Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Washington Back in the Playoffs

The University of Washington Husky football team is back in the CFP playoffs. They were ranked #4 by the committee yesterday. Assuming they win the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday, they should still be ranked at least #4 come "decision day" on Sunday the 2nd.

Michigan, who was #3, played Ohio State who was and still is #2. Michigan lost so they dropped to #5 Clemson moved to #3 and the Huskies moved to #4.

Of the four teams in the playoffs, the Huskies have the hardest challenge going forward. Alabama (#1) plays #15 Florida on Saturday. And Clemson (#3) plays #23 Virginia Tech also on Saturday. And Michigan plays no one, apparently, before the bowl games. Meanwhile, Washington is playing #8 Colorado on Friday night at 6:00 PM PST, on Fox.

If the Huskies are #4 come Sunday, they will play Alabama probably in the "Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl" in Atlanta. If they are #3, they will play #2 probably in the "Playstation Fiesta Bowl" in Glendale, AZ (the same stadium the Arizona Cardinals play in). Both games are on New Years Eve.

The reason it's hard to predict where they will play is the game is held in the stadium closest to the top seeded team. Since Alabama will probably be #1, they will probably play in Atlanta. Where Washington will play depends on if they are #4 or #3 and who is #2.

Other Pac-12 teams in the CFP rankings are: Colorado at #8 (as said above), USC at #11, Stanford at #18, and Utah surprising at #20.

I would prefer that the Huskies be #3 as then they would play #2 in the semifinal game. If they are #4 like they are now, they have to play Alabama who will be a very tough opponent. But the Huskies may surprise everyone. They are playing very well these days.

Monday, November 28, 2016


When I heard that Hollyweird was remaking Ghostbusters, I thought why would anyone think they could capture lightning in a bottle twice and re-do the most sublime comedy of the 1980s? Then I heard it was going to be female cast and I thought, "You know, that might work." Perhaps having a female cast would separate it enough from the original that it could stand on its own.

(Full Disclosure: The original Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies ever.)

***Spoilers Ahead***

Then the first trailer came out on YouTube. I watched it. I hated it. I clicked dislike along with over 1 million people as of now.

Why did I hate the trailer? It wasn't funny. It was boring. It was dumb and gross. No, I didn't hate it because the women were women. I hated it because the women weren't funny. And I thought it showed that the Ghostbusters remake was going to be a dud. Probably due to bad writing, I thought, because Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are usually pretty funny (viz: Paul and Spy).

But I decided to reserve judgment on the entire movie until I saw it. Which I did last Wednesday.

The movie starts out slow with a plodding pace and zero humor (unless you think a hyper-PC tour guide is funny). It got more amusing and I remember my first chuckle was when a character turned on a proton pack and the other two characters backed off (like in the original Ghostbusters in the elevator). My first real laugh came about half-way through the movie when Ozzy Osborn, pretty much playing himself, thought a ghost was a bad trip.

And the scenes that weren't funny in the trailer were more amusing in context. But they still weren't very funny.

By the end of the movie I had a few laughs. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. And it could have been so much better if the writing had been crisper. The actors did their best with the material they were given.

And there were references to the original. Bill Murray played a paranormal skeptic, Dan Aykroyd played a taxi driver who quotes from the first film. Annie Potts is a desk clerk in a hotel. Ernie Hudson is one character's uncle. And Sigourney Weaver is a scientist. And the Stay Puft Marsh Mellow Man even shows up. Oh and Slimer, too. Too bad they could lure Rick Moranis out of retirement.

One thing the movie did was on my TV screen (and probably yours) it was letterboxed (black bars at the top and bottom of the screen to make the aspect ratio different from my TV). But often special effects would go over the black bars. This was amusing the first time but then you started watching for it. If they'd done it once in the climax, it would have been much more effective.

So I'll give Ghostbusters three stars on Netflix. It was amusing and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. But it took about half the movie to get there.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

End of the Regular College Football Season

Last night was the end of the regular season for college football. Most teams play 12 games over a 13 week schedule, having a bye one week. The last game played was Rice at Stanford (which Stanford won handily).

Now the post season starts first with conference championship games that some (not all) conferences have. The one I'm most interested in is, of course, the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday at 6:00 PM PST. The University of Washington Huskies will play the South Division champions The University of Colorado Buffaloes.

The Pac-12 just started playing a championship game in 2012, when it expanded to 12 teams (before
it was the Pac-10). Then they divided the conference into the North Division and the South Division.

The North Division has been won by only three teams: Oregon, Stanford, and now Washington.

The South Division has been won by five of the six teams in the division. I think only Utah hasn't won. They were in the running this year.

The North Division champion has won the championship game all four times it's been played.

This year, Oregon is in last place in the Pac-12 North after losing to Oregon State in their rivalry game. Because I loath Oregon, this makes me happy.

The worst team in the Pac-12 is Arizona.

But what about the College Football Playoffs? Currently Washington is #5 in those rankings. If they beat Colorado next Friday, they have a chance to move to #4 or perhaps #3. Michigan lost to Ohio State this weekend so it's hard to believe they'll put a 10-2 team above an 11-1 team such as Washington. We'll find out when the new rankings come out Tuesday. And the final rankings come out on "decision day" on Sunday, December 4th.

A clue to the CFP rankings are the AP top 25 poll rankings which come out at 1:00 PM EST (11:00 AM PST). And Washington is #4 in that poll after their Apple Cup victory. That's up 2 places.

Colorado is still at #9, USC at #10. And Stanford is back in the top 25 at #17. Utah and WSU have both dropped out of the top 25.

So we'll have to see what the CFP selection committee does Tuesday.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Huskies Win the Apple Cup and More!

The University of Washington Huskies beat the Washington State University Cougars yesterday in the Apple Cup: the annual cross-state rivalry game.

I was expecting a close, hard fought game like the Arizona or Utah games the Huskies played. The game was being played in Pullman so the Cougars had home-field advantage in front of their rabid fans. Also, the Cougars were, after a slow start to the season, playing very well with a 7-1 in conference record and 8-2 over all. They Huskies had a 7-1 in conference record and 10-1 overall (after their loss to USC). Plus this game was for all the marbles. The winner would be the Pac-12 North Division Champions and go on to play the South Division Champion (that will be determined today) in the Pac-12 Championship game next Friday. So I expected a close game.

Instead, it was a 45-17 blowout of the Cougars.

The Huskies could hardly do anything wrong. They did lose a fumble, but quarterback Jake Browning was playing the best he has so far this season. John Ross (who was the player who coughed up the fumble) was amazing, as was all the Husky running backs and receivers. The Huskies appear to be peaking right at the right time.

As I said, the Pac-12 South Division Champion will be determined today. It will either be Colorado or USC. It all hinges on the Colorado-Utah game. If Colorado wins, Colorado is the Pac-12 South Division Champ. If Utah wins, USC is the champ. I'm not sure who I'd rather play next Friday, Colorado or USC. We haven't played Colorado this year but we have played USC (and lost).

The AP poll rankings will come out tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see where the Huskies land (and how far the Cougars drop). The CFP rankings come out Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what happens there. And CFP "Decision Day" is next Sunday, the 4th. That's when we'll know who is in the college football playoffs. If the Huskies win the Pac-12 championship, they have a good shot at being #4 or #3 in the CFP. And that puts them in the playoffs.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Speculative Fiction Cantina Replay with Richard Keller and Trey Dunham

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we feature a "best of" episode featuring writers Richard Keller and Trey Dunham.

Richard Keller
Richard Keller

Richard Keller is an author, speaker, talk show host, and owner of Wooden Pants Publishing. He started his life as an avid science fiction reader to the point he tried to get through Dune in one sitting while still a tween. His first writing experience was for his third grade teacher and his first short story, a terribly bad rip-off of Knight Rider was submitted when he was 12. Richard has written over two thousand pieces in newspapers, magazines, and online over the last several decades. His science fiction series, Saunders’ Savages, features an oversexed and wealthy CEO of an intergalactic corporation who moonlights as the leader of a pay-for-hire army.

Richard's books:

Coffee Cup Tales 2 – Extra Foam

Paradise Not Quite Lost

Authors, and the Zombies they Emulate

Richard's Links:


Trey Dunham
Trey Dunham

Trey Dunham is a writer, speaker and storyteller with a proven ability to attract and motivate audiences.

He is the author of several books including: From a Gun to the Plow (New Hope Publishers, forthcoming, with Steve Finn), Strangers and Aliens: Thoughts on 1 Peter (CreateSpace, 2013), We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This: A new Look at the Gospel of Mark (CreateSpace, 2014), The Meaning of Technology: A Theology of Technique in Jacques Ellul (CreateSpace, forthcoming), and Loophole: A Novel (CreateSpace, 2015, with Jason Hostetler, movie rights optioned by JC Films). He has been blogging on spiritual, family and personal topics at since 2009 His published poetry has won awards from literary groups at Denison University.

Dunham wrote and delivered sermons regularly to as many as 3,000 people, as a teaching pastor at one of West Virginia’s largest churches. He quadrupled the size of the church’s campus ministry to over 200 students in his eight years there. He opened a popular Fair Trade coffee house as a satellite ministry near the West Virginia University campus. The cafĂ© became a hub for service projects and social-justice events Dunham organized, drawing hundreds of students into volunteer projects for local charities. In 2010, he led a team to plant CityChurch in Morgantown, WV.

For four years, Dunham told the story of SustainU, a maker and marketer of recycled, natural-fiber clothing manufactured exclusively at U.S. plants. As the startup’s marketing director, he helped drive a thirteen-fold sales increase to $2 million. He used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and press releases to generate positive coverage for SustainU in The New York Times and other metropolitan and local media.

Dunham, who holds a doctoral degree in Technology Education, has taught and spoken before a wide variety of audiences. He has travelled and lived around the world, heading a mission in the jungles of New Guinea and overseeing a hospital-construction crew in the Himalayas of Nepal. He has presented his research at two international conferences of scholars in his field. And he has led hundreds of campus Bible study groups in deeply personal discussions about faith, and finding meaning. Over the years, he has counseled dozens of singles and dating, engaged, and married couples.

Dunham lives in Morgantown, WV.

Trey's Books:

Catch for Us the Foxes

Jesus and the City

The Beams of Our House

Trey's Links:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Favorite Holiday

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is, fittingly, "My favorite holiday." I say "fittingly" because today is Thanksgiving, which is, I think my favorite holiday.

There's very little pressure on Thanksgiving. It's not like Valentines Day or Christmas where you have to find gifts and oh they have to be just right. No, all you do is show up. With my family, it's usually pretty calm and usually we joke and laugh.

And the food is usually really good. Sometimes there's a little work needed to get the food ready. Last Thanksgiving I went over to my mother's house early to help her get the turkey started.

Then there's the dishes, but my sister's husband (a lawyer) has always jumped in and done most of them. I like that guy.

So I guess today, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We'll see how today goes.

What's your favorite holiday? Comment below!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Huskies are Number 5!

I was busy yesterday so I didn't hear about the University of Washington Huskies' ranking in the CFP Rankings until last night.

Things are looking better for the Huskies going to the National Playoffs. They are #5 in the CFP Rankings. That's just one back from #4 which means you go to the playoffs.

Number 2 Ohio State and #3 Michigan play this weekend so one of them have to lose (I don't think there are ties in college football anymore). But, considering they are playing each other, it might now kick either of them out of the two three.

Right now Clemson is #4.

If the Huskies win the Apple Cup then go on to win the Pac-12 Championship game, they might be in the #4 or #3 position. We find out on "Selection Day" which is Sunday, December 4th.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pac-12 South Title

If the University of Washington Huskies win the Apple Cup agaisnt the Washington State Cougars on Friday, they will be the Pac-12 North Division Champion and go on to play in the Pac-12 Championship game on December 2nd (6:00 PM PST on Fox). If the Cougars win, they will be the Pac-12 North Champions. But we don't want that to happen.

They will play the Pac-12 South Division Champion in that game. But who will that be?

Right now the Colorado Buffaloes are the Pac-12 South leader with a 9-2 overall record and a 7-2 in-conference record. But right behind them is USC (the Trojans) with a 8-2 overall record and a 7-2 in-conference record.

The interesting thing is, USC is stuck at 7-2 in-conference because their last game is against Notre Dame.

Colorado on the other hand plays Utah in the "Rumble in the Rockies." The game is held in Boulder this year. Utah is out of contention for the Pac-12 South title after losing to Oregon last Saturday.

So I've looked at all the possibilities for this weekend. There are four of them:

  1. Colorado beats Utah, USC beats Notre Dame
  2. Colorado beats Utah, USC loses to Notre Dame
  3. Colorado loses to Utah, USC loses to Notre Dame
  4. Colorado loses to Utah, USC beats Notre Dame
In scenarios 1-3, Colorado wins the Pac-12 South title.

In scenario #4, Colorado and USC would be tied at 7-2 in-conference and 8-3 overall. I'm not sure what would happen then. Perhaps points for and points against in the season.

I think the most likely scenario is #1. In any case, odds are that if the Huskies go to the Pac-12 Championship game, they will be playing Colorado.

The USC-Notre Dame game is Saturday at 12:30 PM on ABC
The Colorado-Utah game is Saturday at 4:30 PM on Fox.

The Apple Cup is Friday at 12:30 PM on Fox.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Old Stars on Star Trek

One fun thing about watching Star Trek the original series, is spotting the up and coming actors who often later went on to bigger things. The classic example is Joan Collins in "City on the Edge of Forever." But there were others.

For example, Barbara Bouchet, who went on to play Moneypenny in the 1967 version of Casino Royal (the funny one). And, according to her Internet Movie Database page, she's been busy with work. On Star Trek, she played an evil Andromedian in "By Any Other Name."

And there was Barbara Babcock who was in two episodes: "A Taste of Armageddon" in season one and "Plato's Stepchildren" in season three. She went on to be on Hill Street Blues and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. (Technically she was in more than two episodes, often lending her voice to computers, energy beings, and even cats.)

Vic Tayback was in "A Piece of the Action" episode and went on to star in the sitcom Alice.

"Friday's Child" had Julie Newmar. Not sure how famous she was because I think she was already playing Cat Woman on Batman.

Speaking of Batman, Frank Gorshin was in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Again, I think he was already playing the Joker on Batman.

I thought for years that Peter Graves of Mission Impossible played Akuta in "The Apple." But apparently it was Keith Andes (never heard of him). However, in the episode is a young David Soul, who played Hutch in Starsky and Hutch.

And in the penultimate episode (as aired) "All Our Yesterdays," is Mariette Hartley who went on to tout Polaroid cameras in ads with James Garner. The ads were so popular that Hartley did a guest appearance on The Rockford Files.

I could go on; I can think of at least two more. But I won't.

CORRECTION: Frank Gorshin played the Riddler on Batman.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Huskies are 10-1 and Might be Back in Playoff Contention

The University of Washington Huskies are now 10-1 after defeating Arizona State decisively last night in Husky Stadium. They are also back on top of the Pac-12 North Division after a week with Washington State on top.

The game started a little rocky for the Huskies. Quarterback Jake Browning looked as if he hadn't forgotten the USC game. He threw two interceptions and wasn't connecting with down-field Huskies.

The defense, however, looked very good and even intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop an Arizona State drive. By the end of the first half, Arizona was scoreless and the Huskies had 24 points as Jake suddenly came back and played like his usual self. The Sun Devils didn't have much of a chance. They did manage to score 18 points in the game but the Huskies out-classed them in every way and beat them with 44 points.

Like a lot of games this season, the Huskies put in second-stringers toward the end. And they still managed to score. This is the 8th game this season the Huskies have scored more than 40 points.

So the Huskies go into the Apple Cup, the annual cross-state rivalry game against the Washington State Cougars, with a 10-1 over all record, 7-1 in conference.

In other good news, the Cougars lost to the Colorado Buffaloes yesterday. That gives them an 8-3 four scenarios I lined out: Cougars lose; Huskies win.
overall record and 7-1 in conference). This was the best possible outcome of the day.

But the Pac-12 North title will still come down to the Apple Cup. If the Huskies win the Apple Cup, which is in Pullman this year, they will finish 8-1 in conference and 11-1 over all and the be the North Division Champs. That means they play the South Division Champs in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2nd. That came is held in Santa Clara, California at Levi Stadium (which I think is where the San Francisco 49ers lose a lot of games).

If the Cougars win the Apple Cup, they will be 8-1 in conference and 9-4 over all. Since in-conference record trumps overall record, they will be the North Division Champs.

The loser of the Apple Cup will probably play in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day against a Big 12 Conference Team.

The South Division Champ will be either USC or Colorado. Utah lost to Oregon yesterday and took themselves out of contention. USC plays Notre Dame next week and Colorado hosts Utah.

If the Huskies win the Apple Cup and win the Pac-12 Championship game, they have a chance to be back in the playoffs. Right now the Huskies are at #6 in the CFP rankings. But #5 Louisville lost yesterday. Ohio State and Michigan State are #2 and #3 but they play each other next week so one of them is going to lose.

So there is a chance for the Huskies to slip into the #4 slot again (or maybe #3). But they have to win the Apple Cup and be the Pac-12 Champions. Which means Jake can't play like he did against USC and the first quarter of yesterday's game.

As usual, the CFP Rankings don't come out until Tuesday. The final announcement of who's in the playoffs (and the rest of the CFP Rankings) will be December 4th at 9:00 AM PST. That's a Sunday.

Finally, the AP Top 25 Rankings for this week just came out and they can give a clue to the CFP Rankings. Last week we were #7 in the AP poll (and #6 in the CFP Rankings). Today we're #6.

Other Pac-12 teams ranks are Colorado at #9, USC at #12, Utah at #21, and WSU at #23.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Four Scenarios for Husky Football

Today the University of Washington Huskies play Arizona State at Husky Stadium. The Huskies are 9-1 over all and 6-1 in conference after their loss last week to USC. The Huskies' only hopes to get back into the national playoff picture is to be the Pac-12 Champions. But to do that they have to be the Pac-12 North Division Leader.

Right now the Washington State Cougars are the North Division Leader with a record of 8-2 and 7-0 in conference (your in-conference record trumps your overall record).

The Cougars play Colorado in Colorado today. The Colorado Buffaloes are currently the Pac-12 South Leader with an 8-2 overall and 6-1 in-conference record. USC is right behind them (thanks to their win over the Huskies). I can imagine that's going to be a tough game for the Cougars.

There are four scenarios that could happen today.

  1. Huskies beat Arizona State, Cougars beat Colorado
  2. Huskies beat Arizona State, Cougars lose to Colorado
  3. Huskies lose to Arizona State, Cougars lose to Colorado
  4. Huskies lose to Arizona State, Cougars beat Colorado
I'm obviously hoping for #1 or #2. I've ran the numbers and in three of those scenarios (1, 2, and 3),
the Apple Cup (the annual rivalry game between UW and WSU), which will be played on November 25th at 12:30 PM on Fox, will determine who is the Pac-12 North Leader. 

In #4, it doesn't matter, the Cougars will be the Pac-12 North Leader no matter who wins the Apple Cup, and go on to play in the Pac-12 Championship game December 2nd against the South Leader, who could be Colorado, USC, or perhaps even Utah. I don't think Stanford (7-3 overall, 5-3 in conference) has a chance to be the Pac-12 North Leader even in the case of #4.

So there is a 3/4ths chance that the Pac-12 North Leader comes down to the Apple Cup. But I think the Huskies will beat ASU, which means the Apple Cup is for all the marbles.


The Huskies' game is at 4:30 PM PST on Fox.
The Cougars' game is at 12:30 PM PST, also on Fox.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Sophia Martin and Holly Gonzalez

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Sophia Martin and Holly Gonzalez.

Sophia Martin
Sophia Martin

I'm half-French and half-American, and lived in France for 6 years when I was a teenager. I now live in Mount Shasta. I work as a social studies teacher and have my MA in American History. I'm married and have three little boys. In addition to writing my novels I also make my own book covers, and occasionally create book covers for others.

Sophia's Books:

The City Darkens

After the Fall

The Gamble and the Grave

Sophia's Links:


Holly Gonzalez
Holly Gonzalez

Holly Gonzalez is a speculative fiction writer and visual artist with a love for all things science fiction. She’s self-published a novel and various short stories, including several works on Wattpad. Her current projects include Ruby Descent--a retro-futuristic sci-fi novel about a sabotaged space elevator, a decopunk occult drama titled Beauty In The Bones, and a weird western/dark fantasy series set during the California Gold Rush. More information can be found on her website at

Holly's Books:

Memoirs of the War

Merely This and Nothing More


Holly's Links:


From Today's Show: Volcanoes Recently Erupted on Venus.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Places I'd Like to Travel

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Top Five Places I'd Like to Travel." Only five?

I had to think about this to narrow it down. One is Northern Italy. It looks just beautiful with the lake country and the Dolomites (that's a mountain range, part of the Alps). Also in Northern Italy is the Ferrari factory in Maranello and I'd like to make a pilgrimage there. They also have a cool museum with many classic Ferrari cars. As you know, I like cars.

Plus the wine and the food are supposed to be amazing in Northern Italy.

Second place I'd like to visit is (and I'm cheating here) Asia, specifically Japan, South Korea, and China. I've always enjoyed Asian culture and history. I'd like to see Tokyo, Seoul, and the Great Wall of China.

Third place I'd like to go is Australia. See Sydney. the outback, the Great Barrier Reef. Except the spiders might keep me away.

Fourth place I'd like to visit is DisneyWorld again. I just love that place.

Fifth place I'd like to visit is the UK. Most of my biological heritage comes from the British Isles. Visit Wales and London and Stonehenge and learn about where my ancestors came from.

Where would you like to visit?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

UW Huskies Likely out of Playoff Contention

The CFP Rankings came out yesterday. I forgot to check them until this morning. And, after their loss to USC last weekend, the University of Washington Huskies are now #6 in the CFP rankings. You have to be #4 or better to make the playoffs, and they were #4.

Interestingly, Ohio State jumped up to #2 from #5. Clemson and Michigan both lost last weekend, but they didn't drop out of the top four. All those teams are 9-1, just like the Huskies. Alabama (10-0) is still #1.

Other Pac-12 teams in the CFP are Colorado at #10, Utah at #12, USC at #13, WSU at #22, and Stanford at #24.

There is a slight possibility if UW wins their last two games, including the Apple Cup against WSU, then wins the Pac-12 Championship game, they might move back up into the playoffs. But Ohio State, Clemson, or Michigan would probably have to lose another game.

Star Trek: TOS

In honor of Star Trek's fiftieth anniversary, I watched all 69 episodes of the original series plus the first pilot, "The Cage." I finished Monday.

I watched them on Netflix and those versions have new special effects that I address here. Now I want to talk about the show.

In the Futurama "Star Trek" episode (which every fan of Star Trek has to see) Fry says "You know, sixty-nine episodes, about thirty good ones." Which is so very true. Especially since the third season was, with new producer Fred Freiberger, full of stinkers. (Freiberger later did the same vandalism to the last season of Space 1999.) There are only two good episodes in the third season: "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Tholian Web." And two of the worst episodes ("Spock's Brain" and "Turnabout Intruder") are in the third season.

Watching the original Star Trek, which was made in the 1960s, I'm surprised at the sexism. For a show that broke racial boundaries, it was still stuck in the 60s as far as sex goes.

But another thing that surprises me is that from this beginning, Star Trek has lasted 50 years and spawned four other series (if I counted right), and thirteen movies (if I counted right). And CBS is starting a new Star Trek series. They will show the first episode on broadcast but to see the rest you have to buy their streaming service. Which sucks. But I'm surprised because Star Trek is not that good. Clunky episodes, uneven writing, awful special effects (cheesy even by the standards of the day). I guess we were all so thirsty for science fiction, any science fiction, that we embraced what was really a pretty mediocre show.

I'm glad I revisited Star Trek. I hadn't watching these episodes since I was a teenager and would watch them when I got home from school on my family's Zenith. But even then I learned to identify third season episodes (blue opening credits) and know this wasn't going to be the best episodes.

I'm glad Star Trek spawned all the entertainment is has (even if I don't care for the J.J. Abrams reboot). I'm just surprised it did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The National Geographic Channel has a new series called Mars. I believe it's a limited run series meaning it will go on for so many episodes then stop. (It looks as if there are going to be six episodes total, looking at the website). I watched the first episode this morning after DVRing it last night (it's on while I'm at my Toastmasters meeting).

It's an impressive series. It combines a science fiction story of the first humans to travel to Mars (in 2033) along with documentary about the efforts being made today to get those humans there. For example, I did not realize Elon Musk formed SpaceX for the goal of getting humans to Mars.

The story/science fiction part is very well done with good special effects (these days, that's a given with CGI) and in the short time they were given (maybe half of the hour-long show) developed the characters fairly well. I assume we'll get to know them better as the show progresses.

And the documentary part is very interesting. I feel bad because I haven't been keeping up on advances in space for the past few years. This has helped me catch up on what's happening, at least in the pursuit of getting to the red planet.

I really have no complaints about the show. It's very good. You should check it out. Apparently if you missed the first episode, you can stream it here. Or maybe here.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

It was Fun While It Lasted

I was right to worry.

Yesterday was a bizarre day in college football.

Number 2 (CFB Rankings) Clemson lost to an unranked team

Number 3 Michigan lost to an unranked team

And #4 Washington lost to USC, who was ranked #20.

Yes, my beloved University of Washington Huskies lost after going 9-0. They are now 9-1 overall and 6-1 in conference.

There are only two unbeaten teams in college football down. That's #1 Alabama and #21 Michigan State.

It's going to be interesting to see how the CFB rankings come out on Tuesday. And how the AP poll rankings come out today (in about 30 minutes from this writing). But I'm afraid Washington's hopes for a playoff berth have been eliminated. Or, maybe not since Michigan and Clemson lost. We'll have to see on Tuesday.

Since the Washington State Cougars beat California yesterday, they are 7-0 in conference (8-2 over all) they now lead the Pac-12 North Division. Washington is in second place. This means the Apple Cup will be huge. If Washington wins (assuming they beat Arizona State next week), they are the Pac-12 North Champion. If WSU wins (assuming they beat Colorado next week), they are the Pac-12 North Champions. But I do think WSU is going to have a challenge with Colorado.

Last night's game against USC, the Huskies were simply out-played. USC has been getting better and better this year and they have a very good quarterback. The Huskies put a strong defense and worked hard on offense, but it wasn't enough. Not at all. They lost 26-13.

I used to say if the Huskies could be at least 8-4 on the regular season, beat Oregon, beat WSU, and win their bowl game, I'd be happy. Well, they've done two of those so far (they are 9-1 and beat Oregon). It's all coming down to the Apple Cup. Should be a good game.

UPDATE: Washington is #7 in the AP Top 25 Poll. WSU is 20. And USC is back in the top 25 at 15.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I'm a Little Worried

I'm a little worried about today's game between the University of Washington Huskies and the USC Trojans.

At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much to worry about. The Trojans are 6-3 overall, 5-2 in conference which, in the wild Pac-12 South Division puts them in second place under Colorado. The Huskies are, of course, 9-0 and 6-0 in conference. Also, the game will be played in Husky Stadium in Seattle, so the Huskies will have home field advantage (which is huge).

But looking deeper into USC's record, there are some troubling bits. One: they have won five games in a row before this game. And two: one of their losses was to Alabama, the number one team in the nation. The other two were to Stanford and Utah. Utah is a tough team. Of course, the Huskies beat them, but it was a hard-fought game.

Finally, the past two games the Huskies have played almost lackadaisically, as if they think "we're too good to get beaten." That's why California was able to score on them early in the game last Saturday. Sure, the Huskies came back to win it big. But if they do that with USC, they could lose. So I'm hoping the Huskies go out there ready to fight for victory.

The game is at 4:30 Pacific Time on Fox. It should be a good game.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Alexander Galati and Angela B. Chrysler

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Alexander Galati and Angela B. Chrysler.

Alexander Galati
Alexander Galati

Alexander Galati began writing fiction when he was seven, with his first story about a chicken having its first day at school. But aside from writing, Alexander also embraces his athletic and musical side. He excels in the piano and achieves well in sports, and now he’s decided to continue his hidden skill that is writing. At fifteen, Alexander began writing Amadon Outside, his first published work.

The world for Amadons Outside was inspired by a game he and his cousins used to play together when they were young. Within a few weeks, he had created a storyline around this world in his mind, forming characters as he went along.

In the game he played, creatures were their friends. In his story, the creatures are not their friends.

Alexander's Books:

Alexander's Links:

Angela B. Chrysler
Angela B. Chrysler

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

Angela's Books:

Dolor and Shadow (Tales of the Drui Book #1)

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2)

Angela's Links:

YouTube (Hosts live book readings)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Family

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Meet My Family."

I could do this two ways. One is "Meet My Dysfunctional Family" where most of us are on some sort of psychotropic drugs. Or Two is "Meet My Family, ain't they grand?"

My nuclear family consists of my wife whom I've been married to for nearly 35 years. We have three sons, all in their 20s and all at various stages toward being independent. One has a job in Portland, Oregon, one is in college (still), and one lives in our basement and delivers pizza for Dominoes. He likes to play Dungeons and Dragons with friends on his days off.

My mother, who got remarried in September, lives in the same town as I do. As do my older brother and sister. My father also lives here. He lives alone in his own house. Growing up in a small town in Idaho, we used to make fun of families that all lived in the same town they grew up in. Now we all live in the same town. But in our defense, it wasn't the town we grew up in.

Like all families we have issues. But unlike a lot of families, we don't spew them out on Facebook.

Nor in blogs.

What's your family like?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Washington Huskies #4 in CFB Rankings

It's election day in the U.S. and pretty soon I'm going to start watching returns on T.V. But before I subject myself to that torture, some good news.

The CFB Selection Committee has put the University of Washington Huskies at #4, up one from last week's #5.

This is significant because if things don't change, the Huskies will be in the playoffs, probably playing #1 Alabama first. But there are three games to go in the regular season for the Huskies, plus any post-season games such as the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2nd. So a lot could change. The Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game against the Washington State Cougars could be a key game for the season. The Cougars are second in the Pac-12 North standings (and #23 in the CFB rankings).

On Saturday the Huskies play USC (#20 in the CFB rankings) who are looking better and better. So that, too, could be a tough game.

But at least we're getting the respect we deserve. Finally.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rudolph's Reading 2016 Christmas Giveaway

It's time for another giveaway. This time it's Rudolph's Reading 2016 Christmas Giveaway. $130 cash prize plus hundreds of other prizes. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Huskies are 9-0, Still Not Respected

For a few glorious hours last night after they decimated Arizona, the Washington State Cougars were leading the Pac-12 North Division with a 7-2 over all, 6-0 in conference record. Because the University of Washington Huskies played late (7:30 Pacific Time) and only had an 8-0 overall record with only a 5-0 in conference record, Wazzu fans got to know the thrill of being number one, at least for a short while.

That was until UW beat California by a score of 66-27 to maintain their unbeaten status, go to 9-0 on the season, and go to 6-0 in conference.

Sorry Cougs.

The game started out looking like it might be a challenge for the Huskies. In fact, California scored
first with a field goal coming off a very very bad punt by the Huskies that gave California very good field position to start their series. That the defense held them to a field goal is amazing.

And the offense wasn't doing much better. Except for a couple of long bombs by quarterback Jake Browning to John Ross, which led to touchdowns, the offense was just lack luster all through the first half.

Then the second half came and things changed. The defense stopped Cal on nearly every drive and the offense would march down the field and score on nearly ever possession. Once again, at about nine and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Washington started putting in second-string players. And they still made a touchdown.

The Huskies have won seven of their nine victories with more than 40 points. This is the first time the Huskies have gone 9-0 since 1991 when they were co-national champions (one poll picked them, one poll picked another team, I think Miami of Florida). This kind of thing is why, eventually, they went to a playoff system (after the horrible experiment with the BCS).

The AP Top 25 Poll today has the Huskies still at #4 (WSU at 23, up two). But really, no one cares anymore since the CFB Selection Committee Rankings, which come out on Tuesday. There is a lot of speculation about what's going to happen.

As you may recall, the Huskies were #5 in that ranking. despite being #4 in the AP poll and the USA Today poll. The top four teams in that ranking go to the playoffs, so being #5 is significant. Last week Texas A&M was #4. But they lost to an unranked team yesterday which means they will likely drop from that spot.

Jake Browning
So does UW move to #4 now? The FBS Selection Committee might move Ohio State to #4, skipping over UW, because of UW's lack of strength of schedule. Ohio State is 8-1 It was those three easy pushover teams we played before conference play. We'll find out Tuesday. And I'll probably blog about it.

If the Huskies can stay unbeaten and win the Pac-12 Championship game on December 2nd, they will probably go to the CFB playoffs. But that means winning the Apple Cup against Washington State. Washington State is looking better and better even though they lost to an FCS team early in the season. It's going to be tough to beat them when they will have home-field advantage. And the Apple Cup could very well be the battle for the Pac-12 North Division championship.

Meanwhile, in the Pac-12 South, after Utah lost to Washington, they are probably out of the running for the South Division title. Right now the Colorado Buffaloes are on top with USC close behind. The Huskies play USC next week at home, so that could help determine who wins the Pac-12 South. UW doesn't play Colorado this year, unless we end up playing them in the Championship game.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Robert Goos and A.B. Funkhauser

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Robert Goos and A.B. Funkhauser.

Robert Goos
Robert Goos

 I am a psychiatrist in private practice in Pueblo, Colorado. Prior to this, I practiced in academic centers, state mental institutions, community mental health centers, prisons, and for the 10 years prior to opening my private practice, at a Veterans Health outpatient center. With this breadth of experience, I believe I have seen every variety of mental illness possible, and treated the most severe cases imaginable. It is in my work with PTSD, however, that I found my most challenging mental condition to evaluate and treat.  It is from this work with combat veterans suffering from PTSD that I developed the premise of my book, the moral injuries or damage to the soul that these former soldiers encounter. I would hope that my book would provide some solace for these men and women with PTSD, and perhaps help in developing a new treatment paradigm for this disabling mental disorder.

Robert's Book:

Portal to Erytheum

Robert's Links:


A.B. Funkhauser
A.B. Funkhauser

Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and we not it. Her debut novel Heuer Lost and Found, released in April 2015, examines the day to day workings of a funeral home and the people who staff it. Winner of the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Horror 2015, Heuer Lost and Found is the first installment in Funkhauser’s "Unapologetic Lives" series. Her sophomore effort, Scooter Nation, released March 11, 2016 through Solstice Publishing. A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

Funkhauser is currently working on Shell Game, a contemporary “whodunit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2015.

A.B.'s Books:

Heuer Lost and Found

Scooter Nation

Shell Game (Coming Spring 2017)

A.B.'s Links:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Favorite Things

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is "My Favorite Things."

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.

Oh wait, that's something else.

(Interesting note about The Sound of Music: Captain Von Trapp commanded a submarine during World War I for the "other" side, i.e., the Hapsburg Empire which was Germany's ally. He was awarded medals by the Emperor-as mentioned in the movie-for sinking a British troop ship that resulted in a large loss of life. Not so romantic, now, huh?)

My favorite things? Probably cars and movies. I love cars, the faster and more powerful the better. Back when I drove on a racetrack (which I had to give up for financial and health reasons) at speeds up to 155 mph, I called it "the most fun I've had with my clothes on."

Even though I tend to drive close to the speed limit on public roads, I can have fun accelerating to that speed quickly. And if the road has corners, even better. Maneuvering a car through a corner as quickly as you dare is one of the joys in life.

The other thing I like are movies. Well, good movies. Bad movies (and I've watched plenty) kinda suck. But a well-written, well-made movie is almost as good as a well-written book. Sometimes better.

So those are my favorite things: fast cars and good movies.

What are your favorite things?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Washington is #5 in FBS Committee Selection Poll

Yesterday the FBS Selection Committee came out with their rankings for college football. This is important because the top four teams get to be in the FBS playoffs for the national championship (why we can't have a regular playoff, I don't know).

The University of Washington Huskies are #5. Texas A&M is #4, even though they are 7-1 and the Huskies are 8-0. The general feeling is the strength of schedule is what hurt UW. Those three easy, at-home games we played at the beginning of the season against Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State.

However, if the Huskies manage to go 12-0, which they have a good chance of doing now that they beat Utah, the selection committee would be hard pressed not to have them at least #4 and in the playoffs.

Probably the next tough team they are going to play is the Washington State Cougars in the Apple
Cup. The game is in Pullman, which makes it harder to win. The Cougars are in second place in the Pac-12 North (under the Huskies) with a 6-2 record but are 5-0 in conference, just like the Huskies. The Cougars are looking better and better as the season goes on. And it is well known in Washington State that the Apple Cup is always a game unto itself. One year Washington was vying for Conference Champion and the Cougars were the doormat of the conference, and they still beat the Huskies in a very snowy game in Pullman.

So we have to watch the FBS poll from now on.

This Saturday the Huskies take on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley. Then they come home for two games (USC and Arizona State) then the travel to the Palouse to play the Cougs the day after Thanksgiving. Then a week later (December 2nd) is the Pac-12 championship game between the winner of the North Division and the South Division. I'm planning on the Huskies being in that game.

Oh, and the only other Pac-12 teams ranked by the FBS Selection Committee are Colorado (don't play this year), Utah (already beat), and Washington State.