Revisiting Practical Armor, both Medieval and Futuristic.
Revisiting Practical Armor
I came across an interesting piece on Teh Tumblrz last week. It’s called Valhallan Nebula. The source is, lightresist.tumblr.com. I’ve been interested in “practical armor” for a couple of years, after submitting a story on the subject to an anthology. The story didn’t get accepted, but my interest in the concept didn’t diminish.
“Bikini Armor” vs the practical sort
One of the most-used forms of “fan service” in fantasy fiction is “bikini armor”. Basically, put a woman in a bikini that’s plated with metal. Yes, if you poke a spear at her breasts or crotch, the metal protects those areas. Why bother, though? Just poke the spear at her thigh, let her bleed out from the femoral artery.
Of course, it’s about fan service. Nobody expects that woman to go into battle. She magically avoids thigh-poking when she does. She exists as an object of desire.
Practical Armor Problems
Women wore dresses in medieval times. They rarely wore pants, much less any sort of protective clothing. Expectations were different for them. Men fought, women maintained the household/homestead. Yes, there were exceptions, such as Joan of Arc. Remember what happened to her, though? So, the concept is problematic. Not much out there to go on.
Problematic doesn’t mean impossible, though. So, thinking through women taking up arms, protecting themselves like the men do, is interesting. Women fight well. They train hard. They prove themselves in modern forces daily. Given the opportunity in medieval times, they would have done the same. So, let’s consider that. Women want protection from battlefield threats. In modern times, that means flak jackets, helmets, good boots. Armies adapt equipment to support women. Suits of armor could have fit women, too.
Future armor will fit women. So, why do artists insist on fan service? In this piece, the woman’s breasts don’t have to be advertised as they are. The entire chest area should be dark, non-reflective, and protective.
If you didn’t have air-condition or a lot of fans, you might have lived in screen porch houses growing up.
(cross-posted to NOLA History Guy)
Screen porch houses
Before central air-conditioning became part of everyday home life, screen porch houses lined the blocks of New Orleans neighborhoods. Residents escaped the heat of summer by going outside. There were two problems with being directly outside, though. First, most folks avoided direct sunlight and sunburn. Second, the mosquitoes! So, homeowners screened in their front porches. Screens allowed the breeze in, but not the bugs. The offered protection from the sun. The wood floor gave the rocking chair a smooth surface.
Nothing to fans to a/c
It’s hard to remember a time before so many homes in New Orleans had air-conditioning. By 2011, 88% of homes in the United States were built with central a/c. Prior to the suburban expansions of the late 1960s/early 1970s, homes lacked a/c. While many were retro-fitted with wall units in bedrooms, living spaces often were not. Families believed you should go outside. Sit on the porch. Talk to the neighbors. Many a writer and literary critic supports the notion that central air conditioning dramatically changed the genre of “Southern Literature”, because people just didn’t socialize like they used to. They holed up inside and stayed cool.
There’s a lot of merit to this concept, In New Orleans, we sit outside for a few weeks in the Spring and the Fall. The rainy season (what the northern parts of the US call, “Winter”) just doesn’t accommodate outside activity. The humidity of the Summer and early Fall drain us.
New Orleans homes
Not everyone has a Spanish Colonial courtyard to retreat to on a hot day. Shotgun homes offer good airflow, but privacy concerns often outweigh the breeze running through the house. That leaves the backyard. Thing is, the backyard isolates the family from the neighborhood. Porch-sitting brings folks together.
Fr. Michael O’Donnell drives a Porsche 914 in the Talents Universe.
Porsche introduced the 914 model in 1969. The automaker partnered with Volkswagen on the 914. Porsche wanted an upgrade/update to their model 912. Volkswagen wanted something new to replace their Karmann Ghia. Production of the 914 ran from its introduction until 1976.
The Karmann Ghia
Volkswagen introduced their Karmann Ghia coupe in 1955. They sought an update by the late 1960s. While their partnership with Porsche produced the 914 in 1969, Volkswagen continued production of the Karmann Ghia through 1974. Therefore, VW had (sort of) two coups in the 1970s
I never rode in a Karmann Ghia, but my dad owned one for a brief time before I was born. So, he would see them go by later on and express his fondness for the sports car of his younger days. By the time I attended university, the Karmann Ghias were old news. They appealed to guys with an interest in older cars, but my friends with 2-seat sports cars opted for the Porsche, or the MGB. One friend even drove an Alfa Romeo
I had two direct encounters with the Porsche 914. The first was in my second and third years as an undergrad at University of New Orleans. A Student Government Association friend owned one. It was a fun little car. The center engine design took a bit of getting used to. As a kid, I found my dad’s rear-engine Beetle a curiosity. The vibration of the center-engine gave the 914 a different feel.
My second 914 encounter was as a student teacher in my fourth year at UNO. My supervising teacher at F. W. Gregory Junior High drove a Porsche 914. While I never got to drive either of those cars, the design, and the fun of riding in my friend’s car stayed with me.
After UNO, I bought a 1980 Plymouth Horizon, to get me to and from Redeemer High School. By all accounts, the Volkswagen transmission in that car behaved much like that of the Porsche 914.
Mike O’Donnell is a History professor. So, he naturally has an appreciation for older automobiles. While not an auto-repair type himself, Mike picked up the basic skills one needs when one owns an old car. He learned early on in his ownership of a 914 to network with people who can fix your old car. Mike’s Porsche 914 is white in Hidden Talents and Trusted Talents.
This ad is from 1971. So, it’s a good representation of Mike’s car. I follow a number of folks on Tumblr who enjoy sharing older/vintage advertising. So, this one made me smile.
#IndependentBookstoreDay 2019 on a gorgeous spring day in New Orleans.
Celebrating #IndependentBookstoreDay 2019
A big hello, thank you, and shout-out to Elizabeth Ahlquist and her band of merry booksellers at Blue Cyp0ress Books, uptown at 8126 Oak Street, New Orleans.Elizabeth’s wonderful store is a must-visit as you ride the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
Blue Cypress Books
If you’re coming from downtown, tell the operator you want to get off on Oak Street. You’ll see two big buildings, both of which were bank branches, once upon a time. Walk up Oak a block and you’ll see the Blue Cypress Books sign. The store offers a wonderful mixture of new and used books. I find interesting treasures on the shelves. The new books jump out at you! Elizabeth sold me a copy of Pete Souza’s book of photos from his time as White House Photographer for Barack Obama. My son loves that birthday present.
The local authors shelves feature old classics and new gems. Emma Fick’s “Snippets of New Orleans” sold like crazy at Blue Cypress. So, since Elizabeth offers Dragon’s Danger and Dragon’s Discovery to her customers, we hereby and forthwith dub her, “Lady Bookseller.” That’s a bit more formal than “hot mermaid in purple and green.” 🙂
At Da Fair Grounds
It’s fitting that Blue Cypress runs the Book Tent this year at Da Fest, on #IndependentBookstoreDay 2019. The selection there features history, music/music history books. Food is an important part of Da Fest, therefore the Book Tent usually has a good selection of cooking-related books and cookbooks. The book tent is a wonderful respite from the hustle bustle of the Fair Grounds infield. It’s worth checking it. So, since you’re going into the Book Tent, here’s a recommendation:
That’s my book, New Orleans Jazz, featuring the 1967 incarnation of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the cover!
All this, and a shop cat, too!
Patreon Content – Gabriel of the Internet is a new story in the Talents universe
Patreon Content – Gabriel of the Internet
The Archangel Gabriel has long been the patron of communication. I wish I could remember the name of this artist–she’s a fascinating woman I met through the Order of St. Michael. Her “future icons” speak to me. I wrote a story featuring Gabriel in this form.
Jacking in with the Talents
Lots of authors write about “jacking in”. So, they carry connecting with the Internet from a visual/touch experience to a neural one. The Talented connect online normally. Some, though, can get in without a headset or datajack.
“Thought you had given this up,” the woman said, looking across the table at her friend.
“I had,” the man replied, as he powered up his computer.
They sat at a coffee shop in New Orleans’ Mid City neighborhood. It was just after seven o’clock in the morning, and they were the only customers sitting inside.
“Just keep an eye out for me while I do this,” he requested.
“Gotcha, Nate. I remember the drill,” she said.
Nathaniel Haller was a high school math teacher who left the classroom years ago to do computer consulting. He did well in the early days of personal computing, and now, at 52, he was still on top of the tech that made the corporate world run. He smiled at Whitney Cordova, a friend and occasional partner when a consulting engagement required more than a solo effort. The forty-something blonde smiled back. She looked around the room as Nate’s fingers danced on the keyboard, connecting him first to an anonymous relay network, then to a corporate Virtual Private Network in a distant city.
More on Patreon
Gabriel of the Internet is a stand-alone story at the moment. So, Nate continues in the Talents universe, don’t worry. In the meantime, Dragon’s Defiance, the third book in the Blood-Bound series, debuts in November.
Giving new thought to Patreon. I set up a Patreon page to see if I could monetize the writing a while back. It never took off. When I saw that Rude Pundit uses it, I thought it might be time to re-visit the concept. He regularly promotes “Patreon-only” blog posts and such on Twitter.
Thing about Patreon, what discouraged me about the platform was when I saw women on Instagram pointing people to Patreon as a way for men to pay for porn. Now, if that’s the approach they want to take for making a buck, OK. My concern when I saw this was that nobody would take what I’m doing seriously if I ask for money from a platform that channels money to porn.
So, I let some dust gather on my Patreon page. I’m not at the blogging level of Rude Pundit, so I doubt I could write stuff for Yatpundit that would attract people, even at a dollar a month. Perhaps a mix of things, though. For the history blog, possibly some “cornerstone” posts. Yoast SEO suggests cornerstone material be 900+ words. So, a thousand-word-a-month post would be worth a buck.
Then maybe add a short story as we go along. If you figure, I’m selling the novels for $12-$15 apiece. A 4K-5K story for a buck. Twelve chapters in, say, a dragons novel. That’s 60K words for $12.
Expand that notion with short stories from some of the other projects. The total mix of writing could appeal to folks. If I get stuck on something, like a chapter of dragons, I can turn to, say, a St. Patrick’s story that will find its way into that book. Or the dystopia idea. Or dragons stories outside of the Blood-Bound series, like Dame Jessica, or 1895. Or maybe experiment with some romance stories..
Muffuletta Fest today was OK. It was enough of an experience to rate a food blog. I was going to do a post on dinner, then didn’t take pics. Well, grilled chicken isn’t unique. One of the lists I need to make is for “test kitchen” to try new things.
More “Enterprise” will hopefully stimulate ideas!