There was a time, not that long ago, when NHL free agency day was in the top ten days on my yearly calendar. I remember 2001, when I went to bed wondering if Sakic, Forsberg, and Blake would be elsewhere in the morning -- I woke up to find them all re-signed, and figured the Colorado Avalanche had locked up the next four Stanley Cups. Har de har. Even in recent years, I've been rapt. There was 2007, when Smyth and Hannan meant happy times ahead -- again, didn't quite work out as I planned. 2008, the wheels started to come off with the Tucker/Raycroft haul, two players I didn't want to see in a Colorado uniform.
After last year's hockey disaster, I didn't pay too much attention today. I've got a job, y'know. But at least so far, I'm pretty happy -- Craig Anderson is a safe, decent pick that at least won't screw them long-term, and David Koci may be an enforcer, but he's a Czech enforcer so that's plus-one in Gregland. Add in the Thrashers getting Kubina (plus two) and I'm ok with this. Neither team's set to really rock the world next year but at least they aren't making dumb moves.
No word yet on any deal for Tomáš Klouček.
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Head back to Colorado at the end of the week, and thank goodness. It's been six or seven months since I've been, first time off work since returning from surgery, and since it's pretty consistently flirting with 100 degrees here, any chance to get out of Georgia should be seized upon.
#44 -- "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson
#45 -- "Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue" by Paul Bowles
Noah lent me a copy of Johnson's "Angels" 15 or so years ago, and I don't remember much about it other than an overwhelming spareness and feeling of desperation and sadness. This is certainly desperate and sad, but very full and rich as well -- "The Quiet American" stretched over the whole of the Vietnam War. A big cast of characters, each one coming to life, and I was engrossed. It rockets up to one of the best reads so far this year.
The Bowles book is a collection of essays about the "non-Christian world" (from the subtitle), primarily North Africa. A bit more light-hearted than "The Sheltering Sky" and there's some very good pieces here, and it made me nostalgic for a world that is largely changed or gone since Bowles traveled it decades back.