Rethinking Obsolescence: Reclaimed Wood and DIY Culture


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Reclaimed wood is big business these days. A simple Google search turns up millions of shopping results and billions of pictures, ideas, and Pinterest boards or Instagram photos. Reclaimed wood can go for prices from $7 to $25 per square foot, and it’s being sold by big companies. In comparison, new wood can be sold for prices as low as $3 per square foot.

I’m serious.

That’s roughly equivalent trying to collect royalties on an expired copyright and making someone pay for the same service twice. It’s shady, it’s borderline unethical, and it’s really, really annoying.

In short, they are making people pay for a used item, and not even for charity. For profit. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this?

Kitschy post-consumer culture puts reclaimed wood in demand. But, again, this is reclaimed wood. It’s already been used and paid for once. Sure, I’m all for reusing lumber and saving forests! But selling it for more than new?

Why make people pay more to be environmentally friendly?

I’d much rather go out and get my own. I’ll work for it, thank you very much. It’s my time and I’ll spend it how I like. After all, I’ve got more time than money.

Rant over.




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“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Somehow, those words sound strangely beautiful to me. They always have, but I haven’t quite been able to put words to why until lately.

Maybe part of the reason why can be found in two shows that I’ve watched recently.

In the season finale of the first season of Agents of Shield, Fitz and Simmons are locked in an airtight steel box at the bottom of the ocean with (almost) no way out, and they talk about dying, as one does in a steel box at the bottom of the ocean. “It’s not so bad,” Jemma says, “that the rough matter in us will one day be part of a star.” (Or something to that effect.

In “The Rings of Akhaten,” the Doctor has taken Clara on an adventure far beyond her place in time or space. They go to a distant planet, where they meet a little girl whose one duty is to sing a song. Time has run out since the Sun-Singers started, however, and the little girl is terrified, so the Doctor tells her a story: that she is the only one like her, that every element in her body was forged in the heart of a supernova, and that nowhere else in all of time and space is to be found that singular identity that forms her.

During our new pastor’s Ash Wednesday homily, he quoted a lesser-known corollary of these same words: “Remember, dust, that you are man,” referring to the Resurrection.

It is such a curious and glorious fate that God can create things that are more than the sum of their matter.

Clockwork Flight Earrings

I made a new thing on my design blog. Please go check it out!


These elegant, steampunk-inspired earrings required a bit of trial and error, but they were very fun to make.

I’ve always wanted to make a pair of steampunk earrings, but the ironic thing is I’d never thought about what a pair of steampunk earrings would look like. I’ve seen chandelier-style ones with lots of tiny charms, and I’ve seen ones which involved a lot of chains, brass and pewter.

But as I was looking through my collection of charms, something just clicked. Suddenly, I knew exactly what I was doing with those charms. I’d had the small wing, key and gear charms for a long time, and the filigree pieces for even longer. And now I had an idea what to do with them.

At first, I had no idea how many charms I should add. I started out with 7, but that was too many. They were really heavy and…

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A Brief Diversion


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In honor of the first day of winter, I bring you this small offering. Enjoy!

“What are we investigating again, Miss?” Benton asked, stumbling awkwardly on his snowshoes.

“Nothing much, Sergeant,” Jo replied, trying to steady him. “Frankly, I think the Brigadier just wanted us out of headquarters.”

“We can be a bit of a rowdy lot,” Benton admitted, laughing wryly.

“Except the Doctor, of course,” Jo said. “He takes everything too seriously!”

“We’re opposite ends of the spectrum,” Benton agreed thoughtfully. Jo shoved him playfully.

“There, all the science is rubbing off on you!”

“No, it’s just something I heard the Doctor say,” Benton said placidly. Jo giggled.

“Wait a minute, Sergeant—I’ve got an idea!”

“Are you two going to dawdle all day?” the Doctor called from up ahead. Jo squished snow in between her gloves.

“Not really, Doctor!”

The snowball smacked the Doctor squarely in the back of the head. He whirled around, brushing snow out of his hair and looking a little bit annoyed. “Really, Jo!”

Benton’s snowball hit the Doctor in the face. The Doctor spluttered, spitting out dog- and leather-flavored snow. Jo broke into a fit of laughter. The Doctor drew himself up.

“I can see I have no choice,” he said, and hefted a large chunk of snow from the side of the road at them. Jo and Benton dived in different directions and the game was on. They slid and scrambled around in the snow, ducking out of cover to fire off volleys at each other.

There was a brief ceasefire as a UNIT truck pulled up on the road. “You three were supposed to report in a half hour ago!” exclaimed Captain Yates. Four well-aimed snowballs knocked him flat on his backside, the Doctor making good use of both his hands ambidextrously.

Howling bloody murder, Yates dived into the fray.

Another fifteen minutes later, the Brigadier drove up on a motorcycle. Alstair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart had seen quite a few strange things in his time, but never anything quite so strange as UNIT’s scientific adviser holding a sergeant in a headlock, with his assistant clinging to his back shoving snow down the back of his neck, and a captain yelling like a banshee and pelting all three of them with snowballs.

Years later, Lethbridge-Stewart would remember the look on the Doctor’s face as the one and only guilty expression he had ever surprised out of the Time Lord.

Future direction for “Bound to the Flame”?

Hello, everyone!

I’ve been thinking about Bound to the Flame a bit lately, and I realized that there’s another direction I could take it; I could take the concept of the story and then set it in modern times for an urban fantasy. It would tell the story of magical Protectorates, a system by which a skeptical public is defended from magical threats by a group of dedicated Wielders. Rowan would be the heir to one of the Protectorates, and, as in the original story, Margery would have stumbled into something she shouldn’t have by accident. Rowan’s brother would have been kidnapped by one of their enemies in an attempt to lure Rowan’s parents out, and Rowan and Margery would go on the quest to find and rescue him, as in the original.

What do you think? Please let me know in the poll and give me your reasons in the comments!

NaNoWriMo: The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society


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This November, ill-advised or not, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Since I am currently waiting for my next class (6:30 to 9:10 pm, I am gonna die if I don’t get out early), I thought I might as well take the time to introduce you to my project and the two main characters.

The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society is a historical fantasy (pssst, it’s steampunk) novel set in the later years of the Victorian era and follows the adventures of Maeghan LeClere and James Pennon as they try to avert the annexation of a small German princedom by the growing empire of Kaiser Wilhelm I (I haven’t technically fact-checked it yet, fact-checking can wait until the end of NaNo!), an event which might catapult the world with its growing system of alliances into a vicious war (as in, World War I, if it started early.)

Maeghan is a young American woman, orphaned and out to make her way in the world, even if it’s an ultimately unremarkable one. She’s very good at organization, but balks at the idea of being put in charge of things. (I think we already know how we’re going to force some character development, guys.) She’s never done anything notable in her life, but that’s about to change.

James is English nobility–a youngest son, insignificant by birth, practically penniless, and yet too determined a personality to fade into mediocrity or to take a minor government position. Intelligent (perhaps too intelligent for his own good) and with a startling streak of fire in his character, he’s never failed to get anything he’s ever fought for, but he doesn’t quite live in the real world; he’s been sheltered his entire life. He’s never been burned before, and while he knows on a cognitive level that he could get hurt, he hasn’t quite realized it on an emotional one. He’s also a bit oblivious to when people are hitting on him, and it’s a rather unpleasant shock for him to be reminded that some people consider him a marriage prospect. His worst fear–the secret fear that he himself isn’t even really aware of–is failure.

James is a member of the mysterious, prestigious organization known as “The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society,” a group for upper-class people (men and with some restrictions, women) who don’t settle down easily. Occasionally, they will provide some services–guides, detectives, scientists, students and so forth–on the condition that whatever payment is made is made to the Society, in the place of dues (and the surplus goes to make up pensions for some members who, like James, are sophisticated enough to belong but who don’t have livings of their own.)

Maeghan is travelling to Europe, by coincidence aboard the same airship as James. Working together, they manage to save the airship, and James invites Maeghan to join the Society as his protege. (Don’t look at me like that. Read it and weep, romance fans–there’s not really going to be any in this book.)

However, that’s really only the beginning for the two of them.

Hopefully you all enjoy my recaps of their misadventures throughout the month.

(Rosalie, did I mention that James is redecorating the mind palace for Christmas? Already? And the Doctor is aiding and abetting. Those two are terrible. It was a bad idea to have the Doctor and Charley stand in for James and Maeghan, since they get up to twice as much trouble after discovering their sympathies.)

Why I Love “Daredevil”


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Lately, I’ve been watching Daredevil on a free trial of Netflix that I was forced to get in order to complete a different class. I might as well milk it for all it’s worth while I’ve got it.

It’s pretty different, watching Netflix shows. They tend to be written much more tightly and be more hard-hitting than TV shows. Since it’s sort of a “view at your own discretion” situation, they can also deal with things that most channels would shy away from discussing.

I love the way Daredevil is written. The dialogue is tight and loaded. Not a single word is wasted. Each character has a distinct voice, or even multiple voices–Matt has his “lawyer” voice, which is reasoned and comes across as almost stilted but very well put-together; his “informal” voice–his natural way of talking; and his “Daredevil” voice, which is much more terse than either of the others. The very choice of words builds into the characters.

At one point, Matt asks Karen if she believes; she replies that she doesn’t. In return, she asks him if he does. He replies “Catholic.” The reply is so textured, so many-faceted, not least because of his word choice.

It implies so much. Matt sees his faith as part of who he is, fundamentally; to him, it’s the thing that motivates him to take a stand and not back down; to get up again when he gets knocked down. It’s both a motivation and an example. For him, his faith is something concrete.

But it’s not just part of Matt’s identity that his word choice hints at.

It implies that Matt also believes that it doesn’t just matter that you believe; your exact beliefs matter too. That’s rather an unpopular opinion to hold in these days of watered-down Christianity, where hounded Christians greet any fellow Christian of any denomination as a friend in a world that seems to hate their guts. But that’s just a symptom–a welcome one, though–of a bigger problem.

A lot of people seem to think that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you do. Still more appear to be of the opinion that you can believe whatever you like, so long as you follow the nebulous call of “the right thing”–but no one seems to quite know what the right thing is.

But you see… people with all their beliefs laid out clearly on the table do.

The modern school of thought on “the right thing” grows out of a set of damaging beliefs from religions that people don’t dare to call out individually. And thus, they water down beliefs that common thought understands to be hurtful. Christianity gets watered down right along with them, even though it shouldn’t.

As a result, we get a series of feel-good philosophies that are, once you’ve lived them out for a while, hollow and dingy, and when they don’t feel fulfilled people just move on and try the next one, or they throw their hopes into exercise or yoga or things that have much more potential for harm.

That is not what religion is meant to be.

Let me repeat myself: that is not what religion is meant to be!

Religion is hard-hitting. It doesn’t pull its punches. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Either you believe it all, or you put your faith in nothing. It’s as simple as that.

Personally, I believe that there is God and the devil. I believe in Heaven and Hell; I believe in the Bible, and I believe in the Savior. I can’t compromise. This is, as it is for Matt Murdoch, part of who I am.

I won’t apologize (as in, say I’m sorry.) But I will apologize (as in, live out my faith for everyone to see, and defend it if it’s attacked.)

Another thing about the zeitgeist; anything is permissible as long as “it’s just who I am!” Well, this is just who I am. Are you offended?

If you are, I recommend that you look really closely at the reasons why.

(I also recommend that you watch Daredevil. There’s some language, and it’s very violent, graphic and even gory in parts, but it’s also a very good show, both writing and morality-wise.)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Introducing Endless Horizons Designs!

I am proud to announce the launch of my new independent couture business, Endless Horizons Designs. The WordPress profile is still under construction, and the Etsy shop is yet to be launched, but everything is moving forward.

So far, I have added two items to the WordPress profile site: the Freedom Blue Jacket and the Clockwork Charm Bracelet. Please browse the site and tell me what you think!

(Sarah, you mentioned you were interested in buying one of the Clockwork Charm Bracelets. I’ll make sure you know immediately when the listing goes up on Etsy, because I’m going to have to mail them on a first-come first-served basis, and I only have two finished bracelets at the moment. If someone else wants the second one, please let me know so I can notify you as well. The speculative price for each bracelet is $17, before shipping and handling.)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Archivist of Selay’uu’s Journal: Pillow Fort


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I was surprised, this morning, to see a mountain of pillows go walking past my study door. I ran to the door and peered out after the strange apparition.

It was not, in fact, a walking pillow mountain, but the Eighth Doctor, his arms full of pillows. The pile was higher than his head. “Doctor! What are you doing?” He turned around, losing control of the pillow pile, and stared at me, startled, knee deep in pillows.