Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Once I was brilliant  §

but that was before the gray hair and the miles. There are these endless miles, and they have been full of joy and full of suffering and full of a few things in between, and of course a few of them haven’t been full of much of anything at all.

But in any case, once I was brilliant. Also more fiscally sound. I remember at once point having stock options. I don’t quite remember what it felt like, but I do remember that I had them. And then I sold them.

Because I was brilliant.

These days I’m not so so sure I’m brilliant. I’m more stable and less affected by the world, and I’m more quietly determined and maybe just a bit more able to exercise perseverance. More than I used to, I get things done.

Question is, is it cooler to get reasonably good things entirely done or to get absolutely amazing things only half done? I suppose that’s one of the unanswerable questions of the universe.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear all of the self-important types out there screaming platitudes at me right now espousing one or the other position as the answer to that value question, but that’s just the thing—it’s just a value question, and if you’re trying to answer a value question for me, I hate your values so shut up.

Or maybe I don’t.

Maybe I just hate the competition.

In any case, it’s the end of August 2009 and today was rainy. It was a damned and damnable beautiful day and I was sitting in Mike’s Diner in Astoria with my wife and thinking about how beautiful everything just seemed to be.

I was also thinking that the very large window that opened on to the street made me feel incredibly productive and connected to the world, and I told my wife as much, but I’m not sure she understood what I meant. But that’s probably because I’m often fairly unskilled at expressing myself.

But no matter, it was a very lovely morning and I came home and was very productive, which is a fitting sort of segue into Fall 2009, which is just a few months before the arrival of 2010, the second decade of the millenium, and of course of the century.

Not so long ago, at the turn of the first one, I was sitting by myself near the top of a mountain under the gaze of my alma mater (actually, in one of the parking lots of my alma mater). It was a great night, and a terrible night, which is good for balance, or at least for balance in memory.

This is clearly a post about nothing. Maybe it’s just a post about what a beautiful day today was, and about the smell of rain in the late summer.

So I’ll finish with things.


– At some point you give up on politics

– Slow cookers rarely get used, but they appear to sell well

– There is actually no point to “filling your freezer”

– The USSR has been gone so long it starts to feel like fiction you read

– I’ve never been to Australia

– I never used to wear pajamas but now I seem to

– Beer

– On a cube on our kitchen wall is a small clock whose battery I’ve never changed

– On the same wall are somehow hung hours and hours of invisible academic work

– I will never see any of my grandparents again

– Every object has about it the air of the tragedy of the passing of time

– Chinese stores are always cheaper

– It’s decades since I heard about metaphysics, epistemology, ontology, or phenomenology

– I still don’t really know what they are

– But I write about them all the time

– My wife and I are unsure about Brazilian food

– There is a nick in the right, rear tire that will have to be dealt with

– Stokes Brothers, long out of business, is where I got my Atari 2600

– In the 1990s, Lollapalooza was greater than it is now

– But music used to be greater than it is now

– Unlike technology

– Ambient noise is the dream medium of the city’s consciousness

– And endless traffic is its conscience

– For ever and ever, amen

The thing about brilliance is that it’s terribly, terribly expensive. In the end it probably costs you just about everything else.

Worth it?

You can’t know, even if you’re brilliant. The bad money picks a side in this fight. The good money hides under a rock and refuses to come out.