12/3/01, noon - There are times in every person's life when he or she transcends himself or herself, when they do something seemingly out of character, yet when viewed as a whole, is perfectly on par with their spirit.

Friday was mine.

Backstory: For 16 years, I've listened to Sweet 98, a radio station in Omaha. I started when I was 10, listening to Hot Scott, then later on Rockett and Charlie, even as recently as a month ago. For most of that time, they've offered variety of some sort, within the confines of "rock/pop/top 40" music.

Now, it seems that only one in twenty songs is of that variety. The rest is R&B, rap, and Ja-Rule, whoever that schmuck is.

I am on their "listener advisory board" which means that periodically I will get an email with clips of music that they want opinions on. They have never once listened to my opinion. They haven't started now.

I wrote a letter to the station's general manager a month ago asking him why the station advertised that they play one format of music, but insist on playing another. I said "If you're an R&B station, why not admit that's what you chose to play instead of misleading your potential listeners?" He never answered.

A week later, I changed the dial and found Star 104.5. They have a much better assortment of music. They don't cram the same song onto the air every half hour like Repeat 98 does, and the dj's are actually fun to listen to. This is what my old station used to be, and better!

My car radio is now tuned to Star 104.5, and that's the end of the backstory that you need to understand the rest.

On Friday, I was driving in early to pick up my paycheck. The radio station was doing a telethon. Star 104.5, Alltel, and the Salvation Army joined forces to provide Christmas for 1,600 families who were unable to provide for themselves.

They asked people to call up and adopt a family from 2-9 people. For each person in the family, one gift and part of the holiday meal, like a gift certificate to a grocery store, etc.

I didn't really pay much attention until one story came on. They were talking about one specific mother and son. They had a housefire last year, and hadn't had much to begin with. The mom is also trying to make her way through nursing school, and with everything (the economy, war, etc) the way it is, she just couldn't provide Christmas for her child.

Remembering when my own Mom was in nursing school, and our own fire, I decided it was time to help. I went to the first payphone I could find, called in, and adopted that mom and child.

End of story? Hardly.

When I got to work, I talked with a few people about it, and by the end of the day, we had adopted a five person family.

That's seven people who have been touched by my reaching out and making a phone call. Feels good.:-)

If you're a Babylon 5 fan, and you have NOT finished the Techno-Mage trilogy, SKIP this next section down to the ****'s.

Jeanne Cavelos can write. Yes, lots of people can write, but not with the style and grace she employs. Her trilogy, "The Passing of the Techno-Mages" is a sad, exciting, and mind-blowing tribute to the character of Galen, and to the discovery of the origins of his people.

Had Crusade gone beyond the 13 episodes aired, the biggest revelation in the series - the origin of the Techno-Mages - would not have come as a shock in these books. Bookface.com had JMS's script for the season 1 finale available for reading for several months. In that cliffhanger episode, Gideon found out the Techno-Mage's origins, where they came from, how they got their technology, and how they were in league with the Shadows. Sadly, TNT in their infinite schmuckness didn't have a clue what Crusade was about, and chose to abort the show, without allowing a conclusion of any kind.

The Vorlons and the Shadows are ancient races, existing for millions of years. The Vorlons believe in order; the Shadows, chaos. Each believes its way is the only way, and imposes its will on all the younger races.

Every thousand years, they fight, then stop, then wait, then fight, on and on through time.

A thousand years ago, the Shadows created the Techno-Mages. Techno-Mages are Humans (and other beings like Centauri, etc) who are merged with technology to form hybrids. They conger illusions through their tech and claim to do only good, harming none.

Galen has uncovered their secret origins, and the knowledge drives him over the edge. Everything he ever knew, all he was taught, was a lie. And he, an abomination.

At the end, he finds a way to fight the Shadow influences, to do good, helping to end the Shadow war once and for all.

All of this leads to a line that is so simple in its delivery, having so many levels it's countless ... it's out of nowhere, and is only funny in context.

It's a line that would mean nothing to someone with a passing knowledge (or no clue at all) of Babylon 5. To a fan who understands all the intricacies, characters, races, it's belly-laughter-evoking.

Fed, to Galen - "But you're sounding awfully Vorlon these days."

See? :)

There was only one "error" I could find in the series, and at over a thousand pages, that's pretty damn good.

Towards the end of the book, she perfectly describes Lorien, a being old as the universe, and literally the First One. She is very careful in saying that Galen doesn't know who he is, other than "an alien" ... two pages later, she states Lorien's name in passing, then shortly after refers to him as "the alien" again.

One slight mistake, and with something so massive, it's amazing that this is the only thing I could find that wasn't perfect. Typically with tie-in books, it's full of errors and you just wanna strangle the author. This deserves an award.

It is a trilogy I would recommend in general to any Babylon 5 fan, but especially to fans of Galen, Kosh, and Anna Sheridan.

Just make sure you've read Shadow War first.

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It seems like I'm only reading series lately, and I wonder why that is?

I've even talked about them here in these journal entries. Harry Potter, Babylon 5, Savage Empire. They are all multi-book entries, all quite long.

The B5 trilogy is over a thousand pages. Book 4 of Harry Potter alone is over 700 pages, and the Savage Empire series clocks in at well over 1,500 pages.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I can't wait for book 5! When? When? When?!!

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