May 30th, 2004


Extra-long weekend

So Tuesday evening through Thursday evening was Shavuot, a Jewish holiday which is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. I spent a lot of time hanging out and dining with many friends, and having a great time. Also, for the first time, I made an effort in the direction of participating in a traditional all-night study session on the first night. I went with a group of friends from Center City to Penn's campus, about a half hour walk. We made it until about 2am, and were all home and asleep by a little after 3. Not bad.

I also read The Thirty-Third Hour, Mitch Chefitz's second book. He writes very deep, compelling novels about spiritual Jewish subjects. I read the first one all the way through last Shavuot, and loved it. I waited until this year to read the second, in hopes of starting a tradition. Unfortunately, as he's only published two books so far with a third almost done, I don't see this tradition continuing unbroken for much longer.

On Thursday afternoon, Dave and his two friends from out of town came over for some limit Hold'em (with Monopoly money). On one hand, I held Jh and Qh. Dave's two friends were out pre-flop, leaving just me and Dave. The flop was 9d, Kh, and Th. The turn was Ah. Needless to say, I don't remember what the river was. And Dave apparently had pocket 9's, so the betting was all the more fun for me. That's the first and last time in my life that will ever happen to me. My life as a poker player has peaked.

On Friday afternoon, I drove down to the Maryland suburbs of DC for the weekend. I spent Friday night at benjifus's aunt and uncle's house, and had a lovely Shabbat dinner with the family down there.

They apparently weren't going to synagogue on Saturday morning, so I asked them where I would enjoy going. After a bit of hedging, they finally decided on the traditional minyan at a synagogue called Adas Israel in DC. Well, I went there, and partway through the service, a tall guy with glasses and long black hair came in. That's funny, I thought, he looks kind of like Ben D from New York. Weird. Hey, wait, that person next to him with the curly black hair looks kind of like Elizabeth R, his girlfriend. Hmmm.

Turns out it was them. They were down for a wedding. They invited me for lunch. I ended up dining at a potluck "picnic" inside a bare house where friends of theirs have not yet moved in, with Ben, Elizabeth, Joelle N, Sarah B, Ben's sister, Eli S, his girlfriend Liz, and about 20 other people roughly my age, from DC or visiting for the weekend. And none of them knew I was coming, I didn't know they'd all be there, and I didn't have any lunch plans beforehand at all. Totally serendipitously awesome.

After lunch and my goodbyes with my overnight hosts, I ended Shabbat early and went to 1995. I mean, to Rockville, MD, where as part of their Memorial Day celebration, they were having a free concert of Gin Blossoms and Live. gutwoman and I had a wonderfully deafening time, being rather close to the speakers up front for Gin Blossons, and ON THE BARRICADE for Live. I've never been that close for a concert before. Truly amazing. Gin Blossoms were surprisingly good even when they weren't playing stuff I knew, even though they all looked old and even though the supposedly humorous patter from the lead singer fell flatter than I could've possibly imagined. Live was as good as I'd remembered, though the short set had a bit too much new stuff. We got "Run to the Water" and "Beauty of Gray" along with the big hits, but no "Dance with You" or "Pillar of Davidson". I didn't really care, though, because I was on the barricade for one of my favorite bands. You can't ask for much more.

Back to gutwoman's house for 6 hours of Freaks and Geeks and Degrassi: TNG on Saturday night and this morning. Back to the Rockville fair today, where the art show really did have some incredible stuff. Then got to spend an hour with my other good friend from Rockville, who I'd mostly missed at the concert. Now back home, and I just might leave tomorrow for 24 hours in New York before I resume what passes for my weekday life these days.

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The grad students who live behind my mom and me are having a party tonight. This would normally bother me, mainly on behalf of my mom and my old neighbors who probably want to sleep, but they're all currently strumming "American Pie" on a guitar and singing really badly. So it's too amusing to be annoying. If I were a different sort of person, I might go out and hang out with them.

Oh, man, they just switched to the Violent Femmes. Heh.