Xyon's Rambles

Sunday, October 26, 2003

5:33 PM

VOLS take BAMA out in 5th OT

Picking up in the 4th quarter, just over 2:00 to go, and the score 20-13 Bama.

3rd down and Alabama needs ~8 yards for a first down. They get 7 & 7/8 yards - short by a few inches. They try a little trickery by acting like they are going to go for the 1st down, then a the last minute they run on the punting unit. This almost get TN a penalty for 13 men on the field, but before they snap the ball - the last guy gets off just in time. What this does do is prevent TN from being able to return the punt and they fair catch it on the 24yd line.

Tennessee, without any timeouts left, puts on an impressive drive of 76 yards and scores to tie the score (20-20) with ~26 seconds left on the clock.

Tennessee decides to "pooch" kick the kickoff. The Alabama player returns the ball just past the 50 yard line. The player to start slowing him down is the kicker and he gets called for a facemask penalty. If he didn't do the penalty, the player might have run for a winning touchdown. So tack on 15 more yards and Alabama has it 1st and 10 on the Tennessee 35. One quick running play, to get the ball in the middle of the field, is all 'Bama have time for and try a 45 yard field goal to win the game. A high snap and being partially blocked prevents the ball from going through the uprights and it falls short.

20-20 end regulation


1st OT -

Tennessee Scores Touchdown without too much trouble and kick the extra point.

Alabama drives down to the 8 yard line. The next 3 plays are failed attempts to get in the endzone and they are faced with 4th and goal from the 8 yard line. A perfectly thrown pass later and the Tide is kicking the extra point to send the game on to the next OT.

27-27 - end 1st OT

2 OT -

Alabama has the ball first and drives down and scores a touchdown with an extra point (kick) and then it is the VOLS turn.

Tennessee gets sacked on first down - pushing them back 9 yards. The second and third down plays fail and they are looking at 4th and 19. The down starts and they pass the ball down to the 6 yard line securing the 1st down. 1st and Goal, the VOLS pass the ball over the middle into the endzone where it is tipped by an Alabama player and lands in the hands of Tennesee (Martin). After Tennessee kicks the extra point they go to the 3rd OT.

34-34 end 2 OT

3rd OT - Now the teams have to try a 2-point conversion after making a touch down instead of kicking for 1...

Tennessee come out first and completes a 25 yard touchdown pass but miss the 2-point conversion.

Alabama also scores a touchdown and is forced to go for 2. Alabama passes the ball over the middle trying to win the game but it is intercepted by the VOL defense sending it to a 4th OT.

40-40 end 3rd OT

4th OT -

This overtime has BOTH teams getting field goal to send it to the final overtime period.

43-43 end 4th OT

5th (Final)

Tennessee drives toward the endzone. After a couple of running plays, the Vols are looking at 1st and 10 from the 10.2 line (still possible to get a first down). After a 3 yard pick up, the VOLS get a break as 'Bama is called for off-sides. Now it is 2nd and 4 yards to a first down - 4.2 yards to a TD - Claussen (VOLS QB) is uncharacteristically running around the right side and when he gets near the sideline he dives for the endzone. The ball goes on the inside of the marker at the endzone and barely crosses the line. It should have been a touchdown, but was a 1st down. The next play the VOLS score AND get the 2-point conversion.

Alabama is finally stopped as it looked as if their offensive line collapsed on a few plays allowing the TN defense to stop the running game. The last 4th down play of the game had TN successfully defending a pass into the endzone.

Final Score 51-43 (5OT)

SHEW! Great game to watch. The best football was during OT - and most of the football during regulation was very, very sloppy.

I have to give nods to the Alabama QB - he played with shoulder injury all day and night. Every time he was hit he had pain and continued to play on - ALMOST leading his team to a win. I thought that Sean Williams would be the TN's biggest threat (and he was a big threat) but the QB was the real threat.


Saturday, October 25, 2003

1:46 PM

Some More Picture at the Neil Gaiman Reading

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

8:55 AM

Gaiman Reading

This past Saturday I travelled to Charlotte to attend the Novello Festival of Reading with featured author Neil Gaiman.

My mother joined me for the ride to Charlotte saturday morning. We enjoyed a great lunch at a brewery in the downtown area. Mom had a Atkins power salad and I had pork chops with white cheddar mashed potatoes, grean peas (unshelled and sautéed in olive oil and herbs), with a garnish of cranberries, apples, and cinnamon delight.

After lunch we headed to the Concord area to find a store for Mom. We were told that that a strip mall there might have a Nordstroms (sp?) store where she thought they would have Bobbi Brown makeup which I learned more about than I would have normally have liked... Anyway, there wasn't a store there like we had been told so we turned around and went back to find out hotel. Our hotel was off I-77 on the south side of Charlotte. After we had checked in, we asked the helpful lady behind the desk about a Norstroms (again sp?) and she said there was one just up the road (at this exit!) but with one problem. It wouldn't be open until 2004. Mom sighed and we "gave in" until she went on to say that there was a mall - South Gate Mall - up there as well.

After relieving my alchohol infested bladder we darted up there to see if she could find the Bobbi Brown makeup. She found it at Parks Belk. This wasn't just any Parks Belk, but it was GIANT Parks Belk. I suppose this is what they are like when you really visit one. The son of a bitching store had 4 levels and would be heaven to most women in this area. But then again, they had all the nice stores that would be attractive to most anybody (most that we don't have here and when we do get them, they are scaled down dramatically). Anyway - Bobbi Brown make up and a Down Comforter later (this was from another department store that I forget), now Mom is happy, and we head back to the hotel to get ready for the nights reading by Mr. Gaiman.

We reach the The Neighborhood Theater and are the third people in line. Mom, who I figured would not want to stand in line went to the restraurant next door, drank wine, and read her book Mystic River. After a couple of hours waiting in line we were finally ushered into the theater at about 6:30 or so. We got great seats (second row, fist and second seat)

The reading was great. He first read a essay on himself - where he got certain ideas, brief biography, and a bit about the theological ideas that pops up in his works from time to time. He ended up, after a few wondeful poems, with a short story that he had written early on in his career and had pull out of the "bottom drawer" where it had apparently sat for a couple of decades. The editors he had proof the piece, way back when, said that they were not really impressed so he just shelved it. Apparently they had no idea of what they were reading, because it was great. It had been put into digital form and will be used in an upcoming anthology concerning goth.

Afterwards, both sick and tired from reading, Mr. Gaiman did a signing for over 500 people who had formed a really long line. Having great seats proved to be our downfall as the there was only one way out to the autograph table - through the back of the theater. When word was given that there was going to be a signing - people began rushing back and by the time we got up and stepped out into the isle, we were in line.

Mom didn't want to stand in line for 2 more hours so I walked her out the back exit (to the back parking lot) and we walked around to the front of the theater. She went down to the restraurant where she had her wine earlier and I went back in and took a few pictures. I talked to one of the people who was working the event and he assured me that I could go eat and get back in time to get an autograph. So a chicken strip appetizer later I get back to the theater and find my way in line. Mom had finished up and agreed to come in and get another one for me as well (only 1 autograph per person) - so between Mom and me we got Sandman #1 and the new hardcover Endless Nights signed. Endless Nights I got personalized to me.

We made our way back to the hotel for the night and made it back to Bristol the next day in time to attend my nephews birthday party. Great weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2003

10:53 AM

New Squawbox Comment Section Put In Place

I have switched comment providers. After visiting TOYS' blog I think that the one she uses offers the best feedback possibility in the comments.

In effect, I am giving you the ability to get as creative as you would like to be. If you want you can create your own post with the same coding for blogger - add emoticons that are referenced on Squawbox or reference from your own server - reference pictures - or just leave a simple comment.

I have copied the comment fromt the last 4 posts and put them in the comment box so not all the past comments are lost.

Also, I will keep my other account with Rate Your Music active until I see that the new ones are working good.

Enjoy and be creative!

7:45 AM

Gaiman Reading

I will be attending a reading that Neil Gaiman will be doing in Charlotte, NC Saturday night, sponsored by the Public Library there. It is called "A Novella evening with Neil Gaiman. Other big name authors have done appearances over the summer during this series, but Gaiman's is the only one that has sold out.

I have no idea what he will be reading - I am thinking "Wolves in the Walls" his new childrens/all age book - with Dave McKean.

Should be an interesting evening. He has just returned from a European Tour/Signing. I am not sure he will be doing a signing, but I hope he does as I have a couple of things I would really love to get signed.

His books, but more importantly - a collector's edition of the 1st issue of Death - The High Cost of Living and Endless Nights.

The best thing I have of his signed, well actually 3 things (I can't pick) An original page, oversized artist panel page - with the words pasted on the page ready to be inked and sent to printers. It is signed by both Neil Gaiman and Jill Thompson (has Delirum on the page) - Sandman #44, Page 14.

the second is the award winning issue of The Sandman #19 -"A Midsummer Night's Dream" - signed by both Gaiman and Charles Vess.

Both are framed and hanging on the walls at my apt.

The 3rd thing is The Sandman #8 (1st appearance of Death) signed by Gaiman and protected in an acid free mylar sleave.

A good runner up and probably more rare - is his short story "Snow, Glass, Apples" that Charles Vess provided the illustrations for. Again, prose with the beautiful style of Vess to enhance the read. This was a limited edition ashcan sized booklet signed by both Gaiman and Vess. (I know Charles Vess - He lives in my region)

I'm such a geek....

Sunday, October 12, 2003

8:26 PM

Kill Bill vol 1 - the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino

Just got home from a dinner and a movie all by myself. It was quite wonderful actually - spending time with myself after the past couple of weeks was a welcomed treat. But that is another story for another topic.

Warning - even though I don't give away the plot, there may be places in my commentary that might give away a certain something you might want to experience at the theater. If that is the case - come back and read this post after you have seen the movie. Proceed with caution.

This was a very simple film about revenge, compounded exponentially.

After an exploding beginning sequence, we are propelled back into the film world of Quentin Tarantino. In Kill Bill, Tarantino uses the same "disjunct time" style of story telling to weave the viewer back and forth from present to past and hinting toward the future much like he did in Pulp Fiction. Starting in the middle of the story and stitching the plot together by piece by mis-timed piece, Tarantino does give parts of the plot away before it is seen but makes up for it by doubling, tripling, and quadrupling the action to unbelievable proportions. But if you go by the current theme in the film where the UBER action is taking place(Japanese Samurai sequences) the action it is totally believable along with fantastical jumps from all the henchmen.

The jump to black and white during the big fight sequence was masterful as it served two purposes. First it toned down the bloodbath for the audience that was rapidly rising and, second, it was a defense mechanism for our protagonist to keep the matters at hand (survival) in full focus.

The cinematography was beautiful as was the use of silence to emphasize the severity of some situations.

The anime sequences which were very powerful, allowing the already extreme violence to be taken up to the next level. This was another audience saving technique as extreme anime violence is a more accepted format and the film's violence level was already over most other films standards.

Kill Bill vol 1 is a must see. Most of the movie is void of realism and if you are expecting to see things that could really happen, you will be disappointed. So going into this movie check your realism at the door and enjoy the ride. 5/5.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

1:21 PM

Enterprise, Angel, Smallville fall 2003 - So Far...

My take -

1. Enterprise - I continue to like the 3rd season of this show. They have stepped the action up, the stories are leading to a ultimate point but are still self-contained and well written, and Bakula's Archer is finally getting comfortable with the character.

I thought last nights episode was excellent. It started strong and never slowed down. At one point it was like Night of the Living Vulcan.

Only 2 complaints so far - the first few episodes of the season had Archer almost too bitter. Last night's episode he finally started showing balance (which he needs) and the special effects are either the best I have ever seen or the cheesiest. The angle of the Enterprise entering the massive astroid field was amazing but the shuttle pod landing on one was as if they used up too much money before they filmed it. The T'Pal half nude shots are bothering a lot of people this season, but I think it is an natural progression that Star Trek has taken - the original show pushed the envelope with those real short skirts...

2. Smallville - The first 2 shows have been good. The legend of Superman has always been fantasy and they are playing it well. One thing I am real tired of: Get Clark and Lana together or keep them apart for good. I said to myself last night, if they don't get together after this episode - I will have a hard time with this whole season. When it fell back into the same ol same ol as the past 2 season with these characters, it almost felt like a good stopping point for the show. They need to trust each other more by using each others strengths. They only see their weaknesses.

3.Angel -Angel is continuing to be good, but it is still missing something. Over the summer I rewatched the entire first season and realized what I had been missing. When Angel started out, it was small group with huge stories. A closeness came from the group because they were overcoming huge odds. As the seasons have progressed, the group has continued to grow and the stories have not. I am not saying they are not good, they just don't have the impact that they used to. The fate of the entire world in the balance (most of last season) - is HUGE, but it has been played too many times to be effective.

This season they seem to be getting back to the roots a bit - bringing in characters that are familiar, if not annoying - Harmony has always annoyed me, but I think I like her bitter more than lovey dovey. She does have a right to be pissed at Spike (as much of a right as a dead vampire has) because he just used her and she knows this.

Adding James Marsters to the cast this year was really needed and welcomed. It will be fun to watch him and Angel spar it out. ("I had to get in a few shots, didn't I?") The story last night was really good with all the twists and turns. Spike's character is wide open right now and it seemed like Spike was walking a fine line of good and evil and thought he could possibly take a couple of steps off in the wrong direction. I don't think we will see Spike as a ghost for too long. He revealed last night that he was on a one way track to Hell and if something wasn't done he would be going sooner than he wished. Then they really he really shocked me - he showed weakness to Fred. Totally out of character for Spike (unless it was the slayer), but it was done beautifully and will add more depth to his character.

Well... there you have it. Long enough now to effectively make no one read this far. But it was a lot of fun to write. :) It took me the time for Vaughn Armstrong's Enterprise Blues to play twice (only 5 songs) to write this. Vaughn Armstrong is Admiral Forrest off Enterprise (and a host of other characters (mostly villians). His music is an ukulele and harmonica and was recorded and sung in his living room. Very limited edition.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

8:33 PM

Sandman and Endless Nights

I don't know how many of you are Neil Gaiman readers - but if you know his name then you know it is synonymous with The Sandman from the Vertigo line of DC Comics.

This was a masterfully written series about Morpheus, the king of Dreams, and the other Endless - Desire, Destiny, Delirium, Despair, Destruction, and Death.

Gaiman wrote The Sandman comic book for 10 years and the combined total of all his stories in this series are over 2000 pages. He helped mold the minds of people, who thought of comic books as childish, to see what a powerful and adult medium it could be and helped open the eyes of many women readers who previously hadn't had a big impact in the comic book industry. It won an award that had never been won by a comic book before and never will be again thanks to new rules put in place after Gaiman and Company took the trophy home.

The Sandman stories are a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy. He uses contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend/myth to weave his tales and bring new perspectives to old tales using haunting, bittersweet, nightmarish, and even erotic styles.

His new work, Endless Nights, a 160 page hardcover comic book is by far the best layout and style that I have ever seen in a comic book. It is sleek in design and has a multitude of majestic, abstract art to welcome you as you begin the adventure back into the world of the Endless. These wonderfully crafted images are by Dave McKean, long time collaborator with Gaiman and the one responsible for all of the tremendous covers during the 10-year run of the series. The artists Gaiman has picked to draw his stories in this book are some of the best in the industry right now (comics and books). They include: Glenn Fabry, Milo Manara, Miguelanxo Prado, Frank Quitely, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Barron Story. Gaiman says that returning to these characters was like going home.

Who are the Endless?

Gaiman says it best in his introduction, "...the Endless are not gods, for when people cease to believe in gods they cease to exist. But as long as there are people to live and dream and destroy, to desire, to despair, to delight or go mad, to live lives and affect each other, then the Endless will be there, performing their functions. They do not care a jot whether or not you believe in them."

I have just picked up my copy and have read the first of seven tales - one for each of the Endless. It was a death story. It was sad and oddly symbolic to the current events that are in our lives. One down, only six to go as they may take awhile because I do not want for it to be over too fast.

Welcome home Mr. Gaiman, it has been too long.

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