ASK H E L I O S EPISODE TWO:
I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT YOUR CHOICES
It happened through complete accidental luck.
A bunch of questions whizzed through the internet and plopped onto h e l i o s’ desk. In the stack of questions, I saw a beautiful pattern and the ultimate arrangement of ask h e l i o s equation appeared. Like a crop circle to a corn farmer, it was strange at first...until I stepped back.
Welcome to the second ask h e l i o s newsletter. Today’s issue uncovers the truth about the best decade of all time, how life-changing epiphanies really come your way, and whose mind you should actually read.
Together, we’ll soar through the nostalgic galaxy toward truth and transformation. Now, a question to which h e l i o s has already lived the answer.
Why are the ‘80s the best decade of all time?
Besides the ‘80s being the birth decade of yours truly, there are a number of reasons why.
In many ways, the ‘80s were the first decade defined more by its pop culture than its political, economic, and all the other important happenings. Especially the movies, as they served as perfect modes of exposure for all the other elements of pop culture that no other decade had done before.
That’s why the best way to understand the ‘80s, in h e l i o s’ humble, selfish opinion, is to look at the films. You see, that’s how I consumed the ‘80s. Deep in the flicker of a television screen. It reminds me of the days where I sat alone in the living room while an endless stream of movies played to a curious crowd of one viewer: me.
Even now, I can close my eyes and imagine this dream world where my life is a cocktail of every ‘80s movie I’ve ever seen. If I could go back in time and turn my life into a movie, it would be an ‘80s movie. I would take bits and pieces of different ‘80s movies to create my entire existence.
What would the perfect decade look like for h e l i o s?
Well, I’d always have a witty quote ready for any situation like John McClane in Die Hard. Whenever I’m frustrated in this perfect decade, I’d express my true feelings like Ren in Footloose’s warehouse scene. I’d solve all my personal disputes with colleagues and friends with rainy, noir Highlander sword fights. My best dinosaur friends would be Duckie and Petrie. Other notable friends include the guy who makes the noises from Police Academy, the Shrunken Head guy from Beetlejuice, Sloth from Goonies, and Billy from Predator.
I’d dress like the cast of the Lost Boys when I’m in a bad mood. In good moods, it’s vaporwave aesthetics, of course. I’d have an Asian uncle like Mr. Miyagi who I’d spend a summer with learning karate. My biceps would look like Stallone’s in Over The Top. I’d live in a suburban dream home like Ferriss Bueller. I’d eat pizza and go shopping at the Ridgemont Mall (which reminds me a lot of our Vapor95 retro virtual shopping plaza). I’d live with my very own Johnny Five. My best friend would be Goose and he’d be the best damn wingman I’d ever met. My other home would be the pirate ship inside the cave in Goonies. I’d always have a killer one-liner like John Matrix in Commando. Mr. Keating from Dead Poet’s Society would be my high school teacher. Dr. Indiana Jones would be my college professor. When I’m confused about life, I’d go ask Zoltar and he’d sort me out.
The skies are always burning orange and red like they were in To Live And Die In LA. When the sun sets, the skyline lights up and inspires me for hours (see above). I drive a Tron motorcycle and Falcor is basically my vaporwave Uber. I’m woke AF like the dude in They Live. But, I’m constantly confused like Bill and Ted. My Big Trouble in Little China mullet is the perfect mix of business in the front and party in the back. Gizmo is my pet. And every day, I’ve got ‘80s Tom Cruise positivity swagger.
That’s a fine mix that jolts the imagination awake. It brings me joy on many levels, to imagine what that mash-up would look like. It’s simply the best, most nostalgic decade (even if ‘95 is the most special number of all time).
So, which ‘80s and ‘90s movies would you want your life to look like? Which movies give you that sweet retro, nostalgic, vaporwave feeling? Tell us below in a comment!
Watch enough ‘80s movies like me and you’ll have some crazy daydreams or some kind of epiphany about your life. Did someone say epiphany?
My name is Donovan. I'm a sophomore in high school still aimlessly clawing through my time and trying to figure out what I want to do. My question to you is: what was an epiphanous moment for you that changed who you were?
The answer will probably disappoint you. h e l i o s has been searching for this "epiphanous" moment his whole life. Probably wishful thinking from all the movies he’s watched. I imagine this day where some big heartbreak happens and I’m totally, completely transformed.
After this epiphany, I start to appreciate life. I say “yes” to fun opportunities to play volleyball on the beach with my co-pilot or skip class and have a wild, unforgettable afternoon with my best friend and some random girl. I shed my insecurities. The flaws shake off like dead leaves. I drop the box of cigarettes in the bin. I throw the alcohol bottles away. I wake up before the sun. I throw on my Just Jazz hoodie and joggers. I hit the gym every day. My head is filled with 99.99% happy thoughts and the demons disappear.
But, it’s just a fantasy. A fantasy built around the epiphany fallacy. Because humans don’t really work that way. Especially not marble statues. No matter how much they love comeback stories.
You will, however, go through a bunch of moments. Some are minor dramas. Some break your heart. Some leave you with depression so cold you can’t see the other side. These moments don’t always feel like epiphanies. But, trust me...they are.
We’re so jazzed by the Hollywood depiction of an epiphany that these amazing moments happen in our life and they feel way too humdrum. They don’t feel epic or cinematic. There’s no orchestra to go with our breakdown. Nothing aesthetic about it. It leaves us disappointed. It leaves us expecting a real epiphany to come in the future. One day...
The moments you do have are actually really cool moments. Like little side quests in the game of life where you pick up some skills you never sought out to have.
(And if you imagine them juxtaposed to the ‘80s music above, you’ve got yourself a pretty epiphanous movie montage known as “your life”. Add some retro aesthetics and now you’re in it.)
Since Game of Thrones recently wrapped up, here’s a Peter Dinklage quote from a talk he gave. You can substitute “defining moments” for “epiphanies.”
“Don’t search for defining moments. Because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened. And they will already happen again.”
I love that quote. The moral here is: you‘ll never accumulate XP-boosting epiphanies by sitting there. You gotta go out and shake things up. Be vulnerable. Fuck up. Make mistakes. Start over. Start over again. Look back from time to time and realize how far you’ve come. Collect your little cadre of epiphanies along the way. h e l i o s sure has.
I hope with enough good livin’ and experiencin’, you can look back with your own nostalgic wisdom on all the little epiphanies you’ve collected. Even if they came as a consequence of foolish mistakes and terrible choices. My own terrible choices helped me answer questions like this from Ethan:
Until just recently I felt set in my decisions. I believed I had made all the right choices. Now, I've begun to doubt that. The people around me have begun to act differently than I thought they would. Like, they're different people. I'm not sure I can do anything about this, but I was wondering if you had any mindreading tricks I could learn. Perhaps then I could make choices that lead me instead to you.
I will answer your question in three parts. First, the essential part of your question. Do I have mind reading techniques which you could learn? No. Not really. That’s overrated. But, wait. There’s more.
The people around me have begun to act differently than I thought they would. Like, they're different people. I'm not sure I can do anything about this.
Like I said, mind reading is overrated. You even answered your own question here. You see, people will continue to act differently than you think they will. Heck, we sometimes act differently than we think we would. People change. That’s a good thing. Don’t let this discourage you. Don’t try to read minds. Don’t try to play mental games.
Instead, understand humanity. In all its fickleness, volatility, and stupidity. The only mind you need to worry about reading is your own. The most powerful mind reading is done on yourself. It’s not easy to read through the bullshit you’re thinking and see the truth. But, it’s way more valuable than reading through someone else’s cranium. Reading your own mind will set you free.
Lastly, I want to talk to you about your choices. Indeed, this question comes from someone who made choices. Good choices. Great choices that led them to me, h e l i o s. You too, dear reader, have made choices that lead you to me here on this web page on the internet.
Now, dear answer-seeker, you think you made some wrong choices in life? It’s called being human. h e l i o s begs you not to look back on your choices unless they are with rosy nostalgia or blissful contemplation.
Speaking of contemplating your choices, here’s a cool thought experiment to show you you your choices have been a lot more fascinating than you think. I share this little experiment to show you you’ve been in control a lot more than you can imagine.
Warning: if you’re not into diving deep into the marble fountain of your mind, skip this exercise.
I’m going to paraphrase an exercise from Robert Anton Wilson's book Prometheus Rising and hope he “chooses” not to sue us.
Sit in a room where you will not be disturbed for a half hour and begin thinking, "I am sitting in this room doing this exercise because..." and list as many of the "causes" as you can think of. For instance, you are doing this exercise because your dear aesthetic overlord h e l i o s told you to try. How did you find yourself reading this newsletter? Where did you find h e l i o s? Did somebody tell you about Vapor95? How did you meet that vaporwave-loving person? If you randomly found us on the web, why did you happen to be on that particular page that day? Why do you visit the websites you visit? How did you become interested in the things you love? What things from your childhood brought you here? Why are you reading this blog on a computer instead of a tablet? Why are you sitting where you are? Why are you in this city and not another? Why in this country and not another? Why were you summoned into this aesthetic universe at all? How did your parents meet? Why were they at the right place at the right time? And, so on. Avoid answering through concepts like karma, reincarnation, fate, or coincidence. The point of the exercise will be rather mind-blowing when you think about all the great choices made to bring you here.
When you really think about it, could it be that you’ve actually created this whole vaporwave thing yourself? I mean, there’s really no proof that we created it. You may have created it in your own consciousness as a glitch in our modern day programming. Or because your brain was bored with modern style. Or because the reality you wish to live in so badly is becoming real. Can you prove to me that you’re not creating this newsletter in your own head as you reach each new word and letter? Send me an email with your proof.
Doesn’t reading minds seem pretty amateur when you realize you might be making reality up as you go?
Are you grateful to be here, my aesthetic friend? The greatest decade-its movies, music, culture, and clothing-is at our fingertips. We’re collecting mini-piphanies all the time and growing because of it. All our choices, decisions, and mistakes have brought us all together in this retro moment in time.
It sure is a great time to be...alive and aesthetic.
A tender adieu,
h e l i o s
P.S. Thanks for reading the second ask h e l i o s newsletter. It was a wild ride, I’ll admit. Feeling some heavy emotions? Wanna dress yourself in the finest retro clothing? Want an outfit that brings you closer to your greatest epiphany?
Make your wisest choice and visit our store here.
P.P.S. Have you read our first ask h e l i o s newsletter? Check it out here.