how did this happen? wasn't it destiny, wasn't it preordained by the football gods? to say i'm shocked would be a tremendous understatement. i'm going to pretty much stay away from any sports shows for a few weeks. it was a perfect game - if you weren't a new england fan. you had the nearly perfect patriots, the villain. how dare they keep on winning? you had the underdog giants, the challenger, trying to prevent what seemed to be inevitable, a 4th patriots super bowl victory and a perfect season. the classic david versus goliath story. the game was close throughout. in the final few minutes it looked like the patriots would squeak out another win, but then the giants came back for a touchdown with just 35 seconds left in the game. what followed was half a minute of agonizing realization that new england's road to perfection was coming to a close with no super bowl victory and no perfect season. we've had our day in the sun with 3 recent super bowl wins. that's more than a lot of other teams can say. but to come so close and lose! especially after a season where we never lost - it felt so foreign, didn't feel so good. so here we go again, like all other teams, it's now our turn to say, better luck next year. but unlike them, we go into next season with the sense that there's unfinished work to be done, and until we win the next super bowl ring, we'll keep on trying.

the patriots have set the bar pretty high for themselves. maybe it's not so bad. this is all uncharted territories anyway. what other team has gone 18-0 and won, much less 18-0 and lost? it's historical either way. of course i prefer the history that ends in a victory parade through boston, but that day will come again, sooner or later. maybe people will hate the patriots less now knowing that the team is human after all, and not some cybernetic football squad from the future send back through time to destroy the NFL through the help of sideline videotaping. the perfect season is all hype anyway. there were a couple of regular season games that the patriots had no business winning, but they just got lucky. tonight their luck just ran out.

a thought about next season: how can the patriots be even better than they were this season? other than the close loss in the super bowl, they managed to win all their other games. how do you improve on that - other than winning the next championship game? maybe some better offensive line protection? maybe making sure randy moss stays with the team? or maybe beat the other teams even more, winning by 100 points? i think that's the only way.

will spygate disappear now? it'd be like salting a wound, kicking somebody when they're down. isn't losing the super bowl after an 18-0 season punishment enough? what other teams can come to understand what that's like?

and as far as i'm concerned, the 2007 patriots is a better team that the 1972 dolphins. 16 regular season wins plus 2 post-season wins add up to 18 consecutive victories. the dolphins only had 17. sure, the dolphins ended up winning the super bowl and patriots were just a few points shy, but by numbers alone, the pats are better. i'm also pretty sure if you could somehow build a time machine and transport the patriots to 1972 to play the dolphins, new england would come out ahead.

i just have to remind myself it's just a game. a stupid game that ruins lives and indiscriminatingly award victory to less deserving teams but a game nevertheless. and why do the manning brothers hate us so much? what did we ever do to them to justify this sort of inequity? i hope the NFL schedules a patriots-giants game for next season because i want a rematch!

i guess now i have nothing better to do on tuesday than go vote. maybe the giants parade will sway tristate voters away from clinton towards obama. i don't think i can take another tragic loss in less than 48 hours. i'm kind of in a fragile state right now.

go to your special place, tony.

for those who are curious, here's a count of the number of plants i'm currently growing. whether they all make it to maturity is a different story:

top shelf (red/blue fluorescence)
garlic basil nasturtium cypress vine parsley cilantro
4 6 6 4 4 5

bottom shelf (yellow kitchen & bath fluorescence)
garlic basil nasturtium cypress vine parsley cilantro
4 8 6 2 5 3

the sticky traps are definitely working, everyday more and more fungus gnats get caught. should i still be worried though? how do i know it's catching all of them? if just a single mating pair gets wise to the fact that the yellow landing strips are lethal, they could easily repopulate the whole fungus gnat society. i did notice something today that might actually help me though: strands of web silk on some of the plants. this can only mean that a spider has managed to find a home in my grow closet. together my spider friend and i will completely wipe out the gnats!

sticky trap fungus gnat tally
trap location fungus gnats   trap location fungus gnats
top left 22   bottom left 0
top right 11   bottom right 8
top center 3      

two new plant activities to report: 1) a few of the basil are suffering from wilting on the tips of their new leaves. i'm not sure what it is, right now i'm just guessing maybe it's a humidity issue, since i only recently removed all the saran wrap covering. i haven't done any internet research on it yet, maybe it's something else. i don't think it's a water issue because the soil feels pretty moist. 2) the spindling tall nasturtium on the top shelf has sprouted a small branch with a leaf from one of its roots. i didn't even realize they could do that. not sure what it means though.

while rummaging through my old photos i came across one from spring of 1998, a fine early example of indoor gardening. it was back when i still lived in belmont and goes to show you that you don't need fancy equipment to start growing plants indoors. doing have a metal shelf to suspend your lights? use milk crates and cans! from the photo it looks like i'm growing some morning glories, moonflowers, snow peas and maybe some cucumbers.

i made another attempt at making a good loaf of bread before i went over to my parents' place tonight. once again it was raisin-orange bread. pretty much the same ingredients as last sunday, except this time i used 4 cups of flour (i used 3 last time), water that was left outside for a few days (to evaporate the chlorine from the tap water) and 2 teaspoon of the fast-rising yeast. during the initial dough-making phase things looked good as the bread machine window fogged up from the activity happening within. however, during the rise phase, i began to have doubts that this would be a good bread. the dough wasn't really rising and things didn't look right. in the final hour during the baking phase, the bread puffed up but it wasn't really getting any bigger and it split down the middle. the final bread was just as dense as last weekend's bread, and there was still some raw dough in the very center of the bread (not as much as last time though).