Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: September 2007

N.B.  §

Dear World,

I have taken the morning off. It’s not that I’m not feeling well, but rather that I have been putting in a heavy schedule lately and just need some time to spend with family while I clear my head.

I’ll be in this afternoon and will catch up then. In the meantime, I hope all goes well during the first half of today and that my absence this morning doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s work or schedule.

See you soon!

Best,

Aron

The hippies and religious leaders…  §

…have it wrong. Peace does not come from love. Peace comes from discipline, universal self-denial, profound moral relativism, and the wisdom to be able to deploy all of them pragmatically with respect to the largest picture perceptible. Love has absolutely nothing to do with peace.

Thing is  §

I don’t trust humans in general; all of history tells us that they are essentially gutless and untrustworthy, an ugly race in general.

A day in late September  §

Conventional wisdom tells us never to order from any Chinese restaurant that circulates full-color delivery menus, taking such extravagance to be a sure sign that a proprietor doesn’t know how to run a business. It’s an overreach for a cut-rate noodle shop at best. At worst, it can be out-and-out fraud.

But I thought I’d give it a try nonetheless, and so at 11.15 am I ordered a lunch combo and some wontons on the side (to meet the delivery minimum) from a place in Astoria with an exceptionally nice full-color delivery menu, after which I immediately returned to reading and grading the pile of paper of various kinds that currently lives on my desk.

At 12.55, having completely forgotten about my order and feeling vaguely hungry for no reason that I could explain, I walked Shandy for a few minutes before having to go to Manhattan for a pedagogy seminar. At 1.10 as Shandy and I returned, my phone immediately rang. I answered.

“Hello?”
“Open the door! Open the door!”
“Who is this?” I asked.
“You order food?” asked an annoyed-sounding voice on the other end.
A light bulb went on over my head.
“Chinese food?”
“You order?”
“Yes I did,” I said, “at 11.15! It’s almost 1.15 now!”
“So why you walk your dog now?” asked the annoyed voice on the other end of the line.
“I walked him because I totally forgot about you coming—like I said, I ordered at 11.15!”
“Well I here now so why you walk your dog, make me wait?”

It took several moments and a truly heroic suspension of incredulity for me to realize that he was actually scolding me for making him wait five minutes to deliver a two-hour-late order totaling only two items and eight dollars. I told him I’d buzz him in and then I hung up.

He presented at the door with an annoyed look on his face. When I paid for the order in exact change with no tip, the annoyed look gave way to malice—full-on ill-will.

I shut the door and began to tie my shoes before leaving forthe subway.

Fall will be here any moment, but for now it’s 80+ heat with 80+ humidity. :-/

The stars have realigned  §

without my being fully aware of it. I need to slow down and notice where I am and get ahold of what is happening, or this semester will be over and fully played out before I get a chance to ensure that it all goes well.

Things  §

ONE

Now running Fedora 7 on a T30. Seems stable and about the same as six. A few updates (Thunderbird, most visibly to me) but nothing new to write home about. Had to assign labels to all partitions to get Anaconda to do the upgrade.

One issue: EXA acceleration on Radeon Mobility really sucks. Had to revert to XAA for the time being to get decent performance.

TWO

Have two crazy neighbors, one who gets passively-aggressively pissed off every time anything (ANYTHING) is in front of our door—box, stool, etc., and one who gets literally pissed off anytime she hears a noise (like, say, people walking down the hall in their socks). Both make a habit of talking to the super about things that are totally normal.

I like this place a lot but it does look like we have princesses for neighbors.

THREE

I’m a bit overwhelmed, time-wise.

FOUR

It’s damn hard to get ahold of a bed in New York if you don’t want to spend $5,999. Showrooms are all full of very expensive stuff and they don’t want to sell you anything cheaper. Delivery is a problem. Brooklyn, which is where all of the cheap furniture stores are, is Brooklyn, and you can’t manage to actually buy anything there to save your life.

Ergo, no bed.

Yet.

FIVE

Got papers to grade.

Public service announcement  §

To anyone who has ever scolded me or who may do so in the future:

Before you try to offer me your opinion, be sure you are as wise as you think you are. I don’t need your help. Have you written six books? Hold three degrees? Lived in every major city in the US? Worked as a computer scientist, an investigator, a writer, a managing editor, a university instructor, a researcher, and a union laborer? Are you competent at virtually _everything_?

I am. I have. I do.

Sooner or later you will probably need my advice. If I choose to give it to you, it will _work_, if you can take the time to listen.

I, on the other hand, do not in all likelihood need _your_ advice.

Just bear it in mind.

Public service announcement  §

To anyone who has ever scolded me or who may do so in the future:

Before you try to offer me your opinion, be sure you are as wise as you think you are. I don’t need your help. Have you written six books? Hold three degrees? Lived in every major city in the US? Worked as a computer scientist, an investigator, a writer, a managing editor, a university instructor, a researcher, and a union laborer? Are you competent at virtually _everything_?

I am. I have. I do.

Sooner or later you will probably need my advice. If I choose to give it to you, it will _work_, if you can take the time to listen.

I, on the other hand, do not in all likelihood need _your_ advice.

Just bear it in mind.

Status report  §

The semester is disorganized. Maybe even a mess, so far. But that’s okay, it seems to be working. Shandy is getting walked on average three or four times a day. I am enjoying teaching. I am enjoying class. I am writing (although not quite as much as I could). The house looks great. And I have enough time somewhere in it all to sit here and write this. There is lovely ’80s artwork from the eastern (i.e. communist) bloc hanging on my walls. I am not totally broke. Things are working.

Things are f’king working. 😀

I am sitting here listening to old music and thinking about life and liking it and maybe misting up a bit. Life is so short it’s alarming. I can’t believe I’m this old. I can remember when my parents were the age I am now because I had already been born long enough to have things like age explained to me. I am well behind where they were at at my age and I’m still nowhere near that level of living.

The living room is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Shiny hardwood floors, a 500-pound sold wood coffee table, a green suede papasan chair, a Polish film poster featuring a lovely woman, and some bamboo. Life could not get better, I think. I just need to be sure not to take anything for granted—to remember that it cannot get much better than

– Large apartment in New York
– Right against the Hudson river
– Alongside a park and underneath a scenic bridge
– Getting paid to get a Ph.D. at a famous research university
– Teaching social theory at the university level
– Writing for a New York Times company
– Earning money on the side from photography
– Engaged to a beautiful, amazing, spectacularly intelligent Polish woman
– Walking an absolutely handsome, tremendously fit, loving puppy every few hours
– Working at an international research institute
– With great friends that are still talking to me even though I am stupid busy

Damn life is good. And it’s true, I am busy. Busier than I’ve ever been before in my life. Everything—literally everything—is going on… life is opening up to me, becoming mine in a way that I never thought would happen. All I have to do is ride the wave and keep my head.

I haven’t listened to The Verve’s “Lucky Man” since December 31st, 1999. If there’s a moment to do it, this is it.

Yeah, okay, she’s right, I’m a mythomaniac. The mythologies of the self, however, are those that turn the world on its head, that make servants out of kings, that bring walls tumbling down and keep the possibilities flowing.

Life is short. There is nothing to do but build legend in time to become one, because otherwise… you won’t.

Messy…  §

It can’t be like this, I won’t last the semester. Gotta get organized, and fast. Gotta manage time better starting yesterday…

Sad things about life…  §

Trying too hard can be just as destructive as not trying at all.

Well…  §

…off to hold class.

Well…  §

Off to hold class…

Eventually  §

life gives everyone grey hair

Sitting on the subway on the way into town may not be the most appropriate moment to make blog posts, but I have been thinking today (as I grapple with everything that is going on in my rather packed life) about how radically different my perspective is now from the way it was a few years ago during my first semester at Chicago. I almost can’t remember what it was like to be the ‘me’ of then, who now seems terribly nonchalant, terribly naive, and also terribly destructive.

The two biggest changes between then and now are that now I know what I want and I also know how to go about getting it (and how not to go about getting it).

I don’t think I could ever have imagined then living on faith and sheer will to the extent I am doing now. Everything seems to be falling into place these days; each time I feel as though I am just hanging on by a thread, the thread seems to hold in the end.

I guess that’s what experience and age give you: stronger thread.

So far so good  §

Things are complicated and busy, but nothing large has broken yet. The dominoes seem to be falling in the correct order. There are, however, rather a lot of them this semester to fall. We’ll see what happens.