1 year ago
It's been brought to my attention that I haven't been doing a great job with keeping my "life updates' going. Sometimes I get distracted so much with what's going on, I seem to neglect to take the time to update my friends and family. So let's remedy that shall we?
The very last thing I had posted on my site and various blogs was
"Sometimes staying ones tongue yields positive results. I may have very well opened the door to have a negative moment converted to a positive.
We'll know on Tuesday if diplomacy prevails.'
A fairly cryptic thing to leave hanging in the air for so long, so I'll explain and in the only way I know how... the TLDR format.
People who know me know that I'm the type of guy who likes to help friends, even at cost. I helped a friend out during planet Hoth temps with car issues, caused a bit of my own, ultimately it cost me my car. Not my friends fault, I should have known better but I rolled the dice and I lost. No drama, that's just how it goes.
I needed a car, had specific specs... it had to be 4 wheel drive, manual and 4 door, prefer a jeep, and would like decent fuel economy.
I found a 2010 Compass on the interwebs
the salesman told me everything I wanted hear, there were issues with the car, he lied to me directly, strung me along for a few weeks, I bought the car under false pretense, the very next day horror began and it was showing it's issues. When I say the very next day, I mean THE VERY NEXT DAY. Not even 24 hours.
The car had a check engine light on, and I ran the codes. Remember I may do graphics online, but I'm a 20 year transportation specialist by trade, and at the risk of sounding arrogant... I'm dammn good at what I do, and I know my trade above and well beyond my station.
I tried diplomacy with the salesman, he was more interested in saving face and lying to me directly. When this failed I started the first steps of what I planned to do exactly, then the General Manager became involved. He was a decent sort and when it became clear that the car had more issues than we first suspected we came to a fair agreement and I bought a new car.
In the end I got a 2014 Jeep Compass with the much desired manual transmission for almost as much as I bought the 2010. In the end Karma and a cool tongue prevailed.
I didn't get to go to Wizard Con this year, well I could have but not in the way I wanted to, so I didn't. Originally I was going to make the Corvo costume from Dishonored and wear it to Wizard Con, however when I failed at making a decent mask...
First out of plastic and cloth for resin casting
Then out of clay, which cracked and broke
Then out of another form of clay which also cracked and broke
I then reached out to a guy online who makes the parts, ended up paying for the parts and he fell on bad times and it just didn't happen. Still hasn't. So I spent a lot of time effort and money on something that just didn't happen.
I've always been the type to never rely on another, so in the end I burnt myself.
I had also spent the money to have the coat made by EZ Cosplay. (I lost the pics)
Found my boots
Fueled by this failure I am going to do what I do best, try harder.
So for Gencon I'm going as Corvo. This is happening and it will take an act of God to stop me from reaching my goal. This is a thing now.
I'm no longer contented with making a "costume' now Eric's making a replica. I'm coming back with a vengeance, that's what I do... I'm going full cow carnivore.
I bought a sewing machine
and alienated my wife when I decided that I'm going to learn how to use this sucker.
Bear in mind that I don't know how to sew, she does... and it drove her BONKERS that I use welding terms.
Eventually I had to ask her to stop "helping' because she was tripping me up with her knowledge and facts. I have to make mistakes to learn. I need to learn how to "see' what I'm working on before I can apply it.
I'm not going to post pictures of my work this round. I will say that it took me a week to figure out how to sew. When I say a week we're talking 4 twenty hour days back to back. Full cow, nothing less.
I made my Corvo jacket, it was fantastic. Best "costume' ever. I don't want a costume. I want a replica, we're past that. So I disassembled it, now we're making a replica.
I want pockets that can hold inventory, they have to be "upgradable'. You can upgrade in game, and although nobody but me will see it... don't care, this is my replica and in the end I'm making this for me. Inventory pockets. They have to hold a sword and runes.
I'm going to make the sword, I'm going to make the charms, and I'm going to make runes. That's happening.
I'm going to make a crucible to forge them out of metal, oh and I'm going to learn how to forge metal. That is also happening. Full cow, nothing less.
I've already started on the crucible, I've sacrificed my favorite BBQ grill for this noble quest. The replica Gods shall be pleased.
I will update on the Corvo progress later.
....continued in comments
1 year ago
You never know what's going to trigger a chain of events, this morning I hit one of those triggers, but to better help understand the effect, first there's the catalyst.
I have a thing about people looking at my computer screen, since this discovery, I've not kept it a secret. It's the most sensitive topic in my sanctuary, so I'm open to expose it. My reactions are extreme, and painful to endure.
I'm currently getting help.
So I've been analyzing my life, my behavior, my mannerisms, my thoughts.
I woke up early this morning, and Jen was working on her Grey Warden costume for Gencon, I'm learning how to sew and she's puzzling over how to make a pair of gloves. She's watching me as I take a glove and start to dissect it in my mind.
Instant headache, instant aggression. Instant trigger?
Normally at 0530 I'm sitting down to a bowl of dry oatmeal in milk, not personality dissection.
I grab a notebook and a pencil and start to look for the thread.
I know the computer stuff, I can trace that back. What if creativity is the trigger? I do a lot of my creative work electronically. But where did it start?
My dad was a lot of things, most of which I only learned about from others. But when I was a kid he showed up with a computer. An Apple II. He had a stack of books and a case full of floppy discs for me and my sister.
I started to go through them in my mind.
SAM (Software Automatic Mouth)
PCS (Pinball Construction Set)
Where in the world is Carmen Santiago
PR#6 virus (I wrote)
I'll cut past the foreplay, it was all about Fly Shuttle.
That's the start.
I didn't know it until today.
My dad gave me the computer, it was for me and my sister but she could care less, she had a new stereo and quickly abandoned the computer. So it was just me and my dad. For the first time in my life I had a father and son moment.
It didn't last, but I can say I had that.
He wrote me a program, Fly Shuttle. He figured I wanted to be an astronaut because he wanted to be. I quickly showed him a rocket I designed, and he pushed me back to the program.
On the screen I watched the space shuttle moving on the platform, then it went to a launch sequence, took off, the rockets separated, the fuel cell came off, it flew off the screen.
I had never seen anything like it, to me it was magic.
He presented all of these manuals, "this is what I used, would you like me to teach you?'
But he didn't crack open a book, he cracked open the program.
I looked at the code, not the books, I hadn't noticed him walking away.
Fifteen minutes later he came back and I was so excited to get him to watch as I ran the program again, and him asking me very sternly what I had done.
"I made it red'
"But the monitor is black and white'
"it's red now'
"but it's not'
"yes, it is and you saw it too'
He had, but reflecting on it as an adult he saw there was grey.
I changed the value to the thruster, now it was red, because fire is red.
My mom and dad did not get along obviously. Divorced, she was a bit bitter about him trying to kill me, and he was a bit nervous around her since the last time he came near me she went monkey nuts with a machete and tried to cut him down as he fled for his life to the car, to which pissed off mom tried to hack through.
You don't screw with the Alpha Smurf and her children.
It wasn't long after my dad told me that he was gay that he was gone, not to be heard from again until I was 18.
But today I pieced it together.
My dad was proud to be gay, he wasn't when my mom and him were together. He was trying to deal with unacceptable feelings. I know he wanted my sister, she was to perpetuate the lie. I was the side effect of angel dust. Both parents made no bones about my origin.
When I found my dad again he told me his side.
His confusion, his frustration.
Society hated him for his feelings, his church excommunicated him, his job fired him, his family was a lie to hide it, drugs were an outlet to deal with it, and I was a representation of all that was bad in the world.
Quite a trip to lay on your kid, but I was villainized still in the womb.
So when the straw broke the camels back and my mom couldn't take the physical and mental abuse anymore, she went monkey nuts and tried to kill him. Raging moms do that... even when the pigmy is only 3 apples high. (my mom is wicked short)
So I go through life thinking he dumped a computer on me and then left to go to a gay party never to be heard of again until about a year later when his boyfriend tried to kidnap me.
Fast forward to 18, I find him and try to get to know him, I move to California to get to know him. He lowers his defenses and fesses up a lot while under the influence of alcohol.
He kept coming out of the closet to me, I think he was trying to get a rise out of me. But I knew what gay was before I knew what straight was.
Had he ever asked me, he would have found out that I didn't keep it a secret. It was the ONE thing about him I was proud about. Kids would try to use it to anger me, but I volunteered up freely that he was gay, and that it takes a real man to stand up to the world and proclaim it. Even today in our society I applaud the courage it takes to live out of the closet.
What I couldn't get past was his lack of caring for the son his struggle produced. All I wanted was my dad and an apology.
Be gay, it's true to yourself and I will love you for it without reservation. But not one child support check, just one Christmas, not a single birthday. Not a card.
I hated him for that.
He raised a hand to me once, took an aggressive posture. I reminded him that I'm not the smurf from hell, I will break him in half. I had him off the ground by his throat with my off hand, pointing with the right. The conversation never happened again.
When he was diagnosed
1 year ago
Have you ever worked so many days straight that when you finally got a day off, rather than do what you thought about like a fiend, you instead didn't know what to do with yourself?
That was me today.
A month ago we had a person up and quit at the office, but nobody knew how to do her job. I was "trained" by her, but her training was basically doing everything, and saying I did it (I did not keep this a secret when it went down).
I was asked if I could help, and of course I did. I really like the director of that department, good dude.
It took me about a day to figure out her job. It took me another day to do her job effectively, and then one more to be told by others that I was doing a better job than her, and get a job offer.
A week into it I was writing training materials for how to do her job, and the start of the second week I started to ask questions, what did she do? What did you like about it? What did you dislike about it? What can I do to improve your experience? Stuff like that.
By the end of the second week I figured out why she was failing at her job, and framed out a plan of action to squash it.
Week three I had full endorsement from the director and I remodeled that part of the business, wrote a new SOP on it, and had the people who were universally considered "hard to work with" laughing and joking with me.
By the end of the third week I had re-strengthened our core business model, I set up all of the customers from start to finish in a desirable model, and went from a 30% on time average to 100%, reduced stage time from 6-7 hours to 1-1.5 and decreased my end customers on site presence need by 15%.
Week four I had a self sustaining model in place that went from a 1 to 2 day lead time, to a 2 to 3 WEEK lead time and a backup plan and redundancy backup plan method in play. I trained in 5 people to do the job and had them well versed and proficient before EOD Friday.
Why is it I can do all of that... but I can't figure out what to do with my own personal time that I've day dreamed of for weeks now?
I basically hung out with my friend D, had an AMAZING breakfast at Keys, oooohed and ahhhhh'd over some fine looking handguns at Bills and came home to start building a crucible.
Day 2 I have no clue what my plan is...
1 year ago
It's been so long since I've written a journal entry, I almost don't know where to begin.
I suppose I just did.
I've mostly been working a LOT. I'm currently working 7 days a week and it kinda stinks, but on the other side of the coin is usually a bird, unless you have one of those state coins and the humor is now lost to you.
My website is still going, strong is not the operative word here. I really don't sell much, and in a way I'm glad because I haven't really had the time to process much. That being said my site is doing aaaaaawesome and I'm quite pleased with it.
I've been working on a charity site and various mods to take up my time. I'm planning on learning how to sew... Wednesday. Jen has stopped correcting me when I call it cloth welding. Which is good, it mean she has learned.
Amy will be coming over Wednesday to learn sewing as well, or I'll be helping her create parts for her costume. We'll see where the mood takes us.
Speaking of costuming, we're going to Gencon this year! I'm in the process of making my costume... which will be Corvo from Dishonored. I'm planning on making the mask out of metal, the coat I intend to make real, which pisses Jen off to the Nth degree.
I bought a sewing machine to learn how sew so I can make my custom Dishonored long coat, I'm learning metal casting so I can make the mask, if I'm making a real mask, why would I not make a real coat?
I went on a quest for materials a while back, a simple quest without hobbits. Figure out what cloth material was available around to make my Dishonored costume. This was about a year ago if that gives you any idea how long this idea has been rattling around.
I just so happened to be in my portal test subject costume... complete with the boots and portal gun.
You would be amazed how quickly you can get service at places in an orange jumpsuit.
The lady at Hancock fabrics met me at the door in a flash, probably trying to see if the text on the jumpsuit was from a prison... and when she uncomfortably asked me what she could do, I asked her for a sturdy material that could repel plague ridden blood.
A manager intervention later and the cloth was found, the machine was spec'd out to handle it and a crap-ton of overtime later I have my Lamborghini sewing machine.
I'm learning to cast metal and building a redneck crucible in my sliver of a yard so I can make the mask out of metal, and I already have a little over $400 invested in materials to make the mask, why would I spend all of this effort making realism, just to quit at the coat?
That's like buying a sports car without an interior or engine, it just doesn't make sense to me, and it has to make sense or the world will burn in effigy.
So that's my vice right now, building a realistic Corvo costume.
This summer I'll be making another mod to the truck, by the way I still mod the truck. I'll have to post some pics later.
The new mod will be for Dying Light so I'll have to do some extreme modding to the truck. I'm thinking I'll make this zombie sculpture coming out of the hood. Well that's the idea today at least. We'll see what the summer brings.
I'm still eating spicy food that can/will kill... allegedly.
While red savanna habanero is still one of my favorites, I was introduced to the Trinidad scorpion pepper, and after the initial bleeding and respiratory seizure I found them to be delicious! It's like some sort of weaponized fruit goodness that will turn your butt into a lava cannon later.
Jen, aka "Mrs Greenthumb' has figured out a way to grow these temperamental plants and I'm gutting out part of my shop to dedicate to an in house greenhouse to grow the precious.
I'll post pics as I build this monument to fiery awesome.
So how have you been?
3 years ago
Today Jen, Amy and I went gun shopping... more to the point I wanted a new Colt 1911 w/ a level 2 SERPA concealment holster (to use in my combat shooting league) and we all went together.
RVB came up in conversation, Amy still follows it religiously where I fell off the wagon around the time the humor quit being semi-low browed toilet humor. I know I'm a grown man, but I still like the juvenile stuff.
She mentioned a graphic she wanted which was basically a Spartan helmet in a skeletal key, and while I hate to admit the reference is now lost on me, I still hold a strong love for Red vs Blue even though I've strayed from my RVB family over the last couple of years.
So for Amy and my RVB family... challenge accepted.
The design is very simple, first I made a Spartan helmet for the top
Now most skeleton keys have that little nub sticking out to keep you from jamming the key all the way in, and it doesn't have to be round and flat... so I thought it would be fun to make it Church... well church in the AI form, AKA Guilty Spark
Moving along I made a basic skeleton key shape
when I made the key shaft my Church idea suddenly looked as if it was made of fail.
So I cinched it together, which in the end it doesn't look anything like I had planned but I know what it was supposed to be.
So here it goes, my take on her suggestion, the Halo key.
I'm going to have to buy the seasons of RVB that I've missed, not just because I want to know what it is exactly that I made, but also because I miss everyone. Sucks that the site was blocked at work, and that I stopped going there as a result.
So good memories thinking of RVB, and good memories remember shooting with my Grandfather and his 1932(ish) Colt 1911. My 2012 Colt 1911 rail should be in next week with time to spare for the league! I may engrave it with something sentimental.
In the meantime I'm still trying to get ready for the new venture, I've been working on my shop, and I'm spending tonight tearing it apart and rebuilding it, I have no clue what the hell I'm going to do with that ten foot scythe I made for Darksiders II... I'm sure it will be an odd duck to put up on Craigslist.
Unless someone in the Minneapolis area wants it before I put it up (free)...
I'm going to try to do a better job than I have been of keeping up with RVB, I miss the hell out of you guys!
4 years ago
Well there’s a lot going on right now, but I don’t wouldn’t say I have a full “Life Update” worthy posting.
I finished out the Gears of War truck
Because the area I live in has some... charm... I've been driving the truck to work so that the paintjob wouldnt get vandalized before the event (I fully expect for it to get destroyed now that the event is over).
But tragedy struck in the form of the exhaust system falling off on the way home!
You can't make this up!
I wanted to make some more goodies for the event, but I had to squander that time in a rush job to the exhaust... which turned out well!
Instead of putting a new system on it with a muffler, I made a new exhaust system with glass packs!
Dear Lord... had I of known it would sound this great, I would have planned on doing this in the first place!
While it sucks that this popped up on me literally in the final hours, I'm grateful to have the ability to repair it in short order, and I had it finished with 3 hours to spare before the launch!
I stopped by another GameStop and dropped off some goodies for them to give away, and then headed to the West Saint Paul location for our launch event which I think turned out AWESOME!
I met a lot of really great people, awesome gamers, good times!
One of the people I met was a very animated guy named Johnni Riddlin who was Vlogging the event.
I bought the Gears of War console, however a guy in line bought the awesome one with the statue (I'm almost sad I didn't get this one), and he was kind enough to open it up for a bunch of us who were very very eager to see it!
Now I didn't know you could order it, or that they even made it... but two people got the Lancer, and one of them was kind enough to show it to us
I was surprised how light this thing was... it's a plastic shell but painted cool.
I suppose it is for a wall... but the sad thing is, holding it... I KNOW I could build one with a functioning gun.
After I dropped off my buddy Jay, me and my wife played GOW 3 on the new console all night... which is why I'm a little late getting this update up!
Much like Dragon Age II and Portal II, you can expect to see more Gears of War graphics in the future as we play the game.
So why not get the ball rolling now??
Yes, I took time away from the pure win and awesome that is GOW 3 to make my first decal design in what I hope to be just one in a long line.
...and much like my other designs, this is how I did it!
I started with a square
I had to add in a spacer
Next a few color blocks
now I need to onion skin it and add in some more reference lines
I know it's a bit confusing to look at, but to me it makes sense... I see the final image already, now to show it to you!
The color blocks turn into solid blocks
Then to remove the color, trim up the lines a bit
and I present to you the first Gears of War 3 decal straight from the game!
As we play though, there will be more added!
If you want to see the final shots of the truck you can go here
Now for the non-truck related, yes it’s mostly about Nerdfitti since that’s been my focus.
As many of you know I’ve wanted to make shirts for a while, and as some of you know I’ve started making my “Ox” shirts, haven’t sold a single one, but you know hey, they’re weird.
Last night I bought the last piece of equipment I’ll need to make heat transfer shirts, so I’ll be able to sell one off shirts in that method.
The last part is my press, the thing that I keep piddling with and have been building for around year.
At first I was making it out of wood, until boards snapped while trying to do anything.
Not willing to take failure, I bought a welder and some junk and I’ve been making it into a dream.
That dream is almost here, the last big hurdle was jumped this week
All I have to do is get the armatures in place and it’s done.
I have armatures from an actual screen printing press, sure they’re older than dirt but they function, I tested them out last night.
I’ll have to learn UV exposure, finish out my UV cabinet that I’ve already built and get a heater/dryer and that’s it… I can then screen print!
The press will be done probably this week, I’m going to make it single color for now with the option to up the ante a bit later.
The base you’re looking at is a fully functional 4 station, with the ability to go up to 6 colors, I only have the armatures for 3 colors right now, but I’m cruising Craigslist for more junk and I’m hopeful that I can find some more parts.
The very cool part is that I’ll have no overhead, this is all paid for so if I don’t sell a single shirt, it wont hurt me one bit.
So this is what I’ve been doing, what have you been up to?
4 years ago
And I've had some great suggestions that I am looking forward to making happen such as painting the grill itself black
I've had others say that the truck makes them want to punch babies.
To which I ask...
Clearly she knows what she did.
The truck is not done yet... yes, there is still more to do, so no final glam shots just yet.
Lets start with the tires
I wanted to disc them out, however time was an issue with shipping, and I couldn't find a set of discs ANYWHERE in the Twin Cities.
So lets work with what we've got.
Oh, and if you've noticed that there is an Aperture Science Logo left in the center cap from a previous paintjob... you are a Where's Waldo grand champion!
Make no mistake, they are still there.
So I made a tire mask
And hit the wheels
I know... I know... not very epic, but I couldnt get what I wanted in time for launch.
Next the grill had to be torn down... I'm still surprised that the headlights fit... just throwing that out there.
There was little to mask
The prime I used was not the usual ruddy. The reason, the surface is shiny and too many contours to sand right, I needed self etching.
While the grill dried and had tried to put the site logo on by hand, and then broke down and made a mask
The Omen on the hood was ruined so I had to remake a mask for that as well, then I had to mask off the whole hood
Now for some aluminum paint
and the fates loved me today... what are the odds that I would find the shade of red I used that is no longer in production??
I stood in my yard doing the Zelda Triforce pose with the can
I don't care who saw me, this was AWESOME!
Thank you foces of fate!
I ruined the nozzle on some black automotive and started to splatter up the initial coat.
Then I went with more red
then disaster struck
The paint peeled right the hell off with the mask!
To make matters worse, in the middle of correcting it... the paint pen EXPLODED in my hand while lettering!!!
I've been using paint pens for years, this is the first time one ever blew the tip right out of it
I put my "NF" logo in the Lancer endcap
After peeling the respective masks, detailing it out, then clear coating it all this is where I am at
There is still so much to do and only a few days left before launch!
Here’s where it gets a bit… weird.
So I’m going to be at the GameStop 2008 Robert St South, West St Paul MN on launch night (feel free to stop by and say hi!)… and it looks like they are trying to get “Nitro Girls” to be all over the truck.
Is it sad that I didn’t think “HOT CHICKS!!” I thought “I hope their tetanus shot is up to date”
I’ve been making shirts like crazy and cutting a zillion decals to give away.
I’m in crunch time mode… now I’m working on getting ready to sandblast.
4 years ago
4 years ago
Getting so close to the end of the line I said to hell with sleep and started work on the truck.
I thought my masking time was done, but Amy made a suggestion that I not go so subtle with the GOW Logo and Omen.
I trust her judgment but I had already put a little Omen on the hood and it was part of the design.
Well easier isnt better so it had to go
At this point I know I want to hit it with the candy, and I want the logo to pop so I broke continuity and went with white for the base.
I made a very idioic mistake... I didn't buy all of the paint for the project before working on the project.
Not very bright on my part.
As a result I had buy an unproven paint as the shad I planned on from day one is no longer made.
I bought the next closest thing... or so I thought
This is "candy apple red" per the label.
Subtle designs are lost in it
I thought maybe if I put it back together I would be happy
I have to try to figure out how I'm going to fix this.
At this point I stopped.
I am a firm believer in no matter how much time, money or effort put into something, crap is crap.
That being said... time to put up or shut up, I know what needs to be done.
Masking the Crimson Omen was simple enough
Then Amy came over... so I put her to work on the blanket mask while I worked on the hood & logo
That's her dog Menchi... who I believe thinks she's a cat... she caught a mouse while we were working on the truck.
Mask in place, it's time to shoot color (again)
Now for some black... but I'm done playing with unknown colors... this is actual GM black automotive paint, not rattle can.
I'm not spending another day masking the truck for this paint job... if I paint it again before the first snow... maybe.
And the reveal
Oh yes, now that looks right!
... and this is where the needle gets dragged across the record
The only thing that caused a problem with is the skull. There's no way to match the color, they don't make that red anymore.
Well there's no sense crying about it now, there's still a sliver of daylight so despite boring Amy into a coma I put the truck back into road worthy condition and start the tedious part of painting by hand.
This was the last of the masking, from this point it's all getting hand painted, and then cleared.
I suspect there's about 17 hours of work left into this build at this point.
Amy didn't get a single drop of paint on her Grifball Shirt... and so I get to live another day!
4 years ago
I started with more taping... I know it's a lot of effort for a paint job that is going to fall apart before the first snow... but it's all about the fun.
Now here's where it gets a bit weird.
I repainted it silver, but then I added in shading... then the part that wont make sense at this point will be the color shade.
The lines of color in the silver and black are very deliberate.
As some have already figured out, the truck was never intended to be silver
So to let this cure overnight before the next step... here's where we stand
Here's a better look at the shading
And the COG line