Sarah and Louise

Sarah and Louise kiss

There’s a tremen­dous bond between mother and daugh­ter, some­thing unmatched by fathers and sons, or even mixed-sex parental rela­tion­ships. You can see it just from the way they interact.

As a male, I’ll prob­a­bly never be able to fully under­stand, but being able to rec­og­nize it and know­ing that such a won­der­ful thing still exists is enough to make me feel as if the world is in the right place.

A cou­ple more pic­tures behind the cut.

Continue read­ing “Sarah and Louise”…

Tai Chi Progress

My under­stand­ing of Tai Chi seems to come in the form of a sine wave: the more I learn, the more I real­ize I don’t know, and as I adjust for more and more details, other details get lost.

For the last few months, I felt like I was get­ting nowhere. The con­cepts made sense in my brain, but not in my body. My teacher has said that Tai Chi is already too intel­lec­tu­al­ized, and as a per­son who’s never been very phys­i­cally co-ordinated and tries to com­pen­sate in SHEER MENTAL POWA!, this holds true espe­cially for me. Until I’ve mas­tered telekine­sis, how­ever, I’ll be reliant on more tra­di­tional means of movement.

In the last cou­ple weeks I feel like I’ve reached another level of under­stand­ing, as rudi­men­tary as it may be.

One thing that helped a lot is when a senior stu­dent showed me what ward-off (peng) felt like. As he stood with struc­ture in his body, I tried to push him1, but ended up push­ing myself off him and falling over. In order to move him, I was forced to use the proper tech­nique (since he’s con­sid­er­ably big­ger than me), and expand with my entire body — legs, waist, arms, chest, lungs — instead of sim­ply try­ing to move through him.

Then we reversed roles and he pushed me until I could chan­nel his energy through my feet. It was the first time I ever felt grounded, instead of sim­ply under­stand­ing the idea. I still don’t really under­stand it, inso­faras I couldn’t explain it to some­one else.

Adapting this all to the form is some­thing else. I try to focus on one thing at time2 but it falls apart in other places. At this point, I’m just try­ing to get all the gross mechan­ics to be nat­ural with­out hav­ing to think about it, hop­ing that I’ll even­tu­ally be able to fine tune every­thing else.

  1. It reminded me of the feel­ing of squeez­ing a rub­ber stop­per, some­thing with give but not much, that becomes expo­nen­tially dif­fi­cult to com­press. []
  2. Such as stay­ing at one level with­out being rigid (con­sid­ered “breath­ing”), relax­ing my lower back, think­ing of my body being anchored through my legs, and keep­ing struc­ture and intent in my palms. []

Things I Learned At The Whiskey Bar

Outside The Whiskey Bar

Inside The Whiskey Bar

  • Everyone — and I mean every­one — between the ages of 25 and 30 used to watch The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
  • The token Asian guy has a fra­ter­nal con­nec­tion with the other token Asian guy in every clique
  • Fire has the abil­ity to bring out people’s pri­mal natures, and make them throw their hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care (or some rea­son­able fac­sim­ile thereof)
  • Some peo­ple think they’re never too old to get hooched up for a Saturday night
  • A good DJ can make you feel like you never left high-school
  • Even at 27, I still look like I’m 18, accord­ing to the bouncer who carded me

Solo Artist

This week, the sound from my right head­phone started crack­ling and promptly died. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to my music with only the left chan­nel until I can find a replace­ment pair.

This has led to the unfor­tu­nate dis­cov­ery that when singing to your­self at a cer­tain vol­ume, OTHER PEOPLE CAN STILL HEAR YOU.

How To Interpret Nothing

(I’ve been writ­ing this in my head for four years. Four years and seven months, to be precise.)

So one last touch and then you’ll go
And we’ll pre­tend that it meant some­thing so much more
But it was vile, and it was cheap
And you are beau­ti­ful but you don’t mean a thing to me

—Death Cab for Cutie, Tiny Vessels

Ghost picture

I got this pic­ture in New Jersey. It’s the most pecu­liar size for a pho­to­graph: 3 7/16 by 4 13/16 inches.

For some rea­son, I see it prop­erly like this — land­scape ori­en­ta­tion, with the white stripe on the left — when it could just as well be rotated any other way. This is the bias I place on it. The way I view it.

It almost looks like a room with a wall in frame on the left, and the cam­era has metered for a flash off the wall, under­ex­pos­ing the rest of the pic­ture. There are two smears in the black­ness. Maybe an out-of-focus object, maybe a fin­ger­print on the lens.

I didn’t take the pic­ture. Someone else did, thought it was bad, and was about to throw it out before I asked for it. Someone who took me for granted. Someone who’s world I lived in but for a week, in the midst of the intense sum­mer humid­ity and coitus inter­rup­tus.

I’ve kept it in one of my note­books since. The edges have turned yel­low, and the cor­ners blunt from handling.

Every time I look at it, I like to think that I see some­thing in that grain and that noise. That something’s there; I just don’t see it because there isn’t enough light to expose it, but it exists nonethe­less. Some pho­to­graphic kōan, where I become that which I seek.

But I know there isn’t, the way I know it was noth­ing more than pass­ing moment, a week for­got­ten, a life unchanged.

And I’ve been hap­pily fool­ing myself ever since.