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 #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!

 
f65b1b86-ba3a-43aa-a559-36750ca9b314

Stay tuned for more!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #53: Rocketeer Reflections

Episode #53: Reflections on Rewatching The Rocketeer and How it Influenced The Thirteenth Hour 

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2053.mp3

I recently rewatched the 1991 film, The Rocketeer, one of my favorite films from childhood, if not my all-time favorite.  It encapsulated just about everything a kid could hope for – airplanes, jet packs, shootouts between gangsters and Nazi storm troopers – not to mention a great cast of characters with a plucky heroine and a dashing hero that was just enough of an Everyman to be easily relatable.  Sometimes, movies that seemed great as a kid don’t always make for great films for adults.  So although I owned the DVD of The Rocketeer and have rewatched bits through the years, I was always a bit hesitant about watching the film start-to-finish again, I guess out of fear that it would inevitably fall from grace after years had tarnished the nostalgia factor.

Nope.

I’m glad to say that didn’t happen.  Not only did I watch the whole thing, I was glued to my seat and daresay I enjoyed the movie more than I did when I was a kid.

In many ways, it was ahead of its time.  Superhero movies weren’t really as big at the time as they were now, and in this age of global terrorism, it is comforting to think that heroes exists in our midst that can stand tall when they’re needed.  And in many ways, that’s what the Rocketeer (a.k.a. pilot Cliff Secord) was – just an ordinary guy who, though a mixture of good/bad luck (depending on how you look at it) and the serendipity of circumstance, becomes a reluctant hero in an uncertain age (at the dawn of WWII).   Part of me suspects that the original creator of The Rocketeer comics, illustrator Dave Stevens, created Cliff with exactly that I mind – not so much a hero chosen to have superpowers but an average citizen who ends up in the role and has to balance using his rocket pack for the greater good (fighting crime/Nazis, saving innocent people) vs. his own personal agenda (making money, impressing his girlfriend).

While I was watching the film this time, I was struck by how many similarities there are between Cliff Secord and Logan, the protagonist of The Thirteenth Hour. In many ways, it’s not surprising, since The Rocketeer was one of my favorite movies all throughout high school, and The Thirteenth Hour was written the summer after I graduated.  Both have a boyish, child like sense of gee-whiz! wonder about them.  While both are, at heart, good people doing their best, both are getting by on a lot more than special abilities and natural talents.  They’re carried along as much by a combination of pluck, luck, help from others, and just, plain old bumbling incompetence that favors the optimistic, idealistic, and brave … the very image of characters that are holding it together not because they are super prepared or organized but with a combination of chewing gum, spit, and twine.  (In fact, Cliff’s rocketpack is held together by chewing gum at one point.)

So, it’s not surprising that there are some parallels, both in character and appearance.  Here are a few of the latter:

-I think ones of the reasons I drew Logan with the haircut he has was largely due to an the unconscious influence of Dave Stevens.

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This is one of the tamer pictures of Cliff Secord’s do out there.  He usually is a bit more disheveled:

-Cliff also worn a leather button-up jacket that, while looking a real pain to put on and take off, sure looks cool).  I gave the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour tunics with a similar aesthetic, though I didn’t opt for the buttons.

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-And then, of course, both characters can fly owning to special machines.  Logan’s flying machine, Lightning, is talked about in episode #45.

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I recently found a little replica of the hoverboard from Back to the Future 2 in a thrift store – that made my day.

If you’re interested in learning more about real-life attempts to create rocketpacks, you can check out the book Jetpack Dreams (an excerpt on The Rocketeer is below):

You can also read more in this magazine article:

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More on the Rocketeer in the future!  Listen for the clip from the soundtrack by James Horner on the podcast as well as more postings on social media.

There are many excellent depictions of the Rocketeer since Dave Stevens’ passing.  This is a fine example by Alexey Mordovets.

As always, thanks for listening!

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Now Available! Thirteenth Hour Throwing Cards – Instructional Kit and Handmade Training Cards

Now you, too, can throw playing cards like you favorite superpowered mutant.  Like I mentioned in this previous post, it’s not hard to learn to throw playing cards like Logan does in The Thirteenth Hour.  But it does help to know a little about the technique and have the right cards.

Wait no longer.  Thirteenth Hour throwing cards are now here.  You throw heavier, more rigid cards first in order to get the technique down, then work your way down to lighter cards until you;re throwing regular playing cards.  This kit is essentially a pair of “training wheels” to jump start your throwing while keeping your confidence up and frustration low.  They’re handmade and contain pictures from The Thirteenth Hour and come in different weights:

1.) laminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 5 g each) x 2
2.) unlaminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 3 g each) x 3
3.) regular playing cards (weigh 1 g each) x 3

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So you start with #1, then go to #2 when you have the throw down, then go to #3 when #2 is too easy.  At that point, you’ll be able to use a regular deck of playing cards you can find anywhere.

Comes with a set of instructions showing the basic throw and grip variations.

You can get them on the eBay store here or on my Square online store here.

UPDATE (2/15/16): Well, the first time I posted these on eBay, they were removed since eBay doesn’t allow weapons to be sold, and I guess “throwing cards” were flagged as potential implements of destruction.  It probably goes without staying, but I’ll paraphrase what’s said on the packaging on the cards themselves:

These aren’t intended as weapons!  Even in the book, Logan uses them as a distraction.  The idea that could you could seriously injure someone from thrown paper playing cards is not without its legends (see the original post for a book by magician Ricky Jay about it), but if you have any doubts, check out this Mythbusters episode where the myth of the lethal throwing card gets busted.  Ricky Jay actually makes a cameo as well).  However, you should still exercise caution, since if you get really good, you can cause small paper cuts, and walls and doors may get chipped.  That said, these are primarily novelty items.  If you’re seriously looking at them as a way of defending yourself, I wish I could say different, but there are many, many more effective ways!!  Throwing cards for self defense is probably best left in the realm of fantasy unless done for distraction, like Logan did in the book.  Of course, a handful or dirt or some coins to the face would do the same with much less practice, too.

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This clip, posted on Instagram and on the Youtube channel, shows the creation of the drawing used for the label:

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UPDATE (2/18/16): There’s now a video showing the cards in action!

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Logan’s Everyday Carry (EDC) from The Thirteenth Hour

There are a number of sites out on the internet that show pictures of the stuff people carry in their pockets or in their bags.  If you google the terms “everyday carry” or “EDC” you’ll see what I mean.  At first, I thought this was kind of a joke or a spill-over of military terminology into civilian life, but the more I looked at the pictures, the more fascinating it became.  There really was a Boy Scoutish “prepared for anything” air about the collections of (mostly) knives, pens, wallets, survival gear, and watches.  These were folks who’d devoted a lot of time thinking about what they’d carry on their person, and man, if my family and I were on a plane going down over Siberia or something, I’d sure be hoping there were a few EDCers on board!

It’s probably not surprising I’d find this sort of thing interesting since I’m a guy, and it’s mostly guys posting pictures of their adult toys (knives, guns, pens, cameras, etc).  Occasionally, however, women will post pictures of the stuff they carry in their purses (a so-called “purse dump”), which always seems to draw interest.  And perhaps it should come as no surprise, since women were the original EDCers out there (especially women who happen to be mothers – they really have to prepared for everything.  But something tells me a mother’s diaper bag with pictures of diapers and butt cream may not be quite as interesting to the young-middle adult male demographic these sites seem to cater to.)

However, I digress.

Partly for kicks and partly in the spirit of The Thirteenth Hour, which doesn’t take itself too seriously, I created an EDC picture for Logan, the main character of the book.  He doesn’t actually carry much in the book – he loses all of his gear when his ship goes down, but he gains a few things here and there, and this inventory is from near the end of the book.

Without further ado, here’s Logan’s EDC:

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  1. Lightning (folded up)
  2. Burned wood handle pocket knife (actually an Aitor folding knife)
  3. Playing cards (for throwing)
  4. Apple (for eating)
  5. Tartec currency (useless in other parts of the world, but handy to have in Tartec)
  6. The scroll containing the instructions on how to make the Potion for Eternal Life
  7. Matches (x8)

Here are more details about some of the components:

1.) Lightning – Logan’s trusty talking magic silver hoverboard with an onboard monitor and computer (programmed by wizards) that he is given at the Palace of the Winds to allow him to speed around the world much faster than any sailing ship.

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Like George Jetson’s spaceship, it folds up into a compact, though heavy package about the size of an open hand.

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I wasn’t sure how to pull of the kind of wizardry needed to make a real-life prop like this for Logan’s EDC, so I wrapped a book in some aluminum foil:


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I knew that Spanish verb book would come in handy one of these days!

2.) Burned wood handle pocket knife – Logan finds a pocket knife on his journeys after losing all his gear when his ship goes down.  And that probably saved his bacon, because if there’s one things that’s really handy to have out in the woods, it’s a knife.  Here’s what Logan had to say about the one he found:

… I did, however, find a pocket knife that needed no modifications in what looked like a razed general good store. The hardwood handles had been singed, which didn’t add to its appearance – this was a strictly utilitarian blade – but it was sharp and the folding mechanism was strong and rust–free. It fit well in my hand and was heavy and balanced enough that I could probably throw it if need be, but I doubted I would, as knife throwing had not been a strong suit of mine in the Army, and I didn’t want to throw a knife away now that I had been lucky enough to locate one.

I went through a number of potential candidates to find Logan’s real-life knife.  Like the description, I was looking for something that had wooden handles and had an unadorned, working-man’s knife type of appearance.  There were a number of blades (both traditional and modern), mostly made in Europe, that I considered (pictures link to sites where you can buy the knives or learn more about them):

The Opinel folding knife (made in France)

Svord Peasant Mini Hardwood Fold Knife, Swedish high carbon tool steel blade, Hardwood handle PKM

The Svord peasant knife (made in New Zealand)

The Lierenaar folding knife (from Belgium)

The Baladeo olive wood handle pocket knife (made in France, I think)

Aitor Knives 16514 Castor Mediana Knife with Bubinga Wood Handles

Aitor Castor Mediana pocket knife (made in Spain)

The one in the EDC photo is the last one, made by Aitor.  All the knives in the list above look like fine blades and probably would have fit the bill.  However, I was looking for a knife made of high carbon steel, since I figured there wouldn’t have been stainless steel in the world Logan lived in, which narrowed down the list considerably, as well as something that wasn’t too handle heavy given Logan’s comment about knife throwing.  (Although this is a different topic altogether, yes, you can throw pocket knives, even ones that aren’t balanced evenly – google Ralph Thorn).  Lastly, I was aiming to find something that wasn’t very expensive.  Although there are many wood handled knives made by more expensive brands, I figured a guy like Logan (who was perpetually broke) wouldn’t have gotten his hands on them anyway.

In the end, the Aitor blade had all these requirements and had a bit of flair owing to the leaf shaped blade and bent handle while still carrying with it the feel of a utilitarian working knife.  I found it for about twenty bucks online.  The blade came quite sharp, easily able to shave off hair from the back of a hand and slice off a thin strip from a piece of paper.  There was no thumbnail groove or stud to pull the blade out (which had a remarkably strong spring and needed lubrication to open smoothly), but like the knife Logan found, the folding mechanism was strong and, despite not having a lock, unlikely to close on your hand unless you really mangled it.  The wood handles were exactly what I pictured, and yes, at close ranges (less than ten feet – haven’t tried it further), it threw nicely using a quarter turn throw (a.k.a. “no-spin” throw), though it had a tendency to rotate along its horizontal axis while in the air, maybe because of the bent shape of the handle).  For the picture, I Photoshopped burn marks onto the handle.

3.) Playing cards – speaking of throwing things, in the book, Logan comes across a novel that teaches him how to throw cards.  While this is a post for another time, yes, it’s also possible to throw cards so they fly (relatively) straight.  Magicians have been doing it for ages, but now thanks to the power of the internet, you can also learn how (many examples on youtube or look for Ricky Jay’s tongue-in-cheek “Card as Weapons” book).  Logan, though, learned from a book without pictures, though after months practicing while on his sea voyage, he was able to put the technique to good use later in his journey.

5.) Tartec currency – this collection of coins represents the extent of Logan’s disposable income – coins found here and there on the street of the capital city and through other means, which he hides in his mattress in the Imperial Army barracks (since it’s useless elsewhere in the world) and later retrieves when he returned from his quest.  Like Logan’s coins, the ones in the picture are useless as currency in the USA – two Euro coins, a Swedish Krona, a British pence, and an Ugandan shilling – though they are fun souvenirs from our own travels.

6.) The Potion for Eternal Life scroll – this scroll, given to Logan from the Dreamweaver, contains the ingredients to make a good cup of coffee … which isn’t really the secret to living forever, though it sometimes makes people feel like they could.  There’s a previous post I did about this little scroll, which I printed out on a piece of parchment-style paper.  Here’s one of the pictures of it unrolled:

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Interesting is seeing more (real-life, as opposed to fictional) EDC pictures?  Check out http://everydaycarry.com/ for more!

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