this is 9 months old

Dear future wife…

I been trying to figure out a way to write these words for like the past 5 years now. I think it’s because that’s when I turned 21, when things were fun for my peers but I was consciously dreaming on how to spend my life with you explicitly. I’ve been extremely patient while battling temptation from a world that tells me “fuck a wife” and “it’s cool to have a grip of girls” — yet I’ve still been roaming the ocean just to prove why waiting for you was worth my world. I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up visualizing a life, one where I’d never leave your side. Can you imagine how many pieces of paper I balled up out of frustration because I thought I met you in someone else only to give my all, then end up back by myself.

See when you finally look into my eyes, I want you to know that I was the walking definition of persistence. No matter how many times I was told “just fuck these hoes” I resisted. Because I couldn’t imaging myself trading in a night for what’s missing. When you look at me I want you to see the queen within yourself that reflects from my pupils but penetrate your soul. A sight that magnifies your queendom, so if your love were particles and I was blind I could still see them.

You have no idea how many times in my mind you said, “I do” without me even meeting you.

This is beyond fate or a first date. My soul is so entangled in your spirit that even from heaven I can feel it. I need you to know that the last love I believed to be you stabbed me so intensely that life wasn’t worth living. However, your hand touched my faced and it was in that feeling that I found hope. The journey for you became my solace to exist, my reason to persist, my will to resist, my heart to risk.

Never forget I risked it all for you before you knew I risked it.

So no matter where you are in the universe, I’ll find you. No matter how long it takes, I’ll search for you. The reason why is because I can feel you too. You’re searching for me and you’re dealing with heartbreak, fake love, regrets, and setbacks. Once I find you, I’ll set back your setbacks. I’ll make you fall in love so deeply you’ll forget those regrets. Any fake love you’ve experienced will become realer than any HD romantic film you’ve experienced.

On that day you take my hand in marriage I’ll smile and say, “We’re married.” I’ll remind you that your love was always mine to carry. That the men you’ve experienced in your past was exactly what the universe needed you to experience to be the women you are now. I’ll kiss your forehead a million times, to make a million rhymes; you’ll lay next to me and I’ll write you a million lines on this same sheet of paper.

The love I give you as your Prince Charming will become realer than your reality. You’ll never need love as a supplement. Your smile will shine the darkest of days. Your aura will shine the darkest of ways. The love we create when we have children will validate every word I say. I’ll love you like the seeds you grow for 9 months, as if it were a 100 years and we were old and gray. I still hold your hand each and every day.

I don’t know when I’ll find you but I know when I do every single minute will be worth the lifetime you deserved to have me there while I desperately searched this desert.
Believe me when I say on that day we’ll be in love forever…

My future wife.

A rare snake-related post by me-

I have had Vision, a dwarf BCI and my youngest snake, for roughly 9 months now. He will be a year old in July, so by snake standards he is still very much a baby. In the past 9 months, he’s gone from, for lack of better words, a bitey defensive asshole to a relatively passive and trusting creature who simply has Rules ™ on how, where, and when he can be touched. I used the same method to produce these results as I do with all of my reptiles, including my young snake of a notoriously aggressive and defensive species (Amazon Tree Boas) and have frequently been asked how I manage to get these animals that instinctively bite first and ask questions never to allow handling and pictures without drawing blood.

On my dog blog I’ve mentioned the concept of body autonomy a few times in relation to training dogs, and how it crosses over into husbandry in other species. In these posts I’ve detailed how I tame the larger birds at my job, how I teach my snakes not to bite me when I take them out, how I can successfully convince a thrashing dog to accept grooming without a fuss, how I teach cats to not turn into screaming demons for nail trims, and more. I also cover this in many of my dog training lectures at work as my students teach their dogs to allow grooming, nail trims, and medically related handling to prevent injuries and incidents when interacting with these animals. All of this relates back to body autonomy, and how we as humans have consistently ignored other species’ instinctive need to be autonomous.

I am no master animal trainer and do not play one on TV. I train pet dogs and service dogs and have begun to venture into competition, at one point I specialized in rehabbing aggressive and reactive dogs. I have trained various common pet animals in occasionally unconventional ways to do things that make life easier for the both of us, but I don’t claim to be anything special, because what I’m doing is not all that special. It is, however, uncommon for people to make these considerations with their pets and then they call in someone like me to fix a problem that didn’t need to start in the first place.

An example being: frequently on this website and others, the solution for convincing a biting snake not to bite you is to hold it still until it stops biting you. The snake will learn that biting you does not produce the desired result (you letting the snake go or putting it back in its cage) and thus will eventually stop biting you when you pick it up.

In the dog training world, we call this flooding and learned helplessness. It “works” because it produces what we wanted it to. The snake no longer bites when you pick it up. But it failed to address the root of the problem, and frequently if regular handling is not maintained the snake will return to biting you every time you touch it. The snake had learned that there was nothing it could do in order to make you stop doing what it didn’t like, and so had learned that it was helpless against the much larger human. The snake in this situation still doesn’t really want to be handled, it is merely tolerating it because it sees no other option.

While snakes have a much more primitive brain than dogs and thus a much more limited scope of emotions, aggression and violence are always expensive measures to use and thus are frequently considered last resort measures to make an unpleasant situation stop. They are costly in body resources- they take large amounts of energy, stress, and time to resolve, and wounds obtained from violence can become deadly with infection or severity. As a result, a bite should always indicate that whatever you are doing is so unpleasant to the animal you’re doing it to that they’re willing to risk their life in order to make you stop. The common pet snake knows it cannot win against an animal as large as a human. It is hoping you have not come to the same realization, and will not call its bluff.

This creates a problem. Like with dogs, backing off from a situation that is required after a bite will teach the snake that all they have to do to get you to leave them alone is to bite you. If I need to trim my dog’s nails, give him a bath, brush him, or have him examined by a vet, sure I could put him in a muzzle and force him to do it anyway, but it is counter-intuitive to teach him that all he has to do is bite me in order to get out of doing those things he may consider unpleasant. I need to be able to handle my snakes. This is not negotiable, just like the above things I do with my dogs are not negotiable. If I cannot handle them, I cannot check them for injury, disease, or distress. Backing off because my snake, or dog, has threatened to bite me is thus not a viable option. I must be able to complete the task, and the animal in question must let me.

Dogs, by comparison, are relatively easy to convince in this problem. I need to be able to do my dog’s nails. If I give him amazing treats on a good reward schedule, shower him with praise, listen to his body language to give him a chance to calm down and destress before pressing on, and remove my own negative emotions from the equation, he will learn to let me do his nails and even offer the position required for the task within a relatively short amount of time. He does not have to like having his nails done, but I can convince him to like he benefits he gets out of it. Cats and birds and small mammal pets like ferrets, rabbits, and rodents may be slower, but follow much the same way.

I can’t give a snake a treat. That’s not really how snake digestive systems work. I can’t give them a toy. I can’t give them praise. The subtleties of snake body language are much harder to read due to a lack of eyelids, ears, and limbs. Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, all of these are social creatures that practice social bonding and feel an emotion similar to love (in the dog’s case, actually do feel love). Snakes are not social creatures and their brain is not capable of producing the chemicals involved in the emotion we call love. I cannot convince a snake to love me or to like being handled. That is not something their biology is able to do. Does that mean I have to rely on flooding and learned helplessness in order to get them to let me handle them?

I keep stressy species. While all reptiles are more than capable of stressing themselves to death, my current list of exotic pets includes a special needs ball python with a severe neurological condition, a brazilian rainbow boa specifically purchased from someone who breeds minimally stressy snakes because he got tired of the species’ reputation for being bitey assholes, and a dwarf bci locality (read: like a subspecies, but not different enough to get their own scientific name) known for being defensive bitey assholes. Previously, I had a special needs corn snake that was a defensive bitey asshole, an amazon tree boa that was remarkably handleable despite the species’ reputation for being aggressive and defensive bitey angry assholes, and a few foster ball pythons that came from neglect situations and had never been handled before leading to them being defensive bitey assholes. Stress is common in situations where aggression or violence is utilized, even if it is being utilized by the animal and not the human. If the stress from moving can kill my beloved ATB Hydra, why would I intentionally expose him to situations where he would feel required to use violence again and again until he learned that that was not a way out of the situation?

I did not flood my snakes. I hold them. They do not bite me. It has been a long time since any of them have even struck at me, and the majority of the bites and strikes I have received have been from when I was learning the snake in front of me or from me intentionally ignoring their body language and handling them a way I knew they didn’t like for whatever reason. Snakes do not bite without cause. Whether you, a human, can see that cause or not, snakes do not bite because they are vindictive or mean. As said, their brains are far too primitive to feel such complex emotions. Even wild snakes do not bite without provocation- whether you intentionally provoked them or not does not matter, simply whether they felt provoked enough to need to defend themselves possibly with their lives.

Vision came to me unsure of my intentions and of whether I could be considered safe. He certainly didn’t believe I should be picking him up. At two months old, the world is a scary place to a baby snake where nearly everything is bigger than you and nearly everything wants to kill or eat you. I do not blame him for doubting the warm giant cooing over him with grabby hands. To him, I’m sure I am some baffling mixture of hawk, bear, and wild canine. All of these things readily kill and eat snakes, all of these things may be persuaded to not kill and eat this particular snake if he bites them.

Instead of picking him up and allowing him to spend precious resources stressing himself to the point of repeatedly biting me- which hurts, by the way, so I don’t really want to be bitten any more than I need to be- I allowed him to show me things about him. I let him show me what he does when he’s nervous, when he doesn’t want to be bothered. I let him show me what he does when he’s curious and feels like investigating what’s in front of him. I let him show me how he does and does not like to be touched. Like many snakes, he seems to enjoy being scratched lightly under the chin. Like many snakes, he doesn’t seem to appreciate being tickled on the stomach. He prefers to create a “foot” about 2/3 down his body and use it as an anchored perch when exploring my hands. He does not want his tail to be touched. When he is nervous or unsure of potential danger, he will retract and coil himself into a loose ball. If pressed before he recovers, he will “expand” the “ball” quickly and vocalize. If he continues to be pressured, he will threaten to bite and will begin to try. If he is allowed to relax, he will recreate his “foot” and resume quietly investigating his surroundings.

Today, I took the lid off of his enclosure and lifted him out without a fuss. While this is not a first- we accomplished this task about 4 weeks in- only in the past few weeks has he not immediately retracted into his loose ball and required me to wait a few minutes for him to relax before touching him. Instead, he immediately made his “foot” and began to investigate, leaned against my finger as I scratched his chin, and maintained his confidence throughout the time I handled him. Sure, I could possibly get a similar result through the first method of flooding and teaching him that he is helpless against me, but I don’t need to. I can get a confident content snake that is not only tolerating my handling but also showing curiosity and intelligence without forcing him to accept my hands as things he has to deal with in his life.

The people espousing these methods always ask me how I managed to take such nice, interesting pictures of Hydra without bleeding- or joke about how much blood they think I lost inbetween shots- and are always surprised when I tell them that I don’t get bit because I understand a snake’s need for autonomy and allow the snake to tell me their “rules” for being touched and then follow those rules or understand if I break them I will get bit. As a result, I don’t break their rules unless I have to, and thus I don’t get bit unless I have to. This allows me to handle and investigate my snakes, look in their mouths, check their vents and between their scales, touch their heads, and rescue them from fluke accidents such as Quetzal’s injury with his decor without the snake taking their frustrations out on me. It also allows me to take some pretty pictures of them outside or on props without worrying how I will retrieve them without being bitten when I’m done. 

4

Ok so time to be a bit dramatic.

I started drawing (like characters and scenes from books and fan art - I’ve technically been drawing since I was a kid) when I read the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series. All I wanted to do was to draw my favorite characters. Percy Jackson also started my love for books and fantasy in general. This was 7 grade. I was 12.

Skipping to 8 grade. 13 years old. My anime phase. I call it a phase bc it burned bright then died down. Not only did I stop reading books for a few months, but my art style also went to: anime. My art teacher actually told me to get out of the anime; that is wouldn’t do me good as an aspiring illustrator. But I ignored her, thinking I could make my own way without help from better artists.

Summer going into 9 grade, 14 years old (a few months after 8 grade ended) I read The Mortal Instruments series. I read those books in under a month along with The Infernal Devices series. It broke me out of my anime stage. I started to find my own style while drawing the characters. It not only shaped my art, but it brought me back into the world of literature that I didn’t realized I had left behind.

Now. 15 years old. Going into my sophomore year of high school. One year later from reading TMI/TID/TDA. My art has improved. Clary and Jace still mean as much to me now as they did then if not more.

If you would have told me when I was 12 that when I was 15, that The Shadowhunter Chronicles would replace PJO/HOO as my all time favorite series, I would’ve called you a liar. If you would’ve shown me I would be drawing this three years later - I would’ve laughed in your face.

But it’s true. This is real. This is me. My art. My passion. Books do change people. But only if you let them.

3

Growing cacti/succulents from seed

Environment
Surroundings need to be humid. I use a plastic box (from daiso) that can contain 6 pots of seedlings, 20-40 seedlings per pot. You can use any container or cover the pot with a plastic bag to make the air humid. They are in a shaded spot with no direct sunlight.

Water
When germinating seedlings, I will add rainwater so that there is at least 1cm of standing water in the box. Once they sprout I reduce watering so that only the potting mix is moist at all times.

Potting Mix
I use fine sifted volcanic rock (particles less than 1mm) mixed with a bit of compost and cactus mix (the larger brown clumps in photos). I do not sterilise the mixture beforehand but you can always do so.

Seeds
For larger seeds like cactus I will arrange them in rows. For smaller seeds like echeveria I will sprinkle them on the surface randomly. After sowing, spray with rainwater to lightly push them into the surface of the potting mix. Pictured seedlings are frailea phaeodisca and mixed astrophytum seedlings of 3-9 months old.

Okay…so ever since I saw Spider-Man Homecoming something has been on my mind, and it is purely just me looking into things that aren’t really there, but I just have to share. 

So do you guys remember when Tony said- “everyone said I was crazy to recruit a fourteen year old kid,” and Peter quickly corrected- “I’m fifteen,” yeah, remember that? Well that little interaction stuck in my head. 

So we don’t have a canon birthday for Peter Parker, but most of us head-canon that it is August 10th because that is when the first Spider-Man comic was published in the sixties. 

Well, obviously Spider-Man Homecoming was set around the time of Midtown High-School’s Homecoming Dance, which are usually scheduled as a way to welcome the kids back to school, so most likely in September perhaps October at the latest. 

Which would mean Peter has only been fifteen for two, maybe three months.

If you watch the first scene where Peter is introduced in Civil War he mentions having his powers for six months, and in Homecoming when it shows Peter back on the subway it is set three months after Civil War (or at least I’m pretty sure it said three I’ve only seen the movie twice) putting Peter at having his powers for nine months

So if Peter’s only been fifteen for two months…but has had his powers for nine…dose that mean he was bitten by the spider as a fourteen-year-old? 

And even if Peter waited a bit before making his spider costume and going out to fight crime with his new found abilities (which I doubt he did, because in a world of superheroes y’know that this was his dream) he still would have been fourteen when he started. 

Which brings me back to Tony calling Peter fourteen. 

We know that Tony was watching and monitoring Peter’s activity as Spider-Man for a few months before he brought Peter to Germany (maybe even from the beginning) so at that time Peter would have been fourteen. 

So when Tony said- “Everyone said I was crazy to recruit a fourteen year old kid,” I don’t really think it was a slip up, I think he was referring to the fact that at the time Peter was fourteen.

So yeah, this has been my very round about way of saying- GuYS I’M FreAkINg OuT bECAusE wHAt iF?!?! WhAT IF pEtER sTArTEd oUt as A sMaLl FoUrTeEn YeaR OLd FreShMeN!?!?