Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Memorial Day 2013. Already.  §

So here it is. One less thing in limbo.

In 2008 when my longtime host told me that Greymatter was no longer going to be allowed on their systems, and when I couldn’t find another host willing to inexpensively host a Perl-based blog, I thought it would take me a few weeks at most to get around to theming up my own blog using a newer CMS like Drupal or WordPress.

As an interim move, I used some off-the-shelf themes, and found myself customizing/tweaking them here and there despite myself. But they never quite worked the way I wanted them to. I don’t need images, categories, tags, menus, widgets, and all that other jazz. I don’t want to run a magazine on my personal blog. Never did.

It’s 2013 and I’ve finally got around to it. Six years later, here is my last Greymatter theme, ported over to WordPress by way of BlankSlate.

I plan to use it for a while.

— § —

Other things in limbo:

– Dissertation (don’t even ask)
– Stock photography (hundreds of unkeyworded photos waiting on Alamy)
– Life and work data (hard drives, folders, Evernote, DevonThink…)
– Car (coolant leak, other niggling issues)
– Work (task list a mile long, all gigs)
– Family life (still not integrating well with work life)
– Health insurance and health care (don’t even ask)
– Future plans and goal setting (lots of tools and thoughts, no labor or plan)

In short, I find myself in the same middle-aged, parent-with-kids trap that every twenty-something swears they will never fall into.

There is simply no time for any of these things, and so, despite what the self-help literature says, you will not manage to outrun yourself and to seize the moment, live deliberately, reach out toward your goals, and la, la, la, because you simply don’t have the time. Whatever one thing you do, all of the other things suffer.

It’s not an organization problem; it’s a life complexity and responsibilities problem. If you have forty ours of work that need to be done today, you won’t get them done. People say that you then have to “simplify,” but of course cutting out one thing (say, a car, or work, or health insurance, or writing a dissertation) tends to make everything else more complicated and time/money-consuming down the road. It’s a zero-sum game.

So far as I can tell, the answer is that you just live through it, then tell the stories later on to your kids about how life got “tough” somewhere as they were young.

— § —

Academic life seems a million years away. Dissertation? Hard to tell how you’re doing when you’re speaking greek to yourself.

When your days are about KPIs and analytics and quarterly revenue targets and support tickets, it’s tough to think about curriculum planning, grantwriting, independent research, and accrediation reviews.

There just isn’t room in anyone’s head to be fluent in two separate ontological universes at once.

— § —

I have a tendency to go on to long about any particular thought.

It’s not new, but it’s getting worse. Comes from my mother’s side of the family

— § —

Boundaries are one of the trickiest parts of parenting and family life:

– Nobody respects them
– You hate to set them because you want to be included
– It’s quite difficult to figure out how to set them as a practice
– When they’re violated, the consequences for everyone are uncomfortable
– Which leads one to pretend, when they are violated, that they never existed
– Which weakens them still more for the future

— § —

iPhone: No widgets, no phablet, no openness, no configurability, no affordability.

Android: No stability, no good apps, no standardization, no respect for users’ time.

— § —

The thing about dissertations, particularly in the qualitative wing of the social sciences, is that you have to write them in about a week, otherwise all of your background research becomes obsolete long before you get a chance to complete or defend.

There’s this cycle that’s tough to escape:


Haven’t figured out how to circumvent that problem.

— § —

Today intended: Wake up, write two articles for two clients, work on dissertation, play with kids at end, go to bed early.

Today actual: Wake up, try to calm sick kids down, fix car, put out household fires, entertain grandparents arriving at 3:00, put kids to bed, have drink, go to bed late.

— § —

Will this stuff get better?

Having this new old blog back in place makes me hope so.

I mean, now I have a timestamp again, for God’s sake.