, which means I can grab the occasional break and write a bit. Does this mean I’ll finally get around to writing my Anthrocon report? You damn betcha. But first, I have to talk about the weekend.

See, Takaza called me on Thursday with the odd request: all weekend plans would be his to make. It’s usually something of a joint effort between us, but I shrugged and said sure. He was quiet about any developments until that night. It turns out that we were going away for the weekend. Not too far away – only Elgin, maybe 30 miles west of Chicago, but that wasn’t the point. Since Anthrocon, we’ve been both been a bit stressed and snappish, and a nice weekend, with no convention duties and no chores around the house, was definitely a good idea. Just the two of us taking some time to reconnect.

After work on Friday, I drove out to Dan’s mom’s house in Wonder Lake. Her computer had gone belly-up and Dan left work early to do some repair work on it. The repairs took longer than expected, and we didn’t leave until 8:30. We headed south on IL 31 and stopped off in Crystal Lake for a tasty dinner at Outback. After dinner we continued southwards and got to the hotel at around 10:30. Now, when Dan originally reserved the room on Priceline, all he knew was that he was getting a room for $60/night at the Holiday Inn Elgin. When he called Thursday night to verify the room, he found out it was a Queen Suite, which is lovely except that that had a queen bed, which doesn’t work for us. So they upgraded us for free to a King Suite. Well, as we checked in, they looked at what rooms were available and went ahead and upgraded us to a Jacuzzi Suite for free. Nice! The room was fabulous – two rooms, really, with a comfy sofa, a two-person whirlpool tub in the bedroom, and a huge bathroom with a roomy shower with two shower heads. We watched a bit of TV, chatted a bit more, then went to sleep.

Saturday morning, I discovered one drawback to the room: the curtains hung to just below the windows but no further, which allowed quite a bit of light in once the sun came up, waking me at around 6:30. I decided to get up around 7, and surfed the net on Dan’s computer for a bit (yay for free Wi-Fi!) then went down to the lobby and got the paper. By that time, Dan was awake and we had a lovely shower then went to get breakfast at Baker Hill. On the way there we saw the Days Inn Elgin, which seems to have really slid towards meeting its nickname of “The Dead Hooker Inn.” After breakfast, we walked around Spring Hill Mall and drove around West Dundee and Carpentersville in a half-hearted search for a place that might rent boats. Failing in our quest (but not too upset about it) we returned to Elgin and wandered a bit until we found ourselves at the Grand Victoria Casino. We wandered through the place and I was amazed at the brutal efficiency with which the place is designed to separate suckers from their money. I even gambled! Well, I put a dollar in a slot machine. I lost. That was fun, or something.

We returned to the hotel and passed the afternoon swimming, chatting about our upcoming shindig in October, and relaxed a bit more. Decadent, I tell you! We were both feeling hungry, so we wandered up to West Dundee to check out a couple of restaurants. The first looked tasty, but a bit pricey and not particularly Dan-friendly. We opted for the second, Emmett’s Tavern because they brew their own beer – always a selling point for me. The dinner was outstanding! I had a nice sampler of five different beers, then followed that with a pint of their Old Dundee Porter, which was just fabulous. It probably didn’t hurt that I was slightly tipsy, but that’s OK. The food was excellent – Dan’s applewood-smoked bacon/white cheddar burger was tasty, and my Boursin burger topped with a portabella mushroom was to die for. We had a great time and I’m really glad we went. After dinner we went back to the room and had some really nice together-time.

I was up again at 7 AM on Sunday, curse my evil internal alarm clock! I surfed the net for a while then Dan finally stirred an hour or so later. We went down to the hotel lobby and opted for the hotel restaurant for breakfast, since the 20%-off coupon we got when we checked in brought the prices down to normal levels. The breakfast was OK, better than the day before, but nowhere approaching the quality of, say, Las Vegas Restaurant in Antioch. After breakfast we relaxed in the room for a while, soaking up every last second of our extended checkout time. Finally, at 1 PM we left the hotel and drove back into the city. The romantic weekend was over, but I’m sure it won’t be our last. I had a lovely time, and I was reminded once again of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband.