Slow Cooker Ramen, Multiverse vs. Metaverse,Commodification of Nostalgia, Gorecki, ABBA, & The Ojays
Slow Cooker Ramen. Easy, peasy! Soothing comfort coming your way!
Slow Cooker Ramen. Chicken or substitute it with more mushrooms to make it vegan. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Ramen, Multiverse vs. Metaverse, The Commodification of Nostalgia, Gorecki, ABBA, The OJay’s & Kenny Chesney
(Originally Published October 27,2021)
Parenthood is beautiful but fraught with challenges. Children have an uncanny ability to detect when something looks or feels wrong. Their ability to know each parent’s weaknesses (and exploit them)...you cannot fool a child with foolish behavior. I love it. In a world ruled by custom, tradition, and acceptable social norms, it’s refreshing to see a person truly act how they feel, with no pretensions. I find it easier to understand and placate someone when I know exactly how they're feeling.
This morning, after making my daughter’s breakfast, I sat at my usual seat, perpendicular to her, indulgently letting her have brioche with honey, slathered obscenely to the point of (my) saccharine pain. Trying to temper the sweetness with black coffee (this morning, we had to have the same breakfast), she asked me, “Mommy. Can you sit next me?” I replied that I was sitting next to her and she shook her head and showed me again. “Mommy. Can you sit next to me?” This time, she moved my placemat so it was saddled next to hers. Surprised and grateful for her unexpected gesture, I beamed, moving my breakfast next to hers, so we can continue eating our honeyed brioche in a cocoon of (momentary) familial bliss. Moments like these make up for the other more challenging times when she tries to test boundaries or harder still, when her and her father decide to challenge each other.
My husband had once asked, “What is the most important thing to you in this world?” I responded, “My daughter.” He answered, “No. More abstractly. What is the most important thing to you in this world?” After some intense thought, I replied, “Intimacy.” That deep conversation, that look, the food someone made, the hug, or that cry for help… regardless if it was happy, devastating, beautiful, a wreck or if that person is or is no longer in your life, I know my soul has been shaped by those who have loved me. The more comfortable I became with my answer, the more I realized how easily support, love and connection have been cryptically replaced these last few years and how we’re still adjusting.
What is the multiverse?
Ok. So since all realities exist at once (Yes… the reality of you winning the lottery and losing exist at the same time), time and space are variable. If time and space are variable in the multiverse, what is the constant? After a lot of thought, my answer is, “My soul. Me.” (Your answer may be entirely different.) Since my physical being can exist in multiple realities at the same time and the possibilities are limitless, what intrinsically makes me is my consciousness, my experiences with those who have loved me… my soul. Most creatives operate this way or... they wouldn't have bargained their beings doing something so ephemeral.
What would be the polar opposite? Let’s discuss the idea of the metaverse. With all the hype and investment, let’s look at its philosophical underpinnings.
What is the metaverse?
Or this article… or google the crap out of it.
Notice how even the journalists who cover it, scratch the investment level surface, rather than the moral philosophies behind it. If you look at it rather ruthlessly and (somewhat) sadistically, making it confusing might have been an intentional marketing ploy to confuse the public with the metaverse (one reality) with the multiverse (all realities exits). It sounds so similar, it might be the same! Silly tech marketing! Btw, I love technology.
Why is it the opposite? On the surface, it’s a wild, buoyant, free- wielding place where only one reality, the metaverse construct exists. Others may argue there are at least two dimensions, where reality and the metaverse coexist, but does a reality exist when you can turn off the internet and still live your life? In the multiverse, since all realities coexist, time and space are variable. In the metaverse, time and space are not variable. So, what is the constant? In the metaverse, unfortunately, when you think about it, under all the bells and whistles, data is the only constant. The environment, the situations, the interactions, the people, are comprised of data and data is the only constant, albeit malleable construct. Algorithms galore.
What does this mean? To me, it means that intimacy and hence nostalgia, everything that I hold dear, can be commodified. Creatives understand this, and hence manipulate visuals, sounds, stories, to emotions that feel familiar but distinctly different enough to be interesting or groundbreaking. (My livelihood is based on this.) Ever wonder why so many sad songs end up being chart toppers? Is it humanity’s need to placate ourselves while inadvertently producing prolactin (omg!) but really loving being in pain? Hmmm… imagine a “world” whose only constant is data, who commodifies past and present behavior as data, predicts and hence risk assess your future decisions, but whose environment is compromised of alterable data, with a conglomerate controlling and making profits off the data, for even more possible data manipulation in the future. If you look at it closely, our human need for connection and most specifically, our most vulnerable points of nostalgia, will and can be manipulated and commodified for profit. It makes the most sense (business-wise).
I still believe in the idea of the “expansiveness” of the metaverse will be interesting to (unduly) watch unfold. I do appreciate the ability to “interact” in real time with someone faraway. You’re probably wondering why the hype? Economically speaking (I was just thinking about hyperinflation last week and Jack Dorsey tweeted this week… hilarious), hypothetically, investments need to be made and the potential profits off the metaverse, if done correctly, could be astronomical. In this economic climate, money does need to be moved and it makes sense that assets would be poured into tech… for the time being. As much as I have hopes for the potential connectivity and pitfalls of the metaverse, I’m still an optimist. If given the choice between the multiverse and the metaverse, I choose the multiverse. The multiverse, in all its possibilities, in all its realities, at once, where time and space are variable and me, my soul, are the only constant (like most artists), intimacy, love, connection, and support, all things that make me- it is invaluable, irreplaceable, my heart’s fingerprint that can never be rendered fully, without MY experience of nostalgia. The full realization of my life’s happiness is precious and no data rendering can ever replace it. It’s like experiencing love and then trying to render it in a game. Boo. Where are the pheromones?
Music intrinsically plays with the perception of time and space. Here’s Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3. Fascist and dictatorial regimes are not necessarily confined to a government or nation but if taken as a philosophical construct, can be the embodiment of profit monopolization while placating a naive public with easy to understand “answers.” Life and people are complex and variable. Can we always be understood with simple explanations?
Gorecki Symphony No. 3 "Sorrowful Songs" - Lento e Largo
Like above, can life really be explained by simple answers? I see so many people thinking, “If I just marry a ____ everything will be easier.” Hmmm… again, life, people, and relationships may not be so simple. Oftentimes, money, power, and control go hand in hand and each partner may wield it in strange ways, often amplifying the person that they already were for better or for worse.
Abba - Money, Money, Money (Official Music Video)
I will never get sick of this bassline!
The O'Jays - For The Love of Money (Official Audio)
Finally, if time had no meaning. This is making want to take a vacation…
Kenny Chesney - When The Sun Goes Down (Duet with Uncle Kracker)
Thanks for reading! I hope this made you think, laugh, and hopefully, make some interesting decisions for your own happiness. Here's to your happiness and rest for your weary soul! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa
Slow Cooker Ramen. Cuddle up on the couch, have a bowl, and binge watch those shows you've been meaning to for ages! Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Chicken Ramen
(Substitute more mushrooms for the chicken and make it vegan)
Here's the original link for "Slow Cooker Japanese Pork and Ramen Sou" from America's Test Kitchen
2 onions minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
8 cups low- sodium chicken broth (I used homemade veggie broth made from organic veggie scraps.)
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (I've substituted deeply browned garlic, soy mushrooms for the chicken to make it vegan)
salt and pepper
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles
6 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons white miso
1 Tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 tablespoons sesame seeds
1. Microwave onions, garlic, ginger, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
2. Stir broth and shiitakes into slow cooker. (I didn't have them so I just used baby bellas). Season chicken (if using or more mushrooms) with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 6 to 8 hours on low and 5 to 7 hours on high.
3. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Stir in noodles and spinach, cover, and cook on high until noodles are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Stir in shredded chicken, miso, soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil, and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with additional miso and additional soy sauce to taste. Serve with scallions and sesame seeds.