Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Shield of Boromir

Good things come to those who wait ... and JJ came through with flying colors on the Boromir shield. As I mentioned before, we decided to use dish sleds since they were the almost perfect shape for the shield.

From the Weapons and Warfare book:

Like his sword, the shield that Boromir carried was of a singular design, so it would have been easily recognizable to his men when in combat. It's circular shape and simple design were reminiscent of a buckler, although it would have been too large to be worn on the arm when fighting two-handed. The wood frame had been dyed black and in its center was a large steel boss that was riveted to the back of the shield; fixed into the boss was a handle made of horn that was edged with bronze rings. Around the edge were engraved the wings and seven stars of Gondor's noble heritage. When not using it, Boromir would have carried the shield over his shoulder by using the finely tooled leather guige that was riveted to the boss and to the steel rim that ran around the edge of the shield, again secured by a number of rivets.

It was a solid piece of work that could have been wielded quickly and effectively; the curved, circular shield had no points that an enemy could catch on, so their blows would slide across and past the shield. When this happened, the attacker's forward momentum would unbalance him, allowing Boromir to bring his sword down upon his outthrust and exposed arm and neck. Whereas if the blow was light enough, the upraised shield would arrest the swing of the blow and Boromir could thrust his sword under his foe's shield and into his belly.

As always, JJ's attention to detail is amazing.The paint on the sled had to be chemically stripped as well as heated and chipped off. The center of the sled was cut out to make room for the boss:

The next piece of the shield was the brass ornamentation around the boss itself.

Next, the shield was covered in leather and the handle was fastened in the back. Now - how's this for detail? JJ called me up and mentioned that according to the book, the handle was made of horn. He actually had a piece of horn, but just wanted to make sure that I didn't mind if it was not exactly even. "Of course not!" I said. "Go for it!"

Finally, the steel edging of the shield was attached and a beautifully braided strap was attached to sling it over my shoulder.

Here's a closeup of the shield boss and ornamentation:

And here's the finished shield! Front and back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Window on the West - Finale

I am the way into the city of woe.

I am the way to a forsaken people.

I am the way into eternal sorrow.

Sacred justice moved my Architect.

I was raised here by Divine Omnipotence
Primordial Love and Ultimate Intellect.

Only those elements Time cannot wear
were made before Me.

And beyond Time I stand.


(Dante - The Inferno)

As I was scanning through my blog, I noticed that all of a sudden, I had 23 comments on a particular posting. Now, while I'd LOVE to get this response on a regular basis, this did stick out like a sore thumb. It turned out that this was my "I've been cheated by Greg Podgorny" post.

Greg allegedly committed suicide on February 9th of this year. Here's the obituary.

I'm sure he's in Hell, and for me, it's only a question of whether he is in the Wood of Suicides of the Seventh Circle or lower down in the Eighth Circle in the Bolgia reserved for Thieves.

As an intellectual exercise, I talked to an Episcopal Bishop I've known for years and posited this question to him. He agreed with me that since he was ripping people off for a far longer time, he should be going further down the Infernal drainpipe - hence, to Circle Eight.

Now for those of you who have never read The Inferno - shame on you! Here is a much abridged description of the hotspots (pun intended) mentioned above:

Circle Seven - Middle Ring - The Wood of Suicides

This ring houses the violent.

In this ring are the suicides, who are transformed into gnarled thorny bushes and trees. They are torn at by the Harpies. Unique among the dead, the suicides will not be bodily resurrected after the Final Judgment, having given their bodies away through suicide. Instead they will maintain their bushy form, with their own corpses hanging from the limbs. Dante breaks a twig off one of the bushes and hears the tale of Pier delle Vigne, who committed suicide after falling out of favor with Emperor Frederick II.

Circle Eight - Bolgia Seven - Thieves

This Circle and the one below it (Number Nine - the really, really bad one housing Lucifer himself in the frozen lake of Cocytus) punish sins that involve conscious fraud or treachery. The circles can be reached only by descending a vast cliff, which Dante and Virgil do on the back of Geryon, a winged monster represented by Dante as having the face of an honest man and a serpentine body that ends in a scorpion-like stinger.

Thieves, guarded by the centaur (as Dante describes him) Cacus, are pursued and bitten by snakes and lizards. The snake bites make them undergo various transformations, with some resurrected after being turned to ashes, some mutating into new creatures, and still others exchanging natures with the reptiles, becoming lizards themselves that chase the other thieves in turn. Just as the thieves stole other people's substance in life, and because thievery is reptilian in its secrecy, the thieves' substance is eaten away by reptiles and their bodies are constantly stolen by other thieves.

Now, after Greg vanished off the face of the earth, and some decent soul told me he was back in North Carolina, I sent a letter to daddy George, the doctor. I was extremely nice. I indicated that I was a friend of Greg's, I knew he had moved back from California, wanted to know if he was okay and would he please give the letter to Greg. I never even asked about the $2000+ commission. I even included a SASE. I never received an answer.

I'm going to address some of the comments that were left on the original post:

I am a fiend of Greg's here in California and the one thing that I can tell you is that Greg got in over his head and never intended on stealing any money. I know that as a person he was smart, funny, helpful and would do anything for a friend. Obviously being known as a "thief" tore at him more than anyone of us will ever know. I am sorry that you weren't delivered what he promised but please forgive him and say a prayer for his family. Thank you.

Okay ... if he didn't want to be known as a 'thief', then why did he NEVER contact any of the people that commissioned work from him and explain his situation? I only got a phone number by accident after the move since it was on the UPS label of the partial commission he completed.

I feel bad for you folks, but you should be ashamed of yourself for posting his brother's contact information and website on here. What if your relative did something bad and someone posted YOUR personal information on a website and you received a flock of people trying to hold you accountable for something that another person did?

Three thoughts here:

ONE- Brother George's information is public knowledge.

TWO- I'm sure that a "flock" of people did contact brother George and he never responded to any of them. Greg and lawyer brother George shared an answering service. Wouldn't it have been the intelligent thing to do to grab Greg by the ear and say something to the effect, "I have YOUR customers calling ME because you ran out on them ... here are their numbers. Get on the phone and explain yourself!"

By the way, this factoid is from brother George's website: "George Podgorny, Jr., has been representing catastrophically injured clients since 1991. His cases have ranged from medical malpractice, pharmacy malpractice and motor vehicle accidents, to inadequate security and unfair and deceptive trade practice cases." Unfair and deceptive trade practice cases?? As the Church Lady would say ... "How Conveeeenient."

Three - I'm sure Mussolini's relatives felt the same way ...

Greg was a wonderful human being. He was kind, gentle, generous and full of imagination and light. When he left LA he left behind a 5,000 sq. ft. warehouse and was only able to take what he could fit into a trailer behind his truck. He used authentic antique anvils and tools to make his art. If you've ever moved, then you know what a mess it is. Try packing up a 5000 sq. ft warehouse in five days. How could he possibly deliver your goods when he had no where to even put on a blow torch?

You might of lost money, and it sounds as though you've got plenty to burn if you're spending it on discretionary items such as these. We lost a great friend and an artist; a true gift to humanity.

And now we have another "misstatement" ... when I spoke to Greg post-move, it was not a 5-day move and a trailer, but a Simon Legree-esque eviction that the landlord forced him in ONE day and what only he could fit in his truck. "Antique anvils" - interesting. I wonder if he used those on the set of armor that someone paid $10,500 for and never received...

I was also told by Greg DIRECTLY that since he was back at ECU and doing classes there, would I mind if my Faramir sword would be a class project he would demonstrate various techniques with. So much for not having a place to use a blowtorch.

And as far as these "discretionary items" - Greg wouldn't have had a business if myself and other folks who had "money to burn" didn't seek him out (and paid in full and in advance) for commissions which were never completed.

I find it absolutely mind-boggling that once someone has died, only the "good and wonderful" things are discussed about them. No longer being among the living is not an excuse for the sordid, wrong, dishonest, vicious, inconsiderate things you did in the past. Sainthood is not automatically conferred upon you when you breathe your last breath. That was YOU when you were alive and being dead doesn't change who were. Good OR bad.

I had a miserable experience with Greg. As many others did. I lost money. So did they. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to get around the theft and still accomplish what I wanted. I don't know if others cheated by him were so lucky. I truly hope they were. They were the victims here. Not Greg Podgorny.