Steampunk and Other Beasts

February 22, 2014

Steampunk. Have you ever heard?

Randie Feil Mezzotints, Paintings and Sculpture

Wiwaxia steampunkus (2011)


Well, me, being an advanced culture-consumer, I’ve heard. I’ve read and loved Robert Rankin’s novels, many of which fall into that genre.

Robert Rankin Facebook photoalbum

Rankin with a Raygun

But that was the extent of my familiarity with the Steampunk. What is it, I hear you ask. Many things apparently, all of which have something to do with the “Victorian fantasies” and “based on the appropriate technology of the era”, – according to K.W Jeter who minted the term.

Infernal Devices by K W Jeter

Infernal Devices by K W Jeter

Right until 10 minutes ago I didn’t know that Steampunk was not only literary art movement, but visual, televisual, videogamisual and design and fashion too. Rich!

Steampunk fashion

“Anatomy of Steampunk The Fashion of Victorian Futurism”

Why am I even going on about it? Because, expectedly, as I was looking for something else (mezzotint), I found a symbiosis of that and, unexpectedly, Steampunk here: Randie Feil – A Steampunk Bestiary: Raven, Trilobite, Wiwaxia, and Hallucigenia.

randie feil steampunk art

Steampunk Trilobite

Architecture Photography: Casa Talia / Vivian Haddad and Marco Giunta (9) (163269)

Prickly beasts contained behind a glass! Looking into the privacy of your bathroom, waving their fat thorny flappers at you, you – naked and warm, only just having emerged from the safety of your soft bed… They are waiting.

Architecture Photography: Casa Talia / Vivian Haddad and Marco Giunta (9) (163269).

Years ago, when my older daughter was in her first year at the primary school, I and a couple of other mums were invited to a home of her schoolmate. Big family: four children aged between 1 and 7. Medium to small size house with ongoing improvements of various scale being done to its parts. Mum, who managed to enjoy having fun with her children, cook cakes for the visitors and still have the basic family logistics sorted. And no, it wasn’t a temple of cleanliness and order.


I entered the house and immediately felt relaxed and at home. With a happy sigh I said “What a lovely mess!” and then explained how at ease the place made me feel and how stiff and insecure one can feel in the immaculate kind of homes.

And then, on many occasions, I caught myself feeling bad about the imperfection of my own house and worse – apologising to my visitors for this and that. Took me years to see the error of my ways and, finally I am saying “no” to all that. My house is a reflection of my life. Life is always in the state of becoming. Perfection is an indication of death. I happy to be alive. I am happy for my house to be a developing site. I am alive, my home is alive, I am happy with the way it is now! And I want my visitors to feel happy and easy.

Today I am reminded about that day by the article by Adrienne Breaux at the Appartment Therapy in which she reflects my current sentiments perfectly:

“I’ve always thought that having a clean, put-together home (code: perfect) would make guests feel the most at ease, but I’ve found that the most comfortable homes I’ve visited have been the ones where the host was perfectly content with whatever level of cleanliness or disarray their house happened to be in when I stopped by…”

I agree with everything and also promise to myself to stop saying and doing the following:

“1. “Sorry for the mess”
First of all, is it actually a mess? Or do you have like, one throw pillow off center and a pair of shoes near the door? Even if it is a total mess in your eyes — how likely of a chance is it noticeably messy to someone else? And even if it really is a hugely disgusting mess, why point it out? If someone brings it up (probably don’t invite them again), feel free to explain you’ve had a busy week and then move on to wowing them with your charming personality.

2. “You’ll have to excuse…” (all the projects you can see that need doing/finishing but your guests probably haven’t noticed)
This is similar to number one. Yes, to you that loose doorknob and unfinished light fixture is glaring. But again, it’s about not calling attention to your home’s minor flaws and championing all the things you have DIYed successfully. I’m going to try to start drawing a guest’s attention to a recently completed DIY project that went well instead of give them a long list of all the things I still want to complete.

3) Not accepting any praise and deflecting compliments
Accepting praise and compliment is difficult in many areas of life for plenty of folks, and that can often stretch to the home. Saying “it was nothing” or that “someone could do it better” aren’t the way to go. Neither is being sarcastic or immediately trying to turn the conversation back to the compliment giver. Deflecting compliments by putting yourself and your home down is actually not very kind to the person giving your home a (probably well-deserved) compliment. Next time a guest says something nice about your home, consider smiling big and saying “Thanks! I really appreciate you saying that.”

Do you say and point out negative things to guests when they first come into your space? Or have you rid yourself of that habit? Or do you think giving attention to the things you’re insecure about is a good habit to have?”

Practice Positive: 3 Things to Stop Saying to Your Home’s Visitors | Apartment Therapy.

For the connoisseurs of all things pickled: perhaps you’d enjoy to know about a famous Korean pickle – kimchi.

Kimchi: Korean pickled cabbage.

A dish of Korean kimchi. Yum!

Tim sent me a link to a BBC article about it today. Blatant Korean propaganda, especially the bit about kimchi made in China not having got quite the bacterial bouquet of the kimchi made in Korea due to the temperature and humidity difference and blah-di-blah… Yet I approve of the general stance – kimchi is GOOD FOR THE WORLD!

Kimchi Festival in Gwangju, Korea.

Kimchi Festival in Gwangju, Korea.

It is yummy, although very spicy and stinky – both: long term and long distance! It is also extremely good for you as a source of vitamins, micro elements and beneficial bacteria. Really, really! 


green kimchi


It might be the only thing still holding the North Korea together…

Large jarKimchi Festival in Gwangju, Korea.s containing kimchi.

A Kimchi Yard.

Amongst my favourite food channels on Youtube, there is a Korean lady Maangchi who has instructions on a variety of kimchi. This is a link to a proper Chinese cabbage and radish kimchi recipes, but I’d recommend a cucumber kimchi recipe as an easier and more appealing one to have a go at for a beginner ;-).

Cucumber kimchi

Cucumber kimchi

I hope you enjoy the links, if not for the food (it might look a bit too exotic for some!), then for the presenter herself. I find her so cute and delicious, that if she ate a bowl of worms in front of the camera, it would look the most delectable food ever, and while she was at it, I’d start munching on the bits of my immediate environment with a transfixed and happy gaze. And then I’d eat her too!



… not that I am trying to get you hooked on her channel or Korean food at all!

PS. All this time while writing this post and getting the pictures and sorting out the SEO stuff, I’ve been SALIVATING like a rabid dog! You’ve got no i-d-e-a… KIMCHI!!! And I haven’t got any in my fridge! Aaaarrgggggg!…

Empty fridge cartoon

Vibrational Capital Dream

February 1, 2014

Last night I had another of my fable-dreams.

dream interpretation

“It’s that same dream, where I’m drowning in a bowl of noodles.”

I am receiving a payment for a portrait commission, and I seem to be remembering that it was Will I Am who commissioned me (Wow!!! Wouldn’t it be cool!!!). The payment is in cash, £18000. I feel really pleased and excited to have all this money, which is wrapped loosely in three newsprint bundles.

I have one or two (can’t remember, or perhaps the number varied from moment to moment) male partners with me. I share my joy and excitement with them and there is a slight feeling of wanting to see them joyous with me/for me and pleased with me/for me. I guess this is something I am internally working with at this time – wanting to please others.

The money seem to go to the group pot, meaning – we share it.

Then, we are in a street, standing by a car, ready to leave. Another car approaches and a man comes out. He and my partner(s) get embroiled in an argument. There is an understanding that this is an ongoing affair – it started sometime ago and not likely to end soon. They shout at each other and it is looking to get really violent. I am rushing to my partner to talk him out of this conflict, pulling at his sleeve, but he is ignoring me. I feel a bit scared, but more than that, I feel anxious that I will loose my money which at this moment got tossed aside and lying on the side of the road by some bushes.

I realise that my attempts to stop the fight are futile and I’d be better off to take care of money and leave them to it.

At this point in my dream, I am half-dreaming, at the same time conscious. I don’t want to leave the dream in this unresolved state, so I make a decision to stir it towards a positive conclusion. In my dream, I get the money bundles (making sure not to attract too much attention of the quarrelling people) and get into the car. Lock the doors. I sitting in the car and thinking, perhaps it would be even better to run away from this place all together…

Here the dream ends, somewhere between me sitting inside a locked car and me dashing out and away to where there are buildings and people. In any case, I feel my intention/decision: I’ve got the money. I am relatively safe.

I relayed my dream to Tim. He wasn’t sure what was the meaning of it I was so excited about. So, I had to explain the symbolism of it the way I saw it at that time:

Lately I am getting somewhere positive with my work on directing my vibrational/emotional state. Those who are familiar with the teachings of Abraham Hicks and Bashar or The Secret will understand what I am talking about. I guess, the majority of the students of these teachings at some point feel really frustrated by feeling “being stuck”, not getting much beyond theory of it all. But then it comes. Gradually, slowly  it gets better, and that’s where I feel I am now – first steps out of the fog.

I see the money I got for the commission as a symbol of my emotional/vibrational capital. I worked hard for it, I earned it. This is my security, my reward, my stability. My gold I pined for. I am in partnership with some other persons and I accept that we share my wages, or in other words, we share our emotional/vibrational wealth. But then the conflict happens, and they are focused on it and hence, are about to loose our (at that stage it is “our”) money.

There are two options for me here – to get dragged into this stale and stupid affair for the sake of some perceived ties ( read: partnership, friendship, love, loyalty), or cut all of that out, claim the money, i.e. my vibrational capital, for myself and retreat to a place of safety.

In my border-state of awakenness I am sort of aware of the symbolism of the dream and I decide to give it a happy ending. Of course, a happy ending is a matter of perspective too. From a point of view of a certain set of values, a happy ending would be to forget the money, get into the fight, save the mate and walk into the sunset drugging the bloodied bloke on one’s shoulder. Love triumphs. So, it is interesting, but not eye-opening, to see what I myself see as a happy ending.

The way the dream ends I see as another dilemma which I am still undecided about – whether to sit it out in a car, although basically stick with the guys, or to make a runner altogether. Now, post-factum, I’d rather leg it.

Points I like about this dream:

  • I have a vibrational capital!
  • I made a decision to be free from self-imposed bonds!
  • I once again experienced linking dream-state and awake-state!


Самое дебильное, что может быть в людях, это его сны. Так что слушайте:
Короче мы с одной моей знакомой уже вышли из метро и сели в рестике, пока нас не замели. Денег во сне дохуя, и мы заказали какую-то овощную хуйню, пока нас не замели. Официантка сообщнически нам подмигивает: – ну я сверху текилкой вам ее полью. – Спасибо добрая официантка.
Сидим, не отсвечиваем, думаем, как выбираться будем, пока нас не замели. Мне приходит гениальная мысль, что если бы у одной моей знакомой на голове торчал черный парик, нас бы точно не узнали и не замели. И вот так совпадение, под столом в спортивной сумке кто-то подложил нам черный парик. Кругом доброжелатели. И тут я как бы две личности начинаю исполнять. Одна личность вполне довольна париком. И вторая вроде тоже, но чета она под откос идет, мало ей постмодерна, и ни с того ни с сего восклицает: – О! Черный зефир! – И на радостях начинаю есть парик. Палочками блять. Зефир же. Но весь я его не доедаю. Одной моей знакомой тоже на голову хватает. Теперь нас не заметут. Тут приходят секьюрити, и начинают меня заботливо отряхивать. “Ну все пиздец! Теперь заметут”, думаем мы с одной моей знакомой” и нагло им врем, что мы молодожены. В медовом месяце находимся. Секьюрити начинают угощать нас разбавленным красным вином на дне фужера. Короче я не знаю чем все закончилось.


Happy Chinese New Year!

February 1, 2014

2014 - The Year of Horse

2014 – The Year of Horse

Yesterday, we were having an ordinary family supper, admittedly, with a little wine. Nothing out of our usual routine. It was only Alina(10) with us, as Eva(12) went to a sleepover at Jades. Tim raised his glass and said “Cheers!”. We all cheered and went on about our supper, when Alina solemnly said: “Might I suggest that we celebrate a Chinese New Year today”… I adore this little girl! She can be so unexpectedly funny sometimes 🙂

Mind you, she is not that little any more!

It is such a joy – to watch your own child grow. And every time it comes to my attention, I feel so happy that I am lucky enough to have it. We often take it for granted, my dear friends 🙂 … Although yes, sometimes, very rarely, they can be a pain in the arse!

So, Nappy Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse!

Wooden horse

Wooden Horse