Stop Dragon my Heart Around

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in

I’d like to introduce you all to my new pet, Drags.  He’s completely housebroken, will never dig up the back yard, hork a hairball in the middle of the hallway, or jump on your chest at 3am because he wants his food bowl filled.

I made a dragon out of chainmaille, and I’m bouncing between extremely pleased with myself, and disgusted with the amateurish results.

See – I look at the form, and see the flaws.  The back legs stick out JUUUUUST a bit too much.  The top-most scale likes to stick straight up, giving the guy an almost comical look.  He’s got a little bit of mutt and horse in him – I can see the alternate animal forms clearly.

the feet…are.  not.  claws.  Instead, he has cloven hooves.

And…really.  If he’s gonna be a DRAGON – he needs wings.

But I also look at the form, and see something wonderful.  The first time I’ve made an extremely complex 3D sculpture out of rings.

Without a tutorial.

He stands on his own.  His neck and body hold their shape.  He’s much more than a tube of interconnected bits which lay quiescent on a surface until you pick them up and arrange them with your hands.

The scary part?  Even though he’s a prototype with a multitude of errors in his construction – I’ve got friends at work who swear up and down they NEED one …. NAOW.

I do geek well.  One of my favorite geek-obsessions is the dragon.  It doesn’t matter if the form is European or Chinese – Fantasy or Tribal – I love ’em all.

I’m not alone.  I’ve seen a bunch of variations of dragons in maille since I took up pliers and started weaving rings…and what I’ve seen are variations on the same tutorial pattern out there on both the M.A.I.L. website and for sale at The Ring Lord.   Almost all the maille dragons I’ve seen images of on the web are unwired, meaning they flop about like any other chainmaille chain.  Most are completely snake-like without any limbs, although a few people have added stubby little sub-chains to suggest them.   I think I’ve seen one or two where the creators added a fan of scales to suggest wings…but nothing really SCREAMS dragon.

So I did my own thing.

I posted pictures of his construction on Facebook, of course – and everyone there seemed to enjoy his emergence.  So…with that in mind…I’m sharing here how my first boyo came together:

 

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I started with 2 identical lengths of Full Persian 6 in 1 (FP).  I attached the two together with a modified European 4 in 1 (E4-1) for the belly, and bound up the top half with shiny silver scales.

THAT…was the easy part.  A tube with scales.

 

 

The head – is a mess of weirdness.  Small patches of E6-1, box, the same eye construction I used for the face of the Dudes, and various random rings to stitch the piece together and attach to the body.  As I was building the head, I was also taking some good notes.  I should be able to duplicate the head at will.

 

chainmaille Dragon on sideOnce I had the head attached to the body, I threaded a length of copper wire through both the head and the body.  Secured it at the mouth and ass.  No floppy dragons here – he’s gonna be posable.

The tail is a simple length of FP again, with some scales at the tip.  At this point, I haven’t wired the tail, but I’m considering it for future builds.

 

The legs were tricky.

First, I spent a couple of hours playing with the cats (so they wouldn’t suspect I was staring at them) – because I needed to see actual legs -in action- on a 4 legged animal.  I wanted to know how they were attached.  How they were jointed.  How they flexed and flowed and were used for work and play.

I spent additional hours looking at images other people had drawn of dragon legs…but it wasn’t as much fun as playing with the furballs.

Slowly, the bends in the limbs started to form.  The weave I used for the legs is a fairly simple 4-ring bead capture…with some additional ring-weirdness at the joints.  I strung additional wire through the beads (and, thus, through the legs) for stability.  The guy can’t stand on his own with weak legs!

I think I tore off the front legs 3 times.

20170202_112156Now came the toes.  I tried several variations of wire-form feet that died on the craft table before ever coming in contact with Drags, and ended up with stubby toes with the beads shown.  I am still working on proper clawed appendages for the dragon at this point.

His brothers…WILL…have claws.

 

Don’t worry – the design is still in various stages of modification.  Horns, claws & wings are all ideas at this point…as is a full Chinese style dragon.

Stay tuned for more dragon work!

Chainmaille Dragon Final 2

 

 

Adventures in Dentistry

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We’ve had an unusual amount of focus on teeth in the household recently.  A couple of weeks ago, one of my teeth decided it NEEDED a root canal, and I spent about a week trying to convince it it didn’t.

In case you’re wondering – The tooth won that argument.

My son discovered he had an infection brewing under one of his molars.  He needed a dose of really potent antibiotics to stop the insanity, and some hard-core pro-biotic stuff to replace what the antibiotics killed in his gut.

And – the DIL(2B) had her wisdom teeth forcibly removed by a qualified dental practitioner on Thursday.

There are WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too many soft foods (yaknow – the ones that don’t require any actual chewing) in my fridge right now.  It’s like we all suddenly reverted to infants for a week.

So let’s all stand up and give a big, warm round of applause to the Dental Industry – for whom without we’d all be REALLY pissy with aching teeth…

Crickets…

Yea…I hate dentists, too.  But you gotta admit, they’re a necessary evil.

ANYway… I decided to take the kids out to a good, chewy dinner the night before S had her procedure done – kind of a ‘last meal for the condemned,’ thing, as we at least knew in advance she wasn’t going to be doing more than mushing her food between her tongue and the roof of her mouth for a few days.  Coincidentally, it was also a night that none of us wanted to cook.

I’d call that a win/win…

So she diligently researched on the web for ‘good’ Chinese restaurants (a relative term…as all taste buds vary) – picked one that was fairly close, had some good reviews, and we hadn’t been to before.  Because it was virgin territory – I plugged the address into the Garmin.

Yea…let’s discuss my GPS…

The GPS and I have a rather unique relationship.  Usually, I have a pretty clear idea in my head on where I need to go, my preferred route, and until I get to the twisty bits at the end, which is where I actually NEED the GPS’s input, I’m pretty self-directing.  Garmin, unfortunately, has other ideas – and idolizes the insanity which is our road-construction plagued freeway system as much as I loathe it.   We spend most of our trips arguing back and forth.

Garmin:  Turn left on Road…

Me:  No.  You are NOT putting me on 94!

Garmin:  Make U-turn on Road.  Then proceed….

Me:  NO!

Garmin:  Recalculating…

Yes, I actually speak to (yell at) my GPS in the car…

For those of you wondering why I don’t simply turn on the Garmin when I need it – I ask:  have you ever tried to poke at a touch screen mounted on your windshield when your car is in motion?  I’d rather argue with the thing than have a head-on collision – so we fight.  I’ve more-or-less affectionately nicknamed the thing the Nagagator.

This trip was different, however.  I guess the restaurant was far enough away from the freeway that Garmin didn’t try to put me on it, and I was happy to follow her clipped instructions for a change…

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Because she took me on the scenic route – I found something to point my camera at.  I almost got whiplash when we passed the HUGE Chinese dragon on the way to the restaurant.

I had no idea a Buddhist Temple existed just outside Waukesha.  The grounds are small but well-tended, the building is a confection of little Eastern Details, and the atmosphere oozes serenity.

We stopped on the way home from dinner so I could put the HUGE dragon in my camera’s frame, spent out time roaming the grounds to breathe in the rightness of its aura, and got to listen to the parishioners chanting for their evening rituals through the open windows.

By the time we left the grounds, S was vibrating with happiness.  I believe her exact words were “BEST trip EVER!”

I wasn’t stingy with the camera, either.  Here are some of my favorite shots:

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I might have mentioned the BIG ass dragon a time or two???

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These are my compatriots in fur-taming, teeth and adventure…my son and DIL(2B).  I might have mentioned them a time or two, too…

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They had little statues all over the place, blended into the foliage.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThey even had an outdoor shrine all set up.

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This is got to be one of the neatest things I saw – there’s a face in the knobby bark of this tree.

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All in all…it was a pretty fantastic day for us.

Dragon Memoirs – A Rather Curious Bug

Every once in a while – a strong character emerges from my little bits of flash fiction, and decides to stick around after the story is written.  They generally add to the chorus of little voices in my head.  Every once in a great while, they meet in the landscape of my dreaming mind, and cause all sorts of trouble.

The Dragon has been around since this winter – nattering in my ear and occasionally breathing new tales of his ancient race to my concious mind.  Dutifully, I jot these leavenings down.

A bit a go, he met up with Bug – another very strong character who emerged from the rough streets, and has been enjoying herself intently in the darker corners of my mind.  As you can see – they have now had the opportunity to meet.  What trouble will they get into next?

 

Dragon Memoirs – A Rather Curious Bug

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Book 1 alternate

My daily sojourn – to connect with the essence of the world and keep apprised of the human collective – was met today with a rather remarkable occurrence. I had the opportunity to cross paths with a rather curious bug.

A slight, soft, little half-grown human with abilities decades beyond her physical years caught my inner eye.  She blends into her environment as easily as I do, manufacturing personae at will to appear helpless and weak – tactics successfully employed to extract enough wealth from the comfortable to survive.

It wasn’t this pitiable personae which stirred my inner sight, though.  Rather, it was the warp she had stitched into place around her.

Imagine my surprise – here before me stands a human child who, with no formal training or even a clear understanding of the energies surrounding all life, masterfully weaves the Earth’s Song to do her bidding.

A human child – weaving the magics of the Dragons.

I was so stunned by the feel of magics not my own, I almost missed the gun she withdrew from her clothing.

She sleeps now, and will continue to do so, until certain questions are answered.

Why was this child – this Master of the Street known only as Bug, turned into a weapon and aimed at me?

Dragon Memoirs 4.03.15 – WHAT were we Thinking?

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

From time to time – the Dragon surfaces from the scattered voices in my head, and natters a sweet story from his journal into my ear.  Most of the time, he erupts just as the weekly Flash! Friday contest is announced, so this is a very happy occurance.  For my flash entry this week – another in the loosely-linked series I’m calling the Dragon Memoirs.  Enjoy my latest flash!

What were we thinking?

210 words

It had always seemed odd to us that this planet, teeming with an abundance of life, should only produce one species gifted with sentience.  Why had the other large-brained animals, specifically the feline and the biped, not crossed the barrier from simple animal hierarchy to true awareness?  Why was it only us, the reptile, who rose above simple survival to adapt our environment to suit us?

Our best minds debated the length and breadth of this question, emerging with a single, logical theory.  The hostile, murderous sands of our desert environment had forced our sentience.  Our simple reptile forebears had little choice – learn to alter this environment, or die as a species.

Our First Learned Rule:  Adapt, or Die.

Thus did the Dragon flourish.

“To further prove our theory,”  The Collegiate insisted, “Let us experiment on the biped.  Let’s see if their struggle for survival equates sentience.”

What were we thinking???

We’d mastered the elements for our species’ survival.  Tampering with life for experimentation was our species’ downfall.

We blasted the savannah for science, scorching the life from the soil, tearing the water from the land.  The biped reached awareness with the fire of this violence embedded in their veins.

Thus did the Human emerge to annihilate the Dragon.

 

Flash Fiction – A “Roman” Observer

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Flash! Friday has come and gone – but fear not – my entry was submitted on time for the group.  This week’s prompt was dual (our mistress returned the dragon’s bidding) – the picture was The Colosseum in Rome, and we had to include a janitor in the story.  She also gave us an additional 50 words.  Yup!

With the return of the Dragon’s Bidding – how could my own dragon not surface from his solitude, and offer up an observation from his own memoirs?  Enjoy a little slice of flash!

A “Roman” Observer

202 words

I shamble through the stacked tiers of the enormous travertine bowl of the Colosseum, moving quickly as the weighted shackles permit. I lift a discarded rind from its marble seat, feel it slither to the bottom of my bag. A shard of broken clay settles beside it, rapidly joined by the scrap of leather torn from a nobleman’s sandal.

How have I fallen this far? Me! How is it that I am reduced to residence in chains? To cleaning this house of carnage between bouts of depravity, gathering the debris of revelry absently abandoned by those watching the inferior bleed out for their pleasure?

How long will they prey on themselves, in the absence of any worthwhile enemy?  When will they discard this myopic delusion of grandeur, to finally acknowledge the sentience embedded in the bones of the world?

What would these macabre voyeurs do with a REAL monster within their stone ring? A fabled, towering beast of wing and hide from their blackest night-terrors, one effortlessly suspending the Earth’s Elements between my strong claws?

Teeth far too long and sharp flash briefly between my lips, emboldened by the fantasy of casting off my illusionary form.

Tempted, I am, to find out.

Flash! Friday – Who Mourns the Dragons?

Rose lineup Flash FictionIt’s Friday again…you know what that means…time to head on over to Flash!Friday for another round of short fiction…

The photographer in me absolutely LOVES the shot she’s chosen for this week – there’s a lot of color and vibrancy to it – and the bokeh technique (very narIMG_0087row depth of field and quick shutter speeds with adequate light) is one of my personal favorites.  Here’s one of my first experiments with bokeh – and while a Basilisk is nowhere in the same family as the Chinese Dragon given to us in the Flash challenge, the technique to capture the shot is the same.

Onward!  To Flash Fiction~

Who Mourns the Dragon?

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At every corner, wall and window, I am assaulted with images of my brethren.  Gaudy splashes of eye-watering clashing colors smeared thick on cheap paper mâché, the disfigured skulls festooned with ribbon and lace are obscene in their cheerfulness.  Disgusting how my race has been so distorted by those victorious in the war they initiated.

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One of my dragon-etched vases.

Sheep’s clothing firmly in place, I settle at an empty bench in the square, watching the genocidal maniacs celebrate the annihilation of my species.

Tiny heads garnish the table before me, and I call to mind the terrible tableau of our children slaughtered in their creche.  The blood, the torn bodies, all the promise of our species broken on the bones of the Earth.  It’s one image I will obsessively visualize until I inevitably pass into dust.  My memories are the only true recounting of our customs, passions, deep familial bonds, heritage, and, lastly, our extinction.

Who will mourn the dragon when I am gone?