Law and Order and the Lakewood Shootings

I’m finding myself quite intrigued by my reactions as I watched last night’s Law and Order, “Four Cops Shot,” which was based loosely on the Lakewood police shootings of last fall. When I saw last week’s promos for this episode, I had wondered about the possibility of it being a fictionalized take on the Lakewood shootings, but it was soon quite obvious that this was the case (and would have been even if KING5 hadn’t run a special “viewer advisory” banner over the first few minutes of the show).

Law and Order, like many of the modern crime shows, does occasionally supplement its totally fictional shows with shows “loosely based on” real events. There have been times in the past when we’ve enjoyed realizing that, hey, they’re doing this story, or that one. Of course, between the realities of compressing events that often take months into a single hour, and the particular demands of the format, these events are rarely, if ever, presented exactly as they happened, and sometimes, part of the fun is catching where the show is true to the source material, and where it veers away for the sake of television drama.

However, that game becomes a little less fun when the subject of the show in question is one that I’m actually familiar with. Suddenly, those moments when events change for the sake of the show — the “loose” parts of “loosely based upon” — seem more jarring, more unsettling.

(NOTE: From here on out, there will be spoilers for this episode.)

For the majority of the episode, they did a fairly good job of mirroring the events as they transpired last November. From the initial shooting of four off-duty officers (but no-one else in the eatery), to the city-wide manhunt for a wounded suspect, to the suspect’s getting assistance from friends and family, to the political fallout for a high-level politician who had earlier pardoned the suspect, everything moved along more or less as it had in the actual case. The first major change was the capture of the suspect, rather than his being shot and killed by an officer on the street, but this had been expected, as a live suspect is fairly necessary for the courtroom drama of the “Order” half of the show.

However, as the investigation proceeded and moved into the trial, some relatively major changes were made to the background of the suspect and the motivations for his actions — changes that, given how recently this happened, how well-known the four Lakewood officers were in their community, and how tender a subject this still is for many people, had both Prairie and me thinking that a number of locals are likely to be quite upset by how the story was presented.

I mentioned this on Twitter last night…

djwudi: “Wow. This Law & Order was staying fairly close with the broad strokes, but just took a sharp turn and gave the shooter a sympathetic motive.”

djwudi: “I’ve got the feeling a lot of locals are going to be upset about how Law & Order decided to fictionalize the Lakewood shootings.”

…and not long afterwards, found this:

politicallogic: “NBC Law & Order Outrage! Dramatizing Lakewood Police murders. Make Cops bad guys & portray murderer as a victim. Disgusting!”

So what did they do? In the real world, shooter Maurice Clemmons was bad news. Here’s the Wikipedia summary:

Prior to his alleged involvement in the shooting, Clemmons had at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington.2 His first incarceration began in 1989, at age 17. Facing sentences totaling 108 years in prison, the burglary sentences were reduced in 2000 by Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee to 47 years, which made him immediately eligible for parole. He was released in 2000.

Clemmons was subsequently arrested on other charges and was jailed several times. In the months prior to the Lakewood shooting, he was in jail on charges of assaulting a police officer and raping a child.

In the days before the attack, Clemmons talked about his plan to shoot police officers:

On November 26, 2008, less than one week after Clemmons posted his bail bond, during a Thanksgiving gathering at the home of Clemmons’ aunt, Clemmons told several people he was angry about his Pierce County legal problems and that he planned to use a gun to murder police officers and others, including school children. He showed a gun to the people in the room and told them he had two others in his car and home. Clemmons said he planned to activate an alarm by removing a court-ordered ankle monitor, then he would shoot the police officers who responded to his house. In describing the planned murder, Clemmons said, “Knock, knock, knock, boom!” Darcus Allen, a convicted murderer who previously served in a Arkansas prison with Clemmons, was allegedly present for the conversation. On November 28, Clemmons showed two handguns to friends Eddie and Douglas Davis and told them he planned to shoot police officers with them; the exchange was witnessed by Clemmons’ half-brother Rickey Hinton, with whom he shared a house.

However, in the Law and Order episode, Kelvin Stokes is presented as a young man, who, though troubled and with a dangerous past, had been working with police as an informant in an attempt to make up for his previous crimes. In a much larger departure from actual events, it comes out that two of the officers killed by Stokes had been the pair working with him, and they had overstepped their authority, pressuring him through threats against himself and his mother to get him to turn in higher-profile targets. Stokes, in turn, who had been getting paid by the officers for his work as an informant, was asking for more money — which eventually became the trigger for the shooting.

So: in the real world, a violent criminal with a grudge against the police who intentionally targets four random officers. In the fictional world, a former thug trying to make good, pushed over the edge into violence by the pressure of two cops who, if not dirty, were certainly overstepping ethical lines.

Of course, the reality is that for Law and Order, the actual events wouldn’t have provided the drama necessary for the courtroom scenes. Had Stokes been shot on the street as Clemmons was, there would have been no courtroom scenes; had the cops been innocent, random victims with no ties to their killer, there wouldn’t have been the “will-they-or-won’t-they-convict” drama in the courtroom.

It seems quite clear to me that the changes made were made for the sake of the story and for the one-hour crime drama format, and I must admit that I don’t feel the “outrage” or “disgust” that politicallogic does on his Twitter account (though from the looks of it, we have extremely different political ideologies, so other differences of opinion aren’t entirely surprising). In the end, this is a fictional entertainment show, and it would be silly to expect it to slavishly follow the events as they actually happened.

I did, however, find my own surprise and initial discomfort with the changes quite interesting to consider, and I’m sure there are many who were more closely affiliated with the Lakewood officers and their families who would be far more discomfited by this episode — and now I can’t help but think a little more about all those other episodes “loosely based on” real events, wonder how close they came to the real story, and how the changes made for those stories affected the people who had to deal with the real events.

No Olympics For Us

While it’s not quite to the point of being what I’d call a “boycott,” it’s looking like the chances are extremely slim that we’re going to be watching much of this year’s Olympic coverage. We’d like to, but NBC has done a marvelous job of ensuring that we either can’t watch, or when we can, we don’t want to.

We just tried to watch some of this afternoon’s coverage. In the roughly fifteen minutes before we couldn’t take it any longer, we saw three commercial breaks, four talking heads (with audio lagging about a second behind the video feed), a bit of an interview with the first medalist from this year’s games, and eight-year-old footage from that same athlete’s first win in 2002. We listened to Bob Costas tell us that he was in Vancouver and that there were sports going on. We heard — again — about the accidental death on the luge track. We heard an interviewer ask an athlete “how he did it” after winning (um, he practiced his ass off, you idiot — why are sports interviewers always at the very bottom of the “stupid interview question” scale?).

What we didn’t see was any actual sports footage.

Oh, how I miss watching the last Summer Olympics on CBC, the Canadian network that Comcast carries locally. Their coverage was leagues better than anything NBC had: fewer inane talking heads (which can be interpreted as fewer talking heads overall or less inanity from the talking heads they had, either of which is an acceptable and correct reading); less “we’re the only country that matters” mentality; comprehensive coverage of all sorts of sports, even those that are less massively popular; and coverage that wasn’t constantly cut into with edits, updates, promises of what’s to come, and commercials (we spent one afternoon watching an entire marathon nearly commercial free, in part because we could, and in part because it was far more interesting than we’d ever realized, simply by virtue of actually being able to watch it). The realization that CBC wouldn’t be broadcasting the Olympics this year — and, further, that the Canadian network that got the contract isn’t viewable locally — was a sad one indeed.

Lately, we’ve been enjoying my new computer’s ability to watch streaming video sites like Hulu and Netflix, so I went to the NBC Olympics site to see what was available there. They’re posting a number of videos of stuff that has already happened, but prominently displayed on the main page is a live video stream (only active at particular times and for particular events, however). I click that, and am asked to tell NBC who my cable or Internet provider is. Apparently, NBC will only serve the live video to customers of certain other companies that they have contracts with. Annoying, but hey, Comcast is right near the top of the list, and we have Comcast cable, so we should be good.

After choosing Comcast, I get directed to a Comcast login page. I log in to Comcast, and they direct me back to the video stream…which tells me I’m not eligible. What? I go through the process again, and this time, work my way through until I discover that even though NBC has a contract with Comcast, and even though I’m a Comcast cable subscriber, I’m not the right kind of Comcast cable subscriber.

See, Prairie and I don’t watch a ton of TV, don’t see the need to pay ridiculous amounts of money for hundreds of channels we’ll never watch, and don’t even have a digital TV — both of our TVs are old, square, analog sets. So, there’s no reason for us to subscribe to digital cable, and we’re quite happy with our $15/month bare bones, completely basic, plug-the-cable-into-the-back-of-the-TV-set package (and honestly, we wouldn’t even bother with that if we got decent over-the-air reception with a digital receiver box, but OTA digital TV is essentially nonexistent in the Kent Valley). However, it appears that Comcast has decided that people like us don’t count, and is only sending the video streams to customers who subscribe to a digital cable package.


Out of curiosity, I took a look at Comcast’s website — and after poking around there, I think that digital cable prices might be one of the biggest arguments against upgrading our TVs until we absolutely have to (when they die, that is). Right now, we’re paying $15/month for a bare-bones package that serves us more than adequately — in fact, we only pay attention to about 7 of the 30-some channels that are part of the package, so there’s an argument to be made that even now, we’re over paying. If we were to upgrade to a digital cable package, the least expensive package available is $60 a month! Of course, what the website says is $30/month, but that’s only for the first six months. I can’t think of any reason why I’d want to quadruple what I’m currently paying so that I can have more crap that I’m not interested in piped into my home, no matter how pretty it is or how much of it has surround sound.

Further down the page, they mention a “Digital Economy Package,” apparently aimed at people like us, that actually is $30/month — but, of course, you can only get that if you also get your phone and/or internet through Comcast, which we don’t. So, once again, that’s not an option.

(Heading off counter-arguments: satellite TV isn’t an option, our apartment faces the wrong direction; and outlying the money for a HTPC/Media Center of some sort isn’t a realistic option for both budgetary reasons and that nagging little fact that we’re still using “old school” TV sets. I’ve got a very nice Sony TV set that’s only eight years old, and my parents have a Sony TV set that’s in its 30s and still working, so we may well not be upgrading our hardware for a long time to come.)

The end result of all of this? NBC can bite me, Comcast can bite me, and the Olympics — well, it’s not really their fault, but come on.

Thoughts on the Fall 2009 TV Lineup

I just peeked at TV Guide’s Fall 2009 TV lineup to see what Prairie and I might be interested in using to rot our brains with in the evenings. Most of the week looks doable, with only a few potential conflicts. (Oh, and we are old and crotchety and go to bed at 10pm, so I’m not paying much attention to the 10-11pm block.)

  • Mondays

    While we like both How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory, as CBS has put one show we’re not likely to be interested in (Accidentally on Purpose) and one show we know we dislike (Two and a Half Men) in between the two, we probably won’t bother watching either one until the season DVDs show up on Netflix. This leaves us without anything we’re terribly interested in watching on Mondays until the mid-season switchup when Chuck comes back. Looks like Mondays will be TV-free for us until spring.

  • Tuesdays

    NCIS is a definite, with NCIS: LA a maybe. We’ll probably give NCIS: LA a couple weeks out of curiosity to see if they can pull off a successful spinoff, but we’re reserving judgement, as the NCIS episodes from last season that introduced the new team weren’t our favorites. Plus, once Dancing With the Stars (ugh) ends (hooray!), the Scrubs/Better Off Ted combo will (for us) be a strong contender — NCIS: LA will have to be really strong to pull us away once that switch happens. I am worried about ABC putting V up against NCIS in November — not only does NCIS already have a strong fanbase, but it’ll have had two months to set up any season-running plotlines to hold onto its fans. I really, really want to see this new take on V…but I also really enjoy NCIS. That’s going to be a difficult choice — one of them will have to get pushed to Bittorrent or some other form of online delayed viewing.

  • Wednesdays

    Law and Order: SVU and/or Criminal Minds are the only things that look interesting at all, and they’re both shows that we can watch or not watch depending on our mood. Wednesdays look pretty TV-free for us.

  • Thursdays

    While I’m curious enough about FlashForward to look for it on Bittorrent, Hulu, or some form of online watching, I’m not curious enough for it to win out over Survivor: Samoa (I’ll admit it, it’s one of two “reality” shows that Prairie got me hooked on). After that, it’s Fringe…or CSI (if I choose, it’ll be Fringe, if Prairie chooses, it’ll be CSI — either way, we’ll both enjoy what we watch, and the other will get the Bittorrent/Hulu/whatever treatment later in the week). Ugh. This one worries me. I really enjoyed season one of Fringe, and I’m not happy that FOX is putting it up against CSI. CSI has such an entrenched presence and fanbase, I’m not sure if the sci-fi, alternative reality weirdness of Fringe can pick up enough numbers to compete long-term. While I’m glad that Fringe is at least getting a second season, I worry that in putting it against CSI, FOX is just practicing a form of “delayed cancellation” — this way, FOX can just say Fringe didn’t get the market share it needed when they cancel it, even though if they’d moved it to a less competitive night (or left it where it was, though I can understand them not wanting to try to battle the NCIS juggernaut either), it might have done fine.

  • Fridays

    Prairie’s a fan of Ghost Whisperer, so we’ll keep watching that, even though last season kept annoying us (the ‘ghost of the week’ stories were fun and what kept us watching, the stupid ‘romance’ plotline with her husband in the body of the new guy is annoying, dragging on too long, and has enough WTF moments for a post of its own…but then I’d have to publicly admit that I watch Ghost Whisperer). Nothing else looks interesting.

  • Saturdays

    A wasteland of dreck. TV-free, for sure.

  • Sundays

    The Amazing Race is our favorite “reality” show, so that’s a definite. Nothing else that night is a must-see.

So that’s our lineup. Agree/disagree? Attempts to convince me to try a show I’m ignoring? Lemme know!

CSI Gets Geeky

I don’t often talk much about my TV watching — in some small part because after spending something over a decade as as anti-TV zealot, I’m in some ways still coming to terms with actually finding some TV worth gritting my teeth through the commercials — but one of the shows that Prairie’s managed to get me into is CSI, and last night’s episode, “A Space Oddity,” was so worth it.

I was pretty sure that I’d be getting a few laughs out of the episode from the previews, which made it clear that the murder of the week was going to be at a Star Trek convention. I didn’t expect just how entertained I ended up being, though. The writers obviously knew their stuff (not surprising, as it turns out the episode was written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, two former writers for Battlestar Galactica, and directed by fellow BSG alumnus Michael Nankin), and the show was crammed with funny and knowing tributes to fandom — specifically, Star Trek and BSG.

Hodges surrounded by Astro Quest fen

The show opens with Hodges running around Whatifitcon, a Star Trek Astro Quest convention, surrounded by various alien-costumed fen. Soon he runs into fellow CSI labrat Wendy, all dressed up in an AQ uniform. They don’t have long to bond over their shared love of “the greatest science-fiction show ever” before there’s a commotion nearby — a murder (imagine that)! Hodges calls in to CSI headquarters to let them know that, yes…”He’s dead, Jim.”

The victim turns out to be Jonathan Danson, a producer who’d been working on a modern “reimagining” of the classic Astro Quest show. The night before, he’d shown off the first glimpses of Astro Quest: Redux, and the response was…well, it was pretty much what happened when Ron Moore first started showing off his “reimagined” version of the classic Battlestar Galactica. In short, the fans were not impressed.

And here was where an already enjoyably silly episode really took off for me. I’d already been grinning from the various Star Trek gags, then even more when it became obvious that they were riffing off the recent BSG reworking. But then, as the camera pans across the shocked and horrified fans…

BSG's Grace Park isn't a fan of the new Astro Quest

…waitasec, that was Grace Park — Sharon Valerii/Boomer/Athena/and lots of other cylons in BSG! But after just a quick glimpse of her, just long enough for me to register the cameo, another offended fan jumps out of his chair, yelling “You SUCK!” at Danson.

BSG creator Ron Moore _really_ isn't a fan!

And, of course, that’s none other than Ron Moore himself, responsible for “reimagining” BSG. And the cameos don’t stop there, as an academic researching the cultural impact of the Astro Quest television show is played by none other than Kate Vernon, BSG’s Ellen Tigh.

The episode goes on from there, with Hodges and Wendy dancing around their newfound connection, complete with fantasy scenarios giving nods to ST:TOS episodes “The Menagerie” and “The Gamesters of Triskelion”, über-geeks a little too involved in the AQ world living with their mother in a room entirely remodeled to match the AQ set, and so on.

The one criticism I might have with the episode would be that it falls victim to the same trap that so many other shows do when involving the geek community, in that they rely so heavily on comedy at the expense of the fringe members of fandom (the geeks in their remodeled room in mom’s house, for example). However, given that they also spent time letting Vernon’s academic and the bartender espouse some of the less cringeworthy sides of science-fiction shows and fandom, and “outed” two regular cast members as fans (and it wasn’t even the less socially adept character who got all dressed up in costume for the convention), I’m willing to cut them some slack.

Bottom line: great episode, and worth watching (you can even see the whole episode online at CBS’s CSI site) if you’re a fan of CSI, Trek, BSG, or any combination of the above.

Who’s Defining ‘X-Rated’ Here?

A report I saw from the AP this morning, presented nearly in full because it’s so short…

Lil’ Kim nearly had a big wardrobe malfunction on “Dancing With the Stars.”

This week’s front-runner on the ABC dance competition had some trouble with her top at the end of a jive with partner Derek Hough on Monday night. Host Tom Bergeron provided cover while the rapper adjusted as she and Hough approached the judges table.

Lil’ Kim told KABC-TV after the show: “I don’t know why this happens a lot of the time, but … the girls were tryin’ to come out.”

The nearly X-rated moment was edited out by the time the show was rebroadcast on the West Coast….

“Nearly X-rated?” For an almost wardrobe malfunction? Sorry, AP, but there’s more than a little bit of hyperbole there. Almost having a bit of accidental boobage is PG, maybe PG-13 if her top actually had fallen off (and even that used to be a good solid PG). “Nearly X-rated” would be something very, very different. Quit sensationalizing and just report.

International Talk Like William Shatner Day

In honor of William Shatner’s 78th birthday tomorrow today, 3/22/09, I am declaring March 22nd to be “International Talk Like William Shatner Day!” Hey, we have “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, and Shatner inspired a helluva lot more kids to be like Captain James T. Kirk than any who wanted to be some smelly, toothless, “arrr”-spouting frickin’ pirate.

Now, since talking like our hero is a bit more challenging than walking around going, “Arrr”, I’ve included the following video tutorial for your edification, filmed by producer Bill Biggar, on a loooong drive to the airport on L.A.’s fabulous 405 freeway. Enjoy, and remember, it’s pronounced “sabotaaj”, not, “sabotahj”.


As evidenced by my recent tweet, I’ve now given Joss two chances to win me over to Dollhouse, and he’s 0 for 2. It just doesn’t work for me, and there’s a number of smaller reasons that add up to one big fail.

There’s a lot of elements to why it’s not working — from the creepy premise (normally I’m all about creepy, but when the basic idea for a show is essentially repeated, technologically-enabled date rape, that’s a kind of creepy that doesn’t do it for me) to the predictable “twists” (there wasn’t a single situation in episode two that was a real surprise) — but I think one of the biggest reasons that I can’t get into it is simply that I don’t care about the characters…and, more importantly, I can’t see why I ever would.

Echo is, by definition, a “tabula rasa,” or blank slate, even to the point of being described as such by the head of the Dollhouse. How can I even begin to care about who she is when the whole point of the show is that she isn’t? She has no personality of her own. The only time she exists as a person is when she’s been imprinted for an assignment, but that person disappears as soon as she returns to the Dollhouse. I can’t invest myself emotionally in a character that’s nothing but an empty shell.

When we look back at early episodes of long-running shows, it’s often funny to see how “unformed” the characters were at that point. The actors were still discovering their roles, taking the rough character sketches given to them and beginning to flesh them out into fully developed people that we can care about. With Dollhouse, that doesn’t seem to be an option — perhaps for some of the secondary and tertiary cast — but certainly not for the lead.

At least, not if they play by the rules that they’ve set up. And this is where the Whedon acolytes cry out, telling me to wait! Hold on! Because — as was widely reported before Dollhouse first aired — part of the compromise Whedon had to make with FOX was to set up the first seven episodes as primarily standalone episodes, without major ties into the planned arc of the show. So, you see, these first seven are like “seven pilots,” and if we just keep watching, we’ll get to the really good stuff! Where Echo starts breaking through her programming, and the mysteries start to unravel, and then, and then, and then….

Sorry, no. That doesn’t work for me — no show should need seven pilots just to get people interested. No, I don’t expect every TV show to have some huge story arc to follow — some of my favorite shows (Star Trek TOS and TNG) were entirely or almost entirely standalone episodes, and I enjoyed the “monster of the week” X-Files episodes as much as I did the “conspiracy” episodes. Guilty pleasure shows like CSI and NCIS do a great job of being entertaining and interesting, allowing you to get to know the characters as they grow over time, while still generally staying within the bounds of standalone shows. There does need to be some amount of advancement possible, however, otherwise you might as well just be “rebooting” every week.

On top of all that, though, the characters and situations need to be interesting, and that’s a major failure of Dollhouse. To date, the most interesting characters I’ve seen have been the FBI agent and the doctor (and I’m not even sure if that’s because the character is that interesting or because I loved Amy Acker’s character “Fred” on Angel). Echo, her handler, the geeky guy who does the programming, the boss? None of them interest me as much as one secondary and one tertiary character do, and that’s a bad sign. The situations have only been slightly better — the first week’s hostage situation and negotiation was a little interesting, but was only the latter half of the episode, and last week’s “hunting the human” schtick has been done so many times that it completely failed to grab my interest. Really, how much suspense could there be when the main character is in mortal peril in the second episode of the series? Spoiler alert, folks…she ain’t gonna die.

So no, no Dollhouse for me. Maybe Joss still has some good stuff rattling around in his brain, and maybe all he needs to do is to get away from FOX to do it. However, I have my doubts.

25 Random Things Meme

Oh, alright already. Naysayers be damned, here’s my entry into the ‘twenty-five random things about you’ meme that’s currently flying around Facebook (and, to a limited extent, creeping out into the rest of the blog world). Some of these, people will know. Others…perhaps not.

Though I’ve been ‘tagged’ to do this by a few people on Facebook, I will not be ‘tagging’ anyone else. As with all memes, if you want to do this, do it. If you don’t, don’t. I won’t be bugging you about it either way.

  1. I knew a serial killer. When I was a kid, Robert Hansen, a.k.a. the “Butcher, Baker” serial killer, lived on the same street as our church’s priest. My brother and I and Father Schmidt’s kids would go over to play with Hansen’s son. I don’t really remember this, and only found out because, while idly leafing through mom’s copy of Butcher, Baker, I saw a photo of the basement where Hansen did some of his killing and mentioned that it was a creepy looking room. Mom then glanced up at me and said quite calmly, “Yes, you never did like it down there.”

  2. I spent a number of years — nearly a decade, if I remember correctly — singing in the Alaska Children’s Choir. Actually, when I started, it was two separate organizations: the Anchorage Girls Choir, which had been in existence for a few years, and the Anchorage Boys Choir, of which I was one of the first members. A few years later the two merged into the Anchorage Girls and Boys Choir, then became the Anchorage Children’s Choir, and finally settled as the Alaska Children’s Choir.

  3. I played the violin (never terribly well, as practicing was never high on my list of things to do) from Elementary through High School. I’ve often wished that I’d gone for the cello rather than the violin, as I much prefer its tone, and might have stuck with it longer and more conscientiously.

  4. I’m starting to regret starting this post, as I’m only on item number four, and I’ve likely already typed more than most people do for their entire 25 things list.

  5. My online pseudonym, “djwudi,” is a somewhat bastardized onlineification (yes, that is a word) of “DJ Wüdi,” which for a number of years was my offline pseudonym.

  6. I was given the nickname of “Woody” as a child by Royce‘s father, who declared that I looked “like a young Woody Allen.” I started using it regularly around the end of my High School years, when I got tired of there being multiple Michaels in nearly every classroom. I didn’t return to going by Michael on a regular basis until I moved down to Seattle in 2001.

  7. As may be guessed from the “DJ” part of my pseudonym, I was once a DJ. I spent close to a decade playing for various clubs in Anchorage, the most well-known being The Lost Abbey and Gig’s Music Theatre. Both were all-ages, non-alcoholic dance clubs that catered primarily to the punklings, gothlings, ravers, and street kids running around Anchorage.

  8. “Wüdi” comes from Royce and I horsing around and creating a bastardized pseudo-Germanic form for my nickname.

  9. In my teen years, I went through a brief period of light shoplifting. The items my itchy little fingers went after? Books. The ones I can remember now were a leatherbound, gilt edged edition of a Batman graphic novel, and a selection of paperbacks from the Erotica section that onetime Alaskan bookseller The Book Cache used to have conveniently close to the door. Most were by the surprisingly busy author Anonymous, though I did at one point end up with a copy of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill. All of these ill-gotten goods are either lost, stolen, or somewhere at my parents’ house, as they’re not on my current bookshelves.

  10. I spent something over a decade more or less avoiding television. I would probably still be a snobby “Kill your TV” evangelist were it not for Prairie, who has managed convince me that while yes, the commercials do have an unfortunate tendency to make you want to claw your eyes out, some of the shows are actually quite enjoyable to watch.

  11. If I could ditch all of my pants and stick completely with a selection of Utilikilts, I would. Unfortunately, neither my job nor the lack of insulation on my skinny bod will allow me to do so, so while at work and during chilly months, I put up with wearing pants.

  12. I’m running out of time to get this finished before Prairie gets home.

  13. I’m a person of habit, at times very likely bordering on slight OCD. I had not noticed this until Prairie started pointing out all the things I do just so every time, from how I make my lunches in the morning to how I lace and tie my boots. Now it’s a combination of amusing and annoying when I catch myself.

  14. One of the areas where my anal retentiveness is most evident is my iTunes library. At the moment, my library is about as organized as I can realistically manage it. There are areas where I’d like it to be more organized — the ‘Composer’ metadata field, for instance, is in absolutely horrid shape, generally speaking — but I can control the impulse to keep tweaking. Maybe.

  15. I was once told by a group of girls at one of the clubs I was DJing at that I “did good things for the Macarena” when I came out to dance to it. During the height of the songs popularity I’d put it on (hey, I was getting requests…and besides, I have a weakness for “bubblegum” pop, no matter what the era), hop out of the DJ booth, and do the dance. Of course, the dance itself is really simple, so to really have fun with it, you need a few improvisations and embellishments, a bit more sway in the hips…. Apparently whatever I did was worth doing, because this group would stop dancing and gather to watch every time. Good for the ego, no matter how silly it was.

  16. As expected, I ran out of time midway through the preceding paragraph. It’s now twelve hours later, and we’ll see if I can finish this before I have to head off to work.

  17. I am constitutionally incapable of saying something in five words when it can be said in fifty…or fifty, when it can be said in five hundred. It’s a trait that I share with Dad. Before I settled on naming my blog ‘Eclecticism,’ it spent about a year or so titled ‘The Long Letter’, after a quote attributed to Pascal: “Please excuse such a long letter — I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

  18. While I tend to identify as (a somewhat lazy) Episcopalian and liberal Democrat, my socio-political-religious views can in many ways be summed up by the Wiccan credo that has always stuck in my mind as, “An’ it harm none, do as ye will.” Do what you want with whom you want for however many twinkies you want…as long as you’re not bugging anyone else in the process. If everyone involved is all cool and copacetic, great! More power to you. But the moment you’re involving someone against their will (and this is a pretty broad category, from secondhand smoke or overly loud music all the way to emotional or physical assault), that’s not cool.

  19. I haven’t even quite made it to number twenty, and I’m running out of interesting stuff to put in here.

  20. No matter how silly I know it is, I’ve always been a little bummed that I was never able to parlay my 15 minutes of fame into some form of job running around as one of the Seattle technorati. I’m not even sure what kind of job that would be or how I could have done it, but it would’ve been nice if my notoriety had actually led to something better, instead of just being an extended blip of insanity and then fading back into obscurity.

  21. Wall calendars are useless to me. The calendar currently on the wall of my office is currently displaying October of 2008, and the only reason it even got changed to that month (back when that was the month) was because Prairie did it for me.

  22. Somewhat related to the last point, I’m often incredibly absent minded. I tend to find it obnoxious and occasionally slightly depressing; Prairie, while not immune to being sometimes inconvenienced and annoyed by it, overall (rather amazingly) manages to find it amusing and a little charming — kind of an “absent minded professor” thing. I just consider myself lucky that she sees it that way.

  23. I find that getting out and “going bouncing” — socializing and dancing at one of the local goth/industrial clubs — is just as important to me as quiet alone time is for recharging and keeping me on an even keel. As nice as quiet nights at home are, I need to get out and go bounce around for a while every so often or I get a little stir crazy. Mom once told me about an alternative description of ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ that believe comes into play here: while I’m in many ways the classic introvert, this tendency to use social occasions to ‘recharge’ gives me some definite extrovert tendencies.

  24. Again, somewhat related to the last point: while I was too shy to express it much during my high school years, once I came out of my shell in my very late teens and early twenties, it became obvious that I was a shameless and incorrigible flirt. This has shown no signs of letting up to this day.

  25. In a way, I have Royce to thank for my meeting Prairie. Many years ago, he and Jana Herd combined every abnormal fetish, -philia, and -phobia they could come up with into one single phobia: “Pseudocoitoxenohematomysonecropyrobestio-acroclaustro-ochlohydrophobia: The fear of being forced to pretend to have sex with the unfamiliar bloody infected corpse of a flaming animal at 15,000 feet in a small crowded wading pool.” This has provided entertainment for me for years.

    During late ’90’s and early 2000’s, I spent a lot of time in the Yahoo! chat rooms, and one of the chat names I used was a version of the above phobia, edited down to fit the Yahoo! profile name length limitations: pyropedonecrobestiality. One day in 2001 after moving to Seattle, while I was hanging out in the Seattle chat rooms under that name, Prairie saw me, and decided that anyone who’d come up with a name like that had to have a sense of humor and at least two brain cells to rub together, and she said hello. A friendship was formed, and things progressed from there.

    So: I owe my relationship to publicly professing an urge to copulate with the dead, flaming corpses of young animals (and I bet that that’s a phrase you never expected to read) — which itself traces back to Royce.

Okay. I’m done. Uff-da.

Comcast Clarification

Looks like I’ve got my answer: our Limited Basic service shouldn’t change. Here are the relevant tweets:

@djwudi Limited basic will be channels below 30 will not need a box. What channel number are you concerned about? #

@djwudi This isn’t happening immediately; it’s where we’re eventually moving. As you said, it’s seperate from the FCC broadcast transition. #

@ShaunaCausey @comcastcares You two are fast! :) I know we’ll miss 99 (CBUT), they were great during the Olympics, and we’ve kept watching. #

@ShaunaCausey @comcastcares My concern: there aren’t many channels above 29 on Limited Basic, but having them go poof isn’t “unaffected”. #

@djwudi Good point. you will still get CBUT. If you are a “limited” customer, you will not lose any channels. 75-99 WILL still be there. #

Sounds like a good end to this particular adventure to me!

Update: There have been some additions to the Seattle Times article that cover this same information. Here’s the relevant sections of their article:

Q: What about public access channels above 29? (NEW)

A: Comcast must still offer a handful of public access channels in analog format, per its franchise agreements. Tony Perez of Seattle’s cable office said that in Seattle, those channels include 75 (KCTS Plus) 76 (UW 2 TV); 77 (SCAN, the public access channel) and perhaps a few more.

Q: What about Canadian public television channel 99 (CBUT)? (NEW)

A: It will remain available to “limited basic” customers, spokesman Steve Kipp said in an email: “In addition to C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, the local broadcast channels and the local government and education channels, the Limited Basic lineup includes: Northwest Cable News, ION, Discovery Channel, KMYQ, KBCB, KHCV, QVC, HSN, KWDK, Hallmark Channel, KTBW, TVW, Univision, The Weather Channel and CBUT.”

Kipp said the limited basic channel numbers won’t change: “As for channel locations here, they will remain the same so the Limited Basic channels that are in the 75 to 99 range would remain the same.”