Making Art and Obsessing Over Red Pandas

April 17, 2022

Creativity / Culture and Society

The other night, I told my partner MaxZine that his spirit animal was a red panda. Not knowing what one looked like, he said I was being ridiculous, and then I showed him a picture of one.

He did not disagree.

Of course, HOW COULD HE? They might be THE CUTEST furry animals on the planet, like ever. Ugh. SO. DAMN. CUTE.

My lock screen on my phone currently uses this image:

Apparently, this is how red pandas often sleep—slumped on their stomachs on a tree branch with their legs dangling away. CUTENESS OVERLOAD. I just can’t.

On a more sobering note, these adorable creatures are actually high up on the global endangered species list with less than 10,000 of them existing in the wild. A loss of natural habitat due to deforestation, an increase in human population, and various extenuating circumstances appear to be the cause of these diminishing returns. A concerted effort carried out by numerous zoos and wildlife agencies around the world to breed them in captivity is currently in motion.

When I am not fighting the urge to watch red panda videos on YouTube, I’ve been making art.

  1. Piano

Daily work continues on the piano. I am learning a Beethoven piece in addition to tweaking (and practicing) several of my own original songs. I am also working on my own interpretation of another classic Beethoven piece that I want to film for my channel.

2. Drawing

Over on “The Facebook” (aka the Zuckerberg evil empire), I have been posting weekly thankfulness posts. I draw something for which I am thankful, and then I post the drawing on my FB feed. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the proceedings from this last week’s drawing.

A pencil draft of the seahorse.

Brush pens for the win.

The finished drawing.

3. Photography

Since spring is now firmly upon us, I took my camera along on my walk the other day. There was no shortage of splendor to behold. Here are some photos from that lovely excursion:

A red dead nettle which is neither dead nor fully red.

I love the textures and patterns on tiny leaves.

The darling buds of spring

4. Video and Film

I spent a lot of time over the last week editing video for an event that I filmed recently. It will probably be released some time in late May or June, but I loved how it turned out. (More on that later.)

Lastly, I present to you a side-by-side comparison of my partner and a red panda. Of course, one does not need to look like a particular animal for it to be one’s spirit animal, but in this case, why the heck not?

Thanks for stopping by!

Returning to the Wild

April 10, 2022

Culture and Society


It’s been a few months since I last posted here on my blog. I decided to take a break last fall to focus my energy on a big project. That undertaking extended through the winter and ended about three weeks ago. I raised my body out of that subterranean depth only to return now above ground and fully intact, as far as I can tell.

This return feels more like being a polar bear waking from hibernation at the wrong season—squinting at the brightness of the sun and sneezing miserably. I should have woken up much sooner, but alas, tardiness must be a better friend than absence.

I come back to this space wondering what I want to say. Over the last couple of years, I indulged in lots of book reviews and thoughtful posts about my reading practices. Right now, I am not certain that I want to continue along that path.

Through the foreseeable future, I will keep this space open to any topic that stirs my interest, and I will spend a lot of posts thinking aloud about how I am building a life for myself as an active artist—with the pitfalls of self-doubt and the triumph of accomplishment beckoning to me in their own irrepressible ways.

There is, of course, a purpose that shapes the foundation of this blog. I want to be a good writer. I have been a writer all of my life within various art forms such as essays, short stories, poetry, song lyrics, and film scripts. As with any craft, one can only improve by doing the work as often and as consistently as possible.

I want to write whatever comes to mind about my life, art, and culture, and it is time to do so. I have a lot to say.

I invite you, dear reader, to join me again in this place. The doors are now open. There’s lots of natural light for you and elephants to roam freely. I have made plenty of space for them and you to stay.


My Late Summer and Fall Reading List

August 15, 2021

Culture and Society

Today, I thought it might be a great change of pace to look ahead into what I will be reading soon instead of my usual book recommendation. Before I get into that, I want to share with you the qualities I look for in a prospective book.  

Here are the polka dot points:

  • Genre

For nonfiction, I tend to favor books about productivity, Zen buddhist minimalism, and anything having to do with cultivating creativity. For fiction, I get all Asian-excited if I find something whimsical. I’m always looking for this. (The first book of “The Magicians” comes to mind.) Otherwise, I try to find anything that is well-written and has a thoughtful and engaging story. Because I’m a weirdo, I also look for books that have anything to do with libraries and pianos, and I happen to have found some special ones.

  • A Separate World-View

I always try to seek out authors who are either people of color or who do not originate from America. The books that are considered classics have been generally written by white people (and largely white males). They often have Eurocentric and dare I say colonial sensibilities. Of course, many of them are actually great books, but I’ve read enough of them by now. I seek a broader perspective of the world and a multitude of sensibilities. This satisfies my curiosities much more fully.

  • Whimsy

I’ve mentioned this above, but this is something I always try to sniff out. It is hard to describe what I mean by this, but the best I can say is a book that expands the imagination joyfully.  The Harry Potter books might fall into this category, but they don’t necessarily have to be all that fantastical either.  There is a children’s book I love called “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.” The illustrations and the story are whimsical but in a subtle, real-world, and mysterious sort of way. (In fact, many children’s books could easily be grouped into this category, but I look for one’s that are intended for adults too.)  

Now that you know what I look for, you have a better idea of where my sensibilities lie. For the rest of August and into September, I have a few books on my to-read list. 

Here they are in no particular order.


Breath by James Nestor

A World Without Email by Cal Newport

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson


Summer Book by Tove Janssen

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Book 5) by Ransom Riggs

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Book 6) by Ransom Riggs

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell

The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson

I am always open to book recommendations from anyone, especially those of you who have become familiar with what gets my Asian goose in a tizzy.

As you can see, I have a lot of reading to do, which is no more or less than usual.  

What books are you tackling for the rest of the year?