Monday, February 25, 2008

Mirror, mirror ...

In a fit of pique - I was told, "You shouldn't own a house. You don't want to take care of it. Look at these plumbers and garbagemen - they have beautiful homes and everything has to be perfect in them! For you, if it's good enough, that's fine. The only things that have to be perfect with you are your computers and your clothes!"

This tirade was the result neglecting to repair an area on the inside of a closet door next to the lower hinge. The rant continued with my reluctance to repair edges of floor moldings that had 2mm gouges and my refusal to sand down and refinish a portion of an archway that had a 10mm paint drip.

Of course, I had some good reasons:

  • Major items and items in full view take precedence
  • I can find a better use of my time than crawling on the floor and looking for minutiae to repair
  • There is a major discontinuity between the person looking at items to fix and the person who has to fix them. I am a ardent supporter of Microsoft's tenet of "eating your own dog food" -- if it bothers you so much, then you fix it.

All of the above drove the rantor into further paroxyms of fury and more and more examples of my carelessness and "cutting corners" going back to the year of the flood.

I ignored it.

Which is a feat in itself since as of a few years ago, I would have engaged the rantor and kept the argument going for several days. The verbal assaults would escalate and would eventually culminate in a week-long vinegar act by the rantor who would claim, "It's not a vinegar act ... I don't feel well. Fighting with you always makes me sick."

Then why in God's name did you pick a fight in the first place?

The rantor did have a valid point, however. Over the last two years, my confidence levels have soared in parallel with the visible results of my workouts and over the last year, my attitude has changed completely with my changes in wardrobe. I've gone from shlubby and/or "conservative" colors and styles to more vibrant and casual ones.

Think from L.L. Bean to Express for Men and American Eagle Outfitters.

Or loose shirts and pleat-front pants to tapered shirts and slim-cut pants and graphic t's, hoodies and low-rise jeans.

And yes, I have become somewhat vain. When I was younger, I had absolutely no reason to be - or at least I didn't think so. Just like the Grand Covenant - "as above, so below" - my outside mirrored my inside and I was withdrawn, shy and completely unaware of actually how good I could (or did) look. When I was getting my haircut last week, my stylist of fifteen-plus years mentioned that I'm getting so much deep golden red highlights in my hair that it starting to look like "spun copper."

I guess I'm making up for lost time. And damn, I'm enjoying every minute of it! If this is some type of mid-life crisis, I should have had it twenty years ago!


I go into American Eagle Outfitters yesterday since they were having a sale. I pick up a pair of low rise jeans (the ab work is definitely having an effect!) and just for the hell of it, I pick up a muscle shirt and try it on. It looked great and I even surprised myself. Even in hot weather, I would have never even thought of putting on a sleeveless shirt.

I went out of the dressing room to see how the jeans and shirt would look (tucked/untucked) and someone comes up to me and asks about an item they are looking for.

Guy #1: "Excuse me, where are the board shorts?"

"I don't know. I don't work here."

Guy #1: "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you did. You look just like that guy on the poster over there."

I look in the direction he's pointing and there is my almost-doppleganger on the wall. Lighter and longer hair and wearing sunglasses but the facial features and the physique were identical!

And, it continued this morning ... I get on the bus and I'm pondering the various meetings I have today when I get a tap on the arm.

Guy #2: "Excuse me, where do you get your hair cut?"

I tell him. It's a local place about a half mile from my house.

Guy #2: "Thanks! They do a really good job. You look like you should be in a magazine."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Preparing For Glory ... Part II: The Vambraces

Two down. Two to go! JJ's queue has been quite full as of late, and my poor armorer is working his fingers to the bone to get all of his commissions back on a reasonable time track, my Spartan, Faramir and shield commissions included.

The good news, though, is that I got an email from JJ that he's finished the vambraces. And I must say, they look as authentic as the helmet. JJ suggested that we use buckles and straps instead of lacing. JJ has had some experience in this area, and he had a severe case of chafing when he used laces. Of course, Gerard Butler and the other Spartans had armor made of resin; mine is bronzed mild steel - there's a whole world of difference between the two materials. I'm used to wearing real metal maille and plate over many hours and JJ said the buckle/strap combination would be more comfortable.

So, for this commission I'm only waiting for the greaves and sandals. With JJ, it's always better to let him work at his own pace. I get beautiful work that has a lot of thought, skill and exactitude built into it.