Monday, June 18, 2007

a hat = respect.

I'm just going to vow right now, to myself, and to whomever might view this in the future, that this will be a blog worth checking at least every now and then. Aka not a waste of cyberspace.

Now that that's out of the way, onto my first point. Which is, it's pretty clear I'm going to need a camera if I want to live up to that. And a much more diligent shift-key-holding pinky finger, for "standard" capitalization.

And now, finally, to the meat.

I went to the Bookworm yesterday, which, despite many a Chengdu (dude, where's the strikethrough option? How am I going to create a blog worth its salt without a strikethrough button?) resident's grumble, isn't all that bad a place to hang out. Sure, the drinks are overpriced (I believe the cheapest thing on the menu is 15 RMB, and that amounts to a tea bag and endless hot water and sugar packets), but there are literally thousands of books to read, free Wifi, and a nice row of tables against big windows that they open up during the day.

Anyway, I wasn't there completely by choice, but for official magazine business. Meaning, we're in desperate need of a photographer--or hell, if not a photographer, then just some photographs!--seriously, people, it's not only a lot more effort but also a lot more ugly to cover every inch of a 40-page magazine with text than it is to do the same with photographs or, ideally, a combination thereof. And there was, lo and behold, to be the culminating meeting of the Bookworm's second photo scavenger hunt. After a successful first, there had been much ado about this, so Djjoe and I agreed to meet up there in our ongoing attempt to recruit anybody, anybody at all who owns a digital camera.

You really wouldn't think this would be so difficult, would you?

Neither did we, and that's where we were so wrong.

After being told about the 40+ enthusiastic photo pros and amateurs who turned out for the last round, we thought we had them in the bag, so to speak (wait, is that even an expression? Hell if I know). Proceedings were to commence at 4:30, and by 5 p.m., a grand total of one photographer had shown up. Yeah, one.

What's up with that? But rather than let that get us down, industrious Team Chengdoo sat down to work on content-gathering and updating for our next issue. Which meant, in turn, that we would have to order something.

"We still have 55 RMB or something," Djjoe told me, of the credit that we had received in partial exchange for giving the Bookworm advertising.

"Great. Let's party it up," I said, eyeing the smoothie section, the "fresh-squeezed juices," and the mojitos--all of which are in the 25- to 30-RMB range--before we ordered two 15-RMB cups of "wild berries" (I don't make these names up; I just report them) tea.

About 45 minutes later, Djjoe ran out the door for a meeting, leaving me to finish up my work and take care of the bill. "Put it on our tab," he instructed me.

"Are they going to know I have the power to do that?" I asked, knowing full well that while everybody in town knows Djjoe, nobody knows me. And it's not like I carry ID around here, or like I even have an ID, for that matter. Or even if I did, that it would do any good.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, they'll know," he said, and vanished, his hideous brown leather hat on his head. See, a big part of his visibility comes from that hat. Apparently only one person, Barownerchloe, has ever managed to remove it from his head and beheld him hatless, or so legend goes. I attempted, once, in a team effort with Mctenzin, to remove it while Djjoe was DJing, but our mission failed, in no small part due to my reluctance to actually touch the hat, which by now must have accrued several years' worth of sweat and crud.

The hat is a trademark, in any case. "You know, that guy with the hat." "Oh, you mean the guy who always wears the hat?" "Yeah, that guy."

When you have a hat, apparently, you don't really need a name, or any other identifying feature. It's not like glasses (which I have; they're even sparkly, although their sparkliness may be negated by the fact that Mcdoogle has giant glasses that apparently look soooo good they should be illegal), or even a lip ring (which I also have); it's a hat.

There's another guy that has a hat around town. He's "the guy with the cowboy hat and white hair and beard." I met him without his hat on once, and it took me many moons to realize that he was the same guy as the guy with the hat.

When I finally went to take care of the bill, of course, as I suspected, none of the waitstaff knew what I was talking about. Chengdoo? Magazine? Huh? Who are you? Djjoe, we know, but who are you?

I thought they were going to make me pay the 30 RMB, but in the end they just told me to write my name and number "in case there were any problems" when they checked with the manager. I wrote down Djjoe's name and number instead.

Argh. Tomorrow I'm buying a hat.


And just for fun, because I'm really lame and not-with-the-beat, <3. <3 <3 <3

I've always wanted to do that.

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