equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
28 Jun 05

Protected: The Ping-Pong Penis

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26 Jun 05

Trinary Maturity: The Girlfriend (or The Lifestyle)

It’s easy for some­one to asso­ciate an expe­ri­ence with the last mem­ory involved. I’m not with­out guilt in this issue myself. I’ll admit that the rough patches near the end of my rela­tion­ship with Loo have come to define the expe­ri­ence a lit­tle unfairly. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how much it’s helped and changed me.

In real­ity, I learned more from my time with Louise than from any pre­vi­ous rela­tion­ship. This was a per­son who inspired (and pushed) me to be bet­ter, but it wasn’t only her, it was the lifestyle as well.

I try not to have too much respon­si­bil­ity at this stage in my life, so when I do have it I take it seri­ously. Being a dom­i­nant means that respon­si­bil­ity is assumed over another per­son, another being, another liv­ing soul. To be given this respon­si­bil­ity, as a bond of supine trust, pro­vided me a sense of con­fi­dence I had never felt before.

And with this trust came a reju­ve­nated zeal for self-improvement. She was strong her­self, so I had to be stronger. If Louise’s con­tri­bu­tion was to push, my con­tri­bu­tion was to grow. It helped me fig­ure out what I want in the next few stages of my life. I stopped slouch­ing. I started speak­ing with more author­ity. I started walk­ing into restau­rants first, some­thing I could never do before, for rea­sons I could never explain. I demanded more out of life.

In the end, it didn’t work out. The dynamic wasn’t right. Unfortunately, I never felt like I was able to com­pletely han­dle every­thing until it was actu­ally over. Funny how life works out like that. What I’ve lost is only rel­e­vant now.

But what I’ve gained is more important.

The Trinary Maturity Series

  1. Introduction
  2. The Job
  3. The Girlfriend
  4. The House
  5. (In)Conclusion
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23 Jun 05

Cottage On A Thursday

Thumbnail: Boat upholstery

I got to work early this morn­ing, around 7:30 or so. It was an effort to make up for yes­ter­day, in which I called in sick. By 8:30, my boss had asked me to go to his cot­tage and help him with his new pon­toon, and we left by nine.

Thumbnail: Boat motor

After pick­ing the boat up from the deal­er­ship, I was charged with the task of dri­ving his car from one of the boat docks of the lake to his cot­tage. We spent the whole day there, and I man­aged to get in a few pho­tos. I like the shot of the uphol­stery the most: the colours are per­fect, and have those lux­u­ri­ous, match­ing cream colours that are so char­ac­ter­is­tic of aqua vehi­cles. Even the motor is pretty sweet (4-stroke elec­tronic fuel injec­tion) and only requires the turn of a key to start.

Thumbnail: Cottage dock

I’m exhausted now, but it was def­i­nitely nice to be out of the office and on a lake, on a Thursday no less.

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22 Jun 05

A/C For Computer

I already had a new com­puter priced out — One of the dual-core AMD Athlon X2 4400+ proces­sors (because 0.2 MHz isn’t worth a moth­er­fuck­ing $500 price jump) based on the Toledo core — mark­ing my switch to AMD, 2 gigs of super fast RAM, 200 gig SATA HDD (I decided not to go dual for RAID 0 cause strip­ing appar­ently doesn’t do much), the lat­est ATI Sapphire Radeon series — X850XT Platinum with dual DVI (I was think­ing of SLI nVidia cards, but then I’d want to buy two cards when upgrad­ing), a DVD burner, and one of the deluxe socket-939 Asus moth­er­boards. I even bought two 19″ flat panel mon­i­tors two months ago in antic­i­pa­tion of the sys­tem, and got my par­ents to front me for some of the cash.

Then my air con­di­tioner broke. It’s one of those grey areas, where it would cost me $300 just to test for leaks (after spend­ing $100 to find out what was wrong in the first place). This, in turn, is to find out how much it would cost to fix it, which could be any­where from $300 to $1000. So instead of tak­ing the chance on a seven-year-old A/C that may break again next year, I decided to put the money towards a new one. A brand-name one that would hope­fully last me more than 10 years, with a 5 year parts/labor war­ranty and a 10 year war­ranty on the com­pres­sor coil.

Unfortunately, it’s going to cost me $3500. This means that instead of sav­ing for a com­puter, I’ll be aim­ing to pay the A/C over the next six months. I could have stretched the pay­ment over a year, but it’d be at 5% inter­est, com­pounded monthly. My finan­cial goals are being put on hold now. I don’t need a new com­puter, although I could eas­ily take advan­tage of a dual-core desk­top, and it would cer­tainly be inspir­ing to use such a sweet machine to work on my projects with Aaron. This has only made me more deter­mined; I’m going to save all the money myself now, and think­ing over a longer term.

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19 Jun 05

Trinary Maturity: The Job

The first cat­a­lyst involved in my “trans­for­ma­tion” was my job. It could be said that the only rea­son this job was so sig­nif­i­cant is because I had never had such a job before. Perhaps things would be dif­fer­ent if I started my cur­rent career at a dif­fer­ent time, although the same could be said about the other two factors.

I was hired to work closely with one of two own­ers, a man with the drive, mind, wit, and per­son­al­ity to run one of the top com­pa­nies in the indus­try. I see myself as a tool, an exten­sion of his per­son, respon­si­ble for things that he doesn’t have time to do. By free­ing his time, the com­pany is able to grow faster, because his resources can then be put to bet­ter use.

My role is as a sort of sub­mis­sive. This works out well, because in (most of) the rest of my life I’m dom­i­nant. Like me, many sub­mis­sives at work are also dom­i­nants at home, and vice-versa. People want change from the every­day life of their career, and in fact, my sub­mis­sion in this role is what makes me a bet­ter dom­i­nant in oth­ers (more on this extremely sig­nif­i­cant point in the forth­com­ing part of this series).

I don’t have the per­son­al­ity to run a busi­ness, the way my boss doesn’t have the per­son­al­ity to work for some­one else. Our roles are clearly defined, and I’m much more pro­duc­tive as a sub­mis­sive in this sit­u­a­tion. It’s this pro­duc­tive­ness that has given me so much con­fi­dence. I know how good a worker I am, how inte­gral my role is in the com­pany, and how dif­fi­cult I would be to replace.

Relational roles aside, how­ever, there are sev­eral other fac­tors of my job that con­tributed to what I con­sider explo­sive growth. The respon­si­bil­ity I have was a big thing. As the only IT per­son there, I have to make sure that all our hard­ware and soft­ware is suf­fi­cient for what we’re doing. When the nature of the busi­ness changes, the upper ech­e­lon comes to me for a solu­tion, whether it’s upcom­ing VOIP imple­men­ta­tion to save on long dis­tance, wire­less track­ing of our pick-ups and deliv­er­ies, or some­thing as sim­ple as a server upgrade to han­dle the mar­ket growth.

Even things like mak­ing phone calls have changed me. I was never com­fort­able on the phone. Only a year ago, order­ing pizza was a dif­fi­cult thing to do, and Trolley can attest to this after get­ting him to call for me sev­eral times. The only expla­na­tion I could come up with for this behav­iour is that there are peo­ple on the other end, but I still can’t really make sense of this aside from poor self-confidence. All I knew was that my tele­phone shy­ness was a prob­lem. I got over it by forc­ing myself to make phone calls at work. After all, one does not stop a project at a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion when one’s boss wants some­thing done. I still have my off-days, of course, when I avoid mak­ing calls alto­gether, but those are few and far between.

Not only has my job sparked a change in me, it’s paved a way for other growth as well. Even finan­cially speak­ing, I now have the free­dom to pur­sue my other goals and hobbies.

Every day I work, I’m thankful.

The Trinary Maturity Series

  1. Introduction
  2. The Job
  3. The Girlfriend
  4. The House
  5. (In)Conclusion
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18 Jun 05

I Was Up At Five

Not by choice, of course. I rolled around in bed for an hour or so, and decided that I should do some­thing pro­duc­tive if I was awake any­way. After some shop­ping in the refresh­ing morn­ing weather (thank god for the 24 hour gro­cery store just five min­utes away), I made break­fast and fell back asleep for another hour.

I’m awake now, but I’m still drowsy as fuck.

I’ve been try­ing to get an entry writ­ten since wednes­day and a pack of ground beef browned since mon­day, but the week has been one exhaust­ing day after another. I worked a 13-hour day on tues­day, and it feels like I haven’t recov­ered yet. It seems like every week I’m wait­ing for another week­end so I can recu­per­ate and get my life together.

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15 Jun 05

Getting Easier To Write Again

It’s not that I haven’t had time to write lately, it’s that every time I sit down and set myself on writ­ing, I can’t fol­low through on any of my ideas. I blame the close prox­im­ity of my house to my job. For years, going to uni­ver­sity and going to work on the bus would force me to sit pas­sively, while some­one would take me to my des­ti­na­tion. I didn’t have to think about any­thing, so my mind would drift about ran­dom things, like my friends, my rela­tion­ships, and my life. Back then, my entries were thor­ough and bet­ter developed.

It’s slowly get­ting eas­ier to write again. I don’t have to force myself as much.

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13 Jun 05

Trinary Maturity: Introduction

For most of my life, I felt like I was young for my age.

I remem­ber the later years of ele­men­tary school. I would be the one wear­ing things like jog­ging pants on the civies1 days. The other kids would be smok­ing under the bridge, start­ing play­ground fights over girls, con­tract­ing gon­or­rhea through sex­ual con­tact. Even in high school I was eat­ing lunch on the bleach­ers with John while oth­ers were ODing on rat poi­son, win­ning world­wide math com­pe­ti­tions, or being fea­tured on cover arti­cles of Macleans.

I had never really under­stood how peo­ple grow up. Most adults I know have been the way they are for their entire lives. Due to the fact that I can only fig­ure out the changes I’ve made in six month cycles, I’ve mostly grown in small, unde­tectable increments.

It’s only in the last six months that things have changed. I’ve reached my (pre­vi­ously life-long) goal, not grad­u­ally, but rather sud­denly and unex­pect­edly. Interestingly enough, this was due to three dif­fer­ent fac­tors, and I sus­pect that I wouldn’t have been able to reach this point with­out every sin­gle one of them.

Now I feel old for my age.

The Trinary Maturity Series

  1. Introduction
  2. The Job
  3. The Girlfriend
  4. The House
  5. (In)Conclusion
  1. Days where we didn’t have to wear uni­forms, a short form of “civil­ian” []
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12 Jun 05

Speaking Of Accents...

Louise once told me that she liked the way I say want because it appar­ently sounds like wunt. I can’t really hear it, of course, and I think it’s the only word that I can’t quite say the right way.

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10 Jun 05

A-E-I-O-Accent

This is one of the most inter­est­ing things I’ve ever come across. People from around the world are asked to read the same para­graph in English. The para­graph has been designed to include most of the con­so­nants, vow­els, and clus­ters found in stan­dard American English, so that one can really get a sense of all the vari­a­tions in an accent.

I love the gen­tle­ness of Lebanese Arabic (per­haps I asso­ciate it with the charm­ing, well-educated, velvet-voiced Lenanese gen­tle­man at work). The inter­est­ing thing is that it sounds com­pletely dif­fer­ent from Palestinian Arabic. As a small exam­ple, the for­mer has a more exag­ger­ated “ee” sound, while the lat­ter has a windier “r” sound.

I hate the painful sound­ing Cantonese accents. Somehow, each one is so uniquely bad that it’s passed humourously bad, and gone back to uniquely bad again. None of them can prop­erly pro­nounce “pl“s, “th“s and “ll“s, and the con­so­nants are harsh to the ear. There are also very sub­tle dif­fer­ences between these Cantonese speak­ers from Hong Kong, and a Cantonese speaker from China. One can hear the slightly more del­i­cate let­ter com­bi­na­tions from a per­son sur­rounded by Mandarin speak­ers on the mainland.

For me, the most inter­est­ing com­par­isons are between native English speak­ers. I let Shirley lis­ten to the Glasgow ver­sion, and she couldn’t get over how hot it is. Of course, the most neu­tral accent to me is from Toronto, see­ing as how I grew up there. I hear this accent the most, and always find it amus­ing when for­eign­ers can pull off a fake accent (I’ve been told we sound very bland). Jackie had the most adorable New Jersey accent, and at one point Angie admit­ted that she had some­what of a Southern drawl.

Perhaps my fas­ci­na­tion with (and attrac­tion of) things speech related stems from an early study of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. One of the scenes in My Fair Lady that really stuck out in my mind was the abil­ity of the pro­tag­o­nist (whom Shaw describes as an “ener­getic pho­netic enthu­si­ast”) to dis­tin­guish 130 vowel sounds from a sim­ple, short record­ing of a voice going through A–E–I–O–U in one fluid motion with no consonants.

Usually I can rec­og­nize some­one from a voice and accent, some­times bet­ter than I can from a face.

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08 Jun 05

It Was Raining This Morning

I stepped out­side, and the street­lights were on. To the west the clouds were clear­ing, while the sun was fight­ing the brood­ing sky in the east. Everything felt a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. As I walked to work, zipped up in my light wind­breaker, sweat­ing from the suf­fo­cat­ing mate­r­ial, the rain slowed then stopped.

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06 Jun 05

Taking Care Of Chaos

Thumbnail: Chaos looks

Took care of Chaos over the week­end. Karen’s off in Toronto for a month, and Aaron went to visit Greg (who joined the reserves). Chaos is get­ting a lot big­ger, and even though he’s not quite an adult yet, he’s get­ting more and more dif­fi­cult to lift.

Thumbnail: Chaos sniffs

I’ve been think­ing about a sec­ond cat, ever since Shirley sus­pected that her cats were giv­ing her chil­dren aller­gies. We were play­ing around with the idea of me adopt­ing one of them (the younger male), and she already told her kids that one of the cats may be going. Unfortunately, she found a bald spot on him, and needs to get him checked out first. If the vet visit goes alright, then we may do a one-month trial, to make sure that he gets along with both Dolly and Nala. I’m still not sure if I’m up for the com­mit­ment though. Dolly is enough of a hand­ful already, and I seem to be get­ting busier every day.

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