Monday, October 27, 2014

The Score Does Not Reflect the Game

I have not watched a University of Washington Husky football game live since the Stanford loss in September.  But I have watched them all DVR'd and avoided social media so I wouldn't learn the outcome until I watched the game.

Saturday's Husky game against #14 Arizona State was a defensive battle marked by high winds that not only rattled ESPN's satellite dish around enough that there were many interruptions of the picture and sound, but anytime the football went into the air, you had no idea what was going to happen. Both teams limited passing.

First the good news: the Husky defense was brilliant. They stopped a goal line stand by Arizona State to prevent them from capitalizing on a fumble. They got an interception and ran it in for a touchdown, the first Husky score of the game.

Now the bad news: Cyler Miles, the starting quarterback, did not play in the game due to a head injury in the Oregon loss. He had "concussion-like symptoms" and Coach Chris Petersen decided to keep him out of the game. So we had backup red-shirt freshman quarterback Troy Williams. It might have been the wind but Williams couldn't connect with passes very well. He fumbled the ball once (the one described above) and threw and interception which was ran in for a touchdown, making the score look worse than it did for the Huskies.

The game was very close until the end and the Huskies had moments of brilliance. But the wind and the backup quarterback both limited the offensive capabilities. The final score was 24-10 but before ASU scored 14 points (7 of those the interception), it was 10-10 and looked as if we might pull off a win.

Next week we play Colorado in Bolder, CO. And we'd better win. Colorado is 2-6 with zero wins in conference. I'll be watching that game live.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Babylon 5: It Sucked.

I never watched Babylon 5 when it was in first run back in the '90s.  But I have this vague memory of someone recently praising Babylon 5, perhaps in my writers' group (which is the only place I really talk to people who are into science fiction). So I put all of season one on my Netflix queue (it's only available on discs, not streaming).

My conclusion after watching one episode and perhaps a third of another: it sucked. How did this thing survive for five season?

Yes, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation sucked. But not like this:

  • The acting was wooden when it wasn't shrill
  • The writing was atrocious (I turned off the second episode when a character said "clear and present danger")
  • The production values were barely above porn movie levels (not that I've ever seen porn movies)
  • The direction was plodding and pedestrian
  • It was shot on video tape rather than film, which added to the cheap milieu (and didn't scale up very well on my big-screen TV)
The one thing I could recommend about the show is the make up on the aliens was generally done well. And occasionally they made a nod to real-life physics (e.g. the station rotates to simulate gravity).

But I couldn't sit through two whole episodes let alone the four on the first disc.

But now I can say I tried to watch Babylon 5

If it had been Star Trek: Babylon 5 I might have stuck it out. But if it had been Star Trek: Babylon 5, it would have been Deep Space Nine with was good, even if it had a rough first season.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Tony LaRocca and C. Norman

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we welcome Tony LaRocca and C. Norman

Tony LaRocca

Tony LaRocca
Tony grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ. He joined the army after high school, and had an unglamorous career across the United States. He currently lives the glamorous life of an author / electrician / occasional karaoke crooner, and chronic doodler in New York City, along with his wife and children.

Tony's book:

False Idols and Other Short Stories - Science Fiction Short Stories

Tony's Links


C. Norman

NOT C. Norman
C. Norman is the author of dozens of bite-size short stories, available for free at Topics range from vampire blind dates to alien abduction.  He lives in Texas but has never ridden a horse.

C. Norman's Links


From the Program Today

If Every Car in the World Lined Up and Floored It.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NaNoWriMo Once Again

Oh oh, it's almost November.

And if you're a writer, you know what that means (or at least you should): NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. Why it's in November with Thanksgiving and the holidays and only 30 days, I don't know.

In case you're not sure what NaNoWriMo is, it is a challenge to write 50,000 in November. If you do that math, that's an average of 1,667 words per day. Every day. Including Thanksgiving.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with NaNoWriMo. I have said I don't like it because I think it is responsible for producing a lot of crap writing. But, I like the ideas behind it which is embodied in two things I often say: "Just keep writing" and "Your first draft will suck, get over it and write the damn thing."

In fact, the NaNoWriMo group has you sign a contract stating (among other things):
During the month ahead I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clich├ęd characters, and deeply flawed plots.  I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point.
A lot of people write the crap, but forget the "to be corrected and/or excised at a later point." After NaNoWriMo, there is a lot of work left to do.

This year I'm, once again, planning to participate in NaNoWriMo. I am planning to write a sequel to Treasure of the Black Hole (which is not published, yet).  Treasure of the Black Hole was my NaNoWriMo novel from last year.

But I can't start writing it until November 1st (although I'm doing a little outlining and "pre-writing" now). ("Pre-writing" is when I think about something I'm going to write, but I don't start typing).

In the meantime I have a science fiction novel to edit (tentatively titled Alien Fleets War). And I need to finish up my western/fantasy mashup currently titled The Terror of Tombstone.

I want to have everything out of my way for NaNoWriMo because 1,667 word a day is a blistering pace and I don't need distractions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Don't Want to Talk About It

Here it is, Tuesday, and I've yet to write about the University of Washington Huskies game against the Oregon Ducks. I guess I don't want to talk about it.

Going into the game I was cautiously optimistic. The Ducks looked vulnerable having been nearly beaten by WSU (of all teams) and losing to Arizona (a loss that knocked them from #2 in the AP poll down to #11).  They had climbed back up to #9 by the time they faced the Huskies.

Also, the Huskies had played very well in their win over California the prior week. I thought if we could play that well, have a little good luck, we might beat the Ducks for the first time in ten years. But what I didn't realize was that a key offensive player for the Ducks was out with injuries for the three games including the loss to Arizona. And he was going to be back for the game with Washington.

At first it looked good. On their first position, the Husky defense held the Ducks to a three-and-out and then the offense put the first points on the board with a field goal.

It went downhill from there. The Huskies didn't play awfully. They just didn't play as brilliantly as they did the week before. And if there was luck to be had, it all seemed to go Oregon's way.

The final score was 20-45. This was not as bad as it could have been.

The Huskies are 5-2 but are 1-2 in conference. Next week we face #14 Arizona State, another tough opponent. We need one more win to be bowl eligible and that will, unless we are lucky and very good next week, come against Colorado who are currently 2-5. That game will be November 1st.

I guess we're back in re-building mode. Seems we have been since the year we went 0-12.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Fran Orenstein and Frances Pauli

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we welcome Fran Orenstein and Frances Pauli.

Fran Orenstein

Fran Orenstein
Fran Orenstein, author of ten fiction books for kids, teens and adults, as well as numerous academic and professional articles and papers. The longer you live, the longer your bio, so please take the time to enjoy my story. Oh, and please visit My World at

Fran Orenstein, Ed.D., award-winning author and poet, wrote her first poem at age eight and submitted a short story to a magazine at age twelve. Fran has been a teacher, written professionally as a magazine editor/writer, counseled people with disabilities, and also wrote political speeches, newsletters, legislation, and promotional material while working for New Jersey State Government for twenty-two years. She has written academically and wrote professional papers on gender equity and violence prevention, which she presented at national and international conferences. Fran managed programs for women in gender equity, early education, and disabilities, as well as serving as Special Projects and Disabilities Officer for the AmeriCorps Commission in New Jersey.

She has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MEd in Counseling Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Child and Youth Studies.

Fran's book is:

The Book of Mysteries 

Fran's Links:


Frances Pauli

Frances Pauli
Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction, usually with touches of humor or romance, which means, of course, that she has trouble choosing sides.
She's always been a fan of things outside the box, odd, weird or unusual, and that trend follows through to her tales which feature aliens, fairies, and even, on occasion, an assortment of humans.

More information on her work and upcoming releases can be found on her website:

Frances' books include:



Kingdoms Gone

Frances' Links:


From the program today:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Washington Huskies are 5-1

The University of Washington Husky Football team went on the road yesterday for their first conference away game (and second conference game). The Huskies have enjoyed being at home since their season opener in Hawaii. In yesterday's game, they faced California in Berkeley, and surprised a lot of people by winning against what was described as a "high-scoring" Cal Bear offense.

The Husky defense held Cal to 7 points and recovered two fumbles to add 14 to Washington's score. The defense is looking very good after the loss to Stanford two weeks ago (the Huskies had their only bye of the season last week), a game pretty much lost by ineffective offense.

But yesterday, the Husky offense came to the game, making scoring drives that were impressive. Once they started behind their own 5-yard line and drove all they way down the field to make a touchdown. While the defense was responsible for 14 points. the offense added 17 points for a final score of 31-7.

This despite officiating that seemed to favor the Bears. Ball placement on critical downs was bad for the Huskies, favorable for the Bears. The officials called a Washington player for a personal foul with targeting that pulled back a long run. But looking at the replay, there didn't appear to be any foul. Meanwhile, the officials ignored a blatant personal foul by a California player.

Next week the Dawgs face Oregon (this morning ranked #12). Oregon's national champion hopes are pretty much dead after their upset loss to Arizona last weekend. This shows they can be beat but they are probably not ready to lose again. The game is in Eugene, always a tough venue for visitors.

The Huskies are 5-1 overall (1-1 conference) so one more victory from being bowl eligible. If they can't pull off one more win in seven games left, they're in trouble.  However they do have a rough schedule going forward starting with the Ducks, then #20 Arizona, unranked Colorado, #18 UCLA, and #10 Arizona. But as good as the Huskies looked yesterday, they have a chance to pull some upsets.