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October 2001 Archives

Links were checked and verified as active only in the month the Eucalyptus entry was published. Links outside the silverscreentest domain may be inactive from this archive.

October 31

No trick or treaters tonight. Admittedly, it's a new neighborhood and there's still construction going on. Whitlock and Miranda went out. They met a Filipino family, the Paredes, down the street.

October 30

Dawn falls for a vampire tonight. Maybe after the series is over, they'll spin off Michelle Trachtenberg as a successor to Faith. I have no idea what the deal was the couple that actually was making out in the woods that Buffy told to run away. Willow is slowly but surely heading into Dark Phoenix territory. I'm also glad Tara is becoming more fleshed out.

October 29

Misogynist William Kennedy Smith type character terrorizes Angel. By his presence, he brings out the woman-hating qualities in men. Interesting that the gay host Lorne didn't appear this time. One would have to confront whether gay demons hate women. The stereotype is that gays love that strong Bette Davis-Joan Crawford type, not hate them.

October 28

Another victory for the Washington Indigenous Persons. Now they're only a game and a half behind the division-leading Eagles. Boy is this divison pathetic. Guess the Washington teams are lucky to be in weak divisions. The Capitals are likely to win the Southeast Division again. Everytime I see Jagr stumble I think,"Just be ready for the playoffs." They can win the division without him, but not the Stanley Cup. Even the new Jordanaires have the benefit of not having to play the Lakers until the finals.

October 27

Maryland put up a good fight against Florida State. The Terps have won at least 7 games, which guarantees them a bowl.

Went to Michael's to get some materials for Miranda's pumpkin. She's going to make Blossom the Powerpuff Girl. The mouth will be drawn on. The hair will be orange felt, the bow, a Christmas bow. The eyes are a scan of the eyes mask from Miranda's Halloween costume.

October 26

Tonight was the annual auction night at St. James' Children's School. I would have contributed some Orioles tickets, but they keep having this auction in the fall. Whitlock bid on some Christmas ornaments the kindergarten kids decorated. I bid on a 20x30 poster enlargement. The enlargement was the only thing we won, but we got it for just five bucks. The school seemed to just want to hit up the parents for money. Not too many grandparents or non-child-attending members of the parish.

October 25

Real gross-out night on CSI. On one hand is a guy who can projectile nosebleed, which was all a frameup for hiding a body in a water heater. The flies gave away the body with their pervasiveness. On the other hand, a scuba diver was found in a tree during a forest fire. The urban legend would have the poor guy getting gathered up by a helicopter scooping up water for a fire. Turns out the guy's body was burned and the heat exploded the oxygen tank, sending him up the tree.

October 24

On the 15th anniversary of the ball rolling between Bill Buckner's legs, those old enough to remember recount their Red Sox memories.

As I recounted back in March, I have my own theories on the Red Sox curse, based on not giving proper due to the 1918 team.

I arrived in the United States from the Philippines in 1966, settling in the Bronx. At the same time, the Yankees settled into last place in a ten team league, but they still rested on the laurels of their past glory in a snooty sort of way. Meanwhile the horrible, yet Amazing Mets, attracted the new, young fan of the 1960s. Although both teams stank, at least the Mets had fun. So when we moved down to the Washington area in 1969, I retained my Mets loyalties just in time for the Amazing 1969 World Series championship.

My interest in baseball declined after the Senators left town. I didn't pay much attention when Bucky Dent hit the home run to win the one-game play-off on my birthday.

When I got back into baseball, I made friends with Mitch, a Red Sox fan from Buffalo. (Yes, he's a Bills fan as well. Talk about cursed.) Mitch familarized me with Red Sox angst and middle name Bleeping that Bucky Dent acquired. So in 1986, we were still friends. I got to see both games Clemens pitched in Baltimore that year. For the second one, I gave him a ride up in a car that was then new, but just traded in a month ago. We sat with other Red Sox fans and in a moment of psychic clarity I announced,"The Red Sox will win the division this year. They will go to the World Series where they will play the Mets and lose in seven games." My proclamation was met with gasps of horror. At least one person said he'd rather be swept in the series than lose in seven again. (I also that the Buffalo Bills would be in the Super Bowl within five years. It was a lucky night.)

So by the fateful Game 6, I'd already seen Dave Henderson dispatch the Angels. He seemed to have done it again. I watched that small black and white television with wonder. It was really going to happen. The Red Sox would win. Then it started to unravel in the bottom of the 10th. The Shea Stadium crowd saying,"Cal-vin" to Schiraldi like pre-schoolers on the playground. To me, the goat was Bob Stanley, not Bill Buckner. I heard the stories of the Red Sox and thought of it as just so much self-pity. But now, up close, the inevitable futility amazed me, the same way one can't help but look with fascination at a traffic accident.

What's frequently not mentioned about Game 7 is that it was rained out on Sunday night. When the postponement became likely, I talked to Mitch on the phone and reminded him that it would enable Hurst to start on Monday night. Bruce would have been the MVP of the series if Schiraldi or Stanley nailed down the final out. It was my false note of encouragement to him, but I knew in his heart, he didn't think it mattered. Again, the baseball gods were toying with Sox fans. The rainout allowed their best starter, during that week at any rate, to get the nod. And of course he would fail.

ESPN's Battleline segment on this game mentioned Celtic success and Roger's 20 strikeout game as foreshadowing possibly glory in New England. What wasn't mentioned was the death of Celtic draft pick Len Bias, perhaps an omen of doom.

Rick Aguilera won the game and later would win a World Series as closer for the Twins. Kevin Mitchell scored the tying run and would later win an MVP with the Giants.

The 7th game played opposite a Monday Night Football game of the Indigenous Persons against the Giants. The Persons were perhaps the 2nd best team in the league that year, but they couldn't get past the Giants. I loved those defensive struggles, the cold heartless artificial turf of Giants Stadium.

October 23

Tonight Buffy tried out being a construction worker and a retailer. She should really go into law enforcement. Wouldn't it be cool to see a cross-over ten years from now and see her on The X-Files? The numbers on people's shirts are driving me crazy, too. I don't know what they mean. Tonight's argument between the three little bads about James Bond was pretty funny. Strangely, I prefer Timothy Dalton. The demons gambling for kittens may be a subtle psychosexual longing. Just think of another synonym for cat.

October 22

On tonight's Angel, we all thought Fred's parents were rubes just like Tara's parents. I liked the mentioned that Fred's Dad fell asleep during the last Alien. Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for Alien Resurrection.

October 21

The Washington Indigenous Persons finally won today in pretty amazing fashion. They were behind by 14 when Levar Arrington intercepted a pass and ran it in for a touchdown. After tying up the game, Brett Conway missed a 32-yard field goal that could have won it as regulation time ran out. The Indigenous Persons picked right up and marched down the field. Tony Banks threw what looked like a winning touchdown pass to Rod Gardner. I couldn't believe the referees actually loooked at the replay and saw a Panther defender touching Gardner's helmet with his foot as he lay on the ground. So the touchdown got called back and Marty didn't waste any time. He sent Conway back in who won the game.

This was also the day for MLS Cup. The cameras showed a beautiful young woman in the crowd. I wondered whose wife or girlfriend she was. Turns out she was Landon Donovan's twin sister.

October 20

The Maryland football team toasted Duke instead of looking ahead at Florida State.

People I can't talk about took us to a nice Chinese dinner at Old Shanghai. Miranda was kept relatively quiet with her puzzle.

October 19

An all-male contingent of Knossos came to El Castillo. Everyone was at least neutral on the book, Calculating God, with most people liking it a lot. World-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster brought cinnamon muffins he baked in our oven. Whitlock got tired and went up to bed early. I took the group on a tour of the bottom floors, since the other 2/3 of the family was asleep. I finished off the evening subjecting the remaining stragglers to an episode of Silver Screen Test .

October 18

I finished Calculating God, the Hugo Award-nominated novel by Robert Sawyer. Whitlock picked it as this month's book for Knossos. I liked the book, but there are SPOILERS coming.

An alien lands on the lawn of the Royal Ontario Museum and asks to see a paleontologist. The paleontologist, Tom Jericho is dying lung cancer and thus does not believe in God. The alien, a spider-shaped being named Hollus from Beta Hydri comes from a race that scientifically believes in the existence of God. I liked the free-flow of ideas between the two characters in this rather talky book. However, this non-action is needlessly interrupted by an action-packed sequence instigated by a pair of trigger-happy Arkansas Christian fundamentalists.

I liked the book. I would gladly recommend it to others for the Asimov-like readability of talking heads. However, I would not have nominated it for a Hugo. Just after the fundamentalists are disarmed, Betelgeuse goes supernova, threatening to kill off all life on Earth and Beta Hydri. But something appears to shield sentient life from the fatal radiation. It is God. Supposedly, aliens from another system, Groombridge's Star, triggered the supernova explosion to keep other sentient life from bothering their post-technological virtual existence. But when I read it, I thought the Groombridge aliens were the ones who erected the life-protecting shield, not God. The characters provide no evidence that the Groombridge aliens were responsible for the supernova. The whole Groombridge sequence could have been avoided entirely. Betelgeuse could have gone supernova on its own and God saves the day in the ultimate deus ex machina. This flaw would keep me from calling it a great book.

October 17

I don't think the Washington Indigenous Persons will remain winless. They still have three more games against Dallas and Arizona and the Giants and Philadelphia are always susceptible to a let-down. After the first loss to San Diego though, I knew this was going to be a long season. That's why Washington fans are watching Jaromir Jagr and the Capitals, Michael Jordan and the Wizards, and Ralph Friedgen and the University of Maryland football team.

October 16

American immigration laws are coming under scrutiny because of the ease of movement for the terorist hijackers. Now personally, being an immigrant myself, I am all in favor of more open immigration policies. However, that is not the issue I'm addressing and that is that the INS should be given more latitude to enforce the laws currently on the books. They can't catch the bad guys because it's too easy to slip through the cracks. Meanwhile, the INS is trying to kick out the widow of a British national killed at the World Trade Center. He was in the process of getting a green card and she could stay in the U.S. because of him. Since he died, she no longer had a legal reason to stay in the country. The law-abiding people who leave a legal paper trail are the ones punished.

Congress should give the INS enough money to enforce the laws on the books. Also, the process should be streamlined and less bureaucratic. If the U.S. citizens want to keep people out, then the INS should be quick about deciding whether to let someone in. With the current procedure, only those who are rich or have highly desirable skills get in easily. Those with a shady background skip the INS altogether, but do we want those people? What about the hard-working honest folks who can't manipulate the system? Those are the people we need.

The sad fact is that except for recent immigrants themselves, there are no interests in favor of reform. Generally, most Americans are apathetic. The labor movement is opposed to making the market even tighter. Business interests would like more workers, but say little so as not to antagonize their unions. As a matter of fact, they would prefers their labor outside the United States in countries with more lax safety laws and lower wages. The executives prefer their American workers to be illegal, who will work for less than minimum wage in sweatshops or as nannies for their children.

October 15

After such heavy episode last week, Angel got lighter this week. A senior citizen with a magical urn switches bodies with Angel. The good vamp in turn becomes an old guy. I like the characterization from IGN: Angel gets to watch a lot of CBS and yell at kids to get off his porch.

October 14

Like Thursday's National League MVP, here's the American League. Here are five candidates again with stats based on the March archive.

Team Player        AB  H   BB  TB Tm RPG  RC/25.5  OWP    OW
Oak  Ja Giambi    520 178 129 343   4.72    12.10 .868  11.6	
Bos  Ramirez      529 162  81 322   4.79     8.91 .776  11.2	
Cle  Thome        526 153 111 328   5.30     9.29 .754  11.0	
Sea  E Martinez   470 144  93 255   4.80     8.40 .754   9.6
Tex  A Rodriguez  632 201  75 393   5.73     9.08 .715  12.1	

A-Rod sure used up a lot of outs. I submit that he ought to be listed on MYP ballots higher than any player who was not the best player on a playoff team. I give you the same answer as in August that Giambi ought to win the title again. It looks to be a Bay Area sweep.

October 13

My thanks to the crew of the third taping of Silver Screen Test : Jimmy Albert, Margaret Buckley, Yen-Ming Chen, Nancy Poole, Larry Sheingorn, Victor Soto and Patrick Thorpe. The gods of television production are conspiring to see how few people it will take to shoot a program. I have a feeling I'll have to do a show with one technician in the control room and the all the cameras locked down. My thanks also to my contestants Jeff Cook, Elisa Knebel, and David Goodman.

October 12

Here's the final look at the National League MVP. Again, here are five candidates with stats based on the March archive.

Team Player        AB  H   BB  TB Tm RPG  RC/25.5     OWP   OW
SF   Bonds        476 156 177 411   4.77    16.70    .924 11.6	
ChC  Sosa         577 189 116 425   4.56    12.29    .879 13.4	
Arz  L Gonzalez   609 198 100 419   4.61    10.93    .849 13.7	
Col  Helton       587 197  98 402   5.65    11.32    .801 12.2	
Col  L Walker     497 174  82 329   5.65    11.48    .805 10.2	

To call Bonds' .924 Offensive Win Percentage Ruthian would be accurate. Only the Babe has had a better season. Again, because this method, is that the player who creates the most outs creates the most games and therefore can spread his offensive winning percentage across a greater value, thus generating more offensive wins. So Gonzales appears on top because of this. I would vote Sosa ahead of Gonzo.

October 11

Happy 39th Birthday once again to John Cooper. You're lookin' good, your hair is mostly still there and it's still dark.

October 10

I prefer the "Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," and "This Land is Your Land" to "God Bless America" and "God Bless the USA". The latter is nothing more than patriotic version of "You Light Up My Life". "Born in the USA" speaks more to me, although it's not exactly uplifting.

October 9

On tonight's episode of Buffy, we found out that heaven is real and Buffy was there after death. This show doesn't frequently express moments of happiness. I think the last instance of bliss was Tara and Willow floating above the Bronze.

October 8

Tonight's episode of Angel featured a psychotic demon hunter named Gio. Angel recognized the fun behind the rash of demon killings. I think one could see in Gio the inexplicable, amoral violence that we've seen a little too frequently lately. I thought this was the best episode of the season so far. They did leave unexplained the Host's statement that Gio betrayed a female in Miami. Whitlock posited that maybe, in his quest to lure a baby-killing demon, Gio sacrificed the baby of a woman he befriended.

October 7

Today's our eleventh anniversary. Everyone's favorite memory was that party favors were wind-up, fire-breathing toys of Godzilla, King Kong, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. As soon as everyone was released from the bar to the tables, all the guests immediately wound them up and set them walking across the tables. They were playing with them for only a minute or two when the DJ announced that the minister would say grace. Everyone stopped talking and the minister spoke, but the background was filled with the gentle whirrs of firebreathing wind-up toys.

October 6

Took in Cal Ripken's last game with Dave Choat. Again, traffic conspired against me. This time, it was the swarm leaving Byrd Stadium after Maryland's victory over Virginia. We ended up missing the bus out of Columbia and ended up taking the light rail out of Glen Burnie.

The giveaway was a lanyard with a plastic sleeve holding a commemorative ticket and junk mail from MBNA. The ticket held the actual date for the game since the ticket to get in said September 16. The lanyard I will use to hold my badge at work. The lanyard is white with an orange "8" and an orange and black MLB logo.

Again, Three Mo' Tenors sang the National Anthem. I wish the camera operators had pictures of their faces as they sang.

Between innings, several players and managers appeared on the Jumbotron with tributes to Ripken. The only boos were for Roger Clemens as there was a sizeable Red Sox contingent at the game.

The number 8 seemed to crop up a lot in the game. Cal's last at bat was in the bottom of the eighth inning, a pop up to centerfield, 8.

The Orioles rallied in the 9th. Brady Anderson struck out with Cal on-deck when the game ended.

After the game, Cal rode a classic convertible around the field clockwise. He stopped to shake hands with every member of the Red Sox. All the players were wearing Cal Ripken farewell commemorative t-shirts. After he walked a red carpet to the dugout with his family, there was quite a delay. I thought he would prove his superhuman status by re-appearing, having captured Osama Bin Laden.

Earl Weaver, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray came out of the dugout. I wonder where Brooks Robinson was? He was the only other retired number left. They walked out to centerfield where Cal came out of the fence where relievers came through. They accompanied him to the shortstop position where a lucite podium stood. It took a while for Cal to finally speak. He said later that he needed time to compose himself at this emotional moment. I swore it looked like the microphone wasn't working. The final salute was fireworks in the shape of the number 8 on the hitter's backdrop.

We waited 45 minutes before getting on a light rail train. It's not like we were bypassed by full trains. Only one train passed and, although it wasn't full, didn't stop at Camden Yards.

October 5

I saw Barry Bonds hit #70 at Enron. This is the second greatest offensive season in history. If he doesn't win MVP, it would be greater miscarriage than Albert Belle bing denied in 1995. I looked up some number I had from around then. I had Mo Vaughn as only the sixth best player in the American League. If the voters couldn't stomach Albert Belle, they should have given the award to Raphael Palmeiro.

October 4

Last year CSI had what I called a DC episode. One plot conerned the death of a student from a deaf college, similar to the murders here at Gallaudet. The other plot was about a multiple murder at a coffee shop like the Starbuck murders. This time they stole from the Chandra Levy case. Spoiler coming!. The girl was killed because she happened to be between and dumpster and a wall at the moment a, SUV crashed into the dumpster and moved on. Whitlock thought it was too unbelievable, but I could fly with it.

October 3

I'm finding I like Dr. Phlox the best of all the characters on Enterprise. Tonight's episode featured Hoshi pining over a slug and aliens being drained for fluid. Maybe Scott Bakula is channeling a psychotic version of Kirk.

October 2

Today, I am of a prime age, less than the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

Finally saw Enterprise. It wasn't the unmitigated disaster I expected, but I wasn't impressed. Tell me, how do you convert a mission that sounds like Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and Yuri Gagarin, and turn it into Delta Force? Despite, their military training, I wouldn't have sent the astronauts on covert operations. Eileen Collins is not going to bring back Osam Bin Laden. I still think Berman and Braga should have gone with a Section 31 spy show. Then the adventure plots would make sense.

The decontamination gel scene was one of the silliest scenes in the history of Trek. I had heard hints on Will Wheaton's blog. I thought they would come out of some tank, naked and dripping with the gel. This scene is not sexy in any adult way, but only in the mind of a 12-year-old boy. Again, they should have been naked so that the gel could get to their entire body. I understand their lack of thoroughness may have repercussions down the road.

I was glad to have Buffy back, along with the reruns on F/X. I think it may have been a little stretched out for the two-hour block. There was only one hour of plot in it. I liked Tara saying,"Grrr. arggh," just like the Mutant Enemy creature. That's the shutdown sound on our desktop computer. Did they have continuity inconsistencies in Buffy's outfit? I thought she wore flats in some scenes and heels in others.

October 1

It looks like the NFL will convince the NADA to switch dates for the Super Bowl.

Last week's Angel was okay. James was Spike-light. I think they were trying to compare James' feelings for Elizabeth with Angel's feelings for Buffy. It didn't work for me. Do you think that perhaps James was a tribute to James Marsters, and Elizabeth the same for Elizabeth Rohm? This week we find Darla in Central America again, trying to understand her pregnancy. I wish she ran into Riley. I hear Marc Blucas would like to guest on Buffy as a Kurtz-type character who has hypnotized an army of demons, rather than natives.

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

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