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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Another crossbow

Back in February of 2018, I constructed a crossbow that looked real and functioned, but only worked on the low level of a toy. I really don't have the space to fire a true 300 lb+ draw weight weapon capable of killing and wanted the piece as both wall decor and prop for our annual RenFaires. You can refer back to those posts: Crossbow Project & Finished Crossbow, if you wish. 

Now, with time to indulge in more hobbies, I am planning to make another, but I want this one to be smaller and look more like a museum piece rather than a re-enactment weapon. I started to research some genuine pieces and am trying to decide which one......or which combination of designs.......I am going to attempt to make. Here are the candidates:

1: mostly wood but with an elegant profile.

2: Ivory and wood arbalest......but difficult to make out the detail.

3. Beautiful but intricate carving...... this would take some time.

4: Very nice but a bit too reminiscent of the one I already made.

5. A bit stocky, but still nice.

6. A strong contender......but not a definite.

7. A beautiful, but mostly ivory, piece.

8. Again a lot of carving, I particularly like the shape of the butt.

9. A nice blend of wood and ivory......the side design would be very difficult to replicate, but worth the effort. I don't like the exaggerated hook to the trigger mechanism though.

Each has a charm I appreciate, and each has its own set of creative challenges, but overall I feel like a "kid in a candy store" with these possibilities and have bounced from one to the next with equal enthusiasm......only to go back to another, and then another. I can't even claim a leading contender because as soon as I think I have one, I see something in another that lures me away.

One departure that is definite is that those shown which are true 'arbalests' (having a steel rather than wooden 'bow') would only be used as inspiration for the body of my weapon, since I am not going to use steel. I also find myself leaning to designs with both ivory and wood.....but almost all have that to some degree.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Covid-19 goes viral

During the week of the 16th through the 20th my honey, Rosa, kept me locked and frustrated as she had me change her after work and see to her needs and wants. On one of those days, she sent me this:

That Celtic Knot locket around Rosa's neck discreetly houses the key to the chastity device I was wearing for her.

My honey works at a hospital as a billing person in the E.R. She deals directly with patients but thankfully is protected by a glass window and hospital-issued masks. Dealing daily with this somewhat scary reality has prompted us to strive to find things to enjoy in the midst of it all. 

NJ is struggling as the 'other NY'. We are right behind them in cases, with double to triple the number of cases in any other state. 

State &  Total Cases         
New York        59,648          
New Jersey      13,386  
California         6,358
Michigan          5,486
Massachusetts 4,955
Florida         4,950
Washington 4,896
Illinois         4,596
Louisiana         3,540
Pennsylvania 3,419
Texas         2,808  
Georgia      2,683  
Colorado    2,307  
Connecticut 1,993  
Tennessee         1,818  
Ohio                 1,653   
Indiana         1,514  
Maryland         1,239  
North Carolina 1,167   
Wisconsin         1,154  
Nevada            920  
Arizona            919  
Missouri            903  
Virginia            890  
Alabama            827   
Mississippi            758  
Utah                    719   
Oregon            548   
Minnesota            503  
Arkansas            449   
Kentucky            439  
Oklahoma            429  
District Of Columbia 401  
Iowa                    336   
Kansas            319  
Idaho            310
Rhode Island    294  
New Hampshire    258
Maine            253
New Mexico    237
Vermont            235
Delaware            232  
Hawaii            175
Montana            161
West Virginia    124
Nebraska            120
Alaska            102
North Dakota         98
South Dakota      90
Wyoming              87
We are in a Governor-mandated curfew and self-isolating. Non-essential businesses are closed. Yet you rarely hear anything about us. It's amazing. The news talks about NY, which makes sense, but then you hear about California, Florida, and others but we are like the forgotten ugly step-sister.

But that's OK, we're used to it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

End of the line

My train project is now complete. Here are some shots of the standing figures both inside and outside of the cars plus a couple of shots of how the figures look from behind the windows:

A coach attendant seating a "carpetbagger" while a little "inside joke" between me and Rosa reads. The priestly figure with glasses and umbrella in the lower right is a nod to "Father Brown" from the murder mystery series Rosa loves. The fact that clerical garb has changed little over time allowed me to put a priest from the late 1940's in a 19th century train.

A passenger asks a girl if this is her first train ride.

Another coach attendant talks to a man with a scarf.

A sooty fireman with his coal shovel.

The engineer and two brakemen.

Passengers getting some air.

Passengers enjoying the ride as a young boy waves from the window.

More passengers, including my favorite pairing of a gentleman turned in his seat to talk to the man behind him.

While this endeavor seems at an end....hence the blog post's title, I know myself enough to realize I will probably continue to tweak this ensemble as ideas and improvements occur to me. But for now it's time to move on to other things!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Beleaguered conservatives

On Dan’s blog a reader brought up something I have heard many times: "In today’s world, as long as you’re bashing Trump…then it’s okay to make any nasty, mean spirited, inaccurate comment you want…simply because it’s him. If anyone wants to test that premise, T fan or not, just as a fun exercise to illustrate my point…..just start inserting “Obama” into some of the PERSONAL attack comments (not policy or “job related”) that are so welcomed these days. The world would implode."

That would have gone over really well.

Or imagine I suppose this type of treatment for Trump?

Classy, right?

Or here's a nice one. Very pro-Obama and so respectful. 

If what is in that quoted assertion IS the case, then I would say, while legal under the First Amendment, it's not particularly fair or nice. it true?  What’s interesting is that it is simply not my experience and I even have a fairly quick and revealing exercise to prove my point. I actually offered a slightly different version of this exercise in my "Experiment" post on June 14th, 2018.

Now, since that post dealt more with the antagonism between left and right and this is more focused on Trump, I changed the parameters to meet that distinction. In thinking of the two extremes one side could cruelly mock with regard to Trumpian politics, ‘Conservative vs. Liberal’ is a pretty solid pairing. So go to Google search, specifically “images” and type in “conservative Trump memes”. Observe the results. Now type in “liberal Trump memes” and observe the results. Now, tell me that there is this huge anti-conservative imbalance. 

An example of a "liberal" Trump meme?

One would have expected "conservative Trump memes" to be pro-Trump and anti-liberal.....and they are. But you would then think that "liberal Trump memes" would be anti-Trump, and they're not. The memes are a repeat of what one finds on the other search. Why? If everything is so predisposed to being anti-Trump, why is the search not more balanced, or even imbalanced in favor of the liberal view?

Since Trump vs. Obama was the main example given, I then decided to use that. Searching "Trump vs. Obama memes" yielded a far more balanced result, BUT it was definitely balanced. There was no preponderance of pro-Obama material. But search "Trump vs. Obama cartoons" and it's heavily weighted towards anti-Obama pieces. Interesting.

Where I will concede an imbalance in opposition to Trump is on "late night" TV shows. But when you look at where these shows are produced and the people hosting them, that isn't surprising. In contrast, talk radio in my anecdotal experience seems slanted the other way. So, I would say that at the very least, things are balanced. 

Now, in real life things change drastically depending on where you live, what you're doing, and who you are talking to. I live in a very "blue" state, but I can easily locate fanatical pro-Trump people just by realigning my targeted audience. In fact, here's something that can occasionally be seen in parking lots all along our highways:

I took this shot from my cell phone. This thing is legit and makes the rounds regularly.

I have seen no such anti-Trump travelling side-show. Among my circle, there is also balance. I know all kinds of people. However, the ONLY ones who ever send really nasty, almost hateful crap via email are the conservatives. In fact, this is kind of my usual experience. I see strong anti-Trump people and some are admittedly a bit crazy, but the really ugly commentary almost always comes from the right. 

One frustration my conservative friends have is their inability to use their usual anti-liberal/anti-Democrat tropes on me. I am no fan of the Democrats as a group. I have not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades. I didn't vote for Obama and I didn't vote for Hillary, and I only voted for Bill once. In fact, I have often said that one of the main reasons I hate Trump is that because of him, I have had to back away from my criticism of woke-liberals, hypocritical Democrats, and incompetent media coverage. He has forced me to take sides with people I would rather be criticizing. 

Whenever I have nodded along with a pro-Trumper's attack on Hillary or some of the hypocrisy in the Obama administration, or some far-left woke nonsense, they lose their steam. Then, when I confront them on the factual issues I have with Trump, things that came not from slanted media coverage but his own mouth, they sort of slump. Several times they have mumbled things like, "yeah, I wish he wouldn't say/do stuff like that."

So, let's put on our big-boy pants here. Conservatives are the ones who popularized the derisive epithet "snowflake". Doing so was brilliant. An effective strategy is to accuse the other side of whatever you feel most insecure about yourself. Trump does this so frequently it's almost funny.  But while I know plenty of liberal snowflakes, I also have seen conservatives cry 'foul' way more often than these self-proclaimed stoics of 'saying it like it is' and to stand tough would like to admit. 

In want to say Obama abused the office in international policy? I'll agree. You want to call Hillary a crook? I'll agree and probably chuckle as well. You want to say that a woke liberal getting riled over someone wearing a Native American costume for Halloween is ridiculous? I'll pat your back. But, if you then start to feel a bit more comfortable around me and say something like 'marriage is between a man and a woman only' or 'it's supposed to be Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve', I'll probably tell you to extend the same entitlement to living as you want for yourself to these know, the American way. And, if you tell me......with a straight face......that Trump is sincerely putting America and the planet above his own needs, always tells the truth, and is a very moral and religious man? Well, sorry. You've just traded in your credibility for mindless adherence to the tenets of your tribe. So please spare your tears over how shamefully your hero is being treated. I have no sympathy, he is a name-calling bully who will say ANYTHING. Remember, nobody admires a snowflake.

And that truth swings left and right like a pendulum in a tornado.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

When it rains....

......I'll bet you thought I was going to say, "it pours," as a lead-in to some observation of the collective calamities of the times we find ourselves in.........but, nope. I mean it literally. What does one do when it rains?

Not a bad idea.....but in clear violation of self-isolation!

Specifically I am referring to what I have been up to projectwise. The current corona-lockdown in NJ  means very little to me in terms of impact. My life has not significantly changed except in terms of shopping. But I am always busy. On sunny days I have been taking advantage of the warmer than usual Spring to get a LOT of yard work done.

But what about when it gets chilly and rains? Well, I have been working on a model railroad project. Now I don't have a permanent railroad set up, but I do put up an O-gauge rail line for my Dickens Village at Christmastime.

You can see the track bending through the port section of my Dickens Village.

So, here's what's going on. I have an 'as-close-as-can-economically-be done' train cruising around my Dickens set-up. It is certainly slightly anachronistic.

For the period, this train would be more correct......but this set is extremely expensive!

Instead, I have a trio of these "Overton" passenger cars, which are also clearly labelled as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, not London, England.

The rail industry grew and developed quickly between 1830 and 1870. "A Christmas Carol" was written in 1840. But in just Dickens' lifetime the style of coaches changed dramatically. As such, I am willing to allow for inaccuracy. Still, as you can see, the passenger cars one buys come empty. The total absence of passengers, which can be easily noticed in the large, lighted cars seems depressingly eerie in an otherwise bustling city. does one fill those seats?

The simplest way is to buy model railroad people in the proper scale and period. However, I soon discovered that finding Victorian passengers in 1:48 scale is nearly impossible. And finding them economically? Clearly impossible. But, I did find a great lot of O-gauge plastic figures on e-Bay, with the only problem being their dress. 

They were all 1940s-1950s era people.

So, I bought them anyway and when they arrived, got down to work. I used my customizing experience to cut, grind, glue, and mold in an effort to not only restyle their clothing, beards, and hairstyles, but alter their poses. All of the seated figures came in the same pose.......hardly realistic in a car-full of passengers. So, I angled arms, turned heads, added books and newspapers, gave some of them canes and walking sticks, and ultimately ended up with this:

These shots show the figures as W.I.P. You can see the improvised top hats made simply from cut plastic rods glued to brims made from hole-punched acetate, and Victorian bonnets made from craft paper. 

The next step was the painting! This admittedly was the truly 'fun part' for me. I am not 100% finished because I am waiting for a can of primer to arrive from eBay since I ran out in mid-project. However, I did get all of the seated passengers done:

I am quite pleased with the results so far. I have a small amount of standing figures I made to resemble passengers, conductors, and rail workers.....including, of course, the engineer! Naturally I will post shots when everything is complete.

But.................there is more than one reason for me posting this. Readers here well know that I have consistently posted my projects in the past. Nothing new there. But many of us are now in mandated isolation or self-isolation. And the one lament I have heard over and over is the 'stir craziness' of people unused to being home. My advice to you all is: think out of the box! Don't just turn on the TV. Read if you want. But beyond that, try doing something. It doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to be something requiring skills you may not possess, but when was the last time you tried an endeavor outside of your established comfort zone? This is your chance. Try something new. Challenge yourself. You may learn something and you may learn even more about what talents you may have in latency just waiting to be aroused.

And please! If you don't have a blog of your own, send me a shot of what you it a project, or recipe, or whatever, and if appropriate, I will post it here! And remember, BE SAFE! Whatever you do, follow the five:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dr. Don

So.........Dr. Don, that stable genius, inspired one of his loyal fold to self-medicate with cholorquine. ( It didn't work out as planned.) 

When you get your medical information from an ex-reality TV show host instead of a professional: LINK

I think that if you can listen to this buffoon and trust what he says, you may have been living on borrowed time for a while. On the bright side, we may just have our top contenders for the 2020 Darwin Awards. ( I wonder how many Darwin Award contenders were found wearing MAGA hats? )

On the other hand, I listened to Trump's news conference the other night and distinctly heard a very clear message: "Hey America, life needs to go on.....maybe not for you....but definitely for me and my portfolio." I couldn't help but think of his rush to put the corona virus behind him and ignore more somber advice while feeling he himself is invulnerable, without recalling Poe's Masque of the Red Death.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Bad timing

With this as our president, it's one unfortunate time to be in short supply of toilet paper.

Thankfully, except for the White House, there has not been a short supply of leadership. It is encouraging to see others step up and act in the absence of a competent president.

Which leads me to consider something I had not thought of before. While there will unfortunately be an inescapable and tragic loss of life.....which might be unavoidable even under the best scenarios...... for those of us who do survive this, there will be a very empowering message to be learned: if we can be confronted by a dangerous global pandemic while being led by the absolute worst crisis president we have ever had, and still survive.............WE CAN SURVIVE ANYTHING!

(I did hear another bit of irony. The absence of human 'life as usual' has already had small noticeable benefits to our environment. I have been very concerned over the near universal reluctance to do anything to slow down global warming. If anything positive comes out of this, the forced shutdown of travel and other carbon-releasing activities, may have come at the precise moment when it may do some good in avoiding a tragedy worse than Covid19.)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spring lock

It is now the first day of Spring and the fourth day of my week long lock-up and Rosa has been taking full advantage. Each night I act as her valet and change her into her PJs. Each night I get to kiss her feet between taking her day socks off and putting on her warm, nighttime ones. She also asks me to fix her a hot cup of tea. Last night she demanded an O and I unlocked just long enough to deliver one.

Afterwards she just relaxed as I kissed her feet while back in my cage. I found that I have this strong annoyance to when she is distracted by her phone when she asks for an O, but don't mind at all if she is reading or watching TV when I kiss her feet. In fact, I kind of like or prefer it.

In looking for images for this post I noticed dozens of foot-kissing scenes, but only a few showed a somewhat distracted and relaxed recipient. Here are the ones I found:

This last GIF really reminds me of last night though some aspects are different. Still the flavor is the same!

Monday, March 16, 2020

A week locked

So, in the course of having a good weekend, Rosa and I took the opportunity to have some fun and more. It all began with her wanting some very personal attention on Sunday morning after our wonderful St. Patrick's dinner on Saturday. She was very aggressive and made it clear that she wanted me deep between her cheeks for some heavy tongue action. 

All that led to a strong O for her and nothing for me but some post-o toe kissing while being lightly teased. Instead of an O....which I was very ready for.....she instead kept slapping my genitals and then sent me off to make breakfast. My bossy Honey!

Well all that had me wrapped around her finger.....or crushed underfoot.

We went hiking again on Sunday, followed by an evening that incorporated a punishment spanking to start things off. Then she demanded a pedicure which I performed while sitting on a stinging bottom. 

Afterwards she had me lock up and then she watched a show she likes while I literally worshiped her feet for well over an hour!

I am locked still and the idea is that I stay locked until Friday evening. I am also going to help her change after work each day and kiss her feet each day. She has the option to have me unlock and present myself for more genital whacking and then lock back up.

So, hopefully this will jump start some more DD around here?