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Saturday, May 7th, 2011
1:24 pm - Your Trivia Question for Today
Of the 120 or so institutions of higher education that play Division I men's football in the United States (that's Division I-A, so it doesn't include I-AA schools like the Ivies), exactly four of them do not have either "College" or "University" in their names.

Name those four.

(ETA: Originally the question said "five" - I have since confirmed that I was wrong about one of them.)

current mood: congested

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
4:11 pm - Ticket Offer
I've posted this on Facebook a couple of times already, but it's probably worth posting here as well, for those who might not see it over there:

I've gotten a free pair of tickets to see Wyatt Cenac (of "The Daily Show") tape a stand-up comedy special for Comedy Central this Saturday evening here in Manhattan. Anybody interested in going with me?

current mood: curious

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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
3:16 pm - Another Story Desperately in Search of an Ending
If life is just an ocean with people in and out like the tide,
Then why can't I just drift along a gentle wave and smile?
If life is just a tapestry and heartache just a square in its weave,
Then why can't I just hang it up and praise the winding patterns, and breathe?

If life is just a journey with a reason for each stop along the way,
Then why can't I just leave you behind and welcome the new day?
If life is just a lesson to be filed away like two and two,
Then why can't I just close the book on you?

If life is just a yellow brick road with a rainbow at the end,
Then why can't I just close my eyes
And why can't I just click my heels
And hold my breath
And mend?

- Sam Shaber

current mood: exhausted

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Saturday, September 6th, 2008
4:46 pm - Uncle's New Blog
My Uncle Barry, a professional photographer, has started a new blog: Take Better Pictures. Looks like some great stuff in there for the hobbyist or anybody looking to get even a little bit more serious about their photography.

current mood: chipper

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Thursday, August 21st, 2008
11:38 am - Working From Home
A couple of weeks ago, my firm assigned a brief to me and another associate in a National Labor Relations Board case the firm has been involved with for a few years. We're each writing one of the two issues in the brief. The catch, though, was that in addition to all of our regular work, preparation for writing this brief would include reading the 16,000 pages of transcript from the actual courtroom proceedings in the case, which were held in federal courts in New York and Washington, DC this spring.

That's not a typo. I said sixteen thousand pages.

I've managed to fit some in among all the other work, but when I'm in the office, phone calls and e-mails come in constantly, and other things require my attention (like my sixty active civil service cases). It's great to be busy and in demand at my job, but it isn't conducive to settling down with a couple of boxes full of paper and giving them my full attention for several hours.

So here I am working from home today. I've gotten through a decent chunk already, but with tons more to go - and naturally I still have occasional other things coming my way via e-mail (I haven't checked my work voice-mail yet, but I certainly will soon). I'm also getting hungry - and I immediately knew what I had to do.

SeamlessWeb was started several years ago by a couple of New York City lawyers who were frustrated by the complexity of getting their firm to reimburse them for meals they ate when they were working late at the office, but it expanded way beyond that in the following years. The vast majority of delivery restaurants in Manhattan, and many in other boroughs as well, are now on SeamlessWeb's network. You just go online, give them your credit card and address once, and forever after, it will tell you which restaurants deliver to your location and which of those are open right now, and you select from an online menu.

Even in my relatively sleepy residential neighborhood, it's still Manhattan - 101 restaurants on Seamlessweb.com deliver to this address. It's a beautifully efficient method of ordering a meal, and I've probably used it close to a hundred times since I discovered it in... oh, I don't know for sure, 2005? They're also in a few other cities, though I can't remember any offhand beyond Philadelphia.

Anyway, there's a rather large burrito winging its way to me shortly, courtesy of SeamlessWeb and Burritoville. It's going to help get me through the next few thousand pages of testimony. I hope y'all are having a nice day and a good lunch.

current mood: ravenous

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Sunday, June 29th, 2008
6:03 pm - A Story Desperately in Search of an Ending
If life is just an ocean with people in and out like the tide,
Then why can't I just drift along a gentle wave and smile?
If life is just a tapestry and heartache just a square in its weave,
Then why can't I just hang it up and praise the winding patterns, and breathe?

If life is just a journey with a reason for each stop along the way,
Then why can't I just leave you behind and welcome the new day?
If life is just a lesson to be filed away like two and two,
Then why can't I just close the book on you?

If life is just a yellow brick road with a rainbow at the end,
Then why can't I just close my eyes
And why can't I just click my heels
And hold my breath
And mend?

- Sam Shaber

current mood: drained

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Friday, May 30th, 2008
12:57 pm - A Quick Note of Advice
If a giant crane is going to collapse a couple of blocks from your apartment, destroy a couple of buildings, and kill a couple of people, try to avoid being on a plane to Reno and unreachable when it happens. It sure does increase the voicemail and e-mail volume for the rest of the day.

current mood: distressed

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Monday, May 26th, 2008
9:25 am - Happy Memorial Day

The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves, by Donald De Lue

current mood: contemplative

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Sunday, April 27th, 2008
1:23 pm - Back in the Saddle Again
It occurred to me yesterday, while I was riding my bike 60 miles, that I haven't updated my Team in Training blog tucsonorbust since I stopped raising money a few weeks after riding 109 miles in El Tour de Tucson. As I'd mentioned at around that time, TNT asked me to be Fundraising Captain for the NYC team doing the Montauk Century on May 18 and "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" (a.k.a., the Tahoe Century) on June 1. I've been training with the team, but because of my schedule, much more sporadically than I did last year.

So I still may not update that blog much, at least not until it's actually time to ride Montauk and/or Tahoe - and after that, if and when I start training and fundraising for El Tour de Tucson again. But I thought it was worth mentioning at least that I rode my bike 60 miles yesterday, and survived. I also thought it was worth mentioning to anybody who might want to "friend" that other LiveJournal so that they can be on board whenever I do start updating it more regularly again.

I need to be doing these rides far more frequently if they're to have any hope of helping me get ready for another century after the relatively sedentary winter I've had. And that's all I'm going to say about that for right now.

current mood: sore

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Friday, April 25th, 2008
4:44 pm - While You're Making Other Plans, Part V
Back in 1995 when I first joined a group of musicians in Dryden, NY who fancied themselves a nascent band, the bassist (and basement rehearsal host) was a gentleman named Dave Brown. In addition to being a senior member of Cornell's Extension community and a Food Science instructor in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, he was a well-known and highly regarded cheese judge. He'd also been in bands just about as long as there'd been such a thing as rock and roll, and he kept a solid beat and sang good backups. Moreover, Dave was a quietly funny guy who knew how to keep rehearsals light but productive.

I eventually named the band "Revolving Door" based on our inability to maintain one, stable lineup, but Dave was one of the original members. We had only played out a few times (in fact the userpic for this entry is a photo from one of those gigs, at the Savoy in Watkins Glen) before there were a few more personnel changes, and Doug Dann took his place, later to be replaced himself by Jim Smolos. Revolving Door went on for another few years, while Dave continued to be a strong part of the central NY music scene in a variety of capacities, both in bands and otherwise.

Dave passed away this week at the age of 63. His music and his laughter will be missed.

current mood: sad

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3:30 pm - Swearing
For the first two years since my admission to the Bar, I was only admitted to practice in New York's state courts. Today, I was sworn in and therefore admitted to practice in United States District Court in two federal districts, the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

My friend, colleague, and admission sponsor Joni treated me to lunch afterwards at Ping's in Chinatown. Yum!

current mood: grateful

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
12:55 pm - From "The 473 Reasons I'm Glad I Don't Have to Move" (Part IV)
Reason #185: I don't know of any other block besides mine in the entire five boroughs where the price of a good haircut includes a generous glass of twelve year old Macallan single malt Scotch and some Ghirardelli chocolate.

current mood: cheerful

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Sunday, April 20th, 2008
11:27 pm - From "The 473 Reasons I'm Glad I Don't Have to Move" (Part III)
Reason #306: Since I had cleared my weekend (besides Passover seder with the family last night) for the possibility I might have to spend much of it hustling around Brooklyn looking for a one bedroom apartment that I could afford and didn't make me ill with the thought of living in it, I instead got a little more sleep than I would have otherwise, had a nice, relaxed dinner with my friend Brandyne (even managed to stay kosher for Passover at a Mexican restaurant!), now have a slightly cleaner apartment, and also caught up on my Friends page for the first time in months.

current mood: tired

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3:36 pm - From "The 473 Reasons I'm Glad I Don't Have to Move" (Part II)
Reason #291: I can buy all seven of the remaining two-liter bottles of kosher Coke at my local Food Emporium, and not worry whether I have to try to finish them in the next ten days.

current mood: bouncy

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Saturday, April 19th, 2008
9:31 am - Snoo
The latest bulletins from BeeeejWorld:

As of last night, I apparently have a new roommate. My friend Andrea's colleague Raj looks to be moving in at the end of the month to replace Pat. For a while I was quite stressed, not knowing whether I'd have a new roommate, have to move out on my own or what... it even looked for a while like little_odd_duck and I might end up sharing an apartment in Prospect Heights, which probably would've been tons of fun, but the logistics on that one never came together the way we'd hoped. In any event I'm relieved not to have to move.

I'm now two sessions into an intensive, ten-session program with my once and future trainer Adam, and I'm simultaneously in agony and feeling great. Even though I'm still technically in training for "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" in Lake Tahoe June 1, and even though the commute to my new job involves a fair amount of walking to and from the subway, I've become quite the slug, so this is much needed. We're treating my knee gingerly, but thus far it has been performing quite excellently.

It had been rumored for a while, but it's now official; Cornell men's hockey will play a pair of games at University of North Dakota this coming Thanksgiving weekend, Friday and Saturday, November 28 and 29. It's obviously a little early to be making plans about it, but I really do intend to go; it'd be a shame for the team to face a new opponent (well, relatively - we lost to them in the national quarterfinals in 1997, when they won the championship a couple of games later) without the strongest possible road-fan support there. I know a lot of other Lynah Faithful are planning to go as well, and it sounds like the most cost-effective way of doing it will be flying into Minneapolis/St. Paul and driving the rest of the way in a convoy of carpooled rental cars. Well, the most cost-effective way from New York City would probably be the $170 Amtrak route, but that takes nearly 48 hours each way, so I'd miss Thanksgiving. I hope those Faithful reading this will consider joining those of us already planning to do so.

This evening's sundown marks the beginning of Passover. Chag Sameach to those celebrating! I still haven't picked up any kosher Coke this year... I'd better get around to that soon.

Oh, and that other thing? The absurdly long-term thing about which I finally found some courage and no longer had any regrets? Yeah, that didn't work out. It wasn't a surprise to me, and it hurt - again. But I meant what I said, I have no regrets this time. It's amazing how much easier it is to sleep when that's true. I only hope I can find that courage again in the future, when it really matters.

current mood: groggy

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Monday, April 14th, 2008
10:03 pm - Things to Do in Denver When You're Big Red (Part IV)
Not an awful lot to report about yesterday. I slept in, packed up, checked my bags with the hotel for later, and checked out. Everyone else had much earlier flights, so I was on my own for the day. I wandered up the 16th St. Mall initially looking for a new place to have lunch, hopefully one with outdoor seating since it was such a gorgeous day. But when I got near the Appaloosa Grill again and saw that they had patio seating, I couldn't resist. This time I had a New Belgium Blue Paddle beer, queso with chips, and another bison cheddarburger (man, they're good). During lunch, I was able to check e-mail and surf the net courtesy of Denver's free downtown wi-fi, which was awfully handy.

Then I wandered down to Broadway and the cultural center, where I visited the Denver Art Museum for a while. The collection is nice, but nothing that made me feel really good about spending $20 on it; the architecture was far more interesting.

I stopped by a cafe near the Westin for some iced tea, a brownie, and more free wi-fi. Finally, I ended up in the bar at the Westin, where Jim the bartender kept me in complimentary Cokes for the rest of the evening while I caught up on e-mail and did some writing. On the recommendation of the concierge (a different one this time), my hankering for Chinese take-out led me to J.J.'s Bistro a few blocks away, and I brought back probably the best Mongolian beef I've ever had. Yummy!

Finally, it was off to the airport via shuttle. I enjoyed the ride a great deal because the van was packed with friendly Boston College hockey fans, including a middle-aged couple who have also been going every year about as long as I have. The redeye departed about an hour late due to equipment trouble, but we made it to Newark smoothly, and I managed a few brief catnaps here and there. After a shower and a change, I made it to work for most of a normal day. Now it's time for some sleep, and soon it'll be time for plotting and scheming for next year's Frozen Four in Washington, DC.

current mood: tired

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Sunday, April 13th, 2008
1:24 pm - Things to Do in Denver When You're Big Red (Part III)
I arose early yesterday, put on my cold weather riding gear, and headed downstairs with my rental bike. Alicia, the Denver TNT chapter's assistant coach for the group doing America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (a.k.a. the Tahoe Century), picked me up at my hotel, and we managed to fit both our bikes in the back of her car. A short drive later, we were at Maple Grove Park in Golden, west of Denver, to meet the rest of the team. I'd foolishly forgotten to check whether my rental bike had water bottle cages, and we were about to figure out a way for me to give each of my two bottles to a different rider so I could get my water and my Accelerade handed off to me whenever I needed it (which probably would have been a huge pain in the ass), when team member Emily volunteered her bottle cages and her allen wrench tool to move them to my bike; she was wearing a camelback for her fluids anyway, so she didn't need them.

The main goal of the day's ride was to climb the switchback route up Lookout Mountain, but first we did fifteen miles in and around Golden, then the same fifteen miles back - past the Coors Brewery, and around some hilly but not awful terrain. The real problem was the brutal headwinds on our way out to Foothills Road - and for me, the additional problem was the thin air at this altitude. I was sucking wind most of the way, even after we turned around and caught the tailwinds.

We paused in downtown Golden for a photo:

Then the team set out to climb the aforementioned Lookout Mountain:

I was game to try, but one of my strengths as a bicyclist is that I know my limitations... and with the air problem, I just wasn't going to make it. A quarter of the way up, I let Alicia know I was heading back down and would wait for them after their descent. I grabbed a sandwich at Woody's Pizza, then hung out at Starbucks and nursed my rather uncomfortably hairy lungs until the group returned a while later. Then I rode back out to the park with Alicia, where we repacked the car and headed back to Denver. She was heading past the Bicycle Doctor on her way home anyway, so she very graciously just dropped me off at the hotel and returned the bike for me.

I didn't have time for a nap, just a shower, before the first ever all-Jesuit Frozen Four championship game, Boston College vs. Notre Dame. During the first intermission, Rita and I were chatting about post-game plans for the group when a random guy in a Cornell jersey approached us; turns out he lives in Denver and had actually made his choice about a job offer a year and a half ago based partly on the Frozen Four being here this year (and hoping that Cornell might make it, though this was definitely the wrong season for that).

The game itself was pretty exciting, though the final score wouldn't make you think so. Notre Dame, who had upset three "better" teams in the first three rounds to get to the finals, fought valiantly, and at one point had even scored what looked like their second goal to make the score 3-2, but the goal was called back, and BC put the nail in the coffin less than a minute later to make it 4-1.

Afterwards the group went to Appaloosa Grill on the 16th Street Mall for dinner, where I had a very good bison cheddarburger and a locally brewed New Belgium Mighty Arrow IPA.

I was pretty exhausted (and a little sunburnt) from the long day, so it was right off to bed with me.

current mood: still sucking wind

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Friday, April 11th, 2008
10:14 pm - Things to Do in Denver When You're Big Red (Part II)
I slept in a bit this morning, but not as much as I'd have preferred. I had to take care of some business, the rental of a road bike. With the help of the intarwebz and a lovely front desk attendant named Christina, I found The Bicycle Doctor, a quick cab ride from the hotel. Given the dual challenges of my not having removed and brought along my own pedals (the kind of cleat I have on my shoes is a bit out of fashion these days, except on some types of mountain bike), and most bike shops that do rentals being outside the actual city of Denver (and me without a car), this was my only option, and I'd thought I'd have to rent a hybrid. It worked out that they had just finished building a couple of Legato 3.0 bikes this morning, and they're just about as close as hybrids get to road bikes, narrow tires and all. After raising the seat a bit, one of them was nearly a perfect fit. So I rode the city bus back to my hotel (Denver's buses have those cool bike racks on their fronts, something Ithaca has had for many years and I wish New York City would adopt as well, but that'll likely never happen).

On the recommendation of the Westin's concierge, after wandering the Tabor Center and Larimer Square areas for a little while, I stopped by Osteria Marco for a late lunch. The gnocco frito (fried cheese crisps) were light and rich, and the Classic Italian panini (sopressata, salami, peperonata, and robiola) was outstanding. A mellow Montepulciano accompanied them brilliantly. I also got through another chunk of "Limitations," the Scott Turow novel. On the way back I picked up a small piece of Oreo fudge from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and a Chai latte from the Starbucks in the Westin's lobby.

It snowed a bit during the day, but more to the point it started getting rather cold and windy. A few of the other Cornellians in town and I had seriously contemplated a trip via light rail out to the Denver University campus to watch a Denver vs. Quinnipiac men's lacrosse game at 7:30, but I decided tonight wasn't a good night for sitting outdoors. If it had been Cornell in a playoff game or something, that would be another matter, but with tomorrow's bike ride, I didn't really feel like risking my health. Instead I took it easy in the hotel, and wandered up the 16th Street Mall for dinner when the time came.

The 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian commercial district, much like the Ithaca Commons, but a great deal longer and apparently somewhat more successful in meeting its aims. All lit up:

Upon my check-in yesterday, the man at the front desk had recommended Rock Bottom Brewery to me for local flavor, but when I arrived tonight there was a considerable wait. So I wandered a little further, and on a side street I found Los Cabos II, a Peruvian restaurant of some local repute. The mixed seafood ceviche special I had was extraordinary, and just the right level of spicy/piquant for my taste (and for my stomach, which at this point in my life gets picky about such things after a certain hour of the day). The stew-style beef main course I had was decent enough, though a little disappointing given that I'd hoped to have pollo a la brasa (one of my favorite foods since I discovered Flor de Mayo in my old neighborhood seven years ago), but their rotisserie machine was on the fritz. I finished "Limitations" at about the same time I finished dinner; it's a nice, light read, with some fun twists, but not up to Turow's highest standards.

I'm going to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, because Alicia from TNT is picking me up at 8am. I hope it's a little warmer tomorrow morning than they expect it to be... I brought my cold weather riding gear with me, but it's only effective to a point. Between the cold and the altitude, I really hope I don't embarrass myself and the New York City TNT chapter on the ride!

current mood: full

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4:32 pm - Things to Do in Denver When You're Big Red
So on Wednesday, after a lovely evening at the Power of Film Gala (about which more later), I stayed up the rest of the night and then took an early Thursday morning flight from Newark to Denver for the 2008 Frozen Four. Everything went smoothly on the trip out - well, almost everything. I was on line to check my suitcase when I suddenly remembered I couldn't bring my toiletry bag (which included a can of shaving cream) in my carry-on, and I quickly reached in to move it to my suitcase... grabbing it, unfortunately, by the head of my razor, and cutting my finger open. It bled pretty copiously for such a small cut (I later realized I'd actually taken a good chunk off, not just cut it), but with some Continental Airlines staff help we got it under control before I boarded.

When you have to fly for several hours, very few things beat being able to do it for free (or for miles, anyway), in the aisle seat of an exit row, with nobody in the middle seat, with a power outlet underneath you. On my laptop I watched "Across the Universe," which was really wonderful (I started with "Michael Clayton," which froze 59 seconds in - thanks, Netflix!), and finally started reading Limitations, a Scott Turow novel that the New York Times Magazine had serialized a couple of years ago, and which Mom had saved for me.

A quick trip to my hotel later, I napped for a few hours, then went to see some hockey.

The early game, #2 North Dakota vs. #3 Boston College, was supposed to have been the more competitive of the semifinals, but somebody must have forgotten to tell them, because it didn't work out that way. North Dakota clearly had the better of the physical game, and a crisp, clean power play, but that didn't last long or get them very far. Defensive breakdowns quickly led to Boston College breakaways and 2-on-1s and short-handed goals, and Sioux goalie (and Hobey Baker candidate) Jean-Philippe Lamoureux got hung out to dry.

Six times.

North Dakota finally put one on the board with close to nine minutes left in the game, but it wasn't nearly enough; the Eagles had too much of a step on them. Final, 6-1.

After the first semi, most of the Cornell contingent present (or at least most of the ELynah Forum contingent) met to coordinate nighttime plans and put faces to names:

The second semifinal, in which #1 Michigan was heavily favored over #4 Notre Dame, turned out to be far more entertaining - though for a while, Notre Dame seemed to be doing its best Boston College impression, and was up 3-0 fairly quickly. But the Wolverines fought back to a 3-3 tie, and then after the Fighting Irish made it 4-3, also tied it up at 4. We went to sudden-death overtime, in which the Irish just clearly had more steam left, and finally capitalized with their fifth and winning goal to end the game.

Saturday evening, it seemed, would feature the first all-Jesuit Frozen Four championship game in history.

A different subset of the Cornell contingent went out for legal beverages and food across the river(s) from downtown at the charming and friendly My Brother's Bar, whose most notable feature seems to be that they retail Girl Scout Cookies. My J.C.B. - Jalapeño and Cream Cheese Burger - was quite yummy, as was my locally-brewed Great Divide Denver Pale Ale.

After a long walk back to the hotel, I settled in for a good night's sleep.

current mood: cheerful

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Saturday, April 5th, 2008
12:15 am - Do You Want to Play Some Magic on My Guitar
Mid-afternoon upon my return from a pre-trial conference downtown, I saw a message on Facebook inviting me to tonight's Wonderous Stories gig at B.B. King's. Apparently Dave Mason (of Traffic and later Fleetwood Mac) had taken ill, and Wonderous Stories was filling in at the last minute - and for free, which is always a good price. Wonderous Stories is only known to me because they share a keyboardist/vocalist, Mark Bonder, with Stealin' Dan, a Steely Dan tribute band I've seen before (at B.B. King's in fact). They were originally a Yes tribute band, but have expanded their repertoire to include a vast array of classic and progressive rock.

Anyway, I'd been alerted by mhaithaca that zercool and talkingmute12 (whom I had not previously met) were going to be down here for the weekend, so after a few rounds of phone calls with them, and with my friend Eddie (and IMs with Eddie's girlfriend Melissa), everybody showed up, including zercool's and talkingmute12's host Rivkah, and so we were a sixsome in the Big Booth™ at B.B. King's, quaffing legal beverages, eating barbecue, and digging a most surreal and impressive set of rock and roll.

The set list, believe it or not:

  • From The Who's "Tommy":
    • Overture/It's a Boy
    • 1921
    • Amazing Journey/Sparks (segue into Underture)
    • Pinball Wizard
    • See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You
  • Elton John, "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"
  • From The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour":
    • Magical Mystery Tour
    • The Fool on the Hill
    • Flying
    • Blue Jay Way
    • Your Mother Should Know
    • I Am the Walrus
  • Genesis, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
  • The Allman Brothers Band, "Jessica"
  • Traffic, "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys"
  • Yes, "Yours Is No Disgrace"
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer, "Still... You Turn Me On"
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer, "Benny the Bouncer"
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer, "Lucky Man"
  • Procol Harum, "Salty Dog"
  • The Beatles, "A Day in the Life"

A bizarre and rambunctious time was had by all.

current mood: chipper

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