Friday, November 22, 2002

ZoNotes: All That You Can't Live Without

FRIDAZE: Clearing Up Odds And Ends in the ZoNotes Readership
I'm introducing this segment, Fridaze, as a way of keeping tabs on the many fine people in the ZoNotes readership.

THE ROCK HAS RETURNED, TO LAREDO! Well, not really. I'm headed back for a couple of weeks in my hometown of Laredo, TX, from 21 December to 1 January.

BEAM HER UP! Stephen Green, proprietor of the eclectic Vodkapundit blog, notes that UPN indeed executes a widescreen presentation of its Star Trek show Enterprise. So, opting for that configuration for Buffy is not that much of a stretch.

SOMEBODY'S GETTING MARRIED! Jennifer Batey, one of the Laredo diaspora that receives ZoNotes, is engaged to be married! Many congratulations to her as she approaches her nuptuals!

Shadows of the Hilltop
Sean Mullaney (B'00) sent me a link regarding the circumstances revolving around the investigation into the death of David Shick (B'01), who died soon after a 22 February 2000 altercation. This is one of the heinous chapters in my alma mater's history, especially as you read how the investigation turned into a muddled, sloppy affair -- at least from the University's side of the fence.

When I worked as a student guard (checking IDs at the entrance of the dorms)/Saferide van driver/Rover (supervising the guards) on campus for two years, I realized that what happened to Shick could have conceivably happened to any undergraduate on campus. Trouble has a way of manifesting whether you want it to or not, and numerous incidents that I witnessed involved alcohol, bad judgement, hubris, and violence.

"It's so wicked, to be so stupid. It's so stupid, to be so dumb... -- Nina Gordon, formerly of the grrrrrrrl group Veruca Salt.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

ZoNotes: The Sleeper Has Hit the Snooze Button!

Buffy Recap: Problem of Spike
Tuesday's Buffy dealt with the recently re-souled and mentally unstable Spike. His return to feeding on the innocent and the psychological torture inflicted upon the character by the shapeshifting First Evil provided the first episode-length storyline on Spike this season, fully exploring the dynamics that make the character both a hopeful and lethal figure.

Buffy herself came back to basics -- dusting vampires. The fight scene at the end was a technical achievement. I do think though that Buffy would benefit from a widescreen projection like the Angel spinoff does over on the WB network. UPN, though, would be loath to follow the intiative of a rival. Plus, we captured a glimpse of Buffy's enduring sympathy for Spike. Five seasons ago, Buffy and Spike made a deal to combat the evil Angelus together. For all intents and purposes, the Buffy creative team has provided many reasons for Buffy to kill Spike. However, keeping him as a character complicates Buffy's ethical dilemmas. Can she vanquish a souled vampire after what she did to Angel at the end of Season 2?

The episode probed how far this Slayer would go to fulfill her duty. She is almost a reluctant samurai/jedi/Frodo figure. When she almost killed the vengeance demon Anyanka, Buffy was merciless and determined. When it comes to icing Spike, she hesitated. The contrast is remarkable.

Plus, judging by the episode's cliffhanger ending regarding the fate of Buffy's old Watcher, Giles, this has the makings of some interesting November sweeps.

"The graveyards are full of indispensable men," -- Charles De Gaulle.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

ZoNotes: As American as Apple Pie, the Dallas Cowboys, and Precision-Guided Munitions

Rockets' Red Glare...Postponed
AS you all know, I was in Florida this past weekend to witness the first launch of Boeing's Delta IV rocket, equipped to deliver a Eutelsat communications satellite into orbit. Alas, engine concerns and inclement weather resulted in a postponement of the launch until today, which is unfortunate as I had to leave Cocoa Beach on Sunday becauseI had briefings on other projects in the DC area yesterday.

However, I did get a tour of Kennedy Space Center and had a chance to view the massive space shuttle launch pad. If you ever doubt the sheer creative bounds of man, go to Cape Canaveral. That should reaffirm your faith in the intellectual brilliance of the human race.

In other news, in a personal Zo best, I scored three byline-credited stories in the Tuesday edition of Defense Daily, including the lead piece about the reorganization of the F/A-22 program.

The Imperfect Storm
ONE of the things I learned at Canaveral is the series of miracles that must take place for every launch, be it the shuttle or an unmanned rocket bearing payload. It's a wonder that anything gets off the ground. Again, here is man's intellect at work, sending tons and tons of hardware into space, and doing it in a routine fashion. The rain over the weekend in Florida was not necessarily torrential, but it altered the conditions just enough to require Boeing to reconsider the Nov. 16 launch date. Conversely, today in Florida is supposed to be sunny and breezy, the exact opposite of the raw, dank, depressing Saturday we in the media junket endured.

"The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him."--Russell Baker