About This Site…

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Welcome to fəxlüz, an experimental website conceived as a hybrid blend of travel zine, discussion forum, portfolio, and half-assed manifesto.  It takes the form of a WordPress v4.x installation paired with a PHPBB v3.x bulletin board.  

Most posts will be matched with a corresponding topic thread in the forum to facilitate further conversation.  In most forums, even unregistered users may post replies.

periodically send a newsletter that will summarize recent posts and interesting discussions, although registration for the newsletter is separate from forum registration; I hate being signed up for things without my knowledge and want unsolicited junk mail sent to me about as much as you do.  (You’ll find the newsletter registration form at the bottom of each page).

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Regarding the publishing schedule, well… that’s the issue at the moment.  I had planned to begin writing in earnest once 2018 rolled around, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way.  Lots of things, great and small, the cool and the banal, have conspired to keep me from writing very much.

When I really get going (summer 2018?) I plan to cover a variety of topics, although the blog will trend toward writing on travel and my own projects.  But that could change.

I maintain an open-door policy for quality blog submissions on pretty much any topic, and particularly welcome written responses to previously posted content (particularly if you disagree).  Please feel free contact me if you’ve written or plan to write something that you’d consider submitting here — or for any other reason.

Concept

fəxlüz was founded as a vehicle to promote and disseminate my own humble creative work, which has tended toward travel writing and multimedia essays that try to reconcile philosophical concerns with history or science in a holistic and accessible way.

I also like to imagine it as an open forum for intelligent discussion inspired by original writing, but it hasn’t worked out that way just yet.  Perhaps a bit more “original writing” is needed to get this process catalyzed.

Community

Going forward, I hope to cultivate and sustain discussion within a unique and diverse community, hopefully drawing on people who, like me, are troubled by the disposable and push-button assumptions that seem to underpin “modern living” most everywhere, and the increasingly shrill and uncompromising tone of much recent public discourse.  These two things, taken together, bode ill.

I’m also hopeful that I can to some degree re-connect with several communities that I’ve regrettably lost track of (or failed to properly engage with) over the last ten or so years, particularly the old YD Forum crowd as well as fans of my Pale Blue Dot and other video projects.  Initial posts will, in part, be specifically directed towards these communities.

Philosophy

Another reason fəxlüz was created was to serve as a concrete expression of my own personal philosophy, both in the content of the site and the manner in which it was built, configured, and deployed (a detailed and rather dull subject for another time).

For what it’s worth, this philosophy is not a rigorously argued claim or stance on specific issues, nor a complicated creed concocted in the vain hope of “living up to” it or convincing others to follow.

It’s not any kind of “ism” and it doesn’t have a name.

In fact, at this point it’s mostly hard-wired and involuntary; experienced rather than performed or executed.  Perhaps most importantly, whereas its foundation is obviously the result of my basic personality type and has naturally been informed by my life experience, it was clarified and powerfully amplified by my having lived through two major events of recent history: the collapse of Lehman brothers in September 2008 and the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan.

One can get a rough sense of what this philosophy entails if you consider a dozen or so simple aphorisms:

  • your personal standards run your life (get them under control);
  • know when you’ve got enough (and quit while you’re ahead);
  • deserving something, and being able to simply afford it, are not in any way the same thing;
  • excessive convenience is toxic
  • patience and endurance are mighty allies
  • if you can do it, do it yourself; if you can’t, learn
  • cynicism dulls sensitivity; sensitivity underlies both intuition and intelligence
  • people who behave as though “the rules” don’t apply to them may be onto something
  • few should be believed straightaway; fewer are worth following for very long 
  • invoking fear, authority, or math when explaining just means you don’t really understand what you claim
  • getting along with people is important unless it costs you your authenticity
  • a kind word that’s also true costs you nothing to say and more than pays for itself
  • forgiveness, appreciation, and gratefulness are nourishing and necessary
  • satisfying the body’s appetites is all the “convincing” most people need
  • don’t be too picky about food; (corollary: everything is delicious after a 40km hike)
  • yes is the answer, and you know that for sure

So, there they are.

Abbreviated Bio

This site was created and is maintained by me,  John Ebert, a.k.a. “Hushashi”, a.k.a “Kasranov”, a.k.a. J.H. Andreason, f.k.a. “Kawama” (and probably two or three others handles that I’ve either forgotten or am too embarrassed to remember or cop to). I’m a 46 year old (at the time of this writing) semi-retired sluggard and part-time farmer, long distance walker, and unpublished author.  I make my home in the “rubanity” of Ibaraki, Japan, where I live with my wife and our many cats.

I’ve tended to work in IT, although I’ve paid my dues in food service, sanitation, and the military as well .  My most recent role was an 11 year stint at an investment bank, which evolved enormously.  I began as short-term contract backup tape reconciler/operator, moved on to junior trade floor support engineer, eventually taking charge of tricky system administration jobs in addition to that (such as the management of hundreds of terabytes of storage, highly confidential HR and regulatory tasks).  This led to to my pursuing and attaining Lean Sigma certification, and ultimately, a paid relocation to Hong Kong and a title to go with it.  I survived three or four rounds of headcount cuts, met heaps of very successful and interesting people, worked far harder than I ever had before, and learned more about more things than I ever imagined possible.  In the end, I gratefully left the bank in 2013 with the means, freedom, and confidence to do whatever the hell I liked for quite a while…which is exactly what I’m doing right now.

All that having been said, I feel that now is probably an appropriate time to admit that I’ve lived with both an ADD type condition and a lightweight strain of Aspergian spectrum “disorder” for basically my entire life (with a whimsically intractable perfectionist streak thrown in for good measure, just to keep things interesting).

Though these peculiarities powerfully (and not always negatively) affected my work and personal life, they were not an important part of my awareness or any part of my vocabulary until about 2006, when quite unexpectedly, I participated in a Myers-Briggs type personality assessment (INTJ FTW!) as an ancillary employment benefit.

One result of that Myers-Briggs experience was that it ultimately led, by crooked steps over several years, to my taking the RAADSR assessment (scoring a 118, yowza!),  which helped make plain what by then had become a smoldering suspicion: that my “issue” had an actual name, and was both known to science, and affected other people.  I found the notion that I wasn’t alone quite enlightening and even a little comforting, and took special pleasure in the fact this new insight had come just as I was starting to get my act together anyway.

I mention this now not because I need or want pity, but in the hopes of being slightly better understood as I proceed to populate this site with content.  It’s almost certain that I will write something unusual or inappropriate from time to time. Responding “correctly” to social cues or other peoples’ initial expectations has never been my strong suit.  I frequently miss what a lot of folks take for granted, and pick up on other things they are near certain to miss.  It’s a two way street, both useful and troubling.  I’ve very rarely sought the limelight, and remain to this day the most unenthusiastic and incompetent self-promoter I know.  As you might expect, writing this page took a great deal longer than I’ll ever admit.

All this thinking and soul searching led to one inescapable conclusion: I needed to blog under my own name and not hide behind the the quasi-anonymity of the internet.  To go through all the trouble of setting this place up only to then hide behind a handle seemed cowardly and sophomoric.

On the other hand, I’m quite fond of the “Hushashi” handle (it was,for example, my “stage name” during a short but  enjoyable stint as a VJ in Tokyo’s psytrance scene), so as a compromise I will still be using it here, but by dint of this page and its revelations and admissions, I will not technically be doing so anonymously.

That should about do it for now.  Thanks for visiting, and please consider joining the forum and signing up for the newsletter if any of the above resonates with you.

As mentioned earlier, questions, suggestions, content submissions, or anything else may be directed to me via the Contact page.