21 May 2017

The Allegations of Doom

A few weeks ago, I wrote a guest post for a bookblogger's blog; someone I thought of as at least a friendly acquaintance. Two days ago, while looking for something else, I happened to glance at that guest post, and saw that the bookblogger in question had added a disclaimer to the previously nice things she had said about my book.  Apparently, someone is contacting bookbloggers who have written positive reviews about Flowers of Luna, and making allegations about me; allegations which at least this bookblogger apparently accepted without bothering to discuss them with me.

I do not know who is doing this. I do not know why. But I am going to address the allegations once, here, now, and then I am henceforth ignoring this person as the troll they are.

The person making the allegations is apparently telling bookbloggers that I am a fraud, a hoax. I am not who I present myself as, and I'm just presenting myself as I do to cash in on marginalized identity.  I think this is ludicrous on the face of it -- As Megan Gedriss wrote in her fabulous Yu+Me Dream, I'm just pretending to be gay for all of the wonderful social benefits it brings?

But if that logic is insufficient, let me point out that between my journals (this one and Walkyrje on LiveJournal) I have fourteen years of documentation of me being me. I joined G+ six years ago, during the open beta (one of my early entries there), and Twitter in January 2011. All of that seems like a long hike to ground a hoax for a book published in February 2017. But what do I know?

Let us also talk about the "cashing in on marginalized identity" bit. Frankly, it's delusional. The people who find it easiest to get published in the traditional publishing business are white men. Pretending to be something else, someone else, would be setting stones in my own path. I present myself as I do because it's who I am. And I have hardly "cashed in." The number one comment I received from agents declining to represent me and Flowers of Luna was "I didn't identify with this." Do you suppose they would have said that about an M/F romance about Jack and Jane?

I ended up self publishing, and so far, every single cent I have received in royalties has been spent on promotional copies of my book, postage for said promotional copies, and other attempts to raise awareness of it among the target audience. If I'm cashing in, I'm doing a smurf-pour job of it.

Tangentially related to this issue, I have decided to leave Twitter. I won't be deleting my account, because that would open it up for someone else to scoop up the name and post whatever they want on an account that has been announced to be mine in various venues. I will be ceasing activity on it, however.

I have severe general and social anxiety... to the extent that I often vomit after talking to strangers on the telephone. Paying attention to a constant stream of negative news items, political doom, and bickering among bookish folk is doing me damage. So I'm not going to do it, anymore.

You will still be able to find me here, at G+, and on various fora around the intarwebz.

I'm sorry to have aired my dirty laundry in public, and as I said... this is my only public response to this trolling. My next entry will be back to writing, lightsaber construction, and similar topics.

Aloha; Shalom; Peace be upon you; Live long and prosper; May the Force be with you -- always.

13 May 2017

More Lightsaber of Doom!

First, let's have the beauty shot. This thing is massive... shown here with a familiar book for scale, it's nearly seventeen inches long. It's definitely a two-handed hilt, which was exactly what I wanted.

Okay, note for experienced saber builders who are easily bored. The rest of this is going to be really basic, and really lengthy, because I'm an utter noob and had to figure stuff out as I went along, and I figure there may be other utter noobs lurking who would like to know what I figured out. So if you're easily bored, now would be a good time to go read something else.

I bought the pieces in two batches. The previous batch, as you may have read in a previous entry, had the blade holder, choke, and pommel. Because my training in sword art is mostly in Japanese styles, I wanted a longer hilt. So I ordered a custom-milled double-female 10" extension (3" longer than a standard main body, and I asked for the grooves to run along the entire length), along with some incidental other bits.

Below, you can see the four primary pieces lined up from emitter to pommel, which gives a sense of their relative sizes.

I apologize for lens flare and other artifacts. My hands tremble very badly, which made some of the pictures in the first batch blurry, so I bought a tripod this time... but I'm still using my camera phone, and I got lens flare. Many indeed are the arts of which I am not a mistress.

Below, we have the blade holder / emitter (I use these terms interchangably). One of the incidental bits I bought this month was the heat sink, TCSS Version 3. Here you can see the copper heat sink screwed into the aluminium lens holder, next to the emitter.

The lens holder has a little bit of a lip on it, so you drop it into the emitter, copper side toward you:

... and screw on the next most southerly piece. The lip on the lens holder is perfectly scaled to lock in between the male and female threads and stay in place.

One of the few parts I did not source from TCSS is this blade safety plug. I just loved the heat-patina look of it. Why is it called a safety plug? Because the LEDs we work with are technically class 2 lasers, which means that direct viewing for more than a quarter of a second can cause damage to your eyesight. Even if you think that you're not the kind of dope who will stare directly into a laser, get a blade plug -- accidents happen, and we have not yet reached the point where we can grow you new eyeballs.

The plug dropped right down into the emitter. It sits on top of the heat sink's lens holder, and the blade set screw holds it in place. Here's what it looks like, looking down the bore of the emitter:

Assemble the emitter / choke to the next piece south:

Now, if you read my earlier post, you may recall that I initially ordered the d-ring pommel insert, and then decided that it wasn't quite what I wanted for this particular saber. So I ordered a couple more:

I decided to go with the one threaded for a recharge port, even though I'm not putting my recharge port there. I didn't like the idea of people looking up inside the hilt through the pommel's perforations, so I went on eBay and bought a quarter-yard of "acoustically transparent" speaker grill cloth. I cut a circle, and put it behind the pommel insert, and secured it with the snap ring.

... is what I'd like to say. But the truth is, I discovered that forceps weren't up to the job, so I bought a pair of cheap snap-ring pliers from Harbor Freight, and the snap ring straight up bent the pliers as I was trying to pull it in tightly enough to engage the groove in the pommel in which it's supposed to sit. So lesson: cheap tools aren't, because now I'll have to spend more money getting another pair of good pliers, whereas if I'd just done that in the first place....

I hope you found that entertaining, and perhaps learned something with me. My next step will be grabbing a bench power supply and some 6061 T6 aluminum tube, and experimenting with anodizing, coloring, and plating. I'll post those results, but it'll probably be a couple of weeks at the very least.