Thursday, March 31, 2005

Big things brewing on '24'

Check out this news release issued today by Fox...

Thursday, March 31, 2005


Can’t-Miss Episode Reveals Shocking Plot

As the fourth season of FOX’s acclaimed drama series 24 intensifies, the most riveting and pivotal episode yet, “Day 4: 10:00 PM-11:00 PM,” airs Monday, April 4 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) with special encores Friday, April 8 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Sunday, April 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). The episode is so gripping that two additional airings have been scheduled to ensure viewers an opportunity to catch this critical and controversial turning point. Leading into the final heart-stopping hours, this episode will leave viewers gasping and is certain to be the most talked-about hour in the show’s four thrilling seasons.

After triggering a fatal train crash, kidnapping the Secretary of Defense and setting off a chain-reaction meltdown of the nation’s nuclear power plants as well as detonating an EMP bomb, criminal mastermind Habib Marwan’s (Arnold Vosloo) worst terrorist threat is yet to come. In last Monday’s episode, "Day 4: 9:00 PM-10:00 PM," Marwan diverted the attention of CTU operatives with a hostage exchange of captive CTU super-agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) for witness-protected Behrooz Araz (Jonathan Ahdout). The diversion allowed defector and former Air Force pilot Mitch Anderson (Ned Vaugh) to successfully steal an F-117A Stealth fighter jet.

In “Day 4: 10:00 PM-11:00 PM,” the plot takes a terrifying turn as Marwan sets his sights on his most momentous and potentially devastating target – an outcome that agent Bauer might not be able to prevent. Meanwhile, President Keeler (Geoff Pierson) wants to address the nation before the 11 o’clock news.

24, created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, is a production of Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television in association with Real Time Productions. Brian Grazer, Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Howard Gordon and Evan Katz are the executive producers. Kiefer Sutherland is a co-executive producer.


Well, that was quick

Outpost Gallifrey: New Doctor Who Series News Page
The good news: after airing only one episode, the BBC has confirmed the new "Doctor Who" has been picked up for a second season.

The bad news: the BBC also confirms Christopher Eccleston will NOT be returning after season one ends. This makes his tenure in the role the second-shortest, behind Paul McGann who only appeared on-screen once in the 1996 TV movie (but did lend his voice to several audio productions).

The BBC says they are in talks with someone I've never heard of named David Tenant to become the 10th Doctor.

Monday, March 28, 2005

More strange news from Binghamton

I have no connection to the Binghamton area. I just like news of the weird and unusual and it's coincidence that so much of it is from Binghamton. Here's the latest...

Police: Obscenity forcibly tattooed on teen's forehead
NORWICH, N.Y. (AP) - Police near Binghamton say you can't miss it. A bold, black ink obscenity tattooed on the forehead of a 17-year-old boy.

The youth walked into a local police station Friday and told officers he'd been held down by a man and another teen while they forcibly tattooed the vulgarity.

Norwich police officer Craig Berry told Binghamton radio station W-N-B-F the victim was "very upset and embarrassed."

Berry declined to describe tattoo except to say it's "very obscene."

Berry says it's a "permanent" tattoo in the middle of the boy's forehead. He says it's not going to wear off, so plastic surgery or a laser process likely would be needed to remove the ink.

Twenty-three-year-old Kenneth Peer, of South New Berlin, and a 17-year-old boy from Earlville, were charged with felony assault and unlawful imprisonment. Police were withholding the name of the 17-year-old, who was charged as a youthful offender because of his age.

They're being held in Chenango County jail on 25-thousand dollars bail.
Police have not established a motive for the attack, in which a homemade tattooing instrument was used.

(Bob Joseph, WNBF, Binghamton)

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Sorority Gets the Boot

Another Greek organization at Plattsburgh State bites the dust...

Plattsburgh State sorority kicked off campus for hazing

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - A Plattsburgh State sorority - on probation for aiding a fraternity charged in a 2003 hazing death - has been permanently kicked off campus for hazing its own pledges.

Officials say Phi Kappa Chi sorority hazed pledges by blindfolding them, which is in violation of the college's regulations covering student clubs and organizations.

The group was also found in violation for allowing an ineligible student to participate in the initiation process.

Phi Kappa Chi was the college's last sorority without any ties to any national Greek organization. The sorority was on probation during the spring 2004 semester when the latest violations occurred.

In late 2003, Phi Kappa Chi was suspended for aiding fraternity Psi Epsilon Chi, the banned local fraternity that 18-year-old Walter Dean Jennings was pledging when he died of water-intoxication in March 2003.

As a local organization, Phi Kappa Chi will never be allowed to return to campus.

Around 13 fraternities and sororities are still operating at the college.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

Very happy Easter eggs. Posted by Hello

With the exception of Kris having a nasty cold, we had a great Easter. The kids came downstairs around to 6:45 a.m. to see what the Easter Bunny brought them. By 7:05 a.m. all of their gifts were torn into and all of the eggs were found (the eggs were hidden in our new basement room this year).

Church was very nice. The kids were very well behaved, which is a good thing since we had to sit up front today. Kris' friend Sunny, her running partner during the marathon last October, was confirmed today and Kris was her sponsor.

Went up to my mom's house this afternoon for dinner. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins.

The Rooney family in their Sunday best. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005


I've been caught in a dishonest act by a Radio Shack employee.

I've been meaning to mention that, despite our well documented nightmare with AT&T CallVantage (here, here, here and here), we're taking another stab VOIP telephone service. This time we signed up with Vonage. After a few weeks, there have been no problems to report.

Once again, we have to plug our phone into a special router that is connected to our cable modem. Like with CallVantage, this would mean that we could only have one phone for the who house. Except this time, on the advice of one of the guys working on our new basement, I decided to wire the router directly to the telephone junction box in the basement. This would allow us to still be able to use all of the phone jacks in the house as long as I first disconnected the box from the outside phone line (are you still with me).

To help me out, the basement guys ran a phone wire up through the floor near our computer so I could plug into the router. The only problem was that the wire was left without any connector on it.

Those connectors can really only be attached to a phone wire with a special crimping tool. So I went to Radio Shack and bought a box of connectors and the tool.

I felt a little bad blowing $11 on a tool I figured I would only use once. But then I realized that the packaging was such that it would be very easy to put it back together without it looking like I ever even took the tool out. So after I was finished with it, I figured I could just return it.

I finally got around to taking the tool and the receipt to the Radio Shack near work today. I walked in and told the clerk I wanted to make a return.

"Is there any problem with it?" he asked.

"Nope, I just didn't need it," I answered.

"But you needed the ends," he said, glancing down at the receipt.

"Excuse me?"

"You needed the ends," he repeated.

It took a few seconds for me to realize what he was talking about. Then it dawned on me. The connectors were on the same receipt. They're pretty much useless without the crimping tool, and yet I wasn't returning those.

"Oh, well it turns out I already had a tool like this one," I said trying to think quick on my feet.

The clerk told me they see a lot of people trying to return tools after they're done using them. I'm not sure if he bought my story or not, but he went ahead and processed my return anyway.

Don't think any less of me!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Smart kid, dumb mom

Mom trying to prove she was sober winds up arrested for DWI
ALBION, N.Y. (AP) - When Diane Viza got into an argument with her son over whether she was sober, she drove to the local police station asked to take a sobriety test.

That turned out to be a bad idea.

The 45-year-old woman was charged with driving while intoxicated after she showed up at the police station in the Orleans County village of Albion and asked officers to administer a breath test.

The unusual request came after she had picked up her son at a friend's house and got into an argument with him because he suspected she had been drinking.
Viza is due back in village court on April 12th.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Stupid criminal of the week

Is Binghamton some sort of nexus for goofy news stories in New York state? First there was the guy who slathered his hotel room in Vaseline. Then there was the kid who put a hunk of sheep's brain in the school cafeteria salad. And let's not forget the fuss over the penis snow sculpture. Now there is this:

Man nabbed with pot after not buckling up driving from jail
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) - A visit to a relative in an upstate jail lands a Binghamton man right back behind bars -- this time as an inmate.

Authorities say 21-year-old Knud Knight's trouble started when a sheriff's deputy noticed he wasn't buckled up as he left the Broome County Jail parking lot.

The deputy pulled Knight over. He admitted he didn't have a driver's license. Then, police say, he fled on foot.

When deputies caught up with Knight, they found he had some marijuana on him.

Knight wound up being charged with driving without a license, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana -- and not wearing a seat belt.

He's being held at the jail on a thousand dollars bail.

(Bob Joseph, WNBF, Binghamton)

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Doomsday device

Solar Death Ray

From the Too Much Free Time Department:
Someone has built there very own "Solar Death Ray" and given it a home on the Internet. Like a miniature version of a Bond villain's secret weapon, the Solar Death Ray is a collection of mirrors all focused on a single point.

At you can see what happens when such items as a rubber duck, a Hootie and Blowfish tape and a robot dog are exposed to the death ray's awesome power!

Thanks, Marc.

Boil, boil, toil and trouble

Moviefone: 'Bewitched' Movie Exclusives
First came the news that after years of development hell, a movie version of "Bewitched" would finally be made with Nicole Kidman and Will Farrell. Ok, that doesn't sound too bad.

Then I heard about the premise. The movie was going to be about a remake of "Bewitched." Kidman and Farrell were going to play actors who play Samantha and Darren. The catch being that no one realizes Kidman's character really is a witch. This, I thought, sounded like a terrible idea.

Then I saw the trailer today. It actually doesn't look that bad if you like Will Farrell, since it pretty much seems to be his movie. One highlight his him ranting on the phone, probably to his agent, about his stalling career. He yells, "I'm Darren. On the TV show they replaced Darren and no one noticed! I'm Darren!!!"

'Enterprise' finale plot released

UPN Releases 'Terra Prime,' Finale Plot Details:
Here's the scoop on the final episode of "Enterprise" according to TrekToday...

"These Are The Voyages..." will be set six years after the other fourth-season episodes, and will see Archer and the rest of the crew return home for the decommissioning of the Enterprise, as well as the signing of the Federation charter. UPN has officially confirmed that Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) will appear on the Enterprise finale, in a sequence set on the holodeck.

Brent Spiner has also stated that he has an off-camera speaking part in the episode, which means we'll most likely hear Data over the intercom speaking to Riker and Troi.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sound asleep

Thomas and Chester travel in luxury. Posted by Hello

I just came across this photo I should have posted sooner. This was taken a couple of weeks ago while en route to visit Kris' parents in Moira. Don't you wish you could sleep that easily in the car?

The three musketeers

A movie, the Easter Bunny and race cars: what more cuold you want? Posted by Hello

Unfortunatley, the camera on my phone doesn't take the best pictures, especially in bright settings. But here are Brendan, Danny and Nolan with their Bunny ears posing in front of one of the race cars on display at the mall last weekend.

Movie mania

I took Nolan and two of his friends to the movies Saturday afternoon to see “Robots.” A few people commented that they thought I was nuts, brave, etc. to take three 4-year-old boys to the movies by myself, but it really wasn’t that bad. They were pretty easy to manage.

We were watching Nolan’s friend Danny and his little sister Stephanie that day while their parents were out house hunting. So I thought Kris had the harder job, trying to get Thomas and Stephanie to nap at the same time.

I was already planning on taking Nolan and Danny to the movies. Then Kris suggested checking to see if Nolan’s friend Brendan could some too. I thought, sure, why not? Kris wondered if I could handle all three kids and I reminded her that she was the one who suggested it.

“Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d say yes,” she said.

The movie was decent. Parts of it seemed reminiscent of “Monsters, Inc.,” which was a much better movie.

What was more fun was watching the kids watch the movie. Before the lights went down I reminded all of them to let me know if they needed to use the potty and we could go outside.

“Outside?” one of them asked.

“Well, no, not outside. But there’s a bathroom out where we came in,” I clarified.

But one of Nolan’s friends proudly declared for the whole theater to hear, “I tinkle outside! I tinkle on the grass with my daddy!”

Then we saw the preview for “Star Wars: Episode III.” Nolan hasn’t seen any of the Star Wars movies yet, but got very excited when Yoda appeared on the screen.

“Hey, I’ve got him! Yoda!” he said, referring to my old Yoda hand puppet that now sits on top of his book case in his room.

I’m not sure if Brendan knew who Yoda was, but he shared Nolan’s excitement, yelling, “Yeah! Yoga! Yay, Yoga!”

Danny remained pretty quiet throughout the movie, but Nolan and Brendan were a little chatty. Then, during the movie’s big climax, the three of them all stared at the screen in silence, transfixed by the action.

Finally, Nolan asked, “What happened to that guy?”

“I don’t know,” Brendan answered, “but I’m still stuck in this chair.”

It was then that I noticed the theater chair had folded up on top of Brendan who was stuck in the seat.

After the movie we paid a visit to the Easter Bunny and took in the sights of some race cars that were on display in the mall.

On Sunday, we decided to let Nolan watch “The Lion King” for the first time. Most people we know don’t seem to have any reservation about letting their kids watch this movie, but for some reason we always sheltered Nolan from it. After all, the death of Mufasa is pretty heavy and the fight at the end between Simba and Scar is kind of violent.

But we decided Nolan was old enough, as long as we sat there and watched it with him. He doesn’t seem scarred for life so far.

The funny thing is, we always worried that Nolan was too young to watch it before, but now here was Thomas sitting right there with Nolan watching it now. Although I think he’s still young enough that a lot what’s on TV sails right over his head.

Today a friend at work loaned me a copy of “The Incredibles.” I’ve been dying to see this one myself. So we’ll watch this later this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Doctor is in

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

You’ve got to love the Internet. I just got done watching the first episode of the new “Doctor Who” series.

I figured I’d never get to see the show – or at least not for a long time. It’s set to debut on the BBC later this month, but there is still no word where or if it will ever be seen in the United States.

However, I read earlier this week that the first episode had leaked out on the Internet. I managed to find it yesterday, but had trouble downloading it. I took another crack at downloading today and was successful. Although at nearly 350 MB, it took almost the entire day to download. I started the download around 11 a.m. and it was finished around 5 p.m.

The episode was pretty good. There is still plenty to nitpick about, but I think any “Doctor Who” fan that put up with the cheesiness of the original series will still enjoy it.

The production values are head and shoulders above the old show, but still seem a little low budget by 2005 standards. There were some CGI effects that didn’t quite hit home.

However, I think the biggest improvement was a very subtle effect: whether someone was standing on the inside or the outside, you could now see through the TARDIS doors to whatever is on the other side. If the Doctor is standing in the doorway, you can see the vast control room behind him. Or when he opens the doors to exit you can see the world he’s walking into.

As for the Doctor himself, Christopher Eccleston plays the character much more light hearted and humorous than I expected. I’m not that familiar with the actor and in the publicity photos I’ve seen so far he always looks fairly serious. But he actually has a wit you can’t help but compare to Tom Baker.

A good part of the plot revolves around introducing the Doctor’s new companion, Rose Tyler, and re-introducing the Doctor to us through her eyes.

There is a rather odd choice of villains for the episode. They bring back the Autons, who first appeared in a Jon Pertwee episode back in 1971. They’re an alien intelligence cable controlling anything plastic. Before you know it, department store mannequins everywhere are coming to life and attacking. That’s pretty much what happened in the original episode, except that one also featured the Master. There is no reference to the original episode or any explanation for why the Autons have returned.

In fact there are few references to the original series. The episode begins with the ninth Doctor already in place. I read that they deliberately decided not to start with a regeneration scene. The concern was that if they tied the new show in too closely with the original show they would risk alienating younger viewers who may have never watched it. Yet there was a scene where the Doctor pauses to glance at himself in a mirror and mutters, “Could have been worse,” and makes some sort of comment about his ears, seeming to imply that he only recently regenerated.

The Doctor’s moment with the mirror lasts only a few seconds, and seemed clever at the time, but was enough to spoil another scene later in the episode. As she tries to find out more about who this Doctor guy is, Rose meets with an Internet conspiracy nut who runs a Web site dedicated to the Doctor. He shows her photos of the Doctor from throughout history: the Doctor at the JFK assignation, the Doctor posing with a family moments before the Titanic launches, etc. Yet all of the photos are of the ninth Doctor. He’s been around a lot for a newly regenerated Time Lord.

Everyone's favorite writer's device, the sonic screwdriver, returns.

There was another reference to classic “Who.” The long-absent sonic screwdriver appears frequently throughout the episode.

Another nitpick: why does every store in London have the same style mannequins?

I should mention that the episode I saw appeared to be complete. However, the newly recorded version of the classic theme song wasn’t in place yet. Instead, the old Tom Baker-era music was being used. Also, the opening sequence was okay, but nothing to write home about.

All the same, for a “Doctor Who” fan, the episode was fun. I hope to see more of the show in the future, although I’m not sure if I’ll go to the trouble of downloading it every week.

Letterman kidnapping plot foiled

Margaret Ray had nothing to do with this one. You may recall that back in the 1980s David Letterman was the subject of a stalker who told people she was "Mrs. David Letterman." She committed suicide in 1998.

Now comes the frightening news that someone else was plotting to kidnap Dave's 16-month-old son.

Man charged with plotting to kidnap Letterman's child, nanny

By JOHN MacDONALD Associated Press Writer

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Authorities have arrested a man on allegations he was plotting to kidnap David Letterman's young son and nanny from the talk-show host's Montana home.

Sally Hilander, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections, identified the suspect - who was under state supervision for a previous crime - as Kelly A. Frank.

The plot was uncovered when someone whom Frank had approached about the plan informed local police, Hilander said. Frank was in custody on a felony charge of solicitation.

Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for Letterman's production company World Wide Pants, said he could not immediately comment or say whether Letterman or his family was in Montana at the time of Frank's arrest.

Mike Ferriter of the state Department of Corrections said Frank, 43, was arrested Sunday and arraigned Thursday. He had been working as a painter at Letterman's ranch west of Choteau in northcentral Montana, Ferriter said.

"An individual was approached by Mr. Frank, an acquaintance of some kind, about his thought on the kidnapping, and (Frank) shared his idea with this individual," Ferriter said. "I'm not sure if he asked him to assist or be a part of it. "

Letterman's girlfriend, Regina Lasko, gave birth to their son on Nov. 3, 2003. Letterman said that the boy, his first child, was named after his late father, Harry Joseph Letterman.

The comedian who hosts CBS' "Late Show" bought the 2,700-acre spread in 1999.

Letterman's ranch is along the edge of the rugged Rocky Mountain Front, an area known for its pristine wildlife habitats and home to wolves, eagles and grizzly bears. In September 2003, a black bear broke into Letterman's home twice before being captured and relocated after returning a third time.

For years, Letterman was famously targeted by a stalker, who called herself "Mrs. David Letterman" and broke into his Connecticut house at least seven times.

Margaret Ray eventually pleaded guilty to breaking and entering. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she served 10 months in prison and 14 months in a mental institution. In 1998, she committed suicide at age 46 by kneeling in front of a train.
Associated Press Writer Len Iwanski contributed to this story.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sorry I’ve been so out of touch lately. Various factors have kept me away.

First, Kris’ grandmother passed away last week. Ironically, we were already planning to go visit her family last weekend. However, that trip was moved up a few days. Then when I came back to work this week I had plenty of catch-up to play to make up for being absent two days last week.

Then I’ve hardly touched the computer at home because I’ve been so wrapped up in Michael Crichton’s latest novel, “State of Fear.”

Some highlights that past during my absence:

  • If you haven’t checked out the new trailer for “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” then by all means, what are you waiting for? This movie looks like it’s going to kick serious ass.

  • Congratulations to the cast and crew of Niskayuna High School's production of "Les Miserables." My boss' son, Jesse Conti, brought the house down with his performance as Jean Valjean. I attended one of the shows to help my boss videotape the production. We had a four-camera shoot, which he then edits together on his system at home. He just gave me my copy of the DVD on Monday (it comes complete with bonus material) and it looks great. We never had anything like that in my day (I played Mr. Sowerberry, the funeral director, in the 1990 production of "Oliver!").

  • Tuesday night I attended a Plattsburgh State Alumni Admissions Reception in Albany. I joined Pete Ensel (head of the communications department), various college bigwigs, some current Plattsburgh students and numerous local alumni. We all hob knobbed with high school kids and their parents and did our best to convince them to go to Plattsburgh. It was kind of fun. Look for the group photo of all of the alumni in an upcoming issue of Plattsburgh Magazine.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Not enough time

I was reading a really good book called "The Memory of Running," but unfortunately I had to return it to the library today before I could finish it. And just whenI was getting to a good part too.

The book is a new release, which you only get for 14 days and can't renew. The woman at the library tonight said she would've renewed it for me anyway, but I had requested it from a different library. So she had to take it back. I'm now back on the reserve list and looks like I'll get my chance to finish it in about 10 weeks.

The book is about a man named Smithy Ide. He's a 47-year-old, 279-pound loser. He smokes too much, drinks too much and has no friends.

Growing up in Rhode Island he was very close to his older sister. However, she was mentally ill and one day the voice in her head took over and she wandered off, never to be heard from again.

As the book begins, Smithy's parents are killed in a car crash. While he's at his parents' house settling up their afffairs a letter comes addressed to his father. It turns out his sister has been found. She was homeless in Los Angeles and is now dead too. Her body is in the county morgue waiting for someone to claim it.

Smithy is devastated. He wanders into his parents' garage and spots his beloved boyhood bicycle. For watever reason, he decides to take it for a ride, maybe just to clear his head -- and he never stops. He winds up riding across the country to claim his sister in L.A.

Along the way he meets all sorts of different people -- good and bad -- and has various adventures. He also starts to learn how to live a better life and be a better person.

I was about two-thirds through the book. Smithy had gotten as far as St. Louis.

The book is the first novel from Ron McLarty. If the name isn't familiar, you would probably know his face if you saw him. He's a character actor probably best known for playing Sgt. Frank Belson on "Spenser: Fore Hire" and he pops up from time to time as a judge on "Law & Order."

I've now moved on to "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. He's one of my favorite authors. I only have two weeks for this one too, but I usually breeze through Crichton books. His last few have been real page turners.

Home Improvement, Part 8

Don't these stairs look like they'd be comfy to walk on in your bare feet? Posted by Hello

The basement stairs were finally carpeted today. This brings an end to our basement renovation project, at least as far as bringing in outside workmen to do things. Really all that's left is some furnishing. We still need to buy some furniture, a new TV and some more of those spiffy shelving units.

As for all that excess carpet I was griping about, we're going to make good use of that. As I told Shannon in the comments section of Part 7, we're going to use the excess to carpet our upstairs staircase and part of our foyer. We had been wanting to make a change to that area anyway, and the installer guy measured it out today and verified for us that we had enough with the excess we were screwed over with. The Carpet King even agreed to give us break on getting our excess piece bound before it's intalled.

'Revenge of the Sith' poster revealed

This has been a big week for scifi-fantasy related artwork being revealed. First there was the debut of the cover to new Harry Potter novel and now... the final poster for "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."

Posted by Hello

The poster was painted by Drew Struzan, who I have been a fan of for years. Back when I worked at the Mohawk Mall movie theater in high school and college, Struzan's posters were always my favorites. I snatched up as many of them as I could, including all three "Back to the Future" posters and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Struzan painted the posters for the other Star Wars prequel films as well as the Special Edition releases in 1997.

It's always bothered me that Lucasfilm hasn't stuck with Struzan's posters for the covers of the DVD versions of the films.

UPDATE: As of 10:30 p.m. there appears to be some sort of problem with, where I was linking to the poster image from (as well as many other people). So I found another copy of it on another site, and just to be safe I saved it and uploaded my own copy to Hello, Blogger's image hosting service. So it shouldn't be going anywhere now.

Spike TV 'Enterprise' speculation shot down

TrekToday - Paramount Not Shopping 'Enterprise' To Spike
According to TrekToday, while a Spike TV spokeswoman said the cable channel would consider picking up "Enterprise," she clarified that that's only if the show is offered to them, which it hasn't been. And it appears it won't be.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Home Improvement, Part 7

No pictures this time. Nothing to take pictures of. The carpet on the stairs was not completed today.

The installer was supposed to be at our house at 8:30 a.m. today. But the weather was pretty rough in our neck of the woods, with icy roads, snow and wind. He was coming from Clifton Park and couldn't make the trip.

The problem is, he doesn't have my phone number and I don't have his. We do all of our dealing through the Carpet King. So he called the King and left him message at his store. Of course, the store doesn't open until 10 a.m.

After the guy was more than an hour late -- again -- I called the King to find out what was going on. He soon called me back after getting the message.

Now we're set up for the installer to come tomorrow morning. Except the King was supposed to call me today to let me know exactly what time -- and he never did. So I'm assuming the installer is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned...

6th 'Potter' covers revealed

Illustrator puts a bit of herself on Potter cover
The cover artwork for both the American and U.K. editions of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" were released today.

MSNBC has an interesting interview with Mary GrandPre, the illustrator who has drawn all of the American covers as well as the chapter artwork.

Is there hope for 'Enterprise'?

Enterprise To Get Spiked?
I know, I know, I should have gone to bed hours ago. But I wanted to share this tidbit of "Enterprise" news. SciFi Wire is quoting a Boston Herlad report saying Spike TV is considering picking up "Enterprise" for a fifth season.

Meanwhile, over at TrekToday, their quoting a Toronto Star interview with Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) in which she says she's been pleasantly surprised with season four's scripts and all of their refrences to the original "Star Trek" series. However, she calls the final episode, penned by Trek honchos Rick Berman and Brannon Braga "apalling."

Identifying herself as a fan of the original series, Blalock said that doing scripts that make so many references to the original series has been "a treat, a joy to do" this season. "It was an unexpected surprise to have the scripts that we was fun to come to work again." However, asked about the series finale, written by longtime executive producers Rick Berman & Brannon Braga, Blalock said, "I don't know where to begin with that one...the final episode is...appalling."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Home Improvement, Part 6

Whenever you take on a project like this, you have to expect to hit a snag at some point. Things have been going remarkably smooth with our basement renovation. But late last week, we hit our snag.

When it came time for choosing a carpet for the room we shopped around. The first store we went to gave us a rough estimate based on my approximate measurements that was about double what we figured we’d spend on carpeting. So we went to another store. Their carpet was nicer and overall we got a better vibe from the store. Plus, it was less expensive – still more than we hoped to spend, but not as much as the first place.

We thought we were all set, but then we saw an ad in the paper for another store promising great sale prices. With a name like “Carpet King” you would think we would have known better.

At first we figured the price would be a lot lower. However, after talking to the Carpet King we realized that in the end it would still be pretty close to the store we were going to use. What sold us, besides the slightly lower price, was the fancy-shmancy mat to go under the rug. It’s supposed to be water-resistant and do all sorts of other great things. In a pinch, I think they can use it to line the bottom of the space shuttle to protect it on re-entry.

So the King of Carpets sent one of his minions over to take measurements in our basement and give us the final price. I kid you not, his name was George Bush. The King uses subcontractors to install the carpet. So we would have to pay him upfront for the rug and then pay the installer separately.

The first sign of trouble came when were told the carpet wouldn’t be ready on time. It was supposed to go in on Thursday. Actually, the rug was ready, but the space-age mat wasn’t in yet. So we had to put things off until Friday.

After re-arranging our schedules some to accommodate the installers came our second sign of trouble. The installers showed up an hour late Friday morning. They seemed a little gruffer than most of the other guys who have been in and out of our basement over the past few weeks. One of them was clearly the guy in charge while the other was the Teller to his Penn and barely said a word.

Now, our carpenter recommended to us that on the stairs we have carpet go up over the stringers (the sides of the stairs). This was mentioned to George Bush when he was here. However, it was news to the installers who informed us it would cost an extra $80 for them to do it that way. I insisted this wasn’t the price we agreed to, but the boss installer stood his ground. When I said I’d like to call the King and see if I could work something out, he politely said fine and left. He told me that it wasn’t worth his time to do the job for any lower price. He said the King had someone who could install it for less, but he insinuated that the quality wouldn’t be as good.

Before long I was on the phone with the King and we managed to haggle out a new price. The only other option was to have George Bush, the guy being blamed for giving us the wrong price in the first place, be the one who would come install the carpet for a lower price. The King confided in me that George wasn’t very good, which had me wondering why he was working for the King in the first place. Anyway, we settled on a new price and within an hour after leaving our house the installers were back and began putting the carpet in.

Cushy brown carpet now covers our basement floor. Posted by Hello

They finished the floor and then set to work on the stairs, beginning with the stringers. However, what our carpenter didn’t realize when he suggested carpeting the stringers was that it wouldn’t work well with the commercial grade carpeting we picked out. The boss installer brought it to our attention after they started working on it, and sure enough, it looked like crap. So after all that drama over the extra charge for carpeting the stringers, we told them to forget about it.

However, this would mean having to spackle and paint the stringers and installing some trim on the top. The installers wouldn’t finish the job until Tuesday, pointing out that we were better off doing our painting first.

So Kris painted the stringers over the weekend. Our carpenter came back today to install the trim and I painted that tonight. The carpet installers should be back tomorrow to finish the job.

These stairs were the cause of some carpet controversy. Posted by Hello

But it doesn’t end there. I don’t know if George Bush took lousy measurements or what, but we have a ton of excess carpet left over that we seem to be stuck with. The agreement we signed with the King says “no returns.” So if you would like a big piece of commercial grade carpeting, I can hook you up.

The toys and books that have been overtaking our house have a new home.
Posted by Hello

Meanwhile, Kris went out over the weekend and bought some of the shelving units we wanted and put them up. Now most of the kids’ toys as well as all of our books and photo albums have been moved downstairs.

We have a chest that we use as a coffee table in our living room. Before we had kids, we used to keep blankets in it. But for the last four and a half years it’s served as a toy box. Kris emptied it out, brought all those toys downstairs last night and returned the blankets. I did not think this would go over well with Nolan.

This morning, while watching TV, Nolan hopped down from the couch and opened up the chest, probably looking for a Rescue Hero to play with. He was surprised to find the blankets and his toys gone. I explained to him that his toys were in the new room now. Much to my surprise he seemed to think that made sense and had no problem with it all.

Doctor in distress

DOCTOR WHO Dreadful??
What, Where and Why??

These two reviews posted on AICN further lower my expectations, assuming I'll ever get to see the show...

Diagnosing the new 'Doctor Who' >> The New DOCTOR WHO:
"Word is that Sci-Fi Channel declined to acquire this new DOCTOR WHO series. And I can see why. It's too damned English. As Rich Johnston said to me tonight, it's your actual English family sci-fi show. There's no way it'd fit on Sci-Fi. I imagine, to be honest, it's going to bypass much of the American audience..."

Comic book writer and author Warren Ellis has seen the pilot for the new "Doctor Who" series that debuts later this month on the BBC. He's posted a review of it on his site.

The review is mostly positive, but far from glowing.

As for the quoted comment above, it was reported last week that the SciFi Channel got a look at the show and passed on it.

I find it hard to believe the show won't turn up somewhere in the United States, since there is such a large "Doctor Who" following over here. But I've read that you can pretty much rule out the show returning to PBS because the BBC is charging way too much for it. I've also heard that the BBC is trying to sell it as a package deal -- if you want the new series, you also have to buy the original series as well. That might be a bit more "Doctor Who" than many U.S. networks are willing to swallow, and I can't say I blame them (I don't know if this BBC demand is true).

At this point, it's looking more likely that if it's going to appear in the States it will be on BBC America, which sucks because I don't get that channel.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Spring is in the air

My cell phone just buzzed with the first Yankee score of the year. That's always a good feeling.

Of course, it would be a better feeling if they'd actually won.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A long time ago, in a county far, far away...

'Star Wars' Trailer to Premiere March 10
I have never watched "The O.C." before and have never had any intention to -- until now. The new trailer for "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" will debut during the Fox show on March 10.

Maybe I can just tape and scan through the show to the commercial breaks.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Home Improvement, Part 5

We had quite the busy weekend. So I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind with updates on our little project. A lot has happened.

The taping guy finished on Wednesday or Thursday and the contractors were back to do some more work on Friday. They gave us the green light to paint over the weekend.

Kris is the chief painter in our house. She did most of the work. I helped out when I could, but mostly I had kid duty. Nolan did help paint some. But Saturday afternoon we shipped him up to my mom’s house during Thomas’ nap so we could both work in the basement without any small people around. On Sunday we lucked out and Nolan took a rare afternoon nap.

All primed and ready for paint. Posted by Hello

Saturday was spent mostly priming. The walls were all primed by late afternoon and Kris started working on the ceiling and cutting in on all of the edges.

Unfortunately, after dinner we determined that the ceiling needed a second coat, which meant a prime time trip to Lowe’s. They have this crazy new ceiling paint that goes on purple, but dries white. However, I played it safe and stuck the regular stuff.

The happy painting crew. Posted by Hello

The contractors had dropped all of the molding off on Friday, but hadn’t installed any of it yet. While Kris finished up the ceiling, I gave the molding its first coat. We were working down there until about 10 p.m.

On Sunday Kris started painting the walls. Once again, we were hoping we could get by with one coat, but that never happens, does it? So it was back to Lowe’s again to buy more paint.

In the afternoon, while Kris painted the walls I took all of the windows out, cleaned them and installed the screens on the ones that didn’t have screens yet. Installing those new windows was the first improvement we ever made to the house when we moved in back in 1997, and they hadn’t been cleaned since.

Then as Kris continued working on the walls, I – wonder or wonders, mark this date down – actually made dinner (gasp!).

After the kids went to bed, Kris finished the walls and we gave the molding its second coat. We were finished working by 9 p.m.

Let there be paint! Posted by Hello

On Monday the contractors were back to finish up their work. They installed the doors, the molding and finished off all of the outlets and light fixtures.

Today Kris painted the doors and touched up a few other spots.

Chester checks out the new room. Posted by Hello

On Thursday the carpet will be installed and we’ll be done! Of course, by then we won’t have any money left to actually furnish the room, but we’ll get there…