Posts tagged with "emotion"

I can hear the june bugs approaching

(Thanks to Kasi for this one.)

I recently dis­cov­ered that gui­tar chords are the same as ukulele chords, which opens up the reper­toire of avail­able songs con­sid­er­ably. It’s a shame that most online sheet music is in the form of gui­tar tabs, which don’t trans­late to the ukulele. Still, I have enough songs to prac­tice that I can switch to another when I get bored with one. I find it inter­est­ing that since the ukulele requires two hands doing dif­fer­ent things, I run into a bot­tle­neck in hand dex­ter­ity; I can pluck or strum well enough with my right hand, but I can’t get the chords with my left hand fast enough, or vice versa depend­ing on the song. I have to prac­tice each hand indi­vid­u­ally, which is so unlike any other instru­ment I’ve played before.

I have a tele­scope now. My instruc­tor was able to get a great pack­age deal for stu­dents in his astropho­tog­ra­phy course for a 114mm reflec­tor, along with a track­ing motor1 and illu­mi­nated retic­ule2. I put it together today, and it was really excit­ing to be assem­bling all these pre­ci­sion parts to make my first tele­scope, a moment I dreamed about since I was a kid. Astronomy is much more com­pli­cated than I expected. Much of it is sim­i­lar to pho­tog­ra­phy in terms of the equip­ment used (although the terms and con­trols are dif­fer­ent), but now you also have to know your sub­ject, your ori­en­ta­tion, and your weather con­di­tions, not to men­tion being at the right place.

I’m feel­ing bet­ter about things. Maybe it’s the promise of warmer weather. I’m wait­ing for the day I can drive my car with the win­dows down and san­dals on. Those are the days of house par­ties, camp­ing, drinks on patios, and first kisses. Soon, it will be the time of stargaz­ing, bar­be­cues, and who knows.

A few peo­ple have sug­gested my depres­sion may have been due to a chem­i­cal imbal­ance, which I never ruled out. Even though it was one e-mail on that Thursday morn­ing that trig­gered all those bad thoughts, I nor­mally would have been able to han­dle it bet­ter. There wasn’t an imme­di­ate impact. Just a grad­ual sag­ging that got worse and worse through­out the day until I was com­pletely dejected at night. After that, I got a blis­ter on my neck from stand­ing in the shower for too long with water that was too hot. Now that I think about it, I com­pletely under­stand why I felt that way, but it seems kind of silly.

Joe Lencioni also rec­om­mended to me a free pro­gram called Flux — appro­pri­ately head­lined as “Software to make your life bet­ter” — that grad­u­ally changes the colour tem­per­a­ture and bright­ness of your mon­i­tors to mimic the set­ting sun. It’s also local­ized, so it knows when the sun sets for your area and changes auto­mat­i­cally. I’m pretty sure it’s made it eas­ier for me to fall asleep at night.

I’m in such a strange phase right now. I don’t know where I am. When I look back on this time in my life, I won­der whether I’ll look back with nos­tal­gia, pity, or regret.

  1. To move the tele­scope at the same rota­tion of the earth to pre­vent blur in astropho­tog­ra­phy. []
  2. To keep track of a guide star in cal­i­brat­ing the track­ing motor. []

Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by

While I’ve always been very appre­cia­tive of what we did have, some­times I won­der about what we never had the chance to do.

Sure, I bared my soul. I sur­ren­dered. I gave her the songs I don’t share with just any­one. I told her how pro­foundly impor­tant, won­der­ful, and remark­able she was to me. I let her in like no one else before.

But there were parts of myself I never gave up.

It wasn’t because we hadn’t reached that level of trust. It was a way for me to pro­tect myself. To feel as though she didn’t have all of me, so I wouldn’t be left as open and vul­ner­a­ble when the end finally came.

I regret it now. Not because I think it would have changed any­thing1, but because I won­der what it would have been like for some­one to know me com­pletely. To feel vul­ner­a­ble and safe, all at once. Even know­ing I’d be heart­bro­ken even­tu­ally, it would have been worth it to share what I’ve always saved.

I’ve been keep­ing all my girl­friends at arms length to pro­tect myself. I can’t go through life hold­ing things back any­more, con­stantly wor­ried someone’s going to hurt me. That’s always a risk, no mat­ter how sta­ble a rela­tion­ship is.

I have to put myself out there. I have to make the first step, even if it means feel­ing uncom­fort­able, because the more you share, the more com­fort­able you become, the more you share, and so on.

I can only go for­ward now, as a wiser per­son, a stronger soul, a bet­ter lover.

I sup­pose I’m feel­ing nos­tal­gic, or miss­ing her, as is my wont when the sea­sons change.

  1. Cause it wouldn’t have. []

Things are changing, day by day

Edit: Wow, I found an old photo I took in 2004 of the CD in Trolley’s CD player.

Thumbnail: Float On

Modest Mouse used to be the best kept indie rock secret. Then they let Gravity Rides Everything be used in a Nissan com­mer­cial. Then they did Saturday Night Live. Then they did The O.C. (Really, Modest Mouse? REALLY?). Then they appeared on Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour, and now I won­der if they were just sell­outs doing it for the money to begin with.

But before all that hap­pened, or per­haps as it hap­pened, they came out with Float On.

This was the song of 2004. It defined the year for me. I was pick­ing myself up off the floor after a tor­rid rela­tion­ship, and set­tling down alone, find­ing my own lit­tle bit of peace.

That was six years ago, and I’m back there again. I had an odd moment of seren­ity as I left the stair­case to the Tai Chi stu­dio tonight, and walked into the frigid, calm air. Sort of like I had no hope, but that didn’t mat­ter because I didn’t need hope; I had my hands, my senses, my wits, and my cam­era, and that was good enough.

I’m sure the fact that I’ve start­ing work­ing from home four days out of the week has some­thing to do with it. I can work on projects with my music loud, and my pjs on. I don’t get inter­rupted, so my pro­duc­tiv­ity is great.

Okay, so I’ve been avoid­ing any movies or TV shows with dat­ing or romance. I’m stick­ing strictly to Babylon 5 and The Sopranos. It’s been work­ing, because I’ve been feel­ing bet­ter about myself and my cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. Thinking: “Maybe I’m a nice secret right now”.

I'm the hero of the story

(This first. Listen to the clar­ity of the lower octave notes that Regina adds in waves and waves at the end of the cho­rus; you can tell it’s a qual­ity grand piano just from how those notes res­onate — an upright would sound much mud­dier at the low end. This is the song that plays on day (408) and it’s fuck­ing per­fect. Also, title from the lyrics.1)

It would appear that some­one made a movie of my last rela­tion­ship, and (500) Days of Summer is to #8 as Eternal Sunshine was to #4. The inter­est­ing part is that it was released early last year, dur­ing the rela­tion­ship, and I won­der if it would have changed any­thing on my end, had I seen it then. And if she saw it now, would she under­stand things from my per­spec­tive? Or does she under­stand already? And if other peo­ple saw it, would they under­stand how one could unwit­tingly get their hopes up when things are so clear from the beginning?

I’m so glad Marc Webb, the direc­tor, treated the mate­r­ial with such grace. You can tell it was based on expe­ri­ence because the ten­der moments come from a real place (co-writer Scott Neustadter admit­ted Summer was based on a girl who “returned his kisses but not his ardor”). In an inter­view, Joseph Gordon-Levitt said, “I’ve had my heart bro­ken before. Truly, truly bro­ken. But when I look back at me in my heart­bro­ken phase, it’s pretty hilar­i­ous, because it felt so much more extreme than it really was. One of the things I love about (500) Days of Summer is that it doesn’t make light of what we go through in romances [empha­sis mine], but it is hon­est about it and shows it for what it is, which is often pro­foundly funny”, and I com­pletely agree. I also appre­ci­ate the fact that they don’t vil­lainize Summer because she never takes advan­tage of Tom2, and at the same time, it doesn’t make the ago­niz­ing days he goes through any less sig­nif­i­cant or dif­fi­cult. In a pro­found way, it brings jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to every­thing I was (or am) going through. I sup­pose I’m just wait­ing for the punchline.


Watching it has left me feel­ing emo­tion­ally dev­as­tated lately, almost as if I’ve regressed, and lost months of progress. Perhaps it’s because see­ing it was like see­ing her again, reliv­ing the entire thing from day one, from when we had met in the office. Like a recov­er­ing alco­holic falling off the wagon and tak­ing his first sip in 5 years. That doesn’t mean I don’t appre­ci­ate the mes­sage, and as well as the rec­om­men­da­tion to watch the movie from Darren.

Even though I’ve tried to com­pletely for­get and move on, I’ve come to learn it’s not that easy. It’s almost as if you have to accept the all the mem­o­ries, both good and bad, as much as you accept your own qual­i­ties and flaws.

The days, months, years you spend with someone significant will inevitably change and shape you. To deny them is to deny yourself.

I found it fas­ci­nat­ing to trace the plot devel­op­ments to parts of my own story. The entries I’ve writ­ten over the last two years echo the sen­ti­ments so strik­ingly in dia­logue, songs, and voice-overs.

Things in block­quotes are either nar­ra­tor voice-over or direc­tors notes. I listed the events lin­early too (even though the film is pre­sented in non-linear fash­ion) for the sake of clar­ity. It’s also inter­est­ing to see how the cal­en­dar title cards change back­grounds, from bright and sunny, to red and sim­mer­ing, to grey and bleak.


This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen, of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believ­ing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met “the one”.

From my entry The Penultimate Letter — “My whole life, I looked for some­one like you. Someone who was capa­ble of rais­ing me to my poten­tial, some­one who was wor­thy of the love I have to offer. But even then, I never knew I was capa­ble of a love that res­onated so deeply in my person.”

Continue read­ing “I’m the hero of the story”…

  1. Or is it? []
  2. Ironically, the gen­der roles are reversed, and it’s Tom’s date who’s the voice of rea­son here. []

Where Am I Now?

It’s been a par­tic­u­larly try­ing week. I’ve been feel­ing so jaded. Broken. Helpless. Undefined.

Both the cause and the con­se­quence is that I’ve been sleep­ing ter­ri­bly lately. Next week I’m going to try to have a more self-control and stay on a strict sched­ule. Bring some order into my life.

I tried to make an appoint­ment with my ther­a­pist, since I have $300 men­tal health cov­er­age with my work per cal­en­dar year (although this only amounts to two ses­sions). Unfortunately, I need a refer­ral from my fam­ily doc­tor to claim the cov­er­age, because refer­rals are only good for one year, and it’s been that long since I saw him.

I think of how judg­men­tal my dad was when I told him I was see­ing a psy­chol­o­gist. But then I real­ize that he’s prob­a­bly the only per­son I feel like I can really talk to right now (my ther­a­pist, not my dad). I wish I could talk to my friends, but my thoughts are either too embar­rass­ing to admit to them, or too com­pli­cated for them to understand.

I’ve been lis­ten­ing to some quiet, som­bre stuff lately. Trying to acquire a taste for Leonard Cohen’s mid­dle years, when he traded in his gui­tar for horns and vio­lins, even some Depeche Mode. Depeche Fucking Mode. It hasn’t been helping.

I just don’t know what to do with myself lately. But I’m pretty sure I really need to cry right now.