Archive for January, 2010

Photo Phriday 58 – New Year’s Mochi

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Between the holidays, snowstorms, family events, playing with new toys and a myriad other distractions over the past couple of weeks I confess to missing last week’s Photo Phriday. I was going to make it up, but figured I’d give myself I break (like I need one of those) and just focus on the new year and getting things rolling for 2010.

NewYearMochi

Speaking of the new year, Ninja’s starting it off traditionally with some Kagami Mochi. This prop was made by a new friend Kelly [her ETSY, her DeviantART]. We met her at Nekocon and adore her tiny little charms, jewelry, keychains, and other little gems. She even made a custom Amu’s World Gift Box for a couple of items Amu commissioned from her. She’s super awesome and you should check her out.

To Live And To Die

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Around this time of year folks look back at the previous year’s goals, whether or not they’ve met them and begin planning for the coming year. I’m not going to be doing this. 2009 wasn’t the year I wanted it to be on many levels and if I can leave it behind and not look back ever again I’ll be content. I’m not a calendar year kind of guy, and have been trying to lump my goals by my age. Later this month I’ll be turning 33, and will seriously begin making plans for the next year on THAT schedule.

The holidays treated me far better than I probably deserve to be treated, though that self-indulgent bit of modest martyrdom aside I won’t complain about it. For as good as I was treated, however, it didn’t feel like the holiday I remembered it to be. I was stressed, poor, worried, unhappy with myself, and couldn’t muster enough holiday spirit to get into things. It was just sort of this thing I was expected to do and take part in. It didn’t feel right, and I vow to make next year more festive. I’ve always liked the holidays and want to get back to really taking a part in it.

The one thing the year end holidays bring like clockwork, which I enjoy far too much, is New Year’s celebration. We don’t drink, so our celebration is a bit different from most other folks. We mainly just eat a lot. Every year Amu and I throw a New Year’s breakfast for a few invited guests. Two years ago, on a dare, a tradition was born. I introduce to you, THE DEATH CREPE:

deathcrepe1

We’d begun doing a traditional breakfast, with eggs, bacon, toast and the like. Amu’d been in a crepe making kick, so we also used the opportunity to have a crepe breakfast. Tuna melt crepes and whipped cream with strawberry crepes were the order of the day. I was dared to combine some things for a MANLY crepe, and did just that.

deathcrepe2

The Death Crepe is a bottom crepe, cheddar cheese, bacon, an egg fried in bacon grease, and [not pictured here] another layer of cheese, with a second crepe to top it off. It’s hardened arteries on a plate, and a suicidal tradition at the beginning of the year.

This year, being our third year surviving the Death Crepe, we brainstormed how we could make it MANLIER! Next year we hope to make it EVEN MORE DEADLY! We also hope to survive it long enough to show you.

Invading The Dark Tower

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I’ve been known to be a downer sometimes. This makes it more difficult to appreciate the good things. I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a lot to appreciate. One of those things is THE BEST BOARDGAME EVER! As it turns out, this game was a child of the 80s, and is quite revolutionary for its time on an electronics and mechanical level. The game, or course, is Dark Tower.

darktower5

I’d never heard of the game before Amu and I met. In face, if I’d never met Amu I may still be ignorant of it’s mighty awesomeness. Her parents had the game and played it religiously between marathon games of D&D (Truly this qualifies them for some awesome parent award.) Amu and I have since been entrusted as keepers of the game. We don’t play often, but when we do it’s an event. We have a complete set of pieces, though a couple are broken. We can buy replacements (and likely will soon) with little difficulty. The complete working game can be found on Ebay for roughly $200[screenshot], depending on availability and such.

Here are a few photos of our recent game:

darktower1
darktower2
darktower3

Exploring the map, invading ruins and tombs, and encountering Brigands, Wizards, Plagues and Dragons to find the three keys that grant entry into the Dark Tower is the order of the day. Man the 80s made the BEST fantasy genre stuff. I’d like to get back to that. Stop with the fantasy camp and get to awesome fantasy, folks. Somebody get to it.

Re: Friends Til The End

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

After quite the break, we’re finally getting back to Juan and the girls. They’d gone off to train because, well, that’s what ninjas do. I’d imagine.

If you’re the type to check in on a regular basis you will have noticed I’ve updated everyday this week. Yes. Yes, I know it’s very odd. But as part of a little experiment in “getting back to blogging” I’m going to be posting every weekday in the month of January. That’s the plan, at any rate. Not only that, but if possible I’m going to have a photo in each post, however much a non sequitur it may be.

To that end, I give you Sinestro:

sinestro

Amu’s sister was over this past weekend and came toting this 13″ Sinestro figure around with her. I have to confess I’m not as big a fan of DC Comics as I am of Marvel, and probably not as big a fan of Marvel as I am independently owned comic properties of varying ownership and origin. That said I gave Sinestro a little portrait shoot by the window. Wookit da widdle fella!

Spawn Points

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

January’s the month I do a lot of retrospective dwelling on my life, though as mentioned before this is in light of my birthday more than the new year. I take some time to think about my life and what I haven’t been doing with it. I say “haven’t” because I’ve spent a lot of time NOT doing. Every year I intend to change this and every year I don’t. This is the first year in recent memory, however, that I feel as though maybe I can this time around. This comic’s proven that I CAN just do something, and that I CAN stick with it. It’s a good feeling, and if I’m being half as sincere as I think I’m being this year should see more of this sort of thing happening.

In a little less than a week it will have been 33 years ago that my mother dropped spawn onto this Earth. And while I’m very glad she did, I must confess that Amu and I will likely not be doing the same. We’ve been together for more than 12 years, have been living together for 11 of those, and have been married for 3. The topic comes up from time to time and our opinions are always mutual. Neither of us really want kids. There’s nothing wrong with this.

We’ve been accused of being selfish, of not liking children, of being “strange,” and have been made to feel excluded from “normal” society. There’s this notion that people MUST have children, and that to not want one is some monstrously deviant thing. We suffer no small degree of ostracizing and riducule because we’ve chosen NOT to create a living thing we have to care for. There are a lot of reasons for this, most of them personal, that we’re under no obligation to explain to people. It’s just how it is, and instead of trying to accept this most people take a judgemental stance on how we’ve chosen to live our lives.

It’s a lot like when we tell people we don’t drink. Considerably more than half of the time we’re met with a response like, “You don’t drink? Well what do you do for fun?” Really? If drinking is the only thing you can do to have fun I feel very, very badly for you. If you’re at the same few bars 3-4 nights out of every week you don’t “have a life.” You’re BORING. It’s similar with children. “You don’t want kids? How can you ever expect to know what LIFE or LOVE is?” We’ve been met with this response, however approximated the phrasing is here. Really? When you’re not part of some “club,” people try very hard to make you feel like you’re not living. That you’re missing out on some critically important life experience. It’s a shame.

All this said, I have a some nieces and a nephew I absolutely adore, and I love spending time with them. Amu and I think children are fantastic, and we are fascinated by our time spent with them. Kids are great. We get that. The moments that parents have are unlike any in the world and some parents cherish these moments more than anything else. They feed off of their child’s happiness and curiosity. As a parent you get to experience the world as if it were new to you, one more time, through the eyes and mind of your children. To some parents this means everything in the world.

Unfortunately this isn’t every parent. I’ve known parents who resent their children for the life that was taken from them. A life they wanted but don’t feel they can have now. Some parents are spiteful towards their children, almost hating them at times for stealing a future they feel they deserved. But then this…”thing” came along and ruined everything. There are parens like this. I’ve met them. I know some. It happens all of the time. Why I bring this up is because you don’t always get to choose which one you’ll be.

Guilt and resentment lie deep within, and you can hide it and pretend, but it will always surface. It will always be in the back of your mind. Amu and I have a lot we want to do with our lives, and while I’d really like to believe we’d be the kind of parents to cherish a child like it was magical I have no idea how we’d actually feel. I don’t want to run the risk of spending my life wondering “what if we never had this kid” and subconsciously taking it out on them. This is where people cry “selfish.” But it isn’t about having future plans stolen, it’s about passive-aggressively treating a child in a manner that can have very serious implications in their mental and social development. If I feel this way right now I’m in no way ready to have children. If you disagree, I have no idea what to tell you.

Why bring this up, then? Because I think it’s worth talking about. I think there’s a lot of pressure put on people, specifically young couples, to have children. It’s unfair, it’s unnecessary, and it’s part of why there’s so much divorce and so many children who are abanded and given up for adoption. Not everyone is meant to have kids. I very seriously believe this. Forcing it only leads to unhappiness, guilt, and unwanted experiences. Anyone’s free to declare that they want children. Good. We need people like you. You are critical for the advancement of this planet and of our species. But never, EVER feel you NEED to have children to fit in or force upon yourself this ridiculous idea that you don’t know what love or living is until you’ve done so.

I’ve thought about this recently because this week a very dear friend of mine–a guy I’ve known almost my entire life–became a father. He’s one of my best friends and I’m thrilled for him to be experiencing this. I could not be happier for him, and I can’t wait to congratulate him in person and hold his little boy and bathe him and his wife in my glee for them. I can’t wait to do this because I know this man. I know what kind of person he is, and I’m willing to bet money what kind of parent he’ll be. I also can’t wait to torture him with noisy toys. :)

Photo Phriday 59 – Heck Yeah, Ultraman!

Friday, January 8th, 2010

We don’t get to go out shopping often. It’s the curse of being a non driver. We’re not the kind of non drivers that constantly ask people to take us places though. We go where other people are already going, if they have the room, and we’re not too big a bother. So it was we found ourselves out recently and saw the best deal we’ve ever seen.

ultramandvd

We picked up this Original Ultraman series set for $5. Yes. FIVE DOLLARS! It’s not often you get so much awesome out of a five spot. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, we picked it up. Oh, and also the first 9 episodes of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. Another $5. Well worth it.

Amu’s Actual World

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Amu, for anyone who didn’t know or hasn’t figured it out yet, is my wife. She is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Everything she does is with her hands, and they’re capable of creating some of the most fantastic pieces of art. I’m slightly biased, yes, but that in no way changes the very real feeling of being blown away by the things she creates. From her hobbies to her dayjob she’s creating things. Endlessly.

During the early weekday hours, Amu works as a painter/finisher, sculptor, and woodturner at her uncle’s woodworking company. While there she paints and finishes a variety of woodworking projects, mostly tap handles for local and small breweries, sculpts pieces for custom tap handles, and hand turns her own knitting supplies from crochet hooks and knitting needles to the drop spindles used to turn raw roving into yarn. In fact, if we can get her in front of a sheep with some clippers the circle would be complete! And when she gets home the creating doesn’t stop because she’s sketching out ideas, crocheting amigurumi, knitting 1/12, 1/4 and 1/3 scale doll clothes, silk screening hand sewn 1/3 scale doll T-shirts among a myriad other things that keep her busy.

This weekend Amu was with her uncle while attending a woodworking show where they did demonstrations and advertised for woodturning classes they teach at the shop on the weekends. Amu was there to do demonstrations on hand turning knitting tools. I was there on Sunday to take some photos, and while I’ve been told sharing photos of Amu is verboten, here’s one of a gentleman from the Chesapeake Woodturner’s group turning a wooden cup.

woodturning

I’ve been in front of a lathe a couple of times recently, and while the basics of turning are easy to pick up there are intricacies in detailing and technique that confound me. At the show I made a goal for this year and I hope to make it happen. If/when it does, I’ll share it with you and you can be blown away by my mad woodturning skillz.

The Next Year

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

33

Quite some time ago, deep in the recesses of my brain, I’d dog-eared today. I’d made a half remembered mental note that by this date I would have done some really neat things. Currently, I’m doing one really fun thing(this comic,) and even that with far less “oomph” than it deserves. A few years ago something happened, and I’ve been wrestling for just as long to figure out exactly what that was. All I do know is that somewhere along the line I became very afraid of taking risks and being spontaneous.

Today I turn 33 years old, and I had so much I wanted to get done by now. I haven’t done any of it. There are times I think about this and feel I’m just too old now to start learning new things. I don’t have the money to go back to school. There are so many younger people so far ahead of me in anything I want to be doing. Whether it’s comics, or photography, writing, and a tad too many other creative areas. I want to be creating, and telling stories, and instead of being inspired by those around me who are accomplishing similar things I get frustrated and dejected. It’s all garbage excuses, of course, and deep down I know this. The anxiety’s always kept me from taking initiative on things though. Frankly, right now, I’m sick of it. I waste far too much of the time I’ve got and I’m taking it back.

Today I’m tossing off the gloves and am going to take my fears head on. I’m going to do things, because I want to, ignorant of “how” it’s “supposed” to be done and I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail a whole lot. But I’m going to keep trying until I figure it out my own way. I can’t keep comparing myself to other people and relying on other people to help. I don’t want to be them. I don’t want to be doing what they’re doing. Not exactly, at any rate. I want to do my own things in my own way, and I’ve been taking for granted this overwhelming support I get on a daily basis from friends and family.

I’ve never understood it, but for some reason people like me. While it may forever remain a mystery to me why this is I’m making it a point to justify it. It’s a really great feeling to know that my friends believe in me, and whoever I am to them they like me. It’s time to be somebody I like for a change. I’m going to start that right about now. It’s selfish time.

Unless this is hot air and I’m back to moping in a week, but if you see/hear/witness me doing this I give you permission to punch the crap out of me, maybe even in the face. Deal? :)