Realism is always a struggle for me with props-making. My philosophy has always been it's easier to actually do something than fake it. So, for example, when I do mail I do historically accurate mail with actual metal rings as much as possible.
But sometimes, it's just not a thing that works in today's world. I've got some briar wood and hawthorn wood, and I was looking at making some Harry Potter wands. They're described as a type of wood, with a core of something fantastic. That's where it gets interesting.
My plan is to take whatever I choose to use for the core and cast it in resin and put that in a hole drilled into the butt of the wand. I have a bit of hawthorn stripped and I've begun planning it's ornamentation. But what to use for the core material?
Dragon's heartstring is obviously not real, but how close to it do I go? Believe it or not, a heartstring is actually a thing. There are tendons that help manage the valves and whatnot in a heart, and those are what we traditionally refer to has heartstrings. If I wanted to go as realistic as possible, I could try to find a way to get my hands on the cardiac tendons of a lizard. But I'm not going to murder something just for this.
Should I use heart strings from another animal? I could get a beef heart at the store, butcher them out of it and dry them. Or would any tendon work? I have some actual moose sinew from a repair project on a pair of Native Alaskan beaded mukluks. Or should I say bag this nonsense entirely and use a bit of stretched chamois, with some strategic dye to make it look like a hunk of tendon?
The silly bit is no one will see this unless they break the wand. It's my own sense of aesthetics that is driving the entire internal debate.
Today would have been Fred Rogers' 90th birthday. That's a sentence that in and of itself isn't all that urgent or important, but there's a quiet revolution calmly flowing from underneath. His message of love and peace and learning has come around again, and it's doubly welcome in today's avalanche of awfulness.
To celebrate, Twitch is running a marathon of 90 of the most popular episodes from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on twitch.tv/misterrogers, followed by a run through all 886 episodes of the series running 24 hours a day starting today. I'm echoing it on my channel, if you are concerned about the possibility of questionable comments in the main feed's chat stream. There's nobody in that chat, for sure. ;) I've had it running in the background all day, and it's been a great accompaniment to the things I've been working on around the house.
My gang used to love the show, and not just because it was on right before Mighty Morphin' Mind-Suckers. It was fascinating to see how every day things were made. I'd forgotten how much I loved Picture Picture, too. I remember how the one about making toothpaste stopped a huge debate at my house.
So, happy birthday Mr. Rogers. And I hope thinking of him makes a lot of us think about the ways we deal with our world and our own neighborhoods.
Went to Owajimaya yesterday while we were Downtown to pick up a few things, and managed to make it out of the model area with only this small, snap-together model of one of my favorite Gundams. I'm doubly proud of myself because I managed to find the strength for the stern act of will required to walk away from a very, very nice model of the Arcadia, the ship in Captain Harlock.
The instructions are printed on the inside of the box. I'll post a pic tomorrow, hopefully with it arrayed in all it's tiny glory.
As I've mentioned before, writing has always been "nice work if you can get it" for me. Well, I'm still working on trying to get that work.
I was using a Patreon, but after their fee-changing fiasco and some problems a friend of mine had with them, I'm re-thinking using their service. I have a couple other choices I'm looking into. Whatever I choose, you'll see it here first.
Another thing I'm working on is a store to sell my writings here, and also with Amazon. I don't know if that's a good idea, but leaving that just sitting around seemed dumb.
I'm lucky in that I have the skills and tools to put it together, but this is a lot of work. There is a surprising amount of infrastructure involved in even going with Amazon. Anyone who tells you how self-publishing is easier than traditional publishing is confused, I think.
I was in the middle of the local pub trivia weekly contest last night when the MC took a moment to let the room know that Stephen Hawking had died. Mercifully no one thought it was one of his more tasteless jokes. It quieted the room, and it took a few minutes for even this bunch of mostly drunken norms to get back into the game.
A lot of other people with far more credentials than I have plenty to say about his prodigious impact on the rest of the world. For myself, I can say that what he brought us was a rare ability to speak about very complex topics in a way that made it approachable, and understandable within the realm of the average person.
His life was been one long series of impossibilities, starting with even living it at all. But he did it - he lived, he had a family and a brilliant career pushing back the limits of our understanding.
I hope he's somewhere in the Hereafter getting the run-down on life, the universe, and everything.
Sorry. I had written a post that turned out awesome, and I realized that it should be an article on Gamerswithjobs, so I submitted it there. If they don't want it, I'll bring it back here.
The alternative was a long and pointed rant about an issue in medical care that's biting a friend of mine in the arse. I think we're all going to be happier of that stays on my side of the keyboard.
.... Ruler of all that is Under!
Little dogs are very very different than big dogs. I mean, I knew that with my head, but he's teaching me more and more every day.
He keeps bringing me socks from my son's old room. Terriers are bred to tunnel into things and hunt, and he's so much a terrier he's nearly incapacitated with it.
He ate a leash. Like literally ate about a foot out of a retractable leash. The guys at the pet store suggested I spray bitter apple on the new one. I tried it, and just the scent makes me wonder how many apple arses they rendered down to make that stuff. Just spraying it on was nasty. Hopefully he won't chew this one.
He also chases treats. I have some treats that he thinks are okay, but not all that much to write home about. But if you slide it across the floor so he can chase it down he's incredibly happy. If it goes under the couch, it's doubly awesome.
So he's been getting titles. I wonder how many he will have before we're done. ;)
I am SOOOOO sore, but triumphant. For I have finally managed to find the core of one of my strongest opponents - Seymour the rosebush.
Seymour's a beautiful white rugosa that the previous owners let run rampant all over the bottom corner of the front yard, eating everything in his path like his namesake. It was half again my height, and more than 20 feet around, and on a slumping slope just to make it real fun. Just trying to prune the prick (I hope you see what I did there) requires Kevlar gloves and denim armor, and even then you are bleeding for it. And the thing required deadheading four times a summer at the end of just about every branch to keep up with it's blossoming.
Now that Fire and I spent two hours digging deadwood, black berry vines, and two other plants that were placed way too close he's a proper dome shape, and sunlight can actually reach the ground. And even after all that he still had a surprise for us. We've discovered he was actually three separate bushes; I found the graft stump from when they were each bare-root bagged.
Now each one of those three bushes have enough room to grow properly. I'll add a few spreaders to give the live canes the proper spacing to grow out properly in all directions, and in a year I hope he will no longer be my arch nemesis. He's always going to be a jerk to deal with due to his teeth and claws and explosive growing habits, but I'd like to get him to at least frenemy status.
He has a sister I've named Bloody Mary due to her matching deadly armaments and sprays of gorgeous deep wine blossoms. She was a little easier to get under control, because she'd been mostly killed. So after last year's work to get rid of her deadwood and get her in line, she just needed a proper seasonal trim to put her on a good path to re-grow properly.
I also tangled with the two lignum vitae on the other side of the driveway, and Fire got in there with the loppers and fired the opening salvos for this summer's bitter territorial struggle with the blackberries coming out of the stormwater drainage pond and chunked up that big winter-killed branch from the tree in the back yard.
But this is just the first engagement of the summer. We will be victorious, and it will be gorgeous! Next battle: my puling, asthmatic excuse for a weedwhacker.