Wednesday, August 31, 2005

LOST Words

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Yeah, I saw this in the grocery store, and with that little CD there (including two deleted scenes found "nowhere else"--so I assume they're not on the DVD set) I couldn't resist. :-) I don't usually buy TV Guides (especially since I don't own a TV and live in a house with a newspaper TV guide available weekly, for free) this time I was suckered in by the checkout aisle display. I'm definately looking forward to the premier of the new season. :-)

  1. Girlfriends:: boyfriends
  2. Here to stay:: Social Security
  3. Call me:: have your people (call my people)
  4. Frustrated:: beyond belief (I'm not sure where this came from, but it makes sense, right? :-))
  5. Public school:: private schools
  6. Glitch:: monkey wrench
  7. Cheese:: Bleu
  8. Director:: of Special Projects
  9. Pivotal:: event (i.e. the Battle of Saratoga)
  10. Exclusive:: coverage


Let me see, what else is going on. Oh yeah, things have been pretty dead around the exhibit lately. Last Wednesday - 65 people (we formerly had at least 100 something every day), Thursday - 39, Monday - 47, Tuesday - 58, Today - 48. It is pretty boring at times, but I do have my books for when no customers are around, ;-). I've started the first book of The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and I'm in the first paperback volume of To Green Angel Tower, so my chapter of one book then the other reading plan is still going strong.

Tonight at the library I checked out another audio book, but found a CD missing when I went to put it into my CD changer. Thankfully I'd not left the library so I just took it inside and they didn't blame me for the loss. :-) *sigh* But I'm now without an audio book yet again--this one was a condensation of the Lewis and Clark journals and I was looking forward to it. There aren't many CD audio books on the shelf, and I don't know any titles to search on-line--I'd rather just persuse shelves. So I'm a bit stuck right now until I think of something.

I can't think of anything else, so I'm signing off for now, ;-).

~Matt

Friday, August 26, 2005

Common Beauty


As I promised previously here is another picture from the gas station pictured in my last post. This is a wall to the back of the station that is just beautifully covered in snow.

Please feel free to use any of my pictures I post as background images--if you would like a larger version just let me know via e-mail.

~Matt

Thursday, August 25, 2005

New Mexico Snow


I was just looking through my pictures tonight when I came across this one and decided to put it up as my background. I snapped this picture while I was travelling cross country in January--this was somewhere in New Mexico.
~Matt

Relax on the Back Porch

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Come on over with your answers.

::Drop Gas Prices! Please Read::
Onesome - Drop - Have you ever dropped something that you can't believe you did? Was it a priceless item or that big secret? I've dropped a few things, and afterwords there are those moments of "oh crap" and "grrrrr" where I really, really, really wish I could take it back. Nothing too terribly expensive though--but perhaps some semi-valuable things as a kid--I don't remember, ;-).

Twosome - Gas Prices - How much is a gallon of gas going for where you are? Well if I remember correctly the latest price I saw was $2.619, but that was one of the local stations that is a bit more than other ones, so I'm not completely sure. I'm not driving so much any more...;-) Besides the fact that I haven't finished everything I have checked out from the library I've been renewing things I'm done with so I can put off going back, ;-). I just don't want to waste the gas right now. I even walked with my sister to take the kids to school this morning instead of me driving them in as has been done before. It isn't that far, and is so much cheaper in nice weather. Of course my sister can't run with her foot (see yesterday's post) so that was somewhat amusing, :-P.

Threesome - Please Read - What's that latest item you're reading? Is it for pleasure or are you required to resd [sic] it? I am currently reading two books, and most definately they're not required, :-). I'm not missing that part of school at all!! I am reading The Power that Preserves the third book in Stephen R. Donaldson's first Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and at the same time I'm reading Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams (definately now one of my favourite fantasy authors, he is good and likes avoiding many cliches!!), the second of his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (4 books in paperback--the last two being the third hardcover split in twain--each of these two paperbacks is slightly over 800 pages! :-)). I read a chapter of one and then a chapter of the other. When I've gotten to the end of one of the books in either series I've cheated and read several chapters from that book to finish up--but other than that I've been good just reading one chapter in each at a time.

~Matt

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thursday to Tuesday

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Yeah I know, I have a great deal to cover (I almost typed "a lot" but that was the pet peeve of my sophmore English teacher and she has almost trained that tendency out of me--saying "a lot" means an empty plot of ground, not "a great deal." :-)) having been away for so long. Sorry about that, again I thought of things to blog but put them off. *shrugs* Don't expect one of my 3,000+ word posts, but it should't me a micro one either.

Okay, let us go back to Thursday and the Back Porch, :-).

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::Chili Cheese Nachos::
Onesome: Chili-- Okay, chili with beans or chili without beans? ...and how hot? ...and do you make your own? (recipes are accepted ) Okay, well I don't technically make my own chili as I've never yet done it. But the ones that I like come with beans, quite a few beans, though I prefer fewer vegetables, or at least fewer whole vegetables (pureed/finly minced is best).

Twosome: Cheese-- ...and with cheese on top? ..or is that an abomination? ...and while we're at it: hamburgers or cheese burgers? Oh, I could go on and on and on... Of course you put cheese on top, grated cheddar or colby jack. Ah, definately a cheese burger. Thee best is a homemade patty (large--larger than pathetic tiny fast food patties) cooked over a charcoal or wood flame and covered with melted colby jack cheese (no fake cheese here! *shudders at the thought*) and bacon. Then you put the hot patty (or two) on a large homemade cornmeal roll slathered in mayonnaise and cover the burger with ketchup. Mmmmm...perfect. Add sides of homemade (the only really good food, duh!) potato salad and fresh sweet corn on the cob along with a tall (refillable) cold glass of milk and you're set! :-)

Threesome: Nachos-- Now the serious one for the southwesterners (and others of distinction ): What's on your nachos? Cheese? Seven layers of fun stuff? What's a nacho? Hmmm... We're going to have to do recipes for sure this Winter! Proper nachos have a base of Mission tortilla chips (they're the best I've had at home--i.e. outside of a restaurant) or strips and topped with grated cheese. Then you add clumps of refried beans--that is it. Put it all in the oven until the cheese is nicely melted and the beans warmed up. Those are nachos, no nasty vegetables there. That reminds me, the only good vegetable is a dead vegetable (corn, broccoli, and peas don't count here) not on my plate--unless it is Veggie Tales which of course should not be on my plate.

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Okay, that was Thursday, now let us go on to Friday. The week before I had gotten comp tickets for some museum visits. I took two nerfs to the museum on Thursday and we went through Space, Children's, and the Omnimax. Additionally, forgetting that Friday was a Free Friday (the three museums, but not the special exhibits and Omnimax, are free from four to eight--the museum normally closes at five--so we stay open late too) I had procured a ticket for the eight "Classic Omnimax" (where they show old IMAX movies, a different one each month on Fridays) for one of my nephews. I had asked my sister if she would be able to bring my nephew down for a bit during Free Friday and then bring him down to the exhibit so I could leave a bit early and catch the movie with him. She said that she would considere it, so when I had a chance at work I decided to call home to find out if it was going to happen.

One of the older nephews answered the phone with a dire tale that my neice had knocked off the free weights in the weight room area of the basement, injuring her foot and my sister's foot--they were both in urgent care. I wasn't sure what was going on, but after I talked to my supervisor and he suggested that I go home (my brother-in-law was on a trip at the time) I decided to leave. Soon after I got home my sister returned and I got the whole story. When she heard my neice scream/cry out she was in the bathroom about ten feet away. Of course her maternal instinct took over and she raced out to my neice--knowing where she was she figured out what had happened before she saw it. After she got my neice calmed down (they later figured out that no bones were broken and in fact her brace is gone now and she is walking normally) my sister noticed that her foot was hurting. She figured out later that she must have banged her foot into something as she ran over--breaking one toe and bruising the foot. Here is a picture from a day later:
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It looks beautiful, don't it? :-) I was able to help out by fixing dinner for the kids while my sister and the injured neice stayed downstairs. I've been having fun talking to my crippled or invalid sister and teasing her that she can't do anything to me since I can definately outrun her now. :-)

My, my, but the time does fly. Friday is done and gone and we must move on to Monday and Unconscious Mutterings!

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  1. Fan:: blades
  2. Scum:: sucking bottom feeder (what is the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a scum sucking bottom feeder, the other is just a fish)
  3. Lily:: of the Valley
  4. Humid:: hot (I'll take slightly humid Southern California coastal (i.e. Orange County) heat over dry desert heat (Tucson, Arizona) or the humid Southern US)
  5. Ghetto:: gecko (the car insurance ads by geico, I love them!)
  6. Remember me?:: when you pass away (I'm not sure where that one came from...*scratches head*
  7. Polished:: stones--I have a somewhat sizeable collection, one entire box in my storage unit has stones and bits of wood in it
  8. Compose:: a letter
  9. Squish:: 60 (for some obscure reason my second oldest Kentucky nephew uses the name squish60 as his internet alias)
  10. Future:: Back to the (I watched these movies for the first time this year and really enjoyed them)
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*shrugs* Enough of Monday. Now the moment that you've been waiting for, oh and an explanation of the topmost image. I promise they're related. Today I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience (well I hope not, but I have no idea when it might be repeated). Occasionally (only three times this summer were scheduled--and one was cancelled and one rescheduled indefinately--ours is the only one in the US so far to go through) the astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station talk to school children on the ground and answer their questions. One such event happened at the museum today (well it is yesterday now since it is Wednesday very early morning as I type this, but oh well, ;-))!! :-) I got to see video of the crew in the front of the room (it was somewhat low-quality video, somewhat akin to internet video--but this wasn't really surprising when I thought about it--things are only crystal clear in movies, ;-)), hear the kids a few feet in front of me ask questions, and then hear and see either the American astronaut or the Russian cosmonaut answer their questions. It was so awesome to see them (such as when the American answered a food question by pulling out a can of chicken and a lemon and letting them float in front of him) and hear them. I didn't get to speak to them directly, but it was almost as good. :-) It was awesome!!! I'm sure it was probably as close as I'll get to space in a long time. Hmm... I still can't believe I got to see this.

Well that is all for now, I'll sign off now.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Words of a Feather

Type together? Nah, that doesn't quite work, but Word Association still does!

  1. Idiot:: salt (I used to think iodized salt read idiotized salt when I was a kid)
  2. Rocket:: Saturn V (the largest rocket ever flown, the one that launched the Apollo missions to the moon, and Skylab into orbit)
  3. Liability:: asset
  4. Harmless:: Mostly (the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy entry for Humans)
  5. Stringy:: cheese
  6. Theater:: theatre (okay yes, I enjoy throwing British spelling into my typing, 'tis fun to spice things up so!)
  7. Gwyneth:: Paltrow (an actress's name, right?)
  8. Use it or lose it:: skill (I couldn't really come up with anything here so this was what sort of desperately came to mind)
  9. Sonic:: the hedgehog
  10. Pucker:: up


That was fun, eh? Well now for some personal news. I just found out that the database on my book collection program can be exported to either a Palm or Pocket PC! This is great! As soon as I get all my books in the database and I have a Palm I'll do this! It will be great to go to a book sale and not have to wonder what books I have. Because of the extra data that I can include with each entry I'll even be able to determine if the copy I'm looking at in the store/at the sale is nicer than the one I have (perhaps a good hardcover versus a ratty paperback). :-) I'm quite excited about this.

On a further literary note I have acquired some new shelving material. Of course I don't have anywhere to put them (the boards are going into my storage unit now) for use, but that will come eventually. My sister had a craft display set-up that my dad made for her nearly fifteen years ago. She was going to give it to me, but we realized that it was too big and wouldn't really work for a bookcase (it looked somewhat like stairs rather than a ladder-type bookcase) so I'm just keeping the shelves.

Tomorrow I don't go into work as I traded the day with Kristen at work (for her shift on Saturday) so that she can go to a family get-together at Big Bone Lick State Park. I will be going in for a bit of scheduling, but that is usually less than two hours. Then that night we'll be having tacos for dinner! I promised my sister Laurie that I would cook the taco shells (so she'd be persuaded to make the meal--she says she usually does taco salad since it is easier to prepare). This will be great fun!

Oh, and on a third literary note I've been exploring my book database program (see above) even more and have found further features. There is place where you can indicate cover artists, illustrators, characters, and more! I'm finding new stuff each day. I'm not sure if I'll ever be completely done entering my books--but I'm definately looking forward to the day that I have an authoritative database of my entire library!

~Matt

Thirteen

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No, I'm not going to mention anything more about Apollo 13, but it makes a good "13" graphic to open this entry.

When I was in high school I lived in Garden Grove, California. I don't know how many of y'all know, but the largest settlement of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam is located in Orange County, California, i.e. the Little Saigon area. Many of the students in my high school (and most of the other honors students) were Vietnamese. I had horribly cruel parents (;-)) who would buy me a car or pick me up every day. :-) Therefore, I had to ride the bus home (school was over two and a half miles away so walking with my heavy backpack wasn't a real option). While waiting for the bus I would oftentimes play card games with some friends--somebody always had a deck. The most popular game was thirteen.

I tried to teach the game to a couple of my nephews a few weeks ago, but I couldn't remember all of the rules! (It is similar to Kahuna so I was getting some things mixed up.) Then I performed a Google search and finally found this site. Apparently the game is also known as Tien Len--but it is the thirteen that I remember.

Tien Len can be considered the national card game of Vietnam; the name of the game, which should properly be spelt tien len, means Go Forward. The main description on this page is based on information from Jona Baily; Kenneth Lu has contributed a slightly different version. Probably as a result of the Vietnam war, Tien Len has spread to some parts of the USA, where it is sometimes called Viet Cong or just VC; Kelly Aman has contributed one version of this. Chris Hovanic learned another version from Chris Molinaro (also in the USA) and they call it Thirteen.

Tien Len is a climbing game (a bit like Zheng Shangyou or President), in which the aim is to get rid of your cards as soon as possible by beating combinations of cards played by the other players.



Four players normally play with all fifty-two cards dealt out amongst them. The order of suits (from lowest to highest) is spades, clubs, diamonds, hearts--cards go in standard numerical order except that a two is at the top. The two of hearts trumps anything (well you can only play a single card on other single cards--a two can't trump a run) but can be "broken" by a two-breaker (four of a kind or three pairs in a row). But anyway, it was great to be able to find the rules to this game after so long of not playing it. I thought that I would share the site here in hopes that others might be interested enough to play. It is a very fun game--quite simple. You can keep score if you want, but that isn't really necessary.

~Matt

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Terminator 3?

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I don't think the reference is to the third Terminator movie (which I enjoyed) but it makes a good picture anyway, ;-). Welcome back to the Back Porch.

The Thursday Threesome: The T3
::Sturgis Motorcycle Rally::
Onesome: Sturgis- Have you ever been there, or anywhere else in South Dakota? Want to see where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up in her Little Town on the Prairie? Or have you taken in Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills? LOL Well I've not actually been to the rally, but close. One summer my parents decided to go to Mount Rushmore during our summer vacation. Unfortunately they happened to pick the time that the Sturgis festival was happening! There wasn't a camp sight free for a hundred miles of Rushmore--we ended up sleeping in our van in a rest area. So yeah, I've been to South Dakota, seen the effects of Sturgis, and been to Rushmore. I don't think we stopped by the Crazy Horse monument--but I really want to see that finished some day, I know it will be awesome if it ever is done.

Twosome: Motorcycle- Ever owned or ridden on a motorcycle? Do you aspire to ownership now? Ever wanted to hit the open rode and just go? No. No. In a car sure, I'd love to just drive and go have an adventure (if I had the time off work, money, and friends along to make it possible ;-)), *sigh*, but real life is so complicated.

Threesome: Rally- v. to muster for a common purpose- Ever been to a large rally of any sort? A church rally, motorcycle rally or even a big family reunion? Or how about a road rally? Where did you go? Was a good time had by all? Well our family reunions are somewhat large, though I've not been to one in many years. One of the last I attended was at a camp in Montana--we had great fun there putting pine needles (even one small dead tree) on campfires watching the flames soar up. Oh, and at one point two of my nephews were arguing over a small padlock they'd found--so I just kept it. :-) I still have it somewhere--the key is on my keychain.


Okay, so what else about life in general? I applied for that full time position today--but I'm sure I won't hear anything either way for at least a couple weeks minimum. I'm must going to try and not think about it, ;-).

I just started reading two series last night--yes two series. I have both and couldn't decide which to start reading first--therefore I started with one to test it out, and then read the first chapter of the other. I still couldn't decide so I determined to read a chapter of one, then a chapter of the other and keep going back and forth thusly. This way I maintained suspesnse and interest as I get into the book and at the end of each chapter I'm always ready for more--but I transfer over to the other book, reacquire my interest in that one, and the cycle repeats.

Tonight just as I got home one of my nephews came out and asked me to take him to to Wal-Mart and then to church for a youth event--he said that he'd pay for gas. Therefore as we took of a couple minutes later I wrote down the milage, then did so when I got back to the house. I found that I'd driven 29.6 miles. I have a little black book (inhereited from my parents from whom I acquired the car) where I keep track of mileage, gas prices, MPG, and such. I referenced this book and noted the miles per gallon of my last tank and the price I'd paid for gas when I filled up a couple days ago ($2.499) [Which doesn't sound so bad when I heard my parents had to pay $2.799 in Barstow as they were driving home). I divided the total miles by the miles per gallon and then I multiplied the answerby the last price per gallon I'd paid. I found out that he owes me exactly $4.50--I don't think he though it would cost him that much.

Oh yeah, and when we got to Wal-Mart I dropped him off--but he came out to get me (from the Sporting Goods section in the far corner of the store) because he couldn't buy paintballs (being only 15 years of age). So I went in to buy them for him--he figures he can go crazier if he has his own for the paintballing at the all-night youth event.

Well I can't think of anything else for now, so I'll close this down--oh wait, I did think of something. I went out to the library's August book sale yesterday (well two days ago now, it officially being Saturday morning, early--so it was Thursday that I went) in the most distant branch. I was sorely disappointed to find well under twenty fantasy and sci-fi books to pick from. I did end up spending around $20.00--but that included two picture books for each of the small kids, two Hardy Boys for one of the older boys, and several history books (including another awesome Hammond Atlas--I can't wait to get my Hammond collection on one shelf! :-)). I can only hope that the October sale (at the nearest branch) has a better selection of my favourite genres.

~Matt

Monday, August 08, 2005

Wanted, more words!

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Of course this association is from Luna NiƱa.
  1. Complexion:: pale
  2. Teach:: school
  3. Back to school:: sale
  4. Months:: years
  5. Nominate:: presidential candidate
  6. Favorite curse word:: $%#@
  7. Concerned:: parent
  8. Better:: mousetrap
  9. Escalate:: tension
  10. Unveil:: the bride
*grumble* *grumble* I had some typed up, but my computer shut off on me. Grrrr... Well I'll try to reconstruct what I had. Yesterday, well technically now the day before yesterday (i.e. Saturday) evening I picked up my brother-in-law from the airport at the conclusion of his latest trip--this one to Greece. No, I'm not at all jealous of his international trips, why do you ask? :-)

I just [01:12] remembered what I'd forgotten from my first attempt! :-) Amazon.com reviews! I don't know how many of those that read this blog know, but I've recently started reviewing at Amazon.com. I have currently confined myself to books or movies I've just finished--but I think I might start branching into at least a couple things I've not read for some time. I want to review Philip Pullman's insidious His Dark Materials trilogy and my favourite Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. If you'd like to check out my reviews you can do so through my page at the end of this link. I have eight so far, but that should keep climbing. :-) If you enjoy my review and think it valuable you can vote for it, but please, only if you like it. I'm not doing this just to get numbers to inflate my status. I just think that some of y'all might enjoy the reviews. Also please check out my friend Mark Baker (he of this blog) who is much further along in reviews than I (he is a top 500 reviewer and about to break into the top 100!). We have different styles (;-)) but I really enjoy his reviews and find them valuable. Check him out too!

Today was an excellent church service. "One of [Satan's] all time great lies that he wants us to buy, is there's no way you can be a Christian if you act 'that' way or if you think 'such things'. [sic] He tries to condemn us with that very sin for which Christ had to die to atone."

Lunch was just leftovers (my sister-in-law's recipe of Special Delivery Chicken--yum!!) and Rice-A-Roni (actually the cheap Aldi brand, but just as good!), but dinner was great. It featured corn on the cob (the kids were apparently thrilled to shuck it, so I wasn't drafted! *whew* Hamburgers and hot dogs rounded out the menu, with some left over. Hopefully something will be good for lunch on Tuesday so I might be able to get away with not making sandwiches. *shrugs*

I'm going to take two of my nerfs (the older two of the youngest four) to the museum soon, probably next week. I think they'll enjoy the space exhibit, and I know they'll like running around the Children's Museum again, ;-).

Now I know this is utterly surprising to y'all, but I'd like to get to bed at a semi-decent hour (i.e. before 01:00) so I'll sign this off now and try to sleep. Yeah, try being the operative word. :-)

~Matt

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Crusade, Children, and Death

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Well I've recently been watching Crusade, the abortive spin off of Babylon 5. It is a very good series, and I very much regret that only 13 episodes were produced. I've reviewed the DVD set at Amazon.com and I thought that I'd post that here for kicks, ;-).

Who do you serve? 5 out of 5 stars
The Drakh have struck Earth. These allies of the Shadows have poisoned the planet with a Shadow plague that will wipe out all life once the virus has fully adapted to Human DNA in five years time. The Excalibur, one of a new battleship design commissioned by Alliance President John Sheridan is pressed into commission to serve as a mobile platform for seeking out information about the plague and how it may be cured.

I really wish this show had gotten the chance to get off the ground properly, there is so much here that begs to be explained. As with Babylon 5 this show obviously has a five year life built in (though regretably it didn't even make it through one of those years). If you go digging around you'll even be able to find out a bit more of what JMS had in mind for the show.

In many ways this series reminds me somewhat of traditional Star Trek, whereas Babylon 5 is more similar to Deep Space Nine. However, of course both shows are quite different, quite good, and not copies of each other. Okay, with that caveat out of the way I can continue. We have one ship visiting many ports, discovering new races and cultures, and going someplace new--very Star Trekian. Now I don't believe this is bad, or truly derivative--I just mention what I see as similar. One thing that definately jars this is JMS's habit of not including every main character in each episode as Star Trek producers are usually wont to do. Like Babylon 5 (where there was only one episode in the entire run to feature each then listed main character) you can go several episodes without seeing certain characters. I like this (and would have liked it more if the series had run for years and it hadn't severely limited our exposure to some characters) it just takes some getting used to. If you like Star Trek look at this as more good sci-fi--if you don't like Star Trek know this is quite different stuff.

You'll find the serious mixed with the lighthearted. When talking about episodes I must include the JMS recomended viewing order. I defied this at first and watched the episode the case said should be first (War Zone)--and it was indeed an introduction, a very traditional pilot. However, I found out later that it was only produced later when the producers said they didn't like Racing the Night as an introduction. Furthermore, there were certain elements that didn't fit so well--such as a fistfight and crazy airing order that TNT producers insisted on--so don't blame everything wrong on JMS. Really this all reminds me of Firefly (which came later) and the trouble Joss Wheedon had with producers at Fox who disliked his excellent pilot and made him redo the second episode Train Job to serve as a new pilot.

However unlike JMS, Wheedon was able to make Train Job a new pilot and yet remain as a consistant second episode. Unfortunately for Crusade, the episode War Zone is somewhat of a continuity orphan, especially if you watch in the JMS order, which I would strongly suggest. I also enjoy reading the Lurker's Guide to each episode after viewing it. You'll find this at http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html. Here is the order, the only problems you'll find with it are some out of place uniform changes (that flow in the original airing order) and a couple minor errors (such as Lockley and Gideon meeting for the first time twice ;-)).

Racing the Night
The Needs of Earth
The Memory of War
The Long Road
Visitors from Down the Street
The Well of Forever
Each Night I Dream of Home
Patterns of the Soul
The Path of Sorrows
Ruling from the Tomb
The Rules of the Game
War Zone
Appearances and Other Deceits

Racing the Night is a very good pilot, introducing us to each character in a gradual manner on JMS's terms. Additionally we join the crew in the middle of their quest and only gradually find out exactly what is happening--it isn't all just thrust upon us. We not only get a pilot, but a darn good episode.

Visitors from Down the Street is definately an episode in a lighthearted vein, it being a definate mock/tribute/mimic of the X-Files. However, this time it is aliens believing that humans are interfering in their culture. :-) Try to spot as many X-Files references as you can.

Galen is a remarkable character. First introduced in the Babylon 5 movie A call to Arms he is a technomage. However, unlike the rest of his brethern he has decided not to retreat from Known Space, but to return to help the crew of the Excalibur fight for humanity. JMS has called him the traditional fantasy RPG magician of the group. Really the whole cast is a collection of eccentric, but fun characters. What little we get to see of them is quite revealing.

A note about special effects. Please keep in mind that just as on Babylon 5 effects shots are computer generated, and it is noticable. They aren't horrible, they just aren't as flawless as a big-budget blockbuster. However, if this is a problem then you shouldn't even be looking at Crusade or B-5. The stories are what make the show, the special effects just help them along.

The music and shooting style are by design very different from Babylon 5, so don't go in expecting to just see and hear more of the same.

Now there aren't many special features, only four in fact. You'll get a featurette on the production of the series, and a five minute one on the design of the Excalibur. Additionall JMS has commentary on Racing the Night, and two of the actors, the director, and writer comment on The Path of Shadows. The JMS commentary goes into more depth not on just the episode but the series, and what it might have been.

If you enjoyed Babylon 5 then I would definately suggest that you check out this partial series. You'll get some fun episodes and the chance to see what might have been. I always enjoy learning more about my favourite universes, and this is no exception! You get a whole new look at the world of Babylon 5.


Now for some more personal news...but first, please understand that the following is quite tentative, I have no idea what might happen. I have a possible lead on a full-time position at the Museum Center, in the Children's Museum. It does have benefits, but I'm not sure of anything else other than that I think I'll fit the qualifications and one of my current supervisors told me that he thinks I would be good for the job. :-) I'm going to apply as soon as I can. The description is here on the Museum's website. I don't fit all the technical aspects perfectly, but neither did I completely sound like a good fit (to my ears) for my Monkey King supervisory position. I have quite a bit of informal experience with kids (nerfs), some Sunday school teaching, many hours of classroom observation, and hours of interacting with kids in both Monkey King and the Space Exhibit. The worst that can happen is that I don't get the position or I find out it isn't exactly what I'm looking for. If that happens I've got some extra days lined up to work in the exhibit as one of the staff is switching days due to a job found elsewhere.

I'm only up so late (or early to also be precise, ;-)) because I was watching a movie that needs to be returned to the library soon. I've been reading so much that I've not had time to watch everything I check out.

Oh, before I forget, I did watch SG-1 and Atlantis tonight. I am disappointed that they decided to forgo opening credits this season forboth shows, :(. I did enjoy those. However, I really am enjoying the introduction of characters--though based on the slow pace of SG-1 (so far we've only seen Colonel Carter in one scene--on a video phone) that I fear it really will be the last season--at least I don't see at this point how the show can continue to be at least somewhat what it was. The SG-1 team is scattered and doesn't want to come back together. Of course they can definately keep making episodes in the universe and with the new conditions following the fall of the Goa'uld--it just won't be the same. Now please, I'm not complaining, I'm enjoying these episodes--I'm just wondering what is going on. But I'm sure it will all become clear eventually. :-)

Oh, I think I'll also post a short story that I wrote recently. :-) I wrote it while I was at work last Friday and had no idea where it would go, however, now I believe that it will fit neatly into the mythology of a race I've developed in one universe--a cooperative universe I developed with some friends. But perhaps more about that later, for now just the story and then I'll sign off. The style is intended to be "old-fashioned" without new sounding words or phrases wherever possible. I tried to make it sound like an old oral tale of mythology. And now, without further ado, I present The God of Death and the Kinslaying:

Now hear a tale of murder and malice from when the world was young and the dew of creation did linger. The gods and men performed great deeds of valour, for in that age man was yet young and his days were long. Cai, the great god of death, he of ebon skin and ivory hair, ruled the yet small Black Realm of the dead with a fist of iron. He jealously guarded his few spirits and begrudged any that kept men from death.

Long did Cai look upon his brother Tulbel with envy, for the god of war commanded many legions. Though Tulbel held dominion over the arts of death and tools of war he was loath to decrease his realm to Cai’s gain. He was yet the youngest of the gods and new to his craft, never suspecting Cai’s great jealously. Tulbel taught his worshippers honour and restraint, proclaiming duels and contests of skill while war was forgot. So infuriated was Cai at this usurpation of his power that he dared to dream the unthinkable—the murder of his brother.

Though Cai held the very keys to the gates of death his brother was yet an immortal and therefore could pass out of the Black Realm as he desired. So Cai did send forth his spirit lords in search of the uncommon black rose, even then infamous as a bringer of death. When at last the dread bloom had been secured Cai did prevail upon Dala, goddess of life, to distill its essence into a most potent elixir, though she never suspected its true purpose. Once Dala had departed his domains for the bright fields of Eras Cai did turn his thoughts to the murder of his brother. Upon his obsidian throne he brooded for many moons, devising a plan in his dark heart. At last as the nights did lengthen Cai sent forth a demon herald to summon his brother to a midwinter feast.

Once he drank of the vile potion, concealed in heavenly ambrosia Tulbel felt mortality descend upon him with sure swiftness and divined his brother’s evil plot. Giving up his body as already lost Tulbel sought to set his spirit free from suddenly mortal flesh. Yet in the midst of his struggle Tulbel’s soul was strangely divided as his darker nature reveled in the brilliance of Cai’s trap. Even as Cai strove to restrain Tulbel’s spirit he divined his brother’s doubt and acted with swift speed. Calling upon Tulbel to join him Cai embraced the darkness in Tulbel’s spirit and permitted the remainder to sunder itself and flee, though he knew not where.

Even as he took a portion of Tulbel’s spirit unto himself, Cai perceived a profound stirring of his essence and grew utterly still, his calm visage concealing a raging tempest beneath. For days the two spirits waged an epic duel while Cai sat motionless on his great throne.

When at last he arose the god of death bore a cruel grin, utterly devoid of humour or mercy. He proclaimed that henceforth he would be known as Tul-Cai and he would demand fierce worship from his followers. No longer would mere death satisfy him—nothing less than rivers of blood would serve to slake his thirst.

While his darker essence tarried to be devoured by Cai, the remainder of Tulbel’s spirit did fly to Eras, the abode of the gods. Even as the allure of Cai’s darkness struggled with the not fully sundered spirit it struggled from the reach of the Black Realm to the forge of Aar, god of the smithy. As Tula, patron of journeymen, looked on in wonder the sundered spirit bel pleaded for Aar to take up its cause.

However, bel was not without guile and he wove a masterful tale of woe. As Aar opened his spirit with grief bel did delve into his heart and force a new union. Though yet much tormented in spirit Aar could do naught but accept this new life within his breast.

And then did arise Aarbel, a most fearsome and terrible god of war. As swiftly as Tula took up the mantle of the smithy did Aarbel seek out Dala, goddess of life. Yet while Dala mourned the Kinslaying of Tulbel still more was she yet gentle and full of love. All the succor she would give to vengeful Aarbel was the prophecy of her high priestess. “From sons of man shall come the doom of death. And he shall force the Dark Gates from within though the whole realm stand against him.”

Enlisting others of the immortals to their cause, long did Aarbel and Tula strive against the Dark Gates—yet to no avail were the efforts of the mighty gods. For a long age did the Kinstrife consume the minds and hearts of the immortals until at last they grew weary.

Yet while his allies flagged Aarbel redoubled his efforts, training legions of men in new and deadly arts of war.

With each death the followers of Aarbel pray they have delivered up the ‘chosen one’ into the Black Realm. And to this day such enmity exists between Tul-Cai and Aarbel that soldiers of the faith will slaughter even death monks without more cause than that they yet live.


~Matt

PS My original title was just Crusade, but I decided on something more accurate--looks so much more cheerful now doesn't it? :-)
PPS Well that was fun, now wasn't it? I first posted this on the Superheroes and Villians blog, by accident. Then while I tried to move it Blogger decided to go haywire for a bit. Therefore I made the mistake of copying the text into Notepad so that when I copied back into Blogger the spacing was off because of the Word Wrap in Notepad (as far as I can figure it). Grrr... Well I went through and fixed everything, and hey, if nothing jogs y'all as odd then I guess it must have worked.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Epidermis

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"I've got you...
::...under my skin"::

Onesome: Under-- Water? Have you ever gone scuba diving? Any interest?...or does that sort of thing just not work for you? No, I never have been scuba diving, though I used to have a snorkel and goggles and really enjoyed swimming around pools with them. Especially if I could get a pair of goggles that were my prescription I'd definately love to go scuba diving, especially where you could see many fish and other things underwater (which I guess is mainly the point, ;-)).

Twosome: my-- gosh, it seems to have been hot since forever! How are you doing with the weather this Summer? Bleh...this is my first summer living in the East and I'm not enjoying the humidity so much. At least in California at times there were cool breezes off of the ocean, and it cooled down more at night. *shrugs* But I can't complain about there being more rain, I really like that! :-)

Threesome: skin-- Do you 'skin' your site? What styles do you prefer when you have the option at someone's place? Simple? ...or loaded with graphics? Hmm...I actually don't change things up too much. On WinAmp I just use the normal modern skin and I don't change sites around too much. On my forums I'm thinking of changing up the design, but I have to work with some others to get a custom logo designed first. Who knows how long that will take...

Well let me see...what has been happening? Not much really. My sister has been suffering from a couple headaches the last few days (migraines), so I'm trying to help out more than normal. But it has been really good having them all back (well okay, the kids still bug me like crazy at times, but I like not having to fix dinner!). And I'm still enjoying taking my time in the mornings somewhat as I have my alarm set at eight, doze or snooze until eight thirty, and then read my daily dose of e-mailed comics and web comics. Then I take my shower, fix my lunch, and have some time to blog or check the news on-line before I get dressed and leave! :-)

Oh yeah, I'm listening to John Grisham's The Last Juror on unabridged audiobook in my van on my way to and from work. I've listened to part of it before (on a trip from Arizona to California)--but didn't get to hear it all. I really enjoy the reader, he fits the profile of the narrator so well. I'll definately be giving this one a good rating at Amazon when I'm done.

Oh yeah, in that vein I finished watching Crusade last night--'twas a bittersweet moment. That series was fun and had so much potential!! *sigh* I really wish that it could have kept going as it would have been over by now. But of course I couldn't have afforde to buy five seasons. *shrugs* Perhaps like Firefly (with Serenity being released at the end of next month) it will get a new lease on life in the future, hopefully with a book or two--something like that, :-), though it won't be quite the same as having all those great actors. Oh well, now I just have to listen to the commentary so that I can polish my review and post it. :-)

It is almost time for me to leave so I suppose I should get my "uniform" on and leave for work.

~Matt

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pesky Words

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  1. Risks:: acceptable
  2. Abdominal:: pain
  3. Radiant:: beauty
  4. The usual:: suspects
  5. Mix and match:: clothes
  6. Wireless:: device
  7. Remedial:: math
  8. Mile:: 's Square Park
  9. Long lost:: love
  10. Only one:: time


This was fun. I definately continue to see the appeal of this unconscious association.

Well I'm no longer alone (or mostly alone) as my sister, brother-in-law, and all the active little monsters, excuse me nerfs, have arrived home. Oh yes, if I didn't explain the term before please note that nerf was "invented" (as far as I know--and separate from the Star Wars term nerf) by my friend John as a collective word in English to describe nephews and neices. I find it most useful!

The house is definately no longer quiet--or it wasn't before all of the little beasties were tucked away in bed. It was fun to be able to see them again, I'd definately missed them and they had missed me. It will be an adjustment to have everyone back (well Chris is still out in Colorado), but it will be nice to eat meals that I've not just cooked after coming home from work! Though I definately do plan to help my sister out with meals (i.e. I'll make tacos the next such meal instead of just having taco salad which she says is normally easier).

~Matt