Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: August 2006

starbucks jackpot  §

I don’t know how I managed to miss this one just south of the 103rd street subway entrance, but it’s the Starbucks jackpot. Probably the biggest I’ve ever been in, plus air conditioning, plus outlets about every four feet on the wall. Nice.

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I’d dreamed something intense and was going to blog about it. By the time I got to someplace where I could go online, I couldn’t for the life of me remember anything about it. This morning I woke up and first thing remembered what I’d dreamed that night. And it was still intense, so I was going to blog about now.

Now I’m here, and I can’t for the life of me remember anything about it.



Okay, it’s too hot and humid here. I hate hot and humid. It’s like Chicago or southern California. Gaaaaah. How do these people walk around dry? I’m sweating just sitting here. I walk around drenched all day.

Okay, minor complaint over.

places and people  §

I’m in the village for maybe the fourth or fifth time today to get over to the school and get my registration information. I’ve been here enough times now to be able to form an opinion about it. The village is full of (um, shock of shocks) “village people.”

I’m starting to be able to spot them from a mile away anywhere else in Manhattan. They remind me a lot of “castro people” and “Santa Barbara people.” They seem to either somehow have enough money not to need a real life (and therefore to spend their time on kitschy fashion trifles and whining adoringly at each other in public) or have developed an economy all their own in which to play.

They’re sort of cute in an “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere near them” way. I much prefer my own neighborhood.

raining like a bastard outside  §

rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain

I was going to go downtown to the university’s library today but it’s raining far too hard, so instead I’m sitting in a Starbucks job hunting. I do think I need a job, in addition to all this freelance crap.

It’s my own personal cross: I can do everything. I’ve written six books. I’ve sold thousands of photos. I’ve networked buildings and labs and can manage everything from large-scale UNIX systems running arcane architectures to little PCs running Windows. I’m an amazing photo retoucher and a superb editor. I’m also a pretty strong social scientist. Silly job skills like Word and Excel? Gimme a break, I’ve trained the people that train others. I’ve written macros that are running companies. For free. 🙁

Unfortunately, I’m not credentialed in any of these areas and all of my experience in them is independent, freelance, straight-to-market, or volunteer, not under the supervision of a boss—so I have no “track record” with previous supervisors to which I can point. Which means that whenever I’m job hunting, I’m always starting at the entry level (even though I have no business there) and having to justify myself and “put in my hours” to climb.

I’ve reached the point/age in life at which I think I’m just a permanent, dyed-in-the-wool independent/freelancer, because I can do much better for myself by simply doing an end-run around corporate/organizational culture and going straight to market—even though opportunities are limited.

I mean—if you were me—would you rather write another network security book/take a few more photos to make a minor living with, or would you instead go work as an entry-level janitor for less money and hope in ten years to work your way up to your being “allowed” to touch and maybe, just maybe, operate one of the PCs in your building, for a minor raise?

I’m a social scientist, I know all about the reasons for my predicament. That doesn’t mean I have to like them.

NYC thoughts  §

Today is the first time I’ve really had a chance to settle down and do needed stuff online. Unfortunately, most of the day was used just catching up on work and completing the “online orientation,” um… stuff… for the school. Now that that’s all done it’s getting late and I need to get home and do laundry in anticipation of tomorrow.

Thoughts on NYC so far:

– I’ve met some people here and there but coming from home it’s pretty lonely
– NYC people are maybe trying too hard to be NYC people
– It’s as expensive as everyone says it is, I don’t know if I can make it work
– It’s hard to get online, actually
– The food is awesome
– I feel like I’ve been here forever and still not been to a class
– Classes don’t begin until September 5th, so it’s still more than a week away
– The job hunt is gonna be painful, I can feel it
– My room is a little small this time around
– PBS (one of the only channels I get) is better here so far than anywhere I’ve been

I guess we’ll see what the next week brings. I need to find a job. There are people other than my family that I miss, but there’s not much more to say about/to them at the moment. Oh well. I’ve had enough of the Starbucks for today, it’s time to get back to I-House and do some laundry and so on.

Orientation tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous.

Untitled  §

Well… New York.

I got to I-House at 8.30 in the morning Wednesday. Airport and cab ride were largely uneventful (though I did have to argue with the cab driver over whether the address was real or not—apparently I already know the neighborhood better than the cab drivers working JFK’s queue).

Everyone told me a lot of tales about it, but I don’t see much difference between NYC and San Francisco, frankly. It’s a place, a city, like any other. Not particularly excellent, not particularly sub-par. (Admission: I like Chicago best of any major city I’ve visited so far.)

Morningside Heights: Well… What can I say? The neighborhood is pretty average (even with Columbia sitting in the middle of it) and not particularly commercial. In fact, I had trouble finding out online where I’d have to go to shop. “Which way to retail?” was my first question, and despite the proliferation of websites about this part of Manhattan, none of them were actually helpful.

I walked around by myself for the first half of the day trying to locate the nearest commercial district but instead just saw a lot of Harlem and random living space. It was an article in some rag about encroachment of the “commercial zone below 95th street” that finally pointed me in the right direction, and after that I walked all the way down to 60th (lots and lots of blocks—but really 65 of them?) to scope it all out before taking the subway back.

Today I did the opposite—I took the 1 train all the way to the 14th street station that takes me to the school, then I walked around the southern half of Manhattan, from the west edge to the east edge and back again a few times, through the Village and Chelsea, across Times Square then all the way up to 50th. I think at this point I have seen most of midtown Manhattan between 125th and 14th, from the river to Broadway, on foot, as well as pretty much the entire Village, from one side to the other in both directions.

Two days. My feet are killing me. I think I’ve probably put in 15-20 miles of walking.

It’s a place.

What I need most right now: a better idea of what awaits me at the New School (I suppose orientation will take care of that) and an income of some kind. Also, rest and a clearer, more relaxed mental state.


all surreal

I have the best sisters in the universe.


24 hours until takeoff



A Julie Andrews Moment  §

Things that make me happy:

– Snowy days
– Quiet suburban roads lined with tall trees in the autumn
– Football season
– Rainy, blustery days on the beach
– My sisters
– Photographs (whether I’m taking them or looking at them)

I’m in full-on “I feel ill” mode now. :-/


Sadness in full throttle now, at 3.00 am in the morning.

I really don’t want to go. 🙁

And of course, I know all too well by this point in my life that the moment I stay, I really won’t want to stay.

There is no satisfaction, no relief, ever.

Ever. 🙁

Just ennui and loneliness.

depression  §

deep uneasiness in the pit of my stomach
exhaustion at doing this once again
loneliness, frustration, impatience with life

Can you feel it?  §

War is coming. It’s in the air, just beginning to be perceptible. Not right now, not yet, but maybe in the next 10 or 15 years. North America is going to be shaken up, and the struggle may be much larger that the nation, or even just the region. It won’t be the war against Islam that most of the Christian right is frothing at the mouth for. Or at least, it won’t just be that.

The war of civilizations will also pit new immigrants against old, urbanites against rural farmers, educated against uneducated. My gut tells me it’s going to be a global war about class, economics, resources, empire, the increasingly internationalized military-industrial complex, and identity, but with defining lines drawn in ways that nobody expects.

Somehow, I can’t wait.

last weekend approaching  §

My last weekend in SLC is approaching. I’ve been here (with a slight interruption) for nearly a year. In classic needs-to-read-a-sappy-self-help-book fashion, I don’t feel like I’ve arrived at my “real life” yet, even though it’s passing around me every day. Yup, I’m living for tomorrow. In this culture people say that’s bad. I don’t know.

I’m not a ‘Type A’ personality and never have been, and I’m old enough and experienced enough to know that not everything in life can begin or end tidily, but once, just once, I wish I could feel like I was making a clean transition from ‘A’ to ‘B’ rather than a messy, half-assed, complex, overwhelming mess of an on-a-shoestring venture.

I’m a little sad. Okay, I’m a lot sad. I’ll miss my sisters, my pets, and yes, my parents. Always do. They like me more than anyone, so it’s only natural that it sucks to lose that positive reinforcement.

But oh well. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. And maybe next time, once I’ve exhausted the string of academic abbreviations, I’ll finally have arrived at “real life” and can have a lifestyle (I once claimed to hate that word) instead of a living arrangement.


Life moves really fast. Really fscking fast.

Love CounterPunch  §



The humanity of republicans