The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

https://archive.org/download/podcast-386/Podcast%20386.mp3

Happy new year, and welcome to 2023!  This first episode of the new year is all about time.  Though time exists independent of all of us and will go on and on regardless of whether we exist in it or not, it is a finite resource for us living creatures.   I think of an expression (which I might be paraphrasing) that my mother, who studied economics in college sometimes used (one I thought was humorous due to the extravagance of the words) – “diminishing returns of marginal utilities.”  If I’m getting this correct, the “marginal utility” part describes the satisfaction that one experiences by consuming one unit of something.  While economists are usually referring to “utility” in terms of as a product, I think the concept applies to some nonpurchasable items as well, including time.  In some cases, the more time you have, the less you value it; yet when you have less, it becomes more and more precious.  Gaining even a bit more would yield a net positive marginal utility.  But none of us, regardless of our station in life, can get more of it.  We all have however much time we are given, and none of us know how much.

There is a quote from the novel “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles that is inscribed on Brandon Lee’s tombstone (it came up in one of his last, if not the last interview he did prior to his death) that is particularly poignant and gets at this idea:

“Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens echoed similar sentiments when it came to his own work in ways I think many artists will be able to relate to.  In the podcast, I include a segment from one of Dave’s journals read by Billy Campbell from the documentary Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection

When I was initially writing The Thirteenth Hour as a teenager, I think I was trying to put these idea into words in my own way.  I suppose I had a different view of time since I was younger, but looking at it decades later, I think that is one of the underlying messages of the book – taking life by the reins and making the most of it, that the world can what you make of it if you believe in your dreams and don’t sit passively by, letting time pass you by.

Interestingly, the Buddhists have a slightly different take on this since they believe in do-overs.  Life, from a Buddhist perspective, is about suffering, and escaping this cycle of birth and rebirth is to finally find peace (a.k.a. nirvana).  But for those of us still in the world, there are some interesting insights in this drawing below of the samsara (wheel of life).  There is a segment of the wheel below (the one with the animals in it) that is called, not surprisingly, the animal realm.  The Buddhist view of non-human animals is that they are not as evolved, not as intelligent (human-centric, I know) and so creatures born into this part of the samsara earned their lot in life though past negative karmic action.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I think you can also use aspects of this as an analogy for parts of human existence.  When we are in the animal realm, we are focused on survival – just getting through the day.  But when we get a breather and have better resources, we can enter into the higher realms where we have increasing ability to reflect on our situation and focus on more than day to day needs.  Times like the new year sometimes give us cause to stop, pause, and reflect on where we want to go.   So in this episode, I not only reflect on some of the positives of the past year and some goals for the one to come.

The Wheel of Life - Samsara | Thangka Mandala

Thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
Continue reading

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #285: Recycling LDPE and PP Plastic into Plastic Synths!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #285: Recycling LDPE and PP Plastic into Plastic Synths!

This week’s episode continues from the last three week’s crafting episodes … but instead of HDPE (high density polyethylene, a.k.a. #2) plastic (which worked pretty well, as described in last episode), this time, I’m experimenting with LDPE (low density polyethylene, a.k.a. #4) cut from a lid top (instead of Perler beads which I used last time) as well as PP (polypropylene, a.k.a. #5) plastic to do essentially the same thing as last week.  Again, I was not sure this would work. 

Just like the last few weeks, I’m using the silicone molds I used to make Logan’s synthesizer (watch for more stop motion animation music videos with him soon!):

For this project, I’m again using cut up strips of #4 and #5 plastic.  Here are the cut up bits of #4 plastic in the synth mold getting heated up with a heat gun.   As mentioned last week, heating plastic leads to fumes, so it would be a good idea to do this with some eye and mouth protection (safety goggles, a mask) in a well ventilated area, like a garage or outdoors.  I wouldn’t do this in your kitchen oven!  A pair of winter gloves are great for protecting your hands.

img_2961

Like HDPE, both LDPE and PP gets viscous and gooey when heated.  PP took longer and did not take to the mold as well.  With both of these, if you touch it or try to tamp it down too soon, it gets everywhere, just like hot tar.  It’s pretty easy to scrape off a smooth surface later, but I found I needed to wait longer than HDPE for it to become workable (PP – the longest).  As before, you will probably need to add additional plastic, heat that, and repeat the process until you fill the mold, like below.  I think I had to add 4-5 layers of plastic strips until I filled the mold.

 

img_2962

Here are the LDPE synth (red) and the PP synth (white) when they were just taken out of the mold the first time.  If you look closely at the details, you can see some of the strands did not liquefy.  So I heated the synth sides, flipped them back into the molds, pressed down, and … you can see the results below.

img_2963

The PP synth worked okay – kind of rough, but it did work.  Here it is next to the the lid it once was.  It took a whole lid to make the synth.

img_2967

Here are the different synths according to plastic type, in order of ease of use, from bottom to top.   There you have it, recycled plastic toys!

img_2965

And, as mentioned in the episode, the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.

img_2898

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

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 the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #284: Recycling HDPE Plastic into Plastic Synths!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #284: Recycling HDPE Plastic into Plastic Synths!

This week’s episode continues from the last two week’s crafting episodes … but instead of wax, I’m using plastic.  Not the two part pourable resins I’ve used so far but cut up pieces of HDPE (#2) plastic from milk jugs, bottle tops, or some other containers.  Or, this episode also contains a segment of using Perler beads, which is actually a different kind of plastic, LDPE (#4) but can also be used, with somewhat different results, I’ve found, though I can by no means say I’m an expert in any of this.  I just thought it’d be fun to try as an experiment.  I had no idea any of this would work, and frankly, it almost didn’t!

Just like the last few weeks, I’m using the silicone molds I used to make Logan’s synthesizer (watch for some stop motion animation music videos with him soon!):

img_2810

For this project, I’m using cut up strips of #2 plastic.  I’m using a pair of kitchen shears for cutting up greenery into little bits, but I’m guessing you could also use a paper shredder for a similar effect.

img_2888

Here are the cut up bits in the synth mold:

img_2902

Applying heat … there was a funky plastic, so it would be a good idea to do this with some eye and mouth protection (safety goggles, a mask) in a well ventilated area, like a garage or outdoors.  I wouldn’t do this in your kitchen oven!  A pair of winter gloves are great for protecting your hands.

img_2904

HDPE gets viscous and gooey when heated.  If you touch it or try to tamp it down too soon, it gets everywhere, just like hot tar.  It’s pretty easy to scrape off a smooth surface later, but If you wait 10-20 sec or so, the plastic will be more amenable to tamping down into the mold.  You will, however, probably need to add additional plastic, heat that, and repeat the process until you fill the mold.

img_2903

The HDPE synth is the black and purple one in the pic below.  It turned out better than I expected, not quite as sharp as resin but with a similar level of detail to when I made crayons or wax candles in a similar way.  The bottom two were done using Perler beads.  I couldn’t get them to liquefy quite as much, so the details they picked up from the mold were less well formed.

img_2905

Those of y’all who are Patreon members should be getting yours in the mail, but the patches I mentioned a few weeks ago are now ready and available for purchase here!  They come with a high quality mp3 download from Once Upon a Dream, the next Thirteenth Hour soundtrack LP.

img_2898

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

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 the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #283: Upcycling Broken Crayons Part 2 – Making Candles!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #283: Upcycling Broken Crayons Part 2 – Making Candles!

This week’s episode continues from last week’s crafting episode.  We made multicolor synthesizer crayons last week, so this week, we’re using some of the wax from the crayons and combining it with wax from broken candles to make … synthesizer candles!

Here are some old, broken birthday candles …

img_2862

… I tested this with just candle wax in the same molds we used last week, which actually worked really well …

img_2849

… and became liquid wax after being put in the oven …

img_2850

img_2861

… of course, wax candles without a wick are just wax.  So here are a few wicks from the broken candles. 

img_2852

So, candle wax + crayon wax mixed together and heated until liquid …

img_2851

… and here with the wicks dropped in the liquid hot wax.

img_2853

The final result … the crayon wax sank to the bottom of the mold, and the candle wax rose to the top, creating a blended pink – blue pattern for the face of the synths and Logan’s hoverboard … one of a kind upcycled candles!

img_2854

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

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 the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #282: 2021 Crafting – Upcycling Broken Crayons!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #282021 Crafting – Upcycling Broken Crayons!

Happy new year!  To start us off, I thought we’d combine resin casting, recycling, and creativity in one project – making crayons!  Whaaa, you say?  What’s that have to do anything?

Well, let’s find out!

If you have or had kids, chances are you have some old / broken crayons around.  I gathered up a broken bits, took off the paper wrappings, and …

img_2749

… tried to enlist the help of one of my children to help with the latter part.  It occupied said child nicely …

img_2750

… for about 10 minutes.  Then I was left to complete the boring part …

img_2751

I used the same silicone molds I used for casting resin.  The silicone performed wonderfully under heat (350 degree F x 10 min +/- 3-5 min until the crayons are all melted).  Basically, you cram a bunch of crayon bits inside (more is better, the wax will melt down; you want the wax to be thick enough to hold.  A silicone cookie tray would be better, actually, since they tend to be deeper, meaning you can cram in more crayons bits).  As you can see below, just like with resin casting, bubbles rise to the surface.

img_2795

Once they start to solidify, we do need to wait a bit for everything to cool, though you can stick the mold in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.

img_2755

The synth on the top, as you can see, is an example of what happens when the wax doesn’t melt fully and air bubbles get in the way.  So this one, despite loving the colors, I broke back up and redid (really easy to do).

img_2758

Some of the final products – the ones to the left were done with cookie cutters.  You can totally use metal cookie cutters but be aware they they may leak wax out the bottom.  You can get around this by putting clay around the edges and using a heat gun to apply focused heat to the crayons in side the cookie cutter.  That is how the orange leaf on the left was made.

img_2763

Overall, a fun project to do with kids, especially if you’re stuck inside on a cold or rainy day, folks are sick, or you’re just waiting out the pandemic like so many of us are.  And if you don’t have kids but are feeling a bit strapped for cash after the holidays or the havoc the past year has done to the economy (at least in the US), just head over to Etsy and see how much people charge for handmade crayons.  Holy upcycle, Batman.

What can I say … don’t hate!  Create!  🙂

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!
https://ko-fi.com/s/5579db9b27

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

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 the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #231: 2020 Goals Part 2 and A Thirteenth Hour Reading

Episode #231: 2020 Goals Part 2 and A Thirteenth Hour Reading

https://archive.org/download/podcast231_202001/Podcast%20231.mp3

Hope your new year is off to a good start.  In this episode, I continue with the theme started last year about discussing new year’s goals.  I’ve been working on a part of The Thirteenth Hour sequel draft where the main characters, Logan and Aurora, are making a life for themselves on a little seemingly secluded island, and towards the end of The Thirteenth Hour, they plan how they’re going to do that.  It fits the general theme of making new year’s plans, so I’m reading a few excerpts from that part of the book today.

Again, best wishes in all your creative pursuits in 2020!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

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 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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #73: Happy New Year and The Water of Life Reading

Episode #73: The Water of Life Storytime Reading

https://ia601508.us.archive.org/11/items/Dropbox_201701/Podcast%2073.mp3

In this week’s episode, we start off the new year by reading a fairy tale that I loved as a child.  In many ways, I think the underlying theme of looking for a potion that grants the drinker life and health probably influenced my decision to include a similar plot device in The Thirteenth Hour.  This book is written by Barbara Rogasky and features the illustrations of Trina Schart Hyman, who had been featured many times here.

Related image

Happy New Year, and thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • 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!