Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Cheetah is the Smartest Cat Ever

Jon's birthday passed not without incident. Two years ago, the heat went out, and since we'd just had some snowfalls, Jon and I were both concerned about it happening again this year. After all, several friends came over Sunday for a Fiesta and gaming, and we wanted them to be comfy. We had about an eighth of a tank: just enough for a couple of days. You do what you can with an old house; we called in an order, warned them it wouldn't last until they could send someone on Tuesday, and went on with our weekend.

Monday, Jon's birthday, he stayed home to celebrate quietly. He opened his gifts. We snacked on leftover vanilla/cherry-ice-cream cake and Mexican food; we lazed, TiVo slaves, then napped late afternoon.

For dinner, a quick trip to an old stand-by we'd abandoned: the Fe: local college hangout and NTN-bar we frequented before it changed ownership, and barely tolerated since. It's improved slightly. The glasses are cheap plastic now, a bow to the rowdier (presumably drunker) crowd that used to go there for good meals and some sports. The food's about the same as we recall from our last visit: my burger was fine, absolutely edible, but Jon's flautas were charred badly on one end. The service was slight.

The appetizer (chorizo con queso) was good, and they did change the channel for us to play NTN. They even had at least 8 working Playmakers, an improvement over recent visits. JONBOY took gold in Sports IQ, and we played concurrenly with two of our nemeses: SMKPOT (whose name I've considered turning in under Rule 47) and YOMAMA. It wasn't a terrible evening. Kind of normal. Easy. If memory serves, the word is relaxing.

And we relaxed some more back home, before bed, right up until we discovered the heat was out. (Told you it wouldn't last until Tuesday.) After calling, we put electric heaters in the bedrooms (Cheetah needs warmth, too, but Teddy stays in our room), and slept. A return phone call woke us, and I stayed up for the emergency oil man they agreed to send. (How does lack of planning on their part constitute an emergency on our part?). I've been up ever since.

Now I remember why I don't nap.

But the night hasn't been a total loss. We have enough oil until they come today. I've plowed through emails dating back three months. Most importantly, Cheetah has kept me company, distracting me and getting back to her old self. Somewhere, she found one of those little sponge balls she likes so much, and brought it out to play fetch. And I wouldn't have been here to play if the heat hadn't gone out...

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Lord of LaMancha

On the topic of funny rejections, here's an immagined one: a modern rejection for the 2nd most popular book of all time: Don Quixote. Thanks be to Jon, who finds the strangest things quickly. To celebrate Cervantes' quadricentenary, and if you're interested in his life and work, check out the great Cervantes Project.

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What a great show

The new Battelstar Galactica is fantastic! Granted, BG parallels the plot of the original, I never saw the original, so it's all new to me.

It's well-scripted, plotted, acted, and beautifully filmed. The episodes are as creepy as The Outer Limits (remember all those cyborg episodes?). The characters are deeply explored, a feat accomplished mostly by not shying away from the emotional horrors of battle, and by keeping the dialogue short and to-the-point, making the show feel fast-paced. In actuality, they take their time developing the story. For example, the mini-series' first half-hour is devoted entirely to vignettes about the characters who will be important later.

The interactions between characters are strong as well. The large cast size (at least 20 principles, with a potential up to 45,000) increases the show's scope to a level commensurate with Deep Space Nine. The creators allow small details to focus characters, never overloading the show's swift movement forward with long monologues. Conversely, they take their time exploring and developing the true crises that can be encountered in battle. "33" shows the convoy's tiring retreat; "Water" details the crises of feeding and watering 45,000+ people. Character-building vignettes pepper the main plots.

If you're a sci-fi fan, don't miss it.

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