The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright...
April 2, 4:00 p.m. ET
- Welcome to the TLBR Final Four blog. I can guarantee it's going to be spotty at times - for reasons both controllable and not - but I'm going to take a stab at this. so enjoy the ride.
The crux of the next month of my life is going to involve blogging, whether for semi-work related events or not. And much of the traveling involved in the blog-rich situations will be brought to you by the good folks at Continental Airlines.
Since 1997, I've accumulated roughly a gabillion Conty miles, so this trip to San Antonio for the Final Four and the jaunt to Belize will be on one of their spacious planes. Today's delay for my flight out of Providence into Newark is not a good start. The 4:35 departure time, the nice woman at the gate tells me, will now be 5:55 p.m. Oh well, at least the Sox are playing.
There are some pissed off people trying to plead with the woman - like she really gives a cactus prick you're going to miss your connection to Kalamazoo - but I'm slated to have a 2 hr. layover at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR for you airport code buffs), so all this delay does is cut into my time over a steaming hot plate boneless buffalo tenders at Chili's Too. (btw, if I ever go to the chair, my last meal will be boneless buffalo tenders from Chili's.)
So with the delay, I headed toward one of the nameless, faceless, soulless airport bars at T.F. Green. Alas and alack, no seats. So I headed toward flight delay refuge #2: Dunkin Donuts. Ordered a Great One. 24 ounces of Colombian blended bliss. Skim milk. Just one sugar (uno sucre, por favor...need to practice that for the trips to North Mexico and Belize...)
Joining me at the Temple of Dunks was the country's top returning three-point shooter - if you don't know who I'm talking about, then I guess I'm just not doing my job. But you will know about him (always working, Seth Davis of SI and CBS got the first pitch of the 2008-09 season in the EWR airport. Very receptive, I'd surmise).
All of a sudden, coffee talk with Paul Baldwin was broken up by an announcement that "all ticketed and confirmed passengers on Continental flight blah-blah-blah, please report to gate blah IMMEDIATELY."
Grabbed my bag, downed the Dunks, fist-bumped with "America's Top Returning Three-Point Shooter," and made an OJ Simpson-Hertz commercial dash to my gate.
In my olden days, my blazing speed and shifty moves would have been vintage OJ (without the homicide and stuff), Now, it's a little bit more like OJ Mayo. Or just too much mayo. Princeton offense. I'm winded. Call a :30.
There are a few other local coaches and colleagues in the biz - I texted them to let them know it was time to down the frosty delights and head to the gate. That's my first assist of the weekend. TLBR is well-known for it's pass-first mentality.5:30 p.m. ET
- I just started Charlie Pierce's book about Tom Brady. Flew through the first 12 pages before the ADHD took over. So I put on the trusty iPod and opened the Continental magazine.
Lo and behold, it opens right to page 69 (tee-hee, tee-hee-hee, tee-hee) and you know it has to be an ad for a new luxury condo development on Ambergris Caye. And that's located in...tell em' Don Pardo...Belize! Waterfront starting at $350k. We all know about iPod karma, could it be the first signs of intelligent life in regard to Continental karma? (for the record, pg. 71 had an ad for prostate exams and p. 73 was about sleep apnea...oh well).7:55 p.m. ET
- The next leg is supposed to leave at 8 p.m. So far, with five minutes to go on the original schedule, we've had three (3) gate changes and three (3) subsequent delays. Further inventory also lists one (1) bargain meal at the food court. Just under 5 smackos for lo mein and white rice and a bottle of water. Meanwhile, the travel buddies have paid 9 and 13 dollars, respectively, for two slices of pizza and a medium and large bottle of water.
Also add one (1) snoring, semi-drunk woman at the gate and two (2) kids playing that game where you try to slap the other person's hands in a test of reaction time. Is that a game that a third-party can enter, uninvited, like an open spot at a high stakes blackjack game with five Chinese dudes playing $500 a hand? No? Can I just start slapping the kids? No? Rats.
I've also made the decision to reset my phone and count the number of text messages I send over the next five days. I've been known to text alot. In fact, I don't really talk to people anymore. I send them texts. So many, in fact, that I went over my limit last month. By 489. That's a lot. So I ponied up and went with unlimited texts. I don't know what the Vegas line is on how many I send - or how many go out after 12 a.m., or even how many go internationally - but it'll be a lot. If you'd like to venture a guess, send it along to email@example.com
. Person closest without going over will win a prize.8:30 p.m. ET
- We're finally on the plane and ready to embark on the 4-hour flight. That's not necessarily a "long" flight in TLBR terms - as we've gone on a 24.5 hour trip to Australia - but it's still a bit of a trip. And despite my triple platinum soul-double elite mocha java-super duper status in OnePass, I couldn't get an upgrade (Seth Davis did). But I did manage to get seat 14F, which on this Boeing 737-300, is the exit row seat with no seat in front of it. Kareem would have more than enough legroom in this seat. I rang the call button and requested a pipe and an ottoman, but it's against FAA regulations on both.8:50 p.m. ET
- Still waiting to pull out (that's what she said...) and got to pg. 25 of the Pierce book. "Brady's is a secular charisma derived from authenticity." Now THOSE are words, courtesy of a fine Jesuit education.9:00 p.m. ET
- In that talking with a four octaves deeper than conversational tone and too close to the microphone voice they teach you in pilot school, here's the latest: "Update from the flight deck folks, we're currently #24 in line for take off..." So my rough math... at a 90 second-2:15 gap between takeoffs with jumbojets, we're looking at 45 minutes on the tarmac. Smoke if you got 'em.9:35 p.m. ET
- Patience? Waning.10:15 p.m. ET
- In the air. 30,000 feet. Beverage cart by the seat. Beaucoup Continental bucks for free drinks. Two Miller Lites. One Fiorinal. Nighty-night. Will have more in the S.A. tomorrow.11:00 p.m. ET
- Things working out just A-O-freaking-K. Just got to thinking with a couple of the songs that just popped up on random play:
(Such Great Heights, Postal Service) - it'd be cool to have a brown marker that just drew shit, akin to the UPS commercials. Or a Mortimer J. Marker, like Picture Pages.
(One Shining Moment, David Sanborn/Teddy Pendergrass) - yeah, OSM just came on the shuffle play. En route to the Final Four. Karma. (btw, TLBR predicts the winner of the National title will be the winner of the UCLA/Memphis game. Roy Williams will not give a shit about North Carolina when Kansas beats his team and Bill Self gets ludicrous money to be the next head coach at Oklahoma State...speaking of Ludacris, I saw him last year at the Atlanta Final Four. Nothing like ice cold beer, rap, and head coaches at Centennial Olympic Park.) On another aside, I'm still waiting for my One Shining Moment.