C. A. Casey

Another worthless writers blog

  • Greeting Cards

    A collection of greeting cards by yours truly--ecards and printed cards that can be order, personalized, and addressed to whoever you want to mail it to. Pretty neat.

    I now have some cards featuring Curling and Bells.

    Just go to here to check it out.

  • Sigmund Freud about the Irish

    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
  • Words of Wisedom

    "Think about everything you write." -- Miss Snark
    "Be the change you want to see in the world." -- Gandhi
  • What does she eat?

    dinner1-2 dinner3-5.jpg dinner4.jpg dinner5.jpg dinner6.jpg
  • Advertisements

Archive for September, 2007

Golfing and Beer

Posted by Casey on September 30, 2007

Last Saturday the Sacramento Eagles of the National Golf League hosted a golf tournament and a brewfest called “Suds on the Green.” It was a good idea–if Mother Nature had cooperated a little more.

It was raining pretty hard in the morning, which didn’t stop the golfers.


The Sacramento Sirens had a tent and many of them showed up after playing some flag football with the Sacramento’s Women’s Flag Football Association. The Sirens had on their jerseys and whooped it up every time the Sacramento Eagles played the ninth hole.


They even tried to win a $1000 with a 25-foot putt. No one made the putt and the $1000 went to The First Tee of Greater Sacramento.


Meanwhile, the rain put a damper on the brewfest . . .


At least for a while. The rain stopped and the sun even peeked out from behind the clouds every once in a while. More people showed up for the brewfest and they were invited to rather around the ninth hole, every time a pair of teams passed through.


Of course, they were well lubricated with alcohol and would have whooped and hollered for any thing remotely entertaining.

Meanwhile, the golfers were actually trying to golf . . .


It actually turned out to be a fun day. They were expecting thousands rather than hundreds of people to attend the brewfest . But the people who showed up as the weather cleared seemed to enjoy the novel approach to golf.

The East Bay Power won and the Sacramento Eagles took second place.



Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

Update in Soccer

Posted by Casey on September 29, 2007

Hope Solo will not be playing in the bronze medal match against Norway on Sunday. In fact, she will not be allowed to attend the game. Coach Ryan met with the team leaders and they decided that Solo would be a distraction at the match.


Wambach summed it up best: “It just goes to show you have to be professional all the time and you have to watch what you say.”

A lesson Diana Taurasi learned this summer after getting suspended for two games after not watching what she said.

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

Catching Up With Sports

Posted by Casey on September 28, 2007

It’s that deja vu feeling for the US Women’s Soccer Team. For the second Women’s World Cup in a row, they lost in the semi-finals. Brazil blew the US out 4-0.


The debate will rage on for years about the US coach’s decision to take goalkeeper Hope Solo out and put in veteran Briana Scurry, because Scurry has never given up a goal to Brazil. But Scurry hasn’t played much international soccer in the last couple of years and that may or may not have been a factor for the loss.

Hope Solo’s comments after the match may have put her future with the US team in jeopardy.

In 2003 the US lost to Germany in the semi-finals and Germany went on to win the whole thing. Germany will be playing Brazil in the finals on Sunday. US will play Norway for bronze.

The US Senior Women’s National Basketball Team is in the unusual position of having to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. The last time they had to qualify was 1980. Eight (including alternate, Candice Wiggins) of the players were born after 1980 and Sue Bird was born in October of that year. Yes, they won gold in 2004, but Russia beat them in the semi-finals at the Worlds last year and the US team settled for bronze. Lauren Jackson got her first international gold medal and Australia will be the team to beat in the Olympics, as they were in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

The US Team is down in Chile right now participating in an Olympic qualifying event that they have to win. If they don’t win, they won’t be able to go to the 2008 Olympics. There’s another chance to qualify in June, but the WNBA season will be underway and there isn’t any way to pull out the National Team and participate in that tournament.


So far, they’ve beaten Cuba and crushed Jamaica. They play Canada (sans Tammy Sutton-Brown and Stacey Dales) today.

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

More Teaser

Posted by Casey on September 25, 2007

photo by BJ Coletta

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

US To Semi-finals

Posted by Casey on September 24, 2007

Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly all scored in a 3-0 shutout against England in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals. Go US. We need to get that gold medal back.

Next match is against Brazil on Thursday.

Posted in Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Hmmm, What’d I Do Today?

Posted by Casey on September 23, 2007

Or what happens when you put golfers, a brewfest, and members of a women’s professional football team together.

Details tomorrow . . .

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

Of Hail and Backgammon

Posted by Casey on September 21, 2007

It rained only once in the last four months. Then last night a storm blew in. First it was a hail storm that lasted longer than most hailstorms and then pouring rain that I guess is not at all common this time of year here.

hail1.jpg hail2.jpgrain1.jpg

We need all the rain we can get. The drought conditions here are critical and it doesn’t take anything to spark a fire in the dry dry fields.

So what does one do on a stormy night? The ancient game of backgammon. Remember my introduction to Scrabble? Well, it turns out I’m not very good at it. It clashes with my right-brained perception of words and letters and my lack of motivation to actually win.

So we tried backgammon. I used to play backgammon with someone who had an IQ of 144 back when I was in grad school at the University of Illinois. Accompaniments to these games was usually Pappa Del’s or Willie’s pizza and beer. Backgammon does not involve words, just visualization and conceptualizing. It does include counting and my right brain can be rather fluid about that, but all and all a better game for me. I’ve actually won a few games, sans pizza or the beer.


Posted in Stuff | 1 Comment »

Robert Jordan — Addendum

Posted by Casey on September 17, 2007

I just want to add that, in spite of or maybe because Jordan’s writing has as many critics as admirers, he was a genius. His influence on a generation of fantasy writers cannot be denied. This post by fantasy writer J.M. McDermott to Making Light’s entry for Jordan sums it up nicely.

I think it is a testament to his greatness as a story-teller that many young writers felt the urge to criticize his writing. Give us a couple months or a couple years after that criticism, and we all felt like boobs for it, because the man could actually write extremely well, and he did actually earn every single one of his millions of fans.


We, younglings, all had to deal with him, though. Part of how we created an identity as fantasy writers was choosing to accept or reject the Wheel of Time in our own visions. This urge, I think, led to more criticism than was actually deserved.


The greatest tribute to the man, I think, is how every person in the fantasy genre had to respond to his books, his stories, his world — more so than any other author since Tolkien. No one could have no opinion.

It’s a sad day in the world of speculative fiction. Jordan was only 58, leaving this world and the Wheel of Time world much too soon.

Posted in Literature | Leave a Comment »

Robert Jordan

Posted by Casey on September 17, 2007

James Oliver Rigney, Jr. aka Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series died over the weekend.


I’d probably have more to say about it if I hadn’t given up on the series eight or nine years ago.

Back then, I’d eagerly await the publication of each volume and devour it over a weekend. Then one day, I bought the next eagerly awaited volume, opened it up and didn’t recognize any of the people or the setting. It was at that point I realized Jordan had finally crossed the line that he had flirted with crossing in the previous volumes. He had gotten so deep into world-building and history-building he forgot the most important reason why we were obsessively following the series.

We wanted to read about the main characters–all three hundred of them–we didn’t want to open up a new volume and have to figure out when these minor characters appeared in the previous half-million pages and why he was writing about them at the particular time when we were anxious to read about Mat’s or Perrin’s or Egwene’s fate.

Having said that, there are moments of great brilliance in these books I still think about today. I love the warrior women of the Aiel and the Aes Sedai. The reader can’t help but get deeply immersed in the world and in the lives of the characters. But there are so many characters vying for attention and too many story threads and too much irrelevant detail that important things like direction of story tend to drag, stall, or completely disappear.

Maybe when the series is completed, I’ll revisit it. Despite its flaws, there is much to love about the characters and the world Jordan lovingly crafted. Many of the characters are like old friends. My memory of them has a curling up with a good book on a rainy day kind of comfort for me.

“When the series is completed?” you ask.

Jordan wrote the ending before he started the first book. He also spent the time after learning he had a rare blood disease to work on the final volume and to outline and make notes of what’s left to be done. His wife is an editor and a writer, so the work has been left in more than capable hands.

Here’s a link for the uninitiated into the Wheel of Time work . . .

The White Tower

Other Wheel of Time sites . . .

Encyclopedia WOT


Theoryland of the Wheel of Time

Here’s a link to the official Robert Jordan site, but it crashed shortly after the reports of his death. Hopefully, it’ll be back up soon.



Posted in Literature | 1 Comment »


Posted by Casey on September 16, 2007



I’m a happy soul this fine day. Phoenix never trailed in the decisive game against Detroit — in Detroit before 20,000 Detroit fans.

Phoenix won 108-92.

I wish I’d made a wager at the beginning of the season because I knew Phoenix was the best team to win this year if they could hold it together.

Now . . . Withdrawals. Thank goodness the Women’s World Cup is going on.

Posted in Stuff | 1 Comment »

Final Game

Posted by Casey on September 16, 2007

The final WNBA game of the 2007 season is tomorrow. Monarchs fans, take a moment to remember two years ago . . .


I was there. One of my life list things was to see a championship WNBA game in person. Only a relatively few people are lucky enough to be in the right arena, for the right game to witness one. I even put that wish, through the voice of my young protagonist, in Top of the Key — before I actually saw a championship game in person.

Last year, I got to cover the two games of the Finals series that were in Sacramento for SportsPageMagazine. That was another one of those lucky right place, right year kind of thing. The Monarchs didn’t win in the end but it was still a great ride while it lasted.

So this year I’m rooting for Phoenix. Let’s get the championship back to the West. Only twice has the trophy gone east, not including the first year when Houston was a part of the Eastern Conference. Detroit won it both times. So Dee, Cappie, Penny, the three Kellies, and Co. beat Detroit and bring the trophy back to the left side of the country where it belongs.

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

Odd Nostalgia

Posted by Casey on September 15, 2007

I ran into the Web site of my brother’s best buddy from junior high, high school, and college, Harold Koplowitz. His claim to fame is a book he wrote 30 years ago called Carbondale After Dark.


Well, as it says on his site: “He currently works full-time at the wire service and writes on the side, toiling in obscurity until he heard an urban legend that his nearly quarter-century-old book was selling for hundreds of dollars on the Internet. As a result, he decided to stop searching for an agent to market his writings and do it himself, starting with Carbondale After Dark.”

I own one of the original copies of the book. We all bought it when he first put it out. Among other things, he wrote about the student riots of May, 1970 in reaction to the Kent State shootings.

I was a freshman in high school when the riots happened. The freshman were in a separate new school building on the edge of town at the time and they needed a place to put the National Guard, who were in town to stop the college students from tearing up the downtown every night. They declared Martial Law. So they kicked us out of school and moved in.

We had to meet in churches for half-days to, at least, pretend to fulfill the state’s minimum requirement for school attendance. They closed the main high school, too, because it was next to the armory and all the military vehicles, including tanks, were parked in the football field. The older kids would arrive at the church bandaged up from getting clubbed because they spent the night downtown rioting. They had the first hand accounts we all wanted to hear. Those half-days turned into mini-seminars in political discourse.

There was a city-wide 7 o’clock curfew and we were trying to put on our annual high school musical. We’d get out of rehearsals at ten to seven and there would be National Guard with rifles lounging outside the doors.

Surreal doesn’t begin to describe it.

They finally closed the University to get the students out of town. They had to come back in the summer to finish their course work.

I’ve always said that the events of that spring had a profound impact on me and my belief systems.

Here’s a video trailer from the book. Click on the start arrow to stay on this page. If you click on the image, you’ll go to the YouTube page.

Posted in Stuff | 4 Comments »

In Other Sports News

Posted by Casey on September 14, 2007


In case everyone missed the memo, Abby Wambach rules. She got both goals in a 2-0 match against Sweden in the Women’s World Cup today.

USA striker Abby Wambach stole the show on Friday in Chengdu, slotting home a first-half penalty and hammering a stunning half-volley after the break to secure her side a 2-0 win over Group B rivals Sweden.


After expertly bringing down a lofted ball from Kristine Lilly in the 58th minute, Wambach, USA’s top scorer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup four years ago, unleashed a searing left-footed half-volley that was quite simply unstoppable.

Wambach has made 3 of the 4 USA goals so far in the World Cup. Go Abby and Go USA.


Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

Phoenix on to Game 5

Posted by Casey on September 14, 2007


Phoenix pulled off a victory 77-76. Everyone’s going back to Detroit for the 5th and decisive game on Sunday.

The league reviewed the film on the Pierson/Taylor incident and changed Pierson’s T to a flagrant foul. She also got a T in Game 4, along with Taurasi and Tweety Nolan. I think they’re breaking the records for number of T’s in the Finals–10 so far. Not a surprise to anyone.

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

More Fun from the WNBA

Posted by Casey on September 13, 2007

First off, the “Laimbeer’s House of Thug School” thread by the Board Junkies got media attention because Bill Laimbeer (SFO) posted to it. A lot of WNBA insiders read and post to the forum but Evil Bill’s the only one who has let his identity be known.


Laimbeer gets behind the laptop, interacts with hecklers as ‘SFO’

Scroll through the pages of Rebkell.com, a WNBA message board, and you will come across a thread titled: “Laimbeer’s House of Thug School.”


On the thread Wednesday, someone by the name of “bballfan” posted a mock pamphlet on what you can learn at the school, things such as how to act innocent, how to argue with refs, basic thuggery and opponent intimidation skills, taking a technical for the team and the Ancient Art of Flopping.


A few posts below, “SFO” replied: “And it only costs $10k to attend with a $100 discount for a second attendee.”


SFO is an acronym for Shock Front Office. And the man behind the screen name is none other than Shock coach/Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer himself.


“That was pretty good,” he said of the thread during Shock practice. “I liked that one.”


Laimbeer visits the site nearly every day and is an occasional poster (he had 215 posts as of Wednesday.

Mechele Voepel has put the Pierson/Taylor incident into perspective.

Time for Mercury, Shock to move on from incident

In case you’re wondering, Diana Taurasi is still ticked off. No, not furious like she was Tuesday night after Phoenix lost 88-83 to Detroit in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.


Then, her anger was fueled mostly by the incident near the end of the game, where Detroit’s Plenette Pierson …


A. Took a swing at Phoenix’s Penny Taylor.
B. Got “tangled up” with Taylor.
C. Perhaps was a bit overzealous in her dealings with Taylor.
D. Did absolutely nothing. (Only official members of the “Plenette Pierson Rules!” fan club are allowed to pick D.)


Of course, Taurasi’s take was A. Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer’s was B. Fans will be spread out in picking A, B or C. The WNBA reviewed the incident and talked to the parties involved. But everyone said Wednesday it would not be a distraction going into Game 4 on Thursday night.

Voepel is one of my favorite writers. I want to be like her when I grow up.

I actually met her briefly last year while covering the WNBA Finals when the Monarchs were trying to get their second championship. I saw her name on the media list and made a note of where her seat was. Let’s just say, she had a better seat than I did. She was at the scorers table, I was behind the visitors bench. During halftime, I chased after her all the way into the tunnel and we were almost to the press area before I caught up with her.

I’m shy by nature and can get tongue-tied at the worse moments, especially around people I admire and feel unworthy of breathing the same air–or pretending to write in the same world as them. I also had a minor cold and my voice was croaky and uncomfortable. I introduced myself and told her I thought she was a great writer and gave her a copy of Top of the Key. She said she now had something to read on the plane. She was exactly how she looks and writes, low-keyed, unassuming, very mid-western (something I can relate to). She probably thought I was some crazy person. I don’t know if she ever read Top of the Key, but I like to believe she did.

Posted in Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Harry Potter and the Vague, Unexciting Book

Posted by Casey on September 12, 2007

I just finished the second Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


I think the subject line of this post sums up my thoughts on it.

I’m still baffled about how a middle-of-the-road fantasy work became such a great phenomenon. This book plods along. Plot development seems to be an afterthought, bogged down in pages of pedantic, aimless prose. The fantasy elements are mundane, with the exception of the phoenix and the Mandrakes. The Mandrakes are a great bit of fantasy creation. If only all the fantasy elements were up to that level.

As I was reading the book, I kept reminding myself that I should know how it ends because I saw the movie. But only a few elements rang a bell and I remembered nothing of the plot. I couldn’t remember the ending of the movie even after I read the end of the book. All I remember was the phoenix had been somehow involved.

In the first two books, Rowling seems to have a problem building the stories to a satisfying conclusion. The endings are weak and feel contrived. In stronger hands, the elements of Harry’s latest confrontation with Voldemort could sing with suspense and terror, but Rowling’s writing style is just too weak and it reads more like a slightly adventurous walk in the park.

What would have been kind of cool would be the idea that the feathers in Voldemort and Potter’s wands came from this particular phoenix, making a more believable and imaginative reason why the phoenix came to Potter’s rescue. Potter standing up for Dumbledore just seems too easy a solution to the problem of getting the phoenix to show up and save the day. Rowling could have taken the opportunity to use something like the phoenix feathers to create another layer of wonder and intrigue to the final confrontation. Maybe it would have been more memorable because there would have been something interesting, something magical, something beyond everyday motivations.

So why did Harry Potter become a phenomenon when some really great fantasy for kids are lumped together as “other fantasy books for fans of Harry Potter”? That’s an easy one. The Harry Potter books are easier to read and understand than most fantasy books. They’re watered down fantasy. At least so far in the first two books.

On to Book 3 . . . may it be better than the first two.


Posted in Literature | 2 Comments »

For Those Following the WNBA Finals Series

Posted by Casey on September 12, 2007

From bballfan at Rebkell’s Board Junkies


For the record many people, including Ted at the Womens Hoops Blog, think Detroit’s Plenette Pierson should get suspended for Game 4 for slapping Penny Taylor in the head when they got tangled up as they ran down the court. They got a double T, only because the refs didn’t see the whole “interaction.”

Taurasi’s a little steamed about it . . .

“She threw a punch, easy as that,” said Taurasi, who scored 15 of her 22 points in a hard-fought second half. “We just saw the film. If you get hit in the face, and it’s not a punch, I don’t know what else it is.”


Taurasi’s anger first flared when she walked to the interview room after the Mercury loss. Near the door, she confronted WNBA Chief of Operations Renee Brown. Taurasi was suspended for two games at midseason for using profanity toward officials late in a regular-season loss to – of all teams – Detroit.


When asked if the WNBA should look at the film and consider a similar disciplinary measure against Pierson, Taurasi said:


“I think the league should look at it. If you get suspended for cursing, I think you should be suspended for slapping someone.”


Pierson, who was voted the WNBA’s best reserve, said the incident was just part of the game.


She intends to be on the floor for Game 4.


“A little altercation,” said Pierson, who had 12 points and three rebounds. “It’s done. It’s over with. I’m going into Game 4 like nothing happened at all.”

A Detroit player, Kara Braxton, came off the bench during Pierson and Taylor’s confrontation. In game two, Cheryl Ford came off the bench when Cappie Pondexter and Tweety Nolan had an altercation–also ending with a double T. In the NBA, players get suspended coming off the bench during a fight. I think they ought to consider that rule for the WNBA.

As far as Pierson is concerned, suspensions have been handed out after the fact before. The most famous example happened a couple of years ago when Detroit player Elaine Powell–aka Pow-Powell because she had punched a player in Poland until her face was a bloody mess–sucker-punched Coco Miller.

The problem was, no one saw the punch except those watching on tv and the Webcast. Well, a bunch of fans emailed Donna Orender–WNBA President–about it. She reviewed the tape and gave Powell a four game suspension.

So Donna, take a look at the tape.

Posted in Stuff | 2 Comments »

The Phoenix Mercury

Posted by Casey on September 11, 2007

The Phoenix Mercury and the Detroit Shock are 1-1 in the best of five Finals series. At the beginning of the season everyone was certain that this would be the Indiana Fever’s year to win it all. And it was . . . until Tamika Catchings tore her plantar fasciitis and then came back for the playoffs only to sever her Achilles’ tendon in the decisive Eastern Conference game against Detroit.

I said at the beginning of the season that Phoenix should win it all. Everyone laughed. Well, they’ve got three more games to prove me right or wrong.

In the meantime, I finished my little video opus of photos taken with the infamous CatCam at the last Monarchs home game against, uh, Phoenix.

The original 72 MB video is high quality and clear — or as clear as a bunch of out of focus, blurry photos can be. The reduced 6.4 MB video is smaller and not quite as clear, but it only adds to the surreal quality of the video.

The surreality reflects my view of games at the scorers table.

Inside jokes. Watch for the big smiley face in the stands. The attention getting handiwork of friends, who also are briefly seen in the video.


Monarchs Game Video

Posted in Stuff | 3 Comments »

Pelicans in the Morning

Posted by Casey on September 10, 2007

I live next to a wooded stream bed (sometimes it even has water in it). It attracts all the usual wildlife from the fields on the other side of it, which is basically the beginning of the country. It’s not unusual for raccoons, foxes, wild turkeys (they are a million of them around here for some reason), peacocks (they’re all over the place — I’d loved to know the story of how peacocks originally came to Solano county) to wander around.

Sometimes the vultures circle. Saturday morning about a twenty of them were circling over the creek, joined by some smaller birds and a hawk. The vultures went to a higher level on the thermals and suddenly a small flock of birds flew in from the north and took over the lower thermal level. I rushed inside to get my glasses and my binoculars.

They were pelicans circling and climbing the thermals until they intermingled with the vultures and the other birds.

I didn’t have the right lens on my camera so I borrowed this photo from Wasatch Audubon Society, I hope they don’t mind.



Posted in Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Tennis, Basketball, and Curling, Oh My

Posted by Casey on September 6, 2007

First, here’s lunch, which I’m munching as I type, so excuse the mustard. Yes, I made the flat bread myself. The gorgeous peppers and squashes are from the fruit and vegetable stand up at the corner. I walk up there two or three times a week to get my green organics until they close for the season.


On to sports. US Open — Serena’s out, Nadal’s out, Venus is in, Roger’s in. WNBA Finals — First game: Phoenix at Detroit. Phoenix imploded–Detroit won 108-100. Next game is on Saturday. Go Phoenix!! LJ got her MVP award tonight in Motown. Yeah, LJ. And then they showed LJ and fellow Aussie Tully Bevilaqua miming to YMCA during a timeout. Those Aussies know how to have fun.



But all this is just minor to the big sports event of the past weekend . . .

Curling, California Style

Photo Gallery for Curling, California Style


Posted in Stuff | 3 Comments »

Paradise Comes to Vacaville

Posted by Casey on September 2, 2007

My life is now complete. I’ve witnessed the great sport of curling in person.


Vacaville, California’s curling club–yes, you read that right–the Wine Country Curling Club is hosting a Bonspiel. That’s a German-looking Scottish word meaning curling tournament.

I spent most of today out of the 100 degree weather covering the tournament. Last weekend was the first time I’d ever stepped onto a golf course, today was the first time I’d ever stepped foot on indoor ice. Ice rinks are, like, cold. Go figure.


Teams from all over the US and Canada, including the Men’s US National team, are here.


The finals are tomorrow morning. Bagpipes, ceremony, the whole enchilada. Too cool . . . really no pun intended.


Posted in Stuff | 3 Comments »


Posted by Casey on September 1, 2007

When we were kids, my brother and I used to call golfing, floging, which, of course, is golfing backwards. I confess that Saturday was the first time I ever stepped foot on a golf course.

I couldn’t see the ball after it was hit further than a few feet. Actually, I saw it once because I was squinting in the right direction and the ball bounced high a few times. I was so excited and I was sure I had figured out the trick, but I never saw it again.

Teeing off is such an aural experience. The pop when the club whacks the ball and the multi-tonal hiss as it soars through the air is really cool.

So, anyway, here are the article and the photo gallery for the event.

Rockin’ the Links With the NGL

NGL Photo Gallery


Posted in Stuff | 1 Comment »