Monday, April 24, 2006

Mug shot on my blog...and a great train trip!

I noticed that other blogs had photos of the author and tried to capture this shot and make it my image. How hard could it be to add a picture? Chuck + photography = Chuckography. Hell, I've got a college education!

But it eluded me and I still have not figured out how to add a mug shot to my profile.

The photo itself was taken by a friendly waiter aboard AMTRAK as I hurtled down the West Coast last year on a 30-day North American Rail Pass. The $480 senior off-season pass allowed me complete access to our national rail system for a month but I actually traveled on board trains only about 12 days.

For about what it would have cost to fly to visit ONE of my children, I was able to see all three: my older daughter in San Francisco, a son in San Diego and another daughter in Denver. More about the trip in another post and details on the Canadian portion.

Probably still WITHOUT a mug shot.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Robert Randolph at The Plex

We got there at 7:30 and luckily were admitted early by the Managing Partner so Raj and I were all alone in the empty club, sipping cold beers and standing front row center as we waited for the Robert Randolph and the Family Band concert at N. Chuck's PLEX last night.

It was general admission with no assigned seating and we figured the few bar stools were too far away. But what the hell...we were in THE prime viewing spot. Even though we knew we would be standing for hours, we were comfortable leaning our elbows on the cushioned security rail, right in front of Robert's pedal steel guitar. We could see all the details and markings on the 12-stringed instrument and even the smudged hand-written play list sitting atop the eight numbered sound controls and connections the roadies had hooked up earlier. Cousin Danyel's bass was set up to our left, Marcus' drums were right behind Robert and the keyboard and other guitar player would be to our right.

The stage was low, so when the show started at 10:15 and the family trooped onstage, Robert sat down just above eye level, only about 6 feet from us. We wanted to make sure he saw that this almost 67-year old guy and his younger buddy were having a helluva good time. We were part of the young swaying throng crammed in close and we danced and clapped along and had a ball. He saw us and knew it! I wish I could have had at least ONE day at work having as much fun as they were having doing their "job."

Of course this extreme close proximity spoils future Randolph concerts for us.

We had seen him twice before in Charleston at The Music Farm, the first time with a sparse crowd and the next time, elbow-to-elbow with little room to move around. We had bounced,danced and splashed a few years ago in rain and mud when he performed under a huge white tent next to the mighty Mississippi during the 3-day Beale Street Blues Bash in Memphis.

We were soggy in yellow ponchos a few rows back in Atlanta last year at the Midtown Music Festival,looking up at a high stage and a huge TV screen behind him and The Family playing in the rain. Another time, we were inside and dry at The Tabernacle in Atlanta near the Olympic Park and CNN headquarters downtown.

So now we've attended 6 concerts and he has a new album coming out next month. I'm sure we'll buy it.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

David Sedaris reading

Wow. David Sedaris is a great writer and he reads real pretty too. I have enjoyed several of his humorous books - loaned to me by Raj - but last night at the Performing Arts Center, Raj and I sat in the second row and watched him closely as he read various short pieces for a little more than an hour and then sparkled for another 20 minutes of Q & A from the audience. The crowd looked to be nearly a sellout in the 2,400 seat facility.

Raj had wondered as we drove over if this were the right venue. It's big and it could look bad if only a few hundred showed. Not a problem.

When we were in a long line waiting to pay parking, I panicked and thought for a moment a hockey playoff game was also happening next door! Nope, just the power of Public Rodeo as David said he was once introduced during an interview. He is a frequent and funny contributor to NPR.

Speaking of hockey next door in the Coliseum, my last time there I had noticed a sign hanging above the top seats, far above the ice: "Ceiling Fans". Tonight I felt sorry for all the people sitting behind us further back and up in the nosebleed seats. They were missing the subtle grins, tics, smiles and eye-rolling David displayed as he read various pieces and excerpts from his diary. David would create a pregnant pause and then take a sip of water from a goblet, staring over the rim as he analyzed the crowd's reaction. He later admitted he enjoyed "testing" a piece, hearing it and editing in his mind. A large wooden podium was the single prop on the front edge of the huge bare stage with a curtain draped across the rear.

He finished and gave a little bow and as David left stage right to heavy applause, we got up and headed for the exit and my car parked right in front. Raj had to work tonight and we got back to my house a few minutes after 10. He had time for two cups of coffee and then changed into his scrubs and took off for the hospital. As usual, he was on time for his 11pm shift.

Sitting down front for a one-man show is the best way. The closer the better.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00am the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

This will never happen again.

A friend reminded me that of course it will happen 2106 and 2206 and 2306, etc. so I guess it would be more correct to say " not in our lifetime."