Summer Plans – the Perfect Storm


This is the last night I will have a couch of my own to sit on. It’s 11:05 p.m.; not much time left. But, I am enjoying this seat now.

We’re moving, which you may have surmised from the opening of this post. We’re moving, and with that move comes other responsibilities. I had to finish up some paperwork for my job today, but my wife was able to allow for that time to happen, so that’s a huge thank you to her. The rest of my house looks like it’s more of a warehouse than it is. We leave on Friday (out of the house), Saturday we fly back home, and July we are planning on taking a trip East – like Way East…The Orient, east (though those details are still working themselves out).

That’s where the storm is coming in.

Summer – it’s one of the major reasons I got into teaching in the first place. Among teachers there is a saying; the three best reasons to become a teacher are June, July, and August. This I agree with to some extent. In high school I thought I knew it all (my wife has a theory that suggests that at all stages of life we always think we have life figured out – hard to disagree with that one). I wouldn’t say that I knew for certain that I wanted to be a teacher, but I did think that the whole teaching gig was pretty good, just because of the vacations – and after becoming a teacher, I was right.

Now, I wasn’t totally aware of all the stuff that a teacher does in the job (it’s certainly not just hang out in a classroom with students – thought that is the best part of my job, I would say….aside from the vacation, of course).  But, then again, who can know that aside from people who are teachers.

The year went well. I had great students; learned a ton from others; and was able to explore the area a bit.

As far as all things geekery, I have not been able to get a good table-top game in for a long time, and I finished Fallout 4 and some other games. I did hear about the new Fallout 76 coming out, which I’m looking forward to, and I’m also looking forward to hearing about what comes out for E3 in a few days.

Jer and I just finished our podcast on Lord of Chaos, Book VI in the Wheel of Time series. You can catch it on our site at Across the Wheel, or on Youtube here. We finished one and started on the next one – A Crown of Swords.

Writing – yes. That’s always going to be my answer. Yes. There may be times when I don’t get any words in or only get a scant smattering of what I’d like to get in, but the fact remains, yes. It’s coming.

I did write a short story called “Puzzle” if any of you would like to take a look at it. I’d be happy to send it your way if you can pass me some of your thoughts on it. It’s under 2K, so pretty short. All is well in the world, folks.

Catch you Kool Kats later.

-C

Advertisements

Thursday in a Nutshell


Happy Thursday! It’s been some time since I’ve put something up and, quite honestly, that’s probably been one of the drawbacks of the blog. It’s like DnD in that you need to be consistent. So, my ways have to change. Not that I’m saying I am going to do any of this for the first of the year, or anything like that. I’m not really a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. The only resolutions that make sense for me are the ones that people make for themselves and live up to. It really doesn’t matter when you do the thing, rather that you actually do the thing.

So, what has been happening recently. For one thing, I’ve subscribed to Harper’s Magazine. Never thought about it before. Never thought about it for a minute. I have never been sure about how I really feel about ephemeral literature; still not sure, but I’m warming up to it.

Harper’s is cool, though, in that I wanted something for my brain. I wanted brain food. This, for me, included good writing, good reading, and ideas that made my brain work – stuff that made me think. The reading is very good, I think. I know it’s good because it takes me a while to get through it. It’s cool because it includes a milieu of both fiction and non-fiction as well as some snippets of poetry, essays, dicta, and cool little teases for verbivores like myself.

Other than the elephant in the room, people around me have been giving me grief for not voting. Oh well. Look, I don’t vote; it’s just not something I choose not to participate in. I’m going to leave it at that. With as much verbiage has been released into the ether on this topic, it’s not one I’d like to contribute to.

Peace, folks. How often we forget ourselves.

The Eye of the World – read it over fifteen years ago and rereading it now with Jer. Look, I’m an only child. That’s right, no biological siblings. But you know what? We’ve been together since way back when. We’re tight, and that’s fraternally good enough for me.

Jordan’s first book in this fantasy series is incredible. I would claim that it may be one of his best in the whole series. Jer said it’s taking what Tolkien did and tweaking it positively. Agreed. If you liked LoR and you’re generally in to high fantasy, you would enjoy this. RJ-RIP, and thank you, Sanderson.

Speaking of Sanderson, I started listening again to Writing Excuses. Jumped back into Season 11 from the beginning. Always enjoyed this cast. It’s short and informative. I’m not saying I get into every single episode (who does?), but it’s a good gang and good things come out of it.

UNchARtEd – game one. Just finished this a few nights ago. Stayed up until one o’clock in the morning and, enjoyed it. I purchased the Nathan Drake Collection for a delightfully cheap price, and am going through the series. Never knew what kind of a dude Nathan Drake was, but his personality is clearly one that was developed with a certain degree of attention. Naughty Dog had grown into my favor with The Last of Us. I like the way they took one of Francis Drake’s relatives from the modern age and had him trace back his routes along to his progenitor via a treasure hunt. Very cool.

Thanksgiving – thankful that my family’s coming out to visit. It’s been some time since we’ve all gotten together, and I’m always grateful for our time. Last time Dad came out, we had a nice walk to the beach. We’ll take the same route this time again.

That’s Thursday in a nutshell. Another post coming Sunday. Keep smiling, my people.

-lp

Across the Wheel


wot

…Merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

~ popular American song (something of a tradition)

   The hours have escaped me again.

   There haven’t been too many earth-shattering changes going about of late. All has been relatively copacetic in the LP neighborhood, I’m happy to report.

   Well, there is one particular item I am happy to announce. My brother and I have begun an epic adventure travelling (You can’t see it, but a red line is under this word, which is weird because it’s correct in English) from on end of the Wheel of Time to the other. What is the Wheel of Time, you ask? It’s an epic fantasy series that was begun by the late Robert Jordan in 1990 and finished by Brandon Sanderson in 2013. There are fourteen books in the series and full of all kinds of alternate/high fantasy fun.

   Jordan, it can be argued, took what Tolkien did with the LoTR and made some magnificent tweaks to really streamline this fantastic fantasy tale. It’s inordinately long, however, and that’s why (perhaps) we’re doing it together. We started a new web-site (Across the Wheel) where we’re documenting our progress and generally placing our thoughts via the written word down as we go through this.

   We just got into it and we’re (as of this writing) only around 200 pages into the first book, The Eye of the World.

   In its entirety, the series spans 14 books and goes right up into the neighborhood of 12,000 words.

   We, of course, welcome you to stop by our site and comment away: www.acrossthewheel.wordpress.com .

   Other than that, I’ll just say that life has me running, and I’m grateful for the exercise. The writing has slowed, and there is no one other than me who knows it simply needs to pick back up again. I have been talking with all my good friends here and following Court of Swords with Jer and Skell, but honestly, I’ll have to slow down on that recently because I just have different priorities now. Love the show, but my attention is needed elsewhere.

   Much love. More in a bit.

-lp

Albuquerque


Albuquerque

July 2nd, 2015: It’s been two to three years at least, and now that I’m back, it’s just not the same. It’s more like one of my childhood’s favorite toys that sits in the corner of the back yard, now mossy, lifeless, and whose batteries were long handed over to some other distraction of finer merit.

July 7th, 2015: Albuquerque is nearly two thousand miles away from me now and I’m writing this from my dining room table at the far end of Long Island. 

    It was a short trip, ten days, but one which allowed me to revisit my childhood home. I moved to Albuquerque from Iowa somewhere between 3 and 4. My memories of that time are only vague now and come to me in flashes when called forth. I grew up with my two cousins at my grandmother’s house down in an area of town called the north valley. We played and played, and before I knew it, I was eighteen and I had graduated high school. 

In that time I had swum in the Rio Grande on multiple occasions, learned the rudimentary linguistic set of Spanish (after having reconsidered from French my first day of 6th Grade – thanks for the reasoning, Dad), and I ate enough green chile to need a tongue transplant. The stuff is good. 

OC12RioGrandWildRiverPD

I only recognized a few streets. The names of the streets were very familiar, and I recognized them right away. But when it came to getting there and working my way around town, it just wasn’t working. That’s okay. But it is weird. It’s weird because this place occupied a mammoth chapter in my life. It was the stage of my formative years. I knew the streets, I had a girlfriend, friends, school, soccer, weekends, a personal schedule…I had a life, a rhythm. And then I left. 

And now when I look back, the time hits me. That was 20 years ago. 

As an adolescent growing up in New Mexico, I wasn’t too fond of the place. Perhaps like many teenagers, I wanted my name in lights. I wanted to exist somewhere famous, where there was stuff to do. No, no, not stuff like hiking or desert; that doesn’t count as stuff. I wanted to live in a town where there was a famous basketball team, like the Yankees, or the Dodgers (*yes – these are baseball teams. A friend pointed this out. Oops.), or something like that. I wanted to live in a place where famous people lived, where popular music was being written and played, where people went to race, or eat famous food. I wanted to live in a place that was…not where I was. Don’t get me wrong; this wasn’t some desire that consumed me. It was just me being a teenager, I suppose. I used to think it was weird that I wore the athletic hats of certain sports teams when I wasn’t from those places. How could I really call myself a Minnesota Twins fan when I was neither from Minnesota nor a twin?

I don’t know. That was what the 18-year old me thought, or at least the 16-year old me. 

But again, that was twenty years ago. It’s amazing the lessons life teaches you in that amount of time. It seems like a long time, doesn’t it, twenty years? But it’s not. That’s the smoke and mirrors Father Time plays on us. 

unnamed

Looking back, New Mexico was a beautiful place with its own spirit and color to it. Still is. It’s not the New Mexico I grew up with, but then again, why would it be? No one ever steps in the same river twice. 

Some of the same people are there – my family’s still there (most of them, at least), and just as in the first paragraph of every one of Jordan‘s Wheel of Time books, “The Wheel of Time turns…leaving memories that become legend.” Well, it’s not that dramatic. It’s Albuquerque, not Tar Valon. It’s still there, very alive, and very real. It’s still the heart of the Southwest, full of cowboy legends and Navajo whispers. It’s still where you go for terrific green chile, and the Rio Grande is still a rio, though sadly, it seems to have lost a bit too much of its ‘Grande.’ It’s all these things, It’s just not my Albuquerque anymore. 

unnamed (2)

Yet, it’s still a very warm place, and a place for which I am grateful. The energy of that town has shaped me, added, enhanced, and shaded my life, all in a beautiful mysterious way which, all the while I was there, was hidden from me. 

In so many words, I’ve appreciated my visit to the Southwest home of my younger self. I felt again its embrace of my return and its perennial contentment of my fondness for it. 

A Memory of Light – finally.


The link below is to the Sanderson blog, which has a nice lengthy entry on some of his thoughts.

Brandon Sanderson Blog: It’s finally out..

THE BREAK DOWN

For those of you who have seen lots of this picture (Memory of Light Coverright), and have no idea what the fuck it is, what the fuck it means, or why the fuck you’re reading this, allow me to provide a short run-down for you.

Oh good, you’re still here. Well then, <ahem>. For you WoT folks, you can skip this. For the rest of you, do read on.

Back in 1990, Robert Jordan (nom de plume of fantasy author and Vietnam War veteran James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) wrote a book called The Eye of the World, which in brief, was (in my humble opinion, of course) Titanium-shittingly amazing. It was the first in a series Jordan called The Wheel of Time, or (for the true geeks out there) WoT.

Over the next few (many) years, Jordan’s popularity boomed as he continued developing his fantasy world into something entrancing and continued putting out books which expanded his fantastical and conflict-ridden universe. You can find those books here.

However, although he was gaining a kingdom of popularity and an empire of a following, Jordan, like many famous writers, was becoming ill, and wasn’t sure if his Wheel of Time series (as I understand it, it was originally projected to be 12 books) was going to be finished. Still, he was hopeful. Sadly, however, after completing book 11, Jordan passed away. The fans mourned both a fantastic writer and were stunned that there would be no conclusion to his brilliant tale.

Yet, his wife, Harriet McDougal (once Jordan’s editor), after reading the Mistborn Trilogy and a heartfelt eulogy to Jordan by the young and talented Brandon Sanderson, decided the saga needed to be wrapped up. Sanderson was chosen to patch together Jordan’s notes and complete the series.

Sanderson finished the final three books of the series, including (the image you’ve been seeing all across fantasy corners of the Internet) the final book, A Memory of Light (AMoL). It was just released on January 8th, 2013, and already tearing off shelves across the nation and worldwide. This final book is the close of a circle that almost died along with Jordan. This seals the last of the nearly 12,000 page saga of the Wheel of Time.

With its release, we remember Jordan and send our thanks. To Sanderson our respect and gratitude for bringing Jordan’s dream to fruition. If you’d like to read more, please find the current entry from Sanderson’s blog as well as this one from when he just finished the book.

What an accomplishment.

The Final Period in the Wheel of Time.


The Final Period in the Wheel of Time.

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson pays homage to legend, Robert Jordan, and sends his thanks to the WOT fandom. He adds closing remarks here in a bittersweet sigh of relief. If you haven’t read these books, and you love fantasy, this series is one of the building blocks of the genre’s zenith.