Archive for February, 2017

He’s No Good To Me Dead – Making a Mandalorian Part 1

Posted in 501st, Art, Cosplay, Mandalorian Mercs, Personal Thoughts, Star Wars on February 24, 2017 by Neal

I’ve been throwing this mental football around in my head for ages and finally started to put thought into action. 

Being a Star Wars fan I’ve been keen on joining the 501st for several years now but cost has been a major limiter. Recently I managed to pick up several large sheets of 3mm PVC foam which is ideal for costuming. This gave me an idea and I went back to have a look at the Mandalorian Mercs website. I’ve got a half built helmet that I had started ages go when I attempted to make normal armour. Unfortunately the armour for crushed when I had things fall on it so I put things on the back burner.

With the PVC sheets I decided to take a big leap and started tracing out the patterns for a legacy era Mandalorian costume. I’ll have to make a different style of helmet to fit the style but that’s the fun part for me. I find building things can be very relaxing for me. 

Should prove an interesting learning curve as I’ve never used this material before. 


Interviews – Food for Anxiety

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Mechanisms, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on February 23, 2017 by Neal

I’m sitting in the foyer of my company head office waiting for an interview. I’ve applied for a transfer to a new store that will be opening in the next couple of months as the manager. The funny thing is I’m nervous as hell which is odd considering I’ve worked for the area manager doing the interview. 

The anxiety in me is having a field day picking on all the little things I’ve done wrong at work these last few months. It keeps adding fuel to its own fire by expanding more on the mistakes. I counter every comment with a rational response so it digs deeper. At this rate I’ll have destroyed half a city in its views. 

However it’s not the interview that has me on edge. I can do interviews rather well. Answering questions and giving examples is something I can do blind folded (have yet to actually try that). It’s more the fact that I’m dealing with someone of authority higher than me. I’ve had this particular type of anxiety for as long as I can remember. No rational reason but that’s the joys of anxiety, rationality need not apply.

Let’s Experiment – Part 1

Posted in Food, Personal Thoughts on February 21, 2017 by Neal

I like experimenting when I cook. I’ll look at what food options we have and usually can throw something together that tastes good. A classic example is my pasta sauce, which I’ve had people ask for the recipe of. Bit tricky to explain that it’s what ever I find in the fridge. I will add all sorts of things to the base of garlic, tinned tomatoes. It may have three or five bean mix, assorted veggies, beef or kangaroo mince… it all depends on what I have on hand. 

So after having a drink of ginger ale over the weekend in wondereded what would be needed to make my own. I present what I hope to be my ginger bug…

What you do is mix ginger, sugar and water together and let it ferment. This gives you a base to make soft drinks off of. Be interesting to see how this all works out. Will post progress reports ūüėĄ

Catch 22 for Fathers 

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal Thoughts, The World on February 21, 2017 by Neal

a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

I’ve been reading lots of articles lately in which fathers are being criticised for their actions. Mostly it’s the stuff that ALL fathers are usually blamed for. Not paying attention to their spouse, not taking on a share of baby or child care duties, not helping around the house with chores, the list gets rather long after a while. This irks me a lot as I know not all fathers are like this. That generalisation we seem to give things paints us all with the same colour. 

I’m amongst the group of fathers  who actually participate in helping with children. Always taken the kids shopping with me, changed nappies and bathed the kids from day one. Never had a moment when I didn’t get involved even with my depression acting up without my understanding. The idea of not being there to help out has never crossed my mind. So I do find it irritating to be classified as a useless father simply because someone views us all that way. It makes as much sense as saying all men are useless in the home. 

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a big debate on social media about men in parent rooms. It came about after an article hit the news about a father being verbally abused for feeding his daughter in the parents change room. An example of the article is here. Now as a father this got my blood boiling. When did being a father caring for your child become something considered unsavoury? I’ve even had to find alternate places to change nappies on a few occasions because the baby change tables were located in the women’s rest rooms as there was no parent’s room. 

Now I’m not going on a parent equality rant here but I think I have narrowed down why there is such a disparaging view of male parents. On some of the feeds that had variations of this article one them also had articles about children being molested by men. It’s this small percentage of (insert long list of obscenities) that get the most attention in social media. This then begins the sweeping generalisation of all men being dirt. As always the bad news travels faster and wider than good news.

In the past a father’s roles was very limited when it came to children, that has slowly changed over the years. In some families the roles are reversed and fathers take on the mothering role. If you see a father doing his part for his family give him a smile, thumbs up, nod or all of the above to show that you recognize what they’re doing.

Trying New Skills – Part 2

Posted in Art, Craft and DIY, Personal Thoughts, Pokemon on February 15, 2017 by Neal

I’ve taken a few days off work this week in an attempt to recharge after a chaotic past couple of months. I made the mistake of saying out loud this morning that I should do something instead of just doing nothing. My youngest chimed in with “I know you can make my Pok√©mon eggs for me. I’ll find them.” So after being checked up on every 15 minutes or so all day I finally completed 2 Pok√©mon eggs for him. One random egg and one Togepi egg. 

They aren’t exactly mind blowing in their complexity. I had found some large egg shaped foam at the local cheap store and painted them in a base coat of white acrylic paint. I then proceeded to paint the shapes on and experimented with different shade mixes. The Togepi egg I washed in a very watered down yellow and wiped off to give it a slightly different tint. They were both sealed with a matt varnish spray to help protect the paint job. This is a simple way to make toys and ideal if kids want a craft they can have fun with.

Several months ago I also experimented with normal foam balls and made a Voltorb and an Electrode. 

One thing I did on all of these was to insert a screw into the bottom of the foam to act as a weight. This helps them stand up or at least align themselves better if they fall or roll over. 

Trying New Skills – Part 1

Posted in Art, Craft and DIY, Personal Thoughts, Poseable Dolls on February 15, 2017 by Neal

I’ve seen a lot of videos and images on Facebook of poseable dolls and wondered what would it take to make such amazing works of art. I was sorting out my new work area in the shed and found a few stuffed Dino toys my wife had for other project ideas. Then I found some wire and stuffing in some other boxes I unpacked. 

Having found these things, my brain started churning over while I did some more unpacking. Once I was finished for the day I decided to give making a poseable doll a try. I didn’t get a lot of pics but I did come up with some learning points along the way.

First I made a basic shape out of the wire I had. While making the shape I realised the wire I had wasn’t as malleable as it should be so using softer armature wire would make more sense. This would allow the doll to bend more easily. Once I had the shape I then started unpicking the dino to remove the arms, legs and head. 

Using the stuffing I wrapped it around the skeleton frame and then slid the pieces over top. To bulk the limbs out I added more stuffing. I found that the skeleton didn’t sit right due to a couple of factors. The first being anchor points for the hands, feet, tail and head. Because I had just shoved the wire into the body parts they didn’t have a solid foundation to rest on. The second being the uneven position in the limbs as I hadn’t wrapped enough stuffing around the skeleton to make the bulk of the form.

Then came the process of stitching everything back together. I’m a little rusty and was in a bit of a hurry so my hand stitching wasn’t very neat. In the end Frankendino was born. He can stand on his own two feet. Not bad for a 4 hour practise piece. Has me considering some other ideas to work on in the future. 
To see some amazing works of art check out some of these incredible artists on YouTube

Wood Splitter Lee
Creatures of Nat

Is Age Just a Number?

Posted in Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, The World on February 7, 2017 by Neal

There are days when I wonder to myself, am I really getting older? After all I hit the 40 mark last year. Some times I look in the mirror and wonder when did I start looking so old? Receding hair line, grey streaks in my hair, tired look around the eyes, little extra weight in my face. All typical things that show age setting in. Then there’s the non physical things that remind me I’m getting older. Changes in technology, music that used to be current is now classified as old school, multiple reboots of shows I watched as a kid, celebrities that I grew up watching passing away. The list could go on and on. Top it off with my kids getting older and finishing school it all seems to say you are getting old. 

I take a moment and think to myself, I don’t act old. In fact I still think of myself as being 18 or 19 sometimes. I love computer games and get excited about some titles when I hear about their release. Totally enjoy comics and watching cartoons of all types. Still enjoy playing with toys and cosplay (despite having no complete costumes at the moment). So while my body says one thing my mind says another. 

So were did I get this concept of old age from? Life. Seems so simple but it’s the source of a lot of my turmoils at times. One thing you never get taught in high school is how to be an adult. You go from not having a care in the world to suddenly being in charge of your life. You have to work, study, pay bills, handle relationships. Things go crazy in a few months or a few years depending on your situations. Some of us have no choice but to grow up fast or else we fall to the slings and arrows of the world. 

While writing this I can’t help but notice I perhaps grew up at different stages rather than in a consistent pattern. I developed a very strong work ethic but my financial juggling skills have only grow in the last couple of years. My relationship skills are still improving. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing to develop in unusual ways. We tell kids to grow up and be older than they actually are but what if that’s just our projection of wishing to have the same abandon as kids have.

My family tell me to stop acting like a big kid while others say I should act my age. Now see the flaw in those comments is, what if I want to be 10 today because tomorrow I have to be 60 while discussing finance options? Our physical age can limit us a little but we shouldn’t let it dictate how we want to feel. Being young in heart and mind is very important to a healthy life because age is just a number and not a way of life.