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.
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?
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 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.
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.