|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Borrowed Ego or a Reflected Halo
(Just some ramblings. Ignore me.)
I think one of the major attractions of the site all along has been this kind of conspiratorial or personal effect it has on people. It's very one-on-one, I think, for most people.
So, Iggy sent an interview with a writer from "Television Without Pity" my way, and asked me what I thought. A couple things... first off, I don't read TWoP, so I don't know who this guy is. Second, I'm not really a "writer." I'm a lot of things, and I was a lot of other things, but I don't think of myself as a "writer." Someone who writes, sure. But not a writer. Seriously.
I just thought there were some interesting ideas in this interview. Some about community and the perceived (or, in this guy's case, deigned) authority within them, and a little about engaging with your passions.
Like the clip above... One of the major attactions of this community, at least early on, was the personal effect it had on all of us. Support, anger management, the exchange of ideas, it was a club we all felt a stake in from the minute we left our first comment or posted our first hand history.
Anyway, let me clip and comment.
And more than that, I'm really, really tired of "snark." I don't think there are many of us that are capable, or interested, in turning out boilerplate "snark." If you want to hear the same jokes you've been hearing for ten years, you're going to need to look to someone less original or interesting than the current staff. We've done snark. We've done "guilty pleasure." We can do that shit in our sleep.
Working for AJ during the Oddjack era was really good for me in this regard. Snark is easy, lazy writing. Finding different angles from which to mine the humor is much harder. I'm not saying that I'm a fully realized human being of hilarity after five months under his wing or anything, but I can confidently say that I had to work to flex some different muscles to find the funny during my time there. The hardest thing to do well regularly was the early morning link post. I had to find (usually) five different articles online, and use no more than ten to fifteen words to hit my joke for each. Try writing five of those a week without falling back on the easy joke every time, and eventually you'll find nooks and crannies in your sense of humor that you never knew were there. There were people who didn't much care for what was going on with OJ, but I think anyone who sums up the tone there as "snarky" is missing the point just a little bit. This wasn't the National Lampoon, I'll admit, but it was a pretty solid experience working with an editor who was truly funny in inventive ways, and had no problem at all calling me out for not keeping up if I got lazy.
Sars always said (usually defending my psychotic ass) that "recaps don't mean one specific thing."
Nothing means anything. Fuck, what is it we're all doing here anyway? It's really just a form of mental masturbation. No one is creating high art, we're all using the form for whatever the hell we feel like trying to wring out of it at the moment. I'm honest, but I use hyperbole. This, of course, means that I'm lying. Except that I'm not. Not really. Whatever it is I'm trying to do at the moment, in the moment, is the larger point. And if the larger point is reinforced with lies, then what, exactly, is it but distractions and wankery?
I mean this honestly, by the way. There's not a goddamn thing I've done here in five or six years that's "important," and even a little variance takes away my ability to call any of this "truth."
None of this means one specific thing. It doesn't "mean" anything. Never has. Not to you, at least. I'm the only one who gets pleasure out of masturbation. That's the dictionary definition, you know. I can tell you whatever I want to, and so long as it fits the paradigm you expect and so long as I've set you up around my intent to elicit the intended response, then "what it means" is that I've manipulated you into thinking or sympathizing or whatever I was trying to do.
Don't take this to mean I am specifically "creating" with the intent to manipulate. That's not exactly true. It's just not exactly false. Everything is designed for something, it's just that what we do here on blogs is self-serving in nature. Nothing means anything to anyone but ourselves in that respect. What anyone takes away from someone else's blogging is just collateral damage, intentional or not.
(Disclaimer: the friendships that are an organic outgrowth of this community are clearly meaningful, it's just that blog posts don't have a distinct single meaning that belongs to the reader. That's the point.)
Q: What appeals to you about TWOP?
A: It is a community of people engaged in their entertainment. It is of prime importance to me, as an idealistic person, that people engage with their entertainment, and deliberate about what they are putting in their bodies. Not avoid any particular thing, or gorge on some other thing because it's intellectually trendy, but just to taste whatever it is with their whole tongue.
A canny person can get as much out of so-called "guilty pleasure" TV -- either a clue to the bigger societal picture, or a little self-examination -- as somebody else gets out of watching "Hardball." The mere act of watching a high profile show, either current events programs or that HBO "it's not TV" thing, is not enough to make you smart, or well-read, or eloquent, or thoughtful, or anything. That's borrowed ego, it's a reflected halo. And on one level, the community at TWoP is good about puncturing that.
I love the idea that it takes a true engagement to find idealism, and that lip service to engagement is simply "borrowed ego... a reflected halo." We've seen people come and go out of this community over five years who were hopping on bandwagons, and we've seen people come and stay as they poured themselves into poker, into blogging and into the community. More than that, those of us who have been around for awhile understand that idealism in this regard isn't a shared value. We've created our own spaces with varying levels of ethics and personality and thoughtfulness and truth behind them, and have fashioned identities out of whole cloth based on these constructs. And, speaking as someone who enjoyed "defending the honor of the community" or somesuch shit god-knows-how-long-ago, most of us understand that we occupy our own space, with our own ideas about ethics, personality, thoughtfulness and truth, and have grown to understand that trying to wear the borrowed ego or reflected halo is a futile and pointless task, at best.
Firstly because Idol is such a case study of where our country is at, at any given time. Because it's the biggest show in history, the stories that it tells and the personae that it brings to us are immediately illuminating. The archetypes that the show produces for our consumption, and the order in which America votes them off, are so key to understanding where we are as a nation... But the internet is NOT America. Online communities like TWoP are a self-selected fraction of a fraction of a fraction that leaves out some pretty major groups of Americans, for the most part.
My only wish, as a passive waiter or as a moderator, is that everybody watching the show taste it with their whole tongue. You must conquer your entertainment, own it utterly, if it's going to take you anywhere.
It's easy to talk in wide sweeping "truths," at least as true as they are perceived to be in your own head. I think, though, the key is to conquer and to own. There's a certain amount of deconstruction that can be accomplished out of wide sweeping "truths" that allow us to find pieces from which we can find sympathy or righteousness or agreement or any of a variety of emotions to share. But, really, taking something simple and cloying and feeling what's been designed for you to feel is really just a Thomas Kinkade painting or Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I think where value can be mined is in telling your own story, and allowing the "self-selected fraction of a fraction of a fraction" to come along for the ride.
Where I've felt the most successful regarding my contributions between these lines is when I've felt a visceral relief clicking "publish." Where I've felt the least successful is when I've had a Haloscan window full of advice from the peanut gallery (editor's note: doesn't mean I love you all, really. -- UPDATE: I meant to say, "doesn't mean I DON'T love you all, really."). This has historically been an exercise full of ego for me, and if I can't connect thoughts together, string them into ideas and fortify those ideas into truths, I'm a failure. And this sort of deconstruction can be easy and lazy, following formulas and pushing obvious truths (the Kinkade method), or I can try to figure out what's broken, and show you exactly where I've identified the issue.
I've told my version of my own story here, and I would like to think that I've largely conquered what I had been doing for years in this space. I just want to be careful that I'm not claiming to represent anyone other than myself. I think there's an archetype of "cheating ex-wife" that would be a lazy fallback, and a construct of "failing marriage" as well, and I think those ideas serve as a pencil sketch that we can all agree represents something we all agree to loosely define identically. But, my responsibility to myself wasn't to leave those archetypes standing, but to bring color to them and help myself understand more fully the reasons why my world fell apart. That is the blogging that had meaning to me, only because it served as a Masters' course in psychology. For me. Not for you. But thanks for coming along for the ride anyway.
The fact that, because I'm an employee and moreso because I'm recapping, my opinion matters. DUDE, my opinion doesn't matter. It's an opinion, that's how it works. So you get a lot of mommy-defiance and "well you said this, but I thought that" and it's like, "I'm not telling you what to think, I'm telling you what I think."
Like I said... Nothing means anything. Trust me on that. I'm the only authority on my life, and I wish the rest of you good fucking luck sorting out your own. Find your own meaning, your own engagement, and if you work it out publicly we'll be there to read along. If not? Find what's meaningful. Deconstruct. And work it out.
Five Ingredients, One Pan, Three Meals
So, this one's not meant to be fancy. I'm taking five ingredients, one pan and making enough food to last me for three meals.
Now, clearly, I'm not counting salt and pepper as ingredients here, or we'd be rocking seven/one/three instead. That being said, I'm under the assumption that every kitchen has s&p, or can steal shakers from a nearby Burger King if not. There's other stuff here I could have done to improve this too, like deglazing with wine or adding any of a number of herbs, but that'd be cheating.
Start by hitting your chicken with some salt and pepper and let it sit for a bit while you get the other stuff going. Once you've got your bacon rendered, pan swabbed and carrots browned, then sear the chicken on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. We're purposefully using a stainless steel pan, and not a non-stick here, because we need the extra flavor the stuff that sticks to the bottom is going to bring. If you're going to do this in a non-stick, skip where I tell you to scrape the bottom (deglaze). If you've got stuff sticking to your non-stick, the last thing you want to do is to loosen it into your food.
Take the chicken out for a sec, so the tomatoes can go in. You'll want to bring it up to a nice bubble, scrape the stuff off the bottom, then nestle the chicken back in. Cover, get back to it in 10-15 minutes.
Add the beans. Make sure they're largely submerged in the liquid. If you don't have enough liquid, add a little water (which I had to - about 1/8 cup), or use less beans. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes uncovered. The beans will soak up liquid, and there will also be evaporation. Again, if you start feeling freakish about running dry, add some water.
Here's the finished product. There's only two things you have to worry about screwing up here: first, you've got to both cook the bacon correctly (until done, but not burnt), and then leave some grease in the pan to work with. If you blot out all the bacon grease, you'll burn your carrots and your chicken will stick and everything will get fucked up. Second, you do have to make sure it's not bubbling hard when the beans go in, and keep it moving a bit after that. You don't have to stand there and stir, but beans have a way of working their way down to the bottom, burning, then sticking to the bottom like a crust. That's no good.
I added the bacon back, crumbling it over the top, and shaved some Asiago too (cheating!).
Easy as pie. I'll eat one breast tonight, and the rest maybe chopped up over pasta (with the beans and tomatoes) tomorrow and Tuesday. I mentioned in the video that this would be better with thighs, but that's got something to do with how much of a ripoff boneless-skinless breasts are in comparison. Thighs are cheap and retain their flavor better, so give it a shot with those too.
Making the Right Bet at Online Casinos
Players often wonder if there is a right bet to make at an online casino. Whether a player is playing table games, slots, poker or any other form of online gambling in most cases making the right bet might be very important to the individual play.
Firstly the right bet can mean different things to different people and in various situations. For example, the right bet when it comes to poker is totally different than the right bet when it comes to slots or slots online. The proper bet in poker can mean the difference of a player winning the hand, being called on a bluff or being folded to just in time for the player to win the pot.
The right bet in slots can mean different things as well. There are many slot games that have bonus options. Some slots do not activate the bonus until a certain bet is made, so if a player is playing to win the jackpot than they must make the right bet in order to have any chance at all at winning a big jackpot.
Many games that have a bonus option require you to make at least a certain amount wagered to meet the minimum requirements in order to activate the bonus so make sure you know the exact amount before playing the particular game or making a bet on a random slot machine.
And lastly always remember to make the right bet for your pocket! Its important that you know your limit because after all these casino games are meant for people to enjoy and have fun so there is no worrying involved!
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
About the Author
Greatest Hits [archived]
Guinness and Poker
Al Can't Hang
The Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Tao of Pauly
Scott, Texas' favorite Fat Guy
Only Built 4 Cuban Links
Up For Poker
Ugarte's Poker Grovel
JD's Cheap Thrills
Poker Stars Blog
Vegas Poker Blog
Poker in the Weeds
Nickle And Dimes
Not a Poker Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Horse Racing Links
Curb My Enthusiasm
Daily Racing Form
They Are At The Post
Tampa Bay Downs
Your Average Horseplayer
Tote Board Brad
Left At The Gate
design by maystar
powered by blogger
Syndicate this site
Online Poker : Visit Dr. Pauly at Tao of Poker for the best written journal on Poker Around. From on-line poker rooms to off-line live tournament coverage including the WSOP.
Las Vegas : The Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog is the goto stop for people who come to Sin city to hit the tournaments and poker rooms. From the World Poker Tour to the World Series if it's big poker in Vegas it's blogged here. Home to the Prof's Las Vegas Links Directory.
Utilities Provided By