You're probably all really mad at me for not having written anything for so long. I'm sorry. In the meanwhile, it's not as if I've been lounging around watching cartoons and drinking soda. God knows I'd prefer nothing else in the world, but no - aside from my usual heavy workload, I've been out doing stuff. Let's talk about it with the help of a few photos.
This photo features the line, in which I was standing, outside The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This was way back on October 8th. I'd traveled up to enjoy this marvelous Comedy Central program from the studio audience, rather than the boring old "watch from home" scenario.
This is Dave, the cool-as-Tom-Jones fellow using his textular device on the left. To his sideis Ian, doing his best monkey impression on the right. These two gentlemen, along with Ian's dad (Papa J), were the impetus and accompaniment for this little journey.
...And here we have the all-too-appropriate sign over the door.
Now, here's where we hit a snag. We were informed on numerous occasions that we were obligated to turn off and put away any electronic devices that could record any of the performance in any way - cameras, cell phones, Ipods, anything. This was, of course, a huge disappointment for me, and I realized that I'd feel like a huge jackass if I didn't at least try.
So from my right pocket, I pulled my camera out just slightly, cleverly turning off the flash. And I managed to snap three photos, of quality ranging from poor to marginally visible due to the severity of the situation. I was, at this point, pretty satisfied with myself.
But of course, I had to push it. After Jon Stewart put on a very good show, with Michelle Obama as the clearly exhausted but very amicable and gracious guest, the crowd of close to 200 began to disperse. An usher/intern type person had thanked us for our attendance and directed us toward the exits. And in the fray, I thought I had a fantastic opportunity for a photo. I popped my camera up and snapped a killer shot of the stage, only to look back at the usher/intern girl as she pointed directly at me and sent a security guard my way, who promptly made me delete my photos. Huuuuge bummer.
This ended up being the most concrete proof of my visit. But things soon took a turn for the better; once the show was done, I parted company with my crew and galloped headlong into the depths of the city.
I was able to meet up with a handful of friends, including (from left to right) Kelsey, Bill, myself and Cheese. The bunch of us date back to college, to my fraternity days in Phi Mu Delta at Susquehanna University. Also included in the evening were my friends Tats (another fraternity brother of mine) and Noah, not pictured here.
We insulated our stomachs with delicious pizza from a place called Ultimate Pizza, at 401 E. 57th Street, just a few blocks from Cheese's and Tats's apartment. Buffalo chicken on the left, BBQ chicken on the right. Buffalo was better.
...Aaaaand here's the drinking establishment where we enjoyed a few beverages.
Now, as is usually the case, I had to be home in time to work at 4:30 the next afternoon, so I would have to make some moves the next morning in order to make it home in time. They began with this, an immaculate scribbling of directions on the front of this Chinese menu, courtesy of Tats and his flawless sense of direction.
Rode the subway with my new metro card, a brilliant invention that Philly's opposite-of-beloved SEPTA just cannot seem to wrap its mind around. I purchased this metro card from a machine, one that operated 24 hours a day, another concept that seems just slightly out of SEPTA's reach.
Long story shorter, I made it home with plenty of time before work. Interestingly enough, the wait was shorter for a Greyhound from the Port Authority to Center City Philadelphia (about 35 minutes in line) than the wait for a SETPA train from Market East to Conshohocken (about 50 minutes, even on a weekday).
The sightseeing continued three days later, on a Saturday that was also to include a day at work, only this time beginning at 2:30 or 3 or something. Again, let's go to the photos.
I didn't catch this girl's name. This girl was a volunteer for the Obama campaign, handing out stickers that acted as admission to a big Barack Obama for President campaign stop in Germantown, in Northwest Philadelphia. This was one of four local stops of which his campaign had notified me through email.
The email said that the doors would open at 9:00 for the 11:30 event. I didn't think it would be too big a deal if I showed up at 9:15, which I did. But after parking about eight blocks from the site of the speech, passing car after car checkered with Obama/Biden stickers, I encountered this, the line. This line stretched around for another five blocks or so, bringing my foot travel at this point to about thirteen blocks - several above my comfort level.
The line began to fill in behind me within minutes. We crawled slowly forward, one step at a time with long, frequent breaks between movements. I ended up standing in line for more than two hours, with an ever-growing line snaking through the streets of Germantown behind me.
As I approached Vernon Park, the site of the rally, a sizeable crowd had collected across the street. I assume these were the people who'd shown up far too late and didn't try to brave the line. Who's the wiser between me and them, I'm not 100% sure.
Finally in, a few minutes after the scheduled 11:30 start. The volunteers outside were nice enough to warn us that there would be an "airport-style security checkpoint" on the way in, which I'd anticipated, but still took as a friendly gesture. The park supposedly holds as many as 10,000 people, but I have no idea how many they managed to pile in before the rally finally began, around 11:45, considering how close I was to missing some or all of it.
There were some big names who came out to start things off, including Mayor Michael Nutter, Senator Bob Casey and Governor Ed Rendell, all good people who each took a brief turn at the microphone.
Soon, Senator Barack Obama came out and delivered a fiery speech, frought with motions with his right hand. He talked about Wall Street tanking, John McCain being a dick and how stupid you'd have to be to not vote for him. In lighter terms than I've used, of course, but that's the jist of what he went over. A rousing speech that lasted about a half hour, it was well worthy of the afternoon I devoted to it.
After a weekend filled with work at the restaurant, I would usually be dilligently zipping off to my P.R. job in Mt. Airy on Monday morning. However, this weekend I'd arranged for the day off in order to make room for a third sightseeing adventure, and the last one I'll mention here.
Here's a sight from Monday, October 13, during my drive west to State College, Pa. for a concert billed as "Change Rocks". The show would feature the Allman Brothers Band (or the remnants thereof, plus Warren Haynes) opening for The Dead, or a rare reunion of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead - Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Billy Kreutzmann and Bob Weir, referenced above. Big fucking deal for me, as I happen to be a huge fan of the Grateful Dead and an avid collector of their music, in case I haven't already had that conversation with you before.
On the right we have Ryan Miller, a guy who I graduated from high school with and worked with at John Harvard's Brew House in Wayne, Pa. for several years before they closed in December. Nice guy. To the right of him stands Jami Salvucci, sister of Joey Salvucci, my good buddy and former (and future) roommate, pictured all the way to the right. At this point the sunglassed guy talking to him was asking us for a beer, if I remember correctly.
Here's Sarah, that brilliant maker of culinary miracles.
On the left, Coleen, a good friend and opener of minds as a philosophy professor. On the right, Dolla Bill, whose mind Coleen is in the process of opening further.
After some time in the parking lot, we made our way into the Bryce Jordan Center. At this point, I was getting a little tired of waiting in lines.
Though we were rewarded with a pleasant view.
And as a fitting end, upon entry to the venue, I was forced to remove the batteries from my camera. Naturally. Wouldn't want me taking any photos of the most terrific concerts I might ever be fortunate enough to see in my entire life.
The show was great, with the Allman Brothers Band opening, Barack Obama speaking during the break (not in person, just on a big screen), and The Dead (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann with Warren Haynes and a few others) played a setlist from out of a dream. A magical evening that I'm sorry to say I wasn't able to document for posterity.
On a side note, don't expect me to ever put this many photos into one post again, because it took fucking forever.