Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

20Jul/170

Building a (Big) Cosplay Prop

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

My oldest daughter is really (I mean really) into Cosplay. Usually this takes the form of dressing up as a favorite character from an animated show or video game. We're both fans of the show RWBY from Rooster Teeth, because it has great music, a great story, and some really fantastic visuals and fight scenes. I even did an article on "Becoming The Character" for one of their characters, Sun Wukong. (I'll be re-publishing that soon!)

One of the best parts about the fight scenes in RWBY is that they all have weapons that are both melee and powered ranged weapons, i.e. every weapon "is also a gun." Somewhere along the line, we decided to build an actual weapon prop. I've been wanting to test my chops building one, anyway. After watching guys like Volpin Props and Punished Props make some amazing stuff, I wanted to see if I could pull off something even halfway impressive.

Prop scale reference

The first order of business was deciding which character's weapon to build. Doing Ruby Rose's (the main character) scythe/rifle would have been doable, but it would have taken a LOT of work, and my daughter didn't want to cosplay as Ruby (just yet). Plus it would have cost a lot to build! And it's HUGE. If you make it even somewhat realistic looking, it will weigh fifty pounds and nearly be impossible to realistically carry.

 

There were plenty of characters that use simple gun/blade combinations, like Blake or Ren. But those could be recreated with what are essentially just modded Nerf guns. She and I finally settled on building Magnhild (a play on the mythical Norse god Thor's hammer) while she would dress as the character Nora. This would be both a challenge to build physically, and a challenge to use simple and/or inexpensive materials.

First, I had to figure out what scale this thing was going to be. According to this render from the show, and adjusting the scale for my daughter's height (she's taller than the character in the show), we figured out the hammer would end up being right at six feet tall if we built it to scale for it to look right.

I started scrounging the internet for still shots of Magnhild in action, and thankfully, the RWBY Wiki had them in spades. With a little bit of magic and some manipulation in GIMP (a free graphics program), I was able to take some shots of the hammer at different angles and scale them to where I could measure them.

12Jul/170

Near-Life Experience

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

"We just had a near-life experience, fellas!"

Today has been 6 years since I got hit by a car. I can't believe how far I've come since then, and how good God has been to me and my family.

I've learned so much since then! And I can honestly say I've heard God's voice on these times in ways I never could have imagined beforehand. God has a way of getting your attention like that.

I'm not going to make a huge deal of it, because- you know- life goes on. But just wanted to say that every year my hip hurts less and less, and this year it's almost completely normal. I've been doing a lot of cycling (more at the beginning of the year, but I'm getting back into it) and I thought it would protest, but amazingly, it's been quite uneventful, which is good when you're talking about potential problem areas.

Along these lines, I'm looking at starting up a bicycle-themed men's small Bible study group. There's tons of life applications we can learn together from it, and I'm looking forward to that possibility. All of this will happen at our new church home, of course- I'll post more about that transition when I can put my thoughts together on it. Lots to say there, but I want to say it in a way that doesn't come across as critical, because it wasn't under bad terms at all.

Filed under: Signs Of Life No Comments
18Jun/170

Social Media Fast

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

After some extended time of prayer yesterday, I realized that I hadn't been spending enough time reading Scripture or praying.

Since I started a new job a few weeks ago, I've been pretty busy. I'm still trying to do the same amount of things I did before, but with 9 less hours a day to get it done. At least I don't have to work weekends!! Thank God for that- but I have to focus more to get the same amount of stuff done.

God brought to my mind the fact that in September, we're going to be helping launch a new church campus here. And He (ever so gently) reminded me that I need to focus on preparing for that, to which I replied "God, what can I do to more fully focus on this new church plant?" to which He replied "you don't really need to be on social media, now do you?"

*Gulp.*

"God, do You mean Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Gab.ai, and internet forums? Those social media sites?"

Yeah, those.

So, I'm going to be taking a (mostly) sabbatical from social media in order to focus on the task God has laid before me.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

I won't completely isolate myself from social media (and I'm not even sure that's possible in this day and age) but I'm severely scaling back my time spent there. I don't need to have news stories, drama, stupidity, and whatnot distracting me from my purpose. Yeah, there's plenty of encouraging things I see there too, but I have almost no way to filter that, thanks to Big Social's inability to discern what's good and what isn't.

In the meanwhile, I'll be able to work on music, prayer, and writing. This is probably for the best all around. I'll post updates here as things go, so stay tuned!

5Jun/170

Done with Adobe (and Google)

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

One of my most popular articles, "How To Install Adobe Air on Ubuntu 12.04" was hit by another bulk DMCA takedown. To say I'm unhappy is an understatement.

You can read more about it here.

Please, I urge you, don't waste your time and money with Adobe products. There are plenty of free and/or affordable alternatives out there.

14Apr/170

Struggling With The Spirit

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

When we believers struggle with the Holy Spirit in our lives, it doesn't mean we're fighting against God- not just against Him, anyway- it also means we're fighting against our own nature. Our war is a spiritual war, according to Ephesians 6:12

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Our nature as sinful people can't be trusted. On our own, we're weak. Our minds lie to ourselves, telling us we don't need God, we don't need redemption, and we don't need help.

But we do need help. And that help comes in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Over the last 20 years, I've learned a lot about God and Scripture. I learned a lot about Jesus Christ, and the early church in the book of Acts. But one thing I was hardly taught was The Holy Spirit. And the sad part is, i don't think it was intentional.

I think churches today fall into two main camps: those who completely ignore the Spirit's work in believers' lives, and those who overemphasize it to the point where even other believers think they're crazy. There seems to be no middle ground, no in-between. No common sense approach seems to have taken hold.

I'm just now, after 20 years in the faith, realizing that I knew next to nothing about the Holy Spirit. And that shouldn't be the case- certainly not in America.

What then, do we know about the Spirit? What does the Scripture say about Him? What is His role in my life?

17Feb/171

Thoughts on Wisdom and Intelligence

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I was reading in the Bible the other day, and I ran across this passage:

"6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" - 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

This rings true, even today. The "wisdom" of the World is at odds with God's wisdom. And I'm not talking about science- I'm talking about worldly "wisdom" that says the only purpose of man is to acquire wealth and power. That there is no absolute truth. That Self is all that matters.

Sometimes I wonder why more people don't understand that their actions are leading them to destruction, but again, the Disciple Paul knows why:

"14 But a natural (worldly) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 2:14-16

Wisdom isn't the same thing as intelligence. I keep telling my kids they're smart, but inexperienced- and wisdom is the application of experience. You can't make wise decisions unless you either 1. learn from personal experience, or 2. learn from someone else's experience. The Bible is full of wisdom, if one were so inclined to read it. But be warned! It might not make sense if you're not trying to follow God's ways.

On that note: Intelligence is a fact, a statistical number, not something to be egotistical about. I'm no more proud of it than I am proud that I have blue eyes... I had no influence in the matter. But like any other tool, it must be honed to a fine edge in order to get the most effective use out of it. If you possessed a powerful weapon, but never trained with it or sharpened it, how effective would it be in an emergency? Not very effective at all, I'd imagine.

Ego says "I deserve to be treated better because I'm smart. My life should be easy."

Reality says "you don't have to tell people you're smart." Simply do what you need to do. Those who are also smart will recognize it in your actions, not your words. Plenty of people say they're smart. Precious few act like it.

The Dark World doesn't care if you're smart. In fact, much pain and suffering were meted out to me because of those who were jealous of my academic standing. I would have been better off playing along and learning advanced math on my own. I eventually figured it out, but those harsh lessons stay with me even to this day.

If you're smart AND wise, then you'll recognize the truth in what I'm saying.

If you're not sure, then you might want to listen to someone who's learned from experience...

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1Feb/170

The Nine Laws: Part Three

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

If you haven't read them, start with my review of The Nine Laws, and subsequent part One and part Two.

The Third Law is Purpose.

Without purpose, we are no different than animals: instinctively roaming about, completely at the whim of the Dark World.

Purpose is something we can change. Purpose is something we can decide for ourselves. We are not bound to mere survival, as are the beasts of the Earth. We have possibilities. Without Purpose, there is no point to accomplishing anything.

What is your life's purpose? Do you even know?

Don't be surprised if you can't explicitly answer this. I couldn't either, for a very long time.

At some point you're probably going to stop and think, "What am I doing with my life?" which is code for "I don't know what my life's purpose is." And if you're a Christian, the answer isn't necessarily simplified. As a young believer in the faith, my thoughts went something like this:

"What is my purpose? To do whatever God wants me to do. My purpose is to… to what? Provide for my family? Glorify God? Those are all pat answers. I want to know what my singular, most powerful purpose really is."

But what does that mean, exactly? What does it mean to "fulfill God's purpose in your life?" Can you give specifics? Can you quantify "Love thy neighbor as yourself?" Do these look the same for every person? Of course they don't. Over the years, God has given people purpose in many ways, for many different reasons. And He's even changed people's purposes over time. So again, what does that mean for you and me?

25Jan/170

Simplification Isn’t Simple

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Apologies to my faithful readers. I've been quite busy! But in my business, I found that my brain was cluttered.

I also found my phone was cluttered, to the point where it was having a hard time keeping up with everything I wanted it to do. And that's when I realized: I was trying to do too much stuff at one time.

I'm always thinking of some project or another I want to get done. I even have time to do most of them! But my downfall is that I attempt to do to many at once, thinking I can cram more in if I multi-task.

And I really, really stink at multi-tasking.

I'm also realizing that with unlimited time to get things done, I don't want to get so busy that I can't enjoy the time I have at home while it lasts. This, too, is difficult.

I don't really have control over as many things as I'd like. But every now and then, I can do something with my time and make it count.

Blogging isn't something that I really make a lot of money with, but that's because I haven't made it a major priority up to this point. It's not that I couldn't... but till now, I've been up to my ears with other, more important things to do.

7Jan/170

Wusses Need Not Apply

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I went rode my bike this morning. We did 50 miles, with temps around 28˚F, with massive headwinds. I'm the Bandidto in the middle. Rule #9 is in effect, of course.

2Jan/170

Old Technology Is Best

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

For a few months now, I've been wanting to get my hands on an old typewriter. Preferably, a manual (non-electric) one. And what happens to show up at the local Goodwill??

A mid-1960's Underwood Touch-Master 5. It's crusty, dirty, and needs a lot of cleaning, but it works! And it was a steal at $15.

My 11-year-old secretary couldn't resist playing with it. It's so tactile! And it makes a nice, solid "clack" noise every time you type a letter. What's not to love?