Sunday, May 14, 2017

47th Birthday, Part 1 - Decisions and Maps

"Gendry was only spared because smiths, even apprentice smiths, were too valuable to kill."

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

I have a list of things I'd like to do on my birthdays.  Every year, I go through each item on the list one by one.  I think about the pros and cons until I find the experience I liked best.  This year, I went through the list like this:

  • Make movie
    "Meh, sounds like a lot of work.  And I don't know a lot of actors."
  • Learn cooking
    "It'd be nice to see what I have in the kitchen and improvise something great.  Oh, wait.  I have children.  Children hate food with flavor."
  • Get Tattoo
    "Pretty sure the Tattoo is dead."
  • Forge sword
    "I've always wanted to make a sword.  I mean, I have a shield.  It doesn't mean anything without a cool sword you made yourself.  Plus, there's the badass factor."
See, I'm not making this up.
I've never made it to full badass-level.

I know how to fence and shoot a gun.  I've trained in Muay Thai, Tae Kwan Do, Boxing, Judo, and Hapkido.  I've gone on quests to battle monsters and protect fair maidens.  I've jumped off a plane.  I've had my hair bleached without succumbing to the pain.

The beginning of Dune where the main character gets blonde highlights.
But I was still not a badass.  It was decided.

I would find a master who would teach me the art of swordcrafting.  Then, like Sokka in Avatar: the Last Airbender, I would go from being the quirky, comic relief to a dashing hero with a rapier (wit).

The first step was to find a master.

When I was in San Jose a year ago, I heard about a place where you could learn blacksmithing called The Crucible.  I went online and reserved a spot in the Blacksmithing I class.  I would study several hours a day for a week, then I would take Blacksmithing II, and then I would take Bladesmithing.

Then I would be a Real Man.

The day before the class, I looked up the address of the school.  Then I rubbed my eyes and looked it up again.  Then I checked a few websites and looked it up again. 

Then I had a panic attack.

I'd made a small error.  The Crucible wasn't in San Jose; it was in Oakland.  It wouldn't take me 20 minutes to get to class each day.

It would take me nearly three hours.

Next week: my ingenious solution to the problem of having to pick up and drop off kids from school while doing nearly six hours of driving a day and having three hours of class.

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