Friday, September 17, 2010

¡Viva la Revolución!

I came home today to find the words "Viva Mexico" written in hot pink chalk on my neighbors driveway in what I'm assuming is the handwriting of the little girl that lives next door. Should I be worrying about a revolución? All I know is: I'm not gonna underestimate her. First generation kids of Mexican Immigrant parents pack quite the punch. They unfairly end up with two native languages (usually speaking Spanish scary fast), play soccer hella-well which equals the foot speed of a raptor, and can swing a stick at a piñata or your head with deadly precision and strength. If they decide to fight back or just fight we're goners.

So, what do I do? In the words of Jack Donaghy: "Be an American. Call it in."

Or maybe I'll sleep on it. In the meantime: ¡Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Check Out...

HitRecord is a project of Joseph Gordon Levitt's. It's amazing. I'm not gonna try to explain more than the picture and the link. If you want to go check it out. If not the sword. I think it's a really great idea and love that he's doing this for lesser known artists.

And now--I call this "Monkey Support":

Guess Who I Spoke to Today?

:Mr Knightley and Mr Wickham. Surprise surprise, Mr Wickham was indeed an absolute delight. Just delightful! He sounded just like Jude Law. (Who I met once. In an alleyway. He thought I was a hobo. We had a moment.) Mr Knightley? Kind of little bit of a punk. A Technophobe. And a pain in my aching American head in general. Not what I expected out of my britons. Not what Miss Austen had lead me to believe at all.

I shall keep you abreast of any further developments.

Yes. I said "abreast".


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Favorites from Work

Britishisms from work. Just thought you'd enjoy a couple of the most awesome ones.

: "No, no. 'e' as in 'apple'."
--I get this ALL the BLOODY TIME!!!! It never fails to crack me up! Now, when you say the 'e' make sure you aren't flexing any of the muscles around your mouth, that's right. You've got it.

: Us: "What internet browser are you on?"
Them: "Uhhh...... orange?"
Us: "....No."
--I should say in their defense that Orange is an internet provider over on the other side of the pond, so this isn't that idiotic... but there is always the distinct possibility/hope that they were referring to Mozilla Firefox which is kind of orange.

: Ok, we got an email from a woman requesting Hugh Grants information because she was, apparently, his Baby Mama (claiming to have had a kid for him). Here's hoping she doesn't come upon my blog while doing her family "research. It was amazing. I will go into no more detail than that.

: A man called in with the surname "Farquart". As in Lord Farquart. As in "he huffed and he puffed and he....signed an eviction notice." From Shrek. Pronounced exactly the same way. My coworker had a hard time getting through that call and I made sure he had a hard time getting through that call. It was 'mazing.

: Last one for today. This is an email I got in Spanish which I will just give you the rough translation of. "I wish to know my ancestry, where I come from, because I have gypsy tendencies."

Oh heavens. Family history can answer so many questions about who we are. It's the most fulfilling part of my day, more than being a plastic surgeon, or cat declawer, say. It's truly wonderful.

I hope this has given you all a small insight into what I do in the wee small hours of the morning and why I never answer my phone any more. I love you.

Paige sleepy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pearls Before Breakfast

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
--from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies

I only just found this yesterday but can't stop thinking about it. In 2007 the Washington Post conducted what was, basically, an anthropological experiment. I could give you all the technical terms, straight out of my "How to do anthropological fieldwork" texts of the past two years. Such an interesting idea. They placed Joshua Bell, a seriously talented ("prodigy", "genius"--oh, they went there) violinist, incognito at a heavily trafficked metro hub for government jobs in Washington D.C. He played fantastically difficult but not generally familiar, crowd pleasing violin solos for 43 minutes on his Strad (worth several million bucks) and his case laid out a la your basic street performer that many urbanites view as transients. Beggars. Please give me money. Man! It's just so interesting. He was there for the morning rush to work. Over a thousand travelers passed within 10 ft of his performance.

The hypotheses were many but most leaned in the direction of success. Definitely some recognition. Even possibly serious issues of crowd control should he be recognized or onlookers simply clogged the area.

While maybe a little disappointed (I realize I would've most likely failed as they did) I am really not surprised in the actual result: $32.17 and three people that noticed his quality AND stopped to listen for more than one minute.

The Post followed up with interviews from several participants (ignorant of the experiment at the time) and Gene Weingarten wrote a Pulitzer winning article based on his review of interviews, the hidden camera footage of the experiment, and scholars assessment of what happened. The article is long but really worth reading if you think this kind of thing sounds interesting... you know--being human, interacting with the world around us, recognizing culture and beauty? Meh. Maybe it's not for you. ;)

I'll give my cliffs notes and reaction here anyway if you are an idiot and don't read it for yourself... Nope, no hypocrisy on this blog. (There are pictures, if it helps... *shrug* It helped me.)

So, why this shocking, even depressing result? Genie-boy tosses out a few suggestions. The most obvious of course--we're too busy for our own good, we are so internally focused that we don't notice beauty around us, we feel especially uncomfortable with that type of individual--the beggar--so we go out of our way to avoid and ignore, we wouldn't recognize true culture or beauty if it dance naked in front of us... well, maybe not. Bad choice of words on my part... sorry. One man had had no idea there had been a musician there at all despite walking within a few feet of him. He had ear buds in. Listening to his iPod. The ironic beauty of it? No he wasn't listening to Joshua Bell, but that would've been freaking hilarious. He was listening to "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure which is about understanding what Beauty is and not appreciating it when it's right in front of you...

I think that those reasons are all probably factors in the result. Gene thinks otherwise, however. And while I am usually the kind of person that would rather knowingly walk off a cliff in the opposite direction of that damn dangling carrot, I followed Genie as he dangled that Pulitzer Prize... The article comes down to one big ole' feel good rationalization... I mean 'conclusion'. It's not our fault. Unframed art is no longer art. Take a Kandinsky out of its frame in a museum and it's no longer a multi-million dollar work of art. We can't process that stuff out of context. Well, I feel better, don't you?

Ok, you know, what? I just remembered that I don't even like carrots! Or Pulitzer Prizes... A world reknown violinist playing Bach and Schubert isn't the same to me as not recognizing abstract art. Even if it is! I think it's sad that we live our lives this way. I don't even have a freaking job and I do it. I think I would rather chance assigning beauty to more things that I see than deserve it than chance missing such obvious beauty while walking within 10 ft of it. The saddest part about all of this to me? The poet I quoted at the start (from the article--I did NO research!), Davies? He was a hobo. Is that what it takes? Do we need an Emmerich-esque world-wide disaster to get us back to a simpler way of life, disruptive technology gone? I'd like to think that with some personal effort we can have both. I really like modern plumbing and my iPod...

That's all. As I finish this sucker off, I am very aware of two things. First, the fact that odds are very good that this post is in some way quite ridiculous: disorganized, self-important, full of typos, too long or one of many other things that I hate hate HATE!!! And second, it is 3am. I don't sleep much any more and am therefore kind of constantly on the edge of crazy. Seriously, though. Even if my talk is crazy, please read the article, watch the video of it, and tell me what you think about all this. I have this feeling that this is at the core of a lot of ugliness in the world right now.