Sunday, February 22, 2015



FATHER CHRISTMAS!       THIS is who the world conjures up at this time of the year.  THIS is Christmas personified in joviality, and universal merriment, laughter, revelry of all kinds, and goodwill to all men in the midst of drunkenness, over-eating, and limited generosity within ones circle of friends and human interest.
IN THIS PICTURE above we see a Father figure Blessing the World in a kindly, paternal way.     The most accepted origin of Father Christmas seems to come from Bishop Nicholas of Myra in Asia Minor. It is said that he was a very clever child, already reading and studying the Bible when he was only five years of age.   He grew up with a desire to serve God and became a priest - and later a Bishop.   He was a very REAL person in history.     Nicholas was especially concerned for the poor, and was known for acts of charity.    Especially at Christmas Time he would visit the poorest families to leave gifts on their door step.     He went at night time in order not to be noticed or recognised, warmly clothed in a heavy dark red coat and hood.     He did it in the spirit of Jesus.......he was a Christian, and his life and testimony is still honoured in many parts of the Christian World.      BUT he did not stand for the image of the picture above.       He was not some 'fairy' figure; some rumbustious spirit spreading licentious joy in a kind of 'holiday' and ribald manner - like the minor god the world has turned him into.
INDEED IT IS  'Father Christmas' that has taken over Christmas, and become, in a way, the 'God' of X-mas, almost eclipsing and obliterating the REASON for Christmas,     Dressed in his red coat, and swirling about  in his reindeer drawn sleigh weighed down with presents and good cheer,  Father Christmas FILLS the world of commerce and human gaiety, song and dance  - his charity turned into a money making enterprise that noisily and colourfully overlays Christ and the True Giver of real JOY  and RELIEF to our world.       In fact 'Santa Claus', as he is also called, is the centre of X-mas, and as such has replaced the remembrance of Christ's Birthday, and the need for our Salvation.    As such he has become yet another 'good thing' that the devil has twisted and used to divert us away from the Truth.      How truly sad the real St. Nicholas must be.   He looks rather sad already in that image to the left.
The Bible calls God, in Heaven, the Father of Lights.  It is worth reading some verse that appear in the Letter of James found in the New Testament of the Bible, and in the Amplified Translation of the same -
Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift, is from above;
it comes down from the Father of all (that gives) light,
in (the shining of) Whom there can be no variation (rising or setting)
or shadow cast by His turning, as in an eclipsee.
IT IS NOT FATHER CHRISTMAS BENIGNLY BESTOWING UPON THE WORLD HIS BLESSING AND GOOD WILL -  this is a monstrous error.      NO!    It is only GOD HIMSELF that is able to provide and endow any part of His Creation with blessing and JOY,
AND God has not provided 'gifts' to the GOOD only, but has bestowed an abundance of 'gifts' all in ONE, that is given to ALL, both to the good and the unworthy.     A gift so precious, and so valuable that it cannot in any way be described in either words or figures.      The GIFT of His Son, Jesus, who was born into this world as one of us, to lead us out of our sins into the Family and Blessing of God in Heaven, our true FATHER.      Yes!   Listen to St. Paul in 2.Corinthians 9v15 -
NOW, Thanks be to GOD for His GIFT
(precious)beyond telling!
(His indescribable, inexpressible, FREE GIFT!
FORGET the GLITTER, the Christmas tree, the partying and raucous frolics, and the COMMERCE of the World around you and SEE your Father in Heaven handing YOU a Gift beyond Price,  and run to HIM in Thanksgiving, and give to JESUS your life in return for HIS.     Give HIM your ALL, and follow Him, remembering the chorus -
Turn your eyes towards Jesus,
Look full in His Wonderful Face,
and the things of the Earth, will grown dim,
in the light of His Glory and Grace.
IN SEEING YOUR SALVATION in the Baby born in the Manger in Bethlehem, IS Salvation in every way.     The Worth and Eternal Value, and Implication of this makes every other thing PALE and lose its brightness.       HEAR in our memory and appreciation of the Babe in the Manger is the greatest of all JOYS - it is JOY TO THE WORLD, and it is at Christmas that we should rise up and SHOUT it out -
The world waits to receive JOY, presents, and a day or two respite of from the labour of living...The shops will do good trade, pockets will be emptied, gifts will be given to one another...........We have been duped!       The ONE and ONLY REAL GIFT has been given.       Given to YOU!    Have you received it, unwrapped it, and made it yours, with thrilled Thanksgiving?     Will you receive it NOW?
AND LET ME NOT WRITE Christmas completely off,as many have been brought up to see it.   There is good in the memory of St. Nicholas.   Maybe he will not come down the chimney or leave a sack of hoped for presents at your door on Christmas Eve.   Maybe he will not ride through the night skies on his Sleigh, yelling "Ho, Ho, Ho and a MERRY CHRISTMAS'.    That is Fairy story, but one I enjoyed and profited from. I knew it was fairy story, but even so I was comforted by it.,   I was not spoilt or contaminated by it   I did not lose my way to the Cattle Shed were my Saviour lay.   His Angels led me safely there.        The Christmas Tree, the tinsel decorations and the sense of 'Rejoicing' did not turn me into a worldly, selfish, debauched person either, but by the grace of God enhanced my sense of heartfelt love for God AND for family and my fellow men.      Let us not judge one another in these things for we are all impaired in our understanding and perceptions.    Let us be GLAD that we have, all of us, a Father in Heaven, Who loves us, and who had given us SUCH A GIFT, new every day in fact, but especially noticed at Christmas.

Digital Project Life | Week One

Digital Project Life | Week One

It is my goal doing Project Life in a Digital format, but trying to keep it as 'real' as possible.
So here is my two page spread with a 6x12 insert. Here we are..the first week of 2012!  I have decided this Project Life concept is simple if one is organized. Yes.. I am doing Digital Project Life but either way it's done the key is storage (files), product (graphics), and having a load of inspirational words (word art) handy. My philosophy is extremely simple: Keep on track, jot down notes as I snap the photos and focus on a few stories rather than the whole week of life.  Project Life to Me = Capturing Life with Snapshots + Inspirational Words and Sayings. Some weeks are busier than others, so I wish to highlight only the closest stories. There are a few stories untold this week due to the crazy happenings of a New Year.
Page One

I have choose to document those stories on stand alone layouts using regular digital scrapbook elements.

So I always save the x-rays and Dr. notes, appointment cards...... I do usually scan the original just for keeps sake. I tried so hard to resist the need to add this insert for this week.  As you can see the need to show their x-ray mouths won. I scanned the originals. Cropped out the teeth into 3 x 6 images. Added names and dates. Created a 6 x 12 template to house all 4 - 3 x 6 images. So I'm really glad I did it!  Gives it quite a unique feel don't you think?
Page Two


I added a drop shadow to my list of things and not really crazy about it.
Think it's because of the font I used.  Not a great fit.  So next time I'll mess around with that a bit more.

The older boys get to play a little paintball and the littles some trampoline.

Here's to week one complete! Yay!  I so have to NOT over think this project. I have started week two and will try a routine of posting on Mondays or Tuesdays from now on. This is definitely a work on throughout the week project. :) ~Melanie

Pitch F/X Notes on 3 Angels Minor Leaguers

Mark Sappington is the 8th best prospect in the weak (usually considered the worst minor league system in baseball) Angels organization according to Mark Anderson.

He gets that ranking with his big time fastball, that would be (by using his average fastball velocity in his Pitch F/X outing) in the top 8 % of relief fastballs in the Majors, closest to Wily Peralta and Josh Johnson pitching in relief. Adam Russell is the closest real reliever to Sappington. Comparatively, the horizontally fastball movement that he showed in the Pitch F/X outing was actually better than his velocity. The vertical movement was less elite, but still well above average.

His slider velocity is similarly, though not quite as, elite, in the top 17.6 % of sliders. However, he didn't show much movement with it, and it got a really weird amount of spin at times:

 Most sliders don't have that much spin, in fact, it is hard to have more spin than that. When you look at some really good MLB sliders, such as Mark Rogers and Yu Darvish, you see that they do not get much spin on their sliders. Slider movement is not dictated by spin, as we see with Sappington, and more spin can actually make it a worse pitch. You see that one of his sliders had a normal amount of spin, but it was the others that had high spin. Maybe he just messed up 4 out of 5 times (though the weird release point differences were on his fastball). He is, after all, a young pitcher, a 2012 draftee in the 5th round. We didn't see Sappington's change that Anderson talks about in the article linked to above.

Sappington has a high release point (over 6 feet 6 inches on average) that probably helps his fastball sink (that is what Anderson believes,though again, it was the horizontal movement that was actually better than the vertical movement comparatively). It does come out quite a bit, over two feet most of the time. It was also inconsistent, which isn't surprising. The horizontal release point probably is one of the reasons that he gets so much horizontal movement on his fastball, and as you can see in his outing, he was working mostly middle to glove side.

R.J. Alvarez is the 7th best Angels' prospect (a 3rd round pick in 2012, though that was the Angels first pick) according to Anderson, and has reportedly "touched triple digits". He didn't really get close to this in the outing, but he averaged 96.61 MPH, an even better fastball (hence the better ranking) than Sappington. Alvarez' fastball also gets very good vertical movement.

There is no list of a curveball for Alvarez from Anderson, but the breaking pitch he threw had (a lot) of top spin, so it is probably truly a curveball and not the slider Anderson calls it. The curve is about average in velocity compared to other relief pitchers in the Majors. He also has a changeup that we didn't see, but evidently it isn't good anyway. He releases the ball slightly under 6 feet, but at around 1.5 feet horizontally on average, it isn't sidearm by any means.

While his fastball is better than Sappington's, he doesn't get on top of the ball as well, and Alvarez' breaking pitches aren't as good as Sappington's. It is really hard to argue with that fastball though. Also, for what it is worth, he did keep his fastball low in his short outing, though that kind of fastball is probably best thrown high in order to get whiffs. His curveball was the pitch he threw high, but it is clear that he just lost the release point on it.

Matt Oye doesn't really fit in with the other two pitchers, as he isn't a ranked prospect in the system or much of a prospect at all in the traditional sense of the term. He is already 27, but he has good size at 6-5 230. He strangely got more starts than he ever had before in 2012.

His fastball velocity was closest to Dylan Axelrod and Brian Sanches, which fits into the bottom 15 percent of relief pitchers since 2007. He is clearly not a hard thrower like Alvarez or Sappington.

Oye does get good vertical movement on his fastball (the horizontal movement is a little weird, and sometimes in Arizona it turns out that way for some reason, so we will ignore it for now), similar to Pedro Strop, Kiko Calero, and Stephen Pryor, all whom have/had good whiff fastballs (even with some pretty extreme variance in velocity).

The only breaking pitch he has shown in Pitch F/X is a slider at 81.25 MPH. This is in the slowest 21 % of sliders. He also gets very little horizontal movement, and gets unconventional topspin on his slider. The traditional MLB AM tags does something much different in classification, perhaps because of this topspin, saying he threw one change and one curve. I doubt he throws an 80 MPH curve, just because pitchers that throw 80 MPH curveballs usually have harder fastballs than Oye has. However, it is hard to call them both changes, as they both moved so differently, both vertically and horizontally.

He doesn't release the ball high (just at 6 foot), but is not hardly out at all either, closer to his body than either Sappington or Alvarez.

 The consistency seems to show that he is much closer to pitching in the Majors than Alvarez or Sappington, which obviously isn't surprising. With some consistency and command, it isn't hard to believe that Oye would be able to get some hitters out in the big leagues in low leverage roles. He certainly doesn't have the ceiling of the previous two, but may be able to help the weak looking bullpen in 2013.


Foot notes, dire wraiths and mutants

Now I was talking in another posting recently about the Wraith War spill over in X-Men issues 185, 186, 187 and 188. So to find this footnote (thanks Gary) in a future issue (#225) with Rogue's reflections on the X-Men having saved Forge from a Dire Wraith assassination attempt was not at all surprising.
But I was having some trouble with this X-Men foot note in Iron Man 190. I've been sitting on this clip art for a while now but I recently did a double take on it . . . .

X-Men #181? Well I checked out some online reviews on that X-Men issue and as far as I can tell it's got nothing to do with anything that Wanda is talking about in the clip art. In fact it's pretty much just a Godzilla tribute story that takes place right after the events of the first Secret Wars mini-series. But I later found out by commentator RT who does have the issue that there's some mention of the mutant registration act or something like that. But it still seems to me X-Men 184 or even 185 would have been a more appropriate for that foot note.

Left click to enlarge
But just in case you didn't know, or forgot Forge's first ever appearance in the Marvel Universe was in X-Men 184. Thanks to an online review I discovered recently along with some clip art from the issue provided by Rom curator Gary Martin Jr. I now see that this X-Men issue is an important tie-in to the Wraith War story line in the Rom series. Not only do we see the hand held neo-neutralizer prototype for the first time Forge also makes a direct Rom and Dire Wraith reference.
Left click to enlarge
On a side note here it's too bad we never got to see Forge's neutralizer used on Hybrid that would have been interesting. We've seen it's effects on dire wraiths and homo-superior alike and even though the X-Men's computer Cerebro identifies Hybrid as a mutant he's still in a class all his own.

Spang Angora Rabbitry

I finally got the chance to snap pictures of most of my Giant/cross keepers from this summer's breedings. These babies were all born in the middle of July and are now about 4 1/2 months old:).

This here is BOCA, an FA/GA cross. She weighs in at 7 lbs. so her bone/frame is good, but her wool is typical of what you might see in a crossbreed---lack of balance and a very high maintenance coat as a result. Surprisingly, the FA/GA crosses are proving far harder to keep matt-free than the NZ/FA/GA crosses. I will need to breed toward the easiest care coat possible that still maintains a correct ratio of GH to underwool/awn fluff.

This is DAFFODIL, the Chocolate littermate to Boca. I have said before that I am not wild about the color Chocolate because it has never been very dense in my experience, but since this girl has big bone and has already passed the 8 lb. mark, I am keeping her around. LOL.

These are the two boys out of Marin, DOMINO and OLIVER. They are not as large as the other rabbits, but their weights are still respectable and they have very good type.

And this is the best (cross) baby that was born this year. MARLEY is very large for her age (around 8 lbs.). She is typey and well balanced. Her wool is dense and easy to care for, and she feels like a lead weight when you pick her up *grin*. She is also out of an NZ/FA/GA breeding.

And this last picture is of Soraya, a black FA out of Etienne and Diego who is also 4 1/2 months old. This is a beautiful little girl who should do well on the show table next year:).

These buns only represent the first GA breedings I have done so there will be lots of work to do in the future. Since the real work in breeding is to isolate the best qualities of a herd and make them repeat themselves again and again, it will take many years and many generations to get the animal I want that can be produced the way I want it over and over the same way. Just as it is with French Angoras or any animal anywhere, each person's herd is like a signature that is refined and developed over time. Lots of work, lots of time, and lots of fried brain cells , LOL.


ZenKraft X-Treme Quad-Fold Notebook System

ZenKraft X-Treme Quad-Fold Notebook System

Introducing ZenKraft's X-Treme Quad-Fold Notebook System. This is a revolutionary notebook system which has the capacity to hold six to seven inserts, while having the flexibility to contain three different size inserts at the same time. The X-Treme Quad-Fold not only holds five reg. size inserts, but holds one Field Notes size insert and one reporter notebook as well! In addition, it has three Tech Pockets, and one Utility Pocket for pens rulers, etc. Its the X-Treme Quad-Fold Notebook System from ZenKraft, enjoy! if interested, thanks!

On Orcs, Meteors And The X Factor

On Orcs, Meteors And The X Factor

It's all over. What has been something of a Christmas tradition for us for the last ten years or so has finally reached its conclusion and we can no longer await Michael Jackson's next CGI fest in eager anticipation. It certainly finished with a bang and not a whimper and The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies was a visual treat on the Cineworld Ipswich IMAX screen. It wasn't all about the CGI (although it does make up 90% of the film) and Richard Armitage's performance as Thorin Oakenshield was a superb portrayal of inner turmoil and conflict and Ryan Gage added a nice comedic touch as the weaselly coward Alfrid. Martin Freeman was Tim from The Office with big hairy feet and the Orc leader King Azog was a hugely scary and monstrous opponent for the band of dwarves. Presumably bowing to the aim of a PG classification, the film is not particularly violent with much of the fighting and battle scenes assuming a near Tom And Jerry style (e.g Billy Connoly head butting iron helmeted  warriors). If you get the chance to see it with the full IMAX experience you will get the most out of of the film but I'm sure that even if you watch it in 2D on the telly when the DVD comes out you will enjoy it.

Another of those traditions is my annual bet on X Factor and I'm delighted that my winning streak has continued. Last year I won £200 on Sam and this year I managed to double that with Ben Haenow's win. I was a bit of a chicken really as, when the final weekend arrived, I stood to win £796 on Ben but lose £170 if Fleur won. So I hedged the bets and watched in comfort with the assurance that whoever won I would be £400 better off. I was convinced that Ben would win but, in honesty, I thought that Fleur was the better performer over the weekend. Perhaps  our local Framlingham hero Ed Sheeran swung it for him.

At midnight on Saturday I went outside to look for the meteor shower. It was a fabulous cold and crisp night with a million stars and I saw five meteors in quick succession. The iPhone isn't really the best thing to use to photograph them.

I'll finish now as we've got a table booked for seven o'clock at The Lemon Tree here in Framlingham. They're having a music and tapas night. Should be fun.

Giving Credit to the Title Credits

How many times have you watched the X-Files? Hundreds or thousands of times? Or maybe you've lost count. No matter how many episodes you watched or how many times, who could forget the title credits at the beginning of each episode? For the first seven seasons of the show (excluding the Pilot episode), the same sequence of images accompanied by the X-Files theme music took us into the world of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully each week. Fans of the show have watched the opening numerous times, yet how many of us really take a moment to stop and think about the images?

Unlike the themes of other recent shows, the X-Files don't draw from a number of key scenes between the main characters, possibly because many of episodes were not filmed when the credits were created. Instead, the opening credits piece together like a puzzle of the mysterious and unusual. Although we may identify a few of the images that flash before us, it's doubtful that someone will pick up and fully comprehend all of them. Much like the show itself, the glimpses of the things shown don't give us all the answers, nor will all be revealed to those watching the episodes. Instead, the truth is revealed gradually, and sometimes even that requires multiple viewings to understand the fine details.

To guide other fans and perhaps to gain some personal insight, I'm going to give my best attempt to decipher the images. For the sake of this discussion, I'm only going to focus on the original opening credits which were changed for the later seasons. I may revisit the newer credits at a later time. As I've mentioned, there are no definitive answers, so please feel free to join in the discussion if you have another perspective.

The credits begin with the X-Files logo and the first few notes of Mark Snow's theme for the show. It shows us right up front with the colors of black and grey, indicating this show is not going to be flashy. In terms of casting, this is particularly true. Consider the guest stars in each episode. Most of them could be people you see in your neighborhood or at the local store. In the world of Hollywood where beauty and perfection seem to reign supreme, shows are often filled with  flawless, perfect-looking actors, but you won't find that in the X-Files. Chris Carter set the tone for this early on. While Fox wanted an over-the-top beautiful woman such as Pamela Anderson in the leading role as Scully, Carter pushed for another Anderson, Gillian Anderson. Not that Gillian wasn't beautiful, but considering her looks for the first season in particular, we see she is much more the girl-next-door, educated and sharp Clarice Starling-type Carter was looking for in this role. Had the Baywatch beauty been cast in the role, there is much doubt we would still be discussing this show today, but I digress...

Casting was perhaps not the only thing that wasn't flashy about the show either. The same might be said about the production as a whole. Now, I realize as popularity for the show grew in the later seasons, so did the budget. We do see more stunts, explosions, and flash once that happened, but the credits were created at a time when the show was in it's infancy. The first season was filled with investigations in the Vancouver woods, with simple sets in office buildings, hospitals, or regular homes.  Even the special effects we see in the first season are rather low-tech. This title slides sets up what is to come quite well.

We next see photo of a person pointing at an unknown craft in the distance. If you look quickly, you'll see writing on the bottom right-hand corner of this image prior to zooming in on the craft. Although the writing is partially obscured, you can make out "FBI Photo Interpretation" before the photo's coloring impairs your own interpretation of the writing. We essentially have 2 great bits of information here. First of all, the unidentified object in the sky, clearly the focus of the photo as enhanced by the dark figure showing it to us. Eventually the shot will zoom into this focal point for even more emphasis. For a show about conspiracy, cover-ups, and aliens, this image seems a natural fit. Adding in the information about the FBI Photo is a nice touch to tie in the agency that employs the lead characters and authorizes the investigations.

Then we fade to an illuminated purple sphere with a hand moving over top. Once again, the hand draws our eye into the photo much as the UFO we saw in the earlier shot. in the erie purple light, we see what appears to be some sort of hieroglyphics, obscure writing in an unknown language, or I've even heard suggestions this is a map of star constellations. Truth is, I'm not certain what this information represents. Still, the mysterious symbols provide a feeling of mystery which we will certainly see a lot of on the show. Personally, I like to think the information in this shot is the truth obscured in an ancient text. If we were to decipher it, we would gain powerful insight into the mytharc of the show. Although I'm certain the mytharc wasn't developed enough to do something like this at the time the credits were created, the idea that it could be something like that is powerful enough to draw you into the show.

On a side note: after writing this analysis, Agent M from the X-Files Truth contacted me and suggested yet another possibility for the purple symbols above. He suggested it may be an air traffic controller's radar screen. For comparison sake, see the photo at on the right and make the judgement for yourself. Given the military involvement in several of the conspiracies along with use of radar screens in a few of the episodes, I'd have to say, it's pretty close to the photo above and definitely a strong possibility.
From one unknown object to anther we progress to a orb with what appears to be light or possibly electricity randomly pulsing out of the orb. The object floats in the same sort of purple haze as we saw in the previous image. The orb may appear to be spinning, but actually it's a trick of the light moving, not the orb itself. There has been some speculation that the round object is a Van de Graaf generator which produces static electricity, of which I am certainly no expert except for unintentionally shocking a few people from time to time while wearing rubber-soled shoes.  Looking into the devise, it appears most have a base which is noticeably absent from the image in the credits. However, this also could be in our perspective. If we're viewing the Van de Graaf generator from above, the base may be obscured. Although never having seen one in operation, from what I have learned about the Van de Graaf generator, this seems to be the most logical assessment.
Ah...that distorted face. Chris Carter used the face of a video operator to create the effect. For many years that image reminded me of Duane Barry. While obviously not Steve Railsback who portrayed Barry in the credit photo, the anguish and torment the face seems to show could certainly be said of the disturbed Duane Barry's character. With the open mouth likely screaming and the terror in the man's eyes, this photo in my eyes has always been that of an alien abductee. In many ways, the distortion you see could symbolize the experiments done on the nameless victims by aliens, doing unnatural things to humans for their own knowledge. The image could also show us the horrors that await in the unexplained phenomena we see on the series.

Next we see a mirror image of a sprouting seed as the words Paranormal Activity flash in front of them. No question why the words paranormal activity was used since much of the show centered around this, but why seeds? Certainly there is no huge mystery about seeds. They've been known to humans for centuries and used to grow plants of all varieties. So there must be some underlying philosophical reason for including the in the credits.
With seeds related to growth, it's possible the seedlings were metaphors for something growing in the show. Several possibilities presented themselves such as a growing terror, growing conspiracy and mythology, and growth in complexity. While these are plausible, it occurred to me the image has two seeds. Why two? Perhaps because the show focuses on 2 FBI agents. We certainly see both agents grow in their understanding in the course of the show. Mulder, although never loosing sight of the paranormal, comes to value the skeptical eye and need for collecting evidence. Likewise, Scully comes to realize over time that some things can't be explained through science. However, if this is a metaphor for the two agents, I think it goes deeper than simply growing in understanding. Perhaps the growing seeds are meant to show us the growth in the relationship between Mulder and Scully. Think about how far the two agents have come since the Pilot to the final episode of the series. They've gone from strangers to an unlikely pairing of partners earning trust along the way until the relationship between the two formed an unshakable bond. Certainly if the seeds symbolizes anything, the growth of the relationship between Mulder and Scully which was the heart and soul of the series would be the focus. Then again, it could just be a couple of seeds that looked cool, and I'm reading WAY too much into this.

Now we get to the part of the opening that focuses on Mulder. First, we see Mulder's badge appear, framed by a pair of handcuffs. The words "Starring David Duchovny" flash over the badge as it zooms in on Mulder's photo. Fairly self explanatory. Showing our main character and highlighting the actor portraying him.
A shadowy figure walks in a non-descript room with the words Government Denies Knowledge with the same purplish color that seems to connect the majority of the images in the opening. In a show that is based so much on conspiracy, the chosen words we see are quite fitting. The shadow, however leaves a little mystery and is open to interpretation. Could this possibly be a ghost? Although I've never had the experience of seeing a spirit, the misty shadow shown doesn't seem too far off of what's been reported. If we were to create a list of top paranormal phenomena, ghosts certainly make the list, so for a show about paranormal it isn't too far off to assume that's what the image could be. However, it's possible the figure is another metaphor? Obviously, a shadow government wouldn't be out of the question, especially given the text.
Now it's Scully's turn. We get a close look at her badge as Gillian Anderson's name crosses the screen and the same zoom in to Scully's photo. Again, self explanatory for presenting the female lead and the character. On a side note here, I wanted to point out that although we see Scully/Gillian Anderson go through different hairstyles and wardrobes through the seasons, her photo on her badge in the credits doesn't change for the first 7 seasons. (I suppose the same could be said of Mulder, but the changes the male lead goes through are less obvious over the years) It's a small point, but it would seem at an agency that focuses on law enforcement, you would have an annual update to your photo on the badge for security reasons. However, we do have to keep in mind this is pre- 9/11, so things may have been a little more lax when it comes to little things such as this.
Then we get a shot of Mulder and Scully going into Eugene Victor Toom's apartment on 66 Exeter Street in Squeeze shown in almost a stop-animation style. The opening credits made their it's first appearance in Deep Throat, so by that point filming had already begun for the third episode, Squeeze. There's nothing particularly extraordinary in the two agents walking into a door to investigate a case. We see no aliens, no mysterious creatures, or other aspects of the paranormal, but simply Mulder and Scully. It's something we will see repeated many times in the series at different locations for different reasons. The two agents are the constant in the series, so giving us this moment really shows what's to come. Once again, there could also be a metaphor attached to this image as well with the open door. Essentially through their investigations Mulder and Scully open doors to the paranormal, giving attention to cases that are often overlooked and forgotten.

The brief flash from this episode also shows us what is likely a trademark of the show, flashlights. Numerous times we see the two agents explore using the lighting devices. The image also implies the show is going to take us to some dark and creepy places which fits nicely with the opening sequence.

Now we see the image of an outline hand with roughly human-shaped white image seeming to fall into the hand. The hand is outlined in a bluish glow save for a small portion we see in red, and is a striking image in itself. This frame of the credits has always made me curious, and is actually the inspiration for writing this post. Doing a little research, I stumbled across this information about the Kirlian photography hand. The hand was created by passing an object through an electrified field.  From an artistic point of view, it certainly creates a eye-catching image! There have been theories surrounding the Kirlian photography that it captures an aura, however the theories have never found any definitive proof. Talking about researching theories with no proof, is anyone else reminded of a certain show's battle of a skeptical female FBI agent trained with an eye for the scientific going against a male agent who will believe just about anything? The idea of Kirlian photography being at the fringes of science pushes it exactly into the zone that we will see over and over again in the X-Files.

Of course, there's more to this photo than just the hand. What about the human-like figure? Could we assume yet another representation? Of course, seeing the figure fall, we can make assumptions about falling deeper into the conspiracy. Still, if you take a more holistic approach and view the figure falling into the hand, it could perhaps be viewed slightly different. The hand appears to catch the figure, so one  might consider how the characters are there for one another or "catch" each other in the series. Mulder repeatedly has Scully's back, even going so far as to trade a woman he thinks is his long-searched-for sister for his partner. Scully risks her job and life on multiple occasions to protect Mulder and also saves him throughout the series with her science. As Mulder himself puts it, "As difficult and frustrating as it's been sometimes, your goddamned strict rationalism and science have saved me a thousand times over!" I couldn't have said it better myself.
We now get the slide for the show's creator, Chris Carter, simply showing us a close-up view of a human eye. Throughout history, eyes have been powerful symbols. Just look into the ancient Egyptian's Eye of Horus, although there are more examples if you look for them. We've all heard the saying that eyes are the window to the soul, so perhaps there's a connection here to a show that we really do come to know the characters so well. However, why an eye for Carter's information? It struck me that perhaps this is like the Eye of Providence. This eye which appears on some American currency has an eye that seems to be looking through a triangle to show that symbolizes an all-seeing eye of God. Although some fans may elevate Carter to the level of deity, I doubt the series creator ever places himself in that category. Still, there is something to be said about his creative control over the series. No matter who is directing, acting, or writing, Chris Carter will likely have a watchful eye over the entire process.
Fade into a thunderstorm that strikes as the tagline of the show is revealed. Most often, the tagline is "The Truth is Out There", but as fans know this has been changed a few times to show something related to the episode. Truth is certainly a huge part of the show and the darkened landscape seems to suggest the uphill journey the show will take. As for the storm, it may suggest struggles along the way, or could have been added merely for dramatic effect.

So...that's the opening credits which opened the show for the first 7 seasons. I've even heard it suggested there was some superstition among the producers that it was bad luck to change the credits. Given the end of the series shortly after changes were made, they might have been on to something.

As fans, we may not take pause to consider the brief introduction to the show. The credits really do set the tone for what's to come. Unfortunately, there seems to be little explanation of each of the images available online, which is why I wanted to take the time to present my ideas to help other fans. If I've missed or interpreted something wrong (as I'm admittedly not an expert on everything), please let me know. Your thoughts, ideas, and expertise will help myself and other fans gain a deeper appreciation for the show!