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November 2002 Archives

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November 30

Whitlock's brother Guy came by with his fiancée Kerry.

Watched the Angel episode "Supersymmetry". Fred's physics article is published and she speaks at a symposium. Her old professor, Seidel, introduces her, but a multi-headed monster appears out of the ceiling as she speaks. Fred figures out that Seidel was behind sending her to Pylea and vows revenge. She and Gunn send him to another dimension. Meanwhile, Cordelia goes back to live at the hotel.

Best moment was this comic book fan who sat at the lecture, taking pictures of the hydra monster. Turns out he's the perfect computer nerd who is amazed that Angel is real, for all he's talked about in chat rooms.

Got in two episodes of CSI: Miami. In "Breathless," a male dancer is found dead after a wild, mostly ladies,"Cupcake" party. Not finding a murder weapon or forms of common drugs, it turns out he was killed with a condom containing a high-nicotine-content insecticide. In the other storyline, a man climbs aboard a boat with a knife in his belly. Turns out he was among a group of thrill-seeking divers who go very deep with no oxygen. In both cases, the form of murder and the motives were reasonably clear.

In "Slaughterhouse," a toddler appears to be the only survivor of the mass murder of a family. Evidence hints at the dead mother and post-partum depression, but it was actually the father in a well-planned act. He also survived the carnage. Looking back to the first episode,"Golden Parachute," where the only survivor was also the murderer, hints at that if someone survives, they did it.

November 29

More humor from Jerry. Thanks, Tim.

Watched the CSI episode "Abra Cadaver" where a volunteer in a magic act disappears. Through many dead ends, the magician Zephyr may have killed the volunteer six months ago and kills his son, the stagehand. The magicians in this episode are too weird off stage. The more bizarre performer, Toby Arcane, who crucifies himself nightly, is the more normal guy.

In the other case, a rock singer is found dead in his tour bus of an apparent overdose. His ex-girlfriend, now a single mother and nurse is the culprit. Unfortunately, this episode had too many overly dark scenes and very little in the way of procedural explanation.

Went back to the Firefly episode "Shindig". Malcolm's old acquaintance Badger says someone on the planet Persephone has unspecified contraband to transport off-world. The businessman is Sir Warrick Harrow who Reynolds meets at a fancy ball, escorting Kaylee. Inara is at the same ball in the service of Atherton Wing. Wing insults Inara and Malcolm hits Wing, resulting in a duel by swords at dawn tomorrow. Badger's men keep the Serenity crew in custody to keep Reynolds from escaping. Malcolm defeats Atherton with the help of some distraction by Inara. The contraband turns out to be cows.

Probably the best scene was watching Kaylee hold court with several men while uttering mechanical techno-babble. Zoe and Wash are shown in bed for one of television's rare sex-between-people-married-to-each-other scenes.

For a change-of-pace, we watch The Simpsons "Halloween Treehouse of Horror XIII". In the first segement,"Send in the Clones," Homer uses a magic hammock to produce clones of himself to do his chores. A little heavy-handed violence when Homer has to shoot a few of his clones who are too smart to survive. The clones are destroyed when lured by giant doughnuts over a cliff.

The second segment,"The Right to Keep and Scare Harms," Lisa encourages Springfield to destroy all its guns. This causes the zombies of Billy the Kid, Frank and Jesse James, the Sundance Kid and Kaiser Wilhelm to wreak havoc on the city. With the help of a time machine, Homer helps to stop the carnage before it starts. Billy the Kid describes Kaiser Wilhelm as "the meanest German of them all," but I think that title belongs to Adolf Hitler.

The third segment,"The Island of Dr. Hibbert" is a takeoff on The Island of Dr. Moreau, with some nods to Fantasy Island. Homer decides the half-animal life is right for him.

November 28

Opened up our new vacuum cleaner. Finished putting up all our bookcases. I'm not really satisfied with the shelf extension I put on one of them. It doesn't provide that general top of the shelf to put crap on.

Went to Normandie Farm for Thanksgiving with the wife's side of the family.

The Ball coach is still passing too much. Didn't learn his lesson last week. Like that both Thanksgiving games had both teams in colored uniforms. The NFL should allow this more when the colors contrast. I was around but not paying detailed attention when the St. Louis Cardinals instead of the Dallas Cowboys hosted Thanksgiving games in 1975, when they lost to the Bills, and 1977, when they lost to the Dolphins.

November 27

Missed the Birds of Prey episode "Prey for the Hunter" because the numbering on the VCR got messed up. Instead I got an hour of The Andy Griffith Show from TVLand. So we skip to "Three Birds and a Baby". Huntress stumbles on a woman and her baby being attacked. Helena saves the baby but not the mother. She takes the child home where it is named Guy. Turns out it was a special project containing the genetic material of both Harlee Quinn and Joker. The baby also grows superquick while asleep and has a neural net from which to learn.

Played like a lot of episodes in which children grow superquick,"The Child" from Star Trek: The Next Generation or "A New World" from Angel.

November 26

"Layla" wins Craig Barker's 128-song tournament. My vote for "Born to Run" comes with this comment:

I don't know what Wendy looks like, but she sure ain't a chick who has to decide between a guitar god and a Beatle. I might have had a chance with the Jersey girl, but Layla/Patti was always out of my league. This vote goes to the Boss."

Put up another bookcase in the morning. In the afternoon, Whitlock got an EEG, but the doctor probably won't have looked at it and cleared her to drive until next week.

November 25

I guess I had some of our tapes out of order, so we watched the Firefly episode "Safe" rather than "Shindig". While delivering cattle onto the planet Jiangyin, hill people kidnap Simon and River from an Irish-style dance. Meanwhile, Book is shot in the gun battle when law enforcements authorities capture the men the cattle were sold to. The kidnappers are poor people who need a doctor. Serenity takes off and Book is treated at an Alliance military facility. When River's psychic powers are discovered, the villagers treaten to burn her, but Serenity returns in the nick of time to rescue them.

We see some of the Tams' wealthy background, how Simon's position as a surgeon was very important to their family. When Simon tried to figure out what the Alliance was doing to River, he gets arrested. Their father bails him out, but promises to never do that again. I'm liking Simon more each week. Isabella Hoffman plays their mother, looking much worse for her relationship with Daniel Baldwin.

The Alliance treat Book when he presents his identicard. Is the Shepherd an Alliance agent? That can't be, because he would have turned in the Tams long ago. Maybe he has powerful relatives or perhaps was a hero.

So having skipped "Supersymmetry" on Angel, we go right to "Spin the Bottle". Lorne finds a spell to restore Cordelia's memory, but it makes everyone believe they are 17. It's a funnier version of "Tabula Rasa" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

We find that Fred was a bit of stoner, looking to score weed. Angel has a hard time with his accent to explain how bad David Boreanaz's Irish accent is.

November 24

Put up a couple of bookcases in the library. Miranda even helped by turning the allen wrench on a few screws that fastened some shelves in place. It's starting to really look like a library now.

A hangnail left a nasty bloodstain on the carpet, which came off with Resolve. Always a good idea to clean up all the blood.

Took Miranda with us while we went grocery shopping which included buying a vacuum cleaner.

As I predicted earlier in the week, the Indigenous Persons can win even with Danny Wuerffel as long as they run the football. Strange that ESPN took Martz to task for not trying for the field goal immediately, something neither Green, Stockton, the Post nor the Post-Dispatch did. You have to have confidence in your team that they are not going to fumble.

We watched the CSI episode "The Execution of Catherine Willows". John Mathers, convicted of the rape and murder of a coed 15 years ago that was one of Catherine's first cases, is slated for execution. He was never tried, but linked of the deaths of two other girls in a similar fashion. Suddenly, another coed turns up dead with the same MO. New DNA tests again confirm Mathers' guilt, but the new case remains unsolved at hour's end.

The show depicted lethal injection more dramatically than necessary. The prisoner is heavily sedated before any deadly drugs enter his system. Both Whitlock and I hoped that we wouldn't find that the serial killer simply stopped for 15 years, a very unlikely happenstance from our readings. They cleverly twisted the plot by implying that Mathers was the copycat. The periodic cicada figures prominently in this story and maybe it'll help find the killer in a later episode.

November 23

Unfortunate aluminum siding damage due to the wind. Low-res and high-res pictures nearby. It isn't as bad as it looks, this is just one panel.

Put up two Christmas trees, the new one in the living room, the old one in the guest room. The new one has a neat fiber-optic Santa on top. The new tree is pre-lit from Home Accents of Atlanta, Georgia. The stand they provided was totally useless, so I used the stand from the old tree. The new stand proved serviceable, but not really perfect for the old tree, which is smaller and lighter.

Ugliness on two fronts. Sunderland eventually lost a game they should have lost to Birmingham City 1-0. Closer to home Virginia stomped the roughly of equal talent Maryland team 48-13

On The Twilight Zone episode "To Protect and Serve," Usher plays Boggs, a uniformed police officer who kills a pimp about to slit the throat of a hooker. Even dead the pimp, Rigo, continues to harass Boggs with phone calls and the hooker gets slashed anyway. The cop eventually confronts the pimp, again, but all that's left is Boggs with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Now his partner gets a cellphone call from him, telling her he's still protecting the innocent, a positive turn to an obsessive story.

The second episode,"The Chosen", involves a cult walking up and down the street of an unemployed loser named Vince. He suspects they are aliens, but even Speed in a wheelchair down the street and his former lover Lea have been caught up in the proffered hope. As the world heads towards nuclear war, I started to suspect the truth - that the aliens were saving a few from the inevitable disaster.

November 22

Laptops run hotter than you think.

Possible change in the nature of my work. I could do it as part of duties, but not all the time. Circumstances are changing daily. Stay tuned.

November 21

Kauai was climbing up the stairs, scratching on the posts. I yelled at him to stop. Instead of running away, he fell from 1 2/3 stories up into a laundry basket about half-full of clothes. He's fine. Now the laudry basket is about two feet horizontally displaced from where he fell. Can he maneuver in mid-air or did he intend to push away from the post to begin with?

Travels with Brick: Houston

Rice University hosted the National Academic Championship for a few years. It looks like any other campus, although in June the only wildlife seems to be grackles.

One evening event was a hoedown at the campus synagogue, complete with ribs, beef ribs, of course. The Northeastern Jews in the group just shook their heads mumbling,"Southern Jews."

Houston has no shape. You couldn't compare it to an amoeba, because even that has a nucleus. I laughed when the Astros said they would move to "Downtown Houston" because there's no such thing. Clusters of office buildings rise somewhere and provides a center for some people. Houston has several such clusters. I wish I could find the quote from a science fiction writer and former Houstonian so I could give him credit, but he said,"The future looks a lot like Houston." The Internet looks like Houston. It has no shape because no one really planned it. Limited zoning in Houston means that strip clubs are next to hospitals.

The hotter an American city is, the lower the air conditioned temperature inside buildings. So in Washington it's about 60°, in South Carolina it's 55°, in Houston it's 50° and in Miami it's 45°.

I saw several games at the Astrodome as Matt Bruce will attest. It was built with care, like a legacy and monument to future generations, unlike the Metrodome. Despite the multi-purpose structure, baseball is accomodated quite well. The seats are actually padded, not a hard bench of wood, metal or plastic. Despite the plasticity of the dome, nothing can match the relief of waiting to enter in the sweltering heat and being seated in air conditioned comfort. So what if it feels like a living room? After being outside in Houston, you want to be in a living room.

Amenities varied. The men's room still have troughs instead of urinals. For one game, seated near the right field foul pole, I had to go all the way behind home plate to find a concession stand. After a change of ownership, foodstands increased.

One year, when the Astros played the Braves, our group sat in the mezzanine and Fred McGriff launched a home run over my head. A team from Arkansas caught the ball. Whitlock was at the wedding for Bill and Maryanne Hussar and I didn't have a cellphone then. I wanted to call home and say,"Watch SportsCenter. Fred McGriff hits a home run in my section."

My last Houston experience was walking about a mile just after dawn to the hotel from which the shuttle to the airport left. The mosquitoes feasted on my right arm. Back home I went to the emergency room where they just gave me benadryl and told me to elevate my arm. I slept that week with my arm propped up on pillows which were piled on a task chair next to my bed.

November 20

If the ball coach is still thinking of starting Danny Wuerffel, he's totally deluded. Shane Matthews moved his family back to Florida because of the snipers. If Matthews can be scared so easily by the sniper, then he's worthless facing an NFL pass rush. I'm afraid that Wuerffel can be a winning quarterback if Spurrier just runs the football. Boswell sucks up with this quote:

Spurrier didn't come to the NFL at 57 to run off tackle 40 times.

I thought he came to the NFL to win, even if that means running off tackle 40 times.

This proves you can sell anything as a business strategy. Guess I better start on Silver Screen Test: Success in the New Millennium.

I play quiz bowl for Slytherin.
You play to win, no matter what it takes. Second place is for losers, and there are no losers on your team.
Which quiz bowl team do you play for?

We were cutthroat for our time. Today, we'd be considered a relaxed, party team.

Whitlock finally got an appointment for her EEG for Tuesday.

If you haven't looked yet, the personal page has been modified. Miranda's picture is now her first grade portrait.

More brainlessness from Major League Baseball owners. Either that or the mantra of losing money is another outright lie. You decide.

November 19

Whitlock and I got up early to watch the Leonid meteor shower. I went outside in the cold and saw about 10 in fifteen minutes. Whitlock stayed inside and watched from our arch window. She saw about eight.

I saw two spectacular trails that seemed to glow for a few seconds longer. I think these were larger chunks that heated the air to a higher temperature.

This encourages children to read. Really.Went to a book sale at Sally Ride and spent a lot of money. Miranda got her picture taken with Mrs. Green,"The Teacher from the Black Lagoon".

November 18

Got the word that I'll be transferred out of my branch at work. My office location won't change, just my place in the organizational chart. The nature of my work won't change either, just the particular fund complexes I'll be dealing with. Work will get harder while I finish up my old projects, but will actually get easier when I start fresh new ones.

Whitlock saw the neurologist, but can't get cleared to drive until she gets an EEG.

November 17

On Enterprise,"The Seventh," T'Pol went after Menos, a Vulcan fugitive. I had to respond by saying,"Menos, the Hands of Fate." He was inserted as an operative and surgically altered, but refused to return home after the mission. T'Pol was assigned the extraction and Menos was the only one she failed to recover.

We learn that T'Pol killed a man she shouldn't have. She had to undergo a ritual to remove both the emotions and the memory from her mind. The thought of Menos has returned those emotions and memories.

Overall, an okay episode except for a segment where Trip, in temporary command, really messes things up. Also, T'Pol and Archer insisted on too much secrecy instead of just saying,"They're chasing a Vulcan fugitive." That should have ended most questions.

Sunderland managed a scoreless draw against second-place Liverpool. Here in the city,the U.S. beat El Salvador on goals by Ben Olsen and Sasha Victorine before a pro-Salvadoran crowd. The Maryland Men defeated Virginia for the ACC championship. Meanwhile, the ball coach continues to ignore his running game and lost another ugly performance.

November 16

Whitlock and I got up early enough to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before Miranda got up. It was the comedic episode "Him" where the women fall in love with a guy and his magical letter jacket.

There was a great scene with a split-screen four-shot showing Willow, Buffy, Anya and Dawn simultaneously showing what they're doing to prove their love for R.J. I think the reference was some 70's action show, not 24.

While Principal Wood sits quietly in his office, Buffy perches an M136 AT-thrower on her shoulder. I'm reminded of Carrie Fisher in The Blues Brothers using way over-powered weapons to accomplish an assassination. Back to Buffy, the scene of much action in the background taking place in silence, is an old comic trick.

On the music point, Matt, "House of the Rising Sun" can also be sung interchangeably with "Amazing Grace" and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing". Someone also told me you could sing Emily Dickinson's poem about not stopping for Death to the tune of "Yellow Rose of Texas". The most versatile interchangeable song combination I know is "The Marine's Hymn," "Ode to Joy," "Tantum Ergo Sacramentum," and "Clementine".

As far as being a role model, I don't think I'm been doing anything I would be ashamed of. During a previous National Academic Championship, I gave somebody the idea of doing a talk show in the elevator. After sort of raising a sister eight years younger than me and the NAC experience, being a role model was never a motivation for parenthood. These days I'm too old and tired after a day at Chip's tournament to cause much trouble.

We went to a party with some people I really can't talk about. Let's just say that one of them got really blind drunk and in the driving rain said,"I want to see somebody have the balls to stand in front of a bunch of microphones and tell us we're still in a drought."

I replied,"That's not the biggest lie I've ever heard."

November 15

With nothing pressing for today, I stayed home again. We went grocery shopping, something we haven't done together since the kid.

The Enterprise episode, "Marauders" was pretty good. It's basically a rip-off of The Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven or heck, Galaxy Quest. Instead of seven samurai, the bandits are seven Klingons.

Unlike other violations of the prime directive, this intervention seemed right to me. It wasn't an oppression related to their culture. It wasn't a race enslaved by the masters on-planet. They were just a poor colony, bullied by Klingon bandits. Kept to a tried-and-true storyline, it worked well.

A scientific note to those watching: the best place to get deuterium is in the atmosphere of a gas giant. Barring that, the next best is the ocean. You just can't mine deuterium from the rock of a terrestrial planet. But that's okay, I got past it because it was a good story.

On The Twilight Zone, the first segment,"Harsh Mistress," starred Lukas Haas as a talentless musician who finds a cursed guitar that leads him to stardom. The strat was owned by one star who jumped out a window and another who blew his brains out. The kid from Witness looks very much the part of a loser.

Perhaps because of the presence of Forrest Whitaker, the best friend is frequently African-American on The Twilight Zone. At least to me, the music in this episode sounded real, not some lame copy of current rock that you frequently here in fictional pop stories.

The second segment,"Upgrade," starred Susannah Thompson who played the Borg Queen on Voyager except for the final episode as well as being one of the finalists for the role of Janeway. She's a wife who wishes she had the perfect family and slowly her family changes around her. The ending made it all worthwhile, as you realize it's all taking place in a Sims-like game.

I blew the backyard leaves around in a big pile just so Miranda could jump in them, but she was too scared of the neighborhood dogs to go outside.

November 14

Took Whitlock to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where she got a stress test. We loved the cardiac nurse Joyce. Anyway, Whitlock's heart has been cleared. I went back to work in the afternoon.

November 13

Stayed home with Whitlock while she recovered from the seizure.

Watched the Angel episode "Slouching Toward Bethlehem". Perhaps Cordelia and Connor will get together. Cordy saw a picture of herself holding a baby with Angel watching. Angel verifies that the baby is his and named Connor. How come Cordelia never questions the discrepancy? That picture must have been taken 15 years ago (in her mind), so how come she graduated from high school just three years ago?

On CSI: Miami, a little girl is murdered in the bathroom of a Chuck E. Cheese-like place. These sorts of shows just scare parents unnecessarily. Most of the kids on advertising postcards have been taken by parents in vicious custody disputes. They spout a statistic about a pedophile molesting 150 children, but those are not murderers, more like your parish priest. Not that I'm downplaying child abuse, but there's a difference between that and murder.

We went back to Whitlock's work to get some of her stuff. Most people were so surprised to see her walking around. In the evening, we had our conference with Miranda's teacher who says she's wonderful.

November 12

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has linked to a great article in Meeting News about hosting Worldcon. The most unusual thing to most is that the people running a Worldcon change from year-to-year. However, despite that lack of personal continuity, they're a pretty good and dependable group. Just some things to think about in the quizbowl debate.

Whitlock had a seizure this afternoon, probably caused by Ultram. She was taken from work to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. I found her in the emergency room and I stayed with her for several hours while her heart and blood pressure were cleared. She can't drive till she's cleared by a neurologist.

November 11

For Veterans Day, I was the only one who got to stay home. I stopped into Sally Ride for Open House Day to watch Miranda's teacher read them a story.

We watched the Firefly episode "Out of Gas". Elements from the pilot are obvious, such as the introduction of characters and the narration by Reynolds. Two real science points - they put out the fire by exposing it to vacuum and there was no sound in the exterior scenes.

How many guessed that Kaylee was the one humping Bester? Again it felt more like Buffy and Angel with the emphasis on characters. Firefly is a little more mundane because they're not saving the world very much. Also, Reynolds fixing the very easy condenser part didn't stretch reality too much.

November 10

Sunderland defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to put two points of space between them and the drop zone. Given that DC United defeated Spurs 1-0, maybe Americans can claim the top of MLS is in the middle of the Premiership and the bottom of MLS is at the top of Division One. Niall Quinn also announced his retirement

Everybody except the defense can be blamed for the loss of the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons. If the ball coach just kept giving the ball to Kenny Watson, they may well have won. Now that 11-5 I predicted looks pretty dim.

The Twilight Zone we watched was the hour episode entitled "The Lineman". Jeremy Piven of Cupid gets struck by lightning while up a telephone pole and develops mind-reading powers. He uses it to make a lot of money, but it can't get him the woman he loves - his supervisor who sent him up the pole in the first place, played by Olivia d'Abo. His motivations puzzled me, other than forcing one to accept that hearing the voices inside people's minds makes one crazy. Olivia d'Abo could convincingly play the sister of Sarah Michelle Gellar.

November 9

While Miranda and Whitlock went to Hagerstown with Whitlock's mother to go outlet shopping, I taped episodes 9 and 10 of Silver Screen Test. My thanks to crew members Jimmy Albert, Yen-Ming Chen, Bob and Rob Creager, Gil Ingles, Cameron Jones, Andrea Lamphier, Bob Mattia and Larry Sheingorn.

November 8

Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, James Katz, Larry Sheingorn and I put together the Silver Screen Test set. They happily ate the fried rice and lo mein I provided.

November 7

This just in - law enforcement authorities have conclusively linked the serial snipers to the deaths of Chandra Levy, Jon-Benet Ramsey and Jam Master Jay Mizzell.

Whitlock gave me The Art of Technique: An Aesthetic Approach to Film and Video Production by John S. Douglass and Glenn P. Harnden from the School of Communication at the American University. I got her A History of Britain: Volume II - The Wars of the British, 1603-1776 by Simon Schama, the basis for the History Channel series.

November 6

This morning I was that close to either cancelling Saturday's taping or trying to talk Larry Sheingorn into hosting. Amazingly, I've gotten better and will actually go into work tomorrow.

The sub-contractors for Crane Homes came in to take care of nail pops and everything else. All they've left behind are the screens for the basement windows.

November 5

Get out there and vote. The two parties probably don't want you to vote. If you're usually a non-voter, you're probably not part of the usual Republican constituency and the Democrats don't want more people to answer to. So get out there and annoy them both. I voted after dropping off Miranda at the Optimal Learning Center and Whitlock voted before picking her up.

This cold/flu left us both home sick, except for voting and transporting Miranda. So we sat home and watched television.

On CSI: Miami, the victims are a Cathlic priest shot dead and woman dead in a burning SUV. The girl left to char in the car was apparently given a $30,000 ring for a wonderful night of intimacy. Whatever happened to just sending flowers the next day?

We watched the Buffy episode "Selfless". Anya discovers the pain a really good round of vengeance can cause as a spider demon rips the hearts out of an entire frat house. Overwhelmed with guilt, she asks D'Hoffryn to reverse the vengeance, knowing that it requires the life of a vengeance demon, and expecting to die herself. Instead D'Hoffryn kills Halfrek to inflict even more guilt.

We see Anya's human days, somewhere in Scandinavia. The show takes on a washed-out look of 1950s-1960s films, like some episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. We find out she's always been a little too literal and that she used to raise bunnies for profit.

Whitlock still thinks they've let Xander off too easy for leaving Anya at the altar.

November 4

Stayed home today and went to the doctor. Usually, by the time I get to the physician, I've improved and the antibiotic is only a formality. Tonight, though, I felt the worst I ever had through the course of this illness.

Charles Sheffield died over the weekend. I've seen him at area conventions for the past 20 years. His daughter Ann was a memebr of a medievalist group I hung out with.

He usually seemed shy to me, but given a platform, he could be quite urbane and witty. On panels, I remember Sheffield best for a discussion on the influences of Kipling. Both soft SF and hard SF writers sat on that panel. They hated what the other loved about Kipling, which meant Rudyard was pretty special to appeal to both.

I last saw Charles with his wife Nancy Kress at Scott Edelman's 25th wedding anniversary party. I think Sheffield and Kress are the only Hugo winners to have married each other. Joan and Vernor Vinge won their awards after their divorce. Spider and Jeanne Robinson won their Hugo while married, but Jeanne has never won on her own. Capclave had a get-well board there which all three members of our family signed. I hope he got see it.

November 3

Sunderland lost a chance at a victory by letting Charlton equalize in the 77th minute.

Mike Holmgren gave up a chance to try a field goal at the end of the first half. The fourth down attempt failed, and was determined by some to be the turning point of the game. The Seahawks still would have lost 14-6.

Watched the season finale of Monk, "Mr. Monk and the Airplane." Sharona contrives to get him aboard an airplane. They sit next to an extension cord salesman and Brooke Adams, Mrs. Tony Shalhoub guest starred as a flight attendant.

Miranda watched it with us and saw an annoying child who asked Monk,"Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out who was left?" Monk persisted in responding to the riddle. Now Miranda can't let go of it.

Monk guesses that a couple sitting nearby committed a murder back in San Francisco. They need to find evidence of it before the pair make their connection in Newark for Paris. Monk uses the seatphone to stay in contact with Lieutenant Disher back in San Francisco.

Whitlock loves Monk's quirks, but I find them embarassing. Walter Beach, the extension cord salesman, claimed that the 18-foot cord, the Anaconda, was his longest, but I have 50-foot cords in my garage. Also, I find it odd he carried cords on the plane in the cabin with him.

On Angel, the gang go to Las Vegas to see Lorne in "The House Always Wins". Clayton Rohner, Admiral Mark Jameson from "Too Short A Season" in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Chandler Smythe from Good vs. Evil, plays Lee DeMarco, a small-time magician who's got Lorne imprisoned.

The scam works like this: Lorne does his nightclub act and can "read" certain members of his audience. Those with a successful destiny are earmarked to play a special roulette game where their destiny is lost. DeMarco takes these destinies and sells them in a "futures" market.

Those who have lost their destinies walk around like zombies, playing the slot machines with their cup of tokens. As if you needed a supernatural explanation for gambling addiction.

November 2

A quiet day recovering from a cold. Bad news for both Sunderland and the U.S. National team. Claudia Reyna will be out cruciate ligament injury.

From the most fun history teacher in Livonia, Michigan, this list of more potential CSI theme songs:

CSI: Denver "I Can See for Miles."
CSI: San Diego "Eminence Front"
CSI: Nashville "Gettin' in Tune"
CSI: Toronto "Bargain"
CSI: Hoboken "Behind Blue Eyes"
CSI: Mobile "Goin' Mobile"

November 1

David Stern wants to realign the NBA after adding another Charlotte team to replace the Hornets. He talks about going to six divisions while Memphis and Minnesota go to the East. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies and the Timberwolves can't be in the East without a team even further east going west. For example:

Pacific: Golden State, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Portland, Seattle
Mountain: Denver, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, Utah
Central: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans
Southeast: Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Miami, Orlando
Midwest: Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Toronto
Atlantic: Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Washington

You'd have to break up the Pacific coast and/or the Texas teams. I think five divisions would work better:

Pacific: Golden State, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle
Central: Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, Utah
Midwest: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota
Southeast: Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando
Atlantic: Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington

The Pacific and Texas teams are kept together. Memphis and Minnesota are in eastern divisions. In addition, if the two best teams are in the same division, assuming no re-seeding, they could meet in the finals.

The only problem would be the All-Star Game. It could be the defending champions vs. the rest of the league the way the NHL used to do it. You could temporily revive the East-West division:

West: Dallas, Denver, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Seattle, Utah
East: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington

The NBA could also divide itself by "Old" and "New" teams. The newer teams have been in their current cities the shortest amount of time in the NBA.

Old: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Washington
New: Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, Orlando, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah

I also tried addding Pittsburgh and San Diego to bring the total 32 with 8 divisions but ran into the same problems:

Northwest: Golden State, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle
Southwest: L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Phoenix, San Diego
Mountain: Dallas, Denver, San Antonio, Utah
Central:Houston, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans
Southeast: Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando
Midwest: Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee
Mid-Atlantic: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington
Northeast: Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia

The Undertow... another pointless surfing metaphor ...

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