November 19th, 2017

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Bowser

We'll See How Old a Man Can Get


I didn't get that much sleep last night, by which I mean I got as much as I often do on work nights, but not for a weekend. I can't get back to sleep, though, so I guess I might as well write about the past week. It doesn't help there's a leak in the ceiling. You may know that Beth and I have birthdays only three days apart (although we weren't born in the same year), the fifteenth and eighteenth of this month. On Beth's birthday, we ate at a barbecue place with Tavie, then went to see Kevin McDonald's podcast recording at Union Hall with her and Stephanie.

His guests were Todd Barry and Judah Friedlander, and they did a sketch about a guy who wanted to murder his wife and had heard about someone who'd done that through gradual poisoning, but since poison was too expensive he instead poked her with a pen a little every day.

The musical guest was Natalie Prass, whom I'd never heard of, and while she was all right, I can't say I remember her songs.


On Friday evening, we went out to Heartland Brewery, which was a weird experience. First of all, we learned after Beth had drunk her first glass of soda that they no longer offer free refills, which they always had when we went before. I've sometimes gone to places that had free refills and not gotten any, but I hate having to ration what I drink. Why did you get cheap on us, Heartland? The food was quite good, so we might well still go back at some point, but that's really irritating. When we asked for the check, it turned out the people at the next table over had paid for us, and it's not like we knew them or spoke to them at all. I guess it was some kind of pay-it-forward thing, which now means we have to do that for someone else, and I might be too nervous to offer. They were saying something about taking a cab from the Empire State Building to Grand Central Station, though, so maybe they just had money to burn. :P It also means I still owe Beth a birthday dinner. After that, we stopped by Nintendo World, which I think is actually called Nintendo NYC now, but I still use the old name.

I bought Beth a purse, and she bought me a stuffed Piranha Plant.

Yesterday, I turned forty, which seems like a bigger deal than it felt like. I kind of think I should have done something more significant to commemorate it, but it was a pretty good day. Beth and I went out to eat at Pizzeria Uno, then saw Robyn Hitchcock in concert at City Winery.

She didn't know his music, but she came along since it was my birthday and all. He did two sets, opening for himself as he called it. Most of it was just him on solo acoustic guitar, but he did play piano on three songs.

There were also guest appearances by Mike Mills on the same piano and Emma Swift on vocals.

They both wore polka dots, but hers were much smaller.
A lot of the setlist was by request, either stuff suggested on Twitter or on paper during the show. He opened with "My Wife and My Dead Wife," which I think is a good example of his style in general. I mean, he's quite eclectic, but that's a song that's totally absurd yet still kind of sad. After that, he did "Balloon Man," which is on an album I don't have, but I've seen mentions that he's kind of sick of it by now. But then, it does take place in New York City, and afterwards he joked that the Balloon Man became President. Robyn did play my Twitter request, "Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus," as the last number before the intermission. He changed the lyrics to the second verse somewhat to reference global warming. He dedicated "(A Man's Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs," one of the songs he did with Emma, to Scott McCaughey, who recently had a stroke. It's really through Scott that I became of Robyn, mostly due to his rambling, surreal narrative at the end of the Minus 5 song "Your Day Will Come." I hear Scott is expected to make a full recovery, and I certainly hope so! I don't remember everything in the set, but I know he did "Glass Hotel," "Adventure Rocket Ship," "N.Y. Doll," I Often Dream of Trains," "1974," the Beatles' "Dear Prudence," and "Ole! Tarantula" as an encore. He also included a comic song I hadn't heard before about trilobites, which he said was inspired by how humans name things from millions of years ago, but they obviously wouldn't have recognized those names. I understand it's on his 1996 album Mossy Liquor.

They did initially have some albums I didn't yet own for sale, but they had sold out of them by the time I got to the cashier, so I bought a T-shirt instead. Robyn signed it and took a picture with me, but he wasn't able to say what it sounded like he was going to about it being my fortieth birthday because he was being hurried along due to another show.

It was a burlesque show, and I kind of wish I'd gone to that one too, but I guess it wouldn't have been all that practical.

In addition to the Piranha Plant, presents I received included a Donald Duck comic collection and Shonen Knife's Ramones tribute album from my brother, and Songs the Bonzo Dog Band Taught Us from my uncle-in-law. I believe there's also something from my sister on the way. Now I'm hungry, but I'm not sure there's anything to eat because I keep putting off going to the grocery store. And I just found out my sister-in-law is in labor, so I guess that's another November something-teenth birthday in my family.