Friday, April 13, 2007

Meme: Five Obsessions

Madame X tagged me to list five obsessions. I'll roll with that, and tag five more people when I'm done. Are you tagged? Read on! Do you not care? Read no further!

1. Semiotics
Or, what anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls "deep play." I believe that everything has a meaning--or, more specifically, meanings, layers and nuances and vagaries of meaning, and I can't stop trying to figure out the meanings of things: ads, institutional bylaws, slang, movies, Louis Vuitton knockoffs,, logos, social interactions, and perhaps most especially, aesthetics. I am compulsively analytical, a cultural critic by training and inclination. I should note, here, my one semiotic blind spot: it is cars. I don't know what they mean, what a Volvo means versus a Lexus, a station wagon versus an SUV. I am always confusing the brands. It makes me crazy. Luckily, I have a good friend who is like a car-semiotics savant, so I call her when I'm frustrated.

2. The Future
You might think the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my life would stop me from envisioning future-life scenarios: me in a cozy cottage with a cat, drafting an article for peer review; me as an expat in Berlin; me riding trains in Thailand; me as the millenial Susan Sontag, presiding over a dinner party full of witty people and beautiful food. You would be wrong.

3. Progress and Planning
We tell ourselves stories in order to live, and my stories are mostly about trajectories. I want always to be moving forward, improving in some way. I want to have improved. I want to make lists and timelines. I want to know when things will happen. Here is the downside: sometimes I begin wanting time to pass so that I can see my plans come to fruition. I just want the next two weeks to disappear so that I can meet that savings goal, or whatever. It's not a good thing, really. Sometimes my planning is helpful, and sometimes it's just obsessive.

4. Getting the Music Just Right
I have a tendency to play single albums, or even single songs, on repeat for days on end. Frequent offenders: The Notwist's Neon Golden, Belle and Sebastian's The Life Pursuit, Gillian Welch's "I Dreamed a Highway" and "Revelator," (or that whole album, which is Time (The Revelator)) Yo La Tengo's "You Can Have it All," Terry Allen's Juarez. I am, however, often equally obsessive about matching songs perfectly to moods, or weather, or events--there are certain times in my life that cry out for certain music. If I am in my parents' kitchen making a big holiday meal with flour all over my shirt and not listening to one of like four specific albums, something is missing.

5. Other People
I am pathologically nosy. It's why I love the internet. I want to know all about other people, their nooks and crannies and secrets, what music they love and why, who their first kisses were with and how they felt, what they do all day. Do not leave me alone with your diary. I will read it. I have no shame.


6. Words
I get lines of poems in my head the way other people get snatches of songs. Then I walk around reciting them over and over. For two days, I have been saying in my head, you must change your life, which is the last line of a Rilke poem titled, approximately, "On an Archaic Torso of Apollo" (or something like that). Alternately, when people are being melodramatic, my head starts quoting Roethke: The day's on fire! I know the purity of pure despair! (there's a linebreak somewhere in there, but it doesn't matter in my head so much). When I am happy, or feeling fierce about the world, the last words of Ulysses sometimes pop up: and yes i said yes i will Yes.

You're tagged:
Him and/or Her of Make Love Not Debt
Gradgal at Getting Out Grad
SF Money Musings
Wanda of Well-Heeled


Zachary said...

1) star Trek DVDs
2) A Pretty Face
3) Finishing my Ph.D.
4) Old-School Christian Rock (e.g. Petra)
5) Taco Bell

SF Money Musings said...

I love PostSecret just as much and thought of contributing but decided against it.

Here are my five:

1. Fashion magazines. I've got a subscription to Elle and Marie Claire (both free) luckily. I love the feel of a glossy magazine and perusing the pretty pictures of clothes I'll never afford.

2. Getting a new job that pays more money. I can't decide right now what to do about my job search whether I should stay in editorial or consider international business where the stakes are higher and the monetary rewards larger.

3. Baking. Since I stopped living with family I finally get an opportunity to bake! I've made cookies, oatmeal and cakes. But I haven't tried supernatural brownies yet (there's a great recipe in last week's NY Times. I love their food section. It's the first thing I check on Weds) I want to try donuts, no knead bread, muesli and granola soon particularly donuts!

4. Music festivals. I can't decide whether I should go to the Coachella valley music festival again this year. it'll be my third time in a year if I do go. but it also means i'd have to take an extra day or two off since it's now three days. and it's in the desert and food is ridiculously expensive not including hotels. I'm also considering going to the Pitchfork music festival or Lollapalooza but going to so many festivals gets expensive if I don't find a cheaper way to go.

5. Colorful clothes and patterns particularly dresses. I'm going to an Indian wedding this weekend and my practical side tells me I can't afford the $324 dollar printed dress at Nordstroms and I should just wear the $50 turquoise print dress I bought at the outlet. But after seeing so many different colorful patterns/prints in dresses, I'm on a hunt for similar patterns with every day clothes.

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