Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: March 2007

Organization of being  §

People segment themselves. I was going to say that they segment their lives, but this is of course an ephemeral or conceptual division that proceeds directly from segmentation across time of the self. That is to say that someone is one person (for example, a worker) one moment and another person (for example, a friend) the next moment, and this sort of thing leads to temporal segmentation, i.e. working one moment without thought of friendship and talking congenially with a friend the next without thought of work.

This segmentation of the self is not absolute, of course, but it is something that most people do to a greater or lesser degree. (In some people the facility is very well developed indeed.) I on the other hand cannot do it at all. I am always all of the things I am, simultaneously, all the time. I am unable to separate the friend from the co-worker or the personal from the public. This skill is, however, tremendously important in our time, and my inability to appropriate and to deploy it is often a serious liability.

  §

At the fundamental level there is no difference between the building of consensus and the suppression of speech. We merely label the artful suppression of speech “consensus building” or “democracy” and the clumsy suppression of speech “totalitarianism.” All of human existence is a meditation on suppression and domination. It is a way of adjudicating the question of who, precisely, will play the necessary but unwanted role of the sacrificial lamb.

Met a teacher  §

on the 1-Train escorting a bunch of art students from D.C. on a trip to New York to visit the New School. She started talking to me specifically because I was wearing a New School hoodie, in fact.

Several adjustments to perspective as a result: (1) it caused me to re-engage with the centrality of New York and the institutions here, something of which it’s easy to lose track while living here; (2) it brought to the fore the extent to which I am in both ivory and golden towers just now, despite my regular claim to be broke and average; (3) it made me realize just how exotic for the average American subjects like social theory, international travel, or media criticism are; (4) it strongly reaffirmed for me the notion that I’m not suited for a life apart from books, writing, and the academy.

Nice people. Just very average… which I, and the people around me, are not. It’s not that I forget such things… It’s just that as I live in International House and work for a media institute and pursue a Ph.D. while carrying around smartphones and cameras and laptops it gets easy to let myself slip from contextual living that sees where I am situated in the world to comparative living in which (from my vantage point rather near them) I see rather clearly the Jet Set and feel my to be impoverished and rather ordinary in comparison to them. Not good for a social scientist.

The poorest of the graduate students at The New School is still amongst the wealthy and powerful elite.

It’s good to get perspective.

Mistaken purchase  §

Vending machine is spitting out the wrong thing again. I think 50 percent or more of what I’ve tried to buy from vending machines in major cities has come out as the wrong thing or not come out at all. Scam.

Where is the key?  §

It’s a bad week. Why? Because my head is empty and I am unmotivated and uncertain about academics once again. It can be difficult to separate “I can’t do it” from “I have no interest in doing it” and this week I’m feeling tinges of such things.

On the other hand, there is nothing in particular that I do want to do right now, career-wise, so it all turns out to be academic (as it were) since I can’t well sit here and post about how I’d like to do nothing for the rest of my life. At least not without being just a tad disingenuous.

What am I dreaming about? Things that you can’t do for a living, I suppose. Forests and trees and hills and lazy afternoons and generally feeling alive, as opposed to feeling buried in a book.

there  §

there is nothing to the rumor
that I have joined the circus

there is nothing to the rumor
that I have failed to pay

there is nothing to the rumor
that I have met my maker

there is nothing to the rumor
that I have lost my way

Dammit  §

I hate forgetting things. Oh well.

Today:

– Complete and submit the pile of various applications
– Email the assistant Dean (or whomever NSSRAA says to email)
– Work a little on my idea about marketplace poetics
– Buy an envelope at the drugstore for gear for sisters
– Begin Adorno paper, try like hell to make it better than Benjamin paper
– Try to make a diagrammatic map of my time for the rest of the semester
– Try to get on top of non-class papers/academic productivity in general
– Deal with the FAFSA thing for next year if possible
– Try to start imagining taxes
– Have a drink in honor of those recently born

Tomorrow:

– Send Alamy submission, check, gear for sisters, DVD (oops)
– Try to actually read some, because that sort of matters
– Laundry, hopefully
– Maybe shop online for some new threads (just a few)
– Sleep or something, hahahaha

There is nothing quite so surreal  §

as a subway that simply doesn’t, or won’t, come.

And I wonder why it is that I encounter such things only on the rare morning that I actually try to make it in to work early. Here we have a platform full of confused and angry people who rely utterly on this social service. A few of them have left mumbling about taking cabs but by and large it’s easy to imagine that most of them are without recourse.

It’s a lovely morning nonetheless; I feel ready to take on the world.

Sunday  §

If you had told me on December 25th what I’d be thinking on the afternoon of March 25th I never would have believed it. Now I can’t imagine it any other way. Life is beautiful and surprising.

lyrics agogo  §

“The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love”

“Signs in the street that say where you

Okay, seriously  §

What’s the deal with me lately? Missing vitamins? Too busy? I’m as diluted as tap water. Am I just getting old and my brain and body have decided it’s time to shift into pre-retirement? Jesus. Why am I sitting here with colds this year, why am I suddenly needing 8 hours of sleep instead of 4, and why do I feel as though my head is empty right now, in the morning?

Or is it just a combination of every last damn thing together? Is it New York? Hmmm, there’s a thought, actually. I wonder if it might be. Too much stimulus = dulled stimulus perception = dulled stimulus response. Interesting, and it feels as though it might be right.

Gotta think about this.

Still phone postable  §

for a little while longer at least.

I’m in a reasonably good mood, despite the cold I’m clearly carrying around with me. In particular, I’m feeling optimistic about money and papers.

This is not, as one might have otherwise suspected, a matter of some particularly paradigm-twisting change in my plans or situation. Instead it’s the kind of optimism that comes from sunlight and a day at work—the knowledge that money is coming your way and that it might just be enough at the end of the day. My lovely SO is right—there is a certain joy to be had in the realm of self-discipline.

Woohoo! This bodes well…  §

We have received news that there will be a sudden rush of work at work. This is good because I need to find a sudden rush of cash. Maybe it will be possible to add some hours, at least from the work perspective. No idea how this fits into the school perspective.

Dammit I shoulda brought the books today for Cooper, since I’m going down there for a moment later.

Wednesday late March  §

It’s the middle of spring break week. I’m totally out of laundry. Today once again I feel inhuman, like an absolute foreigner to, or exile from, society. I know I am different and it pains me but there’s little I can do but keep walking and wondering what it’s like to think of yourself as more or less like everyone else.

I hate feeling like this. Not an absolutely spectacular morning, really. But I suppose life is dangerous, always.

I’ve been fighting with myself all morning, to no effect other than the wanton consumption of time and energy. I think I have managed to engineer a few hundred extra dollars into the equation for the next few months. That is at least something, though among other things it will mean an end (an unexpectedly quick one) to these blog posts by phone.

It’s taking all I’ve got today to go in to work. I don’t feel particularly well but that’s nothing—the thing that’s getting to me is the loss of the possibility of the morning. Today I really want and need that expansive feeling that comes from the knowledge that today is anything I want it to be. This stands in stark contrast to being at work all morning and knowing that by the time I leave, the day will no longer be young at all.

In other years it would be about now that I’d start re-engineering the website here for the following year. I don’t think I’m gonna do that anymore though—at least not for a while.

A giant drop of water just fell on my screen. Here, in the subway tunnel. I think New York is the drippiest (or is it leakiest?) city I’ve ever been to.

Some guy is playing smooth cocktail jazz on a ukelele in the area of the station between platforms. It doesn’t sound bad at all.

Right now even though I must look a fool walking around punching keys on this tiny phone I absolutely can’t stop. I feel as though if I end this entry I’ll disappear from the universe. I suppose that’s the need to be perpetually connected to the network—to the collective—that used to haunt me when I was younger. It’s like I don’t fit comfortably into sociality anywhere as a human, but I can function okay as a node.

Most people don’t have any idea that long before dynamic IP assignments the Internet was populated entirely by well-defined, fully elaborated nodes that could be communicated with using dozens of protocols that trafficked in many kinds of data and various relationships to temporality, giving each node much more the quality of an avatar than a network fragment.

Work. Always there is work.

omg omg omg omg omg  §

So here’s the thing:

It’s 12.45 am and you just got to the subway platform. You have to go 80+ blocks on the train, but it is running sporadically and on altered routes because of track maintenance and this giant thing called a “vakutrak” that seems to be little more than a ridiculously massive vacuum cleaner for heavy rail tracks capable of only a slight crawl through the tunnel.

Do you:

– Take a cab all the way home even though pennies are everything rite now
– Wait billions of years for the “vakutrak” to evolve into a proper train that you can ride
– Get on the 2-train, wait while it crawls, then disembark at 96th and walk 30 blocks

We chose the third option, but we think the first might have been the most sensible and the second might have been faster. As it is it’s taken some time (nearly two hours I suppose) to travel the length of Manhattan. That’s hardcore.