Thanks for visiting. We aren't actively blogging here anymore. Please visit us on our new site.

Friday, December 28, 2007

How did it go?

Still trying to find that one bulb that's keeping the whole string from lighting or have you fallen into a post-holiday funk? The snow today didn't help much, it's just messy and cold enough to be unpleasant rather than picturesque. But here comes another long holiday weekend, and maybe you'll get a chance to wear those fuzzy slippers someone gave you for Christmas or try out that new kitchen gadget that caused you to say, "You really shouldn't have" and actually mean it.

PlainTalk will be back on January 2 with a big kick-off to the new year. Every blog posting for the entire month of January will give you suggestions and tips for creating new year's resolutions and - better yet - sticking with them! You'll find information on voting, staying fit and healthy, taking care of your car, taking care of your soul, paying your taxes and giving yourself a break. So check in with PlainTalk beginning January 2 and find inspiration and practical advice for making 2008 your best year ever.

In the meantime, don't forget the City of Des Plaines "New Year's Eve on the Plaza," beginning at 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve at the Des Plaines Theatre. The entertainment and fun will be spread over many locations in town, including Library Plaza, where you can take a carriage ride, have some free refreshments and enjoy live music. For more information on this event that grows bigger and better every year, click here.

And no matter how you ring in the New Year, make it safe. Get a designated driver and fasten that seat belt. We look forward to seeing you and serving you here in the library next year and for many years to come.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays...

so on that note, your PlainTalk blogger bids you fond adieu for a few days in order to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

I wish you the best of whatever this time of year means to you: family celebration, spiritual rejuvenation, the merriment created by delicious things to eat and drink, positive wishes for the New Year, o
r, heck, just a day or two off from work to relax. Remember, the library will be closed on 12/24 and 12/25, but the usual smiling faces will be back to greet you on 12/26 at 9 a.m.
Want to leave us a holiday wish? Go ahead and post it here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning Movie Mania...

because it's still Monday morning - in California. Sorry, I was a little late getting this out today. Did you go to the movies this weekend? Somebody did, since Will Smith's "I Am Legend" broke December box office records with the biggest opening ever. I found that sort of amusing, since we tend to think of this as the season for light-hearted holiday fare, family flicks and big budget fantasies where good triumphs over evil. Perhaps "I Am Legend" is a big budgeted fantasy during which good triumphs over evil, I do not know. I only know that it involves human beings being consumed by a plague that turns them into vampirish creatures - not exactly what I associate with mistletoe and holly.

But since the radio stations have been bombarding us with holiday music since the day after Halloween, maybe we were collectively ready for a break and a cinematic adventure about a creepy disease taking over the world. Did you see "I Am Legend?" I did not, but I can say that Will Smith is usually pretty darn cool no matter what he's doing onscreen. Or were you feeling nostalgic for both the holidays and the novelty songs of your youth, so you went to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks?" I really dug the Chipmunks when I was little, but a whole movie...I'm not so sure.

The top movies for the past weekend were:
  • "I Am Legend"
  • "Alvin and the Chipmunks"
  • "The Golden Compass"
  • "Enchanted"
  • "No Country for Old Men"
Did you see any of these or watch an old favorite that you rented or, more wisely, checked out from the library? This is your chance to be a blogger and post your movie reviews right here. Remember, you do not have to sign up for a Blogger account, although the accounts are free and it just takes a few minutes to register. You can choose to post anonymously and submit your reviews that way as well. Either way, we'd love to see what people in Des Plaines are watching and get some conversation going here about movies. Feel free to post comments on other peoples' reviews, too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And above all this bustle, you hear...

Singing Librarians AND a Christmas sweater contest. We thought you might enjoy a chance to see us "behind the scenes" at our all staff holiday breakfast extravaganza. Lots of eating and laughter, some games and crafts, even a little singing - since we're open 7 days a week and have many different shifts to cover, this is a rare opportunity for almost everybody at DPPL to be together in one room at the same time and we make the most of it. Enjoy, and rumor has it, the Singing Librarians might just make an appearance or two at the library during the week before Christmas. You just never know what you'll find at the library...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chess Champions, 2007

Along with that unused croquet set we had in the basement of my childhood home, we also had a very elegant chess set. I liked taking the various figures out of the velvety box and lining them up on the board - but alas, no one had ever taught me how to play the game. So we used it to play checkers.

But right here in our community, we've got some young people who really know how to play chess and they came out for our 2007 Chess Tournament on Wednesday, December 5, 2007. The tournament is hosted every year by our own vivacious and welcoming Mrs. (Elizabeth) Bialobrzewski and in the photo up above you can see this year's winners: Zachary Sztukowski (2nd place Novice), Drew Sztukowski (1st place Novice), Marcus Eng (Intermediate second place), John Gut (Novice Consolation), Deepankar Gupta (Intermediate 1st place), Alexander Romza (Intermediate Consolation). All the participants got a certificate and the lucky winners got prizes.

The library's drop-in chess club for kids will meet on February 6 and March 5, 2008, from 4-5 p.m. and there will be another tournament on April 9. So brush up on your skills and maybe you will be one of our winners next spring!

Congratulations to all of our talented competitors in the Chess Tournament.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ho-Hum for Hollywood?

I just started the "Monday Morning Movie Mania" column in this blog when something boring happened - movie ticket sales went into a funk. The idea was to check in with our DPPL patrons every Monday morning and find out what movies they'd seen over the weekend, giving people a chance to post their own reviews and comment on other reviews. We've had a few responses but not many, and part of me wonders if the box office blahs are part of the problem.

Ticket sales are down 6 percent from this time in 2006, according to What's your theory on that downslide? Too many dopey sequels? Too many formulaic stories being told again and again? Tired of the same actors' faces on the big screen several times a year? Annoyed thinking that your $10 ticket helps some millionaire actor buy $300 socks, $1,000 jeans and endless Botox injections? Is it the economy - with gas prices being so outrageous, are even the budget theaters just not, well, in your budget this time around? (This is a good time to remind you that the library has thousands of DVDs that you can check out for free. Nada. Nuttin'. "Rien," as they say in Paris.)

So, you can still share your movie reviews here - you can also share your theories, rants and raves on why movies aren't worth seeing anymore. I'm running a very democratic blog here, so exercise your freedom of speech when it comes to movies - yea or nay? Just type your comments here and don't forget to check back to see if someone has responded to your comments.

Thousands of DVDs. For free. At your library. (P.S. Plus, if the movie ends up being a stinker, you can just shut it off and pop in another one. Try doing that at the theater.)