The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #335: Upcoming Plans and Updates on Current Projects

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #335: Upcoming Plans and Updates on Current Projects

https://archive.org/download/podcast-335/Podcast%20335.mp3

In this episode, a few updates:

1.) the last episode of the month for the next few months will have a Q and A segment.  Submit your questions via email or on social media (or if on Patreon, via messaging me there or commenting on the most recent post) to be a part of the show.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be Thirteenth Hour or 80s related – anything you like or think would be interesting to discuss.  Have fun with it!

2.) A few pics of the Lego Rocketeer minifigures I’ve been working on.  They’re about 95% done.  Just some touch ups needed then will begin work on the packaging.  

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3.) A picture of the current state of The Thirteenth Hour action figures.  Just a few paint touch ups there, also, and then will start assembling the figures. 

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4.) Speaking of figures, I was thinking I’ve used this little bookshelf to take some pictures before, but I thought I’d use it more since it has a lot of my influences in book form! 

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5.) Introducing my kids to resin over the past few weeks has been entertaining (and messy).  We’re making keychains here with a combo of Thirteenth Hour illustrations, Batman 1989 pictures, and Rocketeer stills.  The kit we received came with these little molds perfect for making keychain and charm pendants (and just right for small fingers).

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The finished products!

@13thhr

Experimenting with translucent resin and some #ThirteenthHour novel and the #Rocketeer cartoon for keychains. And yes, #createdonthate 🌈 #booktok

♬ The Thirteenth Hour Theme (Synth Orchestra) – Joshua Blum

6.) Lastly, check out this meditative youtube playlist.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEw1Y93zEv0qIPKp444imEBBASYxNrPYU

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Protect yourself and others with the Thirteenth Hour mask combo package on Etsy.  This fall, it became really hard to find good quality masks for our kids as they were going back to school.  There are still long wait times for some of the companies we like best, so I thought, why not try to find an alternative?  I eventually settled on the triple layer masks available for printing on by the company Flashbay.  They were one of the few companies I found that were transparent about their third party safety data (Junior: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Junior_REACH.pdf?v=1617870020, Adult: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Sky_Performance.pdf?v=1603078812), which is nice.  I was impressed by how well these masks performed on the filtration tests, even after repeat washings.  Also, I really liked how both the ears and nose piece could be adjusted for a good fit.

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The Thirteenth Hour mask combo also comes with Thirteenth Hour hand sanitizer! (But of course.)
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #334: 2021 Year in Review and A Look at 2022

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #334: 2021 Year in Review and A Look at 2022

https://archive.org/download/podcast-334/Podcast%20334.mp3

Welcome to 2022!

In this episode, I’m reflecting back on the last year and planning for next.  2021 was a good year for the show (despite being a difficult year globally).  I’m going to focus more this year on planning out episodes (including the more intentional scheduling of guests) to make it all a bit more systematic and organized than it has been in the past (which, up up until ow, was basically just an extension of whatever I was doing creatively at the time).

I’d also like to engage my listener base more, so if you have any suggestions, questions, comments, or requests for the show, please let me know!  I’m going to try an experiment for a few months, making the last show of the month (1/31/22 in this month’s case to have a Q and A segment).  More to come in the coming weeks.  Listeners can also leave messages via voice on the main website (found on on the audio –> Thirteenth Hour podcast section):

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast

A few updates on a few creative projects I’ve been wrapping up:

These were some resin bookmarks I made with my kids – their first introduction to resin art and mica powder:

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A few pictures on the Lego Rocketeer figures I’ve been slowing working on.  The packs are almost done; just wrapping up some details on the painting.

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The figures will probably look something like this (an early draft):

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Speaking of painting, the Kenner style Thirteenth Hour figures are almost done.  Some heads of Aurora and Logan:

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What Aurora will probably look like when done (she is in her outfit from the part of the book where she fights a dragon):

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I also added little magnets to Logan’s boots to allow him to easily connect to Lightning, his hoverboard (which will be his accessory).

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Wishing you the best as you begin a new year!

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Protect yourself and others with the Thirteenth Hour mask combo package on Etsy.  This fall, it became really hard to find good quality masks for our kids as they were going back to school.  There are still long wait times for some of the companies we like best, so I thought, why not try to find an alternative?  I eventually settled on the triple layer masks available for printing on by the company Flashbay.  They were one of the few companies I found that were transparent about their third party safety data (Junior: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Junior_REACH.pdf?v=1617870020, Adult: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Sky_Performance.pdf?v=1603078812), which is nice.  I was impressed by how well these masks performed on the filtration tests, even after repeat washings.  Also, I really liked how both the ears and nose piece could be adjusted for a good fit.

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The Thirteenth Hour mask combo also comes with Thirteenth Hour hand sanitizer! (But of course.)
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #329: Toymaking Updates, Aurora Inspiration -“Saving the Best for Last” by Daniel Horne, and Reading the Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 15

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #329: Toymaking Updates, Aurora Inspiration -“Saving the Best for Last” by Daniel Horne, and Reading the Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 15

https://archive.org/download/podcast-329/Podcast%20329.mp3

This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, discussing one of the inspirations for one of Aurora’s outfits from The Thirteenth Hour, and reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization.  

As I was preparing the first run of Thirteenth Hour action figures, I was reminded of where one of Aurora’s outfits came from.  Back when I was a kid, you’d occasionally see fantasy art used in advertisements for video games and TSR Dungeons and Dragons material.  This was one that I think was used in an ad in this copy of a tattered DnD magazine I think that was called Dragon.  I’m not even sure it was credited, so I didn’t know the name of the painter or the painting for decades.  But I loved the painting – the tension, the imagery, the fact that it tells so much in just one picture.  Eventually, I somehow learned the name of the painting (I think by eventually figuring out who painted it), and learned it was done by Daniel Horne, and the name of the piece is “Saving the Best for Last.”  The title, too is perfect (referring to the archer’s last arrow.  I can literally feel myself tensing up internally seeing the threat looming up in front of the archer and the fact she has no more visible armament left).  Here is the transcript of an interview I found with Daniel Horne back in 2011.  

And if you like this picture, you can buy a copy of your own on the artist’s website (just like I did).

I recall sketching the hell out of this picture when I was a teenager, trying to capture the dynamic nature of the story depicted in the painting.  I was inspired by the setting, her outfit, her bow, the big hair (it was 1987, after all), the “oh, snap” expression on the archer and wanted to pay homage to this painting and how much it meant to me in The Thirteenth Hour, just like all those other 80s influences I’ve talked about ad nauseum on this podcast and website. This character in Daniel Horne’s painting is probably the only other visual inspiration I had for Aurora other than Beverly Switzler’s hair in Howard the Duck.  Even before I had written this part of The Thirteenth Hour, I had already created the scene and background for it in my mind and sketched out an early draft of the picture that would later become the one that would show up in the book below:

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The same outfit showed up in the magnet dolls I made about a year ago (I still have to figure out what to do with these; I think some will come with a future Thirteenth Hour special edition album).  magnet doll Logan and Aurora sheet

 

@13thhr

Magnet dolls of characters from The Thirteenth Hour w/ outfits & gear. Made from a magnetic sheet. For an upcoming special edition LP. #craftingideas

♬ Keyboard Cat (Synth Cat) – Technix

This was the first custom action figure I attempted – a tiny rendition of Aurora in her archer’s garb, the same one in the picture with the dragon above and, of course, the one inspired by the archer’s outfit in “Saving the Best for Last.”

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And here is the Kenner-style 5 POA versions I’m in the process of painting.  The parts are primed so far, so it’s just sanding, painting, repainting, and the final process of fitting the pieces together.

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@13thhr

At this point, I’ve made 8 figures plus a few trial ones, so now comes the rough part – painting! #customactionfigure #toymaker #actionfigures

♬ The Thirteenth Hour Theme (Synth Orchestra) – Joshua Blum

You can now find the Aurora and dragon picture as a 4″ x 5.5″ flexible magnet on The Thirteenth Hour Arts store.

On the same store, you can also find the Thirteenth Hour mask combo package I recently put on Etsy.  This fall, it became really hard to find good quality masks for our kids as they were going back to school.  There are still long wait times for some of the companies we like best, so I thought, why not try to find an alternative?  I eventually settled on the triple layer masks available for printing on by the company Flashbay.  They were one of the few companies I found that were transparent about their third party safety data (Junior: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Junior_REACH.pdf?v=1617870020, Adult: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Sky_Performance.pdf?v=1603078812), which is nice.  I was impressed by how well these masks performed on the filtration tests, even after repeat washings.  Also, I really liked how both the ears and nose piece could be adjusted for a good fit.

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The Thirteenth Hour mask combo also comes with Thirteenth Hour hand sanitizer! (But of course)

We are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #319: Toymaking Updates and Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 7

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #319: Toymaking Updates and Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 7

https://archive.org/download/podcast-319/Podcast%20319.mp3

This past week, I’ve made some toy progress: 1.) on my Alumilite resin experiment – just finished this translucent metallic blue Rocketeer (Pledge Floor Polish really helps to bring back the sheen after sanding), as well as 2.) with the 5 POA Kenner-style Logan and Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour.  Logan is basically ready to go.  Aurora needs a few more details but is about 80% complete.  Once these guys are done, it will be time for making the molds and casting the pieces.  The exciting part will be assembling the pieces to see how they all fit together.

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Also, I want to thank all of you who took the time to write in and leave reviews on Apple Podcasts.  The process of doing so should be easier than it actually is, especially for all the non-Apple users.  Don’t worry if you tried but it didn’t work.  Just posting it on social media and tagging me works great, too, and frankly, is probably a hell of lot easier.  Game developer Antonio Scacchetti, who left one of the reviews, was on the show twice before (see episode 123 and the 2 parter: 252 & 252).  Check out Dev9k for more info on their projects!

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And now, speaking of which, back to the duck!  The zaniness continues in this sixth reading of the movie novelization Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.  This is the section of the story where Howard rage quits, gets in a bar fight, and reunites with Beverly. 

This week’s bit of 80s trivia comes in the form of inventor and entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair, who sadly passed away recently.  He was instrumental in developing the pocket calucator and personal computer for the masses.  He also happened to shar a last name with a certain actor in the 1991 film of The Rocketeer, so I used that as a way to throw in a bit of 80s trivia in the short story, “The Last Rocketeer,” which you can read here.  It always seemed to me that Cliff Secord would have liked video games if they’d been invented in his day, so I figured why shouldn’t he get to enjoy them in his golden years?  1983, to be exact.

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Lastly, all proceeds to The Thirteenth Hour Studio on Etsy over Sept will be donated to the Red Cross (RedCross.org) for Hurricane Ida Relief. Check the link below to support those affected, still in the midst of the pandemic, with 80s retro art (music-books-toys).  Your purchases help those in need get back on their feet!

 
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Stay tuned for more!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #318: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 6

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #316: Reading The Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 4

https://archive.org/download/podcast-318/Podcast%20318.mp3

This past week, I’ve been experimenting with a new clear resin made by the company Alumilite, testing it out with some of my old molds just to get the hang out it.  It takes a lot longer to cure and is a bit more fiddly / messy than the others I’ve used, but each resin has its own personality, so to speak, and I like the option of being able to make clear or translucent figures, which is what this one can do.   Here’s an example of a Rocketeer one I started:

At this point, I have a prototype of the 5 POA Kenner-style Logan from The Thirteenth Hour (I was running low on primer here and just had a bit or blue and silver paint/primer left, leaving him looking like the Tinman from The Wizard of Oz, though that will mostly get sanded down in the finishing process).  There is also the start to one for Aurora (made so far from a She-Ra torso and legs – picked because it was one of the few figures like this that came with a skirt – and an Erica (from Red Dawn) head (since she has the great 80s big hair). 

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Logan here post sculpting, pre priming …

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Post priming, pre sanding …

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Aurora is kitbashed from two Reaction figures, as mentioned above.  I thought they did a really nice job on the head sculpt.  Usually these figures look kind of generic, but this one actually looks like the actress (Lea Thompson, who, ironically was Beverly in Howard the Duck).  Since Aurora’s personality and hair was modeled in part on Beverly from Howard the Duck, it was a nice coincidence that I could find a head sculpt that worked for this figure.  More to come in the coming weeks …

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And now, speaking of which, back to the duck!  The zaniness continues in this sixth reading of the movie novelization Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.  This is the section of the story where Howard storms out of the museum, strikes out on his own, and tries to get a job.

Totally random, but check out this Kool-Aid ad / pamphlet from probably the late 80s or early 90s.  My mother in law saved it, and it made its way to our house.  I thought, “I must share these gems with the world.”  And here it is … enjoy!  And if anyone has tried a blue Kool Aid – Jello smoothie, I would love to know what you thought.

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Lastly, all proceeds to The Thirteenth Hour Studio on Etsy over Sept will be donated to the Red Cross (RedCross.org) for Hurricane Ida Relief. Check the link below to support those affected, still in the midst of the pandemic, with 80s retro art (music-books-toys).  Your purchases help those in need get back on their feet!

 
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Stay tuned for more!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

Episode #245: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Aurora’s First Experience Flying and Like a Hood Ornament 5 – Rocketeer Flying

https://archive.org/download/podcast-245/Podcast%20245.mp3

This week’s show is all about flying!

In the first part of the show, I’m reading from a section of The Thirteenth Hour about what Aurora thought about her first experience flying on Lightning, Logan’s magical hoverboard.

We left for the Castle in the Water the next day.  Logan showed me his air board called Lightning; it was somehow able to expand itself so I could fit on as well.  Let’s just say it’s better if you suspend belief a little.  I guess that’d be a fitting theme for the following section, indeed this whole story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Getting on Lightning was one thing, but flying was something else entirely.  There was only one foot strap for me, so I had to hold onto Logan.  I think I would have anyway.  I had never been more than twenty feet off the ground in my life.  Logan said he was still getting the hang of it when Lightning beeped out something.  Words appeared on some kind of window near her front.  They said that I wouldn’t fall off because there was a protective shield around the board.  I wasn’t so sure, and even to this day, a ride on Lightning makes me want to vomit. 

I suppose flying was fun, in a white–knuckle–ride–by–the–seat–of–your–wet–pants sort of way, but I never really got the hang of it, even though Logan tried to show me how to pilot Lightning.  It should have been easy – you rocked your body back and forth to go up or down and swayed your hips to turn – but I guess it just wasn’t my thing, and I nearly had a heart attack when I accidentally flipped us upside down. 

The altitude was one thing, but the speed completely blew me away.   Okay, I know, not funny.  But really, if you can imagine being shrunk, tied to the head of an arrow, then fired in the air from one of those six foot war bows like the ones the King’s archers used, then you’ll have some idea what it felt like. 

Flying that fast always made me nauseous.  That first time, after an hour or two, I couldn’t take it anymore and told Logan to get Lightning to pull over to the coast (we were flying over water), where I threw up in some bushes.  I collapsed onto my back, staring up at the sky, which, for some reason, kept spinning round and round.  That’s how Logan found me.  It all seemed very unladylike, and I guess I was looking very sheepish when I climbed back on Lightning, because Logan, who must have figured out what I was doing, asked if I were okay.

I grunted something.  I guess I looked okay, so he grinned.

“I puked all over my uniform a few days ago, if that’s any consolation to you.”

It wasn’t, really, because we ended up having to stop two or three more times later on, but it made me laugh a little at the time. 

[Logan] Yeah, I always did wonder where it all came from.  It’s not like we had an overabundant food supply, that’s for sure.  But she seemed to have a never ending supply of that stuff.

You know, who’s telling this section, you or me?

[Logan] Couldn’t help it.   

Right.  So, blah, blah, blah, whatever, I threw up a lot.  Very funny.  Anyway, after that, Lightning slowed down to a kind of cruising speed, which was really nice because it gave us a chance to actually see the landscape we were passing. 

At the end of our first day out, we stopped on a deserted section of coastline to eat and sleep.  We had used our pockets and a sack we found to stash food liberated from the Cordel marketplace, but neither of us were very hungry.  You already know why I wasn’t, but I think it was pretty tough on Logan’s stomach, too.  It had been a long day of travel for both of us, and our heads were still spinning as we lay them on the damp sand.  I leaned over and told Logan that I was glad I could accompany him on his journey and apologized for slowing us down today.  But I think he was falling asleep already, because he just smiled a little, as if to say, “forget it,” and patted me on the shoulder.

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Another picture painted as the cover art for “Searching for Forever” (that would have fit in towards the end of the book with Logan and Aurora flying to the new home).  Watch it being created below:

There’s an instrumental part to accompany the reading – the backing track of “Searching for Forever” – the 80s inspired ending credits song I envisioned as playing as the story ended.  Both the instrumental and vocal versions can be found on the LP, Long Ago Not So Far Away, and below:

Speaking of music, I’ve been going through a number of acoustic guitar songs I used to play a lot when I was first learning how to play, since in this time of national quarantine, I try to do music time with my kids as a part of, you know, daddy daycare.  I’ve picked out a few that are more hopeful and positive than the stuff songs are often written about (heartbreak, unrequited love, longing, substance use, and other important adult matters).   Anyway, I’ve included one such song (“Flying Free” written by Don Besig) since it is about flying (whether figuratively or literally) free from the constraints that bind us to the earth (again, whether physical or mental).

That’s because today’s Rocketeer segment is also about flying!

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Today marks the fourth Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few previous episodes about the Rocketeer:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, we’re discussing this little documentary hosted by Bill Campbell that came out about the same time as the movie (and sadly, not available on any of the official Rocketeer releases).  It is part history of flight documentary, part behind the scenes movie making, and part experiential journalism into different modes of flight (including actual rocketpacks).

Suffice to say, real life rocketpacks highlight the myriad limitations such a device would likely entail.  But … that’s why we have stories 🙂

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A few frames of Cliff taking off for the first time from the original comic drawn by Dave Stevens (from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition).

We also talked, among other things, about those vague Rocketeer sequel rumors.  But, you know what?  Even if it never happens, we got a cartoon to introduce a whole new generation to the Rocketeer and an epic rocketpack battle in The Mandalorian:

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This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks.  Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!”  The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!

Stay tuned for more Rocketeer gear talk next week!  Stay safe!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #225: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 3

Episode #225: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 3 

https://archive.org/download/podcast225_201912/Podcast%20225.mp3

This week, I continue work on a ballad written from the perspective of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour from a passage in the book where our young protagonists are starting to realize that there might be more to their relationship than just friendship.  I’ve been fiddling with adding a beat to the song and was listening to two examples – one by Debbie Gibson (“Lost in Your Eyes”) which adds a beat after a piano intro riff and another by Alphaville (“Forever Young”) which actually has no backing beat at all in the original version until about 1 and a quarter minutes into the song.

 

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #224: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 2 / Rocketeer Theme

Episode #224: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 2 / Rocketeer Theme

https://archive.org/download/podcast224_201911/Podcast%20224.mp3

This week, I continue work on a ballad written from the perspective of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour from a passage in the book where our young protagonists are starting to realize that there might be more to their relationship than just friendship.  Last week I had a rough draft of the lyrics.  This week, I’m singing the second draft and playing the chords on the keyboard.

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While I was practicing the intro riff, I kept wanting to play the theme from the 1991 movie, The Rocketeer, scored by James Horner.  It’s not surprising since it’s one of my favorite soundtracks and one of my most favorite movies of all time, though I’ve never tried figuring out the intro theme, which is played partly on the piano if I’m not mistaken.

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I’m playing it in the key of C, just like “The Last Dance,” which is probably why the two kept getting mixed up in my head, even though they don’t sound much alike.

Speaking of the Rocketeer, if you can find a copy of the Nov 2019 magazine, Fine Scale Modeler, you can find a picture of this most excellent painted Rocketeer figurine!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #223: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 1

Episode #223: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast223_201911/Podcast%20223.mp3

This week, I start work on a new ballad written from the perspective of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour from this passage in the book where our young protagonists are starting to realize that there might be more to their relationship than just friendship (The Thirteenth Hour is occasionally told from multiple perspectives; bolded black portions of the text below indicate a perspective change from Aurora to Logan):

I hadn’t seen much of Logan the whole dance; he’d been whisked away by an overzealous female flamingo as soon as the dance had started. The last I saw, he was listening to the animated hoots and squawks of the backflipping chimpanzee after they’d had a backflip contest which ended in a tie.

The more I looked for him, the harder he was to find. I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of jealousy. After all, we’d come here together. We should have at least once dance. For some reason, that seemed important … I couldn’t explain, but I hoped he would understand.

The animal band suddenly announced that this would the last song, and when the crowd protested, they promised to make it extra–long and slow. Great. These were the kind of songs that required a partner. And if you were a girl and didn’t have one, like me, you either stood marooned on the floor, awkwardly waiting for someone to ask you to dance or retreated to the sidelines. I looked around for awhile but could not find Logan. As I sighed and turned to walk to the side, suddenly he was right there, alone. Among all the faces swimming around my eyes, I saw only his. He didn’t ask if I wanted to dance; he just took my hand, and we joined in the crowd.

“There’s something …” we both said at precisely the same instant. And then we both laughed. “… that I wanted to tell you,” we both finished.

There were a few seconds of silence. I felt like there was an invisible wall that my words had to get over … if I could get them over that barrier, everything would be fine. But I couldn’t do it, at least not yet. Finally I gave a sheepish grin and a sideways nod that said “maybe you better go first.”

“Well, back when I was talking to the unicorn – you know, the Lord of the Earth, he offered to see into my future. And the fortune said in the very near future I’d be married. Can you believe it? Can you imagine me, married?”

I thought for a second. There were a couple of places I could go from there, but I chose the semi–safe route. “I think I can, but … what made you think of that just now?”

“Well, I really wanted to tell you at the baths. But then we got interrupted. And then, at dinner, there was so much going on, and I kinda forgot. And then I saw you just now and, I dunno, that’s what I thought of. I don’t know why, I guess.”

“Did the Lord say to whom?”

“No, he didn’t say.”

“Didn’t or wouldn’t?”

“Wouldn’t. I did try asking.”

“You must have been surprised. You sound surprised.”

“I was. I just never really thought about it before. Maybe it would be nice, if you found the right person, but finding that person … I dunno, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

He wasn’t taking the bait, and I couldn’t really blame him. It was kind of a long shot. Guys weren’t great with these kinds of things, anyway. Still, it never hurt to try. “You really think it would be so hard to find the right person?”

“Well, how many girls have I really known?” I shrugged and laughed, looking down at Aurora’s feet. “I mean, who would I marry, you?”

Ouch …

I regretted it the moment I said it. I’d been joking, but hadn’t meant it to come out like that. If there was any girl I did have feelings for, Aurora certainly would’ve been the one, but to marry someone, you had to love them, didn’t you? I still didn’t really know what that was. There was an awkward silence. I laughed a little and felt like an idiot. Aurora laughed, too, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have just kept my mouth shut.

It was alright, and I said so. Like I said, it was a long shot, and even I didn’t understand the weird mess of feelings inside. But I was forced at that moment to admit that they were there. Things were changing, and I was falling.

“ … but you said that you had something to say, too?” Logan asked.

I just shook my head and looked down at the spinning dance floor. It made me dizzy, and I looked back up at Logan. He was just tall enough so I had to look up a little to meet his gaze but not so tall that I couldn’t rest my head on his shoulder, if the time were right for that. I didn’t, though. Instead, I looked into his eyes but could not tell what he was thinking. I did my best to smile, and we danced that way until the song ended.

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9c855cfe-2bcf-4f9b-9681-898d80b49e9a

There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #155: Making Thirteenth Hour Figures Redux – Molding and Casting Aurora

Episode #155: Making Thirteenth Hour Figures Redux – Molding and Casting Aurora

https://archive.org/download/Podcast155_201807/Podcast%20155.mp3

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on making a figure for Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour like the figures I made for Logan and his hoverboard (you can see the step by step making of these figures here in parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8).   For a number of reasons, this process was more labor intensive that the first time.  I suppose in some ways it was more challenging as well.  I was using the drawing below as the model for this figure of Aurora:

The two clay figures side by side.

Making the first mold. The tootpicks are there as vents to allow air in to help the resin to flow through the mold better.

Pouring one half of the mold.

There’s usually some cleanup to be done around the seams.

Experimenting with making a second mold to see if I can improve results.

Usually, it’s necessary to trim areas inside the mold to make sure they aren’t getting in the way or obscuring the sprues (air vents).

Three completed figures.

Glow in the dark Logan and Aurora.  Pretty soon, you should be able to find these for purchase here, on the ebay store, and via social media links, like on Instagram.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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Musical Interlude – “Between Two Worlds”

Musical Interlude – “Between Two Worlds”

https://archive.org/download/Between2Worlds/between%202%20worlds.mp3

In the upcoming sequel to The Thirteenth Hour, one of the main characters, Aurora, becomes caught between the home she has made and one from her distant, unknown past. They literally are oceans apart and are different in just about every conceivable way.

One is wild and free, existing in a world she has known as far back as she could remember, a world that, while savage and primitive, has love, understanding, and a beauty of its own. It is a world far removed from the fast paced, technologically / magically advanced world she was originally from, the one she only gets to know as an adult by force when she is kidnapped to join her family as a Protector of the Wellspring – the magic source that powers all, the one being threatened by nightmarish forces no one can fight. Her husband is from the first world; her estranged family, whom she hasn’t seen since infancy, is in the second. She feels pulled in two directions – between love and obligation, between a destiny of her choosing and a destiny of bloodlines. This is her theme.

It takes the four note progression from “There’s a Wild Heart Beating” and slows it down, accompanied by a mournful electric guitar.

You can download a high quality version on Bandcamp, where you can find other tracks from the same upcoming album.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast Musical Interlude: “Dreams Go Far”

“Dreams Go Far”

https://archive.org/download/Songs_201608/Dreams%20Go%20Far.mp3

One of the things I wanted to do with this podcast was showcase music written for the book.

I finally got around to recording “Dreams Go Far,” the song Aurora writes and sings for Logan when he’s going through a rough time (sick, weak, imprisoned) in The Thirteenth Hour.  I’ll talk more about its creation next week, but for now, the lyrics and guitar chords are below (visit the audio page to download them on a handy one-page sheet) and the song is above.

 

 

C       Cadd9    Fmaj7

Where are you now?

Am                         C                     G

Won’t you tell me what you’re thinking?

C              Am          C      (Cadd9)    G

I’ve been there; no resting for the weary.

Am                   Dm   Am

But in the end, hold true.

             C        (Cadd9)

For the best is yet to

Am             C

Happen to you …

C             Cadd9  Fmaj7

Sometimes – it’s hard,

Am                C              G

To keep your head up high.

C               Am               C                           G

You walk alone, feeling cold and scared inside.

Am            C     Am      C     Am      Em

So close your eyes, open up your mind.

Am         C            Am                                    

For it’s when you listen that you hear

C    Cmaj7  Cadd9  C

All there is inside.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C             G

No matter where you are.

           Am                      C

If you wish for me, I’ll wish for you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

C       Am        

Long ago –

C        Am                                G

Could you guess this is where you’d be now?

C           Am         C          Am            (Cmaj7)   G

Yes, I know, it’s hard to watch your world unfold.

  Am                       C         Am

But on this long, winding road,

  C            Am          Em    Am                  C

How you think you are is what will come true.

Am           C          Am      C      Cmaj7  Cadd9  C

For it’s when you look that see all that you can do.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C             G

No matter who you are.

           Am                      C

If you wish for me, I’ll wish for you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C            G

No matter how you are.

           Am                      C

If you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

 

**guitar chord fingerings**  (eBGDAE)

C = 01023x

Cadd9 = 31023x

Fmaj7 = 0123xx

Am = 01220x

G = 330023

Em = 000220

F = 112311

 © 2014 Joshua Blum

As always, thanks for listening!

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Aurora’s Bow – A Compact Two Piece PVC and Fiberglass Tent Rod Takedown Bow

In my last post, I wrote about the making of the Imperial Ranger takedown bow, a large, heavy 3 piece bow meant to emulate a warbow that was small enough to fit inside a backpack.  At the same time, I was also making the one which will be detailed in this post, which, in many ways, is the total opposite.  Whereas the Imperial Ranger bow was large and heavy, this one was designed to be as small and light as possible.  The Imperial Ranger was also complex (although not necessarily on purpose), whereas this one was designed to be straightforward and simple.  Yet, they both function as takedown bows able to fit in small spaces, and despite the small size, this one packs a punch – 50# of draw weight when pulled back to my draw length of 32″.

So what do you need to do to make a bow like this?

Here’s the materials:

  • One piece of 1/2″ Sch 40 white PVC pipe (I used a piece 36″ long)
  • One length of 3/4″ Sch 40 white PVC pipe for the handle (I used a piece 7″ long)
  • A flat hardwood coat hanger (I used one made of cherry; for strength, make sure the grain of the wood is running horizontally when the hanger is held in its hanging position)
  • Fiberglass tent poles (I used four, two per limb, each about 15″ long and 4 mm in diameter)
  • 550 paracord for the string (or your bowstring material of choice)
  • Heat gun
  • Gloves (for handling hot PVC)
  • Flattening jig (to flatten the PVC pipe once hot; see info below for more info)
  • PVC cement (optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw
  • Spray paint and clear coat varnish (optional)
  • Leather for arrow rest and arrow strike plate (optional)

If you already have the tools (heat gun, saw, etc), this bow can be made cheaply (for under ten dollars – the main costs will be for PVC, paint, a can of Great stuff foam – the hanger and tent poles you may be able to find around the house or by repurposing stuff you find used).  This bow is not very complex to make, though if you’ve never made a PVC bow before, I highly suggest you make a few prior to attempting this one.  Or, check of the 3 piece PVC fiberglass rod bow post with the associated video or the updated Fourth of July bow for a hybrid PVC/fiberglass bow you can make in probably less than an hour.

PVC is a forgiving material.  Even so, practice does make the process easier, and making PVC takedown bows is more complex than one piece bows.  I highly recommend you check out videos on youtube such as the Backyard Bowyer channel by Nicholas Tomihama.  Though plenty of folks have uploaded videos of their creations, he, in particular, has a huge variety of tutorials (meant for both beginners and advanced PVC bowyers) to walk you through making PVC bows as well as the equipment you’ll need to make one, such as the flattening jig I mentioned above – easy to make once you’ve seen it, though more difficult to explain in isolation.

I’m going to pick up after the PVC pipe has already been flattened (in this case, I flattened the pipe in such a way that the handle was thicker and gave the limbs a gradual taper).  I next cut off the ends (~8″) of the wooden coat hanger to make wooden tips for the bow (called siyahs in archery terminology).  Wood is lighter than PVC, and the lighter ends allow the bow tips to move faster, theoretically increasing the velocity imparted to the arrow.  In order to attach the wooden tips to the PVC, the ends of the PVC pipe need to be heated until they swell back up again.  Then the wooden tips can be inserted inside (about 2″ should do) while the PVC is still hot.  When the PVC cools, it will shrink, forming a tight grip on the wooden siyahs.  It is important at this step to make sure the nocks line up.

Although I added more heat to bend the limbs forward just proximal to where the siyahs were inserted, thus reflexing the bow limbs (adding a bit more spring and draw weight), you don’t need to do that.  You can create a bow that has a simpler longbow shape as opposed to the one I ended up with.

At this point, after everything cools, you can string the bow and check its profile.  There should be fairly evenly bending limbs on both sides without major twisting.  If one area is bending more than the other, correct it now by gently heating the area until it puffs back out, then use gloved fingers to shape the limb.  This part is admittedly finicky and takes me the most time.  But it’s always a good idea to try to correct minor issues of limb asymmetry or misalignment now prior to progressing further.  For those that make wooden bows, this trial and error process of making the limbs draw as evenly as possible is akin to “tillering.”

When I was finished with this portion, I strung the bow and tested the draw weight – it was about 20-25# at 32″, which was about right for 1/2″ PVC.

Once I was satisfied with the profile, I cut the bow in half at the center.  I then heated up the piece of 3/4″ PVC and fitted it over the limb I’d designated as the lower limb.  A layer of PVC cement helped secure it in place.  I then heated and shaped the other end, making it a bit more of an oval shape in cross section to match the lower limb side.  In general, despite what I said above about making the limbs draw as uniform and evenly as possible, one limb may bend slightly more – this is fine.  Make that one the upper limb, since the grip is usually in the center of the bow, and the point where the arrow is resting is usually above that, meaning the upper limb needs to bend a little more to compensate for the arrow not being right at center.

Next came the rejoining of the two limbs.  This was not my first takedown attempt – I have been fiddling with them for the past six months or so – but still find that they can be persnickety things to get right.  Of course, there’s the simple fact that you must make an essentially “broken” bow function as if it were whole again without exploding in your face.  But if you take care, make sure the limbs are aligned and the junctions properly reinforced and not at particularly high stress areas, making a functioning and safe bow gets easier with time (though there can still be surprises, as my last post will attest).  No, for me, that hardest part is, in some sense, the simplest – once joined, getting the two pieces apart again.  It’s taken a lot of fiddling and some consultation from people smarter than I on the interwebs (i.e. youtube and the google plus PVC bow making community) to get it right.

So here’s the secret – heated PVC expands.  Cooling PVC shrinks.  So the trick to being able to get the 1/2″ limb out of the 3/4″ PVC piece once heated is to heat the end of the 1/2″ PVC limb, stuff it in the cool 3/4″ piece as best you can, then wait.  As the 1/2″ PVC limb cools, it will shrink in diameter, allowing you to pull it out again once cool.  It sounds simple (and is, once you know the trick), but I’ll be damned if it didn’t take forever on this particular bow to get right.  A layer of plumber’s grease on the joints hasn’t hurt, either 🙂

2015-08-13 12.09.03

Above is a picture of what the bow looked like when everything was assembled.  Then, since I had them lying around, I wondered what would happen if I added some small (4 mm diameter) fiberglass tent pole rods in the limbs.  I had a bunch lying around that I’d found somewhere, and since they were about 15 inches long, I figured they could fit easily into the flattened limbs.  I was able to fit two in each limb, which I “glued” in place with expanding Great Stuff foam (which comes in a spray can and is used to seal holes around doors and such – a wonder of modern technology that I both admire and curse.  Two words – wear gloves.  You will be glad.)

Once everything was dry (I let the foam cure for about a week, I think), I reassembled it and tested the draw weight.  I was surprised at how much the draw weight had shot up – somewhere in the upper 40s to low 50s – an increase of 20-25# of draw weight just from using the two thin fiberglass rods in each limb.

From there, it was just the finishing touches – a few coats of spray paint and clear coat lacquer, a grip, an arrow rest, and a string with nocking point wound on.  The pictures do these details better justice than my descriptions could.

DSC_0180

DSC_0182

DSC_0181

DSC_0179

DSC_0178

2015-09-11 01.03.15

 Final specs:

  • Length nock to nock when strung: 45″
  • Unstrung length: 47.5″
  • Length of each limb: 27″ for the lower, 22″ for the upper
  • Brace height: 4.75″
  • Draw weight: ~50# at 32″
  • Speed: varied considerably from 166 fps – 194 fps with the 446 grain arrow I used; I suspect due to inherent inaccuracy in the sound based app I used to test the speed, but after averaging the four values I obtained together, it came to 179.25 fps.

So how does it feel to shoot?  Well, it’s small, light, and solid.  The brace height is low and is probably more comfortable to shoot with an arm guard on, since the string sometimes snaps the wrist or heel of the hand.  Since it’s such a small bow, the angle the string makes with the fingers is fairly acute, so comfort-wise, it could be better.  And it stacks a little at the end (meaning the draw weight jumps up the last inch or so), but given the small size, I expected that.  I’m surprised it can go back as far as it can without collapsing.  All in all, I’m happy with the way it turned out.  Given its speed and pull, it goes to show that appearances can be deceiving.  It makes a nice little companion to its larger partner bow, the Imperial Ranger takedown.

If that bow was meant for Logan in The Thirteenth Hour, then this one is meant for his partner in crime, Aurora – smaller, lighter, but just as fast, strong, and versatile.  And so, ladies and gents, that’s where the bow in the title gets her name.  You will see more of Aurora and her bow in the as-of-yet-unnamed sequel to The Thirteenth Hour.  So stay tuned!  Until then, I leave you with a picture of Aurora from when she last fired a bow in the The Thirteenth Hour.

aurora with dragonWM

VIDEO UPDATE!! (1/5/16)

There is now a showcase video that accompanies this post.  Click on the youtube link to be taken to it.

Here are some animated gifs made from the video above that show the bow in action:

bow shoot 1

bow shoot 2

Reference List

3 piece PVC fiberglass rod bow post and video and the updated Fourth of July bow (quick and easy hybrid PVC/fiberglass bows)

Backyard Bowyer channel by Nicholas Tomihama and a link to his book on takedown archery

Flattening jig video

bow hunter

Before you go: want a free podcast on the creation of this takedown PVC-fiberglass rod bow?  Click the picture above for more details! 

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