Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Notion of Credit, Names for Networks and Cats, As Well As a 38 Special Song.

Something I've been thinking about is this idea of credit. Credit can mean money, but it can also mean getting recognition and/or approval, and those elements are really tied together. So while driving to see a movie I put the car radio on scan, so it played about 10 seconds of each station. If you want to stop it on the station you press the button. We ended up on some channel that was playing that 38 Special song Whatever Whatever On a Feeling, I forget the name of it, but I know it well enough to sing along (perhaps you might as well), even with the instrumental parts. I know, I know -- whatever, I mean, I grew up with that on the radio as a kid. While I was singing along to the guitar part (The fact that I would say "I was singing along to a 38 Special song" -- this is making me laugh that I said that so nonchalantly, which cracks me up in some meta-kinda way) I realized that it had the same guitar line as Smells Like Teen Spirit, which I found very amusing. I simultaneously thought about how someone should do a mashup of both songs in some way (even though it is pretty boring to sample/cover/reference Smells...Spirit at this point, I agree) and then also I thought that I would like someone else to do it and if it turned out good I thought it would be hilarious to demand some type of credit for it. (As if cleverness was the important thing to demand credit for, not the origin of the musical samples.) Wouldn't it be hilarious if we lived in some type of dystopian society where there was some sort of cyberplace where you would get some type of money credited to some account somewhere if somebody used a phrase you originated, just like in every day speech with someone else? Like I always joke when someone says something clever, I go "I'm totally going to use that. But I will give you credit. Actual royalties." This reminds me of this book I'm reading right now called Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. (The book is sort of dystopian but also leaves room for some very human interaction with sense of humor.) What really resonated with me was that there's this character who basically everything he says is a podcast, and occasionally he'll say something about a sponsor, just thrown into conversation, so even if he's having an interaction with somebody, just a regular conversation, it's like a reality show, but a podcast. All the time. Like The Truman Show but even the star of the show knows. So if his friends have something they want to say in private, they can't do it when he's around. Anyway, I feel like that kind of sums up the mentality these days, of a certain perspective, one that's all about branding oneself, as if everything one does should be considered entertainment -- I'm going to have to work on that idea little bit, but I feel like there's a little nugget of something there. Something about making each experience less authentic -- or something. I feel like it is somehow tied up with this feeling I complain about that sometimes when I spend a lot of time experiencing something behind the lens of my camera or feeling like I need to tweet about it or document it in some way, it can sometimes detract from the enjoyment of an experience. But that isn't always true. I enjoy documenting. I enjoy photographing. I enjoy uploading stuff to Flickr and writing about the experience. In fact, I remember in college when I took film classes, and I remember hearing other students say that taking film classes made them enjoy watching movies less because they felt like they were deconstructing the film instead of enjoying it. My response when people would say that was like Really? Are you an asshole? My response was disbelief. Because I think talking about something, studying it, elaborating on it, discussing the nuances, these are all things that enhance my experience of any kind of movie or book or TV show (or anything, really). These are all things that help build an appreciation for something. Mmmm...There must be medium between the joy of documentation and the enjoyment of the moment...

This evening I went to the Dil Pickle Club reboot -- Chicago  Dil Pickle Club 2.0 I guess. It was at the Billy Goat Tavern and the theme was black and white. It's really nice how many literary events there are going on in Chicago these days, more than I remember there always being, and it seems that there are ones that I actually want to go to -- clever things with themes and hooks and what have you. In fact there were 2 I even thought about going to tonight (The Encyclopedia Show and/or something at Moe's tavern) but the fact of the matter is that it was so nice out that I couldn't bear to be indoors. Anyway, the Dil Pickle event was really wonderful -- a resurgence of the old timey Chicago Dil Pickle stuff. The theme was "black and white" and my favorite was a zoologist who trains black bears and had all these amazing animal stories. Anyway, so last night after the event at the Billy Goat I had to navigate around in the rain to get to some public transportation that was actually running. I had forgotten to bring my Super phone with the CTA app to see what was running and where in relation to where I was, so I only had my I-Touch, that is basically an I-phone without a phone or a camera. So every few blocks I would escape from the downpour and then pull out my I-pod to see if I could log onto someone's wifi to see if there were any password-less areas. I secretly sort of enjoyed that. I felt like I was some hacker on the run etc etc. And in the rain. So dramatic! I loved how every few blocks I would pull up a bunch of random networks on my I-pod to see which were available and which didn't need passwords, and I loved to see what they were called, how they changed block to block, what I could figure out about each person just by looking at what their wifi connections were called. Thinking about the name of what you're going to call your wifi connection is like thinking about what you're going to be for Halloween. Or what you want to name your pet. Fun things to think about.

Which reminds me! The post-it is full. Maybe you know what that means. It means that since the post-it on the fridge is full of the names I've been using to address the cats lately ("address the cats," as if this is a court room "The Honorable Judge Kitty!") it is time to write it up on the blog and then start a new one. So you'll see that some of them are for one cat, some for both etc.

Humpty Dumpty Plumpty
Crocket and Tubbs
Fickle Pickle
Meow & Meow Incorporated
Suitcase Handle

The last one makes sense if you think about the shape of the cat. They're like walking suitcase handles!!!

Why did I need to put exclamation points on there?

And finally, I had a bounty of enjoyable eating experiences this weekend, one of which was dim sum. I did not know that dim sum was the food ride style. That is, I didn't know they do that thing where they keep coming around to your table with carts and offering you food. All the times I've ever been to dim sum it's been in a situation where we've ordered off the menu. I thought it was basically like Asian tapas. I was wrong. It's actually closer to an Argentenian steakhouse situation, except at an Argentenian steak house they rely on you to swerve the ping-pong paddle on your table up on green if you want more, or whatever it was. I can't remember if Fogo De Ciao (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) was a paddle with a red and a green side, or if it was some other piece of equipment, perhaps something that involves lamination. I don't know. Anyway, at dim sum you don't have any actual piece of equipment you put out to let them know you want more. You just look forlorn and expectant and hope they'll come by and offer you something amazing. Some things were amazing. Other things had prongs sticking out. What I liked best are the ben pao I think they're called. My husband and I have always called them Old Man Buns, and we've been doing that for so long I don't remember why we do that. I'm sure it's a joke rooted in something. The buns at The Phoneix in Chinatown tasted like a tiny portion of a sloppy joe encased inside an albino puff puff thingy. I remember getting those at a convenient mart in Kyoto and wishing that they were in convenient marts near my home in Chicago. I would say the experience was more like the Paul Bunyon Food Ride in the Wisconsin Dells (that's what Joe calls it -- "The Food Ride") where they just sail around the room with food and ask you if you want some. More of this? More of that? Well don't mind if I do!! At The Phoenix where we had the dim sum they write down every time you accept a food and at the end they add it all up, like when you go to the sushi places with the conveyer belts and they add up the dishes when you're done. Like you really want to hear about my food experiences! Like we don't all eat 27 times a day?! Oh dear diary, does anybody read you?

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