Philadelphia 45 NYG 38

http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2009121313/2009/REG14/eagles@giants
Once again, its one step forward (beating the Cowboys) and two steps back (losing to the Eagles after the Cows lost *again* this weekend to the Chargers). A win could have put the Giants in the driver’s seat in the NFC East.
Now, the Eagles have the tiebreakers over us and, if the Cowboys continue to form (please, let the Saints turn them into Hamburger Helper!), will be the NFC East champions. It would take the Cowboys sliding past us for us to get into the playoffs as a wildcard at this point. We need to sweep our games (Washington, Carolina and the mighty Vikings). One hopes the Vikings are resting their starters…

Dinosaurs diversified before spreading around the world

Via Paul McAuley
Dinosaurs diversified before spreading around the world
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091210/full/news.2009.1137.html
Fossils found in the US state of New Mexico are providing strong evidence that dinosaurs originated in what is now South America, and had already evolved into three main groups before spreading around the world.
The implication of the find at Tawa is that Dinosaurs had already diversified into their three main groups before radiating out of South America and into the rest of the world.

Peter Watts and US Customs

Via many places, like Locus, Peter Watts own Blog, at Boing Boing, Making Light, and a growing list of other ocations, Canadian SF Author Peter Watts has had a nightmarish incident at the US-Canadian border crossing at Port Huron.

Along some other timeline, I did not get out of the car to ask what was going on. I did not repeat that question when refused an answer and told to get back into the vehicle. In that other timeline I was not punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, shit-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three fucking hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.). Nor was I finally dumped across the border in shirtsleeves: computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my fucking paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots. I was not left without my jacket in the face of Ontario’s first winter storm, after all buses and intercity shuttles had shut down for the night.
In some other universe I am warm and content and not looking at spending two years in jail for the crime of having been punched in the face.

He will need some shekels for his defense fund:
http://www.rifters.com/real/shorts.htm
Damn.
In April, readers will recall, I was stopped at US Customs after a one day trip into Canada from Grand Marais on my North Shore Expedition. I was questioned for over an hour, and my car was searched. I felt violated.
Now, I realize I was damned lucky. And in the world’s greatest democracy, that’s a horrible thing for me to say, all the more so because it is true.

The Death of Science Fiction, Part CLXIV

Fantasy author Mark Charan Newton has caused some stir with a blog entry on the evergreen subject of “the death of science fiction”. Mark’s thesis is that fantasy is in the process of supplanting SF for a number of reasons. Women are more voracious readers than men and they “don’t read science fiction”. Culture has caught up with SF, literary fiction is eating SF, and fantasy films have turned imaginations to fantasy rather than SF.
After that initial shot across the bow, he has gathered a number of responses. Philip Palmer thinks its tripe. Mark Chadbourn, who has written a fair amount of fantasy, responded as well. The Wertzone disagreed as well.
I bet there are others, too.
And Mr. Newton has responded to his critics.
Now, what do I think?
Well, my friend Scott and I have seen a distinct rise in “urban fantasy” the last few years, to the point where it dominates the SF bookshelves over its counterparts standard fantasy and science fiction. It seems everyday that I read about a SF author signing a book deal to do a fantasy novel or switching into the fantasy genre.
Outward appearances would suggest that Mr. Newton is correct. Fantasy is the future, and SF is in a dieback. I do think that we are in a cycle where fantasy (especially urban fantasy is ascendant. I am not convinced that this is a permanent state of affairs. In addition, I think there will always be a market for science fiction, a significant market. Granted, the types of SF may change, just as fantasy has shifted significantly toward urban fantasy, but I suspect that authors like Stross, Bear, and many others will have sufficient readers to keep the fire alive.
And I like fantasy. I may not be a fan of much urban fantasy, although I’ve discovered authors I do like. After reading a bunch of fantasy, sometimes I *have* to get immersed into some that “old time religion” that is science fiction.

My 2009 Best Shot?

Now this is tricky.
Flickr has a group that you can submit precisely one photo to. It’s called “Your Best shot 2009”. They have been highlighting some of the submitted photos on their blog:

Four Seasons

Vanishing Point

Black and White

So, I can add a picture to this pool, too, and maybe if its good enough, get it on one of these blog posts. But out of all the pictures I took and uploaded in 2009, which one is the best?
Any ideas, readers?

NYG 31 Dallas 24 and the rest of my weekend

And my beloved Giants show some life, as they beat (and thus sweep) the Cowboys, 31-24 today.
I watched this at the Olsons, having spent the weekend with them in gaming D&D on Saturday, doing some photography with Felicia in the early afternoon, and then watching the end of the Saints-Redskins, the Giants game, some “Dogs 101”, and some of the “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” special on the Discovery channel.
D&D went well, we reached the end of a storyline with the D&D, and we’ll resume for a while at the very least with Exalted before returning to it. I’ve not GMed live in a while, and I am overdue for a chance at a hand at the tiller!
Photography was a mixed bag, we took Dani, our friend Katie, and her kids to Como Park’s conservatory and had them pose amongst the plants in the greenhouse. Felicia’s camera did not like the heat and humidity but I think I got some decent shots.
The Giants never made it easy, and really, two big plays made the difference in the game, but we’ll take the win. Romo had high numbers of passes and yards, but it was in the end, all for naught, and that’s what counts for me.
So the Giants win was a pretty nice star in the firmament of my pretty good weekend. What feels even better is the opportunity to go back to work tomorrow.