Full Speed, A Head!

 Posted by at 18:49  No Responses »
Jan 102017

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Hey, remember this project? This project that I haven’t much talked about in the last, oh, nine months or so? Guess what! I just finished assembling the high-detail paper model for the base mold!

Full-resolution paper model mold base, front 3/4 Full-resolution paper model mold base, rear 3/4

I did indeed switch to using hot glue after my last update, to excellent effect. Rather than applying it via a hot glue gun, I instead used the glue gun to keep the glue in a liquid state and spot-applied it with toothpicks. This worked out really well, with one giant downside that I didn’t recognize until the damage had been done: leaving hot glue to just sit there with heat on it results in some of it vaporizing. My office, where I’ve been assembling this, is not well-ventilated. As a result, once I realized why I had started coughing and feeling miserable, I shelved the project for a bit. Also, finishing Embers and running a D&D game for some friends took over my life for a little while, but Embers is now out1 and I’m finally getting a handle on balancing my prep work for the D&D game, which means time to work on this has materialized once more!

Full-resolution paper model mold base, front 3/4 No doubt spurred into action by seeing Rogue One, I dove head-first back to work. This time, I kept a fan running at all times and wore a simple dust mask, which prevented most of the fumes from getting anywhere near me. I also purchased the fellow pictured here on clearance at Target to keep me company while I worked.

Everything has come together exceedingly well, as far as I’m concerned. I hit on the idea of creating small little cardboard cross-section supports, hearkening back to my original design approach to this whole project. I noticed some structural deformation happening to the cardstock due to the growing weight of the model. Given that forestalling this kind of warping with the resin and fiberglass step is the next part of the plan, I didn’t want to go into that step with an already-warped model!

Cross section printout glued to flat cardboard
Cardboard cross-section supports on the face Cardboard cross-section supports on the scalp and brim

I looked over the major distortion points and created simple planes intersecting the helmet model in Blender, then printed these out with the paper model plugin the same way I had everything else so far. I rummaged around in the basement for a cardboard box of the approximate right dimensions and sturdiness and then got to work slicing these up and gluing them into place. I used a green marker to identify the vertex attachment points on the physical model that corresponded with the origin locations for the planes on the 3D model. Turned out as well as I hoped!

Here’s the completed helmet beside its prototype ancestors. The massive size of the original prototype doesn’t really come across in this picture due to perspective, but it dwarfs both the small sizing prototype and the full-resolution model.

Full-resolution paper model alongside low-resolution prototypes.

With ventilation now prominent in my mind and knowing that my next step involves resin and fiberglass, I need to resolve the workspace air quality issue. It’s the middle of winter, so working outside just isn’t an option. Fortunately, I have a solution that’s been waiting for me to realize it exists for over seven years: the small, unused, vaguely creepy basement side room beneath the sun room. I can’t realistically ventilate the entire house-length basement to the degree I’d need to for working with resin, but that little room is its own space with its own window. Getting enough airflow to keep it well-circulated is easily within reach of a hardware store ventilation fan and some dryer vent tubing to direct the fan’s airflow out the window.

Making those modifications to this proto-workshop is my next step. I’ve also started formulating concrete plans for the vacuform table I want to build to manufacture the rest of the armor, which I’ll try to post more about in the coming days and weeks.

  1. And the next book’s word count is increasing day by day, don’t worry! []

The Face Of The Future

 Posted by at 01:03  No Responses »
Mar 152016

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Been quiet on the stormtrooper front of late, but it’s still coming along!

Face plate as of March 12 Full face and forehead as of March 15

Still all done with tape, with a few exceptions where I resorted to superglue (and nearly stuck my fingers together several times). I’m thinking about trying hot glue as an alternative. Still sets quickly, but is a little more forgiving. Messy, though…

A New Level Of Detail

 Posted by at 23:55  No Responses »
Oct 262015

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I may have gone a little overboard with how detailed the paper printout of this model is. That said, it’s going to look amazing when it’s done.

The mic tip inset

I’ve been assembling everything with nothing but scotch tape so far. Cutting up tiny strips of tape and putting enough pressure on them to make sure they stay in place is proving incredibly tedious, though, and I’m mulling over various glue solutions. (Elmer’s? Superglue? Something else?)

Pieces under construction

Even so, when I can put it beside my two prototypes and see just how much better it is, it’s worth the effort.

Comparison with the prototypes

The Sizing Prototype

 Posted by at 21:31  No Responses »
Oct 152015

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Satisfied with my revised model and with scale issues now addressed, I decided to make one more prototype before printing out a high-resolution paper model that will go on to form the basis of my helmet mold. This one would be very low resolution, its only purpose to validate that it was big enough for my head and that my proportions were vaguely correct.

The smaller sizing prototype next to the first prototype The smaller sizing prototype next to the first prototype

As it turned out, this actually went a little too small, due in part to compensating for the size correction in the 3D model, but not the printout. Fortunately, it means the next round should be bang-on. I also acquired some fiberglass mat and resin with which to reinforce the paper model prior to slathering it with Bondo, which is heavy. I don’t want the paper to deform under the weight, so the fiberglass-and-resin step aims to give it enough rigidity to prevent that. The original large prototype is shiny in these pictures because it’s been given an initial outer coat of resin. The fiberglass will go inside for structural strength.

I, uh, also couldn’t resist checking the sizing prototype’s fit…

Imperial Derptrooper

Sep 112015

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Photogrammetry has been a major interest of mine for a number of years now, but all of my efforts toward making use of it as an artistic tool have thus far met with failure. None of the open-source, free, or even pay solutions either work or do what I want.1 I have designs on cooking up a program of my own at some point that does it all, but haven’t really set aside the time (hah!) to work something up.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that Blender could do some of what I wanted, natively.

It’s got major restrictions, though: namely, it only solves for a single camera (i.e. one focal length, one sensor size). Mingling images from different cameras, even if the various properies of those images are known2, is a no-go. That put me in a bit of a pickle, because I have a ton of Stormtrooper helmet reference photos, but very few from the same camera and even fewer that present a good “turntable” set. Fortunately, I did have one set, complete with full EXIF data that I could use to set the correct camera properties!

Of course, it was only nine images, with a lot of movement between frames. Blender couldn’t hope to solve that on its own. So, I spent hours and hours every night tracking points across my nine “frames” by hand, trying to find any features that stood out and were easily tracked. Naturally — because it couldn’t possibly be easy! — these points were almost never major “feature” points of the Stormtrooper helmet as one might conceive of them. They were usually blemishes; chipped paint, drips, dings, and so forth.

It took me a while to realize that tracking these “defects” was even worthwhile. My first approach was to try to project the 3D coordinates into the scene so that they coincided with actual features of my existing model. As time went on and I learned more, though, I realized this was folly. I just needed the right “origin” (I used the top of the gray “frown”) and to set the proper scale. I also came to understand, since I wasn’t defining any lines as denoting an X and Y axis3, that the camera solver made use of my initial camera position in 3D space as-is. It wasn’t “solving” that; it was using that as the starting point for the camera’s motion. That meant I had to eyeball that into the right position.

Eventually, though, I got it. A “perfect” solve is anything with a Blender-reported error of <= 0.3, Anything up to about 6 can still be "pretty good." My solve is ~0.9, which I am astonished by after how impossible a task it seemed when I set out.

The little balls are the 3D projections of my tracking points. The reason the photo and the right side (camera left) of the model are so different is explained further down. Image source.

With my camera calibrated, I could finally start modifying my existing model to make it better match the real, screen-used prop! This was the very first time in my entire history 3D modeling that I’ve been able to do that — take a “real life” picture that wasn’t purpose-shot as near-orthographic and use it as a reference plate in 3D space. It took some doing, but this part was much easier than the tracking itself. After all, it’s essentially the same sort of thing I’ve been doing for the better part of two decades. It entailed a great deal of hopping back and forth between “frames” to make sure everything lined up from all nine of my camera angles, but eventually I had the entire left half of the helmet photo-matched.

The screen helmet, though, is asymmetrical. That meant copying my left-side model and tweaking it all over again on the right side to make it match that one. That went a great deal faster, though, and with a quick hop back over to the left to do some final tweaks, I had a bang-on (with a handful of exceptions that could easily be chalked up to lens distortion of the photos themselves) match for the asymmetrical ANH Stunt helmet.

From there, it was a simple matter to “average” the vertices from the left and right sides to create a symmetrical helmet that matched pretty well with both the left and right helmet sides in the photos.

(Click for full-resoltion)

Next step, convert it to paper!

  1. PPT and Voodoo always seem to crash or spit out garbage and Catch123D is super off-putting. The Cloud and cloud computing can be amazing things, but I still want my applications local, man. []
  2. One of the things that’s possible to do in general, given sufficient shared coordinates between images, but unknown camera parameters, is to back-calculate the camera properties. My photogrammetry program, whenever I eventually write it, will do this. []
  3. My image sequence was shot against a single, static background and the helmet itself was turned, so there was no true 3D origin coordinate I could use. []

Full Guinea Pig

 Posted by at 20:36  No Responses »
Aug 202015

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This is sitting on my dining room table right now.

Glaring inaccuracies? You bet. Beyond the overall dimension one I mentioned yesterday, even. All correctable in the next version, which can also be even more detailed on top of being more accurate.

I’m…pretty excited.

That excitement, though, is tempered somewhat by questions and self-doubt around the term “accuracy.” Ever since hearing about them and especially since meeting some of them in person, I’ve had my eye on eventually applying to join the 501st, whenever I got myself around to actually building this damn thing. But even though that badge of honor, that community would have meaning for me, doing this my way has more.

I don’t aim to achieve “screen accuracy.” The screen accurate model is asymmetrical, there are differences in the helmets seen in each movie, and even within individual movies (the ANH “hero” and “stunt” helmets). For my helmet, I want to opt for the “best” of all of them, not just pick one and replicate it. That’s not to say I’m looking to take shortcuts or produce a sub-par product by any stretch of the imagination. My goal is to create something that you could easily put on screen next to any of the other “screen accurate” suits and have it blend right in…unless you knew exactly what to look for.

I’ve been lurking on the 501st boards for a long time and the prevailing sentiments on this topic stick to just a few schools of thought.

There is the most common reaction that one should “just buy a kit” from an approved vendor. Some consider this the “cheapest” path, especially factoring time in. Maybe they’re right, if that’s where their priorities lie. I want to create, so that holds no value to me. Others expressing this view come across as pushing a marketing scheme. “You won’t get approval to join unless you buy from an approve vendor!” I realize this is an intensely cynical view; the “approved vendors” have all spent tremendous time, thought, and energy into creating authentic, accurate replicas and that is work that should only ever be commended. It’s still got an unpleasant feel to me that I can’t shake.

There are those who simply don’t “get” the process of papercraft molds. They see the papercraft version and think people are going to apply with that alone, which obviously doesn’t meet any kind of standard for authenticity. And, for what it’s worth, some — many, even — folks do go on to use the paper model as the basis for the final, wearable piece. There have been some great costumes created this way. Again, that’s not what I’m doing, but the prospect of having to explain and re-explain that isn’t terribly appealing.

Along a similar line, the 501st has been around for a long time. They’ve no doubt had countless people trying to apply and get approval with “unique ideas” or “unique approaches” or whatever else that are, objectively, pretty terrible. They’re tired of it, they’re cynical of anything that has even the vaguest aroma of this, and they’d rather steer such enthusiasm toward a non-terrible end product (and often end up dovetailing heavily with the “just buy a kit” crowd, as a result). I sympathize with this group; they have no reason to believe I’d be anything other than yet another in a very long parade of wannabes.

Finally, there are those who just seem to enjoy the entirety of the hobby and want to encourage participation and creativity as a whole. These seem, rather depressingly, to be the rarest sort. They do exist, though, so that’s something.

At the end of it all, I have to remember that I’m doing this for me. If it doesn’t pass someone else’s sniff test but it does pass mine (knowing just how high my bar is for myself), so be it. They just aren’t looking for the same thing I am.

Regardless, I have work to do.

Aug 202015

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

You’d think after working on this project on-and-off for two years that any new setback would come as yet another dispiriting blow. For once, tonight’s setback is a huge win and even serves to make all of the previous setbacks — especially the CarveWright-related ones — seem like blessings in disguise.

You see, I had the size wrong all along.

I originally scaled the 3D helmet model in Blender to an approximation of my own head. I eyeballed it until the size looked right. Later, I found some actual measurements folks had taken of the molds from the films and checked those against my existing pieces, which seemed to line up correctly. Cool, my estimate had been correct out of the gates! Confident now that I was on the right path, I proceeded through all of the various updates you’ve read about this project. I occasionally spot-checked during the cardboard process to make sure I was still within expected tolerance of those dimensions. When I switched to the CarveWright, I was already set, since the Blender model hadn’t changed and the cardboard cross-sections had been correct in any event. Having now switched to paper, I continued on as before with the existing dimensions.

Before printing everything out on heavy-duty cardstock, I did a test print of just a few portions of the helmet in plain paper to get a feel for the method, check dimensions, sanity check my paper templates, and so on.

Plain paper 'dome' prototype

Lumpy, but promising. Size seemed pretty good when I put it over my head (dopey as I looked doing it…), so I started printing out the cardstock parts. Here’s the same set of templates, printed in cardstock, used to make the plain paper prototype.

The same templates, printed in cardstock, used to make the plain paper prototype

All in all, everything was coming together very nicely.

'Jowl' before... ...and after

More than any other time in the project, I felt like I was making real progress at last.

A face emerges

I got quite far along. Here’s where things stand as of right now.

Progress to date

All along, though, something’s been nagging me. Every time I held up the “face” to my face, every time I eyeballed the dome, it all felt really big. Having never actually handled a stormtrooper helmet of any variety in person before, I figured this was just expectations clashing with reality. But I’d hate to go through the entire process and screw up something as basic as the proper dimensions, so I started measuring things.

And they were too big. The helmet, which I expected to “stand” about 12″ tall, measured closer to 14″. Did I misprint? Scale something wrong in the process? I couldn’t have gotten the model wrong; I’d checked that against the research from that theRPF post…

…hadn’t I?

I jumped into Blender and threw down a 12″×12″×12″ cube…and it was smaller than my model!

What the hell? At what point had I overscaled it? Perhaps at no point. I may have deliberately underscaled the cardboard cutouts when I did them and forgotten about having done so somewhere along the way. Why I would’ve done that instead of scaling the Blender model, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe something to do with render resolution and creating consistently sized cross-sections? In any event, with the exception of those templates, my dimensions have been too big all along. Even if the CarveWright had worked perfectly, I’d’ve had a garbage mold that I’d need to re-carve.

But now…I actually have a testbed. It’s too big, sure, so I won’t be casting from it, but I’m so close to done with it that it’s actually a worthwhile guinea pig to test out other aspects of my approach: resin-and-fiberglass reinforcement, Bondo filling, sanding, and so on. It won’t need the same level of finish as the “real” one will, but it’ll give me free reign to learn and screw up without feeling tremendous loss.

What’s more, I can use everything I’ve learned about the Blender papercraft export plugin thus far along with the experience of having cut out all this stuff once before, to create better, more detailed, and easier-to-assemble templates than I did the first time through.

Catching this now is a huge win compared to catching it at any other point along the way and especially going forward. Color me relieved!

Pivot #3

 Posted by at 21:19  No Responses »
Aug 112015

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After struggling to get the CarveWright CNC carving machine to cooperate on-and-off over the last year or so, I’m ready to declare defeat on this approach. Every time I think I’ve got “the” problem solved, a new one crops up. First, I had the colorspace issues. Fixed that. Then, I had issues stemming from materials (MDF), so I swapped out for wood. Then I had issues with accuracy, that seemed to stem from the heightmap again. Wasn’t that. These accuracy issues continued to plague. I disassembled the machine, cleaned it, greased it, aligned it, calibrated it, and repeated the whole process numerous times. Once I thought I had it licked, I engaged in an ambitious many-hour carve to get all the pieces finally done…only to discover massive disparity between what I expected and what the final pieces measured, none of which seemed due to the data going in. I sought out advice on the CarveWright user forums, got some new ideas — perhaps I needed to calibrate the machine per board, for each carve in order to achieve the accuracy I sought, for example. But before I could test any of this, new issues appeared — now, boards wouldn’t even measure, complaining that there was a sensor roller error…when he board left the sensor roller because it had fed past it!

That was toward the end of April. The last straw came tonight, when I mustered up the courage to finally see about resolving these issues and test out this per-board calibration hypothesis. I couldn’t get the sensor roller to stop throwing errors, telling the machine to ignore the errors caused different errors to appear, and then — when taking apart the sandpaper belts that feed the board through the machine, I saw that the belts had started to “roll under” themselves again, which was an issue I fixed months ago. It was too much. There are parts I can look into replacing — newer, better; rubber belts instead of sandpaper, for instances — but that costs a great deal of money on top of the money already spent to acquire the machine in the first place (dramatically discounted though it was). I set out to prove that one could make a good-quality stormtrooper helmet on the cheap; this wasn’t that at all and I wasn’t about to keep throwing money at it.

Therefore, I’m changing my approach once again. While the cross-section approach is still something that I think has merit, I’ve come to the point now where I’ve seen enough successful projects that start from naught but paper that I’m going to give that a go. I’ve already got my 3D model, which needs only marginal tweaking to be suitable for that sort of approach, so I should lose little in the accuracy I hoped to achieve with the CarveWright, though I may not end up with a solid wood positive mold that I can pull numerous silicone negatives/poured urethane casts from. Maybe. Who knows, perhaps I will be able to create a mold this way and still use the silicone-and-urethane approach I planned to use all along.

Time to find out.

Nov 282014

A random collection of thoughts:

  • Star Wars is a weird thing for me because it’s kinda split into two entities. There’s “my Star Wars“, which consists mainly of the OT1, a handful of the novels and games, a great deal of fan research, and some of my own twists on things. Then there’s “the Star Wars franchise,” which is everything with the name Star Wars attached. I get super-jazzed for stuff in the former category, while the latter category’s flame has long since burned out. I have no idea where these new movies/the Disney Star Wars era fits into those categories.
  • I don’t have any negative things to say about J.J. Abrams as a director. Any of the issues I take with the stuff of his I’ve seen have been writing-related. Sure, he has influence over that as a director/producer, but I don’t think those issues ultimately fall at his feet. I mean, I guess they do in a “the buck stops here” sort of way, but…meh? That he’s not working with Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof this time, but rather starting from a script by Michael Arndt and retooled by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi co-writer Lawrence Kasdan is at least encouraging.
  • This teaser has a strong fan film vibe to it for me, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Vibrancy, maybe? Color timing not quite what I expected? Not sure. The very first shot, when Boyega pops his head up, is the one that feels the most fanfilmish to me. I bet that’s actually a location shot, but it looks like a greenscreen shot. Something about it just feels wrong. This comp2 also feels weird to me, color-wise, and to make matters even more confusing, I think it’s actually the human element that feels off. The helmet, the white vest, and the cockpit all look fine, but his actual skin just seems to…not fit.
  • As a rebuttal to the previous point, though, it’s worth noting that none of those shots likely represent “finished” shots. This far out from release, ain’t none of those gonna be final comps.
  • Good grief, John Williams. The shot where they hard-in on the Falcon with the fanfare swelling? Damn.
  • My initial reaction to the claymore lightsaber was a mixture of “gee-whiz!” and eye-rolling amusement. On thinking about it, though, it makes some amount of sense. What’s the one thing a lightsaber can’t immediately cut through? Another lightsaber. So, if you’re going to have a crossbar on your lightsaber, what do you make it with? Mini-lightsabers.
  • Favorite shot of the trailer was that lights-flickering interior dropship shot with all the stormtroopers. That was badass.
  • A reminder for everyone that this was the Episode I teaser. TFA’s teaser already has about 1000x as much attitude and tone.
  • Lucas approached Mark Hamill about reprising the role of Luke in an Obi-Wan-style mentor capacity during the filming of Return of the Jedi and speculated that it would film sometime in 2011. As pointed out by this redditor, “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.”
  • Did you notice the antenna on the Falcon? Not the old dish! (’cause, y’know, Lando knocked that one off)

In conclusion:


X-wings over water
Haters gonna hate
  1. Original Trilogy. Episodes IV through VI []
  2. “Comp” refers to “composition” or “composite” when referring to VFX. []
Nov 052014

Oh right, hello there.

Some snippets, in no particular order.

I’m 30 now. I don’t generally pay much attention to age, getting older, and so on. So it is with the beginning of my fourth decade. 25 was the last age to herald any practical impact (namely, the reduction in costs renting vehicles, which I so often do–oh wait). From here forward, there are no specific age-based milestones about which I am much concerned. As someone that expects to medical science to soon usher in multi-centennial lifespans, I still consider myself awfully young. Other than things that can come out of the blue and cut life short — most of which remain true at any age — I’ve still got a long way to go.

Writing is happening. Since my last update, I hadn’t made a lot of progress in terms of word count because I’d been devoting all of my writerly efforts toward figuring out plot issues. I continually ran up against the wall of knowing what I wanted to happen in the book, but not feeling rock-solid on the scene-to-scene progression. When November rolled around, bringing with it NaNoWriMo, I decided that I knew far more about my story than I had when I set out to write Ashes and should stop being a giant baby about the whole matter. I started a day late, but have already produced 7400 new words thus far despite great deal of textual reorganization of what I already had consuming about half of my writing time. Alour-Tan II is happening. By the end of the month, the first draft will be done. There, I said it.

For the sake of NaNo, I’m only counting words written since the month began. The total word count is north of 20,000 (plus another 15,000 that I chopped out along the way), which represents roughly 20% of the projected length.

I started playing STO again. One reason you haven’t seen much in the way of 3D art updates lately is that the time I would have been devoting to modeling has gone back to Star Trek Online. I’ve been sinking far too much time into playing in an effort to finish off a number of milestones I left hanging when I stopped (achieving Tier 4 in all the Duty Officer commendations, achieving Tier 5 in all of the reputations — and this across all 5 of my characters). I’m finally starting to get some of these completed (one character has fully finished all Duty Officer commendations and only one character has reputation stuff left to do), which will in turn “free up” time for other pursuits once more. Yes, yes, that time is always technically “free” because it’s mine to do with as I please.

The Stormtrooper project has made great strides and encountered great setb–learning experiences. I had hoped to at least finish the helmet in time for Halloween, but that didn’t come to pass. It almost did, but I ran into a mechanical issue with the CNC carving machine, which left me somewhat dispirited. Specifically, I had prepared four final carving templates that, when finished, would complete the positive mold and set the first of them running — a seven hour carve. The board feeding rate appears to have been registering incorrectly, which lead to cross-sectional slices that were too short by nearly a centimeter along one axis. Seven hours wasted, after a ton of enthusiastic and positive feeling going into it. I finally worked up the gumption to deal with the problem by disassembling the machine, cleaning it, correcting some minor mechanical issues, greasing everything, and reassembling it. I still need to ensure that its sensors are all correctly calibrated before I try again, but signs are positive and the time pressure is off. Next Halloween’s a whole year away.

Here’s where things stand presently:

Hockey is back. I haven’t specifically posted about this here, but Cody and I have become pretty big hockey fans over the last year and a half or so. It started with the Boston Bruins‘ 2013 playoff run and has continued and increased to this day. We’ve been to several live Bruins games, we watch (almost) every game1, we went to Providence to see the “Baby” Bruins several times last year and are season ticket holders this year, Cody now owns a Tuukka Rask jersey, etc. Ain’t no pink hats here, even if we are relative noobs! We also joined our friends’ fantasy hockey league this year. After triumphantly crushing my first game, I have been summarily crushed twice in a row in return, which is fitting. On the plus side, my “draft players I know and like, most of which are Bruins” strategy continues to feel rewarding, even when I lose.

I’m timid about posting. This, more than anything else, is actually why this place has been so silent lately. I have plenty of things I’d like to talk about, to share, to pontificate on, to wonder over. My desire to post those things is opposed by what amounts to fear of backlash. Not only do I worry about engendering enmity for posting something in general, but since I’ve made the profile of this blog somewhat larger (it cross-posts to my Goodreads author profile and my Facebook author page, both of which are listed inside Ashes itself) I’ve more or less directly attached any potential reading audience for my books and for following me as an author to the things I post here.

The last thing I want to do is turn off a reader because of some rambling, half-formed, incomplete polemic that happened to inflame some passionate desire to express whatever thought flit through my head in that moment. There are a great many topics on which I would love to share some thoughts. Having done so in a limited, ostensibly “safe” environment and having garnered the reaction I did, I’ve become even more gun-shy about expressing them. So, instead, this place stays pretty quiet. C’est la vie.

That said, I relayed this very frustration to a friend of mine yesterday:

I just have a crapton of pent-up feelings about…well, every aspect of [many topics, though this particular one related to art and sexism] that I tend to keep to myself because not doing so tends to end up (by my hypothetical reckoning) with me screaming at every other participant for how dumb and narrow-sighted they’re being. And I suspect said pent-up feelings are getting closer and closer to a spillover. Have not been very successful at calming them, despite efforts to do so.

So, who knows? Perhaps said frustration will break a dam in the near future and all sorts of things will show up here for people to read!

The Flash is a lot of fun. I’ve been watching Arrow since it premiered and was delighted to hear that it would be spinning off a Flash TV series. So far, it’s been a lot of fun!

Holy crap, Marvel is out to rule the universe. Between the announcement of the upcoming movie slate and the marked improvement in Agents of SHIELD since its intersection with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel has rather clearly marked its territory. While I am delighted to live in the era where comic book movies are emerging left and right, I have to confess to shades of the Marvel/DC rivalry coloring all of this for me. Given the preceding remark, I am by no means a loyalist to either “side” but it takes a great deal of mental gymnastics to compare any of the DC offerings with Marvel’s existing and future catalog. Perhaps Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Really, guys? That’s the title you went with?) will surprise the hell out of everybody, but I’m not holding my breath.

That should just about bring everyone up to speed! That said, I generally post something on Twitter at least once a day, which you can find in the sidebar here on the blog and which also cross-posts to my personal Facebook profile (but not my authorial one…wonder if I should change that). Follow me there if you want your daily dose of, well, me.

  1. Sometimes, we’re just not home; as long as we are, the game is always on. []