June 30th, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Testosterone at the Table

Got the new BassPro catalog today, which is a huge, colorful compendium of stuff someone might use for hunting or fishing or bringing the outdoors indoors.  (And I don't mean by propping open the screen door with a rock.)  Before we get to the laughs, there's a lot of stuff in the big hunting catalogs (this and others) that I would be glad to have.   Good quality roughing-it clothing and gear, mixed in with some "well, OK..." (gun cleaning mat...isn't that what the kitchen table is for?)   But then there's the sillies.  Someone must buy this stuff, but it's like the orange or pink camo rifles I saw at McBride's...eeeeuwwww.

Several items were, to both of us, roll-on-the-floor funny.  A tree stand described as "lethal" (yeah, to the person who falls out of it, that particular tree stand looking about as safe as...sitting on a branch stub. )   Electronic ignition for your muzzle-loader  (I'm sorry...I must've missed something...the muzzle-loader enthusiasts I know are all for historical accuracy....a green camo muzzle-loader with electronic ignition is just...not....I can just see the historical re-creation societies faced with some newbie who wants to bring his leafy-green camo electronically ignited muzzle-loader to, say, a Bunker Hill replay.)

But the prize (so far--you have to read everything closely to find the juicy bits) is the flatware.   Yes, there's home decor (provided you want camo on just about everything, and that included the blades of your ceiling fan)  and a two-page spread with dinnerware on one page and flatware on the other.   The dinnerware's not bad; I personally like the autumn leaves one or the fish one better than the deer one (stilted looking deer.)   And the utensils aren't awful looking.  It's the ad copy.  The utensils have "bold, outdoor themed designs.....forged into each man-sized utensil (which ought to make them awkward to use--getting that 6 foot fork into your mouth...).   Adding, the ad continues, "the touch of testosterone that's been missing from your dining table...."

I dunno about the rest of you, but the testosterone at our dining table comes from the guys around it.   And there's no shortage.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

With Sword in Hand

Well, this time I've really done it.  There's a reason (there's always a reason, rationalization being what it is...)   I'm working on the new fantasy, and both Kieri Phelan and Dorrin Verrakai use longswords.  Yes, you can sort of do longsword moves with a rapier, but ever since a couple of people in our fencing group armored up and did a bout with the longer blades...which is exactly how I "see" Phelan and his officers and the Lyonyan nobles working out--I've realized that I really need...for research purposes...to mess about with a longsword myself.  After all, I used a scythe and a sickle and made pseudo pole-arms to drill local kids with, as aids to writing the Paks and Gird books.  I have a crossbow and have lost a number of bolts in the big field.  This is just the same, right?  I mean, I'd have used such a sword then, if I'd known then what I know now.  I handled one of the longswords--the balance is different, the kinds of moves are constrained (as they are with all blades) by the shape and center of gravity and other physical characteristics of the blade, as well as by the skill of the swordsperson.

So here's my new blade (not yet here, but maybe in the next 2-3 weeks.)


I don't expect to do anything full-speed with this (for one thing, I'd need far more serious armor and I'm not willing to put the time or money into that.)   Learn the movements until I can do them fast when alone, and then some quarter-speed work with a partner so I can write a believable scene or two.   I need to know the feel of it, where the user gets tired, where hands get callused, etc.