Monthly Archives: March 2018
Writers Need Love Too
REASONS TO KEEP A WRITER IN YOUR HOUSE
- They know weird facts
- They make good coffee—several times a day
- They’re low maintenance, because all they do is eat, drink coffee, and write
- Great for midnight chats because they wake up in the middle of the night to write—then they need a drink
- If they have to edit, they’ll procrastinate by cleaning your whole house.
Charles Freedom Long
One Lucky Trucker
…But Then, Why Not Mars?
I just read …But Then, Why Mars Really? by T.E. Mark. I have to say I didn’t see this one coming. Ever seen the movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? It is kinda like that. It runs on the premise that the universe is made up of high-tech idiots. Which makes it hilarious.
First thing I noticed was that Mark is English. Like English English. I didn’t know or care really were he was from but figured it out quick. American English has a bit of a different sentence structure and some words like colour are spelled different.
The book’s main character is a book store owner who migrates to Mars after he is found undesirable enough to be kicked off the planet Earth. He then gets a job changing literature aimed at immigration, as we find out that other planets don’t want these people either. A problem through out the galaxy is out of control immigration, putting stresses on the economy and the indigenous population.
Meant mostly for young adults, I would recommend this book if you want to laugh your ass off as an idiot is employed by an idiot, then captured by idiots, then allowed to run amok on politics with a powerful computer installed by an idiot.
With few swear words but a lot of them taking the name of their god in vain, this book is a bit of science fiction and fantasy. It ignores scientific fact like the freezing temperatures in space (mostly), runs off the same lies told back in the days of the “new world”, breaks the bounds of the third (or is it fourth?) wall and is a riot right up to its whimsical end with characters not knowing if it is real life, a movie or a book.
Mark even makes lists interesting. That’s not easy to do.
Inventing Iron Man
Alright you nerds.
I would like to talk about another book from E. Paul Zehr. Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine continues on from Becoming Batman.
Once again, the book is not written to answer many of the logistical questions that may arise when discussing a superhero. It is mostly about the affects the human body. This was also a good read but will hold little value to those who wish they would skip to the part were somebody gets the crap beat out of them.
For those of us that like cyborgs, like yours truly, the book opens up new knowledge on the nervous system and how it can, or cannot, work with an outside attachment, like a prosthetic arm or suit of armor.
For instance, the book introduced me to neural plasticity, or the fact that nerves can adapt “to changes in the body” (90) and the nerves can and will grow at a rate of 1 mm per day to restore feeling in damaged areas (97). I was always told that nerves, once damaged, never repaired themselves.
The book talks a great deal about cyborgs, and I learned that prosthetic limbs are as old as ancient Egypt, but what I would call the first cyborg would be the case of the German Knight Götz von Berlichingen around AD 1500. After loosing a hand in battle he had another made out of iron that could hold a pen or a sword. He was then known as The Iron Knight (27). Who cool is that, cyborg friends?
Also, according to Zehr, the first superhero written in popular culture was a cyborg. The book is called The Assassination of the Nyctalope. It was published in 1933 by Frenchman Jean de la Hire (5). Several of de la Hire’s books are on Amazon for you to check out.
Of course the book goes through all the training, effects on the body. In movies and comics, there isn’t time for real life to set in. If we wanted that, all we have to do is look away. In the movie, Iron Man, Tony Stark invents the suit and just flies away, concussions be damned. We all know that wouldn’t happen.
Stark would need 10 years of flight training, another five years of combat training, then would finally prefect being Iron Man at about the age of 60, ten years after Batman would need to hang up the cape and cowl for health reasons (178,165).
In concussion, this book has a lot to teach for those interested in how heroes work in real life. It helped me go in a new direction for my work by learning new things. Some one told me once, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Now I know why he said that because of the new things I learned and the effect it will have on my work. It will be better.
Na Na Na (way to many nas…) Batman
So what am I talking about, anyway? I was reading the Pennysaver (a local once a week publication) and it had a small clip about the Batmobile. According to them, and confirmed a bit by Wiki and CNN money, Ford designed a car called the Lincoln Futura in 1955. It was had crafted in Turin, Italy for the cost of $250,000 (2.2 million) and it never made it into production.
Ten years later George Barris of Barris Kustom City bought it from Ford for one dollar. (Really? One dollar? Did some CEO get kicked out of his apartment and have to move right now?) He made the modifications and added fresh paint and WALLA! Adam West had a car to drive while he made an idiot out of himself for the latter part of the 1960s.
Sorry about the quality of the pics, but the video I wanted wouldn’t imbed. According to CNN, the car then sold for 4.6 million dollars at Barret Jackson in early 2013. The link is below. Not a bad profit margin for something that was picked up for a dollar.
Interestingly enough, the Ford Futura was produced between 1962 and 2008 for sale in Australia. Quite a difference in design from over the years, seeing that this one is a 2001, but if someone made it into a Batmobile? I donno.
This was an old post I wanted to revisit because of The Possibility of Batman post.
The Possibility of Batman
Yes, I like Batman.
It would be hard pressed to find someone who hates him. Not that I have not cried bullshit in my Bat-mania. I have failed to understand how Bruce Wayne could dig out and fit the Batcave, build and maintain the Batmobile, Batcopter, Batboat, Batsauna, Batbar…wait, I lost my place…hunt down and beat up bad guys, run a multinational company and get enough sleep to insure that he keeps from drooling on himself while taking out supermodels.
I know how long it takes to fix simple things on un-custom cars, it can be time consuming. Don’t tell me that Alfred does it all while making dinner and dusting a mansion and whatnot.
I was hoping the book, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero by E. Paul Zehr would answer these questions. Well, it didn’t. It added to my doubts that a Batman like hero could exist.
The book discusses little on the logistics of being Batman. Instead, it focuses on the physical aspects of becoming, being and staying Batman, and its effects on the human body.
Not that it wasn’t interesting and insightful, but would be a bit boring to those that have little interest in the workings of the human body and just like to watch The Dark Knight beat the ever loving crap out of someone.
Like I said, the book deals with the human body and how changes affect it. While a bit of background is not necessary because the book explains all that, having some is not a bad idea. Zehr discusses everything from Batbones, Batmuscles to Bathoromones.
It works well with a book I reviewed in a previous post, The Concise Human Body Book by Steve Parker, Becoming Batman takes an in-depth look at the human body. These two work well together, the first being more focused on what happens inside while being Batman.
A concept that was introduced to me by the book is of Batman’s popularity, and why.
“At a very early age, each and every one of us realized that we probably were not born on Krypton, we were unlikely to get bitten by a radioactive spider, and we were not the spawn of mud touched by the gods. We knew, however, that if given the proper motivations, we could become Batman” (Zehr 11).
We, as humans, could be Batman. Maybe some of us could, but not all. Take ambition right out of the equation, like the book almost does. Properly motivated, sure, most of us could become the best that one particular individual could be. Most of us are not willing to give up video games, sitcoms, salt and vinegar potato chips and twelve ounce curls.
Jeff Foxworthy once said, “You don’t mix pond scum and raw sewage and get Avion.” Genetics is one reason why many of us would never be Batman. One experiment took two sets of rats and “selectively” bread them. In eleven generations, there was a 350% difference in the two sets. Genetics plays a large role in how tall, fast, strong and most importantly, how smart you can be. Lucky for me I am smart, since I am all of five eight. I would not be invoking terror in the hearts of the wicked on sight.
If anything, it just conformed my doubts that a Batman-esk person could prowl the night, even if Bat’s humanity makes him relatable as a superhero.
I will take a moment to discuss Batman’s training. In The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, Scott Beatty said Batman studied 127 different martial arts (Zehr 123).
Zehr goes on to say that this would make a sloppy mess of Batman parts. It would be better to study one form, maybe three at the most. Take an example from my life. I can fix cars, weld, do carpentry, plumbing, electrical while writing novels.
But there is always something wrong somewhere. Nothing ever shines. I know a lot, but never perfected one thing. Applying that to the fighting arts, it makes for a bad fighter. Bats would fall quickly. That adds to my argument, and shows the depth the book goes into.
Amazing to think it, but Batman was created almost 100 years ago. Even if touched upon in “Batman Beyond,” I believe that few think about Bats shelf life, and how long he could keep it up. Once the near impossible is reached, it wouldn’t be long before it seeps away, either due to age or damage like concussions and broken bones. Even the lifestyle of Batman would decrease his effectiveness. Being on stake out is lost training time and will result in a weakening in him.
This was a good read, even if it didn’t answer many of my original questions. It did confirm my thoughts that being Batman was next to impossible because of the toll it would take on the body. But like you, I will enjoy watching him beat the tar out bad guys.
Links to the books are below.
They will never know
what is ignorant to me
They will never develop
if I have no growth
They will never find life and love
unless I give it to them
They will never find adversity or pain
but for what I provide
They will never see sun rise or set for them
until I give it permission.
All that they are
Will ever be
Comes and ends with my grace.
They are nothing without me.
I am even less without them.
It Went Wrong
Remember my last post when I said in modeling one must be prepared for things to go wrong?
There was a paint compatibility issue. Well, back to sanding.
If you enjoy the automotive arts and cannot house or afford the real thing, you may wish to consider models for a cheaper alternative. Or not. You may be surprised to see how much money can be blown through in a small amount of time.
Other than a kit, there are a few things you will need to make it easier and make it look better. Models come molded in one color, plus clear or red for glass and chrome (um bop a re bop…chrome). Paint helps make it more than one color.
Don’t use cheap spray paint; it can degrade the plastic. Paint for models is not cheap, nor is quality fizz cans, which will work. You will need some tools. A cheap pair of pliers to open bottles, small set of side cutters to cut pieces off the holders and to trim toothpicks. (More Americans choke on toothpicks than anything else, just thought I would tell you that.)
You will need a razor knife to cut things other than your finger. Paint brushes (duh), and I like super glue over model glue. Model glue has a slower set up time and fails faster. Don’t forget thinner, paper towels or as I like, tissues! You might be surprised to find out what they can remove. Toothpicks are good for putting glue in hard to reach places and for adding small paint details after the point is trimmed back with the side cutters.
Tweezers are good for shooting small parts across the room so you can never see them again, only to hear the crunch when the vacuum finds them…I mean…to install small parts. I have a cheap drill and trust me, it comes in handy, along with a Dremel floating around somewhere. Another good tool is a nail file to remove paint and chrome for gluing.
You will need sandpaper because yes, you will screw up a paint job.
These things I all figured out on my own. I hope that helps you out if you are looking for a new hobby. Right now my workstation, an old desk a friend gave me, hey that works. It looks almost like the insides of some people’s garages, with parts and projects everywhere.
I am not the best at this, but I am not the worst. Just be prepared for it to try your patience. A lot of the parts are small and hard to handle. Sometimes I have to walk away no matter how bad I want to see something done, for example on those days the only thing I can seem to glue together is myself. Another tip: expect the parts to like you more than their plastic counterparts.
You can be proud of what you do, just be prepared for it to not come out exactly like you want it to. Parts get lost or don’t fit like they should. You can follow all the directions, and something comes out wrong, so I never completely follow the directions. Imagination is key!
Practice makes imperfect but it is mine.
By the way, the chrome comment came from Garfield Goes to Hawaii, which is hilarious.