Fan Art: Mushi-Shi

Here’s something different:

 

Mushi-Shi is an oddly meditative Japanese cartoon about the interactions between humans and a species of life form called mushi, which lie somewhere between magic and science in taxonomy. The show is contemplative, quiet… maybe a little disturbing.

Also, it’s really pretty.

Braddy’s Rules for Dating – Tinder Edition

A friend of mine prevailed upon me to try Tinder again. Tinder is a dating app that basically allows single people to rate potential prospects strictly by how attractive they find their Instagram account to be. People whose Instagram accounts are mutually pleasing are then given the opportunity to date, if they so choose. I’ve tried Tinder before with mixed results (due in no small part to my own dating hang-ups), but I decided to give the matchmaking app another go.  

I’ve found (to the great surprise of no one in particular) that I’ve developed a set of rules for which people it is appropriate to “swipe right” on.

  • Rule the First: Any potential right-swipees must share at least one Facebook friend with me. So that I know they aren’t a bot, of course.
  • Rule the Second: I can’t swipe right on any profile with pictures of an activity I could not replicate comfortably.

-Going hiking? Not my jam, but I could do it pretty easily.
-Petting a tiger? Sure, why not?
-Wearing a swimsuit? With my ridiculous body issues, I have not been seen in public with a swimsuit on in over fifteen years. Not even a one-piece. 

 

  • Rule the Third (also known as The Annihilator): Since I’m a bit of a homebody, I can’t swipe right on the profile of any woman who likes “country dancing, travel, and adventures.”

Again, that third rule is a doozy. I live in the great state of Utah, where 95% of all inhabitants live for nothing but country dancing, travel, and adventures. During my last foray into the world of Tinder – which lasted for two months – I swiped right twice, on the profiles of the only two women in the area bold enough to post a picture of their My Little Pony fandom on a dating profile. They did not, apparently, swipe right on my profile during that time. I had zero matches.

To make this current Tinder experiment more eventful, I’ve forced myself to ignore Rule the Third. I finally got a match with a girl… one who likes country dancing, travel, and adventures.

Braddy’s Rules of Dating

I have a string of social neuroses and other psychological hangups that keep me from dating on a regular basis. Once upon a time, I realized that I had somehow developed a list of bizarre prerequisites that had to take place before I could actually ask a girl on a date. I wrote these rules down, and now I know why I don’t go out more often:

  • Rule the First: Before asking a woman on a date, I have to establish a basic, friendly rapport with said woman, usually through casual conversation.
  • Rule the Second: Conversation with a woman cannot be aimless; there must be a decent motivation behind starting up a conversation.
  • Rule the Third (also known as the Destroyer Rule): Romantic interest is not an acceptable motivation for conversation.

By living according to these rules, I can’t ever have a conversation with a woman I’m interested in, and thus I can only ask out women I have no intention of dating. Thankfully, I’ve been able to break these rules on more than a few occasions, but still… It’s little wonder that I date as infrequently as I do. 

 

Remembrance of a Nightmare

Until recently, I didn’t know what a nightmare was.

I mean, I understand, in theory, the concept of a nightmare. You forget your pants on your way to your math class, and the final exam is that day, and you forgot that you even enrolled in the class, and your teacher is the Penguin from the Batman comics, and you have to go through the sewer to get there. Yes, that is an actual dream I had.

Those dreams never really meant much to me, though. Sure, I thought they were uncomfortable, even mortifying, but they didn’t actually scare me. Fear, I always thought, was the primary feature of a nightmare, and… surprisingly, I’m not afraid of going in public pantsless. I wear pants out of compassion for my fellow man, the onlooker.

Now, however, I can say I’ve had a nightmare. A real nightmare. Don’t ask me what it was – I don’t think I could bring myself to say it out loud, and I’m pretty sure writing it up would land me on some sort of watch list. It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced anything where I felt I could use the word “unspeakable” without hyperbole.

In that moment, in the dream, I certainly felt that terror, that surge of adrenaline. But the terror didn’t go away when I woke up. It lingered, it niggled at the back of my head. I can push away the memory of it easily enough, but, every now and again, it resurfaces.

And that’s the worst part about having a nightmare, if you ask me – the knowledge that this awful experience you dreamed stemmed from somewhere in your own imagination. What does that say about me?

  

The Comic Crafters

This week, I felt like I needed an exercise in perspective… But instead of reevaluating my goals and priorities, I drew a picture of people making funny books.

 
Turns out perspective is really just nothing more than lines converging at a single point on the horizon – whether you can see the horizon or not. Surely there’s a life-lesson there somewhere.

(The vanishing point, conveniently, is behind the peephole.) 

Floral Barbarians

I live in a particularly weedy part of town, and I find myself frequently combating a particularly odious floral interloper.  It’s a nasty beast – I don’t know what it’s called.  It looks a bit like a dandelion crossbred with a viking horde, except it doesn’t actually have any flower I can see.  The plant grows about nine feet tall, is completely covered in syringes, and it has battle axes instead of leaves.

I put on a pair of work gloves that I found in the dog food aisle of my local grocery store for three bucks and set to work uprooting these savage lawn intruders.  I got quite a bit of satisfaction out of ripping them up by the roots.  It takes a bit of work to get a good grip on the roots of these plants – a grip that is usually accompanied with cries of “owowowowowow” as the needles stab through the cheap plastic material protecting my fingers.  However, when the weeds finally do come up, they make a satisfying tearing sound, as their thick, tuberous roots shear away from the ground.

Dear me, that sounds rather horrifying, doesn’t it?