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Update: 8 march 2017

Sometimes my mind goes walkabout while my body languishes someplace forgotten.  The disconnect eats up my sense of time’s passage so that months or weeks elapse while the road seems still, making chronology seem a liar.

This isn’t, or wasn’t, one of those times.  I’m in pretty good shape this gone round.

I don’t recall when last I wrote regularly, and even if I were to look it up, the date would be meaningless.  Life is not an American high school history exam, the dates never matter so much as the ethos of their events.  As such, it’s pointless to dissect the calendar in a search for answers, because, without writing, my time is ephemeral, as my short term memory is rather shit.  I can tell you what life was like as a three year old, but I’m hard pressed to recall what yesterday’s breakfast contained.  My perception is built for the long game, for big ideas and long term recollection; for whatever reason the only minutiae that ever stick are spats of movie dialogue and biographies of fictional characters.

Having established my nature as something between Leonard Shelby and a cork at sea, the best course of action seems simply to move on, so on I shall move.

This weekend is the Philadelphia Flower Show, and while my business has been on something of a hiatus while I adapted to my new part time job, my interest in botany hasn’t abated in the slightest.  I’m excited for the show and look forward to the multitudinous displays and the many ideas they’ll give me.  I’d already planned to restart Thistlehammer Transmutational in the spring, and now is near enough.  I’ll take a few hundred pictures and a notebook full ideas home and into the studio, and with any diligence (the lack of which is my usual downfall, not luck; luck is like pneumonia, merely a description of a set of symptoms) I’ll rejoin that part of my life fully enthused.  At the very least, I’ll see some cool plants and have some good dumplings in Chinatown.

I’ve about hit the maximum word count for the internet’s mandated attention span, and as I’ve nothing specific to share I’ll end here.  My hope is to start posting more regularly, and I’ve some ideas for future posts that I think will be pretty cool.

I look forward to sharing them with you, soon.

-Alexander

Bed Ridden, Kitten Encrusted

My brain’s screaming for production but my body’s holding back.  I’ve a thousand things to do, a complex hierarchy of their importance, that which comes inherent modified by the likelihood other projects may depends on their results, and I can’t stand to do more than an hour’s worth at a time.  The problem is, I can’t stand.

I tried two days ago, pushed myself to make use of the moderate decrease in pain, to finish as much as I could.  My reward was a sense that I stood in a tidal lake of pain, the sea slowly coming in, crawling up my ankle to wet my calf.

Yesterday I worked more diligently, spent the first half of the day prone, spent the latter half half-seated, forcing frequent breaks and demanding a quieter sort of production than my normal aggressive tac.  My reward was further excruciation that evening and an inability to sleep last night, drowsiness further delayed by the bad boops’ attempts at piscecicide sometime between deep dark and false dawn.  This morning, I do not recall; I woke up at three.

This is the worst attack of blood acid-crystalization* I think I’ve had.  I’m triple medicated and double folk remedied, and still my foot can bare my weight for no more than a few minutes at a time.  I consider myself someone with a high tolerance for pain: I spent an active month with a cracked hip and slipped epithesis before a routine doctor’s visit sent me to surgery; I’ve broken two ribs, and most of my toes at least once over the course of my martial career, none of which deterred me from class more than a week; I’ve been burned, stabbed, smashed, and cut by every sharp and blunt instrument in the house and available to modern medical science, with and without analgesics,  and none have broken me.  It shocks me, given all that, that this attack should so bereave me of my ability to stand.

Without standing, using my work bench, hammer, and chisel a bit difficult.  With not having my weight on my feet I’m disallowed the use of anything but my shoulders and arms to work and one loses a great deal of power and control when he’s seated.  Worse now, is that the pain persists while I’m seated.  The only positions in which I seem to find any relief are when I’m seated in bed, or lying down.  I’ve been bed-ridden before.  There were years in my life during which I was more constrained to a hospital bed than I was on my feet.  As such, I chaff more at the restriction than might some others.  You’d think I’d be prepared, that I’d’ve learned some sort of method of entertainment to cope with mattress imprisonment, and I have, but I exhausted them so thoroughly seventeen years ago that the mere reminder of them is enough to make me antsy, just in the way the smell of PA Dutch cafeteria food is so well associated with nauseous chemistry that cheap kitchens set in local grocery stores passed still make me ill.

I’ve little choice but to continue on in bed.  The pain remains a constant hum, so concentrating well enough to read is difficult.  If not for that, I’d look forward to the excused time off as a chance to catch up on the feet high backlog of texts I’d meant to ingest.  My new tools need tuning up, but I’ve watched enough youtube videos on how best to do so that anymore of them merely make me anxious to start rather than acting as a vicarious amelioration.  Kung fu is right out, disappointing as I’d just started back, doubly disappointing because we’re working on a staff form now, one of my favorite weapons.  So too are walks, pokemon or otherwise.  Try as I might, I cannot decipher an alternative to bed rest.  If only I knew that it were doing any sort of good, at least then I could view the act itself as some sort of productivity.  As of now, I know only that it hurts too much to stand.

 

 

*This sounds so much better than "gout," relaying both the truth of structure and the truth of feeling this attack inspires, devoid of the pejorative "fat man's disease" connotation.

Woodn’t Like Yew to Know

I’m mostly returned from my chemical absence and freshly engaged with the conscious world.  Nigh bed ridden to boot, gout keeping me hobbled by the desk.  Time for an update.

I don’t recall much of the last few weeks, but I can’t imagine there was much before yesterday worth noting, so it’s no great loss.  As with Edison on his quest to properly steal the light bulb, I’ve merely discovered another way not to cure my depression.  After a few weeks of counter titration I might be ready to try another med, but until then I’m grateful for my return to normalcy, no matter the quality of said norm.  It’s still better than a state semi-sapient somnambulism which I’d inhabited of late.

If this post is confusing, pay no mind. Clarity was not much my concern while writing.

I finally made it to Saturday’s market yesterday, a place to which I’d wanted to return for months.  A place that, for a near identical duration, I’d managed to forget about, oversleep through, or otherwise miss.  As the indoor part of the market occurs once a week, there is a small window for attendance and a large chasm to miss it by.  The shop I’d wanted to visit was a sort of hardware store, a cluttered and narrow booth run by two delightful old men who seemed concerned more with being pleasant to their customers as they were breaking even.  I remember my previous visit some years ago, during which I wanted to buy something that hadn’t any tag, so one of the fellows asked me if I thought five dollars was all right.  For a well made American tool, the modern Chinese made equivalent of which would cost close to sixty dollars, five dollars was more than all right.

I loved visiting that booth, listening to the owners joke with and tease each other and talk with their customers, new and returning, as friends.

Unfortunately, the booth is now gone.  The whole of the market seems to have had a depressing fault slip into redneck hell.  It always had an undercurrent of country bigotry trickling beneath its earnest agrarian nature.  Since I’d last attended that current has welled up and swallowed the whole of the place.  There was nothing for me there, nothing I wanted from the seven separate vape shops, nor from the myriad of kipple and crap dealers.

I was very disappointed, having finally gotten what I’d wanted after months of waiting only to find that what I’d hoped for no longer exists.

Mary convinced me to go to an antique market across the river.  I was skeptical, “antique market” a term conjuring an image less of bargain priced, master crafted tools, and more of incredibly expensive things passed between men closer to the financially comfortable parts of their lives than I.  Still, Mary wouldn’t let me wallow.  Glad I am that she didn’t.  The market turned out to be a small warehouse filled with unmanned booths, two hundred or so micro stores.  With no salesman, one was free to browse at will.  It was the perfect setup for conscientious socially anxious.

Mary and I spent a few hours browsing through the materials.  There seemed to be no theme, some shops having what looked like garage sale left overs, while others had antiques more in line with expectations come of the building’s name.  It was interesting to note patterns of goods, what items survived for a century, what types of things kept popping up and what seemingly common items were absent.

I found a honing block at one of the first places we looked through, but after carrying it for an hour, returned it, realizing I had no idea exactly what sort it was, whether it required oil, water, or neither (the difference being important as a stone requiring oil, say, would damage and be damaged by a tool if used dry or with water).  Still, the place was fascinating and I began to cheer up.  After more searching and hidden seeking, I ended up with a jack plane, a hollow nose chisel, a two inch chisel, and a scribe compass.

I was very happy with my finds, happier still with their cost.  I got the lot for sixty dollars.  Mary enjoyed herself as well, and seemed to enjoy my enjoyment of the shopping trip.  As a sort of self amusement, she used her phone to look up the tools I’d bought, and apparently I made out very well.

The flat chisel I bought was well thought of, the consensus amounting to “buy one if you see one, but don’t go crazy in its pursuit.”  They seemed to go for a bit over a hundred dollars online.  The hollow nose chisel had a bit of a different story.  Made by an enigmatic tool maker about a hundred years ago, Witherby chisels have an oddly devoted and voracious community of collectors who’ve driven the average price to well over a hundred dollars.  I think I spent eight on mine.  The jack plane is a Sargent, the company which would later become Stanely.  New hand planers seem to hover around the one hundred thirty mark.  Mine was thirty two.  In her research, the cheapest Mary found Sargent planers selling for was three hundred dollars.  One model from the same series as mine was selling for nearly a thousand dollars on a tool website.

I don’t normally get any great pleasure from bargain hunting, nor any real enjoyment from pinching pennies or looking over items and knowing I could have paid more and didn’t.  I don’t like wasting money, but I dislike being miserly.  What makes me so happy about yesterday’s purchases, and what had made me so crestfallen at Saturday’s market is what the tools’ prices represent.

I am not yet terribly successful in my business.  I’ve about reached the limit of what I can make with the tools I own, but cannot afford more tools due to their high price and my low income.  I refuse to buy the poorly constructed ones come of China; I don’t trust them to be free of carcinogenic materials, I don’t wish to support the inhuman conditions of Chinese factories, and simply put, the tools have too short a lifespan to bother with.  Antique tools are my best option.  They require finding, and often some refinishing if not outright repair.  They are thus not in high demand outside the niche worlds to which they belong.  There’s little competition over them in the central marketplace.  I had relied on the stall at Saturday’s market provide me access to tools I couldn’t otherwise afford, creating a proportional relationship between them and my budget more in line with a successful business.  More clearly stated, cheap tools make it as if I were wealthier.  Without that stall I feared I’d never, or not anytime soon, be able to expand and improve my business.  The antique market filled that void and assuaged my fears.  More than that, it supplanted one small shop half an hour off with a huge selection ten minutes from my house.