21st century innocence


Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy

Most people to whom I show the above video think it is ridiculous. Of course it's ridiculous. It's some weirdly Americanized kawaii iOS 7 vision of the 90s as reimagined by someone who grew up in the 90s but is now technically an adult. It's cheesy and dumb, like drunk hipsters who jump in front of an exploding firework just to take a badly-focused Instagram photo that will get them 50 likes. And what the hell kind of entitled jerks spent a bunch of money to send a piece of pizza to space?

In spite of myself, I dig this song. As for the video, I obviously don't think anyone should make that their life all the time. But it reminds me of the one kind of fun I can no longer have: the carefree joy I felt when I still believed I could do anything, when I was still blissfully ignorant of how the world worked.

I'm glad I know better now. But sometimes, on the days so tiring that I need to use my last shred of faith in humanity just to go outside, I'd give anything to get that innocence back.

silicon valley blues

I try not to read articles about the tech industry. I live in San Francisco and have heard it all: techies are insensitive aspie jerks, techies are displacing communities, techies are sexist, techies are racist, techies are ageist, techies are gleefully blind to the problems of real life.

To some degree, all of these epithets are true. These are some of the many reasons why I stayed away from the industry for so long. I don't like being constantly reminded of how terrible it is because it gets me down, and I can't make anything useful when I'm deeply depressed with the world around me. I can't preserve my wide-eyed wonder at what computers can do.

I hate the tech industry. I am also knee-deep in it because I can see technology's potential to help people. I share the dream of a bunch of acid-addled Bay Area brains in the 1960s who envisioned how computers could change the course of history. I think that the term "hacker" should not confer elite status, but imply a humble willingness to keep learning, to keep "hacking" away at a problem until you've developed the tools to solve it.

I believe that the problems technology can solve are not just problems of the privileged. The most impactful technologies do not include hookup apps geared towards well-heeled 23-year-olds with iPhones. But that's what gets funded, and it's frustrating. This is not what we should be doing with computers.

death

This week I found myself face-to-face with death for the first time. I've witnessed it before, but not up close, and not as slowly or gently.

It's weird to sit in a house full of memories you don't share, to meet a person full of mysteries you can no longer solve. But I was there to help the living, and found courage in their grief, strength in their love.

I've never shied away from death. In fact, I enjoy the serenity of cemeteries. And I find it useful to keep reminders of death, mementos moris, to prevent myself from forgetting what's important.

What I didn't really understand until now is that death is accompanied by life. There are people alive who can still tell you about those who are gone. The trick is to write their stories down, because the storytellers themselves will one day be gone, and the stories recorded will be all that's left of them.

Stories and mysteries are all that's left. And far-reaching echoes of love.

this is as far as i'll go for minimalism

I've been listening to minimal techno all weekend. There's something about the cold gray spring rain in San Francisco that pairs well with minimal techno's understated aesthetic.

Minimal is also one of the few sounds that reminds me of the eerily accurate childhood visions I used to get of my adult life: towers of harsh black steel, monochrome city streets on overcast days, all-night underground raves, and the pastel desert sunrises that would follow.

Only a handful of musical genres speak to me like that, and most of them are really annoying to the people I hang out with (Please see: epic trance, pop punk). I'm glad this one is relatively inoffensive.

what you'll find here

I'm a writer of fiction, music, and code. I try to create more content than I consume. I also try to be succinct.

For this blog I'm going to write about some vastly different topics. I'll tag each post accordingly so casual readers can easily find where our interests overlap.