Friday, March 28, 2008

King Pong

Once upon a time I was a pretty decent table tennis player. At one time or another I was my state's junior (under 18) and Over 40 state champion. Not simultaneously, of course.

I have not played in a number of years due to a knee that is roughly three times the age of any other part of me. I haven't even touched a paddle since, oh, 2004. I also used to be a pretty good coach - sanctioned by the US governing body for table tennis and everything. I still have the card to prove it: says "Certified Coach" right on the damn thing.

Why do I bring this up? A voice (or, more to the point, a keyboard) from the past contacted me the other day. We had corresponded back in the day. He wanted some ideas for promoting his club. (I still need to get back to him on that...)

In the course of the conversation he mentioned a specific style of play with which he had trouble. I asked a few questions and gave him some advice. He came back yesterday, ecstatic. He had beaten some players he had never beaten before, using my advice. So without ever seeing him or his opponents play, based on a couple of lines of chat, I was able to successfully coach him.

The kid's still got it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A hole in the bucket

I rarely remember my dreams, but I (sort of) remember my last dream last night. I composed two songs. One was a pop ballad, and the other was a peppy little dance number. They might even have been good. The problem is...I don't remember them!

For those of you who know about dreams, you know that if you don't record the details really quickly, they tend to fade. Fast.

So but for the aid of a recording device, I might be the next Gamble and/or Huff. Or Chapman and/or Chinn. Or Mann and/or Weil. Or Goffen and/or King. Or John and/or Taupin. Or Jagger and/or Richards. Or Boyce and/or Hart. Or Bacharach and/or David. Or Gibb and/or Gibb and/or Gibb (but not Gibb).*

*But never Lennon and/or McCartney, or Dylan. First of all, who could be? Second, those comparisons are the kiss of death. The only person to survive the curse of being called "The New Dylan" is Springsteen, and I think his latest album title explains how he did it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

...but can I handle it?

A friend has been having some "life issues" lately. He contacted me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go to a magic lecture on Saturday. I felt obliged to accept. We haven't seen each other for a bit and I'd like to see him, and I'd also like to provide some moral support if necessary.

It will, however, be the first time I have shown up in a gathering of magicians in a long time. The last couple of times I tried I left feeling vaguely...dirty, and, well, ashamed to be a magician. In fact, I gave up that moniker (if I had ever earned it) based on those meetings and feelings.

Wish me luck.