Cats! And What They Don’t Have To Worry About

TinnyTo make sure your day might be better or stay better, here is a cat post. These fluffy things deserve a spotlight now and then, even though they’d probably hide in a sock drawer if we physically tried that. Instead, I will write about them. Here are 6 things cats don’t have to worry about; accompanied by that depiction of a lovely fluffy.

  1. Shoe sizes

Or any sizes of clothing, for that matter. Even though some people dress up their cats, something I do not do, there is little to worry about when it comes to sizes. Even if there are size worries, that’s because we insist that they need to wear things. Silly humans.

  1. Paying rent

Many cats live in homes that we pay for. We pay all expenses that they need. Cats don’t even understand the idea of trade or monetary systems. They don’t need a salary, a job and they don’t have bills to pay.

  1. Bedtimes

The lucky fluffballs just sleep when and where they desire. One cat I know (she’s basically my cat but lives with my parents still) who sleeps in the weirdest places and on weird objects. Of course, there are the mainstream boxes she uses. But she is also found sleeping atop plants, in fruit baskets and the ultimate oddity; in the dishwasher…

  1. An education

Cats don’t need a university, even though a cat food company disagrees as they published commercials called ‘Kitten Kollege’. I highly suggest watching them for entertainment purposes, even though they don’t align with my point here. Cats don’t need to figure out what they want to do with their life. They just ‘are’. All of them are cats and that’s all there is to it. Their mothers teach them everything they need to know and instinct tells them the rest.

  1. Cleaning up their room

Cats don’t own things. The most they may ‘own’ is a certain windowsill that the dominant diva cat declared her own. They don’t own toys and such that they keep in a separate room like human children. What little they do interact with, we clean up for them. There are no mother cats that tell them to go clean their room.

  1. Interior design

Even if cats do decide a portion of a place is theirs, they don’t have places such as IKEA that are trying to tell them what their home should look like. They don’t need to install bathrooms and kitchens and then buy matching paintings, plants and blankets for literally everything in there (the bane of my wallet’s existence).

Culture Shock: The Netherlands

For those of you who are thus far informed, I am a Dutch person. This means I am from the Netherlands (not to be confused with the ‘Deutsch’ from Germany, please). As every culture has their own traditions, habits and assets, so do we. Since I have been lucky enough to compare this culture to those of other places I’ve visited, I’d like to summarize the main cultural aspects of the Dutch. And no, I am not going to talk to you about wooden shoes, tulips and windmills.

Culture shock

  1. Straightforward

Dutch people are very straightforward. They don’t like to waste your time or their own. They are brutally honest and can be very blunt. This might seem rude to some but this is how the Dutch are in their daily dealings. In our minds, it just means we are being honest and sincere. We don’t like to play around or be made fools of or do the same to others. Phony compliments aren’t really a good idea in this country. Just be real with us!

  1. Celebrating a newborn

This one occurred to me when I was on my way to visit my friend and her boyfriend to meet their newborn baby boy. While I traveled I was conversing with an American friend and I told him how we celebrate. Besides cards and bears, we also have a treat for guests. The parents provide the treat. Round biscuits are covered in a layer of butter and then sprinkled with a treat we call ‘muisjes’, which translates to ‘little mice’. The small circular objects are made of sugar and coloring. Packaged muisjes contain either white and blue, white and pink or white, blue and pink substances. The colors of the musijes indicate the gender of the child or children that was/were born. When I visited my friend, I was given a biscuit with white and blue mice.

  1. Koningsdag

In the Netherlands we have an annual day of celebration called Koningsdag (King’s day). Though during some years we had a queen ruler and then it would be called Koninginnendag (Queen’s day).

On Koningsdag, people celebrate the king. Most citizens however use the day as an excuse to drink and party. People can sell their used goods on the street without needing permission for it. As a child I often visited these markets to look for cheap toys.

It is also common for people to dress in orange, as that is our country’s color. Some people dress in symbols of the lion as well. The date of the day corresponds with the birthday of the king (or queen) that is currently in power.

  1. Terraces

The cities in the Netherlands are not prone to parks as you would find them in the United States, for example. We do not have big squares within the centers dedicated to greenery and ponds and benches where old men can feed ducks.

Instead of this, we have terraces. A terrace is basically an outdoor eating place. Restaurants and cafes have tables and chairs set out on the pavement in front of their locations. Guests can enjoy the weather and a nice plate of their favorite food at the same time. This is the ideal place to catch up with friends, in my opinion. I love going out for lunch and/or drinks with friends, weather permitting, of course. Our weather is very bipolar, after all.

  1. Stroopwafels & Hagelslag

Let’s talk some more about foods. First off there are stroopwafels. This treat is the combination of a waffle and a cookie. And yes, they are delicious.

Hagelslag is sprinkles that is eaten on bread. This is a common breakfast and lunch food. My mother still eats two slices of bread for breakfast and two for lunch. The hagelslag she (and I) eat are made from dark chocolate. They can be found in various chocolate types and also some fruit-flavored types.

  1. It’s all flat

The Netherlands has gained the nickname ‘the lowlands’, which is rightly given to it. The reason why it earned this name is that the land itself is located blow sea level, shielded from the waves by dykes (constructions of dirt and grass that are like extensive ‘hills’ around the country). The country itself is very flat, too. If you want a summary of the landscape; it is level, with small creeks dividing off square of grassland. That is basically what the Netherlands is.

  1. Happiness

For some odd reason, it seems the Dutch think everyone needs to be happy. Everyone is trying to enjoy life. Everyone is living the good life and everyone is going on vacations and showing off their pictures. Additionally, this country often scores well on rankings of happy countries; usually accompanied by the Nordic countries, Switzerland and Canada.

  1. Camping

I wasn’t completely aware of this one being typically Dutch until I browsed across the internet a bit. It turns out that the Dutch are quite prone to camping. My family does it every year. Often times when I mention it to friends abroad, their response is, “Oh, I’ve done that once.” or “I’ve always wanted to go camping.” Yet here in my country, nearly everyone has done it before. And why not? Camping is absolutely delightful. In many instances, I prefer the forest and my tent to a luxurious hotel.

  1. Dutch cuisine

Ever wondered what the Dutch restaurants have to offer? Well then, I challenge you to find a Dutch restaurant. They practically do not exist. What comes from my mother’s kitchen is not what you get in any restaurants here. We’ve adopted countless cuisines from abroad and thus relinquished our own. Even in my own kitchen, it can’t be said that I eat Dutch foods.

  1. The G, J and R

Since I am writing in English (to an audience that understands Englih) I am gong to talk about these letters from an Anglophone view. The G, in Dutch, is a very hard and rough sound that has no equal in English nor in other languages I am familiar with.

The J, on the other hand sounds like the letter Y in English. An example is the Y in the words ‘you’ and ‘yard’. That is how our J sounds.

The R works the same as the R in Spanish, if that helps anyone. The R is rolled and thus gets a more vibrant sound to it. Add onto this that we have countless words that sound with ‘gr’ therefore giving them a very hard and lively sound right off the bat.

On a note; the region in the North of the Netherlands known as Friesland (I know that sounds funny) has a more gentle G. The rule for this is quite strange though. When the letter is placed at the start of a word, it is pronounced in the way an English G would be. However if it is found later in the word, it is pronounced in the same hard manner as the rest of the country says it.

Peculiar folk we are.

Many Little Things

Summer is quickly approaching! In theory, that is. It’s been cloudy all week and we’ve even had rain. One sign that summer is here though is that it’s insanely humid. The levels are always above 90%. I don’t like it.

But in such times of ‘darkness and gross moisture in the air’, I must remember to appreciate other things. Instead of once again sitting on my couch and listing off all the things I like (I have done this before) I am going to make a little list here of actual things that I appreciate.

  1. Random greetings on the street. A number of days ago, I was on my way to school. It was just an ordinary day and I was traveling to take an exam. The street were fairly empty since it was about 8 in the morning. Someone on a bike passed me by and said, “Good morning to the pretty lady with the white cane!” I resumed my journey smiling and with the feeling that the day was okay.
  2. Cat pictures. Those persons who don’t understand the joy of cat pictures on the internet have not yet indulged enough, I assume. I have over 60 on my phone. I once spent a day incessantly spamming them to a friend since her boyfriend had broken up with her.
  3. Healthy treats. The past few weeks I have done little else but remain cooped up in my home. I had a big project to finish and I wanted to do it correctly (I passed so it paid off). All the while I consumed healthy snacks; tomatoes, carrots and apples are at the top of my list.
  4. Music. I mean both the music that I destroy my speakers or headphones with as well as the chance to play it myself. Now and then I love to go all out when playing my guitar. It is a great method to calm myself down. It is a form of therapy, if you like.
  5. Beautiful words. Is this a strange thing to be appreciative of? In my opinion not. I am a perfectionist. This shines through especially in language. I enjoy learning new words and trying to internalize them into my daily life. My latest love has been the word ‘pedantic’.
  6. A good phone call. During the busy period I experienced the past few weeks, at one point a friend asked if she could call me. I allowed it, half-knowing what she would have to tell me. I was right. She told me that her and a friend of ours were now dating. Beyond this part of the conversation, we continued to talk for hours. After we hung out, I went to sleep feeling pleasant.
  7. Sweatpants and sweaters. How else would I have survived the busy times full of projects and studying?
  8. The comfort of my own home. Even the most beautiful hotels and my best friend’s home can’t compare to my own home. It’s my little castle. I’m the princess of this palace. I can do as I please, dress how I like, eat what I want and schedule anything when I desire. The freedom is endless. Plus, here I have thermostat powers.
  9. Naps. This has been another way for me to survive the busy times. I did not get a great night’s sleep. I had a few hours at night and another few in the afternoon. In between these times, I would work on school-related subjects.
  10. Genuine compliments. Recently I had to defend my project. Afterwards, I received a huge compliment on my report. The teachers said it was very well done. There was a lot of research and details. They also said that it was pleasant to read. One of the teachers said, “I wish I could write like you.” If becoming an author never happens, I can just write business reports for a living to please the eyes of investors.
  11. Time to breath. Now that the schoolyear is coming to a close (for better or worse), I have time to breathe. That is also why I got a chance to think about things and write this piece.
  12. Genuine inspirational quotes. Here’s one; “May destiny be kind to you.”

10 Things I Learned About Love (From Romantic Comedies)

Now, I don’t want to say that I am an expert on love (not one bit) nor that I am an avid movie watcher (not that either) but I have seen a few in my life and they taught me a few things about love that I am going to recount to all of you here.

(Note: this is mainly satire.)

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor red rose

  1. You need to be attractive

Everyone in movies is attractive. If you want to be in the ballgame for love, you need to be a girl with big blue eyes and wavy blonde hair. As a man, tall dark and handsome is the way; with abs to boot.

  1. Girls need to be snobby

When a guy comes up with you and makes a joke, you need to be very snobby. It will cause them to do effort and make more jokes. You will need to say rude things to him and eventually agree to go on a date with him. Hollywood has shown that success is guaranteed.

  1. The men need to show up out of nowhere

Until that point of meeting her, you may have had a life, but no one cares about it until later. Just show up some day and do something unexpected, after which (as noted above) talk to a snobby girl and make funny remarks.

  1. Girls should study journalism

Girls, the key to landing a soulmate is to study journalism. Get a job at a newspaper in New York. Constantly ask your boss for bigger things. He’ll ask you to get ‘that one story’. You’ll meet your guy along the way and also land that promotion.

  1. Guys need to have an unexpected sensitive side

Contrary to what you might think, girls will dig it if you write poetry, sing her love songs in the middle of a rose garden, paint flowers or like to admire romantic artworks in a museum. You don’t need normal hobbies. Just do one of the above mentioned and you’re set for life.

  1. Overly exaggerated gestures are what everyone wants

No one has ever been made uncomfortable by big speeches about love and the sun and the moon. No one has ever rolled their eyes when an entire band showed up so the man could tell his love in song (because only the men need to make this move). Definitely buy her ten million flowers and send them to her work. She won’t feel overwhelmed at all.

  1. Make a huge mistake

Yes, I am advising you to make a huge mistake along the way; preferably while the other person has a large decision to make. Do they stay in New York or do they go to Los Angeles and get their dream job? What you need to do (guys especially) is do something stupid or make her misunderstand something that is very obvious. You can then get in a fight and you can chase after her. She’ll instantly forgive you and marry you in the next scene of your life.

  1. Marriage is the goal

After all the hard work, you can get married to that special someone. Even if you have only been dating two weeks. Just propose to her and she’ll accept. You can have a big fancy wedding (while everyone wonders how you can afford that) and celebrate your two month old love. That’s the only goal. Once you’re married you’ve achieved the ultimate goal. It’s what every person in life wants.

  1. Divorce won’t happen

If you follow all the other nine steps on the list, you won’t ever get divorced or be unhappy. All your troubles are gone and you will happily ever after. You found your soulmate, spent a few weeks dating and getting to know each other on the most shallow of levels and now you are married. The end

In my most sincere opinion, this is the most accurate image Hollywood has ever given us. Well done! Now excuse me while I go change my major to journalism…

Retreating

It’s been a while since I wrote anything blog-related. Reports, essays and portfolios have been abundant in the mean time. That is also part of the reason why I haven’t been involved with my own blog much. Yet I noticed a bit of a change in my person as well that relates to it.

Where it came from, I can not say. Why it happened now, I do not know either. When exactly it first happened, I have not a clue about. All that I can say is that it did. I came to the realization that my blog is a hobby and that is all it has to be. Of course, getting comments and views is exciting but I steadily began to realize that I do not need those things. Those moments do not contribute to all-time happiness or success in life.

I think this also falls into the category of my shying away from most social media platforms. For over a year now, I have felt that platforms like Facebook have not contributed to my development at all. All it is nowadays is videos and pictures that people share. Rarely do I still see a nice post about what someone did that day. Everything is pictures of parties or festivals I attended. There are no words.

Instead of aimlessly scrolling through my feed, I have decided to read more. I do not need the social media at all. I look when I have a notification, yes, because often times it is a post that was made in a group that I am a part of for university-related reasons. So those keep me up-to-date on topics concerning my academics. Sometimes I message a teacher through Messenger to ask them a quick question but the extent of my use of the app has become minimal at best.

I know that it has become quite trendy to take days off from social media to diminish people’s dependency on it. The reason I want to retreat from it, however, is that I already lost most of my dependency. I’d rather spend my time reading, learning, writing, doing things I actually enjoy or otherwise being useful. Since I no longer look at my Facebook feed as much, it feels calmer. A notification on my phone is a lot more intriguing now as well. It is often a message from a friend on WhatsApp; something I value a lot more than another viral video.

Now that I am more in my own reality, engaging with other people has become more valuable. Visiting them or talking to them on WhatsApp now has more elements to them. There are topics to still talk about, rather than everyone just being involved with sharing their life (in the form of pictures) on the internet. Stories can that way stay fresh and conversations have reason.

In short, what I am trying to say is that my blog will remain in existence, but I will not be actively pursuing its success anymore. That does not take away that I enjoy it and that I do not value my readers (I do), I just wish to have it be less of an obligation. It has become just that.

So until next post, dear readers!

May destiny be kind to you.

PS: Less social media means less passwords to remember. Thus there are so many positive effects to this.

Tristin’s Guide to World Building

 I am definitely a prime example of someone who will create a new world for every single story. Here is a basic guide as to how I do this. I wrote this in the past since a friend requested assistance. 

Tristin’s Guide to World Building

Note: My preferred program to use is Gimp so I refer to that in this guide. The reason I often refer to using different layers is so you can also keep your map as a project file and open it in Gimp. You can then show or hide any layers you don’t need at the moment so you focus on the things that are important.

THE BASICS

STEP 1: Rough outline

The first outline of the world I suggest to be drawn by hand. This way you can be very ‘random’ while sketching something. I find that drawing on paper makes it easier to just go with it and let my imagination work. However, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of paper, you can draw in a program like Gimp too.

1a. If you have a rough idea of how your world should look, you can go with that.

1b. If you are going for a ‘new’ world, just use your imagination and don’t worry too much about the finer details of the map.

My method is often to draw lines that move in random patterns. Sometimes I come up with maps that look unnatural. In this case it is fine to simply try again.

I usually start with only the outline of the world but you are free to add country borders if that’s something you want on your first draft. You can always remove them during the next step.

STEP 2: Digital outline

Next up you need to make your work digital, if you did not digitally draw the rough outline of your map. I do this by scanning my picture with my printer and then transferring it onto my computer. If you drew digitally, you are good to go already.

Basic outline.png

2a. Create a canvas that you would like to use to put your world on. I suggest you don’t underestimate this. I tend to go for 1500 x 2000 pixels (height x width). Depending on whether or not you want a grid function or not, you will need to adjust the pixels so everything works out correctly.

Note: Be sure to set the grid as a new layer. Use a transparent layer to put your canvas on.

Grids can help you define distance in the story. It can help you find out how long characters need to travel.

Example

I want to use a canvas that is 1500 x 2000 pixels, but I also want to set a grid onto this. Suppose every square in this grid would be 100 x 100 pixels; which means the grid could have 15 x 20 squares. I tend to set my grid outlining to 1 x 1 pixel; meaning the squares on the grid are divided by 1 pixel of black line. This requires a little math. See below.

1500 x 2000 pixels for the canvas
I want to have 15 x 20 squares
One square is 101 x 101 pixels (100 pixels + 1 pixel for the grid)

To complete our grid, we also need to take into account the most outer edges so we add 1 pixel to the eventual equation.

Our actual canvas size would have to be adjusted to;

Height; 1516 (15 x 101 + 1 for the last edges) pixels
Width; 2021 (20 x 101 + 1 for the last edges) pixels

If you want a grid that includes numbers at the top and sides, add one square into the calculations.

(Yes, world building is for smart people.)

2b. Next you need to trace the physical drawing you made. Use a drawing tool like a brush and set it to a solid circle. I tend to use a thicker outline for the world and a thinner outline for the borders of my countries. It is okay if you trace this world onto a white background. For other features however, I suggest using a transparent layer. Sometimes I put the outline of the country borders on a different layer than my world outline. But that’s up to the creator.

2c. Copy and paste your world outline onto the background of the grid canvas (in case you are using one). You can drag the picture around till you are satisfied with where it sits. Anchor it there. The outline of the world will be the basis for everything else you put overtop it, so make sure it’s at the very back of your file.

STEP 3: Landscape

Next you need to decide what the landscape looks like. You can select all white areas with the select tools so you can properly color them. It is fine if you want to color the world outline. I sometimes do that too. It can work just fine that way.

Landscape

3a. Set well distinguished colors. Blue for water, yellow for sand, red for canyon, lime for grass, green for forest and so on. If needed, you can use an extra canvas to write down what every color means so you can properly keep track of everything.

Example

Colors that I like to use

  • Blue = water
  • Light green = grass
  • Dark green = forest
  • Yellow/beige = sand
  • Red/maroon = canyon rock
  • Grey = mountain rock
  • Light grey = snow area
  • Teal (a light shade of blue) = healing water

STEP 4: Locations

So your characters have places to go, you should name places in your world. You can name regions (a forest, a mountain range), the countries and cities/towns. I suggest using a different (transparent) layer for each of these.

By placing text on a transparent layer, you can erase just that name if you want to rename a place.

Locations

4a. Regions are the easiest to name since they tend to be big chunks. You can use a font, size and color that are easy to read on the canvas colors as well as a font size that fits well on the places. I tend to pick something that is not too big so I can actually fit the names even on smaller regions.

4b. With country names, I’d go for something of a reasonable size; something that stands out but does not occupy the entire country space when placed so you can still look around the word to see the place it belongs to.

4c. For cities and such, I tend to place down dots. I pick a color I have not used before (purple or pink) to make the dots to indicate the size of the cities. The biggest dot in every country is the capital city. Medium sized dots are other cities and small dots are towns/villages. What I do with the size of the names;

  • Capital gets big letters; but smaller than the region names.
  • Cities get reasonable sizes
  • Towns/villages get small sizes

There’s usually no more than a 10-5 pixel difference between the sizes. Don’t be afraid to make things too small. If you have a large canvas, that is just fine. Remember, if you need it during writing, you can always zoom in to see what it says.

4d. If you have special locations on your map, you can draw a significant symbol (a star, a triangle, etc.) to indicate where it is and add a name to it in the same way.

You can add lines between locations to indicate roads.

STEP 5: Decide astronomy

This might not seem important but it can make a significant difference in your world. If you wish to follow the same system as the Earth follows, that is perfectly fine. I tend to change things up often.

5a. The first interesting aspect is to decide the pattern of a year. Indicate how many days the year has, how many each month has (if you have months), the lengths of weeks and also the length of seasons.

5b. Decide the heavenly bodies next. There is a likelihood that the world has a star it orbits. However some planets also have moons or even rings. These are things to consider since they can add to the atmosphere within your world. The weather is also interesting to consider.

Weather

Sometimes I add weather to maps. Use a transparent layer and color it with transparent colors to indicate where it tends to rain, where it is warmer and where snow is prominent.

Example

Here is a suggestion for the colors to use:

  • Red = high temperatures
  • Orange = heat waves
  • Yellow = often sunny
  • Green = neutral, pleasant temperatures
  • Blue = cool temperatures
  • Purple = often rains
  • Grey = often cloudy/misty
  • White = often snow

You can adjust the brightness of the colors or the amount of transparency to indicate how common this weather is. If you really want to go to such lengths, you can even make separate weather patterns for the different seasons.

STEP 6: Create physics

This step is mostly a step about imagining and potentially writing. If your story takes place in a magical world, you need to refer to the rules that are involved in this world.

Examples

Example 1: Magic power is only inherited. It can not be learned.
Example 2: People can only use as much magic as their own energy will permit.
Example 3: Magical abilities can be learned only through sacred processes.

Besides that, you need to decide what physics are at play. In most novels I read, the physics resemble those we experience on Earth. Many sci-fi novels choose to either exaggerated these physics or add to them. Traveling at the speed of light is a prime example.

It is also interesting to decide what is significant in your world. This can be special locations, special creatures or special roles that people earn or are born with. You need to decide what influence this has on your world.

An example could be a special plant that is very rare but grants certain advantages to whomever has the plant.

BRINGING LIFE

STEP 1: Create civilizations

A story can not thrive without characters. It is essential to make yourself understand what cultures exist in your world before you attempt to persuade readers of the awesomeness of your world.

1a. Start by outlining which countries or regions exist and if there are people that live there. Describe if there are many people and what race they are. You can add that they speak their own language or have a particular religion.

1b. What really makes societies unique is their customs. For each community, make a brief description of what are important ceremonies or holidays to them. Write about how relationships are handled within the community. Mention small gestures that are native to the community (greetings, expressions of respect, expressions of love, etc.).

1c. Establishing connections between communities and countries is important. It can often influence the plot heavily. Describe how each is governed and what their view of other countries is.

The level of detail you decide to use is completely up to you however a basic understanding of the local cultures will help you remember them and integrate them.

STEP 2: Create wildlife

It would make sense that beyond city walls, there are other living creatures that inhabit the wild. As miniscule a role as they might play in your story, it is still interesting to establish what animals and plants exist.

2a. Describe what (types of) animals inhabit the world. What creatures live where? Are they friendly to the people? Are the intelligent? What role do they play, if any? Perhaps the only role that you desire is birds that can be written about as singing their songs in the morning. That is fine.

2b. Integrate plants into your story. If you are not eager to make up your own plants, then resume as you wish. It might be interesting to understand what lives where. This requires some research. If that is not your cup of tea, then attempt to create your own.

Example

Below is an example of three significant plants growing in one kingdom.

The kingdom is known for several medicinal herbs that are native to it. One is a small red flower (Aniya flower) used to lessen headaches. It is a small plant that grows on the trunks of trees and is thusly found in the forests to the east.

The other is a plant with feather shaped leaves (Dragon Pigmy) that are quite long and thin. The leaves hang outwards and get smaller as they reach the top of the plant. Because the leaves are so long and heavy, the stem of the plant is quite sturdy. It grows in moist areas. It is commonly found in swamp-like locations near the southern shore of Sandöhr. Both the leaves and the root of the Dragon Pigmy plant are used in combination with other herbs to form medicinal healing powders used for speeding up the healing of wounds. It is also commonly used to cure nausea or internal pain. The root of the plant is often cooked and consumed by people due to its healthy factors. Its leaves are used in salads. They are high in iron. The seeds of this plant are hard but are often used to brew tea because the outer core of the seed will dissolve in boiling water. The Dragon Pigmy earned its name due to the leaves of this plant closely resembling the wings of some species of Pigmy dragons.

Besides the Aniya and the Dragon Pigmy, the kingdom is famous for its tropical fruit. This fruit, called a Learan, grows on a fairly short tree in the far south of the kingdom. The Learan tree has a short trunk. This tree grows in a spire-like fashion; the base of it is very wide while the apex is narrow. This causes the tree to look like an enormous thorn. Such an exterior is emphasized by a lack of branches. The tree trunk is covered with round leaves that grow upwards along the tree trunk and seem to cover the tree in scales. The fruit that this tree grows is hidden among its coat of round leaves. The fruit has a cone-shape with a rounded base. The fruit grows taller and longer as it ripens and grows towards the sun. The fruit, at its earliest stages, is a green color equal to the color of the tree’s leaves. At this stage, the fruit is poisonous and the acid from it could cause tissue damage in the body. As the fruit ripens, its color transitions to blue before turning violet. When the fruit has turned blue, the poisonous fluids within have been transformed into sugars. Fruits from this tree are harvested during summer. They are picked when they are a shade of indigo. Learan fruit tastes rather sweet. Its outer core is a thick layer of flexible skin. Within this layer lays soft matter and a lot of liquid. This fruit is high in vitamins and is often used to create fruit juices or wine. In some instances, the fruit is converted into a paste-like substance to be eaten on bread. This fruit is popular even among young children due to the sweetness of it. Besides the fruit this tree provides, the Learan tree is often harvested for its sturdy wood. Learan wood has the benefit of being flexible and resistant to moisture. However, due to the rarity of these trees (they only grow in the south of Sandöhr) the expenses paid for a stack of wood are high.


STEP 3: Describe locations

Many locations become more interesting if you think about how they look or are organized. This makes describing them later on more fun too. It will also hold a stronger identity.

5a. Sketch or describe the way major cities are structured. Consider if the city has walls and if so what they are made of. If there is a castle or fortress, decide the characters for this as well. Decide if the streets are wide or narrow, if roofs are straw or wood. Decide if the roads are paved or if it is simply covered in sand. Perhaps there are cathedrals, academies, libraries or other noteworthy locations. Choose a location in the city for them and give them their own personal exterior.

It can be difficult to decide different identities for everything but this will make it more distinguished and intriguing to have characters visit them. They will have certain touches that set them apart. If you write about their exterior, it will also become easier to visualize them and thus write about them.

STEP 4: Final touches

Though the world is fairly complete now, it remains to be said that many writers like to add specific touches to their world. This is the point at which you can add all the unique aspects that you deem important. Something that I am prone to doing is noting certain aspects about certain areas. An example is that a road in one of my stories was made of a very interesting material. These are things I will record.

Good luck on your world building. 

May destiny be kind to you.

The Circle of Life

Before I get into anything, I would like to mention something to my latest readers; a simple thank you, that is. Those likes and follows make my day, truly! Receiving a notice on my phone that someone liked what I wrote and/or chose to follow me is an occasion that makes me smile quite sincerely. Little moments of sunshine, those are.

Now then, let us move along!

After having spent a partial week and partial weekend with a good friend, I am back to the ‘uni life’. The previous weekend was fun but hectic. My friend and I visited a spa for an entire day. We enjoyed saunas, steam baths, the pool, the hot tub and delightful food. However, upon returning home, we found the kitchen floor covered in water… After spamming my landlord’s phone and mopping to try to keep the water from increasing, the landlord appeared and shut off the water. Great, right? He promised to call someone on Monday morning after which he delivered buckets full of water and bottles and other containers to my home so we had at least some water to live on.

I did not mean to ramble about the subject so much but it was definitely an interesting thing. I kept laughing at the pure absurdity because that was the only way to feel all right.

At the moment, I am feeling even more wonderful. I have enjoyed my evening with games and music. I have been playing the Lion King musical CD. When I first started the music, I had a few chills of nostalgia. I became acquainted with the music from the movie when I was but a miniature version of myself. I have loved it ever since then. Later, when I was seven, my mother, aunt and niece attended the musical. To my dismay, I was not allowed to join them. However, my mother brought something back to the home after the musical; the CD of the music.

There were only a few things I did often at that age. Listening to the Lion King CD was one of them. I am quite sure I drove my whole family crazy since I played it in my radio without end. I would dance to the music, sing along and often times play it while doing something crafty (like making paper slippers). I made them look like animals as well; small dots on yellow shoes for a cheetah, or round ears and a tail for a mouse. When my older brother found out about them, he asked me to make slippers for him too. I had about twenty pairs by that time and I made him several as well.

Before every trip we were going to embark on as a family, I grabbed the CD and ensured it came with us on the trip so I could listen to it in the car as well. My brothers and I would draw or play while the music played on endless repeat.

Now, sixteen years later, I am still listening to the same music, though not the same CD. That CD was so worn that it kept skipping. We had played it till its very demise. Distraught, I inspected the wonderful world of the internet and found another CD. My ability to click the order button had never been so instinctive and rapid. The next day the disk arrived on my doormat. What a treat!

Whenever I listen to it, I envision the musical but I also feel all the beautiful memories flooding into my mind and the sensations associated with them into my heart. I am not prone to reminiscing, but this is definitely a version of that which gives me extensive joy. To know that something so simple as a set of tracks on a CD can revive so many thoughts. These thoughts are of the happiness I felt as a child and the kindness of my family towards one another. These are things I am grateful for and that nothing can replace. They are the greatest gift anyone can ask for.

I can only envision what attending the actual musical will do. In the month of June, my parents, younger brother and I are going to visit it. We have second row seats to boot! I’m sure my dear readers can now guess which CD I am going to bring along on the drive to the musical.

May destiny be kind to you.

Recipe: Pasta with veggies and pesto

Sometimes I experience days where I am eager to cook. In most of those cases, I make what I am familiar with but on some days I am willing to experiment. The best thing is that it has nearly always ended well. I don’t remember all the recipes that I have come up with but here is one that I made for my friend and myself last night. The recipe consists of three portions. I personally cook with organic products. I highly suggest doing the same to get the optimal flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  • +/- 15 g pine nuts
  • 125 g pesto (green)
  • 440 g pasta of any kind
  • teaspoon oil/butter

Instructions:

Step 1: Put butter or oil into a frying pan and let it dissolve.

Step 2: Cook the pasta as instructed.

Step 3: While the pasta cooks, cut the zucchini into small squares. Bake the zucchini on low heat in the frying pan. Stir now and then to get each piece baked well.

Step 4: Cut the garlic into small pieces. Use a garlic press to create small fragments or cut to a small size. Add the garlic to the zucchini.

Step 5: Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and add them to the frying pan.

Step 6: Add the pesto and pine nuts and stir slowly. Add any spices or herbs if desired but it is not necessary.

Step 7: When done cooking, place the pasta in a colander or use another method to part the pasta from its water. Add the pasta to the remaining ingredients and stir till the ingredients are well mixed.

Don’t forget to turn off the stove! We don’t want houses burning down…

Have a nice meal!

 

Cards!

Time sure flies on by! I’m already halfway through my second semester of my first year of university. On that note; I am still enjoying it. I have learned a lot, met new people and gained understanding about who I am as well.

It has also been about a year since I started working on a game. The first few cards have been created. Here I have assembled a few different ones. Does it look appealing?

Cards

I’m still not sure what to call this game but I might call it something that relates to the word ‘destiny’ since it is something I am prone to using on this blog.

Our Faith; Four Principles

It was about three and a half years ago when this conversation occurred. It took place between myself, a dear friend and a young man. The conversation’s lead I do not remember, but I remember the following;

Young man; “So then, what is it that you two believe?”

Me; “I can’t explain. If you believe it, then you just know.”

Young man; “Ugh, women…”

Friend; “It’s not just women. We know men who believe this too and I’m sure they’d agree.”

It took me a lot of time to finally begin to comprehend, in modern English words, what I/we believe. In my dreams, I often have in depth conversations with people about these beliefs but they are never held in any language that I know. While in these dreams though, everything makes sense and the conversations have a lot of depth and content. Yet when I wake up, I am unable to reproduce any of this.

So after both having done my third set of exams (yay!) as well as some long thinking, I have come up with the basics of what we believe. To keep things simple for now, I will explain the four basic principles. I spoke to my friend about this too and she agrees that they encompass mostly what we feel is important. So here are the four basic principles for a faith that has no name.

Be kind

When considering kindness, this means that you extend a helping hand to others. You treat them in a fashion that you would like to be treated by others. You attempt to be considerate of the feelings and thoughts of others and will not judge them for it. Yet while emanating such kindness into the world, you also need to give it to yourself. You need to give to yourself that which you need; food, sleep, relaxation and anything else that you might need that is not based on material needs. Perhaps you enjoy exercise to help your body. Perhaps you like to read to enhance your knowledge. Perhaps you enjoy creative outlets. These are also forms of being kind to yourself.

Be gentle

The second principle is based on gentleness. This does not entail you can not be assertive in what you need and want. It means that you will be a calm person and be gentle to yourself and your surroundings. You will be gentle to animals and other forms of nature. You will be kind to trees and plants and will be considerate of their contribution. A gentle nature also means that you will be gentle in emotions. Though you may become upset or angry, it is important to understand why so you can attempt to resolve it and be calm and gentle once again. By solving your problems, you are being good to yourself. Also included in this principle is patience. This principle is closely linked with the first.

Be true

This principle asks that you be honest and fair with the world and yourself. You need to accept what the world gives you and treat it as its honesty. Also be honest with yourself and accept what and who you are. If you have flaws, that is okay. Be aware of them and accept them to the best of your ability. The principle of truth also means that you need to attempt to be yourself; the real, true you. It means that you follow what your heart tells you is right. In doing so, you must still be aware of facts that the world presents to you. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. Be curious of the world and attempt to uncover its secrets. Look beyond the veil. Do this with people in your life too. Judge them for their heart only if you know their heart’s contents and intent.

Be open

Being open means being curious as well as open-minded. Do not shut yourself off from the world and other people. See experiences as building blocks for your own self. If things go well, you are being rewarded. If things are tough, you are being given a lesson. Such an awareness will help you face hardships. Expansion of the mind and personal, spiritual growth are the path that our beliefs attempt to place people on. Being open also means that attempting to accept anything that comes your way. Letting go and simply enduring might be hard but it is often the best way to overcome hardships.

By combining all these principles, you can attempt to be an overall good person who strives to do what is right and to grow. This will ultimately lead to the greater goals in our faith; completion, connection and infinite love. I will write more about this next time. I wish to keep this post simple and basic so it doesn’t become overwhelming. If you are still curious however, be patient and it will come to you.

May destiny be kind to you.