Category Archives: My Hobbies

World of Warcraft’s Upcoming Expansion Dragonflight Got My Attention

More than 6,000 hours and US$1,000 I have spent playing World of Warcraft, I quit playing the game 10 years ago. It was 18 years ago when I dived into this MMORPG with my buddy Mark. Holland Village I recalled when Mark passed me a physical copy of the game, one that was extremely hard to get our hands on given the popularity of the game back then. Countless memorable encounters in-game, fond memories of real life, and painful memories as well. Time lost that cannot be recovered, money aside. Regrets. No regret. Songs of my youth. Of real-life stupidity. Of virtual heroism. Those who were concerned were sad when I was at it, relieved when I was out of it. Others, we banded together in-game and into the fantasy. And to what purpose? You either get it or you don’t.

Cataclysm

The fourth expansion of the game is titled Cataclysm. It was a controversial title. I love it. Many don’t. I adore the stories of dragons or the lore, period. I was thankful that as a casual player (who spent a lot of time playing nonetheless), I was able to raid (through the then-new feature looking for raid). I had a lot of fun playing Deathwing raids week after week, toons after toons. I had a closed circle of companions, all with common goals, daily quests, weekly quests, we helped each other, we counted on each other, and we made history together.

The Decline

The fifth expansion Mist of Pandaria introduced a new race – a panda that is kind of cute – and a new Monk class that I didn’t quite get it. The seventh expansion introduced a new hero class Demon Hunter. Frankly speaking, I just wasn’t able to get into it.

It was the story. To the point whereby, I didn’t really care. Cataclysm was heading in the right direction. Thrall was the hero who brought together Horde and Alliance alike for a common goal, to align with the dragon Aspects in defeating Deathwing. But Thrall being a Horde, the storyline displeased the Alliance fans. Thereafter, the Horde and Alliance are back to war with Horde heroes being eliminated one after another. Blizzard was trying too hard to make everyone happy.

That pisses me off.

Here Comes Dragonflight

The new expansion comes with a new race and a new class.

The upcoming tenth expansion Dragonflight got my attention. It is back to my favorite story arc – the dragons. I would get to play as a Dracthyr, a new race. On top of that, exclusive to Dracthyr race is a new class called Evoker, a caster.

To be honest, hearing just that may be what I need to be back in the World of Warcraft.

For the Horde!

Warhammer 40K Inquisitor Martyr Season Guide

Note: Updated for Season 5 (July 2022)

Warhammer 40K Inquisitor Martyr is a great action role-playing game (aRPG). You as an inquisitor may find yourself constantly shuttling across the planets dealing with ongoing conflicts and heresies against the Emporer. This game offers many game modes and features. One of the more holistic and rewarding features is the season journey. This guide aims to help the new players in completing the season. If I can do it, so can you!

This is a text-based guide. I also have a video guide for you on YouTube. Should you wish to play together, my Cabal is 2038RedRidingHood.

An upcoming new DLC called Sisters of Battle. I just can’t wait!

Expectation on Season Journey

I am a big fan of aRPG genre, and I am a big fan of season gameplay. Like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, this game introduces new season mechanics for each season. The season journey provides an excellent tutorial on the various aspects of the game that you may otherwise miss out on. There are also cosmetic rewards that can be earned. To summarize what to expect on Warhammer 40K Inquisitor Martyr season journey:

  • Solo vs Group Play: The entire season journey can be done solo. You do not need a group at all to complete it.
  • Duration: The journey can be longer than other games such as Diablo 3. Around 100 hours.
  • Difficulty: This journey has more depth than say Diablo 3. The difficulty level is reasonable and is perhaps easier than say Path of Exile.
  • Reward: Minor cosmetic rewards for ship decoration. Portrait frames like Diablo 3. Loot boxes and in-game buffs. In-game currency Favour is awarded for more cosmetic item redemption at the vendor (such as footprints, more ship decoration, avatar frame, etc.)
  • Leaderboard: Unlike Diablo 3 that mainly tracks greater rift clear time by class and set, this game tracks “glory” weekly – an in-game currency that is rewarded when completing missions.

Notes on Difficulty Level by Objective

Some objectives below are marked as trivial because you may complete them without even knowing that they exist. Harder objective doesn’t necessarily mean that they are difficult to complete. The game mechanic may not be obvious or intuitive and may require a bit of Internet research to understand how to complete the objective. Or it could take time, especially when you are not aware of the requirements upfront. Last but not the least, difficulty level is relative to the tiers the objectives belong.

Tier I Agent Guide

#ObjectiveDescriptionsDifficultyTips
1Sacred Duty IReach Level 20TrivialPlay story mode.
2Article of SanctityEquipe a Relic ItemTrivialRelic items are brown.
3Laudable CommitmentComplete a Random or DLC Assignment at the AstropathMediumAstropath is actually a person next to the Starmap. You may request a random assignment from him. You must complete the entire chain of missions.
4Empyrean DiscernmentFind Uther’s Tarot & Complete 5 Tarot MissionsHardUther’s Tarot Card is a random world drop that is likely to be found in chests and from commanders/ villains/ elites. Using a Venom Tarot card in a mission may also increase the drop rate. You can convert Uther’s Tarot Card into any unlocked Tarot Card via the Inventory tab (with the gem sign).

To complete a Tarot Mission, equip at least one card through random missions or void crusade (not story).
5Homage to OmnissiahLearn Your First BlueprintEasyBlueprints are world drop. Right-click on your inventory to learn them.

The Store also may sell but it costs Flavour, which you may need to unlock DLC.
6Tribute to OmnissiahCraft an Add-on from any BlueprintMediumVisit Omicron at your ship (unlocked through story). Under the Crafting tab, use the filter “Add-on”. Craft any item.
7Faith in OmnissiahEnhance an ItemEasyVisit Omicron at your ship. Under Modify tab, place an item, go to the 3rd tab and add 5 crafting capacity.
8Studies in AdaptationUse the “Reroll All Enhancements” crafting function on an itemEasyVisit Omicron at your ship. Under the Tech Tree tab, unlock Optimisation. Under Modify tab, place an item and reroll all enhancements.
9Informal AffiliationVisit the Keeper of the Forge (Custodian Rebus)HardCustodian Rebus is a vendor that visits during weekends. The easiest way to find him is through the game interface at your ship. Click through the tabs on the right and if he is there, there is a message and within the message, a link to click onto him.
10Ambitious ProsecutionComplete an Intel MissionEasyIntel is a random world drop. Right-click on your inventory to start an intel mission.
11Full GearEquipe Artificer or better quality items in all Your equipment Slots (Set I & Set II too)TrivialArtificer is a purple item. Do it for both sets.
12Curio CollectorCollect 100 Cortex FragmentsTrivialWorld drop mainly through chests and elites.
13(Season 5) Tireless Judge IMark 1000 Enemies with the Emperor’s JudgementTrivialAuto-triggered as you play the game.
14(Season 5) Relentless Jury IKill 1000 Enemies with Judgement SpellsTrivialKeep killing.
15(Season 5) Halo of Grace IGather 1500 Shards of GraceTrivialKeep killing fast.
16(Season 5) Blessed MandateSpawn a Seasonal MissionTrivialAuto-triggered upon collected enough shards.
17(Season 5) Battle PrayerActivate a Seasonal ShrineTrivialYou just can’t miss it.
18Augmented MeansUse a Consumable Buff itemTrivialRandom world drop to buff XP or DPS. Alternatively, you can buy a Mind Reset from the Store to reset the passive skill tree.
19Benediction of ReprocessingSalvage 100 itemsTrivialIn general, salvage all the relics (brown) and above at Omicron. (And sell the lower tiers at the Store).

But for this objective, you may wish to salvage all.
20Display of AuthorityModify your Inquisitor’s AppearanceEasyAt Omicron, under the Appearance tab, have fun with the feature!
21Formula of DedicationModify your Inquisitor’s InoculatorEasyVisit Matrodora at your ship (unlocked via story). Modify your equipped Inoculator.

Tier II Interrogator Guide

#ObjectiveDescriptionsDifficultyTips
1Sacred Duty IIReach level 40TrivialPlay story mode.
2Asset ReclamationHunt down a Wandering Servoskull in any Void CrusadeEasyServoskull spawns randomly in one of the Void Crusade missions. You can see a special additional icon at the Void Crusade Map. You must destroy it within 30 seconds. Pay attention to a special icon on the mini-map as you encounter Wandering Servoskull. There is an audio cue too.
3Crusade MinorisComplete a Void CrusadeMediumAt level 50, you have access to the Void Crusade (the game will prompt you). You may take the shortest route to one of the Supreme Missions (golden icon) to complete this objective.
4Shaper of FateCollect 500 FateTrivialKeep playing, don’t lose momentum!
5Small FavoursCollect & Exchange 200 Cortex Fragments for Favours with Custodian RebusEasyVisit Custodian Rebus to exchange 200 Cortex Fragment for 2 Favours.
6Confiscation ProtocolsDiscover, Protect & Open Up 5 “Spoils of War” ChestsEasyThese chests do not appear on the mini-map. Follow any Void Crusade guide in Steam (that has the maps) that reveals the treasure location. There are plenty of “Spoils of War” chests. Just stand next to it and kill the Daemon within 30 seconds.
7Venerate the OmnissahLearn 10 BlueprintsTrivialOnce you start playing Void Crusade, you will have plenty of Blueprints.
8Aegis of the OmnissahCraft a Relic item from a BlueprintTrivialVisit Omicron in your ship and craft a Relic item (brown).
9Studies in FabricationUnlock the Rerolling Feature and Reroll an EnhancementEasyVisit Omicron in your ship, unlock the appropriate Tech Tree and reroll an item affix to a different one.
10(Season 5) Tireless Judge IIMark 2000 Enemies with the Emperor’s JudgementTrivialKeep playing, don’t lose momentum!
11(Season 5) Relentless Jury IIKill 2000 Enemies with Judgement SpellsVillian / Elite)Trivial Keep playing, don’t lose momentum!
12(Season 5) Halo of Grace IIGather 3000 Shards of GraceTrivial Keep killing fast.
13(Season 5) Sacred MandateUpgrade a Seasonal MissionTrivialDon’t complete a seasonal mission when it spawns. Let it get upgraded. Better still, let it get upgraded to seasonal boss mission.
14Extended DutyComplete 20 Random MissionsMediumJust take time. Suggest completing this objective alongside other objectives in this tier or next. Suggest looking for maps with Influence less than 800 (above 800 there are no more rewards as it is considered as “max”).
15Study in AugmentationReroll a Base Attribute on an itemTrivialVisit Omicron in your ship, unlock the appropriate Tech Tree, and reroll a Base Attribute.
16Tactical AlertnessDefuse 10 Skull Traps (by destroying them before they activate)HardYou know you have triggered a Skull Trap when all of a sudden, you see a red line and then some bad things happen (such as turrets or mobs are spawned to attack you). See screenshot here.

To spot these traps – two tiny skulls hiding in a map – requires a high level of alertness (hence the objective title). It is especially hard if you are a melee character speed farming mission. These traps are common in ship-type of maps. Use a ranged weapon to take down both skulls before triggering them. You could also let it naturally be completed (e.g. barrel explosions etc. do destroy them before you know it).

If you are desperate, do missions that are inside a ship. Or once you have accidentally triggered one in a story or void crusade, press Alt-F4 to kill the game and restart again (which is too extreme for me, but is an option).
17Empyrean JourneyComplete 15 Tarot MissionsEasyApply at least 1 Tarot Card for any Random Mission, Intel, or Void Crusade. Try to apply all 3 if you can (pick the least harmless ones if you have a problem with the debuffs) so that you can complete another objective down the line.
18Refined CompetenceHave 3 Active PerksTrivialYou gain perk slots as you level. Just pick an active perk once you have it unlocked.

Tier III Master Guide

#ObjectiveDescriptionsDifficultyTips
1Binharic ScriptureApply a Psalm-Code DoctrineHardThis mechanic is not at all obvious. Basically, when slotting a predefined combination of Psalm-Code into your gear (which share the same slot as Shards), you get a specific buff on that gear. That buff appears ont your gear as additional text.

Refer to official compendium and pick Psalm-Code Doctrines that work for your build. You may need to farm for a particular Psalm-Code (use Tarot Card to help). You any also craft a higher tier one using the lower tier ones through Omicron.
2Archeotech CompositionCombine one type of Archeotech Shards to reach Level 3EasyMove all the Shards from your stash into your inventory. Visit Omicron, forging, shard crafting tab.
3Radiant GloryCollect 10 Spark of GloryTrivialWorld drop. Or salvage Archeotech Relic (red) / Ancient Relic items.
4Archeotech BulwarkWear an Archeotech Relic ArmorTrivialRed item.
5Archeotech ArmamentEquip an Archeotech Relic Weapon TrivialRed item.
6Machine EnlightenmentMax Out the Tech TreeEasyCollect credits (play missions, sell purple and below at Store) and collect Fate (play missions). Unlock at Omicron.
7(Season 5) Tireless Judge IIIMark 5000 Enemies with the Emperor’s JudgementTrivialAuto-triggered as you play missions.
8(Season 5) Relentless Jury IIIKill 6000 Enemies with Judgement SpellsTrivialKeep killing, don’t lose momentum!
9(Season 5)
Halo of Grace III
Gather 8000 Shards of GraceTrivialKeep killing fast.
10(Season 5) Righteous SentenceDefeat a Seasonal BossEasyStart the seasonal boss at UI. Don’t let the level escalate too high or else, would need to abandon and gather shards again.
11(Season 5) Relic SeekerAcquire a Holy RelicEasyA “lore” dropped from a seasonal boss.
12Expropriated RepositoryOpen Up 20 Void ChestsMediumKeep playing Void Crusade, don’t lose momentum!
13Archeo-EnhancementSocket a Shard into Your GearEasyVisit Omicron, forging tab.
14Thorough CrusadeComplete a Void Crusade wtih all Info-fragments within 75 minutes (On-mission Timer)HardYou need to have a reasonably good build (and gear) during leveling. I have a speed run guide. I would recommend Viridian Void Crusade. You may need to skip treasures in order to save time. Be very careful not to miss Info-fragment. You can’t go back once a mission is completed.
15Prognosticated OffensiveComplete 10 Intel Missions Combined with at least One Tarot CardMediumIntel missions are harder than random ones during leveling. Use a minor Tarot Card if you are not ready to deal with challenging content.
16Comprehensive ProficiencyMax Out 3 Passive Skill TreesEasyYour build may not need to max out any given Passive Skill Tree. Having said that, if you must for this objective, you can easily reset the Passive Skill Tree using Mind Reset consumable. You can buy that from the Store for 14k credit each.
17Accouterment of AuthorityUse a Unique Avatar Frame (of any color)EasyVisit the machine behind Void Crusade in your ship. Cosmetic tab, Avatar Frames tab. Pick the one you earned from the last tier.
18Righteous StruggleComplete 3 ChallengesMediumChallenges are shown on the UI. It has a certain set of conditions in order to complete and usually requires you to take on missions higher level than you. You may reroll it once a day.

Tier IV Grandmaster Guide

#ObjectiveDescriptionsDifficultyTips
1Sacred Duty IIIReach Level 70MediumBy the time you finish the story, you should be around level 70. If not, keep playing Void Crusade, don’t lose momentum!
2High-risk OffensiveComplete a Void Crusade in “Hardcore Mode” (One Life Only)MediumThis could be easy or hard depending on your build and gear. In general, invest passive points onto Health and Defensive. Invest in defensive attributes. Build up resistance. If you are not confident, pick the shortest route to Supreme Mission. If you must, ALT-F4 when get defeated by mistake before clicking “Quit”.

Suggest to “master” one instead (all keys, all info-fragments) if you have a strong character and hence complete the next tier’s “Legendary Crusade” at the same time
3Archeotech MasterpieceCombine one type of Archeotech Shards to reach Level 5EasyVisit Omicron, forging, shard crafting.
4Impeccable CrusadeMaster a Void Crusade (complete all missions plus one Supreme Mission) with all Keys and Info-fragmentHardAgain, this could be easy or hard depending on your build and gear.

Pick an easier Void Crusade such as Ebony, Viridian, or Amber. Avoid Azure (end boss has tons of armor) or Zircon (higher level maps towards the end). Read up on how Void Crusade’s difficulty works. Follow guides on Steam.

Suggest to go “hardcore” if you have a strong character and hence complete the next tier’s “Legendary Crusade” at the same time
5Ambitious RequisitionPick up 1,000,000 CreditsTrivialSell all items up to purple at the Store. Keep playing, don’t lose momentum!
6(Season 5) Tireless Judge IVMark 10000 Enemies with the Emperor’s JudgementTrivialYou’d get there before knowing it.
7(Season 5) Relentless Jury IVKill 15000 Enemies with Judgement Spells EasyTakes a bit of time. No extra effort is required. Just keep playing.
8(Season 5) Halo of Grace IVGather 20000 Shards of GraceTrivialKeep playing, don’t lose momentum!
9(Season 5) Virtuous VengeanceDefeat all Seasonal BossesEasyKeep playing seasonal boss missions and you will get there in no time!
10(Season 5) Relic HunterAcquire 3 Holy Relics from BossesEasy“Lore” items dropped by seasonal bosses. Keep playing seasonal boss missions.
11Binharic BinaryCollect at least one of Each Type of Psalm-CodesMediumIt does take some time to collect all. You could accelerate by crafting the higher tier ones through Omicron, forging, code crafting.
12Venerable AegisFully unlock an Ancient Relic ArmourMediumFirst, you need to collect an Ancient Relic preferably from Void Crusade. Second, you need to complete the mini-missions as per the item to unlock the affixes.
13Venerable ArmamentFully unlock an Ancient Relic WeaponMediumAs above.
14Inquisitorial AuxiliaryBuy a Summon from Custodian RebusEasyYou can spend Favour at the vendor to buy a Summon to help you for 5 missions. Don’t think too hard on which of the 3 to get. They die fast.
15Exalted EquipmentGear up with “Archeotech Relic” Items of any Level (Minimum “5” pieces)EasyEquip 5 red items.
16Brink of PerfectionMax Out an Attribute Bar (Tier V)EasyBy now you should have enough points to max out one attribute. There is no cost to adjust between the attributes.
17Interpreter of FateCollect 2000 FateTrivialKeep playing missions, don’t lose momentum!
18Adept AuguryLevel up a Tarot Card to Level 3Very HardHow hard this is, depends on how soon you realize that you should not level up more than 1 Tarot Card at a time for this objective and the next tier’s one (level 5). The cost of leveling a Tarot Card escalates. You may realize that you need to keep grinding Void Crusades just to farm Uther’s Tarot Card.

Level up Venom Tarot Card, which gets you more Uther’s Tarot Card as you play missions. Always use Venom Tarot Card when you can. Convert Uther’s Tarot Card into any unlocked Tarot Card that is not at the max level through the Inventory tab (with the gem sign). You can level up a Tarot Card once it is at max progress using Credits. You can only do so through the Mission game interface.

Tier V Heroic Guide

#ObjectiveDescriptionsDifficultyTips
1Duty EternalReach Level 100Very HardAfter level 70, it is harder and harder to gain XP. Do lots of Void Crusade. Use Murder Tarot Card. Use Meme Virus consumable (through Void Crusade chest).

Keep on playing, don’t lose momentum!
2Sweeping CrusadeComplete all 9 Void CrusadesEasyKeep playing Void Crusades. You don’t have to master all.
3Legendary CrusadeMaster a Void Crusade in “Hardcore Mode” (One Life Only)HardEasy or hard depends on your build and gear. Suggest completing this one and the previous tier’s ones (“Impeccable Crusade” and “High-risk Offensive”) at the same time.

As mentioned, Ebony, Viridian, and Amber should be the easier ones to master.
4Expert AuguryLevel a Tarot Card to the Max (Level 5)HardA common mistake is that people may level one too many Tarot Cards at the same time. If so, this may take a very long time. Stop leveling more than one Tarot Card as soon as you know of this objective.
5Transcendent ArmamentGear with Fully Unlocked “Ancient Relic” Level 90 Items (Minimum “5” Pieces)MediumStart collecting Ancient Relic items as you complete Void Crusade. Ideally should unlock those that you may need (as it takes effort to fully unlock one). You just need 5 items to complete this objective. You don’t need to go on any mission with all these 5 that may or may not be useful to you.
6Protector MagnaReach maximum influence in a whole Subsector (All solar systems within the subsector)Hard (and Very Hard for Tech-Priest)Ideally, you should use pen-and-paper to keep track of your Influence progress for each of the solar systems against the four subsectors (via Starmap).

As you level to 100, try to avoid doing random missions for solar systems that have already exceeded 800 points (that’s the “max”).

If you are too lazy to track progress manually, keep doing random assignments on solar systems with less than 800 Influence points (last column).

If you track your progress manually, suggesting to target 2 to 3 subsectors. Abandon unwanted random missions if need to. Eventually, the ones you want will be spawned.
7(Season 5) Tireless Judge VMark 20000 Enemies with the Emperor’s JudgementTrivialKeep playing and you will complete this without tracking, don’t lose momentum!
8(Season 5) Relentless Jury VKill 30000  Enemies with Judgement SpellsTrivialThis takes time. But no extra effort is required.
9(Season 5) Halo of Grace VGather 40000 Shards of GraceTrivialKeep playing. You know the drill.
10(Season 5) Ultimate JusticeDefeat all Seasonal Bosses on all Missions (4)TrivialKeep playing seasonal boss missions!
11(Season 5) Relic WardenAcquire all 6 Holy RelicsTrivialKeep playing seasonal boss missions and collect the “lore” items!
12Ultimate PenanceComplete a level 100 (or higher) Intel mission while only wearing Mastercrafted items (Set I & II too)Very Hard (but Fun)Mastercrafted Items are the blue ones. It only comes with 2 to 3 affixes without the special ones.

Start collecting decent blue items that are relevant to your build as you play high-level missions. Use all the crafting experience you have to make a set of the best Mastercrafted item you can have, complete with the same set of Psalm-Codes / Doctrines / Shards. Reroll to the desired enchants and reroll the numbers to near max. Avoid Rescue or VIP missions as the NPC’s may perish before mission completion.

Take Destruction Amplification consumable.
13Binharic ChoirWear 3 Different Psalm-Code Doctrines at the same timeEasyAdd sockets to the max for those items that you can. Apply three different Doctrines as per the official compendium.
14Empyrean OdysseyComplete 20 Full Deck Tarot Missions at level 85 or aboveEasyIf you are serious to get to level 100, you should by now apply a full deck to most of your missions (1 major and 2 minors).
15Contempt for PerilComplete 5 Missions on Difficulty Level 110 without DeathHardYou could try to gear up for it. The reality is that once you have decided on a build that can take you to level 100, getting an upgrade could be harder and harder.

Ranged build is perhaps easier than melee at 110. It just takes time.

Purge is perhaps the most doable one among others.

Take Destruction Amplification consumable.

Bailey the Pomsky Diary #3 – Super Active Puppy

Soon to be eight months old, Bailey is one super active puppy. Outside of the home, he terrorizes dogs and humans alike. With harness and leash, he likes to stand on his two feet capable of hopping forward and backward depending on the situation. He enjoys playing with dogs that are of a similar energy level. He ignores dogs that are too passive. He enjoys taking on dogs that are bigger than him, at times much bigger than him. He enjoys chewing onto furry dogs. Baily, why can’t you be as chill as your friend Elvis the Dachshund?

This stretch of street is his favorite place to do his business. It is a sure win. Don’t judge.

Or Dylan the Singapore Special?

These days, there is no need to set an alarm in the morning. At seven, Bailey would start barking. He would need his morning walk. Then his first meal of the day at home. Afterward, he would need some nap time after the meal. Before noon, he would be super active wanting to play. That is a good time to play puzzles with Bailey. And then pee time.

He has his eyes onto Otis the Singapore Special, a rescue dog, from across the street.

At noon, he would prefer a second nap. And he would be super active again, thereafter. Time to play fetch to burn his energy down! And then pee time.

The afternoon is a tricky time to keep him entertained. On a good day, I could reserve the stuffed Kong toy (with food inside) for the evening. On a bad day when he is restless, I would just give him a stuffed Kong toy in order to keep himself occupied … for 90 minutes initially. Now he is getting better at it … 60 minutes … 30 minutes …

Stop barking Bailey …

Dogs don’t see colors as well as human do. But they have very good nose sense. These days, he likes to eat tall grass and chew on branches.

Late afternoon early evening is time to walk the dog again. After his walk, it is Bailey’s second meal of the day. Then he would toggle in between being super active and having his nap time. A stuff Kong toy would help him to pass time.

At time I ponder, what exactly is going on inside Bailey’s head.

I read that dogs don’t prefer variety. Variety is for humans because we get bored making the same dog snack day after day. Fortunately, I can do boring. For the stuffed Kong toy, it is 70% mashed sweet potatoes and 30% mixed vegetables with a dozen or so pieces of kibbles and one teaspoon of dog-friendly peanut butter.

The same recipe … every … day.

Bailey the Pomsky can be rather adorable … when he is not super active.

Near bedtime, I prefer to play with him for a while and get him excited, so that Bailey would do his peeing business before his sleep.

Now, imagine repeating this routine for the next ten to fifteen years. Because dogs love routine.

At times I wonder why Cynthia would want to sign up for this.

For more Bailey’s pictures, I have set up a Google photo album for sharing. During this pandemic, it is the best time to take pictures of the pets.

Because they don’t need to wear masks.

Making Sourdough Starter & The Story of Thanos

These days I am into making sourdough. For those who are not familiar with the process, the concept is surprisingly simple though the execution is more like an art than science. Whenever I feed my sourdough starter at night, I would imagine myself being Thanos. Hang in there. I will explain.

Today’s breakfast was omelet and sourdough with butter.

Sourdough Starter, What?!

Unlike making bread that uses industrial yeast, sourdough uses wild yeast. You can read more on the benefits of sourdough and the difference between yeast and mold through a Google search. Meanwhile, just take my words for now. Sourdough is a healthier option than bread. And yeast is not the same as mold.

To create wild yeast, you can ferment flour by adding an equal amount of water (by weight). Yeast and bacteria that occur naturally in flour (again, take my words and hence, don’t eat raw flour) and the environment around us. That mixture is called sourdough starter. There is an excellent article written on how to create one.

Every day, the sourdough starter that you cultivate would consume the flour and water you feed it with, grow in size, and fall back to the original size once it becomes hungry again. Each day, you feed your sourdough starter with more flour and water.

The rubber band shows the original size of sourdough starter before it grows as I feed it with flour and water.

Unless you bake every day, your sourdough starter would grow exponentially. Because as you add more flour and water each day, the population of wild yeast and bacteria will explode requiring double of what you feed the day before.

Unless …

… unless you do a Thanos on your sourdough starter. You discard half of them, into the bin or into the toilet. The portion that left behind, you feed them with the same amount of flour and water as yesterday.

In short, during each feeding interval, you wipe off half of the wild yeast and bacteria population randomly. The remaining part gets to live for another day. The part that doesn’t, vanishes from the kitchen and into oblivion.

Just like Thanos in the Avenger movie.

I made this sourdough with my own hands! Imagine, say, the first batch of viable wild yeast appeared on day 2. Since I baked this on day 12, only 0.1% of the original wild yeast survived as I discard half of the sourdough starter every day!

Baking Sourdough

I was so excited about my first sourdough so much so that I have stayed next to the oven throughout the entire one hour of baking. Making sourdough is a labor of love, for sure.

Mixing the ingredients is straightforward. No kneading is required. I followed a recipe that uses a sourdough starter (my creation muhahaha), warm water, olive oil, bread flour, and salt. Because wild yeast works so much slower than industrial yeast, the mixture took six hours to rise to a point that I could bake it. Each hour, I folded the mixture and left it alone for another hour. Each hour I observed its size and made a decision if I shall bake it or leave it alone for another hour.

How long does the whole process take?

It takes 12 hours after feeding the sourdough starter for it to attain its most active state. It takes 1 hour for autolyze to take place before rolling the mixture into a ball and another 5 hours to rise with folding to be done in an hourly interval. It takes 1 hour to bake and another hour to cool down.

Morale of the story? Do plan ahead when making sourdough.

I have been feeding you for 10 days. Thanks for making my sourdough rises. Time to go to the oven!

Was It A Success?

When I shared my sourdough making adventure with my friends and family, the first question would be, how does it taste?

Consider the fact that this is the first time I have done any baking, I would say the result is pretty decent. The texture seems right. It has this unique tangy sourdough taste. It isn’t too dry even though I have left it overnight covered with clothes. I am not a sourdough expert. But I am happy with the result.

In retrospect, I wish the sourdough starter could double in size every day instead of just expands for 20% in volume. I wish the sourdough could double in size during rising, although I must say, it was pretty close. I could make the top cut a bit deeper and perhaps, the sourdough may look prettier after baked. I may bake it a little bit longer and crack open the oven door toward the last 10 minutes of baking.

So, the sourdough starter is indeed active. It is just that for some reasons unknown to me, it doesn’t double its volume when it becomes most active in between the daily feed.

To that, I have decided to change the flour origin and give it another shot.

Stay tuned.

Look at the bubbles. My sourdough starter is indeed active!

Take You To The Moon / Wild Passion – Two Doodles

Towards the end of 2020, I have explored a different art direction. My interpretation of cubism, which requires precision. Hence, I have switched to papers for marker pens.

Somehow, I still miss the fine-grain heavyweight paper that I used to draw with. Sure, that consumes more ink and the paper is harsh to the marker pens. It costs more in the long run. It is harder to draw because of the ink feathers. But I prefer fine grain heavyweight paper.

Titled as “Take You To The Moon”

In a way, it is like when people tell me that I should use an acoustic guitar to play music instead of strumming using a classical guitar. It is probably ‘wrong’. But I have made it my own, going against the norm.

In another word, I create art for my own consumption. It doesn’t make sense, I know (Jason my guitarist used to remind me that songs have to be written for general consumption, just stick with the general expectation and we would be fine).

I think I am a rebel.

Take You To The Moon is my latest work that inspired me to write a song that I have recently published on YouTube. The objects I use are very recognizable when you examine my previous work. That is a deliberate effort as I intend to form my signatures on my drawings. That is to say, by looking at the drawings, one would relate to the style of an artist. The cat, the couple, the half-moon, and the thorns. The difference for this drawing is that instead of roses, I drew stars to better suit the theme.

Titled “Wild Passion”, which is the predecessor of “Take You To The Moon”

On New Year Day, I stayed up late having this urge to return to the previous paper type (as mentioned above). I wanted to draw something abstract, free form, and to inject a sense of freedom and urgency. Personally, I enjoyed drawing Wild Passion a lot. The end result may not be as refined as other drawings of mine. It was liberating. I suspect those who are into interpreting art may find Wild Passion more interesting.

And yes, Wild Passion is also the predecessor of Take You To The Moon. I may do more abstract art. Perhaps in a more controlled manner.