This American Life: Simple and Profound

This American Life - San Francisco on Twitpic

This American Life

Thanks to my wife for getting us out last night to see a live screening of This American Life.  Well, it was sort of a live screening — a “live” screening, as it were.  I mean — it was happening live as we were watching it, but we were watching it in a movie theater, so we were watching the movie of it.  I confess I spent much of the time being confused about what it is we were doing last night at all.

But it ended up being a great show, whatever it was.

I guess Ira Glass, host of public radio staple This American Life, is trying new ways to air the show. Originally just a radio-only show, you can also watch it on TV (but who knew that?), but what we did last night transcended the isolation of at-home viewing – almost like a stage play (even though we were watching the movie version), it was a good way to feel social at movie theater, while also feeling connected across the country with viewers in hundreds of different cities.

If that’s really confusing, let me let them explain what it was:

Ira Glass will host an actual episode of the radio program, performed onstage by some of our favorite contributors. Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, and Mike Birbiglia will tell stories. David Rakoff and Dave Hill will conduct a ‘special investigation.’ Plus a new cartoon by Chris Ware, additional visuals by Arthur Jones, and a very special appearance by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! The performance will last around two hours. We’re going to capture the whole thing with a bunch of HD cameras, and send it live* to movie theatres all over the country.

“Return to the scene of the crime,” they called it, with a recurring theme of people wrestling in various ways with letting go, such as of a grave wrongdoing (Birbiglia), or via beating to death your “mother and father” (pillows) with a whiffle bat (Kine), or of a parent and the letting-go/coming-back tango of the Church (Savage). There was even a musical performance thrown in for good measure, and the pre-show anagrams and hangmans were super fun.

We went into the movie theater in the Bloomingfields’ shopping center in San Francisco to see it, which even added to my confusion about where we were going and what we were seeing.

The Alternate Exit on Twitpic

alternate exit route

We really enjoyed Ira Glass’s way of telling stories even if we didn’t always like the specific stories. He both leads us to simple profundities and seems to facilitate telling of such profundities.

Somehow appropriately, we got lost on the way out of the theater and went down a funky service stairwell, brightly lit and decorated with different sorts of servicable graffiti.  I have no idea what it means to “attach to a wall,” but while the crowd merrily followed us along down the strange stairwell, I felt community.


I Go to the Hills

We Found Maria!

Originally uploaded by moyalynne

So we climb to the peak of 2008, turn around and look down, but also gaze ahead. I’m eager to be done with 2008 and on with 2009, but 2008 was not all bad.

Things I liked:

  • Getting married
  • Working on @NoOnProp8
  • Snow just off of Highway 280
  • Sing-a-Long Sound of Music
  • Listening to random music
  • May in the California Supreme Court
  • Rescuing the Bumblebee Queen
  • Meeting friends – new and old (well, “long-time”)
  • Being part of an exciting and disruptive project at work
  • The California Academy of Sciences
  • Sazerac
  • Surprise chocolates
  • The Public Library
  • Seattle
  • Twitter and Facebook doing the tango
  • Hope, in general
  • Obama
  • All my family
  • LUCY and LEANNE. Turn the world around.

Things I could have done without:

  • My brother’s bout with chemical warfare
  • Proposition 8
  • Insomnia
  • Going to work instead of toward the snow
  • Cancer in general
  • Being part of an exciting and disruptive project at work
  • Proposition 8
  • Iritis (whatever the HECK that is)
  • Proposition 8
  • Fighting of any kind
  • The disappearance of money
  • Proposition 8

Looks like things are generally good, in the balance.  All things in perspective; I look forward to that in 2009. Many mountains to climb ahead. I promise to work my hardest, help, and hope.

With love to all and good hiking boots,


the perfect family holiday dinner

the perfect family holiday dinner

random one:

just after six a.m. and no sign of the sun yet.  it doesn’t come these days till seven thirty or so but it’s getting earlier.  it used to be pitch-dark by five as well but that’s getting later too.  i’m so sensitive to the dark and the light now; i used to like the winter early dark but now i am cheered when it is five in the evening and still the light can be traced.

random two:
i don’t think lucy slipped back to sleep yet after waking at five and feeding/diaper, but she sighs and doesn’t protest in her bassinet.  i used to feel comforted when i was in my bed and could hear noises of people up in the house.  i felt unalone when my parents had friends over in the evenings in millbrae and i would be in  bed and would hear them playing cards and socializing.  i still feel cozy when others are up first in the morning, preparing the breakfast and the day. but now it is my job to be up in the morning or throughout the night. it feels a bit lonely.  not even the sun is up when i am up.

random three:
our family’s irish heritage is a source of, i believe, unspoken pride in our family. it makes us worldly somehow or does it just make us able to leave at any given moment? i hope to raise lucy with an awareness of her irish heritage but at the same time, it is sad it is slipping away, removed.  mom was directly from there so i was _almost_ from there; lucy will i hope get to know being as close to _from there_ as she can; then there are the scandinavians from leanne; furthermore the unknown italians from biology.

wanda has figured out the rolly toy!

wanda has figured out the rolly toy!

we’re moving on sunday, we’re surrounded by boxes, they’re digging next to OTIVO, spike’s namesake has a new baby, and our own girl is stepping into the third trimester. so it’s been a bit busy, but the big excitement for me this morning was watching wanda work the rolly toy.

the rolly toy has treats inside it. there is one hole big enough for a treat to roll out when the rolly toy is rolled. we have been issuing soothing sounds towards wanda to try to counter the effects of endless vacuuming, and keeping the rolly toy stocked with treats. but we have had to roll it manually so that she’d get the hang of self-gratification, till finally today she has cracked the rolly toy! it was a joy to watch, and it must have been exciting for her too, because now she’s back under the bed, apparently exhausted.