Posts tagged with "family"

the moon represents my heart

My aunts and uncles are well aware of the con­flict I have with my par­ents. They’ve since become a sur­ro­gate fam­i­ly; the ones I call on Mother’s and Father’s Day, the peo­ple I vis­it when I go to Toronto.

With every cheque they send, my thank yous feel less and less mean­ing­ful. It’s dif­fi­cult to show how much I appre­ci­ate their love and accep­tance and sup­port when they’re well off and tend to have every­thing they could ever want or need.

One of them men­tioned Teresa Teng as a favourite singer dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion last year, and I real­ized a cov­er of one of her songs would be a befit­ting ges­ture. The arts were tight­ly con­trolled by the Chinese gov­ern­ment for 30 years and any song heard on the radio was either patri­ot­ic or polit­i­cal, until The Moon Represents My Heart was released in the late 1970s. It marked an impor­tant cul­tur­al shift when emo­tions were con­sid­ered puerile or bour­geois, and became a favourite among many gen­er­a­tions.

This song in par­tic­u­lar is well-known by peo­ple from all three China’s (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), as Teresa Teng’s pop­u­lar­i­ty extend­ed beyond both bor­ders and dialects. She became a com­fort­ing famil­iar­i­ty when I was grow­ing up, as I would catch her voice float­ing in the back­ground no mat­ter where I went or who I vis­it­ed.

Continue read­ing “the moon rep­re­sents my heart”…

ecstasy but not happiness

We left on a Thursday, trav­el­ling by train with tick­ets my uncle bought us. My younger self would have enjoyed mak­ing a mix to go with the undu­lat­ing pat­ter of tracks and the pass­ing of sea­son­al land­scapes in my win­dow. I could let songs and albums mea­sure my time spent trav­el­ing. Now I mea­sure time in hunger and pills.

Union Station Toronto

But even as I age and the sky­line grows less rec­og­niz­able, the old stomp­ing grounds remain com­fort­ing­ly famil­iar. They say every­one’s an exile in New York. Well, in Toronto — where each munic­i­pal­i­ty is a world unto itself, sep­a­rat­ed by miles of twist­ing high­ways and hours of traf­fic — every­body’s home.

Continue read­ing “ecsta­sy but not hap­pi­ness”…

fall and falling

Darren and I crashed at the same time. It’s like we’re going through this togeth­er. I wish I was back in T.O. with him and Chris, cause some of the best con­ver­sa­tions of the year hap­pened in that car. We’re all in the same place, all young men on the mend.

I’m very pleased to say that Darren’s now the own­er of a wild cher­ry sun­burst Seagull Entourage Mini Jumbo (but with a pick-guard and cut­away). And I’m total­ly jeal­ous, as I’ve been drool­ing over pic­tures of gui­tar bind­ings and rosettes myself late­ly. I had bor­rowed Jesse’s ginor­mous1 gui­tar for a bit, and I felt like I was pinned under a piece of fur­ni­ture every time I tried play­ing it. It total­ly turned me off gui­tars in gen­er­al, but as I was walk­ing through the Ottawa Folklore Centre today, I saw a series of much small­er acoustics. I had to keep walk­ing. The last thing I can afford is anoth­er hob­by and anoth­er toy.

moon

Got this shot through the lens of my tele­scope, which is why you can see the cir­cu­lar out­line of the eye­piece. Big enough to make out the geo­graph­i­cal fea­tures like the Mare Insularum splotch on the top left. Taken when still bright out, but the moon shone bright through the day­light.

I had a decent night of sleep for the first time in far too long, maybe because I’ve writ­ten more in the last week than in the three months before that. Strange how clear and calm­ing and inspir­ing it is to be rest­ed. I still don’t know what I’m feel­ing though. It’s like I just don’t know what to think any­more.

A ridicu­lous amount of Starcraft II has been played. ____ and I have even been play­ing against each oth­er, which is strange for us because nei­ther per­son wants to beat the oth­er (out of sports­man­ship), but nei­ther wants to lose either (out of fool­ish pride). I was far more dom­i­nant in Warcraft 3 because it’s micro dri­ven so we nev­er did 1v1, but Starcraft is macro dri­ven, which ____ is much bet­ter at. He’s proven him­self to be a very wor­thy oppo­nent with sev­er­al good games on me. I’m so glad Blizzard does­n’t record the num­ber of hours played in a per­son­’s pro­file now.

I want to be in France in this sea­son. My neigh­bours just came back from Paris and told me it was real­ly fog­gy. I would­n’t mind. Really. I’d love to walk down the stony path of rue Saint Vincent — the set­ting of one of my favourite Yves Montand songs — when it’s cov­ered by a hazy mist and I’m sport­ing a cozy sweater.

I spend 21 hours of the day in my room, and I’m nev­er bored. I don’t go out of the house for days at at time. I have nei­ther the rea­son nor the desire to. I think I han­dle being alone too well.

  1. This word total­ly did­n’t get picked up by spell-check, which means the Firefox dic­tio­nary is pret­ty decent. []

My cousin Chris

I’ve only shared about two con­ver­sa­tions in my life with Chris — the last of which was about sev­en years ago — owing to the fact that we live on oppo­site coasts of the coun­try. But Darren and I rec­og­nized him as one of us: some­one who thinks for him­self and does­n’t buy into the whole Chinese cul­ture unques­tion­ing­ly. This is in con­trast to many of our oth­er cousins, who seem to love their par­ents sim­ply because they were birthed by them, not nec­es­sar­i­ly because their par­ents are good peo­ple.

Chris hap­pened to be pass­ing by for a wed­ding, so I host­ed him for two days. It was inter­est­ing to meet him at this point in our lives. I won­der if I’m actu­al­ly more sim­i­lar to Chris than I am to Darren, main­ly because of how our cre­ativ­i­ty defines us. It was so easy for me to relate and talk to him. And as with Darren, I actu­al­ly felt like Chris was fam­i­ly, clos­er to a broth­er than a cousin, which is all too rare among my blood.

As an indus­tri­al design­er he does amaz­ing draw­ings, full of vibrant colours that pop-off the page. I asked him to draw some­thing on my dry erase board because draw­ing is a cre­ative abil­i­ty not in my pos­ses­sion, and I find the process fas­ci­nat­ing. It was a logis­ti­cal chal­lenge because he would smear his exist­ing work every time he rest­ed his hand on the board for sta­bil­i­ty.

He’s my exact oppo­site when it comes to health. He’s a veg­an, while I’d find it impos­si­ble to give up meat, let alone but­ter and ice cream. He just lit­er­al­ly biked 100km a day across Canada, while my lifestyle could be con­sid­ered seden­tary at best, with only Tai Chi and some mild cal­is­then­ics in my exer­cise rou­tine. And yet we’re the same weight and shape. It’s sort of eerie to see him draw­ing in this video; aside from a short­er hair­cut, it’s almost like I’m watch­ing myself.

The time he spent here passed quick­ly, as I intro­duced him to the ukulele. Aside from catch­ing up and learn­ing about each oth­er, most of the two days were spent exper­i­ment­ing and play­ing togeth­er. Eventually, we went to a music store and bought him his own Mahalo ukulele, which filled my heart with glee. Darren and Jeff are com­ing up for a vis­it next week, and hope­ful­ly Chris will be able to hitch a ride with them for our ukulele band before we all head back to Toronto for Crystal’s wed­ding.

Magneta Lane and my Cousin Darren

There’s been a smat­ter­ing of good music late­ly, but this is the song that haunts me; Love and Greed by Magneta Lane. I added it to my col­lec­tion on the 12th of October, and it’s already in my Top 20 Most Played. By no means is it the best song on the album; it’s just the one that hit me the hard­est.

To hear it as a track by itself is a lit­tle out of con­text. It comes as 7 of 10 off Gambling With God, their lat­est album, and the songs lead­ing up to it charge at a much faster pace. The dra­mat­ic change of tone between the vers­es and the cho­rus are effec­tive in sub­tly draw­ing you in, against lyrics that should be screamed more than any­thing else.

My favourite part is when Lexi says, “I don’t want recy­cled love / if I did I’d pour wine in a cup / and get all liquored up / and fuck­ing crawl in front of you” when the gui­tar and bass stop, and it’s just Nadia doing the bum-ba-da-bum-ba-da-bum-ba-da-bum under­neath on her toms.

With the way she says fuck­ing with such sac­cha­rine soft­ness, one can’t help but won­der what intense sor­row could have caused this sullen, hon­eyed voice to spit such pro­fan­i­ty.

It’s stuff like this that makes rather plain look­ing Lexi Valentine so god­dam attrac­tive, very much in a Karen O kind of way. I guess you could say I have a fas­ci­na­tion with Lexi swear­ing, because she does it so infre­quent­ly.

So...

I gave this song to Darren, and he sent me back this reply:

shit this song is on auto-repeat right now.… ahh­h­h­h­h­h­h­h­h­h­h­h­hh

Darren’s the only per­son in the world who sees love the way I do. ____ knows me in every oth­er way — log­ic, mind­set, emo­tion, per­son­al­i­ty, habits, taste — but he does­n’t under­stand my love, which is a big part of me. The only one who under­stands is Darren1 because we share the same quixot­ic ideas about it. It’s as if we devel­oped this roman­tic atti­tude as a back­lash to how our fathers (broth­ers, who also look the same) raised us with such aloof­ness. This ide­al is how we bond.

One time he told me he can’t wait for the day when we’re at his house with our girl­friends, and we’re play­ing Cranium, and we’re just…happy.

This is how I know he’s the only per­son who hears this song the same way too.

  1. Not even my girl­friends have come close to under­stand­ing, aside from Bronwen. []