You wouldn’t know it by my current profile, but I fenced in college – two years foil and one year saber. I did my best to continue the sport after graduation but other than weak jokes about replacing the rails and tightening the wire around the back pasture I found little interest among friends and family. As time went by and my waistline expanded I sold or gave away most of my gear so I was surprised to find two (each) masks, sabers and gloves while cleaning up the garage this last weekend.
Any thought of a clean escape quickly evaporated as My Star Pupil took notice of the equipment as well ; since that discovery we’ve had two sessions with the sabers. I decided right off that we weren’t going to just goof around and aimlessly smack each other – I’ve taped off a properly-proportioned-but-smaller piste on the shop floor and we work on technique and terms before any Errol Flynn stuff. He’s pretty sharp for a little guy and can remember the 2, 4 and 6 positions most of the time. Lori says she can still see a little bit of form in my movements but I tell her she is just watching me with her 1977 glasses….
As I wrote last winter I’ve never been happy with the Batgirl cut-paper sculpt that I put together five or six years ago so it should be no surprise that I am up to my elbows making a new version, based on the original sketch. As I was taking pictures my Beautiful Saxon Princess suggested that I make a video presentation about my technique…and I think it’s a good idea. I’m in the “baby-steps” stage of planning right now, still researching video production and funding options like Patreon but it may be that this is the direction my teaching career will take now that I am no longer in the classroom.
…but for now I will share a snap of the work in progress, which starts with a drawing that I cut up to use for templates when making the individual parts.
Big day for my Star Pupil yesterday. Our next door neighbor Wes very graciously bought a bike for him at a local yard sale and the little guy has been in wheeled-transportation heaven since then.
It’s had me thinking back to my first bike and the incredible sense of freedom it gave me – my hunting grounds quadrupled in area by late afternoon of day one. It’s quite a different world now so I don’t think we’ll be quite was hands-off as my folks were, but it will still be interesting to observe the impact two wheels and a chain bring about in Jaybug’s life.
f you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time it is painfully obvious that I am comics fan. I’m not a universal fan – I pick and choose my books carefully for content and (mostly) art. It should also be no surprise that super-heroes and (again mostly) super-heroines figure prominently in my sketch book.
What might be a surprise is that I love watch ice-skating as much as reading comics…but then again given my Alaskan boyhood it shouldn’t be THAT much of surprise. How much do I love skating? I would literally break into tears whenever Kristi Yamaguichi got up on the ice during her all-too-short career.
…so that’s why drawings like today’s image show up in my sketchbook.
Every weekend my Star Pupil and I try something new and this week it was use of an ax. It was a skill that really wasn’t on the schedule but a box of tools I recently gave him unfortunately included a sort of multi-tool-on-steroids that inexplicably included an ax blade…and as anyone with kids will tell you glaciers can be moved by hand before you’ll get a five-year-old boy to change his mind about something like this.
After a safety briefing we spent about forty-five minutes in the shop chopping away and eventually produced the sundered one-by-two you see in this photo. The process could have been faster but one too many roadrunner cartoons convinced him logs literally jump into with one direct chop with an axe held straight on. I’d demonstrate alternate chopping at an angle but then he’d politely correct me and attempt to bludgeon the board in half.
We finally succeeded in parting the one-by-two and now he’s out with his mom visiting friends while I am busy hiding every other cutting implement before he gets back.
(Be honest – after reading that title visions of anthropomorphic movie snacks dancing across the screen while singing “Let’s all go to the lobby…” popped into your head.)
If it seems like new material has been a bit sparse lately you’re not mistaken – I’ve been caught up in some other endeavors that have taken me away from my keyboard. Some of these activities involve visual art, but my biggest iron in the creative fire is a book project that should see print sometime between now and the Fourth of July. It involves reworking my stories from 1962 to 1967 into a volume dealing with growing up in Alaska in the 1960s.
More than that I’d rather not say, other than it will be available in both e-book and dead-tree versions. I’m also doing the cover and interior spot illustrations.
I will keep you posted.
My sister Robin and I both spent most of our teens out of step with our own generation. I’ve never been able to figure out exactly why that happened – it could have been the frequent moves, our parent’s influence or our own inclination – but at the end of the day it worked out simply that we had more in common with our parents’ generation than our own.
It made for some interesting experiences in the classroom and I’ve often wondered what life would have been like had I fallen in line with the rest of my fellow post-peak Baby Boomer peers. I wonder about that because I see the same thing happen with my Star Pupil AKA my grandson Jayden. He gets more time around grandparents than most kids – a slightly skewed experience that will be even more skewed because of my own square-peg-round-hole experience.
For example – his experience with personal electronics differs from that of his friends. Oh, we still have to use a crowbar to peel him away from phones and tablets, but he also has plenty of non-digital influences surrounding him. Case in point is his tool kit. He’s intensely interested in my activities so in an effort to preserve my own tool kit I’ve made up a set of his own, to include a hammer, pliers, some odd combination wrenches and both types of screwdrivers. I’ve also prepared a two-by-four with pre-drilled holes and several screws of both standard and Phillips flavors.
I think he may come out of my youth a little more “handy” than most kids his age.