equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
30 Sep 07

Life Is Full Of Possibilities

How sim­ple a thing is hap­pi­ness: a glass of wine, a roast chest­nut, a wretched lit­tle bra­zier, the sound of the sea. All that is required to feel that here and now is hap­pi­ness and a sim­ple, fru­gal heart.

—Zorba the Greek

I feel like writing.

Saturdays are usu­ally reserved for relax­ation, but I mixed it with a few errands through­out the day. Bought extra auburn foliage for one of my pots, and a fun­nel to get fresh-ground pep­per into my new pep­per shaker. Picked up my weekly gro­ceries. Sat down at the pizza par­lor to start Beautiful Losers while my Hawaiian was being baked.

I watched Zorba The Greek tonight, about the adven­tures of an aim­less Englishman who goes to Crete, and the lessons he learns from a man he meets named Zorba.

Thumbnail: Zorba the Greek dances

Thumbnail: The Crete widow from Zorba the Greek

Though gen­er­ally jovial and light­hearted, it was heavy and heavy at times. There’s a scene where a beau­ti­ful widow (the love inter­est of the movie) is rit­u­al­is­ti­cally stoned and killed out of jeal­ousy by the men of the vil­lage, sim­ply because she wouldn’t let any of them have her. The direc­tion is a lit­tle incon­sis­tent, but Anthony Quinn’s por­trayal of the Grecian spirit keeps the movie in tact. Many believe the movie to be an analy­sis of Apollonian vs Dionysian thought, but I saw it as a nod to Taoism as well.

Zorba’s a Taoist, whether he knows it or not. He shuns intel­lec­tual thought and analy­sis, and loves life with bub­bling spon­tane­ity. In the end, the Englishman learns from Zorba, not about life, but how to live it.

And it inspired me. Not just the dia­logue or the play­ful­ness, but the loca­tions too. It made me want to travel, to see new places, to meet more peo­ple, and explore other cultures.

One day. For now, I’ll enjoy the com­fort of my house.

So here I am, stay­ing up late with my back next to the open win­dow, eat­ing but­ter pecan tarts, drink­ing Dragon Well tea, and writ­ing as much as I can.

I think I’ll go prac­tice the form now.

Tomorrow, I have noth­ing to do but live.

27 Sep 07

Revealing Vulnerability

In my book tonight, I was reminded of the time I was sit­ting on the floor of my room and you were lying on the bed when I felt the foun­da­tion shud­der beneath me. I mapped the escape route in my head, thought of the coats cause it was the end of win­ter, and was about to grab your hand to lead us out­side if the earth shook again, threat­en­ing to bury us in three sto­ries of wood and con­crete. I told you to be ready to run upstairs on my word. How I loved you then.

And I real­ized that I can write about it until my fin­gers are sore, I can think about it into the early hours of the morn­ing, but I can’t tell you how much you hurt me.

For in doing so, I reveal my vulnerability.

26 Sep 07

Pick Yourself Up

Things haven’t been going my way. As much as I try to let them go, I can’t. There’s just too much right now. My mind jumps from one thing to another when I’m in bed.

I need to stay away from the blo­gos­phere for a while. Not writ­ing, but being a part of my usual cliques and forums. The drama lately has been really piss­ing me off, and it’s cer­tainly not helping.

It’s six in the morn­ing and I’ve been awake for…hmmm…two hours? Another hour before I’m off to work. Maybe writ­ing this has helped.

Pick your­self up, you son-of-a-bitch, because no one’s going to do it for you.

Edit: Nope. Fuck it. I’m going to work, and bring­ing my hoodie, and a copy of Taxi Driver. I won­der if it’s rain­ing outside.

23 Sep 07

Feeling Particularly Single

Not nec­es­sar­ily lonely, but single.

Maybe it’s because I got accus­tomed to liv­ing with some­one. Coming home to another per­son in the house. Going to bed with a warm body next to me.

My cud­dle buddy has decided that she’s off-limits1. I haven’t made out with any­one, let alone had sex, in months.

Dry spells are funny things.

During my last one, I was too stoned to even think about dat­ing. The one before that was more of a chal­lenge.

Being sober and sin­gle isn’t quite the way I remem­ber it.

Sometimes peo­ple tell me they want to “intro­duce” me to some­one, but I’m always antsy about hurt­ing mutual friends or acquaintances.

One per­son even gave me the card of a girl they thought was “per­fect” for me, whom she met while get­ting a mort­gage approved at the bank. “Perfect in what way?”, I asked. “Every way”, she said, “Gentle, polite, petite”. For months after­ward, she would ask if I called this per­son, and give me a dis­ap­pointed look every time I said no, like a mother find­ing out that her son hasn’t borne her any grand­chil­dren. I wish I could meet this girl, just to see what some­one else believes I’m look­ing for.

My friends, who are in seri­ous rela­tion­ships or mar­ried now, talk about being sin­gle as if it was akin to their houses burn­ing down. They’ve been in their rela­tion­ships for so long that the idea has become for­eign to them. “I’m too old to date”, they say, “Trying to find some­one new, won­der­ing if they like you, fig­ur­ing out if you’re compatible..I couldn’t start over again”.

I always laugh, and think, “Then where does that leave me?”.

  1. I hope it wasn’t because she thought I was lead­ing her on []
22 Sep 07

Portraits of Gosia

Thumbnail: Gosia tilts her head 
Thumbnail: Gosia's eyes 
Thumbnail: Closeup of Gosia's eyes 
Thumbnail: Gosia's face in shadow 

A few por­traits of Gosia. She’s a first-generation Canadian, her par­ents being immi­grants from Poland. One can tell she has a very European look.

Thumbnail: Gosia hams it up 
Thumbnail: Gosia on a bench 

These were taken with the sun com­ing from behind because Gosia was squint­ing too much oth­er­wise. I tried my flash as a fill-in to bal­ance the bright­ness of the back­ground, which helped increased sat­u­ra­tion in the fore­ground. I love the colours in these shots, they’re so dreamy.

Thumbnail: Gosia awesome abs 

Another addi­tion to my body shot series. Gosia’s a com­pet­i­tive vol­ley­ball player, so she has awe­some abs (not to men­tion killer curves).

Thumbnail: Gosia covered 
Thumbnail: Gosia behind a fence 
Thumbnail: Gosia's reflection in a mirror 

A lot of guys are some­what blinded by Gosia’s beau­ti­ful big eyes and curvy fig­ure; they’re don’t real­ize that she’s quite a strong, intel­li­gent per­son with a good head on her shoul­ders. The idea of these shots was to cover up part of her face, not through the fram­ing of the pic­ture, but using objects to help the viewer see past her phys­i­cal beauty.

19 Sep 07

Yo-Yo Tuesdays and Thursdays

It’s the same thing every Tuesday and Thursday.

I get home from work. I have some yogurt. I power nap. I wake up. I eat some fruit. I take the bus to my Tai Chi class.

I’m more pro­duc­tive on the bus than at home. It forces me to sit, and removes me of all distractions.

Some days I like to zone out. I lis­ten to music and let my mind wan­der. Lately though, I’ve been read­ing, to whit­tle down my list of purchased-but-not-finished books:

Note: Those marked with an aster­isk are ones I’ve begun reading.

The one I’m focus­ing on now is the Mao book (which is a tome that breaks my back when I carry it in a shoul­der bag) because I’m near the end of his life and it’s get­ting so good and so juicy. Nearly 10 months after Bronwen’s par­ents gave it to me last Christmas, I’m almost finished.

And I get so depressed when I read it because it’s filled with sto­ries of such tragedy, cru­elty, and mis­for­tune. Mao proves to be such a mon­ster, with over 70 mil­lion peo­ple dead from star­va­tion, sui­cide, or tor­ture, that it fills me with an almost infi­nite sadness.

Then I get to my Tai Chi class, and it’s so small and inti­mate, with such a great group of peo­ple, that I feel enlight­ened. It’s such a beau­ti­ful, tan­gi­ble expres­sion of my beliefs. My class­mates are all gen­er­ous, unpre­ten­tious peo­ple. The con­tact when I’m push­ing hands, uproot­ing, force-deflecting — the only phys­i­cal con­tact I have in the week now — charges me, and stave’s the lone­li­ness for another day.

When class is over, I get back on the bus and read more about Mao, and hurt again.

I come home around quar­ter to ten and cook din­ner and eat and write a bit and get to sleep way too late.

It’s an emo­tional roller coaster I go through twice a week.

16 Sep 07

An Evening with Krista and Shane

Thumbnail: Krista Muir and Shane Watt perform together wide

As pre­dicted, I left my house feel­ing ner­vous and excited, and put on my Top Rated playlist to dis­tract myself. The music of Lederhosen Lucil has never touched me on a deeply inti­mate level, the way, say, a Leonard Cohen or Thrice song does, but it’s still remained very per­sonal. I dis­cov­ered L.L. at a time when I was feel­ing rather jaded from life. The music was silly, fun, and con­fi­dent, so I embraced it with delight­ful hedo­nism. It lifted me when I was in a strange state of numb­ness and limbo.

Thumbnail: Krista Muir and Shane Watt get ready to perform 
Thumbnail: Shane's North Korean guitar 
Thumbnail: Lederhosen Lucil swag 

I got there at what turned out to be an hour and a half early (though it was due to a mis­take on the venue web­site), so I wan­dered the store until the show started, feel­ing like a fish out of water in a tiny room filled with hand­made women’s cloth­ing and jew­el­ery. Though beau­ti­ful and impres­sively unique, they wouldn’t let me take pic­tures of any­thing1.

As soon as I saw Krista alone, I began to hyper­ven­ti­late, which was rather unex­pected (I’m still get­ting over how hilar­i­ously embar­rass­ing this was). I approached her and man­aged to spit out “Hi” in a whis­per. I didn’t know what to say, so I just asked her to sign my CD (still whis­per­ing, unable to con­trol the vol­ume of my voice). I’m sure I’ll appre­ci­ate such a reac­tion in a cou­ple years, as not many peo­ple can cause me to be so flus­tered2.

Read the rest of this entry »

  1. I’m guess­ing to pro­tect the designs of the artists []
  2. Perhaps it was the strange feel­ing that Krista, who was now sud­denly in front of me, had so unwit­tingly affected me, with­out ever even being aware of my exis­tence. Or per­haps I was intim­i­dated. I like to con­sider myself a cre­ative per­son, but by no means a pro­fes­sional, earn­ing a liv­ing off my cre­ativ­ity. Krista is, how­ever, a born enter­tainer. []
15 Sep 07

Empty Nights, Waiting for a Realization

I’ve done the math enough to know the dan­gers of our sec­ond guess­ing
Doomed to crum­ble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication

—Tool, Schism

I sup­pose I feel it most when you’re not around. Empty nights, when it’s been another day with­out contact.

Part of me misses talk­ing to you, but part of me doesn’t feel like it just yet. It’s a con­tra­dic­tion I can’t explain. Not that it mat­ters anyway.

You’re not stub­born. You’re not lazy.

You just don’t get it.

12 Sep 07

Lederhosen Lucil is Coming to Town


I just found out that Krista Muir, who’s alter-ego Lederhosen Lucil I fell in love with two years ago, is play­ing in a small stu­dio in town on Friday. Entrance dona­tion is $5. As much as I want to go to hear her new album (released today, fea­tur­ing ukule­les over Yamaha syn­the­siz­ers), my main rea­son would be to get some pic­tures of her. I never get a chance to do con­cert pho­tog­ra­phy, and she has a play­ful per­son­al­ity with the cos­tumes she wears.

I’ll prob­a­bly bring my 15mm and 24–70mm lenses, and be shoot­ing at f/2.8 and 1600 ISO the whole time. I would con­sider my 50mm f/1.8 prime just for that extra stop of light, but I lent it to Pat and primes are much less ver­sa­tile in such situations.

Two years ago, I missed her only stop of her tour in this city, when I had to “coach” my team in lad­der matches at the table ten­nis league. That made me a sad panda.

Just think­ing about going is mak­ing my stom­ach flut­ter. I may go to movies by myself, but I never go to con­certs alone. The noise and crowds of con­certs make me espe­cially uncom­fort­able (and over­stim­u­lated), but a friend always helps me get over it. Unfortunately, no one else I know enjoys her music (which I would describe as fairly eso­teric), and I wouldn’t put some­one through music they didn’t enjoy. Added to this, I’ll be tak­ing pic­tures, which always makes me feel very self-conscious.

Normally, I take a few weeks to men­tally pre­pare myself for some­thing like this, but since it’s such short notice and the oppor­tu­nity doesn’t come around often, I’m forc­ing myself to go.

I’m scared, and ner­vous, and excited all at once.

Edit: I just noticed that my “sim­i­lar terms” cus­tom field, which auto­mat­i­cally enters key­words from the entry to match words in the data­base and pull “related entries” on the left, includes the word “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”. Hilarity.

11 Sep 07

You Caught Me Dancing

I always lis­ten to music when I’m in the bath­room, and I always dance when I’m alone.

Except you were in my room, look­ing in, and I was brush­ing my teeth to the beat. I don’t even remem­ber the song, I just know that it moved me, manip­u­lat­ing my joints and twitch­ing my bones like a mar­i­onette. Shoulders, hips, legs co-ordinated like a shame­less drunk.

You asked. I denied.

And if you men­tioned it now, I still wouldn’t admit it.

09 Sep 07

Romanced by the Fall

The leaves start to turn before they drop.

It’s finally cool enough to sleep with the win­dow open again. I wake up refreshed, a lit­tle chilly even, with my blan­kets wrapped to my face.

Maybe I’ve been sin­gle for too long, maybe I’m being romanced by the fall yet again, but there seem to be cute girls every­where lately.

07 Sep 07

Pat and Jen's Wedding

Thumbnail: Before getting married

Though some­what hec­tic, every­thing worked out in the end for Pat and Jen’s wedding.


I missed the wed­ding rehearsal because I had to close the books for the month at work. I didn’t get to Pat’s place until 9:30 that night, which went late into the morn­ing as loose ends were tied up, and Jason and I stayed up until 3:00 am to fin­ish the slide show.

The girls got even less sleep I’m sure; the last I saw them they were gig­gling in bed like a high-school sleepover.

Before leav­ing for Jason’s place to stay the night (leav­ing the house for the girls), Pat gave me God of War 2 and Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal as gifts for being in the wed­ding party.

Thumbnail: Kevin and me in the car
Thumbnail: The edge of downtown
Thumbnail: Groomsmen boutonniere
Thumbnail: Ken pins my boutonniere

In the morn­ing we woke up at seven, had some muffins and cof­fee, dec­o­rated the cars, got dressed, and raced to the church.

Read the rest of this entry »

07 Sep 07

Did You See the Face of God Tonight?

oh yes there’s many a man or woman
that’s been put in the insane asy­lum
when this has hap­pened to them
and they’re sit­ting there today, peo­ple think they’re insane
but they saw some­thing that’s real
and they see it when they’re on drugs
the only thing is they see it
not through the light of god

because when you see the face of god you will die

—Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Hung Over as the Queen In Maida Vale

I saw you through the win­dow, in a cof­fee shop with­out a cof­fee in your hand.

At first I won­dered why you were sit­ting so far away from your bags, as if you had put them down and for­got­ten where you were.

Then I real­ized that those bags were the sum of your pos­ses­sions, along with your pink Dora The Explorer hat, and soiled orange over­coat you wore in the mid­dle of a warm sum­mer night. Everything about you screamed crazy.

You played with your jelly­beans, tilt­ing them back and forth in the clear plas­tic bag, watch­ing them slide back and forth with eyes like stones in their sock­ets. You were lost to the world.


Then you got up and left. You wan­dered the street, paus­ing to peer in the win­dows of jew­el­ery stores where there was no jew­el­ery, like a child with­out a care in the world.

It made me wonder.

What got you high tonight?

Did you see the face of God tonight?

05 Sep 07

A Test Of Love

So I deleted your num­bers off my speed dial. I took down your pic­tures. It was an in-the-moment thing.

I’m calm now, see­ing things objec­tively, yet still undecided.

Part of me wants to believe we can still be friends. That we can still hang out with­out me depend­ing on you for any­thing. But I’m not like that, and I don’t stay friends with those on whom I can’t depend.

I put aside my issues for my friends, and I needed you to do the same for me.

I cried, not only because you weren’t there when I needed you, not only because you had a respon­si­bil­ity to my friends as well, but because I never allow those who hurt me so much to be a part of my life. Our friend­ship may be lost, and this is what upsets me the most. Perhaps it hurts so much because you were so impor­tant to me. I don’t want to lose that, but I’ll never for­get what you did and I’ll never trust you again.

And if I can for­give you, you’ll know that I truly love you.

04 Sep 07

Pat's Bachelor Party

The best part of the bach­e­lor party wasn’t the fact that it was Pat’s first time being drunk1. Or the fact that he was break danc­ing next to street musi­cians down­town (the video of which shall not be shown).

It was the fact that he was com­pletely off his guard, too drunk to remem­ber what hap­pened the next day, but he was the same old Pat: fun, friendly, and con­sid­er­ate2.

Imbibed by the great truth serum, when all the bad and angry thoughts have a chance to come out, we dis­cov­ered that there isn’t a spot of dark­ness in his soul.

He also said two affect­ing things, lucid in his drunken state.

The first, in slurred speech, he advised us bach­e­lors, “Find the right one. Just make sure you find the right one. She might not be the per­fect match, but she is the right one. Just remem­ber that. If you look for your per­fect match all your life, you might not find it. Just find the right one.”

The sec­ond was when he was going around the room, and he came to me: “Jeff, you too. You’re going to live a happy life. Sometimes it’s rough on the edges, but you know what’s good for you. You know what’s good for you, you know peo­ple will take care of you. Don’t worry, man. You’re going to live a happy life.”

Life is rough on the edges”, he said. Not that my life is par­tic­u­larly bad, I just don’t han­dle things very well, and this is often when I turn to him. It’s nice to hear from some­one — whose opin­ion which I respect greatly — that things are going to be alright for me, that peo­ple will take care of me when things get bad.

Because I knew in my heart that when Pat said “peo­ple”, that included himself.

  1. Not that Pat has any­thing against drink­ing, as he some­times has a beer with din­ner, he sim­ply doesn’t see the point to drink­ing to get drunk []
  2. About throw­ing up on Mike’s “natural-oak, natural-stain lam­i­nate floor”, or “wast­ing money” I spent for his hal­ibut din­ner []