equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
31 Jan 09

Replacement Pillow

I sleep with three dif­fer­ent pillows.

The one for my head is reg­u­lar sized, with foam fill­ing, and rather flat because I like to sleep with my arm under there. The one on my left is also foam, but a body pil­low. The one on my right is king-sized and filled with down. I like to sleep on my side pressed between the two, and through the night, I’ll alter­nate between sides, hug­ging one.

When she comes over, she takes the king-sized one. My head pil­low is too flat, and obvi­ously my body pil­low is too big.

So I lose my king-sized, and she becomes my replace­ment pillow.

29 Jan 09

Christmas Swag

In terms of presents, the Christmas sea­son has been good to me. Even though I decided not to do gifts for any­one this year, that doesn’t stop peo­ple from buy­ing me things. Along with a Mexx gift cer­tifi­cate, Eagle vs. Shark on DVD, and an elec­tric hot rod that I can build, I got some great gifts.

Christmas stocking

My first Christmas stock­ing since leav­ing home. I used to have a stock­ing that my grand­mother knit back when I was one (if I remem­ber cor­rectly), which had my name on it, and Santa bend­ing over putting some­thing down, but look­ing at the viewer as if he was caught in the act of deliv­er­ing presents.

Instead of a star or angel on top of the tree, it would be my stock­ing. Since my grand­mother was very much Chinese and not born into this cul­ture, I always imag­ined her say­ing, “Silly white peo­ple and their silly myth­i­cal fat peo­ple”, while knit­ting it.

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27 Jan 09

To Write And To Remember

I admit that I not only save other people’s posts, but entire blogs.

Sometimes, there are entries I like to read over again. Other times, I just like to be reminded of how right I was. But more often than not, it’s the ephemeral nature of blogs in gen­eral, com­bined with the fickle nature of ado­les­cent writ­ers still try­ing to “define them­selves” on a free medium, that gives me the itch to save. So many writ­ers I used to fol­low have changed domain names, started pro­tect­ing their entries, or deleted their blogs.

Some things are garbage and should be for­got­ten or thrown away — but some things deserve to be kept too. Word-for-word, exactly the way it was spo­ken, because that’s the way it was expressed.

Fortunately, or unfor­tu­nately, depend­ing on your point-of-view, our words do last. Just because they aren’t there any­more, doesn’t mean they were never spoken.

There are con­se­quences to the things we write, whether we want them or not.

25 Jan 09

An Opera at The Met

When I watched Moonstruck in my uni­ver­sity “Music in the Movies” class, we stud­ied a scene where Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage’s char­ac­ter) has a date with Loretta Castorini (played by Cher) at the Metropolitan Opera. She takes off her coat, and he says, “Thank you…You know it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the Opera”.

In his face, you see that he’s not talk­ing just about the opera. After los­ing his hand and fiancée, he’s at the Met, arguably the most pres­ti­gious opera house in the world, with a beau­ti­ful woman in a black dress, and he’s missed this.

Even in the screen­play, there are set direc­tions for the scene when they arrive:

CROWDS OF PEOPLE in beau­ti­ful clothes fill the plaza cre­ated by the three great build­ings. A glo­ri­ous foun­tain filled with lights forms the cen­ter­piece. Behind the foun­tain, grand and splen­didly lit, is the mag­i­cal Metropolitan Opera House.

Ever since, The Met has been this place I’ve dreamed of attend­ing. Unfortunately, it’s in New York, and decent seats can cost over $100.

Orfeo ed Euridice

So when my local movie the­atre started offer­ing live HD broad­casts of per­for­mances there, I decided I should go. To ful­fill a dream in spirit, if not in the flesh.

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23 Jan 09

Protected: Forced To Deal

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21 Jan 09

Got My House Back

House stippling

The house is finally back to its’ for­mer glory. The exhaust pipes to my water heater and fur­nace have been replaced, the holes in the ceil­ings have been patched up, sanded, stip­pled, and painted.

This means a few things of significance:

I spent most of the week­end wip­ing dust of every­thing down­stairs — walls, mir­rors, dec­o­ra­tions, counter tops. The splat­ters of paint were taken care of with a bot­tle of Varsol and a Q-tip. A few paint touch-ups were needed too, but noth­ing too bad. Then the house got an over­all clean­ing, to get rid of the evi­dence of muddy boots, dirt, and ran­dom pieces of garbage brought in dur­ing the whole process.

My back and feet are still sore from rush­ing to get every­thing done, but it was oh so worth it to have the cozy com­fort of my house again.

19 Jan 09

Love Bias

Sometimes, she reaches down and grabs a hand­ful of my der­rière. I laugh a ner­vous laugh, and she chides me.

It’s a reflex. None of my girl­friends have been so zeal­ous in their pinch­ing, or rev­eled in such an act. My laugh is one of sur­prise, and a good one at that.

This is what upsets her. But how should I react oth­er­wise? I hardly con­sider this thin-framed body, a frail com­par­i­son to the phys­i­cal con­ven­tions of a man, as being sex­ual or attractive.

This is why I think she loves me.

Otherwise, she’d see me as the rest of the world sees me.

15 Jan 09

Documentary Night

Picking vinyl

Thumbnail: Banister kitty
Thumbnail: CD rack
Thumbnail: Playing Wii
Thumbnail: Tree piece
Thumbnail: Stealing kitty

A cam­era to mask my shy­ness, a lens to hide behind.

At Audra and Jesse’s I felt like I was back in uni­ver­sity. Meeting peo­ple, learn­ing names, throw­ing in for some pizza. Except this time, I wasn’t being dragged, kick­ing and scream­ing to the party. Maybe I was just feel­ing social, because I hadn’t seen my own friends in so long.

I learned that play­ing Punch Out on the Wii is as nat­ural to you as it was back when you were in your room back in ele­men­tary school, cry­ing because you were no one’s best friend. That watch­ing Air Guitar Nation — when it’s hard to tell how seri­ously the con­tes­tants take them­selves — is much more enjoy­able with sar­cas­tic com­ments applied lib­er­ally from the audience.

I want to know these people.

I want to find out what dri­ves them. I want to know why they cre­ate, why they’ve cho­sen their medi­ums. Why they hang out together. Why they stud­ied what they stud­ied. Why they have the jobs they do.

They’re well-read, edu­cated, opin­ion­ated, cos­mopoli­tan. I felt some­what out of place. Topics of con­ver­sa­tion weren’t even close to my inter­ests. Concerts aren’t my scene. Politics con­fuse me. Things are hap­pen­ing to other friends I’ve never met. But when there’s this much to learn, lis­ten­ing is just as good as tak­ing part.

It was past mid­night by the time I got home, but I had hard time falling asleep. My brain was buzzing, try­ing to take in every­thing I had just experienced.

13 Jan 09

Missing The Old

I’ve been read­ing Andrea’s blog lately. Normally, I don’t read blogs of peo­ple I’ve never met1, and even though I’ve met Andrea, I’ve never had a pen­e­trat­ing con­ver­sa­tion with her, let alone got­ten to know her. Andrea’s blog is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent though. To the unini­ti­ated, it’s a reg­u­lar jour­nal, but there are bits of insight and emo­tion scat­tered through­out that leave you feel­ing like you’re look­ing at some­one stoned, naked, and through their kitchen win­dow. The ordi­nary mixed with a dash of extra­or­di­nary is what truly gives one a sense of empa­thy, and it was this that drew me in.

It’s been mak­ing me feel so fuck­ing nostalgic.

I remem­ber being in that stage of life. Back in school. Getting drunk. Chasing girls. Unsure of any­thing but the way I was feel­ing in that exact moment.

It’s made me real­ize that I don’t write like I used to. My entries used to be so exper­i­men­tal. Aside from a sin­gle sen­tence as a last, con­clud­ing line2, and a pen­chant for being a lit­tle too per­sonal, I hadn’t devel­oped a par­tic­u­lar writ­ing style. Back when I posted some­thing almost three times a day because I had to. When my posts had no titles (the same way Andrea has noth­ing but an incre­ment­ing num­ber and loca­tion stamp) because they were about every­thing and noth­ing in particular.

Now, there’s too much pur­pose to my writ­ing. Carefully planned out posts, try­ing to express some­thing spe­cific, with­out the stream-of-consciousness I used to enjoy. Lost is the old whim­si­cal nature, the ordi­nary mixed with the extra­or­di­nary. I never used to care whether some­thing was sig­nif­i­cant enough to post, and would just write it and hit that pub­lish button.

I miss it.

But I can’t tell if it’s the way I used to write, or my life back then, that I miss.

  1. Blogs rarely inter­est me when I don’t have a bit of per­sonal insight from a first meet­ing. []
  2. Almost every sin­gle pots in this blog ends this way. []
11 Jan 09

Protected: Revealing Underwear

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09 Jan 09

Tai Chi Deadline

I’ve started learn­ing large san shou in my Tai Chi class. While it’s fun to be prac­tic­ing another inter­ac­tive form of the Yang style, it’s also a lit­tle scary to be learn­ing some­thing new as my teacher nears retire­ment (when he reaches 60 in four years). I’m start­ing to worry that I won’t reach a level where I can prac­tice effec­tively on my own before his time is up.

At 2 classes a week, 52 weeks a year, and 4 years left to go, we can expect roughly 416 classes total; every class is worth 0.24% of a very lim­ited resource.

A class­mate once told me that his com­ing retire­ment is a good thing. We’ll be forced to go else­where to expand our knowl­edge of Tai Chi, because we reach cer­tain lim­i­ta­tions when prac­tic­ing with the same part­ners, skill lev­els, part­ners, styles, body types, and even teach­ers. While I under­stand his rea­son­ing, it doesn’t change the fact that I may not be able to con­tinue learn­ing what I know now, if another teacher doesn’t offer the same curriculum.

Added to this is the fact that mar­tial Tai Chi teach­ers are hard to find in a city as small as this. Good teach­ers, espe­cially ones suited to your learn­ing style, with the right bal­ance of patience and dis­ci­pline, are even less common.

It makes me won­der where I’ll be with my Tai Chi progress in four years.

06 Jan 09

Back To Life

Christmas lights

Thumbnail: Present wrapping paper
Thumbnail: Cat under Christmas tree
Thumbnail: Scented infuser sticks
Thumbnail: Blue-pink gradient
Thumbnail: Powdered candy

The hol­i­days are over. I sus­pect that I’ve eaten more choco­late over the last two weeks than ever in my life.

The two New Year’s par­ties were great, although I missed see­ing Rob at Aaron’s. I did get a New Year’s kiss though, some­thing I nor­mally feel awk­ward about when the cou­ples are all par­tak­ing and I hide behind my camera.

The holes in my ceil­ings have yet to be fixed, and it makes me cringe every time I walk into my bed­room or bath­room, so I spent all my time in the liv­ing room. Every day, I’d wake up, eat, play games, watch movies, then fall back asleep there.

On occa­sion, I’d visit friends or see a movie, if only for the sake of get­ting out. Some nights, I’d open the blinds and let the burn­ing sky pour in, just so I could know that there was some­thing out there out­side of my lit­tle microcosm.

I’m glad to be back to life. I was feel­ing so lack­adaisi­cal and dis­con­nected, drift­ing aim­lessly with­out any rea­son or pur­pose. In a strange way, I feel recharged, if only because I had two weeks with­out a reg­u­lar schedule.

04 Jan 09

There Is No Such Thing As Love

Let me give it to you straight, straight like an arrow.

I’ve had these words stuck in my head for some time now. Lyrics from the tit­u­lar Dears track I first heard in uni­ver­sity, back when I would go home in the sum­mer and watch The Wedge on Friday nights.

I know that’s awfully cyn­i­cal to say, but I need proof that it is pos­si­ble today.

I just wish I could accept that fact. I’m start­ing to won­der if that’s why I keep hear­ing the words in my head. It’s my sub­con­scious remind­ing me, keep­ing me grounded.

Maybe that’s why we watch these movies. Hollywood would have us believe that love exists.

It’s the same story, where guy sees girl, falls in love, and hap­pily ever after. In between, there’s always the overused plot ele­ment of the guy win­ning over the girl by reveal­ing him­self and his feel­ings. After all, this alone is enough to win any girl over, regard­less of whether she found him attrac­tive or not, she was mar­ried or sin­gle, or he was the nerd and she was the cheerleader.

But love doesn’t exist in real life, as much as I want to believe that it does.

Not for me, anyway.

02 Jan 09

Krista and Shane at 160 Workshops

This was by far the best con­cert I’ve ever been to in my life, and not just because Shane ded­i­cated It’s A Drag to me and Julie (although that was TOTALLY AWESOME).

It was the inti­mate set­ting, chill atmos­phere and awe­some music that made it unlike any other per­for­mance I’ve attended. This pri­vate show was at 160 Workshops, a house that reg­u­larly opens its doors for craft work­shops to bring peo­ple together in the Ottawa community.

Shane’s songs are always best in small venues like this. They’re per­sonal and sub­tly strik­ing, and the acoustic sound really brings that warmth across.

Shane did a mix of old and new mate­r­ial, then took requests from audi­ence mem­bers, along with some par­tic­i­pa­tion on vocals, spoons, and cow­bell. There also hap­pened to be Canadian nerd­core rap­per Jesse Dangerously in atten­dance, and after some prod­ding, he pro­vided rhymes for Girls by the Beastie Boys, along with beat­box­ing back­ground per­cus­sion for Les Ouaouarons.

And, of course, Krista Muir (aka Lederhosen Lucil) was the head­liner, pro­mot­ing her new full-length album, Accidental Railway. The album includes a huge map for a fic­tional town that Shane made, with names of streets and places taken from mem­o­ries of their tour together.

Other shows with Krista Muir and Shane Watt

  1. At the Workshop Studio & Boutique
  2. At Le Petit Salon des Arts
  3. At Irene’s Pub
  4. At 160 Workshops