Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Things  §

  • Sometimes in academic life you look around and doubt yourself profoundly
  • More often the academy seems the most intellectually moribund place on Earth
  • Television and insight are mutually exclusive
  • Industrial design makes you feel more wealthy than you actually are
  • Make a little birdhouse in your soul
  • My blog posts can’t actually be shared on Facebook, despite appearances
  • I didn’t realize this until recently
  • Anthropology is what sociology ought to have been
  • Well, except the silly attachment to fieldwork
  • Urban Mother Nature has a similar personality to the urban hipster kids
  • The Post Office worked a hundred times better in Chicago
  • Roberto Bolano’s 2666 may be the best novel I’ve ever read

Time was that indirect and distracted thoughts  §

invariably led to the wind, to the pavement, to the sky, to the roar of the ocean, to the tilt angle of the street sign.

Today, I routinely fear that this won't be the case, and as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, except for tonight it isn't.

Note: It is these other things that are the important things.

Rain at 1:00 am in NYC in March  §

So it's ever-so-slightly drizzling outside right now and somehing about the particular sound of tonight's traffic or about the scent of tonight's little half-storm, or even somehing simple like the slightly cool air outside is carrying me back to a time a million years ago when I actually felt in close enough tune with existence to notice and appreciate such things.

These days it feels as though I am a conceptual rather than a corporeal being, wrapped up in processes and lists and requirements and potential shortcomings and failures and timekeeping. The questions of importance include what is to be done and how it is to be done and when it is to be done and what is needed in order to get it done and whether it got done and how it looks now that it has been done and so on and so on. Conspicuously missing from the list of questions is how it feels to do it or why it is to be done or what it means that it has been done. In short, what is missing is me.

There is too much practice going on alongside not nearly enough theory, a lot of recitation but very little reflection, a lot of respirating but not nearly enough being. One symptom of all of this that strikes me as emblematic is the difference in the quality and character of my writing, both online and off, between some previous "then" (say, 2000) and the present "now."

I used to feel and be aware of my life itself, and in returning to long past writing I yet find a world of words as rewarding to read as it was to write. I can't say the same thing today. The blog, for example, feels like a mechanical exercise. There are no more scraps of paper floating around. I no longer feel driven on unexpected occasions to suddenly engage in an hour of deep imagination and scribbling, apart from sortees of academic eclectica that sweep in from above.

In a similar way, photographic output has dwindled almost to nil, and that is also not good. Coding output is gone. Discretionary reading is on the decrease.

It's not that I dislike my work or my family. Far from it. It's merely that (keeping the saying in mind) Jack is in danger of becoming a dull boy. That would be very bad because in my case pinstripes are not in Jack's nature and Jack begins to become unproductive when wearing them too long without interruption. At the moment, it sometimes feels as though it has been several years.

At times, it all takes on the air of a performance that is being critiqued. Such a state of affairs can't help but alienate oneself from the manifestation of one's self that everyone else experiences. It is on nights like this that all of this seems most troubling, most like a catastrophe of some kind. It is on nights like this that nostalgia prowls the streets of consciousness like a fog, beauiful and threatning and beckoning all at once.

I need to write more, shoot more, go outside more, hack more, deviate more.