equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
30 Aug 06

A Few Portraits

Thumbnail: Bronwen in the darkness
Thumbnail: John on the bench
Thumbnail: Lacey on the couch
Thumbnail: Darren in the park
Thumbnail: Don Pita
Thumbnail: Chaos looks
Thumbnail: Jenn as the thunderbolt

A few por­traits taken over the sum­mer. Most are taken with the 24–70mm f2.8, which has come to be my main por­trait lens, instead of a prime like the 50mm. I find that I can take advan­tage of the wide end of the lens to come up with some inter­est­ing dis­tor­tion, such as the first one that really brings out Bronwen’s eyes. Unfortunately, it’s so heavy that it’s dif­fi­cult to hand-hold steadily, so most pic­tures are taken with bright ambi­ent light or a flash.

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25 Aug 06

There's Never Enough Time

New lay­out. Back to my old grayscale style, because that’s how I’ve been feel­ing lately. Neutral. Took me about three days, mostly from scratch. I was sat­is­fied with the old one, until two months ago, when I began read­ing sev­eral design/typography/colour books at work. The pow­ers that be let me spend around $300 on edu­ca­tional mate­r­ial, and as I explored each one with fer­vor and thirst, I began to notice all the fun­da­men­tal design mis­takes I made. Ignorance is bliss.

It’s Friday night, and with my legs curled under me, Dolly sniffs at my feet, look­ing for an oppor­tune space on my lap. Fall is approach­ing. The win­dow in my room remains open as soon as the sun sets. I’ve been over­whelm­ingly busy, and as a result, I haven’t quite caught up on any sleep in the last two weeks.

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11 Aug 06

What Can I Say?

Things have changed.

I don’t write the same any­more, or about the same things. I’ve lost my fer­vent ver­bosity. Every time I sit at my com­puter, my mind blanks. Writing has become a chore. Even this entry has taken me days to think through. I find myself writ­ing and rewrit­ing every point, every paragraph.

In the begin­ning, blog­ging was a form of cathar­sis. Developing cog­ni­tively beyond my ado­les­cence was an emo­tional period, filled with con­fu­sion and grow­ing pains. The only way I could make sense of it all was to write out my thoughts, forc­ing myself to reflect and learn from every challenge.

It was also a use­ful tool in fig­ur­ing myself out, as a part of my life where I could approach things with the con­vic­tion that I lacked in the rest of my life. Now that I’ve gained enough con­fi­dence, it doesn’t seem so nec­es­sary to prove myself with words any­more. It would seem that I’ve become a vic­tim of my own self-assuredness.

I could fill this blog with entries, find­ing solace in the writ­ten word, when I was going through some­thing as sim­ple as a bad day. As time has passed, I’ve elim­i­nated most of the things that bother me enough to turn to this medium. It was a slow and sys­tem­atic process, both inter­nal and exter­nal. My new-found seren­ity has left me with lit­tle rage. I’m hap­pier now, and hap­pi­ness is too hard to write.

It would seem that I’ve run out of things to say.

There have been few epipha­nies, and even less inspi­ra­tion, in the last while. Maybe it’s because I’m in the mid­dle of a tran­si­tion. It takes a foun­da­tion of sta­bil­ity, some­thing I haven’t had in months, to grow. My life hasn’t quite set­tled yet.

Writer’s block is a sign that I’ve stopped grow­ing, a tes­ta­ment to what and how much I’ve been through.

But more impor­tantly, it’s a sign that I’m approach­ing where I want to go in my life.

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04 Aug 06

The Maternal Grudge

Under the guise of some trou­ble with her iPod, the old sec­ond gen­er­a­tion clunker that I gave her last Christmas, my mother calls me on Saturday, close to midnight.

I can hear the con­ges­tion in her nose. She’s been cry­ing. It gets lonely when you’re alone in the house on a Saturday night, the same house you’ve inhab­ited for the last 15 years of your life with your façade of a fam­ily, and the façade is torn down.

Our last phone-call didn’t end well. She wanted to know why we weren’t as close as other sons with their mothers.

How can we be close”, I told her, “You go crazy every time I tell you some­thing impor­tant. You’re sti­fling. Overprotective. Growing up, it made my life a night­mare.” For the first time in my life, I revealed a glimpse of how she had wronged me, not even bring­ing up the mem­o­ries of men­tal abuse I keep buried in my chest for times like this, like an ember ready to be stoked into a fire.

It’s because you’re my only son, and the only thing I have left now.” Saying these words, spark­ing a sud­den real­iza­tion, makes her sob more. She tells me that she wants to start over. It’s never too late. She wants to be stronger so she can sur­vive this divorce, and close to me so she’s isn’t left with­out an emo­tional bond.

I can only say that I’ll have to for­give her first. Up to then, she didn’t even know that there was any­thing to forgive.

Unfortunately, for­give­ness isn’t some­thing that’s in my power. I have no pity for her. Knowing how vul­ner­a­ble, weak, and depressed she is just a reminder of my own child­hood, and only time has a chance at edul­co­rat­ing the bit­ter taste in my mouth.

So she calls me on Saturday, pre­tend­ing to need some help with her iPod, to see if I’ve for­given her yet. If I ignore her, I become as ter­ri­ble a per­son as she was. I only wish I could believe that she didn’t deserve it.

But I can’t.

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