equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
29 Dec 06

Holiday Observer '06

Thumbnail: The cat
Thumbnail: Salad
Thumbnail: Tidbit

On Christmas day, I felt like doing some­thing low-key, with­out the large gath­er­ings usu­ally asso­ci­ated with this time of year, so I decided to spend it with Joel’s fam­ily. Hanukkah had already passed for them; it was just another day. Charlotte, who learns from Nigella Lawson, cooked a tremen­dous meal of roast beef, beans, and secret pota­toes. Even the dessert was a fancy form of choco­late pot mousse, made from 70% cocoa Lindt and allspice.

We set­tled down with a lit­tle Gamecube, and I taught them Dutch Blitz, which we played well into the night. By the time I left, my spir­its were up again.

It was a nice mix­ture of young and mature. A place where I could shut off my brain and be a kid, but have a thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion too. They really made me feel like I was one of the family.

I arrived with hand­shakes and hel­los, but left with hugs and kisses.

25 Dec 06

Christmas Is Dead

This used to be my favourite season.

I don’t even know why. Christmas was always about tedious gath­er­ings. Each parental group of friends and fam­ily — con­sist­ing only of Chinese peo­ple — would take turns host­ing par­ties. As one of the “kids”, I was thrust in a room with the other sons and daugh­ters. People I only saw once a year, with whom I had noth­ing in com­mon. Some years, I’d go to six dif­fer­ent houses in two weeks.

My par­ents would always host New Year’s. Some time ago, with the money I earned from my first job, I bought them a classy fon­due set and fon­due book for them to use as hosts. They never opened the box, or even cracked the spine of the book. It broke my heart.

The things that peo­ple gave me never made things bet­ter. Gifts were always safe.

Monetary cer­tifi­cates. Sweaters. Cheap sta­tion­ary. Nothing per­son­al­ized. Nothing from the heart. Nothing I ever needed or wanted. It was merely a dis­play of how lit­tle peo­ple knew or cared about me. It would have meant more if they gave the money to charity.

The one reprieve dur­ing the hol­i­days was being able to see Darren, sneak­ing out in the mid­dle of a party to get stoned with him, or hang­ing out with John.

Then why did the hol­i­days mean so much to me?

Maybe it was the atmos­phere. The snow. The mem­o­ries of Christmas in Hong Kong. The fact that peo­ple who had noth­ing in com­mon would put up Christmas lights. Something that every­one believed in.

Thumbnail: Cat statue
Thumbnail: Magnets of my initials
Thumbnail: Catnip jar
Thumbnail: Mao, The Unknown Story

Even though I’ve received some beau­ti­ful, thought­ful gifts for once, even though I don’t really cel­e­brate Christmas, I’m down. It’s too warm for the snow to stay. I didn’t buy presents for any­one. I’m work­ing the short week between Christmas week­end and New Year’s week­end because I can’t afford any time off.

I sup­pose the hol­i­days are what you make of them.

There have been many gen­er­ous peo­ple — Louise, John, Aaron, Joel, Bronwen, Pat — who opened their houses to me today, but it’s not the same.

It’s made me real­ize that even though I loathed those gath­er­ings back home, I still needed them.

To feel like I was part of some­thing, part of a fam­ily, as dys­func­tional as it was. Because of the divorce, there’s no home to go to for the first time in my life.

Christmas is dead this year, but it’s only a reflec­tion of how dead I feel inside.

22 Dec 06

Photo Wrap-up '06

I was going through my pic­tures and real­ized that there were quite a few I haven’t posted, so I decided to do an end-of-year wrap-up. Most of these are pho­tos I like but they didn’t fit any­where, or were made redun­dant by other pic­tures telling a story.

Thumbnail: Bronwen with our drinks at Moxie's 
Thumbnail: Model home wall art 
Thumbnail: Smiles around the cabin in Tremblent 
Thumbnail: Metal beatle 
Thumbnail: Karen plays with Chaos 
Thumbnail: Tremblent cabin 
Thumbnail: Blood oranges 
Thumbnail: Dolly goes for a treat in the hand 
Thumbnail: Me and Bronwen waiting for the bus 
Thumbnail: Just A Taste brownie 
Thumbnail: Maneki Neko, the beckoning cat 
Thumbnail: Eating yoghurt 
Thumbnail: The treats of Chinese vendors 
Thumbnail: Paper cranes 
Thumbnail: Stunt rider 
Thumbnail: Nala in my room 
Thumbnail: Jenn and Karen 
Thumbnail: Bottle of Miracle by Lancome 
Thumbnail: Steph's cat 
Thumbnail: Gerry's view 

Since we got bought out by a pub­lic com­pany, the pur­chas­ing pro­ce­dure has changed quite a bit. Some of the top brass from the head office in Boston flew in this week, and I made it a point to thank the CFO for per­son­ally approv­ing the pur­chase of a new Canon Rebel XTi, 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, and 50mm f/1.8 lens. After the pres­i­dent intro­duced me, he told me I did a fan­tas­tic job with the pic­tures in the com­pany cat­a­logue, and it really made my day.

I think I’ve really devel­oped as a pho­tog­ra­pher in the lit­tle time I’ve owned my first SLR cam­era. Looking back on a year of pho­tos has made me real­ize that I’ve learned a lot, not only sim­ple pho­to­graphic the­ory, but famil­iar­ity with my cam­era and post-processing as well. I still have a lot more to learn though, espe­cially with expo­sure and meter­ing, as dig­i­tal cam­eras make it easy to get good shots with­out really need­ing to have an in-depth understanding.

18 Dec 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Louise

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you’ll be sorry someday

BB King, The Thrill Is Gone

Our rela­tion­ship was a night­mare of ups and downs.

You had the amaz­ing abil­ity to make me feel good about myself, by say­ing the right thing with intel­li­gence and eloquence.

Yet every time I felt like I was mak­ing progress, progress that took tremen­dous effort and energy, progress for you, you would put me down. Every time I took a leap of faith and put myself out there, you would hurt me. It wasn’t even a case of bru­tal, tact­less hon­esty; you would insult my pride for no reason.

I think it betrayed a sub­con­scious inse­cu­rity. Something you would do to make your­self feel bet­ter. Like your con­stant need to prove that you’re busy and mov­ing on. It’s as if your life is empty, void, and you’re des­per­ate to fill it with something.

I had to end things when you went too far.

There were no regrets, because I did my absolute best to make things work. Even though I suf­fered, I ignored the pain, and tried work­ing through it. I only gave up when you proved too stub­born to change or understand.

The rela­tion­ship wasn’t a total loss. It was an inter­est­ing intro­duc­tion to the sub­cul­ture. It was pas­sion­ately sex­ual. It also made me more con­fi­dent, although I real­ize now that it wasn’t because of you. You barely gave me any trust, and every step for­ward I made, you pulled me back two. It was me who fought through all the inse­cu­ri­ties and rose to the occasion.

When you came back in January, with­out a word of apol­ogy or men­tion of the wrong you did, I had no inter­est in con­tin­u­ing the rela­tion­ship. After that, I thought of you when­ever I heard the song Buried Myself Alive by The Used.

Then, with all your let­ters and your apolo­gies and your tears, two years later, you asked “nicer than that”.

Unfortunately, it was at an unsta­ble time in my life, so I asked you to back off and wait. Your idea of back­ing off and wait­ing is leav­ing me creepy com­ments and dat­ing to fill the time. I just can’t under­stand how you keep mak­ing these mis­takes. It’s almost like you pur­posely sab­o­tage yourself.

I don’t want to be involved in the drama any­more. Nothing is ever sim­ple with you. Even though you say you’ve changed, it’s not worth the risk to me. You had your chance, and it was a damn good one.

You’ve wronged me too many times. The last time you left my house, not know­ing when or if you’d come back, I felt nothing.

I knew then that the thrill was gone.

A few other things:

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
15 Dec 06

Brown Hairs On A Yellow Face

Trolley and Aaron can grow beards as I’ve never been able to. It’s always made me a lit­tle envi­ous. I’m not one who can have that gruff, dis­tin­guished look.

This comes as a strange phe­nom­e­non. While my dad could never really develop a full beard, he could quickly grow an all-over scruff. Scruff like it was made of steel wool. Sometimes he’d have to shave twice a day, and he kept an extra elec­tric shaver in the glove com­part­ment just for this purpose.

Apparently, I didn’t inherit this gene.

Thumbnail: Razor shavings

Thumbnail: Razor shavings close-up

I did, how­ever, inherit some sort of muta­tion that turns cer­tain hairs brown. I always thought it was Scottish her­itage on Aaron’s part that gave him the orange high­lights in his beard. Now I don’t know what it’s due to.

Unfortunately, I can’t show off this muta­tion, since I have to shave frequently.

When I don’t shave, my sparse facial hair makes me look like I’m still going through puberty and my balls have yet to drop.

11 Dec 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Jackie

Am I not your favourite gad­get, no more?
How come my lit­tle baby?
Am I not your favourite gad­get, no more now?
How come not anymore?

Since you bought me, I feel lonely
Since that day things are wrong
Could you not repair me, honey
Is my war­ranty guar­an­teed gone

—Ellen ten Damme, Gadget

There was always some­thing about you.

Your voice. Your Joisey accent. Your hair style. Your always-on choker. Your pierc­ings (I was always a sucker for brow rings and tongue studs). Your taste in music. Your off-the-wall personality.

It was all so excit­ing. Something I’d never expe­ri­enced before.

But you were a total drama queen too. You would get upset over the most ran­dom, innocu­ous things. I could never tell if you truly believed the ridicu­lous things you said, or whether you just said them for atten­tion. Either way, I hated it.

You could also be as imma­ture as a teenager. I hated how you would do things like leave in the mid­dle of a game and storm off to the other room because you thought you would lose.

I put all my feel­ings aside for you. I would always let you have your way, but you’d never even con­sider mine, and I hated it.

Most of all, I hated how you meant so much to me, while I meant so lit­tle to you.

Even though I knew it wouldn’t last, even though I knew you were com­pletely wrong for me, like poi­son in the blood­stream, I couldn’t end it. Sometimes I still won­der if you ever think of me, or whether I was just another thing you used to occupy your­self in the sum­mer, between boyfriends.

I’ve writ­ten more entries inspired by what hap­pened than by any­thing else. I don’t want to give our rela­tion­ship any sig­nif­i­cance, but the truth is that I can’t deny how impor­tant it was. What we had wouldn’t even count as a rela­tion­ship, if it weren’t for how much it affected me.

My pre­vi­ous rela­tion­ships were never sat­is­fy­ing. It felt like I could never fall in love or appre­ci­ate my girl­friends for who they were, and I always believed it was my fault. Then I fell in love with you, and it helped me learn that the fail­ures of the past weren’t anyone’s fault, and sim­ply the result of incom­pat­i­bil­ity. If it wasn’t for this real­iza­tion, the suf­fer­ing and the heart­break wouldn’t have been worth it.

You were the only girl to ever break up with me. It was the short­est rela­tion­ship I’ve had by far, but for some rea­son, it was the longest for me to get over. My heart tells me you were spe­cial, but my head tells me you weren’t spe­cial at all.

You were only the one I couldn’t have.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
08 Dec 06

Meeting Tina

What can I say about Tina?

Fulcrum edi­tor. Dom lover. Farsi speaker. Cadence Weapon lis­tener. Naughty girl dancer.

She’s cool. Certainly cooler than me.

So when she asked if I wanted to meet, it made me ner­vous. I’m not com­fort­able around cool peo­ple. I never know how to act around them.

Tina has this laugh though, this girly, ebullient-but-not-annoying laugh, that put me at ease. The way she expresses her­self betrays a sub­tle matu­rity for her age. One of those peo­ple who knows what they want and where they’re going. Even with this matu­rity, she retains a youth­ful fash­ion­abil­ity. She’s four years my junior but I never felt like we lost each other in con­ver­sa­tion, some­thing I find espe­cially com­mon when talk­ing to peo­ple my age.

On the out­side we’re very dif­fer­ent. At our core, we have very sim­i­lar per­son­al­i­ties. Maybe this is why we got along so well.

Thumbnail: Tina laughs
Thumbnail: Tina jumps
Thumbnail: Tina runs

She obliged me a few pho­tos so I could see if I could cap­ture her play­ful personality.

Thumbnail: Dolly attacks Tina
Thumbnail: Tina hugs dolly

It’s obvi­ous that she likes cats, and Dolly was no excep­tion. Normally, I take upwards of 200 snaps when I’m doing por­traits, but she was too dis­tracted by the cat rolling around on the floor between us for me to get more than 50.

Tina was the first per­son I’ve met through blog­ging from the Ottawa area. The next blog­ger I have to meet is Sikander. I think I saw him with Lunato walk­ing down Rideau once, but I was too shy at the time to intro­duce myself.

04 Dec 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Christie

I can see the pain liv­ing in your eyes
And I know how hard you try
You deserve to have much more
I can feel your heart and I sym­pa­thize
And I’ll never crit­i­cize
All you’ve ever meant to my life

I don’t want to let you down
I don’t want to lead you on
I don’t want to hold you back
From where you might belong

You would never ask me why
My heart is so dis­guised
I just can’t live a lie any­more
I would rather hurt myself
Than to ever make you cry
There’s noth­ing left to say but goodbye

—Air Supply, Goodbye

Over four years ago, I started this blog because of you. I felt like you never under­stood me, so I needed a place where I could express myself with­out any inhibitions.

I had a lot of hope in you, being drawn to your youth and inno­cence. A lot of hope in us. I always thought you were like clay I could mold. Someone who would even­tu­ally com­plete me, but you never changed or showed improvement.

It took me a long time to real­ize how wrong it was for me to do that. How wrong it was for me to want you to be a dif­fer­ent person.

I never appre­ci­ated you for who you were, and you never deserved any of it.

I hope I didn’t hurt you. I heard from your brother that you’re already on your Masters degree. I hope he’s healthy and happy. I hope your par­ents are doing well, that your dad is retired and they’re trav­el­ling out east like they’ve always wanted when you started university.

There are a lot of fond mem­o­ries of our time together. I won­der if you believed me when I said that I wanted to marry you. It was some­thing I hon­estly felt at the time, until things started falling apart, and I went through one of my phases again. It wasn’t your fault.

I had to end it before I led you on any further.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
01 Dec 06

Christmas Wish List '06

Thumbnail: Christmas cupcakes

You know it’s get­ting close to the hol­i­days when the fresh cup­cakes at the local bak­ery start hav­ing Christmas tree sprin­kles, so I thought I’d make a Christmas wish-list. Usually I have no prob­lem spend­ing money when I want some­thing, but I’ve been sav­ing my money as a goal lately. I’ve been good too, only spend­ing $120 on myself in November (two movies, a toque, and win­ter shoe spikes) as opposed to the $500+ I nor­mally do.

This isn’t a fan­tasy list by any means; these are prac­ti­cal things I even­tu­ally plan on buy­ing. I just can’t jus­tify get­ting them at this moment. Of course, I don’t actu­ally expect any of these things to show up under a tree on the 25th, since I don’t cel­e­brate Christmas, although this isn’t by choice.

Photography

Games

Furniture

Appliances

TV Shows

Movies

27 Nov 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Michele

Why should I stay and pre­tend?
You make me laugh again
My dar­ling, truth is we are not even friends
Love comes and it goes
Where your heart stops no one knows
How did I wind up in this mess, here with you?

Just a moment of weak­ness
I should exam­ine my head
Just a moment of weak­ness
I never meant a word I said

—Bif Naked, Moment Of Weakness

The first thing about you that caught my eye was your plat­form shoes. More specif­i­cally, the lanky way you walked in them with your plaid skirt on. You had such a funny gait that I would study when I was walk­ing behind you in the halls. Sometimes you looked like an injured fawn, vul­ner­a­ble and awk­wardly run­ning away with your long, slen­der legs. It was the very def­i­n­i­tion of sex­u­al­ity to a depressed, hor­monal teenage male.

Those shoes gave you an extra cou­ple inches, and I resented every time you sub­tly knelt so you wouldn’t be taller than me in any pictures.

I only have a sin­gle good mem­ory of our rela­tion­ship. You were sit­ting on my lap in the jacuzzi at Cammy’s place. It was February, and there was snow all around us, but we were warm and wet. Every few min­utes, we would dunk our heads under the water, then style each other’s hair, the win­ter air freez­ing it within seconds.

The more I got to know you, the more I learned that it was all a big mis­take. I stuck it out because I didn’t want to break up with you in the months lead­ing up to your exams. It was espe­cially hard when Lisa started show­ing inter­est in me, but I couldn’t do it.

You were a sex­ual bore. No sound, no reac­tion, noth­ing in bed. Your friends were all snobs. Your thoughts were trite, and your inter­ests were shallow.

You never knew it, but I had to decide between dat­ing you and Marina. It tore me up for a week, know­ing that one of you was going to be hurt. I chose you in a moment of weakness.

It was the biggest mis­take of my high school career.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
24 Nov 06

The Diary Under The Bed

On the 25th of September, at 11:04 am, my mom Googled my e-mail address, and found this blog.

She vis­its every day like clock­work; around 8:30 am when she gets into work, and some­times dur­ing lunch around 12:30 pm. Even though I told her never to con­tact me again, she con­tin­ues to check on me.

It’s some­thing I’ve known for a while now.

The exis­tence of this web­site was a secret I kept from my par­ents for as long as I could. I felt like I owed it to them to over­look my child­hood mem­o­ries because they stayed together for my sake, so I never wanted them to know this seem­ingly unrec­on­ciled side of me. When they told me they were get­ting divorced, I wrote an entry (that’s never been pub­lished) about how I stopped car­ing. It was their turn to start car­ing about me.

Of course, this was only true in theory.

To be hon­est, I was dev­as­tated. Bronwen likened it to her mom find­ing her diary under her bed, and I tend to agree with the analogy.

Chinese kids don’t talk to their par­ents about much. Even after being out of touch for a long time, par­ents will only ask whether they have enough money, whether they’re eat­ing enough, and how their marks are in school, if applicable.

The dis­cov­ery must have opened a can of worms. This is where I share my prob­lems. My inse­cu­ri­ties. My sex­ual expe­ri­ences. My past drug use. The bit­ter mem­o­ries of child­hood. On here, I’m no longer the dis­tant son they’ve known for 25 years. I’m open. Naked. Exposed.

Some were sur­prised that my mom would con­tinue read­ing my blog, believ­ing the things I say would be too painful for her to read. It makes sense though. This is the only way she can stay close to me.

So I have to ignore the entries in my server logs that con­stantly remind me of her pres­ence. I can’t let it affect the only place where I can write unre­stricted. I just have to let go, and con­tinue writ­ing. Damn the con­se­quence, as some­one once said. There’s noth­ing else I can do. After all, this is a pub­lic jour­nal. I have no right to com­plain about who comes here.

When you let go, you can write about anything.

20 Nov 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Ashley

The lovin is a mess, what hap­pened to all of the feel­ing?
I thought it was for real; babies, rings and fools kneel­ing
And words of pledg­ing trust and life­times stretch­ing for­ever
So what went wrong? It was a lie, it crum­bled apart
Ghost fig­ures of past, present, future haunt­ing the heart

—Belle & Sebastian, Another Sunny Day

Our rela­tion­ship has always rep­re­sented the inno­cence of my youth.

The Friday nights, play­ing with can­dle wax in the dark, learn­ing how our bod­ies worked. Or the rush of worry and excite­ment about par­ents walk­ing in the door. Olfactory sense has come to mean a great deal in my rela­tion­ships. From those nights we made love with Beth’s voice com­ing through your tinny speak­ers, I get turned on when I lis­ten to Portishead.

I kept the bot­tle of Gap Earth you used, some­thing dear to me since it was dis­con­tin­ued. Every time I smell the noz­zle, it brings me back to the time we were together.

Out of all my other girl­friends, I thought you would be the one to end up in a D/s rela­tion­ship. I never real­ized it until my own intro­duc­tion to the lifestyle, but the things you did were the most nat­u­rally sub­mis­sive. The way you wanted to be tied up with our belts, the enjoy­ment you got from pain, your desire for me to be in con­trol, the way you would take my hands is yours so you could kiss my knuck­les. To this day, I won­der if you still like these things.

I’ve always tried to fig­ure out why I’m never sat­is­fied in my rela­tion­ships. It’s usu­ally not the fault of the peo­ple I date. Sometimes I blame my par­ents for their failed mar­riage, and how this has made me feel that’s it’s nec­es­sary to find the per­fect per­son so I don’t end up like them. Sometimes I think it’s because you were the first, and you came to define what was “right” or not.

Why then, did I break up with you?

I wish I could explain. I thought things would last, because you never hurt me in any way. In fact, you did noth­ing wrong. Maybe we were just too young. They say you shouldn’t marry the per­son you can live with, you should marry the per­son you can’t live without.

And I knew that I could live with­out you.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
17 Nov 06

The House In The Day

A few pic­tures of my house, some­thing that’s become a sym­bol of my tran­si­tion into adult­hood. My next house project is get­ting enlarged prints of my pho­tos to hang around the house.

My brightly-lit breakfast nook

The first thing you see when walk­ing in the front door is the break­fast nook. It’s one of the best fea­tures of the house, espe­cially in the morn­ing. Even though it’s on the south side, it’s extremely bright and sunny. The win­dows face a major road, so I usu­ally have the blinds closed for a lit­tle pri­vacy, or open them when I’m feel­ing social.

Kitchen: stove view

Plenty of cupboards

There are two path­ways that lead into the kitchen: the break­fast nook on one side and the hall­way on the other. It’s a rather nar­row place, but there’s enough elbow room to do some aggres­sive cook­ing. Tons of cup­boards and plenty of table space keep every­thing tidy.

My dining area

I recently bought this din­ing set from EQ3. Most things from there are custom-made: I was allowed to chose the mate­r­ial and colour of the seats, as well as the metal fin­ish and diam­e­ter of the glass. The first thing I did when I bought the house, before I had things moved in, was to have a dim­mer switch installed here, and in the two bed­rooms. I had the entire area pro­fes­sion­ally painted a neu­tral beige for a café feel.

Living room: TV view

Living room: couch view

Trolley took most of the liv­ing room with him when he moved out, so I’m still look­ing for pieces. It’s the one part of the house I’m not sat­is­fied with yet. I’d like to pur­chase one more couch, and a book­case to clean up that shelf. In the future I’ll be blow­ing up a few of my pic­tures for the walls. The TV is hooked up to the dig­i­tal cable box, an HD DVD player, an HD Gamecube con­nec­tion, and a lap­top (which unfor­tu­nately doesn’t out­put DVI). The couch was also from EQ3, and the cof­fee table, prob­a­bly my favourite piece in the house, is from Zone.

Basement stairs

Main bathroom

One of the odd­i­ties of the house is the fact that the bed­rooms are in the base­ment. It really turns some home buy­ers off, but I didn’t mind. It’s nice to have some stairs; they act as a gen­eral par­ti­tion between the work and rest areas, and have come to define non-student liv­ing for me.

Guest room

Trolley used to be in this room. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. I may turn it into a guest room, a photo stu­dio (which is doubt­ful, because of the red paint and how small it is), or a tai chi stu­dio. Most likely the for­mer, since it’s the only open-space large enough in the house for me to practice.

My room, bed view

My room, desk view

My room, mirror view

The bed­room is where I spend most of my time. It’s become a safety zone. The good thing about Ikea is that it’s so easy to match things in a set or series. I had the mir­rors installed soon after I bought the house, and they hide an entire wall closet.

These are some of the most tech­ni­cally dif­fi­cult pic­tures I’ve taken. A 1.6x field-of-view-crop-factor meant that I lost a lot of the wide end of my lens, and mixed light­ing con­di­tions made things espe­cially dif­fi­cult. I didn’t take pic­tures of the sec­ond bath­room or the laun­dry room. In the next series, I’ll get shots of the house at night.

The house changes it’s per­son­al­ity when it’s dark and moody.

13 Nov 06

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Introduction

An ex e-mailed me out of the blue the other day. She blamed it on the fall weather, caus­ing her to rem­i­nisce and Google my name. We hadn’t seen or spo­ken to each other in over five years.

After feel­ing each other out for the first part of the exchange, we caught up on each oth­ers lives. She’s been mar­ried for three years. Moved out to Kingston after liv­ing through the pol­lu­tion and over-stimulation of down­town Toronto. She has a full-time job while work­ing toward her Master of Education part-time. Her husband’s an artist at heart, she says, try­ing to make a liv­ing off cre­ative writ­ing. No kids yet, but instead, two cats, Emily Wednesday and Shadow.

Me? I moved to Ottawa for uni­ver­sity, bought a house, recently got out of a rela­tion­ship, been work­ing as the mar­ket­ing and IT man­ager at a den­tal lab­o­ra­tory. Oh, and I have one cat, but I’m think­ing of a second.

There were some things I’d been mean­ing to ask her for a while. Going through a series of rela­tion­ships since ours has changed my per­spec­tive, and I’ve always won­dered whether she’s grown in this way as well. I put a few ques­tions to her, but she told me, in an ami­able way, that she wasn’t com­pletely com­fort­able indulging my curiosities.

What she had no prob­lem talk­ing about before was now taboo and off lim­its. Was she afraid of upset­ting her hus­band by dis­cussing such per­sonal things with an ex-boyfriend, or did she sim­ply change so much?

There are a lot of things I’d like to say to my ex-girlfriends, but the nature of a break-up can be that of ran­cor. Communication breaks down. People lose per­spec­tive. I’ve always had a tremen­dous need to express myself, per­haps to the detri­ment of my rela­tion­ships, but dig­ging up what’s past and buried for the sake clo­sure seems a bit self­ish. After hav­ing this ex tell me that she was uncom­fort­able, I real­ized that it may have been rather inap­pro­pri­ate of me.

It’s only here that I can say what I want.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen
10 Nov 06

Winter Transition

Thumbnail: U-Haul warning
Thumbnail: Shrimp appetizer
Thumbnail: I heart sluts sticker
Thumbnail: Make-up case
Thumbnail: Open shed
Thumbnail: Boxter logo
Thumbnail: Fallen roots
Thumbnail: Storage lockers

I had a dif­fer­ent entry planned out, but I have to write this instead. To get this feel­ing down before I lose it.

It’s hard to tell what the feel­ing is exactly. Happiness? Worry? Maybe a mix of both. I only know that I’m ner­vous, like I’m out on a limb, wait­ing for it to snap. Things have never gone this well for long.

Life has finally set­tled. I have the house to myself. I’m sin­gle. I don’t have to worry about what my par­ents do or think. I’m on a reg­u­lar sched­ule, with only Tai Chi lessons on Saturday morn­ings. Other than that, I fill my time how I please, which cur­rently involves a lot of Pikmin 2 and phone-calls with John or Bronwen.

With this new-found sta­bil­ity, I ven­ture into the out­side world to social­ize. A while ago I watched Fearless with Aaron. Pat and Jen treated me to din­ner and Borat last week. Sunday, I cooked Bronwen and her par­ents a Chinese lunch. Next Tuesday I’m going to the 2006 Legends Classic tour to catch up with Jeff, my old floor­mate from first year. Soon it’ll be Trolley’s house­warm­ing party, along with all the other hol­i­day events.

I’m ini­ti­at­ing every­thing. In the past, I would never be the one mak­ing plans.

Four years ago I wrote that guilty plea­sures aren’t so guilty any­more. I’m back to this feel­ing again. What a strange cycle. I’m start­ing to feel like I deserve to be happy.

So I play the songs that I usu­ally save for when I really need them. I lis­ten to my music louder. I sing at the top of my lungs. I dance in my room while iron­ing. I order things that are nor­mally too expen­sive for me when I eat out. I laugh a lit­tle more.

I can feel myself get­ting giddy again, but I have to ques­tion if it’s all a lit­tle fake. If it’s a mask for my ner­vous­ness. I prob­a­bly won’t be able to tell for a while, so I’m just try­ing to enjoy it.

Another tran­si­tionary phase.