Yearly Archives: 2005

New Years At Home

Thumbnail: Table settings
Thumbnail: Genseng bins
Thumbnail: House of flying daggers
Thumbnail: Lemon squares
Thumbnail: Little Buddhas
Thumbnail: Tiger shrimp
Thumbnail: Snuff bottle
Thumbnail: Soup for one
Thumbnail: Pacific store

I’m final­ly in my own house again. Going to Toronto means I give up the com­fort of my kit­ty, my com­put­er, and my envelop­ing duvet for a few days of authen­tic Chinese food, real Chinese kung fu movies, silk­worm sheets, and a few moments of fam­i­ly dys­func­tion every now and then.

Time at home left me drained. Turns out that I had an extra par­ty to go to, and this year, I pulled myself up to go box­ing day shop­ping. It was killer on five hours of sleep, but def­i­nite­ly worth it, my best score of clothes in years. Mom was run­ning around every spare moment, prepar­ing food for over 40 peo­ple for the New Years Party, while dad prac­ticed his karaoke between runs for gro­ceries. There were two nights that I sat by myself and enjoyed the new pro­jec­tor, and it was the most relax­ing time I had dur­ing my stay.

As nice as it is to get away, I’m glad this only comes around once a year.

Christmas Observer

Thumbnail: Shirley's mantlepiece decoration
Thumbnail: Braden with Shirley
Thumbnail: Christmas observer
Thumbnail: Ginger the cat
Thumbnail: Julia
Thumbnail: Snoopy the cat
Thumbnail: Braden opens a DS
Thumbnail: Nicole is happy
Thumbnail: Nicole's got attitude

Stepping back to the 25th, I awoke to the sounds of ebul­lient whis­pers com­ing from down­stairs as I lie in Julia’s bed, which she’d care­ful­ly made for me. I checked my watch, noticed that it was 6:40 a.m., and remem­bered that Shirley put her foot down about not open­ing any presents until sev­en. The kids were already up, of course, their inter­nal alarm clocks set to spring in antic­i­pa­tion, even after we stayed up late the night before, play­ing wrestling games until the threat of Santa not com­ing put them to bed.

Instead, Santa went all out this year, from Nintendo DS, to mp3 play­ers, to box­es on box­es of clothes, to DDR dance pads, to portable DVD play­ers, to games for every sys­tem. He also left me a mini remote-con­trol Mercedes SLK, and I’d nor­mal­ly say that he should­n’t have so he could spend more on the kids, but he also left Braden and Bill a mini Hummer and mini Mustang GT respec­tive­ly, so I had to accept the gift in order to race them.

Just being there was enough of a gift. As the kids ran around, unable to decide what to play with first, I start­ed to con­sid­er stay­ing so I could spend the day, but the respon­si­bil­i­ty of pri­or engage­ments and time with the par­ents kept me in check. We had a big greasy break­fast of bacon and eggs, but ____ was there to pick me up for the four hour dri­ve home before the turkey din­ner.

Next year, I decid­ed.

Boxing Day '04-'05

Exactly one year ago today, I was doing this. Even though the annu­al par­ty at Chris and Clarmen’s actu­al­ly starts on the 25th, I real­ly see it as a box­ing day par­ty, the way a New Year’s par­ty real­ly starts on the 31st of December.

That night we used the excuse of going to Timmies for all the par­ents as a way out of the house to have a ses­sion. Unfortunately, this meant remem­ber­ing about a dozen drink orders, some­thing that proves dif­fi­cult under the influ­ence.

In chrono­log­i­cal order:

  1. We met up at the house, where Darren’s fin­gers brave the tur­tles
  2. A ses­sion occurred out­side, and on the way to Timmies we intro­duced Chris to Dreamtheater (hence the music selec­tion)
  3. An order is made for about a dozen drinks with great dif­fi­cul­ty
  4. We drove back to play Slap Hand, which is a vari­a­tion on Slap Jack, except the pile is hit every time the cor­rect num­ber is called (and for increased dif­fi­cul­ty we played with +/- rules where the pile is only hit if the num­ber spo­ken is an addi­tion or sub­trac­tion of a dif­fer­ent spec­i­fied num­ber)
  5. Darren ran­dom­ly deals every­one a hand of hold ’em and plays it through, and this caus­es me to make fun of his obvi­ous addic­tion
  6. Darren pre­cise­ly deals a full hand of 13 cards for a game of Asshole, while talk­ing, for which I count my cards in dis­be­lief and final­ly real­ize just how much he plays cards

Other signs of how stoned we were:

  • Darren and Chris’s voic­es drop an octave, while my voice rais­es two (two!)
  • I can’t keep my jit­tery hands under con­trol
  • The way Chris says, “Just awe­some guys. Awesome.”
  • At one point we have to stop to count to the right num­ber in Slap Hand
  • I laugh, a lot

This year, today, Lam joined us instead since Darren is off in Las Vegas.


Hello, I’m an intro­vert.

When going through Psychology 1101 to cov­er a required sci­ence elec­tive, I stud­ied the char­ac­ter­is­tics of intro­ver­sion and extro­ver­sion, but the mate­r­i­al nev­er real­ly res­onat­ed with me. As I saw it, there are vary­ing degrees of both, I fit some­where on the intro­vert­ed side of the scale, and this was the extent of the appli­ca­tion of such a sub­ject.

I can force myself to be social, friend­ly, cheer­ful (what Shirley and I call being on), but I can only do this for lim­it­ed amounts of time. Usually I can keep it going just a few hours for a par­ty or gath­er­ing, or as long as a few days as required if we’re out camp­ing or snow­board­ing, but nev­er longer than this.

The rest of the time I spend in my room, away from the world, because the social inter­ac­tions of every­day life are a huge drain on me. When I’m alone, I recharge in a way I can’t explain. I’ve spent years feel­ing guilty for this behav­iour. The North American atti­tude is that there’s some­thing wrong with being qui­et or unso­cial. The most strik­ing mem­o­ry I have of this was dur­ing frosh week, when oth­ers would con­stant­ly harass me to go drink­ing, or danc­ing, or par­ty­ing with a bunch of peo­ple I had nev­er met before.

Now there’s an expla­na­tion that makes more sense to me than a sim­ple degree on a scale. In a recent arti­cle, neu­ro­science researcher Marti Olsen Laney talks about the con­nec­tions between intro­ver­sion and biol­o­gy. “It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process infor­ma­tion, how they restore their ener­gy, what they enjoy and how they com­mu­ni­cate.”

I real­ize that there’s a great­ly sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between the way I behave and my intro­vert­ed mind­set. Introversion is an atti­tude that affects almost every aspect of my life, deeply root­ed to a phys­i­o­log­i­cal lev­el. It isn’t some­thing I should be ashamed of or embar­rassed about.

And if I can come out of my shell every now and then, I’ll be alright.