Flying to Mexico for a festival, the line at customs being so long that airport employees were telling people to just squeeze into the line wherever they could.
Waiting our turn, and feeling good (but not superior!) about it.
[Please forgive this soapbox speech.] How it seems like one of the most basic, fundamental things you can do to make life better is to restrain yourself during tragedy-of-the-commons-ass situations like this one. The customs line became a chaotic glob because people saw others cutting and didn’t want to be the putz who got cut. Droughts worsen when people see their neighbors watering their lawns and think, “Why can’t I do that, too?” Even to an egalitarian person, it can seem like the only rational thing to do in these situations is to throw out your principles and fight for yourself. But it’s not. You can shrink the glob—make your life better, everyone’s life better—by joining the ad hoc line behind it (there was one), settling in for a long wait, moving up only when it’s fair to do so, showing other people it’s okay to choose line over glob. That’s not excessive self-sacrifice. It’s not sitting by while everyone else passes you. It’s using your one vote in what happens to the glob, which is still moving. Which, by its nature, is always moving.
On the highway, the wooden enclosure with an animal in it on the back of a pickup truck.
The two hotel employees carrying a mattress, one end on each of their heads.
Mavis telling her audience that Dad had turned down her invitation to sit in on “You Are Not Alone” (a miscommunication!), her audience chanting “Tweedy! Tweedy!,” and Dad running up to the stage to sing with her.
Susan Schneider’s interview with Edge[.]org:
“As we use neuroprosthetics or brain chips in parts of the brain that underlie conscious experience in humans, if those chips succeed and if we don’t notice deficits of consciousness, then we have reason to believe that that microchip made of a particular substrate, say, silicon, could underwrite consciousness when it’s in the right architectural environment.“
“I see many misunderstandings in current discussions about the nature of the mind, such as the assumption that if we create sophisticated AI, it will inevitably be conscious.”
Watching hawks and an eagle (!) fly around outside the studio window.
Hayden getting cornered by a carpenter who, recognizing the chainsaw brand name on Hayden’s hat, talked to him about chainsaws for thirty minutes. (On machines in general: “I’m articulate about this shit.”)
How sometimes the kick drum lives below the bass guitar and sometimes the bass is below the kick. C’est la vie.
How a lot of what gets qualified as empathy might actually just be typical, intellectual learning—coming to know someone’s preferences and tendencies, but not necessarily feeling their feelings.
Cutting out pink paper hearts to lay around his feet.
Getting one non-blurry shot.
Cooking Avrom Farm bacon for Casey and me.
The sound of feet on the dance floor heard from the bar’s basement.
A video of the 1962 Grand Prix (via Justin Ouellette).
Afterward, watching highlights of the 2018 Grand Prix, and feeling surprised by the collaborative spirit of it. When one driver bumped another off the track (and made him flip a dozen times), the bumper radioed in to make sure the bumpee was okay. It seemed less like a competition and more like an experiment: what will these machines do?
Since the sport is so dangerous, they can’t afford to be hotheads. When their coaches (?) tell them to brake and exit immediately, they do.
The City Hall hearing about the Lincoln Yards mega-development [11-29-18, 12-2-18, 12-28-18].
Beach Boys playing on the chamber speakers before the hearing began.
The young Lincoln Yards supporter wearing Doc Martens.
The persistent feeling that supporters of the developer (most of whom are clean-cut, businessy) think that we Chicago Independent Venue League people are naive, that we don’t understand job growth or capital (because we’re wearing Doc Martens?).
Fantasizing about wearing a suit to the next hearing to somehow prove a point, but recognizing that it would really be a pathetic, self-undermining acquiescence.
Getting a little taste of miscommunication and misunderstanding in politics: the hearing was about the proposed $900 million tax package for the developer, but citizens’ testimonies focused on the merits of the development (or on job creation and the march of civilization) itself, taking it for granted that the development could not happen without the tax package. It seems so important in these circumstances to have people who can contextualize all of our reasoning and our feelings, to show how they connect and what they’re predicated on.
On top of everything, feeling mind-boggled that the city would pay interest to Sterling Bay for their upfront infrastructure investments.
Appreciating the alderpeople who make eye contact with testifying citizens.
Walking around Bucktown with dilated eyeballs from my optometrist appointment.
Finding out that my prolonged bout of diarrhea a few weeks ago was, in fact, salmonella [2-12-19].
Skipping through an annoying section of an Art Ensemble of Chicago song (via Sammy) and feeling like I didn’t deserve the (more palatable) remainder of the song.
At Zaid’s hospital room [12-2-18 et al.], listening to his stories about running a used car lot at age eighteen; buying a gas station just for the repair garage and making the gas so expensive that no one would buy it (so that they wouldn’t have to operate the pumps); the saga of trying to sell his patent for the world’s first cellular-connected burglar alarm.
Some people bought their expensive gas anyway, since, as Zaid learned, “some people really don’t give a shit.”
Zaid’s disdain for the exploitative asshole who got him into the business.
The New York Times story about Candice Payne, who bought thirty hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago during the cold a few weeks ago.
How the thirty rooms snowballed into sixty, plus donated food and goods, as people found out about the story and sent money to Candice.
“I am a regular person. It all sounded like a rich person did this, but I’m just a little black girl from the South Side. I thought it was unattainable, but after seeing this and seeing people from all around the world, that just tells me that it’s not that unattainable. We can all do this together.”
How my family has always been disgusted (and confused) that I say words like “important” and “often” with a hard T.
Listening to the Michael Cohen testimony with Zaid in his room at the post-hospital rehab center.
How you don’t need to think Cohen is a good guy or fully reformed in order to see that Republican representatives were protecting Trump and misconstruing how witness testimony works in the first place.
At a fundraiser for Poverty Alleviation Chicago:
a playlist of Top 40 hits but with violin solos superimposed on them;
the biggest table of meats and cheeses I’ve ever seen, sweating.
[In response to the question “Your old friend Bob Dylan also boxes. Do you think you could knock him out?”:] “I’d knock him out with one swing. He’s so little. It would hurt me to hit Bobby like that, but, oh, yeah, I’d take him out.”
“I told a friend of mine I want him to show me how to ride a skateboard.”
“If I had to talk to [Trump], if he wanted to talk to me, I would look him straight in the eye. I think he would see what I’m feeling from the way that I would look at him, and he might say, ‘Oh, this is a different one here. I’ve got to straighten up and fly right.’”
“You will just take yourself under if you keep being angry. […] It hurts, but you can’t hold hate and anger in your heart. You have to let it go. I have to let it go so that I can be free.”