Wow. I feel like I'm a damned rock star. I've been all over the damn place. Okay.... Not so much a "rock" "star", as say, the frontman of a marginally successful regional rock band.
I just mean that over the past six nights, I've been hopping from city to city. Charlotte, Durham, DC, Durham again and now home.
I sort of started the whirlwind tour by going to Winston-Salem last Tuesday to play Scrabble. It had been over a year since I actually went to a club meeting, and not a lot has changed in the interim. Same folks, same kind of turnout. It was nice to be back, and nice to be playing games over an actual table. Playing on ISC is good and well, but playing over a table is much much nicer. I only had time for three games, and I played well enough to win two of them, but I wasn't playing very well.
On Wednesday, I went down to Charlotte for a couple of days to stay with my parents. It was pretty nice. They didn't lecture me too much about getting on the ball and finding a job. Actually, they were really helpful. While I was there, I wrote up a resumé, with their help. I haven't really had one in the past. I've been doing the same thing since I got out of college, and this is the first time I've been in a situation to want or need one. They also provided me with a little bit of advice, guidance, whatever you want to call it about what my next steps should be.
Another thing I did while I was down there was to pay a visit to the Charlotte Scrabble Club. Their turnout was about that of the Winston-Salem club -- 8 to 10 folks. I had time for four games, and I played really well in all of them, winning three of the four. I felt really good because three of those games were against players who I know for a fact are more skilled than I am. Although I was having some good luck, I was really excited about some of the finds I made. "iNACTION" was one of my favorites. In one of my games, I wasn't able to remember that the only valid "ARISEN + O" is "ERASION". Instead, I played ARONIES, which didn't draw a challenge. In another game, I was also unable to remember that the only "EASTER + A" is "AERATES", but correctly recalled "AERIEST" as one of two acceptable "SATIRE + E" (and the only playable one) two plays later.
I spent another night (Friday)in Durham, then on to DC. Karen almost never has Friday nights off, and who knows when we'll both be free on the same Friday, so we took the opportunity to hang out together, laying low. We rented Finding Neverland, which I liked, but we agreed that the dialog was way too quiet. It seems to be that way with a lot of movies these days, and if there's English accents, it makes it a little more difficult. This is a point I could go on about, but I haven't the time or energy right now. I'll just say that although I like the movie, Gosford Park is damn near unwatchable for this very reason. Volume up to 11 is no use. I still have to use the subtitles despite the fact that they're speaking English, a language in which I am generally fluent.
I feel like I should write a separate post just for the DC leg of the trip, so I'll just skip that bit, and fast-forward to Durham again.
I got back to Durham on Monday afternoon. Karen had been busy all day planting a ton of flowers in the yard, and I got back just in time to watch her finish up. We laid around a little bit, then went out for dinner at Pepper's Pizza. "Party of two? Let's rock and roll!". Then to the Cradle to see The Mountain Goats. To be honest, I went into the show with very little familiarity with him, but what I had heard, I liked. Especially the new one. Karen also let me borrow one of the older ones for the drive, and I liked it. Anyway, I liked his show. There was some opening band that I didn't really care for that much. They had a lot of potential: a violin, an upright bass, a banjo, and drums. More than half of their set was terrible (to me) and, the rest of it was actually pretty decent, but I wouldn't pay to see them. To me, they sounded like what Dirty Three would sound like if Dirty Three sucked. Mountain Goats, however, was good. I was really happy with it. The only thing was that John "Mountain Goat" Darnielle is now living in Durham, and he was really playing that card a little aggressively. At first, it seemed like the earnest "boy, I'm glad to be home" kind of thing, but it really got to be more of the "hey, did I mention that I moved to Durham about a year ago, and I live there, and my house is there, and I live right down the street, and I'm local now", and we get the freakin' point. The highlight of the show had to be the song No Children, which I actually was familiar with. The crowd was really into it, and he was really into it. Also, there were several songs that he played with a full band, which was kind of neat. For my first "real" exposure to Mountain Goats, it was great. Despite the fact that I was totally worn out, I really enjoyed it.
Dirty Three Whatever You Love, You Are