Sunday, December 30, 2007

Home Brew Day 1

Roxanne's parents gave me a home beer brewing kit for Christmas and I finally had the time to start cooking up my first batch tonight. I have always wanted to try this but have never really gotten around to it, mostly because I figured it had to be pretty hard to get it right. However, the instructions, as well as many friends, claim that it is easy, so I'm ready to try it.

First I purified some water and added all of the malt, sugars and hops in the kit:

Next I let it boil and cool until the foaming stopped and did a final boil as per the instructions:

The next step definitely gave me the most trouble and frustration. It was time to marry up the wort with the rest of the purified water in the fermentation container. The problem was that the opening of the fermenter is only about an inch and a half wide. Even with a funnel, I couldn't pour the wort fast enough to keep from spilling some down the side of the pot. Thankfully Roxanne helped me slowly scoop the wort out and then funnel it into the fermenter. In the end, I feel like I must have lost a couple of cups of the wort, but I adjusted the total volume of purified water to account for the loss. Hopefully it won't adversely affect my first batch.

Once in the fermenter, I added the yeast and capped the top for the process that will take place over the next few days:

It's really out of my hands now for the next week. I will only be able to watch the fermentation happen over the next few days. I won't have another job to do until next week when it is time to bottle it and start the aging process. But if all goes well, I'll have about five gallons of a nice Continental Light Ale just in time for Mardi Gras.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Alamo Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Penn State

Tonight the Texas A&M Aggies will be facing the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Everybody seems to think that Penn State has the edge and they probably do, I just hope that interim head coach Gary Darnell can give Joe Paterno and his boys a game. I was at the last game between the A&M and Penn State which was also at the Alamo Bowl in 1999 and it was miserable. It was completely one sided and got pretty boring to watch after Penn State took a commanding lead. I hope the Ags play with the same fire in their bellies that they had when they beat Texas a little more than a month ago. Gig 'Em Aggies! BTHO penn state!

UPDATE: The Aggies lose a close game by a score of 17-24. The Aggies took the lead early in the Alamo Bowl, but Penn State was able to answer and hang on for the win. It would have been nice to cleanse the palate of the Franchione Era with this game, but there just wasn't enough time to pull out the win. I'm not one for moral victories, but at least we weren't completely dominated as we were in our previous two bowl performances. Let the Mike Sherman Era begin!

Friday, December 28, 2007

LOST in 8 minutes 15 seconds

ABC has put together a recap of the first three seasons of LOST. It is pretty concise but not advisable to watch if you haven't seen all of the first three season because, as you might imagine, it is chocked full of spoilers.

Monday, December 24, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 7: "Artz & Crafts"

The latest missing piece is online and it isn't really more than filler. Even though Dr. Artz's death in Season 1 was pretty shocking, I've still never cared too much for the character. He served a function in the first season finale, but beyond that, I feel like he has been reinserted into this and Nikki and Paulo's flashback as over-the-op comic relief So after last week's very interesting missing piece, we don't really learn anything new.

Click here for "Artz & Crafts."

Not too much other LOST news of late. I've just be re-watching Season 3 and am counting down the days until Season 4 starts. Only 39 days until LOST returns!

Monday, December 17, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 6: "Room 23"

The sixth installment of the LOST: Missing Pieces is out and it is pretty interesting. At first I thought that Karl must be the one in the room as we saw in that scene in Season 3, but couldn't figure out who his father must be on the island. Then when I saw the dead birds I realized that it must be Walt in the room, not Karl. How interesting that the Others are all afraid of Walt and don't want to go near him. I had figured that the Walt story was no longer consequential, but this certainly makes me re-evaluate that position.

Click here for "Room 23."

In other LOST news, ABC announced that Season 4 will start on January 31, moving the show to Thursday nights. I don't really care one way or the other which night it is on because I will watch it. If it is ever moved to Saturdays though, you'll know that it's on the verge of cancellation. This announcement of the start date was reported in several articles, but I think the best venue for the announcement is in this new extended trailer for Season 4.

There are some intriguing things in the trailer, but to me the most exciting is the shot of Jack's dad in a rocking chair much like the one we saw Jacob in during Season 3. This can be taken one of two ways. The first is that Jack's dad is Jacob. Since Season 1 I have thought that Jack's dad was really the man in charge of things on the island. I thought that Jack was having more than just visions of his dad on the island. Even though the producers say that once a character is dead, they stay dead, I still think there is more to Jack's dad's story and not just in flashbacks. The other way this could be taken is that people see Jacob the way that Jacob wants them to see him. Perhaps this is why Jacob looked so much like Locke (albeit with hair) when Ben introduced them. In any event, I am very excited about this and many other prospects but mostly I'm just excited that LOST will be back on TV if only for eight weeks.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Since this summer there has been rampant speculation in the movie world about J. J. Abrams project referred to as "01.18.08" and later as "Cloverfield." The "Blair Witch-esque" trailer had everyone wondering if it was a new Godzilla movie or something like Independence Day but with this five minute clip, it looks like it might be a cross between the two.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

LOST Season 4 Preview 1

A couple of days ago, a low quality video of a preview for the new season of LOST showed up online. Today, a high resolution version has appeared and although it's the same thing that I already saw, I felt like I got more out of it. Interestingly, there is a flash of what looks like Charlie right at the end of the preview. If it is indeed Charlie, Season 4 will be very interesting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 5: "Operation Sleeper"

The latest installment of the missing pieces series is out and it deals with the time between when Sun and Juliet visited the Medical Station and when Jack and Juliet revealed to the rest of the Losties that Juliet was sent as a spy for Ben. As usual, there aren't any real revelations other than that Sun's life is in jeopardy very soon due to her pregnancy. But we all pretty much assumed that already. One interesting note is that Juliet questions weather it was Locke or Ben who blew up the sub. It is an interesting question to ponder although it sure seemed like Locke did it.

Click here for "Operation Sleeper."

In other LOST news, previews for Season Four are being shown in selected theaters and a video of one such preview has shown up on line. The quality is pretty bad and there really isn't much to see but here it is nonetheless:

There is no real news on the status of the writers strike other than we know it isn't over yet. Recently, a story has come out that Carlton Cuse did not go back to work as producer as previously reported. Read about it here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Time Is Here Again

Now that Thanksgiving is a few weeks behind us and the college football regular season has ended, it finally feels like the Christmas season. It being our first Christmas as husband and wife, Roxi and I decided to eschew the artificial tree that we set up last year and get a small live tree. Roxanne's dissertation adviser gave us a wonderful set of traditional bride's tree ornaments. We did a little research and augmented the set he gave us and decorated our tree.

We added Yoda to our tree to represent wisdom.

Even St. Francis of Assisi got into the holiday spirit.

Monday, December 03, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 4: "The Deal"

The newest missing piece is online and offers us our first glimpse of Michael since he and Walt sailed off the island at the end of Season 2. This scene is set when Michael was being held captive by the Others at the fake village. It is interesting to see the interaction between Michael and Juliet although, as is the case with most of these pieces, there is not any new information but there are a lot of call backs to past episodes.

Click here for "The Deal."

In writers strike news, negotiations began again last Monday but apparently they quickly broke down after the producers refused to give in to any of the writers' demands. Negotiations are set to begin again tomorrow. Meanwhile in Hawaii, LOST production reportedly finished filming the eighth episode of Season 4 on November 30 officially halting further production of the show until the strike is resolved. At least the Season 3 DVD set is coming out next Tuesday!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Remember the Alamo

The Texas A&M Aggies are officially Alamo Bowl bound. As mentioned earlier, the Aggies will be playing the Penn State Nittany Lions. I hope that interim head coach Gary Darnell has the team better prepared than R.C. Slocum in the last game against the Nittany Lions in 1999. BTHO penn state!

A Fine Mess

The Bowl Championship Series rankings began in 1998 in an effort to have a clear consensus college football national champion taking into account two human voted polls and several computer generated ones. However, the series has had some failing in almost every year of its existence. 2007 appears to be no different; in fact it has the potential to be the most screwed up yet.

Yesterday, #1 Missouri and #2 West Virginia lost their final games of the season leaving the door open to a controversy similar to that of the 2001-02 and the 2003-04 controversies. After last nights results, no fewer than seven teams are potential entrants into the national title game. Brad Edwards has a great run-down of the contenders in the championship as well as some potential match-ups in the other BCS bowl games.

As far as Texas A&M is concerned, there has been a lot of talk of the Aggies playing Penn State in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on December 29. This game would be a rematch of the 1999 Alamo Bowl in which the R.C. Slocum coached Aggies were shut out by the Nittany Lions by a score of 24-0. Depending upon the selections in the BCS games, the Aggies could end up in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport on December 30 or the Bowl in Phoenix on December 31. All will be revealed this evening in the over-hyped BCS Selection Show.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Futurama returned yesterday after a two-year hiatus in the form of a straight-to-DVD movie, Bender's Big Score. Roxanne and I watched it last night and I was pleased, although not blown away. The movie got off to a pretty slow start but I did enjoy the extended opening title sequence. After a long set up, the movie got into the meat of the story in the way that only Futurama could pull off. Without spoiling too much, just imagine lots of time travel and potential space-time paradoxes. It was interesting, but they seemed to shoehorn in a few too many of the favorite characters from the series just for the sake of putting them in the movie. They also interwove too many call backs to the series, again for the sake of putting them in the movie. It had some very funny moments in the middle but began to sag a little towards the end. There is a cliff hanger ending which I can live with knowing that another such direct-to-DVD movie will be coming soon to resolve it. Because the plan is to split this and the next three movies into twenty-two minute episodes for TV, I think it sort of damaged the continuity of the story. Rather than one long story, it had more of a mutli-part episode feel. All in all, Bender's Big Score is good, but not great. I'm sure it will grow on me as the rest of the series has and I won't complain too much because good new Futurama is better than none at all.

Notable extras on the disc are a feature length commentary by Matt Groenig, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, etc. as well as a full length episode of "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad." I fast forwarded through the episode of Hypnotoad and let's just say it was funny at that speed. I haven't listened to the commentary track yet but those of the series episodes were very entertaining and insightful as I'm sure these will be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 3: "King of The Castle"

The third installment of the LOST mobisodes is out (a day late I might add) and it offers a chess game between Ben and Jack and conversation about the choice to leave the island. There isn't too much substance or character development in this missing piece, but there are a couple of nice call backs to Season 3.

Click here for "King of The Castle."

In writer's strike news, talks resumed yesterday but there is a media blackout, so I guess we'll hear something when they want us to hear something. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, production of Season 4 has been shut down since November 21. All principle photography on the first half of the season is finished and only post-production is left at this point. The strike needs to be resolved soon or I fear that the rest of Season 4 will have to be postponed until 2009(!).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coach Mike Sherman

Texas A&M has named Mike Sherman as the new head football coach. Let's see how he stacks up on my list of criteria. Since I don't follow the NFL, it is hard for me to adequately comment of some of these criteria.

1. Not Tommy Tuberville - CHECK
2. Not Steve Spurrier - CHECK
3. Not Jimmy Johnson - CHECK
4. Not an Aggie - Offensive line coach under R.C. Slocum at A&M from 1989-93 and 1995-96; not a Aggie grad/former player but strong ties.
5. Not a "CEO" - General Manager of the Green Bay Packers organization from 2001-2004.
6. Someone who can win a bowl game. - As a head coach his playoff record was 2-4, only slightly better than recent Aggie head coaches in bowl games.
7. Someone who makes his players believe that they can beat any team on any day. - Coached the Packers to three first place finishes in the NFC North; fired after losing season.
8. Someone who shows genuine emotion on the sidelines. - Reportedly stoic.
9. Someone who isn't already a head coach at a major program. - CHECK
10. Someone who has new ideas. - To Be Determined.
11. Someone who is under forty year old. - Sherman is 53.
12. Someone who is flexible enough to make course corrections when necessary. - To Be Determined.

There are a lot of unknowns in this list, but I like that more than hiring somebody who won a national championship ten or more years ago. We all thought that Franchione was going to take us to the top within two or three years just because he had the reputation of being a "turnaround" guy. It turns out he had a couple of big playmakers that helped make the turnarounds happen in his previous jobs. In hindsight, we all set our heights too high, but we were expecting similar results to what had been achieved at earlier coaching stops. With Sherman, we will just have to wait and see. Expectations will be high, but I there a few coaches in the Big 12 who I thought were relative unknowns at the time of their hiring and a couple of them have really advanced their respective programs. Others haven't. Unfortunately, we probably won't know anything next season other than that we made the right decision to move on from the Francione era.

The important thing now is that Coach Sherman make sure to keep the recruits that we have and maybe add a few in the short time that is left. Meanwhile, he will need to hire some excellent assistant coaches to help him change the overall direction of the football program. It does concern me that he is only going to be working part-time until the end of the Houston Texans' season, but I suppose that is a sign of commitment and integrity which is something that our last coach talked a lot about but might have been somewhat lacking.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

In the Interim

Texas A&M defensive coordinator Gary Darnell has been named interim head coach for the bowl game, assuming A&M does indeed get an invitation. I guess this means that there will be no news on the head coach on Monday as many people on the internet boards have been speculating. That's probably for the best. It would be better for the regular season to be over for most schools for a couple of days to get good candidates in for interviews. I really want this to be a good hire and not to have Dollar Bill go off half-cocked in his decision just to appease the most vocal fans. But with Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan being fired, Michigan's Lloyd Carr retiring and a truly excrebale season at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis, there will be some stiff competition for good coaches in the offseason.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The End of an Error

In the days floowing yet another loss to Texas under Coach R.C. Slocum, I couldn't bear to think of another Aggie football season with him at the helm. The numbers didn't lie; A&M had been on a downward slide since 1995 with an outlier of a conference championship in 1998 that in hind site seemed more to be a result of the chemistry of the players that year than coaching. A few days later, R.C. Slocum was reassigned and the search was on for a new head coach and a new era in Aggie football. Shortly thereafter, Dennis Francione left a seemingly renewed Alabama program to turnaround the floundering A&M program. Hindsight is 20/20 and after five years in Aggieland, it appears that Fran's last season at Alabama and his previous seasons at TCU were more about the players drive and determination than anything he did as a coach or motivator.

Today, A&M is no better off than the day that Coach Fran arrived. Our record went down dramatically during his first year and then proceeded to yo-yo up and down over the next four seasons. Yes, he did helm teams that defeated Texas in consecutive years for the first time since the early '90's, but beating our rival is not the be-all end-all of Aggie football. Most fans want a team that is competitive in the Big 12 and puts themselves in a position to at least play for the Big 12 championship every year. Texas and Oklahoma have done it and, like it or not, they have raised the bar over the past decade in the Big 12 South.

Following tonight's win over Texas, Coach Dennis Franchione announced that he would be stepping down as head coach of Texas A&M. I don't think that anyone is gullible enough to believe that Fran wants to leave A&M, but the powers that be have realized that his continued tenure at A&M would only hurt the football program, and by extension the entire athletic department, more than simply starting over. I do think that it might have been better to wait a day, but on the other hand, we might as well strike while the iron is hot. This decision has been a long time coming and I know that quiet arrangements have been going on behind closed doors for a while.

There has been much talk and rumors lately about who will be the next A&M head coach and I have a few criteria that I only hope are used to winnow the field:

1. Not Tommy Tuberville
2. Not Steve Spurrier
3. Not Jimmy Johnson
4. Not an Aggie
5. Not a "CEO"
6. Someone who can win a bowl game.
7. Someone who makes his players believe that they can beat any team on any day.
8. Someone who shows genuine emotion on the sidelines.
9. Someone who isn't already a head coach at a major program.
10. Someone who has new ideas.
11. Someone who is under forty year old.
12. Someone who is flexible enough to make course corrections when necessary.

I don't want to replace one hiring mistake with another. I don't want to go for the big name. I want someone who has new ideas about the game and not someone who is so intractable in their game plans they refuse to admit their mistakes. I want someone who is inspiring and energetic. I want someone who is honest and forthcoming with their poor decisions. I want someone who really wants to make A&M a competitive program again and not just a spoiler.

Thanks for giving a go at it Coach Fran. I know that you had higher hopes when you started, but I think that your approach was a little misguided. It just didn't mesh with the established program. We gave you a good chance, but the Big 12 is a difficult conference and I think that you underestimated it a bit when you started. Thanks for playing a part in beating Texas twice but I just wanted a little more than a post-Thanksgiving win. Good luck and Gig 'Em.

Texas A&M vs. Texas

Today is a big day in Aggie football: the big rivalry game with Texas. It is also significant as it could be Coach Dennis Franchione's last day on the job. I don't know if there is really anything that can save him right now. Since his arrival at A&M, he has talked a big game but he has not coached that many. The Aggies currently have a record of 6-5 with only minimal hopes of getting an invite to a bowl game. Last year's mediocre season and Fran's job were saved by the upset victory over the Longhorns in Austin. A win this year against Texas would be great but it might just be too little too late for Fran. But alas, I get ahead of myself. Let the game be played and see where the chips fall. This one is for all the guys who go out there every weekend and play in the game!

Gig 'Em Aggies and Beat the Hell Outta tu!!!!

UPDATE: The second half just started and I have to say that I am amazed at this point by how dominant the Ags have been. Texas A&M has managed to hold the advantage at this point by a score of 17-3. We still have to wait and see what the half-time adjustments hold but things are looking pretty good for the Ags right now. Of course, Texas has been a second half team this year and there is still a lot of game left. Meanwhile, here is a picture of my dad taken on campus today just before the game started. With the score the way it is, this might not seem aprops, but it sure is funny as hell!

UPDATE: Two in a row baby!!!! Ags win by a score of 38-30! I thought that someday I would live to see the Ags beat Texas two years in a row, but I never thought it would be this year. I sort of have to feel for Francione a little because of his responses to questions in the post-game interview on the field. He didn't seem to be answering questions like he would still be the coach tomorrow. It's unfortunate, but why couldn't his teams played this well and consistently over the past five years? This team has talent and they showed what they could do if they think they can win and really want to win. I just don't understand why Fran couldn't motivate his team to play this way all year long. I'll be honest, if Fran is fired, it's going to make the Ags look like ungrateful a-holes, but if we had lost today, we would just be perennial losers. It is sad but I only hope that whatever happens over the next few days is in the best interest of the future of Aggie football. The life of a coach is hard and they know that getting into it. Tonight, Coach Fran should enjoy this win with his team and just take it one day at a time. Gig 'Em Ags!

Monday, November 19, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 2: "The Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt"

The second Missing Piece is out and it gives us a little scene of Hurley preparing for his ill-fated date with Libby in Season 2. We finally get a good look at Frogurt and boy is he an a-hole!

Click here for "The Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt."

Who knew that Neil Frogurt was the "Aaron Burr Got Milk" guy?!?

In other LOST news, producer/writer Carlton Cuse has gone back to least as far as doing some post-production for the eight episodes of Season 4 that are completely filmed. It is a difficult balance when you are a worker and a part of management. Another encouraging story emerged this weekend as studios and networks agreed to resume talks on November 26. Hopefully this will put and end to the writers strike and put LOST and The Office back into production.

Monday, November 12, 2007

LOST: Missing Pieces 1: "The Watch"

The producers of LOST along with ABC had planned to make the end of the long hiatus a little better by releasing a series of thirteen "missing pieces" leading up to the start of the fourth season in February. Now with the writers strike in full swing, this plan may turn a little bitter sweet if the season turns out to be cut short or even delayed. But until then, I will be checking for these weekly tidbits every Monday.

Click here for "The Watch."

The premiere piece appears to be set on the day of Jack's wedding and is a rather touching scene between Jack and his father. Enjoy and let's hope the strike gets resolved soon!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

LOST Season 4 Part I

The writers strike is taking it's toll on television as shows are shutting down production with most networks running out of new episodes by the end of the year. If the strike is still going, from there on out it will be reality TV and game shows. That is except for the two months of new episodes of LOST that will likely start in February.

ABC announced that there are eight completed episodes of Season 4 of LOST (half of the planned sixteen) and that they will be aired as planned beginning in February. From the picket lines, producer Damon Lindelof said that there is a cliffhanger at the end of the eighth episode that is planned to be resolved the following week, but if the strike continues, there could be a very long wait for that resolution. It will be irritating to say the least. LOST cliffhangers are notoriously hard to deal with even for a week, but having an indeterminate hiatus will be worse than what we have been dealing with since May. However, I would rather some new episodes of the show rather than nothing. The question is when would the second half of Season 4 air? Would it be produced and aired as soon as the strike is resolved or would it be lumped into the planned sixteen episodes of Season 5? Here's to hoping that talks will resume and this strike will be resolved before it's too late to conclude production of Season 4 of LOST in it's entirety!

Texas A&M at Missouri

Is this this last road trip for embattled Coach Fran? It looks like it might be if you believe all of the internet buzz. The problem right now is that Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne seems to be a contradiction to me. On the one hand, he is known as a no nonsense administrator and will make the decisions necessary for an athletic program to flourish. On the other hand he seems to me like he can be a stubborn a-hole on principle. However, I think that "Dollar" Bill is a smart guy and knows that if the majority of donors don't believe in Fran, there is no way that he can stay at A&M any longer. From what I am seeing, it looks like the vocal internet posters and bloggers don't want to wait until after Thanksgiving but would rather Fran's head on a platter now. But on principle, Bill Byrne will wait until after the Texas game to bring down the ax.

So is the Missouri game a forgone conclusion. I think so, but I have been wrong before. I remember when R.C. Slocum got a win against top ranked Oklahoma in his final season. But that didn't save his job. Even a win against Texas probably wouldn't save Fran's job either. It's funny because it was a loss to Missouri that sealed Slocum's fate six years ago and it looks as though it will do the same for Fran. I feel bad for the players who have supported Fran though all of this, but they have to know deep down in their hearts that things aren't working and Fran is just not a good fit for the A&M program and it's fans. I only hope that when the smoke has cleared, we haven't traded one mediocre coach for another.

(BTHO mizzou!)

UPDATE: Mizzou predictable defeated the Aggies by a score of 40-26. What more can be said?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Texas A&M at Oklahoma

The Aggies lost again last night, this time on the road in Norman, OK by a score of 42-14 the game just like I did last week since I couldn't watch live, and I promptly deleted it unwatched on Sunday morning, just like I did last week. I have no interest in breaking down the problems with the . I Tivo'dAggies right now; there are just too many. Thankfully, Roxanne and I hosted a murder mystery party last night and had great fun, otherwise it would have been a pretty miserable Saturday night in front of the TV. The silver lining to this cloud is that Fran will likely only be coaching two more games for the Aggies after which we can all move on from what has turned out to be a five year mistake. Sad but true.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Strike Is On

The Writers Guild of America voted to strike starting on Monday due to a breakdown with studios over negotiating the royalties writers receive from DVD and internet sales of TV shows and movies. The strike has been looming for months and threatened the fall TV schedule as well as spring and summer movies. Depending upon how quickly the strike is resolved, the TV season may be very short as most shows are only a few weeks ahead on production of completed scripts. Once those run out, it will be re-runs, reality shows and game shows for the duration. On top of that, late night talk shows will likely go into re-runs immediately as they are written an produced on the fly.

Although I don't watch too much TV, there are a few shows that I follow and will be disappointed if they go on a long unscheduled hiatus. Number one in my mind is The Office which has been pretty funny so far this season and has a lot of potentially good story lines developing. Of course my favorite currently airing show is LOST, but it is on a long scheduled hiatus right now while new episodes are being filmed in Hawaii. Rumor had it that only 6 or 7 of the 16 episodes slated for this season would be finished if a strike was called, but according to the LOST Blog, scripts for 14 of the episodes are done. If that is true, then LOST could end up being the only show to be airing new episodes in the spring.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Kansas

Kansas football ain't what it used to be and it showed in College Station tonight. The Jayhawks defeated the Aggies by a score of 19-11. Kansas was on the verge of shutting out the Aggies at home until a fourth quarter field goal and touchdown with a two-point conversion gave Texas A&M some points. We were defeated by the better team, but I'm afraid that we will be playing teams better than us for the remainder of the season. I would love to see A&M win three in a row to close out the season, but with games at Oklahoma, at Missouri and facing Texas at home, I fear that we might go 0-3 in November. Our guys might have enough in them to get fired up to beat a sagging Texas team, but they will really have to get it together, because Texas has really been hit or miss this season. So with that being said, here's to the rest of the season, but I honestly don't have high of expectations in November.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Doesn't Bode Well For Season 4

We are still more than three months away from the beginning of the fourth season of LOST and some troubling news has surfaced today. No, it doesn't have to do with the impending writers strike that could shut down production of all television and movies as early as November. It is that yet another cast member of LOST has been arrested for DUI. This time fan favorite Daniel Dae Kim was arrested and released this morning on suspicion of driving under the influence in Honolulu. Things haven't worked out well for cast members cited for DUIs or other traffic violations.


Two years ago, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros were arrested and charged with DUIs and their characters were subsequently killed off at the end of the second season. A year ago, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was arrested and charged with a traffic violation and his character was subsequently killed off early in the third season.

So what does today's news mean for Dae Kim and his character? Might Jin Kwon's days on the mysterious island be numbered? Many people thought he might die at the end of the third season at the hands of the Others but he managed to survive capture. Perhaps it was only a brief "stay of execution." On the other hand, Cynthia Watros' character Libby is rumored to be returning in flashbacks this season to complete her unfinished story, so this would imply that there is no ill feelings as a result of her arrest. I have a feeling that Jin won't be going anywhere anytime soon. But if anything does happen, are we going to have to hear about the LOST curse again? I sure hope not!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Texas A&M at Nebraska

I am doing another post game blog this week because Roxanne and I were busy all afternoon running errands and enjoying having yet another Saturday at home. Of course, if I were home, I couldn't have watched it anyway since there was no TV for this one, but then again there was no reason for TV this week. As Bubba jokingly wrote in his weekly SWC Game of the Week post, this was the Buyout Bowl..."loser pays buyout clause for both coaches when they are fired at the end of the season." Both of these teams have fallen far this year although, the Aggies have managed to hang on to an honorable looking win/loss record so far this season. They even somehow found themselves on top of the Big 12 South standings after their victory over Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Of course, reality set in last week against Texas Tech and I just figured it would continue on this week's road trip to Lincoln to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, the Aggies defeated the Huskers for the first time ever in Lincoln by a score of 36-14.

By all accounts, the Aggies had a great day against an admittedly sub-par Nebraska squad. The Aggies are not very good right now on either side of the ball, but the Huskers made the Aggies look great on defense and both quarterback Stephen McGee and running back Jorvorski Lane had career days on offense. So the Aggies somehow find themselves still in control of their own destiny in conference play. We are now inconceivably tied for first in the Big 12 South with future opponent Oklahoma. But before we play the Sooners in Norman, we have to face a very good Kansas team at home next week. The other shoe is just hanging there right now and I am just waiting for it to drop. I always love to see the Aggies win, but I really don't want to get my hopes up too much as we get deeper into the difficult stretch of the season.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wedding Second Line Videos!

Thanks to my brother Travis for these great videos of the Second Line with Rebirth Brass Band that was the conclusion of Roxanne and my wedding:

See more pictures at

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Texas A&M at Texas Tech

I'm posting a little late on this one, but honestly I wasn't expecting much out of this game. The Aggies faced off against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech in Lubbock. The Aggies started out better than I would have expected scoring first with all the game's momentum, but shortly after, the momentum shifted and the Ags never got it back. Tech rolled and the Aggies lost by a score of 35-7. I can't say that I'm surprised with the recent history of this series. Unfortunately this means that Texas Tech now takes the lead in the Big 12 South. Meanwhile the Aggies will continue the brutal road schedule with a trip to Nebraska next week. I don't have a good feeling about the rest of the season...

Wedding Pictures!!!

As some of readers may know, Roxanne and I were married last Saturday night at the beautiful Board of Trade in New Orleans. I would have posted sooner but we have been recuperating since we got back to Lafayette on Sunday. We had such a fun time and we're so happy to have had our best friends in the world with us. I'm kind of sad that it's all over, but on the other hand, it is also very relaxing to know that we don't have any more of that kind of planning left to do. We are still in the process of compiling all the pictures but here's some of what we've got so far!

Check for more pictures and updates at!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State

The Aggies face the Cowboys of Oklahoma State tonight in College Station. Because of the upsets of Texas and Oklahoma last week, the winner of tonight's game will be in first place of the Big 12 South. After mediocre play to start the season, A&M is lucky to even be in this position. I'm not exactly up on how OSU has been playing this year so I really don't know who has the advantage in this match up, but A&M at least has the home field. We shall see what happens, but not in real time...I'm getting married tonight at the same time as the game!

UPDATE: Ags win by a score of 24-23 despite being down by 17 points at halftime! For the at least a week, the Aggies are alone atop the Big 12 South! Meanwhile Texas was defeated by Oklahoma and USC lost to Stanford. Are more upsets on the horizon this season? Probably. All I know for sure is that I'm married now!!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2 Days, 16 Hours, 24 Minutes!

It's late but I am up because Roxi and I have been busy getting ready to head to New Orleans on Thursday to prepare for our wedding on Saturday!!! It's finally almost here! We've been ready for a while now but it's almost time to rendezvous with family and friends in the Big Easy for a grand celebration! I am so excited!!!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Baylor

The Aggies open up Big 12 play today under a cloud of controversy and fears of a bad season. News broke this week that Coach Fran was secretly selling information to boosters for $1200 a year; information that he was withholding from the media and the public. Apparently, this limited secret subscription has been going on for three years in order to "underwrite his personal website," Franchione has discontinued the newsletter since the news came out, but that in and of itself gives the appearance of some impropriety or at least some ethical dilemma. In any event, this is the last thing the Aggies need as the team is coming off a miserable performance against Miami a week and a half ago and embarking on what could prove to be a very poor showing in conference play.

Big 12 season play begins today against Baylor who has seen improvement in the past few years as well as a victory over the Aggies in Waco three years ago. The Aggies need this win at home to give them a boost of confidence before embarking on what will undoubtedly be a vicious road schedule in two weeks. I truly want the players to have success, but I am losing what little faith I have left in Coach Fran. That being said, Gig 'Em Aggies! BTHO baylor!

UPDATE: Ags win by a score of 34-10. From the writeup, it sounds like the passing game got going again but I worry about that since this is only Baylor. Even though they have improved in recent years, they are still Baylor and we will have to play against far tougher defenses this year. The field goal kicker missed a bunch more attempts which does not bode well down the road, but this is still one for the win column.

In other news around the Big 12 and the Top 25, it is shaping up to be a weekend of upsets. Of note in the Big 12, #3 Oklahoma was defeated by unranked Colorado today and unranked K-State is currently beating #7 Texas near the end of the third quarter. There is still a lot of time left in Austin and Texas is a strong finisher, but K-State succeeded in knocking-off the Longhorns at home last year. A victory in Austin would certainly help the perception of the Big 12 North.

UPDATE: Well, Texas did indeed lose in grand fashion but it didn't end there. A total of seven ranked teams lost to unranked or opponents this weekend. Quite a day for the underdog and great day in college football!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Texas A&M at Miami

Tonight is the Aggies last non-conference game before Big 12 play starts next weekend and it is a doozie! We'll be playing on the road, on national TV against the Miami Hurricanes. They got rolled a couple of weeks ago by Oklahoma so frankly I'm a little worried, but I will remain cautiously optimistic about our chances. We just have to play a lot better than we did against Fresno State. Gig 'Em Aggies! BTHO miami!

UPDATE: It's not even half-time yet and I am already embarrassed that this game is on TV.

UPDATE: The Aggies are not a good football team. We got destroyed tonight although the score (34-17) does not reflect how badly we really played. And before everybody gets too excited about Jerrod Johnson's scramble and touchdown pass in the final minutes of the game, remember that there always seems to be another quarterback that will get it done next year. The simple fact is that Coach Dennis Franchione has not and will not EVER put our guys into a mindset and a position that they believe that they can play and beat any team in the country. Tonight was ridiculous and Miami isn't even going to be the toughest team we are scheduled to play this year! Overrated doesn't even begin to describe our status in college football. I honestly don't think that Fran will be able to survive this season.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Louisiana-Monroe

After last week's televised triple-overtime win over Fresno State, the Aggies will take the home field against the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks in an un-televised game. Part of me would like to watch it but another part of me is okay with not having it readily available in case the Aggies take another non-conference team in stride. I'll be fine having to settle for the recap later this evening. Gig 'Em Ags and BTHO ulm!

UPDATE: The Aggies played a more balanced game tonight and defeated UL-Monroe by a score of 54-14. Unfortunately, this will probably be the easiest game we will play all year. Things will be heating up in this short week with a road trip to Miami on Thursday. After that, Big 12 play starts up. Things will be tough to say the least!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hola, Humberto!

Sometime after midnight last night, Tropical Storm Humberto was southwest of Galveston. A few hours later, it had turned northeast and became a Category 1 hurricane as it made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana State line. Now this is really no big deal compared to the powerful Katrina and Rita that hit two year ago, but there are still risks of flooding and tornadoes as we are on the eastern side of the storm. Roxi and I are hopping these hurricanes get this out of their system now because we have a wedding in New Orleans in 23 days!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Six Years Later...

...And I will still never forget that fateful day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Fresno State

I don't know much about this game going into other than the personal story. This is the first Aggie game I attend in almost three years and it is also serving as my pseudo-bachelor party with my old friends from A&M. They are mostly married with kids now so we are hanging out for the day, getting some food, drinking some beer and watching the Fightin' Texas Aggies beat the Hell outta Fresno State! A pretty good day if I do say so myself. Stay tuned for some game day pictures.

UPDATE: The Aggies won...but barely. At the end of the third overtime period, the Aggies came out ahead by a score of 47-45. The game was great for a fan of football, but excruciatingly hard to watch as an Aggie fan. It should never have come to triple overtime. But on the bright side of things, we got our money's worth and had a great time hanging out as a group again probably for the first time since we graduated. So despite the close game and the less than stellar prospects for the rest of the season, the sun was shinning on the Aggies.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

al Qaeda Public Relations Department

CNN and everybody else is reporting that al Qaeda's media production group (!) has announced that Osama bin Laden will release a videotaped message on September 11 to coincide with the sixth anniversary of his attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I wonder if there will be an IM Q&A session following the press conference...

al Qaeda has a PR department? When is the State of the Jihad address?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Texas A&M vs. Montana State

College football season kicked off on Thursday night and is officially in full swing again over this long holiday weekend. As mentioned in my previous post, I spent the past two days traveling two and from Lake Whitney in Texas for a pre-wedding shower. Needless to say, I was predisposed during the Fightin' Texas Aggies opening game against the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday night, but I will be making up for it next week by attending the game against the Fresno State Bulldogs.

In this weekends game, the Aggies were victorious by a score of 38-7. The post-game write up certainly makes it sound like there is work to be done and improvement to be made on both sides of the ball, but one can't complain too much for a win to start off the season. It will take a lot to handle the upcoming schedule, so here's to hoping that Coach Fran and his staff can make the necessary adjustments required each week for this year's team to build on last year's brush with conference glory (remember...last year's team's three regular season loses were by a combined six points with two games being decided by only one point).

A Long, Long Overdue Update

Happy Labor Day to all 13th Generation readers. I haven't been able to post much recently due to Roxi and my rapidly approaching wedding in October. She and I (but mostly she) have been working very hard for the past few months with things getting pushed into high gear these past few weeks as we continued to compile address for invitees while we were hand making all of the wedding invitations.

We were quite a site to see two weeks ago as we made a trip to San Francisco for Roxi to attend the APA convention. We spent the better part of the flight assembling and stuffing wedding invitations that we had printed and prepped the previous evening. By the time we arrived in the city by the Bay, we had completed a majority of the invitations and mailed them off. We celebrated my 30th birthday in grand fashion on our first night when Roxi surprised me with reservations to a dinner show at Teatro ZinZanni, a music/comedy/acrobatics show in the vein of Cirque du Soleil. It was a fantastic birthday surprise as only Roxi could give me.

We spent the bulk of our next two days seeing the wonderful sites of San Francisco but the absolute highlight of our touring experience was our rental of the GoCar. The GoCare is almost exactly like the name sounds: it is essentially a glorified go-cart that is street legal and is equipped with a GPS guided tour. You can follow a specified tour path or you can deviate and drive around wherever you want to except highways and bridges. We spent about three and a half hours of our last afternoon seeing the sites from Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Persidio and into Golden Gate Park before returning the rental center via a trip down the "crookedest" part of Lombard Street. We got lots of pictures and videos of the beautiful vistas, but while we drove down Lombard Street we became a tourist attraction unto ourselves as people photographed our funny little car making it's way down the switchbacks.

I returned home directly while Roxi spent some time in New Orleans with her mother to have another meeting with our wedding coordinator to finalize some more details of our big day. She returned at the end of the week just in time for our first wedding shower. After all the hard work leading up to the wedding, we could finally sit back and have some fun with our friends. A group of Roxi's best girl friends got together and hosted a Stock the Bar shower last weekend and we had a ball. We had some fantastic jambalaya, great snacks, plenty to drink and we received some wonderful gifts to stock our bar.

This past weekend, we made a trip to Lake Whitney in Texas for the second of our showers hosted by Roxi's family friends. It was my first of what I'm sure will be many trips to the lake and I had a great time finally getting to meet many of the people I have been hearing about for the two and a half years that Roxi and I have been together. Our hosts threw a great shower with fantastic food and drinks as well as the aforementioned great company. It was a long haul getting there and back in just two days, but it was well worth it to meet such great people who are all so happy for Roxi and I to be getting married.

Now we're back in Lafayette for Labor Day and my brother Garrett and his girlfriend Nicole are on town for a few days as a stop on their move from Brooklyn to San Diego. We are planning to just relax with them today before a short week of work and my last out of town trip before the wedding. I'll be making the trip to College Station next week for my bachelor party with my old A&M buddies and my first Aggie football game in a couple of years. I'm looking forward to it but I think I'll enjoy my down time for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Katrina - Two Years Later

CNN has a interesting story giving comparisons between how things are going in New Orleans and Biloxi two years after Katrina and it's aftermath devastated the two cities. It would appear that a combination of bureaucracy and corruption has caused New Orleans to fall behind while Biloxi is recovering more quickly. Granted, New Orleans was larger before Katrina, but it is a shame that local politics is hindering the renewal and rebirth of New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Hallowen Eve

Yes I know that it is only August, but some big news for Twin Peaks fans came out today. Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition is being released on DVD on October 30. Amazon is taking pre-orders so this sounds like it is definitely happening. According to Ain't It Cool News, the 10 disc set will include the never-before-released-on-DVD pilot episode as well as some elusive deleted scenes, Kyle MacLachlan's Twin Peaks-themed SNL sketches and the hysterical Twin Peaks-themed/David Lynch directed Georgia Coffee Commercial only aired in Japan. In addition there will be several behind the scenes featurettes and bonus features focusing on production of the show. The only thing that could be better than this news is that David Lynch was planning to make another movie that would continue this very interesting story. Until that happens this will have to suffice for all of us hardcore Twin Peaks fans out there.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Our Crumbling Infrastructure

I had some very similar thoughts to this and this after I learned of the Mississippi River Bridge collapse in Minnesota on Wednesday. For a system that began construction over fifty years ago it was really only a matter of time before some major failure was going to occur. Situations like this and the older levees in New Orleans certainly point to a need for reassessment of priorities. I don't like paying federal income taxes one bit, but they are necessary if for no other reason than the maintenance of the vast network of roads in the United States. I hate to rely on the federal government to do anything right, but if they are going to pay for the construction of a bridge, levee, etc., the onus is on them to maintain the structure. We are doing a lot of things all over the world to protect our country and ourselves, but I am really starting to think that we should be spending a lot more of that money on protecting ourselves here at home. What is it that statistics say? Most accidents occur withing ten miles of the home? I think it's time we start spending money on bridges to somewhere rather than "bridges to nowhere."

Monday, July 30, 2007

DHARMA Orchid Orientation Film

The last little bit of information that came out of the LOST Panel at Comic Con is the just publicly released Orientation Video for Dharma Station Number #6: The Orchid. It is not a complete orientation video (although are any that we have seen truly complete?), but rather a behind the scenes look at the making of a Dharma Video. There are lots of pieces of information that are thrown in that could be legitimate clues about Season 4 or they could just be more red herrings. Whatever the case, it is nice to see something new two months into this very long hiatus.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

LOST Season 4 Panel Recap

As I suspected, I am not disappointed by the tidbits that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse revealed in today's LOST Season 4 Panel. Although I have been in Lafayette all day, the faithful people over at The LOST Blog have captured the highlights of what Damon & Carlton told the audience. WARNING: This recap does contain spoilers.

Some BIG Pre-Comic-Con LOST News

Big news today as the sun rises on Comic-Con 2007. The news was supposed to be the big surprise announcement at this afternoon's LOST Season 4 Panel in San Diego, but ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson let the cat out of the bag at a press conference yesterday. It is kind of a *SPOILER* and if you don't want to know about it, STOP READING NOW and don't read anything about LOST until Season 4 is over.

So what is the big news? ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson confirmed that Michael Dawson, played by Harold Parrineau, will be returning to the show in season 4. He didn't elaborate on any other details such as when the return might happen and in what capacity (i.e. flashbacks, flash-forwards or on-island). He also said nothing about Michael's son Walt Lloyd, played by Malcom David Kelly, who we last saw briefly in Locke's vision in "Through the Looking Glass."

Exciting news! I haven't really missed LOST too much since the finale in May, but I have been looking forward to the news coming out of Comic-Con this week. I suspect that producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse will give us a few more nuggets of info this afternoon. With that, I'm also sure it will get me thinking about season 4 and then I'll be counting down the days until February(!).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Roxi's Birthday Fun Jump Party!

Roxi's birthday was Saturday and we celebrated in grand style with another Water Slide Fun Jump. This year we got the "Drop Zone" in all of it's 20-foot splendor.

Needless to say, it was quite a fun birthday!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Twin Beaks"

I have no idea when this was made but I can't believe I am only seeing it now. Thank God for YouTube!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

27-Hour Day

Roxi and I check out of our hotel room at 4:15 AM in Gothenburg, Sweden. We boarded a plane at 6:40 AM. Eighteen hours later, we landed in Houston, Texas after layovers in Stockholm, Sweden and Chicago, Illinois. We spent two and a half hours in Houston before heading home. We arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana at midnight. We traveled for twenty-seven hours in total on Friday.

All's Well That Ends Well

Our last full day in Gothenburg started out hard. After all of the wine we had in our viking dinner we were a little hung over when we woke up. But we still woke up at around 5:00 AM despite that. Roxi's presentation was scheduled for 3:00 that afternoon so she spent most of the morning getting herself organized. I pretty much took it easy and napped a little while she was doing her work. We did a little souvenir shopping, had some lunch and made our way to the conference.

Roxi was presenting some of her research in a poster session. Basically a bunch of people made poster boards with a summary of some of their research and they are all displayed for other conference participants to as questions and have discussions. I hung around with Roxi up until the sessions started but wanted to get out of her way when people started looking at her poster.

I spent the two and a half hours of the session looking around at other posters and taking a little walk around the campus. I checked in with Roxi a couple of times during the session and she seemed to be having a good response. So I think her conference experience was very positive overall.

We were both pretty tired after our busy week in Sweden so we decided to take it easy and have a leisurely dinner as our flight out on Friday was very very early in the morning. We went to a British style pub and had a great dinner and Grolsch on tap(!). We finished off our last night in Gothenburg with a drink at the hotel bar and then retired to our room to pack.

Our time in Gothenburg was so great. Neither of us had ever traveled to Europe with anyone other than family or classmates. Everyone there was telling us how nice the weather usually is but we really didn't let the occasional rain shower ruin anything for us. There were times the rain annoyed me, but we were still in Sweden. It really couldn't have been better trip despite that but there comes a time when you are ready to go home. Roxi was very busy with the conference and it was essentially a working trip for her. On top of that she and I did a lot of sightseeing together. We were tired but we had a great time and can't wait for our next big trip like this.

A Meal Fit For A Viking

Warning: The following blog post includes some graphic photos of viking food that might be unpleasant for some people. You've been warned.

Roxi and I had been looking forward to the viking dinner since we first booked the tour several weeks ago. We were not disappointed in the least when we arrived in the large banquet hall. We made our way towards the back of the hall and sat down at a romantically candle-lit table. The place settings were pretty simple: a wooden cutting board, a knife, a two-pronged skewer, and a bullhorn for wine. Before the meal began, an announcement was made giving us the order of the courses. The first course would be the bread and salad, the second course would be spare ribs and baked potatoes, the third course would be mutton, the fourth course would be roasted boar and the dessert would be custard pies. Large jugs of wine were already on the table so Roxi and I poured ourselves a bullhorn each, toasted the dinner and began.

As mentioned the first course was salad and bread. This doesn't sound very viking-esque but it was because it was not served in a traditional manner. There was a large basket on the table containing part of a large cucumber, several tomatoes, half a head of lettuce and a large loaf of bread. We were told to make the salads ourselves out of those ingredients. Also on the table was a large bowl of what appeared to be butter with an orange color. We tried it on the bread and salad and it was like butter, but was much saltier with a bit of a fishier taste. It was actually seasoned butter with anchovies. Now I am no fan of anchovies, but when in Sweden...

Soon after the spare ribs were delivered by the viking server. I didn't hesitate to dig right in and enjoy the tender meat. Not long after, the server returned with a basket of very large baked potatoes. With two more courses plus dessert remaining, Roxi and I decided it would be best to split a potato. And just for the record, the anchovy butter on the potato was exquisite.

Next up came the mutton. I thought the spare ribs were tender, but that all changed when I started eating the mutton. It was perfectly prepared in that the flavor of the meat was fully present but not overpowering. At this point in the dinner, we had been inside the fortress banquet hall for at least two hours so it was time to make a trip to the restroom and for Roxi to have a cigarette. Although we had been in Sweden for several days already, we were still both completely surprised to see broad daylight outside. We're just so used to it getting dark during dinner, especially after you've been eating for a few hours.

We returned to the banquet hall just in time to see the viking hosts bring in the roasted boar and begin chopping it up! We made out way back to the table and our server soon followed with large pieces of the boar. It was good as well, but very very salty. Shortly after the boar course, our viking hosts invited us all to climb the stairs to the top of the fortress to admire the view before dessert.

Of course it was still very bright outside, but the sun was closer to the horizon now. The view from the top of the fortress was simply breathtaking. I am still in awe of the geography of the Swedish coast. I never would have imagined that there was such a large archipelago associated with Sweden. We returned to the banquet hall to see that our places had been cleared. The servers brought trays of little pies and a bowl of custard. I of course was not satisfied with one, but after my second, I was pretty full.

On that note, we were told to head back down the hill for our return trip to Gothenburg. We took a ferry boat across to the mainland and boarded buses to return to the city. After all that food and wine, Roxi and I fell asleep on the bus ride back and awoke just as we arrived back at the square in Gothenburg at midnight. It was a long trip from start to finish but I think it was one of my favorite things that we did in Sweden. We got to see so much and experience a part of Sweden that I never would have known about otherwise. And the dinner was fantastic.