Guilty Pleasures [NOT 14/7/21]

Hi, friends!

Happy Wednesday!

What’s something you enjoy that people who casually know you would never guess? Like your friends think of you as loving art house films but you watch idiot teenagers on tiktok every night, etc etc.

I’ll start.

I love romance novels, especially historic ones. It’s my mental catnip. I’m also a permanently single person basically who has never wanted marriage or kids. I’ll go years without a date and be reading romance books and it confuses the fuck out of people when I tell them.

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34 Comments

  1. Kronk is wonderful and I support you using him as much as possible. That movie reminds me of really good memories of my two best friends from high school. I still see one of them – well, I’m now seeing her again after not having seen her for a long time, since we got vaxxed. Her son was born shortly before the pandemic and he’s so big now it’s crazy. 

  2. My wife, a library director with two master’s degrees, adores romance novels. And judging by circulation, a fuckton of women do. 
     
    I think I’ve outed myself on every odd habit I have already here on Deadsplinter. 
    1. I read comics. Have since I was a child and my dad took me to a barber shop. Every Wednesday I go pick up my books at my shop. It used to be a secret thing (particularly in high school and college because it did NOT get you dates) but now it’s so main stream nobody cares. 
    2. Musical theater. As a straight white man, not supposed to enjoy this, much less perform. Nonetheless. (Now this absolutely did get me dates in college, one of whom I married). 
    3. Action figures. Or toys, whatthefuckever. I’ve got a large collection. Since I started as a child, many are extremely valuable at this point. I was savvy enough to keep my collection in good condition. I give no fucks; I’m not selling them. I may have failed to mention this one previously. I’m currently using my new 3D printer to extend my collection with figures that were never produced. I am loving this shit. 
    4. Legos. This is kind of a recent obsession. Never cared for them much as a child or youth, but now I buy the complex builds and there’s a massive one I’ve barely started sitting in front of me as I type. We did a Lego day at the library and the Central Florida Lego Club bailed on us at the last second (fuck those guys) and I put on a display using mostly my personal collection that was a huge success. Oh, you can print Lego bricks on a 3D printer. 
    5. Cartoons. Love cartoons. I’m talking 60s Hanna-Barbera through now. I will happily sit and watch episodes of Batman: The Animated Series for hours. 

      • Well, bit of a long story. My wife tried to get one for her library but was refused. However, she had already set up a children’s program around 3D printing. So she came home and said “We’re buying a 3D printer, happy Father’s Day.” So, while I’d never thought of owning one, here I am. 
         
        My printer, a Creality Ender 3, cost about $200, which stunned me. I thought they were WAY more than that. You do have to purchase filament though it comes with an initial supply. There are different types of plastic depending on what you want to print, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. 
         
        It’s shipped disassembled so it has to be put together. The included directions are poor so YouTube stepped into the breach. Plenty of assembly videos there. 
         
        The Ender is not a high-end printer but it does a pretty damn good job nonetheless. You can set the quality level which basically determines the smoothness of the finished product. Everything is going to have a “grain” to it because the printer builds the objects by laying down molten strips of plastic. For some projects I’m sanding the final product and I’m dabbling in various paints to hide the texture.
         
        We first printed a small piggy bank which took 5-6 hours. Since then we’ve (I say we because my daughter mostly takes the lead, though I do know how to use the printer) printed several other objects. There are patterns that can be downloaded from various web sites, both free and for a charge. You can use as-is or using various software you can manipulate the patterns. I plan to do this but haven’t had time to dabble yet. We’ve printed Lego bricks, a flexible snake (kind of fucking awesome because you don’t assemble it, the printer just prints it out as a linked up chain), a couple of medallions from some stupid anime shit my daughter likes (it’s not actually stupid don’t @ me, weird anime defenders), stuff like that. We needed stuff we could pass around at the 3D lecture. 
         
        The most complicated thing I’ve printed so far was a 4-inch tall action figure. The nice thing about that is that you print the parts and then assemble. Each part (head, 2 arms, 2 legs, torso that’s split in two parts) took on average about an hour each. I’m still working through the assembly and painting. 
         
        There are tricks and techniques that we still are learning, like covering the printer surface with painter’s tape to make removing the product easier and so forth. It sticks to the printing plate. It has to or it won’t work properly. 
         
        You’ll need a laptop and you’ll need to install software to help you “slice” any patterns you download (I use Cura and it’s free). Slicing involves taking the pattern and telling the program to essentially divide it into “slices” that the printer lays out on top of each other to build the object. Objects that aren’t perfectly flat on one side need to have supports created to keep hot plastic from drooping. Cura handles all that, and then you snap off the unnecessary parts (this isn’t always as easy as it sounds).
         
        There’s calibration and so forth for the printer and it needs to be done each time. You need to have the extruder about a fraction of a millimeter from the printing plate and that has to be “reset” after each printing, more or less. The plate has to be leveled as it tends to shift a bit during a print. None of that is hard, and only takes a few minutes. 
         
        It’s melting plastic, so the printer gets hot and molten plastic produces fumes. If you’re running it in a garage or separate craft room or whatever, no problem. That’s not an option for us so I bought a fireproof enclosure (like $40) and I also got a cheap rechargeable HEPA filter that we run in the enclosure to minimize fumes. The first night we printed it set off my asthma something fierce, so I did some research and took steps. No problems since. 
         
        Again, hot, so you really shouldn’t leave or go to sleep while it’s running. People do it but people are frequently stupid as fuck. You can pause a print job and restart it, but when we did that it created a heavier seam in the piggy bank where it sat before we re-started. I can sand it off, but it’s something to be aware of. Honestly, with proper planning you can start in the morning and get most anything done before bedtime. 
         
        It does make a little noise but nothing that will keep you from watching television or anything like that. My turtle makes more noise. 
         
        You set the density of the objects you print. So something that looks solid isn’t unless you set the density at 100%. With a lower density your object has a plastic sort of honeycomb or lattice inside it. So my action figure’s legs aren’t truly solid. We’re experimenting with different densities. The higher you set the density, the longer the print. 
         
        That’s a lot of shit, I know. I’ve got pictures of some things and I’ll load them up on my Imgur and share them. Just not right this minute, work is a bitch. 

        • Oh, forgot a couple things. You can design your own prints (see TinkerCAD, which is free). You can also scan objects using 3D scanners. I don’t have one yet (the lowest priced one I can find that’s decent is about $350) but I plan to get one at some point. There’s crap out there that claims you can use your phone but so far it’s all shit. 
           
          There are apparently things called Makerspaces in various cities that let you rent equipment, printers, scanners, etc., onsite and use them there. So that’s a option as well. I haven’t investigated those, but I may. Could be cheaper to take objects there and do scans, rather than buying my own scanner. TBD. 

        • I just want to say that you brought up “weird anime shit” as well as turtle noise generation while describing your 3-D printer, and I appreciate that.

        • Thank you @bryanlsplinter, Really fascinating You have the curiosity and motivation to really dig into the tech to get the result – I think that is just great. (I’ve worked from home for 11 years, and the only thing I miss about working in an office is the tech, mostly hardware, support, so I applaud your tech-adventurous nature.) I’d love to hear more about your 3D experiences as you delve deeper – because it “feels” to me as if this type of printer is going to become the norm as opposed to a gimmick. Perhaps when your work is less of a bitch, you would write a post with photos?

    • I’m always puzzled why romance novels appeal to women so much more than men, and have done through history. I actually just watched an interesting thing on how the first novels were not Don Quixote and the like (as is sometimes said), but romance novels written by women. I suspect a lot of men would enjoy them too if they could get past the social stigma. I enjoy a good romance novel. 

      • I’ve read a few, and like anything else, quality varies among authors. Generally speaking, I think men (at least me) prefer books that are plot-driven, and women like books that are relationship-driven. To give a crude example, think of ‘chick flicks’ vs. ‘action movies.’
         
        That’s obviously very broad and doesn’t apply to everybody, but I do think it explains the overall trend. 

        • Of course quality will vary. I’ve read some horrible romance novels, and I’ve read some horrible non-romance novels. I do think the bar on “good writing” is lower to get a book published in the romance category, and I’d argue the same is true for action novels. Anything where publishers might say “well it’s exciting, so I guess it doesn’t matter that the writing sucks.”
           
          I’ve heard the plot vs relationship, male vs female thing, but I think it’s crap. (No offense – it may be true for you, but I think it’s not true for men vs women in general.) Otherwise how do you explain all the “classic literature” written by men primarily for men throughout history, which is almost always a character study? Stories about coming of age and self discovery, plus tragedies and comedies are all character/relationship driven. What the hell plot happens in Old Man and the Sea? An old man fails to catch a fish. (I hated that goddamn book.)
           
          I will say that there’s a relatively recent development in history where there is a social stigma against men enjoying stories that include romance (“is this a kissing book?”), and I’m certain that gets ingrained at a young age and influences preferences. 

          • I wonder if the bar is lower or that the demand is so high that there’s not a lot of time to craft a novel? The sheer volume is going to push down the quality. Romance novels are fast reads and judging by the little old ladies at the library, require a constant flow of product. I have to believe that publishers are going, eh, good enough, just to satisfy the ongoing demand. 
             
            You’ve got some major authors like Danielle Steel, who is obviously not writing her books any more — she’s an industry that clearly employs a stable of writers. That might imply higher quality since an individual ghost writer has more time to work on a book. But Steel is in a very rarefied space.
             
            There’s other authors who are similarly prolific and obviously employ ghost writers, but they have to achieve a reputation and get capital/publishers/writers to be able to do that. I’d guess individuals still writing their own works feel a lot of pressure to crank out pretty much anything. 

  3. Video games, horror films, anime, and crocheting amigurumi toys. I assume the first three always surprise people because I’m a woman. My husband works in the video game industry and his co-workers are always surprised to learn that we game together… I’m always surprised that their partners don’t. The last one is a random hobby that I picked up after my first kid was born. I’ve gotten good enough to pop one out in a couple of days (amigurumi that is, not kids).

    • My daughter is a massive gamer. She’s already chased off a couple of boys by beating their asses brutally at various games. Boys have very fragile egos, and she takes no fucking prisoners. I suspect she got that from me. That’s what my wife says. My wife is mean, and I have a fragile ego. 

  4. I got massively into jigsaw puzzles over the last year. I don’t think I was alone in that, but a lot of people still think of it as an old person past-time (I am also secretly an old person). 
     
    My nail art, which I do myself. People are always surprised. Yes, you can do your nails at home. Like anything else, it takes practice if you want fun stuff on em. 
     
    I used to do cosplay for about 12 yrs. I didn’t quit so much as I took a break and have yet to resume 😱

    • I love to puzzle too! 1000-2000 pieces Heye Puzzles are my favorite to complete without looking at the box for reference. I’ve got three new puzzles sitting in storage by The Magic Puzzle Company. Just waiting for my kids to grow up so that we can start using the dining table as a puzzle table again…so like in a decade or so…sigh.

  5. I have a soft spot for sickly sweet grape soda, cherry pop, and other “fruit” flavors. I can’t even remember the last time I had one, but something about those hits a powerful nostalgic piece of my brain.

    • There’s a local chain that makes root beer and “fruit” flavor sodas, Fitz’s.

      Their root beer and orange sodas are so damn good and both are fantastic for making ice cream floats with.

      In the summer they make a key lime soda and it blew my mind the first time I had it!

    • With me it’s Coca-Cola, ice-cold in the green bottles. I haven’t had one in years, but I can taste it right now. I tutored someone for the GMAT at Coke headquarters in Atlanta, and they have machines and fountains everywhere, and you can just punch the button or hit the nozzle, no charge whatsoever. I felt like Eve staring at the serpent holding out an apple in the garden of Eden. 
       
      Yes, serpents don’t have arms, whatever, it’s a fairy tale. 

  6. It always shocks the shit out of people irl when I talk about my grandbaby. The gal who cut my hair last weekend literally  dropped her comb when I told her I’m a grandma, now. Apparently, I don’t look my age (which is 41), or like what people think of when they think of “grandma”. I’ve been mistaken for my older boys’ sister before, carded at bars loooong after I was old enough to be there (I figured that was the low lighting!), hit on by boys my sons age, and people frequently assume that Other-Husband is the older one (um… he’s 10 years younger than me… he hates this). Husband jokes that he has my sophomore year picture in his wallet and he’s never needed another one because I haven’t changed in 25 years. I don’t get it. I think they’re all nuts! 
     
    Anyway, I’ve been a grandma my whole life.. I have cats, I crochet, I drink tea, I read romance novels and cozy mysteries… 
     
    … but I can also whoop your ass on the pool table, which guys never seem to expect!

  7. I am actually quite nice when you get to know me, and yes, I was quite pleased when I found out people are afraid of me because I do [wrongly] consider myself a badass. I’m just a Scorpio, whipping my tail around stupid shit.

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