Veggie post #3 – Minder Vegetarian – crossed an ocean to find the RIGHT approach to Chinese fakeymeat.

Thus ends my trifecta of mockmeat posts – an ode to a paradisical place, a magical mist-emitting buffet lunch secret that has multiple locations across Taiwan and almost invariably has at least one Buddhist nun enjoying her brown rice from a dark plastic tray just like everyone else – it’s Minder!  Minder Vegetarian!  My favouritest of veggie places that makes Chinese Buddhist temple food just like it should be, with a balance of tastes and a nonstop abundance of greens, greens and more greens.  And also mochi.  And also tempura.  And fake duck and wiggly jiggly rubbery dianmonds that disintegrate in your mouth and sweet fried lotus flowers and rice paper wraps filled with veggie caviar (I kid you not) and all sorts of savoury mushrooms and OKRA and Law Bok Gow (turnip cakes!!!) and sauteed Chinese bitter greens in light sauce and edamame and even, if you’re lucky, those crispy-fried sesame studded red-bean-paste-filled bombs of love, Jin Deui.  Rice on the side is the equivalent of 33 cents and everything you see here (up there in those boxes)?  Enough food to shake a merry fist in the face of airplane boxed terribleness – not once but thrice and a very good portion – was approximately 12$.  I mean, that and a cheap-o massage while you’re waiting at the metro and damn I’m starting to miss Taiwan again, but hey that’s a digression and it’s food here we’re talking anyway.

So yeah, all you have to do is make sure you don’t show up so early that there’s nothing laid out from which to sup, but once all those plates are there, ye pretty much go to town and sup sup sup with either wee little complimentary chopsticks or be a pro and bring your own.

Don’t say I didn’t recommend this place. ^_^

/useless post for Montrealers.

/terrible Old Camera™ photos



DIY ink, a mysterious stone

There’s something about the actual tools one uses – the objects they surround themselves with – the knick knacks purchased and added to the costume, the badges and brushes and hats…

One such object for me, is the chinese ink stick.  By way of beginning, of hoping to describe this object – it smells like ancient earth, burnt wood, insects and, well, ink.  What it actually is compressed vegetable soot (! sounds appetizing, no?)  and a small amount of glue, which is sold in little boxes and is ground against a special stone with a bit of water added to make this unctuous, pitchblack creamy liquid… usable to draw with, calligraphize, and get all over your clothes.  It is the THE original ink, before the liquid version was ever sold in bottles.

I got mine in a little shop in Taiwan, Real Ink™ being the number one paramount treasure I needed to take back with me.  I lucked out, my superlatively awesome hostel was just off of a main street absolutely thick with calligraphy shops, and even a few art stores for good measure.  I walked into one of those art stores and found that the world around, dispirited and oddly-haircut art kids look pretty much the same, at least  I recognized the furtive, asymmetrical and kinda androgynous thang from back home.  That, and the shops were so crowded with vertically stacked pastels, erasers and exacto-cutters that you basically had to exchange life stories with the boy in striped-shirt in front of you, just to pass by them and find where on earth they kept the brushes….

Eventually, among one of the many stores with automatic doors and shopkeepers who spoke not a drop of english, I found a place that felt… right.  The owner picked a simple blue box up from the bewildering stack there available, and pressed it into my hand, and all I could do was celebrate that he was there to provide such a perfect scene – a stick *chosen* for me!  Granted, he probably just wanted to offload one of them on me (he had a surplus), but I asked later at the hostel what the characters meant and apparently it’s something like “uneasy/strange balance/equilibrium”, which I LOVE.  More than love.  I embody!  Good choice, random shopkeep, good show. ^_^



So now I use this stuff almost exclusively to draw with.  The inking portion anyway.  The colour comes later.  And slowly, the thangkas are taking shape….

Current soundtrack… Roxy Music – Country Life