Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Blogging is silly  §

and yet I continue to do it. I’m not really even “blogging” by today’s standards, which essentially require that someone attempt to become an expert in one subject or another and to write a book about it online in a long, episodic sequence of witty posts about that particular subject, or at least while visiting all other subjects in life through the lens of that particular subject.

By today’s standards, what I’m doing is more akin to “completely random self-indulgent, narcissistic shit online using a content manager.”

That’s okay. I didn’t ever aspire to be a blogger, this all started in 1999 as a way to keep a diary without having to use a pen.

Here’s the thing. Actually, there are several things and they’re all on my mind these days.

First of all, this edition of the “blog” clearly sucks ass. It doesn’t inspire me at all. The last edition absolutely got me typing all kinds of thinks I enjoyed thinking, and later, reading.

This one, not so much.

Next, the purpose of this blog is to help me to know myself. Always has been. So here’s the analysis of the moment, or at least, the list of random facts that has come to the fore in it.

1. For the last few days, I have very much wanted to rake leaves and do fallish things of that sort. Basically, I want a yard. I miss having a yard. Yes, I have a park. No, it’s not the same thing. a) The park does not belong to me and is often crowded and full of strangers. This rarely happens in your own yard. b) The park is located in New York City, nestled amongst many tall buildings and lots of traffic. This is different from a proper yard, which is nestled amongst other yards. c) There is relatively little chance that I will be able to harvest a few pumpkins in the park in coming weeks, primarily because there are no pumpkins growing in the park, primarily because it’s a park. If it were my own yard, there would be pumpkins. d) All of this makes me want to watch This Old House a lot, which makes me—in turn—want a yard.

2. The last couple of weeks have seen, between my wife and myself, the collapse of an employment situation, the beginning of the academic semester, oral surgery, dog bite by an unknown dog, multiple rounds of antibiotics and painkillers, the potential need for rabies shots, the beginning of football season, and a jury duty summons. I’m exhausted and I want regular life. I want a nice, steady, even-keeled life to be here somewhere. So far, it doesn’t seem to have arrived. I don’t know when it will.

3. My wife took the plants down from our front windows. Now I thought I liked these plants a lot. They were fast growing, nice and green, viney and climby, and took over the living room in the most all-natural of ways. Only they cut off (and I hadn’t realized this) our visual access to the world. There were definite chi problems going on, if I may be so bold and ridiculous. With the plants suddenly gone, it as though the apartment is twice as large as it was two weeks ago and is actively inviting the world in instead of making the inside of the apartment feel like an enclosed space of confinement in which the world was forcibly kept out and we were kept in. Good move by her.

4. That change and the experience of it have made me wonder whether or not there are a lot of other issues hanging around in my life that I’m not seeing, a lot of other things that are getting—without wanting to be too negative about any of this—utterly stale. I was going to go to the park last night and make a list of “Things In Life That I Like” and a matching but inverse list of “Things In Life That I Don’t Like” so that I could compare these against my actual life as-lived and see if there were things that needed to be added and/or removed in order to enhance my state of mind, and thus, my productivity. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to it last night due to unforseen timing and circumstances. Maybe this is a project for today.

5. One thing I know I miss is having a very large and spacious university campus and library somewhere accessible to me. One of the major drawbacks of New York City right now is that there is simply no space available to me outside my own apartment. There is no way to have a “change of pace” or to put yourself into a “work-friendly, quiet academic environment” because space here is at such a premium that you feel lucky if your own kitchen is large enough to allow a laptop to be set up and used. There is no large library with tons of space to which we have access. With all due respect to NYU, the Bobst Library doesn’t hold a candle to Utah’s Marriott Library or Chicago’s Regenstein Library as a place for quite work, though, reflection, growth, or secret and forbidden munching. Not a candle.

6. Similarly, the campuses of NYU and of the New School, inasmuch as they can be said to have campuses, can’t hold a candle to the Utah or Chicago campuses for similar purposes. I am clearly growing weary of the “urban campus” thing, at least in their New York instantiations.

7. I want to clean up and rearrange a few things. Most of all, I want to find a way to invite Fall, the Fall air, and the nearby ocean into my environment and into the space that surrounds me. I need these things to think clearly this season, when I will be working on serious academic work and trying to hold myself together. I have environmental needs that I am not meeting very well, and that needs to change. As my wife always says, I’m very sensitive to my environment.

8. I made a damn good Chinese beef noodle. It’s so spicy and full of star anise that it dissolves organ tissue with prolonged aerosol contact. Lovely stuff.

9. I couldn’t be more thrilled that the seasons are changing. I feel an undercurrent of dark and smoky optimism that just won’t quit, even if it is a bit scary and seductive somehow. I love the end of the year. Just love it.

10. I never know what to say, think, or do about money.

11. I love the fact that football season is back as well. As I get gradually older it becomes clear to me that American football is one of the things in life that I really enjoy, and that watching “my” teams play boosts my mood in a way that few other things do, even if this kind of entertainment sucks up far too much time to be defensible.

12. I don’t feel very clear-headed about my own life and lifestyle these days. What I need is what I always have trouble getting and maintaining: perspective about myself.

So that’s the moment right now.

Oh, and the antibiotic from the dog bit is making me incredibly sleepy all the time. It’s only 2:00 in the afternoon but I feel as though it’s 4:00 in the morning and I’ve been awake since 5:00 the morning before.


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