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

The Most I Can Say For Now

Between the over­time and the ven­ture meet­ings with Aaron, the rest­less nights and the early morn­ings, I try to catch my breath. It’s good to be busy, but not when it means I don’t have the time or energy to write. This is the prob­a­bly the most infre­quent pub­lish­ing period I’ve ever been through since the start of this blog. Thoughts develop in my head, but I’m not ready to get them down and hit pub­lish yet. Maybe it’s a com­fort thing, maybe it’s a front, maybe I’ve sim­ply lost the desire to doc­u­ment every sin­gle detail of my life.

Through all of this I feel myself regain­ing some sta­bil­ity, although I tread lightly, remain­ing both con­scious and cau­tious. This is the most I can say for now.

28 Aug 05

Five Days With John

It was five days of relax­ation, with some­one I could spill my guts to. The only per­son who knows every­thing about me, every embar­rass­ing expe­ri­ence I’ve had, every dark secret in the back of my mind. I could try, but I doubt that I would ever be able to explain my rela­tion­ship with John. Let the inde­scrib­able remain so.

Most of the time was spent in con­ver­sa­tion. In the car we would cruise. On the couches we laid our­selves out, both as shrink and patient. We revis­ited my old stomp­ing grounds, the uni­ver­sity cam­pus with its dull, right-angle archi­tec­ture. There was a bit of serendip­ity dur­ing his stay, the kind of hap­pen­stance that makes one ques­tion their sense of faith, fate, or lack thereof. After a series of ran­dom and cor­rect turns, it was a sud­den, rather ter­ri­fy­ing, con­fronta­tion of months of med­i­ta­tion on the sec­ond intro­duc­tion. Something I’ve been dis­cussing with John ever since I started writ­ing about it, some­thing I wasn’t ready for at all, and some­thing we hap­pened to catch on camera.

23 Aug 05

John's Here For The Week

…A week I’ve taken off as part of my avail­able vaca­tion days. There’s some­thing sat­is­fy­ing about being paid to have fun. We haven’t seen each other in over half a year, so the five days will be cal­cu­lated and pre­cise, squeez­ing in the things that we’ve been mean­ing to do together in every avail­able second.

On his way over, John was also able to pick up a small care pack­age from my par­ents, com­plete with new dress shirts, loose leaf tea, home­made banana bread, gin­seng (LOTS of gin­seng that I can now add to chicken soup), and an assort­ment of books that I’ve been mean­ing to bring.

22 Aug 05

Tom And Mel's Wedding

Thumbnail: Boardroom

Thumbnail: Glass of guiness

Thumbnail: Dinner table

Even before the wed­ding began, I had already unfairly decided that I wasn’t going to have a good time. Thank god I was wrong. My ini­tial feel­ing was based on the knowl­edge that cer­tain agi­tat­ing peo­ple were going to be there — a very tan­gi­ble reminder of why we moved under cover of dark­ness for the last Bancroft farm excur­sion — but there were enough nor­mal peo­ple to dilute any creepiness.

The cer­e­mony was short and sweet. The food was the best I’ve had in weeks, although my grad­ual recov­ery from viral gas­troen­teri­tis meant that I could only have half of the por­tions served. The com­pany at the din­ner table was friendly and open enough to address every­one sit­ting (Tolstoy wrote well about such a dif­fi­culty in Anna Karenina when he describes “a small table with per­sons present, like the stew­ard and the archi­tect, belong­ing to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world, strug­gling not to be over­awed by an ele­gance to which they were unac­cus­tomed, and unable to sus­tain a large share in the gen­eral con­ver­sa­tion”). Aside from an idi­otic anal­ogy about aspara­gus, the speeches were gen­er­ally well-written; not too trite, and all the more poignant from the emo­tion with which they were spoken.

Aaron was there as my wing­man, ensur­ing a good time. Jenn was there as my date, mak­ing the guys jeal­ous. I even saw Christine, although we never had a chance to talk. Apparently, I missed every time she waved at us, so she may have thought that I was ignor­ing or avoid­ing her, which may be why she flicked my ear as she was walk­ing by my table. I still feel bad enough about miss­ing her last birth­day party.

Until din­ner there was an open bar, with Corona and even Guinness on tap, as well as a straw­berry mar­garita machine that could make them like smooth­ies. After din­ner was the danc­ing, and by the time the we were through a dozen or so songs, it was already late, so we headed home.

19 Aug 05

It Stopped Raining

It stopped rain­ing, and the grey sky has turned black with the night. The refresh­ing smell of wet pave­ment and grass drifts lazily through my win­dow, while droplets col­lect and fall from the over­hangs of every house, a dif­fer­ent sound with each vary­ing height and tex­ture. Cars drive by, and I imag­ine the spray from their tires ris­ing and falling in the light of the mild, golden street lamps.

In per­son, I’m gen­er­ally very pri­vate about my life, but I find myself open­ing up to the strangest peo­ple lately.

The most unex­pected ones seem to care.

17 Aug 05

The Power Of Freedom

I have an extremely dif­fi­cult time deal­ing with peo­ple who choose to com­plain about some­thing and do noth­ing about it. These are the peo­ple who gripe about the jobs that feed them, decry the rela­tion­ships they’re too scared to leave, pine for bet­ter lives when a bet­ter life is only a few steps away. Religious doc­trines of pre­des­ti­na­tion aside, as humans we’re the mas­ters of our fate. We con­trol what hap­pens, because we have the respon­si­bil­ity — the response abil­ity — to make change happen.

When the bad starts to out­weigh the good, then it’s time to shut the fuck up and be active in chang­ing the sit­u­a­tion. When the good is still greater than the bad, then it’s time to shut the fuck up and deal with what­ever minor prob­lems there are.

And when life hands you lemons, make lemon­ade, try to find a guy whose life has given him vodka, and have a party.

15 Aug 05

Review Of A Nervous Breakdown

I felt like I was con­stantly on the verge of a ner­vous break­down over the week­end. It’s been a while, but I started think­ing about sui­cide again. Not a heavy-hearted con­sid­er­a­tion, sim­ply some­thing I was turn­ing over in my head. Suicide only makes sense when the good out­weighs the bad, long-term con­sid­ered, and for a moment there, it felt like the future had noth­ing to offer. I had lost inter­est in all the small things that keep me sane on a day-to-day basis; the move­ment of my music, the com­pany of my friends, the com­fort of my writ­ing, the mem­o­ries of my rela­tion­ships. The prob­lem was that I couldn’t explain the feel­ing, which was more scary than any­thing else, as some­one who takes pride in know­ing him­self through and through. It was a com­pletely irra­tional pat­tern of thought, and I knew it, but I couldn’t con­vince myself of it. The only rea­son I could come up with was a chem­i­cal imbal­ance, caused by a rather sud­den absten­tion, along with a gen­eral feel­ing of sick­ness I’ve had since the begin­ning of the month.

I have more to live for than most peo­ple I know, but none of that meant a thing. This gave me some minor panic attacks, because I’d lost my rea­sons for liv­ing, and more sig­nif­i­cantly, never saw them improv­ing. I started to under­stand how beau­ti­ful, influ­en­tial, famous, suc­cess­ful peo­ple like Margaret Laurence, Elliot Smith could kill them­selves. All I knew is that I didn’t want to be one of those peo­ple. One of those peo­ple who took their lives sud­denly, irra­tionally, with­out any notice. The step-mother who fought life-long depres­sion. The friend who just decided that they couldn’t deal any­more. If I was going to die, I’d at least wait another year, another ten years to see if the any­thing would change or improve, because life is worth it. I started play­ing Ratchet And Clank to keep my mind off any­thing heavy, and kept play­ing 12 hours through the repet­i­tive motion symp­toms. I dis­cov­ered that it’s one of the most remark­able games I’ve ever expe­ri­enced, and it let me know that I can still enjoy things. That’s at least one rea­son, right? Or am I liv­ing back­wards, des­per­ately cling­ing to what I have left, try­ing to jus­tify my existence?

After explain­ing it all to John last night when he got home, my sit­u­a­tion started to make sense again. Some things only do after I say them. I con­fided in Shirley today too, even though she doesn’t fully under­stand, and never could. She told me that she’d go to hell and bring me back just to kill me again. Hearing that brought a lit­tle smile to my face. I feel bet­ter in a very gen­eral, inex­plic­a­ble sense, and am left with a slightly wor­ry­ing, unset­tled feeling.

This is prob­a­bly one of the most dif­fi­cult entries I’ve ever writ­ten. Even now I don’t know why I felt com­pelled to do so. Being able to means that I’m at least tem­porar­ily com­fort­able enough to speak about some­thing that I’m ter­ri­fied of think­ing of.

13 Aug 05


Thumbnail: Dolly on couch

Dolly’s new nick­name is Butterball. Kat’s chris­ten­ing. She sure hasn’t lost any weight lately. Dolly, that is, not Kat.

11 Aug 05

An Odd Mood Lately

I spend my time squar­ing away every­thing in my room so that I’m com­fort­able enough to write. The extra cables are gone, as well as the ran­dom receipts and bus trans­fers that some­how end up on the car­pet. My mir­rors are all in place, mak­ing the room seem twice as big, but I when I look I only see myself, slouched com­fort­ably in my chair, hood over my head. Even Dolly has won­dered in to lay her­self flat on the empty floor. By the time I’m done clean­ing, I’m at a loss for all the things I’ve been try­ing to get into well struc­tured paragraphs.

A new episode of Trailer Park Boys is play­ing on Showcase, and I’m watch­ing it with the sound off because too much infor­ma­tion would ruin the fourth sea­son, some­thing I’m deter­mined to see in order from the begin­ning. Ricky’s in a high school, com­pletely out of place as a thirty-something man in shop class try­ing to make some hash or grow some weed or har­vest some kind of nar­cotic, and this only adds to my amusement.

I’ve been let­ting my hair grow out, à la Matt Heafy in the video for Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr. Somehow, I’ve only now dis­cov­ered that my hair nat­u­rally grows towards the front, and by brush­ing it for­ward, it still looks respectable when I haven’t had it cut in a month and a half.

I’ve been in an odd mood lately. Thoughts branch off in my mind, but noth­ing seems solid enough to fol­low through. Inspiration always comes the day after today.

08 Aug 05


My spirit is burnt and there’s blood on my hands
The more I’m down, the less I under­stand
Once so found, now so lost
I ask no ques­tions,
It’s just one more bridge to cross

—Black Label Society, Bridge To Cross

I feel like a com­plete wreck. Between the dead­lines at work are the con­stant fires I’m respon­si­ble for putting out that slow my progress to a halt. My office is a flurry of paper drafts, com­puter parts, mis­cel­la­neous boxes, and to-do reminders. Concentration is dif­fi­cult because I’m start­ing to get lethar­gic and weak. I haven’t eaten any­thing decent in a week, although I seem to be stom­ach­ing cer­tain foods bet­ter today. I left work early to see a doc­tor at the walk-in clinic, only to find out that the vol­ume of patients had already exceeded the avail­able busi­ness hours for the day. I feel so help­less when I’m sick. All I can do is put the right things in my body, keep the wrong things out, and wait for my immune sys­tem to catch up. It’s tor­tu­ously frustrating.

John changed his avail­abil­ity at the wed­ding after I already requested that Tom squeeze him in. This not only reflects very poorly on me when I have to ask Tom to change his plans again, but also means that one of the only peo­ple who could save me won’t be there. I’m going to this wed­ding as a spe­cial favour to Tom (the rea­son for which I’ve cho­sen not to dis­cuss until after­ward) because I respect him and want to sup­port him, and that’s more impor­tant than any­thing else. Even Aaron seems to be break­ing my balls today, but I’m try­ing to assume that it’s just me.

For the first time in my life, I snapped out­right. A com­pletely unex­pected, phys­i­cal, vio­lent outburst.

Thumbnail: Counterstrike massacre 

To calm myself down, I bought an M249 Para, a Fabrique Nationale Five-SeveN (20 rounds a mag­a­zine make this a per­sonal favourite), some kel­var, and perched atop a tac­ti­cal stair­case, guard­ing myself against an army of knife wield­ing ene­mies. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t help, if only for a lit­tle bit. 6x anti-aliasing isn’t hard to look at either.

I’m try­ing to be stoic, but it’s dif­fi­cult when I’m not only men­tally, but phys­i­cally drained as well. All I need to do is make it through the month. One day at a time.

06 Aug 05

Damn The Consequence

One of the keys to blog­ging is to never give a shit about what any­one else thinks. Never write for an audi­ence. Never cen­sor one­self based on what other peo­ple may say. Never be embar­rassed or ashamed to admit anything.

Otherwise, one isn’t being true to one­self. If there are those who are nosy, those whom we’d rather not have read­ing, that should never be an issue. I may have my fair share of creepy inter­net stalk­ers (one is already more than enough), but I refuse to let that stop me from say­ing what’s really on my mind.

It may be dif­fi­cult to let go, but it’s worth it. The free­dom is com­pletely empow­er­ing. Blogs are a per­sonal space, as pub­lic as they may be, and should be treated as such.

Expression is an act that should never be hin­dered by some­thing as harm­less as opinion.

04 Aug 05

It Was A Rough Day

I went in for a few hours of work, which was tor­ture with­out hav­ing con­sumed more than 40 grams of car­bo­hy­drates, 8 grams of pro­tein, and 180 calo­ries in the last three days, but really, I can’t afford to be sick. I’m going to try to make it in for a few more hours tomor­row, if I don’t feel as weak and light-headed, but they already know that I may not be com­ing in at all. To stave hunger and dehy­dra­tion, I’ve been drink­ing as much water as I can before it makes me feel nau­seous again.

John also said some­thing that hurt me enough to make me cry (some­how I man­age to lose more flu­ids). Even though his off­hand com­ment was uncalled for, it’s partly my fault; being either hun­gry, tired, or sick can make me into a very can­tan­ker­ous per­son, but all three com­bined is as dan­ger­ous as jug­gling chain­saws. In real­ity, it’s no excuse. I’m deter­mined to apol­o­gize the next time I speak to him. As starved as I am, pride is always a hard thing to swallow.

I stepped out­side in the late evening, wear­ing my cot­ton hoodie, and real­ized that it was still too warm to be wear­ing any­thing with sleeves. It felt com­pletely odd to be out­side in the dark, when the sun already sets so late this time of year, and still be uncom­fort­ably warm. I was reminded of past sum­mer nights spent with Darren, being in the mid­dle of the park at mid­night with noth­ing but a black­ened sky above us and a jun­gle gym around us. It made me real­ize that I haven’t been out past sun­set since I’ve moved here, some­thing I don’t par­tic­u­larly mind when I have the com­fort of a house, a com­puter, and a housemate.

03 Aug 05

More Sickness

Hence the absence from work. It feels like the long week­end burned me out, and I need another one. Thank god it’s already Wednesday.

Really, it’s prob­a­bly just a mild stom­ach bug, caus­ing my body to reject every­thing but very dry, thinly sliced toast that comes in packs of eight, named after the stage name of Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell. I sus­pect that I’ll also be able to con­sume col­la­gen processed from pork skin, cat­tle bones, and cat­tle hide, but I’m still wait­ing for it to set in the freezer.

I feel so help­less when I’m like this. I gen­er­ally don’t worry about much, but health is the only thing that I can’t look at cere­brally. I’m not even com­fort­able writ­ing this. It just keeps mak­ing me think of how bad I feel. Too nau­se­ated to fall asleep. Too tired to do any­thing else.