The Aye of the Tiger (& the Habit of the Rabbit)

It’s the end of 2022, and the past three years have been a long and windy road. I have hope that things are going to be pretty good in some different ways in 2023. I prepare to say goodbye to the Water Tiger and hello to the Black Rabbit.

The rabbit is historically known as the most peaceful and tender of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. In 2022, life was characterized by power, vitality, and growth, underpinned by the dynamism of the tiger. Moreover, as the year was designated as yang, the active principle of the universe in ancient Chinese philosophy, people may have felt enthusiasm, positivity, and productivity, but also restlessness and inflexibility. What will 2023 bring? The upcoming Year of the Rabbit, however, embodies yin, the passive principle of the universe, which manifests in relaxation, fluidity, quietness, and mindful contemplation.

The rabbit is gentle, quiet, tame, tender, and kind, yet it moves quickly and is very clever. A Chinese idiom is “a crafty rabbit has three burrows.” The rabbit has both many clever ideas and burrows and is excellent at adapting to the environment. The rabbit can move very quickly, allowing it to protect itself during times of danger or when the situation is unfavorable. As a result, the overall energy of 2023 is likely to be gentle and calm, with people looking for a more balanced life. Like a swift rabbit, there could also be more movement and traveling- we’re finally going back to Canada!

Indeed, the kind, even soft, nature of the rabbit hides quiet confidence and strength, according to the Chinese zodiac, which says the animal moves steadily toward its goals, regardless of any negativity or problems encountered.

That’s good because it’s been hectic this past month. My Grandma in Canada caught and then somehow dodged COVID for the 4th or 5th time. My stepmom’s mum wasn’t so lucky – she had a stroke two days ago and passed yesterday, both in her sleep. It’s a sad day for the Ottawa-based Chinese-Canadian side of my family. My mother-in-law had a rough week, too: hoping to stretch her legs despite warnings to stay home and rest, she went out, down many floors of stairs (old building, no elevator), bought some groceries, and then took an awful tumble climbing back up. She is laid up in a hospital, very banged up, and it was a terrible fright for all of us. We tried visiting her yesterday, but while we were on the subway over, her and Yoyo’s other grandma both tested positive for COVID and were moved to another room and isolated in the hospital. We delivered some flowers but weren’t allowed in. So we hope for a rapid recovery; and that we’ll see her again before Lunar New Year.

After 16 months of investigation, the January 6 committee recommended four separate charges for former president Donald Trump and his associates. Xiaolin says, “you’ve been saying this since 2015,” and I suppose that is true. Sometimes things move fast, and other times, they move slowly. What charges does he face in the new year? Obstruction of an official proceeding: This statute makes it a crime to “corruptly” obstruct, influence, or impede, any official proceeding or to attempt to do so. The committee recommended this charge because they believe Mr. Trump repeatedly tried to stop or undermine Congress’ certification of the election in the weeks leading up to January 6. Conspiracy to defraud the United States This crime entails “two or more persons conspiring either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof.” The committee believes Mr. Trump worked with others to impede the function of the US government and mislead the public about the results of the 2020 election. Conspiracy to make a false statement This statute makes it a crime for a government official to cover up a scheme, make materially false statements, or issue false statements or documents with the knowledge the information isn’t accurate. The committee claims Mr. Trump and his backers’ planned to submit a slate of false electors in crucial swing states who would have handed him the presidency in defiance of election results. Insurrection This crime relates to inciting, assisting, or engaging “in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States.” The committee argued that Mr. Trump encouraged his supporters to come to Washington and cause havoc, and as the attack was going on, failed to take appropriate action to end the violence.

Also, this week: Amber Heard settled a defamation case against Johnny Depp. Heard settled months after a weekslong televised trial culminated with jurors’ finding she had defamed Depp by writing a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post accusing him of what the internet, after watching six weeks of evidence and testimony on cable TV, has generally decided was her projections of the abuse she, herself, perpetuated upon him. Johnny, vindicated by a legal court in America and the overwhelming support of the internet who watched the trial, said, “Six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled…Truth never perishes.” His new album with Jeff Beck is one of the best this year

It’s not always the choice between terrible people and broken people as role models. I heard a story recently about a random couple that ran into Keanu Reeves in a hotel lobby. They invited him to their wedding, so he put on a suit and joined them. They say it’s proof he really is The One. Honestly, I think, somehow, he’s managed to stay insanely humble and real despite decades as a super wealthy, famous movie star. I saw the picture to prove it, and you hear a lot of these kinds of stories about him and not a sniff of anything untoward. Someone asked him, “why are you so quiet?” and he said, “That’s just how I function. I don’t ask you why are you so loud, do I? Because that’s rude.” And I think that’s really worth meditating on as we head into this new year, the year of the Black Rabbit.

r/midjourney - steampunk Greta Thunberg

In a hilarious story of Instant Karma so just you can’t make it up, Elon Musk bought Twitter and then let a bunch of banned hooligans back on, such as Trump, Kanye, and controversial UK millionaire-accused human trafficker and kickboxer-turned-scumbag Andrew Tate. So Tate returned to Twitter and promptly used it to pick a fight about the climate emissions of his “33 muscle cars” with Zoomer of the Year Greta Thunberg. She clapped back at him, not only humiliating him by ratioing his post – his post got about 100k likes, her clap back, over two million. He was so upset he revealed his whereabouts with a pizza box in a response video to Romania authorities, who promptly arrested him on human trafficking charges. The internet is on fire with the karmic justice of this guy getting owned and then arrested. In the fight against capitalism, conservatism, and incel misogyny against solarpunk environmentalism and modern anarchic socialism, the good gals won. I can’t think of a better way to end the year. It feels like the Earth is healing a little and leaving me with the taste of hope.

The BookBub promo starts now! We are teaming up (More Publishing with BookBub) to deliver Amos the Amazing to two million MG young readers over the winter holiday. It’s so exciting. Just before I went to bed, mere hours into 2023 on the Chinese side, we hit our first #1 list: #1 in Children’s Steampunk Books and #1 in Children’s Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Books, as well as being #32 overall today in the Kindle Store on Amazon in the USA. HOW COOL IS THAT? (It’s pretty cool). Well done, Amos!

When the pandemic started three years ago, I worried I would die an unpublished author, and now, my new novel is #1 in several categories. That’s what believing in yourself and putting in the work will get you. I hope we see a lot of that this year. I hope this story can inspire other creatives to follow their dreams, too. No one knows the potential that hides inside your heart, so don’t listen to the naysayers. Follow your heart, and manifest your dreams.

We have a lot of work to do to make a #Solarpunk utopia out of our battered and bruised blue planet, but it’s strong and resilient, and we can do it together if we put in the work. We have to; there’s really no other choice. To the countries already working their butts off to make a green transition: good for you. To the ones bound up in lobbyists and nonsense bought by big oil: for shame. We need to dispense with the nonsense and get to work already.

I got the rights back to republish Kai’s Diary and will release a trilogy of my pandemic diaries. What three years it has been. The story isn’t over, but my arc has changed a lot. Life is still the same, only better. I am hoping to make it back to Canada this summer for a visit. Finally, now, it looks like we will. I’m starting the day now with yoga (trying to get good posture- it’s hard to be taller than everyone and easy to develop bad posture) and filling it full of the things I love: exercise, guitar, writing, good food, a little work (teaching and the news), and trying to make each day count as much as I can. I’ve got some new books on the go that will take me to 1920’s Paris, deep dive into the Tao and Wu Wei. We will travel worlds with pugilist Franke Finke. Oh, and the many stories of Amos. I want to tell the story of our Solarpunk future. And many more- Gaia Willing. In the end, looking back at 43 years of life, and hopefully ahead to the next 43, one thing I can say with certainty is that I’ve loved a lot, profusely, and intensely, and I’ve felt a lot, thought a lot, and wished and hoped and prayed a lot. I’ve danced a lot, played a lot, and hurt more than – at least from what I can gather, and what some close friends have told me – more than is common, average, or normal on the matter. An ocean of dreams, where wishes are fishes, but the empty abyss can be both haunting and cruel as it is endless. But it’s like Rocky said, and it really is, “it don’t matter how many times you get knocked down that counts, but how many times you get back up that matters. That’s how winning is done,” and maybe, as cheesy as it sounds, I think that might be my super power, I just don’t quit, but in fact, keep on trying, and in the end, perhaps, that was my secret.

I want to be the kind of guy that could live for 350 years yet look into the abyss with a childlike wonder for what might still come, for the unknown blessings that might be just around the corner could leave us spirited away on a mad-hatter plan that tucks all our worries and desires under our arms and drives us onward with the intensity of one scurrying to catch a fluttering hat in the wind towards not just the unknown, but the unknowable, and in hot pursuit, find something magick in the process.

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