Monday, June 4, 2018

I Read the Comments

On rare occasions, after something I’ve done gets noticed and some media outlet posts a bit of video or an article about me or my projects, I get a chance to see someone else’s take on what I’m doing with all of my time.  Then, even though I know I shouldn’t and it’ll almost always sour my mood, I do the one thing I never should.

I read the comments.

Usually, they’re pretty positive.  But then, almost always, there’s the trolls.  The smug web-dwellers that seem consumed with a need to talk about how pointless my endeavors are, how frivolous or meaningless my latest achievement is, or just make blatant assumptions about who I am or what my motives are, then proceed to talk down to me from there.  I'll never fully understand what drives people to think their time is well-spent by shoveling crap on top of someone else’s efforts, but it always manages to get under my skin just a little.

Today a friend of mine pointed out that those folks who usually have the harshest critique about something others create tend to have done the least with their own lives.  He tells me that the hot air spewing from the nobodies who claim they're certain they could have or would have done better is hardly my concern. 

On an intellectual level I know that their vitriol is a manifestation of their own festering doubts and insecurities.  A malignant side-effect of what they haven't done with their own time.  A re-branding of their concern that they're utterly wasting their short lives.  They go about their mundane day to day doing nothing challenging, bringing nothing of any particular interest to the rest of the world. They live in fear that the shaky timbers of their fragile ego might any second be beaten down by the roaring waves of reality.  Their only hope; to discourage the doers to the point of inaction so that mediocrity becomes just the way of things rather than their own personal failure.

I welcome criticism.  It’s always valuable to have an objective viewpoint that can point out the details that I may have overlooked or a distant third-party who is unhindered by the limited view from my particular trench and can offer the occasional insight that must come from outside.  This is the kind of feedback that drives us to learn and improve, and in so doing thrive.

But these are not critics.  These people are faceless shadows in the night calling you into a dark alley. Their words, occasionally even disguised as wisdom, are traps.  They are every bit as lost as any one of us.  But unlike those of us who create, who dare to fail, they’re too cowardly to try.  Too afraid to admit their potential for fallibility.

These comments are the death-thumps of sad little pigeons slamming into life’s windows.  Pitiful, ignorable noises of hapless creatures flailing and failing to understand a limited attempt to show them something.  

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down after getting unnecessarily negative feedback, just remember they're most likely just upset that you’ve reminded them just how little they do.  How little they are.  How ridiculous they look.

If you’re about to post a nasty comment to make yourself feel better about what you’re not doing, realize that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a solid plan and the only difference between a goal and an achievement is solid effort...

...and the only thing holding you back is you.

A Couple of Videos from the 2018 Bay Area Maker Faire

Every time I go to the Bay Area Maker Faire, it seems like there's at least a few different times where someone sticks a camera and a microphone in front of me and asks what I'm doing there. This year was no exception. Here's a couple of videos that I've found so far.

For starters, Caleb Kraft from Make: was livestreaming a walking tour of the Faire. You can see it cued up to start with my segment here:


Then Norm and the guys from stopped by to take a look at the newly-finished Fallout power armor:   

I'm sure there will be more as time goes by.  Not everyone gets their posts online in a timely manner like I do. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

2018 Bay Area Maker Faire

After a grueling couple of weeks trying to finish more projects than any sane person should ever try to fit into that time, everything was loaded into trucks and trailers and we left Petaluma, southbound for San Mateo and the 2018 Bay Area Maker Faire.

We arrived fairly late on setup day and immediately set about building the display booth:
Booth Building

As that was coming together, we were also installing ED-209 in his parking space for the weekend:
ED Assembly

Even after four years or so, he's still looking pretty good:
ED Looking Good

Freddy busied himself with building a frame to hang the Grey Knight Terminator costume on:
Grey Knight Stacking

While I climbed aloft to add a few more things to the top of the booth:
Sign Install

Before too long, the display racks were filled with all of the weapon props we brought:
Gun Rack

Gun Rack 2

The rusty steel T-60 was set up as a bust display:
T-60 Bust

So was my blue HALO Spartan armor from way back:
Display Corner

And "Big Sexy," my Dark Angels Space Marine Sergeant costume:
Big Sexy

Right in the middle of the display was a stack of my books available for sale:
Book Sales
You can get a copy here (LINK) if you haven't got it already.

With that, the whole display was together and ready to go:


First visitors, the San Mateo Police Department:
SMPD Chainsword

SMPD Bolt Pistol

About that time, the whole crew was lined up and ready to go:
Part of the Crew

The floodgates opened, attendees poured in, and for the rest of the weekend, my view looked about like so:
Crowd at the Booth

Folks stopped by to get signed copies of my book, other makers came to ask how to make the things we make, and countless small children and adults alike queued up to try on helmets and pose for pictures.  It was an all-around success.  Mostly it looked like this:

At some point we got a couple of my Warhammer costumes dressed and walking around:
40k Portrait

We also got Freddy into his T-60 Power Armor:
Rigging Freddy into T-60

It came out pretty good:
Two Big New Things

The Grey Knight, sadly, spent the weekend in statue mode:
Grey Knight Full-Length

But he still looked pretty good:
Grey Knight Angry

The same goes for my rusty, bare steel T-60:
T-60 Hero Shot

T-60 Texture

But while I was stationed in the booth and my crew answered questions, a few of my costumes managed to get out and about.  First was Thor, the Goddess of Thunder, worn by the lovely Lady Shawnon:
Thor at the Maker Faire

Thor on Dragon Bike

Goddess of Thunder

Thor in Gloom

Thor vs. Balloon Cthulhu

Thor and Fans

Then one of my First Order TIE Fighter Pilots did the rounds worn by my cousin Drake.  Here he is driving a giant cupcake:
FOTI Driving Cupcake 1

And holding his own in a dance-off:
FOTI Dance-Off

Before shooting down some very threatening bubbles:
FOTI Bubble Attack

He made it a point to drive everything he could get his hands on:
TIE Pilot on Bike Contraption

FOTI Train Engineer

FOTI Solar Car

FOTI and DeLorean Hovercraft

FOTI and Dragon Bike

And met a few fans along the way:

FOTI and Wee Trooper

He looked like he was having a good time, but somehow he still failed to trigger the Smile Detector:
FOTI Smile Detector 2

Finally, we got Madison, one of my newer crewmembers, into the Lady Shawnon's Bo Katan costume so she could get out and see the Faire in character. First she found some other Star Wars nerds:
Madi and Jawa

Land Speeder Commandeer

Then she found all kinds of other interesting things out and about:
Make: Bo Katan

Madi and Baymax

Sweeping Mando

Somewhere along the way, the Freddy donned his T-60 and Rachel put on her vault suit so they could wander a bit:
Wasteland Walk

T-60 Fist Bump

Jailed Power Armor

So taken for all in all, this year's Maker Faire was a success and we can look forward to doing it all again next year.
Booth Crew

Stay tuned...