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. []

Paige

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.