equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
13 Mar 13

stepping into groundlessness

I can tell I’ve had enough of win­ter when I start to enjoy the days above 0 more than the ones below. Those are the days when the air is clear with­out being frigid, and you’re only cold when sun isn’t on your skin. I know I’ll be okay when such her­alds of warm weather appear. Spring is com­ing just in time this year.

Constant plans and new projects are mak­ing the weeks pass as quickly as ever, only now I mark the time by my days with Lisa. We’ve set aside every other Thursday for each other, and it’s the only com­mit­ment I have in my life now, some­thing I haven’t had the plea­sure of shar­ing with some­one in a while.

chicken hearts

Step one in mak­ing cat food: get over the fact that the souls of a mil­lion chick­ens will even­tu­ally haunt you at night for grind­ing up their hearts.

She recently started help­ing me make my own cat food, which involves her schlep­ping a meat grinder, vit­a­min sup­ple­ments, and giant tub1 to my place every time, but she loves tak­ing care of my cats as much as I do. We can both agree it’s well worth the effort when see­ing how much they appre­ci­ate fresh meat and how healthy it makes them.

The rest of our time is spent with Miley Highrus and Zelda Hitzgerald, shar­ing the things we’ve grown to love by our­selves as much as the things we’ve yet to expe­ri­ence together, watch­ing Skins and learn­ing that I like Chris cause Chris likes Angie and I really like Angie. Some weeks, this is the only time we have off from the rest of our respec­tive lives, and the things we can share only in per­son make it all the more special.

Return to Ravnica draft

Slinging card­board.

I can’t help but ques­tion what I know about love and hap­pi­ness and truth and the world and myself. I’ve been try­ing to let go of the things I under­stand and the way I feel, giv­ing myself time to let every­thing set­tle, but embrac­ing the ground­less­ness hasn’t been easy. It often leaves me feel­ing very much out of my ele­ment no mat­ter what I’m doing, and long­ing for some sem­blance of sta­bil­ity. The most I can do is keep in mind that there’s no pres­sure to be a cer­tain way, and that answers will come in their own time.

  1. I don’t have a sin­gle con­tainer in the house that’s large enough to mix the roughly 10kg of chicken parts required for a two-month batch. []
03 Mar 13

feels like falling

Before play­ing at Slaysh we decided to call our­selves The Jeff Band, fea­tur­ing Jesse as front­man and Father as Dad. Our half-hour set con­sisted of five songs, Jesse charm­ing the audi­ence with his ban­ter (as always), and not a sin­gle unre­cov­er­able mis­take made.

When there’s only one take, it’s easy for me to get caught up in focus­ing too intently and los­ing my place. That’s why no mat­ter how much I prac­tice, I’m always ner­vous about play­ing solos and car­ry­ing vamps. Nevertheless, it’s good to know I’m still capa­ble of such feel­ings, and that in some ways, we’re for­ever children.

Howard the Fox Project

Howard the Fox Project on her Godin 5th Avenue, an arch­top with curves in all the right places.

Slowing down hasn’t been easy. Being effi­cient is an old habit of mine. Only now do I under­stand how much passes by when you’re con­stantly going at full pace. I’ve been savour­ing every expe­ri­ence, hold­ing each one in my aware­ness and let­ting it be as intense as possible.

If only it didn’t feel like I’m falling every step of the way, con­stantly expect­ing to land on solid ground. I’ve never been so unsure of every­thing. The book says it’s nat­ural to expe­ri­ence some unnerv­ing ground­less­ness when the foun­da­tion of old beliefs falls away, but know­ing this is all part of the process doesn’t make it any eas­ier. I never would have expected to be going through so much upheaval at this point in my life.

French toast loaf

French toast loaf is the most inge­nius thing since syrup.

Good com­pany has been help­ing me ride out the storm. People have been nur­tur­ing my sense of secure attach­ment by say­ing the things I need to hear, help­ing me get shit done, and tak­ing the ini­tia­tive to make plans. If only it didn’t leave me feel­ing even more over­stim­u­lated and dis­tracted at a time when I’m con­stantly try­ing to remain focused and present.

22 Nov 12

makeshift wings

I’m ready for the win­ter. To be reborn with the first snow­fall that cov­ers the grass, awash in muf­fled serenity.

Time is mea­sured in weeks, not by the cycle of day and night, and this makes every­thing pass at a blis­ter­ing pace. The good weeks involve bacon break­fasts and peo­ple bring­ing me food and new projects and Magic nights. The bad ones involve bat­tles with my old arch neme­sis, acne, and his side-kick, scarring-on-my-fucking-nose.

I’ve been deal­ing with this over­whelm­ing sense that any­thing can change. So much has left me feel­ing like there’s no cer­tainty any­more. Maybe that’s why I’ve stopped dream­ing. I have no idea what to expect from the future, and I don’t know if that scares me or gives me hope.

To stop myself from think­ing about it too much, I dis­tract with all the right things and few of the wrong ones. It’s a frag­ile form of sta­bil­ity. Some days, the strings, they don’t do enough.

11 Apr 09

Flirting With Disconnection

I had been writ­ing non-stop for weeks. I’m not sure if it was rest­less­ness, or if I had too much to get off my chest, or what. Sometimes I wrote two or three entries at the same time, because my mind went off in so many dif­fer­ent direc­tions. It’s always been a habit to over-analyze things.

Then at some point, the world stopped mak­ing sense. My mind went blank, leav­ing me with noth­ing to say. It’s like my brain had given up on try­ing to fig­ure it all out. I guess it’s bet­ter than think­ing too much.

I feel so dis­tant from every­thing now. A strange numb­ness, unlike any­thing I’ve felt before. The things that used to mat­ter don’t seem impor­tant any­more. Or maybe I just stopped caring.

Every now and then, I get a surge of emo­tion, and I’m unsure of whether I should fight it or embrace it.

05 Mar 08

Therapy in 140 Characters or Less

Twice in one day? What?

Five years ago, I wrote that hope was the mind­killer. It can be a euphoric feel­ing, but as the result of sev­eral bad expe­ri­ences, the poten­tial for dis­ap­point­ment out­weighed the gain.

My way of deal­ing with dis­ap­point­ment was to assume the worst. It made me com­fort­able. There was cer­tainty, and I could move on.

So I had learned never to hope. This is how I changed. This is how I adapted. A defence mech­a­nism I used to pro­tect myself from being hurt. I had been fine with this, until today.

Perhaps it was hav­ing Julie tell me that I’m bet­ter than the atti­tude I have, or the life I lead1, but I’m filled with hope again. For once, I dare to dream of some­thing greater.

I want it and hate it at the same time. It gives me courage, but throws my world into uncer­tainty, like I’m set­ting myself up to be hurt again.

But Julie’s strong enough to believe in me and stub­born enough not to give up, because I’m not capa­ble of believ­ing in myself.

And maybe that’s enough to break the cycle.

  1. It made me real­ize I need some­one else to tell me cer­tain things, because I can’t see them for myself. I hate the fact that I can’t be strong enough for myself. I prob­a­bly shouldn’t. It just means there’s some­thing else about which I’m being too hard on myself, which I’ll have to tell my psy­chol­o­gist about any­way. []
29 Nov 07

Fighting Oneself, Revisited

This is one of the strangest times of my life. I remem­ber feel­ing some­thing sim­i­lar to this over four years ago, but I haven’t had it since.

I’m fight­ing my old self again. Fighting against these feel­ings and past habits.

I wish I could define and explain it. Vincent Gallo has a song he titled “Glad To Be Unhappy”, filled his dis­tinctly min­i­mal­is­tic piano and acoustic gui­tar sounds, so sparse you don’t know where the down­beat falls. But there are no lyrics, and I think I’m start­ing to under­stand why.

Everything is so sim­ple when you’re set in your heart. But when you’re filled with such para­dox­i­cal, con­tra­dic­tory feel­ings, noth­ing makes any sense. The world is turned upside down.

It’s frus­trat­ing1 and beau­ti­ful all at once.

I think a part of me wants to think about it. I want to keep this feel­ing, where every song sounds as good as the first time you heard it, and the leaden sky is urg­ing you for­ward with every step you take. To be so inspired.

And while part of me knows that to fight against ones inner nature is fool­ish2, another part of me knows how destruc­tive it can be.

  1. The orig­i­nal title of that post was actu­ally just a 5x5 pixel square, meant to con­fuse the reader into not know­ing what to think. Trolley tried to cor­rect me once and told me the title was bro­ken, and I had to let him know it was done on pur­pose. With my new head­line images plu­gin, the graphic title doesn’t quite work so I had to change it. []
  2. To add another level to this, I’m fight­ing against fight­ing myself []
25 Jun 07

Thoughts On Missing A Play

In post war England, an immi­nent mur­der is announced in the local paper. A mur­der does occur, but not the one expected and it is Miss Marple who comes to the res­cue to solve the mys­ti­fy­ing case.

Two tick­ets, but I’m on the down­swing. It’s the intro­verted end of my cycle and I can’t meet new peo­ple or go out­side with­out feel­ing some kind of anx­i­ety. I used to live two blocks away from the the­atre, pass­ing it many times but never in atten­dance. I always kept an eye out for a play I wanted to see — Equus, or Hamlet, or Picasso at the Lapin Agile — but noth­ing piqued my inter­est. This time, the oppor­tu­nity pre­sented itself, Pearl double-booked with extra tick­ets, and I couldn’t say no.

I force myself to go.

It’s a lit­tle warm to be wear­ing a blazer, but noth­ing else affords me the pock­ets for my Moleskine, pen, lens cloth, and iPod. Waiting at the bus stop, I write.

At this time on a Sunday, I’m usu­ally wind­ing down. Taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, fin­ish­ing off an entry, get­ting things squared away for another week. Instead, I’m head­ing out. For days I’ve been try­ing to write about how jum­bled I feel. There have been new devel­op­ments, both good and bad, leav­ing me with a mix­ture of excite­ment and dis­ap­point­ment. The most I can say is that it makes sense, how I feel, and I can trace every emo­tion to a cause.

The bus comes. On it, I lis­ten to my music but I can’t get in the right head space. Nothing fits. I’m not feel­ing sad, or happy, or jaded, or ener­getic. I skip song after song.

Stepping off the bus, my ago­ra­pho­bia begins to choke me.

Read the rest of this entry »

06 Sep 05

Awakening: Introduction

Sharpen a blade too much
  and its edge will soon be lost
Fill a house with gold and jade
  and no one can pro­tect it
Puff your­self with honor and pride
  and no one can save you from a fall

—Verse Nine, Tao Te Ching

Every time I start to write, I’m led back to this. It would appear that it’s time to express myself. Perhaps I’m ready. It feels like I’m only scratch­ing the sur­face, try­ing to cover aspects of some­thing that I have yet to under­stand. In the shower I decided to split this into sev­eral entries of a series, and in my room the lights are all on.

There’s been more insta­bil­ity in the last month than in the last three years of my life com­bined. Everything I knew, every­thing I believed in, has been turned upside-down. Although I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out what hap­pened, the fact of the mat­ter is that there was a long, drawn-out cri­sis. This cri­sis, which appears to have passed, still affects my thoughts, my actions, and my beliefs.

Even though I don’t com­pletely have my feet on the ground, it feels like I’m com­fort­able enough to explore what’s hap­pened now. This is not an easy task. A sin­gle, seem­ingly innocu­ous thought can end up break­ing the strands of the del­i­cate web I’m treading.

If I can get it all down, I’ll know I’ve gone that far at least.

The Awakening Series

  1. Introduction
  2. Cause
  3. The Reborn Dreamer