Archive for February, 2012

28/02/2012

Moving house. A few thoughts.

I’m sure most of my readers have moved home at least once in their lives. Well I am about to undertake what will be my fourth move in five years in the coming weeks. It really is a sickeningly stressful thing to do even once, much less four times in such a short period of time, but we shall persevere. Why am I moving? Well I live in a small town, a very small town. You know when a fly goes to the toilet on your national roadmap, and leaves a tiny mark? That’s the town I live in, and no it’s not to scale, that’s the town, literally. It’s a town where they took their one horse out behind a cow shed, and beat it to death with boxes of teabags.

So imagine my joy when my Partner in Crime, and I were offered a beautiful townhouse in a town much closer to Dublin City. A town with a nightlife. A town with actual shops. A town with an exceptional public transport connection. A town which was never buried at a crossroads, with a stake through its heart.

But of course that means we have to move, and now the stress starts. But after moving so many times we have some pearls of wisdom to share with my loyal readers, some of whom will probably find themselves moving soon, if they’re not in fact in the process of moving right now.

  1. Pack early. We all gather possessions, it’s a natural thing to do. But those possessions can be nothing short of a nightmare to pack away if you leave it ’til the last moment. So pack early, you don’t have to pack everything, but make a start with those small things you don’t use very often, and as moving day approaches pack more of the things you use occasionally, until the night before you move you can finally pack everything that’s left.
  2. Get help. Seriously, get help. The first two times I moved in this cycle of “not staying one place very long” my PiC and I did most of the heavy lifting essentially alone. We had help to empty boxes, and arrange the apartments, but the loading and unloading was largely done by ourselves. BIG MISTAKE! Neither of our backs has been the same since.  Get help, bully, blackmail, offer sexual favours. Whatever it takes.
  3. Don’t move at the last-minute, plan it ahead. Not just to have time to move everything, and have it arrive in one piece. But also so that you’ll have the time needed to clean your old place properly, to touch up the paint anywhere that’s been marked, tidy the garden. Basically you want to get your deposit back, right? Well it’s going to take a few hours of hard work to get your old place back to standard, so make sure you have the time you need.
  4. Remember you’re going to argue. It’s just stress, don’t take it to heart. My PiC, and I have had some really nasty sniping sessions during our various moves. The thing is nothing we said was really meant, or actually real for that matter. Moving is stressful, and stress makes you angry. So just remember that when you find yourself sitting in your new home ignoring one another, wondering how much a divorce would cost.
  5. Make a list. Not just a list of items to move, or not as the case may be. But also a list of utility bills to be redirected, which banks need a change of address form, even moving your television service. It all takes time, and it all needs to be planned out.
  6. Buy boxes. Sometimes boxes from a supermarket will work for you. But more often than not they’ll just fall apart under any real stress. IKEA does a line of absolutely brilliant cardboard boxes, which are cheap enough to be extremely affordable, and tough enough to survive being filled, unfilled and refilled several times.

Well in a few more weeks our latest move will be over. I have to admit that I’m dreading it. But I just have to keep reminding myself that when it’s done I’ll be living in a really gorgeous house, and in a much better situation for both myself, and my PiC. So for now it’s just a case of soldiering through all the crap coming our way, cos it’s bread and butter today, but tomorrow there’s jam, and the day after…chocolate spread. Yummy!

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25/02/2012

Being an abuse survivor. Part 3. How it happened to me.

(The following article is written from a very a personal view-point, and should be read as such.)

These posts are taking more time to get up than I had expected, so I apologise for the delays. It turns out that for all their brevity they’re exceedingly difficult for me to write. That being the case your patience is much appreciated. Well anyway in my previous post I said that I would speak a little about how I believe I came to be in the sights of a pair of sexual predators.

I was first abused when I was 9ish (the precise age I was is very hazy to me, probably a good example of a mental self-defense mechanism in operation, but a pain in the arse when writing these articles.) But the grooming began a few years earlier. I’ll go into detail on how that was performed in a later post, but it’s sufficient for now that you understand that a child is rarely just picked up and abused. There’s usually a prolonged period of breaking the child down until they can be abused with minimal risk of them telling anyone.

There are three things which I believe contributed directly to my being targeted.

1: I am transgendered, and even at that young an age I was painfully, and I am told often visibly, uncomfortable in my own skin, and my own life.

2: I was bullied physically in school by older children. Despite always being tall, and strong for my age I was as a child extremely gentle. I preferred to avoid all confrontations when possible, worse I was very study minded. For example, I went into secondary school already knowing the entire science syllabus for the next two years by heart. So of course what a perfect target for school yard bullies. A fact that brought me to the attention of the teachers in my primary school, one of whom would be one of my abusers.

3: I came from a family which had moved towns three times in the previous five years. This meant that I had yet to make any close friends, or even learn how to make such friends, and so was almost always lonely.

Take those three facts from my life. Add to them a primary teacher with 30 years of experience in almost reading the thoughts of young children. And as it turns out 30 years experience of picking out just the right child to groom for future abuse. Take all that, and put them together, what do you have? The starting point for a ruined childhood, a shattered teenage years, and very nearly a life utterly destroyed.

In the next part I want to explain what grooming is in more detail, and show how it was performed to break me down until I felt more alone than ever before, or again.

Link to Part 1.

Link to Part 2.

23/02/2012

So there’s Norse gods living in New Zealand…that explains so much.

Just when I start to fear that science fiction on the television is starting to get stale along comes something that reaffirms my faith in the messed up creativity of the human mind. Imagine New Zealand, watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings if you need help in doing this, though remember that the Orcs and Elfs were actually exchange students from Galway on a tear up. Now imagine that living there amongst the other normal New Zealanders are all the Norse gods, now in mortal forms, well mostly mortal at any rate. Now what if these gods, and goddesses can’t stand one another. There you are, you pretty much have The Almighty Johnson’s in a nutshell.

Just your average family of gods. (Image via Blog.tvguide.co.uk)

Airing on the SyFy channel every Thursday night I tuned into this hoping for something vaguely watchable. This is after all the SyFy channel, home of such televisual gems as Destination Truth, or as I think of it Destination Wonder if Humans are Smart Enough to Survive as a Species. I know, I know, their title is snappier. Well watching the first episode I didn’t expect much. Maybe a few laughs here, and there. Some of that horribly stilted action which often makes bad science fiction even more comical.

What I actually got, and what I’ve tuned in religiously every week since for, was stunning. Well written, we thought out, well acted, even the few special effects used are crisp, and well done.

In brief Axl turns 21, and is informed by his brothers, including the one who turns out to be his 90-odd year old grandfather (who looks 30), that he’s a Norse god. Odin in fact. They’re all gods too, oh and there’s Norse goddesses out there as well, but well the two don’t mix very well. In fact to begin with the goddesses seem to be bent on killing Axl. Throw in a quest to find his past and future wife Frig, some of the best, funniest sex jokes I’ve seen in a very, very long time, some family soap opera styled shenanigans, and some very serious eye candy (For the prime example check out No.2 on this post, she’s also well able to act.), there you have it.

Of course all of that is a gross simplification, but rather than my spoiling all the surprises you should just tune in, and watch. If you’re a fan of mythology, and you have an open mind to new interpretations of old stories you could find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was.

21/02/2012

My Top Ten Most Beautiful Women of – Science Fiction.

It’s been a while since I wrote either a Top 5, or Top 10 list, so I thought why not start with a series of my various celebrity crushes, or more often my crushes on the characters they play. After all everyone loves a Top 10 list, and gorgeousness is always appreciated. So we start today with my Top 10 most beautiful women of science fiction. This is of course a personal list, and as such I fully expect to be loudly argued with over who, and why should have been included. So go on, try. You might even convince me.

10: Maren Jensen – Athena – Battlestar Galactica.

Maren Jensen, how could you not fall for that smile?

Anyone raised on the new reimagined Battlestar Galactica is right now scratching their heads and wonder how I got Grace Parks’ name so wrong. Well for the education of those who don’t know, once upon a time the BSG character Athena was more than just a name that crept in during the 3rd season. In fact once there wasn’t even a 3rd season, only 2 (we don’t count Battlestar 1980, which is a travesty.), and the second one viciously truncated. I am of course speaking here of the original Battlestar Galactica, the western set in space. So while the kiddies are still wondering who she is, their fathers, and probably more than a few of their mothers, are sitting there right this moment with a silly grin fixed on their faces. Yes, that grin, the one that means they went to sleep dreaming about her at some point in their lives.

Anyway Maren Jensen had been a model before she was cast as Athena, the daughter of Commander Adama, sister of Apollo, and woefully underused potential love interest of Starbuck (Yes kiddies, she used to be a dude! And not just any dude either, she used to be Face from the A-Team!). She got cast, and despite having a very short acting career (1978-1981) would go on to have a starring role in bedtime fantasies for decades to come.

9: Clea Duvall – Audrey Hanson – Heroes.

Equal parts deliciousness, and incredibly great actress.

Okay, I’ll be honest here. I watched the first season of Heroes religiously. It was amazing, I’d never seen anything remotely like it before. Then season 2 started, and for me it lost the plot. It quickly became both incomprehensible in a Lost sort of way, as well as boring as hell. The end result being that I saw enough of it to end up wishing to be Clea Duvall’s girlfriend, but not long enough to know much of anything about her character. She plays a FBI agent, named Audrey Hanson…ummm that’s it really. Maybe I should have referenced The Faculty instead? I mean she is after all gothy as hell in that…

Yeah, should have gone with The Faculty. *growls*

8: Erin Gray – Wilma Deering – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Please ignore the emptiness in her eyes, that’s just what comes of being the co-star to Gil Gerard.

Like anyone who was a kid in Ireland in the ’80’s you basically started with just two entry points to science fiction, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers, (Star Trek didn’t really figure as a television series on Irish terrestrial television, in fact it still doesn’t for some reason). Battlestar Galactica was a family drama in space. Buck Rogers was the Man from U.N.C.L.E. with his space pants on, all preposterous characters, stories, and bad continuity. It even had Earth, Wind, and Fire in an episode for crap sake.

But it also had the wonderful Erin Gray. She played the tough, no-nonsense Colonel Wilma Deering. A pilot, a soldier, at first a martinet, and above all else a slammin’ hottie. It also of course helps a teensy bit that Erin Gray was actually a good actress…

7: Kari Byron – Herself – Mythbusters.

Just, nom, no other words needed.

But Amanda, why is a factual television show on this list? Because gentle deluded reader Mythbusters is to scientific methodology and rigour what Star Trek is to scientific accuracy, i.e. essentially non-adjacent. It’s a damned entertainment show, that in a very, very, VERY rough, and ready manner shows sort of scientific experiments. It might technically be factual, but let’s face it if you’re reading this post you, like me, probably mostly watch it for the divine Miss Kari Byron.

6: Katee Sackhoff – Kara “Starbuck” Thrace – Battlestar Galactica (reimagined).

*sigh* The only woman who ever made me wish I was blonde.

Way back in my first year of transition a television program appeared on our screens. It was well written, well acted, amazingly well cast, and sort of fresh. It was the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and in the second scene we would be introduced to the tough, drop dead gorgeous, and sweat drenched deliciousness that was the new Starbuck. Played by Katee Sackhoff, Starbuck would have to my mind the most extreme, and unpredictable character story arc of the entire series. But mostly watching her on-screen while I went through the hell of transitioning helped immensely, because one day I might be as insanely hot as she is. Better yet I realised watching her that I could actually be feminine without having to give up most of who I was in order to be some blasted Barbie-doll.

5: Laura Bertram – Trance Gemini – Andromeda.

So much cuter in Purple. And the main reason I still want purple skin,and a tail.

If you’re amongst the 5 people who watched Andromeda regularly, and the 3 who then bought the box sets, then you’ll probably agree that the first season of Andromeda was amazing. It was dark, brooding, original, imaginative, and it didn’t have Kevin Sorbo at the helm yet, so it had yet to devolve into Hercules in space. It also had the character Trance Gemini in her original purple incarnation. Now Laura Bertram is a goddess, plain and simple.

See? A goddess, plain and simple.

But her character Trance Gemini, with the purple skin, the tail, and the weirdly creepy semi-pseudo-innocence was just amazing to watch, and pine for. Her later brown incarnation was still gorgeous, how could it not be it was still after all being played by the same actress, but she had lost something from those first episodes that simply sparkled beauty.

4: Alyson Hannigan – Willow Rosenberg – Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Mostly she was bumbling, and stumbling, but she was always cute, and we loved her for that.

You were a teenager in the ’90’s, right? So you watched Buffy, true? Of course you did, everyone did. Even my mother watched Buffy. And if you watched Buffy you probably fancied Willow. Even straight girls kind of fancied Willow. I mean she was ikkle, and sweet, and cute, and stumbling. Of course later she became stumbling, dark, brooding, lost, and the wielder of powers fit to tear the Earth apart, but we still fancied her. And then she also sometimes became evil, kinky and a vampire…and we all wanted her to bite us.

3: Sigourney Weaver – The Big Guy – Paul.

The Big Guy, her gun is impressive too.

Right now, this second fans of the original Alien movies are screaming for my disembowelment, while fans of Ghostbusters are shrieking for me to be burnt at the stake for heresy. After all why would I ignore her parts in those movies in favour of Paul of all things. Well, Sigourney Weaver usually plays heroines. In Paul she plays a villain, and does so with very obvious glee. The end result being that even while she plays one of the nastiest villains to ever grace a comedy science fiction movie, she manages to do it while being sexy as hell.

2: Eve Gordon – Stacey/Fulla – The Almighty Johnsons.

The Almighty Johnsons is about a family of Norse gods living in New Zealand. They’re opposed in their quest to return to Asgard by a group of goddesses. And one of those goddesses is Stacey/Fulla played by Eve Gordon. Now I couldn’t tell you a damned thing about Eve Gordon, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen her in anything before, though I have a vague feeling that I might have. But I can definitely say this about her now that I’ve watched 3 episodes of The Almighty Johnsons, she’s my kind woman. Sexy eyes, sexy accent, sexy body, and you can just see the actresses personality bubbling away in her eyes trying to get out. Plus she makes a very good-looking sorta-gothic-ish type person, and wields a mean dagger.

1: Amber Benson – Tara Maclay – Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Those eyes, those lips, and that kissable nose. You can see why she’s my number one, right?

Amber Benson is my number 1 for a lot of reasons. I’ve watched numberous interviews with her, and I find her sense of humour hugely entertaining. She comes across as intelligent, fun, and caring. Add that to her looks and you have an utterly devastating combination. As for her character in Buffy, Tara was almost everything I ever wished for in a girlfriend of my age group. Sweet, gentle, caring, somewhat submissive, but also, generally speaking, more than capable of standing up for herself, if push came to shove.

18/02/2012

No Post Today.

Due to multiple visitors, and the time taken by being a dutiful hostess I’m afraid I had no chance to write anything for today. I’ll of course be back on Tuesday. In the mean time why not go outside for a few hours, and enjoy the soft (read “wet”* weekend weather? Or you could just watch a movie. Yeah, I’d stick with the movie.

16/02/2012

Valentines Day – My Personal, Most Romantic Day of the Year. 2012.

February fourteenth has come, and gone. The day of sickening romance. The day of card giving. That day of chocolate eating. That day of doing that one thing for your partner that you truly hate, is (thankfully, no time for lube my ass) over. Hallmark’s day is past for another year, or at least it is until they invent Valentines Day II aka Cuddle Day. From all of this you may have guessed that I put Valentines day right up there with Thursday in my list of most important celebratory days.

But that said I thought I would share an only semi-fictional account of a typical Valentines Day in the house of Amanda Harper. This is pretty much what happened last Tuesday. Though the names of the guilty may have been altered to protect their supposed innocence.

Having taken a large dose of painkillers the night before, I sort of woke up enough early that morning, to sort of hear my Partner in Crime say she was going out for the day. I then opened my eyes just enough to be greeted by my beagles bum spinning in front of my face as she tried to get comfortable on the bed alongside me. A huge slobbery lick to my face, and we both went back to sleep.

About 2 hours later I awoke again. Took my hernia medications, ate some breakfast, did the day-to-day housework, worked on modding a new nerfgun (pictures, and review soon), and despite having a migraine I kicked a large amount of ass in Star Trek Online (by the way since they went Free to Play to my stunned disbelief it’s actually worth playing, at least a little). About that time my beagle reminded me that she too likes to eat.

After half an hour of S.T.O. my head hurt too much to think, so I shut down my PC, rang my Partner in Crime to moan about it at her, and bundled on the couch in a sleeping bag with a large bowl of popcorn, and the television turned really, really low. About that time my beagle decided to come over all maternal, as she refused to leave my side until my Partner in Crime returned home. This was sweet, apart from her refusing to go out to pee or poop unless I went with her, and even then she stared at me the whole time. Stared as if she were certain I would pop my cogs if she stopped looking at me.

Have you ever been stared at intently by a beagle as she squeezes out a poop that’s half her body weight? It’s a truly disturbing experience. Kind of like that time your uncle by marriage stared really hard at you while he blatantly played with his nippl…but I digress.

In the evening my migraine medication finally kicked in, so I got up and cooked dinner. Roast pork chops, with baked potato and peas. A nice simple meal with the chops so dry and hard they could have easily been substituted for plaster board. And the peas cooked to that perfection where they could have been successfully fired from a B.B.-gun. This romantic repast was served with a perfectly chilled bottle of Finch’s Sugar Free Orange. We then shared a romantic evening of watching Warehouse 13, Threesome, and Two and a Half men, before slipping into separate beds for some desperately needed time in a pitch-black room.

I guess we’re not really romantic people when you get down to it. But if you took away the migraine, you’d have my perfect Valentines Day right there. A day just like every other one.

Oh I nearly forgot, I got chocolates. Really expensive, good ones, in a pair of ziplock bags. Because when all is said, and done absolutely  nothing says “I love you!” like chocolates in a ziplock bag.

14/02/2012

Whitney Houston’s dead…Why the hell would I care?

So am I the only one who simply couldn’t give a fuck about Whitney Houston dying? Fine, she was an okay singer. But I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about her either her life, or death.

Since she died I’ve read so many Facebook comments to the tune of “It’s so sad her life ended up that way…” Yeah it’s so sad that she had a huge music, and acting career. It’s terrible that in doing so she lived what is undoubtedly the greatest dream held by millions of people around the world. It’s just awful that she was a multi-millionaire.

Now at this point someone reading this is rolling their eyes, and muttering under their breath “They mean the drugs, and the bad marriage nimrod.” Really? Did someone physically shove her face first into a pile of cocaine? I kind of doubt it. The bad marriage? Was she trapped in an abusive relationship by not having enough money to flee? Was she lacking in people she could call on to physically protect her, you know like bodyguards, hired with the millions of dollars…See where I’m going with this?

Here are the facts as I see them.

Everyday millions, probably hundreds of millions, of people live lives of quiet desperation. Lives filled with fear, filled with pain, filled with despair and hopelessness.

Everyday women with no resources to fall back on are beaten almost to death by the men (and yes sometimes the women) who they are supposed to be able to rely on the most. Their spouse.

Everyday those women despair at ever getting away from their torturous lives. Because dumb luck, stupid random chance has not bestowed upon them the means they need to be able to escape successfully.

Everyday uncountable numbers of people die of starvation, violence, disease, and neglect. They often enough die unremarked, perhaps even unnoticed.

But one rich American, who abused drugs by choice, who stayed with an abusive spouse when she could easily have just walked away dies, and the world cries.

This is not the death of a respected author who lived a normal life, then struggled for a decade with dementia before passing, all the while bringing joy to millions. Nor is it the death of an actress at a surprisingly young age, one who had only just really achieved her potential, due to a long battle with cancer. Nope this is the death of someone who had it all, and then threw it all away for some chemicals to make her brain fizz, and a man to make her ribs ache.

I guess that saying is really true, especially if the one death is someone with a global audience.

One death is a tragedy, one million is just a statistic.

So while her family has my sympathies for their loss, let’s not pretend the world has lost something extraordinary. The world lost a rich, and by some accounts a remarkably spoilt, self centered singer. That’s all.

11/02/2012

When a doctor hears that you’re transsexual.

This week I had to attend an emergency appointment in the hospital with my gastrologist. I won’t go into the gory details of why, but suffice to say that over the past fortnight I have spent an inordinate amount of time either in bed, or lying on my side on the couch wishing I was dead. It’s been a very rough period of my life.

If you have any experience in hospitals then you know that most of the time, when you attend a clinic of some kind you will be seen by a different doctor each time. You may, or may not see the specialist in charge. But you will see someone, and because of the speed with which the other doctors rotate through various clinics it’s unlikely you’ll meet the same doctor twice. Ordinarily this is a good thing. Ordinarily this gives you the chance for fresh eyes to see your case, the chance for someone with the potential for a new insight to attend to your case. This isn’t such a good thing if you’re transsexual.

Why?

Well let me tell you a little about my experience over the past decade with doctors not attached to my gender clinic. In those ten years precisely two doctors have understood that my gender has zero to do with my stomach problems. My GP, and the specialist in charge of the tummy clinic. That’s it.

So you wander in to an exam room from the waiting area. They ask (for the umpteenth time) for a list of your symptoms, how your medication is working out for you, things like that. Then they ask you for a complete list of the medications you’re taking. This goes fine until you mention being on both Goserelin, and oestrogen.

“Why are you on those?”

At this point my brain usually derails for a few moments. Yes, of course I know I’m transgendered. But I’m so comfortable in my own skin these days that I often forget for hours, or occasionally, even days at a time. It’s jarring to have to bring it back into mental focus. It’s also stressful when you have to bring someone new into the loop on your physical nature.

“Because I’m being treated for being transsexual.”

That’s the point when one of two things happens. Either they move on with your interview, and try their hardest to help you. Or they simply switch off, because obviously if you have gender issues it’s all in your head. Nevermind that you have had these symptoms since you were four years old, long before you even realised there was a difference between boys, and girls. Nevermind that if it actually was all in your head, you would have surely had some kind of improvement when you became comfortable in your own skin. And most of all nevermind that the doctor sitting in front of you is honour, and duty bound to treat you to the best of their ability, regardless of their own biases.

There are many things I love about being transsexual, I’ve written about them twice. But I loathe telling medical professionals about my true nature. Nothing else in my life makes me feel so vulnerable, so powerless. They after all hold in their hands my potential to become physically well, (for the first time in my life) and the power to blatantly, or subtly refuse to help me.

Luckily this week I got a wonderful doctor who was genuinely, and very obviously upset by her inability to explain what was wrong with me. Sometimes you just get lucky that way, and end up with a gentle human being caring for you, rather than a tin god on a power trip.

09/02/2012

Favourite Steampunkable Toys – Tommy Air Blaster Tec 6 Follow up.

Two weeks ago I wrote a short review of the Tec 6 foam dart gun by Tommy. I bought this gun with the intention of using it to relearn my modelling skills as part of the run up to starting  a major new project. Well the modding is now done, so I thought I would share some pictures, and a very brief explanation of what I did, as well as what I learned while doing it.

So to start with a reminder of what this gun looked like when I got it. It is a truly hideous gun to look at, but had I felt serious potential for a reformatting.

Yup, it really was this ugly. (image via menkind.co.uk)

 To start with I dismantled it. From past experiences I knew to make basic notes on how it actually went back together as I took it apart. Make a note of the absolutely horrendous colours used by the manufacturers. If Satan puked up a gun, this is what it would look like.

Components with outside casing shown.

I decided early on to get rid of the cocking handle that came with the gun. Yes that hideous silver yoke at the top of the gun is the cocking handle. I’d love to ask the designer what he was thinking. But getting rid of it meant that I needed to fill in the slot for it on one side. I decided to use some wood stock I had lying around, and to simply shape it into a pleasant curved shape, rather than try to blend it into the curves. I feel that this works in a Steampunk way because of how often Steampunk styles involve clashes of colors, and forms rather than objects melding together.

The addition blends in nicely with the shape from the side.

But has that bolted on feel that is so Steampunk to me.

 As you can see from the above picture I also gave the whole casing a damn good sanding. I next sprayed the entire thing in a black enamel undercoat in preparation for detailed painting. I don’t intend to show pictures of the various stages of painting the gun, but I will say this, that enamel spray was a HUGE mistake. It reacted with literally every other paint I used in this project. It was quite simply a nightmare, and resulted in my buying a tin of Citadel Chaos Black Primer for use with all my future projects.

In the end though I did overcome those problems, and yesterday I finished the paint job on my gun, as well as adding a very small knob shaped drawer handle to be the new cocking handle. The result is this…

The finished article.

 As you can see in addition to the new cocking handle, I also did a little work on the trigger itself. Went with a black base color, but used both silver, and bronze as secondary colors, and a beautiful turquoise for highlighting in certain places. I also modified and painted the darts to give them that “shot to hell and back” look. unfortunately this photo simply doesn’t do the colors  justice.

I learned a great deal from doing this project. As well as what I learned about mixing paints by different manufacturers I also learned a lot about painting techniques (though I still need vast amounts of practice), I got experience reworking plastics, and modifying items to make them components for something the designer never, ever intended (new cocking handle). All those lessons will transfer nicely to my next project.

Well regardless of lessons learned, and fingers that may have been glued together. Ladies and Gentlemen may I present…

Occiditis Fatuis (Kills Idiots), personal side arm of Captain Lucretia AcidGurl, 13th Imperial Marines (retired).  But more about her later.

07/02/2012

How did the post become something to fear?

At a tender 33 years of age, like I’m sure most of the people reading this, I can remember a time when getting a letter in the post was something to look forward to. Friends, and family from far away sending messages to you. Just a little note to let you know that they were happy, healthy, and safe. Perhaps at worst you would receive a message to let you know that someone had died. But if they were someone truly close to you a phonecall would have been made, so sad but not horrifically so. Yes of course you would get your bills in the post. But with a little planning you would be prepared for all but the those bills which were unpredictably expensive. But usually a letter was something to look forward to.

I know I did.

Now though a good day begins with the postman not putting anything in my letter box. It begins with him just keeping on walking past my home. I don’t want him to bring me anything, because it seems to almost always be bad news he brings. Another bill, another interrogatory missive from one government department, or another. The news that a hospital appointment I’ve waited months for has been canceled. In short unexpected mail tends to feel like it’s something to be feared.

The title of this article asks a question I already know the answer to. It became something to fear when the internet became our primary means of interpersonal communication. It became something to dread when email took over in our personal lives. I can’t remember the last letter I received. People just don’t send letters anymore because it’s simply so much easier to drop a line, online. After all you can type it quickly, there by ensuring that the intended recipient will actually be able to read it. You can then edit it before you click send, thereby avoiding having to rewrite the entire thing when you realise that you accidentally insulted their mother with a misplaced comma. You can even easily add photos, pieces of music, a short video greeting. And best of all you won’t have to buy a stamp, that’s right it’s free. In the face of all that utility how can the regular mail compete?

So now, Christmas cards and those increasingly rare postcards aside, the standard ground mail seems to have become the sole territory of the things we all fear. That dreaded letter from the taxman. The “Overdue” notice from the electricity company, the gas company, the oil company. And a good day starts when the postman walks on by.

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