Day 18 on the artofmanliness.com’s 30 Day blogger challenge calls me to identify a project I’d like to make with my hands and describe the steps to completing it. This one’s REAL easy for me as I’m already in the first stages of moving forward with it.
I’ve finally started making my very own guitar, designed by……why Elias Cresh, that’s who!
When I say I’m making my own guitar, I don’t mean I’m buying a kit and putting one together. I’m muthafucking making one from the ground up. I’m even forging and crafting the metal. I’m for reals about it.
Why Make You’re Own Guitar, E?
To me, there are two answers to this question. First and foremost, I want a badass unique guitar that nobody else in the world has. You can have your Eddie Van Halen series Fender or whatever, you can’t have the Elias Cresh Badassinator because they’re only one in existence and it’s got my hand stank all over it!
The other reason for creating my own guitar is one of skills and growth. Creating a guitar from scratch is an extremely time-consuming, meticulous process that demands all sorts of tools and all sorts of techniques to do it right. And at the end of it all, I’ll have somewhat learned each of those things. Woodwork? Check. Soldering electronics? Check. Wrapping wire in thousands of times around coil to make a pickup? Check. And on and on. Drill presses, saws, sanders, safety goggles and other tools that start with the letter S…..I’ll become more manly because I will have developed a minimum sufficiency with each tool and each skill. And I’ll have this great big thing that proves it. It’s not just getting a guitar to me, it’s absorbing all things manly into one endeavor: badassery, music, artistry, self-sufficiency, skill with tools, sweat, toil, and on and on. If you’re as excited as I am but just thinking about the good times to be had, you’ve already got a semi chub going right now.
That’s not to say it won’t be hard. Oh it will be mind numbingly frustrating. But that’s okay. Pushing past that is what it’s all about. And of course, at the end of it all, I can send my dad a picture of it and tell him to cut his goddamn yard and stop being such slacker.
The Materials Involved
There’s so many steps and so much involved that it’s nearly impossible to be succinct and put it all here. I’ll just cover the big things so you can get the gist.
1. Wood (huhuhhuh). I’m thinking mahogany for the fretboard and this chinese bamboo for the body. I’m still working on that second part though.
2. Tools and more tools. There’s a drill press, miter saw, skill saw, hand saw, grinder, sander, drill, screw driver, paint blaster, hole punches, hammers, hangers, and on and on and on.
3. Paint. Nuff said.
4. Metal. I’m making the pickups and the knobs and more. This part, I think, may end up being the hardest.
5. Youtube and helpful websites. You’d be amazed at the insightful stuff you can find on youtube about making your own guitar. There are some guys out there doing some amazing things.
5. Sexiness. You just have to put a little into your art.
The Steps Involved
Again, there are way too many to mention.
The first step, of course, is to design the guitar. My first guitar is going to have the basic body of a Les Paul with an over extended curve on top, and a slightly dropped down cutaway at the bottom. (If you have no idea what a Les Paul is, it’s the guitar Slash plays). I’ve laid out the blueprints and the body was by far the hardest to get just right because pulling one portion made another portion of the body look weird. Once I got it in place, I felt good about it.
The most satisfying part of the design process has been coming up with the headstock. I tried hundreds of different combinations and I think I’m going with this one.
I may take some of the edge off the points on top but that’s going to be it.
Design is the sexy part. But then comes the mountain of blood, sweat and tears. There’s sawing the wood. Sanding the wood. Binding the wood and gluing. There’s laying frets. There’s working with the electronic boards to set up the circuits (yes, I’m even doing that). There’s painting, lacquering, and more. There’s going back over little imperfections to make sure the guitar is perfect in every way. There’s grinding the metal down. Coiling the pickups.
In short. It’s a job. If you really want to know what goes into making a guitar from the ground up, I suggest you check out some of the badasses like this guy on youtube. I salute all of them.
The Pitfalls: House and Life
Life happens while you’re doing other things. I’ll have to take care of my yard. I’ll have to take care of things that break around the house. I’ll have to work my ass off on the 9o projects I’ve got going all at once, and that’s just the stuff I can anticipate right now. If there’s one worry I have above others, it’s that something or other will come up that will take precedence and my timetable to get the guitar done will be multiplied by a factor of 3.
The timetable really is the thing that’s most up in the air. I know how long some guys take to do it, but I’m starting from scratch with a limited knowledge of how to do some of the stuff, so I’m not going to rush it and come out with a crappy guitar. I want something I can be proud of. If it take a zillion years and I’m 75 before the final string is strung on it, I can live with that. Perhaps I’ll start a blog about it.
I will be refining a more stable time-table for it. It will be broken down into small goals as part of my yearly 100 goals list (which is sucking ass this year, btw).
I really hope it comes off well. I’ve invited friends and family to help with it, but everyone seems scared. Their loss.
But know this: One day….I shall rock. Oh I shall rock.
So it’s Day 17 of the art of manliness 30-day blogger challenge. Today’s challenge is to look up things that happened in the year I was born and see how this has affected me.
Without going into detail, I can tell you I do this every damn day of my life since I don’t know when, so I certainly won’t be doing it today. Instead, I’m going to do what I usually do: cheat.
The Zodiac is Real!
It’s certainly true that all sorts of things make us who we are as we grow up. And it’s highly likely true the things in childhood are even more important (nerd side note: some theorists attribute this fact to the reality of children learning things while they don’t have a very full language, meaning similar situations we learned something are impossible to replicate from childhood, and therefore, impossible to let us unlearn certain facts or relearn them in a better way; i.e., at best, we’re always just masking what we learned in childhood.). But what are those things that are important? The short answer? Everything.
I’m the least mythologically inclined person you’re likely to meet. I just think in too concrete a way, I guess. That being said, I’ve always thought there might be something to the zodiac symbols and the month you were born. Yes, I’ll wait while you get all that tsk ing and shaking your head out of your system. Go on. Feel better? Great, now hear me out.
My Suspect Theory
Each month of the calendar has specific occurrences with it; certain weather patterns, certain holidays, certain general social trends (more violence in the summer, for instance). That fact interacts with another fact: we’re all born into different situations based on those months and days. Except for one thing; some of us are born in the same month, so we’ll experience similar facts about the world and the order in which things develop.
Born in winter? You know what it’s like to be cold before anything else, even if you’re from Florida, because it’s colder there in the winter than summer. You experience good tidings from your family being closer due to the holiday season. You’re more likely to see peace in the world first, which sounds good until you realize the next thing you experience is the reality of peaceful things going to horrible hell and everybody worrying. That can certainly set up a personality by itself.
But now think of someone born in Fall. They know the world as mild and while it gets cold they watch things get more peaceful and good will build up. The world doesn’t go to hell; it gets better. That’s an early lesson learned even though you can’t really think it verbally.
Sure, sooner or later, we all start to experience the same things and loop in and out of cycles, but those starting blocks might well mean something big. And anyway, I said there was something to it, not that it was this hugely strong correlation.
Because Canada’s eligibility cutoff for junior hockey is January 1, Gladwell writes, “a boy who turns 10 on January 2, then, could be playing alongside someone who doesn’t turn 10 until the end of the year.” You can guess at that age, when the differences in physical maturity are so great, which one of those kids is going to make the league all-star team. Once on that all-star team, the January 2 kid starts practicing more, getting better coaching, and playing against tougher competition—so much so that by the time he’s, say, 14, he’s not just older than the kid with the December 30 birthday, he’s better. The solution? Double the number of junior hockey leagues—some for kids born in the first half of the year, others for kids born in the second half.
(excerpt from NYMAG.com; rest of article here).
Just that little jump in months can produce stars or duds depending on which side of the metaphorical fence you were born on. And that’s just ONE THING. Imagine all of the other things we don’t even know that are lined up around the months we were born, entire swathes of people experiencing the same kind of categorizing by adults, limiting from opportunity, getting special consideration. Is it such a stretch to think perhaps people instinctively started to notice this pattern way back before Alexander the Great was getting it on Greek style ?(you know what I mean, wink wink).
Now it’s not the only thing that matters, of course; rather, it’s an important thing perhaps we shouldn’t overlook so easy. But then again, I paid way to much attention at one point to Adler’s birth order theory, which is bogus on specifics, but on the money in general theory. So, you now, grain of salt and all.
Now, for the real question: what the fuck is up with people born in July anyway? Seriously. What the hell? Freaks.
Day 16 of the blogger challenge wants me to write a blurb about my life for the cover of my book.
As always, I tend to look at things in reverse than intended. At least I think I do.
My blurb would likely say something like:
“Good times, bad times, happiness, sadness, amazement, dullness…….the life of a man growing up in (insert area of the country) as he moves toward becoming a (insert job title here). This character piece explores the people, places and things that inhabit his world all to make him the person he is.”
It’s likely you wouldn’t read that book. But I think the point of the challenge is to make you want to clarify your goals and move towards a more amazing life. I think that misses the point.
There is something similar on Cracked.com (of all places) that challenges you to make a list of what you “believe in” and then asks you to meticulously log what you actually do every day. They then point out that what you do every day is actually what you believe in. And most people are horrified how mundane and wasteful “what they believe in” actually is.
And the two challenges are just alike in a way, and most people frame it the wrong way. Perhaps it’s my way of looking at things or my philosophy of everything, but I think existence and weaving your way through life kind of confused is okay. There is no pay off at the end. There is no glory to be had. All the glory is framed after you die and only if it serves someone else’s interests. Your life, the life you live today is is good enough and I’d be worried about you more if you were always trying to be a hero or revolutionary.
To give you an example, I logged that I spent an hour doing a photoshop project the other night. Do I believe in just doing a photoshop project nobody will ever really care about? Yes, I do. I believe in exploring and getting better at artistic endeavors. I then watched a 2 hour movie with my girlfriend. Do I believe in watching movies with my valuable time? Yes I do. I watched it while my girlfriend was laying in my lap and we made comments to each other about the movie. I completely believe in spending time with loved ones doing activities for the sake of just being with them. I did this mundane thing at my job for 4 hours that same day. Do I believe in just doing mundane things? I believe spending a lot of time doing mundane things makes it possible to do more important things as I certainly wouldn’t be doing the fun parts of my job without those mundane tasks being completed.
One day, we get old, and unless we’re Stephen Covey or Steve Jobs (I should’ve been named Steve apparently), you’ll not have the jet setting life, and really, all of that wheeling and dealing sounds exhausting. So much of the business world is a front. For my own job, I’ve had to read mountains of self-help and business leadership writing. 90% of it is absolute nonsense. Imagine spending your golden years spouting nonsense to people like a priest of some odd religion that has very suspect tenants. You can frame it to sound great, but really you’re just wasting your time.
I’m satisfied with my life and the people around it. My book would be one of those character studies where it’s more about finding out who this guy is and how he lives rather than reading about some great journey he undertook. Because the hero’s journey is always there, so really it’s the people and things around you that are important. They’re good enough. You’re good enough. Could you be better and want to improve your life? Sure. But I’d be worried about you if you ever get to a point where you don’t think you could improve your life a bit more. So if that’s true, you’ll be waiting forever to be happy and satisfied with your life. As long as you’re not being abused and you’re not a slave and you’re not fighting chronic pain, life is good enough while you work to improve things.
The second half of my story? I hope it’s as mundane to the reader as the first. Suck it.
Day 15 of the Art of Manliness blogger challenge requires me to put together a council or cabinet of advisers made up of the greatest men imaginable; dead, alive, or fictitious. Note that this challenge was designed specifically for men and, by extension, was supposed to focus on the best qualities of what it means to be a man. Generally, I think that’s an interesting idea, so none of my council members. Go cry on Jezebel about it.
I chose 8 members of my “cabinet;” or what will now be known as The Council of Cresh. You can have as many as you want. I thought getting higher than 5 might be pushing it, but what the hell? Let’s go full monty, right. With each of my 8 members, I tried to, generally speaking, cover areas in which others might lack or areas in which I needed specific expertise. I liked this challenge a lot, and it’s interesting to think who might get fired off the council to make room for new blood. That prospect might be a post in it’s own right. Let’s get started, and remember, these are in no specific order.
Jim Morrison: Secretary of Spirituality
For all his boozing, whoring, drug abusing and douchetastic behavior, if you’ve ever heard any of Jim Morrison’s more lucid interviews, he has a keen sense of place in the universe and he comes off as actually quite down to earth. But he can get to the essence of what it is people are moving towards or away from with his soul. Throw in his badass lifestyle and his lyrics that challenge us to hold on to the old that is of grime and play with the weird, and this esteemed council member can chime in with the occasional drug hued, “People want something sacred” every now and then while a council debate on economics is occurring.
Lt. Robert Goren = Secretary of Investigations
Robert Goren is one of only 2 fictional characters on my the Council of Cresh. Goren was in a heated contest with Sherlock Holmes for a seat on the council. In the end, I went with Goren because he’s more stable and more pragmatic his approach to things. He’s not always right or always one step ahead, but he has a dogmatic sense of what makes a good investigator. That same quality leads him to have a lot to also say about curiosity about the world and the benefits of having a stunning breadth of knowledge of a number of areas. He also has a better knowledge of contemporary dealings than Holmes. And perhaps most importantly, I value him for his deep insights into human motivations and their explorations wherever they may lead.
I chose Goren to be the Secretary of Investigations, because I think figuring things out is a big part of life, especially when it comes to people. He has a lot to say about how to get to the bottom of something. Plus I like his quirks like folding his arms, stuttering when he mentions something devastating about your behavior, or that thing where he looks sideways at you when he explains how you’ll be spending the rest of your life in prison for murder.
Frederick Douglass = Secretary of Statesmanship
I chose Frederick Douglass because he had the ability over 150 years ago to see things as they really were when others were so oblivious to major realities. And it wasn’t just that he was living through the end of slavery and an augmentation of oppression; lots of people had the same experiences but made bizarre and silly claims about the world and people’s place in it. Douglass was always on point with what he said and, more often than not, deadly accurate.
But perhaps more important to me was his ability to interact with others he did not agree with and get along with them and move the ball forward, all without really changing is philosophy on things. It’s true he never really had that much power, but that doesn’t change the fact that his awareness of the truths of his times could have caused him to be an asshat to every other person that was not as aware of progressive in their thinking. And indeed, he often had harsh words for such people; but he remained able to do what needed doing without letting things fall apart. Plus, bonus points for badass hair.
Ghengis Khan = Secretary of War and Approach
Murderer, rapist, lover, genocidal maniac, warlord, …..say what you will about Ghengis Khan, but you can’t deny what he did was amazing. He had the largest empire to that time all based on one simple idea: “Submit to me or I will fucking kill you and your whole family.” That’s pretty harsh, and sooner or later, you’ll get people standing up to you if you keep that attitude. And in fact, people did stand up to Ghengis Khan. The people of Xia Xi stood up to him….. right as he was on his deathbed at the old age (for then of 65). He was so badass, in fact, that after he died, he left a standing order to wipe out every stone of Xia Xi and every inhabitant of the city…..and that’s just what happened. That’s right, you got pimped by Genghis Khan from beyond the grave.
That’s the guy you want leading your army. The guy who has single-mindedness of purpose. The guy that will crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and hear the lamentations of their women. If you’ve got to go to war, you’ve got this guy and his empire on your side. Add to that fact the impressive amount of children he fathered (you have something like a 1 in 13 chance of being related to him in you’re Chinese) and you’ve got a genocidal maniac that showed how to get things done. I’ve got Goren guarding against him and others to chill him out, so I think it will be okay. He’s the only one that could be seen as a bad person I can see on my list (unless you think Morrison’s antics were a bit much).
Jean Luc Picard = Chief of Staff
This was a tough one because I didn’t know whether to go with Patrick Stewart as Picard or Professor Xavier. I went with Picard because he’s seen more fucked up stuff in his travels and he has no special powers. Plus, in Star Trek, he seems to have a better interaction with others and is very practical in his dealing whereas Xavier often laments how out of hand everyone around him is getting.
Picard has been through a lot. He knows a lot. He has had to make (almost always the correct) calls that affect thousands of lives. And he does it with grace, yet still possessing a verve for life. He doesn’t know everything, but he knows enough how to get the best out of everyone. As well, you can often see him seriously weighing the options before making important decisions. If nothing else, he could help me deal with other council members more effectively.
Carl Sagan = Secretary of Education and Head of the Creshian Academy of Science
Carl Sagan may be the most soft spoken badass that ever walked the earth. He never killed a person (except that hooker and that hobo, but crystal meth does crazy things to a person). He never threatened to annihilate a race or talked about how bad humans were. No, he did one thing that was awesome: he made everyone around him energized to know things.
Every time you see Sagan talking about a subject, it’s like he’s about to have an orgasm right there on the screen because science is just so exciting. If Goren is about curiosity and investigating, Sagan is about putting those techniques to use figuring stuff out about the world and our universe. And by sonny jebus, we’re gonna all be happy as clams while we study the most mundane topics because we know we’ll be able to build a spaceship or a time machine or something with enough information.
Lord Byron = Secretary of Life and the Arts
Lord Byron by all measures …the man! He is talked about to this day in terms of just how many women threw themselves at him and how many women had passionate affairs with him. He wrote some of the most beautiful poetry, hung out with amazing authors and poets, traveled the world, fought in wars of independence….all while keeping that artists sole and the life of a bachelor. The man was all passion and vim when it came to life. Byron shall be the one that tells Genghis Khan that love and passion beat crushing your enemies for what is best in life any day of the week. And perhaps he’ll teach me some of his patented moves on the ladies. Step 1…..be very attractive.
Andrew Carnegie = Secretary of Business and Finance
Andrew Carnegie came from nothing to become one of the richest men ever. He did this by investing his hard earned and well saved money in very shrewd business ventures. Piece by piece, rung by rung, step by step, he climbed the ladder of business success. And it’s important to note that while he made most of his money in the railroad business, he made a lot of money in other ventures too. So he has a diversity of knowledge of all things business. Add to that his common dealings with the government and its myriad of hoops to jump through and his success suddenly become even more impressive. All Councils should have a guy that knows how to make you rich. If he can get the Cresh business to even greater heights and a mountain of money to have at my command, imagine what Byron’s sexy ways might bring or the destruction with Khan’s tactics that I could employ. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Bonus member: Rust Cohle = Secretary of Skepticism
Rust won’t be on the council all the time because he’s a bit too Eor for me. That nonsense just brings you down after a while. But he has something we need and that is for someone to every now and then go, “You know what? This is all just fucking bullshit and meaningless. You’re all lying to yourselves. We’re all trapped in a nightmare we can’t wake up from.” That would put a quick stop to any groupthink that might occur.
That’s my council. As a question for discussion in the comments section: list at least 3 that would be on your Council.