Westworld is a 10-episode series about a Wild West-themed amusement park populated by lifelike androids, called “hosts”. Customers, called “guests”, can enter the park for a hefty fee and have a no-holds-barred experience with the hosts. The hosts and environments are programmed to interact with the guests without placing them in any real danger, so anything goes. As one character puts it “what happens in Westworld stays in Westworld”. The show also depicts the group running the park: programmers, technicians, and business people.
The series begins following an upgrade of some of the hosts, and as some begin to go beyond what their programs will allow, it seems that someone from the real world is up to no good. Forces from within and outside the park build to the first season’s finale.
The show has a great cast, led by Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood. And it all looks great; the showrunners have certainly taken their time to make the western and futuristic settings seem authentic. While I found the broader concepts intriguing, there were a lot of moving parts to this show, and it was a lot tougher to follow what was going on towards the end of the season. The show has been renewed for a second season, and I will probably watch it to see what direction they take following this season’s finish, but I’m really on the fence with this one.
In a nutshell: the first season of Westworld is decent but not great; it starts off really well, however as the various storylines build toward a conclusion, the show seems to get bogged down by everything going on.
Three Strikes is the third novel of Kate Kessler’s series following character Audrey Harte. It is an interesting read, full of intrigue and swift plot turns that keep the reader guessing what the outcome will be. Three Strikes features a strong female lead that is not afraid to fight for the people she loves.
Several years ago, Audrey killed to protect her best friend Maggie. Several years after Maggie’s death, her daughter Mackenzie shows up on Audrey’s doorstep, enlisting her help in the search for her biological father. The search is not easy, as Maggie was a promiscuous teen, who had many admirers. Throughout the search, Audrey must confront her personal past with Maggie—a friendship that wasn’t always easy. In addition, someone in town is trying to deter Audrey’s search. To make matters worse, a suspicious character shows up in town looking for Audrey’s boyfriend Jake hoping to extort money from him. The stranger winds up dead, triggering rumours and accusations against Audrey and the people she cares about.
As time begins to run out, will Audrey be able to figure out who Mackenzie’s biological father is and determine the answer to the one secret that her best friend Maggie kept from her all of these years? Maggie and Audrey used to be best friends, but after the two plot to kill Maggie’s father Clint together, their relationship is irrevocably damaged from Audrey’s perspective. Maggie apparently, does not feel the same way, and tries to manipulate Audrey back into friendship.
Told in alternating perspectives from past and present, Maggie becomes a strong presence telling her side of the story from beyond the grave. A combination of mystery, thriller, and suspense, Three Strikes is sure to keep you reading long into the night.
A few years ago, I was gifted with a sweet little ukulele. Since then, I’ve used YouTube, books, apps and the help of kind friends to learn to the play the instrument and pick up new songs. When KPL subscribed to Lynda.com, I was thrilled to find they had a short course for learning ukulele fundamentals.
The course is taught by Grammy-award winning artist Daniel Ho and consists of over two hours of content. Even if you already know a bit about the uke, this course can help you finesse some of your basics. Along with the video tutorials, there are seventy-six exercise files you’ll work through and are yours to keep to review in the future. As a visual learner, I really appreciated the close up shots featured in the tutorials.
The Ukulele Lessons: Fundamentals tutorial is just one of the many music lessons available in the Lynda.com collection. There’s over 268 audio and music themed tutorials for you to discover!
Did you know you can borrow a ukulele and many other instruments? Learn more here.
As we approach the end of the year, you can definitely feel it; the temperature is dropping, daylight hours are a novelty, and jack frost is nipping at our noses. If this was not enough, the pressure is on to shop for the gift-giving season. But don’t let the wintery season get you down! Take advantage of the cold, frost, and shopping at the Preston Town Skating rink in Cambridge.
Open through the winter months from December to March break, this free all-weather open air skating rink is perfect for anyone looking for an afternoon of winter fun! Located in the heart of Preston’s Central park (at the intersection of King and Argyle), the location could not be more perfect. If you're looking for a family outing, a romantic stroll, fun with friends, or even some time to yourself; Preston Towne Centre is the perfect destination.
After all that skating perhaps you need a bite to eat, or want to finish some holiday shopping; whatever you need Preston City Centre has something to offer. Just across from the skating rink you’ll find a bustling street of shops, restaurants, and other little novelties. From pubs to boutiques, restaurants to gift shops; there is a lot to explore!
In keeping with the situation, there is a seasonal festive display in the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History. The focal point is a limited edition Christmas print reminiscent of a nostalgic era. The print is fittingly called “Kitchener Christmas Past” by local artist Lance Russwurm. The framed print was donated to the GSR by Mary Lou Thompson, in memory of her father, Robert (Bob) Wagner, 1930-2013.
The subject of the artwork is the Old Kitchener City Hall festooned with holiday lights. Crowning City Hall is the majestic Clock Tower. It is the backdrop for holiday shoppers on a wintery evening from bygone days. The artist noted that the 1957 T-Bird helps date the time period for the painting.
City Hall was designed by W. H. E. Schmalz (a renowned local architect and community member) and B. A. Jones and built in 1924. It stood on the corner of King and Frederick Streets but was torn down in 1973 and replaced by Market Square.
The Clock Tower was dismantled and stored at various sites when City Hall was demolished. Over the years there were various projects to restore the Clock Tower but the expense was a stumbling block.
In 1993, a Baden resident Dean Zinken spearheaded another initiative to refurbish and reconstruct the tower as a heritage structure in Victoria Park. But the $400.000 cost was still a drawback. Among many of the supporters, Lance Russwurm took up the cause in early November 1994. He was known for his mural on the side of the New Hamburg firehall and his two paintings of Castle Kilbride. Russwurm researched City Hall using some of the resources and photographs at KPL. He completed the acrylic on hardboard painting at the end of November in time for Christmas sales. Half of the proceeds from the sales of the 695 limited edition prints were donated to the fundraising project.
With the support of the Municipality, Conestoga College, business and labour Councils, and volunteers, the project was successful! The ground-breaking ceremony occurred on March 17, 1995 at Victoria Park. On July 1 of that year, the clock mechanism was triggered into action.
As well as a talented woodworker and artist, Lance is a musician. Born in Kitchener in 1953, he is the son of the late local musician Lynn Russwurm, and grew up in the family music business. He released his first full-length solo album “Self-Portrait” in 2015.
About his artwork, Russwurm says he uses an “almost photo-realist style to lend reality and immediacy to events that happened long ago…” This is certainly the case with this evocative holiday print. Step into the past, step into the GSR, and step into the Holiday Season!
Read more about Lance Russwurm and the Clock Tower below: