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

Design By Chocolate

Design by chocolate

30 Oct 08

Worry-Free Friend

Pat doesn’t worry about me. At first, I was hurt, but soon I understood.

It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he knows I’ll be alright.

And this is enough to make me believe that I’ll be alright too.

28 Oct 08

Rachel Beausoleil at the NAC

A demo reel I made for Rachel Beausoleil, using footage I shot of her jazz vocal per­for­mance at the NAC Fourth Stage, as well as snip­pets of an inter­view I did with her. As a way of get­ting more expo­sure for future gigs, she asked for some video that she could shop around to dif­fer­ent venues. I agreed to make this demo reel for her in return for some tick­ets to the show for me and my friends.

It was a won­der­ful con­cert in an inti­mate set­ting. The reper­toire was quite var­ied — from waltz to Bossa nova to bal­lad — but all songs were per­formed as a jazz inter­pre­ta­tions. The setlist included Aquarius by The Fifth Dimension, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, and Evangeline by Isabelle Pierre.

Of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance is that the per­for­mance was on Rachel’s 40th birth­day. She had planned the con­cert over a year ago as a come­back after hav­ing two kids and giv­ing up her time for them.

I can now embed videos in HD after acquir­ing a Vimeo Plus account; they look oh-so-sexy, and even bet­ter in full-screen.

One of the high­lights of the night was Tom Posner’s bass solo dur­ing Caravan (a clas­sic Duke Ellington big-band piece) clock­ing in at almost two min­utes. You can see how sur­prised Rachel is when Tom loses him­self in the music and keeps going on this great flurry of notes. This solo is some kind of awe­some that I can’t even describe.

26 Oct 08

Nylon Smile

In any case, I’ve been work­ing on my projects, though mostly try­ing to fin­ish the ones I’ve started. Sometimes it seems like there’s no end. Aside from an awe­some Friday night (and an hour after din­ner on Saturday night try­ing to digest a big meal), I’ve been work­ing non-stop this weekend.

At the very least, the days have brought much rain, and even more inspi­ra­tion. I miss the snow, but the rain sat­is­fies for now. I’m not even sure if I like how early the sun sets at this time of year. Both day and night affect the mind in dif­fer­ent ways, bring­ing out (or mask­ing) dif­fer­ent parts of you that you for­got were there. Each has its own importance.

At one point, I real­ized that life is a series of Jens, from win­ter to win­ter.

There’s been much music too, so much that I’m think­ing about start­ing up a pod­cast again. But it’s another project, another idea I have yet to do.

I could have writ­ten so much more about each one of these top­ics, but I tried to keep digres­sion to a min­i­mum. They’d end up being full-blown entries of their own, and I’d never fin­ish writ­ing any­thing. For these entries, the ones that ram­ble about no sub­ject in par­tic­u­lar, I always look for lyrics, or titles, or snip­pets from other people’s entries that sort of explain the mood I’m in. Yep.

I’ve been feel­ing dis­con­nected, some­what for­get­ting my Taoist teach­ings. This is prob­a­bly a good thing, as I tend to be focused on the thought and the­o­ries too often, and not enough on the application.

There’s a fine line between res­ig­na­tion and accep­tance. But some­times I feel like I’ve fallen face-first to one side.

To be hon­est, I’ve been writ­ing this entry for over a week now, but my thoughts and ideas keep branch­ing out. Every time I sit down at the com­puter, I delete some­thing that’s lost rel­e­vance, and add some­thing more. Like this.

25 Oct 08

Eagle vs Shark

Eagle vs Shark

Eagle vs Shark is the new Postal Service.

The movie I can’t stop watch­ing. The movie I can’t watch with any­one else.

Not because it’s painful in any way, but because it’s sacred. A movie where no one else would under­stand the way I see it. A reminder that I was adored once too, when some­one loved me beyond limit or con­di­tion. (A mem­ory that I need right now.)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (ver­sion 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the lat­est ver­sion here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

But I will leave you with this lit­tle song, if only for a short while. You need colours and can­dles in your room when you lis­ten though, and an imag­i­na­tion will serve you well. Having a make­out part­ner and wear­ing a cos­tume of your favourite ani­mal is optional.

That is all you need to know, for this is all I can say.

22 Oct 08

Walk It Off

Sometimes, I have to get out, even when it feels like it’s 40°C out­side, because I need my music loud, and I need to fuck­ing strut, and the birds clear the way cause they know it’s seri­ous, cause the pic­tures are fuck­ing killing me, so I’ll just keep skip­ping songs until it hits me then I’ll CRANK IT until it hurts, walk­ing it off like it’s nobody’s busi­ness, danc­ing inside to the bass pound­ing in my ears.

20 Oct 08

Thinking Of Her

Sometimes, as I’m falling asleep, I think of her.

She’s lying on my stom­ach again, lis­ten­ing to my heart beat, hands tucked neatly under my body. Or she’s spoon­ing me, her arm rest­ing on the crook of my waist, with a fin­ger draw­ing dis­tract­ing cir­cu­lar lines on my chest.

Muse in grass

Sometimes we’re in the tall grass, sur­rounded by colours of life with the warmth of the sun above us. A regres­sion to a time when all I had to think about was the colour of pop­si­cle I would have when I got home from camp. How unfair that our inno­cence is taken from us when we need it most.

And I lie there in bed, wait­ing for sleep to take me as the images lead me on.

My body telling me to let go, my mind strug­gling to keep her next to me a moment longer.

17 Oct 08

A Change In Writing

There’s so much to say, and not enough time to write. It’s obvi­ous that I haven’t been stick­ing to any kind of post­ing sched­ule lately. The ben­e­fit is that I don’t feel the pres­sure of hav­ing to write some­thing every day, the draw­back being the fact that things I want to get down are often lost. When I do get a chance to write, it’s like I’m per­pet­u­ally writ­ing about thoughts, feel­ings, and events that are a month old.

Perhaps another evo­lu­tion in the way I write.

I used to write my thoughts quite often. Things I had to fig­ure out or get off my chest. Now, it’s mostly things that hap­pen in my daily life, and some­thing ran­dom here and there. It’s like I’m mov­ing beyond my con­fused ado­les­cence into some sort of reflec­tive dotage.

The entries from the first year were writ­ten with so much more fre­quency — roughly three times a day. Then that changed to once a day, then every other day. A few times, I tried to write less fre­quently, with­out a set sched­ule, but that never really worked. The writ­ing itch was always there. At one point I took a month-long hia­tus.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m try­ing to say.

The thing I par­tic­u­larly miss are the entries writ­ten late at night. Spilling my soul out in words, with the music, the sky, and the empty streets guid­ing me. As tired as I would be (I swear, some­times it was the exhaus­tion that brought it out in me), I always went to bed after feel­ing satisfied.

Now, I’m not sure what this all is.

14 Oct 08

Baby Gensey

Baby tongue

Introducing Ryan Kevin Gensey, Aaron’s new baby boy, deliv­ered right on the pro­jected date. I bought him the tur­tle you see in the cor­ner of his bas­ket there.

Baby birth card

I had the chance to hold him before he was a day old in the hos­pi­tal. At first, I approached this idea with some trep­i­da­tion, see­ing as how I carry the pre­con­ceived notion of how frag­ile baby’s necks are, but I couldn’t resist. He’s a lot lighter than Dolly, but some­how just as warm.

Baby foot

Aaron has always wanted a boy first and a girl sec­ond — so the older brother can take care of the younger sis­ter — and it looks like every­thing is falling into the plan.

I’m now offi­cially an uncle.

13 Oct 08

Video Love and Hate

I’ve been play­ing around with video all week­end, try­ing to get a bunch of things work­ing to no avail, when really what I wanted to do was just do some edit­ing and get a project under my belt.

Among the problems:

I hate giv­ing up these things, but see­ing as how I’ve spent count­less hours research­ing and exper­i­ment­ing for solu­tions with­out any luck, I think I’ll have to for now. Hopefully full-frame sen­sors will become cheap enough that reg­u­lar con­sumers (like me) can afford them, and maybe video stan­dards will actu­ally be more stan­dard. Until then, I’ll have to accept this “highly-rated” cam­corder that still lacks a man­ual focus ring, can’t pro­duce any kind of shal­low DOF with bokeh, and has an annoy­ing amount of low-light noise.

On the non-technical end of video, one of the dif­fi­cul­ties is that I’m always torn between telling a story, and sav­ing a mem­ory, both of which seem some­what mutu­ally exclu­sive. The for­mer tends to be more con­cise but cold and mechan­i­cal, whereas the lat­ter is filled with all the lit­tle details I enjoy but poten­tially boring.

Video is also less for­giv­ing, as fram­ing is more final with­out the crop­ping func­tion of still pho­tos. Then when you move into high def­i­n­i­tion, things like dirt on a car, blem­ishes on a face, stray hairs, become much more noticeable…and invari­ably end up dri­ving a per­fec­tion­ist like me crazy.

I still love the com­bi­na­tion of move­ment and sound and dia­logue that video affords though; it’s the medium that I find comes clos­est to real life.

08 Oct 08

Patterns in the Chaos

I hap­pen to have a chance to write now. It’s rain­ing, so nat­u­rally the win­dows are all open.

My life has been some­what chaotic lately. Weekends spent being social have been turned into intro­verted exile, a way of charg­ing my bat­ter­ies once again. The added ben­e­fit is that I have more time to tie up loose ends on my projects. I’m even get­ting back into the still photo medium again.

Dry erase boards

I installed these dry-erase marker boards next to my front door. I use them to keep track of my tasks, projects, and errands, so I can come home and imme­di­ately decide what I feel like doing. The two sil­ver clips are used for hang­ing notes and letters.

Nothing feels bet­ter than putting that thick black line through a task. Writing on frosted glass is pretty tasty too.

Dry erase board closeup

I use the other board for quotes, a way to keep myself moti­vated — or grounded — every time I pass by on the way in or out of the house. It’s also a nice way for me to prac­tice my hand-drawn typog­ra­phy, by try­ing to bal­ance char­ac­ters, words, and lines on the board in dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions in an esthetic manner.

There’s some­thing famil­iar about this. A feel­ing like I’ve been here before, not in this sit­u­a­tion exactly, but in the mid­dle of the chaos.

All I know for sure is that I feel like I can han­dle it much bet­ter than if this was hap­pen­ing a year ago.

03 Oct 08

Looking Forward to Tai Chi Classes

Knowing the con­sis­tency with which I go, she asked me if I ever felt like not going to my Tai Chi classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

I thought about it, and came to the real­iza­tion that I didn’t. There have been win­ter nights where the com­bi­na­tion of snow­storm and ail­ing tran­sit sys­tem have sud­denly left me with a wel­come free night, but other than that, I always enjoy going to class.

Before Tai Chi was table ten­nis1, and some days, I’d have to force myself to go. But when I was there, in the mid­dle of a good rally, then pant­ing, sweat­ing, exhausted after­ward, I’d always remind myself that I was glad I went.

Tai Chi offers me some­thing else though, a way for me to lose myself for an hour or two. Maybe because it takes so much focus, or so much focus to not focus on any­thing, that I’m able to for­get every­thing else. Even when I’m prac­tic­ing the form on my own it’s not the same. Being at the stu­dio with the other stu­dents — learn­ing from and teach­ing each other, apply­ing the prin­ci­ples we can’t prac­tice by our­selves — lets me get away. On top of that, I know that I’m improv­ing, even if I may not notice it in myself.

And that’s enough to make me look for­ward to my next class as soon as I step out of the stu­dio into the cool night air.

  1. Unfortunately, they’re both on the same nights dur­ing the week, which means I have to choose one over the other []
01 Oct 08


I’m the au pair with the jazz tapes, telling him to use Davis and Coltrane on the first date. The hero’s child­hood buddy, who dies in mor­tar fire dur­ing their ser­vice in the Second World War. The awk­ward friend who isn’t attrac­tive enough to play the lead. The sib­ling con­fi­dante, who con­tra­dicts the pro­tag­o­nist with cyn­i­cism, only to be proven wrong in a sat­is­fy­ing fit of glory.

All my life, I dreamed of great­ness, of being the main char­ac­ter in some quixotic story.

But I’m slowly real­iz­ing that I’m only a deuteragonist.

I wrote this entry about four or five months ago, but never pub­lished it. I held off because I wasn’t sure if it would be true a week after I wrote it. Weeks turned into months, until the sud­den real­iza­tion that I don’t feel this way now.

I regret not pub­lish­ing it at the time. Even though it holds no rel­e­vance any­more, at the very least, it would have been a time stamp of how I felt in the moment. There are so many fleet­ing mem­o­ries and emo­tions that change here, part of my ephemeral nature. But part of me thinks that it took this real­iza­tion to give me the strength to say it.

Maybe I’m start­ing to believe in myself.