Thoughts and notes.

The current mood of Psshaw at www.imood.com



June 3, 2023

The Harvest Begins

Starting to enjoy the fruits (vegetables) of my labor!

I thought broccoli was gonna be hard, but it's been been my favorite part of the garden to check on every day. I love this goddamn dinosaur plant. We had temperatures hit the 90s this week, which stressed it into overdrive. The flowering part went from smaller than my fist to 4 inches wide in 3 days! Once I saw some buds opening, I figured I should chop it ASAP.

I'm so excited-- gonna mix this in with some steak and noodles later. I'll keep an eye out for side shoots on this plant, and then wait until late summer to start another few plants. For maintenance, I only had to throw, like... four cabbage worms over the fence and spray the underside of the leaves every day. Pretty fun, honestly.

Once I tear this guy out, that'll give my zucchini and green bean plants space to spread and go nuts for the rest of the summer. Also: my pea plants just started flowering~

My potato bags are lush with greens! I think I'll reach in the side pocket sometime this month and see if I can find any small potatoes. And I've already harvested a few bell peppers from my supermarket seed experiments. They're small and sweet-- possibly weird genetics, but more likely due to my amateur organic gardening.

I have a whole other wave of 6 California Wonder bell and poblano plants starting to flower, which means a possible FLOOD of peppers in July and August.

I mentioned her on the Deutschblog, but this little girl keeps running out to greet me when I garden. I'm not super pleased about the lack of a collar and the overall free-roaming, but I'm not allowed to take her to a shelter yet because she acts like she's somebody's pet. She's pretty chill. And her head is TINY.

(Please don't laugh that my socks match my shoes.)

May 6, 2023

This Is The Pitts (traffic-wise)

Hit up Pittsburgh with Colin and a few friends yesterday. Lemme drop some pics:

Stopped by WV and gave my bud a basil plant. The neighbor's cat thinks it's good enough cover to stalk her birds... on the second floor.

Stopped by Saint Anthony's Chapel, notable for having many relics, aka tiny fragments of saint bones. I liked when they were stacked up in big frames, like they lived in little apartment buildings. Interesting to think about how many of these actually belonged to the saints they were labeled as. Apparently there's a big black market for 'em, and I suspect a ton of fakes.

It smelled really nice and incensey in there. Extremely Catholic.

Walked down the street, enchanted by a small mural on a barn... Next to it, some scary stairs.

We did not go down the stairs.

Randyland was somehow both inspiring and depressing. Lots of great colors and piles, though. I wanna steal that toy car chandelier idea.

Pittsburgh is really, really weird to drive in! It took two people (not me, I'm bad at this) to navigate. Pittsburgh loves bridges and intersections that look like they were put together by someone who's never driven. One left turn led into a near-vertical incline?? Pittsburgh. Hi. Get help.

One highlight I took zero pictures of was the funicular, which Colin was excited about because there is a song. On the ride up, a gentleman popped into the car and very charmingly asked us to move so he could sit in the middle and explain the ride. Turns out, we got lucky and intersected with a tour he was giving to a family of three from Michigan. When the (short!) ride was done, we hung out and watched the rest of his presentation, answered a few call-and-response questions, learned people used to use poles and on-foot serfs to drive boats on shallow rivers, and found out all the junk food that got invented in Pittsburgh. The little girl from Michigan got asked "what's between a penny and a dime?" and brought shame on her family.

We got to play the song on the way down.

We also did too much shopping... I found a big flower pot, a vegetarian recipe book, and a vintage button that says STAMP OUT HOME COOKING. I disagree, especially in this economy, but I always agree with loud typography.

Apparently I have to come back to Pittsburgh to audit a kickboxing class. I might die.

LISTENING TO: Bastards of Fate - Suck The Light Out

April 23, 2023


I desperately need to practice writing in German, so I've made a very simple page to encourage myself to practice regularly. This will probably not be interesting unless you can tell how bad I am at it right now. The point is to get used to THINKING in German, not necessarily to be correct. And oh boy, am I doing it wrong.

The Curiosities Expo came back this year! I wrote a bunch about our first one in 2022, and this one felt like an improvement. A bit more variety, a few more vendors. Still a few "okay, we get it, you like horror movies but have no taste" or "ugh, you're really selling serial killer merch?" moments, but this time around, we knew what kinds of booths to skip past.

Soft stomachs beware, obviously.

I'm still insane over this booth with the most beautiful bug/skeleton displays. Even if they're a bitch to photograph. The butterfly mice were new, gave me huge sparkledog vibes-- if there was more color in the environments I might have gone for one!

Skinned mink. Clever.

This year, I was hoping to find an alligator gar skull or something like the possum leg from last year. I found neither, but I did come in contact with a whole bunch of other stuff I'm always going to be slightly mad I didn't take home:

Funeral home thermometers! So useful, so nostalgic. There was a whole booth full of them and I'm still wondering why. Were they giving them out like business cards?

In general, I usually find myself looking at funeral stuff not out of my own interest, but Fiend's. (You know they'd be all over metal casket plates and schmancy urns). But for my own taste, the thermometers seemed like they'd genuinely warm up a room, haw. In a grandma way. There also seemed to be a big Jesus theme this year-- maybe Christianity is getting an extra-ironic boost on goth Pinterest this year?

The colors on this table grabbed me right away, especially on that biker throw that was less than $50! But it was made out of some kind of felt, which I dunno how to care for, and plus the suspect logo on the bike... I just couldn't get wild about it.

I don't think I'd actually have the stomach to keep a jarred cat head in my house, but still. Lookit those faces. So silly.

If I didn't find anything else, I probably would have walked out with one of those zebra(?) leg lamps.

I was pretty in love with this next booth overall:

Amazing what some good corner embellishments can do. The mummified fiends look so cool! I'm not normally a fan of exposed muscle, but they feel like characters! Both Colin and I loved the gar couple, too. Honestly, I think the main thing keeping me from buying it was the fact that they were a little TOO generically gendered. Like, I just don't think a fish should have a beard. But I'm still like... god, I totally could have found a place for that.

I ended up buying a cat skeleton from that booth:

We also ran across a company that does laser-cut wood collage shadowboxes using popular old illustrations. Colin got one of a Japanese giant skeleton, and he was kind enough to also buy me a blind bag of cut-out pieces! These could be fun for decorating mini environments (like a dollhouse or train set, if we ever figure that out) or making into magnets.

I also got ermine-tail earrings! I don't really wear earrings, partly out of fear of them ripping out. But like. C'mon.

All in all, great way to spend an afternoon. Already looking forward to next year.

SMALL GARDEN UPDATE: Squirrels (I assume) dug in my raised bed, but early enough that I could just push the peas back into the ground. Everything's sprouted and looks happy under hardware cloth! Now I just have to figure out how to hold these pea vines up...

April 10, 2023


Yesterday I planted potatoes, peas, and cilantro! Very excited. Very nervous. Probably won't see anything for another couple weeks, so right now I'm just anxiously checking to make sure nothing dug anything up. The birds have a fully-stocked feeder, there's a little water, and pollinators are busy with the dead-nettle in the lawn, so hopefully everyone will be too happy and distracted to bother my dirt piles.

The peppers are coming along FAST, like "a centimeter a day" fast. I've also successfully propagated a basil cutting and am working on two more. We're also growing enough lettuce that I can harvest leaves to throw on top of dinner every few weeks.

Gardening is fun as shit. I'm really glad I finally figured it out. Now as long as summer pests don't ruin everything.

I managed to give myself poison ivy and it got infected, which has been fun. At least the minute clinic told me I seem healthy otherwise~

Also: Secret Drawing Box. I have no idea how long these things last, but I try to check on it once a day. I've been saving the character art gifts on Tumblr!

LISTENING TO: Garden youtubers talking about peas.

March 25, 2023

40 Hours

Colin's great aunt was ready to move out of her house, and if you know her house, you know this is a completely understandable tragedy.

It is the most beautiful time capsule I've ever been in. 50 years lived-in, all wood walls, shag carpet (which she says she hates), fully-furnished with quality pieces and peppered with rare artifacts from military tours. Not to mention it's right next to a creek in the Michigan wilderness. Plus it's got a nice old lady in it! (And until recently, an extremely cool and stoic former air force guy.) Genuinely one of my favorite places in the world, and we only had one chance to see it again before it sold.

We also got a chance to finally meet their daughter and her fiance, who were both extremely fun people to talk to! She works for Ben and Jerry's and I guess they have a lot of fun at work, haha. (They even have a "nap room"?)

They were kind enough to let me flip through their photo albums. The aunt had even typed up a journal-style preamble for a London photo book-- I was reading pieces out loud and then wasn't allowed to stop because the rest of the room wanted me to play audiobook, haha. You can tell she was a very proper homemaker, even as a military wife. Most of her environmental focus was on curtains and furniture. There was also an unsuccessful hunt for a Rolls Royce brochure to bring home to the husband. Oh, and make sure you don't bother with the 1980s London performances of Evita. "Not worth writing home about", apparently.

We were also invited to look around and take a few things. If we lived closer I probably would have redone my whole house. As it stood, we could only take what we could fit into our suitcases.

Interesting cord drawer finds. I hope that power strip goes to hell.

MAN there were so many old radios and reel-to-reels, including one that had a microphone and MAY have had the great uncle's voice on the tape. We scrounged up some batteries but couldn't get it to work, alas. Hopefully someone smarter than us will figure it out.

Colin's inherited souvenirs from China, Japan, Thailand and Bahrain. The owl's head comes off, and if it passes a lead test I might put powdered sugar in it or something.

MY haul was mainly books and cassettes. The Best and Why Americans Retire Abroad are delightfully dated. Like, literally where to find the best hamburger in 1972 or whatever. Plus some authorial charm about how the art of said hamburger is dying out. Inquring minds need to know.

The obvious real treasure.

I'm also gonna miss the tiny lodge airport something fierce. Even if the TSA is always bored enough to open our bags. Colin says we'll find an excuse to drive up next time we visit Detroit, but we'll see.

(We actually went through the other gate, which was goose-themed.)

March 17, 2023

Apparently it's illegal to be bored


Earlier this winter I got into the hyperlong art telephone game on ascalaphid's server. Last week I finished up my piece, and felt hole in my soul... because it'll be like 4 months until this hyperlong game is over and I can post my art.

So I started my OWN art telephone game and now I have to draw up a sufficiently-random starter. Serves me right.

We saw Beetlejuice at the Ohio Theatre a couple weeks ago. Absolute riot. The touring cast is fantastic and we both especially loved Kate Marilley as Delia. They changed some song lyrics to fit the tour, notably because the Maitlands now die by electric shock rather than falling, and because Beetlejuice can't call Barbara "suburban and white", haha. I see why more serious critics were underwhelmed by the book, since it doesn't pack a huge emotional punch. But it's impossible to say it's not very fun and funny. Highly recommended. Now I can finally watch the slime tutorials I downloaded years back and see how they compare.

I bought random orchestra seats, and we got a REALLY fortunate seat assignment way up close in row F. Colin enjoyed looking around trying to gauge the audience. There were definitely some hardcore Hot Topic types-- when BJ came onstage there was a bloodcurdling lady-screech from the cheap seats, and that was on a THURSDAY night!-- but up front a lot of the audience was still over 50 and likely season pass holders. What's theater gonna do without those guys?

It was neat being close enough to notice this dude onscreen behind us, somehow playing the entire orchestra and presumably coordinating with the performers. I was sad to see there wasn't a proper orchestra in the pit, but now I wanna know more about his setup.


We took all the pallets apart and washed them, but still haven't nailed them together yet cos it's been kinda crummy out.

The plants are doing great. My pepper seedlings kinda stalled out, probably because I left them in that empty-calorie seed starter too long. I just repotted them into juicier soil and they look a lot happier. And my OLDER peppers don't need any help. I just found flower buds! There's no guarantee that a grocery store pepper seed will make a viable, tasty, or even recognizable fruit, so I'm really looking forward to finding out what the hell I planted back in January.

I bought a book to write my gardening progress down in, and also to experiment with bullet journal-type scrapbooking. I will not show any of the pages I've made so far, because they suck. But the important thing is that I'm using up my stickers.

Got the lamb cake pan of my dreams and have already made two:

We're still learning. I promise I didn't eat most of these. Also put together this kit:

Next week we're going to Michigan to visit Colin's great aunt and her cool house full of insane travel artifacts. Honestly, we had to turn down so many events and offers this month because we're so overstimulated. I'm actually frustrated about it, like. Why is March so fun right now. Can any of this take a rain check for September or something.

Listening to: Decades from Home podcast.

February 20, 2023

Still studying for the cottagecore exam

I want to try building a shitty little planter box for direct-sow stuff like cilantro. Nailing a container together seems like a good skill to hone in addition to the gardening. So Colin brought me some pallets from work!

You ever tried to take apart a pallet before? My condolences.

Well, honestly it's not the worst thing in the world. The main issue was that it took so long to understand why following the tutorials wasn't getting me anywhere. TURNS OUT, it's better to get inside the pallet and push boards out than it is to pull from the top. Ended up splitting a lot of boards just by futzing with them too much in the wrong direction.

Every year when I start doing yard work, I get too eager and bust up my body and hands. This is the universe's way of reminding me to stay humble. And to wear gloves, which I will still not do. I have two pallets left to deconstruct, and as much as my mind is ready... my missing skin says to take a break, haha. Colin might end up finishing them for me.

Also AYYYYY, the results for the Neocities OC Art Swap are in! Still grateful for this event cos it's a cute way to build community around here. I like to participate to help keep property values up. Plus it's just fun anticipating a little art roulette! I love stuff like this and would run one of my own if more friends got on here.

This time, I got this adorable papercraft Fritz from plasticdino! The little paper cig is cracking me up. I'm so glad I got someone who decided to go an experimental route, cos it makes me wanna experiment.

Seems like a few people signed up to receive art but never made a gift for anyone, which is lame. GET RESPONSIBLE, DORKS.

February 9, 2023

Culture & Cultivation

SITE UPDATE: Started drawing Fritz without pants on again, so I whipped up a quick NSFW closet to throw stuff onto. Hardest part is figuring out what's worth transferring over. Porn isn't something you want to put the whole of your ability into, y'know? So some of this is painful for multiple reasons. But god damn me, I put so much essential character development into how my dudes fuck...


6 more days until the Farmer's Almanac says I can start seedlings indoors! I'm gonna pee.

In the meantime, I'm experimenting with seeds from a grocery store bell pepper. They had a freakishly-high germination rate and I had to cull a lot, but right now I got 3-point-five little peppers going strong. They never tell you how emotionally taxing it's gonna be to abort 30 perfectly healthy plants. I've also been saving the sprouts that I had to thin out of the AeroGarden pods, but this weekend the extra basil died suddenly within hours of me making fun of it. Turns out plants can be bullied to death, who knew.

ADVENTURE UPDATE: Today was one of our "check out local stuff we keep forgetting to check out" days. We peeked into a feminist gift shop and a hobby store where the attendant told me all about glue. I found the complete second season of Murder, She Wrote on DVD. But the best was still to come.

The city culture newsletter alerted me to the existence of the last 70s-era affordable steak dinner restaurant in town, so obviously we had to check that out. It's in the middle of a hideous but populated shopping strip that also feels several decades too old. It's well-kept and even the untrendy signage is shockingly white, as if brand-new. And you can feed two people steak dinners for around $30.

You enter to a cafeteria-style a la carte setup, where you give your steak order and then pass the time by putting desserts, salads and drinks on your tray. The service was SUUUUUPER nice and attentive, they seemed to know everyone else as regulars. The guy at the register even gave me free cake because my newbie interpretation of a "salad" sucked so bad.

Taste-wise, it's exactly what you'd expect. My petite steak was wet as hell and tasted great. Highly nostalgic for me as a kid who used to order sirloin doused in A1 whenever possible. Nothing you can't get somewhere else, but nothing I didn't enjoy eating, either. Even the chocolate cake, which was probably frozen, had the perfect ratio of frosting imo. It was cute as hell, and for the service/experience/price, we'll definitely do it again. Listening to the old people talk is great atmosphere anyway. They like the same things as us: train rides, waitresses who know your name, complaining, etc. Probably also Murder, She Wrote.

LISTENING TO: Peter & the Test Tube Babies

January 19, 2023


Well, guess what. I did set up that herb lamp. And then I read all about the herb lamp. And then I ran out of things to read about the herb lamp.

So then I thought, okay, now that I know what I can and CAN'T grow in the herb lamp... What do I do now. The herb lamp is handy for growing through winter, but Aerogarden pods aren't super cheap, and they're a lot of plastic waste... wouldn't it be cheaper to just plant the old-fashioned way?

So um. Now I'm subscribed to 5 gardening subreddits that I wasn't before. And I know a lot more about gardening than I did last month. And I bought a seedling starter kit and a grow lamp and some seeds. And a lot of dirt.

Colin says it kickstarted a benign gardening cancer in my brain. I think I've been waiting for this.

I always figured growing plants was kind of a lost cause in this house, since our windows don't let in a ton of light and Annabelle ate my whole god-damned sweat pea plant. It doesn't help that outdoor gardening has like 50 different considerations to mind-- full/part sun, hardiness zones, pests, fungus, pollination, first/last frost dates, all the Farmer's Almanac shit that makes my eyes glaze over. Not to mention the poor souls I've forgotten to water over the years, who struggle against neglect only to get trashed by accident when someone mistakes my desiccated buddy for a dead twig.

It's not that I have no experience with plants. It's that I couldn't find a way to get enraptured. UNTIL NOW.

The Aerogarden feels like a remedial home-ec class for plants. You really just... stick stuff in there, and it grows. It seems almost idiot-proof and it's ridiculously easy to troubleshoot. This feels like virtally the same amount of risk as caring for a flour sack baby. And nobody's even going to give me an F if my lettuce bolts.

Got basil, arugula, and parsley cooking right now. They don't look like much but they're growing p. fast!

The plan for OUTDOORS this year is to try growing bell peppers, poblanos, and cilantro from seed. Maybe some alliums and peas if all goes well. We also finally made a compost bin, so we can recycle the waste and make new nutrients for next year!

But here's my problem: I CAN'T PLANT ANYTHING YET. The recommended time to start seedlings indoors is mid-February.

I'm going crazy staring at these empty plots. That's why I'm writing this, to cope. 30 days... I don't know if I'm gonna make it, guys. Some gardeners are already starting to get a jump start on the season in case things get too hot too soon, and I might break and join them. (Thank you, global warming.) Just... not tonight. Imagine having to admit your garden started not only a month early, but also on a Thursday.

LISTENING TO: Some The Hives B-sides I dug up. Their teensy Timbaland collab is such a bizarre mashup it still makes me smile.

January 1, 2023

Thanks 2022, I'll take it from here

IT'S A NEW YEAR, BABY and I'm very proud to say I closed out the last one with huge experiential gains. That shit was NOT wasted.

Things that made 2022 particularly awesome:

TRAVEL!!! I went to Connecticut, Oregon, West Virginia, Michigan, Florida, and briefly Pennsylvania a couple times. That's more than I usually do in 5 years! It was fucking awesome and unfortunately I have no idea how to top it. This also meant a lot of quality time with quality people (and a few unpleasant ones, for texture!) so I feel... extra-loved.

GERMAN!!! Since starting Duolingo in September 2021, I'm currently at a 480-day streak. Language learning wasn't always my front-and-center interest-- but it's held strong as a daily habit, and when I'm into it, I'm REALLY into it. I love how German looks and sounds, and it's so rewarding to notice that stuff I struggled reading a year ago is now super simple!

I GOT MARRIED!!! That was more of a formality, but still. Our party was frickin' awesome. (I want a cotton candy machine at my funeral. Consider this my written statement on that.)

I experienced zero SADs this winter. I just smothered it in good sleep hygiene and Christmas stuff, haha. Did you know Trader Joe's sells little gingerbread men that hang off the side of your cocoa mug...

One thing I'm taking serious note of: Multiple times this year I would be having an amazing week, like... FULLY immersed in learning and music and creativity, feeling like I'm living the perfect life. That enthusiasm would lead me to finish a drawing, and I'd post it to open a conversation about what I'm excited about, like usual. But then it would flop (by my usual standards) which made me feel kinda silly about being excited. It's official: social media and I are not good collaborators at the moment.

In the process of turning those sour grapes into sexy, delicious wine, I stopped crossposting art to Twitter a few months ago and I've honestly felt a lot better? Not to be the guy who leaves social media and then won't stop talking about leaving social media, but gawd. That is NOT how artists were meant to live. Even the gossip is boring when there's 50 fights a day about the dumbest things imaginable. I liked Twitter for the fast-paced banter, but in order to do that I have to join all the people I love and respect in begging to be noticed, and I'm like... this suuuuucks. It's wild how fast indie art empowerment turned into a miserable job.

Detaching also made Twitter's 2022 misfortunes VERY FUNNY. They could blast the servers into space at this point and I think most people would be secretly relieved. RIP bird Facebook. (That's me manifesting for next year.)

Speaking of next year! New Year's resolutions are a recipe for disaster, but there's already a few options I can choose from to make 2023 worth the while.

⭑ I wanna work on art, obvs. Not necessarily posting, just working on it.
⭑ Less screen time.
⭑ Building Al and Fiend gallery pages!
Make a fucking zine.
⭑ Clear off the dining room table and use the herb lamp thing from Christmas.
⭑ More experimentation! I have so much unused equipment sitting around like bored girls at prom. Let's see who I dance with this year...

I'm going to go finish off the furry con posts soon and backdate them for 2022. Then... oh man, I'm going to get SO organized.

LISTENING TO: Peter Schilling, Nena and Falco! Deutsch versions, natürlich-- I'm currently sniffing out 80s German pop hits to fill out my writing mood playlist. I'm also enjoying Alphaville and Karat, and I'm working on finding Udo Jürgens's disco album. 1950s+ historians who focus on the UK and America have it so easy...

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My browser bookmarks are a black hole. Stuff I wanna check up on later:

Between Two Fires by Christopher buehlmann
Dissipatio H.G. (The Vanishing) by Guido Morselli

Lubezki's Roma

Childhood's End

July 2, 2001


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