When someone asks me: “Pao, after the disasters that were 2016 and 2017, how did you go into 2018?” I’m going to answer: “Exhausted and unprepared, but frying plaice for dinner for my beloved partners.”

I don’t have many hopes for the coming year, but I would like for this year to have more art in it than the last.  I do hope I get to develop new medic skills and learn more medical things, and I hope I will have very little use for them.  I hope the new year will be kind to my friends and the rest of the world, but it feels like a hollow hope.  And, as always, I’d rather not hope for too much and be disappointed than I’d rather have very few hopes and instead be pleasantly surprised when good things actually happen.

But after two years that have been absolute disasters in so many ways (although I’ll be the first to admit some really good things happened to me during both – to my pleasant surprise), maybe the best way to go into the new year is like that: making something small but nice for those we love?  Not necessarily big celebrations, not necessarily by hoping for or promising too much, but by making a nice meal to be enjoyed together in spite of every terrible thing that has happened?

To feel some pride and satisfaction that despite it all, we’re still here, and we can still love.
And as long as we still care about one another, as long as we can still love and be loved…

… there is hope, and a chance that life will pleasantly surprise us in unexpected ways.

* * *

This song is still very important to me, and my tradition for the last fourteen years or so has been to listen to it once every New Year’s Eve, but this year I just feel so tired of everything.  Our doomsday has lingered over our heads for too long already.  However, I realised that I haven’t translated this song in many, many years, so instead of listening to it this year I decided to translate it again.  It’s not an entirely literal translation, because languages are different and I tried to get the translation to flow better than a literal one, but it’s as close as I can get.

Here’s my 2017/2018 translation of the song ‘Nyårshambo’ by the Swedish band Big Fish.


And the night is wild, and the day is difficult
and there is nothing in between them
Anxiety for tomorrow, shame from yesterday
and Satan shovels coal in the cellar
The big things are all ruined, all the nice things are so small
soon not even that little will remain
The face is ashen, the conscience ragged
and every day is like the last day we have left

It seems like it’s become New Year’s again
a new year has come to an end yet again
and that which has happened can never happen again
now the new times shall begin
It seems like it’s become New Year’s again
a big part of our lives has passed, one two three
and we shall also fade away, one two three
then there will be no time left to mourn
I want to go to heaven, but I don’t want to die
so I remain in hell instead
I set out to find a beautiful lady
and wait for the big explosion
Because nothing can live on the Earth the way it turns
she and I we both understand that
Fireworks light up the skies and everyone cheers
now our doomsday begins
It seems like it’s become New Year’s again
a new year has come to an end yet again
and that which has happened can never happen again
now the new times shall begin
It seems like it’s become New Year’s again
a big part of our lives has passed, one two three
and we shall also fade away, one two three
then there will be no time left to mourn


/pao – 02.24 – 1 jan 2018


The One Minute Rule

I’m catsitting two cats.  When I get home after having been away, there’s always a lot to do. I have to check their food and the water, and almost every time I need to wipe up cat urine by the door, and clean the litter box, not to mention all the tasks associated just with coming in from outside: take off my coat and scarves, pull off the shoes, find a place to put my bags …

… all the while the cats are over me in seconds. Sometimes even before I’ve managed to get in through the door. To suddenly have a cat on my back who’s eager to rub her teeth all over the back of my head and another meowing loudly and sitting up on her hind legs to reach up to get kisses on the forehead does not help me do any of these things I have to get done.

It’s easy to get frustrated at them. They don’t understand all of these things I must do before I can settle and calm down after having been out, maybe having carried heavy things from the store or had a very upsetting taxi trip. They don’t know that every bit of me might be hurting.
(Although to be honest, they might very well know that last bit. They seem to always know that bit.)

But instead of trying to shoo them off, most often I will sit down to properly greet them. All the other things can wait, because I have the One Minute Rule. (I readily confess that I just made this name up, because I suddenly needed some sort of catchy name for this thing I do now when writing this post, and ‘the One Minute Rule’ is as good as any.)

The One Minute Rule says that within one minute of me coming home, both cats should have gotten enough attention and cuddles/petting/head kisses to be purring. It’s not like I’m counting the seconds or measuring the time, but it’s a goal that I work towards, and very often I seem to succeed.

All those other things just have to wait. Unless for example I’m in so bad a shape I need to go take meds or lay down or something else has happened that I really instantly have to deal with right away, I will sit there and make sure those cats purr before I get back up. Anything else is secondary to that.

Because, while they might not understand all the things I have to do every time I come home, what I understand is that they don’t mean to be annoying or in the way of me doing all those things I have to get done. I understand that they are just happy to see me again. There is no way for them to know that when I leave I will only be gone for a little while. There is no way to explain to them at what time I will return. All they know is that someone dear to them left them all alone, and now this person is back and they want to make it known that my absence has been felt and that they are so happy to have me back, so very happy.

The One Minute Rule is the least I can do, and everything else is secondary to that: met with such love, the least I can do is to repay them for the amazing gift that is, and show that the feeling is mutual.

/pao – 16 apr 2017 – 04.16


But oh, my heart was flawed: I knew my weakness
so hold my hand: consign me not to darkness.
Broken Crown – Mumford and Sons

What do I even say?  How can I sum up the entire lifetime that has elapsed in this last month?  All the things I’ve learnt, all the things I’ve discovered about myself and the world?  All the things I’ve seen, and heard, and will always remember?

There is no way to, no matter how much I would like to.  There are no words to describe it.  And there is no time to do so.

But I feel safe, and I feel happy, and I think things will be okay.  I will treasure all these gifts I’ve been given.  And I will treasure this poor, complicated creature that I am, and I will learn more.  I know who I am again, and I quite like this pao that I am.  No part of me invalidate the other parts of me, and a pao can wear as many hats as they want and need to.

I know my weakness, know my voice,
and I’ll believe in grace and choice!
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
but I’ll be born without a mask.
Babel – Mumford and Sons

I am happy here in this new place where I find myself.  It’s all I need right now.  Knowing that I can be a whole pao, and I don’t have to lose or give up parts of myself in order to be able or allowed to gain new parts and tools.

I have good company on this path I’m walking down.  Not someone else’s path, but still with company.
And I’m so excited to see where it will lead me.

/pao – 7 apr 2017 – 15.14


Steam Awards

Steam is doing a Steam Awards thing, so I thought I should try nominating games, but I had some trouble figuring out good candidates for some since many of my favourite games aren’t on Steam and/or I had to choose just one category, so I did the best I could and then figured I’ll also put a True List up here on my blog.

Here’s the Steam Awards on Steam list:

Steam Awards capture

[My list of nominees for the Steam Awards, made up of games available on Steam]

And here is my True List as it would look if all these were on Steam:

The “Test of Time” Award
Anarchy Online. I will never get tired of this game. At all. Even though I wish I had more spoons to spend on it, especially the RP scene.

The “I’m Not Crying, There’s Something In My Eye” Award
Hatoful Boyfriend. I was expecting a fun, light-hearted, silly games about dating pigeons and what I got was a heart-wrenching story and lingering trauma. (I’m not joking about the trauma, by the way. I know what trauma is. This game was really quite something.)

The “Just 5 More Minutes” Award
Wurm Online. Let me just go feed the sheep. No, I have to just cut some sprouts. Oh, look, a wandering bull! When did I start repairing this fence? Oh well, I can as well… why is it five in the morning?

The “Whoooaaaaaaa, dude!” Award
The Witness. As soon as I thought there was nothing more this game could throw at the player, it finds another thing to throw at the player. Another twist. Another revelation. This was just an immensely incredible game. Also, a very beautiful game that trusts the player to care without resorting to dramatic music or explosions. A game that doesn’t hold the player’s hand.

The “Villain Most In Need Of A Hug” Award
Don’t Starve. Maxwell, oh, Maxwell, you poor man… Maybe I’m slightly more inclined to feel sad and have pity on him after I saw the whole meta story unfold on the Klei forums during development, but… oh, Maxwell. You poor man.

The “Game Within A Game” Award
Puzzle Pirates. Yes, I know it’s a puzzle game made up of puzzle games, but there are so many of them and I love almost every single one, particularly carpentry. (I used to be Grand Master.)

The “I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award” Award
Fallen London. Yes, I know it’s a browser game, but it is one of the best games ever, both in worldbuilding and storytelling. It’s one of those creations that show that words and stories still matter and I will love this game forever. Extra bonus points for the deeply unpleasant and unsettling Mr Eaten related content.
(This is also one of the few games that has given me real nightmares. I love every moment.)

The “Best Use Of A Farm Animal” Award
I think Torchlight I-II is the only games I can think of that actually use farm animals in some sort of farm animal that isn’t just for riding on or something.
(Although Wurm Online has this thing with breeding and traits that mean you can have sheep with five speed traits, so that if one could ride sheep it would be super fast.)

The “Best 2D Style Cutscenes” Award
Invisible Inc. I had to figure out something to add here, and I could just choose one thing, and the first ting I could think about is how much I love the animated cutscenes in Invisible Inc, and in Klei’s games in general. So this is what I settled on.


I think I will list some more, unrelated categories during the weekend, because there are so many neat games I want to list here.

/pao – 25 nov 2016 – 01.06


I was just speaking on Twitter about heroes and the standard hero narrative and how I don’t like it.  About how I try to not do heroes and how my characters tend to be really broken and flawed people.  Through that I also got on a side track about how I doubt the story I’m writing will ever have a Happy Ending, because life doesn’t tend to come with a happy ending.

There are good times and there are bad times for all of us, but there is no happy ending waiting at the end of the tunnel.  And when one of our lives end, it’s not the end.  As this amazing tweet says; “Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you.”  Life goes on, and life in itself does not guarantee a Happy ending.  Life is full of dark and cruel and terrible endings.

After that I remembered that there is a character in the train world stories who collects terrible endings in her head as stories to tell herself as she waits for sleep at night.  Terrible ends to Protectors she has known and cared about.  As warnings.

So I tweeted parts of it, but here is a longer thing.  It’s about how she’s grieving the loss of a dear friend of her’s.  Who did indeed meet quite a terrible end.

She added another story to tell herself at night as she was waiting for sleep.  So many times she had been asked by new arrivals if she as an experienced Protector had any stories to tell them.  Just as many times she had told them that she did not tell stories.  Not a single one of the stories she collected in her head would she ever tell them.  They were not stories to be told to others over a cup of semi-coffee.  They were not stories to warm the heart.  They were all warnings.  They were all stories as dark as the tunnels outside, stories as hopeless as life.  They were all stories with as many bad endings to them.
Now she had another one, and hiding in the dark closet with tears trickling down her cheeks she closed her eyes and began to tell it to herself, her mouth full of the taste of his blood.

I think it is important to remember that in real life, there are no happy endings guaranteed, and often the endings to our stories are pretty grim.  These stories are just as important to remember and learn from as the happy ones, the lighter ones, the ones that give us comfort and joy.

Because sometimes, if we remember the bad endings we are told and taught about, we have a better chance of avoiding them.  That way perhaps, maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll find our ending when we meet it not as terrible as the endings of some of the stories we’ve been told.

/pao – 06 jan 2016 – 22.58


This is mainly taken from a meme on Twitter, where one gave out facts and confessions about oneself for every like one got.  Although, I didn’t bother with that, I just went ahead and wrote about fifty tweets of confessions and facts anyway before deciding I should probably just move it to my blog instead of filling up people’s twitter feeds.  So, here I am!

These have been edited and pieced back together here for your reading pleasure since they are no longer under the tyrannical rule of Twitter character limits.

Some of these are about self-harm and depression and other uncomfortable things, but they are not in any way glorifying or encouraging these things, rather the opposite.  Might still be triggery for some people, so… be warned.



A few days ago, I wrote down many of these low spoon recipes for a friend, and I thought that I should expand upon them a bit and put them up here in service for other people who might need some low spoon cooking ideas for bad days.  Some of these need a bit more preparation than others, but those who need that generally make up for that in being great to cook a bigger batch of and then keep in the fridge and heat in portions or to eat cold in order not to have to cook again for a few days.

For these recipes, I haven’t added any measurements, because honestly I don’t really use measurements when cooking.  Most of these are pretty much just about using the ratios you want and are happy with.  Perhaps one day I feel like having a lot of tomatoes in something and another day I’m out of tomatoes and making it anyway.  None of them are set in stone.

Take them more as inspiration and some sort of foundation, then experiment with the ratios and the seasoning to suit your tastes!  I use basil a lot, but perhaps you want other herbs and like them better, so go with what you want.



Pao Pain Scales

I’m not pleased with most pain scales I’ve seen out there.  Many seem to be for sudden and not chronic pain.  So thought I’ll make some for myself, relevant to how I function.  They will be for overall pain levels, local pain levels, and headache pain levels.  Perhaps they might also be helpful for other people, but mostly they are meant to explain how I myself work, for future reference and for people who are wondering what I mean whenever I start sounding like the Shipping Forecast, going; “Right hip five, stabbing.  Left waist seven, constant.  Head three and rising slowly.”

Here is a first draft for my pain scales.  I have experienced all of these pain levels, and I try to provide examples of what they might be like where I can, but sometimes pain is difficult to explain.  I’ll improve them over time, and they might change when/if I keep on experiencing new kinds of pain and reaching new pain levels, but it’s a start.

Note that overall pain levels might be very much lower than any local pain level for parts of me.  If for example I have an arm and a leg which are both at five or six temporarily, I might still rate it as an overall four for the day or the moment if I can still function decently.  An overall ten would be much, much worse than having just a local ten, even if at those levels I tend to fall unconscious, and that’s probably a good thing.



I’ll put some tweets from this morning up here on my blog as well, for future reference.  Because things on twitter passes by too quickly to be very useful to look back on.  I’ll make them more into paragraphs and put them in italics.

Trying to wake up.  My ribs hurt when I breathe, and the pain in my side is worse.  Oh, and headache and nausea.  Guess I’ll get used to this too, eventually.  Mornings are getting worse.  More and more difficult to get up.  More and more pain and nausea to overcome.

The headache is the most worrying to me.  I can generally deal with unspeakable levels of physical pain, but can’t deal well with [headaches].  I need to figure out a way to deal with all of this.  Just sitting up to take my meds made me almost throw up.  Pretty sure this is not something people in general have to deal with.

Know what?  I’ll start ranting about my pain and things like that on my blog.  Because ranting helps, but twitter’s not the right place.  Won’t hesitate to rant here either, but I think my blog can help too.  It’s more steadfast in the crashing rivers of time.  Notes and rants here on twitter is mostly gone without a trace three days later.  The passing of time is felt honestly in the tweetfeeds.  And in the middle of the great chaos my life currently is, I will need stability.  Less ephemeral ghosts, more sturdy hugs.

But with shabbat and hung gar and my blog, I might find enough stability and routine to keep me grounded.  Safe places to hide and rest.

For me who is a creature of patterns, getting lost in the patterns of hung gar is just as easy as getting lost in the patterns of grammar.  I know I told myself I wouldn’t hung gar if I had to take painmeds, but it’s gone pretty well thus far so that rule made no sense.  As long as I focus and try to be careful, I think things will go all right.  So, I’ll attempt hung gar today as well, if I get well enough to leave my lair at all.  Although no one at the hung gar seems to believe I’m just too lazy or that I’m just skipping out on them for fun when I don’t appear.  Which is great, because it’s true, but I really wonder where all their understanding comes from.

Last night I also made another attempt to return to 100Words, and I have found some places on Twitter with people who do creative writing with prompts and topics and stuff.  I hope I will be able to join that fun too.  Together with Nanowrimo, this should be enough creative writing outlets for when I can and feel like writing but can’t think of anything small.  I need more confined spaces to fill.

/pao – 2 sept 2015 – 14.54


I haven’t been here in ages, but here I am once more.  Sometimes I’ve wandered by, gently nuzzling the past, remembering, before passing again.  I’ve gently pulled apart the covering, ever-green ivy to see what time had hid underneath.

I have missed the old days and I have remembered them and smiled.  I have backtracked and doubled back and wandered these paths now and then, watching my own pawprints, trying to remember who I was back when I wrote these things, thought these thoughts.

Time has pulled me along in its currents.  Friends found.  Friends lost.  Things discovered, things covered and recovered.  Over and over.  New patterns made, old patterns fading.  Growing.  Growing.

And so, once more, my paws bring me here, to my own long lost proving grounds.  Known.  Unfamiliar.  Unknown and overgrown.


For a few years now, I have been here very rarely.  My blog hasn’t felt like my own place, but a place for others.  It has had too much pressure.  It has felt as if every thing I write has to be several thousand words of deep, profound knowledge, and sometimes I’m not profound.  Sometimes I want to write things that makes no sense.  Just for fun.

Sometimes I want to just write about pain and anger and sadness and disappointment, and I want to feel as if I’m allowed to do this here as well.  I need a place like this, for things like those too.  I have to stop being afraid to upset or disappoint (the probably inexistent) people who follow or read this place in hope of finding life-altering insight.

This is my place.  Perhaps if I write life-altering words of wisdom that will be all good and well, and I will be happy about it, but… but I want to write these other things too.

And I’m tired of not doing it.

So I will try to do it now and reclaim this place, from the ivy and forgetfulness.

/pao – 1 sept 2015 – 23.55