Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: December 2002

So… 2002 is over. My…  §

So… 2002 is over. My “year off” is over. Highlights of the year, for me at least, are introspective for the most part.

I finally laid out $$$ on pro camera, processing and archiving gear in anticipation of the Olympic games. As a result, I’d have to say that it’s really in 2002 that photography became a “serious” hobby for me (at least to the tune of a few thousand dollars).

And in February, I did attend my first, but hopefully not last, Olympic games. The united atmosphere of the games stood in stark contrast to the evils of international political terrorism and American knee-jerk reactions to it.

Speaking of, it’s precisely these evils, and the ways in which they played themselves out, which led to a kind of revival of my own prejudices and beliefs about international politics. During 2002 I became a strident leftist once again, feeling the fire that had been missing from my life since I was perhaps sixteen years old.

From out of nowhere, I made extensive and expensive travel plans for the Summer of 2003, which is now standing directly in front of me.

Then in a kind of sudden summer storm I spent June, July and August traveling all over the western half of the United States by car or by bus. As a kind of climax, I made my first visit to Texas. The company I kept while I was there was great. Texas itself was… strange and slightly disturbing. Texas is definitely not like anywhere else I’ve been.

I finished my third book. I think after you have written three books, it is fairly safe to claim to be an author, after one fashion or another. This took much of the remainder of the year…

Until this month, when the graduate school applications that I’d been working on “under the radar” since the moment I finished my undergraduate work finally began to take shape — and several were, in the end, submitted (with several more to go).

That’s it. Or at least, those are the events. What are the results? I feel as though in 2002, a transition has finally been completed — as though I have emerged from metamorphosis, a new being with new responsibilities.

And it is in 2003 that we will see how I handle them.

I was having a truly…  §

I was having a truly rotten day. I have a hell of a cold and my head feels like a lead ball. I missed every important deadline on the list (and there were several) and personality differences were really starting to get in my way as well.

Then, on my way back from being too late, I stopped in at one of the neighborhood 7-11 stores and got talking to one of the regular neighborhood guys behind the counter. Suddenly the whole world was Sesame Street and I was in the womb of the city, laughing and talking and wishing him a Happy New Year. I love this neighborhood.

And then, when I got back into my car, I turned on NPR and heard the story of Carlos in Mexico City, a poor disabled man who plays the leaf on street corners… and his old, slightly silly voice, taking delight in the music — just the music — was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard.

Now it is a good day.

No such luck. You know…  §

No such luck. You know you’re under the weather when you go back to bed at 5.00 AM to “outrun” a cold and don’t wake up until nearly 3.00 PM with a headache, a sore throat and a runny nose. Yup, I’ll bet all of you wanted those details. Oh well.

Worse, I got paperwork to get done that has to go out tomorrow. I was supposed to work on it this morning. Now I’ve got to do it all in a hurry tonight while I feel like shit. Not cool.

I think I am developing…  §

I think I am developing a cold. This is positively annoying. If there’s one downside to the winter months in cold climates, it’s that whole “cold season” thing.

I actually felt like I was coming down with something once before this season, but then it never materialized. Hopefully this time it will be the same way.

Ugh. Gotta go back to bed. Maybe I can outrun this thing with sleep.

Recent events (which I won’t…  §

Recent events (which I won’t discuss in detail here) have led me to the realization that I have been too forgiving of the whims of conservatives and too tolerant of their “individual beliefs.” Conservatism must be smashed wherever it occurs; it represents a material danger to the lives of common people everywhere. It is perhaps the biggest sin against humanity and the biggest danger to our future.

So-called “Christian conservatism” is likely most dangerous of all, because it doesn’t even claim to have any basis in pragmatism or necessity. It simply dispenses with rhyme and reason, sanity and individual rights altogether, purely in pursuit of dogma. It calls evidence myth, calls myth evidence, calls real science fiction and the fiction of scripture science. Through it all, the minds and lives of young people are being devastated as conservatism removes both freedom of thought and freedom of action and replaces them with force and terror. If this is what “Christ” wants, then “Christ” is a child abuser and a sadist.

The study of politics and religion in other cultures is interesting, academic and at times quaint. The study of politics and religion in one’s own culture can be truly disturbing.

Smash the right!

Smash the right!

Smash the right.

Sometimes you don’t know what…  §

Sometimes you don’t know what to do. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve done. Sometimes you don’t care about any of that shit and you’re just hoping people are okay.

If I thought I was…  §

If I thought I was feeling sick during the holiday, I was wrong. Now I am feeling sick. Truly sick. No, I am not going to explain why… but my tiredness — my life-fatigue — has just increased by a factor of five. Or perhaps ten. Sometimes I dislike life intensely.

Sorry to goosberry here, folks,…  §

Sorry to goosberry here, folks, but at some point every holiday eventually manages to push me over some hidden line into destructive territory. Today has just crossed that threshold. I have no time for fscking religious holidays or any holidays with expectations and responsibilities this high.

Give me fscking Arbor fscking Day any old fscking time, because on that day, ain’t nobody gonna expect nothing of me and I can celebrate it however the fsck I want to without having to worry about anyone else’s precious Arbor Day traditions or fscking Arbor Day fscking generosity or whatever.

And don’t call me a grinch. I gave big bucks to the charities this year when I heard they were struggling to meet their holiday needs. I rang a bell for a while so someone could take a break. Okay, so those things alone doesn’t make me a fscking saint. But how many of you cared even enough to give? Apparently not enough of you, or they wouldn’t have been so short. No, I don’t mean did you “give” to your wealthy friends who are giving shit to you in return, I mean give.

Always at some point on this holiday, somebody in the family just won’t fscking quit and it begins to be about my responsibility, not to the poor and hungry of the world, but to the fragile, selfish expectations of wealthy westerners — expectations about what this holiday is supposed to be: the one day of the year when they manage to have a good mood, and all because for a moment they can pretend that they don’t actually ignore all of their family and friendship ties the other three-hundred-fscking-sixty-five days of the year. All because they’re gonna get a pile of free shit that nobody needs from people they never see.

Well fsck that. Next year I’m hanging out all fscking x-fscking-mas day in the fscking homeless shelter, helping people who really fscking matter and who really fscking need my help.

This has been my x-mas rant. Happy holidays, you wealthy Americans. I can’t bear to smell 99.5% of you.

The city cowboy. Everyone living…  §

The city cowboy. Everyone living in the western half of the United States has seen one. They’re everywhere. Let’s face it, there’s no practical application for spurs or an ammo belt when you’re riding on a city bus. But here in Salt Lake City, we have a special variety of city cowboys that inspire copious amounts of pity.

I was in Dallas and Austin this summer. They have city cowboys there, too… but the city cowboys in Texas drink Coronas, have local authentic Mexican food smothered in habanero peppers for dinner, wear silver-and-turquoise jewelry, curse like sailors when their beer runs out and don’t need any woman’s love to get by.

By comparison, the city cowboys in Salt Lake City drink caffiene-free diet Coke, have Taco Bell for dinner (and tear up after half a packet of mild sauce), wear little green ‘CTR’ (‘Choose The Right’) rings as jewelry, say “Awww, nuts! I’m out!” when their caffiene-free cola runs out… and every last one of them married a girl indistinguishable from their mother when they were eighteen years old.

Conservatives. What a hypocritical lot….  §

Conservatives. What a hypocritical lot. While we liberals are out there trying to feed and clothe the poor and educate the children, the conservatives are busy looking for the next scapegoat to lynch. Who will it be this time? A gay? A Muslim? A woman? A poor person? Kill ’em all, that’s the way to reduce the crime rate and pad my bank account so that I can afford that yacht! Anyway, Jesus didn’t make no fscking darkies, those were all made by the Jews and by Satan!

Meanwhile, the liberals, the accused atheist antichrists of the left, are more “Christian” than the conservatives themselves. While we’re trying to fix things, the conservatives spend their time wishing nearly everyone ill, collecting guns, stealing from the poor and drooling over blood while they lay in wait for the next Texas Death Row human sacrifice.

And while we’re on the subject, why are we calling people “blacks” all the time? He’s “a black” and she’s “a black” and they’re “all blacks” and so on… Jesus, is it that hard to add one extra word and say “a black person” or “this policy is supported by black people” rather than dehumanizing a whole segment of the population?

Hmm… maybe I’m fed up tonight.

Jesus H. Christ, people, if…  §

Jesus H. Christ, people, if you’re not used to driving in the city, don’t venture out in your shitty Americamobile now, in the middle of the shopping season. That’s what leads to the kinds of smash-ups we’ve seen in the central business district last couple of days… a lot of people who never drive downtown because they’re terrified of it are now crawling around, signal-on, signal-off, OhShit!ing in bumper-to-bumper traffic, cutting everyone off, wandering into oncoming traffic, driving on the tracks (oops!) and any number of other offenses.

For God’s sake, if you don’t know how to drive in traffic, take a fscking taxi or the train into town to finish your holiday shopping, okay? I mean, that way you’re safe and I’m safe too!

Never, ever knowing what exactly…  §

Never, ever knowing what exactly “the right thing” is seems to be the province of mankind as a whole, above and beyond all of the other maladies which afflict us. Long and short: I’m bummed. Do you ever really know whether you’re doing the right thing, when it comes down to the people you care about?

Poverty, hunger, world peace… that stuff is easy. Feed them and protect them from the bombs. But the people in your life, the people you know and talk to and love… that’s different. That’s tricky.

They say every man goes blind in his heart
And they say everybody steals somebody’s heart away…

The Mazzy Star is back in heavy rotation. This can’t be good. But it sure is beautiful…

Can anyone explain to me…  §

Can anyone explain to me why we are not at peace? Why humans are killing one another? Why we are allowing children to starve and mothers to die of AIDS? And why are we talking about war yet again? Did we learn nothing from the 20th century? Maybe I quote other people too much. But nevermind, I’m going to quote yet again.

“Circling the Earth in the orbital spaceship, I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world! Let us preserve and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!”

I wish that everyone could see what Yuri saw. I don’t know that anyone has ever said anything more important.

YES! Rocky Anderson fscking rules….  §

YES! Rocky Anderson fscking rules. The whole downtown thing seems unsolvable, out of control, doomed to split Salt Lake City down the middle in some kind of holy war. So what does he do?

He works out a deal exchanging the disputed area of downtown for a huge addition to the community center in my neighborhood, Glendale — something sorely needed. Rocky figures out a way to save the city and save the kids of the poorest neighborhood in Salt Lake City at the same time. The near west side gets new enhancements to health, education and after-school services and the Mormon fscking church gets its precious “conversion mall” downtown. Finally, an equitable solution.

If Salt Lake City doesn’t re-elect Rocky next time around, we don’t deserve him anyway. What a guy. What a guy!

Nothing is ever perfect, is…  §

Nothing is ever perfect, is it?

And you never know just what you’re going to do from one moment to the next. I mean, you often have some vague idea of who you are and what you are likely to do proceeds in some abstract way from that point, naturally…

But still… sometimes you surprise yourself by doing things completely out of the blue.

And, as if on cue, a new windchime has entered my life…