Don't ask me how, but I ended up at the much-ballyhooed Great Park last Saturday for an evening of Irish music, a mini-passion of mine ever since hearing the Dropkick Murphys lend sizzling tension to The Departed with their cover of Woody Guthrie's “I'm Shipping up to Boston.” Can't remember the name of the mick group due to too much Jameson, but I did get a chance to ride the much-ballyhooed Great Park Balloon.
Conclusion: meh. Maybe it's more exciting during the day and when, you know, an actual Great Park is constructed, but riding the balloon was no great deal. It's probably as exciting as riding the Irvine Spectrum's Ferris Wheel. Really, the most entertainment I experienced was seeing acrophobics wince when idiot bros began rocking the balloon at its maximum height of 398 feet. And balloon operators: anyone can easily leap off and splatter themselves down below. I'm just sayin'.
After the flight, I walked to where Avanti Cafe sells food (more on them in a Stick Your Fork in It post). Nearby, Irvine councilmember and Great Park godfather Larry Agran was asking everyone if they enjoyed the balloon. Agran, sporting one of those kinda-fur vests hipsters liked a couple of years ago, seemed in good spirits and was with his wife. He's a constant at the Great Park's free concerts, according to people I know who've gone, enjoying the music and hitting people up about opinions of his baby. I think Larry saw me, because he got a stern look at his face and didn't walk too fast to his car because it was parked about three spaces away from mine. If it were Bishop Tod D. Brown, I'd be pestering him with questions, but Agran and the Great Park are more the domain of Moxley and Clockwork Coker–hence the free pass about Agran's various funnies (“professional pessimists,” Larry? Did you hire Safire to write couplets for you?).
Enough of the Great Park: back to the Dropkick Murphys, as imagined by The Simpsons' “The Debarted”: