Category Archives: Life As A Nico

Dear Nico,

You keep the door open, but leave the porch light off.

If people need you, they will find you. And if you need them -- well, you'll do nothing. Because that's what you do.

You once had friends who sang in perfect harmony. At this point in time, they don't call you anymore. And your plan for this is to do nothing about it. The distance grows greater. Eventually, they forget about you.

You are, ultimately, forgettable. This isn't a problem in and of itself. People move on because they must. But having become comfortable with this is why you remain in the shadows, so don't blame anyone but yourself for refusing to light your candle in the darkness.

The reality of this is that you have an insatiable, obsessive-compulsive need to always feel like you've started over. A clean slate. Tabula rasa. A sound mind is a clear one.

The disadvantages of this are that the records you once sought to keep -- your blog entries that disappeared into the void, your YouTube videos that got eaten by the Google+ debacle -- they're gone. But you don't miss them. If they hadn't become indelible memories by now, then they weren't really that great after all. That's what you tell yourself. Are you right?

You might be comfortable eradicating your own records, and staying out of sight until the wrinkle you left in other people's memories is smoothed out by the new calendar page. But other people aren't like you. Some will keep those calendar pages in old cigar boxes and look at your writing when they want to remember.

And where will you be? Somewhere in the dark? Holding a candle you refuse to light?

Or will you finally turn on your porch light before you must, inevitably, lock the door for the last time?

Fine. Burn the records. Just remember: You will never be able to disappear completely. You can set fire to memories if you want to forget them as much as you've been forgotten.

But there will always be ashes.

You, circa 2014

Honestly, I'm having trouble reconciling my once-full-time independent contracting life with today's traditional day job. During the work week, I set my life aside and dedicate my time to the company, but where most people return to their lives when they get back from work, I get ready to work again.

And I think I'm digging myself deeper into a hole here. I am behind on every single obligation I've made, simply because there just aren't enough hours in the day. Because I consider these obligations more important than the minor tasks of living, I forget the little things I'm supposed to do to take care of my own life. I forget to iron shirts. I go to bed hungry some nights because I forget to get groceries. I moved here nearly two months ago, and most of my things are still in boxes.

To be fair to those who work more than one full-time job, I'm not complaining. I'm conceding my inferiority.
Continue reading

So, I turned 30 recently.

I do have a way to explain my feelings on this, I think. Yet again, video games are my analogy of choice for explaining how the world works. Oh, shut up, you knew what you were getting into when you started reading this.

If life were like videogames1, then growth is measured by leveling up when a player has earned enough experience points to acquire a new level in a skill or skills, often accompanied by the ability to wield new weaponry, access new places, or begin new assignments.

So let's say I just turned Level 30. Have I been granted anything new? Continue reading

  1. Which poses a problem in the way of art imitating life imitating art, but that's another conversation

Ah, love. Sometimes — and in shojo series, it's very frequently — it's entirely one-sided. When a character encounters that certain special someone who's totally out of their reach ("takane no hana"), a conveniently timed airplane flies by, and the unrequited lover spends several seconds staring at the airplane as it flies off into the distance, forever out of reach. In fantasy or historical series where there are no airplanes, a bird appears instead.
-TV Tropes

To be clear, I'm not in love since I haven't yet been patched to handle such capacities1, but after moving to California's Silicon Valley very recently2 I've found that when I take a break to smoke a cigarette, I often find myself staring at an airplane. In contrast to the smog of LA, the skies here are very much on the clear side, and since the San Jose Airport isn't too far off, these aircrafts are easy to catch.

As a fan of symbolism, I can't help but feel that staring at these airliners is supposed to signify something, but as it's portrayed in fiction (fine, in anime, specifically), the allegory doesn't really apply to me. However, the wandering daytime reverie still seems to fit the bill.

I'm longing for and missing something, but I'm not sure what it is.

Actually, you know what? I've not had legitimate internet access for a week now, and using my phone to tether an internet connection is slowly driving me to the brink of tears. Also, my furniture has yet to ship up here so it looks like I'm squatting in my own apartment.

All things considered, things up here are going way better than expected and it's only the first week. Silicon Valley has so far treated me very well, passing smiles and unsolicited good morning's and sincere excuse me's, and I'm still very much a stranger out here. So there's that warm welcome -- but concerning these airplanes, maybe the earnest desire I'm feeling is the unrequited love of NOT SLEEPING ON THE DAMN FLOOR.

  1. We tried it in beta and it threw a bunch of errors, so we're slating it for a later release.

A favored turn of phrase after Bloggers in Sin City is that "there are no words."

I beg to differ. We are bloggers, after all. So it is in words we trust -- and use our words, we must. But what to do when the task is daunting?

Return to form. Write what you know. From over here, I know that I write to learn things about the world and myself. Words are my Tetris pieces that sort out the lines and smooth over the gaps, and I never know what I'll have until the pieces are set at the bottom of the screen. This write-to-find process usually works, but I don't think I learned anything from #BiSC or the BiSCuits1. I've written this post five times in five different ways, and this may be because I'm out of blogging practice, but I can't nail down any new lessons. Bloggers are still bloggers, BiSCuits are still BiSCuits, people are still people.

I keep thinking that it's because I already knew that the BiSCuits would be remarkable human beings, people who allowed themselves to bring their respective thunder by granting access to their restricted areas2. Glorious individuals. They always are. So, that wasn't a surprise. And why should it be? But at the same time, how could I know that everyone would be wonderful, without fail? Continue reading

  1. BiSCuit - noun, sing. Epithet for an attendee of Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC), and a pun on the small, typically round, cake of bread.
  2. Psychological restricted areas. Non-sexual. Gawd, people.

Every time I move, which seems to happen every 2-3 year interval since the age of 18, I have to reevaluate my possessions and compartmentalize the containers for the things I absolutely must keep with me. A lot of people know how that goes -- and I can only assume that a lot of those people experience the same kind of autobiographical reductionism.

Throughout all of these relocations, all shuffling around the vast labyrinth that is Los Angeles, I have kept with me a small wooden box that contains cathected1 items from various periods of my life.

There is a photograph of me, in overalls, as a baby, under a Christmas tree.

There are microcassette tapes2 of me babbling and screwing around as a child that span 6 years.

There is a drum key3 from my very first drum kit, a 1980's Pearl Export.

There is a photo I took in Trafalgar Square.4

There is a setlist from my band's tour through the American southwest.

There is an invitation to the funeral of my old boss, mentor, and friend at the bar in Little Tokyo.

And among others, there are also some things relating to bloggers. Yeah, you guys.

Because, you know, it's good to hang on to things that change your life.

So what are some of the things in your boxes?