equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
19 Mar 11

every red fucking light

it’s far too late to be doing this, but I know I’ll lose it if I don’t get it down right away.

cause the music. my god. you never truly feel it until this hap­pens. like it’s writ­ten for this moment, when the song isn’t over so you have to dance in the car for 0:34 cause you’re home already.

i wasn’t going to men­tion any­thing until there was some­thing worth men­tion­ing. then i excit­edly spilled my guts to trol­ley over the grilled atlantic salmon.

things fell apart shortly thereafter.

i keep think­ing of how i wouldn’t have changed a thing if i had to do it all over again, how any­thing done dif­fer­ently wouldn’t have made a dif­fer­ence any­way, but that’s never much com­fort is it. these are also the nights i queue up only three songs to make sure I get out of the shower in a timely manner.

aaron knew some­thing was wrong when i broke into a sweat and took off my coat. i lied cause it was his day and not mine, but all i wanted to do was go home and drown myself in iso­la­tion and play until my fin­gers bled1.

i’ll always be caught in this flux. there is no arrival for me. the oscil­la­tion has always been the des­ti­na­tion, but the waves get a lit­tle calmer each time.

  1. he knows how bad i am at hid­ing things like this, how it always eats me up, and i feel ter­ri­ble cause i know how he always wants to take me away from that. []
02 Oct 10

but doctor, i am pagliacci

I can’t put together a coher­ent thought lately. It’s all just bits and pieces rac­ing through my head. I have six drafts open at once, but I get nowhere. And since I can’t write, I have no catharsis.

Only pent up emo­tions and thoughts and ideas and love and crazy and lust and worry.

grumpy cat


Maybe that’s why it feels like I’m barely hold­ing on to my san­ity. I don’t under­stand myself any­more. There are so many ups and downs in a day. Even my nights are haunted by dreams, some­times won­der­ful, mostly scary. I’ve been try­ing to find mean­ing in the lit­tle things; bet­ter ways of chop­ping rose­mary, adjust­ments to the form when prac­tic­ing Tai Chi, new strum­ming pat­terns on the uke.

30 Sep 10

Protected: wish you were here

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13 Sep 10

Protected: rest for the wicked

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23 Jan 09

Protected: Forced To Deal

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29 Dec 08

The Return of Water

Well, I have water. And hot water too. I’ve been doing loads of laun­dry and dishes in the dish­washer. Not to men­tion sweet, sweet BMs on a toilet.

Bathroom ceiling

Bedroom ceiling

But my bath­room and bed­room ceil­ings still look like this. Not to men­tion the coarse dust on every­thing and the uprooted fur­ni­ture. I had sev­eral entries with pic­tures to post, but my colour-calibrated mon­i­tors are sit­ting in the spare room. I have no idea when the con­trac­tor is going to be back to get every­thing dirty again. Otherwise, I’d do some cleaning.

Either the con­struc­tion com­pany is on hol­i­day (which con­tra­dicts what the worker said), or they’re dodg­ing me, because I haven’t been able to get a hold of any­one for days now. I’m stuck in limbo here, lit­er­ally liv­ing in the liv­ing room (what a fit­ting name). It’s left me rather sick and unmotivated.

25 Dec 08

Holiday Hell

Nightmare. The word almost every­one has been using to describe this hot water sit­u­a­tion. From my friends and cowork­ers, to the plumb­ing tech­ni­cians, to the sales reps, to the contractors.

When the con­trac­tor came over to make holes in my ceil­ing, he brushed against a pipe that went to the hot water tank, and since it was almost rusted com­pletely through, it snapped and started leak­ing. Water shoots out of the hole any time I turn the water on, so I’ve had to shut off the main valve. Now I have no water. I can’t wash my hands, I can’t go to the bathroom.

The exhaust pipe that goes to my fur­nace isn’t up to code any­more either, so even if I get all this work done on the house, my ceil­ing would have to be ripped up again when the fur­nace goes. And since mine is 12-years-old and rated for 15 years, it could die on me as soon as three years (or sooner). So I’ll be get­ting the fur­nace pipe replaced too, which essen­tially dou­bles my pipe instal­la­tion costs.

In addi­tion to mov­ing as much fur­ni­ture out of my room as pos­si­ble into my guest room (thereby rob­bing me of my photo stu­dio, Tai Chi prac­tice area, bed­room, and main com­puter), I’ll have to cover the remain­ing things in sheets to pro­tect them from the dust. When the pip­ing is all replaced1, the con­trac­tor needs to come in and patch up the holes, scrape all the stip­ple off my ceil­ing, respray the stip­ple on, and repaint it. I don’t even have an esti­mate of how much that’s going to cost.

The house is my one area of sta­bil­ity. Where I retreat to when every­thing else is falling apart. The one place I need to be con­stant. I won’t feel set­tled until it’s all been resolved.

And to think that I was look­ing for­ward to the hol­i­days. I was pic­tur­ing myself enjoy­ing my well-earned time off, eat­ing bacon and eggs, play­ing a few games, and start­ing some new projects.

How far away the image seems now.

  1. And with luck, they won’t refuse to do the job because they don’t have enough clear­ance. []
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.

25 Apr 08

Alone Again

The expe­ri­ence of emo­tional depri­va­tion is harder to define than some of the other life­traps. Often it is not crys­tal­lized into thoughts. This is because the orig­i­nal depri­va­tion began so early, before you had the words to describe it. Your expe­ri­ence of emo­tional depri­va­tion is much more the sense that you are going to be lonely for­ever, that cer­tain things are never going to be ful­filled for you, that you will never be heard, never be understood.

Emotional depri­va­tion feels like some­thing is miss­ing. It is a feel­ing of empti­ness. Perhaps the image that most cap­tures its mean­ing is that of a neglected child. Emotional depri­va­tion is what a neglected child feels. It is a feel­ing of alone­ness, of nobody there. It is a sad and heavy sense of knowl­edge that you are des­tined to be alone.

I’m so fuck­ing angry­fu­ri­ous­livid at John right now. We were sup­posed to talk and play tonight, but yet again, I get brushed aside for his friends or girl­friend. I have no other com­mu­ni­ca­tion with him, save for the phonecalls.

It’s not just this time, it’s a whole bunch of times added up. And I’m left alone, again. This is the first time ever that he’s made me cry. And I’m not even sad. I’m just angry. I’m sweat­ing. I can barely see through these tears.

At least I found out that I could show my feel­ings to him. He’s the only per­son with whom I don’t have to worry about being polite. I can raise my voice at him, and I don’t clam up like I do with most people.

Right now, I have no one. John’s the one per­son I can count on to talk to me when some­thing goes wrong. No one else truly under­stands me. It’s com­pletely dev­as­tat­ing when it’s this per­son who pulls the rug out from under you.

Maybe I am sad. Maybe this makes me think of how I’m always a sec­ond pri­or­ity to every­one I know. That I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. That it’ll always be like this because I’m fuck­ing flawed and fuck­ing defec­tive and fuck­ing unlov­able in some way.

I wasn’t going to drive to nowhere tonight, but I think I will now. I just have to remem­ber not to rest my foot on the pedal.

People don’t under­stand how frag­ile I am. That some­times I have to fight to feel sig­nif­i­cant, that I have to con­vince myself that peo­ple would be sad if steered into a con­crete pole and died.

Just because I try to be easy-going and under­stand­ing doesn’t mean I’m not important.

I’m a per­son too.

25 Oct 07

A Truth is Worth a Million Words

You inter­pret my heart, my nature, as you wish to believe it.

— Onegin

People see what they want to see.

As I touched on a while back, some of it comes from inse­cu­rity. Other times, from a fal­lacy of pro­jec­tion as some peo­ple igno­rantly, and mega­lo­ma­ni­a­cally, believe that every­one must think and act as they do. There are a few other cases that don’t fit into either of these cat­e­gories though.

An exam­ple: I once offered a guest in my house some yogurt. The first thing he asked was, “Is it going bad?”. He didn’t believe I would have given it to him oth­er­wise. It was a per­fect reflec­tion of his dead­beat friends who expected you to eat before com­ing to a party, and he had never known any other type of peo­ple. A more extreme exam­ple is if you offered to feed some­one at your house and they got insulted because they thought you were imply­ing that they couldn’t afford to feed them­selves. Some peo­ple see things that aren’t there. It’s an amaz­ing sub­con­scious sign of their characters.

The way some girls inter­pret things is also an inter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non. Some of them think a guy who’s talk­ing to them must be hit­ting on them so they drop the b-bomb in ran­dom points of con­ver­sa­tion, just to warn you they have a boyfriend. Some girls think you’re gay because you don’t make any advances towards them. Some girls think you’re torn up, depressed because they declined your advances, and end up mak­ing a big­ger deal about it than you do. I want noth­ing more than to tell these girls to get over them­selves, but I bite my tongue because they end up embar­rass­ing them­selves more than I could ever do myself.

There are also times when a per­son is so pig-headed and stub­born that they see every­thing through a fil­ter, inter­pret­ing your actions in some crazy way, and believe you’re at fault because they sub­con­sciously refuse to see their own mistakes.

The old me would have been insulted when some­one assumes I’m a cer­tain way. Nothing would anger me more than some­one pre­sum­ing to know how I feel or what I’m like, and I used to care des­per­ately what they thought, even if I knew I was just mis­un­der­stood. It’s an inter­est­ing feel­ing to be passed that now1.

The truth leaves no room for bias, only interpretation.

I’ve learned never to take respon­si­bil­ity for other peo­ples’ inter­pre­ta­tions. Only take respon­si­bil­ity for your intent. You learn a lot about a per­son from the way they inter­pret things and from the way they see the world.

With the truth in your heart, it doesn’t mat­ter what any­one thinks.

With the truth on your side, noth­ing can go wrong.

  1. It’s actu­ally been quiet a few months since I wrote this entry. I didn’t post it at first because I wanted to be absolutely sure that it wasn’t a fickle feel­ing, and that my strength was firm. Reading back on it now, it seems more rel­e­vant than ever. []
04 Jul 07

Antipathy Never Came So Quickly

Try to put me down and make me feel bad. Do your best to make your­self look good.

Throw some advice my way (I’ll leave it). Assume you know me bet­ter than I know myself (what arro­gance!). Give me some food for thought, and believe you were any­thing more than a pass­ing fancy (but try to get over yourself).

My god, how wrong I was about you.

13 Oct 06

Dusting Myself Off Like I Just Stole Third

Thumbnail: Green tea ice cream
Thumbnail: Bronwen with Dolly
Thumbnail: Pumpkins for sale
Thumbnail: Bandit
Thumbnail: Quebec view
Thumbnail: Speciality sushi
Thumbnail: Autumn leaf
Thumbnail: Crab claws
Thumbnail: Sarah
Thumbnail: War memorial
Thumbnail: Spicy pork soup
Thumbnail: Olaf

More than a crazy week, I man­aged to sur­vive a crazy fort­night. Something went wrong almost every day, from get­ting my hair high­lighted, to almost get­ting killed in a near-miss car acci­dent, to find­ing out that my com­pany was bought out. On top of this, I kept los­ing sleep, which only expo­nen­ti­ated the stress. Now is the process of pick­ing myself up and dust­ing myself off.

I still feel over-stimulated, so I’ve been her­mi­tiz­ing. Staying away from peo­ple for a while. I’m lim­it­ing myself to one social inter­ac­tion or extra-curricular activ­ity per week. It would actu­ally be noth­ing if I had the option, but I keep get­ting pulled into things because of their annual exclu­siv­ity, such as Thanksgiving din­ner at Louise’s.

I’ve cut off the woman who gave birth to me. There’s a tremen­dous feel­ing of relief, after hav­ing done it. I’m grate­ful for all the sup­port that peo­ple are show­ing me, as well as the fact that none of them have given me advice as if they know more about the sit­u­a­tion or have more wis­dom than I do.

I hold Pat’s opin­ion in high­est regard because he’s the only one who under­stands from both a cul­tural and first-hand point-of-view. He was also the only one who told me, “Good for you”. This, from one of the most for­giv­ing, car­ing peo­ple that I know, con­firmed to me that I made the right decision.

John offered a unique per­spec­tive too, since los­ing his mother at a ten­der age. “You only get one”, he said, although he never chided or judged me about it, per­haps because of the num­ber of times I’ve called him up in tears because of her.

Of the last five times I’ve tried to play table ten­nis, things didn’t work out once. It cer­tainly made the last two weeks a lot more dif­fi­cult to handle.

Table ten­nis is the only thing that helps me sleep well, not to men­tion the fact exer­cise releases endor­phines that fight the exact depres­sion I was going through. I’m tak­ing it as a sign that I’m not meant to play at the moment, so I’m giv­ing it up until next year.

In the mean­time, I’ve taken up Tai Chi. Through the last while, I went back to the Tao Te Ching look­ing for answers, and it renewed my inter­est in Tai Chi, which I see as a phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion of the the­ory. I was also able to clar­ify a few of the con­cepts with my uncles while they were here, so I’m read­ing things over with a fresh perspective.

15 Mar 06


Broken, lookin’ up I see the enemy.
And I have swal­lowed the poi­son you feed me.
But I sur­vived on the poi­son you feed me.
Guilt fed. Hatred fed. Weakness fed.
It makes me feel ugly.
I’m on my knees, I’m burn­ing.
My piss and moans are human.
I set my head on fire. I’m dead inside.
Shit adds up. Shit adds up. Shit adds up.
Shit adds up at the bottom.

—Tool, Bottom

Remember those days in high school, when you couldn’t sleep because of upcom­ing finals, or the girl you liked told you she didn’t like you back?

Sometimes I miss those days.

Every time I want to say some­thing, com­plain, vent, I think of oth­ers. I never lost both my legs. I don’t have any crip­pling social dis­abil­i­ties. My par­ents never left me naked on the asphalt. Hell, Aaron went through shit so bad two years ago that I can’t even talk about it, and he’s one of the last peo­ple to deserve it. I really don’t have any­thing to com­plain about.

Then I ques­tion the tim­ing. And every time there’s another load added, I think, “I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS SHIT RIGHT NOW”. I have dead­lines to meet, sleep to catch up on, inse­cu­ri­ties to allay. Is this some divine way of telling me that I’ve been hav­ing it too good lately? A way of bal­anc­ing out how well things have been going? No, the tim­ing is good, my friends remind me. This isn’t in the mid­dle of a divorce, or the death of a fam­ily mem­ber, or mas­sive debt. This is prob­a­bly one of the most con­ve­nient times for all of this to hap­pen. I really don’t have any­thing to com­plain about.

So I have to shoul­der all of it now. Not to put it all aside, but to deal with it head on when I have to con­cen­trate, to stop freak­ing out when I’m lying in bed, to stop being absolutely ter­ri­fied when I’m in an uncom­fort­able sit­u­a­tion. Another roller­coaster ride, another cru­cible, another bridge to cross.

Thank god I’m stronger now. Thank god I have my friends. Thank god I have a girl­friend I can com­mu­ni­cate with. If I didn’t have John, Trolley, Aaron, Pat, Darren, Bronny to call, I’d be going FUCKING NUTS. I’D FLIP THE FUCK OUT. Yesterday, I spoke to every sin­gle one of them through the course of the day.

Shit adds up.

05 Mar 06

A Jumble Of Emotions

I’ve been a jum­ble of emo­tions lately. A mix of excite­ment and worry, fun and stress, unset­tling uncer­tainty and crossed-signals. On top of it all I keep get­ting all sorts of BULLSHIT from peo­ple, when it’s the last thing I need.

I gen­er­ally don’t like this feel­ing. To grow, and this is espe­cially true for me, one needs a foun­da­tion of sta­bil­ity. Once the basic things are con­stant, there can be changes and adjust­ments made to improve. Now I find myself strug­gling to keep the sim­plest things under control.

It’s cer­tainly been an inter­est­ing year so far.

03 Nov 05

Still Being Tested

It’s been rough going the last few weeks. Every day is a con­flict between doing some­thing relax­ing, doing the chores that will make me feel com­fort­able, or going to bed. Even now I can’t relax. I clean my mir­rors of fin­ger­prints in between sen­tences, or brush Dolly of excess fur as she force­fully nudges my wrists in mirth, and only con­tinue writ­ing when I come up with the next idea.

A sore throat and weary body had me call­ing in sick today (I sus­pect that I caught some­thing from pet­ting the same cat as Karen yes­ter­day, who’s seems sick as a dog), although I ended up going in and work­ing six hours any­way. All the extra cur­ric­u­lar things are slowly wear­ing me down. There’s the two side-businesses, the new effort of learn­ing as much as I can about my new Canon Rebel XT by pho­tograph­ing every­thing, and the blog­ging. I also started table ten­nis again, although I’m not sure how often I can attend, tak­ing four hours out of a week­day. The one reprieve is a LAN party I’ve had planned since September that starts tomor­row, and even though it’ll be a good week­end of gam­ing, it’ll still mean lit­tle rest. Normally I’m planned, pre­pared, and prac­ticed for a LAN, but this time it’ll all be improvised.

I’m being tested, and even though I know that I’ll get through this, it’s still dif­fi­cult. I’m forced to deal with peo­ple I’ve avoided my entire life. I’m push­ing myself past the lim­its of any­thing I’ve ever gone through. To be hon­est, it’s a lit­tle eas­ier than I would have imag­ined. The strength and con­fi­dence that I’ve gained over the last two years has helped tremen­dously. Knowing that things get done in their own time keeps me from being over­whelmed. If I can make it through this, I’ll be stronger than ever.