Okay. After so long away, I'm not totally sure I'll get to everything I'd like to tonight, but we'll see what happens.
* First off, the chicken pox episode is almost entirely over. I've been back to normal in terms of how I feel for nearly two full weeks now. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the last of my rash to clear up. My arms and legs only have a couple of spots left, but my chest and back still have quite a few. My face has probably cleared up the best, but the ones that are left are pretty deep. I'm ready for them all to be gone. There's still some occasional mild itching, but it isn't too hard to ignore. I missed a grand total of six days of work at a bad (busy) time, but they kept everything up for me so that I've been able to get caught up with little trouble since I've been back.
* Earlier this evening I watched the MAC Championship football game between the Akron Zips and the Northern Illinois Huskies, played at a neutral site at Ford Field in Detroit. It was a hell of a game. I honestly didn't think Akron would be able to stay in this game, but they came out and got an early lead. NIU came back and took a fairly decent lead, though, and held it until nearly the end of the game. Then Akron came back and put themselves back in the game, then scored again with only ten seconds left to take the lead and win the game. They're going to a bowl game (the Motor City Bowl, also at Ford Field) for the first time in their history, and I say good for them. Seeing the game on television, though, I think they have to move the MAC Championship game back to campus sites. Go back to the old system, where they rotated the game from year to year from the stadium of the East Division and West Division winner. Either that or play the game on a Saturday. Having a weeknight game at a neutral site virtually assures that the crowd will be small, as it was tonight. A great game like that deserves a great crowd. At least if it was at one of the teams' home stadiums, the students and home fans could have been there, or if it was on a Saturday, the fans would be more likely to travel. Some teams (say, BG and Toledo) would have drawn better due to their proximity to Detroit, but that matchup didn't quite happen.
* Speaking of football, BG's season ended with a 44-41 2OT loss to archrival Toledo, and they finished the year 6-5. That record likely would have been better had QB Omar Jacobs not missed almost three full games with an injury, and had the record been better, BG would have been in the MAC Championship game over Akron. As nice as that would have been, I don't really believe that this year's team was championship caliber. The offense was very good (when Jacobs was healthy), but the defense and special teams were suspect...and that's being kind. It'll be interesting to see where the Falcons go from here. The defense should get better with more time under the new defensive coordinator, and the special teams just can't get any worse. The offense will be in transition, losing their two top receivers and tailbacks. Jacobs may opt to leave early for the NFL as well. Hopefully he'll be back, because the team needs him and I think he needs another year before going pro. One way or another, it'll be interesting to watch next season's Falcons take on a killer schedule--including a "home" game in Cleveland against Wisconsin, a home game against Boise State, and a roadie at Ohio State.
* As one season ends, another begins. On Wednesday night I made my first visit to Anderson Arena to get my first look at the BGSU men's basketball team. This will be an interesting year for them as well. There are a ton of newcomers to the team, most of which are freshmen. I think there's some talent there, but they have a long way to go before they're a good team. They played hard and looked good in the first half, but faded in the second and lost 76-66 to Oakland. I'm hoping they can develop as the season progresses to a point where they're dangerous as the postseason approaches, but I think they might be a year away. As long as they keep playing hard, though, they'll at least be fun to watch.
* The iPod saga continues. I returned it for service on November 3, and I don't have it back yet. Needless to say, I'm getting pretty irritated at this point. Brandi called the store this week to see if she could find out its status for me, but they said they couldn't help her without the order number on the paperwork. Of course, somehow the paperwork has been misplaced, so we couldn't get any information. I'm giving it until early next week. If the iPod hasn't shown up at my door by then, the people at Best Buy are going to have to deal with me in person. I want my iPod, and I want it to work. I've been without it for nearly two full months now, and that's unacceptable.
* Sometimes I think I would be willing to trade my other talents (which are numerous) for the ability to sing well. Of course, if I could do that, I have a feeling I would be insufferable. I think I would probably sing everything I had to say.
* Last week Brandi and I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was pretty decent, but I feel like it could have been done better. I understand that they have to cut some stuff in order to adapt such a long book into a two-hour movie, but I always feel like they cut the wrong things. The one thing that bothered me most about this one was the removal, at the very end, of a minor incident that turns out to be a major plot point. It's vital to setting up the story for the next one, and I'm very interested to see how they deal with it. The last movie also removed a major plot point, and it has diminished, in my eyes, two otherwise very good movies. Neither would have taken much time, so the decision to leave them out utterly mystifies me.
* While there, we saw the trailer for the upcoming King Kong film. In general, I'm totally uninterested in King Kong. Still, I have a great deal of respect for Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame), and the trailer looked awesome. I may have to see this movie.
* Earlier this week, I finished reading Star Wars: The Unifying Force. It's the conclusion to the New Jedi Order series and the story arc that deals with a new alien species, the Yuuzhan Vong, invading the galaxy. I liked the series in general, but I'm not sure I liked this book. It attempted to almost totally re-define the Force, and it just seemed forced (no pun intended) and lame. I'm glad I've finally finished the series, though. There are a bunch of Star Wars books I haven't read (both post-NJO and prequel-era), and now I can move on to those.
* My goal for this month is to finish all the books I'm currently working on by New Year's, before I start on anything else. I don't think it'll be too much trouble if I can maintain my focus, but it's sort of contrary to my nature to finish something without immediately opening something else. I just want to start the new year with a clean slate.