Yearly Archives: 2005

The View Down Here

Thumbnail: View from my room

This is the view out my win­dow on the night of a snow­fall. The bed­rooms are in the base­ment, so I get a sub­ter­ranean look at my minia­ture lawn with pine tree, although the gar­den is now buried under 40cm of snow. There are the Moonlights, deprived of their charges from snow cov­er­ing their solar pan­els. There’s the A/C that cost me a month and a half salary.

A lit­tle box, out­lined by fence and porch, of my things.

I sleep with the blinds open in the win­ter because at night I see more this time of year than in the sum­mer. Snow makes the sky glow an ashen orange, a phe­nom­e­non I can’t myself explain. On some nights, it’s too bright to sleep and I have to mask my eyes, peek­ing out every few min­utes to make sure my win­ter par­adise is still out the win­dow until I fall asleep. When I feel espe­cial­ly sen­ti­men­tal, I leave the win­dow open a crack to let in the smell of ice and dry air.

The price of this plea­sure is at least three dead in weath­er relat­ed inci­dents across the province of Ontario.

It's Over

There’s no room for con­fu­sion or regret. One can only thrust one­self for­ward, nev­er look­ing back, nev­er ques­tion­ing what was once said. To learn from these mis­takes is the only sav­ing grace. Busyness is sim­ply self-dis­trac­tion, and to believe oth­er­wise is self-delu­sion.

So do you fuck him hard­er, to bury the love you once had, to drown the guilt with fer­vent voic­es? To con­vince your­self that it’s over, and that this is bet­ter any­way?

And do you try to love him more, because you can’t love me?

Without Bias And To Hold Nothing Back

Even after three years, it’s still strange when peo­ple e‑mail me, peo­ple I’ve nev­er met before who men­tion my expe­ri­ences and quote the words I’ve writ­ten. When they share a bit of their lives in return, per­haps from the guilt of find­ing them­selves the unas­sum­ing and unabashed voyeur, it nev­er ceas­es to be inter­est­ing. They’ll tell me of their pot smok­ing habits, rec­om­mend music that’s touched them in some way, talk about the abuse they suf­fered from their par­ents, share the kinky habits that are nor­mal­ly reserved for those with a phys­i­cal famil­iar­i­ty.

It’s strange because even with these details, I real­ly know noth­ing about these peo­ple, while they know some of the most inti­mate things about me, stuff that I hide from oth­ers in every­day life.

And the more I think about it, the more I real­ize that I’d rather not find out.

The Canon Speedlite 430EX

Thumbnail: Dolly saucer 1

Thumbnail: Dolly saucer 2

The Canon Speedlite 430EX flash lets me take advan­tage of a 1/200 X‑sync speed, which means that high-speed shots such as these are now pos­si­ble in low light­ing con­di­tions. I picked one up this week, so most of my free time has been spent learn­ing the capa­bil­i­ties of an exter­nal flash unit. The tilt-and-swiv­el head means that I can bounce the flash off a ceil­ing to soft­en the light, or take advan­tage of the sur­round­ings, such as bounc­ing it off my stove (the pic­ture on the left) or off my fridge (the pic­ture on the right). There’s also a low-pro­file AF assist beam that’s a huge improve­ment over the seizure induc­ing on-board flash unit.

I decid­ed to go with a Canon brand flash so I could have full E‑TTL meter­ing sup­port (which fires an unde­tectable low-pow­ered pre-flash for eval­u­a­tive meter­ing done through the lens) to match the Rebel XT shell. One of the coolest things about the 430EX is that a set of motors auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjust the zoom range to match the lens, and it can be used as a slave unit that can be opti­cal­ly (which also means remote­ly) trig­gered from a mas­ter unit for up to four light sources.

Even though there are tons of oth­er acces­sories I’d like to have, such as a Sunpak hand strap (which would be a good com­pro­mise between the safe­ty of a neck strap and the con­ve­nience of no strap), some Kenko exten­sion tubes (for macro pho­tog­ra­phy), or a portable micro­drive, I thought that a flash would cur­rent­ly best serve my needs. This isn’t even to men­tion the options for some sweet glass, like a lens with image sta­bi­liza­tion, a tele­scop­ing range, or even some­thing from the L series which I’d have to put a sec­ond mort­gage on my house to afford. I think that I’m only begin­ning to under­stand how expen­sive a hob­by pho­tog­ra­phy is.

Dim Sum

Thumbnail: Dim sum 1

Thumbnail: Dim sum 2

Thumbnail: Dim sum 3

Outside it’s snow­ing, but inside it’s a clat­ter of carts and dish­es. Dim sum is most­ly seafood, espe­cial­ly shrimp, but the most com­mon ingre­di­ents are oil and monosodi­um glu­ta­mate.

My par­ents go full out with the tripe and the phoenix talons (a euphemism for chick­en’s feet), dish­es that scare most Westerners, and even some Canadian born Chinese such as me. The dim sum here is much bet­ter here than at the restau­rant across the street, they note. The rice-flower skin of the shrimp dumplings is delight­ful­ly smooth and thin, a demon­stra­tion of the chef’s skill. The mooli cakes, made from fried daikon radish­es, taste espe­cial­ly savoury. Even the buns are steamed well and slight­ly sweet.

The praise of my par­ents is a tes­ta­ment to the qual­i­ty of the food. They have the abil­i­ty to find fault with almost any­thing, the root of years of child­hood despon­den­cy and con­fi­dence issues, but today the food is near­ly impec­ca­ble.