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About modmyth

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  1. Ah, to live in the real, material world again. And to have real, material relationships where I'm fully present. ..... Well, fuck. "Meaningful responsibility" and all of those damned weighty things. At least, that had been my idea of it on some deep, half-digested level. At least up until now.
  2. Equally, I am not so skilled and attentive when it comes to a number of mundane, material things, and I have to play catch up. Like: to get over myself, basically. Shit's not going to resolve itself. A material life is not going to materialize itself, particularly when a lot of the channels by which manifestation could feasibly be have been blocked in some way. It's important to recognize when you're fundamentally working against your own wishes (so you believe them to be wholly enough), and your intentions are clashing in some way. You can call it unconsciousness/ consciousness and higher self/ your whatever self... but ultimately all that baggage and labelling has to go too. I had been holding this hurt in me about this, and even more strongly, there had been the part of me that felt compelled and justified beyond all measure enough measure to bring myself to this point. Essentially: why do I have so much trouble with a number of things that many people find simple enough, in that it takes far less time and energy? Why do I struggle as much as I do with keeping tabs and keeping order in physical reality (here I specifically mean over my physical environment, sometimes my body moreso in the past, and time)? Even if I can manage it, why is it seem to be so much more difficult for me? What about maintaining even an interest in it? Maybe even with the simple act of accepting being in physical reality (it's like a resistance that I have tended to feel in my body at all times)? (And maybe this is an extension of: "why is life so much work??" And in response to that: I tend to have this instinct to selectively make life more difficult for myself in a meaningful way.) But anyway: something seems to happen to me when I just "give up". That there is nothing left to do but to see and to deal with reality as fully as wholly as it is. Then I can actually function and accomplish something in the world for once. Without that: I tend to be pretty inert. I don't really have the motivation to accomplish "great things" just "for myself". I never have. At times, I find myself pushing against this limitation because I have felt like this is something that I am "supposed to do" in order to get myself moving. It's always half-hearted, if there's a heart in it at all. Perhaps this is something that is not so easily changed about myself, in the sense of obscuring something fundamental enough about the way I see and deal with reality as I've always known myself. ... Why "serve"? Because literally there's nothing else to do. (Or: there's nothing else worth doing.) It's why I'm occupying this body. It's the only reason. It's beyond any ideas and attachment of what "serving" means, in the sense of it being "for me". It just is. In that way, it's just as simple as it was when I was still a very young child. And I guess I'm here, once again, by simple process of elimination. ---- Also, in theme with one of my above posts, apparently, I really wanted to give people the opportunity to "see me" and then to hate me and to judge me, which has happened. I don't regret it. It has shown me a great deal about people and the nature of human judgment as it still stands. Perhaps I need it moving forward; my instinct says this is extremely likely. However: I have always held onto my right to suddenly cease having relationships with people just because I feel like it, because it's in my best interest, perceived collective best interest, because it's wheel-spinning. I fundamentally don't view relationships and connection as a right or something to be negotiated, although I know this is not the way the world is going, But still... the world still works a certain way, and I still have to maintain a certain equilibrium. And so it goes on and on... Sometimes I have relished being blamed because I either relish being antagonistic, or more likely, I relish pushing back and setting the terms. What was formerly an impulse and instinct still proves itself to be supremely practical though in its directness.
  3. TWO YEARS/ "GROWING UP": well, it seems like my last finished message got erased. It took two years after I started uni to really, truly be able to function in the world again. I'm not surprised that it's taking at least as much time this time around, as much as I would have preferred for it to go faster at times. It's not just about changing your thinking and your habits, which I tend to view as more superficial expressions of consciousness. But it's about changing something closer to your core personality and expression of it: so that you express some traits much more loudly while muting others, and adding certain character traits and characteristics while phasing out others. This includes preference, attitude, etc. Have I mentioned before that I tend to see personality as a flexible thing? Still, it's not a thing you can shift in a matter of months, even at least a year, no matter how much you work at it. (And yes, overwork and overzealousness can very much be it's own sort of blockage to moving on, as it can easily be its own sort of hamster wheel.) --- I've had some time the past couple days to contemplate my past and my character weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and flaws (depending on what perspective you're inclined to take). Cleaning in particular tends to bring that out in me: the weight of the past and the physical world. And for once in my life, as opposed to what came before, I can also look at my active choices which are much more entirely my own which brought me up to this point (as opposed to the situation I was born into or the confines of my upbringing). Certainly, I have more than enough to work with here. I was feeling less inclined to blame myself (and also, to blame others; one inevitably tends to be linked with the other): I know it's all a waste of time. Equally, facing others and engaging in conversation can equally be a waste of time at certain points in time depending on what you need and want to do (for me, at least). But at least at this point, I have certainly accumulated more than enough "tools" and I can say that I know at every level that this time I have truly seen more than enough of this world and how it works to do something with it from where I stand, as I am. The question is, once again, like when I was 20: how do I make the best that is possible out this understanding? (A thing that I tend to be very good at doing.) What can I do with it all? For myself and for others? Accepting wholly that I am where I am physically, in the state that I am in, as well as in other ways: this has also been a waiting game. With whatever connections and relationships that I have. With the state of the world, humanity, society, being in whatever condition it is in. To cease to react or be in judgment for what is equally a waste of time to make the most possible out of this all. These also all take time.
  4. Sometimes people just need someone to blame and hold accountable (and I've been in that position enough, particularly in the last 2 years). It's never that personal, fundamentally. Not at the heart of it. All things burn off with time as long as you don't hold onto it too hard.
  5. The truth is that you have to take "risks" when it comes to sanity itself (as you must in order to see the natural limits of anything as it presents itself or appears), or else you're bound by the thing that you were born and conditioned into. Expanding your real estate and roaming around a bit further doesn't challenge or change the original premises. To be bound to the aversion to "risk" with sanity is to be boxed in, fundamentally. It can't be avoided. (But let's just say that there are more and less risky ways, some quite suicidal, of playing with all of these boxes.) People who call you "crazy" are just labelling you with their own sense of risk-aversion, in most cases.
  6. The same people who call you crazy today (in a secular society) are the same people who call you a whore in a conservative society. People tend to hit in the places that they measure themselves (or others in general) the hardest. It's just how it goes. It's all the same pile, really. And in that way, it's nothing too personal. "Growing up" means taking it with grace, IMO: to face it directly and in good spirit, and without reacting too much, I suppose. What is there possibly worth reacting to in the long run here? Without that strength and grace: I wonder about what one can accomplish in the long run, that is equally long lasting, in the spirit of creating and maintaining worthwhile order. >WISE SPIRITUAL ADVICE, BECAUSE OF THE PLACE I'M POSTING IN: insert a note about how it provokes in you what is still not resolved, if you feel much of anything at all..<
  7. I told someone who wasn't my partner (at the time: he wasn't my partner though) (back in... early 2019, I believe? Or late 2018). A former friend. He told me that I was crazy, basically. He was angry with me for burdening him with everything that I told him. Mentally and emotionally, I really had sunk myself into the depths of that particular mire. I remember years ago: he took the idea of my "spiritual experiences" as a teenager rather seriously, and all of the extremely weird, extremely supernatural stuff that happened around then. Perhaps he liked the idea of them, and how it all sounded. Maybe it was a better sell. Maybe it was in a genre of things that he was already familiar with. Maybe it definitely seemed more orderly and easier to grasp (that is definitely true). But involve the idea of someone else?: that gets a little too *fire* for some people. A little too personal. A little too real. (And let's keep the ordinary worlds and the supernatural ones separate... m'kay?) I mean, there are reasons for being extremely cautious beforehand. I could have told you that. I WAS cautious. Until I -felt- that the only way forward was to give that up as well. ......... Being called crazy is NOT something that I take lightly, and it's not something that I've ever taken lightly. It's always been a bit too personal. I have tended to be the master of controlling my own self image in that way, in such a hyperconscious way. That's precisely why I had to give it up. But with him, it kind of felt masochistic to do it... at least I knew exactly what I wanted though (it wasn't the masochism). It's like I wanted to test my mettle with him. I wanted him to push back. And then I wanted to feel perfectly good and justified about walking away after tearing back into him a bit... which I did. There were no surprises. ... In a sense, ever talking too much about that situation has always been a regret. It's almost a hazard risk that someone would find a way to through it back in your face and decide for you what it all means, and what it all must mean in the grand scheme of things. When it's like... they're woefully unequipped. Don't ask for people's opinions about psychism, especially if they don't practice (what do you know about things you haven't seen and experienced directly?), but I guess you could say that even if they DO practice as well (when you're so deeply embedded in something, how do you know that you can truly see it with the most objective, most universal eye? And then this brings us back to the point of attitude, expectation, clarity and breadth of consciousness, etc.) Which all seems to be a more roundabout way of saying: don't let people get between yourself and yourself. (Ah, but there are better and far more terrible ways to do this, of course.) On the other hand: the hazard risk it's what to gain from it. The understanding. And I've never been one to argue with my fundamental premise for being in this body, for having this life, this experience.
  8. ...... He spent 20ish years both abusing and praising my name, probably just as much time and energy as he spent abusing himself. If not more. He went out of his way to find things wrong with me. It was rather specific, but in many ways: not specific enough because I was not seen clearly enough. But it was good enough. It was more than good enough. I had the hunger and need to be understood. It seemed to come with a force that was from the BEYOND, in the way that much else in my life has come with that force... for a point in time. (And now: the label of "higher self" is one of the most meaningless labels that there is.) I don't think he would have liked to take my place though either, though obvious it was not his business. He did not know the worst of what happened in my life. He did not see it: that much was obvious. And still: it was enough. I was as meticulous as I could be: that had to be enough (so I told myself). And though the details of this story don't actually need to be told and retold anymore, and though I regret telling anything to anyone other than my partner (though to a degree: I wish that I never told him as well. Why burden him with useless knowledge and sometimes speculations?)... I see the truth of it now. I went through whatever gauntlets that I have. I do not need someone to reaffirm the truth in my experience in my seeing, thankfully. I am independent in that way, if not in other ways that I would have preferred. To stand against the whole world and potential judgment, to say what is truth and what is not and to be anchored in the Void that is truth itself. It's really nothing now, isn't it? I know and see the truth of this situation. That is enough. And in people's judgments of me, I see their own truth and understanding of themselves, the world... and that is enough. (As in, it's enough to me.) Being called "crazy" used to be a sort of weak point that I would protect because of my secular background. No more now. It just really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. ... Anyway, he showed me what people DO. He prepared me to be blamed. To be blamed and "loved". I suppose it's easy enough to say now that it wasn't really love at all in retrospect. Really, it doesn't matter too much what it's called. Or even whether I say it's real or not. Would it be that I could press a button and be forgotten at will, as I wanted to originally long before I ever started to write on here... would that be an easy, maybe too easy, end to various issues and people. The ones that you wish would just go away or stop making an issue of you in one way or another. You learn the most by becoming LIKE THEM. (and then, you move on from the ways.) I have everything that I have learned and seen.... and that's enough.
  9. I thought originally it was a mistake to allow myself to be "too close" to people who didn't fundamentally understand what I was here and what I was for. Evidence: they say it for themselves. It's that I don't fundamentally belong to them and exist to serve them first, that I cannot, that is an abuse of my function in this life and in this body, and that I must essentially be left to do things on my own terms if push really comes to shove............ And then I went the exact opposite route and decided that I can't trust people who pre-emptively think that they know me based.... on what exactly? How complete of a picture could you possibly hold, and especially in retrospect, about the WHYS of anything that I do? How well do you actually know me? (You could also ask yourself: how well do you possibly know yourself? And so forth...) And now: well, maybe it's all on equal footing at this point, which is perhaps what it should be. .... Where is the room for "personal desire" in any of this, as I have known it? (And who really cares about the life I could not live and the things that I couldn't and perhaps may never be appropriate to experience... to become, in order to make the most of this life?) The faster it all gets thrown out and made level, and whatever comes of it next now.... maybe it can finally be of right order and integrity. Honestly, I think even asexuality is fine at this point. (In a sense: whatever it takes, which is EXACTLY the same as how I've always thought. And it's how I've felt about this notion of "self-sacrifice" and psychoemotional and possibly physical annihilation. When push comes to shove, WHATEVER IT TAKES. I tend to be utterly without hesitation.) I actually really, truly don't care in the greatest scheme of it all: it's as if one choice ends up being as good as another at the end of all. So all I can ask myself is: what purpose does this truly and actually serve? (And how may this lead to the greatest balance and understanding in all things?) It's how I tend to work. ......................... (The things you must give up to have the power to transform this or that, including and especially yourself and your attitude, at a moment's notice.)
  10. I was blamed for things going wrong before I even knew his name, his worldly identity and face, and whatever games he might be playing. Before I had the chance to project intentions and assumptions onto that one. He got me used to being blamed. For seeing and interpreting my life, for saying that he knew and understood me. He "looked" at me and judged freely and this went on and on and on for years. He said it was an addiction that he would not let go of. He said a lot of things. For some reason, he believed he couldn't change himself. I'm not sure that he knew that much about the WHYS of everything. I thought he said that he couldn't see clearly without me. Well... he wouldn't be the last one. He probably wasn't the first either. .. I came into this life wanting to UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING and here I am, right now. I saw that I don't have much, not in this material world especially, though some say -perception- is everything... .... I watch the same pattern being repeated in others, in different ways and refractions. I see now that I don't need to be understood, that I don't need to talk or explain myself as a result, for that reason. That I don't need to be heard either. I see... and I understand. I see that I don't need to ask or hope for temporal love. I see that I don't have to endure that which is NOT... not in the proper flow of things. I see that this is no negotiation, that no dialogue needs to be made of this in order to see. But... I've always known this. (Another roundabout.) ....... Other obvious things: It's the nature of those who "love you" too personally to hate you just as easily. To cast judgment toward you just as easily as they cast it at themselves (or can't manage to do so in good consciousness).... it's not that personal ultimately, it never is. It never is. I am privileged enough to be loved and supported at all by someone who didn't turn against me when he really could have, as that's part of his nature not to do so. Maybe it's why I'm still here at all. I see the best thing is to give it all up. But you know... I never really wanted or expected it in the first place. I had "low expectations" to start within and for this life; if you can even call it that. ......................... I don't need faith, and I don't need conviction either. But it is nice to receive it now, as it comes freely.
  11. JUST TALK: What does it mean to have truly "lived" and to have experienced what the material world has had to offer? Because truly, I don't really know. On one hand, I wonder about the many things and people that I have not experienced, what it could be and mean, or what could have been (more rarely). On the other hand, much of my life and development has been lived backward, and there is perpetually this tendency to veer toward "ultimate resolution" in mind, feeling, and spirit. However that might manifest. These two things rarely seem so compatible... right? So where is the space for the first while you veer toward the second? Where the only real thing seems to be being suspended in the light of the latter? ............................................ Anyway, it's important to know when to stop looking into mirrors for too long. That includes people.
  12. One of the best things I have ever done, and still ought to do: Never, ever bother asking or adding fire to fuel, when it comes to the following: Do I deserve what happened to me? Do I still deserve it? Do I deserve better? Do I not deserve better? (Do I deserve this or do I deserve that? Do I deserve better people and circumstances to work with? The answer doesn't really matter much.) It's all waste of time. It's all soul-crushing in the long run. Just deal with reality as it is, and make things better however I have the means, in the present. That's really all there is to it. The rest of it is added weight, and that's at its very best.
  13. FIND SOMETHING THAT SPARKS JOY + ONE THING THAT DOESN'T: COLD BREW + LOCAL COFFEE ROASTERS OLD ITALIAN GRANDMAS + OLD TIMEY STORIES DOING "PIONEER HOUSEWIFE STUFF SOMETIMES FOR FUN" (but not actually being a pioneer housewife) I just started making this within the last day or so. I'm not sure why I hadn't started sooner; it's ridiculously easy though I haven't always been that coordinated when it comes to prepping food ahead of time. Basically: I used one of these large mason jars since I have a bunch on hand. I just threw in a bunch of ground coffee with water at a 1:1 ratio (which seemed like it would be WAY TOO MUCH since ground coffee also tends to absorb moisture, but when it comes to coffee or tea, too strong is always better than too weak. You can always water it back down.) Anyway, I left it in the fridge overnight, at least 12 hours. It was delicious! One thing that I love about cold brew is that it has a less bitter, blunt flavour (which is not something that I dislike necessarily depending on the context), but also that it tends to have a "fuller bodied" flavour as well. And perhaps most importantly, it cuts down on the acidity of coffee a ton. So if you have a very sensitive stomach when it comes to coffee, you might still be able to handle a cold brew better. Cold brew is one of those things which is very easy to make yourself (as long as you have enough time to prepare ahead), and it also usually costs a lot outside of the house for what you get. There used to be a cafe close to where I used to teach where I would sometimes get brewed decafs with my lunch. They called it the "Y Bother??" and I felt like I was being judged (even if not super seriously) for having a sensitive stomach and caffeine sensitivity. Still, I have had the acidity issue with decaf as well, so it's not just because of the caffeine, clearly. Anyway, the best local decaf brand is Ethical Bean, by far (and I think almost all of my choices are probably going to be easy-to-find local roasters): SALT SPRING: This has been my favourite local brand overall even though I don't buy it that much. A cafe at my university campus (the place that sold the gut-busting $1 coffee with free refills) would often have these roasts on rotation. I would especially look forward to their light/medium roasts. Light roasts especially can be very hard to find and also tend to be more caffeinated. I often found myself wondering how they could make enough money and I felt bad about taking up so much space for so long as well. But also: .....being student poor. (FREE COFFEE definitely felt a bit like a student charity act more than a business draw.) Favourite local hippy-dippy brand: Level Ground. It's fairly economical, but most of these products are in a similar price range. The appeal is "direct fair trade" if you care about that stuff. My favourite product from them is this one though, by far: Unlike almost every other Earl Grey tea that I've found (at least IRL), this one is infused with actual bergamot oil, not extract or flavourings (duly noting that flavourings are not always made of what you'd expect: you have to look it up if you care to be sure). This is the traditional preparation. And I like that it's just a basic Earl Grey with nothing else added. The bergamot oil gives it a very different flavour and experience; there is something therapeutic and calming about it. Least favourite local, highly popular, supermarket, "luxury" brand ("luxury" is in quotes because I'm using the term relatively; it might not fulfill a "coffee snob's" standards, IDK.): KICKING HORSE (sorry Kicking Horse, I made multiple attempts. I tried.) It's not that it's bad, but I find it lackluster for reasons I have trouble articulating. Like a certain lack of character. Either that, or it's WAY too roasted for my liking which is consistent pet peeve. I don't understand the appeal. NOT TO BE A COFFEE SNOB BUT everything starts tasting pretty similar the more you burn the shit out of it, because the flavour profile of BURNT tends to dominate everything, you know? That said, we have a ton of local, smaller-scale coffee roasters around here. Take your pick. (for example: 49th parallel you can get at some specialty groceries stores and also on Amazon, and there is also the actual physical location:) The same thing with JJ bean. I had a friend who I spent a lot of time with in uni who grew up near The Drive and he had a deep emotional attachment to the place, and we went here sometimes. It makes me think of him. In a pinch though, Italian espresso brands usually work quite well either on their own, or for mixing with anything else: Which reminds me of seeing this video years ago and being in love with this channel and this lady (as in, can I adopt this lady as my grandma?? sort of way): This part always made me laugh: I used to be a kid that hated drinking water; I can relate. Which then reminds me of a bunch of different videos, including this highly memorable introduction: And this salad, and her stories about growing up during the Great Depression: (By the way, dandelion is ridiculously healthy! (If you don't mind the taste; it's pretty bitter.)) Back to the original topic: I feel like I'm one step away from brewing my own kombucha and kefir, as well as starting my own sourdough colony (and as a result: turning into some kind of homemaker with pioneer vibes. I'm not sure how I feel about that .....) . Out of all of these, I'd imagine that making kefir is the most effortless. Something which seems high effort but actually isn't (other than the fact than it needs time for aging) is making your own cheese, but I'm not quite there yet: Other than making my own homemade labneh from strained yoghurt which is also really easy (these ones are preserved in olive oil): Another thing which is also very easy to make from scratch but requires thinking ahead (as in, at least 6-12 months ahead) is homemade vanilla extract. It's been on my to-do for at least the last couple years. Something that doesn't spark joy (and back on the theme of coffee): Last month I was at my local chain grocery story before Xmas and I was out of coffee, and I saw this preground one on the shelves. Normally, my eyes scan over it: Immediately, it made me think of this very, very unfortunate ad: You know how there are "marketing successes", where you viscerally and immediately associate a product with something desirable value-wise? Well: this would definitely have been the reverse: isn't this a marketing fail? Because of the time of the year: I took one look at Folgers and my brain was like: Would you like a cup of incest this Xmas? And I was like...... uh.... hard pass. ... (Thanks Folgers.)
  14. THINGS THAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK: (some notable, mostly pretty mundane things): in between all of the reading, and all of the casual-everyday-normal paranormal things.... DATE: My partner and I went for our first proper, actual date since COVID started that was not a sort of food date (COVID killed our favourite local HK diner, RIP...) We missed Dune in theatres, so we went to watch the latest Spiderman movie. It was good and enjoyable enough in fairly safe way, because as previously mentioned: superhero movies, reboots, and books adapted into film have taken over mainstream public theatres for the most part, and superhero movies are an established genre with its own tropes and references at this point. Generally you're getting tried-and-tested remixes of very familiar things, although I appreciate what appears to be a later reiteration: it doesn't try too hard, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and it doesn't try too hard to be funny. It's a bit looser and relaxed in its feel. We got the exclusive COVID relatively empty theatre experience. Being in a mostly empty theatre is ideal! I was a bit bummed that we couldn't use the arcade though; mostly I just wanted to play air hockey. It's a bit nostalgic as it's something that we used to do sometimes years ago before he ever moved out to be close to me. Like back in 2007-2009. I would get kind of aggressive with it. JEANS: I went and bought myself a couple pairs of proper ripped straight jeans using two years worth of gift cards. Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with denim due to the fitting issue. I've been wanting something with an ACID-washed, retro feel for a while. They're a lot like this minus the button situation: I also bought myself some more makeup (!!) I was thinking of getting one of these rotating organizers so I actually use the stuff that I do have: Namely, this palette: This foundation: This powder which I have used before: (and in retrospect, I didn't realize that talc was the major ingredient in this. Dammit... what am I supposed to do with this now? Ever since I heard about the recalls on talc-based baby powders within the last 5-10 years, I've been very cautious about it. But also, for the timeline version of it all: CAT: a strange, beautiful, long-haired black cat let me pet her in the middle of the street. This year has had less outdoor cat petting time, so I was very happy about this. She did that thing where cats aggressively bonk their head against your hand and everywhere else and wrap their tails against you as they trail around you. DOG: While going for a walk, an adorable Golden Retriever spontaneously smushed its whole snout into the backside of my hand. As I think I've also mentioned elsewhere: I didn't grow up near too many dogs and I find their behaviours a bit odd sometimes. Especially when they take one look at you and decide FRIEND!!!! and that's that; I'm more used to animals where there tends more to be a sort of mutual, back-and-forth sussing out process: cats, rabbits, wild animals, etc... My partner says that I should have just pet it more but I told him: the guy walking him didn't look that friendly (maybe because I didn't look that friendly; I'm pretty aware that I give off “resting bitch face” as my default expression sometimes... or a lot?) He said that it's breaking “dog owner etiquette” to not let your dog be pet and just drag it away like that, especially when it goes up to people like that. Also, it's bad practice for socializing your dogs with strangers, and your dogs need to be comfortable being around strange people in public while acting appropriately. In general: I'm not sure what to do because I didn't grow up around any of this. “Dog owner etiquette” is a complete mystery to me. I told him: yeah, I think that if a kid wants to pet your dog and your dog wants to be pet by a kid, generally, people would probably think that you're an asshole if you make a surely face, pull away, and keep on walking. But an adult? I don't know. I've had this situation happen enough to me before, and whenever people give off a >>>this is MY dog<<< vibe (as in they see them more as their "property" and therefore a direct extension of themselves and their desires, even if they do love them). Even if this is fairly subtle, like they're not overtly unfriendly, I tend to withhold. Sometimes people don't want to be obliged to chat and be friendly with strangers; sometimes they just want to take their dogs for a walk (even if their dog has a different idea). I get that as well. I wonder about the degree to which I'm projecting my own polite cautiousness as well though. Anyway, we keep having a slightly different version of the same damn conversation every time this happens. He always says: MODMYTH, PET THAT DOG ALREADY! GAME: This is actually a last month sort of thing, but my partner have been playing this game called GRIM DAWN quite a bit lately. I've never played another game like this other than Diablo (Diablo III was the only one that I actually finished), and I've also never played coop before either. This game has way more class variety and customization than I'm used too, like a mix and match. In a Nutshell: I try not to drive my partner to complete boredom and insanity with my loot hoarding and sorting. I am WAY better with this compared to when I was a kid and in my early teens though! FOOD: My partner made me an extraordinary dish that I hadn't tried (not like this, anyway), Jollof rice. He takes immense pride in his food creations; it's always a big-fucking-deal when I actively love something, since I have often tended to be some combination of picky and actively disinterested in food at certain moments, especially in these last handful of years. Since I know a few things about West and Central African food from experience and a little reading, I asked him: Nigerian or Ghanaian? (assuming that it's “authentic”... which isn't an issue either way. Also: not like I would know.) It seems like it was a bit of both: a fusion or adaptation of the two. His version had red bell pepper along with the tomato in the base and it was delicious. I also watched this video semi-recently: Even before that, I had gotten the impression that it's a sort of national, cultural pride sort of thing as well: people take food and food rituals and traditions, super-duper personally. It's very rarely just about having a good meal with friends and family, and then leaving it at that. My partner thought it was a shame that African foods (especially West and Central Africa) isn't that well known overall, to which I responded: well, maybe they're the next big thing “happen” cuisine-wise? And then their reputation might become and stay more elevated (at least here in North America). To my awareness, East African (which is usually Ethiopian or Eritrean) cuisine has had its IT! moment here within the last 10ish years or so (at least here in Vancouver) and so has South Africa to a lesser degree. (Even if individual, “authentic” South African restaurants aren't as well-known, lots of people have at least heard of Nandos and Peri-Peri chicken.) That and Afghan food also had its moment here lately. Issues with African food: If you don't eat meat or much of it, you are left with lots and lots of carb dishes. It's like East Asian food in that way, but a lot heavier. As tasty as a plate of ugali, rice, and fried plantains are, it's a bit too chonk-making for regular, continued consumption unless you are extremely physically active and/or you have a great carb metabolism. It also feels very heavy in the body (I am... starting to sound like my mom. I already sound like my mom here.) Things I like: CARBS (you know, it still tastes good), the homeyness, the rich hearty soups and stews. Using ugali and making it into a sort of a spoon/ scoop with my fingers, even if I burnt my hands eating it the traditional way. Their spice/ palate preferences are on point (and underrated in world cuisine, IMO); personally, I don't like "rustic" East or South-East Asian food most of the time, as a point of comparison, and I am Asian... FAMILY: I gave the situation with my family and my brother a bit of breathing space; intuitively I felt it was necessary, at least partially for my own wellbeing. I've been approaching the whole thing cautiously and delicately. Also: he's about to take a 40 day, solo-retreat of his own in about a week. Everything in its proper timing?
  15. BESTIARIES: I decided to make this separate from the post above. For the past half a week, I've been collecting a bunch of reference books (bestiaries) for art reasons. Unlike fictional plants, I don't feel that comfortable with designing fictional creatures. Maybe it's at least partially because I feel like a lack a sufficient referent base that's recent, but also because since I have some anatomical training (mostly with human anatomy, but I have read and collected a little on animal anatomy as well, which obviously isn't the same thing as being able to draw it off-hand). But because I hadn't decided how realistically I had wanted to portray whatever I created, I stepped away from the idea for some years. It's intimidating and theoretically much more difficult than drawing a bunch of plants.... right? Bestiaries actually have their origin as a sort of Middle Ages era encyclopedia that tended to get super fanciful and moralistic. The last book on my recent reading list here is a good example of such. To create a reference base of ideas and existing creatures (both real and fictional): I collected a bunch of besteries, whatever I could find really, and I also collected some encyclopedias of existing animals. This is a pretty good example of the Pareto principle in personal action: honing in on the most useful information based on what I'm looking for and ignoring everything else. For what it's worth: if you start from absolutely nothing (even though I'm not exactly, I've done quite a bit of mythological reading), the likelihood of you creating something that someone else has already created is extremely high. The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Mayer Matthew): Book one of a series of three available on Kindle Unlimited. 60% done! I really love the illustrations in this one! For what it's worth for the books in this segment: most of them are very image-heavy so (this one less so), so it takes less time to read. I've been gathering books on the "bestiary" the A Natural History of the Fantastic (Christopher Stoll): A Kindle Unlimited find. I think this was supposed to be a YA book; I enjoyed flipping through the illustrations. Beast Without Borders: A Bestiary (John Prentiss Benson, illustrated Sir Kyle Mosher): a short book from 1904 of whimsical, made-up beasts. I'm not sure why, but this had pre-doctor-Seuss vibes... An Edwardian Bestiary: 87 Color Plates (Maurice and Edward J. Detmold): While not exactly what I was looking for, I enjoyed flipping through these Victorian-era animal illustrations. There is a pleasant aesthetic to them, like flipping through very old children's books and fairy tales that I used to read growing up. Anatomically (and by extension, somewhat stylistically), I find some of the small mammals kind of strange though. It was one of those Dover books with no text (see some of the books on Victorian/French Rococo design above). Asian Bestiary, Volume 1: (Michael): This appears to be a book intended for characters drawn from various East, South, and South-East Asian mythologies. I skipped the stats and just read the descriptions. Creatures of interest: Chinese hopping vampires (!). Something which I found kind of amusing: there seems to be like... some sort of simultaneous fixation, fascination, and phobia of East Asian priests/ monks. Like I've seen a good couple of monsters based on some idea of a creepy/ evil priest. I find myself wondering what's with this tendency psychologically and culturally. Also: it wouldn't have occurred to me to find them creepy... Chasing American Monsters: Over 250 Creatures, Crypids, and Hairy Beasts (____): I just started this one. Apparently, Alaska has quite a few (some of which are based on their First Nations myth, unsurprisingly). Bestiari del Medioevo (Michel Pastoureau): An Italian language book that I found on the subject. I screenshotted a bunch of my favourite images: Like this owl with oddly human eyes (something I've noticed before in other medical drawings of animals): This is supposed to be Aries: I learned recently that sirens were originally women with bird bodies in ancient times (as opposed to mermaids). This is a crocodile: This is a hyena: This was the oddest picture that I found from the book up to this point: I thought this was supposed to be a unicorn?? Nope, it was a Monoceros (a rhinoceros with one horn). This is supposed to be a satyr. (In retrospect: I see it. I always think of them as having hooves though, even though apparently there are none in the Ancient Greek depictions. Also not featured in this medieval version: a giant erection.) Sea Animals: This one is labeled "the nocturnal activity of cats": A very worried-looking whale on the bottom panel. Maybe because he's being turned into ambergris... To my understanding, many of these depictions likely weren't intended to be fantastical (as in: fusions of existing animals) unless the captions said so, but were probably based on some description of animals that had never actually been seen in person by the artist. I'm guessing that this was probably a common thing back then.