Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Blogs, money, fatigue, Bowie.  §

This morning I feel young. I took off my jacket and I felt as though my shoulders and arms were the same as they have always been, as they were when I was 20.

They’re not, of course. But they felt that way. It was nice.

— § —

Some people make money doing this kind of thing. They sell advice online through their blogs and earn a living doing it.

I could never do that.

They do it a bit differently, of course. Their properties are presented in such a way as to support ad money and social sharing, and they focus and hone their “articles” for impact and for Facebook-friendly headlines.

Thing is, most of them have f**ked up lives themselves. At best, ups and downs. At worst, their blogs are a weird amalgam of “I am completely off the beam and full of mistakes in everything I try to do. So here’s what you should do.”

I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I couldn’t presume to give advice to anyone who didn’t find me and ask for it. Even then, I’d include a disclaimer.

“I seriously don’t have anything figured out. I mean, look at my life. Are you sure you want advice? Come back in an hour and ask me again, when you’ve had a chance to think about it.”

— § —

Last night I stayed up and did some data migration. I now have all entries from 2004 to mid-2009 and from mid-2011 to present in a single database. I’ve exported a bunch of Drupal nodes from previous versions. That’ll get me mid-2009 through mid-2001.

By tonight, hopefully, I’ll have mid-2004 through present all online in one place. That will leave the raw HTML blogs from 1999 through 2003 to cope with. I don’t think I still have the source files for those (the HTML files were actually rendered by a shell script from a fairly simply formatted text database, my own code back then). So I’ll have to do some parsing and cleanup.

Maybe by the middle of next week, I will have one blog that contains all of my public blogging from November 1999 through January 2016 all in one big timeline.

— § —

Why now?

Because now I’m brave enough to do it. And there is an opening.

– My academic career is likely not going to happen, having suffered suicide
– My wife is not living with me and isn’t sure at times that she likes me anyway
– I am in the middle of a massive self-teardown and self-rebuild
– There is still every chance that my life circumstances will fall apart
– So, in short, I do not give two s**ts about caution

It is time to own up to myself, to own up to it all, in front of the whole world, and see what we have here. What is salvageable, and what it means for where I should go. There’s no point in trying to obfuscate any longer.

My wife never liked some parts of me, including the blogging parts, since they were somehow dark and unreassuring. But right now she’s often not seeing any part of me as reassuring, at the very core of things, so what’s to hesitate about any longer? This is me. It is the me she married, and she knew it, and she read, and she married me anyway.

So after years of not doing this, I’m back to doing this and owning this.

— § —

It’s when I’m working on this, which is turning out to be something of a life’s work, the only one I really have, that I have sustained throughout my adult life, that I hear music in my head. The rest of the time, I live a basically music-free existence these days. It doesn’t fit anywhere, and marketing (day job) and kids (night life) don’t really lend themselves to beat drops.

But here—here, when I type—all I hear is music. Silent, internal. Insistent.

David Bowie right now. Maybe David Bowie forever. I continue to feel a kind of awe at his work, now that he’s gone. I wonder what it was like to be him, what he thought about when he was alone looking out a window for a moment, how he felt about his life and career. The meta of it all.

— § —

Chicago is a dream. Los Angeles is a dream. Portland is a dream. New York is a dream.

There are a thousand dreams in my life, things that I totally made up, complete fictions that were obviously never real. The story of my Ph.D. The story of my life as an editor. The story of my M.A. The story of my travels up and down the west coast. The story of my life as a Linux guy. The story of my life as a professor. The story of my life as a small mixed-race kid on the west side of Salt Lake City. The story of me.

Light reading, unfocused writing, something to peruse when you don’t have anything else to do, late at night.

But they’re all here, in this anthology of short stories starring the same flawed, often unlikeable character.

It’ll never be published—the quality, focus, pacing, and plot just aren’t there, not to mention that the author narrates rather than using vivid writing, describes rather than shows everything—but it’s a valiant attempt by a student that always wanted to tell stories and is getting a chance to do so before he graduates to Real Life someday.

— § —

Chartreuse and coffee.

Once upon a time, I turned up every day at the University of Chicago’s Regenstein library drinking just that, spinach and feta in other hand, purple hair, strange trousers, to study and to be.

I’m still that guy. Can’t shake him. Every single detail is now different, but turning up to study and to be in a kind of glorious, apologetic strangeness… that’s me, boy. That’s me.

— § —

“So you train by shadow boxing,
search for the truth
But it’s all, but it’s all used up
Break open
your million dollar weapon
And you push, still you push,
still you push your luck…”

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