I hadn't planned to do anything for St. Patrick's Day (since I'm neither Irish nor Catholic, and am generally suspicious of consumerist holidays and pre-planned drunkenness, which strikes me as kind of sad although I recognize that this is my own problem), but then Chris convinced me to go with her to the Alibi Room for a birthday party for one of her friends. And even though it wasn't technically a St. Patrick's Day Event, I felt compelled to only drink Guinness. For the record, canned Guinness is better when poured into a pint glass than when it is consumed directly from the can. Perhaps the second is just better than the first. For me, last night, these exposures were confounded.
The party fun, though the music could've been better and I really didn't know anyone; so I mostly followed Chris around and was introduced to people for a few minutes of small talk. Apparently the ceiling of the downstairs portion of the Alibi Room is red. Many of the people at the party had bowling names, but not bowling shirts. It was enough trouble to remember real names, so I ignored the bowling names even if they were more interesting.
The party broke up not too late and ideas about riding mechanical bulls were abandoned; so the whole evening did not turn out to be disastrous or hangover-inducing at all.
I made a last minute decision not to go into the office when I remembered that it would feature both a baby shower and a potluck of green foods. I don't know the "bah, humbug" of the spring season, but that was my general feeling; so I stayed at home and tried go get lunch at Vegete only to find that they'd closed retail operations in deference to their wholesale needs.
I made some real progress in the reduction of the stack of papers to read, both academic and not. Of note, the recent issue of the Believer is good. There is a nice article exploring the phenomenon of "So Bad It's Good" and how it differs from Camp, as described by Susan Sontag.
By late afternoon, I was ready for a break. I departed for Seattle Center to watch MSU's practice at Key Arena. It was about as exciting as you might imagine a basketball practice to be, but was still kind of neat even though I was sitting behind a row of spazzy kids. I got the sense that the majority of people in the arena were there to watch Gonzaga, who had the next scheduled practice, but there were a few people with MSU apparel.
This difference highlights an important difference between sporting events and rock shows. No one wants to be "that guy" who wears a band's t-shirt to a performance, but it's almost mandatory for sporting events. Go figure.
When I arrived at Key Arena, the plaza was teeming with people talking into cell phones and walking around. Some held signs indicating the number of needed tickets, others stood off to the side trying to quietly sell their tickets for illegal amounts of money. The sunbreak had passed by this time and the air was unexpectedly cold.
Soon, I met Rachel, whose dad had already bought one ticket and was trying to find two more at a good price by hanging out near the will call area. We stood in the cold for a while, talking to ticket sellers who wanted at least $100 for a ticket; some tried to convince us to pay $300 each to sit in a suite with "unlimited" snacks. Eventually we gave up to go to a bar. What I didn't realize is that most bars were only carrying the network game, which wasn't MSU. As we started to give up on the bars in the vicinity of Seattle Center, Rachel's dad called with a lead on tickets that didn't pan out. We insisted that he go into the game while we went to watch any game on television.
As we were walking down the concrete steps toward the Center House, we barely heard a guy say "face" to us. We turned around and told him that we didn't have any tickets to sell, but he was actually selling his tickets at face value. It was really weird how he was standing far from the Arena and barely making an effort. With the sun behind him, it was even hard to read his facial expressions. He just said something about already being late for dinner and decided not to try to make any extra money off the tickets. I have a feeling that he was stood up for a date or something since he was sort of gazing off into the distance, away from the people trying to buy and resell tickets. So, with this surprise bargain, we got into the game having missed the first quarter, and though the seats were in the upper deck, they were at center court and near Rachel's dad.
For being that far up, we had a surprisingly good view of MSU throwing away its lead in the last minutes of the second half. I have no idea what actually happened. I went from calmly watching them maintain their lead to being shocked as it melted away and turned into a loss. It was very very sad, and on top of that, the vast majority of the crowd was cheering for Nevada.
The Gonzaga game was entertaining, but was a blowout. Both Gonzaga and Valparasio have low quality mascots. And I think that the "Crusaders" is probably one of the more offensive mascots for a school to have.
Anyway. It was really cool to be at the NCAA tournament, but it was hugely disappointing and really unexpected to see MSU lose in the first round. I was already thinking about how to get tickets for Saturday, but now I think I'll save the money and watch on television.
Multiple encounters with crazy people today: while walking to my office after the Dean event a woman stopped in the crosswalk and started yelling at me to back off. back off man! what's your problem?
I took an alternate route to my building and sure enough she was going there too. and getting on the same elevator. as she rushed to get to the elevators, she again started yelling at me.
I tried to let her into the elevator first, but that freaked her out too. I don't know why I didn't just wait for the next elevator. But whatever. Nothing really happened, but I hope that she was going to see someone who would give her medication.
also on the bus tonight: a guy kept challenging people to get off the bus with him. when he finally left, he said. come on man. it's time. sixteen matches.
I don't know what this means, but it seems like a really excellent challenge.