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Manarelle

Manarelle multi-classes

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Background: Started with the NF BBWW in 2014, joined the rebellion with the Assassins in 2015, have tried many many things, but seem to be settling into weights since late 2017. Figured I'd check out the Warriors Guild and see what's up over here.

 

Me: Used to be full throttle into everything, but age and finding niches have shown that focusing well on a few things is more productive and satisfying. I finished my Master's last year, and took a "refresher" course again over the summer, so I'm still sort of settling into "just" having an 8-5 job, rather than job and school and trying to shoehorn lots of hobbies into every second of spare time. Last year, after graduation, I pared my hobbies down to four: exercise, languages, sewing, and gardening. Then I got into thermoplastics, and tried shoehorning it into my restricted hobbies list by reclassifying "sewing" as "crafting," which really just meant I was overdoing it again. As we move into fall, I'm once again cleaning up and reflecting on goals and outlooks, and want to do a start-over. So...

 

Goals:

  • Exercise: Keep it up. Weights thrice a week, cardio/half-PT twice a week, full PT once a week. This is an established habit. 
  • Languages: Keep it up. I typically do Russian practice during lunch at work, Russian class via Verbling every other week, and maintain French via random articles and books. 
  • Thermoplastics: Started working on a female Thor cosplay ages ago (ok, ok, 8 months ago). Finished a bracer out of Worbla, waiting on not-humid weather to finish up Mjolnir, and started on a breastplate this past weekend. This had taken second place to sewing, but that's closed out so this is primary goal now.
  • Shorthand: Something I've wanted to poke at for a while, and it's come up more recently, as I have to take more written notes for a new work project. Would like to do at least 5 minutes a day.

 

Bonus goals: Not required, no deadlines.

  • Nutrition: Tweak more carbs/fat into protein. 
  • Garden: Winterize the garden, plan a hands-off layout for next year.
  • Wardrobe: Clean out, take stock, and sew or buy enough to make it through the end of fall and all of winter. (This is complicated by gains made lifting weights, which is a problem I'm happy to have). 
  • Clean kitchen/ cabinets: We tend to stockpile. Go through and make sure everything's still good, plan meals to use it. 

 

I realize my goals aren't exciting or innovative, but they make me happy so I'm sticking with them.

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20 hours ago, Manarelle said:

I realize my goals aren't exciting or innovative, but they make me happy so I'm sticking with them.

Quoted for emphasis. Goals that work for you are, well, the goal lol. Good on you for finding what works and makes you happy!

 

Also, what's thermoplastics?

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55 minutes ago, JustCallMeAmber said:

Quoted for emphasis. Goals that work for you are, well, the goal lol. Good on you for finding what works and makes you happy!

 

Also, what's thermoplastics?

 

Thanks. Thermoplastics is a bunch of different plastic materials, generally lumped together because you can heat them up (with a heat gun, warm but not burning to the skin), mold them, and then when they cool, they harden again. Any of the really crazy cosplay armor you see - that's almost guaranteed to be thermoplastics. So far, I've made a bracer out of Worbla (thin, very flexible, easy to layer), practice kenpo karate knives out of thick EVA foam (think the anti-fatigue mats you see on concrete floors), and most of Mjolnir out of EVA foam yoga bricks. Honestly, it's fun, silly, and not terribly expensive, and you get to have neat props. I doubt I'll get to professional-level cosplaying, but again, I'm enjoying the process. 

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Random update, since the weekend will be busy:

  • Exercise: yes.
  • Languages: yes.
  • Thermoplastics: yes.
  • Shorthand: yes.

Semi-productive week on thermoplastics - I think I have a decent first prototype pattern , based on paper scribblings and a mock-up (that I could not have done without the dress form). Managed to get it all cut out today, although I didn't realize my "nice" EVA foam (bought new, before I discovered a stack of old, dirty, cut up panels in the basement crawl space) is heavily textured. Since I expect the first prototype to not be the final, this isn't a huge deal, but it is annoying to cut out. Next step: even off the cut edges with the Dremel and then glue them together.  Might need to wait for the weather to break because the contact glue is viciously chemical-smelling.  

 

eb0bb730-cdab-4cd7-9b0b-5b9565ffe61c-original.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bounds  40c476c5-993f-4257-a3f1-b85a80d564f4-original.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bounds  b177fded-8268-4380-a44b-30c8fa7350b7-original.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bounds 

Pattern v1                                                      Pattern v2 and v3                                                               Cutouts from EVA foam             

 

Have gotten fairly steady work on shorthand: I've learned 22 signs (do not always equate to letters), and can verrrry slowly read out shorthand words. It'll take time, but I'm working on it. At the gym, I tried doing pike-ups on a balance ball, and managed a whopping 3 sets of... four. Switched to pike-ups on a rowing machine seat, and managed 3 sets of 8, and no wrist pain (we won't talk about ab soreness doing crows, later), so I'll probably just go with that for now. Managed to go over protein goals and under carb goals this week, then ran out of prepped food, so tanked today. Leaving tomorrow night to take a scuba lesson with my dad on Saturday, which has thrown my schedule off somewhat, but I am looking forward to. 

 

It's late, I'm rambling. TL;DR: decent week. 

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32 minutes ago, Manarelle said:

Semi-productive week on thermoplastics

 

Is a phrase you don't see everyday!!! How neat! ALSO YOOOOOO MANARELLLEEEEE :D Hi!

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On 9/11/2018 at 6:32 AM, Manarelle said:

Weights thrice a week

 

Heh...

 

Possibly the first person to use "thrice" in here... we're lifters not languagers...

 

Also, YAY you're here... in the best guild...

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4 hours ago, Blocky said:

 

Heh...

 

Possibly the first person to use "thrice" in here... we're lifters not languagers...

Says the guy learning another language

 

4 hours ago, Blocky said:

Also, YAY you're here... in the best guild...

darn tootin'

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16 hours ago, RedStone said:

Is a phrase you don't see everyday!!! How neat! ALSO YOOOOOO MANARELLLEEEEE :D Hi!

 

Hey, haven't seen you in a while (sorry, I've been hermitting). And yeah, you'll see some weird phrases in here. The struggle to set up the sewing dummy was also... linguistically odd. :)

 

7 hours ago, Blocky said:

Possibly the first person to use "thrice" in here... we're lifters not languagers...

 

Also, YAY you're here... in the best guild...

 

Uh huh, says the man learning one of the wold's hardest languages. Just saying. And yay, hello, thanks. :) Definitely loving the weights and feeling stronger. 

 

2 hours ago, Grumble said:

Says the guy learning another language

 

darn tootin'

 

Heh, jinx... two hours later. :) 

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On 9/11/2018 at 1:06 PM, Manarelle said:

Thanks. Thermoplastics is a bunch of different plastic materials, generally lumped together because you can heat them up (with a heat gun, warm but not burning to the skin), mold them, and then when they cool, they harden again.

I'm not sure what you're doing.  If I don't burn myself, I'm not making progress.

 

The skin on my fingers is just one more sacrifice to the gods of cosplay.

 

17 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Semi-productive week on thermoplastics - I think I have a decent first prototype pattern , based on paper scribblings and a mock-up (that I could not have done without the dress form). Managed to get it all cut out today, although I didn't realize my "nice" EVA foam (bought new, before I discovered a stack of old, dirty, cut up panels in the basement crawl space) is heavily textured. Since I expect the first prototype to not be the final, this isn't a huge deal, but it is annoying to cut out. Next step: even off the cut edges with the Dremel and then glue them together.  Might need to wait for the weather to break because the contact glue is viciously chemical-smelling.  

The easiest way to find something is to go buy a replacement. >_<  That's how I ended up with 4 tape measures.  Where do you find EVA foam without the texture?  I always have to hide it or sand it.  Also, what glue do you use?  After using it for Alphonse last year, I'm a fan of Barge's all purpose cement.  The smell is strong, but not overpowering, and it takes a while to dry, but once it does, it never comes apart.

 

7 hours ago, Blocky said:

Also, YAY you're here... in the best guild...

Lies.  Weight training is just bodyweight without the variety. :playful::playful::playful:

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24 minutes ago, Anim07734 said:

I'm not sure what you're doing.  If I don't burn myself, I'm not making progress.

 

The skin on my fingers is just one more sacrifice to the gods of cosplay.

 

I turn red easily (thank you, public speaking and handstanding face), but apparently I don't burn easily. Knock on wood. I'll be fitting more tender areas of the body with this armor, so we shall see (crosses fingers). I do have a tendency to walk away from crafting with sharpie residue all over my hands... and arms... but knock on wood, no burns yet. 

 

30 minutes ago, Anim07734 said:

The easiest way to find something is to go buy a replacement. >_<  That's how I ended up with 4 tape measures.  Where do you find EVA foam without the texture?  I always have to hide it or sand it.  Also, what glue do you use?  After using it for Alphonse last year, I'm a fan of Barge's all purpose cement.  The smell is strong, but not overpowering, and it takes a while to dry, but once it does, it never comes apart.

 

There might be two Dremels in the basement... and we won't talk about the duplicates in the sewing box. I'm new enough to thermoplastics that I haven't amassed lots of stuff just yet, and thankfully my gentleman is pretty good at finding things, like the excess foam squares in the crawlspace from a previous renter. The stuff in the crawl space has a little bit of texture, like small cross-hatching, which helped hold the glue together on the kenpo knives. The stuff I got from home depot has like 1/4" deep diamond ridges in it, it's ridiculously aggressive. I keep meaning to pester you with cosplay questions, then they slip my mind when I'm on here at work. I got a bottle of Dap Weldwood contact cement. Used it to repair a small custom-build figurine that had broken when my gentleman was cleaning. It worked like a charm, but it's harsh. I can't imagine using it on multiple large surfaces. A coworker is redoing her bathroom, promised me two bathroom fans to see if I can jury-rig a sanding/ painting/ glueing booth to vent outdoors. 

 

Bleah. I need more people to talk cosplay with so I don't ramble, sorry.

 

41 minutes ago, Anim07734 said:

Lies.  Weight training is just bodyweight without the variety. :playful::playful::playful:

 

34 minutes ago, Grumble said:

Ooh, them's fightin' words.

 

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YUSSSSS HERE FOR ALL THE THINGS!!!! I want to bust out crafting / sewing stuff again, and these thermoplastics are inspiring / cool to hear about!

 

Also, here for all the weights and language things - I'm slowly making peace with not having the time available (yet) for regular language study. Slowly.

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Overall decent weekend. Went to a scuba-diving lesson with my dad (a very, very late Christmas present from last year), and felt confident in a bathing suit for the first time in pretty much ever. Found an unexpected note of panic when asked to submerge and there was enough water in my mask to cover my nose. Not really a problem, since you're breathing through your mouth anyway, but my brain decided to have issues with that. Took my time, did it over and over, and eventually got used to it, though by goodness I was clenching my jaw around that mouthpiece the whole time. :) Overall, it was a lot of fun, though expensive enough that I doubt I'll become certified on my own. Very weird feeling, having forced tunnel vision, moving slowly, and hearing gets wonky once your ears fill in. You'd think it'd be quiet, just in a pool with three people and you'd be wrong. I'm sure it's more weird in open water; maybe some day I'll find out. 

 

Since that took most of the day Saturday and drive time Friday night, I didn't get much crafting done this weekend. Did go clothes shopping, and actually found enough work shirts that I don't need to sew, so I can just focus on thermoplastics. My gentleman, in a very out-of-character move, suggested we work on the back yard Sunday evening, since I've been an absolute slacker and have done nothing with it for literally months. We didn't get all of it cleaned up, but I got the garden section weeded, he got the lawn edged, and I put down diatomaceous earth to stop the horde of crickets that appear to be assaulting our domicile. Next steps involve edging the parking pad, trying to level out the lawn (ha), and winterizing the garden area so there will be fewer weeds next year. Also need to consolidate the pots and extra dirt and decide what to keep and what to let go. Thankfully, evenings seem to be cooling off (at last!) so there's time to work without being boiled alive. Before and after: 

 

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We're not winning any landscaping trophies,  but it looks less like a neglected mess... a bit... 

 

Did get a chance to restock on prepped foods, and tried adding whey protein to oatmeal cookies (omg yes, success), so hopefully I can work on more protein this week. 

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Couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble with the overhead press yesterday; then realized I'd misread my notes and put an extra 5 pounds on the bar. You wouldn't think it would make that much difference but it did. 

 

Insecure whining:

Spoiler

When I was young, I was tiny; didn't hit 100 lbs until I was maybe 15, could still pass as under 10 until then. Popped up to current height (5'9") in 10th  grade, but was still scrawny until after high school. Life happens, started filling out, traumatic events happened and I gained more weight, aged and gained even more. Started with cardio when I realized I was early 30s and grunting and groaning to get up from sitting on the floor. Was doing stupid amounts of cardio when I hit my lowest weight, 175, but was definitely "skinny fat." Added bodyweight exercises, then light weights at home, then at the beginning of this year, hit the weights section in the gym. Part of me is very proud of the progress I'm making at the gym, and I can see changes slowly happening as muscles build. I love being surprised when it's easier than expected to lift/ move/ interact with heavy things. As mentioned above, I finally felt confident in a bathing suit, and I'm working to build enough muscle to effectively cosplay Thor and to feel competent in case of a zombie outbreak/ other catastrophe. 

 

As much as I try, though, there's still that stupid voice in the back of my head that whispers that women shouldn't weigh as much as I do. That I should keep working on muscle, but focus more on skimming off fat, on losing weight, on being conventionally attractive... but also that I'm too old and too fat to look good in anything. Give up, it's never going to work, eat the crappy food that's easier to get and prepare and don't bother with tracking. (As I write this out, it seems even stupider since it's pushing me in very opposite directions). 

 

The frustrating part is that I haven't given in to that voice - either in giving up or in shifting my goals from being stronger - in three years, since I quit over-cardio-ing and started bodyweight workouts. I've resisted the qq of the other ladies at work who obsess over fat and weight. They tell me I look great and they can't believe I weigh what I do, but then they continue to qq about being literally 50 lbs lighter than I am and "I need to lose just like 10 more pounds!" (To be fair, they're all shorter than I am, but still). I've found inspirational pictures of badass women of all sizes, and I want to be strong and badass and not just cute and tiny but that idiot voice just wont... go... away...

 

Insecure whining aside, noob lifting question: at what point should one reconsider one's calorie goals? I picked a semi-arbitrary one based on several calculators' estimate of maintenance, but I find I've been edging closer and closer to it over the past few weeks, and am starting to go over on particularly hungry days, despite looking for protein-rich options. Is it "better" to do bulk/cut phases, or just keep patiently, slowly building muscle while not changing body fat much? I feel like I've read so much information that I've overloaded and not sure what to do.

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57 minutes ago, Manarelle said:

Couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble with the overhead press yesterday; then realized I'd misread my notes and put an extra 5 pounds on the bar. You wouldn't think it would make that much difference but it did. 

But you now have a new baseline even better than you thought! Counts as a huge win.

 

57 minutes ago, Manarelle said:

Insecure whining aside, noob lifting question: at what point should one reconsider one's calorie goals? I picked a semi-arbitrary one based on several calculators' estimate of maintenance, but I find I've been edging closer and closer to it over the past few weeks, and am starting to go over on particularly hungry days, despite looking for protein-rich options. Is it "better" to do bulk/cut phases, or just keep patiently, slowly building muscle while not changing body fat much? I feel like I've read so much information that I've overloaded and not sure what to do.

There's so much involved in calories and bulking/cutting, and it's definitely easy to get overwhelmed. Are you maintaining your weight with your current calorie consumption? What are your goals over the next 6 months to a year?

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1 hour ago, Grumble said:

But you now have a new baseline even better than you thought! Counts as a huge win.

 

Definitely. Quite proud of that.

 

1 hour ago, Grumble said:

There's so much involved in calories and bulking/cutting, and it's definitely easy to get overwhelmed. Are you maintaining your weight with your current calorie consumption? What are your goals over the next 6 months to a year?

 

I've been keeping within 3 lbs, fluctuating a little back and forth, for the past nine months, roughly since I started weights at the gym. They've got a scale/ body fat measurement thing there, and my body fat has changed roughly 1% in that time, if their thing is to be believed. For goals, I'm torn (see insecure whining) between wanting to just keep up the slow but steady progress or really try to buckle down and make visible progress for next year's con schedule so I can do the Thor cosplay. 

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2 minutes ago, Manarelle said:

 

I've been keeping within 3 lbs, fluctuating a little back and forth, for the past nine months, roughly since I started weights at the gym. They've got a scale/ body fat measurement thing there, and my body fat has changed roughly 1% in that time, if their thing is to be believed. For goals, I'm torn (see insecure whining) between wanting to just keep up the slow but steady progress or really try to buckle down and make visible progress for next year's con schedule so I can do the Thor cosplay. 

 

So you have a pretty good idea of what your maintenance cals are. That's a good thing. 

Now, Thor be Buff AND Cut (not a sustainable lifestyle, you should read about what it takes for some of those actors to maintain their physiques throughout filming.) and you want to be there too. SO that means changing something, but is it cals or macros? (See? Rabbit hole) I would start simple. Adjust your cals down by maybe 100 a day. See if that changes anything. Also, are you tracking macros? Do you understand macros? (Genuinely want to know, as that's a whole other beast)

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39 minutes ago, Grumble said:

So you have a pretty good idea of what your maintenance cals are. That's a good thing. 

Now, Thor be Buff AND Cut (not a sustainable lifestyle, you should read about what it takes for some of those actors to maintain their physiques throughout filming.) and you want to be there too. SO that means changing something, but is it cals or macros? (See? Rabbit hole) I would start simple. Adjust your cals down by maybe 100 a day. See if that changes anything. Also, are you tracking macros? Do you understand macros? (Genuinely want to know, as that's a whole other beast)

 

Honestly, if I could just get my arms to be well-muscled, that's a good enough goal; I'm not aiming for Hollywood-style physique. I like food too much to ever look like that, and I'm okay with it. I'm on-and-off using MFP, have loose macro goals based on slight improvements of what I normally eat. I understand the general concept of macros, but find it difficult to make large changes (sob story about lactose intolerant and I loathe veggies with every atom of my existence). 

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Seems to always be the case that change happens after you complain about it. Maybe it's just that I get sick of listening to myself whine and take the steps I know I need, but there it is. Have broken right through my protein intake plateau, trading out a couple "it'll get me by" items for "this is better for me" ones, and of course, once I make the effort, I figure out I actually like them, too (shocker). Went ahead and kept the higher weight for overhead press, and added a bit to squats, just for the fun of it. I'm tired, but it's a good tired, not a pushed too hard tired.

 

In unrelated news, I also learned that sanding with a sanding block uses the same muscles as lat pull-downs and handstand practice - lucky me. Cleaned up the chestplate pieces in preparation for glueing (still need to figure out how to do that without gassing myself down in the basement), but since that isn't exciting or terribly involved, I went ahead and sanded down three practice kenpo knives, too. They're all drying out and waiting for decent weather to be painted and sealed, along with Mjolnir. Saturday looks potentially doable, then another week of rain. :( Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

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Very classy, high-tech drying rack: towel on a washing machine next to a utility sink. Thankfully, the gentleman does laundry on the weekends, so there's plenty of time for it to dry and get moved. Also, holy crap does a hand-held vacuum make clean-up easier after using a dremel. 

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Week... 1? Really? Wow. Ok.

Goals: 

  • Exercise: yes, and apparently extra by being dumb and not reading my notes correctly.
  • Languages: yes. Personal revelation below.
  • Thermoplastics: yes! Finally! Good painting weather! 
  • Shorthand: not really. They say you make time for what you consider is important, and apparently this isn't super important. It's still on my list though.

Homework for this week's Russian lesson was a packet on text speak and formal vs informal written communication. One of the exercises was "Do you think that the change in language brought about by the internet is good or bad? Explain why and be prepared to defend your position." Side note - my benchmark for considering myself "fluent" in any language is the ability to hold abstract/philosophical debate in it. I am fluent in French, I am not in Russian. But then I realized as I was composing my response that yes, debate about language shift is, in point of fact, both abstract and somewhat philosophical. I wasn't doing it fast, and I'm sure there were better, "учённее" ( more learnéd) synonyms for the words I was groping after, but... I was doing it. Sneaky teachers, leading you to feel better about yourself...

 

In other news, we finally got a day that wasn't either actively raining or 90+% humidity, so I lined up all my outdoor/ caustic smelling projects and got down to business. I plasti-dip sprayed two more kenpo knives, put the final coat of paint on Mjolnir, and glued together most of the chestplate pieces. Stopped off at Home Depot first thing in the morning and got a respirator, even, so no after-effects. It was ridiculously cool watching the chestplate form, piece by piece, and knowing that was 100% my doing. It's not perfect, but the next step is to take the heat gun to it and mold it to fit better. Should probably also figure out how I'm going to close it, and make sure it fits over my head, hm...

 

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High tech gluing station: bucket and kneeling mat to sit on, wheeled trug with newspaper and rocks to work on. It worked!

 

I had been planning to sand the sides of Mjolnir, to give it a brushed-metal look before putting the clearcoat on, but I kind of like how it turned out. I clear coated the taped part of the handle, to see how it looks, and if it looks good in the daylight tomorrow (or the next day we have daylight... another week of rain in the forecast, sigh), I'll just do that. Then all that's left is the handle and strap and after six months and several mistakes, Mjolnir will be DONE. (Squee). 

 

1b7d4001-d6b9-4569-b3f9-8455f4288acf-original.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bounds 

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Week 2 kickoff; making a few tweaks this week.

  • Tracking: I did lower my calorie goal yesterday, and managed to stay within it, despite the company "summer" picnic in the afternoon (we won't talk about the macros, though, just the calories). I've been doing this half-heartedly lately, because my weight hasn't changed in months, but I need to get back on this for srs now.
  • Cleaning: Since the week is going to be raining and humid (and temps all over the place) anyway, I'm going to put all my other projects on hold and do a cleaning week. I've already gone through the pantry, the fridge, winter shoes/ boots, and books/ comics. Still need: winter clothes, kitchen cupboards, crafting supplies, paperwork cabinet, hall closet(s), and general cleanup. This does not include outdoors areas, mostly because I still need to hear back from the bee relocation people. 
  • Shorthand: This is being downgraded to second-level hobby. I will do 5 minutes when I have time, but I'm not going to stress about it or put it in front of other scheduled things. The phonetics aspect of it is messing with my language processors; can't have it interfering with actual language study, but I don't want to give it up completely.
  • Thermoplastics: IF - and that's a big if - I finish cleaning before the weather clears, I can start designing and make a test run for articulated boot covers for Thor. Since those will be Worbla, not EVA foam, I can work on those inside, but I don't want to waste good weather on them. 

I have a deadline for the cosplay, which is probably good, as it will motivate me more than "just something to tinker with." The gentleman has an artist he really likes, but who never comes to the east coast; he might be doing a Dallas con in May next year. Once he confirms, we'll get tickets/ book hotels, etc, but I'm going to assume he will, and that I need this outfit done by then. That means finishing thermoplastics before the weather gets too bad, then doing the cloth/ leather parts of it over the winter. (Spring doesn't count because that's gardening time, even minimal gardening, so it needs to be done before spring). 

 

Exercise and language goals remain unchanged this week. 

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16 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Shorthand: This is being downgraded to second-level hobby.

I should probably categorize my activities like this.  There are some things I want to do, but in reality they are not a high enough priority to actually happen.  I need to just admit to myself that they are second tier hobbies and not worry about making sure I get to all of them.

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