Crabavad Gita


Crabavad Gita
Crabavad Gita

Motives
I sit on the jagged limestone overlooking the Crimson Beach of Peleliu; what a paradise it is. But in my thoughts, I grow discontent. I realize that within the century, these waters were red with blood: Men died here for purposes greater than themselves; and perhaps the greatest purpose is within them, the struggle to survive. I look down upon the rocks and see dozens of crabs hopping around and chasing each other. I laugh for a second, but recognize the same purpose within them. A blacktip distracts me as it splashes around momentarily in the waves of the ebbing tide before it submerges beneath the waves again. For the moment, I see Myself and mind the great purpose. And in my heart, i am home.

The Story
Crabs have always reminded me of survival ever since I returned from Peleliu. So I wanted to tell a story of survival with the characters being crabs. The story I chose is none other than the Bhagavad-Gita. I will do no justice to the book. I will not even come close to representing it’s ideas. The only connection is the situation: survival, and hero’s doubt arising from that.

Under his leaf, Arjuna sits in repose. It is better to stay home without much ado.
Under his leaf, Arjuna sits in repose. It is better to stay home without much ado.
In the distance, Arjuna hears the clicking of claws. He has harkened to the sound of war many times and has grown tired of fighting. Arriving to the battle, he sees that his adversary is his own cousin. In his despair, Arjuna flees across the sand. If not fighting, one must flee. Where is the refuge of the eternal?
In the distance, Arjuna hears the clicking of claws. He has harkened to the sound of war many times and has grown tired of fighting. Arriving to the battle, he sees that his adversary is his own cousin. In his despair, Arjuna flees across the sand. If not fighting, one must flee. Where is the refuge of the eternal?
In the palm of Krishna, Arjuna is mindful of the situation. If he need not fight, he is the righteous crab. Yet inaction is still action. Who denies the nature of things and is still not in accordance with their nature?
In the palm of Krishna, Arjuna is mindful of the situation. If he need not fight, he is the righteous crab. Yet inaction is still action. Who denies the nature of things and is still not in accordance with their nature?
Nature is the biggest thing, and even free will cannot deny it. By whose claw is the enemy destroyed? Arjuna has commit no action. Krishna has written the story by which what is created is also destroyed.
Nature is the biggest thing, and even free will cannot deny it. By whose claw is the enemy destroyed? Arjuna has commit no action. Krishna has written the story by which what is created is also destroyed.
It is time for action, good and evil. Arjuna charges into battle with the enemy. His claw is mighty and his shell is thick. It is ordained that he will be victorious.
It is time for action, good and evil. Arjuna charges into battle with the enemy. His claw is mighty and his shell is thick. It is ordained that he will be victorious.
An enemy is vanquished. The idea of an enemy will always be. Arjuna returns to the shelter under his leaf, pure in action because of his diligence to his nature. Action is still inactive on Krishna's way. Much easier is it to stay home without much ado.
An enemy is vanquished. The idea of an enemy will always be. Arjuna returns to the shelter under his leaf, pure in action because of his diligence to his nature. Action is still inactive on Krishna’s way. Much easier is it to stay home without much ado.
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Sino-Boogarian Doodles


Kung Fu Master
Kung Fu Master

This post is about my current style of doodling, which has been heavily influenced by Chinese characters.  The story begins in 2004 when I first started to study the Chinese language.  I was attracted to Chinese primarily because of its written characters.  They are visually appealing to me because they are glyphs.  Each character has an intrinsic meaning unlike the letters of the English alphabet that need to be combined to form words.  You can literally see the meaning of some characters.  Some examples are: 木,火,山,手 (wood, fire, mountain, and hand, respectively).  Other characters have patterns which suggest their meaning.  For instance, three dots on the left side of a word suggests a meaning related to water or fluidity.  Some examples are: 酒,海,渴,流 (alcohol, sea, thirsty, and flow, respectively).  The symmetry and shapes of Chinese characters really speak to me.  The more complicated the character, the more I like it.  Perhaps for this reason, I chose the Chinese name 钱达友.

Volcano
Volcano

Let me stop here to disclaim that I do not think I write beautiful Chinese characters.  In fact, most Chinese probably would look at my characters and recognize right away that they were written by a foreigner and/or a small child.  However after writing thousands or tens of thousands of characters I began to get a sense of the atomic parts of each character.  As I acquired this knowledge, my doodling began to evolve and incorporate the strokes used in writing Chinese.

Let me stop again to disclaim that I almost used the word “draw” just now, when what I really mean is “write”.  This is a common mistake that Chinese students will say.  Indeed I do feel like I am drawing when I write Chinese.  Maybe that is what I find so enjoyable about it.  I’m not writing an essay, I’m drawing pictures!

So anyway, my doodles changed.  I guess there is not much more to say about that, for now. Throughout this post, you can see some examples.  The rest of this post will be on some back story of each doodle and my vision for them in the future.

Fincon Master (the Hexacant)
Fincon Master (the Hexacant)

The Fincon Master, also known as the Hexacant, is an evil magician who lived long ago.  His powers were such that he could control the Fincons, small flying menaces that individually were not dangerous, but in swarms could devour entire armies.  For a time, the Hexacant was revered by his people and his wrongdoings went unnoticed.  His injustices were eventually outed by a young man who would later become the Chief.  The Hexacant fled into the caves where few would follow.  He journeyed deep into the earth pursuing arcane knowledge.  In the lair of the Borchax, he met his doom.  Ages later, a group of adventurers would undertake a perilous mission to recover his body and restore him to life.  The mission would cost all of them their lives.  But that is another story.

Hut
Hut

Deep in the jungles of the Shadow Island, there was a hut that few had ever found, and fewer yet had ever approached.  It sat on a raised wooden platform and was ringed by the heads of seafarers who were unfortunate enough to be marooned on that island.  The denizen of the hut was the steward of the island’s one lake, a portal to the land of the dead.  Everyday the lake’s waters restored it’s guardian’s to youth.  This blessing came also with a curse which caused the guardian to live in constant fear and suspicion.  For their reign lasted only as long as they were not slain by the next steward, in the same manner by which they had inherited the position.

Elementalist
Elementalist

The Elementalists are worshipers of fire in all its forms, the highest of which are the stars of the heavens.  For this reason, they are sky watchers, tracking the movements of all the stellar objects.  The Elementalists believe the future is written into the stars.  Their astronomers are said to predict future events by tracing the constellations and chanting aloud.  In actuality this tradition is one of story telling: the greatest bards inspire claims of divination because they have internalized the stories in all their forms.  The eyes of an Elementalist have their own magical properties.  They are imbued with the fire of sight, giving them the ability to see in the dark.  They can also read the magical runes of the Elementalists which are invisible to laymen.

Adventurer
Adventurer

So what is my vision for all of this anyway? Well as you might have read, I do have lots of loose story elements and random doodles.  I hope to someday compile these tidbits into a full length novel (or at least a compilation of short stories which form the basis for a mythological universe).  Eventually, I would also like to design a role-playing game around these elements.  I hope you enjoyed them.

Sources:

Zhongwen.com – Awesome Chinese resource

The King of Nemi – I shamelessly ripped this motif.

Intruder Named Packet


Whalebud the Cat
Whalebud the Cat

I was with the family in when I heard the doorbell ring. Who would ring the doorbell at 1 am? Scared but curious I answered the door and there was nothing. My dad wanted me to forget about it but I worried. I turned on a lot of lights in the house. In my dad’s closet I found a bald white teenager hiding. He had come to steal from us? I asked him who he was and he said Packet. He refused to tell me more because the police would come.

My fight instincts came in and I grappled him to the ground. I couldn’t let go of him and I was calling my dad to get the police but he wouldn’t do it so I called for my mom to do it. I think my dad eventually called. I fetched my sword and bashed the intruder with it several times. The thief turned into my cat but I was not tricked so I bashed him a couple times. I had misgivings about being so violent towards him so I declared something like, ‘How would I use my sword for good’. He turned into a mouse which was much smaller. I said, if only you stole from us in mouse form, we wouldn’t even care how much you took. The police weren’t coming. I didn’t want to kill him but I was afraid if I let him go he would remember us and come back for revenge. I tried reasoning with him and calling him by his name, Packet.

He eventually did escape in the form of my cat. Then I saw him and my “real” cat in an epic chase in the yard. The two cats were chasing each other around and which one was which. Their chase went to the roof of a neighbor’s house and I could only watch from a distance, completely dumbfounded. Eventually the chase came back into our yard.  I tried swatting the one that seemed to be being chased a few times. Eventually, he tried to flee back into our house. My mom noted he had also been de-clawed like our cat. I think the resolving solution was just to adopt him as another cat.

* – We did not de-claw our cat, it was like that when we adopted it.  De-clawing cats is inhumane.

Notes on My Personal Interpretation of the Intruder Dreams:

In 2008, I had a bad experience while playing with my cat.  I was holding him in the air and he hissed loudly.  As I put him down, he went limp on the ground.  He had suffered a fatal heart attack.  It was a deeply traumatic experience for me.  My parents got another fat orange cat to help me cope with the loss.

Initially recording the dream, I thought that the intruder had turned into my present living cat.  On further reflection, however, it dawned on me that he was actually a manifestation of death and my cat that had died.

Intruder in the Yard


Whalebud the Cat
Whalebud the Cat

I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone in the backyard. She was mad at me saying I hadn’t spent enough time with her. She was going to go play pool with another man who she said was a friend. I said okay but deep down I was mad about it. I looked in the reflection of my cell phone and saw a man creeping past me.

I confronted the man and told him I was going to hold him and call the police. We struggled fiercely. We were locked in a grip on the ground. I tried eye gouging the man to stop him from struggling. I tried to call my dad and mom for help but they wouldn’t come. I became aware that my dad was reading the news and wasn’t taking my calls for help seriously.

I became aware that I was holding my cat in a death grip. I realized I must have been dreaming or was tricked by the intruder. I let go of him because I didn’t want to hurt my cat. I was still mad at my dad so we argued about it at dinner. He was arguing that no one took him seriously about his politics. I argued that he wasn’t taking my calls for help seriously.

The Unbeatable Enemy


Thor Wrestling Elli by Robert Engels (1919)
Thor Wrestling Elli by Robert Engels (1919)

I was outside my home playing around. Some kids from across the street came over and started throwing rocks at me. I got angry and threw rocks back but they persisted in harassing me. I started fighting with one of them. The fight started out not so serious and I was trying to wrestle with him and punch him. As it progressed however, the fight became more and more serious and I was attempting lethal attacks such as eye gouging. At one point I thought I killed the kid. Instead, he turned into a deranged skinny corpse-like man and still engaged in fighting me. I remember him saying something to the effect that He will never be defeated; he will always persist in fighting me no matter how much I damage him. As the fight raged on, it became more dangerous until I woke up.

The Girl in the Tiles in Hell


Demon Minotaur by TheGreatDevin
Demon Minotaur by TheGreatDevin

I was on a farm with Gillian Anderson from the X-files. Suddenly, the ground went evil. Dogs were barking and growling and tentacles come out from the ground. They grabbed onto Gillian and pulled her underground. She was in a tiled labyrinth. A Minotaur demon was chasing her and trying to catch her. She fled into the tiles. The Minotaur demon saw that every tile looked the same: a little girl in a blue dress holding a baby lamb caringly. He started to smash the tiles in attempt to kill her but her spirit could always flee to another tile. In his frustration, the Minotaur monster turned into an old feeble man. The girl came out to comfort him.

jquery.tent for Simple Popups


I created a new jQuery plugin for handling simple pop-ups.  The plugin is called jquery.tent.  It is available here (https://github.com/danielbank/jquery.tent).  It is based off a tutorial by Keith Wood for making jQuery plugins (http://keith-wood.name/pluginFramework.html).  I highly recommend this tutorial because it explains things quite well and the code itself is really well written.

Usage of jquery.tent is simple:

1. Initialize a DOM element as a tent.

$("#pop-up").tent();

 


2. Set the tent options to control the location where the popup is shown.

$("#pop-up").tent('option', {left: 0, top: 0});

 


3. Show the pop-up.

$("#pop-up").tent('show');

 


4. Hide the pop-up.

$("#pop-up").tent('hide');

Thoughts and Musings by Daniel Bank