|May 17 Permalink
Went to Hagerstown to go outlet shopping. Miranda played at the playground. We mostly bought clothes for her. I bought some dress shirts since my neck size has gotten bigger due to aging. Whitlock bought lingerie. There was a Disney overstock store containing mostly items leftover from Disney California Adventure.
Afterwards we took a brief detour to Halfway, Maryland, which apparently is the second most populous city in Washington County after Hagerstown, but I hadn't heard of it before the past year. It seems to consist of an old section, including the white building pictured. It may have been an old boardinghouse or apartment that a nearby sign said would soon be remodeled for condos. The new section is dominated by the Valley Mall.
May 16 Permalink
Took Miranda to another sock hop. The pictures look better because they left the lights on in the gym. The young man serving as DJ had more games, which resulted in a lot of children trampling each other. He played the same bunch of songs as back in March.
May 15 Permalink
While Craig Barker worries how the Big Ten would function with Notre Dame, I'm trying to figure out how to align a 12-team ACC for basketball.
Divide the league into three divisions:
North - Boston College, Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia
Central - Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest
South - Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami
Each team plays the three teams in its division twice and the other teams once for 14 games. Now in order for some of the traditional rivals to play each other more frequently, we allow for 2 "non-conference" conference games that do not not count for the conference standings, but possibly for tie-breakers. This makes room for Duke and Maryland to possibly play each other twice.
May 14 Permalink
Watched the Twilight Zone episode "Eye of the Beholder". In this remake, Molly Sims takes the Donna Douglas role. A nod to recent events is given by the leader who preaches conformity. The new ugly faces are just big, lumpy things, not the piggy mugs of the original. I missed the freakish horror of the hog face, a lit cigarette hanging from his mouth, very Serling-like. Although this is one of the episodes everyone remembers, I always thought it was a very slow buildup to the payoff.
In the second episode,"Developing," Rob Tunney plays a woman still grieving the loss of her fiancé a year ago. She confides in a priest who contantly worries she'll kill herself. He suggests she take up her profession of photography again. Soon images of the fiancé and the house they would live in appear mysteriously in the pictures. The priest fears she'll take this as an omen that she will kill herself to be with him again. She finds the real house and soon she appears in the photographs mysteriously as well. She almost commits suicide, but is saved by a nice man and the fiancé's image disappears from the photo.
May 13 Permalink
More editing for Silver Screen Test. Finished one episode. I have to put the scores in to finish the other episode.
May 12 Permalink
A Ranking of Buffy Villains
1. Mayor Richard Wilkins. Smart, witty, effective. Has genuine affection for Faith. Just underestimated the Buffy and the students of Sunnydale when he turned into a giant snake.
2. Drusilla. Apparently the psycho Goth chick has deteriorated to a stereotype. Still, I miss her incongruous lines and that she truly loved Spike.
3. Glory. Whitlock liked that Clare Kramer wasn't aneroxic, but she wasn't exactly Delta Burke either. Another wacky chick, this time of the shallow, self-centered variety. She made different sorts of non-sequitors, but had typically incompetent minions.
4. Spike. Best when teamed with Drusilla. Buffy is so not him. He's just so powerful and James Marsters is so talented, the writers think up ways to weaken him. First he's in wheelchair, then he's got a chip in his head, now he's got a soul.
5. The Master. The benchmark villain. Certainly charming, but ugly. Can't believe this is the father from the Twisted Sister videos.
6. Adam. Had that cold, robotic evil, similar to the Terminator in many ways. However, he wasn't around long enough and, let's face it, Terminators don't have much personality.
7. Angelus. Really only good when torturing Buffy directly. Put Boreanaz on the same screen with Marsters and Landau and Dave comes off as an amateur.
8. Warren, Jonathan and Andrew. Their nerd arguments were occasionally funny, but no one was seriously afraid of them. They were even incompetent in their most evil acts - killing Katrina and Tara.
9. The Evil Willow. The vampire Willow was fun. The evil witch Willow was just an extension of the self-righteous good Willow - still annoying and to avoided at all costs.
10. Caleb. Sure Nathan Fillion plays a good psycho, but nobody you really like to watch for long like the upper half of this list. He's a one-note misogynist and most interesting villains can play a good tune with their evil.
May 11 Permalink
Watched the Buffy episode "Empty Places". Anya delivers a lecture that frequently diverges into her sex life with Xander. Buffy get the crap beaten out of her by Caleb at Sunnydale High. Faith takes the Potentials out for dancing at the Bronze. Unfortunately, the police force get a hold of Faith, but the Potentials fight off the cops. Giles send Andrew and Spike to a Northern California monastery to discover an inscription that may or may not be relevant to the future. Buffy holds a council to lead another assault on the winery where Caleb is encamped. The Potentials revolt in favor of Faith and Dawn kicks Buffy out of the house.
On the Enterprise episode "Cogenitor," the crew makes First Contact and no weapons are fired. Archer spends most of the episode onboard a stratopod, a vehicle that can withstand the high temperature near the surface of a star, with the corresponding captain, played by Andreas Katsulas of Babylon 5 and Star Trek. In the C-plot, Reed compares equipment with the other weapons officer.
In the A-Plot discovers that the Vissians are tri-gendered. The third sex, called a cogenitor, provides an enzyme. They are treated as second class citizens, but Tripp does a concealed scan and discovers their mental capacity is just as high as the other genders. He teaches it to read which eventually leads to it seeking asylum aboard Enterprise. Archer sends it back, but it commits suicide.
In reality, I think such a third gender, being such a small percentage of the population and necessary to reproduction, might actually be exalted, rather than oppressed. Such a natural birth control mechanism would result in a more promiscuity, absent diseases. We got a hint of that in Reed's plot, but not much more. Tripp shows the cogenitor a movie and decides on The Day the Earth Stood Still. I think The Wizard of Oz might be a better example of the nature of humanity.
May 10 Permalink
Miranda went to the birthday party of our next-door-neighbor Stephanie at Blackrock Arts Center. Later we went out to dinner with Whitlock's mother, Guy, Kerry, Whitlock's cousin Aaron and their neighbor John Hancock at Positano's.
In between, Whitlock and I watched the Angel episodes "The Magic Bullet" and "Sacrifice". The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" plays over apparently happy people in L.A. Fred interrupts the revelry by bumping into a slow-moving car. Wesley and Gunn chase her, but she gives her awfully-colored jacket to someone else as she disappears into the sewers.
Fred goes into a bookstore called the Magic Bullet and looks for books on mind control. The owner is a conspiracy theorist who is still crazy, but Jasmine has convinced him not to worry about it. Jasmine assembles a seance where they find Fred at a motel. Very scary scenes of strangers whiplashing to look at Fred. She runs away and causes a traffic accident. A man in flames tries continues to convince her to join Jasmine.
Fred being chased down another street, she trips over a ravine and into the campsite of a dwarf in a demon costume. The demon hates the Jasmaniacs, and acts reasonably friendly until he decides to attack her. Fred puts a nearby axe in his brain and has a plan.
Back at the hotel, Wesley makes a presentation, complete with a huge picture of Fred, warning of the Burkle threat. Lorne announces that it's Open Mike Night, allowing everyone to give their testimonials of Jasmine. A headbanger leads the congregation in chants of "Jasmine Rocks". David Boreanaz and Vince Kartheiser sing an embarrassing version of "Mandy" filked as "Jasmine".
Fred returns to the Magic Bullet and Jasmine soon arrives with Angel and Connor. For his loyalty, Jasmine gives the bookstore owner a gift,"There was no second gunman. Oswald acted alone." Fred shoots Jasmine, the bullet passing through her to Angel. Suddenly Angel sees Jasmine for who she really is. Something about the mixing her blood and yours. Angel carries Fred away and Jasmine orders the bookstore burned so that no one can be infected with her blood.
Angel and Fred hatch a plan figuring that Cordelia's blood can substitute for Jasmine's. They sneak into Cordelia's room but is interrupted by Lorne who they quickly infect. They do the same with Gunn and Wesley, but it doesn't work on Connor who calls on the other Jasmaniacs as the episode ends.
In "Sacrifice", they escape in Angel's car, but Connor is left by the side of the vehicle. We discover that Jasmine consumes people for power, but it's all pretty clean-looking for such an evil villain - just a lot of green glowing. The gang gasses up, but Jasmine finds them and the surrounding people all talk with her voice. The group escapes into the sewers.
In the sewers, they find a small band of vampire fighters, similar to Gunn's old posse, including one actual former member. Meanwhile, Jasmine consumes Cordelia and the California governor has abdicated. Why didn't we hear about this in Sunnydale?
The underground group is also fighting some non-vampiric creature. When Angel vamps out, the youngest vampire hunter freaks out and runs surfaceward. Meanwhile, Wesley has been captured by a cool, Harryhausen-like insectoid demon. His race was the first to worship Jasmine and he's insanely jealous.
Gunn and Fred chase the boy above ground and bring him down. When the boy awakens, Jasmine has taken hold of the boy and the other vampire fighters. The group runs away and Wesley has figured a way to get to the insectoid demon's realm. However, only Angel can go while everyone else fights the Jasmaniacs under Connor's leadership.
May 9 Permalink
Watched the Greene Turtle Sports Show on Comcast SportsNet. Their guest was Mike Toomey, national cross-checker for the Montreal Expos, who live in Maryland. Suddenly, their 2002 draft makes sense. Because of their small staff, the only players they had any confidence in picking were the ones Toomey scouted himself.
May 8 Permalink
I'm not sorry Michael Jordan is no longer general manager of the Wizards. His executive record was hardly stellar, especially picking Kwame Brown. If he chose Shane Battier, the Wizards might have been in the playoffs both years Jordan played. However, I think Abe Pollin was wrong in not letting Jordan hang on one more year as GM. Although he may have been playing for selfish reasons, he sold out the MCI Center and put money in Pollin's pocket. And for this he gets the boot?
Here's the schedule for episode #10 of Silver Screen Test, again with a real time slot:
Fridays, May 9, 16, 23, 30, 10:00 pm
Mondays, May 12, 19, 26, 7:30 pm
The programs will appear on the Open Channel in Montgomery County, Maryland, Channel 19.
May 7 Permalink
Did some more editing for Silver Screen Test. Learned the quirkiness of the character graphics software.
We're slowly learning there may have been more to these recent incidents with Larry Eustachy and Mike Price. Mitch Albom notes:
In the last two years, no fewer than four players have been arrested on charges related to substance issues. One player was found drunk and lying in a street. Another got nabbed for a DUI. Another was charged with marijuana possession. Another was charged with assault -- in a bar.
Given that context, getting drunk at a frat party would seem to be the last straw, but you never hear about that. Everyone's getting worked up about Price possibly paying strippers for sex, but this part of the Sports Illustrated article is disturbing:
According to a source close to the athletic department, Price had already been chastised twice by athletic director Mal Moore for spending time buying drinks for students and "generally serving as the life of the party in too many bars."
In fact, two Alabama students spoke to SI on Monday about an incident that apparently led to one of Moore's conversations with Price. According to one of the students, a few weeks after Price was hired, the coach went to Buffalo's American Grille near campus and, after four hours of drinking, propositioned some female students. "I heard him tell several girls who he was buying drinks for that his wife was still back in Washington and he wanted them to come to his room at the GameDay Condos," one of the student sources said. "One of the girls lives at GameDay, and when we went by there at 2:30 a.m., he was stumbling around and told us he had forgotten the entry code [he needed] to get up in the elevator. One girl offered to help, and he tried to talk her into coming to his condo. Everyone was kind of shocked."
Like Rick Santorum last month, my red flag goes up when someone is immediately shocked or freaked out. Going to a frat party and getting your picture taken being kissed by coeds, while not admirable, is not illegal. It may have hurt Stacy Eustachy, but that's none of our business. Reports also said Eustachy responsibly took a cab home. Similarly, Price going to strip clubs and taking some dancers to his hotel room was not illegal. Even if paying for them might be unlawful, it should not be. Harassing the students is different. If these allegations are true, then at the least he should have exercised greater discretion.
Still, if you look through history, most of the great achievers have had something wrong with them. For the sake of human progress, these giants and their families have paid the price. All I'm saying is if you hire somebody from the top percentile, there's likely to be baggage - some legal, some not, some harmful to your enterprise, some not.
The film Gattaca posits a society ruled by drones of identical elite, but those can't be the people running it. They're too conventional. Certainly, these are the bureaucratic cogs that keep a nation functioning at top efficiency, but they can't be the real rulers.
May 6 Permalink
The Tigers have won three in a row. They've finally met competition more on their level - the Orioles. Dmitri Young missed a cycle by stretching his double to a triple. I always considered the cycle a freak stat anyway. Why not just honor any performance of 10 total bases or more? Consider Nate Cornejo the prime candidate to be the Tiger's All-Star Representative.
May 5 Permalink
It's "Spring Break" on CSI: Miami. The guy behind the camera of something meant to be "Girls Gone Wild," but called here "Babes on Break" is non other than the self-righteous doctor aboard the Serenity from Firefly. Well if Malcolm is on Buffy and Zoe is on Angel, then Dr. Tam needs a job, too. Two guys wake up on the beach at dawn. One of them says,"Dude, where's the car?" They try to wake up a girl nearby, but discover her head can do the Exorcist trick.
The dead girl's got bite marks and semen in addition to a broken neck. The semen belongs to Dr. Tam who claims he just thought she was asleep. The bite marks aren't his so they just charge him with abuse of a dead body.
Finding the real killer involves improbably discovering the memory chip to his video camera. The card has him filming a girl he assaulted, but didn't kill, but also the dead girl shot under it. After much Trek science, they get the killer's fingerprint. We also discover he does some home dentistry so the bite marks don't match.
In the B-plot, Calleigh and Speed investigate a dead guy at the bottom of a pool. His totally stupid roommates held a bong Olympics. Excess marijuana in the victim caused an aneurysm in the room. However, these Rhodes Scholars decide to drag him to the roof and they jump into the pool from there. Dead guy was left on the bottom.
May 4 Permalink
Watched the CSI epsiode "Last Laugh". Bobcat Goldthwaite is bombing on stage. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Ross is out in the alley, looking like he's practicing his act until he says,"Zip me up." A female head pops up from behind the trashcan and we realize he's been getting Monica Lewinsky service on prime time. Whoa!
Ross gets on stage, acts like a jerk and I say,"Don't tell me. Ross is the victim. Bobcat is the murderer. Don't tell me it's that simple." Unfortunately it was. Along the way we get the red herring of a kid across town being poisoned with the same bottled water Ross drank and the kneepad girl explaining that Ross,"Didn't want to pop the cork. He wanted to shake the bottle." Gilbert Gottfried said funny things to Catherine, but not on stage.
In the B-plot, Brass sees a middle-aged man with a trophy blonde coming out of a red sports car and decides to re-open a murder investigation. Sara and Nick try to check the original crime scene, but the grieving husband has remodeled it. Instead they go to an identical model home to test theories of the wife's death. However, I thought the suspect had lived too long in the house for a model home to still be open in the development.
Nick and Brass try to convince Al to authorize an exhumation. The coroner engages in classic bureaucratic CYA. He's not a bad man, but I miss this sort of behavior which happened all the time in Homicide. They get enough evidence to cast suspicion that the husband killed his wife, but not enough to prosecute. But it's enough for the insurance company to repossess his sports car.
May 3 Permalink
Watched the Angel episode "Shiny Happy People". Miranda lay on the couch across us while we watched it. I'm sure she'll reminisce in the future about those Saturday mornings watching those weird shows with her parents.
Gina Torres has been born full-grown from Cordelia and immediately induces everyone to serve her. Somewhere near the end of the episode, she is named Jasmine.
In an assault of a nest of vampires in a bowling alley, she bleeds, which is a plot point. When the fight is taken to an adjacent outdoor cafe, an injured human picks up a knife and attacks Jasmine.
Fred gets obsessed with cleaning Jasmine's blood-stained blouse. She eventually gives up and buys her a new one. When presenting it to her, Fred discovers Jasmine's true face of rotting flesh, compete with worms and maggots.
Fred talks to the guy who attacked Jasmine. He's in the psychiatric ward, but confirms that he saw what Fred saw. She goes back to the hotel which is overrun by Jasmine fans. Fred confides in Wesley, but he blabs to the whole hypnotized gang. Fred tries one shot to assassinate Jasmine with a crossbow, but is thwarted, and she escapes.
Fred takes an SUV to a diner still in the Los Angeles media market. Jasmine, now named, appears on morning television and hypnotizes the dive, except for Fred, who walks out.