Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

33 and still kickin'

This is the time of year when I look back and try to figure out if I’ve learned anything after another year on the planet. The answer is usually no. Note: this post is all rambling and navel-gazing. There will be poker content tomorrow. Probably. I think it will actually be a strategy post, so if you’re into that, come back later.

Yesterday was my birthday. I was brought into this world kicking and screaming on August 14, 1973, so this marks the 33rd anniversary of that particular debacle. In celebration of said event, I didn’t do fuck-all that I didn’t feel like doing from Friday night until this morning, with the notable exception of one business meeting yesterday at 1, which did violate my cardinal rule of not working on my birthday, but also closed a deal worth almost $200K to my company, which is a sizable project in our business.

Friday night we played cards, a $20 rebuy with $5 bounties on the heads of each player. I was the Danny N. of the night, leading with a mere two rebuys, but I finished third with a couple of people’s bounties to make a $4 profit on the tourney. I cleaned up on the cash game afterwards, raking about a $100 profit, which got me back to even for the month after a couple of redonkulous sessions of $3/6 Limit. It was cool to be surrounded by friends and my wife, and everybody had a pretty good time. Our home game is getting a little large for my den, so I’ve started thinking about either doing two tables, which is a little cramped, or just capping attendance at ten. We’ll see.

Saturday was badass. My buddy Chris got me three comps to see Doc Watson at Winthrop, where he works, so me, Suzy and my sister Bonnie met up for dinner in Rock Hill and then cruised to sit in the third row and see Doc Watson. As many times as Bonnie and I have been to Merlefest, neither of us have ever seen a full set by Doc. I designed a show of his about three years ago, but when I’m running lights for live music I don’t really get to concentrate on enjoying the show, it’s more about making the lights support the music and enhance everyone else’s experience. So this was gonna be cool.

And it was. From the moment he walked out, looking frail and every bit of his 83 years, holding onto grandson Richard’s elbow to lead him to his chair, I wondered if he still had it. I shouldn’t have doubted. His voice is still strong and clear, and if he’s starting to look his age, he certainly doesn’t perform his age. He picks more cleanly and quickly than performers fifty years his junior. He told old stories, jokes, and drew songs from an encyclopedic trove of American traditional music like old Jimmie Rodgers, old spirituals, Flatt & Scruggs, Arthur Godfrey and so many other artists, as well as his own tunes. Jack Lawrence came out to play half of each set with Doc, and that’s when business really picked up. Jack’s one of the best guitarists nobody knows, and when he amped up the tunes, Doc was right there with him blazing along. It was a fantastic show, just a couple guys sitting in chairs picking along.

Sunday not much going on, but Suzy went with me in the evening to a programming gig. A restaurant had bought a used moving light, and the controller had lost its memory, so I dragged out a light board and programmed everything for them to have some flash and trash. A couple hours, a couple hundred bucks, and we’re all good. Sometimes it comes in very handy to have a few skills that not many people in a given city have, and thus you can charge a premium for using them.

Yesterday we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with a couple or friends, and that was pretty cool. I’d never been there before and was suitable impressed with the selection. My mahi mahi was a little dry, but Suzy’s meal was nice, it was nice to hang out with friends and not worry about anything else.

We did go see our friend Stan’s play Sunday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. My buddy Warbucks was in it, and did a fine job. It’s an original production, and I always like watching Stan’s stuff. It’s a good show, has a little tweaking to do if he wants it to have legs, and the set needed a little more time and money thrown at it, but that’s pretty much my assessment of every set in Charlotte. It’s the story of Milton Humason, a self-taught astronomer who does a lot of the work at the Hale observatory that Edwin Hubble got the credit for. It also talks about his relationship to his wife and the balancing act that it takes to juggle a career that can be consuming and a life with a family.

It was a very good show, and excellent workshop production, and with some fine-tuning can have plenty of future productions, so I hope that Stan keeps tweaking it.

Wow, that was devoid of content almost altogether. I guess I’ll save any reflection and navel-gazing for later. Maybe after beers.


Daddy said...

Wishing you the best.

Fuck, a birthday with Doc?
Doesn't get much better.

Joe Speaker said...

Happy Birthday, dude.

Drizztdj said...

Happy, happy, happy birthday to you!

AlCantHang said...

Happy Birthday sir. I owe you a birthday shot in a month.