Saturday, October 1, 2011


Why do I feel like this?
An overwhelming sense of rage and betrayal,
A tsunami of red-eyed emotion ripping forth to destroy.
Like the bitch who trained me,
The cruel blacksmith who beat me into her image,
I lash out at people who show me
The slightest sense of weakness through emotional connection.
I am cruelest to those who deserve it least and I despise every movement I make that mimics hers to the letter.
I want nothing more than to feel myself again,
Bur I look in the mirror and see only her reflection glaring back at me.
Theres nothing I have to offer.
No resource or emotional commodity that hasn't been taunted it rotten by her touch.
All I have to offer is contagion,
But somehow my goddess still smiles at me.
Her voice, her eyes, her touch like at phoenix's tears, washing away disease like it never occurred.
I just want to be lost in her...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Вспоминая красоты

O, what wondrous miracle is this?
This porcelain goddess who fills my vision,
Haunts my waking dreams and inhabits my thoughts.

The corners of her mouth quirking in a smile, at my glance,
Cherry lips opening in a silent gasp at my touch,
Cheeks reddening ever so slightly at my whispered words.

Hair falling around her face as she looks at me beneath her,
Light behind her head silhouetting her with an auburn halo,
Piercing blue eyes shining out from within.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Financial Stability

So today we went to the Mall. Where shopping led me to a surprisingly disturbing realization about myself.

No, no, let me start earlier...

In December 2006, I joined the United States Air Force. Among the items provided us over those six weeks were 4 sets of BDU uniforms, 2 pairs of Black leather boots, a 4-dimensional green duffel bag...and a pair of New Balance 498 Cross Trainers.

Not being a very active person, I never knew the importance of getting new athletic shoes periodically, so I wore my NB498s for everything even remotely athletic. Squadron PT, after-hours raquetball, mowing the lawn, I wore them all the time, each outing getting them more and more broken-in, scuffed and stained.

Simultaneously, I grew up in a fairly low-income family. Clothes, shoes and outerwear were chosen as much for their thrifty price point as their functionality, and fashion was taken into account not at all. Add in that I've always been on the bare edge of making it, financially, so I've never had spending money, really at all, and shopping is not something that crosses my mind.

So when Jill suggested (nay, demanded) that it was time to buy new clothes, as my 1 pair of long pants (ink-stained and ragged-hemmed jeans) and my 2 pairs of shorts (one khaki and covered in spots of plastic from casting, the other olive green and mended from the multiple times Lilith has torn a hole in them) we suitable for someone who was homeless, rather than a 40+ hr/wk employee of a well-paying video game company, we went shopping.

I ended up with a new pair of jeans, and 3 pairs of shorts in varying colors, the rationale being that it was going to get hotter before it got cooler, and we could go shopping again in the fall. Throw in some new socks and boxers, and the butcher's bill was a mere $120, much less than I feared it would be. But that was all just lead-up.

Today, I was putting on my trusty NB498s, futzing around with repairing a broken lace when Jill again laid down the law.

"Those shoes are disgusting. You've had them for 5 years now baby, they're worn out and look terrible. We need to go get you new athletic shoes."

A little arguing for argument's sake, and off we go to Lakeline Mall, bent on shoe conquest and acquisition.

Journey's? Too skater-oriented. Hot Topic? Too goth. Where the hell does one go to buy athletic shoes in the mall? Oh right, The Finish Line.

The guy at TFL was a very good salesman. He listened to my tale of woe about not knowing what type of shoe I needed for my walking/running style, measured my foot, asked me to sprint the length of the store to watch my run, then pointed out over a dozen styles that would work, ranging from the Clearanced $25 rack to the $150 top-of-the-line, wisely pointing out a pair of $130 shoes that he was currently wearing as being quite comfortable.

I tried different pairs on, noting that while I wore a 10.5 in casual shoes and boots, he'd measured me at an 11. Some more talking with Jill about colors and styles and we agreed that the model the salesman had suggested were the most comfortable, and while he had a white and green pair on, the black and blue ones would fit in better with my current wardrobe choices (I don't have anything in bilious green). I balked a little at the price, but Jill didn't seem to care, something that blew my mind, as she's normally very reticent to spend money.

Then it hit me.

We have the money to spend.

Bills are paid. Savings has been increased. Nothing waiting in the wings. The extra money's just there. Spendable.

So we bought the shoes. They're quite comfortable. And I was sitting here playing some World of Tanks in my comfy new cross-trainers, then something else hit me.

These are the most expensive item of clothing I have ever purchased.

I did a quick inventory to make sure, costumes and garb are right out: Pinstriped Dress Slacks: $80, Legend of Zelda Hoodie $65, Steel-toed Work Boots $50... hmmm okay, that's not working, lets throw in garb and costumes too, but only the stuff I didn't make out of raw materials: Felt Steampunk Hat $35, Zombie Hunter ABUs $100, hell even my Ren Boots were only $125...

This really makes me nervous for some reason. Although it shouldn't.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Project: Carapace - Day 4: Settling into the swing of things

Day 4: Settling into the Swing of Things

Chainmaille progression was virtually nil today. Tweaked a few things to ensure that rings were butted tightly and that the pattern was even on the piece that I am calling "Front Yoke". I got about 55 rings into "Rear Yoke" before setting it down to work on leather. I'm finding that if I work on one thing for too long, the muscles I'm using for that particular task get extremely sore and then work over the next few days is painful.

I started punching holes in my lamellar plates in earnest today. Brent and I had already marked all the plates with the hole pattern, and I bought a 5/32" round hammer punch at Tandy to make the holes. It's a little bigger than Brent's 9/64" punch, but the visual difference should be invisible once everything is dyed and starts getting laced together.
About 20 plates in (read: 160 holes punched), I started noticing this black grit all over the table and my pieces. A little investigation revealed that it was bits of the 1-pound rubber mallet I was using in conjunction with my punch. Each strike was ripping off bits of rubber, and each hole took between 4 and 6 strikes to make, so the mallet was quickly disintegrating.
I went to Mall-Wart to pick up a polyurethane-headed mallet like Brent got from Tandy, but no such luck. All the soulless mega-mart had were more rubber mallets. On the way back home, I drove by an AutoZone and thought, "They have mallets at auto parts stores, maybe they have non-rubber ones!" And I was so right. There in the tool section was a one-piece, cast urethane dead-blow hammer, a lovely 2 pounds with steel shot in the head to add force and reduce recoil vibration. It was a little pricey at $13, but it looked like just what I needed, so I was willing to drop the dough.
I got back to the house with the mallet and tried it out, checking after each hole for marring of the striking surface or any signs that the mallet wasn't going to last. But I shouldn't have even worried, because aside from some extremely minor indentations, the mallet still looked new after punching another 20 pieces. Now keep in mind, the rubber mallet wasn't brand new, but it was in almost-pristine condition when I started. Here's a comparison of the two mallets after they each punched 160 holes:
The angle of the photograph actually hides some of the damage, because the rubber mallet (on the left) is actually indented over an 1/8" of an inch into the surface, but the dead-blow mallet has barely any marks.
Another benefit of the new mallet is that at double the weight and with a harder striking face to transfer more force into the punch, each hole takes 1 or maybe 2 (on the thickest plates) strikes to punch the hole, cutting down my time spent on each piece. With the rubber mallet, it was taking at least 90 seconds to punch each plate, now I'm creating all 8 holes in 30 to 45 seconds, and there's less repetitive motion strain on my wrist and elbow.
So with some anime playing on TV to keep me interested, I got down to work, setting up a rhythm to keep everything flowing nicely and at about midnight-30, I had a nice block of 100 plates fully punched and ready to dye tomorrow.
The plan tomorrow is to set up an assembly line of sorts. Brent and I will finish punching the other 200 cut plates, then design, mark and cut the pair panels for the shoulder straps as well as the 6 to 8 belts for the side closure.
After those are cut and punched, we will start the dye process. In a large bowl, we'll start submerging sets of 10 or so punched plates into the dye/water solution. I want to get a mottled effect on the armor, so once each set is submerged, pieces will be individually removed and excess dye dried off before the next piece is pulled from the dye bath, so the pieces from each set which are pulled out first will be lighter than the last pieces to be removed. There will be no purposeful pattern to the assembly of the pieces based on color, once they've been dyed they'll all just be thrown in a bag and selected one at a time at random to be added to the armor. The random selection will create a nice mottled effect to the finished vest. The shoulder straps and closure belts will be more traditionally dyed, using a foam brush, as I'm not too worried about their coloration.
Once dying is complete, we will start oiling each piece with neatsfoot oil and and begin lacing them together using suede cord, likewise oiled. I think the best method will be to oil each piece as it is selected for lacing, that way there is no confusion about which have been oiled or not.