Mira and I saw Dudamel conducting the LA Philharmonic in Verdi's Requiem last Thursday night. After the show, as we were walking out, two women approached and one of them asked if she could interview us. She was from the Christian Science Monitor.
I suspect we were picked out for being the only two people in the crowd who didn't appear old enough to collect social security checks. Apparently Verdi's Requiem just doesn't bring out the kids like it used to.
We ended up quoted at the end of this short online piece. Well, "quoted" should be qualified. Those weren't exactly our words, despite her use of a tape recorder. It's more like she took some of our thoughts and summarized them, then bracketed them with quotation marks.
A few bars into the opening of Verdi's Requiem, one of the more haunting openings in the canon, someone's cell phone went off. After it rang twice, Dudamel dropped his arms and brought the piece to a halt, and the crowd of septuagenarians let out a bile-filled hiss. I tried to see who it was but never identified the person.
Having my cell phone go off in the midst of a quiet performance--a play, a classical music performance, a book reading, to name a few--is one of my greatest fears. Even after I've turned off my phone I check it at least three or four times during a show. Someone just lived out my greatest fear that night.
To those who wonder if the Madden Football video game teaches one anything about real life coaching, exhibit A is the New England Patriots. Their offense resembles the way I play offense in Madden. Spread the field with a lot of wideouts, put my QB in the shotgun, and put the defense under constant attack all over the field, perhaps tossing in a no-huddle for added duress. Look for Moss deep in single coverage, then check down to Watson on a deep in or hit Welker dragging shallow across the middle. The Colts and Cardinals are well-suited to that style of offense in Madden, also.
Eric and I planned to meet Bill Simmons last night at his LA book signing. We were up in Burbank beforehand for work and had to fight the usual horrific LA traffic to get to ESPN Zone across from Staples Center. The signing started at 5pm, and we got on the 101 at about 6:30. The same way a great quarterback has an internal clock that lets him know when he has to either commit to a pass or dump the ball or risk taking a sack, I had a sense we were pushing it, that he might be gone before we arrived.
As we approached Staples Center, we ran into another microclusterf*** of automobiles. It turns out there was a Clippers game at Staples Center and a So You Think You Can Dance concert that night at Nokia Live next door (in fairness to the Clippers, they probably didn't account for most of that traffic; I blame SYTYCD). As cheap about parking as Eric and I were, we weren't about to mess around with nearby lots to save a few dollars. We paid the $25 king's ransom to park under Nokia Live, then sprinted through the crowds of SYTYCD fans lined up outside Nokia Live to reach ESPN Zone.
Our hustle paid off. We walked in as Simmons was packing up his stuff. We introduced ourselves and he graciously signed our books. We told him we worked at Hulu and he said he was a big fan, that he had used the site to watch Miami Vice and White Shadow (which, being huge fans of his ESPN column, we knew).
We presented him with a Hulu hoodie and thanked him for mentioning Hulu in his column from time to time. He said it would've been the coolest gift he received that night if not for the fact that a porn actress had come in earlier, bought a few copies of his books, and dropped off some DVDs from her, uh, oeuvre. Yep, that's a tough comp.
If you're an NBA fan, Simmons' new book The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy is a must read (it made it to the top of the NYTimes Non-Fiction bestseller list, reflecting his massive fan base). His knowledge of NBA history is impressive (when he says he's one of the last few true NBA fans, he's not kidding), and his ranking of the top 96 players in NBA history is very fair despite his Celtics' loyalties.
In many ways, Simmons is one of the original bloggers, a guy who wrote about what he knew for AOL long before millions of bloggers were doing the same. He's not afraid to write about pop culture and television and sports and all the things he cares about, the same way Chuck Klosterman writes about music and sports and topics he cares about or the way economists like Tyler Cowen and Steven Levitt write columns and books about all sorts of topics that economics touch on.
I was so flustered and out-of-breath when I arrived that I forgot to pre-sign my book for him. He'd made a policy of just signing his name after some of his other book signings ran long, but I'm sure he would have signed his name below any made-up salutation.
"To Eugene, my reader with the greatest length and upside."
"May this 736 page behemoth of a book last you over 300 post-Mexican meal seatings on the toilet."