Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Normalcy. And things.  §

© Aron Hsiao / 2002
  • The first novel I ever read cover-to-cover in one sitting was Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy. I started it on a lark (I’d been given it years before, but had never cracked it) thinking that it would be a good way to kill time until I dozed of. Sometime around 3:30 am I was reading the last page and it was beginning to dawn on me that I had to wake up and go to school the next morning. I probably owe a lot of things to Ms. Fitzhugh, particularly when it comes to my education and career. As an aside, I have never seen any movie adaptation of this book and I plan to keep it that way.
  • The most useful, most interesting quotes seem to come from college sports coaches. Whether this says more about them or more about me I’m not certain; I only know that it is so.
  • I remember life before the iPhone (it is the 10-year anniversary today). In a very real way, the iPhone ended a particular epoch of my life. Somewhere on Leapdragon 2002 (see my posts earlier this month for a description of this 15-year-old website), I wrote a “dream computing device” bit that described the iPhone in detail. For years, I’d run a quixotic quest to create my dream device, including getting ahold of my own RTOS, hacking spare component boards (processing, touch display, etc.) out of other devices, and writing my own code in C and soldering and awful lot and mostly failing to be satisfied. It was moving at a snail’s pace, but even with a world of Palm OS phones in the early ’00s, I still longed for the One Device to Rule Them All. Then the iPhone was released and someone had built it for me. These days I’m Android, but somewhere in my head it’s still a thing. Good thing or bad thing I’m not sure.
  • After many years alive on this planet, my impression of humanity is that most people seem to run unjustifiably hot and cold and lack internal self-consistency.
  • The end of another college football season. I don’t have all that many of them ahead of me; there are likely more of them behind me. The football season is one of the things that I unwittingly use to measure life, the passage of time. Others include the start of the school year, first snow, the rainy season, and my annual domain name renewals.
  • Someone posted on Facebook that they got lost in the city (e.g. here) and can they please go back to the countryside where they’re from. Perspectives are so different. To me, this is the countryside, and I’m constantly wishing that my life was such that I could go back to the city. Gulfs like this are probably why American politics are broken. I’m sure she’d laugh and say that this isn’t the countryside, let her show me the countryside. And of course I’d laugh and say that this isn’t the city, let me show her the city. Neither of us can conceive of the things in the outer parts of our mutual Venn diagram. It’s just beyond comprehension.
  • How many people get food poisoning from eating those ubiquitous roaster chickens sold at dinnertime at grocery stores? I’d bet it’s a lot. I buy them from time to time, and the one I bought tonight—like about the last three I’ve bought—was severely undercooked and clearly dangerous. If people eat these things without cooking them a second time, or they get the juices everywhere, I imagine the consequences aren’t pretty. I suppose this is down to low-skilled labor at said grocery stores running the roaster ovens in the meat and deli area.
  • Now that I think about it, they’re not ubiquitous but for in suburban areas. In urban areas, nobody would ever buy something roasted by a grocery store clerk and packaged in excessive rubbish packaging. They’d just hit a corner chicken shop if they wanted chicken. Boy, do I miss urban areas.
  • iPad Mini is sold and gone. There’s a part of me that’s sad about that, but I think it’s more sadness about the state of iOS, and maybe even tech, in general. Years ago it would have been miraculous. It’s still solid as a rock and a beautifully polished hunk of aluminum. It also just happens to be a crap device by today’s standards. There’s something sad about that, something that probably means I need to read more Zen Buddhism classics.
  • I need to get another dog. It’s time to get another dog. I will have to crack the (mostly empty) pocketbook.

— § —

© Aron Hsiao / 2002

For a moment today, I had a flash of normalcy. You forget what it’s like when you haven’t felt it for a long time.

I was sitting on the couch, doing daily reading homework with my daughter, and looking out the sliding door in the living room at the very mundane backyard, where the recent piles of snow were gradually melting in today’s rain. The sky was gray and dimming. Nothing in particular was happening.

And suddenly, everything felt normal. It was gone in a flash, but it was there, if only for the briefest of moments. But for that moment, it was shocking. I haven’t felt normal in years and years, since New York at least. There has always been something on my mind, some state of emergency, regret, solution-needing, pending required action, etc.

Amazing feeling. Amazing.

No doubt that’s what one is supposed to feel when one retires, and why so many people pursue a comfortable retirement so relentlessly. For one brief moment, all was right with the world, and I was not bothered, worried, or strained in the least. I wasn’t anything at all. Just there, empty mind, empty everything. Rain falling.

Given everything on my plate and the state of things in my life, I suspect that it will be years until I feel that way again.

Hopefully it’s for more than just a moment next time around.

— § —

Incidentally, it is dawning on me that they were all wrong. Wrong.

I do not need to read less. I need to read more. Much, much, much more. Exponentially more. There are not enough years left for the reading that I want to do.

And a pox on anyone who has tried to convince me over the years to take my nose out of books an join the “real world.” A double-pox, in fact. And to think that I have, at times, nearly fallen for this idea. I am meant to be smarter than that. Would that I always was.

— § —

Oh, and the WordPress app for Android?

It strips out <div> blocks that I enter into the editor. With my own hands. As in, the app is completely useless to me because some idiot decided to fuck it up and pretend that people don’t know what they’re doing.

This is what’s wrong with technology. Oh, and with the rest of the world.

We have a society designed around people that don’t know what they’re doing, because that’s less “ableist” and more egalitarian and fair.

Not that I want to go all Randite on everyone here. Okay, maybe just a little bit. But seriously.

— § —

Pointless post, sure. But aren’t they all? You can spend a lifetime hunting in vain for the numinous, or you can just get the fuck on with it. I guess tonight it’s all about the latter.​