September 17, 2007

Another great author passes away

Robert Jordan, longtime contributor to the Conan series and creator of the epic Wheel of Time series passed away last night. He'd suffered nearly two years from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, which reportedly has a very low rate of curing. While my first thoughts went to his family as well as the loss of one of the great fantasy writers, I soon started to realize something terrible.

He never finished the Wheel of Time.

This is tragic for two (ok, many, but I'll only expound on two) reasons -- the first being it was his life's passion, and became one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy. He started it 16 years ago and will never know the satisfaction of seeing it completed or know the reaction of his readers to the final climax. The second is far more selfish. If you've ever read the series, you know that it can drag on (and on and on) at times, and I hate that the payoff (which was building to a great crescendo in the more recent books) won't be coming from his hand. The good news on that front, however, is that it sounds like he has written most of it and has revealed the major plot points to those who will complete the final volume.

That said, though, my selfish regret is a mustard seed compared to the enormity of the void created by his passing.

Rest in peace, Robert -- may your death indeed be lighter than a feather.

September 07, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, author, passes away.

"If I could comprehend God completely, God wouldn't be worth bothering about. I'm finite, God is infinite; the finite cannot comprehend the infinite. But we get enough glimpses."

Thank you for being one of those glimpses. Rest in peace, Meg.

September 06, 2007

What a long, strange trip, etc. etc.

Good Lord, what a holiday.

The long weekend started with a Fever game for me to cover, since the women had won their way into the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals. I'd tell you how the game went, but you could just as easily look here and read for yourself, now couldn't you? It was a great game, and Bill Laimbeer (who coaches the Detroit Shock these days) is always fun to see on the court, and is even more fun in the interview room.

From there, it was forty winks then off to Nashville to visit my father and cover my second game in 24 hours, only this one ushered in a new era for me -- Vanderbilt football coverage! Well... sort of. See, a few months back, I'd been offered press box credentials at all Vanderbilt football games by Vandymania, one of the two main Vanderbilt fansites. I'd written for them before as a columnist earlier (including a weekly football collaboration with Jay last season), and was very excited about getting that experience for them.

This was all well and good until I got an email from the Vandymania editor asking for links to some of my articles so that they could submit them to the VU athletic dept. to obtain a season press pass. I was surprised by this as I thought this was already taken care of. As it happens, however, the Vandymania press pass had instead been given to someone else, leaving me without. I was extraordinarily disappointed, but, to their credit, the guys at Vandymania did a great job of getting me up in the press box for the Richmond game, though it seemed like I'd be on a game-by-game basis for the rest of the season.

You know, after having covered the Richmond game, not being in the press box might be OK after all. Football reporting is wholly seperate from covering basketball. Where I'd been used to being extraordinarily close to the action with the entirety of the crowd behind me at basketball games, being in the press box for football games is a much more isolated experience. The plays are way far away, and with the air conditioning being on to couter the Southern heat/humidity, every window was shut, blocking out a lot of the crowd/band noise. Being able to see plays develop was nice, but the press box was very professional, meaning reactions to big/great plays were subdued no outright cheering for either team. Fat chance of that happening next week with Bama homers in town, but I digress....

So it turns out that being in the press box just isn't as cracked up as I'd thought it would be. Maybe it'll be different with a bigger opponent, but maybe not. I honestly think I get as much (if not more) out of being in the stands and taking notes. Yes, it will be miserably hot and notes will be harder to take, but it'll FEEL like football again, and I'm not sure if I want to miss out on that feeling for the sake of air conditioning again.

The game went well -- Vanderbilt won thanks in part to a record performance, but for more details... Yeah, I'm a shill.

So Sunday afternoon was for driving down to Jackson to see my mother and grandmother, where thankfully nothing all that eventful happened until we left for Tunica and the casinos therein Monday afternoon. From there the six of us proceeded to gamble for hours on end, some (Grammy) with more success than others (me). I was doing well Monday night, being up about $200 for the night ($100 for the trip) and had a GREAT set of blackjack dealers who simply wanted to give me their money. I didn't end up going to bed until around 4, but was still ahead when I left and looking forward to winning more the next day.

Didn't happen so much. Ran up against cold deck after cold deck, and eventually left with just my slots winnings, which is completely backwards from how it usually goes -- typically I'll fare better on the tables than I would the slots. Oh, well -- I didn't lose more than I could afford and was able to play all weekend -- that's why we go, right?

So, back to Jackson Tuesday, where we pick up the car from the dealer with new brakes and rotors -- my car feels weird now; it doesn't shimmy when I try to stop! Wednesday comes and it's another 7 hours in the car to Indianapolis, back home again. In Indiana. Sheesh. 900 miles and 14 hours driving, another 250 miles and 4 hours riding, all in the span of five days. My plan to go to this week-ends Alabama game at Vanderbilt is officially shot.