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Monday, February 13, 2006

Chinese mothers, Chinatown, Dim-sum, Mute Math

Have you ever been treated for a couple days by a Taiwanese mother? On Friday and Saturday, I was. Geoffrey Herman's Mommy is a super sweet woman with a mix of New Yorker and Mandarin accents. JT and I went to the Herman household and had a wonderfully prepared traditional Chinese meal(better than anything you'll get in most restaurants). As I remember, there was the staple white rice, beef and broccoli, among other things. And after dinner, we had pork-filled dumplings for "dessert". At that point I started holding back a bit because I was full, but I still had a good share of dumplings.

On Saturday we didn't need to eat any breakfast. We went to Chinatown for lunch at Phoenix restaurant and had the best dim-sum in Chicago, so they say. It was quite good. If you've never had dim-sum I highly recommend you try it. But take someone who knows what they're ordering, and can explain it to you. They serve many Chinese delicacies and it is much different from your standard Chinese restaurant.

After that my body was quite done with food for the day. Literally. But it was great. We walked around Chinatown for some time, going in various shops. I bought some loose Pu-ehr tea, which is a fermented tea with a fruity flavor. I haven't tried it yet. We got some stuff from a bakery as well. We bought some desserts to take home. The fried dough with sugar and sponge cake cone were decent, but if I want Chinese dessert I'll get something with red bean ;-)

JT and I stopped by the Art Institute of Chicago Art Museum. We walked around looking at paintings for 45 minutes. There was some excellent stuff there. Picasso, Matisse, Ernst, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Monet were just some of what we saw. It's the best art museum in Chicago and I liked it a lot. I'd like to go back there another time, earlier in the day.

Finally, we went to Schuba's Tavern for a Mute Math concert. Mute Math is one of my favorite bands and they're on an album release tour. They're a Christian rock band but they are quite unique. Paul Meany is well-versed in all the popular styles: pop,rock, reggae, jazz, hip hop, rap, and electronica. They also are staying independent, as they are right now, especially from Christian labels that market their bands in a "nauseating" way, as the band would say. JT and I were in the second row. JT got to hold the drummer's bass pedal. I got to hold and play Paul Meany's custom-made instrument called the Atari, during the song Reset where he plays it. It was very awesome, and the best $10 I ever spent. One funny thing about Mute Math is that they tape everything. They use a ton of tape putting up their set. And best of all, the drummer Darren King duct tapes his headphones onto his head, like a bandage. Everyone cheered when he did that. This band does things like having everyone playing percussion, playing percussion with everything on their set. The guitarist sometimes plays by hitting the strings with a xylophone mallet, or hitting the body of the guitar with his knuckles. Paul also plays the keytar and an old school Rhodes keyboard. The bassist has his own bass drum set at shoulder height, as well as his guitar, and often plays it as an extension of his bass sound by hitting it with a mallet. Well, those are some of the cool things I saw at the concert.

Now, time to work on getting my PhD...