On My Newest Hobby

Everybody is all abuzz about 5.2, but to be honest, there isn’t that much that pulls me. I haven’t been excited about dinosaurs since Sesame Street was a can’t-miss-it show for me. Another daily hub in a no-fly zone. Been there, done that, and gotten a lot of t-shirts.

You know what? No thanks. I’ve had enough. Come to think of it, maybe it’s just my time played that’s affecting my perception of dailies. I took two toons through Quel’Danas, five all the way though the Argent Tournament, and three through the Molten Front. Maybe someone who came along in Cataclysm or who only took a main through all of that might not feel the same way.

Granted, the changes in rep have helped, and I’m sure the new championing system, limited though it is to one dungeon a day, will make a difference as well. Using the farm to gain rep is a good idea, but after just two toons to exalted with the Tillers, I’m done with farming. I haven’t planted anything in weeks. It just feels like I am in a real field behind a real plow, for all the fun I’m having with it.

But this post isn’t about WoW. It’s supposed to be about my new hobby…

I was perusing YouTube about a month ago when a video titled “How to Throw a Knife” popped up on my screen. I had thrown knives as a kid, but they were never true throwers designed for the task, and if I stuck one, it was pure luck. I never stumbled across anybody that could give me any real instruction on the art. I watched the video, and the simplicity of the technique was encouraging. It was then that I realized that I have a little money and a big backyard. What was there to stop me from taking up the hobby properly?

First, I needed a target. As a kid I threw at the tree not far from the porch, and the Druid in me flinches at the memory. While trees make tempting and romantic targets, it’s not good for the tree or one’s self-image. More than ever, this definitely isn’t environmentally friendly behavior. Also, it’s just bad physics. There’s a reason Roman shields were shaped differently from the barbarian bucklers: curved surfaces deflect incoming force. After viewing a few videos on target construction, I headed out to Home Depot to procure the mats. After grabbing some fluorescent green tape, some spiral nails, and some cheap drawer pulls, I made my way over to the lumber section.

Now, before we go further down this road together, there’s something you should know.

I’m a Southern male by birth, but not really by culture, so while Home Depot makes me feel like a real John Wayne testosterone factory sort of dude…the reality is different. I’d rather go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens than a Braves game. Hand me the household finances, and disaster will ensue. Gimme the laundry detergent, and I’m a fucking rockstar. Ever read that book, Ferdinand the Bull? The one about the little bull calf who watches his friends snort, charge, and dream of going to the bullring, while he sits under the tree and smells the flowers? Yeah, I’m Ferdinand. I, like so many of my WoW brethren, was “that weird kid”, probably because I grew up without a father, which is a double-edged sword. I had no male models growing up, which means that I’m a bit of a stranger in a strange land, but by the same token I am free to make my own way without feeling as though I need to conform to a template.

Thus, the anti-Bubba goes a-buying him some lumber for the manly art of knife throwin’…

I head on over to the 2×4’s and begin standing them up, measuring by eye, looking like I want to build the most economical Stonehenge possible. I flag down the most non-threatening associate I can, one who doesn’t look like she’ll confiscate my testicles when I inevitably blow my cover. She cheerfully helps me, telling me that her brother used to throw, and directing me to the 2×6’s. As I’m sorting thought the best pieces, she calls over the man doing the actual cuttin’: plaid shirt, carpenter’s apron, and a look that says “not one of us.” He asks me for the length, and I point to a conveniently-placed knothole and say, “‘Bout thar” in my most Bubbaly voice, but it’s too late. I’ve been sniffed out. Don’t get me wrong; everyone was nice, but they knew I wasn’t in the know, for I displayed the markers of someone who is a greenhorn at being male.

It didn’t help matters, I suppose, that I briskly wheeled out the lumber cart, mission accomplished, to my SUV…the one with all the shit in the back. /facepalm

I knew I forgot something.

Ten minutes later, all of the lumber was miraculously wedged into the vehicle, intricately woven around child seats and storage bins. The 2×6’s were leaned precariously on the passenger-side front seat; all that was between me and a smack on the head was a bungee cord connected to the passenger-side seat belt. God alone knows what would have happened had I been in just a fender-bender, let alone an actual wreck. Yep, when my man card comes up for review this year, it may not get renewed, but my redneck engineering card should get a commendation sticker. Anyway, homeward!

The missus is off with her folks, so the garage now becomes my workshop.

I crank up the music on my phone, pretend I’m working on a job site, and begin laying out the 2×6’s so that there is minimum gappage between the boards. There is some warping, and the fit isn’t This Old House perfect, but it works. I then use an actual tape measure to measure the 2×4’s to length. My high school carpentry teacher would be disbelieving, but eventually proud.

Hmm, no sawhorse. Then I spot the side table on my propane gas grill.

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My high school carpentry teacher’s modest amount of pride evaporates as I grab that mighty redneck multitasker, the hacksaw, and cut the 2×4’s to length. I then space them out horizontally on the boards, using the highly mathematical precept of “well, that looks ’bout right.” After merrily smacking away with the hammer for about 15 minutes, I was nearly done, only killing 5 nails in the process /flex.

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After standing the surprisingly heavy target onto its side, I then installed the drawer pulls, to give me some way to move it easily.

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Next week, off to the backyard to test this baby out!