Monthly Archives: December 2005

New Years At Home

Thumbnail: Table settings
Thumbnail: Genseng bins
Thumbnail: House of flying daggers
Thumbnail: Lemon squares
Thumbnail: Little Buddhas
Thumbnail: Tiger shrimp
Thumbnail: Snuff bottle
Thumbnail: Soup for one
Thumbnail: Pacific store

I’m finally in my own house again. Going to Toronto means I give up the com­fort of my kitty, my com­puter, and my envelop­ing duvet for a few days of authen­tic Chinese food, real Chinese kung fu movies, silk­worm sheets, and a few moments of fam­ily dys­func­tion every now and then.

Time at home left me drained. Turns out that I had an extra party to go to, and this year, I pulled myself up to go box­ing day shop­ping. It was killer on five hours of sleep, but def­i­nitely worth it, my best score of clothes in years. Mom was run­ning around every spare moment, prepar­ing food for over 40 peo­ple for the New Years Party, while dad prac­ticed his karaoke between runs for gro­ceries. There were two nights that I sat by myself and enjoyed the new pro­jec­tor, and it was the most relax­ing time I had dur­ing my stay.

As nice as it is to get away, I’m glad this only comes around once a year.

Boxing Day '04-'05

Exactly one year ago today, I was doing this. Even though the annual party at Chris and Clarmen’s actu­ally starts on the 25th, I really see it as a box­ing day party, the way a New Year’s party really starts on the 31st of December.

That night we used the excuse of going to Timmies for all the par­ents as a way out of the house to have a ses­sion. Unfortunately, this meant remem­ber­ing about a dozen drink orders, some­thing that proves dif­fi­cult under the influence.

In chrono­log­i­cal order:

  1. We met up at the house, where Darren’s fin­gers brave the turtles
  2. A ses­sion occurred out­side, and on the way to Timmies we intro­duced Chris to Dreamtheater (hence the music selection)
  3. An order is made for about a dozen drinks with great difficulty
  4. We drove back to play Slap Hand, which is a vari­a­tion on Slap Jack, except the pile is hit every time the cor­rect num­ber is called (and for increased dif­fi­culty we played with +/- rules where the pile is only hit if the num­ber spo­ken is an addi­tion or sub­trac­tion of a dif­fer­ent spec­i­fied number)
  5. Darren ran­domly deals every­one a hand of hold ‘em and plays it through, and this causes me to make fun of his obvi­ous addiction
  6. Darren pre­cisely deals a full hand of 13 cards for a game of Asshole, while talk­ing, for which I count my cards in dis­be­lief and finally real­ize just how much he plays cards

Other signs of how stoned we were:

  • Darren and Chris’s voices drop an octave, while my voice raises two (two!)
  • I can’t keep my jit­tery hands under control
  • The way Chris says, “Just awe­some guys. Awesome.”
  • At one point we have to stop to count to the right num­ber in Slap Hand
  • I laugh, a lot

This year, today, Lam joined us instead since Darren is off in Las Vegas.

Retreat

Hello, I’m an introvert.

When going through Psychology 1101 to cover a required sci­ence elec­tive, I stud­ied the char­ac­ter­is­tics of intro­ver­sion and extro­ver­sion, but the mate­r­ial never really res­onated with me. As I saw it, there are vary­ing degrees of both, I fit some­where on the intro­verted side of the scale, and this was the extent of the appli­ca­tion of such a subject.

I can force myself to be social, friendly, cheer­ful (what Shirley and I call being on), but I can only do this for lim­ited amounts of time. Usually I can keep it going just a few hours for a party or gath­er­ing, or as long as a few days as required if we’re out camp­ing or snow­board­ing, but never longer than this.

The rest of the time I spend in my room, away from the world, because the social inter­ac­tions of every­day life are a huge drain on me. When I’m alone, I recharge in a way I can’t explain. I’ve spent years feel­ing guilty for this behav­iour. The North American atti­tude is that there’s some­thing wrong with being quiet or unso­cial. The most strik­ing mem­ory I have of this was dur­ing frosh week, when oth­ers would con­stantly harass me to go drink­ing, or danc­ing, or par­ty­ing with a bunch of peo­ple I had never met before.

Now there’s an expla­na­tion that makes more sense to me than a sim­ple degree on a scale. In a recent arti­cle, neu­ro­science researcher Marti Olsen Laney talks about the con­nec­tions between intro­ver­sion and biol­ogy. “It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process infor­ma­tion, how they restore their energy, what they enjoy and how they communicate.”

I real­ize that there’s a greatly sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between the way I behave and my intro­verted mind­set. Introversion is an atti­tude that affects almost every aspect of my life, deeply rooted to a phys­i­o­log­i­cal level. It isn’t some­thing I should be ashamed of or embar­rassed about.

And if I can come out of my shell every now and then, I’ll be alright.

The View Down Here

Thumbnail: View from my room

This is the view out my win­dow on the night of a snow­fall. The bed­rooms are in the base­ment, so I get a sub­ter­ranean look at my minia­ture lawn with pine tree, although the gar­den is now buried under 40cm of snow. There are the Moonlights, deprived of their charges from snow cov­er­ing their solar pan­els. There’s the A/C that cost me a month and a half salary.

A lit­tle box, out­lined by fence and porch, of my things.

I sleep with the blinds open in the win­ter because at night I see more this time of year than in the sum­mer. Snow makes the sky glow an ashen orange, a phe­nom­e­non I can’t myself explain. On some nights, it’s too bright to sleep and I have to mask my eyes, peek­ing out every few min­utes to make sure my win­ter par­adise is still out the win­dow until I fall asleep. When I feel espe­cially sen­ti­men­tal, I leave the win­dow open a crack to let in the smell of ice and dry air.

The price of this plea­sure is at least three dead in weather related inci­dents across the province of Ontario.