Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: March 2004

light purple rapid dry l’chaim  §

youknowwhoyouare-3 (6k image)

I raise a glass, send a warm thought.

Sun outside. Even though it’s still a little cold, there are secret smiles everywhere to be had.

It’s a couple or three hours later now. I just got back from class, The Passions of Ethnic Conflict. This class is gonna rule. It’s doing what I hoped one of my classes last quarter would do: attack rational choice theorists and their tautological explanations for non-economic social phenomena. I had thought that The Politics of Taste would do it, but it just didn’t, it got bogged down instead in Hume and Kant.

The tautological argument goes like this: people do what they do because rationally it brings them closer to what they want or what they desire. They want or desire things, on the other hand, because it is for some reason rational to do so… Suny begins this course by arguing that this is a fundamental miscalculation. Emotion drives taste, and rationality only preceeds toward the fulfillment of human emotion. Emotion, then, becomes a defintional problem, tied up in culture, praxis, and experience.

Sounds almost like the sort of thing I came here to study. But we’ll see.

Now it’s afternoon. What next? Downtown?

I don’t know.

I don’t have anything in common with anyone here. I don’t want to hang out, I don’t want to study. Of course, I don’t really have anything in common with myself, either.


I’m gonna walk.

How did I do that before?

And do I really wanna do it again?

east urban folklore  §

It’s really windy and wet out. I saw a leaf blowing down the street when I came out of The Pub, so I chased it for like three blocks. Before I caught it, I got really cold, so I pulled my hood on and came home.

Right now, the computer lab in the basement of I-House is like a womb. I have no idea why, but I feel like I don’t want to leave this room for a long, long time.


not so think as you drunk i am  §

Sit still in a busy room where people come in and go out all the time and you begin to hear some kind of pulp music beneath all the activity. It’s 2004. I’m at the University of Chicago. I’m twenty-eight fucking years old. It’s been thirteen years since I was a high school student and eighteen years since the green carpet room with the green drapes and a quarter of a century since Leia and I used to play in the tire pile outside the Gennessee Avenue apartments.

I claim to feel alone a lot but when people I know come around and suggest hanging out in one way or another, I never go along. I don’t gain all that much from their presence. I don’t gain all that much from anything. Things are happening around me and I am a bubble of Borges’ ecstatic instantenaiety, immutable and smiling like the Mona Lisa.

Well, not immutable. Someday I’ll be dead.

Suddenly from out of nowhere, I was reading Harold J. Laski on the Communist Manifesto. It was the first time I’ve been motivated to do anything in weeks. Now I’m done with it. D’oh.

What will be next?

“The chief obstacle in the path of transforming the prerevolutionary into a revolutionary state is the opportunist character of proletarian leadership: its petty bourgeois cowardice before the big bourgeoisie and its perfidious connection with it even in its death agony.
     “In all countries the proletariat is racked by a deep disquiet. The multimillioned masses again and again enter the road of revolution. But each time they are blocked by their own conservative bureaucratic machines.” (Trotsky)

“Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying.” (Bakunin)

Those two don’t really go together. And yet somehow, they do.

Imagination is everything and just today I have none of it.

Duchesse De Borgonne.

cloudy bitter love juice  §

We face climate disasterYuri”s NightMobile ChernobylHills Like White ElephantsInside HamasAlpha-Thujone (546-80-5)On A New List Of Categories–one giant evolution; one gargantuan organism from singularity to epochnone are reinventedall are reusedall are the basis for new constructioneveryone lives forevercode reuse! code reuse! “class organism {}” “class universe {}”history is not thought; history is matterthought is matter; matter is thought; both are energyrules are simply the lack of mastrygod does what he does because he cannot do otherwisegod did not reinvent the wheelwe did not reinevent the wheelwe are inept at extracting knowledge from matter, just as the programmersare; god is a programmer; god is ineptis knowledge extractable, or is the process irreversible?matter is the “waste” from the “combustion” of essencewhat can god do but follow the rules? His lack of mastry! The beauty ofthe “code” is rather incredible, but also precious, like hellgod as the tragic geniusinevitabilityhow did hegel know? how did plato know?einstein is in my monitor! what a concept!everyone understands, but doesn”t realize!is subconscious understanding merely a part of existence?life? death?”a little bit of him lives on in…”what about god?what about god?truth?–I had never been all the way to the edge of the lake before, but I had been told that the northeast shore was the most mercilessly bleak place on the face of the Earth. Standing there as the sun set, shivering, with the smell of salt and decay in my nostrils, I understood. The countless acres of black sand on every side seemed to squirm and shift, teeming with mosquito larvae in the fading light. The thick, cold shallows just in front of me stretched out forever into the lake itself; they were littered with dead gulls and pigeons, many of them partially submerged and covered in worms. Above, the sky took on a grim, colorless appearance and the freezing wind did little to alleviate the stench. Over the sound of invisible waves on the other side of the lake somewhere out of sight and over the low moan of the wind across the desert floor, I began to notice a steady rustling noise all around me. I squatted to look at the ground more closely and immediately stood up again, wiping my hands on my legs and shivering in disgust. Squinting in the last moments of remaining visibility, I could see eddies of dried, dead larvae bodies shifting endlessly above the surface of the writhing mud, carried by the breeze.–Maniac Sinatra. Maniac Sinatra.Maniac Sinatra.

o . c . d  §

I am in the red chair in the morning. In front of me, there is a triptych of clouds. Fluffy, blue clouds. They are hurtling recklessly to the east. I suppose that’s toward the lake. I woke up early in order to shop a class. I thought I would see at least a couple of people that I know. But there were only three people there. I won’t be staying in the class. It only went fifteen minutes. As unpleasant as it was to sit through it, I was still counting on rather more than that, in order to keep me occupied and eat some of my day. I require forced distraction in order to behave, maybe even in order to survive.

Now it’s 11.00 in the morning and I’m at a loose end. That’s a good indication that something is amiss.

The Pub doesn’t open until 4.30 and I won’t go at that time anyway because it’s so early as to be loserly and I’m unwilling to be a loser (yet). Other options: drink my own… go downtown and ???… go back to I-House, crawl into my hole and go to sleep… No way I’m gonna work on anything.

Not anything that I have here, anyway.

It’s been a long time since I had “something I’m working on” that mattered to me. I don’t know what the last thing was, even. Probably the chapbook I was trying to put together way back in the late ’90s, when I was more certain of things. But I look at it now and think it’s shite.

I really want to write. What does it mean when you’ve had five years of writers’ block? Did I ever really have anything to say anyway? When I was younger, it really felt like I did. Only now when I look at what I wrote back then, I can’t make head or tails of it. It’s like hundreds of pages of nonsense. I didn’t have the skill to say what I was feeling then. I might now… but now the feeling has passed…

I’ve lost my anger at the world, or at least ninety percent of it. I’m in one of the world’s great cities, but I’m bored. I’ve seen all of this before. Art galleries, ballets, operas, museums, grand lakes, pubs, clubs, shows. The world full of people either a) starving, b) getting bombed, c) working or d) off work, spending money, waiting to work again. Is there nothing more to life than this?

This is what happens when you have no God. Everything takes on a kind of futile quality. There is no cosmic importance in any of this; in a few billion years this planet will be swallowed up anyway, and long before then every last one of us, and the animals, plants, and trees, will have become extinct.

I wanna hit the road again. The only thing I want to do, the only thing I ever wanted to do, is to see for myself before I die, a kind of hoarding of impressions. Only there is no travel in sight now.

i’ll break it yet  §

Less than a twenty-four hour bounce before the ennui is coloring everything again. I’m sleeping (or not sleeping, as it were) alone; it’s like a neon sign, like a voice on a loudspeaker. It’s everywhere.

I can’t stop thinking. Chicago has a vice grip on my head. Or maybe that’s just reality.

Three things I know about reality: 1) I know absolutely nothing about it; whatever I think I know is either a lie someone else has told me or a lie I’m telling myself, 2) I’m probably gonna hurt again sooner or later, and 3) it’s really beautiful, even though it’s hell.

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens every day
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

beegirl (22k image)A Major Miscalculation

Sitting in a small room, November outside the window, they conjured with the consequences and decided that to know was as painful as not to know, that to have had a role to play was as painful as not to have had a role to play. He decided it was time to go.

I can’t say what’s in my head because everyone in the world reads this and I can’t control how everyone in the world will respond. I want them to think what I want them to think and feel what I want them to feel before I can be honest about anything. Or maybe I don’t want that at all, because it would be a miserable drag and really lonely (be careful what you want?) to control everyone like little chessmen, but as a result I have to just eat everything. It’s been pickled up there in my skull so long, I don’t know what I would say if I was to be honest anyway.

It feels like I’ve spent most of my time fighting life, like I’m rejecting existence itself, refusing to cooperate with inevitabilities and things-which-already-are. Somewhere underneath it all, I’m nobly vowing to somehow win someday, like the underground man, like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

(Non-atheists may replace the Cervantes reference with the similar Milton reference.)

Every now and then I have a reprieve. It’s sweet. But always shortly thereafter, it’s over. I don’t want to read any more books. I don’t want to have any more facts. I don’t want to know any more things. I want to grow a beard and paint on the ex-commune and get shingles. (I want to idealize everything and rationalize everything away.)


There are birds outside. Maybe my new seagulls will be back already. It’s something to hope for. It’s something (dare I say it?) real. Real.


in the dark + between the buttons  §

Just saw one of the cooler friends I have here. He’s gone blind. He was restringing his guitar and lost hold of it and got his eyes with the loose ends of the steel strings. They don’t know if he will need surgery. If he gets it, they don’t know if he will see again.

Put the clothes in the dryer. I am washing the bayou out of them. I am washing the campfires out of them. I am washing bridges and whisky out of them. I am washing good memories out of them. At times like this, the necessities of reality seem insane.

Class tomorrow. There isn’t much time left now before “this summer” is here and there’s another period of upheaval and confusion that I won’t find my way through easily, probably. I used to think I’d be glad when I was done with all of this kind of stuff, but now I realize that you never get done with it, you just do it over and over and over again and love and live and try to keep the faith.

Things that I remember most about the last week: canoe, hike, cabin, Jack Daniel, cemetery, mornings, her smile. Warmth.



It’s raining.

Gimme shelter.

When I got home today, I bought six bottles from the vending machine. Water, water, water, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Mountain Dew. I don’t drink Mountain Dew.

Six billion independent existential dramas running side-by-side in high definition, without subtitles. Blindness, aloneness, confusion, prejudice, hope, joy, reunity, disunity, an anarchist on the road who hates sexual energy, two kids on a different road who have it.

Same rain, though. Same rain is falling on everyone.

“I don’t see any God up here.”
     -Yuri Gagarin, first human in Earth orbit

“Circling the Earth in the orbital spaceship, I marvelled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world! Let us safeguard and enhance this beauty… not destroy it!”
     -Yuri Gagarin, first human in Earth orbit

microwave america  §

I got wireless in my I-House room again!

Praise Allah!

uh-oh  §

The trip was brilliant. But something happened right at the end and now this morning that have confused and worried me. I’m gonna try to talk about it, but I’m not hopeful.

Life is complicated.

3.35 3.09 two cheek waltz  §

So I get back and what have the kiddies been up to?

I thought about posting under the subject ‘The Return of the King’ but then I decided that my ego was too small for that by a few inches so I’m just gonna let you all have it.

Gratifying that something was posted while I was away. Also frightening, it means that the world continues when I am not here. Mortality, mortality, wherefore art thou, mortality? Ha. Fjck.

Long, fun trip. Bought booze. Smelled like fire a lot. Nope, didn’t go to Vermont, or to Montreal or to anywhere like that. Aqueous and my visit to SuperSex will have to wait. No problem, I got shit to do, like a paper.


  1. It’s a free speech zone, which I like. Everyone go at it, now.
  2. I can’t tell the difference between 94 1915 Gold Medal and ‘Old No. 7’ at 80. But this way I can get the little certificate if I want it. I don’t want it.
  3. This laptop screen shakes more than mine. It’s like dancing or something.
  4. The car was blue and ugly and we got fond of it.
  5. Mr. Ghost?!?!
  6. Phone email sucks but it may be the only thing separating us from the apes.
  7. Which are apparently shot wantonly by the crazy fucking zookeepers.

Aqueous: You Are Losing Yourself. Or maybe: be careful not to lose yourself.
Harmir: Life is shit. I know you know it. Thanks for being a friend.
Optein: You rule.
Mystic: Be patient. Everyone will grow up eventually (and then they will die, die, die, that’s the way it fucking is.)

3.41 3.16 it has been a few. That’s enough.

Ciao all, I’m off to retired futon.

Laundry should be done by now…  §

So what I did while I was waiting for my laundry for fifteen or twenty minutes was read Steven Wright quotes after I stumbled onto them from somebody’s Web site and drink orange juice out of a vending machine. Mainly because I came down to get my laundry like fifteen minutes before the cycle was finished.

The hair is a hit. Apparently purple ain’t so bad.

I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really
fast, and stick it out the window. I put a new engine in my car, but forgot to
take the old one out. Now my car goes 500 miles per hour. The harmonica
sounds amazing.

I went to the hardware store and bought some used paint. It was in the shape
of a house. I also bought some batteries, but they weren’t included.

One time the power went out in my house and I had to use the flash on my camera
to see my way around. I made a sandwich and took fifty pictures of my face.
The neighbors thought there was lightning in my house.

Doing a little work around the house. I put fake brick wallpaper over a real
brick wall, just so I’d be the only one who knew. People come over and I’m
gonna say, “Go ahead, touch it…it feels real.”

In my house there’s this light switch that doesn’t do anything. Every so often
I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a
woman in Madagascar. She said, “Cut it out.”

My grandfather gave me a watch. It doesn’t have any hands or numbers. He says
it’s very accurate. I asked him what time it was. You can guess what he told

I brought a mirror to Lovers’ Lane. I told everybody I’m Narcissus.


laundry cleaning shopping returning submitting emailing  §

Universal wisdom nugget: laundry is an almighty drag.

My education is in the educational pits, but that’s okay because I have educational backups. I feel arse-covered. It ain’t bad. And anyway, I think I’m done with this education thing, I think I’m gonna make a serious (serious this time) run at freelancing on a full-time basis, and this time I will be ready to go and get people who shaft me.

Because I don’t wanna fucking reglar job and I don’t wanna stay in school forever.

Leaving tomorrow. Driving. I haven’t driven a car (i.e. seriously driven a car) in waaaay too long now. I don’t know how it will be, but I’m fscking excited to find out. When’s the last time I was on the road? Jesus, it’s forever ago now, prolly summer ’02, unless you want to count the trek to San Fran to stand up at the wedding just before I came to school.

I don’t wanna count it.

Mumble, mumble.

I’m so quotidian.

Too much to do. Why the hell am I sitting here posting on a blog?

I’m off.

A different hat every time.  §

Twenty words and life is better.

Or is it?

God I’m a downer sometimes.

Also, I miss phone calls.

understanding but not understanding = whatever dont care  §

Life is not what you make of it. Whoever said that was a jackass. Life is what other people make of you, and you don’t have a choice, and you can’t get out of it, and you won’t like it, and you won’t want it any other way, because everyone is self-destructive and everyone is a masochist, in their own way, some with pins and spikes and leather straps, some with guns and masks and jail cells, and some with needles and bottles and joy, joy, joy, of the kind your mother always warned you about, back when you used to actually listen to her, but not obey her anyway.

“I’m not satisfied.”


“I’m not satisfied!”

Rumpole of the Bailey never had these problems.

Rumpole of the Bailey was fictional.

I am trying. Maybe I am not trying hard enough. Or maybe I am trying too hard. You never know until afterward, and all you know then is that whatever you did was the wrong thing.

If you’re a stupid, cheerful person, then you don’t get this at all, but I can tell all the cheerful people out there: what you did was wrong, that’s why it went to shit. What you did was always wrong. That glass isn’t half full or half empty, it’s just half what you could have had or infinitely more than you knew existed or wanted to cope with.

I’ve talked to everyone tonight, smoked with everyone tonight, drank with everyone tonight, and I’m lonely.

Everyone is a very bounded quantity.

Not a problem, if you get to define the boundaries.

I don’t get to define the boundaries.

Discontentment Jones  §

Can everyone agree that this whole life thing is shit?

I did nothing today. I didn’t read like I said I was gonna. I didn’t even wake up until 1.30 or something, but that’s okay, because I didn’t want this fucking day anyway. I wanted to put this one back in the fucking basket, but by the time I knew it I’d left fingerprints and they charged me for it anyway. And now I’m eating it.

If I only knew what I want, I’d be able to ‘work toward’ it.

Not so long ago, I accidentally dropped apples out of a cart and ran over them. But even though I know it wasn’t so long ago, it was a long fucking time ago.

The biggest distance from today to the past is between today and yesterday. Last year, or last decade, is only barely farther back than yesterday, if it’s farther back at all.

hate (19k image)
I’m gonna go outside and chain smoke for the next eight hours. When I’m done, I’ll have loved and lost and loved again, the story of my life and everyone else’s, too. When I’m done, I’ll be ten years older and a hundred years wiser, and all that wisdom will be gone by tomorrow, which, paradoxically, is very close.

When I’m done, there will be nothing more to say. When you’re done, there never is.

I miss things, but they’re gone. I don’t miss other things. They’re gone, too. That doesn’t make any sense. If the result is the same, why bother to miss some things and not others? I must be stupid.

From where I sit, I count six bicycles out the window.

Whenever I hear an Oasis song now, I think of you, aqueous.

This monkey’s gone to heaven.

World: I am your man.