equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
28 Aug 08

Issues In Others

After going through ther­apy, I’ve started to rec­og­nize com­plexes and issues in other people.

Some put their hope in some­one, then hurt them. Some only fall in love with peo­ple they can’t have, and as soon as inter­est is rec­i­p­ro­cated, they lose the attrac­tion. Strong signs of emo­tional depri­va­tion, stem­ming from trau­matic rela­tion­ships. (Unfortunately, I’ve been the cause on more than one occa­sion, and it was my own issues that lead to this destruc­tive behav­iour where I didn’t treat a heart as del­i­cately as I should have.)

Most peo­ple aren’t aware of their issues, but I’m always baf­fled by the ones who are aware and still don’t do any­thing about it. They repeat­edly make the same mis­takes over and over again.

I’ve always believed that self-improvement is the high­est form of liv­ing, and I’ve been able to work through my own bag­gage, so I refuse to accept those who don’t work through their own.

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25 Aug 08

A Day Without Her Is A Day Without Air

She swings away

And until I stop breath­ing, my lungs will take her for granted.

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21 Aug 08

Four Day Vacation

I’m in Toronto right now, at John’s house. He has the cot­tage for his birth­day week­end, so I took two extra days off work to see him. It’s kind of strange how much I’ve been see­ing him lately. In the past, we’d go over a year with­out see­ing each other because he was in Windsor for law school and I was in Ottawa with­out a car. But now that he’s been called to the bar and I’ve obtained the Civic, things have worked out.

We plan on going to the Ontario Science Centre today — some­thing I’ve wanted to do for a while1 — then dri­ving up to the cot­tage tonight. We’ll spend two days at the cot­tage2, maybe take a day trip to another town, and drive back on Sunday. Aaron also called me yes­ter­day about his co-ed baby shower on Sunday, which i’m not sure if I’ll be attend­ing yet, since I’ll have dri­ven eight hours that day.

Sunsets and Audiobooks

The drive was absolutely amaz­ing. The weather was per­fectly cool, and the sun took its glo­ri­ous time set­ting over a few hours. I think the most sat­is­fy­ing part is get­ting to the sec­tion of high­way where the 417 splits to the 416, and one can stay in the left lane and accel­er­ate through the turn, leav­ing all the traf­fic behind.

I lis­tened to some audio CDs of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking on the way over. The con­cept is that our first reac­tions (made within a few sec­onds) are often intu­itively cor­rect, and that even after think­ing about some­thing for a long time, we end up going with our gut feel­ings any­way. We’re made to believe that the more impor­tant some­thing is, the longer we should take to make a deci­sion. I’m espe­cially guilty of this3. Wally lent them to me in an effort to help me act faster so I don’t miss any oppor­tu­ni­ties. Not sure if they’ll help me, but the way it delves into processes of the human psy­che is a very inter­est­ing lis­ten nonetheless.

Feeding Butterball

Left Dolly lots of food, and I’m hop­ing she doesn’t eat it all. The rea­son why I feed her by hand is because she doesn’t have any sense of how much to eat, and bal­loons up if not con­trolled. In either case, I expect a lot of poo in the lit­ter­box when I get back.

New Game

I bought John a copy of Assassin’s Creed for his birth­day, which thank­fully was on his list of games for which to watch. It was devel­oped by Ubisoft Montreal, the same stu­dio who made Prince of Persia, and plays very much the same way. An open-world con­cept with lots of stealth ele­ments. Certainly a game I could get into. We take turns play­ing, and it’s made me real­ize that I haven’t been play­ing much myself in the last few months.

A Sense of Overstimulation

Life has been some­what over­stim­u­lat­ing lately, and I can’t blame any­one but myself. After spend­ing a day shop­ping for house­wares with Julie last week­end, the house is a big mess, with things scat­tered over the coun­ters and floors. I haven’t even had a chance to write about the last time I came to Toronto. It seems like life is going faster than I can keep up. I’m just try­ing to enjoy it, espe­cially when the weather is this beautiful.

After all, life is for the liv­ing. This won’t last for­ever. I get to look for­ward to some time alone when every­thing is settled.

  1. I don’t think I’ve been since grade 4, so over 18 years ago. []
  2. Last time I was there was two years ago []
  3. John says that I tend to over ana­lyze things to the point of paral­y­sis. []
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19 Aug 08

Trolley and Steph's Wedding

Changing groomsmen

Not only the day that Trolley got hitched, but a chance to see Adam and Tomasini and Eric and Nick and Alison; the peo­ple I only get to hang out with when camp­ing or par­ty­ing at the farm. I missed Adam and his ever ebul­lient atti­tude most of all, some­thing that never fails to buoy the spir­its. Even though we didn’t get a chance to talk much through all the prepa­ra­tion, it was enough to hear his voice and laughter.

Handshake

Thumbnail: Wedding handshake
Thumbnail: Wedding handshake
Thumbnail: Taking cell phone photos
Thumbnail: Walking to the aisle
Thumbnail: Just married
 

It was back to Stanley’s Maple Farm1 for the out­door wed­ding. The rain con­tin­ued up to half an hour before the cer­e­mony then stopped com­pletely, as if god him­self had a hand in ordainment.

You just need to look at the smile on Trolley’s face to under­stand how happy he is.

The recep­tion was open bar, with prime rib and a dessert buf­fet at the end. I had been wait­ing over a year to have the prime rib din­ner, as I was going through an undi­ag­nosed case of IBS at Aaron’s wed­ding and was left eat­ing bread. Even Pat, my gour­mand friend, said that it was cooked to per­fec­tion, and found out that the venue has a deal with the farm up the road to get the best cuts of meat.

We sur­prised the newly wed­ded cou­ple with the shoe game, where they answer a series of ques­tions with­out know­ing how the other one will answer. They sur­prised us with how many they answered in sync. A good sign for the newly wed.

Thumbnail: Wedding guestbook
Thumbnail: Center piece
Thumbnail: Photographer sticks his tongue out
Thumbnail: Aaron drinks
Thumbnail: Wedding favour
 

Nick humourously noted that there weren’t many sin­gle girls around, but being able to hang out with Aaron in the MC booth made me feel much less awk­ward and aban­doned than the last wed­ding I went to.

At one point, Trolley came up to me and asked me _____ __ _________ ____ _____. It was his wed­ding, but he was con­cerned about me. I couldn’t believe it even entered his mind with every­thing going on around him, and it was cer­tainly the part I’ll remem­ber most about that night.

  1. The same place Aaron got mar­ried. []
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16 Aug 08

Life After Now

When you get to my age and most of your best years are behind you instead of ahead of you… it is a lit­tle eas­ier to both appre­ci­ate what you have and to regret what you will never have again.

—Michael on Randomness and Disconnection

In this cul­ture, we’re bred to believe that every step of our lives will affect the next one with dire con­se­quences. If you don’t choose the right classes in grade 10, you’ll be stuck in some­thing you don’t like in grade 11, and end up scor­ing poorly. If you score poorly in grade 11, you’ll limit your options for grade 12. If you don’t have the right classes in grade 12, you’ll have fewer uni­ver­si­ties from which to choose. So on and so on, until the C+ you got in his­tory class means you’ll be mow­ing lawns for the rest of your life.

Maybe this is why I always feel like it’s too late.

I wish I never stopped learn­ing piano, so I could have another medium to express myself. I wish I grew up learn­ing Tai Chi, so it’d be more nat­ural to me. I wish I bought a house sooner, so I could have cap­i­tal­ized on amor­ti­za­tion in the ris­ing hous­ing mar­ket. I wish I had started con­tribut­ing to my RRSPs at a younger age, so I could retire at the age I want. I wish I paid more atten­tion in French class, so I could still use it as a lan­guage. I wish I had gone to ther­apy ear­lier, so I wouldn’t have messed up the rela­tion­ships that mattered.

All these sit­u­a­tions where I feel like I’m too old and passed the point where I can achieve some­thing effi­ciently, or max­i­mize my gains.

But then I see how happy some peo­ple are, who are twice my age, and haven’t planned for retire­ment yet. Or some who still live in an apart­ment, with­out a house or car for equity. Some are newly sin­gle at fifty, and dat­ing, and hap­pier than they’ve ever been (and here I am, think­ing that I’ll be sin­gle for the rest of my life because every­one my age is already mar­ried). Even Lloyd, who just obtained his doc­tor­ate last year at 36, told me that one’s skills can take them any­where, and that age is never a mat­ter. I’m not sure if I believe that yet, but I’d sure like to.

It all makes me won­der: is it really too late? Are my best years really behind me?

Perhaps they’re not.

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14 Aug 08

I Wanna Be A Trailer Park Boy

Trailer park us

Cause Trailer Park Boys never give up.

Cause Trailer Park Boys aren’t stuck in the rat race.

Cause Trailer Park Boys smoke weed, drink, and eat cheese­burg­ers all day.

Cause Trailer Park Boys love kit­ties as much as I do.

Cause Trailer Park Boys always dream, hope, believe in some­thing better.

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11 Aug 08

Design Itch

Web design is a fre­quent itch for me, as inspi­ra­tion comes from every­where. Quite often, I come across a beau­ti­ful site that has a clever ele­ment here or an inter­est­ing pat­tern there, and get the urge to redesign my own.

But as there’s no such thing as a per­fect ath­lete, there’s no such thing as a per­fect design. Minimalism, while func­tional and acces­si­ble, tends to lack per­son­al­ity. Style — while beau­ti­ful and full of char­ac­ter — tends to be biased and stag­nant. I find myself in a con­stant state of flux between the two ideals.

Right now, I’d love to have a big­ger can­vas, some­thing like Days With my Father, where I can dis­play my pho­tos in a much larger for­mat (because, really, the impact of a pho­to­graph is lost when it’s small). I’d love to have items orga­nized by columns fit that per­fectly in a grid, aligned along nat­ural ver­ti­cal rules. I’d love to have some­thing a lit­tle more com­plex, some­thing that invites a viewer to explore further.

But I’m happy with this one. It does what I want. It looks right, no mat­ter what day or mood I’m in.

Having a design that matches my sit­u­a­tion is impor­tant to me, which means they gen­er­ally don’t last longer than a few months, as I tend to evolve within that time. There have been many times that I’ve writ­ten, “This is the last redesign for a while”, only to be unsat­is­fied in some way and to change it within a few months. I unveiled the cur­rent one at the begin­ning of the year, and it’s prob­a­bly the one I’ve been most sat­is­fied with. Whenever the itch strikes me, I browse through the archives and admire how clean every­thing is, and how dif­fer­ent types of con­tent seems to work in the same area. Then I real­ize how hard it would be to come up with some­thing bet­ter, and the itch goes away.

So no redesign for a while.

Promise.

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09 Aug 08

A Day in the Market

Tea store

Thumbnail: Russian Earl Grey tea
Thumbnail: Tea bags
Thumbnail: Carnations
Thumbnail: Dreamcatcher
Thumbnail: Carnations
Thumbnail: Necklace model
Thumbnail: Necklaces
Thumbnail: Rings
Thumbnail: Me in a toque
Thumbnail: Touching fabric
 
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07 Aug 08

Bridgehead

We met on the bus, side-by-side, read­ing books that both won Nobel Prizes.

I was sup­posed to meet you here three years ago, and they’re out of apple cider. The cran­berry cider is tart, but only too much when you sip it so. There’s a sub­tly dis­tinct taste to it, barely enough to stop me from won­der­ing if I just paid $2.45 for warm cran­berry juice. I didn’t even want this drink; I just wanted to sit down and write.

I never would have come here if you hadn’t sug­gested it. There are too many peo­ple. Too many going for the freshly-grounded, shade-grown, fair trade bull­shit that’s been mar­keted to the hip­sters who think they’re doing the world a favour by patron­iz­ing the right kind of places. Pretentious peo­ple who come here to read, then put their head­phones on because it’s too noisy.

I don’t fit in. That’s prob­a­bly a good thing.

I was sup­posed to meet you here three years ago, but your boyfriend got jeal­ous and wouldn’t let you come.

We met on the bus, and I haven’t seen you since.

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06 Aug 08

The Fantasist

I hope John’s wrong. Not because he’s a pes­simist, but because he’s a real­ist. I came to him over­flow­ing with excite­ment, per­haps with a bright naïveté, only to be brought down in seven words, and the words have been ring­ing in my ears ever since. I use to think he was tact­less and unsup­port­ive. Maybe he is. But he tells the truth, and instead of my hopes, I can only turn to him for this.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m a fan­ta­sist, who wants this right now.

Who needs this right now.

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05 Aug 08

A Cold And Grey Summer Day

My room is a mess, a side-effect of my busy sched­ule. I should be clean­ing. Hell, I should be sleep­ing, but I’d rather write instead, see­ing as how I haven’t had a chance in four days. It would appear as if I’m going through some sort of expres­sion withdrawal.

Vincent Gallo prac­ti­cally wrote this entry for me.

I had When by Vincent Gallo play­ing here.

(If you’re going to lis­ten to this song, turn the lights down, or at least close your eyes. Remove your­self of any ambi­ent noise. Breathe slowly for 30 sec­onds before play­ing it. This song deserves it. You deserve it.)

Even though it went up to 28°C today, the morn­ing started cold and calm. There was so much mois­ture in the air that one could taste the grey.

It made me strangely stoic when I left the house. Something about the whether that reminded me of how com­fort­ing it can be to feel sad. It’s as if the earth had decided to com­pli­ment my mood with cloud cover. I can’t even explain the cause of my sad­ness, and can only guess that real­iza­tion and accep­tance are set­ting in. The only sav­ing grace is that I feel con­fi­dent enough to pick myself up and move on. Not that I want to do it alone right now. Wish I had the option.

As the day dragged on, things started to wear me down. Exhaustion dried my eyes. I kept try­ing to pick myself up, kept try­ing to hide my sigh­ing sad­ness from those around me, to no avail.

Wish I had a smile in my wardrobe for days like this.

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02 Aug 08

Pregasaurus

Pregnant with hope

Tiana asked me to take some pic­tures of her dur­ing her preg­nancy so she could have a record of what her body looks like com­pared to the rockin’ body it was before. In return, she posed for some other projects I had in mind.

Pregnant body

It was an exer­cise in colour tones and mood. As I’m get­ting more com­fort­able in work­ing with RAW files, I wanted to try my hand at adjust­ing tint, expo­sure, sat­u­ra­tion, and contrast.

At one point I asked her how to spell “pre­gasaurus” (a term she came up with to encap­su­late her girth), and she reminded me that it was a made-up word, with no com­monly accepted way of spelling it.

Pregnant and sleeping

The media makes preg­nancy out to be such a glam­orous affair, with designer clothes and celebrity births, that it seems to be dele­te­ri­ously affect­ing the younger gen­er­a­tion. I wanted to por­tray preg­nancy in a much more casual, nat­ural light. Hence the ghetto T-shirt and the belly stick­ing out.

Pregnant eating poutine

Thanks goes to Tiana for not only get­ting nude for me, but for being so pho­to­genic at eight months through the preg­nancy, and work­ing with me on these ideas.

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