Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Know such thing?

Beardcember 17th, 2014 

(nü Icon Campaign Final Day)

Well, with the exception of an über generous 11-hour donation it seems that the nü Icon program wasn't form me, at least for the time being. The amount of learning and positive energy simply from participation was honestly overwhelming.

Not sure exactly which project I'm going to focus on next, other than regular Diary of a Chainman entries. 

Last night I dreamt of the most incredible chain shirt ever woven. Each link of the intricately fine mesh was microscopic in size and inscribed with a unique piece of wisdom.

The shirt was virtually weightless and magically imbued with the ability to perfectly counter any number of blows and neutralize any effects, granting the wearer effective immortality. As a bonus, the wearer was literally able to bend photons in such a way as to seamlessly render the wearer's avatar as anything imaginable. From invisible to resplendently flamboyant and everything in-between.

Mostly uneventful morning, did get a great beard self with some of the CMZ hairclips that we carry at the shop. Kind of a counter to all those beards I've seen woven with flowers or splendiferously adorned with Christmas ornaments.

Spent the afternoon working with Dad, we're ahead of schedule and our project is looking really good. Also got caught up on some other secret publisher business and learnt that one of my D.I.Y. titles is going into soft cover.

Rather reflective on the last time I visited New York City in 2000, can't believe it's been 14 years and that I haven't been back since 9/11.

Doing lots of reading this evening, trying to absorb as much information as possible. Keep meaning to absorb a speed reading course in order to increase reading speed and retention.

Apparently my mom's memory was excellent and so I've also had a life-long fascination with eidetic memory, also known as perfect recall.

One of my favorite books on the topic is Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein. Part of this title reminds me of an excellent Ted Talk entitled "The First 20 Hours - How To Learn Anything." The old paradigm was that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at a particular craft. But new research suggests that the first 20 hours of learning constitutes 90% of the importance in picking up new skills.

This means that simply by dedicating oneself to a particular topic for 45 minutes a day, a new skill can be acquired every month. Not quite the blistering speed of a Matrix skill download, but still better than your average RPG grind.

The more I think about this the more I'm convinced that I'm better here, online, playing my favorite game of Internet fame. As opposed to any of the purile and unimaginative derivative remakes that have flooded the market.

Why? Because I'm convinced that real VR is just around the corner and by the time it becomes widely available I want to be an early "full-dive" adopter with my eyes on the prize of virtual world developer. Heck, virtual and augmented realities may be key to mutually assured survival.

Watched The Maze Runner, wasn't as impressed as I hoped I might be. Seriously, if you want a real twist-ending read 419! Definitely need to lay down some digital ink to real labyrinthine stories. After the number of dungeons I've crawled though, I just might have something more original to add to what has become yet another tired genera. 

Quote of the Day - "When I was a kid I used to think sponge taffy was made from real sea sponges and that's why it was salty."

What question would you preferred to have encountered in this space?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Other Worlds?

Beardecember 16th, 2014

(nü Icon Campaign Day 7 of 8)

Well, the original plan was to blog daily updates for the duration of my campaign, but somehow life got in the way once again.

Just finished watching Sword Art Online, which may just be my new favorite anime! In case it's not obvious from the content of the majority of my spec fic stories; I've been obsessed with the potential of virtual and parallel realities for as long as I can remember. This of course means that SAO strikes very close to home. Not to mention being a beautiful, well-acted and damn interesting series of speculative fiction stories within a mostly believable VR story MacGuffin.
 
All this got me thinking back to some of my earliest memories. Such as typing spec fic on a portable typewriter borrowed from my Grandfather.

I couldn't have been very old (maybe 8) and it seemed like the biggest treat in the world to be allowed a sheet of paper and access to such a mysterious creative implement.

Pecking away, one key at a time I recall writing a couple paragraphs about a boy my age that could visit a parallel dimension.

The boy went to a school that was fancy in comparison to my own and even featured a full-size swimming pool. The story started with the boy jumping off the diving board and deciding to visit the other reality where time passed more slowly than in the real world. Here he visited with strange alien friends before returning to the real world just in time to hit the water.

I think that the boy also visited the other world a second time before surfacing from the dive and that's all I remember. Not sure where the idea came from. All I can imagine is that I simply absorbed a huge amount of sci-fi ideology from my parents via osmosis.

Something about storytelling had me hooked and my first publically performed work was a puppet play in Grade 2. All the students had a chance to write a story, but only 4 plays were selected for performance. I don't recall anything about the story. Except that I thought it was funny to give my puppet the empty tube from a roll of toilet paper to use as a faux leg cast.

Other than the usual schoolwork, I can't think of anything else interesting I wrote while in public school. Although, some old newspaper clippings indicate I was actually winning money for poetry contests run for special occasions, such as Remembrance Day,

Later (after I'd left the public school system to be home-schooled) I took a creative writing course from a local journalist and author who's still involved with the Manitoulin Writer's Circle.

At 12, I was the youngest participant in the course and enjoyed the various assignments. I recall that one of them was to record a dream. The dream I chose was about a very vivid encounter with a character named the "Bag Lady Kitty" on the mainstreet outside the Community Hall.

This was so long ago that I remember nothing else, except for wondering about the contents of some of the more adult books at the library where we met weekly, such as Pet Cemetery.

Next time; how the virtual quest led directly to the discovery of Magic!

Quote of the Day : The deference between reality and virtuality is tenuous at best.

What's the first story you can remember making up?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ask me anything?

 Wanted to try some new avenues for promoting my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, so for this weekend only check out my brand new Reddit AMA to ask this veteran chainman anything!

How DO YOU make a chain shirt?

One link at a time!

Q. No, seriously dude, how do you make a chainmail shirt?

A. I've always wanted to do a sequel for the Art of Chainmail that explains practical applications for the European patterns. In the meantime, here's a quick explanation of the process I use. For me, a lot of what I create is a process as opposed to a strict set of rules. Shaping garments for specifically for my clients is why as a couturier I love haute couture fashion.

Anyhow (assuming we're talking about the European 4-1 weave) I measure evenly around the chest (C on the illustration below) and then up from this point over the shoulders. Then from the top of the shoulder to total length; waist for a shirt, knees for a hauberk.

G is also an important measurement for sizes sleeves if desired.


For construction I start with three rows running around the chest at a length that is equal to the chest measurement. Because of row stretch (AOC - Page 9) I measure this distance with the European pattern "at rest." That is neither stretched nor collapsed, but just resting naturally on a flat surface.

I also make sure that the total number of links is divisible by four so that I can divide the whole pieces into four working quadrants with stitch markers.

From there knit columns up over the shoulders, joining the offset row ends in the middle (top of the shoulder) with a shoulder attachment (AOC - Page 21.) From there I generally fill in the neck, making sure it's left large enough for my head to pass through both ways. (Don't get this wrong, it can hurt!)

I also like to make my shirts with a V-Neck, as I have large collar bones (AOC - Page 11.)

I then build out over the shoulders. For a vest this isn't even really necessary, for a shirt the sleeves can come out square or angle forward a bit. For long sleeves I recommend an angled shoulder attachment (AOC - Page 19.)

Depending on body shape I generally build straight down and allow row stretch to wrap the pattern around the body inside. For a more tailored look links can either be added or removed in order to create subtle expansion and contraction.

For sleeves a hand width measurement (M) is nice, as a reduction along the inside of the sleeve saves a lot of sloppy chain flopping around at the wrist.

I constructed a XX size hauberk for myself last summer and covered the process on my social media network. If you do a search on my YellowSMG Tumblr for "Hauberk" sans quotation marks and scroll through the results you will see a neat reverse chronology of the process emerge.


The "Danny Steel" poster explains the motivation for creating this piece from split links as the unofficial greeter for the second floor of the Gore Bay Harbour Centre where our shop, Whytes, is located.

Any questions?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Dirty Deeds?

Beardecember 12, 2014

(nü Icon Campaign Day 3 of 8)

Blogging early tonight with a secret conspiracy to take me out into the cold later this eve.

Last night I dreamt of water flowing over ice and freezing in. Later I was working with dad on a project that involved spaghetti and meatballs. Except that the noodles were made out chain and looked funny drenched in sauce and then wrapped around meatballs.

Buzzy morning, attempting to wake up and do a dillion other things at once is never a good combination. Emails fixed, documents updated, digital deliveries accomplished.

Spent the afternoon helping dad who's due for a chimney sweeping tomorrow morning.
 
Trying to work up ideas to spark interest in in my nu Icon quest, meanwhile catching up on other holiday based commitments.

Glad to see that we're up a dollar today on Indiegogo and understand the the midpoint can be "the hump" of any telethon. Glad to be learning along the way, there was a bit of a learning curve to the back-end campaign running which will definitely contribute to future projects.

Quote of the day: "There are no mistakes as long as you learn something along the way. Remember, no matter how epic every journey begins with a single step and ROM wasn't burnt in a day. The heart is an open highway which is why I'm doing ~IT~ my way."

What do you think Dylon should do to attract attention to his nü Icon campaign?

A. Special Flash Sale T-Shirt?

B. Reddit AMA - Topic: Chain?

C. Memetic Onslaught?

D. Other?