Been a while since my last blog post, hasn’t it? Sorry about that!
This morning, Mrs E and I helped deliver packages of gifts and food to needy people as part of the Operation Blue Santa program. It was nice to see such a huge turnout–so many volunteers showed up at the local police substation to help deliver the goodies that there was a long line of cars spilling out of the substation’s parking lot, and by the time Mrs E’s truck reached the loading zone, we’d already unloaded half of the big truck that came from the warehouse. We delivered to 7 households ourselves in 2 trips (big boxes!), and when we loaded up for the second trip, the warehouse truck was practically emptied and there were several cars behind us. It was very heartening to see so many volunteers. Lots of them even brought the kids and made it a family thing.
We took a break to eat breakfast at home after our second delivery run, and it was at this point that I broke into a little old lady’s house with a screwdriver.
Well, actually, I just wanted an excuse to say “I broke into a little old lady’s house with a screwdriver” with a straight face. The little old lady was our next door neighbor Mrs Grace, and she and her husband Mr John were locked out of her house.
Anyway, we went to the central Operation Blue Santa warehouse after our breakfast. I was expecting to make at least another delivery run, but there were apparently so many volunteers there that it was practically emptied before noon. They were bringing back undeliverable boxes at this point, and they started the volunteers’ barbecue early. The line for that took nearly half an hour to get to the food itself, and they had some entertainment to keep the volunteers amused while in line.
There was a local boy band which I’m told put on a good show, a screen/projector showing video footage from earlier in the operation, Blue Santa and Mrs. Blue Santa (yes, exactly like it sounds), and my favorite part of the entertainment: the spangly blue-suited Elvis Presley impersonator. That was hilarious–the man had the pelvic moves down pat, some seriously impressive sideburns, and he had a bunch of silk-ish scarves that he was handing out to women who caught his eye. Mrs E was one of them, and I nearly died laughing when he danced up to Mrs E and put a pink Elvis scarf around her neck.
The barbecue was good. Nice brisket and awesome sausages that had a nice spicy afterbite to them. We came home, passed out on the sofa from the ensuing meat coma, and came to about an hour ago. It was a pretty good day, and the sheer number of volunteers who showed up really did a lot for my flagging opinion of the human race as a whole.
I mean, there’s so much negativity and sensationalism in the news that you’d think we were a modern Sodom and Gomorrah in dire need of a visit from a bolide of significant size, but that quickly gets put into perspective by something as simple as visiting a local charity or taking part in one of these programs that help other people. You see how many genuinely nice people there are out there, and you get to see the faces of the people who are being helped by these programs. It makes a guy feel pretty good.
What else have I been up to…well, besides our modest little part in Operation Blue Santa today, not much that’s newsworthy. 2 birthdays in November (Mrs E and her dad), Thanksgiving with the stepkids, a wedding reception (My stepdaughter Sara and her husband Alan got married in South America a while ago), I turned 37 earlier this month, I added 6 new items to the Ebbles Labs section of the WWG catalog, and…I think that’s the entire remainder of the list of notable events.
Okay, on the hobby/work front: Mrs E also introduced me to one of her friends back in November, who is a dollhouse miniatures enthusiast. I came away from that conversation rather taken with and fascinated by that hobby. I’m planning to dip my toe in those waters, because I see intriguing modeling possibilities in the much larger size of 1:12 and 1:6 scale items, and I think it’d be a fun thing to do. I mean, can you imagine the amount of detail I could pack into a model that big? It’s a good thing I have a printer that can feed up to 13×19″ paper.
This is also the time of the year where my fascination with whimsical toys resurfaces and I find myself experimenting with one of my longtime projects. I’ve been working on a sort of paper minifig (think of a little block person like Lego people, Kubricks, or Minimates, except made of paper) for a few years now. Normally, I complete the holiday quarter without being fully satisfied with my efforts for any number of reasons, but I’m getting very close to something that I’m happy with this year. In particular:
- I lucked out with a combination of size and proportion that allowed me to do distinctly recognizable and separate male and female bodies.
- My experience and comfort level with round wheels and cylinders, over the past year or two, has allowed me to make certain parts of those minifigs pleasingly rounded without being fiendishly difficult to assemble.
- My experience with the Ares Vulcan, M722, and UD-41 has provided me with the engineering solutions I needed to make the individual parts modular, interchangeable and poseable.
- The tools I have now made some things possible that weren’t very easy to do before, like being able to “sculpt” hairstyles out of a common master hairpiece without having to model, unfold, and export every unique hairstyle separately.
I’m hoping that I finally nail it this year. I’m planning to start a separate part-time side business selling preprinted paper toys and dollhouse furnishings sometime in the new year. It’s a different market and a new challenge for me, and it lets me scratch a creative itch that I can’t in my current line of work.
Okay, that’s it for now.