Monthly Archives: March 2008

Solo Artist

This week, the sound from my right head­phone start­ed crack­ling and prompt­ly died. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to my music with only the left chan­nel until I can find a replace­ment pair.

This has led to the unfor­tu­nate dis­cov­ery that when singing to your­self at a cer­tain vol­ume, OTHER PEOPLE CAN STILL HEAR YOU.

How To Interpret Nothing

(I’ve been writ­ing this in my head for four years. Four years and sev­en months, to be pre­cise.)

So one last touch and then you’ll go
And we’ll pre­tend that it meant some­thing so much more
But it was vile, and it was cheap
And you are beau­ti­ful but you don’t mean a thing to me

—Death Cab for Cutie, Tiny Vessels

Ghost picture

I got this pic­ture in New Jersey. It’s the most pecu­liar size for a pho­to­graph: 3 7/16 by 4 13/16 inch­es.

For some rea­son, I see it prop­er­ly like this — land­scape ori­en­ta­tion, with the white stripe on the left — when it could just as well be rotat­ed any oth­er way. This is the bias I place on it. The way I view it.

It almost looks like a room with a wall in frame on the left, and the cam­era has metered for a flash off the wall, under­ex­pos­ing the rest of the pic­ture. There are two smears in the black­ness. Maybe an out-of-focus object, maybe a fin­ger­print on the lens.

I did­n’t take the pic­ture. Someone else did, thought it was bad, and was about to throw it out before I asked for it. Someone who took me for grant­ed. Someone who’s world I lived in but for a week, in the midst of the intense sum­mer humid­i­ty and coitus inter­rup­tus.

I’ve kept it in one of my note­books since. The edges have turned yel­low, and the cor­ners blunt from han­dling.

Every time I look at it, I like to think that I see some­thing in that grain and that noise. That some­thing’s there; I just don’t see it because there isn’t enough light to expose it, but it exists nonethe­less. Some pho­to­graph­ic kōan, where I become that which I seek.

But I know there isn’t, the way I know it was noth­ing more than pass­ing moment, a week for­got­ten, a life unchanged.

And I’ve been hap­pi­ly fool­ing myself ever since.

Psychoanalytic Reflections 03

My ther­a­pist is on vaca­tion now. When he gets back, I’ll start to see him on a bi-month­ly instead of week­ly basis. At first he sug­gest­ed that we slow down only once I get a han­dle on my anx­i­ety, but when I explained that the ses­sions were putting me in a neg­a­tive cash-flow sce­nario, he under­stood and agreed1.

  • My depres­sion is gone. Most like­ly, it was a side effect of my anx­i­ety, or gen­er­al­ized anx­i­ety dis­or­der, which is most­ly gone now.
    • The root of this is from my habit of pre­dict­ing neg­a­tive out­comes and ask­ing too many “what ifs”, which I’m still learn­ing to con­trol.
  • There’s this idea of learned help­less­ness that I strug­gle with. The big­ger issue is that when I feel help­less, I get depressed as a result, about things out of my con­trol such as the weath­er.
    • I love how the prac­ti­cal side of psy­chol­o­gy falls in line with Taoism. In this case, I think of verse 29 of the Tao Te Ching:

      Allow your life to unfold nat­u­ral­ly
      Know that it too is a ves­sel of per­fec­tion
      Just as you breathe in and out
      Sometimes you’re ahead and oth­er times behind
      Sometimes you’re strong and oth­er times weak
      Sometimes you’re with peo­ple and oth­er times alone
      To the Sage all of life is a move­ment toward per­fec­tion

  • One issue I had a hard time under­stand­ing was my belief that attempt­ing some­thing is a waste of time if I don’t suc­ceed. I sup­pose that it seems rather sil­ly now that I think about it (such as avoid­ing get­ting in a rela­tion­ship just for the fact that one may get hurt), but I spent an entire ses­sion on this sub­ject alone. It’s a prob­lem because I give up on cer­tain things before I try, and lose impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ties as a result.
  • I’m start­ing to become more aware of my auto­mat­ic thought pat­terns. I’d auto­mat­i­cal­ly avoid cer­tain sit­u­a­tions because they would give me anx­i­ety, or pre­dict how oth­er peo­ple would react based on past expe­ri­ences, with­out even real­iz­ing it. This is wrong.
  • I was a lit­tle skep­ti­cal about the use­ful­ness of thought records at first, but now that I’ve fin­ished about a half-dozen, I notice a change in my thought process. Every time I get flus­tered, I think in my head of what I’ll write down lat­er (sim­ply because I don’t have time to write it in the moment) and just doing this helps a great deal.
  • My ther­a­pist is a fan of Chappelle’s Show (which is gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered to be a low-class and crude form of humour), because it breaks social bar­ri­ers by mak­ing fun of stereo­types, there­by rob­bing them of their sig­nif­i­cance. This makes him the coolest mid­dle-aged white guy ever, and makes me want to smoke a spliff with him.
    • He also calls weed, “grass”, which is cute.
  1. We’re both baf­fled by the fact that the ses­sions aren’t cov­ered by OHIP, where­as phys­i­cal health prob­lems are. []


Glamourous Paige

Thumbnail: Innocent Paige
Thumbnail: Paige's smirk
Thumbnail: Hopeful Paige
Thumbnail: Mischievous Paige
Thumbnail: Model Paige's
Thumbnail: Paige's purse
Thumbnail: Muted Paige
Thumbnail: Stoic Paige
Thumbnail: Paige's eyes
Thumbnail: Three quarters Paige

Usually I don’t post this many pic­tures of one shoot of a sin­gle per­son because there’s often a lot of redun­dan­cy, but Paige has a thou­sand expres­sions that must be cap­tured and shown to the world.

There’s a com­plex­i­ty in her face that betrays the lay­ers and lay­ers of her char­ac­ter. By turns ebul­lient, hope­ful, play­ful, and uncer­tain — every frame is dif­fer­ent. I feel like I could write an essay on her look alone.

Best viewed on large and on black, of course, so click the pic­tures. Commentary at full size.

The Peeing Sound

Sometimes, when I pee, I shud­der a lit­tle bit. Not only that, but a sound may escape me. The only way I can describe it is a soft, trem­bling, excla­ma­tion.

Sometimes, this hap­pens at a pub­lic bath­room.

Sometimes, there hap­pens to be some­one stand­ing next to me, also pee­ing.

Sometimes, I get fun­ny looks.