Saturday, November 18, 2017

This Week in the Pac-12

This is the penultimate weekend in the college football regular season and so also for Pac-12 football. There are some interesting games happening today.

At 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time; as all times will be in this post) on ABC, UCLA and (#11 in the CFP) USC have their rivalry game. My nephew went to USC so I know how much they hate UCLA. Usually rivalry games are on the last weekend of the regular season, but USC has a bye next week (idiotic Pac-12 scheduling). USC should win that game, wrapping up the Pac-12 South Championship.

California and (#22 in the CFP) Stanford are also have their rivalry game today. That's because Stanford plays Notre Dame next week. Stanford will probably beat California but not Notre Dame. Today's game is also at 5:00 PM but on Fox.

And the game I care about: at 7:30 PM on ESPN, the (#18 in the CFP) University of Washington Huskies play Utah. Huskies need to win this game to keep their hopes of a Pac-12 North Championship alive. Then they need to beat Washington State (who has a bye this week) next week to be the North Champions. Then they would go on to meet USC in the Pac-12 Championship game on December 1st.

I just wish the game wasn't on so damn late. If Washington had beat Stanford last week, Washington would be higher ranked and might have gotten an earlier time slot on ESPN or Fox.

Other Pac-12 games this week: Arizona State at Oregon State (12 noon on Pac-12 Networks). and Arizona at Oregon (4:00 PM on Pac-12 Networks). Colorado also has a bye this week before their rivalry game against Utah next week.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Arizona Tape and J. A. Pickett

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Arizona Tape and J. A. Pickett.

Arizona Tape
Arizona Tape

Arizona Tape is quite a chaotic, young adult that shares her house with a cactus plant and has sleep dates with her bed. She makes up stories in her head all the time like a crazy person and occasionally writes them down too. But only if the mood is right.

In her spare time, she enjoys discovering new places with her friends, making all kinds of food as she waltzes through her kitchen like a tornado or likes relaxing on her couch with a movie and a cozy blanket.

Arizona's Books:

Danny's Dance 

My Own Human 


Arizona's Links;


J. A. Pickett
J. A. Pickett

With a lifetime dream of becoming an author, this is Jennifer Pickett’s second book A Distortion of Reality with 22,018 words. Her first book A Pocket Full of Stories was published in 2010 with Amazon under the name "J. A. Heathcock."

J.A.'s Books:

A Distortion of Reality

A Pocket Full of Stories (as J. A. Heathcock)

J.A.'s Links:


From Today's Program: Solar Wind Charges Mars' Moon Phobos.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Education is Important, But....

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in 30 weeks or so (depending on how many I skip).

Today's prompt is: "How important you think education is."

Let me tell you a story.

George dropped out of high school. He went to apply for a janitor's job but they turned him down because it required a high school diploma.

So he walked home. As he did, he saw a man trying to repair the sidewalk in front of his house with concrete. George knew something about concrete because he'd worked with his father with it on their farm. So George offered to help the man for $20. The man happily paid. And he said since George did such a good job, he'd recommend him to his friends.

So George started doing concrete work around town for people, making decent money. He eventually bought a small mixer to do the concrete in and do bigger jobs. Since he always did a great job, he kept getting work. Eventually he bought a truck. Then two trucks. Then more, and a concrete planet on the edge of town and he became a successful businessman who employed a lot of people.

The local newspaper wanted to do a story on George and he let them interview him. The reporter asked "How much education do you have?" George said he never even finished high school. The reporter was impressed and asked, "What would you be doing if you had finished high school?"

George said, "I'd be a janitor."

Having said all that, I think education is very important. But it's not the most important thing. You can have a Ph.D from Harvard but if you don't have a work ethic, you'll accomplish very little. Now for a lot of jobs, you have to have a degree of some sort. If you want to be an engineer, you'd better have an engineering degree from an accredited university.

Education is important. But what gets you ahead in life if working hard, doing a good job, and having a good, positive attitude.

Here's a video about that (sort of).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Huskies are 8-2

I'm going to write this post in two parts: Saturday Morning after the Friday night Husky game and Sunday Morning when all the other games have been played and the AP Top 25 Poll has come out.

Saturday Morning

The University of Washington Huskies played Stanford last night in Palo Alto, California. I knew going in this was going to be a tough game, playing Stanford on their home turf is never easy. But at first, it looked like there was no problem for the Dawgs. The Cardinal (it's a color) got the ball first but were stopped by the Huskies' amazing defense, and then the Huskies scored a touchdown, and then the defense stopped Stanford again and the Huskies scored again in the second quarter. Then the Cardinal scored. It might have been a high-scoring game except...the Huskies somehow stopped playing hard. Starting in the second quarter, Stanford kept racking up points as the hapless Huskies would go three and out on most series. At some point in the fourth quarter, the announces mentioned that the Huskies had had only one first down in the second half.

With less than five minutes to go, the Huskies came alive and tried to make up a 16 point deficit. They got a touchdown and made the two-point conversion. But it was too little, too late.

The Huskies aren't used to being behind and I wonder if the farther behind they got, the more demoralized they became. Something was off last night. The final score of the game was 22-30.

This makes the Huskies 8-2 over all and 6-2 in conference.

On Sunday morning we'll see how the rest of the Pac-12 shakes out and what happens in the AP poll. But this finishes Washington's slim hopes of being the the CFP playoffs. No Pac-12 team will make the playoffs this year.

Sunday Morning

Last Tuesday, the CFP committee put the Huskies at #9. I'm assuming they will be lower this week when the rankings come out on Tuesday. The AP poll also had them at #9.

Yesterday, Washington State University Cougars beat Utah bringing their record to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in conference. That puts them on top of the Pac-12 North. But their bye week is next week (meaning they have two weeks to prepare for the Apple Cup rivalry game with UW). Likely, the Pac-12 North championship will come down to the Apple Cup, if UW beats Utah next week at home.

Stanford is also 6-2 in conference but 7-3 over all so they're in third place. They play Nortre Dame on the last weekend of the regular season. They play California in their rivalry game next week.

In the Pac-12 South, USC beat Colorado to remain in the top position. They play UCLA next week in that cross-town rivalry game. Their bye week is the last week of the regualar season, giving them more time to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship game. The Pac-12 did a horrible job of scheduling bye weeks this year. That's probably partly to blame on ESPN and Fox, who have contracts with the Pac-12 to show the games.

It's too bad Washington lost, they could have gone up a lot in the AP poll and the CFP rankings. That's because #10 Auburn beat #1 Georgia (these rankings are CFP). And #7 Miami Florida beat #3 Notre Dame. As those teams drop, Washington could have moved up.

In the AP top 25 poll (which is a hint of what the CFP committee will do), Washington is now at #16 with no chance of getting into the playoffs (top 4). USC is the top-ranked Pac-12 team at #12. WSU is at #15 (yes, higher than Washington). And Stanford is back in the top 25 at #20.

Georgia dropped from #2 in the AP poll to #7 and Notre Dame went from #3 in the AP poll to #9.

Washington plays Utah next week at home. The game is at 7:30 PM PST on ESPN. I hate these late games.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Catrina Taylor and Jack Hillman

Today on the Speculative fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Catrina Taylor and Jack Hillman.

Catrina Taylor
Catrina Taylor

Mother, Author, and scifi enthusiast, Catrina Taylor keeps her words flowing, worlds growing, and friends in touch with what is going on. She is currently working on the release of a new universe in the first quarter of 2018.

Catrina's Books:

The Choosing: Knights of the Immortals (Book 2)

Noble Transition: Knights of the Immortals (Book 3)

Choices: Knights of the Immortals (Book 4)

Catrina's Links:


Jack Hillman
Jack Hillman

Jack Hillman is a journalist, novelist, playwright and a medical underwriter.  His published fiction has appeared in Buzzy Mag, Sorcerous Signals, Amazon Shorts, Aberrations, the Kings of The Night III anthology, and the Magistria: World Of The Sorcerer anthology.  His most recent novel, Magic Forgotten- was released September 2017, the first book of a new series.

Jack's Books:

Giants Want The Lost River

Giants Want Ragnarok

Magic Forgotten

Jack's Links:


From today's Program: Alien Visitor to the Solar System

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Middle Name

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in 30 weeks (approximately).

Today's prompt is: "Your middle name and how you feel about it."

This is kind of funny for me. I go, professionally by my middle name: "Evan." This is why I'm "S. Evan Townsend." I like my middle name better than my first name (which starts with "S," obviously). People who know me personally call me by my first name (one calls me "S.") and as a child I only heard my middle name when I was in trouble.

My brother-in-law goes by his middle name personally and professionally. I didn't know for a long time that he had another name. It's not bad, I don't know why he doesn't like it.

My wife, on the other hand, hates her middle name. I think it's cute, but she loathes it. She wasn't happy when I gave a character that name. I won't say what her middle name is, but it's an old Norse name. And the character is in Hammer of Thor.

So, obviously, I like my middle name (better than my first name). Although I'm still getting used to people calling me "Evan."

How do you feel about your middle name? Comment below.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery "Issues."

This post is going to reveal what a geek I am. And warning:

**Spoilers Ahead***

I have so far watched seven eight episodes of Star Trek: Discovery. And I have..."issues" with it.

It's very well made, and well written, and looks gorgeous in 4K (I'm watching it through an Amazon Fire TV with 4K). The main actors do a fine job and it seems everyone buys into the Star Trek mythos. There's not a smirk in the bunch (unlike the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies).

Star Trek: Discovery (hereafter ST:D) is set ten years before the first Star Trek series (the original series, hereafter ST:TOS) with Spock and Kirk and Bones. So it's a prequel.

I'm not going to complain about ST:D having technology that wasn't in ST:TOS such as holograms and to activate the transporter you move a slider on a screen, not a physical slider. I can live with that. After all, our technology, especially in movie/television special effects, has changed a lot since the late 1960s.

I'm not going to complain that in all the ST:TOS episodes and movies, Spock never once mentioned having a human foster sister.

I'm not even going to bitch about the science errors (how did the Beacon of Kahless, basically a very bright light, communicate over interstellar distances in a matter of minutes?)

But there are a lot of continuity issues with ST:TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation (hereafter ST:TNG). I almost wish I'd taken notes, there are so many.

1) The Klingons have cloaking. This is about 12 years before the Klingons got cloaking. In "The Enterprise Incident" episode of ST:TOS it is explained that the Romulans traded cloaking technology to the Klingons in exchange for ships. This is when the Klingons first had the cloaking device. Now, in ST:D it's only one (or two) ships and a lot of the Klingons are surprised by it. But it's never explained how a Klingon got cloaking technology.

2) The insignia everyone wears is wrong. In ST:TOS, all the ships had their own insignia. The 
Enterprise Command Insignia
Enterprise's insignia was the triangle thing that everyone now associates with Star Trek. When the Enterprise came back from its very successful five-year mission, Starfleet made its insignia the symbol of Starfleet. That's why in the movies, in ST:TNG, and other later shows, everyone is wearing the stylized triangle of the Enterprise.  In ST:D, everyone is already wearing that Enterprise insignia. They shouldn't be. They should be wearing an insignia unique to their ship.

3) In the ST:TOS episode "Day of the Dove," Kirk does a very risky "site-to-site" transport from the transporter room to inside the ship. This was supposed to be the first time it's tried and worked. In ST:D, they do this all the time (okay, three times). They sort of needed to for the plot, but it's still an inconsistency. (By the time ST:TNG came around, site-to-site teleportation was old hat.)

4) Captain Lorca has a tribble in his ready room. If he knows about tribbles, how come they were such a shock to Kirk in the ST:TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"? Lorca apparently knows not to feed it so he won't be knee-deep in tribbles. How come Dr. McCoy had to figure that out?

5) The Klingons don't look like Klingons. Okay, the art department wanted to put their own spin on them. But at least give them hair.

6) Harry Mudd's character is, in my opinion, violated. He is not a killer, he's a con man. He's too chicken to kill someone.

And 7) The Discovery doesn't look like a Starfleet ship. In fact, none of the ships really do. I know it's supposed to be ten years earlier, but the Enterprise in Star Trek: Enterprise looked more like a Starfleet ship than the Discovery does.

It's still a pretty good show. But I wish they'd honor their heritage by being a little more consistent with the Star Trek canon.

UPDATE: In last night's episode they said that Starfleet doesn't have the death penalty. But they do: going to Talos IV, as described in "The Menagerie" episode of ST:TOS.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: When it was stated in ST:D that Starfleet doesn't have a death penalty, that was very likely before the Enterprise under Captain Pike visited Talox IV. So it was before that death penalty was instated.