The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #332 and Like a Hood Ornament #41: Toymaking Updates, the Christmas Rocketeer Episode (20), Rocketeer Unboxings, and Reading the Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 18

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #332 and Like a Hood Ornament #41: Toymaking Updates, the Christmas Rocketeer Episode (20), Rocketeer Unboxings, and Reading the Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 18

https://archive.org/download/podcast-332/Podcast%20332.mp3

This week, we’re getting ready for the holidays by opening some presents my brother sent, watching the Rocketeer Christmas episode, discussing a few toymaking updates, and, of course, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization.

As far as updates go, I’ve been sanding and painting, then sanding and painting some more.  I’ve got the parts laid out for each figure and have been painting parts of them piece by piece.

This is a preliminary idea of what Logan will look like.  Not all the colors have been painted in, obviously, but that will be the fun part – when all is painted and it’s ready to glue it all together.

Speaking of toys, my brother, Jeremy, who was last on for the Red Sonja episode, sent some Rocketeer gear, and I thought it might be fun to open it up on the show:

Then, we watch the Rocketeer cartoon Christmas Star episode.  A few screenshots:

Now, check out the Hughesville Mayor’s Rocketeer sweater!

And check out these ornaments!  Disney, take note!

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a holiday gift, please consider checking out 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.

img_5479

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

Lastly, we are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.  We are almost done!  Only two more chapters to go.  This past one has some humorous mid 80s satire/commentary on politics of the day (Ronald Regan economics and priorities, the Cold War, etc).

img_4596

Next week, we finish Howard!  Have a good holiday, everyone!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
Continue reading

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 #281: 2020 Reflections / Future Goals + “Many Miles” Vocals

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #281: 2020 Reflections / Future Goals + “Many Miles” Vocals

This week, I reflect on the year and look back on the goals I had for 2020 back in episodes 230 and 231

Despite all the zaniness of the past year, it’s been a good year creatively.  Besides the things discussed on the show, I also started a Thirteenth Hour Arts Facebook group as well as a Patreon, so many thanks for all your support!

Lastly, I’ve decided to wrap up by trying to finally finish a song that I’ve tried to work and rework many, many times, the aptly named “Many Miles,” a song I wrote for the next Thirteenth Hour book and last worked on in episodes 190-199).  I’m working on the vocals today. 

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 #280: 80s Christmas Songs and Reworking “Many Miles” for the Zillionth Time

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #280: 80s Christmas Songs and Reworking “Many Miles” for the Zillionth Time

https://archive.org/download/podcast-280/Podcast%20280.mp3

This week, just before Christmas drops, I thought it’d be fun to talk a bit about 3 songs from the 80s that aren’t traditional Christmas songs but are, in many ways, still holiday songs. 
 
The holidays often serve as a time to reflect on the year and think about what you’d like to see happen in the future – a time of hope, good cheer, and family.  Of course, it’s not that way for a lot of people.  And that contrast is why I picked these three songs:
 
1.) The Waitress  (1981) – “Christmas Wrapping”
 
I didn’t know who did this song about a woman who’s a bit over the hype of holidays season until recently but always thought it had a great hook. There is also an almost 30 second funky instrumental break in the middle that I think would actually be a good breakbeat.
 
 
2.) The Pogues (1988) – “Fairy Tale of New York”
 
I love the piano intro, the penny whistle, and bantering / squabbling couple duet-ting in this song of hopes, dreams, and disappointment.
 
3.) Band Aid (1984) – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
 
There are things to like about this song – e.g. the melody, the chord progressions, the collaboration, the underlying good intentions (raising awareness of famine in Ethiopia and raising funds for assistance) – but … the lyrics are horrendous!  They reinforce the stereotype that Africa is a place of “dread and fear / Where the only water flowing / Is the bitter sting of tears” and “nothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow.”  Ok, folks,  I get you were writing about famine, but the entire continent?  The best gift “they’ll get this year is life”?  Holy self righteous Jesus, Batman.  But, if you put images of colonialism and missionaries doing God’s work aside and ignore 95% of the lyrics, you get a song that essentially about remembering to be grateful for what you have and that there is a “world outside your window.”  
 
 
I’ll do a deeper dive on Instagram this week!
 
These songs were something I was mentally thinking of for a Christmas song episode with show guests Joe Esch and Adam Crohn (last on the shows when we discussed 80s foods and The Lost Boys – 272 and 273).  We had tossed around a bunch of ideas for nontraditional Xmas movie ideas (like Gremlins and Die Hard) and then the song one, but never quite got around to recording.  As you may know, Adam has been tied up with more urgent things than recording podcasts these past few weeks as his dog, Mooge, just had surgery for lung cancer and will need extended treatment in the near future.  Of course, nothing in life is ever simple.  You can read more about their challenging journey on the GoFundMe by clicking on Mooge’s picture below.  But the upshot of all this and the connection to the above is that I’ll be looking at some ways to continue to raise funds into 2021 to help Adam and Mooge and will post more over the coming weeks.

img_2508

So in lieu of retro Xmas movie podcasts this year, please go check out Shawn and Colin over at I Used to Like This One for several weeks of Christmas movies.  They’ve put together a much better lineup than I ever could.  So far, they have episodes on Home Alone, Lethal Weapon, and A Christmas Story

Lastly, I’ve decided to wrap up by trying to finally finish a song that I’ve tried to work and rework many, many times, the aptly named “Many Miles,” a song I wrote for the next Thirteenth Hour book and last worked on in episodes 190-199).  I reworked the intro, created a new opening riff, added a short chorus section, and cut out a few redundant verses.  So – essentially starting almost from scratch and reworking it from the ground up.  I have a backing track done so far and will be figuring the vocals next.  So far, I think it will work!  I was practicing while holding my son earlier today, and we were singing along with the new repeating riff (and it sounded okay!). 

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 #69: Holiday Trees

Episode #69: Baby Trees in the Holidays

https://archive.org/download/Podcast69_201612/Podcast%2069.mp3

That first day began a month of basic training that all recruits were required to go through. Nobody told us why the King had sent for us, and when we asked, we were told to just shut up and stop trying to think. I had some trouble with the training in the beginning, but after that, I surprised myself by being able to keep up just fine. I was used to physical labor, and this wasn’t much different. A few of the older men, though, unused to climbing, running, and crawling on the ground, collapsed after the first week and had to be carried off the field on stretchers. This happened to one of the Aquarians a few days into our training. He happened to be not far from me, and when I saw him collapse on the field, I went over to see if he were okay. But he pushed me away and, spitting out some mud, said something that sounded like “piss off.” I think he also spat out something about going back to the orphanage, but I couldn’t make it out. Whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly, and I left him to the medics.
Every morning at six sharp, we had to line up for morning exercises. Then came the obstacle course, which was pretty hard at first because the old soldier babysitting us – fat, half–blind, and unable to do half of the things he made us do – didn’t feel like showing us how to do it. He was also frequently hung–over, which didn’t help.

His first lesson, dare I even call it that, was on marching. I was a miserable failure at marching, and, to be honest, never did learn to do it right. Our marching exercises consisted of an endless and, in my opinion, rather pointless array of drills. March left. Now right. Spin left. Then right. Whatever! I always ended up in the first row since I was the shortest, and although I could manage forward and backward, every time we had to turn left or right I got all mixed up. My right or the instructor’s right? If I had eyes in the back of my head, I could have cheated by seeing which way the other recruits turned, but inevitably, I screwed it up and got glares and whispered threats from the proud Aquarian men.

So you might be wondering, what about the good stuff? Well, the drill instructor was technically responsible for teaching us how to use weapons – things like swords, spears, and bows. The problem was that there were never enough to go around, since the “real Army” got preference over us recruits. So we often spent most of this time sitting around waiting until someone else was done with the rusty sword or whatever we were supposed to be using that day. Not that it really mattered in the end; after one of the men accidentally shot himself in the foot with an arrow, the old soldier in charge of training us didn’t trust us with live weapons. He was afraid he might accidentally–on purpose be in the way the next time. Can’t say I blamed him; morale was pretty low, even in the “real Army,” and no one felt like extending himself any more than he had to, especially if there was danger involved. After the arrow incident, all we got were branches chopped off a tree.

“Here, pretend this one’s a spear,” the drill instructor would say, handing out the wobbly saplings. “But that’s no damned excuse for not put the ol’ killer instinct to work!” he would yell. “Stop thinking these are sticks. Like I told you yesterday, they’re spears, damn it! Spears! So when you thrust, yell! When you charge, yell! I want some spirit! All together, now, lemme hear it! Kill! Kill! Kill! Hey, why am I the only one shouting?”

Really, I’m not kidding. The old man was nothing if not cracked. And, true to form, every day, he had us line up at the western corner of the training field, where there was a thin row of midget–sized trees.

“Come on, ladies, one tree to a man, just like yesterday. Now watch the master.”

He delighted in this demonstration. He’d take a stance about ten feet from some poor shrub and begin to twirl his stick around. Then he’d stop, look menacingly at the pint–sized tree, and, with a blood curdling whoop, charge forward and begin smacking the trunk, each time, shouting his “Kill! Kill! Kill!” routine punctuated with an occasional, “How do you like that, huh?” One time I swear he even said, “Not so tough, now, are ya … tree!”

After a bit, he’d get tired and, turning to us while leaning on his stick and sucking in more wind than a geriatric racehorse, he’d explain that was the kind of energy you needed to attack with.

“Now you!” he would bark, and a recruit had to repeat what had just been demonstrated.

The instructor had been satisfied only once, when an unlucky recruit had hit a patch of mud on his charge, and instead of hitting the tree with his stick, hit it full force with his sliding body instead. The young, slender tree simply recoiled from the blow, sending the recruit flying back into the mud. Tree: 1, human: 0.

“Yeah!!! That boy has the kinda attitude I want!” He even went over to help the dazed boy to his feet. “That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout, boy. Next time you just make sure to show that tree who’s the damn boss. Watch and learn from the master.”

Then he took a swipe at the errant shrub himself but missed and, cursing and spitting, fell flat on his ass. That was the end of the lesson for the day. Tree: 2, human: 0.

logan and aurora castle grounds moonRM.jpg

Logan and Aurora look up at the night sky near the trees referenced in this passage near the end of the book.

Thanks for listening, and happy holidays!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • 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!