The show where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter

Last night’s show was SO MUCH FUN.  I can’t overstate it.  My whole face hurt from laughing so hard.  Nearly two hours of Whose Line Is It Anyway games, all improvised by Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops, who’ve been on the TV show FOREVER, Jeff Davis, who was vaguely familiar to us from later seasons of the show, and Joel Murray, who was a complete surprise to us.  He’s funny?  Yes, he is!  (I mean, we know who he is, but we didn’t expect him to be up for improv.)

We had great seats in the fifth row – close enough to be able to see everything, just barely far enough away to be safe from being picked to go on stage.  It was surreal being 20 feet away from these people we’ve seen on TV for years.

Also totally weird to remember (again – this is one of those facts I keep forgetting) that Joel Murray is Bill Murray’s youngest brother).  He said something last night that was dead-on Bill Murray.  And his impression of Dan Aykroyd was pretty good, too.

I’m not going to bother trying to tell you any of the funny things that happened because they won’t translate (and I suck at telling stories, as you all know).  I wish you could have been there.

The show is still touring, but they’re going to CO and then CA only, so they’re a bit out of reach for most of you (and us – I’d see it again in a heartbeat).  We’ll just have to content ourselves with YouTube.

It was so great.  And weirdly, it continued the pattern of reliving the 90s in Eugene.  I started watching the show in 1994, maybe 1995, after my academic team friends introduced me to it.  (Yes, I know, super nerdy.  To make it nerdier, it was at an academic team party, and we were playing games from the show.)  It was on Comedy Central all the time.  Seeing it live last night, with two of the comedians who were on it then, was oddly flashback-y.  And totally awesome.

Olympians

Yesterday was the coolest day.  We went to the next to last day of the US Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field (home of Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman), and it was INCREDIBLE.  It’s highly unlikely we’ll ever watch the actual Olympic Games in person, but yesterday, we got to watch the best track and field athletes in the US compete for a spot on the US Olympic team – those were actual Olympians, and it was unbelievable to watch.  I mean, I’m saying this even about sports I don’t care about and know nothing about, like the high jump and the javelin throw.  Those were neat to see (and the woman who won the javelin throw has the best name – Maggie Malone), but we were really there for the running events.  Us and everyone else, really.  The place was packed by the time the men’s 5000m final started.  Watching an Olympic (near-Olympic 5K) is NOTHING like watching a neighborhood 5K.  There were 16 men competing, and since we didn’t know anything about any of them, we decided to cheer for the oldest guy, Bernard Lagat, who is 41 years old and holds the American record at this distance.  I got video of them coming around during the first lap.

I forgot to mention that we had AMAZING SEATS.  We were right in the center of the long straight stretch of the track, on the starting line side (behind them – we could see butts in the air at the start), IN THE FIFTH ROW.  We were on the wrong side for the finish, but we could see plenty.

My plan was to get that video (accomplished), then conserve my battery (I was down to 13%) and get another short video as they came around for the final lap.  That first lap was relatively slow, and I wanted to be able to contrast that to the effort they’d be putting in on the final lap.  On a track, a 5K is 12 and a half laps long, so I had plenty of time to watch a few laps and then get ready to record again.  The race was crazy exciting.  Two guys were out front at first, but they tired out and didn’t end up staying in front.  Then there were another two in front (way out front), and then, right at the end, everyone else started catching up.  The guy we were cheering for, Lagat, was in the middle of the pack the whole time…right up until that last half-lap, when he SURGED AHEAD AND WON.  The 41-year-old won the race.  It was incredible, and I was screaming my head off and then his face crumpled in happy tears and so did I.  I was highly susceptible to those athletes’ emotions yesterday.  So was the lady next to me.

Anyway, I’d have video of that last lap (or at the least the part right in front of us, like in the earlier video – I had every intention of cheering, not recording, as they headed to the finish), but my phone chose the moment I pressed the record button to crap out on me and tell me my camera crashed.  SO ANNOYED.  This is the last disappointment I’ll take from you, phone.

You can watch official video of that last lap (like I just did) here.  If you pause the video at 41 seconds and squint, I think you can see John (grey jacket and his hat) and a blur that might be me, 5th row.  Or I might be imagining it.  But we’re there!

It was so cool.  Honestly, seeing this in person was one of my top five reasons for moving to Eugene.  Tomorrow I’ll post some of the pictures I took.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rock Star Astrophysicist

We saw Neil deGrasse Tyson last night at the Hult Center, where he gave a talk called “An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies”, and it was great.  He’s a funny guy, and he treats his audience like the intelligent geeks we all are (seriously – we were surrounded by our people).  If you ever get a chance to go see him, I say go.

It was a night out for us, so we got semi-dressed up, went out to dinner at the nicest restaurant within 4 blocks of our house (Oregon Electric Station, which used to be a train station, and is pretty darn nice, actually), and then walked the one additional block to the Hult Center.

Then we climbed four stories to our seats in the upper balcony.

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No nosebleeds, but I was afraid to lean forward.  The screen for his presentation was GIANT, which is a good thing because I couldn’t see him at all.  He was a blur – my eyesight sucks.  Although maybe everyone would have a problem seeing details at that distance.

Still, it was a good time, lots of laughter, lots of funny (and well-handled) heckler moments.  His books are now on my To Read list (where they should have been before).

I hear music but there’s no one there

The coolest thing happened yesterday.  John and I were walking back from dinner out, heading to the garage to pick up his car and move it back to our block.  It was pretty quiet, not a lot of traffic, not a lot of noise (it was a Sunday evening).  We probably heard something in the background, but we weren’t really aware of it until it jumped out and slapped us in the head.  Seemingly out of nowhere, we heard this CHORD, a chorus of voices singing.  It was loud, it was good, and where the hell was it coming from?  We stopped in our tracks, heads swiveled left, and then we were across the street, following our ears to track down the music.  (We probably looked cartoonish, we moved that fast.  Left a cloud of dust behind us.)  Within a block, it was clear there was a gospel choir around here somewhere, and two blocks away and around one corner, we found them.  A group of maybe 8 or 9 men and women were arranged in an outdoor park in front of a band, singing their heads off.  It was really cool.  There were some chairs arranged in front, maybe 30-40 people in the audience, and a Mr. Brain Freeze truck at the curb (who would have been doing better business if this August actually felt like August).  We hung out for maybe 20 minutes, until the good choir took a break, and a not as good choir stepped up.  I overheard someone explaining that there’s music in this park every other week, gospel on Sundays, jazz on Thursdays. I imagine we’ll be back there again before it gets cold.  Yay for walking places!  We would never have heard this if we’d been driving home from dinner.  Or if we’d heard it, we probably almost certainly wouldn’t have driven around looking for it.

My birthday outing

(My post title sounds like a Scrubs episode.)

My birthday present from John (aside from a heart-shaped Boston cream donut and tickets to see Three Dog Night in May – that’s going to be very cool) was a day in DC doing tourist-y things, something that we’d been talking about doing for a very long time.  The main attraction (and what gave him the idea) was this traveling Puppetry in America exhibit on display in the American History Exhibit from now until mid-April.  Among other things, it has muppets, so we went to see Scooter, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster.

I love the muppets.

From there, we headed for the National Gallery of Art, but our nasty habit of getting there shortly before it closes lives on.  We saw the Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections exhibit, a couple of American landscapes (Lake Lucerne, Spirit of War, The Voyage of Life paintings) and ran up against 5pm, so we headed for dinner.  Where, you ask?  Ethiopian, of course!  We went to Meskerem in Adams Morgan for the first time in years.  The food holds up, but the restaurant could use a facelift.  Then it was back to our car and home to rescue Riley (and more birthday cake for dessert).

The weather was perfect, and it was a beautiful day.