'let's do this thang'
Tao: ok, brb, 3 minute
Tao: i am ready
me: let's get right to the heart of the matter
many people want to know
they have been asking
what is your first name?
me: and your last name is 'lin'?
do you have a middle name?
Tao: i do not have a middle name
me: do you realize that i could now 'serve' you with a court summons if that was my job?
Tao: i did not realize that
me: what do you think prevented you from realizing that before i told you?
Tao: i wasn't think about anything, just waiting for the question
me: is that your normal style or approach to interviews? 'take it as it comes'?
Tao: yes, i think
me: is that a marketing strategy?
Tao: i try to plan sometimes but it is 'hard' for me to be 'fake' or to 'lie too much' even if it's a joke
me: i remember when i talked to you in person that i could never tell if you were being sarcastic
Tao: that is funny, i think mostly in real life i'm not sarcastic
me: that's interesting
Tao: if i dislike something i won't say 'i liked it a lot' or something
yes, i am almost never sarcastic in real life
me: will you ask questions to 'kiss ass'?
Tao: what kind of questions do you mean
me: like, will you ask a question that you don't care about the answer to?
Tao: most of the time i think i don't do that, i just don't say anything, but i'm not sure, sometimes i just keep asking questions to make the other person feel better, not really to 'kiss ass,' but a lot of the time i feel like i am more interested than the other person than they are in me, for example a lot of people will almost never ask me questions, they just keep talking
i do feel a lot of the time that i am more interested in the other person than they are in me, some people it seems like rarely ever ask a question about the other person, i feel like, maybe it's just the people i have talked to
when i do meet someone who seems as interested in other people as i am in other people i can like 'tell' and it feels comforting or something
me: who are some of those people?
Tao: zachary german and my mom i guess
me: are there others that you don't want to mention or can't think of right now?
i don't mean me
Tao: i didn't think of anyone 'not in real life' so no, i just didn't think of anyone else really
i haven't 'hung out' with someone in like 5 weeks, i've been working on my novel, so i didn't really think of any real life people
i have 'hung out' a few times
me: i was just going to ask "have you ever 'hung out'?"
do you have any psychic capabilities?
Tao: i can levitate american apparel clothing outside of the store into my duffel bag
do you think that sometimes your marketing tactics make some people think that you are insincere?
a girl once told me that i used 'tactics', and then she stopped calling me.
Tao: yes, i think that many people probably believe i am insincere, and i don't know how to 'combat' that except by constantly making blog posts explaining things about money and concrete reality and things like that, which i do sometimes
me: i like those blog posts
some of those blog posts you have deleted
i have some of them in word files on my computer
Tao: now livejournal has a syndication thing that 'saves' all my blog posts that are deleted, so you are obsolete now, in terms of that
me: don't be sorry
i feel that whatever i do, i will never be as good as tao lin
do you think a lot of people feel that way?
Tao: i think probably a percentage of people who know of me think that way, and a percentage of people think 'tao lin will never be as good as me,' and a percentage think 'i will be better than tao lin in the future,' but i'm not sure what the percentages are, my own feelings, most of the time, are just things like 'i feel good' or 'i feel bad' with an 'base level awareness' of 'what difference does it make' and 'everyone will be dead soon'
i misspelled 'a' as 'an'
me: that is ok
Tao: these are some 'hard hitting questions', good job
me: that is a very thoughtful answer to an awkward question
Tao: i like these questions, i feel like i'm not repeating myself
me: how much more time would you like me to interview you?
Tao: until 2:50 a.m. would be good i think
if that's good with you
me: so 10 minutes
Tao: 15 minutes according to my computer
Tao: do you want to do longer? anytime until 3:15 is good, you can stop whenever though
me: what is one question you wanted to be asked but have never been asked in an interview?
i'll stop when i run out of questions
Tao: i can't think of a question i 'want' to be asked, though i prefer to be asked questions without abstractions in them, so that i do not uncomfortable answering the question without first asking the person to define the abstraction specifically
me: can you please define abstraction? also, for example, is asking you to define 'abstraction' an abstract question?
Tao: 'abstraction' to me itself is an abstraction, i think, but not as abstract as ''important' or something; i think in language there is like a scale of, for example, 1-100, and 'important' would be like 10 in terms of how abstract it is, and 'a rock' would be like 80, and if you were holding a rock and saying 'this rock' it would be like 99, i'm not sure if your question was an abstract question, i think it was but not as abstract as some other questions, from a certain perspective every word is 'abstract,' but words like 'tree' or 'rock' to me are less abstract since most people can agree on the definition and also because it references something that takes up physical space in the universe
i don't like talking about abstractions
me: did my question make you feel uncomfortable? that's what i wanted to know.
Tao: yes, i felt like 'no matter what' my answer would be inadequate and that a 'complete answer' would be to 'go insane' or somehow turn into a tree, and answer your question by just being a tree, which itself i don't feel like is a 'complete answer;' i feel like the most complete answer i can offer, in a way, is to say 'i don't know,' but i do know some things, or think i know them, and so i feel obligated to type those things, but then i think from different perspectives and i know what i type isn't comprehensive, i feel that continued thinking in this regard will 'make me insane'
me: you are really doing some 'heavy lifting' here, tao
i am sorry if these questions are bad
Tao: don't worry
i was watching conan o'brien on the computer
previously, while eating
me: the general public has been wondering about your viewing habits for a long time now. let's set the record straight.
this is your chance to tell america what show you were just watching while eating, previously, on your computer.
Tao: i was watching conan 'o brien
me: i think i fucked the syntax of that statement.
Tao: most of the time i watch 'vbs.tv' or a dvd
i mostly just watch things while eating, other times i'm checking statcounter
me: how do you feel right now?
Tao: i was thinking about eating waffles or something like waffles, and i thought about the avocado in the kitchen, and how it wouldn't satisfy me, and i thought 'why'
me: i often think that about certain foods. i know that i should eat 'salad'.
but i feel like 'salad' is an abstraction
like a 20 on the scale
whereas 'pizza' is closer to a 60
so i eat pizza a lot
Tao: i think about eating a pizza tonight, i feel like if i was working on a novel and i kept thinking about pizza, or anything else, i would eat it, so i could focus better on the novel; right now i feel like needing waffles isn't really distracting me from anything, so i feel able to resist waffles
me: Turtle Wax, he thinks. Laura, he thinks.
this will be our last question, we're running out of time.
me: do you think that if Charles, from Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie, were to write a novel, that you would want to read it?
Tao: hm, i would want to read it to see what it was like, but i am not at all sure if i would like it; i think writing is strange, i am surprised half the time what someone's writing is like after knowing them in real life; some people that i like do not write things that i feel like is what they are in real life, but maybe in their brain they are really like that, i don't know; in conclusion, i think most people do not write the way they think in real time, in real life, but in some other way, due to a lot of different reasons, which is why i often feel surprised at someone's writing, and none of this is 'good' or 'bad,' just observations i have had
me: that's really good.
it was a pleasure, tao.
Tao: thank you for interviewing me
me: best of luck to you and the new novel.
Tao: thank you, i'm going to read now i think