The goings on of late

So, since my daughter was born, things have been hectic. Earlier this week I found the time to sit down and put a simple plan on paper. This plan calls for a new post on this site every Friday. I do hope I can stick to that. I had so many topics and plans. Maybe I should say I had too many topics and plans.

What else has been going on? A simple question with a pretty simple answer. If you did not already know, I am a Freemason. So the last couple months I have also been editing some very out of print books on the subject. The Antiquities of Free-Masonry and The Star in the East can be purchased on lulu.com right now and later on Amazon.com. Speaking of Freemasonry, I also manage my local Lodge’s website: QueenCityLodge.org and our Facebook page.

Oh, yeah, I also run SeekingMoreLight.com for those interested in Freemasonry and AnonymousGeek.com for those interested in Geeky/Nerdy stuff. So by no means am I slacking around. The simple plan I reference above includes updates for everything! Luckily I broke it all down to just one or two tasks a day to keep them all updated. I know there are people that check out this site just for goings on or clothing stuff, and I’m pretty sure there are some that click over here for the geeky/nerdy stuff. There may even be people coming here looking for Masonic things. Well, the lines will definitely be blurring over the next few weeks but I will do my best to push out the best content to the appropriate sites.

What do I have planned for the immediate future? I’m so glad you asked. There are a couple questions out there regarding Fashion that I plan on answering on my YouTube channel.* I hate to sound mysterious, but there may (or may not) be video or audio updates coming to AnonymousGeek. If there is, then you’ll hear about it there. Otherwise, you can expect to find this site updated every single Friday with the best content I can offer, even if it’s just a link to a YouTube video answering one of your questions.

*About my personal YouTube channel. I do have so many other projects I work on and decided that for SeekingMoreLight and the promotion of my books, I will be using my personal channel instead of creating a new one. It’s one of things where I don’t have the energy or desire to create a brand new channel and try to offer content on both. Also, SML and my books are very personal things to me and it’s just makes sense that they find a home on my own channel. YouTube should be implementing some changes which will make this a no-brainer choice. Hopefully soon.

 

Sailor Moon Mosaic

 

This is a step by step of how I created a Sailor Moon Mosaic for my wife as a Christmas gift.

Step 1: Assemble the mosaic tiles
Sailor Moon MosaicI went with some gold tiles I found at the arts and crafts store for the bulk of the tile work.  They have an almost mirror finish and look fantastic.

Step 2: Do a layout to get a rough idea of what you’re doing.

Sailor Moon MosaicThe most pivotal piece of this project was getting the star of the locket done right.  At the end I’ll have a picture of the locket from the anime’ and the mosaic I created so you can see them compared.  This is a very good time to keep in mind that you’re creating a mosaic not an exact duplication in stone.  It should be a little disconnected and freeform, but keep to and embody the idea of what you’re doing.

Sailor Moon MosaicThis is with the addition of the color accent tiles (which are VERY glittery. LOL) and glass beads.  Because this was a super secret project, it had to be completed in my poorly lit basement.

Sailor Moon MosaicThe flash would make all the glass tiles go crazy!  So I didn’t take a lot of pictures with the flash on.

Step 2b: A special step particular to this project.

I’m including this special step, because it was crucial to my project.  I couldn’t find a glass bead large enough to be the centerpiece jewel of the locket, so I made one.  I used oven bake clay that I found in super sparkly dark pink.  So I’ll walk you through that.

Sailor Moon MosaicThis stuff was pretty easy to use actually.  Based on my experience with this project I would definitely recommend staying with this brand if it meets your needs.

Sailor Moon MosaicIt’s lined so you can easily cut it into smaller chunks to sculpt with.  For my purposes, however, I needed the whole thing!

Sailor Moon MosaicI roughed the whole thing into a ball shape by rolling into my hands and on a sheet of wax paper.

Sailor Moon MosaicFor a two-dimensional effect you could whip out the rolling pin (using wax paper to cover it), but I wanted a very three-dimensional piece so I used my hands to smash it down and make a soft mound.

Next I baked it as directed. (Note: at the middle thickness you will need to bake longer than recommended and may burn or darken the thinner edges)

Step 3: The final arrangement

Sailor Moon Mosaic

This is everything going in for a final fit into a mould.  This specific mold is very a 14 inch stepping stone.  If you notice, the star is smaller than I had roughed out, but worked out much better for the mould and looks better overall.

Sailor Moon MosaicTo make a stepping stone you would turn all the tiles and beads upside down (stuck to contact paper) and pour your concrete mix over it.  You would flip it over after a couple days, brush it off, and there would be a very two-dimensional (very standard) mosaic piece.  BUT!  I wanted a three-dimensional look.

Step 4(/5): Pour your mix into your mould (/add your tiles and stones)

So, I mixed my cement (white) and then poured it into the mould.

Sailor Moon Mosaic

I let it set (After adding way too much water to the mix. LOL) most of the way, then rough mixed some very spreadable cement (almost like cake icing) and smeared it on the top of the previous layer but much thinner.  Then I pressed in all my tiles and stones and let it set for three days.

Final step: Take out your stone for final curing.

Sailor Moon MosaicThis was a constantly frustrating project to learn, but cannot wait to try something like this again.  Luckily I know my wife will appreciate all the hard work that went into creating an icon from her favorite anime’ and Manga.

sailor-moon-locket

Sailor Moon Locket from the Anime’.

Sailor Moon MosaicSailor Moon Mosaic.

 

 

 

Krayt Dragon Lightsaber part 1

After the huge reception my Obi-Wan costume, which included a “kitchen sink saber”, got one year for Halloween I decided it’s time to build another lightsaber.  A Krayt Dragon Lightsaber.  First, a little history about my first lightsaber.  The “kitchen sink saber” is a build that relies heavily on plumbing equipment.  A drain and pipe for the main body and emitter with a knob for the pommel.  With a few exceptions, my build is easily disassembled.  A “kitchen sink saber” is a build modeled after the inspiration from Obi-Wan’s original lightsaber, which was mostly plumbing parts with a couple additions.

Kitchen Sink Saber

Very early on, I decided that I wanted to to make something much more unique.  Here is where I came up with the theme of a Krayt Dragon Lightsaber.  I’m no Star Wars fan-fic writer, but I thought to myself “What if Obi-Wan’s lightsaber had gotten damaged on Tattoine?”  So was born the idea of a lightsaber modeled after the beast he imitates in his first moments on screen.  Thank funky sound you hear as he makes his appearance?  He’s imitating a Krayt Dragon to scare away the Tusken Raiders.  I thought a carved pommel in the shape of a Krayt Dragon’s head might be amazing.  Also, a Krayt Dragon pearl for the primary focusing crystal.  I came back to this sketch and wrote out the word Krayt in aurebesh script, the written form of Galactic Basic Standard.  The intention was to originally have the script etched or engraved down the body of the saber.  I want this saber to seem very functional and include not only a viewable crystal chamber, but also allow the removal of the crystal.  Crystals may crack or weaken over time, leading to saber failure or explosion.  It only seems logical that a crystal should be removable without too much effort.  For a full explanation of lightsabers, including their mechanics and history, head over to Wookiepedia.

Krayt Dragon Lightsaber Illustrations

In the next illustration I tried to piece together a basic hilt with my ideas.  I decided that for a more authentic feel, a leather wrap of some sort should be added towards the emitter.  Maybe it could be a strip of leather left over from killing a Krayt Dragon.  I would like to think that a Jedi would not just kill the beast for the pearl, but would also use it’s hide as leather for clothes or repairs.  I decided on a traditional location for the on/off switch and had decided that a potentiometer to control volume of effects and brightness of blade would be best placed in the same area as the on/off switch.  Very traditional.  I thought about this more and more and have decided that this tuning knob should be somewhere it could not be accidentally turned during combat.

Krayt Dragon Illustrations 02

Here I’m getting a basic feel for dimension with regards to a pop-out crystal chamber.  I also added a guard towards the emitter and a wide stripe of non-slip coating towards the pommel.  I like the idea of brass for the guard, but I’m shying away from machining any parts or having them machined.  I want something that could actually be assembled by a Jedi from whatever he or she may find in some spare parts bins and a couple trashcans.  A Jedi stuck on a planet would have a lot of time to scavenge for great parts, but would usually lack the technical knowledge to sit down with machinist equipment and lathe out a new lightsaber hilt.  At this point I’ve decided that a large, 1″ diameter, clear marble should make a believable Krayt Dragon Pearl.  As shown in the first illustration, it would be separately lit to match the color of the blade I go with.

Krayt Dragon Illustrations 03

Krayt Dragon Illustrations 04

I decided that the most logical place for the aurebesh engraving would be the brass guard.  The illustrations do not reflect it, because it has not been a major factor yet, but I plan on placing the attaching ring on the pommel.  When hanging from a belt, the word Krayt would be legible this way.

These are currently the only illustrations I have.  I want to get a very detailed picture of how this is going to work together before I start spending money on parts.  I’ll be occasionally scavenging for some good inspiration and will post picture of anything I feel I can use.  This is going to be a detailed project that will take me many months, but will be worth it when I get to wield my very own Krayt Dragon lightsaber.

Epiphone SG Special Project

(updated – April 17, 2012) The Epiphone SG Special project is currently delayed pending parts.  This project is being moved to the back burner for a while.  When I start working on it again, I’ll start talking about it again.

Epiphone SG Special in Cherry Red.

Epiphone SG Special
Stock image from Musician’s Friend.

The color is amazing in person.  See my image below.  The paint job done at the factory is pretty flawless.  I had read that the paint may have several flaws in it.  I did decide to hang on to it stock for the full 45 day return period.  After the 45 days is up, however, I’ll be wiring in a set of TV Jones Powertrons.  Another decision I’ve made is to not install a Bigsby Vibrato.  I think the look would be amazing, and it is a future upgrade.  My initial plan regarding the vibrato was to install it, replacing the stop-tail bridge, and leave the tune-o-matic in place.  I think this would have resulted in nonstop tuning problems and frequent string breakage.  When I’m ready, I’ll make the change and also install a roller-bridge to decrease friction.

The tone of the stock pickups on the Epiphone SG Special aren’t too bad, but aren’t really anything to write home about.  The super-twang of the TV Jones paired with a solid body like this is going to be crazy.  I hope it’s not too much.

Epiphone SG Special
My personal Epiphone SG Special hanging on the wall.