#218 In which our hero obsesses more than a little about unattainable rayguns.
I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve felt really lazy all week. I’ve been fortunate that work hasn’t been super busy (unlike last week, which kicked my ass six ways to Sunday) and my lack of focus hasn’t become an issue.
But I’ve also been neglecting this here website, to the disappointment of all three of you who read it on a regular basis. But the thing is, when I find myself with a little time, time in which I could write a post, I’m too lazy to actually do it. Or I don’t have anything to write about. Or… well, there is one other thing going on right now.
I’ve become a little obsessed.
Now, this isn’t uncommon for me. Some topic will float to the top of my conciseness and I’ll focus on it to the point of obsession. Over the years this obsession has taken many forms. Magic the Gathering. Warhammer 40K. Starcraft. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter on Mars series. Stephen King novels. My current obsession?
A friend of ours has a Halloween party every year, complete with costumes. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life (or IRL, as the kids like to type) that I like to play dress-up. Now, I’ve never gotten into the weird world of "cosplay" (a word and concept I stumbled over just this year) but I do like dressing up at Halloween quite a bit.
This friend usually has a theme for his party, generally something that leads itself to perversion. Couple of years ago it was “things that go bump in the night” which generated no less than TWO people dressed as headboards.
But this year the theme is steampunk, which I thought was cool, if rather subdued. Now, I’m passingly familiar with steampunk as a literary genre; I’ve read The Difference Engine, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, At the Earth’s Core and a few other things, so I get the “Amazing Victorian era that never was” vibe of dirigibles and fantastic clockwork contraptions, and it’s cool.
I had some time on my hands so I poked around the Internet to see what else I could find about steampunk, especially in the sense of costume ideas.
Apparently there’s an entire emerging community of steampunk enthusiasts… people who not only want to read about this stuff, but want to LIVE it. I came across not only fantastic costumes but crazy steampunk inventions, too.
So I found all this crazy stuff and it was keen. But then. Oh my. I found this link:
Holy crap. Here, if you’re too lazy to click the link, you still have to see these:
Simply amazing. These are real metal rayguns, festooned with working switches and buttons and glass bits full of odd fluids. These are being produced by Weta Workshop, the special effects guys who did Lord of the Rings, among many other things, so it’s no surprise that they could make something so super-neat. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have one.
Then I saw the price.
At $690 (plus tax) they’re more than a little out of my price range. But, holy shit, do you see how cool they are?!
So my brain immediately latched on to these things and I had to--HAD TO--figure out how to make me my own raygun. I mean, yeah, a cool-ass raygun would enhance my costume for the steampunk party… but it’s way past that now. I want a raygun. I want rayguns, plural.
So, last weekend I took a made dash through the local $1 Store and the Home Depot, and found a surprising amount of cool stuff that if you looked at it just right could maybe, just maybe, pass for raygun parts.
So that’s what I’ve been doing in the basement for the past several days. Tinkering around with junk, trying to bash it all together so it looks like this:
Of course, there’s no way in hell that it will ever look that good… but I’d still make an effort.
And then my thinking went a little further. I mean, if I desperately wanted one of these awesome rayguns, but couldn’t afford one, there were probably lots of other people in the same boat, right? What if I could figure out a way to make something similar to this in coolness, but at a much lower price? I could make a bunch and sell them for big profit on eBay!
So I started pounding away at the keyboard, researching resin casting, metal sand casting, small run CNC machine shops, carvable air-dry clays, woodworking, used handgun parts dealers… and so on.
See? A little obsessive. This is what happens.
Most likely, the feeling will go away. It usually does. But I can’t completely silence the tiny voice it the back of my head saying Dude! You could make some serious money doing this! Go for it! That voice is most likely full of shit… but still.
Anyway, for the time being, I’m making one raygun in the basement. And just today I had a little bottle of juice and, looking at the empty bottle, said to myself, Hey, that’s a really cool shape. You could totally put a handle on that thing and turn it into a great looking raygun.
Rayguns. Rayguns on the brain.