The Room Upstairs


December 24, 2014 - the mature jade plant that I gave to my girlfriend’s dad for his birthday sits on a desk in an upstairs room beside a south facing window. That’s the only place in her house that gets enough light to support this large jade plant. On a recent check-up visit, I noticed it was overrun by mealy bugs, whiteflies, and other pests. I brought over my insecticidal soap and other plant care tools. Here’s what I did:

1) Protect the soil - the only substances that should get into soil are water and fertilizer. One time, I used insecticidal soap on the foliage of a plant but then washed it down right through the soil and out the drainage holes, I thought if I used enough water to wash it down, the roots would be okay - I was wrong! That plant died days after. For today’s pest control operation, I stuffed several plastic bags around the base of the stems to ensure that whatever I sprayed on the foliage would not touch the soil.

2) Targeted attack - with a mixture of conventional dish soap and water, I used an old paint brush to wipe off any visible pests. Mealy bugs like to hang out at leaf nodes or growing tips. Many pests can be found on the underside of leaves so elevating the plant will allow you to comfortably spot and kill the pests. Since this is a fairly large plant, I spent a good hour killing the pests one by one.

3) Preventive measures - I placed the entire plant into a laundry tub and sprayed all the foliage with the insecticidal soap. I really like this step because you sort of get a 2-for-1: by coating the foliage with the soap, you prevent further infestation AND the soap acts to clean off the foliage of water spots and other residue.

I finished off the care treatment by loosening the soil with a chopstick (it was very compacted) and thoroughly watering. After one week, I will inspect for any pests and do 2) if needed.

I am barricaded in my room because my family is being insane.
Along with my usual father problems,
My grandmother has come to visit and is drinking the alcohol I have in my personal living room upstairs.
By now, 3 days in, I have poured out the alcohol
Because my mother told her she couldn’t have any more and she lied to me and told me that my mother said it was okay
And I found out
And she keeps busting in asking for it
So I poured the shit out
And barricaded my door
And now I’m smoking and listening to music.
Tomorrow is going be worse.
My mom works until 3.
My niece and nephew won’t be here. And it’ll be Christmas so my dad will be acting an absolute fool.

Someone please save me.

I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.
—  C. S. Lewis

A refuge from thunderstorms.


What now towers to the sky

I did most of this during Saturday, in a cold room upstairs in my brothers big old house in Söderåsen, in the middle of nowhere outside of Östersund. The night before we drove past this lake. It was a too dark and too brief a moment for me to take any photos. I got this idea about teenagers wandering out on that ice and I did a note about it on a piece of paper, and as soon as we got to my brothers house I tried to quickly lay down the values as I remembered them, thank god for the Cintiq. As you can see in that first color sketch, I had a little jetty and a lamppost in the composition, but I thought this should be about the teenagers so I scrapped it.

As for the title - well, it’s from a Shins song, and it has nice visual imagery to it, plus as for it’s original context - it’s a perfect match for what predicament I imagine the guys in the picture are facing.

"I just feel so blessed."