Sunday, October 17, 2004

Night of the Living Stan!

So the good news last night (after an iffy play) was the 40th birthday of fellow Alliterate Stan!. Yes, he comes with his own exclamation point, and with good reason. I've known Stan! for more than a few years, and he has been a friend, a co-worker, and a boss. He is also one of those cosmic centers of the universe, that influence all the people that pass within his gravity field. And he changes the world around him. Here's an example: A local restaurant created a "Stan!-burger" of nothing but meat because of Stan! (This was before the Atkins craze caught up the rest of world). And I have had more than a few conversations with people where we both realize (in a single clear moment) that we know Stan! Stan! is the glue holding together multiple wings of polite society (thought he'd blush if he read this - he's modest that way).

Anyway, Stan! held his 40th at the Cedar River Smokehouse in downtown Renton. Now the Cedar River is a small operation that does excxllent ribs, beef, chicken and sides and doesn't usually close the place on a Saturday night for a private party. But they did for Stan!, who invited a host of friends, the bulk of which showed up (a few notable no-shows were in other parts of the country promoting the 30th Anniversary of D&D, and even one of them made it back from Atlanta for the tail end of the party).

The food was great, the company was wonderful (sort of the All-Star-Squadron of geekdom). The BBQ sauce was hot, the cake tremendous. Karoke occured, though plagued by technical difficulties. But the most important thing was that Stan! told some of his stories. And held the crowd with tales, some of had head those tales numerous times. Because watching Stan! telling a story is watching a master at work.

Storytelling is an amazing talent, and Stan! is an amazing storyteller. Combine the genetic codes and timing of BIll Cosby, Garrison Kiellor and George Carlin in a blender and his "meld" and you have Stan!'s storytelling ability. He writes well, but watching him tell a story is like watching a comic who is killing, a baseball player with a hot streak. He told a tale of college and a couple of his Japanese tales, and kept the room enthralled. This is a guy who could take the stage anywhere and hold his own.

And I hope he does. In the meantime, happy 40th, Stan!