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[Argh. I'm falling behind on entries and comments, cannot keep to a sentence limit, and am increasingly unsure why anyone would actually want to read what is basically "what I did today" reportage. Is this whole experiment worth it? I am dubious!]

Thursday: I've become more and more of a This American Life groupie since I've started walking to work and back in the company of podcasts, so I was very excited when they announced a live launch of the second season of the TV show, and crushed when the tickets sold out instantaneously and they started going for astronomical rates on Craigslist. Consequently, I am absurdly grateful to the nice guy who posted on Thursday morning offering up four tickets at face value (he later asked if he could take one back, and Irene and Greg took the other two). The event was amazing—funnily awkward live transitions, compelling previews from upcoming episodes of the TV show, hysterical outtakes from previous ones, and all— and suffused me with adoration from the second it started through to the very end. Why, yes, I am swoony for Ira Glass.

The event was in the Skirball Center, throwing distance from the Dessert Truck, which has fiendishly keyed into the obsessive unique-experience-collector side of my being with its get-it-while-it's-here weekly special. But they were out of the special by the time the show let out (fie!), so I fought with myself, then caved and tried the chocolate peanut butter thing instead. Alas, the milk chocolate mousse was sort of wishy-washy, the only menu item I’ve tried so far that's been a misfire. Perhaps it’s only disappointing in light of the absurdly high standards set by the rest of their options, but it still seems like some kind of a lesson in delayed gratification.

Friday: I'd planned to make it a relatively short night with an early show, the Dufus CD release at Cake Shop. But then there was a run of really weird offerings on my theatre comp service (Manicurist to Millionaires? Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z?), capped off by the chance to see Al Gore at Radio City Music Hall. I debated for about three seconds before deciding to both. That course of action seems to have been given the universe's tacit approval by the fact that Toby Goodshank—solo musician, Moldy Peach, half of Double Deuce, scheduled to play at the Dufus show that very night—apparently works for my theatre comp service, and was there when I went to pick up. Okay, I get it already: New York is tiny. Anyway, the show was on Cake Shop's new upstairs mini-stage, which I approve of, because what’s better than sitting on the floor of a bar with a PB&J bagel and coffee and getting pretty songs sung to you? And, yes, America's sweetheart was there, too.

I had to leave partway through Seth's set, but can't regret it too much: the Al Gore talk was even better than I expected (and I have no idea what I was expecting), funny, charming (really!), and humble to start, then alternately depressing and terrifying for the next hour or so. At the end, there was a note of optimism about the resourcefulness of the American people that didn't quite ring true to me—I'm not ready to give up yet, but most of the hope I manage to retain is couched in cynicism (see also: Part V of this Thomas Friedman article, or the first section of the Slate Cultural Gabfest on personal virtue)—but I don’t think you can blame him for offering some consoling measure. The moderated discussion after his talk was also great, bringing up a lot of the questions on everyone's mind but letting Gore duck them in amusing ways. I’m still working out what lessons I’ve formed from the experience, but I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to see the catalyst.

And now I really should start my journey to the CUSFS banquet.

08-05-04 @ 02:44: Edited for suckage.


May. 3rd, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
Aw, I wish I could've gone to see Al Gore with you! Glad you had a great time.
May. 11th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
I did get your message, by the way, and will keep you posted if anything similar shows up again and I can go.
(Deleted comment)
May. 4th, 2008 05:42 am (UTC)
Dessert truck is awesome!

The chocolate bread pudding is aces. If you are adventurous try the bacon ice cream on it...
May. 11th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
apintrix has filled in for me where I am slow, but the bread pudding is my favorite, too. Though the cheesecake with rosemary caramel that I mentioned last time has joined the regular menu and is a very close second.
May. 4th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Keep it up! I like it.
May. 4th, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
oh that ole American ingenuity.

I don't think we're much for American ingenuity these days in any areas but a) computer science, and b) movie special effects (see: a).

But really. I kind of feel like the old saw about American resourcefulness and ingenuity is sort of resting on the laurels of another time-- if it was anything but a myth to start with. Kids don't play with chemistry sets and build rockets, not really. No Doc Brown for every town. Was it always just the movies? Was that really U.S.?
May. 11th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Sorry for ignoring this comment for awhile! I liked it a whole lot, but then I got distracted.

I dunno: we seem to have some kind of an edge on novelty candy and conspicuous consumption, too, but I'm not sure how those are going to propel us into the future.

Gore did offer some supporting arguments for his faith in perseverance, about how the more equal apportionment of work during World War II and the spirit of sacrifice after it eventually fueled our race for betterment generally and civil rights initiatives specifically. My problem is that it's very hard to see similar potential in American society today, which seems to have gone too far down the path of self-involvement, materialism, and anti-intellectualism to start caring about future generations soon enough to do them much good. I realize that my perspective is skewed by the fact that I'm seeing the present through a wider lens than historical retrospective, which mostly only lets the good bits through. But nor have I seen many developments in mainstream culture that seem like they'll stand as "good bits".

I did build rockets when I was a kid, though, and we're thinking of giving out some of them as a promotion for tor.com. I guess that's the kind of nostalgia I'm willing to get behind.
May. 4th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
Well, _I'm_ enjoying anything you feel like writing about...
May. 8th, 2008 06:48 am (UTC)
You saw it IN PERSON? I hate you. I had to watch it on a 3-hr tape delay in REDMOND. Where were you sitting? FWIW, I was scanning the audience on-screen for people I know. :-\
May. 11th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
I did, but don't hate me; I just live in New York. I was in the second row of the balcony, so there probably weren't any cameras close enough to catch me.

I am very curious how the entire thing came across on film. Ira told us a little bit about how they'd be treating the opening monologue, but it would still be fun to compare the live technique with the broadcast result.

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