Monthly Archives: June 2010

Baby talk

One sum­mer in my teenage years, I vol­un­teered at a kinder camp1, and that filled a gap in my knowl­edge about any­one under 10. Unfortunately, that gap only spanned chil­dren between 3 and 5, and aside from that range, I knew noth­ing about kids.

So inter­act­ing with chil­dren who’ve yet learned to speak I found espe­cial­ly awk­ward. I nev­er under­stood how to talk to some­one who did­n’t seem to under­stand what I was say­ing. It was like talk­ing to a stuffed ani­mal, which I’m pret­ty sure can’t be done by any sane per­son with­out feel­ing creepy.

Rosella in the car


Not to men­tion how pho­ny it sounds. Why do peo­ple raise their voic­es, as if a child trusts them more if they sound like them2? They don’t nor­mal­ly talk like that.

Then I real­ized that I do kit­ty talk, with the boospy, and the schmoop­sy, and the pokey of the bel­ly. I talk to my cat all the time, a habit I’ve prob­a­bly picked up from liv­ing by myself for the last three years, com­bined with the fact that I’m an extreme intro­vert and stay in my house for the major­i­ty of my time.

Which is strange because Dolly does­n’t under­stand any­thing I’m say­ing (though I’m sure cats are intel­li­gent enough to evolve to talk if they believed any­thing a human had to say could be impor­tant). And this is after I wrote an entry sev­en years ago, specif­i­cal­ly about how awk­ward I found it to talk­ing to cats.

Maybe I’m com­fort­able enough with cats now to hold a con­ver­sa­tion with one. Or maybe I’m going crazy.

Rosella with tongue out


I’m get­ting more com­fort­able with kids too. Not just talk­ing to them, but the idea of hav­ing them myself, maybe because my friends are get­ting mar­ried and giv­ing birth and I’m spend­ing more time with a few adorable boys and girls. I can talk to them even though they only respond in mono­syl­la­bles.

Jodie Foster once described hav­ing chil­dren as the most cre­ative thing she’s ever done, and I com­plete­ly under­stand that now. I can’t think of any­thing more cre­ative than nur­tur­ing growth, curios­i­ty, imag­i­na­tion, and ideas in anoth­er human being. One day, I’d like to expe­ri­ence it for myself.

  1. Cause I had noth­ing bet­ter to do. Seriously. []
  2. Though it worked for Owen Meany. []

Cranium Party, the Third

So out of the 26 peo­ple I invit­ed to the third Cranium Party, 9 said they could­n’t make it, 13 said they’d come, and 4 did­n’t RSVP at all.

Out of the 13 peo­ple who said they’d come, only 3 of them showed up, and one of those was Jessica, who was sort of co-host­ing this one with me, so fuck yeah she was there1.

That means that includ­ing me, we had four peo­ple, which is the bare min­i­mum to play Cranium.

To say I was dis­ap­point­ed is an under­state­ment. I spent a great deal of time and ener­gy mak­ing the invi­ta­tions, and clean­ing the house so my guests could be com­fort­able. Not to men­tion all the food I bought, most of which went bad because there weren’t enough peo­ple to eat it (and espe­cial­ly when the guests who do show up also bring plen­ty of snacks).

We did end up play­ing a good game, but it was entire­ly not worth all the prepa­ra­tion.

Jessica offered to host the next one at her place — very nice of her because that real­ly means she’s offer­ing to shoul­der all the respon­si­bil­i­ties — but I feel like Cranium par­ties are my thing. An invi­ta­tion is not only an invi­ta­tion to play, it’s an invi­ta­tion into my social cir­cle. The guest list is tight­ly con­trolled; any­one on it is either a very close friend, or some­one I can tell has the poten­tial to be. I want to have all the respon­si­bil­i­ty, because it’s one of the ways I can show these peo­ple they’re impor­tant to me.

At the same time, some peo­ple are already ask­ing about the next one2, which I find strange because the impres­sion I get is that it’s a low pri­or­i­ty, nev­er some­thing peo­ple put in their sched­ule and plan around. I’m pret­ty sure most only go if noth­ing else comes up on that day.

That’s fine by me — not every­one loves doing bad impres­sions of Christopher Walken as much as I do — but when peo­ple say they’re going to be there and don’t show up, it’s a com­plete deval­u­a­tion of my efforts. I’m seri­ous­ly ques­tion­ing if I’m going to host anoth­er Cranium par­ty any time soon. If I do, the next invite list will undoubt­ed­ly be much short­er.

At the very least, the day was sal­vaged with some bub­ble tea, Chinese food, and qual­i­ty time with Jessica.

  1. She’s also the only per­son to make it to all Cranium par­ties up to now. []
  2. I pur­pose­ly don’t make them a reg­u­lar thing because I want them to be spe­cial. []

29 7/12: The Taoist

I got these tat­toos to remind myself to stay on the path. A reminder like this is some­thing of a para­dox; to be on the path is to be unaware of the path.

Even though I strong­ly believed in the tenets of Taoism, I still found myself off the path more often than on it. There was a point where I began to ques­tion whether I was tru­ly a Taoist or just a Tao-enthu­si­ast, because my under­stand­ing of the ideas did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean an abil­i­ty to apply them to my life.

Self portrait at 29 7/12


But over time, I for­got about my tat­toos. Or, should I say, I stopped think­ing about them, the way one may be so accus­tomed to the nose on one’s face as to nev­er dwell on the idea of it’s exis­tence.

In the same way, I’ve for­got­ten about the path too, even though I know I’m on it. I don’t seek coun­cil from the Tao Te Ching nowa­days, because there’s noth­ing left that I don’t under­stand. I found the feel­ing of seren­i­ty I’d been seek­ing for so long.

I turn 30 in five months, and I final­ly believe I’m a Taoist.

The Turning 30 Series

Home early

After a night of camp­ing, I’m home more than a day ear­ly. The unre­lent­ing rain and insects were enough for me to won­der whether it’s worth for­go­ing the com­forts of home (and rest, and clean­li­ness) for a few new sub­jects to pho­to­graph.

I now have sev­er­al mos­qui­to bites on my body, about the size of my fist each. This is with­out any scratch­ing on my part, and they’re steadi­ly grow­ing. My skin has always react­ed bad­ly to mos­qui­to bites. I’m pret­ty sure I’d have to turn down National Geographic if they ever offered me a job as a wildlife pho­tog­ra­ph­er.