Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: May 2001

Hostility bias.  §

Sometimes I find people — or more specifically their cultural bias and assumptions — incredibly hostile.

The desert or the snowy highlands? Which will it be? I haven’t decided yet.

In memory…  §

So I’m sitting here on a late spring night and I’m wishing and wondering and trying to remember… There is probably work to be done, but (as always) it can wait and I’ve never really been the prompt one anyway — never the one to keep it all straight.

Started the day out by replacing my blown 300 watt power supply with a nice, hacked up 400 watt unit. Then, I went for a soda and ended up giving this african guy called Fuzzy a ride to the Trax station because his radiator sprang a leak. Nice guy. Turns out he’s from Somalia… I kept wondering afterward what it would be like to be him. Then, I came back, grilled up some food and after eating it, was playing some basketball with everybody even though I should have been studying.

Now it’s dark out and I’m in here sifting through a bunch of old files and I stumble across this:


It is very early in the morning and I am in San Francisco, California. My life has been turned inside out and upside down…

Odd how things come back to you. I ran up about $800.00 in mobile phone bills during that trip. So I start to think about what it was like in San Fran when my grandparents were there for the winter, before they died, and we’d all go down to the waterfront and drop nets over to catch crabs for dinner… They were all very affected by the war, so the memory feels quite natural for the day…

Now I’m just wishing that my Prime Suspect 3, 4 and 5 videos had already arrived. But they haven’t. That’s how life goes. Sometimes you meet Fuzzy from Somalia and you’re remembering your past and missing some videos you don’t have yet and then other times (say, tomorrow…) you’ll be in class, and the only record you’ll have of all of these thoughts is up on your Web diary…

…it is only so when…  §

…it is only so when your dreams are clean…

…and ultra-real…

Woah, where did that week…  §

Woah, where did that week go?

Good intentions and firmly-set goals. What exactly where they good for again? Damned if I can figure it all out. I’m just petting a cat for comfort while everything spins around me like maniac Kansas around Dorothy. Where or when I will emerge I couldn’t say.

Some people my age are old already. Ha! Not me.

It is five o’clock in the f@$#ing morning.

Sometimes I think I am…  §

Sometimes I think I am too evil… But I’m lauging so damn hard it doesn’t even seem to matter!

Summer 2001 Begins  §

Still hadn’t turned my calendars over from April. New shot of Marilyn on one calendar, and a nice boat scene on another. There are four calendars and four clocks (one of them is done with blue neon light tubing) where I sleep. I am obsessed by time. I always have been. I can sit for hours and watch seconds pass… it’s fascinating, oppressive, wondrous, surreal and mundane all at once.


But anyway… my last semester has started. First three classes today were Mesoamerican archaeology, Paleoanthropology, and a course on Evolution and Disease, kind of like socio-historical epedemiology. An ethnographic course on women in the Middle East starts Wednesday. There are going to be a hell of a lot of notes to take this semester. On the upside, I get to mess about with actual human remains. Ought to be fun.

I’m looking at work. Probably I’ll just do some menial part-time stuff on campus so that I can operate around my classes and still be able to focus most of my time on studying. Real-estate sounds interesting as well. Knowing how members of my family made out in real estate (can you say “$$” five times fast?), that’s tempting as well, though I’m not really clear on the amount of study that’s actually required to do it.

I may also consider actually writing another book. I know, I know, I was telling everybody that I wasn’t going to do that. But this won’t be a tech book — it’ll be a rework of the first book I wrote on avoiding high school and coming out with a nice diploma anyway. Now that I know the publishing industry better and have contacts on the inside, it might be a viable project. I could call it “Beat the System: How to Get Credit for Cutting Class” or something like that. Ought to make the teachers’ unions happy.

My car is making noises still and the windshield has a nice, growing network of cracks in it thanks to three consecutive rocks from our lovely ongoing construction zone here in Salt Lake City. Soon as I get some viable cash going on again, I’ll have the car looked at. I’d like to get it into proper shape to drive to Los Angeles in September.

Only this time I won’t try to do over 100 up that long hill on the far side of Death Valley. A year and a half later I’m less stupid. Theoretically.

Got to find a way…  §

Got to find a way to get ahold of Myst III: Exile. My final semester starts after the weekend. Bittersweet, bittersweet.

Mostly bitter. *laugh*

Sometimes life really sticks in my crawl.

Got to get my VCR hooked back up and programmed so that I can tape Northern Exposure more regularly.

Some days you get scammed…  §

Some days you get scammed twice.

First Security Bank sold out to Wells Fargo Bank. So of course my account gets moved across. I don’t mind. But I get my new debit card and what does it say? The type of account I’ve been converted to has a daily purchase limit of $500 using the card and a daily cash-out limit of $300. What the hell do I do with that? When I pay my tuition now, I either have to show at the little payment window four days in a row, $500 each time, or I have to go to an ATM and get cash six days in a row, $300 each day, and for that time I can’t buy anything else with it. Nonsense and bullshit. Not to mention that the fees at Wells Fargo are high. Time to find a new bank.

Next scam… Auto insurance. I accidentally let my insurance lapse. It’s only been a few days, and I call up Progressive to pay the bill with my (newly limited) VISA debit card and get insured again so that I can drive to class on Monday. What do I get told? Renewal denied. There have been policy changes, but at first they won’t tell me what they are. No problem, they say, I can just open up a new policy instead of re-activating the old one.

“Okay,” I think, “I’ll do that.” But then I find out what the policy changes are. Now I have to insure every other person of driving age in the house on my policy, even though I own my car and only I drive it. This means that I will pay insurance for five adults instead of just myself. I tell them that the other drivers all have insurance of their own and that they never drive my car. That they’ll be double-covered for a car they don’t even drive and I’ll be footing the bill. “Well,” the stupid woman says, “we’re taking the risk, aren’t we?”

No, you’re not, you stupid cow, because after much dicking around with other insurance companies (try all day), I found one that doesn’t have this ridiculous, unethical policy. Geico is willing to insure me on my car and exclude the other people I live with from my insurance policy. Stick that in your portfolio and wriggle, Progressive.

This shit reminds me of the IRS “self-employment tax” scam. I have no employer, so I have to pay twice, the IRS says. They’re taking the risk, so people in this house have to be insured twice, the insurance companies say. And I don’t know what the fuck Wells Fargo is thinking, limiting people to $500 a day on the balance in their own God-damned checking account.

Too damn much money involved in all of this. Makes me remember why I’m an economic leftist. Oops… I’ve just stated a policital affiliation in my diary. Time to go and say twenty Hail Marys. Trust me, I already feel a ton of shame about my huge-ass computer system and CD/DVD collection. Really.

Grades in. Got about a…  §

Grades in. Got about a 3.6 for the semester. Not spectacular, but not a total failure either. Degree Audit Reporting System says that my English BA is officially done — “OK” in all columns. Now I just have to finish Anthropology over the summer. It’s nice to know that I can have the degree anytime I want it… Seeing the DARS report made me feel like I’ve finally accomplished something in my life. Not like publishing books — that was always kind of a minor thing, though people tend to make a big deal out of it.

Got asked about commencement ceremonies today. I don’t think I’ll go to them. Not quite my style… I’ve always been the one doing great things, but sliding them by just under the radar, with a minimum of pomp and bullshit. Who knows, though. I might change my mind yet…

Wee hours…  §

So I will be taking Mesoamerican Archaeology and some more courses about the near/mideast in a moment. And I have to admit, I’m standing back and wondering how the hell I got to where I am. Not that it’s a bad sort of a place to be… Just not the sort of thing I’d have imagined when I was 16 years old.

Time flies. It’s a decade since then. I’m remembering pumping endless quarters into Space Harrier and running through the park at 2:00 AM and having a meal at Buddy’s and every girl I’ve ever kissed. Soon as I’m done, I’ll be ready to move on with it. Sometimes I see people on campus and I think I recognize them from days past, but I never stop them and say hello. It’s always better to remember than to re-experience.

Some moments, one is sure that anything is possible.

The response: an ethereal chorus
on every side, a hurried song
among the whispering trees —
they are endless yellow mayflies,
jumping and reeling,
a whirlwind of butterflies’ wings.

To speak or to listen? Which is the correct choice? Of course, there isn’t a correct choice… and one always feels that one of the choices must be “more” correct than the other one…

Ah, well. Time for a drink.

Semester really over.  §

Final essay submitted for my Pharaonic Egypt class. Yes, an essay rather than a paper in an anthropology class. Reading over it, it’s definitely a romantic statement rather than an intellectual one, but given the subject matter and the scope of the assignment (which was almost entirely personal), I think a little romance may be appropriate.

God I’m wordy right now. Comes from revising a rhetorical essay for an hour or two. I’ll watch some TV before I hit the sack and that’ll bring me back down to Roseanne’s level.

Feeling a little better yesterday and today, but still definitely not at full power. Haven’t even read my e-mail for a few days while I try to recover my breath and wits. Hopefully by Monday, I’ll be feeling well for the week-long break between my classes, during which I either have to get a job or get something published really fast. *smirk*

P.S. to everyone: I will be moving hosting sites soon, so the deep URLs for my pages will change. The domain www.leapdragon.net will continue to point to the correct location — it will be transparently switched after the move is made so if you find at some point that your old bookmark(s) don’t work, just re-enter through www.leapdragon.net and bookmark the new page(s).

So while I’ve been ill,…  §

So while I’ve been ill, I’ve been gaming. I just finished Ultima IX: Ascension. Wow. Now that’s a game. It took me several months because these days I only play in my spare time and as always, I don’t use hints or spoilers of any kind. (Why bother to play if you just look at the answers?) The game map is truly huge, varied and immersive and so is the story, especially if you played any of the other Ultima games over the years. All I can say is that this game is an example of what 3D gaming can do… It makes other action/adventure/RPG titles like King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity and Omikron: The Nomad Soul look like teenage pranks. This is especially true of King’s Quest, which tried to do something similar (it was also the ninth game in a long series about a persistent world) but failed miserably by comparison.

Now I’m going to go and revise a last paper and/or essay that I wrote while I was feverish… I was supposed to submit it yesterday, but I got an extension because as it is now, it makes almost no sense. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote it, but it’s clear that whatever I was thinking, I was thinking it at 102 degrees.

Footnote: Damn. That Jazz loss last night was probably the most painful I’ve seen in a long time. Shit. The very last basket made in the game is the one that wins it for Dallas and eliminates us from the playoffs in the first round. To the final moment, I was sure we had it. Even that last Malone shot… I was sure that !@#$%^!@#$%^ was going to go in.

After I get my paper and/or essay re-written, my semester is over.

Coughing, coughing, coughing.  §

Okay, now I’m tired of coughing my lungs out. It’s not like this is January. Why am I so ill? Or why couldn’t I have become this ill after all my finals were over? Last one is tomorrow evening and it is my hardest, just when I am feeling my worst. Nice.