|October 2003 Archives
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October 31 Permalink
Miranda went trick-or-treating as Cam Jansen, complete with a red wig. We had maybe five bands of kids come to the door. However, maintenance decided Halloween was a great day to resurface the sidewalks. So on a night when kids are walking in the dark, tripping over costumes, they also have to dodge cordoned-off wet concrete.
Watched the Angel episode "Unleashed". Angel fends off a werewolf attack on a jogger, killing the monster with Wesley's sterling silver pen. The group tracks the new weregirl to her house and take her back to the office and explain her new life. Fred takes the girl, Nina, back home for some of her stuff, but wolfgirl gets kidnapped.
The assailants are a supernatural restaurant society and Nina will be the next course. Whitlock think world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster could head up such a society.
John Billingsley, Dr. Phlox from Enterprise, makes a guest appearance as a cryptozoologist with W&H. He's also the restaurant society's mole. Angel, Wesley and Gunn drag him along to gain entry to the dinner. In the ensuing fight, Nina has turned wolf and bites Dr. Phlox. The fight is stopped when Angel offers the good doctor as next month's course.
Weird scene when Nina is captured. They hose her down, then take off her shirt and scrub her. There must be some fetishist out there who understands.
October 30 Permalink
Well the first season in my solo OOTP league ended with the New Jersey Meadowlarks defeating the Long Island Ducks in seven games. The home teams won every game until the last. My management got a lousy score for only winning 78 games. I'm in the free agent phase now and the reigning MVP is available. Imagine A-Rod as a 26-year-old center fielder. So far, I've given him his best offer. He was looking for $10 mil for 4 years and I was willing to give it to him for 8 years.
October 29 Permalink
Whitlock is trying to figure out why I haven't gotten my annual bout of seasonal affective disorder this year yet. I'm thinking maybe it's the window office where I can occassionally see sunlight. In Anne Rice's universe, mummies are awakened by sunlight. John Cooper on the other hand thinks I'm an android.
October 28 Permalink
Finally started watching Angel again so we start with the season opener "Conviction". The gang is in an office building, which is sort of like moving into a new house, except that nearly everyone is evil. The main plot is about a white slaver who is losing in court and threatens to destroy California when he says the magic word. Could that word be "Schwarzenegger"?
Gunn gets an operation to instantly give him legal training. He gets the bad guy, Fries, off on a technicality. You want Fries with that?
Meanwhile, Fred and Wesley figure out that the bomb is a virus and Fries' kid is the vessel holding it. While Angel goes to isolate him, the special forces unit headed by Hauser decide to destroy the kid and the school. He never thinks that maybe the kid himself is boobytrapped and Angel wouldn't like this. Anyway, Angel gets there first and has some complicated fight with the SWAT team who show the competence of battle droids.
In the exposition vein, Harmony is now Angel's secretary and Spike appears at the end, having been released from the Magic Amulet. Sarah Thompson plays Eve, the liaison with the senior partners. Unlike Lilah who was beautiful and funny, she's just cute and really creepy. Lorne finds out Joe Kennedy tried to double-cross the law firm, but George Sr. read the fine print better than we could read his lips. Fred puts up a Dixie Chicks poster in her lab.
Continued with the second episode "Just Rewards". Spike is back, but he's a ghost and sometimes he disappears completely. This week's villain is necromancer who needs the firm to provide dead bodies. This Mr. Hainsley gets in some complicated double-cross with Spike that involves body-riding. Bed Edlund co-wrote this one and Angel dispatches the necromancer's butler with a spoon.
October 27 Permalink
With all the rain, my irises are coming up. I hope they don't die once the frost arrives.
October 26 Permalink
Despite reverting to standard time, we still got up late. There's a stretch of the George Washington Parkway, just north of First Street, where you can see the Washington Monument, right up the road, framed by the trees on either side. I'm surprised I've never seen this in a post card before.
Watched the MI-5 episode "Clean Skin". Burglars break into Harry's house with breathtaking efficiency and steal a lot of his electronic stuff. Turns out, it was just some two-shilling thieves from the projects, although one of them is a brilliant 14-year-old hacker with a photographic memory.
A French scientist with an EMP weapon in his laptop is in England to sell it to somebody. The English want to steal it for themselves, but the French want to kill the guy. Turns out the French scientist is going to sell to the Chinese.
So MI-5 send the hacker in to steal the laptop. The French send in an assassin. Unfortunately, the hacker just wants a few thousand pounds for his trouble. He doesn't want upwards mobility.
Moved on to the Enterprise episode "Exile". Hoshi is getting some mysterious telepathic messages. They come from an alien named Tarquin and they set up for Beauty and the Beast/Bluebeard. He wants her to stay because of their special telepathic connection. There may also be a hint of fans stalking the cast.
In the other plot, Enterprise goes in search of a sphere that may be creating the gravimetric anomalies in the Expanse. Turns out there may be more than just two spheres, which makes the intereference pattern at the beginning of the episode rather unbelievable.
Grand Moff Tarquin gives the crew some idea where the Xindi may be constructing their superweapon.
October 25 Permalink
Guy and Kerry's wedding went fine. I took videos with the camera I borrowed from my other brother-in-law Greg. Miranda and Delaney walked together, each carrying a ball of silk flowers.
The hors d'oeuvres were outside at the hotel where it was kind of chilly. When you really don't know people, you just think of who you do know that they look like. A pair of Whitlock's cousins look like perpetual Silver Screen Test contestant Spike Bowden. Another of her cousins married a woman who looks like my It's Academic coach.
For dinner I escorted by mother-in-law, the mother of the groom, into the room. The meal was some kind of chicken. The cake was plain white with red flowers. Inside, it was vanilla with some almond flavoring.
Miranda danced some, but mostly just threw her headpiece in the air and tried to catch it. They DJ left the room while the CD for "1999" skipped for three minutes. He could probably put all his music on a portable server and never have a skipping problem. At that point, who needs a DJ?
By about 7:30, Miranda and I were both too tired and headed back to the room to watch the World Series. Whitlock stayed to dig up more family skeletons. I'm still stunned by Florida's Alex Gonzalez dancing around Posada's tag.
October 24 Permalink
Miranda also stayed home from school so she get a manicure and pedicure with Whitlock. The usual Friday traffic to Alexandria was hampered even further on the George Washington Parkway by a disabled vehicle that was still on the roadway. We took a cab fron the Holiday Inn to St. Mary's Catholic Church for the rehearsal.
The rehearsal went off all right. Afterwards, Miranda, the other flower girl, Delaney Madden, and her brother, the ringbearer, Brady played with the votive candles. There are no more flames, but bulbs which light up when you push the button. They request a 25 cent donation for each candle.
The rehearsal dinner was at the Ecco Cafe. They have seperate banquet room with its own restrooms and dedicated access to the kitchen. We sat with the Madden family so that the kids could sit together. It took about an hour for the food to arrive, by which time the kids were going stir crazy.
October 23 Permalink
Stayed home to get ready for Saturday's wedding.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Death Grip". It starts with what appears to be the kidnapping of a blonde 14-year-old girl. The media and the neighborhood offer their support in the fashion of Elizabeth Smart. However, she willingly went with her tennis coach and she's really 16.
Caine and Co. check into the past of the tennis coach and find a missing Hispanic girl. Her arm is found in the swamp and CSI enlists the help of Jeff Corwin. When the finally get the goods on the tennis coach, the blonde tennis player has run away with him again, but now her mother wants to kill him.
They never really explained why he killed. Yes, he takes advantage of teenage girls, but this does not necessarily lead to murder.
October 22 Permalink
The Quad Cities Bandits are now the Swing of the Quad Cities. While the nickname is not specific to Davenport, Rock Island, Moline and Bettendorf, it is no less appropriate for baseball than Nets is for basketball.
In addition, I always thought the soundtrack of baseball was swing. Maybe it's all those newsreels of Joe Dimaggio to "Swing Swing Swing".
Obviously, the soundtrack of football is loud and self-important - a Mahler symphony or most movie soundtracks. The vocal accompaniment is of course, John Facenda, the Voice of God.
For other sports I'm not so sure. Soccer depends on the country - alternative rock in the United States, punk in England and samba in Brazil. Basketball is jazz or hip-hop. What's hockey? A string of Canadian rockers from the Guess Who to Rush to Barenaked Ladies? What do you think?
Watched the CSI episode "Homebodies". In one plot, Grissom is brought to the site of a break-in where a mummified body is found in the closet. Brown, Sidle and Stokes are brought to the site of another break-in that turns out to have been a home invasion and rape. Willows is brought to an accidental shooting when a boy hurts himself from a gun he finds in his back yard.
We've got three plots that merge into two when they figure the body in the closet and the home invasion are related. The MO involves following an unaccompanied woman from a restaurant as she regularly brings carryout home. The first was a retiree, who got locked in the closet just a little too well. The second was a mother who wasn't alone, but it didn't bother these guys as they raped the daughter. She goes in for a lineup, but can't name her assailant for fear he might hurt her again. They kill her anyway.
The mysterious gun in the suburban back yard appears to have killed a bounty hunter several miles away. He'd been down on his luck recently and wanted it to appear he'd gone out with his boots on. He stages his own murder with a gun tied to some balloons. After the shot, the balloons floated off and landed in the suburbs.
October 21 Permalink
God, the Cubs, and Marty McFly. Great observations along with God sitting in the arm chair of Chicago Cubs fan praying to his television.
While Goats, Greeks and Catholics gives us this quote:
As if you didnít know, heartbreak was all these fans got this baseball season. Sure, there is some satisfaction in saying "We won the division" or "We had the best offense" and "We at least made the playoffs", but thatís Atlanta Braves-type satisfaction. And it stinks.
Which is followed by other teams' type satisfaction:
Detroit Tigers-type satisfaction:
Well, at least we weren't worse than the '62 Mets.
To which Washington-type satisfaction is,"Maybe the Expos will move here sometime."
October 20 Permalink
Anthony DeJesus has discovered this game. I'm just waiting for Tony Siragusa and the Humungous Chicken Wings.
October 19 Permalink
Planted more bulbs. Probably about a hundred this time. Got poison ivy and incredibly sore forearms for my trouble.
Whitlock baked a chocolate cake with white icing for our anniversary, a couple of weeks late. Miranda put on the wooly mammoth and triceratops that was on our original cake.
Disturbing loss from DC United. I might claim it's in the Red Sox/Cubs category, except that the Black and Red have won three of the seven available championships in MLS thus far.
As expected the Indigenous Persons lost to a team coming off a drubbing. This is why I'm actually hoping for the Cowboys to beat Tampa Bay next week.
October 18 Permalink
Watched a little bit of the sniper movie last night. I would agree with Tom Shales' characterization that it was shallow. It was filmed in British Columbia like many USA productions. There were many scenes of small-town or city streets when most of our area is a land of strip malls.
Watched the most recent episode of Playmakers today. It came off as a good episode because they used the sports cliche of actually winning the game. Jason Michael Smith as Eric Olczyk uses his brains to defeat the more athletic opposing quarterback. They did rely on the stereotype of the less athletically gifted, more intelligent white player outsmarting the athletic, stupid black guy. I'd like to see Russell Horsnby's Leon Taylor show some smarts in a future episode.
Watched the MI-5 that was the 6th episode of the second season. Dubya's visiting Tony and the Queen, but is on a secret mission to meet Libyans and complete a Lockerbie deal. CIA agent Christine is in charge of security and is alienating the natives.
Miranda, the MI-5 shrink who looks like and is every bit as annoying as Kennedy, is interviewing everyone in the midst of this crisis.
Meanwhile, Vicky, the doctor Tom was banging, is getting back at him by producing bogus ads with his pictures on it, offering his services as a prostitute and outing him as an agent. Tom gets Sara to remove the postcards ads from the tenderloin district. Nonetheless, Vicky assails Tom and Christine in public while they continue to review the security detail. Mother Company kidnaps the doctor and trashes Vicky's flat in front of her. So this is how the CIA reacts to people who out MI-5 agents? What happens to people who out CIA agents? I'll never call Robert Novak again.
The episode ends with Tom and Christine performing double entendres behind the couch while Blair-Bush hold a joint press conference. Not this Blair Bush.
Went on to the Enterprise episode "Impulse". Trip and Mayweather go get some Trellium. Archer, T'Pol, Reed, and a redshirt go to Vulcan vessel, dead in an asteroid field.
Trellium causes Vulcan brains to become paranoid and unstable. Most of the episode turns into Night of the Living Dead with Vulcans.
So let's just move on to Peacemakers and what is unfortunately the last episode so far,"Town Without Pity". Stone is having second thoughts about what good he's doing. I understand - the place is starting to look like Cabot Cove. It's not like he's in a big city where a large number of murders are more likely to occur.
We meet two doofuses working for a fast-drawing Brad Pitt-lookalike who apparently is planning a kidnapping. We assume the target is Sabrina Hamilton, a beautiful woman, just coming into town with her husband Reverend Hamilton. They stop two kids from abusing Babbles when Marshal Stone meets them.
Sabrina is a daughter of the Wentworth family, the biggest cattle rancher in Colorado. The kidnap leader is Dean Wilder, who, with his two idiots, grab Sabrina, but the Reverend is heavily beaten.
Finch goes to the Wentworth ranch where the father refuses to pay the ransom. We learn from Mama Wentworth that Sabrina was sent East to keep her from marrying a man they didn't approve of, namely Dean Wilder.
Stone beats up one of Wilder's henchman who leads the Marshal to their hiding place. Stone shoots the last lackey and finds out the truth - that the kidnapping was staged and the ransom money would help the couple get a new start. The Marshal stills wants to apprehend them for assault on the Reverend and Wilder gets killed in the shootout.
Stone brings Sabrina home to the Reverend. The Marshal is even more disgusted with his work. As he prepares his resignation letter, the two boys who were teasing Babble appear at the door. They remind him what a hero is to them and he changes his mind.
October 17 Permalink
Thanks to world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster for this article. Some excerpts:
A "school for soubrettes" that teaches young Italian women the not-so-subtle skills needed to become television game show hostesses and showgirls has opened near Naples, backed by generous funding from the European Union...
There has been no shortage of interest from potential pupils, however, given that Italy's television networks are awash with shows featuring scantily clad female assistants. About 1,200 women ó and a handful of young men ó applied for the 97 places on the eight-month course when it was advertised in the summer...
"I want to be famous, rich and marry a footballer," declared Simona Toto, a diminutive blonde.
October 16 Permalink
My OOTP team has improved from 9th to 7th place. Interestingly their record is 19-11 in one-run games and 27-40 otherwise. Could this be the triumph of a human manager over machine intelligence? Was this a result of applying Bill James' theory on bullpen usage? By the way, it wasn't the much-maligned "bullpen by committee". The strategy doesn't have a name, but it involves using your best reliever only for one-run or tie games. Conversely, it also means not wasting your relief ace on protecting a three-run lead in the 9th. Perhaps I was letting three-run leads whittle down to one run by using a less-than-reliable reliever.
So I looked carefully at how I was winning and losing those one-run games. First of all, there really wasn't a pattern. The most frequent game profile seemed to be where the scoring stopped by the sixth inning, both bullpens kicked in, and the game was won or lost with a single in the 8th inning or later. There wasn't much of a pattern to these games either. They were won only slightly more by by three best relievers than by my three worst. On the losing side, my top three were blowing saves anyway. The three other guys really weren't in a position to blow a 3-run lead because once the lead got to 1-run, I would panic and bring in one of the nasty boys.
So the reason for my good record in one-run games? Blind luck. If I continue to do better in subsequent years, I'll let you know.
October 15 Permalink
Perhaps the good people of Chicago could follow the lead of Mark Prior:
"You can't blame the entire game on that play," Prior said. "Hopefully people don't treat the guy too bad. Ninety-nine percent of the people in that situation would do the same thing."
October 14 Permalink
When you don't have a buzzer system you can improvise if every player and the moderator has a cellphone. The players all program the moderator's number into their cellphone. The moderator programs all the players' numbers into his/her cellphone. The buzzer is reset when the moderator asks all players to clear their phones. When a player thinks they know the answer, they hit SEND. The moderator reads out the name of the first player to call him.
Whaddaya think? Can it work?
October 13 Permalink
For Columbus Day I stayed home, but went to the Open House at Sally Ride Elementary. Mrs. Garies read a book about Christopher Columbus, then had the class think of schwa-r sounds like bird or fur. One of the boys had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt on, but obviously, none of the kids were looking at it.
Whitlock saw Don Zimmer say he was embarrassed. She asked how a man doing hemorrhoid commercials could be embarrassed.
Watched the Peacemakers episode "Bad Company". Hollis Crumb, the mayor's brother-in-law has been killed. Suspicion falls on Linus Turrow, a too-cute nerd inventor that Katie has fallen for.
Turns out Standard Oil has sent some folks to find a solar engine Linus has invented. They beat up Hollis, because he was serving as Linus's agent. While they rough-up Linus and Katie to find the engine, Stone and Finch come to the rescue. Linus gets a job with Standard Oil.
On to the continuation of CSI, "All For Our Country". When last we saw them, the psychotic couple were dead in their own home. To top it off, we discover two undercover cops on surveillance didn't see a thing.
At least, they had an excuse, specifically, a false alarm for an officer down. A kid watching said he saw a uniformed police officer go into the house and not emerge. Greg finds a police shirt and badge in a storm drain.
The badge belongs to a surly cop with a big file of not asking questions first. He says the badge was stolen and even threatens Gil once. However, shoe prints lead to a clerk in the office of thejudge.
There's a great scene of Brass and Grissom arguing that seems trangely authentic.
Willows and Sidle are dumped with the case of a bloated college kid, dead in a bathtub. The bloating effect is very gross. Of course, one always searches for evidence in such a bathtub while wearing tank tops. He was in a sports bar and got a nasty sucker punch to the head. Several hours later, he dropped dead in the tub with nobody else home.
Finished with the CSI: Miami episode "Hard Time". This episode's grossness begins with a woman in an apartment with maggots crawling all over her, and she's still alive. But for the purposes of catching the perpetrator, they put the word out that she's dead.
She was the victim of a highly publicized and brutal rape some nine years ago. Now that the rapist is up for parole, he wants her unable to testify at his hearing. So who offed her? One of the prison guards? The prison groupie? His son? Turns out it was one of the guards.
The unbelievable part was the Georgia parole board chairman being unwilling to delay the parole hearing until the case was solved.
October 12 Permalink
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Dead Zone". A treasure hunter is killed with a speargun that is so strong, it pierces the hull of the boat. The first suspect is his partner Marty, who has a hooked prosthetic.
Both worked for a alient partner named Bret Betancourt whose wife is played by Pete Sampras' wife. Bret is killed by a letter bomb. We find that he hires them as salvage divers as cover for his real business, which is drug smuggling. Marty discovers this and hatches a plan.
The divers had discovered the wreck of a 17th century Spanish vessel that had remained buried by sand until Hurricane Andrew uncovered it. Marty kills his partner to keep the loot for himself and skims off some of the cocaine to implicate his boss. The letter bomb was sent by the Columbians who thought Betancourt was taking too big a cut.
Calleigh is still wearing tanks, even when firing a speargun. She gets a nasty bruise of her right shoulder.
Went on to the Enterprise episode "Raijin". Archer takes onboard an escaping slave who turns out to be a Xindi spy. She needs information on humans that the Xindi need to fashion a bioweapon.
Whitlock asks why such an apparently advanced race as the Xindi feel such a backward people as the humans are a threat. I suggested it might be subtle political statement. I'm trying to figure out why the need for the cloak and dagger. Any of a number of races friendly to Earth could have been duped into turning over information on human physiology.
The silly plot point was the many outfits Raijin had, despite having escaped with only the clothes on her back. I thought perhaps, they could have kept actress Nikita Ager in sexy clothes by giving her some of T'Pol's outfits. However, on second look, while Jolene Blalock is a waif, Ager is a J-Lo.
October 11 Permalink
Episodes 17 and 18 of Silver Screen Test taped today. Thanks again to my crew of John Buckley, Yen-Ming Chen, William Davenport, Bob Mattia, Alyssaa Newart and Nancy Poole. Larry Sheingorn stopped in to say hi.
October 10 Permalink
Not a lot today, Just getting ready for tomorrow's taping of Silver Screen Test. Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, and William Davenport helped on putting up the set.
October 9 Permalink
Watched the CSI season opener "Assume Nothing". The serial killers are a married couple who lure other heterosexual pairs with the promise of spouse-swapping sex. Instead, they inflict torture involving the husband stabbing his wife in the neck. Then they killed the husband somewhere else.
Gil has a beard now, reminding me of the slip of a detective from Manhunter. Catherine wears tanks, which seems very unprofessional for the job. A CSI t-shirt with a wonderbra would work just fine.
Sam Braun's case got thrown out because of Catherine's mistakes.
Whitlock had a problem when the team had to quickly pull evidence from an ice chest that previously held a dead body. She thinks there should have been a refrigerated truck available for this purpose. I just thought there should have been an explanation of why there wasn't one available.
When they bring evidence to a judge for a search warrant, he refuses. They do find probable cause by checking the ear in one dead body for DNA. Finally getting a warrant, Brass and Grissom get to the house, only to find their suspects dead. To be continued...
October 8 Permalink
You think maybe now Donovan McNabb has more street cred since he unwittingly took down an agent of Da Man? Before this, he was in the league with David Robinson and Tim Duncan, witness the Chunky Soup commercials. Unlike Kobe Bryant, McNabb hasn't lost any mainstream appeal in the process.
October 7 Permalink
These days I'm playing Out of the Park Baseball in a solo fictional league. The teams are the largest North American cities currently without MLB so I'm running Washington. I underestimated what I should pay my scouts so I'm in 9th place in a ten-team league.
It's amazing how little things can add up to an unsuccessful season. If you string together a .500 season, but just have a measly two-game losing streak once a month, suddenly you're 75-87 and far out of contention.
I lost my #2 starter Douglas Segovia (a name which means nothing to you because it was randomly generated) for seven weeks and the team immediately tanked for a few games. Hitters no longer hit, the rest of the pitchers kept giving up gopher balls. It's like they actually got upset by losing what passes for a stud on this team.
October 6 Permalink
I'm happy for the Red Sox and Cubs fans. It's not like I have a team to cheer for. But they've been here before - in 1999 and 1989.
Why do I hear the anguish of doom already in New England? Was Johnny Damon injured by the baseball gods, just so the Bosox could be depleted for the Yankees? Will Grady Little's foolhardy, but successful move to bring in the infield in the bottom of the 9th, lead to hubris on his part? Will he join the ranks of Don Zimmer and John McNamara to make an even more infuriating managerial move later in October?
Things look bad next week for the Indigenous Persons. Their opponent, Tampa Bay, is coming off a heartbreaking loss and will be angry. Spurrier always does best against teams looking past them to the next opponent.