For the first time this season, the Rice Owls have defeated a team with a winning record, their cross-town rivals, the Houston Cougars.
But Tulsa held off Marshall, so Tulsa gets to go to the C-USA championship game versus East Carolina. The winner of that game will go to the Liberty Bowl against a middling-ranked SEC team. The loser of that game will probably go to the GMAC Bowl against #2 from the MAC or an upper WAC team.
Which leaves Rice playing in the Texas Bowl (I think) against the eighth-best Big-12 team. . . except that the Big-12 only has seven bowl-eligible teams this year.
The Texas Bowl also has an agreement with TCU (but no other Mountain West Conference teams), but TCU is #2 in the MWC, which would put them in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Well, I guess I'll let the bowl officials figure that all out and just sit back content that my alma mater's team will be playing football in late December.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
For the first time this season, the Rice Owls have defeated a team with a winning record, their cross-town rivals, the Houston Cougars.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
You very well may have seen these Sunday-drive photos over at flickr, but I'll post a few of them here anyway.
These are all Chunlin's.
Can you tell the old bridge from the new bridge?
How much did this new bridge cost us?
It cost us $4 on the toll (eastbound only), but I mean how many billions of dollars did the construction cost?
Was it just one billion dollars? Is that all? . . . Pretty, though.
After a few days of one-mile visibility and misting showers, Sunday sure looks like it was a nice day for a drive!
Monday, November 24, 2008
When discussing replacing the BCS, why must the choice for a NCAA Division I-A playoff be between eight teams and sixteen? There are eleven conferences, so why not only allow eleven teams in the tournament? Teams would be forced to win their conferences, which keeps the regular season relevant.
How would an eleven-team playoff work, you ask? Obviously, the top five teams would get first-round byes.
The first round (teams 6 through 11) would play in mid-December at the home fields of teams 6-8.
With eight teams left, the first-round winners would be re-ranked, and then there'd be four Christmas Day games at the home fields of teams 1-4. Or maybe these can be bowl games of one sort or another.
With four teams left, the teams would be re-ranked, and then there'd be two New Year's Day games. The games would either be at the home fields of teams 1 and 2, or at the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl (if the bowls decide they'd rather have conference champions instead of a couple #2s).
The national championship would be January 8, at a different site from year to year.
The Rose Bowl abandoned the Pac-10 vs. Big Ten setup seven years ago (Miami vs. Nebraska), to stay where the money was. I think they'd choose to become a semi-final instead of becoming another meaningless game. Perhaps in the final four, the matchup which has the Pac-10 champion (or, if they've lost, the furthest west school) could be in the Rose Bowl, and the other matchup goes to the Orange Bowl.
Notre Dame Rule: If an independent team is ranked higher than five conference champions, there shall be twelve teams in the tournament, with only the top four teams earning first-round byes. Only one independent team may be in the tournament.
There'd still be numerous bowl games out there, with some highly ranked teams that just happened to not win their conferences. In the current standings, for example, two of the top four teams wouldn't be in this tournament, since they're only second place in their conferences. Thus the bowl system would continue to thrive, alongside the championship tournament. Big money for all.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Yay! The Rice Owls football team is now 8-3!
In conference play, Rice is 6-1, and so are Tulsa (who Rice already lost to) and Houston (who Rice plays next week). One of those three will go to the C-USA championship game representing the western division.
Could Rice beat Houston? Could Marshall beat Tulsa? I'll go with "maybe" and "no" for my answers, which leaves Rice out of the championship game, but in a bowl.
The Texas Bowl, perhaps? Against Colorado??
And where is your alma mater playing this winter? Hm?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday morning, we awoke to a glorious sunrise from our motel room window.
Just south of Goldendale, you have a good view of Mt Hood and Mt Adams, plus glimpses of Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier.
Aren't glaciated volcanos wonderful? They really make you feel at home.
In minutes, we were back on Highway 14, Chunlin snapping photos.
Many trains on these tracks, that's for sure.
After a bout of fog in southern Benton County, we finished Highway 14 and headed north . . . I mean west on I-82. We stopped for a break in sunny Yakima.
Downtown Yakima was dead, although The Mall is being partially renovated into lofts ("Coming 2008!" but they're not done yet). Across the freeway at Wallmart was hopping, though.
Because it's so pretty, I took the old highway up the Yakima Canyon instead of sticking to the interstate.
I stopped at a place called Roza to get out and shoot.
When we exited the canyon into the Kittitas Valley, we met more high fog (low clouds?). We drove past my aunt's house on our way to I-90, then left the fog behind as we climbed to Cle Elum.
FYI: Don't buy gas at the first gas station at the eastern Cle Elum exit. That station was $2.419/gallon, but the next one was $2.369/gallon. The one in town was $2.319/gallon and the Chevron up at the western freeway exit was about the same. The winner, though, is the Safeway at the western exit. $2.239/gallon, but $2.209/gallon if you have a Safeway club card. That's where I filled up. Only 37 mpg for that tank. The headwind up the Columbia Gorge must've really done my car a number. At least I hope that's what the problem was.
Next stop: the Tacoma Narrows Bridge! Yee-haw! $4 toll . . .
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday morning, we headed south for Vancouver. During a slight detour while looking for an onramp to the western end of SR 14, we wound up on SR 501 for a moment.
But I turned around and got headed the right direction. Chunlin took a lot of photos as we cruised down the highway.
Doesn't Mt Hood look crooked? Like it's leaning toward the Columbia River.
Here's a viewpoint at Cape Horn that we didn't stop at.
"Should I stop? Too late." Chunlin got the photo anyway.
I remember walking across this bridge many years ago, while walking the southernmost 50 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington.
Does this photo make my hill look tilted?
Look! A train! We're gaining on it!
Finally, I got the camera when I stopped at the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery. (Why does the federal government need a fish hatchery? I mean, really.)
And then we were driving again, the camera back in Chunlin's hands. We cross the White Salmon River and enter eastern Washington.
I stopped at a viewpoint over the dam-flooded Celilo Falls.
That's I-84 across the river in Oregon. Does anyone know why the freeway swings way out into the river like that? A secondary road and railroad stay on shore, so why does I-84 need to wander away?
Next stop was the Maryhill Museum.
Before I parked, Chunlin snapped a few shots of a local peacock.
Maryhill was named after Sam Hill's mother, wife, daughter, and mother-in-law, who all were named Mary Hill. Yes, Mr. Hill married a Hill. Sam Hill got rich from lawyering and railroads, and then decided to spend his money starting a booming utopia on the Columbia River. Well, the booming part didn't work out, but it is a nice spot.
His mansion had a nice view of Mt Hood.
There's a slightly newer sculpture near the museum/mansion.
He also built a Stonehenge replica.
It was an anti-war memorial after the War to End All Wars. Sam Hill was a Quaker, you see. Our understanding of the Druids back then was a bit off, though, so he associated Stonehenge with ritual sacrifice and meaningless death.
Nice place, though.
Sam Hill also designed the Blaine Peace Arch and built the first paved road in Washington, near Maryhill (you can't drive on it, sadly).
After Stonehenge, we headed up to Goldendale for the night. The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge to Oregon is closed for repaving, so we couldn't cross for the nearest hotel.
We watched horses chase each other outside our motel window. We then ate large platters of enchiladas and quesadillas and headed up the hill to the local observatory (a state park). It's open to the public on weekend nights, so we waited in line with a scout troop to peer through the telescope at the moon and a binary star. The moon was neat, but the stars were still just stars.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
So the beer and the canteloupe play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging bird
And the walrus will love you all day
Home, home of deranged
Where the beer and the canteloupe play
Where potato is heard a discouraging bird
And the walrus will love you all day
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Rice Owls football team is now 7-3, which, by my calculations based on the number of Conference USA bowl tie-ins and the relative records of the C-USA teams, means they're almost guaranteed a bowl this winter. Yay!
Let's hope they do better than the New Orleans Bowl two years ago.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Today is the Holy Day of Rana, Goddess of Clouds. Gotta love those clouds. Everybody loves those clouds, especially when they're personified in such a pleasing form such as Rana's.
Born of humidity and the air, the most beautiful and serene goddess, Rana, floats above us on the clouds, bringing Her infinite love to all.
Many years ago, before most of the gods had been born, Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere, was the King of the Gods. Sorosotuzho possessed the Tablet of Destinies, which along with setting out the order of all living things and civilization as a whole, also declared the owner of the tablet to be the Ruler of the Universe.
Since Rana was and is the most lovely and desirable of all the goddesses, Sorosotuzho selected Her to be the wife of His son Korutuzho, God of Agriculture. Rana, however, did not love Korutuzho. Her one true love was and is Her brother Rékaré, God of Rock. She married Korutuzho, nevertheless, obeying Sorosotuzho’s demand.
Knowing that Rana and Rékaré would not be kept apart, Their mother Rakazhazhíní, Goddess of Clean Air, laid a curse upon Her daughter so that Rana could not bear children on any day of the year. Even though Rakazhazhíní had placed the curse to prevent children of incest, the curse also prevented Rana from bearing any of Korutuzho’s children, and so She remained childless in marriage.
When Rana learned of this curse, She realized there would be no downside to visiting Rékaré’s bed as often as She pleased. And so She did.
The devious Sívorí, Goddess of the Stars, decided that She could not let Rana be with the one She loved. Sívorí hatched a plan to expose Rana’s love affair to Korutuzho. Sívorí challenged Sorosotuzho to a game of dice, which He gladly accepted. At that time, since Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting and Lady of the Moon, had not yet been born, Sorosotuzho controlled the cycle of the moon. Sívorí goaded the King of the Gods into wagering a day of moon time, which He did.
With Sívorí’s skill at dice -- whether honest or not -- She easily won that moon day. Sívorí promptly inserted the day at the end of the calendar, which is why we have 365 days in a year and not just the 364 that fit into thirteen months of 28. Once this day was in the year, Rana’s pregnancy began.
Ashamed that Her husband would thus learn of Her affair with Rékaré, Rana vowed to make it up to Korutuzho. She decided to steal the Tablet of Destinies from His father and present it to Korutuzho, thus granting Him control of the universe.
Sorosotuzho kept the Tablet of Destinies on an easel beside His throne. Sorosotuzho’s throne room sat at the very center of His castle, behind a series of seven well-guarded gates. The entire castle was underground, since Sorosotuzho wished to be as near as possible to His mother Kara, Goddess of Soil. Therefore, as you can see, Rana had quite a task in front of Her to steal the tablet.
At the first gate, the guards stopped Rana, refusing to open it and let Her enter. She began to dance in a most seductive manner, singing to them songs of love. The guards were entranced. As part of Her dance, Rana removed Her bejeweled caul, letting it flutter to the ground. Her hair flowed freely, mesmerizing the guards. They begged Her to remove more clothing. Rana promised to do so, if only they opened the gate.
The gate flew open and Rana ran through. She raced to the second gate, where She began a dance for those guards. The first set of guards caught up with Her, and when She dropped Her cloak, the first guards demanded that the second guards open their gate so She would continue disrobing.
All the guards were equally entranced. The gate opened. Dancing and singing along the way, enjoying Her entourage of enthralled guards, Rana proceeded to the third gate.
At each successive gate, Rana removed another article of clothing, revealing another portion of Her beauty and further enchanting the guards. She untied and let drop Her girdle belt, letting Her dresses sway with Her every movement. She shimmied out of Her outer dress, eliciting a gasp from all the guards. She slipped out of Her shoes and stockings, slowly and sensually giving the guards a sneak of Her long and slender legs. She let Her inner dress drop to the floor, leaving Rana wearing nothing but Her thin shift and a dazzling smile.
At the final gate, Rana danced out of Her shift. The guards ogled Her firm and full breasts. They stared transfixed at Her slim waist and round buttocks. The gate crashed open.
With nary a stitch of clothing and all eyes upon Her stunning figure, Rana sashayed across Sorosotuzho’s throne room. With the King of the Gods and several of His closest friends standing nearby, stunned in amazement, Rana sat Herself upon the throne and overwhelmed everyone with a flash of Her smile.
Only then did She realize that the Tablet of Destinies was not there. Its easel stood empty. Sorosotuzho saw Her face drop and laughed. As He had His guards seize Her, Sorosotuzho told Rana that He had given the Tablet of Destinies to Hívo, God of Clean Water, for safekeeping. Rana was led to a dark, dank dungeon and locked in solitude.
When Rana’s husband Korutuzho learned of what had happened, He stormed to His father’s castle and demanded Rana’s release. Sorosotuzho refused, explaining that She had tried to steal from Him and take over control of the universe. Korutuzho asked what He could do to enable Rana’s release. Sorosotuzho suggested Korutuzho could replace Rana in the dungeon. Korutuzho agreed, but said He would only be held half of every year. After some thought, Sorosotuzho accepted His son’s offer. Rana was released. Korutuzho descended into the dungeon, taking the warmth and growth of the summer seasons with Him. Every year, when He is released in the spring, we begin planting once again, and the cycle continues.
With Her husband imprisoned on Her behalf, Rana had even more incentive to obtain the Tablet of Destinies for Him. Her pregnancy was beginning to show, with an expected birth date of the one moon day at the end of the year in the dead of winter. She didn’t have much time.
Rana traveled to Hívo’s home, bringing an endless jug of wine borrowed from Nokí, Goddess of Food. The water god smiled when He opened the door and invited the beautiful goddess inside. As Rana and Hívo sat on His sumptuous sofa, sharing the wine, They discussed an endless array of topics. The more wine Hívo drank, the closer He scooted to Rana and the more sexually suggestive Rana became.
Only when Hívo was well and truly into His cups did Rana broach the subject of the Tablet of Destinies. By that point, Hívo was willing to do anything to be able to hold Rana’s luscious body and have His way with Her. He offered the tablet to Rana, hoping She’d reciprocate by giving Him what He wanted.
She gladly accepted the Tablet of Destinies, thanked Hívo for His hospitality, and promptly left His home. Enraged, Hívo sent His guards after Rana. When they caught up to Her, however, Rana explained that Hívo had gifted Her the tablet of His own free will, and thus He could have no objection to Her taking it. Even though Hívo had been drunk and beguiled by Rana’s femininity, the guards understood that He was still responsible for His own actions. Thus, they let Her go and returned to Hívo empty-handed.
In possession of the Tablet of Destinies and thus the Ruler of the Universe, Rana declared to all that She was merely holding it for Her husband and that He was now the true King of the Gods. Nevertheless, Korutuzho kept His bargain with His father and remained imprisoned.
That winter, Rana gave birth to five children: Sozho, High God of Air; Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth; Pétíso, God of Death; Voro, God of Hearth Fire; and Vasataté, God of Oceans. Since She had slept with both Korutuzho and Rékaré, She had no way of knowing which children belonged to which god. Nevertheless, Rana declared that all five child gods were the offspring of Her husband, Korutuzho.
When Korutuzho returned to the world, Rana presented Him with the Tablet of Destinies and His children. Korutuzho thanked His wife for wresting control of the universe from His father, but He was highly suspicious of the parentage of the five child gods. He had known Rana was visiting Rékaré behind His back, so Korutuzho suspected that all five children were Rékaré’s. Furthermore, He feared that one of these child gods would supersede Him the way He had superseded His father.
In a fit of fury, Korutuzho began swallowing the children. Voro was the first to go, in one giant gulp. Then down went Nuvíní, followed closely by Pétíso. As Korutuzho swallowed Vasataté with a swig of ale, Rana quickly replaced Sozho with a sack of potatoes wrapped in swaddling cloth.
Korutuzho swallowed the potatoes and sat back on His throne, content that He would rule the universe for all eternity. Rana was shocked and appalled at Her husband’s actions. With the infant Sozho hidden under Her cloak, She ran from Korutuzho’s castle. Instead of heading where Her heart directed Her -- to Rékaré -- Rana took Her infant son to Ríhíví, Goddess of Poisonous Water and Mother to the Gods.
Ríhíví agreed to raise Sozho as Her own son while Rana returned to Korutuzho’s side, satisfied that at least one of Her children had survived.
Several years later, Sozho arrived at Korutuzho’s castle, strong and angry. He stalked across the throne room, whipped out His sword, and slit open His father’s belly. Out fell Sozho’s four siblings, still infants and intact, since Korutuzho had swallowed Them whole.
Overjoyed, Rana ran to Her children and scooped Them up, protecting Them from Her husband. Korutuzho’s craziness had subsided, however, and He did not attempt to eat Them again. Instead, They grew to become some of the most powerful gods in the pantheon.
Through adversity and betrayal, Rana’s love saw Her through, as yours should also. If we would only trust our emotions, our love for our spouses, our love for our children, and, yes, our love for sensuality, then the world would be a far better place. Do not give in to anger. Let Rana, Goddess of Clouds, Love of Loves, Conqueror of Destinies, Mistress of Sexuality and Desire, Mother of the Gods, guide your actions. The world will thank you.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Now that the Sound Transit expansion was approved by the voters, I only have to wait twelve years till I get a light rail station here at Northgate. And just think: I only have to wait fifteen years till I get a light rail station a mile from my house!
I wonder where I'll be living then. . .
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I did my civic duty today.
I paid $2 in voluntary taxes in exchange for slim chances at big money. One Mega Millions ticket (drawing tonight, odds of 1:175,711,536 for the big payout of $31,000,000 before more taxes) and one Lotto ticket (drawing tomorrow night, odds of 1:6,991,908 for the big payout of $8,900,000 before more taxes).
I didn't vote, though, and don't plan to. The odds are even worse in that arena.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Have a happy Holy Day of Nokí! Eat! Eat!
Nokí is the Goddess of Food, of course. I'm sure She blessed these cookies that Mamurd made last year. Yum.
Without Nokí, we would be nothing. Without Nokí’s forgiveness, humanity would no longer exist.
At the dawn of mortal history, shortly after Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, created mankind, Nokí overheard the early humans mocking Her father, Voro, God of Hearth Fire. They called Him weak-willed. They called Him ineffectual. They called Him a coward. To defend Her father, Nokí immediately attacked the humans.
Wielding Her magnificent club, Nokí slaughtered the insolent mortals, one after another. Her club is so large that She was able to destroy entire cities in single blows. The defiant humans had no defense to Her strength.
At length, Nokí grew weary. Her club is heavy and She had not used it so extensively in a long time. She retired for supper and rest, vowing to kill the remaining humans in the morning, for daring to mock Her father.
It wasn’t until Nokí was asleep that any of the gods noticed Her carnage. Voro soon heard of what She had done, to defend His good name. Despite Nokí having the best of intentions -- protecting Her father's honor -- Voro was shocked at the destruction She had wreaked. While She slept, He devised a scheme to prevent Her from killing the remainder of the humans.
Using red beer brewed by Vasataté, God of the Oceans, Voro turned a nearby lake as crimson as blood. He hoped that when His daughter awoke, She would see the scarlet lake and either think that the final humans had all been killed while She rested or be overcome with guilt for having killed half of humanity.
When Nokí awoke, neither of those two occurred. True, She spied the blood-red lake, but when She went to investigate it, Nokí noticed it didn't smell right. She dipped Her finger in the red liquid and gave it a taste. Sure enough, Her suspicions were upheld. It wasn't blood, but beer -- and mighty fine beer, at that.
Nokí being Nokí, She forgot about the previous day's grievances and focused on the beer. In fact, She focused on the delicious beer until the entire lake was drained dry.
She enjoyed the lake of beer so much that Nokí quickly refilled the lake with beer and invited all the gods to join in a celebration. Along with the lake of beer, Nokí provided Her guests stew in a giant cauldron that would always remain full, four roasting boars that never reduced in size no matter how much meat one removed, and apples and pears from Her perennially ripe orchard.
All the gods came and partook of Nokí’s beneficence. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful food and drink, but one god in particular enjoyed the beer a little too much: Rékaré, God of Rock. He got drunk.
While Nokí was having a pleasant conversation with Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting, Rékaré approached the hostess. With a cackling laugh like the honk of goose, Rékaré began making suggestions of a sexual nature toward Nokí. When He actually groped Nokí during one comment, Tarénara pulled out Her bow and cocked an arrow pointed straight at Rékaré’s heart, threatening to kill Him if He touched Her friend again.
Nokí told Tarénara to calm down and told Rékaré in no uncertain terms that She did not want to have sexual relations with Him and would never want to have sexual relations with Him. Rékaré went away dejected.
Shortly thereafter, however, Rékaré’s manservant Zhokíhoníro approached Nokí and promised Her thirteen golden apples if She would go to Rékaré’s bed. Nokí turned him away, saying that She had plenty apples, golden and otherwise. Zhokíhoníro then offered Her Nuvíní's golden ring, which could reproduce six duplicate copies of itself every seven days. Nokí laughed at the servant, saying that She had no use for gold, since She could create all the food She would even need.
Growing desperate to please his master, Zhokíhoníro cast a spell upon Nokí, transforming Her into a hideous, three-headed monster. He declared that he would change Her back only if She would go to Rékaré’s bed. Nokí laughed with all three of Her new heads and transformed Herself into seven cows.
She called over Her friends and fed Them all fresh milk until They’d had Their fill, with each of Her seven udders producing an endless stream of the purest of pure cow’s milk. Once Nokí’s guests were satisfied, She transformed Herself back to Her regular, pleasing form and told Rékaré’s servant to go away.
Instead, Zhokíhoníro summoned all of his magical strength and, with a sharp finger pointed at Nokí’s face, he threatened to banish Her to a distant, frozen wasteland in a universe where Nokí would live for all eternity without love or food.
Nokí gasped. If he banished Her, there was no telling if She’d be able to return. An infinite life without food -- or love, for that matter -- would be unbearable. Much to Her own disappointment, Nokí agreed to Zhokíhoníro’s terms. She went to Rékaré’s bed.
Soon thereafter, Nokí gave birth to a daughter, Hérazha, Goddess of Wind. Hérazha would later -- later by Her own viewpoint, that is -- marry Voro and give birth to Nokí, but that’s a different story.
Nokí’s love for Her daughter made Her rethink Her actions in defending Her father’s honor. She did not have to resort to violence. She did not have to be like that cackling lout, Rékaré. Instead, She could convince people of the error of their ways by showing them Her love and forgiveness.
Taking Her immense club with Her, Nokí returned to the land of the early humans. The living humans ran in terror upon seeing Her, but Nokí ignored them. Instead, She walked to the field of the dead. One by one, corpse by corpse, Nokí crisscrossed the field, touching every dead person with the handle end of Her club. One by one, the humans came back to life.
Soon, all of humanity was once again alive. Everyone was incredibly grateful. They heaped thanks and praise upon Nokí. They promised to never say bad words about Her father ever again, since She was so nice to them. Nokí acknowledged their thanks and returned home, leaving behind one of Her perennially full boar roasts as a gift for humanity to share.
From that day forward, Nokí treated friends and enemies alike, with kind words and an offer of food, always prepared to hear their grievances and convince them of their follies. Nevertheless, Nokí still carries with Her that giver and taker of life, the symbol of all that can be, Her giant club. She never knows the day She might again need it.