Monthly Archives: May 2007

A Weekend with Darren

I had Darren over from Toronto for the weekend. We were going to do a movie marathon at the theatre — three in a day — but the movies all sucked. Disturbia? Georgia Rule? Please. Instead, I bought the first season of Six Feet Under, and we finished the roughly 11 hour season over two days. Now I can re-watch it with Bronwen and lend it to Pat. To be honest, I’d seen up to the second season before, but I was too stoned to remember most of it.

Thumbnail: Air-tight tea container

Thumbnail: Chai tea

Darren also gave me a nice tea container. It’s rather large, since I buy my tea 50mg at a time, but better too big than too small. He also got me some chai tea, considered a wellness blend. When I asked him what for, he couldn’t give me a reason. I love gifts for no reason.


We shared our tattoo ideas, and his was the Chinese character for love on his back. Darren and Bronwen are the some of the few people I can talk openly with about love. We’re such hopeless romantics. We tell each other that we’ll never be married, not to be self-depracating, but to be honest with ourselves. We have our ideals, and we’ll never settle for anything less. It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in our quixotic beliefs.

To Grow from Yielding

The most yielding thing in the world
  will overcome the most rigid
The most empty thing in the world
  will overcome the most full
From this comes a lesson —
  Stillness benefits more than action
  Silence benefits more than words

—Verse 43, Tao Te Ching

Sometimes, temperance is the greatest weapon.

When someone attacks you with words or tries to make you feel any less than yourself, you merely need acquiesce.

In doing so, you disarm them. You rob them of their only weapon — anger — and their words lose all meaning and significance.

Tai Chi, as the physical manifestation of Taoist philosophies, follows the same idea.

Then you will understand the flow of internal power, and, having repeatedly practiced and refined your technique and explored your own awareness, you can use and control your internal power at will.

The T’ai Chi principle is as simple as this: yield yourself and follow the external forces.

—Waysun Liao, The Essence of T’ai Chi

When your opponent expands, contract. Create a void in your stance, and let them fill that void. By absorbing your opponent’s energy, you reduce it to nothing.

No one proves themselves more inane than one who matches energy with energy, force with force.

I’ve finally come to fully understand such an idea. The theory made sense, but I never put it in practice, and practice is what makes the understanding complete. It was only recently that I had the chance to apply it. The old me was hot-headed with too much to prove. When faced with insulting, patronizing words, I would have reacted, instead of following the principle of wu wei. The situation was a test of myself, and I passed.

From this I’ve learned how much I’ve grown.

May Long Weekend '07

Thumbnail: Oktoberfest sausages
Thumbnail: Barbecue ribs
Thumbnail: Silicon brush
Thumbnail: Chicken drumsticks
Thumbnail: Shish kebabs
Thumbnail: Barbecue thermometer
Thumbnail: Fruit flan, blueberry bonanza, key lime pie

While writing this, I realized that my RSS subscribers will lose most of the entry; more than half of it is in the captions of the photos, which are embedded in the link tag. Almost all my pictures have captions actually. I may try writing a WordPress plugin or modify Lightbox JS 2 to display the captions in subscription feeds.

Pat and Jen had ten of us over for the Victoria day weekend. They put the extra leafs in the table and it was twelve in all. Potato casserole, ribs, drumsticks, sausages, salad, corn-on-the-cob, and I don’t even remember what was on the other end. It was funny to see how proud Pat was that there was too much food to fit on the 12 person table. I can understand though; there’s nothing more satisfying than being a good host. I prefer the host role to the guest role actually. It’s when I can be in control of the situation, and I’m much better at making sure people are taking care of than being taken care of myself (I think a sense of imposing is what contributes to this).

I won my first game of Settlers of Catan. The quiet ones are the ones who win, they say, so I tried to keep my mouth shut amidst all the jocular smack-talk. The guys also played Capcom vs. SNK 2. Even though we all come from different backgrounds, every single one of us knew how to play. Very telling of how pervasive the Street Fighter series is to our generation.

The guests help clean up without asking, they thank you for having them, and in return, the hosts thank you for coming. You can tell a lot about people, not just from their friends, but their company as well.

The Unexpected Kiss

A while ago, Dan and I made plans to play some table tennis yesterday.

It’s been a year since we went to the old recreational club. The venue changes every year, and this season it was too much of a hassle for me to go as it was buried somewhere in the city. For Dan, the new venue was too far to be practical to go on a regular basis.

When we arrived, there were all familiar faces. We greeted them with handshakes and how-you-doings. Yerka, from the Czech Republic, arrived when we were catching up. Along with her Polish husband Andrei, Yerka was one of the new members last year. Andrei was on my league team, and even though I was captain, Andrei was definitely the best player, with Yerka always there to support him from the bleachers.

I extended my hand to her, but in the European fashion she leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. I reacted and adjusted for a kiss as well, but apparently there’s a rule on which side to kiss first.

My friends and I never faire la bise, and in my ignorance, I went for her right cheek, she went for my left, and we ended up kissing full on the lips.

Then promptly laughed it off.

Obsessive-Compulsive

Some think I have a form of OCD. They notice that I have to do things in a certain way. These things aren’t exactly debilitating to the point of being considered disorders, but they’re big enough for people to give me a teasing now and then.

I have to sleep with the end of the blankets at my feet. My duvet and cover are separate, so the opening is at one end. It bugs the craaaaaaaaap out of me if it’s not at the bottom.

I always carry a few things with me. Lip balm (Labello brand), cell phone, iPod, lens cloth (to clean glasses or camera), in addition to the normal wallet and keys. If I have a bag, this list expands to include a notebook with pen, and a camera. I’m very uneasy without them. I look for pants with appropriately sectioned pockets for this reason.

I wash my hands about 10–12 times over the course of a day. As a result, my hands dry out (which I also can’t stand) so I use Glaxal Base a couple times a day, which is a perfume-free, water-based lotion. It’s so hypoallergenic and absorbent that they use it as a base for topical medication.

I hate having an odd number of eggs in my fridge. This may be due to the fact that I never deviate from eating two eggs in one sitting. If I ever cook an odd number of eggs (maybe when a guest wants one or three), then I’m left with an odd number of eggs that I’ll forever be trying to even out again.

I always walk to the beat of the song I’m listening to. Most songs are in common time (4/4), which can be divided or multiplied by two, so adjusting the walking pace (in essence, two beats) is easy. Something based in 3 (such as Lamb’s album Fear of Fours) is less flexible. The only time I walk at my own pace is during songs with irregular or changing time signatures, like any progressive rock album where I can’t even figure out where the down beat is.

I have to wear slippers on tile or ceramic floors. I don’t know why.

I can’t listen to an album out of order. There may be songs I don’t like in the album, and I’ll have no problem skipping them, but I listen to the rest in order.

I can’t stand things that are unsymmetrical. I know, there’s reason for asymmetry, it’s designed that way, it serves a purpose, but I can’t stand it. I’ll never buy EQ3 Off Centre dinnerware. There were a few seasons when the whole side-zipper was “in” and I couldn’t buy anything from Tristan and America or Banana Republic.

I have to eat portions of food in a certain way. This is only true for big meals with side and main dishes. There’s an order: side dish (mashed potatoes, or toast), side dish (corn, or egg), main dish (turkey, or bacon), rotating between all three, but always saving the main dish for the last bite. I find there’s a better contrast with the food when you switch between dishes. Flavours get lost when too much of the same thing is eaten. This is as opposed to Aaron, who eats his side dishes first, and then saves almost the entirety of his main dish for last.